By Brit Columbia
Pairing: Dee and Ryo
Timeline: Set after my big story FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May). Both Justice and A New Day are set after Volume 7 of FAKE
Summary: Dee and Ryo are hunting the dangerous and corrupt Lieutenant Abernathy, but he'll take them down first, if he can. They are slowly closing in on him, but he still has the advantage.
Rating: This chapter is worksafe.
Disclaimer: FAKE, featuring Dee, Ryo, Bikky, Carol, The Chief, Ted, FBI Agent Diana Spacey, Drake and JJ, was created by Sanami Matoh. I make no claim on FAKE or Ms. Matoh or any of her characters. I just write fanfiction about them because I love the FAKE world so much.
Author's Notes: The gang members, as well as Jill and Penny, are my characters. Marty got exactly one scene in Volume 1 of Sanami Matoh’s FAKE, but I gave him a last name—Danes—and expanded his character. He is a gang specialist and heads up a multi-precinct gang task force. Thomas and his father Mike Abernathy are my characters, too.
Thank you to ladyfeather and tripple_p for beta-reading this chapter for me.
Previously in Justice: A few weeks ago in Chinatown, Bikky was set up with a bag of Doritos containing heroin hits. His friends Jill and Penny were in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught up in the situation with him. The three teens were arrested with unnecessary force by cops from the 7th Precinct.
Later Dee and Ryo tried to set up a sting to catch Lieutenant Abernathy, but Abernathy outfoxed them and sent two patrol officers, Cameron Bell and Gordon Cooper, to kill John Hambler, the ex-con who was working with Ted in the sting. IA has been investigating Bell and Cooper, but recently Ted discovered that IA has been using the guise of that investigation to compile videos of members of the 27th precinct. The videos have been doctored so that the interviewees all look like dirty cops.
Liam Hennessy is the director of NYPD Internal Affairs, and a friend of Lieutenant Abernathy’s. Liam and the Commissioner are enemies.
Dee and Ryo are closing in on Rick Romero, AKA Ja Romeo.
Justice Chapter 28
Carol sipped her Frappuccino, regretting that she had agreed to sit down with Jill and Penny. The two of them seemed determined to enlist her support in their bid to make Bikky join their lawsuit against the NYPD, and she had just been stuck listening to fifteen minutes of dramatic demanding and insisting, mainly from Penny. Jill was less vocal, but Carol felt that she was equally determined to make the lawsuit a reality.
"I sympathize, Penny," Carol said for what seemed like the fifth time. "I really do. But this is a decision that Bikky and his dad made together. It really has nothing to do with me."
"Easy for you to say! You're not the one who ended up getting handcuffed and manhandled. Look!" Penny raised her phone again to show Carol the pictures of the bruises that had been left on her arms by the NYPD plastic cuff restraints. "It hurt like a sonofabitch."
Carol gazed at the photos again, trying to look sympathetic. "Oh, yeah, it must have been awful. I don't know what I would have done if it had been me."
Jill spoke up. "I came this close to being tasered," she said, holding up her thumb and forefinger, which were tipped with wickedly long, manicured nails. They made Carol slightly nervous, especially since Jill seemed to want to wave those nails unnecessarily close to her face. She was sure it had to be intentional. She wondered why Jill's fingernails always had a perfect, expensive-looking manicure on them, whereas her toenails were usually chipped and neglected.
"Anyway," said Penny petulantly. "We thought you would understand. If he joins the lawsuit, we'll all get more money. You're his girlfriend, so that ought to benefit you."
"I'm not his girlfriend," Carol insisted, growing slightly impatient. She had already explained this earlier, but Penny seemed to want to repeat herself over and over. "I'm not planning on dating anyone until I'm eighteen. I told you that."
Jill emitted a delicate snort, but didn't say anything. Penny stared at Carol uncomprehendingly for a moment and then gave her head a tiny shake, "Yeah, well, whatever. He probably won't get the money until you're eighteen anyway. You'll be in place to be his girlfriend. He's gonna get more money than any of us.” Her left hand clenched a thoroughly mangled napkin in a white-knuckled grip. “But we’re hardly gonna get anything unless he goes ahead with this. Me and Jill don’t have much of a case without him.”
