I was drinking hot sake until I felt green. My insides churned like factory works, striking labor and all. I swallowed two gangbusters and tried to reinvent myself sober. This was a long one-night stand and she’d stayed in the ladies room for half an hour. I relented to drinking even more sake. I was green in the face; the room was fat then skinny. The girl came forward, a garish sight in make-up and lipstick. She sat beside me once again and breathed charcoal nicotine in my face. It wasn’t pleasant and neither was I. I shoved her aside and stamped through the bar to the breeze outside. The wind was scented with rain and debris, a dirty wet kiss lingering from the crust in the gutter.
The wind is timeless but I had to vomit immediately.
Staggering to the curb, I planted a hand on the backend of a Volvo and let go the oily slime that had collected in my gut. It felt so good I did it again, this time the sting burning the backs of my eyeballs and the rain swept up the street with a wave of hot dots and splashes. The wind pushed me off the curb and I fought my way back into the bar against it. The girl waited by the door. I sidestepped her and went for another drink. The manager halted me pleasantly, with a firm hand on my chest. I stopped walking and turned. He spoke in my ear and I listened through waves.
“I think you’ve had enough to drink, sergeant Wu. You should leave now. Get some air. You have to get up for work in the morning.”
He wasn’t kidding and neither were she, fat face and all glowering at me like a salivating ape. I attempted to reach the door without her but she was on my arm like a latch and we were pushed into the rain.
“Who the hell are you, anyway?” I slurred appropriately.
“My name is Josoto,” she peeled.
“Any relation to Desoto, discoverer of Desoto water?”
She giggled and the rain gave us a full soaking bath as we walked splashing through it up to our ankles. This was a hard way to go and not even in my direction. I couldn’t see through the rain, double vision making it a monsoon and soon we arrived at her stoop.
“Come on up, Joe.”
She tugged at my wet coat sleeve.
“Joe Shmoe. My name’s Wu. Wu Li Wu, get it? I’m Chinese from Minnesota.”
“Minnesota,” she said slowly, “Like Josoto.”
“Shut up, you cunt.”
I pushed her and she fell back on her high heels onto the slippery pavement. She pulled me down with her of course and now we were both flailing about in the muck. The rain filled my ears like mud in a pinhole and the shots were no more distinct than distant taillights. Two men were left with messy bullet holes in their necks and I pulled the old girl’s panties down over her stockings and couldn’t se the beaver in the dam for the wet spot the world had become. I pulled her arm, dragging her into the vestibule and then the hall, pushed her in half and drove a pistol rigid finger up her twat. She moved faster, tripping on the stairs, giggling, crying, silent, calling me “Joe” and I hated that.
I was following her ass up the stairs when lightning brightened the big sky for a full a minute before thunder shattered. That was the moment I realized I had gone home with the ugliest woman in all of Little Asia. The windows rattled on the landing, rain smeared the glass like toddlers’ tongues licking a sheet of ice, water leaked past the cracked pane onto the floor dripping down the stairs and I pulled her sleeves off her shoulders, had a pocketknife and slit her straps. The tits that were almost there flopped out to either side. She had a purse and pulled keys that jangled like fire trucks and searched topless effectively for her apartment door.
We were in her apartment having drinks when the phone rang. I had my pants off and my cock stretched halfway across the room like yarn from a very thin sweater. I was drinking vodka and didn’t stop for anything.
She answered the horn as polite as a long distance ad, “Hello, Josoto.”
She tapped my shoulder. I spilled my drink and had to pour another. She passed the receiver into my face and I took a swig and squawked,
“Sarge, we got a couple’a soiled pansies right near you. Ya see anything?”
“Nah, Milligan. The rain blinded me. Didn’t see shit. Call Yip.”
“Will do,” the Irish cop said, with no brogue.
“Say, how’d you find me?” I asked.
“The bartender said you’d left with somebody else’ date. You’re with Josoto Hoyoto. Your girl is Yohoto Osoto. You got ‘em mixed up.”
“Sorry, Sarge, the guy says he won’t trade back.”
I didn’t have to but it made me feel good to put my gun to her head, push her to her bony knees and fuck her face with a dick as hard as a fuzzy curler. I got it up eventually, raped her mouth until I came in her throat then passed out on my feet. She was pouring vodka down my throat when I woke up choking on it.
