Mermaid Chapter 10, Part 1

Enter Detective del Vecchio, the saddest bum in homicide with the crappiest case.  The complete opposite of the troubleshooter guy.

Chapter 10.

Mermaids and monsters.

Sal.

After dinner we gave Tim’s parents and sister a bit of a send off. I could tell already that my new brother in law was going to be good for my sister.  After his parents and sister went under with Dom and Tara , dad asked how he was getting home and he said that he was supposed to call his Uncle Karl’s cab and he would come and pick him up.  When he said that, dad said that he would take him home. I took Sillia over to the warehouse, we undressed and dropped into the water for the swim to the bower and the night. The next morning Dom and I took Tara and Sillia over to Bennies for some mysterious project that they were working on and then I drove Dom up to his office.  As we walked in Tony said; “Sal, Jim wants to talk to you about the stuff from the Cape at his office.” “Did he say why?”

“No, but you know how he is.”

Dom said; “Considering where his office is, I think we can guess.”

“He and Noro are up to something. I better get going.”

Tony asked; “Who’s Noro?”

Dom said; “You’ll find out, and so will our toothy friends.”

I walked back downstairs and started off in the car. Dom had told me about their lunch with Noro last weekend and that Jim was a tenant in Noro’s building as well as some of Noro’s plans for me and my paycheck.  To tell the truth I was beginning to wonder how that was going to work out as lately I hadn’t had to pay very much for anything.  On the other hand, Sillia and I were going to need a place to live and I suspected that troubleshooter Sal was not going to want a modest lifestyle. Especially when dealing with the swells. Apparently Noro had money to burn and while he was not generally irresponsible, he was not unwilling to burn it for certain things like threats to his family. I parked the car in front of Jim’s building and went in. The doorman said; “Hello, Mr. del Vecchio nice to see you again.” and the desk waved me past into the elevator.  The elevator took me up and stopped.  I said;  “This isn’t my floor.”

‘Mr. del Vecchio, they decided to meet you here, just go to the right and you will be met.”

I turend right and went through the entrance of a very fancy office. There was a pretty secretary who said; “Mr. del Vecchio, if you would follow me, Mr. White and Mr. Messimo are waiting.”

I walked in and there they were, two old troublemakers cooking up trouble. I said; “So, what’s going on?”

Noro said; “Confusion to the enemy, we hope. We wanted to discuss your plans for my daughter’s booze and maybe some more.”

Jim said; “We were rather annoyed at the visitors somebody sent you and I the other day and we want to make sure that they know that we are rather pissed at them right now. Since they seem to live on booze, booze is how we will deal with them.”

I said; “There may be more coming. An intrepid young man has been tracking strange activities down near the navy yard and found some interesting connections with some kids disappearing.  Noro, you might want to speak with him.  He pushes papers downtown in the mornings and just bonded with my sister.”

Noro said; “So he is fae and one of Mary’s irregulars.”

“Not for much longer, I imagine that the boss is trying to recruit him as we speak. And he’s essentially been given the Rockaway bower’s legitimate up top business, so he doesn’t have to worry about money. His father was handling that, but was drafted, injured in the war and went under sea with his wife and daughter yesterday.”

“Mr. White will have to speak to him. He is looking for intrepid associates. And as you will find out he doesn’t hesitate to hire consultants for special services.”

“Well he wants to be a news photographer and reporter. If what I’ve seen from him so far is the case he’s going to be a good one. He already has some interesting contacts.”

“With whom?”

“John D. Rockefeller gave him his camera and he’s found some people that survived that warehouse we raided that was tainting the water of the bower.”

‘Interesting. I will call John about him.  Perhaps the newsletter could use an intrepid photojournalist. Now we come to the task at hand, which is creating a valid cover for our activities.”

“I was going to talk to Tony about setting up a warehouse, so that’s not a big issue and I’ve been troubleshooting with the trucking so delivery isn’t a problem. But finding a house to rent so Sillia and I can make a big splash might be problem.  There were enough people wiped out in the market crash that it shouldn’t be that big an issue.”

Noro said; “I have a solution for that problem. I have a house up on the coast that I built for Liltra and I a long time ago and don’t use.  We were renting it out and I found out that the tenant was some rather unpleasant people. It’s one thing when they come after your granddaughter, another when they do it using your own house as a headquarters.  They are being evicted by the end of the week and I want you and Sillia to take the house.  That way I have tenants I trust.”

“The Alopias were renting your own house as their HQ? Before we move in, Frank and I will take some forensics people in.  If they were doing the kinds of things I think that they were doing we might find evidence. Especially if they don’t have time to clean up after themselves thoroughly. It’s time for Detective del Vecchio to make his entrance anyway and maybe we can make it look as if Detective del Vecchio is interested in the shady activities of troubleshooter Sal while Federal officer delVecchio investigates the strange kidnap cases. The good part is that you don’t need a warrant to search your own house.”

Jim asked; “Noro has said something about your trip, but how did the businesses look?”

“They had never heard of a shark protection racket. Which tells me that it was aimed at the Rockaway people and the reason it never started up again is that Tom shot it when he shot most of the sharks.”

“I wish that he shot all of them.”

