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Christine

BLOODY SUNDAY

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Christine

TWENTY – SIXIn the evening in the Vice officeRico also covered himself. His need for uncomfortable surprises, actually, was covered until Christmas, but it just seemed to have no end.“Please, don´t shoot!†a familiar voice asked. It came out of a covered side entrance. “I´m only a harmless civilian with a lead allergy and an insurmountable aversion against drugs.â€Rico sighed in relief when he recognized Izzy Moreno´s voice. He put the gun back into the holster and left his hiding behind a van. “How can you startle me that way, Moreno?†he sighed.Sonny also came closer now. Izzy carefully stepped into the light and iritated he looked between Rico and Sonny back and forth. “I don´t wanna come close to you, but if this was a plastic surgery you should sue the operator, Tubbs… just a little joke.â€Izzy disappeared into the darkness again. It was healthier for him not to be seen with Crockett and Tubbs.“Keep your jokes, Izzy, because we´re not in the mood to laughâ€, Sonny groaned while slaming his hands in his pockets. Rico folded his arms before his chest. Both men saw clearly that Izzy had been waiting for them because of an important reason.Izzy´s head appeared. He glanced around before looking at Rico. “I´m very sorry for what has happened, Tubbsâ€, he honestly told.Rico nodded with serious expressions.“I bet you´ve got information for usâ€, Sonny said.Izzy squinted at him through his thick glasses. He understood that Sonny was impatient and if he was honest, he had to admit that he, himself, wanted to disappear from this place as soon as possible.“I´ve got three names for you: Alessandro DeLa Rosa, Tommy Redwood, and Danny Crail…â€â€œWho shall it be? The three musketeers of the modern era?†Rico wanted to know.Izzy uttered a little laugh. “They´re riding on motorbikes and fight against policemen, not even what Dumas had invented for his heroesâ€, Izzy replied while shaking his head.“On the motorbike, there´d been sitting two not three people. So, what about the third name?†Sonny wanted to know while Rico was wondering that Izzy knew who´d written the novel “The Three Musketeersâ€. Izzy was always good for surprises and sometimes Rico had asked himself how it could have happened that the man became a crimial.In a fending off gesture, Izzy raised both hands. “I can only tell you these three names. DeLa Rosa and Crail are fellows and it´s said that Redwood is an extremely smart guy. You have to find out the rest yourself.â€In the evening, the team met in the briefing room. Like in the past, Rico had bought a bag of grapes, he was eating one after another. Castillo and Sonny were drinking coffee. Trudy had also appeared, even though Damian had protested. Fortunately, she got only slightly injured. Now she felt fit and was eager on catching the guys who were responsible for the bomb, but she compromised and agreed to work only in the officeAfter Damian had finished a call with someone in the pathology lab, he also filled his and Douglas´ cup with freshly brewed coffee. Both men were slowly calming down after their almost accident under the bridge, even though the pitures appeared in front of their eyes again and again: the falling, always twisting around body, Damian, who pulled the steering wheel round hard, the noises of the shreaking tires that came also from the cars behind them, and the noise of the impact.What luck that all drivers succeeded to stop their cars.Then, they jumped out of the Jaguar and run up to the covered with blood young man who was laying with grotesquely twisted limbs on the asphalt. He looked cruel! He´d been fallen down of about 50 ft and apparently hit the asphalt with his head first. It exploded like an overripe melon and its content spread out all over the street.Another driver, who´d ran up immediatley, had turnd around to throw up.Damian had called the colleagues and they had blocked the street for about two hours.“What do we have?†Castillo asked while looking back and forth between Sonny and Rico.“No usable tracks in the hospitalâ€, Rico replied. “The surveillance camera had caught four different persons in the period in question, but they all had worn hoods and mouth preventions. The experts are trying to find as much points as possible on the pictures that could help to identify all of them. So, we´re, hopefully, able to find out more about the murderer. In a container, the colleagues had found a coat, gloves, and a mouth prevention that, probably, had been worn by the killer. They´re investigating it.â€Sonny drank a big sip of coffee before he told, “We met Moreno. He gave us three names of persons who, allegedly, had something to do with the bomb: Alessandro DeLa Ros, Danny Crail, and Tommy Redwood.â€Damian made a throw away move with his right hand. “ DeLa Rosa is the guy who escaped on the expressway and who attacked Tubbs in Switek´s house. In his trailer, we´d found Summerdream for about $230,000. Danny Crail is the guy who fell off the bridge, but the pathologist told us that Crail died about twelve hours before he fell off the bridge. He died because of a shoot that had torn apart the brachial artery.â€He looked at Sonny. “The lady from the lab told me that the bullet had come from your gun.â€Morosely, Rico pulled up more grapes as if they´re responsible for Izzy´s almost unusable hints.“What about Shoemaker?†Castillo wanted to know.Billy filled his cup again. He put milk and sugar in it before he stirred in a hefty and noisy way. Then, he looked at Estelle. “There´s something with the man we both dislike.â€â€œActually, we know exactly what we dislikeâ€, Estelle threw in, raised her right hand, and started counting,â€He´s too cool and too emotionless. He wasn´t surprised when we told him about Dean Roger´s death. Besides that, we overheard a call where he offered someone further $10,000 if he did a good job.â€Castillo's facial expressions remained as inscrutable as the view of the Sphynx. He was sitting on the short side of the table that was close to the door. In front of him, there was standing a mug he´d pushed so far to the middle of the table that he could put his forearms onto the table. His fingertipps were pressed against each other. “His reason?â€Billy shrugged. “He claimed that we were mistaken.â€Castillo looked from Billy to Estelle and back. They didn´t have to tell him that they hadn´t heard wrong.Trudy had brought her laptop into the briefing room, and she´d given in the three names while the others were talking. Now she told, “ Alessandro DeLa Rosa, born on January 21st 1986. He served a prison sentence because of raping, but I think you knew about that, right?â€She let her eyes travel around. Damin and Douglas nodded, and Rico crumbled up the empty paperback. The others didn´t react, but looked expectingly at her. Trudy continued,†Danny Crail, born on October 17th 1984, had also to serve a prison sentence because of theft and aggravated assault, but Tommy Redwood apparently had been a well – behaved boy until now. In any case, I couldn´t find anything about him in our database.â€Again, Trudy raised her look, and a little smile was twitching in the corners of her mouth. “But something I have found in our database is the name Cordaro.â€Ben and Sam surprisingly looked at Trudy at the same time.“The girl who´d found Dean Roger´s body?†Sam wanted to know.Trudy shook her head while her fingers were working the buttons. She explained,†After you´d told this name, it immediately sounded familiar to me. Therefore, I started to investigate in the internet. From the mid 90s to the end of the 90s, Angelita Cordaro had led a club for fans of sadism and masochism here in Miami, but there´d always been a lot of trouble…â€Trudy again worked the buttons. In the briefing room there was an almost breathless tension. Everybody seemed to hope that Trudy´s laptop – abracadabra – spit out an information that helped to solve the case in no time.In the open plan office next door, a telephone was ringing. Then, someone slammed a drawer before steps were loudly clacking through the office. A moment later, the telephone stopped ringing.“With the raids on May 19th 1995, on August 23rd 1996, and on December 11th 1997 the colleagues had found all together…†- She summed up – “…13 girls who´d been working there illegal, and 4 girls hadn´t a work permission. Eight times in 1996, three times in 1997, and thirteen times in 1999, the police was called to the BLACK MAMBA to stop violent attacks.â€For a second, Rico grew stiff. He stopped breathing and frowned. “Her club was namend BLACK MAMBA? That sounds familiar to me.â€Sonny grinned in the attempt to loosen the atmosphere. “Does your contact leaves you to be desired, Tubbs?â€Someone knocked on the door before Rico could answer. Then, Angela walked in to tell Castillo that Denvers wanted to speak with him, but her gaze rested on Douglas. Friendly, she smiled at him while Castillo was leaving the room in a hurry.Rico thought about the club BLACK MAMBA. He was sure that he´d heard the name in New York, but he couldn´t remember who had used it and in what context. If it was a sado – maso club, it, in fact, only could have been an information from someone of the Vice squad.Castillo returned. A little smile was twitching in the corners of his mouth while looking at Sonny. He walked around the table and let a key dangle in front of Sonny´s eyes.Uncomprehendingly, Sonny looked from the key to Castillo and back.“Your new carâ€, Castillo explained. “After all, you´d lost your car on duty.â€The same moment, Rico´s cell phone started ringing.

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Christine

TWENTY - SEVENTuesday eveningAfter a complete renovation the NIGHT ANGEL was reopened on July 1st with a huge party. Since then, it was more going on in the club than before. The clavilux angels above the dancefloor were able to turn now and their lights were changing in the rhythm of Rihanna´s “Shut Up And Dve†now.Above the bar, there were also hanging angles instead of normal lamps now. One after another always changed its light from white to yellow, then to orange, green, blue, and finally red. The silver shining metal tables were bolted to the floor now, and everybody who wanted to enter the NIGHT ANGEL was searched for guns.Izzy Moreno was sitting at the bar. He only drank little alcohol, but preferred looking at the beautiful, scantily dressed girls wo were dancing on the dancefloor. They were shouting things in their ears because it was the only way to talk to each other, and then they laughed. Nobody paid any attention on him, the “old manâ€.But Izzy didn´t only come here to amuse himself. Fortune had played a box of high quality designer jeans in his hands. Each of these trousers (and in the box were 50 of them) was about $ 250 in the boutique. If he succeeded to sell them for the half he wouldn´t have to worry about his finances for a while. Izzy knew someone he wanted to offer the jeans. Normally, this guy visited the NIGHT ANGEL every evening, but tonight Izzy was waiting in vain.Sometime, he rather frustrated walked to the wash room and as many men were in there, he decided to use a cabin. Unfortunately, he found out that he couldn´t lock the door, but it didn´t matter to him. Only a moment later, he heard someone snapping at the men outside, “Get out of here! “Instinctively, Izzy climbed onto the toilette. Maybe, this was another chance for a little side income. Some people were willing to pay a lot of money fo god information.Izzy heard as the door was closed. In the wash room, it became silent. Then, someone walked around. Izzy shallowly breathed. He tensed and only his widely opened eyes moved.The person outside walked from cabin to cabin, leaned forward, had a look underneath the door, and walked to the next cabin.“Everything´s OKâ€, a male voice told. “What is is about?â€â€œIt´s about the delivery. We had to reschedule because it got too hot. Now, the delivery is on Thursday at midnight. Until then, some names have to be deletedâ€, a second man replied. His feet were scraping the floor when he turned around to lean at a wash bassin. He put his right foot casually before his left foot and supported on the foot tip.Carefully and without making a noise Izzy kneeled down. He hung in an almost fetal position on the toilet lid now, but it was the only way to, at least, see the men´s legs.The first man was wearing a grey, stone – washed jeans and Nikes. The other man (he was the one who´d crossed his legs) was wearing white trousers and shoes – as Izzy estimated – in a size between 18 ½ and 19 ½ . In any case, these were the biggest shoes Izzy ever had seen.Chiquita, his sister, Margarita´s, tiny dog, anyhow, could have used one of these shoes as a lifeboat.The man who wore the Nikes, nervously ran around in the wash room. Someone opened the door and Katy Perry´s “I kissed a girl†floated into the room.“Go out!†snapped the man with the huge shoes.The door closed and Katy Perry´s confession also stayed outside.“The boss is put out, Alessandroâ€, the man with the big shoes told. “The bomb on the wedding didn´t kill the right people, and in front of the headquarter it didn´t catch Crockett and Tubbs, but Danny, and the thing in Switek´s house didn´t work either. The same happened with the thing in the hospital.â€The “Nike – manâ€, Izzy now knew that his name was Alessandro, still ran around. He snorted like an angry bull and Izzy almost fell off the toilet lid when Alessandro suddenly hit his fist against the door Izzy was hiding himself behind. He quickly leaned forward to put his hand on the botttom to break his fall.Izzy took a deep and horrified breath. Apparently, Alessandro had heard it because he stopped and put his ear against the door. Almost in slow motion, Izzy got upright again while sweat perls were running over his forehead.“What are you doing there?†the other man indignantly asked.“I thought that I´d heard somethingâ€, Alessandro confessed, but as nothing happened, he continued walking and told, “They´d all had more luck than sense, Freddy, and you can´t blame me for the things that had happened in the hospital.â€â€œAt this time, you neither have luck nor sense.†Freddy snorted. “In fact, you never owned plenty of sense. Listen, pal, Tubbs, Switek, Bradford, Parson, Castillo, and both Crocketts… eliminate them until Thursday evening! For people with a bird brain: kill them, delete them! The boss wants you to take care for confusion.â€Without saying goodbye, Freddy left the wash room. When he opened the door, “Hung up†from Madonna floated into the room.Alessandro stayed a moment longer in the room. He swore and murmured,†The thing´s already running.â€Izzy could hear as Alessandro emptied his bladder. He hoped that the man left soon because for a man in Izzy´s age the fetal position was absolute unsuitable for a longer time span. His legs had gone to sleep and his back was aching.Fortunaely, Alessandro left the wash room, but without washing his hands.With a sigh, Izzy unfolded his legs and brought himself in a sitting position. In his feet, it was prickling. He moved them to boost the blood circulation. “Dirty pig!†he mumbled.Several times, he stretched his back and turned it to the left and the right to loosen the tensions while his thoughts were twisting around in his mind. Of course, Izzy had heard about the explosive wedding cake and he´d already told Tubbs how sorry he felt about what had happened. In crooks in circle, it was rumored that this bomb was a gift of a big organisation, but now Izzy knew how bad everything really was. What he´d heard sounded like…. extinction!Izzy waited until he was sure that his legs could carry him again. Then, he left the NIGHT ANGEL in a hurry.

