Strange Bedfellows - Chapter 1

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Chapter One – The Can

Welcome readers. This is another story featuring Detective Penelope Bishop who we have met before in my stories: Cop Town Girl, Sleeping Beauties, A Dish Best Served Cold and All The Pretty Girls. Penelope is joined by Jennifer Jones, the heroine of my story Click Bait. These two gorgeous, hard-headed, trans-women are working on different sides of the law trying to solve a terrible crime and a criminal conspiracy. I’m sure they are going to have their ups and downs.

Michele Nylons

January 2022

Penelope Bishop could smell the shipping container long before she and Silvia Bickle got anywhere near it. The container sat in a desert arroyo beside a gravel road. It was banged up and looked like it had toppled off a truck and had just been abandoned.

“Two vaqueros found it and the rancher called it in. Nobody has opened it and you can guess why,” Penelope said to Silvia as they approached the container with handkerchiefs covering their mouths and noses.

Even though Penelope had doused her kerchief with her favourite Dior Poison perfume it couldn’t stop the stench of decomposing flesh from invading her olfactory senses. It smelled sickly sweet and rancid at the same time. Cloying was a word that came to mind.

“You know that it’s not going to be cattle carcasses inside that can don’t you?” Silvia said through her mouth covering.

“Why haven’t they just declared it a bio hazard and sent in a hazmat team?”

“Because somebody suspects that a crime had been committed. That is not a refrigerated container and you can guess as well I can what we’re going to find. The good news is that if we find what I suspect we are going to find, we can declare it a crime scene and hand it over to the FBI and get the fuck out of Dodge,” Penelope replied.

“You’re mixing your metaphors or whatever,” Silvia said as they stopped next to container.

“Technically it’s a cognitive glitch but that doesn’t matter; look at that,” Penelope pointed to a 36-by-24-inch door cut in the side of the container sealed with a padlock.

Penelope was dressed in black leggings, boots, a flannel shirt, fur-lined denim coat and a Stetson. Her sidearm was holstered on her hip and she carried a black ripstop nylon tool bag. Silvia was dressed in jeans, boots a Carhartt coat and a watch-cap. Her firearm was in a shoulder rig.

It was cold in the desert in January this early in the morning.

Both women usually wore skirt-suits or pantsuits to work because they worked for the City Balwyn Police Department’s Special task force operating mostly around the city and suburbs of Balwyn. Balwyn’s Chief of Detectives Gary Rasmussen had tried to pass the shipping container case onto the Texas Rangers or the Department of Public Safety CID but no one wanted to touch it until it was confirmed that a crime had actually been committed and as the container had been dumped on the very edge of Balwyn PD’s jurisdiction, Penelope and Silvia and been handed the shit sandwich.

Penelope took a camera from the tool bag and took pictures of the locked doors on the front of the container and the door cut in the side. Typically shipping containers are fitted with lock boxes designed to tightly wrap the padlock. This minimises access from bolt cutters to reduce the risk of theft and break-ins. Lock boxes are specially made with thick gauge solid steel, making them extremely strong and tamper proof.

This container had no such device. It was fitted with two ordinary looking heavy-duty padlocks fitted to the steel bars that incorporated a cam-lock system to keep doors fastened shut. The cam-locks tightly secured the doors in place. Each of the two doors had two handles that allowed one person to open the doors as well as lock them in place. Of course it was impossible for anyone inside the container to open the doors.

If there was anyone inside the container they had no way of getting out because the small door cut into the side of the container was also padlocked

Penelope struggled with the bolt cutters but eventually cut off the padlocks fitted to the front doors.

“Ready,” she signalled to Silvia.

Silvia nodded. Both women had removed their kerchiefs from their faces and the stench was almost overpowering.

“One, two, three!” Penelope called and the women swung off the steel bars and worked the cam-locks to open the doors.

They pulled the doors open wide and stood in front of the container peering into the shadows. Penelope took a flashlight from the tool bag and trained it inside the container.

“My god!” Sylvia sobbed.

Penelope stood there speechless, quietly counting the number of bodies lying on top of the ratty suitcases and plastic bags full of belongings. There were sixteen of them.

Sixteen young women.

Despite the early onset of decomposition Penelope could see that the women were all young and all white and all dead.

Penelope went back to the 4WD cruiser they had commandeered from the motor pool and fired up the satellite phone and got a secure direct line to Gary Rasmussen and told him what they had found.

“Fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck!” he slammed his fist on the desk.

“You and Bickle secure the scene. I’m passing this on to the DPS, the FBI, or anyone but us. We are not equipped to deal with this shit!” Gary sighed.

“I’ll get back to you soon. Don’t touch anything, leave it to the Staties or the Feds,” Gary sniped.

“I’m a long time out of academy Gary. I know what the fuck to do,” Penelope sniped right back and hung up.

Silvia was standing in front to the can, her hands by her side, the stench forgotten. Tears streamed down her face. Penelope walked up beside her and put her arm around her friend and they both cried silently and prayed for the souls of the sixteen dead girls.

*****

Three days later Penelope Bishop entered the conference room at Balwyn Police Plaza. She was wearing a charcoal skirt-suit with a crisp white blouse and heels. Despite her signature heavy makeup she looked strained. Her weight had fluctuated over the years and she had battled with the booze on and off but she had been sober for a while now. She was far from skinny but she carried her weight well and was mostly lean except for her bosom and buttocks, both of which had had work done on them over the years. She wore her hair down and despite having ticked over forty years of age she still turned heads with her long legs, blonde hair and big green eyes.

Sitting at the head of the conference table was Gary Rasmussen and arranged around the table were four other men. Standing behind one of the men was a young woman. The woman piqued Penelope’s interest because she looked just like Penelope did when she was younger but her build was diminutive.

The woman appeared to be mid-twenties with striking glacial-green eyes and coiffed, cherry-red hair with copper highlights. She stood just about five feet tall and weighed around ninety pounds with a school-girl body shape with narrow shoulders and hips. She was dressed in a black power suit, heels, and nylons and had killer legs.

The man who was seated at the table behind whom she was standing was just as interesting.

He had remarkable blue eyes set in dark sockets, a long elegant nose, chiselled cheekbones and a narrow chin. His skin was dark and tanned and he sported a well-manicured black beard; his hair was long, thick, black and lustrous. His frame was well muscled. Penelope could smell his cologne from across the room. It was exotic and pungent; his full lips were parted in a smile that displayed perfectly white teeth. Every part of his exposed skin except for his face was heavily tattooed.

