The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound – Chapter 59 to End

The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound

Golden Gate Disappearing Greyhound Bus Caper

Steven Levi

Master of the Impossible Crime

Chapter 59

Thayer shook his head in disbelief as he drove south on US. 101 heading for San Francisco International Airport. “Well, Heinz, I’m sorry we didn’t do as well as we could. At least we got the hostages out safe and sound.”

“But you have it all, George. We have all the clues you need to round up the rest of the gang.”


“Sure. In fact, you’re going to catch all the rats in the same trap this evening.”


“Well, let’s look at how the robbery took place. Forget the safety deposit boxes. Their robbery was just a ruse. In fact, when you finally look at the real numbers I think you’ll find there really wasn’t that much worth stealing in the boxes at all.”

“Why not?”

“Because safety deposit boxes are used by people in the area to store their valuables. Look at the area where the Butterfield-Fargo First was located.”


“I looked over the neighborhood. The only kind of customers the bank would have had were ones with both hands out – and full of pistols. Not exactly a high rent district. In fact, you might even wonder why the bank opened up a branch there.”

“I think it was part of a Re-Vitalize the Inner City, the RIC program, by the Chamber of Commerce.”

“Yeah. So Butterfield-Fargo puts in a small bank. Depressed neighborhood. It was their excuse to meet FDIC guidelines on offering money to poor neighborhoods. Which is the reason the bank didn’t gripe very loudly when Hopkins began running cash through their office. They didn’t have a strong portfolio because of the neighborhood but the millions in cash made them look very good. Which is also why Hopkins had such a run of the operation. He was making the bank look good on paper. But it didn’t change the fact the neighborhood didn’t have anything to put in the safety deposit boxes.”

“So there wasn’t anything in the safety deposit boxes?”

“Probably not much. The perps hit the bank because the $10 million was there. Rather, it wasn’t there. It never made it into the bank. Hopkins set the whole thing up to look like a robbery to cover the fact the $10 million had never been deposited.”

“But can you prove that?”

“I don’t need to. Let me explain. After the perps took whatever they could find in the safety deposit boxes, they took off with the hostages.”

“Yeah, I know. I was there, remember?”

“Yes. But your disadvantage was you had to follow the crime in real-time, so to speak. Second-by-second you followed the perps while they, on the other hand, had their actions planned out months in advance. They were just waiting for the right night, a night with heavy fog to cover the disappearance of the bus on the Golden Gate Bridge. You did everything they expected you to do. While they were weaving through the streets of San Francisco, you thought they were lost. In fact, they were setting you up.”

“However they did it, it was a good job.”

“Not really. It was very simple. You thought the bus went out onto the bridge and that’s the way you played it. In fact, the bus with the hostages simply drove away. Your men were fooled by a cellular phone call.”


“You believed the man on the cellular phone was on the bus. In fact, he was not. He knew what was happening on the basis of timing. While he was yelling at you to stay away from the bus, which wasn’t heading for the bridge, his men – probably one man – was setting up the diversion on the bridge in motion. What the perps needed was time, less than a handful of seconds, time to get out of the area and make the switch from the Greyhound to the police vehicle you found in Hunter’s Point. The hostages had to be on their way to the Hunter’s Point Salvage Yard before a dragnet went up. After all, the safest place to be when the police are looking for you is at a police station, right?”

“Yeah. Go on.”

“Well, the hostages were taken to the Hunter’s Point Salvage Yard and the bus was driven back to the Greyhound terminal. The perps know what the San Francisco police were doing because they had an inside man. And a highly placed one. You knew that, Chief. Which is one of the reasons you sent for me.”

“How did you know? And when?”

“Frankly I figured there was an inside man the moment I stepped off the airplane.”

“It was just a good guess. How did you really know?”

“The minute I got off the plane I was approached by someone who wanted me to sign my book. The man was waiting in the right boarding area to catch me as I went by.”


“No one but the San Francisco Police knew I was coming to town. You told me that when you picked me up. It had to be an inside leak. There were so few people at police headquarters who were privy to what was going on you had to pick me up yourself.”

“How did you know it wasn’t a policeman at the airport?”

“I didn’t. Not then. I just thought it was strange someone should have my book and be waiting in the boarding area when my plane landed. I didn’t even know I was coming to San Francisco until just before the airliner left Seattle.”

