The Second Mouse

 

Patrick J. Garret was the leader.  He was the only one who went to college, and was the only one not living pay check to pay check.  He was the best shot.  Pat Garret had the finest wife, the perfect son and a dog named, Sparky.  His house was half paid for, but the Viper and the Harley Knucklehead in the garage were his free and clear.  His wife made eighty five grand a year teaching math to high school students—because she had a master’s degree and the law said so.  Something to do with special ed.  Anyway, Pat was the leader.

Clint Weststeel was the muscle.  Clint rented a two bedroom house in an undesirable location and had twenty thousand dollars in gym equipment in the garage.  His 1985 Camaro IROC sat outside, but it was well cared for.  The lawn, the bushes, the dishes in the sink, the dust bunnies, the carpet stains and the smell proved he wasn’t so bothered caring for much else besides his gym and car.  Clint didn’t give a fuck.  He was single but never without some hot ass up in the crib.  He had a tattoo of a naked lady on his back.

Chuck Marris was the facilitator.  His job was to do shit, and not ask questions.  He could work computers and telecommunications devices like a latter day wizard, and had the most important real job of all.  But, just like Clint, he needed money desperately because he bet like an idiot and couldn’t stop.  Clint was broke from gambling and blowing money on parties and loose women.

What they really had in common, though, was that they were the last three officers hired by the Ann Arbor Municipal Police Officers, and they were probably going to be laid off next year.  Revenues and crime was down in Ann Arbor.  Cuts were coming, and those liberal idiots planned on cutting cops rather than teachers.

“We need a crime wave,” declared Pat after the third shot of Jack had been poured. “That is the only thing which will save our jobs.”

Clint and Chuck nodded in agreement.  “If that is what you say,” replied Clint drolly.  “I’m down for that.”

Chuck took in a deep breath.  No way he was going to disagree now.  “Let’s do this thing.”

And they did.

As the afternoon shift officer dispatcher Chuck was in a unique position to know the current whereabouts of every active law enforcement unit in the city and county.  He was the key.  Clint or Pat would purposely set off some alarm and then Chuck would dispatch one or both of them to the scene.  Chuck was so deep in the grid he could track the residents by their cell phones and knew where they were at all times.  The second guy loaded up his trunk.

Clint drove Adam 13.  Pat drove Adam 7.  Both worked the afternoon shift, and due to cutbacks, always drove alone in their patrol cars.  It was perfect.  Adjusting their days off wasn’t much of a problem.  The jumping off point for the plan came together quickly and this night the first caper would be executed.  They pulled it off perfectly.

At approximately 9:55 PM, Chuck received a 911 call from a burglar alarm in Winston Hills, the ritzy neighborhood where all the college professors lived.  Chuck dispatched Adam 13, who arrived promptly and reported a burglary.  Chuck noted as much in the log, and turned off the alarm—as required by the SOP manual at his elbow.  Adam 7 then snuck back and took everything small and valuable.  Detectives would be assigned the next morning to investigate.  They would find a dog spray painted fluorescent green and most of the contents gone.

“Because it would get PETA involved,” pleaded Clint later.  “And, think about it, Pat. It is free publicity!”

“Okay,” said Pat, finally caving in.  “But let’s not make a habit of it.”

And they didn’t.

The only place to put this stuff was in something big, and Pat’s father had a barn out on Joy Road where he used to store his semi-truck and trailer until he sold it and retired a few years back.  The old man went to Florida with mom and never came back.  There was lots of room in that barn.  They would need it.

 

For effect, they hit the mayor’s neighbor’s house when they went to Chicago for the fourth of July.  They found eighty-seven thousand dollars in cash, a collection of vintage shotguns, and at least ten ounces of gold in the jewelry box.  After that they hit three of the seven city council member’s homes, a car dealership, and the most expensive men’s store in town.  Shuffling around the barn organizing the stolen goods Clint said, “Fuck!  We should take all this shit over to Vinnie the Fence.”

