Disappear – GS.

 

Scene setting : Big Joe’s Pizzeria

co-written with Chor.

 

Chor:   Isa was viciously reminded of her utter starvation the second her foot crossed the threshold. The wind displacement sent a breeze of warm, doughy scent straight to her nostrils and she fought the urge to order and purchase every slice of pizza in the joint. The odd looks she received snapped her mostly out of it and she seated herself in a secluded corner table. Isa had a very unorthodox style about her. She didn’t consider herself beautiful, product of a long, relationship-less life and years of emotional abuse, but she was charming and lovely in a way that drew you to her. If she bothered to eat now and again, she might fill out and stop looking like a corpse herself.

Style wasn’t really in her strong suits; the mess of clothes she called her wardrobe were not of the conventional sort. She wore things for the simple fact that she had to. Another thing that could put her off to people is her tattoos. Now, in an age where mainstream society is basically past the whole ‘tattoos are bad’ idea, her inkings are still a bit much. She’s riddled with symbols, a strange language no one can understand; not even her. It’s not obvious unless she’s in a tank top, but they cover much of her arms as well as her back. Today, though, Isa actually looked presentable. Hair braided loosely until it rested in a ponytail just past her clavicle, a black blouse and a black pencil skirt to match with comfortable flats.

Can I get ‘ya anything, love?” a pleasant-looking woman inquired of Isa. With a shake of her head, Isa dismissed the offer of food. She had to focus, despite her stomach violently grumbling in protest. The woman shook her head, having heard the noise, and stepped away muttering ‘damn shame’. Did she think Isa to have an eating disorder. Do I have an eating disorder? Sighing, Isa pushed these troublesome thoughts from her mind and awaited Frank’s appearance.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Having rushed back to his apartment to have a quick shower and change into a fresh suit, Frank took a cab to the Pizzeria rather than take his own car. It would be easier to lose anyone following him if he was in a non descript taxi than a car that would be recognizable. The yellow cab pulled up at the curb, and the asian driver sung out that Frank owed twelve dollars for the fare. The cost of everything seemed to have skyrocketed of late and Frank fumbled about in his coat to find the right change. Handing over the cash, Frank got out of the cab and slammed the door, before looking up and down the street for sign of Isa. He couldn’t see her in amongst the crowd and decided to head inside and wait for her.

No one could be more surprised than Big Joe, to see Frank coming back into the Pizza shop so soon. He came out from behind the counter, and tossed his checkered tea towel over his shoulder.“Franka….whata you doin’s backa here?” It was not that Big Joe didn’t want to see Frank, he just figured he would be at work. Frank slapped Big Joe’s arm in a friendly manner and then gestured to a booth at the back. “Would you believe your pizza is simply too good to stay away from?’

This brought a loud laugh from Big Joe. “Ha you fulla tha bullshit.” Both men had a good chuckle as they both took a seat. Big Joe had his teen son working out back and Joe had a few moments to spare. “Where is Tommy boy, eh?” Joe asked, now curious as to what Frank was up to. He hadn’t ordered anything yet and seemed a touch flustered. Like he was looking out for someone. “Tommy’s back at his office. I’d say he has a deadline to meet.”

Joe nodded slowly and then said. “Uh huh.”

Both men sat in silence for a moment and then Big Joe smiled brightly. “You still looka like shit. I get you a coffee.”Always hospitable. That was Big Joe.

“Thanks, Joe.”

Left on his own in the booth, he drummed his fingers on the table, looking towards the door….waiting for Isa.

~RB~

 

Chor:  It was not long until the door opened once more and through it came a very fresh-looking Frank Malone. He looked good all cleaned up, healthier than when she last saw him. Isa wondered if that’s how people thought of her…

He had not noticed her yet and she stood and, as he seated himself, ventured over. Settling herself across from him, Isa leaned back in her seat. The urgency of the situation still held in her demeanor, but in this place she felt about forty-seven percent safer than the station. Shortly after her arrival at the table, a cup of coffee also joined them. She stared at it and then up at the woman who’d asked for her order earlier. The girl gave her another once-over before stepping away to attend to the rest of the building’s patrons. Isa’s attention returned completely to Frank, then.

