The Cryptic Killer

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Chapter 20

Hudson Street, Greenwich Village was surprisingly busy for 11pm on a Saturday Night, despite the overcast conditions and threatening skies. The one-way street was busy with the constant flow of slow moving cars. Some were passing through, but many were crawling the gutters seeking female company.

The tall leafy evergreens that lined the street, quite picturesque by day, had transformed into black canopies against the moonless night, hovering over the bustling sidewalks. Fluorescent lighting and neon signs from businesses that were still trading, softly illuminated the sidewalks.

For Emma’s’ alter ego, ‘Nikki’ this street held a significance different to that of most visitors to the area, particularly between West 10th and Charles Streets. This was where she plied her trade. This was where she sold her services to anyone willing to pay her price.

Her choice of ‘uniform’ for this popular night of the week was her ever reliable black platform thigh-high boots, buttocks-revealing cut off denim shorts that appeared painted on, a brief red bikini style top that barely covered her nipples, and a black leather bolero with matching cap.

From her choice of wardrobe there was no mistaking what she did for a living, but there wasn’t a guy that passed her who didn’t take in a longer than usual glance at her sexy, scantily clad figure.

While standing on the curb she smiled her bright white teeth at the drivers of any slow moving vehicle, and any men walking by that showed her interest. Her Bolero jacket and skimpy top exposed the full shape of her breast, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. She was the constant center of attention of male passers-by.

The busier the streets were with tourists to the area, the less approaches by potential Johns she was likely to have. The actions of men approaching one of the street girls appeared to intrigue visitors to the area. Whether they were interested in monitoring the transaction, or disgusted by the action was unclear, but their overt gazing intimidated and detered men seeking discretion.

Nikki watched a red colored ford slowly approach. She recalled this was the fourth circuit he had completed along the one-way street. Things were looking promising for her first trick of the night. It had been quiet so far, which was to be expected prior to midnight.

Business always boomed after midnight on a Saturday night once the inhibitions were relaxed and the libidos were fueled from the effects of alcohol over indulgence.

Or there were the more apprehensive tricks who waited until the visitor numbers to the area reduced considerably before approaching a street hooker, to minimize the chances of being seen, or worse, recognized.

She also had to make judgement calls and assess whether the gutter crawlers were undercover cops looking to entrap her. But as she hadn’t heard anything from her cop friend, who always alerted her to pending police raids in Greenwich Village, she relaxed slightly. Her razor sharp street instincts had already inferred that this guy was not a cop.

Nikki watched the red vehicle pull over and stop right in front of her. The male driver made eye contact with her, giving off all the signs she recognized. She strutted over to the passenger side door and leaned in through the open window. Her large breast intentionally hung down freely, almost unrestrained and in full view of the driver.

They were her best asset and she made sure she used them to her full advantage. The driver was an average looking European male in his early forties.

‘Hi Hun. Looking for some company…?’ She offered her standard opening question.

‘How much?’ the driver nervously blurted back as his eyes flicked between Nikki’s eyes and her ample breasts, followed by a quick check along the street in front of him.

Nikki smiled confidently and welcoming. She stared straight back at him and asked, ‘what are you looking for Hun?’

It was important to ensure the John asked for what he wanted. She was mindful that when cops were trying to entrap the girls, they made the girls say what services she offered and her prices.

The driver nervously looked forward, out the front windscreen of his car and then back at Nikki, as though he was searching for the words that were stuck somewhere between his brain and his vocal chords. Although he sat at the wheel of his car, his arousal was obvious to her.

‘Head…um…Ah…ho... How much for just head…?’ he stuttered nervously in a whispering tone. His head pivoted like a nervous sparrow.

Nikki smiled reassuringly, mindful not to make him feel too self-conscious about his nervousness.

'Two Benjamins…’she began, ‘and it won’t be “just head”…’ she said, ‘It will be the best head you have ever had, Hon,’ she boasted, slightly jiggling her dangling breasts as a teaser.

Head jobs were a service that she performed extremely well, but she had to take great care. She had the misfortune of having two larger than normal eye teeth. Although relatively indiscernible, she had to be mindful of them when they were so close to a client’s sensitive parts. They were quite sharp but she had learned how to keep them out of the way when performing fellatio with a male client.

Despite achieving exactly what she set out to; arouse him by the display of her ample breasts, she still had to suppress the urge to chuckle when she heard him moan with pleasure as he stared lustfully at her jiggling breasts. How easy men are. A pair of bouncy tits and they’re hooked.

Although she charges $200, as far as LeVander was aware the price charged by his girls for oral sex was $75. Nikki intentionally inflated all her prices because she wasn’t working the streets because she enjoyed it. She figured the more profit she could make after LeVander got his 30% cut, the less tricks she had to do. It was purely economics to her.

