Jack and Colette Messer go undercover to catch a bank robber in the 1930s
|Run him down
A Jack and Colette Messer Short Story
Bureau agent Jack Messer glanced up from his desk at the sound of the silence rending shout. The anger in the voice caused several of the agents to glance in Jack’s direction, biting back smirks of their own.
“Messer in here now!”
Rising from his chair, Jack walked the long walk down the length of the room and into the office at the far end. Stopping in front of the spartan desk, he locked eyes with the older man who sat behind it.
Roland Baylor never broke eye contact as he slapped a newspaper down on the desk, pushing it towards Jack. “What do you call this?”
The shorter man glanced down at the paper as he steadied it with a hand. Frowning, his eyes scanned the headline.
Koolen in $35,000 Bank Raid
Escapes in Car Driven by Suspected Associates
“Felix Koolen.” The venom was palpable in Baylor’s voice. “We can’t keep him behind bars and we can’t keep any sort of tabs on him.”
He spit the words out. “They love him, you know. The public. He’s like some sort of Robin Hood to them.”
“Someone along the way apparently dubbed him Felix the Gat. Name stuck”
Jack had to bite back a chuckle, resisting the urge to laugh at the name. Frowning, Baylor raised an eyebrow. “Yes I’m sure its quite hilarious.”
Taking a breath, Jack steadied himself. “All right. It’s serious. I’m sorry. What does this have to do with me though?”
His superior took a moment to collect his thoughts. “Koolen’s gone to ground, disappeared from our sight and-we think-from New Ophelia itself, probably until the heat for the bank robbery dies down. We think he’s gone back to the small town he grew up in, on the coast.”
“He’ll be able to smell law enforcement coming a mile away. That’s why we need you-and your family-to pose as a new family moved into the area. Earn his trust, Get in close enough to him and arrest him. Him and anyone else with him.”
“You think he’s got his gang?” Jack inquired.
Baylor shrugged. “At least his moll. You can arrest her too if the situation presents itself. It might.”
After a long moment, Jack nodded. He’d been given a job, a job that would put away a dangerous man. He’d do it without complaint.
“Good.” Baylor folded his hands. “I’ve got four tickets for a train headed down there at 10:00 tomorrow. Good luck Agent Messer.”
“This’ll be just like a vacation.”
Jack reassured his wife, son, and daughter again as they stowed their suitcases onto the train. They’d woken up bright and early to pack, and then navigate the early morning traffic to the train depot.
Even then, they’d almost missed their train.
“I’m sure it will Jackanapes.” Colette reassured him, covering her mouth to stifle a yawn. “Just a bit unexpected is all.”
“Didn’t find out until yesterday.”
Leaning over, Colette kissed him on the temple. “That’s called a work trip Honey. Not a vacation.”
“Still.” She added, smiling as they watched the teenage Evie Rose staring excitedly out the window. “Might be worth it all the same.”
Returning the smile, Jack slid down in the seat next to Evie. “First time on a train, huh Spitfire?”
Barely managing to tear her eyes away from the window, the girl nodded. Her face practically shone with excitement. “Yep!”
“Don’t think she’s ever been on a plane either.” Colette added.
“Nope!” Evie confirmed, giving her father a significant look.
Shaking his head, Jack reached forward and stroked his daughter’s head. “And she won’t, so long as I’m going with her.”
His face turned grave, somewhere between joking and serious. “I lived the first couple decades of my life before men could fly, I’m fine spending the rest of those years on the ground.”
“Spoilsport.” Colette stuck her tongue out at him. “Just because you’ve never tried it, doesn’t mean you never should.”
Drumming his feet on the ground, Jack shook his head resolutely. “Nope. Gonna keep my feet right here, where they’re comfortable.”
He reached out and put an arm around Evie, guiding her until she sat next to him. “No need for any Messer to go up on a plane. Ever.”
Nudging his daughter’s shoulder, he cut his eyes at her comically. “Isn’t that right Spitfire?”
