"We've been at this for weeks now," complained Ron.
June shrugged: "Dad knows what he's doing."
I write of these transgressions interpolating the events from what Ron and June told me afterwards, but also with a bit of paternal intuition.
"Yeah, I know you say that, but that doesn't really help our situation now, does it?," continued Ron. "I get it, you're a big city guy, but we have to keep our heads down."
"In the middle of fucking nowhere. I don't even speak the language!"
"Neither do I, but most of them speak English, you know."
"June," he said solemnly to get her attention.
"We're in a mountain cabin. In Southern Germany. Are you–"
"Yes, I am sure this is what we're supposed to be doing."
"Ugh, I can't have this discussion again Ron."
"Weeks," Ron pressed on, "since we left home. Yes, you've been here for four days." The sun was coming up over the front porch spreading its golden wings in preparation for the days flight.
The two of them had taken every direction and every turn I asked them to. After a particularly slow trek across to the East coast they found their ship and made way to England and to London. June refused to give her account of what happened there saying that…
"Fuck all happened. We stayed in two separate hotels for a few days and then you called and asked us to go to Berlin."
Ron gave a more detailed account…
"It was great. Loved the city and their people. I've seen Londoners on TV, but they actually do talk like that. Larf and a harf. Had a minor spat with June. She's not really a big city girl, is she? Anyway, as we arrived in London she wanted to find a hotel outside the city, but I wanted a hotel at the very heart of it. Not proud of the discussion, so I'll spare you the details," is what he claimed.
When asked what they did all day in London, the three days they stayed there, Ron said he explored the wonders of the city on his own and June stayed inside only going to a gym once. This is the earliest account of what happened on their journey I was able to obtain. When asked how the trek to the East coast was both of them replied it was a tedious journey they would rather have been without. When asked on what happened in the ship, both of them refused to give me an account. I called them the last morning they were in London and June picked up the phone…
"Hi!," she burst with glee and turned to Ron: "It's David."
"I've tracked down Jonas," I started.
"Where is he?"
"You're not going to like it–"
"I think I will," she interrupted.
"He's in a small German village quite a bit South of Munich."
"Germany? What's he doing there?"
"He may be a genius when it comes to numbers, but his geographical prowess leaves something to be desired. He thought Vienna was in Germany, and now he is bussing his way there."
"It seems so. He has remained in that village for a day now according to the supervisor there."
I gave them the address and information on which flight to take to Berlin, which train to take to Munich and how to get to the village.
"Can't we fly directly to Munich?," I heard Ron ask.
"You could, but your entourage arrived in London yesterday and we want to draw this out for another day."
"How'd it go with James?"
"He was jailed just yesterday. Lara did some good work on that."
"Say hi to her for me," June interjected.
"I will. She misses you." Lara really did do some great work.
Ron grabbed the phone: "He was jailed?," he asked in an angry tone: "Why?"
And I told him the entire story.
Jim Andrews was a big time detective up state whose career met an untimely end when he got involved with the lawyer in a scandal case. The city mayor, Lisa Marson had gotten involved in an unfortunate circumstance connected to the disappearance and death of two prostitutes. Fearing for his reputation, Lisa quickly sought legal advice as such cases have a tendency to be picked up my the media and to end great careers. The lawyer was assigned to the case and he hired the star detective Jim Andrews, to gather scathing material to link the disappearance to someone other than Ms. Marson and to relocate the bodies.
The scapegoat was a local known criminal, who had just got out of jail for the second time three weeks earlier. First time he was jailed, he was working as a pimp. The second time for domestic violence. Hence, he was a prime candidate in the eyes of a jury, to take the fall for Ms. Marson. But karma has a way of hitting when it really hurts. And karma was there, in the form of two joggers who witnessed from afar, Jim Andrews moving two bodies… one male and one female. As this is the 21st century the joggers naturally had cameras with them and both the joggers filmed this. These videos quickly found their way to YouTube and other online sharing sites. The media interest in the case was explosive and the careful scheme of the lawyer fell into pieces. The police initiated an investigation immediately. And after locating the evidence to secure the charges against Jim Andrews the police readily verified that what had been moved was indeed two bodies.
But by then the police encountered a complication. No one could identify the bodies. Eyewitnesses had disappeared and one office clerk working at the mayor's office turned up dead. The clerk had been shot twice with a drilled out rifle. No one had heard or seen the assault. And the joggers went missing as well, leaving the only evidence in the case the two videos they had uploaded. Despite police effort, the videos never vanished. Once on the Internet, always on the Internet. The lawyer defended Jim Andrews and dismissed the involvement of Lisa Marson completely. The media and police interest was focused only on Jim Andrews and the two bodies he had moved.
