Sunday, February 27, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 24 - Handle It

In the back office area, out of the public view, officers worked on their investigations in their respective cubicles. The open space above the partitions let conversations bleed over as different voices conducted business. Sgt. Perry and two other detectives were going over final plans for a fishing trip that was to begin when they got off at the end of shift. The phone rang; Perry pushed a button converting it over to the speaker function, resting back in his arm chair.

“Sgt. Perry, what can I do for you?” He rested his chin on his chest. The extra fold of skin flattened out and spread across the monogrammed dress shirt.

“What’s the status on that project you were working?”, the raspy voice penetrated the room.

“Hold on a sec’. . . “, switching the phone off of speaker to maintain the privacy of the conversation and at the same time turning to the other officers in the room.

“Could I get you to step outside?” He cupped the receiver; his countenance changing to reflect a more serious attitude.

“Sure, no problem. We have some reports to review.” The two detectives backed out of the office; closing the door while Perry kept his hand on the phone.

“Okay, I can talk. Now what’s the deal with calling me at the station? You lost your mind or what?” Perry was more than a little upset as he unbuttoned the top button of his shirt. He inserted his fingers at the base of the tie, pulling it away from his neck.

“As long as your on my payroll, I’ll call you anytime and anywhere I damn well feel like it”

“What if someone had recognized your voice and started to put things together? Did you think of that?” The veins in his neck had already begun to swell.

“I’m not the one who was in that apartment; you were. Why should I worry about being on the phone with one of my people?” There was a sarcastic tone in his voice.

“Very funny Lou. I still have a couple of years to go here. Did you think of that?” Perry was closing in on twenty years with the Department. The thought of losing it all didn’t set well with him.

“That’s your problem. I pay you very well to keep things operating smoothly. So, what have you been doing to justify your supplemental salary?”

“It’s all under control. By the end of the week my report will be on the Chief’s desk and there will be enough confusion generated . . .”

“Under control! You call a Five Million Dollar Civil Suit Under Control?” Perry had to move the phone away from his ear as the decibel range went past tolerable.

“What are you talking about? I was in to see him just the other day and he was still border line vegetable.”

“Well your vegetable’s lawyer has been nosing around pretty good then. Maybe you aughta’ go back and talk with that officer and see how he’s doing.”

“I was headed there this afternoon; as a matter of fact.” Perry shot back into the phone as he thumbed through his daily planning schedule. Actually he had planned to take off a few hours early to go fishing.

“Glad to know you’ve got a handle on all this. I would hate to think that you were . . “

“Have I ever let you down?”

“That’s not the point. I want this taken care of before it gets to court; you got that?”

“Don’t worry. They’ve got nothing solid. The officer is a blank and there were no other credible witnesses.” Donaldson and Perry had been helping to supply illegal aliens with fraudulent documents for quite some time. He knew where most of the run down apartment projects were and how to recruit. His knowledge of how things worked made it easy for him to get them. He had also gotten used to the cash payments that went unreported on his income tax return each year.

“Then I will leave it with you. Sorry to have bothered you.”, as the phone went dead. Perry sat for a few moments and stared at his shoes. Collecting his thoughts, as if the answers were hidden under the dull shine on the tips of his Florshimes, he reached into the top file drawer of his desk and removed the “Dosilmeyer” file. He rubbed his hand over his beard, noticing the mild stubble that had grown since he had been at work.

“Damnation . . .”, turning the pages of the file, “. . . what does he think I can do?” He wasn’t really reading, having read the file many times already; it was more of a support for his hands as he thought of how to work past the pending issue.

“ We still on for this weekend?”, Donaldson ducked his head around the corner and asked.

“It doesn’t look good. Maybe you guys better go on without me this time.” Perry closed the folder as he levered his way out the chair’s grip.

“You sure. That deposit for the boat isn’t refundable.” Donaldson had put up eighty dollars to hold a place for him on the boat. All the fishing gear, sandwiches and beer would be included.

“You go ahead; catch one for me. I have some interviews that won’t wait; maybe next time.” Perry scrunched up the edge of his mouth as he threw the words out. He had been looking forward to a trip into the Gulf on a large boat. He had once been out on his brother’s sixty footer. A storm had roughed up the water, making the trip a nightmare. The weather had been mild this week and the water would be more friendly.

The panoramic view of the city spread out from the edge of the executive suite. Fifty seven floors above the traffic was as peaceful as riding in a hot air balloon. Thick deep forest green pile carpet was bordered by dark oak wood flooring in the main entrance to the office. The receptionist greeted a slender built man wearing a three piece businessman’s special. There was a slight bulge under jacket that was hardly noticeable.

“Please go in Mr. Savat; Mr. Gotlieb is expecting you.”

“Thank you.”, as he placed his hand on the massive brass door handle. The solid cypress wood doors were as impressive as the rest of the office; ten feet high and four inches thick. He passed through into the inner office. An alarm, not very loud; just a mild humming, went off as he passed the metal detectors that guarded the entrance. From the corner of the room another man got out of his chair and drew a pistol from under his coat.

“It’s all right George; Mr. Savat is here at my request.” Quietly and without hesitation George holstered his weapon and took his seat.

“The standard fee?”, in a casual business like manner.

“Here’s your folder Mr. Savat. You’ll find it all in order.”, handing the plain manila folder across the desk. Savat paged through the folder while standing.

“A cop? That’s another twenty thousand.”

“Check the envelope; you’ll see that I’ve already included the bonus.”

“That’s what I like about working with you Lou; you always have the paper work in order.” Savat took the envelope, placing it inside his jacket. He shook hands and turned without another word walking away from the enormous desk.

“I want this by Monday.”

“No problem; I can handle it.”