At nine o'clock Ranger kissed me awake with a cup of coffee. "Lula will be at the office soon, and she will be wondering where you are."
"Once I tell her I was with you, she will be thankful. She says she doesn't like going out with me to capture skips when I haven't had any sex the night before because I am too cranky. There will be no chance of me being grouchy today." Ranger smiled. "I don't want to move." I sighed and sat up anyway, reaching for the coffee that Ranger had brought to me. "I forgot to thank you for both the shower gel this morning and the rose in my office."
"You are a romantic at heart."
"Shh. Don't tell anyone. It's the Latino blood coming out in me."
I leaned forward and gave Ranger a kiss that had both of us hurriedly assessing whether we could rearrange our days to allow us to stay in bed for another hour. I gave up when I remembered Lula would soon be waiting for me in the office.
"I think we should go out on another date soon", said Ranger. "I picked where we went last time. Why don't you choose this time and let me know the where and when?"
"Let me think about that. Maybe plan on tonight? Is that too soon? The last time we went fancy, so perhaps this time we should go casual and laid back?"
"Whatever you want. Tonight would be perfect. Just let me know."
I wiggled my way onto Ranger's lap, and gave him another kiss. "Oh, no, you don't", said Ranger. "My day is flexible. Yours, however, is not. Get up and get dressed, Babe. It's time to get the day started."
I drank my coffee and got up, finishing up in the bathroom. I put my clothes back on while Ranger got dressed again. Then, remarkably more relaxed than I had been that morning coming into Rangeman, Ranger and I walked together out of the apartment.
I hurried down to the bonds office, unfortunately hitting every red light on the way. I was ten minutes late. Connie was at Costco buying more office supplies and Lula was playing a game of Mah-jong when I got in. It was a game I had never figured out the rules to. It was like backgammon. I never figured out the rules to that one either. I figured I had plenty of time when I was old to learn.
I pulled out the three files for the four skips. "Which should we do first?" I asked. "The reproductive saboteur or the terrorist hoaxer or the human traffickers?"
"I don't know. They all seem like they need a good slap on the head and a kick in the ass for what they did. Can you go in fully suited up again? With your gun and my gun, we should be able to scare the crap out of them. And scare them is what I want to do."
"I hope we won't need guns, but I agree we should go in fully suited up. Are there any Kevlar vests in the storeroom? It would be nice for you to wear a bulletproof vest when we go. It looks more official that way."
"Damn skippy! That's a good idea. Right now only you are wearing protection. Of course, ninety-nine percent of the time you are the only one who needs protection." I could hear her voice coming from the bowels of the storeroom as she searched for a vest. "But it's that other one percent that worries me. Even a one percent chance of getting dead can still result in one becoming very dead."
"Hopefully they will come with us as easily as the duellist yesterday."
"Yeah, he was a real sweetie pie. If he was a little older I would have been interested in him", she said, triumphantly holding a vest aloft as she emerged from the closet. "But he would have had to be older. I am not interested in no cradle robbing."
"You could be younger."
"I'm not interested in being younger. I have lived through a bunch of shit and have come out the other side. I wouldn't want to live through it again." She put the bulletproof vest on and I loosened off the straps to size it to her full figure. There was still a little too much Lula squishing out the sides once I had loosened it to the maximum, but it would do in a pinch. It was better than getting shot.
"How about we get the one on Stark Street over with", I suggested. "That's the one I am really dreading." We left the office, locking up after ourselves, and walked out to the car. I also put on my Kevlar and, since my utility belt had a holster for my gun on it, I took off my gun belt and put on my utility belt. Handing Lula the file on Heskell, we motored off to Stark.
"I am feeling a bit of déjà vu", I said to Lula, looking at a group of teenaged males as they crossed over to our side of the street and continued walking in our direction. Three of the boys goggled Lula, two looked at me, and four eyed my car. "Don't even think about it", I said to the boys. The two oogling me came towards me, backing me up against the wall. I pulled out my gun, took aim at the pavement right beside one of the boys' feet, and fired a shot. The bullet hit the ground, shattering the concrete of the sidewalk, making the concrete jump up and hit the leg of the boy. Trying not to shake, I put my gun away.
The three boys crowding Lula and the two boys crowding me sprung back, the one that was hit by the concrete holding his leg and shouting "I've been fucking shot by this crazy dumb-ass fucking bitch."