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Christine

TWENTY – EIGHTFor Sonny, it was almost like a déjá – vu when he ran along the hallway, holding the key for his new car in his hands. He had no earthly idea how Castillo had managed that one had granted a substitute for the Corvette that fast, but actually it didn´t matter.Only for a moment he grew stiff when thinking about the old and rusty Pick – up truck Castillo first had given him in the past. He´d been steamed because it was embarrassing to drive around in such a thing. Castillo had surely not…!Sonny pushed open the door to the headquarter´s backyard… and a beaming smile spread out on his face that surely would have been sufficient enough to eluminate South Beach at night.On the backyard there was standing a fire red Ferrari Challenge Stradale mit black leather seats and 425 PS under the hood.Enthuiastically, Sonny walked round the car, touched the shining painting, got in, and switchd the engine on. The deep hum let his heart leap of joy. This was the for the road authorized version of the race car and Sonny assumed that the car, as it was standing here, was abot $250,000.Like with the Testarossa in the past, Sonny would have liked to make a test drive with Rico through the city, but unfortunately, Rico had received a call while Catillo was reaching the key to Sonny. But Rico´s big grin had made clear that a woman had been at the other end of he line. Besides that, Sonny knew that Rico had wanted to visit Alessio in the university hospital. Therefore, Sonny made the test drive on his own.Rico´s phone call was rather short. After he´d hung up he asked, “Have.â€we finsihed for today?â€â€œYesâ€, Castillo replied and Rico left the office in a hurry to drive to Alessio.The room where Alessio was laying in was situated opposite of the ward office. The window shades were open so that the nurses could always have an eye on him. The man looked similar like a mummy and he was staring to the ceiling when Rico entered the room. He was connected to several tubes and gadgets that made different noises. Nothing indicated that he´d recognized the door as it opened.Rico walked to the bed. “Hi, Lesâ€, he quietly said. “How are you?â€Actually, it was a silly question. How should a man in Alessio´s situation feel? But it was a standard question one asked without thinking about it.“What do you think how I feel?†Alessio panted without taking his look from the ceiling. A tear was running off his left eye and disappeared in the bandage that was covering the cheek and the throat.“Why?â€The word was echoing in Rico´s mind. Another tear was running out of Alessio´s eye and Rico knew that he would never be able to give a satisfactory response.“We don´t know about it exactly, but we´ll find out about it. I promise!â€â€œWhat about grandma?†Alessio wanted to know.“Your grandma and Alaina got injured, but they´ll survive.â€Slowly, Alessio turned his head and two pairs of green colored eyes met each other. “Bring them down, Dad! Find out who they are and nail them down. They should pay for what they´d done!â€Rico nodded.After he´d left the hospital, he drove to the motel where he´d rented a room. He had a shower and changed clothes because Amber had invited him to her apartment for a dinner together.While having a shower, his thoughts went back to the past. He and Amber had had a lot of fun together. They´d talked honestly and less honestly about everything. He´d been absolutely happy and thought that nothing ever could destroy his luck… until that day in 1985 when a man because of the cigarette, that had fallen out of his hand while driving, had lost control of his car. While trying to pick up the cigarette, the car raced over the sidewalk and caught Amber, who´d been on the way to the university. She got seriously injured and during the first 24 hours nobody knoew if she would survive.Later, her parents had taken her home to Savannah and Rico had never thought to meet her again.Rico left the motel and drove to the apartment complex where Amber was living. A clean paved way with flower beds with roses and lavender in there on the left and the right led to the front door.Rico´s look travelled over the name plates on the door bells. He found out that Amber was living on the 5th floor. He rang the door bell and waited. She didn´t ask who was standng outside, but opened the door.Rico walked acros the hallway with its light grey tiles and its white colored walls to the elevator. The smell of a lemon cleaner was filling the air.He pushed the button for the elevator doors and they opened immediately. Rico entered the elevator not knowing what was happening in his motel room at the same time.The same time, Sonny experienced a speed rush on the Don Shula Expressway. The acceleration of this car was simply bombastic. Only to fly was more beautiful. He passed the cars on the right lane and could feel the envy looks of the drivers. When his mobile started ringing, he first thought to ignore it because it made so much fun to race along the street. But then he thought the call could be about something important. Therefore, he throttled back the speed with a regretting sigh and fished the mobile out of his pocket. “Crockett!â€â€œI hope that I haven´t disturbed you with something importantâ€, he heard a warm sounding female voice. “Here´s Eliana Assani.â€Sonny grinned. “You could never disturb meâ€, he claimed. “Did you remember something important?â€Eliana laughed. Her voice caused a prickling feeling in Sonny´s stomach that spread out like the warmth of a hot drink after a long walk on a cold winters day.“Oh, yes, I remembered that I urgently wanted to have dinner with you. For me this is very important. How about in one hour in my house?â€â€œHow could I say no to that?†Sonny asked.After he hung up he thought about Gina and his bad conscious knocked on, but then he talked his way out by telling himself that Eliana was part of the case…somehow. After all she and the two other women had found the killed policemen. That had been a shocking experience for her and it was his duty to give her assistence… more or less. Besides that, he hadn´t any commitments in consider of Gina. They´d met several times, the same as in the past. Except of that he would only have dinner with Eliana and chat for a while.Sonny drove to Billy´s beach house, but his son wasn´t at home. Sonny assumed that Billy wanted to spend the evening with Estelle. The looks Billy had given her today had shown Sonny his sons interest on Estelle, anyhow.Sonny had a relaxing shower. Then, he put on a mussel colored linnen trousers, a light green T – shirt, and a chocolate colored jacket.Before he left, he dialed the number of the ward in the university hospital and asked about Angelo Crispi´s condition. Sonny was relieved when the nurse told him that Angelo regained back consciousness today and that he was feeling much better.Sonny decided to visit him tomorrow before he left to drive to Coral Gables.After quitting time, Billy and Estelle visited the HAVANNA BAR that was situated on the beach. Light chains and candles in bulbous vessels where flowers were painted on lit the deck. Slowly the sun went down. Raggae music was booming out of the louspeakers. It mixed up with the voices of the customers, laughters, and the rattling of glasses. The smell of many joss sticks was floating through the air. When the music stopped for a moment, one could hear the roaring of the ocean.Billy and Estelle were sitting at a table and enjoying a delicious, but poisoned green looking Cocktail.“In my family everybody´s a policemanâ€, Estelle told with a smile. “Both of my grandpas, my parents…†Suddenly the smile disappeared. Estelle grabbed her glass to drink several tiny sips. Billy felt her changing mood, but he had no idea about the reason. He only recognized that she drank to bring her feelings under control.Then, she put the glass back onto the table and told, “My brother was also a policeman. Andrew Field was his boss and my brother was standing very close to him when the damn bomb exploded.â€â€œI´m sorryâ€, Billy countered, grabbed his glass and drank a sip. He glanced around. Several people were dancing, and a waitress was walking through the crowd, carrying a tray with filled glasses. She flirted with a Jamaican whose dreadlocks were falling down his back. New customers arrived, met friends, and they said hell to each other in a very loud way.“That´s the reason why I want to find the culpritâ€, Estelle explained. “My brother, Field, and the others were rather close to the solvation of the case, as close as Vice and the colleagues in West Palm Beach, New Orleans, Savannah, Philadelphia, and New York. One gets too close to them and they place a bomb that – bang! -kills everybody who´s involved in the case.â€Estelle looked to a point at the entrance. When Billy turned around to find out what she´d discovered he saw Ben and Samantha. Ben saw him, too. He leaned towards Samantha, said something to her, and then they walked up to the table where Billy and Estelle were sitting.Billy groaned. “There are surely some hundred bars and clubs all around Miami, but you decide for the HAVANNA – BARâ€, he said when Ben and Sam sat down.“We´ll harrass you only briefly before moving onâ€, Ben calmed him down.Sonny just wanted to leave when his mobile started ringing. He hoped that it neither was the office nor Eliana and he had luck. It was Izzy Moreno at the other end of the line. He spoke quietly and sounded hectically. “I´ve got very important information for you, Crockettâ€, he told.He didn´t wait until Sonny replied, but continued,†They´re awaiting a delivery on Thursday at midnight. A man with very huge feet - his name´s Freddy – gave Alessandro DeLa Rosa the oder to kill the whole Vice team until then. DeLa Rosa said something like that something is already running, but I don´t know what that meant. Watch out on yourself!â€Then Izzy simply hung up.Sonny left the beach house, but while driving through the streets he thought about Izzy´s words. The gangsters were waiting for a delivery, but what was delivered and where? And who the hell was Bigfoot Freddy? Since when did Bigfoot live in Florida and was named Freddy?Sonny called Castillo to tell him about Izzy´s information. Then, he left the expressway to drive to Eliana´s house.Amber had set the table on the balcony that belonged to her apartment. Phil Collins´voice was quietly booming out of the loudspeaker, “Groovy Kind Of Loveâ€.They´d enjoyed Amber´s meal and Rico had listened when Amber told him what had happened in the past: starting with her arduous steps back into a normal life, from her return to her studies, and of her marriage that stayed childless and only lasted for five years.Then, she listened to him when Rico told her about Suzie and his children.“Maybe, this is our new chanceâ€, Amber said after they´d cleared the table together. She looked at Rico, walked closer and put her arms around his neck. Rico put his arms around her waist line.“Who knowsâ€, he replied before he kissed her.She squeezed her body against him and passed through his hair with her fingers. Rico thought, “Even though I´m not sure whether this is really a new chance for us, for now we can do as if it is!â€Then, he lifted her up to carry her to the bedroom.

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Christine

TWENTY – NINEThe wrought iron gate was already open when Sonnyarrived at Eliana´s propperty. Behind him, it closed slowly without a noise. Along the driveway, the lights flared up and Sonny could see light behind most of the windows. The housemaid, a Puerto Rican in her twenties, opened the door. She wished him a good evening before she led Sonny to a deck that was edged by a higher hedge. As an additional attraction it contained a whirl pool that was filled with invitingly shining water.The table was set with a white cloth, posh chin, and a five –armed candle holder. In one corner of the deck, there was standing a couch of rattan with white towels laying on it.If Sonny hadn´t known that Eliana wanted more from him than a nice dinner together, at least, he would have become aware of it now. Eliana was wearing a light summery lavender colored dress with a tight top and a deep neckline. Its skirt fell down to the thighs. Her honey blond hair was put behind her right ear with a comb.She´d put a CD with musical melodies in her CD player, and Sonny could hear “Memories†from the musical Cats.With a smile, Eliana reached him her hand. “Nice that you´ve come, Sonny.â€While taking her hand Sonny glanced around. “You own a great propperty.â€Soundless the housemaid appeared to serve the dinner.Even though, Sonny tried to push all professional thoughts aside, he couldn´t help, but estimated roughly several numbers. This villa was surely about five million dollars, rather more than less. Sonny assumed that in the huge garage, at least, three luxury cars were parked. Only the name of each one of them was probably worth more than a middle market car. Eliana´s boutique seemed to be very lucrative.“Do you need me, Ms. Assani?†The housemaid asked.“No, thanks, Conchita.â€Conchita smiled, wished a nice evening, and soundlessly left to the rhythm of “Grease Lightnin´â€The light rosé wine, Eliana herself filled into the glasses, was sparkling, and the steaks were smelling.While having dinner, Eliana asked Sonny different questions about his job and tried to learn things about his family. The questions sounded harmless and should keep the conversation running, but Sonny was carefully after his bad experiences with Georgina Fowler.In case of Eliana, he shouldn´t forget that she had found the killed policemen. Therefore, he answered in general. He mentioned that he was divorced and father of three children, but he neither told her their names and where they were living, nor their age, and he didn´t show any photos. Eventually, he could do that after they got to know each other much better.The wine and the music took care for a romantic mood. With the first rhythms of “Don´t Cry For Me, Argentina†Eliana asked Sonny if he would like to dance. Actually, Sonny always denied it and gave his old knee injury as an excuse, but tonight he forgot about that.Half an hour later, they amused themselves in the whirl pool and sometime after midnight they landed in Eliana´s bedroom that had the size of Sonny´s whole apartment. Everything there was brown and in a light pink.Sonny forgot about his case and everything else…Rico woke up because Amber´s alarm clock started ringing. She opened her eyes, smiled at Rico, and kuddled herself in his arm. “I thought that I´d been dreamingâ€, she murmured. “But it would be more beautiful if we both had a day off today.â€Amber raised her head, moved a bit higher, and kissed Rico. “Duty calls!â€She got up and naked walked to the bathroom. The radio started playing and Kylie Minoque claimed, “Can´t Get You Out Of My Head.â€Rico sat upright. He pushed the pillow in his back and thought about Amber. In the past, his relationship with her had been fantastic… to good to be true. But many things had happened in the meantime. They both had gotten older. Besides that Amber was working in Miami and he in New York.Rico sighed while thinking, “Why do I rack my brain now? Let´s wait what time will bring.â€He swung his long legs out of the bed, walked to the bathroom, and joined Amber in the shower.“When does your duty start?†He asked between two kisses.“At eightâ€, Amber replied, squirmed out of his arms and slipped out of the shower. “But if I don´t stop you, I won´t be in hospital at noon.â€At 7:30 a.m., they left Amber´s apartment. Rico decided to drive to the motel and shave before driving to the office. There, he wanted to watch the videos and photos that had been taken before the explosion.“See you tonightâ€, Rico said on the parking lot that belonged to the apartment complex. After a last kiss they separated.Rico drove through the city to the motel. Clouds were covering the sky and the heat accumulated beneath them like under a bell. It was windless. Rico stopped the car opposite of the motel and in two stages he crossed the busy street. In the motel, he walked to the reception desk to get his room key with the older woman who didn´t even raised her look. She was speaking with someone on the phone, obvioulsy a private call, and she was glad when Rico left.With the elevator, Rico rode up to the floor where he´d rented a room. When the doors opened he saw the chambermaid opening the door to his room that was situated diagonally opposite of the elevatorIn the moment when Rico left the elevator all hell broke lose!Sonny felt dazed, as if he was packed in cotton wool. He heard a noise, but it took some time until he realized that it was his mobile.Groaning, he turned himelf to the right side, but instead of Billy´s coffee table where he actually put his mobile on at this moment, his fingers touched a silk blanket and a silk pillow.Sonny opened his eyes and immediately he pulled faces when a tiny guy started working in his head with a steam hammer. His tongue felt furred, and the taste in his mouth was dreadful.The bed next to him was empty, but suddenly the memories of the last night returned. With a big grin on his face he sat upright, but the grin disappereared immediately when the headache increased. Sonny actually disliked drinking wine and it seemed as if wine, obviously, didn´t agree with him… at least not in the amount he´d drunken last night.Groaning, he got out of the bed and walked to the chocolate colored leather armchair where he´d put his clothes on last night.“Oh, man!†He groaned while putting his hands at his head as if he thought it could ease the pain. He urgently needed two Aspirin tablets and he hoped that Eliana had some.The mobile stopped ringing a second before Sonny had taken the phone out of the pocket. With a look on the display he found out that Castillo had tried to call him.Just when he´d given in the Lieutenant´s number, Eliana appeared in the bathroom door, wearing nothing more than a white towel that was big enough to cover her butt.“My colleagueâ€, Sonny explained. His tongue felt so thick that he could hardly speak.Castillo picked up, and without wishing him a good morning he told, “Drive to the ARIANA – MOTEL, Crockett. Someone had installed a spring gun in Tubbs´ room.â€Then, he hung up.

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Christine

THIRTYBilly also woke up because his mobile started ringing. Next to him, Estelle turned around with a deep sigh and embraced him with her right arm and her right leg.“It´s tooe early to get up, Babyâ€, she mumbled.With a big grin on his face, Billy softly pushed her arm aside, kissed her on the forehead, and replied, “It´s the mobile.â€While getting up he glanced over his clothes that were spread out everywhere in Estelle´s motel room. They´d decided to spend the night there because Billy had assumed that his father was sleeping in the beach house.He found the mobile laying on the desk underneath the window and remembered that he had put it there last night.Estelle raised on her left ellbow while watching him as he walked there. Her chin – length, dark brown hair was touslet. A strand fell into her face and she blew it away. Her dark brown eyes were still clowded from sleep…. From too little sleep.“Crockett!†Billy said. Then he listened.Estelle could see his changing expressions and she knew that something bad had happened. Billy´s expressions got more and more serious and then he propped up on the desk as if he was searching for support. His blue eyes widened. “Estelle and I ´ll drive thereâ€, he said before he hung up.Then, he turned around, looked at Estelle and explained,†Someone had installed a spring gun in Tubbs´ motel room.â€â€What about Tubbs?†Estelle wanted to know while she was already jumping out of the bed and hurrying to the bathroom.“Castillo didn´t tell something about thatâ€, Billy replied while putting his trousers on. He lost balance and slammed against the desk´s edge with his hip. He pulled faces, rubbed over the aching part, and shouted to drown out the flush of the toilette,â€This dreadful story seems to have no ending.â€Everything happened on an unbelievable speed. In one moment, Rico could hear the chamber maid lilt, fervently, but quite wrong, “My Heart Will Go Onâ€. In the next moment, the ear deafening rattling of a machine gun was filling the air.Rico let himself fall to the floor and crept back into the elevator. He felt something disgustingly hot hitting his back. The smell of blood got into his nose, but he clenched his teeth while creeping forward.In the elevator, he sat upright and slammed his hand on the button to keep the doors open. Then, he got on his feet. Automatically he had stopped breathing, but he first noticed it when his lungs were shouting for air.Rico took a deep breath before he jumped forward, squeezing his back against the doors and having a look outside. With quick bends forward and backwards he aimed to position.He saw the chamber maid lying at the wall between the elevator and the door to another room where the force of the impact had thrown her to. The buzzing bullets tore wholes in the opposite wall and tore apart the door of the room opposite of Rico´s room. A wall lamp exploded with a hollow tone.He heard the rattling of the machine gun, the bullets when they hit the wall, and the panic screams of the other motel guests.Whoever had positioned the gun in his room, he wanted to be absolutely sure that nothing more than mince stayed left of Rico.Suddenly the gun stopped firing. The blood roared in Rico´s ears and his heart was beating like a steam hammer. At a glance Rico found out that the hallway was empty. Ducked, he ran to the wall next of his room door. There, he squeezed his back against the wall and stared at the chamber maid´s body. She was laying at the wall next to the opposite door with grotesquely twisted limbs. The wall was covered with her blood, parts of the greyish brain mass, bone fragments, and rags of her clothes. The bullets had torn off big pieces of the wall and had torn the door completely.Rico had a quick glance into his room where he discovered the gun. It was standing on a harmless looking tripod with its muzzle pointed on the door.On the right side hung the bracket in which had been the cartridges that were automatically withdrawn. Rico estimated that at least about 50 shots were fired, rather more than less.Rico pushed himself around the tattered door into the room. With keeping to allsecurity provisions he opened the bathroom door, but the windowless room was empty.“Oh, my Godness!†he heard a woman horrifiedly shouting.Rico returned to the hallway where a young black woman was standing, her hands put at her head as if she needed support. She was heavy, wore jeans, and a colorful blouse.“Please, don´t touch anythingâ€, Rico advised, even though he knew that it was unnecessary to tell her that. The woman was so horrified that she´d grown stiff, staring at the body.Rico could hear the wailing sirens that were coming closer. He ran into room 502, the opposite room, but to his relief he found out that nobody had rented it at this time.His mind worked as precisely as a Switzerland watch.Several people had left their rooms to find out what had happened when Rico returned to the hallway. He showed his badge and asked them to return to their rooms. Glad they fulfilled his request.Rico stood there in the middle of the mess and the thoughts were spinning around in his mind. Someone had watched him and had seen that he had left. Presumably, this person thought that he would return sometime at night.“If I´d returned last night, I would be the one who´s lying killed there at the wall. But my key had been at the reception this morning. How did the person who built up the gun get into my room?†Rico thought.Sonny put his foot down. He leaned toward the steering wheel and pinched his eyes. He still felt bad and cursed the wine he blamed for that. While racing through the city like a bat out of hell, he tried to sort his thoughts, but it wasn´t easy, above all because Castillo had given him only little information.How could someone succeed to install a spring gun in Tubbs´ room? Where had Tubbs been at this time? What had happened to him? Was his friend dead?“Oh, damn!†Sonny swore while slamming his right fist onto the steering wheel, but that wasn´t a good idea. The jerky motion thundered up into his skull, which threatened to burst anyway.In front of the motel, he met Billy, Estelle, Ben, and Sam. They looked as worried as Sonny. Before one could say a word, a stretcher with a black body bag on it was rolled out of the motel. Immediately, Sonny ran there. “Who´s therein?†he asked.The thin black man who was pushing the stretcher had a look on the piece of paper he dragged out of his pocket. “Her name is Antonia Estebanâ€, he replied.Sonny took a deep breath in relief, tapped on the man´s shoulder, and said, “Thanks, my friend.â€Damian and Douglas were already in the motel. They were talking with a horrified looking woman, apparently the receptionist of the night, in a sitting area in the lobby.Mark Jones, a forensic scientist, was busy with one of the cameras that observed the entrance hall. Another colleague was brushing graphite powder on the key boxes behind the reception desk. From him, Sonny only saw grey hair with a black strand here and there. Two other colleagues took care for the tracks in the two elevators and a young blond woman took care for the tracks on the door to the stairs.When Sonny came closer she stood upright and pointed her brush on him as if it was a weapon. If the situation hadn´t been that serious, Sonny had burst out laughing. He showed her his badge before she could say a word. “Lieutenant Sonny Crockett!â€The woman smiled before she made way for him. “Fifth floor, Lieutenant.â€While runnin up the stairs Sonny thought, “Why couldn´t Tubbs rent a room on the first or the second floor? But… nope, Tubbs always needs to aim high!â€But then he thought that he would be very happy to hug Tubbs in one or two minutes, even though every step was badly aching in his head.Rico stood on the hallway, offside of the mess, and watched everything around. Colleagues were talking with the other motel guests and took care for that nobody left his room, traces were secured, and pictures were taken. The stink of gun powder was mixed with the blood, guts and vomit because a young colleague threw up when he saw Antonia Esteban´s body. “I´m so glad to see you alive, pal!†Sonny groaned in relief when he reached the fifth floor and hugged Rico.“Yeah!†Rico replied while tapping on Sonny´s shoulder.Castillo joined them. “The lock wasn´t brokenâ€, he told. “When did you leave the room, Rico?â€For a moment, Rico thought about it. “At about 7:15 p.m. I returned at eight this morning, saw the chamber maid opening my door… and then all hell broke lose.â€â€œThat´s a long time.†Castillo´s look travelled over the blood splashes, and the bone fragments and brain pieces that formed a bizarre pattern with the bullet holes.“Somebody thought that you would return at night and he had had all chances to unnoticedly take your key and to bring it back.â€Castillo had a look at his watch. It was still the same watch he´d worn in the past: a golden watch with a simply black leather band. “We´ll meet in the briefing room in one hour.â€Then he turend around.Sonny carefully walked around. On one hand the floor was covered with tracks he didn´t want to destroy, on the other hand caused the dreadful things he could see here heavy stomach problems.“I´ll never drink wine againâ€, Sonny grimly thought.He thought on how much luck Rico had had because he didn´t return earlier, even though this thought sounded cynical… at least Antonia Escobar´s family would see it that way.But what he could see suited to Izzy´s information. DeLa Rosa had argued against “Bigfoot†that something was already running to kill the members of the Vice team.Several times Sonny stopped. He closed his eyes, buttressed against the wall, and took some deep and slow breaths.“You´re OK, partner?†Rico worriedly asked.Sonny turned around and gave his friend a little smile. “I had dinner with Eliana and I think that I had had too much wine. And I know that I don´t tolerate that stuff. He gave himself a jerk. “Let´s go! We´ve to warn the others!â€

