#52weeks52stories: Week 8
Word Prompt: Cocaine
Word Count: 3205
“You know the D.A. is going to plead this down or toss it altogether, right?”
Sinclair glared at Tompkins, ready to explode but caught himself. They were both exhausted and pissed off and it wasn’t Tompkins’ fault. And he was right.
“Yeah, I know, dammit. The war on drugs turns into a polite request to cease and desist when your daddy’s rich.”
He laughed as he finished the case notes.
They’d spent the last six weeks tracking down a new shipment of lethal cocaine that was leaving a growing number of dead bodies in its wake. Weeks of interviews and stakeouts paid off in a whole lotta lip and even more contempt. But from the trailer park to the barrio to the hood, they hassled everyone and got a lead on the supplier—a guy named Spence.
Not able to get any more information on the guy the detectives believed they were being played when one of Tompkins’ paid informants called in with a tip which changed everything.
Supposedly, Spence was pulling up stacks and leaving town… and having a going-out-of-business sale and delivering the last shipment himself to customers.
Only a drug dealer would turn illegal activities into a money-saving event.
After sharing the info with their captain, Sinclair pulled all available bodies for backup. As he left the office, he tossed a Kevlar vest to Tompkins. “Please don’t get shot, and if you get shot, please do not die. I hate paperwork.”
Tompkins chuckled and tossed up his middle finger… and the car keys. “Just for that, you drive.”
The tactical team was in position at the stake-out—behind the public library–when, as promised, an assortment of thugs and lowlife began to arrive. A pimped out gun-metal gray Impala pulled up and Tompkins swore under his breath as the riders got out. They were all known felons.
“Can you believe this shit? They can’t live in the same neighborhood or sit down together for a meal, but they have no problem calling a truce over drugs.”
Pat couldn’t believe it as members of a big numbers cartel talked amiably with men from the Irish mob. A pumpkin orange Hummer joined the group, and Court-Case, aka Courtney Casey, stepped out. The head of the local Crips gang was accompanied by two enforcers.
“What the hell did we stumble into, Tomp? No one has mentioned any of these guys. With the lack of information on the street and the number of deaths involved, I figured we were dealing with amateurs. These guys are no amateurs.”
From his position just inside the library, Sinclair glanced around the area, glad there was plenty of backup. The crew assembling in front of them were always armed and thought nothing of shooting a cop.
The last vehicle to arrive was a late-model black Yukon.
A skinny blonde kid not old enough to be out this time of night hopped from the rear passenger door and open the front door.
What the hell?
With a mop of tousled, dark curls and skinny jeans, the last guy to exit the vehicle didn’t look old enough to be out alone either.
The baby-face was familiar but neither Sinclair or Tompkins had arrested him before.
The kid and Skinny Jeans greeted the group of law-breakers and ushered them to the rear of the Yukon. Skinny Jeans’ driver, a muscle-bound weightlifting type, was already pulling out and stacking bags of what Pat assumed were the drugs.
His voice low and clear, Pat spoke into his hand radio.
“Alright, people. I doubt it’s going to get better than this. We’ve got some true bad-asses out there so when I give the signal, move in fast, hard and loud and don’t stop until everyone’s in cuffs. Units 9 and 13, hang three steps back just in case some of these guys have their own spotters hidden -”
Before he could continue, Pat heard Court-Case laugh and watched him slap skinny jeans on the back.
“You’re stand up for a white boy, Spence. Been a pleasure doing business with you.”
Spence? This kid was the mastermind behind the drug operation that killed seven people and had his whole department on overtime?
Gripping the radio, Pat removed his Glock 22 from its holster.
They all watched as the skinny blonde kid offered Court-Case a sample.
Sinclair growled into his radio, “Move in!”
Law enforcement stormed the drug deal. Team members charged from darkened doorways, parked cars, and two even popped out of an abandoned dumpster. Three sharpshooters were focused on the melee from the library’s roof.
Court-Case, the blonde kid, and the Irish Mob guy all froze their hands in the air. The kid was terrified, and the two older men were no strangers to the drill. They knew it was better to not resist, use any info they had as leverage for a deal and live to see another day.
