Fire in the Embers Ch. 02

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Alternate Entry

The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman’s biography.

Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, 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 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 7 – Listening In

Mrs. Peabody stood up, putting a smile on her pretty face… but a smile that had a slight bit of cunning to it, I noticed.

“Well, at last I get to meet you, Commander Troy.” she said, offering her hand. I took her hand and brought it to my lips, lightly kissing the back of it. Her gray eyes sparkled. Her voice had a unique sound to it, like a vibrational resonance, maybe like someone who’d breathed a helium balloon, but much lower frequency… and definitely with a sensuality that warmed my heart… and my stirring loins.

“Such a gentlemen, too.” she said. “Which makes you all the more a mystery, Commander: do you always just walk in on people like this? Without invitation, much less a warrant?”

“I do,” I said, “when the business is professional, and my profession.” I sat down without invitation. “Mrs. Peabody, did you lose your Town & County badge recently?”

“Oh, why yes I did.” said Mrs. Peabody, sitting down in her chair behind her desk. “About three weeks ago. I had to get another one.”

“Well, someone found it and turned it in to me.” I said. “So where did you lose it?”

“I don’t really know.” said Mrs. Peabody, her eyes looking right into mine. “I usually kept it in my jacket pocket or my purse. I got home one day and realized it wasn’t on me, and I couldn’t find it in my purse. I hoped that I’d just left it in my office, but it wasn’t there, either. But as to exactly where it walked away from me, I don’t know for sure.”

“Did you ever leave it sitting on your desk?” I asked.

“Sometimes.” she said. “But I usually had it with me if I left the office.”

“I see.” I said. “We’ve had some other badges that went missing and then showed up in strange places. I’m glad yours was found by a local citizen and brought to me. Besides… it gave me a chance to finally meet you.”

Mrs. Peabody’s eyes glowed at my flirtations. She said “Bring your chair around here and listen in with me.” I did so. We were sitting close together behind her desk. She was to my right, and had crossed her lovely right leg over her left so that her high-heeled foot was dangling between my legs…and occasionally rubbing against one of my calves. The electricity between our auras was highly charged. The smell of her perfume was intoxicating, and I felt the first stirrings in my loins…

As we listened in, I heard someone ask Moynahan “Let’s get to the nitty gritty of this, Captain: if you’re Chief, how will you handle the Iron Crowbar.”

Moynahan said “Ohh, the Iron Crowbar handles himself, and very well. I’ve seen very few officers as professional as he is, despite that little rep-youu-tation of that red crowbar he carries. I will also say this: I work with my people, to bring out their best, not try to be hamfisted over them. You asked about my role as Chief; I’ll tell you that I have years of experience to teach before I depart the Force and this Earth, and the Iron Crowbar absorbs lessons like a sponge, which he’ll pass on to his people over time.”

“I think he likes you.” said Mrs. Peabody.

“Think he’ll get the job?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s long since a done deal.” she said. “They had me checking his background weeks ago. Just between you and me…” she leaned closer to me and whispered so that I would have to lean in close to her, “… they were beginning to be unhappy with Chief Bennett, and he was angling for that State job almost from the day he became Chief here.”

Wow, this woman did know everything that was going on politically, I thought to myself.

“Good.” I said as I heard the meeting wrapping up. “How about I take you to lunch tomorrow, and we’ll finish our… unfinished business.”

“I’d be delighted, Commander.” she said, smiling, her eyes twinkling again.

“Well, one thing we definitely must do.” I said. “We need to drop the formalities. My name is Don, and at lunch you will have to call me that… or whatever else you like, just keep it clean.” She laughed.

“Of course. My name is Adele, but don’t tell a soul that. I’m not sure how many people even know it.”

With that, we exchanged personal phone numbers as well as our ‘official’ ones, then I kissed Mrs. Adele Peabody’s hand again, then let myself out of the office. Walking down the hall, I came upon the group of Council members shaking Moynahan’s hand.

“Ah, here comes my ride now.” said ‘Cav’ Moynahan as I came up to them.

“So,” I said, “do I get to call gaziantep escortları you ‘sir’ now?”

