“Okay Steve let’s talk about when you were Patrolman Perry. Perry on the beat! Perry the Patrolman!!” Neal says as he laughs.


“You know Neal if I had a dime for every time I have heard that I would be a rich man. And why do they want to hear about that? I mean it was boring and uninteresting….” Steve replies.


“Steve why is it when anybody wants to talk about you and your police career you deem it too boring and uninteresting?”


“Well I don’t know Neal maybe because it is boring and uninteresting….” Steve says.


“Oh my god!!! Don’t tell me you’re still upset about that….?” Neal says.


“Maybe….just a little.” Steve says.


“Steve you have to get over it man and what are you doing?” Neal asks.


“Oh I have gum on the bottom of my shoe! You know how much I hate that! I mean when I walk it sticks to everything and then I track it into the car and then into the apartment and from there it picks up all sorts of crap!!! Cat hair and lint….”




“You know I bet I stepped on it down there at the newsstand where you just had to go to get the latest issue of Playboy….”


“Steve….” Neal says again.


“It is just so disgusting!!! So I am trying to get it off of the bottom of my shoe and you know I just might have to go down there and arrest that guy for littering…..hey!”


The next sound heard is a slight struggle and a window opening and closing.


“Hey you bozo you just threw my shoe out of the window!!” Steve yells.


“You can retrieve it later!!! Actually I think you should tell them about the first time you….” Neal starts to say.


“You mean back when I was 15?!” Steve says.


“No! You big dummy! Not that first time!!! Now that would probably be boring and uninteresting….” Neal says


“It wasn’t to her!” Steve says.


“Anyway….” Neal says.


“Yeah anyway….” Steve says.


“I was going to say that you should tell them about the first time you and I solved our first case....”


“….You mean as Detectives?” Steve asks.


“No you big dummy as mailmen!!! Yes as Detectives!!! Stay with me here Steve, focus man focus!!!”


“Well I can’t very well do that now can I while I am wearing only one shoe!!!!!”


Neal takes a deep breath. “Then go downstairs and get it.”


“Are you kidding!!! Walk out there wearing only one shoe? On those nasty, dirty floors! Do you want me to catch….hey!!!!!!”


The next sound heard is another slight struggle and a window opening and closing.


“Now you have a matching set!!!” Neal says.


“You’re mean!!! Throwing both of my shoes out of the window!!!!” Steve says. “What….what if somebody walks by and picks them up!! They were almost new!!!!”


“What did I tell you about stuttering?” Neal asks.


“I am not sexually frustrated!” Steve protests.


“Don’t worry about your shoes, your damn feet are so small nobody else can wear them anyway! Let’s do this!!! Think back to our very first case, you remember the girl you pulled out of the water.”


“Oh yeah….” Steve says.


“And look I found the file on it….” Neal says.


“After all these years she still sends us Christmas cards….” Steve says.


“Yeah people like her makes this job worthwhile you know….” Neal says.


“Who wrote this report? It looks like a raccoon wrote it!!! It is just awful….!” Steve says.


“You wrote it.” Neal points out.


“Oh….” Steve says.


“Yeah after that one is when you finally got your typewriter.” Neal says.


“Wow reading this now just brings it all back, god that water was cold and compared now to some of the cases we have had this one was a cake walk….Neal you remember….we were leaving that restaurant….”








Finally after two years of waiting Steve had finally made Detective and now it had been a week. Just a week that they had become partners, Steve with his desk across from Neal’s, all set up with everything that he needs, except a typewriter. For some strange reason there was a shortage and it was on backorder but luckily it had been a slow first week. The streets and the City had been quiet and Neal told Steve don’t be fooled and don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because it wont always be quiet like this. But this quiet week enabled Neal to take Steve around and get his contacts and the people that he dealt with on a daily basis used to seeing Steve and make them aware that he is his new partner and that they can trust Steve just as much as they can trust him. Steve thought he had met some characters when he was walking a beat but now the people that Neal had introduced him to have beaten them all. But no one had made a bigger impression than the person that Neal had taken Steve to the day before.


It was the middle of the afternoon and Neal had pulled up in the back of a place called “ Ruby’s Place” and Steve soon found out that it was a club, the kind of club where the girls were called ‘go-go dancers’ and they danced in cages or on stages or in some cases on tables, wearing either very little or costumes but right now the place was empty, except for the cleaning people and a very, beautiful woman behind the bar holding a clipboard taking inventory.


“Busy night last night Ruby?” Neal asks as they walk up to the bar.


When she turns she smiles at Neal holding the clipboard to her chest and she is beautiful, in every sense of the word. She isn’t dressed very fancy now but last night and every night she is dressed to the nines. Now she is wearing short shorts and a long sleeved blouse with the sleeves rolled up made out of some gauzy material with a bra underneath. Her long dark blonde hair is pulled back and there is just a touch of dirt on her nose and she is wearing flats, otherwise she might have been taller than both of them.


“For the middle of the week, Detective, it wasn’t bad.” She said with a pronounced Southern accent. “Whose your friend?”


Neal puts his arm around Steve’s neck and he draws him closer. “This Ruby is my new partner Steve or Detective Perry.”


Ruby comes closer to Steve and she pinches his cheek and immediately Steve blushes. “My sugar pie are you sure that you’re old enough to be a Detective? You look like you’re all of 14.”


“I’m….I’m older than I look.” Steve finally manages to say as he looks down at the floor.


“He’s cute Neal and does he always blush like that?” She asks as she puts her arm around Neal and Neal returns the favor.


“He’s still a little shy, this is his first week as a Detective. Steve this is the Lady with all the info. If it happened on the street, or it’s about to chances on Ruby will know about it. She has been good to me for years.” Neal says as he kisses her on the forehead.


“Way back when I wouldn’t be caught dead saying that I like the fuzz but I like Neal, he and I go way back, don’t we sugar?” Ruby says as she looks at Neal and she smiles.


“Yeah we do and Steve here is also a good cop, you can trust him Ruby.”


“Do you trust him Neal?” Ruby asks.


Neal looks at Steve. “With my life….”


Steve just smiles.


“Then I will trust him too. Now how would you boys like some ice tea?”


After the ice tea and some sandwiches they go back out to the Charger and they get a few blocks down the street before Steve talks.


“Neal, you know man, if I’m out of line you can just always tell me to….”


“You want to know about Ruby?” Neal asks as he looks over at Steve.


“Yeah…..I sense you have had this question before? Am I right?”


Neal nods his head. “Ruby and I we are close and there were a couple, oh hell, maybe even three times where we almost crossed that line but for whatever reason we didn’t….my badge or her conscience….” Neal shrugs. “….we didn’t. I met her back when I was a rookie cop, I arrested her, not once but twice.”


“For what?” Steve asks.


“For the oldest profession known to man my friend….” Neal says.


“Wow! She was a….?”


“Actually she was a Madam and she was running a brothel, both times. She has a lot of business savvy, she is a very, very smart woman. That club that she has now is a legit business and it seems to be doing very well. I went by there last night and I was going to stop in and see her but there wasn’t a parking space to be had for miles.”


“So….she’s a reliable informant?” Steve asks.


“Her word is golden. She has never, ever steered me wrong. She doesn’t like trouble or troublemakers in her club and the girls that work there she treats well. She has had her share of problems, a couple of crazy ex-husbands, and if she picks up on any mayhem going down she will let us know. I know it seems odd but she wants to help, give back something and especially if it has to do with kids or women, she hates bullies.”


“But she really, really, likes you Neal.” Steve says as he punches him in the arm.


Neal smiles as he nods his head. “I really, really like her too.”


“And someday you two might even get together, romantically, I mean.” Steve says as he smiles.


“One never knows does one?” Neal says. “Let’s go and check out the rest of our district partner.“


“Yeah partner let’s….”



The rest of their shift and the rest of their district was quiet and that night at the end of their shift they stopped for a late dinner at a Chinese restaurant.


“I can’t believe you said to that girl ‘Hi my name is Steve and I’m a cop, wanna see my gun?’ “


Steve laughs. “It broke the ice didn’t it?”