But they did not do that.  Pat agreed that they could make a lot of money, but he also believed, push comes to shove, truth be told, Vinnie would drop a dime on them faster than a beaver gives a blowjob if shit got tight.  No one could argue with that.  However, this problem was not insurmountable.  They just needed an intermediary.  Pat knew just the guy.

Bear Huggins was a black guy, and was the first guy Pat ever arrested, and let go.  Bear never did any crime of a violent or dangerous nature.  Bear knew that as long as he adhered to his personal criminal code he would never spend but a few hours in the jailhouse.  It was over crowded and they only retained the serious fuck ups nowadays.  Bear took full advantage.

“All I gotta do is drive the truck to Vinnie’s place, and take the money and drive back?” asked Bear.

“Yes,” answered Pat.

“I’ll do it,” declared Bear.

And he did.  This is what he told Vinnie the first time:  “Sir, I got me a truck load a stole shit here, and you can buy it but don’t rip me off.  If you do I will let it pass this time, and never come back.  And, I am here to tell you, they is a lot more shit to bring up in here.  Deal?”

“Deal”, replied Vinnie the Fence.  He was a short, pudgy type with a cheap toupee and nicotine stained teeth.  He wore wife beaters and pin striped pants and suspenders.  It took him a minute or two to inspect the contents of the truck before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a thick roll of cash.  Vinnie peeled off a sizable stack then handed it to Bear.

“That’s five grand.”

Bear nodded and got in the truck and drove off.  “Five grand,” he whispered.  “Just what Officer Pat told me it would be.”

Bear made several more trips to Vinnie that week because of the pent up inventory problem.  After the final load was gone, Bear came back and handed Pat a wad of cash and said, “That about do it.”  Pat handed Bear ten hundred dollar bills.  “Remember, Bear.  That cash is safe as long as no one knows where it came from.”  The advice was totally unnecessary.

The three amigos were sure to mix some ordinary vandalism and hate crime in with the for profit crime.   Pat called it mis-information crime, and they had a ball doing it.  Chuck was especially pleased because Pat let him partake in the vandalism stuff.  No one could spray a Swastika like Chuck, and was even the one who came up with the idea to drop nails on the expressway before morning traffic.  Things were going along swimmingly on the rascal side of the plan.

Yet, the mayor and city council seemed bent on laying-off cops.  They made speeches about not being intimidated by the criminal element, and advocated for citizens groups and volunteer patrols.  Hell, some idiot has actually managed to get corporate sponsorship for his grassroots anti-crime initiative which was just actually flash lights and walkie-talkies.  Just last week Clint had to knock one of those goofs out when he surprised him bent over a basement window with a crowbar.  Shit was flat getting out of hand.

Plus, there was no way to track these idiots because they were not on any grid Chuck could hack.  You couldn’t follow their radio traffic because they never shut up and there was just too much jabbering about stupid shit.  Pat decided it was time to re-tool.

And they did.

Clint made sure to wear a bullet proof vest whenever he entered a house.  He know your average gun toting, scared shitless, homeowner could panic and get off a lucky shot.  But, tonight his mission was a bit more radicalized.  It seemed like a stupid idea at first, but it made more and more sense when Pat explained it to him for the tenth time.  Clint heard a creak in a floorboard someplace and froze in his tracks.  Sure enough, there was John Q. Citizen creeping down the hall with a golf club in his hand.  Clint waited until John Q. was in the Living Room before he made his move.

“Hey Asshole!” he shouted.

Asshole immediately swung the golf club, a seven iron, in the direction of the voice and shit his pants at the same time.  The club head connected with the lamp shade and sent it into the mirror above the fireplace, which shattered into a billion pieces raining in the air like crystal sleet.  John Q. realized that he had let go of that seven iron.  He looked at his empty hands for the longest, and then took notice of the black clad brute pointing that very large pistol.

