Authors: Andrew Gross
O MY BROTHERS,
Mango Meltdown or Berry Blast?”
The barrel erupted, spitting orange flashes of death and terrorâ¦
It took just minutesâfrantic minutesâfor Freddy Munoz and two otherâ¦
Hauck got the gash on his neck looked after, whileâ¦
The victim was a federal prosecutor working out of theâ¦
Wendy Sanger had the bags packed and dragged downstairs. Haleyâ¦
Wendy Sanger sat numbly on the couch, her daughter's rawâ¦
The vehicle's a file one, LT.” Munoz took Hauck aroundâ¦
You have any connection to this case, Lieutenant?” Freddy lookedâ¦
Greenwich Hospital was on the way back to the station.
When Hauck got back to the station, Sunil and Munozâ¦
Bridgeport was just twenty minutes up the thruway from Greenwich,â¦
The place known as the Tombs was actually the Harryâ¦
Freddy Munoz flipped a cassette into the recorder in interviewâ¦
It was after ten when Hauck finally made it homeâ¦
It hit him like a fist to the solar plexus.
It was the end of a long, crazy Saturday night,â¦
You don't have to do this, she said to herself.
Tyâ¦” Vern Fitzpatrick's voice crackled over the office intercom aroundâ¦
Hauck knocked on the door of the chief's office, atâ¦
She was sitting on the bench outside the squad room,â¦
It was the gun.
The Jetta was left in a vacant lot in aâ¦
Annie was rushing.
Annie was sitting on a stool at the bar whenâ¦
The federal prison in Otisville, New York, was in theâ¦
Outside, Freddy Munoz turned to Hauck as soon as theyâ¦
The man in the flat tweed cap and Burberry raincoat,â¦
Keith Kramer walked out of the Pequot Woods Resort andâ¦
This was Hector Morales's kind of party.
Brenda buzzed in Hauck's office. “Lieutenant, call for you. Lineâ¦
Wendy Sanger shuffled into the kitchen and stared at theâ¦
You believe in coincidence, Lieutenant?”
When Hauck got back to the station, Munoz jumped outâ¦
Wendy Sanger was heading back up the walk to herâ¦
As Hauck headed back to the office, his cell phoneâ¦
A return call from Joe Raines of the Pequot Woodsâ¦
Joe Raines put down the phone and stared out hisâ¦
That night, as Hauck was getting ready to leave, Vernâ¦
Morales's death put things on hold for a while.
From the thousands of acres of rolling woods ceded toâ¦
Hauck's room was large, on the thirty-second floor, with aâ¦
Hauck ate by himself in the trendy Italian cafÃ©, thenâ¦
Upstairs, Hauck unbuttoned his shirt, sat on the couch inâ¦
Hauck opened his eyes the next morning. The light cantedâ¦
By ten, Hauck made it back to the station. Heâ¦
Hauck sat outside the gray shingled house on Pine Ridgeâ¦
Hauck took the long route back to Stamford on theâ¦
Jesus, Warren, what the hell are you doing here?”
They cracked another beer and stepped out on the deck.
It was laterâafter Warren had passed out and was snoringâ¦
The next morning, Warren was just waking up as Hauckâ¦
Thanksgiving finally came. Without providing the answer Hauck was lookingâ¦
Thanksgiving morning, Hauck woke around eight.
The answer hit him as he drove along Elm, headingâ¦
Monday, the first thing Hauck did was meet with Vern,â¦
They met at the Stanwich Country Club, out on Northâ¦
Maybe I'll have that beer after allâ¦”
That same night, a black Lincoln pulled up to theâ¦
The next morning, Freddy Munoz leaned against the table acrossâ¦
Annie Fletcher was at the computer. It was after elevenâ¦
Freddy located the dealer. He came into Hauck's office carryingâ¦
Annie looked adorable.
The meal came off beautifully. The meatloaf was flavorful andâ¦
In a darkened bar called the Alibi, off I-91, southâ¦
Hauck made it on the road before four, only theâ¦
Hauck stared at the house a long time before pullingâ¦
The neighbors didn't help.
