Wednesday, August 5, 2015
By Daniel Skye
PART FOUR: NADIA
Monday, November 3rd, 2008.
It wasn’t hard for Richie Carter to track down Dominic Cirico. In fact, Dominic was the one who tracked him down. He visited Richie’s office that very morning.
“I understand you’ve been inquiring about my brother,” Dominic said before he introduced himself.
“Who told you?”
“Dolph Hendricks. All it cost me was ten bucks and a bottle of whiskey.”
“Damn that Dolph,” Richie muttered. “Never trust a snitch.”
“Never mind Dolph,” Dominic said. “I’m not here about him. I’m here about Nico.”
“That’s funny, because I have a few questions for your brother.”
“Well you’ll have to ask me. My brother passed away a few months ago. It was an overdose. It was a tragedy, but one that I saw coming. My brother lived a reckless, carefree life.”
“Did your brother ever mention a girl named Nadia?”
“My brother had many girlfriends. I couldn’t keep track of them all. But Nadia doesn’t sound like one of them.”
“Did your brother like to hit women?”
Dominic lowered his head to the floor, appearing ashamed, embarrassed. “I can’t condone my brother’s actions or his temper, but he was my brother. I can’t speak ill of him.”
“That’s all I needed to hear.”
“May I ask what this is about?”
“The girl I’m referring to, she wasn’t just beaten. She was tortured. They mutilated her. Carved a fucking tic-tac-toe board into her back. Put cigarettes out on her tummy. Violated her. Then slit her throat from ear to fucking ear.”
“I don’t even want to think of such a thing,” Dominic said, wincing, shaking his head.
“Well, I have it all on tape.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“The girl’s murder, it’s all on tape. Some sicko filmed it. And Dolph was the one who pointed me in the direction of your brother. He mentioned his name and Mac Wilson.”
“Mac Wilson,” Dominic laughed. “I’d be surprised if he’s even still alive. He was a major speed freak with a total death wish.”
“That won’t stop me from looking for him or identifying the men on that tape.”
“Look, you obviously have a job to do here. And as repulsed as I am by my brother’s choice of lifestyle, I can’t bear to see his name tarnished. I need verification. For my own peace of mind. If what you’re saying is true, I want to know my brother wasn’t one of men on that tape you speak of. Whoever is paying you, I’ll double it if you can prove my brother’s innocence.”
“If your brother is truly innocent, I’ll find out,” Richie assured him.
“I understand you operate without a license and you don’t ask too many questions.”
“People who operate without a license usually don’t. They tend to accept the money and just shut the hell up about it. So without asking too many questions, where do I start looking?”
“If Mac Wilson is still kicking, you can try his old stomping grounds, Fairview. But before you look there, why don’t you try Fenton Meeks? He lives right here in Dorchester.”
“Fenton Meeks,” Richie repeated the name, jotting it down in his notepad. “What’s his deal? How does he figure into this?”
“Fenton is a pimp and a wannabe gangster. He even used to pimp out his old girlfriend. If I remember correctly, her name was Nadia. Can’t remember her last name. But it could be the Nadia you were referring to. I understand your fee is two hundred dollars a day plus expenses?”
Dominic removed five crisp hundred dollar bills from his wallet and crumpled them in Richie’s palm. “That should get you started.”
“Thanks,” Richie said, accepting the money with no qualms. “By the way, did you ever hear your brother mention someone named The Outsider?”
“The Outsider?” Dominic chuckled. “Nah, I’d definitely remember that. Sounds like the name of a professional wrestler. Good luck, detective. I hope when your investigation concludes, you’ll see my brother is clear of any wrongdoings.”
“We’ll see what I turn up,” Richie said, showing Dominic to the door. “Maybe we’ll both learn a few things about your brother that he didn’t want the world to know. But let’s hope that’s not the case.”
To find Fenton Meeks, Richie Carter visited the crummiest waterhole in Dorchester. Joker’s Pub.
The pub was a front for Meeks’ illicit activities, though the bartenders usually remained clueless to these events. Or at least they did a first-rate job of pretending.
The place had dim lighting and reeked of stale smoke. Dorchester was the only county in NY that hadn’t outlawed smoking in bars. The bartenders name was Mackenzie and Richie was her first customer of the day.
