Mystery of the Locked Trunk
K. Lorraine BOOKS
Copyright © 2013 by K. Lorraine Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission
from the author.
Editor: Louise Stone
Cover Design by: Bing Public Domain
The Me Time Story Collection are short stories designed for a quick escape into a thrilling suspense of passion, sex, lies, betrayal, jealousy and money; even an occasional happy ending.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Neither the author nor the publisher shall be held liable or responsible to any person or entity with respect to any loss or incidental or consequential damages caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information or programs contained herein. No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. Every company is different and the advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation.
Genre – fiction, drama, action, romance, suspense, cultural, illegal drugs
Author; K. Lorraine
Author and writer K. Lorraine was born and raised in Mid-Michigan. Ms. Lorraine expanded her artistic prowess at a Michigan University in Technical Illustration and at the Miami, Florida School of design.
She holds a Bachelor Degree in Business and has two Associate Degrees, one in Sociology/Psychology and a second in Art design.
The author has spent the past thirty years working on her writing career.
K. Lorraine continues her passion for storytelling as she returns to writing her favorite adult genre of romantic thriller suspense stories. She recently brought an older book back to life.
The Drug Diaries first came out in 2014.
Her new book, Mystery of the Locked Trunk is a 2017 revised version of the former suspense story.
Ms. Lorraine has been married to her husband Ed for over 20 years and they collectively have five children from previous marriages. They are also blessed with six grandchildren. The couple has a residence in Roswell, New Mexico.
The death of a police officer is a sad occasion for the officer’s family and his fellow police family as well. I have first-hand knowledge, to bury a parent and growing up without a father, stings like hell.
I know this, because I buried my dad, Detective Jacob Kane, as he died in the line of duty when I was young. I grew up with everyone telling me, ‘buck-up Jake’ and be a man. I was now the head of the family and it was my responsibility to take care of my mother.
I would sometimes cry myself to sleep remembering stories my dad told to me about police life. And my mother retold as I grew older. She would tell me over and over again, that I must never cry in front of anyone!
“Buck-up Eddie and be a man”. The preacher said. “You are now the head of the family, and it is your responsibility to take care of your mother”.
I was eighteen when my father died. After his burial, Mom gave me a skeleton key and said that it would fit a dusty old trunk in the attic. I questioned why she would give me an old key. But, never-the-less, I took it.
The antiquated relic was in the northeast corner of the attic. It was a wide Stave trunk that was popular in the 1800’s. The old steamer belonged to my grandparents and maybe handed down by great-grandparents.
And, no doubt, inside, I’d find family photo albums and other memorabilia. The outside featured a pleasant metal background trimmed in black. And the double-latched brackets showed its age.
The key fit and the lock still worked. I lifted the lid. The musty odor of Limburger cheese wrapped in aged newspapers engulfed my nostrils. The stench instinctively spread them open to take in the offensive odor.
I was now on a treasure hunt. I knew the richest of treasures might be in the old trunk. But to my dismay, I only found diaries and newspaper clippings.
After scanning the contents, I changed my tune. I hoped these books had the potential of becoming the Holy Grail to unlock the secrets of my father’s past. And that was the reason why Mother gave me the key in the first place..
I grew up curious about the circumstances surrounding my dad’s death. My gut told me, regardless the investigation pointed to his death as a police drug bust gone wrong.
I figured he died by the hands of a gang related killer. I was duty-bound to conduct my own search, because I needed to know the truth. I was hoping that the contents of the diaries might help me uncover the reason for Dad’s death.
I was pretty tired after a grueling day of training. Some of the guys were going to the pub to grab a brew, but I begged off. I couldn’t wait to begin reading the journals.
I went to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator and I spotted the cold beers I had bought earlier. I grabbed a few because I figured they would keep me awake long enough to at least read the first diary.
I took one of the diaries to my sleeping quarters. I dimmed the reading lamp above my bed. I rubbed my eyes, picked up the diary with a number one written on the cover and eased my head down onto my pillow.
I was now comfortable, so I opened to the first page and the first sentence I read started off with…
Edmond Cannon, Senior, came from a working class family in Los Angeles, California. As I read several pages, it was obvious that he knew how to respect his elders and to meet their expectations.
But what surprised me, was how Dad asked to continue his undercover training. Dad noted in the diary that he always followed his orders to the letter. I found myself perplexed why Mom never told me that Dad was an undercover police officer.
I chuckled when I read the entry where dad described himself. He wrote that he was handsome in his uniform. I had to admit being 6’2” and 198 pounds were qualifications well suited for police work. It made me smile reading about how dad saw himself.
I saw my father go to work daily in his uniform. I saw his handsome uniformed frame standing in front of the hall mirror. He always combed his dark brown hair in a specific way. His graying hair around the temples gave him character.
He then smoothed his scruffy beard that was more than a five o’clock shadow. He snapped a firm salute in my direction, and walked out the door. This was a daily routine that I soon came to miss.
Now that I knew he had worked undercover, I realized he changed his uniform in the locker room. I knew that undercover police work required associating with bad people. The sorts of perpetrators he busted while on duty.
As I read on, Dad wrote about my maternal grandfather, Chin Ho. He was a well-known Los Angeles Chinese Crime Boss. During my childhood, I was not aware that grandfather Ho was a notorious criminal. In the journal, I read about Ho’s dealing in drugs, illegal gambling and prostitution.
Grandfather’s businesses were a few small town family-style fun centers. They were on the mainland, in the Midwest. They were a combination of roller skating rinks, movie theaters and bowling alleys.
On the surface, the businesses appeared to be legitimate. My bedtime stories were about grandfather Ho. I wondered why I never met the man, but it made sense now. Mom and dad were protecting me from the life of a criminal.
I learned more about grandfather Ho, as I continued to read through the diary. Dad wrote about when Chin Ho shifted the headquarters from LA to the Hawaiian Islands. Dad was working deep undercover by then. And he asked to go to the islands so he could continue his undercover work.
This is where dad included a note. “I’m not willing to lose the time spent as an undercover investigator in LA. Ho has moved his headquarters. I plan to resume my work on the ongoing investigation. I plan to shut down the Ho drug ring connection.”
So, he packed up his few belongings of bachelorhood. And moved from LA to take a new job in the Big Island police department.
I had always known that my parents met when dad was a Traffic Officer. He had pulled her over for speeding and he was going to give mom an excessive speed citation. But, what I didn’t know was they actually met when he was on the island as a tourist.
I had heard stories that my father was a goner when he first saw her. She was a petite stature of well-rounded women. But it wasn’t just her beauty and cleverness that attracted him. Mother’s Asian-Hawaiian beauty definitely caught dad’s eye. And her classic Hawaiian beauty would have caught the attention of any man.
I learned the complete story about mom and dad while reading the journal of Officer Ed Cannon. Olivia was the aggressor. She suggested that Ed could let her off with a warning if she took him out to dinner.
Dad wrote that he had heard it all before, but to see Olivia again did sound like a perfect idea. So, he agreed to have dinner with Olivia and they made arrangements to meet after his shift.
The name on her driver’s license was Olivia Ho. Regardless that Ho was a common oriental surname, he was suspicious of her behavior. I guess dad figured, if he could get Olivia to see him, it might just be a way to confirm his suspicions. He needed proof that she belonged to the Chin Ho family he was investigating.
Dad wrote a passage. It was my experience that a dinner date with a beautiful woman could be dangerous. On the first dinner date, Olivia confirmed she, indeed, was a member of the right Ho family.
Olivia revealed that her father was the wealthy L.A. businessman, Chin Ho. She only revealed the Ho family’s businesses were small town family-style fun centers.
I assumed dad suspected her story was a clever ruse for the large drug trafficking ring. I wondered if Mother was aware of the true nature of her father’s business. I was hopeful to learn whether my mother was part of the illegal side of the Ho family business.
I now was reading the entry describing when Olivia Ho took Officer Cannon home to meet her father, Chin Ho. Dad wrote about being older than her. But he sensed Chin had done his homework about Dad. He already had a place for him in the organization.
Ho planned to use him as an informant within the police department. Ho knew my dad was undercover, but allowed his daughter, Olivia to date him anyway. He had his reasons, but I hadn’t uncovered it yet.
From the dates in the diary, mom became pregnant with me, ‘Eddie Cannon Jr.,’ about the time of the first date. It was obvious my dad accepted responsibility for his actions.
There were pictures of a Grand Asian style wedding. The backdrop for the ceremony was island scenery. And my guess was the wedding took place on the Big Island, shortly before my birth.
It surprised me when I read a notation that dad wasn’t sure it was a smart idea marrying a crime bosses’ only child. He wrote, “Livy was pregnant, he loved her and he was happy to become a father”.
It shocked Mother when dad hung up his police shield. He went into business with an island Private Detective called Python Raider. Python Raider got his nickname by squeezing information out of his prey. He was a Private Investigator. Python worked with any police department that needed an experienced private investigator.
Python had also been investigating the well-known Los Angeles Crime Boss, Chin Ho. Python learned about a man named Ed Cannon. He was living on the Big Island with his wife Olivia. She was the daughter of Chin Ho, and he wanted to know more.
Ed Cannon was an undercover officer from Los Angeles. Officer Ed Cannon, received a promotion to Detective shortly before moving to Hawaii.
Python was curious why Ed would take a demotion from a decorated LA Detective. And then apply for an officer’s job in the small island patrol division. His gut questioned, was this officer on the take?
Python decided to contact him after consuming a half gallon of cheap whiskey. Python sobered up, but he nursed a hangover. Dad and Python got together when he learned about Python’s interest in Ho. That’s when Dad revealed why he had made the job shift.
They combined their knowledge, about Chin Ho. They wanted to strangle the drug trafficking. It was already taking a toll on the entire Hawaiian Island chain.
Raider offered dad a partnership in his Private Eye business. Dad left the island police department.
They thought, this might be enough to bring down Chin Ho’s island drug ring. And their joint investigation of Chin Ho began.
I climbed out of bed and went back to the refrigerator. I needed another beer, and I picked up the next diary out of the storage chest. I started to read a short family tree dad made about mother’s family.
My parents had never discussed much about their early life together with anyone. And especially not to me. I had never met Grandfather Ho in my entire life, regardless he lived close by. I didn’t question why, I accepted it. Dad must have recorded these things in the diaries as a record-of-facts. His purpose was to establish ties to Grandfather Ho for my benefit, not for posterity.
It all started while Chin Ho lived in China. Olivia’s mother had died in childbirth. It was tradition for the family to raise orphaned children. Olivia wasn’t an orphan, but her father had wanted a son. It was unfortunate that his wife bore him a daughter instead.
The Patriarchal role of a father was authoritative, distant and demonstrative. In their culture, females had less value in society. Livy learned her role in life early. She learned to be passive and subservient to men and bear children. Regardless of that, Olivia’s early years were a fairy tale.
Dad wrote about how Grandfather Ho saw an opportunity to make great sums of money. It was easy to get involved with methamphetamines. Chin Ho soon had a monopoly on the drug trade in southern California.
My father indicated that Chin Ho became a very wealthy man. And for the safety of his family, grandfather bought some vacant property on the Big Island of Hawaii. He had a monstrous home built in the likeness of a fortress.
The seclusion of the land was the perfect place away from the U.S. mainland. It was perfect to conduct business under the radar. Olivia Ho, Chin’s only child, lived in Hawaii, where she was well guarded. Ho’s primary home, however, was back in Los Angeles.
The next few entries were more detailed about Grandfather Ho and my dad. She told her father about the traffic stop. This was when Chin instructed his daughter to get involved with officer Cannon.
Olivia didn’t want to do what Chin asked, but because she had learned to be subservient, she did what he asked of her.
I was definitely intrigued by my parent’s relationship. So I kept reading my dad’s memories about meeting Olivia Ho. On their first date, Olivia disclosed who she was. My father even recorded how many times he called Olivia after that first dinner. She had finally agreed to date him. I guess she was playing hard to get.