If Brunswick was idyllic, picturesque, Lewiston was its ugly olderâ¦
They went out to the back on a screened-in porchâ¦
The twin-engine Cessna 310 lifted off the ground from theâ¦
To Hauck, the drive back felt like days. He feltâ¦
Ira Wachman had put on his Burberry raincoat and capâ¦
Hauck exited the thruway at Atlantic Avenue, finally home. Heâ¦
The same dream left him sweating and awake for days.
It was after six that day when Hauck pulled upâ¦
The phone continued to ring.
Warren remained there, blood on his shirt, his eye throbbing,â¦
Hauck drove out of town, heading back toward I-84 andâ¦
He threw a top hat on the roof of theâ¦
It took a few calls to set up. Vern wasâ¦
Hauck gazed past Raines's shoulder at the crowd of millingâ¦
Stan Taylor drove the Crown Vic away from the Pequotâ¦
Hauck's phone sounded as he headed north to Hartford.
The gated community was named Arapahoe Farms, about twenty minutesâ¦
It was going on midnight when Hauck got back toâ¦
He thought it was over.
A week later, Hauck had begun the task of findingâ¦
Warren put down his phone. He put the Range Roverâ¦
A Coast Guard helicopter spotted the wreckage about a hundredâ¦
You think you know how the world works, don't you,â¦
As Hauck approached them, Annie waved to him from alongâ¦
The week before Christmas, Hauck sat in the Explorer andâ¦
ango Meltdown or Berry Blast?”
Ty Hauck scanned the shelves of the Exxon station's refrigerated cooler.
his thirteen-year-old daughter, Jessie, responded with a shrug, her eyes alighting on something more appealing. “
What about this
Hauck reached inside and read the brightly colored label. Megajolt of caffeine. Highest bang for the buck.
“Your mother lets you drink this stuff?” he asked skeptically.
Jessie looked back at him. “Mom's not exactly here, is she?”
“No.” Hauck nodded, meeting her gaze. “I guess she's not.”
In just the past year, forbidding new curves had sprung up on his daughter's once-childlike body. Bra straps peeking out from under her tank top. Jeans clinging to the hips in an “unnatural” way.
suddenly morphing into something a bit more in the range of
. Not to mention the newly mastered repertoire of eye rolls, shrugs, and exaggerated sighs. Hauck wondered if the request for an ankle tattoo or a belly piercing could be far behind. “You don't get to win,” a friend who had teenage daughters once warned him. “You only
it was just a year ago that she liked to get shoulder rides from me.
“Toss it in the basket,” he said, acquiescing.
Jessie shrugged without even the slightest smile, failing to grasp the significance of his offering. “Okay.”
At the end of the aisle, a man in a green down vest and tortoiseshell glasses reached into the cooler and met Hauck's gaze. His amused, empathetic smile seemed to say,
Know exactly what you're going through, man!
Hauck grinned back.
A year had passed since the Grand Central bombing. A year since the events set in motion by the hit-and-run accident down on Putnam Avenue had thrust Hauck out of his long slumber and into the public eye. In that year, Hauck had been on the morning news shows and MSNBC and Greta Van Susteren, the case rocking not just the tall iron gates of the Loire-styled mansions out on North Avenue, but the financial circles in New York as well. It had turned Hauck into a bit of a reluctant celebrityâthe object of friendly ribbing from his staff and the local merchants along the avenue. Even his old hockey buddies, who used to tip their mugs to him because of how he once tore up the football league at Greenwich High, now joked about whether he knew Paris or Nicole, or could get them past the bouncers into some fancy new club in the city on a Saturday night. Finally Hauck just had to step back, get his life in order.
And keep things on a steady keel with Karen, whose husband's death had been at the heart of the case.
And with whom he had fallen in love.
At first, it had been hard to bridge all the differences between them. She was rich. Hauck was the head of detectives on the local force. Their families, lifestyles, didn't exactly merge.
