Season Two – Episode 2 – “Dodging Bullets”

By: B.A. Holland

Production Notes:

Started: 2/02/2012

“Air Date” 03/03/2012

Published by: Abyssal Books

www.abyssalbooks.com

Copyright ©2012

All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer

This series is a work of fiction. Characters, names and incidences are either productions of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Chapter One

Mandatory Volunteering

To the Parent(s) of Jordan McKenzie

From: Schooling Institute of New York State

Dear Anna McKenzie,

It has come to our attention that your daughter has exceeded the expectations of the curriculum that we have provided your family. It is with great honor that we wish to convey our congratulations to you. Your daughter, Jordan McKenzie will be accelerated to the academic equivalent of a high school sophomore. Your diploma should be ready upon the completion of the required volunteer efforts. If you have any problems or questions with discovering the many wonderful places that your daughter can volunteer and learn from a potential life-changing experience, please contact us.

Jordan was the first to step into the room. Tom, her mother’s boss walked beside her as she scanned large confined space filled with a few tables and trash cans that were filled with small brass tubes which sat beside every lane. At that time of night, the place was empty. Jordan’s footsteps echoed on the cement floor of the closed in facility. To the right of her was a long narrow tunnel separated by separate benches and barriers between each lane for firing.

“This should be good,” the grey headed man said as he stopped her. He reached to the dividing wall beside her and pressed a button. What seemed like a clothes-line on an electric motor began to run and she watched as a piece of paper with many holes in it approached her. Tom let go of the motor switch as the paper reached the lane. Jordan’s blue eyes blinked as she watched the paper dangle back and fourth. There was a silhouette printing of a man on the page. Inside the silhouette was a four ringed circle marked five, ten, and fifteen.

“Alright, have you ever fired one of these before?” Tom asked as he pulled a gun from his belt and laid it on the table.

“Nope,” Jordan said as she picked the pistol up. Tom held onto the magazine so that the little blonde girl could look the gun over for a moment.

“Alright, in that case, the first thing you need to know is safety,” Tom said. He was about to say more, but Jordan interrupted.

“Always keep the barrel of the weapon pointed down range. Don’t ever aim it at anything you don’t intend to shoot. When someone says that the range thngy is hot, you are free to fire; if someone says the range is cold, then I must eject the magazine and clear the chamber. Then after that, I lay the gun down on the bench and step behind the yellow line. Oh, but this gun doesn’t have a safety so that saves half the time. It has a three point independent safety thingy activated by that cute trigger bar that makes the trigger look like a pair fo scissors rather than a trigger. There is a firing pin safety solid steel pin thing that prevents the firing pin to activate the primer of your bullets until the action of pulling the trigger back releases it.

Tom’s eyebrows raised at the girl as he looked down at her. To him, it just didn’t seem right for a petite blonde sporting pigtails and a Mickey Mouse Shirt labeled “Let’s Get Dancey” to be able to lecture a thirty year veteran on his own gun. He then took into account who’s daughter this was and he took a deep breath. He looked around to make sure he was alone and then brought his full attention down on the girl that held the gun properly with her finger outside of the trigger guard, pointed downrange with the rest of the weapon.

“Why did you lie to me, Jordan?”

“I didn’t!” Jordan’s brows furrowed and she shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. “Why would you think that I was lying to you?”

“You aid you never shot this before in your life.”

“I haven’t! This is a Glock 17C, I learned with my mom’s Glock-19C.”

Tom grinned at the girls reasoning as he clamped a new target to the wire and sent it downrange.

“Alright. This gun doesn’t have as much kick as your mothers gun. If you want to load it up, go ahead. Just follow your parents instructions on what to do with it and fire away. Those bullets are all paid for by the tax payers so feel free to rack up our debt one bullet at a time,” Tom quipped. He turned around to find the bench behind the yellow line and he sat.

Jordan pressed the button next to the shooting booth and the motor hummed until the target was set at fifty yards. It had been a while since she shot and she always remembered how hard it was to squeeze that trigger for the first time. She always wound up anticipating the first round and it made her want to blink even before the bang. After the first shot, however, the girls stance became more relaxed and at ease. She leaned forward slightly and squeezed the trigger a few more times. Tom turned an overhead computer monitor and switched the camera’s footage from six hundred yards back to fifty. He watched the groupings get tighter and tighter until the girl ran out of bullets in her magazine.

“Very good,” Tom said as he got up. They exchanged magazines so that he could load up the last one again while she shot. “So how far do you think you can hit the target at?”

Jordan shrugged her shoulders and hit the button next to her firing lane and leaned on it while she watched Tom load the other magazine. He stopped loading it a moment and looked up when he heard the motor running a lot longer than it should for even two hundred yards. Tom raised an eyebrow and shook his head.

“Jordan… Seriously, come on. That range is only capable for people with rifles, and with rifle training.”

Jordan squeezed off a shot and Tom saw a the target move slightly in the far distance. Lucky, he thought. Just a lucky shot. She fired another round and he thought he saw the target move as a bullet sliced through it. He put his magazine down and adjusted the camera to zoom on the six hundred yard target. He watched as holes formed on or around the silhouette, which, even the bullets that hit the paper constituted a miraculous shot from anyone wielding a pistol.

“Hehe fun!” Jordan put the pistol and turned around by way of a 180 degree jump to see if Tom was done with reloading her next magazine for the gun. Instead, most the bullets were still in the box and not in the magazine. She saw that, instead, Tom sat at the table behind her with his mouth wide open and his eyes were still on the computer monitor that viewed her shots.

“Hello?” Jordan waved her hand at her mother’s boss and looked at him.

“Yes,” Tom said.” He finally blinked after almost ten seconds of gazing at the monitor and he shook his head and smiled. “Sorry.. You.. It’s just that – you shoot better than anyone I’ve ever known.”

“Practiced a lot in Iowa,” Jordan giggled.

Tom kept his eyebrow raised along with his doubts about this just being her training. He thought about how Anna found ways to dodge the subject of her daughter. Now, due to extenuating circumstances, Anna needed Jordan to volunteer somewhere and have a signed document stating that she did in fact, volunteer. Tom felt that there was certainly something strange about her daughter after her kidnaping by the mob. Who am I kidding, Tom thought. Of course she’s different after being kidnaped. He shrugged the thoughts away despite how active her life has been since she moved to New York. He had never met Anna’s daughter before that point. He assumed that Anna trusted him with her daughter; now he had the sinking feeling that perhaps, maybe it was just that Anna knew that her daughter could handle herself. She was unusually pale for a girl her age but her skin was perfect, along with her teeth, eyes, hair with no split ends at all… Either this girl was the most genetically perfect teenage he had ever seen, or she went to the beauty shop so much that any California valley-girl would have been jealous. Tom knew that if one thing was true about Jordan, it was the fact that she was no valley-girl. He assumed at first that she didn’t fit into public schooling because she was too far out of her own middle-USA culture to be able to cope with city life. Now that he had a chance to see her, it appeared that she could cope with anything except for sunlight. Odd.

“You want to try?” Jordan handed the gun to him by way of holding the barrel of the gun toward the floor with the handle facing toward him – a very safe way to hand off a weapon. Her parents taught her well.

“I practice here enough. I will be fine without it,” Tom lied and Jordan knew. She smiled with him in a way that even her eyes squinched. Tom couldn’t help himself and he began to laugh the moment she giggled again. Seeing her made him wish he had children and he was suddenly stricken with gratefulness that Anna allowed him to show her around and volunteer under him. “Come on, kid. If you’re going to volunteer, I’ll show you what you can help me with.” Tom finished re-loading the magazines and re-holstered his weapon. He secretly regretted having to clean it yet again but such was life. He guided Jordan out of the firing range and hoped that she wouldn’t tell anyone that she would have out-shot their boss.

