Monday, December 7, 2009

L.E.O -- Chapter Ten

Ellie drove the unmarked right up onto the sidewalk, scattering skinheads left and right as she slammed on the brakes.

As Johnny jumped out of the passenger door, he heard loud gunfire inside the building. He drew his weapon and brought it up to eye level.

"Police! Don't even fucking think about moving!" he yelled.

A few of the Skins started to scatter, but Frank fired a round in the air. They stopped dead.

"Go get your boy! I'll handle these fucks!" Frank yelled.

Ellie and Johnny ran for the target building's front door. Ellie caved in the door with one kick.

Johnny swept in, gun up, covering the left side of the room. Ellie popped in next, covering right. He tried to locate Eric, but all he could see was skinheads with guns. He followed their line of fire -- a bar at the far right of the room.

"Police! Drop your weapons!" Ellie yelled.

One of the Skins drew a bead with his shotgun. She fired twice, hitting him center-mass. The skinhead dropped, his weapon clattering to the floor.

"Now, anyone else wanna pull a gun?" Johnny asked.

The gunfire was thunderous. Ellie and Johnny dove behind the bar, almost landing on Eric.

"Nice of you to join me!" Eric yelled over the gunfire.

"How many?"

Eric flashed all ten fingers twice in response to Johnny's question. Bullets slammed into the bar, sending splinters and sawdust flying.

"Nineteen left!" Johnny shouted to Ellie. The gunfire slowed slightly.

"Get down!" Eric yelled, grabbing a bottle of gin from the bar. He flung it hard overhand just as Johnny ducked. The bottle smacked into a skinhead's skull and shattered -- he'd been sneaking up on them. The Skin went down in a spray of blood and liquor.

"Eighteen!" Johnny yelled.

Ellie snagged the Skin's dropped gun and threw it to Eric. Eric shook his head and set the gun on the floor.

"Pop up on three!" Johnny yelled, holding up three fingers. Ellie nodded.


Johnny dropped one finger.


Johnny's hand became a fist, and he and Ellie popped up from behind the bar, firing their weapons. They pulled the triggers until they clicked empty, dropping several of the skins. When they dropped back behind the bar, the room was quiet.

"Putting our guns down!" one of the Skins yelled as Johnny and Ellie reloaded. Johnny heard weapons hitting the floor. He raised his weapon.

"I'll check it out," he told Ellie.

As he popped up, Johnny brought his weapon to bear in front of him. No gunfire met him as he rose. Weapons were resting on the floor, and the six Skins still standing had their hands up.

"On the ground, now! All of you!" Johnny ordered.

The Skins complied, sinking to their knees, then laying face-down on the blood-slick floor. They moved like they'd been arrested before. Johnny pulled a fistful of zip-ties from his coat and set them on the bar. He motioned to Ellie and Eric that it was safe to come up.

"Eric, check vitals and do what you can for any criticals. Wrap up anyone else," Johnny said. Eric nodded and grabbed a few zip-ties.

Ellie made a quick radio call for backup and medical, then started flex-cuffing the uninjured Skins. Johnny kept them both covered.

"Hey, Johnny. Think this is our guy," Ellie said, hauling one of the cuffed skinheads to his feet. He was short -- about Johnny's height. Though he was dressed in a big Army jacket, it was readily apparent that the Skin had a slight frame. Ellie handed Johnny the Skin's wallet.

"Mortimer Travis Stahl," Johnny read from his license. "Mortimer? Really? No wonder you go by Travis."

"What the fuck do you want?"

"Slow your roll, there, Mortimer. What the fuck were you thinking, opening fire on my boy and a couple of cops?"

"He's a rat. One of my guys is from Tampa -- recognized him as a guy who fucked us on a deal down there. Got a bunch of us locked up," Stahl growled.

"And you're all getting locked up now. Great plan, Mortimer," Ellie said.

Eric walked over to them, pulling off his medical gloves.

"One dead, two critical, the rest stable. I think our two criticals will hold on until the ambulances get here. I've patched 'em all up. Stopped the bleeding where I could."

"Wait. You're a doctor?" Ellie said. Her face showed confusion.

"Paramedic," Eric told her.

"He's a man of many talents," Johnny said.

"Well, not many. Like, three," Eric said.

"You're a fucking race traitor," Stahl spat.

"Oh, quiet down, you," Eric said, glaring at the tiny Skinhead. "Farm boy? You got it covered in here?"

Johnny looked around the room. All of the Skins were flex-cuffed and on the floor.

"Yeah. We're set."

"I'm gonna go outside and keep Frank's company. Wait for the backup."

"Good idea. We'll stay behind and talk to Mortimer," Ellie said.

Eric nodded, tossed his gloves into a trash can, and went outside.

"All right, Morty. Time to start talking."

"Yeah? About what?"

"About Adam Hassan."

Stahl's face scrunched up.


"You're a shitty liar," Ellie said, shaking her head. "I can see by your eyes you know who I'm talking about."

Johnny was impressed. Most people wouldn't have caught the tiny twitch in Stahl's left eye as Adam Hassan's name was mentioned. The lady definitely had talent.

"We know you know who he is," Johnny said.

"Yeah, fine. I know the camel fucker. He got my best friend sent to jail two years back."

"Hey. Watch the language, fucktard," Ellie snapped.

"You seen Hassan lately?" Johnny asked.

"Last time I saw him was at my boy's trial."

"That's two. Lie to me one more time, Mortimer. Really. See what happens," Ellie said, scowling.

