THE DETECTIVES OF THE 9TH PRECINCT
“Oh man if this isn’t embarrassing.” Steve exclaims out loud to himself.
“What?” Neal asks as he comes into the room.
“Nothing.” Steve replies as he shoves the file underneath the calendar that covers his desktop. “Did you stop and get lunch?”
“Great I am starved! The cheeseburger is well-done with onions, tomatoes, no pickles and Thousand Island dressing right?”
Neal makes a face. “Yeah.”
“And the cheese fries?”
“Yeah.” Neal replies.
“Well what are you waiting for give it to me!”
“Not until you show me what you just hid under your calendar there.” Neal replies.
“You can’t do that! Hold my lunch hostage!!! You know I have to eat in a timely manner!” Steve exclaims.
“I can do whatever I want I bought this with my own money bucko and that reminds me you owe me five dollars and fifty cents!!!”
Steve whistles. “Wow prices sure have gone up haven’t they?”
“Yeah man now what did you hide under your calendar? No info no lunchie!” Neal replies as he swings the bag back and forth.
“Oh alright.” Steve replies as he pulls the file out from under the calendar and he hands it to Neal while at the same time Neal hands the bag to Steve.
Steve happily takes the bag as Neal opens the file folder and he starts to laugh. “Oh man I can see why you would be embarrassed! I remember this case! I thought this thing was destroyed or something.”
“Yeah me too but obviously it wasn’t because there it is!” Steve replies.
Neal goes over and he sits at his desk. “Amazing! Too bad this thing didn’t hit the newsstands I bet you would be a famous male model by now.”
“Really?” Steve asks surprised.
“Oh sure but of course back then hairless was in….”
“Ah! That still bugs you doesn’t it?” Steve exclaims.
“Ruby likes my hairy chest and that is all that matters! Hey wait what is this here?”
“What?” Steve asks as he goes around to Neal’s desk.
“Your stats! Steve none of these are right! You weren’t born in 1953 and you weren’t 5’11!”
“Well they told me that modeling was a young guy’s game so they changed a few things and as for the height thing….well in that picture I’m lying down….”
“Ewwww you’re just lying period!!! Everything here is wrong! Your chest measurements….” Neal replies.
“I will have you know Neal that those measurements are right!!!”
Neal laughs at this.
“Laugh all you want bucko but back then I did a lot of working out and those measurements are right!”
“Bull hockey I’ll say! I think you padded your resume and not to mention your pants!!!! Wow!!! There is no way that is all you!!” Neal exclaims.
“What can I say god was good to me.”
Neal scratches his head. “Come to think of it back then I was missing a pair of socks….”
Steve pushes Neal as he laughs. “Stop it! You know what they say about Portuguese men with big noses.”
“I thought it was the big feet thing?” Neal asks.
“Oh no no not with the Portuguese, it’s the nose.”
“It also says here that you like….sailing? Steve the last time you got on a boat you threw up a very, expensive lobster dinner.” Neal exclaims.
“I had a touch of the flu….”
“Ah I did jump out of that helicopter that time you know!”
“Yeah Steve it was a ride at the amusement park and it was about 15 feet off of the ground!”
“So I still jumped out of it!”
“You also like quiet, moonlit walks on the beach, puppies and kittens….” Neal says as he continues to read.
“All that is true!”
“….Reading, gardening and….yoga?! Steve you don’t know anything about yoga!”
“Actually Neal I think I wrote yogurt but they couldn’t read my handwriting so it ended up being….yoga.”
“Ah well that would explain that. It also says that you like all kinds of women, blondes, brunettes, redheads and they can be short or tall, thin or fat….that really runs the gammit Steve.”
“Well sure that says that I like a variety sorta like a Chinese Buffet….” Steve replies.
“Know what it says to me?” Neal asks.
“No what Neal?”
“Desperation?” Steve repeats.
“Yes desperation and it also says that you speak three languages? Three languages Steve?”
“Yeah three languages.” Steve replies.
“And those would be what exactly?”
“Portuguese, English and sign language.” Steve replies as he counts them off of his fingers.
“Yeah sign language.” Steve replies as he demonstrates for Neal.
“Steve technically obscene hand gestures are not sign language.”
“They aren’t?” Steve replies.
“No they aren’t because if it was I would know sign language and so would that guy that flipped me off this morning. So Steve the only true things on here are that you’re single, Portuguese and an Aquarius.”
“Ah don’t forget the puppies and kittens thing….” Steve points out.
“Alright the puppies and kittens too but I will admit one thing.”
“That would be what?” Steve asks.
“Pat takes great pictures!” Neal replies.
“Yes he does and look I got a postcard from good old Pat.” Steve says as he hands Neal the postcard.
“So where is Pat these days? The
“Neal they are called photographs do you always have to be such a barbarian?” Steve asks.
“Oh well excuse me!!! Photographs! There is that better? You know Steve, Pat always gives you credit with getting him that fancy job of his what with those….pics….I mean photographs that he took of you.”
“You know Neal I would do it again it was sorta fun taking those photographs.”
“I don’t know there were a few times you looked awfully nervous there Steve especially when they needed those beefcake shots!”
“Well Neal it isn’t everyday that a bunch of strangers get to see me in all of my glory!! I was nervous because I didn’t want them to be overwhelmed.” Steve replies.
Neal shakes his head. “Oh brother. So I guess this time we are talking about the Adonis case right?”
“You would be correct there partner.”
“Well let’s get started the lettuce on my sandwich is starting to wilt.” Neal exclaims.
“Alrighty then it started like this.”
V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7
4201 ROCKY POINTE—THE ROCKY POINTE DUPLEXES # 112:
Early in the morning and the phone that is next to Steve’s bed on the night table rings a couple of times then it stops then a few minutes later the phone rings again and this time Steve jumps. Steve sleepily reaches out in the direction of the phone and just as he gets a finger on the receiver the ringing stops. Steve with his face buried in the pillow lets his hand drop back down to the receiver and a few minutes later the phone rings again and this time Steve grabs the receiver and he slowly brings it over to his ear.
“Hel….lo.” Steve says sleepily.
“Steve its Neal….”
At the sound of Neal’s voice Steve puts the receiver back into it’s cradle then Steve turns on his side and he goes back to sleep….then the phone rings again.
Steve rolls over onto his back and he reaches out and lifts the receiver and he brings it to his ear.
“Hel….lo.” Steve says sleepily.
“Hey sleeping beauty time to rise and shine.” Neal replies.
Steve rolls over and once again he hangs phone back up. A few minutes later the phone rings again and once again Steve answers it.
“Candy Gram.” Neal replies.
This causes Steve to laugh.
“I knew that one would get you. Am I interrupting anything?”
Steve yawns. “Just me sleeping.”
“Oh hey man I’m sorry to hear that.”
Steve sits up in bed. “Just because she didn’t spend the night doesn’t mean it was a bad night partner.”
“Oh I see. I’ll come around and pick you up in an hour and a half. Is that enough time for you to do your hair?” Neal laughs.
“Oh sure and pick out my outfit for the day I have to find one that the guys haven’t seen before!”
Neal laughs. “I’ll bring breakfast.”
Steve yawns. “Cool. I’ll see you in an hour and a half and thanks for the wake-up call.”
“Anytime partner see you soon.”
AN HOUR AND HALF LATER:
“Well if it isn’t Prince Charming.” Neal replies as Steve gets in his car.
“And a good morning to you too, you know maybe this weekend I should buy a new alarm clock.”
“You never told me what happened to the old alarm clock. Here’s your coffee and Danish.”
“Oh cool my favorite! Brenda happened and that is what happened to the old alarm clock.”
“Say no more.” Neal replies as they drive away. “Just before you came out we got a call about a dead body over on the west side.”
“The west side wow that is the ritzy part of town.”
“The rich die too you know.” Neal replies.
“Rich or poor we all come into this world the same way….”
“….And we all go out the same way too.” Neal replies.
“That we do partner….that we do.”
FELIPE COURT 1 OCEANVIEW WEST #510:
“Neal did you see that Jacuzzi?”
“Yeah man it was really something.”
“Just like this apartment! Look a sunken living room and a fire place!” Steve replies as he looks around.
“I wonder if the dead body is extra, hey Sam.”
“Detectives, how are you two this fine morning?”
“Fine just fine. So what have you got for us?” Neal asks.
“Well he is a young male and he’s only been dead a few hours, rigor hasn’t even set in yet. Looks like he was stabbed….”
“And somebody really did a number on his face.” Neal replies as he kneels down by the body.
“At one time he looked like that.” Sam replies as he points to the numerous pictures on the wall.
“And somebody liked those even less and whoever killed him slashed all of those pictures.” Neal replies.
“Hey Neal come here and look at this.” Steve replies by the fireplace.
“Wanna you got?” Neal asks as he joins Steve by the fireplace.
“Well looks like it was pictures but all of them didn’t burn….”
“So I see we’ll get the crime scene boys to put them in an envelope for us.” Neal replies.
“This guy was really a looker.”
“Yeah man he was prettier than you!” Neal points out.
“Ha-ha.” Steve laughs as he wanders into the bedroom. “Wow Neal is that a….”
