Chapter 6: One-Eyed Jack
November 5, 1984: 1600
Ricardo Tubbs burst into the office, his eyes wild with fury. “He’s been arrested!” he shouted. “The IAD bastards arrested Sonny!”
“What?” several voices called out in unison.
Stan whistled. “What happened?”
Castillo’s door opened and he stepped out to face them. “Inside my office, Detective.”
Rico obeyed numbly.
“It was a set up, Lieutenant. Vincent DeMarco and Al Lombard set him up!”
“From the beginning!” Castillo growled.
Rico took a deep breath. “Okay, okay.” He looked up. “Sonny went to meet up with DeMarco. Said he was gonna make the slime give back the tools and equipment to Barbara Carroll’s husband or else the guy could say goodbye to peace and quiet! Well, it backfired! DeMarco set up another meet and handed Sonny an envelope of money for the tools. IAD was watching and made a big thing about it, like he was accepting a payment, or bribe or something.”
Castillo’s eyebrows rose slightly.
“I know, I know. It looks bad for him. But you don’t know Sonny the way I do. The guy can’t be bought! He was set up, and now, DeMarco’s probably out on the ocean somewhere, laughing it up on Lombard’s precious yacht!”
“Where is Crockett now?”
“They’re bookin’ him.”
Castillo picked up the phone and hurriedly punched in a number.
“Lieutenant Castillo, Vice. You’ve got one of my detectives. Yes. Crockett. I’m sending Detective Tubbs down to collect him. Yeah… I’ll take the responsibility. Thank you.”
The Vice detectives assembled around Crockett’s desk when they heard he was in trouble. They watched solemnly as Rico came back from the booking a short time later with Crockett himself in tow. Sonny nodded solemnly to his co-workers, following Rico into Castillo’s office. Gina, Trudy, Stan, Zito, and several other detectives gathered outside the doorway, listening uncomfortably as IAD Officer Charles Schroeder was doing his best to convince Castillo of Sonny’s guilt.
“Detective Crockett is a ‘One-Eyed Jack’! We only see that side of him that he wants us to see. I feel there’s enough evidence in here to prosecute. He has to appear for a hearing in two days.”
Castillo was carefully looking over the paperwork Schroeder had given him earlier.
“Why all the ‘John Does’ in the subpoena?”
“We prepared it in advance. We’ve known for six months there’s been somebody on DeMarco’s payroll. In exchange for immunity from prosecution on a racketeering charge, he named Crockett.” Schroeder looked over at Crockett accusingly.
Rico sprang into action. “Schroeder! You’re not going to go on the word of some known sleezorama
who’d plea bargain his own grandmother?”
“Enough!” Castillo snapped.
“Barbara Carroll refused to sign a complaint against one of DeMarco’s enforcers after a meeting with Crockett,” Schroeder said haughtily.
Crockett turned to face Schroeder. “What?”
“Less than three hours later, Detective Crockett was observed by myself and two Miami Metro
officers receiving eight thousand dollars from a known racketeer.”
“Lieutenant, James Sonny Crockett is the last cop in Dade County that’s dirty!” Rico shouted.
“You’ve been down here a month, right?” Schroeder asked.
“That hardly qualifies you to be an expert on Detective Crockett.”
“Hey listen, scrod face…”
“Wait a minute!” Crockett interrupted, circling Castillo’s desk and approaching Schroeder. “Look! Lombard’s an artist. He has DeMarco set me up. He gets to keep his organization’s image heavy on the street, gets me off his case and you’re dumb enough to buy the set up of me, give him immunity and blow the entire case we’ve been building against DeMarco!”
“That is the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard!” Schroeder jeered. Sonny looked away in disgust and turned to face Castillo.
“Look, I can get Barbara Carroll up here in twenty minutes and we’ll straighten this whole thing
“No, you’re not!” Castillo growled, glaring up at Crockett.
“Lieutenant, it stinks!” Rico shouted.
Furious, Crockett now stared back at Castillo. The look in his eyes was determined, defiant…
A sudden flash of memory burst like mortar fire around Martin Castillo and he flinched as if he had been hit. The whoosh of helicopter blades deafened him for the moment, while a sensation of heat and heavy humidity washed over him, leaving him suddenly confused and slightly off balance.
“Who the hell are you?” he thought, as he stared back at Crockett, his own eyes narrowing suspiciously.
“Listen,” Sonny was saying to him. “If you think for one minute I’m gonna sit behind a desk while this is happening to me, you’re dreamin’!”
He turned away and he was gone. Everyone watched him go. No one said a word.
Gina tried to follow after him, while others, embarrassed by Sonny’s fall from grace, slipped away to their desks, trying to pretend it had all been a terrible mistake.
Trudy stayed behind after the others left, chewing the inside of her lip and trying desperately to think of something to say in Crockett’s defense. She glanced over at the new boss and realized he was totally unaware of her presence, concentrating instead on reading Crockett’s file while scribbling hastily in the margins of Schroeder’s report. He wrote with broad strokes, the black pen
he used clutched tightly in his hand. His jaw clenched; his eyes flashed while he explored first one set of papers, then the other.
Clearly, the man was upset.
“So… he has a heart after all!”
Trudy let out a long sigh and slipping out of the office, she headed for home, comforted by Castillo’s obvious concern and relieved that things no longer looked so bleak now that Crockett had a powerful ally in his corner.
Martin may have looked in control, but at that moment, he felt as if he had just been punched in the gut.
The ceiling fan above him beat the heavy air like swirling chopper blades, barely managing to cool the feverish sweat on his forehead. Then, at last, his breathing began to return to normal sending the familiar stench of jungle rot retreating back into his nightmares. He let his shoulders slump forward slightly, attempting to ease the tension.
“Who the hell are you?” he muttered finally as he pulled himself together, brusquely shoving Crockett’s arrest report into a manila file.