private eye

(This is a detective story and a some what dark one at that. it contains several somewhat vivid descriptions of crimes. If this is not your type of story…well…I gave a warning.)









The soft tap of my cigarette on my lighter is a comfort. A Zen like feeling settles around my as the familiar sound puts me at ease.



Even more so the softer crinkle sound following the click as the paper catches.



The hot burn,the soft breath,the full feeling. All are so long a part of my life they settle my beating heart to a more even pace. Pulling the cigarette away from my mouth I take a deep breath of the cold air and look down at the metal table.



“I really wish you wouldn’t smoke in here,”she says.



I lift my hand and I pull a long deep breath in filling myself with the thick taste. I let it sit and focus my thoughts, then only a small wisp of it comes back out.



“I smoke or I throw up. It your choice, but I would go with the smoke,” I say.



“You could at least smoke Marlboro of something like that. Those things stink,”she says with a sigh.



I hear a second sigh and then a sound of metal on metal. I look down at the small metal bowl she often puts out for my ashes. I smile a bit as I let the gray powder drop to the floor.



“Stop trying to be an ass, John.” All humor is gone from her voice.



Wiping the grin from my face I give her a nod.



My eyes go back to the draped table. It’s too small. The bloody object under the cloth.



“It’s not a child.” I hear her tell me as she moves to the other side.



I let a little sigh out with the smoke.



She pulls back the little covering and I look for only a few seconds at the bloody furry mess. My eyes are cold when I look up.



“I don’t like jokes like this, Princess. You know that.” I start to turn and walk away.



“I know…that’s why this isn’t one,”she says.



I stop in half turn.



“It’s human?” I ask unable to stomach the thought. I swallow down the bile and take another long drag. I drop the ash into the bowl as I turn back to the table and look down again. “No way. We’re not this furry.”



I try to not focus as she takes a pair of clamps and peals some of the fur back. The pale greenish skin is decidedly human. Dead human anyway.



“The fur is synthetic. Most likely off an old fur coat.”



I swallow down the taste of acid. I know better than to eat breakfast before coming here but now my stomach is letting me know dinner was a bad idea as well.



I look back at what I had at first thought to be maybe a dead dog or large possum. The black fur clinging with it coat of dried brown looks animal.



“Road crew saw this.” She turns the…body….a bit and a patch of colors appear.



“A tattoo?”



“To be specific a rose.” She hands me a close up photo. The color work is good. The line work very tight. No hack jobs this is high-end shop work.



I feel the rush as my mind pops the clutch and drops into a higher gear. Thoughts like road reflectors start to flash past.



Check shops? NO. It’s too close to a flash design. Check ink type, maybe exotic origin? No. Looks too crisp. It’s high end.



I look up and see a smile on her face. She has more to tell me but enjoys drawing it out to make me think.



She knows me well. Intimately well.



Same as I know her.



Leia Morgain, medical examiner. Age thirty-five, she claims twenty-seven. Passing resemblance to Carrie Fisher. Between that and the name she hates being called Princess, so I do it often. Probably my only true friend in the world that doesn’t want anything in return for that friendship. Lover for more than five years, sex fiend in bed, loves to have her toes…



I give my brain a solid kick to make it stop processing things. I focus on her smiling face.



“Know anything yet?” I ask.



“A bit.” She picks up a clipboard and starts to hand it to me then eyes the cigarette. I mash it out after taking the last draw.



The report is filled with little details. The type of glue used to attach the fake fur to the body part. The possible time of death. The sex of the victim. Female. Seminal fluid on the…



“There was semen present on the body?” I ask.



She gives me a slow nod.



“Has SVU been give the case?” I ask hoping I’m wrong.



She nods again.



Fuck.



I don’t work well with those pricks. They jump to conclusions too quickly for my tastes. Homicide and vice…not so much.



“Any match for the semen yet?” I ask.



She gives her head a shake.



“You gone mute?”



She nods and looks over my shoulder.



I turn to see the Captain standing in the doorway behind me.



“I didn’t call you in on this one, Taline. In fact I resent the hell out of your being here.”



I pull the metal case from my pocket and flipping it open I pull out my second Egyptian cigarette out of the case. I tap it on my lighter and light it before even giving him an acknowledgment of his presence.



“You resenting me is nothing new.” I take a long drag and blow smoke in his direction. It’s cliche but I still love to do it to assholes like him.



“Just because the Mayor thinks you’re the fucking Second Coming doesn’t make you God. There is no smoking in any building in this city and you know it. Put it out before I have you arrested.”



“Feel free. Been arrested before, I know the routine probably better than most. I still, even in this modern world, get one call. I know who that will be to and so do you.” I hang the threat of the Mayor over his head like the sword of Damocles.



He looks past me to Leia.



“Ms. Morgain I would have like to have seen that file before a civilian got access to it. He works here maybe three times a year; I’m here every day. How about you ‘Work’ on your priorities,” he says holding out his hand.



Without a word she hands him the clipboard.



I watch him take it in. I love being around detectives. Probably why I do what I do. I love to see the wheels start to turn. The gears, full of clotted grease, easing into the familiar pathways. The tires, worn till they are as balding as he is, dropping into the ruts they have worn smooth so may times before.



He already is dismissing it as a simple sex crime. Pervert with a bit more imagination about how to dispose of a body than most but just a sex crime.



I give Leia a look then go back to looking at the body. Well body part would be closer. Left arm, upper arm to elbow, part of shoulder, maybe a bit of her left chest. My eyes move like striking vipers from one detail to the next storing them away in the massive filing cabinet that is my back brain.



“Crudely severed.” I hear beside me. I glance at the Captain standing next to me.



“Only on the lower part where the elbow joint was. The upper cut was done with something much sharper.” I can almost hear the click in my head. “The humerus was broken not saw through right?”



“That’s correct,” says Leia pulling a large photo out of an envelope and pulling onto the table next to the body. “Ragged break, at the Humeral Medial Epicondyle. Signs of blunt force trauma around the break. Off hand I would say an axe or large cleaver.”



I look at the picture and my arm aches in sympathy.



“It was sloppy. The killer was in a hurry. Needed to dismember the body quickly.” I hear the Captain’s words but they roll past me when I know they are wrong.



“No. Doesn’t match. Clean here…rough here. This was done for the sake of being brutal. The victim was alive when her arm was severed.”



I take a short draw on the cigarette feeling the flavors of Egypt fill my mouth. The spices, the smells. The taste of the forbidden fruits under their veils of black. My mind drifts for a half second back to a darker time. Then I refocus with a bitter lack of new thoughts.



“I would like a copy of the tattoo. As close up as you can give me. I need one that will show details. It’s a simple design but some artists give their works a signature. A kind of mistake that not a mistake. I’ll make a few stops on my way for lunch. Italian sound good?” I ask the Captain looking up at him.



His eyes snap up off the piece of once human even as a greenish pallor makes him twitch his lips. He takes a breath and looks over to Leia.



“Give him what he wants.”



I watch the man’s back as he disappears out the door.



Old cop, street cop at that. Made desk because of tenure not desire. Seen too much, been in the middle of too much. Worn down. Knows I get results but dislikes that I do when his people don’t. Would be a nice guy to go drink a beer with.



I kick my brain back out of gear and turn to see Leia watching me.



“So what all do you want?” she asks.



I smile.



“A copy of the file, a close up of the photo of the tattoo. A cup of coffee and a blowjob.” I grin as her eyes widen.



She looks to the gurney and pulls back the sheet.



“I haven’t determined age of the victim yet. Such language, not in front of the children please.” The look she gives me tells me she’s been having a long day.



Her comment is like ice water.



“Just the coffee then,” I say.



She looks over towards her office and I see the black pot sitting on it’s warmer.



“Your copy is in there. I’ll have the photo of the tat you want before your coffee’s cold. No smoking in my office.”



I nod and stub out the last puff in the little metal bowl.



The coffee is bitter and smooth at the same time. I can taste the chicory. A true daughter of the Big Easy, Leia take her coffee home style. I add a bit of cream from the small cooler under the pot. I try not to look at the plastic cases next to the carton. I’ve had some bad surprises doing that in the past.



Real cream, real sugar, expensive coffee. I could get use to this.



I should know, I have before.



Opening my copy of the file I all but feel the gears switch again. I love the feeling, which is a good thing, since I can’t really control it. It started after a severe accident when I was a child, I cracked my skull open in a fall. I focus was what the school councilor had told my mother. About a year after the accident and the surgeries he had called her in. I had only been back to school for a month or so. I could die in a house fire if I was reading a good enough book was what he told her. I would never notice the house was burning around me unless the paper started to catch.



Female victim…presence of semen… tortured… mutilated prior to death. Filmed? Hum…check with a guy I know deals in snuff clips. See if he’s getting anything new and sick.



I ignore the growing feeling in my left arm. I knew it would begin as soon as the phone rang and I saw who the caller ID said it was. I don’t have time to indulge yet. Still I know the ‘need’ will take me there before the end of this case.



Tapping out a cigarette I let it hang unlit from my lips taking puffs of the tastes of Cairo from it time to time.



Hot sip of coffee, the taste of chicory. Memories of long nights in New Orleans with Leia in a hotel in the French quarter. Small place above a bar who’s name I can’t remember. For a second my mind starts to rush back to try and locate where that name is filed away but I stop it and set it back to task.



I sit back and focus on the picture of the tattoo. Tight line work, good colors…even against the dead skin tone.



Tattoo picture?



I blink and look up seeing Leia standing next to me. She smiles. I look around and see that she has closed the shades on her office windows. A glance shows me the office door is closed. Locked.



I watch her sink slowly to her knees in front of me.



“Enjoying the coffee?” she asks me as she begins to rub her hands across my crotch. I feel myself stir under her touch. It’s been so long since I felt her attention. Four months? Three months seventeen days…eight hours…thirty minutes. I give my head a shake to make it stop. Better things going on that that to focus on. As I watch her undo my belt and pop the snap on my pants my mind and I agree. A rare occurrence.



As she pulls my cock free I see I’m already half hard and getting harder by the second.



“Someones happy to see me.” I watch her lean down and place a soft kiss on the head. “You said you would call this time John.”



“I know,” I say softly wishing I had. “I’m sorry.”



“You said that the last time too.”



I lean my head back into her office chair as I feel the whole length of me disappear into her mouth. I watch with the customary wonder as her mouth gulps me deeper and deeper. I not huge but still it looks so erotic to see her with her nose pressing into the skin at the base. Then I feel her teeth. I bite my lip as she let her displeasure be know up the length of my cock. The hard raking of her teeth finish the job. I’m hard as a rock when the head pops free of her mouth.



