Los Angeles, Wednesday, February 27th.
Once again, Judy pushed the children through the terminal in a luggage cart, and John wheeled the two suitcases behind them, wondering in what guise Geistmann would turn up. His first guess was another baggage attendant, this one with bigger feet. But Geistmann might accost him in any number of disguises.
LAX was a larger, busier airport than Vancouver's YVR. Since the Robinsons had almost two hours in which to go through Security twice, find the shuttle bus, and check in for their NY flight, they were in no particular hurry. As they tried to follow the confusing signs to the shuttle stop, a sweating, white-haired senior citizen dressed in what used to be called a "full Cleveland" -- i.e. a polyester leisure suit with a white patent leather belt and matching shoes -- limped up to John. The man was either a golf-playing senior or an international criminal and prankster.
"Excuse me," he said. Robinson stopped. "Do you know which gate the flight to Palm Springs leaves from?" The man thrust an envelope with the logo of an airline towards Robinson. He was the right height and build, and his feet were the right size.
Without taking the envelope, Robinson smiled, and replied, "Sorry, sir, we're from New York. You should ask an attendant. There's one right over there." He gestured to a man in an official-looking uniform about fifty feet away -- a pilot, a purser, or something -- leaning against a counter. The man was about sixty, and looked familiar: medium height, stocky build, with a complexion and bone structure that might mean he was a Native American. Clearly, not Geistmann! Then, Robinson recognized the man. Although he had not seen Hank Yazzie in more than a decade, he was sure it was him -- ten pounds heavier, more wrinkles and gray hair, but him.
Without saying more, the old man limped off in "the official's" direction. If the old man was Geistmann, assuming he had detected the presumed FBI surveillance, he would either disappear, or make a complicated detour before further attempts at contact with Robinson -- unless he was once again intentionally flirting with danger.
Robinson did not know what to think. So he hurried after Judy and the children, who were still in sight. Going through Security again, then exiting Terminal One, the family took the shuttle to Terminal Two, and went through Security for the third time that day. With more than an hour to spare before the check-in for New York opened, they chose a café and found an outside table, alongside which Robinson stood the suitcases. Menus, full glasses of water, and place settings were already on the table. John and Judy opened their menus, while the children moved their silverware around, silently continuing an obscure game they had developed during the many restaurant meals in Canberra.
Almost before they were seated, a female server approached the table. She was tall, thin, and must have been forty or fifty. Robinson noticed that her uniform, the same one that the other servers wore, did not fit her well. It was too baggy.
"'Evening, folks," she said. "Or is it still afternoon?" She looked at her watch and seemed confused. "Huh! Anyway, are you ready to ... "
Robinson was sure the server was Geistmann. That the disguise reprised the one he had worn at Shendandoah Park in 2008 he took to be a sign that the psychopath was growing old. "At exactly the same rate as I am," he thought, "not to mention every other living thing." The giveaway was his trademark colorful track shoes. Robinson was about to acknowledge the identification when, without another word, the server darted away from their table, and sprinted back inside the restaurant. Out of the corner of his eye, Robinson saw Hank Yazzie again, this time about ten yards away. Hank looked reluctant to follow Geistmann. Hitting a button on his phone, he spoke urgently, but calmly. Presumably, he was relaying Geistmann's location to the other members of the surveillance team.
At that moment, the children seemed to reach a decisive moment in their obscure game. Pointing her large dinner fork at her brother, Amy cried, "Bang, you're dead, George!" Apparently acknowledging defeat, George closed his eyes and dropped his head onto his chest.
If readers are interested in Reading Geistmann, it is available as a free PDF from the author. Please visit www.ronsinger.net for contact information.
And Geistmann in Africa (Geistman II):
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