Private Dick. Chapter 1A Dame in a Dyke Bar

Bi Wife

“Dani, you know I love you,” Shirley bleated out, leaning over me to reach down to my crotch, to rub Big Girl that stood harnessed to my groin. The curvy girl rubbed and pressed her breasts tight to my arm, hoping to entice me into sex. Shirley often tried that, and often it worked but I wasn’t in the mood for that.“Not today, Shirley.” I pushed her away, staring at the tumbler in front of her on the aging mahogany bar. There was only one woman on my mind, her name was Liz, and that morning she’d promised she’d spend her American stay with me. Only today, the Englishwoman was nowhere to be found. I lifted the glass, swirled around the golden liquid then tossed it to the back of my throat. A waste of good scotch, but I really didn’t give a damn at that moment. That Liz woman could have kept her mouth shut. Should have kept her damned mouth shut. Yes, it was an epic night of passionate sex, but it had been a hookup. She’d gotten to me, taken me somewhere I hadn’t been to in years. She could have just said “ta ta” and walked out the door. I would have gotten that. But no, she had to blubber out that she’d stay with me when our bodies were both wet from sweat and recovering. She’d been tender, and Liz wasn’t the tender romantic type. I had been stupid! I ought to know better than to accept post-coital murmurs as gospel, but dammit, I’d wanted it to be real! Finding it was all just post-sex blather stung. Ruby set another scotch in front of me, her aging face neutral but her eyes narrowed. Ruby served, but she also watched out. “Don’t get all screwed up, Dani. That woman looked like trouble the moment she walked in.”“Dani,” whined Shirley. “Forget that bitch. I would never just run out on you.” Shirley wasn’t giving up but was rubbing her tits on my shoulder and her fingertips on my boobs. I slapped her hands away to glare at her. “I told you, Shirley, I’m not in the mood! When I’m not in the mood, I’m not in the fucking mood.”Shirley looked hurt, and with her fair cheeks, she had a pretty good pout. But I felt rotten for being cold. I had never pushed her away like that before. It was a game, and Shirley didn’t quite get why I didn’t want to play. But I didn’t feel much like an explanation anyway. Yeah, Shirley’d been grabby but usually, I didn’t mind grabby with Shirley. Without thinking, I pulled out my phone. I stopped, realizing what I was doing. It would be so easy to call. So fucking easy. So fucking stupid. I set it down on the bar and picked the tumbler, to sip some more of the strong, warm liquor. The phone sat there. Another sip, another long look at the phone.It might have been the liquor but I didn’t feel like I had been drinking that long. I had run down a deadbeat husband for Tracey and found his new apartment on the east side. It had been a productive day. But eventually, I picked up the phone, clicked it on, and dialed Liz, ready to tell the no-good slut that it wasn’t right to make promises you had no intention of keeping. It went right to voicemail. That figured. I thought about calling Shirley back over. Maybe I could fuck away the pain and anger, make up for my rudeness. My brain disagreed with that hypothesis, but I hadn’t been listening to it much since Liz had kissed me out behind Ruby’s back door.I was mulling over going on the prowl for some relief when the phone rang again. “Dani,” said a clipped male voice with military precision. It was McIlhenny, a cop I’d served beside in Afghanistan. He was a reserve captain in intelligence, and normally that made me shiver. But McIlhenny was good and cared about nothing but getting the job done. He’d never once pretended to know something he didn’t know, and that was a pretty big thing when your ass was on the line. He’d known Carolyn, was there for me after she was killed. He was good people.“What do you want, Mac?”“We need you to come downtown.”“When?”“Now would be good.”“I’m not exactly in shape for that at the moment.”