The man seemed vaguely familiar.

Penelope knew the man sitting beside the tattooed man from the FBI Field Office in Austin. Special Agent Tim Morrow had replaced Special Agent Bradley Wilson who had been Penelope’s second husband. Tim wasn’t as smart as Bradley but he was a good officer of the law. Sitting beside Tim was another big man in a suit who looked trim and muscled with a flat-top haircut and trimmed moustache that just screamed law enforcement and finally beside him was an older man with trimmed grey hair, wearing expensive reading glasses and a three-thousand dollar suit. He exuded authority.

Penelope could almost taste the testosterone in the room.

It was obvious that the big man with the grey hair was in charge despite Gary Rasmussen sitting at the head of the table inside his own Police Department building.

“Take a seat Lieutenant Bishop so we can get started. Around the room please,” the grey haired man kicked things off.

Gary Rasmussen introduced himself followed by Penelope, then Tim Morrow. Flat-top introduced himself as Special Agent Dan Murphy of the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division. The tattooed man and the woman standing behind him said nothing.

“I’m Assistant Director Mike McConnell and sitting beside me is Mister Dmitriy Tanas Yakovich,” the grey-haired suit introduced himself.

“You’ve got to be shitting me! What the fuck is he doing here?” Dan Murphy pushed back his chair.

Tim Morrow bristled but remained silent and Gary Rasmussen just shook his head.

“I know… I know but strange times calls for strange bedfellows,” Mike McConnell made a palm-down calming gesture.

“First off some facts please Special Agent Morrow,” Mike turned to Tim who opened a thick file in front of him.

“The container opened by Lieutenant Bishop out in desert to the north of here began its journey in La Havre France and was unloaded in Altamira, a port city on the Gulf of Mexico. Official records then become a little hazy but we know that the truck carrying the can crossed the border into Brownsville Texas at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection station Los Indios Free Trade Bridge,” Tim began.

“Tracking on the can was lost until it was found abandoned beside a dirt road by the two hired vaqueros looking for strays from a nearby ranch. The unnamed dirt road winds through the Chihuahuan Desert and joins Route 87 south east of San Angelo which is where we suspect the truck would have continued its journey using the national highway system.”

“We have been unable to determine the container's final destination as the shipping records have been tampered with. What we do know is that whoever is behind this operation is organised and professional,” Tim read from his folder.

“Not organised and professional enough to look after the sixteen young women trapped in the container,” Penelope interjected bitterly.

Mike McConnell raised his eyebrows at Bishop and it was enough to silence her.

“Go on Morrow,” he said.

“We haven’t identified all of the young women found in the container. Of the few we have identified, their ages range from eighteen to twenty five. They all originated in the Slavic States. Interpol has helped out. It appears that they were promised domestic work here in the US provided they were willing to enter as illegals. There is no doubt that once they were in the can that they were being trafficked as sex workers,” Tim continued.

“Several of the girls displayed evidence of sexual assault trauma and their passports and whatever documentation they might have had with them must have been confiscated by the traffickers as it wasn’t found at the scene.”

“The container was shipped on the MV Arno Starlight, registered in Majuro; which means nothing because The Republic of the Marshall Islands is just a flag of convenience. The shipping company claims the can was legitimate cargo and they have the paperwork to prove it. The inventory is listed at antique furniture.”

“The voyage took twenty five days and the can was better equipped than many of the earlier soft-top containers used by people smuggles, with electric lights and fans hooked to car batteries as well as preserved produce, bottled water, canned juice and four 30-gallon waste receptacles.”

“The 36-by-24-inch door that was cut into the side of the container and then hinged on the inside was designed to allow access and egress during the voyage and as a means of escape if necessary. The cracks were concealed with an epoxy-type substance and the door was painted to match the container’s exterior. Four deckhands on the MV Arno Starlight found the access panel and helped themselves to the girls inside and put the lock on the door. The Mexican Federal Police currently has the deckhands incarcerated pending charges once their DNA is matched to girls’ bodies,” Tim Morrow closed his file.

The room was silent for beat.

“How did they breathe?” Penelope asked.

“In fact, since the metal boxes aren’t air-tight, enough air seeps in through the doors to allow people inside to breathe, though the stench from human waste, spoiling food and unwashed bodies in almost-unbearably tight quarters is by all accounts overwhelming,” Tim replied.

“No shit! Well how did they die?” Penelope continued.

“It looks like the girls arrived safely in the USA, except for having to endure what they endured during the voyage of course. What happened next was simply tragic. It looks like the can simply fell off the truck on the shitty road and rolled down into the arroyo. Shipping containers are secured to a truck using four ISO twistlocks located one on each corner. The driver locks the can to the truck or trailer's flat deck or chassis. In this case the truck was likely not fitted with the twistlock system or the driver didn’t lock them,” Tim explained.

“Some of the girls died as a result of the impact and the rest died of exposure. The container was an oven during the day and a freezer at night,” Tim shook his head.

“You mean the people smugglers just left them there! They made no attempt to free the women trapped inside!” Penelope was incredulous.

“Ok that’s enough background,” Mike McConnell interjected.

“The United States Attorney General has directed that this case is to be handled by a multi-agency task force. Special Agent Tim Morrow from the FBI, Special Agent Dan Murphy from the Texas DPS CID and your team from the City of Balwyn Police Department’s Special Task Force,” Mike pointed at Gary Rasmussen.

“Wait? Why are we involved? Surely the Feds and the Staties will take it from here?” Penelope interjected again and Gary gave her a withering look.

“On the contrary Lieutenant Bishop. The AG had read all about your illustrious feats of law enforcement and daring do and has appointed you to lead this investigation,” Mike said smarmily.

“He likes the idea of a Federal task force being led by local law enforcement,” Mike smiled.

“The people like to see small Government taking the lead over big Government; it’s an election year,” the smile became a grin.

Penelope knew that she and Gary were being handed a shit sandwich despite it being coated with honey. If the investigation turned to shit Balwyn PD would carry the can. If the investigation was successful it was guaranteed that the Feds and Staties would take the glory.

“Ok. Happy with that I suppose but I still wanna know what that murdering fuck is doing here?” Dan Murphy pointed an accusing finger at Dmitriy Yakovich.

