tagNon-EroticSting of the Scorpion Ch. 04

Sting of the Scorpion Ch. 04

byWifeWatchman©

The chronological order of my stories is as follows:

Todd & Melina series, Interludes 1-5, Sperm Wars series, Russian Roulette series, Case of the Murdered Lovers series, Case of the Murdered Chessplayer series, The Swap series, Interludes 6-10, The Murdered Football Player Series, Case of the Black Widow series, Teresa's Christmas Story, The Case of the Black Badge series, A Case of Revenge series, Teresa's Summer Race, The Trilogy series, Dark Side Of The Force series, Caught In The Act series, The Phyllis Files 1-2, Case of the Murdered Bride series, The Credit Card Caper series, The Phyllis Files 3, The Hot Wives Investment Club series, Seriously Inconvenienced series, Case of the Paper Trail series, Christmas Mystery Theater, The Porno Set Mystery series, The Medical Murder Mystery series, The Eightfold Fence series, The Phyllis Files 4, Pale Morning Light series, Silverfish series, Cold As Ice series, Secrets of Apple Grove series.

Sting of the Scorpion, Ch. 01-04.

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 15 - Stinging Flea Bites

"This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Channel Two News!" blared the lovely redheaded reporterette at 7:00am, Wednesday May 13th. "Channel Two News has learned that in their session last night, the Town & County Council has ordered a formal Board of Inquiry into the shooting death of Ricky Morris by Detective Leonard 'Sergeant' Sharples one week ago, on May 6th. The Police Union has already filed a grievance, stating that not calling this a 'good shoot' is harassment of Detective Sharples by Commander Donald Troy and Chief Harold Bennett. Channel Two News has also learned that the request to the Council for the formal investigation was not made by Chief Bennett nor Commander Troy, but by Town & County Sheriff Sheriff Daniel Allgood..."

"Oh wow." Tanya said as both MCD and Vice Detectives watched in the MCD Room. "Is he suspended?"

"More like grounded and sent to his room." I said. "Restricted duty, had to turn in his gun and will have to re-qualify even if he's cleared. Best I... uh, I mean the Sheriff... could get from the Council." Everyone grinned at my slip, and I would let them decide if it was an accidental slip... or not.

"Think it'll work?" Tanya asked.

"No." I said. "They'll probably just move him to MCD."

"Like hell!" Tanya exclaimed, whirling upon me. "Don't even joke about that!"

"Wanna borrow a blue crowbar, Tanya?" Cindy asked, also not amused.

"Yes, please!" Tanya replied, her eyes boring into me. She wasn't grinning like she normally did, either.

"Okay, okay, just kidding." I said. "But seriously, don't get your hopes up that we're going to get anything on Sharples. All we did was show the Council the inconsistencies in the Jennifer Morris/Ken Konnichi murders. Getting something on Sharples will be another matter... and it'll be up to the Inspector General and Internal Affairs."

"By the way," I said, to change the subject, "here's a trivia question for you: The Batman had Robin. Green Arrow had Speedy. The Green Hornet had Kato, the Lone Ranger had Tonto, and so on. Only Superman had no sidekick. Now why was that?"

"Oh, I know that one!" said Joanne Cummings, beaming. "Radio! When the comic book characters came out in the days before television, they were on radio shows. They had to have someone to talk to. But Superman could fly, so they'd have those 'whoosh!' special effects for him, and the 'Up, up and away!' lines."

"Okay, Detective Cummings is Wonder Woman, and she gets the gold star for today." I said, very impressed with Joanne's knowledge... and comic book fandom. She and Theo 'high fived'.

Bettina was not finished. "In other news, BigAgraCorp has announced the purchase of several tracts of land south of Coltrane County to our south. BigAgraCorp says that the farms in the area known as the 'land between the rivers' will add many varieties of grains to the foodstuffs of the nation, and they intend to enhance production by raising genetically modified crops that will increase the tonnage of grains by at least 35%, they claim..."

"That sucks." Detective Teddy Parker said. "Big corporations are taking over all the farms. No family farms left. Family's can't afford to keep them if they try. Estate taxes wipe them out."

"And they're taking all the hunting lands away, too." said Joanne Cummings, her pretty face descending into a pout.

