An Unlikely Ally – GS.

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Scene setting – The New York Times Office, New York.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Waiting nervously outside the Editor’s office, Tommy sat twiddling his thumbs as Ms Braxton’s secretary kept stealing glances at the reporter. It wasn’t everyday that Tommy wanted a one on one with the editor and chief, but he couldn’t let this opportunity pass to break the story of the creature that killed Detective Rory Lismore. The only photos he had were from the envelope that Joey had sent to Frank and now the only real evidence that he had. Joey’s death making the chance another witness statement null and void. Tapping away on her computer, the secretary moved to click on the intercom when Ms Braxton’s voice filled the small outer office.

“Send him in, Cassie.”

Cassie motioned for Tommy to head into Ms Braxton’s office as the Editor was now ready to see him. Rising slowly, Tommy brushed down his suit, which he had now been wearing for two days. He really needed to go home at some point and change. Raising his closed fist to his mouth, he coughed politely before heading into Ms Braxton’s office.

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One thing could be said about Ms Braxton, she had a very casual way about her, even though by her tone she was a real ball breaker. Tommy often wondered if she had been injecting herself with male hormones. Her husky voice often made him wonder about her sexuality. She never acted flirtatious…mainly cause she wasn’t into men. Seeing the slightly disheveled looking Tommy enter she said sharply. “Close the door.” Tommy didn’t wait to be told twice and closed the door with a light click before turning around to face her again. “Sit.” A single hand wave to the chair opposite her desk had him move like a dog in an obedience school. He walked across to the chair, pulling it out slightly before sitting himself down and taking out the envelope. At this point, Ms Braxton took her feet off of her desk and then eased back in her chair. She became hard and cold. Like a school principal. It was unsettling to say the least.

“Want to tell me why I had a call from one of the Commanders of the NYPD, Xo?” Ms Braxton’s eyes were as cold as ice as she stared him down. “He made mention that not only were you at a crime scene without authorization, but that you may have lifted evidence that has now been restricted from publication, due to a pending inquiry.”

Tommy swallowed hard as he internally was screaming. That scum sucking piece of shit had beat him to it. The photos he held in his hand…now useless. Tommy’s lips thinned as he fought to not speak his mind.

“I was at Joey Patone’s apartment when he was shot. I was about to conduct an interview…”

At this, Ms Braxton simply held up her hand. “You should know better than get tied up with the mob!” Tommy was walking on ice now, and he knew it. Joey Patone’s murder was already to be published the next day. “The Commander said that a….Detective Frank Malone was responsible and that he will be charged once the ballistics report comes back. Wait….why am I telling you this?”

Ms Braxton rose slowly from her chair and placed both hands down flat on the desk. “I’m assigning you to doing a report on New York’s hospitals. That way, you are doing a job I know you are capable of. Keep off the homicide cases and for God’s sake….STAY AWAY FROM DETECTIVE FRANK MALONE!”

Tommy could hardly believe what he was hearing. She knew that Frank was Tommy’s mate and always helped him out with leads on various cases. To threaten him to stay away from a friend was not at all part of his job description. He held his tongue and simply stared at his editor incredulously.

“That will be all.”

The Editor sat back down and then went about reading a new report on her desk, as Tommy left her office quietly. He felt like a right dick….a coward. Shutting the door, he shook his head and walked past the secretary’s desk and headed back to his own office. It was a long walk. He was weighing up everything. Tommy believed in publishing the truth. Telling it like it was. But with a corrupt force and now his own Editor caught up in this madness, he wondered if he could ever do the right thing by his friend.

Reaching his office, he was shocked to see who was waiting for him.

A beautiful looking Chinese woman, wearing an expensive Chanel suit. She was flitting through a Time magazine lazily and had a smug look on her face as she placed it down on Tommy’s desk.

“Poor Tommy. You don’t know what you got yourself into…do you?” The woman spoke with a slight accent that showed her origins from Hong Kong. Tommy let out an exasperated breath. How on earth she made it into his office without being noticed was beyond him. Mind you, two well dressed men were loitering about in the corridor. They must be her men. It all started falling into place.

“Shame about Joey. Really. I was surprised to hear that your friend is being fitted up.”

Tommy closed the door, knowing that Madame Rose Li knew a lot more about the death of Joey Patone than anyone. “So why are you here, Rose? Not like you to come out during the day. I thought you only came out at night.” Tommy hinting that the woman was a nocturnal creature…a true lady of the night. Madame Rose laughed and rose from her chair, gliding across the floor to stand before Tommy. She smelt beautiful. Like an exotic flower, but anyone would know that she was deadly.

“Is that how you talk to family?” Madame Rose had once been married to Tommy’s brother who had died a year earlier. it was probably a good thing, since it was a match made in hell. Tommy would not have been surprised if Rose had a hand in it. Rose reached out to caress Tommy’s cheek and he snatched her wrist.

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“Cut the crap, Rose.” Tommy snarled as Rose laughed at him with a slight giggle. “You always were more dominant than Jack. I guess that is why I always had a soft spot for you.” Tommy released Rose’s hand as she brought it down and rubbed her wrist with her free hand. Tommy turned away from Rose as she took out a parcel and dumped it on the table, almost haphazardly.

“If you want to save your friend….you need something incriminating of that….Commander. Oh yes, I know all about it. How he is trying to fit up your friend….Frank. Frank’s innocent. Sad…but innocent. You’ll find what you need in that parcel. You can thank me later.”

Smirking, Rose snatched up her Gucci purse and headed to the door, stopping to look back over her shoulder.

“Feel free to drop by the club. I’d love to dance one last dance with you.”

With that…she left.

Tommy stared at the package on the desk and hesitated before picking it up. He tore off the seal and there inside was a DVD…..and a lot of pictures. Pictures of the Commander in a compromising position at Rose’s club.

“Why that sick fuck?” Tommy murmured as he leafed through the pictures.

“Is that a goat?”

 

~RB~

Elissa’s place – GS.

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Scene setting: Elissa’s Apartment

co-written with VunG.

 

Razorbackwriter: By now, all three would be feeling drained after being up all night, having been shot at, hospitalized and interrogated for being at Joey Patone’s apartment. But it was late in the afternoon, and Tommy had yet to even call in to his office about his whereabouts and the photographs he still had thanks to Frank. Driving Elissa to her apartment, Tommy knew he was going to have to show his face at the office of the New York Times sooner or later. As much as he wanted to see Elissa settle in at home, he knew he would have to keep moving. Frank; who was sitting in the back seat with Elissa had no intention of going into the Police station till he had heard from Isa. Without his service revolver he felt practically naked.

The traffic was building up as many workers would start to head out of the city, and Frank stared out the window at the procession of cars, trucks and taxis. In the back of his mind he was worried about what the Commander was going to do. Everything hinged on Isa’s report that he was not the shooter. Taking out his cell he quickly checked for messages and there were none, not even from his partner; Detective John Moss. Frank wouldn’t be surprised if John asked for a transfer. John had a wife and a life outside of the force, unlike Frank and John’s wife was sick of the long hours John put in babysitting Frank.

Soon, Tommy’s car pulled up outside Elissa’s apartment building but he kept the car running. Turning in his seat, with his arm draped over the passenger seat, he looked guilty about having to leave the pair.

“I’d come up, but I want to go to see my Editor about the pictures. The story has to be told, or at least investigated further. I want to reach my editor before your fat ass Commander does.”

Frank gave a sigh and nodded as he handed over the crumpled envelope that contained the only pictures of the beast that took Rory. The cops had the others thanks to the Commander, and Frank genuinely believed that those photos would never see the light of day. Swallowed by the same means of all the other evidence that seemed to vanish into thin air.

“I’ll take Elissa up.” Frank said, before getting out of Tommy’s car and going around to open Elissa’s door. He offered his hand to her to help her out of the car and onto the pavement.

When the door closed, Tommy indicated and then pulled out onto the street to head to his office, leaving Frank standing there with Elissa. He glanced up at the apartment building and uttered. “Nice place…..”

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Elissa felt like she was about to pass out at this point. She hadn’t slept well even before this whole mess had started, and between two sleepless nights, getting shot at, getting into two separate verbal fights with the damn Commander, and now busting out of the hospital she was utterly and completely beat. She was grateful that she was self-employed, because she didn’t envy anyone that had to go to an office tomorrow. Actually, she was fairly certain she may have blacked out for the entire drive over, because it almost looked like the clock was skipping a few times. As much as she wanted to deny it to herself, Elissa wasn’t in any condition to help the guys.

Once they arrived at the apartments, she’d turn and nod to Tommy at his comments, knowing full well that he probably had more than his share of work to do, even after all this. If the commander decided to head off the news on this, then they would be shut down pretty damn quickly. Smiling feebly to him, she attempted to sign ~Thank you,~ though it was pretty ‘slurred,’ if you want to use that term. Besides, he probably had his own life to live besides baby-sitting her, same went for Frank, regardless of what he said. Sighing softly, she took Frank’s offer of helping her out, still feeling a bit woozy but refusing to let it show any more than it needed to.

