Chapter 3: A Dramatic Turn of Events
Monroe held the door to the bank open for Winston and Duponte as they walked in.
“I told you to let us handle this Monroe, we don’t need your help.” Winston sighed
“Why are you so concerned about me going into the damn bank?” Monroe replied
“Yes, how could a person with a gun wearing a mask possibly cause a problem in a bank?”
The trio walked up to the next available teller and they all brandished their badges.
“Hello, how can I help you officers?” The middle-aged woman said kindly
“We need information about Stuart Adler. The bank records we pulled showed he deposited two different checks of 40,000 dollars on separate days about a week apart, can you confirm that?” Winston inquired
The clerk typed a few things out on her computer before pulling stopping and looking back up at the detectives.
“That’s correct. He also applied for a 20,000-dollar loan to…” she scrolled down a bit using the mouse. “To purchase a small bit of land just outside of town.”
“Great, can you tell me the location of that plot of land?” Monroe asked
“The closest street is Rice Avenue.” She answered
“Great, thank you for you help.” Duponte said. The trio got back into their cars and made their way to the new destination.
When you’ve been on the force as long as I have, you feel like you’ve seen everything. Everyone feels like they’ve seen everything in detective work, but trust me, there are times when cases take such huge twists, it’s like an uppercut square on the jaw. What was it Tyson always said? ‘everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the fucking mouth,’ and I don’t think any of us were prepared for the haymaker we were about to experience.
“You’re unusually quiet today.” Winston commented as Emelia was sitting in the passenger seat of the squad car, arms folded, watching the picturesque countryside listlessly roll by.
“I usually have some kind of connection to some spiritual energy, but I’m feeling absolutely nothing today, and I don’t like it.” She answered quietly.
“Always with the spiritual crap. I’m sure things will be fine.” Winston chuckled.
As a detective, you learn to trust your gut. Especially if you’re a good one. But when your partner is a so called clairvoyant and she says she doesn’t feel safe, there ain’t a damn gut in existence that you can trust to convince yourself otherwise.
The threesome of detectives arrived at the property. It was a large field with tall patches of grass, surrounded by a thicket of trees which had just barely begone changing color for the fall. A dirt road led up to the worn fence that surrounded most of the field. Inside the thicket of trees, there was a silver mobile home, there had considerable rust on the façade and a satellite tv dish protruding from the side. It was sat up on cinderblocks and had decaying wooden steps leading up to the front door. As the detectives approached the home, suddenly, there was the sound of a firearm discharging and a bullet hit the ground about 20 feet away from them. They all dove behind the cover of the nearest trees and pulled their weapons.
“What the fuck!” Winston yelled as he chambered a round into his Glock handgun.
Bullets were now raining down on their position, striking the ground and splintering the trees all around them. Monroe pulled up her .38 special revolver and started unloading rounds in the direction the gunfire was appearing from. Winston began doing the same, but it was mostly useless, as it was blind fire at best.
“Duponte, as soon as he stops to reload, run to the car and call for backup!” Monroe yelled
“Got it!” she replied.
Monroe emptied out the cylinder of her revolver by tapping her wrist with her other hand and the bullets fell to the dusty terrain with a loud clang. She quickly replaced them one by one. The bullets finally stopped and Duponte made a run for the squad car. She opened the door and got down to one knee before reaching over to open the passenger side door and stretching across to grab the radio microphone.
“This is Duponte, I have shots fired on Rice avenue. Requesting backup.” She said frantically, trying to stay as low as possible.
“Copy that officer Duponte, sending backup immediately. Stay put.” A voice said.
She stayed hidden behind the car, meanwhile Monroe and Winston were still pinned down by gunfire. A few minutes later, two cop cars came roaring down the street, sirens blazing loudly. The gunfire immediately stopped, and then out of nowhere, a blue gray pickup truck emerged from the far side of the clearing, kicking up dirt and sending chunks of grass flying as it peeled away back onto the main road. Higgs and his partner got out of the car and ran to where Monroe and Winston were standing.
