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Authors: Austin S. Camacho

Beyond Blue (27 page)

BOOK: Beyond Blue
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That was followed by Stone's voice saying, “They could come after you.”

Jerome's next words were, “If I go down, I'll take a lot of them with me. If you really saw the evidence I have in my records, you already know that.”

“That bastard,” Dubois shouted, hurling the recorder across the room. “He was selling us out. How the hell did you get onto him in the first place?”

“It was easy,” Stone said. “We were following up on the Boone case.”

“Hey, Didi,” Dubois said, accepting the joint back at last. “They was looking at your case.”

“Really?” Stone said. “You must have started young, Didi. And you got out of doing time because of some
falsified evidence of improper procedure on the part of the arresting officer. It took a while, but the false evidence finally led us back to your defense attorney.”

“Yeah,” Steele put in, “so we went to visit the little weasel. With a little persuasion, Jerome opened up like a ripe melon.”

“He gave you up to save his own skin,” Stone said.

“Yep, he folded after a little light pressure,” Steele added, grinning. “What a wimp. Then he offered us the deal,”

“Shut up.” Stone dug an elbow into Steele's ribs.

“The deal was his idea?” Dubois asked. When no answer came forth, he pointed at Stone, and Didi moved his pistol to Stone's right knee.

After five seconds of silence, Stone sighed. “Look, he told us you like to play it safe, no cop killing, no gunning down every possible leak. He thought you'd fold for protection money easy if we came in like cops, as long as we kept the amount reasonable. He gave us the details and the leads for a cut of our take.”

Dubois spun and slammed a fist into the wall. “He set me up, that little bitch. Taking my retainer every damn month, and he does this to me?”

“He need to die,” Didi said.

“Yeah he does,” Dubois said, pacing past his other men. “He knows too much about my whole operation. But, damn. Nobody looking for us now. Can't go around taking out lawyers.” Dubois finally put the joint back in his mouth, popped a Bic lighter, sucked the joint down to a tiny roach and dropped it on the floor. He looked up to say more to Didi when Steele spoke.

“You let us go, and I'll take care of it for you.”

“Shut up,” Stone said. “We're not crossing that line.”

“Wake up, Stone,” Steele said, shoving his partner's shoulder. “We ain't cops and we ain't lawyers and these guys are getting ready to drop us in the East River. We need to make some friends in here.”

“And you're going to do that by putting that cannon of yours down Jerome's throat?”

“Shut up,” Dubois said. Steele and Stone turned to watch him stroll over to the desk and pick up Steele's revolver. “You said this gun is a custom job?”

“From scratch,” Steele said. “Custom sights, custom action, trigger job, the works.”

“One of a kind,” Dubois said to himself. “So no ballistics could trace a bullet from this gun back to me or my boys. But I got the gun. What I need with you?”

“You need me because none of your crew would ever get within range of Jerome. He expects to see me.”

Dubois paced back to the two detectives, nodding his head as if weighing his options. He held Steele's gun by its barrel. Steele felt the Haitian eyes burning into him, one more lying white man. Steele sat up straighter and tried to look trustworthy.

“You know, I think I will let you do this thing,” Dubois finally said. “And I will let you go, after it's done. But I don't think I trust you, crooked ex-cop. And besides, I want to see the lawyer go down.”

“You want to watch?” Steele asked. “Fine by me, as long as we go free after Jerome is dead.”

Dubois smiled a crooked smile, his teeth very white against his dark skin. “You can get close to him. After you do, you'll get me in too, me and maybe a couple of my friends here. Then I can watch you put the dog down.”

Steele grinned back at Dubois, afraid on some level that he had inhaled enough of the dope smoke to get a contact high. “Well, if I'm on the team now, think I could get one of them beers?”

The powder blue MX-5 pulled into a parking space in an uptown parking garage. Chastity Chiba continued her conversation on her cell phone while she set the emergency brake and shut down the car.

