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Old 01-23-2009, 03:59 AM   #1
machievelli
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Kismet (Should be Nemesis)

There is a thread I posted named Nemesis but the problem is the work was entitled Kismet. This thread is the second work in the series entitled Nemesis.

Nemesis

There comes a time when nothing remains but the pain.

Jason Waters had heard that before. From his mother, Granddad Hugh, from older relatives now passed on.

He had just never thought he’d live to see it.

He’d gone to war not because his country asked him, but because his father had told him it was his duty.

‘We’re never going to be anything in this country if we aren’t willing to prove we’re better than The Man.” His father had said. “Whitey looks at the ******, and says ‘he’s worthless and don’t give nothing’.” For a man with a college education and a law degree, who spoke in court with the same soft expert diction of Sidney Poitier, Jerome Waters could talk gutter-mouth black with the best of them.

So Jason had gone down to the Marine Corps recruiting office the day he had turned 18.

It was 1971, and Jason had time to get to Vietnam, to be one of those figures tramping through the swamps, to see five others that went with him die there. He was one of those rotated home, and later went to Fleet Marine service.

In 1975, at the end of his tour in the Marines, he had been one of those men that stood atop the US embassy in Saigon, frantically shoving people into, or more likely away from the helicopters that had come in from the carriers offshore. When his time had come, he had watched as the remaining people begged for them to take just one more passenger.

Two years later, he had gone home forever changed. By a war fought without purpose, by failing people that had expected him to make it right because of his uniform. Or spitting on that uniform.

When he had come home, he had become a cop. Not because he felt an affinity for the job, but because he didn’t want to fail again.

But life, he had discovered was about failure as well as victory. He had failed in his first marriage, failed as a father, failed to catch a lot of criminals, and once, failed to live up to his oath as a police officer.

Now, he was failing again. Not because of anything he had done, but because of his genetics. He rolled out of bed, sagging to the floor in pain. That would get worse, he knew. But not for long.

His wife Leticia mumbled, rolling over to return to her sleep. A tall supple woman with a dancer’s grace and skin the color of coffee with just the slightest touch of cream. He had been lucky with her. He had spent the last 3 years glorying in the fact that she loved him. But she was a deeply religious woman. If she knew what he planned she would have begged him not to go, prayed rather than let him do what he intended. She would have worried about the state of his soul, but for the wrong reason.

Quietly he showered and dressed. The uniform was starting to sag a little. He had lost weight in the last few months, and everyone that had noticed thought this was a good thing. He buckled the belt, and automatically drew his sidearm. He popped the cylinder open, checked that there were five cartridges, and then closed it again. Others had switched to the newer automatics, but he was an old fashioned man, with old-fashioned ways. He had been issued the 4 inch Colt Military and Police in .38 Special, and he’d die with it on his hip.

He turned and just looked at his wife lying there. Part of him wanted her to wake up, to have her ask him to stay home today. But he needed to be out there. The call of duty was too strong. It had driven his life for almost 30 years in the force, and it still did.

“You’re not going to leave without kissing me?” She murmured.

“Never, baby.” He knelt, kissing her on the cheek. She wrapped an arm around his neck, and held him as she turned her head. The kiss shifted to the lips, and they hugged.

The kiss broke, and Leticia ran her hand through his cap of curls. “I got a call yesterday, from a doctor Gonsalves.” She looked into his eyes. “He said you need to come by for your shots today.”

“I know that, baby. I talked to him about seven yesterday evening.”

“Jase, why do you need shots?”

“It’s nothing.”

“Jason don‘t you lie to me.” He had found that instead of lying, it was better just to make sure she never asked the question. That was how he had hidden his deepest sin from her for all these years.

He sighed. “I’ll tell you tonight. Promise.”

She nodded slowly. “All right.”

He pecked her on the cheek, and stood. “See you at eight.”

He tossed his cap on the seat of the car, and sat, wincing. The bottle was in the glove compartment, and he took a pill before starting the car. He had enough time to wash the car before he got to work, if he hurried.

His cell phone went off, and he pulled it out, looking around. Ever since they had passed the law about driving with cell phones, he had been worried about having another cop stop him. The mayor and Police chief had passed down that any cop violating the law would get the full brunt of the law rammed up their ass if necessary.

“Sergeant Waters.”

“Hey sarge.”

“What do you want?” He pulled out, moving down the street. The car wash was only five blocks away.

“I was wondering what your call on my machine meant?”

“If you listened, then you know.”

“Oh I know what you said. I just wondered if there was anything I could do to dissuade you.”

Waters shook his head angrily. “It’s something I have to do.”

