Lady Justice and the Ghostly Treasure (2 page)

BOOK: Lady Justice and the Ghostly Treasure
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    “Agreed,” Kevin replied, heading up the stairs. “We’ve got all we need. Now we just have to figure how to get Oscar out of this mess, and I’ve got an idea.”

    When Kevin says that, I never know whether to be apprehensive or relieved.



    A couple of phone calls and an hour later, Kevin, Oscar, and Ox, my old partner on the force, and I, were huddled in my office.

    “Not good, Oscar,” I said, showing him the photos of the meth lab.

    “Looks like I’m screwed,” Oscar moaned.

    “Maybe not,” I replied. “You said they’d only been there a couple of weeks?”

    He nodded.

    “Then they haven’t been there long enough to contaminate the place. If we can get them out now, you can get the basement cleaned up pretty quickly.”

    “But if we call the cops ---.”

    “Already called them,” Kevin said, pointing to Ox. “Meet Officer George Wilson.”

    “I --- I don’t understand,” Oscar muttered, obviously confused.

    “Here’s the deal,” Kevin replied, “Our goal is to get the perps arrested without leading the codes officers and the EPA to your rental. They’re cooking a batch tonight, so chances are, they’ll be on the street selling it tomorrow. Walt and I will watch the place. When they leave, we’ll give Ox a call. He’ll stop them, search their car, find the crank, and cart them off to the pokey.”

    Oscar looked at Ox. “I didn’t think you could just pull someone over. Don’t you have to show probable cause?”

    “Sure do,” Ox replied. “I’ll stop them because they have a tail light out. It’s a safety hazard.”

    “They have a tail light out?”

    “Not yet,” Kevin replied with a smile, “but they will.”

    “As soon as Ox has them in cuffs, Kevin and I will box up the stuff in their lab and take it to the dump. We’ll give you a call. You can change the locks and start cleaning up the place.”

    “But what if they come back?”

    “Not likely,” Ox replied. “The minimum penalty for possessing 5 grams of meth with intent to distribute is five years. Ten years for fifty grams. Judges are reluctant to put dealers back on the street, so bail will probably be more than they can come up with.”

    “And even if they did get out,” I added, “how dumb would it be to go back to their lab?”

    Oscar shook his head in disbelief. “You really think this will work?”

    “Is a frog’s ass watertight?” Kevin replied.

    I didn’t know much about amphibian anatomy, but I guessed that was a ‘yes.’



    After Ox and Oscar left, I cornered Kevin.

    “I didn’t want to cast any doubt while Oscar was here, but I see a serious flaw in your plan.”

    “And what would that be?”

    “The tail light! We saw their car and both lights were working perfectly. They obviously keep the thing in the garage. How do you plan on jimmying one of their lights with them in the house?”

    “Easy. There’s a back door to the garage. We’ll need a diversion, and while they’re busy with that, I’ll let myself in and remove a bulb.”

    “Diversion? What kind of diversion?”


    “Excuse me!”

    “Relax, Walt. I’ve got this covered. You’ll be a gas man going through the neighborhood checking for a reported gas leak. They’ll have to let you in with your sniffer thing. You can poke around long enough for me to finish the job.”

    “Swell! Exactly how am I going to pass myself off as a gas man, and where do I get a sniffer?”

    “Not a problem,” he replied. “I know a guy and he owes me. Like I said, I’ve got this covered.”



    Just as Kevin promised, ‘the guy’ came through, and the next morning I was decked out in coveralls with the Missouri Gas Energy logo. I had my sniffer and a company van. The guy said we could only have the stuff for an hour, so we had to work fast.

    I knew it was against the law to impersonate a police officer, but I had no idea how much trouble I would be in if I got caught dressed as a gas man. Kevin put the whole thing in perspective when he said, “Just don’t get caught.”

    It wasn’t much comfort.

    At nine o’clock, I was on the perp’s front porch. Kevin was watching from his car. As soon as I lied my way into the house, he would head to the back door of the garage. My cell phone was on vibrate, and my job was to keep the perps occupied until Kevin finished. He would call and when I felt the jiggle in my jeans, I was to get the heck out of Dodge.

    I took a big breath and knocked. Mr. Soul Patch opened the door.

