tagNon-EroticAlong Came A Spider Ch. 01

Along Came A Spider Ch. 01

byWifeWatchman©

The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman's biography.

Feedback and
constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.



Part 1 - Prologue

"He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson! He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them."

------ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 'The Final Problem'


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Would you like a shot... at the title?"

The words were uttered by defending Police Boxing Matches champion Cindy Ross as she stood in the ring for the final match of this year's tournament. It was Saturday, June 4th.

"Don't mind if I do."

The reply came from me, Your Iron Crowbar. Loud cheering followed as I stepped into the ring, ready to do battle for the title.

We had each won our previous contests, leading to this inevitable clash. The smack talk and betting throughout the Force had been tremendous since the quarter-final rounds. In the semis the day before, Detective Joanne Warner, who had been sparring with Cindy for months, made a very impressive showing. She fought well, and hard, and actually lasted into the second round before Cindy finally subdued her. She may have tired Cindy out some.

My semi-final was against Teresa Croyle. I don't know what it says about my Police Force that three of the Final Four were women, but these were tough Warrior Women. As Teresa and I 'boxed', I became aware that she had good knowledge of Aikido It struck me that she had been working out with my nephew Todd, who was a student of Aikido, as Elizabeth and I had been as youths. For the past several months, I'd continued my Aikido training with a master. I actually was glad; it was good to see the skills of Aikido being used.

Expecting a tough fight against Teresa, I was surprised when she seemingly slipped early on. After taking her down and forcing her to yield, she just gave me a knowing look and said "Take her down hard." I realized what was going on.

And now, it was time. Cindy had on her white plastic protective gear, trimmed in blue, her football helmet blue as well; my gear was trimmed in red, with red football helmet. And our crowbars.

"The rule is suspended," announced referee Micah Rudistan, "in order to allow the finalists to use their own crowbars!" The crowd of almost 200 Police Officers cheered loudly. He then had us come to the center, where we crossed swords, so to speak, my red crowbar against Cindy's blue crowbar, as Rudistan said to follow his instructions and to not beat up the referee. We then went to our corners.

"Box!" ordered the referee Rudistan.

As we came out, the thrill of the competition was flowing through me. I had prepared for this for months. All of the sweat, tears, and pain of the long, hard runs with the ROTC cadets, the combat training with Sergeant Tate, the weightlifting, agility training, and the Aikido... it had not been just to get in shape, or to battle the Consultant of Crime. It was for this moment, for this match. It was all done to defeat Cindy Ross in this tournament. Would it be enough?

*CLANG!*

In addition, I thought as our crowbars clanged, I had declined to get into the ring with Cindy, so she could not see my progress. She'd tried to get me into the ring with her, or with Joanne, but I'd avoided it, knowing why she wanted me in the ring, and knowing that I was not going to show my hand. But I had watched her in the ring with Joanne, studying her moves and her tactics, making sure I was mentally ready for everything she could throw at me.

*CLANG!* *WHANG!*

And then came the psychology. The buttering up. While she talked smack, I talked about having no chance, that she was going to just beat up everyone. Did it work? I thought. We'll soon see...

There were three rounds of three minutes apiece. For the first thirty seconds of round one, Cindy made some feints and thrusts, feeling me out. I deftly avoided them all, but did not rise to the bait of her seeming allowing me to advance, knowing the pain that would follow if I did. However, when she made one of her martial arts moved, I had learned that I could move in a different direction than expected.

*WHAM!*

I avoided her kick, and my backhand slap with the crowbar caught her right on the side of her ribs... right over her previous gunshot wound. The smack of iron on plastic protection reverberated through the gym.

I could see it in her eyes. She was starting to understand the new level of my training. She went for a series of overwhelming shots with the crowbar to my armor, but only got in a glancing blow as I parried the rest. The bell rang... the first round was over.

As I got water from my corner and tried to breathe, I realized I could barely hear all the noise in the gym. It was LOUD. Everyone in the packed gym was cheering, rooting for or against one or the other of us. Money would change hands at the end of this.

