Friday, May 6, 2016

Amber and Chrome Part 5

I was shoved into the dark SUV, stuck between Sherman and the smelly individual I had decided to name goon number three. Number two was driving, a slack jawed look on his face framed by a cheap gray suit that looked like the big buffoon had never worn one before.

“Sherman, do you usually kidnap girls for a living or are you just the hired muscle.” Never hurts to rile up the help a little, besides I was bored.

“Don’t you worry about my job. Once we get you back to the boss you won’t have nothin to worry about.”

I turned to Sherman. “Might not just be me. Even after you jokers get rid of me my trail might just lead right to you. I’ve known guys like your boss before. He could just as well shoot all of us and call it a loss.” As we approached West Coast Construction I just caught my Fairlane tailing us out of the corner of my eye. Sarah should be giving the law my location right now. All I had to figure out was how to get though the next few minutes without being shot.

Inside West Coast Construction I scanned the room seeing several dozen more medical tubes. From across the room I could make out blinking lights on about a quarter of them. The rest sad cold and dead. I didn’t even want to know what was inside those. I was walked with a pistol in my back to a side room with a cold concrete floor and cheap lime green paint on the walls. Fairly easy spot to clean up if someone made a mess. A single chair sat near the center of the room and standing next to it was none other than Doctor Richard Lockwell. I was already certain he was involved in this, the question was how deep. Sherman and one of the goons shoved me into the chair and cuffed my hands behind my back.

“Now why have you been snooping around?” Sherman got back in my face, doing his best impersonation of a man to be frightened of.

“I was bored. The decor in your repair shop could use a little work by the way. I know a guy if you are interested.” The answer clearly was not the one he wanted and earned me a punch in the jaw, luckily Sherman still couldn’t throw a punch that was worth a damn.

Sherman turned around staring at the slab of beef behind him. “Tracey, hit this guy till he talks.”

“Don’t show up Sherman though. He might end up looking like a big wimp.” I used the distraction to pop my metal hand out of it’s socket.

Tracey ignored me and spent the next minute bruising several of my ribs with those meat hooks he called fists. Doctor Lockwell turned away with a green look on his face. The doctor was in way over his head. I sputtered to catch my breath as Tracey stopped, turning as a corpulent man in an all white suit and thin black tie entered the room slowly, leaning on a charcoal black cane for support. He slid the fedora off of his head as he stopped and surveyed the scene in front of him, jowls flapping as he spoke. “Sherman what is this?”

“We is figuring out why this peeper has been following our people around and sticking his nose in where it isn’t welcome. Like you told us Boss.”

“Sherman, stop trying to help. The question is what does he know and who has he told. If he knew enough to look in the repair shop he probably has tracked most of the business at this point.” The fat man walked over to my chair. “So what do you know, everything or just a little?”

“I glanced up into a pair of cold, black eyes. “Most of it, the only thing I am not sure of is whether you are shipping those people out whole or in pieces. I am sure your clients are paying top dollar for parts of them.”

The unnamed boss leaned heavily on his cane. “Little of this, little of that. Now for the important questions. How did you find my operation?”

I actually smiled. Sometimes it was just easier to tell the truth. “I was following your Doctor over there. He isn’t really good at this and his wife was under the impression he was stepping out.” I stared straight at Doctor Lockwell. “You know they are going to kill you too right?”

Lockwell turned white as a sheet and looked about a half a second away from bolting. The fat man pointed at him and a goon grabbed each arm, holding him in place.

Sherman slid a phone out of his pocket. “This is not a good time.” There was a tense pause. “Boss we are blown. That was our guy at the station. They know we are here and law is on it’s way.”

The boss moved faster then I thought possible for a man of his size towards the door. “Clean this up then light up the building.”

Sherman actually smiled. “My pleasure Boss.” He slid a pistol out of his coat then immediately stopped smiling as I stood and my metal fingers closed around his gun hand. I could hear the bones crunch as I squeezed. Sherman cried out as I grabbed his pistol and dashed for the door. The heavies already had their pistols out and the door frame exploded around me in a hail of gunfire as I felt a pair of solid impacts in my back I managed to pull off a couple of badly aimed shots. I ducked around the corner and out of sight while they reloaded. I checked the few rounds I had left as I managed to limp along into a side room with one way in. That should keep them at bay for a minute or two. A quick check of my back revealed a couple cracked ribs. Turns out the armor I lined my coat with a couple years back was a good investment. I could make out a pair of big guys and and Sherman outside the door nursing his crushed hand. I fired a couple shots to make them think twice about coming in, but if they all rushed the door I was done for. The upshot was none of them seemed too eager to be the first one through.

Off in the distance I heard metallic footsteps and several mechanical voices. “This area is being secured. Drop your weapons and lay down on the ground.” The goons at the door turned and fired several shots at the approaching voices and I heard the foot steps speed up just before the men were knocked to the ground by a pair of BULS units. I let my pistol fall to the floor as the mechanized cops took us all into custody. I was cuffed and led out of the building, right into the immaculately dressed and annoyed looking Lieutenant Anton Bruno.

“Why am I not surprised to see you in the middle of this shootout?” Bruno looked me over with a shake of his head before turning his glare to the BULS. “Get this idiot to the hospital and I will decide whether or not to arrest him later. As far as the others, arrest them while I try to make some sense of this mess.”

An hour later and with the help of a solid dose of morphine I sat up in my hospital bed to greet a less angry looking Lieutenant Bruno with a single BULS unit. “All right Sloan what happened? I want the whole story and if you withhold anything this time I’ll take that morphine drip out then run you in on obstruction charges. 127 start record mode for the official statement of Samuel Sloan.”

I spent the next hour giving Bruno every last detail of West Coast Construction and my investigation. I didn’t really have anything worth hiding anyways except the break in at their repair shop. If Bruno decided to run me in on a misdemeanor it would not be the first time.

Anton Bruno took a moment to consider then looked me in the eye. “I could probably find something to charge you with but after you broke up an organ harvesting ring there is no way it would ever stick. So you get to walk, this time. 127 end recording. Your client is angry as hell by the way. Doctor Richard Lockwell was shot and killed when we stormed the building. Appears he was being well paid to mark patients that were easy to disappear. The only loose end is the guy in charge. He escaped before the BULS took the building. And this isn’t the first time I have heard that description.”

“Appreciated Lieutenant. And since you are not arresting me I have a present for you.”

“Do I even want to ask?”

I laid back in my bed. “The people at West Coast got a tip off that you were coming. That’s why you didn’t manage to take them by surprise. Looked like the call was placed from the police precinct around 6:30. I suspect you keep logs of outgoing communication.”

“I take it back that is a good gift. I’ll get the guys at the precinct to lay off you. Just keep that to yourself for now. And stop getting in shootouts. I am tired of having to use perfectly good BULS to save you.” Bruno motioned to the BULS unit and left without another word.

A furious client that would sue except doing so would expose the kind of business her husband was in and a shadowy criminal that has a score to settle. Sometimes I think I should have taken up gardening. At least I got paid in advance. I sent a message to Sarah to make sure the office knew I was alive and would be out for a day or two then drifted off to sleep.

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