tagNon-EroticFire in the Embers Ch. 01

Fire in the Embers Ch. 01


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

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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

"This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Channel Two News!" yelled my favorite redheaded reporterette at precisely 7:00am, Monday November 9th. "We are bringing you continuing coverage of the major drug bust over the weekend by the Town & County Police Force's Vice Squad, led by Lieutenant Teresa Croyle!"

All of MCD was watching intently as Bettina continued: "The drug operation centered around an organization called Viscotti Cabs. Their cab service only picked up customers who were known to them, and their operation was a mere front for distributing drugs in the County. The TCPD has been working on this case for over a year, and concluded their investigation with the arrest of eight people Saturday night."

(Author's note: the Viscotti Cabs situation was first brought up in 'The Case of the Murdered Bride'.)

"Fantastic!" Lt. Tanya Perlman said, giving a fist pump.

"Teresa kicked ass on this, as did Grubby Paul, who infiltrated them." said Cpt. Cindy Ross.

"Yes." I said. "I eagerly await your submissions for commendations for all involved."

"It's worth the paperwork." Cindy said. "By the way--"

She was interrupted as Bettina said "In other news regarding the Police Department, the Town & County Council is expected to bring up the issue of hiring a new Police Chief, and have asked Sheriff Daniel Allgood and Commander Donald Troy to attend their executive session. Once again, Commander Donald Troy has taken his name out of consideration for the post, and Channel Two News has learned from multiple sources that the Council may already have our next Police Chief's name in mind."

"Is that true?" asked Tanya as she filled her mug with coffee.

"Yes." I said. "It's a done deal... well, after the Council affirms it, then has a second reading of the bill next week."

"Not going to tell us who, sir?" asked Martin Nash.

"I'll tell y'all Wednesday, once it's confirmed." I said as I noticed Vice Detectives had been trickling into the MCD room. Something was up, and I had a sneaking suspicion what it was and who was behind it... a certain platinum blonde Canadian wielding the Blue Crowbar.

"They're moving really fast on getting a new Chief." said Chris 'Pervert' Purvis of Vice. "Won't Chief Bennett be here through the end of the year?"

"That was the original plan." I said as everyone poured more coffee, and started fresh pots. "But if the Council acts tomorrow, they may let Chief Bennett go ahead to his new job, which he's pretty much doing half the time already."

Just then, Lt. Teresa Croyle came into MCD. "Where is everybody?" she asked. And the Blue Crowbar's plan came to fruition: all of the Detectives stood and gave her a huge round of applause for the Viscotti Cabs bust. And well-deserved, too.

"Congratulations, Lieutenant!" Cindy shouted as the applause finally died down. Teresa was blushing furiously as Cindy opened a box of doughnuts she'd just brought out from under a desk. "You get the first doughnut today. We'll save a couple for Grubby Paul when he comes on duty this afternoon. But you guys did a fantastic job on this. Especially you, Lieutenant. You've stuck with this for over a year, and you finally landed those fish."

"And she doesn't even need a crowbar." I said, getting laughter. "Truly great work, Lieutenant. And all of you in Vice deserve credit as well. Great job, guys!" There was more acclaim, then the boxes of doughnuts were attacked.

Teresa was not used to such praise, especially in front of her peers, subordinates, and superiors, and I could see on her face that she was trying to deal with it internally. I had a flashback to the time she was nearly fired for beating up Dean Allen, and the Christmas party and all that that had meant. Teresa had come a long way, a long, long way. And I hoped she would sustain and prevail in the tests to come...

Part 2 - Cab Service

"We've still got a lot of work to do on this." Teresa said as she and ADA Jenna Stiles sat in my office chairs in front of my desk, with Cindy sitting behind them on the sofa. "I'm hoping we can get the Viscottis to talk, maybe give us more. Maybe even the Beanstalk Gang, finally and at last. Commander, Jenna and I will try to break them down first, but I lose no face in asking if you'll help us out with the interrogations. No one else can do it any better."

"Sure, no problem." I said. "What do you want from them?"

Jenna said "We're pretty sure the Beanstalk Gang was their primary supplier. Ever since Captain Malone left Town, other gangs have been able to operate here... at least until Lt. Croyle shuts them down. However, most of the distributors stuck with the Beanstalkers, and were only now getting some inroads into them."

