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The chronological order of my stories is as follows:
Todd & Melina series, Interludes 1-5, Sperm Wars series, Russian Roulette series, Case of the Murdered Lovers series, Case of the Murdered Chessplayer series, The Swap series, Interludes 6-10, Case of the Black Widow series, Teresa’s Christmas Story.
The Case of the Black Badge, Ch. 1-5
Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.
This story contains graphic scenes, extreme language, and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial or racist language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.
Part 32 – Meanwhile, Back To The Investigation
The memo came out at 8:00am three days after Daniel Allgood’s announcement, stating that Steven Ikea was returning to the Town & County Police Force, would be promoted to Lieutenant, and would be taking over the Vice Squad.?
Rarely have I seen the level of gloom such as that which overcame both MCD and Vice. I heard everything from promises to resign, to threats to go on strike to threats of doing Ikea bodily harm if he showed up. Such was the poisonous effect of the name ‘Steven Ikea’.
It was only when Tanya Perlman popped into MCD a half hour later and was handed the memo for her evaluation, did the truth come out.
“It’s April Fool’s Day, guys.” Tanya said. “This has gotta be a hoax.” I was disappointed that no one else figured it out… and I realized I really needed to get Tanya back into MCD and utilize her talents more… her police talents, of course…
The atmosphere in the Headquarters improved immediately. I was accosted as the perpetrator of that hoax, but pled innocence. It was only when Cindy and I went to the Chief’s office and saw his mustaches twitching as he failed to hide his merriment that we discovered the prankster. And they say Chief Griswold has no sense of humor…
It was the next day and no April Fool’s joke when Jack Muscone of the FBI called me from the City and reported that the young female agent we had captured had committed suicide.
“She was brought into Court for her arraignment without handcuffs, per procedure. As soon as she was free, she attacked her guards then went for a deputy’s gun. She fired at four people, including the judge, then put the gun to her own head and killed herself.” Jack reported. “Fortunately for us, no one else was seriously wounded, though the deputy was shot in the hand.”
“Did you find out anything else about her?” I asked.
“Only that you might have been right about her entering the FBI as a mole from the start.” Jack said, then stated: “We found several extra sets of IDs in her apartment, and one of those was the owner of a bank account at her college where a pretty good bit of money had been deposited. We haven’t yet traced where the money came from, but it’s a pretty clear bet she was working for someone even before coming into the FBI. Any ideas, Don?”
“Birmingham.” I replied. “Either she’s an agent of a foreign government, or a domestic group you’ve been watching…” I was not specific, as we were not on secure phones.
“Why would she kill herself?” Muscone asked. “That’s pretty extreme.” It was a good question, and one that would require some serious thought…
The next Monday morning I entered Classroom ‘E’, which was fast becoming the home of MCD meetings as it was behind the MCD room via a side hallway. Vice was using Classroom ‘C’, which was just down the hallway. Inside Classroom ‘E’ sat Detectives Martin Nash, Theo Washington and Diana Torres.
Martin opened the meeting with his progress report. “We’ve been looking for any reports of large blood spots where Carroll and that other guy might have been killed. It’s well over a month since the killings now, but we started two weeks ago. Patrolmen Morton, Rudistan, McGhillie and Johnson have been really working it on their patrols, asking people about it. We also have been able to get a look inside a lot of businesses by going with the Public Health Department officials on so-called ‘routine’ health inspections. They’ve been very cooperative lately, and I’m not sure why.”
I answered: “That’s because the newly-elected Sheriff will be overseeing the Public Health Department, which the Council in their infinite wisdom placed under Public Safety. So I’m thinking they want to get some puppy points with the Sheriff by working with the Police. But I digress… you were saying, Martin?”
“Yes, sir,” Martin said, continuing his report, “we’ve gone in many places asking about blood from animal slaughters. That’s the narrative we created. But no one has seen anything unusual at all. The only operating animal processing plants are south of here, in or near Junction Station. No one there Bahçelievler Escort reported anything out of the ordinary, nor any trespassers.”
Junction Station was once a town but was now barely more than a small collection of buildings on one street which now housed one restaurant, an antique shop and a pottery-making business. It was near the main road that led South to Coltrane County. You’d miss it if you blinked.