“Yes you do, Commander.” said J.P. Goldman. “We’ve offered him the job and he’s agreed to it. It’ll take the second reading next week, but then it’s official.”

“Excellent!” I said, shaking my new boss’s hand.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back at The Cabin, I told Cav that I had some work to do in my office. He said he was going to bed, and that tomorrow he’d go to Midtown and pack some clothes, then come up and find a place to live. I said I’d just let myself out when I was done.

Retrieving that package of data from the cellar, I took out my most secure of computers and activated ‘the cage’. If you’ve seen the movie Enemy Of The State, you’ll understand. When I rebuilt the house, I had the walls around this office room embedded with a matrix of wiring that interfere with radio signals within it, and from without. Ergo, signals from inside the office room, including those from my computers, shouldn’t be intercepted by enemy forces. The down side is that I can neither give nor receive a cellphone signal, and my police radio in the office doesn’t work while ‘the cage’ is activated.

I went to work, looking at the data. There was a lot of stuff about several of the Council members, and some people who had been on the Council but were no longer on it. And there was information on other people, as well. Some of the stuff was salacious, some downright criminal. Unfortunately, a lot of it was past the Statute of Limitations, but it could (and would) lead to more current data that could be used against certain perps… including one man who’d just made the huge mistake of impugning my Vice Squad’s Lieutenant.

There was a lot of financial data, as well. Showing connections between certain organizations. Some of this I knew about, and some I did not. New lines of investigation were being opened in the depths of my mind as I quickly scanned the data.

I played a DVD. Mrs. Peabody’s lovely face came up on it. “If you are seeing this, then in all likelihood something bad has happened to me. The data in this packet should be enough for the Police and FBI to act upon, at least for probable cause to probe more deeply. In addition to the general data here, there is more specific data about one person, who is an exceptionally dangerous criminal but will be nearly impossible to prosecute as such. Please contact Jack Burke; he can give you more information on this criminal.”

Jack Burke was dead. And, as Todd and Tanya suspected, Jack’s death was very possibly much more than just a jealous husband catching him in bed with a hot wife and blowing Jack to Kingdom Come with a shotgun. The waters have deepened, I thought to myself. The waters have deepened.

Mrs. Peabody’s tape finished: “Also, there is data here that will connect the Reverend Jonas Oldeeds and his organization to the smuggling of underage children into this and other countries for the purposes of child prostitution. And the Oldeeds Organization is working closely with someone who lives in this County. I hope whoever sees this will be able to stop these atrocities being inflicted upon these children, and will be able to find a way to stop the madman who is behind this and many other horrible crimes across this nation…”

I put all the data into my computers, and some of it into the encrypted evidence server that I’d created for the TCPD in the event something ‘wet’ happened to me. And it was necessary that I do that: the name that Mrs. Peabody gave, via the data in the packet…

…was the name of the Consultant of Crime.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“How did it go?” Laura asked as I got to the Mountain Nest after dropping Cav Moynahan off at The Cabin. It was hours after the meeting was finished; Laura had waited up for me.

“Good.” I said. “The Council approved Moynahan for Chief.”

“That’s good.” said Laura. “I’ve already heard a rumor, from my sister via her husband, that there were some fireworks in the meeting.”

“News travels fast in the ol’ Town & County.” I said, sitting down beside Laura after having poured myself a Scotch and some wine for her. “Yes… Thomas P. Cook was doing his level best to make us think he was Robert Brownlee. Went after Teresa this time. Almost got his teeth painted red… the hard way.”

“And of course you came to her rescue, like the knight in shining armor you are.” Laura said.

“Of course.” I said. “I stand up for my people.”

“I know, and that’s one reason I love you.” Laura said. “You’re always my knight in shining armor, too.” She snuggled up to me. Warm kisses followed, energizing the dull ache in my groin that had been there from the moment I’d kissed Mrs. Peabody’s hand and sat by her, smelling her perfume, looking at her legs…

“And you’re always my Damsel, if not necessarily in Distress.” I said to Laura. “At least I hope not.”