She was a young girl, just over twenty-one and she looked pretty as far as Richie could tell under those dim lights. Pretty enough that she didn’t need to be wasting her life away in a dump like this. She had sandy blonde hair and a trim, hourglass figure. She wore sparkling earrings in the shape of crescent moons and she had a tongue stud.
“What are you having?” she asked as Richie took a Lucky Strike from his pack and lit it.
“You got any Guinness?”
“Only in bottles.”
“Bottles are fine,” Richie assured her.
He paid for his beer and drank it slowly, finished his cigarette and then lit another. Then he did it smoothly, casually, removing twenty dollars from his pocket and sliding it to her end of the bar.
The girl looked at the money, genuinely confused. She was clearly not accustomed to getting tips of any magnitude. Not in this dump. For a second, she thought he had left it there by mistake.
“That’s for you,” Richie told her. “And there’s more where that came from. If you can tell me where to find Fenton Meeks.”
The girl paused momentarily. Then she cleared her throat and put on her best poker face. “I’m afraid Mr. Meeks is out of town. If you have a complaint, you could come back later and speak with the manager. He should be in around five or six o’clock.”
“I don’t want to talk to the manager. I want to talk to the owner. Now where is that gangster wannabe hiding?”
“I’m afraid Mr. Meeks is out of town,” the girl repeated, trying not to crack.
“You seem like a really nice girl, but you’re testing my patience. Where the fuck is Meeks?”
“He’s in the back office,” Mackenzie whispered.
“Thank you,” he said, leaving another thirty dollars on top of the bar. He barged into the back office and almost caught Meeks with his hand down his pants as he was browsing porn on his laptop.
“Who the fuck are you?” Meeks barked, slamming the screen of his laptop down. But the volume was still on and Richie could hear the panting and moaning of an unknown porn actress as the video continued to play on Meeks’ computer. It took Meeks a few embarrassing seconds to get the volume turned off and give Richie his full attention.
“I’m Richie Carter. Private detective. I’m currently working for the police. But they don’t know I’m here right now. And we can keep it that way. I just need to pick your brain for a couple of minutes.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard of you. The no good, chain-smoking, coke snorting, alcoholic with a failing detective agency.”
“Yup, that’s me in a nutshell. Except I don’t do cocaine anymore.”
“Oh, well whoopee for you.”
“In addition to working for the police, I’m also on the payroll of one Dominic Cirico. I believe you were acquainted with his brother.”
“Nico, that bastard,” Meeks muttered.
“So you did know Nico?”
“That son of a bitch was running girls behind my back. I trusted him. Brought him into my circle. And he stabbed me in the fucking back and tried to run me out of business. Not to mention the damage he did to Destiny. She’s my top shelf girl.”
“He beat the crap out of her. Fucked up her nose, her eyes. They were swollen shut. I had to cut him loose. He was a liability.”
“What about Nadia? Was she one of your top shelf girls?”
“Nadia?” Meeks acted surprised. “Never heard of her.”
“Meeks, you can spill it to me or you can spill it to the police. You want to know what I’ve seen? I’ve seen a video of a girl being tortured, maimed, and defiled. I watched them slice her throat to ribbons with a knife after they were done with her. I watched every sick, twisted, horrifying second of it and now I can’t get it out of my mind. I have reason to believe the girl on the tape might be Nadia. I need to find the men responsible for this. I need to put this case to rest. Now help me or you can explain this all to the cops.”
“Nadia Sanborn was my girl for a while. And yeah, I lent her out on occasion. She liked it. Hell, she’d do anything you asked her without thinking twice about it. That was Nadia. She was rashly impulsive.”
“How old was this girl?”
“When I knew her, she was twenty. But she always looked younger than she actually was. Looked like she was about fifteen or sixteen years old.”
“Christ, man…When was the last time you saw her?”
“A few years ago.”
“Was Nico in jail around that time?”
“He probably was. Nico was always in and out. But come to think of it, I remember him being around when Nadia was. And after she left me, he still used to hang around the bar or run girls for me, until I gave him the boot.”
“How long was that after Nadia left?”
“I don’t know, six, eight months maybe.”
“Do you know where I’d find Nadia Sanborn today if she were still alive? You know how to find her parents, get in touch with her family?”
“Nadia never talked about her parents. And when she eighty-sixed herself, I lost all contact with her. Never saw or heard from her again.”
“So she could in fact be dead?”
“Dead, alive, fuck if I know.”
“You don’t seem too broken up about the fact she might be dead.”