“You’ve done very good work canvassing the area.” I said. “Anything else any of you might have learned from all this?”
“Just this.” said Theo Washington. “I went with the officers to the predominately black areas in the southwest part of town. They don’t fully know me or trust me, but they’re happy to see a black Detective on the Force. They know Captain Malone was a racist and that he was keeping blacks from rising in the Force. The jury’s still out on you, Lieutenant, but you got some points helping acquit Nathaniel Jones.”
“What’s the vibe in those areas?” I asked.
“A lot of tension.” Theo replied. “It’s more than just the County, of course, and it’s not yet what I’d call a boiling point, but there’s a lot of tension with this Sheriff election, and with the overall Court system after the Jones case. Reginald B.F. Lewis and Malinda Adams are trying hard to stir up a hornet’s nest for their election purposes. Part of their problem is that Malone’s running as a Democrat, and a lot of blacks may sit out the election, as they won’t vote for a Republican either, no matter who it is. Lewis and Adams are both running unopposed, but other Democrats might get hurt if blacks sit out of this Election.”
“Thanks for that info.” I said. “Now guys, I want to show you one of what Detective Ross would call ‘my little tricks’. I want all of you to put yourself in the minds of the murderers of Carroll and Blondie. Think to yourselves where you would go to kill them and hide a large amount of blood that was released when they were killed. We know they were transported to the King & Ebenezer Food Industries site, so where would you do the killings?” After a few minutes of such ‘meditation’, they gave their ideas.
Diana Torres started. “I’m thinking somewhere out on the farms, where they wouldn’t be seen and the blood would be soaked into the ground.
“The only thing that comes to my mind,” said Martin Nash, “is that it’s some place where water can be used to clean up the mess, especially blood in the cars that transported the bodies to King & Ebenezer. Maybe a car wash.”
“Hey, what about the County Maintenance Facility?” Theo said as the thought hit him. “They have washing facilities there. Captain Malone could get access to it, as well.”
“Not bad, all of you.” I said. “As to the farms, isolated areas would be good, but the farmers are always on the lookout for strange cars passing on their lands. Remember how quickly a farmer spotted activity that led us to Jefferson Jackson’s body? They also look for animal signs, and likely would’ve noticed a disturbance in their crops or any large amount of blood. But it’s an idea, and a good one, Diana, and I’m not discounting it.”
“As to the car wash idea, it’s good too.” I said. “Yes, someplace where water could be used to wash away evidence of the really gruesome crimes committed. But let’s go further: the County Maintenance Facility runs 24 hours and people are all over the place. The Water Works facility is in constant operation and is also constantly guarded at all times. If the crimes were committed in this County, it’d have to be in a place where the victims’ screams weren’t heard. So I’m looking for a place that is not in a population center, not routinely used or guarded all night, has water that can be used to wash down the crime scene…”
I then told them my idea. They agreed with me that it was a very likely place…
“Well, this office is a damn sight better than your last one.” Sgt. Bill Hanson said as he entered my office. Sitting down at my invitation, he said “I had to pry myself in and out of that little one with a shoehorn.”
“Yes, it’s definitely more roomy.” I said, not saying that those offices were not built for men as large as Sgt. Hanson. “What can I do for you?”
“I just came up to let you know what we’re doing in I.A.” Sgt. Hanson said. “With Lt. Allgood running for Sheriff, Detective Curly Goodwin is taking over. Allgood was pretty good, but Goodwin is the real deal. He’s already making things better ‘down there’.”
“Good.” I said. “And I think Allgood is going to be an ideal Sheriff. So tell me what you came up to talk about – Smith and Wesson.”
Sgt. Hanson showed no shock that I’d guessed the reason for his contact with me. “Yes, and getting right to it: we’ve been watching them very closely, as well as Officer Jeremy Hatch, but so far we’re not getting anything. We’ve followed them via their GPS recorders, we’ve examined all of their logs, and we’ve had people following them on their patrols almost daily. They’re as clean Bahçelievler Escort Bayan as anybody else right now. In fact, we’re suspicious that they may be onto us.”
“I’m not surprised to hear that they may have gone dormant again.” I said. “With Malone running for Sheriff, they may have been told to lay low. By the way, how are things in Vice without Malone, so far?”
