Palmer Ch. 07byhal_tee©
Grateful thanks go to the best editor in the world – thesoundandfury. And check out his new novel – Models and Super Spies. Thanks Ken, not only for your editing, but also for the constant encouragement, suggestions, and for helping me to become a better writer.
Chapter 7: The Search
The team meeting had been short. Fitting everyone into Webster's cramped office had been a challenge, so the brevity was fine by everyone. After what Webster referred to as a "focused briefing," he'd quickly summed up the next steps.
Tom Burley from Forensics was going to follow through on the fingerprint. Then check the content of the red pills. Success with one would give them the name of the assassin. The other might provide a clue to his whereabouts.
Taffy Boyd would work on the tapes to see whether anything of interest could be found. By eliminating the background noise, they might find the name of her trick, perhaps even recognise his voice. Anything would help, though the relevance remained to be seen.
Palmer, Goodwin and Wilson were to follow up with any informants that might help. Find out the word on the street.
"Keep it between us," Webster had emphasised over the dirty brim of his luke warm coffee. "If Homicide gets wind we're asking questions, all hell'll break loose. We couldn't afford that and, more importantly, I couldn't afford that."
Tomorrow morning, they'd reconvene to discuss their findings.
Taffy appreciated the lift Palmer gave him back to his base in Narcotics. Although Chilton, his boss, was on holiday, too long away from his desk would arouse suspicion. Especially with Willie Dixon on duty tonight. The old time Sergeant had a way of nosing things out.
The Welshman would continue his work with the tapes at his own desk, and would immediately feed in anything of interest that came to light.
As he drove through the dark, Palmer's mind was assaulted by all his demons. He'd phoned Kelli three times today and she hadn't answered. He hoped this wasn't a sign of things to come. The modelling job was wonderful, but it was easy to get caught up in that sort of thing.
He knew he should have been more concerned about their relationship. He knew she was frustrated by his long hours and that the time he was spending on this case would only frustrate her more. He knew it, but he also knew that this was his job.
Worse, this case was personal now.
Images of the beautiful redhead flashed through his mind. He'd let her down. He should have been there for her. If he'd have looked at the apartment across the way, maybe he could have seen the killer? And if not, then he should have at least caught the bastard.
In the very brief time he'd known the woman, she'd invaded parts of his psyche that had never been touched before. Not even by Kelli. He felt tortured.
"Okay, boyo," Boyd muttered, breaking into his thoughts. "What's up?"
The question sent a shiver through Palmer. "All of this, Taffy. All of it."
"Got to clear your mind, Jack," the overweight Welshman sighed, pulling off his Magoo glasses and rubbing his tired eyes. "Focus on what lies ahead."
Palmer nodded, almost overrunning the lights. He jerked to a halt and waited until they turned to green before he spoke. "I know, I know. But I've got this feeling I'm missing something."
"We've know each other a long time, Jack, so I can say this. That woman really got to you. I can see that. Shit, I've worked in this business a long time. And even a little fat bastard like me has looked at some women, boyo, wondering what it would be like. That's it, isn't it? Wondering what it wudda been like with a high class hooker?"
"It's more than that, Taffy," he lamely responded. What Taffy said was true, but there was more to it. Something deeper.
"What? Duty?" the wireman responded, firing his machine gun rattling laugh. "Jack, we all make mistakes. You, me, everyone. But you couldn't have prevented her death, boyo. No one could have foreseen what was going to happen. You're not Superman, Jack, though you look like him." Palmer tossed him a nasty glance. "Okay – just a joke! But listen, Jack, you're just a cop. You start to think you're infallible and you're in trouble, my friend."
Palmer sighed, ignoring a motorcyclist who was giving him the finger. Damn, he hadn't seen him. He'd better concentrate.
"You're right, Taffy." He was, too. Taffy Boyd always talked sense.
"Put it aside, Jack. She's dead, boyo. Let her go. What you should be doing right now is looking forward, not back. Figure out what happens next. And if you've still got that itch, find another top class hooker and fuck that. Assuming Kelli has no objections of course..."
There was that machine gun rattling laugh again. Thanks a bunch, Palmer thought. All he needed right now was to be reminded of the mess he'd made of his marriage.
Boyd produced a chocolate bar from somewhere. "Let me tell you something else, boyo," he went on, peeling the wrapper.
Must you? Palmer's head was beginning to ache.
