Precinct: Issue Ten
of the time he's been called the Archer. If this
were the old West he might very well be The Rifleman,
and back when Cro Magnon was deciding whether
to eat or mate with Neanderthal, they named him
the Sling, or The Spear. He can use any, and I
do mean any weapon with a degree of almost supernatural
proficiency but for some reason he is fond of
referring to himself as The Archer. Two hundred
years ago it took the combined efforts of several
very talented men and women to imprison him, and
several months back just one super-sized earthmover
to break the seals of his geol. The proprietors
of that shady body-art emporium did a very bad
thing in stealing certain artifacts from the gaping
hole in front of City Hall, John, and for that
transgression they were murdered. Killed by his
thralls for daring to disturb what was precious
to their insane master. Boyd was unfortunate enough
to have stumbled upon the slaughter and for that
he was done away with. They would have killed
him outright or done worse had they not sensed
my reawakening and fled to tell their lord of
my homecoming, but I wasn't really back, John,
not all the way at least, and he thought to finish
that grisly deed before I could lend a hand to
Vic paused to swallow a small sip of water and
I took a quick glance over at Flo to be sure she
hadn't decided to shoot him again. It was his
decision to tell her everything. That's after
she impressed him with her spunk back on the roof
with the pigeon guy and the Sasquatch, and only
Vic would call someone who'd taken three quick
caps at him spunky. Well, maybe Boyd would have
too, and that's something that was beginning to
dawn on me
the personality connection between
my old partner and his old partner.
"And the feeling that came over Johnny right
before the door opened, that was because of what
what did you call it, the Lingle
the Lingle was doing to him?" Flo asked as
calm as can be, and I was glad to spare Mickey's
coffeehouse the drama.
"Precisely. Oh it was clothed to resemble
a man but make no mistake about it Ms Ryerson,
such a thrall is far from human and has many weapons
at its disposal. Confusion, desire, fears, hatred,
all these emotions and more are part of its arsenal."
"And you tossed it away like a sack of dirty
laundry. Forget that the thing was some kind of
super hypnotist or whatever, it was Shaquille
O'Neal's ugly big brother so what's up with that?"
She wanted to know.
"If you'd be so kind as to allow an elderly
gentleman some secrets, at least for a time, I'll
answer by saying that I've had some experience
with such creatures. I realize that this far from
sates your appetite for the truth, detective,
but please believe that I am one of the good guys."
Interesting thing about women; not that I'm any
expert but once they decide to believe you, they
really believe you and I could tell that Flo was
taking it all in and accepting it as gospel. Suspicious
cop or not, she was letting her instinct guide
her along and letting Vic come over to our side.
"Well we cant stay here all day, Johnny."
She said. "The uniforms will only hang around
for just so long while we're supposedly canvassing
the neighborhood for witnesses, and the ME's gonna
want the okay to move Mr. Ozmand's body. And listen,
Mr. Tepecio, even if I do believe that you're
as pure as the driven snow, there's a murderer
out there, a murderer you claim to know and I
want this bastard before he kills someone else
so we're going to meet again and very soon."
Just like that. It had taken me weeks to accept
the fact that things were going bump in the Manhattan
night, and Flo had shifted gears from normalville
to spookcity in such a smooth transition I really
had to admire her guts and intuition.
"I agree." Vic answered. "It is
obvious that the late Mr. Ozmand had indeed been
witness to something that necessitated his demise
and we should follow this lead before the trail
"But won't they stop whatever they were
doing now that the heats on?" I asked. "This
Archer guy can't be stupid enough to go back to
that rooftop after today."
"Intelligence or the lack thereof has nothing
to do with these events, John. I've the feeling
that this particular piece of real estate is somehow
integral to his plans and it might very well be
that he cannot move to use another area so quickly.
Oh to be sure, they'll exert a greater degree
of caution but for the time being they need to
use that roof."
"So we might be able to catch this Archer
popping up again soon?" Flo asked.
"No, not really." Vic answered. "The
Archer hasn't fully recovered, detective. Not
that he'll remain veiled for very long, and the
evil work has been done in his name, but it is
too early in the game for him to make an appearance."
"But I thought you said that the tattoo
parlor creeps dug him up
" She began.
"They ventured past the damaged seal of
his prison." Vic interrupted. "Since
that time his servants have been struggling to
free him, but he remains entombed."
"Then who's doing all the killing?"
This was starting to confuse me again.
"My guess would be that it is the work of
his most powerful thrall, John. One who is striving
mightily to oblige the final sacrifices that will
free his master."
"Then the Slasher is not the big man himself?"
"No, Ms. Ryerson, far from it. Your Slasher
is powerful but hardly in the same class as his
overseer. We destroy the underling and perhaps,
just perhaps, we may venture into the demesne
of this unspeakable evil and stand a chance to
survive before the Archer regains his full measure
* * *
We offered to drop Vic off, hell, Flo would've
taken him all the way to Staten Island just to
keep him talking, but he probably sensed that
and said he'd make it home on his own. The Doc
on the roof wasn't thrilled with us being away
for so long, but we smoothed his ruffled feathers
and told the uniforms to stay awake and watch
for the CSI unit that still hadn't appeared. Not
that they'd find anything if Vic was telling us
the whole story.
