Sheena Savoy moaned as she slapped the top of her bedside table to silence the horrendous noise coming from her alarm clock. With her eyes pressed tightly shut, she wondered why it was making such a terrible racket. Slowly, the fuzzy memories from the night before cleared. Then she remembered it was a workday. Shit. No wonder the alarm was screeching.
Damn, her friend Jill, and her demands to go out for drinks.
She hadn’t had more than a couple of cocktails, but evidently, they had been enough to cleave her brain in half, and make the light filtering through her curtains feel like pins stabbing her little voodoo doll’s eyeballs.
Damn Jill and her midweek breakup. Why couldn’t she wait until the weekend to dump her deadbeat boyfriend?
Careful not to jar her screaming brain, she rolled from her bed and shuffled to the bathroom. She needed a drink something fierce. With no glass available, she turned on the faucet and stuck her mouth under the flow. She gulped water like a fish that had jumped out of its bowl and flopped on the floor for several minutes.
Leaning heavily on the vanity, she shut the water off and glanced at her reflection. Jesus! She prayed the dark circles under her eyes was smudged mascara. She pushed away from the sink and started the shower. It was too bad hangovers were frowned upon as a reason to call in sick.
As she headed to her closet, she glanced at the clock and gasped. Where had the time gone? She threw on the first pair of slacks and blouse her fingers touched, thankful they looked good together. Then she grabbed her tennis shoes. There was no way she would get her swollen feet into her heels today. She would just have to hide them under her desk. She didn’t have time to fuss with makeup either. She would have to worry about that once she got to the office.
Sheena had seven minutes to make it to her bus stop, or she’d have to wait for the next one and then she’d be late for work. Running for her front door, she grabbed her purse from the kitchen counter where she’d dropped it the night before and pulled the door shut behind her. A solid click sounded and assured her it locked, and her home would be secure while she was away. Rushing along the sidewalk, she winced and dug for her sunglasses. The sun was overly bright and made her head pound again.
Twenty-eight minutes later, she rushed through her office door. She sat behind her desk and took a minute to catch her breath as she put her purse into the bottom drawer. Before she could ask, her good friend and coworker, the one who talked her into going out the night before, walked in with a steaming cup of coffee.
Jill sat in the chair on the other side of the desk and grinned. “I saw you come in and it looked like you could use a little wake me up juice. You look like hell this morning.”
“Thanks, it’s nice to know I look as bad as I feel. This,” she waved a hand down her body, “is all your fault by the way.”
“I know. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have kept you out so late.”
“We need to make a rule. No going out during the week. I’m exhausted.”
Laughing, Jill stood and headed for the door. “I promise. The next time I need a shoulder to cry on it’ll be on a weekend.”
“Make sure you do that. Are we doing lunch today?”
“I wish. The boss man dropped a crapload of work on my desk that he wants done before I go home. Even if I skip my lunch break, I’ll be lucky to get it all done.”
“Dang. I hate when he does that. The man has no clue how long it takes to do things around here.”
Jill snorted. “I’m not sure he actually works. I mean, have you ever seen him do anything but assign work for everyone else?”
Sheena frowned and sat back. “Now that you mention it, no.”
“Well, I better get cracking if I want to go home before midnight. I’ll talk to you later.”
As Jill walked away, Sheena called out, “Let me know if I can help you with anything.”
Just as she logged into her computer, her cell phone rang. She dug it out of her purse and answered before it went to voicemail. “Good morning, Mom.”
“Sheena! Why haven’t you been answering your phone?” She pulled the phone from her ear and held it at arm’s length. Even with that, her mother’s frantic voice could be heard loud and clear. “I’ve been calling since last night.”
She pressed her fingers to her temples. “I was out last night and didn’t hear it. Why? What’s up?”
“You shouldn’t go out on a work night. I raised you better than that,” her mother admonished.
Sheena rubbed the bridge of her nose as she nodded. “I know, Mom. Don’t worry. I’ve already talked to Jill about not doing it again. Is there a reason you’ve been calling? I really need to get back to work.”
“Of course there’s a reason. You’re in danger. I had a bad feeling, so I pulled some tarot cards for you. The tower, ten of swords, and death came up. I think you should go home immediately and lock your doors until the danger passes.”