And then, just like that, Tommy was gone, the two of them left alone. Strange… she didn’t really feel like she was coming home. Then again, how much time had she actually spent here? Upon hearing Frank’s words, she scoffed lightly and shrugged with her good shoulder, conceding that it probably was. She just never felt really all that at home here. Slowly she began moving her way into the building, using the railing but refusing any offered help, firmly deciding that she needed to handle herself. That said, she wasn’t too proud to use the escalator up to the third floor. Assuming Frank followed her on up, she’d be pretty much dead on her feet the whole time, though just as they exited the elevator he’d hear her hiss as she felt the first hints of the anesthetic wearing off.

Once to room 302, she pulled out her keys and opened the door, gesturing for Frank to follow her, if for no other reason than getting him something to drink. She wouldn’t bother with the door herself, at the moment she only had eyes for the restroom; specifically a bottle of painkillers. Though, before she went there, she stopped herself and gestured to the main room and to him in a way that kind of suggested she was trying to tell him to make himself at home. With that, she was away, leaving him alone for a little bit.

The room was probably higher-quality than the actual furniture and appliances she’d brought into it. The refrigerator and such things that came with it were all quite nice, upper-middle-class things, but she seemed to be a bit of a budget shopper as most of it was nice but far from fancy. All around the room there were various pictures, some of them simple landmarks from everywhere from Paris to Tokyo to Las Vegas, others of people and events in her life, and they varied wildly in size too. Her mother was a bit of a shutterbug and had sent a lot of the pictures to her, though if Frank was paying attention he’d notice that in none of her pictures she had a scarf, even when it was snowing. The most common figures in the pictures were either her parents from when she was young or her husband, a man of Native American heritage, about her height and about the same weight, both of them displaying their bands in the pictures. However, the pictures were all pre-pregnancy; she had no interest in haunting herself like that. Besides that, the only thing of note was a cork board near her desk with various pins and yarn set next to it, suggesting a similar set up to his own at home, just not one that was in use at the moment.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank trudged along silently behind Elissa. He had to hand it to her. The way she was keeping up appearances after the last two days was remarkable. A lesser man would have crashed out in the car. Following her into the escalator, Frank stood with folded arms as the lift rode up to the third floor, where he got out after her and continued to stay in behind her till she reached her door. He paused for a moment at the door, till she gestured him to follow. “Thank you.” he said simply, entering after her and letting her close the door. For a single girl in this town, she had a pretty spacious apartment. Tastefully decorated and neat. Elissa showed him with the wave of her hand what part was the main room and to more or less make himself at home. The detective offered a light smile, but knew when she headed into her bathroom that she was probably going to be getting some aspirin or painkillers. The drugs from the hospital must be wearing off by now, and the light hissing sound that she made indicated to Frank at least that she was in pain. Slowly, Frank removed his jacket; all the while checking out the array of photographs on the wall. They say that family photos are a way of looking into your past, your family..those you love. Being a detective Frank had a good eye and was able to spot right away that most, if not all these photos were taken before she had her accident. He noted that she didn’t wear a scarf in any of the photo, and time and again there were pictures of her with another man – presumably her husband. Frank walked right up to the wall, that was covered in photos from all over the globe. What a life Elissa must have led.

Elissa, like Frank had tragedy strike them both. Each had a story. They were more alike than one would dare say. Frank suddenly felt very uncomfortable, like he had stumbled across something that was private. Elissa wasn’t a case, and he shouldn’t be trying to deduct from the pictures just what happened to her husband. Frank wiped the underside of his nostrils and shaking his head slightly.

“You should be okay now. I know you don’t need a dead beat cop on your couch.”

Frank was about to head for the door, when suddenly his cell phone went off in his pocket. Fidgeting to get it out, he answered “Detective Malone.”

“Hello?”

It was Isa. Frank stopped dead in his tracks and noted that she was whispering. “Isa…what’s wrong? Where are you?”

~RB~

 

 

 

Taking Elissa home – GS.

Scene setting : New York Presbyterian Hospital

co-written with VunG.

 

VunG:  Elissa scoffed at the boys’ reaction to her; it was like they were teenagers around a cheerleader or something. It was flattering, to be sure, and Tommy’s little jest about not washing his face actually had her feel like she was blushing. Even if it wasn’t something she was used to, she was grateful for the treatment, and she had to admit that she liked it a little bit. As Tommy got her some water, she’d gratefully flash him a smile and cradle the drink in her good hand, sipping at it slowly as he asked about her prospects of escape from this place. The doctor had been a little wishy-washy with her, but she had a good idea from other injuries. Putting her water down reluctantly, she signed, ~Probably within a few hours, once they know I’m out of the woods.~ However, afterwards she sighed and looked down, shaking her head with a whispered groan. ~I really don’t want to spend any more time here than I have to.~ If there was one thing that she hated, it was sitting around doing nothing when there were important deeds that needed doing.

Of course, once Frank brought up the subject of the Commander, she grimaced and nodded her agreement, still drinking her water… up until the p*rn comment, which promptly had her spitting back into her cup. Coughing a little, she looked at him with an expression along the lines of ‘Really? You went there?’ before letting it go with a shake of her head. Regardless of colorful language, she knew that he was right; that idiot commander had basically ruined the case and put more people in danger because the guy was probably getting kickbacks under the table. Sighing, she shook her head sadly and downed the rest of her water, smiling a thanks to Tommy before adding to Frank, hopefully with Tommy translating for her, ~I’m sorry this backfired so badly, Frank. I wish we had something to show for this mess.~ Her expression was utterly sincere, she felt bad for failing Frank; this was his chance to finally prove his innocence, and they blew it.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank and Tommy both spoke at the same time, when Elissa said she was sorry that their attempts to find evidence and get a witness statement backfired so badly. It wasn’t her fault and if anything they should be sorry for putting her in the line of fire. It was foolish to think that someone like Joey Patone didn’t have a mark on him. When you play with fire, you often get burnt.

“No no no, Elissa. Come on. Don’t be sorry. So…we had a set back.” Frank said, trying to be upbeat considering the fact he had to hand in his service revolver. Tommy on the other hand was more realistic. “We didn’t get the guy we wanted, but I am pretty damn sure that we were screwed the moment the Commander entered the scene. The guy is so crooked, I’m sure he has a hand in what happened. He was all too eager to pin this on Frank, when it was bleeding obvious that it was a sniper that shot Joey…..and you.” The journalist making a point of including Elissa in his deductions. “All we gotta do now, is figure out what we are chasing….and who.”

It seemed that this had gone from investigating what killed Rory, to a murder case on one Joey Patone – and the attempted murder on Elissa. In Tommy’s mind the most important thing to do was to see that the Commander’s ideas of Frank’s involvement in the crimes was quashed.

Looking at the time, and taking into consideration that Elissa didn’t want to stay in hospital a moment longer than she needed to had Tommy ducking outside to see if he could find a wheelchair, to wheel her out. Frank watched Tommy leave and then asked Elissa. “You know I am not going to rest until I find out who shot you, right?”

Frank reached for her hand, squeezing it lightly, as Tommy snuck back in with a wheelchair.

“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s break this babe outta here.”

~RB~

 

VunG:  It was… a little strange to be told that she hadn’t screwed up even when she knew damn well that she had. Even though she was a civilian now, she of all people should’ve been the combat expert; she should’ve been the one trying to protect them, not the other way around. But, Frank was probably right, no sense dwelling on one mistake. And what Tommy had to said actually got her back on her mental feet. No, not because it was encouraging, but rather because it got her blood boiling something fierce. What he said made perfect sense, and probably explained a great deal of the trouble that Frank had been having in his case even before she and Tommy got involved. And it also suggested some answers to some things she’d witnessed during her time in the force, things that had slipped by unnoticed due to a sort of optimism on her part, but now made perfect sense. Hopefully she was wrong on that and she was just jumping to conclusions, but whatever happened they knew that the Commander was likely not going to rest until Frank was out of commission, if nothing else.

And if he really was responsible for what happened in Joey’s apartment, then she had some personal reason to fry that pig’s bacon.

However, her enthusiasm was quelled by a simple reminder: she was wounded and stuck in this stupid hospital. When she felt Frank’s hand on hers and heard those words, she turned to him with a slightly surprised expression. Did Frank actually care that much about her? It… was actually kind of touching. Without intending to, she gave him a sweetly grateful expression, squeezing his hand back. Thankfully she toughened right back up and flashed him a weak but intense smile. Even if she couldn’t be on the field thanks to her injury, she wasn’t about to abdicate. Her pride wouldn’t allow it. Even if they never caught the shooter, this enterprise had her full support…

And then Tommy came in with the wheelchair, and suggested on busting her out. Oh, if he only knew how often that happened with her. Giving him a go ahead with a wicked smile, and signing for him to get a bandage and some cotton to help her with the IV. Really, she didn’t need too much help, just needed him to keep pressure on the area with the cotton while she turned off the drip and pulled out the needle. After that she bandaged herself up, already quite used to pulling that off even before SWAT, and then reached up for a hand to get into the chair. Once in, she gestured for one of the guys to get in back for her, then gestured like she was telling an army to move out.

