Twisting Dagger Chapter Nine
     It was almost nine p.m. before Langley completed his meeting.  Paul was exhausted and discouraged.  He'd expected the announcement that the movie was canceled, but he'd hoped Langley would be more assertive.  He walked slowly across the deserted set to Eddie's trailer.  He didn't look forward to seeing Eddie, who had left the meeting without a word and a stormy look on his face.
     Tony Ferrone met him halfway.
     "Have you seen Eddie and Phil?" Tony asked.
     Paul shook his head, in no mood to talk to the Chief of Homicide or anyone else.
     "In the trailer," he said.  "The movie's been canceled.  Eddie left after the announcement."
     He started to pass Captain Ferrone, but Tony stopped him.
     "They're not there," Tony said.  "I've already looked."
     Paul was beginning to sense that the Captain was not happy.  As a matter-of-fact, he sounded as if he might be ready to arrest someone. 
     "He was at the meeting," he said.  "He was so upset that I thought he'd go straight to the trailer."
     "What meeting?" Tony asked.
     "The Producer is here," Paul said.  "He told us the studio has decided to cut their losses and shut down the production.  It's going to mean a big loss financially and a blow to Eddie's ego.  He's never not finished a movie and he has a lot riding on this one."
     Tony grim expression told him something was very wrong.  He began to worry about Eddie.  He glanced over at the trailer and saw there were no lights.
     "Has anyone seen Eddie or Phil?" Tony asked.
     "I don't know," Paul said.  "We can ask."
     With growing trepidation, he accompanied Captain Ferrone on a circuit of each of the trailers.  No one seemed to know where the two men might be.  Tony sent two of his men to check Philip's house.  They soon reported there was no one there either.  Tony pulled his cell phone out and dialed a number, but after a few seconds, closed it again with a scowl.  Paul followed suit and called Eddie's phone, but there was no answer.
     One of the crew members came up to them.
     "Excuse me, but does that detective drive a blue Camero?" he asked.
     "That's right," Tony said.
     "Well, it left right after Langley did," he said.  "Like whoever was in it was following Langley, sort of hanging back."
     Tony growled under his breath and jerked his phone out again.
     "What's Langley driving?" he asked.
     "I think it's a rental," Paul said.  "I'm not sure what."
     Tony quickly made a call dispatching some of his men to go to the car rental agency to find out what Langley had rented.
     "Do you know where Langley is staying?" he asked after make the call.
     "The hotel," Paul said.  "Is something wrong, Captain?"
     Tony held up his hand for Paul to wait until he'd dispatched some men to check if Langley had gone straight to the hotel.  He told them to keep an eye out for the Camero as well. 
     "If Eddie comes back or calls," he told Paul, "let me know asap."
     He was walking toward his car and Paul nearly had to run to keep up with him.
     "What's wrong?" Paul demanded.  "I need to know, Captain.  Is Eddie in some kind of trouble?"
     Tony hesitated before climbing into his car.
     "I hope not," he said.  "But if they're up to what I think they're up to, don't count on it."
     Before Paul could question him further, he was in his car and headed out of the lot, tires squealing.

     A few minutes after he left the set, the radio dispatcher informed Tony that Philip's Camero was seen following a dark blue Taurus down Shipping Lane Highway, headed for the new warehouses at the port.  Tony cursed under his breath, ordered the dispatcher to get some men headed in that direction immediately, and pushed the accelerator to the floor.  Philip and Eddie knew something and it had to do with Langley.  He called his office and told his sergeant to get busy and find out what it was.  He had an idea.  He'd figured out that the problems the movie had been having had to be connected with the hierarchy of the production company.  What, he wasn't yet sure, but it wasn't good and it was potentially dangerous.  If he was lucky, he'd stop Eddie and Philip before they got themselves killed.  If either one of them was injured, he swore he would keep his promise.  Philip had already taken far too many chances.