“It could have been someone who just happened to be in the airport. He might have bought the book in one of the bookstores at San Francisco International and spotted you while he was waiting for another plane.”

“No. I checked. My book wasn’t being sold in the airport. I also looked at the Arrivals/Departures to see if the man had been waiting for an outgoing flight. The next flight out of the boarding area was two hours later. No, he was waiting for me.”

“So what if he was?”

“He wasn’t just waiting for me, George. He had an accomplice. Remember, it was a warm day and I wasn’t wearing the jacket?” The Chief nodded and Noonan continued. “My jacket was over my arm. While I was juggling my jacket to sign my book, the accomplice slipped a homing device into my jacket pocket.”

“That’s quite a supposition even for you, Heinz.”

“No, not really. You see, while I was out on the Golden Gate Bridge I came to the conclusion one of the critical features of this case was homing devices. Ergo, the inside man at the San Francisco Police Department had to be associated with tracking devices. In San Francisco, this meant Property.”

“Still a stretch, Heinz.”

“It wasn’t until I had Detective Smith check out the bug which I found in my pocket with the equipment we had just bought. It looked just like a small camera battery but it was a bug. Smith checked it with a detector we bought downtown.”

“Ah, a homing device?”

“A pretty sophisticated little puppy as it turns out. If I had come across it in my pocket by accident I would not have thought it was a homing device. It looked like a camera battery and I would have kept it thinking it had come from a dictating machine or some other piece of electronic equipment I had been using recently in Sandersonville. It was what the perps expected and it almost happened.”

“So you knew you were bugged? Why would anyone want to bug you?”

“To know where I was all the time. It’s pretty well known I wear my leather jacket most of the time. It’s cold and wet in San Francisco most of the time. Thus I had to be wearing this jacket most of the time so what better place to put in a bug?”

“When did you know for sure?”

“When Smith and I were followed on my way to the Hunter’s Point Salvage Yard. The minute we started moving south, we picked up a tail. We lost them and then we were ambushed near the salvage yard. As soon as I started south, the perps knew I was onto their first hideout.”

“So you ditched the jacket.”

“Yes, I did. Remember I sent it with you to have a button replaced and then have the jacket sent back to the hotel.”

“Right. So the perps thought you were at the hotel.”

“I’m sure they were in touch with the homing device person at the Police Department on a frequent basis. As long as they thought I was at the tailor in Chinatown or at the hotel, I was out of their hair.”

“Very clever.”

“Maybe. It gave me time to move around undetected so Smith and I could tail Hopkins. It was a hunch but it paid off.”

The Chief started to ask a question and then remembered something to mention to Noonan. “By the way, we found the vehicle which was probably used to transport the hostages. It was a police truck with ten seats bolted to the inside of its cargo hold. Unfortunately it was found being trashed in Hunter’s Point. A search of the back revealed another Butterfield-Fargo First deposit slip. The vehicle was taken to the Hunter’s Point Salvage Yard where it was put under active guard until the lab team was through with the warehouse. The plates on the truck were traced to a junkyard in Sonoma where the original truck was still lying in state, a fact confirmed by the Sonoma Police. The vehicle registration was traced to a shipping company in New Jersey. There the trail ended. The vehicle had been sold at auction the previous year. The buyer had paid cash and left a phony name and address.”

“I kind of figured it would be something along those lines.”

Chief Thayer then snapped back on track. “But how did you get from Hopkins to the house on Ruef Street?”

“I followed the man who met Hopkins. Except it took a little doing. We had to fool him. So we used two vehicles. One to attract his attention.”

“The purple Subaru!”

“Right. Not very subtle but enough to grab his attention. We wanted him to know he was being followed. When he lost Detective Smith, he figured he was in the clear.”

“Then you got on the cell phone to Smith and she caught up with you.”

“Right. Which reminds me, Chief. Detective Smith left the purple Subaru near the corner of Balboa and 25th. I’m sure Smith has had it picked up, but, just in case . . .”

“I’ll send someone to check.”

Chief Thayer pulled the car into a No Parking Zone in front of baggage claim. “Rank has its privileges,” Thayer said as he smiled mischievously.

“Haven’t I been here before?” Noonan pointed at the No Parking Zone sign. Thayer smiled and hit the flashing lights.

“I’m impressed. Turn ‘em off.”