A short drive back to the precinct later and a quick browse through all the shops on the way, and they were back at Tom’s office. She walked through the door to his office and sat down in her chair. On his desk was a computer that looked like it had seen better days. As she got comfortable in the chair she noticed the date stamped on the back of the machine. 1992.

“Dang! Tom! This computer is five years older than I am!” Jordan looked shocked.

“I hope you don’t mind working with it,” Tom said as he pointed to the chair on the other side of his desk and motioned for her to relocate herself to it. “… because you’re going to be helping me move all the case files from this, to this.” Tom opened a filing cabinet and pulled an HP laptop out of it. He laid it on the desk and watched as the first thing she did was pick it up and look underneath

“Twenty-Twelve! Awesome. Twenty-First century, here you come, yep…”

Tom plugged the computer into an outlet under the desk for her while she typed away on it. He handed her a small square diskette that was about the size of a few sheets of paper and about three and a half inches long. Part of what gave it away was the fact that it said on the surface of the disk, 3 ½ Diskette. Jordan laughed as she looked at it.

“I need you to load the program that is on that disk onto the new computer and then transfer all of the data off of this old machine and onto the laptop.”

Jordan leaned back in her chair and swung her pigtails from side to side.

“Tom, I hate to break this to you but computers don’t even take these things anymore. We’re going to have to find a way to get this program onto your computer by way of transferring it to – say, a jump drive? Do you have any of those?”

“This computer doesn’t have a Jump Drive,” Tom said.

Jordan spun around in her chair, “Take me tooooo Radio Shack!”

“Why?”

“Gonna load this disk back into your oldie machine and just load the disk’s contents into a file. Then I will make a hard drive enclosure for your dinoputer’s drive, and adapt it to a USB interface. Once it’s all loaded up, I can install this cheap, old , archaic, ancientwear off of what was on that disk using your hard drive space on your old computer. And then, after that, I’ll just transfer the data from your old drive to your laptop and I won’t have to manually copy a thing. After that, I recommend calling up a more funded department and asking them for a copy of whatever new software they are running because this…” She held the disk up.

Copyright 1987 – NYPD CRIME FILING SYSTEM (CFS)

“Yeah,” Jordan said. “If they haven’t evolved by now, no wonder crime is so crazy in this city. Your computer is twenty years old and your software is twenty-five years old!”

“They told me they didn’t have the funding to send me updated software,” Tom said.

“Give me a break… Phone! Phone book… Come on…” Jordan stretched her arms out and rapidly clasped and unclasped her hands in rapid succession.

The Ancient

The Freighter Alcon – two miles offshore from New York City

It had been a long two month journey for the crew. After the sixth disappearance, they sent the Coast Guard to inspect the ship’s holds and compartments before they made dock near the city. The crew was sure that no body would be found but they had assumed them dropped overboard and not turned to dust after their blood had been drained dry. He didn’t want to touch the rest of the crew because despite being a good food source, those who were left were not so bad. One night early during the journey from Japan to America, Rodney had taken a look at the crew manifest; it came complete with background information on every crew member. He might have been a Vampire, but he never thought of himself particularly as a monster. The way he saw it, if he could weed out the jerks, weasel’s, assholes, fucktards, backstabbers, and all fans of Justin Bieber, the world would thank him for taking out the trash.

The only reason the Coast Guard was called was probably because he had drained the Captains Pet dry just a few days before launch. And by Captains Pet, no, not an animal; it was a way of saying the captains right hand man. His go-to guy, or for Star Trek fans, his number one.

Captain Rodgers practically loved that man. Rodney knew because Rogers wouldn’t stop looking for him and practically lost his job when he demanded to turn back and retrace their route in the chance that he fell overboard. Of course, he had no idea that he was a pile of dust on the engine room floor. If he understood why a vampire would have done such a cruel thing to him, he may not have been so upset considering that his first officer was secretly sabotaging the good work of everyone onboard in order to make him look like his shit didn’t stink compared to the rest of the crew, he might not have been so angry. Rodney caught on very quick to the fact that Rodgers first officer was the third worst thing in the world; a go-getter by way of monumental weaselocity. He would write in his logbook that he had a feeling about a certain engineering component and that he supposedly told his Engineering officer that there was something wrong – only he never said a word to the Engineering officer, nor was there a problem. He would sneak out in the middle of night-watch and sabotage the exact system he had a feeling about and pretend to have been asleep the entire time.

Rodney had been in mist form at the time and he saw the entire incident. After going through the first officer’s logbook, he could see that there was a valiant string of instances where he had feelings about something wrong with something. So really, this man was a deceitful liar that gained his rank at the expense of everyone else’s unjust demotions and terminated jobs. Of course, the engineer didn’t have anything to worry about anymore – he was dead too. He would have been saved if it were not for the fact that he was arrested for lewd behavior in front of a school bus-stop.

The engineers first mate was also dust, as were two of the Coast Guardsmen that took their places to ensure that the ship is sufficiently crewed for the remainder of the journey – they were Justin Beiber fans. He didn’t know what terrified him more, the fact that they were fans, or the combination of two people in a position of some authority being fanboys of a little kid that couldn’t even play a decent villain on an episode of CSI. He caught them contemplating other things in their lives that he didn’t agree with and he found it all reason enough to dust them.

These were all reasons why Captain Rogers found himself alone on a ship that he couldn’t stop himself due to lack of crew by the time he got to his destination – reasons he would never know. The captain was sure to be the subject of a complete investigation and a thorough ship inspection.

Rodney found himself once again on the streets of New York City. He checked his watch and made sure that it was on the correct time zone as he roamed the streets on a full stomach and a drive for revenge. He pulled a picture out of his pocket with a note attached to it.

Titus Atticus.

Tom’s computer was running a new software application that he had never seen before. With the help of the computer game store across the street from the police precinct, she had acquired a Cisco router and hooked it into a DSL line that she ordered for the department. It wasn’t cable internet by a long shot but it was a giant upgrade for anyone willing to buy their own laptop and download the new CFS software from the server she made from scratch with freshly bought components from Compy USA. The department was running up to speed for the first time since 1990 and already, police officers were identifying repeat offenders that they had in lockup. With the help of a few more computers that she bought with the departments weak budget, the software was soon repopulated and updated. People that they were about to let out of the drunk tank for the average nightly routine soon found themselves held until they paid off their child support for the first time in years. Jordan made more than a few new enemies and she didn’t even realize it.

“This is amazing,” Tom said as he stood behind Jordan and looked over her shoulder as she fine-tuned everything to the best of her ability. Tom regretted regretting having Anna’s daughter come in as a volunteer because he already wanted her on the payroll.

“Yep!” Jordan wasn’t even modest about it. She stood up and spun the chair in Tom’s direction.

“How did you learn how to work with computers so quickly?” Tom sat in the chair and marveled at the new network that Jordan had set up for him. The blonde put her hands on her hips and smiled so broadly through her teeth that her eyes had to squint.

“Easy,” Jordan said. “Just like how any other kid learned to fix computers so quickly; if my father ever found out I broke his computer when he got home, he’d kill me! I made sure that it was fixed before he got back. I learn a lot about fixing things that way.”

Chinatown

Anna raced down the fire escapes as fast as she could but the man she was after was too fast for her. No matter how hard she tried to skip a few steps on the metallic grating, she just wasn’t as skilled, or as brave as the man willing to forego entire flights of stairs at risk of falling completely off one of the landings. She wanted to fire off a warning shot like in the movies but knew it was too densely populated a neighborhood to risk sending a bullet through someone’s window by accident. No, I’m going to have to actually chase after this idiot and when I catch him — I’m going to squeeze off a round at close range so that I don’t have to worry about killing anyone else, she thought to herself as she kept at it. She wasn’t sure where she got the morbid thinking from but sometime after moving to New York to continue her law enforcement career, it had manifested. By the time she made her way to the bottom of the metal contraption designed to save lives, Zak had already brought the peeping tom to his knees and he wasn’t even out of breath. She thought that she probably needed to work out but then came to the conclusion that Zak worked smarter and not harder; it was the only explanation – she had been on her radio the entire time relaying the information to her partner about the perpetrators whereabouts.

