Friday, October 23, 2015
By Daniel Skye
PART EIGHT: THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT…
Thursday, November 6th, 2008.
The Blue Parrot, Bar and Motel.
Richie Carter had to call Mac Wilson’s suicide in to his brother. This was something he could not walk away from. Walking away from Dolph Hendricks murder was one thing.
Dolph was an ex-con, a prison snitch. In fact, he was a stoolie inside and out of prison. He made his fair share of enemies over the years. And technically, Richie didn’t kill him. Zack Garton pulled the trigger. But Richie couldn’t let his brother find out. He couldn’t have his brother knowing he was working with Garton at all.
And Dolph Hendricks wasn’t a major suspect in their investigation. Mac Wilson was. And Richie couldn’t hide the fact that he’d been to the Blue Parrot. The desk clerk had seen his face. He had asked her what room Wilson was in. He even insinuated he was with the police, which wasn’t necessarily a lie. But the clerk could still identify him when the real police showed up. No sense in running, especially when he had nothing to hide, aside from his connection with Garton.
Anthony Carter didn’t appreciate the wakeup call. But when Richie told him the news, he was on his way before Richie could even hang up the phone.
“So, a few minutes in your company and Mac Wilson offs himself,” Anthony said as the coroner did his work in room twelve. “You really have a way with people. What’d you say to make him pull the trigger?”
“I never had a chance to ask him anything. As soon as I mentioned Nadia, Nico, and Fenton, he turned the gun on himself. But he confessed to hiring Jacob Price to try and kill me. That’s it. Any secrets about Nico, Fenton, Nadia, or anyone else who was involved, he’s taking it to his grave.”
“What happened to your face?” Anthony inquired.
“Occupational hazard,” Richie said. He knew Anthony would ask about the bandage. Luckily, the wound was mainly superficial. Didn’t even require stitches. A bullet from Dolph Hendricks gun had grazed his cheek. But withholding that detail from Anthony was mandatory. Richie was on to something big here and the less Anthony knew, the safer he’d be.
“Anything I should know about?”
“Doesn’t concern you. It’s unrelated.”
“If you say so.”
“Have you got anything new for me?”
“I was going to ask you the same question.”
“You talked to Mackenzie, right?”
“Yeah, I talked to your friend down at the pub,” Anthony nodded. “I must applaud you. Some job you did getting her to come forward like that. But I only know what you know. We know the girl on the tape is Nadia Sanborn. We know she’s dead. We know Mac Wilson was one of the four men who had a role in her death. Any guesses as to who the other three men are?”
“Technically, there were five men. The four men who were on camera, the ones that wore masks. And the man who was holding the camera.”
“And how are we supposed to find out now that Wilson eighty-sixed himself?”
“I’m working on it,” Richie said. “I’m almost positive Nico was one of the men on that tape. Not much good that does us, seeing as how he’s dead too. And Meeks definitely knew who was on that tape. I think that’s why somebody killed him. They didn’t want Meeks spilling his guts to us. And whoever it was that killed Meeks, it wasn’t Wilson. They’re still out there.”
Anthony wrapped things up as the coroner ruled that the case was indeed a suicide. Richie asked him for a lift, told him his car was in the shop.
“Again?” Anthony chuckled. “Junk that piece of crud already.”
“Just take me back to my office. I have to get in touch with some sources. See what I can find out about that tape.”
“Well don’t bother checking in with Dolph Hendricks,” Anthony said. “Somebody punched his ticket last night behind Jack’s Liquor Mart. The boys think it was drug related. They’re not too eager to look into it.”
“Poor guy,” Richie said, feigning compassion.
“Oh one last thing I should mention. Your buddy, Dominic and his brother Nico–they’re mobbed up. It took me a while to remember the name. The Cirico’s were before my time. The father retired, stepped aside. But I assume the family still has their connections. Maybe it’s worth looking into.”
“Maybe,” Richie said, as another piece of the puzzle fell right into his lap.
* * *
Dominic Cirico had done well for himself. He had more money than Zack Garton did, that was for sure.
The steps of the veranda led to the front entrance of Dominic’s two-story palace, which opened to a long, narrow vestibule.
Garton crossed the threshold of the vestibule and stepped into the massive foyer. He knew Dominic was alone. There was only one car–a Mercedes–parked in the driveway.