“You call me next time or I’ll bite it off and keep it as a souvenir,” she says.



I nod that I will knowing even as I do that I may not.



The soft feeling of her tongue as she licked the flared crown, lapping at the bubble of precum that surfaces. I watch her take me back in then settle herself a bit. I lean back and just enjoy the soft suction. The warm slick feeling as she gives my cock a gentle massage with her mouth. I learned years ago never to close my eyes with her. That bite had been truly painful. I watch her and smile when our eyes meet. She grins around my cock and takes me back to the base. I moan as I feel her tongue snaking its way back up the underside from base to tip.



She pulls off and begins to take nibbling bits down the side. Then her tongue is licking me softly long strokes the whole length.



Her fingernails dig into my thighs as she takes just the head in and applies an incredible amount of suction. Like she’s trying to make the top pop off in her mouth. Her teeth hook under the head and her tongue lashes the precum from the hole. I grip the arms of her chair and feel my fingers dig into the leather.



The phone rings.



Her fingers close around me and start to stroke the wet flesh. I watch her pick the phone up and bring it to her ear.



“Coroners office. Yes this is she.”



I wince as she tightens her fingers.



“I understand. Yea I’ll be here.” I see her go to put the phone down then stop and bring it back to her ear when someone calls out loud enough for me to hear. “What… yea if I see him I’ll let him know.”



She looks down at her hand sitting still, her fingers wrapped with a white knuckled grip around me. I hear her sigh.



I clutch at the chair as her hand begins to stroke me with a furious pace. Then her mouth is hot and wet around the head. The feeling of suction is terribly strong. I lean back my head and endure more than really enjoy what she’s doing to my cock. I reach a point in seconds where I almost want her to stop but then I feel it. The tightening inside the building rush, the pulse from underneath. I pant for breath as I arch myself up off her chair driving another inch into her mouth. I can fell her fingers tighten and loosen around me as I cum. Her tongue licking and her mouth working to drink down all I can give. Then she sucks harder pulling more from me.



I all but collapse into the chair as she turns me lose.



“That was Dixson over at S.V.U. they found another piece.”



** ** ** ** ** ** **



The brick steps on Wooster Street are cool under my ass. I sit watching the traffic go by as my friend looks over the photo. I have to keep my eyes from drifting to his tattoos. I could find myself entranced by the way they have been interwoven. Years of different art all coming together in a bright collage of colors.



“West coast,” he says.



I look away from the cab I was following with my eyes. The advertisement on the roof sign. Women’s perfume… sexy blue bottle.



“How can you tell?” I ask looking at the photo again. His finger drifts across the picture to the different lines.



“Style of line work. Go back about twenty-five… thirty years and it would be even more obvious. See the line work here. The way this is curved. Graffiti artist. Someone who got started tagging and turned to tattooing to make a living. I’ve seen tons of it from when I worked down in Miami. A lot of the new school style came from that. This is a traditional piece but the style shows through.” Shrugging he hand me back the photo.



“You’re sure no artist from around here would have done this?” I ask.



“Only if he got his start out west. Here I’ll show you.” He rolls up his sleeve and my eye come to rest on the melange of colors. It is a tapestry of his life. “This was done West Coast.” He points to a Brightly colored fish.



Koei fish…Japanese symbol for strength and perseverance.



“See the way the line work is done here.” When I nod he roll back his other sleeve and places the Koei next to a second tattoo on his other arm.



I see it then. It is a subtle thing but I see what he meant. Like difference between a photo taken from two just slightly different angles. I slowly nod.



I sit back and my eyes drift out of focus a bit.



Female victim…from or visits the West Coast… male killer still most likely.



“You coming by to box some time soon?” I look up at my friend. He’s watching me with the customary look any of my long time friends have. They know me when I focus inward.



I smile and nod as I get to my feet. Placing my unread paper under my arm I hold out my hand to him as he stands.



“Be my pleasure. I’ll call you soon,” I tell him quickly as I see my bus pulling around the corner.



“Be waiting.”



The bus smells of people, the mixtures of colognes and perfumes, sweat and stink that the cities holds in tight places. I settle down in the seat near the back and unfold my paper. My eyes skim the news taking in the articles for later perusal. I’ll focus on anything that has any meaning for what I’m looking at. An add for roses for example catches my eyes for a second then add for butchered meat.



I turn to the crosswords puzzle and pull my pen from my pocket.



One across bird fop, seven letters…peacock.



The killer grabs the victim. At random or planned out? Unknown. Takes victim someplace away from everything. The victim had to have done a lot of screaming when that arm was severed. Masturbates on the victim…gets off on the screams. Enjoys seeing others in pain. May need to talk to some people I know in the lifestyle. Have to avoid the BDSM clubs though too many old friends.



Two across Halloween space royalty, fourteen letters…



Killer’s getting a rush off the killings? No…he wouldn’t hide the bodies the way he’s doing. He would want to advertise. See his name, as it were, in the paper. Get to relive the thrill every night on TV when they talk about it.



Three across ten-cent priest, percussionist…thirteen letters…Dimebag Darrel. Born Darrel lance Abbott.



Dime…Dime…



I put down the paper and pull the file from my inner pocket.



“…presence of Dimethyl Sulfoxide.”



I set my thoughts to finding it’s purpose as I pick back up the newspaper.



The killer is hiding his victims near a place that makes or stores Dimethyl Sulfoxide. Cheek to see it the industrial areas are near where the body parts were found.



The bus comes to a stop. I glance towards the street signs and see I’ve road two stops past where I wanted to. I get up and step off into the growing shade of the late afternoon.



I walk back the two stops letting thing simmer and stew.



The neighborhood is not the best but I feel it’s familiar embrace. Old memories of my early years here. The damp cold of winter is missing but I can feel it’s remembered chill never the less. I pass the alley way where I almost bled out one night with a shiver that’s not from the cold.



The door opens to my knock.



The ogre on the other side takes a step back when he sees it’s me. I see his hand go towards his armpit. My eyes lock hard on his and his hand slows.



“Before you do anything stupid tell Joshua I’m here,” I say.

Stepping inside, without asking, I watch him close the door. He hurries off with a surprising quickness for a man his size.



Two across Halloween space royalty…fourteen letters.



“Well, well John Taline… come back slumming John? “



I glance up at Joshua as he enters the room. The ogre is following him. There is a larger bulge under his coat now. I smile at him.



“On a case. Might be a client of yours filmed It.” My eyes settle on Joshua with the old remembered repugnance. Two many of my earlier cases ended on his doorstep. The missing persons on his website.



Like the Mayor’s daughter.



“And that means what to me John? I don’t make anyone do anything. You know my pollicies. It’s cash for cunt…or whatever orifice.” He grins at me a mouth full of brilliantly white teeth. I know them all for crowns. “I’m simply a business man earning a living.”



“Midnight productions.” I say simply.



I see the inrush of breath.



“I’ve never had anything to do with that! You know that John.” His tone has shifted but not enough to signal guilt.



“Do I? Seems to me you had a partner, once upon a midnight dreary. Man named Wilson Monroe. Doing twenty to life up state for producing ‘special’ movies for ‘special’ customers.”



“I had nothing to do with it.” I see his eyes cut to the bodyguard. The man takes a half step to the side. Clearing his boss from line of fire.



“That won’t be what the letter I send to Wilson says. Nor the one to the Mayor.” I casually reach into my pocket and pull out my cigarette case. At the appearance of metal his goon reaches for the gun then stops at a gesture from Joshua.



Tap, tap, tap, Click. The smell of the desert replaces the sick scents that permeate this place. Half hidden smells. Of pain and fear, overlaid with the musk of sex.



“Anything new coming into the Midnight line?” I ask watching his eyes through the cloud of smoke I send his way.



He swallows and slowly shakes his head.



“Not for some time.” He supplies to my lifted eyebrow.



I give a slow nod.



Dimethyl Sulfoxide… Halloween space royalty…



“Thanks for your time Josh and for this trip down memory lane.” I eye the gorilla in the smoke mist “Want to get the door so he can get back to filming your mother?”



I enjoy the snarl… then the look that replaces it. His mind maybe dim but his memories good.



As I step towards the open door I hear a shift of feet behind me. The reflection in the wall mirror shows me it’s nothing of concern.



“John.”



I half turn my head.



“Yes Joshua?’



“Don’t come back here. That little threat with the letters won’t always work. I’ve got people above me now that I didn’t have back then. They will see to any such ‘postal work’ shall we say. I remember you as a friend once. Don’t be stupid again,” he says calmly.



“I was never your friend Joshua. I was a sick man with sick needs but you were never even close to a friend,” I say in the same tone.



The door closes behind me.



Halloween Space…Freddie Mercury.



Four across, mathematical desert…two letters. Shaking my head at the too simple answer I take out the paper and catch up on my writing as I wait for the bus.



Dimethyl Sulfoxide…type of solvent. Used in chemical reactions involving salts. Also an effective paint stripper.



Five across…



** ** ** ** ** ** **



The first walk through the door. That cold unused smell greets me. I reach over and hit the lights. I look past the layer of dust on my desk to the window with is ever bright glow of red. I turn up the thermostat and hear the heat come on to take out the chill. I set the bag of groceries on the table and cross to the window.



The neon light outside fills the view turning the world too red. Below I see Leia’s car pull up. Early,like always.



Going to the kitchen to I turn on the stove and get out the pans.



I breathe in the air. The old smells the place keeps…the ones I add. It smells like home. That comforting scent that tells you you’re safe.



Strange that, I haven’t been here in four months.



The pans get hot and the steaks are sizzling when she opens the door. I watch from around the side of the wood post as she drops her purse on the couch and steps out of her shoes. I listen to her moving into the apartment.



“Landlady still watching the place for you?” She asks as she presses herself up against my back.



“For an extra hundred a month? Hell yea. Medium rare right?” I ask turning the steaks in the pan.



Her hand comes around to my crotch I pull in a breath as she gives me a hard squeeze.



“More towards the rare side. I like meat a little raw.” she says.



I look back over my shoulder at her and grin.



“Well I take mine pink on the inside but a bit dark on the outside,” I say.



She pops my shoulder.



“Well that rules me out then. I haven’t seen the sun in months. I’m pale as a fish.”



“Oh I love to eat fish.” I turn the steaks a bit to change the char marks. It’s purely decorative but whatever.



