I drew short straw and had Lieutenant Donner as my grill. I'd have been surprised If I had anyone else, really
"So, what prompted someone to shoot at you in the parking lot of the Seafarer restaurant, anyway?" he asked across the desk. There was a cassette recorder running.
I said, "They weren't shooting at me, they were shooting at Boss. Ask him."
"Why were you wearing a gun?"
"I have the concealed carry permit. Why shouldn't I?"
"Were you expecting trouble?"
"None whatsoever. We were just a few friends going to dinner."
"So how did you know to carry a gun?"
I shrugged and said, "I didn't."
Donner grinned at me. "You just decided that tonight was a good night to have your pistol with you?"
I grinned back. "Every night is good. A man has the right to protect himself. Besides, my gun never left its holster. You've got Bekka locked up downtown, it was her gun that was used, so don't worry about mine. And I expect it back when I leave."
He frowned at this. They'd already verified my registration and concealed carry permit. He had no reason to hold my gun. Bekka's, but not mine. And we could replace Bekka's in no time flat.
He slogged back in. "So they were shooting at your friend Boss. Who were they, and why?"
"You got me," I told him.
"No idea whatsoever. I'd like to know too."
He grinned again. "Why do you want to know?"
I grinned back and said, "So I can do your fucking job for you again and bring some people to justice. I'm not happy with this scene, either."
"Oh, and are you a detective?" he asked.
We were interrupted by a patrolman coming in and providing fresh information. The Lincoln had been found down at Lindbergh Field. It had been reported stolen the day before from a home in Tierrasanta. The back glass had been shot out and there was a large amount of blood in the back seat, along with a single shotgun shell.. No gunshot visits to the local emergency rooms. I'd have to let Bekka know she'd bagged her second one.
The lieutenant didn't seem happy with this news. He dismissed the patrolman and frowned across the desk at me.
"So this was a legitimate exchange," he said.
"Reads that way to me," I replied. "And with the vehicle being found down at the airport, all this will be handed off to San Diego city and county."
"Not if I can help it. You're free to go." He waved his hand dismissively.
"I'd like my Beretta back."
He snarled, "Pick it up in the morning. Good luck getting your wife out of jail."
I smiled and said, "I don't need luck, just money. And I've got that backing me up to the hilt."
Donner practically yelled, "I knew you were into something dirty."
Continuing my smile, I said, "Just porn. And between the showers and the blood tests, we're a damn clean bunch around there. Goodnight."
I went out to find a rather peeved Boss sitting on a bench. "Askin' me a bunch of questions I don't have answers to," he complained. "If I knew who would want to take a shot at me after all these years, do ya think I'd keep it a secret? Even from the cops?"
I put a hand on his shoulder and said, "Let's go to my place. I've got some phone work to do to get Bekka sprung."
I took a breath and dialed Angel's number. He picked up on the second ring, muttering "Hello?" into the phone.
I plunged right in. "Angel, it's Lenny. Boss has been shot at and Bekka's in jail for shooting back. I need your help getting her out."
He sprung right awake. "Is everyone okay?"
"Yeah, except for Bekka, who's never done the jailhouse scene before. Can you help us?"
"Not a problem, God knows the family is in her debt. I just need to make some calls. Is she in the county lockup down there in San Diego?"
"That's the place."
"I'll have my lawyer meet you at the release door in two hours from now. What the hell happened?"
"Someone tried to take out Boss in the parking lot of the restaurant we were leaving. It's a mystery to him too, he doesn't have any wars going on. I lost more glass in the Acura. Would you like to speak with him?"
"No, let's focus on the immediate problems first. Why is Bekka in jail?"
I sighed and said, "That cop that hates me pulled her in for discharging a firearm within city limits, she was shooting back. From what I heard at the station when they were questioning me, it sounds like Bekka dropped her second pigeon, there was blood all over the car when they found it. No body though, they must have took it with them."
"Well don't worry, meet that lawyer two hours from now. The family will have this covered." And with that he hung up.
We knew it would be a late night for everyone, so Boss and I did up a line of speed and ate a hit of Ecstasy. We fidgeted through the channels, waiting for time to leave. At a little past midnight we saddled up and went out to the Falcon. I tucked my spare Beretta under the seat as we did so, keeping the holster empty in case we needed to go inside the jail.