“Fine. Get yourself together, but I’m serious. Sooner is better than later. Come see us before we come for you.”What the fuck is this about? That conversation had come as a total surprise. McIlhenny wouldn’t have called me if he wasn’t serious. I had absolutely no idea why the cops would want to talk to me. PI’s sometimes made enemies, but they didn’t usually go to the cops. He didn’t work that kind of case anyway. And when a cop was serious, it meant something. I debated calling Tracey, the lawyer I sometimes worked with, but it didn’t seem necessary. I’d done nothing! I couldn’t think of anything I might even be accused of doing unless it was thinking bad thoughts about lying, evil English bitches. No, that favor should be saved for another day. I waved off Ruby from pouring another scotch, paid my tab, and headed out the door, wondering what the heck was up. McIlhenny wouldn’t have called if it wasn’t serious, and the first rule of dealing with cops is you don’t ignore cops when they’re serious. They won’t go away, and you’ll only piss them off. The second rule of dealing with cops was don’t show up at the police station drunk. The third rule was that most cops are straight men. When a pretty girl sought some advantage, it paid to show up looking hot.I know I’m pretty. Back in high school, the boys were all over me and I could still wear the same clothes. Sure I wore my hair military short, but makeup, eye shadow, lipstick, and the right earrings could femme up anyone. I looked good in tight clothes. Not good enough for a bikini model, but more than enough to turn a man’s head. A bra with a bit of padding and some push combined with a tight low-cut blouse would draw almost any eye. A short skirt, plus stockings and heels to shape up my calves completed the package. I looked in the mirror and grinned with pleasure. I was proof that a girl doesn’t need long hair to be sexy. I checked in the mirror, polished off another cup of coffee then headed downtown. Heads did turn as I sashayed into the station. Cops everywhere looked up from the desks, including a cute woman sergeant with skin the color of a Hershey bar and pretty eyes and lips. I smiled back and filed her away for later and walked across the room with a bit of extra sway to my hips, which had cops scrambling to help. They were polite and friendly as could be, and a young blonde lad led me to an examination room, which was like every other examination room on earth. Dull green walls, a long table with a Kolej Escort few moderately comfortable chairs, and a two-way mirror in the back so unseen cops could observe my interrogation. And not much else. They left me there for a while, probably wanting to make me sweat. Giving guilty people time to think was a good tactic, only I wasn’t guilty of a thing except for romantic stupidity. I couldn’t see the cameras but knew they had to be there. So I stretched in the most obvious way possible, shoulders back to show off my bust and a leg out to show the gams weren’t so bad either. It often helped to get men thinking with their little heads because the little one often kept them from using their big one.Finally, two cops appeared, and to me, they appeared almost like stock characters from Hollywood’s central casting. They gave their names, but I put them down as Frumpy and Fancy. Frumpy looked like the tired veteran cop he was, with a cheap, ill-fitting suit, a beer belly, and a balding head with a dark droopy mustache to divide his round face. Fancy was young, his suit clearly tailored, with perfect skin, broad shoulders, and cheekbones you could crack ice on. He looked like a model straight out of GQ. But he wasn’t so bad on the eyes, even for me, so there were pluses. Maybe the cops had learned how to distract people too. Still, the pair of characters told me to look out for the traditional good cop/bad cop routine. They set out their notebooks, and Frumpy gave me a long look and an up-and-down with a not insignificant linger on my boobs then got to business. Fancy didn’t ogle, and he was so pretty I began to wonder if he was gay. But he opened the talking. “So what do you know about Elizabeth Bathory?”Liz? This was about Liz? Now that was interesting. Why were they interested in her? “I met her yesterday. So not so much.”“Where did you and Miss Bathory meet?”An obvious opening question. “Ruby’s down in the flats at the corner of Cedar and Vine.” It was the truth, though telling them they met at Ruby’s had probably just blown plan femme. Cops knew what Ruby’s was and who went there. On the other hand, I looked hot and their eyes weren’t going anywhere.Frumpy decided to make it obvious.