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HOME INVASION 7
Erik and I are halfway to the car when I stop suddenly. “Erik, what are we doing?”
Erik stops, looks at me quizzically, and answers, “We’re going to check out the Long Beach Carnival. Don’t tell me you just had a moment of amnesia from a bump on the head, because that would be really bad timing right now.”
I laugh and roll my eyes. “No, I mean, we need a plan, Madam Rosie or whoever she really is – is dead. So they should have found a replacement for her. This sounds like a perfect opportunity for a sting operation, if we do it right, and get as many of these gang members as possible. “
Erik smiles, “I see where you are heading… if the victim has been replaced; we set up a sting in one of our houses, probably one up in Beverly Hills, and play them all into the biggest job of their careers. Draw most of the bugs from the nest and hope that one or a few of them turn on the kingpin of this Op.”
“Right.” I say a little too quickly, “Let’s go down to the station before our trip to the Carnival. We need to get as much back up as we can get.”
On the way to the station, Erik calls Chief Williams to give him a heads up. Chief Williams likes the idea and says he will meet us in the briefing room with the two FBI agents, the Chief of the Narcotics division and the two narcotics detectives, if they are available. I listen in to the whole conversation as Erik speaks on the hands-free in the car and we drive the next ten minutes down to the station, coming up with more and more ideas. I am realizing more and more that this kind of work really energizes me and how much of my mind is really wasted by not working in law enforcement anymore. This was always my passion, why was I in such a hurry to put it all behind me?
We arrive at the station and make our way quickly through the back door entrance and up the stairs to the briefing room. This room is also not what I expected. Everything we worked with in Dallas seemed so…”second-hand” or “last generation”. This briefing room had an oval table in the center; Chief Williams was already there at the head working from a computer that had risen from inside the table itself with a keyboard in front of him. The screen he was looking at appeared on one of the many displays around the room. One wall was completely frosted glass. The table and chairs looked like something you’d see on one of those futuristic TV shows; it looked like every seat had a computer monitor that rose from the table in front of it.
Erik must have noticed my expression when I was scanning the room. He said, “We call this the “War Room” or the “Briefing Room” depending on what it is being used for. In the event of a crisis, it can be converted to a fully functional observation station for the Commanders, Mayor, Executives, etc. in charge of a city crisis; each station is equipped with a computer, each can display on the wall monitors for briefing, and behind this wall…” he then started to turn a dial and the frosted glass wall revealed an operations center full of people, “This is our operations center that runs 24/7 and has representatives from most emergency services or rescue centers throughout Los Angeles. We remain in constant contact in the event of a crisis. I can brief you on it all some other time if you are interested.”
“Of course I’m interested!” I said. But at that moment, our other guests were arriving. Erik turned the wall back to frosted glass and we took our seats.
Chief Williams started the meeting, “Hello everyone, and thank you for being here on such short notice. We believe we have a unique opportunity here to take down a good portion of what we’ve named the “Raging Demons” based on the information Detectives Morales and LeFey have gathered this morning. We’ve all read the information from the FBI about their analysis…This is Chief Kono from FBI.”
Chief Kono sat in his chair, “I’m going to have the Sr. Analyst, Mr. Maxwell brief on the FBI’s findings, our detectives are on a teleconference with the New York City field office.”
Mr. Maxwell is a standard looking man in his early 30’s, with a receding hair line and a blue suit with a red tie. I wouldn’t expect him to stand out though, being an FBI analyst. “In summary, we have no DNA from the crime scene to analyze. There were only a few prints besides Ms. LeFey…wait...did you say…DetectiveLeFey???”