After six, parking in downtown San Diego is easy. At least outside the Gaslamp District. It's strictly business around there, business is over at five, and there's not much reason to hang around. Boss and I eased into a space and went to the release door.
The lawyer was five minutes behind us. "I'm sorry," he apologized, "but there was a wreck in San Clemente and I got stuck in the jam-up. How are you doing, Lenny?"
"I'm just fine. It's Bekka I'm worried about. That's who you're here to spring. By the way, this is Boss, a close friend of mine." The two shook hands.
"How long do ya think before you have her loose, sir?" asked Boss.
"Between my consultation and processing bail, three hours," was the reply.
"Well hell Lenny, let's go find a bar," suggested Boss.
I said, "Okay, but I'm having one drink. I've still gotta get you home."
"You know me, I'm a lightweight. Anything over twelve shots and I'll be pulling too hard of a buzz."
The lawyer said, "It's a quarter of one right now, meet me at here at three-thirty and if I don't have Bekka with me, I'll at least have news. By the way, there's a dive of a bar down two blocks that's open until two, you may want to try there. After two and I recommend going to get a snack at the Denny's across from the train station. If you'll excuse me."
Me and Boss decided to just hoof it down to the bar. The lawyer wasn't kidding, the place was a serious dive. Local souses glared at us from over the rims of their half-empty glasses, trying to decide if we were friend or foe. Boss and I took seats at the bar and ordered, Johnnie Walker for me, Jack with a beer back for him.
"So how are you handling your motorcycle?" I asked.
Boss said, "I'll use Chet's pickup to haul it to the dealership an' get fresh rubber put on. Glad I didn't go with custom rims. If you want, I'll take a cab home from here, as soon as I'm sure my lil' girl is okay."
"Nonsense. I got you this far, I can get you home. Hey, if two people who've never ridden motorcycles before were to pick one up, would you recommend they get something small and Japanese to learn on?"
"Yeah. Or a Sportster. Why, you an' Bekka gonna start riding?"
I signaled the barmaid. "Yeah. Getting the Sportster makes sense, since that's what Bekka wants anyway. Me, I'd want something like a stripped down version of your soft tail.... But I'm not about to make something like that the bike I learn on. I was thinking along the lines of a 500cc Honda, some junker to get used to the feel."
Boss took a swig off his fresh beer, smiled, and said, "Good choice. You hang around in Harley dealerships a little, and you see these semiretired businessmen coming in and buying these full dress garbage wagons, and if you're lucky they rode dirt bikes when they were kids. They figger it's what'll cure their midlife crisis. Mebbe it does, I dunno."
One of the souses elbowed his way into the conversation. "Yer some kinda bikers?" he asked.
"He is, I'm not," I said, turning back to Boss.
"The hell are you then?"
"Just your average suburban white trash punk rocker."
The souse spit on the floor. "I think you're some kinda faggot."
Boss considered the souse, then said to him, "You've finished your drink, right?"
One rheumy eye went up to Boss. "Yeah, so?"
Boss picked the guy up, threw him over one shoulder, walked to the front door, and deposited him outside. The guy pitched a fit the entire time he was up in the air, yelled "You dirty bastards!" from outside, then skedaddled. We were appraised coolly by the barmaid.
"That's just Mitch," she said. "No reason to get mean with him."
"I wasn't getting mean with him," said Boss, "but he had a skinful and was violating personal boundaries with the two of us. Now, if I was gonna get mean with him, I'd still be at it. Lemme get a Jack with a beer back again, please."
"I gotta drive, I just want a Coke," I said.
We received our drinks and I held my glass up to Boss. He clinked his shot of Jack Daniels with me and asked, "So what are we toasting?"
"The law enforcement agencies of San Diego County," I replied.
3:30 found us back at the release door. The lawyer told us, "She should be out in just a few minutes, as soon as she gets her personal property back."
Ten minutes later Bekka appeared, her tights over one shoulder and her boots in her hand. She launched herself into my arms. I squeezed her tight, which is what everyone needs when they are released from jail. She broke loose and began dancing into her tights, saying, "Excuse me while I get myself put together. They wouldn't let me wear these in the holding cell. Okay, I can see not being allowed to wear the boots, but my leggings? Come on."
