Eleven ~ Butch
“For fuck sake,” I huffed as yet another call went into Caliste’s voice messenger. Diamond gave me a quick look before returning his attention the empty desk in front of us. “He’s still not answering his phone.”
“He probably took a sleeping pill. Give the guy a break. You’re like a mother hen,” he snapped.
“As if you’d not be clucking up a storm if you couldn’t touch base with Amber every ten minutes,” I grumbled as I shoved my phone into the interior pocket of my brown suit jacket. “Is this common behavior for your father?”
“Letting people sit in his office for an hour? Oh yeah. It’s all a fucking power play trip with him. Showing you who’s in charge. I hate this place. All the fake fucking patriotism and phony morality.” The man seated beside me was seething. Anger and loathing wafted off of him like cheap perfume off a hooker. “He’s got five minutes then we’re—”
The door opened and Senator Michaelson strolled in. He fit the cherry-wood walls, smiling family pictures, and the flags in the corners. Tall, lean, commanding, well dressed. Silver flecks in his blond hair, piercing dark eyes.
“Sorry I’m late. I had an important matter to attend to,” he said, his voice quite cultured given that he’d started out as the grandson of a poor Scandinavian immigrant name Lars Mikaelson. He and his twin Paul grew up in the southside of Colchester as poor as little old me, only his mom wasn’t a junkie hooker and he knew his daddy. Ander Mikaelson owned a TV repair shop on West and Fourth. See, I did my research.
“Yes, of course, because everything is more important than your son,” Diamond snapped.
The senator eased himself into a leather office chair behind his stately desk. “My son ceased to exist the day he started throwing unfounded accusations around concerning my brother.”
Diamond left his seat. He slapped both hands on the desk and leaned over it, putting his nose an inch from his father’s. They did look quite similar when you saw them together.
“Your precious brother was abusing me.”
“There was never any proof.”
“Wow, you’re a complete asshole.” I said and both men looked my way. “I mean, I suspected that you were sort of an asshole given you’ve voted against anything that would make life easier for the most marginalized people you represent, but this really cements the fact that you’re a total dick.”
That made him chuckle. Diamond and he continued returned to glowering at each other.
“As if I care what the son of a whore has to say about me,” Senator Asshole parried.
“Yeah, yeah. I know. Born a street rat, die a street rat. Fleas won’t mourn me. Saw that movie. Loved the genie. Why did you call Diamond here? Just to spit in his face again?” I asked, fiddling with the frayed cuff of my jacket. I really did need to go buy some new clothes. Even if only one suit so when I took Caliste out to dinner in Paris, I’d not look like a punk.
“I called him here so that we could talk. Like adults. Would you like to sit down, son?”
“What I’d like is to, just once, slap that fucking superior smirk off your face,” Diamond replied through clenched teeth.
“David, sit down. This posturing is getting you nowhere,” his father sighed.
I picked at my sleeve, eyes lazy, shoulders slouched, wishing I had my nifty little .22 Derringer sleeve gun. I’d not strapped it on, though, knowing that we’d been put through a metal detector at the door of the Colchester Courthouse and Federal Building. Diamond chose to pace instead of sit.
I leaned up a bit, elbows to my knees, and stared at the Senator. “So talk. We have other appointments,” I tossed out.
His dark eyes followed Diamond as he circled the massive office. “I’ve been asked to speak to you as a sort of liaison.”
“Uh-huh,” I replied, a twisted smile on my face. “Let me guess. A certain businesswoman a.k.a. Armani clad mobster piranha bitch asked you to speak to your boy and inform him that she’d be willing to back off trying to kill us all if only we hand over the known whereabouts of Sterling Vesco.” The Senator glanced my way. It was hard to read what I’d glimpsed in his gaze. Sorrow, perhaps? Loss? Guess it was hard on a soul to ignore the wails of your sexually abused child in order to further your political career. The man was a shit stain on humanity for his complicity of what his brother had done to his son, and other young boys. “Am I close?”
