Frozen Mothballs Ch. 01

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This story is part of an ongoing series. The chronological order of my stories is now listed in WifeWatchman’s biography.

Feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and I encourage feedback for ideas.

This story contains graphic scenes, language and actions that might be extremely offensive to some people. These scenes, words and actions are used only for the literary purposes of this story. The author does not condone murder, racial language, violence, rape or violence against women, and any depictions of any of these in this story should not be construed as acceptance of the above.

Part 1 – Prologue

7:30am, Tuesday, February 14th. St. Valentine’s Day.

I was late getting to the coffee klatch, having wrapped up my report for the FBI on the raid that secured Mikey Towson from his prostitute mother and returning him safely to his father. Mikey checked out fine at the Hospital, and Dr. Yates said we may have been lucky, damn lucky, that we interdicted the first time his mother tried to sell him for sex, and that he did not appear to have been sexually abused at all.

Yep, lucky. Lucky Crowbar.

I went into MCD to get a cup of coffee, and suddenly everyone stood up and began applauding me.

“What?” I asked, stunned.

“Roll tape!” said Joanne Warner, emphatically. Theo Washington played back the DVR on the large monitor screen.

“This is Bettina Wurtzburg, KXTC Channel Two News!” the reporterette was saying from in front of a Fire Station. “Channel Two News has learned that little Mikey Towson has been found and reunited with his father after four years! This was due to the work of Police Commander Donald Troy, who found the child and went and retrieved him from the Los Angeles area!”

Tape of the scene at the Fire Station was playing. “Several Firemen and Police Officers recorded the tearful reunion between Fireman Greg Towson and his son at the Fire Station, and submitted this video to us. Little Mikey Towson is said to be in good health, and will be enrolled in school here today.”

An interview with the Towsons was played: “I just cannot thank Commander Troy enough for what he did to bring my son back to me after four years. I’d all but given up hope.” said the boy’s father, tears on his face.

“This just shows why our Police Force loves Commander Troy.” said a nearly emotional Police Officer Louie Towson. “He is relentless when it comes to taking care of his people.”

Fire Chief Gillem said “It’s a really great day for the Towsons, and speaking for the Fire Department, we are all very grateful to Commander Troy for solving Mike’s disappearance and reuniting this family.”

Bettina was back: “Commander Troy has not been reached for comment, but his actions have spoken far louder than any words could…”

The DVR was switched off and I was given more applause.

“Just doing my job, guys.” I said. “I’d do the same for any of you. And by the wayyyyy…. I noticed a good bit of that footage at the firehouse came from right about wherrrrre… Captain Ross was standing.”

“You damn straight it was.” said Cindy, with alacrity. “And I sent it straight to Bettina. I want the world to know that my partner is the bestest ever.” A chorus of agreement followed.

“Okay, changing the subject,” I said, “what’re you guys doing for Valentines Day?”

“Oooooo, Seth has something hot planned for me, but it’s a surprise.” said Joanne.

“My wife and I are going out to dinner.” said Theo. “I proposed to her on Valentines Day, so it’s an anniversary of that, of sorts.”

“I’m taking Janice Holloway out.” said Teddy Parker.

“You DOG!” said Jerome Davis, which was a compliment. “That woman is fine! What’s your secret?”

“If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” said Teddy.

“It’s that Mississippi snake.” said Theo Washington in a low voice, making everyone laugh. “Teddy’s a Southern stud!”

“What about you, Commander?” asked Joanne.

“Well,” I said, “my wife and I have always been star-crossed on this day. Either she was out of Town or I was. But this year, we’re going to be together, and do it right… dinner at McDonalds!”

“WHAT!?” exploded Joanne. Everyone else looked at me funny.

“I’m kidding.” I said. “But my plans are secret… and spicy.” That got a chorus of “oooohs”.

I noticed that Cindy’s face had fallen as she’d listened, and she eventually excused herself from the room. “Okay guys,” I said, “Michael Burke’s funeral is this afternoon, for any of you that are going. If you have plans for tonight, feel free to leave right on time if not early, just check in with your direct chain of command before you go.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Priya also ran the submitted Fire Station coverage of the reunion of the Towson family, though Priya’s comments about me were a shade less enthusiastic, and there were no interviews with others.

“I had to promise her an interview to get her to run that.” Cindy said as we watched, sitting together on the sofa topkapı escort in my office. “I heard that John Hardwood just about had a coronary over it, and tried to get Dan Walther to stop it from being run. Priya mentioned your Gunny Guernica case, and Walther was a U.S. Marine. So it ran.”

