In other news, I think I've got a raccoon living in my attic. There's a large-ish animal up there, thumping around and snuffling, and sometimes an animal that is bigger than a cat but smaller than a dog chases Fluffy around the eaves of the roof. I hear the rapid pounding of their feet as they dash past windows, but I've never actually seen them. I think raccoons are very cute, but I don't like them because they bully cats. I also do not want a raccoon living in my attic! There must be a hole under the eaves somewhere. Does anyone know who you call if you have raccoons in your attic? Would it be an exterminator? I called an exterminator when we had rats up there, and he practically fell through my kitchen ceiling! The ceiling cracked and sagged and then had to be re-dry-walled and painted. I don't want that to happen again, and yet I don't want the raccoon to be killed (i.e. poisoned), either.
Anyway, enough about me and my meat and raccoon problems. It's about time I posted the chapter, right? Right!
Pairing: Dee/ Ryo
Rating: Worksafe. There's always swearing, however.
Spoilers: To Volume 7
Timing: Set in May, directly after book 7 ended
Summary: Ryo is coming to terms with his new sexual identity, as well as the changes in his relationship with Dee. Meanwhile, Dee and Ryo are trying to find enough evidence to expose a crooked cop. This story explores homophobic attitudes, but is primarily a love story between two men.
Disclaimer: I do not own Fake or any of the characters created by Sanami Matoh. Detectives Shaver and Collins are mine, however, along with Sergeant Blake, Lieutenant Abernathy, and Alan Radley. I have not based these characters on any living person.
Author's notes: I'm sorry for the longer-than-usual delay in posting, but it's always crazy days at work for me in April and May. Ruins my birthday every year! Grrr.
Thank you to Mtemplar and my dad, (believe it or not!) for beta-ing this chapter with their practical and scientific minds. Thanks to Moontatoo for pointing out all those places where I needed new paragraphs, as well as reminding me about the press. Thanks to Erin for the Navy Yard, a really fabulous location for the activities of this chapter.
A New Day (May)
Inside the warehouse, Ned Shaver stood within the sheltering hollow of one of the steel I-beam supporting pillars, which had protected him from the shock wave of the explosion. The flame front had raced out from the ignition point, but he hadn't been caught in it thanks to the pillar, although he was somewhat singed, and his ears were ringing. Or was that the fire alarm? He couldn't say. The multiple explosions had been as loud as anything he'd ever heard. To his astonishment, he found he was still clutching the silver metal briefcase full of cash that he'd been directed to hold at the beginning of the meeting. He looked around him cautiously. Anything that was capable of burning was now on fire: containers, fixtures, cars and human beings. The worst of the fire was back among the cars. The explosion seemed to have taken care of most of the Devils and CA guys, hurling them in all directions and setting their clothes and hair on fire. There were bodies and body parts everywhere; the stink of burning flesh was nothing short of horrific. Shaver's watery eyes caught movement amidst the smoke and he realized that a few Stone Bloods were still alive, thanks to Ibo's quick thinking and orders to take cover. He caught sight of Ibo himself, protected the same way he was, by another I-beam pillar on the opposite side of the warehouse. The Leader of the Stone Bloods raised his arm and shouted something to him, but right as he did so, there was another deafening explosion as another one of the cars' gas tanks blew, and the roar snatched his words away.
Like the previous explosions, it shook the floor under him, causing Shaver to stumble. He thought it best to drop into a crouch - surely there would be more explosions as the fire found the gas tanks of each expensive car formerly owned by gang members. Sweating, and terrified, Shaver didn't know what to do. He was still so surprised to be still alive and in one piece that he was temporarily at a loss. It had been instinct, pure and simple that had prompted him to suddenly leap behind the column. Now, he didn't know if he should move out from his sheltered spot or stay where he was. The main problem was that the flames everywhere were burning up the available oxygen and he was finding it increasingly hard to breathe. The air was already so hot he imagined he could feel it burning the tissues of his mouth and throat.
