a/n Like so many ff writers, I like to experiment with different styles, ideas and themes. With "Code of Honor", I wanted to come back closer to canon. There are no created non-crime characters - just some h/c and angst for our boys. And there's Lenny, Rudy and some of the squad guys. The story features, as someone called it, a 'sustained maim'. (LOL) That maim was inspired by many, many stories and people with whom I've been fortunate to come in contact here.
There's also a character called Charlie Spagnozzi. He was most inspired by "Joe Cadillac" from the "Hardcastle and McCormick" series. Cadillac was a criminal, but he also had a code of honor by which he abided. He demonstrated this honor and ended up winning the grudging respect of the judge. Spagnozzi was also inspired by "Angus Ferguson" in "The Year of the Locusts".
Hope you enjoy the story. Reviews are welcome!
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters; none of this is for profit and all of it is for fun and skill development.
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Steve Keller walked into the Bureau of Inspectors just shortly after eight am. His caseload was relatively light lately and the young man welcomed the novelty of a normal schedule. It allowed him to catch up on some much needed sleep and enjoy a bit of a social life. Last night, he was even able to have a complete dinner date with a young woman. The date was free of interruption from his boss and mentor, Lieutenant Mike Stone.
"Hey, Buddy boy, glad to see you made it in," the lieutenant jested lightly. He knew the workload over the past few months had taken a toll on his men and was also happy to have the respite.
"You remember, we're taking Charlie Spagnozzi over to the courthouse this morning for his testimony at the Livingston trial," Mike announced while standing in his doorway. "Spags is well known in the crime community, so keep your eyes open."
"You got it, Mike," Steve replied. "Spags, huh? Sounds like Spagnozzi is well known within the police community, too?"
"He's been racqueteering since before you were born and has a record as long as your arm," Mike paused for a moment and smiled. "But I'll say one thing for Spags: he's from the old school. He would never run the same cons that some of these guys are doing now. And he'd certainly never get involved in the drug trade."
"Why is he back in jail?"
"It was a parole violation. He got caught mingling with other ex-cons, so his parole officer pulled his ticket. He'll go back to San Quentin for another six months."
Steve nodded his understanding, "Are we going alone?"
"No, I've got a couple of uniforms lined up, too. We'll head over to the jailhouse to pick him up in about an hour." Mike looked down at the coffee pot that sat on a table outside his office. "Hey, I could do with some coffee, how about you?"
Steve took off his coat and squinted at the older man. "Let me guess…you have no cash on you, right?"
"Well, as a matter of fact," he stalled as he patted down his vest and pants pockets, "I guess I don't. Do you have some spare change?"
Steve smirked as he walked over to the collection tin for the coffee machine and dropped in two dimes. "I take it black."
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At the county jail, Mike and Steve met up with Officers Young and Foster. Stone signed out the prisoner and joined the others with Spags as they took a short uneventful walk from the front door to the car.
"Michael, it's always good to see you. How's that little girl of yours?" Spags inquired as they made their way down the sidewalk.
Steve raised his eyebrows at the question.
"Jeannie is not so little anymore. She's in college and doing well, Spags. How's your boy Peter doing? I heard he was considering the priesthood."
"Not only is he considering it, but he's in seminary - it's his second year. He's a good boy, that one. Not sure how he got his goodness with me as his father."
Mike smiled and caught Steve's questioning look. "We go back a long way," Mike whispered to Steve as they walked towards the car. "He's from the Potrero. He went to school with my older brother, Alex."
"Ah," Steve nodded.
"I'll tell you about it later." Mike replied, thinking that now was definitely not the optimal time to explain what it was like for a cop to grow up alongside of families involved in organized crime.
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Steve drove the unmarked Ford LTD, while Mike sat in the front. Spags sat in the back, flanked by the two uniformed officers.
"You'll meet up with the prosecuting attorney this morning and then we expect the testimony to take about an hour. It could go longer with cross examination." Mike commented to the prisoner.
Spags was testifying against John and Marshall Livingston. The brothers had been laundering money from an illegal gambling operation. Normally, Spags would have turned a blind eye to such an activity, but the pair began dabbling in drug distribution. Members from an LA gang joined the brothers and innocent people had been killed, including a young man to whom Spags was especially close - his nephew, Danny.
"Danny was a good boy - almost as close to me as my own son. I want these two behind bars, Mike." Spags pleaded. The recollection of Danny's death quickly brought out the emotional side to older criminal.
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Steve pulled the car into a reserved area near the side of the courthouse.
"There's a special entrance here," Mike commented. "We'll get you in quickly and then you'll be in the courtroom."
Mike, Steve and the two uniformed officers gathered around Spags and began walking him toward the steps of the side entrance.
Suddenly two gunshots rang out. Mike and Steve pulled Spags down to the ground while Officers Young and Foster reached for their weapons. From their trained ears, the officers figured that the shots occurred at the front of the courthouse. Young turned to Mike, asking for permission to run to the street front and check out the scene.
Mike waved the officer ahead. "Radio me and let me know what's going on?" Mike said, referring to the walkie talkie he was carrying.
The detectives and Officer Foster reached over and pulled Spags up from the ground. The older man was unhurt, but nevertheless, experiencing difficulty in standing steadily after such a quick shock.
Once again, the men made their way to the courthouse side entrance. A middle aged man came through the door with his coat draped over his arms and began descending the stairs. Steve felt the hair on the back of his neck raise and looked closer at the man. He quickly noticed a glint of metal from under the coat.
"Hit it!" he yelled as he quickly turned to his left to push Spags free from the gunman's aim.
In a split second, the stranger discharged three bullets. The first hit Steve in the side. The searing pain was debilitating, but somehow he found the wherewithal to face his assailant. In reflex, Steve spun back around and tried to pull his gun from his holster. He was struck by a second bullet. The young detective attempted to remain upright, but his knees buckled under him.
A third bullet hit Spags. The older man spun and fell to the ground.
Mike and Foster pulled their weapons, but the attacker already reaimed his gun to Foster. The young rookie was wide-eyed with fear. He shot the young officer in the hand, sending his weapon flying. Quickly, the man grabbed Foster around the neck and pulled him back.
"Stay right there, Stone. That old man is not worth it to you," the attacker said as he looked at the heap lying face down at the foot of the steps.
Mike watched as the stranger dragged Foster around the corner. He tried in vain to figure out a way to stop the assailant, but was unable to get in a shot without endangering the young officer. As soon as the pair rounded the corner, the attacker pitched the young officer forward and fled. Foster lay stunned as he held his bleeding hand.
Mike turned and heard Spags moaning. "I'm hit," he announced breathlessly. "It's not bad, though. Your young partner saved me."
The men looked over to the fallen detective. Steve lay unresponsive on his back - the blood pooling near his side and his shoulder where the bullets struck. The men were terrified to see a third pool of blood under his head where he fell against the sidewalk.
"Steve!" Mike said under his breath as he made his way over to his partner. Officer Young came back around from the front. "Call an ambulance," Mike shouted. "Quickly!"