The disguise came together quite well. There was some finagling with her womanly parts, but in the end the suite fit perfectly. Ms. Peabody had called a cab that was now waiting on her. When all the preparations were complete she strolled down the stairs in all her, masculine, glory. “Well, what do you think? I think I look quite the part.” She smiled.
“Mercy Bernadine. If I didn’t know it was you, I would’ve thought it was a man that just came from the upstairs.” Ms. P replied.
“I wrapped gauze around my chest to bring my breast in. I’ve got to tell you, it’s most uncomfortable. But do I look flat chested?” She answered smoothing over the jacket.
“Yes, I don’t see a thing except suit.” Came the old woman’s sigh.
“Peachy. Well, I’m off then. Wish me luck.” Cooper winked. She fixed the fedora on her head and wen to the waiting cab. “I can’t wait to see what the chief thinks of this.” She chuckled.
The station seemed relatively calm as Cooper walked up to the podium where an police officer sat. Many cops were rushing about getting ready for what they called the, Friday night rush. Her eyes glanced around the main floor while causally making sure her mustache was still firmly in place before taking to the officer behind the desk.
“Excuse me.” She coughed trying to making it as deep as possible.
“Can I help you?” Came the man’s gruff cigarette voice.
“Ah, yeah. Chief Fizmons please.” Came her reply, while trying very hard to not have that feminine cadence to her mannerisms.
“Is he expecting you?” he asked looking up once then back at his paper in front of him.
She wanted to tap her foot at the rudeness of this man. But then again, maybe males were more likely to be rude than civil with one another. “Yeah, He is. I received a missiv… I mean I got a letter this morning to come in.”
His head stayed put, but his eyes glanced up quickly before he nodded. “Yeah, fine. Go ahead and head back... he’s in his office.”
The smile she wore under the false mustache was becoming hard to contain as she strutted through the mounds of male egos in the dapper blue uniforms. The chief office sat in the back corner of the building and as she drew close the sound of an angry voice came through the door as someone was getting an ear full.
Trying to remind herself that she was a man, Cooper knocked heavily on the door, and the voices stopped. “Enter!” Came the loud, and very annoyed, voice.
She pushed open the door and walked into the office to receive a very grumpy and put out glare. His dark blond hair was combed back, and she could see he was getting a bit grayer in the temples, and wondered if that had anything to do with her.
There was an officer she’d never seen before was sitting in the chair in front of the desk looking rather sour at the moment. “Who the hell are you, and what do you want?” The chief hollered.
“Ah, yeah, I was told to come in this morning…” She replied trying to sound more gravelly.
“Can’t you see it’s the afternoon?” He asked more annoyed than ever.
“Well Yes, sorry about that…” She started, and her voice soften then cleared her throat. “What I mean is, Sorry I was sleeping one off…”
“I don’t remember calling anyone in… wait. What’s your name?” He asked, his brows coming together.
“Mr. Copper, Mr. B.D. Copper” She grinned.
His brows came together as his stare intensified and he said the name under his breath. “Mr. Copper?” He asked, but at that moment his eyes widened. “Tony, I don’t want to hear any excuses. I’m depending on your input and what the hel… I mean, what’s going on. So just do like you’re supposed to do tonight. I need you following orders, not going off on your own.” The chief growled then shook his head.
“Yeah, but remember what I told you about everything… sir.” The cop Tony answered.
“Yeah, I got it.” The chief answered. Then without another word gave a stiff nod, not looking to pleased, and got up and leave.
“And shut the door behind you.” The chief ordered.
When the room was clear, she took a seat in front of the chief. “My, what a very busy day today.” She grinned pulling the false mustache from under her nose. “But I must ask, are men always so rued to one another when ladies aren’t present?”
The chief groaned, then stood and walked over to sit on the desk in front of her. “Ms. Cooper, may I ask why you’re dressed as a man?”
“Oh, so now it’s Ms. Copper. I’ll have to remember that if you ever come to my bed again.” She smiled.
