Thomas Goreman, a cop with an attitude, meets his nemesis, the charismatic yet irreverent Harley-riding spirit, Biker Bob.
This second heroic adventure treks deeper into the ever-shifting terrain of masculinity and across the perilous landscape of male/female relationship.
Chapter 1 – Busted
From the shade of a royal palm under the Bill’s Big Boy Burgers sign, I observe three dirtbags converge in a parking lot across the street at Waley’s bar. It’s a known meeting place for outlaws and drug dealers. If I’m patient, they’ll slip up and show their true natures. With my thick forearm, I wipe sweat from my face, then grab my borrowed police-issue field camera. I focus on the short one wearing black leather. He’s known as Bucky. I snap the shutter. My mouth salivates with the anticipation of busting this crew. The angular face of Tazz, my real quarry, has a rare smile. I can’t wait to wipe that grin off his mug.I zoom out while all three go into a short group hug. I search through the lens for some kind of secret handoff. One of those sleezebags is making a delivery; all I need to do is capture it on film. The electronic bug I installed on the light pole three days ago shouts through my earphones. Lucky for me, they parked close to it.When they come out of their hug, Tazz who stands a foot taller than the other two, pulls stringy brown hair out of his eyes, and says, “Hey, Buck, how you been?”
“I don’t know,” the little one replies while pulling off his ridiculous fingerless black gloves; a chrome stud on each knuckle. “Things have been strange with Jessica and me.”
Tazz rubs sweat from his ruddy cheek. “Man, I told ya’, when you started with her that you were taking on a big load.”
Bucky folds both gloves and puts them in his back pocket. “She doesn’t let up. I try to keep up with her, but man, it ain’t easy.”
My recorder is on. No need to interpret their code. I can go over the information later. I’m fed up with this gang of thieves and misfits. If it was up to me, I’d plant some shit on ’em, make an arrest and get it over with. They’re dirty as hell, I just can’t prove it yet.
The longer this thing goes on, the more I want to kick some ass. Last month my Lieutenant, Leonard goddamn puckerface McKerney, took me off the case. He said I was too involved. I’m doing surveillance on my own time. I’ve screwed up so much lately, this bust might be my last chance before I’m back driving a patrol car. I’m not messing this one up. I won’t start any fights. Not one cross word, until I have the goods on them. When I bust them, they’ll know how it feels to fuck with Thomas Goreman.
“Did you get it?” the third guy, a pudgy pecker-brain, asks.
I haven’t seen him before. Maybe he’s an out of town connection. Both Bucky and Tazz look around, a sure sign that something big is about to go down. I lick my chapped lips, drag my arm across my forehead again and pull the focus back to see what their hands are doing.
Tazz says, “Yeah, we got it, but it won’t help.”
The new guy’s jaw drops. I focus in on his dumpy face, and I see an expression of disappointment. “What do you mean?”
“It ain’t what’s wrong,” answers Tazz, as he takes two steps to his old Ford pickup and pulls out a square box the size of a block of ice.
Oh, Sweet Jesus, it’s a kilo of grass. Better yet, maybe a few pounds of coke or heroin. Man, old puckerface would shit some bricks if I handed him a kilo of heroin and these three on a platter.
Tazz hands the box over, then does a strange thing. He pulls out a pocketknife, slits a plastic film on top of the box and removes a slip of paper.
It’s a ruse.
I’ve been given explicit orders to leave them alone, but a kilo of heroin doesn’t come around that often in a cop’s life. Except for the DEA bastards, a big bust is almost non-existent for a regular cop. How many chances does a guy get?
I pull my service revolver, swing open the cylinder and double check that the gun is loaded. After I replace my pistol in the shoulder holster, I set my camera on the floor, squeeze out of my compact car and stroll toward the three sleezeballs.
I step off the asphalt of Peseo Del Oro drive and walk across the crappy parking lot. I don’t get it, I’m big as a house and less than twenty yards from them, and they don’t see me. It’s like I’m invisible. I’m almost to the front door of Waley’s Bar as I sidestep a pothole, five yards from my bust. My service revolver is up and I scream, “This is the police. On the ground, face down.”
Bucky’s hand is in his pocket as he turns toward me. He’s known for sharp knives. Out of self-preservation, I lay a quick swipe across his head with the butt of my gun. He drops like a sack of potatoes. I point my pistol at the other two. “On the ground, now!”
They drop. My cuffs are out, and I have Tazz hog-tied in a second. From my back pocket, I pull two heavy zip ties, draw the hands of Tubby together and strap him up. Bucky moans while he lies on the hot pavement. He’s the last to get trussed. I kick Tazz on the side of his leg. “Turn over.”
He turns toward me with an icy glare. In any normal situation he looks dangerous, but cuffed, he’s just another dick trying to push drugs in my town, and I don’t put up with that kind of shit.
I look at Tazz with a satisfied grin and say in a sarcastic tone, “What’s in the box?” I pick it up, heft it, and yes, it weighs a couple of pounds.
He doesn’t say a word.
