48 hours to write a short story to a prompt. Enter to win great prizes.
A short story written for the "48 Hour Short Story Contest" .
An Old Broom.
One character must have a scar.
One scene must have a car chase.
Duvall Broward glanced at his watch and sighed loudly. 2AM. It was time to pack it up. He'd have to finish up the paperwork tomorrow, well later on in the day. Captain's going to have my ass. Detective Broward shook his head. Twelve arrests in one night and the captain would still chew his ass for slacking on the paperwork. Broward shook his head again. Twenty-six years.
He got up and went into the women's restroom, now the co-ed bathroom on account of a bad pipe. He looked in the mirror as he washed his hands. Tired, sunken, dull blue eyes stared back at him. One more wrinkle and you can turn me into raisin bread. He combed over his bald spot with his hands in a futile attempt to hide it. Broward again contemplated about just shaving his head but he shook his head at that. Look like one of those Saturday Night Live Coneheads if I did. He straightened his brown tie, and noticed the chocolate ice cream stain on his cream colored shirt. It had been there since lunch, it wasn't coming off now. He pursed his thin lips. Fifty-bucks down the drain.
He was thinking about the money as he started his standard issue SUV. He decided to check in on his partner. The gangbangers they took down last night were stashing a huge amount of cocaine. Some of that stash didn't make it to the report Duvall left behind. Broward called his partner, Ernie Mandrell, from his prepaid cell phone. "How's my investment?"
"We got a problem," Ernie replied in a strained voice. He and Ernie had worked on every type of homicide the gangs of L.A. could throw at them. It took a lot to shake Mandrell. Duvall reached for the rolaids in his glovebox. It was going to be one of those days.
"What's up Ernie?" Duvall asked in that no nonsense tone that made him infamous among the Bloods and Crips.
"I got mugged," Mandrell replied breathlessly. "They took the damn key."
"Shit," the hotheaded Duvall replied. "They take your wallet?"
"No, boss. Just the key. They knew what they wanted. They're on foot, couple of homies. They were wearing colors. Crips."
"What's your twenty?"
"East 28th and Stanford."
That was a couple of blocks from the station. It was also close to the location they busted those dozen guys. Duvall swore for about seven or eight seconds, trying vainly to compose himself. It's one thing for those assholes to break the rules, but now they're screwing with my retirement.
"Get off your ass and follow them."
"They beat me up pretty bad, boss. Where are you. I could use..."
"Get off your fat, lazy ass and follow them Mandrell! I'm on my way." Duvall slammed the black Expedition down into third and shot off into the night.
Duvall picked up a second phone and dialed his contact. "It's me," he said while straining for some semblance of composure.
"Broward?" A deep voice responded on the other line. "If it aint my favorite cop on the take?"
"Deal's over Daz. You broke the rules. Your ass is mine." Without paying attention to the reply, Duvall hung up the phone and threw it out the window.
He recognized Ernie as soon as he turned on East 28th. He was the fat white guy in his forties, through he looked closer to fifty, chasing a couple of twenty year old bangers who had a pretty big lead. Duvall honked the horn twice, swerved around a blue Toyota trying to parallel park, and stopped the car where Ernie stood, hands on knees, trying to catch his breath. "Get in before you have a heart attack." Duvall sped away before Ernie could put his seatbelt on.
"Do they know where the stash is?" Broward asked.
"No," Ernie replied. His face was red, and it wasn't from a cheery disposition. They slapped him around a bit, probably trying to get the location of the money.
Broward sighed before asking the obvious. "Do we follow?"
"For a million five?" Ernie asked. "Shit yea." It took only a minute to catch up to a couple of guys on foot.
"Stop asshole!" Ernie shouted when they caught up to the hoods. Duvall jumped the curb and used the SUV as a barrier. Ernie reached out and tackled one of them while the other took off. He cuffed him and searched him. "Wrong one," he panted.
The sound of tires screeching caught their attention. The other kid had stolen a blue Toyota Corolla. A woman ran screaming towards them. "¡Ayudarme! ¡Tomaron a mi bebé!" She grabbed Duvall's suit. "Ayuda."
One and a half million Latino's in Los Angeles and he never took the time to learn the learn the language. And why should he? It was America dammit. Broward looked at Mandrell, "Little help." They switched places. Duvall loaded the perp in the truck, and Mandrell tried to calm down the lady.
"Un cierto negro tomó mi coche. Mi hija estaba adentro."
"We got a problem boss." Mandrell turned from the lady to look at Duvall. "She's got a kid in the back seat." Duvall didn't hesitate before he ran to the driver's side.
"Tomar mi tarjeta," Ernie said before he gave her his business card. "Permanecer aquí, otro oficial vendrá te consiguen. La conseguiremos detrás." Ernie hopped in the detectives chased down the blue vehicle.
"I'll call Mick to sit on the woman. We'll have to cut him in, boss."
Duvall nodded silently, intent on the chase. Traffic was light, thank God. They followed him down East 28th before he ran a red light and turned south on South Central Avenue.
"We might need to get rid of..." Ernie began.
"No!" Duvall screamed. "Don't say it. Not one more word you son of a bitch. She's a kid."
"They got dirt on us, boss. The woman, the kid, Mick. Too many loose ends."
Ernie was right, but Duvall wasn't going to sell his soul by getting a kid killed. Everything he did saved lives. So what if he took a little something on the side. He risked his ass every night for a measly seventy thousand and a crappy retirement package. "I'll think of something, Ernie," he whispered. "I'll think of something."
Duvall tried to run through the same red light, but the traffic wasn't as light as he thought. Broward almost collided with a small Ford Escort. He flashed his badge at the distraught woman and turned the corner. The car was gone. "Shit!" he screamed.
"Where's he going?" Broward shouted at the banger in the back seat.
"Screw you pig. This Trey Dog. The Dog don't snitch."
Broward and Mandrell exchanged a glance. Ernie nodded. Duvall U-turned in the middle of the street and headed south.
It took them ten minutes to reach the safe house. It was an abandoned warehouse that once belonged to a hitman. The hitman used to be a cop, and when Duvall busted him, he told him about his hideout on East 45th and Pacific. It contained chains bolted to concrete columns, hooks which dangled from the ceiling, and a big drain in the middle for washing away the blood.
"Kill me motherfu..."
Ernie could hit like a brick. The kid fell to his knees when the old man belted him. "Where's he going?" Ernie yelled. A punch to the face sent Trey Dog sprawling on the concrete floor. "Come on Trey Dog. Where's your homie?" The beatings and the questioning went on for five minutes. Duvall took a smoke break and contemplated the trouble they would be in if they didn't find the kid. Trey wouldn't break. Duvall decided it was time to try something else.
"So," Trey Dog slurred, "you gonna be the good cop?" His face was beat up. Both eyes were swollen, the left one almost completely shut. His upper lip was busted.
"There's a kid in the back seat." That got Trey's attention. "You're big time now, Trey Dog. One call from me, and the Fed's will be after you and your little boyfriend.
Trey paused for a minute. Duvall thought he would wise up now. Instead the kid spit in his face. Duvall wiped it off with his tie. He looked into Trey Dog's eyes for moment, letting his stare intimidate the kid, and said, "Ernie was the good cop. Now it's my turn."
They chained him to a column, hands tied behind him. Duvall attached the M9-SD silencer to his nine millimeter Beretta. He shot Trey Dog in the foot. After the screams died down he coldly said, "I need you alive, Trey. I can make this last all day."
"What doesn't kill me..." he muttered.
Ernie had heard enough. He looked around the room. He walked to the corner and picked up an old broom. The wood only survived two strokes to Trey Dog's abdomen before it snapped in two. Broward pickup the broken shaft and showed it, broken end up, to Trey Dog. "Start talking meat, or we stick this where the sun don't shine."
* * *
Mandrell and Broward sped back to South Central. The drive took another thirty minutes. "Maybe they will let the kid go. It's the coke they want." Ernie had a bad habit of stating the obvious. Broward parked across the street from the location Trey Dog gave them. "Yep, auto body shop beside the chicken joint, like the kid said." Broward shook his head in exasperation, ten years and he still found Ernie's bad habit annoying. "Got a plan, boss?"
"Go in, trade the money location for the kid. Then we call Mick, tell him to break steal the safe before the Rolling 40's get there."
"You think they will get pissed when we tell them we sold the dope to MS-13."
"We won't tell them that, obviously. Let's go."
The walked across the street, calm and relaxed. The Rolling 40's were old friends. They had an arrangement with Broward. They tip him off on the competition and in return he cuts them some slack. There were conditions to the deal. The 40's thought they could break it when they expanded up to Stanford. The twelve arrests were a warning, the stolen drug shipment was a retirement package.
Duvall and Ernie removed their guns and went inside. The warehouse was well lit, a sign of recent activity. Ford's, Honda's and Toyota's of various makes, models, and degrees of disrepair were stationed at various intervals along the warehouse. The blue Corolla was in the back, all four doors were open, no one was inside. The sound of approaching footsteps prompted both officers to lift their guns at the sound.
"Well," a deep voice said from behind a navy blue Taurus with it's engine gutted, "if it aint my favorite cop on the take."
Duvall holstered his weapon, but halted Ernie from doing the same. "If it aint old Scarface," Duvall replied. "Now give me the kid and we can work this out."
The man with the deep voice stepped into the light. His 45 was drawn and pointed at the little Mexican girl he was using as a shield. He was six foot-five, and slim. He was not garbed in the usual hood gangster attire. He wore a blue Armani suit with a blue hankerchief exposed out of his left breast pocket. His alligator skin John Lobb's had blue tips. "I asked you not to call me that Broward."
"Sorry." Broward replied without sounding apologetic. "It's hard sometimes. You know what I mean. The whole scar on your face kind of stands out. I mean, Tony Montana didn't mind the name." Broward paused in mock contemplation. "But then again, he didn't lose an acid fight to a Mara Salvatrucha."
"¿Entender el inglés?" Scarface asked the little girl.
"Yes, sir," the little girl mumbled.
"My name's Daz, what's yours?"
"Maria." Maria was a skinny little girl who looked to be about seven or eight years old. She had long, straight dark hair that touched her shoulder blades. She wore blue jeans and a green tee-shirt with some Spanish crap Broward couldn't understand.
"Now listen Maria. I want to let you go. Understand?" She nodded. "But if Detective Broward tries to screw me," he pointed his gun at the detective, "I will not hesitate to blow your fucking brains out!" Maria stiffened, shut her eyes, and nodded.
Duvall knew that Daz was a tough nut to crack. The guy had a master's degree in business management. After years of hitting the glass ceiling, he decided to turn one of America's most notorious gangs into some kind of gangster corporation. Well, who could blame him. The drug game is a hundred billion dollar industry. Broward could not fathom how some slick kid from the burbs infiltrated the Crips. Duvall decided to appeal to his sense of business. "A federal rap won't be good for business."
"Yea, let's talk business." Daz whistled, and ten Crips popped up from behind cars, weapons drawn. Broward drew his gun and pointed it to Daz. "Give up your guns, and we can negotiate."
Broward and Mandrell exchanged glances. Duvall shook his head. "Boss?" Mandrell asked in disbelief.
"It's alright Ernie," Broward nodded to Mandrell, "It's alright." Both men surrendered their guns. The hoods gave Broward's gun to Daz. "Let's talk about my crew you busted last night."
"You broke the rules Daz. I told you to keep that shit on your side of the tracks."
"Where is my coke?"
"How did you know about the key on Ernie?"
"Where's my shit?"
"Gone." Bolts were cranked and released, loading each weapon with a round. It was not a pleasant sound to hear for Duvall. He closed his eyes and fought to remain calm. "We sold half, the other half we turned in. I'll tell you where the money is as soon as you let the girl go."
"Good, Broward. That's real good. See, you aint the only cop on my payroll, Broward. I got people watching you while you watching me. I knew you split the shipment in half. I just didn't know where you took the half you kept."
"It's in a safe, in a warehouse on East 45th and Pacific. Now let her go!" Daz nodded to the Trey Dog's running buddy and he took off in the same car he stole a couple of hours ago.
Daz let the girl go. She started running towards Broward. Broward knelt and stretched out his arms. A shot was fired. Maria's arms flailed as the bullet hit her. She hit the ground.
Broward's jaw dropped. His brained switched off momentarily, shielding his mind from the shock. Another shot was fired into the girl's prone body.
Broward, in a hot rage, reached for his gun. Realization hit suddenly as he remembered surrendering it to Daz. he looked up and stared down the barrel of his own gun in Daz's hand. Daz shot Maria, with his own gun. He looked to the right, where the second shot was fired. A fat Crip with a goatee, wearing blue denim pants and a blue pullover, was holding Ernie's gun. Both men removed the magazine's and ejected the loaded round before throwing the guns at the cops.
A third hood stood over the girl with a polaroid camera. He took two pictures, he handed one polaroid to Daz and the other to Broward. Two more wrapped her body in plastic and carried her away.
"What the hell did you do?" Broward asked, still reeling from the shock.
"This is what you call an insurance policy. If you ever steal from me again, this girl's body will turn up somewhere public, filled with rounds from your gats." Daz's cell phone rang. As the voice on the other line spoke, his demeanor seemed to get angrier. He slammed the flip phone shut and pointed his 45 at Broward.
Trey Dog. Broward stared up at Daz, unafraid. "Guess he found his boyfriend with a broom stuck up his ass," Broward taunted.
"Looks like we won't be needing that insurance policy after all, Detective," Daz said. "Such a waste." He pulled the trigger.