The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound – Chapter 40 to 43 – Readers and Writers Book Club

The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound – Chapter 40 to 43

The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound

Golden Gate Disappearing Greyhound Bus Caper

Steven Levi

Master of the Impossible Crime

Chapter 40

Caleb’s high-pitched voice melded with the static on the cell phone.”

“Step into the clear, Caleb. I can’t hear you.” Chief Thayer pulled his telephone cradle as far as he could as he walked toward his closed office door. “OK. Who showed up?”

There was another moment of static, which suddenly went to snow and then clear. “. . .ry, Chief. You’re are not going to believe who just came by!”

“Surprise me.”

“Hopkins! He pulled up in a Ryder truck with two guys following in a van behind him. They all walked into the warehouse and talked with the guard for a moment and then the guard got on Hopkins’ cellular. They talked for a moment and then Hopkins and the two men took three of those boxes the armored truck had dropped off.”

“He did what?!”

“He picked up three of those boxes, put them in a Ryder truck and both vehicles drove away.”

“They just drove away?”

“Yup. Do you want the license numbers?”

“Absolutely.” The Chief scratched down the numbers as Caleb gave them. “Which way did they head?”


“Stay alert, Detective. Things are coming down fast.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Caleb signed off and Chief Thayer pushed speed dial for Noonan. “You’re not going to believe this.”

“Compared to what? A Greyhound bus disappearing off the Golden Gate Bridge?”

“Very funny. Hopkins and a van just showed up at a warehouse where English Petroleum had some crates stored. They took three of them.”

There was silence on the other end of the Cybernet for a moment. “Three of them? You mean he took three crates?”

“Correct,” Chief Thayer repeated. “Three of them. Put them in a Ryder truck and headed south with the van following.”


“South. Where are you?”

“Well, there’s not a lot north of here. I presume there’s no way to follow him.”

“Sorry. My men are spread so thin there’s nothing I can do now.”

“Too bad. Hopkins is a loose wire. Where are you?”

“We’re sitting up the hill from the house, about thirty yards from where we found our pigeon earlier today. 1906 Ruef and you’d better get out your taxicab map because you’re going to be coming here soon. But not yet, George. I want all the rats here before we spring the trap. Right now there’s at least one English Petroleum man inside. I’m assuming the $10 million is here but unless we catch everyone red-handed we’ve got nothing. We can see light under the bottom of the garage door so I’m assuming our birds are inside the garage.”

“When can I send in the cavalry?”

“When all the rats are here. Hopkins is going to have to come back and, of course, I want to catch that son of a sea cook George Harrah.”

“You don’t really believe he’s going to show up?!”

“Oh, he’s going to show up all right and I want to catch him red-handed. Don’t you?”

The Chief was about to say something but stopped. He looked around the room suspiciously and then said, “Yeah. I guess I do.”


The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound

Golden Gate Disappearing Greyhound Bus Caper

Steven Levi

Master of the Impossible Crime

Chapter 41

Greenleaf and the others were leaning starboard when suddenly the vehicle came to a sudden stop. It was odd because one moment they were moving slowly and the next there was a screeching which ran the length of the cargo hold, like Paul Bunyan was dragging his fingernails across a blackboard. The vehicle jiggled as it came to rest and there were voices outside, arguing wildly.

“Just one word and I will flood this van with gas.” The voice from the butcher’s shop came over the intercom into the back. “Just one word.”

No one inside said a word but outside they could hear voices of outrage.


The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound

Golden Gate Disappearing Greyhound Bus Caper

Steven Levi

Master of the Impossible Crime

Chapter 42

John was beside himself with rage. “We don’t have time for this, Douglas! You are putting everything in jeopardy!”

Hopkins dumped the last of the boxes into the trunk of his Mercedes 210. Slamming the trunk he gave it a shake to make sure it didn’t re-open. “Look, John. I didn’t plan to double-cross anyone. I still don’t. But I don’t trust you. At all.”

“Douglas! You’re putting $7 million at risk! Not to mention putting us all at risk of jail time. For what? A million dollars when it’s coming to you anyway?”

Hopkins just smiled and backed the Mercedes into his parking stall. He hit the security alarm button and the distinctive chirp told him it was working. Then he closed the garage door to his stall and walked back to the Ryder truck. “So much for trust, John.”

John jumped back in the van and the pair of vehicles pulled out of the condominium parking lot. As soon as they were out on the streets, Hopkins punched up John’s cell phone. “This caper is falling apart rapidly, John. When you start double-crossing your partner there’s no room for sympathy. I’m covering myself. My money comes first. Now we pick up the rest of the money. Let’s get this finished.”

John was not happy. “Let’s not forget we’ve got a long way to go before the end of the night, Douglas. Be very careful, Douglas, because, Douglas, you never know what might happen, Douglas.”

“You’ve said Douglas four times now, John. I got the message. Now let me give you one. Mess with me and you will end up on a slab.”


The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound

Golden Gate Disappearing Greyhound Bus Caper

Steven Levi

Master of the Impossible Crime

Chapter 43

The deep booming voice in the garage broke the silence. “Where the heck have you been?”

Billingsley started to look over his shoulder into the darkness behind him but someone gave him a prod and he averted his eyes. He had been sitting on the $10 million for close to 45 minutes now and from his squirming about it was clear he was uncomfortable. It was like sitting on a cement floor, he had commented, and one of the perps had responded it was the most expensive cement floor he would ever sit on.

“Look, guys. This is getting ridiculous. Let’s get this over with.” Billingsley stretched his legs and wiggled his toes as best he could. “I’ve got other things to do, places to go, people to see.”

“Stow it, buster.” The voice was of a cultured woman trying to be tough. It floated out of the darkness like a scent of perfume in a cattle yard.

There was silence for a moment and then the booming voice was back.

“We’ve had a bit of a difficulty with your man Hopkins.”

“He’s not my man Hopkins. He’s an insurance agent.”

“Nevertheless there has been a problem. It seems Hopkins is freelancing.”

“What a surprise.” There was a moment of silence. Then there was the sound of a round being chambered. “Hey! I’m not responsible for Hopkins.”

“Apparently no one is. We are running on a very tight schedule so I do not want any misunderstandings as to what is going to happen here. Any slip ups and I assure you there will be drastic consequences for all concerned. And I am referring not only to this $10 million but to the hostages as well. Do you get my drift?

“Fine. When is something going to happen?”

“As soon as Hopkins and our man examine the $7 million. Then things will move quickly.”

“Well, I hope it’s soon. My butt’s killing me.” Billingsley stretched again.

“Life’s a bummer.”

“Cut the talk.”

Where is Hopkins?” Billingsley asked.

“He’s just picked up the seven mill. Now. Let me tell you how this is going to play out, hot shot. Right now there are two vehicles coming this direction. One is the Ryder truck your people rented. The other is the armored car with the seven mill. You call your main man now. When he gets here, we make the switch.”

“My main man, as you call him, is not going to be very happy.”

“He knows the score.”

“He is still not going to be very happy. When do I get in touch with him?”

A cellular phone was tossed out of the darkness. It bounced on the bricks of $100 bills and skittered toward Billingsley. “Right now. Then you slide the phone back to me. I’ll give him directions as he drives.”

Steven C. Levi is a sixty-something freelance historian and commercial writer who lives in Anchorage, Alaska, his home for past 40 years. He has a BA in European History and MA in American history from the University of California Davis and San Jose State. He has more than 80 books in print or on Kindle.