“Yeah it did.” Neal says as they walk out to the car and just as they open the car doors they hear a high pitch scream of a woman pierce the night.


Out of instinct they both reach under their jackets for their guns.


“Neal look over there!” Steve says as he points in the direction of the bridge which is nearby and silhouetted by the lights from the city were two figures struggling, one bigger and stronger than the other and as they watched they heard the woman scream again and this time the man who was with her shoved her off the bridge.

                “I’ll get him….” Neal says as he jumps in the car and as he starts it and takes off after him Steve runs towards the water. Steve didn’t know for certain how high that bridge was but whatever height it was, it was too high and at this time of year that water was frigid. Steve stripped off his jacket and his gun and his shoes then he dove into the water.


Neal must have drove two blocks trying to find him but the guy was so much smoke so Neal called in for an ambulance then he drove back to the bridge and when he got there the headlights illuminated Steve giving the woman he had fished out of the water CPR. Neal grabbed a blanket from the trunk of the car and by the time he got over to them Steve had the girl on her side coughing up water from the bay.


“How is she?” Neal asked as he handed Steve the blanket.


“Thanks, she’s breathing. I don’t know if anything is broken.” Steve replies as he places the blanket over her.


“I called the ambulance….she’s just a kid.” Neal says.


“Yeah and not any bigger than a minute this one. Did you catch him?”


“No he’s in the wind. Where’s your jacket?” Neal asks.


“Over there.”


Neal retrieves Steve’s gun, jacket and shoes and by then they could hear the ambulance approaching. Neal helps Steve put his jacket on.


When the ambulance arrived they supervised her being put on the gurney and then in the ambulance.


“You go with her and when you get there have them check you out too. I’ll see if I can find a purse or anything like that.” Neal says. “I’ll meet up with you later.”






Neal found Steve cooling his heels in the hallway outside the examination room draped in a big, warm blanket and drinking a hot chocolate.


“No I.D. huh?” Steve asked as he sees Neal walking up to him.


Neal shakes his head. “Nothing. No purse. On the way over I called in her description to R&I. They’ll put it in their computers and see what it spits out. How’s is she?”


“Oh the doc said she was lucky, she just has a concussion. When she fell into the water she must have turned just right otherwise hitting that water would have snapped her neck like a twig. The doc found handprints on her neck, she’ll be out for the rest of the night and probably into the next day too. He’ll call when she wakes up.”


“Tell you what I’ll take you home and you take a hot shower and get into some dry clothes and tomorrow we’ll start fresh on this. It might take R&I that long to get some info on her.”


“Good idea. I am cold through to my bones. Brrrrr!!!!”







Minnesota Cap?” Steve says as he looked at the file from R&I.


Neal whistles. “She is a long way from home.”


“You know what they say about California boys?” The Captain replies.


Neal and Steve look at one another then back at the Captain. “Everybody is from someplace else.” The Captain says.


“That’s true.” Steve says. “Her family filed a missing person report about 5 months ago now.”


The phone rings at Steve’s desk and Neal answers it. “Detective Schon. She did? Thanks doc we will be right over.” Neal hangs up the phone.


“Let me guess….” Steve says.


“Yeah. Let’s see if she will talk to us.” Neal says.






Once they arrive at the hospital the doctor thought it would be best if only one of them went in and since Steve had the initial contact with her he went in to talk to her. She was a little thing and that big, white hospital bed just made her even smaller.


“Hi Carrie I’m with the Oceanview Police.” Steve shows her his badge. “Do you feel like talking to me?”


“You….you don’t look like a cop.” She says slowly.


Steve smiles at her. “I’m a Detective, call me Steve.”


“How….how do you know my name?”


“Your family filed a missing person report on you and I also know that you are a long way from home. Minnesota right?”


She nods her head.


“Carrie who was that man last night? The one that tried to kill you? An old boyfriend?” Steve asks as she turns her head towards the window. “An ex-husband maybe? Who was he Carrie? Why did he want you….dead? Can you identify him?” Steve leans in closer to her. “I fished you out of that Bay and to me that says you owe me an explanation….”


She turns on her side. “I….I don’t want to talk to you.”


Steve takes one of his cards out of his pocket and he puts it on the bedside table. “When and if you change your mind….call me. The number’s on the card.”


When he leaves her room he runs into Neal out in the hall.


“Well?” Neal asks.


“Nothing. Absolutely nothing. She doesn’t want to talk to me. What now?”


“Let’s go and see Ruby….”






It was all of 10:30 in the morning but for some people, people who worked the night shift or did other things at night instead of sleep, it was early and Ruby was one of those people. Most nights because of the nature of her business she didn’t get to bed until 3 or sometimes 4 in the morning but if it was Neal she didn’t mind what time he showed up. Ruby had a huge, rambling apartment built over the club and it was soundproof to the ninth degree so she had her privacy from the club downstairs and a private entrance which Neal was using right now and Steve decided to let Neal go this one alone.


“Well morning sugar.” Ruby says as she opens the door and lets him in.


“Ruby I know it’s early for you….” Neal says.


“Now Neal honey you know you are welcomed here anytime, day or night. Coffee?”


“The only time I get good coffee is when I come here….” Neal says. “And no matter what time I show up you are always beautiful….”


“And you are always a flatter….” Ruby says as she kisses him. “I have missed you lately.”


“I know I have missed you too but work keeps me away.” Neal says as he puts his arms around her.


“Speaking of that where is your partner?” Ruby asks.


“Waiting out in the car. He has good instincts; he sensed that I wanted to come up here alone.”


“So this visit is….” Ruby says.


“Business I’m afraid….” Neal says as he brushes some hair from her eyes.


“Maybe you can come back later tonight and have a late dinner. You know sugar I don’t have to be down there every minute this place practically runs herself.”


“I would like that but for now reach into my pocket there’s a picture in there I want you to look at.”


Ruby reaches into Neal’s pocket and she pulls out a picture. “She is very pretty and very young. Who is she?”


“Her name is Carrie Forrester and she is from Minnesota.”


“My, my Minnesota. How you ever going to keep them down on the farm?”


Neal laughs. “Exactly. Last night Steve and I witnessed her being assaulted by some guy on the Bay Bridge and then he shoved her off of it….”


Ruby looks at him. “She isn’t….?”

                “No but she would have been if Steve hadn’t pulled her out of the drink. Steve talked to her but she is very tight lipped we thought that you might know something, anything….”


“Oh my stars I was just hoping against hope that the rumors I was hearing were just that rumors….but now….”


“Go on Ruby….”



Steve was nothing this morning but wise and his still very young Detective instincts told him, no they screamed at him to stay downstairs in the car and wait so he did. He grabbed a newspaper from the machine on the sidewalk and he was just sliding over into the driver’s seat and starting the car to go get a cup of coffee and a Danish when there was a loud knock on the passenger side window and when Steve looked over there he saw a very, pretty young lady, dressed in one of those short robes and high heel shoes. Long curly light brown hair cascading over one shoulder and holding a rolled up newspaper in one hand. Steve leaned over and he rolled down the window.


“Yeah?” Steve asks.


“What are you doing in Neal’s car? Get out now before I go and call the police!” She says as she points the newspaper at him.


Steve can’t help but laugh at this. “Look lady….”


“Oh you think it’s funny do you!!!”


“Look lady I’m a cop!!!”


Then she starts to laugh. “You? A cop???!!! Oh come on give me a break!!! Now get out before I go and call the real cops!”


Steve doesn’t answer he just looks at her then he turns the car off and he gets out and he walks around to the passenger side of the car and as he does so he takes his badge out of his back pocket and he shows it to her.




She snatches it out of his hand.


“Hey….!!” Steve says.


“Hey! You are a cop!!!” She looks at his picture then she looks at him.


“Detective actually and I am Neal’s partner, my name is Steve.”


She hands the badge back to him. “My name is Daisy….Daisy Fields.”


Now it’s Steve’s turn to laugh. “No it isn’t! That has to be the most made-up name I have ever heard!!!”


She stomps her foot. “That is so my name!!! My real name!!! ‘Mr. I was a teenage Detective!’”


