Airs and Heiresses
New York, 1938
St. Regis Hotel
"So there I was, staring down a barrel INCHES from death...and I told the man, 'darling REALLY, if you simply must shoot me do allow me to remove my earrings. They are Cartier, you know." Molly Maltese paused to take a sip of her Red Snapper, popping the olive neatly between her cherub lips before gnashing it to a pulp. "And the man was quite flummoxed, he said- I say, is that Riza Hawkeye?"
She rose, the group of rapt men in tuxedos and women in glittering dresses and furs murmuring their protests as she wended through their knees. But the apparition she was quite sure had been Riza Hawkeye had vanished in the crowd of New York socialites populating the exclusive terrace.
"Well, this place is a bit ritzy for Riza." she murmured, fairly certain her old acquaintance didn't make a habit of populating social-climbing fetes. And she reasoned, any time Riza had appeared before it was hardly ever for a pleasant cause. Well, maybe that was unfair. It just seemed she was more the swirl-of-furs-and-stiletto-daggers type than a frothy socializer like Molly herself.
Peering around, Molly saw nothing but the shadowed faces of revelers partially cloaked in the smoky haze. She had just been about to give up and go back to her companions when the most shocking hubbub began. Over on the north part of the terrace, she could distinctly hear the shouts of men and panicked screeching of females. Moving forward, she could just make out..
"Did you see... The Ambassador... who could have... murder! Someone has pushed the Ambassador off the building!" Molly picked up speed, expertly weaving through the crowd of panicked voices. Sirens already began to sound twenty stories below. Just as she grasped the ledge and looked over, an all too familiar voice sounded in her left ear.
"Oh hello there, old friend. Lovely breeze out today."
Before her stood Riza Hawkeye herself, looking utterly unruffled as several ladies fainted behind her.
Riza let the funnel drain down his throat until it was open and ready for more, and then dumped the rest in, careful not to spill any on the ground.
More gurgling echoed in the room, Hassan now crying from being forced to ingest the puke and piss concoction.
When the funnel and the jar were both empty, Marc yanked the funnel from his mouth, flinging it across the dark room. Riza quickly grabbed the man's cheeks with her index finger and thumb, squeezing his face and lips to a pucker.
"Don't you dare throw that up, or your will have to go through that all over again..and trust me, you wouldn't want that."
Marc walked over as Riza let go of his face and punched him hard in the nose, making a sickening "splat" sound as it broke.
Hassan wailed in agony. "Fine!" he screamed. "Look for a man named Jack!"
"I need a last name too, numbnuts," Riza said, holding one of her signature daggers up to the man's throat.
"I don't know his last name, but you'll know him immediately when you see him. He's got eyes as black as the night and he's pure fucking evil," he cried.
"What else can you tell us?!" Marc yelled.
"That's all I know. The gang he runs...they'll find you before you find them if they know you're on their trail. They'll kill you!"
Marc lit a cigarette. "Kill us? I highly doubt that." He turned and approached Hassan. "And as far as finding us?" Marc knelt down to face him, inhaling his cigarette. "Let them do what they will to us. We can handle ourselves," he said, exhaling. He raised the cigarette and stabbed the burning cherry on the man's open eyeball.
As Vulkie and Molly watched Riza and Marc leave without even hearing what they would like to investigate first, they both looked at eachother and rolled with their eyes.
"I do say, I had assumed that Riza would be the first to say that she needed Marc's help" Molly begun. It was true; Riza was the one who was always the first to take charge of the situation and set the course for the rest. But now it was Marc, his interest piqued when the topic of research came at hand.
"Well Molly, I'm not sure what you want to do - I suppose you want to drop by a social spot or two. But Hassan made a point - if there's a button at the local police station, we need to get our hands on that button!" Vulkie said, while looking at Molly.
"I'll be back in an hour, two at the most. I still know a few people around here who can help me around to get that button for us. If you want to visit a social spot, that's fine by me - just leave a note behind or mark the spot which you decide to investigate first" Vulkie added, while she grabbed her coat and left towards the local police station.
