Back at the station he jumped on the next train to Davis and finally relaxed into a seat. He realized his heart was pounding. His instincts about this guy were right and he still didn’t want to have a mano-a-mano conflict with the dude. God knows what he would pull out of one of those boots. A little shiver went down Danny’s spine. He wasn’t sure if it was excitement or fear. Ah, well, let’s get us home.  

     Next morning, he was in the watch commander’s office getting chewed out. 

     “You did what! When, while on duty! Tell me you are kidding me.” 

     Roosevelt, the watch commander, an overweight middle-aged man of about fifty was getting progressively redder and redder in the face. 

     “What would make you even contemplate doing such a stupid thing?” he demanded. 

     Danny put his hands up in an imploring manner. “He has been riding this same train for months and never seems to have the usual stuff with him that most people carry, and he always gets off at the same stop.” 

     “He doesn’t carry the usual stuff, the usual stuff!” Commander Roosevelt was speechless. “Well, maybe we can match him up with my wife someday. She carries enough stuff for three people!” 

     Daniel Davies sat quietly; his hands folded in his lap. He had given his report of what he had found and the suspicions he had been having for some time. It was up to the commander now. The train company had been transporting this guy back and forth to his drug drop now for several months. 

     “You know what you are like, Davis?” the commander asked belligerently. 

     “No sir.”

     “You are like that ball of lint under my bed that keeps rolling around and collects other pieces of lint and keeps getting bigger and bigger.” 

     “Yes, sir.”

     “That and a royal pain in my ass, is what you are.” The commander clutched his coffee cup so hard Danny was afraid he was going to break it. The man sat there in a brown study for several minutes. 

     “Ok, this is what we will do,” he finally spoke. “You will call the LAPD and get hold of the drug division and get hold of a detective, someone with some authority. Got me?” he said with hostility. “You will make your report to them and then ask them what it is they want us to do. Thereafter, I want you to fill out your incident report. Then report to me with their recommendations, and I want it back on my desk by morning, am I clear?”  “Absolutely, sir,” Danny replied. 

     “And don’t go off doing anything else dumb on company time because I am the one who will have to fill out the report and I hate filling out reports. !” 
     “Right sir.” Danny grabbed his cap and practically backed out of the room into the door which the secretary had opened. 
     “And what’s wrong with you?” she wanted to know. Danny didn’t answer and kept going.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          #
     Danny made his report to LAPD and was assigned to Detective Sergeant Terrence Dillon. 
     “So, did you actually see this guy, you made eye contact with him yourself?” Dillon wanted to know. 
     “Yep, several times. He would end up in my train cars somehow over and over again and then always get off at the Sacramento station.” 
     “So, you called me, why?” was Dillon’s question. 

     “The seat designation indicates he got onboard at the Los Angeles train depot and that is your area.” 

     “True,” Dillon replied. Danny didn’t mention the news conference he had seen on the TV the week before. 

     “You know his name?” 

     “No, I don’t but I know how we can get it.” 

     “I’m listening,” the detective said. 

     Danny told him the plan. 

     “You think you can do this without making him suspicious? I don’t want any dead conductors on my case.” 

     “I think so,” Danny told him of the surveillance projects he had done in the Navy. The detective seemed impressed. 

     The next day, Danny had his report done and typed up and on the commander’s desk. Roosevelt came in with his first cup of coffee and scowled but said nothing and said down heavily in his swivel chair. He picked up the report and read and Danny sat and waited. 

     “Ok, so this is what he wants you to do right?” 

     “That is it, get the guy’s name.” 

     “Damn it, Davies,” the commander huffed. “Can you do this without getting into any fights with this guy?” 

     “Absolutely sir, no problem,” Danny’s arms were folded over his chest. He nodded to his boss.

     “I don’t like it but take Franklin to be your backup man and no cowboy stuff, right?” 

     “Right sir, no cowboys, just a little info and that’s it.” 

     The commander huffed, and wiped the coffee from his walrus style mustache. 

     “Call me as soon as you get it.” 

     “Will do, sir.” 

      Danny got hold of the Frump and gave him the skinny on operation Teardrop. 

     “No kid,” Franklin looked amazed. “Cocaine?” 

    Danny confirmed it. 

    “Wow, drugs on the train. I never.” 

    “Anyway, Franklin, you understand what we are going to do right?” 

     Frumpy gulped, “Got it. We will be on the lookout for Tear Drop and if he is not in your car, I or another conductor will call you on the walkie-talkie and you will come and punch the tickets for the car where he is sitting.” 

     “Right,” said Danny. “Don’t bother talking to him or trying to engage with him or he will get suspicious and jump the train.” 

     Frumpy nodded nervously, “No engagements, got it.” 

    Danny laughed and hit his friend on the shoulder, “I’ll be doing all the tough stuff, relax.” 

