A Brass Ring Day

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just a day in the life of this detective. A big day!

Submitted: November 02, 2015

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Submitted: November 02, 2015

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Birmingham Ulysses Custer, Called "Buck" by everyone except his Mama, had been on the police force for 22 years.

He started out as a beat-cop in the old-town district, and then he moved to the traffic division for about five years, after that he went to undercover narcotics for nearly two years, until his cover was blown.

A little mistake by the Feds, at least that's what they called it, earned Buck two bullets, one in the shoulder and one took out a small chunk of his chin. He was disabled for about six months.

When Buck returned to work he received a very pleasant surprise. He was escorted to a large conference room and he was greeted by the police chief, the mayor, the City Council, and other people that knew him.

There were others in attendance too, the ones in the building that had heard that there was cake and ice cream being served.

Buck was recognized for his participation in many undercover operations and was awarded a medal of valor for the unfortunate wounds he received while saving two other officers.

It seems someone leaked info that nearly got all of them killed.

The FDA Rep was also there and she gave a short but humbling speech praising Buck's quick thinking under ("confusing circumstances"). 

At the end of all this congratulations came the surprise, or maybe I should just say "prize". The Police Chief announced that Buck was up for a promotion, and of course, a raise in pay.

After years of riding this Merry-Go-Round Buck finally got his brass ring, he was now a homicide detective.

And there was even a bigger plus; he had been assigned to Central Station, one of the lowest crime districts in the city.

With about four years left until minimum retirement age Buck could sail right on through this. In fact, he could actually see himself working an additional five years now that he was in Homicide.

The extra years would mean extra retirement pay and added benefits.

"Just think," Buck thought, "that would mean me and the Misses could buy that motor-home that we've always wanted.

We could travel; see the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. We might even do the Disney thing, on both coasts!"

Bucks wife, Elizabeth Trisha Opel Yvonne, named after her grandmothers and her mother's sisters.

Why?

Well, it seems to be a family thing and no one questions "family things".

Anyway, it's no bother because everyone just calls her "E-Toy", or just "Toy", and that works because she is kind of petite.

Anyway, Toy wanted to go on an Alaskan Cruise, but not the normal kind. She saw a flyer that said that they could drive to Alaska, go aboard a Ferry (slash) Cruise Ship with their vehicle, then kick back and have a few drinks, dinner, spa, a dip in the pool, etc..

They could see movies if they wanted to, or even see Vegas and Broadway type shows, if that appealed to them. They could even go bowling! Buck liked to bowl.

The flyer said that, along the way the ship would set to port at various places. And if they wanted to, they could drive their vehicle off the ship while at port, and go sightseeing. Or they could just drive to another port-destination and get back on the Cruise Ship again at a predetermined date.

Toy thought, "That would be the best of both worlds for a true sightseeing adventure."

How did Buck feel about that?

Well, he just says, "A happy wife is a happy life".

 

It was a Sunday morning and Buck was working a rotational shift, six eight hours days on the day-shift and then he had three full days off.

They were odd shifts, but Buck liked the three days in a row off work, so he didn't complain.

There was over-time on the roster, too, so sometimes Buck would put in extra hours.

Some detectives, like Buck, liked to do the O.T. hours during their regular work weeks. They liked to have the three days off, but some liked to mix it up during the month. Whatever way they wanted the overtime was their call, as long as cases were being worked and bad guys were being taken off the streets.

Buck didn't have a regular "Partner" at work, not many detectives did. With the way the hours were they were assigned cases to work on. And sometime as many as eight Cops might be working a case at the same time, but not always during the same hours.

You might have one or two detectives on the graveyard shift, two on the day shift, and maybe one to three on the night shift; it just depended on how the Captains divided up the work load.

But even then, and even in a good district, there was always a backlog. So each day someone would partner up with whoever was on duty that day and on that shift.

Well, on this particular Sunday it was an old high school buddy of Buck's, Jimmy-John Hanks, "J. J." to most everyone.

Jim had been working homicides and sometimes Narcotics Unit Cases, but that was on the south side of the city. This was his first day at the Central Station.

 

"Well Shit-Howdy, if it isn't my old buddy Buck!" Exclaimed Jim as he walked into the squad room.

Buck looked up from his desk and smiled.

Then Jim continued, "I haven’t seen you in ah Coon's age Buck! How's the world in your neck of the woods?

"It’s all good, Jim, real good. And how’s things with you?" Buck replied.