The young girl rolled her eyes at him playfully. “Whatever you say dad.”
“Hear that Doll? ‘Whatever I say’. Means she thinks I’m right.” Jack leaned back, crossing his arms and beaming at his wife faux-triumphantly. He glanced over at his son. “What about you Connie?”
Barely glancing up from his book, the boy shrugged. “Yep.”
His eyes flicked back to his book before a small smile spread across his features. “Though flying on a plane would be nice.”
Grumbling good natured, Jack reached forward and ruffled his son’s hair, earning a weary sigh from the boy. The sigh soon gave way to chuckling. “All right dad. All right. Staying on the ground is fine.”
“Would you look at that Doll? Both of our kids agree with me.” Jack beamed proudly.
Rolling her eyes at him much like her daughter, Colette plopped down next to him, laying her head on his shoulder. It wasn’t long before the gentle rocking of the train had lulled them both to sleep.
“So Mr. Mason. How do you like the new library?”
Jack glanced up from stacking a row of Edgar Allan Poe books at the sound of his wife’s voice. Turning, he smiled at her, adjusting the bowtie he wore atop his sweater vest.
Adjusting his glasses, he grinned at her. “It’s just about the nicest one I’ve ever been in, Sugar.”
Colette blinked at him for a moment before collapsing into a fit of the giggles. The two had gone undercover in the town as Jeremiah and Caroline Mason, a librarian and literary expert and his songstress wife.
He was there to help fix up the town library, while she was serving as a temporary teacher for the children. They’d been staying in a small house in town kept specifically for people like them. No one in the town knew why they were really there.
To catch Felix Koolen.
The gangster hadn’t been seen yet, but Jack figured he wouldn’t go for libraries. He didn’t think he was that type of man.
Still, they’d needed some sort of cover story, and Jack knew a thing or two about literature. He knew literature and Colette worked well with children. So they integrated with the community, and waited.
Jack had to admit he didn’t mind the atmosphere. It was nice, being in a small town like Creightonsville. The place reminded him a bit of Kenton, where he’d grown up.
It had the same rolling hills surrounding it, the same quiet air, like it had never moved past 1900. The people were the same kind of quiet, friendly individuals
He was sure there were the same dark secrets hiding underneath as well.
“Are you going to be home in time for dinner Jeremiah?” Colette asked, pausing to study the cover of a book.
Jack shook his head. “I don’t know Sugar. Might end up working late, books to stack you know.”
That was code they’d devised, indicating that Jack would be tailing Koolen again that night, trying to catch him at something. It hadn’t worked yet, and he didn’t do it very often.
There was always the danger that he could be discovered, that the whole ruse would be up. That would put all of them in danger.
It was a risk he had to take, but not one he wanted to.
Nodding, Colette smiled at him. “Sure, sure, another late night at the office. I’ll tell Elizabeth and Christopher you’ll be home late.”
Evie had insisted on a fake name too, even though she probably wouldn’t need one. She’d said it wasn’t fair for them to get to put on different names and pretend, while she couldn’t.
Her words had been delivered with a smirk, letting them know she understood it was more serious than that. Jack knew though that she was still too young to fully grasp the danger.
He hoped she’d never have to.
Connie had just gone along with it because Evie had suggested it. It wasn’t that the boy was a follower but he’d been devoted to his twin since the two were practically born. Personally though, Jack believed he enjoyed it some, just wouldn’t ever admit it.
“Well have fun at work.” Stepping forward, Colette hugged him, wrapping her arms protectively around him and placing a kiss on the top of his head. “But not too much fun.”
Jack nodded. “I won’t. Promise.”
He’d be careful, make it back home without any problems. It was routine after all. The man had been in worse.
Kissing him on the forehead again, Colette smiled. “All right, I better go prepare something for the kids tomorrow. See you when you get in.”
“See you.” Jack answered, watching her walk out of the library and reminding himself again of how lucky he was.