“Hey, she left me, man. Girls come and go. Nadia wasn’t a keeper. She wasn’t the kind of girl who could stay with one man for too long. Nadia enjoyed variety.”
“All right, that’s enough about Nadia. How about Mac Wilson?”
“I knew of him. Might have met him once or twice. We never exchanged any Valentine’s if that’s what you’re asking. Anything else, detective?”
“Yeah, what does The Outsider mean to you?”
“The Outsider? Isn’t that the name of a wrestler?”
Carter sighed. “That’ll be all for today, Meeks. You can get back to waxing your bishop now. But don’t even think about skipping town. I might just be back to see you again.”
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008.
The words of the preacher echoed through Garton’s mind, playing like an ominous melody stuck on a perpetual loop. Satan appears in many unassuming forms.
What had he meant by that? What was he implying? And why pay Garton thirty grand just to murder a harmless dragonfly?
Before he completed this task, he needed to know what he was truly getting himself into. It’s not every day that a pious man of God acquires the services of a notorious hit-man.
Using his limited available connections, Garton learned of the preacher’s full name: Kirk Warwick. Joined the church in 1978. Was arrested in 1968 for driving while intoxicated. Again in 1972 for disorderly conduct. And again in 1973 for assault and battery. He slapped an ex-girlfriend around and she decided to press charges.
Garton obtained all this information through Dolph Hendricks, a loquacious snitch whose preferred method of payment was booze. A case of tequila bought Zack all the information he needed. Dolph sang like a canary. He knew all about the preacher and his wicked ways. Kirk and Dolph’s father were close friends back in the 70’s and Dolph had heard all the stories.
Warwick partied, dabbled in drugs and alcohol, and was constantly in and out of trouble with the law. Then 1978 came around…and nothing. Warwick seemed to change his troubled ways overnight when he joined the church. But there was something about Warwick’s cold demeanor, something about his disconcerting speech that truly disturbed Garton.
And needless to say, Zack Garton was not a man who was easily disturbed.
Garton’s exchange with Dolph did lead to one potential source of information on the enigmatic preacher. Fenton Meeks.
“From what I heard, the preacher did a little business from time to time with Meeks. Don’t ask me what kind of business. They were both very hush-hush about it. But Meeks has his hands in everything. He runs drugs, guns, and girls. He owns Joker’s Pub, the Last Chance Saloon, and a nightclub called the Wild Horse. If you’re going to start somewhere, start at the pub. He has an office there, usually conducts business in the back.”
Garton thanked Dolph for the information and told him to enjoy the booze. He also assured him that if he ever snitched to the police about Garton or his profession, it would be “last call” for Dolph.
Saturday, August 1, 2015
By Daniel Skye
PART THREE: NOT FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION
Anthony stopped by after four o’clock as he promised, toting a VCR he’d commandeered from the station. Dorchester PD were in over their heads on this one and Anthony Carter was hoping his brother Richie and his unsavory connections could turn something up. They were looking for any information that could lead to potential suspects. But most of all, they were hoping to identify the girl on the tape.
Anthony gave his brother the tape and Richie invited him to stay for a while. It had been months since he’d seen his brother and he figured Anthony would be able to guide him through the tape. “I’ve seen it already,” Anthony said, shuddering at the very thought of the tape and its contents. “Once is enough to last me a lifetime.”
Anthony left, insisting it was best if Richie viewed the tape privately. And he soon understood why Anthony opted not to stick around.
Richie did have a television in his office, an old Sony from the nineties. It still worked, though it only picked up four or five channels. He hooked up the VCR, popped in the tape, and sat back in his desk chair, not knowing what to expect. Even if Anthony had braced him, it still wouldn’t have prepared him for what he was about to see.
Richie forced himself to watch the tape from beginning to end, observing the ghastly horror that unfolded over the course of three solid hours. Though Richie was fairly certain the tape had been edited, and the events he had witnessed did not transpire over the course of a few hours, but it was most likely filmed in the span of a few days.
The girl could’ve been eighteen. But she could’ve been fifteen or sixteen for all Carter knew. The footage was grainy and of poor quality, and Carter’s only conclusion was that the girl was young and clearly non-consenting.
In the video, the girl’s wrists and ankles were shackled to four separate bedposts. The room was dark and the footage was gritty, but it looked like the girl was being held in someone’s private den, possibly an attic or basement.