“As I said: strange times calls for strange bedfellows. As most of you know Mister Yakovich has indictments pending in the Federal Courts for people smuggling and other RICO predicates. However these indictments have yet to be proved in a court of law and we are long way from doing so. As an act of contrition Mister Yakovich has offered his services to assist with the investigation. Without of course admitting to any of the allegations, Mister Yakovich admits that some of his business partners may have extensive knowledge of how people traffickers work,” the sourness in Mike McConnell’s voice was evident.

“I personally do not engage in such sordid activities. But if I did… and I emphasise… IF I did, it would not be carried out in such barbaric ways,” Dmitriy Yakovich said quietly.

“Let’s call Mister Yakovich’s support to the Task Force… a Bureau Service shall we?” Mike said bitterly.

“If I’m heading up this task force I don’t want some Russian Mafia goon working with me,” Penelope spat.

“On the contrary Lieutenant Bishop, I’m Ukrainian by birth but an American citizen and I will not be working with you. I am loaning you my most important asset. My personal assistant and most trusted business confidante, Ms Jennifer Jones,” Dmitriy reached behind and patted Jennifer’s hand which rested on the back of his chair.

Penelope looked nonplussed.

“Meeting adjourned ladies and gentlemen. I’ll leave it to Gary to get the task force up and running and be aware that you have the full might and resources of Attorney General’s office for this task. Don’t fuck it up!” Mike McConnell stood and shook hands with everyone in the room except for Dmitriy Yakovich who had taken Jennifer Jones aside and was talking earnestly to her in the corner of the room away from everybody else.

Those who did not need to be there left the room and Penelope went and sat next to Tim Morrow to look at his case file when Dmitriy Yakovich walked past and patted Penelope briefly on the shoulder.

“Give my best to Jaylene Foster,” he whispered in her ear and left the room.

Jaylene Foster was Penelope’s lover and there was no reason for her to know Dmitriy; but he obviously knew about Jaylene. He was just letting Penelope know how far his tentacles reached.

Penelope shivered and turned her eyes to the diminutive but striking Jennifer Jones who was standing against the wall openly appraising Penelope. Penelope stood up from the table.

“How can you work for that monster?” Penelope sidled up to Jennifer and the women evaluated each other carefully.

“You might say he saved my life. He certainly saved me from a fate worse than death, as they say… but it’s not. Nothing is worse than death,” Jennifer replied emotionlessly.

“You’re still a baby; what would you know about death?” Penelope countered.

“You’d be surprised,” Jennifer offered a grin that could be interpreted as evil.

“So what qualifies you to join my task force?” Penelope got to the point.

“I have a law degree and worked as a judicial clerk for a Federal judge whilst earning my master's degree and passing the bar exam. I was two weeks away from completing my training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Because of circumstances that I’m not going to explain right now I didn’t complete my training, but I did work undercover,” Jennifer replied.

“The undercover work involved exposing a sex trafficking ring. My investigation was not successful but I learned a lot,” Jennifer paused to inspect a fingernail.

“Why didn’t you go back to the FBI academy and complete your training?” Penelope asked the obvious question.

“Yes, well, as I said, I can’t tell you. But I can tell you that I have worked for Dmitriy Tanas Yakovich as his personal assistant for three years and whilst I generally don’t get involved in day to day mundane tasks in the trenches so speak, I have a working knowledge of how those trenches operate,” Jennifer said.

“So you know how human trafficking works because your boss is involved in it,” Penelope replied cattily.

“He sat right here at this table and stated that he is not personally involved but he knows people who are,” Jennifer ignored the innuendo.

“And you don’t get involved in his dirty work,” Penelope smiled sarcastically.

“I didn’t say that. I said I seldom get involved personally. But if I do, the dirty work gets done… properly… and efficiently,” Jennifer returned the smile.

“I hope you have a permit for that weapon,” Penelope nodded at the very slight bulge in Jennifer’s jacket where she carried a Walther PPS M2 9mm in a shoulder rig.

The operating mechanism of the Walther was the same as the Glock that Jennifer had been issued at Quantico with some notable advantages: it was a 9mm and the FBI had recently returned to using this ammo. It was a single-stack 9mm that is only one inch thick which made it easier to conceal on Jennifer’s petite feminine body.

A spare six round mag was easy to conceal in a deep pocket or a holster if needed and she could carry an eight round magazine in her purse and use it to provide additional length to the grip plus additional firepower for tactical situations.

“Oh Lieutenant Benson, really? Texas has some of laxest handgun laws in the US. But yes, I have conceal and carry permits for every state that issues them,” Jennifer patted Penelope on the shoulder and Penelope recoiled.

“I don’t know the specifics of the deal that tattooed freak made with the DOJ but don’t think we’re going to be confidants or colleagues. This isn’t high school, just because we both have green eyes doesn’t mean we’re going to be girlfriends,” Penelope turned her back to walk away.

“Yes we both have green eyes. We both have dicks too,” Jennifer quipped.

Penelope spun on her heels and drilled Jennifer with her eyes.

“You provoking me Ms Jones?” Penelope stared down at the pretty little woman.

“On the contrary Penelope; I’m merely stating the truth,” Jennifer smiled up at the woman towering over her and then walked away.

******

“How did it go my precious?” Dmitriy was lazing on the sofa in the penthouse suite of the Balwyn Hilton Hotel.

He was freshly showered and naked except for a white silk robe and Jennifer could smell his body lotion and cologne. Despite the long day Jennifer felt her loins stir.

Jennifer paused at a lowboy and took off her weapon and holster rig and put down her handbag.

“Come sit beside me and tell about your day,” Dmitriy patted the space beside him on the sofa.

“Let me shower first,” Jennifer came over and stood behind the sofa and rubbed his shoulders and kissed the top of his head.

“You know I sometimes like it when you’re dirty,” Dmitriy smiled and physically lifted Jennifer over the sofa and plonked her down beside him.

He was a powerful man and Jennifer liked it when he sometimes threw her around. Most of the time their lovemaking was slow, kind and considerate but sometimes it was wild, abandoned and dangerous.

Dmitriy cuddled Jennifer and kissed her neck. She turned sideways so he could kiss her mouth.

Dmitriy’s hand slipped inside her blouse and he undid enough buttons so that he could free her perky breasts from the cups of her brassiere. Her nipples hardened to his touch and Jennifer gasped and wriggled her tongue in his mouth.