"My money's on Goodwin turning something up. These Mafiosi, they're big gamblers, you know? Goes with the territory. When Alex Goodwin speaks to his bookie contact, I wouldn't mind betting he comes up with a lead. There're a close bunch, these bookies. But who better than Goodwin to shake something out of their ass?"
The young detective sighed. Until they had something concrete he'd continue to feel uneasy. As he made a final turn towards the Narcotic premises, his cell phone rang. Flicking it onto loudspeaker, he heard Burley's Geordie tone.
"Jack? It's Burley. You were reet about that little pill. It's a red devil all reet. Seventy per cent speed and thirty per cent nitro-glycerine."
Palmer whistled through his teeth. "Geez, that's dynamite!"
"Aye, too right, Palmer. They're addictive, little bastards, too. He'll be taking two or three a day. Whoever's using these is a prime candidate for a coronary."
"Any idea why he's using them, Tom? Red devils are from yesteryear. This is the twenty first century."
"Naa, aa've no idea. Maybe because he's Italian. They're aal behind the times, aren't they?" He gave a chuckle. "Just my joke, Jack. What aa can tell you is that these things provide a different kind of high. And if he's addicted..."
"Okay," Palmer responded, pulling into an empty parking space outside of the building. "Appreciate it."
"Nee problem, Jack. Catch you later."
Palmer turned to his friend. "Speak to you later, too, Taffy."
Watching the little man waddle away, the remains of the chocolate bar stuck in his mouth, Palmer's mind went into overtime. If the assassin was using red devils... and they were addictive... he'd need to specially order them. That would narrow the search. He knew exactly who would be able to find out that sort of information.
But first, he'd call into home. Maybe Kelli would be there?
"Oh, Goddd..." Kelli moaned, spreading her legs as wide as she could as Erin DeVere fucked her with a flesh-coloured vibrator, set on high. She'd been riding this orgasm out for what felt like an eternity, her muscles so sore they felt rubbery, her body so hot it might as well have been in flames.
Erin's tongue flashed rapidly across her exposed clit as the vibrator plundered the depths of her pussy, making her feel more pleasure than she'd ever felt in her entire life.
They'd been fucking all afternoon. Kelli had cum so many times she'd lost count. Every time the blonde thought she couldn't feel any better, the experienced thirty-eight year old brought her to another sexual high. The woman was able to help her stretch out her climaxes like plugging in a battery charger. She constantly needed more.
"Good, darling?" the American woman purred, rolling her magical tongue around Kelli's clit just lightly enough to keep her hips bucking upwards in search of yet another release. Erin twisted the vibrator, grinding it against her g-spot.
"Please... please..." the blonde panted. Her clutching fingers dragged their way through the older woman's hair as she begged for yet another orgasm.
Erin purred like a cat at the response, pulling her head back to look into her wanton eyes. "Mmmm..."
Kelli was almost violent in the way she clutched Erin's silken, hair, attempting to force her back. One final touch would get her there. "No..." she panted, her voice almost a wail of disappointment.
"Ssssh, darling," Erin's reassuring voice husked. "We haven't finished. It's time to learn a new position. My favourite." Switching around like a mountain cat twirling in the wild, she repositioned her knife slender body over the younger woman. "Lick me, darling," she encouraged, lowering her pussy to the blonde's full lips. "Show me how much you want to please me..."
For a moment, Kelli's eyes simply stared up at Erin's flat stomach, adorned with a dangling, tanzanite and diamond dropper. Lower, she felt her heart speed up at the sight of the narrow strip of trimmed, strawberry blonde hair above her wonderful treasure.
She forgot her own need. She was learning that she loved the taste of pussy just as much as the taste of a man. She also learned that she was addicted to her newfound ability to bring her lover to the boil. Hearing Erin moan and squeal with pleasure had got her off more than once.
The panting blonde wanted the woman's pussy. Wanted to taste her sweetness again. With a snarl of lust, she curled her tongue up into the beckoning folds, already wet with arousal and spent juices. Wrapping her slim fingers around Erin's hips, she dragged the American woman down onto her face as her tongue thrust upwards.
When Kelli felt the breath blowing across her own sex, she nearly lost it. A mouth sucked in her slippery clit. Two fingers pushed inside her. She wailed. Panting wildly, she jammed her tongue back into the wetness above her. Give Erin her orgasm first, her crazed mind shouted.