“Yeah man it’s a waterbed.” Neal replies.
“I didn’t know they made round waterbeds.”
“I didn’t either well this explains all the pictures….” Neal replies as he points to a picture that is on the floor.
“Adonis Magazine….never heard of it? Have you?”
Neal shakes his head. “Nope but he’s on the cover….”
“Scantily clad I might add….Adonis
Magazine.” Steve says as he writes in his notepad. “His name is
“Maybe he only has one name sorta like
“Maybe.” Neal replies as he looks thru the closet. “Fancy clothes….”
“….And fancy jewelry.” Steve points out.
“This was definitely not a robbery.”
“Definitely not….stabbing is a very intimate type of crime.” Steve replies.
“Wow Steve this bathroom is as big as my whole apartment!” Neal replies. “I would venture to guess that a jilted lover might be a good suspect….”
“Or a rival….I mean somebody was making a point by smashing his face like that. Reeking havoc on beauty that god had bestowed.”
Neal looks at Steve. “Did you make that up?”
“Yeah actually I did.” Steve replies.
“Hmm well that was certainly interesting….” Neal replies as he reaches out for the medicine cabinet.
“Ah always be mindful of fingerprints partner.” Steve replies as he takes a tissue out of his jacket pocket and he hands it to Neal.
“That hasn’t been used has it?”
“No not yet.” Steve replies as Neal take it then he uses it to open the medicine cabinet at the corner of the door.
“Well I don’t see any female stuff in here….”
“Female stuff Neal?” Steve asks.
“Yeah you know female….” Neal gestures. “….stuff!”
“Look under the sink.”
“Under the sink?” Neal repeats.
“Yeah under the sink.”
Neal reaches out with the tissue and he opens the door to the cabinet that is underneath the sink then he gets down on one knee as he looks inside.
“Bingo there is a box of tampons and some real fancy shampoo and conditioner….expensive. How did you know?”
“Neal you’re the one with the lady I would think that you would know that most women keep their feminine products underneath the bathroom sink….you know for easy access.”
“For your information Steve I don’t go snooping around Ruby’s bathroom cabinets.”
“And plus the girlfriends I have had have kept some of their stuff underneath my bathroom sink and that is how I know and now we know that he had a girlfriend….”
“Or two or three.” Neal replies as he gets back to his feet. “You know we’re in the wrong profession if a guy can make this kind of money, you know, just posing for pictures.”
“I agree its crazy isn’t it?”
“Yeah man it’s to die for. Let’s find an address for this Adonis magazine….”
ADONIS MAGAZINE’S OFFICE AND STUDIOS 1402 MAYWEATHER THREE HOURS LATER:
“Neal do you think that is real silver?” Steve asks as they sip their tea from china cups as they both eye the real Silver tea service.
“I wouldn’t know….hey Steve where are you going?”
“I just want to have a look.” Steve replies as he carefully removes the pieces from the tray.
“Steve I don’t think you should do that.” Neal replies as he walks over and he stands beside him.
“Oh come on Neal don’t tell me that you aren’t curious….” Steve replies as he turns the tray over.
“I can assure you Detectives that the silver isn’t stolen.”
At the sound of her voice behind them Steve almost drops the tray as they both jump.
Neal laughs. “Oh no it isn’t anything like that….”
“Oh no you see we were just….” Steve replies as he clutches the tray to his chest with one hand.
“My name is Toni….Toni Valerian.” Toni replies as she shakes Neal’s hand then as she attempts to shake Steve’s hand instead he hands her the tray.
Steve laughs. “I’m sorry….” Steve replies as he shakes her other hand.
Toni sets the tray back on the table. “When my secretary told me that two Detectives were here to see me I must admit that I was shocked….has something happened?”
“I’m afraid so Miss Valerian do you know this man?” Neal replies as he shows her a picture.
“Well yes of course I do that is
“Yes Miss Valerian I am sorry to tell you this but he was murdered….” Steve replies.
“Murdered? Oh my goodness no! When did this happen?”
“Early this morning.” Steve replies.
“We will need some information from you that is if you don’t mind.” Neal replies as she sits behind her desk.
“Oh of course anything I can do to help.”
“Miss Valerian if you don’t mind me saying so you look awfully familiar.” Steve says.
“Well Detective I have never been arrested if that is what you mean.” Toni replies.
“No it isn’t that….” Steve snaps his fingers together. “Now I know….I saw you in a magazine….it was Neal’s Playboy! Neal remember she was Ms. July!”
“Oh yeah she was I mean you were!”
Toni laughs. “That was almost two years ago Detectives I must have made quite an impression.”
“Oh you did I mean it was the well-placed sparklers….wasn’t that dangerous?” Steve asks seriously.
Toni laughs. “It was slightly dangerous and if you like I have copies I could autograph for you, that is, if you don’t consider that a bribe Detectives?”
Steve laughs. “Oh no Miss Valerian I wouldn’t consider that a bribe at all! What about you Neal?”
“Oh no not at all.” Neal agrees.
“Please call me Toni, now what can I
tell you about
“Well first you can tell us what
“His name was Michael Hawkins and you can see why he changed his name.”
Steve looks over at Neal. “Well no not really I mean we saw a lot of pictures of him in his apartment and he was a very good looking guy….”
“Pretty actually.” Neal adds.
“So why does a guy that looks like that change his name I mean his looks would sell whatever product that he is modeling for, right?” Steve asks.
“Yes and no. You see
“Oh I see.” Steve replies as he writes
feverishly on his notepad. “How long did you know
“Oh about two years now.”
“Do you know if he was dating anybody?” Neal asks.
“Yeah did he have a special girl in his life?” Steve asks.
Toni shakes her head. “No I don’t have any idea, you see Detectives I like to keep out of my models personal lives unless it negatively affects their abilities to do their jobs. Such as not showing up for photo shoots that sort of thing.”
“Oh I see so you never been to his apartment?” Steve asks.
“No I don’t even know where he lives.” Toni replies.
“Do you know if he had any trouble with anybody? Fights? Disagreements?” Neal asks.
“Yeah anybody that wanted to do him harm? Any enemies that you know about?”
Toni shakes her head. “No Detectives at the moment I don’t know anything like that.”
Steve scratches his head. “Alright but if you remember anything lets us know okay?”
“Of course I will.”
“Have you had any trouble with anybody?” Neal asks.
Toni shakes her head.
Steve looks over at Neal then he looks back at her. “Adonis Magazine? What is that exactly?”
Toni smiles. “Adonis Magazine is a magazine that is solely for women.”
Neal and Steve look at one another. “You mean like Cosmo?” Neal asks.
“Or Better Homes and Gardens?” Steve asks.
Toni laughs. “No not exactly. I have
last month’s issue with
“Centerfold?” Steve and Neal both say at the same time.
When they open the magazine to the centerfold and hold it up three pages tumble down.
“Holy Mary are you sure this is legal?” Steve asks as he points to the picture.
“Yeah man if he wasn’t dead we would have to arrest him for indecent exposure!”
Toni laughs. “We are the male version of Playboy.”
“Yeah I see that.” Steve replies. “You know maybe since I am a guy I shouldn’t be looking at this magazine.”
“Yeah it gives me an icky feeling.” Neal replies as he closes the magazine.
“Uncomfortable Detectives?” Toni asks.
“Well you know I wouldn’t exactly call it uncomfortable.” Steve replies.
“Oh well then what would you call it?” Toni asks. “Men have had magazines filled with naked pictures of women for years so in this day and age do you not think it is time for women to have one for them?”
Steve looks over at Neal. “Neal you know she has a point.”
“Wait a minute you posed for Playboy didn’t you?” Neal asks.
“Yes I did and I did it for the money so I could start a revolution! A female revolution Detectives! Men for centuries have had everything handed to them and that includes women! It is not unusual for men to pick-up an issue of Playboy or some other magazine and no one bats an eye but when women have a magazine that depicts handsome men in the same provocative poses it causes raised eyebrows. Why cant women enjoy the same pleasures as men?”
Steve once again looks over at Neal. “Neal you know she has a point.”
“This is that women’s lib stuff again isn’t it?” Neal asks.
Toni laughs. “Do you have something against Women’s Lib Detective?”
Before Neal can answer Steve jumps up. “Okay let’s not get into that….”
Toni also stands up and she comes around from behind the desk. “Detective Perry….”
“Steve do you mind if I ask you a question?” Toni asks.
Steve looks over at Neal as he shrugs. “Well I….sure go ahead.”
“What are you?” Toni asks.
Steve looks confused. “What am I?”
“Yes I mean your nationality? Are you an American Indian?” Toni asks.
Steve laughs. “Oh no I’m Portuguese! My
mom and dad were born in
“The first one in his family actually.” Neal points out.
“Why do you ask?” Steve asks.
Toni taps her finger against her lips. “Because I think that you have a very unique look….what with your dark complexion and eyes and that wonderful hair of yours….I think you would make a great model.”
For just a minute they are silent and then Neal starts to laugh.
“What in the hell is so funny?” Steve asks.
Neal puts his hand on his chest as he continues to laugh. “I’m sorry….but Steve a model? My partner Steve?”
