Scene setting: NYPD Police headquarters.
co-written with Chor.
Razorbackwriter: Sitting in behind his desk, the Commander was smoking a cuban cigar and staring out the office window. He seemed a million miles away, a carefree look on his face. You’d think after the night before, then having to attend to the crime scene of Joey Patone’s murder that he would be still showing some annoyance about the whole affair, but surprisingly he wasn’t. A knock at the door broke his concentration and he took one last puff of his cigar before shouting “ENTER.”
A young constable opened the door, then in behind him was another officer who was holding one of the evidence boxes from Joey’s apartment. “You wanted this brought here, Sir?” The first officer asked, motioning to the second to bring in the box. Not even bothering to get up from his desk, Commander Bracks simply motioned with his right hand for the box to be set down on the right hand side of his desk where there was enough space. The second officer tread into the room and set the box down carefully. Both officers then stood there silently for a moment. News was buzzing around the office about the morning operation, the fact Detective Malone was there when Joey got shot. Rumors were rife, but the Commander was quick to discipline anyone who spoke about it. The Commander then stared angrily at the two men, as though they were loitering. “Haven’t you two clowns got better things to do than to stand there with your mouths open ready to catch flies. DISMISSED!” He roared. Neither men waited for a second time to be berated, hurrying out of the office and closing the door. The Commander leaned over slightly in his chair to see if anyone was trying to look through the office door glass, then when he saw the close was clear, he tore the evidence tape off the box and lifted the lid. Reaching in he took out a handful of photographs that were taken from Joey’s dark room. A smirk appearing on his face as he held one of the more….erotic photos up…..till the phone rang.
The Commander set down the photograph on his desk and reached for his phone, picking it up.
“Nice work this morning, Commander. I must say, you earn your commission.” The voice on the other end had a slight accent to it. Italian. “You got done fitting up Malone for Joey’s murder yet?”
The Commander then remembered that Isa was yet to submit her report. “I’m working on it as we speak.” He lied. The man on the other end was no fool. “Uh huh. Well, maybe I didn’t emphasize the importance to get rid of Malone.” The Commander coughed and tried to keep his cool. “I understand, I do. Look, if I have to squeeze a certain forensics officer to fudge the evidence I will.”
The man on the other end of the phone laughed. “You better, or that pretty young wife of yours is going to be a new star in one of my snuff films. Got it?” The phone call ended, with the Commander sitting stony faced in his chair. He had only recently gotten married to a young Thai mail order bride. She was innocent to all of the Commander’s back room deals.
“Shit.” The Commander muttered, slamming down the phone. As soon as Isa had done her report, the Commander was going to have a few words with her.
Chor: Isa entered the building as she normally would, except her body was shaking like a wet cat. One of the guards asked if she was alright after she was buzzed in, to which she replied she was ‘just dandy’. Not that he cared. He’s never spoken a word to her in all of her time working in the department. Isa’s eyes grazed across the room as she bee-lined for the elevator. The Commander was on the phone and the look on his face was a mix between terror and anger. He slammed the phone down in such a manner that she jumped. The sour smell that perforated the department was now infiltrating her lungs. One push of the button labeled “1” and down she went. The entrance level was actually level 2, as this was a converted building.
She’d hyperventilated the whole ride back, much to Khalil’s demise. He kept asking if she wanted to pull over, thinking that the putrid smell of the decaying body was getting to her. Little did he know…
“Isa,” someone called her name and she nearly died of a heart attack. Her eyes shot toward the sign. It was Ricardo; he would attempt to apologize. Isa read it in his eyes and didn’t have time for this.
“Look, Isa, I…” He began, but she cut him off with a raised palm.
“Ricardo, forg-” She began, but quick realized something. Ricardo still believed in the goodness of the force. He thought if the Commander knew he’d tampered with evidence, that might be the end of the career. She fought the urge to just laugh right there. Poor boy, didn’t know what he was getting into.
“Okay, Ricardo, I promise I won’t let anyone know if you do me a favour?” She countered, acting sincere. His face softened and eyes brightened. He was like a puppy who just happened to be working the evidence locker. Usually she could try to squeeze visits to the locker out of Molly, the normal ‘keeper of the things’, but with her being on Maternity leave that left Ricardo here alone. His eager nod just brightened her whole day.
“I need any files on Frank Malone. Not by him, on him. Also, those of Claura von Goethe. G-o-e-t-h-e. Got it?” She was hoping to get the report that claimed Frank as a suspect and study it. She also knew what other things would be in there. He set on his way to the back through the shelves.
“Sure thing. Hey, I’m sorry about-“ He started again, Isa rolling her eyes.
“Really, Ricardo, just get to it,” She interrupted, but that didn’t stop him. He was intent on apologizing about the earlier debacle.