“You’re close, yes. Mrs. Bianchi, your new aunt, David, while wound in deep mourning for the loss of her husband—” Diamond and I both snorted in amusement. The good Senator never missed a beat. “Of her husband at the hands of unscrupulous criminal elements, is searching for any clues into the death of her beloved.”
“Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. If the bullshit got any deeper in here, we’d be over our heads in it. Look, we all know that Carlotta is a cold-hearted, vindictive cow. Don’t try to blow smoke up our asses. No one gave a shit about Paul Michaelson,” I tossed out.
“I cared! He was my fucking brother and you killed him!” Abraham railed, his face mottled with rage, spittle hanging from his lower lip. Fuck. What an about face that was. Diamond stopped pacing to stare at his father. The Senator quickly got his game face back on and wiped his chin with the yellow pocket fold from his gray suit jacket.
I looked from the Senator to Diamond. He wasn’t even taken aback by the violent outburst, which added just another layer of fucked up to the poor man’s painful past.
“You always did have a soft spot for that sick bastard,” Diamond softly said.
“He was my twin. We know your little whore boy Amber was a regular of Paul’s. We know you were there that night, David. We know you beat him up in some sort of violent rage.”
“Like father, like son,” Diamond mumbled. Abraham shook his head, then ran a hand over his hair.
“We also know that Mr. Hurler then escorted my brother from his condo,” the Senator turned his glower from his son to me. I shrugged. “The last sighting of Paul alive was as you assisted him into your Cadillac. Would you care to explain where you took my brother after you left his condominium building?”
“Not really. I’ll tell you what I told the CPD. He was alive the last time I saw him,” I replied, then yawned. “Also, if you had proof, we’d all be in the Southside Correctional Institute playing housewife to guys named Shiv, Snake, and Meatball. Stop waving your dick around and trying to intimidate us. We don’t know where Vesco is, and if we did, we’d sure as fuck not be telling you.”
The senator studied me for a moment. “You’re a smartass.”
“Thank you. So, if that concludes our meeting?” I made to stand.
Abraham waved me down, then focused on Diamond simmering away in the corner. “David, I’ve made an appeal to certain well-placed people—”
“Carlotta,” I said around a cough. The glare I got from Abraham made me snigger.
“David, ignore this moron in the tacky suit. I’ve been promised that if you simply cooperate, you’ll be spared any kind of repercussions. Gems is a warrant away from being shut down and all of you run in for various crimes, starting from selling sexual favors to murder.”
“He was alive the last time I saw him,” I reiterated because it was the truth.
“So, let me get this straight,” Diamond sneered. “You want me, the son you sent away when I began telling the adults in my life that my uncle was abusing me, to help your organized crime cronies out. You want me to sell out my brothers and my lover just to save my own ass. Sorry, Dad, but I don’t turn my back on the people I care about. That’s how you operate. You can tell that vicious bitch who’s pulling your strings that if I ever get a chance, I will make her pay for the abuse she and Paul visited upon my boy.”
Diamond threw open the door and stalked out.
“Well, guess that officially concludes our meeting. I’d say it was nice to meet you, but it really wasn’t.” I pushed to my feet and rolled my head.
“She will kill you all for what you’ve done to her family,” Abraham informed me.
“Probably, but at least we’ll go out on our terms and not hers. Fuck you kindly.” I tapped my brow and sauntered out. I wasn’t overly worried about shit going down here in a federal building. It would come at us when we crossed the twin bridges. As soon as I exited Senator Michaelson’s outer office, I cast a searching eye for Diamond while hitting Caliste’s number. Again, it went to voice mail. “Okay, that’s enough of that shit.”
I pounded down over the marble flooring and rode down to the ground floor where Diamond was waiting for me outside. We climbed into the back of a bright yellow taxi.
