In chapter 6 of, The Woman in the Yellow Dress, author Robert Forte introduces the reader to the diminutive, quirky, yet resourceful Special Agent Clovis Edwards of the FBI. In this excerpt, private investigator Patrick Miles Atwater greets Agent Edwards with a gun and questions pointed at Edwards. A FREE Kindle version is available on amazon.com. Please add a review after reading this excerpt, and enjoy the community of the Forte Fan Club.
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Excerpt, Chapter 6 – The Woman in the Yellow Dress
By Robert Forte
As I left the building I had this deep nagging feeling that something very bad was going to go down.
I just hoped I would be ready when that something happened.
I opened the front entrance door and two men in suits, one tall white guy and the other a medium built fellow of Spanish descent, walked past me without speaking. I pegged them for detectives right away by the bulges in both of their suit jackets and the abundant lack of brown polish on their scuffed up shoes.
A young boy was on the comer selling newspapers.
“Extra! Extra!” he shouted. “The great Bambino dies of heart failure.”
The kid eyed me straight away and ran up waving one of his papers in my face.
“Paper, mister?” he asked.
I felt bad for the kid and tossed him the nickel for the news. As I pretended to read all about the death of baseball’s greatest, I saw my little friend sitting in the Dodge across the street.
I walked to my car, headed out on Wilshire again, and noticed the big Dodge following close behind.
I saw a Walgreens up ahead, quickly pulled into the small lot and dashed inside. I thought my little guy in the Dodge would figure I had stopped for a quick bite at the food counter, and would park himself somewhere in the rear of the lot where he could hide in plain sight and still keep his eyes on the coupe.
I walked straight through the place and went directly to the rear door.
I looked out and saw the Dodge parked at the perfect angle for me to do what I knew I had to do.
The little guy behind the wheel wore a decent suit and tie and looked like he had just gotten himself a haircut a day or two before. His eyes were clearly focused on my parked vehicle next to the store when I quietly walked up and hard pressed the cold steel of my .38 into the bare side of his neck.
“You have until I count three to tell me who the hell you are and why the hell you are following me!” I demanded and instantly began counting.
The little man quickly raised both hands up and started chattering away like a small scared monkey who just discovered he could speak.
“Don’t shoot!! My name is Clovis Edwards. I’m a Special Agent with the FBI!”
I pressed the gun in harder.
“Okay. I got who. Now what do you want with me? Same drill pal. One. Two.”
“Please? Do not shoot me! Don’t. Shoot. Me,” he pleaded.
He waved as if he was about to do a sleight of hand magic trick, and slowly and extremely carefully reached into his suit pocket and with only two fingers, took out his federal identification and held it up for me to see.
I read the I.D. and pressed my gun in harder.
“Okay. You’re a Special Agent with the FBI. So. Why the hell are you following me?” I repeated.
“The Bureau is looking into Stone Realty. One of the late Jonas Stone’s companies. When his daughter Rachel came to see you last night I was ordered to follow you and report all your comings and goings. Do you have a proper license to carry the weapon you’re holding against my throat?”
“Yes I do,” I replied. “And I can also fire it if I have to.”
“I can assure you, Mr. Atwater, that won’t be necessary.”
“You know my name?”
“I do, sir. Yes.”
“How tall are you, sonny?”
“My name isn’t sonny. It’s Edwards, Special Agent Edwards and I am sufficiently tall enough. And? I graduated third in my class at the academy.”
“Third? Impressive for a special agent man of your stature.”
I reached in and took out my license and put it in front of Agent Edwards’ face.
“I’m only doing this as a courtesy because I suddenly like you, Special Agent Edwards. And? Shooting you today, I think, would be a grave mistake on my part.”
“Thank you,” he said.
Agent Edwards let out a huge sigh of relief, put his hands down on the steering wheel and I put the .38 back in my shoulder holster.
“Tell me this? Why is the FBI looking into Stone Realty?” Agent Edwards adjusted his tie and looked at me.
“I’m not allowed to divulge that information,” he said. “It is privileged.”
I looked him straight in the eye and smiled.
“You won’t divulge that information because you don’t know why. Do you?”
Agent Edwards smiled slightly back at me and I could tell he was finally calming down.
“No,” he said. “I don’t know why.”
“You’re all right, Special Agent Edwards. Let’s you and me step inside this Walgreens here and have us a cup of Joe.”
“You mean coffee? Correct?”
“Yeah,” I replied. “Coffee. Correct. Come on. I’m buying.”
“I could use a cup of coffee,” he said and got out from behind the wheel. “And maybe a donut or two?”
I brushed a small piece of lint off his right shoulder and gave him the once over. “You’re not much taller standing up. Are you?” I asked.
“As I said? I’m tall enough.”