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Soul Collector Episode 05, a Different Line of Work


DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.


Rethinking Life as a Cop

A week back on the job had Mort thinking he just wasn’t cut out to be a cop anymore. Somehow, his trip to the other side and the no-holds-barred way he’d dealt with the man who’d killed his family changed his perspective on how he was making a living.

“There are too many restrictions on what we can do in trying to bring these guys in,” Mort complained to his partner Don Thornton one day after they had to let a guy go when he was clearly guilty. The District Attorney’s office concluded the police hadn’t produced enough evidence to hold him.

“You know how it is, Mort. He’ll screw up again, and next time we’ll nail him. Rats like him don’t keep escaping the trap forever.”

“Yeah,” Mort said with disgusted. “But how many more people is he gonna hurt with the shit he’s putting out on the street before we can lock him away. And when we do, there will just be another like him to take his place. We need to be going after the big movers, not these punk dealers.”

Don heaved a weary sigh. “There’s too much money at those levels, Mort, you know that. And too much of it winds up in the politicians’ pockets and they lean on the commissioner and the chief to look elsewhere for trouble.”

“I know, but I know it’s not right. It’s just that it gets frustrating sometimes.”

The last straw for Mort came when a warrant he and Don had worked long and hard on to bring in the big boss Pietre had worked for was revoked after a city councilman had a word with the judge who’d issued the warrant.

Enough is Enough

“What do you mean you’re quitting?” the captain said as he leaped from his chair.

“I mean I quit,” Mort said, laying his gun and badge on the captain’s desk. “I can’t do this anymore. We go to all the trouble to get the goods on someone like Arkady, and suddenly the judge changes his mind and revokes the warrant. I’ve had it. We bust our asses out there, and some judge gets a little ka-ching from a City Counselman who’s on Arkady’s payroll and poof, he gets a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.”

“You don’t know that’s what happened. Those are some pretty serious accusations your making, Talley.”

“Hey, I’m just stating my opinion. Captain, it’s been great working for you. You’ve been a stand-up boss. I hope you make Chief someday.”

With that said, Mort turned and walked out of the captain’s office and out of the precinct house. He got in his car and drove to his apartment. Once there, he called Appolus Pizza and ordered a large pepperoni with green peppers and onions for delivery.

“So now what am I going to do?” he asked the view out his back window.

On a building the next block over, he saw a sign for a Bail-Bond Business. Mort took a long look at the sign and smiled.

A Career Change

“What can I do for you?” the man at the counter inside the bail-bonds business office asked when Mort came through the door the morning after he’d quit the police department.

“You need somebody who can run down your skips?” Mort asked.

“I got people for that. What makes you think you can do better than them?”

“Until yesterday I was a cop,” Mort replied. “And I’ve got experience finding people who really don’t want to be found.”

“What kind of experience?”

“Let’s just say that there were some important people in Iraq in the early nineties who didn’t want to be located. No one’s looking for them anymore.”

The bail-bondsman looked hard at Mort. Mort looked back just as hard.

“You gotta get registered with the state. Are you registered?”

“It’s already in the works. I’m putting in for a license as a PI, too. Covering all my bases.”

“Not a bad idea.” The bail-bondsman scratched his chin. “My names Fin, short for Phineas McInty. And you, Mr. Former Cop and Desert Bad Ass?”

“Mort Talley.”

“Well, Mr. Mort Talley, future bail enforcement agent and private investigator, let me tell you how this works. You’ll be an independent contractor. I need you, I call you. You come by the office, and I give you a power of attorney, tell you who, how much, where last seen, and any other particulars you might need to know. You call me daily and let me know how it’s going. When you find him, it’s almost always him, you call in the LEOs, and then when they have him, you call me and let me know that. I’ll handle it from there. You get paid when the perp shows up in court. Any questions?”

“You pretty well covered it. I’ll let you know when the paperwork is done, and I can go to work.”

Fin held out his hand, and Mort took it.


Mort the Bounty Hunter

Mort found being a bail enforcement agent a good fit. He wound up traveling the country and bringing in every kind of skip he could imagine. There was the check bouncing college girl who was his first assignment and who offered him sex if Mort would let her go. Then he brought in a dangerous serial liquor store robber who’d been the only one who had forced Mort to fire his gun. Hearing the gun go off was enough to make the skip soil his pants. Once he believed Mort would really shoot him, the skip gave up.

Then came his greatest challenge. Fin tasked Mort with bringing back a skip wanted on a variety of charges. The guy was a repeat offender but for the first time had used a gun in a crime. The perps name was Cliff Regnar, and Fin told Mort that Cliff should be considered armed and dangerous.

Mort Talley's story continues in Part 6, An Unusual Introduction

© 2019 DW Davis

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