“Yeah Neal your partner Steve! Me!” Steve replies as he pats himself on the chest.
Neal gets out of his chair and he puts his arm around Steve’s shoulders. “Toni come on I mean I thought models were tall and muscular….”
Steve shrugs Neal’s arm off. “I am not short! I am average height and I do too have muscles! Look!” Steve replies as he takes off his jacket and throws it into the chair then he flexes his bicep and he shows off his muscle. “See that is a muscle!!”
“Would you mind taking off your shirt?” Toni asks.
Steve looks shocked as he laughs. “Oh no no I couldn’t possible do that now I mean I’m on duty and all!!!”
“Oh come on Hercules do it for the lady.” Neal replies as he grins.
“Alright I will!” Steve replies as he takes off his holster and he hands it to Neal. “Hold this.” Then Steve grabs his shirt at the hem and he pulls it off over his head and he tosses it to Neal.
“See I told you he is a skinny kid….he is all hair and nose.” Neal exclaims.
“Oh no….” Toni takes Steve by his hand and she pulls him closer to the window. “The way he looks is in this season!”
“It is?” Neal asks.
“It is?” Steve also asks.
“Oh yes it is and I am willing to bet that readers of my magazine will just love you!! Can we take some pictures of you?”
Steve makes a face. “Oh well I don’t know I mean I am busy with this investigation and all….” Steve replies as he looks at Neal.
“Ah….yeah I mean we still have a lot of questions to ask you maybe he can do that later….you know a lot later.”
“Yeah Toni you know a lot later.” Steve repeats.
“Yes you are right you are here about
“Sure I’ll think about it.” Steve replies as he puts his shirt back.
“So Toni can we ask you some more questions?” Neal asks.
“Yes of course I will do anything I can to help.” Toni replies as she sits back down behind the desk.
“Okay tell us what you know about
THE 9TH PRECINCT SQUAD ROOM TWO DAYS LATER:
“You’re still mad aren’t you?” Steve asks.
“I was never mad Steve.”
“Yes you were I can always tell.”
Neal takes a deep breath. “No I wasn’t.”
“Is it my fault that hairy isn’t in this season?”
“She didn’t say that Steve.” Neal replies.
“She didn’t have to you know I have a sixth sense about these sort of things.”
“Steve what she did say was that short, skinny hairless Portuguese men with big noses and long hair was in this season.”
“No Neal what she said was that average height, muscle bound, obnoxious hairy Italian men were not in this season!”
Neal crosses his arms over his chest. “I am not that hairy thank you very much!”
Steve laughs. “I’ve seen you in those shorts that you wear so don’t even go there! Hey look the Coroner’s report is here!” Steve says as he wanders over to his desk.
“It certainly is….here you go munchkin.” Neal replies as he hands Steve his cup of coffee.
“Thanks. We also got some background on Toni.” Steve replies as he sits at his desk and he tosses the file about Toni onto Neal’s desk.
“Well let’s see….Sam says that
“Yah man we already knew that. Does he any theories about who might have done it?”
“Says here that
“Well that fits since one of the kitchen knives were missing.” Neal replies. “Well this is certainly interesting.”
“What is?” Steve asks.
“Toni lied to us.”
“Uh oh about what?” Steve asks.
“Well after you finished your strip tease….”
Steve sticks his tongue out at him.
“…Remember we asked her if she has any problems with anybody?”
“And she told us no? Well according to these old police reports about a couple of months back her offices had a break-in, actually two. Nothing was stolen but there was a lot of vandalism done. And hello her home was also broken into too….”
“Let me guess nothing was stolen.” Steve replies.
“Right but a lot of vandalism was done. It says here that her pictures were slashed….some pictures burned in the fireplace….not so nice words spray painted on the wall. Sound familiar?” Neal replies as he looks across the desk at Steve.
“All except for the words on the
wall….I’ll venture a guess partner that whoever killed
“Right she stated that she was out of
town. Let’s see she’s originally from
“She has a husband.” Neal replies.
“Oh she does? She didn’t mention that did she?”
Neal shakes his head. “I don’t remember hearing it. Well I think we should go back and talk to Toni again about some of these….”
“Ah excuse me!”
At the sound of the women’s voice they both turn to look and they see a pretty young woman, stylishly dressed, her hair done up on the top of head, swinging her purse impatiently side to side as she tapped one expensively shod foot.
Steve gets to his feet as he says, “Yes ma’m how can we help you?”
“My name is Crystal, Crystal Tanner and I am here about my things!” She replies angrily.
Neal also gets to his feet. “Oh well Ms. Tanner….”
Neal and Steve look at one another. “Cry….if you want to recover lost or stolen property that is on the second floor.” Steve replies as he smiles at her.
“No! I didn’t lose any property and it wasn’t stolen either! It is locked up and I can’t get to it!!! That jerk!!!”
Neal scratches his head. “And what jerk would we be referring to?”
“Oh you know that jerk
Once again Neal and Steve look at one another.
“We’re sorry Ms….I mean Cry….my partner
and I we are a little slow today could you explain about
“I went out of town for a few days and
when I come back that idiot landlord tells me I can’t get into the apartment
because it is some sort of a crime scene or something! A crime scene?! Ah
“Right.” Steve replies.
“And you two are police right?”
“Right.” Neal replies.
“Well then do something police like!!!! I have some very expensive items in that apartment and I want them back!!!”
“Ah Cry would you like some coffee?” Neal asks.
“Why don’t you have a seat right here.” Steve replies as he pulls his chair out for her and he pats it.
“Well yes I suppose so. So this is like t.v. where I give you all the facts for your report right?” She asks as she sits down.
“Hmmm yeah something like that.” Neal replies as he pours her a cup of coffee then he carries it over to her. “Just sit tight and let me talk to my partner here for just a minute alright?”
“Yes I suppose.”
Steve and Neal walk out to the hallway.
“I guess she misunderstood the part about
“Yeah I think so.” Neal replies as they both look thru the glass at her. “I guess we found the girlfriend.”
“Looks like it, I’ll go over and talk to Toni while you….” Steve moves his finger in a circle. “….Do something police like!”
“Just like on t.v.! See you later partner and watch your ass.” Neal replies.
“Catch you later man.”
“Well Detective fancy meeting you here. Decided to take me up on my offer of having your picture taken?” Toni smiles at him as she leans on the door.
Steve smiles as he looks at the Welcome mat. “No, I hate to bother you but I have a few more questions I need to ask you. I went by your office first and your secretary told me that you were here. If you’re busy I can come back….”
“Oh no it is fine please come on in.”
She opened the door wider to let him in and it lead into a round foyer with a staircase and from there Steve followed her into the den that was bigger than his whole apartment and on one wall was a large fireplace. As she walked over to the table that held the tea service Steve noticed a large, empty space above the fireplace.
“What’s missing?” Steve asks as he nods towards the bare wall.
Toni hands him a cup of tea. “It was a portrait of me it’s out being cleaned.”
“Oh I see and I thought I saw some painting going on in the foyer?” Steve asks as he takes a sip of his tea.
“Just doing some renovation, now what can I help you with?”
“Oh yes.” Steve sits his tea cup back down on the table then he opens the file folder that he brought with him. “When my partner and I talked to you the other day you didn’t mention that you were married.”
“I’m not Detective, not anymore.”
“Oh you’re divorced.” Steve asks.
“No Detective he’s dead.”
“Oh Toni I’m sorry when did he die?”
“Almost two years now. We were in
“How long were you married?”
“Ten years Detective. I don’t understand
I thought you were investigating
“I’m sorry Toni but in the course of our investigation we also found out that your home and your office was broken into and vandalized, it is a likely possibility that someone could be after you. Why didn’t you mention that to us?”
“I don’t know why I didn’t….I didn’t see the connection. I mean I thought the break-in here and at the office was a random thing….” Toni replies.
Steve points to the vacant wall above the fireplace. “The portrait of you was slashed wasn’t it?”
“And there was photographs burned in the fireplace wasn’t there?”
“Now tell me Toni do you have any idea who might want to harm you in any way?”
Toni shakes her head. “Honestly I don’t know of anyone….”
Steve reached out and he puts his hand on her elbow and even before he could inhale a bullet fired from outside shattered the pane of glass in one of the French doors and the china tea pot that was sitting on the table next to where they were standing exploded. Steve grabs her and he takes her down to the floor covering her body with his as the sets of windows that were on the either side of the French doors were destroyed by bullets.
Steve covered her head with his one hand as he took the other and slipped it under his jacket and he pulled his gun from its holster and what seemed like an eternity to Steve the bullets finally stopped.
“Are you alright?”
“I….I think so.” Toni says as she raises her head slightly which Steve immediately pushes back down.
Steve then gets to one knee and staying close to the floor he makes his way over to the French doors where he pulls the curtain aside and he peers outside.
“Toni where is the closet bathroom?”
“Off the foyer.”
“Listen to me I want you to crawl there, understand me, crawl there as fast as you can and when you get to the bathroom lock the door behind you and don’t come out until you hear my voice, got it?” Steve asks her as he looks back over his shoulder at her.