Turning back to the bookshelf, he began whistling under his breath, going back to shelving books.
The bell clinked softly above the door as Jack closed up the library for the night, locking it behind him. Pulling his coat around him and his hat more snugly on his head, he set off into the deepening twilight.
He’d had to remind himself where they were staying the first couple days, and had almost gotten lost once. There was no reason to worry about that tonight though, he wasn’t going home.
Jack walked down the darkening sidewalks until he came to Mac’s, the only bar in the entirety of the small town. Most men came there nights after work to drink away the day. He wasn’t there for that though.
Settling into the alcove of an adjacent building, he trained his eyes on the windows of the tavern. The hunt had begun.
Several hours passed as Jack watched men come and go from the building, falling into an easy routine for him. In truth it was quite similar to his work as a prohibition agent, trailing a man from a bar this time instead of to one.
Not a lot had changed, he reflected gratefully. He and Colette still had their jobs, and though Evie was growing older, she was doing so as a child should. She still had her innocence.
Everything was still as it should be.
Chuckling under his breath, the man shook his head. When she’d been four years old, his little girl had announced she’d wanted to be a detective like her father, to catch bad guys. He and his wife hadn’t thought much of it, as she was young.
Most children had a tendency to grow out of their first thoughts of what they wanted to be when they grew up. She never did.
There had been numerous times where Evie had stayed up as she’d gotten older, waiting on her dad to come home so she could grill him on the day’s events. Jack would often have to censor some events for his daughter’s ears.
When they felt she was old enough to comprehend it, Colette had went out and bought her the Sherlock Holmes’ collections, citing them as her favorites growing up.
Evie had taken to them immediately, devouring them and developing a love of mystery fiction. Her father couldn’t have been prouder.
Movement from the bar caught Jack’s attention and he watched as one man in particular stood up and went to the door. Turning back, the man spoke a few words to someone inside, and then exited.
Jack didn’t need to check the photograph in his pocket to recognize him. The man was Felix Koolen.
Standing in the shadows, Jack waited until Koolen had stepped far enough in front of him before sliding out onto the sidewalk.
Tailing had been one of Jack’s least favorite parts of his time as a private investigator. The person he was tailing was usually jumpy enough he’d spent most of the time hiding behind stoops and in doorways. None of his tailing jobs ever ended happily, most usually in divorce.
He remembered one particular case where he tailed the same man across four different houses. It came to light later that the man had at least twice as many mistresses and spent copious amounts of time with each while his wife thought he was at ‘work’.
He could still remember her sitting in his office and sobbing, still holding the list of the women’s names he’d put together.
That had been the day he’d sworn off tailing. It hadn’t been the last time he’d tailed anyone though.
This though, this kind of tailing he could stand. It was to put away a dangerous criminal, to help and possibly save people. The only people who’d get hurt from it were the ones who deserved it.
Following the man, he let him lead him through a complicated series of interconnecting streets. Jack began to wonder if he’d been made, and the man was trying to lose him.
Still, there’d been no repeated streets or storefronts, so he wasn’t leading him in circles. Maybe it was just part of the man’s normal routine, just in case he was being followed.
The man had turned a corner and Jack went to follow him, when a hand grabbed him by the shoulder and held him in place, stopping his movement. The grip was strong, and Jack turned to find its origin.
“Next time you’re gonna follow somebody, make sure there’s nobody following you. Copy that, Professor?”
Jack was quickly spun around and lifted into the air by his shirt front. He caught sight of a huge man in a dark hat and coat, looming out at him from the shadows.
The man raised a fist and Jack felt his own tighten, preparing to defend himself. Forcing his hand to relax, he instead braced to take the hit.
He couldn’t risk fighting back and breaking character, possibly tipping off Koolen and scaring the gangster away. So he did his best to make himself look as nervous as possible and fervently hoped the man wouldn’t be sending too serious a message.