“Okay. Where do you live?” Steve asks.


Daisy points. “Over there number 165 and I work at Ruby’s….”


“Oh so you’re a dancer I see….hey what are you reading? The Wall Street Journal?”


“You sound surprised? You don’t think dancers can read the Wall Street Journal?”


“Well no I didn’t say that….”


“You didn’t say that but that is what you meant!!!! Just so you know Mr. Junior Detective….”


“The name is Steve….”


“….Junior Detective Steve! I am working my way through school to be a CPA!!!”


“A….A CPA? Really…..I would never have guessed.” Steve says as he looks her up and down. “Tell me where do you keep your calculator?!” Steve laughs.


The next thing Steve knew she had kicked him in the shin as Neal comes down the stairs. “Ohhhhhh shit!!!!!” Steve yells as he grabs his leg.


“Hey Daisy.” Neal says to her as she flounces off to her apartment.


“Men!!!!” Then the sound of a front door being slammed very loud followed.


“I can’t take you anywhere can I?” Neal asks as Steve rubs his leg.


“She….she kicked me in the shin! I….I….should arrest her for assaulting an officer!!!”


“Calm down Cinderella what did you say to her?” Neal asks.


“Nothing!!!! Not a damn thing!” Steve says as they get in the car. “She told me that her name is Daisy….Daisy Fields! Can you believe that! Daisy….Daisy Fields!!!!” Steve laughs as he shakes his head.


“That is her name.” Neal says.


“What? No it isn’t.” Steve says.


“Yes Steve it is….her name is Daisy Fields.”


“She also told me that she is going to school….”


“Yeah to be a….” Neal says.


“….CPA.” They both say at the same time.


“Oh….oh shit!” Steve exclaims. “Hmmmmm what….what did Ruby say?”


“Well she told me something very interesting. A new trade has moved into Oceanview….”


“Which is….” Steve asks.


“White slavery….”


“What? You can’t be serious! In Oceanview?” Steve says.


Neal nods his head. “Ruby was hoping she was wrong, for that matter, I was hoping that she was wrong but she heard that a girl got away from a brothel on the East side of town last night….”

                “Well that fits we were on the East side of town last night and let’s see that girl was….”


“Carrie….” They say at the same time.


“What say we go back by the hospital and I talk to Carrie again….?” Steve says.


“Good idea partner.”






This time when Steve saw her she was sitting up in bed looking intently out of the window twisting the blanket in her hands.


“Trying to see all the way back to Minnesota?” Steve asked her as he came into the room.


“I’m still not talking to you.” Carrie says.


Steve shrugs. “That’s cool.” Steve leans up against the dresser next to the window. “I’ll talk and all you have to do is nod, okay?”


Carrie nods her head.


An hour or so later Steve emerges from Carrie’s room and he was told that Neal had gone to the Cafeteria so that is where Steve went. Steve went thru the line and he got a tray full of food and he found the table that Neal was sitting at and he joins Neal who was enjoying an apple pie Ala Mode.


“Hey….” Steve says.


“Hey yourself.” Neal answers with their standard greeting. “I couldn’t wait any longer so either she talked or you two eloped.”


Steve laughs. “Funny. We played the ‘Nod Game.’”


“Oh the ‘Nod Game’ was it and what did you find out?” Neal asks.


“Well I am afraid that Ruby was right….” Steve says as he takes the plates off of his tray and he arranges them around his place.


“White slavery?” Neal asks.


“Afraid so. Almost five months ago Carrie hitched hiked from Minnesota….”


“Hitched hiked?” Neal asks.


“Yeah I know. I’m surprised that nothing bad happened to her before now and you know it’s the typical story; she wanted to be an actress, be famous with her name up in lights, the whole cock and bull story.” Steve says.


“And the typical thing happened….”


“Well sorta, she did find some real, legit modeling gigs, lingerie, and stuff like that and things seem to be looking up that is until the photographer produced these pictures of her. He described them as ‘art shots’ and from there things get freaky.” Steve says.


“He wants money so he doesn’t go to her family with them or go public….” Neal says.


“Exactly. There might even be film and Carrie not having two nickels to rub together has to go to work for the photographer, who knows somebody, who knows somebody and of course he gets a percentage of every girl he brings in and just when the girls think they are getting close to getting their fee paid off the photographer turns up with more….stuff. It’s a vicious cycle….and now the girls have to pay off their debt to whoever bought them.”


“Very dirty but very neat….” Neal says.


Steve nods. “From what Carrie said there are a lot of girls there, from all over the country and she thinks there are a few from overseas even.” Steve says.


“All paying off a revolving charge card maxed out with debt that never ends. Did she give you the name of the goon who was on the bridge with her?” Neal asks.




Neal scratches his head. “I hope that isn’t the same Marco.”


“The same Marco as whom?” Steve asks.


“Back when I was a rookie cop I had a run-in with a huge, gorilla of a guy! I mean this guy was so big that he had his own zip code and I arrested him. Na what are the odds….!” Neal says.


“Yeah man what are the odds. She said that Marco and the other men that work there are their bodyguards…..actually I think they are more like prison guards, keeping the girls in. Carrie did say that a couple of weeks ago that a girl by the name of Peggy disappeared….one night she was there and the next….gone. She tried to get Rita to run with her but Rita was too afraid to go.”


“Rita?” Neal asks.


“A girl she met there. They became close you know.” Steve replies.


“Where was Carrie going to go?” Neal asks.


“To us and by us I mean the police. She made it as far as that Bridge. She gave me an address. 42111 Clark, she said that when you go in it looks like a legit, dining and dancing club. High class clientele, the girls are all classy and dressed well and no hanky-panky and everything looks above board but all you have to do is tell the bartender your preference and I don’t mean drink wise.”


Neal nods.


“Blonde, brunette, red head, whatever you like and they have private rooms.” Steve says.


“What is Rita?” Neal asks.


“A red head. A very, fiery redhead according to Carrie. Also according to Carrie they do a little gambling so if we go into this place we will need some fancy duds and an even fancier wallet with a big….”


Neal raises his eyebrows.


“….Bank roll….” Steve finishes.


Neal nods. “Ah….lets go over to Clark Street and see what the place looks like. There has to be a place nearby where we can scope the place out and see what we are going to be dealing with. Are you going to eat that pickle?” Neal asks.


“No I don’t like pickles.” Steve says.


“Then why did you get it?”


“For you because I knew you would ask. Let’s go….”






“You know Neal I think breaking and entering is against the law.” Steve says as he lies on the floor of the abandoned building next door to 42111 Clark holding a camera with a long, telephoto lens trained on the parking lot next door.


“Technically Steve there has to be a door first to break down, by the way, is the lens cap off?” Neal asks.


“Yes sweetheart. I’m not a novice at cameras you know….” Steve replies.


“Uh huh that is why we had a lot of pictures of your thumb, your foot and you’re….”


Steve looks at him. “Do you ever forget anything?”


“No. I inherited that from my mother. It’s like when you told me that broccoli gives you gas….”


“That was two years ago!” Steve says.


“So….have you ever seen broccoli on the table when you come over for dinner?” Neal asks.


As a way of an answer Steve sneezes twice.


“Catching a cold?” Neal asks.


“No! It’s all this dust!!” Steve says as he gestures around.


“Abandoned building décor.” Neal says as he looks out of the binoculars.


Silence followed by Steve smacking on his gum and then Steve says, “You love her don’t you?”


“Who is her?” Neal asks as he continues to look thru the binoculars.


“Ruby.” Steve says as he looks over at Neal and that causes Neal to glance over at Steve.


“Well sure yeah I mean she is a great lady and all….”


“No I mean you love her and how long have you two been lovers?” Steve asks.


Neal looks at Steve again. “We aren’t lovers. I told you that there were two or three times that we almost….”


Steve gives Neal a look that says ‘I don’t believe you and don’t even try to lie to me.’


“I’m not really sure; I mean who keeps track of those things….” Neal says as he chuckles.


Steve rests his chin his hand as his foot wiggles behind him.


Neal clears his throat. “Next week will be a year.”


“Congratulations.” Steve says.


