(This is the continuation of a serial novel. For previous chapters click here.)
Rogers was beginning to get the feeling. It’s a feeling only a cop could know. It’s the gut sensation that you’re on track and closing in, the feeling that the truth is close at hand and only a few more pieces are needed to finish the puzzle. Rogers knew this was something very big. He knew Mickey Fitch was lying through his teeth but he didn’t know why. He knew the FBI knew more that he did, but he didn’t know why.
Suddenly Roger’s remembered his field training officer, the man who broke him into the police business — Frank (Francisco) Delgato — the Mighty Mexican. Frank was one of the plain clothes detectives who first responded to the call for the Watergate break-in.
Frank and the rest of his team were dressed so shabbily when they entered the Watergate that the lookout across the street never figured them for cops. They managed to walk right up on the burglars, catching them inside the office of the Democratic National Headquarters.
The next thing these “Plumbers” knew they were staring at the business end of four Smith and Wessons. Few people even know the officers’ names now, even though they helped change history. Years later when telling the story over a few too many Corona beers, Delgato confided with Rogers about his original impressions of that evening. Delgato told him that from the moment they jacked these guys up, he knew it was the big time. From their disguises to their radios, the whole operation looked way too professional. It didn’t take a genius to know these guys were looking for information — not money. Delgato figured the radios they had were being used to talk to their leader and that leader was still out there.
“Was I scared?” Delgato used to say, “Remember Wilbur Mills, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee? He got busted along with Fanne Foxe by a U.S. Park Police officer. Did that officer give a shit that Mills was one of the most powerful men in the Senate? Fuck no he didn’t! You know why? He knew the secret power of the pen. Get that paperwork rolling my man … and then Xerox the hell out of it. When you’re through doing that, then you drop a dime to the Post for good measure. The Department wants you to be afraid to talk to the media. They want you to think the media is the enemy. But the truth can set you free. Remember that asshole Congressman from Utah who solicited the prostitute? Fuck him too. And that other shithead who thought he was too good to be searched when he was boarding a commercial airplane? Fuck him too. Fuck em all! All it takes is the secret power of the pen and a single dime my friend,” Delgato would say.
“The law is the word, but you have to get it in writing. I can still see Tricky Dicky waving good-bye with that spastic wave of his from the helicopter when he finally left the White House for good. Fuck him too!” Delgato would laugh. “I’m not worried.”
Three years after he retired, Frank Delgato died of a heart attack.
Rogers hoped that slogan about the truth was still true. It was the second time today it had come up. One thing Delgato said was definitely no longer true. It would now cost Rogers a quarter instead of a dime to call Debbie Peerless.
“I think we need to talk about Alexi Defarshi Ms. Peerless,” Rogers began.
“Who is this?” she asked abruptly.
“Detective Irwin Rogers, I’m …”
“Yes I know, assigned to the investigation of Alexi’s murder along with Darren Harrison,” Peerless said. “Call me Debbie,” she said informally. “As a matter of fact, I was just about to call you,” she said.
Harrison could hear her typing on a computer keyboard as she spoke.
“Well,” said Rogers nervously, “I would prefer that you not contact me at the office. The brass doesn’t like it when we talk to the press, if you know what I mean.”
“What makes you think they don’t talk to the press?” she laughed. “Well then, how about letting me buy you a beer some place where we can talk. You pick it.”
“You know where the Hawk and Dove is on Capital Hill?” Rogers asked.
“When?” she asked quickly.
“Tonight around 7.”
“Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you at the bar then,” she said.
“I’m wearing a brown suit with a blue …” Rogers began.
“Irwin, I know what you look like,” she said pleasantly while hanging up the phone.
“Shit, now what have I done?” Rogers asked himself aloud.
Rogers was still holding the phone when the nasal toned recording blared at him through the receiver. “If you would like to make a call please HANG UP!”
