Getting Away with Murder
Notes: The characters are not mine (except Eduardo) and the story is. This is a semi-crossover between the Morales gang from episode #25 of The Monkees TV show and some of the main antagonists from the anime/manga Detective Conan. (I think it should be okay to post this, because while it includes characters from The Monkees, none of said characters are the fictionalized versions of the real-life Monkees, so it doesn't violate any rules of the website.) I don't expect most readers to be familiar with both shows, but that doesn't really matter because I will make it so it isn't necessary to know them both in order to understand what's happening. In any case, this promises to be a wild ride!
The highway near Los Angeles was a catastrophe. Police officers milled around, shepherding those who were uninjured or not badly hurt away from the scene and also guiding the paramedics to those who dearly needed their help. Sirens wailed in the near distance, signaling the approach of another ambulance and more police. Six vehicles had ended up involved in the collision, including an eighteen-wheeler and a moving van, in addition to four variously assorted cars. The police were overwhelmed by all of it—the many fatalities and the even more numerous people who were seriously wounded but still alive and turning up in strange places. No one seemed to know what had happened that had started the melee, much to the medical examiner's annoyance when she arrived.
As she tried to sort through the lifeless bodies, she came across one laying on a gurney just outside a dark Chevrolet. She knelt down, narrowing her eyes as she pulled back the sheet, and muttered softly to herself as she looked the form over. The injuries sustained had resulted in an unrecognizable corpse, and even though she had dealt with many dead bodies over the years, this one still managed to disturb her.
"What do you make of it, Doctor Bentley?" one of the officers asked, coming over to her.
She looked up briefly, then back down at the form. "He was a white male, approximately twenty-seven years old," she reported. "Five-four . . . approximately one hundred and thirty-five pounds . . . brown hair . . ." She paused, reaching to gingerly open an eyelid with a gloved hand. "Brown eyes. . . ." She shook her head. "I won't know for certain until I do an autopsy, but it seems to me that it's obvious what killed him. Were you able to I.D. the corpse?"
"He had some identification in his wallet," the policeman answered. "According to that, his name was Antonio Ferano." He shook his head. "Ferano was a known mobster in these parts. He ran around with the guy we've dubbed the 'Most Vicious Killer in America,' Baby Face Morales."
Dr. Bentley sighed, straightening up. "Well, it wasn't the 'Most Vicious Killer in America' who killed him," she replied flatly, and then paused. "Unless you think he could've tampered with Ferano's car. . . ."
The officer shrugged. "Who knows. They had a spat once before that caused them to try repeatedly to kill each other. Maybe Morales finally decided to finish the job. These types, they've got no honor, not even with each other." He looked disdainfully at the corpse. "He got what he deserved, anyway. I just wish it would've been Morales in the crash instead. We've been trying to catch him for years."
Watching from the nearby bushes was a young man in his early twenties who was adorned in a blue suit. He gave a low curse as he pushed his gray fedora back on his head, an action which sent light brown bangs falling into his flashing hazel eyes. "No honor," he grumbled. "And that's comin' from a guy whom I know has been takin' money. Dirty cop." He clenched a fist tightly. "And that's not Tony!"
Standing just behind him was a bewildered, heavyset man who looked at him in confusion. "But, Baby Face, how do you know?" he asked. He would be gratified if it was not Tony, who was his friend, but he did not see how it could not be him. The evidence was stacked against it.
"Where would he get that car from?" Baby Face Morales retorted, then shook his head. "No, it's not just the car, Vince. Something just seems . . . off." He growled, turning away from the accident site. "This whole thing seems off, like it was a deliberate setup or something. Maybe someone was trying to kill Tony and this is how they tried to do it."
"But you said that it's not him, even though the guy has Tony's I.D.!" Vince Ruckyzer exclaimed, staring at his leader in confusion.
