A STAB IN THE DARK
Fat Freddy, a swindler who operated a
half-assed numbers game on Main, recognizing the battered undercover Cutlass,
waved the two vice cops down.
Detectives Harriet Washington and Sheenika LeBuff stepped out into the
humid night air.
“Mu’fucker Blue out here a bit ago
saying he gonna shoot the asses off bof’ of you nex’ time he see y’all.”
Chicago Blue was a pimp who’d never seen
Chicago. The name came from a crooked card game he used to run over on 3rd,
until Ol’ Big Peewee shot off his left nut with a .32 when he caught Blue
grown up in a housing project, the daughter of a prostitute. Her hatred of
pimps was intense. A low rent pimp threatening her life was one hell of a
In the cop world,
general threats in the blind are as common as free donuts. But a specific threat
against a cop by name
is an “oh shit”. Street rules dictated
Washington and LeBuff find Blue and pull off a body part or two.
The sun was a
faded memory to the west, but the hundred plus heat had remained. LeBuff swung
the Cutlass into a defunct
service station, the usual gathering spot for about a dozen ladies of the
night. Blue would show soon enough. Washington sat on the taxi fender, smoking
a filter tip through a long cigarette holder.
A pimp called
“Trike” whizzed up in a black Lexus. Tall, with a single gold tooth, he
complained, “Godammit. Y’all interfering with free enterprise.”
him a casual up and down. “Eat shit and die, loser.”
darkness, a hooker called Flower appeared and talked up Trike briefly. Flower was
one of Chicago Blue’s girls. Whoredom had no provision for free agency. Blue
had been the only suspect in the murder of two of his girls in the past years—one
whipped to death with a coat-hanger, the other tied with an electrical cord and
Blue roared up in
his light blue Cadillac pimp-mobile. Not having the good sense to see in the
semi-dark ten feet away, the two very same cops he’d threatened to kill, he
lost his shit and slapped Flower across the mouth for talking to Trike. A hit
of coke will give damned fools the courage to do damned foolish things. A
hundred pounds overweight in his purple silk shirt and way past too stupid to
stir coffee, he mumbled something about “cash” he took another swing—only
Flower ducked. Trike retreated to his Lexus and split.
Flower, her skirt
so short it needed no hiking to allow her to run like hell, kicked off her
spikes and hooked ‘um. She ducked around the darkened corner of the old service
station, Blue waddling behind her.
In seconds, Blue
stumbled back into view, holding his lower stomach together under the silk,
blood gushing down like a busted water hydrant. She’d stuck him good. He staggered
east on Grand, his eyes silver dollars of wide-eyed terror. Flower, waving a
red-handled switchblade, was a few steps behind, her eyes narrow slits of
deadly determination. They disappeared into the darkness only to reappear
beneath the next streetlight a block down.
LeBuff said, “Harriet,
we may not have to kick this guy’s ass, after all.”
catch him?” Washington exhaled toxic poison.
“She don’t kill
him, I’m gonna,” LeBuff peered into the darkness.
As Blue led the
chase beneath the next streetlight, Washington remarked, “I believe he’s
Ten minutes passed. Blue reappeared from
the haze, still making running motions, but at a ghostlike walk. The exertion
of running exposed an intestine or two dangling through the purple shirt.
Flower, now forty feet behind, had lost ground, but plunged on with dogged
persistence. Blue fumbled in his pocket, jangled keys, popped the trunk with
the remote, jumped in, and pulled the lid closed.
glazed in anger and exhaustion, staggered up, bloody knife in hand and stabbed
the Cadillac trunk at least twenty times. She switched to stabbing tires until
all four were flat as modern music, then tossed a brick through the front
windshield. Only then did she notice Washington and LeBuff watching.
Flower, knowing both cops very well,
said, “Ain’t did shit, Ms. Harriet.” Shoeless from the chase, she fled into the
darkness, knife still in hand without saying another word.
Washington stared after her. “Hell, Sheenika, we can’t
that suspect. We gotta citizen trapped in a car trunk.”
LeBuff called for
backup and responding units peeled the fat pimp from the Caddie trunk. Brodsky’s
report would read: “Unidentified suspect eluded capture.”
John Henry Davis—that’s what the obituary column called
when he died of gangrene four days later—lay unclaimed in the morgue for three
weeks before he was dumped into a formaldehyde tank in the medical school next
door to be carved up in anatomy class. Blue had finally made an honest
contribution to society. And Sheenika and Harriet had not laid a glove on him.
Clifton, forty years a cop, has been shot at, shot, stabbed, sued, lied to and
about, and often misunderstood. He has short fiction pieces published in well
over a hundred venues and currently is retired to a dusty North Texas Ranch,
where he doesn't give a damn if school keeps or not. He blogs at