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THIRTY – ONEDamian and Douglas just had finished their talk with the receptionist of the night shift. Damian handed the lady a businss card with the request, “If you remember something please call me.â€She nodded while putting the business card into her purse.Billy and Estelle left in company of a man in a dark blue suit and a white shirt with a black berry colored tie the room behind the desk that was reserved for the staff. The man gave Estelle his hand first, then Billy. Surprised Sonny saw that Billy was unshaved. He looked from his son to Estelle and back and discovered an intimacy that hadn´t been there yesterday.Ben and Sam had already left the motel with the films of the surveillance cameras they wanted to watch in the headquarter.Sonny stopped in the middle of the lobby and glanced around. Several motel guests were insecurely standing close to the reception to watch how the police was doing their work. In front of the door there were several reporters standing and they only stayed outside because of the two grimly looking policemen in closet dimensions who were watching the door.Billy, Estelle, Damian, and Douglas joined Rico and Sonny.“You´re OK, Rico?†Damian asked.Rico nodded. Then, Sonny quietly told the others about Izzy´s call.“I think that we should be very carefulâ€, Sonny said.Together, they left the motel. Immediately, the reporters moved forward and almost pushed their microphones into the detective´s faces.“Can you tell us something to what had happened in the hotel?â€â€œHas it really been an assassination?â€Do you have any indications to the offender?â€Sonny murmured, “No comment!â€Rico pushed the microphone aside and replied, “We´re investigating in all directions.â€Then he continued walking to his car.“Could you take Estelle with you, Dam?†Billy asked, grinned and continued while rubbing over his stubbly chin, “ I need a shave.â€â€œOkâ€, Damian replied and while looking at his Jaguar, he added,â€Will be a bit narrow.â€â€œI´ll make myself smallâ€, Estelle promised.Billy walked to his car. He had to hurry if he wanted to arrive in time in the headquarter, but in contrast to Sonny Billy disliked a three- day beard.While driving to the beach house Billy thought about last night. He hoped that more nights like this would follow and that he and Estelle could meet every now and then after she returned to New Orleans. Eventually, it was no problem to get from A to B by plane.Then, his thoughts returned to the occurrences of today. If Tubbs had returned a few minutes earlier, he would be dead now. The worst thing was that they had no idea where the danger came from and who the client was.It was sure that they all were observed by men from this client, but how should they find out who these men were? It could be everybody!They urgently had to find out who was behind all of this before the things DeLa Rosa had started were successful.“Freddy with the big feetâ€, Billy murmured before he left the expressway.Eventually, he arrived at the beach house. He left the car and while hurrying to the front door he had a look at his watch. It told him that he really had to hurry.Behind him, he slammed the door. When he crossed the living – room he saw that the bedding on the couch was unused. So, his father hadn´t been here last night either.With a big grin on his face, Billy vanished into the bathroom. For a second he thought about asking his father whether it would be possible for him to spend the next night also elsewhere, but maybe that was Sonny´s plan, anyhow.Billy took the electric shaver out of the cupboard and plugged it in.The whole night he´d been waiting in his car that was parked at the hedge. Several times he fell asleep for a moment. After he woke up, he was always afraid that Billy could have come home in the meantime. Then, he left his car, quietly shut the door, and darted to the front side of the beach house to find out that the Porsche wasn´t parking there.Great, the shit bull spent a hot night with some chick and he was hanging around here! That didn´t increase his mood.At dawn he´d called Alessandro to ask how long he should wait.“Until Crockett returnsâ€, Alessandro had replied.Therefore, he made himself comfortable in the car and cotinued waiting. And now Crockett had returned. It seemed as if he was in a hurry. He race along the street like a lunatic, raked hard, and slammed the doors.The man left his car and quirtly and shut the door before he ran to the front door. There, he stayed for a second and listened because he had no idea where Crockett was now and what he was doing.He took a creditcard out of his pocket that helped him to open the front door without any problems. For a cop, Crockett was very carelessly in consider of his safety precautions.In the living – room, he put away the creditcard, let his look travel around to orientate, and pulled his knife. The permanent humming of an electric shaver he could hear showed him the way to the bathroom.Quietly, he followed the noise and saw that the bathroom door was slightly open. On the floor he could see Billy´s shade that showed him that his victim was standing on the right behind the door. The man tensed his muscles, pushed open the door, and attacked Billy.Billy recognized the sudden move at the door. Instinctively, he let go off the electric shaver that fell into the wash bassin and spun around. He discovered the man and the shining blade of the knife in his hand that attacked him like an aggressive snake.Billy tried to fend the stab off by raising up his right arm while grabbing the attackers hand that was holding the knife with his left hand.The attacker reacted in a very fast way and Billy felt a bad pain when the man stabbed the knife into his forearm. With a scream Billy tore back his arm. Blood was dripping on the white tiles, but Billy didn´t let go off the man´s wrist.The man slammed Billy his fist into the face. Billy´s jaw cracked and for a moment it got black in front of Billy´s eyes. He let go off the man´s right wrist, staggered backwards, and hit against the wash bassin. As Billy raised up his arms to fend off the next attack the next stab caught him in the left upper arm.Billy clenched his teeth in pain and tore up his knee. It hit the attacker underneath the right hip and when the man bend because of the pain Billy slammed his fist into the attacker´s face.Blood spots were spreading out. They hit the glass shower enclosure, the tiles on the wall and the floor, and the mirror above the wash bassin.The man staggered backwards and hard slammed with his head against the edge of the door frame. Seeking for security his hand touched the wall next to the door. He groaned.Billy jumped forward to inundate the attacker with knocks. But suddenly he felt an unbelievable pain in his abdomen that quickly spread out like wildfire. It took his breath away and the strength in his legs began to fall. He fell on his knees with an unbelievable expression on his face when he had a look at the wound in his stomach. The red spot more and more spread out.The man dragged the knife out of Billy´s body. He jumped backwards and Billy fell onto his stomach. Beneath him a blood puddle spread out.

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THIRTY – TWOAfter Castillo had called Trudy and Damian to tell what had happened in the ARIANA – MOTEL, she´d excitedly driven to the office where she sat down at the computer.“Someone had tried to kill Tubbs. Tell Trudy she should search for information about a man named Freddy. His particular feature: Big feet.â€Actually, Trudy should take care of herself after she was released from hospital, but she´d made Damian – and of course Castillo – clear that she won´t sit at home and be ored while this criminal organization killed police officers.“But you stay at your deskâ€, Castillo had ordered while his look made her clear that he would not discuss about that.After Trudy had filled the coffee machine, she sat down at the computer. She was alone in the office. Sarah, Sharon, and Angela would first appear in about half an hour, but Trudy urgently needed her morning coffee.Trudy almost couldn´t wait for the computer to boot up and unpatiently she´d knocked a rhythm onto the desktop with her nails. She thought about the description big feet. This term was hard to define. Trudy remembered the day when her grandmother – she had worn shoes in size 6 ½ - told Trudy´s mother, “Trudy will never be able to buy nice shoes because of her big feet!â€Trudy had been sixteen then and worn shoes in size 9.She gave the little information in the computer she had about Freddie and decided only to pay attention on men with the name Freddie who´s size was bigger than 15 ½. She only hoped that Moreno hadn´t exorbitantly exaggerated again.While a list of registered criminals with big feet was appearing on the screen, Damian called to tell her that Rico was OK. Unfortunately, the shots of the spring gun had caught the chamber maid. The poor woman looked horrible. About 100 shots had been fired and the first investigations estimated that about 30 of them had hit the chamber maid.After the call, Trudy got herself a cup of coffee, returnd to the desk, and had a look at the names on the screen. But the computer had decided not to show only men with the first name Freddie, but entries of all criminals with shoe size 15 ½ and more.Trudy was amazed about the amount of men, 27 of them were named Freddie as she found out after she´d sorted out all men with different names.Until then, he´d drunken her second cup of coffee.Sarah, Sharon, and Angela entered the room. They were excitedly chatting about the things they´d learned about on the radio. Angela even had watched parts of a report on TV. Therefore, she knew that the killed chamber maid had been working in the ARIANA – MOTEL where Tubbs was staying in.“You´re already here?†Sarah amazingly asked when she discovered Trudy at her desk.“And the coffee is already finishedâ€, Angela told while shaking the thermos jug. “Since when are you here?â€â€œHalf past sevenâ€, Trugy countered with a deep sigh while staring on the screen. How the hell should she find the right Freddie underneath 27 Freddies? If he was one of them!Sharon walked to her desk and put her purse into the lowest drawer. “Did you hear that a woman was killed in the ARIANA – MOTEL, Trudy?†she wanted to know while giving the drawer an elegant kick to close it.Trudy nodded. “Yeah, it was an assasination on Tubbs, but he´s fine.â€Trudy´s telephone started ringing. Carla Scott was at the other end of the line. She told Trudy that she´had investigated the two police caps and the two jackets that were found in the park.Trudy listened to her and then she started smiling. Sometimes, one simply had luck.

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THIRTY – THREETrudy´s run of good luck kept for about eight minutes. That was the time she needed to find out about Freddie Barnes (his shoe size was 17 ½) address, to notice that he´d moved out there in the meantime, to experience his probation officer´s number, and to learn that the man was on vacation in France. He would first return on Thursday.The friendly woman on the other end of the line told Trudy that she had no idea about her son´s work and, unfortunately, she couldn´t tell who Trudy could ask otherwise.“So much to thatâ€, Trudy sighed when she hung up. Frustrated she walked to the thermos jug that was standing next to the coffee machine. But when she shook it, she found out that it was empty. She filled the coffee machine again before she tried to call the lady who represented the probation officer, but she didn´t pick up.Sometime, the colleagues entered the office. They all were showing serious expressions. Sonny shook the thermos jug and confidently groaned when he found out that it was freshly filled before he took it with him into the briefing room. The others followed him.“Where´s Billy?†Sonny asked Estelle when she walked in.Behind her, Ben and Sam entered the briefing room. Sam was holding a video tape in her hand.“He´s driven home, probably to get shavedâ€, Estelle replied while sitting down on the chair opposite of Sonny.Castillo had heard what she´d said. With a look at his watch he decided, “Nevertheless, we´ll start now. Parson!â€Damian was just filling his cup with freshly brewed coffee. “Doug and I´ve talked with the receptionist of the night shift, Ms. Mc Gregor. Her duty starts at nine p.m. …â€Damian reached the thermos jug to Douglas who took it to also fill his cup.Damian continued, “Sie said it was a silent night. Most of the guests had been on the way as she could see on the keys that were hanging in the key box. She admitted that she´d left her place at the reception desk several times, but she claimed that she never stayed away long. In her opinion not more than a few minutes. She remembered that someone had been waiting in the lobby, but that´s not unusual and she didn´t pay much attention to the man.â€Ben nodded. The piece of paper where he´d made a note about the times when Ms. Mc Gregor had left her place rustled when he unfolded it. “She´d left her place for four times: 9:42 p.m., 12:23 a.m., 2:12 a.m., and 4:38 a.m. The first two times are the most interesting ones. You should have a look at that.â€Sam walked to the TV and pushed the tape into the recorder. A moment later, the motel lobby appeared on the screen. The lights were dimmed down and only at the reception desk there was light. It was silent, exactly what Ms. Mc Gregor had told them.She was sitting behind the reception desk. Once, a young couple hurried from the elevator to the reception desk to reach the key to the receptionist. A bit later two light dressed young women returned in high spirits, received their keys and giggling disappeared into the elevator.“Now, look out!â€, Ben advised. “Rico´s key is the third one from the left in the third row from the top.â€The clock in the lower right corner jumped to 9:42 p.m.. Ms. Mc Gregor got up and hurriedly vanished through the door into the back rooms.In the same moment a man entered the lobby. He quickly walked to the elevators to push the button before he hurried to the reception desk. Two men with wide brimmed hats who were wearing jeans and sneakers carried two suitcases into the motel.Immediately, they walked to the elevator that opened the same time.The man who´d been walking to the reception desk – he also wore a wide brimmed hat – targetted reached for Rico´s key. He took it to the men in the elevator, but stayed outside. The whole time he lowered his head to hide his face in the shade of the hat.Ben stopped the film. It was 9:43:01 now. “Ms. Mc Gregor is about 5 ft 5 tallâ€, he explained while rewounding the tape to the scene where the lady got up to leave her place. They could see that her head reached to the keys that belonged to the rooms of the sixth floor.Ben let the film run fast forward, but had to rewind it then because he´d reeled to far. When he reachd the scene where the man with the hat grabbed Rico´s key, he stopped the film again. The edge of the hat towered above the keys for the eighth – and last – floor.“If we subtract the height of the hat, this man is about 6 ft tall. Black hair, southern type. Mandy of the crime lab takes care for the processing of the picture where we can se him from the side.â€He continued to run the movie. At 9:47 p.m. Ms. Mc Gregor returned. She received a call and two guests with suitcases entered the lobby, received their keys and vanished into the elevator. Thereafter, it got silent.“She told me that the man who´d been waiting for someone, was sitting in the sitting area on the left side of the lobbyâ€, Billy explained.At 12: 23 a.m. Ms. Mc Gregor left her place again. A minute later, the two men with the suitcases left the elevator. The hat of the third man covered the viewfinder for a moment. Suddenly, they could see a young man´s face, but only for a second.Sonny grew stiff. A jolt went through his body when he sat upright. “Wait, Ben! Return to his face!â€Everybody looked at Sonny while Ben rewounded the film. When the young man´s face appeared again he stopped.Sonny stared at the face while his thoughts were twisting around. He knew this man, but he belonged to West Palm Beach and not to Miami.“He´s member of the Hell Riders, a motorbike gang who should be responsible for the blackmailing and the murder my team is investigating. His name is …Mike… Mike… Laurence. Unfortunately, we couldn´t prove anything until now. We know that they´d been at the scene of crime, but the witnesses are to afraid to tell us anything.â€Castillo looked at Estelle and suddenly he noticed that Billy still hadn´t shown up. Castillo frowned and Sonny, who also thought on Billy that moment, remembered Izzy´s warning. He dragged his mobile out of the pocket and dialed Billy´s mobile number. But Billy didn´t pick up. Only the friendly metal voice of the mailbox tried to tell him that Billy wasn´t reachable at this time. Sonny hung up and dialed the number of the landline phone, but he only heard Billy´s number on the mailbox. He hung up, but jumped up at the same time.“I´ll drive to the beach houseâ€, he told.“I´ll accompany youâ€, Rico decided while also jumping up. The chair turned over and fell to the floor with a loud bang.One hour had gone by since Billy had been attacked.