The first blow folded him inwards around his stomach, sucking in his breath against the pain. Two more followed suit, reassuring that he’d end up with bruises on his stomach the next day.
A fourth blow to his cheek snapped his head to the side, wrenching a cough out of him. By his sides, he could feel his arms shake, desperately wanting to strike back at the man.
He couldn’t though, for the sake of the job, for his children’s sake.
“Look at him, he’s so scared he’s shaking.” The man muttered to himself, chuckling before hoisting Jack aloft. “Next time Professor, don’t follow random people out into the dark. It’s likely to get you killed.”
Dropping Jack onto the ground, the man strolled away into the night, whistling. Jack lay there, counting his breaths and counting his pains, until he was sure the man had left. Slowly the beaten man stood up, limping back towards home.
Colette glanced up from washing a plate as the door closed behind her. “So Jackanapes…how’d it…”
The plate clattered in the sink as she rushed to his side, supporting the bruised, bleeding man, leading him into a chair.
“What happened?” She asked, walking back over to the sink and wetting a washrag before dabbing at his face.
Jack sighed. “Got so caught up tailing Koolen that I never checked to make sure I wasn’t being tailed. Guy made sure to let me know I had been.”
He tried to wave away her concerned hands. “He thought I had just gotten lost, or had gotten too curious. He doesn’t know who we really are. We’re safe. Evie and Connie are safe.”
“Well that’s cold comfort to the bruises you’re gonna have tomorrow.” Colette responded, dodging his hands and finishing wiping at his face. “Come on. We’ll get a bath drawn up and see about the rest of those.”
Jack allowed her to pull him to his feet, limping across their rented living room and into the bathroom. Settling back against the wall, Jack watched as hot water began to steam from the tub.
“Are the kids asleep?”
Glancing up at his question, Colette nodded. “thy has been for about two hours now. Wanted to stay up and see you when you came in. I told them it was getting late.”
“Kinda glad I did now.” She chuckled softly, dipping a finger into the water to test it.
Jack smiled ruefully, gritting his teeth against the pain. “Glad you did too. I don’t want them to see me like this, I don’t want to worry them.”
“That’s what makes you a good father.” Colette murmured, smiling. “Now come on you. Clothes off and get in the tub.”
Jack nodded, saluting her. “Yes ma’am.”
His clothes hit the ground a moment before he slid into the tub, letting the water slap against his chest and legs. Looking down, he could see the yellowing bruises on his chest, spreading outwards from where the man had hit him.
Glancing at Colette, he saw her face draw up in sympathy as her fingers ghosted the bruises. “Didn’t pull any punches did he?”
“Wanted to make a point.” Jack hissed against the pain. “Wanted Jeremiah Morris to learn to stay out of Felix Koolen’s business.”
Colette chuckled, raising a wet washcloth and beginning to wipe down the bruises. “And did he learn?”
“Morris, yes.” Jack fixed her with a predatory grin. “Messer, no.”
Kissing him on the forehead, Colette ran her fingers through his hair. “That’s my husband.”
“It’d be weird if I wasn’t.” Jack quipped, earning a nonplussed frown from his wife. Settling back, he closed his eyes and allowed the water to just gently lap against him, basking in the immediate moment.
“Uh-uh.” Colette chided from up above him. “Let’s save the sleeping for when you’re properly in bed.”
Jack grinned at her, beginning to pull himself out of the tub. “Sure thing Doll.”
The bell rang above the door to the library, drawing Jack out of the Edgar Allan Poe collection he’d gotten lost in. He looked towards the door, expecting to see Colette, or one of his kids
He was wrong on both accounts.
The tall, dark haired, dark eyed man who stood in the doorway, staring at the tall shelves was neither of those. He was, however, not unknown to Jack.
The man was Felix Koolen.
Finally growing tired of staring at the books, Koolen lowered his gaze, fixing it on Jack. The shorter man had to fight back the urge to shudder.