"Fine. Hassan was visiting my boy. Turned him away from the cause. We ran into each other outside the prison last Spring, and we got into it. Check with the Lincoln Police. I filed charges."

"And more recently?" Johnny said, leaning closer to Stahl, who backed away slightly.

"All right, man. Don't go aggro. I keyed the rag--" Stahl caught himself after a withering glare from Ellie. " -- the guy's car. Like two weeks back. He saw me -- I ran."

"Very manly of you," Ellie snickered. "So you're going to tell us you and your crew didn't murder him and his whole family?"

"He's dead?"

The shock in Stahl's voice was either real or a very convincing act. Johnny thought the former, and he could see that Ellie did, as well.

"You're looking at a lot of time here -- assault on officers, illegal weapons. . . you give us something on Hassan, and we might help."

Johnny kept his voice strong and sure even

"Seriously, man. I don't know anything," Stahl said.

"That's unfortunate," Ellie sighed. "I'm guessing the charges from tonight will land you 20 years, if not more. That's State Prison, too. They're not too easy on Nazi assholes like you up in State."

"Look, just take me in and get me a my lawyer, all right?" Stahl growled.

Johnny shrugged. Those were the magic words. As soon as Stahl said lawyer, they had to stop questioning him.

They heard sirens outside. Frank radioed from outside.

"Wagons and ambos are here."

"Roger that," Johnny radioed back. "Send in the medics, will you?"

"They're on the way. We'll start loading up out here."

A few seconds later, four paramedics in blue cargo pants and t-shirts came in. They moved quickly, attending to the wounded. Johnny and Ellie led Stahl and his uninjured comrades out of the building and into the street. Four Omaha Police wagons and two ambulances had joined Ellie's unmarked on the curb.

"Paperwork on this is gonna be a bitch," Ellie said.

Johnny nodded as he helped the OPD uniforms load the skinheads into the truck.

"Yeah, it is. And we got nothing out of it, to boot. Not my best evening of policework on record."

"At least we got out of the house," Eric said, smiling and shrugging. "Nothing usable? At all?"

"We won't know until we do some digging, but Stahl didn't know Hassan was dead. I think we did this for nothing," Johnny said.

"Well, not nothing. I mean, look at all these guns you got off the street," Eric told him.

That much was true, Johnny figured. The Skins had been armed to the teeth. At least they wouldn't be using those guns on anyone now.

"All loaded up here, Detective."

"Thanks, Walker," Frank nodded to the uniformed cop. "Run 'em on down to the station. We'll be along after we take a look around in there."

Officer Walker nodded and got into one of the wagons.

"Good idea, Frank," Johnny grinned.

"We're gonna be stuck in office forever. Might as well poke around in these assholes' clubhouse and see what nasty shit we can find," Frank said, shrugging and opening the door. "Ladies first, El."

"Why, thank you, Frank. All right, boys. Let's see what we can find."

Johnny, Frank, and Eric followed her inside.

Past the bar area where the County Coroner was still packing up the dead skinhead, the team found a small office area with four desks. There was also an old 24" TV and a VCR on a stand -- it looked like it had been stolen from a high school AV room sometime around 1992.

"Four desks, four of us," Ellie said, snapping on latex gloves. Eric moved to the only desk with a computer, put on gloves, and started it. Johnny started rifling through the desk nearest him. He found a lot of White Power literature (with a bunch of misspellings, he noticed). Apart from the various flyers, the only interesting item in the desk was a Nazi bayonet -- he couldn't tell if it was real or a replica.

"Well, here's something," Frank said, lifting an ancient Hi-8 video camera from the bottom drawer of the desk in front of him. "Tapes, too."

Johnny walked over to Frank and took a look in the drawer -- there were more than 30 tapes, all with dates scrawled on their labels.

"Got one from the date of the murders, here," Johnny said, pulling the tape out of the drawer.

"Let's see if this TV works," Ellie said.

The picture on the TV was a little dark, but it worked. Eric found some cables and hooked the camera to the TV, then loaded the tape. An image flickered onto the screen -- Stahl with a large number of Skins behind him. They looked like they were standing in a parking lot. It was dark out, and all of the skinheads were dressed in black jeans and black coats.

"Is he standing on an apple box?" Eric asked.

Johnny managed to keep from chuckling. On the tape, someone said "Go." Stahl started talking.

"This is what you get for ruining our hood. You move your brown-owned business into a white neighborhood, and this is what happens."

Stahl motioned to the Skins behind him. They all donned black ski masks and balaclavas. Stahl put on his own mask, then smiled at the camera.

This is what you get," he repeated. "Let's go!"

The skinheads took off running, and the camera followed. They sprinted across a four-lane street and swarmed into a car lot. Johnny recognized the dealership from its "Se habla Espanol" and "Compre con confianza" signs -- it was in the middle of town, on L Street. He remembered reading it had been vandalized a few days ago -- now he was watching it happen.

The Skins had bats, tire irons, and pipes. Johnny watched as they went aggro on the dealership, smashing windshields and slashing tires. He sighed and turned to Ellie.

"Shit. Stahl's not our guy," he told her.

"Just because he was out that night doesn't mean he couldn't have gotten across town to the Hassans'." Ellie's face was set in a scowl.

"What time did the M.E. put for their deaths?"

"Between 11 pm and 1 am," Frank said, "Monday night."

Johnny tapped the top right corner of the screen. Just visible inside the camera frame was a flashing time-and-temperature bank sign. The date was that Monday night -- the time was 11:52 p.m.

"Well. . . fuck," Ellie muttered.

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