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Witness Protection, Chapter 1

A new Detective tasked with babysitting a witness finds there's more to the job than he thought!

It was a hot, sticky tenth of July back in '65. I remember the day because I had just made Detective about a month prior and this was my first big case. I say my first big case but in reality, I was just one of many people working on it.

We had been trying to crack this big drug ring that had been plaguing the city of Chicago for several years. We knew they were operating in the city and we knew some of the smaller players - the dealers and pushers. We'd busted a couple of them but only on minor things. We needed to get something big on some of the bigger fish. But we could never get anything solid.

Then one day a couple of weeks prior we got a lead that there was going to be a hit on a rival drug gang. While we weren't able to stop the hit, we did catch a couple of the key members of the gang. We learned that there was a witness to it and so the department picked up this important witness to put them under protection until after the trial.

"Jones, my office!" Captain Harris said. I got up from my desk and walked into his office to see what he wanted. "Shut the door," he said. "Pull up a seat." 

I sat down wondering what he wanted me for. This was the first time I had been in his office since I first got there and I was just hoping I hadn't screwed up!

"As you know the department has a witness to the drug hit that happened on the East Side the other day. The Chief has tasked us with keeping the witness safe until the investigation is completed and the trial is over.

"You are the new guy here, so it's going to fall to you to babysit this witness. Mick or one of the other guys will work your cases for you while you are gone. We are putting you both up at one of our safehouses until the trial date. We are hoping to have the investigation wrapped up and the case ready for the D.A. by the end of the month.

"You won't have any contact with anyone except the department - that means no calling friends or family, no ordering a pizza or anything. If you need something, you call the precinct and we'll see what we can do," he said.

"When do I start? Do I have time to throw some clothes in a suitcase?" I asked.

"I suggest you do that. You will come to the station here tomorrow morning and then we'll take you to the safehouse where you will be staying with the witness," he said.

So that evening when I got home, I packed some clothes and other things I thought I might need. This was my first time in a safe house and I wasn't sure how it all worked, but I was sure I'd be briefed on the way or when I got there. 

I didn't sleep much that night thinking about the next day. I wondered who the witness was and whether they would be any trouble. I had heard from other detectives that babysitting a witness can be a lot of fun, or it can be sheer hell - there was rarely any middle ground! So I was hoping for a good first experience.

I wondered how long I would be locked in the safe house  - I was hoping it wouldn't be too long, as I had some cases I was working on and didn't want to be away from them any longer than I had to be. Plus, I would be going on vacation shortly after this was over and I didn't want it to run into vacation time!

The next day I met the Captain at the station and he drove me to the safe house in an unmarked car. On the way we talked. "Okay Jones, I'm going to drop you off at the safehouse and then go get the witness. Now, there are only three people that know where you will be - you, me, and one of the U.S. Marshalls who will be coming with me to deliver the witness. No one else at the precinct knows where you are, nor will anyone. There is a phone at the house but it can't dial - it is a direct line to my office. If you need anything, just picking up the receiver will call me and I will get it to you," he said.

After a few minutes of driving, we pulled up to the nondescript house at the end of a cul-de-sac off the main road. I looked at him curiously, and he explained that putting a safe house at the end of a cul-de-sac would prevent anyone from doing a drive-by in the event word got out that someone was there. If the house was on a regular street, it would give the shooter an easy escape route.

We parked the car in the attached garage and closed the door so no one would see us unpacking suitcases and get curious. Then we unloaded the car and went inside. Once the Captain helped me get set up and all my bags were inside, he left to go meet with the Marshall to bring the witness over. I set about getting unpacked while waiting for my charge.

It took almost two hours before they returned. With all the drapes pulled closed on the street side, I didn't see them pull up but I heard the garage door open. Then they walked in and I got my first look at the witness I would be spending the next few weeks with. 

The first one through the door was the Captain, that way I would instantly know it was them and not get too jumpy. Then the witness came in, followed by the U.S. Marshall. It was the witness, though, that caught my eye and held my attention.

"This is Miss Garner, she is our key witness in the case against the drug ring. Miss Garner, this is Detective Jones. He is going to be watching over and protecting you, keeping you safe until you can testify in court. You and Detective Jones will be staying here in this safehouse until your day in court and then you will come back here until the verdict is read and the guilty parties are sent off to prison.

Miss Garner was a very attractive twenty-four-year-old woman, about 5'4" tall with reddish-brown armpit-length hair and big brown eyes. From what little I could see of her figure (her long coat prevented any kind of close examination at the moment) she appeared to have a nice build to her - at least all the bumps and bulges seemed to be in the right places, and none of them were overly pronounced!