“Dinner first then you can eat what ever you like for desert.” She kisses the side of my neck. “Shall I pour the wine?”



“Please.”



I watch and listen as she moves around behind me. I pull her steak and set it to the side. Then mine a few moments later.



When I turn with the plates she is back-lit by the window. My lovely lady looks like a demon.



I sit the food down and go get the bread. The loaves are still hot in their paper wrappers. The garlic butter fairly drips off them as I place it on the table.



“Thank you for dinner,” she says after taking the first bite.



“Thank you for bringing the desert,” I say grinning as I begin to cut my steak. The first bite is heaven. A heaven I haven’t tasted for the past four months.



“So John, want to talk about the case now or after sex?” she asks me taking a sip of wine.



“Both.”



Her shrug does wonderful things to her breast. She smiles noticing me watching.



“The second piece was a part of her right leg. Knee to thigh. It was more damaged than the first part. From the looks of things several cars had run over it before it was found.



I think this over as I chew.



“This isn’t the first. No way. We have probably missed a few victims. After a few hours on a road the traffic would make things unrecognizable.”



She eats a bit more then nods agreement



“So what’s different?” I say out loud. I take a sip of the wine. The sour taste clearing the fatty meat taste from my mouth wonderfully.



Leia shrugs and tears a piece of bread free. I watch the butter run down the side of her thumb till she catches it with her tongue and licks back up the trail.



“He got in a hurry for some reason.” I realize I’m more talking with myself but then she’s use to being a sounding board for a three-way conversation “Got sloppy, did things out of ‘the plan’. He turned left when he should have gone right. Who knows at this point? We don’t have enough information. Were there any differences with this piece?” I ask.



“No semen. No DMSO, no glycerol. Just the glue and the normal road trash I found on the other piece.” She answers after swallowing.



“Glycerol? I don’t remember seeing that in the report.” I wipe my mouth and take a sip of wine.



“I found it after I took your photo. I notice a photophobic change when the flash when off. I checked and found minute traces of glycerol.”



I toss the information around in my head, blow on it and hope to hit seven or eleven…nope still craps.



“DNA on the semen?” I ask knowing the answer.



“Still working at the lab. Be a few days. Waiting list longs as the lines at Coney Island. No priority on this yet,” she says chewing.



“Not till the press gets a hold of it.” I ponder the idea of leaking info then reject it.



I can see in her eyes that she was reading my thoughts.



“Captain would know it was you and he would crucify your ass to the station walls.” She dips bread into the grease, blood and butter on her plate. I watch the soft bread enter her mouth and then hear her teeth crunch the crust. She catches the little bit of butter that runs down from the corner of her mouth with her thumb and kisses it clean.



I nod agreement. My left arm itches but I make myself not scratch. She would know the meaning of it and disapprove.



“SVU got any leads?” she asks me after chewing the bread, and swallowing it with a sip of wine. “I talked to Dixson after you left. Lot of people over there not happy you’re involved in this.”



“Teen thrill killers their best idea so far. That explains the semen and the novel way of disposing of the body.”



“But your not buying that right?” she asks



“Not for a dollar or a dime. This wasn’t done by a teen. The method of disposal was thought out. Planned in advance. Too…cold-blooded. I’ll admit there are some teens out there that are any one of those things separately but few all together. No this guy is an adult with a bit of sick and twisted in his past.”



I slowly chew the last bites of my steak wishing I had gotten a bigger one. I look up blinking when my plate is suddenly holding another piece about a third as big. I see her just looking at me.



“You overcooked that part.” She say then takes a bite of her remaining steak. I see her teeth cut through the red flesh. I watch the muscles of her neck flex as her jaw works to shred the steak into manageable pieces.



It’s overdone for her, almost too bloody for me. I finish the last bites and sit toying with a piece of bread.



“John?”



Glancing up I have to look around. Her chair is empty. I find her by the couch standing back-lit by red.



“Ready for desert?” she asks with a grin. “I know I am.”



I smile and make my mind stop trying to find answers for the moment. The clues are to scattered, no focus yet. It will come to me though.



“It always does,” I say very softly.



“What?” she asks with that smile most of my friends seem to keep on their faces when I’m around.



I ignore her question and walk over to her. I pick up the remote from the table and hit a button. The music comes on soft and without words. Endless changes of tone and pitch soon fill the apartment.



“Strange taste in cigarettes, strange tastes in music, and a mind like a encyclopedia Britannica. Remind me again why I put up with a man that drops out of my life for months at a time, then only comes back when I have something no one can solve laying on my table?” she asks smiling.



I drop to my knees in front of her and place my hands on her thighs. Leaning forwards I place my head against her belly and hug her tight to my face. I can smell the scent of her job around her almost like personal cologne. No amount of perfume or bathing can hide that scent for long.



“You forgot strange tastes in women,” I say looking up past her breasts to her face. She gives me that quirky smile that I love.



“True. Maybe that’s why I let you back in every time. You make me at least feel normal for a few days.”



I slide my hands under her skirt and across the tops of her stockings. I feel the bit of satin and lace where the garter belt hooks on. I confess to liking this old style and she’s worn it around me ever since. My fingers hook her panties and I slip them down her thighs till they drop around her feet. I bring them up and smell the black silk when she steps free of them.



The scent is rich and strong. It fills my noise then my mind goes to a thousand nights that are equally filled with this smell.



“When did you put there on?” I ask almost knowing the answer.



“When I knew we were going to be needing you. About two days ago,” she says with a smile.



I lift my hand to the zipper on the side of her skirt then blink and flinch when her fingers pop mine.



“Did I tell you to do that?” she asks harshly.



Inwardly I smile. It’s going to be one of those nights then.



“No, Mistress. Would you like me to remove it for you? Please,” I ask looking up up at her face. I see her eyes narrow at the presumption of asking a question.



“No. Lick me under it.”



“Yes, Mistress.”



Leia lifts her leg and places her foot on the ottoman. I have only to tilt my head a little bit to slide my face up under the dark fabric. The smell of her is strong under here. As I place soft kisses on the silky skin of her thighs I feel her hand come to rest on the top of my head, outside the skirt. Her fingers apply pressure and my face is driven into the wet musk of her lips.



Warm…no hot skin opens under my tongue as I feel the soft downy hairs on her lips tickle my nose. I burrow my lips and mouth in between her outer lips and drive my tongue as deep into her as I can. She is awash with thick pudding like passion. I lap my tongue through the warm fluid reveling in the taste as I suck the folds clean.



I listen with pleasure to the sounds that begin to drift down to me from her. Soft moans, sharp intakes of breath, little huffs when my tongue finds her clit. I don’t linger on it too much just little touches that tease and tease. Then I’m back to the deeper places; the hot inner hole with it’s sharp tasting juices, the thickening lips that open like petals granting me even more depth. My nose rubs at her clit as I suck into my mouth the outer lips and run my tongue through the folds. I smile as I hear her sucking air between her teeth when I give a little nibble.



My tongue finds the little scar from where she once had a piercing and I give it a harder licking. I know from asking her that it’s not as sensitive as it once was. The hole, a closed scar now.



“My clit,” she says pushing against my head with her hand. I can feel her legs trembling. As she tries to keep her balance on one foot. I drift my mouth up across her till I feel the hard nub enter my mouth. Larger than some women it crosses my tongue and I feel the hood slide back out the way as I push it with my lips. I suck hard on the little finger of nerves. Then give it a hard lick as I hear the deeper moan.



I lose my balance and just do catch myself when she moves away from me. Taking from me the warmth of her but leaving the scent of her still covering me.



“Follow Me,” she orders.



“Yes Mistress,” I answer.



The candles I lit before dinner have filed the bedroom with vanilla scented warmth that flows out into the hall when she opens the door.



“Very nice. I see you remembered. For that I may rewards you latter. Now. Kneel back down.”



I let myself drop slowly to my knees in the thick pile carpet. The Asian patterns in the rug tug at my mind but I make it focus on this beautiful woman.



Leia moves over to by the bed and turns down the sheets to expose a veritable wallow of dark red silk and sateen. As I kneel she reaches behind her and unzips the back of her top. It falls away unheeded then I smile a bit as I see the mismatch that her bra is to the panties she wore earlier. The same colors but not the same set.



The bra joins the blouse on the floor. Discarded like shed skin. I feel my breathing quicken when she unzips the side of the skirt and lets it fall.



“My god what an ass.” Like the hundreds of times before I’ve seen it that is the first thought that comes to mind. Round and shaped just like an upside down heart I watch pleasantly mesmerized the shifts as she knee walks onto the side of the bed. She looks back over her shoulder at me.



“Get back to work, I’m getting bored,” she says.



Hiding my grin I move over to the side of the bed and kneel down behind her. Her feet tuck up under my arms as I lean in and place wet kisses on the cheeks of her ass. Placing my hands on her skin I hook my thumbs under her and spread her open just a bit more. I lean down and run my tongue into her then. From this way I feel her open up for me till I’m moving my tongue around an open tube of warm skin. I feel a tightening of muscles around my tongue as she clinches against me. I bury my face against her then pulling her to me till I feel the tip of my nose push against her wrinkled rose.



The moan from her tells me what she’s in the mood for tonight.



Licking up along the roof of her I let my tongue slip out and up to circle the rose bud of her ass. She gives her ass a wiggle and I let the tip push in a bit.



“Stop teasing me. I didn’t say you could.”



I grin and push my tongue as deep into her ass as I can manage. It flexes and tries to drive me back out then relaxes around my tongue accepting my probing. I lick around the rim then open her back up against.



The moan from her is deep throated then an almost guttural groan of pleasure. I pull her to my face and start a rocking motion that soon has her driving her ass back against my mouth forcing my tongue deeper into her. Into the warm depths of her ass.



Under her I run my hand till I’m cupping the swell of her mons and my thumb finds the hood of her clit. I move back easily and the bundle of nerves contact the sides of my thumb. Then the pad as I move my hand a bit. I start little circles against her.



“Oh John yes. Oh just like that my wonderful lover.”



I grin as I tongue her ass. She’s stepped out of the Dom role. I place a light nibble, pulling the wrinkles skin between my teeth.



The moan become a scream then a shriek as I feel her legs tremble and shake against my chest. I move my hand slower just letting it lightly brush her clit with little strokes that make her jump even as she moans and pants.



“Oh my…oh my…oh John YES!”



She is pulled from me as she collapses forward onto the satin and silken bedding. I enjoy the show, as she lays shuddering and twitching for a few more seconds then with deep sigh lays panting.