“Please don’t shoot me!” cried John Q.

But the black clad brute did just that.  Right in the foot.  The pistol was silenced and all John Q. heard was a metallic click immediately followed by searing pain like he had never known in his right foot.  John Q. dropped to the floor like a box of rocks, clutching his foot, screaming out in pain.  Black clad brute yanked his arm until he could grab the Rolex from his wrist.  Just about then John Q. passed out.  Clint had to make it look like a real robbery.

And that was all John Q. told the detectives the next day.

The day after that, the cops arrived at John Q.’s neighbor’s house with a search warrant and a SWAT team.  You wouldn’t think the cops could get a search warrant for a private residence based on a single anonymous tip, but there you have it.  They found boots that matched the prints in John Q’s kitchen, damp socks in those boots, a pair of black gloves, as well.  “Yes, those are all mine,” admitted John Q’s neighbor.  And then they found the gun.  “I’ve never seen that before in my life!” exclaimed the neighbor.  They found what they deemed an excessive amount of pornography on his computer, and took that, too.

You have the right to remain silent.

Adam seven made the arrest.

Then, all of a sudden, Bear was dropping off a load at Vinnie’s when some dudes in a Cadillac pulled in and tried to take Vinnie for a ride.  Bear did something stupid that day.  Perhaps the stupidest thing he had ever did.  But, Vinnie had treated Bear well and he figured he owed it to him.  Bear kept a pair of Glock nine millimeters under the seat of that truck, and Bear could shoot.  He learned that shit in Iraq number one.  Anyway.  Pop! Pop! Pop! And those three dudes were whacked dead and Bear was blowing the smoke off his barrels.

“I thought you never carried guns?” remarked a gracious but stunned Vinnie the Fence.

“I don’t,” replied Bear with a smirk.  “Truck carry ‘em.”

Moe, Larry and Curly were welded into propane tanks and sent to Vinnie’s cousin in Philly.  Vinnie peeled off a fist full of hundreds for Bear.  “I owe you my life!”

“Not yet you don’t,” replied Bear as he snatched those bills.  “That day sure to come.”

What the fuck, Pat decided, they could hit a dope house.  The instant cash was irresistible.   However, there was big opportunity in fuck-up-ability so it had to be planned and executed with extreme attention to detail and precision timing.  In the end, once they had identified a likely target, they ran in with shotguns and took everything without so much as a cuss word.  Almost two hundred thousand dollars in cash and another in product—which Vinnie immediately turned into cash.

But still, the city council was not budging, and it was all because this one asshole had apprehended some stupid punk with a pistol and somebody’s flat screen TV.  Citizen arrest.  The dude got a citation from the Mayor and was on the cover of the paper.  Dickhead motherfucker, thought Pat, but he’s untouchable.  There were smaller fish to fry.

And then one day, the unthinkable happened.  Clint was called into the executive conference room where sat a dozen goofs in suits with laptops and cell phones blazing.  Muscular gloots is the only thing that stopped him from shitting his pants.  This could not be good.

But then it was good.  Clint had been handpicked to participate in an inter-agency task force being built to thwart the growing crime wave.  After this group of idiots explained the situation and the job to Clint, they asked him if he would take it.  They told him it was high risk, low reward, would ruin his family life if he had one, and there was limited money in the budget.

“You are asking me to go undercover as a general criminal type? Is that what you are asking me to do?  I just want to be sure on this.”

They all nodded their heads.  Finally, the Chief said, “Son, we feel you have the best profile for this assignment. Can you make us proud?”

“I’ll do it on one condition,” replied Clint.  “I want Adam seven to be my partner.”

When all was agreed Clint walked to the door and stopped there.  “You know.  This is going to get worse before it gets better.”  And then he was gone.

And then it did.

