The Grey Man, one more tease…

Can’t Win Them All

The old man started to turn onto three-eighty-five south and glanced over to the little grocery store parking lot to make sure nobody was coming out. An older Hispanic male was walking toward the door, and that tickled something in the back of the old man’s mind. Where do I know that sumbitch from? Wants and warrants? Or did I arrest him? Shit…

Pulling into the little parking lot, he turned around and started to pull behind the truck the Hispanic was driving, but saw that he’d parked where he could pull straight out. Backing up at an angle, he tried to get over by the gas pumps and fake getting gas. He wanted to run the plates, but Ortiz was giving a long report over the radio.

He scribbled the plate number in his wheel book, then looked up to see the Hispanic walking from the store back toward his truck. The old man grabbed the mic and said, “Dispatch, car four out with one Hispanic male, three-eighty-five and Gallagher.” He hopped out of the car, telling Yogi to stay, and walked quickly toward the man, “Senor, solo un minuto!”

The Hispanic glanced at the old man, and continued quickly toward his truck. The old man jogged over, unsnapping the holster and putting his hand on the 1911, “Dentener! Do not get in the truck, Senor!” The Hispanic male opened the door, jumped in and started the truck as the old man got to the window, 1911 drawn, “Dentener!”

The Hispanic male peeled out of the parking lot as the old man holstered his pistol, turned and ran for his car, “Dispatch, car four. Pursuit, one Hispanic male, jeans, dirty white wife beater t-shirt, camo gimme cap. Eastbound on Gallager.”

The old man jumped back in the car, and took off after the truck, lights and siren going. He saw the truck turn right in the distance, and slid through a turn onto South Texas, but didn’t see the truck. He kept going south, looking at each cross street. He killed the lights and siren, and heard other units responding, then heard the sheriff, “John, where are you?”

The old man picked up the mic, “Texas and El Paso, Jose. I lost him. Break, dispatch plate is hotel echo november three two seven three.” The old man pounded on the steering wheel in frustration and thought about where he was and where the Hispanic male, Ortega, dammit, Jorge Ortega, that sumbitch has a bunch of warrants out!

Dispatch came back, “Car four, plate comes back to two thousand six Chevrolet pickup, light brown, registered to Edward Bonin. Address as follows.”

As the sheriff pulled up along with a city car, the old man keyed the mic, “Dispatch, runner was Jorge Ortega, Hispanic male, mid-forties, five nine, five ten, one sixty. Check wants and warrants, he’s got some outstanding.” Dropping the mic in disgust, he got out of the car and walked to where Sergeant Alvarado from city and the sheriff were sitting, “Sumbitch got away from me. Ortiz wouldn’t get off the damn radio long enough for me to get a word in edgewise. Ortega made me, and ran, even after I pulled my pistol on him.”

Alvarado whistled, “That boy didn’t want to be stopped did he?”

The old man shook his head grimly, “Nope. And I was stupid. I should have gone in the store after him, but if that had gone wrong, nobody would have known where I was.” Looking up he saw Ortiz and two other city officers pulling up.

The sheriff said, “We’ll handle that later. We thought you were in a foot chase, from the initial report.”

The old man chuckled ruefully, “Nah, I was running for the car after the sumbitch hauled ass on me.”

Dispatch came over the radio, “Car four, Jorge Ortega wants/warrants, nine. Drug dealing, theft, grand theft. Three to five in Huntsville, released January third this year. All wants/warrants since January. Call in to probation to get a current address.”

Ortiz came up, “What happened, Captain?”

The old man growled, and the sheriff jumped in, “Ortiz, y’all spread out. Check parking lots, apartments, alleys. Let’s see if we can at least find the truck.”

Alvarado smiled and waved at the sheriff and old man, “We’ll scour the area and see what we can come up with.”

“Thanks Sarge, sorry I let this one get away!” The old man replied. Turning to the sheriff he continued, “I’m getting old and slow, Jose. I wasn’t sure it was Ortega initially, and it didn’t come to me till a few minutes ago who he was.”