"After the trial is over, you will go into the Federal Witness Protection Program and get a whole new identity and a new life as we talked about before. You will get a name change, a new home in a new city, and a whole new life. 

"You are luckier than some of the people who have to go through this - you have no family, and few friends that you will miss. Some people who are faced with what you are, decide it isn't worth it and refuse to testify or they take their chances and refuse the W.P.P. I'm glad you decided to help us put these people away. You are helping to make the streets safer by getting this kind of trash off them," the Captain said.

"When I met the woman whose family they killed and got to know her and how she loved them, I knew I had to speak up," she said quietly.

"Well, with your help and your testimony, we will put these people away for a long, long time, I'm sure. Judge Anderson, who will be hearing the case, is tough on drugs and these guys are facing a very long time behind bars, if not the rest of their lives," he said.

"I hope so Captain," she said. She had every right to be skeptical. We had been after this group for several years and they had slipped out of our fingers several times. Once, when the key witness had "mysteriously disappeared"; another time, when the judge hearing the case strangely threw it out on a technicality (we still think he was bought off or threatened if he didn't). But this time we would make sure everything was in order - all our t's were crossed and our i's were dotted.

"Okay, you two, you have everything you need here. There's TV to watch, food in the fridge, and you can call if you need anything else. Get comfortable, you will be in here for at least the rest of the month!" the Captain said. As he and the Marshall started to leave, he called me to the door.

"Be careful, Jones; I didn't want to tell her and get her scared, but these people are not going to take this lightly. Lock this door and don't open it with checking to see who is on the other side first. Don't let anyone in here except for me or without my telling you who should be coming. If you have any kind of problems, call me and I will send help. Also, in the house directly across the cul-de-sac are three U.S. Marshall's - two men and one woman. If anything goes down, they will be here in a flash," he said.

"Don't worry Captain, we'll be careful. You just make sure that Mick doesn't get comfortable at my desk - I'm gonna want that back after this is over!" I said.

Once the Captain and Marshall left, I came back into the living room. "Want something to drink Miss Garner? I think we have soda, water, and coffee," I said.

"I'm afraid I'm going to need something stronger than soda or coffee. My nerves are on the verge of snapping!" she said.

"I think I can scare up something," I said smiling. I went to the cabinet where I had found a couple bottles when I was looking around before she arrived. I poured us both a drink and brought them back to where she was sitting. She stood up as I entered the room and I handed her one of the drinks as she took it though I held on to it a second or two longer.

"Try to relax, Miss Garner. I won't let anything happen to you, I promise," I said, looking her directly in the eyes. She looked up at me, her soft brown eyes darting back and forth. I could see she was confused and scared. I handed her the glass and then held her hand holding it. "I promise," I repeated.

I saw her give me a weak half-smile. "Thank you, Detective," she said softly.

"Kevin," I said. "Since we are going to be in such close quarters we may as well know each other's first names!"

"It's nice to meet you, Kevin. My name is Melissa... but most people call me Missy," she said, with a more assured smile this time.

"Okay then, Missy it is. It's nice to meet you too Missy," I said.

We sat down on the sofa to talk and drink our drinks. As we talked and got to know each other a bit (and as the alcohol started to take effect on her), she began to relax more. We got to know a little about each other. At first, she was a little hesitant about getting too familiar - she was protecting herself by not releasing a lot of information about her personal life. I understood, of course.

But the more she found out about me, the more she learned that I wasn't just doing my job. She learned that I had a very good, very personal, reason for becoming a cop. You see, my father was a cop, as was his father. I am a third generation police officer actually, and my father was killed in the line of duty by a thug during a convenience store robbery. 

He was just about to start his last year of working before retiring with thirty years of service. I was twelve years old at the time and remember the sea of blue at his funeral. We had lost my older brother Brian a couple years prior because a driver, high on weed, was fleeing from the police and smashed into him, pushing his car off an overpass and crushing the roof in when it landed. So with a family history of cops and drugs, it wasn't hard to figure out what my life's plan would be.

I learned that Missy was born and lived within a ten-mile radius of where we were. She had never been outside the Chicago area except once to go to St Louis. Her father came to America in 1924 and settled in New York City first, before moving to Chicago after he married her mother in 1930. She was born eight years later, their second child (her mother's first child died of measles before she was born).

I found out she was a secretary for a bookkeeping firm that had ties with the very drug dealers that were trying to bust. But she was only a secretary - more precisely, the receptionist. She had no idea what went on in the offices and cubicles behind her. That is until one of the regular secretaries got sick and she was called to do some work in the back offices. That's when she learned who she REALLY worked for, and that's when she called the police and came to be here in this safehouse with me.