“How did you figure it out?” Neal asks.


“Easy. When I saw you two together, the way you held each other and looked at each other, that said that you two were very, familiar with each other.”


“When you grow up you should be a detective.” Neal says.


Steve shrugs.


“Steve just keep it quiet if you know what I mean.” Neal says.


“Why? What’s the harm?” Steve asks.


“She’s a confidential informant and I’m a cop. I think in most places that would be a serious conflict of interest not to mention the fact it could put her life in danger. So you know….” Neal says.


“I’ll take it to my grave and Neal, you know, I think it’s great that in the midst of all this craziness you found somebody. That’s the brass ring.”


“You know you’re a hopeless romantic.” Neal says as he smiles.


“I’m an Aquarius man.” Steve says as he shrugs.


“Oh hey man we got movement.” Neal says.


Below them and across the alley they see a big Cadillac drive up and stop at the back entrance. Immediately the driver gets out and the passenger also gets out then the passenger opens the back door and another older man, dressed very sharply, gets out and as the driver stands guard the passenger walks the older man into the building.


“I’m assuming that is the boss. Do you recognize him Neal?” Steve asks as he snaps pictures. “Neal?” Steve looks over at him.


“No I don’t recognize him but do you see that big guy, wearing the red shirt, the driver?” Neal asks as he looks thru his binoculars.


“You mean that’s a guy? I thought it was a building that grew legs. Yeah man he is huge!”


“That’s Marco.” Neal says.


“What? That’s Marco? The guy that you….?” Steve says.


“Yeah man and do you see that scar on his cheek?” Neal asks.




“I gave it to him.” Neal says.


“You?” Steve looks over at Neal.


“What in the hell are you looking at bozo?” Neal asks.


“You mean you….you and him? How did you manage that?” Steve asks.


“Let me tell you it was by the grace of god that he didn’t kill me outright, he broke my arm in the process, but I got him down. When Smith and Wesson talk people listen.”


“It’s a miracle he didn’t kill Carrie on that bridge.” Steve says.


“Yeah it is but we have a problem now.” Neal says.


“And that would be?” Steve asks.


“I can’t go in with you.”


Steve looks at Neal.


“He’ll make me in a heartbeat. Steve you’ll have to go in solo….”


“Oh well hey Neal’s its cool….” Steve says nonchalantly.


“No Steve it isn’t cool. You’re a….” Neal says but doesn’t finish because Steve raises his hand.


“I know what you’re going to say, ‘I’m an undercover virgin’ right?” Steve says.


Neal just looks at him. “God you really just freak me out man! How do you do that?”


Steve laughs. “I don’t know but I’ll be okay. What better way for me to be deflowered than to go solo on my first undercover gig as a Detective and besides other cops will be in my entourage.”


“Yeah but I won’t be there…”


“Not physically no but you’re be in the van and I’ll be wired for sound….so stop worrying man you’re get gray hair” Steve glances over at Neal again. “Too late….” Steve says.


“Smart ass, I guess we got all we need here let’s go and talk to the Captain.”






“Steve where did you get this suit?” Neal asks as he helps Steve with the shirt sleeves.


“Oh I have a lot of suits from back when I….” Steve looks back over his shoulder at the other people in the room. “….You know.”


“Fancy cuff links.” Neal says.


“They were a gift….”


Neal just looks at him.


“Well they were.” Steve says.


“There you go man check yourself out in the mirror while I help you with your jacket.”


Steve looks at himself in the full length mirror as he adjusts his vest and then he unbuttons another button on his shirt and he lets Neal help him on with his jacket.


“Do you think the rings and necklace are too much?” Steve asks.


“Na man you’re supposed to play the part and there’s one more thing….” Neal says.


“What one more thing?” Steve asks as Neal goes to the closet in the hotel room and he takes out a full length fur coat. Everybody in the room notices as they whistle.


“Wow Neal where did you get that? Is it real?” Steve asks.


“Yes it’s real and I borrowed it from a friend so don’t get shot in it. Try it on for size.” Neal helps him on with the coat. “Well what do you think?”


“I think I like it!!!” Steve says as he turns this way and that in front of the mirror.


“Every pimp needs a fur coat. Where’s your hat?” Neal asks.


“On the hook in the closet.”


Neal goes back into the closet and he retrieves the hat and he hands it to Steve who puts it on his head.


“You look quite spiffy….” Neal says.


“I look like a Don from the Portuguese Mafia.” Steve says.


“Is there a Portuguese Mafia?” Neal asks.


“I don’t know but if there is one I could be their leader.” Steve says.


They hear a knock on the door. “Who is it?” Steve asks.


“Captain Reynolds.”


Neal goes over and he lets him in and the Captain is carrying a briefcase which he sits on the desk.


“Well Detective if I didn’t know it was you then I wouldn’t know that it was you. You look great.”


“Thanks Cap is that the money?” Steve asks.


“Yes it is $50,000 dollars.” The Captain says as he opens the briefcase.


“Wow it is blinding isn’t it?” Neal asks.


“To say the least.” Steve replies.


“Here is some walking around money $10,000 dollars.” The Captain said as he hands Steve the money. “Don’t spend it all in one place. Flash it around, you know, make it look good. You are supposed to be a high roller from New York. Well I think this Hotel will impress them, it is the most expensive one in Oceanview not to mention the limo. Are you wired?”


“Yes Captain and my entourage is dressed and ready to go. We’re just waiting on the limo.” Steve replies.


“Well son I know that Neal wanted to be on your right for this one but I know that you’ll do just fine.” The Captain puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder.


“Thanks Captain.” Steve replies as he smiles.


“Neal I’ll see you down in the van.” The Captain says then he leaves the room.


Neal fiddles with the collar of the fur coat. “Don’t be nervous.”


“I’m not.” Steve replies.


“We’re be close by and you know we’re be….”


“….Listening.” Steve and Neal say at the same time.


“You know you don’t have a badge or a gun.” Neal points out.


“I know but the driver has one and my bodyguard has one so Neal relax.” Steve says as he grabs Neal by his wrists. “It’ll be cool.”


“Run it down for me.” Neal says.


“Get into the club and make contact with Rita and create enough of a stir that the owner, Tanner?”


“Yeah.” Neal says.


“Will want to meet with me….” Steve says.


There is another knock on the door.


“The limo is here.” The voice says from the other side of the door.


“Thanks man we’re be down….ready?” Neal says to Steve.


“Yeah.” Steve says.


“Watch yourself man okay? Jesus I wish I was going in with you….” Neal says.


“Don’t worry man you’re get gray hair….”


Steve looks at Neal and he smiles. “Too late….” They say at the same time.






The limo pulled up to the curb and immediately the bodyguard got out and he opened the back door to the limo and he waited as the rear passenger got out and when he did he stood there for a minute looking at the people going into the club then his bodyguard handed him a cigar which he also lit for him.


“Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow.” Steve said.


Parked away from the club but still in sight of it was a van and in the van was listening equipment and listening to Steve was Neal and the Captain who were wearing headphones and recording, also in the van were two other police officers, just in case back-up was needed.


“He’s coming through loud and clear.” Neal says.


“Okay boys this is it and I hope you can hear me because we’re going in.” Steve says.


The bodyguard shuts the door behind him then the bodyguard escorts him to the front door and instead waiting in line like the others Steve gives the doorman the password that Carrie gave to him and the doorman lets them in much to the dislike of the others. When he enters the nightclub it is a huge expanse of fancy real estate. A long bar, a lot of fancy dressed tables and toward the rear was a staircase and Steve couldn’t see the upper floor but those were probably where the private rooms were located. To the right of him was where the gambling was going on, couples wined and dined and danced on the dance floor.


“Wish me to take your coat sir?” The bodyguard asks.


“Yes thank you.” Steve answers as he turns around and the bodyguard removes it from him.


Then a Maitre d' approaches them. “Good evening sir a table for two?”


“Right now a table for one and I think I would like that booth right there in the corner.” The Maitre d' looks to where Steve is pointing.


“Oh but sir there is already a party sitting there….”


“Then tell them to move….now. Here’s your incentive.” Steve hands him fifty dollars.