Sheena closed her eyes and silently sighed. “Momma, you know I can’t do that. I’ll watch my back and go straight home after work, okay?”
“I’m sorry, Mom. I have to go. Someone’s calling on the office line. I’ll call you later.” She ended the call and tossed her phone in her purse then dug around for her bottle of aspirin. It was going to be a long day.
It was quitting time, and Sheena was more than ready to go home. She’d just pulled her purse from her desk when Jill walked into her office. Damn.
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the boss man wants you to locate a missing shipment. He went on forever about three crates of napkins. You would have thought they were crates of gold bullion.”
“That sounds like him,” Sheena said as she pulled her phone from her purse and then put her bag back in the drawer. “And here I foolishly thought I would get out of here on time. I knew it was too good to be true. If you need me call my cell phone, and if Mr. Moretti checks up on us, tell him I’m looking for the renegade paper products.”
Jill laughed and shook her head. “You got it, girlfriend.”
Having located the runaway napkins, Sheena took her purse from her desk for the second time that day and rolled her shoulders. It had been a particularly trying day. The shipment of shrimp for the Stevens wedding reception arrived spoiled, and the head chef in the kitchen went on a rampage. Then all hell broke loose when a tourist went batshit crazy on the casino floor. Apparently, he lost everything he had to his name at the craps table and thought waving a gun around would get his money back.
She shook her head and sighed. Two years ago, when she’d taken the position of executive assistant to Dante Moretti, she thought she’d hit the jackpot. The salary and benefits were great, and her boss didn’t micromanage her too badly. The problem was, he failed to tell her she would have to deal with an insane chef and crazed gamblers. And that was just what happened today. When she had applied, she’d been shocked the position was available. Now she knew why no one wanted the job.
Que sera, sera. It was Friday, and she had two entire days away from this madness. Shelly, her best friend from college, was in town and wanted to get together. After the day she’d had, she could use a nice meal and a cocktail. Sheena dug for her cell phone so she could tell Shelly she was on her way.
“What the heck?” She dug deeper, still no phone. Finally, she dumped the entire contents onto her desk. That was when she remembered her oh so fun and dusty search of the warehouse and receiving dock. She had been systematically checking labels on boxes when Shelly called. After she hung up, she must have set her phone down.
It looked like she was making a side trip to the receiving dock before she headed out to dinner. Little did she know, forgetting her phone was about to turn her life on its head.
Sheena stood in the elevator and cursed the slow moving contraption. Maybe one of these days her cheapskate employer would listen to her and have it updated to a newer model. The second the doors opened she ran down the long hallway. She was about to round the corner to the loading dock when she heard raised, angry voices. Breathing heavily, she skidded to a stop, behind the stack of pallets where she’d left her phone. Why was Dante down here, and who was he yelling at?
No one could see her crouched behind the boxes, but she could see and hear her boss and the men with a delivery truck through a small space between the stacks. The truck had backed into the bay, and the rear door was rolled open. What the hell! There were at least ten women and what looked like a couple of kids cowering beside a mountain of wooden crates. Was her boss dealing in illegal aliens? But if he was bringing people over the border why would he bring them here?
Sheena reached across the top of the boxes and snagged her phone. She opened the camera function, took a couple of pictures and then started filming. She wanted to be able to show this to Jill. Maybe she knew what was going on and could explain it to her.
“Is there a problem, Mr. Moretti?” The larger of the two men asked anxiously.
Her boss clenched and unclenched his hands. “David, your job is to collect presentable women, pick up the guns, and deliver them to me in usable condition,” Dante barked. He grabbed the back of the man’s neck and shoved him into the back of the truck. “Do these pathetic creatures look or smell usable?”
David covered his nose and slowly shook his head.
Sheena watched as the poor, filthy people in the truck huddled in a corner, quivering. That was when she realized a couple of them were lying on the floor, unmoving.
A breeze kicked up, wafting the stench from the truck around her. Sheena plugged her nose with one hand and held her phone in the other. From the smell permanently stuck in her nose, she knew these people had been in the truck for a long while.
Dante waved his arm at the human cargo. “I pay you to bring me fresh bitches, not street whores and junkies. What the hell do you expect me to do with that lot? None of them are acceptable for my client. Well, except for the kids. I can use them.”
David nodded his head and glanced at her boss before attempting to exit the truck. His body language spoke volumes. He was terrified of Dante.
