“What the hell?” was surprised out of Mike as Davy came out of the bedroom.
“Cool, ain’t it?” Davy turned in a circle, the gold medallions clinking together as they did so. From his over-gelled hair to his four-inch platform shoes, he looked every inch the disco king.
Mike couldn’t hold back the snickers. “Well, Dave, I can think of a lot of words to describe that outfit…”
“Yeah?” Davy’s face lit up.
“’Cool’, however, is not on the list.”
“Oh.” Davy’s face fell. “Well, it was just an idea --- I mean, keep up with the times and all…”
Mike sighed. “Davy, you’re thirty-two years old. You’re a little young to be havin’ a mid-life crisis.”
It was Davy’s turn to sigh. “Look, we’re doing all right. It’s just…well…it’d be nice to play some classy joints once in a while…”
”Davy, if you think those places are classy, then I truly wonder about your taste.”
The front door opened and Peter and Micky came in. Micky was mid-friendly-jibe when he turned and saw Davy. A moment later, he and Peter were quite literally holding each other up as they howled with laughter.
Davy sighed. “All right, I get the message!” Still grumbling, he headed back into the bedroom to change.
“Oh…oh!” Peter was wiping his eyes. “Oh, that made my day!”
“He looked ridiculous!” Micky howled, holding his side. “Oh, man!”
By now, Mike was laughing too. When they’d all gained some control, he asked, “So – you two are back early! Where are you working now?”
“Vice,” they said in unison. Peter then went on, “And the band will benefit – part of the assignment will give us steady work!”
Mike’s smile grew. “Steady work is always a plus!”
Scott Porter was sitting in a club called the Magic Pear, nursing a drink as he waited for his client to arrive.
When she arrived, she smiled at him. “You Porter?”
“You got the money?”
She slid an envelope to him and he inspected the merchandise. “Yes, good. It’s all here.” He withdrew a small packet of white powder from his vest pocket and handed it to her. “Half of what we agreed on. There’s a note in that bag telling you where the other half is hidden. You don’t need to bring any more money – you’re paid in full for this hit.”
She frowned. “Half? Why not—“
“—The whole thing?” He smiled at her. “I don’t want you OD’ing on me, that’s why. If I lose you, I lose money. Not a good plan for either of us,” he finished lightly.
She laughed and hugged Porter before she departed.
Porter leaned back and shook his head. “Hell of a way to make a living,” he whispered to himself. “But at least it’s better pay than my other job.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the owner putting up a poster of an upcoming act. He wandered over to take a look.
The poster advertised the Monkees – a group that had played there many times before. Porter had seen their posters around town before – they preferred posters with just the group name or some exotic artwork.
This poster, however, was very different. This one had an amateur photograph of the band onstage.
Porter’s eyes narrowed as he looked at the four men. He breathed a curse as he recognised two of them.
Tork. Dolenz. The floating partners he’d worked with on occasion.
What the hell were two cops doing in a rock band?
Peter yawned his way out of the bedroom, tying the sash on his robe as he did so. Last night’s run had lasted till nearly three AM, and with paperwork and the lot, he and Micky hadn’t made it home till four-thirty.
A smile quirked at his lips. The late hours had been more than worth it – they’d broken up one of the drug rings that tended to multiply around the red-light district that had recently grown in Malibu Beach. Finally arresting one of the area’s more abusive pimps had been an unexpected treat.
But watching Micky pull drag detail –that had truly been the icing on the proverbial cake!
“Here.” He found himself walking into a cloud of fragrant steam. Peter blinked and the smile blossomed into a huge, dimpled grin.
“Thanks.” He took a large drink of the warm coffee. “Not that I’m complaining … but what are you doing up this early?”
“Early?” Mike chuckled. “It’s nearly noon.”
Peter’s eyes widened. “Noon?” He glanced at Mike’s hands.
Catching the look, Mike sighed. “Yes, I did my exercises.”