“How are you doing?” she asked, then thinking better of it. Stress, she could see, exuded from him like cologne. She, though, was not bothered by it; it’s almost charming when you wear the same, tense scent. Her left hand opened, like a cage door squeaking after being closed for a thousand year, and the flash drive fell out of it and onto the table in his direction. One blink. Two.

“This is the ballistics report. I haven’t been able to do an autopsy yet, but the findings will be the same. As long as we have this, it can’t be disputed. Bracks is probably having a conniption at the moment, trying to find a way to make it disappear…” She spoke, licking her lips afterward. Bracks was good at making things disappear.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The clatter of the coffee cup being placed on the table broke the silence as Isa sat down at Frank’s booth. He’d been watching the door and hadn’t bothered to check the restaurant for Isa. She must have been there before him. Was he slipping not to notice her right away? Thankfully clean shaven, Frank didn’t feel like a total scrub sitting there. In fact, he was wearing his best suit. He wasn’t planning to go back into work that day…..no he had other plans. In a way, Frank was pleased to see Isa, and in another he wasn’t. Guilt was now weighing heavily upon him, and this would probably be the last time they would meet, though he was not about to let her onto that…not yet. “How are you doing?” Sweet girl. Frank thought. Caring about a bloke like him. He was honest in his answer.“Seen better days.” The answer was short and too the point. He wasn’t about to get into some long winded speech. The time for talking long gone. Frank was a marked man and he knew it. Seeing the flash drive fall out onto the table had Frank stare at it for a moment, before raising his gaze up to Isa’s.

“This is the ballistics report. I haven’t been able to do an autopsy yet, but the findings will be the same. As long as we have this, it can’t be disputed. Bracks is probably having a conniption at the moment, trying to find a way to make it disappear…”

That one word. Disappear. A word to describe the past….the present and the not to distant future. Frank pursed his lips as he heard that Bracks was probably working on a way to make it…the report, disappear. The detective let out a long sigh before reaching across the table and slowly dragging the flash drive up into his hand – closing his fingers around it. It was a brave thing the girl was doing to hand him the report in a flash drive. All things considered. Frank turned his wrist and opened his fingers slightly enough to look at the flash drive, before then closing them again and stuffing the evidence into his pocket. In a way, it was his life insurance policy. Frank had forgotten all about the coffee cup that was sitting before him. He appeared distracted, like his mind was playing out what he had to do and yet he remained perfectly still. It took a moment for him to speak, as though this was the hardest thing he ever had to say.

“You’re a great gal for doing this, Isa. But…now I want you to forget about me. I’m going to do the same thing that report is going to do, till such time as I have enough evidence to take THEM all down. There is no point being a just man in a crooked police force. “

Frank took out a twenty dollar bill and placed on the table. He had still yet to touch his coffee. Frank offered Isa a warm smile…a smile of goodbye.

Standing, he said simply. “If anyone asks….you never saw me.”

With that, he headed out the door.

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isa could only blink silently as the world whizzed around her. Frank left her sitting there, bewildered, hands flat on the chipped wooden booth table. Words did not come to her. Thoughts, too, sat huddled with her confused feelings and refused to comply.
Standing, that was good. She stood and walked out the door, catching him jump into a Taxi like he was joining the Olympics. She found a cabbie idling in front of the place, probably waiting for a late patron. He wore a scowl as she approached the window, hoping to grab his services.

“Just get in, hun. Where to?” He said, as if reading her face. She pointed blankly at the taxi now motoring away from the site and climbed into the ripped vinyl backseat, wincing as the cracked coating scraped against her exposed flesh.