The Maitre d' just stands there.


“Well?” Steve says.


“Of course sir.” The Maitre d' takes the fifty dollar bill and he goes off to the table.


“Now that took some gall….” The Captain replies.


Neal laughs.


A few minutes later the Maitre d' returns. “Your table sir is being prepared it will take just a few minutes. Would you like to wait at the bar?”


“I do not wait anywhere, I wish to sit at my table and enjoy my drink there. You tell them to hurry.” Steve says.


The Maitre d' goes back to the table and just a few seconds later he returns. “It is now ready sir.”


Steve follows the Maitre d' to his table and he sits down as the bodyguard stands nearby. The Maitre d' was replaced by a waitress who took Steve’s drink order.


“Wow! This place is expensive!! Look at these prices!” Steve exclaims as he looks at the menu.


Back in the van the Captain and Neal laugh.


The waitress brings Steve his drink and as he drinks it he looks around the room trying to spot Rita.


“Hey Doug do you see her anywhere?” Steve asks the bodyguard.


“Nope not yet….oh wait there she is.”


Doug sees Rita coming down the stairs.


“Wow she does have red hair and she is beautiful. Alright Doug go do your thing and don’t forget your lines.”


Doug looks back over his shoulder at Steve as he smiles then he walks over to Rita.


The moment Steve walked in the door he was noticed and he was noticed by two big goons that were standing near the end of the bar, one was Marco and the other Manny.


“What in the hell is that guy doing?” Marco says as he watches Doug approach Rita.


“Obviously he doesn’t know the rules.” Manny replies.


“Well I will just have to teach him.”


Doug takes Rita back over to the table where Steve is sitting drinking and smoking his cigar his hat now on the table his hair just brushing his collar.


“Sir this is Rita.” Doug says.


Rita was beautiful, tall, wearing a sparkly form fitting dress and her red hair piled on top of her head and she tried to look happy but to Steve’s eyes she looked far from happy.


“Lovely Rita please sit and join me.” Steve says as he pats the place next to him on the seat.


Rita looks around.


“Is there a problem?” Steve asks.


“You are damn right there’s a problem!!!” Marco says as he suddenly appears and he grabs Rita by her arm.


“My such language and let her go I don’t want her bruised.” Steve says.


“I run this floor and the girls here!! You don’t send your lackey over to talk to her! If you want a girl you….”


The next thing that Marco knew Doug, who was just as equally big in size and statute, grabbed Marco by the neck and then he let go of Rita.


“You don’t speak to him in that matter! Got it!!! Mr. Pereira deserves respect and as for the ladies he can have any that he wants….got it!!!! Be nice he might be your new boss soon!!”


Marco nods his head then Doug pushes him away.


“Now go away.” Doug says.


Marco grabs his throat as he walks away.


“Now Rita will you please sit?” Steve asks.


Rita sits down next to him in the booth and Steve snaps his fingers and the waitress comes immediately over to the table. “A bottle of your best champagne, two shrimp cocktails and for the main course I will have the Escargot and the lady will have a steak, medium well.”


The waitress runs off with the order.


“Are you alright?” Steve asks. “You look awfully pale.”


“You shouldn’t have done that.”


The waitress brings the champagne and she opens the bottle and Rita jumps when the cork pops out of the bottle. The waitress then pours two glasses.


“I’m sorry I’m afraid I’m not very good company.” Rita says.


Steve puts his arm around her. “We’re have our dinner and then we can get a room. Now why did you say that Doug shouldn’t have done that?”


“Marco is not a very forgiving person. You broke the rules of the house.”


“The rules?” Steve asks.


“Yes the rules. You have to approach the bartender and tell them which girl you want and he tells Marco and then the fee is set….”


Steve laughs and Rita looks at him like he is crazy.


“You see I don’t follow rules very well and I could care less if Marco likes it or not. And I have never been here before so I didn’t know the rules. I wanted you. You see I have a thing for redheads." Steve says. "Let's enjoy our dinner and don't worry, look here's our shrimp cocktails."  


The waitress brought their shrimp cocktails and soon after that she brought their dinner as well. They made small talk and Steve tried everything he could think of to make her smile but his charm this night wasn’t working. After dinner Steve ordered a bottle of wine and two glasses and they went upstairs to her private room with Doug waiting outside.


“Would you like a glass of wine?” Steve asks after he puts his hat on the table and he removes his jacket.


“No not really. I want to get this over with as fast as possible if you don’t mind.” Rita asks as she sits on the bed and she removes her shoes.


“Yes I do mind.” Steve says then Rita looks at him. “Relax. Here have a glass of wine.” Steve pours her a glass and he takes it to her.


Rita takes a sip then Steve sits down on the bed next to her.


“I sense tension, you don’t like me Rita?” Steve asks.


Rita shrugs. “I don’t really know you.”


“That is understandable. You may not know me but you and I we know the same person….” Steve says as he takes the wine glass back and he sits it on the floor.


“What do you mean? Who do we know?” Rita asks surprised.


“….Carrie.” Steve says.


Rita covers her mouth with her hands. “Oh my god, you know Carrie? But how did you…? I thought she was dead.”


“No Rita, she would be if I hadn’t saved her. She’s very much alive and in the hospital.” Then Rita starts to cry and Steve puts his arms around her and he pulls her closer. “I’m a cop Rita. A Detective with the Oceanview Police dept and I am here to help you and every woman in this place. But to do that you have to talk to me….”


Steve puts his hands on her arms and he makes her sit up. “….Talk to me and tell me how you and Carrie got involve in this place….”


“You….you wouldn’t understand….”


“Try me.” Steve replies. “Tell me some now to pass the time and then later you can tell me the rest because tonight you’re leaving this place….”


Rita looks at him surprised. “How?”


“You’re going to walk out of here with me. You’re going to be my new lady….”


“No, no you don’t understand! They won’t allow that! Marco won’t let you do that! I owe them too much money!! It’ll cause too much trouble!”


“I hope it causes a lot of trouble. I want your Boss Tanner to contact me, do you think that will be enough to do it?” Steve smiles at her.


“You’re crazy aren’t you?”


Steve laughs. “I have been accused of that more than once. Help me Rita to help you. It’s called White Slavery and we’re going to stop it….with yours and Carrie’s help. Talk to me then pack a bag….go on I’m listening.”


What with the talking and Rita then packing a bag they were in the room for an hour and a half and when they finally emerged Doug the bodyguard was there and as they were going down the stairs, Steve holding tight to Rita’s hand Marco meet them halfway.


“Where are you going?” Marco asks.


Steve has to look up to answer him. “Why is that any of your business?”


Marco laughs. “It’s my business because I say it’s my business! I am in charge of the floor and the girls are mine….”


“Really? The girls are yours?” Steve asks.


“Yeah buddy!!! The girls are mine and that goes for Rita!”


“Really? Well then let’s see….Doug….if you please.”


Doug takes a stack of bills wrapped tightly with a thin paper band around it out of his jacket pocket.


“Think fast Bozo.” Doug says as he tosses it to Marco.


“What….what is this?” Marco asks as he catches it.


“What does it look like you idiot? It’s $5,000 dollars and I think that will pay off any remaining debt that Rita may owe.” Steve wraps Rita’s hand around his arm.


“Did you say debt?” Marco repeats.


“And tell your boss, Tanner, that his days are numbered. Now get out of our way.” Steve says.


“Well you heard what he said, move it Jackass.” Doug says as he pushes him down the stairs.


Then they continued down the stairs with the eyes of the other people in the club following them out the door. Once outside the Limo driver was waiting with the rear passenger door open.


“Get us the hell out of here Pete.” Steve says as he helps Rita into the car.






“Mr. Tanner….” Marco says.


“….And your reasoning for not telling me this sooner?”


“Mr. Tanner you left very, explicit instructions not to disturbed you and you did put me in charge….”


Vince stands up and he leans over the desk. “Yes I put you in charge and looked what happened!! Some unknown interloper walks into my club, unchallenged mind you, and practically takes over!!! You let him take one of mine, mine girls, out of the club!!! And it was Rita no less!! And you said that he used the word ‘debt’ not fee or payment but he used the word ‘debt’! Isn’t that what you said?”


