One

I’m on the patio with a beer and lovely Zoe C. Elle is tinkering with algorithms, Natalie is in Miami meeting a potential investor and buying a high end specialty jewelry company. The jewelry starts at ten thousand and can go stratospheric after that. Customers present themselves online and discuss what they want with one of the company reps. What they want is frequently not what they need, rings too big and gaudy, clunky necklaces, even eyeglass frames completely unsuited to their facial structure and coloring. The two women that own it have razor sharp eyes for what will work versus what looks trashy. They don’t care that the customer is rich, their attitude is, we know what works for you, go with it or go away.
Many of their customers, pampered women who have never heard ‘no’,  huff and screech. After they settle, Marsha, one of the owners explains point blank, ‘Our taste is better than your taste, and we won’t make gaudy shit just to suck money out of you. You want crap, go to Tiffany’s, they’ll sell you all the gaudy absurd you can stand.’
The get away with it because the company has the capacity to design the jewelry and display it on the customers wrist, finger, neck or ankle without actually making the pieces, a virtual piece displays on the customers body as if it were real. After that, it’s a snap to get the order. And the best part, every piece is unique to the customer. Rich people love that shit and the markups are death defying. More appealing to the entitled is the fact that it’s at least three months before the piece is delivered. In fact, the stuff is made in a week or less, it’s all in the anticipation.
The three children come scrambling up the hill. Our house two thirds of the way up the mountain, situated backwards on purpose. The front faces the mountain, the back, where the living area, kitchen, patio and pool face the down slope. It affords us a view of the ocean, to the left a lower promontory where the waves crash up and over the rocks. The sun sets to the more open side on the right, on a clear day, it seems the water is on fire as the sun sinks down the horizon.
Mickey, “We’re starving, is it lunch yet?”
McKenzie, “Eleven forty six.”
Mac is like an IPhone, she knows the exact time, the weather forecast, our calendar, she can take photos in her head and duplicate the scene precisely, verbally of course, she isn’t a projector. She does have our contact lists in her head somewhere, and she answers questions like Siri or Alexa. The vast breadth of information she has stored and can recall is dizzying in scope.
“Have a seat…well, go to the pool shower and wash up first, I’ll bring lunch in a bit.”
I made chicken salad earlier, spread it on multigrain bread, chop off the crusts, stack on a platter. Pour chips on top, take the platter out.
“I have lemonade tea or soda,” the only soda we keep around is sugar free Coke, we are mindful of fats but super-mindful of sugar.
Lemonade tea is the universal choice, bring the pitcher and five tumblers with ice. It’s warm today, not hot, I think about eighty two or three. 
“You were gone two hours, find anything interesting?”
Zackary, “We stopped at the big boulder up the hill, the one that’s flat on top. It’s high enough to overlook the house and we can see the ocean…” he grins, “Mac and Mickey can see it anyway, I can hear the waves if they get big. Zelda was happy to flop down and chill. Burma chased Cilia around until Cilia had enough, then she hopped up on the boulder with us.”
Elle, “You’re the only one, we can’t hear the ocean from here at all.”
Mickey, “Zak hears all kinds of stuff, a lizard climbed up and he knew it was there.”
“A lizard? What did Burma do?”
Mickey, “She laid flat and the lizard crept up to her and poked her nose. Burma did her thing, a slow raised paw, lowered to just over the lizard’s head, then she tapped it lightly.”
“So she didn’t try and eat it.”
“No, Burma wouldn’t do that, they both went to sleep.”
Elle, “Get out.”
“No lie. When we got moving again, she chased the lizard around like hide and seek. In the end, Burma crept up behind and the lizard tapped her nose with her tail. Then it got really funny.”
“What?”
“Burma did her famous backwards leap in the air, charged the lizard and did another leap right over it. We moved on, the lizard scampered away.”
Elle, “That cat is as playful today as she was when she was only a kitten.”
A Burmese, if you’re willing to cough up the six hundred to a thousand bucks, is intelligent, sly, playful and the coat on our mahogany, is smooth shiny gorgeous.
Natalie calls, “What’s doing?”
“The kids were around the property for two hours, enjoying the ocean and Burma’s antics. She made a new friend, a lizard.”
“She didn’t….”
