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Episode Seventeen "Masks Off"

Keenan checked his service weapon and backup at the cage in the Border Patrol processing center in Chula Vista while the officer at the counter called Officer Daniels to let him know he had arrived. Keenan looked at the Mexican officer and smiled, all the while thinking to himself, "how the hell does anyone think we can secure the border with the wolves guarding the henhouse?"

He sat down and called in to the Chief on his personal cell phone.


"I'm here now. Our guy is on the way. I should be out of here in less than an hour."

"Just get back here quick."

"Will do. He's here. Got to go."

"Head straight to his house and don't leave until the new guy gets down there to relieve you."

"10-4"

By the time he flipped the phone closed, he had already stood up, shook hands with Daniels and was walking down a long hallway.

"In here," Daniels said as he opened the door to an interrogation room. "So she is on her way. Be here in a few minutes. You have all the proper paperwork and stuff?"

"Of course. By the book, you know."

"I know, I know. So do you want me to bring him down, too?"

"No, just her. I got an offer I want to make that might just make convincing him to come with us a priority for him, too. If not, we can do things the hard way.  Bring him down after she gets in the box. If she takes the offer, I'll come get him. Otherwise, it'll be the hard way."

They sat there for the next few minutes passing papers back and forth in the finely choreographed paperwork ballet veteran police officers have mastered and "the knock" came just as they had finished.

"I'll be outside," Daniels said as he opened the door and let Miranda in.

"Please sit down, Ms. Riggs, or is it Mrs. Guidano?"

"I have nothing to say to you."

"That is no way to be friendly."

"Friendly? I am a fucking American citizen, OK? You can't even enter your own damn country without getting arrested."

"Now, I'm going to start from the beginning. I am Detective Keenan from the Phoenix Police Department and I am here to take you to stand before a judge for outstanding child support payments. Looks like about three years worth. That's nearly $36,000."

"That is total bullshit."

"Bullshit as though it may be, a judge has signed a warrant for your arreset and I am here to take you to stand before him."

"Why the hell the personal service? About eight ladies took the bus up to Phoenix this morning."

"Well that is because there are people who care about and are interested in helping you out. They have agreed to make a payment that will bring you current. And, they even might be willing to set you up after that, too."

"What, my long lost Sugar Daddy is coming to my rescue? Who is this person? Why the hell are you brokering this? All of it sounds like complete bullshit."

"Let me drive you to Mr. Berlini's house. He will explain everything."

"Uncle Tommy sent you? Why?"

"Well, he heard you were in trouble and he wanted to help you from making a bad situation even worse. It's been a long time. He's a changed man."

"Uncle Tommy can't change. That's like asking a dog to be a cat or the sky to be the earth. The sky will always be the sky and Uncle Tommy will always only care about Uncle Tommy."

"Well, that's the deal. Head with me to Mr. Berlini's house where after talking to Mr. Berlini, he will pay your debt, which will keep you out of jail."

"Or?"

"Or, you can wait here until the next bus — which I don't think will be leaving for another 48 hours — then go to Madison Street Jail. If your lucky you might be out in a week."

"I think I'll take my chances on my own. Give Uncle Tommy my "love," Miranda said as she made quote marks with her fingers.

"Fine. Well, while you wait here for the next transport, Shaun and I will get some steaks on the way back to Phoenix."

"Who is Shaun?"

"Oh, come on, we may be cops, but we aren't stupid. He will come back with me ... today ... even if he doesn't want to. Mr. Berlini is very eager to meet with him, too. There is virtually no way for you to avoid a face-to-face with him. Today or next week? More time in holding or you can be free, take a shower. Get a good meal."

"Oh sure, he's changed. Seems like it. He has cops coming down here and basically kidnapping me and Shaun. This ain't right."

"You might not believe it, but Mr. Berlini is really a changed man. I'm here to protect you from other bad guys. That is all I know. He is trying to protect you."

Miranda just stared at Kennan for several seconds, a look of utter contempt emanating from her face.

"Fine. But I want to make a phone call first."

"Out of the question."

"Or no deal."

"Look, I told you I am here not just to retrieve you, but to protect you. I can't have you calling people I don't know."

"Yea, well, what if I want to make sure people know where I am before I have a chance to disappear forever."

"No way. That's the deal."

"OK, OK, OK."

"Smart move. It's all gonna be good. Like I said, Mr. Berlini is only looking out for you," Kennan said as he got up and opened the door of the box. "Bring him in."

"Miranda!"

"They got us, Shaunie," she said. "Got us for crossing the border and now they are taking us to see Uncle Tommy."

"No way."

"Come with me. This cop here says Uncle Tommy is going to pay my outstanding child support."

"Yea, right."

"I got nothing else to lose, Shaunie. Please come with me. I need you to have my back."

"She's telling you the truth, son. Mr. Berlini want to make amends with both of you."

"As long as we can stop at the liquor store, I'll go anywhere."
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