Sins of the Past

By Helen Adams

Moved to Blackraptor November 2009

As a soft rattle sounded right next to his ear, Ezra Standish’s head snapped up from the form he had been working on. His eyes, startled at first, soon gleamed with anticipation as he realized that the sound had come from a video tape that was held in the large hand of a grinning Josiah Sanchez.

“Is that what I think it is?” he asked softly, glancing around to insure that nobody else was listening.

“Sure is. Every single development you missed while undercover this week,” Josiah told him in satisfaction. Raising his eyebrows, he blew out a soft whistle. “You absolutely will not believe what’s been happening this week. The actions of Victoria Andrews alone will be enough to make your head spin.”

Ezra’s green eyes widened a bit. “You don’t mean to tell me… Did she actually go through with it? She accepted Luther’s offer?”

“More than that,” Josiah told him, his voice low.

“Tell me,” Ezra demanded.

“They eloped.”

Ezra shook his head and scoffed, “Not possible.” Then, seeing that the other man was quite serious, he repeated, “Eloped? How could she even have agreed to marry that cretin? He’s been carrying on relations with her sister for the past month! And do not try to tell me that Victoria has been unaware of those assignations. Neither Luther nor Veronica have been at all subtle in their dealings.”

Josiah sat down on the edge of his desk. “No, and if Victoria really fell for that line of bullshit she was getting about how all of his past misdeeds were over now that he had her, then she’s not half as smart as I thought she was.”

“Oh, she is smart,” Ezra countered, “and one of the best undercover agents in the business. Even I rather admire her skill at times, but that’s why this is so unexpected. She’s been making an effort not to allow her work to completely rob her of a personal life, which I can certainly sympathize with, but I felt sure she was far too discerning a person to ever seriously take up with a putrescent scum like Jeremy Luther.”

“If you ask me, she’s setting Luther up for a fall.”

“What makes you think so?” Ezra asked hopefully, planting his elbows on the desk and leaning closer, the better to catch all the nuances of Josiah’s theory.

“Well, you know how the DEA has been investigating Luther over those accusations by his former partner that his company is just a front for importing and selling drugs?”

Ezra looked grim. “Yes, and those drugs are then being filtered down to local area schools, I believe the report said. That unscrupulous worm deserves to roast in hell for some of the things he’s done.”

“I agree,” Josiah said, mouth firming into a hard line for a moment. “Bastard has it coming in spades. The authorities just need proof to back up the charges, and that’s what I think is finally happening.”

Catching his friend’s train of thought, Ezra nodded thoughtfully. “You believe that Victoria has enlisted the aid of her sister Veronica to obtain proof of his guilt. That could very well be. Do you think they’re working with Cortez?”

Biting his lip in thought, Josiah nodded. “Probably. He is the lead on this case and Veronica was told by Cortez that he needed hard evidence before he could do anything to help her.”

“But why would the Andrews twins go to Cortez for help?” Ezra wondered. “There had to be better options. He tried to plant evidence of corruption against Victoria but everyone knows it was just an effort to cover his own worthless backside. The man is dirty, Josiah.”

The older man agreed, “I know it, but I think to them, Luther is the bigger fish. They want him to suffer as much as possible for what he’s done to them. Don’t you remember Vernon?”

“Oh, good Lord, the ladies’ younger brother!”

“Exactly,” he said solemnly. “The younger brother who ended up paralyzed last year after driving his car into a telephone pole while zoned out on some of the dope that dear ol’ Luther so kindly provided as a so-called free sample.”

“As a friend of the family,” Ezra recalled with disgust. “Indeed, I had allowed that very pertinent detail to slip my mind. The poor boy was so badly brain-damaged that he couldn’t recall anything about the events leading up to his injury. Because of his condition, Cortez declined to press charges of possession against the lad, but I think it truly ate at him to be unable to prove that the tragedy had any connection to Luther.”

Scratching his chin, Josiah said grimly, “Those two have been personal enemies for a long time now, but the loss of the guy they thought would be their prime witness against Luther was a total slap in the face for all the DEA boys. Still, think how much worse it must have been for Vernon’s sisters.”

“Horrible,” Ezra agreed. “What I’d really like to know, though, is if either of them believe Luther to be guilty of such heinous actions against a member of their family, why have continued to associate with him for so long without taking any action? Surely there were more acceptable ways to obtain proof of wrongdoing than to sleep with the man! That’s taking the saying, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,’ to a rather extreme degree, don’t you think? And now you say that Victoria has actually married the fiend!”