*** The Police Station ***
As Vulkie went around the back of the police station, she saw her contact waiting near the emergency exit door, smoking a cigarette. As she walked up to him, she pulled out her cigarette case and as she picked out a cigarette, the contact pulled out his lighter and lit her cigarette.
"Thank you Abdul. Now, about that "thing" I wanted. Did you manage to get it without too much trouble?" Vulkie asked, hoping that nobody at the police station would notice that a crucial bit of evidence was missing.
Abdul, who worked for the police in Cairo, reached into the left pocket of his pants and produced an evidence bag, in which a small button could be seen.
"First, my money, Miss Nouson. You can barely live on a cop's wage these days" Abdul said, holding out his other hand. As Vulkie pulled out a wad of money, she placed 100 US dollars into Abdul's hand...
*Cont. in next post*
"Here, go buy yourself a cup of coffee or something. Now, the button please" Vulkie said, holding out her hand. Abdul placed the bag in Vulkie's hand and immediately left, walking away from the police station.
As Vulkie looked around to make sure she wasn't being observed, she held the bag high in front of her and looked closer at the button. The button was identical as to the one Molly and Riza had found near the Ambassador. It had the emblem of a rose, shaped in the letter S.
"So... the buttons are all identical. But still, what do these buttons mean? Are they left behind, or were they from the victims themselves?" Vulkie murmered, while pulling out her notepad and scribbling the question down.
"Well, time to go back towards the safehouse. See if Hassan can help us a bit more with this Qadir Ben Siri.." Vulkie said to herself, while going back to the headquarters.
As Vulkie entered the safehouse, she noticed it was vaguely empty. She didn't bother to go look for a note from Molly; she knew that if Molly wanted to go somewhere, she'd do so on her own most of the time, with her own agenda in mind.
As Vulkie picked up the phone and tried to reach Hassan, she had been on the phone for at least 10 minutes, when Riza and Marc walked back in.
"Hey guys" Vulkie said, "I'm just trying to reach Hassan, see if he can help us a bit more.." she added. Marc and Riza exchanged looks to eachother. As Vulkie looked at the detectives, she slowly put down the phone.
"Don't tell me.. the reason I can't reach Hassan.." Vulkie began, but Riza quickly stepped in and began to explain what had happened between their search at City Hall in the Research section and the event that had transpired afterwards.
"So you see, we do have a lead. We now know we need to be on the lookout for a man named Jack, he runs a gang here somewhere in Cairo and is highly influential." Marc concluded after Riza's story....
** Cont. in next post **
As Marc and Riza turned to eachother, they failed to noticed that Vulkie had turned white after hearing the whole torture story and she fell down on the ground.
"Vulkie!" Marc and Riza exclaimed, while rushing over to her and helping her into a chair.
"It's alright, it's alright... it's just that... I never suspected.. Hassan.. but.." Vulkie murmered, while staring at the ground, her hands in front of her face.
"We had to be sure.." Riza said, adding: "We had to get the information from him. He could've disappeared at any point."
"And so you have to torture the poor guy?" Vulkie said, staring daggers at both Marc and Riza.
"You know how we work. You never had a problem with it in the past." Marc replied, crossing his arms.
"I never had a problem with a simple bullet in the knee, or a bullet towards somewhere unspecified. But the things you have put him through... that just goes a level too far!" Vulkie almost screamed, shocking both Riza and Marc.
"Vulkie... he was a rat, like it or not. We got our information out of him!" Marc shouted back, still defending his position.
"And so, behind my back, you decide to wait him up and torture him for that information. You never even thought that it would be wise to involve me, see if I could change his mind?" Vulkie said. Marc opened his mouth, then shut it immediately. He knew she had a point, that the torture could've been avoided if necessary. But was there time for that? "Probably not" Marc thought by himself.