“Are you two ok?” Higgs said rushing up to them.
“Yes, we’re fine. Thank you, officer.” Monroe answered.
“We should get after him.” Higgs’ partner Gilchrist said hurriedly
“Don’t bother, he was hauling ass. We’ll never catch him now and we know he’s armed. Put out an APB on a blue gray Chevy and Stuart Adler, we’ll get him later. Right now, we need to search the house and make sure nobody else is here.” Winston replied
Gilchrist returned to his squad car and relayed the information to the station. Higgs, Winston, Monroe and Duponte went to check out the mobile home. Weapons drawn; they approached the front door of the portable home.
“FBI, come out with your hands up!” Monroe called out. There was no response. She repeated herself, then looked at Winston before kicking open the front door. Inside the small home was littered with canned food and garbage. The small kitchen was filled with boxes of food, mostly sugary breakfast cereals. Winston quickly examined the bathroom, which was the only door inside the portable home. Winston slowly pushed open the door, weapon at the ready and saw there was nothing inside.
“We’re clear.” Winston declared.
Monroe sat down on the bed in the corner of the room, her breathing was heavy. She had barely gotten a moment of respite before Higgs was calling them over from outside. The pair left the mobile home and walked over to a small tree line where Higgs was standing.
“Guys… There’s something you need to see.” He said morbidly.
About 10 yards into the thicket of trees, there was a patch of dirt that was heavily disturbed. It looked as if the earth had been heavily dug into by a shovel and possibly other equipment. Inside that dirt, there were at least two skulls, and the skeletal remains of possibly 3 humans buried in a shallow grave.
“Jesus fucking Christ.” Winston sighed, running his hand through his hair in distress. “Call it in. Get the forensics examiners down here.”
It was late at night but nobody at the station had gone home yet. Duponte sat at her desk, clutching a warm mug of coffee for comfort. She had a large jacket over her shoulders, and was examining some evidence she had taken from the crime scene; an invoice from a Woodley Holdings LLC and a bullet fired from the weapon of the gunman. Monroe walked by her desk on her way out.
“You doing alright?” Monroe asked
“Yeah… Yeah, I’ll be fine. Just a bit shaken up you know? This is the first time I’ve ever pulled my gun, let alone actually been shot at.” Duponte replied
“Well, you did good kid.” Monroe said with an unseen smile from behind her mask. “Have a good night.”
“Thanks, you too.” Duponte replied.
Monroe walked out into the hallway and then up to the stairs. She opened the door to the roof of the station and walked out. The late summer night was brisk with a bit of a stinging wind. She pulled her coat tightly around her shoulders, then sat down on the edge of a concrete square surrounding the air duct. The moonlight was bright as it was unobstructed by cloud cover and was nearly full. She pulled off her mask and sat it on top her knee. She pulled out a cigarette, loosened the thin red, rough woolen tie around her neck and lit the cigarette with her zippo lighter, then flicked the cover back on as she looked over the sleepy port city and the scenic nature that served as its backdrop.
Suddenly the door opened and Winston walked out. He sat on the edge of the rooftop to the left of her.
“I came out here to be alone.” She said, pulling her hood closer to her face to make sure it was properly covered.
“Preaching to the choir.” Winston replied simply
The two sat in silence, with only the sound of Monroe’s exhales breaking the quiet.
“It’s a really nice view,” Winston stated “I know you hate this tiny town but you have to admit it is quite pretty to look at. I love when it’s clear out like this and you can see every single star in the sky.”
“If I enjoyed camping and fishing for salmon, I’m sure it would be a lovely place to call home.” Monroe reacted a bit pessimistically.
“I just wanted to make sure you’re alright, I mean we did get shot at today.” Winston said with a chuckle, running his thumb over his fingertips.
“I’ve been shot at before plenty of times. It hardly even bothers me anymore Mr. Winston.” Monroe answered, still looking off into the distance.
Again, the two fell into silence until Monroe stopped to light another cigarette.