He glanced over in Ibo's direction again, and in between great billowing clouds of smoke, was shocked to see that the leader of the Stone Bloods had moved. He was now crawling toward the Bronx detective, his big Glock 20 in one hand. Lit by the flames, eyes accusing and terrible, he appeared to the overwrought Ned Shaver to be like a demon crawling out of hell. Essien Ibo was a large man, fiercely intelligent and physically imposing, even when he was flat on his belly. The look on his bleeding and soot-streaked face told Shaver that Ibo had perhaps guessed one or more of his secrets. One thing was certain: he was definitely more afraid of Ibo than he was of the fire. He knew he had to move, but where?
A flash of dark movement arrested his attention. A big guy in a black hoodie, eyes slitted against the smoke, lips pressed firmly together, was making a run for it, heading toward the back of the building. It looked like Jimmy, Ibo's right hand goon. Where the hell was he going? Maybe there was another way out. This warehouse was part of the Stone Bloods' territory, after all. They, more than anyone else here tonight, would know the layout of the building.
Shaver stood up to follow him, but immediately got a serious lungful of smoke. Things were obviously better down on the floor. Dropping back down, he shot another nervous glance at Ibo, and was alarmed to discover that he was making pretty good time. Shaver sent the silver metal briefcase skittering in his direction in the hopes it would slow him down, and then started crawling after Jimmy. It was hard to hear above the shrilling of the alarm and the crackling of the flames, but it sounded like a few of the brothers were still exchanging occasional shots. He wondered how they could even see to shoot, what with the choking, hazy smoke getting thicker by the second.
His breath was now coming in labored gasps, and sweat soaked his body, feeling wet and sticky under his shirt and that damn vest. Sweat sprang out on his face as well, but almost instantly evaporated in the baking heat. The floor was covered in smoking debris, painfully hot and hard beneath his elbows and knees. It was like crawling over hot coals. Looking back, he realized that Ibo was gaining on him. It was no use - he couldn't go any faster with his injured knee and also with the way his heart was pounding from having to put out maximum effort on minimum oxygen. He had made it halfway across the open space of the floor when he felt a powerful hand close around his ankle.
A couple of blocks away on a narrow side street between two warehouses, Lieutenant Michael Abernathy stepped uneasily out of his car. Where the hell was that boy? He had sent him to the main road to check what was happening over at the source of the explosion, but the idiot had disappeared. He should have been back by now. He'd better not have gone too close to the warehouse just so he could gape at the fire and perhaps get himself shot. Lieutenant Abernathy was interested in maintaining a low profile tonight. He wanted to find out what was happening and get out of there quickly, hopefully before the Navy Yard became choked with emergency vehicles, which it was likely to be very soon, judging by the sound of the sirens he could hear growing louder in the distance. Dammit, if Collins wasn't back soon, he would drive off and leave the ignorant shithead to take the bus home. Lieutenant Abernathy had very little patience with rookie detectives who didn't follow orders.
He looked up at the sky, where thick black smoke was rising rapidly, lit by the street lamps around the warehouse. It was a big fire, obviously. He popped an antacid into his mouth and chewed it nervously. He hoped they'd all managed to get out in time...Well, the important ones anyway. Ned Shaver, he didn't give a damn about. That fellow had been nothing but trouble recently. He had played his unwitting part tonight to perfection, obligingly driving here with a GPS homing device attached to the undercarriage of his car. Mike had been glad to be able to perform this little service for the Devils, and he hoped that they hadn't all perished in whatever conflagration had happened in the warehouse. Not that he cared on a personal level, but he had money invested in them and he was expecting an eight grand payout at the end of the week. It would be bloody hard to collect if they were all dead.