“Yes Sir Mr. Tanner but he looked like anybody else.”


“Anybody else would not have used that word!!! That man was not an anybody else!!! And he told you to tell me that my days were numbered?”


“Yes Sir he did say….”


Vince slams his hand down hard on the desk. “Please tell me that you checked out his resume….”


“Ah yes sir.” Marco takes a notepad out of his pocket. “His last name is Pereira and he was overheard telling Rita that he was from New York so we checked with our people out there and they tell us that a guy by that name has been out there for less than a year. He just appeared out of no where….”


“People, Marco, just don’t appear out of nowhere!!! He came from somewhere!!! What did he look like? Young, old, what!!”


“He was very well dressed. Dark, pin striped suit, diamond cuff links, fur coat and hat. Collar length dark hair. He looked very young…..” Marco laughs. “Actually he looks like he could be from the Mafia.”


Vince’s face darkens. “And why is that funny????!!!!”


Marco clears his throat. “Sorry Sir. I mean he was so young looking it was hard to take him seriously. I mean Sir you should have seen him….”


“Where is he staying?” Vince asks.


“The Regency in the Penthouse Suite.”


“Call him and set up a meeting for this afternoon. And Marco….”


“Yes Sir?” Marco replies.


“A cat has nine lives but you don’t….”


Marco swallows hard. “Yes Sir I understand I’ll go and call him.”






“Rita, would you like more coffee?” Steve asks as he pours himself a cup after they finished their breakfast.


“Sure.” Rita replies as she holds her cup up. “So you and him are partners?”


Steve looks over his shoulder at Neal who was sitting on the sofa watching television.


“Yeah Rita boggles the mind doesn’t it?” Neal says.


“Putz.” Steve replies.


“Are you’re sure you two guys are really cops?” Rita asks.


“Yes we are really cops.” Neal replies. “Why?”


“I don’t know, you guys, are just strange. I have never known any other cops like you guys.” Rita says.


“Yeah we have been best friends for a long time right Neal?”


“Oh yeah and we were probably married in another life.” Neal says.


“You would have to say that out loud in front of our guest wouldn’t you?” Steve replies as he sips his coffee.


Rita laughs. “When can I see Carrie? Are you sure she’s okay?”


“Yes she’s fine. She’ll be getting out of the hospital this afternoon and then you two go into a safe house.” Steve reaches out and he holds her hand. “You’re doing great so far just hang in there. You look better.”


“That had to be the first good night’s sleep I have had in weeks. I feel so stupid….”


“Why do you say that Rita?” Neal asks.


“Oh thinking I could come out here and become an actress. It’s stupid to chase dreams….”


“Rita don’t say that. You aren’t alone, you and Carrie are just like millions of kids that come out to California with the same idea as you two and most of them end up worse than you….” Steve replies.


“They end up dead Rita. You two are the lucky ones.” Neal says.


“My family? How can I face them? I mean doing what I did what if they hate me?”


“Hey listen to me Rita, our Captain called Carrie’s family and he told them that she was safe and they were so happy and they’ll be out here soon to see her and I am sure that your family will also be happy to hear from you too. When you get ready you can call them….”


“….And never stop chasing your dreams no matter what kind of trouble they get you into. Just ask Steve there….” Neal says.


Steve laughs. “I really don’t know what he’s talking about.”


“You two guys are weird. I think I’m going to go and take a nice long hot shower.” She says as she gets up from the table.


“Okay see you later.” Steve says as he watches her walk off into the bedroom.


Steve throws a napkin at Neal. “Why do you always have to cause trouble?”


“I didn’t do anything. You know you did a great job last night….”


“Thank you.” Steve says.


“I can’t believe you ordered Escargot. I didn’t even know you knew what that was.” Neal says.


“Like I said there are a lot of things I know that you don’t know that I know. And you never know when I might use them, you know.”


Silence then Neal says, “I think you and I spend way too much time together I understood what you just said.”


Steve laughs and a few minutes later there is a knock on the door. “Come in.” Steve says.


The door opens and Doug comes in. “The operator wants us to know that she’s holding a call for a Mr. Pereira.”


Steve and Neal look at one another as they get up.


“Want me to take it?” Doug asks.


“Yeah Doug go ahead Neal and I will listen in on the extension.”


Doug heads towards the phone on the table next to the sofa as Steve and Neal go into the bedroom to listen in.


Doug picks up the receiver. “Alright operator patch it through, Mr. Pereira’s Suite.”


“This is Marco from the….”


“I know who you are and who you’re associated with. Get to the point.”


“Mr. Tanner wants a meeting.”


Doug looks towards the bedroom. “Oh he does? Where and when?”


“His residence….”


Doug laughs. “Oh no you must think that Mr. Pereira is stupid. He isn’t going anywhere near his residence if he wants to meet we do it….out in the open. Mr. Pereira happens to be fond of the ocean so we meet at the beach or we meet nowhere….understand?”


“I’ll call you back in ten minutes.” Marco says then he hangs up.


“So how did I do guys?” Doug asks.


“You intimated the hell out of me and I work with you.” Neal replies.


“Well he didn’t waste anytime did he?” Steve asks as he puts his arm around Neal.


“You made quite an impression toots.” Neal replies.


Ten minutes later to the minute the phone rings again. “Patch it through, Mr. Pereira’s Suite.”


“Lacey Point at the Gazebo 1:30 in the afternoon. Just you and Mr. Pereira.”


“We’ll be there.” Doug says before he hangs up.


Neal looks at his watch. “It’s now eleven….”


“….And we have a lot of work to do.” Steve replies.






1:25 in the afternoon, Steve and Doug wait at the gazebo as they watch the Cadillac arriving that is carrying Vince. Neal and Pete sit in the van that is parked up on the street and from their vantage point they can easily see them with binoculars and listen to their conversations.


“And away we go….” Neal says to Pete.


Steve sits in the gazebo smoking a cigar as Doug stands near him. The Cadillac stops in front of the gazebo and Marco gets out from the driver’s side then he opens the rear passenger side door for Vince.


“Mr. Pereira this is an interesting place to meet….” Vince replies.


“….And beautiful. I love the ocean and I distrust you.”


“Me? We just now this moment met and you distrust me?” Vince replies.


Steve stands up and he stands next to Doug.


“I distrust anyone who forces women into their servitude such as you, very distasteful I might add.”


Vince laughs. “Mr. Pereira I don’t honestly know what you’re speaking of.”


“Mr. Tanner I’m not stupid.”


“And who are you to judge are we not in the same business as it where?” Vince asks.


“Hardly. You see I like legitimate enterprises. The ladies I employ are dancers, waitresses, bartenders and they are free to leave at anytime. That is the difference between you and me. You see, the men in New York are tired of the same old, same old, if you know what I mean. It gets very cold in New York and I think my customers would like some sunshine. California is a hot commodity and I’m willing to offer a lot to buy out your option.” Steve replies. “How much will it cost to settle your stable’s debt?”


“Half a million at least….” Vince replies.


Steve whistles. “That is certainly a lot of debt. It will take some time to come up with that sort of cash.”


“I may be able to knock it down to a more reasonable sum if you throw in a little something….extra” Vince says.


Steve looks at Doug and in the van Neal and Pete perk up as well.


“Something extra? What would that be?” Steve asks.


“Rita.” Vince says.


“Rita? That is certainly an odd request. She is very beautiful but she is just another woman after all and I don’t understand why she is….” Steve says.



In the van Neal suddenly has a bad feeling and in the next instance Neal sits down the binoculars and he rips off the headphones.


“Neal where are you going?”


“I don’t like this Pete I’m going down there.” Neal says as he puts on his holster.


“Neal you can’t you’re blow it….”


“It’s already blown….” Neal replies as he opens the door to the van and he jumps out and then he runs in the direction of the gazebo.



“Oh Mr. Pereira she isn’t just another woman to me she is like my right arm….”


Steve and Doug look at one another then Steve looks back to Vince. “Really? Your right arm?”