“Even if it screws up our lives as well?”

“Maybe we deserve it.” The car rolled up the ramp. The owner of the car wash was out near the line, and he waved the car forward. Waters put it in neutral, feeling the roller cam on the car wash line catch the tire.

“Your life isn’t the only one you’re messing with, Sarge.”

“Then come clean. I am.”

There was a sigh on the other end. “Have it your way.”

The first brush dropped, starting up the bumper of the car, water spraying.

“I have to do this.”

“So do I.” The phone clicked off. Waters put it down.

People screamed as the old Pontiac suddenly exploded.

I

I sipped the last of my morning cup of tea, and pulled on my sweats. The weather had started to grow cold, and I was glad of it. I always ran in sweats, and in the summer here it can be murder.

I know I didn’t have to cover up, but an upbringing in Afghanistan still dunned into my head that showing too much of your body was bad. The sweats I habitually wore were a size too large, so even the most jaded would merely see a muffled figure. I picked up my fanny pack, and checked the compartments. I’d had to have it specially made, since most joggers don’t carry a gun when they run. Detonics .45 in one pouch extra magazine and keys in another, then the cell phone wallet and badge in a third.

Technically, I am on the day shift at Homicide but being in homicide meant you worked the case, not the clock. Sometimes 24 hours or more at a stretch. It wasn’t so bad, really. The overtime meant I took home as much as the Deputy Commissioner some months. But I worked for every cent of it.

I tied back my hair, and left. Someone had taped yet another notice for a renter’s association meeting to my door. I ripped it down without looking at it. I had gotten the duplex apartment because it was available, not because I‘m a yuppie. If we had talked as much as the association people did back home, the Russians would still be in Afghanistan.

The weather was cool and crisp, so much like home that I wished I could go back. But after giving up three years of my life and almost my soul, I knew I never would. I went down the stairway three at a time, and was moving at a good clip when I hit the sidewalk outside. Someone yelled, and I noticed him as I went past. The Renter’s Association president, what’s his name. But I had running to do, and I left him behind.

I do my best thinking when I run. Like most homicide detectives, I carry a caseload of about five active cases at any one time. Every time someone dies under suspicious circumstances, the case comes to homicide. The city averages about 5000 deaths a year, divided between the six homicide divisions, and are assigned by what we call the Wheel. The wheel is actually nothing more than a dry-erase board in the Bullpen, sometimes nothing more than a pad of paper. In either case, it lists every detective on duty in sequence. When a murder is committed, the Detective Sergeant in the division assigns it to the next name up. Once everyone on the shift has a case, he starts over, which is why I’m carrying five cases.

Of the deaths we‘re assigned, maybe 80 to 90 percent are easy. Someone slipped in the tub and hit their head. Or had a heart attack, or if it’s murder, the perpetrator is in custody. A lot of them are just people having quite enough. The wives that beat the sleeping husband to death because of what he said at dinner or because he snored too loud. The wives clubbed because they changed the channel when the husband was watching a game. Those are ours only because it’s department policy.

Some take more work. The robbery that went bad, the rape that went too far, hell, the guy that just was fed up and took it out on others, but didn‘t stand there to be caught.

Some are even funny. Last year a bank robber had charged into the bank, and fired his shotgun into the ceiling. The blast had cut a fluorescent light fixture from the supports. It had dropped straight down like a spear and killed him.

We clear about 95 percent of the cases in the first day, because they are that simple. Another 3 percent come down to legwork and brains. But that two percent remaining always bother us. Some takes weeks, months sometimes even years to clear. Some we never do close. Every homicide cop has a small stack of files for cases they didn’t break. They keep us up at night, and on quiet rotations, you pull them back out, and reread the file hoping that something will click with what you’ve learned since.

One of mine was like that. A quiet little co-ed that had been seen going out with an unnamed guy, and ended up in a ditch raped with her throat cut. There had been traces of rohypnol, what they called ‘roofies’ in her system, suggesting a date rape that had gone bad. I had been handed the case eleven months earlier, and it had dead-ended because no one had been able to give an accurate description of the man let alone his car.

As much as the police in television dramas spend time on artist’s renditions I have only seen four cases where they actually played a serious roll. All we had that everyone agreed to was comments on the way he talked and laughed.

I had been rereading the file when I remembered a man picked up for domestic violence a few nights ago. He’d been shouting at his girlfriend and a couple of uniforms had rolled on it. One of them had been talking in the locker room about him later, and I overheard it.

I had awakened with the comment in my mind for some reason. It took a few seconds for it to percolate through and I got a flash of intuition. Could be the same man. But was it?

