Gumshoe #7

Gumshoe #6
February 6, 2017
Gumshoe #8: Be Careful What You Wish For
February 8, 2017

Gumshoe #7

Bill Marshall seemed surprised when I accepted his handshake in the first degree, as was once virtually the rule on the police department, but smiled when he recalled it was me who sponsored him into the Lodge 25 years ago. “Good to see you Shamus. It’s been too long.”

“I heard you made DS in Major Crimes, so I knew you’d want in on this. D’ya think we can hide the uniforms? Last thing I wanna do is spook the Ivans after four months in their shadows.” Bill arrived as I’d asked with four uniformed coppers in unmarked cruisers, an ambulance, and an Ident unit. As a Detective Sergeant, I didn’t think he’d feel the need to bring along an inspector, and especially not this one.

“What’s this all about Shamus?” It was Robert J. Pinkerton the third, or “Pinky the Turd” as he was better known.

“What? And spoil the surprise, Pinky? Pinky the Turd was living evidence of the Peter Principle, who’d risen to his remarkable level of incompetence, and was so fundamentally loathsome, that if you ever got tired of slapping him you’d arrange for a relief.

I took Bill aside, to the west side of the sidewalk, and turned him to face north to where the intersection 40 yards away was in perfect view.

“Any second now an unsuspecting motorist will be heading southbound toward us in the passing lane, and his light will be green. Another will be westbound, and will make a left turn on a red, across the path of the first, but allowing him to veer to the right to avoid colliding with him, but not, sadly with the poor sap attempting to make a right turn from eastbound to southbound, and, including the Jeep which you see presently pulling up to the west curb, not twenty feet away, and from which a young lady and,oh, nice touch, her infant are now exiting, we will witness the proverbial train wreck.”

It only took six seconds.

Exactly as I had forecast, the Buick came from a stop at the red light and did a wide left turn into the southbound left lane, just in time to force the southbound Ford to change lanes and collide with the newly-arrived Honda. The Buick then sideswiped the Ford, and struck the rear of the Jeep, which was just starting to pull away. It was letter-perfect, and I still felt sick to my stomach.

Three car doors had opened before Bill or Pinky could bring themselves to move. I rushed to the Ford, and assisted the young man and his pregnant wife to the sidewalk. I insisted they were first in line for the ambulance, even though the others wailed like they just learned Santa Claus was gay.

The first responders worked their magic, and Bill took me by the arm, not sure whether to be amazed or furious. I handed him a large piece of brown paper from my overcoat pocket, which I unfolded to show a detailed crayon drawing of this intersection;times,dates,vehicles and even phone numbers. “Four months Bill. This was the Ivans’ tablecloth at Montana’s from last Tuesday. Rather obliging of them to leave it for me, I thought.”

“If you knew this was gonna happen, Shamus, why the hell didn’t you allow us to prevent it? You’re guilty of conspiracy!” Pinky sneered. Even Bill found him annoying.

“And drive them underground Pinky?” He snarled at the inspector. “God knows how many times this was practiced, and now you have your evidence.”

“Enough to get the Insurance Company off the hook.” I added. “But now you have to locate the Russian nogoodniks with the Crayolas.” Bill handed him the paper tablecloth. “At least you have a few pawns to swap for the queen.”

Pinky puffed out his chest and started barking empty orders to a team who’d already long forgotten about him.

“Fascinating.” I heard Bill mutter as he stared at the ground, clearly replaying the events in his mind. He looked up at me, his brows still furrowed. “But what was the significance of the woman and baby getting out of the Jeep?”

“The ‘Grace of God’ card.” I explained. “This would certainly have seen a lengthy trial, so it’s always a good idea to keep the “Grace of God” card up your sleeve for leverage.”

“By the Grace of God, they had already reached safety.” Bill’s smirk confirmed he understood.

“And therefore an early settlement.”

“Can’t imagine how many tax dollars you saved the city here Shamus.” Bill said, shaking my hand again.

“Just tell the mayor to send me a Christmas card with a bottle of scotch in it.”

… the life of a flatfoot.