Standing up I undo the buttons of my shirt and let it fall to join her clothes. My pants drop down and I step out of them. I catch my socks with the heel of my other foot and pull them off.



She is warmer and smoother than the silk as I move up the bed and on top of her. I feel her shift and wiggle a bit under me then I let myself sink down. The head of me touches wet skin and I push into her. I really don’t care where I’m pushing into by this point I am being driven now by hunger. A hunger that far surpasses the need for a steak from earlier. I sink into her with a grunt from me and a moan from her.



As I settle down onto to her I feel her head turn under my cheek.



“I…I don’t remember telling you that you could do that yet.” Her words are a soft whisper of breath.



“Sorry Mistress but I make a lousy slave when I’m this horny.”



She chuckles under me then.



“You always are a lousy slave, John. It’s just not in your nature to be one.” She grunts as I drive myself into her harder. “If I didn’t like the way you could cook I would dip you in chocolate and toss you into a gay bar.”



Reveling in the warm tight sheath of her body I chuckle at her joke. The feeling of my cock as it pushes her open more. The tight ring of skin around me as I push in.



“You do know where you’re at right?” she asks when I push harder and she moans in response.



“I’m in your ass aren’t I?” I ask sure of the answer.



I see her fingers clinching the satin sheet pulling them tight into her hands.



“Oh yea,” she says with a wince. “I do hope your getting close,I can’t take too much more of that kind of pounding back there.”



I slow my stroke to a more gentle pump and I here her give a purr under me. She wiggles her ass a bit and I sink a bit deeper on the stroke. I receive a pain filled grunt when I do.



“Ow…damn it, John!”



“You did that one Princess,” I say smiling.



She bucks hard back up against me. I feel my balls slap across her pussy hard enough to hurt.’



“I’ve told you to stop calling me that John. I’m not kidding. I don’t like to be reminded I look like her. I get enough geek fan mail every Comic Con as is.” She pushes back against me again.



“Leia if your trying to deter me you going about it in a strange way. That feels wonderful.” I give her a harder pump then that drives a deep moan from her followed by a squinting of her eyes. “Sorry.” I say softly.

I see her lips quirk as she turns to look up at me a bit.



“No you’re not. You like seeing me wince in pain from your cock in my ass.”



“Don’t you like it when I do it from your whip?” I ask already knowing the answer.



She gives a little shrug.



“That’s different.”



I catch that beautiful shoulder in my hand and pull her to me.



“Yea. The whip can’t feel.” I say.



Quicken my pace I listen with pleasure to the sounds I’m making her make. Loving the look on her face. The red flush to her cheek the occasional wince as I go too deep. The look of complete lust that comes when I pull almost out.



I smile when I see her fingers tighten in the sheets again. I can feel myself getting so damn close. I just can’t get there. The more I pump the better it feel the better it feel the further it seems I am away.



Then I hear her moaning under me. That deep throated moan she makes when she beginning to cum. The sound rises second by second, pump by pump till she is all but screaming under me as I leave fingerprint bruised skin under my hand.



Arching my back trying to catch a breath that won’t be caught, I feel the flow out of me, the deep ache as I empty into her. I suck air with every grunt every pant, every moan as I cum what feels like an endless amount into her. I’m sure it’s not much more than a few spoons full but it feels like cups full. Finally I can’t hold myself up I collapse onto her. She is panting under me she back sweaty under my chest.



“Oh my god John.” I hear her chuckle. “Only you. Only you can make me cum from being ass fucked. Whew. Damn that felt good.”



I place a soft kiss on the side of her sweaty neck.



“I’m glad you enjoyed it…Princess.”



She shakes her head under my face her hair tickling my cheek.



“Get your limp dick out of me already.” She tightens her ass and I feel myself being pushed out whether I wished to come out or not.



Sitting up onto my knees I look down at her back. Drops of my cum drip from the tip to land on her ass cheeks.



It hits like a freight train! The cum, the semen! Glycerin, Dimethyl Sufloxide!



“John? John you want to get off me I want to get a shower.”



I hear her words but at the same time they float past me like butterflies.



“JOHN!”



Blinking I look down to see her looking back up at me.



“The semen was stored.” I say softly. “The glycerin and Dimethyl Sulfoxide. They added it to semen so it could be frozen. It keeps the ice crystals from destroying the sperm.”



I move off her then not because she wishes it. I’m only half-aware she is here at all. My mind is fluttering between a dozen different’ solutions based on the new data.



I refocus when my eyes take in the wineglass held under my nose.



Looking up a bit I see her looking at me with the ghost of a smile on her lips.



“If it was any man but you I would be slapping the shit out of you about now,” she says.



“I’m sorry Leia…I just.”



I see her smile.



“Like I said any man but you. You I know and can accept this kind of shit from. John?” she gives her fingers a click.



My eyes focus on her fingers for a half-second then I look past then to her bare breasts. It’s like the problem solved the cooling fan slows down and the computer just goes quieter.



I look up into her eyes.



“The killer we’re looking for is a woman.”



** ** ** ** ** ** **



“Bingo.”



I look up from the chessboard. I put it away in the back part of my mind again as I move over to where Leia is looking at her computer monitor.



Damn I was getting close to check. Just four moves from check seven from checkmate.



Looking over her shoulder I let my eyes take in the endless columns of numbers that fill the screen



“Care to translate into non geek?” I ask after a second.



Leia looks back over her shoulder at me and just gives me a look.



“This is the DNA sequence of the sample we found. I’ve had it going through the police DNA files for the last hour looking for sex crime perps. Nothing.”



“You won’t find it there. They rarely donate semen.” I say caustically.



“Yes John but they do leave it on the scene which is more than I can say about most criminals.” she answers patently.



I shrug then smile.



“You can’t get everything. Imagine a bank robber that takes the time to jack one off before he leaves the bank. Ridiculous.” I stop then and look back at her. “Why did you say bingo then?”



“Because I’ve got a second scan running and it just hit.” Leia shifts to a second window and I see a second set of numbers.



They match the first ones perfectly.



When she rolls the screen down I know my eyebrows not only go up they cross the top of my head and head down my back! Hell by the time they stop my ass is getting tickled!



“That’s fucking impossible,” I say more to myself that her after a second.



“Why?” she asks.



“Which one? The one where he’s famous or the one where he’s been dead for ten years? I think both are impossible.” I walk away from her and the computer that’s making what should be a terribly complicated case even worse. I rub at my left arm then make myself stop. I fish a cigarette out my case and tap it on the lighter. When I pop it open I hear the humph from here.



Walking over to the door I open it and step out a foot into the lab. I turn around and just look at her as I light the cigarette. She looks at me shaking her head then turns back to the screen. I see her typing. I can see the Google heading from across the room. My sigh is similar to hers.



“James Davion…known in the Porn industry as…”



“James Blades, the Sexy Saber.” I say muttering under my breath. She nods.



“Rated third most famous in terms of being a house hold name…” she continues to read.



“Ranked behind John Holmes and Ron Jeremy. Stared in more than two thousand films.”



I’m not even tasting the damn cigarette, which is a bad sign.



“More known for the…” she starts to read more but I interrupt her.



“…the fact he could cum more by volume than any other porn actor! The fucking semen sample is from the guy who left more damn cum in this world than any other male!” Turning away from the door I walk over to the empty gurney. Looking down I let my eyes follow the channels in the sides. The ones designed to take fluids away from the autopsy. Bile rises for a second. I crush out the cigarette feeling relief at the pain in my palm from the hot ember till it dies out. I know I’ve just given myself a small blister but at the moment I don’t care.



“John?”



“Yes, Leia?”



“It can’t be that bad. I mean how many samples could he have left stored in sperm banks?”she says trying to sooth.



“How many autographs did Elvis fucking sign? I bet the number is similar.” I say sarcasm dripping.



I want to claw at my left arm. I know I won’t be able to fight the need much longer. Like always the frustrations of a case bring it back.



The lack of sleep is making me irritable. The steady diet of her coffee and Egyptian cigarettes is starting to get to me. I can almost feel my brain getting clogged up.



“John?”



I can hear the concern in her voice.



“I need to think Princess. I’ll be back, call me if you come up with anything.”



I don’t look back as I walk out the office and down the hall.



Wonder how the guys up in SVU are taking this news? Their whole teen thrill killer just went out the window.



James Blades. Died at the age of fifty from a heart attack while filming a sex scene with four girls. My fucking hero.



James Blades, the Sexy Saber. Known more for the curve in his cock than the size of it. A modest eight inches almost small for the porn industry back when he got started. Got a more modest start than most because of it too.



“No big wang like Holmes or Ron to get his…’foot’ in the door.” I notice but do really see the expression on the lady officer I’m walking past.



“First twenty movies were lost when a building fire destroyed the studio they were filmed in.”



The fresh outside air is poisonous to me when I exit the building. I light cigarette to keep me able to breathe. The cab I climb into has his off duty light on. He’s about to protest me being in the back seat but Mr. Franklin convinces him other wise.



“Where to?” he asks.



“The Park. East side.” I tell him.



I sit back and just watch the world slide by wondering if this is going to be ‘it’. I bet there is a pool going on up in SVU by now. I know some of them have been waiting years for me to not solve one.



“Kind of sick that.” I say to myself. I notice the cabby look back at me. I just shake my head. He goes back to his driving. It was better when he was not looking.



“James Davion, aka James ‘the Blade’. Married four times. Widowed once. Three children all from his last wife.”



I kick my brain again but it won’t find a path way through all the detritus to what’s important.



I look out the window at the green lawns, the dark trees. The broken park benches.



Handing the cabby his fare I step out and walk without looking up into the shade of the big trees.



I can almost feel the muggers following me with their eyes. I must be giving off a serious feeling of controlled maniac though none make any move to follow me. Not even when the light starts to dim.



I find him in the corner I knew he would be in. He knows me from decades ago… and months ago. I see the concern in his eyes as I hand him the money.



Walking away my fingers fiddling in my pocket I have to laugh at that. Concern from him. That’s like loving warmth from a hooker. Possible, but rare than hen’s teeth.



James Blades…the Sexy Saber…could cum more than any three men put together. So much so that his semen ends up on the body of a dead dismembered girl ten years after he’s death?



I walk the distance back to my apartment. It’s miles through bad neighborhoods but no one gives me any trouble.



Serious controlled maniac. It must hang around me like a cloud.



The elevator takes forever to get to the top floor. The red neon greets me. The cold air is bracing as I strip down. I turn on the music and light the ring of candles.