"It's not!" Baby Face hissed, not wanting to be overheard by the police officers. "Tony's somewhere else. He got away." He began to walk deeper into the brush. "He wouldn't get taken down like this. Somebody wants us to think Tony's dead. Maybe Tony wants it thought. We won't know until we find him."
Vince quickly chased after him. "Why would Tony want us to think he's dead?" he said in disbelief.
Baby Face cursed again. "I didn't say that Tony wants us in particular to think he's dead, but for all we know, he does. Maybe for someone else to think he's dead, it's more effective if we believe it too." He narrowed his eyes. "Or, if someone else wants us to think he's dead, maybe it's 'cause they're doing something to him that's worse than death."
Vince looked sickened. "But who?"
"If I knew that, Vince, would we be standing around here watching that mess out there?" Baby Face snapped, inserting a few choice and colorful words into his comment.
Vince sighed, half-turning away. Baby Face was furious, not that Vince blamed him. Tony had vanished without a trace three days ago, and Baby Face had immediately suspected foul play. Now his suspicions were only being confirmed, and Vince was struggling with his own feelings. Was the body Tony's, or was it not? Had Tony deliberately faked his death? If he had, it was not likely that he was running from the police. Something sinister was up.
And maybe the pills and the scraps of paper in the grass were part of it. Vince had just noticed them now, and he quickly bent down to pick them up. "Hey, Baby Face, I think I've got a clue!" he announced, and held out the mismatched items when Baby Face looked over at him.
"What is that junk?" the crime lord snapped, picking up a pill and turning it over in his hands. After a moment he set it aside and reached for the pieces of paper. There was definitely writing on it, but this was not the place to decipher it, what with all the police officers milling around. He gestured for Vince to follow him back to their tan-colored Pontiac, which was hidden in the brush. "Come on, we're going back to the hideout," he growled. "We'll sort this out there."
Vince willingly followed, but he had a very bad feeling that they were about to get into something over their heads—something that Tony may have already discovered and paid the price for.
High above them, perched in a nearby tree, was a tall, brown-haired young man with blue eyes. He was wearing a white tuxedo, complete with a cape, top hat, and monocle, giving him a distinguished appearance. He was well-concealed by the generous boughs of the tree, but he doubted that he would be recognized even if the officer did look up and somehow see him. Even though he was an internationally known thief, the policeman below seemed much too focused on catching local criminals to worry about any others. It would likely only be later on that he would realize the opportunity that he had missed.
The two mobsters who had just departed were not the only ones who found the circumstances of their friend's "accident" a bit strange. The boy in the tree did not believe it to be an accident at all, though he was not certain if he shared Baby Face's certainty that Tony was actually still among the living. He was actually of the suspicion that the Black Organization was responsible for this death, though he could not imagine what the deceased would have done to anger them so much. He wondered if it could, in any way, connect with the lead he was tracking down now.
Recently he had learned of a man with whom his father had been in contact before his death. They had actually seemed to be good acquaintances, perhaps even friends, and he had hoped that if he could possibly find this person, or someone who knew him, it could lead to a clue as to what had happened to his father. That was why he had come to America. And in fact, when he thought about the conversation he had been observing, it almost seemed to him that the name "Morales" sounded familiar. Perhaps he, even, was connected to the man that this young thief needed desperately to find.
Smiling thoughtfully to himself, he decided to follow those mobsters and find out. He had seen where they had parked their Pontiac, and he was certain that he could get to it if he hurried. Stealthily he jumped out of the tree and darted through a shortcut in the bushes, coming across the old car moments before Baby Face and Vince arrived. After picking the lock, he dove into the back seat and crouched down, remaining unnoticed as the duo got into the vehicle. He leaned back as the engine was revved, hoping that this would not turn out to be a wild goose chase.