Round 2. Cindy had decided what her line of attack would be, and she began using more of her martial arts. The big problem with her mastery of two black belts was that the techniques were mostly defensive, not offensive... and I was not attacking blindly like most contestants would. Then she made a move I'd noticed her make when sparring with Joanne, a variant of her trademark punishing kick. As she went for it, I saw that it was a feint, and she swung her crowbar high. But I was already ducking straight down, the blue crowbar flashing over my head, and before she could get out of her swing, my backhand shot came solid and hard, right to her helmet.

*THWACK!*

We weren't supposed to go for head shots, but as long as they weren't to the visors, they weren't illegal. Mine was a lawful retaliatory strike, and it was a good one; Cindy had forgotten that I'm ambidextrous, and my left-hand shot was good and powerful.

She was affected by the blow, and we exchanged several more blows, the clang of iron-on-iron ringing throughout the gym over the shouts of the crowd watching. I got in two good blows to her ribs, over her wound again, and I could tell she was feeling them. But she also got in some good blows, learning from my strategy and successfully hitting me over my old wound, as well as to the hips and legs. Despite the protection, the blows HURT.

As the bell to end Round Two clanged and Rudistan jumped in to force us to our corners, I realized that if neither of us were defeated, she'd retain the title as the defending champion. Needless to say, that is not what I wanted. I sucked it up, thought about the pain, let it drive me. It was now or it was never!

The bell rang. Cindy was tiring. Those months of working out, of running, were paying off for me; I had a second wind. And I needed it: Cindy had worked out, too, but not with the same sense of driven purpose that I had. But now, she was pressing, pushing harder. She wanted to beat me to a pulp, to force me to yield just as much as I wanted to win. She made several martial arts moves, but I was ready for them, and made sure to give glancing blows along the way.

And then... it happened. Cindy went for a hard headshot with her crowbar, and it glanced off my helmet. But in that second, that split-second, I saw a shoulder joint flash by. Ah yes, a joint.

I know what to do with those.

*WHAM!* I had her arm and shoulder and I slammed her down to the ground, head first. She hit hard, her helmet protecting her head from what was a powerful, and potentially fatal blow to the unprotected and uninitiated. Aikido is a punishing art if need be. I followed up with my crowbar to the back of her neck, pushing down with my weight and what strength I had left. She was stunned, and now completely helpless. And I forced Cindy Ross to utter the words she'd never had to say before:

"I yield."

The room erupted as Rudistan came in to break us apart. By the rules, I had to stand erect to win, and I managed to push myself onto my feet. It was hard; I was exhausted. But I made it and went to the neutral corner.

Cindy was slapping the floor of the ring in frustration, and she slowly got to her knees, then was helped to her feet by Rudistan. She turned to me and I went out and our handshake became a hug. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Teresa had a mischievous little smile on her face.

"Fair and square." was all Cindy said as we went to our corners and came out of the ring. It was a compliment, I knew. I tried hard to be calm about it, but inside I was exulting. I had just won the Police Boxing Matches, but in doing that I had beaten the best to be the best. I had managed to defeat the undefeatable Cindy Ross... and that would never be forgotten.

And of course, that was the point.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"And the winner of the Boxing Division," said Chief Sean Moynahan, "is Sergeant Micah Rudistan!" Rudistan was presented the trophy to loud cheers. He'd boxed well, taking out more veteran boxers. And he'd had the heart and will to win.

"And for the Freestyle Division, first runner up goes to Captain Cindy Ross!" said Moynahan. There was a strong acclaim for Cindy by about half the number in the room; the others were being a bit polite. Cindy was stoic but clearly disappointed in getting the second place trophy.

"And the Freestyle Division Champion is Commander Donald Troy!" said Captain Moynahan said. The other half of the room cheered loudly; the first half were more polite in their acclaim. I tried not to rub it in and be a jerk about it, but I did hold up the trophy after being awarded it... hell, I earned that thing!

One bucket list item checked off... two to go.

Part 2 - Friends and Family

"Okay," said Dr. Laura Fredricson as she examined Cindy in the Police Headquarters Infirmary Room, "you have a mild concussion. It shouldn't be a problem, but if you start experiencing severe headaches, blurry vision, or vomiting, then you need to let me know immediately. In fact, I'd really like for you to stay with us overnight, stay in the guest room."