“….As in partner.”


“Gun!!!!!” Doug yells and Steve holding his fur coat tosses it to Marco and instead of shooting Steve he shoots the fur coat and that gives Steve and Doug just enough time to run across the gazebo and jump over the railing and when Steve hits the sand he reaches down to his ankle and he pulls his weapon.


“Doug are you alright?”


“It’s just a scratch man. Cover me I’m going to those rocks over there.” Doug says.


Steve stands up then and he shoots in the direction of the Cadillac as Doug runs weaving back and forth through the sand to the rocks. Steve ducks back down behind the Gazebo as he reloads and that is when he hears the Cadillac start up and in the next minute he sees it drive off at a high rate of speed up the road and that was when he also saw Neal. Steve didn’t know where Neal had come from but he had ran from behind another outcropping of rocks and he stopped in the middle of the road and as the Cadillac sped towards him he pulled his weapon and pointed it at the windshield of the car.




Steve yells at the top of his lungs as he too ran out from behind the gazebo and he pointed his weapon at the driver of the Cadillac.




Neal yelled as he fired at the windshield of the Cadillac and when the bullets hit their target the car veered sharply to the left and leaving the road it headed straight for the rocks there and when it made contact the beach was rocked by the explosion and Neal was knocked off of his feet and when he raised his head from the sand he saw the limo pulling up next to him and stopping and the passenger door swinging open.


“Alright?” Steve asks him.


Neal nods his head as he gets up. “You?”


“Peachy. Let’s go and get Rita.”


Neal climbs into the passenger side and even before the door is closed Steve hits the gas and he takes off.






Neal and Steve had no idea that a Limo could travel that fast but travel it did and when they reached the Hotel Steve slammed the brakes on, leaving half of the rubber of the rear tires in the parking lot and he after he put it into Park he and Neal jumped out and flashing their badges as they tore through the lobby they jumped into the elevator that went to the Penthouse.


They noticed that the door to the Penthouse was open as they approached it and from inside they heard a loud moan as they took up positions on either side of it. Drawing their weapons Steve peeks inside.


“Jack?” Steve says.


And as an answer they get another moan.


“I’m going to swing it open.” Neal says as he takes his foot and he swings the door open wider. “See anything Steve?”


“Just Jack on the floor and the bedroom door is open.”


“High or low?” Neal asks.


“Low.” Steve responds and in the next minute Steve gets down on the floor and he rolls into the room and when he comes up on one knee Neal is behind him pointing his gun towards the bedroom and Steve has his towards the living room. Neal makes his way slowly into the bedroom creeping along the walls.


Neal comes out a few minutes later and by then Steve has Jack rolled over onto his back with Jack holding his hand to the back of his head. Neal holsters his weapon.


“It’s clear. Is he okay?”


“He has a nasty bump on the back of his head but he’ll live. Jack where is Rita?”


“That witch!! She hit me and she took my gun!” Jack says as he winces.


Neal looks at Steve. “Where did she go Jack?” Neal asks.


“The hospital, after Carrie.” Jack replies.


“Jack….?” Neal says.


“She also took the keys to my Mustang….”


“Steve lets blow! Now!” Neal says.


Steve gets up and he follows Neal out of the room and on the way out they run into Pete and Doug.


“Jack is in there call the Medical Squad.”


They make their way downstairs to where Neal’s Charger is parked and once in the car Steve puts the bubble light on the roof.


“What’s the big deal about Jack’s Mustang?” Steve asks.


“Jack’s Mustang is a killing machine. It has so much horsepower it can blow this car off of the road, nothing can catch it and I can barely handle it so just think what a woman Rita’s size….”


“Let’s roll partner.






As they come up on the Hospital they are just about to pass the parking garage when suddenly the blue and white Mustang they are looking for flies out of the garage ramming the wooden arm and sending it flying into pieces in front of them. Neal has to slam on his brakes to avoid a collision but he quickly recovers.


“I think we found them Neal.” Steve says as he picks up the mike. “Ocean this is Victor 7 and we’re in pursuit of a blue and white Mustang, license number 075 Ocean Victor Sam, heading east. Be advised Ocean the driver is armed and dangerous.”


“10-4 Victor 7. Attention all units. Victor 7 is in pursuit of a blue and white Mustang, license number 075 Ocean Victor Sam, heading east. All units driver is armed and dangerous.” The dispatcher says.


“Jesus Neal I see what you mean….” Steve says.


Neal doesn’t answer as he concentrates on following the Mustang who is at least three cars ahead of them. Weaving in and out of the late afternoon traffic the chase continues as they follow the highway out of the city.


“Ocean this is Victor 7 still headed east just passing Rumsfield….Neal where is she going?”


“She headed into the hills she thinks she can lose us.” Neal says.


“There’s a lot of twisty and turny roads out that way and she can barely control that car on the straight….”


Neal had managed to catch up to her and before Steve could finish his sentence a shot rang out and shattered the back window of the Mustang. Neal swerved as the bullet flew thru his windshield and embedded itself in the back seat.


“Holy shit she’s shooting at us!” Steve yells.


“Good deduction.” Neal says.


“Ocean Victor 7 shots fired! I repeat shots fired!” Steve says into the mike.


The chase continued on with speeds reaching close to 80 miles per hour and in no time they had clear the restrictions of the city and now they were on the mountainous highway climbing ever higher. Even though they were climbing the Mustang didn’t slow much and the highway was straight and narrow but suddenly up ahead was a sharp curve and the Mustang was going too fast to negotiate it.


The Mustang crossed the double yellow line into the on coming lane and coming the opposite way was a car. The car blew its horn and the driver had to run the passenger side of its car into the hillside to avoid a collision. Rita overcompensated and that combined with excessive speed sent the car into a tailspin and as the car spun in circles the momentum carried it backwards crashing thru the guardrail that was protecting the drivers from the sheer drop down below and even before Neal pulled up and stopped his car and they jumped out the Mustang was gone.


Neal called in for the Rescue Squad as Steve ran to the side and looked over and down below the car was sitting in a tree, its branches cradling it as it leaned precariously to one side. Steve slid down the slope to the tree and the driver’s side was facing him and he could see that Rita was dead and in the passenger side was Carrie. The hillside created just enough of a ledge that Steve could stand on it close to the driver side and the car creaked and groan as it rocked back and forth in the branches.


Carrie opened her eyes and she blinked once then twice then when she saw where she was she screamed.


“Carrie! Don’t move sweetheart okay. Sssshhh it’s going to be alright.” Steve says from the driver’s side. “No don’t look down just look at me.”


Carrie looks at Steve and then she also sees Rita.


“Oh my god!”


“Carrie don’t worry about her just look at me.” Steve urges.


Carrie turns her eyes towards him.


“Good girl, are you hurt?”


Carrie shakes her head. “I don’t think so….” She turns her head slightly to look back over her shoulder.


“Carrie honey don’t look down just concentrate on me okay. Now I’m going to get you out of there….”


Steve tries not to touch the car, not wanting to add anymore weight to it, so as not to push it over as he leans in the window passed Rita. He extends one hand to her as the other is wrapped tightly around a nearby branch.


“Stretch out your hand to me.” Steve instructs and Carrie does.


“I can’t reach you!!!”


“Try Carrie! You have to….!”


At that moment the car slides downward another inch groaning like a wounded animal as it does so.


“It’s moving!!!!” Carrie yells.


Steve leans farther into the car.


“Listen to me Carrie!!! Reach! Stretch up to me!!! Climb!!! Grab my hand!!! Now!!!” Steve looks at her. “If you don’t you’ll die!!! Do you trust me? Do you….?”


In that small space of that car as they look at one another his hand reached out to her time slows. She turns her body just so as she uses one of her feet as leverage bracing it against the passenger door and the other she gets beneath her in the seat. Using her right hand she supports herself on the dash of the car as she reaches up to grab Steve’s hand and when they touch….he breathes again and time speeds up.


“Good girl.”


He grabs her by the wrist and he pulls her up to him and just as he almost has her out of the car window he hears the blood chilling sound of a gun’s hammer being pulled back and when he looks in the direction that the sound came from….