I was now in the midst of reading the entry describing when Olivia Chin took Officer Cannon home to meet her father, Chin Ho.
Ho had done his homework and he knew that Dad was an undercover officer assigned to investigate the Ho Chin Crime organization. Ho obviously planned to use Dad as an informant within the police department
I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read the intimate details about their sex life. But I am glad I did, because he wrote about the night dad took mom to his small apartment and what happened next.
I learned about Asian women. It seemed that mom had pleasured dad for hours that night. I also assumed it was when I happened. I know it was naive, but I thought it was cool that mom fell in love with dad almost immediately.
I chuckled when Dad said, “I shudder to think about life without that infamous traffic stop.”
I was glad that dad had written so many details. Especially, about how Asian women gave themselves completely and with love. I kept reading. The diaries had me hooked now.
The entries in the journal disclosed that Mom didn’t know what the Ho family business was about. After she became more involved with dad, she even questioned him. She wanted to know why her father wanted her to get involved with him in the first place. But being an obedient daughter, she accepted her father’s request.
Ho explained to her in detail. “Olivia, I need to have a connection inside the police department. This will allow me to navigate the business. You will have an insight of all the rules and regulation associated with the businesses”.
She complained. “But, Father, I don’t want to put Ed’s life in jeopardy. I don’t want to get involved in your illegal activities”.
Dad wrote, “Olivia, it is your place in life to do as your father instructs”.
The diary I was reading, stated that Dad took the information to his superiors. The major part of the drug activity from the Chin Ho crime ring, was still happening in Los Angeles. Dad continued to follow the illegal operations as an undercover operative.
The primary aim of Chin Ho was to keep tabs on how much dad knew. On the other side of the coin, dad’s orders by his superiors were to play both sides and follow all instructions. Dad wrote that grandfather was curious about how the drugs were being distributed.
My dad served as a police liason. He observed the connection between the Los Angeles leg and the Hawaiian connection. He often gave misleading information to Chin Ho on the authority of his superiors.
Dad indicated in a later journal, that he never accepted any of Chin Ho’s dirty money. He knew the money was Ho’s way of manipulating him and he was too smart to fall for the predictable move. Dad knew that he walked a thin line. And in time, his role as a double operative would become known.
As a dedicated officer of the law, Dad gave accurate information. The details about the drug smuggling operations was on target. He disclosed other illegal activity to the Hawaiian authorities too.
This information led to the arrest of the smaller fish by the island police. But, it was the “Big” Kahuna that they wanted. The police wanted Chin Ho, who was not yet linked to any Big Island drug activity.
Officer Cannon looked like he was a dirty cop on the take, but Dad wrote he didn’t sweat the small stuff. It was routine to give incomplete information to the police. It was deliberate to throw them off the track about some of Chin Ho’s illegal activities. Dad loved mom and me enough to stay on the good side of Grandfather Ho. We were always his highest priority and our safety came first.
Dad never doubted for a minute that Chin would have us all killed. And most all, I needed to know why they killed my father in cold blood. But, who were ‘they’?
I questioned whether Dad died because of his involvement in a L.A. undercover assignment gone bad. Or, was it something that he got himself tangled up in Hawaii. And then, there was the obvious question, did my own grandfather have my dad killed?
I yawned and put the last empty beer bottle on the table. I knew I should call it quits for the night. But the more I read, the more my passion grew to begin my own investigation of my father’s death.
I got excited when I remembered about mother talking about dad’s partner, Python Raider. She indicated he never believed the story about the way that Dad died. I decided I needed to track down Python Raider and interview him.
Python was hot on the trail of the on-going investigation of Chin Ho for years. I thought it might be possible to find Python and enlist his help in solving the murder. I was a rookie cop looking for answers, and I was hopeful that Python could fill in the blanks.
I found an old man who fit the description of Raider drinking whiskey in a small back street Oahu saloon. The Rusty Nail Tavern was a backwater swill house of ill repute.
He was sitting on a bar stool and I walked up to him and asked, “Are you the private dick known as Python Raider”?
The man almost fell off his bar stool when he heard his name spoken. No one in a long time had called him a private dick. Python took the last swallow of his drink, chuckled and said “Maybe, I am and maybe I’m not. It’ll cost you a drink to find out”.
“I’ll buy you a drink,” I answered, “But it’s Python Raider I want to talk to. So if you’re a drunken old man who’s trying to swindle me, then forget it”.
The old drunk sobered up a bit, patted me on the shoulder saying, “Well kid, yeah you found him. I mean Python Raider, that’s me and it’s the honest–to-God’s truth. Looks like I have something you want to know. So, yeah, say we barter for a drink and I’ll spit out what you wanna hear”.
“Hey bartender,” I replied, “Can we get two cups of black coffee and two loaded burgers”?
I plunked a twenty dollar bill on the counter and then said, “Python, so you knew Ed Cannon huh”?
Python took a couple of bites of his burger, burped and then slurred, “God yes, I knew Ed Cannon. He was my partner in Raider Investigations for a while until some S.O.B killed him. And Ed was one hell of a guy too. Kid, I’m damn sorry that I wasn’t there when some S.O.B. gunned him down like he was scum. I’d kill the S.O.B. myself, if I knew who done it”.
“Me too, Python,” I said, placing my hand on his shoulder. “You see, I’m Ed Cannon Senior’s son. I’m Eddie Cannon Jr. and I need your help. I need to fill in some blanks. I’m curious about Dad’s resignation from the Big Island police force and his ties with the Ho crime family. I’m convinced that there’s a link somewhere with dad’s police work, and Chin Ho had him murdered”.
Python gulped down the rest of his burger, slurped his coffee and said, “Eddie, I don’t suppose you’d buy me a shot of whiskey?”
“Sober up,” I answered. “And finish your story. And then, I’ll buy you one more drink. Otherwise, Python, you’re only going to get black coffee”.
I raised my hand and said, “Bartender, bring my friend and me a pot of coffee”.
Python growled and then he turned toward me and started telling me his story.
Python told me about how Chin had gotten a whiff that Cannon was setting him up. Chin had taken Edmond Cannon Sr. into his family. He took him into his confidence. But something happened that soured the old man and he felt betrayed by his own daughter and by Cannon even more.
Chin was out for revenge. He wanted to denigrate Cannon’s credibility as an officer. He wanted to keep him from disclosing the Ho’s organized crime was moving into the Midwestern Corn Belt.
“Junior,” Python said, “Ed and I joined forces. And we knew a lot of shit about Ho. Especially when Ed married your mother, Olivia”.
Python got sidetracked. He’d been talking about Ho. He seemed to slip into a trance like state of mind.
He said, “Kid, one day Edmond started thinking back about the first time they had met. Your Ma wasn’t quite legal when he pulled her over for a routine traffic stop. Ed was so attracted to her that he let Livy off with a warning. Ed told me about the night he took your Ma, to his apartment and what happened in the bedroom”.
Python paused, and then continued, “Kid. Your dad said, “God, she was beyond beautiful naked. He went on to say how Dad bragged that Asian woman gave sex with love. And she learned to first bring pleasure to the man and then she’d get it herself. He told me, Livy pleasured him for hours that night. Kid, from one man to another, I’d say your old man was a pretty good ‘bull shitter”.
I hadn’t wanted to hear about my parent’s sex life, but it did help confirm my mother’s sexuality and promiscuity. My time with Raider was running out, and I still didn’t have all the details I was hoping for. Python Raider was definitely a drunk, but for an old inebriated man, his mind was still sharp as a tack.
And then Python slurred, “I’ve kept the best for last kid and after you hear it, I get that shot of whiskey you promised”.
He cupped his hand, leaned close to my ear and whispered. “They have slain your dad in cold blood. They did it without any feeling for the loss of life, that’s saying the streets get their justice”.
I didn’t know what in hell he meant. And then, Python’s head hit the bar surface with a solid thud and he was out cold. The food and all the booze were too much for him.
The old drunk passed out and left me with some final words that to the old coot were, I guess, profound. The drunken old fart spoke them for a reason. So, I suppose he wanted me to figure out what they meant and from here on, I needed to keep digging.
I made sure that Python was still breathing. And then I said to the bartender, “Make sure the old man sleeps it off some place”.
I slapped a Ben Franklin down and said under my breath to Python, “Thanks old man; so the streets get their justice huh? Well, so does a Cannon and especially a cop”!
I took a cab back to the academy. When I got there, I found myself rummaging through the box of old files I had found on the Ed Cannon cold case. I then ran across a file folder marked: Hawaii Narcotics Unit.
I was unable to decipher much from the notes. The Narcotics Squad had closed its investigation due to insufficient evidence. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was my next thought.
The Feds had given my dad the address of an empty warehouse. The plan was Dad would watch a drug buy and a DEA agent would be his back-up if things went wrong. The DEA wanted to catch the buyer in the act of obtaining the drugs from the dealer. They would bust them and then get them to confess who they were working for.
The night the deal went down, an unknown assailant was waiting in the shadows of the vacant buildings. And as my dad stepped out of his car, a single gunshot rang out in the stillness of the night. The bullet hit him point blank in the chest.
Like that, my father lay dead in the dark and dingy parking lot in a pool of his own blood. It wasn’t until the next morning that Python Raider found two dead bodies. The suitcase of unmarked bills used in exchange for the drugs was gone.
The Feds excluded Python Raider as a suspect, because he had gotten drunk. The bartender at the Rusty Nail confirmed that he passed out before midnight.
The Hawaiian Narcotics unit of the Investigative Services Bureau conducted a thorough investigation. The result was that the special unit’s officer, Ed Cannon, died in a drug bust gone bad.
I was still unable to confirm that Chin Ho had set-up my father, but I intended to find out the truth. But, I was confident that the Ho crime gang gunned Dad down in cold blood.
My eyes perked up. I read a notation in the margin. Dad wrote it in ‘red ink.’
It reads. The task force was to look deeper into Detective Cannon’s undercover activities. Look at the Midwest connection in Links, Nebraska. And in ‘yellow’ highlights, he wrote, “Look at the Ho crime organization”.
So, now I definitely knew, my dad died before he left for Nebraska. I knew Chin Ho had some kind of connection with dad’s death; and it was a murder for hire. But now, I thought how do I prove it?
Imagine my surprise when I was on my way to the duty room for roll call and I saw a posting on the bulletin board. In big bold black letters the notice said.
‘The FBI has an immediate opening for an undercover operative, in Links, Nebraska. Do you have the right stuff to become an undercover operative?
Apply at the main office.”
I ripped the notice down and stuffed it in my pocket. After roll call and during our morning break, I reread the notice. I decided to take a chance and applied. Would a rookie cop have a chance? Could I become a candidate for the undercover assignment?
Before the field exercises, I went to the main office. I asked for the necessary paperwork needed to apply for undercover work.
I submitted my request for the assignment located in Links, Nebraska. I had made a conscious decision about the kind of police work I wanted to do. I wanted to join the Special Task Force in Links, Nebraska and like my dad, I wanted to work undercover.
A review board accepted my application. I wasn’t surprised. I was tall, lanky, good looking and I could pass for a high school student. I matched the physical requirements that the task force was looking for in a male agent. But, the name Eddie Cannon was the determining factor that cinched their choice. They gave me a dossier to study and I prepared to leave for the corn-belt in the Midwest.
The population consisted of a handful of tightly-knit hayseeds and Corn Huskers. My assignment was in the small town of Links, Nebraska. My job was investigating the Family Fun Center.
I didn’t have any experience working undercover. But I figured I carried my father’s genes. And I would be a natural as a kid looking to find employment in the Links Arcade Family Fun Center.
I needed to find out what I could about Chin Ho. My job was to get myself involved in the money laundering syndicate.