“Seventeenth and Cyprus.” I told the cabbie. I glanced over at Diamond. “We’re going to go rouse Onyx. He’s supposed to meet Ralph in an hour.” He nodded, then stared out the window beside him, his jaw set, his shoulders tight. I didn’t push him to talk. Amber would give him the succor he required. I did pat his thick thigh though, in a gesture of sorts.
The ride was a quick one and I exploded out of the cab, Diamond following behind, the wind tugging at my yellow tie as we hustled up to Caliste’s floor. The elevator seemed to be incredibly slow. Anxiety was starting to climb up the back of my neck. Had he had a bad reaction to the Valium? I chugged down the hall. Seeing his door cracked open and the lock shattered stalled my fucking heart.
“Oh, hell,” I vaguely heard Diamond mutter.
“Don’t touch anything,” I barked over my shoulder then nudged the door all the way open with my shoulder. We made a quick search. The tiny but brightly decorated place was pretty much intact, aside from Caliste’s closet, and his stocking drawer. My heart was thumping so hard I could barely breath. Then I saw his phone lying by the TV. “Those fucks,” I growled, snatching the cell phone from the stand and rifling through his contacts. When I found Ralph, I hit the call button. Diamond stood by the door, as a guard of sorts. “Keep an eye out for the cops.”
Ralph answered the call, his rich deep voice in my ear stirring up all kinds of violent emotions.
“Where is he?” I asked, cutting right through his bullshit salutations.
“You’ve saved me a call, Mr. Hurler.”
Fucking Ralph. I was going to gut the motherfucker. “What have you done with Caliste”
“He’s perfectly safe. You must trust me when I tell you that I love him, and no harm will come to him unless you don’t follow my directions.”
“You do know I am going to feed you your balls, right?”
He tsked me. Oh yeah, this smug asshole was going down. “Always so course. But what could one expect from the son of a diseased whore? At least Caliste is clean. And always so nicely dressed. You should see him now. Such a pretty frock! And he’s learning to be an obedient little woman.”
“I want to talk to him,” I said, then glanced up to see Diamond waving us out. I fell in behind him, phone to my ear.
“Fine, but just one quick hello.”
I heard the shifting of the phone, then a shaky inhalation. “Butch?” Caliste asked, his beautiful Southern accent a balm to my frantic state. “They’ve not harmed me yet, but I’m so scared. You know how much I hate farmland! So many scary corn fields and—Oh!” I winced at the sound of a slap.
“That was enough talking. Onyx has to go get changed for dinner now,” Ralph said.
“What did you do to him?! If you hurt him, I will hang you from a tree with your small intestines!” I roared. “Let me talk to him to make sure he’s—”
“That’s not possible. He’s tied up at the moment. If you’d like to see him, meet us at Gems tomorrow at midnight. Bring Sterling Vesco. If you show up without Vesco and his slut boy, the Scot, the Asian, and David Michaelson, Onyx will end up like Jet. Oh, and make sure your ugly face is there as well.”
“You stupid shit! I don’t know where Vesco is!” I shouted. Diamond jerked me into the elevator then slapped the G button.
“I suggest you find out. You’re a cop or used to be. Do some digging. You work with a rocket scientist. I’m sure between the two of you you’ll figure things out.”
The call ended. I may have lost my shit on the ride down and punched a few holes into the wooden panels inside the lift. I threw myself through the doors as they opened and thundered outside, where I railed at the heavens.
“What do we do?” Diamond asked.
“We meet them with Sterling Vesco.”
I swiped at the wetness on my cheeks. “Not sure yet, but I have the makings of a giant rat trap brewing in my brain as we speak. Get us a ride to Blue Moon. We have some planning to do.”
He called; I studied the clouds blowing over the city. I’d fucked things up royally. I should have never left Caliste alone. If that shithead Ralph harmed one hair on his head, he’d join good old Paul in one of those Colchester River whirlpools. That was a vow that I made to God. I then added a prayer for my sweet, scared, sensitive Caliste.