“Bout’ time ya got here,” Zak gloated as he cuffed the man. He could see that Anna was too out of breath to read the man his rights so he did it for her. What he really hated was that they never listened to the right to remain silent part.

“You got me wrong dude! You got me wrong! I’s live up there!” He yelled so loud that he began to wake the residents in nearby apartments. Someone popped their head out of the window and reminded them that it was three in the morning on a Friday night and that some people were trying to have sex.

“We know!” Anna yelled. “We have the pictures!” She raised the camera that she collected off of the man.

Once in Anna’s unmarked Crown Victoria, they continued one of the many conversations that they had since returning from vacation.

“I can’t believe they aren’t giving us another car,” Zak sighed as he watched the streets zoom by on their way to the precinct.

“Because we have a perfectly good one now,” Anna reminded him as she goosed the gas for emphasis.

“You should have wrecked this one.”

“It was already wrecked when I wrecked yours, remember? I didn’t have any other car to wreck at the time. Besides, this car rides smoother.”

“I miss the Dodge Charger. It was state of the art, man.”

“I’m not a man,” Anna reminded.

“May I check?”

The criminal in the back watched as Anna took her free hand and hit Zak in the back of the head.

On the rooftops, a shadowy figure watched the crown vic underneath him as it cruised down the streets. He began his run in order to match the speed of the car and get in front of it in order to compensate for what he was about to do. Air conditioning units, the occasional bum, and building ledges had to be leapt over in single bounds at times but despite growing up in the woods, it was easy to get used to for him. After all, he was somewhat ancient. It had only taken a few hours to hack into the computer systems with all the information he needed in order to track Jordan down. The police were very handy with such information. This was their car; a car that loomed closer and closer since he had lunched off of the rooftops.

“Do you two need marriage consoling or something?,” the busted camera-man asked. “Because, if you need privacy or som’in I’m fine with heading out of here.”

“Shut up!” Both cops said in unison.

More would have been said if it were not for the fact that the windows shattered as the roof above their heads caved in. Anna swerved out of control and they slammed into a street-side dumpster which in-turn flew through the front doors and windows of a pawn shop. Anna turned around just in time to see the man in the back of the car get pulled through the hole that used to house the back window. He kicked and screamed for about a second before his cries for help vanished. For a brief moment, nothing but the sound of the alarm system in the pawn shop echoed through the empty street.

Zak cursed under his breath a moment and pulled his sidearm.

“This is unit 339,” Anna keyed the mic on the car’s radio but it only came back with static. “339 – officer needs assistance. Hello?”

Anna tried the door but the compression from someone falling from the rooftops onto the roof of their car kept the door from opening. Zak’s door, however blasted open with the force of the collision.

“This is some bullshit…” Zak had to say it. It distracted him from the annoying trickle of blood that kept finding it’s way to his eyes from a small cut on the top of his bald head. He kept one eye closed as he trained his pistol on the back of the car. The plastic divider between the back seat and the front seats had popped away from their screwed in mounts which gave him a clear shot in case anything else tried to take the role of back-seat-driver.

“The radio’s out,” Anna said. She reached into her pocket and was about to dial the department when the severed head of the arrested photographer bounced off the crumbled hood of her car.

“Holy shit!” Anna yelled so loud that she didn’t even catch the string of obscenities emanating from Zak’s mouth. She pulled the car into reverse and stomped on the gas.

The crippled unmarked cruiser’s interior lights still worked and came to life as the car skidded sideways after gaining sufficient speed to perform a J-Turn. As the tires burned along the pavement and the car righted itself, Rodney watched with amusement.

“So this is the mother of Jordan,” Rodney mused between the laugh. “Oh… This night is going to be a night to remember.” He let them go for now. He enjoyed playing with his prey before striking. He wanted them to runs cared as he pulled similar threatening warnings to everyone else involved in the hostile takeover of the Sanctum. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a phone book written in Anna’s handwriting.

Pedro’s new club.

“Club Nightmare/Club Proton”

238 West 30th Street – The old firehouse.

Chapter Two

The Art of Dodging Bullets

Nichole Draysdale stepped into a puddle in the street. Her personal lawyer from Goldberg, Ironcrotch, and Draysdale stood closely by her side he guided her safely through the streets like a knight protecting his queen. She gasped at the smell coming from the Jing Fong restaurant and complained about how it will take forever to get the smell of fried pork out of her clothing after a steamy cloud of deliciousness offended her like everything else in her life. Her high heels nearly tripped her into a mountain of trash as they searched for the police department manned by her nemesis neighbor, Anna. It may have been three-thirty in the morning on a Friday night but since her husband wanted her to shut up, he called up one of his co-workers. Six hundred dollars under the table for a service that shuts Nichole Draysdale up, plus whatever standard fee’s from a lawsuit had made them buddy’s.

She stopped once to make sure that she put on the best uptight bitch persona she could. Once she checked her reflection in her mirror and confirmed that her lipstick and makeup were perfect, she was ready to enter the building. The 5th Precinct was busy at that time of night. The desk sergeant looked up for only a moment and sized the both of them up in seconds. It was obviously a lawyer in a $700 dollar suit with an over-the-hill prostitute with a good boob job.

“Take your seat next to the other hookers,” he said. “Sign in on the clipboard, do not take the pen.”

Nichole grabbed her chest and made a sound only a female dog could have made after a six year old set’s it’s tail on fire. The lobby stopped to take a look at the display.

“Well, I never!”

“Sir, this is Nichole Draysdale… I represent her husband, who happens to be one of the co-founders of the most prestigious law firms in New York, and we are here to file a complaint and to notify a detective that we are going to contact child services about her daughter. This is very serious.”

The desk sergeant blinked and looked up from his paperwork for the first time in half an hour to look them over. He seemed to be comparing Nichole with the other hookers. Yes, this woman probably does have the entire lobby beat in terms of plastic surgery, he thought to himself.

“What is your badge number, sir?!” Nichole wiggled her chest and pretended to shudder in anger and feigned disbelief. She was good at it.

The sergeant rolled his eyes.

“It’s on my badge, miss Draysdale,” he said with a contemptuous tone.

“Eight-Nine-Oh’-Four…” She said and huffed. She turned around, stuck her nose in the air and walked away from the window. She was going to sit down but there were a dozen hookers in the lobby under guard by a police-woman with a shotgun that looked as if she too would rather not want to have her stand near her. She chose to stand.

“I’m sorry, sir…” The sergeant said to the lawyer. “… Anna and her partner are currently on patrol at the moment. We could have them recalled but they’re on the other side of Chinatown right now. It may take some time for them to get back.”

“Then, I want to talk with your boss.”

“What for?”

“None of your business.”

The sergeant fought the urge to roll his eyes as he picked the phone up.

Jordan had been upgrading every desk with a new computer system out of the departments budget every other minute. The girl had already set up a server room and she helped Tom with getting department discounts with NY-Tronics, a local business that manufactured desktops. With four detectives, and another hundred workstations, she did the math in her head and came to the conclusion that the department had just spent 50,000 dollars out of the budget; which was a far cry from what Tom was told when he said that a complete computer upgrade from a major brand would cost close to 170,000 dollars. After explaining it all to Tom he smiled at her.

“I’m glad you are okay with it. Last time my mom lost 35,000 dollars she tried to breathe soda and found out that she couldn’t,” Jordan chirped as she unpacked a brand new generic PC Keyboard.

Tom tried not to laugh at that. He had heard about what happened on their vacation and also learned that any expenses that came out of the rescue were paid for in full by the state of Hawaii. He imagined that it was indeed, quite the scare to Anna at first. He wasn’t sure if the thirteen year old computer whizz would understand it all so he decided not to go into it.

