The Case Files of Jake Malone

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter Five

One thing every cop learns fairly early on is that if they want to find out what’s going on in the underworld of society all they had to do was find Lenny the Liar. Lenny was a tiny man who loved the sound of his own voice, and who would sell his mother out just to avoid a jail sentence. That isn’t just a figure of speech. His mother is currently serving her fourth year in a twenty year sentence for running one of the largest prostitution rings in the city. Lenny put her there just to avoid a slap on the wrist from a petty theft charge. I never have understood why the other criminals of the city haven’t put him in a shallow grave yet, but then he didn’t earn the title of ‘The Liar’ for nothing. He had everyone in the city convinced he was something he wasn’t.

I spent the rest of the morning, and a good part of the early afternoon, tracking Lenny down. His usual spots were easy to find. A small, unmarked, gambling hall at the end of an alley that was dark no matter what time of day it was. A street corner where he could watch the prostitutes show off their wares to passing motorists. A sleazy restaurant where the food was questionable at best, but always cheap.

It was nearing four in the evening before I found him at Lucy’s Bar and Grill. The word ‘Bar’ had a large black ‘X’ spray painted over it in compliance with the new liquor laws, but I doubt anyone was fooled. Somewhere in there, alcohol was sure to be served. But not today.

It took me all of four or five seconds to spot the three undercover cops in the restaurant when I walked in. I recognized the first, but the other two were clearly rookies. They were sitting in a slight triangle where they could see anyone that was entering or leaving, while still keeping an eye on one of the booths in the corner.

Lucy’s looked like it belonged in another time. The seats of the booths were all made out of shiny red plastic, almost like the backseats of fancy cars. The tables were all fake white marble, and a large counter of the same material took up an entire wall, with more red plastic covered stools at regular intervals. Behind the counter was a window leading into a kitchen, which was manned by Lucy herself as she took orders. Lucy was a large woman, easily weighing nearly three hundred pounds. Her blond hair was done up in a giant monstrosity that almost looked like an upside down beehive, and her shirt was both too small, and too low.

The main foods served were grease fried chicken, oversized burgers, and flavored frozen ice. Oh, and coffee. Lucy had some of the best coffee in town. The place was a common hangout for off duty cops who needed a pick-me-up both before and after work. I walked up to the counter, casually ignoring the booth in the corner that the three undercover cops were staking out. “Lucy.” I said to her, nodding.

Her rather ugly face, covered in a couple pounds of makeup, broke into a huge grin. “Why Jake Malone, as I live and breathe.” She said coming up to me on surprisingly light feet. “It’s been too long. What can I get for you?”

“Just a coffee.” I told her, pulling out some change to pay.

“Straight black, like always?” She asked even as she poured.

“Of course.” I smiled.

The undercover cop I recognized saw me and gave me a careful nod, his eyes searching. Frank Roland, my old tutor, knew I was up to something. I smiled at him, nodded, and gave an apologetic shrug. Lucy, having seen everything, as she always does, told me, “Now don’t you start any trouble Jake Malone.”

“No trouble Lucy.” I reassured her. “Just need to talk to someone, then I’ll be out of your hair.”

She looked at me, then at Frank, then to the back booth that everyone was trying to ignore. Three men sat in the booth. I couldn’t see the faces of the two who were sitting together, but I didn’t really need to. Lenny the Liar was sitting across from them talking animatedly, his hands waving about like a man conducting an orchestra. Lucy headed to the register and casually put her hands under the counter beneath it. It was where she kept her shotgun.

I took a sip of my coffee as I walked away from the bar, being careful not to burn myself on it. Frank stood up as if on his way to the counter and stopped in front of me. “Jake… what are you doing here?”

“Relax, Frank.” I reassured him. “I just need to talk to the weasel.”

His eyes reflexively glanced at Lenny for half a heartbeat before looking back at me. “He’s working.” Frank told me quietly.

I looked over at the booth, taking in the details of the two men facing away from me, and shook my head. “Waste of time.” I told him.

“Damn expensive waste of time.” Frank growled at me. “Why would it be a waste.”

I put my hand on Frank’s shoulder as I walked past him. “Trust me Frank. And keep down.”

“Jake.” He said warningly.

I held my hands up, made slightly awkward by my coffee. “Don’t look at me.” I told him. “It won’t be my fault.” I moved on before Frank could say anything else, and it would look too conspicuous if he followed me. As I passed the booth I confirmed what I thought I saw before, and sat down next to Lenny, half pushing him over against the wall, and blocking him in. “Afternoon.” I said to the suddenly silent table, sipping my coffee as nearly the entire room stared at me.

“Who are you?” The man on the right demanded.

“Jake Malone.” I told him. “I know you don’t have much time, but I need to borrow Lenny here.”

“Lenny’s got nothing to say to you.” Lenny said nervously. “Lenny hasn’t committed no crimes, so you don’t need to bother him.”

“Are you still talking like that?” I asked calmly, ignoring the sputtering from the two men across from me.

“Lenny doesn’t know what you’re talking about.” He told me seriously. I hate it when people talk about themselves in the third person.

“This is a private conversation.” The man on the left said angrily, his hands hidden under the table where I presumed they were holding a gun.