“Ruby’s is a dyke bar.” He added a bit of sneer to it, which would have meant more if he hadn’t had his eyes on my chest.“So Ruby’s is a bar frequented by lesbians,” continued Fancy, perfectly correct.“Are you a lesbian, Ms. Donatelli?”I laughed. “I don’t go there to meet men.” So much for plan femme. If I’d worn my normal outfit they wouldn’t have bothered asking. “What time did you meet Miss Bathory?”“A little after seven.”“Can you be more precise?”I smiled sweetly at the kid, who looked like he was fresh out of school. “I don’t go to Ruby’s to watch the clock. Probably sometime around seven-fifteen, but don’t hold me to that.”“Was anyone else there?”“Yeah. Ruby was there of course, along with Shirley, Red Brandy, and a few other regulars. All of whom will back me up.”“Bunch of dykes,” said Frumpy. Clearly a bigot. Likely conflicted as well, but not too smart. Or maybe he didn’t want me to think he was smart.I decided to push back. If Frumpy had meant to intimidate me, shooting his mouth off put him on the bad side of the law. “Last I heard lesbianism was completely legal in the United States with all rights and privileges protected. It’s not my fault I didn’t grow up loving dick.”Frumpy didn’t say a damned thing, but he turned a bit red. Maybe he really was stupid. He’d just given me reason for a complaint if I chose to pursue it. Seemed smarter to keep that chestnut in my pocket though. It was time to take the offense.“What the hell is going on here? Why are you even interviewing me?”Fancy answered in his calm pleasant voice. “You’re here because you may be a witness to an important investigation.”“A murder investigation,” Frumpy chimed in. I felt my heart and stomach shoot up above my lungs. Murder? Whose murder? Was Liz dead? “Is Liz okay?” I blurted out. The cops didn’t say a thing, but the thought of Liz dead made my stomach lurch. I regretted all the terrible things I’d thought and said about her earlier. And then I took a deep breath. I’d had friends die before, including my Carolyn. Think now, panic later, I reminded myself.“Well is she dead? And if not, whose murder am I suspected of witnessing?”Right then I really wished I’d called Tracey.“You like the bitch, don’t you?” said Frump. “Don’t you worry sweet cheeks! Your girlfriend is just fine.” He had a wicked smile on his face. Stupid was again confirmed.Fancy let the room pause before speaking again. “No one has suggested you personally witnessed a murder, Miss Donatelli. We’re simply establishing the facts. This is for background only. How long was Miss Bathory in your company?”Cripes, they think Liz did it? That did not make sense. Yes, we had just met, but that made no sense? Everything about Liz put her above all the mundane reasons for killing  She probably was capable of violence, but the most obvious reason for murder was jealousy and Liz wouldn’t kill for such a prosaic reason. Nor was there any point in hiding anything.“Liz, as I call her, was with me until about eight-thirty this morning.” She recalled their parting kiss, which had made Dani eager to get the Englishwoman back in her bed. “What were you and Miss Bathory doing all that time?”I leaned forward and made sure to look Frumpy directly in the eyes and made sure to grin wide so he could see me smile.“We were fucking. Over and over, with lots of moaning and pleading and wet spots everywhere. Yeah, we slept some. But mostly we fucked.” I spat out the word, wanting it to feel dirty and obscene for these two jokers.Frump’s mouth turned into a big O, and his face turned bright red, but moron or not he wouldn’t have made detective without something on the ball. Then he smiled and licked his lips.“Any witnesses to your…fucking?” he asked with a squint and a grin. I could just picture the dirty images rolling around behind his eyeballs.Don’t you wish! “Not unless the neighbors heard Liz screaming,” I said, grinning right back at him. Might as well piss him off a bit. I guessed that, like a lot of men, he was turned on by lesbians, and probably felt ashamed of it. Or maybe he was into it but didn’t want anyone to know. “She’s a loud one, you know. Plenty of spirit. I like a woman Rus Escort who loves being fucked really hard.”Frumpy cop scowled at me and said something inaudible under his breath. Fancy seemed unperturbed.