|时间：2017-04-02 20:44:02｜人气：54 |
|Lois and Sally left soon. Tricia stayed with Michael, asking him more questions. Lois and Sally drove back to Queens again. As they reached the house Michael mentioned, it was after midnight. They parked the car in front of the house and got out. Sally walked ahead to the door with Lois right behind her. At her knock, the door opened immediately as if someone knew they would come and was waiting for them. A man appeared in the doorway. Before he could open his mouth, Sally hit his Sleep Xue. Then she picked him up, putting him on her shoulder. She went to their car after checking that no one was on the street. She opened the trunk, put him in and shut it. Both girls went into the house. They searched every room. In one room there was a patron. Sally pushed the door open without any warning and saw two bodies on the bed in active nudity. She blushed imperceptibly owing to her dark skin. “Put on your clothes and stay in the room,” she cried to them and closed the door. Lois found two girls in their room and told them what she had told the girls in the other whorehouse. The girls gathered their things and followed her out of the house and got into the backseat of the car. Sally stood outside the door for a good while, chewing gum, then opened the door again. The couple already had their clothes on. They stood, each on either side of the bed, staring at the door when it opened slowly. A gum bubble appeared first, followed by Sally. |
“I''m a detective,” she told the patron after sucking in the bubble. That was correct. She was a detective, only she omitted the word ‘Private’. “Someone reported that unlawful business is going on here.” She looked at the patron. “I''ll let you go this time.” The patron murmured something like thanks and fled as fast as he could as if a devil was after him. Sally told the girl to gather her things and come with her. The girl thought that she was under arrest, but could not resist. Sally took a blanket from the room. The girl went to her room to get her things and followed Sally downstairs.
When they were back in New Brunswick, it was four o''clock in the morning. Lois led the girls into the apartment, followed by Sally, who wrapped the guy in the car trunk in the blanket and shouldered him in. As the three girls from the whorehouse entered the apartment and saw Michael, they stopped short, gazing from Michael to Tricia to Lois and Sally. Lois pushed them in and said, “Sit down. I''ll explain later.” After everything was made clear to the girls, Lois added, “Now you are in the same boat. You must get along well. Don''t do anything stupid.”
Lois undid the guy of his Sleep Xue, but hit his Mute Xue and Null-Kungfu Xue and told Michael to watch him and bind him hand and foot when she was not around. Then she left with Tricia and Sally and went home for a few hours’ sleep.
It was Saturday night. So Mr. Lin stayed late in his video store. After midnight he left the store and went home. When he turned into Sixth Avenue, he heard the blasts of guns. He drew near and saw three goons in black firing at his house. The front door and windows had been shattered. Then a guy threw something like a grenade onto the porch. It exploded and brought the whole porch down, together with part of the front wall. Mr. Lin was concerned about the safety of his family and infuriated at the rogues. He cast a handful of coins towards them like a shower of metal, which hit all three people here and there on the body, some on their xues and some penetrating into the flesh. They fell on the ground and their guns dropped. They couldn''t move, couldn''t cry, lying still like the dead. Mr. Lin stopped his car and leaped out. The house was on fire. Police cars and fire engines arrived soon. The firefighters were struggling with their hoses and then torrents of water were thrown out into the fire. Mr. Lin ran round to the backyard and found his family safely gathering there on the far side, looking helplessly at their house in flames.