Detective Shaver looked back and saw that it was indeed the Stone Bloods' leader who had him by the ankle in a bone-crushing grip. The man's face was a mask of murderous rage. Panic rose in him as he tried, unsuccessfully, to shake off his assailant and crawl forward, but his body was heavy and hot and the Dragon vest was squeezing him so that he felt he couldn't properly gather his strength, or even breathe. His fingers reached instinctively for his weapon, however. In another few seconds, Ibo had clambered up on top of him, and Shaver rolled onto his back to face him, an animal at bay. The Glock was jammed painfully up under the side of his jaw, and Ibo snatched at his tie with his other hand, pulling the microphone and its wire out of his shirt.
"You! You double-crossing motherfucker. You think you can fuck ME? You did this -- ALL of this, and you're gonna---" He paused to gasp in the thin, smoky air for the breath he needed to continue in this vein, unaware that Shaver's 9mm was pressed lightly against his ribcage. The Bronx detective didn't give him a chance to finish his sentence. The gunshot, when it came, could barely be heard, as it happened to coincide with the explosion of yet another vehicle's gas tank. Ibo's body recoiled and he pulled his own trigger reflexively as he felt the slug rip into him, tearing muscle and breaking bone. In turn, Shaver felt the burn of the Glock's bullet as he turned his head, closing his eyes against the specter of death...
Lieutenant Abernathy walked away from his car and out to the larger road abutting the side street he was parked on. Even before he had reached it, he could hear the crackling roar of the flames that were shooting up through the broken roof of the warehouse. The Devils' cars and motorcycles were all on fire in front of the main doors. Definitely not a good sign. There was no sign of life, not even any parked vehicles except for one that looked like it belonged to a roofing company. Detective Collins, naturally, was nowhere in sight. What the hell did the lad think he was up to? The lieutenant decided to return to his car.
If he hadn't turned at that precise moment, he might have missed the kid on the bike. He only caught a brief glimpse of him, an overgrown teen riding one of those idiotic little bikes, legs pumping the pedals steadily as he rode up the slight incline of the road running parallel to this one, half a block beyond the car. The bill of a ball cap protruded out from under the hood of his sweatshirt, and he wore a backpack. Abernathy's first thought was to wonder what the boy's parents thought they were about, letting their son wander the streets at this time of night. At least his Thomas was safe at home in bed. Then the second thought crowded in after the first, causing his brow to furrow in consternation. Teenagers usually traveled in packs. What was this one doing down here at the Navy Yard by himself? And hadn't he been coming roughly from the direction of the fire? Maybe he was a survivor! Ned hoped he was one of the Devils. He hurried past his car to the other end of the block and called after the kid - or was it a man?- on the bicycle. He didn't look back, but he didn't speed up, either. The lieutenant frowned after him. If he was a fugitive from the scene of a drug deal gone horribly wrong, he certainly wasn't making his getaway with any degree of haste. Just then, a small bundle of something fell from his backpack and landed in the middle of the road behind him. The kid didn't stop, and the shadows swallowed him up.
Abernathy returned on foot to his car and started the engine. He turned the car around and drove to the end of the street, looking carefully for witnesses before he turned in the direction the cyclist had gone. When he came to the part of the road where he had seen the bundle drop, he stopped the car, and retrieved it. He knew what it was even before his trembling fingers had closed around it. It was a stack of crisp, new hundred dollar bills, bound at either end with a flat rubber band. At least five thousand dollars. Jesus God Almighty. He had to catch that kid!
Jumping back in his car, he tore off up the street in pursuit of the fugitive on the bicycle. He thought it wouldn't take him long to catch him because after all, there were only so many roads out of the Navy Yard. He was distracted by the irresistible necessity of having to stop for three more bundles of cash, but eventually he got all the way up to Flushing Avenue without having spotted his quarry again. There was intermittent traffic, nothing like what one would see in the daytime, but fairly steady nonetheless. He swung his eyes this way and that, looking for a black hoodie and a bicycle. Could it be that the fellow had turned off before the main road and was hiding somewhere? He was unwilling to believe that he had lost him. He didn't know how much money he would find in the backpack, but he sensed it would be upward of a hundred thousand dollars, possibly a lot more than that. It could only have come from the big gang merger that had been going on back at the Navy Yard.