Chief Thayer snapped off the flashing bubble gums but left the parking lights throbbing red and white. They fought their way through the crowd and into the hallway leading to the Alaska Airlines courtesy lounge. Once inside, Noonan picked up his jacket. He and Thayer then moved down the hallway toward the boarding area. It was a beautiful Sandersonville-like evening outside , lots of rain and cold wind.

Chief Thayer was walking leisurely while Noonan was putting on his jacket. “Now. You made it 1906 Ruef by tailing the man who met with Hopkins. How did you make the connection with English Petroleum?”

“Rasperson did. He went to English Petroleum and stumbled into Hopkins and the two thugs Harrah keeps around. He put two and two together and got four. Smart guy. We ran into him at 1906 Ruef staking out the place. Then he worked with us.”

“I didn’t see him at 1906 Ruef when I got there. Did he go back to the Business Herald?”

“Well, I don’t know, George. They’ve got a paper coming out tomorrow morning. We’ll just have to see what shows up on the front page.”

Noonan plunged his hand into his pocket. He withdrew a small, coin-like object. He showed it to the Chief who had to put on his reading glasses to examine it properly.

“So this is what those high-tech homing devices look like,” Chief Thayer said with interest. “Too bad it can’t tell us where the perps are.” The Chief handed the device back to Noonan who dropped it in his pocket.

“Well, it can’t tell you but I think I can. While I was out on the Golden Gate Bridge I was faced with two problems. One was how the Greyhound bus disappeared. The other was what happened to the man who pulled the vanishing act.”

“Don’t you mean men? There were three bungee cords; therefore there must have been three men.”

“No. One man. Once again, George, you’re slipping into the trap the perps left for you. All together there weren’t more than eight perps plus Hopkins and your inside man at the department. That makes four in the bank and four outside. What made it seem like more was they had cell phones.”

“OK. How did the bus disappear?”

“It didn’t. Here’s what I’m guessing happened. Once the perps left the bank they dashed all over San Francisco with the cops on their tail.”

“Right. Yelling all the way.”

“Right. But the guy on the phone wasn’t on the bus. You thought you were talking to a perp on the bus but, in fact, he was somewhere else, probably overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. His job was to confuse you and he did his job well.”

“But we saw the bus disappear!”

“No you didn’t. What your men saw was a bus running without lights entering the General Douglas MacArthur Tunnel and heard a perp on your cell phone yelling about the bus being designed to fail. He yelled it was smoking and you broadcast the smoking to your men on the street.”


“Well, what actually happened was a motorcycle with a smoke machine, the kind you could get from a movie set, drove inside the tunnel. The perp on the motorcycle was smoking the tunnel up while the bus was running toward the tunnel. The minute the Greyhound entered the tunnel, it braked fast and all the time the perp kept yelling about the smoke and you kept relaying the smoking information to your men.”

“Then?” Thayer leaned forward expectantly.

“The motorcycle blasted out of the tunnel with the smoke machine billowing massive clouds behind him. He only had to go about a mile before he entered the bridge. Right behind him in the smoke the bus running without lights took a right turn onto Highway 101. Logic told your men to follow the smoke and they did. Which is exactly what the perps wanted them to do. While you followed the billowing smoke out onto the bridge, the Greyhound turned onto US 101 and made a beeline for a transfer point somewhere near the Greyhound yard. You assumed the bus was going onto the bridge because the smoke was leading you that way. When the bus made the Greyhound yard, the hostages came off and were loaded into a police bus. Then one of the perps parked the Greyhound against a building where buses are stored and switched plates. Then he walked away. End of story.”

“But the helicopter followed the bus out onto the bridge!”

“Followed what? It was pea soup all night. The perps chose well. At best the helicopter saw a moving trail of smoke heading for the bridge. The minute the smoking passed Highway 101 it had no other option but to get out onto the bridge. Then the helicopter broke off the chase. It reported the vehicle was headed for the bridge.”

“But the homing device on the bus was followed out onto the bridge!”

“That stumped me for a while. I knew the Greyhound hadn’t gone onto the bridge but the homing device said it had. Which left me two options. The homing device had been switched from the Greyhound to the motorcycle, which was possible but unlikely, or the person tracking the homing device was lying. Since there was only one command center I assumed whoever was watching the computerized homing screen was the inside man. The homing device on the Greyhound was beeping correctly; the inside man just said it had gone out onto the bridge. The police believed the smoking vehicle in front of them was a bus so they followed it. The helicopter could not see anything because of the fog. When the command center said that the homing device placed the Greyhound on the bridge, who was going to dispute them?”