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THIRTY – FOURAgain, Sonny raced like a lunatic through the streets of the city and over the expressway. He had to take the most blame because he hadn´t previously tried to call Billy. Something must have happened because Billy didn´t pick up, even though Sonny tried to reach him again ad again during the breakneck drive.“I´d warned him! Come on, Billy, pick up!†Sonny urged, but he still heard the monotone „tut – tut!“ until the mailbox got on.“Damn, if I had known that he wanted to drive home first…!â€â€œSonny, we can´t permanently hold our hands nowâ€, Rico interferred with his eyes fixed on the road. His muscles were tensed until Sonny had driven off of the headquarter´s parking lot with a racing start. More than once he thought that they could be involved in an accident because Sonny sometimes paid more attention to his mobile than on the street.Actually, Sonny needed 25 minutes to drive from the headquarter to the beach house, but now he managed it in only 15 minutes. The first thing they discovered was the Porsche that was parked in front of the house. So, Billy must be in the house.Sonny braked hard, jumped out of the car, and ran to the front door without shutting the car door. Billy´s entrance door was locked.“Billy!†Sonny shouted while slamming with his fist against the wooden door.Rico ran to the window that belonged to the bedroom and that was situated on the right side next to the living – room. He tried to have a look through a gap in the drapes, but he could only see a tiny pat of Billy´s bed with the lavender colored bedlinen.Sonny continued shouting his son´s name, but after the third try in vain, he slammed his shoulder against the door. Cracking, the door gave away and slammed against the wall.Sonny stormed into the living – room. Quickly, his look traveled around, bt he couldn´t see any indications for a fight.“He´s driven home, probably to get shavedâ€, Estelle had told.Sonny knew his son well. Billy hated stubbles. Unambigously, Billy had spent the last night with Estelle, probably in her motel room because he´d thought that Sonny would spent the night in the beach house on the sofa. Unshaved, he drove to the ARIANA – MOTEL, but he wanted to get shaved before he drove to the office.Sonny ran to the bathroom door. It was closed, but not locked. He pushed it open and discovered Billy lying in the blood puddle.“I´ve found him, Rico! Call the ambulance! He´s injured!†Sonny shouted.Billy was lying on the right sholder with his right leg slightly bent and the left leg stretched out.Sonny kneeled down behind him, touched for the pulse at the neck, and sighed in relief when he found it. It was weak and fluttered like a small bird, but it was there.Billy quietly sighed.Carefully, Sonny turned his son around. He saw that Billy´s right hand was lying on his abdomen. It was covered in blood and so was Billy´s shirt. Sonny discovered more cuts, but the wound in the abdomen was the worst.“Hold on!†Sonny implored.Until the ambulance arrived, Rico and Sonny did their best to take care for the wounds. When Rico, alert becaue of Sonny´s shouts, hurried into the house, he´d discovered several shoe prints on the smoke grey carpet because of the sun that had shone through the windows.Rico knew that the first aid attendants wouldn´t enter the house carefully. So, it was necessary that he secured the shoe prints before the ambulance arrived.Rico was sure that the prints belonged to the attackers shoes because the groove profile indicated to work shoes, but Billy only wore canvas.He ran into the kitchen and let his look travel around in search for something he could use to secure the prints.The wailing sirens were coming closer while Rico tore open all the cupboard doors. Then, he discovered the Wok in the storeroom next to the kitchen, grabbed it and put it on one of the marks.The ambulance stopped in front of the house and so did Damian´s Jaguar XKR. Behind him, Carla Scott stopped her Jeep.Then, two first aid attendants entered the house where Rico showed them the way to the bathroom, but asked them to avoid kicking against the Wok.“What has happened?†Damian wanted to know when he and Douglas also enterd the house.“The hunt for us is in full swingâ€, Rico replied. “That has happened! Billy has a stab wound in his abdomen and several cuts in his arms.â€He pointed on the place where the Wok was lying upside down on the carpet. “But, kindly, the attacker had left shoe prints on the carpet.â€Rico left the house. The wind was blowing hard and pushed the less white clouds away. The water of the sea seemed to rebel and it shot over the sand like the long tongue of an insect-eater. In the distance, the white sails of a ship billowed in the wind.In about 200 yards, he discovered several young people who were sitting on the beach. Music scraps were blown to him and every now and then he could hear laughters. The three girls were wearing tiny bikinis, the two boys wore bathing shorts. They were joking and laughing.Rico didn´t believe that they´d seen something. Even if they´d watched a man leaving this house, they wouldn´t have thought anything.With his head lowered, Rico walked around the house, counterclockwise. He didn´t know what he was searching for, but he was sure to know that it was a track if he saw it.Slowly, he walked towards the street while thinking on how things could have happened. Of course, he had noticed that Billy had worn the same clothes as yesterday when they´d met in the ARIANA MOTEL. He discovered that Billy´d been unshaved, and that he and Estelle had exchanged amorous glances.So, he knew that he hadn´t been the only one who´d spent the night in another bed than his own.But the attacker couldn´t have known when Billy – or Sonny? – would return home. Maybe, he´d been waiting the whole night and left some usable tracks.Slowly, Rico walked along the street. Several cars and motorbikes passed him and every time he heard the noises of an engine, he nervously raised his head. Nobody could know whether the attacker returned.Suddenly, Rico stopped. A smile spread out on his face while he was looking at a large amount of stubs someone carelessly had thrown away. Beneath a bush, Rico discovered Billy´s bunch of keys.The same time Rico heard a car coming closer in very high speed and Rico instinctively knew that he had to react in a very fast way now.

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Christine

THIRTY – FIVEDamian had had a similar thought as Rico, but he circled the house clockwise. He discovered imprints with the same profile like the ones Carla, his sister, was securing on the smoke – grey carpet in the living – room at this time. Before Damian had left the house Carla had looked at her brother and with a grin on her face she´d told him, “I´d never used a Wok to save tracks from beeing destroyed. I´m always amazed to find out for what things kitchen utensils can also be used.â€Damian followed the imprints past the carport toward the street. But then he stopped. The wind that was blowing frrom the ocean swirled the sand and covered the imprints.With his head lowered, Damian walked round the carport and along the hedge where he discovered another print very close to the hedge. Now he was sure that the attacker had come from the street where he, apparently had been sitting in a car waiting for Billy to return home.When he arrived at the street he saw that Rico had already arrived and was searching for tracks there. With every vehicle that came along, he nervously raised his head. Damian understood him well. He also felt very nervous. They had no idea who the attackers were and how many of them were sent out to kill the members of the Vice team.Suddenly, he realized the van that was racing along the street with high speed.Rico discovered it too.The sunroof opened and a guy, wearing a jeans cap and sunglasses, appeared in the opening, holding a Mac10 in his hands.´Rico jumped behind the bushes to his right. He fell to the ground, rolled around, and pulled his gun. Shots rang out. Rico couldn´t see the van, but the bullets of the Mac10 tore the bush apart. Branches were flying around and the earth was spraying fountain equally.Rico threw himself to the left and again he rolled around. He pinched his eyes to protect them. Then, his shoulder hit a root that loomed out of the ground. A terrible pain shot through his body and Rico groaned, but grit his teeth. Behind an oak he jumped on his feet and had a quick glance around the tree.The van had braked. The man with the jeans cap fired alternately to the right and the left.There, Damian tried to reach the safety of the hedge by rolling and crawling. Once he jumped on his feet and ducked ran a few steps, but then he had to throw himself onto the ground again.When the van appeared he´d been standing at a place without any chance of protection.Rico could see the marksman´s back. He pinched his lips. Actually, one didn´t shoot someone in the back, but actually it wasn´t propper to install a spring gun in someone´s motel room or place a bomb in a wedding cake.Rico targetted on the man and shot. The man was thrown to the front and the Mac10 slipped off his hands. It skidded across the roof, slammed onto the hood, and from there it leaped on the street.The man with the jeans cap stayed lying half on the roof while the driver accelerated with screeching tires, followed by a Chrysler Stratus with colored panes that seemed to appear from nothing.Rico ran to the gun that was lying on the street. “You´re OK, Dam?†he shouted.Damian got on his knees before he jumped on his feet. “I´m fine, thanks.â€â€œFine is differentâ€, Rico murmured while carefully picking up the Mac10 by taking it at the barrel.Douglas and Sonny appeard with pulled guns next to the carport.“My Godess! What has happened? Didn´t anyone shoot?†Damian told.Damian brushed the sand off his trousers while Rico was coming closer, carrying the Mac10 with three fingers.“Yeahâ€, Damian angrily groaned and Rico added, “ Gradually, I really have enough of being the target for the target practices of criminal idiots!â€He snorted like an angry bull. “All that I wanted was to celebrate my son´s wedding in the sunshine state.â€He trudged to the house to bring Carla the weapon, but then he stopped at the carport because the first aid attendants were carrying Billy out of the house. An oxygen mask covered his mouth and his nose and an IV line was leading from a bottle to the left arm vein.“I´ll accompany him to the hospitalâ€, Sonny told and put the keys for the Ferrari Stradale Challenge into Rico´s pocket. “Please take care for my car.â€â€œYou better should take care for yourselfâ€, Rico replied.The van drove off on high speed. The driver had noticed the follower and after he´d tried to shake it off for a while, he dialed a mobile number. “We´ve got problems.†– “No, it didn´t work.†– He´s hanging in the opening. I think he´s dead. Someone´s following me.†– “Listen! Tell Doc, he should go underground for a while. I think Tubbs had seen the number on the liescence plate.â€The car raced around a corner with screeching tires. The marksman fell onto the backseat. His head slammed against the window and cut open. Blood spread over the window pane and the driver quietly swore. “Send me backup and let Doc know about what I`ve told you.â€He simply hung up.Sometime in the evening, Sonny called to tell Rico that he would stay with Billy in the hospital. He had already called Caroline and she was on the way from Atlanta to Miami.“Is there anything new you can tell me about Billy´s condition?†Rico wanted to know.“He´d fought rather hard and therefore had suffered several injuries. The stab in his abdomen was deep - five and a half inch -, but fortunately, it hadn´t hit an artery. Your friend Amber thinks that it could have been a boning knife because of the blade´s shape. About Billy´s condition – we have to wait for the night.â€â€œHe´ll succeed, Sonnyâ€, Rico tried to comfort his friend.The windowless lab was bathed in cold, harsh neonlight which gave the gleaming silver pipes of the air conditioning the appearance of hostile giant worms. Several metal tables with different gadgets on it lined up in the middle of the room. Cables winded their ways like snakes over the floor and repeatedly turned to stumbling traps. At the wall next to the door there was a sink set into a marbel – granite slab. Next to it in a cupboard with glass doors there were standing bottles filled with different chemicals. At another wall there was standing the big cage with the rats in it that were used for different tests.Several gadgets were working with humming or slurping noises, controlled by a heavy, dark haired man in a white coat and black trousers.The man groaned angrily when the telephone started ringing. He disliked it to be disturbed while working. Some processes needed a permanent control. He couldn´t use any distraction, then. Therefore, he thought about ignoring the ringing.After a while it stopped, but started again a few seconds later.Angrily, the man tore the receiver to his ear. “Yeah?†he beefed.“It´s me, Freddie. I want to tell you that you better shouldn´t go home for a while, Doc.â€â€œWhat does that mean?†Doc glanced to the gadgets he urgently had to take care for if he didn´t wat that his work hd been in vain.“That means that the guys had borrowed your van to bur the cops one on the fur at Crockett´s beach house. Now, the cops apparently have your address.â€â€œOh, damn!†Doc swore. “Call for me! I urgently have to get some of my stuff and I hope that you´d taken care for an acceptable accomodation.â€Angrily he slammed the receiver. Then, he hesitated for a second before he took the telephone to throw it against the wall where it broke to pieces.The rats excitedly ran around in the cage. They jumped up the bars and climbed over each other, an almost human behavior. As soon as something was happening everyone wanted to be as close to it as possible. Eventually, one could miss something!The guys had asked him for the van because they, apparently, had wanted to buy something. He´d thought that it was about a bulky object. For things like that the van was well suited. If he had known that it was about a shoot out, he wold never had lend them the car.He grabbed his mobile and dialed a number. “It´s me! Doc! I´ve got a problem and I can´t go home for a while.â€While picking up the pieces of the telephone he listened. “It´s only for a while until things have calmed down.â€He put the pieces accurate next to each other on a table. The thing was gone, that´s for sure.“They won´t search for me with you in Coral Gables!â€He listend, groaned, and slammed the left fist on the table. “Damn! The boss should think about a solvation, then.†– “OK, see you!†He pushed the button to finish the call.Swearing, Doc switched the gadgets off. One had finished. He took of its content and carried the little glass tube to the fridge so that it didn´t spoil.“These idiots!†He cussed and slammed the fridge door so hard that it opened again. He closed it before he hurried to the room next door. His jacket hung in a small cupboard. He took off the coat, hung it on a hanger, and took the jacket on.He glanced over the uncomfortable couch with a hideous, bright orange pillows and a scratchy, charcoal-colored wool blanket, and the desk with the wobbly chair in front of it.For a second he thought on staying here. Nobody knew about this lab, so there was no need to be afraid that someone could discover him. Then, he rejected the idea. The idiots who were responsible for this akward situation should take care for a comfortable place where he could stay after quitting time.And Doc switched off the lights.

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THIRTY – SIXRico took care for the films that had been taken by the wedding guests. He should have done it already, but on one hand too many things had happened since Sunday, and on the other hand it was hard for him to have a look at the pictures of the smiling bride and groom and the merely loooking guests again. If he was honest, he had to admit that he had put many things forward as a pretext to not experience the cruel moment again.After he´d spoken with Sonny on the phone, he called Alaina to find out how she was feeling, and then he dialed the number of the university hospital to speak with Alessio. Of course his son was still depressed and only wanted to know whether Vice had any indications to the perpetrators.Thereafter, there was no more excuse that could keep him away from watching the films. Rico walked into the briefing room and pushed the first cassette into the recorder. Then, he first took a deep breathe before pushing the start – button.Through the window shades, he could see the flickering on Trudy´s screen. Rico had memorized parts of the van´s and the Chryssler Stratus´liescence plate number. Now Trudy tried to find the owners of the cars.Rico sank on a chair, his eyes fixed on the TV. His heart started beating faster when the picture of the Sunday, that should actually become the most beautiful day in Anna´s and Alessio´s life, appeared.He saw Alessio standing there with the priest, waiting for his bride to come. The camera waved around and Rico saw the expecting expressions on the guests faces. They all had turned around to look to the house from where Anna should come. The chairs next to the center aisle were decorated with yellow, red, and white roses.Then, Anna appeared. As her father was already dead – he died in a car accident in 2006 - her uncle had taken the part to accompany Anna to Alessio. Now, her uncle was lying in the same hospital as Alessio.Rico sat stock still and was breathing shallow while the day ws passing by again.He pushed the button and the film ran fast forward to the moment, when Anna and Alessio had taken the knife.Rico stopped the film. He swallowed hard and took a deep breathe before he continued to run the movie.Alessio was standing behind Anna. Both were holding the knife to cut the cake together.Anna´s uncle had been standing opposite with his camera.Rico saw as the knife cut the marcipane plate where the frosting bride and groom were standing in between blood red marcipane roses. Alessio leaned towards Anna´s left ear. Obviously, he said something funny because Anna turned her head to his face and laughed.Then, Rico watched as the cake exploded. Like a silver shining arrow, the knife passed the camera that also flew through the air. Whipped cream transformed to clouds in the bright blue sky. In the viewfinder, the green of the lawn appeared, then the brown color of the roof construction. Blood splatters hit the camera, and for a second Rico recognized the little German girl with the red hair who was swirled through the air.He heard the bang of the explosion, the yells of the guests, and the cracking of the breaking down roof construction and the tables.The camera cracked with the lens on the ground and it got dark. Only the groaning and the yells of the injured people stayed.For a moment, Rico sat motionless on the chair. While watching the film the horror crept up from his feet to his body where it spread out. Now he had to come together again before he was willing to watch the next film.On the third film he discovered the deliverer. He was a dark haired, southern type who had worn a jeans cap and sunglasses. Black, wavy hair flowed out from under the cap. As the man was standing close to Maria – whose height Rico knew – he could calculate the man´s approximate height, between 6 ft and 6 ft 2. Therefore, he was sure that it wasn´t Dean Rogers. Even if Dean had worn a wig, about five inches were missing.Rico called Mark Jones and asked him to come to the Vice briefing room. After Mark appeared, he showed him the picture and asked, “Do you think you´re able to unveil our southern Mona Lisa?â€Mark Jones pinched his blue eyes before he shrugged. “In any case I can try it.â€When Mark left the briefing room, Trudy walked in. On her triumphant smile Rico recognized that she´d found out something important.“The van from which the marksman had shot at you belonged to the – until now - perfectly respectable Tommy Williams.â€With a grin as wide as the good ol´ Mississippi at high water, she waved a piece of paper. “And here is his address!â€Rico jumped up and grabbed his jacket while Trudy thoughtfully continued,†But the other car confuses me.â€â€œWhy?†Rico wanted to know while putting the jacket on.“It belongs to a man named George Rastigan. He´s a private eye.â€Rico took the piece of paper when he passed Trudy on his way out. “Then, someone should ask Mr. Private Eye what he´d done out there.â€â€œTubbs!†Castillo´s voice stopped Rico in the middle of the open – plan office. Only Sarah was there, working on her computer.Rico turned around and looked at Castillo. “Take Parson and Pride with you. Bradford and Garner should take care for Rastiganâ€, Castillo ordered.“Damian is at home. I´ll call Damian to send him and Douglas to Williams´ addressâ€, Trudy told.Rico left the office.The dark dressed person darted across the ungarded parking lot to the front seat passenger´s side of the black Camarro that was parking at the side of the street. His look raised up the apartment complex to the illuminated windows on the third floor. Then, he got into the car, and put the leather bag he´d been carrying in his right hand on the ground.“Everything OK?†The man behind the steering wheel asked.“Yeahâ€, the other man replied. “That´ll be a nice bang. I only feel sorry for the pretty Jaguar.â€The driver switched the engine on and drove off while in the apartment on the third floor the telephone started ringing.

