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 © February 2007 xxxevilgrinxxx
The distant wail of sirens cut through the cold of the morning air. Holloway had said that the feds wouldn’t have to shut the bar down, or the trailer court and I wanted to know what he was talking about. Even though it was over for me, I just couldn’t leave it alone. I had to know.
Oily black smoke was caught in a gust of wind and blew over the roadway, so dark that the front of my car disappeared in its wake. The South Pacific was completely engulfed in flames. It raged so loudly that it was hard to hear anything else. The light of several trailers burning winked through the black cloud, red eyes in the black.
Holloway and Hernandez had burnt the place to the ground. If I had known about it, there’s a good chance I would have fought against it, against the destruction of evidence. That was the agent in me talking again, talking of evidence and cases. People to be tried and prosecuted. It’s probably why they didn’t tell me about it in the first place.
It didn’t really matter here; where this would matter, where the trials would take place was in LA, with the law firm, not here. So Holloway and Hernandez had sent a clear message. The South Pacific would never be used for business again. It wouldn’t matter to the feds, but it would matter to those that had started it, they would assume those responsible for the women had torched it. The firm, whoever was behind this, wouldn’t send anyone else; El Paso would be off limits.
Holloway and Hernandez would have taken care of the women, got them out, there was no question in my mind about that. I thought about what they would have done with the men and found that I didn’t really give a shit at that point. When I thought of them, I thought of Candice and her cold bare feet, her frail body. If there was any sort of justice in the world those men were dead, burning in the place they had kept those women captive. Where they had killed them. This had nothing to do with the law; it was justice, pure and simple.
The sirens drew closer, and I pulled out quickly, taking back roads all the way back to my own small house. I sat out front for a while, thinking about the feds and what they would find. About what was in that envelope that Holloway would hand over; I fleetingly wondered about Carl.
I was stalling, and let out a sigh, running my hand over my face. Have to shave before Adriana showed up; the shirts would be hard enough to explain, but she would tear a strip off me if I didn’t shave.
I brought in the boxes from my trunk, still not exactly sure what it was I thought I was doing with them. A quick call to speak again to Danno’s parents; they didn’t want any of it. Danno had kept in touch with them, but they weren’t that close, not close enough to want his things. They had mentioned giving them away to a charity store, so I kept them. I was oddly relieved that I didn’t have to give his things away to someone else, even if it was his parents. The funeral was tomorrow. They weren’t coming out, opting instead for a memorial service in their own hometown. I realized that I would be his only family.
I knelt down and cleared the dried leaves and old grass clippings from the cold grey stone. Mountainview Cemetery. ‘Daniel Jamison.’ Loving son. DEA agent. From, to. Nothing else. A generic headstone, the same as so many others here, flat and grey. I had stood in almost exactly this spot a few short months ago, when he was lowered into the ground.
Adriana had given me a real hard time that day; when I pulled out the brightest shirt Danno had and wore it to the funeral. It was hard for her to understand. They had belonged to a dead man, and she had thought it was disrespectful, until I sat down for half the night afterwards and just talked about Danno. He was a hard guy to explain, so I put on one of the albums from his apartment as we sat out on the back porch with a couple of beers and just listened. She didn’t say anything else about them. Gave me a funny look when I brought home the first store bought one. When she realized that it wasn’t something I was just going to get over.
I liked those shirts. They were a disguise in their own way, like the suits I had worn previously. But unlike the suits, where everyone expected me to behave in a certain way, these stupid ass shirts made me disappear, and I didn’t have to be a certain way for anybody. I got a desk by myself, where no one wanted to partner with me. I got left alone. The brightest fucking shirt in the world, and nobody saw me, or saw the real me. All they saw was parrots or pineapples. You’d be amazed the things you can do when nobody sees you.
I waited anxiously for the feds to show up. Not knowing when it would happen. Lying in bed at night I couldn’t sleep, waiting for the feds to kick my door in. Waited at work for that call into the office to be greeted by black suits. It didn’t happen, and after a month or so I managed to sleep at night again.
They went after the photographer first; I guess Rodriguez sang about that on the tape that Holloway and Hernandez had made. He was a professional photographer like we had thought, or at least he had been. He got addicted to cocaine first, and after that, to meth. It always came back to the meth.
The meth always came back to the lawyer. Carl, Rodriguez, the photographer, countless others, all got off a meth rap. None of them had a pot to piss in, so they paid it back in service. The photographer caved easily, I think his conscience ate at him, and between his latest high and a stint in rehab, he spilled everything. It had started out as straight porno films with the girls, and then one of the firms’ clients wanted something a little bit more. He had the money to pay for it, so he got what he wanted.
What he had wanted was specific; the sick bastard wanted someone that looked like his own daughter, and that’s where the polaroids came into it. To pick out that first victim. After that first kill it just became easier for them, when they realized that no one really gave a damn about those women.
Carl had tried to cross the border into Mexico. His name came up red flags and without a high-powered lawyer to bail him out this time; he ended up nabbed for it. The thought of prison didn’t sit well with him and he tried to sell a little information in return for a lighter sentence. It was a day late and a dollar short, as the case had broken wide open in LA, and the public was having none of it. Carl didn’t last long in prison. Too old, too out of shape. That and a mention of what he was in for. He was dead within two weeks, shanked and left to bleed out in the showers. I didn’t feel bad about that, not in the least.
Rodriguez got killed in a shitty little bar in Tijuana before the feds got to him. He got addicted to more than just the meth; he got addicted to the violence he had taken part in, and went to a place where he thought he could get it cheap. I found it ironic that Rodriguez should meet his fate at the hands of the enraged parents of a girl he had attacked in Tijuana, when he had killed so many with impunity in the US. If the circumstances were different I would have laughed.
They went after the lawyer, John Richards, next. The firm of Fulton, Miller and Kline of course disavowed that it had anything to do with the case and cut Richards loose. So the lawyer turned on the firm. He had kept records the entire time, in case everything went south. The firm had represented aging studio executives for decades, and some of those names kept turning up in the files the lawyer had stashed in a cheap LA hotel room.
The whole scandal lasted a couple of weeks and then it was off the front pages again, supplanted by some celebrity wedding. Celebrity divorce. Something, it didn’t matter. The lawyer went to a nice soft prison; the firm sacrificed a few members in return for quiet. The world moved on.
I met up with Holloway every once in a while, anytime a kid showed up at the morgue, and we checked it out. Quietly. There was no repeat, but it ripped me apart every time Holloway or Peters called me. Every time I passed a poster for a missing kid I would get dizzy and I would have to be alone somewhere, unsure if I would cry or kill something.
I put the Styrofoam cup of coffee on the headstone, ‘cup of joe, Daddy-O’, and pulled the envelope out of my jacket. All of the “I”s had little hearts over them. She was still so young. ‘Blue Hawaii,’ some cheesy Elvis postcard that no one else would have understood. Taped inside, a picture of Candice and Marcus, taken in one of those little picture booths in a mall somewhere. I had never seen Marcus smile before.
He had stayed with Candice; apparently she had a reason to run in the first place, and her father would have beaten the hell out of her the first night back if not for Marcus.
They had sent the card out shortly before they left her hometown in Kansas to come back to El Paso. To stay. It was harder for her to stay in Kansas, too much had changed for her, and she didn’t fit anymore. She belonged with Marcus now.
I thought of Adriana, and wished them well. If I could change, Marcus could.
‘I’ll never forget you, Danno.’ Neatly written, in that same young girl’s hand, on the inside. I left it underneath the coffee cup. Danno had finally done right by a woman, even if he was dead when he did it.