    “Yeah, whadda you want?”

    “Gas Company,” I replied, pointing to the logo on my chest. “We’ve had reports of a gas leak in the neighborhood. We’re checking every house. May I come in?”

    “Sorry, Buddy. No leaks in here.”

    He started to close the door, but I stopped it with my foot.

    “This is really important, Sir. We have to find this leak. Anything, a cigarette butt or a car backfire could ignite an explosion that would take out this whole block.”

    A voice from inside called, “Murph! What’s going on out there?”

    “Some dude from the gas company says there’s a leak in the neighborhood and wants to come in and check.”

    After a brief pause. “Tell him to take a hike.”

    Murph shrugged. “You heard what my roommate said. Take a hike.”

   I shrugged right back. “Well, it’s your choice, but if I can’t clear your house, I’ll have to shut off your gas at the meter and call KCP&L to disconnect your electricity. Policy, you know.”

    Murph rolled his eyes. “How long will this take?”

    “Not long at all,” I replied, holding up my sniffer. “I’ll just go room to room and if I don’t find any fumes, I’ll be out of your hair.”

    “Okay,” he muttered, stepping aside, “but make it quick. We’ve got stuff to do.”

    Mr. Spikey hair was in the living room gnawing on a piece of cold pizza.

    “What the hell? You were supposed to get rid of this guy.”

    “Chill, Stu. If he doesn’t clear the house, our gas and electric get cut off. If that happens, we can’t finish our little project.”

    “I’ll hurry,” I said, clicking on the sniffer. “I just have to go around the baseboards of each room. If there’s a leak, that’s where it will show up.”

    I had no idea what I was talking about, but I figured that process would give Kevin plenty of time.

    As I suspected, they both followed me from room to room.

    I dallied as much as possible and finally Mr. Soul Patch said, “This is boring as hell. I need a smoke and I left them in the car. I’ll be right back.”

    I had to think fast. “Sorry, Sir. I can’t let you do that.”

    “Why the hell not?”

    “City ordinance 1594, paragraph 13, states that lighting an open flame during an inspection for a gas leak is a Class A Misdemeanor that carries a five hundred dollar fine and up to ten days in jail. As soon as I clear the house, you can light up.”

    “Well, crap!” he muttered.

    I had sniffed every baseboard in the house and was racking my brain to find more things to sniff, when, thankfully, I felt the phone vibrate.

    “Everything looks good,” I said. “Thanks for your cooperation. I’ll get out of your hair now.”

    As Mr. Spikey Hair, closed the door behind me, I called out, “Have a nice day.”

    I smiled, knowing that for them, the day wouldn’t turn out well at all.



    Kevin kept an eye on the house while I returned the van and sniffer and changed back into my civvies. The gas guy took me back to the rental and we resumed our surveillance, hoping it wouldn’t be long until the perps left with their load of crystal meth.

    Shortly after noon, the old Toyota pulled out of the garage. Kevin had pulled it off. One of the tail lights was definitely out.

    “Perdinkle!” he said, grinning.

    “Perdinkle? What’s that?”

    “Really? You don’t know? You have so much to learn, grasshopper. When you’re with a girl and you see a car with only one head light or tail light, you say ‘perdinkle’ and you get to kiss her.”

    “Good to know,” I replied. Kevin was obviously way more advanced than I in the social graces.

    I flipped open my phone and dialed Ox. “Bogeys heading north on Olive. Turning west on 51

    “Got ‘em,” Ox replied.

    We heard his siren blaring in the distance.

    Fifteen minutes later, Ox called. “The perps are in cuffs, the D.E.U. and a paddy wagon are on the way. You guys are good to go.”

    Kevin picked the lock on the garage and I pulled the car inside.

    “Now comes the nasty part,” he said, retrieving face masks and gloves from the trunk. “We mustn’t spill even a drop of that crud, especially in my car.”

    We carried cardboard boxes and garbage bags to the basement and were appalled by what we found.

    “Yuck!” Kevin exclaimed. “Acetone, Hydrochloric acid, Sulfuric acid, red phosphorus --- and people snort and inject this stuff into their bodies. It’s no wonder people are so screwed up.”

BOOK: Lady Justice and the Ghostly Treasure
10.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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