“But something went onto the bridge. Why didn’t the cameras pick it up?”

“Good question. The vehicle was close enough to the cameras they should have picked up something even if the fog was thick. The logical answer is the video machines were tampered with. Someone recorded a calm night’s activity and then fed it back into the camera’s track. They only needed about three minutes to pull off the disappearing act. I’ll bet someone, possibly a phony police officer or bridge inspector, gave a snap inspection a couple of days before the bank job. No one would have suspected anything was awry. After all, why worry about someone inspecting cameras when they haven’t recorded anything? Then it was just a matter of following the cables and clamping into the leads under the control shed. There’s not a lot of security on the bridge because it’s not needed.
It made the tampering easy.”

“But we would have discovered the tampering eventually.”

“So what? These perps figured to make their getaway with $10 million. No one gets hurt, there’s no extradition. What they needed was time. So what if you found the video recorder two days later? So what if you had enough evidence to fire the inside man at the department in two days? So what if Hopkins was under suspicion two days later? Everyone would be out of the country. As long as no one got killed it would be almost impossible to get them back for trial.”

Noonan took a breath and then continued. “But, if you don’t find some kind of electronic doodads under the control shed, look at the lines very carefully. I’m sure you’ll find indications of clamp marks. For all I know those new clamp systems might have remote control releases. If the perps got themselves a good radio-controlled system they could have hit a button and, splash, the whole mechanism falls 200 feet to the water and sinks another 200 to bedrock. I’ll bet the current is so strong on the bottom any piece of machinery was rolled to a ball before it made it into the Pacific.”

“This is all confusing, Heinz. But what about the three bungee cords?”

“Good question. Those three cords were placed there for a number of good reasons. First, the perps wanted you to believe they had gotten off the bridge where the bungees were found. It was on the city side of the bridge – where they wanted you to look for clues. It worked. You assumed the men had left the bridge by bouncing down to a boat. Three bungee cords, three men. It also screwed up your count of the number of perps. Since you believed the perps got off on the city side of the bridge, you began searching for clues on the San Francisco waterfront.”


“Once again, it’s what the perps wanted you to think. The cords had actually been placed there the previous night, possibly by the same man who did the inspection of the control shed. No one was going to ask him what he was doing; he was a cop or an inspector. But the bungee cords weren’t noticed because there was no reason to look for them. They were installed to mislead you. What actually happened is the smoking vehicle scooted past the three cords and went another half mile to where I had photographs taken.”

“Go on.”

“Which is where the motorcycle stopped. The bridge was closed off by this time so there wasn’t any danger of oncoming traffic, vehicular or pedestrian. The man on the motorcycle simply scaled the fence and attached a pulley to the descending cable at the location – if there wasn’t another cable already there. He pulleyed the motorcycle up over the fence and dropped it onto the Pacific Ocean side of the bridge. The police would never find it because they would be looking for a Greyhound bus, not a motorcycle and besides, it was on the wrong side of the bridge. After the motorcycle went, the smoke machine went.”

“Which is what damaged the section of fence you photographed.”

“Yeah. I think so. We’ll probably never know for sure.”

“OK. So far everything you’ve said is possible. How does the man leave the bridge without being spotted?”

“You know, George, that was the toughest part of this case. I could not figure out how the man got away. The bridge was closed off from both sides; there was a helicopter in the air and men watching the bridge. He couldn’t walk off, he couldn’t drop off, and he couldn’t climb up into the bridge. If he had left the bridge any of those ways he would have been discovered. So he had to fly out.”


“Yup, fly. It was his only option. He had to fly. But he couldn’t fly toward the city. He had to fly out to sea.”

Chief Thayer shook his head in amazement. Then he laughed with amusement and turned around in his chair to look Noonan in the eye. “You almost had me fooled there, Heinz. He flew out! Ha! Classic! Even if he could fly off the bridge with a hang glider, he’s heading out into the jet black Pacific Ocean. How’s he going to find someone to pick him up? If there’s any one thing the chopper could have seen was a light in the jet black Pacific.”