"My parents were raised on farms in Canada." Cindy said. "My dad made his living selling farm equipment to people, everything from seed to tractors."

"Oh really?" I said. "I never heard that, from you or Molly."

"Yeah." Cindy said. "Ward Harvester was his competition, though they didn't do much in Canada to hurt him, because Canadian farmers tend to buy local instead of the States below. So Commander," she said, patting me on the shoulders from behind, "I'm sorry you were injured in that explosion at his warehouse, but I was not sorry at all that Ward got his warehouse wiped out."

"Next time, I hope you'll allow me to get out of the place before you blow it up." I said, to laughter in the room. "Yeah, my grandmother, my father's mother... she grew up on a farm, too. She died when I was eight years old, but I remember her talking about it being a tough life, at least for her. I think she was sort of matched up with my grandfather, expected to get married, have babies. I was a kid then, but I can remember sensing that there was some sadness in her life."

"My ancestors worked farms, too." said Theo, who was black. "My great-great grandfather was a freed slave, bought his wife out of slavery and bought some land in Tennessee and farmed it. My dad had to sell that land... like you said, Teddy, taxes were too much. But times definitely have changed... we're all slaves to BigAgraCorp and GMO crops now."

That started some chatter of a political nature upon which I did not care to wax eloquent, so I headed back to my office. A few moments later, Cindy and Teresa came in.

"So Canadian farm life didn't work out for you, eh Cindy?" I said, teasing her.

"Nope." Cindy replied, then gave it right back. "No more than Apple Grove life did for you." I grinned as Cindy continued "And that's not the all of it... when I was in my early teens, I overheard my mother talking to a friend once, and she said she and my father were separated years before, when Molly was a toddler and I hadn't been born yet. Good thing they got back together, huh?"

"No doubt." I said. "What would the world be without Crowbar 2 kicking ass in these here parts?"

"Hear, hear!" Teresa agreed. Cindy blushed, though inwardly happy at the praise.

Teresa then said "You guys saw my home town. Farming was good compared to it. So, Commander... can I throw Sharples' things out of his desk yet?"

"Not quite yet." I said. "I might just have some other ideas about the Fat Boy, though." At that, I began letting my mind reminisce about what had happened the day before, which even Cindy did not yet know...

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

At about 10:00am on the previous (Tuesday) morning, my assistant Helena admitted two agents of the SBI to my office. They were Ted Orosco from Midtown and Jeff Reubens from Madison County.

Orosco was short, beginning to become a bit 'pudgy' in areas, but the most striking feature was his hair: it was black, and he kept it combed closely to the sides. The best description I can give is that he resembled 'the Count who can count' on Sesame Street.

Jeff Reubens looked tall and lanky next to Orosco, but he was really of medium height, nowhere near me (I'm 6'4" tall). His hair was stringy and reddish brown, and he had a beard that he would be well-advised to shave off.

"Thank you for seeing us, Commander." Orosco said. "We've been meaning to come up to see you, and when I heard about this officer-involved shooting, I contacted Agent Reubens here. We realized the urgency of the situation."

"Okay," I said, "so tell me what that situation is, so I can share your urgency." I could tell the agents didn't know whether I was kidding, as I was, or if I were being sardonic. They looked a bit nervous, and I realized that my reputation within the SBI might be more fearsome than I'd realized. That ordinarily would be a good thing, but in this case I sensed it would be good to work with these agents.

"And by the way," I said, "let's drop the formalities and use first names. Call me Don, and I'll call you Ted and Jeff, and any other dirty names that come to mind." I smiled as I said it, and Orosco relaxed. But Reubens still looked tense. "Go ahead, Jeff." I said. Reubens looked at Orosco, who was his senior officer, and Orosco nodded.

"Commander... er, Don," said Reubens, "I've been working off-and-on on the case of someone I believe to be a very dirty cop, and possibly worse. I'm talking about Sergeant Sharples on your Force."

"He's not a Sergeant," I said, "and we make a point to not give him the pleasure of calling him that. I'm not a bit surprised to hear you say that about him. So I gather he has a history."

"Oh, yes sir." Reubens said. "Have you looked into his past?"

