Summary: Epilogue for Three Point Shot. Thanks to his bookie cousin's shady contacts, Sandburg has bitten off more than he can chew. Ellison intervenes.
Notes: There is a shamefully transient tattoo in this story *g* Also submitted as dues for the Sentinel Angst list.
Glimmerman watched intently, as the tall man was ushered into his office by his heavily tattooed minder. "Detective Ellison to see you, Mister Glimmerman," Kauffman announced, his hostile glare directed at the oblivious cop, before he retreated to leave them alone, closing the door behind him.
Ellison glanced around the office before his expressionless gaze came to rest on Glimmerman. First impressions - and Glimmerman had learned over the years to trust his instincts - spoke of confidence, self-control, and a total lack of nervousness.
Ellison's attitude intrigued the racketeer. He was used to being feared.
"Sit, please," directed Glimmerman indicating a chair in front of his desk. Detective Ellison did as he was told. But to Glimmerman's surprise and, if he allowed himself to admit it, his grudging respect, the detective made even the act of sitting down look like a challenge.
Inwardly, Glimmerman grinned in anticipation. He had always enjoyed a challenge.
"What can I do for you, detective?" Glimmerman asked neutrally, gauging, as he did so, the obvious features of the man opposite. Powerfully built, confident, and exuding an air of dangerousness, coupled with a badge. This was not the first time Glimmerman had been confronted with a legally-sanctioned hard-case, someone with the law on his side, who thought he was invincible and beyond the reach of people like him.
Glimmerman allowed himself to feel smug. They all learned in time.
Pale blue eyes looked unflinchingly back at him. "I'm here," Ellison said, "to talk about Blair Sandburg."
For a second, Glimmerman couldn't place the name. Then it clicked. The cousin of one of his bookies, the kid who'd wanted to know about Ray Krause. Sandburg had waltzed in here the other day like he owned the place, asking questions, just as brazenly as this detective.
Balls of brass, the pair of them.
"I'm not familiar with the name," Glimmerman answered, the lie dripping easily off his tongue.
Ellison watched him unblinkingly, his gaze disturbingly direct. He didn't even acknowledge Glimmerman's denial. "I want you," he said, "to leave Sandburg alone."
Glimmerman leaned forward, folding his hands on the desk top in front of him. He smiled, feeling the predatory grin stretch his features in unaccustomed humor. "Just who, detective," he asked, "is this 'Sandburg' person to you?"
"He's under my protection." The words were spoken without irony, with conviction.
The na´ve conceit of the man made Glimmerman smile. If Sandburg was under police protection, it meant he'd flapped his big mouth in the wrong places already. Ellison clearly hadn't the slightest idea that safe houses and cops would not be able to shield Sandburg from Glimmerman's wrath.
Glimmerman never forgot or forgave a betrayal. Sandburg was a dead man.
His smile more sincere now, cheered by thoughts of retribution as he was, Glimmerman stood. "I don't know anyone called 'Sandburg'. If that's all, detective, I'll have my associates show you out. I'm a busy man. I don't know what this 'Sandburg' told you or your colleagues, but he was obviously lying. It appears that he may not be in need of police protection at all." He laughed shortly. "Well, not from me, anyway."
But instead of standing up to leave, Ellison stayed put. He leaned back insolently in the chair, a smug smile hovering around his lips. "I didn't say," Ellison said, "that he was under police protection. I said he was under *my* protection."
It was not what Glimmerman expected to hear, and belatedly he realized they'd been talking at cross purposes. "Just who do you think you are, Ellison?" he asked, realizing abruptly that the detective's business with him was personal rather than professional. "Even if I knew what you were talking about, this little display of bravado wouldn't impress me at all."
