“I’ve got rights,” I said. From the expression on Lieutenant Lewiston’s face, that wasn’t so. This was off the record, and I would fall down and hit my face if I didn’t watch what I said. There weren’t witnesses, and if it came down to his word against my own somewhat tarnished reputation, I was out of Brasso.
“You listen,” he said and I did. Lewiston was an imposing hulk. John Wayne tall with a Kirk Douglas face and Sylvester Stallone body – or the body Sly had in Rambo I days. “If I have to get a court order to wiretap, so do you. I don’t like you, Dillon, but I feel like I owe you.”
I nodded. He was right about that. He needed court orders that were sometimes hard to get on flimsy evidence, and the cry of “terrorist” and “homeland security” worked only for the Feds. I had done what could only be called illegal bugging, and I’d sent a pedophile, Albert Allan Swann, to jail forever. Lewiston got the commendations, and he got a foot up in a suddenly plausible political career. If he made captain fast he would be police chief in a couple more years. Me, I had the satisfaction of a bugging well done, a child molester put away and a bundle of money from the young girl’s parents.
I had helped Lewiston because child molesters should fry. I didn’t care about Lewiston’s political aspirations, but we had been on the same side that time. The only other side we were ever on was our families. We were both big on that. My wife of twenty-two years had died a year back from a nasty bout with Hodgkins, but my kid was doing well in college with a scholarship. She had to since her old man wasn’t doing good enough financially to help her out. I knew Lewiston was devoted to his two boys and his still drop-dead gorgeous blonde wife of twelve years.
“You leave my wife out of this,” he snapped. “You drop the illegal surveillance or I’ll come down on you like a ton of bricks. Then I’ll sic the Feds on you.”
“Somebody’s really twisting your tail,” I said, looking at his florid face. I thought Lewiston bringing up his wife in a strictly professional conversation was clearly out of bounds, but his level of ire meant somebody as high up on the food chain as the chief herself might be cracking down on snoops like me. Gossip had it that Chief Greenleaf was mixed up in a kickback scheme involving land developers, and I was just the detective reporters might use to get the goods on her. Lewiston might count on Greenleaf to get that captaincy, but I didn’t have an entry in that rat race. Considering I only had a half dozen cases – all of them nickle and dime stuff – this warning had to be preemptive.
“Nobody tells me what to do,” Lewiston said, not doing too good a job controlling his temper. “You helped me out. Let me help you. No more wiretapping, no more photo surveillance or Pellicano’s troubles will seem like a zit on your ass in comparison.”
“You know me, Lieutenant. Always by the book.”
“Your book’s got a few pages missing.”
“What’s so funny?”
“I was thinking of anthropodermic bibliopegy.” I saw his scowl so I explained. “Binding a book in the skin of the convicted. Think how small and ugly Swann’s book would be.”
“You’re one sick fucker,” Lewiston said. With that he tromped out and didn’t bother closing the office door behind him. If the office had been three inches smaller, I could have reached out and shoved the door shut without getting out of my chair. As it was, I had to push back, listen to the squeaky wheels on a third-hand chair, get my arthritic knees moving and then kick the door shut with a bang. My name had been misspelled by the painter, and he had refused to change it. For what I’d paid him, I was lucky he hadn’t used a can of spray paint to put on what lettering he had done.
The office itself might have been described by a real estate agent as cozy. The way I thought of it was a coffin with elbow room sorely in need of being super-sized. The cracks in the plaster walls were mostly covered by diplomas and awards I had picked up on-line. The most impressive of the lot proclaimed me to be a curate in the Galactic Order of Serene Beings, but the calligraphy was ornate. The gold seal with the raised imprint looked official, and the detailed descriptions were too intimidating for anyone to actually read. The rest of the certificates attested to what a great guy I was, including the hole-in-one certification. Too bad I’ve never played golf in my life. It came in handy, though, with a certain class of clients if they thought I was familiar with country clubs and cow pasture pool.