Not to mention all the attention the case had generated. That in solving the mystery of her husband's death Hauck had unleashed something buried and now restless inside her. In the past year, her father, Mel, had taken ill with Parkinson's. Her mother wasn't handling it well. Karen had gone down to Atlanta to help take care of him, with her daughter away at Tufts and her son, Alex, now sixteen, recruited to play lacrosse at an upstate prep school.
It had been a year in which Hauck had finally learned to put much of the pain of his own past behind him. To learn to feel attached again. To fight for someone he wanted. He knew Karen loved him deeply for what he had done for her. Still, a lot of things stood in the way. Not just the money thing or their different families and backgrounds. Lately, Hauck had detected something in her. A restlessness. Maybe a sense of wanting to finally be free after being tied to a man her whole adult life, one who had so painfully deceived her. It was always a roll of the dice, they both knew, how things might work out between them. The jury was still out.
“C'mon,” he said to Jess, “grab some M&M's; the boat's waiting.”
The autumn chill was late in coming that October Saturday morning, and they were heading out for a final jaunt on his skiff, the
over to Captain's Island before taking it out of the water for the winter. Maybe kick the soccer ball around a bitânot a mean feat these days for Hauck (whose leg had still not fully healed from the .45 he had taken to the thigh). Grill a few dogs. Who knew how many more of these Saturdays he'd have with Jess. Just getting her up before ten was already becoming a hard sell. They'd just stopped off on the way to fill up the Explorer and pick up a few snacks.
Sunil, who ran the Exxon station next to the car wash on
Putnam, was always a friend to the guys on the force. Hauck always made it his habit to fill up here.
As they reached the counter, a woman was at the register ahead of them. The man in the green down vest stepped up, his arms wrapped around two six-packs of soda.
“You guys go ahead.” He waved them ahead and smiled good-naturedly.
“Thanks.” Hauck nodded back and nudged Jessie.
“Thanks,” she turned back and said.
While they waited, Hauck said, “You know, I really hope you'll come up for Thanksgiving this year. Karen'll be back.”
She shrugged. “I don't know, Dad.”
“You should. She likes you, Jess. You know that. It would make me feel good.”
“It's not thatâ¦” She twisted her mouth. “It's just that it's different. They're, you knowâ¦
. Samantha and Alex, I mean, they're nice, butâ¦”
Hauck knew the adjustment had been toughest with her. His daughter felt like a fish out of water with them. Sam and Alex had grown up on rented boats in the Caribbean and on spring breaks flew out to Beaver Creek to ski. She went up to Massachusetts to visit her cousins and once they'd all flown down to Orlando to do the theme park thing. He squeezed her on the shoulder, careful not to draw any attention to it. “Yeah, but that doesn't make them from Saturn, Jess.”
“It's Mars, Dad,” she corrected him.
He shrugged. “Or Mars.”
The woman at the register finally finished up. Hauck stepped up to the counter.
Sunil greeted him with his usual smile. “
So, how is the big star these days? I don't see you on the TV so much anymore.”
“That gig's over, Sunil. They don't pay me enough.”
The Pakistani laughed at Jessie. “Pretty soon, we're gonna see your father on
Dancing with the Stars
â¦Doing the tango with some fancy celebrity. I bet you are very proud of your famous father, young ladyâ¦”
“Sure.” Jessie shrugged.
Hauck put his arm around her. “She thinks I'm famous in my own mindâ¦” He brought up the basket. “So, Sunil, we have a couple of sandwiches and sodas, and we also took aâ”
It was the screech that Hauck heard first.
Grating. Terrifying. The red truck jerking to a stop right in front of their eyes. The heavily tinted passenger window slowly rolling down.
Then the man in the red bandana leaning outâ
not a man,
Hauck recalled later,
barely more than a boy
âextending the short black cylinder as Hauck, unable to believe what he was seeing, stared at the protruding barrel.
A second before the body-blow of dread set in. Before he realized in horror what was about to take place.
He grabbed Jessie.
“Everyone get down!”