By now, of course, the three amigos had accumulated so much booty they could retire in Mexico or some other cheap place.  The trouble was stealing had got good to them.  It wasn’t even about the money any more.  It was the principle.  Clint wanted to pop a teacher, but Pat explained how that would only give them a martyr.  That is how Clint got to paint a few more dogs with fluorescent paint.  PETA was throwing a certifiable apeshit over this.

But, by some miracle Clint and Pat were making amazing progress in the war on crime and reporting it to their superiors with PowerPoint presentations became their weekly celebration.  Every single person they arrested had stolen merchandize someplace they were responsible for.  Crime in their operational zone virtually disappeared when they were active in an area.  Clint and Pat were promoted to detectives in no time at all and the future was bright.  Except for Chuck.  His job was privatized and he was shit out of luck.

“What are we going to do now?” asked Clint, almost to no one.

“We can’t replace Chuck,” lamented Pat.

“Suck my dick you frog-faced pin heads.  Anything I could do at work I can do at home. I don’t need no doctor!”

Humble Pie.

The three dead guys Bear shot belonged originally to this guy who had this stuff that was illegal and moved best fast and Vinnie didn’t know his nephew was dabbling in.  And that is how the whole thing got started in the first place. The point is, sooner or later someone was going to come looking for those three guys.  Someone from Philly.  It was stupid really, because the dead guys were in Philly already.  Duh.  But, that isn’t how the story goes.  Someone from Philly was Jack Butcher and he didn’t give a fuck either.  Jack took his time.  He never moved without a reason, and never stopped once he started.  Jack was a killing machine.

Bear shot Jack in the face as he held his knife tightly against Vinnie’s fat throat.  The bullet entered Jack’s open mouth and separated his spine from his brain before any further orders could be issued.  Jack was also shipped to Philly in a propane tank.  Vinnie gave Bear fifty thousand dollars.

The great Armored Truck robbery happened totally by accident and involved close to ten million dollars in cash.  Adam 13 was the first on the scene and found three shot dead guards and dynamite blown doors on the back of the truck.  He looked a bit closer and found two dead robbers who were riddled with shrapnel obviously from more explosion than they expected.  Clint looked around again.  There were no traffic cameras and this area was mostly industrial parking and warehouses.  No one was around.  Why was this truck in this area to begin with?  Then Clint saw the bags of money and wondered no more.  He loaded it all into the trunk of his Camaro, fired his pistol several times making sure to hit stuff, and then started screaming over his radio for assistance.  “Men down!” he hollered.  And then he took off pretending to chase the guy with the guy with the money in a late model sedan, blue, maybe green. Armed and dangerous.  Adam 7 responded first, but even with two undercover muscle cars in pursuit, the late model sedan escaped.

None of the money was ever recovered.

But still, the lay-offs were coming.  The city council didn’t budge.  The Mayor went on vacation.  With the deadline just a few short weeks away, the three amigos were desperate for a move.  As usual, Pat made a decision.  They would have to shoot a cop.  After all, if shooting a teacher would make it a martyr, and vice versa a policeman.  It made perfect sense.  You’ll never guess who they choose to shoot.

It was Chuck.

He was perfect.  He was a laid off cop.  He had an exemplary record, and, he would let them do it.  The plan worked flawlessly.  Pat accosted an old lady who was power walking through the ritzy neighborhood, and Chuck happened along and tried to render assistance to the old lady who Pat had socked in the eye.   And then Pat shot Chuck in the outside, fleshy part of his thigh.  It bled a lot, but wouldn’t do a terrible amount of damage.  Of course, Pat then splits and arrives minutes later as Adam 7.  Adam 13 tipped off the TV news guys.  In no time flat Chuck was a hero who needed his job back.

But, that shit didn’t work either.  Some private alarm company offered him a mid-night shift dispatcher job, but Chuck told them to get fucked.  He wasn’t ready to be just any chair ridden rent-a-cop.  The city didn’t budge.

