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Rated: E · Fiction · Crime/Gangster · #2275181
Episode IV: Part VIII - The Case of the Conniving Gun Moll

Parked in front of the call center, Davin Ferrante kept watch on the short alley flanking both sides of Quick Cab Taxi. Signs posted denoted the entrance and exit for the only two vehicles owned and operated by the small cab company. Several minutes into cooling his heels, a taxi slowed and turned into the entrance alley. “Good, he’s back. He’ll be outta there with a new fare in short order,” Ferrante quietly grumbled. He knew the cab’s return, for whatever reason, would be a quick pit stop. Parked cabs generate zero revenue, he mused. Less than five minutes later, the same cab -- or its twin bolted out of the alley exit and onto the main thoroughfare. The gang leader smiled. “Bingo.”


Stepping behind Delia, the maître d’ pulled a chair away from their assigned restaurant table, gently pushing it back as she prepared to take a seat. “Thank you,” she acknowledged, Matt seating himself opposite his assistant.

“Beautiful restaurant,” Matt commented, surveying the inside of the eloquent steakhouse. The environment was ambient, with a relaxed atmosphere, candlelit tables, and soft background music playing.

“Your server will be right with you. Enjoy your evening,” the head waiter politely announced, offering a departing smile before completing an about face and returning to the reservation podium.

“You’re right. It is beautifully decorated,” Delia commented.

Arriving only moments after departure of the maître d’, their server appeared. She stood there beaming, holding a pair of à la carte menus in her arms. “Hi, I’m Natalie,” she greeted, “and I’ll be your server this evening.” Handing the menus to Delia and Matt, she took a step back. “Would either of you care to order anything from the bar?”

“No, I don’t think ….” Matt replied, stopping mid-sentence. He caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of his eye entering the restaurant, then turned and looked at Delia. Craning his head slightly and glancing up at the waitress, he said, “Can you excuse us for a moment ?”

The server pursed her lips and nodded. “Certainly,” she said, turning and walking in the direction of another occupied table.

“What is it?” Delia asked.

Matt maintained eye contact with his assistant. “I think our suspect just walked inside,” he deftly pointed out. “Without making it too obvious ... tell me quietly what she’s doing,” he whispered.

Shifting in her seat and peeking discreetly in the direction of the alleged culprit, Delia observed the woman speaking quietly with the maître d’, her back facing their table. “She’s at the podium, probably confirming a reservation or asking for a table.”

“Okay, keep watching her,” Matt whispered.

The young woman finally turned and walked away, strolling in the direction of the restaurant’s bar and out of Matt and Delia’s line of sight.

"She walked into the bar area,” Delia said. “Maybe she wants a drink before she’s seated in the main dining area."

“You said she walked into the bar?”

Delia snorted a soft chuckle. “I’d probably do the same thing if I were in here solo,” she answered obliquely.

Matt leaned back in his chair, pondering. “Hmm, it might just work,” he mumbled, staring blankly in the direction of the podium.

Delia gave a curious look. “What might work? What are you talking about?”

“She has no clue we’re surveilling her," Matt trailed off.

“Okay … and?”

Matt grinned. "My use of flattering language ... you know, the kind of talk certain men use to persuade women to do something.”

Delia made a face. “You mean you’re going to ... hit on her?”

“Exactly," Matt said.


Tailing the cab for several miles, Ferrante hit the brake pedal in response to the driver slowing and turning into the parking lot of a popular sports bar. Following the operator into the parking area, he stopped behind the taxi, hurriedly exiting his vehicle and walking headlong toward the driver’s side door.

Appearing startled, the young cab driver looked up from the driver’s seat, the door window rolled down. “Can I help you?”

Returning his surprised gaze with a blank expression, Ferrante snatched the door open. Bending down, he reached inside and yanked the driver out of the cab.

“Hey man ... what the hell?” Lovato cried out.

“You listen to me ... and you listen good,” Ferrante growled, holding the taxi driver by the scruff of his shirt collar. “How many drivers have been working today?”

“Wha ... What?” the confused Lovato replied. “I’m just here to pick-up a fare. Did I do something ... cut you off ... not signal ... what?"

Ferrante shoved the bewildered driver into the side of the cab. “I’m not going to ask you again.” Removing a semi-auto pistol out of his pocket, he jammed it into Lovato’s temple.

“Uh … uh, only one,” he stuttered, trembling with fear and confusion. “Wha ... what's this all about?” Lovato frighteningly jabbered.

Hovering over the terrorized driver, the gang chieftain growled in a menacing voice. “You were dispatched to a house early this morning and picked up a woman by the name of Joan Russo. Does that ring a bell?”

Lovato nervously nodded.

“Where did you take her?”

Paralyzed with fear, Lovato mumbled incoherently.

Pressing the gun barrel harder into his temple, Ferrante grew angrier. “Go on … tell me where you took her.”

Uh, to… uh, to the Ocean View Resort."

Ferrante leaned back, feeling as smug as a raffle winner. “Thanks,” he said with a smirk before smashing his gun into the side of Lovato’s skull. Shoving the unconscious driver over to the passenger side, he stepped in behind the wheel, parking the cab within a darkened, L-shaped corner of the sports bar. Moving the front seat back as far as it would go, the gang kingpin bound and gagged Lovato, then pushed him face down on the floorboard. Returning to his vehicle, he grabbed his cell phone in the center console, locating and pressing a contact number.

“Yeah boss,” came the reply.

“Round up the boys, then drive to the Ocean View Resort. Give me a call when you arrive. We’ll meet in the parking lot."

“What about Joan?”

Ferrante chuckled. "She's already there. We're gonna throw her a little surprise party.”


Making his way to the bar area, Matt strolled leisurely inside. Spotting the suspect seated on a high barstool, he watched as she ordered a cocktail. She lit a cigarette, then swiveled her seat for a better view while she waited for the bartender to return with her drink. Sitting with her feet resting on the stool's base ring, her leather boots made her appear taller than she was. She reached for her small purse on the counter, a black leather Gucci mini bag complete with a monogram gold-toned double ‘G’ on the flap. Fumbling with the purse, it slid off her skirt, falling to the floor.

“You dropped this,” Matt smiled, appearing out of nowhere and quickly rising from a stooped position. He handed the suspect’s purse back to her.

“Thanks,” she whispered, caught off guard by Matt’s sudden appearance.

“You’re welcome. It’s not often I have the pleasure of returning a beautiful woman’s purse back to its rightful owner.”

“She chuckled at Matt’s reply. “Well, as the phrase goes, chivalry isn’t dead ... at least not totally."

Matt bowed his head. “I'll take that as a compliment.”

She exhaled a thick cloud of smoke from her cigarette. “It was intended as a compliment.”

Matt glanced at the bar stool next to the suspect, then placed his hand on the chair’s back rest. “Is this seat taken?”

Crossing her legs, she gave a coy smile, then swiveled her chair again in his direction. “It is now.”

Click to read Episode IV Part IX - "MATT DUGGAN - DETECTIVE SERIES
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