“Oh, you’re that type, huh?” He said, chuckling wildly like this was some sort of conquest of love and she was some sort of hero. There was still fight in her, yet. Frank might not see it, but Isa has a deep, deep well of focus that has latched onto him. She can’t let it go; she doesn’t have the ability to just give up now. Besides, she still has one more trick up her white sleeve. Or in her pocket, rather…

 

 

 

Advertisements

A friend in need – GS

 

Scene setting – Big Joe’s Pizzeria

co-written with VunG

 

VunG:  Elissa hadn’t been expecting that kind of reaction from Frank, it was heartbreaking to see him in a state that he could be so touched by something as simple (in her mind) as helping someone with their case. It was sad that he had reached that kind of point in his life, but at least it seemed that he had some people to hang onto throughout this madness. Even if he was ashamed to admit it. She cared about him and every honest law enforcer in the city, there were few enough of them around and they needed to stick together. The matter of pay was barely a factor here, and she’d shrug to his comment about that; she received compensation for her injury, it was enough to carry her through hard times, and right now he was having a harder time than she was.

After Frank went off to try and get out whatever emotions he had–or sorry, take a leak–she turned back to Tom and was surprised to see that he could actually do a bit of sign language. His reason made sense, and indeed she had a little bit of trouble understanding him in some minor degrees, but it was more like he was speaking with an accent than a whole new language all together. It was a bit tricky for her to keep up with that and his speed though; it was frustrating when you weren’t perfectly fluent in a language that you needed to function, and she definitely frowned briefly at the thought. However, her thoughts would be totally derailed when Tom began talking about his theory of what had killed Rory, and he would very quickly notice her scoff a little and sip at her beer while shaking her head. Still, she’d let him finish, and would be unsurprised to realize that indeed she recognized Tommy from somewhere, and it was just that he was one of the many reporters that she occasionally spotted in the crowd around this. Still, it was interesting that he was pulling a detective’s weight, and it told her that unlike some reporters who would go to any lengths to get their story, he at the very least had a heart.

Not that it made the supernatural thing any less silly (to her). After taking another sip of her beer, she’d set the half-emptied glass down and sigh, rubbing her neck briefly. ~I’m just a former SWAT sergeant. I’m no grand detective really, it’s just what was left available to me with the skill set I have left,~ she commented, looking perhaps a little sad as she considered the job she’d left before shaking it off with remarkable efficiency, ~I’m hesitant to jump to the supernatural. I’ve been with this from early on too, and I agree that there’s something seriously screwy happening, the one coming to mind being a solid steel statue getting launched fifty feet, but I don’t know about it being invisible people or ghosts. I’m not saying I don’t believe in them, but when you see bank robbers drop a fifteen foot tall ceramic pig onto a bank just to get into the vault one you know that there are some disturbingly creative people out there.~ And she actually didn’t believe in ghosts, at least not in the manner involved in what he was talking about. She was open to being religious, and she believed there were spirits of some sort out there, but this was definitely not the sort of thing she thought about in such regards.

Eventually Frank would come back and Tom would offer to give them both a ride, and initially she was going to decline and just walk home; it was something that she did on a regular basis and it wasn’t like she was unarmed. But then she considered the thought that perhaps they should look into sharing what they’d found on poor Frankie’s case, and she had to admit that it would be nice to finally have someone to split information on this. Downing what was left of her beer in one extended chug, she set it down and paid Big Joe with cash before nodding and signing back, ~If you’re willing. I’d hate to intrude on your guys’ romance,~ punctuating it with another thin smirk.

