Film Noir Ch. 01

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This story is part of an ongoing series. 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 1 – Prologue

The gray smoke of the clouds swirled and mixed with the buildings in the valley below me. If I were rich, I’d be as carefree as my dogs on their mission to do their business. Instead, I’ve got an office on Riverside Drive and a nasty relationship with a string of criminals and reporters; sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which.

I carry nine slugs: eight are in my gun when I’m packing heat. The other is in my bourbon bottle, and packs heat in my belly when I down a shot. That’s me, Russ Ferrament. I’m a Detective in public, and a big swinging dick in private.

The door to my office opened and in walked trouble. Platinum blonde, as usual…

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

Sunday, April 2d. I was finishing up my paperwork from the James Shell murder case, especially the expense reports. I’d never had a problem getting everything paid back, but it was a new budget era in the SBI Reserve, and everything had to be explained if not outright justified.

There was a knock on the door and Captain Cindy Ross came in. “Good morning, sir.”

“Good morning.” I replied. “What brings you in to work?”

Cindy looked confused. “I got a call from the Duty Desk, asking me to come in for a meeting with you.”

“With me?” I asked. “No, I didn’t have you called in. I’d have called you directly on you cellphone, too. I know it was April Fool’s Day yesterday, but this is not funny. Let’s go ask the Duty Desk what’s going on.”

“It’s not a joke, Commander.” said Chief Moynahan, appearing in my office doorway. “I was the one that had Captain Ross come in. I would’ve had them call you, too, but you’re already here.”

“What’s it about, Chief?” I asked.

“The Sheriff wants us to come to the Federal Building with him.” said the Chief. “You will think this is an April Fool’s joke, but I assure you it is not…”

Part 2 – The Mission

“You want me to do what?” I asked, totally stunned.

We were in the plexiglass ‘cube’ in the FBI’s offices in the Federal Building. Present were the Deputy Director, Special Agent in Charge Jack Muscone, Special Agent in Charge Les Craig, Sheriff Daniel Allgood, Chief Sean Moynahan, myself, and Captain Cindy Ross.

“We want you to escort Betty Morelli, wife of Jerry Morelli, to the Federal Courthouse here in the City.” said Les Craig. (Author’s Note: see ‘The Other World’, Ch. 01 for the intro to Betty Morelli.) “I offered to escort her myself, but… she asked for you specifically, Commander Troy.”

“At least she shows good taste in men.” said Cindy, with great acidity in her voice. Les Craig stared witheringly at her, but Cindy stared right back, unwavering. Jack Muscone and I were amused. Sheriff Allgood and the Deputy Director were not.

“All right, all right.” said the Deputy Director, as I perused Betty Morelli’s file. “Don, Mrs. Morelli wants to testify against her husband in exchange for immunity for herself and Witness Protection. Obviously, she could give us a hell of a lot about Morelli and his Crime Syndicate’s operations. Maybe even get us inroads into Orrin B. Taggart. Maybe even more.”

“I get that.” I said. “But why do I have to drive to the State south of us? Why can’t I take a chopper and pick her up?”

“She can’t fly; doctor’s orders.” said Craig. “She has some kind of medical condition like vertigo, augmented by phobias from past bad flying experiences. At least that is what I’ve been told.”

‘And why me?” I asked. “Besides Captain Ross’s obviously correct observation.” Jack Muscone could not help but laugh at that one. Craig looked angry. The DepDirector looked like he wanted this meeting to be over.

“She said that she doesn’t think that anyone but you can get her to the City alive.” said the DepDirector. “And she may have a point, there.”

“When does she need to be in the Courthouse?” I asked.

“Tomorrow, Monday morning. Eight o’clock a.m.” said Les Craig.

“Doesn’t give us a long time, does it?” I said to Cindy. “Oh, I shouldn’t speak for you, if you want to stay at home for this one.” That got me a stare that rivaled anything I’d ever seen from Teresa ‘Cunt’ Croyle.

“Oh you know I’m going with you.” Cindy said. “You need adult supervision.” Les Craig’s eyes gleamed a bit at that, even as a red crowbar was waved in Cindy’s general direction.

“Speaking of flying,” said Craig, şişhane escort “we can fly you down in a chopper or small plane, then provide you a car. You can’t take your Police vehicle, obviously. We’re going to provide a fast, unmarked car, which is capable of reaching 180 miles per hour.”