Rogers dropped another quarter into the phone. He dialed Lou Ciano of the FBI. Lou was a fast-talking, up-in-your face New Yorker with slicked back graying hair. He and Rogers had worked together when Rogers was assigned to the Cold Case Squad three years ago. Lou was OK when you got him away from his strictly Bureau diet of associates. He wouldn’t talk too much in the office, so Rogers knew he would have to meet him somewhere outside the confines of the herd.
“Lou — this is Ir-Vine,” said Rogers, repeating his old nickname given to him by Ciano.
“How the hell are you Ir-Vine?” asked Ciano in his thick New York accent “It’s been a couple of years now. What have you forgotten all your old friends?”
“Never Lou,” Rogers said. “Listen, I’ve come across something that may interest you, and to be honest, I think I’m going to need your help. Any chance you can break away from the office for a half an hour or so?
“For you buddy, any time, you know that. Where you at?” Ciano asked.
“Jenkins Hill Cafe and I’m buying the expresso,” Rogers said.
Lou Ciano made it in 20 minutes. The two men greeted each other with smiles and handshakes and then they sat down while Rogers ordered two double expressos with cream.
“I’ll take mine black,” Ciano said. “My cholesterol is up a bit Ir-Vine, no use taking chances.”
“Lou, I’m working a case where an Iranian named Alexi Defarshi was killed,” Rogers began while staring into the poker face of Ciano. “It was a real professional hit. Then I hear through the grapevine that another Iranian gets whacked the other day and your troops are on the scene before we are. I’ve been around long enough to know what that means Lou.”
“No can do buddy. I could sit here and lie to you if you want, but I’m telling you we are under strict orders not to discuss this with anyone,” Ciano said.
“Look,” Rogers explained patiently, “my partner and I are beginning to think that these two cases could be connected somehow. If we are walking into something, I think we have a right to know about it Lou.”
“What makes you think these two cases are connected?” Ciano asked.
“I’ll show you mine — if you show me yours,” Rogers said.
“Look, I’ll tell you this much for old time’s sake Ir-Vine. Believe me when I tell you this … it would be my ass on a platter if anyone knew I told you. The Perp in the Wisconsin Avenue case has an agenda. We think he’s a terrorist. That’s all I can say. We know of no connection to your case,” Ciano said uncomfortably.
“Still think you in New York heh, Lou?” Rogers said, changing the subject.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Da Perp,” Rogers said, referencing the New York slang for perpetrator.
“ So … show me yours!” Ciano said unamused.
“The victim in our case was screwing the wife of some big shot in the CIA. Big shot’s alibi for the night lover boy gets wasted just so happens to be the Middle East Station Chief for Counter Terrorist Operations. Apparently some urgent National Security matter had just developed on the night in question, so naturally the Station Chief had to wake our man up to tell him. This National Security matter went down almost at the exact time the murder did. And there is more,” Rogers said, trying to bait his curiosity.
“Who’s the big shot?” asked Ciano, who now appeared very interested.
“Phil Donovan,” Rogers said. “Come on Lou, mine’s bigger than yours. What else can you give me?” Rogers asked.
“Let me check on a few things first Ir-Vine. I’ve got to be careful with this one. You’ve already gotten enough out of me to get me fired. Let me give you a call tomorrow. Still have the same pager number?” Ciano asked while seeing Rogers nodding yes.
“I’ve gotta run,” Ciano said, gulping his expresso. He rose from his chair and shook hands again with Rogers. This time, Ciano did not release his grasp on Rogers’ hand. He instead held it firmly, as though to accentuate his next point. His face became deadly serious as he spoke and he looked sternly into the eyes of Irwin Rogers.
“You could be onto something Ir-Vine,” he warned. “Lay low for a while until I can sort this thing out and in the mean time … watch your back!”
Rogers had no idea what Debbie Peerless looked like, so he didn’t bother looking for her as she entered. Instead he sucked down a frosted mug of ice cold beer and munched on some stale bar pretzels while reading the latest Sports Illustrated. Darren Harrison was meeting him a the bar in an hour and Rogers figured an hour would be plenty of time to play cat and mouse with Debbie Peerless before sending her on her way. He was beginning to have second thoughts about talking to her at all. Just then he felt the light tap on his shoulder.