 

 

Razorbackwriter:  Regardless of how Elissa’s body language was as she explained in sign that she was just a former SWAT sergeant, Tommy knew in his heart that the woman must have loved her job. To say she was no grand detective or a mover and shaker as far as investigations go was more a sign of her insecurity if anything. Tommy was engrossed with her words, and could understand her reluctance to jump feet first into an investigation about supernatural. Perhaps in her eyes everything had a logical explanation but she admitted to the reporter that SOMETHING screwy was happening about town. Take the solid steel statue being launched about fifty feet in the air. There was never ever any recordings of supernatural beings having the ability to move objects of that magnitude. As Tommy eased back in his seat listening, he was going over in his own mind the events that had occurred in the last six months alone. He had even considered that perhaps this was all a government cover up operation for some new fandangled technology. Urban warfare but done with invisible suits. It was all a bit science fiction, but with the amount of secrecy surrounding the government of the day, anything was possible. Tommy agreed with Elissa that there were some very creative folk out there in New York city, that was for certain. But the truth of the matter was, it was the ordinary people, people like Rory….and Frank that had been affected by whatever it was that had taken hold of the city’s imagination.

With Frank having returned from the men’s room and the trio getting ready to leave as Big Joe closed up, Tommy had to laugh at what Elissa signed as they donned their coats.

~Intrude on a bromance? Is that what you think this is?”~ Tommy signed, with something of a laugh. Frank, watched Tommy’s hands moving in sign and then glanced between the pair. “What’s so funny?” He said naturally wondering if they were making fun of his state of being. Tommy was quick to alay his fears. “No…she just didn’t want to be a third wheel on the way home.” Frank spluttered, not sure about how to react to that. Sure, he liked Tommy as a friend, nothing more. Tommy, could see Frank was getting his grouchy persona back and was in a way relieved since this was the old Frank he knew and loved.

“She’s accepted a ride. Come on, my car is parked just down the block.”

Holding the door open for Frank and Elissa, Tommy waved at Big Joe, as the lights were being turned out in the Pizzeria. Stuffing his hands into his pockets, Tommy walked alongside Frank and Elissa as they set off for his car, which was a Silver BMW coupe. Tommy had a love for European sports cars, and this one he had picked up at a police yard auction. Apparently it was owned by some mob boss who went down after a major city drug bust. Reaching the car, he clicked the alarm button, and it flashed its headlights as the doors unlocked. He opened a door for Elissa first, then Frank so they could get in easily. Tommy was a gentleman if anything. Once all were in, he shut the doors and jogged around to the driver’s side, hopping in behind the wheel. Reaching over the front seating, he asked of Elissa. ~Is it okay if we drop Frank off first? I’m kinda worried about the interior of my car.~ He meant this, since he kept his car in pristine condition, and hated the thought of it smelling like a back alley dumpster, if Frank threw up. Frank kept quiet, since he really wasn’t feeling all that crash hot, and it showed. His head lolling about like a rag doll.

If Elissa agreed, they would head to Frank’s apartment building. It was one of those run down places for single men….or fathers without families. Frank used to live out in Queens, but all that changed. The car would pull out from the curb, and tear off down the street as cabs and other vehicles whizzed past them.

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Of course Elissa didn’t think that these two guys were sleeping together, that would be a silly assumption at this point. More than anything she was just trying to lighten the mood, considering just how somber the situation was that they had found themselves in. Still, she didn’t want to get Frank thinking that that was her real thoughts, and she made a sort of ‘settle down’ gesture trying to get across the point that she was just teasing, smiling lightly all the while. She would go ahead and join the group as they filed out of the pizzeria, nodding her thanks to Tommy as he opened the door; she wasn’t all that big on being treated like a lady, but she appreciated the gesture it was meant in. She would adjust her scarf as they walked, trying to make sure her scar was properly hidden as they went, more than anything just her being self-conscious about it; not that she expected them to judge her based on it.

The car was actually rather impressive looking; Elissa was much more about the older European and Japanese sports cars like her Triumph GT6, but she knew when something had a bit of money on it. Though, part of her wondered how much these newer BMW’s cost, that thing couldn’t have been cheap. Again, as she found her door held open, she’d roll her eyes and smile her thanks as she got in, knowing full well that he was just being polite. Sighing softly to herself, she’d settle into the fine seats and lean her head back as they got going. Of course, as the question of first-destination came up, she let out a strange coughing sound into her hand, the closest thing she came nowadays to a laugh, and nodded, eventually signing once her chuckling had passed, ~I’d be worried for your sanity if you didn’t do that first.~ And with that, they were off to Queens, a long quiet drive which she mostly spent staring off into space unless their driver decided to make conversation with her.

