This was fun to write. I hope you enjoy it! Read and review, please!


Going to the Dogs!

The gate house is dark. The only sounds besides McCormick gently snoring is the sound of the ticking double belled alarm clock on the night stand that reads 2:30am. Then, the sound of the ringing phone. Ring one, McCormick tucks the covers tighter; ring two, he pulls the pillow over his head; ring three, he pushes the pillow off his head, attempts to focus on the clock; and ring four reaches for the receiver answering with a sleepy voice, "Hello?"

The sound on the other end says, "You have a call from the County jail. If you'd like to accept press 1 after the name of the caller is given. 'Teddy, Skid its Teddy answer.' " Teddy's recorded voice says desperately.

Mark focuses on the numbers on the phone and presses the 1, "Teddy?"

"Yeah, it's me. Teddy Smith. Listen the arraignment is day after tomorrow, but I need to see you alone first thing in the morning. Skid this is important." Teddy said in a very urgent tone.

McCormick took notice of the name change, but didn't miss a beat. He knew the phone conversations were randomly monitor at County. "Ok, I'll be there. What's the beef this time?"

Teddy replied, "Trespassing after hours."

They both knew it as small potatoes unless it was discovered that Teddy was on parole. McCormick also knew what he'd be risking by signing in to see Teddy at County. It would violate his own parole if anyone recognized him.

The recording came on, "Your call will disconnect in one minute."

Teddy questioned, "Skid?"

"I'll be there." McCormick said as the phone disconnected. Mark got out of the bed and without turning on the light began fumbling through the desk drawer. He dug and dug until somewhere in the back he felt what he hoped was what he was looking for. Pulling it out in to the light from the outside, Mark saw the fake ID that he had used in a couple of Hardcastle's cases. He put it in the night stand drawer with his wallet and keys, but out of sight, just in case Sarah or Hardcastle should happen by before he got a chance to leave in the morning. Mark knew there was no way he could go back to sleep, at least right now. He began to find what he intended to wear the next day while locating an old wallet for the fake ID.


McCormick was setting on the couch where he had been weighing the options of talking to Hardcastle about Teddy. He knew he'd feel guilty about it later but what was the big deal he was only going to see Teddy for twenty minutes through glass, find out what was up and talk to a bondsman to get Teddy out before they figured he was on parole. Which he knew Hardcase would see as associating with a convicted felon which would blow his own parole to hell and back if Hardcase wanted to push it. So in the hours between Teddy's call and the early morning light when he heard Hardcastle at the basketball goal shooting his morning baskets, McCormick had decided what he was doing was nothing and didn't need to trouble the Judge. He got up, pulled on sweats over his gym shorts, grabbed his tennis shoes and after ample time went to the court grumbling as usual about being woke up so early. McCormick even knew he was a little off this morning after the Judge beat him two out of three games as they headed to the patio for breakfast.

Hardcastle felt like there was something going on with the kid but said, "You're a little off your game today aren't you?"

"It comes from being woke up in the middle of the night to play ball, Judge." McCormick grumbled.

Hardcastle just smiled a bit. "So, you going get to those flower beds today?"

"Yeah, I was planning to do them today, but I need to use the truck to go get some of that fertilizer you wanted put in them. There's not nearly enough in the shed and I don't want to just get started and have to quit, so I might as well get it before I start." Mark reasoned.

Hardcastle looked over his paper, "Just don't find something better to do while you're gone."

It looked like it was going to work. McCormick stood up cleared the table, "Right. I'll shouldn't be long." but added for safe measure as he turned, "I hope they aren't crowded. You know how slow they are at that hardware store you like."


With the fake ID in the wallet in his pocket and his real ID and wallet in the glove box of the truck, McCormick pulled into the busy hardware store. He parked the truck where it could be seen if Hardcastle drove by but where it wouldn't be noticed by the store clerks as odd. He got out of the truck and walked to the bus stop across the street. In a few minutes McCormick was on his way downtown to the County jail. Once there he signed it to see 'Teddy Smith' using the name Nelson McGuire. He hoped the work clothes, hat and sunglasses would keep anyone of Hardcastle's friends and anyone who might spot him from recognizing him. He appeared to read a magazine, carefully keeping it in front of his face until called to talk to Teddy. Once in the booth Mark picked up the receiver. "Ok, I'm here." he said urgently.