In case you don’t know, cars today are legally required to have the equivalent of restrictor plates on them. If you’re wondering why you can’t get your privately owned vehicle above 105 mph, think ‘Government regulations’.

“No.” I said. “that is not acceptable. I will make my own arrangements.”

“Look,” said Craig, “we’ve spent days negotiating this with her, and making arrangements. Why not use them?”

“For two reasons, Special Agent Craig.” I said. “One, because this is obviously some kind of trap, and if you really want me to walk into it, expect me to do so on my own terms. And Two: I don’t trust you, Mr. Craig. I don’t trust you one little bit.”

“Good grief, Commander…” Sheriff Allgood started, but he cut it off when he saw my eyes as I turned them upon him. Craig was glaring at me, but I could’ve cared less about that… or him.

“Okay, enough of this.” said the DepDirector, and I could see the strain on his face. “Don, do whatever you want, and do whatever you have to do. But your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to have Betty Morelli in the City Federal Courthouse at 8:00am tomorrow morning.”

“Then let’s get the party started.” I said, getting up. “If you’ll excuse us…”

Part 3- Commitment

She was a pushy dame. Dames usually are. She wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer, and she wasn’t telling me what the question was, either. Dames are that way, too…

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

2:00pm, Sunday, April 2d. We dressed and loaded up food and other supplies at The Cabin. I put on my full compliment of armor, including the kevlar ‘girdle’, then black shirt and pants like any good ninja, then my trenchcoat and Tilley hat. Cindy was dressed in all black, as well, and Callie Carrington’s eyes had lit up upon seeing my cousin.

“Do be careful.” Laura said as I hugged and kissed her goodbye. “This has a really bad smell to it, and I have no assets to help you.”

“It’ll be okay.” I said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” I then hugged Molly and all the kids, petted Bowser and Buddy, and Cindy and I went to the Black Beauty in the far garage. Cindy drove, of course.

“Atomic power to battery. Turbine to speed.” I said as the garage door opened.

“Roger, ready to move out.” Cindy replied. She eased the car out of the garage and down the drive as I said:

“And so once again, to protect the rights and lives of decent citizens, the Iron Hornet rides again!”

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

As we went through Coltrane County, Cindy said “Laura is right, this whole thing is a trap. I know you like to spring traps by walking into them, but why did you take this one?”

“Before I answer, Captain,” I said, getting serious, “I need to know that you are fully committed to this. If not, I’ll drop you off at ‘The Vision’ and go alone. I’m serious: yes, it’s a trap, and yes, it’s going to be dangerous. I am not asking nor do I expect you to go with me. But if you do, you have to be 100% in the Game and committed to it.”

Cindy was about to say something, but saw the seriousness of my gray eyes peering at her. “I am one hundred percent with you… as always.” she declared.

“Okay, good.” I said, then settled in to explain. “Yes, it’s a trap set by the Mob, at least we think it is; ‘we’ being certain people I can trust. But if we can get Betty Morelli to the Courthouse and she does testify against her husband, that’ll be reward enough in itself. But there is one other reason I agreed to do it: this may be the only way to show the Deputy Director if Les Craig is good or bad, if he’s on our side or a traitor.”

“You know what I think about him.” Cindy said. “Do you think he’s dirty?”

“I truly don’t know.” I said. “There is nothing that has happened that I can trace back to him doing anything wrong. The only thing that has really bothered me about him is his over-the-top obsession with Leonard Lotz.”

“That’s the only thing?” Cindy asked.

“What are you thinking of?” I asked.

“How about sleeping with Sandra, practically taking her away from Martin Nash; and butting his head in where it doesn’t belong; trying his damnedest to rip up Jack’s team; his personal shots at me and you; and so on.” Cindy listed.

“Just trying to climb the ladder of bureaucratic success.” I said. “By the way, the late Captain Malone would say I did the same or similar things to him when I came to the TCPD.”

Cindy said “No, it’s not the same. Not even close.”

“I know.” I said. “But the point is that we don’t know if Craig is just an arrogant bureaucratic asshole, or really is one of the bad guys. He’s being watched, and this mission might give us şişli anal yapan escort what we need to bust his ass down, if he’s dirty.”