I slow my breathing and get to work. The old skills take over after a second or so. Tie the cord. Flex to build up the vein. Tape the needle to get the air out. Don’t want an air bubble in my blood.



That would be bad.



The rubber tubing comes away and I rub my arm to chase the demon burn away.



When the drug hits my brain I start to drift. I make my eyes find the candle; I focus on the flame and begin to slowly burn away the clues. I let them float down like rose petals into the open flame to be consumed. Like drifting pieces of paper they burn to ash useless, needless, unimportant, wrong, they all burn away.



Then I see the one I couldn’t see, the rose in the flower garden.



The rose. West Coast.



The victim was a porn star!



I settle back just breathing even till the drug begins to fade. My mind as blank as I can make it become. It’s like a blessing to me. A white noise voice in the screams of the unavenged.



When I crawl into my bed an hour latter I can smell Leia on the sheets still.



I know she won’t be joining me tonight though.



She knew I was going to be with my other mistress tonight.



I’m crying softly when sleep takes me.



** ** ** ** ** ** **



My tongue feels like a cat shit on it. I’m stumbling as I make my way into the bathroom. When I flick on the light I wish I hadn’t.



My eyes come to focus on my face.



“You look like shit, John.” I tell myself.



I can lie to a lot of people with a straight face. Not to myself though.



My hairs got more gray in it than brown now. Has it been so long? My eyes look like they should be condemned. The bristle on my jaw is showing signs of serious neglect.



“Yea. Shit beat with a shit stick and left to dry in the sun.”



The shower I take is cold. Some days I’m a complete masochist but I feel the need to punish myself for the condition I’m getting into. The promise to go boxing comes to mind. Did I just say I would or did I mean it? I don’t know now. My threats to the body guard at Joshua’s place? Could I have carried them out?



I stand shivering under the cold water for far to long. A baptism of ice that soon feels like fire to my skin.



When I shave away the stubble my lips looks blue.



Lighting my first cigarette of the day as I sit sipping my coffee I ponder my next move. I already know it but I give it a few tumbles just to be sure.



Part of me wants to go back to Joshua’s place. Test my skills on his slab of meat, then beat Joshua’s head against the wall till either my question gets an answer or his brains come falling out.



Can’t say I would care which came first.



No. That’s trouble that I don’t need, in a case that’s already a mess.



“Tony will know,” I say trying convince myself.



Leaving my place I make my way in the direction of coffee. My feet must know the way they find it without any guidance from my brain. It’s too busy.



Or maybe my nose is guiding me.



My eyes come to focus on the body of a young woman standing in line to get her cappuccino IV filled. I’ve watched her down three espresso like they were water, now the barista is filling up a gallon travel mug with sickeningly sweet mocha latte caramel fluff.



As she struggles to lift the mug from the counter she catches my eyes. I can see her looking me over.



She’s young, maybe twenty. Headed to college, already late for her morning classes no doubt. But that’s okay. She will be there on time. She has her high-octane preppy fuel in hand.



I can see her already shaking under the caffeine’s influence.



She can’t be much younger than my victim. What would a porn star that old have to do with James Blade? He gave up swinging from cunt to cunt years ago. Hell my victim probably wasn’t even in grade school then.



I feel a cold feeling settle down my spine then. I know an answer but I can’t make myself think about it.



Leaving the rest of my coffee I storm past the caffeine warrior queen and out the door. I stop myself turn and hold open the door so she can get through with her barrel of coffee’s bastard children.



“Thank you.” she says to me sweetly. I can hear the caffeine even in her speech.



“No thank you.” I say half distracted by a picture of a rose on her book bag.



“For what?” she asks.



I focus back on her face. Her eyes. No not twenty… hell maybe eighteen at the most.



“You wouldn’t want to know.” I tell her as I let the door close behind her and head off to Tony’s shop.



** ** ** *** ** ***



The pink dildo on the wall would scare a horse!



I pull my eyes away from it but there are so many other things here to catch and hold the attention of any male. Female. Or in between.



When his customer moves away with the little brown bag folded up under his arm, like that some how innocent looking, I see Tony smile.



“John you can never stay away can you?”he asks.



I move over and shake Tony’s hand. He’s one of my oldest friends. He and I grew up on street where most didn’t see twenty.



He has a lot of gray in his hair as well. The little bit above his ears that’s let.



“Tony. How is the adult video business treating you?” I ask.



He shakes his head.



“John, you always ask that question but you know the answer. Since the Internet came out with its free porn sites it’s a shit industry. We don’t manage half the sales we did when we were doing VHS tapes. You would think that people with the big TVs would rather watch their porn in Blue ray that in a little box on their laptop. Doesn’t seem that way though. But anyway that’s my problem John. I don’t figure you’re here to talk about porn with me.”



I take a deep breath.



“You would be wrong there Tony. That’s just what I need to talk to you about.” I sigh not wanting to ask the question but I know I have to. I pull the close up photo of the rose from my pocket and lay it on the counter in front of him. “Female Porn star in her twenties had this on her left arm.”



He picks the photo up for maybe a half-second look then walks around the counter to one of the shelves and picks up a DVD. When he hands it to me I cringe inwardly.



She’s beautiful. Young, blond, sexy as hell with that new fresh innocence that the industry demands.



“Sadie Blades.” I read the name and wish I hadn’t. I focus my eyes on her left arm and see the tattoo just where it should be. When I turn it over the promo across the top is unsurprising.



‘Daughter of the Sexy Saber.’



Oh, son of a bitch.



“Problems John?” asks Tony after a second.



I look up and smile.



“Only if I don’t like my life complicated. Thanks Tony you just confirmed something I was dreading for the last hour or so.” I look at the price and reaching into my wallet I peal off three twenties.



“Keep the change, Tony.”



I just pocket the tape and head towards the door. No need for little black plastic bags.



“John!’



I look back to see him holding the hundred I had folded in the twenties. I smile and wink at him.



SVU’s going to love this shit storm.



** ** ** ** ** ** **



The coffee smell of the Police SVU office is if anything worse that at the coffee shop. Only here it’s scorched coffee.



The chair was made to be hard to sit comfortable in. I try to make it look like I’m comfortable though.



After three hours that’s become more than a little challenge.



If I had dropped a small bomb off in the room I don’t think I could have made more cops go running…than the bomb I did drop.



Dixson went all to pieces. He had people flying out every doorway. I kept hearing names being called out. Yea she is safe, can’t find the second daughter anywhere. No she’s safe. Yea his ex wives are all accounted for.



James Davion, aka James Blades, aka the Sexy Saber. Father of three children.



One now dead.



I try to look like I’m not watching the blinds in Dixson’s office windows. I can just make out the people moving behind them. I know that one is Dixson, one is the Captain, and the third is a uniform.



I can’t see the one I want to see though.



The ex wife.



Trixon Vixon. Real name Tabitha West, married to James Davion for four years. Starred in nine movies with him and a further two hundred without him.



Retired to be a home decorator at the age of thirty.



Divorced because of Irreconcilable differences.



“Yea your husband’s fucking about forty women a month. That tends to be a no brainer in the whole divorce, marriage thing,” I mutter to myself. The people in the desks around me have gotten use to it by now. I don’t even rate a raised eyebrow.



Trixon Vixon…Tabitha West…four years…



I know out on the West Coast his other ex wives have been put under guards as well. Trixon here is the only one that lives on this side of the country.



Looking up I see the Captain come walking out with her beside him.



Five foot six, blond, body starting to sag a bit in places. Breasts are still standing tall thanks to doctor play-doh’s fun factory. I see her eyes, blue, come to focus on me with an instant recognition. I see her turn and ask the Captain a question then she starts to walk over to me.



“John Taline?”



“A pleasure to meet you Miss West,” I tell her getting to my feet and offering her my hand. Her fingers are soft and warm in mine.



“Yes…Mr. Taline here works as a consultant for us sometimes.” The Captain says, clearly wishing she had kept walking.



“Oh I know who he is. You’re the man the Mayor called the Miracle Worker. Seems you saved his daughter from a horrible fate,” her eyes twinkle.



My body goes taunt at that.



“How do you know that?”I ask. “There was never any mention in the press about that.”



Tabitha West smiles at me. Those sexy lips that made her rich.



“I know the Mayor. We keep it on the hush, hush because of my former career but I went to school with him. We’ve been friends for years. I have a question for you though Mr. Taline.”

“Yes?”



“If you’re on this case…why isn’t my step daughters killer been caught yet?” she asks.



I pause for a half-second and let the quick response pass by.



“Because the killer is smart. She did things that make it hard to identify clues.” I give a bit of a shrug. “Plus I’ve only been on the case two days. Most take me about a week to solve.”



“She?” Tabitha’s eyes go wide. “You think she was killed by a Woman? Why…or is that just a guess?”



“No not a guess. The killer did something foolish with the body that makes more sense if it was a woman and not a man. I could be wrong but I don’t think I am.” I put my unlit cigarette back in my mouth. I blink started a second of so later when a lighter clicks on under my nose. I suck in the flame listening to the paper crisp.



“Can’t smoke without fire Mr. Taline. If you find out anything that I can help you with …look me up.” her voice is a sex purr. I can tell she does it without thinking about it anymore.



“I will.”



Watching her ass as she walks away I smile. Nice view.



“Taline get the fuck in my office already!”



Dixson’s voice is still like a file on sheet metal,dragged across a plate with a fork, onto a chalkboard.



“And put that cigarette out!” He turns away from me confident I’ll follow.



I send a puff of smoke towards his back



“So learn anything new from the Porn queen?” I ask taking a seat without being asked.



Dixson eyes me and my still smoking cigarette. After a second I shrug and go to get back to my feet.



“Solve it yourself.”



I’m halfway to the door when he calls after me.



“Sit back down Taline and stop being an asshole.”



I ponder an answer then suck in one last puff. Old habits makes my fingers field strip the cigarette before I put it back into the case.



“Well?” I ask after I take my chair back.



“Not too much” Dixson sits back in his chair his fingers come up to start to play with the tip of his nose. “She said that most likely it may have something to do with her ex’s career outside the fluff and stuff business. He had a lot of dealings with some darker sides of the street. Liked to make the odd buck here and there. Dealt coke to a few stars that wanted their mind blown, that kind of shit.”



“Ten year after he’s dead? Not likely. Those guys have a very short memory for problems that are already solved by the person being dead.” I shake my head. “No…this is personal. James knew the lady that’s doing this when he was alive.”



