Chapter Five

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Andrew had to stomp on the brakes to prevent slamming into the back of the Taurus waiting at the light ahead. “Jesus…where’s your head at, partner?” Velez said, clutching the handle over him. “Sorry man, I’m just… Distracted,” Andrew said, scratching his head. “Penny for your thoughts?”
“Nah, it’s nothing.”
“Look, mano, you can’t leave stuff bottled up, especially out here. You’ll get an ulcer,” Velez said, swatting his partner’s arm. They rode farther in silence. Even though they had been partners for almost 10 years, Martin Velez knew Andrew hated sharing his personal problems and pressuring him would only make him clam up more. “You know…” Andrew started, “Alice and I have been…having problems.”
“Sort of,” Velez responded, giving his partner his undivided attention. “I don’t know. It’s just… After she got that promotion, she just… Hasn’t been around,” Andrew said, attempting to be vague. “Have you talked to her about it?”
“I can’t do that, man. I’m supposed to be… Happy, supportive, you know, husband shit.”
“Actually, I don’t,” Velez said, chucking. Andrew’s mouth tightened into a hard line and Velez realized his joke had gone too far. “What I meant was, I’m not married. But talking seems like the best route.”
“I can’t. Especially since…” Andrew wasn’t sure how to word it. “Cmon Jordan, you’re a good dude! You shouldn’t have to put up with that shit. It’s not like you lie or cheat on her,” Velez said. Andrew glanced over at his partner silently. Velez turned in his seat to face Andrew. “Wait, you’re cheating on Alice???” “What? Jesus Christ, Martin,” Andrew said loudly. He couldn’t cheat on his wife; he was still in love with her. But he did have a secret. “There was a look. I saw it,” Velez said, pointing.

Andrew clammed up and zoomed up to the front of the house. “Not now,” he said, getting out of the car. Velez followed him out and up the in front of the shabby house. The pair unholstered their weapons in sync with each other. Andrew motioned to Velez, communicating with his hands: You go to the front. I’ll go around back. Velez took the front steps two at a time as Andrew hustled around the side of the house. He ducked down as he scrambled past the windows; he couldn’t afford to be spotted before they went inside. The backyard was neglected by the temporary tenants inside: the grass was tall and unkempt, mounds of garbage situated mere feet from one another. A short chain link partially surrounded the property. Andrew side stepped to the side of the door, ready for any runners, his heart pounding in his ears. Shortly after, he heard the door crash open, Velez announcing himself loudly. The scuffling inside grew closer and Andrew holstered his weapon: non-deadly force. He was ready when the door swung open & the man attempted to flee. Andrew threw all his body weight at the unsuspecting man, knocking him to the ground. The man yelled at the force of the giant landing on him as Andrew struggled to roll him over onto his stomach. Velez appeared in the doorway and put his hands on his knees to catch his breath. “Good grab. That little fucker’s fast,” Velez said between breaths. “Fuck you, pig!” the man yelled. Andrew secured the cuffs a little tighter, causing him to yell out again. He stood, dragging the man onto his feet by his arm. “Go check out the inside,” he directed to Martin, who had finally straightened up. Andrew began reading the man his rights as he dragged him down the walkway and stuffed him in the car.

Andrew went up the porch and went into the mismanaged home. The living room was almost bare, excluding a raggedy sofa that was thrown against a wall and a small television sitting on the floor in the corner. He continued down the hallway, frowning at the dirty, shag carpeting that was throughout the house. He stuck his head in the rooms as he passed: bathroom, empty bedroom, bedroom with a mattress on the floor until he reached the last room in the rear. The door was open and he entered to find Velez among other things. This room looked as though it had more effort put into its well-being than any other. A large pool table sat in the middle of the room and, atop it, sat a silver tray with a large pile of cocaine on it. Three other silver packages of, what was assumed, cocaine sat stacked next to it, as well as four stacks of money. “Holy shit,” Velez said, sticking his finger into the drugs and sticking it into his mouth. It went immediately numb. “Do you know how much this shit is worth? It’s pure,” he said, rubbing his teeth in a way Andrew had only seen on TV. He shook his head at his partner as he pulled out a pair of blue rubber gloves from his back pocket. Velez mimicked this, putting his own gloves on and taking one of the packages off of the table. Andrew snatched the package from him and put it back with the others. “What did I tell you? No drugs.” Velez grumbled before he grabbed the piles of money off the table. Splitting down the middle, the pair took the stacks and jammed them into the waistbands of their pants and covered them with their shirts. “Call it in.”

$10,000. Andrew put the rubber bands back on the money and stuck it into his duffel bag.He zipped it closed as he stepped from the bathroom stall. Two years ago, the guilt would’ve eaten him alive about being on the take. The money would’ve weighed a million pounds in the bag on his shoulder. It wasn’t his idea: after his mom got sick, money was tight and insurance refused to cover most of her procedures. After draining all of his accounts and part of his wife’s, he turned to Martin for help.