“Go now!” Steve watches as she crawls across the floor and when he hears the bathroom door close he slowly opens the French door just enough to slip thru the opening and out onto the patio. Steve makes his way across the wide expanse of the patio by hiding behind the chairs and the table and he just made it behind a big fountain when another shot rang out and a piece of concrete from the fountain whizzed passed his ear. Out of instinct Steve ducks his head and when he hears tires screeching across the pavement he raises his head ever-so-slightly, just enough to peer over the basin of the fountain.
The older black car’s tires burns rubber as Steve stands up and he comes out from behind the fountain firing in the car’s direction. Steve runs across the back lawn and down to the street, on his left hand side were bushes blocking his view and he had every intention of stopping at the bushes and using them as cover but his momentum was such and the soles on his shoes were slippery and the slope of that corner was just enough to propelled him out into the street. The car was unbelievable close, so close that Steve could see the eyes of the driver fly open wide in surprise as he appeared in front of him.
Steve did his best to get out of the way but his best wasn’t good enough. The driver of the car turned the wheel sharply to the left as Steve made a move to the right but the sharp corner of the bumper grabbed Steve’s pants and there was a loud ripping sound as he was knocked off of his feet and he fell backwards into the bushes.
A few minutes later as Toni huddled in the safety of the bathroom she heard on a knock on the door.
“Toni, its Steve open the door.”
“Steve!” Toni exclaims as she runs to open the bathroom door and when she does so her hand covers her mouth to stifle a scream as her eyes widen. “Oh my god are you okay?”
Steve’s pants at the knee were ripped open to reveal a nasty, bleeding cut, there were leaves and twigs in his hair and his jacket was torn and covered in grass stains. Steve puts his hands on his hips as he blows a strand of hair out of his eyes that was entangled with a leaf.
“Now tell me another lie.”
OCEANVIEW GENERAL HOSPITAL EXAM ROOM B:
“Knock, knock.” Neal replies as he knocks on the exam door as he slowly opens it. “Are you decent?”
“Why are you knocking now? You don’t bother to knock when I’m in the bathroom.”
“We’re in public now that’s why. Can I come in?” Neal asks as he peers around the door.
“Yeah come on in.” Steve replies as he motions for Neal to come on in.
“Wow that is quite a nasty looking cut you got there toots. How many stitches did it need? ” Neal asks as he pokes around the tray table that is pushed up to the exam table.
“It looks worse than it is and 15.”
“Wow and they made you put on a gown and everything. Say ah.” Neal replies as he puts a tongue depressor in Steve’s mouth and he looks in.
“AH!!!! See anything?” Steve asks.
“Not a thing.” Neal picks up the next instrument and he tucks Steve’s hair behind his ear as he peers into his ear.
“See anything?” Steve asks.
“A sign?” Steve replies.
“Yeah it says ‘This space for rent!’” Neal replies as he laughs.
“What’s….what’s all this salad in the trash can? Did you get attacked by a rabbit?!” Neal asks as he continues to laugh.
“Ha-ha that is so not funny! I got hit by a car and I fell into some bushes, it ripped my new jeans….”
“They weren’t new.” Neal points out.
“They were new to me okay! Anyway, my jeans are ripped and my jacket has grass stains all over it! I have been shot at and all of that happened before lunch and you’re making jokes!”
Neal scratches his head. “It could have been worse.”
“How?” Steve asks.
“It could have been a thorn bush.”
“Thanks a lot man.” Steve replies sadly.
Neal puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder as he rocks him back and forth and they both smile. “I’m glad you’re okay. Where’s Toni?”
“Down the hall, she was pretty shaken up, she’s not seriously hurt. She has a few cuts from the flying glass but she’s going to be okay.”
“Did you get a good look at the car?” Neal asks.
“Yeah actually I did, I got a good look at the grill as it was coming towards me and of course the bumper! Metal! They were all metal Neal!”
“Dare I ask about the driver?” Neal asks.
“A blue ski mask that enhanced the color of his or her eyes and that was it. How did it go with Cry?”
“Oh it was an interesting conversation let me tell you I would have much rather been with you getting shot at.”
“That bad huh?” Steve asks.
“Oh yeah it took me quite awhile to
convince her that
“The desert? What was she modeling in the desert?” Steve asks.
“Try suntan lotion.”
“Oh well that makes sense I suppose.” Steve replies as he scratches his head. “So she and Pierre was an item?”
“Yes and no….it seems they went out to parties and dinners and she would stay at his apartment from time to time, hence some of her stuff being there. She said it was hard having a relationship with somebody who was prettier than her and he spent more time in front of the mirror than she did.”
Steve laughs. “Does she know who might
Neal shakes his head. “Not a clue. She said that he could be self-centered and stuck-up.”
“So why was she with him? Let alone stay at his apartment sometimes?”
“Sex. The sex was great. Don’t look so shocked I mean you told me it is a new era! Women’s Lib and the sexual revolution thing. I told her to sign a voucher and when the case was closed she would get her stuff back.”
“Did you tell her that could be as long as a year?” Steve asks.
“Yes and she wasn’t happy about that either.”
“Was she even the least bit sad or upset that he was dead for god sakes?” Steve asks.
“Not really no.” Neal replies as he shakes his head.
“Man that is a fine how do you do I must say!!!” Steve replies loudly.
“So what did you find out before the shooting started?”
“Her husband is dead and she doesn’t have a clue who wants to hurt her, she paints a very rosy picture.”
“Are we sure that her husband is really dead?” Neal asks.
Steve shrugs. “Who knows, I was going to go back to the station after I finished talking to her and call the NYPD and see if they could express the accident report out to me but here I sit!”
“Well I’m here to break you out, the crime lab guys want us to come over and take a look at the pictures they salvaged from the fireplace, so get dressed.” Neal replies as he tosses Steve’s pants to him.
“I can’t go anywhere the doctor told me to wait here so I’m waiting here.” Steve replies.
“Oh tish tosh!! Come on I’ll sign you out let’s go….”
Just at that moment the exam room door opened and a nurse comes in carrying a cloth covered tray.
“Hello who are you?” The nurse asks.
“Me? I’m his partner I just came to pick him up….” Neal replies.
“Oh no he can’t go just yet.” The nurse replies as she sets the tray on the table that is next to the bed.
“See I told you!” Steve replies as he clutches his pants to his chest.
“Well he already got stitches and he looks alright to me and we have work….to….do.”
Neal stops as he watches the nurse remove the cloth cover from the tray then she picks up the syringe and the bottle and then she inserts the needle into the bottle as Steve and Neal watch her fill it.
“Say nurse what is that for?” Steve asks nervously.
“Yeah that is an awfully big needle you got there.” Neal points out.
“Well Mr. Perry we couldn’t find any record of you ever having a tetanus shot.” The nurse replies.
“Maybe because I never had one before.” Steve replies.
“Exactly.” The nurse replies as she holds the syringe up and she smiles.
Steve scoots back across the exam table. “Oh no no I feel great I don’t need a tetanus shot!”
“Mr. Perry you feel great now but what about later? You said yourself that a car bumper cut you….”
“Oh yeah I did say that but it was a very, very clean car bumper!!!”
“Mr. Perry you don’t want lockjaw do you?” The nurse asks.
“Yeah Steve you don’t want lockjaw do you?” Neal repeats as he smiles at him.
“Don’t help!” Steve yells at Neal. ”Look Nurse I don’t like needles, especially big, sharp needles like that there. Can’t I just take a pill?” Steve asks with a smile trying to win the nurse over.
“No Mr. Perry there are no tetanus pills.”
“Nurse look I’m a cop and you know if you forget that shot I could you know, fix a traffic ticket for you….”
“Steve!!!!” Neal yells.
“I don’t drive I take the bus.” The nurse replies.
“Oh.” Steve says.
“Mr. Perry the doctor gave me strict orders that you were not to leave here until you receive a tetanus shot and I am like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, I always get my man.”
Steve glances over at Neal. “Want me to hold your hand?” Neal asks.
“Yeah….I mean no! I mean I’m a grown man! I mean I was shot at today so what’s a itty-bitty needle….” Steve replies as he rolls up the sleeve on his gown.
“No.” The nurse replies as she shakes her head.
“No?” Steve says as he stops in mid-roll and he glances at Neal.
“Turn over.” The nurse replies.
“Turn over?” Steve says as his eyes widen. “You don’t mean….?!”
“Yes I do.” The nurse replies.
“Neal do something!!” Steve pleads.
“What….what can I do I mean the doctor said you can’t leave here until you get that shot.”
“So….this place has rooms with beds and televisions and a place to eat I could live here forever!!” Steve replies.
“Mr. Perry don’t be such a baby!”
Steve shocked looks at her.
“Steve she’s right man I mean Joey had to have a shot when he stepped on that rusty nail and he didn’t even cry.”
“Whose side are you on anyway?” Steve asks.
“Steve we have work to do so let her give you the shot I mean I am sure in her line of work she has seen plenty of asses…..you’ve seen one…..you’re seen them all.”
“Yeah I’m looking at one right now!!!” Steve says as he looks at Neal.
“I’ll ignore that remark for now. I’ll wait out in the hall.”
They watch as Neal leaves the room.
“Now Mr. Perry turn over….please.”