“Hi, been here long?” Peerless asked as though they were old friends.
“Shall we get a table? It’s more private,” she insisted.
Not waiting for a reply, Peerless gestured for the hostess to seat them.
Once they were seated, she ordered a round of “whatever he’s having” and then sat poised and confident awaiting the opening round. When she realized Rogers didn’t know where to begin, she fired the opening volley.
“So what do you think of the exotic lifestyle of Alexi Defarshi, Detective Rogers?” she asked, arching her right eyebrow suspiciously. She was slender, wore little makeup, and a corner of her shoulder-length auburn hair fell mysteriously across her right eye, shielding it from view. The effect made her left eye appear all the more intense, as though it were constantly evaluating your every move. Rogers felt uncomfortable and wished the beer would arrive soon.
“We haven’t determined a great deal about his lifestyle yet,” Rogers said as he watched her eye narrow as though it was challenging the candor of his reply.
“Are you saying that you didn’t notice the fancy cars, the expensive house and the antique furnishings? Rather lavish for a Maitre D’, wouldn’t you agree detective?” she asked.
Thank God for beer, Rogers thought as the two frosted mugs arrived at the table in the nick of time. He gulped down half the mug’s contents, paused and then placed the mug gently on the table.
“Do you remember the Watergate break-in?” Rogers asked. He was beginning to show the effects of inhaling two beers on an empty stomach.
“Watergate?” she repeated loudly. “I was 11 at the time. What’s that got to do with Alexi Defarshi?” she asked impatiently.
“Someone I used to work for once gave me some advise that’s all. Never mind,” he said, dismissing that thought in place of another.
“I think this case could require me to step on some toes,” Rogers said quietly. “Some of those toes may belong to some important and influential people. To be honest, I think that bringing you in on this early on might make people less inclined to use that influence. You help me and I help you. Quid Pro Quo as Hannibal Lector used to say,” Rogers said smiling at his own joke.
Debbie Peerless didn’t find him amusing. She now had a calm and patient look in her eye, that tolerant, understanding look one generally reserves for the mentally ill or hopelessly alcoholic. She was still listening to Rogers’ words, but not with a great deal of anticipation.
“What do you know about the murdered Iranian on Wisconsin Avenue, Debbie? I noticed your last article didn’t concern itself with his lifestyle,” Rogers said.
“I’m glad to see your reading them. Do you think there might be a connection between the two murders?” she asked.
“I do, yes, but I can’t put my finger on why I do yet. It’s just a feeling,” Rogers said.
“What if anything do you base this feeling on, Irwin?” she asked calmly.
“On my police experience, since the time you were 11,” Rogers said while offering a smile.
She smiled back in concession and then asked coldly “What else?”
“The FBI knew about the Wisconsin Avenue murder before we did,” Rogers said. “It’s not supposed to happen that way. Not that many agents on the scene all at once. They must have been working a surveillance of the killer. Unfortunately — they’re not talking.”
“Were there any witnesses to Alexi’s murder? Any leads? Something to go on?” she asked.
“There’s always the old stand-by. The girlfriend. Or for that matter, the husband,” Rogers said, knowing perfectly well what would happen next.
“OK, I bite,” said Peerless, who now was smiling slightly “who’s the girlfriend?”
“Senator Cole’s daughter, Candy Donovan. She’s married to Phil Donovan of the CIA. She was at Alexi’s house the night of the murder. Now Debbie — Quid Pro Quo,” Rogers said.
“Senator Cole was one of Alexi’s best customers. I’m told he has a special taste for a Latin woman of the evening. He’s also a member of the 1700 Club. Ever hear of it?” Peerless asked.
“Once or twice. It’s that private club over in Georgetown, isn’t it?” Rogers pretended to ask.
Debbie Peerless smiled at Rogers while tossing her hair off the hidden eye. She stared at him silently for a moment and then asked him flatly, “Why did you call me?”
“I want to make you famous,” Rogers said smiling.
She wasn’t amused.
“ OK — OK,” confessed Rogers who now was no longer able to endure the two-eyed, disbelieving stare of Debbie Peerless.
“I was hoping that you could turn up the heat on this Donovan character. Right now he’s practically untouchable and he knows it. He’s got an airtight alibi for that night. I found out today, off the record, that the FBI believes the Wisconsin Avenue murder may have been committed by a terrorist, who I need not remind you, is still running lose in this city.”
Peerless stared at Rogers silently for a moment, considering his offer.
“I’ll think about it and let you know,” Peerless said. “This terrorist angle has some promise if it turns out to be true, however, sooner or later someone is going to have to go on the record. To be honest with you, I was going for Senator Cole anyway, so this daughter thing is a real bonus. I’m going to have to run it all by my editor and let you know,” she said.
“Fine,” Rogers said in agreement, glad that this exchange was finally coming to an end.
“I really hope in the future we can share information about this case, Irwin,” Peerless said while rising from her chair to leave. “In the meantime, if I were you, I’d starting checking on that 1700 Club a little more often than you have been. My sources tell me that FBI agents were all over the place last Saturday night. Seems they wanted to question the night manager. Her name is Sabrina Delfuco. Maybe you’ve heard of her more than once or twice,” Peerless said with both her eyes glaring with an I gotcha smile.
Peerless paid the check, waited for her receipt and then exited the Hawk and Dove, leaving Rogers with an empty beer mug and a rejuvenated conscience. Did the whole world know that he and Sabrina were once an item? That was 20 years ago. Back in the days when he was young, dumb, and full of cum. The affair cost him his marriage five years after it had ended.
Rogers remembered the night. It was a party at his commander’s house, Inspector Danny Stone. Stone made an off-hand remark about Rogers’ two year affair with Sabrina within hearing range of the then Mrs. Rogers. Even though everyone knew Stone didn’t have the brains God gave a rock, Rogers knew that Danny Boy wasn’t always as stupid as he looked. Danny Stone was a devious, alcoholic prick with runaway hormones. In his sick, limited mind, Stone wanted everyone in his world to be divorced and as miserable as he was. A smart man waits for his revenge, but a fool cannot. Irwin Rogers was a fool that night. He squarely punched the cherry red, alcoholic nose of Inspector Danny Stone, breaking it instantly. It was the end of both of their careers. While officially the department supported the man of rank, Danny Stone, he was nonetheless unofficially told to retire. As for Rogers, the department fined him for his unbecoming conduct, allowing him to keep his job and make the child support payments. The usual winner emerged — the lawyer who represented the Ex-Mrs. Rogers. He got the money and her. They were married a week after the divorce was final.
Rogers ordered another beer and decided that now was as good a time as ever to get piss-faced drunk. What the hell, even Debbie Fucking Peerless knew about Rogers and Sabrina Delfuco. Rogers felt like someone had pasted a picture of his dick on a beltway billboard.
At the same moment Rogers called for another round, Darren Harrison amended the order to include a Chevas Regal with soda. Harrison looked like a page out of Gentleman’s Quarterly. His European cut, Italian suit had all the proper accessories. A burgundy silk handkerchief was properly stuffed into the breast pocket and he held a black, bone handled umbrella suspended in his left hand.
Rogers looked up at Harrison and suddenly forgot all about the perils of his domestic past.
“ Well … well, let me take a picture of the Stud Man,” Rogers laughed while yanking out a chair for Harrison. “Mack Daddy! Let’s have a drink!”
“ What’s new?” Rogers asked.
“I got a call from Prince George’s County today. One of their beat cops had a call last week for an overdose. It turned out to be an attempted suicide. A girl by the name of Jennifer Vallos, a waitress at the Labyrinth. Seems Jennifer and Alexi had a thing going on. When Alexi turned up dead Jennifer felt that she couldn’t live without him. Had a picture of him next to the bed along with a suicide note soaked in vomit,” Harrison said.
“Love’s a beautiful thing,” Rogers said. “ Where’s she at now?” he asked.