“Heh.” I said. “Look, you didn’t have to do that for me. I was just doing what I do, my job.”

“I think the world needed to know about that one.” said Cindy. “Call it a vibe, if you will.”

“Speaking of vibes, I got one in MCD this morning.” I said. “How are you feeling today?”

“Okay.”

“No special plans tonight?”

“You know I’m not dating anyone.” Cindy replied.

“And that brings up something I’ve needed to say to you.” I said. “As Sarek of Vulcan would say… it is possible that I was in error. When I said something about not mistaking a great piece of ass for love, especially concerning one Callie Carrington…”

“It was not you that made that mistake.” Cindy said. “I’m the one that has tried hard to believe it… but I’m fighting something I can’t win.”

“There’s another adage, that ‘love is the one emotion we cannot control’.” I said. “So… what are you going to do about it?”

“I don’t know.” Cindy said. “She’s got her company going out there, she’s busy. I email her and she replies sporadically.”

“It’s too early now on the West Coast,” I said, “but send her a text later today.” Cindy nodded.

Part 2 – The Crime Scene

Laura and I went to Michael Burke’s funeral. Laura, more out of social necessity; me, because Todd is my nephew. Afterwards, I took Laura home. While I was changing back into my uniform, my Police cellphone went off. Bowser barked loudly, and Carole said “Hush, Bowser!” Bowser hushed, and Carole petted him in reward.

“This is the Duty Desk, sir.” said the Desk Sergeant when I answered. “Lt. Masters asked me to contact you and say that he has some information for you if you’re coming back to the Station.”

“I’ll be right down.” I said.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“We got a tip that a couple of low-lifes were coming into Town, sir.” said Masters as we met in my office. “What’s important about them is that they’re known couriers for ‘White Roots’, which as you know is a white supremacy group. The FBI gave us an alert that a house was rented in the name of ‘Henry Boxman’ of Rainbow Insurance of San Francisco, and we’ve been watching it. Those two cats and another guy came to that house today.”

“They still there?” I asked.

“Yes sir.” said Masters.

“You think your guys can take them down, or do you want me to call up a SWAT Team?” I asked.

“I think we can do it, sir.” said Masters. “The question is, how do we get a warrant without tipping them off?”

“Ah, that’s easy.” I said. I called Franklin Washington, the ADA that works with Vice, and told him I had a ‘special case requiring quiet attention’.

“He’ll be over here in 10 minutes.” I said. As we waited, I got up to speed on these White Roots perps.

“Like you said, they’re just low-lifes.” I said. “Truly the bottom of the totem pole. And they’re couriers?”

“Yes sir.” said Masters.

“Roll that tape of them coming into the house again.” I asked. Masters ran it. “Okay, backpacks as luggage… a couple of grocery sacks of food… ice chest… I guess any contraband or weapons or bombs could be in any of those containers.”

After a couple of minutes more of study, I said “All right. When you get the warrant, bust the shit out of them. But be careful, even after you take them down… watch out for booby traps and shit in the house, okay? And if you see anything that makes you go ‘Huh?’… you know to call me, right?”

“Yes sir.” said Masters, grinning.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Ah, finally, dinner together on St. Valentine’s Day.” I said. Laura and I clinked our glasses of wine.

I got reservations for The Steakhouse from its owner, John ‘Jack’ Colby. They did a really good romantic Valentines service, complete with candles and music and food and wine. Laura was looking magnificent in her dark red dress, sheer black stockings and black high heel pumps. I was in a civilian suit and tie.

“So, what did you tell Molly?” Laura asked.

“I told her that I’d spent a few Valentines Days with her, and that you’d claimed me on this one.” I said. “And then I told her that if she didn’t have other plans, to call her sister Cindy. Cindy’s feeling lonely, so maybe a date with Molly’s two boys will cheer her up.”

“Yes.” Laura said. “Cindy hasn’t found anyone since breaking up with Jenna.”

“Yes she has.” I said. “But Callie Carrington went back to L.A., and I think that is where the cracks in Cindy’s heart are from.”

“Not much gets by you, darling.” Laura said, her eyes sparkling. “But what you’re saying makes sense. So… Todd looked pretty stoic today at the funeral. You think he’s doing okay?”

“You’re the psychiatrist.” I tuzla escort said.

“True, but I was wondering what you were observing in him.” Laura replied.

“Well,” I said, “I think Jeanine’s death really hit him hard, as much for the sudden shock as anything else. His dad’s death? I dunno. That was a pretty complex relationship all the way around.”

