If you haven’t read part 1 yet,
Or even Part 2,
Or even Part 3,
Let alone Part 4, the following will make next to no sense. Now that you are caught up, On with the Show!
When we left our Story last time:
Nelson Moran was still dead.
The next day came too quickly. I was back in my office when I called one of my old friends in the police department. It seemed that the insurance people had finished with that they needed and the crime scene cleaners were there now. The police presence was finished. The house was back on the market. The competition should be underway tonight. I was going down there to find out the truth. Or die trying.
And now for today’s installment of “Jackson Malone”
I arrived at the warehouse on 1st and 32nd just after dark, dressed as a homeless person. There were several homeless people sitting around smoking, some drinking, and some just talking with one another. Many were talking about their spaces in the warehouse and Jimmy, the guy that was shot there the day before.
“He deserved it, you ask me.” One man said. “He always flashin’ his gun around. Somebody finally give him a taste of his own medicine. Vance is pissed though. I’d hate to be the guy what killed Jimmy. You don’t kill one of Vance’s guys and not pay.”
Vance. I had heard that name back when I was on the force. He was a gang leader and apparently his gang included homeless people too. This Jimmy that I killed must have been important, or Vance wouldn’t have cared less.
I hadn’t heard anything about that shooting yet. The cops must have known. They were on their way when I ducked into Vic’s. Oh well. No longer my problem. I had another case to solve. This one has money involved.
I wandered some more and overheard much the same type of conversation. Then I stumbled along a conversation about the rumble tonight. “Contest” is what they were calling it but it was more a gladiatorial exhibition.
The men would fight until submission or knockout. The winner gets the house for the night, a woman, and the opportunity to fight for a spot in Vance’s little army. That could be quite profitable. These men who had nearly nothing would welcome this opportunity to make it big. No wonder this “contest” was so popular.
An hour or two later Vance and his lackeys showed up. It seemed that he ran the “contest”. A circle formed in the front yard of the house. Far from the hundreds that the cop had told me about last night, but there were near 80 as I could guess. Vance began to speak and tell these men of the glory that could be theirs if they win in the ring. He was very persuasive.
Two men entered the ring and began to fight. Soon one went down and the fight was over. Cheers for the violence, cheers for the competitors, it was a wonder the cops hadn’t been called for the noise. Challenger after challenger came and went until one was left standing. Vance congratulated him led him towards the house for his prize.
As they passed a man next to me said, “I hope they don’t do him like they did that other guy the other day.” “What happened to him?” I asked. “Got his brains beat out by Vance’s goons ‘cause he burned down Vance’s drug warehouse. We could sleep there and make drugs so we had a good place to stay and a bit of money.
Then that dude goes and burns it down. Damn shame. I hate sleepin’ on the streets.” I couldn’t believe my luck. I had just found out the key to Nelson Moran’s murder and the arson of the police warehouse. What better place to run a drug lab than a police warehouse. Last place the cops would look.
Unless there were cops in on it. There almost had to be. But that was for Internal Affairs. I had to get to a phone before Vance and his goons left.
I saw a pay phone down the block and across the street from where I was. I thought it was far enough away to not be seen calling from it. I worked my way through the crowd and down the street to the phone. I sat down heavily on the ground and acted drunk as I watched to see if anyone was watching me.
I could see none of the windows in the house meaning they couldn’t see me either. No one was paying any attention to me. I stood and dropped change into the phone.
“Sergeant Stebbins.” A tired voice answered when the line connected. “What can I do for you?” “Hi Art. It’s Jack. How are you?” I replied, relieved that a friend had answered. “Hey Jack.” He replied. “Everybody is looking for you. They heard you were out by that warehouse where that guy got shot yesterday. That have something to do with you?” “Sort of.” I said.
“I am down here now though. I know who burned down your warehouse and who killed Nelson Moran across the street.” “What?!?” came the incredulous reply. “You know who did that? Who?” “Gangs and drugs Art. Gangs and drugs. Vance’s Gang. Send some cars. No sirens, these guys will run. There are a few of them and a whole potload of homeless guys hanging around. I am at the booth down the street.” He tried to reply but I hung up the call and rejoined the group milling around the warehouse.
Join us next week for the finale, Part 6 of Jackson Malone!