WRAP UP, LOCK UP
It was mid afternoon on a Tuesday and although on crutches, Liam Irish had been released from the hospital the day before and was now with the others waiting for Officer Billy and his partner, Fred, to arrive at the club. The police cruiser pulled into the back alley out of direct view of traffic, as directed by Della the day before. With the trashing, and then the shooting, they didn’t want to frighten off customers any more than they had already. Della met the two officers at the side door.
“Hi. You must be Savannah’s brother, Billy,” Della said, looking directly at the handsome young man who was the spitting image of his sister. Then Della looked over at the other, older gentleman.
“This here’s my partner in crime, Fred,” offered Billy. “Fred, this is...”
“Della. It’s Della,” she said, almost choking out the words as she melted under Fred’s gaze. He wouldn’t take his eyes off of her until, finally, she turned away.
“Uh, c’mon over, fellas. I’ll introduce you to the others.”
After over an hour of detailed discussion and questioning, Billy and Fred had gathered enough information and concrete evidence to track down the notorious crook, Dominic Diaz. The group discovered that although Dom had already been arrested several times, he always seemed to get off - either by someone paying his bail bond or someone paying off an officer, lawyer or judge. Billy and Fred had reams of paperwork on the guy, and were more than ready to put him away for a very long time nailing him with what ever they could. In this case it would be theft, attempted murder, and operating illegal sexual services for profit. They figured that was a good start.
Meanwhile, unbelievable sparks were flying between Fred and Della. It was as if they were meant for one another and had just been waiting to be thrown together. Everyone around the table quickly became aware of this electric energy between them, but neither Della nor Fred seemed the least bit phased, let alone cared what anyone thought. Their easy banter and unguarded looks seemed as normal as if they had been together for years, and although Fred was serious about the case he was there to work on, he afforded himself enough freedom to laugh and flirt to ensure Della knew his intentions.
During the interrogation process, which was really nothing more than a gathering of information from all possible witnesses, Savannah disclosed detailed events of what went on behind the scenes at The Lady. Although not news to anyone present, some points were shocking. For instance, Genevieve knew many of the girls who danced at the club sometimes brought clients backstage to their dressing room/boudoir after the show, but she seemed surprised that, as a way of making extra cash, a few of them also worked the streets for Dom. On the other hand, having been in the nightclub business for many years, Mitch had long since become accustomed to the other side of life, and had accepted the girls curricular activities as long as there was no trouble, which is where the line had recently been crossed with Dom. However, he was glad Fran had a “headache” and had decided to stay home. This was far too much unnecessary information for her to be privy to. Although all this talk was nothing new to Liam, he still seemed miffed by something. Genevieve noticed his agitation during the discussion, like there was something he didn’t understand. Miguel just sat and listened, like he’d heard it all before.
“Well,” Billy said finally. “That about wraps it up for the time being. Fred and I will head back to the department and begin tracking down this asshole. With his connections and track record, that shouldn't take long.” Billy stood up and hesitantly, Fred followed.
“I’ll see you out,” Della offered enthusiastically, and everyone smiled at one another. Della ignored them.
“Billy, there’s just one thing I’d like to know before you go.” Liam asked. “Besides Dom having been bailed out by insiders over the years, why is it that the rest of you boys have let him run free all this time, let him continue getting away with all this shit, even when you knew he was trouble?”
“That’s easy,” Billy replied without hesitation. “We needed actual proof. Oh sure, we'd had opportunities in the past where we thought we could string him up by the neck, but he's a wily son of a bitch, and well connected. Somehow that bugger managed to wriggle out of situations he found himself in, and therefore wriggle out of our hands. We've needed people like you to risk coming forward with clean, clear evidence.” He paused. “There have been plenty of witnesses over the years, all of whom were too scared to talk once the guy was arrested. Dominic made threats to everyone he duped. Even though those people knew they were being blackmailed, they also knew enough not to take Dom’s threats lightly.”
“So, why now?”
“I think you can answer your own question, Mr. Irish.”
Liam thought for a minute. “Safety in numbers?”
“Absolutely. You folks have stuck together to make this happen. That’s the secret to success in these cases. It's pretty hard to fight a gang.”
“Well, if that’s the case, Savannah and the girls could have come forward ages ago,” suggested Della. "They've known about Dom and his antics for longer than the rest of us."
“Sadly, the girls didn’t feel they were enough of a force to scare the bastard off and remain safe," replied Billy. "With time they might have been, but frankly I persuaded Savannah not to try. Dom’s too powerful a force in the underworld. I didn’t feel confident enough to let her risk her life or theirs to get him.” Billy looked supportively at his sister, and Savannah returned the attention of her protective big brother with glowing pride. “I think things have just naturally worked out, don’t you?” He said, in closing.
Liam and the other’s couldn't help but agree, so they said their goodbyes as Della walked them to the side door.
“Thanks ever so much for coming out this afternoon,” Della said as she held the door open for the two men. “Fingers crossed that this all works as planned. Good luck.”
“Bye, Della. We’ll be in touch.” Billy walked to the cruiser that was parked a few feet away, close to the side of the building. Fred lingered, glancing between the car and the side door of the club where Della remained.
“So, Della,” he stammered. “I’ll...I mean, we’ll call when we know more.” Fred shuffled his feet nervously. “But I might...”
“Please do call, Fred. That’d suit me just fine. Call anytime. I’m usually here, or else Savannah knows how to reach me.” Della was not the type to miss an opportunity when she saw one.
“Yeah, sure Della, I’ll do that. I’ll call.” Fred’s face flushed red, but his grin lit up the open doorway. “So, I guess that means I’ll see ya around.”
“You betcha,” Della replied, also grinning from ear to ear.
...Stay tuned...the last chapter of Salon Antics, chapter 19, will be posted next Tuesday, November 22nd...