“It’s okay,” Tom said as he patted her between her blonde pigtails. “Your mom will forget all about it when she comes back to her desk to see she has an extra computer to go with her laptop she had to buy because of our old network.”

“Oh? They had to buy their own comp’s?” Jordan asked in reference to her mother and Zak. She looked around and spotted a pair of desks with laptops on them. He pointed a slender finger ot the desks and looked to Tom who nodded in agreement. “Oh, well.. Can I have a spare?”

“Um –,” Tom remembered now that he had to be careful when talking to her. This kid knew an opportunity when she saw one. He imagined newspapers with three inch font on the front page that said:

POLICE CAPTAIN USES CITY TAX MONEY TO GIFT COMPUTER TO DETECTIVES DAUGHTER

After thinking about those headlines he knew he had to get out of this conversation fast and in a way that didn’t disappoint the poor girl.

“Don’t you already have a computer?”

“You can never have too many!” She actually giggled when she said it.

Damn it, Tom thought. How do I get out of this…

“Captain,” a uniformed officer cut in. Thank God!

“Yes?” Tom turned and sighed in relief.

“There’s a lawyer at the front desk that needs to speak with you.”

Fuck…

“Can it wait?” Tom turned to the little girl and swung his arm around her. “Jordan and I were discussing compensation for all her hard work today.” Tom walked away from the uniformed officer and brought his attention back to the girl.

“So… About that computer!”

This left the uniformed officer stuck with nothing to tell the lawyer.

“But sir, I…”

He looked around the room and then back at his boss as he walked away while in deep conversation with the girl that suddenly grabbed so much of his attention that he couldn’t respond to a pissed off lawyer. The captain and the girl vanished into a back room that conveniently housed an emergency exit to a stairwell.

Club Pandora/ Club Nightmare

Two clubs competed in a decibel battle on West 30th Street; three, if they counted the other hip-hop club across the street from them. The sidewalks on either side were packed with lines of slim shady look’a-like’s, emo’s, gothic 20-something’s, and people that looked like the were in desperate need to find their lost spaceship. It was easy for the bouncers to figure out which person intended on going to which club. Pedro’s new establishment had several floors this time. There was a lobby where the bouncers separated the goths and emo’s from the techno/trance enthusiasts, and on the second floor, the trance/techno/dance floor commenced, and the third was all about gothic and hard rock. Of course, it was the fourth and fifth floor of the old fire-station that everyone had their eyes on; the penthouses and the VIP rooms.

It took a few weeks of debate for Jaime Jax to negotiate who got the very top floor penthouse. Pedro desperately wanted the second floor so that none of his clientele would get lost on the way to what he considered to be the best club in New York City. Meanwhile, Jaime wanted the second floor for her club so that her preferred guests wouldn’t have to stumble through shitty music to get to the good stuff.

The biggest argument settler for Jaime was the fact that she wanted the top floor penthouse for her personal living-space and of course, the VIP room at the other end of the same floor. In trade for such royalty, Pedro agreed to let her have the top floor as long as she let him have his club on the second floor instead of the third. Jaime smiled in self satisfaction as she leaned out the windows to see that, even while close to four in the morning, there were still people wanting to get into the club.

Below the old fire department, under the streets where the crowds waited to dance, Nero, Titus, and a few other Vampires tapped away at computers. Apparently, Margot was able to get a hold of the funds held by the old Sanctum members and it gave her the ability to erect a new database computer center. Margot was still old fashioned so she believed that even though single portable hard drive could hold several terabytes of data, it wasn’t good enough for a database unless looked like a Cray Supercomputer.

“So,” Nero couldn’t help himself as he leaned back in his chair to stretch. “All night typing away to rebuild the history of our previous oppressors by our current oppressor and we’ve learned two things,” he began ticking off his fingers. “One, you spent ungodly amounts of money on a computer system that can hold the entire internet when everything we’ve done so far can fit on a floppy disk, and two, say hello to the old boss, same as the new boss.”

Titus couldn’t help but laugh as Margot sighed and tried to ignore the remark.

“You know as well as I,” Margot typed louder as she said it. “… that I am much better than the old boss.”

“Better looking too,” Nero looked up from his computer monitor and winked. Margot’s peripheral vision noticed the gesture and she sent a bird flying over her screen.

“Don’t let him trifle you, my dear,” Titus chimed in. “He’s only being the pest that he is because he want’s to be five floors above us in his new loft.”

Margot smiled at Titus knowing that it was true. She found it mildly entertaining that one of the most reserved people would make such an outward observation.

“So, what are we to do about a vampire if they choose to run amok the city draining people then? Hm? If we’re not going to enforce laws as strict as our predecessors, what is the loss for someone who has unlimited ability to inflict harm upon the population on a whim?”

Those were the outward observations that she was used to hearing from Titus; anything serious would most likely be addressed by him. Anything witty was reserved for Nero. Margot felt that it was generally her place to rub the bridge of her nose at the serious problems from Titus, and shake her head in dismay at the serious lack of interest from Nero. She sat down next to a table that must have been in the basement since the old fire station was built and pulled an old breathing tank from the floor to fiddle with it for a while since everyone was more in the mood to joke.

Two floors up, Rodney found the club. He smiled to himself as he pushed past the bouncers and made his way to the first floor. Grand opening banners were all over the place and the smell of speed and marijuana permeated the air. He breathed in and laughed at the sight of what these vampires had kept themselves up to as he elbowed the bouncer in the head, knocking him unconscious. The ensuing rush of the rejected poured into the club now since nobody was there to tell them otherwise. He walked in with the flow of extacy junkies and started dancing on the dance floor with everyone else. He was in no rush. He kept looking at the photos that he took from Anna’s apartment and waited around to see a friendly face. After less than half an hour of dancing, his fanged smile emerged. From down the stairs, a scantily clad dark haired brunette descended the stairs. He wasn’t sure exactly who this was but vampire or not, it was bound to stir the hornets nest from what he was about to do.

The crowd of dancers screamed and rushed away from him as he aimed a small Uzi machine gun at Jaime Jax. She barely had time to notice when she felt the hot rounds fly through her body and splinter the stairs behind her. A red cloud of blood hung in the air after she fell back. Blood sprayed the walls behind her and shirt fragments littered the shot up wooden staircase that she fell onto. The music stopped as Pedro ran for Rodney. He made contact with him and he flew over a sleeping drunk that had claimed a table to pass out on. The drunk never even noticed the man who flew over him, nor the gunshots. For the rest of the club though, many saw their favorite DJ get shot to death in her own club.

Nero, Titus and Margot ran from the basement only to get blocked by party-goers that were stampeding out of the club.

Riddled through and through by bullets, Jaime sat up and spit up blood onto the stairwell. Through her tattered clothing, skin could be seen regenerating where gaping holes used to lie which left nothing but pristine skin surrounded by circular blood soaked holes in her tank top and short-shorts. Several shots hit her in places that left her body quite revealing after she healed. She still felt the blood in her lungs from the brief moments blood poured into them through the wounds inflicted by the man. She controlled herself from sprouting fangs because although not physically damaged, the damage to her residence in New York was already inflicted by the incident alone.

Nero managed to make it through the crowd at the same time Rodney turned to mist. This left them with a gun to manage, and an identity to protect. Nero was quick to run to Jaime and race her back up the stairs.

“Go get the gun,” Pedro pointed to the corner of the room. Margot grabbed it and blasted through the club windows as the sound of the cops were steadily approaching. Titus raced to the janitors closet and pulled out the cleaning supplies. It was as if he had done this many times before. As Pedro rushed for the door to stall the police, Titus used his super human speed to blast through the staircase at a blur with cleaning material and a bucket.

Upstairs, Nero waited as an angry Jamie Jax stripped naked and handed all of her clothes to Nero who grabbed the bloody clothing and ran with it. Jaime ran toward the bathroom that they had just installed in the past few days and showered all of the blood away as quickly as she could.