My dad’s old unit thought it was a great idea for me to re-open Ed Cannon’s cold case with new blood. And the blood of Eddie Cannon Jr. seemed to be the right shade of BLUE.
My family name gave me seniority in the selection process, because of my father. After all, the man had given years of his life to law enforcement and he died in the line of duty. I accepted the transfer with humility and great pride. It was humbling at my young age, to have the chance to step into my dad’s shoes. It gave me great pride to carry on in his stead.
Before leaving the Big Island, on my way to Nebraska, I went through some basic training drills. Going undercover wasn’t something that you could learn from a text book. Police work isn’t always black and white judgment. Reality changes it into a million shades of gray.
I needed to develop my own skill set. I had read most of dad’s diaries by now and I learned a lot about grandfather Ho too. I picked out some of the do’s and focused on the don’ts of undercover work. I was to locate a woman named Linn Quinn when I got there. She would brief me about the operations of the fun center.
Linn was general manager of the Skate-O-Rama and snack bar. My six foot boney frame, shaggy un-kept brown-on-brown hair and eyes gave me an advantage.
I was aware that when you’re undercover, your cover is everything. The department had taken a chance on a rookie cop, instead of a seasoned officer and I wasn’t about to let them down.
I parked my old rusty dark green 1950 Ford pick-up truck in front of the largest building in town. The big sign on its rooftop flashed in neon; Links Family Fun Center and Skate-O-Rama.
I walked through the main entrance and went to the snack bar. An attractive woman around forty was sitting there eying me.
She was a voluptuous woman with bleached blonde hair that fell around her shoulders. Her smile was friendly and I figured she was the type of person who would be good at handling her customers.
I sat down on the stool beside the woman and said, “Hello, my name is JR Peters and I am passing through town. I’m down to my last buck and I’m in need of a job.
I limped into town on fumes and I don’t have money for gas or food. In fact, ma’am, I’ve been sleeping in my truck for weeks now. It’s getting pretty darn cold and the windows are stuck open. Can you help me out”?
She took a good long look at the kid who gave her a sob-story.
“Well, first of all, my name is Linn Quinn and I do the hiring around here. I’ll tell you what I’ll do for you kid. I can’t have you going hungry. So how about a burger and some fries and then I’ll see how you handle yourself as a skate jockey at the rental counter. I could use a good looking kid like you renting skates to the customers. I’m sure you’ll draw the cuties over to flirt with you and then it’s your job to get them to rent skates”.
I extended my hand to Linn and said, “A job sounds good to me, Miss Quinn, and some good food sounds even better”.
She shook my hand. “It looks like you haven’t eaten in days. So how about that burger and fries first, and then we’ll get down to filling out the paperwork”.
I gave her a big smile and said, “Miss Quinn, a burger and fries sounds great if you’re buying. All I have left in my pockets are fuzz balls”.
She smiled and pointed to a table where she wanted me to sit and she then said, “JR, you can call me Linn; everyone does”.
Linn went into the kitchen and came back carrying a tray of food. She handed me a big thick milk shake, put it down in front of me and said, “Enjoy your meal JR, and when you’re done, we’ll talk”.
Linn sat at the table with me as I consumed my meal. She was curious to know about my family and why a young kid would be drifting around going nowhere.
When she asked, I began to spin a story about a kid who had lived in foster homes since he was eight years old. I was also scanning the premises, getting the lay of the land.
“Linn I ran away from my last foster home, because I couldn’t take it any longer.” Her eyes widened. And I came in for the kill.
“That’s when I quit school. I took forty dollars from my foster mother’s purse. And I began to hitchhike from town-to-town until I landed in Albuquerque.
I’d been in New Mexico for two years when I lost my job. So I figured it was time to move on. I bought my ole beater truck and drove it from one town to another picking up odd jobs. My gas ran out here; I figured Links was the town I was looking for”.
The way that Linn looked at me, I had passed phase one of going undercover. I was now ready to begin phase two. I was ready to build my new identity as JR, Peters, the needy, unsophisticated kid who needed work.
So, I belched in character and said, “I’m damn sorry about my manners Miss Quinn. I apologize for burping, it slipped out. I have to say ma’am, I was so hungry, I didn’t take the time to taste it”.
I turned in the direction of the skating rink and fixated my eyes on a cute girl who knew how to skate. She looked somewhere around the vicinity of being legal age. The girl had long dark hair pulled up in a ponytail and she wore a short skirt and an expensive silk blouse. One-by-one, the boys were lining up asking her to skate with them. But she brushed them off and took center stage alone.
“She’s pretty cute, isn’t she”? Linn commented,
“That’s Sass de la Rue and her father is Beau de la Rue; he’s the ‘Big Boss’ around here and he’s someone you don’t want to mess with. JR, my advice to you kid, is to keep your nose clean, and stay away from Sass.”
I swiveled my stool back around to face Linn. And in a confident tone of voice I said, “I’ll keep that in mind, but I can handle chicks like her, but thanks for the heads up. Say Miss Quinn, can I borrow a pair of skates? I’ll show you how a real skater shows his stuff for the girls”.
She pointed to the skate counter. “Sure kid, pick a pair that fits and please, call me Linn. As I said before, everyone around here does”.
I put on some skates and I circled around the rink a time or two. I had caught Sass’s eye and it pissed me off when she ignored me. I skated too close, bumped her and then caught her in my arms to keep her from falling onto the floor.
The pretty girl blushed. “Smooth move, but you are still a jerk. I know you have been watching me from the snack bar. I suppose Linn told you all about me. My name is Sass de la Rue and my father runs the operations here at the fun center. I haven’t seen you around, so I guess you are new in town”.
“That’s about right,” As I nodded affirmative, “I drifted into town earlier tonight looking for a job. I’m broke, hungry and homeless. Linn took pity on me, fed me and gave me a temporary job. I sleep in my truck, but I’m not a bum. I’m homeless and broke”.
She giggled and asked, “Do you have a name, smart ass”?
I nodded. “Yeah, pretty girl; everyone has a name, and mine is JR Peters”.
“What does the JR stand for?” She asked.
“Just Rebellious,” or in your case, It stands for, Just Right”.
Sass laughed rather amusingly. “JR, you’re my kind of guy, I’m thinking JR means ‘just right.’ I’m into bad boys, because a smart ass like you will drive daddy crazy. You will do fine to push him over the edge. I figure that you are a socially and sexually deviant man, and you are a little insecure with girls. Are we going to stand here all night with you holding me or are we going to skate”?
I replied, “Let me hold you and we’ll see if I am a sexual and social deviant”.
She kissed me on the lips, took my hand and pushed herself away from my embrace. Sass skated off in another direction, but I caught up with her and we began to couples skate. Linn was watching our every move. I could tell that no one had ever held his own with Sass before. And I was good on my feet/
Sass smiled and said, “I’ll buy you a soft drink JR”.
And we skated over to the snack bar.
“Not bad, kid”, Linn commented about my skating as she brought two colas to the table.
Sass commented, “Just put the drinks on Daddy’s tab, okay, Linn”?
Linn nodded yes and then added, “JR you can start tomorrow and be here after dinner around seven. It’s pretty slow at the rink until then”.
I wanted to find out more about Sass and especially about her father. I could tell that she found me attractive by the comments she had made and from the early kiss.
I figured I had my foot in the door and why waste time, so I went for it,. “Sass, that’s an unusual name. Does it mean anything special in French? I’m guessing you are French, because of your accent. So, what’s up, why are you here in this small hick town? You must have a good story”.
Sass reached for my hand and remarked. “That’s a lot of questions you want answered. Are you writing a book JR?”
I liked the feel of her hand in mine. And then I answered her question. “That’s a damn good suggestion; writing a book, that is. The only problem I see is I’m a high school drop-out and I can’t spell worth a damn”.
She looked at me still holding my hand and continued flirting, “Oui, JR, I am French, but I have lived in many places. Ma mere, means mother. She left us when I was young. And Mon Pere, that means father, has done the best he could in raising a girl alone. God knows that many women have shared his bed over time. He has been a long time valued employee of Chin Ho. The Ho family has built many family fun centers around the world and this one is the most recent. Mon Pere is the most experienced in setting up the business and running the operations”.
I thought to myself, That’s it my lovely one. Tell me more… keep it coming.
Sass broke my train of thought when she said, “So here I am, stuck in Links with not much to keep me occupied. And then, some old rich man built the fun center. The only thing for young people to do was watch the corn grow, and faire l’amour.
She kissed his cheek and coyly said, “JR, that translates to mean making love”.
“I’ll take faire l’amour any day”, I said, “Because the only thing I know about corn is you eat it”.
She laughed and hit me in the arm, meaning in pre-pubescent body language; she found me amusing.
I furrowed my brow and chortled, “Hey, ouch that wasn’t nice.”
She popped me again and said, “Wuss”.
I heard a voice in my head that said, Okay Sass, fun time’s over and you need to give me more of the lay of the land.
Speaking out loud, I followed up with, “Hey Sass, what do you know about Linn other than she seems nice? How did someone like her get stuck here too? She seems out of place. Is she a transplant in the fun center company also”?
She scowled, and her reply was sarcastic. “You seem rather curious about Linn. What are you into ‘fu-ing’ older women JR”?
I recovered fast with an off-the-cuff, smart ass remark. “Yeah Sass, I might be, she’s hot and she intrigues me and she arouses me too! I guess thinking about fu-ing her challenges your insecure theory about me, huh”?
I could tell Sass was into me and it behooved her not to spill her guts right on the spot.
I had hit a touchy place. She jumped off the stool and put her hands on her hips before saying, “Get this JR, Linn is too old for you. She’s into real men. Would you believe that she was Chin Ho’s former mistress? He treated her like garbage when she was past her prime. He actually traded in her for twins who were in their twenties. That old fart is ancient and he is gross. I like Linn, so back off and lay off with the snide remarks. Okay”?
This was just the kind of stuff I needed to learn about the players. And especially about grandfather Ho, since I knew little about the man. I had Sass in the right place and she liked to talk. Maybe she was even a little vulnerable too.
I needed to play it right and gain her trust. I gave her that come-on, look, as if I was feeling her pain and said, “No shit, Sass. How do you know that? I can’t believe Linn would spread her legs for an old man. No way Sass, I’m not falling for that shit. Linn has a younger man by the balls; trust me, because I know a thing or two about women”.
She pushed me away laughing and said, “God, JR, you would believe that I ate a worm if I told you so. All I know about Linn is she had changed her name from Kathlynn Quinnland to Linn Quinn. Ho brought her from parts unknown to work here in Links. I’m bored with this conversation. Let’s go to your place. Are you old enough to buy beer”?
“Sass, no and no” I answered. “I can’t buy us any beer, because I’m flat broke, and I’m under age. Also, I don’t have a fake I.D. Yet. We can’t go to my place, because I live in my truck, so that’s not an option either. I think I’ll just call it a night, and maybe we can do something after I get a paycheck”.
I got up from the table and said good-night. Sass wasn’t too happy that I brushed her off. It seemed obvious that she wanted me to figure something out about getting us a beer.
Sass went home to her apartment alone and frustrated. She was about to unlock her door when the neighbor upstairs came out of his apartment.
He was holding a bouquet of flowers and she asked him, “Who are the flowers for”?
He descended down a few steps. And his reply was cordial. “Hi Sass, the flowers, oh they’re for my girl. I was just heading over to her place. I haven’t seen you around here much lately. I don’t know if you remember my name. It’s Deeks Benson and I moved in a few weeks ago”.
“Hi, Deeks”. Her reply was brisk. “Yeah, I remember you. I never forget a pretty face and a fabulous body. It’s nice to see you again and welcome to the neighborhood. Hey, another guy brushed me off. He’s a newbie in town. How about coming into my place and have a glass of wine with me? Why don’t you call your girlfriend and tell her you are running late”.