“No, it’s the files. The ones for…G-goethe?” He said, struggling with the pronunciation like he was staring at a card that said it. Isa’s heart stopped.
“What about them?” Isa uttered passively, but shakily. He snaked back to her with one file in his hand…and it wasn’t her sister’s.
“They’re not here…can’t read the name, so no idea who took ’em out,” He said regretfully, taking in the look on her face. Suddenly it hit him.
“Oh shit, that’s your sister, isn’t it? The one who went missing? I’m so so-“ He began, but Isa ripped the file from his hand and stormed back to the elevator. She couldn’t get downstairs fast enough. Claura’s file had been removed, probably destroyed. They knew closing it wouldn’t have been enough. As the elevator made its final ‘ding’ on the Morgue floor, the doors grumbled open and she near burst out. Khalil was down the hall in the break room and she saw him watch her dash to her office through the large windows. He knew better than to follow, so she spent the next thirty minutes alternating between crying and throwing things across the room. Once her fit had finally receded, she sauntered with her evidence to the lab. The gun was already there, so she set immediately into her ballistics report. This would be the best damn report she’s ever written.
After a total of two hours and three minutes continually firing and searching weapons on the database and comparing the bullet found in the woman and the deceased male, she finally was able to put it to rest. There was no possible way that Frank Malone’s gun shot the bullet that killed that man, no matter her motives. Not that there were any. Everyone seemed generally shocked about the assassination, the woman Isa imagined because she was going into shock.
Sitting back in her tall wheeled chair, Isa’s eyes finally pulled back from the microscope. The proof was solid, the facts complete and the report bulletproof. A burning sensation in her chest, though, told her something terrible was going to happen. She sighed and wheeled over to her computer and searched the database for ‘Frank Malone’. Taking down his number on her yellow, coffee-stained legal pad and printing her report, she almost wheeled away to give her report to the Commander. However, she thought better and saved the report file, including all of the data files and photos, onto a small, clear flash drive. Snatching up the report from the printed, she left the office with more confidence then she’s had in a long, long time, to deliver to the crooked man upstairs what he needed to see…
Razorbackwriter: ~Knock knock~
The sound of someone’s knuckles rapping on the office door brought Bracks out of his dazed state. The man was still staring at the phone handle he had just set down. He stared at it as if it were infected. It was not the phone of course, but rather the man on the other end that made the Commander feel physically sick. Truly stuck between a rock and a hard place, the Commander had to find a way to incriminate the Detective and his hopes that the testing and subsequent report by Isa were high. Little did he know that the woman was not going to bring him the smoking gun report. The ballistics tests and follow up report would show inconclusively that the detective was innocent of the crimes that the Commander was trying to fit him up for. The Commander pushed back in his chair which groaned in protest due to the Commander’s bulk. The idea that cops lived on a diet of soda and donuts seemed to be accurate when you took in the Commander’s obese state. When was the last time he ever passed a fitness test? Was he even fit for duty as a member of the NYPD? Probably not. The only reason he still held the position was because he was nothing more than a pawn of power. Those with total control liked to have lackeys like Bracks in charge of what would become a bent operation. Numerous reports, and evidence had gone missing over the past six months. Millions of dollars worth of narcotics and weapons vanishing from the evidence rooms. Many young cadets were often put in charge of these facilities, later to become scapegoat in the Commander’s schemes. If only there was someone brave enough to speak out. Someone with the balls to face up to what was a corrupt force. So long as Commander Bracks was in charge, justice was not even going to shine it’s light upon the city.
Seeing the female outline of Isa through the distressed glass door pane, Bracks barked “Enter”
As the door opened, the Commander rose to standing as though he was going to use his size and height as a way to intimidate the young woman. Staring down at her, he noted she had a file in her hands. No doubt this was the long awaited report. It had taken a few hours, and now it was time to learn of its contents.
“Took you long enough.” The Commander grumbled. There was no smile or real emotion on his face. He wanted to appear cold and detached. It was no secret of his hatred for Detective Malone, the whole office knew. How on earth Frank lasted this long was a miracle. Tapping his toe on the wooden office floor, he then lifted his chin and snorted like a malley bull.
“So….did Detective Frank Malone shoot Joey Patone and Elissa von Pourtales?”
Isa liked to pretend the possibility of being murdered in her sleep didn’t scare her. The fact that it very much did made it difficult for her not to fear this conversation. Bracks held power, and not just power with the NYPD, but power in much higher, more dangerous places. She’d completely dissolved into her thoughts until hearing Bracks’ loud mouth calling her in. The knob was cold, since no one really used this door except him. He doesn’t get many visitors. The door creaked furiously, as if upset about all the evil it has seen. Isa’s heartbeat quickened at the sight of the commander, but she repeated a single line in her head again and again as she walked over to the chair in front of his desk; facing him. For Claura, for Claura, for Claura. It made her calmer, more ready for his backlash. Obviously this was only half true as she was also doing this for Frank, who didn’t deserve this kind of betrayal. She’d read his file, she knew the good he’d done for the force. It’s a damn shame that the good ones are the ones who get this kind of shit.