Out in the hall Neal jumps when he hears Steve scream and a few minutes after that the nurse leaves the examination room. Five to ten minutes later Steve emerges from the examination room wearing his clothes and looking very solemn as he rubs his left butt cheek.
“Are you alright?” Neal asks.
“Yeah I suppose.” Steve replies as he pouts. “It really hurts.”
“Here you go.” Neal hands Steve a lollipop.
“What’s this for?” Steve asks as he looks at it.
“Whenever Joey gets a shot he gets a lollipop, it makes him feel better.”
Steve unwraps the lollipop and he puts it in his mouth and then he shrugs a little. “It’s okay.”
Neal smiles as he puts his arm around Steve’s shoulders as they walk up the hall.
THE GRANDVIEW HOTEL 1120 SAINTS BLVD ROOM 1612 THE NEXT DAY:
“Good morning Toni.” Neal replies as she lets them in to her hotel room.
“Good morning Detectives. Oh my goodness Steve are you alright?” Toni asks.
“I’m fine Toni just fine but I would feel much better if you tell me, us the truth.”
“I don’t understand what you mean? I haven’t lied to you about anything….”
“You lied to us about knowing where
“No, no I didn’t….” Before she got a chance to finish Neal thrust a copy of slightly burnt picture at her.
“Isn’t that you and Pierre at his apartment?” Neal asks.
“I….yes but it was a party we weren’t there alone it was to celebrate his magazine cover.”
“Were you sleeping with him?” Steve asks.
“No of course not!”
“Why are you lying to us?” Neal asks.
“I haven’t been lying to you!”
“Are you sure that your husband is dead?” Steve asks.
“Oh my god I can’t believe that you asked me that question! Why would you ask me such a terrible question? Yes Detectives he is dead!”
“My partner asked you that question
because the damage that was done to your house and office and
“And you think my husband has come back
from the dead and he killed
“No Toni the dead don’t come back to kill people but the point is it is somebody from your past or maybe even your husbands.” Steve replies.
“Maybe somebody from your deep, dark past is jealous of your fame, of your success. Somewhere along the way you royally pissed somebody off!”
“Toni that weekend your house was vandalized you were out of town right?” Steve asked.
“Yes but you already know that.”
“Toni we think if you haven’t been gone that weekend he would have killed you.” Neal replies.
“That’s why he slashed your portrait he was making a statement.”
“He wanted to do that to you.” Neal replies.
“What we need from you is a list, a list of people from your past, people that you have hired recently or fired recently.”
“And we ran an idea passed our Captain that we would like to run pass you. So let’s get started….” Neal replies as he pulls a chair out from the table. “Have a seat Toni….”
“Who owns this place again?” Steve asks.
“Pat….Pat Jacobs.” Neal replies as he puts the car into park.
“Pat? Pat Jacobs? Not the Pat Jacobs that used to take the mug shots at the jail?”
“Yes Steve the Pat Jacobs that used to take the mug shots at the jail.” Neal replies.
“But he took mug shots for a living what does he know about serious photography? Does he even know how to put together a….a what did Toni call it again?”
“A portfolio and yes Steve trust me he does know how to do serious photography. Here’s your bag.” Neal replies as he tosses Steve his bag then he grabs Steve’s garment bag then he closes the trunk. “You know Steve Pat was nice enough to help us out here so watch the smart alert remarks about him taking mug shots alright.”
“Yeah, yeah I got it.” Steve replies.
Neal knocks on the service door and within a few minutes it is opened by a big guy with long hair pulled back into a ponytail and he smiles when he sees Neal then they shake hands.
“Hey Neal man how’s it going?”
“It’s cool man I want you to meet my partner Steve.”
Steve steps up and he shakes hands with Pat. “Hey Pat.”
“Nice to meet you Steve so you’re the one who needs the portfolio right?”
“Yes that would be me.” Steve replies.
“Alright man cool come on in everything is all set up and ready to go.”
He opens the door wider for them and when they come in he locks the door behind them. “Now your Captain explained it to me but I want you guys to tell me what you want. Steve if you want there’s a dressing room over there, you can put your stuff in there.”
“Thanks.” Steve replies as he wanders over to the dressing room but on the way there he is distracted by the numerous photographs hanging on the walls. “Wow! Oh hey Pat did you do these?”
“Yeah I did. Do you like them?” Pat asks as he and Neal wander over to the photographs.
“Yeah, yeah I do man these are really good! And to think you used to do mug shots.”
“Steve!” Neal yells.
“Oh hey man I’m sorry.”
Pat laughs. “No don’t be sorry I mean ever since I was a teenager I have loved photography….I worked a lot of jobs so I could afford my own studio. The jail gig paid a lot better than most so on my off days I did weddings, birthdays, anything just to get my name out there. And oddly enough a famous photographer came from San Francisco one day and he got arrested for drunken driving and I shot his booking photo and we started to talk about photography and he wanted to see some of my work so I let him see some of them and before I knew it he had taken some back to his gallery in San Fran. To my surprise they sold! He has been a mentor and he has helped me out a lot and that is how I got out of jail!”
They all laugh. “Pat these nudes are great.” Steve replies.
“They are my specialty.” Pat replies proudly.
“Did you get the copy of Adonis magazine?” Neal asks.
“Yeah I did.” Pat walks back over to the desk and he picks it up. “The courier dropped it off yesterday. I must say I can match or even surpass the photography in this magazine, the portfolio has to look very professional right?”
“Right. People other than Toni will be looking at it and I was wondering if you could do a few magazine covers?” Neal asks.
“You mean create fake magazine covers that makes it look like that Steve was on them?” Pat asks.
“Yeah if that isn’t too much trouble.”
“I do know somebody that can do that but I can probably only give you one.” Pat replies.
“That’s cool.” Neal says.
“Okay we can do the standard portfolio with headshots, and the full body shots, and of course beefcake.”
“Beefcake?” Steve asks.
“Yeah you know nude shots.” Pat replies.
“Nude? As in naked nude?” Steve asks.
Pat and Neal laugh. “Yeah Steve as in naked nude. No clothes. This has to look convincing you know; after all it is a woman’s magazine about naked men.” Neal points out.
“Oh well yeah sure I know that and all.”
“And after all Steve these pictures won’t see the light of day.” Neal replies.
“And Steve if your self conscious it will just be us and oh yeah Monica.” Pat says.
“Monica? Who’s Monica?” Steve asks as he looks around.
“She is my make-up artist and wardrobe lady, she’ll help you with your hair and make-up you know the whole look. She’s getting her supplies together in the other room I’ll get her.”
Pat walks over to another room and he opens the door and a few seconds later a lovely, young lady comes out carrying a make-up case in one hand and in the other hand another case that contains hair products.
“Hello I’m Monica.”
“Hi Monica I’m Steve and this is Neal.” Steve replies.
“Nice to meet you two. My you have such high cheek bones! May I?” Monica asks.
“Oh sure I guess.” Steve replies as he smiles.
Monica then reaches out and she gently takes Steve’s chin in her hand as she turns his head this way and that.
“So Monica is there anything you can do with our boy here?” Neal asks as he laughs.
“From what I can see he doesn’t need much help.” Monica replies.
“Ah shucks thanks.” Steve replies.
“I can’t wait to get my hands on that hair! Steve show me the clothes that you brought.”
“Oh sure their in the dressing room right over here.”
“Whenever you guys get ready we are going to start with headshots.” Pat yells after them.
AN HOUR LATER:
“Alright Monica go ahead and touch-up his make-up he’s getting a little shiny.”
Monica tilts Steve’s chin up towards her as she puts some more powder on his face.
“So Monica are you a professional make-up artist?” Steve asks.
“Well I guess you could say that. Close your eyes for me.”
Steve closes his eyes. “Well what does that mean exactly?”
“Well to some people I might be a professional make-up artist and to others….”
“….And to other’s what?” Steve asks.
Neal was in the back on the phone checking on some things when he heard Steve yelling for him. Neal hung up the phone and he goes over to where Steve is and when he gets there he sees Steve sitting on a wooden stool holding tight onto Monica’s wrist as she holds some sort of pencil.
“Steve what in the hell are you yelling about?”
“Please tell him it’s alright.” Monica replies.
“It’s certainly not alright!” Steve protests.
“What is not alright?”
“Neal, Monica puts make-up on dead people!!!!” Steve yells.
“Monica you do what?” Neal asks.
Monica exhales as she wrestles her wrist from Steve’s hand. “During the day I work at a Funeral home where I make-up the bodies for the funeral, I also dress them.”
“Neal her hands have touched dead people and now her hands are touching me!!!!”
“I also told your partner here that at night I do make-up and clothes for living people! I am a friend of Pat’s and he pays me to make-up his subjects!”
“Neal!!!! Her hands touch dead people!!!!”
“Steve calm down okay I mean you look beautiful. If I didn’t know that it was you then I won’t know that it was you! Monica is doing a great job.”
Monica turns and she sticks her tongue out at Steve who in turns does the same thing to her.
“Thank you Neal.” Monica replies.
“Steve come on man let her do her job we only have two days to get his done! So cooperate!!!”