"This is where I berate myself for not paying more attention to the Vice side of things." I said. "Thank goodness I have someone of Lt. Croyle's ability leading us there."

"I have a lot of help, Commander." said Teresa. "And your Captain of Detectives has been giving us plenty of support, and I know you've got our backs too."

"Oh, no doubts on that." I said. "So let me ask this, at least to the extent you can tell me without blowing C.I. covers: who else do we need to be looking at to chop down this Beanstalk, or at least make it wither and die away?"

Teresa replied "As you know, Commander, it used to be that the Beanstalk Gang was the only game in Town. Captain Malone would drive the rest away or put the competition in jail. But as soon as he (Cpt. Malone) was gone, T-Square stopped dealing with them, and began opening his own pipelines. But here's the cute little trick: the Beanstalkers saw their exclusivity coming to an end, so they set up other gangs and made them look like 'competition'... but they're really all interconnected."

"Kind of like phone companies or cable companies pretending to have competition, when they're all owned by the same holding companies." I said. Jenna nodded.

"That's right." said Teresa. "And they've set up some pretty interesting groups. Viscotti Cabs was one of their oldest and best. But we can find them in just about anything to do with transportation and delivery. That Kroger regional executive was one example. That one didn't work out, but for every failure they have two successful lines.

"Another really big one is restaurants." Teresa continued. "Take the Hyatt Hotel, or University Hotel. Somebody brings in one little extra package of some food item, like ketchup, or coffee creamer. Then a guest in the hotel gets a little package with his or her room service the next morning. And then there's things on a larger scale, going through the same channels.s"

"And damn near impossible to catch." I said.

"Yes sir." said Teresa. "Which is why getting the Viscottis to talk is such a big deal. They're buying from the Beanstalk Gang, and if we can set up a sting and catch them based upon Viscotti's information, then we can work on the Beanstalk Gang to turn on their supplier, and so on and so forth."

'So out of idle curiosity," I asked, "where do you usually find that the chain ends? Where is it that we stop being able to catch these guys?"

"For us, the County line." said Teresa. "Some States have good regional or State-wide task forces, while some States, like our own, have State-level law enforcement that doesn't give a damn. Dick Ferrell's Narcotics Task Force is an absolute joke; criminals do not fear him nor his people at all, local LEOs have absolutely no respect for him."

"Can't imagine who those might be." I said drily."

Teresa's eyes glinted as she said "One LEO even began shooting at him and his corrupt minions with a machine gun. I'm only sorry that guy missed. He needs range time."

Cindy and I burst out laughing at that one, knowing that I was the errant machine gun operator, and how often I instruct my Officers to get more range time. Jenna looked confused as I said "Good one, Lt. Croyle. "I'll see if I can get some time on the outdoor range with a machine gun, just in case we have that scenario again. So we have problems at the State level?"

"We do, but some States are luckier." Teresa said. "States with good interdiction, and those aren't many, usually find a helpful FBI or DEA working with them if State lines are crossed. In this State, the FBI or DEA pretty much has to come to the County-level LEOs to get anything done... assuming they, the Feds, want to get something done."

"And of course," I said, "once we take out a group like the Viscottis or the Beanstalkers, you're looking at new groups coming in and replacing them. Gangs, like MS-13; motorcycle gangs, such as the Hell's Angels or other, newer bikers like 'White Roots'. The party never stops with them."

"Good job security for us." Teresa said, with no small amount of sarcasm in her voice.

"But that is the one thing that burns me up." said Cindy, piping in from behind. "You guys spend months working to bust these bastards, the D.A.'s Office spends time and effort to prosecute them, and asshole judges like Harry 'Spud' Nance just set low bails and they walk, never to return. And then another gang starts up, and guess who is behind it? Yep, the same guys that walked on the low bails. And then Appellate Judges like Leahy look as hard as they can for any technicality over which to release them."

I observed that Jenna Stiles's eyes flashed some anger at her fiancée's comment; Jenna was of the political Left, and actively so, while Cindy was a political atheist. No, I had no desire to know what their pillow talk was about, I thought to myself.

"Well, we can only do what we can do." I said. "So!... let's concentrate on the bastards we have in our jails now, and let the cards fall as they may."