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THIRTY – SEVENBen had invited Sam to dinner to the OLD MIAMI STEAK HOUSE and she didn´t turn it down. They had a great dinner together, talked, and Ben thought that Sam was a woman he really was interested in. At about ten p.m., she asked him to take her to her motel.“Don´t you want to come to me, Sam?†Ben asked. “My confidence in motels has suffered in the last few days.â€Only for a second he thought that his own four walls weren´t safe either as the attack on Billy clearly had showed. But then he pushed this thought aside. Watched from this point of view there was no safe place for the members of the Vice team. The enemie knew the face and address of each Vice detective, including the addresses of the colleagues from the other cities. Vice, however, had no idea where the bombardment came from. They knew a few names, but nothing tangible.When he told Sam about his thoughts, she put her hand on his and replied, “Ben, you´re a nice guy, but I don´t go for short affairs.â€Ben understandably nodded. “I don´t go for these purely in the box - out of the box relationship, but I´m worried about you.â€Sam smiled. Softly she squeezed his hand. “Nevertheless, I would like to stay in my motel room - alone.â€â€œOK, like you wnt itâ€, Ben countered.On the way, he thought about the less information that they had:Alesandro DeLa Rosa didn´t return to his trailer after Damian and Douglas had visited him there. Danny Crail had been thrown dead off a bridge, Freddie Barnes had disappeared, and Tommy Williams´ name couldn´t be found in the criminal records.The three guys who had installed the spring gun in Tubbs´ motel room belonged to a gang from West Palm Beach. Nobody knew where they were staying here in Miami and as long as they wore helmets nobody could identify them.Suddenly, the headlamps of two motorbikes appeared in the Chevrolet Blazer´s rear – view mirror.Ben got nervous. Sam recognized the way he looked into the rear – view mirror. She turnd around, discovered the motorbikes and said, “Oh – oh!2 Then, she pulld her gun and added, “One can never know!â€Ben nodded. He saw that the drivers separated. One motorbike drove to the left, the other one to the right side. In the hnds of the pillon riders, Ben saw guns flashing.“Hold an!†Ben groaned and put his foot down.The Chevrolet Blazer accelerated with screeching tires, but so did the motorbikes on the left and the right. Shots rang out and the Chevrolet´s window panes burst with a loud bang.Ben ducked and tore the steering wheel alternately to the left and the right. Brakes were screeching, metal hit on metal, and in the rear – view mirror Ben saw the fire of an explosion.The Chevrolet hit a barrier, turned around, got free, and continued driving. Bullets were wizzing through the car.Sam had slipped into the footwell. From there she targetted on the motorbike rider on her side and fired. The first shoot went wrong because Ben had torn the steering wheel round in the false moment.A bullet tore the driver seat´s headrest apart. With a hollow bang followed by a loud clang the windshield exploded. On the oncoming street several vehicles crashed into one another and another explosion lit up the darkness.Sam grabbed the radio. With Ben´s help she gave the colleagues their position before she aimed her gun on the motorbike driver on her side again. The car lurched and Sam´s left shoulder slammed against the door. Within a hair´s breadth the gun had fell off her hand. But then she recognized the motorbike rider on Ben´s side. He came closer and closer and Sam knew that the pillon rider would fire into the car the very next moment.Now, the driver was almost next to the driver´s side. He could look into the Chevrolet and at Ben´s face. Sam aimed her gun on him and fired. The visor burst and the head inside exploded like an overripe melon. Blood spread out and something flew into the car, but in the darkness Sam couldn´t see what it was. Above all, there was no time to think about it.The motorbike broke away to the side, slammed onto the street, and turned around like a spinning top on the asphalt. The pillon rider turned over, but before he could get on his feet, he was hit by a truck.Its driver braked hard, but couldn´t hinder the accident. The pillon rider disappeared beneath the vehicle.“Are you OK, Ben?†Sam asked.“Yeahâ€, Ben squeezed out while furthermore turning the steering wheel once to the left and once to the right.In the far, they could hear wailing sirens. The colleagues were on the way to rescue them, but there were still one motorbike rider and his pillon rider left.The next shoot of the enemies gun tore the right front tire apart. For amoment, Ben lost control and Sam, who was still cowering in the footwell, automatically grabbed on the seat to hold on. Her hand touched something warm, wet, and round.Ben regained control again and Sam opened her hand to find out about what she´d found on the seat. A blue eye was looking a her.She screamed in horror and let go off the eye that fell into the footwell.Ben quickly glanced at her before he paid his attention to the street again. “What´s wrong?â€â€œAn eye. A blue eye. It´s lying somewhere in the footwell nowâ€, Sam hectically replied while disgustedly cleaning her hand at her trousers. She returned to the seat.“Ben, look out!†She screamed.Ben tore the steering wheel round hard, but it was too late. He hit a little truck´s right fender and the Chevrolet Blazer was levered into the air. He slammed on the front seat passenger´s side before he turned over onto the roof. Around them, brakes were shreeking, several cars banged into each other, and somewhere a horn didn´t stop sounding.The wailing sirens came closer and closer.

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THIRTY – EIGHTDamian had tried to call Douglas in his motel room, but he didn´t pick up. Douglas had told him that he wanted to rent a car and now Damian assumed that Douglas was on the way in town to implement his plan.Damian had a look into his notice book to search for Douglas´ mobile number. He dialed it and left, with the mobile squeezed on his ear, the apartment. Possibly, he could meet Douglas somewhere so that the colleague could follow him to Tommy Williams´ address.Douglas didn´t pick up.Damian crossed the street and hurried to the Jaguar that was parking on the parking lot. When he pushed the remote control, he heard the rattling noise of the unlocking central and inside the car the light blazed up.He got into the car and switched the engine on. The same moment his mobile started ringing and Damian picked up.“It´me, Doug. I´m standing in front of your apartment complex and want to play the driver tonight. What do you say to that?â€With a grin on his face, Damian switched the engine off. “Ok, but it´ll not be a joyrideâ€, he countered while leaving the car. It rattled again when he locked the car with the remote control.Damian hurried to the street, but he had hardly arrived at the silver shining Audi A4 when an ear – deafening bang tore apart the silence.Damian grew stiff. With his eyes wide open in horror he stared to the parking lot where a giantic tongue of flame lit up the sky. A second later a third tongue of flame followed. Car fragments were flying around everywhere, a tire raced like a bullet towards them, slammed on the street, and staggering rolled to the side of the street. Always spinning around a car door flew towards Damian and clattered on the asphalt. Other fragments hit parked cars and somewhere a car´s alarm system started howling.Stunned and without breathing, Douglas left the car. With his eyes and mouth wide open he stared to the parking lot, while his hands were clinching the edge of the car door.“Oh, my Godness!†he shouted.“My car!†Douglas groaned as if there wasn´t anything more important in the world.“Good that you hadn´t been in it!†Douglas replied while dragging the mobile out of his pocket to call Castillo.Rico was on the way to Tommy Williams´ address. The images of the video camera were still haunting around in his mind. It had been the fourth bomb placed by the killers, but Rico was sure that more would follow if they didn´t find a way to stop them.Tommy Williams was a good starting point. If he really was unblemished until now and had only slipped into this bad story, it would be easy to persuade him to make him speak.“Better In Time†from Leona Lewis was suddenly interrupted because of the things that had happened on the Don Shula Expressway. Because of that the road was partially blocked.Rico listened to the report. The reporter told that widnesses had seen that four people on motorbikes had attacked the Chevrolet Blazer and had shot at it. All together sixteen cars were involved in accidents because of this. Seven people died, eleven got injured, most of them seriously.A bad feeling spread out in Rico´s stomach because he knew that Ben was driving a Chevrolet Blazer. Of course, other people drove similar cars, but after the things that had happened during the last days Rico thought that his bad feeling was entitled.He grabbed his mobile and called Castillo. “Here´s Tubbs. The story on the Expressway… is someone of us involved in it?â€â€œBradford and Garnerâ€, Castillo replied. “They´re on the way to the hospital now, but it seemed as if they´d luck and were only slightly injured.â€â€œThank Godâ€, Rico sighed while turning into the street where Tommy Williams was living.“Take care on yourself, Rico. I just received the message that Parson´s car exploded.â€Horrified, Rico braked hard and the car stopped in the middle of the road. What luck that nobody was behind him.“What about Damian?†he asked.“Fortunately, he wasn´t in the car. He and Pride are now on the way to support you.â€â€œOKâ€, Rico replied.They finished the call and Rico slowly continued driving until he found Williams´ address. He couldn´t recognize that much because a high, unkempt hedge bordered the propperty. The open gate was hanging askew on its hinges and high trees covered the view on the house.Rico got out of the car. He let his eyes travel around, but hadn´t the feeling that someone was watching him. From one house basses penetrated to him, but he couldn´t tell to which song they belonged.When a car came along the street, Rico ducked behind the Hummer. The car passed and vanished into a driveway almost at the end of the street.Rico darted over the street, crossed the gate, and merged with the shadow of the first tree on the right side. It was a walnut tree with a spreading top.Rico quickly searched for his way to the house, above all as he saw that there were no lights behind the windows. Either Tommy Williams was someone who always went to bed early – after all it was not even ten p.m. – or he was in one of the rooms on the other side of the house, or he wasn´t at home. In any case the garage on the left side of the house was closed.The house itself seemed to be small. Rico estimated that it wasn´t bigger than Billy´s beach house, but it looked unkempt, as far as Rico could see it in the light of the full moon. The paint peeled off from the front door and the weeds sprouting out of every crack of the pavement.Carefully, Rico walked around the house, but it was dark inside. He tried to open the doors, but they were locked. It looked as if Tommy wasn´t at home.Rico checked the windows. He smiled when he found one he could push up without any noises. With a closer look he found out that the window lock was broken.Nevertheless, he stayed careful. Maybe the gangsters had calculated that Vice would appear here and the broken window lock was part of a trap.Rico grabbed the curtain that refused a look inside the room, tore it to the side, and squeezed himself against the wall. Without breathing, he waited for a second, but nothing happened.He pulled his gun before he had a look inside the room. He couldn´t see that much, but according to the shadows it seemed to be a bedroom.Quietly, Rico climbed into the house, touched along the walls and the furniture to the door where his fingers found the light switch. Light flooded the room.In fact, Rico was standing in a bedroom with white furniture and blue rugs on a eggshell colored carpet. But from a picture that was hanging above the bed two people smiled at him that, actually, belonged to the past.

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THIRTY – NINESonny was sitting at Billy´s bed and showered with accusations, even though he wasn´t to blame for anything that had happened. Of course, he´d warned Billy, but nobody could have guessed that someone would attack him at home, or do they?.The spring gun in Rico´s motel room should have, actually, made them clear that there was no safe place for them.Maybe, he should have asked himself earlier where Billy was, but in fact he wouldn´t likely had had the chance to prevent the attack.Several times, a nurse walked in to check the infusion and the other gadgets Billy was connected to.For about half an hour Estelle joined him, but then she returned to the office, determined to contribute to catch the mastermind.It was about 10:30 p.m. when Amber entered the room. She wasn´t wearing her surgical coat and her hood now and the white coat, she was wearing now, casually stood open. Beneath, she was wearing jeans and a raspberry colored blouse.She had a look at the constantly dripping infusion, touched for Billy´s pulse, and lit in his eyes.“He´ll succeed, Mr. Crockettâ€, she calmed him down and worriedly she added, “Seems as if someone is behind Vice detectives.â€Amber´s pager started chirping. She took it out of the pocket, had a look on the display and sighed. “So much about my evening. Sorry, but I have to go to the emergency room.â€She left and Sonny stayed behind, looking from Billy´s face to the ECG appliance and back. The curve was constant, a good sign, but actually Billy shouldn´t be here in hospital.Sonny would return to work as soon as Caroline arrived. He was determined to catch the gangsters.Suddenly he recognized that he, actually, had had a date with Eliana tonight. He had forgotten about that because of the attack on his son. At least, Sonny decided to call her and to apologize. If she really liked him she would understand that the most important things for him were now to be with his son and to catch the perpetrator.Sonny hurried to the phone booth next to the ward office. There, he searched for Eliana´s number in his notice book, put a coin in the slot, dialed the number and waited for her to pick up.“It´s me, Sonnyâ€, he told her, then.“What a surpriseâ€, Eliana replied. She sounded insulted and he could understand her well. Eventually, she´d been waiting for him for more than two hours in vain.“I didn´t expect to hear from you, Sonny.â€â€œI´m sorry, Eliana, but my son got badly injured because of an attack and he needed emergency surgery.â€Eliana made a horrified noise and her voice changed from insulted to compassionate. “Oh, my Godness, that´s dreadful! How is he?â€Sonny sighed, turned around and looked at the glass door that belonged to Billy´s room. “He´ll succeed.â€Eliana sighed in relief. “That´s quite good.â€â€I hope you understand that I want to stay with him nowâ€, Sonny told.Around him it got hectically. Nurses ran long the hallway and a bed was pushed through the glass doors that led to the emergency room on the ward and from there to a room.“Of course I understand it. In which hospital is he?†Eliana wanted to know.“St. Elisabeth. Why do you ask?†Sonny wanted to know.Another bed was hurriedly carried to a room and Sonny grabbed a few words on. “Don Shula Expressway…†– “Multiple collision…†– “If someone would shoot at you…â€â€œMaybe, I´ll bring breakfast tomorrow. What do you think about that?â€Sonny smiled. “It sounds good. See you tomorrow.â€Eliana hung up. She also smiled while leaning backwards in her turquise colored silk pillows. The thin cloth in the same color nestled up on her naked body.“What did he say?†A pleasant male voice with an unambigous South American accent asked from the bathroom.Eliana lolled like a kitten. She rolled to her right side, leaned on her ellbow, and put her chin into the palm of her hand.“Someone had attacked his son. What does one say to that?†She didn´t sound compassionate any longer, but sarcastically. “Unfortunately, he will survive.â€â€œUntil tomorrow, little angelâ€, the man in the bathroom replied. “At last after the breakfast both Crocketts are nothing more than history. You´ll take care for that.â€