“Yes, the homing device worked fine, G. I had no trouble finding him. And you were right. A little bluster and a simple lie were all it took to put an end to the assassination attempt. And after I explained the deal to Preston, he agreed to keep mum and lower his profile for a while. But I wish you had told me this Lucania character had backup. I could have been topped by the cover man.”

“Hey, I didn't know the plan,” Gorman said over the phone. “All Gunny told me was that he would be on hand and that the hit was set for today. I'm glad you were able to step in.”

“Yeah,” Chastity said, getting out of the car. “I'd hate to see our big boy involved in the murder of an assistant district attorney. And I hope he's got a good story so no one figures out he's the reason the murder didn't take place.”

“Did he see you?”

“He sure did, G,” Chastity said, getting into the elevator. “Heard every word I said.”

“Then he knows enough to come up with a good cover story,” Gorman said. “Are you positioned to continue with the other plan?”

“Yes sir,” she said as the elevator stopped. “In fact, I'm about to start the fun part now.”

Chastity dropped her telephone into her bag just before she walked into Dr. Benson's office. She used a very different stride passing the receptionist than she had when she approached as detective Kwan. The receptionist jumped in her seat when Chastity raised her right foot and kicked open the door to Benson's inner office.

The door slammed against the wall behind it, revealing Dr. Benson at his desk and a female patient on the lounge to the right. Chastity walked in, stopped in the center of the floor and raised an arm to point at the patient.

“Get out,” Chastity said. “It's about to get ugly in here.”

Chastity was smaller and shorter than the patient, but her voice carried the kind of authority that few can ignore.
The woman gathered her purse and headed for the door.

“Close it behind you,” Chastity said, and again the woman obeyed. By then, Benson was on his feet.

“Who the hell are you?” Benson asked. “What's the meaning of this? You can't just come barging in here like this?”

“I'm a very sick woman,” Chastity replied, opening her purse, “and I'm here to deliver a message. First, of course, I need to get your attention.” Chastity pulled her tiny Baretta out of her handbag and pointed it at Dr. Benson's face. Benson sat, and got very pale. She walked slowly toward his desk, until the muzzle of her automatic was an inch away from Benson's nose.

She could see that Benson was fighting to get control of his breathing. In his panic she was sure he did not recognize her, and might not put the two Japanese women together in his mind until well after she left, which was fine with her. He tried to make eye contact and probably was working to remember whatever medical school had taught him about dealing with lunatics.

“All right, young lady, you have my complete attention,” he said, with only the slightest waver in his voice. “What was it that you wanted to tell me?”

“First, let me set the stage a little better,” Chastity said. With her left hand she slid two photographs out of her purse. One was her favorite of Marty and Francine getting physical. The other was a close-up of one page of Amy Brooks' patient record. She let Benson stare at them for a few seconds, so he would have no doubt what they were.

“Now the message,” she said over the tiny front sight of her pistol. “Francine Brooks cannot win a divorce settlement from her husband. She can't win because of the photo on your left, clear proof of her infidelity. More importantly to you, if she goes to court, the judge will receive the photo on your right, along with several others proving conclusively that you prompted and elicited Amy Brooks' testimony of child abuse, which is a total
fabrication. This I believe would end your career.”

Benson nodded his head, and watched the pistol follow his nose up and down. “May I ask why this is an issue for you?”

That was gutsy, Chastity thought. It deserved an answer. “Clearly, Francine Brooks failed to tell you how well connected her husband is. There are people who don't want him dragged into a divorce court.”

“People?”

“Yes,” Chastity said, hopping to slide her left hip onto the desk. “The people who hire people like me to deliver a message, and sometimes to bring unhappiness to those who fail to get the message. Do you understand?”

“I think so,” Benson said. “What do you want me to do?”

“Simple. You will initiate no further contact with Francine or Amy Brooks. If Mrs. Brooks contacts you, you will explain that you can no longer help her, and you will encourage her to find another therapist for Amy. One who will be interested in actually helping her.”

Benson was calmer now, and Chastity sensed that negotiations and clear rules put him in his comfort zone.

“And if I do as you say, this all goes away for me?”