     Philip stayed well behind the Taurus as he and Eddie followed Langley to the port.  He stopped next to one of the warehouses, out of sight of where Langley stopped his car.  Langley went into one of the largest warehouses, first glancing around as if to assure himself he hadn't been seen.  
     When he was out of sight, Philip and Eddie slipped around to the warehouse, taking care not to make any noise.  Philip motioned for Eddie to stay behind him, and pulled his gun from his holster.  Eddie looked surprised to see the gun, but Philip merely winked and led the way to the warehouse door.  He was surprised to see the door was standing wide open.  He hesitated, listened, looked, then slid into the building.  Inside was enough room to hide an entire ship, but held instead hundreds of stacked wooden crates on either side of an aisle down the middle.
     With Eddie following, Philip moved along the wall to the right, keeping the crates between them and the five men talking  where the crates had been arranged to make a center clearing.  They inched as close as they dared to hear what the men were saying.
     "Alright," Langley said, "It's done.  I've pulled the plug on the movie.  It'll cost more than what we've spent to attempt to start over."
     "And, how did he take it?"  The voice was male, accented, and all business.
     "I don't know," Langley said.  "He left the meeting before I could speak to him."   
     "I suppose Paul will," the other speaker said.
     Eddie tugged on Philip's sleeve.
     "I know that voice," he whispered.
     Philip nodded and motioned for him to be quiet.  That Eddie knew the speaker was not a surprise.  Philip expected the person behind the sabotage was someone Eddie knew, and probably knew well.
     "The FBI will be here in the morning," the speaker said.  "They moved more quickly than I expected.  It doesn't matter.  We're finished here, and so is he.  You may take the equipment in the morning and sell it for what you can get.  The insurance will compensate you and you can take the 40 million and start a new movie."
     Philip had heard enough.  He motioned for Eddie to move back to the wall.  They were nearly there when two men stepped out from behind the crates to block their way.  Both men were Chinese wearing dark pants and shirts,  holding guns trained on their midsections.
     "Throw the gun down, turn around, and go back the way you came," one of the men ordered.
     Philip dropped his gun and kicked it to one side.  He saw Eddie's shoulders tense and steeled himself.  When the men moved toward them, Eddie took a step back, then brought his leg forward in a high kick that caught one of the men squarely in the chest.  The man flew backward, his gun tossed high in the air.  His partner stepped to the side, barely avoiding the back kick aimed at his stomach.  He fired a shot at Eddie's feet.  The shot ricocheted off the concrete floor and into one of the crates.  Philip grabbed Eddie just in time to haul him out of harm's way.
     "Move again, and I'll blow your kneecap off," the man ordered.
     His partner, on his feet again, recovered his gun and Philip's, all the while keeping a wary eye on Eddie and his gun aimed directly at Eddie's chest.  
     Langley and four other men were waiting when Philip and Eddie were shoved into their midst.  The Chinese man standing by Langley, obviously a businessman by his tailored dark blue suit and carefully coiffed hair, had to be the speaker Eddie had recognized.  Langley looked terrified, but the other man remained cool and collected.
     "Well, Eddie," he said.  "Why does it not surprise me to find you here?  I knew you'd not just accept the inevitable."
     "Chau Ling Do," Eddie said, "I always knew you were a snake, but even I never expected you to sink so low.  You threaten my family.  Do you think I just walk away?"
     "With your past reputation, I wouldn't have been surprised," Chau said.
     That hit low and hard.  Eddie made a move at him but was grabbed firmly by the arms and yanked back by Chau's associates.
     Philip stood absolutely still, watching for any breach he could use to get them out of this mess.
     "You haven't cared about anything but yourself for sometime," Chau said.  "You talk well about how much Hong Kong means to you, yet you spend little enough time there, and seem to have set your sights on America.  I thought it was time to remind you who made you."
     Eddie struggled to free himself from the grip of the men holding him.  His rage was visible in his straining taut muscles.
     "How dare you," he said.  "I'm not one of your puppet to manipulate.  What I do is none of your business.  All I do is for Hong Kong."
     His voice was hoarse from emotion and he was barely able to get the words out without spitting.  He stuttered and stumbled over his English in his anger.  Philip wished he would calm down before his English disintegrated altogether.  If they all started speaking Chinese, he would have no idea what was being said.
     "It bring us exposure," Eddie said.  "It bring wider range to work from in industry.  I learn so I can bring what I learn to Hong Kong industry and make it better.  You have no right to tell me what to do.  People like you destroy what others work long and hard to build.  I know what you're doing.  Everybody in Hong Kong know you're involved in piracy."
     "Eddie," Philip said in warning.
     The sneer on Chau's face faded into hate as he moved to stand face-to-face with Eddie. 
      "You've been a thorn in my side ever since you were a good-for-nothing upstart teenager," he said.  "I should've put a stop to you long ago, but you were good for business.  Now, you're a liability.  You know too much."
     His backhanded blow caught Eddie offguard and knocked his head sideways.  A trickle of blood ran from the cut on the side of his mouth.
     "Get rid of these two," Chau ordered.
     "Wait," Langley said, stepping in, "Do you realize what kind of uproar that would cause?"
     Chau turned on him.  The sneer was back.
     "That's your problem," he said.  "If he dies in America, then..."
     He shrugged.  He didn't have to finish the sentence.  All of them were well aware of what would happen.  The death of Hong Kong's favorite son would completely sever the fragile ties between the U.S. and Asian movie industry, possibly worse.
     "I can't let you do that," Langley protested.  "You can't kill these men."
     "No?" Chau asked.
     He reached inside of his jacket and pulled a gun which he pointed at Eddie.  As he fired, Langley jumped between them and took the bullet in his chest.  He fell hard, blood pouring from the wound, staining his shirt front crimson.  He was dead before he hit the floor.
     The two men holding Eddie loosened their grips to allow him to pull them inward and slam them together.  As they fell away and Eddie knelt to check on Langley, Philip threw his elbow back and caught the man behind him hard in the ribs.  The man grunted and doubled over as Philip brought his fist down on his neck and kicked his gun into the depths of the warehouse as he crumbled to the floor.