Bracks’ spoke and she raised her brows. Has he ever even read a ballistics report, let alone done one? Isa worked so thoroughly that it would take others’ hours upon hours to finish. More proof of unappreciation for Forensics in a whole. Maybe you should do it next time, she thought, then immediately recanted it. That would be about a billion times worse by far. Isa couldn’t even imagine Bracks doing any real police work at all. By the look of him, he didn’t do much of anything except eat and lie. The fact that he was standing was very apparent to her. It was intimidating only because of Isa’s seriously under-nourished size. He was easily two or three times her weight and the way he was standing it was like he knew it. He purposefully made himself bigger, more scary so maybe she’d back down. The question that arose next was the question of the day. She held the paper in her hand out toward him, her other hand fidgeting with some forceps in her coat jacket.
“You will find that Frank Malone absolutely and unequivocally did not shoot Joseph Patone or Elissa von Portuales,” Isa replied, her voice stern and confident despite the situation. The only thing she had definite faith in anymore was Science. Science isn’t biased and cannot lie. You cannot bribe it and it does not fear.
Razorbackwriter: The rising red flush on the Commander’s face was like that of a pending volcanic eruption. Purple veins pulsing so close to the skin that they almost were protruding through his sickly pink flesh. Eye sockets drooped slightly to reveal wet watery chasms, from too much drink. Those words of finality in the answer to the question of Detective Frank Malone’s innocence were like a death knell to the Commander. Age lines appeared to grow as he stared down the forensics officer; the words of the man on the phone still going around and around in his head. The words that the Commander wanted to let fly simply went unsaid, as he had to just nod at Isa’s findings. The Commander reached out and snatched the report file from Isa’s hand and then rounded his desk; taking a seat. Again the chair groaned and protested with loud creaks as the Commander settled. He flipped open the file and silently read the report. Bracks didn’t even offer Isa a chair. He simply made her wait. Each turn of a page was preempted by a finger lick so he didn’t miss a thing. But by the last page it was clear that isa didn’t miss a thing either. Her report was solid and factual. Closing the file, Bracks tossed it on his desk haphazardly as though it was yesterday’s paper. There would be no words of appreciation or thanks for the speed in which Isa took to write up the report. The Commander glanced out the office window, deep in thought. Without looking at Isa he simply said….
If Isa left the office without further word, it would only be then that the Commander would watch her go. Once she was well out of ear shot, the Commander picked up the file and tapped the edge to his bottom lip. His eyes narrowed into slits as he pondered, or rather plotted what to do. He needed Frank to be found guilty. He needed to pin a murder on him to appease the men upstairs. But how?
Glancing down at the file in his hands, he simply turned in his chair and dumped the file in the trash bin. Knowing full well that there would be a copy of the file in the forensics, it was going to be one hell of an operation to make it….disappear. Either that…or have something unfortunate happen to Isa.
The Commander eased back in his seat, drumming his fingers together as he mused on what to do. Taking a coin out of his pocket, he turned it over between his fingers before flicking it into the air. The coin spun and spun before coming down to land as the Commander said…“Heads…”
It landed tails side up.
Luck was on Isa’s side.
Chor: Isa wore a look of complete and utter satisfaction: on the inside. She didn’t let him know how pleased she was with herself, mostly because the more sensible half of her was scared witless. What if he threatened her? Who would even believe her? Much to her surprise, he just read very silently through her report. Almost painfully slow…
He ordered her to exit and by jove she did. No amount of money in the world could have kept Isa in that dingy, pungent office any longer. With a nod of her head, Isa’s feet scrambled from the room and through the maze of desks until she reached the front door. The flash drive with all the information she needed was held tight in her sweating palm and the picture she’d confiscating illegally from the crime scene was burning a hole in her pocket and her character. It was unlike her to be so sneaky, but she’d stepped in a serious shit-pile with this case. If anyone else had been dispatched, the case would probably already be closed with Frank in jail and his cohorts at the bottom of the river.
The air outside caught in her lungs, the smell of cars and hot dogs filling and choking them. Her hands fell to her jacket pockets and the left found a crumpled paper. Pulling it out, her attention drifted down to read it. Frank’s number she’d written from his file. It was only seconds later the phone was ringing. He needed to know just how difficult things were going to be.
“Hello?” She whispered, when the ringing ended and a voice broke through the silence.