“No, they played liked kids in a schoolyard according to Mickey. Burma is well cared for and fed, she doesn’t need to kill lizards. I think she’d rather play than eat.”
“I came to terms with the jewelry company, those two women are smart and know their business. They’re getting inquires from South America, China and Europe. Not a landslide but considering they don’t advertise, it’s rather amazing.”
“Word of mouth is the best advertising, instant cred and free.”
“And my newest investor brought along a friend. I thought I was going for ten million, I got twenty five. All I have to do now is figure out where to spend it.”
“Investors have no idea what you’re buying until it’s bought. If you have excess cash, why not let McKenzie and Elle run some of it? It’s just dead sitting in money market.”
“You’ve read my mind. I’m in tomorrow at two your time, let’s do the Uber thing so you don’t have to get into the bowels of LA or mess with LAX traffic. Pick me up at the Malibu Inn, I’ll call when I’m in the car.”
I relay the message to the others, lots of smiles, our little tribe celebrates the others good fortune.
“McKenzie, Natalie did better than she expected, she’s coming in tomorrow. What can we have as a special dinner? And Elle, you and Mac are getting some money to run in Natalie’s investment company, extra cause for cheer.”
Elle, “Yay! And look how excited McKenzie is.”
We laugh, Mac seldom changes expression, see her tomorrow, she looks like she did today.
McKenzie, “Antipasto, osso buco, risotto milanese, Boule.”
“Excellent, I’ll check to see what we have and what we need, Zoe C can hit the grocery this afternoon.”
Zackary, “Can I go?”
Zoe C, “Of course, you can push the cart.”
Zackary, “How’s your liability insurance?”
“Good point, guess I’ll push the cart.”

Two

I pick up Nat at the Malibu Inn, she’s still pumped about her trip.
“God, twenty five million more, who’da thunk?”
“Come on Natalie, you’re building a solid investment company, people listen, are impressed. Plus they all regret not dumping money into Berkshire forty years ago, or even ten or twenty.”
“Flattered that you think I’m that good.”
“You must have read Buffet’s annual letters to shareholders fifty times…each.”
“A girl has to do something while she’s flying all over the country, and I’m not flying as much going forward. Investors can call or Skype. Same for companies that want to take advantage of my cash. I’m close enough to the point where they can come to me. I will need office space, we can’t have strangers at the house, and it looks better if there’s a brick and mortar. Meeting in hotel rooms appears transient.”
“You hiring a receptionist, any staff?”
“Not yet. I’ll set up the office, computers, coffee pot, all the trimmings. It’s not like my company is a public or walk in business. Tasteful window shades, good but not absurdly expensive furniture, conference room, the usual.”
“Zoe C and Elle will help, if you need elbow grease, let me know. You may want to pick up used office furniture, give the impression you didn’t move in yesterday.”
“Good point, I knew I kept you around for a reason.”
Home. I take her luggage in, she’s tied up hugging girls, and kids, and poked by giant dogs until she coughs up the required pats and scratches. Burma leaps off the back of the couch onto Natalie’s shoulder and launches herself into Mickey’s arms.
Natalie laughs, “Mickey, you know that cat is insane.”
“Of course, She lives with us, how did you think she’d turn out?”
“I need a long hot shower and a large red, Chef, can you accommodate?”
I grin, “Only if I can watch you shower.”
“Pervert, just bring the wine and get lost, Mac, how’d the trading go?”
“McKenzie made fifteen hundred thirty six.”
“Damn, how many trades?”
“Four, three long, one short.”
Natalie shakes her head, “I wonder why I waste my time buying companies and talking to the managers all day.”
Elle, “Cause you’re good at it, now get going, I’ll bring the wine, you may need help washing your back and stuff.”
Guess we won’t see those two for a while. At least Natalie will be completely unwound by the time they show up from playing hide the soap.
Zoe C and Zackary got the necessary groceries when I left to pick up Natalie. The veal shanks are marinating in the refrigerator, they need a good long cook, start to finish it’s a three hour process.
“McKenzie, which part do you want?”
“Osso buco, antipasto. You will make risotto.”
Mickey, “Got your marching orders. Zak and I will sit at the island and watch…well, I’ll watch, Zak can sniff.”