"Actually," I said, "I haven't had a chance to dig very deep. I read his file and his résumé in it, and made some brief looks into his previous jobs. Nothing really big came up, but like I said, I didn't dig very deep."

Jeff Reubens said "I can fill that in for you now. Not much of it is in the normal public files. Some of what I've gathered is through interviews and confidential discussions. And if you'll indulge me, I'll give the story in somewhat chronological order."

Reubens started his narrative: "Leonard Sharples went to a Junior College and received an Associates Degree, which got him into a Police Academy in Louisiana. He had a job in Louisiana... Shreveport, I believe... but left that pretty quickly when got a job in Texas, in Midland. He was in better shape then, and rose from street patrolman to Detective pretty quickly. He was in Vice, and for two years everything went well for him. He made a few successful busts, was put in charge of a Narcotics unit, and led a couple more pretty big busts."

Reubens continued: "So all was going pretty well, and it looked like Sharples had a promising career. There was some word that he got wind of a child trafficking ring, but as soon as he started getting some traction on it, he was suddenly fired. No one knows why, and there is absolutely nothing in his official record... which actually said he resigned, though he didn't. But he immediately found a job at a Police Department in the Dallas area."

"Did he know Angela Harlan?" I asked. I'd meant it to be rhetorical, but Reubens looked surprised.

He then said "He may have. Her name came up in my investigations. What happened was that Sharples was hired as a Vice cop, having had a good reputation from Midland. And again, he did well. Made some busts, put the Texas Rangers on the trail of a rather large drug ring."

"Then it came out that he was still looking into that child trafficking ring. And again he may have been making some progress with it." Reubens said. "But then a police officer was found shot dead. He was a Vice Cop, younger than Sharples, and a real up-and-comer. He'd been working with Sharples, and Sharples asked to lead the investigation of the murder. His boss let him, as they were all in Vice. About 72 hours later, Sharples brings in a low life thug and a pistol in an evidence bag. Said he'd gotten a tip and moved in on the guy immediately. Ballistics showed the gun to have been the one that shot the other police officer."

I nodded as Reubens continued: "That thug said he'd had a deal to become a narc for Sharples over a shadowy child trafficking ring, and Sharples turned on him. There's no corroboration for that, but some threats came Sharples way, so he was moved to their Homicide Division. But without anything being too apparent, he changed. He began putting on weight, slowly and over time, and he never really showed any promise with the Homicide Division. In fact, some of the older officers I interviewed there that remember him actually didn't realize until they looked back over the course of time how subtly he changed."

Reubens looked at me and said "And this is where Detective Harlan comes into the picture. She wasn't with Sharples' Police Department, but may have been working with his P.D.'s Internal Affairs... and she was looking into Sharples. Turns out that he was getting a reputation for developing confidential informants, then exposing them to gangs to get in on drug deals. While in Midland, Texas, Sharples didn't have any money. In Dallas, his bank account was growing. Not by a lot, not quickly, but more money that he probably should've had."

"I never heard a word of that from Harlan." I said. "Surely she knew what he was about when they both were up here."

"It appears that they never found anything on Sharples, so Harlan went back to whatever she was doing and the I.A. investigation was dropped." said Reubens. "So she may have thought it was a blind alley and didn't bother mentioning it to you. Or there could be more sinister reasons for her not saying anything. She did some pretty nasty things while she was up here."

"Don't remind me." I said.

Reubens continued: "At any rate, I talked to a former Police Union guy from that area, whose son worked with me a few years ago. He, the father, told me in the strictest confidence, and I know you won't repeat this, that Sharples had come to learn about the investigation of him and had consulted with the Union about it."

"Sharples then went to Cape Girardeau, Missouri." said Reubens. "And that's where things started to make a pattern. He was in their Criminal Investigations division and specialized in Narcotics. He made some spectacular busts, was awarded citations and a promotion. For over two years, everything seemed fine. And then some rumors came out that Sharples was exposing C.I.s. in exchange for getting cut in on drug deals. We then find out how he made his spectacular busts: he gets a cut, then turns on them and busts them right when the deal is going down. Drugs are impounded, money impounded... but never all of the money that was expected to be there."

"Ahhhhh." I said.

"Yes, sounds like that diamond bust you made." said Orosco. "Go ahead Jeff, tell Don the rest of it."

Reubens did so: "Again, threats on Sharples's life, and an I.A. investigation... and another familiar refrain: the local Police Union comes in to back Sharples up. He had some money in his account, but not nearly what they thought he would have, and they never found where he hid any narcotics gains he might have made. The Union insisted the investigation be made open, which means he could sue if they didn't find anything, or be dropped."

"They dropped it. And without making any open scandal, that Police Department had Sharples investigate homicides and burglaries, not letting him do any narcotics work. He saw the writing on the wall, and left. That led him to Jamestown, which you know is the County Seat of Madison County, of course." Madison County is where State Women's Prison was located... and the deeply corrupt Richard Langdon was the duly elected State Senator from that area.

Reubens said "This is where I got on his trail. I was part of what was the forerunner of today's Narcotics Task Force. I was given a huge operation. We put fourteen months into penetrating a major drug operation. Richard Langdon was a big part of it, supplying the women in the State Women's Prison, and we were going to take him down as part of the sting. But just as we're about to make our final move... in comes Sharples. Busts a few lower level guys, and the rest of them dodge left and right and get away."

Reubens' face still bore the pain of the memories as he said "The SBI was left with virtually nothing, and as the leader of the operation, I took the fall. It ruined my career with the SBI, and it led to the destruction of that Narcotics group and the subsequent organization of the SBI Narcotics Task Force... without me in it.."

I asked "Was Sharples a part of your task force?"

"No, but we had worked with the locals in Madison County, Southport, Midtown, and Eastphalia and Westphalia. No one but a few of us in the SBI knew the whole operation, but we needed the locals to get information on the movements in the respective jurisdictions. And I might add that this was a major event in the growing problems of trust between the SBI and local jurisdictions."

Reubens went on: "So... since I had a lot of free time at my desk with the SBI, I started looking into how the operation failed. Sharples's name immediately came up. He was working in Midtown then, and the pattern started repeating again. First Vice, then some rumors, then their Major Crimes division. This time there was less scandal, and maybe he knew I was on his trail. Then he was hired by your Police Force, though I have no idea why."

"Did the name 'Robert Brownlee' ever come in association with Sharples?" I asked.

"No." said Reubens. "I don't recall that name at all."

"He's the Deputy Chief here, and hired Sharples." I said. "Well, I do see the pattern here, guys. And it's repeating itself here: they're beginning to try to put Sharples in our Major Crimes Division. My question is: why are you coming to me with this? You probably know that I have been trying like hell to fire Sharples, and the Union is right there opposing me. We also are behind the power curve on actual evidence, and the Union is pathetic in their fawning protection of that slug."

"And you are not the first top-level Police Officer to say that." said Reubens.

"What we're here for, Don," said Orosco, "is to ask for your help. We know you're at a different level than most police officers, and we're hoping you'll help us get Sharples. We'd really like to put him in prison, so that Reubens here and a whole lot of other officers that have been ruined him can know he's getting what will come to him in prison, where even Punk City will be no help... as you might know from that dog-killer Bryan Thatcher's case."

"Don't remind me of that, either." I said. "Makes me want to go out and beat up dirty fat cops. Did you ever find anything to suggest Sharples committed murder?"

"Don, we know what Angela Harlan turned out to be," said Orosco, "but while she was in Texas she was one of the best Police Detectives they ever had... sort of like you are here in this County. She made some incredible busts before she turned bad. We suspect that she was not just helping I.A., but was investigating the death of that other cop, and that Sharples might have been the actual murderer."

"No." I said. "Even sitting here at this desk, I'd be willing to bet that the perp was a C.I. working with Shaprles, then that perp shot the other cop because he was ordered and paid to do it by someone else. Sharples busts him, only to find that he, Sharples, became the suspect. And that is how the Protector of the child trafficking ring wanted it."

Both men were amazed. "You might well be right." said Orosco, "but what do you know that leads to the speculation?"

"I commend your attention to the assassination of a certain tele-evangelist in this County a couple of years ago." I said. Both men nodded as understanding came to them.

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