His eyes were dead and cold.
Strolling leisurely across the library, the man approached Jack, one hand resting easily in his pocket. In an almost chilling display, Jack watched life and humor trickle back into the man’s face as easily as someone turning on a tap.
By the time he reached Jack, the man smiled at him as if he was his long lost best friend. The contrast, and the way the man bridged it, chilled Jack’s blood.
“Mr. Morris!” The bank robber called out jovially. “Heard you went looking for me last night. I hope I’m not in trouble.”
“I promise I don’t have an overdue book.” There was steel behind the man’s words, and flint chips in his eyes.
Jack forced himself to wave the comment off. “No mister. It was just a…a bit of a misunderstanding. I got too curious for my own good. My wife tells me I do that all the time.”
“I’d ask you to be careful.” Koolen’s voice dripped with fake concern. “After all, you run this place, and I don’t know what the town would do without its librarian…or his wife.”
He shrugged. “But then again I’ve never been much of a reader.”
The threat was clear in his voice, hovering just under the surface. Jack fought to keep the tense nerves out of his frame, so as not to alert the man.
Koolen’s gaze swept the library again. “Its been a long time since I’ve been in a place with so many books. Spent part of the late twenties working for a man with a library that could almost dwarf this one. Althaus I think his name was. Something similar at least.”
Jack again had to fight to keep the recognition or surprise off his face. It had been a long time since he’d heard that name. He tried to watch the man’s expression and see if he’d made Jack and was trying to intimidate him.
The man’s eyes were distant though, and he seemed to be merely reminiscing. His eyes refocused moments later as a grin spread across his face. “Never mind that now. I’m bringing you a present Mr. Morris. Got my girl to bring your wife and daughter here.”
He shrugged as Jack felt the world drop away from him. “Seems we need to have a discussion about how to keep out of other people’s business.”
His hand in his jacket pocket moved again, and Jack was uncomfortably aware of the small gun shaped bulge in it.
“What you did was a very dangerous thing.” Koolen shook his head, his face affecting a look of sadness. “I’m wanted you know, by the Bureau. Your little stunt could have gotten me noticed.”
“You wouldn’t want that, would you?” Koolen tsked, glancing down and adjusting his suit jacket. “After all, I’m doing this for people like you.”
He shrugged, pulling up a chair and leaning against the back. “I’m just sorry I’ve got to teach you a lesson. You need to learn to not follow me anymore.”
Sitting down in the chair, he crossed his ankles, eyeing Jack. “Might as well open a book Mr. Morris, it could be a while.”
Jack reached for a particular copy of Shakespeare’s plays he kept with him for that exact situation, his mind whirling. He found himself between a rock and a hard place.
There was the job, but his family was in danger. He had no doubt Colette could handle herself, and Koolen still didn’t know who and what he really was. The man knew that if the gangster did, the punishment would be much, much worse.
An opportunity to nab Koolen would present itself. He’d just basically admitted everything to Jack, thinking he was a simple librarian and could be bullied into submission, could be frightened. He was in for a surprise.
At that point, all he could do was sit, hope, and pray.
The doorbell rang, snapping Colette’s head up from where she’d been fussing over that night’s supper. She couldn’t think of who would have come over to see her, much less ring the doorbell.
Instincts bred into her years prior began to sound, warning her something was amiss. Walking towards the door, she grabbed a carving knife from the counter as the ringing turned into knocks.
Colette glanced out the front window as she slipped past it, seeing a dark haired woman standing on the front stoop. The woman’s lips were pursed and her eyes were narrowed. All in all she looked decidedly unpleasant, and decidedly unhappy.
Finally making her way to the door, Colette unlocked it and pulled it open, just enough so she could see out. “Can I help you?”
“Are you Caroline Morris?” Despite her previous appearance, the woman seemed to be smiling now, positively chipper.
Nodding slowly, Colette didn’t even bother to open the door wider. “Are you looking for me?”
