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Authors: Victor Methos

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BOOK: Black Widow
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16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Dolls Companions was in a nondescript building in the Pearl City region of Oahu. The most famous landmark here was the harbor. Pearl Harbor functioned as part-museum and part-cemetery. Though as time wore on, the cemetery portion was being forgotten. Stanton pondered if the same thing would happen to Ground Zero in Manhattan.

The building was basically a nice home; it might not have even been zoned for commercial use. He wondered if some county official had granted an exception in exchange for dates.

After parking on the street Stanton walked to the front door, which was closed. He tried the knob but it wouldn’t budge, so he rang the doorbell. A woman in a silk robe answered, peeking out over a chain that only allowed the door open about six inches.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “our massage parlor is booked for this evening.”

Stanton lifted his badge.

She sighed. “There’s no girls available right now. Come back in a couple of hours and we’ll set you up.”

“What’re you talking about?”

The woman smiled. “Oh, you’re one of the good ones. I haven’t seen that in a while.”

Stanton stood silently a moment.

“Which detectives come here?”

“A lot. And that’s the reason we’re able to stay in business. It’s a small price to pay. So what do you need?”

“I’m investigating a homicide I think one of your girls was involved in.”

She shook her head. “None of my girls would do that. Now if there’s nothing else, I really—”

“Favors will protect you from prostitution charges, not from homicide.”

She thought it over a moment. “Fine,” she said, unlocking the door, “come in at least, then.”

The interior was made up like a Japanese spa, complete with soothing new age music playing from hidden speakers. He could instantly smell jasmine and lavender as they took a seat on a white leather couch. A bearskin rug was out in front of them and a fire was crackling in the fireplace, though it was well over eighty degrees.

“So you wanted to talk,” she said. “We can talk now.”

“Are you the owner?”

“Yes, Autumn Miller. Pleased to meet you….”

“Jon Stanton.”

“Jon Stanton. I haven’t seen you before. Are you new?”

“In a manner of speaking.”

She nodded and opened up the front of her robe just a little more than Stanton was comfortable with.

“May the first at Dale Koa Hotel,” he said, ignoring the cleavage. “And maybe June the third at the Seasons. I need the girl that worked those nights at those hotels.”

“That’s confidential information. How many girls do you think would work for me if they knew I was cooperating with the police?”

“How many will work for you if we find out one of your girls murdered two people? The police will raid this place and shut it down. The case is already in the news, and if the murderer’s a call girl, it would make it irresistible to the media. Everyone on this island will know who you are. In your business, the only way it works is if you’re anonymous.”

Autumn watched him a moment, rose, and went behind a desk. She flipped through a computer and sipped something out of a teacup. Stanton didn’t move. He waited patiently a good five minutes before she returned and sat down.

“Let’s say I have something worth sharing. What do I get out of it? Some protection for the next time some mayor or district attorney wants to look tough on crime by storming in here?”

“I’ll do better. I’ll protect you from the detectives exploiting you.”

She smiled. “You’re very sweet. I can tell. But there’s nothing you can do about that. It goes higher than your pay rank.”

He grinned. “I can be very persuasive when I want to be.”

She hesitated a moment and then handed him a yellow Post-it note. “I keep track of all my girls. They need a valid social security card, address, and blood tests. Some girls with HIV or hepatitis get fired from one place and move on to another. I make sure they can’t do that here.”

Stanton looked to the name on the note: Heidi Rousseau.

“Today’s her day off,” Autumn said.

“She worked both days? At both hotels?”

Autumn nodded. “She’s a newer girl. Only here a couple of years. A favorite of my customers, though.”

“She’s been here two years and she’s new?”

“Detective, you don’t know how hard this life can be for the girls. When they find something good, they stick to it. We have girls that have been with me for over a decade.”

Stanton rose. “If she comes by or contacts you, I would appreciate if you didn’t mention anything about my visit.”

She laughed softly. “You really are a boy scout, aren’t you?”