Zak, “Don’t tell me, I want to see if I can sniff out the different ingredients. Can you put them on the island first, before you need them?”
“Sure, one at a time?”
“Don’t know, never tried this. Maybe at first, then try two or three.”
Zak hasn’t met a challenge he won’t undertake. Earlier today he and Mickey were swatting at each other with four foot long, inch thick wooden poles. He gets clobbered mostly, but Mickey says he’s getting better, she has the welts to prove it.  Zoe C insisted on safety goggles for both of them, even though Zak made fun of her, saying, ‘what’s she going to do, blind me?’
She told him not to be a smart-ass and to put on the goggles.
Nat and Elle reappear in an hour, they seem cheerful.
Zoe C, “Zackary is experimenting with scents, he’s doing well.”
Zak, “I want to get as good as Cilia and Zelda.”
Zoe C, “You might want to rethink that, they can sniff all kinds of nastiness.”
“Um…maybe I’ll settle for better, not like the dogs.”
I get a ding on my phone, which means I have a message on the website. I read it in the office, reach out to Zoe C.
“Come here for a sec.”
She shows up, “Must be important, you seldom go straight to my brain.”
“Read this,” I turn the screen so she can.
She looks, finishes, “Sheesh, creep, he stalks her, takes photos without permission, breaks into her apartment, then when she comes home he pulls her daughter into his lap and makes not so vague threats. More stupid stuff, keys her car, leaves a dead cat at her front door, calling her at work a hundred times a day among other bullshit. When do we leave?”
“Reply and get details, where he works, photo, photo of his vehicle and where he lives if she knows, the usual.”
I leave to do kitchen duty. Mac is already at the counter checking the osso buco in the oven, she pokes a piece with a fork, twists and pulls out the small hunk of veal.
She tastes it, “Done.”
I finished the risotto earlier, it’s parked in the second oven keeping warm. Pull out the bag of Boule, those go in the same oven for fifteen to warm through.
Our diners are seated, wine poured, a rich cabernet for osso buco. McKenzie fixes plates, a veal shank, vegetables, rich sauce, risotto and a Boule. Soft clarified butter in ramekins at each setting.
Natalie, “God this smells divine, what’s the occasion?”
Elle, “You’re the occasion, fresh money, brand new purchase, it’s your party honey.”
Natalie bites her lip, dabs at her eyes with a napkin, “I…I don’t know what to say.”
Zackary, “Don’t say anything, just eat, I’m starved.”
Nat laughs, “Thank you all, and thank you McKenzie, this is just splendid.”
Mac, “Not splendid, osso buco.”
Natalie tears up again, we start in anyway, and it is divine.
While Zoe C and Elle clean up the dinner dishes, I get another ding. The woman has replied, I go to check the message.
This time, Zoe C gets in my head and reads the message while I do. A photo of Mr. Wrong, license plate view of his F-150, an address. Oh crap, he’s a cop in Vegas.
Zoe C, “That could be a handful.”
“It at least explains why the locals aren’t doing anything. He’s a detective with the Las Vegas police, lives in Henderson, sixteen miles southeast of Vegas.”
“Near the woman?”
“Don’t know, she didn’t give her location.”
“Could be a pissed of ex-wife or former girlfriend. Cop might be just a cop.”
“What I’m thinking.”

I send a reply, tell her I need evidence and we want to put hidden video in parts of her apartment, nothing personal, no bedrooms, no baths, just the entrance, living area and kitchen. When she sends her address and a phone number, I’ll get a security company to install the cams.
Zoe C comes in, “Good idea, we won’t have to babysit the cop only to find the woman is the problem, not the cop.”
“We driving or flying? Let’s see,” I crank up Google maps, “five hour drive from Malibu, hour fifteen to fly and we can land at an executive airport in Henderson. Not much of a choice, the drive up I-15 through Barstow is painful.”
Just then the message pops up with the address, Lola is the woman’s name, we don’t need a last name, she agrees to the cams. I reply that the security company will be calling to arrange a time. Her next message is, ‘thank you, you may be saving a life’.

Three

I called one of my local lawyers, a criminal lawyer with an impeccable record. Well, as impeccable as a criminal lawyer’s record can be, it’s a rough business. I wanted him to hire a security consultant or a private investigator who can install security cams.
Two days later the lawyer calls, “Hey Chef, Mortensen here, your cams are installed.”
“What do I owe you?”
“Fifteen hundred for the cams, a grand for the installation. Expensive but she owns the cams and can use them to track inside and outside her place from anywhere she gets a wifi connection. For that matter, so can you, I’ve sent the download to you, just log in. Oh, and yes, she knows you can see, at least the living area and kitchen, the cam covering the front door too. They were all hidden, the cop won’t have a clue.”
“And your time?”
“Forget it, I’ve used these guys before, they kick back referrals occasionally.”
“Very nice, you still like Gosset Champagne?”
“Who doesn’t?”
“A case is on the way, or will be shortly, office address good?”
“Absolutely, and thanks, I could even get lucky with a girlfriend or two if I ply them with primo bubbly.”
“Then I’ve done a good deed, have fun.”
We click off, Zoe C checks in, ‘How long do we give it?’
‘Fly us out in the morning. If she’s jerking us around, we may need to visit her.’
‘She wouldn’t have gone for the cams, it would make no sense. We know who she is and where she lives.’

All true, and time for dinner, I realize I skipped lunch and in need of nourishment. I go to the kitchen.
“What can I do McKenzie?”
“Done, vegetable lasagna, simple.”
“Excellent, sorry I wasn’t around, got tied up.”
“You are going for bad man, I am coming also.”
There’s no arguing, we never discussed the problem with her, McKenzie got a vibe from wherever she’s tapped into the rest of us aren’t. Then it occurs.
“Mac, can you read my thoughts?”
She shrugs, that’s all the answer I’ll get, but it’s good enough, she can. My life, internal and external, is an open book, at least to Zoe C and McKenzie.
Zoe C is bartending, brings me an icy vodka, pours beverage of choice for the others, red wine mostly, with spritzers for the kids, a couple tablespoons of white and the rest seltzer.
Once the lasagna has rested so it stays firm when she cuts chunks, she puts a square on each plate, I serve then bring the warm crusty ciabatta with clarified garlic butter.
Zackary sniffs, “Vegetable lasagna, tomato, onion, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, roasted peppers and mushrooms. Um, ricotta cheese and something else…mozzarella. How’d I do?”
Elle, “Right on the money honey, you’re getting talented young man.”
“I kind of cheated, hung out with Mac while she put it together, but she didn’t tell me what she was using.”
Nat, “Then that’s hardly cheating, if I closed my eyes I’d get some of it, not all. Onions are pretty simple, but carrots, cauliflower?”
Mickey, “Little brother is his own bloodhound,” Zelda groans.
“No disrespect Zelda.”
Natalie, “One day I might understand how that dog knows what we’re talking about.”
McKenzie is still at the stove, since there was no meat, she has beef jerky hunks for Zelda and Cilia. They don’t seem to mind missing veg lasagna. With one to her right and the other to her left, Mac looks like a lone book between two gigantic mismatched bookends.
Dinner topics include recaps of everyone’s day, then a discussion about what to watch tonight. 
Mickey, “There’s a series called ‘Dark’ on Netflix, it looks creepy enough for us.”
Thirty minutes later, the kids are piled on the big mat, propped on pillows bracketed by the monsters. Burma is curled up asleep on Mickey’s tummy. She’s had a hard day stalking us from her cat tree and following the dogs around the property.
Elle takes us to the airport, a short hop to Henderson, our rental Tahoe is waiting. It’s only ten thirty and we haven’t any news of a visit by our target. Since we now have the woman’s address, I do a quick check. Detective Asshole moved to an apartment less than a mile from Lola.
A call to his station tells me he’s on duty, but as a detective he could be anywhere. We pass by Lola’s apartment, nothing seems out of order. His personal car, an F-150 is not parked on her street or any of the surrounding streets. We don’t see anything that looks like an unmarked cop car
If we get video of him harassing Lola at home, why do we need to be here at all?
I’m operating under the assumption that even if he’s caught on video, even if he’s suspended pending an investigation, it doesn’t mean he leaves her alone. He may not go to the apartment again, but he’ll have more time to follow her around, and he’s sure going to be pissed.
Zoe C, “Logged into the video feed, A, B and C. A is the front door, B&C are the interior.”
“Pictures are clear, they’ve upped the quality significantly. Last time I saw a CCTV you’d be lucky to tell if it was a man or a woman.”
“Not the case anymore.”
“Let’s find a burger, or whatever you guys want, Chinese?”
Zoe C, “Makes no difference, first thing we pass that looks like we won’t get salmonella.”
McKenzie is fiddling with the phone, the one connected to the cameras.
“Anything of interest?”
“Nobody home.”
“Lola must work, it’s her and her daughter, if she was rich the apartment would be more upscale, she’d probably leave the state and be done with him. I never asked what she did for a living though, leaving might not be so simple..”
“How old is the girl? The daughter?”
“She never said, I didn’t ask, if she’s six or ten or a teen that doesn’t give the cop a pass.”
“The detective is not the father then?”
“No. Lola wasn’t clear on daddy, but it isn’t the cop. No clue on where the father is, suppose I should have looked it up.”
McKenzie, “Lola person is Delmonico, father was killed in Afghanistan.”
“How’d you find that out?”
“Apartment rented to Sgt. Anthony Delmonico.”
I look at Zoe C, she shrugs, “It’s McKenzie Chef, don’t ask, you aren’t going to find out anyway.”
First place we come across is a diner, parking lot is three quarters full, somebody must find the food acceptable. I park, we go in, there’s a booth available in one corner. The hostess leaves menus after taking drink orders.
A waitress appears a couple minute later with the drinks, all Diet Coke, “Ready to order? This your daughter? She’s adorable, shiny auburn hair and cute freckles, bet she’s a handful dad.”
McKenzie ignores her, “Poached eggs, crisp bacon, pancake.”
Waitress, “Girl knows what she wants, how about you folks?”
Zoe C, “Make it two.”
She looks at me, “Burger as rare as they let you cook it, fries…no, onion rings.”
“Good choice, best rings in Nevada, I got the hips to prove it.”
I laugh, she’s nice, sense of humor, and she’s about as wide as she is tall.
In under ten, she’s banging down plates, “ketchup, mustard and mayo in the bottles, any hot sauce?”
“Tabasco, habanero if you have it, regular if not.”
“Man after my own heart, bit of heat makes it sweet.”
I laugh again, big girl knows how to milk a tip, I admire that.
Food comes like it’s pictured on the menu, burger is a half pound, additives on the side, fat stack of rings.
I dip a ring in ketchup and bite, “You guys needs to try on these rings, crispy batter, fat round of onion inside. Onion rings are something I don’t want to take on at home.”

Four

Zoe C, “I didn’t book a room.”
“We passed a Springhill Suites, get that, one for you and McKenzie, one for me, same floor would be good, maybe you can get connecting rooms. No casino hotels.”
She fiddles with her tablet, “Must be slow, I got connecting rooms fourth floor. Might have something to do with the casino hotels offering twenty nine dollar rooms.”
“They supply breakfast, let’s grab a few groceries and a bottle of wine, I can forgo vodka for one night.”
By the time we do a supermarket thing we can check in. In general we prefer basic hotels, guests float in and out, nobody pays the other guests much attention, better for us to be another faceless family passing through. Zoe C would attract attention, but she travels in nondescript plain jane, no makeup, no tight jeans or tops, no jewelry. I don’t know from women’s shoes but I doubt she spends more than fifty bucks on a pair. At home we’re barefoot or socks, outside it’s almost always sneakers. For out vigilante outings, we have steel toe sneakers, handy because they look like ordinary sneakers, you don’t know about the steel toe until one of them is planted between your legs.
We brought Glocks and a couple spare magazines, box of nine millimeters. If we need more than fifty bullets we have a whole different kind of problem. Plus, this is America, we can buy ammo at Walmart.
“Check the video feed, anyone home?”
McKenzie makes coffee, hands us a cup, takes hers to the couch, clicks on the TV and mutes the sound. 
Zoe C, “Nobod…hold it, well, well, our charmer is picking the lock….he’s in, closes the door behind him, now I have him wandering the living room. He looks like a cop, the detective look, big guy, must go your height Chef, thicker chest and a gut. One of those types who doesn’t seem to have a neck between his shoulders and his head. He’s gone off camera, checking the bedrooms no doubt, maybe a restroom break.”
