“Tony! How’ve you been you useless sack of shit?”
“How’s it been hangin’ James?”
I hadn’t been to Tony’s on 4th in weeks. He brought me a Philly cheesesteak with extra grease. I told him it was my birthday and was ready for an early grave.
“Oh hell, James. It looks like the pawn shop next door is getting robbed. Should I call the police?”
I pulled out my 357.
“Don’t lift a finger you fat, stupid mother fucker. I’ll take care of it.”
I walked outside and the robbers were loading merchandise into the trunk of their Pontiac.
They looked up and one of them fired off a 12 gauge. It grazed my right arm. Nevertheless, I managed to unleashed my 357, killing two of them.
The last one ran off. I fired off another round, blasting a hole in his leg. As he laid there bleeding out, I walked up to him and lifted my gun.
“Now I know what you’re thinking,” I said. “Did I fire 8 shots, or only 7?”
“You shot 3! Please don’t shoot me again!”
“Are you sure? Pretty sure I shot 7.”
“Please sir! Call an ambulance! I’m dying here!”
“Well I think today is your lucky day.” I cocked the 357 and a bullet fired out, splattering his brains all over the concrete.
“Holy shit, he was right. I did only fire 3.”
I was in the hospital all night while they sowed up my arm. I couldn’t sleep. LP nudged me the next morning at City Hall.
“Wake up,” he said. “The mayor’s speaking.”
I sat up in the seat and took my feet off the table. LP handed me a cup of coffee.
“Crime has gone up fivefold since I took office,” said Mayor Tortellini. “At this rate, I won’t get re-elected. This killer on the loose, what’s he called?”
“The Hillside Choker, sir,” the LA police chief responded.
“We must stop this killer, this coward, from choking again. He must be behind bars before election season next year.”
The mayor looked around the room. “Does anyone here have any pressing information regarding this case?”
LP stood up.
“I do sir. The rise in crime appears to be linked to the Hillside murders,” he said.
“Obviously, dipshit. Does anybody here have anything else,” the mayor replied.
I stood up.
“I think what LP means, Mr. Mayor, is that the Hillside Choker is motivated specifically by the rise in crime. All of his victims appear to be drug dealers, thieves, pimps, prostitutes, etc. The killer might think of himself as some sort of vigilante,” I said.
“And you are?”
“James, Mr. Mayor. Private Detective.”
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” the mayor said. “Admiral Majors speaks very highly of you. He told me all about your escapades in Nicaragua.”
“Correction sir, it was Honduras. And with all due respect, Admiral Majors is the dumbest man I’ve ever met.”
“Nevertheless, I am deputizing you for the duration of this case. Welcome to the Los Angeles Police Department. Please don’t destroy this city like you did to Honduras.”
“Thank you sir.”
“This meeting is adjourned.”
LP got up and patted me on the back. “It looks like we’re partners now.” We shared a few laughs and I grabbed my coat.
As I was leaving, I caught a familiar stranger glancing at me. It was the same police officer from Malibu and San Luis Obispo stalking me. He scampered off into the bathroom.
I followed him in.
I kicked open the stall door and pulled out my 357.
“Caught ya asshole,” I said.
While sitting on the shitter, he raised his hands.
“You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into James,” the man said.
I cocked the gun back. “Well you better tell me now or you’ve taken your last shit.”
“You can’t kill me here.”
“Haven’t you heard? I’ve been deputized. I can kill with impunity.”
At that moment, LP came in. “Drop it, James,” he said. “He’s not worth it.”
I lowered my gun. The mystery man got up, flushed the toilet, and washed his hands. “I’ll be seeing you around,” he said, and left the bathroom.
“Who is that guy, LP?”
“You’re in the LAPD now, James. There’s some questions you just don’t ask.”