One drink too many – GS

 

Scene setting – Big Joe’s Pizzeria

co-written with VunG

 

VunG: God, it was rough seeing poor Frank in this state. He was a good man, and while she didn’t have feelings for him or anything, she definitely wasn’t without compassion and wished that things hadn’t gone the way they had for him. However, aside from looking towards him and making brief eye contact with him, she let it go and returned to her beer, just quietly sipping away at it, trying not to think about her own issues. Those still hurt something fierce.

However, she would be surprised that not only would the men give her direct attention, but they wound up joining her at her table. Of course it wasn’t completely unprecedented and she would gesture for the two of them to go ahead and have a seat even as Frank was asking the question. It was kind of strange to see how the man was walking though, poor fellow looked like a zombie; was probably occupying the same mental level as one at the very least. Oh, Frankie, how far you’ve fallen. You were once the pride of the whole NYPD, now he was drinking so much you could call him a fish.

She was surprised to hear Tommy’s comment about her beer, but she took it in stride, giving him a thin smile and a nod in return… and of course shaking his hand at the introduction. Of course, that left her without an introduction to him, and was just about to pull out her notepad to respond when poor Frank went to take some coffee, and wound up just making a mess, and making her jump like she’d been hit by a cattle prod. Her knee hit the table with a bang and she winced with pain but otherwise made no noise or movement to cradle herself. Sighing and shaking her head at herself, she went ahead and wrote her name down for Tom while Frank inquired about the late hour for her. She sighed and shrugged while she waited for Tom to finish reading, leaning back with her beer in her hand. Once she had the notepad she would write down calmly, “[Let’s just say it’s slow enough that I’m looking into matters for a friend in blue.]” and pass the notepad off to him with thin smile and wink.

What she hadn’t been expecting though was for Tommy to come up and outright state something that had been bothering her for some time. She too had been hearing the stories, and she even went out of her way to look at the locations cited in such manners. Aaaaand… well she didn’t know what to think. Wincing at that, she rubbed the back of her neck while she took a drink, waiting for her notepad to come back. When she did, it was obvious that she was hesitant about whatever she was saying… even if it didn’t come through specifically in her writing. “[Well, I don’t know about invisible forces, but I’d believe the being thrown part. Only things I know of that can do that are pneumatic pistons or animals from Africa. And I wasn’t seeing any thirty pound piles of shit around.]”

While that message was being read, she leaned back with her beer again, closing her eyes thoughtfully as she debated how to go about this. She wanted to offer help to them, but she didn’t know how much use a mute SWAT officer would be to them; heck she wasn’t even that great of a detective (in her mind). She wasn’t terrible, mind, but there were definitely better ones out there, Frank for example (prior to his fall). Wincing, she realized that she could probably have skipped the writing, and signed to them, ~Do either of you understand this?~

 

Razorbackwriter:  Tommy read Elissa’s introductory note that said her name and he mouthed “Oh”, while Frank was trying to take another sip of his black coffee with a slightly shaky hand. As he brought the cup to his lips, he took a small sip and then scanned down with his blood shot eyes at the next note that Elissa had written. Saying how she was looking into matters for a friend in blue. Now that, could mean only one thing and when you married that up with the way she offered Frank a smile followed by a wink he knew that her work was about him and his case. Frank didn’t mean to feel embarrassed by this. Why he did appreciate the fact that she believed in him when so many in his own department didn’t. Side ways glances and whispers followed him wherever he went. It took a lot not to let fly and meet their looks and accusations head on, but that would only see him given a further warning and possibly have him clean out his desk.

