Sunday, April 14, 8:15 A.M. Greenwich Village, New York
Detective First Grade Brian McKenna's cell phone in its charger and the phone on his nightstand went off at the same time, and he knew what that meant. Something bad had happened in the City of New York, and his Sunday off was canceled. He had heard Angelita get up an hour earlier to feed the kids, and knew she wouldn't be happy with whatever had happened. They had planned to attend the 11:00 Palm Sunday mass with her family at St. Patrick's Cathedral, and then enjoy a family brunch at The Wicked Wolf.
Angelita had also heard both phones, and she appeared in the bedroom doorway to voice her opinion. "Brian, please don't go unless you absolutely have to. It's a family day, and we've been planning this for weeks."
"I'll try," was all he could offer. He answered the cell phone first. It was his best friend, Ray Brunette, but that wasn't good news since Brunette was also the police commissioner. "Hold on, Ray," McKenna said. "I have to tell Dennis that I'll call him right back."
"Don't do that. Talk to him, then call me back."
"Where are you?"
"I'll be in my car in five minutes."
"Are you coming in?"
"Yeah, you too. Sorry."
McKenna ended the call, and picked up the other phone. As expected, it was Inspector Dennis Sheeran, the CO of the Major Case Squad. "Sorry, Brian, but I'm putting out an all hands," Sheeran said. "The Spanish ambassador to the U.N. has been kidnapped."
"When and where?"
"About a half hour ago. Outside his apartment building, East Eightieth and Fifth. He was on his way to church with his wife. Three men, as far as we can tell. Killed the chauffeur and the bodyguard, took the ambassador in the car. Left the wife standing on the sidewalk."
"Yeah, ninety-nine black Mercedes with diplomatic plates. They'll probably dump the car, first chance they get, so we might have something to work with."
"Where did they flee to from the scene? Central Park?" McKenna asked.
"Don't know. Last seen southbound on Fifth Avenue."
"Was Sunday mass the ambassador's usual routine?"
"Yeah, either the eight or the nine o'clock mass."
"This has to be the ETA, you know," McKenna said. "They've been acting up again, blew up a judge in Madrid last week."
"I figure it's them, but that doesn't help us much. I checked with Intelligence Division, and they've got nothing on them in this country."
"Did you check with the FBI?"
"Put a call into Gene Shields. He's checking, but he hasn't gotten back to me yet."
"Is he also on his way in?"
"Uh-huh. I guess we'll all be meeting at Eightieth and Fifth. How long will it take you to get there?"
"I just got up, so figure about an hour."
"Fine. Could you call Cisco and get him there, too?"
"You got it."
As requested, McKenna next called his partner, Cisco Sanchez, and interrupted his morning exercise routine. Once McKenna gave him the story, Cisco didn't mind. It would be a big case, meaning big press interest, and Cisco loved seeing his name in print. However, he did have one concern. "You realize, of course, that this is going to be a federal case."
"I don't think I'll mind taking a back seat on this one," McKenna said. "It's already international, and it's going to get very complicated very quickly."
"Only if we drag our feet," Cisco said. "Let's get those murderers very quickly, and bring this international incident to an end."
McKenna wasn't the least bit surprised at Cisco's take on the matter. Cisco considered himself to be the greatest detective ever, and he never hesitated to proclaim his opinion to all who would listen. That could be annoying at times, but sometimes Cisco solved seemingly impossible cases in a way that made some people reluctantly believe that the confident braggart just might be right. On occasion, even McKenna numbered himself among those people because, when Cisco was good, he was very, very good.
"I'll stop by the office and get the car and radios," Cisco said. I'll pick you up in front of your building at nine sharp."
It was exactly what McKenna had hoped he would say. McKenna lived in the Village, but Cisco lived on East 16th Street and First Avenue, much closer to the Major Case Squad Office at One Police Plaza. "That would be exceptionally nice of you," he observed.
"Correct. Just for today, His Excellency, Most Exalted Detective First Grade Cisco Sanchez is prepared to be very nice to all of his students."