He handed him $5,000 cash. “This is just a loan, Martin,” Andrew said, slapping the envelope in his hand. “Mano, don’t even worry about it. There is a lot more where that came from,” he said, smiling a sly grin. “I know for a fact I make more money than you. Where are you getting this kind of cash?” Andrew said, spinning the shot glass around on the bar. “I’m not sure if I should let you in on this…You’re as green as that money,” he said, laughing. The money was obtained in illegal transactions: used to buy drugs, guns, women, children. It would be checked into Evidence and only taken out for court cases and then it was sent to the Federal Treasury to be destroyed. “It’s a complete waste! Perfectly good money, money that can help more people than it harms and they send it to be burned!” He fought with himself for two weeks about going to the Captain, giving himself up. Officers on the take were the lowest of the low: mercenaries instead of lawmen, with personal agendas. Velez continued to persuade him: “How many people were killed or injured in the production, distribution and sale of this shit? This money does not belong to the animals. It needs to have a good ending, a good reason. Taking it from their greasy palms is our civic duty, our right as underpaid, overworked detectives! WE put our lives on the line every minute of every day!”

Andrew strode through the police department and across the police department to his car, tossing the bag on the floor in the back. After a while, he felt nothing about his crime. His mother was much better and all the money he had lost had been replenished, plus some. He had planned to whisk himself and Alice away to a small island, where there was no crime, no need for legal aid and no thoughts of adultery.

Alice was home, in the kitchen, cooking. Andrew was surprised at the sight of his wife at the stove, wiggling her body to the music she was blaring from her radio. For the first time, in a long time, he felt like he was home. “Hey babe,” he said, dropping the bag by the door. She smiled brightly at him before she went to him and kissed him. Hard. “You’re in a good mood,” he said, surprised at her affection. “I had a good day at work,” she said, kissing him again. “Oh yeah?” he said, wrapping his arms around her. She snaked her arms around his neck and kissed him again. Her body was still tingling from her romp with Jackie. She had told herself that it would be the last time with the two of them, a final farewell. She wanted, needed her life to go back to normal. She stood up on her tip toes, Andrew’s hands sliding down her plump backside before he lifted her from the floor. She giggled and looked down at her beautiful husband. She wasn’t gay; if she were, she wouldn’t wouldn’t be this excited to see him. She kissed him again, still looking into his brown eyes, wrapping her legs around his waist tightly. Andrew was excited in more ways than one. It had been almost a year since she felt comfortable to get this close. He wanted to ask her about it but he couldn’t afford her shutting down again. So he held her, kissed her, pressing her against his now swollen manhood. She broke their kiss again before reaching down and unbuttoning his pants, exposing him. She gave him short, sweet kisses as she moved her shorts over and pushed him inside of her.

“Oh my God,” she whispered as he pushed himself deeper into her. How did she go eight months without him? Jackie completely faded from her mind as her husband pinned her to the wall. With the added leverage, he stroked her faster, deeper. He couldn’t slow down; the feeling of being inside her again was addicting, a high he never wanted to lose again. A familiar shiver snaked down her spine before she clenched around him, her orgasm stretching down to her toes. She cried out as he continued, wave after wave crashing into her. He moaned loudly before he came undone inside of her, a feeling so exquisite, he had to get down onto his knees. He rearranged himself so he laid on his back and she straddled him. She tried to stand but he held her tight. “No,” he said, still throbbing inside her. She smiled and cuddled into his chest, breathing him in. The scent, and all the memories it held, brought tears to her eyes. “I’ve been sleeping with someone else,” Alice blurted out.

Benji spit out another mouthful of blood as Lurch wiped his hand. He curled up into a ball, trying to protect himself from the gargantuan but it was futile. Roman leaned against the Suburban and flipped a quarter in between his fingers. “One more time, Benji. I’m tired of asking,” Roman said, looking down at the battered man. “Roman, I swear, I don’t…” he started before Lurch delivered a swift kick to his midsection. He groaned loudly and held his stomach as he coughed violently. ” ‘I don’t know’ is not an answer, Benji. I didn’t ball you out of jail for “I don’t know’. You know how many strings I had to pull to get your ass out?” Roman said, irritated. Lurch kicked the man again, his foot kicking dirt up around them. “$20,000 of MY money is missing. Not to mention the 4 keys you lost. You know how much money that is?” The man moaned in pain and didn’t reply, prompting Roman to walk up to him and deliver his own blow to his face. “All I know is…I got the delivery and two days later, the cops are kicking in the door! I hadn’t even talked to the buyer yet! I swear!” he said, tears falling from his swollen eyes.
Roman considered what the man was saying. “Benji…I believe you,” he said. However honest the man was, it didn’t stop Roman from pulling out his gun and putting two silenced bullets into his head. When the body dropped, he and Lurch walked back to the truck and got inside. Lurch turned and handed him a manila folder. “From our friend,” he said. Roman opened it and began reading. The police report was a play by play of the bust, attached to a list of all items seized for evidence: the cocaine, some marijuana, three weapons. Roman flipped the sheet over and back. The money wasn’t on the manifest. He perused the rest of the report and came across the names of the arresting detectives: Martin Velez and Andrew Jordan.

“Ain’t that a bitch?”

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