The sheriff clapped the old man on the shoulder, “You can’t win ‘em all, John. And your batting average is a lot better than most in that respect. Let’s go see what we can dig up, okay”

The old man nodded, and they went back to their respective cars, rolling through the area, and seeing numerous other county and city units as the crisscrossed the entire neighborhood.


The old man was sitting at Miguel’s eating a couple of tacos while Yogi ate his from a bowl under the table and Miguel laughed as the old man related the tale of the morning’s aborted pursuit. Suddenly the old man’s radio went off, “Dispatch, car four. Your suspect vehicle located behind a duplex on Mill Street. Address as follows.”

The old man whipped out his wheel book and copied down the address, “Dispatch, notify city, we need to do a takedown on that duplex. I’m ten away.” Looking up at Miguel, he said, “This one may have a happy ending yet.” Handing Miguel ten dollars, he hopped up, “Come on Yogi, let’s go.”

Miguel laughed, “Good luck, Senor. Take the bad ones off the street please!”

The old man nodded as Yogi caught the old man’s mood, beating him to the car, pawing at the back door. The old man shook his head, “Just a minute dog. Damn, it’s not like we’re going to be able to do anything as soon as we get there.”

The sheriff came on, “Let’s meet at the tanks on Gonzales Loop. Then we’ll go from there.”

As the old man started to key the mic, he heard Sergeant Alvarado, “Dispatch, city is enroute with three cars.”

Ortiz chimed in, “Two-fourteen is five out.”

The old man finally keyed the mic, “Car four is eight out.”

The old man’s phone rang, and he jerked it out of the holster and hit speaker, “Hello?”

“John, Jose. We’re going to need to let city play. I’m thinking you and Alvarado take the front, Ortiz and I will take the back corners, and the other city and Hart can take the other side of the duplex. That leaves one city out front if we get a runner out the windows.”

The old man replied, “Makes sense. I’m pretty sure Hart knows this guy by sight, so it shouldn’t be an issue.”

“Okay, see you in a couple.” The old man disconnected and dropped the phone back in its holster.


After the sheriff laid out the details of the takedown and who would be positioned where, all of the officers started getting into position. When the sheriff and Ortiz came over the radio that they were in position, the old man keyed the mic, “Okay, we’re going in the front. Alvarado and Hart will block the two driveways.”

Slamming the car to a stop in front of the house, the old man jumped from the car, saying “Yogi, sit, stay!” He slammed the door closed as Alvarado jumped out of his car and met the old man at the front door. He courteously motioned to Alvarado to lead, as he stepped to the side and drew his 1911, holding it down at his side.

Alvarado knocked loudly, “Police department, we have a search warrant, open the door please!” He knocked again loudly and just started to yell again, when the front door was opened by a mousy, tattooed female, a small boy in her arms. “We’re looking for Jorge Ortega, is he here?”

She mutely shook her head, and the old man led her over to Beeman, the other city officer out front, to keep an eye on.

Peripherally, the old man saw Hart and another city officer enter the other half of the duplex, but he ignored that. Following Alvarado into the duplex, they quickly cleared the two bedrooms and the rest of the rooms, searching each of them thoroughly. He an Alvarado emerged at the same time as Hart and the city officer, and Hart mutely shook his head.

Taking out his wheel book, the old man walked over to the woman, “Do you know whose truck that is behind your duplex?”

She spat, “Yes, it’s Jorge’s. You missed him by about twenty minutes. His other girlfriend came and got him, since my car’s broke.”

The old man did a double take, “Uh, do you know what kind of car they are in, and where they might be going?”

“It’s an old silver van, and she lives over in section eight on Sherer Street. I don’t know which apartment, but it’s in the middle, upstairs.”

Writing quickly, he asked, “Do you know her name?”

She looked up at him, “Something Jackson, Shaniqua or something like that. She’s young!

He asked one more question, “Do you know if Jorge has a cell phone on him?”

She shook her head, grinning, “No, it’s in the house on the kitchen counter where he left it. You want it? Take it!”