But Garton still tiptoed through the foyer, careful not to make a sound. He stopped briefly to admire the extravagant living room.
Shag carpets, suede couches, and a flat-screen television as big as a theater screen. Priceless sculptures and stunning works of art adorned the room. Garton didn’t recognize any of the paintings or the artists, but he was willing to bet Dominic didn’t have a clue, either. People like Dominic didn’t buy art because they appreciated it. They bought art to flaunt their wealth.
More impressive was the kitchen. Granite countertops and marble tiles. Not faux marble, either. Garton could tell it was the real thing.
He made himself at home in the kitchen and waited patiently, silently. He heard Dominic’s alarm clock go off at nine o’clock. He hit the snooze button once and got up around 9:15.
Shuffling into the kitchen in his robe and slippers, the first thing he saw was Garton seated at the table, 9mm Luger in hand.
“Morning, Hef,” Garton mocked him.
“Zack Garton, I presume,” Dominic said, taking a seat at the other end of the table.
“How do you know my name?”
“Who do you think put you in touch with Kirk Warwick? Who else in Dorchester has those kinds of connections?”
“I never did business with the Cirico family,” Garton stated.
“Yes, that’s true. You never even met my father. But you did business with the Westfield crew, and so have I. I understand Mr. Warwick paid you a large sum of money to do a job. Has it been done?”
“It has not.”
“Might I ask why?”
“Call it professional curiosity. I like to know who the fuck it is I’m really working for before I conduct business.”
“Is my word not enough?”
“We’re about to find out. I’m going to ask you a series to questions. Answer them honestly, you might walk away from this.”
Dominic tensed up. “Go ahead,” his voice quivering.
“Did you know a girl named Nadia Sanborn?”
“Yes,” Dominic’s head shook.
“Did you know your brother’s pal, Mac Wilson?”
“Did Mac and Nico kill Nadia Sanborn?”
“Yes,” Dominic said, ashamed to admit it.
“Did you help them?”
Dominic paused, biting his lower lip. His eyes were looking down at the floor, not at Garton. “Yes,” Dominic sighed. “I didn’t think they’d go through with it. I thought we were just going to have a little fun with Nadia and go our separate ways. But things got out of hand. There was a video camera. And Wilson knew the kind of money a film like this could bring. Genuine snuff films are a rarity. And the sickos that buy them will pay top dollar.”
“Was Fenton Meeks on that tape?”
“No. Fenton lent Nadia out for the weekend. He wasn’t involved in the act itself. But he had a copy of the tape. He actually requested one. Sick fuck.”
“Look who’s talking.”
“I have to live with what I did every day. Fenton doesn’t.”
“Did you kill Fenton Meeks?”
“No. It wasn’t even my idea. Todd Reynolds did the job. He runs with the Westfield crew. But he was only following orders. I paid him to do it. But it was Warwick’s idea.”
“What’s the connection with Warwick? How did he know Wilson and your brother, Nico?”
“They all met through Meeks. They shared common interests, mainly abusing women.”
“Satan appears in many unassuming forms. That message was left in Meeks’ office.”
“Warwick’s touch, not mine. He has a way with words. He asked me to pass it along to Todd when he did the job. He wanted to put a scare into the police, into that private detective that’s been trying to link that damn tape to my brother.”
“Speaking of Richie Carter, you know who hired Dolph Hendricks to try and kill us?”
“I hired Dolph to do what Mac Wilson failed to do and kill Richie Carter. I can’t be responsible for you or anyone else who gets in the way.”
“Fair enough. Now tell me who else was on that tape.”
“You already know the answer to that.”
“Give the man a prize.”
“That doesn’t explain who was holding the camera.”
“Now that, I can’t tell you.”
“I’m afraid there’s only one alternative,” Garton said, waving his gun.
Dominic looked away from Garton. He didn’t want to give it away, but he had an ace up his sleeve. He was packing heat too.
Dominic slipped the pistol from his robe and fired two shots. The bullets were embedded in the wall behind Garton, missing him by mere inches.
Before Garton could return fire, Dominic was scrambling for the front door. By the time Garton caught up to him, Dominic was peeling out of the driveway in his shiny Mercedes.
