Rating: NC17 for violence, murder, gunplay, adult themes. For safety’s sake, this will apply to ALL chapters. There will be no smut in this fic. There will be references, but references only, to rape, murder, mutilation in places
Copyright © January 2007 xxxevilgrinxxx
I had been so angry, so confused, that I hadn’t taken the time to really think too much about what had happened. It was all so fucked up and it was hard to get my head where it needed to be. I needed to be cold, but I needed more. I needed more than this disguise. I needed more than just to be another good DEA agent; anyone could do that.
Ramon Alvarez the gung-ho DEA agent wasn’t going to accomplish anything here. I needed to change tactics. Scratch that. I didn’t need to change anything; what I needed was to stop living through this disguise and go back to what I knew. To what I was before I put this suit on and cut my hair. Back when kids like Marcus didn’t scare the shit out of me.
Another track played on Danno’s stereo, an incredible woman’s voice that froze me where I stood. Listening to a voice like that it wasn’t hard to understand how much Danno loved women. I flicked the blanket out over his bed, lay down in the middle, and thought about women for a while. I was 21 when I got married, and Adriana and I had known each other for a few years before. I wasn’t any kind of a saint though, no one could be, not where I grew up.
My experience with women before that had been wild for a few years though, nowhere near Danno’s. I closed my eyes and let the woman’s voice take me back; my outrage didn’t do anything for my ability to think straight. I needed to think about this from a different angle.
Holloway had said that there had been a pattern of killings just like this one across the southern states. But he had also said that it had only been a recent development. A development from what? How does something like that just develop?
If I blotted out the killings themselves, what was I left with? Human smuggling and prostitution. The photographer, the tapes, and an underground porn angle.
It made more sense from that perspective. Not any sort of sense that I wanted to understand, but if I got cold enough I could see it. Maybe it had started out as drug smuggling across the border and, when the DEA’s own raids of drug dealers intensified, human smuggling made up the slack.
Prostitution, porn and drugs. These people that did this were tight, implying that they were a family or some other sort of cohesive unit. A gang. The lawyer that had got Carl off, and who knows how many others involved in this venture, had got him off a meth rap. Prostitution and underground porn wasn’t that much of a stretch. The lower states were dotted with meth labs that branched out from other aspects of organized crime. Holloway could check out the records on that sort of thing but I knew he would find that when he looked.
So it was some sort of gang activity, or it had started out that way. Whether it went south before or after the LA law firm got involved would be a matter for the feds, maybe Holloway. But it had gone south at some point, it was the only thing that really made sense with all the pieces that I had. Maybe at some level it was still only a prostitution and porn ring. There had been six killings, but that wasn’t all the women, or at least not that showed up dead. So how were those that were being singled out being selected?
That’s what it always seemed to come down to, at least on this end. The women were being selected somehow, at some point during the ‘cattle-calls’. It was nearly dark, and I had to go and find Carl and get him to tell me what the procedure was, not only for selecting the women, but for how the women were taken out of the ‘cage’. Because I wasn’t going to let that woman be taken, it was only a matter of how far I was willing to go to stop it.
So far Carl had stayed quiet about my presence at the South Pacific, and I wasn’t entirely sure why. I believed that on some level he didn’t like what he had seen play out in the bar. That was one way to get to him, but it wasn’t enough. I needed something else to lean on him with, and for that there was the meth rap. He sold his soul for a little freedom; what would he sell to stay free? I was in a position to burn Carl, if I really wanted to. I had been a good agent for my entire career, but I wasn’t above a threat to get what I wanted.
The B-side of the album was over; the dull sound of the arm swinging in the last grooves before it lifted and moved back to its resting place was loud in the falling dark. I got changed quickly, more comfortable looking through Danno’s clothes now. Something dark, but not because the bright shirts made me nervous. I dressed dark so it wouldn’t show the blood.
I shut the stereo off and tucked my gun into the back of my chinos, after making sure I had a full clip. I locked up and made my way to the payphone around the corner where I called Marcus, who said he would meet me about 5 blocks from where I was now. Like he had been waiting for me; for all I knew he had been.
Marcus sat in the front seat beside me, silent and still as a basilisk. It jarred my nerves and I needed to get past that agent thinking, so I spoke first. “You know Holloway?”
Marcus turned slowly to look at me, his soulless eyes black. “Holloway know me. Where we goin’?”
Marcus wasn’t a man of many words, so I spelled out what I needed to do. “You think he gonna just come out by hisself?” Marcus gazed out the window as he spoke.
I shook my head no; I had rattled cages, there was no way he would come out by himself but it didn’t matter to me, not anymore. I could feel the hard grin as the hard ass kid I used to be came back a little. “He’ll come out of there with backup, whether he wants it or not.” Marcus’ expression didn’t change; the matter of odds meant very little to him, he nodded absently. It didn’t matter what he had to do, or what the odds were; he was a soldier. At last I understood why Holloway would know him, two old soldiers. “I don’t know how many they might send out. I don’t have any official backup.”
“Need me to watch your back.” Marcus stated it simply; he had already known what he would be needed for. “You won’t even see me…Let me out here.” We were a short distance from the South Pacific and I pulled over to let him out.
When he was gone it was as if he had never been there at all. No aftershave, no cologne. There wasn’t even body odor. He was a ghost. I circled around and parked along the side of the road beside a clump of brush.
I wasn’t an agent anymore, I was going old school, and I had to think old school. I left the keys in the ignition. In any other situation I wouldn’t have done it, but if I needed to get out of there fast I sure as hell didn’t need to be fumbling around for keys.
The blare assaulted me the moment I opened the door and I quickly scanned the bar. There were a couple of guys drinking up by the bar; they looked like they had last seen daylight around 5 or 6 years ago. They didn’t look up from their glasses, as though their whole lives were in the next shot. Once again there were too many women, and all of them looked timid as they stood against the far wall, waiting for the customers to show up.
Carl wore the exact same shirt he had worn previously, down to the stains, and didn’t look at all surprised to see me here. He had a shot of tequila in front of me before I even sat down. The first time I was in here I had played it quiet but it had gone way past that; I eyed the lone thug that stood by the corridor to the john, to where I assumed the ‘cage’ would be. There was only one, and I guessed that a replacement for his shadow hadn’t been found yet. He hadn’t moved, he just stood and gave me the hard glare. I glared back once and settled into the chair in front of Carl.
I said nothing, just looked hard at Carl as I threw back the shot of tequila and played absently with the shot glass. He narrowed his eyes and looked nervously around. I leaned in to him and spoke in a deadpan voice, tinged with a bitter edge of sarcasm, a knowledge that I knew all about Carl and the things he had done. “Know where I can score any meth, Carl? Maybe a little action on the side?”
Carl paled and his tattooed knuckles tightened on the bottle of tequila he held. Maybe he thought his deal with the lawyer would make his past disappear, maybe I was just one more person that had a piece of him. Or maybe he just didn’t want to lump me in with the rest of the dirtbags in the bar. It could go two ways; he could walk away, maybe pull in that big goon to kick my ass out the door. Or it could take the path I wanted it to, that I could see Carl wanted it to. “I don’t know what the fuck you’re playing at ‘Danno’, but all right, let’s go. Give me a few minutes to lose the gimp and I’ll meet you out back.”