Chief Williams speaks before anyone else can. “Mr. Maxwell, that was in your packet with all the other papers in this case. Ms. LeFey is former Secret Service and Dallas Homicide Detective with outstanding references and we asked her to join us for this case after we found out what her specialty was. In the beginning, we weren’t sure if this was a random hit or something that could have been orchestrated based on her history with nefarious persons. Judge Swanson swore her in this morning. “
Mr. Maxwell straightens his tie and clears his throat, “Oh, I’m sorry Detective LeFey, I didn’t realize, I must have glossed over that one, I assure you I’ve not done that with any of the other evidence.” He blushes and goes on with his statements, “Of the fingerprints we did find; only two were clear enough to trace and one belonged to the victim, Ms. Rosalynn Armiger from Buttsford, Minnesota and the other to a Mr. Jonathan Ford of New York City, NY. Ms. Armiger has been in L.A. for about 6 months according to her sister, she was the next of kin notified. Ms. Wasinsky, the sister, said the last time she talked to her sister, Ms. Armiger, said she was doing some side work with a carnival reading tarot cards and staying with friends. We have no further information on that but will try to follow up on that further. ” He pauses for a moment as he looks at his notes. Then he holds up a picture of the graffiti and pushes it toward Chief Williams who pushes it around to the rest of us. “The graffiti was seen here in L.A. on three previous occasions; break-ins that resulted in stolen property with the same evidence of a party and the intruder having spent several hours on location. This graffiti, however, has never been used by a known gang or shown up in our databases. And that’s all from FBI.”
Chief Williams turns to the Chief of the Narcotics Division, Chief Newsome. “Chief, does your department have anything?”
Chief Newsome looks like he just stepped off of a Navy Ship in Pensacola. He sports that stylishly short sun bleached blond hair, he’s wearing Navy khaki’s with a bar of little ribbons of his merits and medals with his last name right above that and muscles just enough to make you think his uniform is one size too small. Now he is someone I would imagine to be floating around on a Navy ship searching for drug-smuggling ships in the Caribbean. I must have had that written all over my face because Erik takes one look at me, sports a wide grin, and laughs to himself. I silently admonish myself, not for thinking the thoughts I was thinking; just for letting it show on my face. Chief Newsome is in mid-sentence when I tune in…” so we know they are not exclusively in the narcotics business, but they may be in the narcotics transport business, and are definitely users. We feel they are using the robbery and transport system as the bread and butter for the business but as with most criminal activity these days…if they have a secure shipping route, their cargo is insignificant. I would not be surprised to find drugs among their shipments. The narcotics team has decided that we would like to lend our resources and be part of this effort you are putting forth. I have two officers to devote to the mission.”
Chief Williams thanks Chief Newsome and takes control of the floor again. “My homicide detectives just came from the house today with new information and believe that we could move immediately to set up a sting op if everyone is on board. Let me turn it over to them.”
I hope Erik will take the lead with this being my first time in front of this audience, he glances at me and thankfully, he does, “Det. LeFey and I met with one of her neighbors this morning that passed …” and he proceeds to tell Peggy’s story about the Long Beach Carnival. My mind reels a mile a minute thinking of any possible way our plan to catch them could go wrong. “The victim then would scour their brain until Ms. Armiger said it was someone they knew but not very well, like a neighbor. She would convince them it was probably someone who lived alone, was sort of a recluse or not home a lot.” Erik continues, “She would glean information from them like their work schedule, how long they were usually gone. Once a person or a business, was identified the gang would case the house/building for a few days and then strike when it was empty. “
“This gang does not seem interested in the person who owns the home.” Erik concluded,” But as we saw yesterday, they are not above using deadly force on one of their own. We surmise that when cornered, they would rather fight than face a prison sentence, as none of the members , and we guess there may be around ten so far, have shown up anywhere in our databases. So far they seem to be highly intelligent, armed, and methodical. “
Erik paused. “We believe we have a plan to catch them by setting up their next hit in one of our properties in Beverly Hills. Detective LeFey?”
“Good Afternoon. This plan would involve use of the SWAT for backup. (Special Weapons and Tactics) “ I started.