Meanwhile, Doctor Steiner, who had been about to enter, sighed and waited outside, just shaking his head. That woman had been his patient since arriving in New York, and the only times she hadn’t walked out after an injury was when she actually couldn’t walk. He’d let the people bail her out, mostly out of exasperated knowing that she was impossible to keep around, and went ahead and signed her out himself.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Opening the door, Frank’s face fell on seeing the Doctor who had been standing outside. He didn’t look impressed to see Elissa in the wheel chair and it was Tommy who had the balls to call it what it was. Firmly gripping the wheel chair’s handles he gave something of a Cheshire grin. “Oh…hey Doc. You are probably wondering what Elissa is doing out of bed. Welp. After reading a comprehensive article on how people often get better faster in their own surroundings, we..” Frank interjected with a quick nod….“…and me.” Tommy picked up…“….thought we would take Elissa home.”There was a slight pause as it registered with the doctor that these were her friends. Not to mention he had heard the nurse station gossip about the flirtatious Tommy Xo. Doctor Steiner brought out the clip board he had been holding in his hand, as he had half suspected that this would happen. He had the release forms but needed her signature. Once she left the hospital’s care she was no longer covered by their policies. Red tape…and all that.

The Doctor offered her the clip board to sign, before asking both Frank and Tommy to take good care of her. Tommy gave a small salute, while Frank waited for Elissa to sign the release form and then take it from her to hand back to the Doc.

“She’s practically family.” Frank insisted. “I’ll stay with her till she is right again.”

Did this mean that Frank was going to stay at her apartment, or his?

With the papers signed, the trio would be able to head for the lift and then make their way to the carpark where Tommy was parked. Frank was relieved in a sense that they hadn’t had to resort to busting her out, but signing her out instead. Tommy made sure he waved to certain nurses as they left, even winking at the one that helped the boys from the beginning.

~RB~

 

VunG:  Elissa locked eyes with the doctor as they left, and for a moment she felt really guilty at doing this to him. Thankfully though everything worked out, with the guys basically covering for her and making sure that she’d be alright. Of course, it was kind of silly how Tommy tried to explain it, but she rolled with it, not bothering to give him a raised eyebrow just out of a desire to get out of the hospital. Fortunately, old Steiner knew the drill, and had them sign the papers, which was fine by her… though not before Frank commented that he’d be staying with her until she was okay. That… was a strange thought… Did he really mean that? Because it probably wasn’t necessary.

Shaking it off, once they were signed out they were out, Tommy being the flirtatious goof he was as they went. After a trip to Tommy’s car, they were off to her apartment.

 

 

Bedside manners – GS

 

 

Scene setting – New York Presbyterian Hospital

https://i2.wp.com/weill.cornell.edu/archives/images/large/P00507.jpg

co-written with VunG.

 

VunG:  After a short but intense ride to the hospital, Elissa would find herself ushered into the ER, despite her failed attempts to silently explain that she was probably not really emergency material at this point. Oh, she needed attention, but she thought that there were others that would need help more than her. Of course, she underestimated her blood loss a little and would find herself ushered in regardless of it all. And so she had to endure the embarrassment of being sent in on a stretcher despite being perfectly good enough to walk.

Surprisingly, she’d have a surgeon on her pretty quick, and within twenty minutes the operation would be underway while she laid there helpless under a local anesthetic. Someone had suggested they just put her out completely, but she assured them in writing that she was perfectly fine with just laying still while she lacked feeling in that part of her body. Within an hour the operation was done, though the doctors made sure to get her a blood pack; she didn’t realize it, but she looked pretty darn pale. Still, everything went smoothly, no extra shards and no lead poisoning that they could figure out, and while the wound was deep, it missed anything serious, so instead she was stuck with a number of rather deep stitches.

And then… she was left alone in the room in a hospital gown hooked up to an IV, waiting for and dreading the moment that the anesthetics wore off. Sighing and closing her eyes, she looked up at the ceiling and, in the isolation of the room, she couldn’t help but long for the old days. The days of being able to work with her best friends, the days of laying in her husband’s arms after a rough mission, the days when she was actually worth something rather than just one more private detective trying to eek out a living on other people’s money. For the briefest of moments she almost wished that the round had scooted itself central and down a touch… to just put an end to it all. However, she immediately banished that thought. Jamie wouldn’t have wanted her to think that way. He would want her to at least attempt to be happy… or if nothing else to keep fighting. So… guess she had to figure out a way to convince the doctors to let her out early.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The boys had arrived at the hospital about 30 minutes after Elissa would have. Having found a park for Tommy’s car, Frank and Tommy headed into the ER where they approached the main reception nurses desk. Tommy was first to get the nurses attention. “Excuse me, we are looking for von Pourtales. She should have been brought in about half an hour ago.” The nurse tapped a few keys on her keyboard, staring at the screen with horn rimmed glasses. She soon found Elissa’s entry to the ER and then was able to inform the boys of where she would end up being. “Are you her family?” Tommy and Frank stared at one another, like they were trying to decide if they should tell the truth or not. Frank, was quick to answer. “Ah yes. Got here as soon as we could.” The nurse raised an eyebrow at the shaby looking detective, while Tommy took a different tack. He stared at the nurse’s badge and then leaned on the counter.

“Nurse Cassey, is it? I could have sworn you were on the cover of last month’s edition of Cosmopolitan. Don’t tell me, you’re a part time model.” Tommy gave the nurse a wink and although the nurse was a bit wary of Tommy’s advances, she had to admit it was flattering to be mistaken for a top end model. “Hehehe, no. I’m not a model.” She was giggling like a girl in high school, and Frank coughed loudly while Tommy made eyes at the nurse. “Elissa von Pourtales?”Breaking away from Tommy’s gaze, the nurse then wrote down on a notepad which floor Elissa would be on and who her doctor was. Apparently she was going in for day surgery due to her wound and the loss of blood she sustained. Feeling guilty as sin, Frank tugged on Tommy’s sleeve. “Come on, Casanova.” Tommy blew a kiss to the nurse, who snatched it out of the air, much to the delight of her fellow nurses.

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Going up to the visitors waiting room near recovery, Frank took a seat, while Tommy went to get some vendor coffee. Neither had had any sleep, and were running on adrenalin. Frank fidgeted, picking up an old issue of House and Garden before flicking through it lazily only to be interrupted by Tommy who was coming back with a coffee for him. “Here.” Frank took the offered cup and stared at the black liquid that was being passed off as coffee. “God….I’m almost scared to drink it.” Tommy was a bit put out, but then ever witty came back with. “Well, if it makes you sick…we are in the right place.”He showed a cheesy grin to which Frank simply went ‘Ha…ha.” When Frank took a sip, it was as bad as it looked.

Another hour passed and with it many people. Patients, family, friends, nurses, orderly’s. No sign of a Doctor to speak to them about Elissa. Finally, a surgeon came out of one of the operating theaters and then approached the two men. “Are either of you here for Elissa von Pourtales?’ Frank jumped up and tossed his coffee cup in the trash. “Yes, Doctor. How is she?” The look of worry was now etched deep into his face. He could pass as family easily. The Doctor nodded slowly.“She lost a lot of blood, but the wound was clean. She is resting now. You are welcome to go in and see her.”

A wave of relief hit both Tommy and Frank, now that they heard she was going to be okay. Thanking the Surgeon, Tommy and Frank headed down to her room, where she was laying quietly and staring up at the ceiling. Lost in thought..or maybe it was the drugs.

Tommy came up one side of her, while Frank was on the other. “Hey pretty lady.” Tommy said, leaning over to kiss her forehead. Frank wanted to smack him one. “Dude….you just finished chatting up the nurse. Keep it in your pants.” It was then the two men starting arguing over Elissa, as she would be stuck in the middle of them.

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Elissa was largely oblivious to the doctor talking outside, though it was probably just because she was about to pass out just from exhaustion and blood loss. She was pretty lucid though, at least the drugs were pretty mild stuff relatively speaking. There was no desire to have anything like whatever it was they used on her when that damn dog tore out her voice.

However, when the guys came in, she pretty quickly looked down to them, and immediately a feeble smile appeared on her face and she adjusted herself to sit up a little. She had no words to describe how happy she was to see them… and so quickly too. They must’ve come straight here after the crime scene… it… was actually kind of humbling. Tommy’s little compliment got a smile out of her, and probably should’ve made her blush, but for obvious reasons it was pretty mild… though her eyes actually went wide with surprise when he kissed her. Where in the world did that come from? Before she could even get her brain far enough into gear to respond, Frank started ribbing the guy for chatting up a nurse, and she’d roll her eyes playfully, amused that the two were already arguing again.

Those two were such children. Chuckling/coughing quietly, she slowly lifted her hand and gestured for both of them to come closer. Assuming they did so, she’d promptly plant a friendly kiss on both their cheeks. After that she smiled softly to them both cracking her neck and bringing her hands up slowly to sign a slow, ~Thank you,~ mouthing the word so that Frank could probably get the idea of what she was trying to say. Letting out a sigh, she rubbed her wounded shoulder and closed her eyes, though very obviously still aware. It felt so amazing to have people who cared about her again… hopefully this wouldn’t be a recurring situation, but the feelings brought by their interest were very welcome.