Rita is pointing the gun at him and he freezes and Carrie screams as she looks back over her shoulder.


Somewhere to Steve’s left a ear splitting shot rings out and pierces the windshield of the car and Rita drops the gun and he and Carrie look to their left to see Neal pointing his gun at the car and then the car shifts violently and it begins to fall. Steve tries to pull Carrie free but as the car falls one of her feet catches in the seatbelt and drags Carrie down with it and Steve still holding onto her feels himself being taken down with her.


Steve holding onto the branch with his other hand uses it to try and stop himself from being pulled down but it only serves to injure his hand as he feels the tree bark slice through the flesh and then he feels himself falling.


The car when it shifted and fell from the tree sounded like an elephant being shot and the crash was deafening when it finally hit bottom and Steve felt something akin to whiplash as he felt himself being grabbed from behind and when he looked back over his shoulder he sees Neal holding tight onto his ankles. Neal’s foot braced against a tree stump the strain showing on his face.


Steve feels like his arms are going to be pulled out of their sockets because he is holding Carrie by the collar of her jacket, dead weight because when she fell she hit her head and she is unconscious and maybe that was a good thing because her shoe was ripped off of her foot as the car fell.


“Neal! Holy….shit! Neal! Jesus god it hurts!!! I….I can’t hold her for much longer….do something!!!” Steve says as he looks behind him.


“I….I’m going to drag you….to me.” Neal says breathlessly.


“Now!!! Do it now!!!!” Steve pleads.


Neal let’s go of one of Steve’s ankles then using both hands on one leg he pulled Steve closer to him then using Steve’s pants as a ladder Neal worked his way up to Steve’s belt and when he got him far enough away from the edge he leaned over the edge and putting his hands over Steve’s together they pulled Carrie back over the edge and to safety.






Neal was just about to get on the elevator when the doors opened that was until he ran into Steve getting off of it.


“Hey….” Steve says.


“Hey yourself.” Neal answers. “Ah….what are you doing here?”


“Here?” Steve asks.


“Yes Steve here. Actually what were you doing in Property?” Neal asks.


“Property?” Steve answers.


“Yes Steve Property. That elevator that you just got off of came from the second floor and Property is on the second floor. Lose something?” Neal asks.


“No! No! I was just visiting Ernie.” Steve replies.




“Yeah you know Ernie, the clerk in Property?”


“Yes Steve I know who Ernie is. Why, pray tell, were you visiting him?” Neal asks.


“Well you see I was in the neighborhood, I went to the hospital to see Carrie and for my follow-up….”


“How is Carrie doing by the way and how’s your hand?” Neal asks.


“Oh she’s doing great! Her family’s coming out next week and my hand is doing okay as for my shoulders they are still….”


Neal waves his hand back and forth. “That still doesn’t tell me why you’re here Steve.”


“Oh! To drop off the doctor’s report for the Captain, you know, to save him the trip….”






“Why were you visiting Ernie in Property? What were you looking for?” Neal asks.


“Looking for?” Steve repeats.


“Yeah looking for.”


“Oh nothing! I bought Ernie a comic book while I was at the hospital….oh hell!” Steve looks at his watch. “Look at the time I really must go….”


Steve starts to leave but Neal grabs him by the arm.


“Ow! Neal my arms are still sore!”


“Ah poor baby. Come on I want to show you something.”


Neal takes Steve out front to where his car is parked and he unlocks the trunk and he takes a bag out and from that bag he takes out the fur coat and Steve takes one look and he starts to turn around and walk away.


“Freeze!” Neal yells.


Steve turns around and Neal is holding the fur coat up looking at Steve through the numerous bullet holes that the coat has suffered.


“Psssst hey mister! Can I interest you in a Swiss cheese fur coat!!!?” Neal says. “Look at this coat!!! When she sees this coat I am dead!!!”


“Maybe you can get it fixed?” Steve asks.


“Fixed? Fixed? Are you out of your mind!!! Steve it isn’t like a tire that has a hole that you can plug!!! This is a fur coat!!!”


“Well hell Neal excuse me!!! If I hadn’t thrown that coat then I would be full of little holes and I would be….DEAD! So what would you rather have? A fully intact fur coat and a dead partner full of holes or….a intact partner and a dead fur coat full of holes?”


“Can I get back to you on that?” Neal asks.


“NEAL!!!! I’m sorry but it was a reflex action! Maybe it can be salvaged, you know, made into something else.”


“Such as?” Neal asks as he looks at the coat.


“I know a guy who knows a guy….”


Neal raises his eyebrow at this.


“Just hear me out. He’s a furrier and he can take this coat and turn it into a fur stole or even a short jacket or if all hope is lost into a Muff.”


“A what?” Neal asks.


“A muff. It’s a tube made out of fabric or in this case fur and women use it to keep their hands warm. Their hands fit into it….”


“Steve this is California have you ever seen any woman out here wearing a muff?”


“Ah….well no but she could start a new fashion trend….”




“Yeah Neal?”


“Have you ever heard the saying ‘you always hurt the ones you love’?”


“Well yeah sure….” Steve backs up as Neal comes closer. “Ah….Neal I love you….”


“I love you too and Steve this is going to hurt you more than it will hurt me!”


Steve continues to back up and now he is on the sidewalk and still Neal is coming closer.


Steve laughs. “Neal I think you have that old saying all wrong….it’s suppose to be ‘this is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you’.”


Neal shakes his head.


“No?” Steve says.


“No.” Neal says.


Steve backs up even more and Neal comes after him and then Steve turns and he runs with Neal chasing after him. They run up the sidewalk and across the street and then they run out of sight.




V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7




“You had to chase me for two blocks.” Steve says.


“Yeah but I caught your skinny ass and I kicked it.” Neal says.


“And you should have been ashamed of yourself!!! Beating up on an injured person!! Somebody should have called the cops.” Steve says.


“They did. They called me! I had to respond to me beating you up!!” Neal says.


“How’s Ruby doing?” Steve asks. “Neal me thinks you are blushing.”

                “She’s doing great.” Neal says.


“And when is the baby due?” Steve asks.


“Next month.”


“Ahhhh Papa Neal. The greatest joy I will have is seeing you holding that baby boy.” Steve says.


“It might just be a girl you know.” Neal says.


“No not with your Italian genes. Hey let’s go and get some Chinese take-out at that restaurant she loves and go back to your house!!!” Steve says happily.


“Jesus Steve do you know what time it is? She’ll kill me!”


“No she won’t she loves you and besides I can give her the present for the baby.” Steve says.


“Ahhhh Steve you old softie you! You got our baby a present? That’s sweet! What is it?” Neal asks.


“A baby’s blanket made from that fur coat. Minus the bullet holes of course!” Steve says proudly.


“A baby’s blanket from that fur coat….? Steve you’re joking right?” Neal says.


“No. What’s a matter Neal you don’t seem too happy.”


“Well you know….I told her that we needed the coat for evidence in the case….”


“Yeah….” Steve says.


“….And that it was mysteriously….lost.” Neal says.


“Yeah….” Steve says.


“….And you know by now it’s been years and she probably forgot all about it….”


“Yeah….” Steve says.


“….And you just mysteriously….found it?” Neal says.


“Something like that yeah….” Steve says.


“….And you made a baby’s blanket out of it??” Neal asks.




“Technically?” Neal repeats.


“There was enough left over to make a muff too!!!” Steve laughs. “Got you partner!!!”


Silence then Neal says. “Steve you know if somebody else would only take you as their partner I would drop you off on their doorstep. But nobody else wants you!!!” Neal says as he laughs.


“So I guess we’re stuck with each other. And Neal by the way….” Steve says.

                 “….I know I love you too.” Neal says.


“Let’s go home….” Steve says.


“Yeah until later….” Neal says.


The next sound is the tape recorder being turned off.












All rights reserved. Steve Perry and Neal Schon’s likenesses appear only as characters. Any resemblance to any one living or dead is purely a coincidence. This fictional story is for entertainment purposes only and for the complete enjoyment of the author and the readers. And for the love of things and people back in the day.