However much it was, the lieutenant was in dire need of that money. It was getting harder and harder to hide his massive debt from Isadora, his wife of thirteen years. She had been asking him suspicious questions of late, and he didn't want to give her an excuse for leaving him.
A gangly pony-tailed teenager rattled by on a skateboard, and Abernathy started hopefully. No, that wasn't him. Shit! He could hear sirens, really close now. He hesitated with his turn signal on, unsure whether to turn onto Flushing, or put the car into reverse and head back down to the Navy Yard. A bus roared up, all lights and squealing brakes, stopping a short distance away to disgorge three passengers, a drunken couple who appeared to be unhappy with each other, and a little old man with very stiff knee joints. Abernathy's sharp eyes passed over them without interest, as there were no young fellows with backpacks hiding amongst them.
Lieutenant Abernathy had just made the decision to back his car up and try to pull a U-turn, when he spotted it at the bus stop - a kid's bike, lying on its side, the front wheel still turning slowly. Before he could react, the approaching sirens reached a crescendo of urgency, and two huge red and white fire trucks appeared almost simultaneously from opposite directions, and made to turn down the street he was on. He hesitated and one of them blasted its horn at him, twice. Cursing, he pulled over, practically on the sidewalk, and let them by. No sooner had they gone than three equally noisy police cruisers careened in and screamed after them.
When Lieutenant Abernathy was finally able to pull out onto Flushing and begin his pursuit of the bus, he had lost a good three minutes. That was okay. He could still catch it. It was the B57 and he knew its route. He just prayed that the man with the black hooded sweatshirt and the backpack full of money wouldn't have gotten off in the last three minutes.
Even with his siren blaring and and his magnetic beacon lights doing their job on the roof of his car, Lieutenant Abernathy had a hard time getting that fool of a bus driver to understand that he had to pull over. It was necessary for him to drive alongside the driver's window, yelling up to him and practically holding his badge out of the passenger side of the car before the idiot seemed willing to stop. Even then, the driver, with many anxious looks around him, drove for another block until he came to a bus stop, whereupon he finally pulled in and allowed the bus to roll to a standstill.
Abernathy didn't trust him not to open the door and let passengers start filing off, so he swung his vehicle in front of the bus the second it had stopped, and screeched to a halt at a crazy angle. He bounded out of the car and around to the bus doors with his gun drawn, ready to shoot anyone who tried to make a run for it. The nervous driver opened the front doors for him, and he boarded, bellowing, "NYPD! Do NOT let anyone off this goddamn bus, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?"
"Yes sir, yes sir." Plainly terrified, the driver raised both hands as though he were under arrest, even though Abernathy had not actually pointed his gun at him.
"Good. Did anyone get off the bus in the last five minutes? Since you stopped at Third and let off the couple and the old man?" Receiving a frantic headshake from the rattled driver, he turned his attention to the scared occupants of the bus, scanning them rapidly for hoodies and backpacks. There were only about twelve or thirteen people on the bus, total, and he understood almost immediately that his man wasn't there. The realization hit him like a wallop to the solar plexus. The son of a bitch had played him! He still clung to a faint hope that the cyclist might yet be on the bus, perhaps hiding behind a seat. Lieutenant Abernathy moved down the aisle, his handgun at the ready, staring hard at the passengers and their belongings. There was only one unaccompanied male who looked young enough to have managed the long cycle ride from down at the Navy Yard, a sharp-looking African American guy in his mid twenties. But he was not wearing a hoodie and he had no bags of any description. He and the fellow looked at each other with mutual hostility.
"You got a problem with me, Officer?"
"What's your name, boy?"
The man recoiled, as Abernathy had known he would, at his use of the word 'boy'.
"The name's Alan Radley. Don't it say nothin' in your training, sir, about not calling a black man 'boy'?"
"Shut your mouth, Mr. Radley, and show me some ID."