When the first gun report was heard, Mrs. Lin and the three girls jumped out of their beds, and grabbing their clothes, cell phones and a few important things, ran downstairs to the family room, which was more than half under ground level. Alida and Laura also woke up at the sound. They crouched on the floor and changed their nightgowns into their daily clothes in dark. They went through the basement door to the backyard where no gun firing came from. Lois called 911. Then the three girls went to the neighbor’s backyard and around the neighbor’s house to the front street just in time to see their father coming and performing the marvelous deeds. As the firefighters were working, neighbors came out to watch and policemen were busy controlling the situation, Lois suddenly saw a shadow slip down from a tree across the street. She started to chase it, followed by Tricia and Sally. They were familiar with this area, so in no time they gained on the shadow, surrounding it on three sides. The shadow turned about and pointed something at Lois. Lois issued her chi and hit the shadow, which tumbled onto the ground. The three girls closed on the shadow, which laid there immobile. They found a man in black. Lois took off his face disguise and recognized him as Billy Jiang. His skin looked blue now. Who would poison him? Then Lois noticed something in his right hand. It was a cylinder. Lois could account for his death now. This guy sent out his poisonous needles at Lois, who issued her chi, which sent all needles back into him. His own needles poisoned him. The girls went back to the fire scene. The fire was now gradually under control. They went to check the three thugs, who had attacked their house, and found all three were dead, dead by the poisonous needles, too. Billy Jiang had followed them here and hidden himself in the tree. If after the attack, they could escape, excellent. In case they couldn''t escape, Billy Jiang was instructed to kill them so that they wouldn''t fall into the hands of the police alive. He reckoned that he could escape later, but “Justice has long arms.” The idiot didn''t know the idiom.
The fire engines left. The corpses were removed. The police took statements from them about how they were attacked and acted in self-defense. Then the police set up the yellow tapes round the front and kept the media that arrived later at a distance. Some neighbors came up to express their concerns and asked how they could help. Mrs. Lin thanked them and said that they would soon leave here to find a safe place. The neighbors went back to their respective homes.
Most things in the house, if not ruined by the fire, were damaged by the water. They could not fix the house until they collected the insurance money. Two cars parked in front of the house were damaged, too. Tricia''s Mazda was parked that night at the curb across the street; so nothing happened to it. Mr. Lin''s car was good. Two cars were still in a ready-to-move state. But where could they stay till the house was fixed? They gathered in the backyard to discuss it. “Before we can capture the Black Panther, our family is in jeopardy,” said Lois. “The greatest disadvantage we have is that our foe is in darkness while we are exposed in broad daylight as if always ready to be attacked. So that''s why they know where to strike and we don''t.”
“So what shall we do now?” asked Sally, who was still in such a bad mood that she was this once out of the habit to enjoy a gum.
“We must go underground,” suggested Lois.
“What do you mean by that?” Tricia queried.
“For now, the whole family must split. Mom and Dad take Alida to live somewhere else, to keep out of the way of the Black Panther. We will find another place to live. We can contact one another by cellular phones, use cell phones only.”
“Sounds good, but exactly where will they go and where will we go?” Sally looked at Lois inquisitively.
“Do you think, Tricia, that Mom, Dad and Alida can stay in Mrs. Gallagher''s place for a while?”
“I don''t know. You''d better ask her, but it''s not the best time to call people at home. We have to wait at least till after dawn.”
“Okay. Since we can do nothing right now, let''s go into the house to see what we can save,” said Mr. Lin. So they all went into the house through the back door into the kitchen. The basement was flooded now. As the kitchen was in the back, not much damage was done to it. They opened the refrigerator and took out some food. Sleep was out of the question now. After eating, everyone got a clean garbage bag to put personal things in, like clothes still in a state to wear and jewelry not marred. The three sisters took all the detective equipment that could yet be utilized. Lois called the AAA tow-trucks to get the damaged cars to the garage.
Laura felt sorry for what had happened, but Sally told her that it was not her fault.
After daybreak, Tricia called Mrs. Gallagher. She explained the situation first, then asked her Mom Nancy whether her parents and Alida could come to stay in her place for the time being till their house was fixed.
“Sure,” she replied. “My place is secluded enough that those bad guys can never find it. Only they must squeeze into my small condo, if they don''t mind.”
“Thank you, Mom Nancy. No one will care for anything else before the life and death crisis.”
Therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Lin took Alida to Mrs. Gallagher''s place in Mr. Lin''s car.
“Don''t worry about us. We have two secret places to hide,” Lois consoled her parents. After Mr. Lin''s car rolled away, the four girls got into Tricia''s Mazda. “Now where do we go?” Tricia asked.