“You stupid bitch!”
I slapped her head and face, getting cum all over my hand when she vomited and semen pulsed down from her nostrils. She gagged for air and I pushed her to her hands and knees for some coalmining.
Yip stood under his Armani umbrella in his Burberry raincoat looking like a million wet yen. He looked at the car’s dry interior filled with dried blood and the two corpses shot at the necks, their heads tilted ominously lopsided.
“Dig out some ID on this and let put two and two together before we get Wu on the case,” he ordered.
The officers obeyed, rain soaked and oblivious to the storm.
“He’ll have to get off the floor first,” one officer quipped, pulling on latex gloves.
“God bless ‘em,” said Yip.
“You covered for his drunken ass again!” the captain hollered.
“Yep,” said Yip.
“Where the hell is he?”
“Dunno,” said Yip.
“Fucking some crackhead, I’ll bet.”
“Now, captain, Wu Li Wu may not be the brightest man on the job—,”
“Or off it,” the captain sniped.
“Or off it, but he’s a damn good cop, when he’s sober, when he shows up, when he’s not hung over, when he’s not chasin’ his next drink, or his next blowjob.”
“Or tripping over his own shadow, god damn it. I can’t bust him down to Traffic. He’d cause havoc! But if he isn’t—,”
The red-faced captain turned a little more yellow, his eyes flipped like roll shades as the disheveled detective reeking of mixed drinks, rain, dank and filthy came through the door like he was storming Heaven. He waved, saw Yip and cooled off to a low simmer.
“Wu! Where the hell were you?” the captain beefed.
“Pursuing a suspect. He got away,” Wu informed him.
“Fuck your suspect. Look at this.”
There were 8x10s of the holes in the necks of the two men in the car. “We found a gay marriage certificate in the glove compartment. A couple of fruits get their heads blown off in front of a bar you’ve just been thrown out of and you don’t see a thing,” the captain bickered importantly.
Wu shrugged, “it was raining. Couldn’t see my face in front of my hand.”
“Can you ever?”
“Quiet, Yip. I want you two to find out more about this Church of Loving Saints. The fags’ paper says it’s over on Park South. Find out what other kinds of whacko go in for this.”
“Yes, sir,” said Yip curtly.
He looked to his bleary-eyed partner who swayed like a bamboo shoot, gave him a light shove and he and Wu left the every frustrated captain’s office.
“Wu, you suck,” Yip yelled loudly outside.
“Oh, fuck you. I can solve this case with my eyes tied and one hand open.”
“Get to the car. We’ve got fornicators to interrogate.”
They got to the Chrysler. Yip had the keys and went to the driver’s side.
“You think you’re so smart,” Wu grumbled.
“Get in, Li,” Yip resigned and both men ducked into the front seats. The ride was smooth and quiet until Wu found a radio station playing dreadful rock and roll.
“This is the new stuff. Whatever happened to Chuck Berry?”
“When we get there, wait in the car. I’ll see if I can make a big enough ass of myself for the both of us.”
“Fuck you, Yip. God damned yuppie dick.”
“How was your date?”
Yip smirked, his eyes creasing and he pulled a couple of Camels from his shirt pocket. He passed one to Wu who avoided the almond eyes scrutiny of his young partner.
“Wu,” Yip prodded softly with the stoge. Wu took the cancer stick and dropped the match out the car window. Yip lit his butt with the car lighter. The Chrysler was a department issue but he’d had it overhauled completely so that it rattled less and rose smoothly on brand new suspension and shocks. The two seldom really spoke to one another, Wu would say, “Fuck you,” occasionally and Yip spent most of his time explaining Wu to others, apologizing for the old detective’s bad habits, bad language and bad breath.
Wu reminded Yip of his own father, a big blustery bully who’d gone through more wives than would be appropriate by American standards, something like twenty, of all ages and backgrounds but mostly peasant girls he could pick up on the roadside for little cash. He bought them, married them and the lucky ones would run away. Those not so lucky would disappear. Yip’s mother had vanished in broad daylight fetching water. He knew she’d fallen in the well but his father wouldn’t say much on the subject.