Deeks walked down the stairs and he was within arms-length from her. Sass unlocked her door. She grabbed the flowers from his hand and pulled him into her apartment. Deeks thought she was cute and what the hell, he wasn’t married yet. So why not see what he could get for a bouquet of flowers.
“Sure Sass, I’ll have a quick glass of wine with you, but I want you to know that I’m about to get into trouble with my girl. I hope to hell that you are old enough to be alone with an older man. I’m not into doing any prison time for contributing to the delinquency of a minor”!
Sass walked over to Deeks and pushed him hard in the chest. The shove forced him to sit on the couch. She walked into the kitchen and poured them a glass of wine.
Sass then said as she handed him the drink. “Deeks, I am twenty-one, so there is nothing to worry about”.
Sass, of course, lied to him about her age. She sat down beside him on the sofa and began fondling his chest.
She kissed him once and then once more. “Deeks, you have a wonderful mouth for kissing and your broad shoulders are nice too”.
She continued to rub his chest and stroked his hair with her fingers. Sass remarked, “Tell me, Deeks Benson, who are you”?
Choking on his own words as if he had an obstruction in his larynx, Deeks said, “I am who I say I am. I work outside on the Hubbard farm”.
He hid his nerves well, and he changed the subject. Deeks mumbled, “Sass, I’m a little older than most of the guys you usually date. And I hate to admit it, but damn, you are cute, but fast. You are definitely going to get me into trouble with my girlfriend if I stay any longer”.
His perspiration was profuse. He definitely didn’t want to blow his cover right off the bat. It was obvious, what he was going to have to do, in the line of duty, when Sass stood and then sat down on his lap. She ran her fingers through his hair and began to kiss his cheeks, neck and mouth.
When he came up for a breath of air, Deeks had a chance to say something. “God, Sass, you’re moving too fast, even for me. I know your name is Sass de la Rue, and like-wise I ask; who the hell are you”?
She giggled and began stroking his chest as she unbuttoned his shirt and said. “I’m just a bored girl who lives in this stinking little town. I think you are sexy and hot, Deeks. It would be my pleasure to get you into trouble with your girlfriend. It’s up to you if you stay or not. Yet, I think you will stay, because you want to get naked with me and pleasure me all night long.”
Deeks gulped hard. Sass said, “Deeks, I am the daughter of Beau de la Rue. And I’m quite sure you know he is the general manager for the entire facility. I always get what I want and what I want right now is you. So, I think it is to your advantage to play nice”.
Sass took a sip of wine. She offered Deeks a drink from her glass, but he set it down on the coffee table and put his arms around her. He began kissing her. The kisses were gentle and light at first. Sass was more about getting to the point and exploring her lips with the tip of his tongue was not what she had in mind.
Sass had a one track mind. She admitted to Deeks that her addiction was sex. She wanted to get physical with him and she wouldn’t take’ no’ for an answer. Deeks confessed that his girlfriend would have to wait, because he didn’t want to leave. This brought about amorous hot foreplay and heavy petting on the sofa.
She led Deeks to the bedroom where they undressed each other. And then Sass’ smile implied that she was going to seduce him. He enjoyed pleasuring her with his fingertips, tongue and mouth. And then, she reached the peak of sexual excitement.
Sass opened the drawer in her night stand and took out a condom. She helped Deeks put it on and he found Sass irresistible, provocative and desirable. Aroused, they played around. They took pleasure in having intercourse, not once, but twice. And then they had oral sex.
Deeks went into the bathroom to shower. Sass was sitting on the bed, sipping wine when he came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. He smiled and mentioned how cute she looked in his shirt.
Dressed in nothing but a towel, she found him appealing and sexy. Deeks walked over to her and she rose up to a kneeling position on the bed. He drew her body close to his. His kiss this time was romantic.
Sass grabbed the towel covering him and then pushed him away. Her meaning was cold. “I’ve had enough for one night. I want you to leave Deeks. You bore me”.
She took off his shirt and threw it to him. Her rounded, fleshy breasts, exposed. He couldn’t resist fondling them and kissing her nipples one last time. It surprised Deeks when she asked him to leave. But, he played it cool. “God, Sass, I had the impression that I would be in bed with you making love all night long”.
Turning down the corners of her mouth and pouting, she said nothing, but pointed toward the door.
Deeks grabbed his clothes and walked away. She heard the front door close. She reached for the glass of wine, took a few more sips, and blew out the candle. Naked, she snuggled beneath the sheets.
I found out that Homeland Security had extensive files of information on crime syndicates. And the FBI even sometimes employed them for occasional covert operations. Nebraska’s Homeland Security acknowledged that the Ho crime organization existed.
But it was difficult to prove anything against it. The authorities continued to look for ways to break the syndicate. Nothing was working.
That’s where I fit into the undercover plan. I was their newest strategy, in hopes I could find a way of bringing the Ho syndicate to its knees.
It was a known fact that organized crime was moving. It was leaving the inner city urban neighborhoods and relocating into the rural Midwest.
Money laundering was big business. And it was dubbed the “Achilles heel” for crime enforcement. Crime syndicates were developing newer methods to move ill gotten money. The money traveled through several countries to obscure its origins.
The money was difficult to track when sent through many financial institutions. Layering involved exchanging currency for valuable items. The Chin Ho worldwide Arcade of family fun centers were experts in laundering money. Diamonds, boats and houses were his biggest commodities.
Homeland Security had an interest in stopping the flow of laundered money. Between $500 billion to $1 trillion of international criminal proceeds moved around the globe. Half of the illegal money comes from the United States.
Laundering allowed Ho to convert money into different types of currency. He moved some profits from the Ho drug trade and prostitution rings through his “front”.
The fun centers are where the money started. And then, it was sent to secretive locations and washed clean into legitimate funds. The laundering of profits was also used in tax evasion.
Chin Ho had become wealthy over the years. And he spent the money on high end goods and services. He enjoyed the frivolities the money bought. It also kept the money from being confiscated by the authorities.
I was sent to Links, Nebraska, to infiltrate the Chin Ho crime organization. I was the grandson of Ho, but we had never seen one another, even when I was a young child. Mother had seen to it, because she didn’t want her father to become an intricate part of her new family. It was hard enough to hide her husband’s undercover role as a secret.
In my earlier investigation and reading my father’s diaries, I learned about Smurfing. I figured out that Sass was a “Smurf” for the Ho cartel. And her job was to transport the money into the country without paying lawful custom charges.
Sass would make wire transfers through a series of accounts to hide the funds origin.
She would break up large sums of money over ten thousand dollars into smaller deposits. Money in amounts over ten thousand in daily receipts was impossible to deposit in the U.S.
I may have been a ‘Rookie Cop,’ but I knew that I could pull off becoming part of the crime organization. I knew that I could collect information from within the Ho cartel.
On this particular day, Sass went into her father’s office. Her job was to hand carry the sum of ten thousand dollars in person, to another handler in the Cayman Islands. Several other Smurfs handled like sums of cash. The money would buy the organization’s small planes. The planes, then would smuggle drugs from Central and South America. Their priorities were to get the drugs into the United States, Canada and parts of Asia.
The integration of the layered funds came from several other ‘front’ operations. The legitimate funds came together with the dirty money. The laundered funds often bought airplanes for use in the Chin Ho organization.
Sass went home and packed an overnight bag. She returned to the arcade to pick up a satchel of money. Included with the case of money were the proper bank documents needed to clear customs. Her falsified passport was in the name of Pleasance de Cote. And the name was also printed on the specified bank identification cards.
I stopped by Sass’s apartment for two nights in a row, but she wasn’t there. I slipped a note beneath her door saying that I wanted to see her again. It had been two days since she was at the arcade and I wondered where she was at.
Her safety concerned me. I suspected that something had gotten past me. It was time to talk to Linn. I figured she still had ears within the organization, and she would be willing to open up to me.
I approached her. “Linn we need to talk. I know who you are. Can we talk in private”?
She nodded yes and they walked into her office and she closed the door.
“I know your real name is Kathlynn Quinnland. And I’m aware that you are the former mistress of Chin Ho. I know this for a fact, because I am the grandson of Chin Ho. My mother is Olivia Ho-Cannon and my father was Detective Edmond Cannon, Sr.”
“So you see, Linn, that makes me Eddie Cannon Junior. And I’m here in Links working undercover for the FBI division of Homeland Security. Linn, I believe that my grandfather Ho ordered my father killed”.
I’ll get the feds to go easy on you for your cooperation. So how about it Linn, will you help me out and tell me what you know”.
Her face became drawn and a pasty white. I thought, God, don’t stroke out on me. She nodded and said, “Yeah, okay, kid, but I need to tell you that I’m scared to death of Ho. JR, I know first-hand what he is capable of doing. I don’t doubt for a moment that he would have his own daughter’s husband murdered in cold blood”.
Her pause was brief. And beneath her breath, she said, “Kid, are you aware that Chin Ho is a tormented old man from using his own blow? He’s snorted so much of it over time, he has become schizophrenic and this has led to his own personal demons. Hey kid, how long has it been since you’ve seen your mother? Years I bet”.
I wasn’t surprised at what Linn said about his mental state of mind. I followed-up and asked. “So what does my mother have to do with grandfather’s mental stability? I’m here to investigate the fun center as a ‘front’ for money laundering. I need to find out about Beau and Sass de la Rue’s involvement with the crime syndicate”.
My mother, Olivia Cannon, had assumed the position of Head of Operations. She held reign over the world wide Arcade of Fun businesses.
Grandfather had put her in charge of the money laundering activities after dad’s death. She confirmed Chin had put a contract out on my dad. And after he got rid of him, Chin retired from overseeing the daily business. He exiled himself into seclusion. Only a few chosen syndicate members knew his whereabouts.
I then asked Linn, “Do you know where this secret hideaway is”?
I could see her body quiver before she replied, “I’m telling you kid, the old man is nuts. I assume Olivia and Beau might know about his hideout. Maybe even Sass, but I promise you kid, I don’t have a clue where it is”.
Linn mentioned Sass might have the information I needed. I had to know just how deep she was in the illegal operations. So, I asked, “Linn, what is her involvement in the syndicate”?
She shook her head ‘no’ and said “Sorry, kid, you’re on your own with her, but I suggest that you watch your step. She’s smarter than you think and Beau de la Rue is a ruthless, dangerous man and I’ve already said too much”.
“Hi, JR,” Sass said as she waltzed up to him at the skate rental counter.
It was a relief to see her. I hadn’t wanted to lose my best link I had in the family fun center’s connection to Ho.
I nodded. “Oh, I didn’t realize you weren’t around here somewhere. Linn has kept me so busy in the Skate-O-Rama that I haven’t had a chance to call you. So, where have you been”?
“Nowhere in particular”. She shrugged, “Just around”.
I didn’t push the issue. I figured that patience was a virtue and as I became more trusted by Sass, she would confide in me.
So I played it cool. “Hey, Sass, I got paid and I’m not sleeping in my truck any longer. How about going out with me after my shift to a movie? It’s not like the theater is far away”.
I chuckled about the fact that everything was in the same physical building structure. And the one and only Movie Theater in town was a few steps away.
Sass walked around the back of the skate counter where I was restocking the shelf with clean slates. She planted a sweet wet kiss right on my mouth.
As she walked away, Sass looked over her shoulder and said, “I’ll be back at 9:00 for the late movie”.
Sass blew me a kiss and walked away. Sass found the note from me under her door and tucked it in her pocket.
She went upstairs to Deek’s apartment to see him. She knocked on the door and when it opened, he flashed a big smile. He drew her into his arms to give her a welcome home kiss. He was ready to tell her about breaking up with his girlfriend when she pushed him away.
His tone of voice was tense. “I’ve been checking on you, so where have you been sexy? I wanted to tell you that I broke up with my girl”.
