Posted by John on Monday, 5 December

for the Suncoast Leisure Village trailer park. Under the circumstances, Ira Jackson was mildly surprised that the file still existed. From what he saw, others were vanishing by the carload. Realizing the hurricane would bring scandal to the construction industry, developers, builders and compromised inspectors were taking bold steps to obscure their own roles in the crimes. As Ira Jackson elbowed his way to an empty chair, he recognized-amid the truly aggrieved-faces of the copiously guilty: brows damp, lips tight, eyes pinched and fretful. They were men who feared the prospect of public exposure, massive lawsuits or prison. If only it were true, thought Ira Jackson. Experience had taught him otherwise. Bozos who rob liquor stores go to jail, not rich guys and bureaucrats and civil servants. Ira Jackson thumbed through the trailer-court records until he found the name of the man who had botched the inspection of his mothers double-wide. He fought his way to the file counter and cornered a harried-looking clerk, who informed him that Mr. Avila no longer was employed by Dade County. Why not Ira Jackson asked. Because he quit, the clerk explained; started his own business. Since Ira Jackson was already agitated, the clerk saw no point in revealing that Avilas resignation was part of a plea-bargain agreement with the State Attorneys Office. That was a private matter that Mr. Avila himself should share with Mr. Jackson, if he so desired. Ira Jackson said, You got a current address, right The clerk said it was beyond his authority to divulge that information. Ira Jackson reached across the counter and rested his hand, very lightly, on the young mans shoulder. Listen to me, Paco, he said. Ill come to your home. Ill harm your family. You understand Even your pets. The clerk nodded. Be right back, he said. Snapper was more annoyed than afraid when he saw the flashing blue lights in the rearview. Hed figured the Jeep Cherokee was already hot when he swiped it from the gangster rappers; he didnt figure the cops would be looking for it so soon. Not with all the hurricane emergencies. Pulling to the side of the road, he wondered if Baby Raper had blabbed when he got to the hospital. No doubt the kid was ticked when Snapper retrofitted that compact disc up his ass, like a big shiny suppository. But why would the cops care about that Snapper thought: Maybe its got nothing do with the gangster rapper or the stolen Jeep. Maybe its just my driving. The cop who stopped him was a female Highway Patrol trooper. She had pleasant features and pretty pale-blue eyes that reminded Snapper of a girl hed tried to date back in Atlanta, some sort of turbocharged Catholic. The lady troopers dark hair was pulled up under her hat, and she wore a gold wedding band that cried out for pawning. The holster appeared oversized and out of place on her hip. She shined a light in the Jeep and asked to see Snappers drivers license. I left my wallet at home. No identification Fraid not. For effect, he patted his pockets. Whats your name Boris, said Snapper. He loved Boris and Natasha, from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle TV show. Boris what the trooper asked. Snapper couldnt spell the cartoon Boriss last name, so he said, Smith. Boris]. Smith. The troopers pale eyes seemed to darken, and the tone of her voice flattened. Sir, I clocked you at seventy in a forty-five-mile-per-hour zone. No kidding. Snapper felt relieved. A stupid speeding ticket! Maybe shed write him up without running the tag. The trooper said: Its against the law to operate a motor vehicle in Florida without a valid license. Youre aware of that. OK, Snapper thought, two tickets. Big fucking deal. But he noticed she wasnt calling him Mister Smith. Youre also aware that its illegal to give false information to a law-enforcement officer Sure. Snapper cursed to himself The bitch wasnt buying it. Stay in your vehicle, please. In the