“You and your daughter.” The woman’s words chilled her to the bone. “I’m Gigi, Felix the Gat’s dame. He wants to have a word with you.”
Colette’s grip tightened around the knife, sizing the woman up and down. She was small statured and thin, probably wouldn’t be worth much in a fight.
The taller woman was sure she could take her. She had to, for her children’s sake. “and if I refuse?”
She began to close the door but the woman stepped forward, wedging her foot in it. Chuckling mirthfully, she shook her head. “You don’t have that kind of choice.”
“I see.” Colette nodded, still trying to close the door. The woman shoved a hand in, grasping for the door handle.
With no other choice, the woman drove her knife into the intruding hand.
Pulling it back, Gigi hissed, throwing her full weight against the door. Colette held herself against it, trying her best to keep the door shut.
After a moment, the pressure on the other side of the door alleviated and Colette caught a glimpse of the woman stomping away. She cast a look back at the house and stomped over to a car.
The woman stuck her head in the car for a few moments, Colette seeing her point back at the house. After a moment, a larger man climbed out of the car and made his way towards the house.
Colette locked the door back and braced herself against it, knife still in her hand. She could hear footsteps stomping up the sidewalk towards their house.
Colette glanced up in time to see Evie walking out of her bedroom, book in one hand and tucked against her arm.
She frowned at her mother. “What’s going on? I thought I heard voices.”
There was a crash against the door and her eyes widened as it buckled on its hinges. Her eyes darted towards her mother and Colette frantically waved her back. “Go back to your room. Don’t come out until I say it’s safe.”
The girl stood there a moment longer before another crash rocked the door and she scurried back the way she’d come. No sooner had she done so than the door shook once more and finally gave.
Colette backed away from it, moments before the whole apparatus came down, crashing into the floor and revealing the large man on the other side.
Sizing him up and down, the woman knew him immediately. “You’re the man who hurt my husband.”
“Charmed, ma’am.” The man smugly tipped his hat. “Boss wants you and the little lady back there to join your husband up at the library. I’m to escort you.”
With one open palm, he went to grab her. “Now if you’d kindly come with me.”
Stepping backwards, Colette easily slipped out his grasp. She stared up at him, hate burning in her eyes. “You won’t lay a finger on her.”
Blade darting out, she caught him in the palm, driving the knife through it and earning a pained cry out of him. Leaving the knife still in his hand, she danced away from the other as it swatted at her, trying to make a grab for her again.
There was a squeak and Colette saw the door to the bedrooms open. She briefly wondered if Evie had disregarded her orders when a body flew from its depths, slamming into the big man.
Colette’s body went cold as she recognized Connie. Of course, the boy was protective of his family. She just knew he was out of his depth.
He managed to punch the man twice in the face before the gangster recovered and his hand flashed out. Colette let out a small gasp as she saw Connie being suspended by the throat.
The bigger man raised a hand to hit him, but found he couldn’t curl his fingers around the knife in his palm. With a frustrated growl, he tossed him into a table in the corner of the room, breaking it.
As he hit the ground amidst a shower of splinters, Colette threw herself at the man with an anguished, angry scream.
Her fist snapped out and caught him across the chin, staggering the man and turning him in a half-circle. Stepping up behind him, she wrapped her arms around his neck and brought him to the ground.
Even penned as he was, she saw him reaching into his coat, and trying to put his hands around the butt of a revolver. He struggled to pull it free and fought to push her off of him.
Slowly but surely, he was succeeding
Colette knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if he broke free, he’d murder both her and her daughter. There was very little choice in what she could do.
Grabbing hold of the gun, she pulled at it, wrestling it out of his grip by pulling backwards until his arm. The revolver finally came loose and Colette desperately grabbed a pillow from the couch, pressing it down over the still struggling man’s head.
Pressing down on him with her body and using her weight to still hold him, she raised his revolver and pressed it down into the pillow, firing. The pillow dulled the shot, but the man stopped struggling, laying unmoving on the couch.