Peter nodded. When Mike was young, he’d had an accident with a firecracker and had damaged both his hands – the right much more severely than the left. He’d taken up guitar to regain dexterity and had been marginally successful.
But as he’d gotten older, the joints had begun to stiffen slightly. The band had reconfigured to accept it. Peter was now the lead guitarist and Davy had become adept on bass. Mike played rhythm guitar now. Whenever keyboards were needed, Mike would resume lead duties.
To keep the joints flexible, Mike did exercises daily and one of the other massaged his hands after. Peter normally did, but since he’d overslept – “Who took care of your hands?”
“Davy did it before he went for his lunch date. Micky’s still out?”
Peter chuckled. “Oh, yeah. We didn’t get in till….till….” he frowned.
“Four-thirty,” Micky groused from the bedroom door. “Please tell me that’s coffee I smell.”
“Ooh, you’re in luck,” Mike teased as he handed over a steaming cup. As Micky sat down and lost himself in the warm liquid, Mike turned to Peter. “Soon as Davy gets back and you two wake up a little more, feel like practicin’? I wanna work more on a few songs before our gig at the Magic Pear.”
Peter could only nod, distracted as he was by another yawn.
Porter ran his hands over his mouth and chin and shook his head as he looked at the records before him.
Although Tork and Dolenz rotated from department to department, it wasn’t for the reasons he’d suspected. He’d expected them to be moved so often because they were loose cannons – mavericks – cowboy cops.
And while those terms had been used, it appeared almost as if they were….benedictions.
No, the reason they were moved so often was because they were good. Their solve rate was through the roof, and every department wanted them!
Which was bad news for Porter. Having them at the Magic Pear – even undercover and unrelated – was just too close.
No, something had to be done.
It was time for Porter to act.
Davy arrived early from his lunch date. The four practiced awhile, then Mike called a halt to it. “Dave, what’s wrong?”
He sighed, and let his fingers play with the bass strings. “It was just a bad date, that’s all. She wanted me to move a little faster than I’m comfortable with.”
Peter nodded and put a hand on his shoulder. “You did the right thing, then.”
Micky nodded. “Yeah, man – you came home. Did what was right for you.”
Davy chuckled tightly. “I thought it was us guys who needed to learn what no means – guess girls need to learn it too!”
Peter sighed. “We’ve seen a lot of bad scenes where the girl wouldn’t take no. You did the best thing you could – got out of it before it got ugly.”
Davy grinned. “Thanks, fellows. Let’s play!”
Four seconds later, the music rolled out into the Pad again.
Porter made the final ‘X’ beside the circled date on the calendar. Tonight, he thought. It’s tonight.
He prepared the equipment he would need and packed it. He got himself a shot of courage and waited.
He had an appointment at the Magic Pear.
The Magic Pear Nightclub – 10 PM.
The first set had gone very well. Peter were dancing, singing along to the older songs, even kissing on the dance floor to the slower romantic songs.
Peter and Micky wore jackets as usual – hiding their weapons. It had taken Mike and Davy several months to adjust to that. Now, however, they wore jackets as well – a show of solidarity with their policemen partners.
During the break, they snacked and joked. Micky and Peter handed photos to the others, so they could help look for the drug pushers Micky and Peter were after.
Finally, the time arrived for the second set to begin. The Monkees filed onstage and bowed. A few moments later, the notes of one of Mike’s latest, faster songs rang out. Mike began the first verse and the audience began to dance.
A man rose from one of the tables and began to make his way to the stage. The music continued, rolling on and on. The man opened his jacket and slid his hand inside.
The suspicious movement drew Peter’s eyes. He broke rhythm and screamed, “LOOK OUT!” as he drove his body toward Davy’s. Mike whirled, heading toward Micky and the drums.
A split-second later, to the accompaniment of horrified screams, Scott Porter sprayed the stage with an entire clip of bullets.
CONTINUE ON TO PART TWO