Stanton grinned but didn’t say anything as he started to walk out. Another robed woman came down some stairs and smiled at him. Her hair was platinum blonde with red highlights and she, without being asked, sat next to
Autumn and massaged her hands and shoulders.

“Let me know if you need anything, Detective. Or if you’d like a taste of my product.”

Stanton stared at the two women a moment. This was, he knew, most men’s fantasy. It would be a fleeting moment of passion followed by intense worry and pain. But the temptation was still there. He thought of Mathew, and how much harder that particular temptation must be for a teenager with crazy hormones to resist.

“I may need to call you again if I need anything else.”

“Anytime.”

The two women were caressing each other now. Autumn kissed her on the lips and then ran her tongue over the woman’s neck. She reached into the other woman’s robe and exposed her perfect breasts before leaning over and suckling one.

Stanton stepped out of the house and had to take a moment to stand still. A boy on a bicycle rode by, and Stanton watched him zip up the street before walking to his jeep and heading back to the precinct.

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening sun was just beginning to set when Stanton parked and ran up to the homicide detail’s bullpen. Jones was gone and so was Kai. A few detectives he didn’t recognize were there, and they nodded but didn’t say hello. He hadn’t earned their trust yet.

He went to his computer and pulled up the particular software Honolulu PD liked using for background searches. Something called MARSHAL that he had never heard of before. Mayors and city councilmen from all cities were routinely wined, dined, and paid huge campaign contributions by a plethora of software companies, each one promising more productivity than the last. They rarely delivered.

Stanton pulled up the history for Heidi Sarah Rousseau, with a birth date of June 12, 1986. The date brought up a memory. He was in third grade at the time at an elementary school in Seattle, and every day the teacher would write the date on the board. He didn’t remember what happened that day or if the date was significant, but he remembered seeing that date on the board.

Heidi had no criminal history. Not even a traffic ticket. Her BCI report was completely clean. Stanton had rarely seen that in anyone, much less an escort.

Stanton changed the parameters of his search. Instead of searching convictions and arrests, he searched expunged charges.
Those that had been sealed and taken off her criminal history. He got a hit for at least a dozen charges.

They ranged from DUIs to aggravated assaults. There was even an attempted homicide that had been dismissed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and then expunged immediately afterward.

Her last known address was at the North Shore, not that far from where he lived. Under the occupation tab, it read
pediatrician
. Stanton had to double-check on the Department of Workforce Services server to ensure that was accurate. The DWS server showed her as a pediatrician with Queen’s Medical Center here in Honolulu. Her education tab showed an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Duke before attending the University of California, San Francisco Medical School.

Stanton leaned back in his seat. This couldn’t be the woman he was looking for.
Although the knowledge of anatomy and the nervous system would certainly make her more efficient at torture. But the level of education hinted at maybe an angel of death, someone who poisons patients at hospitals, but not a full-out torturer.

But he had seen stranger things. Politicians that sold their own children into slavery overseas, judges addicted to self-mutilation, CEOs that killed young interns and then served their remains at corporate functions. He had seen what people were really capable of when they thought no one would ever find out. He told himself that nothing should surprise him. But for some reason, a brilliant woman with this background prostituting herself and killing johns stunned him.

The clock on the computer said it was nearly seven. He rose and went out to his jeep.

 

 

Suzanne was there early and she and Johnny were playing on the beach. Stanton waved to her and she waved back. Mathew was sitting on the porch. He rose with a sigh and walked to his father.

“I got stuff to do tonight, Dad.”

“Well, you’re with me tonight. Let’s go.”

They climbed into the jeep, and Stanton pulled out. He drove on the interstate with the top down, the wind howling in their ears.

Once off the interstate, Stanton stopped at a grocery store.

“Come on,” he said, getting out of the jeep.

“Where we going?”

“You’ll see.”

They filled a shopping cart with sandwiches, soups, plastic spoons, individual milk bottles, and string cheese. They paid and left. Stanton loaded the groceries into the backseat as Matt played on his phone.

