Paige glanced down at the dash. Being a female and from Florida, she was accustomed to driving at a considerable clip above the speed limit. The car responded swiftly as she changed lanes and she was pleased with her choice of vehicle. “A couple weeks ago there was a big jazz party downtown,” She said, briefly glancing down at the time. “A woman was assaulted and drugged, probably not much older than you.” The BMW was considerably more luxurious than the Ford, but ironically lacked the center mounted GPS. She leaned forward to check her exit ramp before continuing, “Anyway, that normally wouldn't be a big deal, but as it turns out the perp has been on the lam since that night and local PD thinks he may have fled the city- that's where I come in.” She turned back onto a surface street, placing them in a high middle class area west of Riverside. “Fugitives are the primary job of us Marshals,” She said, “Personally, I think the little bastard is trying to get to Canada and he's still closeby. We’re going to see a few people that will help me find him here in the city.”
They entered a shopping and restaurant district and Paige turned off a nice tree-lined divided street into an expansive parking lot where various polished outlet chains were joined together in a neat line with a big box store on one end; sporting goods, shoes, electronics. It was typical Americana. Paige checked her phone and scanned the lot. “But first, we’re gonna pay back some of my student loans.” She said with a sly smile.
Siobhan started a bit with the drugged girl comment; her eyes zeroing in on Paige. She holds her breath and tenses and she looks out the window getting quiet and remembering the past. A tense silence filled the car as Paige informed her of what exactly was going on, her job and some sketchy details of the perp. Siobhan nodded tensely ‘uh-hum’ing what Paige said.
As Paige turned off and checked her cell. Siobhan said emotionlessly still looking out the window. “Glad you have it figured out better than some. I hope you get him before he gets away. It’ll only get worse and more people will get hurt if he gets away. My best friend in boarding school killed herself because she was raped. Genny’s rapist was found, eventually. Consequently it was after ‘Portrait of Genny’ became so well known. That was the hard part. He was...well I thought he was, a good friend.”
Siobhan grimaced as if the word friend was something rotten that she has smelled. Her reflection was pained and she quickly wiped the expression off her face.
Turning back to Paige Siobhan smiled but it didn’t reach her eyes. “So same age as me huh? Am I bait or something? If I am I trust you. I figure a Marshal knows what they’re doing.”
Siobhan raises an eyebrow waiting for a response as she looks over at Paige.
“I always get them,” Paige said with a stern confidence, “One way or another.” She continued around the lot. Her glance narrowed slightly when she spotted a lone car, a clean, but old Crown Victoria sitting in the shade, not too far to be out of the way and not too close to be conspicuous. The windows were tinted solid black. “And you don’t have to worry about that,” She said in response to Sio’s concern. “Just sit tight and enjoy the show.” Paige pulled up behind the car and flashed her lights: Two short flashes and two long. She quickly checked her phone and dropped her badge in the cup holder before taking her pistol out and tucking it behind her back. She flipped her sweater back down and hopped out of the car.
Her contacts were clear about the instructions and both stories matched up perfectly. One contact she knew she could trust. The other was yet to be determined which was why she was testing him. The joint taskforce had put a serious damper on Sol City’s underground drug trade in only a week’s time and the criminal elements had responded by going back to the most tried and true methods of conducting business; one of which was hiding in plain sight. Deals conducted during the day had the benefit of appearing completely genuine and the sheer boldness of it was what was unexpected. Two or more people standing by a car and talking in front of a Sears or a Barnes & Noble looked completely natural in broad daylight.
This particular hombre, a mid to high-level street dealer for Delossantos specialized in selling his product to the more polished and discreet members of Sol City’s drug users, those that indulged in their habits within the confines of gated communities and high-rise apartment complexes. What interested Paige was his distant, yet blood related connection to Margaret Delossantos. She had posted his bail the last time he was hauled away and when he failed to make his court date the bulletins went out among the bond agents and SCPD for his return. There was a hefty sum offered in exchange for his return, which ordinarily, Paige would not have been allowed to claim as a Federal officer, but if she were to arrange with a certain bounty hunter an agreement to split the reward in exchange for helping track down said fugitive of the courts then that was a bit of a gray area.
Looking at the car as she approached, it ironically appeared to be a long retired police cruiser with polished chrome wheels and what looked like a new pearl paint job. The window came down partially before she had a chance to knock. “Hola, seniorita
,” A male voice spoke from inside the car. The man’s eyes followed the top of the glass looking Paige over until the window disappeared into the track. His look wasn’t one of suspicion or apprehension. It was pure lust
. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, lanky with short cut hair and a tattoo on his neck that looked like a kiss from heavy lipstick. “Tell me what I can do for you
.” He said in Spanish.