When Baby Face unlocked the door of the old, abandoned, Victorian house that served as their hideout and went in with Vince, the other two members of their small mob—Harry and Ruby—were already there. They looked up, their eyes revealing different emotions. Ruby—a sweet and kind blue-eyed blonde who was Baby Face's girlfriend—was relieved to see them, but sadness and worry were flickering in her eyes as well. The older, quiet Harry looked somewhat nervous, but otherwise did not reveal any of what he might be thinking. Vince got the impression that both of them had already heard about the car crash, and his feeling was confirmed once Ruby spoke.
"Baby Face," she choked out softly, "we were watching the news. They . . . they said that Tony was found among the bodies!" She stood up, unsure of how Baby Face was going to react, but ready to go to him if he wanted her to. She knew how much Tony had meant to him, even though he would never admit it. And she herself could hardly believe that he was dead. She had found him very likable. He had been a good person with integrity who had somehow ended up with the gang after a series of long and painful events in his life—including his wife being murdered and himself being falsely accused of being the perpetrator. Even after joining Baby Face's gang, he, like Ruby, tried to serve as Baby Face's conscience and kept him from lashing out at people many times.
Baby Face growled. "It's not him," he retorted, and dumped the scraps of paper onto the nearby table. "Either he wants us to think he's dead, or someone else does. And any way you look at it, he's probably got himself into a lot of trouble." Without waiting for an answer, he started his attempt at arranging the particles in a way that would make sense according to what he could see was typewritten on them.
Ruby stared at him, stunned speechless for the moment. Then she swallowed hard and looked over at Vince, fearing that the man she loved was simply in denial over the news. Vince could only shrug helplessly in reply.
"We were there when the medical examiner said it was him," the heavyset man admitted then, "and we found these pills and those pieces of paper scattered in the bushes. Maybe Tony was trying to leave us some clues or something." He felt overwhelmed as he watched Baby Face continuing to assemble the papers and cursing all the while. Baby Face had never been a fan of jigsaw puzzles, and this was even more maddening for him, since it could be important.
"Pills!" Ruby exclaimed in alarm.
"We're gonna havta have 'em tested," Baby Face said without looking up. He knew of several underworld scientists who would be happy to do that for them—but of course, they would require payment, which Baby Face was decidedly not happy about. But he would do what had to be done in order to find Tony. He would not allow himself to believe that his associate had truly perished. He had to concentrate on the other possibilities.
Now he cursed again. "None of this is making sense!" he screamed in frustration as he removed his fedora and ran a hand through his hair.
"You mean the papers?" Vince said, coming over hesitantly.
"Look at them!" Baby Face retorted with a sweeping gesture. "I fit all the pieces together, but they still aren't saying anything that means anything!" And indeed, this seemed to be true. Displayed on the scraps was a variety of numbers and letters arranged in a confusing way. It was possible that it was some sort of code, but that would likely take hours to crack and Baby Face was not anxious to spend time doing that. He wanted instead to go looking for Tony.
Ruby looked over his shoulder. "I kinda think I remember something like that from school," she said slowly. "The way the numbers and letters are mixed together, it could be chemical compounds. . . ."
Vince felt even more bewildered. "So maybe it has something to do with the pills?" he suggested.
"It's starting to look that way," Harry frowned. "I think the most important thing now is to get those pills tested and see what they are."
"Yeah, yeah." Baby Face looked to Vince. "Get on that," he ordered. "Go to Dr. Birabeau on Vine Street. And while you're at it, see if the guy can make sense of this stuff." He glared back at the papers on the table, then opened a drawer and removed a roll of Scotch tape and a small plastic bag. After taping the scraps together, he shoved them into the bag and sealed it before thrusting it at Vince.
He took it dazedly. "Okay, Baby Face," he agreed, "but what're you gonna do?"
"I'm gonna look for that idiot," was the irritated reply. "I'm not expecting to find him, if he doesn't wanna be found, but that's not gonna stop me from trying, anyway." With that he stood up, replaced the fedora on his head, and indicated for Ruby and Harry to accompany him.