“No,” Laura said, “things are all good right now. Casey Walker has other things occupying his time right now. New threats in New York State. Someone, who we think is a foreign power, hacked a dam’s computers there. We faced the possibility of some really bad flooding downriver if they’d opened the locks. And Jack Muscone’s boss thinks he has new clues to Superior Bloodlines, but I don’t know what those are.”

“Indeed?” I said. “But that will have to wait until tomorrow. I’m exhausted, and I want to take my Damsel in Distress to bed and ravish her. By the way, I may have a hot date tomorrow afternoon.”

“Oh?” asked Laura. “Who with? It’s not Paulina; she has a checkup with me.”

“With an employee in City Hall.” I said. “I’ll tell you all about it after it takes place… if it does so at all.”

“Mmm, that’s my knight in shining armor.” Laura said. “Let’s go get that armor off of you and your naked body on top of mine…”

Part 8 – In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

World War One ended in Armistice at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. And so on November 11th we remember those who are serving or have worn our Nation’s uniform, and served. Today was Wednesday, November 11th.

The morning began with, what else and who else, Bettina!

“This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Channel Two News!” shouted the lovely redheaded reporterette at 7:00am. “Channel Two News has learned that the Town & County Council formally offered the job of Police Chief to Captain Sean Moynahan of the Midtown Police Force, and the offer was accepted. Chief-to-be Moynahan will be formally sworn in on December 1st, provided no unexpected events occur before the second reading of the bill next Tuesday.”

“In other news,” Bettina continued, “Town & County Police executed a warrant to search an apartment believed to be a base of drug operations.” The screen showed the apartment complex as Bettina very carefully and explicitly gave the address and even the apartment number. “Two young persons were arrested when drugs were found in their possession. The Police Department has made no comment on this raid, nor if it ties in to the Viscotti Cabs bust earlier this week.”

Then Bettina showed me why I hate the God-cursed Media so much: “By coincidence, this apartment happens to be the very same one rented by Jack Burke, son of Michael Burke, who was murdered along with socialite Marie Arruzio by her husband Joe Arruzio two and a half years ago. That case was one of Commander Donald Troy’s first big successes with the Town & County Police. Now let’s go to Nick Eastwood for the Sports report…”

“Let this cheer you up, Commander.” said Detective Joanne Cummings, having astutely observed my face as she came in. She handed me a cupcake with white frosting and red and blue frosting drawings on it. “Happy Veterans Day!” she said.

“And to you.” I said. “Make sure you eat one of those yourself. How was your marriage class?”

“It was good!” Joanne gushed. “I think Seth gets a little bored with it. All the guys do. But it’s going to be a really wonderful ceremony, and a great marriage!”

I nodded, very much hoping that Joanne and Seth would be very happy together, but knowing that even what I thought was a good marriage to Melina had had underlying cracks that had led to our divorce. Not that I was complaining, I thought to myself as I thought of Laura and our wonderful children.

“Civilian clothes today?” called out a voice behind me. I turned to see Cindy Ross, wearing a dark blue uniform with short sleeves. This Canadian doesn’t feel the cold at all, I thought to myself. But I also knew I’d have to talk to her about standard uniform wear, as the Uniformed officers were supposed to be wearing long sleeve shirts. As a Captain, she should wear what was called for.

“Yes,” I said in reply to her comment. I was wearing my light gray suit with a black, mock-turtleneck shirt that clung to my neck, and was heavy enough to keep me warm without really needing a coat. “I’ve got a lunch meeting today.”

“With a woman, I perceive.” Cindy replied. “If it were a man, you’d play the macho game and wear your uniform.”

“Nice observation.” I said. And people wonder why I have women in leadership positions… they see things like that, which us men don’t pay enough attention to. And obviously Cindy had been getting extra training on observation and deduction from my mom.

“Can I see you in your office?” Cindy asked. She led the way as we crossed the hallway. Already inside was Lt. Teresa Croyle, with a small box in her hands. It had been shipped through the Post Office.

“We have a mystery here.” Cindy said. “Teresa, go ahead and tell us.”

“Commander,” Teresa said, “I got this box in the mail two days ago. It’s from my Police Captain friend in my hometown. Her letter said to open it today. Here, take a look inside.”

