marvel january found a spot at the curb near the southwest terminal exit doors. his flashing lights kept the airport police at bay. though a corporal did wander up to the car and ask if they could be of any assistance. marvel politely declined. the lieutenant also figured lt vacas would spot him easier with the lights flashing. he got out of the car and stood by it on the sidewalk.
a glut of people began exiting the southwest terminal. towards the end of the group a man dressed in a business suit came up to him and spoke.
lt january? I’m lt estaban vacas of the nevada state police.
nice to meet you lt. the pleasure is all mine.
the two men shook hands and lt january offered to put his counterpart’s small bag in the trunk. with that accomplished both men got in the car.
lt, i know a little bar not far from here where we can get an outstanding vodka martini along with a very good prime rib sandwich. you up for it?
sounds good to me, lt. lunch was a long time ago. plus, i’m thirsty.
good. we can talk there as well.
lt january easily maneuvered the crown vic through the early evening LAX traffic. the lieutenants chatted amicably about police work and families as they drove to the small bar. marvel parked the crown vic in a red zone near the front door of the bar. he didn’t bother with the standard lapd placard. to any cop on the beat the shinny crown vic could only mean lapd brass. the car would be left alone.
as the men entered the bar the nevada cop spoke.
i was expecting a cop bar, lt. this is far from the usual cop hang out.
glad you approve, lt. my partner and i came across this place several years ago during a homicide investigation. we’ve kept it to ourselves. no sense ruining the place with the police.
good point. and one that makes perfect sense.
the bartender was busy with a few customers at the bar but smiled warmly and nodded his head towards the two men. while nodding and smiling back lt january held up two fingers. marvel gestured toward a table at the back of the bar. they could sit there and easily talk with no one close enough to listen in on their conversation.
not long after they had sat down two ice cold martinis were delivered by the bartender. marvel spoke.
thanks, jerry. we’d like two prime rib sandwiches, please. extra crispy fries for me. lt?
coming right up, gentleman. and nice to see you again, marvel.
how’s your brother in law?
doing ok. he often says he’s a lucky man, lt.
he might be that but i’m a better cop. tell him i said hi.
sure thing. i’ll be back soon with your sandwiches.
lt january turned to estaban.
long story short, my partner and i cleared his brother-in-law on a murder beef back around the time we found this place. it wasn’t even a tough nut to crack. simple really. but everyone is still grateful.
always a nice thing. this place is really small. where’s the kitchen?
they don’t have one. just a reefer unit, small deep fryer, and a microwave. ok, i see where you’re going. jerry’s brother in law works at lawry’s prime rib. they have so much leftover he skims some and shifts it over here. yeah, i know. it isn’t legal and the health department would frown on the whole deal but the stuff is as fresh as it can get and tastes great. all in all another reason we don’t tell anyone about this place. and if the guys behind the bar hear anything we hear about it too. it all works out.
big city cops at work.
hahaha. yeah, i suppose. so tell me lt, you ever do any work dealing with the mob out there in nevada or is that a silly question?
not a silly question, lt. everybody believes the mob doesn’t have much influence in nevada these days. not after howard hughes bought everything up and the feds made a number of big busts back in the 70′s. the mob is still alive and doing ok. not by their old standards but making some bucks and giving us something to do when the other criminals are taking a vacation.
i see. yeah, i’ve heard that. we’ve still got our mickey mouse branch of la cosa nostra out here too. mostly loan sharking and money laundering for the mexican and el salvadorean gangs. some sports booking as well. and a bit of narcotics thrown in with the asian groups too. t hey make a mess of things at times but like you say it gives us something to do when things are quiet.
jerry the bartender delivered the two cops their prime rib sandwiches, extra crispy fires, two small bowls of au jus, and several tiny bottles of a name brand ketchup.
you gentlemen need anything else? another drink?
no thanks, jerry. we have some work to do this evening. just box a sandwich order up to go for my partner, ok?
you got it, lt.
the two men ate in silence for a bit then lt vacas spoke.
hey, this is good. almost makes the trip worthwhile.
both men laughed and continued eating. vacas spoke again.
you gonna tell me about the gun and the bullets? and maybe the guy driving that mustang we have on ice in an impound yard?
lt marvel january smiled and said.
i thought you’d never ask, lt.