His hands rubbed over his face with a groan and then back into his hair. “Cooper...”
“I thought it’d be fun is all. I can go places dressed like this that a women still can’t venture into. Well, that was if I could pull it off and far everyone had taken me for a man. I must say this will come in very useful.” She chuckle.
He didn’t say anything at first but then shook his head and went to sit back in his chair. “The freedom you woman think you have is terrifying. You’re going to make me crazy. I just want to clarify that point.”
“Not my intentions at all chief. Just having a bit of fun to see if I could poses as a man if I wanted to.” She winked
His hand ran over his very tired looking face. “Well you did, no one would’ve guessed you’re a woman. Now, what places are you thinking of sneaking into? I want to be ready when I get the call to arrest you.”
“So, anyways…You asked to see me this morning, and here I am.” She smiled diverting the question.
The chief shook his head then planted his elbows into the desk top when he leaned forward. His hand then went to his chin, and over his mouth while he thought for a minute or two. With a deep sigh his hands dropped and he spoke. “Yeah, I did call you in… this morning.”
“Well some of what I said when I walked in was the truth, I was sleeping one off.” She shrugged.
“I called you because another body was found this morning. There was no identification on her and she’d been in the river, from what the morgue had said, for a long time.”
“Well, then I guess we should let me go see it.” She said starting to get up.
“It’s a gruesome seen Cooper. I didn’t want to take you…” He started.
“Oh Lord please. Let’s just be on about it.” She said now rolling her eyes.
“Alright, come on. I’m sure Dr. Benini will love to have you back down there again.” He sighed.
“That stuffy old shirt.” She grumbled.
A short time later, down at the city morgue, Cooper walked over to a body draped in white cloth. An old crotch man with thick rimmed glasses and rubber gloves on staring her down. “I thought I told you Chief that I would not allow that woman in here!” Came Dr. Benini growl.
The chief stood next to her. “Yes I’m aware of that, but I didn’t say I’d keep Ms. Cooper out either. Now show her the victim.” He ordered.
The old man just stood there grumbling and Cooper smiled. “Really Dr. Ben, haven’t I showed you time and time again that I’m completely fine looking at these sort of things?” She winked.
“It’s not natural for a woman to have such a strong stomach for this stuff. And now here you are dressed in men’s garb. In my day, I’d taken a good branch of willow and swat your backside.” The old man grumped.
“Doctor, the sheet…” The chief ordered.
The drape came down, and a blueish white face appeared before her. Cooper’s eyes roamed over the body looking for any bruising or sing of a struggle, but then saw the gun shot wound. “She was shoot?” She asked.
“Do we have any idea who this woman is?”
“We’ve found a missing girl that she looks like. A miss Mary Downey. She worked as a flapper at one of the juice joints in town.”
“So she’s the next victim...” She pondered.
“No, she isn’t. I would say she was the first.” Dr. Ben answered.
“Why do you think that?” She asked.
“From decomposition I’d say she’d been in the water since December or January. The first known victim was found in February.”
“Then he’s changed his MO. This girl was shot not strangled. Are we sure that this is the same killer?”
The chief shook his head. “No, we can’t be sure of anything other then this girl was a flapper as well.”
“Where was she found?
“So he threw the first body in the water to hide her, but the others he leaves on display? Could it be a warning?” She wondered.
“Might be a warning to another flapper... one who works under cover.” Dr. Ben offered.
“I don’t think anyone knows who I am if that’s what you’re referring to Dr. Ben. But you know, I’ve been thinking…”
“Could we be so lucky.” The old man laughed.
Cooper rolled her eyes and ignored the comment. “Could there be more then one killer going on here? One is the true flapper killer, but the other one is more of a copy cat. But I do agree that there is some sort of warring going on... it’s just a matter of to who its to” She stated.
“I was thinking the same thing myself. But were still trying to figure out the why.” The chief answered.