"He got the crap beaten out of him and that lawyer of his took photos of the bruises. Nobody understands why he doesn't want to hit the NYPD with a lawsuit," said Jill disgustedly. "God, he could be set for life."
"It's his friggin' dad!" Penny slammed her own half-finished Frappuccino down on the table, making the lid pop off. "He's one of them, a cop. He probably doesn't want to lose his job. It's so selfish of him!"
"Look, I know Bikky's dad really well, and he's not a selfish person at all," said Carol, who had just about run out of patience. "If he and Bikky don't want to go ahead with this lawsuit, I'm sure they have their reasons. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get home and start laundry, or my aunt's going to be mad." She started to rise, but Jill and Penny abruptly stood up and blocked her path.
"Hang on there a second, Carol." Jill spoke softly and she was smiling, but the brittleness that Carol had noticed in her on other occasions was back in full force. "We wanted to ask you a favor before you go."
"Yeah," said Penny, looking nervous but determined. "A favor. Just an eensy one."
Carol didn't want to have to push past them if she could possibly help it, so she said, "What favor?"
"Just talk to him for us," Jill said smoothly. "Find out why he doesn't want to go along with it. Find out if it's more him or more his dad."
"Yeah, and make sure you do it soon," Penny insisted. "Me and my mom have an appointment with a lawyer on Tuesday. He’s not that great, but he’s all we can afford. Mom says that Bikky’s lawyer is famous, and if all three of us go in together with that lawyer, we’ll win for sure."
"Have you guys tried talking to Bikky yourselves?" asked Carol.
"Oh, like he hasn't told you?" Jill's sarcastic tone bordered on contempt, but she was still smiling. Her eyes, above the false curve of her lips, were hard and watchful.
"Well, no. We've actually never had a conversation about you." Carol hitched her book bag higher on her shoulder. "But I'll send him a text if it'll make you happy."
Jill examined her fingernails for a moment before looking Carol in the eye. “We really need you to help us talk Bikky into this lawsuit.”
"He commented on Kenny's Facebook page that you're gonna visit him next weekend. Is that true?" Penny demanded and then her eyes narrowed. "Where is he, anyway?"
"He's been sent out of state for his protection," Carol said, which didn't really answer Penny’s question. "I thought everyone knew that." She registered Jill's subtle change of expression with a small feeling of satisfaction. "It's been nice, but I gotta go."
She took a step forward and although Penny automatically moved out of the way, Jill deliberately waited a second or two longer before stepping aside.
"Make sure you send that text today, okay?" Jill called after her.
"Sure will." Carol flashed a smile at them as she weaved between the tables on her way to the coffee shop's exit. Whew, she thought as she pushed the door open. What a pair. They were dying to bully her openly, but didn’t dare because they needed something from Bikky and they still had hopes of getting it. She hoped she didn’t have to see either of them again for a while.
Penny sat back down, but Jill stood for a few moments longer, gazing after Penny through narrowed eyes.
“That chick is not going to help us.” Penny’s tone was sullen.
“Well, I don’t see why she wouldn’t,” Jill said. “Bikky’s own lawyer said his case is worth two or three million bucks. She just needs time to think it through, I guess.”
“We don’t have time!” Penny rattled the ice in her Frappuccino cup. “We have a lawyer’s meeting in just a couple days.”
“Well, technically, we do have time,” Jill said, picking up her cell phone and glancing at the small screen. Her eyes once more fell to her nails. Damn she had lost the little crystal from her right thumb. “My aunt Rianne told me about something called the ‘Statute of Limitations.’ She knows about legal stuff.”
“Oh, really? Why didn’t you say so before? Is she a lawyer?”
“Nah. She works for the police, though.”
“Is she a cop?” squeaked Penny, obviously impressed.
“Not really.” Jill ran a contemplative nail down the condensation on her Frappuccino cup. “At least, I don’t think so. She just works for them, like an office job. You know, typing, filing, answering the phone.”
“Oh, like a secretary.” Penny sounded disappointed. “Too bad she’s not a lawyer. This guy my mom and me are going to see is really expensive.”