“Erin,” Chief Williams interrupted, “before you start, let me see if I can get the Chief of SWAT up here before you start – he has been read in as a matter of procedure, but if we are talking about using them, I want him to hear this in the planning stages. If he’s in agreement, we can run this by Judge Swanson before the end of today and have all of the necessary paperwork done with our i’s dotted and t’s crossed. I don’t want any stupid mistakes letting these guys off in the courtroom.” He sighed as if he’d seen that happen all too often in his career. “Why don’t you all grab some lunch downstairs and meet back here in 20?”
Everyone nodded in agreement and left the room quietly.
“I think this is going really well.” Erik said, “Now the goal is to be at that Carnival tonight to set things in motion.”
After the hours long meeting between the Chiefs and detectives in the War Room, I am so tired. I just want to go home and rest, but then I remember that home was now that hotel room. Somehow between that and finally getting out into the Sunshine with a cold coke on ice in my hand, my energy is renewed. My new best friend, Sophia, from SWAT, and I are going shopping for some fun Carnival clothes for tonight. Eric and his new best friend, Larry, from SWAT, are doing the same thing on their own. We’d meet up later at the Irish Pub after running into them at the Pirate Ship ride. Well after we had our fortunes told by whoever had replaced Madame Rosie.
Sophia and I both opted for a new age look. I select white Capri’s with a silky flowing blue, aqua, green and white V-neck top that comes down past my waist in uneven scarf-looking layers. To top it off, I buy white Espadrilles and a white shell necklace to go with my new ensemble. Sophia buys black Capri’s and a similar tie dye shirt with a lot of reds and covers it with a long thin black jacket. She opts for short black sandals and black and red shell necklace. We both have back holsters, so our guns are neatly concealed in these outfits and the pockets in the Capri’s will hold money and our badges.
After rehearsing our routine and getting to know each other a little better over a room service dinner in my hotel room, we head down to the Long Beach Carnival at 7:00 PM. We decide to ignore the fortune teller side of the park at first and play some of the games. Carting with us a stuffed teddy bear, some plastic rings on our fingers, cotton candy, and popcorn, we decide it’s time to face our future. We pass the man who wanted to guess our age and weight; the tent that houses the Siamese clowns; the trailer for the World’s smallest man, the Bearded Lady and the two headed sheep they keep caged in the back; until finally seeing the gypsy cart bearing a new sign which says “Lady Gwyneth – Palm and Tarot Card Reader”. There are two people in front of us so we wait to go inside.
The couple in front of us immediately turns around when we get in line. “Are y’all from here?” the woman asks.
I wasn’t sure who she was talking to, so I answered her, “Yes,” and managed a smile, thinking it impolite to return her wide-eyed grin. “We live in Beverly Hills”
“Y’all are sohw luh-key! It’s sowh warm and gawr-jiss. Is it lack this awe yeahr lawng?” she asked.
Tennessee, I’m thinking. Next couple goes in. “Pretty much. Where are you from?” I asked.
“Owh, Us? We’re visitin’ mah cousin’ - but we’re frum Meymphis. Nawt far frum graycelind. Bee-yutiful cuhn-tree, but it gets awful cowld some tymes.” She explained, “Weh just luhv your weyh-ther, and thowse beahch suhn-sets ahre ahmayzin’.”
I love listening to the accents. Secretly, when I’m alone, I practice them in front of the mirror so I can blend in more when I travel. Sophia though, I can tell, is trying to stifle a laugh. She’s been a California girl all her life, and everyone sounds funny to her. “We never tire of the weather or the scenery – California has the most beautiful coastline, you should try driving north on highway one someday and see how diverse it gets. “
“Mayhbee we will! Thank yew for that ti-ap! Ah aym Glo-riah by the wayh.” She says extending her hand.
I smile, “I’m Marilyn, and this is my partner, Maria .” Sophie held out her hand and nodded, putting her arm around me.
“Owh! Are y’all po-lice or tennis players?” Gloria asked, her husband tried to control a laugh.
