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Lazarus Kane And The Benevolent Terrorists
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-093-9
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 231 Pages
Published: August 2016

From inside the flap

Can the Earth really be brought to ruins by good intentions? Who would use "Good Works" to try and bring about the end of the world? Leave it to Lazarus Kane, the idiosyncratic narcissist. to turn his mis-wired, afflicted brain to this dilemma... If not, you can always have a word with the millennia-old Priestess of the Temple Of Bastet. In a world where nothing is ever as it seems, the path to good intentions can certainly lead to Hell...

Lazarus Kane And The Benevolent Terrorists (Excerpt)


ONE

Davis felt things slipping away from him almost at once; from nearly the moment he arrived at his new place of employment that Monday morning, things gradually became more and more surreal. Maybe I expected too much???

He'd arrived in Arizona only days before, secured a modest apartment, unpacked his clothing and the various tools of his trade and tried to familiarize himself with the neighborhood.

Summertime, just a few years shy of the new "roaring two-thousand-and-twenties" and the young Detective suddenly found himself thousands of miles from home and surrounded by a heat he could taste in every nerve in his flesh. Local denizens of Arizona claim it has only two seasons-Spring and Summer. Spring lasts from October to March. For the remainder of the year the state of Arizona isn't so much a tourist destination as an open-air kiln... baking the sand, clay, and people who reside in the vicinity.

Detective Davis had no time to get his bearings at all before Monday arrived and he had to locate his new place of employment: The Gilbert Police Department. He arrived late, of course, and the Detective they had assigned Davis for orientation looked both unpleasant and unpleased.

Detective Rawlins, a man of few words with a protruding squared jaw, led the new recruit past the rows of desks which appeared somehow too clean, past banks of phones which remained utterly silent, past the dispatcher who remained motionless in a chair. Occasionally Rawlins nodded perfunctorily to other officers they encountered, but he made no introductions and didn't comment on anything they passed.

Davis looked around and took the place in slowly; the Gilbert Police Department failed to match up to any image movies or television had implanted in his brain. This is a police station? It's too damned clean. Where's the grime? Where's the crime? Not even a hooker on a bench somewhere or a crack-head passed out on the floor. No one screaming? Even the phones aren't ringing.

It looks like the dispatcher is asleep at the switch too.

The "tour" continued on in without a word until just after the two men crested the stairs to the second landing. They passed by a closed office door; the sign on the door read: Captain Robert Holbrook Connor. From under Captain Connor's door wafted a familiar smell-a smell both easily definable and just as clearly out of place. Davis couldn't help but mention it aloud.

"Isn't that..?" Davis asked his escort and added an extra sniffing sound.

"Yah," came the reply.

True, Arizona had passed medical marijuana usage laws recently (and was even toying with the idea of recreational availability) but smoking it right out in the open? And in a police station, of all places! More and more the building Davis tried to acquaint himself with seemed less and less familiar.

Davis wore street-clothes and so did the detective showing him around. In a small station like Gilbert, you could not find a uniformed officer or even a uniform most of the time. Davis had worn plainclothes since his promotion to detective back in Flint, but still kept his old uniform as most cops did out of sentiment.

Detective William Rawlins continued to aim Davis down the hallway, away from the captain's office. A laconic man of thinning hair and quiet habits, Rawlins had a sharp intellect but little to say.

In a tone that required a reasonable reply, Davis demanded, "The captain smokes weed in his office and everyone around here is okay with that???" In his mind he struggled to make sense of things. According to everything he understood people just didn't smoke dope in the middle of the average police station. He began to wonder if it was some sort of test for the new recruit to measure his abilities or possibly his integrity.

Rawlins interrupted the other man's thoughts with a loud snort.

Davis tried again, "Seriously... what the hell is going on here?"

"First day?" Rawlins asked in a strange and significant tone. He already knew the answer, having been tapped earlier that morning to welcome this new arrival, show him around the precinct house and give him the usual rulebooks, fliers, and sensitivity awareness pamphlets. Rawlins had even assigned the younger man a locker-- though he'd accomplished most of those feats largely by pointing and shrugging.

Davis registered confusion, "You know it's my first day!"

"Quitting tomorrow?" Rawlins asked seriously.

Davis considered that for a long moment. Two years of criminology at Arizona State University, the time spent at the police academy, the months of interviewing and applications (as well as psychological and pharmacological testing) all to get here. Would he flush all that down the drain in an instant if he pried into this matter too closely?

He thought a second longer and decided that discretion remained the best possible course until he understood the situation better.

Davis told his surly escort hesitantly, "There are some questions people just shouldn't ask..." He tried his best to sound as offhanded as possible and gave every indication he stood on the verge of forgetting he'd ever asked a question.

"Right," said Rawlins. He gestured with his thumb down the hallway.

About two hours later, Davis sat at his brand new desk (new to him) and fidgeted with the release mechanism for the top drawer. The drawer continued to stick despite his best efforts and he could not see where anything rubbed or hindered it from moving freely. In an entire building of spotless, eerily-untouched equipment he somehow had the one desk with a sticky drawer.

When he got the drawer to open at last he discovered supplies left behind by some previous occupant. He tried to force it closed, wondering abstractedly if it would ever open again but not much caring. When Davis looked up from the drawer for a moment he found Captain Robert Holbrook Connor looking down on him like a gnarled oak tree-impossible to mistake the man for anyone else considering the many pictures of him with various officials and dignitaries littering the environs.

In surprise, Davis accidentally surrendered his car keys into the drawer just as it finally slammed closed.

"Sir?" Davis stammered.

"My office. You've seen it over there?" Connor waited.

"Yes sir!" Davis replied, overloud. He did not mention that he had also smelled the office.