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FOURTYWith painful expressions Ben tried to drag his legs out of the footwell. The steering wheel squeezed his private parts and the gear lever pressed against his right shoulder. Blood was running from his eyebrow in his left eye. He pinched his eyes until he succeeded to raise his left hand up and wipe the blood away. Unfortunately, he couldn´t move his right arm because he was lying on it.“Sam?†He arduously groaned. “Sam, are you OK?â€Sam was clamped in the footwell. It had catapulted the jeep from the street while she just was tryng to wiggle herself off the footwell. Of course, she didn´t want to sit on the seat where the blue eye had been lying, but squat. Then, the car turned over and now she was hanging headlong in the footwell.The front seat passenger´s door was badly demaged and the glove compartment was pressed down when the car landed on the roof.“I´m hereâ€, Sam replied. At this moment she cuoldn´t tell if anything was broken. Only the blood rose in her head and she felt as if she was squeezed in a sardin can.Sam heard noises and the car moved when someone dragged at the door. Unfortunately, he couldn´t open it.“What about you, Ben?â€â€œI don´t know. I couldn´t… ask all parts of… my body.â€Even though there wasn´t a reason Sam started laughing. “At least your sense of humor is undamaged.â€Ben groaned. “But if I´m not… rescued soon my… family plans are demaged forever.â€The wailing sirens came closer and closer and kept quiet with a last tormented sounding noise when Ben, at least, succeeded to free his legs and rescue his family plans himself.Orders were shouted and spotlights were focussed on the car. Someone carefully wiped off the glass fragments in the window of the front seat passenger´s side away, then someone looked into the car. Sam saw a bearded first aid attendant and even though the beard was wasn´t white but chocloate brown, she immediately thought about Santa Claus.“I´m Sam. How are you?†the first aid attendant asked.Samantha grinned. “I´m also Sam and… if the world … is no longer on the head… I certainly feel much better.â€â€œI agree!†Ben groaned.“We´ll get you out thereâ€, the beareded Sam promised.Absolutely shocked Damian sat beside Douglas in the rented car. The Jaguar had been the car of his dreams. For a long time he´d been thinking on whether to buy it. Now it felt as if he´d lost a very good friend.But in the meantime he saw clearly that he could be dead now. In fact, it was about ten or fifteen seconds that had saved his life. Douglas´ call had reached him at the right time.They´d been waiting for their colleagues to come. Damian ran to the parking lot where the fires of the three burning cars had spent enough light. Car fragmentes were lying everywhere. Smoke and the smell of fuel were filling the air.When it cracked under his right shoe, Damian automatically crouched. Johnny Cash reproachfully looked at him from a charred CD.Damian got upright again and continued walking. Besides of the totally demaged cars there were, at least, about four slightly demaged vehicles.People were leaving the apartment complex now and several people uttered screams when they discovered their more or less demaged cars.The same time, several policecars, the fire brigade, and explosives experts came racing along the street.The first car stopped and Carla jumped out of it. She ran to Damian and hugged him in relief. “Thank God, you´re OK, Dam! You are OK, or not?â€â€œYes, I´m OK. You can Doug thank for thatâ€, Damian grimly replied. “Listen, Rico is awaiting me and Doug. He´d gotten an indication we should pursue together. If you find usable tracks, please tell me about it.â€Carla just nodded.Damian hurried to Douglas and got into the car. He had called Trudy to tell her that he really was OK, but thereafter he grew stiff.Douglas drove off and Damian´s only reaction was to tell him where to turn left or right.Douglas didn´t say a word until they reached the street where Tommy Williams was living. He immediatley knew which house was the right one because of the Hummer that was parked at the side of the street. Douglas recognized the car because of the stickers of the American and the German flag on its backside.Douglas parked the Audi behind the Hummer. “Everything OK, Dam?†he asked.Damian pulled himself together. “Yeah, manâ€, he groaned. “Let´s find out what bastard is behind all of this and kick him in the arse!â€Rico stared on the photo. It was about 25 years old and showed two men who were standing on a sail boat in the marina, a shark hanging headlong between them. Both men were smiling as beaming as the bright blue sky in the background. They were unambigously father and son.The father was tall and slim. He had curly black hair and a bulbous nose, was wearing white linen trousers and a lavender colored shirt that was open to the navel. Black chest hair was curling out of it.The son was slightly smaller, but also slim. Hs black hair was straight and his nose even. There wasn´t much similarity between the two men, but Rico knew that they were father and son: Albert and Salvatore Lombard.Rico tore himself away from the image and opened the drawers of the sideboard and the closet. Therein, he found a mess. Obviously, Tommy wasn´t a tidy man.But when he opened the closet, he saw that the T – shirts and perfectly folded shirts were so accurate as if Tommy had used a ruler to stack the clothes.“Obviously Tommy was in a hurryâ€, Rico murmured while walking to the bathroom. It was small and contained a shower, but no bathing tube. The tiles on the walls were pink, the ones on the floor dark grey.Rico found several care products, but he also realized that some things were missing. On the glass shelf below the mirror, he discovered several wreaths where things had stood once.He walked through the other rooms. The furniture often told many things about the people who were living in an apartment. Rico knew that Al Lombard had been a wealthy man and so was Sal, his son, but nothing in this house indicated to that the owner had money. The living – room was a very spartan room with cheap furniture: three armchairs with wooden rames and cushions in different colores, a round table between them, and an old fashioned cupboard with a partition for the TV.Rico opened the doors and drawers, but most of them were empty.On the wall, Rico discovered several certificates. Tommy ws a chemist and had gotten these awards for different projects he´d been working on. Rico found a file with Tommy´s reports in it and an expert opinion that had been made when Tommy was ten years old. He was one of the gifted: IQ 152.“Your grandpa would have been damn proud on you, boyâ€, Rico murmured. He could really see Lombard before his eyes, grinning, with flashing eyes. “ My grandson is an highly intelligent high flyer. He can do whatever he wants to do! The whole world stands open for him!â€, he, a gangster himself, would have said. Instead, his grandson followed in his father´s and grandfather´s footsteps.Rico walked into the kitchen that was pernickety cleaned up. In the fridge, Rico found several bottles of juice, bottles of milk, packed sausage, a welded steak, and some fruits.Rico called Trudy who told him that Damian really was OK, and that Ben and Sam were on the way to the hospital.“What did you find?†Trudy wanted to know.Rico grinned from one ear to the other. He walked to the living – room from where he could wacth the driveway. “Where do you know from that I´ve found something?â€Trudy quietly laughed. Rico could hear the relief in her voice because Dam, Ben, and Sam were OK. “I know you a bit longer than since yesterday, Rico.â€â€œYou won´t believe it, Trudy, but Tommy Williams is Al Lombard´s grandson. He´s a chemist, a really smart guy, but above all he has disappeared.â€The headlights of a car cut the darkness, but the vehicle passed by. The booming basss of the loudspeakers died away and the night covered like a black cloth over the street.“So, it proves that the apple doesn´t fall far from the tree. Maybe, I´m able to find his mother. Actually, her name must stand under “wife†in Sal Lombard´s file. Maybe, she can help us,†Trudy said.Again, a car´s headlights cut the darkness. Rico could see that the vehicle stopped. The engine and the lights were switched off and a moment later two doors were closed.“A good ideaâ€, Rico praised. “I´ve to hang up. I think Dam and Doug have just arrived.â€He hung up and looked out of the window until he was sure that the two men who were hurrying along the driveway really were his colleagues. Then, he went to the front door to open it.“Everything´s OK, Dam?†Rico asked and Damian nodded.Rico told them what he´d found out and what he knew about the Lombards while they were searching in all cupboards and drawers for evidence and indications.“A nice girlfriendâ€, Douglas suddenly told while having a look on the photo he´d found in the bedside table. “Maybe she´s a bit flat – chested, but nobody´s perfect.â€Rico joined him to have a look over his shoulder. Amazing he told, “I know her!â€

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FOURTY – ONEThe colleague in the archives, Dex Blumberg, wasn´t enthusiastic when Trudy asked him about information of Salvatore Lombard´s file on the phone. One almost could have thought that the grumpy sounding man wasn´t in the archives to work, but make himself a comfortable night there.“Wife from Salvatore Lombardâ€, he groaned. “Why are you interested in her? Lombard died in 1989.â€â€œGive me only her name, pleaseâ€, Trudy replied, arduously trying to keep a friendly tone.“Her name´s Rita. Ria Lombard born Williams.â€Blumberg also gave her Rita´s address that was situated in a posh area. It was the house where she´d been living with Sal in the past. Therefore, Trudy wasn´t sure if she still was living there. She remebered that the woman had turned it down that her father – in – law visited his grandson. She had even turned down her father – in – law´s heritage after he was shot to death.The story had created a stir because Al had left a big fortune to his grandson, but Rita told everybody that she wanted to give it away, throw it out of a plane, or burn it, but don´twant to take it for her son.Trudy searched in the internet telephone book for entries with the name Williams. Unfortunately, it wasn´t a rare name and there were 31 persons with the first name Rita, but not one of them had the address Blumberg had given her.With a look at her watch Trudy found out that it was too late to dial the numbers tonight. So, that would be he first thing to do tomorrow.Rico had taken the photo with him when he decided to finish the evening. Tommy Williams had disappeared and they had to wait until tomorrow before they could visit the lady on the photo.They drove to the office. There, Rico sat down at Gina´s desk and while the computer was booting up Damian told Trudy about the photo.“Look at that!†Trud surprisingly replied. “Who would have thought that? By the way, additional to my other work, I´d taken care for the Detective Agency Rastigan. There are three of them. George and Roger are brothers, Dustin, the third member, is Roger´s son. I only reached Roger, but he couldn´t give me any information. He only knew that George had gotten an order, but he didn´t know who the client was. Unfortunately, George was unreachable.â€The computer was ready and Rico entered the woman´s name. He thought on how she´d reacted after they´d met her the day when she and the two other women had found the bodies. The suitable description was: cool, emotionless, and silent, but one could also say that she´d been shocked.That they´d found her photo in a criminal´s bedside table didn´t have to mean that she also was a criminal, but, however, it was a justifying suspicion.“Now I´m amazedâ€, Rico murmured when he really found something. She wasn´t a serious criminal, but he´d found information about her in the police computer…. With a photo!“But I was sure that her coolness had had nothing to do with any tranquilizers she had usedâ€, Rico groaned.Damian raised his look. “Did you find anything?â€â€œIt wouldn´t be sufficient for an application with Al Capone, but she´s unambigously our candidateâ€, Rico countered. “She was caught by driving under the influence of alcohol in a stolen vehicle.â€â€Niceâ€, Trudy sarcastically replied.Rico let his look travel around, leaped his eyebrows, and smiled. “It gets much better. She´s a trained confectioner and learned the trade from none other than our good friend Ron Shoemaker.â€â€œWhat a surprise!†Douglas replied, and Damian sighed,†So, we´ll know where to start tomorrow morning.â€Rico drove to the motel, but his thoughts always twisted around the prime suspect. The woman was a good actrice, even though he´d felt misttrust from the beginning. Sonny had dismissed it and his arguments couldn´t be denied.Rico was really curious how she would react tomorrow.In any case, she´d learned from Ron how to make perfect marcipane roses and create perfect cakes. She knew how Ron´s cakes looked like. Certainly, she was able to make perfect duplicates she even could deceive Shoemaker himself.Maybe, she´d known Dean Rogers who´d told her about the wedding cake for Anna and Alessio.Unfortunately, nothing of that explained who had given the order, but the high explosive filling had been made in any case by Tommy Williams, the chemist.“Trinitrophenol acidâ€, Rico murmured while leaving his bathroom, only wearing tight black panties. He tried to remember George Mc Arthur´s information. It was good soluble in boiling water, provoked strong allergic skin reactions and was highly sensitive to shock, friction, and sparks. Unfortunately, he didn´t remember for what it was used. Therefore, Rico decided to drive to the office earlier the next morning to find out about the answer for this question.Rico slipped beneath the cloth, but tossed and turned almost the whole night.Trudy and Damian drove home in Trudy´s pink colored convertible. Of course, they spoke about the gangster organisation that must be behind all of this, about Tommy Williams and his mistress. But the closer they got to the apartment complex and the parking lot where the car of Damian´s dream had exploded earlier that evening, he got quieter and quieter.Strong spotlights lit the parking lot where people in white protective clothes were busy with collecting evidence.Trudy parked her car at the side of the street and switched the engine off. She could imagine how Damian was feling now. Therefore, she put her hand on his shoulder, leaned towards him, and kissed him softly on the cheek. “I know that it was the car of your dreams, but the car is replaceable, you are not… in any case not for me. I´m happy that you weren´t in the car when it exploded.â€Damian just nodded.They left the car. Damian pushed his hands into his trouser pockets before he crossed the street to walk to the parking lot. There, he met George Mc Arthur. He told Damian that the detonator had been provided with a delay mechanism, but that this kind of bomb could quick and easy be installed.“The thing should explode when you are on the street. What do you think how many time went by between the moment where you´d switched on the engine and the explosion?†George wanted to know.Damian thought about it. “Hard to say. Thirty seconds or maybe fourty…â€George Mc Arthur snorted while shaking his head. “You really had had luck.â€â€œYeahâ€, Damian replied before he walked back to Trudy who was waiting for him in front of the apartment complex.Together, they entered the house. Damian was still downhearted because of the car, but also horrified because of the short timespan that had decided whether he should live or die.In the apartment, Tudy put her arms around his neck and looked into his almost black eyes. “Forget about the car, Damâ€, she quietly said while taking off his clothes. Softly, she started nibbling on his neck while the shirt was falling to the floor.Damian´s lips softly touched Trudy´s cheek. Then, he whispered into her ear, “Your distraction manuevers are unsurpassed.â€

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FOURTY – TWOTHURSDAY, 8 a.m.Trudy, Damian, and Rico arrived at the headquarter´s parking lot at he same time. Together they went to the office, and on the way Damian told Rico what he´d learned from George Mc Arthur.Rico shook his head. “It´s unbelievable! They kill policemen only to distract from their deliveries!â€Damian snorted. “And they´ve been very successful with that until now. By the way, I´ve already talked with Ben on the phone. He and Sam had had a lot of luck.Contusions, bruises and Ben has a laceration on the head. He told me that he´ll join us this morning because he can not be stopped by those guys.â€Castillo was already in the office, propper dressed as usual, perfectly combed, shaved, and rested, even though he´d still been in the office when the others had left. Rico wasn´t even sure whether he had driven home yesterday.“One had found the private eye Rastigan and the gangster, DeLa Rosa. Rastigan was badly abused. We don´t know about the cause of death yet. DeLa Rosa was shot in the back.â€He looked at Rico and it had the same effect as if he´d said, “You did it!â€Castillo continued,†DeLa Rosa had shot at you at the beach house, the DNA on the gun shows that unambigously. The gangters who died on the expressway were named Mike and Simon Mc Cadden. The brothers were members of the Hell Riders from West Palm Beach.â€Castillo turned around and vanished into his office.Rico looked at the colleagues and told, “Some things never change. Castillo can do that as well as in the past.â€Then, he sat down at Gina´s desk, booted the computer up and tried to find out as much as possible about Trinitrophenol acid while Damian was brewing up a can of coffee and Trudy picked up her phone after it started ringing.Matt Preston, Freddie Barnes´ Probation Officer was at the other end of the line.“My mother told me that yu urgently want to talk with meâ€; Preston said before he got a terrible coughing attack.“Smokers coughâ€, Trudy thought. Politely, she waited – holding the receiver a bit away from her ear – because she was feared that Preston could tear her eardrum.He hardly stopped coughing when a klicking noise showed her that the man lit a cigarette. Thereafter he deeply inhaled the smoke before blowing it out. In the background, Trudy could hear the host of the Morning – News speaking.“It´s about Freddie Barnesâ€, Trudy replied. “What can you tell me about him?â€Her impacience grew. She grabbed a pen and started playing with it while Preston got the next coughing attack.“Sorryâ€, Preston panted. “I think that I´ve caught a cold in France.â€â€œOh, yesâ€, Trudy ironically countered. “These Gauloise and Gitanes virusses are very persistent.â€Embarrased, Preston cleared his throat. It showed Trudy that he had understood the sidekick. Nevertheless, he hectically soaked on the cigarette. “I´ve been Freddie´s Probation Officer, that´s right. He´d started with the anti – aggression therapy in prison and he continued it after he was released from prison. He´s absolutely exemplary.â€In the meantime, Trudy had booted up her computer and with some klicks Freddie Barnes´ file appeared on the screen. She told Preston that Freddie had moved out of his apartment and that nobody either knew about his new address nor who he was working for. That was an enormous sloppiness which could not happen! Eventually, it wasn´t about a member of the local knitting club, but about an inmate.The lighter klicked when Preston lit the next cigarette. The man really smoked like a chimney.“Listen, Detective, I´m taking care for 16 heavy boys and some of them are rather difficult to handle…â€, Preston tired to apologize.“And I have an exploded pie that had left seven dead and thirteen injured guests, not to talk about several more attacks with injured and dead peopleâ€, Trudy cut him short. “Your exemplary Freddie is in the middle of it!â€Damian put a cup of freshly brewed coffee on her desk and Trudy gave him a smile and a soundless air kiss.“I can give you the address of Freddie´s bossâ€, Preston offered, but sucked on his cigarette first, then.“OK, tell me!†Trudy told.Rico got himself a cup of coffee, sat down at the desk again, and read the information about Trinitrophenol acid. He was convinced that they had missed out something, and above all had paid too little attention on the acid. Who could blame them, concidering the things that had happened during the last days?The door opened and Mark Jones walked in, grinning from one ear to another. He put a photo on the desk in front of Rico.“That´s the guy from the motel – lobbyâ€, Mark told. “I even had found him in the files. His name is Mario Cordaro, member of the Hell Riders.â€Rico had a look at the photo. “The Hell Riders againâ€, he murmured and added louder, “Thanks, Mark.â€In the meantime, Damian had spoken with Carla on the phone. He hung up when Mark Jones left the office. As Trudy still was speaking with Preston, Damian walked up to Rico to tell him what he´d learend from his sister.“Carla has investigate the tracks in Billy´s house. She´d found fingerprints in the bathroom and black hairs that were glued in a bit blood at the door frame. She´d found his name in the police computer: Mario Cordaro…- and the DNA tracks Carla had found on the surgical clothes belonged to our sugar baker.â€Amazed Rico looked at him. “What a surprise! Her again!!He showed Damian the photo Mark had given him. “That´s the guy from the motel – lobby… Mario Cordaro!â€Then, he turned his attention on the screen again. “I´m reading all information about Trinitrophenol acid. I think we haven´t paid enough attention on this.â€Damian nodded before he returned to his desk again.“Applicationâ€, Rico murmured. “Organic analysis for the detection of alkaloids and creatinine… mmh… - In microscopy, as part of fixative ... - for staining of specimens ... - for coloring materials ... -used in metallography for etching metal surfaces… - unbelievable for what this dangerous stuff can be used.â€Suddenly, he got startled . His look travelled along the lines he´d even read and in his stomach thousands of little ants started hectically running around.There it was, the most important information!The whole time it had been in front of them.Trudy finsihed her call with Matt Preston. “You won´t believe what I´ve learned!†She claimed.Rico jumped up. “And I´m sure to know where the Trinitrophenol acid came from!â€

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FOURTY – THREEAgain and again, Sonny dozed, but woke up after a few minutes again. In regularly terms nurses walked in to have a look at Billy and to control the gadgets. They all seemed to be very confident.Sometime Billy regained consciousness. There was half – light in the room and a dreadful taste in his mouth. His abdomen was aching and he could hear the noises of the gadgets next to him that drowned out the happily singing of the birds in front of the window.Immediately, Sonny was next to him to put his right hand on his son´s left cheek. “Don´t move, Billy!â€â€œWhat has happened?†Billy wanted to know.“Someone attacked you in your house. You got injured and needed emergency surgery, but you´re gonna be OK soon.â€Billy remembered the attack. “He appared suddenly. Had a knife.â€â€œI know, but I promise that it won´t happen again. You´re safe here.â€Billy nodded and fell asleep again.Sonny walked to the vending machine to buy a plastic cup of coffee. It tasted like stale dishwater, but at least it contained trace amounts of caffeine. He returned to Billy and sat down next to his son´s bed. While drinking the coffee Sonny hoped that they soon would be able to catch the mastermind of this story.Sonny had a look at his golden watch. Caroline had told him on the phone that she would arrive in Miami at 9:30 a.m. Then Sonny wanted to support his old partner with the investigations.He thought about Izzy´s information. On Thursday at midnight – that meant in less than 24 hours – the organisation awaited a delivery. Unfortunately, Sonny had no idea what was delivered, who delivered it, where to it was delivered, and who had ordered it.At dawn, Billy woke up again. He was thirsty, but was only allowed to suck on a lemon stick. Nevertheless, he felt good enough to tell Sonny what had happened.“I wished that we´d finally get these guysâ€, Billy confessed.“That´s what we all wishâ€, Sonny replied. “After your mother has arrived, I´m going to support Rico with his work again. I hope you understand this.â€Billy snorted, but immediately pulled painful faces because the move caused a dreadful pain through his abdomen. “Are you joking, Dad? Catch these bad guys! There´d bee enough dead and injured people!â€Sonny put his hand on Billy´s arm to calm him down. “Stay cool, Billy! We´ll do our very best!â€At nine a.m. someone knocked on the door, then Eliana walked in. She was wearing tight, white jeans, a pink colored skin – tight top with a low neck, and high heels with very risky heels. A pink colored silkband was keeping up her hair.In her right hand, she was carrying a picnic basket with a silver colored and a white thermos jug, cups, and sandwiches in it.With a smile on her face she said hello to Billy, kissed Sony, and put the basket onto a chair that was standing at the little table in front of the window.“I thought that it´s not allowed for you to eat something, Billy. Therefore I brought tea for youâ€, Eliana explained while putting all the things from the basket on the table. “I´ve asked the nurse and she said that tea is OK…â€She turned around, looked at Billy, and with a smile on her face she added, “…and this tea is a secret mixture from my mother.â€Sonny joined her and while having a look over her shoulder he put his arms around her waist line. “That´s really great from youâ€, he quietly said and kissed her softly beneath her left ear.Eliana smiled at him. “One does what one can do.â€Two nurses entered the room. They asked Sonny and Eliana to wait outside so that they could take care for Billy and make his bed.Immediately, Sonny and Eliana left the room. Outside, Sonny took Eliana in his arms. “It´s really great that I´d met youâ€, he told.Eliana smiled. “I agree.â€Eventually, they were allowed to return to Billy again. Eliana immediately walked to the table, filled a cup with a rose pattern on it with tea, and gave it to Sonny. Sonny kissed her before he went to Billy´s bed.While he was driving the bed´s headboard up so that it was easier for Billy to drink, Eliana took a small tube she´d hidden in an inside pocket of the basket. She put the powder in one cup and put a sweetener tablet in her cup the next moment. Then, she waved the little sweetener box while asking, “Sugar? Cream?â€â€œCreamâ€, Sonny replied.A moment later, Eliana carried the two cups, a white one for her and one with a rose pattern on it for Sonny, to the bed. “Let´s drink to that you´re feeling much better soon, Billy!†Eliana said and they put the cups to their lips.