The Latin guy and Court-Case’s two enforcers weren’t as smart and fired at police.
None of them would live to see another day.
The muscle-bound guy tried to make a run for it. He thought he had a chance when he saw the tactical team member chasing him was female. Puffed up by machismo and steroids, he turned and barked at the fast-approaching police officer. “Don’t come any closer, little girl, you don’t want any of this!”
Thirty-nine-year-old Yvonne Baker almost smirked as she caught up with the arrogant bastard.
He swung one of his big meaty arms at Yvonne, which she ducked with ease. After a kick to his shin, a fist to his solar plexus, and an open palm to his nose, the man was laid out on the ground wondering what happened.
Skinny Jeans leaned against the Yukon, arms folded across his chest. He was too calm for Pat Sinclair’s liking.
“Sure, is a lot going on, officers. Who are these guys?”
Pat was almost too stunned to speak. This idiot was going to play the innocent victim.
“Turn around, hands against the truck, feet apart.”
Skinny Jeans feigned a crestfallen look. “Why? What did I do?”
Wayne Tompkins had enough. “You heard him, turn around!”
“Hey, Not so rough! I’m an innocent party here.”
Tompkins completed his search as tactical team leader, Larry Brent, passed the IDs of the dead suspects to Pat. “They’re all tatted, connected, and very dead.”
Pat shrugged. “All their choice. Your team good?”
“Donner took a round through his sleeve and is bitching about having to buy a new uniform shirt. I told him it was better than his wife buying him a suit to be buried in. That shut him up.”
Tompkins made Skinny Jeans sit on the ground next to the Yukon. Without a word he walked over and handed Pat the young man’s driver license.
Pat’s face fell. “Shit. Are you f-”
He was cut off by Luca, Brent’s second-in-command.
“Detective, you want to see this.”
Still reeling from learning Skinny Jeans’ name, Pat stepped to the rear of the Yukon and looked inside. His brow knitted in awe and confusion.
“What the hell is going on?”
The vehicle was filled to the brim with cocaine.
“Creighton has a drug problem, but this town just isn’t big enough for this kind of weight. Is it pure?”
Luca hefted a bag back into the truck. “We’ve checked three bags so far… it’s the real deal. If all the bags are pure and the same size… we’re looking at close to six million street value.”
Tompkins let out a low whistle. “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.”
Sinclair looked at the college student sitting on the ground. “There’s no freakin’ way he’s the Wizard, either.”
The coroner signaled he was done with the first body and moved on to the second.
“Brent, make sure I get photos from every angle and a sketched layout of the entire location.”
“You got it.”
“Come one, Tomp. Let’s get these guys downtown and try to figure this puzzle out.”
Pat brainstormed as he made sure all suspects were securely in police vehicles and headed for the station.
Connected gang associates, a new body count of ten, more cocaine than Creighton had seen in his entire career, and a nerdy rich kid playing dumb.
Things would get worse before they got better.
Two hours later, Pat Sinclair hadn’t made one connection in the case. Court-Case and the other suspect, who turned out to be Shane Peters, had lawyered up and weren’t talking in anticipation of some kind of deal. The blond kid, sixteen-year-old Elliott Olds—a runaway with no prior criminal record, was turned over to juvenile detention. The only talking forty-two-year-old Harvey Newsome was doing was to complain about “that bitch” breaking his nose.
It was no small shock to everyone to find out ‘Spence’ was Cecil Spencer Delk, a candy-ass junior at the local college with a Breaking Bad complex, and his dad was none other than local millionaire businessman, Cecil Delk, Sr.
Pat sat across the table from junior and senior Delk and the sly, slick, and wicked attorney of the local moneyed crowd, Jay Coolidge.
Wayne Tompkins stood in the corner, glaring at the threesome.
“Detective Sinclair, this has gone on long enough. My son has done nothing wrong and we’re leaving.” Delk, Sr., resplendent is a tailored Tom Ford tux was more annoyed at being pulled away from his gala event than his son being a drug trafficking suspect.