“Seems like we’re going to be taking one hell of a risk just to see if Les Craig is dirty.” Cindy said. “Of course, I’m fully aware of the other reason.”

“What’s that?”

“I saw that photo of Betty Morelli.” Cindy said. “One of the most beautiful women either of us has ever seen. And you want to play ‘iron crowbar’ with her… with your ‘other’ iron crowbar.”

“And you don’t?” I asked back.

“I only have one crowbar.” Cindy shot back. “You’re the one with two of them… and sometimes you think with the wrong one.” I began chuckling, which turned into full laughter for both of us.

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

The Interstate goes southwest-northeast from the City to Midtown to Jacksonville and on to Southport. The University-Midtown Highway technically ends at Midtown, but another road goes without a break east towards Madison County and on to Sparta and Acropolis City in the State east of us.

But going south of Midtown, there were no major roads. And it was just as well. I gave Cindy a secondary route and we began ‘sightseeing’ along two-lane roads that went through farms and towns.

“What time are we supposed to pick this woman up?” asked Cindy.

“There is no specific time, but it’s expected to be after dark.” I said. “According to this written file, Betty fled over the State Line south of Jacksonville. There’s an industrial town near the River, called Turpin Heights. It’s a pretty rough place, and we’re going into their version of the Tenderloin District, which they call Chippewa Crossing.”

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

A rainstorm had come through earlier, and the streets of the town were dark and wet as we drove into Turpin Heights, lit up only by the streetlamps whose light drained all the color from the drab buildings, mostly sitting inside fenced-in protection. Then we entered Chippewa Crossing, and the neon lights of every color blasted through the dark and wet, overwhelming our senses with the raw color of a street full of strip joints.

The strip club was seedy and nearly empty. A short redhead in high heels was dancing on the dimly lit stage, not using the pole that was in the middle of the raised area. There were six customers present, mostly middle-aged men that looked like this was the best they could do in life. My sharpest observational powers could not detect if any of them were FBI… either they were that good, or none of them were Agents.

I went up to the bartender and handed him a small card with a word scribbled on it, along with a twenty dollar bill for his personal courtesy. He nodded and pointed at a door in the left rear of the room. A large black man looked us up and down, but just nodded, and we went through the door.

The hallway went forward for a few paces then turned right. There were closed doors on the right that went to the stage, the dressing room (such as it was) and storage for the bar and kitchen (such as it was). On the left was a row of doors. About halfway down, one of the doors was cracked open. Peering inside, I saw one of the FBI Special Agents that I knew… he was one of the ‘automatons’ that had worked with Clark Webster and now with Les Craig.

But he was not an automaton now. He was lying back on a bed, naked. A woman with long blonde hair, naked except for white high heel pumps, in very fit condition, was sucking the Agent’s cock. He was pretty averaged size, and the prostitute had no problem fellating his entire length.

Cindy and I watched a second, the look on her face one of pure derision… though I was not sure if it was derision for the FBI Agent or the prostitute.

Moving to the next door, I saw the other Automaton FBI Agent, partner of the man getting his cock sucked, sitting at a table, eating dinner with gusto. Sitting at the table as well was Betty Morelli…

Part 4 – The Mobster’s Wife

Her body was like an hourglass, but any man would lose track of time admiring those curves. Her mane of black hair was lustrous and and an unspoken invitation to wrap a man up until he was helpless in her velvet warmth. But it was the eyes that gave her away: lifeless pools of primordial emptiness that would suck the very soul out of a man. If Life had depended on being formed in her eyes, we wouldn’t be here talking, and I wouldn’t need another slug from the bourbon bottle. But she knew her eyes didn’t matter, as long as her prey kept looking at those gorgeous, wonderful legs.

The dame said she had a case. I thought she herself was a case, but I couldn’t choose my client on this one…

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

Betty Morelli was much more beautiful in real life than in her photographs. She was wearing a tight, clingy dark blue dress with white polka dots and a white collar, sheer dark blue stockings, and dark blue şişli bdsm escort medium high heels. As Cindy and I came into the room, she looked up first in fear, then relaxed as she recognized us, as did the FBI Agent. Her eyes were indeed lifeless as she scanned Cindy, but I thought I saw her eyes light up a bit, just a tiny bit, as she looked at me.