“I’m of two minds about that, Jim . If he had, we wouldn’t have any leverage on the other side.  On the other hand we wouldn’t have those kids being taken and eaten. Noro, do you know a way to sense fae kids?  I’m beginning to get the feeling that that is what they want to eat.”

“I don’t know a way to sense fae kids. Up on the Cape it isn’t very necessary.  Most of the families know already.  On the other hand, up there it’s almost as common as not to have some touch of the fae in you. Especially if your family goes back on the Cape. I think that you should check with Meria, Bennie or your dad’s friends. If they are kidnapping fae that could be a problem.”

“Is Josh coming down about the tank bed thing?”

“I don’t think so. I got too cagy for my own good and since he handles the accounts up there he’s starting from family resources.  I’m going up for Thanksgiving and I may try to change his mind. Our new IRS live in is a real tough character.”

“Do you think he might want to look into some shady businesses? Charity organizations with teeth, for instance.”

“You know, maybe I should ask. Even if he doesn’t want to take it on himself, maybe he has some young associates that are eager for a big score and don’t understand the potential consequences. Like a certain young police officer Jim was telling me about.”

“Jim, were you telling him about Vinnie and me?”

“Just the good ones. I don’t think you know what kind of reputation you built for yourself.”

“Sillia said the same thing. I miss Vinnie.  We had fun with those busts. The last couple of years I could have used some plain old slimeballs rather than cleaning up after monsters.”

Noro said; “I wish I could have met Vinnie. He sounds like quite a character.”

Jim said; “He was. When he was killed he left a bigger hole than we all realized.”

I said; “Let’s build a monument that Vinnie would have just loved. Let’s make the sharks and their friends rue the day they were born. Then we destroy them.”

Noro said; “That sounds like a plan.”

We worked out some details and then I needed to head back down for my other appointment. As I was driving down toward Brooklyn I had an idea. I stopped by my apartment, got out my rattiest suit and put it into a briefcase.  Then I went over to the outfit. I walked up to Tony and said; “Tony, do you think that Dom could loan you out for a while?”

“Why?”

“because Sal needs to be in two places at the same time and I want troubleshooter Sal to be talking with his mob connections at the Walabout market while real Sal slinks away for a quiet conference with his new brother in law and Detective del Vecchio snoops around the market. I figure that if the other side is looking, they’ll see me in a fancy suit with you in the car and talking to the mob folks while I slink away in my ratty suit and come back as Detective del Vecchio, that sad sack of a detective that the NYPD won’t even give a car to most of the time, dealing with that peskly photojournalist trying to make a name for himself.”

“Said photojournalist being that kid who took the picture yesterday?”

“You know about him?”

“Gianni called yesterday about him losing his camera in the drink and to make sure that you knew to contact him. I’m guessing that Suzy had something to do with the camera.”

“Yup. She had been teasing him with tweaks of water magic and after he took that shot yesterday she nailed him again and he dropped the camera. His family was going under sea and was having a good bye meal at Bennies when we came down and the bonding was rather obvious.  He seemed to be good at what he does and he’s family.”

“Have you seen the picture yet?”

“Not yet, I haven’t been to the office yet. He was going to deliver a print this morning and have another when we arranged to talk at the navy yard. I was originally just going to just drive in, but I thought that that might attract the wrong kind of attention to the kid. Since the next step is to go more undercover and we might need the kid to not have any connections, the car might be too obvious.  But  if they see it parked somewhere else and outfit activity  going on they might not look too close at what’s really going on.” “Let me check with Dom. I want to talk to Gianni about this anyway.  And get a look at the face of the other side.”

We walked into Dom’s office; “Dom, Sal wants to borrow me for a while.”

“Not a problem, what for? He was going to check out the market with his new brother in law.”

“That’s what we’re doing. I want to take a look down there anyway and Gianni wanted Sal to take a look at things too. We’re going to play a bit of a shell game with the car.”

“Sounds like fun. Tell me about it when you get back.”

“Let’s go, Sal, and on the way down you can tell me about your trip with Sillia.”

I told him about the trip to Fire island and the submarine, the little hotel and putting towels in the water and Josh taking us across from Montauk and the ambush with the zombies and the constructs and the mousetrapping of the sharks. I ended with; “Sillia took pictures of everything. She had a great time and we met a bunch of interesting people including Mera’s kids.”

“What are they like? I know Josh and Mera and I hate to think what the kids are like.”

“Well we can start with the navy Lt. Comander who runs the navy’s tactical Swimmers and is good at what he does, the other son who live and breathes boats, the housewife who from what everybody says has the biggest networks anywhere and the other daughter who makes her worst enemies her best friend and may be a business genius too. Then there was the other family and you’ve seen the pictures of Tom with a gun.  That’s not an isolated case and Al was practically slobbering over Tom’s gun work. He took two of Tom’s pieces home with him.  For that matter I’m carrying one right now on Al’s recommendation. The outfit up there practically works for Josh and if Chrissie said that she wanted you put away you wouldn’t make it down the street. Not that she would, because you would be wanting to make her happy just to bask in her presence and enjoy her sunny personality. As for Stacey, well even her dad doesn’t know the full extent of her connections,fae and business.”

“Are they scary?”