The prostitutes were found to have overdosed on drugs and left in the wayside outside the town. Their trek back into town proved fatal to them as their bodies gave in to the stress. The exertion coupled with the drugs killed them and when pressed why he had moved the bodies, Jim Andrews said he was contacted by a client to investigate these deaths himself.
Obstructing a murder investigation is a serious offence and Jim Andrews was jailed, but due to the lawyer's sharp rhetoric Jim could be bailed out. The deal had been all along that Jim should be jailed with bail to take the fall and end the case. Mr. Andrews were compensated well by Lisa Marson for his service, as was the lawyer. But this money went to buying out Jim. He was free, but they were both asked to leave town. They did, Jim with big coffers of cash, and the lawyer to find greener pastures. Both of them took up new identities when they came to town, but the failed grand career of Jim Andrews proved too much for the new James to cope with. And one of the best detectives this world has seen befriended the bottle.
His new career here never really took off and his reputation never merited him more than the occasional cases of suspected unfaithfulness between spouses. James thought his past would stay buried, but when Lara showed up and handed him a note saying "You forged it all," alongside the business card of the chief of police, his past rushed to him and he decided to grab the bull by its horns. As expected and as planned, this approach did not turn out to his advantage.
The note was of course carefully crafted, and the business card was genuine, swiped from a drawer belonging to the lawyer half a year earlier. I did not know when or if it would come in handy, but when I learned of the lawyer's past, I held onto that card.
"Yes, he was jailed. He went back up state."
"Why? He wouldn't ev–," protested Ron angrily.
"Past caught up to him. Mrs. Marson was not happy to see him again."
"But, he saved her!"
"He did, but the blood sample results from the two bodies were forged. By him. He was a wanted criminal for two murders."
"But couldn't June's–," and then he interrupted himself: "Oh, he's following us. For how long is dad jailed?"
"Life. Turns out if you screw over the police, the court and threaten to implicate the mayor, you disappear."
The phone went silent and after a moment had passed, June's voice came back.
"Berlin, Munich, Bruck. Got it."
"How's he taking it?"
"Worse than you can imagine."
"To get to Bruck you may want to rent a car."
"This arrest. Did you do it?"
"I was the catalyst."
"And Lara fooled him to go back?"
"This was your plan all along?"
"One of them. Working on another right now. For that I need the lawyer and the chief to catch up to you for a day or so. Stay in Bruck, but get Jonas out of there and towards Vienna."
"By slow means as y–"
"We got it dad," she said in a morose voice and hung up.
"He's a good man," sobbed Ron. "Why would this happen to him? He already paid his toll for Larson's mistake."
Ron was standing in front of the glass pane door leading to the hotel room's balcony. June was slouched in a chair in the back of the room with a map of Germany in hand along with a travel guide. She put down the paperwork and walked up besides him.
"What happened with Marson?"
"You mean, David never told you?"
"Oh, it involves your da–"
"David's my dad. The lawyer's my warden."
And so Ron told her everything, in tones of anger, resentment and sadness intertwined into a deeply emotional narrative. Ron refused to tell me about the entire affair from his point of view at a later occasion.
"You've always been there for him," said June and put a hand on his shoulder. "Through thick and thin. He's not as bad as everyone makes him out to be. Just the booze really brings it out."
A moment of silence passed, eventually broken by Ron: "We should get going."
"We're taking a later flight."
"I see. I'm going for a walk then," Ron replied and headed for his coat and the door.
"I'm coming with," said June hot on his heels.
The two of them took a long walk along the Themes.
For the sake of brevity and narrative focus I will omit some of the dialogue here. After a good 10 or 15 minutes of walking in silence Ron started.
"He's just always been there. Looking over my shoulder. And now that he's no longer there, I just…," he trailed off into silence.
"Feel lost?," asked June.
"That, too. I have to go back and get him out."
"You can't do that."
"Why not? Dad's orders?"
"No," June shrugged: "Common sense. You're not welcome back there and you'll get the same treatment."
"They don't have anything on me."
"Your birth certificate is all they need. You're his son."
"So? That's not a crime."
"Couldn't agree more."
"Then what's the problem?"
"Evidence and fair trial does not account for much when you've made a fool out of the court, the police and threaten to destroy to mayor's career."
"That was years ago."
"And your dad was jailed just now. They don't forget."
"Then what do I do? I can't just do nothing."
"Well, we get Jonas."
"For now, yes, but afterwards?"
After a while of reflection June answered: "Huh. I guess you do whatever you want to do. You're free."
"Like a headless chicken, yes," Ron sighed.
"Not headless. You've a great detective career ahead of you."
"So a chicken nonetheless," he nodded.
"If you're going to mope about it this much, yes, you get to be a chicken."
"You don't get it," he pouted.
"You feel abandoned, alone and victimised," June replied.
"That's a given," he retorted.
"Then tell me," she begged.