Sass’s puzzled expression said, “Deeks, I never asked you to break-up with your girlfriend. The other night was great, but I’m not into long term relationships or romances. I’m sorry that you broke-up with her because of me. I’m flirtatious and I date a lot of guys. Maybe you can call her and apologize or something. You are a nice guy, Deeks, I’m just not into dating one guy, so good-bye, Deeks, I’ll see you around”.
She kissed him on the cheek and walked away. Once inside her apartment Sass picked up the notes. She assumed they were from Deeks. She didn’t bother to look at them to see they might have been from J.R. Instead, she tossed them into the trash.
She returned to the arcade to hook up with JR. I was right where she had left me. I was still standing behind the skate rental counter. But now I was flirting with some young girls that were far too young for me.
Sass pushed the little chippies away. She was angry when she said, “Are you ready JR”?
She grabbed my arm and forcibly pulled me toward her. I glared at her for embarrassing me in front of customers. Besides, they were young girls and I had a reputation to uphold.
I acted disconnected from her and said, “Hold it Sass. Yeah, I’ll be ready in a minute, so chill, I have to cash out the till and give Linn the money”.
While handing Linn the cash, she told me to watch out, because Sass was as deadly and lethal as a black widow spider.
I nodded, waved good-night to Linn and walked away without saying anything. I figured that I could handle Sass. I had the upper hand, because I knew more about Sass de la Rue than she thought.
I paid for the theater tickets and bought a large tub of popcorn and a large soda for us to share. After we agreed where to sit, I proceeded to put my arm around Sass.
This time I got in the first kiss of the date and then I kissed her again for good measure. The movie was a comedic ‘chic flick,’ so I focused my interest on Sass and what my next move should be.
Should I string her along and get her to fall for me, or should I go in for the kill? I liked the girl. I liked the scent of her perfume. It was intoxicating and she was so damn cute and exciting to be with.
I only thought about how it felt in the pit of my stomach when our lips touched. So, why did I feel this way? My training taught me never to become involved with a possible suspect. I wanted to be with her, but I might have to bust her.
All I wanted to think about was about how to make a little magic with her. I did not want to fall in love with someone who I would be slapping handcuffs on. I knew how impossible this was going to be and I discovered how much I disliked this part of being an undercover cop.
Maybe I was in over my head and I should have stayed a rookie until I gained more experience. I wish I could have asked Dad how he handled a situation of mind versus heart.
I knew my feelings were true. And I couldn’t seem to help myself. She had gotten under my skin and I couldn’t resist her temptations. I had set out to win her trust. But all I had accomplished was that I had fallen in love with Sass de la Rue.
It was after 11:00 when the movie ended. I couldn’t begin to tell Sass what the movie was about. So I was glad when she didn’t ask whether I liked it or not. I had my paycheck, and had gassed up my truck. So I suggested that we go for a ride, but Sass reminded me, she had driven her car to the fun center.
She gave me the keys to her red 1965 Mustang convertible. And then gave me driving directions to her apartment. I took a deep breath and was hopeful that I would have the ability to handle what would happen when we arrived there.
She had it all figured out in advance. Sass wanted me on her turf where she could be in control. While on our ride, I asked her where she had gone. Sass disclosed she had been away on business for her father.
She then said, “JR, I often travel for the fun center”.
Sass unlocked the door and picked up a note that someone slipped beneath it. She didn’t bother to read it. She just threw the note in the trash. I could see there were several other slips of paper in the trash basket. I figured most of them were my notes. But to keep my undercover life in tack, I asked point blank “Is an old boyfriend stalking you”?
She didn’t answer, and I knew I should stop right there. Sass had a need to be in control, so I allowed her to think she had me where she wanted me.
I knew Sass de la Rue was a poison bullet, and I also knew that I was about to cross the line as an undercover agent. I remembered the entry in Dad’s diary. He wrote about his first date with mother. I thought, Like father-like-son”. And Eddie Cannon Jr. was about to follow in his dad’s footsteps. He too was about to become a notch on a beautiful woman’s belt.
I knew how Dad felt when he met mom. I too had met the girl of my dreams and I was aware that Eddie Cannon was about to become tangled in the spider’s web!
Sass de la Rue was wise and experienced beyond her years. She took great pleasure in seducing me. I was a willing participant, and I became putty in her hands. It seemed impossible for me to say ‘No’ to anything that Sass wanted.
Sass was attractive and ruthless. Linn was right when she warned me about Sass. I was a helpless victim in her seductive dance. Her playfulness was beguiling and mystifying.
I enjoyed the playful way that Sass removed each article of my clothing while stripping me naked. I couldn’t take my eyes off her while she took her clothes off. Each sultry move was a seductive dance.
My focus was on her breathing as she encouraged me to touch her. Her sexual desire deepened as my touch heightened her arousal. And then I backed off teasing her and whispered naughty words and thoughts in her ear.
I was luring her in all the right ways. I relayed sexual and erotic messages in each kiss, touch and teasing motion. I felt my father instructing me in ways of using sex as a mind altering drug. It led me into an anticipation of intimacy and sexual addiction.
I brought her to an orgasm that left her pleading and begging for more. I had heard of women with a venomous bite. But this was my first experience of strangulation in the web of a poisonous spider.
I was definitely exhausted and out of breath. I attempted to be humorous and unaffected by the rigorous sex workout. “So Sass de la Rue, do you still think that I’m an insecure little boy”?
Her quip was clever. “Honey, I never kiss and tell”!
I spent the night with Sass, and in the morning we had coffee together at the kitchen table. I told her that I was thinking about leaving Links. I needed to make more money than I could earn at the Links Skate-O-Rama.
I hoped the former night of kinky lovemaking, had earned my trust. Sex seemed to be a good motivator and tool in opening doors. Doors closed up until the time we had intercourse.
Sass told me she didn’t want me to leave her, and I wanted to know what she had on her mind.
She opened the conversation, “JR, I have a confession to make. I’m not who you think I am. I make a lot of money working for Mon Pere and I can get you a job working for him too if you want. JR, I am a Smurf and I transfer money that Chin Ho needs laundered”.
I thought this is what I had been waiting to hear. I already knew Sass was a Smurf. And now I needed proof that the family fun center was a laundry house for illegal funds.
I acted a little surprised. “Sass, are you telling me that the Links Family Fun Center is a front for organized crime”?
She seemed a little surprised that I acted naïve.
“Yes, that’s correct JR. “Mon Pere has worked for Chin Ho as long as I can remember. Mr. Ho has a network of fun centers world-wide. And they are all linked to organized crime and laundering money.”
“The Links fun center is the headquarters. My father oversees the organization for Chin Ho. I’ve worked with my father since I turned sixteen. JR, I make one thousand dollars each time I do a run or a drop. I can easily make two or three thousand a week”.
I figured I must be more like my father than I thought. I turned on the charm and that’s when my undercover role as JR, Peters really came to life.
“Sass, wow, I’m speechless. I could use that kind of bread. I wouldn’t feel any remorse in making the money, by legal means or illegal activities. Damn Sass, hook me up with your dad. I’ll do whatever he needs if it pays that good”.
She reached across the table and touched my hand. “I’ve already told daddy about you and he wants to see you in his office today. I’ve told him all about you and described you for him too”.
“Daddy says that he’s looking for a clean-cut young man who possesses all the traits that you have JR”.
Sass patted my hand. “My father demands loyalty, punctuality and respect. I know that if you turn on the charm, you can win his approval. JR, you are a shoo-in if you play your cards right. Just answer his questions and tell him what he wants to hear. Tell him that you are willing to do anything for money, no matter what he asks you to do”.
She paused and then said, “JR, you might even be in situations where you need to kill someone. This might even include women and children”.
I felt my face grow pale. I felt my knees quiver and buckle. I felt my stomach in my throat. But I had every confidence that Homeland Security had my back. And when it came down to brass tacks, and push came to shove, I wouldn’t have to pull the trigger. I believed the Calvary would charge in at the exact time of my need.
We drove to work together and Sass walked me into her father’s office. Introducing me, she said, “Daddy this is JR Peters”.
Mr. de la Rue extended his hand and said, “Hello JR, Sass has told me a lot about you and I’m impressed with what she had to say. I’ve had my eye on you since you joined the workforce here at the fun center. Linn has vouched for you too. She said that you were a loyal, hard working young man. She would hate to lose you, but she admitted you have the qualifications needed to do the job I have in mind for you. Have you ever heard of Smurfing”?
I remained cool, although I did want to try a bit of humor. “Yes, sir, that’s called ‘riding the ocean waves on a long board”. Or I could say something like– “Sure, a Smurf is a little blue fuzzy toy.”
But, I thought better of it and stuck with giving a respectful and professional response. So I kept it simple and said, “Yes sir. Sass has explained a little about her job and I want to thank you sir for the confidence you have in me. I would like to think that I could be an asset in the role of Smurfing too. I appreciate the opportunity to work for you. Sir, I don’t want to grovel, but I need the money”.
I was in character as a high school drop-out. I kept my dialogue unpolished. And I deliberately acted nervous. “Sir, I don’t make enough money at the skating rink for gas and food. Sass told me how much I could make by Smurfing for Chin Ho and his organization. I plead ignorant, but I don’t know anything about Chin Ho or why the fun center uses Smurfing”.
I continued to show my ignorance and asked, “Sir, I’d like to meet Mr. Ho sometime. Does he ever stop by to check up on his enterprises and employees? Would it be fair of me to ask how Linn or Sass knows Chin Ho”?
Mr. de la Rue looked me square in the eyes. There was a fire and ager blazing in his eyes. “No, JR, it’s not possible for you to meet Mr. Ho. And there is no need for your inquiry about Miss Quinn or my daughter’s connection with Mr. Ho. We are employees of the man and we do our jobs. Just do your job, and you have secure employment within the organization”.
A sudden scowl appeared on his face. And he finished his thought. “Young man, I suggest that you don’t disappoint me or Chin Ho. Sass, take JR upstairs and get him settled. It doesn’t look good for any of my employees to be living in a motel”.
I acted surprised. “Mr. de la Rue. Does this mean that I have the job”?
Sass led the way upstairs and unlocked the apartment door. It was a nice place and the furnishings were nice too. I commented on how well her father took care of the people who worked for him. She remarked that the apartment’s use was for associates who would come to town to do business.
“I’ve said enough,” and she led me by the hand to the bedroom and proceeded to take off her clothes. I was exactly where I needed to be at this point. I followed her lead and took off my clothes too. There weren’t any romantic feelings involved, it was just sex. Sass loved sex and she was blunt about not wanting any strings.
She was insistent that I didn’t need to wear a condom. This was way against my training. But I was already violating procedure by getting involved with her, so I figured what the fuck. She was ‘hot’ and damn hard to resist.
I would later explain to my superiors that I had been tested to see if I would do anything for the sake of money. I was not thinking with the right head. I used the old ‘quick withdraw’ method to prevent her from getting ‘knocked up’. It was still risky, but I had to take the chance.
I focused on being the fictional undercover cop, JR Peters, and I did what I had to do under the circumstances. It was too late to turn back now. I was now a member of the Ho organization. And my undercover assignment meant I had to make JR Peters, a believable person. There were ‘no holds barred,’ even if meant that I had to have unprotected sex to stay undercover.
I began to worry about when I queried if Sass had ever met Chin Ho. I was becoming desperate in finding ways to learn more about my grandfather and the man he had become.
I had never met him. And to handle the situation at hand, I needed to become familiar with his peculiarities.
I didn’t know the where-bouts of my mother either. But, I suspected she was living with grandfather Ho. Linn had verified he had gone underground into deep hiding as an eccentric recluse.
My guess was that it would take a lot of convincing Sass to divulge the location of Chin Ho. I also knew that it would take patience and more sex before Sass would tell me anything private.
I began living with Sass. I learned during pillow talk, that Chin had surrounded himself with young, beautiful women. He didn’t want them as sex objects. He enjoyed their youth and beauty and he enjoyed looking at them. My grandfather had a harem of beautiful, sensual women. Their sole duty was to entertain the aging crime boss.