He smelled of expensive cologne and tasted of mouthwash which only served to remind Jennifer that she hadn't bathed since her morning shower and was not douched.

“I’d really like to shower and prepare myself,” Jennifer whispered in Dmitriy’s ear and nuzzled his earlobe.

“I’d really like to fuck you right now then you may do whatever you want until I need you again,” Dmitriy whispered in Jennifer’s ear and nipped her earlobe making Jennifer gasp.

There was no arguing with Dmitriy when he was in this mood and Jennifer resigned herself to her fate. That said, her cock had sprung free and was tenting her panties.

Dmitriy picked Jennifer up like she weighed nothing and plonked her down in his lap facing him. He kissed her and tweaked her nipples and she reached into Dmitriy’s robe and raked her nails down his hairy chest and pinched his nipples. Dmitriy bit Jennifer’s lips as his hand snaked under her skirt and found her erect and leaking precum into her silky nylon panties. He grabbed her cock and squeezed it hard.

Jennifer responded accordingly. She could feel Dmitriy’s cock prodding at her ass through his robe and she reached down and grasped it and began to stroke it. She was rewarded with an effusion of pre-ejaculate which she used to lubricate his cock as she fiercely kneaded the huge veiny appendage.

Dmitriy reached inside Jennifer's panties and took a handful of her pantyhose in his grasp and ripped them open, exposing her puckered bud. Jennifer wished that there was some form of lubricant available other than Dimity's precum and spit but he was impatient and he wanted what he wanted.

He spit on his hand and wet his massive organ as best he could and then he lifted Jennifer up out of his lap and lowered her down on his manhood, easing aside the gusset of panties.

Jennifer stifled a scream as Dmitriy’s glans stretched her sphincter.

Dmitriy held her there, letting Jennifer get used to the girth of his cock as it pierced her anus. He kissed her hard and she reciprocated and put her hands around his neck so that she had a little control as Dmitriy forced her down, impaling her on his throbbing cock.

The pain was almost unbearable but at the same time it was exquisite. Dmitriy had taught Jennifer that pleasure and pain are often closely linked, especially in the boudoir.

Jennifer groaned but she kissed Dmitriy harder, biting his lip, her nails raked his back as he drove his cock deep into her unclean anus.

Not that it mattered to Dmitriy. He enjoyed fucking Jennifer this way. She had entered his suite exuding power and control, a beautiful young woman with flaming red hair, dressed in a power-suit and Christian Louboutin heels. Full of confidence and vigour and now he had ripped open her blouse and her nylons, smeared her makeup over her face and had her impaled on his massive organ and had her begging for him to stop whilst at the same time she encouraged him.

Dmitriy held Jennifer by the hips and fucked her hard, rising his ass up off the couch to ensure every sinew of his mighty cock filled her anus. Jennifer put her knees on both sides of Dmitriy’s thighs and hung onto him, scratching, biting, begging him to stop; begging him not to.

Her natural excretions were providing sufficient lubrication so that Dmitriy’s cock deep inside her was no longer intolerable. She began to meet his thrusts, driving her crotch down as he drove his upward.

She kissed him again, driving her tongue into his mouth and he returned her kisses. He ripped off her suit jacket and tore open her blouse and his fingers cupped her globes and tweaked her nipples. Jennifer struggled out of her tattered blouse and ripped off her bra and guided Dmitriy’s face to her bosom.

He lapped at her breasts with his tongue and then used his lips and teeth; alternatively biting her nipples and then suckling them. The pleasure and pain radiating from them joined with the deep ripples of pleasure that Dmitriy was invoking from her tight anus. Her sphincter was stretched wide and his glands pounded on her prostate.

Jennifer’s cock was rampant and her panties were saturated with pre-ejaculate.

Dmitriy let go of Jennifer’s waist and pushed her down on his rampant cock. He reached into her panties and grabbed her throbbing organ and squeezed it as he deposited his seed deep in her bowels.

Jennifer ejaculated. Ropes of hot semen splashed on her skirt, on Dmitriy’s chest and everywhere else as her ass clenched tight around his throbbing monster cock and her anus filled with his seed. A mixture of Dmitriy’s semen and Jennifer’s excreta dribbled from her sphincter and fouled her panties and pantyhose.

This excited Dmitriy further and he threw Jennifer down on the couch and fucked her harder until she nearly lost conscience. Dmitriy came again, blasting another load of hot cum deep inside his pretty transgender assistant. He stroked and squeezed Jennifer’s penis until she felt raw and begged him to stop.

She lay underneath him, her legs over his shoulders, her back arched, his face hovering over hers, staring into her icy-green eyes and was rewarded with what he wanted to see. Her compliance was replaced by defiance and her eyes turned cold and she began to fight him off.

Dmitriy capitulated and climbed off Jennifer. He pulled her into his lap and put his arms around her and cuddled her and told her how much he loved her. He stroked her hair and softly kissed her cheeks then her bruised lips. Jennifer let him cosset her and she returned his soft kisses and caresses.

After a while she disentangled herself from his embrace and went into the kitchen and came back with an oversize black plastic garbage bag. She stripped and used her tattered blouse to clean her ass then she put everything she had been wearing except for her high heels into the garbage bag and Dmitriy gave her his soiled robe which went into the bag too. She sealed the bag and dropped it on the kitchen floor for the maid to take away the next day.

Both naked, they walked hand in hand to the shower where they lathered up each other’s bodies and excited each other again.

But this time the sex was tender and loving. Dmitriy had satiated his need for dominance.

Jennifer understood Dmitriy’s need but at the same time she felt a little disgusted with herself every time he did it like that. It wasn't that often but it was often enough for her to wonder how deep Dmitriy’s love for her really ran.

*****

The next morning Jennifer arrived at Balwyn PD and was issued with a temporary pass and signed into the building. She found her way to the Special Task Force office and found Gary Rasmussen, Dan Murphy, Tim Morrow and a young woman around her age all sitting at desks sipping coffee while Penelope Bishop set up her crime wall and addressed the audience as she did so.

Everyone was wearing dark suits except for the young woman that Jennifer didn’t know. Their suits were all variations of charcoal and navy-blue, Penelope and Jennifer both wore skirts and the men would argue later which of them wore the shortest.

Gary welcomed Jennifer curtly.