“Yes, we do need to figure that out, don’t we. ” She murmured, then fixed her hat. “Well I’m off now. Have a good day gentlemen.” She grinned walking out of the room.
As soon as she was in the hall way a large hand took her by the arm and pulled her into a quiet corner. “I wasn’t done talking to you.” The chief growled.
“I beg your pardon, our business was most defiantly concluded chief.” She smirked.
“Damn it Cooper…”
“Ah, now I’m Cooper.” She teased.
His hand let go of her and ran along the back of his neck. “Look I need you to keep an eye out while you’re working at the Milk Maid. There’s been some talk about a big player that’s made his way into town, but everyone’s very hush hush about it.”
“I’m careful at any place that I’m undercover at chief. But yes, I’ve heard the same thing going round as well. It seems there’s more going on in Chicago then mobsters and dirty cops bootlegging…” She agreed.
“Precisely. But that also means that I’m going to have to bring you into the loop on some police business…”
“Really, then things must be worse then I had thought.” She answered crossing her arms.
“I’ve been informed that theirs a very heavy hitter that’s come into town. One that’s willing to go to war for the Torrio territory.” The chief whisper.
Her brows pulled together and her head tilted trying to take his full meaning. “I’m sorry, but it sounds like you want me to keep my ear to the ground on mafia business?” She answered.
“Yes that’s exactly what I’m asking you for. Not to engage, but to listen to rumors, chatter, anything you can. Without getting yourself involved.” He clarified.
“You know I don’t like to deal with those idiots. Listen to me chief, they’ll kill themselves off sooner rather than later, take my word on that.” She offered.
“Yes, I do agree that they will but in the long run. But they could hurt a lot of innocent people in their wake.”
“But you specially told me, no ordered me, to leave the mob business to you and your officers. Do you remember that? Because you were like and I quote, ‘My dear Ms. Cooper, If you go anywhere near those mobsters I’ll personally make sure you never work for the Chicago police department again!’ End quote.”
“Yes, I remember that. But I thought since the dirty cops might be working with these new guys, and the ringleader were looking for could lead us back to not only the serial killer but the leak in the department…”He offered as crossing his arms staring down at her.
“A leak in the department? Alright, I’ll keep an eye out and an ear open for anything.Let’s just hope I can pick him out before he gets some other poor girl in his sights…” She sighed.
“let’s just make sure you’re not that poor girl…” The chief mumbled.
“Don't be so dramatic. I have gotten a new lead, so can I have one of the guys drop off the files on the last seven murders. I want to see if I'm missing anything." She pondered.
"Yeah, I'll have Tony bring them over." He answered.
"Grand. Now, if you'll excuse me I have places to go." She winked taking her leave.
“Yes?” She answered over her shoulder.
“Have you recently seen something out of the normal that’s been going around at that club?” He asked.
“Anything like I’m supposed to have been looking for?” She smiled
“Yes, and you knew what I meant."
“Of course I have. But then again that’s why I’m so good at what I do, isn’t it chief. I know how to blend in to the environment. But when I get all the particulars about it, I’ll update you.”
“I don't like you keeping secrets, but I'll let you work this your way. We already have to much going on in the city with the upside of the mob and the cop working a side job of bootlegging. The last thing I need is a mole in my department." He sighed.
“Yes you men can’t be left up to your own devices can you. You wouldn't be able to actually get anything done on without help of a woman could you.” She winked.
“Thank you for that Copper.” Came his exasperated tone over her assessment.
“You’re so very welcome, chief. Now, I'm off to make use of this disguise.” she smiled.
“Make use of..." He inquired.
"Don't worry chief. If you don't get a call that means it worked its self out just fine." She laughed.
"Cooper where are you off to?" He growled, but she just waved as she walked off.
"I'm off to get a little information. If I get anything good I'll let you know." She offered.
“With you, that’s all a man can hope for …” He mumbled, as she shut the door with a quite laugh.