At this point they ran into a problem because Mr. Radley was unable to produce any identification. Lieutenant Abernathy was getting angrier and angrier. Although he knew in his heart that this man was probably not the one who had escaped from the fire with all the cash from the drug deal, he had nothing else to go on, and he couldn't take the chance that he had stashed the money somewhere and then gotten on the bus.
"Were you at the Navy Yard earlier this evening?"
"Hell no! I got on this bus outside Brannigans' back at Saint Ann's. Ask the driver."
"Don't get smart with me, asshole. I saw you riding a bicycle on Third down at the Yard."
"That wasn't me! I ain't never been down to the Navy Yard in my life. I don't even live in Brooklyn. What the hell is this - pick on the black guy?" He looked around indignantly at the other passengers, none of whom happened to be people of color. They looked away uncomfortably.
Abernathy's rage exploded and his hand shot out and grabbed Alan Radley by the front of his shirt. Although not a big man, he was stronger than he looked, and never more so than when he was angry.
"You're under arrest, you piece of shit. Get out of that fucking seat."
"What the hell for? For riding a freakin' bus?" Mr. Radley suddenly didn't sound quite so brave.
"No, for arson and theft." Abernathy spun him around and handcuffed him. "And we'll see how far you want to carry the smartass attitude when all these people have gone on their way and it's just you and me, boy."
As he dragged the younger man off the bus, snarling his Miranda rights at him all the while, the driver found it in himself to get out of his seat and come forward.
"Officer," he called, somewhat hesitantly. "It's true what this boy said. He really did get on the bus at Saint Ann's. I remember him."
By that point, Abernathy was stuffing Mr. Radley, none too gently, into the back seat of his car. He transferred some of his displeasure toward the driver. "You do your job and I'll do mine, sir," he said curtly.
The driver tried one more time. "Officer," he said. "I didn't catch your name or your badge number."
"That's right, you didn't," Abernathy snapped, as he got into the car and slammed the door. "Next time pay attention."
And with that he roared off, with the hapless Mr. Radley emanating fear and alarm in the back seat.
"JJ!" It was Dee's voice on the phone. "What's the hell's going on? I heard you guys are in trouble and Ryo's not picking up!"
"Dee-Sempai! Yeah, it's total chaos down here, but we're okay. Maybe not Shaver, though. How did you know?"
"I called the dispatch office at the 88th. They told me twelve units plus the fire department had been sent to the Navy Yard. What happened to Shaver?"
"The warehouse is on fire, like seriously on fire, and he hasn't come out."
"Speak up, dude. I can barely hear you over the noise of all the radios and shouting."
"I said that the warehouse is burning like Rome after Nero got done with it, and Shaver's still in there," yelled JJ.
"Shit. Is the fire department going in to look for survivors?"
"Not anytime soon. They say the explosion makes this a Haz-Mat fire, so -"
"Explosion? What the fuck?"
"Yeah, a really big one, too. First, the Devils arrived like you guys said might happen, and then shortly after they went in shooting, there was this huge explosion and the whole place starting burning like you wouldn't believe. So far, no one's come out."
"Holy shit! But you guys are all okay, right? Why isn't Ryo answering his phone?"
"Oh, he's been busy. First, he and Sergeant Blake from the 88th were slugging it out -"
"Not literally, Mr. Perfect! Jeez, settle down. Sergeant Blake was trying to take command of the whole scene and actually told us all to stand down and go back to Manhattan, but this is our case, so Ryo and he exchanged some choice words. It was really something! Dee-Sempai, did YOU know Ryo could swear like a sailor?"
"Yeah, but he doesn't do it very often so everyone forgets. Who's in charge of the scene now?"