The tape cut in and out repeatedly, the girl appearing on her back in some shots, on her front in others. The girl had been stripped of her clothing and personal belongings, and was forced to lie there naked as the day she came into this world. This only augmented her state of vulnerability, and the sight of this helpless girl, humiliated and visibly terrified, made Carter’s stomach churn.
She cried, whimpered, begged, and pleaded with her four masked tormenters, who refused to grant her mercy. They took turns savagely beating, flogging, burning and cutting, violating, and maiming this poor girl in every way imaginable.
Richie’s job, and his time spent in state correctional facilities, helped him gain many shady, questionable connections throughout the years. Among these connections were known pornographers and purveyors of the underground fetish market. But Richie needed no consultation to verify the legitimacy of this tape.
There wasn’t a shred of doubt that lingered. This was no simulation. You can’t fake something that brutal, that intense.
This footage was clearly never intended for public consumption.
As for where the tape came from, that was a whole other story. And it was going to be a long few days for Richie Carter.
Richie felt funny about taking money from his brother, but he realized they were in a recession and in the end, money was money, no matter whose pocket it came from. Besides, it wasn’t like he was accepting charity. He was getting paid to do a job. And the horrors he’d witnessed earlier had given him all the motivation he needed to solve this case.
The money Anthony had left him was going to come in handy. Information isn’t always free. But if you need the scoop on all the latest dirt in Dorchester, look no further than Dolph Hendricks. Dolph was a virtual sleaze magnet with tons of seedy connections, and he had his hands in everything from drugs to pornography to the sale of unregistered firearms. It was a wonder he was still on the street. Though Dolph had seen his share of prison cells.
Richie used some of the money to buy a bottle of top shelf bourbon for Dolph. Dolph was a jailhouse stoolie who’d sell his own mother down the river for a nickel. But Dolph wouldn’t just snitch for money, he’d snitch for booze too. In fact, booze was his preferred method of payment.
As soon as his greasy fingers clasped that bottle of Kentucky bourbon, Dolph took a swig and started singing.
“I don’t know anything about no snuff film like you asked on the phone, but if you’re looking for guys that like to beat up on girls, I’ve got two names that come to mind–Mac Wilson and Nico Cirico. I did some time with them up in Riverhead. Shared a cell with Mac. In fact, Mac was there for solicitation and battery. Beat up a hooker if memory serves me correct.”
“So he’s got a track record of hitting women?”
“Not just him. Nico too. They used to brag about it all the time. Trade stories. It’s like they got off on it or something. Sick fucks, I tell ya.”
“Do you know where I could find either of them?”
“Try a phonebook, I guess. Nico got out before I did and Mac was still there when I left, but he’s probably out by now. Nico had a brother, but I can’t remember his name. Dan or Don or Dean or something like that. Oh man, this is gonna drive me crazy. What was his name? Dom. That’s it. Nico called him Dom. I guess that’s short for Dominic.”
“Excellent guess,” Richie said, jotting all the names down in his notepad.
“If I’m not mistaken, I think I overheard Nico saying once that his brother lived in Dorchester. Could be worth checking out.”
“Man, that Mac was a prick. Had a heart as cold as ice. Just being around him gave me the creeps.”
“Is that all you can remember? Was there anything they told you specifically? Anything about a girl they might have harmed together?”
“Like I said, the guy really hated women. That kind of talk was not uncommon. But like I also said, the guy was a prick. I only talked to him as much as I had to. Otherwise, I kept to myself.”
“Thanks,” Richie said, pocketing his notepad. He started to walk away when Dolph called out to him.
“Hey, I just remembered something.”
Richie walked back and took ten dollars from his pocket. “Keep your money,” Dolph said, taking another swig of bourbon. “This one is on the house. I remember Mac and Nico bragging about this girl they ‘did’ one time out in Fairview. Nadia. I don’t know what they meant by that, but it didn’t sound like pillow talk to me. I think they really hurt this girl. Maybe even killed her.”
“Nadia? You sure that was her name?”
“I’m positive,” Dolph said, shaking his head yes.
“You have a last name for the girl?”
“Afraid not. They never mentioned it.”
“It’s alright. You’ve given me more than enough to go on. Enjoy the hooch, Dolph. See you around.”
“Hey, there’s something else. Someone Mac used to talk about all the time. Someone he used to speak highly of. He never told me the guy’s name though. All he said was that the guy saved him. Nico knew him too. They called him The Outsider.”