Part 3

     The radio blared in Sam's ear with the sounds of Howard Stern
talking about, well, something offensive.  Apparently Kim had set the
alarm for Jack because of his breakfast date with Paul.  She must have
slipped out early.  She said something on the way home about having to
work on a paper in the computer lab.  Sam was left to himself, a
perfect opportunity to talk to Al, he thought.  Almost on cue, the
Imaging Chamber door opened and the Observer walked through.
     "Hey, Sam.  How'd it go last night?" Al asked his best friend.
     "Kinda average, by your standards.  We got back here and just
fell asleep in each other's arms."
     "I used to love cuddling with Beth.  Sometimes we would snuggle
up in front of the fireplace and sleep together, and I mean we actually
slept.  It was a good time.  Then she had to go and marry that...
whatever.  So what's on the agenda?"
     "I'm meeting Paul for breakfast in an hour.  Hopefully I'll be
able to keep by him all day.  Kim is busy with school work so there
shouldn't be any distractions."
     Al thought for a second.  "Don't speak too soon, Sam.  You
know there will be some sort of complication.  There always is."
    "Don't worry," Sam replied.  "This shouldn't be a problem.  The
only thing I can't figure is what triggers this event.  I noticed that
Paul wasn't drinking at all last night, so I'm ruling out alcoholism.
Have Ziggy look up info on Paul's uncle.  I can't remember his name,
but I think he owns the club."
     Al punched a bunch of keys on the handlink.  "His uncle does
own the club.  His name is Saul Michaels."
     "Are you serious?"
     "I'm not kidding.  Saul.  He's Paul's only living relative.  Oh
boy, Sam.  It turns out that the bank is about to foreclose on the club.
And get this.  After Paul's death, Saul received a nice piece of
insurance money.  It turns out that Paul was the sole beneficiary of
his parents, and Saul, being the closest next of kin, collected all of
the assets."
     Sam replied: "Are you suspecting foul play?"
     "Of course, Sam.  Don't you?"
     "Maybe I should look into it.  But first I gotta go keep an eye
on Paul.  When was he last seen?"
     "Around 10:00, Sam.
     "I don't have much time.  Ok.  How's Jack doing?"
     "Well, Sam, like I said, there are always complications.  He
seems to remember."
     "You mean being in the waiting room."
     "Yeah.  He knew Beeks right away."  Al got a message from the
handlink and his eyes opened wide when he saw.  "I gotta go, Sam.  We
have a bit of a problem."
     "What kind of problem?"
     "It seems one of out MP's is an old friend, and he told the kid
more than he needed to know."  The door opened behind him.  "You just
keep an eye on Paul and make sure nothing happens."  The door slammed
     "Hmmm," Sam said to himself.  "I have an idea."

     It was about 9:15 when Paul walked into Bob Evans.
     "What's up, big guy?" asked Paul of his friend.
     "Not too much, my man," Sam said, trying in vain to sound hip.
     "So I take it you're buying?"
     "I guess I don't have a choice, considering," Sam decided to
take a chance, "you owe your uncle money."
     "No.  I don't owe him jack shit.  What makes you think that?"
     "Well, I figured you were arguing with him last night."
     "Can I tell you something in confidence?" Paul asked.
     "He is a compulsive gambler.  He spent a lot of time in Vegas
and lost a shitload and now he can't make his payments on the club so
he asked me to sell some of my equipment to help him."
     Sam replied: "You know as soon as you give him any money he's
going to try to parlay it into something bigger.  He needs help."
     "Yeah, well, it may not be that easy."
     "How do you mean?"
     "I think he's owes money to some bookies or something or
they'll mess him up pretty good.  You know how them degos are.  No
     "None taken," said Sam.
     "Plus the bank is about to foreclose on the club, and when that
happens he'll be left with nothing to pay his debts."
     "There must be something we can do," Sam said, trying to figure
out a way.
     "It ain't your problem, big guy," Paul responded.  "I'll figure
something out.  So are you nervous about tonight, or did you get the
bugs out of your system last night?"
     Sam replied: "I'm still nervous.  I can't help it."
     "Yeah.  You'll have that sometimes," Paul said.
     The two proceeded to order and eat a nice breakfast.  They
talked about everything under the sun except Saul Michaels.  It was a
nice time.  They seemed to be very close, but Sam noticed that about
all of Jack's relationships.  These were not typical guys, the types
who act macho and tell tall tales of female conquests and pretend to
not have feelings.  Sam seemed to fit right into this group.
     After breakfast they walked out and Paul wanted to part ways,
but Sam was having none of this.  "Come on, let's go for a drive," he
requested, an exercise in futility, he thought.
     To his surprise, Paul accepted.  "We'll take my car."
     When the got in, something startled them from the back seat.
There were two men back there, each carrying an automatic pistol.
     "Drive, Mr. Michaels," said the man on the passenger side.
     "I'll tell you as you go.  Just drive out of here," the man
     "Oh, b-."  Before Sam could form the words, the man behind him
gave him a shot to the back of the head with his gun.  Not enough to
knock him out, but definitely enough to get his attention.
     "I didn't ask you any questions, so why are you talking?"
     "Sorry.  I'll shut up," Sam said.
     Oh, boy, he thought.