Murder By Association
by Tonya S. Coley
For Disclaimers: See Part 1
After dropping Alma off at work, Johnnie went straight to the police station. She was met and greeted by her fellow officers, receiving many well wishes and inquiries about her return. Johnnie was a little uncomfortable with all the attention that was shown, so she quickly made her way into the squad room and to her desk.
Pizo was seated at his desk, and didn't notice Johnnie come in. She sneaked quietly behind him.
"Reach for the sky, Copper." She playfully growled as she placed her index finger against the back of his neck.
He smiled. "Please don't shoot me." He whispered, acting as if he feared for his life. "My wallet is in my back pocket. You won't find any money in it, because a cop's pay ain't shit."
"Don't I know it." She replied as they both fell into a fit of laughter. She walked over to her desk and flopped down into her chair. "Did you take care of my little request?" She asked.
Pizo look at her incredulously. "Of course I did." He said as he pulled out a couple of files. "These are all the perps we apprehended the past couple of years that fit the description of our girl." He paused as he passed the files over to her. "A couple of them are still on lockdown, but the one on top should hold special interest for you."
Johnnie looked thoughtfully at him, and then down at the files he handed her. Opening the first one, she sighed. "You mean to tell me this bitch is out already?" She asked him, her voice full of both shock and surprise. "Elipidia 'Go-Go' Sanchez. Now she was a tough one to bring in."
Pizo chuckled. "Yeah, she almost kicked your ass."
Not bothering to look up, Johnnie lifted her hand and flipped him off. "Almost being the operative word, partner. It was a little hard to get her subdued. She has a black belt in Karate." She sneered. "Says here that she's still in the area. Guess I'll just drop by and check her out."
Pizo leaned back in his chair and propped his feet up on his desk. "You know you can't do that, J." He told her. "Cap finds out about it and that's your ass."
Johnnie sighed heavily. "Well, you tell me what I can do, since you know so fucking much." She grumbled.
"Says she works at a restaurant on 401." He told her, removing his feet from his desk and leaning forward. He whispered conspiratorially. "Now, if you were to take your partner to lunch at said restaurant and we happen to run into her..."
Johnnie quickly interrupted him. "Then we wouldn't be going against code." She smiled broadly. "I like how you think."
A loud, booming voice rang out in the squad room. "Green, get your ass in here."
Johnnie winced at her name being called. "Aww, geez." She grimaced.
"Today, Detective." Captain Hill yelled.
Johnnie stood, squared her shoulders and walked into the captain's office. "You bellowed, Cap?" She asked sarcastically as she closed the door.
At first he just glared at her, then he offered a broad smile. "Good to see you, Johnnie." He told her. "How are you doing?"
"Getting stronger every day." She told him as she sat down. "Kinda chomping at the bit to get back into the thick of things."
He looked sympathetically at her. He knew all to well how it was to be shot and put out of action. He was wounded in a foiled bank robbery when he was a beat cop. "I know just how you feel." He said sympathetically. "It takes time, Johnnie, to get back into the swing of things. You talking to the department psychiatrist?"
"Yes, Cap." Johnnie answered. "Started yesterday." She paused. "I'm cooperating fully, don't worry." She promised him with a smile.
Hill just shook his head and smiled, too. "Green, you are something else." He leaned back in his chair, and took on a more serious tone. "The reason I called you in here is because you and your partner looked like you were up to no good."
Johnnie, caught off guard, began to stammer. "W... what are you talking about Captain? Pizo and I are just going to go out to lunch."
"Just lunch, eh?" He retorted. "And I'm Britney Spears."
"Ewww, Captain." Johnnie shuddered.
"You're not officially back, Green. I want you two to be careful." He told her, giving her a knowing look.
Johnnie knew they had been found out. "You got it." She said.
"Good. Now get the fuck out of my office." He yelled.
Johnnie blew him an exaggerated kiss and batted her eyes. "You sweet talker you." She teased.
"Now, Green." He ordered.