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

"I got nothin' for you little girls." said Vince Viscotti. He was a large, muscular man with a balding head. I had to resist the temptation to call him 'Popeye'. He talked in an Italian accent, though with fewer hand motions and gesticulations than many Italians I know. Oh, is that politically incorrect to say? Get over it.

Speaking of political incorrectness, Viscotti was showing his clear disrespect for the women on the other side of the table. Corporal Ronnie Kirkpatrick was doing the guard duty in the room, and Viscotti just ignored him as he said "You women will never be able to prove that I was involved in any of this. By the way, where is my lawyer?"

"You haven't asked for one yet." said Croyle. "Do you want one?"

"He's trying to be sneaky with us, Lieutenant." ADA Stiles said. "By asking where the lawyer is, he's essentially asking for one. So we won't ask him any more questions until his attorney shows up. Mr. Viscotti, do you want to call your own attorney, or shall we send a Court-appointed Public Defender to represent you?"

Viscotti frowned, seeing his little ruse hadn't worked. I was watching through the one-way glass with Grubby Paul and Cindy, and I pointed out his little gambit. "Jenna did a great job on that one." I said. "My question is: who coached this meathead to do that?" We listened as Viscotti growled that he wanted a phone to call his attorney.

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

The attorney from Andolini & Tommasino, P.C., arrived at 11:00am and went into conference with Viscotti immediately. His name was Tessaforte. He was short, putting on weight. His hair was frazzled on either side, almost Crusty-The-Clown in appearance, with an oval face and glasses that made him appear nerdish. I knew that this law firm was dedicated to Italian clientele, mostly in the City, and was very much Mob-connected.

When Teresa and Jenna were 'invited' back, they found the attorney as disdainful of the females as Viscotti had been, as Tessaforte said "You little ladies don't have a thing on my client. He may have been an investor in this cab company, but he didn't personally run it."

"First of all," said Teresa, "if you call me a 'little' lady again, you will find out just how hard a punch I can pack. Second, we've got your little boy 'Popeye' here ice cold for big-time drug distribution as well as RICO violations."

"Who are you calling a little boy, bitch?" growled Viscotti. "I'll break you in half." His lawyer worked to calm him down as Corporal Kirkpatrick showed readiness with his billy stick and Teresa glared at him.

"Your client, Mr. Tessaforte," said Jenna Stiles, not even giving Viscotti the courtesy of acknowledgement, "is going to be arraigned in two hours or so, and we are talking tens of years of imprisonment at a maximum security facility once it goes to trial. Judges here really love to give consecutive sentences. But you think we don't have a case? By all means, walk right in there and plead 'not guilty', and we'll find out. Cooperate with us, and maybe you get concurrent sentences, with parole possibilities, at Sunnydale Medium Security Prison."

The lawyer was a whiney, know-it-all asshole. He proved it by saying "Girls, this man is not going to be doing any prison time at all. In fact, he'll be suing you and your Police Department for violating his rights and putting him through this unreasonable process."

"El. Oh. El." retorted Jenna. "Bring it on, Tessie. I'm looking forward to watching you be disbarred if you try."

The back and forth went on for a while, with the lawyer sneeringly calling Teresa and Jenna "girls" and "little girls" over and over, and Viscotti just sitting back in his chair with his arms folded, his face alternating between sneers and laughter. At one point in time he made a circle with the fingers of his right hand and pistoned his left index finger in the circle, the universal sign of 'fuck you' to the women. Jenna had to restrain Teresa. I tapped on the glass and the women came out.

"The gender gap notwithstanding," I said, "do you think you're going to get anywhere with these clowns?"

"No." said Jenna. "We've got 90 minutes to arraignment, and I'd like to break him down before then, though it's not a necessity. If you want to give it a crack, Commander, go for it."

"And 'crack' is the operative words... as in 'crack their fucking heads open'." I said. I whispered an instruction to Cindy, then said out loud "Ms. Stiles, you're with me." I opened the door and went into the Interrogation Room, followed by ADA Stiles.

"Oh, well if it ain't the big boy himself." sneered the lawyer. "Your cunts can't get the job done?"

