Epilogue

Bill wound up right back on the same hospital floor with the same nurse. New bandages, new plaster, new ice packs, new IV line. New broken rib courtesy of Ralph's CPR technique. He put up no fight this time resting somewhat comfortably for nearly three weeks before being released, officially, on doctor's orders. It was that, or face his new friend Nina's tightly curled fist.

His hair grew back quicker, but it took a good three months for his joints and rib to stop hurting.

Catching Culdero was a major bust for the US FBI. Considering Interpol and various European countries had been after him for years, it made the FBI look highly efficient and competent. And since it was Carlisle's agent who nabbed him, Carlisle himself was lauded as a superlative supervisor. Bill made the cover of "Bust and Badge" magazine for the second time in three years, an unprecedented accolade.

With Culdero's arrest, and the death of the five criminals caught in his house explosion, the bank robberies stopped. Culdero admitted to murdering the businessmen and Gerard and offered to give up information on many crime figures in Europe for lesser jail time for himself. This was agreed to by prosecutors, thus various crime syndicates across Europe were brought down within the next year.

Bill's extensive report was written to include his own sleuthing and computer research, the aid of snitches, the kidnapping of Pam Davidson and his own departure from the hospital with the help of Nina Caldwell to rescue the Counselor. Nina was thus not prosecuted for the laws she broke, but instead received a commendation from the mayor of Los Angeles. Her husband had to keep waiting for his RV.

The fact that Culdero crashed his car and suffered a severe concussion attempting to escape made it seem as if providence had joined in with the FBI on the case. Also, it was very helpful for Bill—Culdero could not remember anything after Bill's arrival at the house, so there were no witnesses to Ralph's suited participation. Ralph surreptitiously found his clothes in the lake and so showed up miraculously unhurt to the crowd, police, and rescue people caring for Bill.

Still, Carlisle found all sorts of improbable explanations in Bill's report, along with the usual spelling and grammatical errors. There were holes large enough to push the moon through. He also noticed a few agents beginning to leave their upper shirt button undone and loosening their ties; the hated haute couture of Maxwell's fashion style. But, Carlisle was flying so high from the FBI Director in Washington D.C. calling him to laud his department and Maxwell, Carlisle put his fine toothed comb away, and personally shook Maxwell's hand saying he was proud of him. He meant it, too.

Bill meant it, too, when privately he shook Ralph's hand and thanked him for doing such a great job on the case, helping him out anonymously, and saving his life twice. Then he brushed aside Ralph's second apology for prematurely taking off the suit.

Bill had a fuzzy yet pleasurable memory of the gorgeous Counselor leaning over him several times and kissing him on the lips, which he filed away in the "Better Not To Think About" section of his mind. Ralph and Pam visited him daily in the hospital, often bringing him thick, juicy burgers from his favorite joint. Once, when he slept, they good-humoredly used a magic marker to scribble on his cast "Happiness is a Warm Pistola", getting the patently ridiculous phrase exactly the way Bill liked.

The End