The Dead Bin
by Gary Clifton
Davis McCoy, a veteran detective on the Dallas police force, is relegated to the “Dead Bin,” a kind of “doghouse” reserved for cops who have annoyed their superior officers. When McCoy investigates a series of bizarre homicides, he has to work his way past hostile management as well as the criminal underworld. Even the most hardened veterans of law enforcement will be amazed by what he finds.
Chapter 34: Frontal Assault
A gang of cops bust in the door waving a sledgehammer? Better have a plan B handy.
We ran by the Dead Bin and persuaded Maggs, who could type at warp speed, to draw up the probable cause affidavit for a search warrant to ruin Kuznov’s day. We used Wendel Penski as an anonymous, reliable informant, who had been known to be reliable on previous occasions and who had seen a large quantity of cocaine in Kuznov’s floor safe within the last 36 hours. Of course, we didn’t include Wendel’s name.
The judge signed off on it in two minutes.
Cops love to serve search warrants. It’s a free ticket to break things and never fill out a report. We showed up down the street from Kuznov’s office with ten cops, all like excited puppies.
Two young uniforms walked up first, to insure that the front, glass door was still open. We didn’t want to grab the dope without Kuznov sitting over it. They waved us in.
Kuznov had hired a pair of new heavies, both pretty much clones of the mopes Harper had tossed on their asses. I pointed my Glock at both as they stood in the inner doorway. “Wanna die, boys?” I lowered the pistol. “Or you can go a couple of rounds with the dude who tossed your predecessors on their collective asses the other day.”
They chose “no” and “no”, and were prostrate on the floor in the “position” in a heartbeat. We barged by the blonde secretary.
Kuznov was sitting at a glass and steel desk, holding the telephone. “Hang it up,” I said. I’d holstered the Glock. Kuznov was more talk than danger, although, carrying a vision of the pretty young blonde sex slaves, I still would have enjoyed shooting him.
“What the...?” he uttered the standard comment. He eyed Harper, looming over the only file cabinet in the room with a very large sledge hammer and wisely said no more. Harper resembled Paul Bunyan, cop version.
“You can open it and save yourself the ten thousand bucks for a new safe,” I said. “Or Harper here, not the smoothest locksmith, but amazingly effective, is standing by with the lock-pick.”
We moved the file cabinet on wheels hiding the safe. Kuznov glumly opened the safe via the spinning dial, stupidly showing he knew the combination.
We turned up about a shoe box full of pure, white magic. “Oh lord,” Kuznov said, at last. “That’s been planted.” Then: “You got a warrant?”
I stuffed a copy in his waistband while a patrolman was handcuffing him behind. As Harper and I walked him out the front door, Harper holding a stash of cocaine about as big as we’d ever grabbed off an individual. The dark Lexus screeched to the curb. The good lawyer Grifford bailed out wild-eyed, red-faced, half-incoherent. I concluded instantly the dope was at least partly his.
“Bastards!” he literally shrieked. I wondered if he got that excited over every case he handled. Or tried to handle. Hard on a man’s heart.
Harper lit a fresh cigar in the night air. “Grifford, you really oughta get a fire engine.”
“Step up at your own peril, Grifford,” I said. “See how long it takes me to arrest you for interfering with a lawful arrest.” In many years of hauling losers to jail, I don’t believe I’d ever seen an attorney, of all people, show such lack of poise.
He sprang back into the Lexus and spun away. We’d see him at the Sterrett Center soon enough, but only after we had a few minutes to sweat Kuznov. Booking him in — fingerprinting and the like — was time consuming, and lawyers weren’t allowed in that area. We could easily scramble the time long enough to drag the Russian through at least part of the wringer.
“Not my dope,” the Russian said when we got him into an interrogation room.
“Damn, Kuznov, I never heard that line before,” I tapped the table. “But since we found it in your office, and you had the combination to open the safe, it’s yours now. I say about ten years’ worth of yours.”
“Frame-up! Lawyer!” he snapped.
“You’ve already accused us of the always popular ‘you planted it’,” Harper said. “Frame-up is classic redundancy.”
“First off, dickweed, somebody planted a bomb under my girlfriend’s car and murdered half of North Dallas. If I had another smidgen of thought you did it, we’d be shipping you to your funeral back in Leningrad. Instead, this is the United States and I believe we’ll eventually get your hired help to cave in and bury your useless ass. That means the three-needle cocktail for you, comrade.”
I leaned forward. I must have said the word for “friend” close enough because he smiled thinly and shook his head. “I did not do this thing. I would not hurt your family.”
“Then we’re gonna prove you murdered Martha Crawford, shot Ivan Klaster...God knows why, and some damned way you were behind tying two girls and a male prostitute to a bed and burning them alive.” In my diatribe, I had half-risen from my chair. And I had no idea exactly who had done what, but it sounded good at the time.
“Innocent. Once again: KGB is back in Russia. Do you torture me now, mister American policeman?”
“The KGB now has another name, dumb butt.”
I stood, weighed the consequences, and slapped him open-handed across the back of the head. He flew off the chair and lit in a bewildered heap in a corner. Harper stood, grabbed the fallen man and slammed him back in his chair. “Don’t try to escape again, idiot.”
“And do not, I repeat, do not, call me KGB again.” I leaned across into his face.
“I did not kill or hurt any of those people,” he said slowly. “I put no bomb on your lady’s car.” His tone was less than convincing.
Jailers, per protocol, then let Grifford into the room. He tossed a Bail Release form on the table. After a screaming fit, he repeated a tired refrain: “I don’t like you, McCarthy.”
“Jesus, Grifford, you need new lines,” I called after him as he and Kuznov stormed out. “And it’s still McCoy.”
In ten seconds he stormed back in. “You struck my client. I’ll see you charged with assault.”
“That’s some other crap we hear a lot, Grifford. Got a witness?” Harper looked at me with a steady gaze. Fortunately, the door had no glass to break as Grifford slammed it going back out.
* * *
Things were falling into place. Kuznov, a snake in any culture, was screwed. We guessed that to avoid hard prison time, he’d dump on Stick or whoever the hell was killing people. He’d need to fill in some motive, because we saw no common theme among the murders.
When Kuznov began snitching on Stick, perhaps Stick would be smart enough to shoot back. Of course, we needed more on Stick than possession of a gun by a felon. Tomorrow’s murder arrest should add some incentive.
I had played catch with Tim that evening. He and Janet were still in my apartment. I slept fitfully, dreaming of car bombings and people tied to beds and burned. Turned out I was clairvoyant.
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Clifton