“Yeah, I don’t like it one bit!” James Ford grumbled.

“Oh, Bam will behave,” Pebbles replied, “he’s all business!”

“Its not Bam that I’m worried about!” Ford answered.

“Oh, everything will be okay,” Pebbles smiled, “I know it’s a prerequisite for a father to worry about his daughter, especially around any young men, but I assure you, Bam can handle Clementine!”

“You don’t know Clementine!” Ford answered

“Oh, like you do?!” Pebbles answered, “haven’t you been absent all of her life!”

“Yeah! Yeah!” Ford sarcastically replied, “but I still think it was a mistake taking her on board! She’s too young and too easily distracted and she’ll make a mistake that’ll cost us! You’re taking a big chance bringing her along!”

“Well, I know I may have slightly complicated your own little “project” involving her, by pressuring you to let her join us,” Pebbles said, “but I really believe she does have potential and when I made that determination, during the fashion show, I didn’t know, at that time, she was your daughter! However, I’m taking an even bigger chance bringing you along, James!”

A puzzled look spread across Ford’s face.

“Me?!” he replied, “why are you taking a chance with me?!”

“Well, correct me if I’m wrong, Mr. Ford,” Pebbles stated, “but the last I heard about you was that you had been extradited to Australia and had been sentenced for murder!

Now here it is, a few years later, and you show up at my door, looking for work! Do they have an early release program for good behavior for convicted murderers in Australia that I’m not aware of?!”

Ford frowned.

“I always run an updated background check on everyone I consider working with,” Pebbles explained, “including those I’ve worked with before!”

“Yeah, well,” Ford began, “I sorta took a “vacation”. Australia can make a man claustrophobic, after a while. Especially in a cell!”

“That’s why I’m taking the biggest chance with you, James,” Pebbles explained, “working with an international fugitive! You’re not only an escaped convict but you’re an escaped convicted murderer!

You’re face is in every international police database around! Now, I’m willing to take that chance because I’ve worked with you in the past and know that you know your business!

You’re one of the best ‘Canons’ around! But make no mistake, if anything goes wrong and if I even suspect that you’ve been made, I’ll cut you loose so fast, that I’ll be in the next state before they finish clicking the handcuffs on you!”

“Don’t worry,” Ford answered, “I can change my appearance. I clean up real good!”

“You’d better!” Pebbles scolded, “have you told Clementine that you’re on the run?!”

“No!” Ford angrily replied, “and she don’t need to know! And don’t you tell her!”

“Oh, I won’t,” Pebbles said, “but if you go down, I’m not letting you take this team down with you!”

“Duly noted!” Ford softly replied, “and I’ll promise you one thing, if you’ll promise me another!”

“What’s that?” Pebbles replied.

“I promise,” Ford began, “that if, by any chance, I do get made during any part of this operation, I’ll lead the cops away from the team as fast as I can! But you hafta promise me that if that happens, you’ll get Clementine outta there as fast as you can! Can you promise me that?!”

“Yes, James,” Pebbles responded, “I can promise you that!”

Next: Chap. 12 “A Walk in the Park”

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