“What time did you leave Ruby’s? Or did you have sex at the bar?”“Ruby doesn’t like people doing it at her bar.”Actually, that wasn’t strictly true, getting fingered or going down on someone in the powder room was sort of a rite of passage. But it wouldn’t help Ruby to tell cops that. They likely already knew, but so long as they didn’t really ‘know’ things could be ignored.“We left sometime between nine and ten.”“Will your friends vouch for that?”“Ask them yourself. And I know you will because that’s what cops do. Everything I told you will check out.”There was a pause before the two cops leaned together to exchange whispers. Fancy pushed forward a picture of a man. It was a still, posed actually, possibly for a passport. The man in the picture was handsome with a nice smile, strong chin, and pretty long lashes.“Ever see this guy?”“Nope. Who is he?”“His name was Eric Wyatt. He was a former lover of Ms. Bathory.” Fancy was at least respectful enough not to mention the obvious, that Wyatt was dead.So that’s what this is about? This Eric was the ‘jilted lover’ who had appeared to stand Liz up. Liz wasn’t missing, she was likely in the police station, kept in another room just like this one. She was a suspect, maybe on the run, but more likely in police custody. Other cops likely were interviewing her, or already had, and they would compare what she said to what I said. Which was good, so long as everyone told the truth, no problem. No way Liz had actually done it. People do weird stuff when they’re in love, but not Liz. The signs were all wrong.  Liz was too damned confident to get that upset over a simple dumping. Being dumped was part of the human experience. Going out and getting laid right afterward was the best therapy ever. That story fit and it didn’t bug me that I might have been. used as human Tylenol.  But if Liz hadn’t done it, who had? It was time for me to play the detective.“What’s the time of death?” Knowing that would tell me something.“We’re still establishing that,” said Fancy, which was bullshit. The cops would have a rough time of death before they ever moved the body. The fix would get better after the Medical Examiner did his thing, but they already knew enough to rule a lot out. Likely Liz had used me as an alibi and the cops were checking it out. Which is what cops did. It also explained why Liz hadn’t shown up or called. Unlikely that she’d use her One Phone Call to call a woman she’d met the night before. It was a relief, but at the same time what if Liz really had killed her ex? Our world is a place where nothing is truly impossible. Never rule anything completely out until you’ve checked. I began to think I’d made a mistake in not calling Tracey.“Did Miss Bathory ever mention her ex-boyfriend, Mr. Wyatt?”“Yes, she did. She got a call from him at the bar, telling her he wasn’t going to show. He’d suggested they meet there.”“At Ruby’s.” now it was Frumpy’s turn to laugh. “Oh, that’s rich. First place I’d go to meet a date.”“Maybe he pranked her,” I said. “Think about it officer, if you wanted to leave the average straight girl embarrassed and uncomfortable, Ruby’s is the perfect spot. But you gotta know she didn’t come to Ruby’s looking for an alibi. You’ve seen Liz. How long do you think it would take her to pick up a guy at any straight bar in town? Five minutes, fifteen tops? No reason to go to Ruby’s, unless it was for a prank. Her odds of a hookup are a lot less with women. We’re a lot pickier than you are.”“She found you,” observed Frump, quite correctly. “Did you hear Wyatt say they were to meet at Ruby’s?”“No, she was speaking to him on the phone when I approached her.”“Are you sure the call was from Mr. Wyatt,” asked Fancy, quite reasonably. “Did you speak with him?”“No.”Literally anyone might have been on the other end of Liz’s phone. Or no one at all. Liz could have faked the conversation. The jukebox made it impossible to hear if someone else was on the line. Liz’s voice was the only one I had heard. But again, I didn’t buy that. Liz might not be totally truthful, but she seemed truly put out when she hung up. Maybe she was a future Oscar candidate, but it felt wrong. No detective gets far without being good at catching lies.