Reluctantly they did so, still not certain what to think about any of this or if Baby Face was, indeed, only having a pipedream about Tony still being alive. But Harry was not brave enough to voice this thought, and Ruby could not bear to yet. And anyway, she had to admit that something strange was going on—what with the discovery of the pills and the torn paper. That did not indicate that Tony was among the living, but she would hold to that hope—at least for now.
As Baby Face thrust open the door, to his astonishment he found a strange young man clad in a tuxedo standing on the porch, as if about to knock. For a moment they simply stared at each other, neither one speaking, until Baby Face finally found his voice. "Who are you?" he demanded, throwing an expletive into the exclamation.
The boy merely smiled, tipping his hat in response as he bowed. "In Japan I'm known as the Kaitou Kid," he announced. "Kid, the Phantom Thief."
A tall man was waiting and watching on a street corner in the city. At first glance, he seemed quite ordinary—adorned in a dark trenchcoat and matching fedora hat. The evening was colder than usual for the area, and many others were wearing extra layers of clothing as well. He smirked softly to himself from behind the hat's shadow and the coat's collar. They would never suspect that a high-ranking operative for a crime syndicate was in their midst.
Idly he brushed a strand of his long and flowing blonde hair over his shoulder as his cell phone rang. Swiftly he answered, walking away from the crowds as he spoke into it. "Has there been any confirmation yet?"
"Antonio Ferano's dead, bro," was the immediate reply. "The coroner's right here looking at the body. There's no doubt about it."
"It seems pretty convenient, doesn't it?" The blonde narrowed his eyes thoughtfully as his long bangs fell into his line of vision. "Why would he suddenly have an accident like this right after we started looking for him?"
"You think he faked it?"
"Maybe. Or maybe someone else was after him too." There was a pause as he began weighing the options and possibilities. "Maybe we should try to get that body and have one of our scientists test the DNA." He started to smirk again. "Yeah . . . let's do that."
"What if we find out he's not dead?" The reluctance in the other man's voice was obvious. He did not want them to have to go to unnecessary trouble when they already had so many problems. He knew that Ferano was definitely an irritation, but as far as he was concerned, that thorn had been removed from the Organization's side. There was always the possibility of Ferano's survival, but at this point it looked slim. If his associate had seen the body, he might be of the same opinion.
"Ferano's in our way. You know what happens to people who are in our way." The blonde began fumbling through his pockets with one hand, at last uncovering a cigarette and placing it in his mouth. "Isn't there some friend of his who might be a problem too?"
"Baby Face Morales," the caller answered. "He's the adopted son of Ambrosius Eduardo."
The man in the trenchcoat had just lighted his cigarette, and upon hearing this announcement, he choked on a puff of smoke. "Ambrosius Eduardo!" he exclaimed then, and slowly started to smirk. "That's interesting. I remember hearing about him taking in some kid. I guess he went soft. He didn't live too many years after that." I should know, he thought to himself. He had been new to the syndicate when Eduardo had still been alive, but the elderly criminal had often been spoken of—as he had been well-known both in America and Japan. Even now, there was still talk of Eduardo's accomplishments and such. The blonde could not forget about him even if he tried.
"Baby Face is smart. He'll probably suspect something's up and start poking around where he shouldn't, and if we're not careful, he might find out some of those things about his father that weren't supposed to get out."
"Then, we'll have to be careful." The blonde blew a puff of smoke out into the street, appearing seemingly unconcerned. "See about having that body stolen from the morgue tonight."
"Okay, bro." There was a click.
The man, who was code-named Gin, closed up his phone and replaced it in his pocket. He was not about to let small annoyances get in the way of the Black Organization's latest plans, the plans that had brought him and Vodka all the way to America to complete. And actually, when he thought about it, Baby Face could prove to be useful, if he was manipulated correctly. Maybe even Ferano, if he ended up being alive, could help them too—willingly or not. Actually, things were starting to look quite promising.