After a couple of drinks (I only had one - I needed to keep my wits about me), she was getting tired. It had been a long day for both of us so we decided to make an early night of it. It was about 11:00, I guess when we decided to think about going to bed. I showed her where she could sleep - the bedroom at the end of the hallway - and I would take the one closer to the living room. That way anyone trying to get to her would have to get past me. 

I pushed a thumbtack into the ceiling right in front of the door and hung a small cowbell on a string from it. "See now if anyone should try to get in, the door will hit the cowbell and wake me up and I'll be waiting for them," I said. She smiled at my "alarm" and then went back to her room feeling more secure - I hoped - than she had in a while.

The next morning I was awake and had the coffee made before Missy got up. She came into the kitchen still half-asleep and apparently unaware that I was there, drawn only by the smell of fresh coffee. I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking my first cup when she came around the corner.

"Morning, how'd you sleep? I asked her. I must have startled her because she gave a little eek and quickly tucked back around the corner realizing she wasn't "decent".

"I slept... fine," she said peeking her head around the corner to answer my question. She hid the rest of her behind the corner which I thought was quite cute.

"You can come out of there, Missy. We are both adults and I have seen girls before!" I chuckled. She came out slowly, dressed in her pink satin chemise and matching panties. She was blushing just as pink as her outfit, giving me a flustered smile as she sat down.

"Want a cup of coffee?" I asked her.

"Please," she said. I poured her a cup of coffee and brought it to her.

"Here you go. Do you take anything in it?" I asked.

"Cream and sugar if you have it. Thank you," she said. I got the milk and sugar out and let her fix her coffee. "I really should have brought my robe and slippers from the house. Do you think they would mind bringing them to me?" she asked. "It's a little chilly here in the mornings."

"No, they won't mind. Tell you what - we'll make a list of the things you will need and send an officer to bring them to you. One of our female officers, probably, so you won't be embarrassed about having your personal things gone through by a man!" I told her.

"Thank you. You are so considerate!" she said.

I thought we were on a level where I could pay her a compliment without risking a harassment charge, so just as I was about to take a sip of coffee, I said: "Seems a shame though, covering all that up!"

She heard my comment and lifted her eyes, blushing a little bit again. "Thank you," she said, with a grateful smile.

"So what would you like for breakfast?" I asked her.

"Please, Kevin, let me make breakfast! You've done so much for me already. Besides, it will give me something to do to take my mind off all this. You just go sit down and read the paper or watch the news or whatever you men do while us womenfolk are in the kitchen!" she said, smiling.

I went into the living room and tried to find something on the TV to watch while Missy made us breakfast. She popped her head around the corner a couple minutes later "How do you like your eggs?" she asked.

"Sunny side up if that's okay," I said. 

She smiled "That's how I like mine too," she said, "That or poached or scrambled."

A few minutes later she called me into the dining room and I sat down to a very nice breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast, juice, and coffee. "Wow, Missy! I haven't eaten like this outside of a restaurant since I was a kid!" I said.

"Really? Your wife doesn't cook like this at home?" she asked. I thought I caught a little tinge of hopefulness in her voice when she asked me that.

"I'm not married... never have been. I guess I never found the right woman. Plus being a cop's wife isn't an easy thing for most women," I said.

"I can see that. But if you know what they do for a living going in, I don't see a problem - if you love the man," she said. 

"That was my mother's philosophy too. She married my father right out of the academy - he hadn't even gotten his first assignment yet! And she stayed with him throughout his career. It wasn't easy for her at times, I'm sure. But she knew he was going to be a cop and she was proud to be a cop's wife," I said.

"So would you get married... if you found the right woman who could accept you being a cop?" she asked.

"Sure, if I found Miss Right and she was okay with my being a cop. If she supported my work and didn't try to get me to change and do something safer. And if I loved her, sure, why not?" I said.

She seemed satisfied with my answer and got quiet after that, busying herself with clearing the table and doing the dishes...

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © Copyright 2013-2018 by Master_Jonathan
All rights reserved, including all copyrights and all other intellectual property rights in the contents hereof.

The compositions and contents herein are not to be copied, reproduced, printed, published, posted, displayed, incorporated, stored in or scanned into a retrieval system or database, transmitted, broadcast, bartered or sold, in whole or in part without the prior express written permission of the sole author. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited and is an infringement of National and International Copyright laws.

All names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. All characters portrayed in this story are over sixteen (16) years of age.

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