"And don't even think about jacking my car, or the next shot won't be aimed at the ground beside your feet. It will be aimed at you", I called out as I quickly turned away and walked towards the apartment building that Heskell lived in.
"Do you think they will heed the warning this time?" I asked Lula. We looked back, and all nine of the boys were assessing my car.
"Do you have Ranger on speed dial?" she asked.
"That's good. 'Cause I think you are going to need it."
There was no elevator in the building. We climbed stairs that smelled strongly of marijuana. "I couldn't live here", said Lula, "I would have the munchies all the time. I would get fat." I eyed her sumo wrestler physique and privately thought that she had already had a bad case of the munchies.
"I already eat everything in sight. I don't need the appetite enhancing properties of pot", I said.
"Yeah, you are the worst stress eater I ever did see."
"I have only just begun to be able to button my jeans again." After the last person I shot a couple of months ago – an event which precipitated the break up with Morelli – I ate just about everything in sight. It has only been through careful eating over the past month that I have been able to reduce my weight again. It was fun going on, but has been a real bitch coming off. I hadn't had a doughnut in over a month. This was a real hardship for me. Doughnuts are one of my main food groups.
We got to the second floor and I looked out the stairwell window. No car. I shook my head. "Apparently they weren't scared by my tough girl act again. I am getting really tired of not being taken seriously. Maybe next time I should actually shoot someone."
"You can't actually shoot someone. You will eat everything in sight and gain weight again, and your grandmother will be back to telling everyone you are preggers."
Heaven forbid. I am still meeting people in the grocery store who are hinting around, asking me if the baby is Morelli's. And when I tell them I am not pregnant, they treat me with kidskin gloves and express their condolences on my miscarriage.
We walked down the dark hallway, an area of flickering fluorescent lights where stale cooking smells warred with the sweet smell of pot. I knocked on Heskell's door. It was silent inside. I knocked again. Finally, after a few minutes, there was a shuffling to the front door. There was no peephole on the door for Heskell to look out. He opened the door to reveal a tall, scrawny guy in a stained wife beater and ripped shorts mostly hanging off his ass, emitting an unwashed smell that overcame the hallway odour. "Heskell?" I asked. I pulled out my cuffs. "Bond enforcement." I grabbed his wrist from between the door and the jamb and snapped on the restraints.
He yanked his wrist away from me. I came with the yank, crashing into the door with enough force to pop it open the rest of the way. The door banged into Heskell, knocking him onto the floor, and I came flying in with the door, still holding onto my cuffs, falling down and landing on top of Heskell.
Shaking his head like he heard a buzzing in his ears, he tried to flip me off him. All those self-defence lessons with Ranger paid off, however. Despite the wild bucking Heskell was doing, he was not able to dislodge me.
Meanwhile, I was trying to get Heskell's other wrist and secure it in the cuffs. Lula had pulled out her gun and was trying to sight Heskell, and Heskell decided that he liked playing the horizontal rumba with me on top. He started to move so that my body was sliding up and down his bits. I could feel his growing interest through my skirt. He started grunting and saying "oh, baby. You like the Heskell? I can give you a good time."
I was angry. I was repulsed by Heskell himself, his smell had my stomach turning, and I really did not want to have to come back to Stark Street in the near future. Using my anger, I flipped Heskell onto his stomach and captured his other wrist. "I said, bond enforcement", I said to Heskell. Turning to Lula I said "I will close up the apartment. If he moves even the slightest before I get back, shoot him."
"You were so good, baby. I came in my shorts for you", said Heskell. I rolled him back onto his back and looked down. Sure enough, there was a large wet spot on his shorts. I hurriedly checked my skirt. Thank God, no wet spots.
I walked through the apartment and turned off all the lights and made sure the stove was not turned on. I closed and locked all the windows, then returned to Lula. "Did he move?" I asked.
"Too bad. I would have liked to shoot him." Lula put her gun away and between the two of us we hauled Heskell to his feet. Taking the keys to the apartment, we locked the door and marched Heskell down the hallway, down the stairs, and out to the front of the building. Once again, the car had not mysteriously reappeared.
"I am a bad boy. I can be your real bad boy", said Heskell to me. He tried to step closer to me.