“Yeah, I know. My mom said we couldn’t pay for a lawyer. But Rianne said we could maybe get one on contingency. He’ll take a big chunk of the money at the end, but at least we’d get something.”
“I don’t want a teensy little bit of money at the end,” grumbled Penny. “This money is my only chance to go to college. Anyway, what was that thing you said about limitations?”
“The statute of limitations,” said Jill. “We don’t have to do the lawsuit right away. We’ve got three years.”
“In three years I wanna be applying for colleges! It might take years for us to get the money once we even start the lawsuit. The NYPD will have better lawyers than us, too.” Penny sighed loudly. “If I have to wait ‘til I’m twenty five, that would suck so bad. Especially if I only got a couple of thousand at the end of it because that damn Bikky won’t help us!”
Jill smiled slowly and crossed her legs under the table. “I think maybe I can get him to help us,” she said. “Who needs Carol?” She paused and grinned at Penny with her eyebrows raised. “I bet he’s still a virgin,” she added.
Penny exploded in a snorting fit of giggles, and glanced around, scandalized. “Jill! We’re in friggin’ Starbucks for Christ’s sake!”
Diana rolled over in Berkeley's big bed, her mood languid. She felt pleasantly sore between her legs and all the way up inside. Berk was not only hung like a sonofabitch, but exactly as he had promised, he hadn't been gentle, at least not that first time in the bathroom. Later he had recalled the more gentlemanly of his bedroom skills and reminded her once again what an intimate understanding of the female body he had.
A small sigh escaped her parted lips. In a perfect world, it would be just her body that he understood so well, but considering how Berk got around and how many adoring female admirers he had, she had long ago been forced to acknowledge that his talents seemed to have a pretty broad appeal.
Now he was on the phone in the other room and she roused herself to eavesdrop. It sounded like he was talking to Lieutenant Smith about the IA interview videos. When she heard her name mentioned, she sat up in bed, her thoughts returning to work. Her presence might be required at a meeting. She'd better get up and get ready. Berk was going to be mad when he found out she already knew about the interviews and hadn't mentioned anything about it to him. She had been planning to wait for a couple more days, at least until the threat had been fully quantified and neutralized. But then O’Neill independently hacked his way in last night, and suddenly the fake interview issue was front and center. Lieutenant Fox had brought her up to speed on O’Neill’s involvement only a couple of hours before she had arrived at Berk’s house today, and she certainly hadn’t wanted to ruin her chances of getting laid by bringing it up right when he was getting out of the shower.
She dragged the sheet off the bed and draped herself in it before going out to find him. It wasn't through any sense of modesty-- she didn't have much of that. Apart from a few ever-present scars and bruises thanks to the job, her body was a work of art, and Berkely had seen it countless times over the years. No, she draped herself in the sheet just in case he wanted the pleasure of pulling it off her.
She walked into the study that adjoined his bedroom just as he was hanging up the phone.
“Your undercover agent at Internal Affairs," said Berkeley. "What's his skill set?”
“The usual, plus cyber-skills.”
“Can he lock down their system?”
“He could. What was that call about?” Best not to reveal she had been eavesdropping.
“Manufactured interviews in which our people discredit themselves. Liam is behind this, I'm sure of it. Detective O'Neill hacked his way into their mainframe last night. We still don't know the extent of it.”
Diana understood his unspoken message: We still don't know if they have any videos of me.
“Looks like we're going to the Palace, huh? I need a quick shower.” Diana accidentally let her sheet slip down so that one of her breasts was almost totally exposed. Berkeley's eyes immediately went to it, as she had known they would. With an expression of unconcern on her face, she tugged the sheet back up and turned around, but before she had taken her second step, she felt it being tugged off her back. The cool air, courtesy of Berkeley's air-conditioning, raised goose bumps up and down her spine.
“You won't need that sheet in the bathroom, Dee-Dee." His voice sounded regretful. "Make it fast. Lieutenant Smith and Detective O'Neill are waiting for us.”
“I'm a fast woman, Berkie.” She smirked over her shoulder at him and then sashayed to the bathroom knowing his eyes were glued to her ass.