His father was someone for whom time had passed quickly and his wife’s death seemed like a million years ago. That was back in China, in a province so small it was nearly entirely underwater, flooded by over irrigation and used for a latrine by the surrounding farmers and their families. His father had cut a deal with the nearest Red Army officer. He had secured weapons and would patrol the muddy bog looking for people excreting or urinating. He would level a high-powered rifle barrel in their faces while they struggled with a loaf or were busy meditating on a stream of hot whiz and before they could get their composure, were forced to pay for the privilege of continuing. There was little room to negotiate. His father made a fortune this way and had sent his infant son to America to be raised by relatives who had afforded themselves the luxury of not being quite as insane. They were an Americanized couple who’d settled in Queens. The Yips sent young Mark to college and he had made them proud grandparents. He showed no trace of the provincial psychosis his father had learned to profit from.
“My brother is a sick bastard. There’s too much feces in his drinking water. He’s got a disease up there,” his adopted father would explain, putting a gnarled yellow finger to his spotty temple. He was explaining something Mark knew was either true or untrue since he hadn’t known his father and was forbidden from seeking him out. He used the same philosophy, the same attitude, if not the same words to explain his partner. He didn’t know why Wu was a drunken maniac but he was Yip’s drunken maniac and would pop anyone off who threatened his partner’s single slender thread to sanity.
The Church of Loving Saints was a rundown storefront, sole vestige of a now extinct tenement row. Clinton had been upgraded and gentrified, all it seemed, except for this rotten little corner. Here time hadn’t stood still, it had been beaten and neglected until it was too crippled to go on any further. Yip parked.
“God. Looks like your kind of place, Li,” he sniggered imperceptibly.
Wu caught it as if it had been an open-face grin, something Yip would never do, as if his face could stand only so much relief. “Maybe you should ask the questions this time.” Yip’s humor tended to be as funny as having someone pee in your coffee.
“It’s just it’s too good ferya, ya yuppie bastard. Don’t wanna mess up yer goddamned manicure.”
The remark hurt Yip. It barely showed in his eyes.
“You’d better wait here anyway.”
“The hell I will.”
Yip cut the engine and looked to his partner.
“It’s only a front.”
We came from the car, approaching the building. I walked to the picture window. There was a curtain that hung tattered and barely opaque, just quietly dirty and unattractive. Yip got to the door and tried the buzzer. I heard it inside past the window. There was no light for a long time. Yip gave me a look, deadpan. He took on a smirk. I stood at the window watching the car’s reflection. I watched the woman cross the street and turned, figuring she was coming straight for the building.
Yip turned. Her face showed nothing in the pit of its dry whiteness. She had a big black handbag, reached far in and stopped. She pulled her keys noisily, watching blankly. Yip and Wu moved at the same time. Her pepper spray was hitting my eyes when Yip cuffed her and plowed her head into the ground.
“Anaagh! You bitch!”
I rubbed my eyes of the pungent stink. The exposed nerves burned a sketchy picture of the world into my brain. I kicked her in the head, several times until Yip screamed,
I picked up her bag and wiped my watery eyes. I turned it upside down and dumped cards and letters over her swollen head.
“We’re the police. You wouldn’t be one of the Loving Saints, would ya?”
“Speak up, miss. We’re from the 11th precinct, investigating a homicide,” Yip talked.
I opened the door and went in off the desolate street. The place was furnished shabbily, tacky and torn like a street social club, as holy as a men’s room.
Yip squawked into the car radio. He stood outside while I looked around. There wasn’t much around. I pried under a tablecloth, found nothing. I opened a desk drawer. There was little. I walked further onto a poorly utilized kitchen. Things were grimy, greasy and moldy. Dirt had ossified into an alloy. I put a handkerchief on my hand and started opening drawers and cabinets. It wasn’t worth it; soiled napkins, packets of soy sauce, used soda straws, plastic forks. Empty. I walked back to the daylight.
“Some black and whites are on the way. I got nothing out of her,” Yip complained.
“Maybe she’s got nothin’ in her. That place is a monument to dust.”
“Not even a cross.”
The patrol cars wouldn’t be a second. They were turning onto the block as I knelt beside her face. “Who’s in charge? Y’ever been questioned by Chinese cops? We use kung fu. Got me? What’s the name, sister?”