“Yes,” Chastity said. “You're in the clear, and nobody ever sees those unpleasant patient records. Unless of course you try this kind of crap with another patient.”

“All right,” Benson said, daring a small smile. “I'd say your message has been successfully delivered. You can take that gun out of my face now.”

Chastity felt her hatred of this lizard rising. In some ways he was worse than that lowlife Marty. Marty was only operating on a base level of selfishness. Benson was operating on a higher level of evil sophistication. He felt he was getting away scott-free and would surely try this kind of stunt again.

“One thing remains,” Chastity said, leaning closer to him. “I need to be sure I've sealed the message into your brain.”

Chastity pushed her gun an inch closer, so that it rested on the bridge of Benson's nose, between his crossing eyes. While the cold steel held his complete attention, she raised her left hand. Her fingertips came together as a single point. She thrust that point, very quickly into the cleft just above the center of Benson's collarbone. His eyes grew wide and his mouth dropped open, but only gasping, choking sounds came out. His hands went to his throat, almost as if he were strangling himself. The noise grew louder the whole time Chastity was putting her gun away and turning to leave. At the door she turned back to face him.

“You won't forget me now, will you, doc?” Benson shook his head. She stepped out of his inner office and again walked past the receptionist.

“You call the police yet?” she asked the girl. The receptionist nodded her head as Chastity left the office. Chastity was feeling a wave of euphoria as she walked out of Benson's office. This was one villain who may have been scared straight for good. She wondered what kind of story he'd give the police.

Back in his own inner office, Paul Gorman sat at his desk watching threatening clouds moving in over the city. His windows admitted enough light for him to see all he needed to see: his coffee cup, the big clock on his wall, and his yellow pad. The aroma of fresh coffee helped Gorman come closer to being relaxed. The clock ticked loudly enough for him to hear in the silence, adding order to his universe. The pad was littered with scribbles and circles that would appear random to anyone else. To Gorman, it was just one more way to try to force the universe into an orderly pattern. His focus was not broken when the telephone rang. He merely switched it from one point to another. He was prepared for news from one of his operatives, or to have another long conversation with
Hassan about expenses and how they affected their specific mission.

“B.B.I.”

“Hi, Paul. Are you all alone there?”

“Hello, Patsy dear.” How oddly wonderful that just hearing her voice could still drain the tension from him and bring a smile to his grizzled face. “Is it so odd for me to answer the phone all by myself? What's up?”

“Well, I was a little worried, that's all. Not 'he's been shot' worried like I used to be sometimes. But you left so early and, well, I just wanted to check in and see that you made it to the office okay.”

“Honey, I'm not the one you need to worry about,” Gorman said, his eyes straying to the clock. “Some of the kids might be in kind of tight spots and…”

“Paul? Is that another line ringing?”

“Yeah, baby,” Gorman said. “I've really got to take this.”

“Go, honey. But keep me in the loop, okay? I love you.”

Gorman sucked up all of her warmth he could before breaking the connection. “And I love you right back, baby.” Then he pushed the button that switched him to the second line.

“Hello, G. Chiba here. I've just left Dr. Benson's office. He agreed to cooperate.”

“Of course he did,” Gorman said. “I know that you asked him nicely.” He knew that Chastity reveled in the role of being his blunt instrument, much as her imagined father was for the British Secret Service.

“Sir, do you have my next destination?”

“Yes,” Gorman nodded, sipping hot coffee and scanning his notes. “Brooks has gone back to the hospital for his follow-up this afternoon. That's the best place for this anyway. Are you good with all this? Any trouble with the rest of the plan? You're a pretty important component in the day's proceedings.”

“I appreciate that, G, and of course I can handle it,” Chastity said, with a grating amount of bravado. “But I
have done a lot of running today and I'm wondering how I got so lucky.”

Gorman added coded marks to his yellow pad while he talked. “Simple. Gunny's breaking with the mark, after which I need him to report here in person. And both Steele and Stone are in a situation. You're the linchpin right now, kid.”

BOOK: Beyond Blue
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