Martin Riggs leaned back in his seat, fingers laced behind his head. Perhaps, he thought to himself, if he ignored it, it would quit. He looked away from the ringing telephone, deciding instead to amuse himself by watching his partner try to send a fax over to the Newton Division. For whatever strange reason, Roger seemed to have an uneasy coexistence with many forms of modern technology. Probably one of the reasons he still carried that damn wheel gun of his. At least it usually was good for a laugh.
"Goddamn it..." Roger muttered under his breath. A small smile appeared on Riggs's face as he began to enjoy the floorshow. Suddenly an exasperated groan issued out from across the bull-pen as the papers became tangled up for the 4th time now.
"Shit! Shit! I could'a walked them over to goddamn Newton by now!" Yanking the crumpled papers out of the machine, Roger rearranged them, trying his best to smooth out the wrinkles. He turned quickly, brows knitted down over his dark eyes. "Damn it, Riggs. Is there something wrong with your hearing? That phone's been ringing for five minutes now!"
Heaving a sigh, Martin glanced back over at the loathsome object, one hand absent-mindedly stirring his coffee. The blinking light indicated that the call was originating from the desk of Captain Murphy. He ran a thumbnail along his bottom lip, searching his mind for anything he had done to piss off his supervisor. Normally, his verbal matches with Murphy could be entertaining, but last night he hadn't slept at all; which left him this morning with a splitting headache and NOT in the mood for his weekly ass-chewing. He took a sip of the tar-like coffee, hoping to jolt his system into overdrive.
"It's the Captain."
Roger reloaded the papers, jabbing the fax number back in violently. "You might as well answer it. He knows we're in. The man saw us walk by his office not more than fifteen minutes ago."
Riggs sat up, slamming the coffee cup down. "Murphy's more irritating than a case of the crabs..." he muttered, snatching up the receiver. "Riggs!"
"About damn time!" Captain Murphy barked into his ear. "I don't have time for your games, Riggs! In case you haven't noticed, I'm trying to run a police department here and-"
Leaning over, Martin dumped the receiver into the overflowing trash barrel by his desk. A satisfied look on his face, he walked over to the coffee machine, refilling his mug. Took a sip, smiling.
"Ah, the elixir of the gods..." Gulping down another swallow, he strode over to his still fuming partner.
Roger didn't look up but continued staring at the fax machine-busy signal-of course. Despite the fact that it was an inanimate object, he had the distinct feeling it was mocking him.
"What did the Captain want?"
"Hmmm...I'm not really sure."
"What do you mean you're not sure?" Glancing over his shoulder, Roger's eyes fell upon the receiver lying among the empty fast food containers and crumpled papers. Even from across the room, he could hear the Captain's voice buzzing out over the line like a cloud of angry bees. He turned back around without a word. What was the point? He had an easier time getting Nick to behave.
Making his way back over to his desk, Riggs fished out the phone, wiping off the spaghetti sauce that had already begun to congeal on the mouthpiece. He brought the receiver up. "Y' know, Captain," he said, interrupting Murphy in mid-yell," I think you do an EXCELLENT job running this department."
Murphy paused. "Riggs, can the shit-"
"No, really," purred Riggs, "I mean it."
"You and Murtaugh just get in my office pronto," Murphy growled, but his tone had grown softer.
Grinning, Riggs hung up the phone.
"Harris Daley," muttered Captain Murphy, tossing out a thick file onto the desk towards the two detectives seated before him.
"Daley...Daley…" Roger frowned slightly as he opened the folder. "I recognize the name from somewhere."
"Well, I think your partner knows it very well." Murphy looked in Riggs's direction.
"You bet I do." Riggs gave a hard shake of his head, eyes glittering angrily. "Spent nearly a year of my life undercover trying to bust that son-of-a-bitch. Ran one of the biggest drug operations along the whole West Coast." Martin paused, one hand rubbing his chin. "Narcotics finally netted him over a year ago. Why are we involved?"
Murphy slurped down some coffee, waving over the file. "Knowing of your previous association with Daley, I imagine you've kept up some with the case?"
"Then you know that the trial is set to start in two months."
Murphy sighed, his own expression heavy. "Three witnesses were killed last night."
Martin's mouth set into a hard line. "Sounds like our man."
"How did it happen?" questioned Roger.
"Same MO for all three...one bullet to the head, two to the chest, all at their place of residence. No one knows anything. No witnesses of course."
"Of course," Roger muttered. "Pretty bold, isn't he? I mean to just execute them like that..."
"Believe me," replied Riggs, "this guy is an arrogant piece of shit. He doesn't care that everyone knows what he did. He WANTS them to know. Daley thinks the law will never touch him."
"What about the other witnesses?"
"Under police protection, of course, but-" Murphy hitched his shoulders "-y' know how that goes. A couple of them have already developed severe cases of amnesia."
Roger shook his head. "You can hardly blame them."
Riggs leaned forward in the chair, his expression growing intense. "How strong is the DA's case against Daley without these witnesses?"
"So-so. It's possible they might get a conviction without them, but God knows they need all the help they can get. The man's as slippery as an eel."
Roger closed the file, looking at the Captain. "It certainly would help the prosecutors' case if we could tie the murders back to Daley."
"That's what they're hoping for. It would be good for their public opinion to actually send one of these assholes to prison, and it sure as hell wouldn't hurt ours as well."
Murphy leaned back with a sigh, suddenly looking very old and tired. He shook his head, fingers massaging his eyes. "Do you know how many unsolved murders we already have hanging on the books? At this pace if we don't do something about our homicide clearance rate, we'll end up passing last year's record."
Martin and Roger exchanged a glum look before staring back down at the floor. They both knew to keep their mouths shut when this topic reared its ugly head.
Suddenly Murphy straightened back up, eyes blazing. "That's why I'm giving this case over to you. For one thing, Riggs already has information and experience dealing with this guy, and second, you two are my best detectives." He held a hand up at the sight of the grin beginning to stretch across Martin's face. "Don't get a big head, Riggs. I'll deny it if you ever tell anyone I said that. But the fact is, you two usually produce results and we need that badly. This case is gonna bring a lot of publicity and heat down on us. We need to solve it."
"What about the cases already on our plate?"
"Divide them up between Walters and Muldrow. I want all your attention on Daley." He pointed a stern finger at them. "Just as a warning, the reporters are already all over this. I don't need to remind you, but make sure they aren't told shit. The last thing we need right now is for them to be interfering with this investigation." He rolled his shoulders forward, trying to unkink the knots that had begun to form. His breath came out in a long sharp exhale. "The Deputy Chief and I are the only mouthpieces on this one. Patch any inquires you get from the press to my desk and I'll take care of it."
The Captain dismissed them with a nod of his head. "Good luck."
Roger sighed as he hefted up the large file. "Thanks, I think we're gonna need it."