“Susan Bradley. She’s the one you want. She’s the reverend,” the woman said, kissing pavement. I stood up.
“Reverend Susan Bradley. She got an address, Tinkerbell?”
I looked at my shoe practically in her mouth. She moved her head like a bottle coming out of a spin. Her eyes wobbled away to the door onto the upper landing. I went there as the squad car stopped and two pale white cops came out in black uniforms, looking futuristic and heartlessly halfhearted.
“What’s all this?” said the blond rookie cop.
His partner, a redhead, former brunette, was one of Yip’s latest conquests, a girl with a sweet desire for the taste of otherness. She had tried it and liked it. She knew me, didn’t like me just because I didn’t care whether she liked me or not.
“Take her to Graham personally. Tell him she’s one of the Loving Saints. We’ve got something to check out,” Yip clipped off quickly.
“All right, Sarge,” the blond cop said.
The girl helped him lift her still cuffed off the sidewalk. She looked at me with the insane stare of a broken mind. She was put in the back of the car beneath the spinning cherry with no protest.
The cops left. I had her keys. I looked at Yip with bemusement. I unlocked the side door, opened it and took the steps. Yip followed. We were cautious to draw our guns. The dingy steps went up straight into the guts of the building. We took each step with more care than the last. A door came in sight beside an angle in the hall that took the landing off the path. I knocked and there was a shuffle.
“Open up. Police,” I growled.
The latch clicked and the door opened slightly.
“Do you have identification?” she said, warily.
I slipped her my wallet, gold star, picture. She pulled the chain off and let see behind it. There was a frail older woman wearing a soiled musty bathrobe. She clenched her fingers over the wasted material to hide her disgusting body.
“Yes?” she jittered, cold or something.
“Susan Bradley, is that you?” I asked pointedly.
“The Reverend isn’t in,” she said weakly. “I expect her shortly.” She looked for a seat.
“Oh, hell,” I said.
“Do we wait?” Yip asked, but the answer was evident.
“What a way to spend an afternoon. When will she be back?”
“Any time now,” the lady nodded.
She found a sofa and sat. She was dirty through no fault of her own. The environment was a dank collection of dust motes. The place stank, nothing was new; just junk that passed for furniture. The same design scheme as the church.
Yip passed me a cigarette and I lit it. He lit one too and we waited. Time didn’t do anything it hadn’t done before. After an hour or so, the phone rang. Yip answered it for her. He looked relieved and disappointed. He looked at me.
“It’s the station. Bradley showed. The dame called her and she went there. We’re finished here.”
Susan Bradley, meticulous housekeeper though she wasn’t, didn’t carry herself much like a reverend either. She was a dusty middle-aged woman with a fight somewhere far off in her eyes. She had gray hair strung back in a bun, black horned rims, a bad complexion, weak limbs and a waning body. She had the same nervous shiver as the others. She was a dull curiosity. The captain was looking her over for the fortieth time when we walked in. He kept looking as we came around. We looked too at the nothing much to see.
“Says the other one’s her wife. Isn’t that right, Ms. Bradley?” the captain commented derisively.
“I prefer Reverend,” she said.
“Reverend Bradley,” Yip began, “two of your congregation bought it last night. We’re sorry to inconvenience you, but we merely wanted to ask you about them.”
The captain picked up a copy of a page of the initial report. He scanned it studiously, said the names without looking at her.
“Peter Illy and Morgan Stye.”
“Peter and Morgan! Bought it?”
She looked to Yip, his round fresh face tan with worn patience. He put his index finger up and pressed it with his thumb.
“Shot?” she surmised.
“Like ducks in a duck pond,” I said. “We hope it was an isolated incident and not the start of a pattern. Either way, do you know of anyone who would shoot Peter and Morgan?”
“No—no!” she said, startled at the question.
“I see,” I said and stepped away.
The captain’s voice called behind me,
“Since when did you become the voice of reason?”
“We haven’t got anything on her, captain. We’d best let her and her girlfriend go,” Yip said, pleasantly to her ears.
The captain grumbled and waved two blues into the stark interrogation room.
“Get her out of here,” he groused.
Bradley was long gone and Yip and Wu sat with the captain in his office. The day had disintegrated beneath the weight of misdemeanors. They drank cold coffee and ate stale crullers.