“Prince George’s Hospital. P.G.H. admitted her for observation and further treatment. I’ll interview her tomorrow,” Harrison said.
“What prompted P.G. to give us a call?” Rogers asked curiously.
“The beat officer recognized Alexi’s name from the article in the newspaper. He called homicide this afternoon,” Harrison said.
“So a P.G. cop finds out about our case from the newspaper,” Rogers said sarcastically. “That’s ironic, especially when you consider the fact that I just finished an interview with one of their reporters, Debbie Peerless.”
“An interview with Debbie Peerless?” Harrison yelled. “What the fuck is she doing here?” he asked.
“She left a few minutes ago Darren. You just missed her,” Rogers said with a grin.
“You’re bullshitting me, Irwin. Why would you even think about talking to a reporter?” Harrison asked.
“Darren, have you ever read anything about the Mad Bomber?” Rogers asked.
“Can’t say that I have,” Harrison replied.
“The Mad Bomber Case began in New York City back in 1940 and it went on for 16 years,” Rogers said. “The Mad Bomber’s first target was the Con Edison Building in New York. He was just getting started when the war broke out. Then, in a letter, he explained that because of the war he was taking a break from the bombing for ‘patriotic’ reasons. After the war he started bombing again and the police were no closer to catching him in the ’50s than they were in the ’40s. He blew up libraries, stores, even movie theaters. There was no pattern. He signed all his bombs FP. Then finally the press started publishing the Mad Bomber’s letters in 1956. The press, Darren, 16 years latter. That evil press that police officers are taught to hate in the Police Academy. The Mad Bomber fucked himself with his own words. He used an expression once too often. He always referred to his enemy’s ‘Dastardly Deeds.’ I like to call it the Publish and Perish Syndrome,” Rogers said smiling. “An employee at Con Edison recognized the expression ‘Dastardly Deeds’ when she read it in the newspaper. She remembered reading letters years earlier that were mailed to Con Edison after they had fired him and in those letters he had used the exact expression.”
“Same thing with that Unabomber Case,” Rogers said. “That case went on for 18 years. The Unabomber signed all his bombs ‘FC.’ The FBI was nowhere on that case until the press published the Manifesto. Publish and Perish, see what I mean. Even that county cop would never have known to call you if it wasn’t for Debbie Peerless and the press,” Rogers said, trying to drive home his point.
“Go on,” prompted Harrison still seemingly unconvinced. “I’m still trying to see what all this has to do with our case.”
“I told you I’d check out my FBI connection and I did. Now I know why your man Marcus wouldn’t talk. The Wisconsin Avenue case was the work of a terrorist. A terrorist who has an ‘agenda’ I’m told. Agents are crawling all over this town looking for this guy and we don’t know shit about him,” Rogers said angrily.
“An agenda means terror to me — not clean contract hits,” Rogers said. “So the worst is yet to come. Does the World Trade Center ring a bell? How about Oklahoma?” Rogers pretended to ask while not waiting for a reply. “I think it’s time for us to pump up the volume on this dirty, little secret that no one wants us to know about. Nobody does that better than Debbie Peerless. I promised my contact in the Bureau that I would lay low until tomorrow. That’s why I went ‘off the record’ with Debbie Peerless about the terrorist angle for the moment. I did give her Candy Cole though,” Rogers confessed.
Darren Harrison suspended his head with his massive index finger propped underneath the bridge of his nose and his thumb curled under his chin. His elbow rested on the edge of the table while the diamond ring on his little finger shot refracting shafts of light into Rogers’ face while he was speaking. Harrison’s intense, examining stare was now fully focused on Rogers, as though Harrison were studying him from afar for the first time and weighing the consequences of each sentence he uttered. Harrison began calmly.
“You gave Debbie Peerless Senator Cole’s daughter? Harrison asked in amazement. “I’m not gonna even touch that one now. Let’s get down to the real thing. What if you blow the FBI’s entire operation and this terrorist beats feet once he realizes the media is on to him?” Harrison asked.