The blonde had no chance.
When another finger found its way to her ass and pushed inside, Kelli couldn't prevent the inevitable. Screaming like a banshee, she gushed for the umpteenth time that afternoon.
She must have passed out. Or maybe she was transported to another plane? One of pleasure? One of satisfaction? When sense and sound returned, Erin was sitting upright, on her haunches, humping against her face. Occasionally she slowed, partly to regain control and hold back her orgasm. When it arrived, it would be a nuclear bomb.
Suddenly it was too much. For both women. Erin began to emit a low, rhythmic grunting noise. The lid was about to be lifted from the geyser.
Kelli began to lick her. Faster. Her lips and tongue swept, dug, lapped and danced across the older woman's soft labia. She'd often got off just from the act of pleasuring Jack, sucking his cock. Giving satisfaction to a woman created a much deeper sensation. So much softer. So much more sensual.
She was about to cum again. So was Erin.
The woman stiffened above her. Her thighs grew tight, squeezing Kelli hard. One final grind took her there, the intensity of her climax bringing on the blonde's own orgasm. The two women came hard, came together, in a combined explosion of grunts, growls, expletives and, eventually, low purrs of contentment.
Erin snaked her tongue in and around Kelli's right ear. "You'll stay overnight, of course, darling. I just have to introduce you to my double-headed dildo."
Goodwin knew Big Daddy from old. He knew what made him tick. He knew where to find him. It was some time since their paths had crossed, but if there was something going on, he'd know about it.
Once he had what he wanted, he'd head for Wilson's. They had some talking to do.
The barrel-chested cop made his way cautiously through the strip club, ignoring the semi naked women and the grubby looking punters. Soho wasn't everything it was cracked up to be.
Leaving the dancing, noise and music behind him, he slipped through the heavy door at the rear of the joint. That was strange. Big Daddy would normally have some kind of protection. It sharpened his senses as he edged up the stairs. In contrast to the room he'd left, the carpet was threadbare and wallpaper was peeling from the walls.
The green door at the top was slightly ajar, and the heavy he'd expected to see downstairs was carrying a mug of coffee towards him. Big Daddy didn't allow his people to drink on duty.
When he saw Goodwin, the coffee went flying as he reached for the gun beside him. He wasn't fast enough. Goodwin covered the distance between him with a speed that belied his size. His own gun arced through the air, crashing down onto the bodyguard's bald head.
The half conscious man made the mistake of attempting to retaliate. When he did, Goodwin grabbed him by the front of his jacket and spun him round. Putting the flat of his hand against the man's head, he smashed it down onto the desk, covering the worn wood with blood from the split forehead.
The cop wasn't known for taking prisoners, but this was extreme even by his standards. It was partly down to frustration. He needed sex and Sandra Wilson had refused him. He was as pissed as she was about what had happened to the girl, too - but it wasn't their fault.
The man that faced him when he pushed open the door to his left was shorter and younger than Goodwin, though the stomach that had earned him his nickname looked bigger than ever.
"Quite an entrance," Big Daddy said, nodding at the security screen in the corner. He'd watched the snow-haired cop's assault.
The cop didn't speak, just nodding at the submachine gun pointing at him. Big Daddy aimed it away from him. "It's a good thing I recognised you, Goodwin. Otherwise my baby would have taken care of you. You know, I do hate violence."
"Got a fucking licence?" the unimpressed cop sneered, sloping down onto the heavy chair opposite. In contrast to the grubby stairs and outer office, this room was grandeur itself.
Big Daddy laughed. "Don't need no licence, Goodwin. The cops are my friends. You're my friend." He dropped the gun down onto the side of the leather desk, a reminder to both it was still available to him. "I assume this ain't no social visit?" he smiled, his middle finger pushing the gaudy, gold-framed sunglasses further up his nose.
Goodwin smiled. Big Daddy always liked to dress spectacularly and tonight was no exception. The three gold chains that glittered around his neck, the diamond rings that twinkled on his fingers and the laughablely oversized gold Rolex that hung from his wrist all made their own statement.
"You want to put the gun away?" the bookmaker added, nodding at the Smith and Wesson still in Goodwin's hand. "And tell me how can I help?"
The cop smiled as he lowered his gun. As long as the bookie's weapon was in sight, he'd keep his handy, too. It was the name of the game in these parts. Resting it on his knees, he growled, "Been a while, Big Daddy."