"So how long were you going to hide your
interesting friends, huh Johnny?" Flo asked
as we headed back to the house.
"Cut me some slack, okay." I told her.
"We've been partners for all of two hours
so don't think I'm a one-way street, and c'mon,
how many people would believe something like that
"I guess." She said, her voice sounding
far away in whatever place she went to digest
stories of the impossible kind. "So where
"Well first off let's
" I began,
then froze as a bolt of remembrance jolted me
back to the reason I thought heading this far
downtown might be a good idea.
"You like Chinese?" I asked.
"Who doesn't like Chinese, but isn't it
a little early for lunch?"
"Something I almost forgot." I told
her as I made a sweeping u-turn to head us in
the right direction. "Since you don't think
all of this is crazy we might as well scope out
some of the Chinese restaurants in the area. Let's
just say an old friend suggested it might be a
"Never said it wasn't crazy, Johnny, and
what exactly are we looking for?"
"I honestly don't know, not yet. But a reliable
source says that the place with the good duck
is a place I should visit."
"Okay, why not." She sighed as grabbed
the mike to call in our location. "I'll have
the desk tell the Lieutenant that one of your
PI's dropped a dime about the DOA on the roof
but this better be good
* * *
"Yes, Mr. Boyd was here all the time, that's
why we name the chicken after him."
Flo and I had barely parked the car on the fringes
of Chinatown when she spotted the sign in the
front window of the Happy Family restaurant. It
advertised the specials of the day and next to
last on the list was General Tso's Duck ala Castanet.
"And what's so special about the way he
liked his bird?" Flo asked the smiling old
waiter who had stopped to deposit two surprisingly
clean glasses of water at our table.
"Very very hot, lady, the cook he groan
whenever Mr. Boyd come in. Habenero peppers only
for Mr. Boyd and the cook eyes water all night.
You friends of Mr. Boyd? Such a shame what happened
to him, very good customer and we keep his special
to honor his memory."
"Yes we were good friends." I answered.
"He told me to check the place out when I
got a chance. Say by the way, do you remember
the last time Detective Castanet ate here?"
"Oh, maybe one month, maybe little more,
he was in so often it is hard to remember. You
Flo and I said that we'd just be having some
tea with a few egg rolls and the waiter never
dropped an inch of his smile as he scurried away.
The restaurant was cozy inside and I figured that
the food must be top notch if Boyd was a regular.
"So are you going to tell me if this is
a coincidence or not?" Flo asked as soon
as the waiter was out of earshot.
"Okay I'll tell you but you gotta promise
me that you'll take this all in with an open mind."
I whispered back.
She agreed, and I started talking. I told her
about the times I thought Boyd had visited me
her the short end of the tale and ended it with
seeing his reflection in the storefront window
after leaving the crime scene in Queens.
"I've never seen or heard a ghost, Johnny,
but there are a lot of people who say they have,
so I won't call you crazy. Especially not after
what happened to us today, and after meeting your
I still don't know what made me
shoot at him like that and I swear I couldn't
miss at that range
but why would Boyd send
you to sample some blazing hot duck in Chinatown?"
It was still too early for a noisy lunch crowd,
so when we heard the resounding crash from the
kitchen it made us both jump. Not that its all
that unusual for a waiter or a cook to drop a
plate but this sounded like someone had tossed
one of the stoves through a wall. We were up in
a flash, badges out and guns drawn, but I for
one was starting to feel a little silly when we
stationed ourselves outside the swinging door
to the kitchen and nothing else happened.
"This is really going to look foolish when
the old man comes back in and we scare him half
" Flo began, but the scream
cut her off. I led the way through the door and
was confronted with a scene that would have been
comical, something out of an old silent-film like
the kind I liked to catch at the old Loew's on
86th Street. The elderly waiter and an even older
cook were swinging what looked to be meat cleavers
at a small, funny looking man in a green floppy
hat, and the shouting wasn't coming from them
but from him.
He was lunging at them with a wicked looking
knife of his own when Flo shouted for him to freeze
but a flash of insight made me put out a hand
to stop her from firing.
"Bullets don't work on these people."
I shouted. "He's bleeding so grab a knife."
Maybe I've mentioned that Flo was a quick study
but it bears repeating. She didn't pause for an
instant, just picked up a carving blade from one
of the tables and beat me to him. He spun, faster
than a man should have been able to move, and
was almost upon her when I tossed a blade of my
own at him. Of course it didn't stick in, but
it threw him off balance and both restaurant workers
pounced like cats on a stricken mouse.
"The Master will avenge me!" He shouted,
and broke free of the mêlée and ran
for where one of the stoves used to be before
something pushed it away from the wall. I figured
we'd have him for sure, the small opening that
feed in the gas pipe wasn't big enough for a decent
sized ferret to squeeze through, but he
"Johnny, that isn't possible, it isn't
No, it wasn't. Right before he hit the opening
all I can say is that he shrunk. He didn't
collapse and wriggle through, he shriveled in
size and dove into the hole.
"You wreck kitchen, next time we kill you!"
The old cook shouldered us aside and shouted into
the darkness. The rest of the expletives were
in Cantonese, but they didn't sound like ya'll
come back now, ya hear.
[ END ]
©2002 Bob Yosco