‘OK, get in,’ the man said.

‘Do you have the two hundred, sweetie…?’ Emma said.

The driver reached into his shirt pocket and removed a number of large bills. He quickly peeled off two $100 bills. He folded them in half and handed them to Nikki. She accepted the bills with a pleasing smile. She discreetly placed them down the front of her denim shorts before she opened the car’s door and climbed in.

She quickly established he was new to the area, so she directed him to drive to a nearby secluded area down by the Hudson River; an area the girls regularly used for in-car sex.

Experience has taught Nikki to ensure she received payment before disclosing that she insisted all sex acts, including fellatio, were performed with her client wearing a condom. It was a very common requirement in the sex industry, however some of the more skanky girls didn’t take these precautions.

The timing of her announcement was everything. By the time she removed the condom from her hand bag, the John’s expectations were peaking so she rarely received any resistance. However she was always mindful that some of her work colleagues have been badly beaten for similar requests.

Ten minutes later Nikki was back on her patch. She was still a little perplexed after the driver unexpectedly returned her to where he picked her up. That was not normal. They usually can’t get the girl out of their car quick enough once the service is completed.

As the night progressed Nikki continued marketing herself by strolling seductively along her patch with slow deliberate catwalk-model strides. Her tight butt muscles protruded well beneath her cut-off denim shorts. She had removed her jacket and slung it over her shoulder, held onto by a finger. From a distance the shoestring straps on her red bikini-style top gave the appearance she was naked from the waist up.

While casually ambling along her assigned turf she received a text message. It was from one of her Facebook regulars. He was on his way and wanted to arrange a meeting at ‘the apartment’.

For Johns that approached her on the street, Nikki’s entrepreneurialism had ingeniously pre-arranged the use of a vacant one-room apartment just around the corner. A double mattress on the floor was the only furnishings. On each occasion that she used the room she discreetly slipped the building’s Superintendent a twenty on exit. On a good night he could make as much as $200 from her hard work.

Her Facebook regular, a slightly overweight married man in his mid-fifties, was patiently waiting on a bench outside the apartment. In her usual theatrical parading, she sashayed up towards him, overtly flaunting her sexuality to intentionally escalate his libido. She could tell by the look on his face he liked what he saw.

Three hundred and fifty dollars for straight sex and five minutes later she was back on her patch.

LeVander had been monitoring his prize girl. He timed his approach so there was a lull in passers-by. He casually sauntered up beside her with a typical swagger and confidence to seek an update on her last two tricks.

‘Wazzup baby girl,’ he asked, which was his way of inquiring what her last two tricks were so he could calculate his kick.

‘BJ and a straight,’ she replied as he mentally worked out his 30% on $225, which in reality, her inflated pricing had earned her double that at $550.

Jack had spent the entire day preparing for tonight’s operation aptly named; “Operation Code breaker”. The Homicide Bull Pen over flowed for the pre-shift briefing.

With the approval of the Bureau Chief, two police members from each of the neighboring precincts, as far up as Midtown, had been seconded to his team for the Saturday night operation.

In total there were thirty cops gathered, all eagerly awaiting further instructions. One thing was certain, tonight they all shared a mutual interest in stopping the Cryptic Killer.

Firstly, Jack briefed the group on the background of the killer. This was followed by the deciphered letters and the location where the latest letter disclosed the victim’s body would be dumped. He described the profile of the killer, as provided by the FBI. He also detailed the killer’s known MO, and particularly highlighted the fact the killer used a luxury vehicle to pick up his victims.

Based on the killer’s pattern and the body dump site, he predicted that either Tribeca, or Greenwich Village would be the killer’s next likely target area.

All those in attendance were divided into teams of two and assigned a unit name consistent with their own precinct number. Confident with his pattern analysis, Jack assigned four teams to the Tribeca and SoHo red-light districts and three teams to the Greenwich Village red-light district. Using a large map of Lower Manhattan he highlighted the blocks of streets each unit would be responsible to patrol.

The team from 14th Precinct – Call sign Unit 14 — were assigned a static post monitoring the Waldorf Astoria garage exit onto East 50th Street.

Jack addressed the two man team from Unit fourteen. 'I want you two to position yourselves in East 50th Street, near the intersection with Lexington Avenue.’ He indicated the location on the large map. ‘The one-way street will direct all vehicles toward you,’ Jack said. ’Be aware that we suspect that the Waldorf Astoria Valet Supervisor, Benton Wylie is assisting the killer in acquiring a vehicle. So, any luxury vehicle that exits the garage after midnight is to be stopped and checked to confirm the driver is also the vehicle owner. Understood?’ Jack said. The Unit fourteen members nodded their understanding.