I looked around the room, ignoring the angry glares from the three undercover cops. “Not too private.” I shrugged. “Looks to me like two… no three undercovers are listening in on everything you say anyway, so there’s no harm in me joining in.”

“What?” Both men across from me demanded, looking around. For what it was worth, the undercover officers recovered quickly from their surprise, and went back to their regular tasks before the two criminals could spot them.

“Why do you have to say such things to Lenny’s friends, Jake?” Lenny asked me in a hurt voice. “Nobody here is doing anything illegal, right guys? Lenny thinks you should probably go now.”

“Does he?” I asked with a sarcastic smile. The two men were quickly gathering their supplies together. “Doesn’t look to me like Lenny has any more business to conduct today.”

“Guys!” Lenny complained, frantically gesturing at the two men. “There’s no need to go. Lenny can handle this guy. He’s not even a cop anymore!”

Lenny knew he made a mistake the instant he said that. The two men gave him identical looks, questioning without words how Lenny would know I used to be a cop. With a final glare at both Lenny and I, they left the restaurant.

All three undercover officers stood up at the same time and marched over towards me, as I casually sipped my coffee. Lenny immediately began protesting, “It wasn’t Lenny’s fault! Lenny was doing everything you asked him to. If he hadn’t interrupted, Lenny would have delivered them to you!”

The three men ignored Lenny and hovered over me menacingly. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Frank demanded.

I ignored his question and instead said, “Three.”

“What?” One of the cops I didn’t recognize asked.

“Two.” I replied, counting down.

“Are you trying to scare us off?” The third asked.

“One. Get down!” I yelled suddenly.

With wide eyes Frank responded on instinct, pulling the other two officers down with him. I grabbed Lenny and pulled him under the table, and I noticed in the corner of my eye that Lucy had ducked beneath the counter.

Two seconds later the three cops were glaring at me. “What the fu…” The first officer began to say. He was interrupted by an explosion of gunfire outside the restaurant. Bullets flew for three or four seconds, only one or two entering the restaurant, shattering windows in the process.

When the gunfire dropped away, the roar of a large engine filled the room, and slowly went quiet as the vehicle drove away. “Damn.” I muttered. “I miscounted.”

“Jake,” Frank demanded. “What the hell was that?”

I grabbed Lenny by the collar and pulled him back up onto the seat next to me. As Frank and the other two cops stood up I chanced a glance down at my coffee. One of the bullets had hit the mug, spraying what drink I had left across the table. “Aw hell. I wasn’t done with that.” I said calmly before answering Frank. “Those two guys were marked.”

Surprised realization flashed across Frank’s face, and his aggressive body language backed off, but the other two cops weren’t so easily dissuaded. “Marked?” The second one demanded. “What the hell do you mean marked?”

“Back of the neck.” I replied, using two fingers to tap the back of my own neck. “Three red dots in the shape of a triangle. And bright red. If they hadn’t left when they did, this whole place would have been shot up. Instead it just caught a few strays.”

“Damn. How’d I miss that? Makos?” Frank asked.

“Unless someone else is using that symbol, which I highly doubt. And old age, perhaps?” I grinned evilly. Frank was the officer unfortunate enough to get stuck with two rookie cops a few years ago. Myself being one of them. He was more than old enough to retire now, but he always said he’d retire when he died.

“Now you sound like Martha.” Frank retorted sourly.

“Those men you just let walk out the door were high up on a drug cartel from the south.” The first officer told me angrily. “And you not only let them know that they were in the middle of a sting operation, you let them get away! We should haul you off for obstruction of justice!” He was screaming at the end.

Lenny, who everyone was ignoring, tried to slide under the table. Without looking at him I grabbed him by the collar and pulled him back into the seat. “Oh no you don’t.” I told him without looking. “You and I still need to talk.” Addressing the officers again I said, “They didn’t get away. And you’re welcome for saving your life.”

“Saving our lives?” The man demanded, his face turning red, and veins popping up on his neck.

“Stand down Collins.” Frank ordered quietly.

“What?” The man demanded.

“What are they teaching these guys nowadays?” I asked Frank.

“It’s a new policy.” Frank shrugged. “Build the newbies up to the big stuff.”

Shaking my head I looked at the two confused younger officers. “Right now,” I told them, “You need to go outside and tape off the crime scene. There are two dead men lying on the sidewalk.”

“How could you possibly know that?” The first officer asked.

“Cause it’s what they do.” Frank told them. “Let’s go. I’ll call it in.” He looked at me. “It’s possible Rider will come down himself. He’s been trying to stamp down on gang activity.”

“Time to go for a walk Lenny.” I told the little man, putting my hand on his shoulder as the three officers jogged outside.

“Lenny doesn’t need to go for a walk.” He told me nervously. “Lenny likes it just fine in here.”

“Really?” I asked. “Because in about ten minutes this place is going to be crawling with cops looking for anyone who might have had any kind of involvement with the two dead men out there. I wasn’t aware that Lenny liked to be seen around that many uniformed officers.”

“On second thought,” He said suddenly, “Lenny’s legs could use a stretching.”

“Yeah,” I replied. “I thought they might.”

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.