Authors: Rick Murcer
|Manny Williams |
Murcer Press, LLC
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For my wife Carrie, who still believes in me.
For JC, who loves me and keeps me on the path
To Jessie, Sarah, Marie, and
for being the best editing team ever.
To Josh and Buzz . . .
this is for you.
“Hey Manny, hear the one about the pig, the priest, and the chicken?”
Detective Manny Williams rolled his eyes and turned toward Sophie Lee, his partner. She was slouched in her chair, looking at the screen of her laptop, wearing that smartass look she wore when she was bored. The diminutive, Chinese
cop reminded him of his fifteen
year-old daughter when she moped around the house complaining there was nothing to do. Manny would point out
her room needed cleaning, but apparently that wasn’t something
Sophie, I haven’t. And would it matter?”
“Nope. I’m going to tell you anyway.”
“Am I going to laugh?”
“Don’t know. I just need to tell it.”
“How are you coming on that report?”
“Don’t change the subject. You’re not gettin’ out of it that easy. Besides, I don’t do B&E reports.”
“You do now; at least until someone in our fair city decides murder is their God-given right.”
“Whatever.” Sophie sighed.
Manny knew how she felt.
Once you worked homicide, nothing else came close
. Some people thought
were a little crazy
hell maybe that was true, but t
here was no substitute for putting a
not to mention
thrill of the
It was like comparing Boone’s Farm to Dom
. . .
and this busywork
of writing and filing reports
was driving them both insane.
Maybe he should consider that other offer. The pay was way better and there was no shortage of work with the
FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.
He was pretty sure they didn’t do B&E paperwork either.
But would it take him away from his family even more?
“Okay. Tell me.”
tell you what?”
“Tell me about the pig, the priest, and the chicken.”
“I don’t think you’d get it. You’re all blue-eyed and
, not Chinese.”
“Remind me to kick your ass later.”
“Yeah, like I’m going to do that. I just live for having my butt kicked.”
“No problem. I’ll remember on my own.”
“At your age?
. I’m safe.”
“Oh, I won’t forget. Trust me.”
“It’s because men can’t get me off their minds, isn’t it? Admit it.”
Sophie winked and blew him a kiss.
Manny caught it
put it in his pocket
and winked back. It was amazingly good to see her bouncing back to her former self. The whole thing on the cruise ship three months ago had affected them all, maybe for a lifetime. Sophie had not only lost a good friend in
lost an ex-lover as well.
just happened to be with Liz’s husband Lynn. That kind of guilt and remorse would put anyone in a different place.
knew about those different places.
The first two months back had been tough, but she was reverting back to her old persona, even though that meant she was going to be a pain in the ass from
. Some types of pain are just worth it.
Argyle. He was still out there, and that fact made Manny more than a little nervous. The
had left bodies strewn all over the Caribbean and
disappeared after they had tracked him from Aruba to New York.
newfound friend, Special Agent Josh Corner, claimed the FBI had
radar and was monitoring
every known contact and source
was clever, wealthy, and worse, the most ruthless killer Manny had ever encountered. Not a good combination.
hat wasn’t all. Argyle had put them all on notice that the books weren’t balanced, and there were more paybacks coming to the Lansing law enforcement family. It was a promise that triggered some sleepless nights
and added more fuel to
wanted no more of the pain and loss he’d suffered on the
The time was coming when they would meet again. Argyle seemingly controlled when that encounter would happen. Manny would try to be ready.
Meanwhile, there had been extra security put into place surrounding the families involved in the cruise ship incidents
and they were doing all they could. He hoped it was enough.
right, I’m done with this report. Where do I stick it
” panned Sophie.
“You can’t figure that out? I’m going to have to
The phone on Manny’s desk rang. He looked at the number and quickly snatched the headset fr
om its cradle. “Williams here.”
hen hung up without speaking. He stood, ran his hand through his hair
(an old nervous habit from his teen years)
tightened his shoulder holster, and motioned to Sophie. “No more reports for you
got a dead parolee
and it ain’t pretty. Let’s go.”
Eric Hayes knew
he wasn’t alone in the dark. The duct tape over his mouth and eyes proved to be efficient enough, but he heard his captor. Worse, his captor heard him. He knew the large man was staring at him from the other side of the small table situated in the middle of the suite on the ship’s eleventh deck. Eric was sure
had taken great pleasure in his attempt to demand and even coerce his freedom. Eric’s angry
had evolved to desperate
hen, as harsh reality showed its aberrant face, terror-stricken sobs had forced him to hold hands with helplessness. Lastly came a
acceptance that was somehow more terrifying than the act of being bound in a chair at the whim of a maniacal stranger
smothered by the gagging effects of the tape.
The strong man doubling as his jailer had planned
his attack well.
Eric never could resist a story, or the thought of one, and the mysterious note had assured him that if he came to this stateroom at the proper time, he would be part of
a blockbuster story
that would make him famous
more than famous, a household name
. He didn’t know what that meant
for sure, but the
docked in St. Thomas for the day
how could he ignore a guarantee like that? It was like promising dope to a junkie, and he had chased the promise like
One giant hand over his face, a rag immersed in chloroform
, instant prisoner.
My God, he was still so naïve.
Eric, for the hundredth time, speculated
the purpose, and maybe more importantly, the reason
bound in this room.
have anything to do with his career as a small-town reporter for the
? He would be a liar
any reporter would
said he didn’t worry about writing something, somewhere down the line
that would offend someone to the point of repercussion. The public was as fickle as any weather forecast, and even in the land of the free, you had to watch your ass.