Frank’s cheeks darkened to match the color of his nose which was now a slight shade off cherry red. “You should be working paying cases…Elissa.” His voice having a slightly gravely tone to it as though he needed to cough. Truth was, he could feel a ball coming up his throat and his eyes were getting watery. Men don’t cry as a rule, right? Well, Frank was fighting all his being not too. Elissa obviously cared. A lot like Tommy too. The detective reached a point where he needed a moment, and set down his cup before pushing his chair out.

“Need…..to go …shake the weasel.” Frank uttered, before staggering off to the men’s room. Big Joe couldn’t help but watch him go and was about to go and get the mop and bucket ready. He hoped that Frank would be able to hold his stomach till at least by the time he got home, and didn’t take to re decorating one of the stalls. With Frank out of the room, it left Tommy alone with Elissa. Her facial reaction to the mention of flying cars said it all. She was thinking about the same things and this was where the pair would click. Tommy had figured that Elissa didn’t have the power of speech, but when she started to sign, Tommy was quick to come back at her and replied USING sign language. ~My grandmother is deaf and I learnt this at a young age. Mind you some of the ways I sign are a little different since my grandmother is Japanese.~ Tommy was fast with his hands and then paused a moment, now to look over at the men’s room and then back at Elissa. ~Frank is a good man. Whatever it was that killed Rory….was not human, and if you ask me not of this world. Be it a poltergeist or…..something that doesn’t leave twenty pounds of shit behind.~

Tommy continued to sign. ~ I’m a reporter with the New York times, but…I been investigating this case since it happened. I have some people down on the bad end of town seeing what they can come up with, but so far….just a lot of weird bursts of activity. Like where things are being blown up, but not leaving any residue. Whole walls. Gone.~

Big Joe brought over Frank’s tab and tapped Tommy on the shoulder. Taking the paper, he took out his wallet from his coat and then offered Big Joe his credit card. “I got this.” Big Joe was grateful, since Frank usually always paid his tab, but he must have been having a rough week. With the bill paid and the card returned, Tommy pocketed both, as Frank emerged from the men’s room. Thankfully, he didn’t have vomit on his clothes. Big Joe was getting ready to close the Pizza shop for the night, and Frank joined the pair at the table. “Guess this is last drinks?’ he asked uncertainly.

Tommy shook his head. “No…time for you to go home. Need a ride?” He asked, before signing to Elissa. ~ I can give you a lift if you like.~

 

~RB~

Three’s company – GS.

Picture

Scene setting : Big Joe’s Pizzeria

co-written with VunG.

VunG : Why in the world was she doing this? Elissa wasn’t getting paid for this, there were no suspects that she wanted to see convicted, and she’d barely known the victim. Well… it was a very slow month, only one job involving an idiot trying to figure out if his wife was sleeping with his boss; the answer to which was the same as the question about bears shitting in the woods. But that wasn’t enough, it wasn’t like she went out of her way to solve every little problem that crossed the police department’s path; in fact it was a rare day that they called her in simply because they needed an interpreter just to communicate. It wasn’t just that it was a police officer that had been killed; again it was something she helped with where possible, but she couldn’t be everywhere at once.

No… it was probably because she could tell without a shadow of a doubt that poor old Frank was as innocent as the day he was born. Or at least in this subject. Sighing as she sat on a bench just outside, she opened up her wallet and looked to see the picture of Elissa and her beloved Andrew together prominent in one of the screens. What a mess. Seemed like everyone’s life was falling apart these days. Looking back up, she looked at the two men talking, not really bothering to eavesdrop or watch them. Really, she’d just been passing through and decided to stick around when she noticed that Frank was on the verge of getting himself into trouble. She wanted to be there to bail him out if things went south; she may not be going through the same thing as him, but unbeknownst to most people she handled it about as well. It was just that she was better at keeping it all private. 