Before I could make my way around the desk, a firm rapping at the door froze me. It wasn’t Lewiston returning. He never bothered to knock. I opened it. Standing there, fiercely clutching a purse, with her lips pursed even tighter, was a middle-aged woman. Red hair, five-four, not a bad figure, and from what I could tell, very expensive clothes that didn’t come off just anyone’s rack without the purse opening wide. Determination radiated from her in palpable waves.
“That’s the name on the door,” I said. “Almost. The painter left out an ‘l’ but that’s me.”
“May I speak to you about a job?”
“I’m all ears,” I said. I pulled out one of my two client chairs, choosing the red one that didn’t have a spring that poked up into the butt. She didn’t appreciate my thoughtfulness and sat primly perched on the edge. The red leather of the chair clashed with her flame-colored hair. She didn’t notice. Under other circumstances she would have and made me change the chair’s color, if not my entire office decor.
“May I offer you some coffee, Ms – ?”
“Mara Sanchez,” she said emphatically shaking her head. When I didn’t respond one way or the other, she went on. “My husband is Jaime Sanchez. The deputy mayor.”
I sucked in my breath. This was the kind of case Lewiston, in his friendly, roundabout fashion, had been warning me away from. Mara Sanchez didn’t look frightened, like she would if a child had been kidnapped or lost. There wasn’t the feigned outrage if she was handing me a blackmail case. A deputy mayor’s wife could have cops jumping through flaming hoops if anything had been stolen. All this meant one thing only.
The deputy mayor’s wife thought the deputy mayor was cheating on her.
She laid out the situation and it was as sordid as you might expect. One day an outraged wife will present a case against her hubby that didn’t have all the classic elements to it, and it’ll come as a total surprise. The deputy mayor met his paramour in the same hotel room every Thursday evening after six. That’s one thing going for a politician. Their schedules are so crowded they have to be methodical when it comes to sleeping around.
“The hotel by the freeway?” A mental picture of the twelve-story hotel came to mind. A long lens wouldn’t work since the nearest I could set up was at least a quarter mile off. I’ve got the optics and the highest resolution digital camera available for such work, but there are limits.
“He and his ... his whore,” she said, her voice shaking with indignation, “always get the same room. On the twelfth floor next to the fire escape so he can leave without being seen.”
“No surveillance cameras in the stairwell?” That didn’t seem too unlikely, even in an upscale hotel. Maybe especially in a ritzy hostelry since they weren’t likely to have homeless guys setting fires or junkies shooting up.
I studied her. Mara Sanchez was both determined and scorned. A dangerous combination for the deputy mayor when they got to divorce court.
“You hardly seem to need my services. You’ve found your husband’s, uh, meeting place, and determined camera locations.”
“I want photos.” She was more than determined and scorned. She had a vindictive streak a mile wide.
“For legal purposes?” This question slowed her down. From her reaction she wanted them for blackmail and not for a divorce. How long a few explicit photographs would keep Sanchez in line – and in his wife’s bed, if that was her intent – was something I had no way of determining.
“How I use them is my business. Will you get the pictures?”
“I’ll have to break into the room and put up micro cameras.”
“You will be able to get videos? With sound?”
“The whole nine yards,” I assured her. “You’ll be able to make the hottest X-rated DVD on the market, if that’s your pleasure.” I was only slightly shocked when I saw her emerald green eyes light up and a wicked little smile curl her lips. The deputy mayor was in for a hell of a ride, and it wouldn’t just be from his Thursday night slut.
“Just one good picture will do,” she said, “but I won’t turn down the rest of the package.”
We haggled over my price, but not much. My mind was already wandering to how I was going to get the goods on the deputy mayor since I had to get into the room. No long distance peeping this time, which meant I not only had to get the surveillance equipment into the room but remove it after it had served its purpose. Of course, leaving the cameras in the room for a few extra days might not be too bad. Kicks are hard to come by for me these days.
“When will I have the pictures?” She fixed me with her feverish stare.
“If he keeps his Thursday assignation,” I said, keeping the words nice and neutral, “I can have the package to you Friday.”
“An extra hundred if you get them to me Thursday night.”
“Let me have your e-mail address,” I said, appreciating this gig more and more. I wouldn’t even have to print the pictures or burn the video to DVD. A quick press of the “Enter” key and my client would have instant gratification, or whatever she wanted out of the pictures.