 

Razorbackwriter:  It was like a school yard tussle over the popular girl, though the girl in question was in a hospital bed and probably thinking that these two grown men were acting like eight year olds. Frank didn’t think that Tommy should be kissing Elissa since he already had a girl. Least, that is what most people thought. Tamika was more…the friend with benefits type of relationship, though Tamika would like it to be more than that. The real reason that Tommy did kiss Elissa was due to the fact he was so worried, and the relief of seeing her in recovery brought about the romantic side in him, much to Frank’s annoyance. Just as Frank was about to reach across and grab Tommy’s collar, Elissa motioned with her hand for both men to come closer. Stopping their fight they both did as asked, leaning in expectantly – only to be kissed gently each on the cheek. This had them both blush and pull back to watch her sign ~Thank you~. Frank rubbed the spot she kissed, while Tommy chuckled and said. “Now I am not going to be able to wash this side of my face.” Frank hit back immediately. “Good, we can change your name to Stinky.”

The fight now forgotten, Frank pulled up a chair while Tommy poured Elissa a glass of water from the pitcher on the side table near her bed. He set it on one of those hospital food tables and moved it close for Elissa to be able to reach. “So when do you think they will release you, Elissa?” Tommy asked, hoping to hear that it would be soon.

Frank on the other hand was still a bit down about having to hand in his gun to Isa. Sure, she promised to make sure it was proven that he was not the shooter, but it still made him feel bad. “That Commander is such a dick. Evidence was right there….right there. Now we got some gunman on the loose, while the police department are all sitting back probably jerking off to those porn pictures from Joey’s dark room.”

 

~RB~

 

Everyone has a tale to tell – GS

 

Scene setting – Fifth and Maple : Joey’s Apartment.

co-written with Chor & VunG.

 

VunG:  Even through her slight daze, Elissa was more than happy to see that idiot Commander Bracks getting so worked up over being proven wrong; pride before the fall asshole. Of course, now that she had made it apparent where she stood and how things had worked out, she realized just how far into the line of fire she had placed herself… no pun intended. Thankfully, someone else came in, someone whom he immediately recognized as Khalil, someone that she had had to cooperate with on more than a few occasions. Even if they weren’t what you would call friends, she was definitely very grateful for the support, even if it was just stating the facts… she would’ve displayed it if she wasn’t so busy trying to keep firm towards the Commander.

She actually wasn’t aware of the corruption that the man went through, but at this point she would’ve been utterly unsurprised. Still, she backed off a bit as the other two came into the fray, but remained near them, glad to see that she wasn’t the only one with a bit of fire in her heart. Unfortunately, the crooked cop went ahead and confiscated all the photos, and while she had no doubt that one of them had pocketed a few, she knew that getting the pictures into the paper weren’t going to happen. If the things went public, Tommy would get charged with taking evidence from a crime scene. Once again, back to square one, and this time not a lead to be found.

And of course, throughout this whole fiasco, the poor EMT was just staying off to the side trying not to get caught in the crossfire.

The moment the commander was gone, she seemed to deflate, actually stumbling a bit before the EMT caught her, her good hand going up to her forehead as the world started spinning. Her eyes turning to see a concerned face looking at her, and suddenly she felt a strange warmth in her, despite her condition. Still, she didn’t have the energy to do much other than nod feebly, to which the EMT grumbled in frustration, “Not that she has much of a choice.” As the man started to usher her out of the crime scene, she turned to Tommy, and had an expression on her face almost begging for him to follow… if for no other reason to bust her out once she had her stitches in.

Provided nothing else happened, she’d be brought promptly downstairs to the ambulance and brought in; though thankfully they spared her the indignity of using a stretcher. And then she would be sped away, siren somewhat unnecessarily blaring.

 

Chor:  Isolde wasn’t sold at all on the idea that this was a drug-bust-turned-assassination. Did anyone really believe that? Maybe they spent so much time settling for ‘just enough’ that they couldn’t tell that this place smelled of serious mischief. She had actually forgott about the Commander, having very little respect for him anyways, and her attention snapped up to him when he countered her. Tested? She snickered to herself, wondering if he knew a single thing about actual crime scene investigation. Obviously, there would be testing done; idiot. That meant very little, though, in this situatio nat this moment, where she could see with her own eyes that it was not a point blank shot or even from across the room. This was a long-range, sniper shot.

Isa did not falter when the Commander stepped up to her. She stared hatefully past his bushy dark brows into his sunken eyes and crossed her arms with closed fists.

You can count on it,” She muttered, fighting the urge to spit where he stood. Khalil seemed to sense her growing attitude and he pulled her towards the body again, attempting to avert her attention to something useless and not even relevant to the case. She looked thankfully at him. He was usually the one whi played mediator, stopping her from saying things she shouldn’t and doing things that would cost her dearly. Once the Commander had finally given up on barraging everyone in the room with insults or questions, he exited the building. He left his rotten stink behind, though, and his corruption choked Isa.

Filthy, sexist bastard,” Isa muttered to herself as Frank approached. She knows of him, has been following a lot of his cases, but has never personally worked with him. Khalil handed her a bag and a sharpie.

Unfortuantely, I’ve got to take it. I’ll make sure to return it in good condition, though,” She said, holding the bag open for the gun to be placed in, then marking it accordingly. She’s certain there’d be no evidential use for it, but the Commander would be ever so pleased she did as he asked.

I won’t let him pin this on you, no matter how much he gets paid or how lazy and ignorant he is,” She said thoughtfully, her more humane side showing. This is a man’s career; and not only that, his life.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank turned his service revolver around in the palm of his hand so that the butt end was facing Isolde. The detective then dropped it into the offered bag with something of a sigh. At least Isolde was being compassionate in the light of how the Commander viewed things. The Commander had to be one of the most unpopular men in the force, and with good reason. Especially after the way he spoke to those on the site. He was a sexist pig and a bastard to boot. With the gun handed over, Frank took out his badge and stared at it for a moment. How long before they asked for this too? From beneath his furrowed brow, the Detective glanced up to hear that Isolde was not going to let the Commander pin the murder of Joey on him. It brought a little comfort in what had been a rotten morning thus far. “Its a tough battle when you got dicks like him in charge. Heh, you didn’t hear that from me.” Frank offered with a crooked smile. Ah, there was that sense of humor. It was good to know that he still had that at least.

Watching the other officers boxing up all the photographs and equipment, Frank knew that this was going to get buried at the police holding office. Maybe the porn pics will do the rounds, but the pictures of the beast that will probably be discredited as being photo shopped….or computer generated. That was the key evidence to clear his name over Rory, and as the police teams thinned out to let the forensics do their job, Frank knew it was time to go. One last look at the sheet covered body of Joey, and Frank started for the door. “Keep in touch…okay?” Frank said, before heading out the door.

Tommy was waiting for Frank outside. The paramedics had rushed Elissa off to the ambulance, which meant that the pair would have to follow in Tommy’s car. You could see that Tommy was already angered by the behavior of the Commander, and his eyes narrowed as Frank appeared. “No offence, Frank….but that was some stupid shit in there. Are they all useless as that Commander Klutz?” Tommy knew that his chances of those pictures of the beast making front page were now all but gone. They were really on to something, and now the main witness was dead and the evidence taken downtown. Frank wiped some blood splatter from his cheek and patted Tommy on the back. “We’ll figure this out. Just…not now. Come on, let’s get to the hospital. I’m worried about Elissa.”

The two men headed down the hall to the stairwell, and would make it out to Tommy’s car, as the blazing lights of the police illuminated the alley.

~RB~

 

Chor:  As most of the cops had finished whatever it was they were pretending to do as they stood around breathing precious air and potentially destroying evidence with their sheer idiocy, this left the building empty save for Forensics, Khalil, and her. Khalil was already loading up the body into a bag and pushing it via gurney out to corpse-mobile, which left Isa by herself in what appeared to be some sort of living room. She scoured it for a few moments, finding nothing of significance, and almost resolved to leaving before abrupt laughter caught her attention in the next room. Obviously it was Forensics, she recognized Michael’s distinctly obnoxious chuckling. The room bustled with loud talking, then laughter, so Isa sauntered over and stood in the doorway. It was dark and they couldn’t see her at first.

The five men- including Ricardo the lanky newbie, Michael the unsightly prankster, Bronkov the stoic transfer, Balle the confused alcoholic, and Jameson the fucking prick- were all standing around a box of evidence. In their grubby fingers they held photographs. They were throwing the things around and making horrifying comments like they were playing some sort of pornographic trading card game.

“Riccy, here this one’s for you,” Jameson flicked a photo at the kid and he grasped the air, sadly not catching it. It fluttered slowly, as if caught on a breeze, landing just by Isa’s booted foot. Ricardo snatched it up, looking at her boot, then following it up to her eyes. Everyone fell silent then.

“This is evidence, you fucking dimwits,” She scolded, eyes narrowed to slits. Anger reddened her normally pale face and she took the picture from the newbie. It was a girl who could be no more than 19, naked and alone on a bed. There was a false sense of hunger in her eyes, followed by a sadness Isa knew all too well. The girls name was Amelia. She’d been a street girl when Isa’s sister was in Vice, but switched out of the game just to fall into another one. Just a week ago, Amelia was found in a hotel bathtub, beaten so terribly they almost couldn’t recognize her. Claura cried for a week.

“Oh, piss off, weirdo,” Jameson spat, making Isa smile because he couldn’t find anything more insulting to say. He growled, eyes shooting daggers, but the rest of the men just gathered everything and started leaving.

“No, leave the boxes, I’ve got to do inventory on it,” She commanded, knowing if any of these boxes disappeared from sight that helpful evidence might never be seen again. The men cursed their way out of the dark room, kicking feet like children at the prospect of being told what to do by a women. In picking up and inspecting the photos, she found that not all of them were of women. There were some that were barely distinguishable, like they hadn’t developed correctly, and some she could barely decipher. Then there were three that were actually frightening to look at. It was some sort of beast. Her eyes dug into the picture and she found herself thinking back to Claura’s third month in Vice. She’d seen something. As it was her duty to lurk in the night through all sorts of streets and alleys, she thought she’d seen it all. Claura was scared of whatever she’d seen. She told Isa every night that she came home that she felt she was being followed. Isa chalked it up to anxiety. Claura never was the best at handling stress and the new job was really getting to her. One month later, Claura disappeared and was never seen again. No one knows what happened. Nobody pays attention to a hooker. With a sigh, Isa went against everything she knew was right and pocketed the photo. Someone would know what this is. Someone had to believe her and if this photo disappeared, she would never figure it out. Collecting the three boxes of evidence, she exited the building and left in the running vehicle with the dead man in the back.

 

 

 

 

The Evidence doesn’t lie – GS.

 

Scene setting – Fifth and Maple streets; Joey’s apartment.

co-written with Chor & VunG.

 

VunG:  If there was one thing that nobody could call Elissa, it was easy to discourage. Even as she was getting fixed up by the EMT’s she insisted on being allowed to stay until she knew for a fact that Frank and Tommy were in the clear. Normally she would’ve just gone ahead and joined them, but she knew that her injury was mild enough that she wasn’t exactly in mortal danger and with that goddamn commissioner around her level of confidence in the situation was somewhere around Satan’s wine cellar. While the room was investigated by the CSI’s, she was busy with the EMT’s getting the slug out of her shoulder with just a local anesthetic and getting her all bandaged up. It wasn’t her first time getting shot, and besides bleeding out it was pretty mild. When the slug was out, she asked the EMT’s to have it put into a CSI bag so that they could examine it themselves… though she had to do a lot of pantomime to get that out and was stuck holding the bag for the time being.

Once she was in the clear and her arm in a sling, she went ahead and asked one of the EMT’s to help her up to the crime scene, something that he was really reluctant to do. “Ma’am, we need to get that looked at proper. The immediate danger’s over, but you might have some contamination from the blood, or just lead poisoning.” But after an assurance that she’d go with them to the hospital afterwards he agreed. As it turned out, her hunch that things were bad would turn out to be dead on.

As she walked on, she noticed Tommy waiting outside, and she nodded to him, flashing him a weak smile as she leaned on the wall. Slowly she spelled out ~Thanks~ with her free hand, privately cursing her muteness for the hundredth time since getting shot. But… she really was grateful to him… he’d looked after her while she was downed and done his best to see to her wound, even though he wasn’t trained for it. And… for someone not trained to do this sort of thing to be so composed under fire… she had to admit that she was really impressed. Of course her smile faded as a bit of pain lanced across and she winced, shaking her head to clear it.

And then she heard the “you have motive” phrase… and suddenly her face was beet red with rage. The EMT tried to usher her out, but there was no stopping her. Still in her tank top with a bright white and deep red bandage on her shoulder, she strode in as Frank was protesting his innocence, a snarl of pure rage on her face. Tapping the commissioner on the shoulder, she promptly thrust the bag of lead shards into his chest. Once he had it, she immediately pointed to her shoulder, then pointed across the room to the window it had come from, then to the place where Joey was laying/his blood pool sat… all the while the EMT was urging her, “Ma’am, calm down! It can’t be good for the wound!” However, even as light-headed as she was feeling right now, she wasn’t about to back down.

Chor:  When Khalil practically leapt into the drivers’ seat of the vehicle, Isa took it that they were off to the scene. He started the Coroner’s van and they sped backward, all four eyes in the car trained intently on the rearview mirror. The scene of this homicide wasn’t too far from the precinct, but the police obviously had been alerted first and she only prayed they did not mud up her scene. What some might consider a front yard that was really a patch of wet dirt had a plethora of police issue boot marks tracked through it, leading to the apartment. An officer stopped her at the door, looking her up and down until she produced her keycard for his eyes to squint at for about a full minute. Apparently satisfied, the mustached hero of the yellow tape lifted his thin barrier and allowed the two passage underneath. She’s seen this cop at least a dozen times this month, yet he still does’t recognize her. It doesn’t bother her, much, though. It’s something Isa has become accustomed to.

Entering the building, Isa could barely hear herself think…or even breathe. The amount of people in the place was actually suffocating the air right out of it. It smelled terribly of not only drugs, but now cigarettes and a hint of aftershave. Eyes flew to her as she arrived. She wasn’t dressed very properly, wearing black pants, a normal tee, and her lab coat. This, accompanied by her dissheveled hair and lightly smudged eyeliner, may lead some to believe she’s in the wrong place. Isa, however, steps gently over to the body and uncovers it. She rolls her kit out and assembles her camera.

The CSI team is taking plenty of photos, as is evident by the flashes still bouncing across every surface. It’s a habit of hers to take her own shots, though, and uploading them to the database so if anything happens- like it often does in their chain of command- she has the hard copies. Much commotion was going on between a few cops and possibly civilians. There was much talk about motive and how it ‘could’ or ‘couldn’t’ be the officer. A laugh escaped her. A little snort thatwas loud enough to stop and turn quite a few heads. The body in front of her was not killed close range and any idiot with a forensics degree could see it. She turned, standing.

“No abrasion ring, no powder residue, the entrance wound is too small, and look at the spatter!” A hand pointed down at the body as she near shouted. Her words weren’t meant as an insult, but nevertheless she was incredulous.

“He couldn’t have killed this man…” Khalil tried to help, hoping maybe the few glares they received would calm. Isa didn’t care much for anyone’s opinion of her. She cared about the facts; about justice. This detective, whomever he was, was not the murderer. Whether he hired someone was a different story, one she didn’t need to worry about. They could argue for days about motive, but the science was factual and the science could prove it wasn’t him.

 

Razorbackwriter:  
Feeling the sharp tapping on his shoulder, the Commander turned to see an infuriated Elissa thrust a bag of lead shards hard into his chest. It winded the Commander slightly as he released a loud oomph The Commander wrestled the bag from Elissa only to have her madly pointing out her shoulder, then over to the broken window. It was clear by her demonstrations that she was making him realize it was impossible for Frank to have been the gunman, if you calculated the angle of the shots, the splatter and the fact that Elissa had also been shot in the attack. With her SWAT training, the girl was a very credible witness as well as being a victim of the shootings. The Commander didn’t like being proven wrong, and you could see he was getting flustered and annoyed. Small purple veins were starting to stand out on his neck. He was about to gruffly reply to Elissa, when one of the team from the coroners office spoke clearly and concisely about what the evidence was telling her.

“No abrasion ring, no powder residue, the entrance wound is too small, and look at the splatter!”

“That all still needs to be tested.” The Commander argued, hating being in the wrong. But he was being outgunned here and the fact it was women doing it to him, made it all the more painful. In the background, Frank’s shoulders sagged. Seriously, the Commander was as corrupt as Joey had been. There had been a lot of talk around the station, that the Commander was getting kick backs and shady deals from some of the mob bosses. Also, the Mayor’s office was involved. Hushing up crimes against certain underworld leaders. You really had to wonder if there was any true fighters for justice in this town. Finally, Frank had had a gutful and brazenly said what was on his mind. “Why would I kill the only man who witnessed what I did the night Rory died, Sir?” Again he was talking about the creature in the photographs that adorned the dark room out back. At this, Tommy reentered the room. He was not part of any police investigations, but he was ready to go into bat for his best mate.

“When these pictures make it in the mornings paper, there are going to be more interest in the creature, than the death of a drug runner.”

The Commander stiffened, hearing the nosy reporter enter the crime scene. “Oh…the Press! You are not getting one of those pictures, Son. They are all evidence.” He said with a wave of his hand diagonally across his body. “Someone get that guy outta here!”

Isa continued to try and help the situation, by adding that Frank was not the killer. “He couldn’t have killed this man…” The Commander walked right up to her face and stared her down. “I want your report on my desk ASAP. Prove without reasonable doubt.” Having had enough of the argument, he turned to one of the uniformed officers. “I want all the evidence brought into the station. ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS and equipment.” Commander Bracks yanked on his jacket and then in a huff, stormed out of the room. Tommy still hadn’t left the crime scene, and came up alongside Elissa.

“Now do you wanna go down to the ER?” Concern riddled on his face. He didn’t say anything to the Commander about the photographs, since he knew Frank had a few in his jacket.

With the Commander gone, Frank approached Isa. “Do you want my service revolver for testing?”

 

~RB~

Frank takes the heat – GS.

Scene setting : Fifth and Maple Street; Joey’s apartment.

co-written with Chor and VunG.

 

VunG:  Elissa’s face remained stuck in an expression of intense pain and concentration as she tried to keep herself aware, and even as Tom and Frank came to her aid she tried to reach out for her gun again. No, she wasn’t about to try and pull some last stand maneuver, but she damn sure wanted to be armed. Every one of the extra shots made her blood boil, and even with her wound she wanted to fire back. Of course, she realized pretty quickly what a bad idea that was, and would promptly put her hand back into place while Tommy perched over her, stating the obvious. (No fucking shit,) she mouthed, not really caring if he actually saw or understood her words. They didn’t have time for the obvious to come down. But… she had to give up the fight, and nodded and remained in place while he found something to help bandage her.

She was aware of Frank returning fire, but beyond that Elissa was unable to really contribute much here. Still… apparently everything calmed down… which gave her enough time to bring her hand away and punch the floor furiously, slamming her head against the couch she was leaning against as she kicked herself for not noticing that damn sniper. She’d made longer shots than that, much less seen them, how the hell had she missed that?! Was she really slipping that much?! Was she really that much of a has-been?

Of course, just to make matters worse, Joey’s significant other came in at about that moment to see the carnage. Frank was quick on it, of course, and was able to get things under control. Grunting softly, she reached up to the buttons of her coat and undid them as quickly as she could manage, ignoring the pain of moving the arm involved. The moment the thing was off to allow for a little better access to her injury, her right hand returned to its place while the left went limp, tears of pain streaming down her face as she bit her lip. Under her jacket she was wearing what amounted to a grey tank top. Tommy would be able to see the wound clearly if he could get her hand away, and if he was paying attention he’d notice scars similar to her neck’s along both her arms and a single mark on the edge of her right shoulder where she’d been grazed by another bullet.

She was absolutely oblivious to the calls being made… except for Frank’s mention of an 11-41. Immediately shame overwhelmed her and she looked down, biting her lip as more tears streamed down her cheeks. Damn it all… was that all she was now? A freaking ambulance call?!

 

Chor:  Now Isa wouldn’t have called herself busy, but drinking her shitty coffee from the conference/break room down the hall just past the morgue was the one thing that she preferred to be uninterrupted in her morning routine. She guessed, though, that in the city that never, ever sleeps, ten in the morning was not too early for a homicide. Truthfully, she had been on overnight duty and just slept in her office. The lounge served comfortble enough for at most six hours of light, non-murder-interrupted sleep. The crackling of the heat coming on in the room caused her to wake about thirty-seven minutes earlier and her hair was still a raggedy, sad mess.
This, of course, homicidal maniacs did not take into consideration when they started killing for the day. One sip into the sludge shite in the cracked “Best Mom Ever” mug and the radio exploded with sound, turning her quiet world upside down and causing her to drop her liquid breakfast onto the counter. The mug bounced off the edge of the granite and tumbled to the floor, creating a scene more annoying than she wished to handle at the moment. Listening closely to the radio, she stood unblinking. 10-71. Not for her. 11-41. Still not her. Her fingers twitched. Now that she was alert, ready for it, she eyed the device hungrily. So quickly her emotions could change. When nothing else spewed from the muffled speakers and the sound quit its reverberation in the accoustic room, she bent and retrieved her cup. The handle was broken and where the piece sepearated was seen layers upon layers of all sorts of glue of different consistencies and colors. This cup is old, a piece of fine china in their little kitchinette, and she would put it back together again. Just like she always does.
A towel is procured from a bland gray cabinet and used to mop up the black mess. The coffee was actually so thick, it nearly reminded her of coagulated blood. A small smile tugged at her lips as she threw the towel in the ‘to-be-washed’ bin, where it woud sit for about a week and a half until she washed it at home. Her second in command for this shift, Khalil, opened the door gently, holding fresh scrubs she only imagined he planned to change into.
“I got word from the buses it’s homicide. Keep an ear out, I’m headed to change, you’re on dead guy duty, I’ll drive,” He said. Khalil didn’t have an office, mostly because he was new and not because he didn’t deserve one. He worked just as hard as any of the others, just Isa worked harder; and she was more qualified. She nodded, though, and followed him as he left the entrance. There was a pretty good chance they’d be seeing hearing someone call in a body within the next ten minutes. She pulled her coat on and plucked her clip board and pen off the shelf, waiting patiently in the corpse-mobile.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The street below Joey’s apartment, was now filled with brass and the blazing lights of squad cars and of course the ambulance. Tommy sat outside in the hall, his jacket now a disheveled mess, covered in blood and bits of broken glass. After having answered questions to one of the other officers, he was ordered outside while Frank was getting a dressing down from his superior.

“No warrant? Jesus, Frank. What were you thinking? You are just damn lucky this joint is full of drugs.” The Commander scowled, as he was handed a bag from one of the CSI teams. “More in the bedroom, Sir.” The rookie announced, as others were searching throughout the apartment for more. Frank had been consoling Patty, who was now being taken away by a special officer for the bereaved. Joey was laying on the floor under a sheet, while another cop was dusting for prints. There had been no word yet on the dark room, and this had Frank on tender hooks.

“Sir, I’m not going to lie. Joey Patone sent me some photographs and that is the reason I came here. I dragged Elissa and Tommy Xo in with me. So if you are going to throw the book at anyone, throw it at me.”

The Commander raised a brow, and then asked. “What photographs?” At this point, Frank directed the Commander to the dark room. The two gentlemen walked in and this was when the Commander’s face became quite stern. “So he liked a little photography. What has that got to do with anything?” The Commander not being able to see a connection. He could see the p*rn pictures, but then he saw the ones of the beast.

“What the devil?” He pulled one down and stared at it. “He was into Sci fi photography?”

Frank came up behind him and said. “Sir…look at the date.” It was the same date as the day Rory died. The image taken from the alley below. “Sir…that is the thing that took Rory. Joey…saw it too.”

“AHAHAHAHA. What a load of crock. He was fitting you up, Frank. This is ludicrous.” The commander wasn’t about to believe Frank. Who would? He spun on his heel and got in Frank’s face. “You got a dead man out there, and you have motive.”

“What?” It was incredulous to think that Frank would kill Joey, if he was the only other witness to the death of Rory. “Sir, you’ve got this all wrong. A sniper shot Joey through the window. Ask Elissa…..or Tommy.”

 

~RB~

Foul Play – GS.

Scene setting : Fifth and Maple Street.

co-written with VunG.

 

VunG:  Elissa couldn’t help but grimace with contempt as she overheard Joey’s pleading. This sort of man was an utter worthless waste of food and even in her cursory examination she could smell the drugs here, much less see them. Still, they were here for a particular purpose, and even if they decided to bring this guy down for the drugs, they needed his dark room far more.

As she gladly took up her place to keep Joey under control, her finger actually resting on the trigger rather than resting alongside; unlike Frank who perhaps wanted him as a witness, she had no worries about killing a mobster. She’d done it more than her fair share of times in the past. She wasn’t really taking into account Frank’s treatment of Tommy; this was an act, and he was playing it to a T. But then Joey turned to look at her, and while she made absolutely zero reaction other than to tighten her grip on the gun, she could tell that he was scared about something, and it wasn’t her or Frank. Then…

BLAM BLAM BLAM. Blood splattered across her face her ears were ringing from the shots. Tommy’s words were unnecessary, by the time he said them she was already prone on the floor. As quickly as she could manage, she crawled for cover, pausing to wipe the blood from her face. Eventually she found a place behind a chair, and quickly got herself into a position to fire back, briefly peeking over in the hopes of spotting the shooter so she could return fire. However, even if she normally would’ve been able to, she was distracted by a slight fuzzy feeling, particularly in her upper arm. Frowning, she looked at herself… and would see red blooming on her shoulder. It was only then that she felt the pain explode as she realized that Joey hadn’t been the only one hit by the assassin.

Immediately she was on her ass and leaning up against the couch, a pained hiss escaping her as she dropped her gun, and reached up to put some pressure on it. She was completely oblivious to whether or not she was visible to the others, right now she was just trying to focus on staying alert and keep herself from suffering from blood loss until one of her brothers could get to her. Damn it… why did she wear such heavy clothing?! (Of course, she’d completely forgotten about her scarf, which had fallen off once she slumped over) This stuff couldn’t be easily torn! She tried to shout to them, to let them know of her status, but all that came out was a sound like a cat’s hiss.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The sudden sound of gunfire, followed by the loud thud and shouts from Tommy brought Frank running from the other room. Had Elissa suddenly opened fire on Joey? Had he tried to disarm her? All these things were buzzing in his mind, but the moment he turned the corner, the full scale of what had happened hit him damn quick. Another few shots suddenly were fired and whistled past Frank’s head as he too dropped to the floor. Seeing the slouched body of Joey, with his blood covering the floor and parts of the wall made him swear.

“JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!” He exclaimed as glass showered Tommy and Elissa on the floor. The window was now riddled with bullet holes, the glass having shattered and even a few holes in the curtains. The shooter had to have been across the street, watching the entire time. Crawling across the floor, Frank saw that Elissa had been hit. Frank’s eyes widened and then the horror sunk in. He had led his friends into a trap of sorts. When Joey said, he couldn’t go to jail again, and was afraid of something he wasn’t kidding. Now, their only witness to the creature that took Rory….was dead. They were now in the middle of a crime scene, and this was going to have to be explained.

Tommy crawled over to Elissa and started to tear fragments from the table cloth on the table above him. “We need to get you to a hospital.”

As he tried to help Elissa, Frank brazenly jumped to his feet and began firing at what he thought was the opposite window to Joey’s apartment. A light there flickered then went out. Whoever had shot Joey, had now fled. Frank collapsed onto a nearby couch and started to smack his own forehead with his left hand.

“DAMN DAMN…FUCKING A!” He had no other words to describe how he felt.

Suddenly, the key turned in the lock. It was Joey’s partner, Patty. She had raced home cause she forgot her purse and the sight that greeted her made her scream. “JOEY!!!” She saw the damage in the apartment and then the trio who were there, sitting in various parts of the room. “WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE? WHAT HAPPENED TO MY JOEY?!” Tommy groaned, as having this girl turn up now, was not going to help matters. Frank then held up his badge.

“Police. I’m Detective Frank Malone….Homicide.”

Tommy pulled out his phone and called 911. He explained the incident in minor details, and then sung out to Frank. “You are going to have to call this in.” There was no escaping it now. Frank reluctantly pulled out his own phone and rang head quarters on a 10-71…..and an 11-41. Slowly Frank got to his feet, as a sobbing Patty fell into his arms.

 

~RB~

 

 

The Witness – GS.

 

Scene setting : Fifth and Maple Street.

co-written with VunG.

 

Razorbackwriter:  With Elissa having joined the two gents on the next stop off at Fifth and Maple Street, little did they know that the photographer who had captured the pictures of the slug was home. Sitting in his lounge room, the odd buzz of morning news was in the back ground, while his girlfriend, Patty was getting ready for work. Joey Patona, who Rory and Frank had been staking out the night of Rory’s death was slouched on his favorite lazy boy chair with a cigarette hanging from his bottom lip. On the table beside him was racing guides, a crumpled packet of cigarettes and a long lens camera. He lazily took a drag from his cigarette as Patty stormed into the lounge from their bedroom.

“Joey…when you going to get a real job and help me pay the bills?” Since the court case, Joey had been keeping a low profile, since the prosecution failed in their bid to convict Mob boss James Capoda in the east side Brankston murders. They couldn’t bring Joey in a second time, as the key piece of evidence had been stolen from the police lock up. Joey brought a hand to his temple and rubbed it slightly while Patty finished putting on her day coat. She folded her arms and glared at him, waiting for an answer. “I’m expecting a call any day now, love. Just be patient, okay?” He sounded sincere, and his smile was disarming. Joey was great at using charm when all else failed. Patty on the other hand was losing patience. She’d been working two jobs to keep them from losing their apartment, and the stress was starting to take it’s toll. “Well, If I don’t see you bringing in a paycheck, its over!” Patty snatched up her purse and stormed out the door, leaving Joey to his devices. No sooner had the door closed, he was on the phone….to his bookie.

“Rick….yeah man, its Joey. Put fifty on race 7….number 9. I’m feeling lucky today.”

Pulling up in the alley, Tommy shut off the engine and turned slightly in his seat. Looking back at Elissa and Frank he said. “This is it.” It was it. The murder scene of Rory Lismore. Frank hated coming back here, but what choice did he have. That night played over and over again in his mind and the only way to end the nightmare was to find out if the giant slug….was responsible. Getting out of the car, Frank pulled out the envelope and then spread the pictures over the bonnet of the car. Looking at the images, and then the angle on which they were taken….to see if he could pin point just where the photos had been taken from.

~RB~

 

VunG:  Elissa had to admit, there was something eerie about coming back to this place. She’d stopped off at it sure, in fact if the guys were sharp-eyed they’d see a pot of flowers sitting in one of the corners that she’d left, but besides that there didn’t seem to be anything left of note here. And that was the scary part… it seemed too normal for what happened. She noticed the look on poor Frank’s face, and she made a mental note to keep an eye on him, just in case, but right now it was to business. As she looked at the pictures, she looked at the angle, then walked over to the rough place where the creature had been, looking around with her hands on her hips. She was thinking of this the same way you’d think of an actual rifle shooter, mostly for the purpose of trajectory. Thankfully, it was obvious which direction it was, the trick was just verticality. Walking back to the guys, she pointed at the building she thought it was, though beyond that she wasn’t too certain what height it was at, and could only give a rough guesstimate.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Both Frank and Elissa were of the same mind, when it came to trying to work out where the photographs had been taken from. Sure enough as their line of sight brought them both to the same window, Frank suddenly had a very grim expression. He recognized the building and….the window. It all fell into place. Who else would be so cunning as to send the photographs in an unmarked envelope in the first place, knowing full well what they meant. The stake out of Joey Patona. The very reason that the two detectives had been in the alley in the first place. What with the noise and all that happened, it would have brought Joey to his window. Frank reached up to scratch behind his neck as he turned away for a moment and silently cursed. Tommy watched on, and saw the change in Frank’s demeanor. “You worked it out?” The reporter surprised that the detective was coming up with an idea for who the photographer was.

“Son of a bitch.” The detective replied, shaking his head. “I’m going to need a warrant. I can’t just barge in there and demand that crook to admit to what he saw.”

Tommy chuckled. “Since when have you been totally by the book, Frank. This is about finding out what happened to Rory and clearing your name.” The reporter then smirked at Elissa and uttered. “She was a cop…you’re a cop….and I…could trick the bastard into fessing up. He might be keen to sell a story….and while I am interviewing him, you two burst in and….I don’t know, turn the place over.”

Frank wasn’t too sure about this. Joey had connections to the underworld, though he was on the outer at the moment. The detective had his badge, and his gun on him so there was no reason for him not to try and follow along with Tommy’s idea. The reporter beamed and then straightened his collar. “I’ll go up first, and set this up. You two wait in the hallway till I give the signal and then burst in.”

It was starting to sound like something from a mob film, and Frank was worried that Elissa might not want to be involved. He asked her directly. “I don’t want you in over your head, Elissa. You don’t want in with this, I’ll call in John Moss. Though he probably won’t want to touch this case.”

What would she say?

Tommy had already started off for the entrance to the apartment building.

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Eventually Elissa and Frank traced the picture, and their gazes both landed on the window responsible… but unlike him she didn’t recognize who it was. However, as Frank mentioned that the person was a crook, she pretty quickly put it together, and she was promptly sighing with frustration and putting her hands on her hips while the men tried to figure out how to handle it. Tommy’s way of handling it had her a little concerned, but she could see things working without it going south. In fact, she could even see a way to do it without things going completely out of control and getting them in trouble, if they were smart about it as a group. This couldn’t just be a unilateral thing, they needed to plan.

Still, she wasn’t about to back down; Tommy was 100% right, they would be able to handle this without issue on a capability level, and they were pretty well backed up against the wall here. Besides, the way things were headed she would be pegged as an accomplice if this went south. No sense going halfway. Besides, she wasn’t unarmed; she had her police-service Beretta 92 AND a tazer both hidden in her jacket (she had a concealed carry license). Yeah, this would work.

Of course, as they began moving in, Frank’s words caught her a bit off-guard. The offer was definitely appreciated, and she made sure to smile and nod her acknowledgement, but she wasn’t backing down. Without any further attempt to communicate her thoughts, she promptly fell into step behind Tommy, flashing Frank a confident grin as she passed. She’d been deprived of this sort of excitement for too long.

However, she had to make one thing clear to Tommy, and would jog up to him to sign, ~If he’s cooperative, don’t call us in. I’m not expecting things to go that smoothly, the guy’s a pile of shit, but just saying.~ Of course, after that she’d fall back into line alongside Frank, glad to have this underway and with something that wasn’t a rough dead end.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Tommy stopped dead when Elissa came up alongside him and signed that if Joey was cooperative to not call the pair in as back up. The reporter understood exactly what she was conveying and gave her shoulder a small squeeze. “Don’t worry. I won’t call you in unless absolutely necessary.” Frank of course heard the exchange and adjusted his jacket slightly. He was ready for anything, and knew this could quickly go south, since Joey was known to be a bit of a hot head and unpredictable. Giving his companions a small salute, Tommy headed inside the entrance to the apartment building and left the other two to their devices.

The apartment building was the kind that should be condemned. Not only did it smell rank of curry, you could see rats out in the open scurrying along the walls. Tommy shuddered as he headed up the stairs. The lift was out of commission. Going round and round, he finally reached Joey’s floor. Working out the apartment from the window placement on the outside of the building, Tommy went over to room #339 and then knocked on the door.

Inside, Joey was watching the races on his TV set, when he heard the knocking. Thinking it might be someone that was coming to hit him up for money, since he owed his creditors and a few drug dealers, he picked up his baseball bat and approached the door. “Who is it?!” He yelled through the door, only to peek through the peek hole and see the well dressed Tommy standing there. He didn’t look like he was from the mob, due to his racial features. Thinking this was odd, he waited for Tommy to reply. “Tommy Xo….I’m a reporter and looking to buy your story about the court case. Everyone knows you were set up and I am willing to pay…..$5000 for the scoop.”

The moment that Tommy offered money, Joey’s eyes lit up. Five thousand sure could get him out of a bind and shut up his old lady. He set down the bat carefully and undid the locks, opening the door. Tommy was ready, holding out his press club pass to show he was legit. “Hey hey buddy. Won’t you come in?’ Joey stepped back to let Tommy into his apartment, which was a real dump no matter how hard Patty worked to keep it neat. Joey was a slob. He even had food stains on his shirt. Tommy entered the apartment, and took out a cigarette so as to look like he wasn’t nervous about being in a mobster’s home.

“Thanks. Mind if I smoke?” He asked, gesturing with the unlit cigarette in his hand. Joey was quick to offer an ashtray that was buried under a stack of racing forms. It was pretty clear that Joey was a gambler, what with the racing on the telly and the guides. Tommy took out his zippo lighter and lit up, letting out a puff of smoke, before continuing. He noticed the camera too on the side table, and then off the cuff asked. “You do photography?” It was an off the cuff question, but he had his reasons. Joey shrugged and then replied. “If I got something interesting to take a photo of. I do some photography work for the porn industry. Have my own dark room.” Joey was starting to relax a little and this was just what Tommy had hoped for. “Nice hobby. Does it make much?” Now Tommy was starting to delve a little deeper and this was when Joey blurted out a significant sentence. “I’m hoping it will. Took some snaps that might interest a certain detective. Blew my mind when I had them developed. Course….no one is going to believe it. Perhaps the coppa. So…you wanna talk about that murder case? I’m keen to make a bit of money.”

“Sure thing. Mind if I open a window? Need some fresh air.” Tommy asked, heading to the window to give the signal for the other two to come up to the apartment.

~RB~

Budgie Smugglers? – GS

 

Scene setting – Jax’s Coffee House.

co-written with VunG & Moo.

 

VunG:  The look on Tommy’s face made Elissa feel actually kind of bad, and while she actually trying to drive a wedge in between the friends, she felt like that was what she was doing. It was never her intent, it was never her desire, and right now she hoped that she could fix it. However, social encounters weren’t exactly her cup of tea, and as she looked between the two she felt utterly helpless, her muteness once again proving a hindrance to everything that she needed to do. She didn’t care what happened between Frank and the girl, and to some extent she didn’t actually care about solving Rory’s murder. That sounded like a horrible thing in her head, but what she cared about was the fate of the living right now; she needed to see to it that Frank was taken care of. She wanted Rory’s murder solved, definitely, but the dead could wait.

Thankfully, her blunder would be solved, in a manner of speaking as Sophia came over and went on to gush over the detective’s work, giving Frank just the right sort of attention. Granted, she was still a little annoyed with Tommy, but not enough to want him out of the picture; it was a lapse in judgment, nothing more. Despite feeling utterly humiliated by her mistake, she couldn’t help but feel a little smile slip onto her face as she watched the heartwarming reaction between the three of them, particularly how sweet it was to see Frank and the girl go about trading numbers. Even if it didn’t turn into anything, she kind of hoped that he found someone in his life; nobody deserved to deal with what he went through.

While the two went about reconciling, she quickly pulled out her own notepad and wrote a simple note for Sophia: *Thank you.* With that, she went over to the two of them, assuming neither of them had a coffee in their hands, went over and pushed the boys together, a slight smirk on her face as she silently declared this ‘group hug time.’


Sasha laughed and waved off her apology, chuckling at his own jumpiness, “It’s fine, no problem.” As Sophia went about taking his order, he had to admit that there was something cute about the way she seemed so cheerful, and it was alway nice when someone else was equally excited. Even if it was as simple as learning where a potential friend works so you can maybe do something to brighten their day when they’re feeling down. And, as usual, he was more than happy to have someone to talk to who wasn’t weirded out by his energy; even if it was just circumstances bringing them together. Still, business came first, and almost as soon as it happened she was off, and promptly dealing with that trio of other customers… actually did he recognize them? He felt like he recognized the blonde fellow… news maybe? That was an interesting thing, it was kind of funny to see celebrities out in normal locations. His work was forgotten now, all he could think to do was just watch what was going on with innocent curiosity.

 

Moo:  Much to her relief, neither of the men had taken her request in the wrong way. Had they been anyone else, perhaps she would have been teased relentlessly. So, Sophia smiled while the two men seemed to soften, having re-assured them. Of course she realized this could potentially put her in a tight situation… She had dropped the act in order to bring them back together again. Lying really never did suit Sophia; it was the hardest thing to pull off, as she herself had a good sense of justice. Little would these investigators know, she had her own interests in the subject, her major being Forensic Science. Naturally, it wasn’t the same as what the three of them did…but more or less, it took a similar mindset to get into. Though, if they hadn’t really thought about it in depth, she could remain the innocent barista. She nodded and took Tommy’s card, then Frank’s napkin, and put them into her pocket. “Thank you.” Would she really use them? Was it a good idea to associate herself with people like this? She pushed the debate from her head, deciding that now wasn’t the time for it. This certainly wasn’t the time to be serious…the men were clearly cracking jokes after Tommy had addressed her ‘first page’ comment.

Sophia found herself laughing with Tommy’s wit. The more the men conversed, the more entertaining the situation had become. She was able to smile while she mellowed out, clearly feeling much better that the two had made up. It had been apparent these two men were close, so for them to fight must have been normal. Especially with how quickly they were able to make up. It seemed Elissa felt the same way, as she quickly wrote on her notepad. Sophia stepped closer with a dash of curiosity and read two simple words: thank you. To this, her smile brightened, reaching her eyes. “You’re welcome,” she replied. “Take care of them, will you?” She laughed lightly. Clearly, they would need someone to keep them out of trouble. And with a peace offering between the two, and having fixed the situation, she was able to turn back to her business. The waitress decided to make that mocha, as to not keep her friend waiting while he worked on his project. Then she would be able to go clean up their area.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Funny how one minute the guys could be at each other’s throats ,and then they are all good again. Course when Elissa suggested a group hug, the two glanced at each other and mouthed “Gay” Instead, each hugged her separately, before giving each other a fist bump. With phone numbers exchanged and the mood having lifted, Frank would take up Tommy’s offer of a free shirt from his boot. Who else but Tommy would keep spare clothes in the boot of his car. Come to think of it, Tommy wasn’t home much as his work often took him out on the field – much to Tamika’s annoyance. Leaving an extra tip for Sophia, the guys would head for the door, Tommy remembering his lap top and the envelope of photos. The hard evidence in this case. Course, they had to find the person who took the images, and Frank already had a hunch. First things first….his shirt. Frank this time held the door, much to Tommy’s surprise. Was the rough edged cop going a bit soft? Not really, he just wanted to be the last one out to wave to Sophia. The girl had caught his eye, but he was too shy to make any fancy moves. Once all were out, he would give the waitress a friendly wave, before joining the others out on the street. Tommy went straight to the boot of his car and popped it, reaching in for his second sports bag, where he kept a change of clothes. He pulled out a silk shirt. The kind from those top end of town men’s stores. It was probably worth about two hundred dollars. Frank was taking off his jacket, and then saw what Tommy was offering.“Damn…are you loaded or something?” He didn’t think the reporter’s job paid that well. Tommy shrugged off the comment as he took Frank’s dirty shirt. “I do some….part time modeling on the side.” He said without faltering. This was news. Tommy……a model? “Yeah? What kind?” The detective knew there were all kinds of models and so was intrigued to hear what his pal had to say. Sheepishly, he mumbled. “Underwear.”

“Ahahahahaha. You model budgie smugglers?”

Frank couldn’t stop laughing, while Tommy went bright red.

“Shut up.”

“Hey Elissa. Bet you would love to see a shot of him in his y fronts.” Frank wiggled his brow, as he finished putting on the crisp shirt, which just fitted….just. Placing the coat on over it, Frank closed the boot and kept chuckling, before sobering up to remember just what they had next on the cards. To go back to the place where Rory was murdered.

“Okay, I’m ready. We need to go down to Fifth and Maple Street. That is where…..yeah.” Soon as he said, that, he got into Tommy’s car. The search for clues and a witness was on.

 

~RB~