“You know everyone else; that’s Alice Leasingham assigned to the special task force from CSI,” Gary indicated the curly faired, freckle-faced young woman wearing skinny-jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt and Nikes.

“Where’s your Armani, Louboutin's and big Glock on your hip,” Jennifer quipped.

“Don’t believe that bullshit you see on TV. I don’t wear Armani or Prada nor can I solve a case by putting a hair sample into a machine that will give you the perpetrator’s name, current whereabouts and shoe size,” Alice smiled back.

Jennifer liked her already.

Gary Rasmussen stood out front and addressed the audience.

“Steve Edwards and Silvia Bickle are down in Austin giving evidence in a prolonged murder trial so what you see here is the task force. Penelope is in charge. Dan represents the CID and Tim is our liaison with the FBI and through him to Interpol. As has been stated I’ve seconded Alice to work the forensics and she has direct liaison with the other agencies forensic teams,” Gary didn’t even bother with a good morning.

“I’ll leave you to it. Play nice,” Gary left the room and closed the door.

She does not carry a badge and had no legal authority to question or detain witnesses, conduct due process or even use police stationery as far as I’m concerned. She sees nothing unless I approve it first and she will not be granted access to the case files,” Penelope pointed an accusatory finger at Jennifer.

“Why is the bitch even here?” Dan Murphy snarled.

“Because the head of the US Department of Justice says so,” Tim Morrow interjected.

“As the Federal reprehensive here I have to insist that Assistant Director McConnell’s instructions are followed…” Tim tried to continue.

“Fuck that!” Dan Murphy growled.

“Let me finish Tim. Although I agree with Penelope that Ms Jones is to be provided with only the minimum amount of information necessary and that all of that information is to be vetted,” Tim completed his statement.

“But won’t that make it nearly impossible for Jennifer to assist us?” Alice Leasingham spoke up.

“Exactly!” Penelope smirked at Jennifer.

“Now let’s us real law enforcement officers do some real police work,” Penelope dismissed Jennifer and went back to her crime wall and began to talk to the others about the case.

Jennifer was bemused by the whole proceeding and took a desk at the back of the office as far away from the others as possible.

Although some considered crime walls to be archaic, Jennifer was actually impressed with how Penelope had laid out her wall which included: a timeline of critical events, facts, notes, maps, interrogations, and photos of people, places, and evidence and assumptions yet to be proven. By studying the wall the investigation could be progressed systematically.

Jennifer studied the wall and listened to Penelope intently. There was no doubt that Penelope was an excellent investigator. Jennifer had done her research and given her unique position she was able to access information not legitimately available to most people.

Penelope was such a good investigator that several times in her career she had got so close to the perpetrators that her life had been in danger and she had been physically and sexually assaulted. That much stress on a person who was also a transgender woman had consequences. Penelope had burned up two marriages and numerous emotional entanglements and had food, alcohol and sex addictions to control.

Jennifer admired Penelope as much as Penelope loathed her.

The task force broke up into investigative teams and left Jennifer on her own. Penelope’s crime fighting technique was to study her crime wall and look for the missing pieces of information that tied the case together and to allocate requests for information to her team to find the missing pieces. Then it was then a matter of rinse and repeat until the case was solved.

Penelope had assigned Dan Murphy the task of leaning on the Mexican Policía Federal to obtain access and to interview the four deckhands from the MV Arno Starlight who were currently being held in a prison in Altamira.

Tim Morrow was to light a fire under Interpol to find out the name of the company that had recruited the girls.

Alice Leasingham was to re-examine any forensic evidence that might assist with the investigation and to use her cyber-investigative skills to find out how the shipping company had manipulated the paperwork relating to the container and to find out its final destination.

Jennifer pulled out her super-encrypted laptop and equally secure wifi hub and went to work using Penelope’s requests for information as her directives. During the day she went outside to the privacy of the smoking area to make several phone calls.

The task force went to lunch together but Jennifer was not invited. She found a diner nearby and ate a salad whilst continuing to work. The task force worked until late into the evening.

“It’s late and there really isn’t anything open other than The Longhorn. It’s a cop bar but the food is good and the beer is cold,” Alice Leasingham approached Jennifer Jones as the others were packing up.

Jennifer looked up from her laptop and smiled.

“Do you really think Penelope and the others want me to tag along?” Jennifer smiled sweetly as she began to pack away her things.

“Hey! Don’t talk to her! I told you she has no standing here!” Penelope scrambled across the room looking angry.

“She’s part of our team Penelope and please don’t talk to me that way,” Alice puffed out her chest.

“Fuck that! She works for a criminal who is probably in bed with the people smugglers, that is if he isn’t ultimately responsible for the crime,” Penelope towered over Jennifer.

“An alleged criminal, Lieutenant Bishop,” Jennifer looked up at Penelope and smiled sweetly.

“Thanks for the offer Alice but I’ll keep working tonight and I might be able to offer something tomorrow,” Jennifer closed her laptop bag and picked up her handbag.

“Working on what? I told you that you have no standing here,” Penelope growled.

Jennifer just smiled, picked up her things and left the office.

“Don’t feel sorry for her Alice. She might look like a kewpie doll but the man she works for is trash and therefore so is she,” Penelope turned back to Alice.

“Trash who has intimate knowledge of people smuggling and sex trafficking. We’d be silly not to use her contacts in that world,” Alice stood chest to chest with Penelope.

“And yeah she does look like a kewpie doll. I kinda wanna cuddle her. She looks cute and all lost and alone,” Alice grinned and broke the tension.

“Yeah… Bride of Chucky cute,” Penelope grinned back at Alice.

Jennifer laboured all night, working the phones, sending email, chatting online. By six-thirty the next morning she was exhausted but the evening had been fruitful. She changed into lycra tights, sports top and running shoes and put on a fanny-pack and hit the running the track around City Park. She saw Penelope running past the fountain with Jaylene Foster.

Jaylene was closer to Jennifer’s age than she was to Penelope’s. She was pretty and tall with long dark hair, long legs and breasts that were too perfect to be anything but augmented. Jennifer knew that Penelope and Jaylene lived together and that Jaylene was also a trans woman who used to be a prostitute. She smiled to herself. Who would have thought that three beautiful transgender women would be in such close proximity, although Jennifer tried to make sure that Penelope didn’t see her.