"Do you want to be a model?," he asked. "Or actress?" A moment passed and Ron continued. "So far I've been pushed into following in my dad's footsteps. Now he's gone, I get this feeling–"
"You don't want to become a P. I.," nodded June.
"Exactly. What do I do now?"
"Well, what do you want to do?"
"I don't know. Travel, I guess."
"Yeah, yeah, travel and see the world, the go-to ambition of someone with no ambitions. What do you want to work with?," asked June.
They returned to their hotel and packed their bags late in the afternoon and headed for the airport. When arriving at the airport, just as they were boarding the plane, they heard a familiar shriek in the distance.
"June! Young lady, stop right there!"
The lawyer and the chief of police was running through the airport having spotted the two of them boarding, but a flight attendant stopped them in their sprint.
"Sir, can I see your papers, please?"
"Yeah, sure, whatever, we need to get on that plane," yelled the excited lawyer and turning to the winded chief of police: "We have them. We fucking have them!"
"I'm sorry sir, but there are no available seats on that plane. The next available plane leaves in two hours."
"You've got to be kidding me," protested the chief of police. "Do you have any idea who I am?"
The fight attendant looked at the passports.
"I do now. Please, head to the seating area and be ready to board the next plane."
"Those two are harbouring a dangerous criminal, we have to get on board to stop them," pressed the lawyer.
"I am sorry, but you are obstructing the line for other customers. Please, be seated, or I will have to contact security. Let's keep this civil, shall we?"
"Outrageous service, I demand to see your manager," started the chief having caught half of his breath.
"I am the manager, but I will gladly call in my boss."
"See to it that you do so," said the chief.
"Very good, please, be seated in the meanwhile."
Reluctant to do so, the two gentlemen found two available seats and sat down. A disapproving employee walked up to them after half an hour.
"To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"Excuse me, who the hell are you?," asked a hostile police chief.
"Your flight attendant's boss. You wanted me to come in here? It's my day off. What can I help you with?," he asked with the smallest amount of patience in his eyes and a strong undertone of impatience.
"That little shit refused to let us board a plane we urgently had to get on. We're tracking down a criminal."
"So you had him call me in here, because he refused to put you on a full flight?," came the summarising question.
"Full or not, that man was–," and here the sophism of the lawyer was broken by a scathing scolding so profane and humiliating, I will not waste your time with the tasteless details.
"So, you two are going to sit here, shut up and when this flight is called, board it without saying a single word, get off in Germany and never, NEVER, use this airline again, are we clear? Or I swear to God I will throw your pathetic husks into the street with a kick in the ass so tremendous I will spend 57 seconds in agony myself and then the last three seconds of that minute to forget your pitiful, pathetic and selfish existences. Are we clear?," yelled the furious boss at the top of his lungs.
As the lawyer was about to answer, the boss broke in… "Hey! Not a word!"
The chief of police nodded, and the boss went away. The two of them sat there baffled what had happened, waiting and eventually boarding their plane in perfect unbroken silence.
The plane had taken off on schedule and June and Ron were making their way to Berlin.
"Too close for comfort," said June after a while.
"That could've gone South, yeah," nodded Ron after a while.
"No," said June to break the silence.
"No, I don't want to be a model, or an actress, or whatever my mom's trying to make me out to be."
"Then why do you do it?"
"I don't. I try to avoid as many appointments she makes on my behalf as possible. I don't want to be the centre of attention. I don't want to be the prettiest in the room, to be on crazy diets to keep myself looking malnourished, to be her prize dog she has to show off to all her friends."
"What do you want to do then?"
"I was so jealous when Lara joined the police force. I want to be out there, doing something challenging, something dangerous and fruitful. Not just look pretty enough that a geek on a screen can airbrush and Photoshop out the last bit of humanity in my appearance."
"Did you ever apply for the police academy?"
"Yeah. They didn't want me. Too bad a shape."
"But you're so thin."
"Yeah, stripped of fat and muscles, mister. I have the upper body strength of a soy bean. Coincidentally that was my entire lunch for over half a year."
"One soy bean?"
"Yeah, you try living on 800 calories a day."
"That can't be healthy."
"No, but the money was good. Anyway, when all this is over and if dad really pulls off his stunt, I'll probably become a firefighter. Start exercising. Eat better and then in a year or so apply for service. I want to get out there and do something and help someone. Make a career out of it far away from Hollywood and the so called glamour of the entertainment industry."
"You've already thought it through?"
"Yeah, since I was very little."
"Then why the modelling and acting?" June chuckled. "What's so funny?," asked Ron.
"Because sometimes parents have ambitions for their children." She said so with a sly smile.
When arriving at Berlin the two of them made sure to make a scene at the airport bickering as much as possible on the way through. This caught the attention of security who escorted them out of the terminal into a cab taking them to their hotel just a few blocks away from the airport. And only three hours later at the hotel, it knocked on the hotel room door.