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Chapter Two: "Zone Defense"
The Friday before Smith's funeral brought with it Detective Joe Lopez and Sergeant of Detectives Sam Carrasco of the San Diego city force. San Diego investigators had also found themselves wading through the forensic pea soup in the wake of the original 11 October stripper murders. They also had the pleasure of being made privy to the unusual and ethereal nature of the monster moon dogs' good-witch counterparts after Veronica and Becca Roller had paid them a surprise visit in San Diego on their way from Phoenix to Tacoma. Arguably, the entire string of events might have been triggered by the original incident involving the death of Jessica Roller of the Phoenix Bloody Roller derby squad at the San Diego roadhouse. Her surviving sisters certainly seemed to think it was important enough to reciprocate a visit to downtown San Diego.
Becca and Veronica Roller had spent most of Wednesday through Friday training with, sleeping with and just generally hanging out with their soul sisters, the Davy Jones Lickers derby squad of Tacoma, and mostly Sandy and Kitty Licker. This was their way of planning their attack on their far baser counterparts. They didn't necessarily need to speak verbally to communicate among one another about what they were going to have to do to get the extermination job done, they had a subtler unspoken moxie for that task. So in their frolicking about in the last few days there was constant unspoken planning and preparation occurring.
As much as circumstances allowed they would accomplish their work of eliminating the dark furries by a piecemeal opportunistic method. By stealthy stings one or a few at a time they would conveniently pick them off until they were all either dead or permanently reverted to the sewers. To avoid any dicey melees their dark half would be eliminated when they strayed alone or in couples or small groups — not out in the open air of public, if at all possible. The moon dogs operated in small batches, but it would be possible bag a full den gathering of them if such a ripe opportunity availed itself. The dark furries lived communally but hunted alone or in small groups except for particularly organized forays, the formation of which the subtler sisters would easily be able to sense on the prevailing winds. Anyway, it was more or less a matter of sniffing their quarry out, and anticipating their movement in real time. Nobody said it out loud but it was obvious to the light ladies that it was due time to begin their hunt. Lopez and Carrasco showed up at the state police office in Tacoma at about lunchtime on Friday. They stopped at the diner next to the station for some tea and spaghetti and burgers before they went to confab with the Rollers and the Lickers. During lunch they compared notes about their experiences in finding out about their enchanting experiences with the evil wolflady's better halves. “They have some kind of plan by which to hunt down and eliminate the monsters,” Thompson said. “I don't exactly know what our role might be in assisting them if it is anything other than staying out of their way. Our main role as law enforcement is to provide them with a hunting ground in which they can do their job unfettered.” Everyone fiddled with their food and processed their prognosis. “Before we get after it, take us to the coroner and show us what the bad half looks like,” Lopez said.
“Some of them decay, some of them do not. All of the sharks have turned to sand,” Coroner Dixie Thompson explained to Carrasco and Lopez, for what seemed to her like the 100th time she had told the weird, entropic, and ever-lengthening story. “Magic shark dust. Anyway, we have not had any of our wolfwomen cadavers disintegrate, but some of our colleagues, e.g. the Thurston County gang down in Olympia, have had their wolfwomen carcasses decaying despite being shoved full of embalming cocktails.”
She showed them her ex-husband's demised suspects, Louis Ho and Keri Anders, who were killed during a three-way sex act with a werewolf which had previously been a dead hooker who Ho and Anders had initially been suspected of murdering. She showed them the late convenience store clerk Louis Xiang and the monsters who had died with him. She showed them the dust that had once been the land-going sharks now known to sometimes accompany the furry monsters in their dirty work. Early that evening, Carrasco, Lopez, and Thompson drove over to Sandy and Kitty Lickers' apartment. The investigators were plainly giddy, almost like schoolboys, in anticipation of seeing the mysterious and sexy, deity-like, walking tarot deck who they once had thought to be just regular women — or rather, who until very recently were just regular women. The door to Sandy's apartment was already open by several inches when Thompson knocked, and they heard a woman's voice sing out, “come on in guys.” Veronica and Becca were half asleep in their underwear, tangled in blankets on one of the den couches — women after his own habits, Thompson thought. But they were of course far prettier than any of their detective friends. The shower running was audible from the bedroom, out of which walked Kitty as the boys came in. She waved them toward the couch, and brought them all piping hot coffee in flesh-colored, breast-shaped earthenware mugs. “Nice ceramics, ma'am,” Carrasco interjected, peering through his mustache at the black toddy. While their host was up and at it, the semi-snoozing Rollers ordered more coffee also, which Kitty happily indulged before she joined the crowded couch. Shortly, they heard the shower stop and about two minutes later Sandy emerged neat as a pin and clean as a whistle in jeans and a t-shirt. She was all cotton. “Hello boys!” she smiled, sitting down by Veronica. “Ready to go hunting tonight?” Carrasco and Lopez sipped their coffee, and from time to time they were also politely drinking up the fleshy and abundant view of the Rollers. “We will need your passive assistance in the following sense,” Sandy continued. “Insofar as you're granting us the flexibility we need to operate in public right-of-way. We will be hunting them by instinct. By the wind. You can travel with us, negotiating us around any unexpected roadblocks, acting as our attachés, allowing us to move about unobstructed.” Lopez and Carrasco, at this point, had to rely more on sheer faith in entrusting such a significant degree of confidence and authority in a bunch of strange and dubious women. But they were inclined to play ball, because they had already heard plenty of eyewitness accounts from well-regarded sources, that supported giving the benefit of the doubt to the better half of the phenomena. Thompson (who was sleeping with at least one of them, Carrasco thought to himself), was even quicker to just say hell yes, because he had been in a front row seat of this fiasco for several weeks now, moreover, having just seen Detective Smith eviscerated by one.
Thompson had brought along a handful of two-way hand-held radios for Becca, Veronica, Sandy, and Kitty, not that the girls needed them to communicate, not among themselves anyway. About 9 o'clock, they headed out to the parking lot of the Lickers' apartment. They split up. Lopez went with Sandy in her Bug; Kitty rode in Thompson's unmarked sedan; Becca and Carrasco took to Carrasco's airport rental, a khaki sports-utility vehicle. Veronica rode by herself on Kitty's motorcycle.
The first radio traffic after the crew set off came from Veronica.
"Even though we're moving in separate vehicles we should generally remain in a caravan or group-cluster progression until such time that it may be necessary for us to split off. When we do break up, we must return A.S.A.P. to the group. At all times we’ll remain in either wind or radio contact."
Kitty keyed her radio, "We got it, but first things first. Let's go grab a taco." Which they all did, at the next taco stand they saw, where they were served by a parking-lot waitress on roller skates. Only then, post-tacos, did it become truly time to get down to business.