“Not really. On the other hand other than the ambust, they weren’t really pissed at anybody except Josh and the necromancer. He really doesn’t like people who make zombies and getting close enough that he picks up on you would not be good for your health. As for Noro, the sharks were essentially poor entertainment from his friends. They all were rather put out about that except for the fact that they stripped the sharks clean and we now know exactly who they are.’

“Why don’t we put the hit on them?”

“Tony, I’m a cop. We’ve known each other since we were kids and you know how big I’ve always been on law and order. Yet watching those clowns try hard to get to a beach so that they could eat somebody, along with what I’ve been getting about these kidnappings and knowing what’s happening to those kids they take, I would push the button on them in a heartbeat. Yet I know that if I do, the thing that made the sharks could get away and create some other monster. These people are trying to kill a bunch of people because of what they are. I do know one thing, the kidnappings are not being done by Changed sharks, but by people and if I can get them in a position where I can bust them and make a huge public and spectacular scandal out of the kidnappings then that’s what I’m going to do.  I want to drag them, their families and their associations out into the light and shine that light on all this vile stuff and make them see themselves as they really are. They don’t want to be in the papers?  Well that’s where it’s going to end up. Then I want to find the deepest hole I can find and send them straight to hell. By the time we are done with them, they will wish that we had just killed them.”

“Sound’s like a plan, Sal. Sound’s like a plan. Vinnie would be proud of you.”

“The best part is that those poor idiots don’t even know what’s coming for them. If what I’ve seen this last few weeks goes on, they are never going to see what’s coming down on them like a freight train. Just wait until you meet Noro and you’ll understand.”

We pulled into the market and pulled in front of the outfit’s little office. Gianni must have heard the car because he came out and said; “Hi Sal, I thought you might show up. You brought Tony.”

“Hi Gianni, what’s going on, I heard most of it, but it smells nasty.”

“let’s go in and talk.”

When we went in he said; “What’s in the case?”

I opened it and said; “Meet Detective del Vecchio. He’s never going to be promoted because he makes too many waves, the brass won’t issue him a car and when he does need one, it’s the crappiest one in the motor pool.  He never has a good suit and he get’s the worst garbage cases like dealing with poor kids that might be kidnapped, but more than likely just ran away from their poor homes, though you won’t be able to convince him of that.  In the end he makes the rich and powerful miserable and likes to hang out with other ne’dowell Lt. Magelleno. Exactly everything that that big mob guy troubleshooter Sal isn’t.”

Gianni smiled and said; “Tony, I hate him already, don’t you?”

Tony said; “The worst, always poking around in people’s business, coming down here on the docks and poking around. A real pain in the butt. Nothing like that Sal and his car. Sal how did you get the idea for this?”

“When I saw Josh with Mera in his captain’s suit and didn’t recognize him immediately.”

Gianni said; “Who are Josh and Mera?”

Tony said; “Friends of Dom and Sal, real heavy hitters. Mera was the one responsible for that warhouse over there with Sal. Sal you didn’t recognize Josh?  I’ve seen that picture of him with Chrissie and he’s rather distinctive.”

“You would think so, right. But there he was and for a second I didn’t know who he was even though I could see Mera right off. He said that he had been known to charter somebody to a high power business meeting, with him and the poor guy he chartered didn’t even realize that the guy he was dealing with was the guy running his boat. The uniform made him who he was.  The way that car did with Jimmy.”

Gianni said; “Jimmy’s an idiot. Always has been.”

“Well let me get changed and show me the picture. I have an appointment with the photographer over at the navy yard.”

Gianni showed me the picture and; “Well, well well, Billy boy is being a bad boy. I wonder how he got his hands on this car?”

“You know who this is?”

“Gianni, he made a fool out of himself up at the Cape last week trying to get to Josh’s daughter to do nasty things to her. Do you know the one person up there you never ever want to piss off?”

“The Peacekeeper. Everybody in the business knows that even if they don’t know who he is.  Josh is The Peacekeeper?”

“That’s what they told me and when I was up there, I saw things and I believe it.”

“Are they nuts?”

“Gianni, everybody who has heard what these people have done and to who has asked the same question. They have attacked people that nobody would dream of attacking and made an enemies list so long that it takes a book to hold them all, not least of which is the outfit. You don’t want to know what Billy boy here is planning to do to a kid if he finds the kind of kid he likes. Trust me you don’t. This is “Here be monsters” stuff and I was dumped into it the hard way.  I’ve lost friends, not least of which was Vinnie and seen terrible things. The only relief I get is that with the kind of people that do what I have to deal with, I can just shoot them and it’s done.”

“Is he kidding, Tony?”

“I’ve been around the edges the last couple of weeks and, no, he’s not.”

I said; “I have to go. I’ll be back soon, with Tim. At least I get some good things with the dark.”

I walked across them market to gate 1 and showed my badge to the guard; “Detective del Velcchio to see his mother for an appointment.”

“Go right in detective.”

I walked across the yard and as I was walking beside dock two, which was filled, there was Tim. Then Suzy jumped up and flipped as Tim took the picture. She came back up again and for the next five minutes continued her dance until she spotted me and called out; “Sal!”

She flipped herself out of the water into a waiting chair. Tim said; “I took my stuff over to your mom’s office and Suzy had my camera back from the shop so we came over to get some pictures to test it because I gave her a copy of that picture of her dancing for the Pennsylvania’s crew. She said that she was too small in the picture and wanted me to get some close-ups of her dancing.”

While we were talking Suzy had put her dress back on and Tim rolled her back to my mother’s office. As we came in mom said; “Sal why are you wearing that ratty old suit?”

“Mom, meet Detective del Vecchio. The rattiest saddest sack in the NYPD.  He get’s the crummiest cases because he doesn’t kowtow to the connected and doesn’t care who he busts.  He’s always getting the  crap cases like poor kids being kidnapped that will never be closed and all he can do is just chase around as he is laughed at by his betters. The crooks all hate him too. Gianni and Tony said so.”

Tim said; “Exactly the opposite of that other guy,”gone upscale,” the hotshot with the fancy car and gorgeous mob princess for a girlfriend, right. The hard part is going to be that nobody will ever see Mrs. del Vecchio.”

Mom said; “Poor Mrs. del Vecchio that poor struggling woman with the sad sack husband. I like it.”

Tim said; “let’s go outside Sal. I want a picture of Detective del Vecchio, trying so hard to get recognition for his work on this lousy case.  A case so bad that they can’t even assign a full time reporter to it.”

We went out and took the picture facing a more or less anonymous wall. Tim said; “I’ll take some more pictures when we get to the market.”

As we walked back in I asked; “How did you figure out what Sillia was?”

“You introduced her parents. Dom isn’t exactly unknown and I don’t just sell papers, I read them. In fact I read it before I start selling them so that I know what to push. At least now I know why the Mrs. never appears anywhere. And where Cecilia went. That has been gossip around the newsroom for some time. Your mom was talking about it and thinks that tail and all that Tara should be up top some and have some parties to show people that she and Sillia are still around. I think that she’s right.”

“Dom didn’t want to bring her up top because he thought that it would make people think he’s freak.”

“Well, tell Dom that even if people found out about the tail, it would be better than what they are saying about him otherwise. Most people won’t notice the tail and will notice that Tara is there and a person.  The hole that’s there now just makes questions and bad guessing easier.”

“When we get back to the market, tell Tony what you just said. We’ve been trying to convince Dom that he was making a mistake, but your argument was one that we hadn’t thought about.”

We were about to get started when dad came in and said; “Sal, Tim, why don’t we go to HQ. I was telling the Admiral and Bob about this this morning and they want to know whats going on on our doorstep. I’ve got my car outside. Stella, Suzy, we’ll be back later.”

Dad led us out to his car; “I’m sorry to be so pushy, Tim, but a lot of people are concerned about this.”

“I know. I was talking to Sal’s boss this morning and he gave me a copy of the briefing book and the dictionary they have. I want to get pictures of those things.”

I said; “That could be tough. We’ve been trying for years and the best we have were Tom’s of the constructs and the sharks.”

“Sal, I told your boss, challenge accepted. I meant it.”

Dad asked; “Why the ratty suit?”

Tim and I both said; “Meet Detective del Vecchio.”

I added; “He gets the crummiest cases and is a huge pain in the butt.  The outfit guys all hate him.  The PD won’t issue him a car and when he can get one, it’s always the crummiest one in the pool,  He’s a real loser.”

Tim said; “The complete opposite of that other guy, the hotshot trouble shooter with the upscale gig.”

Dad said; “What brought this on? I like the idea though.”

“When Sillia and I were at the Montauk Yacht club and Josh was taking us out, there was Josh pushing Mera and at first glance I didn’t realize who he was because he was wearing a fancy captain’s suit. Then I figured that if the car and some fancy suits made me a hotshot troubleshooter, that a ratty suit and no car most of the time made me the most sad sack detective out there. Somebody nobody’s going to take seriously or even pay attention to when I go around talking to people. Since troubleshooter Sal is going to be out front purveying booze and having fancy parties, I didn’t want that persona in the back corners asking questions. The mob guys all love troubleshooter Sal. They hate Detective delVecchio.  Tony and Gianni told me that.”

“So where’s troubleshooter Sal now?”

“Over at the market with his mob buddies Tony and Gianni discussing the issues because of lost business due to the strange stuff happening.”

“While Detective del Vecchio is wasting people’s time over here with his stupid questions about stuff we know nothing about before he finally gets a clue and goes over to the market. I’ll tell George and some of the other people around here to start complaining about Detective del Vecchio and ruining his reputation. Or at least establishing his reputation as an annoyance.”

Tim said; “I might also add that Detective del Vecchio has the bad habit of talking about cases where people would rather not have their dirty laundry out to reporters.”

I said; “He has done that in the past, yes. Tim if you get a chance, look up my vice files at your paper’s morgue. They will be enlightening.” Dad said; “Just talk to Stella, Tim. She kept all those clippings of Sal and Vinnie’s escapades.”

Tim asked; “Who’s Vinnie?”

I said; “A very good friend and somebody our sharks went after.”

We pulled up to the HQ building and got out. Tim said; “I wanted to get into this place and never quite had the courage to ask.”

Dad said; “Watch out, it can draw you in and not let you go.”

We walked into the building and Tim Kirk was waiting for us. Dad said; “Tim,meet Tim, our intelligence guy. Give him what you have and He’ll make copies.”