Jack collectively addressed all the other teams. ‘I want you to intercept all luxury vehicles you detect driving in and around your assigned areas, whether the vehicles are passing through, or gutter crawling. If it is a luxury vehicle, stop it. The perp will not own the car he is driving, so full licence and registration details are to be obtained to verify the driver owns the vehicle,’ Jack said. ‘I don’t care if the luxury vehicle has just picked up a hooker, you are to intercept it and verify the driver’s details.’

As a contingency plan, in case the killer was able to slip the net he had cast, he posted his own team at discreet vantage points in and around Madison Square Park to monitor the eight entry points into the park.

Jack informed the group that he and Spence would move between all areas coordinating the operation. All units were issued hand held radios set to Channel six. He stressed the normal operational frequency channel was not to be used for this operation.

Jack instructed all units to report in to him when they were in their assigned areas, and were to provide regular situation reports to update him.

With a quick check of his watch Jack noted it was 10.30pm. There were no further questions, so the teams were dismissed to allow them time to grab a coffee before departing for their assigned locations.

As the crews vacated the room Jack's eyes met Spence's. His eyebrows raised up in hopeful anticipation as he exhaled long and loud. All was in readiness.

Jack had spent the last two days preparing and checking his operational plan and was confident he had all areas adequately covered, as long as each of the units did their jobs correctly.

The time had ticked past 12.30am and the night air had cooled considerably. There was a distinct feeling of dampness in the atmosphere. Not ideal for Nikki in her scant clothing, suited to much warmer climates.

To stay warm she decided to keep moving up and down her strip. She folded her arms tightly across her chest, hugging her biceps for warmth.

As she arrived at the border to her patch, the intersection with West 10th Street, she walked to the curb to assess what sort of action was around. Passing traffic had reduced to a trickle and pedestrian traffic was meager.

She noticed Lulu, one of her ‘street sisters’, at the same location, but on the other side of the road. They exchanged a friendly wave when their eyes met.

Emma was about to relocate back towards the other end of her patch, away from Lulu, when she noticed a black car pull in and park parallel to the curb opposite her, near where Lulu stood.

Nikki was unsure if she was interested, or envious, but she paused momentarily to watch. The driver had wound down his window and looked towards Lulu. Nikki nodded as a smile emerged from the side of her face. Lulu was fortunate due to lack of opportunities from passing vehicles this evening.

About the same time as the black vehicle pulled alongside Lulu’s curb, a male customer approached Lulu from the footpath. She hugged the man and they chatted like old friends.

Lulu’s interaction with this John distracted her from noticing the black car parked by the curb. After a brief, but friendly discussion, Lulu and her John discreetly moved away from the area, around into West 10th Street and out of sight.

Nikki smiled to herself as she casually commenced her retreat back along her patch of turf, strutting her stuff while her inbuilt radar scanned her surroundings for potential targets.

Folding her arms across her chest in a feeble attempt to generate warmth to her near naked upper body, she started to tire. Her interest and enthusiasm diminished with every step. She checked her phone as she strolled. There were no. messages.

The distinctive shrill of a short, sharp whistle caught her attention. She knew that sound well. It was LeVander’s call used to attract the attention of one of his girls. Emma turned towards the direction of the sound.

LeVander stood at the intersection of West 10th Street, about ten yards to the rear of the parked black vehicle. He looked directly at Emma. She turned and walked back towards him, moving onto the roadside. She stopped and held her hands out to her side. Her body language inquired what do you want?

LeVander jabbed a finger at the black car parked where Lulu stood only moments earlier. She understood his succinct sign language. He was ordering her to get her ass across the street and speak to the John in the black car before he drove off.

Emma checked for traffic then trotted across the road towards the black vehicle, a precarious action when wearing six inch spike heeled, thigh-high boots. Her semi restrained breasts bounced freely into themselves as she trotted.

The driver of the stationary vehicle lowered the passenger side window and glanced in her direction, watching her as she approached. She casually pushed out her chest to ensure he noticed her best assets bouncing as she ran.

Nikki slowed to a walk as she neared the car. She adjusted her bikini top then, in her usual manner, she leaned in through the vehicle’s open window. Her assets dangled freely.

The unmistakable smell of new leather was first to greet her. It was pleasing to the senses. Her initial recognizance of the vehicle’s interior quickly concluded it was an expensive vehicle, presumably owned by someone with money.