“What about this goddamned church?” Graham continued.
“Nothing on it so far.”
Wu lifted himself wearily from the corner of the captain’s desk.
“It’s quittin’ time,” he yawned, exaggeratedly.
That evening, two more presumably gay men were killed, the same MO, sort of. They walked along a strip, headed to the park, in the dark, a pistol blazed, their throats burned and clogged. A man was seen leaving the area. It was still dark when Yip arrived, summoned by the plea of gunshots. He stood over the bodies with a small battalion of blues. He couldn’t account for Wu, as usual but the older detective always managed to stay informed. He’d gotten the call before Yip. Wu was far less interested in corpses than he was in murderers. He dressed, pulling his pants up lazily, fastening suspenders, mounted his holster over his shoulder. He tossed his jacket onto his arms while looking at the sleeping hooker. She was no better than the others, another whore, another woman, and another victim. This case was about men. Women could sleep easy. He peered closely at the ring and the handful of keys it held. He’d return to Bradley’s apartment, break the law a little. It would make him feel good, better than a burnt out fucked up Chinaman. Was he supposed to be a Buddhist or something? He was a drunkard and he drank now. He finished a wide square bottle of whisky and left the stranger’s apartment.
By day he did little besides sitting around bickering with Yip or the captain, cruising the Chrysler to nowhere in particular, speaking to suspects that spoke very little themselves, dealing with patrolmen who couldn’t be bothered. By three am he’d get a call from dispatch. They’d always find him because he’d always start the same way. Leaving the precinct, he wouldn’t go far, a few feet in fact, until he encountered a bottle, usually at the bar. He’d drink and get drunk eagerly. He’d fish around for a lady friend, any friend and leave with her. It was an old habit. Yip would cab it back to Little Asia and look over the dirty work. Wu was his own dirty work.
Wu let himself into the apartment holding his gun in his other hand. There were voices in the other room, people talking hurriedly, trying to be quiet but there was anger in the sound. He stood and listened, didn’t understand much but thought he heard names.
Susan, Morgan, Betty and the phrase, “She had to!” vehemently uttered again and again.
He didn’t have a warrant, had no real probable cause for being there. He was there because he could sniff out dirt like a bloodhound sniffs out coons. The soft pads of house slippers were coming in from the room. He stepped into a recess and sucked in his gut, holding his gun beside his ear. The person went along to the kitchen, shuffled through cabinets, and ran water, banged small pots, the sounds of making instant coffee. The smell drifted from the kitchen throughout the seedy apartment, deeply intoxicating it mingled with the scent of hot icing, something from the oven.
He moved his arm, took a slow step, his bones creaked like an old house and the woman turned from the oven in mute surprise. He pointed his gun at her and felt awkward if not downright stupid. He’d come to his sense of mission with his brain stewing and the liquor’s dull drag was pulling at him heavily.
“Get away from the stove. I’m a police officer.”
The woman’s hands flicked, the small tin pot of boiling water flying at his face. He shielded his head with one hand, stepping forward a giant step and smacked her hard with a swipe of the Magnum, sending her reeling bleeding from the mouth and a cut on the cheek. The pot rang against the cabinet and hit the floor. Wu pulled open the oven while keeping the pistol pointed somewhere between her eyes. He pulled a steaming hot cinnamon roll from the pan and stuffed into his face. He chewed and wanted more, but another woman was standing in the kitchen now. He saw her and didn’t say a thing. He didn’t have to. She knew him from the day before. She was the one Bradley had come to the precinct for, was Bradley’s “wife”. He snatched another bun, bit it sharply and chewed vigorously. His gun hung in midair not changing its aim. The woman on the floor, not speaking, hardly breathed, afraid and startled.
“What do you want here?” the woman standing ordered, folding her arms tightly across her chest.
“Got any milk?” he replied, seriously.
She walked carefully to the refrigerator, withdrew a half-gallon carton and set it hard on the table. Her eyes never left his and his eyes bubbled like a landed bass. He picked up the carton after cramming the second roll into his jaw. He snapped it open and drank messily, milk running down his chin onto his collar, spilling onto his neck, soaking his tie. He set the carton back down. “Thanks.” He wiped his chin. “Where’s Bradley?”
“She’s not here.”