I reached the park, and cut onto the bridal path. The only thing good about this time of the morning was that not too many horses are out yet. I’ve almost been trampled half a dozen times. I let the movement put me in that Zen state as I ran. The guy had been out of town for about eleven months, according to what the uniforms had discovered, and his girl friend was new. He drove an old car, one of those anonymous beaters you always see but never really notice.

I reached the street, and paused, gasping. For some reason I was hungry. I usually only eat two meals a day, and neither of them was called breakfast. I’m not on any diet, but when I’m working I tend to just shovel more fuel into the furnace, not plan meals. Americans eat too much pork in the mornings for my comfort.

I had been having an on again off again relationship with A. B. ‘Butch’ Morgan, and when I ate well was when he was stymied. He didn’t run; he cooked instead. I’d been to his apartment once, and seen an entire bookshelf full of cookbooks. Not just the usual ones but the really exotic ones as well. If they made a specific kind of food anywhere in the world he had a copy of a recipe for it. The harder or more esoteric the recipe, the more it helped him focus. When he had been trying to break a ring of Internet pirates here last month, he’d made haggis. If you don’t know what it is, don’t ask. But it was good.

But we hadn’t eaten together in two weeks. Either everything had been going very right for him, or maybe he was looking for another book.

But since we hadn’t eaten together, I was suddenly ravenous. Across the street, I could see a small diner of the mom and pop variety. The sign said open 24 hours, and I crossed. There was a second sign under the English ‘Caravanserai Diner’ sign, which I recognized as Arabic. From the usage, I knew the owners were probably Kurds.

I stepped inside, and a small woman came toward me. No, a girl barely of legal age. I could smell fresh bread baking, and I breathed in the scent with appreciation. She led me to a table, handing me a menu.

“Please, is that bread for sale?” I asked in the Kurdish dialect. Her eyes lit up. That always happens when you speak to an immigrant in their native language.

“No. I am sorry. It is for our own table.” She replied in kind. Then she smiled. “But if you like, I will ask Grandmother if we can spare a slice.”

“That would be very kind.” I looked at the menu. There was some pork, after all they did have to cater to the Americans, but I saw something very intriguing. “Your grandmother makes proper Armenian sausage?”

“No. That is my father. Father is Armenian, but my Grandmother is Kurdish.”

“She is an understanding woman.” She smiled wider at that. “I will have Armenian sausage, three eggs, hash browns and coffee.”

“Yes. May I ask...”

“I am Afghan by birth.” I replied.

“I will ask Grandmother.” She bobbed her head, and hustled off. I looked around, surprised that there were so many people. But the sign had said 24 hours, and they seemed to need the time to keep up with the customers. That said more about the food than the smells in the air.

She returned with a hand cut slab of bread still hot from the oven, some honey, butter and a small cup of proper Turkish coffee rather than the bland American variety. As she stood there I buttered the bread, putting a touch of honey butter on it, and bit into it.

“One day I will have to get her bread recipe for a friend.” I sighed after I swallowed that delectable mouthful. “This is wondrous.”

“She will be happy to hear that you enjoy her bread.” The girl bobbed again then was off.

The meal was excellent. The hash browns had been cooked until they were crispy outside; yet tender inside just the way I like them. The sausage, hand rolled into tubes from a mixture of ground beef and lamb was delicately spiced. I vowed to drag Butch here one evening, so he could taste something he hadn’t tried yet.

I was almost sad to finish the meal. I sipped my second cup of coffee, and flipped open my phone. The Homicide Division was on speed dial, and I waited as it rang.

“Homicide, Sergeant DeFrees.”

“Hello, Marcus, this is Doyle. Can you pull a file for me?”

“Sure, Sarah. Which one?”

“Incident reports from this last week. There was a man who was talked to about a domestic dispute. Washington was one of the uniforms.”

“Right. Anything you want to do with this?”

“If we get a name, run it through NCIC for me. Find out where he had been for the last eleven months. As soon as I’m dressed, I’ll be down to the station.”

“Dressed?” I could hear his chuckle. “What are you wearing, or not wearing now?”

For a moment, I was nonplused. DeFrees had never shown an interest in me before. Of course he had transferred in just last month. “Well, I am dressed in my sexiest sweats, and smell like a horse after a mile run.”

“Oh, my nipples are tight with delight.” He hung up before I could say anything further. As much as feminists scream about sexual harassment, I work in a man’s profession. One of the downsides of that is you are around men all the time, and while laws can be passed complaints can be filed and lectures can be given, but that is not going to fix the problem. Only time would.