Jennifer kept running out of the other side of City Park and over to Police Plaza where the rent-a-cop at the door checked her credentials and her ass as she breezed past. She made her way to the task force office and unlocked the door using a small lock bump and dropped the package she had put in her fanny-pack on Alice Leasingham's desk. She left the building and ran back to the Balwyn Hilton Hotel where she had continued the lease on the penthouse. She showered, closed the curtains, turned out the lights and went to bed.

Penelope called her task force to order at eight o’clock.

“I notice our bureau service colleague is absent. No loss. Let’s go around the room shall we,” Penelope was wearing her signature short-skirted business suits but today it was bone with a red satin blouse; quite flashy.

Dan Murphy stood up and addressed the room.

“The Mexican Federales are playing hardball despite our Memorandum of Understanding regarding cross-border crime. They’re still holding the four Pakistani deckhands from the MV Arno Starlight in prison in Altamira. The MV Arno Starlight was about to sail when the men were arrested at our request but the Federales are denying us access to them,” Dan began, reading from his notes.

“The deckhands are being represented by some fancy lawyers out of Mexico City and are refusing to cooperate. Fuck knows where they got the money for that kind of legal horsepower,” Dan explained.

“All the Federales would tell me is that one of the deckhands had been transferred to hospital after being seriously assaulted and possibly tortured. They say they are looking into it,” Dan shrugged his shoulders and sat down.

“Tim, do you think the FBI might have more luck pressuring the Mexican authorities?” Penelope asked Tim Morrow.

Tim shrugged his shoulders and stood up to give his report.

“I haven’t had too much luck finding out any more about the girls or the agency that recruited them. For background you should be aware that the selling of young women into sexual slavery has become a growing criminal enterprise in the Balkans and as many as 175,000 young women from the former Soviet Union and Eastern and Central Europe were sold as commodities in the sex markets of the developed countries in Europe and the Americas last year.”

“Sixteen women in a shipping container is a drop in the ocean as far as they are concerned,” Tim sighed.

“Alice you must have something… please?” Penelope said, crestfallen that her investigation had stalled so quickly.

Alice Leasingham had plugged her laptop into the huge video screen that was affixed to one of the walls of task force office. She fired up the screen and began her presentation.

“These are the sixteen young women whose bodies were found in the container,” Alice pointed to the screen with a laser pointer.

Beside the picture of each of the women were their name, age, last known address and a short biography.

“They were all recruited out of an office Kyiv belonging to a company called Belarus International Services which purports to recruit women to work as nannies and domestic staff in Europe, the UK and the USA.”

“These women were recruited with the expectation that they would be working in the USA in placements arranged by Belarus International Services. They knew that they were entering the US illegally through Mexico and would be confined in the container to do so.”

“They agreed to the terms of their employment contracts and agreed to turn over half of their wages to Belarus International Services once they began working. This is not an uncommon practice.”

“What they didn’t know was that they had in fact been sold into sexual slavery and would be lucky to keep a pittance of their earnings. They were to be delivered to a Bratok in the Reznik crime family of the Russian Mafia. The exchange was to take place in a truck stop just off Route 87 five miles north of where the container was found in the desert.”

“The four-eighteen-year-olds had already been sold online on the dark web,” Alice brought up screen shots showing pictures of the four girls dressed proactively.

“The rest of the girls would likely work in brothels owned by Reznik,” Alice closed the tab and brought up another.

“One of the Pakistani deckhands found the trap door in the container onboard the MV Arno Starlight during routine rounds just after the ship sailed from La Havre. He told his friends and they threatened the girls with being exposed as stowaways unless they consented to sex. The non-virgins consented and the four virgins consented only to oral sex.”

“The Pakistanis were granted bail late yesterday evening organised by their lawyers out of Mexico City, most likely through payoffs to the Federales. Three of the deckhands were found shot to death an hour after they were released from prison and the fourth was suffocated in his hospital bed.”

“The most likely scenario is that Alexi Reznik is cleaning up the mess and removing any witnesses. Alexi Reznik, also known as The Jackal, has been able to operate almost unnoticed in the US because he is careful. His Bratva is responsible for a number of diverse and profitable activities including: human trafficking, racketeering, drug trafficking, extortion, murder, robbery, smuggling, arms trafficking, gambling, fencing, prostitution, pornography, money laundering, fraud and financial crimes,” Alice read from a printed sheet of paper.

“Reznik is likely very angry that the shipping container was abandoned in the desert with the girls still inside it because of the consequential attention of the press and law enforcement agencies. The electronic paper trail for the shipping container ends at one of his subsidiary import companies so it is highly likely that Alexi Reznik is ultimately responsible for the girls being in that container but proving it will be difficult,” Alice completed her summation.

Penelope, Dan and Tim sat there open mouthed and amazed.

“You found out all of that by yourself in less than twenty-four hours?” Penelope sounded astonished.

“I found out none of that. The information was provided to me on a USB thumb drive with a printout of all the information inside a package left on my desk. It would appear that Jennifer Jones dropped it there this morning,” Alice couldn’t conceal the smug look on her face.

Penelope grabbed her coat and handbag and strode purposefully out of the office. She was fuming.

Penelope used her credentials to gain access to the penthouse floor of the Balwyn Hilton and hammered on the door of Jennifer’s apartment until Jennifer answered the door. Jennifer’s flaming red hair was in disarray and despite the shower she had taken before going to bed some of her eyeliner and mascara had smudged around her eyes. She was wearing pink satin babydoll pyjamas and had put a white silk gown over to answer the door.

Penelope barged into the hotel room fuming. Jennifer imagined she could see plumes of steam coming from Penelope’s ears and supressed a smile.

“Don’t smirk at me you pompous bitch!” Penelope threw her coat and her handbag onto a lounge chair.

“It looks like you’re staying a while so I’ll send down for coffee,” Jennifer said, picking up the handset.

Penelope walked in angry circles around the lounge area fuming; so angry that she was having difficulty putting her thoughts in order. Finally she spoke.

“You some kind of smartass getting Alice to do your dirty work?” Penelope spat.

“I told you that I seldom get involved in dirty work but if I do, the dirty work gets done properly and efficiently. You gave your team requests for information that they were never going be able to obtain or at least not anytime soon using legitimate means. I have my own resources that cut through most of the red tape,” Jennifer said and answered the door to the doorbell chime.

“By the way; the doorbell does work and the ring is far more pleasant than some harpy hammering on my door this early,” Jennifer quipped and wheeled a service trolley into the room having dismissed the room service attendant.

“Are you calling me a harpy?” Penelope hissed.

Jennifer just smiled at her and poured coffee.

Penelope caught sight of herself in a mirror. In her haste and anger to get to Jennifer she had not buttoned her jacket correctly and the tail of her red satin blouse had become untucked from her skirt which was askew and had ridden up. Her usually coifed blonde hair was a tangled disarray from where she had angrily pulled at it during the drive over.

Jennifer watched Penelope looking at herself in the mirror.

“And you have a runner in your nylons,” Jennifer smiled innocently and took a seat on the chaise lounge.

Penelope couldn’t help herself and looked down at the runner in her pantyhose on her left leg running from knee to ankle.

She fell into a chair and Jennifer offered her a cup of steaming coffee which Penelope accepted and took a sip.

“You do the cute little kewpie doll thing really well but I know you are nothing more than a vicious bitch working for a crazed killer,” Penelope glared at Jennifer.

“Many a man has been wrongfooted by my kewpie doll routine. Sometimes it pays to be diminutive and pretty. Most men underestimate me; much to their chagrin,” Jennifer smiled and sipped coffee.

“You’ve killed men?” Penelope asked.

Jennifer just shrugged her shoulders.

“You and I are not so different Penelope. We had a similar upbringing and had to deal with our gender dysphoria. We both chose law enforcement as our calling, it’s just that we ended up on different sides of the fence; you because of your father and me because of my employer. Also we have both been betrayed by men,” Jennifer said.

“We are nothing alike,” Penelope snapped.

Penelope noticed the scorpion tattoo on Jennifer’s left ankle for the first time. Jennifer’s skin was unblemished and creamy white and the tattoo was incongruous.

Jennifer saw her staring and smiled.

“I belong to Dmitriy,” Jennifer answered the unasked question.

“How can you belong to one man? Especially that thug,” Penelope sniped.

“You have never been one for fidelity, have you Penelope? You drove away both of your husbands with your addictions to alcohol and sex. You’ve left a never-ending trail of broken-hearted lovers. I hope you and Jaylene find happiness together despite your age difference. Perhaps because you are both trans it might work this time,” Jennifer smiled snarkily at Penelope.

Penelope resisted the urge to leap out of the chair and strangle the little red-headed hussy. The truth was that Jennifer would likely kick her ass but she would have got some good hits in before she went down.

“You know a lot don’t you? You have resources that I could never access. I take it the Pakistani deckhand that was tortured to give up what he knew was your work?” Penelope settled down and sipped her coffee.

Jennifer didn’t answer.

“Did you have them killed?” Penelope continued to dig.

“That was Alexi Reznik. Once my operatives in Mexico had the information I needed, there was no need to kill the deckhands. Reznik is covering his tracks,” Jennifer opined.

“That was Alice’s conclusion too,” Penelope put down her coffee.

“Alice is nice in a quirky Pauley Perrette kind of way. Did you ever dip your toe?” Jennifer grinned mischievously.

“Alice is a good kid. Leave her alone,” Penelope glared at Jennifer.

“They say that she helped you cover up the fact that you were raped by the Honey-Trap Killer before Steve Edwards blew his brains out,” Jennifer smiled at Penelope.

Penelope knew that only a handful of people knew that Mitch Freeman otherwise known as the Honey-Trap Killer had tied her to the bed and raped her before Steve Edwards arrived at the scene and saved her life. Jennifer had resources that Penelope couldn’t imagine.

They say a lot of things. Not all of them are true,” Penelope countered.

She snatched up her purse and fidgeted.

“Come out on the balcony and we can smoke,” Jennifer uncoiled from the chaise lounge like a small snake and Penelope couldn’t help but be impressed with her dexterity.

She followed Jennifer out to the balcony and lit a Marlboro Menthol and drew the smoke deep into her lungs.

“I keep quitting but it doesn’t stick,” Penelope didn’t know why she felt the need to apologise.

“May I?” Jennifer extended her long fingers with red-painted fingernails and Penelope gave up her smokes.

Jennifer took one and put it between her lips and stepped into Penelope for a light.

Even with her smudged makeup and tousled hair Penelope could see that Jennifer was a beauty. She could see how men… and women… could become beguiled by her.

“We are never going to be able to prove that Alexi Reznik is responsible for the deaths of those girls. He’s too far removed and too careful. We need to set a trap and catch him red-handed,” Jennifer didn’t step away from Penelope after she lit her cigarette.

The two women were standing inches apart. If Jennifer raised herself onto her tippytoes she could probably just about kiss Penelope on the lips. They could smell each other’s perfume; they were both wearing Poison by Dior. Jennifer studied Penelope’s face which was world-weary and just beginning to show her age but she was still a beautiful woman.

“That’s a lot of ‘we’s’,” Penelope swallowed.

“I need to bring in another freelancer. One of my people. I’ll pay all the expenses,” Jennifer said.

“Really? You mean you’re not infallible? You're not some savant?” Penelope said evenly.

“We need someone with in-depth knowledge of sex trafficking. Someone who can help us worm our way into Reznik’s people-smuggling organisation and tie him to it,” Jennifer’s eyes never left Penelope’s.

“Who says I’m letting you get involved in the investigation?” Penelope studied Jennifer’s emerald green eyes.

They were like her own except for a slight bluish heterochromia in her right eye. She found it fascinating.

Jennifer said nothing but just continued to meet Penelope’s gaze.

“Ok you're in. It would be churlish and stupid of me not use your resources. But this doesn’t mean we’re friends or anything,” Penelope finally broke the gaze.

“Oh really? I was hoping that you would scrub my back; I’m just about to take a shower,” Jennifer gave an impish smile and Penelope couldn’t help but smile back.

“I’ll arrange for my colleague to come to Balwyn, hopefully on a flight this afternoon,” Jennifer said stepping back inside the billowing drapes.

“I really do need another shower to wake up and start my day,” Jennifer said leading Penelope over to her coat and handbag.

“You were up all night?” Penelope asked but it wasn’t really a question.

Jennifer just nodded. She led Penelope to the door.

“Yet you were still able to take your morning run through City Park,” Penelope turned at the door and smiled at Jennifer.

“You saw me? I thought I’d done better,” Jennifer smiled back.

“That body? Those legs and that ass? Did you really think I wouldn’t have noticed you?” Penelope leaned in, her lips almost brushing Jennifer's.