“In the first place, what makes you so sure this is an FBI operation to begin with Darren?” Rogers asked. “They could be as much in the dark about what’s going on as we are.”
“Who then?” asked Harrison skeptically. “I just don’t see where you’re going with all this. Man, listen. You are fucking with some seriously heavy shit here and I’ve got to know what game you think you’re playing. You see where I’m coming from? You can just walk away from this thing and retire Irwin. I’m not even half way there. It’s up to me to look out for number one because no one else will. See what I’m saying?” Harrison asked.
“Yeah, I see what you’re saying Darren, but we’re partners right?” Rogers asked in the conspiratorial tone of officer to officer. They both had reached that final juncture that every police partnership eventually comes to. Their first vital collaboration. From this moment on there would be a conscious decision to commit, or not commit, to some irrevocable action, for better or for worse.
“So far we’ve been partners,” Harrison replied not so reassuringly. “But you better understand something. Don’t play me Irwin!” Harrison warned. “Cause I ain’t going down for No Body,” Harrison said with North Carolinian emphasis.
“I understand Darren and you’re right. That’s why we’re here. Just give me a chance to run this by you and see what you think,” Rogers pleaded while gesturing with his hand for Harrison to lean closer.
“Now Darren, this is strictly between us and no one else,” Rogers began.
Coming Home Again
Rogers was shit faced drunk. It was 1:30 a.m. and closing time at the Hawk and Dove. He stood hovering on the edge of a street curb, watching the vapors of his exhaled breath turn to fog in the cold evening air. He hoped he could could still pronounce the word taxi. Finally he managed to hail a cab with a gesture from his arm instead and told the cabby to take him to the “Cheventeen Hundred Club.” Conscience had rekindled more than guilt within Rogers. It had also ignited a spark of nostalgic lust within his loins and the alcohol had effectively erased all the obstacles of inhibition. Besides, he thought to himself, even Debbie Peerless agreed that he should keep closer tabs on the 1700 Hundred Club. So, here I come Sabrina. I accept your gracious invitation to stop by the club after closing.
Once he arrived, Rogers fumbled in the security foyer looking for the the buzzer to let him in. When he found it, he pressed it hard and long with his wobbling index finger. He was immediately buzzed in.
“Am I ever glad to see you,” Sabrina said while extending her arms to receive Rogers in an hug.
Rogers hugged her closely, trying not to speak while balancing himself on the strength of her embrace. For a moment his lips brushed against the nape of her fragrant neck.
“I see we’ve been out partying a little bit there, Irwin,” Sabrina said non-judgmentally and with a smile.
“ I’m not going to lie,” Rogers said “ I know I’m drunk.”
“Good for you,” she said. “Now that we’re finally closed, I think I’ll join you.”
“Dennis, you may go now,” Sabrina said to the bartender who nodded in agreement, swirled his bar towel one last time for effect and then departed quietly out the main door.
Sabrina went behind the bar and poured a triple shot of Henessey cognac into a large brandy snifter. Then she took four slices of freshly cut lemon wedges and dropped them into a glass of water and fresh ice.
“What can I get for you?” she asked.
“I think I’ve had enough to drink,” he said smiling sheepishly.
“To better days,” Sabrina said raising her glass in a toast. She cupped the snifter from underneath, resting its base in the palm of her hand. The sound of her nails clinging to the crystal could be heard with each swallow as she emptied the contents of her glass. Her perfectly manicured nails were coated with an intricate design that matched the color red she wore for lipstick. When she finished her drink, Sabrina took a long, slow sip of lemon ice water and then poured herself another triple shot of cognac. She gazed up and smiled at Rogers expectantly.
Rogers looked deeply into Sabrina’s eyes and said nothing. Sabrina, his secret taboo from another place and time now stood before him alone and as beautiful as ever. The woman he could never really possess, the relationship that could never last. Twenty years had erased none of his memories. The excitement of her untameable being, the cunning, beguiling nature of her presence. The sweet taste of her forbidden fruit. To those who did not know her, Sabrina was merely a criminal and a hustler. Irwin Rogers knew better. With Rogers, Sabrina had shed the personal armor that enabled her to survive on the street and from that vulnerable moment on, Irwin Rogers had fallen hopelessly in love. A love that began with the melting passion of her first kiss. A kiss, he remembered, that had warmly invited him into his lover’s soul.