Johnnie flinched, and quickly ran out of his office. Captain Hill couldn't help but smile at her antics.
She sauntered back over to her desk and sat down. "We got a while before lunch, so I think I'll take my baby some flowers." She informed Pizo.
He nodded. "How is she holding up?" He asked her. Pizo was genuinely concerned about the both of them.
She smiled. "She's doing ok. After she gets off work, we're going to the range and work on her shooting."
"She's doing well with her targets." He said with a smile.
She looked at him in surprise. "And just how do you know that?" She inquired.
Pizo chuckled. "I'm a cop, J, or have you forgotten?" He paused. "Alma is doing well, and I'm glad. You will be comfortable leaving her alone when you return to duty."
Johnnie sighed. Not having to worry if Alma could take care of herself put her at ease. "You're right about that." She said as she stood up. "Guess I'll be getting those flowers now. I'll be back at a quarter to twelve."
"See you then, J." He replied.
Johnnie pulled up into the parking lot at Wilmington Steel. She looked over at the Dahlias, Alma's favorite flower, and smiled. She's gonna love these. She thought.
Sandra, the raven hair receptionist, had just hung up from a call when Johnnie walked in. Johnnie caught her eye and Sandra smiled broadly. "It's good to see you up and about, Detective. How are you feeling?" She asked.
Johnnie smiled. "Hey Sandra. I'm doing pretty good actually." She gestured toward Alma's office. "Is she busy?"
"No, I don't think she is right now. She does have a working lunch, though." Sandra said.
"I just wanted to stop by and bring her these." Johnnie told her, pulling the fragrant bundle from behind her back.
"Those are beautiful." Sandra admired the beautiful flowers. "What are they?" She asked.
Johnnie took a whiff of the flowers and told her. "Dahlias. They are Alma's favorites."
"Hold on a second." Sandra said as she picked up the phone to buzz Alma. "Alma, you have a delivery. Shall I send it in?"
"Sure, Sandra. That will be fine." Alma said.
"Ok, Johnnie. You're on." Sandra told her.
Johnnie gave Sandra a grateful lop-sided grin and walked toward Alma's office.
"Come in." Alma said in answer to the soft knock she received at her door. She was shocked when Johnnie stuck her head in.
"Delivery for the future Mrs. Green." Johnnie whispered.
"Get in here, you goof." Alma told her as she stood to walk around her desk.
Johnnie came in and closed the door. As she turned around she was enveloped in a warm hug from the woman she loved more than life itself. "Whoa, tiger!" She exclaimed. "You may damage your package"
Alma looked expectantly as Johnnie pulled the flowers from behind her. "For me?" She asked, awestruck.
"For you, my love." Johnnie said softly as she leaned down for a kiss.
When they pulled away, breathless from the kiss, Alma admired her flowers once again. "They are so beautiful." She whispered, as she laid them on her desk. Alma hugged Johnnie tightly once again, and noticed that she was wearing her vest. She felt Johnnie's sides to make sure. Uh, Johnnie, why are you wearing your vest?"
Shit. Johnnie cursed herself. I should have put this on before Pizo and I were to leave the station. Johnnie had to think fast. "Uh, Pizo and I are going out to lunch, and uh, people might think I'm back on duty."
Alma looked at her lover. Sensing that Johnnie was lying, she at once pulled away from her. Her temper flaring, she demanded, "Why are you lying to me?"
Busted. Johnnie sighed heavily. "Alma, sweetheart, I am not lying. Pizo and I are going out to lunch."
"Do you take me for a fool? You may be going out to lunch, but you are also up to something." She yelled. "You know you are not supposed to be working, but you are going to do it anyway." She turned away and walked over to the window, her arms were folded across her chest. Tears filled her eyes.
Johnnie walked up behind Alma and reached for her, but thought better of it. I have got to make this right. She thought to herself. "Honey, I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to hurt or deceive you. I just..."
Alma spun on her heels and interrupted. "You just what, Johnnie?" She hissed. "You thought you could pull a fast one on your silly woman?"
Alma's words hurt Johnnie deeply. She never thought of Alma as anything but quick-witted and intelligent. "Alma, don't say things like that. You are not a silly woman. I'm the stupid one for trying to keep this from you." She paused. "Pizo and I are going to check on a lead. One of my former busts is out of prison, and we are just going to check her out. That's all, Alma."
"Why?" Alma questioned. "Do you think she has anything to do with this?"
Johnnie moved closer to her. She felt that a great gulf had formed between them, and she wanted to close it. "The woman's voice sounded familiar to me. I'm just going to see if she matches up to what we have been dealing with."
Alma tensed; fear made her tremble. "I'm afraid for you, querida." She whispered.
Johnnie took Alma into her arms, rubbing her back. "It's just a little look-see, honey. Don't worry, I won't do anything stupid. That's why I'm wearing, baby." She paused. "I promised you that I would do everything in my power to come home to you." She whispered into Alma's hair. "I intend to do just that. Have I ever broken a promise to you, baby?"
Alma smiled, through her tears. "No, beloved."
Johnnie pulled back a little, lifting Alma's chin so she could look into her eyes. "I don't intend on starting now."
Johnnie leaned down for a kiss. Hoping only for a quick one, Johnnie's tongue soon begged for entrance into Alma's warm mouth. Access was granted, and the kiss deepened. Alma wrapped her arms around Johnnie's neck as Johnnie placed her hands on Alma's waist, pulling her closer. Johnnie's hands slipped down to Alma's round buttocks, massaging them as she pulled her even closer. They broke the kiss, and Johnnie traced Alma's jaw with her tongue, moving to that spot just behind Alma's ear, making her moan.
"I love you, Alma." She whispered as she kneaded Alma's buttocks.
Alma kissed Johnnie on her neck. "I love you, too."
Johnnie, not wanting to surrender her hold on Alma, had to force herself to release her. "I've got to go, sweetie." Kissing Alma's forehead, she said, "I'll be back to pick you up. Then we will go to the range for a little practice."
"Ok." Alma replied. "Thank you for the flowers. They are lovely."
Johnnie smiled. "Lovely flowers for a lovely lady." Kissing her once more, Johnnie left to meet Pizo.
Pizo was waiting for Johnnie on the steps of the precinct. He got into her car, and quickly sensed that Johnnie had something on her mind.
"What is it, J? Something wrong?" He asked her, concern heavy in his voice.
"Nah. Had a little run in with Alma, but everything is squared." Johnnie answered reassuringly.
Pizo looked at his partner. "She figured out what we were up to, didn't she?"
"Am I that easy to read?" She asked him, arching her eyebrow from behind her sunglasses.
Pizo laughed. "Only to those who love you, J." He paused. "She's cool with it?"
"Yeah." She told him. "Or we'd be eating at Burger King."
They looked at each other and laughed.
They pulled up to Emma's Truck Stop on 401.
"Guess this is the place." Pizo told her. "Don't let me forget to buy some Tums." He remarked.
"I won't, cause you'll be sharing with me." She said.
When they entered, the place was crowded. Their eyes scanned for Elipidia.
"You see her yet, Pizo?" Johnnie asked.
"Nope." He paused. "Wait, I see her."
"Where is she?" Johnnie asked.
He nodded his head in the direction of the shortest waitress in the place. "There she is."
Johnnie turned to look in the direction that Pizo was looking. "Yep that's her. Damn, why would she dye her hair that ugly flaming red?"
Pizo shrugged. "Don't know. C'mon, let's get a booth."
"Get that booth next to the table that she's serving." She told him. "That way we can have a little chat with Go-Go."
"Thank you, and have a nice day." Go-Go said to her customers, her Spanish accent not so thick, as she placed their bill on the table.
Go-Go was a small Cuban woman with incredibly gorgeous features. Her hair, which had been dyed red, was cut in a short style. She wore khaki cargo pants, and a black tank top that revealed a falcon tattoo on her back and crossed swords on her upper arms. She wore black walking shoes that made being on her feet all day a little more bearable.
Johnnie and Pizo walked by her, without Go-Go even noticing them. They sat in the booth across from the table that she previously served. Go-Go returned with menus in hand.
"Here you go folks, I'll be with..."She stopped speaking when she realized who was at one of her stations.
Johnnie flashed a feral grin at her. "Nice to see you again, Elpidia." She used her given name, knowing how much Go-Go hated it.
"What do you want? I'm working, something you should be doing." Go-Go spat.
"Cops gotta eat." Pizo said.
Go-Go rolled her eyes. "Take a look at the menus. I'll be back for your order." She quickly turned and walked away.
"Well, that went well." Johnnie sighed.
Sally, another waitress, had just picked up her order when Go-Go pulled her behind the counter.
"I need a favor Sal." Go-Go whispered.
Sal popped her gum. "What is it, Go-Go?"
"See those two at the last booth?" She asked.
Sally looked over to the booth. "You mean those cops?" Yeah, I see 'em. What of it?"
"I need for you to take over my station. They're the cops that busted me when I was dealing drugs. I don't want to have to serve 'em." She admitted.
"Sorry Go-Go, no can do." Sally said. "Cops don't tip worth a damn." With that she walked away from her.
"Gee, thanks pal of mine." Go-Go sarcastically said. She took a deep breath and walked back over to the booth.
"What'll you have?" She asked, placing her pencil to her pad, not looking at either of them.
Looking around at the other patrons' food, Pizo and Johnnie said simultaneously, "Water."
Dropping her hands to her hips, she glared at them. "What do you guys want from me? I've been out and clean for almost a year. I've had this crummy job for six months." She paused. "I'm not doing anything wrong."
Pizo looked over to Johnnie. "You heard enough, J?"
"Yeah." Johnnie said. She looked over at Go-Go. "Thanks for your time." She told her as she and Pizo stood to leave.
As they walked away Go-go yelled, "Pata."
Johnnie stopped and turned to her. She walked back over to the booth and placed a ten-dollar bill on it. "Puta." She spat as she glared at Go-Go. She walked away.
"Why did you give her a ten dollar tip?" Pizo asked as Johnnie buckled her seatbelt.
"It was worth ten dollars to call her that." Johnnie said. Truth be told, she actually felt bad for giving her a hard time. Go-Go was actually trying to turn her life around.
Pizo, knowing that Johnnie was lying, secretly smiled to himself.
Neither of the two detectives noticed the car that was parked a few feet away from them. Nor did they notice the woman who sat watching them.
"Have you had anymore nightmares, Johnnie?" Doctor Kohli asked.
Johnnie sighed heavily. "Yes, and they all end the same way. Alma becoming another victim and I'm helpless to do anything about it." Johnnie's voice became desperate. "How can I make her see that staying with her family would be for the best?"
Doctor Kohli looked at Johnnie, and saw the fear in her eyes. "May I ask you a question?"
"Sure, go ahead." Johnnie said.
"If the situation were reversed, would you leave her?" She asked as she leaned forward on her desk.
"No, but this is different." Johnnie responded.
The doctor leaned back in her chair. "How so?"
Johnnie became flustered as she tried to explain. "It... It just is." She stood and walked over to the window, her arms crossed against her chest.
Doctor Kohli twirled her pen between her fingers. After giving Johnnie a moment to compose herself, she began to speak. "What, if any, precautions are you and Alma taking to keep her safe?"
Johnnie turned to face her, then sat on the windowsill. She rubbed her face. "I've been teaching Alma how to handle a gun. She is doing quite well, actually. Better than I imagined she could."
"That sounds promising, Johnnie." She softly said to her. Doctor Kohli stood and sat on the edge of her desk and crossed her legs. "Does she feel confident that she will be able to protect herself?"
Johnnie smiled. "Yes she does."
"Well then, detective, why are you so frightened?" She asked.
Johnnie sat there, silently shaking her head. She took a deep breath and explained. "Alma is all I have. I love her more than life itself, and if anything ever happened to her I would just die." She paused. "I have friends, but it's not the same. I would stop breathing if Alma asked me to."
"Then you have to have faith that you will be able to protect her, and if need be she will be able to protect herself. This feeling of inadequacy that you are perpetuating on yourself will not help you or her." Doctor Kohli advised.
Johnnie took in what the doctor said to her. "Maybe your right, doc."
The doctor looked at her with mock indignation. "That's why they pay me the big bucks, detective." She then laughed, with Johnnie joining her.
The end of the week came, and then another began. Johnnie continued working out, and her sessions with Doctor Kohli. Alma's shooting skills were coming along, and Johnnie began to feel more comfortable with Alma staying at home. Her nightmares had even stopped.
It was time for Johnnie's follow-up visit with Dr. Pedrazo. He was taken aback at how well the detective had recovered. She was strong and healthy, and saw no need to keep her from returning to duty. Her sessions with Dr. Kohli proved to be advantageous as well. She had given Johnnie a glowing report and the green light to return to active duty, also.
Alma and Johnnie decided to throw a little get together on the Sunday before Johnnie was to return to work. Alma called her mother and invited her and her brothers. Rosa and Miguel would attend, but Guillermo said that hell would freeze over before he would set foot in their house again. Javier wasn't able to attend, because he had a meeting to attend.
Alma then called Annie and Myra, and of course Pizo and Diana. They all agreed to come. The impromptu party was in full swing when Alma realized that they needed more ice. She and Diana went to the store. The trip took a little longer than usual, and Johnnie began to worry. She was relieved when they finally returned.
Johnnie saw the hood was up on Alma's car, so she, Pizo and Miguel went outside to investigate.
"What's wrong with your car, baby?" Johnnie asked as she walked up to them.
"I don't know." Alma said. "It kept cutting off. That's what took us so long."
Pizo looked at Johnnie expectantly. "Well?"
"Well, what?" She asked.
"Aren't you gonna fix it?" He asked.
Johnnie crossed her arms over her chest and scowled at him. "Contrary to popular belief, not all butches are mechanically inclined."
Pizo laughed. "Do you mean to tell me that 'Ms. I can do anything' can't fix a car?"
Johnnie growled playfully at him. "Fuck you, Pizo. Can you fix it?"
"Hell no." He told her. "I'm a cop, not a mechanic."
"It's alright, querida." Alma said. "You do other things very well." She lustfully said as she pulled Johnnie into an embrace.
Johnnie puffed out her chest, then stuck her tongue out at Pizo.
Across town in a cheap motel, a woman sat in the darkened corner waiting for a visitor. A knock came and she told the visitor to come in.
A blonde man, in his late forties entered the semi-darkened room. He was wearing grimy clothes, and had a beer belly. His front teeth were missing, too.
"I was told that someone was in need of my services. The name's Mike." He said as he stood by the door, trying to make out the silhouette of the woman in the corner.
"I know who you are, Mike." She softly stated. "You come highly recommended."
He leered at the woman and licked his chapped lips. "I can, uh, give you a discount. We can work something out."
"I don't think so." She flatly told him. "This is strictly business."
"Can't blame a guy for trying." He said. "Give me the particulars."
"A friend of mine has to see the error of her ways." She sarcastically said. "I just want you to scare her."
"Address?" He asked.
"4215 Lockhaven Drive. Her car is a black 2001 Chrysler 300M." She said. "Your fee is in the envelope on the bed."
He rubbed his belly. "Are you sure you don't want to...."
She quickly interrupted. "Positive."
He shrugged his shoulders. "I'll take care of this first thing tomorrow morning."
"Good." She said.
He picked up his envelope and left.
"Oh God, Alma!!!" Johnnie yelled as she sat up. She quickly fell back to the bed.
Alma crawled up Johnnie's body from between her legs, placing a soft kiss on Johnnie's lips.
Breathing heavily, Johnnie stroked her lover's shoulder. "Alma, are you trying to kill me?"
"I only want to love you, baby." Alma sexily whispered, as she stroked Johnnie's stomach.
"I don't know how much love I will be able to take. You wear me out, woman." Johnnie admitted. Her breathing evened out, and she quickly drifted off to sleep.
Alma smiled to herself and kissed Johnnie's cheek. "Sleep well, my love." She whispered.
A lone figure was in the motel room, getting dressed. Wearing latex gloves, she pulled up her boxers, then a pair of black biking shorts. A black t-shirt was tucked into the biking shorts. She opened a package sporting a brand new purple dildo, harness included. After making minor adjustments, she slipped on the dildo followed by a pair of faded Levi's. The woman sat on the bed to lace up a pair of Doc Martens.
She looked at herself in the mirror. "Gotta make her see that I'm right and she is wrong." She said aloud, to no one. "She will change. She has to." She pulled on a black wig.
The woman picked up her bag that held a small rope and claw hammer. Then she picked up another bag that held her clothes. Looking once more in the mirror, she whispered, "More souls to purge." She put on her sunglasses and left.
Johnnie poured herself a cup of coffee and poured Alma some orange juice. They sat at the table eating a light breakfast.
"I already told you honey, I can drop your car off at the dealership and they will give me a loaner. You can take my car to work." Johnnie said.
"Why can't I take my car in?" Alma asked. "Won't that make you late for work?"
Johnnie sighed. "I don't want you to be stranded if it conks out again. I don't have to be in until eleven."
Alma stood and walked over to Johnnie. "My hero." She leaned down for a kiss.
Before Alma knew what was happening, Johnnie had pulled her into her lap. "Ooh, I just love brown sugar on my toast." She husked and kissed Alma again, thoroughly.
"Keep kissing me like that, lover, and neither one of us will be going in to work today." Alma breathlessly said.
Johnnie released her and gave Alma a slap on her behind. "Come on, let's get these dishes in the dishwasher and get out of here."
Alma got into Johnnie's 300M, and Johnnie got into Alma's Camry. The Camry started fine so the both pulled out of their driveway, Alma going in one direction and Johnnie the other.
Johnnie got three miles down the road before the car stalled. Actually, it died because it wouldn't start again. Johnnie got out of the car, and in her frustration kicked it. "Fuck." She yelled. She then got her cell phone and dialed for a tow truck.
Alma was listening to Kiss 101, oblivious to her surroundings. She didn't notice the car that was coming up quickly behind her. It was an older model car, no markings and had no color but the primer that covered it.
Mike was wearing dark glasses and a hooded sweatshirt. He was sweating like a pig. It was hot and the old car had no AC. He waited for the car coming from the opposite direction to pass, and then pulled closer to Johnnie's car. He rammed it from behind.
The jolt pulled Alma from her musings, startling her. "What the ... you crazy son of a bitch!" She yelled.
Mike rammed her again, only this time it was harder. Alma tried to speed up, but his car had a 440-block engine and she couldn't get away.
Alma began to get nervous. She reached for her cell phone and hurriedly dialed Johnnie's number.
Johnnie had just arrived at the dealership when her cell phone rang. "Green, talk to me." She said.
"Johnnie? Oh God!" Alma said frantically.
"Alma?!" Johnnie yelled. "What's wrong?" She could hear the fear in her lover's voice.
"There's someone follow..."Alma dropped the phone as she tried to regain control of the car.
Johnnie heard her screaming, squealing tires, and then a crash. "Alma, Alma talk to me." She begged. "Please baby." Silence. "Alma!!!!!!!!!"
She quickly dialed Pizo's number. "Pizo I need a squad car to search on Highway 70 for my car." She listened. "Now goddamn it. It's Alma. Someone was following her." She listened again, sobbing like a baby. "Yeah. I'm at Jones Toyota. Hurry Pizo, please."
Johnnie leaned against the side of the building. Her legs could no longer hold her weight, so she slid to the ground as she cried uncontrollably. A few passers by tried to help, but she growled at them so they left her alone.
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