The basement, p.1
The Basement, page 1
By Tom Clarke
My name is James Richards (everyone calls me Jim or Jimmy) and I am, or should say was, an Agent with the State-Wide Narcotics Bureau where I acted in an undercover capacity in furtherance of ongoing criminal investigations at the state and federal level. This is the story of my last investigation in law enforcement and why I left the badge after 20 years of service. But before we get to that let me tell you a little about my background; I had started in Law Enforcement in the early 1990’s as a Patrol Officer and while in patrol division served collateral assignments as a Field Training Officer (FTO), firearms instructor, defensive tactics instructor, and as a member of the area wide Tactical Police Team.
Though I enjoyed patrol work after about 6 years of shuffling the pavement and taking calls for service I had the opportunity to test for detective, so I did, and oddly enough I passed. I was promoted to detective and assigned to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Narcotics Bureau.
Working biker and gun groups kind of became my thing, but I also did undercovers on cases including everything from street-level marijuana, to murder-for-hire, and multi-pound meth cases involving organized crime folks from our country as well as south of the border.
Anyway, in the summer of 2014 I was assigned to a state and federal drug task force, it was there that I ended my law enforcement career. The names in this story have been changed….are you afraid of monsters?
The building, which was a faded gray and white with a gravel parking lot and covered windows, sat on the outskirts of town. Once you pulled into the parking lot there was no mistake what the establishment was, of course the blaring heavy metal music and the sign in the parking lot proclaiming new girls nightly helped to give it away. The strip club Rockets was strategically located across the street from one of the local hotels and just a few short miles from the international airport. Both locations provided a steady stream of travelers looking to forget themselves for a few hours in the warm comforting embrace of a two-drink minimum and the shadow of naked women flinging themselves around a dull brass pole like a pack of cracked out harpies.
The ambiance of this unassuming building was complemented by the faded metal sign above the front door that read “NO WEAPONS & NO COLORS.”
After crossing under the welcoming placard patrons were greeted with the smell of cheap booze, bad perfume, worn carpets and the 300-pound great North American shaved ape sitting on a metal stool doing his civic duty making sure that no one under the age of 21 entered.
The interior consisted of a large open room littered with tables arranged in a pattern known only to the janitor who attempted to push a broom between them during the hours prior to opening. Sitting in the center of the room was an elevated circular stage with a large mirror as the backdrop and a brass pole that shot up from the center to the ceiling. It was beckoning, providing a way-point for the populace to come hither much like light houses of old for wayward ships in the night.
Across the room from the stage was a second elevated area, again with a large mirror as a backdrop. This second area was the true moneymaker for this establishment of morals and civic virtue; the bar.
Working behind the bar and skulking in the darkness was a black-haired beauty, the thing every teenage male dreams about. That is until she steps into the light to serve a drink or yell at a customer and then it is revealed that this beauty has spent far too much time on the back of any number of American made motorcycles and done God knows what to pay for all her tattoos.
The sun in her face, the wind in her hair and years of better living through modern chemistry have molded this escapee from a Steven King novel into the productive member of society that now spews cigarette smoke and cheap liquor 5 nights a week.
I tried not to make eye contact with Debbie the bartender for fear that she would possess me, steal my soul, and consume my power. She had already gotten her mits on untold riches courtesy of us, the state narcotics unit as we had made several undercover purchases from her. She was not about to get her hands on my soul as well.
Of course, conversation with Debbie was inevitable, she was, after all, the one who had introduced me to the lovely darling, the joyous light of some mother’s eye who was on her way to meet with me and sell me 100 Ecstasy pills. “JT you want another Jack Daniel’s?” asked Debbie, who possessed the voice of an inner city construction worker. “If I say no are you going to kick me out of here?” Debbie just looked at me like I was an idiot and then poured the Jack Daniel’s into a glass over a few ice cubes.
“This one’s on me.” Deep down I sighed but outwardly I smiled a crooked grin and said, “Thanks Debbie, you’re the coolest, and the hottest one in here, how come you’re not out there on the stage?”
Right after I said that I felt the rumble in my guts, a way-down-town gag-reflex. I’m still not sure if it was the fact that I said it, or the fact that Debbie looked at me, winked and then ran her tongue across her upper lip.
Either way I am sure that some time down the road a mental health provider will get a new wing on their house thanks, in part, to that particular experience.