“Well, I’ve had a hell of a fucking week,” Sabrina began. “I suppose you’ve heard the FBI paid me a little visit Saturday night?”
Rogers shook his head as she continued.
“I’m getting out of this business come the first of the year Irwin. I’ve had it! The drugs, the freaks, it’s all catching up to me. I don’t need the money anymore and I sure as hell don’t need the bullshit. My contract is up the first of the year and honey let me tell you — come January 1 — it’s good-bye D.C. and hello Palm Beach. I’ve gotten myself a nice little place on the Inter-Coastal Waterway and all I plan to do when I down there is lay on the beach and listen to the surf, Honey. No more freaks, no more cops, and no more hustling. I’m through with it all,” she said while finishing her second glass of cognac. She poured a third.
“I’m happy for you,” Rogers said. “What do you mean your contract is up?” he asked.
“Baby it’s not that I don’t trust you. That isn’t it, OK,” she said while stumbling for just the right words. “It’s just too deep and too long to get into. Let’s just say that I’m working off a debt to some very heavy hitters and in a couple of months my debt will be paid in full and I can finally comfortably retire.”
“ Come on Sabrina!” Rogers protested, “Have I ever betrayed your trust? I’ve got all night. What are we talking about here The Mob?” he asked.
“I wish,” she said emphatically. “Them I can do business with.”
She looked into Roger for a long moment as though assessing whether or not she should continue. She looked down into her glass and gazed at the shimmering, golden light reflecting in her cognac.
Sabrina breathed a deep sigh and then began to speak.
“Back when you first knew me, we were running that operation out of the Columbia Plaza remember?”
“Yeah I remember. Next to the Watergate,” Rogers said.
“That’s right — next to the Watergate,” she continued. “Now it was no secret that we were next door to the Democratic National Headquarters. My girls were bi-partisan and bi-everything else for that matter,” she laughed. “We used to entertain the out-of-town contributors of both parties. I’m talking about big-money contributors of course, Republican or Democratic, it made no difference to us. I had my contacts in both parties, and all they had to do was call.”
“You mean pimps,” Roger interrupted.
“You might be surprised at the offices some of these ‘pimps’ hold now but … whatever,” she continued. “The contacts would give me a call and my girls would meet these contributors to entertain them. Simple as that. It was an election year for Christ sakes and that’s always a good year for business in this town. Money’s everywhere. Anyway, a week after the break-in at the Watergate, I get this call. This guy wants to meet me. Says he knows all about our operation and that he has a lot of investment capital and that he is willing to buy into my business and protect it if I’m willing to relocate. He says he can keep the Feds off my back and that they are about to pay me a visit in reference to the Watergate break-in. This guy seemed to think — seemed to know — that the whole purpose of the breaking in in the first place was to discover dirt. This guy felt that it was entirely possible that my girls’ customers may have been feeling vulnerable to a scandal and the whole break-in thing was a mop-up operation,” Sabrina said while raising her glass to drink.
“Who is he?” Rogers asked.
“He wouldn’t give me a name at the time but he did say he would bring me some money as a sign of good faith. That was enough to make me curious. We met and he gave me 50,000 bucks. Next thing you know he moved me into this club. The building was already paid for. You know what a place like this is worth? It’s Georgetown Irwin!” she said emphatically.
“So who is this guy working for?” Rogers asked.
“I find out later he’s CIA. Claims his name is Brubaker, but I think it’s an alias. Brubaker swears that the whole break in thing had to do with who’s got dirt on who. Did you know that all that fancy equipment used in the Watergate break-in was checked out from the CIA Property Room?” she asked.
“It’s been too long for me to remember,” Rogers confessed.
