Yuki accidentally witnesses Jack Delgato murder an informant friend of hers and wants to avenge her death. Jack is a crooked homicide cop, he’s in the police business, and the drug business. Jack also has an addiction, not to drugs, but a more dangerous one for Yuki, erotic asphyxiation.
George’s Grill on Michigan has the finest Coney Island hotdogs this side of Coney Island, barring-none, not Mr. Mike’s, not the Parthenon, not even Lafayette Coney Island has a better one. Nope, George’s Grill is the best, but it is a bit of a dive.
LaGrow and Benham sat on stools, looking out the window and watching the cars go by, and tried to eat the hotdogs without making a mess; an impossibility. They aren’t meant to be eaten without a fork, unless you have a very huge mouth, or just don’t give a shit that half of the chili is running down the front of your shirt. Benham did surprisingly well. LaGrow came in second, constantly mopping up his stomach with a napkin. “Why homicide, just tired of dealing with dopers?”
“Yeah, mostly,” Bonnie lied, holding back two significant facts. She had to go through treatment to get off of the stuff, and she was not only working homicide, but Internal Affairs.
“I couldn’t do narcotics. Especially going undercover-narking, hanging out with all those people. You go undercover, or just work the outside?” LaGrow asked.
“I was under. Look, LaGrow, you’ll probably find out anyway. I just got out of treatment a while ago. You’re right, narcotics sucks. I saw a lot of stuff, it made me sick. I saw it, and then I did it, and I had to get out. But I’m clean, and I want to be a good cop. I’ve always wanted to be one. My father was a cop, he got shot, he got dead, but he at least was doing what he wanted. I want to stay in this department. I want to be a good homicide cop, and I hope you’ll help me. I hope we can work together and we can be good partners.”
LaGrow wasn’t quite ready for his new partner to unload like this. She was a bit explosive. But he didn’t mind. He didn’t take it the wrong way. He took it for what it was; honesty. “I want to be a good homicide cop, too, and you bet, Benham, I think we can be good partners. We’ve got to be. There’s no such thing as good homicide cops that are bad partners. I worked with one of the best cops in Detroit, Charlie Ebinger. Charlie and me were working the file I just showed you, and since most of the girls were also into drugs, you should know how we can make some headway on it. I just wanted to get you out of the office, where you and me can really introduce one another. When we finish these things, or when I lose the rest of it down the front me, we’ll go back to the station and I’ll go over the case with you one vic at a time.”
Bonnie knew right now everything would be okay between her and LaGrow. The transition wasn’t going to be as bad as she had feared. She could trust him. There was still the working for I.A., but that she couldn’t tell him. It bothered her, but it wouldn’t interfere with their investigation into the strangled girls. “There is something I gotta tell you.”
“Let me guess,” LaGrow said. “I’m thinking Delgato and Ruiz. Back at the office you said you heard some things about them.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard some stuff. About Jack in particular; and it’s not good. But, you need to hear what I heard. We gotta work with them. Maybe you can explain some of it, maybe I got it wrong, considering some of the sources I got it from.”
“Okay, so what is it? Jack’s an asshole. I know that. Everybody knows that.”
“Word on the street is they’re in the business, fuck, they are the business. And they aren’t in it alone, there are a lot of others from the department. And, yeah, you hear this about departments in other cities, and I consider where I heard it. But I heard it. I heard it from a lot of different sources. And it’s persistent, it doesn’t go away, I kept on hearing it. And now you’ve heard it.”
“Hearing something’s one thing, being true is another. You have anything that makes you believe what you’ve heard? You have supportive evidence coming from reliable sources?”
Benham looked right at him. “Mostly just some dead people, would you call them supportive evidence?”
“No, I’d call them dead people.”
“Yeah, that’s what I call them. No, I don’t have any evidence. You hear a lot of stuff on the street-dopers talk a lot, most of its bullshit. But, I do know some of them that did the talking are no longer with us. Like Aleena Davis, the girl with Charlie. She did some talking.”
“You knew her?”
“Everybody did. Her boyfriend runs a dope house. If you’re undercover, and you’re looking for dealers, you’d know Three-finger Davis, and her. And I see she’s dead. Like a lot of the others.”
“And you think Delgato and Ruiz might have something to do with it?”
“She was talking to Charlie. And now she’s dead. When you put that together with what I’ve heard about Delgato and Ruiz I begin to wonder. And I think maybe it’s worth wondering about, and being careful about.”
LaGrow shook his head. “I have to tell you right up front, I don’t like Jack. I think he’s an asshole. And I’m aware there’s a lot of talk about him. He’s made some rough arrests. Lots of them, enough it makes you wonder. But then I remind myself this is homicide, not the Boy Scouts. And he’s broke some real big cases. So then I forget about what I’ve heard, and I put my own feelings about him away.”
“Maybe this case isn’t the only thing he’s breaking?”
“You mean like the law?”
“I mean like necks, like Jacquie.”
“That was an attempt at humor?”
Bonnie smiled sheepishly, “Yeah, an attempt, a crummy one, bad joke. Hey, what the fuck, you’ve got to find something to laugh about in all this shit or it’ll make you crazy, huh? Gotta step back from it once in a while and look at it as all kind of joke, what we’re doing, what they’re doing, what we’re doing to each other. Just laugh about it once in a while. If you try to make any sense out of it, you’re liable to hang yourself.” There was a pause, and then Bonnie said. “That’s supposed to be a joke, too, gallows humor.”
“I’m looking for a killer, someone who strangles people,” LaGrow said.
“Yeah, I know,” Bonnie said, getting serious. “And we’re gonna find him, or them.”
LaGrow did like this Benham. She was different, she was a little out there, but he got a sense about her. She was gonna be a good partner. “Yeah, we’re gonna find them, gonna hang them.” LaGrow said with a warped smile.
“I like that idea,” Bonnie answered, with a big smile. “Let’s get back to work and go over the files. Let me see the other vics. Maybe I know some of them. I was under for three years. I met a lot of people, a lot of them who ended up dead.”