“Guys when you’re finish fighting over Monica I could use her help to set up this fan.” Pat says to them.
“Fan?” They both ask at the same time.
“Yes a fan it’s to give to Steve that stylish wind-blown look.” Monica replies.
“Alright Steve stand up and let’s lose the shirt.” Pat replies.
Steve stands up and he takes off the shirt.
TWO HOURS LATER:
“Alright Steve we got some great shots and now that we’ve had a break we’re going to do some beefcake shots.” Pat replies as he talks to Steve thru the dressing room door. “Steve can you hear me?”
“Yeah I can hear you.” Steve replies.
“So Steve man come on out just a few more shots and we’re be done.” Neal replies.
“Is Monica out there?” Steve asks.
“Yeah Steve all she’s going to do is touch up your make-up and hair and then she’s going to leave.” Pat says.
“Come on Steve Monica has seen naked men before.” Neal replies.
“They were dead Neal and I am not dead!!”
“Come on Steve….” Neal replies.
Steve slowly opens the door to the dressing room and he takes a look around then he slowly comes out just wearing a towel.
“Alright Steve why don’t you lie down on those pillows over there and let Monica touch-up your make-up and hair while I adjust these lights.” Pat replies.
Steve manages to lie down on the pillows without exposing himself then Monica touches-up his make-up and then she wildly tousles his hair until it is sufficiently messed up, making it look like that Steve had just woken up after a wide night.
“Perfect! Alright Pat he’s ready.”
“Great. Alright Steve Monica is gone so now we need you to get rid of the towel.”
“Can I you know use a pillow for now?” Steve asks.
“Oh alright just for now.”
Steve grabs one of the pillows and he places it in front of him then he removes the towel.
“Alright Steve rest you head in your hand and give me a sexy, sleepy eyed, pout.” Pat says.
“A sexy, sleepy eyed, pout?” Steve replies as he looks confused.
“Yeah Steve you know that look that you give to Veronica the Meter Maid.” Neal replies.
“Oh! You mean this one?” Steve gives the look that he gives to Veronica.
“That’s it!! Perfect! Don’t move! This shot is going to be gorgeous!” Pat replies as he takes a series of pictures. “Alright Steve let’s do that again but this time without the pillow.”
“You really thought that shot was gorgeous?” Steve asks.
“Absolutely if these shots were going in the magazine the women would love it!!!” Pat replies.
Steve thinks on this a moment then he grins as he grabs the pillow. “Oh hell you only live once right? So here….goes….nothing!!!” Steve exclaims as he grabs the pillow and he tosses it over his shoulder. “Let’s go!”
ADONIS MAGAZINE’S OFFICE AND STUDIOS 1402 MAYWEATHER TWO DAYS LATER:
“Good afternoon everyone. As you know I have been out of town and the reason I have been out of town are the two people who have joined us today. I would like to introduce Adonis’s magazine newest model Stephen and his agent Neal.
“Also Stephen will be our new cover and centerfold this month….”
“What!!!” A young man standing at the front yells. “Wait one damn minute!!! You promised me the new cover and centerfold!!! I have never heard of this guy or even seen him before where in the hell did he come from?”
“Antonio please!” Toni replies.
Neal leans over and he says something in Steve’s ear and Steve in turn says something back to Neal.
“Stephen comes from
“I have never seen him before and what’s a matter with him? Can’t he talk?” Antonio asks.
“His English is not very good so he chooses to speak thru me at this time.” Neal replies.
Antonio points at Toni. “You lied to me!!! You promised me the cover not some no name pip-squeak I have never heard of!!! You bitch….!!!”
Antonio takes a step towards her and before anybody can blink Steve crosses the room and he grabs Antonio’s hand and he expertly twists it behind Antonio’s back and with Antonio walking on his tip-toes Steve opens the door to the office and he shoves Antonio out.
“Jackass!!!!” Steve yells after him as he slams the door.
After a few moments of silence and a few dropped jaws Toni manages to pull herself together. “Now people we only have a few short weeks before this issue needs to go to the printer, we need to find a replacement for Antonio as well. We also need Stephen to fill out the questionnaire, we need to get him to wardrobe. We need layouts etc!! So let’s get going!!!”
THE GRANDVIEW HOTEL 1120 SAINTS BLVD ROOM 1613 TWO DAYS LATER:
“Hey Steve where are you?” Neal asks as he comes into the hotel room.
“In the bathroom.”
Neal goes over and he puts his bag on the desk. “What are you doing?”
Steve laughs. “What do you think I’m doing I’m taking a bubble bath.”
“Did you say a bubble bath?” Neal asks as he goes closer to the bathroom door and he opens it slightly and when he looks in he sees Steve sitting in the tub that is full of bubbles with a rubber ducky. “Hey isn’t that Joey’s rubber ducky?”
“Yeah Joey said I could use it.”
“So how did your day go?” Neal asks as he laugh.
“It was a long exhausting day!!! I had no idea posing for pictures was such hard work!!! I am telling you Neal I am a walking crime scene!!! I have more fingerprints on me than a used car!! People messing with my hair, changing my clothes, putting make-up on me, I feel like a big, blow-up doll!!!”
Neal laughs. “And the gym?”
“That is why I am sitting in this hot water. Everything hurts! From my eyebrows down to my toes!!! And Neal you know it’s interesting to listen to people talk about you when they think that you don’t understand a thing that’ll their saying.”
“Who was talking about you?”
“The trainer at the gym.” Steve replies.
“Was she pretty?”
“It was a guy Neal.”
“Oh well what did he say?”
“He said I was cute.” Steve replies.
“Oh well okay.”
“Is that all you’re going to say?” Steve asks.
Neal shrugs. “What do you want me to say? Do you want me to go over there and beat him up?”
“Would you?” Steve asks with a wide-eyed expression.
“Oh, you mean you aren’t shocked or anything like that?”
“No Steve I’m not shocked. Are you planning on being in there long?”
“Yeah I am actually! I am going to stay in here until the water turns cold and my toes shrivel up! Why?”
“Well maybe because I would like to take a hot shower and I got the background checks back on the people that Toni told us about that’s why and I bet that you haven’t had anything to eat so I want to order room service.”
“Okay if you go and order room service I’ll get out of here. I’ll take the same thing I had last night.”
“Steak well-done, baked potato and green beans?” Neal asks.
AN HOUR LATER:
“Well you know I am not surprised that everybody checked out.” Neal replies.
“Me neither I mean that is usually how our luck runs.”
“Everybody on her staff has been with her from the very beginning.”
“Except that janitor right?” Steve asks.
“Yeah and he checked out too his name
“And we also got the accident report from NYPD.”
Steve yawns again.
“I hope I’m not keeping you awake.” Neal replies.
“Oh sorry it’s just that this modeling stuff is harder than it looks. What did the report say?”
“Well it said basically what Toni said.
His car collided with a truck in the tunnel that goes into
“Such as?” Steve asks.
“Well it does say their investigation isn’t finished, so I called the NYPD to talk to the detective in charge of this case but he wasn’t there so I called the insurance….Steve….Steve!!!!”
“You fell asleep.” Neal replies.
“Sorry….what did the report say again?”
“Never mind. The crime lab guys did tell
me there were no fingerprints in
This time Steve doesn’t answer because he is fast asleep and before Neal heads into the bathroom he covers Steve up with the blanket.
THE GRANDVIEW HOTEL 1120 SAINTS BLVD TWO DAYS LATER:
“Come on Steve what are you doing? We’re supposed to meet Toni at the beach!” Neal says.
“Yes I know Neal I’m coming! Brrrr it’s cold this morning! I can’t believe they would want to take pictures of me frolicking in the ocean I bet that water is freezing!” Steve replies as he gets in the passenger seat.
“No kidding man and shrinkage is a bad thing!!!” Neal replies as he gets into the driver seat.
“As my agent you should have done something about that!” Steve points out.
“Steve shrinkage is a natural thing there was nothing I….”
“Not that you putz I meant about taking pictures at the beach!!!
Neal laughs. “Oh! Well at least Toni is letting us drive her Cadillac.” Neal replies.
“And a lovely car it is too.”
Neal drives the car out of the parking garage of the hotel and after a few blocks they reach the two lane highway that takes them to the beach.
“Neal what’s the problem?”
“I don’t know the steering is acting weird.”
“Pull over and I’ll take a look at it….” Steve replies. “Slow down there’s a place up there that’s wide enough….hey you went passed it!!!”
“No shit!!” Neal replies.
“Neal slow down!!!”
“I’m trying!!!” Neal replies as he fights with the steering wheel.
“Neal put on the brakes!!!”
“What do you think I’m trying to do!!!! We don’t have any brakes!!! The parking brake doesn’t work, nothing works!!!”
The two lane highway to the beach was a twisty-turny hilly affair with deep ravines on either side and they both knew from traveling this highway before, the closer they got to the beach the ravines turned into cliffs.
As Neal fought to keep the car at least on the road Steve braced himself against the dash of the car as it gained speed as it raced down the highway.
“What do you suggest we do?” Steve asks loudly as the landscape flew by at breakneck speed.
“Pray!” Neal yells back.