“Well I remember it like it was yesterday. Don’t get me wrong — the money has been good and for the most part and they’ve managed to keep the cops off my back. No offense Irwin,” she said with a smile. “I’m almost respectable now,” she laughed.
“ What do they get out of this deal?” asked Rogers who was sobering up quickly.
“Well at first I thought it was just that they wanted me to disappear for a while,” Sabrina said. “But then we started working the Embassy trade. Getting referrals from them. Every once in awhile Brubaker would ask me about a certain customer’s special tastes, if you know what I mean. This was during the good old Cold War days, you understand. We had call girls and boys operating 24 hours a day.”
“Call boys too?” Rogers asked.
“Honey please,” Sabrina said with mock disdain, “Washington is a very gay town. Every nation on earth has an embassy here, not to mention the Congress and Senate. Be real.”
“So Brubaker was collecting dirt on the foreign diplomatic corps,” Rogers said.
“ He pays the bills, baby. We all have to work for somebody.”
“ I’m beginning to feel real glad that you’ll be off this hook in a couple of months. What did the FBI want?” Rogers asked, changing the subject.
“One of my special orders went out with this Iranian client. They think he’s involved in a murder,” Sabrina said matter of factly.
Rogers froze for a moment trying to regain his composure. His eyes betrayed his zeal.
“What?” Sabrina asked, alerted by the sudden change in Rogers.
“Did your special order ever return?” Rogers asked.
“No, why?” she asked.
“Because she probably never will.”
“What’s going on?” Sabrina asked.
“ Who was the Agent in Charge?” Rogers asked.
“Kyle Lipskey,” she replied. “Do you know him?”
“ No, but I plan to.”
“Fuck this business,” Sabrina yelled so loudly that it startled Rogers. “I hate it! Please God, let me be Marie again. I’ll go to Mass every Sunday I swear,” she pleaded staring up at the ceiling.
“ Marie again,” Rogers said. “I still prefer Sabrina. It has a certain mystery. A passion,” he smiled.
“Well you certainly would never know it by the way you’re acting,” she said.
That was as much of an invitation as Rogers felt he needed. He cupped his hand around the back of Sabrina’s neck and gently pulled her mouth toward his. Her kiss hadn’t changed and their lips and tongues soon melted into one. Rogers reached under her arms and pulled her across the bar. Glasses shattered on the floor as Sabrina’s writhing hips catapulted them into the air. Once across the bar, Rogers and Sabrina embraced fully. She could feel him pressing against her through her dress and she thrust her hips forward to meet him. She felt his hand reaching up her dress firmly grasp the cheek of her ass underneath her pantyhose. She hooked her thumb underneath her hose and stepped out of them while kicking her high heels across the room.
“Let’s go into the office,” Sabrina said.
As he followed her, Rogers tried to walk as upright as he could under the circumstances. He hadn’t made love for over a year and now this almost painful erection was reminding him of the penalty for abstinence. Once inside the office, Rogers unbuckled his belt and freed the unwilling captive within. A dull thud sounded as his pants and holstered gun hit the floor.
Sabrina stepped out of her dress and removed her bra. Her milk white breasts were as beautiful as ever, Rogers thought as he fumbled to remove his shirt. Sabrina now stood completely naked as she turned to face him. They embraced again kissing deeply. Then the lights went dim as Sabrina pulled him down with her onto the brown leather couch.
(Courtesy feature photo of the author George Munkelwitz in uniform.)
George Munkelwitz has been a law enforcement officer for 32 years. He spent 22 years patrolling the streets as a Prince George’s County Police officer. He served in Vietnam as a military intelligence specialist where he worked with the controversial Phoenix Program. Prior to the anthrax attack, he was writing the book “The Mother of Satan.” After the anthrax attack, an article appeared in the Washington Times magazine Insight, quoting his expertise in military intelligence, and mentioning his book. ABC news interviewed him but he felt the network treated him like a suspect and not an expert in the field. He never published the book after that interview. Nearly two decades later, his serial novel is finally published by Baltimore Post-Examiner.