Nero caught a glimpse of Titus one floor down at the bottom of the staircase. He raced for Nero with a bucket of bloody water and a stained-red mop.

“Nero!” Titus yelled.

“Got it,” Nero reached out as they exchanged hands with the evidence. Nero ran for the roof at the same time that he heard the officers be stopped by Pedro. Once on the roof, Nero looked over the ledge. “Oh, this is going to fuck up my suit,” he said with some regret as he jumped off into a recess between three separate buildings. With a crash, the bucket of bloody water exploded onto the roof of a building that primarily faced West 29th Street. He kept going after he fell two stories onto the roof. The last plunge into an alleyway next to a parking area sent him directly into a dumpster with a pair of bloody clothes, a busted bucket, and a bloody mop in tow.

The shock of Nero’s fall into the empty receptacle sent the lid to slam shut behind him.

“Even when I make friends with Pedro – I still end up in the same places,” Nero’s muffled voice of exaggerated sorrow signified his intent to stick around and rest for a while.

The police pushed past Pedro and into the main part of the club. Titus had vanished on his own after doing one of the fastest cleanup’s he had ever done in a while. Even Pedro was surprised to see that there was not a trace of blood anywhere from Jaime’s assassination attempt. The Police Officers knelt down and took notice of the splintered staircase.

“What is this?!” One of the officers asked.

“Someone shot into the club,” Pedro said truthfully. The only thing he intended to keep from the police was the fact that one of his resident DJ’s was filled full of holes in the process. One of the other officers outside ran in.

“One of the witnesses stated that DJ JJ was shot?” It was a young girl in blue who seemed so new to the force that she must have been just as horrified as some of the crowd to actually hear about a person getting murdered in the big apple.

“Is that so?” The Sergeant said. “Stay outside. Find that person and take him or her behind the line. Get his information for me.” He stood up after observing the bullet holes. He looked to Pedro.

“Pedro Rivera, correct? The owner of this fine establishment?”

“That is correct,” Pedro said. “… But nobody was shot. They fired a few rounds. There was a girl on the staircase that looked like Jaime but it wasn’t her. She ran out with everyone else. Nobody got shot,” Pedro insisted.

“Officers,” the sergeant snapped his fingers. “Go upstairs, search everything.” He then turned to Pedro and put a hand on his shoulder. Pedro gave him a look that seemed to say get your hands off me if you want to live but he didn’t make the thought audible. “We’re going to need to close down your club for a night. You had a problem with people shooting up your club before, haven’t you?”

“It’s why I had to move,” Pedro reluctantly confirmed.

“You obviously have problems. Mob, problems, perhaps? Forget to pay up protection money?”

“I’m not saying a word until you speak with my lawyer,” Pedro said. He looked around and hoped to see Detective Jones and McKenzie walk through the front door.

Where the fuck are you when I need you… Pedro thought silently.

Elsewhere in the city, in a darkened alley, a caved in crown victoria remained parked in the shadows. Luckily for them it was starting to rain. Anna and Zak used a water hose to rinse out the interior of the car. After a long conversation with one-another, they came to the same conclusion that so much has happened already in the past few months that anymore unsolved crimes and strange happenings would call internal affairs on them once more. Satisfied that the rain and the hose had washed evidence of a handcuffed criminal being slain in the back of their own cruiser, they sat on the hood in the rain and thought long and hard about what to do about the damage to the car.

“Nero,” Zak said. Rain slithered down the tip of his nose and drizzled to the ground at his feet.

“What?” Anna asked.

“Nero is the only one with enough money to do something about this. We can’t go to the station like this!” Zak sighed and shook his head. Both detectives looked as if they had been beaten at a game that their lives depended on.

“I don’t know if Nero can do anything. This is far beyond switching VIN numbers. Zak…” Anna put her head in her hands and began to whimper through her fingers. “… I don’t want to be a crooked cop. What are we going to do?”

Her partner placed his arm around her shoulder and held her close.

“I don’t know,” Zak honestly replied. “I don’t know… But we’ll think of something.”

The sound of a ringing phone inside a dumpster was probably one of the single most loudest examples of sound amplification Nero had ever experienced. He took a look at the screen and realized that at some point during the night, he had cracked the screen to his phone. He answered it since he couldn’t see who it was.

“You’ve reached Oscar the Grouch, who is this?” Nero said sarcastically as he did his best to find a relaxing position. If the bucket wasn’t busted, it would have made a perfect chair.

“Nero,” It was Zak’s voice. “We got ourselves into some serious shit.”

“Oh You have got yourself into serious shit? I don’t know; you should hear about my day. In fact, we could use you at the club right now because – let me tell you…”

“Shut up and listen…”

Nero sat quietly and listened to the story about how someone jumped on top of their car and ripped their suspect to shreds and their current situation. He then, in turn, told them about their own situation. They all came to the conclusion that they were all being played like a grand piano.

“It seems like we all have problems,” Nero said. “I think we need to take care of yours first so that you can help us out. It seems this Vampire want’s us to leave town. He’s making a spectacle out of all of us.” He carefully lifted himself out of the dumpster and limped away from it. He leaned against the wall and sat down so he could concentrate better on the call.

“Why are they doing this to us?” It was Anna’s voice.

“My guess is, we’re on someone’s shit list. I can’t imagine why,”he said comedically.

“What are you going to do?”

Nero thought about Anna’s question and then smiled to himself.

“I have an idea. Let me get a hold of Margot. Give me our address. We’ll stage a chase, and we’ll wipe out your car after we do something worth a car chase. How about that?”

“But you’ll get away,” Anna said.

“Yes, but it will justify your beat up car. Trust me. I’ll drive a car, and Margot can drive yours. I’ll put it into a roll at a meeting spot and then we’ll put you two in the car after we total it. That, or I can drive the car and chase after Margot. We’ll stage the call, you stage the answer to despatch. It’ll be just like old times almost.”

Anna hung Zak’s phone up, shut her eyes, and shook her head as she handed Zak the phone. It was madness and she knew it but it was a plausible way to maintain the reasons her car was torn up. It didn’t require a chop shop, illegal VIN number replacements, or making deals with criminals and that gave her much relief. It was also a race against time and she knew that. It would require lying to her department.

Margot had already twisted the barrel of the Uzi machine gun and was taking it apart when she smelled Nero’s approach. They were underneath the Brooklyn bridge. It was a major drop-point for illegal weapons in New York City so nobody would notice the difference, Margot thought. Nero thought the same way due to his experience as a police officer in the past. He worked his way around a barbed wire fence and shuffled over to her.

“Can I ask you a favor?” Nero asked while he watched Margot systematically destroy key parts to a gun by bending the metal of the receiver, the springs, trigger, and the metallic stock.

“I think I’ve just about done all the favors I’m going to do today, Nero. If I haven’t already broken this gun I think I would have used it on you just for asking.” Margot rolled her eyes and started throwing metal pieces all over the place. She bent the magazine in half and threw it at Nero. It bounced off of his shirt and tie that already wreaked of rotten milk and possibly even shit. Margot felt nauseated from the pungency.

“What is it?”

Chapter Three

The Lights Are Much Brighter on Broadway

Nero and Margot dropped by the club again to see that there were still officers there. Jaime Jax stood on the staircase answering the same set of questions over and over about the shooting. The CSI officers were studying the staircase carefully. To Nero’s relief, apparently, Vampire blood burst into flames when they attempted to point a UV light on the blood. That explained why the fire department was there. It must have been a fairly sizable flame because the smell of fire extinguisher dust was in the air along with the charred remains of the staircase. Nero gave Jaime a wink as he passed by her.

“Are you okay?” Nero asked.

“Yeah,” Jaime said with a sigh. “Apparently someone came in and shot up the place but nobody was hurt, regardless of what some of the clubbers have said. What are you doing, you smell like shit.”

“I need to give you these,” he said as he handed her a set of keys. “It’s Margots keys, and those are my keys to the club after-hours so I don’t lose them.”