“We’re not done here yet, Mr. Delk. Your son still hasn’t told us what he was doing with known gang members and a vehicle loaded with cocaine.”
The junior Delk slammed his fist down on the table. “I told you Harvey is my personal trainer. After our workout, he was giving me a ride home and said he had to make a quick stop. I had no idea he was mixed up in drug trafficking.”
“Yet, it was you, not Harvey I saw talking with one of the other suspects.”
“Hey, I’m a friendly guy.”
Coolidge decided to join in and earn his retainer. “You have no evidence against my client, Detective. This is an unfortunate situation, and I applaud the Creighton Police Department for its fine work in seizing that drug shipment before it hit city streets. But my client, an earnest, trusting young man from a good family only exercised poor judgment in friends.”
Pat’s anger rose at the smugness of the trio. “If you were coerced or blackmailed into dealing, Cecil, now would be the time to tell me You cannot play with people like this. It’s like playing with an open fire and you will get burned.”
“Are you deaf or just stupid? I told you my son is not involved in this nasty drug business… and we’re leaving.” Delk Sr, stood just as the door to the interrogation room opened. Rick Morgan, precinct captain strode in.
“I’m Capt. Morgan, Mr. Delk, and I’m sorry but Cecil isn’t going anywhere tonight.” He motioned to Wayne to put Cecil back in cuffs.
Coolidge went on the defense. “What is the meaning of this? You have no grounds to arrest my client.”
“Your client was in the company of known felons at the scene of a large-scale drug buy. Conspiracy to traffic and distribute is a good start and will hold him until the feds show up.”
“This isn’t a good career move for you, Capt.” The threat in his tone and words did not go unnoticed.
“Thanks for your concern, Mr. Delk, but you let me worry about my career.” He motioned for Tompkins to remove Cecil from the room.
“We’ll have you out the second you’re arraigned, Cecil, don’t worry,” Coolidge offered. “They’ve got nothing.”
Pat Sinclair looked on in silence, racking his brain for some type of connection in all this for Cecil. Coming up empty, he played his last card.
“Detective Tompkins, just a second, please.”
Wayne paused at the door with the angry young man.
“Cecil, you do know those guys you were with? They’re not friendly guys like you, and they’re also not street punks. They run the streets for their local gangs, but it doesn’t end with them.”
Arrogant to the end, Cecil smirked. “You trying to make a point, Detective?”
Slipping into some arrogance of his own, Pat Sinclair leaned against the doorway. “My point is we picked up two million dollars in cash, and coke with a street value over six million. Your new friends? They deal in hundreds… maybe thousands, but millions? There’s someone bigger at the center of this and they didn’t get the drugs and their money was lost. Someone will have to answer for that.”
“Are you trying to intimidate my son Detective?”
“No, I’m trying to prevent any more lives being lost, Mr. Delk. If your son would just tell us where he got his coke from-”
Cecil kicked the door, pulling against the hold Tompkins had on his cuffed wrists. “I told you it’s not my coke!” With a glare over his shoulder at his father and attorney, Cecil Delk leaned toward the open door. “Get me outta here.”
Pat exchanged a knowing look with Tompkins and their captain before Tompkins took his suspect to booking. Rick Morgan followed close behind.
Delk and Coolidge also headed for the door.
“You must be desperate, Detective, using scare tactics on my son.”
“I’m not desperate and they’re not scare tactics, Mr. Delk. You’re a businessman, think about it. You negotiate for a product and end up without the product and payment. You’d be upset, right? And probably seek legal recourse, right?”
He walked over to the table and gathered his notes.
“People in the drug business don’t take legal action, Mr. Delk, they take lives.”
Delk’s smug facade faltered. He shot a glance at Coolidge, tilted his head toward the door and left without responding.
Pat hoped he was wrong, but Delk’s reaction spoke volumes.
Morgan sat on the desk across from Tompkins.
“Unless we get something solid on that kid, he’s going to walk or get fluff charges.”
Pat shook his head. All that dope and dead bodies… and he wasn’t going to do any hard time for it.