“Uh-huh.” He moved the gun from the woman on the floor to the woman standing. “Get over there.”
Yip found his eyewitness, a store clerk who’d been having a cigarette outside. This man was Korean and greeted the Asian detective with brotherly camaraderie. He didn’t have much else to offer but pointed off into the dark west.
“He went that-away, huh? Okay, can you tell me what you saw?”
The man shook his head no and lit another cigarette. Yip thought a second, but thoroughly.
“You reported seeing a man leaving the area. He went that way but you can’t say what he looks like, short, tall, white, black, thin, fat.”
The Korean looked into the detective’s eyes. Yip looked the vacant face. Nothing was said for lack of certainty. “Okay, that’s all,” Yip finished without thanks.
The cop turned toward the squad car behind him in the street. “Radio that the suspect was seen heading west,” he stated and tiredly returned his fallow gaze to the perplexed Korean. He shook his head without a word and was walking when the clerk called out to him. The guy brought him a cup of hot black coffee.
“Thanks,” Yip mumbled and tried walking away again when a female voice, high and irritating put his own name in his ear with an annoying screech. He looked around to see the thin white prostie swaggering over on six-inch heels like a floating stick of chewing gum.
“Yeah?” he said, when she got close enough to capture the wide-eyed attention of the chain-smoking clerk.
She acted like she had walked onto a scene where nothing was going on at all, an actress so used to her part the pasteboard scenery and ogling crew were more than invisible. She was a single star in the bleakest firmament. She wore a beige leather jacket big enough for a small doll, a hot pink minidress that could’ve been a dickey and the shoes that brought her lips perilously close to his. The lips were reddened, almost black. The alert eyes were blue and bloodshot, the skin pale as talc and the bruises on the skinny arms and legs were sloppily powdered blotches. Her straight blonde mane lay leaden on her shoulders. Half of her face moved with the twisting mechanizations of chewing an antique wad of flavorless bubblegum, squeezing the pink between her separated crusty yellow teeth.
“What’d that guy tell ya?” she asked.
“He said I had eyes like limpid pools. Why?”
“’Cause I saw the guy and it weren’t no guy. It was a gal, or a faggot. You know, a transgender.”
“Did he, she, or it head west?” Yip asked, growing bored quickly with her steady eye contact. Her breath followed his face as his head turned away.
“Yeah. It headed west. Ya gotta car? I’ll point ‘im out,” she insisted enthusiastically.
Yip sipped his coffee.
“No. The black and whites are on it. I’ve got a report to write. Thanks, daisy.”
He left the whore where she was standing and walked to the station.
Milligan was on dispatch duty behind the imposing coffin-like desk. He greeted the sad-faced Chinaman with a broad grin.
“Two more, huh?” the Mick called out, taking the dick by momentary surprise.
“Two more what?” he answered.
“Two more flyboys sent to fairy heaven. Suspect reported heading west. We’ve got uniforms running all the way into the Hudson. Nobody’s spotted him yet.”
Yip sat down in the school chair next to the front desk and waited for the captain’s inevitable tirade. The man usually came blustering out of his office after the report and evidence had properly passed into circulating rumors. Yip stalled getting down to the report simply because of that. He sipped his coffee as Milligan went about his tedious duties until noting offhandedly, “Wu shoulda been here by now. He left the bar with some slope-eye, I mean, dame, named Ikiko.”
Yip looked up slowly. Wu did usually come tramping in fresh from his latest bender after receiving Milligan’s call. The detective glanced around the precinct, which bustled and buzzed with bluecoat activity. The older cop hadn’t arrived, hadn’t thrown the existing turmoil into further turmoil. This was odd. Time was passing and the patrol cars were searching for the suspect in the gay killings as eagerly as a cat seeks a bath.
Omara, a Jap who worked down at City Hall came through the precinct doors. Various cops nodded to him and he to them. The 11th had more Asian cops than any other precinct in the city and even with that, they were scattered and scarce. When Yip saw the bureaucrat the first thought was to jump and run, but he moved too slowly, weighed by thought. Omara wore a tightly fitting business suit with creases like straight razors and pungent cologne that could best be described as noxious and artificial. The man smelled like a silk suit freshly spit from the ass of an Asian worm.