Sophia answered that one, “No Ma’am, we’re lesbians.”
Gloria just about had a good old country heart attack while she stumbled over her next words, “Wale, Ah think thayt’s just fyne.Isn’t thayt just fyne Keith? Leyzbiayns. In Caylifawrniya. It was suhch a pleaysure ta meht yew! I thaynk its are turn nayow. But ah hope weh…Bah girls!” and with that Gloria and Keith were off into the tent to see Lady Gwyneth and out of our lives. If she mentions us to the fortune teller, all the better for our story. ,
When it’s our turn, we throw away the remnants of our popcorn and cotton candy and climb the two steps into the gypsy’s cart. Behind heavy purple fringed curtains sits a young, maybe 30, woman with long blonde hair in a long black dress.
“Please sit,” she beckons us in a soft voice, “and tell me why you are here today, and maybe I can tell you something…” We sat in padded red comfortable chairs as our eyes adjusted to the candlelight. There was a small table with a crystal ball, some tarot cards and a pendulum. On the other side of the room was a curtain and I could see it moving slightly.
“My name is Marilyn.” I said, “And I’ve come because we’re having disagreements in our relationship, our house just feels ‘unsettled’, things just feel so heavy with us – it was never that way before – can you help us.”
Gwyneth closed her eyes and opened them smiling, “Marilyn and Maria from Beverly Hills who just scared the crap out of poor Miss Gloria.” And she laughed. “You know she’s never seen a lesbian up close and personal like that.”
We all laughed. “Well, let me draw some cards…you say there is stress in the relationship, and it is a new feeling. How long have you been together?”
“Six years” Sophia answers, “It seems like it’s not just one thing, every time it’s a new thing. And each time, we can’t really put our finger on what is causing this conflict. We still love each other like we did the day we met, and there is no one else for either of us, we’ve always been honest about that.”
“Where in the Hills do you live?” Gwyneth asks.
“On Woodland Drive” Sophia states. “We have it all, the beautiful house, cars, maids, money – Marilyn is a Hollywood producer on some regular shows and I am an editor – we work long hours but we love what we are doing and have so much in common. We travel, we vacation, and we love our lives…what is the problem?”
I notice movement behind the curtain that I’m facing but I’m careful not to break eye contact with Sophia’s hand, which I have in mine right now – like any concerned lover might do. My tearful Sophia has her other hand covering her eyes but I know she has noticed it too even though she will not show any sign of it. Lady Gwyneth on the other hand, her eyes dart quickly to the movement, she rolls her eyes and sighs and her tone changes.
“Ladies, how open minded are you?”, then she catches herself, “to metaphysical thinking and otherworldly beliefs, I mean.”
Sophia looks straight at her and says seriously, “If you are saying that someone is behind this and it has something to do with magic, just tell me what I need to do and I’ll do it. My grandmother in Mexico was the healer in her small village and spoke often of hexes and curses others would put on villagers and livestock out of rage, jealousy, or even revenge.”
I chime in. “Now, Maria , please calm down. Lady Gwyneth, I’m from an Irish background that is also rich in this history but I don’t really believe anyone in this day and age still practices any of that. And why would they pick us? We don’t really bother anyone, in fact people like us. We have a lot of friends, and we’re generous people. We don’t make enemies.”
Lady Gwyneth says, “Your cards say that you are under the influence of an outside force. I don’t see any conflict between the two of you that is real, it is all imaginary. I do have here the ten of swords which means that someone who is close to you can’t be trusted and is lying to you. You should not turn your back on this man.” Lady Gwyneth pauses, ” Yes, definitely a man.”
She goes on, “There is also the four of wands that says that your relationship is built on a strong foundation, there is love and harmony. Let me see,” She draws another card and we all lean in to see what it is.
“The Tower,” She states. “This means that something beyond your control will happen causing you to have to react quickly to get out of the way…it’s kind of like having to leap out of a 3 story window because all of the exits are blocked and there is no other way out.”