“Well that’s kind of a problem, Taline, given the number of women he knew. I think it’s well over two thousand.”



I don’t let myself give the exact number. I hate it when people make me do that by quoting numbers wrong. I can see him waiting for it.



“Run it down with me Dixson.” I say softly after a bit. I may not always like SVU’s people but they are good at this kind of thing when they make an effort.



He flips open a file.



“Okay victim Sadie Davion was the daughter of the famous porn star James Davion. Only partial remains have been recovered. There was the presence of her father’s semen on her left arm. Semen was stored at a sperm bank prior to it’s being…used. Sadie was tortured then killed. Dismembered after death.”



“We can hope.” I say softly. I notice my hands are fiddling with my jacket buttons. I make them stop before I have to break out a needle and tread to repair it again.



“Yea. Lets see…the remains were recovered two miles apart on different roads.”



“Killer rode around with a car full of bloody hunks of fur wrapped…meat…tossing out pieces in the middle of the night. Some where out there is a car with enough DNA evidence to convict.” I say before he can speak again.



He looks up startled then after a second nods.



“Yea. If it’s not been burned. I’ll check with DMV.” He gives the notebook in front of him a tap with his pen. It’s an annoying habit. “So you think it’s a woman?’



“Yea. Can you picture an man holding a vile of some other man’s semen and splashing it onto his victim?”



Dixson sits working that through his head for a second.



“Yea…okay I can kind of see what you mean. It’s not a guy kind of thing. So we are looking for a woman.”



“Yes. One with a personal history with Mr. Blades. One with grudge of some kind that needed to be settled by killing his daughter?” Hands off the buttons! Study the wood patterns in his desk or something.



“Anything in his past that could lead to this kind of crime?” I ask after bit of thinking and wood grain inspection.



“Outside of the porn? Maybe. I found a reference to a fire that’s interesting.”



My head comes up and my eyes focus on the page in front of him, then his eyes, behind those coke bottle glasses he wears.



“The one that destroyed his first movies?” I ask after a second.



“Yep…that one. It was in a building owned by a Wilson Monrow.”



** ** ** ** ** ** **



Criminals have a smell. Go to any police holding cell and you can notice it. It tends to linger long after the last suspect leaves.



In a prison it never goes away. It just rots down into a miasma of stink. I hate it.



I also hate the sound of the bars closing behind me. I feel a second’s anxiety till the ones in front of me open.



The guard beside me doesn’t seem to notice the smell. But then workers at a sewage treatment plant don’t notice they smell like shit either.



Wilson Monrow. Doing life without parole for being an accessory to more than fifty murders. He never held the knife…just the camera.



And he’s here because of me.



As I cross into the visitor’s section I look out through the thick plexi at the world I only just avoided being sent to myself. Many times.



Sitting down I ponder the changes in my life that led me away from here while I wait.



The door opens. He’s led into the room in chains. He looks older but then so do I.



“Well I’ll be fucked. My favorite person in the whole world,” he says grinning. The guards deposit him into the chair and cuffs him too it. “Come to gloat John? Wouldn’t have thought that was your style.”



“It’s not.” I move over one to take the seat opposite him. “I want to talk to you about James Davion.”



“The Sex Saber? Old curve dick himself?” Wilson just looks at me for a second. Then shrugs. “Well what the hell I got nothing better to do for the next two hundred and fifty years. At least I’m out my cell while I’m talking to you. Ask away, John.”



“You knew James for about eight years. Filmed about thirty movies. They were destroyed when you torched your offices trying to destroy evidence of the Midnight movies you were making. Did James ever leave a sperm sample somewhere?”



“Yea, on the faces of about a thousand whores. He was kind of known for that, John. You know the whole Porn star thing.” He chuckles. “Plus a few camera men who got in too close when the curved cock exploded.”



“I kind of meant in a sperm bank.”



Wilson sits just looking at me for a few seconds. Then nods.



“Yep. Him and his first wife wanted to have kids but not till they had the money to support them. He was letting it fly maybe ten times a week on camera plus his normal husband duties. Had too low a swimmer count to do the job. He took a two-month vacation from…work… went, and left a sample. Somewhere. I don’t know what happen to it. Wish I had it myself.”



“Why thirsty?”



He just looks at me for a few moments.



“That was beneath you, John. I expect better from you.” He sits up a bit in his chair and goes to look over his shoulder.



“Sorry,” I say softly.



Wilson chuckles.



“God I bet that fucking hurt for you to say. Having to apologize to the likes of me…just to keep me talking.” He laughs at me then. A deep smirking laugh.



“Why would you want it?” I ask after a moment of letting him have himself a chuckle.



“You’re fucking kidding right? With what it would be worth? I could sell those happy wigglers and hire me a lawyer that would have me out of here faster than the ‘Hedgehog’ could cum.” He must see the look on my face. “James Blades? Six foot two inches tall, Nordic looking, body that could make women swoon. Dick like a Satyr and just as randy. You could crags list that stuff at ten thousand dollars per sperm.”



My mind starts doing the math. Six million sperm per sample…



Holy fucking shit!



I look up to see that look on his face.



“Worth fucking dying for hu? Worth fucking killing for! News reaches even into here, John. Little Saber Dick’s daughter got herself chopped up. So what do they do? They call in the great John Taline! The problem solver, the man who can solve the unsolvable. The miracle worker who put away so many who would have walked other wise. Got a fucking clue this time John or are you still just whistle fishing?”



Whistle fishing. Whistling to make other people do it. A hobby for when your truly bored and have a need to make other people jump through hoops.



“We’re done.” He calls out to the guard. I look up blinking when the door opens.



“Have a nice day John. Oh and hope you never end up on the wrong side of this window. There are a lot of people in here that would love to see you comes strolling into this place.” He grins at me savoring the idea. I listen to him whistling as he walks away in chains.



I have to make myself not whistle.



It would give him the satisfaction of knowing he won.



Even when he did.



** ** ** ** ** ** **



Awakening with a hangover sucks. That’s my first thought. It explains the pain in my head and the vomit smell by my nose. I must have really tied one on though.



I have no memory of getting drunk.



Or why I’m in an alley!



The sounds of the city come back to me then in a rush. They make the pounding at the back of my head far worse.



I sit up a bit and lift my hand towards the back of my head. My hair is wet. I bring my hand back around and hold it in front of my eyes.



My hand is covered with blood.



“Okay that’s not good.” I say to myself. I lift the other hand. It’s dirty but not bloody. Placing it on the back of my head I still feel wet. I bring it back around.



“Okay now it’s bloody.”



Far to slowly memories start to come back. A hard blow to the back of my head, a loud pop just after. The feeling of hands catching me then dragging me as I go limp.



Then a line of fire at my side!



Falling, falling the cold payment hitting my face. Then a second hard blow at the back of my head.



Then darkness.



I try to sort the memories and can’t



“Yea that’s not a good thing.”



I lean back into the wall and bring my hand to my side. The pain there is intensive. I unbutton my shirt with bloody fumbling fingers.



Just under my ribs is an oozing hole.



“Four inches across Looks deep. Stab wound that got sliced after the puncture.”



I blink at the red flow down my side as it starts to get worse.



“I fell on my wound. My body weight kept pressure on it.”



Blinking some more I stop and look up at the building across the alley.



“Stop analyzing and fucking do something John. You’re going to bleed out.”



Nodding which was a mistake I fish around in my pocket and find my handkerchief. I press it into the wound only to see it almost immediately saturate.



“Yea not good. On your feet John!”



There are days when I hate myself.



Groaning in pain I lever myself to my feet somehow and feel an immediate need to throw up. The idea of dry heaving with my head hurting like it is and a knife wound open on my side convinces my stomach that’s not a good idea.



I stagger down the alley using the wall to hold me up. Already getting tired of the Quasimodo walk I try to straighten up then decide hunchback is coming back in style anyway.



Scanning the street to see if I can see anyone watching me with intent I’m hoping my attacker is long gone. It would be iffy on whether I could take more right now.



“God my fucking head hurts.”



After a second I decide God has better things to do than get me some aspirin.



I stumble down the street to an open storefront. The street traffic goes by uncaring But I notice a few pedestrians eying me. The looks are a mixture concern and disgust.



“Great they think I’m hungover too.”



The storefront is a small mom and pops quick stop grocery. I stumble in leaving a red train across the black and white floor tiles.



“One foot by one foot black and white tile. Put in back in the late 1960s. Most likely asbestos. Was placed in almost every thing back then. Causes respiratory failure do to micro fibers tearing at the lining of the lungs. Shredding tissues like glass.” The words mumble out from between my lips.



“Sir?”



“Call 911, if you please. If you’ll excuse me I’ve got some shopping to do.” The lady is wide eyed as I lurch past her.



I do hope she’ll call 911 at least.



Walking down the isle till I see what I’m looking for when I stumble into the shelf and kind of slide to the floor.



“Sir? Maybe you should sit down till the ambulance gets here.” she says.



Focusing on the pack of tampons in my hands I start to fumble the wrapper open.



“I’ll be dead by then if I don’t stop this bleeding.” I say trying to make my figners work.



The package slips out of my bloody hands.



“Damn it.” I cough. “Oh that wasn’t good.” I say, as I taste blood from the back of my mouth.



The lady kneels down next to me; I see her doing her best to avoid the red smear on the floor.



“Can I help, Sir?”



I lift my eyes to her face. She has the look of Asia to her features but not full-blooded. Maybe a third or less. I slowly nod.



“Open those.”



She takes the package of tampons and looks up at me.



“Sir I don’t think it’s your time of the month”



I chuckle again, a bad idea.



“Yea it is. I’m having a heavy flow day in fact. Just open it.”



I fumble with my shirt. Why the fuck did I button it back up. John you idiot.



I focus on the long pink tube in front of my eyes. Taking it from her I make sure the string is accessible.



“Fuck why do these things have to be so big.” I mutter under my breath. Looking up I see her watching me with a sick lack of color to her face. “You have my sincerest admiration for having to put up with this.”



I bite hard on my teeth as I push the applicator into the knife wound. I can’t keep in the moan when it scrapes the bottom of a rib bone.



Panting I stop and lean back to the rack of pampers and baby wipes. I grab one that says antiseptic and start tearing at the plastic. She takes it from my bloody hands and opens it for me. I look up at her blinking.



“What’s your name?”



“Susan. Susan Lee.”



“Did you call 911?” I ask as I try to focus on her face. Lee, common name in many Asian countries. More Lees in the world than any other last name including Smith and Jones combined.



