Cop From Bullitt County
It was supposed to be an easy VIP protection detail of a Chinese Diplomat for San Francisco police Lieutenant Frank McCoy and his homicide team. That’s what his boss and Senator Chalmers had told him - but that was before people began dying.
Frank wanted to find out why. There was more to the story and he was going to find out or die trying.
Chapter One -
The dark sedan pulled away from the curb, quiet and smooth like a crisp new fifty-dollar bill sliding from a worn leather wallet.
The driver pulled up and parked across the street from the Chinatown bar while he and the backup waited - and waited. The hot steam tumbling from the dual exhaust of the big V-8 engine in the cool night air was the only testament to their existence, that and the low growl of an impatient engine.
As a light drizzle began to fall, the wipers whisked the rain off the windshield, back and forth, back and forth. The driver’s fingertips tapped the steering wheel in silence, patiently, eyes riveted on the front door, waiting.
It was then they saw him, an old man in old clothes, leaving the local neighborhood bar. The tavern sported a neon Negori Beer sign blinking erratically in the front window, flashing its hello and goodbye in slow succession as he made his way to his car. Just like everything else in Chinatown, it didn't work well. Then the sign went dim along with the rest of the lights in the front window, signaling the bar was closing.
They watched the old man stumble towards his car on the parking lot besides the grey brick building and saw him fumbling for his keys. He dropped them on the in front of his old beat up red Toyota before opening the car door with his pursuers still watching. It was then the sedan began to roll forward, silent like a panther in the night, hunting, closing in for the kill.
The driver slowly pulled to the front of the parked car while the white haired backup man silently stepped towards his prey. When he reached the car he raised the shotgun at the car window. The old man tried to insert the key to start the car oblivious to what was about to happen. Then he saw him, standing there and went to shield his face, screaming a silent scream. It never left his lips as the double barrel 12 gauge Winchester pump shotgun blasted him, exploding the car window, shattering both his face and head. Both barrels. It silenced him forever.
The hit man calmly separated the shortened barrel from the receiver, then broke down the gun into two pieces and easily slid it inside his raincoat. He returned to his seat in the car without muttering a word. Once inside he removed the cotton from his ears and the car rolled silently away.
The driver made a left down an alley and slipped into the cool grey of warm San Francisco night. They were finished, time to move on.
Frank McCoy tightened the last bolt on the engine
manifold, cleaned the grease from his hands onto his jeans, tucked in his t-shirt, and slid inside the bucket seat. He put the key into the ignition and turned it to start the car. Nothing happened. He did it again. It cranked once, slowly, before abruptly stopping. He took in a deep breath and whispered a soft encouragement, “Come on baby, start for poppa, come on you can do it.”
It had taken him eleven years of searching before he found what he had been looking for in a small ad in the San Francisco Chronicle:
1968 Mustang 2+2 fastback, highland green,
black leather interior.
390 cu inch V-8, four speed, ET Mag Wheels
Garage kept for years. Son's car. Great body,
needs work. Good weekend project.
Call if interested.
McCoy called the Sausalito number listed in the ad first
thing in the next morning. When he arrived at the old out-of-the-way cottage and pulled off the canvas cover off his old friend, he knew it was her. He had to have her and had her trucked home that very day.
It needed work but he didn’t mind. He liked working on cars engines, transmissions, brakes, axles and carburetors to see what made them tick or more importantly, why they weren't working. There was a personal bond that was of comfort to him. He had a cool steel connection working on them in the silence of his borrowed garage with last year's motocross calendar hanging over the workbench. He didn't mind the quiet and it took him weeks of sweat and hard work working on her and today was the day, the day of reckoning.
“Come on baby, don’t let me down,” he coaxed her, turning the key one more time. Her engine turned over twice, and then stuttered before starting, the dual exhaust pipes belched black and grey smoke filling the small garage with dust and blue engine fumes as she roared to life.
The open garage door brought in a rush of fresh air as the engine coughed and spurted barely staying alive. The big block beast rumbled and complained but soon settled into a steady rhythm of power that only a big cast iron Detroit engine could muster. Soon she was purring like a well-fed kitten as the new oil coursed through her veins.
Sitting in the car, he noticed the boxes of Christmas decorations stacked against the wall with the words Apartment 1-A scribbled on the side. Said her name was Cathy when she let him use her garage space. He got one space and she got the other. Her car was in the body shop for the last couple of weeks so she said she didn't need one. So he was using both.
She seemed nice but even with her easy smile she seemed sad, almost shy. Cute. From Des Moines. Substitute teacher. He noticed his car covered in the old grey tarpaulin, waiting for him in the dust. He gave it a wry grin before he threw the rear license plate onto the Mustang.
The car rolled onto Taylor Street and after closing the garage door, he gave her a little gas, she responded with unbridled enthusiasm. She was thirsty and hungry, wanting more, wanting to stretch her legs, begging for more as they made their way up the hill, turned left and then back down again.
He stomped the gas pedal, shifted gears and she leapt with joy leaving a cloud of tire burning smoke trailing behind them. He drove for twenty minutes to make sure everything was back to normal. He pressed the gas again and saw the tachometer building revs as the engine began to warm. She was ready and hot, like a sailor's wife. He glistened to her deep-throated bellows responding to his nudge on the gas, she was eager to go where he wanted but it was time to head home.
Frank parked the Mustang on Taylor and walked across the street to V-J Grocery. The old man nodded as he paid for his six TV dinners and walked across the street to his building and saw her coming out the front door. She wore an old pair of jeans, a baggy sweatshirt along with a bright red beret and a red and white scarf wrapped around her neck.
"Hi ya Frank," she said with a smile.
"Hey," he responded. "You can have your garage space back. Car's workin'." He stopped, "I'm done. Thanks."
Her apartment was just above the garage and the loud guttural engine noise must have woke her. "Sorry," he said apologetically.
"No problem. Use it as long as you want. My car is still in the shop." She started to walk away down the steps past him, she stopped and looked at his grocery bag filled with frozen dinners and the empty pizza boxes on top of the trash can.
"You don’t talk much, do you?" she said from the bottom of the steps.
"Not unless I have something to say." He looked at her smile. She had an easy smile.
"How about I whip up a home cooked meal for you tonight? I'm not the greatest cook but…"
"Sounds great," he said, truly impressed with her offer.
"Hey, tell you what, how about you let me take you out for dinner one night to pay you for the use of the garage."
"You don’t have to do that."
"Tonight? Local?" she asked motioning to the Nob Hill Café across the street.
He winced but agreed. It had great food but tonight he felt like somewhere different. He had eaten at the cafe many times but agreed. "Sure. Seven?"
"You got a date. See ya then."
He took a shower, pulled on a casual blue turtle neck sweater, dark slacks, tan desert boots and swung a holster and his .38-service revolver over his head until it was snugly positioned under his left armpit. Walking out the door he put on his old brown tweed wool jacket. He was ready. On the way out he grabbed his ID, instinctively opening it to read inside -
Lieutenant Frank McCoy - San Francisco Police Department - Homicide Division
He met her on the porch promptly at seven. She looked like a different person. Her long auburn hair caressed her neck while her soft beige dress seemed to fit her curves perfectly. A gold cross hung daintily from her neck, swinging softly above a hint of warm cleavage. She was beautiful. Frank was...
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In 1968 Detective Frank Bullitt of the SFPD roared through the streets of San Francisco.
The excitement returns!