Palmer Ch. 07byhal_tee©
The bookmaker hesitated for no more than a couple of seconds. "You'll owe me big time."
Goodwin nodded. "I'll owe you."
"Llambias," the bookmaker hesitantly said, picking up a pen and writing down an address. He handed it to the cop. "Don't fuck me over this," he added, his voice uncertain. "I'm trusting you..."
The barrel-chested cop nodded as he stood up. "I gave you my word."
Wilson had no idea that she was following a lead within a few hundred yards of her partner. Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in Frith Street, Soho, was one of the black haired cop's favourite off-duty haunts. One day, she'd take Goodwin there.
Assuming they were still together.
Despite rationalising the situation over and over in her mind, she couldn't get rid of the guilt their on-duty fucking had provoked in her. Maybe this affair was a bad idea? Or maybe she was just feeling down? Even as a hardened cop, she hadn't yet got used to death. Probably never would.
Thing was, deep down, Sandra Wilson knew it wasn't their fault. She just had to allow that feeling to come to the surface. It would. In its own time.
So far tonight, she'd drawn a blank. This final contact was a stronger possibility, but she had nothing to offer Leon Johnson. As of now, the small time petty crook was clean - and that meant she'd either have to bluff the middle-aged man or give him some sort of future guarantee.
Either way, it would be tricky. But if there was anyone who knew what was going down, it was the streetwise Johnson.
"Hi Wilson," the maitre d' greeted as the tall cop made her way across to him, looking as inconspicuous as she could. "You on or off duty tonight?"
"On," came the soft reply.
He nodded. The look on his face remained exactly the same, but she didn't miss the coldness that passed across his dark eyes. "Yes, something about that walk said business. We don't want any shit," he told her. "This place is clean."
"I know that, Phil," she nodded. "And we both know I wouldn't damage you. Look, I won't be long. One conversation."
Wilson gave him a soft smile. She and Philip Shipton had been childhood friends, long before he had the hair transplant. He looked better bald rather than the stringy tassels the spilled form his scalp like a Raggedy Andy doll, but she'd leave someone else to tell him that. What was important was that she knew he could trust him to keep her visit to himself.
The maitre d' nodded. "Not quite our typical jazz fan, but he's around."
Wilson's smile grew warmer. "Thanks, Phil. I'll meet you out back in five."
It was more like ten minutes before the well-dressed man made his way to their usual meeting spot. He smiled when he saw Wilson, tugging on the lapels of his slightly ostentatious suit. Everything about Johnson was flamboyant. Even the Edward G Robinson way of drawling his words.
"Your office doesn't change much," he joked, his small, pinprick eyes dancing around the small courtyard. In his business, you couldn't be too careful.
"Don't have time for smart remarks," Wilson bluntly replied. "I need information."
Johnson's eyes narrowed. "Ya got something on me, girlie?"
The tall cop shook her head and sighed. She hated that word. She was no more a girlie than Johnson was someone to be trusted. "No, I've got nothing," she conceded.
Johnson gave a snort as he stood taller. The cigarette he lit sent a brief sheen across the courtyard. Turning away from Wilson to stare into the dark, his words came from the corner of his mouth. True gangster style. "Then why should I give ya information?"
Wilson ignored the question. "I'm gonna ask you a couple of things, Leon. You answer, and then forget I ever asked you in the first place."
The small time crook made no response. The tip of the cigarette shone bright orange like a surging Christmas bulb. He continued to refuse to look directly at her, as if she might see something in his eyes. Instead, he stared into the darkness.
"Have ya heard of a hooker called Roxanne Lopez?"
The yellowy-orange cigarette tip pierced the dark again as he took another drag. "I heard of her."
The greasy haired dealer briefly glanced at Wilson before turning away again. "What's it worth?"
Wilson tugged on the arm of his tailored suit, pulling him around to face her. "Leon, I've already explained. I need information. I need it now. I will find a way to make this worth your while but right now, I don't have time. I need answers."
He turned away again. "She's a high class hooker."
"What about someone called Brooke?"
"What about her, girlie?"
Wilson sighed, unsure how to play this. Hard, she quickly decided. "Don't get smart, Leon, or I'll break your fuckin' arm. D'you think I'd be here if this wasn't important? Just answer the question."