“No phone tonight, pal.”

“Dad, I need my phone.”

“You’d be surprised how little you actually
need
and how much you really
want
. No phone.”

Mathew grunted and put the phone away. Stanton got in and they drove to downtown
Honolulu. It was almost eight and darkness had fallen. That’s when the girls came out.

Prostitution had always been big business in Hawaii due to the number of male military personnel. But it had reached
a level decades earlier that no one could have anticipated. Even in tourist-friendly Waikiki, dozens of prostitutes would be out mingling. Many of them could have easily been on the cover of fashion magazines.

Honolulu soon developed a reputation as having some of the most beautiful prostitutes in the country. And with that reputation, came the pimps.

They flocked in from the big cities where District Attorney Offices were cracking down on the sex trade. Prostitution busts were easy and didn’t consume a lot of time. It was a simple way to get crime numbers down before elections, and maybe have a story or two run through a newspaper.

But the pimps were something that the sweet island girls weren’t ready for. They ruled with violence learned from a lifetime in and out of prisons. There was an epidemic in the late sixties where bodies of young girls would drift to shore from the Pacific.

The industry had tamed a bit after that, with the police focusing on arresting the pimps and getting them off the islands. Now, prostitution itself was largely ignored and allowed to flourish.

Stanton pulled in between two buildings.

“What’re we doing here?” Mathew asked.

“See that group of women over there.” Stanton hopped out of the jeep and grabbed the groceries. “We’re going to help them.”

Mathew grabbed one of the bags and they walked over. The women ranged in age from fifteen or sixteen all the way to the later sixties. Every fetish was made available to the johns. There were plump girls, disabled, brunettes, blondes, transvestites, dwarves, elderly, and even a few pregnant ones. Every race on the planet was represented there. And the girls, by and large, were more attractive than the prostitutes found in the bigger cities on the mainland.

“Is that Johnny baby?” one of the women said.

She was Asian in appearance with a dark tan and silky black hair that came down to her lower back.

“How are you, Eden?”

“Good, baby. How are you? Haven’t seen you in a minute.”

“I’ve been busy.” Stanton hesitated. “I joined the HPD.”

She laughed. “I thought I smelled bacon.”

“Funny. You know I don’t have to bring these sandwiches.”

“You know I love you, baby. Now who’s this handsome boy?”

“This is my son, Mathew.”

“Howya doin’, baby?” she said.

He looked to his father before answering and said, “Good.”

The women huddled around and began taking the food. A few of the healthier ones waited until the sick and old got their share first.

“What’re we doing here, Dad?”

“Some of these girls work for forty-eight hours straight without any food or water. I bring them little things when I can.” He looked to Eden. “Eden, how did you get started in this business?”

She took a bite of sandwich. “Just a young girl, baby. Got involved with some bad people.”

“But what triggered it?”

She shrugged. “Sex. What else. Started when I was twelve and then got mixed up with this pimp bastard who brought me out here. Been on the streets since.”

Eden got distracted by one of the other girls. Stanton waited until he was reasonably certain she wasn’t paying attention to him. “She’s dying, Mathew. She has a type of hepatitis that will soon shut down her liver. She’s only twenty-six.”

Mathew was silent a long time. “Why’d you bring me here, Dad?”

“Because all these girls have the same story. They started young in sex and it escalated. I’m not saying that would ever happen to you, obviously, but I just wanted to show you that every action has repercussions. Forget diseases that can kill you, Matt, what if you get a girl pregnant? Are you ready to be a father? To have a baby that has no one but you to rely on?”

He swallowed. “What’s wrong with her?”

Stanton saw where he was looking. It was toward an older prostitute. Her face was massively scarred with burns. Part of her hair had been singed away.

“She was burned with acid by a john. That’s what they call the men that visit prostitutes, johns. He sprayed her face with it and ran off.”

“I wanna go.”

Stanton put his arm around him and led him back to the jeep.

BOOK: Black Widow
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