Eventually she decided that it would look bad if they noticed her just sitting there like some sort of creeper, or if they decided to think that she was investigating the matter of Rory’s death against them. Because that wasn’t the case, not by a long shot. And… Frank needed a friend.

Pulling her coat tighter (same one from the picture) and ensuring that her grey scarf covered her scar, she went on in, looking around the pizzeria thoughtfully, withstanding a welcome from Big Joe which she’d return with a thin smile and a wave. She went up to the counter and pulled out a small notepad, the click of her pen surprisingly loud even within the pizzeria, and she wrote down her order of an imported beer for herself. Once she had it, she turned around and sat down at a table not far from the guys, giving them a kind wave as she went about the process of slowly whittling away her drink, internally debating whether to come right out and ‘say’ what she was there for or to just wait for them to notice her.





Razorbackwriter : Big Joe was not only known for his pizzas. His hospitality and warmth knew no bounds. With the Italian decor, and solid brick pizza ovens – the Pizzeria was like a little bit of Italy in the middle of New York. A big man with large hairy arms, he would often greet his favorite patrons with a welcoming hug, or in the case of Elissa he would voice his welcome from the back, his voice carrying across the other patrons, so no one missed a new diner. After putting another pizza in the wood fired oven, Big Joe read the female detective’s note requesting an imported beer and went to get it for her. Big Joe personally went to place it on the table where she sat – which was not all that far from Tommy Xo and Frank Malone.

With Big Joe passing Frank and Tommy again, it was Tommy who first noticed Elissa enter the pizzeria. Though he had not had much of a repoire with Elissa, he knew that Frank did. At this point, Frank had his head in his hands. The overwhelming feeling of guilt was returning again. This was not uncommon, as he blamed himself for pretty much everything that had happened. The stinging barbs from his ex wife who took his beloved son with her to live in Connecticut, had totally destroyed his self esteem. It was why he drank so much. Tommy raised his hand to ask Big Joe for a pot of black coffee to be brought over, and then reached out to give Frank a nudge.

“We got company.” He said, gesturing with his head towards the direction of Elissa.

Frank grunted as he pulled his hands away from his face, and then turned his head just enough to see Elissa seated at one of the nearby tables. God, what would she think of him….seeing him like this. It could be worse though. If Tommy hadn’t shown up when he did, Frank would have definitely gone on a total bender and then ended up barfing up his stomach in one of the back alleys. No one should see that.

Big Joe brought over the coffee pot and poured Frank a cup of straight black – no sugar. Tommy took the cup and saucer as Frank tried to get to his feet unsteadily and make his way over to Elissa’s table. His worn leather shoes scuffed along the floor, as he wasn’t picking his feet up properly. Frank reached out and caught the top of the chair with his right hand and dragged it away from the table to take a seat.

“May I?” He asked if he could join her, but was already doing so – as Tommy followed and placed down the coffee cup and saucer in front of Frank. The cup clinked gently as it was placed on the table. Tommy pulled a chair from another table, but straddled it so that he could rest his arms on the back and face the pair. The reporter spotted the imported brand of beer, and gave a polite nod. “Good drop that one.” He said, before reaching out with his hand to shake Elissa’s.“Tommy Xo. I’m a friend of Frank’s.”

Frank mumbled something as he raised the coffee cup to his lips, then blew on the brew before taking a sip. it was a bit too hot and he set the cup down pretty quickly, spilling some of it’s contents into the saucer. “God dammit.” He hated being seen like this. “Bit late for you to be out and about, Elissa. Working…on.. on a new case?” Little did he know that she was chasing the same ghosts he was.

Tommy eased back slightly, his right eyebrow moving upward slightly as he was curious about this lady detective. The trio all had a lot in common. There had been a lot of strange goings on in the city, and he believed it was all linked. But not even the FBI would believe the stories he had heard. Tommy couldn’t help but interject.

“People talking about cars and industrial bins being thrown about….by invisible forces.” It sounded incredulous. “Can you believe that shit?”