Thomas examined his backside in the mirror before pulling up his favorite black jeans. He still had bruises there from his latest whipping a week ago. And he had almost gotten another one this morning for no good reason. Dad had caught him committing the huge crime of trying to answer the house phone, and had gone ballistic.
"I told you not to touch that phone!" his father had screamed at him, his face red and his eyes all buggy. "I'm expecting an important call! I swear to you, lad, if I catch you so much as looking at that phone, your arse will pay the price, you mark my words. Now get back to your room and get ready for church!"
Thomas didn't want to go to church, but had been too scared to defy his father about that. If Dad was prepared to whip him again just for touching the phone then he could imagine what might happen if he tried to wiggle out of going to church. This morning when the phone rang, he had had a very strong feeling that it was Mom trying to get through on the phone. He hadn't been able to talk to her once since she left. He had to wonder if maybe Dad had scared her, too. If so, she never showed it. But Dad had definitely been getting worse this past year. Sometimes Thomas wondered if his father acted in this crazy way when he was at work, or if he just saved it for home. If anyone else saw him shrieking and spitting and waving his retractable antenna around, they might be scared enough to call the police. Except his dad was the police, so what good would that do?
Thomas had felt relieved when Dad dropped him off at home after church and said he had to go out somewhere. In the past, Dad often wanted to go out for brunch after church, and Thomas had been dreading sitting through an uncomfortable meal with his father, trying to think of things to talk about that wouldn't set off his dad's constantly simmering temper.
Thomas had been feeling lonelier ever since he made the decision to come back home. He didn't really have any friends at St. Patrick’s Middle School, on account of being openly gay, and because of that, destined to burn in hell with the other sinners. The nicer kids at St. Patrick’s treated him like a non-person, and the mean kids chased him and pummeled him regularly. St. Pat’s was a Catholic school, and therefore not very understanding about non-heterosexual feelings and orientations. God didn't love gay people unless they were prepared to stop being gay. One of the girls in his homeroom class had given him a pamphlet about that. Well, not about God not loving gay people, but how gay people, could, with enough faith, become straight again. He knew she was just trying to help, but it hurt all the same.
One of the conditions he had negotiated with his dad before he had returned home was that he would be allowed to attend Harvey Milk High School in September. Dad had reluctantly agreed in front of Dee and Ryo and their boss at the police station that Thomas could switch to the famous GBLT school if he got his grades up and kept them up. Ever since then, he had really been applying himself to his schoolwork. He wanted so bad to get out of St. Pat’s and go to a school where he wouldn't have to worry about getting beaten up all the time.
It was hard to make friends out of school. He had been hoping to spend some time with those kids at the Karate class Ryo had taken him to, but then Dad got all pissed off about that, and refused to pay the fees necessary for Thomas to be able to join. Thomas had also been hoping to get in with Bikky's friends, but Dad had spoiled that, too. Sometimes he wished he had someone to just hang out with. It seemed like he did everything alone nowadays. Thank God for his online friends. Green OJ had asked him several times if they could meet. So far he had been saying no because in his past experience, meeting with online 'friends' could turn out to be iffy. They were almost never kids.
One guy had been at least thirty or forty and had really bad garlic breath. During their twenty minute chat at Micky D’s, he asked Thomas four times to come to his house to meet his dogs. Of course Thomas didn’t go.
Another one, whom Thomas had believed was a teenage girl, turned out to be a severely overweight young man in his twenties who talked nonstop about his mom and how much he hated her. He ordered a mountain of French fries, ate them all without offering to share, and then excused himself to go to the men’s room. He never came back and Thomas had to pay the whole bill.
The best one had been Jerry, if that was his real name. Jerry claimed to be nineteen, and he hadn’t been bad looking, even though he wasn’t a very fashionable dresser. But all Jerry had wanted to do was fondle Thomas in alleys. Thomas hadn’t been totally against that—he had even found it kind of exciting. But one time they got caught by a cop. Jerry ran away and the cop seemed very worried about Thomas, and asked him lots of questions. When Dad found out, he naturally hit the roof. He smashed Thomas’s computer that time. Things got really bad at home after that. Thomas looked nervously at his brand new computer, hoping it wouldn’t suffer the same fate.
He looked out the window wistfully. The sun was shining, his homework was all finished, and he had no one to talk to and nothing to do with his time. Maybe, like Green OJ had been suggesting, it couldn't hurt to meet for a quick soda. In a public place, of course, and with a strict rule of no food. His eyes fell on his computer again, and he made a quick decision. If Green OJ was online right now, he was going to say yes to a personal meeting. If not, then he would spend the afternoon on various chat boards. It just seemed like a shame to stay home on such a beautiful day.
Dee slid his sunglasses to the top of his head as he and Ryo entered the Blackbird Bar and Grill on Cortelyou Road. The place seemed to be doing respectable business for a Sunday afternoon, but that was probably due to the FIFA match playing on two strategically mounted flatscreens. The Blackbird was long, low-ceilinged and dark. Most of the faces here were African American, except for one golden skinned waitress who looked like she might be part Asian. Dee and Ryo stood out noticeably, and Dee wondered why Tyrone would have elected to meet a couple of white cops here. He probably owned the joint, or owned the owner, or something. Marty had set the meeting up for them, so there was probably nothing to worry about, but Dee couldn't help being slightly on edge. Tyrone was not the man his father was, but he was still a gangbanger, and those bastards could be unpredictable.
The waitress set her empty tray on the bar and turned around with a professional smile. "You two lookers want a drink? We’ve got Sam Adams on tap." She eyed them with curiosity, and Dee thought she seemed to be waiting for something.
"Actually, we're here to meet someone," Ryo told her.
"Would his name be Tyrone?" She raised her eyebrows and grinned again, showing straight white teeth. She had a pretty smile and she obviously knew it. To Dee, she looked about three years too young to be serving in licensed establishment, but he wasn’t about to waste time on extraneous shit like that today. His mind was on their upcoming meeting with Tyrone. He hoped he and Ryo weren't walking into a nest of Stone Bloods with a hate on for cops.
"Yeah," said Ryo. "Is he already here?" He smiled back at her. He had a pretty smile, too. Dee wondered if he knew it. Probably. Dee wouldn’t have dared to use the word ‘pretty’ in any compliment he gave to Ryo, however. Ryo didn’t like being referred to as ‘pretty’.
"Right this way." She led them to the very back of the bar to a door with a battered sign on it that read ‘Staff Only.’ After she had knocked three times, a voice inside called out, "Yeah?"
"Ty, honey, your cops are here," she crooned through the door, and Dee instantly felt pissed off.
"Send 'em in," the voice, presumably Tyrone's, called back.
The waitress held the door open for them, but Dee yanked it out of her hand and glared at her. "Just for the record, we ain’t his cops, doll."
She widened her eyes in mock fear. "Oooh, spank me some more, Daddy... I mean, 'Officer'," she teased and deliberately looked him up and down before walking back down the corridor in such a way as to set her short black skirt swinging jauntily from side to side.
"Forget about it, Dee." Ryo gave him a warning look and walked through the door. Dee scowled but followed him without hesitation.
They found themselves in a small, windowless room with the same large young man they had met once before in Essien Ibo's hospital room. Tyrone Ibo was one of Essien's many sons. No one would have picked him for the succession a few weeks ago, but his father’s trusted lieutenants had died in that big fire in Brooklyn, and most of his siblings were still too young to think about fighting him for the helm of the Stone Blood Boys. Marty had not seemed too impressed with Tyrone’s abilities, but he, Dee and Ryo had all agreed that young, stupid gang members who had something to prove could be just as dangerous as the older, more experienced ones.
Tyrone’s skin was a creamy light brown and he sported dreads that were even longer than his father's. He was leaning against the corner of a desk with his arms folded and he was not alone. There was an edgy young firebrand in the room with him who had jumped up the moment they entered. This one had a shaved scalp and thick steel rings on the three middle fingers of each hand. He couldn’t have been more than seventeen or eighteen, but his size and demeanor indicated that his position was that of enforcer.
Tyrone caught his eye, and tilted his head toward Dee and Ryo. “You know they popo, Danny. Chill.”
Danny nodded respectfully at his leader, but didn’t exactly chill. He merely stepped back a pace and continued to glare at Dee and Ryo as though he thought they might attack Tyrone at any moment. He practically trembled with hostility. Dee gave him a look of pure disgust, and then turned to Tyrone.
Tyrone didn’t budge from his tough guy pose. “Detectives Laytner and MacLean…We meet again.” He kept his expression suitably grim.
Dee didn’t smile. “Yeah, nice to see you too. Let’s get down to business. We brought some photos. I assume Detective Danes told you?” He reached into the inside breast pocket of his suit for the envelope.
Unfortunately, the young enforcer misinterpreted the move and exploded into action, launching himself at Dee. He would have slammed into him if Ryo hadn’t intercepted him almost as he began to move. The next seven seconds were all shouting, mayhem and overturned furniture. Ryo had taken Danny down with silent grace and was holding him in place on the floor with both hands and one knee. The shouting part had originated with Dee and Tyrone who were now both pointing pistols in each other’s faces and cursing each other out at the tops of their voices. The sound of pounding feet could be heard coming down a flight of stairs.
Dee was conscious that Ryo didn’t have a free hand to draw his piece, but the last thing he wanted was a bunch of hopped-up gangbangers crashing into the room behind him and blowing them both away before anyone could get a word in. He abruptly lowered his gun and holstered it, glaring at Tyrone the whole time, and hoping the guy would finally get the message.
Tyrone did, and yelled out, “Hold up, Malik! Gimme a sec,” in the direction of the door. It sounded like at least two guys were right outside the room. Dee could hear their heavy breathing.
“Detective Pig,” Tyrone said to Ryo, “you let my dawg up, now.”
“Sure,” said Ryo, “but please explain to him that if he touches me or my partner again, we’re all gonna have to go downtown.”
Danny, from his ignominious position on the floor growled about how no ‘popo’ would be going anywhere except into the river with weights around their necks.
“Tyrone,” said Dee, trying to sound patient and reasonable, “This is an official NYPD/Stone Bloods meeting, set up by the task force, and documented by our precinct. It’s not like no one knows we’re here and you can just make us disappear. My partner and I came here for one reason-- to show you some pictures of a couple other guys, and talk. Did this loser not get the memo?” He indicated Danny.
Tyrone hesitated, then nodded and stuffed his own weapon into his belt. “Marty said somethin’ like that.” He looked down at his enforcer and said, “Danny, no demo, no bangin’, you got that? Just let it go.” He glanced at Ryo again. “Let him up now.”
Ryo did, and rose smoothly to a standing position. Danny scrambled away from him and leapt up, trembling with rage and shame. He couldn’t keep the hatred off his face.
Dee glanced once at him and snorted with derision. Enforcers were not usually so emotional. But then they weren’t usually so young either. Maybe Danny had just recently been promoted, like Tyrone.
Tyrone fixed Danny with a stern look and said, “Get Malik in here. You ace-cool, man, but you gotta take ten.”
Danny’s eyes dropped and he walked stiffly to the door, but before he went through it, he
muttered, “Another time, pig,” to Ryo.
Ryo ignored him. Dee opened his mouth to say something sarcastic, but Ryo gave him a look that made him think better of it.
After a brief muttered conversation outside the room, another young guy came in. He was a little smaller and a little older than Danny, but not by much. He had some very impressive facial tattoos, and a nose that appeared to have been broken more than once. He held a Colt 45 in his hand, but Tyrone told him to put it away.
“We be flippin’,” he informed Malik. “We had a misunderstandin’ and Danny got off the gate, so you stay cold, man. Clear?”
Malik nodded and turned his impassive gaze onto Dee and Ryo.
“Is it okay for me to get the photos out now?” Dee asked Tyrone.
“Yeah. Put ‘em on the desk.”
In exaggerated slow motion, Dee withdrew a long manila envelope from his suit and tossed it onto the desk beside Tyrone.
Tyrone dumped out the contents, revealing matte five-by-seven photos of Lieutenant Abernathy, Detective Ned Shaver, and several of Rick Romero. The photos of Rick had been culled from his Steelshot Facebook page.