Teddy on the other side of the glass said into the phone very quietly, "Thanks for coming. You got to help me."

"If Trespassing is the only beef I should be able to get a bondsman. not a problem." Mark said.

"It is, if my luck holds out but we both know how our luck can be." Teddy said.

"Now, is not the time to remind me!" Mark insisted.

"Listen, I'm in a jam. This guy who knew about my past tricks came to me said he needed a 'favor' and would pay me good or he'd put me in the middle of a world of shit. I tried to 'help' and screwed it up. I need you. Man, you were always better at this kind of 'stuff' than me." Teddy explained carefully. He and Mark knew that the visitation phone weren't monitored but that even with all the noise you still had to watch what you said.

"Who's the guy? We can get him." Mark suggested.

Teddy replied, "I don't know. He found me. Said he'd get back up with me."

Mark wasn't liking what he was hearing, "First, let's get you out of here, then, ..."

"But, its got to happen tonight." Teddy said impatiently.

"I'm listening." Mark sighed. He suddenly had a headache.

Teddy began, "Go to my 'apartment' at 10327 Frederick Street. 'Apartment 312'. I have a folder marked 'McClure Inc.' My bills are all in there and the money for the bondsman."

Mark knew the last sentence was to make the other information seem normal. He repeated, "Got it. 10327 Frederick Street. 'Apartment 312'. Folder marked 'McClure Inc.' "

The guard tapped Teddy on the shoulder ending the visitation. "Thanks, for everything." he said to Mark before hanging up the phone.

Mark gave Teddy a nod as he was taken back to the cells.


On the bus back to the hardware store Mark scribbled the information down and tucked it into the fake wallet. At the hardware store it did take more time than Mark wanted. Once he had insisted on the brand of fertilizer he had to argue that he didn't care if what was up front was on sell that he wanted the other brand. Then, after paying for the fertilizer, he was ready to head back to the estate when he saw they had put the wrong type of fertilizer in the truck. All 100 bags would have to be unloaded and reloaded with the correct type. The clerk had made numerous apologies and even gave him a sizable discount. McCormick hoped this would be enough if the Judge asked, to buy him the time he needed. He pulled out of the hardware store and headed toward Frederick Street. 10327 proved to not be an apartment building which was no surprise to McCormick. What did surprise him was that he knew the building a block away. The building was surrounded by a sixteen foot chain link fence topped with barbed wire. It was used to store Federal aviation records. He knew this from a case he'd worked on with Hardcastle about a year ago. Having been in the building during 'business hours' once, would at least give Mark a small advantage. He continued driving down the street and turned for home.


After finishing the flower beds, McCormick made a big deal about washing and waxing the cars. First the Vette which he parked back in the garage after he was finished. Hardcastle came out to see when he'd be ready for dinner. Mark grumbled about the sun and having no shade to wax the cars. He fussed that he had to take the Vette half way down the driveway to wax it and now was about to do the same to the Coyote.

Hardcastle asked, "Why don't you do it in the garage?"

"Because, with those small lights I can't see. Maybe if you'd let me put in a couple bigger ones I could use the garage." Mark argued. It was an old argument which he hadn't won yet, but it could work for him. "I'll be done with the Coyote in about an hour." He hopped in and moved the car to the one shady spot half way down the drive. He put the finishing touches on the Coyote, gathered his things, and walked back to the garage leaving the Coyote out of sight from the main house. All day McCormick had thought about letting Hardcastle in on all this but he knew with Teddy and him being on parole that Hardcastle would not be happy. He knew he wouldn't understand about his visit to the jail and he had only intended to see what was up. He had no idea when he had first decided to visit Teddy that he'd end up in something like this. Now, he felt he was in too deep to try to explain to Hardcastle. He tried to convince himself - A midnight drive, jump a fence, dodge an alarm, pick up a file, give a bondsman a few dollars to bond Teddy out, then maybe they could bring the Judge in to help nab the guy who threatened Teddy. It would be no big deal - unless he got caught.


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