“I take electronic payment through PayPal,” I said, noting her addy.
“You’ll get your full payment when I receive the pictures,” she said.
I wouldn’t even have to threaten to sue because she hadn’t paid up.
“Be sure to have a high speed connection.”
“I’ll be waiting,” the redhead told me.
I was sure she would be.
Getting into the room was a cakewalk. The electronic keycards the hotels use are more convenient for them than their guests, though they hype added security, changing the codes, all that PR gobbledegook suitable only for a full color brochure. I stuck in a special reader card I had made, poked in a commands on the attached Crackberry, then waited. The door light winked green at me and I was inside. I looked around in appreciation, wishing I could take my ho to a place like this. But I didn’t have either the money or the woman.
I placed cameras in the room’s corners for a stereo view of the bed. After using my handheld to check to connections and make adjustments, I went to the window and opened the curtains. Placing the equipment inside the room had been the only way of getting decent photos. The nearest spot where I could have used a long lens was almost a mile away on the far side of the freeway. Lights and distance would have made any pictures worthless.
I positioned my microphones under the bed to pick up every low, loving moan caused by an intimate caress to the loud, ecstatic cries of orgasm, then double-checked it all. Working. Then I left, using the stairs to get out to the lot where I had my SUV parked. I slid into the passenger side and set up my remote surveillance post.
A few minutes of fiddling and I had my laptop plugged into the cigarette lighter. I might record for a lot of hours and my old laptop’s battery would crap out after only ninety minutes or so, if the last surveillance was any indication. It would have been nice to find a Starbuck’s with high speed wifi and an electric plug, but beggars couldn’t be choosers. As it was, I could send the raw footage – and I expected it to be really raw – to Mrs Sanchez over my Blackberry connection.
I acquired the signal and wondered how hard it would be to tap into the hotel wifi, then discarded the notion. Better to rely on my own secured link, even if it was slower. Things had gone well so far. I didn’t need some teenaged hacker picking up my feed and thinking he had died and gone to live action XXX porno heaven.
As Mrs Sanchez had said, the deputy mayor was a real stickler for the clock. He entered the room at six on the dot. She wasn’t wasting any time. Barely had the door closed and the blonde was pulling her sweater off. He made a beeline for her and began kissing her belly. This caused her to get all tangled up in the sweater, but neither cared much. The deputy mayor worked his lavish kisses across her belly and up, worked his tongue around under the cups of her bra – might have been C – hard to tell – and then reached around back and unfastened the hooks.
Very nice rack. I found myself getting excited at the sight. First, I made sure I was capturing it all digitally. Two cameras were giving a good view as he slipped her pleated skirt off her flaring hips. She wasn’t wearing any panties. Stripped for action. The deputy mayor appreciated that as much as I did.
He buried his face between her thighs and began serious oral sex. The sounds coming through the microphone nearest them caught every lap, every lick, every rapturous moan.
He swung the blonde around as she got her sweater off. I couldn’t see her face but got a good look at her bare back, the swell of her hips and the sleekness of her ass. This wasn’t a good shot for Mrs Sanchez to use, but it worked for me. My breathing became a little more ragged, almost in tempo with the pair going at it so hot and heavy.
“Oh, Jaime,” she moaned as she ran her hands through his long, straight black hair. “Your mouth feels so good on me. He never does that.”
“Your husband’s a fool,” the deputy mayor said. I caught a good shot of his face, looking up from where he was on his knees in front of her. Tiny dewdrops of her juices sparkled on his lips. This was primo stuff. I started the upload to Mrs Sanchez.
My hand moved from the laptop to my lap. I should have remained aloof, but hell, it had been a long time for me and even longer since I’d seen anything this hot. Both of them were in good physical condition and willing to get physical. The deputy mayor reached around, stroked over her white asscheeks, then stood and lifted her. He dropped her onto the bed. Her legs opened wantonly for him.
He was past wanting to take it slow and easy. Ripping off his clothes took only a few seconds and then he was on the bed, on her, in her. And I got the first good look at her. This was the money shot.