“Do you ever look up at a star and just think… In 10,000 years, that star might not be there? It’ll just be nothing but a dead bundle of molecules floating in infinite, unending space and just get sick?” Monroe said
“Sick of what?” Winston answered
“Sick of your own bullshit existence.”
She let out a puff of smoke which curled away languidly from out of her black cowl. The white moonlight was illuminating it in a way that allowed Winston to see the faintest silhouette of her jawline and cheek structure through the black cloth.
“Seriously, what happened to you in your life to make you so cynical?” Winston replied after some time.
“You know how when you sleep in a bed that isn’t yours, you never quite feel content? It could be the nicest bed in the world but you’ll never sleep as soundly as you do in your own bed, like there’s always something just not… Quite right? That feeling is what I experience my entire life, if that makes sense.” Monroe responded quietly
“I’m not sure I follow.” Winston said
“What I’m getting at is that I can’t find a reason for my continued existence because I feel as though I’ll never be accepted, and I’ll always be conflicted about who I truly am.”
“You know, I wanted to be a major league ball player. I played third base. Everyone laughed at me of course. Probably would have made it to A-Ball out of college if I hadn’t injured my throwing arm,” Winston replied “But I think I found my calling as a cop, despite the ups and downs of my life.”
“What ups and downs.” Monroe questioned
“Got a girl pregnant at 19 and proposed without a ring as soon as she told me. The kid died of Leukemia at 12…” Winston paused and said “Do you mind?” reaching for a cigarette from the pack that was laid out on the edge of the rooftop.
“Go ahead.” She answered, gesturing a gloved towards the pack.
Winston took one out and Monroe tossed him the lighter, which bounced off his hands and dropped to the floor with a metal thud.
“I thought you said you played the hot corner.” Monroe joked
“It’s been a few years since I laced em’ up, give me a break.” He laughed
He lit the cigarette, took a few puffs and sat there hunched over for a moment.
“The marriage didn’t last long after that as you can imagine. But that’s enough about my generic hard-edged detective backstory… My point is that star will have fulfilled its purpose in life if looking up at it made people happy, just like catching criminals and keeping the town I grew up in safe has given me purpose in life. You’ve got to believe people will be accepting of what you are, and not close yourself off because you’re afraid of them disparaging you or you’ll never be truly happy.” Winston finished by tossing the cigarette to the ground and stamping it out with his boot.
Monroe didn’t reply and instead took her mask off her knee and put it back on her head. She walked over to Wade and took the lighter from his hand and collected the pack of cigarettes, stuffing them into her jacket pocket. She leaned back over her shoulder, near Winston’s head and said in his ear.
“That star? It was actually a satellite. See how many people accept it now.” She patted him on the back of the shoulder and walked to the exit back into the station.
Monroe’s hotel room was cold, but not uncomfortable. The TV flashed warm colors; oranges, browns, reds, as images played out across the screen. Westerns again. She picked up the phone and called the same number she called every night. Like clockwork, the woman answered.
“Hello.” She said
“Hi.” Monroe replied
“Do you need to talk about something or…”
“No, this isn’t therapist time, I just called to talk to the real you.” Monroe answered
“Oh great. How was your day?” the girl on the other line asked cheerfully.
“I’ve had better to be honest.” Monroe replied modestly
“Are you sure you don’t want to talk to me as a patient? I have my therapist glasses right here.” The girl joked
“No, it’s just that… Well… I got shot at today.” Monroe responded
“Oh my god… I’m so sorry, are you ok?” The girl’s tone dropped from fun and playful to panicked instantly.
“Don’t worry, I’m fine. I was just… I was thinking about you.”
“Oh Holly…” The girl started
“I know it’s been really tough for me to say this but… I feel like I owe it to you since I would always regret it if I never got the chance to say it again. But, I… Uh… huh…” She paused to gather her thoughts for a moment. “I love you Alison.”
“I love you too Holly. Now get some rest, you sound really tired. And please try to make it back to D.C. in one piece for me, ok Ms. Hero.” Alison replied
“I’ll try my best. Goodbye.”