Blue lights and arc lights illuminated the crime scene. Three prowl cars parked in a semi-circle provided light. Slam stood behind crime scene tape with all the others. Patrolmen directed traffic and kept civilians and reporters at bay. Geeks on the sidewalks peddled merch. They sold cheap Batman t-shirts, cheap Batman capes, chunks of rusty metal claimed to be genuine bullets used in the murder that just happened. Slam smoked with steady hands. A half-pint of Ripple on the drive over steadied him.
FEATURE: A dead body on the pavement. A blue tarp covered him. Crime scene techs and plainclothes officers converged on the scene. He saw Homicide dicks and crime scene techs in windbreakers. He saw Charlie Fields in a sharp suit. Charlie was part of Slam and Jim's squad in Homicide. Charlie loved the Life; capital L, always with a capital L. Charlie loved being a cop and solving murders. Slam used to. Slam told boxing stories to criminals and criminals alike. Slam shadowboxed for effect. Slam used to be all about the Life. The Life turned on him. The Life chewed him up. It was still chewing him. Spitting him back out: TBA.
A crime scene tech was coming out of the scene. Red hair with flecks of gray in them. He carried a camera around his neck. Slam locked eyes. Jim Corrigan was as dirty as the day was long. Slam remembered him going through three different IAD investigations and not a single one touched him. The Teflon Crook. Corrigan was slicker than goose shit.
"Corrigan," he said as the man passed by. He flashed a roll of cash. "A few bucks for your time?"
Corrigan got stiff. Corrigan looked around to make sure the coast was clear.
"Slam fucking Bradley," Corrigan said softly. "Where the fuck does a smokehound like you get a wad like that?"
Slam laughed. "Fairy godmother. She's got redhair and weighs a hundred and twenty, apparently."
Corrigan led Slam to his car. The leaned against the hood. Corrigan bummed a cigarette off Slam and passed him his camera. Slam thumbed through the pix on the digital camera. Crime scene pix showed a dead body face down on the pavement. Shots got in close on the back of the head. Two shots, two entry wounds. No pix of the front because it would be fucking pulp. Slam saw stippling around the wounds. The killer got in close before pulling the trigger.
"Who was he?"
"Some drug dealer," said Corrigan. "Obviously, solving this one is a top priority on the homicide list."
Slam scrolled through the pix faster. Shell casings near the body ruled out a revolver as the primary weapon. Entry wounds looked like either a 9 MM or .40 were used as the murder weapon. It probably didn't matter. If it was a pro job, the gun was already down a storm drain on the other side of town somewhere. He liked reviewing the shots. Years since he flexed his murder police muscle. It felt good.
"What'd you know about Jim Gordon, Corrigan?"
Corrigan shrugged. "He has a mustache."
"No shit?" Slam pulled a couple of twenties out of his wad. "I'm talking about his so-called disappearance. Supposedly, he was hanging out with some shady people. C'mon, Corrigan, you know that's bullshit. This is Father Jim we're talking about."
Corrigan blew out smoke. "What can I say? America loves a fallen idol. It's very poetic."
Slam flicked his cigarette butt across the street and fumed. He pulled out more rolls of bills and laid them in Corrigan's lap.
"The Surveillance Squad is where the intel came from. They were the ones that placed him with the Bertinelli mob."
Goosebumps went up Slam's arm. The Surveillance Squad. His old unit. Chinatown. Two-Gun Grogan. Then: Shakedown artists and two-bit thugs. Now? Who knew what the fuck they were now.
"Can you get your hands on that report?"
Corrigan laughed. "Given my reputation, IAD would be all over me like flies on shit if I got anywhere close to this thing. They probably don't like me even here taking pictures, man. I me--"
"You're right, Officer Corrigan."
Slam and Corrigan turned. A tall, think black man in a three-piece stood close by. His head was shaved and he wore big, black frame glasses. Slam's face flushed and he balled his fists up.
"Mr. Bradley," he said with a grin. "It's been awhile."
"Go fuck yourself, Bock."
McKenzie Bock. IAD captain and all around shit-bird. It was his investigation that ended Slam's career. Once upon a time, it had taken six full-grown men to pull Slam off Bock and to pry his big mitts off the thin man's windpipe.
Bock picked lint from his suit. "You're a civilian now, Bradley. I could have you arrested for making threats to a sworn police officer, but I'll settle for your swift departure from the scene. This is a GCPD matter." Bock flashed a smirk and raised an eyebrow. "Where were you tonight, say around midnight?"
"Ask your mother." Slam grabbed his crotch. "She's my fucking alibi. Literally."
Bock's grin disappeared. He played with a phi beta kappa chain attached to his waistcoat.
"Get the fuck out of here, Bradley, before I get the patrolmen to toss you out. And Officer Corrigan, get back to fucking work."
Bock turned around and headed back to the crime scene. Slam flipped him off. Corrigan stubbed out his cigarette and shrugged at Slam. He followed Bock back to the scene. Slam shook his head. What was an IAD captain during here at this time of night on the scene of a two-bit drug murder? Fuck it, he thought. And fuck Bock. Not his problem anymore.
Slam lit up a fresh cigarette and beat tracks back to his car. He thought about Corrigan's words earlier. The Surveillance Squad had spread word about Jim's dirt. Corrigan said he couldn't get to them. That didn't mean Slam couldn't.