“Are you ready to go, Mrs. Morelli?” I asked quietly.

“Yes.” she said, her voice low and ‘smoky’, alluring but suggesting caution. “The food here is disgusting. Can we get something to eat along the way?”

“I brought some snacks, but we can stop at a drive-thru.” I said.

“I’ve got to radio in that you’re taking her.” said the Agent. To his absolute shock I grabbed the radio out of his hand, threw it to the floor, and with a mighty swing of the red crowbar, smashed it to pieces.

“What the hell?” he gasped, looking up at me as if I’d lost my mind.

“You’re not calling anyone until we’re well away from here.” I snarled. “And you can use the phone. Let’s go, Mrs. Morelli.”

“Uh, sure.” Betty said, having been equally shocked at my energetic display of violence.

As we went back down the hall, I noticed that the other FBI Agent was now on top of the prostitute on the bed in their room, and he was lustily pumping his cock in and out of her wet snatch. He was carelessly not using a condom while fucking that skank pussy, and I just shook my head at the stupidity of these two of what was considered the FBI’s ‘best’…

We did not go through the bar, but the other way and out the back door. The Black Beauty had been parked by the door, and I opened the back door for Betty. She got in and slid over for me to sit beside her, to her right. Cindy went around and got into the driver’s seat.

“Not much of a car.” Betty said. “If they find us, their cars will easily catch up to us.”

“Oh, I dunno.” I said. “We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve. Okay, Kato, drive us out of here…

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

Cindy was driving east along a two-lane road instead of cutting north like most people would expect us to do.

“Here’s some snack food.” I said to Betty. It was a baggie full of banana chips, raisins, other fruit chips, and various nuts. Betty began snacking, and obviously had no medical issues with any of the contents of the snack bag.

“So,” I said, “tell me about Jerry Morelli.”

“He’s a bastard.” Betty said. “He thinks he’s a hotshot gangster, but he’s just one of their useful idiots. Says he’s going to get out and get clean, but never tries to. All that would be okay, but he hasn’t given me any attention in months. I caught him fucking our maid a few days ago; that was the last straw for me.” I noticed that her eyes were lifeless as she spoke; there was not one bit of passion in them, despite her attempts to put intensity into her voice.

“I see.” I said. “So tell me… wait. Kato! pull over into that abandoned service station just up ahead. Pop the trunk when we’ve stopped.”

Cindy complied, pulling over. The small gas station looked eerie in the complete darkness, the pavement in front slowly beginning to be taken back over by Nature. Once we’d stopped, I got out of the car and went to the opened trunk. I got out a device that detected bugs, but was advanced in that it put out a small signal to force passive bugs to respond, and thus be detected.

“Well, looky here.” I said, mostly to myself. On the right rear tire well was a homing device very much like the one that had been planted on the Black Beauty in the City. (Author’s note: ‘Power’, Ch. 02) But there was also another one, planted way up under the rear bumper in the center. It was a more passive device, and whoever had planted it had hoped I’d stop at finding the first one.

A thorough scan of the car revealed no more tracking devices. I took both devices I’d found and threw them onto the ground, then got back in the car. “Drive, Kato.” I said. “Take the farm road up ahead to the left. And watch for bogeys.”

Cindy had what looked to a layman like a GPS map in the dash, but was actually the technology for detecting Police radios and such things. The tracking device I’d left behind was a bright yellow dot, and occasionally a second dot would appear as someone apparently was ‘pinging’ the second, passive device.

“They must’ve had someone plant the devices on the car while we were inside.” Cindy said.

“Betty,” I said, “how many FBI Agents were allegedly protecting you at that sleazy joint?”

“There were four in total.” said Betty dispassionately. “The two you saw, and two others that were there earlier in the day. They seemed to be working in shifts.”

“Kato” I said, “that explains why one of the FBI Agents was banging that prostitute… kubbuke theatre, to distract us. Oh, and she probably wasn’t a prostitute, but an Agent herself.”

“Could well be.” Cindy said. She looked at the dash. “Okay, we’ve got bogeys at twelve o’clock high, coming right at us.” She turned left onto the farm road and continued to drive. I could see on the panel that for blue dots were converging on the gas station where I’d left the tracking devices.

I still had that bug detecting device in my hands, and I used it now, scanning Betty and her purse. No devices were found.

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