While we waited for Philips to arrive, Tom and I discussed how he'd have us wired so that Eber's people—because for sure he wouldn’t come alone—couldn't find the listening devices. I was suitably impressed with what the cops had in the way of equipment—making mental notes to check out a couple of them. We came up with a two-pronged attack. Philips and I would be wired with miniature mikes that could only be found if Eber had a detector. Tom would also have an officer stationed on a rooftop across from the apartment with a parabolic listening device and another one in the hallway outside the apartment with a wall mike.
"And if that doesn't cover all bases," Tom said dryly, "then I'm in the wrong line of work."
A knock on the hallway door told me Philips had arrived. At least I hoped it was him. Not being totally stupid, I took out my weapon and held it behind my back as I unlocked the door. It was Philips. He must have been getting used to things, because he seemed more accepting than scared when I holstered the gun. I saw Tom doing the same with his. I guess he wasn't stupid either. No surprise since he's a cop.
After introducing the two men, I let Tom take the floor since at this point it was more his show than mine.
"What time do you plan on being at the bank?" he asked Philips.
"Nine, when I can get into my safety deposit box."
"At which point," I said, "someone will join us to trade the book for the necklace."
"First Central, on Vine."
"Okay. Do you have a house or an apartment, Mr Philips?"
"A condo actually, in a building on the east side." He gave Tom the address.
"Good. Walt, you'll pick Mr Philips up, since you're his bodyguard. That way we can wire you both at the same time. My man will be in the building when you get there. How many elevators are there, Mr Philips, and what floor are you on?"
"Two elevators, the fifteenth floor, and please call me Bailey," Philips said.
Tom nodded. "Okay. So, Walt, you go up to Bailey's place. My man will follow five minutes later, getting off one floor below then taking the fire stairs the rest of the way. He'll wait by the elevator and join you when you leave."
"He can wire us before we get to the lobby?" Philips asked in surprise.
"Yep. With the wires we're using it doesn't take much time at all. He'll get off one floor before you two do, and then you're on your way to the bank."
"Will you have someone there too?"
"Yes." Tom took out his phone. A moment later he said, "The bank opens at eight. That will give me time to have someone set up there—probably pretending to be another customer wanting to get into their box."
"You think Mr Eber will have someone watching?"
"Let's just say I'm taking no chances. That especially goes for after you two leave the bank."
I nodded. "In case he tries to pull a fast one and have his goons jack us for the papers."
"Not a happy thought."
"I doubt he will. He's going to want to be sure they're the real thing. But I'm not taking any chances."
I tapped my fingers together. "We could make sure that doesn't happen. Bailey, do you have a briefcase or a carrying case?"
"Good. Bring it with you. That way, whoever he has watching us will have to second guess whether you actually got the papers from your box, or if you're trying to pull a fast one and you're carrying fake ones in the briefcase. Only Eber would know for certain and not until he sees them."
"Good idea, Walt," Tom said. "Now as soon as Eber let's you know which apartment he's using at the Royal Oaks, you text me, Walt. We'll be there and ready by the time you two arrive."
I nodded. "Then all we have to do is prod him into saying something that implicates him in the theft of the book. That's your job, Bailey, since I'm just the strong, silent bodyguard."
"I can do that," Philips replied confidently.
I just hoped he was right.
We spent a few more minutes ironing out details and then called it a day—or an evening since it was already going on six. They took off, and I called Ricky to let him know I was on my way over. I needed good food, good company, and if I got lucky—which I was sure I would—good sex before heading home to my place.