“True.” Laura said. “And I always thought Jeanine was a rebound marriage for Todd.”

“Yeah, me too.” I said. “But I think he loved her. He was hurt when she left him for Michael.”

“Jeanine was basically a good person.” Laura said. “So it stunned me when she just left Todd for his father. Seemed a selfish, mean thing to do.”

“Well,” I said, “the one thing I never question is the course of true love.” I took Laura’s hand in mine as I said “And the course of my true love has led me to right here, right now, with the most beautiful woman in the world sitting here with me.”

“Awww…” Laura said. And just then, wouldn’t you know it, our steaks arrived.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dinner was over and we were driving back to the Mountain Nest when my Police cellphone rang.

“Hmmm, my after-dinner snack may have to wait.” Laura said.

“Troy.” I said, answering the phone.

“Sir, this is Lt. Masters.” said ‘Coldiron’. “We made the raid and busted the three cats, but there’s some weird stuff going on. I hate to ask you to come over, sir, but I think this is one of ‘those times’, if you know what I mean.”

“Sure.” I said. “I’ll be right over. Oh! Stop whatever you’re doing, only take evidence that has to be taken due to soaking in the carpet or time constraints.”

“Wilco, sir.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Getting home, I got out of the shirt and tie, pulled on a black pullover, and put my gun on in its shoulder harness. I attached my badge to my belt then put on my trenchcoat.

Getting to the location, which was across Town from the Mountain Nest, I got out. Cindy was already there, as was her sister Molly.

“Who’s keeping the boys?” I asked.

“Your mom.” said Cindy. “We took her out to dinner with us and the boys, then when I got the call, Molly wanted to come over.”

“Fine with me.” I said. “Okay, Coldiron, what’s messed up here?”

“Sergeant Rudistan?” called out Masters.

“Yes sir,” said Rudistan. “I was taping everything, sir, and I’d like you to watch this.”

The tape showed three scruffy, bearded guys that looked like Appalachian Mountain Men or possibly professional Disc Golfers. They were in handcuffs as the Police began searching the house. Then one of them started yelling “Why are you holding us here? Take us to your headquarters so we can call our lawyers!” Then the others started yelling to be taken out of there.

“Y’all took them to Headquarters?” I asked.

“Yes sir.” said Rudistan.

“Did they seem relieved, happy to be taken out of the house?” I asked.

“You catch on fast, sir.” Rudistan said jovially. “They didn’t say anything, but yes, they definitely relaxed a lot once we took them out of there. That guy that started the ruckus, he really settled down.”

“And they were real tense while they were in there?” I asked.

“Yes sir, they were. That one guy looked scared.” Rudistan said.

“Very observant of you, Mr. Rudistan.” I said. “Here, hold this.” I handed him the red crowbar.”

“Awesome, sir!” said Rudistan, admiring it for a moment. “But no sir, you take it back, it’s yours.” He handed it back.

“All right, have the dogs been brought in?” I asked.

“Yes sir.” said Lt. Masters. “Stonewall for drugs, Seymour for explosives. There was marijuana in the perps’ backpacks, but just personal use amounts. No other drugs, no explosives.”

“Okayyyyy.” I said. “So what are those buggers soooo afraid of?” I went inside the house. The personal belongings of the three men had been emptied onto the living room floor, and were just clothes and a few tools like utility knives and balls of thin rope. Nothing amazing there.

“Sir, in the kitchen.” said Christina Cho. I followed her in. There was an ice chest on the floor near the refrigerator, which was empty. “There’s some food and milk in the refrigerator, but something odd in the freezer.” She opened the freezer, which was empty except for a plastic zip-lock bag. Inside was what looked like mothballs.”

“Frozen mothballs?” I asked. “Er, you didn’t touch that bag yet, did you?”

“No sir.” said Christina. “I was wondering how to handle them, to keep them frozen or take them out.

“Oh my God!” I gasped. I slammed the freezer door shut. “Get out of here! Now!”

“Wha?” Christina asked, stunned.

“MOVE!” I yelled. “GET OUT! EVERYONE OUT OF THE HOUSE! NOW! MOVE, PEOPLE, MOVE!”

Everyone started leaving, but all too slowly. “GET YOUR GOD-DAMN ASSES MOVING, PEOPLE!!! LET’S GO! GET OUT!” Finally, I got them out.

“What’s wrong, sir?” asked Coldiron Masters as techs were snarling pendik escort under their breaths at me.

“Someone have a radio?” I asked. Masters handed me his.