“Get them out of there so I can get a better look. Maybe one or two will be salvageable.”
Sheena watched as David walked toward the women and children and her boss raised his head and looked off to his left. A car door slammed, and she heard Dante swear under his breath. Then he quickly collected himself and pasted a smile on his face.
She inched her way to the corner of the boxes and watched as a well-dressed man stepped into view. The expression on his face stopped her cold.
Even though he was somewhat attractive with thick black hair and a perfectly trimmed beard, his eyes were scary as hell. He was dressed to the nines. His Tom Ford suit and Salvatore Ferragamo shoes were worth more than her car. And except for the henchmen flanking him with shoulder holsters, he looked like any other wealthy businessman.
“Mr. Comeaux, sir. I didn’t expect to see you today.”
“I’m sure you didn’t. Which is why I’m here. After your last less than satisfactory delivery, I decided to take a more hands-on interest in the business. From the condition of your cargo, I made the right decision. It appears you’re going to be late with my delivery. So, tell me. Who is responsible for disappointing me? Who do I need to kill?”
“David. Who was in charge of collecting this shipment?”
“Jeremy,” David yelled from the darkness.
Dante scowled and yelled at the truck cab. “Jeremy, get your sorry ass out here.”
A scrawny young man came from the other side of the truck. He kept his head down, never making eye contact. “Yes, sir?”
Sheena watched in horror as Dante raised a gun and shot Jeremy in the head. Her body jerked instinctively, and she slapped a hand over her mouth. He shot him! Dante just shot a man! Shaking terribly, she took a step back. She pinched her lips shut and closed her eyes, blocking the scene from her sight. But even with them closed she saw the murder over and over in her mind.
A young girl of about fifteen stumbled from the dark interior toward Dante. Her shirt was soiled and torn, and the crotch of her jeans was stained with urine. She stumbled to a stop with her arms wrapped around her protectively. Her gaze darted left and right as if looking for a path to freedom. From twenty feet away, Sheena could see fear darkened the young girl’s eyes. For a moment, Sheena wondered where the girl was from. Were her parents looking for her, or had she lived alone and scared on the streets? No, she doubted they snatched her from the streets. The girl’s clothes weren’t those of a prostitute, and she didn’t have the physical appearance of someone strung out on drugs.
She had to do something. These people needed help. She silenced her phone so the men wouldn’t hear her tapping numbers and called 911. She couldn’t speak without being heard, so she left the operator to listen to what was happening and prayed they would be able to trace the call and pinpoint her location. With the police listening in, she pressed record again and continued to capture the crime in progress. She tried to calm her shaking so the image would be clear when she played it for the police.
David headed back into the truck. Her intuition told her, whatever happened next she needed to capture on her phone. She checked the screen to verify she had the entire scene in view and waited.
“It’s show time. Move it,” David barked orders at the women and children.
“No! Don’t touch him.” A woman yelled.
Then Sheena heard a fist hitting flesh and a cry of pain. A moment later, David appeared. He held a struggling woman by her arm and the back of her neck, herding the captives like cattle. A little boy of about six cried and yanked with all his might, trying to free the woman who must be his mother. Both bore cuts and bruises on their faces and arms. And the woman had fresh blood dripping from her nose and busted lip.
“Hold it right there,” David snapped when they reached the edge of the truck doors. He shoved the woman he held to her knees and pushed the boy forward so the men could get a good look.
The women whimpered and sobbed. They clutched each other with tears streaming down their faces. The woman David held turned her head toward the boy and caught sight of her. Apparently, she wasn’t hidden as well as she’d thought. Sheena put a finger to her lips and shook her head. She gave Sheena a slight nod and turned away. Then she opened her mouth and yelled at the top of her lungs. “Help us! Someone help us. We’ve been kidnapped!”
“Silence her!” Mr. Moretti shouted.
David pulled a gun with a long silencer on the barrel from his waistband and pressed it the woman’s temple. A popped sounded, and gore splattered the wall. He dropped the body like it was trash and grabbed the boy before he could go to his mother.
Mr. Comeaux scowled at the menagerie of humanity. “I told you unpresentable merchandise would not be accepted.”
“I understand, sir. If you give me a day or two, I’ll personally oversee replacing your order with exceptional product. I have a new supplier, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased with what I bring to you.”
Mr. Comeaux stared at Dante for a moment and then nodded. “You have two days. You will bring me three additional whores for my trouble. This is your last chance. Don’t fail again.” Then he signaled his bodyguards forward and pointed at each woman or child one by one. With each gunshot, Sheena flinched. When he finished, only two women and three children drew breath. All of the others lay lifeless in a heap at David’s feet.
Mr. Comeaux glanced at his men. “Put them in one van and have the crew transfer the guns into the other.” Then he turned to Dante. “These will keep you alive for another day.”
Sheena hadn’t seen any vans. But then, the truck took up most of the open bay. The situation had gone from bad to horrifying, and the police were nowhere in sight. If she didn’t get out of there, she would be the next person to eat a bullet. As she turned to tiptoe away, she bumped the top box, and it teetered.
“Hey! Someone’s in there,” David yelled and leapt from the trucks bed.
She gasped and glanced behind her. Both Dante and David had their arms extended toward her. The afternoon sunshine reflected off of the metal of their guns. She screamed and ran for the storage room door.
“Stop her,” Dante yelled.
Sheena jumped when the thump of a bullet struck an inch from her head. She burst through the doors and ran for the emergency exit next to the elevator. Bullets whistled past. Holes bloomed on the wall where they embedded. With each shot, the bullets came closer to striking her.
“Sheena! Damn it, David. Kill that bitch.” She heard Dante yell as she rushed from the building and into the street. She stumbled over the cracked sidewalk, unable to see in the suddenly blinding sunshine. Panic had her scrambling around the corner of the building and running for Canal Street. The more people she could find, the better. Dante wouldn’t dare shoot her in front of an audience. She thanked God for her sneakers. She would have been toast in her heels.
The noise from the traffic and throng of humanity grew louder with each step. Other than blending into the crowd, she didn’t have a plan or a final destination. She just kept running until she couldn’t take another step. Her lungs burned, and leg muscles screamed. Gasping for breath, she forced her legs to keep moving, watching over her shoulder for signs that Dante’s goon was following.
Sheena’s eyes grew wide. Shit! Was that David?
If it were possible, her heart would pound harder than it already was. A man with the same build and hair color as Dante’s lackey was weaving through the crowd. Every so often, she caught a glimpse of the man.
Suddenly, she crashed into a wall of muscle and froze. Large hands wrapped around both of her upper arms. Her first thought was Dante, or one of his men had caught her. Though she was weak and lightheaded from running, she struggled with all her might.
“Whoa. What’s the rush?” a deep male voice asked.
She glanced at his face as she opened her mouth to scream. Relief flooded her body. It wasn’t Dante or one of his goons. She’d run smack dab into a police officer’s chest. A colossal police officer, to be exact. The man had to be several inches over six feet tall, and his arms looked like he could bench press a dump truck.
“They’re…” She sucked in a breath and swallowed. Then she tried to explain again. “They’re after me. If they catch me, they’ll kill me.”
She watched his expression darken as he scanned the pedestrians. “Who’s after you?”
“My boss and his goons,” she panted out. Then to her eternal horror, her legs buckled. She dropped to the sidewalk and landed on his feet.
His brows pulled together as he helped her to stand. “Why would your employer want to kill you?”
“I saw him murder some people.” She glanced back the way she’d come and squeaked. “Oh my God, there’s David!” She tried to pry her arm loose from his hold. “Let go of me. I have to get out of here.”
The officer pulled his gun. “Point him out. I’ll handle him.”
“Him. The guy with the black crew cut and red T-shirt.”
He released her arm and stepped in front of her so David wouldn’t see her. “Stay behind me.”
Sheena grabbed the back of the officer’s shirt and did as she was told.
“Damn it,” he cursed under his breath.
She saw his head turn slightly toward the hands-free speaker/microphone attached to his shoulder. He radioed dispatch and gave a detailed description of David and the direction he’d gone.
When he finished his report, he turned his attention back to her. “By the way, I’m officer Dupré.”
She wrung her hands and continued to stare down the sidewalk. “Thank you, for protecting me. I’m Sheena Savoy.”
She jumped when she felt a hand at the small of her back. “Come on. I need a full account of what happened.”
