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  • Wednesday morning was almost over and Macklin was thinking about sending out for Chinese when his phone received a text from Sonny. It said his phone was acting up but he really needed to meet with him and Arturo before Friday. The last of the text gave a time and place before it went dead. The place was here in Cleveland. That was unusual. And dead; Macklin didn't trust dead. Something wasn't right. He could feel it in his bones. He had learned to trust his instincts; they had kept him alive more than once.

    Macklin called Arturo's mother's house. He didn't want to call Arturo directly. Arturo's cousin answered and angerly told of Arturo's death. Women were keening in the background.

    Macklin hung up quickly and redialed his wife to tell her to leave town, but the phone was picked up with dead air before being gently recradled.

    He had to disappear...with just the clothes on his back and his emergency stash of cash and identities he kept in his lower desk drawer. He had several passports and driver's license's with his picture next to a different name. One of the perks of the witness relocation program. They were unregistered with the marshal's service. He always knew there could come a time when he would have to leave. He just thought it would be much later, and he would be much richer.

    Now if he could get out of the Federal Building without being seen. He called his lunch order in to the Chinese restaurant, and sat in his office to wait. Every sound he heard made him jump as his nerves were shot. The desk downstairs called up to tell him his lunch was on the way up.

    He waited behind the door as the delivery man entered with his lunch. He struck him from behind with his service revolver and lowered him to the floor unconscious. It was the same guy he had used for years. They were close to the same size.

    A few minutes later the delivery guy left the building, climbed into his van and drove off. Ten minutes later the two suits showed up with backup to take Marshal Macklin into protective custody. They found an unconscious delivery man in his underwear. Macklin was in the wind...

    The delivery truck was overtaken by five men in the nearest underground garage as he stopped to change cars. They pulled him savagely from the van. They had been waiting over an hour for him to appear. Macklin's hands and feet were bound with nylon straps and he was thrown into the trunk of their car. The bag with his money and I.D.'s was thrown in on top of him before the trunk was slammed shut and they calmly drove away.

    Their boss would reward them for taking care of everything so effectively. They would each be allowed the additional "Crossbow" tattoo on their left forearm to prove their loyalty and service.

    And Macklin? The boss would have his pleasure...
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