Alvarado headed back into the house, returning moments later with a beat up cell phone, “This it?”

She nodded, “Yes, that’s it.”


Forty minutes later, the old man, the sheriff and Sergeant Alvarado had to admit they’d hit a dry hole on this one, as neither of them, nor the van were there. The manager had let them into the apartment, but other than a few drugs, which they’d marked into evidence and given to city, held nothing that would have helped in locating Ortega.

The sheriff shrugged philosophically, “Well, there is always tomorrow. I guess you need to go add another warrant to Mr. Ortega’s growing resume, John.”

The old man shook his head, “Yowza boss, I be writin’ boss.” Shaking hands with Alvarado, he said, “Thanks for the backup, and sorry we came up dry twice.”

Alvarado held up the evidence bag, “Not totally dry, and we’ll see what we can do with Ms. Jackson, when we catch up with her. This still beats sitting in the office all day.”


Over dinner the old man had regaled Jesse and Aaron with the events of the day with Ortega, and Aaron asked a number of probing questions about law enforcement and how they’d gone about the searches and what the next steps were.

Finally, the old man pushed back from the table, walked over and picked up the coffee pot, “Coffee anybody?”

Jace toddled over, holding his hands up, and the old man laughed, “I don’t think so Jace.” He poured himself a cup, and looked at Jesse and Aaron.

Jesse shook her head, but Aaron said, “Sure, why not.”

The old man pulled another cup down, poured it and brought them both to the table, handing one to Aaron. He sat back down with a sigh, and turned to face them. “I’ve got to go down to Mexico for a couple of weeks, take care of a little business. I’ll be taking off Saturday.”

Jesse asked, “This is in connection with the meetings down in Laredo?”

The old man nodded, “Yep, got to meet up with a Mexican Marine down in Cozumel. There are some issues they want some help with.”

Aaron perked up, “Mexican Marines? I’ve worked with those guys. They are probably the least corrupt bunch in Mexico. Pretty good shooters too!”

The old man asked carefully, “How long ago did you work with them?”

“About two, no three years ago now. Just before we deployed. Down below Acapulco. We did some counter drug and counter personnel stuff,” Aaron said with a smile. “Fun times!”

Jesse looked sharply at the old man, “Papa, what are you leading up to?”

Steeling himself, he said, “Well, I was thinking Aaron might like to go down there, and since he’s got some experience with the Mexican Marines. I’ve never dealt with them. Might get a little shooting in with them too.”

Jesse sighed, “What kind of shooting, Papa? And why now? It’s almost Thanksgiving.”

The old man shifted, “Well, it needs to happen sooner rather than later. There is a timeframe issue for what they want me to work with them on.”

Jesse gave Aaron an unfathomable look, then said, “If you want to go Aaron, go ahead and go.”

Aaron looked at her, “Are you sure?”

Jesse said, “You can go. Maybe you and Papa can talk and he can help you sort out what you want to do. I know you’re not happy sitting around here.”

Aaron started to reply, and Jesse just held up her hand, “Don’t lie. Just don’t.” Jesse picked up Jace and headed down the hall, leaving the two men sitting at the table.

The old man looked at Aaron, “Well, that didn’t work out too well. I’m sorry if I put you on the spot Aaron.”

Aaron grimaced, “More like I’ve put myself on the spot. Nothing you did, sir. But if you think I’d be a help…”

The old man nodded, “You would be. There will be some shooting.”

Aaron replied, “Then I’m in. That I know how to do.”

Usual disclaimer, not edited yet, but almost done…

Hope y’all enjoy it!


The Grey Man, one more tease… — 13 Comments

  1. I’m also liking what I am seeing – good work sir ! This material seems to come very easy for you. If it isn’t, you are doing something right.

  2. Pretty good, I still want the rest of those sci-fi stories.

  3. All- Thanks! I’m finishing up the MilSF short story next week.

    Posted from my iPhone.

  4. When this gets published, let me know. I’d like to be one of the first shouting “shut up and take my money!”.

    Very well done.