“Tim, Tim here is Suzy’s bonded. They met over a camera.”

Tim handed over the stuff and we went upstairs to the conference room. The Admiral and Captain Farr were waiting.  Dad said; “Admiral, Captain, This is Tim Thomas, who bonded with my daughter yesterday over a camera.”

The Admiral said; “Tim that sounds like a story, what happened?”

Tim said; “Well I was outside the yard the other day and I had a couple of shots left in my camera so I went to the end of that pier over there next to the market to take a couple of pictures of Manhattan and the Pennsylvania was there getting ready to leave. I took a picture with what I thought was a large fish in it and when I developed it the fish was waving.  So I came back to the pier from time to time and kept getting taps on my shoulder when there was nobody there, along with the occasional giggle.  Finally yesterday at the end of a rather exciting day, I had emptied the camera to get the film developed, came out to the pier to reload the camera, I was tapped on the shoulder again and dropped the camera into the water. I heard a girl say; “OH NO!” and caught a flash of fin and no camera or girl for that matter. I went back to the market and home and my dad left a message that he wanted me to go down to Coney Island  where he picked me up and took me down to Bennies and my life got really strange. I found out that my mother was a mermaid, my sister was a mermaid and my dad was a merman and that they were all leaving me after dinner.  The good part is that Mike came in right after and brought Suzy in which cleared up the whole mystery.”

“What about the camera?”

“Suzy recovered it and took it to the shop. Since my picture of her and the Pennsylvania is mostly the battleship, she wanted some closer pictures of her dancing and the camera seems to work fine.”

“So what was the excitement yesterday?”

“Admiral, when my stuff comes back I’ll go over it in detail, but there have been a string of kidnappings in and around this area. Some friends of mine told me about the first two a few weeks ago, I’m getting a little old to push papers and wanted a story that would get me into a paper as a reporter.  I’ve had some pictures published and I like taking them and finding stories.  So I started to look around and check things out.  One thing that seemed to be connected with the kidnappings was an old Packard Saloon car.  I had seen it it twice before yesterday and yesterday I was shooting pictures of the people working at the market for  a story I was going to do about the farmers keeping their kids at home because of the kidnappings when the car dropped right into the picture frame as I was tripping the shutter.  I ran back into the market and gave the film to somebody to develop.  The car shows up clearly as does the license plate and the people in the front seat.”

I added; “I’ve seen a print of the photo and one of the sharks is riding shotgun.”

The Admiral said; “So now you have the sharks implicated in a real crime in the real world.”

Tim came in with Tim’s originals and copies made for everybody. The admiral looked at  a large map of the navy yard and surrounding area and asked; “Tim do you know where the kidnappings were?”

“Admiral, yes. I traded my picture of the car the first time I caught it for the police files.  There have been five kidnappings so far.  The first two were barge kids sent on errands near the coffee piers next to the bridges, both boys.  The second two were farm kids doing the same thing at the market, a boy and a girl.  The last one was a laborer’s girl on Talman St.

They found remains from the first one onshore in Queens. Shark bitten No remains have been found for the others. The barge people wouldn’t talk to me and the farmers started to keep their kids and the kid’s moms away from the market.”

“Sal, you’ve been working the sharks longer than anyone, do you have any ideas.”

“We went through everything with Tom last week and he pretty much decimated them. From that missing person’s report there should have been seven members of their little club. Yet when they showed up, there were ten.  Coincidently there had been three kids taken at that point.”

“Now here’s the big question. Do you think that the kids were fae?”

I said; “As far as I know, there’s no way to tell and without the families admitting it there’s no way to know for sure. On the other hand these people seem to be handpicking victims. Considering that the usual “prey” for the sharks have been fae, I would have to believe that giving a newly Changed shark a taste of their favorite “food” would have it’s advantages. One thing I do know, recruitment is going to be a problem until they find a new headquarters. They rented the wrong house and the owner was rather annoyed when he found out about it.”

“Who was the owner?”

“Noro. Apparently he built the house along time ago and since he built it for his wife as well as himself there are certain accomodations made. The problem is that things that make a house perfect for people with tails also make the house perfect for changed sharks.”

The Admiral said; “Young man, this is excellent work and I hope that you get your story. By the way Sal, why the ratty suit?”

“Admiral, meet Detective del Vecchio, though you may wish you hadn’t by the time he’s done. The saddest detective on the NYPD, who doesn’t have a clue about the questions he shouldn’t ask and the things he shouldn’t do and who he shouldn’t talk to like our brownnosing young reporter here. So when our shark friends make a mistake and they get nailed, he’ll be too stupid to keep his mouth shut about certain people with clout.”

“I think I like him already. Completely the opposite of the other guy, that troubleshooter in the fancy car.”

“The last car the PD gave the intrepid detective died just after his last case ended and every time he goes to the the motor pool they drag out the worst thing that they can find. And he has to buy his own shoes.”

“Well we have to go now. Mike, take them back to the office.”

Tim picked up his stuff and dad took us back to mom’s office. As we went out to the car Tim said; “Phew, that was scary.”

Dad said; “The Admiral doesn’t bite people at your level and visitors, Tim, he saves that for people like me and Captain Farr. Also you did a very professional job and you’ve been doing good work with this. When you get back from showing Sal the market, I’ll take you home.”