“Everything you’ve said is true, George. Which is why he went over the side in a hang glider. He had to get away from the bridge, away from where he would be spotted. It wouldn’t really have been difficult. The same inspector who put the bungee cords on the bridge stashed the glider earlier, probably. Once the motorcycle went over the side, the man left in a hang glider going in the one direction no one would have expected him to go.”

“OK! OK!” George laughed heartily. “Let’s just say he did fly away. But you don’t live around here. Those currents out there are treacherous. He’s out there in the jet black of the Pacific. There is nothing out there. Nothing. Even if he does make it out into the nothingness, how is anyone going to find him? I’ve been out there on a calm day and couldn’t see people in the water right in front of me.”

“It had me stumped too. I thought about it and suddenly realized your inside man was a critical component of the robbery. Not only did he lie about where the bus was headed and track me all day, he also brought the boat and the hang glider together.”


“The same way he tracked me. With homing devices. All he needed to do was get the hang glider and the boatsman close. He could do it on a computer screen. You know, tell the boatsman to move 200 yards to the left or right.”

“How’d he pass along the information? Shout?”

“No, George. The same way we kept off the police channel. With a cellular phone. He used a cellular phone. No one could trace the call. He was in touch with the boatsman and guided him close. Then it was a matter of using a night scope. If the man in the water had some kind of a red light he wouldn’t be hard to spot. They had all night. No one was expecting to look out to sea to spot the perps so they had a free hand.”

Chief Thayer was silent for a moment, mulling over the idea. “But then they’ll have to go somewhere. They can’t come back into the bay. Where did they go?”

“I’m betting they went north. To Bodega Bay.”

“Quite a jump, Heinz. There are a lot of docks and coves between here and Bodega Bay. Why that particular place?”

“Let’s just call it a hunch.”

“Based on what?”

“Well, when I was talking to Hopkins, he said he had a boat which he moored in Bodega Bay. He said he had named it the Cagliostro, after the alchemist.”

“Never heard of him.”

“Most people haven’t either. Which is why Hopkins named his boat the Cagliostro. He’s an 18th-century figure. But he was more than an alchemist as Hopkins claimed. He was also a chiseler, clairvoyant and charlatan, exactly the kind of a man who would think he could mastermind a multi-million dollar heist. Ironically, he’s also associated with a scam which was certainly the beginning of the end of the King of France, Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette.”

Chief Thayer looked at Noonan with astonishment. “You really do know your European history. Maybe, if history repeats itself, Hopkins will be the beginning of the fall of our august vice president of Pacific Rim Operations.”

“At the very least he’s going to cause Harrah a lot of explaining.”

Thayer shook his head. “So you think those men are on the Cagliostro in Bodega Bay?”

“It’s as good a bet as any. I’d also say they’re having a heck of a fight. Remember when Hopkins showed up at the Ruef Street address late?”


“He was late because he was doing some freelancing. Your people reported he had gone to the first warehouse and picked up three crates.”


“Those crates were full of cash. Hopkins was picking up his cash first, making sure he was getting his. It’s not going to make anyone else very happy, particularly when Hopkins doesn’t show up.”

“Wait here and I’ll send a squad car to . . .”

Noonan put his hand on the Chief’s arm. “Chief, don’t worry. It’s taken care of. While you were addressing the press outside your office, I took the liberty of calling the FBI and they’re handling the matter. They’re so good at claiming all the credit I figured it was only fair they do a little quality work on the case.”

“You told them while I was addressing the press?”

“And what a masterful job you were doing too, George. I was envious. And I was also pleased you didn’t mention my name. It’s so hard to take vacations with so many robberies about.”

Both men laughed.

“How about Hopkins?”

“If he’s smart he’s here at the airport flying out. He’s got his million, all legal, so there’s nothing you can do about him. If the five or six perps are still in Bodega Bay, you can snatch them. They’re still guilty of bank robbery and kidnapping. Unless they rat on Hopkins, he’s in the clear.”

“So Hopkins slides?”

“No, none of them do. Don’t worry about him. He had to cut some deals with the underworld to pull off a $10 million deal. What do you think is going to happen if he escapes with $1 million and everyone else in the caper gets caught? He can never come back here. He’ll be lucky to stay alive. Regardless of what Harrah said, I doubt a company as large as English Petroleum is going to let a two-bit insurance man hustle them out of $10 million.”

“Do you think this was all Hopkins’ idea?”