Three hours ago, she told her heroic officer exactly what she had seen in painstaking detail. Said officer promptly turned white and rushed to get a detective. Halfway through her second telling, the detective turned an unusual shade of gray and turned her over to his sergeant. Surprise, surprise. The instant she said Dante Moretti’s name, he cleared his throat and pulled at his necktie.
“Miss Savoy, I apologize in advance. I know you’ve already spoken to a few people, but I need you to speak to one more. I won’t be a minute.”
So, here she sat in the world’s most uncomfortable chair, waiting to tell her story to yet another person in the New Orleans police hierarchy. At this rate, she would be here until Monday. Maybe, she had been shot, and she was in hell?
She sighed and stood to stretch her legs. There was a shelf on the far side of the room with framed photos of various sizes. They gave the otherwise sterile space a touch of home. Whoever used the office must spend a lot of time here. She ran her finger along the shelf, touching a photo here and there. What stood out was the lack of a woman in the photos. There was a man who appeared in a few and two children at various ages, but no woman. The owner of the space must be widowed or divorced.
Ten minutes later, Sheena was about to leave when the sergeant returned with bottled water and two men she had yet to meet.
He waved to a short, stout man and said, “Miss Savoy, this is Commander Blanchard.” Then he indicated the other man. “And this is Marshal Bastien Benoit.”
The commander didn’t look happy about something. She wondered if she’d interrupted his day. Determined to get this over with, she forced a smile and offered her hand to the men. “Please. Call me Sheena.”
Marshal Benoit sat a duffle bag on the floor, reached for her outstretched hand, and smiled. “All right, if you call me Bast.”
They each shook her hand and moved to take a seat. The commander sat behind the desk and the marshal next to her. Then she heard the click of the door as the sergeant left the room.
The commander was nothing to write home about, but Bast was one of the handsomest men she’d ever seen. She glanced at his left hand and smiled. He was single, too. Sheena sighed and leaned forward. “Please tell me I can go home soon.”
She glanced from one man to the other. She took a double take when she found Bast looking at her intensely with a smile on his face. No one had smiled at her since she walked through the door. Finally, someone without a stick up his ass.
The commander cleared his throat, leaned forward, and folded his hands. “Thank you for being so patient, Miss Savoy. My men filled me in, and I’m not going to beat around the bush. We’ve been watching your boss for some time. He’s the most powerful mob boss in the city. Until today, we didn’t have a shred of evidence against him.”
Sheena’s mouth fell open. “What?”
He sat back in his chair and stared at her for a moment. “Are you trying to tell me, you’ve been his secretary for the past couple of years, and you didn’t know what kind of business he was in?”
She narrowed her eyes on the arrogant commander and folded her arms across her chest. “I was hired as a Casino employee. I wasn’t involved or privy to anything other than that.”
He looked less than convinced of her honesty and snorted. “For your sake, I hope that’s true.” Then he tapped a finger on a thick file he’d placed on the desk. “Dante Moretti not only traffics guns internationally, he also has one of the largest human trafficking operations. It seems you were an eyewitness to both today.”
Sheena gasped. “I was afraid of that. Did you catch him? Has he been arrested?”
He frowned and shook his head. “When my men arrived on the scene, both Moretti and the truck were gone. That’s why Marshal Benoit is here. We need to stash you in a safe house until Moretti is in custody.”
Her brows pulled together. “A safe house?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Bast said quietly. “My men and I will make sure nothing happens to you. Mr. Moretti is going to put a lot of energy into silencing you. It’s my job to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
“Are you telling me, he’s going to keep coming after me?”
The commander folded his arms and nodded. “After what you saw today, he’s going to do everything in his power to silence you.”
She winced and rubbed her temples. Her head ached, and everything was moving too fast. They were wrong. They had to be wrong. “This can’t be happening,” she mumbled.
Bast scowled at the commander and turned more fully toward her and laid his hand on the arm of her chair. “I’m not going to lie to you, Sheena, whether you testify or not, you’re number one on Moretti’s hit list. Accepting my protection is the only way you’re going to survive. You will testify, right?”
She closed her eyes and held back the tears that threatened to escape as the images of the frightened women and children replayed in her mind. “I won’t let him get away with what he’s doing to those people. The memory of that man shooting them in the head will haunt me forever.” She opened her eyes and glanced from Bast’s compassionate expression to glare at the commander. “Nothing will stop me from testifying.”