"If I have these symptoms after drinking a lot of alcohol tonight, does that count?" Cindy asked.

"Very funny. Not a good idea to do that." Laura said. She was listening to Cindy's heartbeat with a stethoscope. "Breathe in." Cindy did, and winced.

"Sore ribs?" Laura said, examining Cindy's side and front.

"Yeah, he really worked me over there." Cindy said. "He showed absolutely no mercy."

"He wanted it more than you did." Laura said. That earned Laura a harsh look, but she just came right back. "I think he's been training for months just for those ten minutes in that ring. You beat the shit out of him, too, but I think he was pretty determined to win that one."

"Well, I hate these words," Cindy said, "but they sound good right now: Wait 'till next year!" She noticed Laura get quiet. "What?" she asked, feeling Laura's sense of concern.

"If there is a next year." Laura finally replied.

"What do you mean?" Cindy asked.

"There's a lot of stuff going on." Laura said. "Nationally, internationally, and right around this County. I am really worried about what this Consultant of Crime that Don has been hunting down is going to do if he actually gets caught."

"Don's going to win." said Cindy, trying to sound hopeful. "If he can beat me, he is really going to whip the Consultant."

"I hope so." Laura said. "Do me one favor."


"What's that?" Cindy asked.

"Watch his back." Laura replied. "He doesn't do that well enough."

"Now you tell me." Cindy joked. She then got somber... Laura's face was not one of humor...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"You really enjoyed that." I said in my office. I'd already had my exam. I had no injuries other than a few bruises, but I still hurt. And I was tired. A tiredness born of euphoria and relaxation from tremendous tension, but a creeping exhaustion nonetheless.

"Not as much as you did." Teresa Croyle replied, sitting in one of the hot chairs in front of my desk. She could not hide a grin, though.

"Oh, I dunno." I said. "I think you did."

"Okay, I did." said Teresa. "I love Cindy more than life itself, but she needed that. She needed a reminder that she's not invulnerable, that she's not going to win every time."

"And me?" I asked.

Teresa looked up at the wall to my right, where the framed badges of Pete Feeley and Tanya Perlman were displayed side-by-side. "You get yours every time you look at that wall, and those shields." she said. A part of me was amazed at her insight, her astuteness. Another part of me was feeling a pain beyond the physical. Her words were right, but nonetheless seared deep into my soul.

"You're right." I said. "And that is coming to a head, pretty soon. You were right on Memorial Day, when you said my fight was just beginning."

"Our fight, Don... our fight." Teresa said as our eyes locked. The moment only lasted a second, as Cindy and Laura came into the office. The platinum blonde looked sheepish; the raven-haired beauty, more concerned. Laura gave her report, and told us to watch Cindy for concussion symptoms.

"Well, if you Police Officers are done beating the hell out of each other," Laura said, "I'll head back home and get the guest room ready for Cindy. She's going to be staying over tonight. It's either that or the hospital."

"Carole will love having her stay with us." I said. "By the way, Laura, we're about to go to lunch. Care to join us?"

"I'll take a raincheck." With that, Laura made her goodbyes and left.

"Well," I said, "let's head on over to the Cop Bar."

"Is Cindy paying for it?" Teresa asked. "Don't tell me you two didn't have a bet on it."

"Tell you what. I'll pay for this one." said a voice at the door. Jack Muscone of the FBI was letting himself in. Martin Nash and Sandra Speer were behind him.

"And then Don and I can have a private conversation." Jack said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The six of us had a table in the back room of the Cop Bar. 'Pop', the owner and barkeep, brought Cindy a large bowl of chicken noodle soup, saying it was to heal her body and her hurt pride. That was Teresa's little ploy, and it had not taken Cindy long to realize who was behind it.

"If my neck wasn't so sore," Cindy said, "I'd come over there and smack you."

"Don't let your excuses stop you from trying." shot back Teresa.

"Don," Cindy said, "next year, I am doing the schedule... and making damn sure this trash-talking Lieutenant gets placed right in my bracket."

"As compared to the trash talking the last several weeks?" Teresa replied. "I agree, Commander: set those brackets up right!"