“Son of a bitch,” Garton muttered. “I better get to Warwick before he does.”
To Be Continued
Friday, October 16, 2015
By Daniel Skye
PART SEVEN: DEVIL IN THE FLESH
“Whoever did that to Fenton Meeks was one sick mother trucker,” Anthony Carter told his brother outside of Joker’s Pub.
“One of these days, I’m going to get you to actually curse,” Richie told him as he lit a cigarette and looked over at Mackenzie.
She was a beautiful young woman with sandy blonde hair and a slim, hourglass figure. The sunlight beamed off her silver, crescent shaped earrings.
Richie saw her wiping tears from her eyes and he walked over to console her.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” was all he could think to say.
“He wasn’t a great man,” Mackenzie admitted. “In fact, he was terrible. But nobody deserves that. Nobody. It reminds me of…never mind.”
“Help us, Mackenzie. Who did this?”
“I honestly don’t know. Whoever it was, they must’ve had a key and used the backdoor. I had one customer all day and I saw them leave myself. They never even went to the bathroom. And they never went near the back office. I swear.”
“Okay, I believe you. But you’re hiding something. I can tell. If I find out it’s related to Mac Wilson, you’re going to be in serious trouble.”
“Mac Wilson? That creep can rot in hell.”
“Do you know where I can find him?”
“God, no. If I did, I’d tell you. What’s this all about? You think Mac had something to do with Fenton’s murder?”
“Possibly. It’s all connected to a tape someone turned in to the police. A young girl, we think her name was Nadia Sanborn, was butchered on that tape. Mac might’ve been one of the men who killed her. We’re not sure.”
“The tape…” Mackenzie said, appearing faint.
“What do you know about it, Mackenzie? You can tell it to me, or you can explain it to my brother Anthony and the rest of the police.”
“It wasn’t supposed to go down like that. Or maybe he planned it all along. I don’t know…I didn’t think he’d go that far.”
“What are you saying?”
“Fenton lent Nadia out to some people for the weekend, not too long before Mac got sent to prison. Mac was one of them. This was back when Fenton and Nadia were an item. Fenton’s never been shy about lending his girls out. I don’t know who else was involved. I’ve never seen the whole tape. I walked in the back office one day and Fenton and Mac were sitting there watching it…the things they did to that poor girl. I’ve been dying to tell someone. But Fenton swore me to secrecy. He could be very persuasive when he wanted to be. And he knew a lot of really dangerous people. Some people, you just don’t cross. But with Fenton gone, I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m glad I cleared my conscience. And I hope this helps you find Nadia’s killers. She deserved better than that.”
“That’s everything you know?”
“And you’d be willing to testify against Wilson in court if necessary?”
“Yes. I owe Nadia that much. We weren’t friends, but I can’t believe I held back for so long. I should have come forward sooner. I’m ashamed of myself.” She started sobbing again.
“It’s okay,” Richie assured her. “You did the right thing. You have no idea what a help you’ve been.”
* * *
Richie was a little late in meeting Garton behind the Jack’s Liquor Mart. But Garton was a patient man. You had to be in his line of work. He was still waiting there when Richie pulled up in his rusty Oldsmobile.
“I’ve got confirmation,” Richie told Garton as he stepped out of the vehicle. “It’s Mac Wilson on that tape. I don’t know who the other three men were, or who was holding the camera. But Mac is going to help us fill in the blanks. As soon as we find him.”
“We’re looking for the wrong man,” Garton told him. “We know my latest employer had a connection with Mac and Nico and Fenton. If we’re going to find Wilson, we should start with him.”
“You know where he lives?”
“He owns a small farmhouse not too far from here.”
The bullet ripped through the air and just grazed Carter’s cheek. He stumbled back, regained his balance, and drew his Colt .45, taking cover on the driver side of his Oldsmobile. Garton crouched alongside him, 9mm Luger in hand.
“Where’s it coming from?” Garton asked.
“No clue,” Richie said, pressing one hand against his cheek.
A second gunshot rang out and shattered his back windshield. A third shot ripped off the side view mirror on the passenger side.
The shots seemed to be coming from the alley behind Jack’s. Garton returned fire and heard a loud thud emanate from behind a dumpster. The shots ceased and after some time had passed, Garton wandered over to the adjacent alley.