“What’s going on?” Jaime knew the reason why he was giving her the keys. He was planning on going to mist sometime in the night and no Vampire wanted to leave their keys, wallet, and phone behind. Nero must have already stashed the rest of his things somewhere else so that he could get to them. Obviously, he couldn’t tell her what was going on with the police around still questioning people.

“Trust me, it’s going to be fun. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back,” Nero leaned in and kissed her on the cheek in front of the other officers and then ran upstairs. One of the officers let Nero know that they needed to question him as well but he pretended not to notice as he ran up the stairs. By the time the police made it to the top of the steps, he was gone.

Margot was happy that her would-be partner in crime decided to go to mist before changing into a pair of clothes that he knew he wasn’t going to need anymore. Margot had on a pair of blue jeans with specks of white paint on them along with sneakers that looked as if the had been used in the music video I would walk 500 miles. Her top was ripped somewhat and worn. If it wasn’t for the fact that Nero could smell the laundry detergent on her clothes, she would have been mistaken for a bum. Nero smiled as he walked up to her.

“The grungy style works for you,” Nero said jokingly.

“Shut up…”

They walked into the alley and were met by busted up police car and two detectives that had been out during the last hours rainstorm. Zak and Anna approached them. Anna looked a loss for words at first and Zak easily stepped into ask what was on his partners mind.

“What the hell is going on around here?!”

“We thank that the British Sanctum sent someone down to take care of the newly forming Sanctum in New York. The aren’t going after us,” Margot said. “They sent someone to go after our reputations. Somehow they knew about you so they must know about Jordan too.”

“Oh my god.. I’ve got to get to Jordan,” Anna said.

“Don’t worry,” Nero said. “They aren’t after us, personally. This is a guy sent to force us to leave the city. They shot up the club and all of Jaime Jax’s punk fans think she’s dead now. I’m in contact with a hacker to see to it that any Youtube video’s with any footage of that somehow goes missing but with any luck, it happened so fast that nobody thought to get their phones out. Then, they did this to you so that you’d be on the run or suspended from work for having to explain what happened to your victim criminal.” Nero said. “So, we have to explain away why your car got fucked up and then we’ll be well on our way to plausible deniability on all sides.”

“So how are we going to do this?” Anna said. “My daughter’s at the station with my boss for a mandatory volunteering course that her home-schooling required so I have to get her back before the sun comes up,” she said while checking her watch.

“Well… Margot, if you please…” Nero smiled at her as he crossed his arms.

“Just tell them what’s going to happen before I do it,” Margot shook her head. She wasn’t about to let him take any more advantage of her than he could.

“I’m going to steal a car, and hold up a mini-mart at the corner of the block. Margot is going to take your car the moment the call comes out over the radio, get into a chase with me. After that, we’re going to do a little chase around the block and Margot is going to wreck your car and turn to mist. After the car does it’s aerobatics, you run for the car before anyone lays eyes on it. The story will be that you were chasing after the robbers, and you pulled yourselves out of the vehicle – miraculously unharmed.”

At that point, Margot turned to mist. Zak and Anna watched as her ragged clothes fell to the ground. Anna was quick to pick them up while Zak watched a nude Margot take the wheel of the police car.

“Damn!” Zak said as he eyed the girl. Even Nero couldn’t help but say something.

“Yeah, I always thought you’d be beautiful naked,” Nero smiled.

“Can I borrow your gun?” Margot asked as she tried to get comfortable in the wet seats. She looked to Nero. “Hurry up and get on with it already!”

Anna elbowed Zak when she caught him looking Margot over.

“Take your jaw off the ground before ant’s crawl into your mouth,” Anna said.

Anna tossed Margot the Keys and put herself in a position to keep Zak from peaking at the naked woman in the drivers seat as she and Zak waited next to the car. They observed Nero running down the alleyway as he met with the first parallel car that he could find within eyesight. Zak finally took his attention off Margot as he watched Nero boost a car in under five seconds.

“What the hell?” Zak could only say as he watched with amazement as Nero peeled out of the parking spot while inflicting maximum damage to the car in front of him. Horns blared and people shouted so loudly that the detectives could clearly make out which obscenity was tossed around as Nero vanished to the other end of the block.

“Wow,” Anna said. “Nero missed his calling.”

Margot got out of the car as if the windshield added to what she hoped was an illusion. Both detectives and the nude woman gazed down the alleyway with shocked expressions.

It seemed as if there were quickie marts at the end of every street corner these days. Nero pulled a ski-mask out of his pocket and donned it. He slid to a stop at the streets edge, jumped out of the car and blasted into the store with his face masked to protect his identity. The store owner came at him with a baseball bat almost as soon as he entered the store. Nero was quick to grab it and he rushed into the aisles and instantly grabbed the first things he could find. With the adrenaline pumping through his dead veins, he paid no attention to what exactly he was stealing – he just knew that he had to steal enough of anything to warrant a call to the police, which the store owner was not doing yet.

“Don’t just stand there you idiot! Call the police!” Nero yelled a hystarical yell as he grabbed up everything he could in the feminine-care section. The Asian store clerk’s eyes almost went round with surprise as he watched the robber yell such an odd command with his own bat shaking in the air at him.

“Are you sure?” The clerk asked.

“YES!” The madman shook the bat before throwing it across the store for emphasis. The Asian ran for the phone with the robber hot on his heels screaming at the top of his lungs like a total mad man. An explosion of tampons blasted through the door to the store as Nero ran past the man tending the shop and dumped what didn’t fall out his arms, into the car. Nero put the car into reverse and initiated a J-Turn toward Anna, Zak, and Margot’s direction. With any luck the call would come over the police radio’s at the same time that they passed.

“All units in the area of West 50th Street, respond a robbery in progress. Suspect last seen heading West on 50th .”

Anna reached past Margot and grabbed a handheld radio from the passengers seat.

“This is Detective Anna McKenzie with Detective Jones. We’re on the other side of that block, responding.”

“Roger that. Proceed with caution, suspect may be armed with a blunt object.”

The car Nero stole zoomed passed the street and Anna reached down and clicked the Light Bar’s on the inside of the car which now lit up like a Christmas tree on crack.

“Go get em’!” Zak yelled.

The tires spun and kicked water into both the detective’s faces as Margot sped off down the alley and hydroplaned into a turn to catch up to Nero’s car.

The alley was quiet once again as the speeding siren gradually faded into the ambient sounds of New York city leaving nothing but Zak’s voice in the calm.

“She might be hot but right now I just wanna kick her ass…”

Nero looked into his rear view to see the busted up police cruiser chase after them. Nero smiled and waved behind him as the crown victoria loomed closer and closer. Nero rounded the next corner leaned into the turn in hopes that he wouldn’t lose control in the wet roads. Margot stayed hot on his tail as he sped up faster on the straightaway. Once he got to about sixty miles per hour, he could feel every bump and crack in the road.. The car threatened to tear itself apart on the uneven pavement. Nero was suddenly pushed into the back seat as the police cruiser slammed into the back of him with a thunderous clash. He could feel the metal of his back bumper bending and contorting. Another crashing hit followed that launched him forward and backward into his seat.

“Damn!” Nero yelled despite knowing that Margot couldn’t hear him. For all he knew, it was revenge for something he said. He could see that she smiled and waved in return as he glanced back to his rear view. He shook his head and gave her an evil-eye. He swung the car into another left turn which brought him back to the store that he robbed again. He made sure to wave to the Chinese store owner as he passed by. He promptly flicked Nero the bird while Nero made that final left turn. “Here we go…”

Anna and Zak ran out of the alley just as Nero slammed his breaks and sent the cruiser between his car and another parallel parked car. Nero’s roof caved in slightly as the rear tires of Anna’s police cruiser climbed up the old Nissan Stanza They saw the occupant of the car turn to mist that trailed out the busted back window of the car as it went into inverted flight. The passenger-side of Nero’s car caught the original vehicle that Nero first ran into while boosting the stolen car and sent it careening in a barrel roll. Nero went to mist in mid-crash leaving nothing but a ski-mask, and old clothes in the drivers seat that nobody would be able to explain. As Anna’s car landed in the middle of the intersection, the two detectives ran for it in order to keep up the guise that they were in the car to begin with.