     The Frump didn’t look a bit relaxed.  # It was two days later that Danny got the call from Franklin. “He’s up here, dude.” 

     “On my way,” was the curt response. 

     Danny started at the front of the cabin as he always did and slowly made his way back to Tear Drop, not rushing, not in a hurry. He talked to the passengers as usual. He got to Tear Drop and paused and reached up to the card above the seat and frowned. 

     “Hmm,” he said thoughtfully. “Sorry, sir, looks like I may have to check your ticket one more time. You don’t mind?” and he smiled the big smile. 

     “No esta problema, man,” the Hispanic guy replied. “Whatever you want, you got it, heh?” He pulled the ticket out of the back pocket of his jeans and smiled so his gold tooth showed. 

     Danny scanned the ticket with the meter machine, and it clicked that the memory had taken. 

     “Gracias, senor,” he nodded cordially and handed back the ticket. 

     The man smiled again and put his ticket away. “De nada.” 

     Danny moved on and collected the rest of the tickets from the remaining passengers. As soon as he was done with the car he made his way without haste to the downstairs mini office and pulled up the meter memory. 

     “Jose Gonzalez Gonzalez. Original at least,” he said to Frumpy. 

    “You got it, right?” whispered a nervous Frumpy. 

   “Yes, I got it.” Danny smacked his partner on the shoulder. “Relax.” 

     He got on the phone and called the commander and gave all the details on when, where and how the ticket was purchased and the man’s name. 

     “Ok,” Roosevelt replied. “We’ll get on it to get his id info. And remember, smart college boy, no funny stuff with this guy. He sounds dangerous.” Danny promised to be good, or at least careful, and hung up the phone. 

It was then up to the two of them to go back to their jobs like nothing had ever happened. #

     It was two weeks later that the Commander called Davies back into his office. 
He appeared and his boss waved him to a chair without ceremony. He sat down, crossed his legs and foldedhis hands in his lap. 

    “Okay,” the Commander said as though they had just been speaking. 

    “Here’s this.” He handed over a letter from the Sacramento Police Department and it was a Witness Request form addressed to David Daniel Davies c/o of Pacific Railroad Company requesting his attendance at a suspect lineup. 

     “So,” Roosevelt huffed, “they want you to go.” 

     “Okay,” Danny replied. 

     “I think you should take Franklin too since he also saw the guy.” 

     “Okay,” said Danny slowly, waiting for what else was coming. 

    “Davies,” the Commander started. “Davies…I’m not happy about this.” 

   “We were just doing our duty sir,” Danny said sincerely. 

     “I don’t care,” replied Roosevelt, “this guy is a Mexican National, a professional criminal. Damn it, the passport he gave our people was fake!” 
     Danny nodded. 

     “Someone could have gotten hurt with all this nonsense,” the Commander seemed to be running out of steam. He looked down and fiddled with the pencil on his desk.

     “People were getting hurt sir,” Danny’s said quietly. “They were selling top grade cocaine out of that warehouse. Lots of people get hurt with that stuff.” 

     Roosevelt stroked his mustache and avoided eye contact. “Well…” He seemed to be hunting for something to add. “In the future, can you try to keep your nose out of other people’s business? Try?” At this point, he straightened the pencil and looked up sharply at Danny.

      “Yes, sir,” Danny got up to go and almost gave a military style salute but stopped himself in time. Instead, he gave a short quasi-salute and left. #

     Later that evening, Danny and Frumpy were lingering at the entrance of Lupe’s Cantina. They were trying to figure out how to tie up the Frumps cocker spaniel so they could go in the restaurant. The temperature was getting warmer; summer seemed to be in the air. “I told you not to bring the dog,” Danny was irritable. “She misses me,” the Frump countered with a pout. Suddenly, the front door swung open. The restaurant cook came out and walked straight over to Danny. 

     “Is okay man, I talk to her.” 

     “Her?” Danny was confused. 

     “My cousin, Randi. The one you got you eye on all the time.” 

     “I, I, never….” Danny stumbled, grasping for a response.

     “Is okay, Man. I tell her you too old for her and plus,” he leaned really close, “you gay.” 

     “What, what…..where did you get that from?” Danny was starting to get annoyed now. 

     The cook pointed his finger down at Frumpy, Frumpy’s cocker spaniel and then shrugged his shoulders like to say, “The facts speak for themselves.” 

     Danny’s mouth was still open when the cook turned to go back in the kitchen. “Is okay, man, you know. Is a new day.” He winked at Danny and disappeared back inside.  

     Danny was mumbling to himself as they went in and sat down. Randi appeared and carefully laid down a menu in front of him. 
     “And what will you two be having tonight, sir?” she asked quite formally, hands behind her back. 
     Danny sighed, shook his head, and opened the menu.    The End