“I know, I couldn’t believe it either, but these women have been pushed too hard for way too long, and I don’t believe either of them is concerned with rationality. Just revenge. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that they’re working with Cortez, but if there’s really nothing the DEA can do…”

Ezra drew in a quiet gasp as Josiah made a cutting motion across his throat. “They may feel justified in taking matters into their own hands.” Convulsively, his left hand clenched around the tape. “How much of what you’re telling me has been corroborated by what’s on this video?”

“It’s a little sketchier than I’d like right now,” he admitted, “but all the clues are there. I’d bet a pretty penny that the next Uniform to become involved in this case is going to be one of the boys from the Homicide division. We’ll know more after seeing what happens this afternoon, but be sure and watch that first. It could be that I’ve missed something.”

Stroking his fingertips lovingly over the case, Ezra said, “I doubt that, Josiah. With your keen instincts and experience in Criminal Profiling, you usually do call these cases correctly. I believe the only time you’ve been wrong in the last year was when you deduced that Edward was going to take the embezzled bank funds and abscond with them to his former lover Maria’s villa in France.”

“And instead he gave the money to charity and went off to join a monastery.” Josiah shook his head. “I should have seen that one coming.”

Rising from his chair, Ezra safely tucked the video into the inner pocket of his long winter coat. He then patted the glum looking Josiah on one broad shoulder. “Don’t feel discouraged, my friend. No one can be right every time.” Suddenly, he looked a bit worried. “You are taping today’s events, aren’t you? I was so tired last night after the bust that I forgot to reset my video equipment.”

Josiah made a tsking sound. “Ezra, you wound me. When have I ever failed you?” Smiling, he added, “Tell you what. Since today’s Friday, why don’t you go home after work and watch that, then when you’re done you can call me and I’ll bring today’s tape over. I’ll even hold off viewing it until you’ve caught up.”

A sparkle lit Ezra’s eyes. “Quite a generous offer. You have a deal, and as you’re providing the entertainment and I the locality, perhaps you would be amenable to another guest at our viewing party.”

“Who?” he asked curiously.

“I have recently discovered that our own Senorita Recillos is also closely following this saga. I’m willing to lay odds that if I can convince her assistant manager to watch the bar tonight, Inez will be happy to provide us with a platter of her special fully-loaded nachos in exchange for a chance to watch the latest developments on my big screen television set.”

A huge grin lit Josiah’s face. “In that case, the more the merrier.”

“For what?” JD asked interestedly. He, Buck and Vin had just returned from a coffee run at a local pastry shop. Handing Ezra a covered beverage container and tossing Josiah a huge plastic-wrapped blueberry muffin, he added, “We miss out on something?”

“The History Channel is showing a six-hour documentary on the building of the pyramids in Egypt tonight. I understand they’ll be showing how the individual stones are crafted and then giving a real-time demonstration as to how long it would have taken to assemble such architecture without the use of modern construction equipment,” Ezra told him smoothly. “Josiah and another friend are coming over to watch television with me since we’re all interested in the same program.”

A pained expression crossed JD’s face. “Wow, that sounds like, uh…”

“Like you boys both need to get out and find some willing companionship, pronto,” Buck supplied, aghast at the notion of spending Friday night in such a way.

“Not quite my style either,” Vin added, amusement in his voice, “but you two go ahead and enjoy yourselves.”

As the three bemused agents returned to their desks, looking a trifle worried for the mental health of their friends, Josiah whispered, “Should I be concerned about this, Ezra? I don’t think I’ve ever heard you come straight out and lie about this before.”

“I did not utter one untrue word,” Ezra informed him calmly. “Such a documentary has indeed been advertised for tonight, and the three of us are interested in viewing the same program. The fact that it does not happen to be the particular program I mentioned is beside the point.”

Josiah grinned. “Very clever.”

“Thank you,” he said smugly. “Besides, do you really want to tell those three that you’re addicted to a daytime drama called, ‘Sins of the Past’?”

A grimace stole over Josiah’s long face. Standing up and returning to his own desk, he called back over his shoulder. “Remind me to pick up some beer on my way over to your place tonight. Watching people build pyramids sounds like thirsty work.”

Angling a lazy salute his way, Ezra bent back over his task. His fastidious nature would not allow him to give a case report anything less than thorough attention, but maybe if he got it written up quickly enough, he might be allowed to leave a bit early today. Glancing over at the bulging pocket of his coat, Ezra grinned. It seemed that he had a lot to catch up on.

The End



Note: This story is dedicated to Jessie Jane Cheshire, whose question: “What TV program would Ezra unwind with after an assignment?” bred this silly little plot bunny.