Mystery and Crime Fiction posted June 18, 2017 Chapters:  ...40 41 -42- 43... 


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Granite is sent after the Operator

A chapter in the book The Last Laugh

The Storm

by mbroyles2


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Previously

“The Operator has them.  I’m sure of it, and I bet my last dime that Miss Alicia White knows where they are.”  Granite shoved the phones in his pockets and clinched his fists.  He marched towards the entrance.

Hazelton reached out and stopped him with his right arm.  “Hold on there, Granite.  You can’t go storming in there and throw a bunch of accusations around.”

“Watch me.”

“I mean it.”  He whirled Granite around.  “Let me talk to her first.  If she knows something, I’ll squeeze it out of her.  Just go to the lobby and I’ll take her somewhere private.  Even if she knows where they are, we can’t have her tipping the Operator off that we’re coming.”

“I’ll give you five minutes, but it doesn’t matter if he knows I’m coming or not.”

“Why is that?”

“Because he won’t be able to stop me.”

 
Chapter 42

The remorse of allowing Barbara and Jimmy to come to the station unaccompanied weighed on Granite as if a bull elephant sat on his chest.  Though Brown was in his mid-twenties, Matthew thought of him as a son.  As for Barbara, Granite wasn’t sure what to think about her.  His emotions had gotten the best of him, dulled his edge, and left him scrambling for answers.  It wasn’t so much an attraction with Barbara, more than it was a connection.  For the first time in five years he felt at ease in the presence of a woman.  In fact, Camille was the only other female he had spent any significant time around, and it was for sure, no one felt comfortable around the Shadow.  Barbara, however, gripped him deep, and left him wanting more.  He couldn’t quite get a handle on why he felt so guilty having feelings that felt so right. Now, the opportunity to explore this newly found passion could be lost if he didn’t find them.  He only prayed he wouldn’t be too late.

He sat in the lobby and stared at Barbara Paige’s picture on her cell phone.  She stood on a beach with the sun setting in the background.  A white sundress hung off her shoulders, and sandals adorned her feet.  A floppy summer hat, with a black band around the brim, hid most of her eyes, but the sun was at the right angle to illuminate her smile.  It reminded Granite of a polished oyster shell - radiant.  He ran his thumb across it and thought back to her lips pressed against his ear, whispering a promise of exciting things to come. 

“Ship Island,” John Hazelton said as he approached.

“Sorry, what?” Granite rose and moved towards the reception counter.  Hazelton motioned him to a nearby empty desk.

“That picture was taken at Ship Island, just off the coast of Biloxi, last summer while she vacationed there with her parents.”  The detective sat behind the desk and pointed to an empty chair.  “Please, sit.”

“What did you find out?” Granite asked as he sat. “What’s on the security footage?”

“Unfortunately, it appears the storm knocked out the cameras.”

“How convenient.”

“Yes, well be that as it may, I think you were right about Alicia.”

Granite leaned in.  “You got that out of her already?  Where’s the Operator?”

Hazelton pumped an open hand at Granite.  “Slow down, cowboy.  I need more time with her to get all the details.  What a mess.  I do think we have a lead though on where he might have taken them.”

“Then what the hell are we waiting for?”  Granite stood.  “Let’s move.”

“Let me explain this mess.  With Alicia’s involvement and possibly tampering evidence, it will be difficult to make a conviction stick.”

“I don’t give a shit about a conviction.  We need to find Brown and Barbara.”

“I know that, but if we rush in, guns blazing, this whole thing will be tied up in bureaucratic bullshit for months.  I’m all about rescuing Detective Paige and your friend, but I think we both want more than that.”

“What are you suggesting?”

“I’m suggesting that I give you this lead and a head start.  I’ll tie things up with Alicia and bring the posse.  If you do what I think you want to do and disappear, none’s the wiser, and the mess is easier to clean up.  It’s for sure Alicia isn’t going to squawk.”

“You mean she walks?”