     On his feet, Eddie shoved the two men who'd been holding him in Chau's direction, warding off any more shots as he whirled a kick at the other two men rushing him.  He caught them under their chins, knocking them to their backs as Chau pushed the first two out of his way and aimed the gun at Eddie.  He grabbed one of the two and slung him back at Chau who had to sidestep to avoid being crashed into.  Chau maneuvered to the side, but was unable to fire the gun.
     Eddie broke away from the men and raced for the far wall, ducking behind the crates.  At the same time, Philip, having freed himself from the men he was fighting, ran for the opposite wall.  Safely behind the crates, he ran in a crouch for the warehouse entrance, hoping that Eddie had done the same.
     "Find them," Chau shouted.  "There's only one exit.  They have nowhere to go."
     Philip leaned against the wall to catch his breath and cursed himself for not being more careful. He flattened his body against the crates and inched toward the warehouse doors.  As Chau had said, that was the only way out.
     When he reached the end of the crates, he peered around the corner.  Six men, all of them armed, already guarded the door.  He pulled his head back, catching a glimpse of Eddie on the far side doing the same.  They had to get out and they had to do it together.  Thinking, he looked up to where the metal support beams of the roof crisscrossed.  The crates reached to within a few feet of the lowest beams.  If they could reach them and climb to the room, there were skylights.  They could break through and would be too high for the bullets to reach if shooting started.  He hoped so anyway.
    The hard part was getting the message of what he intended to do to Eddie.  He peeked around the edge of the crates again and saw Eddie doing the same thing.  Eddie saw him and Philip motioned toward the ceiling.  He pointed to the crates and Eddie nodded his understanding before ducking out of sight.
     Philip heard Chau's men systematically searching the warehouse.  There was only a few minutes to spare.  He braced his back against the crates and walked up the wall to the top.  He did a back flip and came up in a crouch.  A second later, Eddie appeared on the other side.  They hurried to the center  and Philip pointed to the beam just above their heads.  They caught the beam and pulled themselves onto it, using the cross support to stand.  The next beam was three feet above them.
     Eddie cupped his hands and Philip catapulted to the beam.  He reached down and helped Eddie up.  There were four levels between them and the roof, each one farther apart than the first two.  They moved quickly and silently, suing hand signals and expressions to communicate while below, the search grew more intense.
     "They can't have gotten away," Chau shouted.  "There's no other way out.  They're in here.  Find them."
     It was at that moment that Eddie slipped and fell, hitting his ribcage hard on the beam he'd been standing on.  Philip braced himself and grabbed his wrist to keep him from falling off the beam.  Gritting his teeth in an effort not to yell, Eddie let his body stop swinging and reached up his other hand for Philip to pull him up.  One of Chau's men saw the movement.
     "There, up there!"
     He aimed his gun at Eddie, but Chau caught his arm.
     "No, it's better if this looks like an accident."
     Looking around, he saw the control to the sprinkler system on a far wall.  He went to it and pulled down the lever.  The sprinklers were located in a long pipe that ran the length of the warehouse above Eddie and Philip.  Water shot out of the sprinklers with enough force to nearly knock the two men off of their precarious perch.  The pipes quickly became slippery, making holding on difficult.  They were fifteen feet above the crates, with crisscrossing pipes between them and the surface and seven feet to the beam directly below them.  Both men lost their grips and fell.  
     Philip caught the beam on which they'd been standing and held on with all of his strength  Eddie slid down his waist and dangled three feet above the beam.  The water had made each beam treacherous.  If they fell, there was no way they would be able to grab one of the beams and would likely hit several on the way down.
     "Don't let go," Philip said.  
     He felt as if his arms were being pulled from their sockets.  Eddie was unable to speak for the water running into his mouth and nose when he tried to look up.
     "Don't look up," Philip shouted, seeing what happened when Eddie did, and swallowing a mouthful of water himself.
     He felt his grip slipping.  He knew if he let go, if the fall didn't kill them, Chau's men would.
     "I can't hold on," Eddie's strained voice called up to him.  "I'm drowning."
     "Don't let go," Philip ordered.  "Keep your face against me.  Don't look up."
     He coughed and swallowed more water.  He felt as if he was about to drown as well.  The water had thoroughly soaked both of them and he was getting cold.  He attempted to tighten his grip on the beam and nearly lost it altogether.  He felt Eddie slipping and wrapped his legs around him.  He couldn't hear Chau any longer due to the gush of the sprinklers and the water in his ears.  Then suddenly the water stopped and there was dead silence.  A familiar voice called out to them from below.
     "Okay, you two, you can get down from there now."
     "Is he crazy?" Eddie shouted.
     "Tony," Philip called, "Give us a hand.  I'm losing my grip, not to mention my pants."
     He felt Eddie start to shake and knew he was laughing.  He squeezed with his legs and heard a grunt.
     "Hey," he said, "Stop that.  You want us both to fall?"
     Later, after Tony's men had helped them safely to the ground, they were wrapped in blankets inside of an ambulance waiting to take them to the hospital.  Eddie's cheek was bruised and he had a spit lip.  The Paramedics discovered that he also had probably cracked a couple of ribs.  
     Philip had pulled a muscle in his shoulder, but other than a few bruises, was in one piece.  
     Tony came to the door of the ambulance and looked in.  He didn't look pleased.
     "Langley is dead," he said.  "Chau and his goons are on their way to jail in the custody of the FBI.  It appears all of the stolen equipment is here.  After it's inventoried, we'll take Paul a receipt.  It'll have to be held in evidence, but maybe we can hurry things a little."
     He glared at Philip. 
     "I'll have the Camero driven home.  You two are going to the hospital and then, I'm keeping my promise."
     Philip sat up straight.  
     "You can't," he said.
     "Oh yeah?" Tony gave him a nasty grin.  "Watch me, Buddy.  I warned you.  One scratch.  See ya at the hospital."
     He turned and walked away, hands in his pockets, whistling.
     "What does he mean?" Eddie asked.
     "He said if you got even one scratch, he'd throw us both in jail," Philip said.
     "He wouldn't," Eddie said.  "He didn't mean it...did he?"
     Philip looked at him and Eddie had his answer.

