Deadly justice, p.18
Deadly Justice, p.18Darrell Case
Monday morning Allison woke in the dark from a restless sleep. In her dream, she was back at Dairy Queen flipping burgers. She was suited up in full body armor. The laughter of her high school co-workers rang in her ears. Suddenly a man in a ski mask entered. In his hands, he carried an AK47.
Grasping her Glock she aimed over the heads of the screaming customers. With him in her sights, she squeezed off a shot. Cold liquid ran through her fingers. She looked down and discovered she was holding an ice cream cone. The killer took off his mask. Joe Brimmer calmly shot a small boy in the head. Dying the child looked at her with pitiful eyes.
Methodically he began murdering more consumers. Men women and children. Calmly he walked up to each individual and shot them execution style. Screaming in horror, the people ran for the doors only to find them locked.
Frenziedly Alison searched for a weapon. Anything she could find to stop the slaughter happening before her eyes. Whatever she touched turned to mush. Finally, when everyone else was dead Brimmer faced her. He looked Alison in the eye, raised the gun and fired. She watched in fascin-ation and horror as the bullet exited the barrel. In slow motion, it came through the air at her head. As it entered the bridge of her nose, she felt a sharp pain. Amazingly, she was still alive. Grinning Joe walked to her aimed at her heart and fired. Alison woke up screaming.
Cold clammy sweat moistened her body and the bed. Her head ached as if she actually had been shot. She glanced at the clock, 2:30. No more sleeping tonight.
In the bathroom, she swallowed two Tylenol. Stripping off her damp pajamas, she turned on the shower. As the warm water streamed over her, the dream came back in full force. She raised her face to the spray letting her tears mix with the water. Despair besieged her. She couldn't save her parents she couldn't save Bobby Green. She couldn't even save the child in her dream. It was hopeless. She moaned her cries turned to hacking sobs. Slowly she slid down the wall. Setting in a heap on the floor of the shower, she sobbed out the misery of her life. When the water turned cold, she clambered to her feet. shut off the water, and dried off.
She dressed entered the kitchen, made coffee and waited for the sunrise. At the table, she wrote her defense. Reading it, she rewrote it again. Finally, she threw it on the floor in despair. Her whole life was on that page. Yet it sounded so pathetic.
If the Review Board fired her, where could she go? What would she do? The only other employment she had was working in food service during college. Her ten years of experience in law enforcement should count for something. She could apply at Georgetown University for a teaching position.
“NO!” She shouted the word aloud. She wouldn't go down without a fight. If they terminated her, she would start her own investigative agency.
She swallowed two more pills and dressed in her best power suit. Gray slacks, black jacket white blouse, and low heeled black shoes. She tied her hair in a tight bum at the back of her neck. Standing before the full length mirror in the bedroom she examined herself critically. She looked every part what the public expected a female FBI agent to be like. Opening her makeup, she tried to smooth the lines on her face and cover the shadows under her eyes. Finally, she gave up.
At the Hoover Building, she showed her ID and took the elevator to the fifth floor. Outside the conference room, she paced the floor watching the clock. She felt like a suspect about to be interrogated.
Finally, a slight balding man poked his head out of the door.
“We're ready for you, Ms. Stevens,” he said with a false smile. Feeling the heat, she walked briskly into the room. Her hands twitched. She had faced firefights with less anxiety.
The eleven people surrounding the large table stared at her as if she were a specimen ready to be exterminated. The man indicted a chair set against one wall. With it conjuncture each person at the conference table was facing her. With the eyes of a veteran FBI agent, she measured each one of them. Not a one of them knew what it was to take down a dangerous criminal to anticipate hot lead entering your body. To fight for your life and the life of the victim. To have your partners back.
They were all paper pushers. Each one caught up the bureaucratic arena of politics. They would base their findings on Ruby Ridge or Waco not on the facts of this case.
The balding man took his position at the head of the table and cleared his throat. Allison felt as if she were facing a firing squad. All eyes fixed on her. These people thrived on weakness. Allison set her chin, squared her shoulders, and sat up straight. Picking up the folder in front of him, he opened his mouth. "Ms. Stevens, it is the recommendation of this board that you be terminated."
The blow though not unexpected hit her like a full body slam. A steely calm settled over her. The kind of quiet she experienced just before a treacherous raid. Jumping to her feet, she began to circle them. Two of the women's eyes followed her, expressions of fright on their pale faces. They stared at the bulge under her jacket.
"Ms. Steven please remain seated." The man said his voice high pitched. She ignored him.
"Do any of you know what it is like to enter a warehouse or bank or an outhouse unaware of what or who is waiting for you?"
"Ms. Stevens, I hardly thin..."
"Have you ever made a spit second decision which means life or death to yourself or your fellow agents?" They remained silent.
Have you ever been on a high-speed chase? Knowing any second some child could run into your path.
She stopped pacing and glared at the balding man now standing to his feet. He opened his mouth. Allison's voice became quiet. "Have you ever looked into the eyes of a dead child and wondered what you could have done to prevent that child from dying at the hands of a mad man?"