"Hassan had a family, you know. He might've belonged to this somewhat illustrious syndicate called Sphinx, but he still had a family! You guys didn't stop to think about that for a second, right?! That the poor guy, who you both tortured so violently, thought in his last minutes about his precious family. He had a kid for christ's sake, 5 year old!" Vulkie yelled. Both Riza and Marc stared at Vulkie, before looking down at the ground. They knew they had crossed the line this time with Vulkie, by a mile..
"We.." Marc and Riza began, but Vulkie cut them off. "Don't.. Just.. don't even say a word... I'll have to make sure his family is properly informed. I won't tell them the details, just that he won't be coming home anytime soon.." Vulkie said, as she heaved herself off the chair, walked over to the phone and dialed Hassan's phonenumber.
10 minutes later, the call was finally over. As she put the phone down, the detectives could hear a crying woman on the other end before it got cut off.
"I'll make sure his family is provided, rat or not. I promised that for the rest of their lives, they shouldn't have to worry about any money or so." Vulkie said, while looking at the two detectives.
"I need a drink." Marc said. Vulkie nodded her head to the main living room and a few moments later, Marc returned with three filled glasses, full of bourbon and ice. As Marc took a sip, Vulkie took her glass and put it down. She didn't need a drink at this point. Hell, the only thing she needed at this point was some answers and some other leads. As she stared at the glass, a small tear began to roll down her face. Quickly, she grabbed her glass of bourbon and drank it in one turn.
"Now, before we continue on our so merry journey..." Vulkie began, but Riza cut her off.
"Where's Molly?" Riza asked, leaving the other detectives wondering where she might've gone...
"Not yet," the doctor replied, "but CSI is working on it, but what we do know from our sources, is that this man was an ambassador. "
Edward stared a the body on the table, along with his team of three other FBI agents. "That explains why we were given the case," he replied.
"Cause of death, was the landing from being pushed off the building," the doctor said. He reached up and pulled back the sheet covering g the body. "One thing that struck me as curious was this," the doctor pointed at the hole where the ambassador's penis was, "it was cut of with surgical precision."
Edward loomed at the body with a disgusted look. This was one case he would never forget. He scribbled down what the doctor told him and the others. "Lets go back to the precinct boys," he said. "We're done here ."
The other men turned and followed him out and they drove back to the headquarters. As he and his men walked up the steps, they were met by another agent.
"Agent Carlyle, we got some news on the ambassador. He was from Europe. An English Ambassador, by name of William Higgins."
A phone rang and Thomas O'malley, one of Edwards team rushed to answer it. He pulled out his note pad and scribbled notes furiously, while speaking. "Yes. Yes. Very good...Yes, sir. I understand." He hung up the phone and rejoined Edward and the rest.
"This just in," O'malley said. "Victim as English Ambassador, as we just found out. We have reports that this has been happening all over the place. Shanghai, China. Delhi, India. Cairo, Egypt. London, England. Scotland Yard is working on a similar case in England, and coming straight from the top, we have been in contact with them. Nutty Hoover wants us over there ASAP."
Edward smiled at that name. It was a name that he, Jasper Mayfield, O'malley, and Stanley Mellish, the men on his team came up with. He sent the man who met them at the steps away, thanking him. He turned and began barking orders.
**continued in next post**
"Mellish, Mayfield, find out what time that ship in the harbor leaves in the morning. I want tickets on that ship for us, and I want them five minutes ago. O'malley, I need whiteness reports to follow up on. Send agents to them tomorrow, We will get in contact with all information when we arrive in London."
"Edward," O'malley said, "we do have eye witness reports and a picture of two women who were there at the crime scene." Thomas held up a picture and Edward took it to study the picture of the two strikingly beautiful women.
"We've identified them as Molly Maltese and a Riza Hawkeye. Two other people have been reported to be working with them, according a couple field agents. One Victoria Nousson and Marc Lacrimosa. All are known private investigators. It's a rave again st time now. Sir, if we don't find the killer before them, we'll be in deep sh*t."
"Did you say Marc Lacrimosa?l
"Yes. Our field agents say he was seen leaving on a plane to an unknown location with the three women."