It sickened me about the thought of grandfather’s sex fantasies. And I wondered if dad knew about his eccentricities. I also wondered how my mother handled this deprived world of sex.
Sass finally confided in me that she had seen Chin only a few times. She had accompanied her father to the Big Island beach fortress. He had withdrawn from the world since his separation from Kathlynn. She admitted that he preferred to live in solitude and isolation away from attention.
I had made a grave error in not finishing my father’s entire collection of diaries. I had been anxious to delve into my family tree. But it was obvious that I had not read enough to prepare me in becoming involved in Chin Ho’s dynasty.
In the time since arriving in Links, Nebraska, I had seen more than I expected. I was aghast when Sass implied that her father had given his own daughter to Chin Ho as an odalisque.
I had to look up the definition of an Odalisque. I discovered that they were young women trained to dance and master the art of erotic sex. In a way, it did make sense why grandfather had surrounded himself with beautiful women. It was a customary practice in Asian countries.
I didn’t know how to handle Sass. It was disgusting that she was once part of grandfather’s lecherous appetite for women. I was beginning to understand where her ravenous appetite for meaningless sex came from.
Sass was indoctrinated into the unsavory lifestyle at a young age by her own father. Beau de la Rue was the man who opened this world up to her.
The apartment door above de la Rue’s office opened and I recognized the male voiceIt was de la Rue’s bodyguard goon. I had gotten involved with some ba. d people and I didn’t know who to fear more.
Beau de la Rue was a ruthless man, who didn’t have a conscience. Sass de la Rue was a sex addict controlled by her addiction. Grandfather Ho was an eccentric old man with a depraved mind. And now there was the nameless bodyguard whom I named Goon.
The man was a towering giant with a thick neck. The Goon had hands large enough to wrap around my average size neck. I could hear it snap with ease, like I was a Thanksgiving turkey wishbone.
The Goon called out, “JR; Mr. de la Rue wants to see you in his office ASAP”.
Sass softly replied without using the Goon’s name. Maybe she didn’t know it either. Or perhaps he was a Frankenstein that my grandfather had created from body parts of dead people.
Sass just said “JR and I aren’t decent at the moment. Can this wait for a while”?
The Goon’s voice was demanding and the quality of its tenor intensified to a loud shout. “JR, I suggest that you get out of bed with Sass, get dressed and be downstairs in five minutes!”
I wasn’t about to argue with this freak of nature. I dressed in the blink of an eye.
Taking a deep breath to steady my nerves, I knocked on Mr. de la Rue’s office door and opened it. My nerves were taut and I felt sick.
“Sir, may I come in”?
The man’s voice was sharp and blunt. “Enter young man. I insist on punctuality and absolute respect”.
I stood erect and tried to appear confident. “Yes Sir. I understand. I make no excuses, but it can be difficult getting free from Sass when she has her mind set on something. I apologize for my tardiness. It won’t happen again, sir”.
De la Rue nodded and pointed toward the chair on the other side of the desk. Beau de la Rue didn’t respond to the comment that I had made about his daughter’s personal life.
I sat down and noticed the ‘Goon’ had left the room. My gut told me that it was my place to be silent and listen. Mr. de la Rue raised his head and looked me straight in the eyes. The man had an intimidating way of glaring when he had a point to make. I felt like a dead animal in its talons, and I was its supper.
It was quite unexpected when he said, “JR I have a job for you to do right now; tonight. There is a car out front for you. I need you to take this satchel and deliver it to a courier who is waiting for you in Lincoln. He tossed the brown leather bag at me expecting me to catch it in flight. I caught it with precision.
The bag was heavy and I thanked God for my quick reflexes. My instinct was to nod and remain silent. The man grumbled. I suspect he thought I would fail his reflex test.
My guess is de la Rue had done his homework. But, I knew he checked out my background. I was grateful my dossier showed that I was an astute quarterback. And I was a team player.
Mr. de la Rue followed up by handing me a slip of paper. “JR, you are to take this satchel and deliver it to the address on the paper”.
Beau looked me in the eyes. They were blank, hiding his soul. “In turn, you will get a package. You are to return the package to me. The drop shouldn’t take you more than two hours. The clock is ticking, so I suggest that you get going, son”.
Beau had actually made an inference that he had a soul after all. He had called me son.
I thought I would risk it all and asked, “Sir, what am I delivering to the other courier and what am I to bring back”?
My inquiry didn’t set well. De la Rue slammed his fist on the desktop and shouted. “I suggest that you understand right now to never question me. You have a job to do. So just get the job done. There will be five hundred dollars waiting for you upon your return”.
I got the impression that de la Rue was not a patient man. And a man who is never questioned. I stood up and walked out of the office without looking back.
I found a sweet little ride waiting in front for me. The Crossfire was a fast little sports car and the keys were in the ignition of the black convertible. I fired up the little gem and she purred like Sass when she was all fired up and ready for sex.
There was no time for me to go back to my place and retrieve my hidden revolver and cell phone. So, it was up to me to handle it alone. My training hadn’t touched upon how to handle a situation without any back-up or a firearm.
I looked into the recesses of my mind and tried to recall anything from Dad’s diaries that might help me out. So, my assignment was in Lincoln, Nebraska. And I knew that I better get there and back within the allotted time. I knew that there were eyes on me too.
The Crossfire got me to Lincoln in ample time and I pulled into the dark parking lot in an industrial part of the city. Chills went up and down my spine. It reminded of the ‘set-up’ for my father’s death. He was in an empty parking lot during an undercover sting operation.
A late model black Cadillac was waiting up ahead. The tinted windows kept me from seeing the driver. But I did see the headlights blink and I took it as my cue to get out of the car.
I removed the bag from the passenger seat. And I walked toward the Cadillac holding the satchel. I stood in the light given off by the car’s headlights. The man inside stepped out of his car.
As he approached me, I was hesitant to speak. I was hopeful that I did the correct thing. I said, “Mr. de la Rue sent me from Links to deliver this satchel and pick up a package for him”.
The courier didn’t say anything. He frisked me, patting me down searching for a concealed weapon. I thought to myself, God, I’m glad that I did not go to my room to get my service revolver.
I knew better than to carry a gun in a situation like this. If I’d known, I’d have a team watching me from the shadows. But, I had to trust my instincts. I suspected that this was just another one of de la Rue’s tests.
So, I played naïve and kept my composure by staying calm. I wasn’t carrying a gun. I trusted that I didn’t have anything to fear. I must admit I swallowed hard when I saw the man approaching me. He made it clear that he was ‘packing’ heat. I hoped the man would just take the bag and leave.
I handed over the leather pouch to the fat man with a scar beneath his right eye. And I took possession of a briefcase in return. I remained silent and the man just turned and walked back to his car.
I sighed with great relief when I stood alone in the dark parking lot. I was alive and I thanked God and my father that I had succeeded unscathed in another facet of undercover work.
The exchange happened without incident. I drove a few miles out of town, I pulled over and looked inside the briefcase. Inside was a small velvet bag. Inside the sack, I counted twenty-four brilliant, high quality diamonds.
I figured the gems were worth at least a quarter million dollars in cash. I sat there on the side of the road and wondered what Chin Ho had in mind to do with the precious stones?
It was midsummer and the night air was warm. It was perfect weather conditions to have the top down on the Crossfire. I had just passed another test in grandfather Ho’s game of terrorizing me. So I thought I deserved to see if the Crossfire had any guts. I pressed the pedal to the floor and the hot little machine purred along at 100 MPH.
The wind brushed against my face. I thought, what a rush! It was a high I had never experienced before. I felt a shiver run down my spine from the exciting undercover swap. But I think it was my nerves finally settling down. The night had been unpredictable, yet my training and gut instincts directed me where to go. I had learned a lot about being undercover and it was exhilarating.
It was past midnight when I got back to Links. De la Rue’s office door was ajar. I rapped on it and I entered. I was confident that I had done good. Yet, I suspect there may have been a slight quiver in my voice.
“Sir, Mr. de la Rue, I’m back and I have your package”.
De la Rue looked up from his desk. His manner was calm. “JR, you made good time”.
I handed over the briefcase to my boss. De la Rue opened it and asked me if I had looked inside.
I knew better than to lie, because de la Rue would see right through my nervousness, so I said, “Yes sir, I did. I guess my curiosity got the best of me”.
Mr. de la Rue didn’t respond to my honesty. He just removed the velvet bag and poured its contents onto his desk. He counted out loud until he reached twenty-four. “Twenty-four little gems; aren’t they beautiful son”?
I couldn’t believe that he didn’t nod at the Goon, who was standing behind him. I felt my bowels growl and I just about wet myself. I stammered a bit when I said, “Yes Sir, I’d say they are perfect in every way, but I’m not an expert in diamonds”.
Sass had been standing in the doorway. She walked up to me and kissed me smack on the mouth in front of her father.
She giggled and said, “Daddy they’re gorgeous! Can I have one so JR can make an honest woman out of me and propose marriage”?
He patted his daughter’s hand and said, “Not this time sweetheart. With the kind of money that Peters is going to be making, he can afford to buy a diamond of equal size and beauty on his own”.
I felt my heart race and a huge lump in my throat. I thought, Oh God, I’m doomed.
She whined. “But daddy, I want one now. What are we going to do with them anyway”?
Her father looked at me and said, “This is a job that JR needs to finish, but he won’t be doing it alone. I’m sending you along this time. You leave tomorrow at one o’clock”.
Sass smiled and hugged her father.
Beau said, “JR, be in my office at noon and I’ll give you and Sass the instructions. Pack an over-night bag, because you’ll be staying overnight on the Big Island. Chin Ho and I have decided it’s time for you to meet him face-to-face.”
I looked at Sass, but she remained emotionless and then I looked at over at de la Rue. I was definitely nervous when I looked him in the face. And I knew I had to say it. “Sir, you know who I am and what I’m doing here, don’t you”?
I figured what the hell I had been made and I was going to die. I said, “Mr. de la Rue, what gave me away”?
His laugh was as evil as his behavior. Sass stood close to her father. He said, “Son, I had my suspicions all along. But you played a good game until you went to Lincoln”.
So I asked, “Okay sir, where did I fall short of the mark when I made the drop”?
De la Rue smirked and said, “That’s a fair question JR. There was a quarter of a million dollars in that satchel. And to a broke kid like you, that’s a hell of a lot of money. More than you would see in your lifetime. And you didn’t attempt to take it and run. At least, I thought you might try to sneak one diamond”.
I answered him honestly, “Sir, that still doesn’t answer my question. What gave me away”?
Mr. de la Rue laughed at my naivety. “JR, you are too honest. If you were some broke, homeless kid you’d have stolen my car and taken my money. You wouldn’t have thought that stealing from me and running was a stupid idea. I’ve been at this game a long time and your body language gave you away. You were following orders from your superiors. Your lack of experience as an undercover cop caught you with your pants down, and now you’re going to die a horrible death”.
Beau de la Rue thought for a moment. “Eddie, I’ve known your identity since you walked into my establishment months ago. It’s my job to know everything about everyone who works here for me. No one will ever be as good as your old man, Ed Cannon Senior. You’re a ‘rookie’ kid, but I admit you’ve got chutzpah for trying to fill your old man’s shoes. It was a gutsy move, but not a smart one”.
His dissertation hit me hard between the eyes. It shocked me that he learned my identity so fast.
De la Rue enjoyed every minute of the pain that he inflicted upon me. “Kid, did you wonder why Linn left town without notice? JR, she paid the unfortunate price of being a snitch and a traitor. It’s your option, son, to join her. Or, you can become part of the allegiance and solidarity to the Chin Ho organization. Ed senior was a hard as nails cop, and he died”.
I felt proud my father had died because he wouldn’t be part of the Chin Ho allegiance. I figured I was going to die too. I figured that my officers were either dead, or part of ratting me out.