“The team is doing okay. You’re not inserting yourself there too fast, so they’re not too agitated. We in I.A. have about come to the determination that Sharples is a nutjob, but other than that they’re doing okay. What I am worried about is that they may not be developing leads like they used to, what with Malone’s influence missing, and drug pushers might start trying to come back into the County.”
I thought about that one. Whether or not Sergeant Hanson’s comment were a reproach to me or not, I knew that I needed to really get going with Vice. Malone might still be controlling drug access to the County, but without actually being in charge of Vice, his grip might soften…
Part 33 – Deal With The Devil
Henry R. Wargrave looked out the windows of his penthouse office in the City, enjoying the spectacular views as he waited for his next guest. Normally, he did not wait for guests, but this one was important and special.
He had been going over the data that his small army of private investigators had uncovered about Michael and Eleanor Burke’s son Jack. He read with great interest about Jack Burke’s exploits in college, the incident with the girl Ivy, and his subsequent years of living off the grid in a desperate attempt to hide from certain people.
The only disappointment: it had been impossible to trace the girl Ivy; it was if she had vanished off the face of the earth. Wargrave knew he had more work to do, work that would take a different level of investigation. But he was by now very curious to uncover the whole story, especially as it involved his young nemesis, the Iron Crowbar.
“Mr. Wargrave,” said his secretary, an extremely elegant, attractive brunette in her thirties, “Mr. King is here.”
“Send him right in.” said Wargrave. As the man came in, Wargrave shook his hand, “Jack King, it’s been way too long! How are you, my friend?”
“Good, good.” Jack King said. “And yes, it’s been way too long. It’s good to see you again, Henry. You’re looking very well, very fit.”
“Can I offer you some coffee, or water?” Henry Wargrave asked, guiding his guest to the comfortable sofa and chairs.
“Just some water, thank you.” said King. After they were seated, Wargrave asked “How is your father doing? I haven’t seen Conrad in way too long.”
“He’s fine, just turned 80, but still in good shape and good spirits.” said King. “But of course he’s not getting any younger. He’s been staying in warmer states like Florida and Texas the last few years. He was visiting with President Bush, the elder one, in Houston a couple of months ago. By the way, he spoke of you the other day. He’s really proud of you, as always.”
Jack King’s father Conrad had been Henry Wargrave’s mentor for years, helping Wargrave make the CIA and national and international contacts Wargrave needed and used to build his businesses. As powerful and connected as Wargrave was, Conrad had been so in the era before him. Conrad King was indeed one of the most powerful men in the world, though he had begun to unwind and seek simple retirement and rest as he aged.
“He’s like a second father to me.” Henry said. “I really should go visit him, if you think he wouldn’t mind.”
“He’d love to see you.” Jack King said. King was in his early 50s with a head full of iron-gray hair and a strong, chiseled face. He’d built up a big distribution and trucking business, was a strong friend of the Unions even though he was an owner of businesses. No law enforcement agency had ever gotten so much as a whiff of the drug and stolen goods distribution rackets that his businesses were merely fronts for, which had made him very wealthy.
“It was a shame about Arruzio.” Wargrave said, very subtly putting himself at an advantage to King with the comment.
“Yes,” King said, becoming a bit introspective. “I had an appointment with him the night he went over and killed his wife and that stud she was banging. I always wonder if I’d insisted on keeping the appointment, would he have not done what he did, and would he be alive now…”
(Author’s note: see ‘The Case of the Murdered Lovers, Ch. 03’ to refresh your memories of Jack King and Joe Arruzio.)
“I’ve always believed he would’ve killed them anyway, or at least her.” said Wargrave. “I’ve only recently found out who tipped him off that his wife was having an affair, and why.”
“Yeah, he and I only did a few deals together when he needed money, but they were good deals for both of us.” said King. “And that’s why I came to see you today, Henry. I may need your help, or at least your advice. I know you didn’t move drugs around very Escort Bahçelievler much unless it was in association with the other things you were moving, but one of my operations is being pinched.”
“Let me guess.” said Wargrave. “Over around the University and its County.”
“Exactly.” said King. “Looks like the police caught on to the Black Badge scheme there. Such a nice little program, made some real lowballs feel important, and they’re motivated a lot more than that black rapper’s trash. As you know, we’ve got similar programs in other places, though by different names.”
