Book Four - Part 8 - Rhyming Evil - Chapter Six
Thursday – June 28th
The Squad Room – 8:33 a.m.
“I’m happy to report for a change that no lives were lost during yesterday’s mock recovery sweep. For the record, council members do know that not every person in the event of an earthquake or any other severe weather may not survive, but with our search procedures in place, we can help save more lives that would otherwise be lost.
“We have today and tomorrow, then it’s over. Let’s make them both like yesterday. One thing about this; this will be done one week a year, every year. By then, hopefully, when the air-raid signal goes off, everyone will know to go directly there.
“I know, I know, I can see it in your faces; there will be a few out there a few brain cells shy of having a brain cell and forget; but keep in mind, when you put on that badge, you took an oath to serve, protect, and defend. It’s who you are, who we all are. It’s what we do, no matter what.
“If no one has any questions … then get out there and stay safe and keep our streets safe.”
City Council Board Room Meeting – 9:16 a.m.
Mayor Marsh, three city council members, Baker, Ed, and Satchell, were all seated around a long cherry-wood desk, polished so well, you could almost use it as a mirror to comb your hair.
Coffee and doughnuts were on both ends of the table along with cream, sugar, and napkins. After everyone made their coffee, grabbed a doughnut or two, Edward Carter stepped into the room and took a seat next to Mayor Marsh, who began to speak.
“I asked for this meeting this morning because of this gentleman, Edward Carter. We spoke briefly last night, and I listened to his proposal, or idea, and find it fascinating.”
She turned to Carter.
“Why don’t you tell everyone, please.”
Carter stood, moving his hands and arms as he spoke.
“Over a year ago, I was in your city, autographing my last novel and was caught in the middle of a dangerous situation. A situation that you,” Carter pointed to Baker, “took care of in a very professional manner, and saved lives; mine being one of them, of which I assure you, I will be forever grateful.
“Since then, to now, I have kept up with everything that has gone on both before, and since that day, and have found it fascinating, as well as incredible with everything that has happened in Montie.
“I have made several outlines of Montie and the city’s history as I have with recent events, and quite frankly, I would love to do a biographical write on Montie, with not just how this city came into being, but how you have grown, and prospered; but also, how you have managed to keep Montie a safe and warm place to live. I want to write about the realness of those who live here, who work here.”
There was a brief silence as Satchell spoke.
“Don’t forget those who died here. They are part of that realness you were speaking of.”
“Of course, Captain Page. I would be remiss in telling a truth and leave out those who gave their lives to protect others.”
Then it was Baker’s turn.
“I have a job I do I take very seriously. Personally, I wish you wouldn’t write this book, Mr. Carter. Books like this do one of three things: draws in spectators who want to rub elbows with so-called heroes. We aren’t hero’s; we are people who know the risks we take every day and still go out there and do our job. It is what we are trained to do. Second, it brings in the Hollywood people who want to build on your book with actors that can create problems for us real life people, and usually never get that realness you mentioned, right. Last, there is always a certain percentage of people that will read a book like this, and imagine they can see a hole, a leak, a weak chain in our city’s defenses and want to try us.
See if they can get away clean. This usually ends up with injured or very dead real people.
“You will have to excuse me, but I have an evacuation exercise to attend to, and make sure things are secured properly. I’ll let the rest of you here to decide. You already know my feelings on this.”
Baker left the room, the building, and was in her Hummer, counting down the minutes before the evacuation would start.
Inside the Board Room, Ed spoke up.
“I can understand her feelings. Although I am not an active member of the Twenty-Second, I’ll always be reminded of the plaque on the wall next to the front doors you can read when you leave the building. It’s a list of names of men and women who gave their lives to keep this city respectable. Granted, the word hero is used now and then to describe their actions; but they were husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, and friends. In truth, friends is how I will always remember them.
“Like Baker, do what you will, but I’m against it.”
Ed stood up and left the room.
Mayor Marsh looked at Satchell.
“Captain Page? Any comment?”
“I was placed in this position to oversee, overlook, and maintain the safety of our city, and all those who live here. I cannot speak for the men and women who work with me day to day, nor will I disagree or agree with their thoughts unless it interferes with their work.”
“Captain, I am sure we are all aware of that. Just answer this simple question. Are you in favor of having Mr. Carter write a biography on Montie?”
“Honestly? Yes, and no. I agree with most of Baker’s and Manning’s reasoning, but I can also understand the potential revenue a book like this could bring in from potential tourists. But that also means the more tourist, the more time that will be invested by my officers on duty. For that reason, I abstain from voting. I’ll leave this up to you and the council members present.
“Now, if you will excuse me, I have a police department to run.
“Oh, and Mr. Carter, I do enjoy reading your books.”
There was silence in the room for almost a full minute after Satchell left before Mayor Jean Marsh looked to the other council members present. “I am all in for this. What about you?”
Let’s just say Edward Carter left Montie a happy man. Once the book tour was over, he would start his greatest undertaking, ever.
The Old Diner – 11:45 a.m.
Baker had called Ed and asked him to drive out to the old diner with her. It was on a lark as she expressed it to him. It was something Stevie said to her, that stayed in her thoughts.
So, there they both were, walking through tall overgrown grass and weeds, which seemed to crawl out from between broken and cracked concrete surrounding a gutted-out and rusted diner where its better days ended in 1983.
There had been a mass shooting there between five escaped inmates, and the police from Montie, Stanhouse, and eventually, the FBI. Twenty-three people were killed, five police officers, one FBI agent, all five inmates, and twelve civilians who just wanted lunch. Another fourteen were wounded but survived that deadly day.
