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Friday, April 12, 2013

("I hear a very gentle sound, very near yet very far, very soft, yeah very clear. Come today come today…")…The Doors

For Tuyet, Katrina, KaSandra, and Luc
my inspiration

Chapter Thirty-two

LVMPD…Evidence Room…Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009…9:00pm

The computer lab had been a colossal waste of my time. How could this precinct not afford competent help? Rather shocking in a city of this size. However, Las Vegas was not exactly a metropolis by any standard. It was in fact an over grown amusement park for a growing faction of the sycophant adult population in the US. Still, given the obscene amount of cash that this modern day Sodom & Gomorra generates daily fleecing scads of easily entertained rubes chasing shallow dreams, one might have hoped for a better showing by the City Fathers and Civil Leadership, no? Perhaps not, after all why should one spend large sums preventing crimes when one is busy committing them? Par for the course I suppose in this New Age Empire. I expect they're headed for the same fate as the Romans, extinction by proxy, courtesy their cancerous addiction to self absorption. America, I have no pity for her. Not after what she did to my country, my Viet Nam, nhà của tôi (my home). Fuck them all, what do I care? They are what I feed upon now.

Ah, here we are; the fabled evidence room. I wondered what one of these would look like. I have to admit that over the years I've fallen under the spell of the some of the quaint television dramas depicting detectives working crime scenes or profiling serial killers. What rubbish these writers droll out with appalling regularity! They merely sensationalize the gore of so many murderous acts, concentrating mainly on who, what, and when, while they skim over the why, which is by far the most fascinating aspect. Then again, this is America after all, the Mecca for instant gratification. The attention span of the average viewer is limited by how much nonsense they can endure under the constant barrage of network sponsors. Sixty minutes just isn't enough time to challenge the mind especially when 20 minutes is dedicated to pitching products. Let's face it cash is king in this country. Actually that's unfair, my apologies to the reader, that is true around the world; the root of all evil and all that rot. Forgive my pontificating as I suppose I am as guilty of that addiction as much as any of you.

The door was unlocked and I walked in encountering a not so impressive room. It was what one might expect, a narrow three by twelve foot swatch of floor space separated the door and a chest high wooden counter topped by a barricade which looked like chicken wire on steroids. The officer behind the cage was equally unimpressive, a short dour looking gentleman (I'm being kind, he was no gentleman) with small thin lips topped with a wispy graying mustache. He wore a cheap pair of black horned rimmed spectacles and was busy writing on something when I walked in. It turned out to be a crossword puzzle that he was concentrating on.

"What do ya need Mac?" he asked without looking up at me.

How rude! It was all I could do to suppress my instant dislike for the man and keep myself from prematurely putting a small caliber round through one of the spectacle lenses. Instead, I gently placed my hands palm s down on the top of the counter and smiled. I waited for him to look up and acknowledge me before I spoke; I required that much common courtesy from this beastly bloke. The blaggard finally looked up and pulled his reading specs down slightly, giving me the once over.

"You speakie English?" he asked impatiently in a condescending monotone.

I felt bile rise from my stomach and into my esophagus and I swallowed the saliva that my mouth produced in anticipation of the imminent irritation. There wasn't time to deal with this one right now and I took a deep breath through my nose before I replied, feeling my nostrils flare as I drew in the soothing oxygen, holding it in my lungs for a three count.

"Excuse me for interrupting your work Officer, but Detective Price sent me down here for a catalog item from a case he's working on," I said with a convincing smile that masked the rage behind my eyes.

"Look at you, speaking English just like a Limey," he replied sitting up all of a sudden and taking notice of me. He got up from the stool that he was seated on and removed his spectacles, giving me a closer look.

"I thought you was Chinese or something," he said with a big grin. I must have looked annoyed and I could see by his facial expression that he noticed it straight away.

"Hey, I didn't mean no disrespect or nothin, you just surprised me is all," the officer said with a believable amount of sincerity. He had no idea that he might have just saved his own life, and I smiled at him to put him at ease. I needed his help right now and didn't want to be delayed further.

"None taken, I'm sure," I said.

"I'm not Chinese by the way. Actually, I'm from Saigon originally, but was raised in Great Britain," I explained. I am not exactly sure why I had shared that bit of personal history with him. It was uncharacteristically impulsive of me.

"No foolin, I was in Vietnam back in 71, was you?" he asked, attempting to make small talk. It was a conversation I didn't want to have.

"I was a child in 1971, my family left after the fall of Saigon in 1975, and we went to live with relatives in London," I answered. I felt more comfortable speaking with him now, it seemed cathartic somehow. Anyway, it didn't matter what he heard, I was probably speaking to a dead man.

"Is that a fact, well now, that's just terrific," he said in a jolly tone. Apparently I had made a friend, how sad; I almost felt a twinge of regret.

"Yes, well if you don't mind I really must be getting back to Detective Price."

"Oh yeah, sorry, what was it he wanted again?"

"He said it would be a small envelope with some kind of electronic device inside."

"Was it from the Caesar's Palace shooting earlier today?"

"Yes, that's right."

The officer walked back to a desk behind him and sat down to access the computer system. He sat there mumbling for a couple of minutes then returned to the counter. He held up a finger and gestured for me to wait, reading the question that was on my face. He put on his specs back on and leafed through some sort of log book I reckoned. Ten seconds later he tapped his finger on a page and brought the book to where I stood waiting. He turned it toward me so that I could read it through the wire.

"See right here, Detective Sgt. Price checked that item out at 7 o'clock this evening. We was still changing shifts when he came down so I wasn't here. Looks like an Officer Ngyuen signed it out for him. Hey, he's one of you guys ain't he,maybe he's a relative?" the ill fated Officer said, grinning for the last time in his miserable life.

"So it seems, thank you for your kindness," I replied, firing twice with the silenced Glock 19 that I had stealthily extracted from the uncomfortable holster around my waist while he blathered on and on.

Two subsonic rounds entered the cheeky bastard's brain through his left eye. He slumped to the floor with a queer expression on his face, one of disbelief it seemed like. I felt the twinge again, I was tiring of this adventure, it was time for closure, perhaps a little vacation. Nha Trang would be nice this time of year. I do so enjoy the beaches and the mud baths. Yes, it is time for a short rest; I grow weary of the hunt. Should good fortune continue to shine I will find all of my ducks swimming in the same pond right inside this very building.

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