“I didn’t say that.  You let me worry about her.  What do you say?”

“I say give me the address and stay the hell out of my way.”

Hazelton slid a folded piece of paper across the desk.  “We’ll be thirty minutes behind.”

Granite picked up the paper.  “That’s all I need.  I’m not sure why you’re doing this, but you have my thanks.”

“Let’s just hope I don’t live to regret it.”

Granite turned and headed for the door.  “You won’t."

 
***

Hazelton watched as Granite left.  He leaned back in the chair and folded his hands behind his head.  Alicia White hobbled over and sat.

“What was that all about?” she asked.

“You two-timing slut.”

Alicia leaned back like Hazelton had slapped her.  Her mouth agape and eyes blinking, she retorted, “What the fuck, John?  That’s not how you talked to me last night.  What’s got your panties all in a bunch?”

“You’ve been fucking my brother.”

Alicia curled her lips and laughed.  “Ah, is little brother jealous?  Honestly, did you think you were the only one I was sleeping with?  Jesus, John, grow up.”

“I thought you were sent here to keep tabs on me, and now you’re a spy for my brother.  What will my father think?”

“What, that I’ve been screwing his favorite son?”

“I’m talking about Junior.”

“So am I.”

“You’re impossible, Alicia.  I should’ve never told you about dad’s plans to kill Junior.  You tipped him off didn’t you?  Plus, you told him about the ledger.  We could have had it, and all of this would be over.”

“It will never be over as long as Granite is here.”

Hazelton got to his feet.  “Well that might not be an issue anymore.”

Alicia cocked her head.  “John, what did you do?”

“I just sent Granite after lover boy.  One of two things is about to happen.  Either Granite kills Junior, in which case, Granite’s happy and leaves.  Or, Junior gets the best of Granite, and we get the same result.”

“You’re forgetting one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“There’s still the big guy and that little bitch.”

“Oh, I didn’t forget.  If Junior manages to get rid of Granite, I’m sure they’ll go after him.  In fact, I’m counting on it.”

“And where does that leave me?”

“Nowhere.  I want you to go back to my place and wait for me.  I’ll tidy up here.  I have to explain the loss of evidence.  You squelched the information about the ring on the middle finger, which is my brother’s calling card, the idiot.  Then you ruined the possible DNA evidence from the Coke bottle the officer found at Melissa’s break in.  I’m sure it will clear up, but I need you to lay low.  I’ll be home shortly.  Get your bags packed and wait for me.  I’ll call father and let him know of our plans.”

Alicia rose and moved towards the back entrance. “The security cameras are still offline.”

“I’ll take care of it.”

Hazelton followed her outside.  Alicia unlocked the car and started to get in.

“Pop the trunk, will you?”  Hazelton said.

“What for?”

“I’ve got more evidence to dispose of.”

Alicia reached in the vehicle and activated the trunk release.  “What evidence?”

“This.”  Hazelton produced a syringe and injected it into Alicia’s neck.  She slumped into his arms.  He dragged her to the trunk.  The dead weight along with the heavy cast caused him to struggle as he put her in.  He looked around to make sure there was no one watching, then he shot her in the head.  Thunder cracked the sky, deadening the noise.  He closed the lid.

“Another storm is coming.”

 
 
Matthew Granite       Investigator seeking the assassin and answers to the Ozlet girls' murders.
The “Operator”         The Assassin looking for a mysterious "box" that the Ozlet family has hidden.
Marko                         aka "The Mountain". A private bodyguard hired by Granite.

Camille                       aka "The Shadow". A former CIA agent hired by Marko
Jimmy Daniels             aka "Brown". A computer genius hired by Granite
R.J. McBride                Granite's former partner while on the police force.

Harold Banisek           Granite's business manager
Woody               
           Manager of "Stingrays" a bar owned by Granite
Mutton Chops              The leader of “The Chamber”
Todd Grilliot                 Mitchell Ozlet’s son by Marie Grilliot
 


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