“Hello, Yip,” he said, with no warmth but unendurable contempt.
He looked at Yip the way any Jap looks at a Chinaman. The dislike was redoubled and returned with the slightest of glares. Omara took note of the look, would register it in his report on the precinct morale. Yip was standing now and leaving. Omara was talking to Milligan, saying nothing the desk sergeant wanted to hear. Milligan’s eyes unconsciously rolled back in his head as the bureaucrat did his best to bore him to tears, a specialty he’d mastered while learning to speak English without the slightest nuance of personality.
“You want to speak to captain Graham, don’t you?” Milligan tried dismissively.
Wu had tied the two women securely to kitchen chairs and eaten all the cinnamon rolls, still no probable cause and the dts. The wearing effect of too little liquor over too long a time made him wonder just where the hell he was. His lips pursed in sullen meditation of his purpose. He picked up the extension and punched in numbers. He watched the bound women, who’s struggling was confined to their rolling, jumping eyeballs.
“Eleventh precinct. Milligan here.”
“Milligan! Wu! Get Yip!” he clipped off.
“Wu! Where the hell—hang on.”
Milligan dropped the receiver and disappeared into the background. Wu thought he was smiling but in reality his face was a sweat-drenched mask of anguish. His intestine burned and erupted like Vasuvius. He vomited onto the kitchen table, a sticky brown sauce that smelled of fermented acid and sugary remains. His head jerked and spilled a second quart over the first mess. He wiped the puke from his face with his coat sleeve, his gun feeling like a chunk of melting ice in his hot hand. He sweated all over himself and stank of sickness and madness. He was okay. He held the phone to his ear waiting. The key entered the lock, jangled, realizing the door was unlocked the knob turned, and the door creaked and began to open.
“Carol?” the woman called, “The door—,”
“Shut the fuck up and hit the deck!”
Wu grabbed the cap from her head and threw it. Took a handful of hair and shoved her to her knees, the hard metal of the gun barrel between her shoulder blades. She didn’t know what was happening and was reaching for something from the inside of her coat when the side of Wu’s large pistol cracked her in the skull and she fell onto her face. He stepped on her head and began to stomp it into the floor. There was blood on his shoe that left cleat-like dents in her face as one of her eyes cascaded blood that turned black quickly. She sobbed and squealed but Wu kept stamping on the bleeding head until the woman’s cries were muted, confined to her heaving chest. He dropped onto her with a knee in the small of her back, pulled handcuffs from his belt and locked her wrists behind her back. He rolled her over and threw open her coat. The heavy pistol protruding from her pocket thudded when it hit the floorboard. Wu gloated insanely, using both hands to steady his own for no reason. The effect was mild terror. The woman couldn’t see him. One eye was shut and bleeding, swelling into a purple soft ball. The other filled with red tears, enough for the Holocaust. Her mouth was ripped off to the side, the face battered into chips and bruises.
“Wu!” Yip yelled. “Wu! Where the hell are you?”
Wu picked up the receiver and put it to his ear.
“Yip? I’m at the apartment over the church. Bradley’s place,” Wu explained.
Yip was confused nevertheless.
“What the hell are you doing there?”
“I thought I’d catch a murderer and you know what? I did.”
Milligan left another officer at the desk and joined Yip in a squad car. They hadn’t informed Graham who’d sequestered with Omara behind a locked door. They arrived at the Clinton tenement where Wu waited for them. They followed him up the flight into the apartment where Bradley lay in a streaming puddle of sweat and blood. The two women sat tied, blue in the face, gagged to near asphyxiation. Bradley wore slacks and the heavy coat over a sweat-saturated shirt. Her chest showed through clearly and her legs twisted one over the other, feet ensconced in black Docs. Wu showed yip the shape and size of the pistol she’d been carrying.
“Your suspect?’ Milligan noted, drolly.
Yip looked at the beaten raw face and kicked the suspect in the groin suddenly and harshly. The mouth opened without a sound, the testicles bled and the penis swelled. Wu retrieved the cap and placed it in Yip’s hand.
“Male,” said Yip. “Susan Bradley, you’re under arrest for murder.”
He looked to Wu who didn’t look well. “What tipped you off?”
Wu shrugged and took his body’s sickness in familiar stride.
“I coulda been wrong.”