We arrived at Mom’s office and went in. Mom, Suzy, Ella and Mabel were all around a desk obviously up to something. Mom turned around and said; “Tim dear why don’t you come home with us for dinner tonight.  I want to show you Sal’s early busts with Vinnie.  If we’re going to destroy Detective del Vecchio’s reputation you need to start from the beginning.”

Mabel said; “I have friends in the high society set and I’m going to tell them about that horrible Detective who keeps dragging those old forgotten issues. The stories that aren’t real, the horrible things the Detective did to my relatives. For all their horror of scandal they can never avoid listening about one.”

I said; “Tim, grab your camera. While these ladies are making poor benighted Detective del Vecchio’s life miserable, he needs to get to work.”

We walked back across the yard and over to Gate 1. The market had essentially shut down by this time but Tim seemed to know who to look for. Which wasn’t hard because the man wore the loudest suit I have ever seen. Tim walked up and said; “Jimmy, here’s somebody you need to meet. This is Detective del Vecchio.”

Jimmy looked around and said; “I know who you are, Mr. “gone upscale.” Your car’s out front.”

I said; “Is that guy here? He shoots trouble, I have to bust it. I hate that guy. He makes us good cops look bad.”

Jimmy looked over at the hulk of the warehouse and said; “Sometimes trouble needs to be shot.”

“That one shot itself. Which is why I’m talking to you. Tim said that you had people inside.”

“I did, until I saw what they were doing. That stuff was bad news.” “I know.  We had an expert when we went in and a navy chemical weapons specialist saw some pictures and said that it was a good thing that the place went up in thermite.

Detective del Vecchio isn’t on that case today. Though if you and the people who were in the building could spare some time, call this number and they will want to talk to you very much about the doings in that building.”

I gave him Mary’s number.

“What Detective del Vecchio is concerned with is some lost kids because his NYPD boss who hates him, gave him this stupid case where the kids all ran away.”

Jimmy said; “They were good kids, they wouldn’t run. The kid on my street was seven and a little girl.”

“How close are you to the family? Was there anything special about them?”

“What, they’re a poor Irish family. They came over after the war just before the immigration ban.”

“Any others on the street?”

“Some.”

“Did that family live near the end or the middle of the street?”

“The middle, why?”

“Were there any other kids on the street closer to the end?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do me a favor and ask. It could be important.”

“If I get what you are saying, they picked the kid for a reason and went past other kids that would be easier targets if they were just taking random kids. You’re talking about “old lady” stuff aren’t you? Bad stuff.”

“Very bad. That stuff they were making over there was very bad and what those kids are being taken for is worse.”

“So you think that the kids being taken are special in an “old lady” kind of way and that’s why they are being taken and you can’t just come out and say it.”

“I’m still new at this and I don’t quite know how to pick up the signals like some people I know.  That being said, some people I know have said that their isn’t a way for somebody to know if a kid is “special” or not. Everything I’ve seen in this case indicates to me that the kids they take are indeed “special.” The problem here is that the people whose kids they are are hiding their “specialness,” something I don’t blame them for, but it makes things easier for people who know how to find specialness and kill it.”

“You’re High fae, aren’t you?”

“Ok, now we both know what I’m talking about.”

“Well I have a touch of fae blood. Everybody down where I lived does, usually not enough for a Change. Some fae went through my county a couple of hundred years ago and hit anything human with a slot and a bunch of fae kids resulted.   We have a few, a very few high fae and everybody else who just has some little touch of it, like me.  Now as to the kids around here, you’re saying that something uses them as part of Change and was taking fae kids for some reason.” “Because they taste good.”

“You’re not kidding, are you? One of the kid’s shoes was found with the remains of a leg in that had been eaten by sharks. You must have reason to believe that the sharks were Changed.”

Tim said; “Sal,may I show him the book?”

“Jim, do you want to see the book?”

“I don’t know. The temptation is to just leave that kind of stuff to the high fae and “old ladies” like back down in Georgia. On the other hand, if I didn’t and one of my families’ kids is taken again I couldn’t live with myself. I think that I need to.”

“Tim, bring it down tomorrow. Jim, Detective del Vecchio needs to harass some mob guys and then drag his tired feet back to his desk, while that big shot takes his mob buddy and talks to the boss, so, I’ll see you.”

Tim snapped a picture of Detective del Vecchio talking to Jimmy and we walked over to the outfit’s office and went in. I said to Tony; “This is Tim, he’s been on the case and done some good work. He’s also my sister’s new boyfriend.”

Tony said; “Congrats, Tim. Suzy’s a wonderful girl. How did it happen, Sal.”

“I’ll tell you on the way back to the office. We need to get back and report to Dom.”

I put troubleshooter Sal back on and Tim grabbed another picture of us as we left.

“Tony said; “So how did Tim hook up with Suzy. She’s over there at the yard with a tail.”

“Well Tim was taking pictures and took one of Suzy by accident when she was dancing for the crew of a battleship. She noticed and started to tease him to get his attention. Yesterday when she was doing that she knocked Tim’s camera into the drink. Then Tim’s family was going under sea and were having a farewell dinner at Bennies at the same time that Sillia’s and my parents came down to welcome me back.  Suzy was with them and they got together.  My mom has already started to mother him.”