“My grandmother did.”



I look past her to where an older, full blooded, Asian woman is standing with a phone to her ear.



Taking the baby wipes I clean the wound as much as I can. I notice then that I haven’t pulled out the plastic applicator.



“Oh this is going to suck so badly.” I grab it and slip it out of me. It falls to the floor from my numb fingers. After a moment I finally catch my breath. “No that was an understatement.”



“Sir?”



I blink and look back up to Susan. I can hear the sounds of ambulance and police cars coming. The Doppler effect is getting stronger. Doppler a compression of sound waves….



“Let it rest, John.”



I hear plastic being opened and I look up through the throb to see her opening a pack of panty liners. I nod. She peals then open and hands them to me one by one. They stick to the skin nicely. The stab wound covered I lean back only to sit up when my head hit the rack behind me.



“One down. One to go.”



Moving through the molasses that has filed the store I lift my hand to the back of my head.



“Molasses flood killed twenty one people when a 2,300,000 gallon tank burst in Boston Jan 15, 1919.”



“Sir?”



“Nothing,”I mumble.



I feel blood-matted hair and two more oozing places at the back of my skull. I lack the energy or focus to tend to them. I can hear the sounds of the sirens. They must be almost here.



“Tell them to check the back of my head. I’m probably going to take a nap now,” I tell her softly.



“Sir?”



Why does Susan sound so much like Peppermint Patty’s little friend. Peppermint Patty, character in the Charley Brown cartoon strip original design by Charles Sholts. Often sighted at the first openly lesbian cartoon character…



I drop into a haze of snoopy dancing kids and parents that talking in “wawwas”



** ** ** ** ** ** **



“For fuck sake, John! Lay the hell down.”



I turn on the side of the bed to look over at Leia as she comes walking into my hospital room. She looks gorgeous.



I look like hell.



I don’t even need a mirror to get that one spot on.



“I need to take a piss.” The tile floor is shockingly cold. I take the IV stand along just to keep it happy.



Leia shakes her head and puts her purse down in the chair. I take her arm and she more or less guides me to the bathroom. Ten feet away and I need a guide to find it. That should tell you something of my state of mind.



“Need me to hold it for you?” she asks. I can’t quite tell if she’s being sincere or sarcastic. It might be a bit of both.



“Nope. I like you to eat at that restaurant, you don’t need to know the health score.”



She huffs and moves away.



“You know that made no sense, John?”



“Don’t bother me with technical quibbles about language can’t you see I’m pissing.” I say blinking at the yellow stream.



It takes far too much of my concentration to manage so simple a bodily function.



The ridiculous gown back into place I make my way back to the bed. Before I went to piss I had thought about trying to get dress and getting out of here. Now…not so much.



“Princess, will you be a wonderful and loving lover and tell me exactly what happened? These white coated pill pushers won’t give me a straight answer.”



I slide back into bed. She helps get the sheet back across me.



“You were shot, John. In the back of the head, close range…22-rim fire. You were dragged into an alley then stabbed. You got lucky there it didn’t hit anything too major. You were then shot a second time also in the back of the head. Probably from a distance of about three feet.”



“Stood over me gun held at waist level. Execution style.” I run my tongue over my teeth and start to wish I had a toothbrush. “Let me guess I’m still here because of that steel plate?”



“Yep. An inch either way, with either shot, and you would be on my tables.” She sits down in the chair next to the bed. “I talked to your paramedic. He said that was smart with the dressing for the stab. Tampons? Cute John.”



“One of my better idea’s given the state of my brain at the time.” I reach around to the back of my head. The dressing is far to thick for me to feel anything. “All those years cussing the damn thing at every airport and it goes and saves my life.”



“It was close John. Damn close.” she says softly.



I look over at her and see the tears just at the edge of her eyes. I reach a hand out to her.



“Come on my little Princess. We talked about this years ago. So long as I do what I do there will be people that don’t like it. They will eventually not like it enough and that will be that. Till then I’ll do what I can to make the world a better place.”



“Who do you think you are,Batman?” she asks with a slight smile.



“Batman? I’m bouncing bullets off me, more like Superman.”



She smiles.



“Well…Superman, what did you do that made them not like it enough this time?”



Sitting back into the pillows I try to think. My head hurting is about all I can focus on at the moment.



“I got close. There is more to this than I can see. Someone didn’t like the questions I was asking or who I was asking and decided the best thing to do would be to get me out the picture.

“Who though?”she asks.



“Good question.”



I start to run back through the list of people I’ve been talking to the last few days. Only Joshua comes to mind and he’s always been small time. Maybe he really does have people over him now.



Maybe these killings are connecting them? Maybe, maybe, maybe



I hate maybes.



Looking down at the sheets I suddenly realize that I’m a sitting duck.



“Get me some clothes.” I demand.



“What?”



“I’ve got to get out of here. They tried once in broad daylight on a busy street. That didn’t work. They thought I knew something before. Now that I’m still alive they will think I know more. Like maybe a face to put a name too.” I go to twitch the sheets back.



She catches my hand.



“John. No. The Captain has a guy standing right outside. You’re under guard. They can’t get to you here. Let yourself heal, your held together with tape and string right now. You lost a lot of blood. You need to rest or they won’t have to come and finish the job. You get up and try to leave you’ll do the job for them.”



I settle back into the bed. My head already trying to spin.



“Yea,” I say after a moment.



“John?”



I look up at Leia. I can see the concern in her eyes. We told each other years ago that it would always just be sex between us. I can see we were both fools.



“I’ll just lay here and think. I’m good at that.” I tell her after a second.



She pats my hand.



“Okay. I’ll get you some clothes. What you were wearing was cut off you. They were blood soaked anyway. I’ll even bring you your stinky cigarettes. You light one in here that on your head though. You hear me?”



I smile at my little princess. I nod.



“God my head hurts, hurry up with that aspirin already.” I say in the back of my mind as she leans forward.



Her lips on mine are far sweeter than the sweetest wine. Judging from her expression mine are far from that.



“You need to brush your teeth John.”



** ** ** ** ** ** **



I awaken slowly feeling every little pain this time. Opening my eyes I turn to look and find Tony sitting next to me.



The beeping of my heart on the screen is reassuring but all the same it’s getting on my nerves.



Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep



“God damn you’re a hell of a site to wake up to.”



He grins at me.



“That’s what my wife always said, god rest her soul. You on the other hand look like a pile of dog dropping drug through the mud.”



“Oh good I’m on the mend then. Yesterday I looked like dog shit drug through shit.” I raise the bed a bit wincing when it makes the stitches pull at my side. “To what do I owe the occasion of a visit. Or is this go visit old friend that have been shot and stabbed day.”



Tony chuckles.



“If it was that day I would be at the cemetery.”



I pause thinking about to all the friends we buried when we were younger.



“Yea there is some truth in that,” I say softly.



Tony drops a newspaper on my lap.



My eyes take in the front page, then I just have to sigh.



‘John Taline’



Big letters across the front page.



Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep



“Nothing like my name in lights,” I mutter as I take up the paper and start to read.



“Well I don’t know who they talked to but they found a good source. Most of this is right.” I turn the page over and finish the article. “Good they don’t know about the semen on the body or who she was. That helps at least.”



“John?”



I look over to Tony.



“I know that you can’t tell me anything about a case but you came to ask about Sadie Blades. Now I got to thinking about that after you left and I went looking through my back files. Does this have anything to do with her father?”



I sit and ponder for maybe a half-second. Then nod.



“John…the Saber he was in to some bad shit with some bad people. He got away from most of it early in his career, but some of it haunted him till the end.” Tony looks down for a second then back up at me. “John I have a ‘your eyes only’ secret. I know that you’re good as your word but the people you’re working with will do anything to solve a case and the ones you’re working against will do anything to have it fall apart. Now I don’t want to end up floating the river.” He humps “Or doing five to ten in the House.”



I look at Tony for a second then nod.



“Mums the word,” I tell him.



Tony nods.



Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep



“John, I have been working the porn busy for a long time. I have come across things in that time. Some weird as hell shit at times. Some of it I put away. Figured if I needed to make some cash, hell call it my retirement account if you will. John I have the Sexy Sabers lost tapes.”



“How? They burned up in a fire,” I ask.



“The original did yes. But you see back then I was working to convert film to VHS and Beta tapes”



“I remember that. I had you do some old family films for me.” I pause and wonder where those are. When I look back he’s waiting.



“Well I converted the original films, then they had me do some editing. I sent them the film and the edited copy back. I kept the unedited copy. When I saw this and remember the picture of the rose from Sadie’s arm…well I got to thinking, Like I said.”



I sit for a second then turn and swing my legs off the side of the bed.



“Tony look in the drawers there should be some clothes for me. A friend brought them.” My fingers start trying to get under the edge of the tape on my arm.



Tony gets up and starts to go through the built-ins while I negotiate the removal of my IV. I’ve had enough of this damn place. Time to go watch some porn.



“John? There’s no clothes here.”



His words make bells ring. Turning to the rolling table next to the bed I grab up my cell phone.



“You’re not suppose to use those in here. They can interfere with equipment.”he says quickly.



“Do the doctors check their’s at the door when they come in? Hell no. If they can call so can I.”



The phone in her office rings forever. The home phone goes to voice mail. Her cell phone?



Picks up!



It not her voice on the other end.



Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep



“Well I must say took you long enough to wonder where she was at. Like the front page today John? Call off the hunt Taline. Let this one be the one you don’t solve. I have people on the inside. They will tell me if you do. Otherwise…well lets just say there going to be a lot of road kill in the morning.”



When the line goes dead so does my EKG machine. It can’t get a signal when you tear out it’s wires and bash it into the wall.



** ** ** ** ** ** **



Once the first hard on goes away porn really suck as a form of entertainment.



My foot is tapping a hole in the floor. I’ve been here for ten hours, twenty minutes, and forty second.



I’ve seen more cum spewing cocks that any straight guy should have to endure.



The footage is raw, straight from the camera I can hear the director giving orders; the actors haven’t come back to do Looping yet so their voices are muted. Still you would think it would be fun to watch porn non-stop.



You would be wrong.



Tony went to order pizza leaving me to my thoughts and worries



I have to believe she’s still alive. Other wise there isn’t much point to what I’m doing.



Looking back to the screen I watch James Davion, James Blades, the Sexy Saber doing something that bears little resemblance to sex.



The camera pans across the girl’s face.



“Trixon Vixon.” I mutter to myself. “Getting to bang the ex and get paid. Hell of a career you chose there Jamie boy.”