“Thank you, Sheena.”
The commander pulled a form from the file with the words Witness statement in bold letters across the top and picked up a pen. “While Marshal Benoit’s men make arrangements for you, perhaps you can give us the rest of your statement.”
Sheena huffed out a breath. “I’ve already told your men everything.”
“It’s my experience, Miss Savoy. There’s always more. Often, small facts are remembered over time. Think hard. Is there anything, no matter how inconsequential it may seem that you haven’t told us?”
When she folded her arms and glared at the commander, Bast placed his hand on the arm of her chair again. “Please, Sheena. Maybe if you close your eyes and try to replay the event like a movie in your mind something will shake loose.”
She nodded and did as he asked. Suddenly her eyes flew open. “My phone! I totally forgot about it. I took some pictures and video.” She reached for her purse and froze. “Shit, my purse is still in my desk drawer. Between my employee file and what’s in my purse, they have all my information. They even have my keys!”
“Tell me the phone isn’t in your purse.” The commander asked in a frantic voice.
“No, it’s in my pocket.”
“Good. Don’t worry about your purse. Like you said, they already had your information in your employee records. As for your keys, you won’t be going home, anyway.”
“Has anyone ever mentioned you have a terrible bedside manner?” Sheena growled.
“Many times. Now, can we see what you have on your phone?”
Sheena didn’t like the commander. Not one bit, but she did what he asked. The sooner this was over with the sooner she could get the heck out of the police station. She went to the few photos and passed the phone to Bast who flipped through them and then handed it to the commander.
For the first time, the commander smiled. “You said there was video, too?”
Sheena held out her hand for the phone and brought up the videos. “I started and stopped a couple of times, so there are a few.”
Both men replayed each a few times, and then the commander handed it back to her. “Would you please send the pictures and videos to me?” He wrote his email on a slip of paper and slid it across the desk.
“Would you send them to me as well?” Bast asked.
The commander’s face darkened, but he quickly plastered a small smile on his face that looked more like a grimace on him. “Sending it to me should be enough, don’t you agree, Marshal?”
Bast raised an eyebrow at the commander. “No, I don’t agree.” Then he recited his email address.
It took a minute or two, but she was able to forward all the evidence to both of them. When she glanced up, the commander had his hand out toward her.
“I’ll need to take your phone as evidence.”
“What? No. I’m not giving you my phone.”
“I’m sorry Miss Savoy, it wasn’t a request.”
“You really suck, you know that. Is someone going to buy me a new one?”
The commander busily made notes in the file. Without bothering to look at her, he grunted. “Perhaps when this is over. Until then, you aren’t allowed to make calls, anyway. Please excuse me. I need to get this to my lead investigator.”
She glared daggers into the commander’s back as he left with her sole way of communication with her friends and family. She tried very hard to find good in all people. Negative vibes and thoughts were never a good idea, but that man rankled her resolve. Then she turned her attention to Bast. Finally close to leaving, she was able to relax a little.
When he’d first walked into the office, she’d noticed he was a very good-looking man. Now that she could study him, she realized he was much more than that. Bast was just her type. He was a rugged manly man. She wanted to run her fingers through his full head of ginger hair and mess it up. It was neatly styled to look professional, but not business boring like the police officers she’d seen today. His eyes were friendly and her favorite color, a lovely grayish-blue. Her grandmother had had eyes that color. He had a delicious full beard, too. Her body shivered as she imagined that scruff against her skin. She could just picture him on the cover of a romance novel in a kilt.
“What are you thinking about?” he asked.
His question jolted her out of her improper thoughts. Blushing, she cleared her throat. “Nothing. Just wondering where I’m being taken,” she lied.
He stood and walked to the only window in the office and looked out into the darkness. “We have a safe house not far from here on the edge of the bayou. It’s isolated and easily defended if necessary. Two of my team are there now, and I have a third man waiting in a bulletproof SUV outside. There’s nothing to worry about, Sheena. I’ll keep you safe.”
“I’m glad I’ll be leaving with you and not someone like the commander. I don’t think that man likes me very much. I’ve never met a marshal before. You’re different than I expected someone in witness protection would be.” Then she laughed softly and shook her head. “I guess I’ve seen too many movies.”