His own response hadn't intimidated Ellison either, if the other man's demeanor was anything to go by. The cop stood, towering over him. "Then let me impress you with this," he said silkily, his words full of smooth menace. "The price you're charging Sandburg for the information you gave him is too high. He's not in a position to give you what you want, not now, not ever. You're not the only one here with power, Glimmerman, or contacts. Call off your dogs, and release him from his obligation to you, or you'll find out exactly what I'm capable of."
Glimmerman smiled coldly in return, even though something about the cop made him feel uncomfortably like a bug under a microscope. But the guy was bluffing - he had to be. Glimmerman knew most of the serious players in Cascade, and this guy wasn't one of them. "One good deed deserves another, Ellison," he said. "Information doesn't come cheap. Sandburg knew the score when he came in here. We had a deal, and running to his cop buddy isn't going to get him out of what he owes me."
The admission that Glimmerman *did*, in fact, know Sandburg, didn't seem to surprise Ellison one bit. "Sandburg had no idea that the price would be so high, and you know it, you son of a bitch," the detective said. "And for the record, he has no idea I'm here, or that I even know he's had any contact with you. Now listen up." Ellison moved into Glimmerman's personal space, backing him up against the desk. "You call off the muscle you've got harassing him. Then you get in touch with Sandburg, and tell him that the slate is wiped clean."
Leaning backwards, Glimmerman was seconds away from pressing the panic button on his desk, which would call in Kauffman and his other hired muscle from the outer office. But first, he wanted to know what ammunition this delusional cop thought he had, that he felt able to walk into *his* territory like this, and threaten *him*, of all people. And in any case, Glimmerman believed in finding out whatever he could about his enemies, even though he'd heard that curiosity killed the cat.
The thought amused him. In this case, curiosity would kill the *cop*.
"So tell me, Ellison," Glimmerman asked, boldly meeting the other man's unblinking gaze. "What will you do if I say no?"
Instead of backing down, Ellison just smiled coldly, and despite himself, Glimmerman's stomach turned over at the feral look in the other man's eye. "Let's put this another way," Ellison said. "If you say yes, I'll let you keep breathing."
"Death threats don't worry me, Ellison," Glimmerman asserted. "Especially when they come from the mouth of a man who has only seconds left to live." This had gone far enough. If that was the best Ellison could do, he deserved everything he was about to get. Reaching behind him surreptitiously, Glimmerman pressed the panic button.
Ellison's grin widened. Scared now, and abandoning subterfuge, Glimmerman pressed the button again and again, to no avail. "Kauffman!" he shouted. "Kaminski!"
"They can't hear you, Glimmerman," Ellison said. "They're both out cold, and my men have this place surrounded."
"Your men?" This was insane. This guy was a cop. What the hell was going on?
"I have access," Ellison said, answering Glimmerman's unspoken question as he moved around behind the desk, "to people and resources you really don't want to know too much about. And I'm not talking cops, here."
Wishing desperately that he'd pulled his revolver out of the desk drawer, Glimmerman considered taking the guy on hand-to-hand. In his younger years, he'd been a formidable fighter; a merciless opponent. But just as quickly, he dismissed the notion. The guy was at least twenty years his junior, and built of solid muscle. It would be sheer suicide.
Ellison picked up the phone from Glimmerman's desk, and held it out. "Call off the muscle you've got trailing Sandburg," he ordered. "And don't even think about calling for help instead. Your line is being monitored, and I'll know if you try to double cross me."
This didn't feel like a bluff. There was no way Ellison could have gotten the drop on Kauffman and Kaminski on his own, especially as they'd both been conscious when Ellison had first come in here. Taking the phone from Ellison with a glare, Glimmerman reluctantly punched in a number, and as soon as the call was answered, he recalled the men he'd assigned to put the heat on Sandburg.
As the call concluded, Ellison looked at him pointedly. "Call Sandburg," he said. "Tell him you're writing off the debt, but that you don't want him approaching you ever again. Make him believe it's over and he's safe."
As Glimmerman dialed the number, he muttered, "What is this guy to you, anyway?"
