Bantering With A Dandy Book 3
Fiction, Mystery, Crime
September 2, 2020
Banter, an ex-gun-for-hire, now works for the police force. She is also a bit of a tom-boy, therefore, dresses and makeup aren’t her thing. However, she finds herself working undercover in a bar as a dolled-up dame trying to snag a drug lord, who wears a strong cologne that she can smell a mile away. Meantime, she is now a wife and mother with two young boys who create their own challenges with a husband who starts coming home late. And then there is the police force that needs a few updates to capture the criminals of the day. Banter feels like she has become the mother hen to the entirepolice force, which ishaving a few growing pains adaptingto Banter and how she operates.
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Banter had crammed herself between a large garbage bin and the building. She was flat on her stomach. She found it impossible to identify the crud she was lying in. There was a heavy odor cooking around her that smelled like the combination of urine and rotting garbage. She had her black hoodie on, pulled low over her face. The temperature was eighty degrees, even though it was almost two am on a Friday. She was sweltering. Sweat kept sliding down the side of her face, irritating her since she couldn’t move to wipe it away. If she dipped her head at all, the salty sweat slid into and stung her eyes, blurring her vision.
She carried a paintball gun that was loaded with customized paintballs. The balls contained fluorescent orange paint and her tracking bugs. The undercover group had been after a drug lord for months, but he kept evading them. Banter had offered up one solution. Mark him with a bug and see how far they could track him. She had four shots to work with.
Three undercover officers disguised as rogue teenagers had a paintball fight there earlier in the evening to set the scene. They had splattered thebuildings with different colors, including the orange. Even a few cars gothit. The building next to her was a nightclub where the drug lord liked to spend his evenings. She had been told they knew he was there.
It was getting near the time when he left. He had a small limo that drove him around, but whenever the police followed it, it ended up in a garage and the drug lord went missing. Somehow, he was changing cars, and they weren’t catching it.
There was no conversation coming through the earpiece in her ear. However, she swore she could hear one guy breathing. One undercover, watching the front, wasn’t going to talk to her until he saw their target leaving. She had no visual of the front door and only a partial view of the street where the car would pick him up. There was a narrow window in which to hit her target.
In the shadows across the street or around the building, she knew were the other two undercover officers who were posing as teenagers. They were to create a diversion, allowing her to pull her shot and remain undetected. This setup was simple, but she had a bad feeling about things. The area was a little too quiet. No one had left the nightclub in over an hour, which was unusual, considering the time. The number of cars in the area was fewer than the other times they had staked out the club. She was wondering if the earlier paintball fight had spooked them.
A creak behind her caused her to hold her breath and listen hard. She suspected it was the one door on this side of the building. However, the light over the door had no bulb, leaving everything in the dark.
“Oil that damn thing next time,” someone said in a whisper.
Banter didn’t recognize the voice.
She heard muffled footsteps heading away from her. Based on the different footsteps, she estimated that there were three people. She shifted to look without moving the paintball gun, but the garbage bin blocked her view. Then she felt the waft of cool air that had escaped the building through the door. The air carried a whiff of cologne. It was rather strong. She almost preferred the smell of the garbage.
“Door.” The undercover watching the front alerted her.
The limo pulled up into view.
A man came out the front door. She also felt the cool air from this door wafting down. Her nose caught the odor of a man who needed a shower. Something didn’t feel right.
“Target out side door,” she said in as quiet of a voice as she could.
“Front door.” The undercover sounded absolutely certainof himself.
Banter rolled her eyes. They weren’tgoing to believe her. That irked her. She wished she could pull a shot at her own guy.
She slid through the grime whileshe moved from behind the dumpster, tucking the gun tight against her so it didn’t bang or catch on anything. She rose and checked down the alley. Her eyes had become well accustomed to the dark. There was no one in sight. She trotted soundlessly to the end of the alley topeer around the corner. There was a car, not a limo, picking up their target. She moved as quick as she could, aiming and pulling her shot. The paintball splattered against the man’s suit coat.
“Fucking kids,” he said with a hiss.
He took off his suit coat in haste and flungit to the ground.
Banter risked one more shot, hitting the man in the middle of his back. She dropped to the ground.
“Arg. Damn it.” He sounded in pain.
She knew paintballs hurt, especially since all that was between his skin and the paintball was his thin silk shirt. He was going to have a nastyred welt.
There were two bangs of gunfire and bullets whizzed over her head. She knew they didn’t know where she was, and that the shots were merely their attempt to scare off the paintball shooters.
The target cursed while he got into the backseatof the car. She noted he didn’t seem tocare that he left his suit coat behind. The cardrove off whiletwo of his lackeys headed in her direction.
“Need a little help back here,” shesaid in a whisper, hoping the gunfire spurred the two guys to move ahead of her asking.
The two lackeys, still unaware of her on the ground, were almost upon her when two paintballs splattered on the wall across from her. The men swerved toward the direction of the shots. They ran down the alley. Banter rose when they left, trotting behind them. Two more paintball splatters directed the men to turn one way. When she reached the end of the block, she turned the other way.
Banter jogged for three blocks with the paintball gun hidden as much as she could under her sweatshirt. She was feeling extremelyhot and sweaty now. A car pulled up to her. She slid into the back and sprawled along the seat to stay out of sight. The car drove off slowly.
“What happened back there?” Peter said.
He was a young-looking guy who had portrayedone of the rogue teenagers. Banter thought he looked like he was still in high school, but he was already a six-year veteran of the police force.
“The target suspected something. He left through a side door.”
“Our guy saw him come out the front.”
“I remember our target wears a strong cologne. That should be part of his profile.”
“Never smelled it.”
“You have been working in garbage too long.”
“On this gig, I have.”
“I think he is sending a decoy out the front which might be why you guys aren’t seeing him when you follow him. You might be following the wrong target. This time he’s tagged.”
“Good,” Peter said.
Banter almost fell asleep whilehe drove. He was a smooth driver, navigatingcorners gradually and stopping slow. She knew he was taking the long way around to a not so good neighborhood where everyone kept to themselves and didn’t ask questions.
He pulled into the garage of a vacant house and turned off the car. She rose, leaving the paint gun. There was another car in the two-car garage. She sat in the passenger seat. Peter slid into the driver’s seat. She took off her hoodie, rolling it up, while he pulled out of the garage, aiming for the middle of the city.
“Go through the drive-thru. I need a soda,” she said, fanning herself.
There was no air conditioning in the car. She thought tocomplain about the beater cars the police force used, but because of their budget felther complaints would fall on deaf ears.
Peter, despite sweating profusely, seemed to ignore the heat. His long brown hair had become plastered against him. He had more than just a five o’clock shadow.
Hecruised through an all-night fast-food place. They both ordered sodas while they both kept an eye out for anyone who might have tracked them.
“I like working with you,” Peter said.
He was sucking his soda down fast.
“You just like soda,” she said, sipping hers at a more leisurely pace.
“Yeah, and the fact you like to g