She smiled at the driver, pleasantly surprised at what she saw. The driver was much younger than her usual tricks and quite handsome. His closely shaved hair and unshaven after-five shadow produced rugged looks that could see him appear in movies, or grace the covers of glossy magazines. He returned a very pleasant smile back at her.

‘Hi handsome. Looking for some company?’ she asked.

‘As a matter of fact, I am.’ He smiled while confidently maintaining eye contact with her. His voice was gentle and quite soothing. For the first time ever she was semi-attracted to one of her clients.

He wore a tailored suit and appeared to be a man of considerable affluence. His choice of motor vehicle clearly supported her assumption. Why would someone so cute need to be picking up street girls? But then again, she was not your average street girl.

‘What are you looking for Hun…?’ she asked.

‘Um…’ He shifted his gaze out the front of his vehicle, as if thinking for the right words to use, before his focus returned to Nikki. ‘I am only seeking oral relief, if that option is possible,’ he replied, articulating his preference in a clarity she had not heard before from a trick.

Nikki smiled at him and he returned her smile as he waited for her to respond with her costs.

‘I’m a little more expensive than most Hun…but it will be an experience you won’t forget - and worth every cent,’ she said.

Her comments and over confidence made him smile. He nodded once back at her. His focus shifted to the front of his vehicle. ‘And how much is this life-changing experience going to cost me…?’ He had a hint of flippancy in his tone. His focus returned to Nikki.

‘For someone as handsome you…$300,’ She said.

His mouth turned downwards as he slowly nodded. He appeared to be happy with her fees. ‘OK. I can do that.’

The driver reached into his jacket pocket and removed his wallet. In an unusual display of trust, he passed his wallet over to her. ‘Remove your fee from there,’ he said.

Nikki stared momentarily at the wallet held in his extended hand. She slowly reached her hand out to receive the wallet from him, at the same time wondering way he couldn’t remove the cash himself and pass it to her. Was this a test of trust?

She accepted the wallet and stood up from leaning on the car and opened it. It was full of bills. She left her hands in full view of the driver while she counted off three, one hundred dollar bills and slipped them out of the wallet. She closed it again and leaned back into the car. She held up the three spread bills in her hand and passed the wallet back to the driver. The driver smiled as he took back his wallet and returned it to his inner jacket pocket.

‘Climb in.’ He smiled in her direction, extending his hand towards the passenger seat.

Nikki opened the car door and climbed in, still a little puzzled by the wallet thing.

The soft leather seat seemed to envelope her as she eased back into it. It was so comfortable. She sat momentarily with her eyes closed, soaking in the sensation of the welcoming seat. It was a little cool on first touch, but quickly warmed to a comfortable temperature against her body.

The gentle forward acceleration of the vehicle brought her back to reality. She opened her eyes as the driver slowly commenced his journey along Hudson Street. The car just seemed to glide in silence, as if on air.

The interior was sound proofed from any outside engine noises. She smiled to herself, and for the moment she felt like she was part of societies upper echelon, as she watched the scenery pass by.

‘If it is agreeable with you I have a favorite spot my ex-girlfriend and I use to frequent, down by the East River. It’s about a ten minute drive, but I promise I will bring you back when we are finished,’ the driver articulated in his now typical eloquent style.

She looked at his reassuring smile and shrugged her shoulders in an agreeing manner. ‘Sure. It’s your money.’ She smiled back at him. ‘Can I ask you a question?’ She had finally worked up the courage.

‘Of course.’

‘Why did you hand me your wallet, instead of taking the money out yourself?’ she asked.

The driver smiled. ‘Maybe I wanted to impress you by showing you I had a lot of cash in my wallet,’ he said playfully. Nikki forced out a smile. ‘No…I’m just messing with you. But truthfully though…’ He held up his left hand. ‘I injured the knuckles on my fingers playing basketball and I can’t bend them at all. I wouldn’t have been able to remove the bills, so…I gave it to you. I trusted you,’ he said with a reassuring smile.

Nikki nodded. She accepted his response was plausible. She started to relax a little.

‘It’s my turn now…’ the driver said. ‘I have a question for you…’

‘O-K,’ she said tentatively.

‘Do you insist on condoms for oral sex…?’ he asked.

The question caught her off guard. She never discussed the use of condoms this early on in a transaction. She was concerned at whether it would cause a change in his personality if she replied in the affirmative.

‘As a matter of fact, I do.’ Her reply was intentionally confident and direct.

Without removing his eyes from the roadway ahead he smiled and nodded. ‘Good to hear,’ he said. ’They protect both you and me.’

Nikki smiled back at him, and nodded gently. She started to relax and feel more reassured by his comments. She focused on the illuminated roadway in front and the road markings as they disappeared under their vehicle into the darkness beyond.

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