Jazz approached nearby police officers. They were in the process of releasing a man driving a badly dented robin blue car.
He pulled a badge from his coat.
“Anyone see a girl running out of the bank?”
The police officers shook their heads. However, the man in the car seemed to take a great interest.
Jazz walked down the street, searching the crowd. Down the road, he noticed four men in black suits. Their formal wear stood out in the summertime crowd.
Approaching an ambulance, they wheeled someone out on a gurney. Getting a closer look, Jazz saw the person was Samba.
“Stop!” he yelled to the men.
They climbed into the ambulance, paying no attention to him. The vehicle took off, siren blaring.
Jazz ran after them as the ambulance weaved into traffic. It maneuvered expertly through the other cars, quickly leaving him behind.
A small blue car swerved in front of Jazz, almost knocking him over. The window rolled down.
“Grab the cat and get in,” came a cockney-accented voice.
“Who are you?” said Jazz.
He watched Lupin jump into the car without hesitation. The driver put the car into gear.
“You want to save the girl, get in,” said Jack.
Jazz hesitated. He barely knew anything about her, much less this man proposing pursuit.
Throwing caution to the wind, Jazz opened the door and got in. Before he could speak, Jack hit the gas.
Speeding the car through traffic, he jumped a sidewalk to catch the ambulance. He looked straight ahead, talking as he drove.
“What’s your interest in the girl?”
Jazz clung to the handhold. He didn’t dare go for the seatbelt.
“She’s in trouble with a very dangerous criminal,” he said, his voice an octave higher. “What about you? What’s your role?”
“I’m her uncle.” Jack pointed at his face. “See the resemblance?”
“No,” said Jazz.
They pulled even with the ambulance. Jazz reached into his pocket and pulled out his badge. Hanging out the window, he held it up to the driver’s window.
Jazz got a good look at the driver. The man was of an Asian descent, his only identifiable feature due to his dark suit and sunglasses.
Without warning, the driver jerked the wheel. He swerved towards them. Jack pulled Jazz back into the car with one hand, expertly dodging with the other.
“Reach into the glove box,” said Jack.
Jazz opened it to find a mobile GPS.
“Excuse me lad,” said Jack. Reaching inside, Jack removed a small object. In one smooth motion, he tossed it out the window. It attached to the side of the ambulance.
“The paramedic tried to hit us!” Jazz exclaimed.
“They’re not paramedics,” said Jack, “they’re a rival faction.”
“What are you, spies?” said Jazz.
“No, thieves. But I have been know to freelance.”
The ambulance’s erratic movements forced cars into their path. Unable to stay behind it, Jack pulled their car into oncoming traffic.
“How are you doing this?” said Jazz.
“This is nothing,” said Jack, “I once drove a Mini through Turin with a bullion full of lolly.”
“I literally didn’t understand a word you just said.”
The little blue car dipped and weaved between cars, narrowly avoiding head on collisions.
“You never answered my question,” Jack said, his voice oddly calm. “What’s your part in all this?”
Jazz clutched the armrest. He swore he could see the whites of the eyes of shocked drivers as the car narrowly avoided them.
“I’m part of an Interpol task force assigned to apprehend the Gentleman.”
Jack’s smile disappeared.
“Ah, I’ve never been much of a fan of Interpol. Nor they of me.”
The ambulance went around a hairpin corner.
“Turn right here,” said the GPS.
Jack cut the wheel hard. Cutting through a break in traffic, he ducked the car down an alleyway.
“If you have information that can help us, you need to tell me,” said Jazz.
The GPS chirped. A disinterested woman’s voice came from it.
“Disruption ahead. Use caution.”
Jazz looked forward. All he could see was the ground in front of them dropped out. Before he could shout, they went over the edge.
The car descended down a flight of stairs. Everything not tied down in the car went flying. Lupin launched up and down with every bump. Jack started laughing.
“I know I gave her a hard time, but this car is actually holding up pretty well.”
Jazz lost his grip on the GPS. Catching a bump, it launched into the roof, then back down into the console. Jazz picked it up, checking for damage.
“You broke it!” said Jack.
To his horror, Jazz began banging it against the console. The GPS chirped back to life.
“Donde esta la biblioteca?”
“You speak Spanish?” said Jazz.
Jack shook his head.
“Portuguese, Hindi, Arabic and Aramaic.”
“But not Spanish?”
“You’re the American.”
Jazz thought for a second.
They came out of the alleyway. Jack hit the brake, turning sharply. They drifted into traffic, nearly clipping several cars. To his amazement, Jazz saw they were next to the ambulance.
Riding side by side with their quarry, they raced down an open road. Lights and sirens sprang up behind them. Jazz looked back.
“Looks like you have another fan,” he said.
One police vehicle closed in on them. Jack looked in the mirror, then at the ambulance. He turned away from the ambulance, heading down a side street.
“What are doing?” said Jazz. “You’re losing them!”
“I can follow the tracker later. I’m pretty sure I know where they’re going.”
Jack nimbly moved them through side streets and back alleys. The officer behind them managed to keep pace.
“Looks like he knows the area well,” said Jazz.
“That’s why we’re taking a shortcut.”
Jack pulled onto a main road. Jazz noticed spectator stands lined the streets. Workers prepped the surroundings for a coming celebration.
Jazz returned the worker’s stunned looks.
“Through the sambadrone?”
In front of them a parade float blocked the full length of the road. Behind them the police car braked to a stop, blocking their escape.
“Only way out!” said Jack.
They drove up the float’s ramp at the rear. Reaching the top, they smashed through the center arch. Their speed was so great it propelled them down the front, streamers flying around the car.
Out of the gathering space, Jack pulled down an empty side street and entered a parking lot. Pulling the parking brake, Jack spun the car into one last circle, coming to a stop at the end corner of the lot. To anyone who didn’t observe their dramatic entrance, it appeared the car had been parked for some time.
Not a second later the police car from earlier roared past them.
Once the street became quiet again, Jack reached over and opened Jazz’s door.
“Here’s where you get off mate.”
Jazz reached out and closed the door.
“You’re messing with something started long ago,” said Jack, “something you can’t possibly understand.”
Jack was taken aback. Jazz continued.
“About fifteen years ago, something happened. The Gentleman, Samba, everything goes back to that event.”
He paused for a second.
“The Rome Heist.”
Jack’s tone softened. He spoke to Jazz in an almost admiring voice.
“How do you know about that?”
“I was there. With Gousseau.”
Jack’s face lightened up. He sat back in his seat and smiled.
“Now there’s a name that brings back memories.”
He turned to Jazz.
“You’re not going to back down on this, are you?”
Jazz shook his head.
“Not until justice is served.”
“Sure it’s not because you’re head over heels for her?”
Jazz sputtered. He struggled for words.
“You want to know what happened?” said Jack. “Listen carefully.”