I leaned back, and that was when I saw the car pull up. It was what a patrol cop I used to know would have called a ‘chollo’-mobile. A Chevy Impala about thirty-five years old. Three young Hispanics got out, but one stayed behind the wheel, head swiveling.

The other three were in dusters and I caught a flash of what looked like a shotgun.

I flipped open the phone again. I speed-dialed, then set the phone down on the table in front of me.

The first man through the door came up with a .45, shoving it in the waitress’ face. “Freeze!” He screamed at her. The others came in, the second with a small automatic. The last with a sawed off pump shotgun.

“Now all of you mothers just stay in your seats!” The man with the .45 screamed. “We’ll be there for personal service in just a minute.”

I could hear DeFrees talking, so I leaned forward. “Armed robbery in progress at Ninth and Travis at the diner. Officer needs assistance.” I said softly. My hand slid under the table, and the fanny pack opened. I palmed the Detonics .45, sliding the safety off. Unlike a standard large frame .45, the Detonics is almost dainty. The grip is small enough for my hands, and carries five rounds with one up the spout. Better than a snub-nosed .38 though if you are shooting farther than you can throw the damn thing both are pretty much worthless.

The guy with the small automatic had come up to the register as the guy with the .45 went down the other leg of the diner. All three were in sight, but not within range. The one with the shotgun was walking down the side I was on, with an open backpack in his hand. “Put your money and jewelry in the bag. Any lip, and you’ll be missing a head!” There were four customers on my end of the diner, and he stopped at each table. I could hear metal hitting as watches and rings went into the bag. Behind him, the guy at the register leaned across, running his hand over the girl’s breasts.

The shot gunner saw the phone, and aimed at me. “Shut off the ****ing phone!”

I reached out, making my hand tremble a little as I flipped the phone closed.

“Put it in the bag.” He held it out, and I tossed the phone into it. “Now your money and watch.”

I remembered a woman begging in Afghanistan, she had been pleading with a Russian soldier that was dragging her son off. I put every bit of her into my voice as I pretended to fumble in my lap. I babbled, not paying attention to anything but his eyes. Finally he’d had enough, and leaned forward, dropping the bag on the floor to slap me.

I caught the hand as it went by, using just his own motion to pull him against the table, the shotgun aimed into the bench beside me. As he came to rest he had a muzzle eye view of my pistol.

“One word, one flinch and you’re dead.” I whispered. I reached over, and pulled the shotgun out of his hand, reversing it so now he was looking down that barrel instead of my pistol. “Have a seat, right there. Both hand flat on the table.” I motioned with a nod of my head. He sat, and suddenly smiled. “What’s so funny?”

“Pulp Fiction.”

“What?”

The last part of the movie Pulp Fiction, the killer holding the robber at gunpoint for a talk.”

“Never saw it.” I looked toward the front, keeping him in view. “I don’t watch many movies.” I nibbled my lip. I could get one of them down here, but both?

I was saved from thinking about it when the guy with the .45 looked toward us with yet another backpack in his offhand. “Damnit, Hay-zus! We ain’t got time for you to make a date!”

“Ah, Jesus.” I said, translating in my head. “Can you rise from the dead, Jesus?” I asked, pronouncing it properly for Spanish.

His eyes tightened. “Haven‘t tried.”

“Then unless you want to find out, I suggest you don’t move.” I lifted the pistol up. “If one of them starts to aim at me, you’re dead first.”
He stayed frozen as the guy with the .45 started toward us. I lowered the pistol, shifted the shotgun under the table too. Jesus could feel the barrel touching his knees, grunting as I poked it into his stomach.

“I said-” The guy with what I now recognized as a Brazilian made Star .45 began. The Detonics popped up, aimed at his gut. “Oh, crap.”

“Exactly. Now which one of you wants to die first?”

Neither one spoke up. I slid out of the seat, using the standing man in front of me as cover. I put away the Detonics, took his gun, sliding it in the strap of the fanny pack at the back. I always wondered why they called them ’fanny packs’; most people wear them in front. The things you think about when you’re in these situations.

I lifted the barrel of the shotgun a hair jerking it to signal Jesus. “Both of you start walking. If you say anything, or I think you’ve warned your friend, I’ll gut-shoot you both. With this I can do it with one shot.”

Jesus slipped out of the booth, and turned toward the front. I put the Detonics back in the pack. They both walked in that careful way you see in chain gangs, where you have to worry about shredding your ankles. “When I say down, get down. If you’re still standing, this buckshot is for you.” We were five paces from the guy at the register now.

Two paces, as small as I was he probably still didn’t see me. “Down!”