Slumped over beside the dumpster was Dolph Hendricks. There was a pistol beside him, but he no longer possessed the capability to use it. Garton’s shots had blown off several of his fingers. Another bullet had pierced his lung.
Dolph, choking on his own blood, reached out for help with his one good hand.
“Sorry, old friend, but you crossed the line.” Garton fired one deafening shot that echoed through the parking lot to finish the job.
“We have to go, now,” Garton said, walking back towards Richie.
“Well, we can’t take my car. It looks like it’s been in a shootout.”
“It has. But we can’t leave it here for your brother and his pals to find.”
“Fuck, you’re right. Okay, follow me out of here. I know a place.”
* * *
Richie had a buddy who ran a parking garage. And for the right amount of cash, he wouldn’t ask any questions or say anything to the police. That’s where Richie stashed his Oldsmobile and tended to his wound.
He had surveyed the damage in his rearview mirror when he parked his car in the back of the garage. There was minor tissue damage, possibly some permanent scarring. But the wound was mainly superficial and had already stopped bleeding.
Could’ve been a lot worse, Richie thought as he cleaned the wound and patched it with a bandage he took from the medical emergency kit under his seat. Then he left his car behind, paid the fee, and met back up with Garton outside.
“Why would Dolph try to kill us?” Richie asked, now riding shotgun in Garton’s car.
“The question isn’t why. The question is who put him up to it.”
“I’ll bet you dollars to donuts it was Mac Wilson who paid him off. I’d venture a guess he paid Jacob Price off too. Good help is apparently hard to find these days.”
“You want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
“Where are we heading?”
“We’re going to pay Kirk Warwick a little visit.”
Richie’s phone rang. He checked it, expecting it to be Anthony. But it was Dominic Cirico, calling for an update.
“What’s the latest news?” Dominic asked. “Have you cleared my brother’s name?”
“Afraid not. But I have confirmation. The girl on the tape was Nadia Sanborn. And I have it on good authority that Mac Wilson was one of the men on that tape. I hate to say it, but it’s likely that Nico was involved in this. I’ll have more for you soon. I’m going to see a man who knew Wilson and your brother.”
“Kirk Warwick. Name ring any bells?”
“Nope,” Dominic gulped. “Can’t say that it does. Call me when you have more information.”
Dominic ended their conversation rather abruptly. But Carter didn’t think anything of it. He didn’t even put two and two together when Dominic called him back not too long after and told him he had a line on Wilson’s whereabouts.
The Blue Parrot, Dominic had told him. He said Wilson had called and tried to ask for money. And he warned Richie he was most likely armed.
* * *
As soon as Dominic hung up with Richie after the first call, he dialed Warwick’s number. It took him a few rings to reach the phone, but Warwick eventually answered.
“He’s coming to see you,” Dominic warned him.
“The private detective I told you about. The one who found the tape. I paid him to find out if Nico was really on it to cover our tracks. I never expected him to make it this far. Mac was supposed to take care of him back in Fairview. Instead he hired some greasy amateur to do the job.”
“Well, Mac is clearly a liability,” Warwick pointed out. “This needs to end here. No one can find out the truth. Tell him where Mac is hiding. Either Mac will kill him or he’ll kill Mac. One way or another, our asses are covered.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive. It’s him or us, kid.”
“Alright, I’ll call him back in a little bit. Don’t want him to suspect anything.”
“Have your people heard anything from Garton? Has it been destroyed?”
“Garton is MIA. Don’t know where he is. But I’ll look into it.”
“Dom, we can’t fuck around here. You don’t know what this thing is. What it’s capable of.”
* * *
The Blue Parrot was a bar-slash-motel on the other side of town. It offered the cheapest rates around. So it came as no surprise to Carter that Mac was holed up there.
“I should’ve thought to check this place first,” Carter said as they pulled up to the front office.
The Blue Parrot was another of the late Fenton Meeks’ establishments. It was all o to come together now. Carter even wondered if Meeks was one of the four men on that tape. Is that why someone had silenced him?
They visited the front office. It wasn’t hard to convince the desk clerk to give up Wilson. All Richie had to do was flash the mini police badge his brother had given him. It wasn’t a real badge. Just a souvenir that was pinned to the inside of his wallet. But it looked authentic enough to pass at a cursory glance. The clerk was young, naïve, and she didn’t want any trouble.