     They spent the night in the hospital and were ushered into Tony's office early the next morning.  Eddie sneezed the entire time, which didn't help their situation.  True to his word, Tony officially arrested them for obstruction of justice and let them sit in jail for the rest of the day.  Because of Eddie's cold, he didn't keep them overnight, but gave them a severe talking to before letting them go.
     Back at the apartment, Eddie called his son and was relieved to learn that all was well.  The FBI had been there, but left as soon as Chau and his men were arrested.  
     Eddie was tired and running a fever, which alarmed Paul, who had driven him and Philip to the apartment..  Ellen met them and assured him she was going to stay with them until they were better.  She gave them each a pill and they slept for a straight 48 hours.
  
     A month later the equipment was released to Paul and Tony personally handed over the stolen footage.  Much to Eddie and Paul's relief, they would be able to finish the movie.  
     Six months after that, at the premier, wearing a proud smile, an excited and anxious Eddie greeted Philip, Ellen, Tony, and his wife Nan.  
     The movie was a hit.  The audience gave Eddie and Paul a standing ovation, and after the movie, Eddie took everyone out to dinner.  He talked non-stop about his next project.
     "It will be great," he said.  "I decided to make one of my own.  I gave the idea to my manager and he agrees with me.  It will be about a P.I. and an actor teamed up to solve a case.  What do you think?"
     "Who's playing the P.I.?" Philip asked, supressing a smile in a drink from his wine glass.
     "Oh, I don't know," Eddie said slyly.  "How 'bout you?"






  

    

Comments:
 
kt6550   kt6550 wrote
on 5/30/2009 6:26:43 PM
The entire story - Very nicely done!

shwangltd
Novel / Novella
Mystery
writing shwangltd
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Rating: 9.0/10

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