“As it stands now, Casey and Peters will get deals if their info on a couple of cold case murders pans out. Newsome’s going to be stuck with the hard federal time—life—unless he decides to give up his real boss.”
“I don’t think he knows, Capt. I think he believes Cecil is the boss.”
“Then it sucks to be him.” He stood. “But it won’t be our problem for much longer. DEA will show up sometime tomorrow to get the coke and Newsome. I’d love to have you both on-hand, but the commissioner is crawling up my ass about overtime hours. So officially, you two are off for the next two days. I hope this thing is just a bad memory by the time you clock in again.” He waved and headed for the on-call room for a quick nap before having to deal with the feds.
Tompkins scrubbed his hand down his face.
“Damn, I hate this shitty job sometimes.”
“Man, you and me both.” Pat sat up in his chair. “Wayne… before I let this go, there’s one more thing about this case with Delk.”
“I believe Delk, Sr. is in it up to his eyeballs.”
Wayne frowned. “Seriously?”
“Not many people in Creighton have the money to do business with this volume.”
“So, he’s guilty because he’s rich?”
“No, because of his son’s reactions.”
“Cecil didn’t say, “it’s not my coke,” he said, “It’s not my coke.” He knows the real owner. And when you took him out of here, the look he threw at his dad was accusatory.”
“Maybe you’re on to something, Pat. But we’ll never know for sure unless something major happens.”
He shut down his laptop.
“I’m gonna head out. Deb’s not over the flu and I need to get the Tompkins crew up and ready for school.”
“Up for school?” Pat glanced at the wall clock.
4:04. In the morning.
“Man, go on. Get out of here. I had no idea it was that late… or early. Last I noted the time was when Cecil’s daddy and lawyer showed up—at twenty minutes after one.”
Tompkins laughed, grabbing his coat. “Well, you could say we’re dedicated professionals more concerned with tracking down criminals than tracking time.”
“No, I think it’s more we’re a couple of schlubs who keep falling for the captain’s “It won’t take long” line.”
They shared a laugh, both knowing they would do anything Rick Morgan asked of them.
“I hope Deb feels better and tell Tyler he owes me a rematch in horseshoes.”
“Dude, I hope so too. Her mom said if Deb wasn’t better by the weekend, she was coming to stay with us to help out.” Tompkins shuddered. “I do not want that!”
“Better you than me! Enjoy the next couple of days off. See ya’ Friday.”
“You too, Sinclair.”
Pat knew Wayne Tompkins was already switching from police detective to husband and father in his head before the elevator even reached the first floor.
He made the last few entries in his own case file notes and emailed a copy to the captain, the desk sergeant, to himself, and to the queue of the records department.
With his part in the case done, fatigue to bore down on the fifty-two-year-old detective. He eased his bulky frame from his chair and stretched. The aches and pains of age joined in with the past job-related injuries and scarring to once again bring thoughts of retirement to mind.
Why do I keep doing this shitty job? I’ve put in my time. Served my community. Tried to be a good cop and make things better. Twenty-seven years is long enough. Let the new guys have it.
Pat grabbed his coat, needing to get home to Carla, the love of his life.
Pat Sinclair was relaxed and in a great mood as he drove into work. The two days spent with Carla were just what he needed. They’d taken a short road trip and made plans for their future. Pat wasn’t looking forward to telling his partner he was putting in his papers and would be gone by his next birthday.
Knowing his quiet time had to come to an end, Pat clicked on his police scanner to get the buzz.
“14, detectives have already left, and on-site cleanup is complete.”
“Affirmative. And notifications have been made for the two victims, a white male, late teens-early twenties, and a white male, mid to late forties.”
Pat frowned as the communication continued.
“B1, these were the victims found bound, gagged and killed execution-style last night?”
Pat knew they wouldn’t say names over the police scanner, and he didn’t need to hear them.
The Delks arrogance and total lack of street-smarts cost them their lives.
Pat felt bad for the family left behind. But, he had tried to warn them.
If you play with fire, you will get burned.