Paige smirked and leaned down, putting her hand on the window frame. “Show me what you can do
,” She replied back also in Spanish. Being from middle Florida, her Spanish was perfect and carried a touch of Columbian. She could tell he was digging it and noticed him angling for a look at Sio in the side mirror. “My girlfriend and I heard about you from a friend
.” She said drawing his attention back.
The prospect of a second female excited him even more and he leaned forward slightly to look in the side mirror at the BMW trying to get a clear glimpse at Sio, “I got just the thing…” He turned to flip a custom made panel out of the passenger seat and retrieve a colorful cocktail of pills prepared in a small plastic bag. His grin was wide, but sunk immediately when he turned back to find himself staring down the barrel of Paige’s pistol. “Ah, shit.” He spat. There was no longer any Spanish.
“Get out.” Paige said flatly.
“Mine’s bigger,” He said nodding down at his left leg. He had a partially drawn large barrel revolver, “Big enough to put hole through this door and you with it.”
Paige glanced down, “Think you can point that cannon before I put hole in your head?”
“You a cop, right?” He said, “I know you’re not gonna shoot me.”
“You sure I’m a cop?” Paige replied. Her hand didn’t move and she continued to look straight down the barrel of her gun into his eyes.
“Bitch, I been around, I know the game,” He smiled. “Besides, you think I never had a gun pointed at me?”
Paige tilted her head slightly, almost playfully, “No,” She said, “but this could be the last.”
“You not gonna do sh---“ He was cut off as Paige’s hand moved swiftly and fired a round directly into the steering wheel causing the airbag to deploy. The shock of the gunshot and instantaneous deployment of the bag caused him to let out an animal like yelp of surprise.
Paige flung the door open and threw the man on the ground. Completely disoriented, he hit the pavement without even an attempt to protect his face. His chrome plated revolver spilled out with him and she immediately kicked it away. She looked around making sure the noise hadn’t drawn any unwanted attention and retrieved a small set of handcuffs from her back pocket. As the man groaned in pain and confusion she swiftly kicked him squarely between the legs with enough force to retract his manhood for more than a few weeks. He howled and began to go into dry-heaves as his body searched in futility for ways to deal with the myriad of pains inflicted upon it. “You…” He coughed, “crazy… bitch!”
Cuffing one hand and clipping the other to one of his car’s expensive wheels, Paige took out her phone and sent a quick text. She brushed her hair back and gave Sio a thumbs up and a smile.
A black, unmarked van turned off and made its way down the street, entering the lot where Paige currently waited. She deftly busied herself with her charge's very large caliber revolver. Dumping the shells she twirled it in one hand wild-west style and visualized sliding it into a holster on her side.
"My... damn... gun... bitch" The man grumbled.
"Shut up or I'll put you in the trunk." She said rolling the gun in her hand with a bit of curiosity. It was surprisingly balanced. Seeing the van approach, she flipped it over quickly scanning for any mark of modification. Her eyes widened slightly and she shot a glance of pure death over at the crumpled man chained to his car. Being doubled over on the ground, he never saw it. She put the gun on the hood as the brakes of the van squeaked lightly to a stop. A man and a woman got out.
"Good morning, Paige." The woman said crisply, "Or is it afternoon now?" She glanced down looking for a watch she wasn't wearing then looked up at the man who had inched his way into a half-slump against the tire. "Time to go, Victor." She said. "AJ, would you, please."
"Mornin'" Paige said returning the greeting not intending to sound as Southern as the word came out. She handed the cuff keys to AJ, who could have easily passed as a lineman for the Angels. When she first arrived in Sol, Paige made it a point to get in contact with the best bounty hunter the city had to offer. The duo of Sharon Wren and her partner, AJ were at the top of everyone's list. They hit it off over emails and a few calls, but had never actually met in person.
Sharon, about eight years older than Paige had a slightly weathered look about her and was all business. She watched AJ haul their bounty into the back of the van before handing Paige a thick, white envelope. "It's been a pleasure, my dear, keep in touch."
Paige accepted the envelope with a light nod and watched them drive away. Her cordial smile faded as she went back and retrieved the revolver.
"We have another stop to make now," She said. Her tone was more grave than any other time the whole day. "If you think you're up for it." @RoccanIronclad