“But don’t give me that crap about you not having a time of death. You do, even if the Medical Examiner hasn’t finished yet. So what is your window for the death?”Frump glared at me but Fancy leaned in and the two cops talked privately. Realizing it was past time to lawyer up, I took the moment to text Tracey. Which is exactly when McIlhenny pushed open the door to the interview room.“Fischer, Johnson, you two head down to Ruby’s and interview the women there. Politely,” he added with a glare at Frump.I smiled at him. “Nice seeing you Mac.”“You too Dani, but these are the wrong circumstances. You really got yourself into it this time. You say this Bathory woman just walked into Ruby’s and sat down at the bar?”“Yep.”“So what got you interested in her.”“She didn’t fit. And Red Brandy was giving her the eye. Brandy’s a regular. I like Red but she isn’t too stable. I figured approaching the posh lady first was her safest course.”“Didn’t hurt that she was gorgeous, did it?”“God no!” I was not ashamed to admit my admiration for female beauty. “Dani, having spent some time in a room with Elizabeth Bathory, I wouldn’t bet on your friend Red Brandy if things got ugly. Not one red cent.”McIlhenny too was a good judge of character. Good cops had to be. Which meant Liz was likely not actually a prime suspect.“Fair enough. What the fuck is going on?”McIlhenny pushed me a picture. It was a man, middle-aged, sharply dressed in a tailored gray suit, balding, narrow chin, big cheekbones. In shape. Looked Eastern-European. “Recognize this guy?”“Nope.”“His name is Artemi Filatov. He’s Russian.”“No shit.” Of course, he was Russian. They had an embassy and a whole lot of mobsters around the Chesapeake. “What about him?”“He’s a pimp. Not the kind of pimp who runs around in a flamboyant suit with a dressed-up Caddy. He’s part of a prostitution ring that runs throughout the Beltway. His ring specializes in providing very important customers with extraordinarily Yenimahalle Escort beautiful women. Or boys if they prefer. Very important clientele. I’m not naming names, but there are a few you would recognize instantly from around Washington. And New York. The rich and powerful. We were closing in on him once, trying to make a case to put him away. We asked the FBI about him and the feds shut us down. Hard.”Oh really? “Why’d you show me his picture?” And why did the Feds shut the local cops down? McIlhenny showed her a second picture. It was Filatov and dead Eric, with Liz’s ex holding his arm around a tall, stunning, and elegantly dressed blonde woman having a drink at a very nice bar. They looked happy. They looked like they were about to fuck. Could she be one of Filatov’s hookers? She looked a little old for that role, but her beauty was undeniable. After a brief but very pregnant pause, he added. “Eric Wyatt carried a British diplomatic passport.”That set all kinds of alarms! A British diplomat had been murdered. And not a peep of it in the news! Maybe they were covering it up, but the Brits would likely be deeply pissed that one of their own had been murdered. But there was something else. McIlhenny was probably limited in what he could say, yet he’d just told me Eric Wyatt was deep into it.Back in the ‘Stan two kinds of people carried diplomatic passports. Actual diplomats, and spooks. Important spooks too, they didn’t cover the grunts. So he’d really just told me that this Eric Wyatt was also a spy. And Liz knew him and had fucked him, only if he was a spy, maybe she was as well. Maybe nothing she’d said was true. But what was a spook doing talking to a Russian pimp? Or coming into Ruby’s? Unless Filatov wasn’t just a pimp. I started to whistle but held up. It might not be smart to let anyone besides McIlhenny know what she was thinking.“How did Wyatt die?”“Execution style. Bullet to the back of the head.”He handed over another picture, this one of Wyatt’s dead body. The bullet had exited through the mouth. Ugly, as murders almost always are. Exactly what a professional hit looked like.“The Russians are all business when it comes to murder.”An execution-style murder of a diplomat was a very big deal. The sort of thing that might start a war in some places. This was big news, so the media silence was hard to explain. Britain and the US were allies, so maybe things were getting hushed up so the two countries could get their stories lined up, but that wouldn’t hold for long. Something didn’t make sense.