[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
001 002 Prologue 001-002 003 004 005 Chap 1 003-005
Chap 2 006 007 008 Chap 3 007-008 009 010 Chap 4 009-010 011 012 013 Chap 5 011-013 014 015 016 017
Chap 6 014-017 018 019 Chap 7 018-019 020 021 022 023 Chap 8 020-023 024 025 026 027 Chapter 9 024-027 028 029 030 031 Chapter 10 028-031 032 033 034 035 036 037 038 039 040 041 Chapter 11 032-041 042
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 043
Chapter 12 (2 of 7): The Detective
Now in her late fifties, a grandmother, portly, a mind like a wolf-trap, she was Chief of Detectives and had caught the investigation into what the squad was later to dub ‘The Ice Case’. It would turn out to be the consensus among the power barons in the police structure that if anybody could get a handle on the case it would be this phlegmatic and plodding detective.
They knew her.
After all, they were the ones who over the years had pushed her from one rung to the next higher one on the ladder leading upstairs. Reluctantly at first, it must be admitted, but in the final analysis nobody could argue with her clearance rates. They far outdistance those of any other detectives on the murder squad.
Almost forty years ago, long before the government got into the business of telling public agencies and private companies how to hire and fire, Phoebe graduate from the police academy third in her class. The Neanderthals downtown just didn’t like the idea of women on the force – secretaries aside, of course – and decided to make a minatory example of this pushy upstart. They gave her beat duty in the River district, a rough part of town down by the docks. Nasty in the daytime, even worse at night. Hustlers, hoodlums, whores; drunks, druggies, dirt. The bosses figured either she’d fold from the pressure or do as they had all done and start palming rake-offs they could hang around her neck and can her for.
What they didn’t figure on was that Phoebe was as fearless as she was righteous. Arrests – and, what is more telling, resulting convictions – spiked soon after she began walking those cruel and callous quarters. The ‘protected’ establishments howled to the bosses. The bosses wrung their hands. The press had got wind of what was up, and Phoebe became something of a celebrity. What could the bosses do?
A dumb pimp in the area offered up the perfect solution for them.
One night when Phoebe happened along, this thug was flogging a teenager he’d put out on the street. Phoebe pulled her gun; she told him to stop; he continued his thrashing, telling her to “fuck off, slash, or I’ll cut you an extra one.” Electing to interpret this verbal abuse as what is now called hate speech, interference with a police officer in the performance of her duty, and an imminent threat to said police officer, she put a warning shot above his ugly head. Enraged at this uppity bitch, he came at her with a ten-inch blade. She let him come, just a little closer, come on, and when he was exactly four feet away, knife arced above his head, she had all the probable cause she’d ever need, stayed all cool and pumped a double load of heavy grain into his chest. He crumpled before the smoke cleared the barrel, twitched, and never got up again.
‘Good fucking riddance,’ she thought to herself in silence, having picked up some of the local argot around the locker room.
The girl and one of her co-workers cowering in a nearby doorway independently confirmed Phoebe’s account of the shooting. Everybody was delighted: the city got rid of garbage, the bosses got to go back to business as usual in the River district, and Phoebe got a citation. And more.
Every thirsty blood-sucking flea in the local power structure wanted to hitch a free ride on this cool bitch – the Democratic machine pols, the university feminists, the Black Sisters, the D.A.R., the Chicanas, the Power Agers … you name it: how about running for City Council? state assembly? Washington?
Phoebe, as amused as she was amazed, politely but firmly – with Samuel‘s full support — declined any engagement with all her new-found friends.
And it turned out that the girl getting the whipping was a wayward child of a member of the City Council, and in gratitude he pushed Phoebe to take the detective exam. She passed it by a wide margin – on her own merit — and the Homicide Squad won a new recruit. Her River district beat was history, but she never forgot what the streets were all about. And if the big boys were Neanderthals, the detectives were Cro-Magnons.
Phoebe decided there was evolutionary hope after all.
“Thanks, Tanya,” Phoebe said. “While I’m on the scene, put together a team. You know the drill. I want Garrett, Aronson and Sundelius on deck when I get back. You have my cellular if anything comes up in the next hour or so. Let’s see if we can figure this thing out.”
“Right. Talk to you later, Phoebe.”
She replaced the phone thoughtfully and took half a minute to organize herself.
Samuel rolled over in the bed and put a hand on her waist. “Anything?” he mumbled.
“Something,” she said, mussing her husband’s hair as he peered up at her, the sleep still in his eyes. “Go back to bed, baby. I’ve got to roll.” She kissed him on the cheek.
“Be careful,” he said. He always did. And rolled over again, pulling the heavy blanket up around his ears.
She showered, dressed warmly, and checked her valise. Coffee would have to wait until she got on scene.
Leaving the Woulfton city limits and traveling south on 933 she realized it was going to be one of those thick winter days where the sun goes into hiding. Road crews had already been out along this stretch of highway once, but the continuing fall was blanketing the blacktop with a second round of snow. She diminished speed, deciding that today slow was wise. What would the county roads be like in this weather?
It took her longer than she’d thought to get to the turnoff on 612. She met a plow going in the other direction just as she was entering Marloe, a snowy idyll of wintry rusticity. A mile on the other side of town she turned south, and at Dust went left. She flicked on the low lights. About a mile and half further along, county road 67 angled off and had obviously not been plowed, but it was equally clear that it had handled a lot of recent traffic. Tracks laid down by other cars made it easy for her to follow without having to worry about sliding off the road. It was almost ten o’clock.
Poking along at a sedate 20 mph it took her close to half an hour to reach the scene. She saw the swiveling blue lights of the emergency vehicles flashing in the falling snow before she arrived at a cluster of cars and people. There were three patrol cars from the sheriff’s department, a hearse, and the light blue wagon of the city tech team. Phoebe cinched herself up in her big parka and put on cold weather gloves so she could write on her pad.
As she got out of the car, Bud Eaton, the sheriff of Swaithe, approached her.
TO BE CONTINUED