I had to know, so I looked at Sass asked, “Tell me Sass, have you played me all along? Was any part of us real”?
She was still held in her father’s grasp. I couldn’t be sure if she would tell me the truth. I was hopeful that I knew her well enough to distinguish the truth from what her dad wanted her to say.
She looked at me with a sorrowful expression. I swear that tears trickled from her eyes. But, the tears were only a mirage.
It was hard to understand the words she spoke. “Eddie, Chin Ho had given us the ‘heads-up’ that an under-cover rookie had come to town. Eddie, we figured it was you, because you were the only new person in town. It was my job to become involved with you and then turn you over to Daddy. It was fun Eddie, but it’s over and my allegiance is to my father”.
So okay, I believed that Sass had played me and she did a damn good job. I had to admit she had shattered my manhood. So if they knew about me, I guess it also meant they knew about Deeks. If not, then what the hell, I might as well blow his cover and we could die together. I had to find out if there was anyone who might come to my aid and get me out of this mess.
I looked Sass square in her eyes. “Sass what about Deeks? Did you know he’s undercover too? And was hooking-up with him a lie too”?
She giggled as she said, “JR, whoops, I mean Eddie, I am sorry about my little boy toy, Deeks. Yes, once he was in my bed, he regurgitated volumes about you. It was my job to become involved with you both and cause a conflict between you. Rookie Cops are pathetic. This might sting a bit sweetie, but Deek did rat you out for money and me”.
I would have slapped her silly and then strangled her. But, her father was standing in front of me. I couldn’t believe that I had fallen hard for a back-stabbing two faced slut.
I thought I knew my buddy Deeks better, too. But when it comes to beautiful women and hot sex, most men tend to think with the wrong head. I guess I got what I deserved, and now I found myself in deep shit. There wasn’t anyone covering my six and I’d be pushing up daisies soon.
Sass kissed me on the cheek and said, “Sweetie, your friend Deeks works for daddy and we all played you. I made up the story about Chin Ho’s sex games. He did try to get Father to gift me to him, but Daddy refused his offer. Eddie sweetheart, I wish you could see your face. You thought I had been exploited by Chin. That your own Grandfather had molested me. Silly you”.
Beau de la Rue broke up the fun and said, “Sass, I suggest you take our guest upstairs and tuck him in for the night. There’s unfinished business with Chin and we meet here in my office at noon. Officer Cannon, the three of us have a long flight tomorrow, so get a good night’s sleep”.
His laughter was the most evil thing I have ever heard. I admit, I had terrible thoughts about what would happen forty thousand feet above the ground.
Deeks stood in silence across the room. I looked at him, but he didn’t have the guts to look back. If I was going to die, I hoped he would meet me in hell
Sass grabbed my hand. She pulled me toward the door. Beau de la Rue added, “Cannon, your grandfather Chin is looking forward to a family reunion. It’ll be the first time that his daughter and grandson will be under his roof. Oh, by the way officer Cannon, Chin Ho did give me the beautiful gift of Olivia Cannon long before your father’s death. It is a fact that Asian women have a way of satisfying a man’s need and desire. I enjoyed Livy’s companionship every time I visited the Hawaiian Islands”.
My face became inflamed. I broke free from her grip and Sass fell to the floor. I lunged toward de la Rue, but she stood up with a gun pointing at me.
Sass jabbed the gun against my back. “Move Eddie, I don’t want to kill you before I get naked with you one last time”.
She pushed me up each step with the gun pressing harder and harder. She handed me the key and I unlocked the door. I was now a different kind of putty in her hands.
She closed the door with her foot and said, “Would you like me to tuck you in for the night”?
“Not if you were the last woman on earth”.
“That’s too bad Eddie. I would love making your last night alive to be a happy one. But if you choose not, then you can otherwise dream of my naked flesh in the arms of Deeks”.
Sass had belittled me once too often that night. “Go to hell, bitch”!
She then pulled me into her arms and kissed me hard on the lips. She walked back to the door and slammed it hard behind her. I could hear the tumblers as the door locked.
De la Rue had armed guards staked outside in the hallway. I went to the window and it had iron bars on it. There wasn’t any other way out, so I went to the fridge, reached for a cold beer and popped the cap.
I sat down at the table. Instead of thinking about how I would get myself out of this mess, I drank the beer. I thought about Sass in the arms of another man who happened to be my police academy buddy.
Sass had a hold on me and she brought me to my knees. She had taken my heart, played around with it, deceived me and left me to die by the hands of my own grandfather.
I apologized out loud to my dad. “Dad, I’m sorry that I failed you. I guess your shoes were a little too big for me. I suppose there is only one good thing that might come from this dismal failure of mine. I will be joining you in the great beyond soon”.
I was getting pretty drunk and was I feeling pretty sorry for myself. Yeah, Sass de la Rue was easy to love and just as easy to take down along with the rest of them. I slammed the empty can down on the table, staggered to the bedroom and passed out across the empty bed.
It was dawn and I had slept like the dead. I guess drinking a six pack alone helped take care of the nerves. I showered and checked to see if maybe, I could loosen at least one bar on the window. it was a bad idea, because even if I could remove the restraints, I would be jumping to my death.
The kitchen was stocked with food. So I made coffee, scrambled some eggs and made toast thinking that a dying man deserves a last meal. I enjoyed my breakfast. And then I remembered the throw-away phone. Homeland Security instructed me to use it in case of an emergency.
It’s ironic what hanging on a good drunk will do for you. It clouds your judgment and muddles your thinking. Way to go Cannon, you bungled another one. So, I now took a big leap of faith and placed a call.
When I heard the receiver pick-up I said, “It’s going down today Deeks. De la Rue wants me to think that I am going to meet grandfather Chin in Hawaii. But I have it on good authority that he isn’t there. Tell me Deeks, is my partner a traitor who has stabbed me in the back? Or are you having a mental breakdown over sex with Sass”?
A familiar male voice said, “I’m not going to deny it Eddie, the girl has me by the ‘stones’. And I would do anything to keep her in my bed. I’m sorry , old friend, but I would rather be a traitor than a dead loser. Eddie you’ve been a good partner, but Mr. de la Rue says that your time is up”.
The irony when you are about to die, is having the last word. This way my ex-partner would have something to remember me by. “So, Deeks, I expect I won’t be flying on a commercial jet huh? I imagine that it won’t make any difference if I wear the GPS tracker. I guess you’ll make sure to have it removed. Well old friend, as we we learned in the academy, sometimes you fly solo. I don’t know whether to thank you or wait for you in hell. I’m sorry Deeks that you decided to go down that path. She isn’t worth it you know. Sass will sell you out and make you a ‘fool of love’ just like she did me. You know that she isn’t capable of loving anyone”.
There was just silence and I decided if I was about to die, I would go down in a flash of glory. So I said, “Deeks, I know the boss had Kathlynn Quinnland murdered. I doubt her body is ever found, because I suspect she’s fish food. I am sorry partner, but today will not be the end of Eddie Cannon Junior. My life isn’t worth a ‘plug nickel to Beau. But he’ll keep me alive long enough for Grandfather to kill me like he killed my father. Deeks, instead, it will be the end of Chin Ho.”
I hung up and threw the phone against the wall. It smashed into a million pieces. I smiled and put on an Armani suit that was left for me. And damn, I looked damn good in it! It seemed appropriate that I should be dressed to kill, rather than dressed to die.
I heard Sass at the door. She opened it and greeted me with a big, bright smile. I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of showing any emotions or fear. I simply said, “Let’s go bright eyes. Take me to the ‘Man.’ I’m ready for my Smurfing assignment. I plan to pass ‘GO,’ but unfortunately I know that I won’t be collecting a paycheck at the end. Will you get my cut bright eyes”?
Sass didn’t care much for my snide remark. I attempted flattery by commenting on how beautiful she looked and that she smelled good too. Sass didn’t seem impressed though.
She kissed me on the cheek and remarked that the suit fit me well. Maybe I was naïve, but Sass did seem to have some feelings for me. We went downstairs together and walked into the boss’s office. Deeks was there too. I knew by the expression on his face that I would die before the end of the day.
A calm, tranquil appearance was on his face. He spoke to me. “Officer Eddie Cannon, it’s my pleasure to introduce your former—“.
I stopped him right there. “Officer Jesse Deeks was my partner. But now he is a traitor”.
Beau chided. “Jesse has become my most trusted and valued associate. You see Eddie, Jesse proved that he would do anything I asked. And all for the sake of sex and money. Jesse couldn’t refuse my offer of three times the salary of an undercover cop and my daughter’s bed”.
I looked Deeks straight in the eyes. He just smirked and shrugged his shoulders. Beau de la Rue laughed his evil laugh. “Eddie Cannon, we are not on our way to Hawaii, but I’m sure you already knew it. But, I doubt you know where we are going. Yet, I do think you will find Belize to your liking. Come children; our plane waits”.
Sass kissed Deeks hard on the mouth and held his hand as they walked out of the building together. Beau de la Rue held a gun jammed in the back of my head and now everything was in play.
Sass knew me well, but I held onto the hope that Deeks still had my back. I wanted to believe Sass still had feelings for me. And she would step in to save my life in the nick of time. I was hoping for a ‘Hail Mary’ pass by my partner. Just maybe, one of these thoughts might save my life, but only time would tell!
The name on my passport was Cass Sassoon. Sass plunked her butt beside me. I began to study it.
Sass said, “It’s a three hour flight to Belize”. I hope that you won’t become too bored Cass Sassoon. It’s a nice name don’t you think? It speaks volumes and I think it has a nice essence.”
Sass handed her passport to me and I read the name Isabeau Sassoon.
Her laugh was cold and evil. “Darling, I’m like a chameleon. I have many identities. We will be landing on a private airstrip. We won’t have to go through customs, so I’ve chosen to use my real name. It is a combination of Mother and Daddy’s name; Isabella and Beau. Sassoon was my mummy’s maiden name. Quite unique don’t you think”?
I studied both passports and it was obvious that we were husband and wife. I wondered whose idea this was, so I took the liberty of pointing it out. “So, I see we are a loving husband and wife team, huh”?
“Why, Eddie,” Sass replied, “I haven’t given you enough credit as a rookie cop. Yes, of course, darling. I am your wife, Isy. Father doesn’t trust that you wouldn’t try to cause an event to draw attention to you. It will be my pleasure to be your loving spouse. And I’ll share your bed. But when you die by the hands of an intruder, I’ll be the grieving widow”.
She looked across the aisle. “Hey, Deeks, how do you feel about your former partner and old friend sharing a bed with me as newlyweds? It kind of grabs you in the stones, I’d say”!
Deeks just nodded and kept quiet. Beau sat beside him and Goon was sitting behind them. The three hour flight seemed long and tedious. Sass just wouldn’t keep her hands off me.
She enjoyed tormenting me and Deeks. I still couldn’t get a handle on whether he was friend or foe. Our plane finally touched down somewhere in an exotic Central American country.
The airstrip was a patch of dirt full of ruts in the midst of a jungle. I envisioned it to be the field the Ho Cartel used for their drug smuggling. It was in the aftermath of Hurricane Richard, so for all I knew, this could be an actual public airstrip.
Two four wheel drive vehicles were waiting in the brush beside the landing strip. We walked single file to them. Goon shoved me into the front seat of the Hummer. Beau sat behind me and again held his gun against my skull. Goon sat beside him in the rear seat and the rest of the group climbed into a second vehicle.
We drove through more rugged terrain and I was nervous as hell. I was definitely fearful of what lay ahead. We finally arrived at a river, where a hired boat was waiting for us. Beau walked me over to it and made sure I could feel the gun pressed into my head. He said, “Don’t try anything. I have a quick trigger finger. You’ll be pushing up daisies before you can blink an eye”.
I swallowed hard and asked Beau, “Where are we? And must you continue to hold a gun against my head? Tell me Beau, where the hell would I run”?