As Debbie turned to deal with some other meathead at the bar I put the drink to my mouth and took a sip as I turned in my chair surveying the rest of the bar. More than anything I was looking to make sure that my partner, who had tactically positioned himself at the meat rack facing the stage was still there and that he had not fallen victim to one of the beasts roaming the bar looking for a victim.
Keith was new to drug enforcement; he had come over from patrol division where he had been assigned as a K-9 officer. He had made a name for himself there and was doing a pretty good job learning the ins and outs of undercover drug enforcement.
Pursuant to the plan that we had put together before this operation, Keith had positioned himself so that he was able to see me in the large mirror behind the stage.
We made eye contact and he raised his beer just to let me know he could see me ok.
Then like something from a show at Sea World, my partner flopped himself onto the stage with a one-dollar bill firmly gripped in his teeth. Hogzilla then sashayed herself over, jiggling to the smooth sounds of Hank Williams Junior and collected Keith’s offering to the stripper Gods.
After checking on Keith, I took a quick look around the rest of the bar, making sure that no one was paying any special attention to Keith, or me for that matter. I took an extra look at monkey boy checking ID’s at the front door, Jeff was his name. Jeff and I had spoken on several occasions during the past several months I had been working this shit hole, I even had some drinks with him and bought a small amount of ditch weed from him.
I also knew Jeff to be an associate of the local outlaw motorcycle club the “Lone Wolves” and to walk around with a 4-cell Mag-Light dangling from his belt.
Having spent several years working in the patrol division before transferring to narcotics I have firsthand knowledge of what a well-placed tap from a 4-cell Mag-light can do to a person. Since Keith and I had chosen to ignore the signage on the front of the building that read no weapons I was secure in the thought that if Jeff decided to go a little sideways with that light of his one of us would help him re-evaluate his stance on breathing. But I would be just as happy to avoid that.
As I cast my gaze upo
“Hey JT, Desie just called she is going to be here in about 15 minutes, she wanted to make sure you were still here.” Once again, the combination of volume and the unique decibel Debbie’s voice had acquired from years of smoking left yet another scar on my psyche. “You want another drink sweetheart?” Debbie asked.
All kinds of creative answers rattled through my brain and towards my mouth, but instead I replied, “Yes…yes I do. Hey when Desie called did she tell you if she has it or what?” referring to the pills I was supposed to be buying from her that night.
Debbie replied, “She didn’t say. She did say that she’s going to stop by King’s house on the way in though.”
I tried hard to conceal the smile slowing spreading across my face. King would be a good hit, if I could tie the two of them together, or show the pills I would hopefully came from him, well it would be a good night.
Kyle Kingsman, AKA: King was a white male born in 1968, 5 feet 9 inches tall with a thin build, long hair and lots of tattoos. When he decided to work, King worked at a local junkyard, most of the time pulling parts but from time to time he would drive the tow truck. I had met King a few times at the bar and as far as I could tell he never graduated from high school, hell he probably never graduated from junior high school. King, who had not seen a reputable dentist in years and was battling a grade “A” case of meth-mouth was a player in the local drug scene.
He was a wannabe biker, lived the lifestyle but did not have the fortitude, or level of sobriety, to prospect for any clubs. Instead he was a hang-around, someone who associated themselves with outlaw biker gangs, was a friend of the gang, but was not a member.
We had been seeing intelligence reports regarding King with increased frequency for the past few years.
The reports painted a picture of an up and comer in the drug sub-culture.
King, who had started out selling small amounts of weed, was now, according to intelligence and reports from confidential informants involved in the distribution of marijuana, ecstasy and methamphetamine.
Intelligence reports also stated that King was getting his dope from the bikers so finding a confidential informant who was willing to make buys from, or introduce someone to King, had been difficult at best. One thing was sure, if Desie was stopping by Kings house before meeting me I was going to be booking some evidence tonight.
As snaggletooth parked another Jack Daniel’s in front of me I turned in my seat and again made eye contact with Keith who had apparently learned his lesson. Keith had moved from the meat rack to one of the tables facing the stage.
I made eye contact with my partner and ever so nonchalantly I flashed five fingers out then balled them back into a fist.
I tried to make it look as though I was stretching my hand. I was in fact signaling to Keith 15 minutes. I knew that Keith got my message because he put his beer down and started shuffling in his seat, looking around and becoming a little more aware of what was going on, and not just on the stage.
One truism of drug enforcement is that dopers have no concept of time. I am sure that on their planet they are always on time, and on target, however here in what I like to refer to as “reality” they are never on time. And when I say never on time I mean they are not on time by 30 minutes to hours. The funny thing is that when you ask them about it, more often than not, they look at you like you are the one who is out of whack.