She then draws the King of Swords. “It will be caused by a man with dark hair. He is the person who has something against you and is sending you all of this hostility. Who is he?”
Sophia looks at me with a pained look of desperation. (She’s good.) “Marilyn, who is he?”
Lady Gwyneth offers up an idea, “Perhaps you have a neighbor? I mean it says a “man who is close to you” – that doesn’t always mean an emotional closeness. Anyone who may be offended by your lifestyle?”
“Mr. Bocan. He lives down the street. He has gone out of his way to tell the other neighbors lies about things we do and things he’s seen. The other neighbors love us though, invite us to their parties, and know that when he says we do these things – we aren’t even at home. “I explain.
“Yes!” Sophia exclaims. “He does! He is a member of one of those weird organizations, like the Masons or something – I mean they’re well known but you never know what they really do unless you are one of them. He hates gays and lesbians and anyone who isn’t a hard core Christian democrat. I always just felt sorry for him, but I never thought in a million years that he would do anything to harm us. “
Lady Gwyneth explains, “He may not be, intentionally. But negative energy constantly bombarding your house has to have a negative effect on your environment. Do you know his address and his routine?”
“Why would you need that?” Sophia asks.
Lady Gwyneth answers, “Because, from here I can send blessings to you, and at the same time send a binding to his house to keep him from being able to bombard the universe or anyone outside of his perimeter with his negative energy. It keeps my karma, and yours clear. He only gets back what he sends out. It’s kind of like a mirror spell; whatever he sends out comes back to him threefold. Its stronger if I can work when he is not in his residence though because nothing will be fighting me.”
So this is the moment of truth. “Well, he lives down the block at 7837 Woodland Drive, in Beverly Hills. Every Tuesday he is gone. He leaves before dawn to fly to Seattle for a business meeting and arrives home late that night.” I explain, “ I have always thought it strange that he never stays overnight and just return the next morning, but he doesn’t…he always comes back home late Tuesday night. He’s an engineer for Lockheed Martin – I think he does something with the space program launch vehicles.”
The shadow behind the curtain moved and left by some back door. We all heard it close.
Lady Gwyneth leans into us and says softly, “Ladies, I’m the real deal. I know you are police. I read it in your cards. I know that you know that there was someone here waiting for that information. I want you to know that I don’t want to work with them but they said I have to do this one job for them. I’m scared of them, so please take them down. I’m leaving tonight but I will be back to testify if I’m called. Please leave now and good luck.
We left Lady Gwyneth that moment, shocked but somehow knowing she wasn’t going to blow our cover.
The Beginning Chapters
- Short Story: Home Invasion
copyright pending 2011 by Erin Le Fey I worked a little later than usual today. So it was dark as I was driving home in traffic listening to nothing. Too much going on in my head to be distracted by...
- Home Invasion 2
copyright pending 2011 by Erin Le Fey I awoke to two police officers hovering over me and a faint distant sound coming clearer; voices, Shes coming around. Ms. LeFey. Are you okay? Where...
- HOME INVASION 3
Copyright 2011 Erin LeFey I rode with Erik down to the Los Angeles Police Department - Chinatown Substation to give my statement and fingerprints so they could distinguish mine from those at the scene....
- HOME INVASION 4
copyright 2011 Erin LeFey Almost midnight and Im just reaching the hotel. Im so glad I still have the old habit of leaving a fully packed overnight bag in my car for emergencies. They taught us when...
- HOME INVASION 5
Copyright 2011 Erin LeFey I wake up to the sun pouring through my window at 5:30 AM. Im not an early riser on most occasions but my mind is flooded with images from...
- HOME INVASION 6
Copyright 2011 Erin LeFey When we pulled up to the house, it was a media circus. Every local channel and a few cable channels had set up a temporary camp. We had talked on the way over about our...