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The Dead Bin

by Gary Clifton

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Chapter 32: Strategy

Civil Rights: Well, of course, civil rights protect people from illegal intrusion. Except, Stick wasn’t people.

What little sleep I got that night was fitful at best.

Tossing and squirming, I managed to keep Janet awake until nearly 4:00 a.m. until I dozed an hour or two.

When I pushed through the Police Department lobby, the early morning shift of riff-raff and lunatics had started to gather. A lady with a heavy Eastern European accent was swearing in English at a sergeant wearing the epaulets of the Traffic Division. Downstairs, Maggs was already at her desk. Harper lumbered in shortly.

“Crime Lab called.” Maggs pushed a stick-it note across her desk. “Bomb in Janet’s car made with a servo identical to the one in Dwight Elsworth’s vehicle.”

“I still think the Russian is behind the bombing of Janet’s Honda,” I said. Killing Kuznov had to be an attaboy in Hell.

“Got Court on an old case today,” Maggs said airily

I said, “I have an itch to screw over that Russian. A search warrant for his cocaine stash would be just dandy.”

Harper sat on my desk. “And use what for probable cause?”

“An old and dear friend of yours.”

Harper and I found a city car and squeezed into heavy traffic.

Then, a miracle interceded. Who says God doesn’t like dumb cops? It was the sergeant from the evening shift at the auto pound, an old friend.

“McCoy, you know that Cadillac y’all had towed last week? The pimp with the nasty lawyer who gave me a cussing?”

“I could hardly forget that bunch, sarge.”

“That Caddie’s back in here. Got towed today for overdue parking tickets. No guns this time, but I thought you might want to shake it down to see what falls out. I heard he’s a suspect in some heavy crap. And I’d like to choke that damned lawyer, who’s already called, by the way.”

“Hard to argue with Grifford’s work effort, not to be confused with work ethic. Me and Harper are in the car. Be over there in ten minutes.”

In line with the Federal Court ruling that the city was obligated to “inventory” all vehicles incoming to the pound, Harper and I would simply help in the inventory. With a little luck, we might come up with another God-know-what. A kilo of coke would be nice.

Harper and I went through the Cadillac in the steamy heat. The trunk and console were almost clean, but the “almost” part was a flaming arrow. From the console, I pulled a yellow repair claim sheet from Main Street Pawn.

Stick had signed the form when he dropped off a man’s gold diamond ring on Saturday afternoon, damaged, with a missing ring stand. The form showed the ring was in for repair and cleaning.

If Stick had a damaged ring, then we needed to check his hand for fight bite.

As we drove away, I said, “This just might be Stick’s ass.”

But first I had business with a Russian. A bust with his stash would not be nearly as big a hit as a murder charge — or attempted murder of Janet — but it could get him twenty years.

Proceed to Chapter 33...

Copyright © 2017 by Gary Clifton

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