With that idea in mind imagine my surprise when I see Desie come be-bopping in the front door with five minutes to spare on her original estimated time of arrival of 15 minutes.
Desie, the genius creation of a stage name for Desiere Parker. A white female born in 1985, 5 feet 5 inches tall with long blond hair and an average build, born somewhere in Kansas, but had moved to the area with her parents of which her father was a career military man stationed at the local Army post.
When I first met Desie she told me that she was dancing at the strip club to help pay her way through college, though oddly enough she was not enrolled. Just as a joke I had asked Desie on one occasion what the Magna Carta was, no shit she told me that it was some sort of a new hair care product. Working her way through college my ass!
I had been introduced to Desie by Debbie the bartender. Desie was nice enough to sell me marijuana on a few occasions and then a few ecstasy pills. Today Desie had agreed to deliver 100 “Superman's” to me (ecstasy pills with the Superman logo stamped into them).
After walking into the bar and answering the riddle from the troll at the door allowing her to pass, Desie made her way up to the bar where I was sitting. As she walked behind me she pulled on my ponytail which hung down past my shoulder blades and near the middle of my back. Like pulling a string on a doll this always got a reaction out of me, I hate having my hair pulled! “Hi JT, sorry to keep you waiting” said Desie. “What’s the good news” I replied.
Desie made a half ass attempt to look around and make sure that no one was looking, like it mattered in that place. As Desie looked around I went ahead and played along looking around too. I was, in fact, looking for Keith, who had moved himself to a pool table located near the end of the bar.
When I saw that Keith was on the ball and had taken up a good solid position I could not help but crack a small smile. “What are you smiling about” said Desie, “just thinking about seeing you up on the stage darling” I replied. “So, are we good?”
“Here” Desie said, and under the bar passed me a zip-lock baggie containing several pills, pills which I recognized as being Ecstasy pills with the Superman logo stamped into them. I discreetly looked the baggie over, placed it in my jacket pocket and then, in a manner that would have made James Bond smile covertly passed Desie the cash under the bar.
Too bad for Desie the cash consisted of pre-recorded police buy funds, but what the hell. She had spent most of her short adult life living in, and for, the moment. And at that moment she was all smiles. “Way cool” Desie said in a bubbly voice that just made me want to cry. My tears were averted when she said, “Hey I stopped by Kings house and he wants to meet with you this weekend.”
“What does he want to talk about?” I asked as I faked a sense of confusion while still trying to hide my smile.
“I think he wants to go into business with you” Desie replied. “He’s got some new friend that’s doing a good job of keeping him supplied. Seems like he’s always got some shit he’s trying to move these days.”
“Have you met this new friend?” I asked
“Yeah” Desie replied, “honestly he scares the crap out of me so I try to stay away from him.”
Before I could ask another question, it happened; I heard a dull thud and then a window-breaking scream. Dogs across town were howling this scream was so high pitched. I first looked to where Keith had been standing playing a solo game of pool.
Keith was looking right at me and putting his jacket on, the signal that it was time to go. I then looked over at the stage and that is when I saw the horror, the pole had claimed a victim. One of the dancers was splayed out on the dance floor screaming in pain.
The music stopped and the lights came on, never a good thing in an establishment such as this one, it shows everyone’s true “beauty”. There is no true beauty in that place, thus the problem.
As the drama on the stage unfolded Desie stood up and said, “Oh shit, she fell off the damn pole again!”
I just looked at Desie for a second, her statement running through my mind. My attempt to find the words to reply was cut short when the bar manager, a very loud and overbearing Russian immigrant, came out of his office and started yelling in a thick Russian accent at the dancer who was down “Get the fuck up, God Damnit get the fuck up, why is there no music, get the fuck up.”
We did not want to be there when the boys in blue came rolling in so I made the decision to exit stage left.
“Give me a call or give King my number and have him call me” I said to Desie as I put my jacket on and quickly made my way to the front door.
“Okay” she replied half standing up from her bar stool. And with that I was out the door leaving the gravity-challenged stripper on the deck with Jeff the bouncer and the manager yelling at her to get the fuck up.
As I walked out the front door of the strip club I ran right into Keith who was standing out in front laughing so hard he could not walk and was having a hard time standing up right.
“Come on Keith we got to get the hell out of here before the cops show up and ruin our picnic.”
“Holy shit!!! Have you ever seen anything like that” Keith replied, “Gravity works, it really works!”
by Tom Clarke have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes