by Dee Gilles
Disclaimer: For entertainment only.
Benny & Ray 140
Harding Welsh paced in his office, fuming, waiting for Captain Briggs to show up. The man was over an hour late. He had lookouts placed all over the station. If Daniel Briggs got into the building, whether he walked through the front door, the back, crawled through a window, or rappelled from the roof, Welsh was going to know about it within seconds.
His phone rang. He rushed for it and snatched it up. "Yeah?"
It was Margarita Gamez. "He just walked in, sir."
Welsh sprung into action. He sped from his office, out into the hallway. Captain Briggs was slowly climbing the stairs to get to his office when Welsh called him back. "Sir! A word with you, please."
Briggs turned back. Welsh took a good look at him. For the first time, he realized Briggs colored his dark auburn hair; his white roots showed clearly at his receding hairline.
Briggs looked like shit. Well, he looked like shit every day, but especially today. His watery blue eyes were bloodshot. His skin was the color of a fish's underbelly. "This can't wait a couple of hours, Welsh?" Briggs groused, gripping the stair railing. It appeared to be the only thing that was keeping him upright.
Welsh stared up at him. "No sir. I'm afraid it can't."
Briggs rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Alright. Come on upstairs."
"No, sir. If you would?" He gestured to a spot down the hall.
Briggs slowly climbed down the stairs again. Welsh noticed he walked with a trace of a limp. He turned and led Briggs away, stopping at the custodian's closet. He opened the door and gestured inside.
"Are you kidding me?" Briggs said. He eyed Welsh with suspicion.
"No, sir." Welsh stepped inside and switched on the light.
"You gettin' light in the loafers like Fraser?" Briggs asked, clearly amusing himself.
"You trying to get funny with me?"
"No, sir. The conversation we are about to have is strictly off the record."
Briggs glanced up and down the hallway. Officers, attorneys and perps walked by, hardly glancing at them. It seemed that two grown men getting into a closet together was a common occurrence.
Briggs stepped inside with Welsh and closed the door behind him. "Alright, Welsh. What's this all about?"
"I'm not going to beat around the bush here. This thing you got going with Fraser and Vecchio? I need you to call off the dogs."
Briggs scoffed. "Yeah, right, now why the hell would I do that?"
"Because if you don't, you might find that certain information about you and one of my detectives just might make it's way to not only IA, but also the chief, and possibly even the mayor."
"What the fuck are talkin' about, Welsh? I got nothing going with anybody here."
"Try sexual harassment."
"What? You mean Franklin? Why, that bi--
"No, I'm not talking about Elaine. And careful what you say. Don't make your situation more dire than it already is. I'm talking about Benton Fraser."
Briggs made a sound of disgust, and made for the door. He opened it. Welsh reached out and slammed it shut again. "You're gonna wanna hear this." He pulled from his breast pocket a folded-up piece of paper. "I have here a written statement from Detective Benton Fraser, who at the time was Mounted Officer Fraser, attesting to the fact that on the morning of June 27, 2004, you called him into your office after observing him and Officer Vecchio engaged in a private embrace in the stables, locked the door, and offered that said officer could, and I quote you; `suck my cock anytime you get the urge.' It went something like that, right?"
Welsh held up the paper by two fingers, like it was a vile thing. "Right?" He demanded.
Briggs lurched forward and attempted to snatch the paper away. Welsh pulled it back.
"That's a lie! He's just trying to save himself!"
"My detective doesn't lie."
Briggs made another grab for the paper. Welsh stepped back, switching the paper from one hand to the other, behind his back. "It's signed and stamped with a Notary Public's seal. I assure you, every word of this is true. Would make an interesting piece for MacKenzie King's next expose, wouldn't it? You know how much she loves a good police corruption story."
Briggs sneered. "You wouldn't dare! I'll bring you down, too, Welsh! You wanna be taken out just a few short months of a retirement with a full pension?"
Welsh chuckled. "Well, now, here's the thing. My anniversary was December first. You can't touch me. I'm in the clear."
Briggs made yet another grab for the paper. The two men scuffled for it, knocking over rolls of toilet paper, cleaners, and paper towels from the metal shelves. When Briggs reached around Welsh, Welsh grabbed him by the neck and pulled him down into a headlock. He held firmly, and asked in a voice more calm than he felt, "So, you going to call of the dogs, or what?"
Briggs did his best to yank his head from the crook of Welsh's elbow. "You can't cover this up! I've got all the files! I've got the proof!"
"Oh really? You sure about that, now?" Welsh let Briggs go. He opened the door, panting from exertion, and switched off the overhead light, and left Briggs standing there in the dark, looking like a fool.
Briggs went home early, with a splitting boozy, headache, and an upset stomach. He headed right for his study, for the box of files on the floor. He dug through the box frantically. The Domenico case file was missing, as was the disclosure statement in which Fraser admitted that Tomas DeBenedetto was a friend of his.
He checked another box, and then another, and then another. He went back to the first box. The files had to be here! He'd just looked at them Monday night and he hadn't taken the box out of the house. He had been meaning to take them back to the office so he could make a copy for Hill. He'd discussed all the details with Hill, but hadn't gotten around to showing him the paperwork. Hill hadn't asked for all the documentation yet, despite the fact that he had been pressing him to start the investigation.
He went back to the first box, dumping everything out, and picking up each folder one by one and leafing through it. He was thinking maybe he'd just stuck the papers in the wrong folder. Nothing in the first one.
He picked up the next manila folder, and carefully went through that one as well. He checked through Fraser's personnel file, and then through Vecchio's, and then through the DeBenedetto package, and then through the Domenico file, and then through the Medeiros file.
It simply wasn't there. What the fuck? He thought, completely bewildered. He sat on his haunches, pondering.
Last night, he had noticed that the box was sticking out in the doorway. He'd tripped over it. He hadn't left it sticking out like that. He hadn't noticed anything odd Tuesday morning, either, when he left for work. He had gone into his study to retrieve a couple of files and his briefcase. Someone had disturbed the room last night, then...
when he was...
Daniel Briggs laughed. A loud, bitter, eerie laughed. Yeah, they had got'im good. Dewey, Franklin, Pato, and Doyle. He had been bamboozled.
End B&R140: Bamboozled by Dee Gilles
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