The third hit man from Philly was a woman who seduced men and then killed them.  This didn’t work either as Vinnie didn’t believe it and Bear had seen that shit before.  He shot her in each eye ball once.  Vinnie gave him fifty thousand more dollars.  But, Vinnie made a mistake and left his safe open when he paid Bear.  The thought never crossed his mind, which is what Bear blew off with two nine millimeter slugs at point blank range.  No one knows why Bear suddenly decided to become a violent criminal, but he did.

This created a good bit of havoc.  Bear did not ship the bodies away in welded propane tanks.  He left them were they fell.  He took the point seven million and went home.  Oh, and he set the entire place on fire before he left.  The fireman couldn’t get it out in time.

Forensics being what it is today, the fire left enough to identify who the dead were, and that raised quite a stir.  What was a Mafia hit lady doing in Ann Arbor.  They found her bags at a hotel by the airport.  They were filled with guns, ammo and dildos.  The FBI was called.

“Time to retire,” Pat announced.  “The FBI is just stupid enough to catch us.”

“Oh well,” replied Clint.  “It was good while it lasted.”

“We have a problem,” declared Chuck.  “Bear killed the hit girl and Vinnie.  I recorded it.”

Everyone was stunned.  Bear Huggins never used guns.  Pat asked Chuck if he was sure, and Chuck was more than sure.  He used his smart phone to show them the video.  “I put the cameras up a while ago, just in case,” Chuck explained.  “I never paid them much attention to them before because nothing ever happened.”

“Well, something has happened now,” said Pat.

“What the fuck?” asked Clint.  “We need to go see Bear.”

And that is what they did.

Bear didn’t deny a thing.  He even told them about the other shootings and where the bodies usually went and how.  “Just protecting my investment,” he added.  There was a Glock in his waist band.

“The fact is, Bear, that fire didn’t destroy enough.  There was enough left in the ashes to identify where a good amount of that stuff came from, which means it is evidence to hundreds of felonies.  Felonies, Bear, the big fucking F!”

“Plus,” Clint added, “They got an easy arson case, they got your foot tracks, your gun shells and the slugs from the bodies.”

“All that points back to us, Bear. Can you feel me?” asked Pat.

Bear thumbed he handle of his Glock.  “So, what you gonna do?”

Pat was actually reaching for a cigarette, but Bear could not have known that.  He really didn’t know Pat all that well to begin with.  He didn’t even know the guy smoked.  So Bear drew fast and fired.  He put one right between Pat’s shocked eyes and blew brain matter all over Clint and Chuck.  Clint, however, was nonplussed and had the Smith & Wesson out if its ankle holster and into his hand before Bear could adjust his line of fire.  Clint fired until the revolver was empty.  Bear’s head and chest were literally blown to pieces and the whole of his living room wall was done in sociopath Picasso.  Clint raised up slowly, and started reaching for the speed-loader on his belt.  He caught movement out of the side of his eye and turned just in time to see Chuck fire.  The slug hit him square in the forehead and left no doubt as to whether or not Clint lived.  Hollow points at close range tend to do just that.

Chuck took only a few minutes to find the money Bear pulled out of Vinnie’s safe.  He packed it into a pillow case.  With one last glance at Bear and Clint and Pat, Chuck blew out the pilot light, turned on all the burners and left a burning candle in the next room.  He shut all the windows and doors and took “the” truck to a wrecking yard and sold it for scrap.  A taxi took him home where he spent the next three days hacking the accounts of Clint and Pat.  When they were empty, Chuck took off for his sexcation in Southeast Asia.

Ten days later Chuck was found dead in an alley behind some whore house in Singapore.  Ten feet from his body one of his assailants lay with a Parker Pen stuck in his jugular.  They found Chuck without his watch, rings, wallet and cell phone.  The detective figured a second guy came around and scavenged the loose booty, or at least, that is how he reported it.  Shaking his head the detective murmured:  The second mouse always gets the cheese.