"Well, not too bad if I do say so myself," Jim said while having a seat across from Buck. "I hear that you are still married to Toy."

"Yep, she's a peach,” Buck countered as he smiled, “you should have hung onto that one Jim."

"Well, you know how things were back in High School. That Judge Perkins was a ball-buster! I get in a little trouble and he tells me, "Go in the Service or go to Jail! Well, at the time I couldn't see that I had much choice. 

Besides, being gone from here for four years changes a lot of things, including where your heart strings are tied," Jim said, and then laughed as he put his size 12 boots up on the desk.

"Besides, Jim countered, "After two wives and three "Want-to-bees", I just gave up and figured I was supposed to stay single.

 

At that moment the Captain came out of her office and handed Buck a slip of paper, "Here Buck, it's a hit and run on Weber Street, just off Jackson."

"Isn't that a traffic problem Captain?" Buck inquired.

"Not when the killer chased the (now) deceased down a sidewalk, across a park full of people, and into oncoming traffic, I'd say that might be something we need to look at Buck," the captain replied with a sly smile on her face.

Then the captain turned, stuck out her hand and said, "You must be Jim Hanks, I got your transfer papers last week and you’re all set.

It sounds as if you and Buck are old friends, so he can show you around. You can have the desk you’re sitting at, unless you'd like to find one where you think that you won’t be seen from my office. She smiled again, but it was a strained smile this time around.

You can ride along with Buck on this case for starters and I'll find some other cases for you to work on starting tomorrow. ... K?"

"Sure enough Captain Stallings, anything you say," Jim shot back without blink-in' an eye.

"Well, let's hit it!" Buck said as he grabbed his coat and headed toward the door.

"Is she always such a tight-ass?" Jim questioned Buck.

Buck replied, "She comes on like a pissed off Pit-Bull, but she's honest as a heart-attack. She'll go to the wire for you if you're straight-up with her and do your job right."

At the scene Buck noticed a couple of FBI Agents poking around the grounds, taking pictures and asking questions.

Buck asked Sergeant Bradford, Traffic Division, what the Skinny was.

 

Sergeant Bradford laid it out, "Well as far as the FBI goes, I don't have a clue; they’re not share-in.

As far as the killing, witnesses stated and the tire marks are pretty clear, the driver came up on the sidewalk over there on Cutter Road.

It seems that the deceased, one Beauregard Olson Pitcher, was walking with his girlfriend, Joanna May Jones, when the van jumped the curb.

Apparently Mr. Pitcher saw the Van jump the curb so he pushed Miss Jones out of the way.

After that Mr. Pitcher ran down the sidewalk, jumped a fire hydrant, and spanned a bus bench as he went. At that point he changed direction and headed across the park, dodging in between swings, slides, and a round-about.

One witnesses said Mr. Pitcher was running like a quarterback on fire and that he might have made a clean get-away if he hadn't tried to cross Weber Street; that's when the guy in the van had a clear path and nailed him.

As you can tell by the blood and tire marks, the van stopped, backed up over Mr. Pitcher again, and then very slowly ran over his head with the driver's side front tire."

"Woo," said J. J., I guess he really wanted him dead!"

"He wanted proof of death too," said Sergeant Studding, "at that point the driver stuck his phone out the side window and took a couple of pictures.

Oh, and as he drove away he left a calling card, literally, the eight of Spades from a Bicycle deck."

"I know that one!" Jim belted out without blinking an eye, "it is the Logo for (The Blue-card Bikers), from my old division. They started out selling drugs from bicycles, now the whole east side is theirs."

Buck just nodded his head in agreement; he had dealings with The Blue-card Bikers before. In fact, Buck has always thought that it was one of the Blue-card Bikers that shot him.

He'd know that guy again if he ever saw him, couldn't forget that face, young and ugly as a wart-hog with acne.

If the kid was a Biker, then he must not be working the streets because his mug wasn't on file, anywhere.

Buck had info from two snitches that said this kid was called (e-Gore). The name didn't come from the Frankenstein movies, as one might think. The name was taken from the fact that this kid was a social media addict and as for the Gore part, (who knows?).

Jim and Buck collected statements, talked to the CSI crew, the coroner, and the first officers on the scene; asking that their reports to be sent to them, ASAP.

As the two detectives headed back to the car a shot rang out, then another!

They both ducked behind a car and pulled their weapons.

The shots were coming from a roof-top across the street and about a quarter of a block west. It looked as if the shooter was shooting at the uniformed officers.

Another shot rang out and one of the officers was obviously hit!

That is when Jim raised his weapon and fired, and as he fired the shooter fell from sight.

"Well Jim, I can see your aim is as good as ever," Buck jokingly stated.

Three uniformed officers headed up the stairs to the roof-top, there was no more gunfire.

"Yah, --- I think it's a gift. Sergeant "Boozer" Hilliard, Swat Division, says that I could wipe the butt of a Bumble-Bee at thirty paces, “Jim said with a laugh.

"Don't know if that's true, Jim, but it sounds like something Hilliard would say,” Buck jokingly replied.

I've taken the long and short range hand-gun trophy for now on six years running. Boozer always comes in just short of my scores, but not by much. That's at the state wide competition that is held down in Brewster County, “Jim stated, "As long as these eyes hold out and the Suns not in them, I'll keep hit-in the target!" Jim laughed again.

 

Buck had one of the uniforms take and bag Jim's hand-gun, as per regulations.

Standard issue hand-guns were Smith & Wesson, 38-Caliber, but not all detective carried those; if they did, they weren't the only weapon that they had on them.

Jim carried a newer model 9-MM that he had specially modified by Jr. Parker, the local gun wizard.

It was lighter, even with the longer competition barrel, and recoil was minimal.

Buck had one of Jr. Parker's specialties too. It wasn't a competition weapon, but it sure scared the hell out of the bad guys when he fired at them with that modified 357.

KAH-BOOOOM!

Captain Stallings arrived with two Internal Affairs Officers. She didn't look pleased but that was assessed as normal under these conditions, at least, according to Buck.

As the Captain approached Buck could see the fire in her eyes. That's when she said to Jim, "Really Hanks? You’re in my unit less than two hours and you hand me a OIS, (officer involved shooting)," 

"It was a good shoot Captain, we already had a Uniform down," Buck countered, "there could have been more fatalities if he hadn't taken the shot!"

Captain Stallings snapped back, "Was I talking to you?"

"No Mam!" was the reply.

She continued, "I didn't say it was a bad shoot, that will be determined by IA,(internal affairs), in conjunction with the state police report.

I'm talking about an officer that has been transfer three times in seven years because he manages to shoot people a lot more than the average cop does! Nine, oh wait, ten shootings in seven years! What are you Jim, some kind of ("Dirty Harry")?"

"In my own defense Captain, all those shots that I've taken have been ruled justifiable, not one was iffy in any way," Jim quietly replied.

The Captain questioned, "Your weapon has been surrendered, right?"

"Yes Mam"

Captain Stallings continued, "As I'm sure you already know, you'll be pushing papers until IA gives the green light for you to go back to work. Give your statement to IA, then get a ride back to the station and write your report.

Oh, and try not to shoot anyone else today.

"Yes Mam," was Jim's reply.

Captain Stallings started to walk away and then turned to Jim and said, I've been told that the shooter was found on that roof-top and had a single bullet wound entering the bridge of the nose and exiting the rear of the skull. Where were you when you made that shot?"

Jim pointed to the rear of the police car that they were standing behind.

The captain looked towards the car and then she looked up to the top of the building. That's when she said, "Holly Crap!" Then she walked away.

A domestic violence call came to Buck from dispatch; some guy had just shot his immediate family.

"Well I guess I'll see you around the station, Buck," said Jim as he walked toward the officers from IA.

Buck smiled and replied, "You talk care now."

It was turning out to be a busy day, even for a Sunday, but the long drive from Jackson Street, center city, to the suburbs was a relaxing diversion.

Buck was cruise-in down this rural country road singing to the top of his very monotone voice, ("On the Road again!").

That's when the shot rang out!

A bullet came in the open driver's side window and took Bucks sunglasses right off his head; at that point it exited the front windshield, passenger side, shattering the glass.

Buck pulled over to the side of the road and called for back-up! He exited the car from the passenger door, pulling his gun as he went.

Another shot rang out!

Buck scanned the horizon and noticed what he thought was a puff of gun smoke off in the distance.

Another shot rang out, and sure enough, more smoke from the same area.

Buck removed his binoculars from the glove compartment and took a look.

Sure enough, just as Buck suspected. There were four teenage boys who appeared to be drunk as skunks; they were shooting at cans on a fence.

It wasn't too long before two police cars arrived, one was a Sergeant’s SUV and the other was a patrol car with two officers in it.

Buck briefed the Sergeant and other officers and explained that he was in route to a domestic killing.

Handing the Sergeant the binoculars, Buck pointed out the suspects in question.

As the Sergeant took a look, he saw the four boys looking towards the road, and that's when they ran into the nearby house.

The Sergeant told Buck to take the patrol car and continue on, Buck could write his report later. 

The Sergeant would have his unit towed back to impound, after all, it was now part of a crime scene.

Buck agreed and as he was leaving he heard the Sergeant put in a call to dispatch to send two more traffic units and the Swat Team.

 

At the murder scene Buck was confronted with stupidity for sake of pride. A father had shot his wife, three children, his mother-in-law, and then he killed himself.

Why?

Well according to his suicide note, he had over-extended himself, financially, and it would be degrading to the family to have them on welfare. That would be a disgrace!

(During the investigation, Buck found out that the man bought and sold houses, very expensive houses. And he had just bought a 6.2 million dollar estate.

The man's usual routine was to buy the house with a minimum down payment and a promissory note to pay the balance within 180 days.

All was going well with the renovation until a water leak was discovered in a wall. It had been seeping down the wall, all three stories, for God knows how long.

Sadly, he was told that a good deal of the entire wall would have to be replaced and the electrical would have to be replaced. A section of the basement cement would have to be torn out and re-poured.

Also, a trench would have to be dug around the entire house and a water barrier added to the basement wall.

Normal costs to renovate this house and grounds would be $500,000 to $1,500,000, but with a profit level well worth the cash outlay.

Of course, this man had other houses being renovated and deals with his suppliers and contractors. They would hold their bills until the house was sold and for that arrangement they received additional money based on how long it took to sell the house.

Unfortunately, this renovation was going to cost approximately three million dollars, one million more than the man could come up with in cash.

Everything this man did was backed up with financing, notes of credit, and cash obtained from equity.

Like a house of cards, if one fell, they would all fall. Every Call would be called in, every loan would be without payment, and the Flipper would default on all five of the houses that he was renovating, for sale.

Without that extra $1,000,000 cash, all his cards and all dominoes would fall in 150 days.

It was a sad situation, with all the preparation this man had done, the advice he obtained from experts so that he didn't miss anything, and he still failed.

They said that this Flipper would even go so far as to have art experts, among others, come in after each purchase to make a list of anything that could be sold; things that were not part of the original house decor, wood work, stone statues, etc. 

There were a few paintings and mirrors that could be resold at market value, none over $10,000 each, a $20,000 gold-leaf bathtub/spa, a $5,000 fountain, and four sets of French doors.

The French doors, one set in the dining room, one set leading to the gardens, one set in the largest upstairs bedroom, and a set leading to a breakfast balcony.

Apparently these doors were ordered through a decorative art dealer by the last owner, some fifty years ago. They were all taken from other buildings and they were all different, stained glass, leaded, and originally from Tiffany.

All of the door-sets were conservatively estimated at $400,000 each and one set could fetch much more at action. These doors could have been sold to collectors quickly, and that sale would have given the man more than enough money to finish the renovations.

Buck found the estimate and a list of interested buyers in an e-mail that was among other e-mails that had gone unread. Somehow they had mistakenly gone to this man's SPAM FILE instead of his In-Box.) 

Buck took notes at the sad scene, talked to the normal group of Cops, CSI, and Coroner. And after everything was collected, Cell-phones, Lap-tops, memory sticks, and disks; along with all the other evidence, such as it was, everything was bagged and tagged. 

 

Buck returned the squad-car to the motor-pool and then talked to the Sergeant that arrested the four teens that were drunk. The Sergeant gave him a copy of the arrest report.

Then after briefing Captain Stallings, he set down to write his reports. 

After two hours Buck was about to head home when in walked Jordan Richardson, a FBI Special Investigator.

"Hay Jordan, long-time no see," Buck said, as he looked up from his desk.

"Hay Buck, I see you’re back to work. Oh, and by the way, congrats on the promotion," Jordan stated.

Buck sat back in his chair, looked Jordan in the eyes and asked, "OK, what do you want?"

Jordan chuckled just a little and then replied, "What makes you think that I want something?"

"Because I know that look on your face," Buck stated, "and I know it says that you have big fish on the line and you need help reeling them in. Am I close?"

Jordan laughed out loud and said, "Right as rain, my friend, right as rain."

Well, Buck listened to what Jordan had to say and they parted ways until the next meeting.

 

Buck has a long drive home because a few years ago, after Buck's wife retired from the phone company she started yearning for the country life. So they sold their house in town and ended up buying a small ranch in the country.

The place is all theirs now. With overtime pay and some money from savings, they paid the place off.

So with that long drive Buck keeps his glove compartment stocked with Country Western music tapes and black licorice twists.

Buck quiet smoking a few years back and when he feels the urge to have a cigarette he has a half of a licorice twist instead. He says that the taste of the licorice is a good substitute for the taste of the nicotine.

I don't know how true that is, but it works for him so more power to him.

At first Buck hated that long drive home, but as the years drifted by and during his recent time off on disability, he began to think that it was a good thing.

He liked the fact that there is a river and a fishing dock within walking distance from the house; not a short walk, but a healthy one.

He likes having really fresh eggs for breakfast, thanks to Miss Pecker, Florence, and Abigail, just to name a few chicken in their coup.

Then there are the fresh vegetables from Toy's garden and fruit from their trees; those are a big plus.

The drive home gave Buck time to think, to mellow out after a bad day. And that country road is mostly dark and deserted at that time of evening.

Buck could play his Willie Nelson cassettes, windows down, full blast, and sing along to his heart’s content.

But that was not what Buck was doing when he saw a car along-side the road. The car’s four-way flashers were blinking and his old buddy Jim was standing in front of it, waving his arms.

Buck pulled over and came to a gravel sliding stop! Then he backed up to within a couple of car lengths of Jim's car.

Buck climbed out of his pick-up truck and started walking towards Jim. That is about the time he saw the gun pointed at him.

"What the hell?" Buck Questioned?

"Sorry Buck, but you got what I want and Toy won't have me unless you're out of the way," Jim exclaimed!

"Did she say that?" Buck questioned.

Jim answered, "Nah, but I know that she'd come around if you weren't in the picture anymore, especially right after your death. 

I've been planning this for a long time now Buck. If E-Gore had done what I told him to then we wouldn't be standing here right now. You would be long dead and Toy and I would be on vacation somewhere.

You see, Buck, I did my homework. You have the ranch paid off and money in the bank. Plus, Toy will have about a million dollar in insurance pay-outs coming when you’re gone. --- Sweet!"

Buck questioned back, "So this is all about the money, huh Jim, Toy is just the means to an end?"

"Well, I guess you could say that," Jim replied, "but it is about pay-back too.

I had a good thing going with the Bikers, but that's dried up now! I gave them info and they gave me money, drugs, anything I needed. That is, until you started snooping around in my district and brought the feds in.

Suddenly I wasn't being kept in the loop and the information I needed dried up when the Feds took control.

That's when I went to plan-B, an early retirement on Toy's inheritance. Unfortunately, E-Gore was a half-ass shot so your demise was put on hold.

There are other loose ends I still need to tie but those will get done in due time. I don't want any fingers pointing at me after this is all wrapped up.

Buck started to laugh and Jim got a funny look on his face.

"What the hell is so funny, Buck? You are going to die tonight," Jim yelled!

Buck replied, "Do you really want to know, Jim? Well I'll let you in on a little secret!

The Feds arrested E-Gore in Houston; I guess he was hiding from you. He rolled on you for a song and a scratch on the back, you’re done!

He gave up the Bikers too. We have names, dates, places, and now we have at least two more Bikers willing to roll on your involvement and the Bikers network.

Oh, and I just got a cell call from Jordan Richardson. The Feds picked up the Van Driver from today's hit at park! Do you want to guess who he said hired him to kill Mr. Beauregard Olson Pitcher?

Now get smart and drop the gun, there is a camera pointing at you from the truck’s window and it is sending sight and sound to a FBI's mobile van.

By now your few avenues of escape are sealed off and you have nowhere to run.

At that moment a flood-light came on, it was on the back of the truck and it was aimed at Jim. Then the truck’s tailgate fell open and Sergeant "Boozer" Hilliard was lying in the bed with a 38 pointed at Jim.

Jim didn’t think, his reaction was automatic, but with a flood light shinning in his eyes he did not see Buck pull his weapon and kneel to a firing position.

Jim fired and missed, shooting where Buck's head once was.

However, Buck and Hilliard did not miss, --- Bang and KAH-BOOOOM!

 

D. Thurmond / Jef 

10-31-2015


© Copyright 2019 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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