McKenzie comes and watches over our shoulders. She doesn’t comment, but she is paying close attention.
“We have him breaking and entering.”
He pulls a small glassine envelope out, holds it up to the light, white powder inside.
“You see where this is headed.”
Zoe C, “Yeah, he’ll say he found drugs in the house, bathroom, bedroom, a kitchen canister. He doesn’t want to arrest her, he’s already on a short leash from her complaints. He’ll try to use it to get her to cooperate.”
“Go to the website, send her a message, tell her not to go home and under no circumstances bring her daughter there. Rush it.”
She taps away, we wait.
“Shift…come on girl, reply.”
He plops on the couch, clearly waiting for her to come home. He takes a metal flask from his jacket pocket, chugs a slug.
“Jesus, what a cliché, cop who can’t do his job without a shot of fake courage.”
Zoe C, “Ah…something at least, she got the message, and just in time. She’d picked up the girl from school and was headed home.”
“We’ll message her when he leaves.”
Zoe C types that, reply comes back, “She’s good, take the girl to dinner and go see a movie.”
“Now to decide, do we wait for him to leave or front his at her apartment?”
“We need to get over there and track his car at the least, and if we run out of time, we’ll be there to deal with him.”
Back in our rental, then down the street from Lola’s, “No F-150, which means he’s in an unmarked car. Cruise around and let’s see if we spot it.”
Circle the block, check the rear, there’s tenant parking back here. No cop looking vehicle, back on the street. Finally, a block down and a right on the cross street.
McKenzie, “That’s it.”
I get out and peer into the driver’s window, cop stuff, radio, laptop, the bubble he can stick on the roof when the action starts.
I climb back in the Tahoe, “She’s right, where’s the tracker?”
Zoe C, “I’ll do it,” as she passes the rear of the car, she squats, places the magnetic box on the bumper strut, hops in the Tahoe pulls away.
“Is it working?”
McKenzie has the phone, “Yes.”
Now we wait. Stalker takes another hit off the flask, if he keeps at it, good, he’ll be easier to deal with. 
“How long do you estimate? Lola and daughter go to dinner, which likely means McDonald’s, thirty minutes tops. A movie of two hours, cut off thirty just in case, we have at least two hours, not much more.”
Zoe C, “She’ll message me when they are leaving the theater, make sure it’s either okay to go home or to find a hotel room.”
Stalker gets antsy, shuffles around the apartment. We can’t know what he has planned, we don’t even know if he’s on or off duty, although he’s driving the unmarked, not his truck. I suspect he takes it home some nights but I have no idea how the LVPD works. In fact, it’s strange that he has the car at all, Henderson isn’t his territory, Las Vegas is. He has no authority here.
Zoe C researched him while we decide which direction to take, “He’s a rogue cop, rules are for other cops. He’s been in and out of trouble, a few brutality complaints, apparently everyone he talks to resists arrest.
McKenzie, “He is leaving.”
Zoe C cranks the Tahoe, we drive down the block and turn the corner, won’t do for us to be sitting across from his car when he shows.
The GPS dings on the phone, we follow him to a liquor store, he’s in and out with a paper bag in his hand, then to his apartment. Finally.
Zoe C, “I don’t see a place to get to him out here, not before he goes inside.”
“No, too public, lot’s well lit too. Let him go in, then we knock on his door. Well, you knock on his door, he’s going to use the peephole, better if he sees a pretty girl.”
We give him a couple minutes inside, then Zoe C raps the door, not bangs, not a light tap either. I’m to the right, he’d have to step out to see me. I tried telling Mac to stay in the Tahoe, no such luck, she’s to my left.
She sees the peephole go dark, he’s checking, then the door opens, “Whatcha want honey?”
“Car won’t start and my phone is totally dead. I noticed you coming home so I thought I’d try a door where I knew someone was inside. Am I disturbing?”
“Nah, lemme grab my phone, wait here.”
Doesn’t want her inside, that’s weird, or maybe he’s a lousy housekeeper. In any case, Zoe C doesn’t wait, she follows him in. 
Before he can get to his phone, and before he realizes she’s right behind him, she steps past him, her left foot extends in front of his ankles and her left arm pushes him hard. He falls forward, is saved by a dining table, but still surprised. He catches himself but before he can turn I grab the cuffs of his pants and yank his feet out from under him. His head just misses the edge of the table but now at least he’s face down flat on the floor.
Zoe C puts her Glock to the back of his head, “Spread your arms wide, legs too, the gun is silenced, I can have you well into to your next life without disturbing the neighbors.”
Stupid shit hesitates, then apparently decides to force the issue.
“Bullshit, I’m a Las Vegas detective, you know what kind of shit-storm is coming down on you?”
He pushes up, gets as far as one foot forward to stand. McKenzie lays her fingers on his neck, his entire body jumps, he’s flat on his face again.
When he recovers, “Godamn, a taser? What the fuck is this about?”
“Stay where you are, you’ve seen me, fine, you see my associates I’ll put a nine in your skull. A hollow point too, messy business.”
I kneel on his back, While he’s telling me he can’t breathe, I stick a pillowcase over his head and wrap Gorilla tape around his neck to keep it in place. His service piece is in a shoulder holster he must have taken off as soon as he walked in. Pat down reveals a backup in an ankle holster, an AMT .380 Hardballer, a semi auto that’s slim enough to stay hidden, relatively cheap with a solid enough reputation. 
“Roll over on your back, spread arms and legs like a snow angel, be a good boy, you might come out of this alive.”
He pushes himself up, yelling about being a cop, which lasts about a second before McKenzie puts her hand on his neck and he’s flopping around the floor like a fish being airboarded.
She turns him loose, rivulets of sweat down his neck, the back of his shirt is damp. I kick him in the side, felt like a broken rib, grab his right wrist and yank him onto his back, drop my knee hard to his sternum.
“Cut the shit or it gets much worse from here.”
He’s almost useless, shallow breaths because his ribs are a mess, he can’t see us, more intimidating even for an experienced cop.
I grab the back of his neck, smash his nose through the pillowcase, it immediately goes red and the red starts to spread. Maybe I got his front uppers too. I let him sit and suffer, pretty much like he let Lola sit and suffer.
“How’s it feel shitheel? On the other side of the abuse?”
“Dunno what…”
I shake my head, nod at McKenzie, she grabs his crotch, he lights up like a Tesla Coil. I have one of my extra large hands over his mouth while he screams. More wait, I do need him mostly sentient, torture requires a bit of patience.
“Okay Detective, here’s the rules. Are you listening? If I have to repeat myself, it will just be simpler to put a round in your skull and we can go home.”
Nothing, pretty tough guy, not tough enough, I stand and stomp my number fourteen on his shin…an audible Crack! To avoid more noise, Zoe C has a throw pillow on his face, which has to hurt since I’d mushed his nose and taken a few teeth.
“I asked you a question, and if I have to repeat it, well, we’ve already discussed that.”
He’s still capable of putting two and two together, “I’m lishun…wha’?”
Not bad for a mangled face, broken ankle, a busted rib or two and the after effects of McKenzie’s electric fingers.
“First, move, move someplace five hundred miles from your former girlfriend. Yes, you’ll have to retire or quit, but that will be due to your disability, or disabilities as the case may be.”
“Repeat it to me.”
His head rolls left to right, “Five hundred, quit police.”
“You have one week, which will be spent in the hospital. By the time you get out, nothing in this apartment will be here, including your clothes. Guns gone, we will search the cop car and your truck to make sure. I’m taking your keys, your phone, your laptop. We have video of you in her apartment today, including your lame attempt to plant drugs. That’s going to your Chief. Essentially, your life is gone.”
I grab him by his very sore jaw, “One chance…do you understand?”
A nod and a blood soaked ‘yeah.’
I stand and step on his bad ribs, “Yeah what fucker?”
“Unnerstand, got it, gone.”
I turn to Zoe C, get in her head, ‘Take his word for it?’
‘Only if you want to be sucker of the year.’
‘Make it hard for him to work, impossible to be a cop.’

Zoe C grabs his wrist, her shiny very sharp K-Bar removes a thumb on his right hand, I hold his left flat on the floor while she crushes it with the hilt of the knife.
He’s passed out, nobody can hear him scream. While he’s docile, Zoe C bandages his stump after an application of Dermabond. It stops bleeding and seals the wound. We don’t want him dead, we want him to be out of the cop business and gone.

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