The Chief shook his head sadly.

“He was probably the one setting up the San Francisco end of the operation. He knew the owners of 1906 Ruef were going to be out of town because the painters and contractors were probably part of his laundering operation. This gave him a base of operations. But there were barely enough people in his band to cover all the bases.”

“How do you know?”

“When Rasperson got into the van he said he had only seen four people since he had gotten into the bushes. He was concerned he would be spotted so he played like the Vietnam vet he was. He blended into the environment. But all he saw were people in and around the garage. No one appeared to be watching the road for suspicious characters. This told me the perps either didn’t have enough people to cover all the angles or felt the hostages were an ace they could use at any time. I now think both were correct. In the long run, it didn’t matter.”

“You are a sly one, you are, Heinz Noonan.”

“Not really, George. Just very lucky. And if my luck still holds, I’ll be able to make it to Anchorage before my father-in-law uses my fly-in king salmon reservations.”

“Best of luck, Heinz.”

Noonan started to walk toward the boarding tunnel when he suddenly stopped and scratched his head Columbo-style. Chief Thayer looked at Noonan with a strange expression. Noonan smiled and patted the Chief on the back. “George, I just remembered I need you to do something for me.”

“What are you not telling me, Heinz?” Chief Thayer gave a strange what-is-it-now smile.

“Oh, just a little thing. Remember you said there was nothing we could do about English Petroleum?”

“Yeah. They played me like a fiddle. It’s just too bad we can’t get them on something.”

“Who knows?” Noonan had a strange smile on his face as he leaned against an insurance machine. “George, I seem to have made a mistake back there in the garage.”


Noonan dug an envelope out of his pants pocket and handed it to Chief Thayer. The Chief opened the envelope and, with surprise etched on his face, looked at a spread of $100 bills.

“It seems while I was examining some of the $100 bills in the collection English Petroleum claimed was theirs some of the bills accidentally went up my sleeve. It was a terrible indiscretion on my part. I’m sure they’ll miss the bills. Will you make sure they get these back?”

“Just happened to slip up your sleeve? Uh-huh. You mean you palmed these bills.”

“George! Palming someone else’s property would have been illegal. An innocent error, I assure you. Now I am rectifying any error. I’m returning these suddenly-discovered bills with apologies. You will see these bills are returned? I’m sure that English Petroleum will find that they are missing.”

“Right, Heinz. I know you. Now, what do you have up your sleeve – other than the bills you just gave me?”

“George, what makes you think I’ve planned some underhanded scheme?”


Noonan looked at the ceiling of the courtesy lounge. “While I was in your office I took the liberty of photocopying those $100 bills.” He pointed of the bills Chief Thayer held in his hand.


“And I put the copies in an envelope with a copy of the property transfer from English Petroleum. You know, the one signed by Harrah stating the $20 million in San Francisco was his?”

“I’m with you so far.”

“Well, I have to admit it, George. While you were talking to the press I also stole an envelope from your desk and about a dollar’s worth of stamps. Then I dropped the photocopies in the mail for Rasperson. I’m sure he’ll know what to do with them.”

“Clue me in. What will he do with them?”

“Well, we can’t get English Petroleum. They said the $20 million was their property and you couldn’t prove them wrong. Hopkins confirmed their claim. End of story. Right?”


“But we know differently. The original $10 million was at the center of a robbery and the other $10 million was exchange money. We can’t prove it, of course, even though we know it.”

“Win some, lose some.”

“But Rasperson could call the IRS and trace these bills. And when he gets a hold of some photocopies of the $100 bills which will be found with the perps the FBI is probably arresting right now in Bodega Bay . . . .”

Thayer smiled. “He’ll have solid proof where those bills came from. We can’t get English Petroleum but the IRS can! Good thinking. You know,” he looked at Noonan mischievously, “I’m sure someone will be able to get him a raft of photocopies of investigation documents when those perps are arrested.”

Noonan smiled. “I kind of thought so. We can’t report anything because we don’t have anything to report. No theft means all the documents are public information. And Rasperson, well, you know how rude those press people can be.”

Noonan turned to go and then reached into his jacket pocket. He brought out a small, flat item looking much like a camera battery. “Here, a little memento from my day here in San Francisco. It’s just like a dog, George.” Noonan smiled. “It’ll follow you anywhere.”

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.