Isis rolled out of bed at 11:32 am and stumbled toward the kitchen. The nightmares that she had kept her tossing and turning in her sleep all night. She had been dreaming of her mother’s trial.
It was Saturday morning. Isis had slept for only three hours. She glanced at the memo stickers that covered her refrigerator and sighed, then she reached into the pocket of her robe and removed her cell phone. She wanted to call her sister.
She won’t talk to me anyway, she reasoned with herself.
Isis got dressed and stood by her window. It was a beautiful Saturday morning. She watched as two little girls rode their bikes down the street. A moving van was parked in front of her building, and her landlady was speaking to the new tenant. Today Isis planned to workout. She’d spend two hours practicing Jeet-Ku-Du, something she’d done for the last ten years. It was a style of kung-Fu made famous by the legendary Bruce Lee. Afterward, she’d head off to the shooting range for an hour of target practice.
Isis’ landlady looked up and saw her standing in the window. She waved at her favorite tenant. Isis waved back. She stared at the two little girls again. Isis grabbed her keys, cell phone, and her gym bag off her bed. She checked her weapon, then she headed toward the door. Isis met her landlady in front of the building. “How ya doin,′ Ms. Green?”
“Isis…how are you?” Ms. Green said as she swept in front of her building.
Isis gazed at Ms. Green and wondered, like she often did when she saw her landlady, how the hell does she stay so youthful looking? Indeed, Ms. Green was sixty-nine years old, but she could easily pass for a woman half that age.
“Off to the gym, are we?”
“Yes, Ms. Green,” Isis answered as she stepped down the stairs. “I’m off to the gym.”
Ms. Green dumped the trash into the black, plastic bag that she was carrying, then she’d tied it up.
“And how is Pam?”
“Oh, she’s fine. She’s--”
“I read about the body that was found on the roof,” the landlady said, interrupting Isis. Ms. Green was what some people would call a nosey person. She knew, of course, that Isis was a cop. So, she would try to pick the detective’s brain for any information concerning the latest murder every time she got a chance…and this recent one was juicy. “What happened to that boy? I know his mother must be devastated. His name was Anthony, right? My late husband’s name was Anthony.”
“Ms. Green,” Isis said as she glanced at her watch, “I don’t want to be rude, but...”
“Oh...all right sweetie. You go on and get in shape so you can protect the city, but we’ll talk later, okay?” A middle-aged woman walked up the steps and said hi to Ms. Green. Ms. Green introduced Isis to her new neighbor.
Isis scratched her head as the woman walked into the building. “I didn’t know that the Klines had moved out.”
“How could you, deary? You’re never here.”
Taylor rolled over one of the hookers that he’d picked up at The Red Rooster restaurant the previous night. He slowly climbed out of the queen-sized bed and walked over to the window. He pulled the drapes open. The morning sun nearly blinded him. Taylor pulled the drapes back and rubbed his bloodshot eyes. The Americana Inn Motel on Thirty-eighth Street, in Midtown Manhattan was where Taylor took his hookers. Taylor quietly picked up his clothes, then he tipped-toed toward the bathroom. Before he closed the bathroom door, he glanced around the room. There were two empty bottles of Jack Daniels lying on the carpet.
He took a peek at the two hookers. One of them was lying on her back, her breasts fully exposed. The other hooker had her left arm draped around her friend’s midsection. She was lying on her stomach. Taylor was staring at her ass. He had the urge to jump back into the bed with the prostitutes. “No,” he yelled at himself through clenched teeth before he closed the bathroom door.
Taylor left two-hundred dollars on a night table before he left the motel.
Taylor drove to his apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. He was in desperate need of sleep. Once he was inside of his studio apartment, he removed his shirt and shoes. He pushed an empty can of Coors off his pull-out couch and climbed in.
Two hours later, his cell phone went off. Detective Williams was on the other end.
“Taylor, look, I know it’s our day off, but I think we may have caught a break in the case. Taylor, you there?”
Taylor had dropped his cell onto his bed, then he picked it back up and said, “Who the hell is this?” His head was throbbing.
“What the hell is wrong with, Taylor, are you hung-over? It’s me, Williams.”
Taylor rubbed his eyes and flung his legs over the side of the bed. “I’m okay...I just woke up. What’s going on?”
“Listen get down to Paladino Ave, Wagner projects. I think we got something.”
Taylor didn’t have time to shower, nor did he have time to grab something to eat. His car was parked a half a block away. As he approached it, he noticed a parking ticket was placed under the windshield wiper. He snatched the ticket, balled it up, and threw it as hard as he could. “Fuckin’ cops...I hate fuckin’ cops.”
Isis arrived at Wagner projects fifteen minutes before Taylor had. It looked as if the whole precinct was on the scene. Isis was standing next to a hostage negotiator when Taylor walked up behind her.
“Hey, partner. What’s up?”
“Hey, Taylor.” Isis turned and looked at her partner. “Damn dude, you look fucked up. Hot date last night?”
“Something like that,” Taylor said.
“Your fly’s open.”
“Oh, shit.” Taylor turned and zipped it up. “What’s the situation?” he asked Isis as he turned back around.
“The body of a young woman was found in the stairwell. We’ve just got wind that the perps are held up inside that apartment.” Isis was pointing at a second-floor apartment, directly ahead. She looked at Taylor and said, “The woman we’d found in the stairwell had been hit with a stun gun over twenty times. And get this...her legs were covered with duct tape.”
“And the perps are in the building?”
“Yeah,, before you showed up, a female shouted from that window, there, saying that they didn’t do it. They said that the woman in the stairwell was dead when they found her…”
The negotiator shouted through his bullhorn. “To the women inside apartment 2C: The building is surrounded. You will not be harmed if come out now!” He turned to Isis and said, “My team is ready to move in--”
At that moment, a shot rang out. Ten seconds later, another shot was heard. The door to the Technical Assistance Response Vehicle swung open and heavily armed men jumped out to join the rest of their team. Isis heard the sound of a battering ram slamming against a door, then gunfire from an automatic weapon could be heard coming from the second-floor apartment.