I set the box on my desk and looked inside. There were two jewelry necklace boxes inside, as well as a letter. Opening the boxes, I saw one gold necklace in each. The sole adornment was miniaturized Airborne wings. Wives and daughters of servicemen who were Paratroopers were known to wear these.

I then looked at the letter. It explained that Teresa’s father had ordered these, but they did not arrive by the Christmas Day that followed the night of Alexis’s death and her father going insane and burning the house down (literally). When they came to the store, the owner took them to the Police, what with the drama that had just occurred. With the death of Teresa’s father, the Captain explained, the evidence boxes at the Police Department were re-examined, and these were found.

“What do you make of that?” Cindy asked, as if testing me.

“Wow.” I said, taking one of the boxes out. “I would say your father was going to give these to you and your sister, Teresa, maybe tell you of his military career. And he was going to give you a necklace as well as Alexis. And now that you know your father was a military hero, this package has come to you… just at the right time, as Dr. Eckhart would say. The Universe makes no mistakes.”

Teresa had a strange look on her face, not knowing what to say. I took one of the necklaces out of its box. Coming around behind Teresa, I draped the necklace around her neck and fastened it. “Wear it with pride, Teresa.”

“Thank you, sir.” Teresa whispered. “But only today and Memorial Day, and special occasions.”

“Well, Commander,” Cindy said, her voice showing her humor, “I’ll have to write Lt. Croyle up for being out of uniform, wearing jewelry with her uniform like that.”

“Just put that on my desk right here, Captain.” I replied with a grin. “I’ll be sure to put it in its proper place. Right next to your write-up of yourself, for wearing short sleeves on a long-sleeve day. What, you think you’re from Canada or something?” A blue crowbar was waved in my general direction.

“There’s one more necklace.” Teresa said. “Cindy, you’re the cousin of a Paratrooper. Why don’t you take it?”

“With all respect,” Cindy said, “I wouldn’t feel right about it.”

I then saw Teresa’s eyes light up like I rarely have before. “I know what I’m going to do with it.” she said, her eyes boring into me. “On Carole’s thirteenth birthday, she is going to receive a very special gift as the daughter of an Airborne Paratrooper, from the daughter of an Airborne Paratrooper.”

“Now that,” I said, “would be something I want to see.” And something I’ll have to work hard to live up to, I thought to myself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After Tanya joined us for the Crowbar’s Angels meeting, I received surprising news.

“This couple that was arrested in your small raid, James and Susan Douglas,” said Tanya, “have turned out to be very interesting. The drugs found in the potted plant are not ordinary street drugs. Dr. Woodrow says he’s seen nothing like it. He thinks it’s highly refined heroin.”

“Oh really…” I said, mostly to myself. A memory had been triggered, and I was grasping to reach it.

“They clammed up, took the Fifth outright, asked for lawyers.” said Tanya. “A young lawyer came in last night and talked to them. The arraignment is late this morning. They stayed in solitary holding cells here at Headquarters last night.”

“Good.” I said as I perused the files of these young perps. “So these guys are college dropouts, busted several times for pot possession, which are starting to have to be pled down because of multiple strikes. On welfare, haven’t held any sort of job for more than a couple of months at a time. And they have some very highly sophisticated drugs in their apartment.”

Just then there was a knock on my door, and A.D.A. Stiles was admitted. “I just want to let you know,” she said, “that this Douglas couple’s lawyer is planning to fight all the way at the arraignment. They’ve already filed motions to dismiss, they want the warrant re-examined for legitimacy, and stuff I’ve never heard about in a Court of Law anywhere in the United States.”

“I’ll bet their lawyers are from Gresham & Mason.” I said. Jenna was visibly startled, which caused Cindy some amusement.

“How… how did you know?” Jenna asked. “They just informed me fifteen minutes ago.”

“Gresham & Mason attorneys have a way of showing up in interesting places to represent very interesting persons at the most interesting of times.” I said. “And these two young perps are very interesting persons at a very interesting time.” I then told Jenna about the sophisticated drugs, and told Jenna that she needed to use this information to hold these people without bail, that this case was not a simple drug case.

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