"Watch your language, asshole." I said. "If you're trying to goad me into physically beating you down, that can be arranged. And yes, I'm saying that right into that camera up there." I'm not sure what induced the fear into the lawyer, whether it was my bravado or his realizing that I actually didn't care if there was a camera recording me whipping his ass... but I saw the change in his eyes.

When you get back home, Tessaforte," I said to the lawyer as I sat down, "be sure to tell Jimmy 'Coffin' Cerone that the Iron Crowbar says hello, and that I'm taking a professional interest in pussies named 'Tessaforte'... my profession's interest, of course. Or I'll tell him myself when I see him next. In the meantime, Mr. Viscotti, you and I have a lot to talk about... a lahhhhhht to talk about."

"What, you think you got more clout with 'Coffin' Cerone than my lawyer here?" Viscotti said sardonically. Maybe he hadn't noticed his lawyer going pale and looking sickish after I'd brought up Cerone's name. And he definitely didn't realize he'd just given his lawyer away as being part of Cerone's mob clan.

"We'll find out." I said. "I'm neither forgiving nor forgetting what he just called this ADA and my female officers, and we'll see how 'Coffin' feels about that. But let's just talk about you, Vincent. I want names of your suppliers. I want the where and the how and the when of your buys from them. I want you to make your lists and I'll check them twice."

"Are you out of your mind?" snarled the lawyer. "Vince, take the Fifth, tell this redheaded stepchild to shove his crowbar up his ass."

"I think this loser is trying to bait you, Commander." said Jenna, also a redhead.

"No doubt about it." I said, "He knows he's irrevocably crossed the line, so if he's in for a penny he might as well be in for the full pound." My look at 'Tessie', boring right through him, might possibly have backed up my works. The lawyer continued to look like he was about to lose his breakfast.

I then turned to Vince, ignoring the asshole lawyer. "You work with me, Vince, and you'll have a merry Christmas at Sunnydale. You don't... well, Jimmy Cerone and the Southport boys don't have much use for you anymore, especially after I talk to him about you. And the hombres of MS-13 in prison are going to give you that circle-finger sign you gave my Lieutenant... right before they give you a few Christmas presents and get some fresh Italian cherry ass, many times over. You might live through it..." I just shrugged after that.

"That's harassment!" yelled the lawyer. "You can't talk to my client that way! Vince, say nothing. This bastard has nothing, so he's resorting to intimidation and threats. You'll be out in no time."

"ADA Stiles," I said, getting up, "just let the process run. We'll get the supplier names from one of the other guys we've arrested. They'll be glad to let Vince take the fall, and be bent over in jail, while they take the deals. And then 'Coffin' will take care of Vince at the Asylum." Jenna got up to leave with me.

"Wait..." said Vince. His face showed his fear and uncertainly.

"SHUT UP!" yelled the lawyer. "Don't listen to them! They're lying, they'll say anything!"

"He's right, Vince." I said as I got to the door. "I'll say anything... to Jimmy Cerone. And he'll listen, too. Good luck to you." I reached for the door handle.

"Hold on!" Vince gasped out. "I'll... what's the deal again?"

"NO!" shouted the lawyer.

"Shut up, jerk!" growled Vince. He turned to me. "Let's work something out."

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

"You know," Jenna said as we talked in my office later that afternoon, with Cindy and Teresa also present, "none of us could've done that interrogation like you did. But what if he'd called your bluff?"

Vince Viscotti had given us a ton of information. The other seven that were arrested with him had also taken deals, and the arraignments had turned into easy plea deals.

"What bluff?" I asked flatly.

"Cerone." said Jenna. "Acting like you knew him, had clout with him."

"That was no bluff." I said simply. "I dealt with Cerone months ago, during the SBI legislation meetings. If and when I do talk to Cerone about that asshole lawyer, Cerone is going to ask that lawyer why his, Cerone's, harmony is being disturbed because that lawyer is annoying the Iron Crowbar."

"Winning friends and influencing people, like Chief Griswold used to say." Cindy said. A red crowbar was waved in her general direction.

"Viscotti knew that I really could have enough influence on Cerone to make it very tough on Viscotti in prison." I continued. "Ergo, he wisely took the deal. He won't be at Sunnydale, he'll be in protective custody somewhere else, but with a far easier life than it would've been if he'd taken the fall.

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