A year later, Holly had survived the usual “ripening” rituals and she was on her way. She often worked with Nedward and found his experience to be invaluable but expressed her dismay with the outcome of so much of their work.
“We track them down, arrest them, lock them up and two hours later they’re back out on the street. Why is that Nedward?” He always shook his head and said “that’s the way the system works. Sometimes it seems that the laws are in place to protect the guilty but we have to keep trying. Some day it will even out. You have to believe that.”
“Do you believe that?” she asked. Nedward looked straight ahead and by not answering, gave Holly her answer.
She had slowly gotten to know Lieutenant Foy, and Jayce had been spot on with his cautionary advice. Holly liked Foy but had a healthy fear of him, sort of the way she felt about God. Believe in him, respect him, be honest with him and fear his wrath should you take a wrong turn. He was the perfect dichotomy. She couldn’t decide if he was a good bad guy or a bad good guy but she did know one thing. He would have her back.
During one of their “real” stake-outs, Holly asked Nedward about the one officer she had yet to meet. Nedward said “oh, you mean Bobby.”
“Yes,” she said. “Why do we never see him?” Nedward said “he’s deep under cover and for his protection, he doesn’t come around much. He’s been under for more than three years, working the “Roi Fantôme” case.
Holly surprised Nedward as well as herself when she asked “what the hell is that?” Nedward laughed and said “it’s French for “Phantom King. He’s the largest drug lord in history and he has never been seen. He has an army of thousands and no one has ever been able to break into his inner circle.”
“Word is that he lives on an island just off the coast. The only access is by plane or boat and the security is so tight, there’s not a chance of getting there, but nobody knows for sure. So, we just wait for him to make a wrong move, which of course is highly doubtful…or we wait for one of our own to finally work his way into his world. We figure 99% of the drugs that infiltrate the area come from him.”
“One of our own. You mean Bobby, right?” Holly asked. “Yeah, and if anybody can do it, he can,” said Nedward. “I’ve never seen a better undercover asset. The few times we do see him, we don’t recognize him. He can be dressed as a motorcycle dude, a homeless man, a Wall Street Entrepreneur or even an old woman. He’ll do whatever it takes and he’s determined almost to obsession, to bring the Phantom King down.”
Holly said “well, it would be a good collar, that’s for sure.” Nedward said “it’s not about the collar for Bobby. It’s a little more personal.”
“What do you mean?” asked Holly. Nedward said “you remember the code, right?” Holly said “of course.”
Nedward looked straight ahead and he so often did and said “Bobby had a little sister who got hooked on cocaine and after years of trying to recover, she overdosed. Her heart literally exploded. Bobby was the one who found her and after that, he made it his quest to bring down as many drug dealers as he could but focusing mainly on the Phantom King.”
“By the way,” said Nedward. You’ll get your chance later today. He’ll be in the office, filing whatever information he’s been able to document and getting supplies.” He laughed and said “now whether we’ll recognize him, remains to be seen.”
“What kind of supplies?” Holly asked. “I’m thinking that you mean money?”
“You’re thinking right,” Nedward said. “It’s hard to buy drugs with IOU’s. Bobby comes by, collects the money and a nurse comes by to collect his blood.”
“His blood?” Holly asked.
“Yep. It’s part of the game. She “misses” two or three times to leave convincing track marks on his arm. You know, the kind of marks a junkie has. Then she gives him eye-drops to dilate his pupils. Like I said, he does whatever it takes and he’s one of the best.”
“I’m impressed,” Holly said. “You should be,” said Nedward.
Later that evening, they made their way back to the station. Jayce and Luke were sitting on the corner of their desks, chatting. Frank stood in the corner with his arms folded as if keeping watch. Madeline was crouched behind her computer, computing or whatever she did. Holly spoke to her but didn’t receive an acknowledgment.
They were all waiting for Lieutenant Foy and Holly was waiting for her first glance at Bobby.
Standing beside Nedward, Holly watched as Foy and Bobby walked in. She suddenly put her right hand over her heart and put her left hand on his arm. Nedward looked at her, looked at Bobby and then looked back at her. He whispered into her ear, “are you alright?”
Holly, eyes fixated on Bobby said “oh, my. I think I’m in trouble.”
To be continued__________