It had been a few weeks since I had enjoyed a ride at the courtesy of the local police department. The back seat of the cruiser was jammed of course and BULS make lousy conversationalists so I was reduced to looking out the window at the setting sun. I’ve had worse treatment at the hands of Bruno. BULS unit one and two escorted me too a gray room, empty except for a mirror and a single white table with a pair of much abused chairs. They shoved me into the too warm room and I sat silently. I am not sure why Bruno bothered with the theatrics of making me wait. I had been through this enough times not to be impressed. When you come down to it a cop is a cop though. I set my hat on the table and watched myself in the mirror. No bullet holes yet in the case, so we’ll call it a win.
Bruno slowly entered the room not saying a word as he took the chair opposite mine. “Well you have made a hot mess. Care to explain yourself or shall I just find a hole to throw you in now?”
I turned in my chair leaning over to face the lieutenant. “Bruno, you have the statement and the evidence at the scene, you have to know it was self defense at this point.”
“Maybe I do and maybe it’s taking a while to process. Like a few months if you don’t start talking.”
I thought it over as I spun my hat on the table. Bruno couldn’t really hold me for months on nothing. A few days when I needed to be doing other things he could manage however. Or find a way to sandbag me later. That man can hold a grudge with the best of them. “The goons were there to kill Toshiro Ishamoto, which I suspect you already knew. He ran out the back and took off on my old motorcycle after we shot the killers. Speaking of the barkeep is he ok?”
“Yeah he took a nasty hit. He’ll live though. How did Mister Ishamoto convince you to stick your neck out in a mess like this? And who is after him?”
“I owe him one. And I was not hired to protect him. His daughter Asiru is a student in LA and my job was to keep them away from her.Before you ask I don’t have her. Since they have not tried to use her it is a fair bet that they do not either. You met Haruki Kimura in my office. I don’t know how many are looking for him. I am almost sure he is in charge though.
“A heavy like that, perfect. You do know how to pick em. I am putting out an APB on Toshiro Ishamoto, Asiru Ishamoto. If you see them and don’t tell me I’ll run you in for obstruction for real next time.” Bruno stood up making for the door. “I’ve got guys trying to keep an eye on Hakiru Kimura. He is a slippery one though. Do me a favor and stay clear of him. Your homicide case is trouble I do not need. You can go as soon as the paperwork clears.” Bruno left the room as the door clicked locked behind him.
The BULS escorted me out an hour later. Sarah must have caught wind of what happened as the car was waiting for me as I walked out into the night. I blinked stifling a yawn as I collapsed into the car. The case should hold till morning and I needed at least some sleep.
Sarah greeted me as soon as my fingers touched the ignition.“Welcome back detective. One of your shorter stays at the police station by my count. I suspect you could use some sleep however Miss Cherry Azure has requested your immediate presnce at her club. Where should I send the car?”
“Let’s see what Cherry wants. Sleep can wait another hour and she is cutting us a few favors as it is.”
“Of course detective, any other instructions?”
“I am going to close my eyes till we get there. Handle anything that comes up.” I slid my hat over my eyes and let the car handle the trip.
I blinked slowly eyes adjusting to the light as the Fairlane pulled slowly into the back of the Century Club. Cherry was there waiting for me, her man timothy standing over her with an annoyed look on his long face. I could just make out him whispering as I slid out of the car. “This is a mistake.”
“Shhh…” Cherry put a finger to his lips. “Not in front of our guest.” She turned to me, perfectly filling out a short black dress that left no curves and very little else to the imagination. “So you have made a mess again Sam. Is that the third gunfight today I am hearing about?” Cherry flashed me a smile that could melt stone.
“The second. I am guessing the reinforcements have arrived.” I stared down into her flashing emerald eyes, lit up with the touch of red implants she used for effect at the club and mischief in equal measure.
“That is what my sources say. With this many in town I can’t do much more for you that offer you sanctuary in the small part of Los Angeles I control. They won’t come near the Century Club unless they are ready for a full out war. We are quite ready for them if they do. Isn’t that right Timothy?” Cherry looked back over her shoulder.
“Of course Miss Azure.” Timothy nodded his head, otherwise holding the motionless stare of a man almost always on his guard.
“Sam take me up on my offer. There are going to people looking for you and at the very least I can give you a place to sleep. Sometime when bullets are not flying I’ll find a better way to entertain you.” Cherry stared up at me waiting for an answer.
“You win Cherry. I am too tired to argue about it.” I gently touched her cheek, meeting her stare. “And thank you.”
“I almost always do.” Cherry signaled to one of the bouncers. “Show Mister Sloan to the private room I had set aside and make sure he is not bothered.”
I allowed myself to be led to a small, lavish room in the private area of the Century Club. I just managed to slide my coat and hat over a hook before a deep sleep overtook me as the beat of the club echoed in the background.
I just barely woke up to the creaking sound of my door opening at what had to be the middle of the night. I slid to the left my fingers closing around a heavy lamp on the table as I tried to make out who was coming in.
“Put the lamp down Sam, I am certainly not here to hurt you, not much anyways.” Cherry sat next to me on the bed the lights in her skin bathing the room in a soft red light. She seemed to have misplaced her dress on the way in although she was still dressed in black, just much less of it. “I hardly ever get to see you anymore and don’t even try to tell me you haven’t missed me a little.”
“I have.” Cherry was an occasional pain but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy her more often than not. My fingers traced the flecks of red in her skin “Staying the night?”
“I thought you would never ask.” Cherry kissed me as the red light dimmed plunging the room back into darkness.
Cherry left early, leaving me to wake up to a buzzing message in my ear. “I’m here Sarah. What is it?”
“Detective we have received a number of anonymous messages over the last hour. I believe Asiru Ishamoto has been kidnapped.”
“Find out what you can then send me the data. I’ll start at the club and see if the guards Cherry set are intact.”
“Already working on it. I will contact you when I have something.”
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