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FOURTY – FOURRico and Damian met Douglas, Ben, Sam, and Estelle on the hallway. Ben´s head was plastered and he and Sam were suffered with many bruises.“You´re too late for the first cup of coffee, but you´re in time for the first arrestâ€, Rico told with grim expressions.The four colleagues imediately turned around to accompany Rico and Damian. Exceptionally, they wanted to use the elevator to take care of Ben and Sam.While waiting for the elevator to arrive, Damian told the friends what Trudy had fund out.“Bigfoot Freddie had found a job as a driver after he was released from prison. His boss is nobody else than Giacomo Cordaro…â€â€œHis daughter, Emilia, had found Dean Rogers´ bodyâ€, Estelle told. “Very wealthy people with a home where one will lost his way without a navigation system.â€Rico nodded. “And Eve Taylor was one of the women who´d found the bodies of the policemen and she´d trained her job with Ron Shoemaker.â€The elevator arrived and they got in.“By the way, Alessandro DeLa Rosa ist deadâ€, Rico told. “He was lying in South Beach on the beach with a bullet of my gun in the back, but assumably we know now where the Trinitrophenol acid had come from.â€â€œReally?†Douglas amazingly asked.The elevator doors opened and they could hear the angrily sounding voice of a dismantled prostitute. “Damn, take your paws off, pal! Eventually I´m right!â€Rico quickly glanced to the woman who almost had slapped his colleague in the face.She discovered Rico, stretched out her tongue, and railed, “What are you gawking?â€Rico didn´t react.“The Trinitrophenol acidâ€, Douglas remembered him after they´d left the building. The automatical doors closed behind them and the clamor stayed behind. “From who is it?â€â€œEliana Assaniâ€, Rico replied. “We had had the information in front of our eyes, but didn´t see it because of all the things that had happened. Eliana Assani owns a very posh boutique. She´d proudly told us that she has customers all over the world and that she´s able to create everything in consider of clothes somebody wants... even in terms of the colors. Trinitrophenol acid is also used for coloring materials.â€â€œEliana Assani?†Sam asked when they almost had arrived at the parking lot. “I´ve seen her at the hospital when Ben and I were leaving in a taxi. She was carrying a picnic basket into the hospital.â€Rico stopped breathing for a moment. Eliana was in this bad story, but Sonny had no earthly idea about that.Rico thought about the different kinds of killing tools that could be carried in such a basket: Knifes, guns… poison!He dragged his mobile out of the pocket. “Sam, you ride with me to the hospital, you and Doug should drive to Coral Gables, Damâ€, he ordered while calling Sonny´s number up.“What about me and Estelle?†Ben wanted to know.“Cordaroâ€, Rico countered while squeezing the receiver on his ear. “He´s the pivot.â€Sonny didn´t pick up. Rico had a look at his watch while jumping into the Hummer. Sam sat down next to him.Rico quietly swore and gave Sam his mobile. “Try it furthermore!â€, he ordered while switching the engine on. A second later, he left the parking lot with screetching tires.“Why didn´t we think on that earlier?†he railed. “I mistrused this over cool woman from the beginning!â€He roared around a corner to a traffic light that turned red before his eyes. Rico ignored it and raced over the crossing. Brakes were shreeking and someone sounded his horn.“He don´t pick up!†Sam worriedly told.“Try the number of the ward office. You`ll find it unter “I†like Intensive care unit.â€Sam nodded. She typed on the mobile, found the number, dialed it, and waited that someone picked up.Rico´s nerves were stretched to breaking point, his stomach cramped together, and he started sweatting. More than once during their partnership he´d been scared about Sonny´s life and thought that he was too late. Every time he´d been relieved when it all came to a happy – ending.Did he come too late this time?

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FOURTY – FIVEBen and Estelle were racing in a civilian policecar through the city to the posh area where Cordaro was living. On the phone, Ben had asked Trudy for more information about Cordaro´s field of work, and while Estelle was steering the car, he was talking with Trudy. He´d switched on the loudspeakers so that Estelle was able to listen to their talk.“Import and Exportâ€, Trudy told. “Above all coffee, tea, and tobacco, but also different other things one can buy in South America. If one can earn money with it, Cordaro goes in. Besides that, he rents luxury domiciles and yachts to wealthy foreign friends and customers.â€â€œThese are several possibilities for smuggling drugs, humans or other thingsâ€, Ben said.Estelle took the departure in a very fast way. Ben knew that a narrow curve would come that forced every driver to slow down before the departure lead to the next street. But Estelle braked before he could indicate her on that.“As I am, I´ve further streched my antennasâ€, Trudy continued. “Therefore, I´d found out that Giacomo isn´t his parent´s only child. His brother, Antonio, is the owner of a prosperous model agency and he owns the clubs NIGHTLIGHT and STARLIGHT in New Orleans while their sister, Angelita, owns a club in Savannah and another one in New York. Both were named BLACK MAMBA: In the past, she´d owned a club with the same name in Miami, but the proper authorities had closed it… but I think we´ve talked about that already.â€â€œYeah, I rememberâ€, Ben replied. “Did you hear any news from the hospital?â€Trudy sighed. “I´m sorry, no.â€â€œWe´ll arrive in a minuteâ€, Estelle told and braked. She turned into the street where the Cordaros were living.Ben finished the call and glanced around at the high, white colored walls with the cameras on them. They almost recognized every move on the street because they always turned slowly from the left to the right and back. Therefore, they reminded Ben to small curious aliens.A street cleaning machine approached slowly from the other side. Someone, who was living in such a posh area didn´t tolerate dirt in front of the front door.Suddenly, a Chevrolet Blazer shot out of a driveway, followed by a dark colored Camarro. The vehicles separated to take the civilian police car between them.“Hold on!†Estelle shouted while Ben was screaming, “ Oh damn, not the same thing again!â€They both ducked while Estelle was putting her foot down. The car raced forward. Shots rang out and broke the silence, the window panes bursted into pieces with a hollow tone and fragments were raining down on Ben and Estelle.Ben grabbed the radio to give their position to the colleagues and ask for support. He arose for a moment, turned around, and looked back.“The Blazer is still behind us, but the Camarro has disappeared… for nowâ€, he told.“For me this is an absolute clear admission of guiltâ€, Estelle groaned.Damian and Douglas drove to Coral Gables. Step by step, a clear picture of the story came into beeing. Both men thought on the information Rico had given them about Eve Taylor. She was a very cool woman who´d helped to make a bomb and who had walked with her unsuspecting friend to the park, knowing that they would “find†two bodies there. Eve went into the hospital where she killed Sam Swintek and almost Gina. This woman was not to be trifled.Douglas parked the hired car about 650 ft far away from the apartment complex where Eve was living because they didn´t want to warn her by accident. Then, they hurried to the house. They had luck because a child was just leaving and Damian succeeded to stop the door from closing. Douglas first had a look on the name plates.“Second floorâ€, he said.On the stairways it sharply smelled after a chlorine containing cleaner and on the wall nex to the elevator they could still faintly see the graffiti that someone had tried to remove. The two words were clearly aimed below the belt.Damian and Douglas used the stairs. As their steps were echoing on the stairwell they didn´t speak because they were afraid that Eve could hear them..From an apartment on the first floor opera music penetrated to the floor, but neither Damian nor Douglas were opera friends. Therefore, they had no idea to which opera the melody belonged to.When they entered the second floor, Damian suddenly sniffed. With his face frowned he looked at Douglas. The sweetish smell was unrecognizable.Without saying a word Damian´s lips formed the word, “Blood!â€Douglas nodded.The smell unambigously came out of Eve Taylor´s apartment.Both detectives pulled their guns and took position to the left and right of the front door. They were determined not to wait if Eve friendly asked them to come in.They nodded at each other as a sign that they were ready before Damian levered the door with a well aimed kick out of the anchoring. With a loud bang it landed on the aquamarine – blue carpet. The stink of blood wrapped the men and for a second they stopped breathing.Then, they jumped into the apartment, searched for cover, and waited.The door of the opposite apartment was opened and an elderly woman looked through the gap. “I´ll call the police if you don´t leave!†She shouted while Damian was further penetrating the apartment.The stink unambigously came out of the bedroom. There, on the bed, Damian discovered a young man. A pink colored bedlinen was covering his lower abdomen and his legs. The linen he was lying on were covered in blood and so was his naked upper part of the body. On first sight Damian counted six stabs, but he also realized that the plump, dark haired man, who was somewhere in his twenties, still was breathing.“Tell her she should call the ambulance, Doug!†Damian shouted while stepping next to the bed and touching on the man´s neck for the pulse.. It was as fast as the heartbeat of a little bird. Behind him, Douglas was speaking with the neighbor.The young man opened his eyes. He coughed and panted and pulled faces. A narrow line of blood ran out of his mouth. “Help me!†He asked with a weak voice.“The ambulance is on the wayâ€, Damian promised. “What´s your name?â€â€œTommy… Tommy… Williams. I had thought… that she loves meâ€, he squeezed out. With great difficulty he raised his right hand to touch his stomach, but Damian grabbed his hand. “Don´t do that, Tommy!â€Tommy snorted, but immediately he pulled painful faces. “She even… had let me… in her bed… and then…â€â€œWhere´s Eve, Tommy?†Damian wanted to know.In the background he could hear as Douglas explained why the neighbor wasn´t allowed to enter the apartment.Tommy didn´t answer, but stared to the ceiling. For a moment he closed his eyes. Even though Eve was responsible for the bad things that had happened to Tommy, he wasn´t willing to betray her.“Tommyâ€, Damian urgently aid. “Eve has only used you for her mean plans. She don´t deserve your prevention.â€Tommy slowly turned his head and looked at Damian. His lips were moving, but the words were too quiet to understand them because the man´s power was fainting. Damian leaned towards him and put his ear close to Tommy´s mouth to hear what Tommy, the chemist, wanted to tell him.In the meantime, Rico and Sam arrive at the St. Elisabeth Hospital.

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FOURTY – SIXRico stopped the Hummer contrary to road traffic regulations in front of the emergency room because the way across it was the shortest way to the intensive care unit.He jumped out of the car, slammed the door, and ran with long steps into the hospital. A man with crutch staggered backwards when Rico almost ran him over and a moment later Rico pushed a wheelchair aside that was standing in his way. The man who was sitting in the wheelchair shouted protesting. A startled nurse let fall down a tray with different bottles on it and ammonia smell spread out.Rico pushed open the door that led to the intensive care unit while asking himself what plans Eliana could have and if he really was too late. He tried to calculate whether it was possible for him to rescue Sonny and Billy, but he couldn´t. Again and again he´d ordered Sam to dial Sonny´s mobile number. Besides that, Sam had tried to reach anyone in the ward office, but nobody had picked up.Rico thought, “Ben and Sam had needed 15 minutes to ride by taxi from the hospital to the headquater. About three minutes later had Sam told me that she´d seen Eliana on her way to the hospital´s main entrance. Then, we had to run to the car and had needed 12 minutes to drive here. That´s about 32 minutes!â€Rico arrived at the intensive care unit, knowing that half an hour was enough to cause a blood bath. He passed the ward office… and then he discovered her! She was leaning at the wall. Rico glanced through the window into Billy´s room. The lamella curtains weren´t closed so that he could see several doctors and nurses standing at the bed.Rico´s look returned to Eliana. She also looked at him and understood that Rico knew everything.“It didn´t work, right?†Rico sarcastically asked while quickly glancing into the room where a grey haired doctor who was wearing glasses with gold rim was explaining something. Again and again he looked from Billy to Sonny and back while his lips were moving.Behind Rico Sam appeared. She told, “I´ll call you Mr. Roadrunner now, Rico.â€Eliana looked from Rico to Sam and back.“I couldn´t do itâ€, she admitted while looking straight into Rico´s eyes. He couldn´t see a flicker in it and no trace of uncertainty. “I could have killed Sonny for a long time… when he´d visited me in my house…â€Rico remembered that Sonny didn´t feel good when he came to the ARIANA – MOTEL where the spring gun had killed the innocent chamber maid. Sonny had thought that the wine he had drunken with Eliana was to blame for the headache and the giddiness. Essentially, he was right.“You´d wanted to poison him!†Rico panted.Eliana nodded and finally turned her look away. She stared on the smoke – grey tiles, took a few deep breathes, and admitted,â€I didn´t give him the whole dose.â€The door opened and the doctors and nurses left Billy´s room. Rico saw Amber. They looked at each other and smiled. Behind the doctors Sonny appeared. With a grin on his face he said, “Rico, Sam, nice that you visit Billy.â€â€œTell him!†Rico ordered.Uncomprehendingly, Sonny looked from Rico to Eliana, to Sam and back to Rico.As Eliana didn´t answer Rico explained, “She had wanted to kill you and Billy. There´s poison in the coffee.â€Suddenly Eliana started sweatting and trembling. “I couldn´t do it, Sonny. I …. You… you don´t deserve itâ€, she stammered.The skin in her face turned pale while her eyes hectically darted between Sonny, Rico and Sam. Sonny was dumpfounded while Rico was asking himself what play Eliana was performing. Sam was the only one who understood.“You have used the poison!†Sam swirled around and ran to the ward office to ask for a doctor.Eliana didn´t react. Her eyes were fixed on Sonny. “I´d made a mistake, I… it´s not important what went wrong. Giacomo had me in the palm of his hand. I had to play his game, but I wasn´t able to kill you!â€Suddenly, she broke down, lay on the floor and held both arms tightly wrapped around her belly. Sonny was grown stiff. He felt unable to move only one finger to help Eliana. She had deceived him, fooled him, and only invited and seduced him to kill him.. And he had thought that she meant it!Sonny looked to the door of the room where Gina was laying in. She had always been honest and had really stood by his side. What luck that she knew nothing about Eliana!Rico saw that Eliana wanted to say something. He knelt down nex to her and took her in his arms. Behind him, he could hear the urgent steps of a doctor Sam had asked for help.“Snakefieldâ€, Eliana arduously said. “Midnight… finish it!â€â€œMay I?†The doctor askedRico layed Eliana to the floor before he got up. Two nurses with a mobile carrier hurried along the hallway. The doctor gave orders to them while Eliana started screaming in pain now.Sonny still was grown stiff. He didn´t see Caroline who came along the hallway, stopped for a second and continued walking, then… faster now.The nurses layed Eliana on the carrier and hurriedly took her away.“Sonny?†Caroline asked. She put her hand on Sonny´s left shoulder and said hello to Rico and Sam. “Are you OK, Sonny?†she asked.Sonny felt as if he woke up from a nightmare to find out that it was real. He saw as Eliana was taken away and heard her screams apparetly caused by the poison she, actually, had wanted to give him and Billy. Then, he discovered Caroline and suddenly he realized something absolute horrible!Eliana had hindered him to drink with the excuse that the coffee was too hot and because she urgently wanted to ask the nurses for a candle. She´d claimed that a candle was important to celebrate Billy´s second birthday. But before she could leave the room to ask someone for a candle the round appeared. They´d asked Eliana to wait outside for a moment, but she first walked to the basket before she´d left the room.Billy had no idea that the tea in his cup was poisoned. Sonny swirled around and ran into the room where Billy had already held the cup to his lips.“Billy, noooooooooooooo!†Sonny shouted.