Breathing heavily, Colette stood up, staring down at the body. There was blood leaking from under the pillow. She’d have to do something about that before Evie saw.
Loping over to Connie, she bent down next to him, reaaching down and cradling his head. “Con…?”
Coughing, the boy looked up at her, dazed, hurt, but very much alive. “Sorry Mom…I thought he was going to hurt Evie.”
Happy sobs broke from Colette’s throat as she hugged him before something clicked in the back of her mind.
The woman turned, eyeing the phone, an idea forming in her head. If they went after her, without Koolen, then the man was probably already at the library.
Jack would be hesitating to do anything so long as he thought she and Evie were in trouble. Time might have come to even the odds.
Picking up the phone, she began to dial the library.
Jack and Koolen both gave a little start at the sound of the ringing phone as it cut through the tension in the room. The silence that previously held it in sway was shattered.
Smirking triumphantly, Koolen strode over to the phone and picked it up, lifting the receiver to his ear. “I trust you have them both?”
Jack’s face fell, they’d been caught. At the end of the day they’d been caught all the same. He must have swarmed the house with men to overwhelm Colette like they had.
Balling up his fists, he prepared for the worst.
To his surprise though, Koolen’s face fell open in surprise. “What do you mean…? What did you do?”
His face clouded over as his grip on the phone tightened. “You’ll get yours. I still have your husband you cattish little…Hello?”
While the gangster continued to shout into the phone, Jack quietly opened the book he’d kept a hand on, easing out his Smith&Wesson Model 10. Aiming it at Koolen, he uttered the words he’d been itching to say since he started the operation.
“Felix Koolen. You’re under arrest.”
Koolen glanced up at him, raising an eyebrow. “Under whose authority, professor? Your wife might have claws but I’ve seen nothing from…”
Reaching into the hollowed out book, Jack produced his shield, holding it up to Koolen. “Under the authority of the Bureau of Investigation. You’ve got nowhere left to run Felix. Put your hands where I can see them.”
Jack knew the man was pulling his arm out of his pocket, seeing the muscles in his arm a moment before it happened. Surging forward, he pinned the man’s arm to the table, M1911 and all.
The bank robber glared up at Jack, fighting to pull his arm back. With nothing else to do, Jack decked the man, punching him as hard in the face as he could.
Stumbling backwards, Koolen hit the library wall, groaning as he slammed against it. He took a moment to shake his head and clear it, before rushing Jack.
Again, the Bureau agent knew the man’s motions before he made them, and stepped out of the way, driving his arm into the man’s stomach and doubling him over. Joining his fists together, Jack raised them and brought them down on the back of the man’s neck.
With a grunt, Koolen fell to the floor. He turned, preparing to pull himself back up, only to find a Model 10 pressed against his forehead.
“You are. Under. Arrest.” Jack intoned slowly, his breath heaving. Slowly raising his hands, Koolen didn’t resist as Jack cuffed them behind his back.
“I’ll get out.” The bank robber stated, more of a fact than a threat. “I’ll get out and I’ll start all over again.”
Jack nodded. “I know. I’ll be there to catch you when you do.”
Leaving Koolen still on the floor and handcuffed, Jack walked over to the phone. Dialing the number for his house, he breathed a sigh of relief as Colette’s voice sounded on the other end.
“Yeah Doll. It’s me. I caught him. It’s over.”
He could heard her chuckling through the phone. “Good, Evie, Connie and I are fine, though we’ve got a bit of a mess in the living room. Oh and Jack?”
“Yeah?” He asked, hearing the chuckle in her voice.
“Next time, I’ll pick the vacation spot.”
Chuckling, Jack said his goodbyes and hung up, heaving Koolen to his feet and out the door, towards where the car was waiting.
Inside he felt good, felt accomplished. People had been saved today, had been saved and had been avenged.
That was why he did it.
That was who he was.