“Break! Break! Break!” I said into it. “This is Commander Troy. Send a Public Health Department Hazmat team to (the address) immediately! Full Hazmat deployment!” The Duty Desk acknowledged and said they’d call the Public Health Department, who ‘owned’ the Hazmat teams.

“What’s wrong, Commander?” asked Cindy, coming up.

“Thank God Christina didn’t touch those mothballs!” I said. “It all fits.”

“What?”

“I think those so-called mothballs in the freezer might be some kind of poison.” I said. “That’s why those cats were so scared when they were in there with you, and so relieved when you took them away. They were scared someone would take those mothballs out of the refrigerator freezer…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When the Hazmat team arrived, I told them that we might be dealing with an extreme poison situation. I also had called the State Crime Lab, and asked if they could handle material that could be poison gas or a nerve agent. Tanya Perlman said they could.

So the Hazmat team took the bag of mothballs and put them in a sealed container that would keep them at a temperature well below Zero degrees Fahrenheit, and transferred them to the State Crime Lab, which put them in a sealed off container lab hood, where one had to put ones hands in gloves to manipulate, and in a freezer inside that container hood. The Hazmat team also took the ice chest in the kitchen away in a sealed container.

“I’ll have Jerry and Mike testing those mothballs within fifteen minutes.” Tanya told me.

“Okay, thanks.” I said. “And be vewy, vewy careful.” Tanya grinned. Cindy did not.

“I know you’re a chemist, Don,” said Cindy, “but what has you so worked up about these mothballs?”

“Frozen mothballs.” I said. “Naphthalene, which are regular mothballs, don’t need to be frozen. So why were these? And the reactions of the perps also told me that they knew something deadly was in that house… and these little babies are the best candidates, since there were no bombs found by the dog.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back at Headquarters, as the perps were booked and put in cells to spend the night, Cindy was in my office.

“Did you text Callie?” I asked.

“Sure did.” she said. “And she called me. We talked for a few minutes. She’s busy, her company is doing great, she and Annemarie are making some hot-selling romantic porn videos. When I asked if I could visit, she said she’d visit me soon, and that was it.”

“Well, maybe she’ll visit soon.” I said. “Or… is that a problem?”

“Well…” Cindy said, then let it gush out: “I don’t know if she feels the same way about me that I do about her. She may not want me to visit because she has a girlfriend or a boyfriend, or she just wants her life the way it is…”

“I hear ya.” I said. “Well, at least she called you. So do the Japanese thing and put that in its compartment, and let’s figure out what this mothball shit is about…”

Part 3 – Sublime Crime

“I have to admit,” said Tanya Perlman as I sat in front of her desk in her office, “I’ve got some good engineers working for me. They managed to figure out a way to put our smallest mass spectrometer in the airtight chamber, which has its own A.C. system, HVAC filters and scrubbers, same stuff the Army uses to test nerve agents.”

“What did you find?”

“Well, they took one of those mothballs out for testing in the sealed hood, and it sublimed.” Tanya said.

“Oh shit.” I said. For something to ‘sublime’ means it goes from the solid state straight to the gas state. Water goes from ice to water to steam. Carbon dioxide goes from Dry Ice straight to carbon dioxide gas; it sublimes.

“Yep.” Tanya said. “So we put another mothball in the test tube and hooked it up to the GCMS immediately. And as a chemist, you’ll know what this is.” She showed me the readouts.

Indeed I did. A mass spectrometer destroys a sample but gives a reading of its molecular structure. A computer then compares to a library of standards or previously run samples.

Again, we’d been lucky. Lucky Crowbar.

“Wow. Nerve agent.” I said. “That means we’ve got to notify the FBI at the least.”

“Yep.” Tanya said. “I can give you until 9:00am before I have to call them myself.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I had one of the perps brought into I-1 and another into I-2. They were the two largest guys. I then went with Lt. Masters into I-1. As we sat down, I put a zip-lock bag of mothballs down on the table. The perp did not react.

“Okay, read him his rights.” I said. Masters did so from the card as I watched the perp, who was just listening, then said he understood the rights.

“So… what are you doing bringing mothballs into my County?” I asked.

“I dunno, Speedy had us bring them in.” said the guy, seemingly bored and disinterested.

“Speedy? Gonzalez?” I asked. “The old football coach?”

“Naw, he’s a Spic.” said the guy. “Our Speedy is a good white man. We call him Speedy because he talks fast and walks fast.”

“One of the guys with you that we arrested?”

“Yeah, the smaller one.” said the guy.

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