“That’s your mom all right. Back in the day she tried to be the mom for the whole neighborhood. Especially for those of us who had it rough at home. Tara too. Which is one reason that we want her up top.”

“There’s another reason, a good one that Tim brought up. The newsies are starting to wonder why she and Sillia aren’t around and the hole in Dom’s life is getting noticed.  Tim said that the tail might or might not get noticed but the fact that Tara and Sillia weren’t around certainly had and the fact that they weren’t was leading to speculation that maybe Dom did something to them.  Well, Sillia being with me and I intend  to make a bit of a splash, but maybe having Tara give a few parties once in a while will sort of kill some rather nasty rumors.”

“Good point and let’s both start working on Dom. When you get to Bennies tonight tell Tara too.”

“How much does Gianni know about tail and fae? I didn’t want to start talking about zombies, the sharks or constructs if he didn’t already know, but he might need to know. ”

“He knows about Tara, so you’re good. He was asking what you were talking about and I told him what I knew.  When I did he said he understood your reluctance to just come out and take him into those dark corners. But he thought that the dark was spreading.”

“I know.”

We passed a big Packard saloon car going in the other direction. I said; “Tony, you don’t think that that’s the car?”

“It might be, should we turn around?”

“Not in this car. Not just us. This car is too obvious. When we get to the office I’ll call the boss and maybe he can get some people over there.  We’ll call Gianni and let him know too. I’m guessing that the sharks are under pressure for recruitment and the fact that they are losing their headquarters. Of course, they’re not going to have much luck with the kids that aren’t there. I just hope that they haven’t found a new hunting ground. I think I’ll check out the fish market in the morning. Along with some areas out near the Gold coast. And give Frank a heads up after we talk to Dom.”

We pulled into the office and called the boss and Gianni. I called Frank to let him know that I was coming out and we talked to Dom about what was going on in the market and then I drove out to meet with Frank. When I got to his office he said; “I haven’t seen you around for a week or so, what’s up?”

“Real Sal has closed the deal with his bonded and started to look for his fishy friends up in Massachusetts, troubleshooter Sal was shooting some trouble and Detective del Vecchio has a new case.”

“Do tell. You were on homicide, so it’s related to up here, your sharks and somebody getting killed.”

“A bunch of kids. It looks like the sharks are hunting down kids for eating parties. Fae kids more than likely. So far the kids have been from poor families from Brooklyn, but the parents and their friends are looking out for them now and I think that they might look for new hunting grounds.”

“So why do you think that it’s the sharks doing it?”

“Because a kid looking to be reporter started to chase them down and yesterday they dropped right into his camera and low and behold, there was the leader of the sharks riding shotgun.”

“How did you know who he was.”

“Beacause, as part of troubleshooter Sal’s dealing with big time mob issues and some R&R with his girlfriend he had a party on the beach with his friends and the sharks tried to crash the party. As part of that the Cape Cod police managed to get all the names and addresses of the Alopias members along with their pictures.”

“So they were trying to come after you.”

“Not this time. They were going after Tom and Chrissie again, which is just plain stupid because they are starting to really piss off the one guy that nobody wants to piss off, the girl’s father.”

“Who?”

“How much do you know about the outfit?”

“Some. You sort of have to. And I dealt with some of the boys that some people were trying to frame a while back.”

“Well there’s one guy the Boston, or for that matter the whole outfit goes out of their way to not piss off.” “The Peacekeeper. Nobody knows who he is, but all the goodfellas know about him.  Are you telling me that that girl’s father is-“

“That’s what they tell me. If you met the man you would never believe it.  Until you saw him operate.  Royal high fae, the most connected guy around and can shut cities down if he gets real pissed and that’s who these people were messing with. Anyway here’s what we have on the kidnap case.  My new brother in law wants to be a reporter and was looking for a scoop.  When he started to look into it my boss supported him because we didn’t have any people to spare  last week and yesterday he got lucky and caught one of the sharks in a car that’s been implicated in the kidnappings. I haven’t checked in to the office yet but we should have a registration soon. You won’t see Sal anymore, but Detective del Vecchio will be in touch to have you go over a house with forensics because the owner thinks that the tenants were fishy, the new tenant wants to make sure that everything is clean, the owner talked to his friend the police chief and poor Detective del Vecchio is given yet another thankless task.”

“Who’s the new tenant?”

“That big shot “consultant” with all sorts of shady doings and connections, Troubleshooter Sal. The good part is that you don’t need a warrant to search your own house and that our friends, the sharks are going to be without headquarters or a pool for a while. The pool might be important. From what I’ve seen it might be the sharks’ dinner table.”

“That Detective del Vecchio guy seems to get a raw deal, doesn’t he? I’ll bet he’s a real pain in people’s butt like a certain Lieutenant I know. Going to be asking all sorts of questions that people don’t want asked.”

“He’s sort of an idiot about knowing who to talk to. Keeps talking to reporters about stuff that people want quiet. And the mob guys hate him. Tony and some of the other boys told me.”

“I like him already and we haven’t even met.”

I went over the stuff about the sharks and the kidnappings and showed him the enlargement of the car with Billy boy in the front seat. I said; “Has Billy boy here been in trouble before? His daddy’s lawyer said that his rap sheet might be instructive.”