“Room twelve,” she told them.
“Gracias,” Carter said. Garton tipped his invisible cap to her and winked in her direction as they walked out.
Room twelve was a stone’s throw away from the front office. So before they made their move, Richie wanted to talk strategy.
“So how are we going to do this?” Carter asked.
“I’m going to kick the door in, point my gun at his head, and he’s going to tell us everything we want to know. Or I’m going to beat it out of him.”
“Good plan,” he nodded and watched Garton work his magic.
He kicked the door to splinters and busted in, 9mm Luger in hand. Wilson was sprawled out on the bed, half dressed, flipping through the pages of a porno magazine.
He glanced at the nightstand, where his gun was. “Don’t even think about it,” Garton shook his head.
“What do you want?” Mac asked.
“I want to know about Kirk Warwick.”
“And I want to know why two people tried to kill me,” Richie said as he walked in. He had removed his Colt .45 from his holster for good measure.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Jacob Price and Dolph Hendricks. You know them?”
“Alright. I hired Jacob Price to kill you. It was a good idea in theory, but a mistake on my part. I don’t know anything about Dolph though. I mean, I know him, but I don’t know what you’re talking about there.”
“Sure,” Richie said, rolling his eyes. “Look, somebody found your little home video. We know it was you and Nadia Sanborn on that tape. We just want to know who else was on that tape with you.”
“Blow me,” Wilson said. “That whore got what she deserved.”
Carter turned briefly and noticed that Garton had vanished. He slipped out when Carter was preoccupied with Wilson.
But he returned momentarily, carrying the jar under his arm. He held it up for Wilson to see. Even as a hit-man, Garton had never seen that look of sheer terror that Wilson displayed when he saw the dragonfly.
“Get that thing away from me!” Wilson shouted.
“What is it?” Garton was right in his face. “What is it about this thing that Warwick fears so much?”
“Warwick fears nothing. He’s a great man. I was on a path of self-destruction and he pulled me from the fire, taught me to value my existence.”
“Did he teach you how to rape and torture helpless women?” Richie inquired.
“I won’t let you disparage his name in my presence. Warwick taught me to believe again. I’ve seen the darkness, and I’d rather bask in the light. I’ve kept a low profile since I got out of prison. And I don’t plan on ever going back.”
“I don’t see any alternative,” Richie said.
“Enough about saviors and being born again. I want the truth about Warwick, about the dragonfly. What is it about this insignificant creature that rattles his cage?”
“It’s the devil!” Wilson proclaimed. “It’s the devil in the flesh. A demon spawned from the depths of hell. It’s the collector of impure souls. Satan appears in many unassuming forms.”
“I’ve heard that line before,” Garton said.
“So have I,” Richie said. “It was written above the door of Fenton Meeks’ office, in blood.”
“Fenton Meeks is dead?” Wilson asked, sounding surprised.
“I’m sure you don’t know anything about that, either.”
“I don’t. I swear, man. I don’t know what the fuck is going on here anymore.”
“Maybe this will help you remember,” Garton said, preparing to unscrew the perforated lid of the jar.
Wilson shook his head defiantly. “I’d rather die,” he muttered. He reached for the gun on the nightstand, but Garton refused to fire. He wanted Wilson alive. And so did Richie. He had to know the truth. He had to know who else was involved.
Wilson grabbed the gun, jammed it in his own mouth, and pulled the trigger. He did it so fast they never had a chance to stop him.
“Another one bites the dust,” Garton sighed.
“I don’t get it…if Wilson didn’t hire Dolph to kill us, who did? And who killed Meeks?”
“Who was that friend of yours that tipped you off?”
“Dominic Cirico. He’s Nico’s brother.”
“Then he probably knows a lot more than he told you. This isn’t over yet.”
“I have to call this in. Wilson turns up dead and my brother finds out, he’s going to wonder what happened. Don’t worry, as far as I’m concerned, you were never here.”
“But your car–”
“I’ll tell him it’s in the shop. Now go. I’ve got this. How do I reach you later?”
“You won’t. I’ll find you. Right after I have a chat with Dominic Cirico.”
To Be Continued