"Indeed it has, Goodwin. Last time I saw you, you were wearing a monkey suit and sitting behind the wheel of a patrol car. Got promoted, did we?"
"Was that when you were on probation for stealing car radios? Or was it mobile phones?" the barrel-chested cop countered.
Big Daddy laughed. "Shit, time flies. And look at that hair. Weren't you brown in those days?"
The cop didn't answer. He'd always been sensitive about the speed with which his hair had changed colour. His divorce and all the years on Vice were just a couple of his former hardships. Thank God that was all behind him.
"So tell me, Goodwin. You here to bust my ass?"
The cop's craggy features melted into a smile. "No, Big Daddy. Would I come here alone if I wanted to do that?"
The bookmaker slowly nodded. It was impossible to see his eyes behind the shades – that being the point, of course.
"How did you know where to find me?"
Goodwin gave a belly laugh. "Man, I've known about your discreet betting place for over a year now."
Big Daddy seemed genuinely shocked. "You're shitting me?"
"No, but that's not important." The cop was dismissive; time to get down to business. "As long as we remain friends, I'll let it go. Right now, I need some information."
The bookmaker's smile touched the corner of his lips. That's what he expected. Supplying information when it was needed kept the cops on his side. That way, he stayed ahead of the game.
"Tell you what, Goodwin," he said, reaching for the bottle on the leather-topped desk. "Have a glass of champagne with me, for old times sake."
"No thanks, man. That stuff gives me heartburn."
Big Daddy looked offended. "You're shitting me? Heartburn! Do you know how much this stuff costs?"
"Don't care how much it cost," Goodwin grunted. "I don't want any. I'm looking for someone..."
The sound of Big Daddy's phone interrupted them. "Call back in ten minutes," he snapped, picking it up from its place on the right of the desk and then slamming it back down.
The bookmaker studied him for a few seconds, one hand twitching on the desk. "Now, Goodwin. There's information... and there's information. You really think I'm gonna be shittin' on any of my customers?"
Goodwin's face hardened. "If you want to stay my friend, then the answer is yes. You know how long you can get for running an illegal bookmaking operation. For running a strip club without the necessary licences? For carrying a weapon? Especially one that size." He nodded towards the PDW.
"You trying to put the heat on me, Mister?" the bookmaker snarled.
Goodwin's smile diffused the brief moment of tension. "Hey, I'm not trying to put any heat on you, Big Daddy. I thought we'd agreed? We're friends! But I'm talking about murder now and that's a different ball game."
The bookmaker paused. "Murder?" he mused. Giving himself a few seconds to think, he refilled his glass of champagne. "Yes, Goodwin. That's different."
"You bet your ass it is." The big cop leant forward in his chair. "Now, are we gonna have a conversation between friends?"
Big Daddy's smile displayed the three gold teeth scattered around his mouth. "Let's see what I can do."
Goodwin nodded. "This guy would probably have arrived in the City during the last couple of weeks. Italian. I'm banking on him being a big gambling man, though that may be a long shot. If you don't know anything about him, I'll take your word. But if you do, this motherfucker shot a young woman and there's nothing to say he'll stop there."
The phone rang again, as if on cue. This time the bookmaker ignored it. "I think you might get better odds than a long shot, Goodwin. A couple of weeks ago, a friend called and asked if I wanted to take a layoff bet on the horses. The punter had lost twenty grand and wanted to double up. When he lost that, he wanted to double up again."
Goodwin felt the rare warm feeling that came when a hunch was about to pay off. So the assassin did gamble? If he played his cards carefully, this could lead them straight to him.
And once they took care of him, he and Wilson could get it on again.
"That sort of money's out of my friend's league," the bookmaker continued. "So I helped him out."
"When did he last bet?"
"Yesterday!?" The snow haired cop felt a shiver of excitement.
Big Daddy nodded, his eyes now focused on the cop's.
"Name?" Goodwin asked, his voice thick with anticipation.
"I don't know, Goodwin. My friend deals with the punter and I deal with him. That's standard."
"Give me your friend's name."
"You're shitting me!"
Goodwin banged his fist on the top of the desk. They were too close to fuck about. "This is fucking murder we're taking about! I want his fucking name."
When the bookmaker made no immediate response, he softened his tone. "Look, I'll cover your ass, Big Daddy. You have my word on that."