“Drop Sally at the apartment. We''ll stay in the secret house,” decided Lois.
Tricia called Sam and told him what had happened last night. Sam wanted to come to their secret house, but Tricia said no. “We must keep a low profile for a while. You can call me on my cell phone.”
By Lois''s strategy, their three cars changed colors and plates, and every time they went out, they put on a disguise. So the Dauntless Trio disappeared except to a few people. When Lois called Mr. and Mrs. Chang and told them the situation, Mrs. Chang invited the girls to stay with them, but Lois declined, saying, “The Black Panther knows your house. If we stay with you, we''ll bring you disaster. We are safe in a secret place. Don''t worry. We will contact you when everything is all right.”
The FBI was tipped that a small bank in New York City was involved in money laundering. So the FBI made inquiries into that bank. They found that the owner of the bank in question was Mr. John Zi. When Mr. Zi was queried about the money laundering, he said that he knew nothing about it. Although he was the owner, he said, he never went there to check the accounting records or any other documents. He consigned all the banking business to the manager, Mr. Yang, who, in his opinion, should be an honest person. When FBI agents went to question Mr. Yang, they were surprised to find that the manager had committed suicide overnight. He made a statement typed from the computer and left on his desktop, saying that he alone was responsible for the accusation and he did it without the owner''s knowledge of it. On the statement he imprinted his fingerprint from the thumb of his right hand instead of signing it. His swivel chair behind his desk was tipped over. He was lying on the floor with a hole in his right temple. A pistol lay at his side with his fingerprints all over it, not just on the handle, but even on the barrel. No other injuries were on the body.
When Sam learned the news from a friend working with the FBI, he told it to Tricia. “Hmmm. It''s really skeptical. We never actually suspected John Zi as he has such a good reputation. Now we''ll work in his direction to see what we can discover,” said Tricia.
While Tricia talked to Sam on the phone, Lois waited eagerly to hear the news, which was finally imparted to her after Tricia folded up her cell phone.
“Before Michael told me that he had delivered some package to a mansion in Long Island, I have never connected Mr. Zi with all our cases,” sighed Lois. “Now we have at least two facts to suspect him. First, he is a master. Second, he resides in a mansion in Long Island. I don''t know how many mansions are in Long Island, but I do know only one known master lives there. A master plus a mansion, that''s enough to make us suspicious of him, and now the bank scandal.”
When Lois had pretended to write the biography for Mr. Zi, she had got a list of all his businesses from his personal secretary, Helen. She still kept it in their office. Since that night when they were attacked, they had put up a notice on the office door, saying that they were indefinitely on vacation abroad. Occasionally one of the sisters would go there after midnight to check if everything was all right in the office. Around one o''clock antemeridian, Lois drove there and parked her car in the parking lot of Foodtown, a supermarket across the street from their office, which was open twenty-four hours. She stealthily went into their office like a burglar. The only difference was that she had a legal key to open the door. She used a penlight to shine her way to her desk and took the list from the drawer. She pocketed it and left the office furtively. She did not want anyone to see her go into and out of the office.
Next day, Lois picked up Sally from the apartment and drove her back to the secret house. They would stay together for a while. Lois planned to spend several nights checking one by one all the business locations that belonged to Mr. Zi. They hoped to find some hard evidence in one of them.
It was very easy to pick the lock on the back door of the restaurant. They went into the kitchen and flicked on the flashlights. They looked into every possible corner, including the storage room and the walk-in freezer. They couldn''t find anything illegal. Nor could they in either the gift shops or the laundromats, or in the bakeries where Sally helped herself to some of the cakes. One of the employees was suspected of the theft, a scapegoat. They even went to the theater after everyone left, but found nothing worthy of the trip. It seemed that if Mr. Zi was engaged in anything unlawful, he did not mix up the legal businesses with the illegal ones, that is to say, he kept normal businesses on one track and underground businesses on another track, with the exception of the small bank.