"So be a good lad and wait in there for me."

Davis got up and walked away from his desk. As he did so, he heard the captain give a number of orders in quick succession. Davis took his time crossing the room so he could overhear.

"Everyone out on the floor, please," Captain Connor called to the others as Davis languidly passed through the room. In a few moments some four officers (nearly half his department) assembled before him.

"I want a unit over at the Carl's Junior on Gilbert Road," Connor began. Recalling something he'd nearly forgotten he added, "Send Donleavy. Tell him he can find the guy in or about the dumpster in the back. And tell him the man is armed and deceptively fast-- I don't want any slip-ups.

"Baker and Rodriguez I want you to get over to Judge Wally-- yes I know he's fishing in the Salt River this week. Find him and get him to sign a search warrant on this address," he handed a slip of paper to a nearby officer. "If you can't find him in any of his usual spots then call his wife because Elveera always knows right where he is. Tell him we expect to find guns at this address I've just given you-- a lot of them.

"I wish old Wally would start carrying a phone, but some folks never accept all this marvelous new technology that's killing us..."

The captain didn't expect a laugh at this irony and his crew didn't disappoint him.

"Carly, you and Bill get over to..." Connor turned and walked towards his office. He nearly tripped over Davis, who continued to slowly inch his way towards that door the whole time Connor had spoken.

The captain opened his office a second, ignoring Davis entirely, and checked an address with an unseen person inside his office. From within came a weary call of confirmation.

Captain Connor walked back to stand in front of the gathered detectives. "Go check that address out. Today is Monday. My information says we're going to find a major chop-shop in operation there tonight about eight."

Detective Bill Sommers smiled wickedly. "That's right near Tent City, Captain. Should we call the Sheriff's Department for backup?"

"Sheriff Joe? Are you nuts? God bless, and keep that man... far away from any real police work. If he had his way he'd barricade the entire state and search every car that passes.

"Call Phoenix P.D. They're still reasonable."

"What about jurisdiction?" Carly wanted to know.

"Tell them it's a statewide taskforce on vehicle theft. Make something up. They won't care. Besides, the guys you're after have a public lot three blocks from this very station where they're reselling the stolen cars. That makes it our business, no?"

"Right, Captain."

Davis nearly had the handle of the captain's office in hand and prepared to enter. He'd heard enough.

The meeting seemed about to dissolve but a soft voice put in, "What about the Stansfield case?"

A soft groan went through those assembled and a number of faces turned away. Connor sighed and turned to the female detective and started, "Carly... "

Detective Carly Ramirez intoned a litany softly, "Little girl kidnapped in Scottsdale? Man in a white van with Gilbert plates seen lingering for days in the area? Never heard of again? Ring any bells???"

"That case," the captain said wearily, "is a year old. Hell, one of the local rags just did a morbid sort of anniversary of the thing in the headlines. It gets moved to open/unsolved. You know the procedure."

The female detective tried to stand her ground but something about her expression clearly expected the response she'd received.

"I'm sorry, Carly. It's not even really our case and we couldn't turn up any leads. Let it go."

Detective Davis could see how crestfallen the female detective felt; this woman couldn't hide much with a broad honest face like the one she sported beneath her tightly tangled ebon locks. Carly Ramirez clearly took all failures of justice as personal defeats. Davis could understand that; his past had cemented such lessons in place beyond possibility of forgetting.

Davis walked into the captain's private office and sat down in one of the chairs facing the desk. He noted the chair behind the desk already contained an occupant-who lounged in the high-backed leather seat as if the office belonged to him. From outside, Davis heard the meeting end.

"Well don't just stand there people. Move it! We're going to settle out some major criminal activity today-- so much for the quiet of a small town police department."

Connor turned on his heels and walked towards his office. He closed the door behind him.

The scene that greeted him was not unexpected but Connor still chuckled silently to see how flagrantly Davis reacted to the room's other occupant. Davis stared at Connor in irritated perplexity.

"I take it you've been introduced," Connor said to Davis.

"We haven't," said an oddly dressed man sitting behind the desk in Connor's own chair.

The man in the captain's chair had a gaunt face, laughing brown eyes and very long hair for any man who made an honest living. He had long, thin fingers which he splayed over his mouth for a moment. His clothing defied cursory examination and the fashion of the last few centuries. He reeked of peppermint, patchouli and marijuana.

Connor pointed, "Lazarus Kane? Detective Miles Davis, no relation."

Kane smiled.

"He didn't have the look of a jazzman. I bet he listens to country."

Davis, who did prefer Dwight Yoakum to even the coolest of jazz riffs, said nothing. He instead watched intently as the strangely dressed man produced a small pouch from which he poured a pungent green pile onto the blotter of the desk. Sifting through the pile carefully, Kane removed some odd bits he didn't like or which were seeds or stems, and then produced a small book of green rolling papers.

"Absinthe, today," he told the captain.

"I prefer the smell of the peach papers myself," Holbrook sniffed the air as if in offense.

"An unrefined palate I see. That is simply the sweetest flavored paper they make."

Davis said nothing. He watched as Kane rolled what anyone would have to admit looked like a perfect cigarette from the pile of green on the desk. Kane swept the excess grains onto the floor haphazardly and in a quick motion had the joint lit. He inhaled deeply upon it.

"Must you?" Connor asked with a slight weariness. His mood seemed to echo Davis' own silent discomfort but with a bit more acceptance and tolerance of the inevitable.

"Oh I must. I must. It's not actually too bad today but you never know when it might flare up. Call it a preventative. Mark Twain used to drink two shots of scotch every night as a preventative of toothache... he said he'd never had one and didn't plan on it either. We can all learn from his example."

Captain Connor snorted.