Crash after crash, the police vehicle tore itself to pieces until it finally rolled to a rest. The Up-side down Nissan Stanza skidded on it’s roof toward the police car and slammed into the drivers side door which sent it on it’s final flip that roleld it upside-down as well.

“Holy shit!” Zak yelled.

Anna stopped at the car after nearly tripping on a stolen tampon. Her car’s front light bar was still flashing away reflecting blue and red light across the wet street. Anna looked around to see a pair of shadows vanish into the alleyway. Anna pulled her hand-held radio out.

“This is detective McKenzie, our car and the suspects vehicle are involved in a TA at last reported location. Suspect got away.”

“Roger that detective McKenzie,” the dispatcher responded. “Do you or anyone involved require medical assistance?”

“That is a negative. The suspect made it out alive and fled the scene on foot. Whereabouts unknown. Zak and I are in good shape.”

Anna sighed as she patted the side of her car. Over the past few years, she had grown attached to her car. Zak was still breathing hard and worried if they had forgotten anything or overlooked any detail in Nero’s elaborate plan.

“Well, the car looks undrivable!” Zak said. “Think that settles that?”

“Other than Tom being mad at us, I think so.” Anna patted Zak on the back.

“What are we going to do about this other Vampire? He can’t keep fucking with our lives. He’s just going to try again, and again! We dodged the bullet this time, but what are we going to do?”

“We’ll have to talk with the Sanctum,” Anna said.

Jordan returned to the station with Tom after he got an emergency call. She noticed Nichole Draysdale standing in the lobby with her arms crossed. Nichole glared at the girl. Nichole sported blonde hair again this time. Jordan meant to ask her how often she dyed her hair. She shrugged her shoulders and figured that now was as good a time as ever.

“Do the curtains match the carpet?” Jordan asked. It was a phrase that she learned from her friends since living in New York. Usually, anyone she knew would just answer honestly. Instead, Nichole got the trademark huff and the all-too-familiar “well, I never” response. She was going to say more but the sound of skidding metal on Elizabeth street caught the girls attention. Jordan opened the front doors to the police station. Her blue eyes widened and she blasted through the front door when she saw that it was Anna’s car. She looked around and saw Anna and Zak stepping away from the two truck. Jordan ran and jump-hugged her mother.

“Mom! What happened?!” Jordan asked.

“We – had an accident during a chase,” Anna replied as she pealed her daughter off of her. “We’re alright.”

“Mom, Nichole’s in the lobby… Um.. With some ugly guy in a suit and tie.”

“What?” Zak asked.

“She looks mad at me. And her curtains don’t match her carpet either.”

That got Zak to laugh but Anna didn’t find it too funny.

“I don’t have time to deal with this shit,” Anna said more to herself than anyone else.

“I’ll tell her!” Jordan began to happily skip past them to the front doors but she was yanked back by the rear collar of her shirt. “Wahhh!” She made a noice that sounded somewhat cute as she exaggerated her feet being lifted off the ground.

“No, honey… Allow me,” Anna said while rolling her eyes.

The doors opened and Tom was already in the lobby arguing with Nichole while a man in an expensive suit slapped a piece of paper into Anna’s chest.

“You’ve just been served,” the lawyer said.

The Lawyer suddenly felt cold steel encircle his wrists.

“You’re under arrest for assaulting a police officer,” Anna said in response to the rude slap against her chest. The lawyer was probably used to doing this with other people but wasn’t used to serving cops. “… I’ve had a long fucking day and you just slammed your hand into my chest.”

“Anna!” Tom protested but Anna gave her boss a nod toward where his hand was and then looked back at him. “This isn’t necessary!”

“It is to me, sir. I’m within my bounds.” Anna yanked the lawyer’s hands behind his back and clasped the other arm into her cuffs.

“You have the right to remain silent, you have a right to an attorney. If one cannot be afforded, one will be appointed to you by the state. If you give up these rights, then you’re as dumb as my daughter says you look and I already half believe it.” Anna pushed him hard against the plexiglass window. The desk sergeant on the other side jumped back in his chair. It was obviously the most excitement he had seen in a very long time.

“Wait til I call the law firm! I’ll have your badge for this, McKenzie!” He wheezed as Zak patted him down violently. Nichole screamed foul in the lobby as the hookers laughed on at the entire scene.

“Sergeant, please take care of this,” Anna said. In a minute, two officers pulled the lawyer away from them. Zak picked the letter off of the floor and handed to Anna who nodded to Zak and looked to Tom. “What the hell is going on?” Anna pleaded.

“You tell me, I left to get Jordan an ice cream, which she politely refused – and I come back, all hell broke loose. They tell me you got into a chase with a man that stole a car load of Tampons and Maxi Pad’s and got yourself into a wreck?” Tom tilted his head to the side and put his hands on his hips – a sign that he was thoroughly pissed off. The only thing that kept Anna from punching Nichole in the face after she made an uppity cough of superiority and satisfaction to watching her getting chewed out by her boss was the sound of her daughter’s giggle.

“Someone stole a bunch of tampons?!” The girl laughed now, totally skipping over the main point that Anna was in trouble for wrecking another police vehicle.

“We didn’t let him get away with it,” Zak corrected his best friend.

“It was a HE?!” Jordan’s brow raised in a way that would have impressed Spock from Star Trek.

“Well,” Zak shrugged his shoulders. “We don’t know exactly.”

“I’m thinking it must have been a girl,” Jordan said with a self assuring nod. “At least, I hope so.” The whole group slowly turned their head to the blonde in pigtails as she sat down next to a hooker.

“She be right,” Said one of the hookers. “Aint no reason no man be stealin himself no tampons.”

“What? They were tampons,” Jordan shook her head.

“I said tampons!” The hooker moved her head from side to side as she said it.

“No, you said – weren’t – no – tampons? Like, as if they were not what he stole…” Jordan suddenly looked as if her head was about to go on overload. “I give up.”

“What were we talking about?” Zak asked.

Anna closed her eyes and shook her head rapidly as she held her hand out to her daughter.

“Jordan, come on…” She said.

“So, are we getting another Dodge Charger?” Zak asked.

Tom’s attention swung to Zak. His eyes widened and he raked his hands through his grey hair as he took on the expression of a man that just got kicked in the stomach.

“I’m going to pretend you didn’t ask me that,” Tom said. “By the way, that’s not all that happened tonight. Someone shot up Pedro’s club.

“What?!” Jordan, Zak, and Anna both asked at the same time. This time, it was Tom who raised his eyebrow.

“I – can understand why the two of you would have that reaction,” He pointed to Zak and Anna. He then rested his finger in the direction of Jordan, “But.. Why would she?”

“I’m just – pretending to be in the moment?” The blonde asked more than told which made Tom know for sure that something was up regarding Anna’s daughter and how she knew Pedro. Anna knew it and felt that the best way to heed to his curiosity was to offer a little truth.

“She’s friends with Jaime Jax, the DJ of the gothic club that she runs with Pedro Rivera,” Anna explained.

“How did that happen?”

“We met at a Halloween party!” Jordan said. She was all over the city that night and she hoped that she helped by at least coming up with something.

“Fitting,” Tom said.

“I do believe you were given a letter! Please, open it. I’m not staying here until dawn!” Nichole chimed in.

“What do you want you meanie?”

“Jordan, calm yourself down, girl…” Zak reached out and pulled her to him and gave her a hug from behind. He started a bit of a tickle-fest with her while he continued giving his reasons for calming down while Jordan laughed. “You don’t just tell gold-digging, money-hungry uptight bitches with fake double D breasts and enough hair-dye to make a clown jealous to stop being meanies. It’s rude!”