Next, McKenna tried calling Brunette back, but he got the service, meaning Brunette was on his cell phone with someone else. McKenna left a message and went on to his next difficult task. She was in the kitchen, dressing the twins, while his daughter slopped her cereal around the bowl at the kitchen table. "Sorry, baby. Got to go," he told Angelita, and saw immediately that news didn't sit well.
"When will you be home?" she asked, without looking at him.
"Can't say. The Spanish ambassador to the U.N. was kidnapped, and his chauffeur and bodyguard were killed in the process."
"I'd say so. My first guess would be the ETA."
"Shouldn't this be an FBI case?"
"Probably will be before long, but Dennis wants me and Cisco there now."
"East Eightieth Street and Fifth Avenue."
"Are Dennis and Ray also going to be there?"
"Yep. Everybody's Sunday is ruined."
Then Angelita finally looked up and gave him his first smile of the day. "Then I guess I don't have too much to complain about, do I?" she asked.
"You do, but thanks for understanding."
"And tolerating," Angelita added.
* * *
\ql McKenna tried Brunette again before getting in the shower, but he got the service again. He took a quick shower, and his cell phone rang as he was drying off. "It's turning into a Magilla," Brunette said. "It appears that the Spanish ambassador to France has also been kidnapped."
"His apartment in Paris, early this morning. Ours is messy, but theirs is worse. Military operation. Killed the concierge and a gendarme on the way in. Then blew the front door, killed a bodyguard, grabbed the ambassador, and killed two gendarmes on the way out. Had between seven and ten people involved in the grab. The gendarmes got one of them, and the bodyguard might have wounded another."
"Is the one they got alive?"
"Barely, but not likely to live for long. Shot four times, body hits."
"Any demands, yet?"
"Not yet, but it gets worse," Brunette said. "Take a seat, and get yourself ready for some personal bad news."
Personal bad news? It's a bad situation, but how could any of this involve me personally? McKenna wondered, but he did as Brunette suggested. He put the lid down on the bowl and took a seat. "Let's have it."
"They grabbed Carmen this morning, about one A.M. our time. Professional ambush, killed a Guardia Civil cop, wounded another, and also killed a San Sebastian cop they'd kidnapped last night."
That news did hit McKenna hard, and the case had just become very personaland very complicated. He had met Carmen twice, had been to her house in Spain, and had killed her husband to bring a tragic case to an unfortunate and unforeseen end.
Carmen had never blamed McKenna for her husband's death, and she had even shared his anguish over the killing. She had told McKenna that he would always be in her prayers, and that meant a lot to him. Ever since, she had never failed to call every Easter and Christmas, and sometimes for no reason at all.
Complicating matters even further was the fact that Angelita and Carmen had become phone buddies over the years, and Angelita thought Carmen was the most perfect woman ever.
"Are you still there?" Brunette asked.
"I'm here," McKenna said. "Is her kidnapping going to be public knowledge?"
"I imagine so. The Spanish prime minister is going to hold a press conference this morning, and he's sure to get some mileage over the ETA kidnapping one of the most popular women in the country."
"I can't imagine why they would take her, but we have to get her back," McKenna said.
"I'm sure they have their reasons, and we'll do whatever has to be done. I just got off the phone with Gene, and he's getting everything he can on the ETA."
McKenna was happy to hear that. Gene Shields was the head of the FBI's New York office, and quite an influential character in federal circles. Everything he could get meant everything that was known anywhere about them. "This is going to be a federal case, isn't it?" he asked.
"What's our official role to be?"
"To do whatever we can to help. We can't let terrorists get away with kidnapping and murdering in our town, and that's my final word on that subject."
Brunette's final word was always law to McKenna, but it was no longer the kidnapping and murders in New York that were foremost on his mind. He went into the bedroom to get dressed, and found that Angelita was doing the same. He told her what had happened, and that changed her attitude considerably. There were some tears, but it didn't take her long to compose herself and form a strong opinion on what McKenna's role should be. "Get dressed, get to work, and get our Carmen back from those filthy, murdering bastards," were her final words on the subject.