Jesus and his partner hit the floor. I lifted the shotgun, aiming it right between the last man’s eyes. We stared at each other for a frozen moment. His gun was down at his side, aimed toward the cashier. I had him cold, but I could see the calculation in his eyes.

“Don’t make me kill you.” I hissed. The barrel dropped until I was aimed at his chest.

The automatic hit the floor. The woman behind the register stared at me, and then reared back and slapped him with all of her weight behind it, knocking him off his feet. A man came from the back with a butcher knife, fury in his eyes.

“Hold it!” I tossed him the .45 I had taken off the second man. “Cover them. If they move, I’ll say it was self-defense.” I kicked the small automatic behind the register, and stepped outside. As the driver looked up with shock in his eyes, I aimed the shotgun, and blew out the right rear tire. The remaining tire smoked as he tried to run, but the second shot blew that one as well as he spun the car round.

He’d almost made it to the corner when a police unit came around it, lights flashing, but siren silent. The Impala skidded to a spark-spraying stop as the officers leaped out with guns drawn.

One of them cuffed the man as the other charged toward me. “Police! Put the gun down!”

I dropped the shotgun. “I’m a detective!”

“On your knees, bitch!”

I slowly dropped down, and he came over slapping me down flat on the ground. He patted me down, cuffed me, dragging me to my feet. “You have the right to-”

“I know my rights you idiot!” I snarled in his face. “Look in my fanny pack!”

He reached in, and came out first with the gun, then the magazine, then with my badge case. When he flipped it open, he paled. “Oh, -”

“Don’t say it!” I was past volume. I didn’t want to shout anymore because I’d probably start kicking him if I did. “Between them and you I have heard enough filth to make my entire century!” I glared him down coldly. “Now are you going to take off these cuffs, or did you want me to resist arrest a little more?”

He took off the cuffs, following me into the diner. The man that had charged out with the butcher knife was standing over the three in there very professionally. They were splayed out as if they were pretending to be crucified. The fact that he was screaming at them in Armenian instead of English probably made them a little nervous.

I gently took the gun from the man’s hand, and he snarled, hefting the knife he had set down. A pity they didn’t understand Armenian. What I heard started with feeding their balls to the goats. “Officer, arrest them. Armed robbery, and at least one count of sexual assault.”

I grabbed the bag the shotgun man had been carrying, and took out my phone, flipping it open and dialing.

“Hey we didn’t hurt no one!” One of the men at my feet whined. It was the man who had been fondling the waitress.

“I don’t think the woman wanted you feeling her up.” I replied. “The books I read, that’s sexual assault.”

“Homicide, Sergeant DeFrees.”

“It’s Doyle again Marcus, We’re clear here. What do you have for me?”

I listened as the chastened officer cuffed two of them together, and took them onto the street. He had come back in for the third by the time I had finished the call. I reached out, tilting his name badge so that I can read it. “Do you have anything to say about what happened out there, Officer Connolly?”

“Uh-” He looked like he’d suddenly eaten glass.

“Book them, and write a full report. I mean a full report. Mine will reach your lieutenant’s desk in about four hours. If your actions are not recorded, in full, I will file departmental charges against you for abuse of your authority. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

I would call his lieutenant in a while and ask him how full the report was. If he admitted to being verbally abusive to me, I saw no reason for it to go any farther from my end. His lieutenant would rip a strip off of him for me, and maybe file a reprimand. If he didn’t, I would file a full report and he‘d end up in front of a review board. If he ended up on administrative leave or fired, it was his own fault.

The phone rang as I walked toward the unit. This had made me late for work. “Doyle.”

“You’re up on the wheel, Doyle.” He gave me the address, and I wrote it down.

“Give me twenty. I’m going to have to run home and get changed.”

“Officer!” I turned. It was the waitress and the Armenian man. With them was an older woman that looked as if she had been carved out of oak sometime in the last century.

“Sorry! I forgot to pay!” I reached for the wallet.

“No, next time you come, you pay then.” The man held out a bag. “My mother in law wants you to have this.” In the bag, was a double handful of Armenian sausage wrapped in butcher paper along with what looked like a full loaf of bread. “Better fresh, but they taste good warmed up.”

I bowed. “Thank you little mother.” I told the woman in Arabic.

“You’re Afghani?” She asked.

“Yes.”

“Thank you for saving our lives. Be careful.”

“Always.” I turned shouting at Connolly. I would need a ride to get home and dressed.

machievelli has requested a fanfic review for this thread.

'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile

Last edited by JediMaster12; 02-11-2009 at 01:51 PM. Reason: Fixing title
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