I’ve hated this guy ever since I saw his ugly face. I know he’s a player, I just couldn’t prove it till now. What’s it been, three months? Today will change everything. Ol’ fat-ass Leonard will have a little more respect for Detective Thomas Goreman.
“I asked you a question.”
Although I might outweigh the skinny bastard by a hundred pounds, he’s always worried me.
I reach down and pull open one flap of the box. A small bundle of bubble wrap flops out, and I yank at the material. My big heroin bust shrinks as the wrap unravels. Oh well, I’ve got a pound of hash or coke instead of a kilo. A pound is good. I unwrap it further, then look at Tazz.
His steel blue-eyes glare, but his face has turned back into a stupid grin. “Today, Twig, you busted the wrong people.”
I scream, “Don’t ever call me that name!”
I can’t hold back any longer. I swing my right foot at him. My kick moves fast. I’m sure I’ve caught him square, but he turns at the last second. His leg comes up and grabs my waist, knocking me to the ground. My gun and the box slip from my hands. I’m on my back, floundering for my revolver, when somehow that skinny bastard has me pinned.
What I thought would be a day to remember, a bust to get me out of hot water with Leonard, has turned to shit. My own handcuffs snake around my head and pull tight on my windpipe. I have no idea how, but he’s choking me while his hands are cuffed behind his back.
My air restricts, as I buck hard against his weight. Thank Jesus, the tension relaxes. I buck again, flip Tazz off, and look for my gun. With his hands still behind his back, the tubby guy points my pistol at my nose.
I put my hands out, fingers splayed. “You’re resisting arrest from a Las Vegas police officer.”
Tubby turns to get a better position. “You have no manners.”
No manners? What the hell is he worried about?
I say, “I’m a police officer, and if you know what is good for you, you’ll give my gun back. You give it back now and I’ll forget this whole incident.”
Tazz comes up from behind me. “Give me keys to the cuffs, and we’ll forget you ever walked over here.”
Trussed up with my cuffs, he’s still more dangerous looking than ten men.
“Right vest pocket,” I say.
I produce the key.
I do as I’m told. I hope a black and white drives by. Where’s a cop when you need one?
When he’s free, he gives me a frozen glower, pulls his knife and opens it. Oh, sweet Jesus, he’s going to gut me right here in the parking lot.
With one swipe of the blade, he slashes the plastic tie holding Tubby’s hands together. He walks over to Bucky and repeats the move. Bucky rolls over, and a rivulet of blood runs down his cheek. He pulls himself to his feet and leans against his yellow Harley for support.
Tazz picks up the box of contraband, reaches in and pulls the contents out. He gives me a thin-lipped smile. “Let’s see, Twig, you were busting us for this?” He unravels the packing, and a small steel object falls out. “I suggest you look up the laws. Last time I checked, a 1937 Harley oil pump ain’t illegal. Rare, yes; expensive, definitely; but not illegal.”
In a quick flash, one side of my handcuffs wrap around my thick wrist. With an effort, Tazz latches them. “Now Mr. I’m-a-Las-Vegas-police-officer, step over to the light pole, please.”
“No, you wouldn’t.” He’s going to cuff me to the pole and pistol-whip me with my own gun. Now that the tables have turned, I’ll be lucky to get out of this alive.
I wrap my arms around a rusted thirty-foot-tall steel pole and feel the second half of my cuffs bind around my other wrist. I prepare myself to be beaten when Tazz grabs my service revolver from Tubbo.
How many times will it take for me to learn I’m not John Wayne? I’m not Humphrey Bogart. I can’t go off half-cocked and expect everything to turn out. I think of the reaming that I’ll get from McKerney once I get out of the hospital. Hell, if I get out at all.
I wait for the first blow. Instead, Tazz steps in front of me. He opens the gun and drops six shells at my feet.
“I hate guns,” he says and slams the pistol hard to the pavement. The barrel digs a deep hole in the asphalt. My six hundred dollar Smith and Wesson is ruined. He takes his heavy motorcycle boot and smashes it. The open cylinder breaks away from my favorite gun. It rolls across the pavement and stops ten feet away. He continues to stomp his boot repeatedly into the body of my trashed pistol. He’s in a total meltdown and crushes the gun into hot pavement until it’s half-buried.
He looks at me with a sneer. “I feel better.”
“Yeah, well who’s going to pay for my gun?”
He helps his little buddy to his truck and opens the door. Once Bucky is in the truck, Tazz turns to me. “We’ll take Buck to the hospital now, because you ain’t got a clue how to deal with your anger. Get a grip on your life, Twig and stop buggin’ us.”
“Don’t call me that name.”
He shakes his head. “We don’t deal drugs. Hell, Twig, haven’t you noticed, we don’t have anything to do with drugs?”
Tubby mounts Bucky’s yellow Harley and kick-starts it into life. With a thunder, it and the pickup drive away, leaving me in the blazing sun, cuffed to a light pole. Halfway across the parking lot, Tazz’s truck makes a sudden turn and swings back toward me. Maybe he’s changed his mind. Is he going to ram me? I swing around behind the pole, my only protection.
His truck swerves and stops with the driver door beside me. Tazz pokes his head out the window. “You don’t deserve this.”