Beau grunted, “The river will take us to nearby Rio Dulce, Guatemala”.
Geography had been my favorite subject in school. I think the world travel fascinated me. I’d only been to Los Angeles and two of the Hawaiian Islands in my entire life.
Geography gave me the opportunity to see other countries and cultures. I knew that Guatemala was the country next to Belize. Rio Dulce translated to mean, ‘Sweet River’. The river flowed out of Lake Iasabal. One of the biggest bridges in Central America, spanned the river. On the east side of the bridge was the town of Fronteras.
Fronteras was the commercial hub for the region. And on the other side of the bridge, was the smaller community of Rellenos. The river flowed into a long, narrow lake called El Golfete. From there, the river continued in a winding pattern six miles to a magnificent gorge that rose 300 feet. And the vegetation was tropical and lush tropical.
I did have thoughts of an escape. If I could find a way to get free, I knew I’d be okay because I knew the location because of my interest in travel.
Sass had told me, her given name was Isabal. I began to fill in more blanks and decided that her mother was from the region. She had never confirmed she was French when I asked about the accent. Sass just said that she had lived in many different places.
Beau led his assemblage of employees and one hostage. That’s me. We walked to the summit of the gorge. We headed to the Ho house. I was the only one without a gun, and the only one with a gun pressed into the back of his skull.
Grandfather was waiting in anticipation for the arrival of me, his grandson Eddie Cannon. Grandfather was sitting in a regal looking chair. Several lovely women stood beside him. Sass had stretched the truth and she’d exaggerated the fairytale for my benefit.
I wasn’t thrilled that my grandfather was residing in a remote hideaway. It made it tough to plan an escape. And just the thought of him living with a bevy of beautiful girls turned my stomach. But, I did think he had great taste in women.
My mother was there too. She watched me walk into the room on the arm of the lovely Isa Sassoon. Beau walked toward Livy and drew her into his arms. He insisted on kissing her to prove he hadn’t lied about his involvement with her. She was his concubine, and Beau delighted in flaunting it in my face.
“Darling, have patience”.
Beau then said, “And I will see you in our private chambers after I conduct my official business with Chin Ho”.
“Darling, have you ever doubted me? I’ll come to your bedroom suite soon”.
It had been a while since I had seen my mother. She was as beautiful as I remembered. The last time I saw her was when she dropped me off in front of the police academy’s main entrance. Afterward, she disappeared. It was after the burial of Dad. I figured I should leave her alone to grieve.
I was shaking in my shoes. And I knew I needed to show Grandfather and Mother that I had Cannon blood coursing through my veins. It was my duty as the son of a fallen police officer to show courage.
Dad would have expected me to be a man and honor the proud name of Cannon. Beau had relaxed his trigger finger, but Sass held my arm to remind me that I was still under the gun, so to speak.
I smiled at Mom. “Hello mother, you’re looking well. Hello, Grandfather, nice hide-out you have here. I give you credit for surrounding yourself with nature’s geographic beauty. And for your taste in beautiful women too”.
Sass had spun the story well. Chin Ho did have fine taste in women. And I had to admit It relieved me to learn that he wasn’t the leach Sass had fabricated.
Chin Ho spoke in a near whisper as he said, “You have a good eye my grandson. I am pleased to meet you for the first time. My daughter said she kept you from me because I’m an evil man. You are a most welcomed addition to my little family gathering”.
I tried to show restraint. And it was hard to respect him. “No offense Grandfather. But I didn’t have much choice of coming here today. Your thug Beau and the beautiful Isabeau held me in their constraints. I’m sure you know the reasoning for my undercover guise of JR Peters. It has been my quest to run down the man who had my father murdered. It’s never been a mystery that you had hired the hit”.
“I may be nothing to you or Mother, but I am an undercover rookie cop. I take pride in filling my father’s large shoes. I promise you both one thing, and I may die in the process, but I will avenge his murder. And I promise, Grandfather, I will take you down”.
The old man nodded his head yes. “Grandson, those are mighty big promises for a simple Rookie Cop to make. I was a successful businessman for a long time. And I dare say that you have been a crime fighter for a short time. Who do you think has the upper hand”?
Of course, I knew the answer to my grandfather Ho’s question. And there were a lot of others in the room who would soon know the answer.
I removed Isy’s hand from me. I stepped forward. “Mother it would be wise for you to give yourself up before it is too late. I understand why you estranged yourself from me and rejoined your allegiance to Grandfather. I am aware that you feel responsible for Dad’s murder, but it wasn’t you who pulled the trigger. I admire your courage and I’m sorry that it has to end this way”.
Tears had filled her eyes. But she knew that it was her place to be silent unless given the permission to speak. My gut told me to risk it all and put my cards on the table. So I looked at Deeks and asked, “Jesse Deeks, are you with me”?
When Deeks pulled out his gun and tossed it to me, I knew there was nothing to worry about any longer. Deeks leaned down and pulled another revolver from his ankle holster. He pointed it at Beau. “Yeah partner, did you ever doubt me buddy? I had to deceive you, because Beau was monitoring my every move. I couldn’t jeopardize our identity before we had located Ho’s hideout”.
“Cannon, I’ve had your back. I’m armed and prepared to bring an end to the Chin Ho organization. Now I suggest that Mr. de la Rue drop his weapon and surrender. There are a bunch of Homeland security agents surrounding this cozy hideaway. They’re expecting to get my signal. If they don’t hear from me, they’ll start shooting and we will all be tomorrow’s headlines”.
I turned toward my mother and held my hand out. “Mother, I know you better than you know yourself. I understand why you have done the things that have hurt so many and now it’s time to show me the truth”.
Olivia didn’t say anything for several long seconds. The seconds felt more hours. She looked to her father, Chin Ho. Her voice quivered.
“Father, I’m sorry that I have deceived you, but I love my son Eddie and I loved my husband. Ed would have done anything for his family. I do feel responsible for his premature death. Eddie, your father refused to turn his allegiance to the Ho organized crime syndicate. Ed Cannon was an honorable man. And my father killed him in the name of that honor”.
It broke my heart when Mother told us about how Chin Ho required Beau to involve Sass in the business. Olivia knew Chin Ho would kill Sass if his demands were not carried out.
Sass cleared her throat and looked toward Chin Ho. “I know you had my mother murdered in cold blood and Daddy tried to protect me. But I don’t need anyone to protect me now. I’m prepared to tell the Feds everything I know about the Chin Ho Crime Organization”.
Sass then looked at her father. “Daddy, I’ve known this truth, since I was a young child. I overheard your heated discussion with Ho. I’ve tried to believe my entire life that you hated this life, but I no longer believe it. I don’t understand how a Father could endanger a daughter’s life. You’ve made me risk my life for you and Chin Ho”.
Sass walked over to Deeks. She put her arms around him and kissed him on the cheek. She pointed her revolver at her father and said, “I’m ready to die if it comes that”.
“Thank you Jesse for being a good sport. You played a convincing role. I’m glad you were always there and supportive of the lies I had to tell”.
“Daddy, your men are in custody and it is just you and Chin Ho left. The Feds offered them deals to expose you and Chin Ho. Give it up Daddy. There’s nothing more you can do”.
Olivia stood and walked toward me and looked into my eyes. Tears were streaming down her face. “Eddie, Deeks has been a wonderful player and co-conspirator with Sass and me. I’ve told Deeks everything that he needs to know about the family fun center’s operation. The Feds offered me immunity to testify against my father”.
My mother paused and then added, “Eddie, I’m so proud of you and your father would be especially proud of you. He knew that he could count on you to avenge his death. I’m sure you will be decorated for what you have accomplished”.
Mom hugged me and she pulled a gun from beneath her jacket. She pointed it at Beau and said, “I also suggest you listen to your daughter and Deeks. I must say that my stomach turned whenever you touched me. And you disgusted me every time you summoned me for your pleasure”. She pulled the trigger and he fell to the floor.
Before I could get the gun, she turned the gun toward Chin Ho. “Daddy, you deserve to die too”. She fired another round. We watched Chin Ho fall to the floor.
She spit in his face and her voice quivered. She gasped for air before she said, “Father, I condemn you to hell. Perhaps you didn’t actually pull the trigger. But my beloved husband never-the-less, died by your hand. Eddie, I have contributed to the loss of innocent lives through my actions. I did it son, so that you would find the strength to follow in Ed’s footsteps. I’m sorry Eddie, but I can’t live with knowing what I have done and that I am the daughter of this evil man”
My mother then suddenly turned the gun upon herself. I tried to grab the gun from her. I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I yelled out. “Mother, no! Please don’t”!
But I couldn’t get to her fast enough. I remember how loud the sound of the gun was as it fired. I lunged, but I was too late to save my mother from the evil grip of Chin Ho. She followed her father in death when she pulled the trigger.
Sass and Deeks tried to console me. But, I couldn’t feel anything. I imagined both of my parents standing side-by-side and smiling down on me. I felt at peace and that they were now together forever. I stood over her dead body and I tried feeling something, but I couldn’t shed a single tear. Olivia Ho-Cannon had taken her own life for the sake of honor.
I took great pride in seeing Chin Ho dead in a pool of blood. Deeks enjoyed placing handcuffs on the Goon. Homeland Security had Chin Ho’s gang of thugs detained.
Thanks to the efforts of two rookie cops, The Ho Empire began to crumble. Chin Ho’s drug trafficking organization would now fall apart like a house of cards.
Sass stayed with me for a while in Belize. I sent my mother’s body home and had her buried next to my father. Sass and I sat on the beach drinking Pina Coladas. We made love at all hours of the day and night. I knew that I would soon have to return to my job as a cop. For now, I was content spending time in the warm sand drinking cold brews. I loved the time spent with the girl of my dreams.
Deeks walked into the squad room. “I see you decided to stay up most of the night reading your dad’s old diaries and getting drunk. It beats the hell out of me how you made it through basic training. If you don’t quit screwing around and straighten up, you’re bound to get one of us killed out there.”
I figured Deeks was right, but in my mind, I felt that I had a valid excuse for getting drunk. I guess I was scared, because it’s easier to fail by underachieving rather to work hard at success.
I saw my father’s image. I realized that he had not died in vain and I had a job to finish.
Jesse sternly reminded me about how disappointed my mother would be if I hadn’t kept my word. I was grateful to have Jesse as my friend and partner. I knew he’d always have my six.
So, I drank a few more cups of strong coffee. And we started mimicking the Sergeant. “Fellow officers, it’s another day of crime fighting waiting”.
This brought our fellow officers to their knees with laughter.
Wired from the coffee, the crazy realization came to mind that Deeks and I had brought down Chin Ho crime organization. I realized I had found those diaries for a reason. Dad had meant for me to find the clues and solve his murder. The diaries were his way of telling me to quit screwing up and become a good cop.
No matter the reason, the diaries helped me understand. Until I went undercover, I had not been taking my police training seriously.
I felt an imaginary smack on the back of my head and I thought, Okay, Dad I get it. From this day forward, I’ll quit drinking. I’ll take my job seriously. And I’ll use the information you revealed to me when needed.”
Just then, the Duty Sergeant walked into the room. He started to deliver his usual cheery ‘good morning’, and the same daily speech.
“My fellow officers, there is another day of crime fighting waiting for Hawaii’s finest. Remember, it’s your duty to have each other’s backs and for God’s sake, try not to shoot yourselves in the foot. Now get out there and make me proud”.
I waited for sarge to call my name in alphabetical order. And when I heard Eddie Cannon, I rose to my feet. I saluted with a renewed sense of commitment and said, “Here, sir, and I’m ready for duty”.
Eddie Cannon lost both parents due to undercover stings. He had learned that police work was not a birthright. It was a personal choice and a commitment to serve.
He closed the steamer trunk and locked away his memories of the past. The streets hold a grudge. Eddie Cannon Jr. knew there were still cop killers on the loose. And justice must prevail.