"Okay, okay," the petty crook muttered. In an attempt to maintain some poise, he flicked the cigarette butt into the gutter beside them. He lit another. It gave him a chance to think. "She's a friend of Roxanne's," he carefully responded. He wasn't yet willing to give too much away. Not yet. "So is Savannah."
The tall cop nodded. "I already know that, but at least we're on the same wavelength. What I want now is something I don't know. Tell me about them."
Johnson nodded, still staring into the darkness. "Don't know a lot. I first heard of Brooke. Then Roxanne came along. She was almost a superior version. Hot. Very hot. Savannah's a bit younger. Seems to model herself on the redhead. Same colour hair. Same taste in clothes. All high class hookers... and..."
Sandra Wilson's ears pricked up. "Yes?"
"All belong to a modelling agency, girlie."
"A modelling agency? No shit!"
Johnson gave a sly smile. "Yup. You're not up-to-date on your fashions, honey! Thought all ya women knew that shit?"
Wilson's face creased in puzzlement. Even in the darkness, Johnson could see he was one step ahead. Time to take advantage. "Ya'll make this worth my while?"
Wilson nodded, although she had no idea how.
"Think about it, girlie. World famous models. Well, famous to everyone except the cops." Her face stopped him mid cackle. "Okay, just a joke. It gives them a way in to the rich and famous. Means they can charge much more. Get to the superrich. I mean, what girlie hasn't always wanted to fuck a model? This Roxanne's a supermodel. Didn't ya see her on TV with Tyra Banks and Gabrielle Dubois?"
Fuck, this was new. Wilson stared at her informer.
"That surprised ya. Didn't know that, did ya?" He nodded knowingly. "Erin's Models, that's gotta be worth something. Check it out. Next time you see this Roxanne, grill her about it, girlie"
Wilson took hold of Johnson's arm, pulling him around to face her. "That won't be easy. Someone's just put her on ice..."
"Right in the doorway of her apartment. And it wasn't an amateur."
The scowl across Johnson's face told Wilson what he thought. "Geez, that's bad news."
"Who's their pimp?"
"Now that's interesting. Mrs. DeVere runs the agency. Erin DeVere." He shook his head at the lack of recognition on Wilson's. "Geez! She was a model in her own time. One of the best. You never watch TV?"
Television? When did she have time to watch television? "She's behind the operation?"
"The modelling business, yes. The prostitution game - don't think so. Rumour has it there's a rich guy involved. No idea who. Seriously – no idea. But he's one mean dude if the stories are to be believed."
He flicked the second cigarette butt away. "Nothing, Wilson. That's it. Cross my heart." His soft laugh caught in his throat as he saw her face. He'd only seen that look a couple of times. It wasn't to be messed with. "That's all I know, man."
"If this conversation gets out, Leo, I'll haul you in and fabricate every charge I can against you. You'll be going away for a long time. Understand?"
"It won't get out from me. But I prefer the carrot, not the stick."
Wilson sighed. She had to make it good. "Next time you're in trouble," she said. "I'll bail you out."
"Man, I'm often in trouble," he smiled. "Most of the time, I can take care of it. So let's say, when I need your help, I'll call on you. And you won't let me down."
"I know, I know. I understand your principles, Wilson. I won't compromise them. I have your word?"
She nodded. "Leon, how long have we known one another? When I give my word, I stick to it."
Johnson pulled out another cigarette. "I'll go with that."
Wilson took his arm again, pulling him to face her. "Leon, I want you to keep your ears open and anything you hear... anything... you get back to me. And if anyone else starts asking questions, anyone at all, I want to know about that, too."
He nodded, starting to turn away. A harder yank on his arm turned him back.
"One more thing, Leon. Call me girlie again and I'll break both arms."
Palmer was in two minds. The lack of sleep was fast catching up with him. So was Kelli's absence. The state of their house confirmed she'd returned from her Edinburgh shoot, but there was no clue as to where she was now.
At this time of night, she'd normally make sure he knew of her whereabouts, though his own movements hadn't helped. That was the other mind talking. How could she tell him where she was, when they hadn't spoken in a couple of days? He should have made more effort to talk to her while she was in Edinburgh.
But then, this case was a tough one. So much had happened. Now, she wasn't even answering his cell phone messages. Either she was super busy or super pissed.
He shook his head, hoping to banish the worry. Like always, he turned to his work, the case, to help him through these tough times. He could call the DJ from his apartment; he'd think about Kelli later.
Life was good, Ben Cartwright thought. He had the perfect set-up. The money and lifestyle of a drug dealer without having to get his hands dirty. His part time job as a DJ was brilliant as a cover. Not only did give him access to the best of London's club scene, but it hooked him up with plenty of potential buyers he could pass on to the local drug trade. Also, there was the seemingly unlimited supply of young, liberated chicks. Yes, life was good.
Tonight, it was a blonde with her zipped top pulled down to her navel who'd taken his eye. Or rather, the glossy cleavage her large and unfettered tits had formed. Were they real? She'd been watching him for over an hour, sitting at the table directly in front of his position.
The young sex bomb had run her tongue across her suckable lips more than once. He knew the signs. This one was up for it. Her boyfriend had been steadily getting himself drunk for the last hour, making a fool of himself with some of his male friends. It was just a matter of time...
As he set Loveshack to work over the blaring loudspeakers, one of the barstaff handed him a note. "He said to ring him now. It's urgent."
Cartwright thanked the camp youngster. If Palmer wanted to speak to him now, then he'd speak to him now. He knew better than to keep the young detective waiting. With a flirtatious smile at zipper-blonde, he headed out back.
Flipping open his cell phone, the small DJ kept one eye on the inside of the club through the small glass window in the door. It wasn't sensible to be seen when he spoke to the cops. He had too much to lose.
"Palmer? It's Ben Cartwright."
"How're you doing, Ben?"
"I'm good, Palmer. Or at least I think I am. You going to tell me otherwise?"
As he spoke, he saw zipper-blonde stand from her table and cross over to the now vacant DJ booth. Her boyfriend, if that's who he was, was being helped out by his buddies.
"You owe me some favours, Ben."
"I know that, Palmer."
"I need some help. I need it now."
Cartwright started to sweat. He watched the zipper-blonde look around before catching the attention of the barkeep who'd handed the message off. Nice guy that he was, the barkeep quickly pointed toward the backdoor.
"Name it," the DJ mumbled, seeing the blonde's eyes light on his through the small pane of glass.
"When's the last time you heard of any red devils on the street?"
"Red devils? They're yesterday's news. The day before yesterday's. Aren't you up with the times, Palmer? Who's gonna lay out that money when you can get good uppers for less than half the price?"
Shit, the blonde's mischievous face appeared on the other side of the small window now. She looked like a wet dream with her make-up and her platinum bangs. Pretty, too. Nice, round face.
She licked her lips. He grew hard. In seconds she was through the door and into the warm night, her sweet, young ass pushing it closed behind her. She had a short, pleated skirt and knee-high boots that would make a holy man think 'sex.'
He shook his head, holding up the phone. Surely she got the message? He couldn't be interrupted. This call was important.
She smiled. Fuck, he was wasting his time. Her pale hands went to the zip, pulling it down and free. Her firm, pear-like tits pushed the jersey material open. She had large, pink nipples high on what had to be store-bought globes. What do you think of those, then, her eyes asked.
Cartwright's mouth dropped open. "If you aren't involved, Ben, someone else is," the cop was jabbering into his ear. He barely heard him as the girl sauntered up to him.
Wordlessly, she dropped to her knees, pulling down the zip of his trousers. She didn't speak. Just smiled up at him, running her tongue over those lips. Those oh-so sweet, suckable lips.
In seconds, his jeans and white boxers were tugged down to his thighs. Fuck, this girl didn't believe in wasting time! His cock was already erect, rising from his thick expanse of black, curly hair like a mini tower.
"I need you to put the feelers out," Palmer continued. "Someone's pushing these. Maybe a big consignment in the last couple of weeks."
One half of Cartwright's brain was listening to Palmer. The other was watching platinum-blonde lower her head and take him between her soft lips. Fuck...
He placed one hairy hand on the back of her head to steady himself, tightening it in her soft locks as she began to mouth-fuck him. His certainly wasn't the first cock she'd sucked.
"Couple of weeks?" he repeated, trying to regulate his breathing.
"That's right. A punter might have bought a bagfull recently. I need to find out who."
Her tongue made its way up one side of his shaft and down the other, bathing his length in her slippery saliva. She toyed with the ridge of his swollen head, all the while looking up at him with those luminous, playful eyes. They smiled as her cupid's bow mouth seductively sucked around the crown.
"Not possible," he gasped. "They don't sell nowadays."
Her eyes were staring up at him now. Teasing him. Telling him to end the call. God, she worked miracles with her tongue, swirling zig-zags down the hyper-sensitive underbelly.
"It's possible. It's happened. I need you to find out for me Cartwright. I don't have any time with this one. I need to know quickly."
His shaft pushed against her throat as she slid her pink lips all the way down to the base. He could feel his body succumbing to her working mouth. So quickly, too!
"I need to go, Palmer," he almost begged.
"Not 'til we're finished."
Finished? She deep-throated him like an expert. He was nearly finished! "Lemme see," he grunted, squeezing his eyes closed, desperately attempting to stave of the inevitable. "If it's happened, it could only be a couple of people. But Palmer... I... deal with these guys."
He grunted again as she took him to boiling point. Her eyes danced upwards into his again, her eyebrows arched as if daring him not to cum. They were in their own private battle. Zipper-blonde was racing him towards his orgasm. He was trying to last out the call.
"You owe me, Ben."
When she left his shaft with a slurp, he thought he had a temporary reprieve. His thoughts were dashed as she pushed his cock against his stomach and swiped her tongue across one testicle, then the other. Oh – My - God!
No, Palmer. Not really. I'm concentrating on this young sex bomb giving me the blowjob of my life.
She sucked gently from one heavy ball to the other, her almond coloured eyes talking to his. Didn't know I was this good, did you?
"Okay, okay." he desperately gasped, his fingers vainly trying to pull her head away. "Give me a while and I'll see what I can find."
Zipper-blonde plunged back onto his ramrod stiffness, deep-throating him again. She'd had enough of playing. "Going to cum, baby?" she growled, a string of saliva dangling between her lips and the tip of his hardness as she looked up again.
"Do it, Ben. I need to know tonight," Palmer was saying somewhere in the distance.
The blonde pulled up and took just the head between her pink lips. Her soft, jerking, sucking movements were just the way he liked it. How the fuck did she know that?
He was there!
"Okay," he almost pleaded. "I'll ring back in an hour. Gotta go—"
With a nano second to spare, his body jerked and his thick seed surged into her greedy mouth. Her soft lips took every long burst, pumping her head until he had nothing left to give. The way she slowly, erotically, licked him clean almost had him instantly hard again.
Triumphantly pulling herself up his body, she took his hand and pulled it under her skirt. His fingers found her naked sex, smooth and wet.
"Make me cum," she told him, with a tempting teenage smile. "Then I'll let you fuck me."
Taffy Boyd was in his element. Punching buttons, twisting dials. He hunched inside the padded earphones as he worked to lift the voices from one of the recordings. This was one he hadn't handed over to Homicide.
The shadow in the doorway made him jump.
Sergeant Willie Dixon smiled at him as he looked up. Known as Dixon of Dock Green for his uncanny physical resemblance to the TV character of well over thirty years ago, the beaten down man always appeared to have a weight around his shoulders. Still, retirement was only a year away.
He also knew everything there was to know about what was going on across the various departments.
"Want a coffee, Taffy?" he asked.
The Welshman pulled off the earphones. "No thanks, boyo."
"It'll go with those pastries."
Taffy licked the last of the doughnut's sugar off his stubby fingers. No way should he have eaten three of them, let alone be about to devour the remaining offering.
The Welshman laughed. "Got to keep my strength up, Sarge."
Dixon smiled. "Yes, laddie, I know that feeling. Need a hand?"
"I'm fine, thanks." The last thing he needed was Dixon's involvement.
Still the Sergeant didn't leave, his knowing eyes soaking in as much as he could. And Dixon had big eyes. "What're you up to anyway?" he asked, leaning against the doorframe.
"Well, it's a bit hush-hush, boyo," the scruffy Welshman smiled, his nervous laugh giving the game away. Willie Dixon made him nervous.
"You working for Homicide? I hear a little lady got blown away."
"No... why would I be working for those ignorant bastards? Just some stuff I've got to get ready for when Chilton returns."
The elderly Sergeant nodded. "Chilton! He's another ignorant bastard."
"Sure is," Taffy agreed. "But, sorry, Sarge. I've gotta get on with it."
Dixon nodded and turned away. "Leave you to it," he called over his shoulder.
He sauntered back to his desk, his mind working overtime. Burley had been a bit strange with him earlier. Now Boyd was hiding something. Before the night was out, he'd get to the bottom of it.
Willie Dixon always did.