Baker and Ed, however, weren’t looking for inmates. They were looking for an explosive device.
While looking, Ed said, “Wouldn’t hurt any, to blow this place up. It’s been an eyesore, and a reminder, any which way you look at it.”
But they looked both inside and out and found nothing.
“City will take care of the textile mill. They were supposed to have the area inspected by now and have a report to me if there isn’t a problem with bringing the wall down.
“Stevie’s idea was a good one, even if it didn’t pan out.”
“Jan, since we’re out this way, let’s stop at Rastabella’s for lunch.”
“Can do. Will do.”
Brewster Gun Club – 1:45 p.m.
The van pulled up alongside a Ford F-150 which belonged to Blake’s father. Hitting special buttons on his wheelchair, he was able to turn the van off electronically. Then, he backed the wheelchair to the side panel doors, hit his remote controller, which made the doors automatically open, followed by a ramp that came up from the floor and then folded outward to meet the ground. Blake then road down the ramp, spun around, hit another button and both the ramp and the doors went to their designated places.
Then he headed to the Gun Club itself, road up a ramp, and the front doors opened automatically, allowing Blake to enter.
“How was traffic today?”
“Not bad. Pretty much like every other day.”
“Good. Look, there’s already five people in the range rooms: 1, 6, 7, 9, and 10. The other five are loaded with targets. A Mrs. Cynthia Anderson, and a Charles Mellor, are scheduled at four and five. Like always, you get a problem, call me.”
Blake rolled his eyes.
“I know, dad. You always say the same thing to me every day.”
“I’m your father. I have a right to worry.”
Jimmy Brewster reached down and hugged Blake.
“See you when you get home tonight.”
No, you won’t. You never do. You’re always asleep.
“All right, dad. Be careful going home and I ….”
Jimmy Brewster was out the door and halfway to his Ford truck.
“ …. love you, dad.”
Blake shrugged his shoulders and wheeled himself behind the counter and up a special ramp where it made it easier for him to have access to the register or anything pertaining to customers. He already knew today would be slow.
Mrs. Anderson couldn’t hit a target if it landed right in front of her, she was that blind. Charles Mellor, now there was a character. After he would shoot, he would stop long enough to tell Blake one of his stories about his Vietnam days. Pity the stories were always the same, but Blake was never one for being rude.
Twenty-Second Precinct – 2:15 p.m.
After Ed drove home, Baker went back to her office, looked over some older files, made a few notations for requisitioned needs she would leave on Satchell’s desk. Then, for no reason, she started doodling Freddy’s named on a piece of paper.
He was certainly a fixture in her head. Baker wondered where he was, and who was he contracted to kill this time. Who was he pretending to be?
She found Freddy to be a very unusual killer. Granted, he is pay-for-hire, to remove people that would be replaced by someone easier to deal with, or harsher, depending how you view it. But in Europe, most of his contract hits have been medium to high-profile kills.
Still, Freddy would also target individuals on his own dime as he had when he was in Montie. It was these people he felt deserved to die a cruel and vindictive death. People that raped and mutilated their victims or had sold women and children into an underground slave-labor market, or into prostitution or pornography, and even snuff films. None of the above being good. For the criminal Freddy is, underneath his layer of hatred for Baker, somewhere in that man’s skin lies a good man. Sort of.
But murder is murder, and when Baker gets the chance, she would bring him in, or take him down.
Her phone rang. It was Satchell.
“Baker, just called to tell you two things. We saved everyone today.”
“Good to hear. Sorry I missed the meeting. What’s the second thing?”
“Nothing in the meeting to miss. We just do the same thing one more day is all, then put it on the shelf until next year or if something really happens. As to number two, Mayor Marsh and the city council gave that Carter fella, the go ahead.”
“I figured they would.”
“At least we went in there swinging, and you know what else, Satch?”
“We’re always left swinging in the wind, too.”
Brewster Gun Club – 6:30 p.m.
Blake rolled down the ramp after setting the security alarm and locking the doors.
From there, he rode over to a small barn that was really a storage shed with parts, and various equipment if needed. There were also six-hundred cases of various sized shells for the weapons that would be used by customers, or the police officers who came to Brewster’s to qualify as required. Other shells and handguns would be rented to all paying shooters that didn’t own a firearm.
When Standing Room Lake would open for the season, Brewster’s would be busy all the time, six days a week. His dad could do an easy hundred-grand between July Fourth and Labor Day weekend. Then the locals would stop in and fill in the dollar gaps to keep the place floating easily enough.
Looking inside the storage barn, he made sure everything was where it was supposed to be. Once he did so, he locked the barn doors, and in another ten minutes, he was back in his van, and on his way home.
Home, to a father who meant well, but never said very much. Home, to a mother who drank too much, all the time, and even though she would say, ‘I love you, Blake,’ it never sounded sincere—real. She never looked him straight in the eyes.
Who to blame for all this? Dad? Mom? Himself?
Blake Brewster was born without legs. Growing up, and up until high school, he never had any close friends. Before high school, kids would make fun of him. When high school rolled around, he managed to find a few people who accepted him for who he is, and no one called him names.
Blake often wondered if that was enough. Would anything ever be just enough? He believed he would never find a girlfriend, get married, and have kids. That was out of reach as far as he was concerned. No girl would marry half a man.
But at night, he did have a girl he called friend that he could talk with and make plans with. Her name was Coolliv17. Her first name being Liv, for Livia. She lived in Greenland.
For Blake, online would be the closest he would ever get to real love. But he hadn’t yet told Liv the entire truth about his physical self. Fear of losing her, held back the truth.