Jack stirred. He blinked his eyes opened and as he did, intense pain coursed through his body. He shut his eyes tightly and grimaced. Memories flashed through his mind. The pier, Larson on the ground, the metal sheeting ripping through his flesh, and then… He opened his eyes again and tried to sit up. Where was he? He glanced around the room, tried to focus his eyes on something, anything. He managed to lift his left shoulder up off of the bed, but when he tried to move the right one, pain struck him again. He collapsed back onto the bed and cried out in pain.
“Welcome back, Mr. Diamond,” an unrecognizable voice said.
Jack rolled his head to the left where the voice emanated from and saw a dark-haired man with glasses, not much older than himself, sitting in a chair beside him. The man wore a white overcoat with a stethoscope around his neck. Jack’s eyes were too blurry to make out any more details. He raised his left hand and rubbed first his left eye and then his right and then glanced at the man again.
“How’s our patient, Dr. Young?” another voice said.
Jack recognized that voice. He moved his head to the right and there stood Victor Angelo. Jack narrowed his eyes and snarled his lips. Instinctively, he tried to raise up off of the bed, but the pain in his right shoulder forced him back down.
“Now, now, Jack. You mustn’t try to get up just yet. That was a pretty nasty wound you gave yourself. Our good doctor here was kind enough to stitch you up. You don’t want to rip those stitches out.”
“Where the hell am I, Victor? What did you do to Larson?” Jack asked as he breathed deeply through his nose. His blood pressure rose as he tried one more time to sit upright. Intense hatred fueled his body as he squirmed back and forth until he was sitting at a more suitable angle.
Victor moved closer to Jack until he was mere inches away from the bed. “No need to worry, Jack. You are safe and sound at Dr. Young’s clinic. He’s been taking good care of you. As for your ex-partner, he’s dead, I’m afraid.”
Jack let out a loud growl of anger. “He wouldn’t be dead if Tito hadn’t shot him!”
Victor laughed and placed his hands down on the bed as he leaned in toward Jack. “Did you actually see Tito shoot Larson?” He searched Jack’s face, his dark eyes scanning back and forth. “No? I didn’t think so.”
Jack kicked his legs up at Victor, hitting him in the side. The blanket that covered his legs softened the blow. Victor backed away unscathed and roared with laughter again.
“I saw Larson on the ground and Tito standing over him with a gun!” Jack yelled.
“That’s not what the official police report says, Jack.”
“What do you mean? Official police report?” Jack inquired as a wave of confusion flashed across his face.
“An unknown assailant killed Larson. Officially. You’ve been out for quite some time, Jack. All of that blood loss, I’m afraid. The investigation into Larson’s death is old news.”
Jack glared back at Victor. He was lying. He had to be lying. “What kind of scam are you playing, Victor?”
Victor walked across the room and took a newspaper off of a table and came back to the bed. He handed it to Jack. “See for yourself.”
Jack snatched the paper from Victor’s hands. He glanced at the date. March 12, 1950. Three days from the night he and Larson had gone to the docks. His eyes scanned the headline. City Detective Killed in the Line of Duty. His eyes widened as he read the article. It said that Larson had been investigating a money laundering scheme and was killed by an unknown perpetrator down on the docks.
“This is a lie!” Jacked yelled as he threw the paper across the room. “I know why we were down there. You know why we were down there. And I know Tito killed Larson!”
“Oh it’s all true, Jack. We both know that,” Victor said as he nodded in agreement. “But as far as the Police Commissioner is concerned, Larson was investigating a money laundering scheme and he did die down on the docks.” Victor walked over to where Jack threw the paper, turned and replied, “Did I ever tell you that he was my cousin, Jack? The Police Commissioner, that is,” Victor confessed as he picked the paper up, folded it and placed it back on the table. “Distant, of course,” he concluded.
Jack narrowed his eyes and his face whitened. So that was why they never could pin anything on Victor. Jack always figured that Victor had someone on the inside. He just never imagined that it was someone that high up in the ranks.
“You’ve got a lot of nerve telling me all of this, Victor. What’s stopping me from getting up off of this bed and turning you into the police? Commissioner be damned!”
Victor smirked. “I’ve seen you try to get up twice now, Jack. Didn’t work out so well either time, now did it? Besides, I’ve got a little insurance that will prevent you from opening your mouth.”
By now, Jack was furious. He tried again to get out of the bed, but he couldn’t maneuver with the constant pain in his shoulder. He was also still quite groggy from whatever drug that doctor had given him. He sighed heavily as he flopped back down onto the bed.
“What do you mean, insurance?” Jack seethed.
Victor gave Jack a satisfied grin. He walked over to the door and opened it. Tito strolled in dragging a female in with him, a black bag covered her face. The woman’s hands were tied with ropes, but she struggled to get free anyway. Tito tightened his grip on her arm as she let out a yelp.
“You have someone who belongs to me, Jack,” Victor said as he grasped the top of the bag. “And I have someone who belongs to you,” he concluded as he ripped the bag off of the woman’s head.
Jack growled and squirmed to get out of the bed. “You bastard!” he screamed as he saw Dani standing there, mouth gagged and tears streaming down her cheeks.
The Stacked Deck is a noir-style WhoDunIt serial which will appear as 31 parts, told every day in March. I hope you will join me again tomorrow for another exciting part of this story!
This serial is copyrighted ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.
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Jump forward to Part 17