"I am in a nasty mood and would like a chance to hurt you. I would recommend that you stay where you are and not push your luck." I pulled out my phone and phoned Rangeman.
"Hi, Hal. I am down on Stark and my car has been stolen – again. The good news is that I got my skip."
"Is that him, yelling 'hey, baby, I'll love you long time' in the background?"
"That's the one."
"I will send a patrol car over to pick up your car, and someone else to rescue you and take your skip to the station."
"Thanks, Hal. You are a lifesaver." I relayed the message on to Lula that help was on the way.
Heskell continued to make kissy noises, trying to sidle up to me, loudly proclaiming the good time that I could have with him. He told all the passersby that I was taking him to a private area for some fun. "That is ridiculous", I said. "If in your warped mind you think I am here to pleasure you, why do you think Lula is here?" I asked, pointing at Lula.
"That fat chick? Perhaps she is there to scare all the rest of the homies away."
"Fat chick?" said Lula. "Fat chick? I will fat chick your ass", she said as she pulled my stun gun out of my utility belt, fired it up, and zapped him. Heskell fell to the ground as Lula handed back my stun gun. Drool oozed from his mouth and he was inert. "Hunh. Too bad he didn't mess his pants", said Lula.
"He messed them when he was wrestling me on the floor. There is probably only so much mess a pair of tighty whiteys can handle."
"Have you been to that barbeque place out near the Barrens?"
"Not since they changed management. Why?"
"Ranger and I are going to try another date tonight, and I thought going casual would be a change from our last date. It is my choice as to where we go and I am trying to figure out a good spot."
"BBQ would be good. So would a trip to Point Pleasant. It is so nice out, it would be good to sit outside on a patio drinking beer and eating chicken wings as well. What about that new pub on Main Street? I haven't been in it so I can't speak to the quality of the food, but I do know they have a nice patio."
"That's a good idea."
Ranger drove up in his Cayenne. He got out with a set of shackles in his hand and looked at our skip, who was still passed out. "What happened here?"
"Fell down the stairs", I answered as Ranger smiled. "Thanks for coming to the rescue, again."
"No problem." He looked down at the skip again and said "you got the full effects of the stun that time, Babe. You even got him to pee himself." He put the shackles on Heskell.
"That's not pee. That is the result of me wrestling with him to get the cuffs on him. He got a little excited and apparently he is a bit of a premature ejaculator."
Ranger froze. "Step me through what happened."
"Heskell opened the door, I snapped on one half of the cuffs, Heskell pulled me into his apartment and on top of him as he fell to the ground. I was trying to get my cuffs on him. Lula was trying to sight her gun on Heskell, and Heskell got excited from bouncing around with me on top of him. He came, I got my cuffs on him and checked my skirt but it was dry, thank God, and Lula put away her gun. We brought him down here and he was being obnoxious…"
"He called me a fat chick!" interjected Lula.
"…so Lula stunned him a few minutes before you showed up. A good capture, really. If it weren't for my stolen car and the premature ejaculation, it would have been a perfect capture."
Heskell's eyes slowly opened and it did not look like there was anybody at home. Although to be truthful, I wasn't sure if there was anybody at home in the first place. He wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed.
Ranger toed him with his shoe. Heskell drooled on the ground. "What happened?" he slurred out.
"You fell", I said. I sat him up as he tried to get a look down my skirt. Apparently parts of him were waking up faster than others.
"I don't remember falling", he said.
"You must have hit your head", I said as Ranger and I reached down and pulled Heskell to his feet. He tried to lurch onto me, but Ranger pulled him out of my grasp and, half carrying him, half dragging him, escorted him over to the car.
We had dropped Lula off at the bonds office and were at the precinct removing Heskell from the car. He again lurched into me and I jumped back, but not before he had ground his bits into my skirt. "Can I stun him again?" I asked Ranger. "I think I will need a shower after we drop him off."
Ranger smiled, jerked Heskell until he was standing straight, and said in his ear "this is what is going to happen. We are going into the police station so that you can get a new court date. You will not try to touch Stephanie again, nor will you make any lewd comments to her. What you will do is walk nice and steady. If you do not do as I say, I will hit you so hard you'll wish you were dead. Do I make myself clear?"
Heskell nodded his head. So did I.