King continued: “But this is the first time we’ve ever had the police catch on. Who in the hell do they have working there that is so damn good? And our police contact there is running for Sheriff now, of all things. I sure hope he wins or we’re going to have to rebuild… and the University, those kids are such a great market for my product. I don’t want to lose anything there.”
“I understand totally.” Wargrave said. “And the guy who is catching on is the guy who put that crowbar to Sergei Molotov’s back. He has become quite the concern for the criminal elements in my University’s county.”
“Him? Really?” said King. “And he’s the guy that caught up to Joe Arruzio, as well? I’m surprised he’s still allowed to operate there.”
“He’s survived two assassination attempts- no, nothing to do with me,” Wargrave said seeing King peer at him. “He hasn’t really crossed me yet, though he rather brazenly confronted me once over a small issue. So, Jack, what can I do to help you?”
“A couple of cops that got busted.” said King. “I still am not sure what was going on with that… they made some traffic stop of a couple of kids, things got out of hand, and the next thing I know, Internal Affairs is looking at our police contact. But what I really need is for these two cops to be sprung from Federal custody. What would it cost me for your help doing that?”
“Oh, not much.” said Wargrave. “Seeing as you’re my friend and the son of my mentor, I think that if I heard that you gave the University a generous donation, I might be able to talk to a couple of people here in the City… in the Federal judicial branch.”
“How generous are we talking?” asked King.
“Somewhere in the low-to-mid seven figures.” replied Wargrave. “And of course, I might ask you for a favor in return one day.”
“How about a nice endowment for the University’s… Chemistry department, perhaps?” King said, thinking of the chemicals he distributed and sold, which ensnared so many people into addiction.
“Sounds great. President Wellman will be ecstatic. I’ll let him know. And you will get a lot of very positive publicity and feedback.” said Wargrave.
Part 34 – The Mother-In-Law Apartment
“Another trip?” I asked Laura, watching my now-obviously-pregnant wife packing her suitcase on Friday night as I held an attentive Carole.
“Yes.” Laura said. “But it’s the last one. I’m going into ‘baby mode’ after this one. And it’s just to the City. We’re only 90 miles away, but my schedule is packed so I’m going to stay at the hotel tomorrow night and return late Sunday night.”
“You said ‘we’? Melina is going?”
“Yep.” Laura replied. “It’ll give her a small break from the campaign trail with Daniel, though she’s enjoyed doing all that so far. I’m really amazed how much both of them are loving it. How’d you know they’d take to it so well?”
“Oh, just a few simple observations. I only had eight years of observing Melina, though, so I wasn’t too sure.” I said with a wee bit of humorous sarcasm.
“So, what are you going to do this weekend, besides work?” Laura asked.
“Spend it with Mom.” I said. “She wants to show off her new M-I-L apartment.”
“She wants more than that.” Laura replied. “Her young studs have been finding other girlfriends lately, so she hasn’t been laid in a while. And she wants you, anyway. I’d better find you drained and exhausted when I get back Sunday night.”
“Mmm, Mom, you look great.” I said as I admired my mother’s figure in the late afternoon sun on the back deck of the ‘Mountain Nest’, quickly popping one of Laura’s ‘gray viagra’ pills into my mouth and swallowing it, as my wife had instructed.
For a sixty-year-old woman, my mother Phyllis looked much more like she was in her 40s. Her hair was frosted and fashioned simply, hanging straight down to just above her shoulders. She had been working out and doing yoga at Cindy and Melina’s gym, and with Cindy as her personal trainer my mother was looking firm and fit. Her tight, clingy blue dress hugged her curves, showing off her luscious hourglass shape and her large breasts.
Her legs were very shapely, as she had made sure not to over-tone them. Her thighs were just beginning to show some weight, but her calves were as shapely and sexy as almost any woman’s. They curved smoothly down to almost-too-thin ankles and her elegant, shapely feet. Mom was wearing very high heel clear-acrylic slides with clear plastic straps. I later found out Cindy had gotten them for her, as those “hooker heels” were what the Miss Physical America competition women wore. I thought that my mother could easily compete in the “Senior” division, if they had one, but Mom was not interested in bulking up or becoming too much of a hardbody.
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