By now I was laughing so hard it hurt. Martin and Sandra were laughing, too. I said "I will be damn sure to make sure you two meet in the semi-finals. And then I am going to spank the winner and defend my title."

"Oooooooooo." said Sandra Speer.

"Ooooh, yes, I dolike the sound of that..." I said. "defend MY title..." Almost everyone burst into laughter. It was my first rub-it-in jab at Cindy, and the look I received could've melted iron...

"So Martin," I said, "who in the FBI lost their money on the outcome?" Sandra and Martin got quiet, while Jack Muscone beamed.

"I took 'em all to the cleaners." said Muscone. "Makes paying for lunch easier, for sure. And my new strategy of never betting against the Iron Crowbar is paying off."

"Until next year..." murmured Cindy. "And you'd better not bet against the Blue Crowbar."

"Won't matter." Teresa replied. "I won't need any color crowbar." That got a huge amount of banter going.

Double cheeseburgers and beer were a very good celebration lunch, and afterwards Jack and I went to a side booth to talk privately.

"Your Mouseketeers are really doing a super job." said Muscone. "The stuff they've given us is tying your Consultant as well as the Oldeeds Group to dozens of organizations across the country. Money laundering, RICO violations, smuggling, fraud, the whole ball of wax. We can't move too soon, though. Your boy must be seeing what we're doing."

"Enough to try to put it all on the Oldeeds Organization while he crawls away like a cockroach in the dark." I said. "In all honesty, I don't know what's keeping him in Town now."

"Does he have something planned against you?" Jack asked.

"Yes, of course." I said. "Something he's been planning for months... at least a year. And it's about to come down on me like a freight train roaring out of the High Sierras."

"So what are you planning to do?" Jack asked.

"Monday is my son Jim's second birthday." I said. "We're going to have the party for him at The Cabin tomorrow. You and Tanya and baby Pete are invited, by the way. On Monday, I am fully expecting your boss to call me to a meeting and clue me in to what's going on in Apple Grove. If he doesn't... then there will have to be a reconsideration of my level of cooperation with the FBI."

Muscone was stunned. "You're kidding."

"No." I said. "And I hate having to say the words out loud. But I'm tired of being treated like a mushroom... kept in the dark and fed a lot of shit. I really hope he and the rest of you don't think I'm a stupid idiot like the SBI apparently did when they sent Sharples to assassinate me."

Muscone looked very discomfited, and I was thinking those double cheeseburgers felt like lead weights in his stomach right about now. But he rallied.

"Okay," he said, "I'll let him know. And I'll give him my strongest advice to stop playing games with you."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sunday, June 5th. The party at The Cabin went well. Molly had stayed over at the Cabin Saturday night, and brought over Ross and Ian. We'd had a big supper at the Mountain Nest, where Cindy was staying, and if you think Molly showed her sister any sympathy, guess again. Teresa was tame by comparison. Sisters...

Tanya brought baby Pete to the birthday party. I'd invited Paulina and Tasha, but Paulina declined, citing other matters she needed to address. Todd and Teresa came with little Doug. My mother and Cindy, Jack Muscone, and of course Buddy and the redoubtable Bowser.

Carole did not seem happy that Jim was getting toys and she wasn't, which required an explanation from her mother and her dad both that this was Jim's special day. And when Jim looked over at his sister and said "MY toys!", I knew I was in for years of smack talk that would make the Police Boxing Matches seem like a lovefest.

Part 3 - Ripening Apples

"This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Channel Two News!" shouted the lovely redheaded reporterette at 7:00am, Monday, June 6th. "Channel Two News has learned that a Federal Court has issued a stay in the case of Eckhart v. Town & County Council, enjoining the Council from proceeding with the sale of the Community Center property to Northwest Properties Development Corp. Although it would appear the Council has acted legally, there are several side issues over which P. Harvey Eckhart, founder of 'The Vision' self-help enterprises, is suing the Council, and the Federal Court will grant a trial."

"In other news," said Bettina, "plans for the Fourth of July celebration are under way! Anyone who wants to enter the Town & County Triathlon must do so by June 20th. Todd Burke and Teddy Franklin, last year's champions, have already entered, as have the twice-runners-up, the Bradley Rangers."

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