Edward smiled. "You shady Italian bastard," he said to himself. "I got you now."
He turned to his men. "Pack your bags fellas," he said. "We're going to London."
The next morning, Jasper Mayfield, Thomas O'malley, and Stanley Mellish, arrived meeting Edward at the ship. By 9:00 am, the ship left port and they were on their way.
The first sentence in my first post got cut off, but it was Edward asking if there was a name.
“Where’s Molly?” Riza asked. Marc shrugged, and Vulkie remained stonily silent.
“Oh calm down, Vulkie,” Marc said coolly. The other woman had been glaring daggers at Marc and Riza from behind her bourbon glass.
“Don’t you tell me to calm down,” Vulkie said, slamming down her glass. “What you’ve done is unforgivable. You’re a sadistic bastard--no normal person could put another human being through torture like…like what you did to Hassan.” She choked back a sob.
“It was necessary. We got valuable information out of him.”
“Oh yeah, really valuable,” Vulkie replied sarcastically. “A man named Jack. And what Jack’s last name? Where is he?”
Marc could feel his ears heating up.
“You’re sick. You and Riza are both sick. I thought we could work together, but it seems we’re too different. It was a mistake to trust you,” Vulkie ranted.
“Trust? Don’t make me laugh. If you weren’t so trusting of your beloved Hassan, then maybe you wouldn’t have been so completely blind to the fact that he was a member of Sphinx!” Marc spat.
“And what if he was? He was still a person. A person with a family to support. How could you--”
Marc cut her off. “You know what your problem is? You’re too softhearted. Who cares if he had a family? Scum is scum, any way you look at it. Don’t waste any more of my time with this garbage. Your words mean nothing to me, woman,” he said dismissively.
Riza raised an eyebrow.
Vulkie opened her mouth once more as if to retort, but this time no sound came out. After a moment, she threw her glass against the wall and stalked out of the room.
Riza had never seen Marc like this before. Her mind was swimming with questions. Why hadn’t Vulkie verbally attacked her as well? She had only been mentioned in passing. Why did she fixate on Marc? Was there some past between them she was unaware of?
“Well then,” Riza said. “I guess we’ll be keeping that extra little tidbit to ourselves.” She folded her arms.
Just then, gunfire broke out.
"Let's see now." Molly said to herself, clipping down the street at a brisk pace. She'd donned sunglasses and a fashionable headscarf, but as the men stopped on both side of the streets and looked at her, she thought maybe a wiggle skirt hadn't been her best and brightest.
"Here!" She exclaimed, finally arriving to an attractive building with wood accents. A demure sign said "The Pyramid Room." She knew it to be a popular society spot for luncheons and had a standing invitation.
"Amelia de Maltesse." she said in dulcet tones to the host at the stand. "Of course Miss Maltesse. Just you?" The host asked, leading her promptly into the darkened interior of the restaurant.
"Just me today." She chirped. "Any diners?"
"A full house, Miss de Maltesse." He led her to a wooden table in the center of the dimly lit restaurant and pulled out the blue velvet upholstered chair for her. She requested a glass of her favorite wine and he sped off. Molly settled in to wait.
She didn't have to wait for long.
"Amelia!" A voice boomed, and a portly man dropped in to the chair opposite her.
"Willie I've told you a million times you can call me Molly." She said, extending her hand to be kissed. Willy Dennington was an American expatriate in Cairo, a wealthy businessmen heavily involved in politics and the highest of social circles. Molly thanked her lucky stars that he was here, Willie was also known for his complete inability to keep his mouth closed about the happenings in town.
"What brings you in to Cairo, Molly?' Willie asked, signalling to a waiter to refill his glass. Molly twirled a strand of auburn hair and twinkled at him for good measure. "Willie, I just needed some sun, but I do swear I heard the most curious story the other day. Something about an ambassador being tragically murdered and mutilated! I'm quite shocked!"
Willie tried his best to look appropriately abashed, but his eyes twinkled with glee. He knew something, alright.
[ You must login to reply ]