The first thing that Isis noticed when she entered apartment 2C was the body of a young woman, lying dead in the living room. She was riddled with bullets.
“Detective, over here,” a S.W.A.T. team member called out.
The smell of blood and gunpowder invaded Isis’s olfactory as she carefully made her way toward the bathroom. The body of another woman was lying in the bathtub. She had a bullet wound in her chest, and a .9mm Glock was lying next to her.
“Okay, I’m going to need everyone to get the hell out!” Forensic Pathologist Raymond Johnson shouted as he and his team, dressed in hazmat suits, entered the apartment. “Let’s go, let’s go, I need to work here.”
As Isis walked out of the bathroom, she realized that Taylor was nowhere to be seen. She walked past Johnson.
“Out, out, out!”
Out in the crowded hallway, Isis looked for her partner.
“Detective, can we talk?” The commander of the S.W.A.T. team asked.
Isis looked around for Taylor again as she stepped off to the side to speak with the commander.
“Whatcha got Commander?” The team leader wiped his brow with his forearm. “Well…”
Isis stared at the man. “What is it, Commander?”
“Well, my men were a little...hasty.”
“What do you mean?”
“We didn’t find a weapon on, or near the body in the living room. Apparently, she was already dead.
The only gun we found was the one lying next to the body in the bathroom. And as you saw, the woman in the bathroom shot herself.”
“I wouldn’t worry about that, Commander,” Isis said to the team leader. Isis patted the commander on the shoulder as she looked around for Taylor again. Where the fuck did he go?
“Isis, over here,” Raymond called out.
Isis took another look up and down the hall for her partner before she walked back into the apartment.
“Stand right there,” Johnson said. “I scanned the prints on the suspect lying in the living room. She’s in the system, so was her friend: drug possession for the both of them, also armed robbery. And look here.” A bag full of twenty and fifty dollar bills were stuffed inside a plastic bag behind the couch. A bloody knife was also inside the plastic bag. “It looks like they’ve just committed a crime. And both women were three-time losers. This one was named Rachel Lopez and the one in the bathroom was Maria Lord. The shot that freaked everybody out wasn’t meant for the cops. This woman here was shot and killed by her friend.” Johnson tilted the woman’s head forward and showed Isis the back of the woman’s head. “Point blank.”
Isis ran her fingers through her hair. “What the hell happened in here?”
“Well, apparently, the woman in the bathroom shot and--”
Isis glared at Raymond,” I know what happened, but what I want to know is why it happened. Why did she kill her friend?”
“We were so able to ascertain that the prints we found on the stun gun in the stairwell didn’t match any of the victims here.” Raymond looked around. “Where’s your partner…” he snapped his fingers as he tried to remember the man’s name, “...Taylor...where is he?”
Isis lied and told him that Taylor was out looking for potential witnesses.
“Are you guys dating?”
“Raymond, for God sakes. So, the girl in the stairwell…Tanya Jamerson...she was hit with a stun gun multiple times, huh?”
“Yeah...” Raymond said as he picked up his tech box. “...Multiple times.”
Isis had stepped out of the stairwell after viewing the body of Tanya Jamerson and took a deep breath. She spotted Taylor and called out his name, then she waved him over. “Where the hell have you been?”
Taylor looked down at his shoes before he faced his partner.
“I had an emergency...it was personal.”
“You’re on the freakin’ job, dude…” Isis fought hard to control her anger. She turned her back to Taylor and swung a left hook at the air. “Fuck!” she shouted.
Taylor lowered his head.
“Look, dude,” she said, as she calmed down. “You can’t just leave the scene of a crime…” Isis paused. He might’ve had an emergency...but why does he smell like sex? “...Look, just let me know when you have another emergency, okay?”
“Okay,” Taylor said. “I’m sorry.”
“Okay, let’s go and canvas the neighborhood for witnesses.” Isis spotted a crowd of teenage girls huddling around a stone table. “C’mon, let’s go.”
A detective visiting the projects is often presented with gifts of hostility, resentment, and outright contempt. Isis and Taylor received these gifts in abundance. The icy stares and turned up middle fingers didn’t faze Isis. She noticed an old woman sitting at a window on the first floor. “She saw something,” Isis said as she made her way towards the old woman’s window. Ten yards away--to Isis’s left--stood a small crowd of young men. Isis noticed the old woman peeking at the young men, and as soon as Isis approached the window, the old woman closed it.
“Damn it,” Isis said. She looked over towards the crowd of young men.
One of them yelled, “Get dah fuck outta here!”
After two hours, Isis called it quits. But before the detectives had made it to Isis’ Durango, a large beer bottle exploded in front of them.
“That’s right, get dah hell outta of here!” a voice rang out.
Isis pulled out her .9mm and did a three hundred and sixty-degree turn. “Come on you bastard!” she yelled as she stood there with her gun in her hand. Taylor had ducked, then ran behind Isis’s vehicle. “Y’all a bunch of bitches,” Isis shouted. She looked at Taylor. She wanted to kill him for acting like a pussy.
When they were both inside Isis’ ride, she turned to him and said, “You gotta stop that scary shit, Taylor. You’re making me look bad.”
“But they were shooting at us.”
Isis knew that Taylor did the right thing, but her pride would not let her act in such a manner. “Yeah, I know, but try to show some backbone, will ya?” Isis placed the key into the ignition. “You’re in homicide now, dude, you’re the freakin’ man, so act like it.” She’d turned the key and pulled out of the Wagner housing complex.