“Well, well well. William Elliot the 3rd. He’s been a bad boy again.  He has a rep for beating girls from sketchy establishments until they told him he was no longer welcome and he beat up a guy who was killed but we couldn’t pin a manslaughter charge on him and we had to keep it out of the papers.  We’ve suspected him of other stuff and there was his cousin, Virginia, who was killed in a shark attack that you know about. Just the kind of bad boy we were talking about the other day.”

I gave Frank the copy of Tim’s stuff that I had had done up at dad’s office and he gave me a copy of Billy boy’s rap sheet and I left to go back down to Bennies. Tara and Sillia were there doing something that they wouldn’t talk to me about and I called in to the boss. He said; “Sounds like you had a busy day. Do up a report in the morning when you come in.”

I replied; “A very busy day, and those kids need somebody to stop this. I’m going to talk to Bennie.”

I went back to the kitchen. Bennie was cooking something up but he turned to me and said; “Sal, so what’s up? How’s Tim working out?”

“Great. My mother’s already starting to work on him. I also talked to some interesting people today. How much do you know about fae communities here in Brooklyn.  Not the big ones, like the bower, but small ones.”

“There are some. And a bunch more that have a touch.”

‘I ran into one of those today. From Georgia, he runs labor up at the market. The thing is that the other side is grabbing kids and I suspect that they are grabbing fae kids.”

“What for?”

“Dinner. Tim’s picture of the car yesterday had one of the sharks riding shotgun and the cops have found remains of one of the kids that was shark eaten.  Tim knows of five kids that have been taken.  When the sharks showed up for Noro’s fun and games there were ten of them. But from what we saw in that missing person’s report and Tom’s stuff, he killed thirteen of twenty, leaving seven.  Coincidently by the time they showed up on the Cape there had been three kids missing. I don’t know how they do it, but they are recruiting into Change and using kids as part of it. Noro didn’t have a way of detecting fae kids and I’m too new with my senses and dealing with this stuff, but do you or your mother know of a way?  It might be important, because hidden fae families have just become feeding grounds.” “Have you talked to Mera about this?” “Not yet, she’s not exactly easy to get a hold of. The kidnapping stuff didn’t show up until I got back.” “Call Stacey tomorrow and let her know about this.  She’ll get a hold of her dad and mom and have them get back to you. Here’s her number.”

Bennie wrote down a number, looked up and said; “I don’t know a good way to sense fae kids because I haven’t spent much time up top or needed to.  When you go under sea tonight, talk to Joe and mother. They might know something I don’t.”

I said; “I need to talk to Tara and Sillia and you’re busy, so I’ll just go over and get dinner.”

I walked over to Sillia kissed her, sat down and said; “It looks like you had a busy day too. By the way Noro is setting up a place for us and he’s evicting some rather unpleasant tenants so that we can have it. The Alopias were renting his house as a clubhouse.”

“No kidding? Was he upset about that?”

“Yes. I’m going to take Frank and some forensics people in there before we move in.  Detective del Vecchio is going to make a pest out of himself and annoy Mr. White and troubleshooter Sal.”

Tara said; “Who’s Detective del Vecchio?”

“That poor sad sack cop who’s always poking his nose in the wrong places and doesn’t seem to know that there a people who he shouldn’t up set and things he shouldn’t look at. He always gets the worst cases like runaway kids that fall in the drink and he has a habit of making mountains out of molehills. The brass hate him because he talks too much and makes too many waves.  The mob guys hate him because he’s always poking his nose in their business and the swells hate him because he doesn’t know when not to take things to the papers. The papers love him because he gives them the straight stuff and the brass can’t just fire him.”

“I hate him already.”

Sillia said; “What about Mrs. del Vecchio?”

“She suffers and hopes that her friends never realize just what she married. Nobody meets Mrs. del Vecchio. The flip side is that troubleshooter Sal guy.  His girl is going to have to be out there and visible.  As Cecilia Calibierti.”

“Why?”

“Because Tim told me today that the newsies are noticing the hole in Dom’s life and thinking nasty things about his missing wife and daughter. Dom is a more public figure than he realizes and the pressroom noticed when you two disappeared.”

Tara said; “And they are thinking nasty thoughts about that because of who Dom is. That’s an aspect we hadn’t considered.”

“Tim pointed that out to me when he realized who you were last night. He picked up on Sillia right off, even through her Change.”

“He pays attention. Even when he has other things on his mind.  Like Suzy.”

“I get the impression that Suzy is a bit lonely up at the yard. She also feels confined. I expect that she and Tim will be all over the docks nearby looking around together. She latched on to Tim’s sister quick enough.”

“I noticed that, and I suspect that having more girls up there might be good thing. Especially for the sailors.”

“Noro wanted to look into Tim when I told Noro about him. The boss has the inside track though because Mary already knew him.  The race is on. As for Kathy, I’ll talk to mom again when I see her.”

Sissy brought our dinners out and after Sillia said; “let’s go for a long Swim.”

“I want to talk to Joe and Meria.”

“You can do that in the morning. You’ve done enough today and you need your exercise. Detective del Vecchio is going to be doing a lot of walking and you need to be in shape. For dancing too.”

So that’s what we did.

 

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