“Alright, lift her ass a little.” says the director.



I tilt my head as the too familiar voice comes through the speaker. I know it but can’t place it just yet.



“John foods here, take a break man. Even I can’t do eleven hours of porn straight any more.”



I pause the old VCR and get up. My legs ache and the stitches are an itch I can not scratch.



The trip to my apartment rendered only the clothes I’m wearing. The door was still locked and nothing inside seemed to be moved. Still I made Tony drop me off then I took two hacks and a bus to get to his store. The old projection room in the back has smells I feel better not thinking about.



“Know anyone in the business that may have been involved with filming these?” I ask after the second slice is a memory. The pizza is tasteless too me. It’s just fuel for the search engine at this point.



“A few…maybe. It’s been awhile, John. Most people in the trade come and go. Why?” Tony says around a mouthful of pizza.



“The director in them sounds familiar but I can’t place the voice.”



Tony just stares at me for a second. Then gives a huffy chuckle.



“John, that’s Wilson Monrow. The guy you put away till the Second Coming.”



I get up, go back to the VCR, and rewind it. I notice Tony standing next to me munching on a slice of pie.



“Alright lift her ass a little.” says the director again.



The voice is soft, meant to be dubbed out with music later in editing. I rewind it again.



“Alright lift her ass a little.”



“That fucker couldn’t direct traffic let alone a good porn movie.” Says Tony still munching.



“You sure it’s him?” I ask looking up at my old friend.



He swallows a mouth full of pizza.



“Yea. “I see a look of distaste cross Tony’s face. “I know who was paying me for my work back then. Thinking back on it knowing what I do now. That I touched his money makes me sick inside.



“But it doesn’t sound like him.” I insist



“John, the fucker chain smoked Marlboro cowboy killers for thirty years! That has an effect on the old throat. What you think you still sound the same as you did when you were twenty?”



I sit back in the chair and let the tape play on. I listen to the voice of the director as I watch the stuff that would end up on the cutting room floor. I listen to the sounds of the film crew. There was a reason they had such loud background music back then.



“So, when is the anal scene?” asks one of the cameramen.



I hit the pause.



That voice I know.



“Joshua!”



Starting the movie back I let it run but my mind is only half focused on it now. I feel the pieces slipping into place. They drop one by one like Tetris fitting perfectly.



Then I get one that doesn’t.



The fact that I think the killer is a woman.



Looking up my eye focus on the gray screen in front of me. The movie is over only the blank end of the tape is still playing. I feel like that’s my world now. Just blank gray static.



The killer is a woman?



“How sure of that are you?” I ask myself. Hearing a snore I look over at Tony. He’s conked out sitting up on the couch with a half drank beer in his hands. Seeing it’s about to spill I get up and go over to him. It comes away reluctantly. I watch him settle himself deeper into the couch.



“No! Please NO!”



My head whips back to the screen. The footage lasts only for a second then it’s gone.



The image it burns into my brain…it will never be…just gone.



“Tony! Wake the fuck up!”



** ** ** ** ** ** **



My eyes are burned out holes in my head but I have it. I have the clip by clip, frame by frame evidence that will get me Leia back.



“Joshua, you sick son of a bitch.”



Tony reckons they filmed their ‘Midnight Movies’ on the tale end of other rolls of film then just cut them free. Going through the stockpile fast-forwarding them to the end we find about forty single frames enough for not even a minute of footage.



But it’s enough to get Joshua a cell next to Monrow’s for the rest of time.



Holding the little blue flash drive I ponder my next move. I take it to SVU they go grab Joshua and wick snick that’s one person gone that deserves it but then…Leia. Most likely she’s not being held anywhere nearly as public as were Joshua films his smut.



The only way she would live would be if we could get him to talk. With the high price lawyer his friends could get for him that’s not likely to happen.



“So he talks first then I have him arrested.”



I lift the Beowulf to my shoulder and wince before I even pull the trigger.



It’s a toss up where there it’s my stitched side my bandaged head or my shoulder that screams ‘NO!’ the loudest.



I personally think I think the steel door and it’s lock into Joshua’s studio that has the most to complain about.



That and the wall beyond it.



I keep the heavily modified Ar-15 to my shoulder as I move forward. I ignore the pain in my shoulder as I push the broken door open and step inside. I hear shouting and running feet coming my way.



I clock the gorilla in the jaw with the butt of the rifle when he rounds the corner.



I look down when Joshua’s main bodyguard and doorman hits the floor. When he goes to stand I place the still hot barrel of the rifle at the back of his neck and my foot on his spine.



“You move and this gun does a Gallagher impression. You got me?”



I see him nod.



I reach into my left pocket and pull out the cuffs.



“Hands” when he doesn’t move I nudge his scalp with the wide barrel end. “Now sunshine I’m not playing anymore.”



My cuffs just do fit him. Damn his wrists must hurt like hell though. Well I’m sure the pale pink fur around them is helping with that some.



What?



I’m not a cop. I don’t go around cuffing people every day.



I lean the rifle against the wall and listen to the sounds of other people moving in the building. Some are coming towards me, others are moving away. It’s the always I’m most interested in.



I peal out about a foot of duct tape and start to tape his mouth shut. When he protests I reach into my pocket again.



The arcing from the hand held stun gun gets his attention. He stops fighting till I get his mouth covered.



Then I hit him with the stunner.



I hold it for only a second. I don’t really have time to be sadistic and he’s not my type. Still he could be the one who shot me. I give his ribs a solid kick as I walk past.



Just in case.



I have to use tape to secure the next two guards I encounter. They’re more my size than King Kong’s but I pay them the same respectful attention.



Old memories lead me down into the basement. I know that Joshua has a place down here, a bolthole if you will. It opens into the sewers. He’s drunken ass bragged to someone I know about it one night. That person told me about it in passing.



Ten years back.



Sometimes I love my memory.



As the images from the film clips surface again I feel a retch starting.



Sometimes I don’t.



I hear his voice before I see him so I know there is at least someone with him. Then I notice that he’s answering questions I’m not hearing.



He’s on the phone.



“I don’t know! It may be the police! It may be anyone damn It! How the fuck should I know? Get some guys down here!”



I compress the trigger a little and the little red dot laser appears. With the impact that this gun has I rarely use it to aim with.



But that little red dot on you chest sure will get your attention quickly.



Joshua’s face is as pale as a sheet when he looks up. I see the phone drop from his hand.



“Where is she Joshua?”



My voice is a cold calm that surprises even me with the icy sound.



“What? What Taline …what are you talking about?” he stutters over his words.



“That was one Joshua. You just called in the cavalry so now I’m on a timetable. You get three chances to tell me what I want to know …and you just used one. Where is she?”



I wonder if I’m breathing vapor. Penguins would freeze solid there is so much ice in my voice.



“John I really don’t know what your talking about.” He tries to make his voice calm. I can hear the lie. It a matter of tone and spacing in the words. If you have the time and training you can hear it easily.



My finger tightens on the pistol grip of the rifle. I center the red dot on his chest.



“That was two.”



His eyes, flicker towards his desk for a half-second, is the only warning I get. I spin to the side of the door as the bullets come screaming through the space I was standing.



“Mac 10 machine pistol,” I say to myself then I listen to the rounds tearing the drywall from the wall behind me and cutting through to the block foundation walls beyond. Three round burst fire. Controlled. “Alrighty then.”



Firing from the hip I don’t lean in through the door. I just shoot through the wall!



In the enclosed hall way the sound of the .50 rounds leaving the barrel is ungodly. I send three of them through the wall and into Joshua’s office. I hear screams as the heavy rounds blast through the masonry walls and tears their way through filing cabinets and his desk. Some of them I’m sure go even into the walls behind his desk.



“Want to keep playing this game Joshua? You’re still at two. Shall I ask for the last time?”I say, my finger tightening to send three more into the wall.



“I don’t KNOW!”



I hear his scream of denial and Pain. I must have clipped him couldn’t have been much more than that though or he wouldn’t be talking. The Beowulf doesn’t do light wounds. I find myself wanting to believe it.



Damn it.



“You better give me a name of someone that does then. I swear to god Joshua I will click this thing to full auto and level that room!” My voice has frozen and is stuck to a flag pole. “Where is she?”



“The bitch! The bitch would know! Trixon Vixon! That slut would know!” he screams.



Queen’s gambit to knight’s four, check.



And I never even saw it coming.



“Well fuck me to tears.”



** ** ** ** ** ** **



Anonymous tip and an envelope with the flash drive dropped into the open window of a patrol car sent hell to rain down on Joshua’s office. What they found there must have been quite a laugh for them. The porn boss and all his guys trusted up like little piglets with bondage equipment.



What? I used what I had on hand.



The old warehouse use to be a lot bigger. The top floors were a film studio, the bottom floors were mostly rented out storage space. The little ten by five self-storage lockers that people need to house all the shit they can’t find a place for.



Then came the fire. The gallons of gasoline and kerosene and whatever else that Wilson could get his hands on that would burn had done quite a number on the place.



But the basement?



Standing in Joshua’s office hearing the sirens, needing to go it had come to me. I knew that the killer had to have a place that no one could find. Where noises of that type her victims would make wouldn’t be noticed.



Someplace familiar to her.



Like where her career got its start.



“Why?”



That word kept coming back around to me over and over. She had money. She had a bit of fame but not the good type admittedly. Still this? This didn’t seem to be the type of fame she would want to have. The press was calling it the “Roadkill Killer.”



Hardly something you want attached to your name.



“Why?”



I look at the blackened shell where so many young girls died. Died to give sick people a thrill.



Died to make an even sicker person rich.



I’ve been here before, back when I was hunting the Mayor’s daughter. I saw the fire then. These blackened remains do little justice to the monstrous column of red that had lit the night sky.



I check my pistol. Making sure everything moves smoothly. I drop the clip into place. I left the Beowulf at Tony’s shop. I dare not use it here. I might hit Leia on the other side of a wall. Even the little nine-millimeter is a risk I don’t like. I check the stun gun in my pocket and other assorted weapons or tools I’m carrying.



And still I watch. There isn’t any movement in the old building. Nothing to show that there might be something going on under it.



Sill I watch.



I realize then why I’m stalling for and make myself move forward. The idea of finding Leia dead inside. Or worse yet finding just a bloody table and some hunks of fake fur…



The morning light makes the shadows linger, they hang with drapes of fog like moss on the old trees from New Orleans. The night in the hotels down there spent with her come to me then in perfect clarity.

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