~RB~

“Bring me another beer, Joe” – GS

Picture
Setting – Big Joe’s Pizzeria.

Detective Moss pocketed his cell phone, after speaking to Tommy Xo. The latest partner of Detective Frank Malone was not at all into these after work drinking sessions, and he had a wife and kid waiting for him. Frank was already on his sixth beer, and had finished off one of Big Joe’s Meat lover’s pizzas. With the ballgame up on the big screen, Frank was on a roll, and letting off some much needed steam. This was all too much for John Moss. He tossed down a few ten dollar bills, and then grabbed his coat. Frank glanced up at him with a drunken sneer.

“The little woman waiting, Moss?” Typically, Frank always seemed to dig at the fact that John was a married man and had a life outside the force, unlike Frank. Moss simply shook his head and finished putting on his coat. He hates seeing his partner like this, but he knew it wasn’t a good idea to leave him on his own – hence him calling Tommy.

“Yeah, and she makes better company than you, Frank. Do me and the department a favor and get some help? Okay? Tommy is on his way over, I gotta get going.”

Frank laughed loudly. Great. Tommy was having to come down. No doubt that was going to cause dramas with whatever lady he had been with that night. “I don’t need some god dammed baby sitter, Moss. I’m…perfectly fine. Joe! Another beer!” he sung out, though his words were starting to slur. Big Joe, named for obvious reasons came out and shook his head at his good customer and long time friend. “I thinka…you have enough, Frank.” He wiggled a finger at Frank, which only brought about more laughter from the Detective. “Now…now Joe. I can walk a straight line…and find my nose….if I had to.” Frank then tried to touch his nose…unsuccessfully.

“Good night, Frank.” Detective Moss said, turning to walk away, just as Tommy entered the Pizzeria. Course Frank saw him and rolled his eyes. It was not that he didn’t enjoy Tommy’s company, he just hated to have him give him the riot act.

Tommy sighed and then patted Moss’s shoulder as he passed him in the entrance. “I got this.” Tommy said, as Frank got up unsteadily from his bar stool and opened his arms out like a long lost brother.

“Tommy!…..You shouldn’t have come down here. I ….I was about to call a cab. Pizza?” He slurred, then offering Tommy a slice, as the reporter sat on down next to him. Tommy shook his head. “Just barely finished dinner and an argument with Tamika.” Tommy had had to leave the dinner that Tamika made to come rescue his friend, and there were some pretty harsh words said, along with a few broken dinner plates. Hearing this made Frank cringe. “Ah shit. Tamika cooked again?” he asked, getting out his wallet and tossing some notes down on the bar top for Joe.

“Dinner was a disaster from the get go, Frank.” Tommy admitted, before looking at his friend with concern.

“Dude…you gotta clean up your act. Drinking every night. Come on, you’re better than this.” It was the truth and both men knew it. Though to Frank, this was his way of coping. Big Joe’s was his buddy’s favorite haunt back in the day. Why, there were even pictures of the two detectives on the walls. It was a second home to both men….now, just to Frank.

“If only that night never happened.” Frank said, recollecting the night that his partner died. The look on Frank’s face was one of sorrow and regret. “I lost everything….that night.”

Tommy’s face became stern as he watched his friend. How many years had it been? Frank’s marriage, and his job as well as his reputation ruined. Tommy was constantly searching for clues and leads. it was why he went to those dark alleys. It was why he made friends with the homeless…the bottom ladder of the people of New York. To find out….who killed Detective Rory Lismore….and why? It led both men on a quest, but one that Frank was having trouble keeping focused on.

“I know what I saw that night, Tommy. I know it like it’s tattooed inside my mind. But no one believes me. They think I’m crazy.”

“I don’t, Frank. And together, we are going to solve this – if it’s the last thing I do.”

The two men sat in silence, as outside a shadow hovered by the doorway till spiriting away into the night.

~RB~