At this point on the highway there were guardrails signaling the fact the ravines now had turned into cliffs. In the early morning mist they could see the ocean off in the distance as the only thing Neal could do was hang onto the steering wheel.
“We have to abandon ship Steve!!!!” Neal yells.
Steve glances out of the window. “Are you insane!!! At this speed we’ll both be killed!”
“If we stay in here we’re both be killed anyway! Remember up ahead the road levels out, it’s flat!”
Steve slides into Neal as the car careens around a curve the tires squealing on the wet pavement.
“Yeah I remember but there is another curve up head….!!!!” Steve yells.
“I know and I don’t think we’re going to make it….”
At that moment the car instead of making that next curve goes straight across the two lanes and it gains even more speed as it heads towards the guardrail and just as it reaches the guardrail Steve grabs a hold of Neal’s right hand with his left hand and he keeps a tight hold on it and then with some unknown strength that he didn’t know that he had he uses his other hand to open the passenger door. The car sensing, in its own crazy way that it’s two passengers want to escape it tilts slightly to the right expelling them both, the open car door just barely misses Neal’s head as they both fall to the ground and roll away, both of them tangled up with each other.
The car now empty continues it’s roll to the right as it breaks thru the guardrail and with the sound of it’s dying in their ears Neal and Steve watch as the car, makes a lazily turn thru the air, a huge piece of metal suddenly graceful as it flies silently nose down to the beach 50 feet below. As they watch it makes contact with the beach and the sound is deafening as the weight of the car drives it deep into the ground, the impact sends shockwave up to where they are and then they cover their ears with the explosion that followed.
“Holy shit!!!” Steve exclaims breathlessly.
“You could say that again.”
“Holy shit!!” Steve says again.
“Are….are you alright?” Neal asks as he peers over the cliff.
“Yeah you?” Steve asks.
“I think so except for this crushing pain in my right hand.”
They both look down to Neal’s right hand where Steve’s left hand still has a very tight grip on it.
“Sorry.” Steve replies but he makes no attempt to let go.
“That’s okay.” Neal says as he glances down at his hand then back up at Steve.
“If it’s okay with you I….I want to hold on just a little longer, that is if it’s you know, okay.”
Before Neal can answer the huge, twisted wreckage that was once Toni’s Cadillac explodes again causing both of them to jump.
“You can hold my hand for as long as you want Steve.”
They watch the smoke billow up into the air for a few seconds then Steve says, “That was close.”
“That was too close.” Neal replies.
“We have to walk back to the….the hotel and call it in.” Steve points out.
“Yeah we sure do.” Neal agrees.
After a few minutes passes they are both still lying on the side of the road looking down at the car.
“Neal that was close.” Steve says again.
“Yeah that was too close.”
“Come on Neal let’s walk back to the….the hotel.” Steve says as he finally manages to get to his feet and he helps Neal to get to his shaky feet.
They start back up the highway now walking in the opposite direction on shaky legs.
“That wasn’t meant for us.” Neal says after a few minutes.
“They thought that Toni was going to be driving it.”
“Right and we’re undercover so we can’t ask too many questions if any.” Neal replies.
“Well then Adams and Hill will have to, we’re just point them in the right direction.”
“I don’t mind honestly I don’t I mean we just almost died back there, but you know it might look bad to other people, if you know what I mean.”
“What? Oh yeah!!!” Steve replies as he looks down. “Sorry.” Steve slowly opens his fingers that were interlaced with Neal’s and then he let’s go of Neal’s hand. “Neal….”
Neal then puts his arm around Steve’s shoulder as they walk along. “Better?”
“Yeah man yeah.”
They both walk in silence back to the hotel.
A FEW DAYS LATER BACK AT THE STUDIO:
“Alright Stephen these are the last photos we need of you. These are for the centerfold so take off the shorts….” The photographer says to Steve and he was just about to when he noticed movement in the background.
“Some….somebody else….here!!!!” Steve says in his character’s broken English as he points.
“No Stephen no one else is here!” The photographer says with just a trace of annoyance.
“Yes!!! Yes!!!” Steve points again.
The photographer drops the camera. “You’re his agent can’t you do something with him?” He shouts over his shoulder to Neal.
Neal walks over to Steve. “What’s the problemo?”
Steve points. “I thought I saw somebody back there!! Look! Look there it is again!!!” Steve whispers to Neal.
“Hey you we know you’re back there!!! Come out!!!!” Neal yells.
After a few seconds they see the janitor appear out of the shadows with a broom.
“What in the hell are you doing in here? Can’t you read you moron this is a closed set??” The photographer yells at him.
“Don’t bust my chops man I am just doing my job!!!” The janitor yells back at him.
“Go do it someplace else you dumb ass!!!” The photographer yells again.
“Hey man cool it!!” Neal yells at the photographer. “Sorry he’s a little high strung. Come back later alright?”
“Yeah sure.” The janitor says then as he leaves he looks over at Steve.
“Alright can we please do this again….what’s wrong now?” The photographer asks as Steve just stand there.
“I wish….to speak…to my….agent….how do you say….alone?”
Once again the photographer looks annoyed.
“Yeah man go and check on the sign and make sure it is still on the door.” Neal says to him.
“I beg your pardon! Do you know who you are talking to? I have photographed everybody from presidents to porn stars!!!! You can’t order me around like I was some….some janitor!!!”
Neal walks over to him with his hands on his hips. “Listen to me and listen good, I am the agent to the highest price model that has ever been on this magazine and I am sure that Ms. Toni would not appreciate you being an ass to her top model!!! So turn your little happy ass around Vivian….”
“The name is Virgil not Vivian!!!” The photographer protests.
“Whatever go and check on the damn sign!!!” Neal yells as he points then he watches as Virgil flounces off then he goes back to Steve.
“Okay what’s wrong?”
“That janitor is what’s wrong! I feel like I have seen him some place before he seems awfully familiar to me!!!”
“Well you should feel that way remember we saw a picture of his driver’s license photo.” Neal replies.
“Yes I know but I know I have seen him someplace before.” Steve replies.
“Yeah man don’t leave me alone with Vivian….”
“Whatever he gives me the creeps!! The way he looks at me it….it is like he is undressing me with his eyes!!!”
Neal smiles. “Steve you are already undressed.”
“True. Just don’t leave me alone with him okay?”
“You got it!” Neal replies then he whistles loudly for Virgil to return. “Alright Virgil let’s get this show on the road!”
THE ADONIS MAGAZINE WAREHOUSE AND DISTRIBUTION CENTER :
“Steve!!! Steve!!! Oh my god Steve what’s happened?” Toni yells as she runs to Steve who catches her in his arms.
“Toni calm down the fireman got to it in time.” Steve replies.
“They aren’t sure yet but they will know more when daylight gets here.” Neal replies.
“Thank goodness the real magazine with Antonio on it is housed someplace else.” Toni replies.
“Yes it is.” Steve agrees.
“Are you two sure I should go ahead with the party?”
“Yes Toni we think you should.” Neal replies.
“You told us that you always have a party to celebrate when the next issue comes out right?” Steve says.
“Yes I did but after you two were almost killed and now this it’s too risky!!! Something bad could happen.”
Steve looks over at Neal. “Well in a way we are hoping that might happen.”
“What? Are you two crazy?” Toni asks.
“Listen whoever is doing this has seen that he hasn’t succeeded….” Steve replies.
“Yeah and when he sees that you are going on as normal with the party we know that will compel him to try something else and when he does we will be there.” Neal replies.
“So don’t worry all of this will be over soon.” Steve replies as he smiles.
“Alright I trust you two I think I will have Michelle take me back to the hotel.”
“That’s a good idea you can’t do anything here.” Neal says.
“We will talk to you later okay?” Steve says.
Toni nods as Michelle walks her back to the car.
“I hope he does show at the party but it is invitation only and there will be a lot of people there.” Steve replies.
“True but not everybody comes thru the front door at a party.” Neal replies.
“Ah so true.”
“And we’re make it easy on him.” Neal replies as he winks.
“Right, hey I think the Battalion Chief is ready to talk to us now let’s go.” Steve replies.
“Yeah man let’s go.”
“Neal have you ever seen so many people in one place before?” Steve asks as they stand on the back patio.
“No I don’t think I have. You know this is really good what is it?” Neal asks as he takes a bite out of the cracker that he holds in his hand.
Steve smiles as he takes a sip of his
“Steve if I haven’t wanted to know then I wouldn’t have asked now would I?” Neal asks as he puts the rest of the cracker in his mouth then he goes back over to the table full of food that is set up on the patio for another one. “Do you want one?”
“I would love one.”
Neal takes the cracker and puts some more Caviar on it and he hands it to Steve who takes a bite out of it then Neal gets another one for himself. “So are you going to tell me what this is?”
“It’s Beluga Caviar.” Steve replies.
“Hmmm Caviar? What’s that?”
Steve smiles. “Neal it’s fish eggs.”
Neal looks closer at Steve. “It’s what?”
“Fish eggs? You mean like the fish that is swimming around in that fountain there?” Neal says as he points to the fountain.
“No Neal those are Koi they are very expensive Japanese fish.”
“They look like just big goldfish.” Neal replies.
“Well they aren’t trust me.”
