Previously, Chief Sandoval had the tables turned when he tried to arrest Tenaya. He was arrested! But it wasn't reguler LAPD. He was whisked away and grilled about his knowledge concerning the matters at hand. He proved to be a small-time player and had little to offer. As the Bard and others planned to make the move to Harpster's property in the Angeles Forest, Lucy took the tour of Winston's compound. We continue now as Lucy meets some of the boys.
Lucy could feel hungry eyes burning holes through her as she walked through Winston's compound. These soldiers certainly didn't look like the polished men and women that wore the uniforms of the United States. This group looked slovenly to be kind. She could sense that someone would have to be put in their place to establish herself. Her thoughts drifted back to the arm wrestling days when she first earned her badge. No one dismissed her once they could see her strength. If they had doubts, they only had to spar with her on the mat. She could take almost any man on the force with her extensive martial arts knowledge. That would come in handy here and it would be sooner rather than later.
"Hey, Sarge. It's about time you brought something female in here. I'm so tired of looking at these fools that even this amazon here looks pretty good." Lazinsky found his remark to be highly amusing, as did many of the men that congregated around him.
Lucy had already planned to make a statement. She walked over to Lazinsky with eyes that did not waver when they looked at you. She responded, "I'm not a lesbian, so you ladies are going to have to continue to entertain each other. If you had any manners you might be able to get one of these nice ladies here to give you a big sloppy kiss."
Lazinsky didn't expect a response and certainly not an in your face challenge like Lucy presented him. "Hey, pretty funny dumpling. Just joking around. Soldier's humor. I don't fight girls; my momma raised me to respect women." He found a little bit of swagger and managed a little smirk.
"What do they call this creature?" Lucy inquired as she looked confidently over the quickly assembling throng of scruffy soldiers.
"They call him Lazinsky, Ma'am." A young much less scruffy soldier replied.
"Lazinsky, huh? You're momma didn't do too well with you, Lazinsky. I'd hate to have to give you a crash course in manners." Lucy could already sense the hesitation in him. That would be all she needed. Lazinsky had height and weight on her, but that indecision would give her the edge.
Lucy could hear the flat-footed approach behind her as one of Lazinsky's cronies used all of the stealth that he had to sneak up behind her and kneel down. What do they think, I'm deaf? This will be fun. Lazinsky stepped forward. Lucy knew the purpose being to shove her over the soldier crouched behind her. He extended his arm towards her shoulder. Lucy grabbed it and stepped to the side pulling down on his arm. His momentum thrust him forward on top of his cohort.
The assemblage roared with laughter. Lucy turned and rejoined Winston to complete her tour. Winston couldn't suppress a rare smile.
"Nice bunch of gals." Lucy announced loud enough for all to hear.
Lazinsky sat there next to his buddy looking defeated. A red sign saying "revenge" flashed above his head. This couldn't have worked out better for Lucy. That gave her instant credibility. She could feel any apprehension about her presence dissipate. She owed Lazinsky for his great kindness. He had made her an instant insider.
They took the dime tour and ended up in a nicely appointed office that could've been in a suite at One Wilshire Building in Beverly Hills. He dismissed everyone with him except for Lucy. "Have a seat." he directed Lucy to a large overstuffed chair facing his desk. Lucy remained standing and then began to roam around the room admiring artifacts.
"Where did you get your training, Lucy? I'm curious." Winston looked suddenly cold and suspicious. He asked the question in the manner of an interrogator.
Lucy pretended distraction by an old map of the world mounted on one of the walls. Damn! He sounds like he's suspicious. Hmm. His normal paranoia or did someone tip him off. Her response could be critical. If he knew she was a cop and she lied, it would be certain death. But, if he knows, what am I doing here? She made a bold decision. She went with the truth.
"I learned much from the Bel Air Police Department. They had an instructor in boot camp that taught martial arts to anyone interested. I had a high degree of interest. It made me a bit of an outcast." She laughed, "I could take most of the men in the department and most of them couldn't handle that." She threw it out there and left it hanging. She suspected that he knew that she was on the force. Denying it would be quite a bit more suspicious than admitting it and adding it to her resume.
"It seems like a conflict of interest, doesn't it?" Winston's questions were clipped and offered no clue as to his feelings on the matter. He seemed to want Lucy to explain herself without the advantage of knowing why.
She knew that the wrong answer would put her in jeopardy. "I'm like anyone else here, yourself included, that has offered services to a community or country and had it stomped on by some clipboard toting idiot that's never stood a post. I served like a lamb brought to slaughter. America the Beautiful, blah, blah, blah! What did America do in return? Showed me its ass and told me to kiss it! I served and risked. I came home and served some more. Now what? It didn't matter? Oh, I see. Well, guess what? I matter now. I wash my hands of it. I'm out for me, just like America is out for the smiling bastards that own it lock, stock and barrel."
She hoped that whatever she felt inside didn't show on the outside. I hope that is what you want to here, psycho. I don't see any allies here. I have to act now if he doesn't buy it. I have to take him out, right here…right now.
Winston stood up. He presented an imposing figure even to Lucy. He had some crazy skills learned in the direst of circumstances. He had nothing in common with his whiny slack-jawed brother. "Yep. I played the same gung-ho, love-my-country game that you did. Well, they didn't give a damn. Now, I don't give a damn about them. Arm them all and let them kill each other. Save me some work. I'm going to be sipping Coors out of a crystal goblet high on a hill... watching. Welcome aboard, Smaldino. We may be able to use your position to our advantage. From what I saw on television, my good buddy Chief Sandoval isn't gonna be wielding much influence down at the precinct anymore. Nothing unexpected. You know that if you worked for him. We're going to want you to maintain your position there. It can be a big plus having a cop on board. Especially one that doesn't hurt my eyes to look at."
Winston had a leer that chilled Lucy to the bone. The insanity glimmered in his eyes and the extent of it became more clear than ever. Fanatic. Lucy had connected with the part of Winston that had no logic. Up until now, she had managed to get inside the building. Now, she belonged in it. Mission accomplished.
"Glad to be here, sir. Considering the spotlight on your father's house, I suggest you stay away. If you like, I can stay on there and be your eyes." May as well go for the best of both worlds.
"I have a man there already. But, I do want you to maintain your position on the force. What's your status there?" Winston seemed relaxed now, a good thing.
"I'm investigating burglaries. I'm not expected in except to report to Sandoval. So, I'm in good standing. My partner is suspended. A real nosey one that girl."
"Are you still in contact with her? Partners are usually close."
"I check in with her, but she's gung-ho save the world and arrest all the bad guys. All that cash flowing in Bel Air and she drives a 94 Le Baron. She cramps my style. No offence, but turning in hundreds of thousands of untraceable dollars isn't smart to my way of thinking. She's no problem. She thinks we're the two musketeers or something. She's no dummy, but she wouldn't be a help to us. She would turn on me, I think. Goody two shoes."
A knock on the door interrupted their little exchange. "Boss, the Chinese are here. Show them in?"
Winston paused and addressed Lucy. "You watch and observe. Don't speak. They think women should sit there and look pretty. They aren't fond of women that talk." He turned to the older man at the door. "Okay, Samuels, let them in".
Lucy moved over to some chairs along the side of Winston's desk and took on a stoic air. Two Chinese men and what looked like almost a Geisha Girl came filing in.