"None of your damned business," Ellison said. As the phone started to ring on the other end of the line, he added, "One more thing. Don't mention me. If you want to keep breathing, that is."
Glimmerman glared back his opinion of Ellison's flippant threat, as the hesitant voice of Blair Sandburg answered the phone. //Hello?//
"Mister Sandburg, this is Sol Glimmerman."
//Mister Glimmerman!// Sandburg sounded nervous, which was not a surprise. Glimmerman had, in fact, intended to scare the shit out of him, so it seemed his men had done their job. //Look, I can explain-//
Glimmerman cut him off. This was hard enough already without listening to some pathetic kid's scared babble - he already had Ellison's disconcerting, direct stare to put up with. "Listen, Sandburg. I've decided to let this go. I'm writing off what you owe me."
//Oh man, Mister Glimmerman, thank you-// Sandburg began.
Utterly unmoved by the sheer relief in the kid's voice, Glimmerman interrupted. "Yeah, whatever. Forget it. But I want you to do one thing for me, Sandburg," he said.
//Okay.// Sandburg sounded wary.
Glimmerman ploughed on, Ellison's unnerving stare making his skin itch. "Don't contact me again, all right? I won't be this lenient the next time."
There was a pause. Then Sandburg said, //Mister Glimmerman, look, I'm really grateful. But can I just ask, why? Why are you letting me off the hook? Not that I'm saying you shouldn't, of course-//
"Lets just say," Glimmerman interrupted, as Ellison looked at him pointedly, "that I'm doing this out of the goodness of my heart." And he put the phone down before Sandburg could express any more nauseating gratitude.
Ellison nodded approvingly. "Very good."
Glimmerman scowled at him. "If you think that's the end of it, you're insane. You walk out of here and leave me alive, and I'll come after you. I'll come after him too."
"No. You won't." Ellison was moving toward the door. He paused, just before opening it. "There's a name you need to be aware of. 'Asesino Oscuro'. Ask around about it. Ask about Peru." He opened the door, revealing the slumped figures of Glimmerman's two henchmen in the outer office. "I guarantee," he said, "that you'll be leaving both Sandburg and me alone from now on."
Glimmerman shivered as Ellison disappeared, the draught which entered when the outer door opened and closed not even close to the chill which suddenly attacked his spine.
He'd heard the name, all right, so there was no need to ask around. Asesino Oscuro. 'Dark Assassin'. A legendary figure that Glimmerman's acquaintances spoke about in whispers. Rumored to be a government-sponsored vigilante, operating out of South America, with a reputation for sheer ruthlessness. Untouchable, invincible, and very, very dangerous.
It was suspected that the infamous Asesino had left Peru and ended up somewhere in the Pacific North West several years ago.
Seems he was a little too close for comfort.
Shakily, Glimmerman reached for the bottle of Scottish single malt whisky he kept on the shelf behind his desk. Eschewing a glass, he took a swig straight out of the bottle.
Ellison was right. Glimmerman wouldn't be going anywhere near him or Sandburg.
Not ever again.
"Hey, Chief. Everything okay?" Ellison looked up briefly from reading the newspaper when Sandburg arrived home.
"Oh, hey man." Sandburg dropped his backpack on the floor and took off his coat. "Yeah, everything's cool. How did it go today at the station?"
"Oh, you know," Ellison said, taking a swig of his beer. "Same old. Nothing new."
"Good." Sandburg moved over to the refrigerator. "I am so ready for some down time, man." Bringing his own beer over to the table, he said, "Oh, by the way, Jim, I've got some rent money for you."
"I thought you were strapped this month," Ellison said, his eyes on the print.
"Well," Sandburg said, "I was. But I managed to sort it out. And hey, you know that paper I submitted? It got accepted, manů"
Ellison tuned out Sandburg's bare-faced obfuscation and happy chatter, and smiled to himself.
All was right in his world again.
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