"Well, I have, and tonight when you go home to your nice safe house and you sleep in your nice warm bed, ladies and gentlemen, you'll be secure not because God is watching out for you, but because of an F.B.I. agent like me."
"Ms. Stevens, that is quite enough," baldy said his face flushed, his teeth clenched. Allison circled back to her chair. She dropped into it fully drained. Strangely, she felt relieved. Laugher bubbled up in her she suppressed it. The bald man's face was on fire, he clenched his jaw. He struggled controlling himself. "What we do as an administrative staff is just important as what you do in the field".
Alison just glared at him her face set in stone. He held her eyes for a few seconds then looked down shuffling the file before him. Her life was over but at least she went down firing.
"However," he said, "the director over ruled our recommendation which is his right."
Allison let out her breath unaware she had been holding it. She didn't smile. To smile would make them think they had won. However, she did relax a little.
"I must caution you, Ms. Stevens, if you appear before this committee again, even the director will not be able to save you."
Before they could dismiss her Alison jumped to her feet, and left the room. She heard their murmurs of disapproval behind her. In contempt for them and their bureaucratic rules, she slammed the door.
In his office, Director Tony Steel made his case for Allison with the Attorney General. "She is a strictly by the book type," Steel said leaning back in his chair. "Follows orders to the letter."
"So what happened in the Freeman kidnapping?" Keaton asked.
"A slip, pure and simple, I told Rome Jorgensen to ride her hard." Steel smiled. "Of course, Rome didn't need any encouragement he hasn't liked Stevens since she bested him in the academy.
“They can't blame us we tried to warn Jerry but you know how he is.” Keaton said fishing in his pocket.
“We've got to appear as if we are performing a complete investigation.” Steel said laying Alison's file on the desk. Cleaning his fingernails with a gold file, a habit he developed in childhood .when tensions were high his fingers bled. Lately they bled continuously.
‘Can we control her?” Keaton asked.
“Like I said, she follows orders,” Steel said wondering how long before Keaton snapped. He didn't relish the idea of giving the order to take out the Attorney General of the United States. “And if she does? If she loses control?” The director of the F.B.I. smiled. “Then our friend will have another assignment and I will be short one agent.” The intercom buzzed. “Ms. Stevens to see you, sir.”
“Send her in.”
Allison came in the director's office, her nerves already on edge. At the sight of Keaton, she hesitated. Then stepping into the room she walked to the front of Tony's desk.
“Have a seat, Allison,” Steel said waving at the one empty guest chair. Gingerly, Allison lowered herself in the plush chair. “I believe you know Attorney General Keaton.” Allison nodded at Keaton. Tony walked round his desk, and sat on the edge facing Allison, his left foot dangling.
“Ms. Stevens, the agency has decided to give you another chance,” Steel smiled with his mouth, his eyes however were hard and cold. “Actually I have.”
She wanted to protest to defend herself. Yet she knew it wouldn't do any good. Steel was well aware of all of Alison’s commendations. Her investigative skills were above reproach. She waited.
“There is a case,” Steel said rubbing his chin, “how shall I say this. . .” He grinned at Wallace. “Well, to put it mildly, we aren't concerned how soon or if it is solved.”
Allison raised an eyebrow choosing to remain silent and listen. One of the first things she learned was the swift completion of an investigation. The longer a case continued the less chance of an arrest and conviction.
Steel picked up one of the files lying on his desk. Thumbing through it, he handed it to Allison. “In the past five months there have been 20 murders in 18 states. The latest one in Texas,” Steel said. He waited for Allison to speak. She opened the file she remained quiet, hearing more than they thought she did. Something was going on. Instinct told Alison to bide her time. Let them talk, the more a suspect spoke the more they revealed. She decided to play dumb.
Wallace was pleased, `she really is slow to catch on,' he said to himself.
“Richard Card, the child killer,” Steel said pointedly.
“Right, the baby Graham murder,” Allison said leafing through the folder scanning its contents.
“As you can see, each one of the victims was a convicted murderer,” Wallace spoke up. “Personally, I believe the killer is performing a great service to our country.”
Alison eyed this overweight bureaucrat.
“Unfortunately, congress and the senate doesn't agree with our opinion,” Steel said.
“So you think one person is committing all these murders?” Allison said looking from man to man. Wallace's face drained of color. Steel stammered, “Yes, well, that is, we're not sure.”
The case was all wrong. Allison's instincts were screaming at her to leave it alone. But if she wanted to remain with the F.B.I she had no choice.
“How many agents will I have at my disposal?”
Steel laughed. “Agent Stevens, this is a low key investigation,’ Steel said, “keep in mind the board wanted to fire you, mess this up and I will let them have their way.”
Allison stood to her feet. She threw the file on the director's desk.
“Be that as it may sir, I can't conduct a multistate investigation without manpower.”
“Let her have 30 agents, if she can find anyone to work with her,” Wallace said smiling. Steel looked at the Attorney General. Something passed between them.
“All right,” Steel said, “however, I must approve your choice.”
“And Alison you answer only to me is that understood?”
Leaving Steel's office, she began putting together a list of her team.
Deadly Justice by Darrell Case / History & Fiction have rating 2.6 out of 5 / Based on39 votes