“I want to talk to her.”McIlhenny nodded. Likely he was hoping I would make that request. It would change the game, and tell him something he wanted to know. But he’d told me a lot with very few words. There was something here that stunk to high heaven. I grabbed my phone and called Tracey, who bitched me out for going in without her. McIlhenny stopped on the way out, to say, “Dani, if I were you the first thing I’d ask that woman is who she actually is.”Over the phone, Tracey told me to keep my mouth shut, that she was on her way.A uniform came in and led me to a waiting area, which wasn’t very full. I’d just gotten actual legal advice to keep my mouth shut. Out in the real world where ordinary people lived, that was solid advice. It’s hard to learn with your mouth open. Cops made their living by tripping people up and they can’t trip you up if you clam up. But keeping too quiet also can keep you from learning stuff, because you have to talk to get talking started. Still, it was easy to keep quiet in a waiting room full of anxious wives, parents, and siblings. The cops came to get me before Tracey arrived, which probably wasn’t an accident, and led me to another interview room complete with the ubiquitous two-way mirror. Liz was tall, slender, and very fit, seated at the table in tight leather pants and a long-sleeved white knit shirt that hugged her body. She had dark brown hair, green eyes, and ruby red lipstick on her full lips. She looked tired and harried and utterly beautiful.Liz ought to have been grateful to see a friendly face. But she wasn’t.“What are you doing here? Liz practically spat out the words, surprise, anger, and contempt flooding her face as she turned up her very well-shaped nose. “I could ask the same of you,” I said, mind racing, pissed at the rude greeting. But not too pissed to think. The grilling I’d gotten was minor-league in comparison to what Liz had just suffered. Liz should have been really, really happy to see me but she wasn’t. At least she didn’t seem that way. Why?“Of course I don’t need to ask, do I? Somebody wasted your ex. Was it you?”Liz laughed. “Is that what they told you, that I’m a cold-blooded murderer?”“Actually they just asked me a bunch of questions. Probably trying to firm up you using me as your alibi.”“Are you denying what happened between us yesterday?”It was my turn to laugh. “Not in the least. I told them we fucked all night long.”“So why are you here?” Liz asked. “You’re free to go.”“Maybe I thought I’d offer you a rematch.”Liz broke out laughing remembering the wrestling match they’d had last night for who would wear Big Girl and who would take the strap on deep. She smiled at me, tenderly, just like in the morning before she left. In a flash, it was gone as Liz hardened.“Look, you’re a great shag. Epic actually. But that was then. Right now Shirley is back at the bar waiting for a good pounding. If you’re smart you’ll go give it to her and forget I exist.”That stung! Why was she pushing me away? Was I nothing to her, or was she afraid? I had already figured the Englishwoman was not the sort to show fear.“Planning on staying here for a while then? You’d look good in orange. Contrasts nicely with your green eyes.”“What can I say? I just can’t resist American hospitality.”I realized simple banter wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Liz wasn’t going to open up without getting hit in the teeth. Maybe that was what McIlhenny intended.“We’re known for our hospitality. We even host Russian pimps.”Liz didn’t bat an eye, which kind of surprised me as for most people that would have been a shot between the eyes.“A Russian pimp you say? Was Eric hanging with someone horrible? Did he roll me over for a ten-thousand-dollar whore? If so. I hope she cost at least that much. More, actually.”“Cost him his life, likely.” For just a second, Liz blinked. “Get out of here and leave me alone.”Why did Liz start at ten thousand dollars? That was the high end. Russians ran plenty of streetwalkers you could pick up for a couple of tenners. The local pimps bitched about them too. Might be a coincidence, but then it might not. I had to know.“Yeah, it seems he was a bit of cad. But I still can’t see why he stood you up.”

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