Jordan laughed and playfully fought back against her best friends tickle attack. They ignored Nichole’s gasp as they ran around the lobby of the police station. Tom saw something new in Zak as he chased Jordan around a set of chairs in the center of the room filled with the cities undesirables. Damn, Zak’s a kid, Tom thought to himself. The color drained out of Anna’s face as she read the letter. She looked to Nichole and started walking toward her. Tom knew that stance. In his thirty plus years on the force, he recognized the look on someone’s face when someone was about to beat the shit out of someone. He quickly intervened by grabbing Anna and holding her back.

“You son of a bitch!” She yelled.

Nichole twitched and backed into a woman that was sitting in a chair next to the door. The woman promptly pushed her back in the direction of Anna who would have swung at her if Tom hadn’t been holding her arms back. Zak quit chasing Jordan around and aided to help Anna at bay while she screamed obscenities at her.

“Anna! What is it?!” Zak yelled over Anna’s screams as he helped Tom keep her from kicking Nichole’s ass all over the station lobby.

“Her lawyer called child services! You bitch! Just stay out of our lives!”

“You could always move out,” Nichole said. “Our apartment needs to uphold it’s standards and it simply can’t do that if they allow common cops to take up residence. The condo association agrees that the building would be much better off without the likes of you.”

Zak felt the pressure of Anna’s body press harder against him after Nichole said that. Several uniformed officers helped pull Anna away from Tom’s grasp. Zak patted Tom on the back and motioned for Jordan to come with them. She shook her head and ran out into the street.

“Jordan!” Tom yelled. He looked to Zak.

“Don’t worry boss, Jordan can take care of herself.”

“I don’t doubt it,” Tom said, knowing about the kidnaping incident and the outcome. The mayor wanted to award Jordan for her heroism but her mother wouldn’t let her accept the award due to her experience with the mob. Then of course, there was the incident where she killed the only man that ever tried to take advantage of her. “I don’t doubt that at all…” He looked to the door as it slammed shut. He then brought his attention to Nichole.

“You mean to tell me that you woke up in the middle of the night, grabbed a lawyer, and got a hold of child services and came down to the station to wait all this time – for this?” He picked the letter off of the floor and waved it at her.

“You aren’t her neighbor, you simply do not understand. You’re also not high class so nor would I expect you to ever,” Nichole raised her nose in the air. Tom had a fighting urge to find a golf ball and use that stuck-up nose as a tee to practice his driving. Anna was right about this woman. The stories he heard from her around the water cooler were true for a change.

“You’ve done your job, please – go home. This is not the safest part of town,” he did everything in his power to contain his anger. Zak stood between Tom and the door to the offices to make sure that Anna wouldn’t some how break free of the other officers and open a can of whupass. The reason it wasn’t the safest part of town was the fact that Anna was in this part of town and they all kept their mouths shut regarding that fact.

“Not until I see my lawyer return. He was my ride…”

“Take a taxi, we’ll call one for you,” Tom said.

“A taxi?!” Nichole huffed. “Fine, I’ll call my husband. I cannot believe you would have the audacity to recommend that a woman with such high standards as myself be transported in a taxi.

“Wait here in the lobby,” Tom said. “We need you where we can see you if that’s alright. The bathroom is over there, water cooler over there,” Tom pointed to the various areas where things were. He then pointed to Zak and motioned for him to follow him into the offices.

Zak followed Tom through the doors. It looked as if Anna was finally calming down. She was breathing hard. Her face was flushed red and her fists were balled up so tight that her knuckles turned pale white.

“Can you believe this bitch?!”

It was Anna’s first response since her boss entered the room.

“Alright Anna… I know you’re angry. I think this knight went FUBAR from the moment I bought Jordan ice cream. And I’m sure that the funding department is going to be saying the same thing about you when they find out you wrecked another car.” He sighed and shook his head. “You know, we’re topped out right? I’m going to have to order a new car from Manhattan to get transferred to this station tomorrow.” Tom said. “I need you to start filling out your accident reports and action reports before you leave. I may have to put a reprimand in your file.”

“What the… A reprimand?” Zak’s brows furrowed as Tom held his hands up.

“You’re wrecking too damn many cars and too many catastrophe are going unanswered. I busted my ass getting you off the hook with the bank robbery.”

“We foiled that bank robbery, remember?” Anna held her hands in the air.

“Not that one… The one later in the night? The one where someone busted in, stole nothing and left the bank in shambles – the one where you wrecked Zaks’ Dodge Charger? Remember that?,” he asked rhetorically. “And then there was the shots fired incident at the baseball field, you were on scene, no suspects. You’re slipping your cases and too much is going into the unsolved files versus your actual arrests. Too much is getting destroyed with nothing to show for it.” Tom scratched his grey head and turned around in a circle. The entire department was looking at them. Phones were beginning to go unanswered. Tom nodded toward his office once he realized that everyone was looking them on. Once in the office, Tom continued after closing the door behind Zak and Anna.

“Then there was this incident with Chrissy. Anna, you hit another officer. I’ve been protecting you like no tomorrow but at some point, I’m going to have to let you take a few hits. I’m sure you understand? You two got yourselves into a high speed chase over a stolen batch of –,”

“Tampons,” Zak helped him say it.

“Right… Tampons — and you got yourselves into a wreck that could have killed yourselves. Anna, counting last year, this is your third totality of a police cruiser, not counting the time your car caught fire because of the flaming pumpkin. I kept that off the report. Now you have a lawyer in the lockup over Jordan staying out all night. Frankly, this is a big mess! And I want to help you! I just can’t help with everything.”

“What about my daughter? She has an allergy to sunlight,” Anna said. “If I’m going to be stuck here filing reports until sunrise, someone needs to take her home.” Anna leaned against a set of filing cabinets. Fatigue from the long night was beginning to set in. “Was anyone hurt at the club?”

“No,” Tom said. “There were numerous reports that Jaime Jax was shot to death but that was false because at the time, she was asleep in her bed. The sergeant on scene confirmed that for us.”

Zak shrugged his shoulders, “Well that’s a plus.”

“Yes, it is… And I’m going to go to bed now. I’ll read your reports at twenty-hundred tomorrow when I get in and decide whether I need to put you both on a days suspension in order to save face and keep my own job, and yes, one of you will have to get that fucking Dodge Charger whenever you are off. Meet me in my office tomorrow night and we’ll go over the judgement.”

“What about that punkass lawyer?” Zak crossed his arms.

“Let him out when you’re done with your reports. He assaulted an officer in front of witnesses,” Tom grabbed his coat. “Oh, and your daughter did a fine job setting up the new computer system. Enjoy!” With that, Tom walked out of the office. “I’ll take your daughter home, in the meantime – get working on those reports ladies and gentlemen.”

Tom donned his coat and nearly dropped his umbrella at the sight of Jordan sitting on the sidewalk next to a high end luxury car that recently had the doors ripped off of it. All four doors were stabbed through the drivers side windshield and the hood was rolled up like a sardine can. The fuse box was yanked out of it and the muffler was jammed through the cars radiator. Tom paused and looked from the car to the little girl who sat on the corner facing the vehicle. He carefully walked toward the car and eyed the tilted rear-view mirror. It had a Goldberg, Ironcrotch, and Draysdale parking placard affixed to it. Jordan noticed Tom’s approach and waved happily to him.

“What happened?” Tom said.

“I – don’t know?” Jordan shrugged her shoulders and her pigtails swung back and fourth rapidly as she shook her head.

Tom shook his head as well. There was no way that a fourteen year old girl would have the strength to rip the doors off of a car.

“Come on,” Tom said. “Let’s get out of here before anyone notices.”

“Do I still get to have a computer?”

“Sure… Sure, why not.” Tom shuffled down the street miserably as Jordan happily skipped beside him.