My eyes darted from the laptop screen to the winking light on my Blackberry showing every instant was being sent to Mrs Sanchez.
The sudden flare of a flashlight in my eyes startled me. Squinting, putting up my hand to shield my eyes, I knew what was coming. And it wasn’t going to be me.
“You damned pervert. I warned you, Dillon. I did. Get the hell out of the car!”
Lewiston’s flashlight rapped metallically against the passenger window. Then he yanked open the door. I had been leaning back and almost fell out.
“I told you not to do any of this shit. I’ve got to run you in.”
“How’d you happen by?” I asked. My eyes went back to the screen. The action had gone beyond hot and heavy. There wasn’t a porn direction alive who wouldn’t have paid big bucks for this video. And it was all Mrs Sanchez’s now.
“A hotel security guard sent in your license number. I recognized it and answered the call. Come on out, Dillon. You packing? No, you don’t. I still have to frisk you before I cuff you.”
“Wait a second, Lieutenant,” I said, quashing the surge of panic. “We can work this out, you and me.”
“Like hell. You’re a damned Peeping Tom. Christ, you still got a boner!”
I didn’t look down. I knew what was going on down there. It died pretty fast at the idea of being arrested on sex charges. My eyes worked over the screen and saw how far the dynamic duo had gone. The woman’s head was draped over the side of the bed, away from the lefthand camera focused on the bed. This position would give her an even bigger kick when she got off again. Blood rushing to the head and all that. It also gave a good look at the deputy mayor’s face and where his little friend was exploring. Real hardcore stuff.
I tapped the key that broke the uplink. Mrs Sanchez had all she needed and then some, unless she was getting off on this the way I had been. Somehow, I guessed she was getting her jollies for a different reason.
“Look at the screen capture, Lewiston. Take a good look.” I had frozen the scene. Jaime Sanchez in three-quarter profile, his cock completely hidden between the woman’s widespread legs.
“Jesus, that’s the deputy mayor,” Lewiston said.
“Who told you to bird dog me? The chief? She’s got issues with our amorous friend, doesn’t she?”
“He’s trying to pin bribery on her.”
I didn’t come out and tell him what he could do with this single shot but I hinted when I said, “Captain’s bars’d look mighty good on your collar.”
“You bastard.” There wasn’t any venom in Lewiston’s words. He was thinking hard. He was an honest cop, mostly. But getting this photo to the Chief of Police would work miracles all over town. The Chief would get caught in some other illegal scheme. She wasn’t the kind to breathe a sigh of relief that she had a single indiscretion wiped off her permanent record. No, she would get into trouble even an ambitious lieutenant couldn’t get her out of.
“You want the picture?”
“Jesus,” Lewiston said. He faced looked like something out of House of Wax as it melted and flowed and reformed. “I can’t let you off scot free. I warned you, Dillon.”
“You get the picture, I walk.”
“I’ve got the picture. I’ve got your whole damned computer with the rest of the pictures. What were you doing, shooting a video?”
“This one shot is all you need,” I said, goading him. “Wouldn’t that be something to brag to the wife and kids about, Captain Lewiston?”
“I want all the pictures.”
“Erased,” I said. “Burned off the drive so you’d never recover them. You know how good I am at this.”
“Give me the picture.”
I fumbled in my pocket, found a new flash drive, transferred the single photo as a jpg file and handed the drive to him.
“Get the hell out of here,” he said. The lieutenant – soon to be captain, I’m sure – left fast. I climbed back into my SUV and heaved a deep breath. It was a good thing he was so eager to go. I hadn’t erased the rest of the pictures from my hard drive. There hadn’t been time. There was something else I knew something that only the lieutenant and deputy mayor knew.
Lewiston’s wife Daria wasn’t a natural blonde.
Copyright © 2006 by Robert E Vardeman. All rights reserved.
Robert E Vardeman has been a writer for decades, with multiple novel sales in the science fiction, fantasy, western, spy/high tech thriller and mystery genres. While most of his work has been novel-length, he sometimes finds short fiction themes fun, as in the case of Desdmona’s Hard-Boiled Sex Contest. He lives in the New Mexico desert.
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