"That's kinda hard to say. Right in the middle of Ryo's power struggle with Sergeant Blake, the Fire Department arrived with a Haz-Mat unit and started yelling at the patrol cops to move their cars so the trucks could get through. Then the fire captain, who is a total hunk by the way, although not quite in your league, went up and told Ryo and Sergeant Blake that he was taking charge of the situation because he had a fire to put out. So the FDNY set up a command post and started hosing down the warehouse, but then the Bomb Squad arrived. They sent Sergeant Blake and most of the cruisers away, but some of them are still here because the Sergeant seems to be hoping some armed gang members might still come running out of the building, which I highly doubt. I think he just doesn't want to go back to his boring patrol route, since the Navy Yard is where all the action is tonight. Anyway, the Bomb Squad is now arguing with Captain Hunky. I heard them yelling about how CIMS protocol says the NYPD has jurisdiction over explosions, and the Captain's getting all technical with them, but I'm sure you don't want to hear about that."
"Not right n-" Dee tried to get a word in edgewise, but the younger man kept right on talking.
"Ryo was trying to mediate, and he seemed to be making some progress until the FBI showed up, and you know what they're like. Now everybody's pissed off again. So, to answer your question, no, I don't really know who's in charge. But I think everyone should just back off and let the fire department do their jobs. If there were any additional bombs in there, they probably would have gone off by now."
"Do we know what caused the explosion?"
"No, and that's one of the reasons why the firefighters won't go inside. Until they've got some idea what the hell is in that warehouse, they don't wanna risk their personnel. Plus, it's kinda burning too hot now. The sprinkler system was disabled when that first explosion happened. It apparently brought part of the roof down, and the rest of it is unstable. I asked one of the firefighters and he said no way is anyone still alive in there. It's really too bad about Detective Shaver. I feel awful now that I was mean to him. Do you think I was super-mean or maybe only a little bit mean back when we were in my apartment?" JJ sounded hopeful.
Dee ignored the question. "JJ, I wanna talk to Ryo. Can you ask him to call me, please?"
A loud sigh came from the other end of the line. "I'll ask, but I doubt he'll be able to call you for a while. He's pretty busy right now. Why don't you stay on the phone with me instead? I'll be happy to let you know what's - "
Dee interrupted him to say, "Thanks for the update, dude. Give him my message, okay?"
JJ talked for at least another minute before realizing that Dee had already hung up. He stared at his phone for a moment, fighting a wave of disappointment. Dee was always slipping away from him like that. However, a minute later, he had shaken it off and dialed Drake's number. He was fully aware it was pushing one o'clock in the morning, but he told himself that this was big news and his partner would want to be informed. Of course, it would also be a good way to find out if Drake was still with that cow from Records.
JJ and Annette detested each other. He wasn't sure exactly why she detested him, but he was in no doubt about her feelings for him, since she always looked at him as if he were some kind of loathsome crawling insect. He guessed it was probably because she disliked gay people. He detested her because both Drake and Dee seemed to be fascinated with her enormous udders, and always caught each other's eye when she walked by. And naturally, she had to be constantly flirting outrageously with both of them, the bitch! He wondered what Annette would think of Drake if she knew that just a few days ago, her handsome date had been alone and naked with another man? Drakey had been surprisingly eager, too. JJ put it down to his having been suddenly cut off from sexual contact when he had been used to getting it on a regular basis from Megan before she broke up with him. He scowled at the memory of Megan. What was it with Drake and bitches? He was like a bitch-magnet, that man. Every woman he ended up with was bossy, difficult and demanding. JJ couldn't recall a single one of Drake's many girlfriends over the past two years that he had actually liked.
"Gmph... Parker," Drake mumbled sleepily into the phone.
"Drake, I'm so sorry to wake you," said JJ excitedly, completely unaware that he didn't sound the slightest bit sorry. "I just thought you might wanna know that we've been up to our necks in gang fights, explosions and fire this evening, and it's sure to be front page news tomorrow."
"Huh? Wha -?"
"We're surrounded by emergency vehicles right now, and the warehouse where the deal took place is well on its way to burning to the ground. The fire crews are focusing most of their efforts on trying to prevent the fire from spreading to the other buildings. Lots of people died here tonight." JJ paused, and added, "But - Ooops! I just remembered that you're on a date. Maybe this isn't the best time for me to be bothering you with this stuff..."
"JJ, wait! Don't hang up! Tell me what the hell is going on."
"But what about Annette? Some of what I want to tell you is confidential, related to our undercover work. If she's right there beside you, then maybe this should wait until tomorrow."
"I'm not with Annette, dude. Our date, if you can call it that, has been over for hours. Talk to me."
JJ launched into the whole exhilarating tale, and enjoyed Drake's shocked reactions to all the twists and turns of it. He laughed off Drake's gratifying concern for his safety, and reassured him that all the other members of their team were okay, too. It was a much more satisfying phone call than the one he'd had with Dee. Not once did Drake express a desire to talk to Ryo, nor did he interrupt him or try to hurry him along. Mostly, however, JJ was happy that Drake's date seemed to have ended early and inconclusively.
"You want me to come down there?"
"No Drakey, that's sweet of you, but it's not necessary. I doubt you could get in anyway. There's a swat team here now and a K-9 unit, and I even heard that there were a couple of guys from Homeland Security here. I swear there's no more room for even one additional car. The 88th and the FBI have set up multiple checkpoints on every road leading down to the Navy Yard. They're not even letting the press in, which is another thing the FDNY are pissed off about, like they need any more positive publicity. Anyway, I doubt even your badge would be enough to get you through right now."
"The hell it wouldn't. Are you sure you don't need me?"
"No, not right now, but I might need you to cover for me tomorrow if Ryo doesn't let us go home soon... Hey Drake, I gotta go. There are a couple of stretchers coming this way, and I wanna find out what happened. Get some sleep, okay? Sorry again for waking you."
"It's fine," Drake replied softly. "I'm glad you called and that you're okay..." His voice trailed off as he realized he was talking to dead air.
"Get on your feet, boy!" Abernathy punctuated that order with a forceful kick. The young man groaned and struggled to get up. His legs shook under him, and Abernathy briefly regretted using the stun gun on him so many times. He needed to get his handcuffs back, and he preferred not to have to kneel down on the grit and trash-covered surface of the alley they were in. The kid lost his balance and fell against the dumpster that was partially shielding them from the sight of any passers-by, and Abernathy grabbed him under his damp armpit and hauled him around. "Stay up, damn you," he muttered as he unlocked the cuffs. The minute he had them free, he stepped back with them and Alan Radley again slumped to the ground. Abernathy gave him a parting glance just to establish that he was still breathing and then turned and strolled back to his car. Well, that had been a washout, it surely had. He had ascertained to his satisfaction that Mr. Radley had not in fact been anywhere near the Navy Yard that night, and did not have any knowledge of the whereabouts of a backpack full of money. As always, he felt a vague sense of remorse for losing his temper and inflicting physical damage upon a man who, although mouthy and disrespectful, had nonetheless turned out to be innocent. Innocent? The thought of that word brought a mirthless smile to his face. We're none of us innocent, he thought. This is a world of sinners, and this city breeds some of the worst on God's good earth. Sins always had to be paid for, one way or another. It pleased him to think that the Almighty had perhaps used him as an instrument to punish the unknown sins of Mr. Radley.
Lieutenant Abernathy got into his car and started the engine. At least he felt calm now, and able to accept the fact that he had come this close to getting his hands on a means to solve or at least seriously mitigate his cash-flow problems. Unfortunately, it had slipped away from him, despite his best efforts. It was also looking as though his plans to raise larger sums of money through the Dyre Street Devils and their activities would have to be put on hold until the Devils were able to come back from whatever damage had been inflicted upon their numbers tonight at the Navy Yard. At least he wasn't coming away totally empty-handed. He still had the money that the cyclist had dropped, a tidy sum by anyone's standards. At least twenty thousand dollars. It would take the heat off with the debt payments over the next two or three months. Perhaps it was time for a little holiday. Isadora had been thinking about traveling recently, he knew. He had seen her checking ads for flights in the newspaper. He hoped she would be excited about the idea. It was so long, years really, since he had seen her excited about anything.