“So this is really fish eggs?” Neal asks.
“Yes Neal it is really fish eggs.”
Neal coughs then he grabs Steve’s champagne glass and he drinks the rest of it.
“It’s like a $150 an ounce.”
“You’re kidding!” Neal exclaims.
“No.” Steve says as he laughs.
“Why in the world did you let me eat so much of it?”
“Why did I let you….?” Steve repeats.
“Guys I hate to interrupt but the guests are leaving and they would like to say goodbye to you Stephen.” Toni replies.
“Duty calls! How do I look?” Steve ask as he fluffs up his hair.
“Gorgeous as usual.” Neal replies.
Steve replies as he walks passed Toni and when Neal walks passed her he takes her arm. “Do fish eggs really cost $150 dollars an ounce?”
“What?” Toni asks as she laughs.
TWO HOURS LATER:
It was close to when everybody had left including Steve and Neal and after giving instructions to the cleaning staff to leave everything till the morning they too left. Toni climbed the stairs to the second floor and her bedroom where she got ready for bed and at close to one in the morning she climbed into bed and turned off the light.
From out of the wine cellar and thru the kitchen a dark, hooded figure makes his way through the house. Now he steals thru the dining room walking lightly as a cat thru the night, sure of his surroundings. As he passes thru the living room the only light is the glint of moonlight off of the blade of the large knife that he carries in his gloved hand. He makes his way thru the living room and out into the foyer and he climbs the stairs, ever mindful to avoid the places that he knows will giveaway his presence. He knows where her bedroom is located behind the numerous doors that line the hallway and once there he slowly reaches out and turns the doorknob and he lets the door slowly open and then he makes his way over to the bed where she sleeps.
As the moonlight shines thru the window he raises the knife over her and he brings it down and then before he knew what was happening a very, strong hand reached out and grabbed the hand holding the knife by the wrist. The person in the bed kicked off the covers and they grabbed the guy holding the knife around the waist using their legs and they flipped him over onto the bed. The person who was lying in the bed now was straddling the guy with the knife and as they struggled for control over the knife the guy manages to slash the nightgown of the person who was fighting him.
“Hey you jackass this negligee is real silk!!!” The unmistakable male voice yells.
Then suddenly the lights in the room come on. “Oh holy shit!!!!” The man exclaims when he sees that it isn’t Toni that is straddling him, as he had hoped, but Steve who was wearing a silk shorty nightgown and a long blonde wig.
“Who in the hell were you expecting Farrah Fawcett?” Steve replies and he uses the distraction to rip the knife from his hand then Steve balls up his fist and he hits the guy square in the face for all intense purposes knocking him out.
“Wow you hit hard for a girl.” Neal replies.
Steve crawls off of him and he crawls to the edge of the bed.
“I must say you don’t make a bad looking woman.” Neal laughs.
Steve takes off the wig and he throws it at him.
“Wow he got that nightgown good didn’t he?”
“Neal it‘s a silk negligee!” Steve replies as he takes it off.
“Excuse me! Okay let’s see who this guy is shall we?”
Neal reaches over and he pulls the stocking mask off of his head.
“Holy Mary! Neal look it’s the….”
“….Janitor!!!” They both say at the same time.
“Well this is certainly interesting.”
“Isn’t it though? Let me get dressed then we take him to the precinct.” Steve replies.
THE 9TH PRECINCT SQUAD ROOM TWO DAYS LATER:
“Well Steve don’t look now but I think you are famous.” Neal says as he points to the bulletin board where the centerfold of Steve from Adonis magazine is pinned up.
Steve looks around the room at the other Detectives sitting at their desks who try to hide their laughter but they are doing a bad job of it.
“Ha-ha-and ha!!! You guys really think you are funny but you know what you really are?” Steve asks as he jumps up into the nearest chair. “Jealous! G….E….A….”
Before Steve can get too much further Neal reaches up and he tugs on his jacket and Steve looks down at him. Neal motions for him to lean down so he can whisper in his ear.
“Really? Are you sure?” Steve asks.
“You….you guys are just jealous! J….E….A….L….O….U….S!!!!! JEALOUS!!!!” Steve exclaims as the other Detectives laugh. Steve gets down off of the chair then he goes over to the bulletin board and he pulls down the centerfold and he folds it up.
“It took a little while but he finally coughed up the truth.” Neal replies.
“Yeah no kidding. Okay let’s gets the facts down for the report.”
“Well first of all we got
his confession that he killed
“His story was certainly interesting as to motive.”
Neal consults his notes. “Way back when Toni and his father had an affair….”
“Yeah and he always blamed the death of his mother on Toni because he said a year or so later the stress of the divorce killed her. She had a stroke….”
“And he was still little and his father, because of Toni, wanted nothing to do with him because Toni didn’t want any reminders of his past relationship. So he was parceled off to relatives who were less than stellar….” Neal says.
“And Toni didn’t know that father and son had reconnected somewhat then his father died and he was under the impression that Toni killed his father for the insurance and not to mention the fact that she was in the Will….”
“And he knew that Toni would never remember what he looked like so he had no trouble getting that janitor’s job and he even legally changed his name so she wouldn’t know that it was him. Good old generic Larry Walker.” Steve replies.
“And he killed
“And she could have been, who knows, she has lied to us before.” Steve replies.
“And I finally got to talk
to the Detective in
“And Toni’s car was tampered with in the same way.” Steve points out.
“Oh yeah Larry confessed to doing that to Toni’s car as well, he wanted her to die just like his father did and in the same manner. He also started the fire at the warehouse.”
“Pretty scary.” Steve replies.
“At least he apologized for trying to kill us.” Neal says.
“Yeah he was real remorseful about almost hitting me with the car.”
“Nothing like a polite killer I must say.” Neal replies.
“And now we get this teletype from the NYPD.” Steve replies as he holds it up.
“Why is it always the beautiful ones Neal?” Steve asks.
“Good question. Let’s go partner.”
“Well Detectives this is certainly a surprise!!! Come in and have some ice tea!” Toni opens the door wider for them.
“No thanks Toni this isn’t a social visit.” Steve replies.
Toni looks disappointed. “Oh I see its business. Alright I have to sign some papers or perhaps go down to the station again?”
“Well Toni you are right you do have to come down to the station with us.” Neal replies.
“Unfortunately Toni when you get to the station you won’t be leaving right away.” Steve replies as he takes out his handcuffs.
Toni laughs. “What are you doing?”
“Toni Valerian you’re under arrest for murder.” Neal replies.
“Murder! You two are crazy! I was a victim here who did I kill?” Toni asks as Steve puts the handcuffs on her.
“Your husband back in
“My….my husband!!! That’s crazy!!! I didn’t kill my husband!!!!” Toni says as she struggles.
“That is not what
“Once again you have the right to remain silent and Toni I suggest you use it…anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law….you have the right to consult an attorney….” Steve says as he walks her out to the car and he helps her into the back seat.
Neal grabs the front door and he closes it behind him before he joins Steve at the car.
V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7
“Toni was certainly beautiful.” Steve replies.
“And certainly evil….” Neal points out. “Say cheese….” Neal says as he points a Polaroid camera at Steve and he takes a picture.
“Wow what is that?” Steve asks.
“It takes a picture instantly all you have to do is wait. And look Steve it’s you!” Neal says as he hands it to Steve.
“That is really impressive! It brings out my natural beauty….”
“I got this to take pictures of the baby. Here’s a picture I took of Ruby.”
Steve takes the picture. “Wow she is huge!! But she is still gorgeous….you are a lucky man.”
“Thanks Steve. You know at one time I thought about being a photographer myself.”
“Oh come on no you didn’t!”
“Oh yes I did but when I dropped and broke the Brownie camera my mom took it away from me.”
Steve laughs. “I thought so! I still can’t believe how much those male models got paid!”
“Where’s that portfolio anyway?”
“Oh I still have it, it’s at home and every now and then I pull it out for a good laugh.” Steve replies.
“Well I bet if Adonis magazine was still around I bet your life by now would be completely different!”
“You really think so Neal?” Steve asks.
“Well sure I mean I can see you modeling swimsuits for the Sears catalog….”
“In the boy’s section!!!” Neal says as he laughs. “Or maybe silk negligees in the women’s section!!”
“Shut up Neal!!!!”
“Now I wish I had a picture of you in that negligee thing I bet that would have been worth some money!!!”
“It was all in the line of duty and you know Neal I actually liked wearing that silk negligee….”
“What?” Neal replies with a shocked look.
“Oh yeah I mean it was soft and silky and felt really cool against….”
Neal gets up. “Okay, okay I don’t want to hear anymore!”
“Oh why not! Come on Neal don’t you want to hear about the pantyhose?” Steve replies as he goes after him.
“No I don’t!!!”
“Oh come on!!!” Steve says.
“No!!!!” Neal yells as Steve lets the office door close behind him as he chases him out to the hall.
©LAB and SRP & JRNY FANFICTION 2007 to 2008. 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. I have no permission from Steve Perry or/and the members of Journey to use their likenesses or names and this story is purely fiction and written solely for the love of things and people back in the day. No real rock stars were injured in the writing of these stories and I put them back when I am finish with them.