I volunteered, "You could choke someone out with them pretty easily."
"Yeah, I suppose so.... Hey, is anyone else hungry? Mister lawyer, can we buy you either a late dinner or an early breakfast?"
The lawyer smiled said, "No thanks. I'm gonna go home and get some sleep. Bekka, let me know when your first court date is. Not arraignment, but a court date. I'll be down to make sure they don't try to screw you." He began walking down the block.
"Is Denny's okay?" I asked. "We're a bit limited for options due to the hour, but we could also hit a taqueria or a drive through."
"Kin ya get me home first? I'm starting to feel burned," said Boss.
"No problem, boss sweetie," said Bekka. "It was nice of you to hang around until they cut me loose. By the way, the lawyer and I agreed I'll plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge, do the probation and be done with it. Hopefully this won't affect my ability to carry a gun legally."
"That's for the lawyer to work out. With your status as a porn star, you can always claim an innate need for personal protection. You know, rabid fans and stalkers, and it's not like you can afford a bodyguard. And your husband isn't always around. You've already been the victim of a violent crime, point that out to them."
We walked up and over to where the Falcon was parked. I asked Boss, "You sure you don't want to join us in a late night snack?"
"Naw," he said, "I've got a long day tomorrow and I wanna git some shut-eye. Just get me home. We'll talk tomorrow."
We dropped off Boss at his house in Santee, declining his offer of a line, and hit the Del Taco on North Magnolia. Sitting in their lot eating combo burritos and french fries, Bekka said, "I don't know if I'd be able to handle prison."
"Prison isn't as claustrophobic as the holding cells," I said. It's not as physically crowded, either. So how did you handle the whole ordeal?"
"Better than a couple other white girls that were there the same time as me. They had been picked for possession of cocaine, and wouldn't stop blubbering. Then they were nearly panic-stricken when it was time for the standard strip search. I mean, the deputies don't even touch you unless they think you've got something, right? It's just a line of naked chicks playing a game of Simon Says. 'Simon says lift your left breast. Simon says lift your right breast. Simon says bend over and spread your ass cheeks.'
"Remember you said you got a certain caché going when you were in because you were a shooter? I had the same deal. Except for a couple shoplifters, just about everyone there was in for either drugs or prostitution. I attracted some celebrity when I told people who asked that I had opened fire on a moving car. And when I was called to consult with Angel's lawyer, that definitely set tongues a-wagging. Who does a shooter know that a lawyer is showing up at this time of night to talk to her?
"I feel sorry for the hookers, though. In a way we're in the same business: getting guys off, pretending to enjoy it while some dude you don't know fucks you. Hell, I've got it way better than them, I don't have to worry about anyone pulling a knife or gun on me while I'm working. No way could I work the streets."
"On the subject of your shooting," I said, "you may have bagged your second. They found the car by the airport and there was blood all over the back seat. When I left, there had been no ER visits for unexplained gunshot wounds, so either the shooter knows a freelance trauma surgeon like Doctor Liu, or they didn't feel like leaving the body in the car. Probably dispose of it way up some canyon, let the coyotes clean up."
"And we'll probably never know one way or the other, will we?" Bekka said glumly.
"Fortunately not. And I say it's fortunate because if either the guy you hit showed up or they found the body, Lieutenant Donner wouldn't hesitate to stick you with an assault with a deadly weapon charge or even a murder charge. So long as that person is missing, all you have to worry about is your measly discharging a firearm charge."
"I'm just glad I had my Banker's Special with me, and not that Charter Arms .38. You know that thing is hot."
I smiled and said, "Tell you what. Tomorrow afternoon we'll come back out here to El Cajon and go gun shopping for you. Who knows, maybe we can find you a good holster and pistol combination, something designed for women."
"Sounds good.... Although I don't want too small of a gun. Somebody's got to build a nice slim 9mm or.38, I don't want a .25 or .22. I want stopping power."
"I'll bet Ruger or Colt make something like you want. I pretty much guarantee Colt makes a semi-auto which fires a .38, something nice and compact. Are you going to get a holster too?"
Bekka smiled and said, "I was thinking we could get his and her matching holsters. Maybe have them monogrammed."
"So long as we're going into the '90s prepared. C'mon, let's go home and get some sleep." I fired up the Falcon and pulled onto the street.