When Tyrone saw the photo of Abernathy, he made a hissing sound between his teeth, and muttered “Mothafucka!”
“We’re after him,” said Dee. “I assume you got no problem with that?”
“Nope,” said Tyrone. He held up a photo of Rick. “What about Busta here?”
“Person of interest in a murder. What can you tell us about him?”
Tyrone grinned nastily. “He a fuckin’ creampuff, think he got gang in him. Wanted in to the Stone Bloods, asked us twice, we fuckin’ sent him home. Now he suckin’ Devil dick.”
“Yeah, we wondered about that. The most recent pics from his band’s website show him partying with Devils. Is he working for them?”
Tyrone shrugged. “Maybe. I dunno if he got the tattoo. He di’n’t wanna do the beat. Word is he whacked a junkie kid in Queens instead.”
Dee caught Ryo’s eye before nodding at Tyrone. “Was it gang-ordered?”
The big Stone Blood leader shrugged. “Junkie was a nobody. Real small-time. Din even operate in Brooklyn. Can’t say what the Devils had against him.”
“Do you know the kid’s name?” Ryo asked.
Tyrone frowned. “Wouldn’t be hard to find out.” He looked over at Malik.
Malik spoke up. “Calvetti,” he said. “Dealt for some small fish, mostly downtown, some midtown.”
Ryo turned his attention back to Tyrone. “Did Mr. Romero say he committed the murder?”
Tyrone emitted a short laugh, but it was not a sound of amusement. “Oh, he say it alla time. But Tricky Ricky say a lotta things. Depends on who he talkin’ to. If you ask him, he ain’t gonna say shit.”
Dee and Ryo shared another look. This was not proof or evidence. It was corroboration, but still just hearsay.
“Didn’t the Devils watch him do it?” Ryo asked. “The murder happened in Queens, out of their territory.”
“Irish here vouched for him. He was there.” Tyrone tapped the photo of Abernathy.
Dee shook his head, unsurprised. “Still can’t use that.”
“You want I should give you something on Rick?” Tyrone’s tone had changed, and his expression was now a few degrees more calculating.
“What you got?” Dee gave him a measuring look.
“What you got?”
“Nothing dirty,” said Dee. “We ain’t like Shaver.”
Ryo spoke up. “If we get Rick, he’ll sell out the cop. Without Lieutenant Abernathy helping the Devils, you’ve got a better shot at getting your markets back. We just need enough for a warrant that will turn both their lives upside down.”
“Once we do that, Mikey will be way too preoccupied with his own problems to use police databanks and muscle to make life hard for the Stone Bloods,” Dee added. “And Rick’s the type who’ll rush to cut himself a deal.”
Tyrone snorted. “Yep, he is. He’ll sell out the cop, but don’t count on him to sell out the gang for you too. He gonna need ‘em in the big house.”
“He won’t go to jail for long unless we can nail him for this murder,” said Ryo. “The guy’s got the cleanest record we ever saw.”
Tyrone seemed to find that really funny, because he started chuckling and almost couldn’t stop. Even Malik allowed himself a small grin.
Finally, Tyrone managed to get himself back under control. His eyes went from Dee’s face to Ryo’s and they could see he was enjoying his little joke, as well as the fact that they didn’t have a clue what he found so amusing.
“That’s right, I forgot about that. Hey Malik, Ja Romeo still got no record!”
Malik snickered and Tyrone turned his attention back to the two detectives. “There be a story behind that, and it might help ya keep Ricky busy for a while.”
“Well, lay it on us and we’ll get busy on him.” Dee folded his arms and waited.
“Popo-Posse recently dug up a body in Oyster Bay,” Tyrone said. “Tony DeLuca’s place? I see you know.” He started grinning again, and for a moment his resemblance to his father increased. “Well, you check the dental records on that stiff, then you’ll find you got plenty to talk to Ja Romeo ‘bout.”
:.:.:.:.: End of chapter 28 .:.:.:.:.:.:.:
Author’s notes: Sorry if the gang slang was confusing. I tried to keep it to a minimum. ‘Flipping’ means cooperating with the police. Demo and banging mean fighting.