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FOURTY – SEVENThe Chevrolet Blazer glued to Ben and Estelle. The front driver´s passenger leaned half out of the window and fired on the policecar. Estelle drove in serpentines to offer the marksman no opportunities to target on the car while Ben was creeping between the seats to the backseat. He´d pulled his gun and aimed it between the headrests on the gangsters. But Estelle´s driving style, however, made it hard for him to hit the following car.Ben shot, but the bullet bounced off the outside mirror on the driver´s side with a light tone, buzzed away, and tore out a piece off a wall.Ben ducked because the gangsters also shot. The bullet whizzed across the policecar and with a bang the rear - view mirror and the windshield exploded.Estelle got startled, pulled the steering wheel round, drove over the sidewalk, and caught a paper basket with its fender. It flew away and hit the windshiled of an Mercedes.Again, Ben aimed his gun on the Blazer, but was thrown to the side when Estelle raced with screeching tires and on only two wheels around a curve. He hit his head on the wall behind the driver´s seat and collided with his right shoulder against the inner panel of the door. Ben sighed while Estelle swore very unladylike.The next shot tore the right rear tire apart. The car lurched and Ben was thrown to the other side.“Damn, do you wanna kill me, Estelle?†Ben angrily shouted.“Not me, but the guys behind us… stay down!†Estelle shouted, pulld the steering wheel hard to the left to drive around the oncoming Camarro. Someone sounded his horn and someone yelled.Again, Estelle raced over the sidewalk and touched a bench that was standing there. She pinched her eyes and leaned over the steering wheel for a moment when a bullet let the window on the front driver´s passenger seat burst. It whizzed over her head and left the car through the window on the driver´s side. Fragments were raining down on her, and splinters pricked in her left arm, her neck, and the skin on her head.Estelle returned on the street and immediately someone sounded his horn again.“Yeah, you can get stuffed!†She grumbled.They heard the wailing sirens of several policecars that seemed to come closer from different directions. In the radio, it was rustling. “Car 12, please answer!†Castillo asked. “Car 12, are you OK?â€Estelle sat upright and looked around. She discovered two oncoming policecars. With a glance over her right shoulder, she saw the Chevrolet Blazer braking. Then, the driver pulled the steering wheel round hard and fled.“Are you OK, Ben?†Estelle asked while stopping the car and taking the radio.“Noâ€, Ben groaned while getting upright. A holow pain spread out in his head and in his right shoulder it was pricking. Actually, there was no place on his body that wasn´t aching.“Here´s car 12â€, Estelle said into the radio. “Our surface is scratched, but we´re OK.â€She picked several glass splinters out of her arm and carefully touched her head. Fortunately, the splinters had injured her, but didn´t stuck.Ben got out of the damaged car. Next to them a policecar stopped and Castillo let down the window. “Get in!†Ben and Estelle obeyed the order. Ben sat down on the front driver´s passenger seat. The young colleague, who´d been sitting there until now, would stay with the demaged car to wait for the tow truck.Estelle sat down on the backseat.Castillo turned the car round and drove in the direction where Cordaro´s villa was standing. Further policecars followed him or met them a bit later in the street where Cordaro was living.“What about Rico ad Sam? Did they arrive at the hospital in time?†Estelle wanted to know.“I don´t knowâ€; Castillo honestly admitted. “There´s no feedback until now. Parson and Pride had driven to Eve Taylor´s apartment, but there they only found the chemist, Tommy Williams. He´s badly injured.â€â€œAnd I´ll bet that Cordaro has disappearedâ€, Ben angrily murmured.It was rustling and cracking in the radio before a male voice told them that nobody, except from the house maid and the cook, had been found in the villa.“Take care for that the datas on the computers were securedâ€, Castillo ordered.Again, it was cracking in the radio before the male voice answered,†Ok, Lieutenant.â€Castillo turned into the driveway that led to Cordaro´s villa. Four policecars were standing in front of the house, six officers combed the garage and the different side rooms for evidence and hidden persons.Castillo, Ben, and Estelle got out of the car and stepped through the open door into the villa.The housemaid, a young and pretty Mexican, was standing at the wall next to the stairs. Her eyes darted frightened between the police officers back and forth who were running to all rooms, opened cupboards and drawers, and worked on all computers in the house.Curiously, Ben looked around. Creme colored, Italian marbel tiles were covering the floor where genuine Persian carpets were lying on. Pictures of well known painters were hanging on the walls, but Ben could´t tell whether they were genuine. Stairs of polished walnut wood swung up to the first floor where a gallery connected the different rooms. Everywhere around, he discovered huge plants in pots, Chinese vases, and expensive looking sculptures. In the different rooms, antique furniture was mixed up with modern elements.“In my next life, I´ll be living in such a nice house, tooâ€, Ben murmured in Estelle´s ear.Estelle pulled faces. “Nice? – This is really a matter of taste.â€The colleagues were carrying boxes with files out of the house while others were searching in the cupbards for evidence or were securing the files on the computer before Cordaro could destroy anything.“He must have taken his daughter with himâ€, “Estelle told. She walked up to the house maid to ask her in Spanish about Emila.First, the house maid hesitated, but then she answered Estelle´s question, even though she didn´t feel good because of this.“The driver has taken away Emilia on Tuesdayâ€, Estelle told after she´d finished the talk with the house maid.Castillo had joined them and listened with his typical impenetrable expressions.Estelle continued,†She said that Cordaro was very angry because Emilia had met with Benito Da Silva, but she has no idea where the driver had taken Emilia to.â€â€œWhat about Cordaro himself?†Castillo asked.Estelle shrugged. “She told me that Cordaro had left with his boat when the civilian policecar appeared.â€Castillo´s mobile started ringing. He picked it up, listened, and replied,†We´ll met in the office in half an hour.â€Then, he hung up, looked from Estelle to Ben and back and told, “Let´s drive to the office. Tubbs has very interesting news for us.â€

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FOURTY – EIGHTIt had something dramatic how Sonny ran into the room and hit the cup out of Billy´s hands. The poisoned tea spread out over parts of the bed, the bedside table, the wall, and the floor. The cup broke with a light tone into pieces.Billy had looked at his father as if he doubted on Sonny´s mind until his father told him what he had learned from Eliana.In the meantime, Rico had called Castillo to tell him that he had important news he wanted to talk about in the office in half an hour. Thereafter, he visited Alaina who told him that she would be able to return to New York on Sunday.“This is good newsâ€, Rico replied smiling. He would be very happy when Alaina had left Miami and was out of Cordaro´s line of fire. Intentionally, he pushed away the thought that not even New York was a safe place because it was Angelita Cordaro´s territory.“Dad, I´ve spoken with Les on the phone. He´d asked me… do you think that you´ll catch the guys who´d killed Anna and the others?†Alaina asked.Stan who was sitting at the neighboring bed next to Gianna raised his head and looked at Rico. It seemed as if he had a bad conscious because he was spending his time in the hospital while his colleagues were putting their lives at risk.“We almost caught themâ€, Rico claimed. “When I´ll visit you tomorrow, I hope that the guys are already sitting behind bars.â€Castillo, Ben, Trudy, and Estelle were already waiting in the briefing room while Damian and Douglas were appearing the same time as Rico and Sonny. For a moment, there was unrest while everybody was searching for a place to sit down and was dragging the chairs over the floor.“I´ll keep it shortâ€, Rico said with a look at his watch. “We´ll have less than 12 hours for our preparations. Eliana Assani claimed that Cordaro is awaiting a delivery for midnight. The place is called Snakefield…â€â€œThat´s in the Gladesâ€, Sonny interferred.“Yeahâ€, Rico morosely murmured. Snakefield sounded as if many snakes were living there and if there was anything on earth Rico hated, so it were these legless reptiles.Trudy got her laptop. Thanks to Google Earth it was easier now to have a look at special areas. The satellite photos gave off a far more accurate picture than any card could have done.She typed on the keyboard and a moment later, the desired area appeared on the screen. They discovered gnarled partly contorted growing treeswith deep down hanging branches and dangling down, arm-thick lianas. The ground was swampy, overgrown with reeds and many more, partially flowering, plants.Trudy scrolled until she found a path of tamped soil. It was about 100 ft wide and 650 ft long: a runway.Ricos look darted over the picture on the screen. What he saw were about thousand chances to hide for snakes and a paradiese for morsquitoes that apparently started sharpening their cutlery as soon as they found out that Rico Tubbs would arrive.“They´ll receive the delivery by planeâ€, Castillo told. “Did Ms. Assani tell you what the delivery is about?â€Rico shook his head. “She´d swallowed the poison and was suffered with bad pain. All she´d told me was that she´d been in the palm of Cordaro´s hand and the less information about Snakefield.â€â€œIn fact, it can be about everything one can smuggleâ€, Sonny told. “Drugs, illeagal persons, supplies for brothels…â€â€œLet´s get preparedâ€, Castillo ordered. “We´ll know more after midnight.â€On the early evening, when the team was ready to leave, they received the message that Eliana Assani had died an hour before without beeing able to tell more.A moment before they left, Stan joined them. “It´s time for my contributionâ€, he told when getting into Castillo´s car.In real, Snakefield offered more hidings for snakes and insects as Rico could have dreamed of in his nightmares. The grass partially reached to their hips and along the runway many bushes with and without thorns were growing. In some places the vegetation was so strong that there was hardly a get through.From the main path a smaller path of less than 10 ft width led to the runway. It was covered with tire tracks and the many torn off branches on both sides – some with rather fresh breaking points – made clear that it was regularly used by vehicles.The teams – Rico and Sonny, Damian and Douglas, Ben and Samantha, and Stan and Estelle searched for hidings in the bushes along the lane, the same did the police officers. They all had radios. Besides that, two helicopters were awaiting Castillo´s orders in case that the plane turned.Rico and Sonny were cowering in the high grass and both were thinking about the different actions in the past where they had been waiting for hours in any swamp of the arrival of a plane or a boat. Every time Rico had almost been sucked by the mosquitoes.In regularly terms Rico hit on the left or the right arm, his cheek, or his throat to kill mosquitoes, just as frequently he wiped over his forehead. The humid was very high here in the swamp and so was the temperature. Rico felt as if he was sitting in an oven.Sonny gave him a sidelong glance. “The mosquitoes still love you.â€â€œYeahâ€, Rico grumbled while hitting on his right side of the neck. “Insect gas station Tubbs. What a pity that they don´t pay. Otherwise I would be a wealthy man.â€Sonny grinned.Time passed by tormented slowly. Rico distracted himself by thinking on what he wanted to do after the case was completed. Should he stay with Amber in Miami? Return to New York? What did Amber want? He was convinced that she, like him, loved it when they were together, but that wasn´t everyday life.Step by step darkness sank down on them and a full moon appeared on the cloudless sky.Rico had a look at his watch. The hands moved toward midnight incessantly. He let his eyes travel over the sky and listened to every noise. “In my opinion they can come nowâ€, Sonny groaned.The same moment the lush drone of an engine broke through the silence, and a little later headlights that were leaping up and down cut through the darkness.A truck with the emblem of a waste disposal company on the hood of the body rumbled along the path to the runway.It started!

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FOURTY – NINEIt quietly cracked in the radios. “Look out everyboy!†Castillo ordered before it became silent again.The truck reached his position and stopped. The engine was switched off, but not the lights.From the far, they could hear the noises of a plane that was coming closer. It flew a loop before it slowly sank down.Everybody got ready. The plan was to act as soon as the plane´s door opened, the same what they´d done in the past when they expected to find drugs, but found babies instead ( 54 - BABY BLUES).In the light of the truck´s headlights, Sonny suddenly recognized a move on the other side of the runway where two colleagues were awaiting Castillo´s orders.Unfortunately, the men in the truck had also seen it. Hectically, they gave light signs to the pilot who was in a direct landing approach that he should leave. Then, the truck driver switched the engine on.Suddenly, shots rang out from the bushes opposite of Rico and Sonny while the truck moved to turn around.“Intervention!†Castillo ordered.Now, shots rang out from everywhere around. The pilot tried to pull up the plane , but its engine was hit by several bullets. It coughed, spit, and stuttered and the plane wobbled. The right wing touched the trees and broke before the plane slammed on the ground. The wing shot away and landed in a bush.The plane slipped always twisting around along the runway to the truck. Its driver realized the danger, slammed in the reverse gear, and raced towards Rico and Sonny. Both had no other choice than to jackknife to bring theirselves to safety. The truck scarcely raced pass them and hit a treet while the plane was slipping very close pass them.Rico got on his feet. With a few steps he reached the driver´s side and tore open the door. Like lightning, he grabbed the driver´s arm and ragged him out of the vehicle.“Get out!†He hissed. “Police! You´re arrested, pal!â€Sonny had been running to the front driver´s passenger side to hinder that someone tried to escape. But two of the four men, who´d first been in the truck, were dead.“That´s it for you!†Sonny groaned. “You´re arrested!†Then he took the radio out of his pocket. “We´ve caught the guys from the truck!â€â€œGood work!†Castillo praised.The plane turned around for a last time when he almost had reached the end of the runway. Then it stopped with its nose to the ground.A personnel carriers arrived and two policemen took care for the arrested gangsters while Rico and Sonny were hurrying to the strong demanged plane. Damian just ripped the door open with brute force. They could hear moaning, groaning, sobbing and crying. A hideous cloud of sweat, blood, and urine hit the men who jumped backwards because of this.Unfortunately they couldn´t se anything because in the plane it was dark.“We need light!†Rico shouted.A moment later, Ben and Estelle came running up to them, carrying strong spotlights in their hands. With them, they lit up the inner of the plane. They saw that most of the seats were torn off their fixing and were lying with the upperside right on the top in the back of the plane.The detectives walked in and followed the noises to find Cordaro´s “deliveryâ€, seven young Siamese girls, who were cowering in the front part of the plane.A young policeman discovered several cartons that were half torn open. He saw that tablets were inside. But when he picked one of them up, he suddenly looked into wide opened, dark brown eyes that looked at him out of a Asian face.With a scream, he stumbled backwards, slipped off, and found out that he was standing in a huge blood paddle. Unfortunately, he didn´t succeed to leave the place before he threw off.“I´m sorryâ€, he apologized when stumbling out of the plane. His face was as white as freshly fallen snow.Rico looked at him with mixed feelings while Castillo was hurrying to the back of the plane without saying a word. He discovered the girl´s head, the blood on the floor, and he saw clearly that more than seven girls had been in the plane.“Help me, Crockett!†he ordered.Rico, Ben, Damian, and Douglas took care for the seven injured girls in the front part of the plane while Sonny was hurrying to the backpart of the plane.The girls were suffered with bad head injuries. Besides that, with one girl her right ear was almost torn off, with another girl the abdomen was slashed open. Crying and yelling she was pressing her covered in blood hands on her gushing bowels. With painful expressions she looked at Rico and stammered words in the Siamese language Rico couldn´t understand.“Try to stay calm. Help is on the wayâ€, he said even though he knew that the girl – she probably wasn´t older than 12 years - couldn´t understand him either.Estelle left the cockpit. She aid, “Cordaro had flown the plane himself. He´s dead.â€It was already dawning when the Vice team left the runway in Snakefield. All together ten Siamese girls had been sitting in the plane. Three had died when the plane hit the ground, three further girls (also the one with the slashed open abdomen) died before the ambulances could arrive. Two girls- including the one with the almost torn off ear – were badly injured and one girl had fallen silent because of the shock. Another girl – Nay – had miraculously survived uninjured and was able to give them information.She grew up in a small village and her parents were rather poor. The rich American (no, not the one who´d flown the plane, but a fat man with less brown hair) had told her parents that he was searching for girls with skillful hands for his factory. He made big promises and had given money to her parents. (No, she didn´t know how much money it was about)Then, she and the other girls were taken to a runway where they had to enter a plane. (No, not in this plane). They were taken to an island where they had to change into this plane that was much smaller than the other one. (Yes, the fat American had left in his big plane)Estelle had listened to Nay´s explanation and in her opinion it suited to Antonio Cordaro.“A clever systemâ€, Sonny said when he and Rico were driving towards the morning sun. “One brother, Antonio, officially flies to Siam to choose the “product†and accompanies the girls to brother number two, Giacomo. Then, Antonio returnes to America and one couldn´t even find a track if he completely takes the plane apart.â€Rico yawned behind his hand before he groaning streched his legs and his back.“I hope that our experts could secure something usable on Giacomo´s computer. I´d like to arrest them all.â€Sonny stopped at Nick´s coffee shop to get them two big cups of coffee. Curiously, Rico looked at the heavy, bald headed man behind the bar, but he didn´t know the man who reached Sonny the two cups.The team was almost complete when Rico and Sonny entered the briefing room. Only Ben and Samantha were missing, but joined them a few minutes later.“The experts had found in Cordaro´s documents and also on his computer enough evidence, although refined encrypted, for many illegal businesses and also for the involvement of other family membersâ€, Castillo confidently explained and with a look at his watch, he continued,â€Presumably, they were arrested now. “Nowhere to be found is, unfortunately, Eve Taylor.â€Castillo looked at Damian. “It seems as if Tomy Williams will succeed.â€Alessio was sitting at the table when Rico entered the room. In front of him there was standing the tray with his breakfast on it, but Alessio hadn´t touched it. He stared out of the window to the slowly clouding sky.“We´ve caught themâ€, Rico told while sitting down opposite of Alessio.Alessio´s look turned to his father. “That´s good, even though it can´t bring back those that we´ve lost. How long do you wanna say in Miami?â€Rico hesitated. “Maybe foreverâ€, he replied.Amazed, Alessio pulled up his eyebrows. “You´re serious?â€Again Rico hesitated before a big grin spread out on his face. “Maybe? – Why not?â€

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