The sudden ringing of his work cell phone interrupted his thoughts of his wife. He checked the call display and saw that it was an unfamiliar number. "Lieutenant Abernathy," he said.
"Hello Lieutenant. This is Detective Randy MacLean. How are you doing this evening?"
"Never mind that, Detective. What's this about?" Abernathy's voice was hard. He didn't like the man and he wasn't going to bother to pretend. Plus, he sounded pleased about something and that set off alarm bells in Abernathy's mind.
"Well, I'm here at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a certain Detective Collins, whom we found unconscious from a blow to the head. He appears to have been assaulted and robbed, and he's asking for you. We were just wondering, sir, if you were still in the area and if you had any intention of coming back for him."
Abernathy didn't answer for several long moments as he considered this new information. What the hell were 27th guys doing in Brooklyn, tonight of all nights, at the bloody Navy Yard? The Navy Yard was the 88th's jurisdiction. Unless that sonofabitch Ned Shaver had been working three sides of the fence...If so, there could be trouble. Well, there was nothing for it. He'd have to go back to the Navy Yard and brazen things out. He needed particulars. Chief among his concerns was whether Ned Shaver was alive or dead. He fervently hoped it was the latter. But if he had made a formal statement before dying, there would be warrants...
"Well, naturally, I'm coming back for him. Naturally. In fact, I'm on my way," he blustered. "I look forward to seeing you all in a few minutes. It appears there may have been a few developments in my little absence."
"With all due respect, sir, I wouldn't call a forty-minute abandonment of a colleague at a major crime scene 'little'," remarked Detective MacLean. "Even if your God understands why you did it, I certainly don't. But no doubt you have a really good reason for it, which all the site commanders will want to hear."
Abernathy drew breath to blast the insolence of the man, but let it out again when he realized that the blaspheming sodomite had hung up on him. The effrontery! That such a man, if he could even be termed a proper man, should have the temerity to lecture him! Lieutenant Abernathy felt his hard-won calm sliding away from him again. Fumbling in his pocket for his antacid tablets, he forced himself to breathe deeply through his nose. He would presently be walking into a den of lions and he needed to keep his wits about him. He had only a few minutes to decide how much of the truth to tell them, and what would be the best way to pose it. Whatever happened, he wasn't giving up the money. It was safely hidden under his spare tire in the trunk, and there it would stay until he could transfer it to a better place. Think, man, think. You can't let yourself be taken down by a filthy pederast not fit to even polish the shoes of decent Godfearing people. That such a man had ever been granted custody of a child was beyond comprehension. But first he would go and face the site commander at the Navy Yard. Tomorrow he would talk to Liam about taking some time off. After that, it would be time to deal with Detective MacLean.
"You don't know it, but your days are numbered, me boyo," he muttered to himself.
~end of chapter 36~
Additional author's notes: CIMS (Citywide Incident Management System) protocol says that at CBRN/Haz-Mat Incidents, the NYPD will be the Primary Agency, with responsibility for overall site management, assessment and investigations (crime-scene/terrorism). CBRN stands for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear. However, the FDNY (Fire Department of New York) will be responsible for life safety operations and decontamination on a mass scale. Sometimes it's difficult to establish which agency should take charge at a particular incident. The FDNY, in recent years, has been increasing their preparedness to deal with incidents related to terrorism. Explosions usually make people think of terrorism, but I assure you that there are no terrorists in this story!
For those who don't remember, the 'Liam' that Abernathy refers to is Liam Hennessy, the Chief of Internal Affairs, and Abernathy's good friend. Commissioner Rose first brought up his name in chapter 20, and Abernathy thought about him at the end of Chapter 24.
Thanks for reading! I'm afraid it will be another three or four weeks until I'm able to post again.