Penelope paused briefly and then drew away and continued to smile.

“You're right. We do both have green eyes and dicks in our panties. But that doesn’t make us sisters,” the smile left Penelope’s face and she turned and walked away to the elevator.

Jennifer made some phone calls and worked from the penthouse until early afternoon. She called Penelope and told her that she was picking up her specialist who she would bring straight to Police Plaza from the airport.

Penelope told Jennifer that the rest of the team would be there and as promised, they were there when Jennifer arrived with her new assistant. Jennifer introduced the person as someone who had extensive knowledge of how sex traffickers operated globally and in the United States.

Katya Kuznetsova stood a little over six feet tall in heels. A stunning slim woman with jet black hair cut into a severe bob which accentuated her deep blue expressive eyes. She had pert breasts and long legs clad in gossamer-sheer nylons. She made the simple burgundy business suit she was wearing look like high fashion. Her face was narrow, with accentuated cheekbones, a pointed chin and small nose. Her skin was pale and she wore heavy eye makeup and blood-red lipstick.

Tim Morrow and Dan Murphy were instantly attracted to her and Alice Leasingham was beguiled by her. Only Penelope noticed the tattoo of a scorpion just above her left ankle.

Katya introduced herself speaking with a faint Ukrainian accent.

“I am Katya Kuznetsova. Ms Jones has brought me here to assist you with your investigation into Alexi Reznik. I have extensive knowledge of how people smugglers and sex traffickers operate. I understand part of the deal made with the United States Attorney General is amnesty for any crimes I may or may not have committed so I can speak frankly to you,” Katya began.

“The reason that I have such intimate knowledge is that as a young woman I was sex trafficked myself. Brought to the USA under false pretences, I had already been sold to a prospective buyer who intended to use me as his concubine and then likely sell me into prostitution when I bored him.”

“This is not a common model for sex traffickers. This is a model used for special orders by men wanting particular types of young women, usually young virgins. What usually happens is that young girls either wittingly or unwittingly move across borders on the pretext of undertaking legitimate work. Those who are naïve enough to think they will be taking little Tarquin or Piper for strolls around the park and wiping their dirty asses for a few hundred a week soon have their hopes dashed.”

“I also have extensive knowledge as to how those young women are entrapped. A common business model is to use women already forced into a life of sex work to groom other young women from their home towns; to entrap them.”

“My understanding is that there was nothing so sophisticated used to smuggle the sixteen young women you are concerned with. Smuggling people in shipping containers, although high risk for the human cargo, is low-cost low-risk and high-reward for the smugglers. These girls, although they met an unfortunate end, were travelling in style. It is not uncommon for the Bratvas to put as many as thirty people into an ISO shipping container.”

“Their method of recruitment was also unsophisticated; they were not hand-picked or targeted. They simply applied for work in the US through Belarus International Services. The four virgins were identified amongst the group and would have been sold separately at a higher price than the non-virgins.”

“Even the Pakistani deckhands were not stupid enough to rape the virgins. They probably thought they could get away with having some fun with the other girls but if they fucked with the virgins there would be reprisals. That said, I’m told things didn’t work out for the deckhands too well,” Katya smiled wickedly.

Jennifer interjected.

“Katya will work for me but alongside the task force. Anything she uncovers relating to the crime you are investigating she will share freely with you,” Jennifer invited Katya to sit next to her at the back of the task force office.

“Ok, its asses and elbows time people,” Penelope addressed the room.

“We need to find the driver of the truck if that’s at all possible. We need to tie Belarus International Services to the shipping container and Alexi Reznik to Belarus International Services. It might help if we can interview some of the women here in the US who were recruited by Belarus International Services,” Penelope pointed to the gaps in her crime wall.

The task force got back to work. Dan Murphy and Tim Morrow hit the streets to follow up leads, leaving the office to the women.

Alice Leasingham came over and sheepishly approached Katya.

“The girls. The special orders as you call them. They are sold on the dark web?” Alice asked.

Katya nodded.

“Can you show me how to get to the websites? I’m the cyber forensics experts here, Alice Leasingham,” Alice offered her hand and a smile.

“Of course I can help you. You are a pretty woman under that shaggy mane and awful clothing,” Katya shook Alice’s hand and Alice blushed.

“One thing about Katya. She will always tell you the truth,” Jennifer looked up from her laptop and smiled.

Katya joined Alice at her workstation and got to work. Jennifer yawned and looked at her hand-wound, rose gold, Cartier Tortue watch set with brilliant-cut diamonds. It was a present from Dmitriy and had an inscription on the back along with an engraving of a scorpion. An offering of love, it also served to remind Jennifer that she belonged to him.

“Katya, I need to get some sleep or I will be useless. Will you be ok here? I have a room for you on the same floor as me at the Balwyn Hilton,” Jennifer said.

“I’ll look after Katya, don’t worry,” Alice Leasingham looked up from her work station.

Jennifer smiled. It was like a puppy promising to look after a rattlesnake.

“Sure,” Jennifer packed up her things and came over to Katya before she left.

She kissed Katya on the side of the mouth and Katya stroked Jennifer’s arm. Alice was bemused and wondered what kind of relationship these two women had. Penelope had also observed the interchange and also wondered what their relationship was to each other. The tattoo on Katya’s ankle might indicate that they both belonged to Dmitriy Yakovich or that Katya had at one time.

From the research Penelope had conducted on Dmitriy Tanas Yakovich using what little information was available on him; he didn’t seem like the kind of man who shared his toys.

Penelope went back to her hotel room, darkened the room and fell into bed. She was awakened by her mobile phone at eight-thirty in the evening. She answered the phone and was surprised to find it was Alice Leasingham calling.

“We’re wrapping up for the day. We’re all going to The Longhorn if you would like to join us for dinner,” Alice gushed.

“I’d be delighted. I’ll meet you there. I’ll bring Katya,” Jennifer said, using the remote to open the drapes.

“Katya is still with me. I’ll take her,” Alice said a little excitedly.

“Fine. See you soon,” Jennifer broke the connection and went to the shower again smiling whimsically.

It was her third shower today but she needed to wake up. She’d been a night owl ever since she had been recruited by Dmitriy. Most of his business was conducted in the evening. He liked to spend his afternoons in bed with Jennifer and hit the gym after and then go to work and bang Jennifer again before he went to bed early in the morning.

Jennifer slipped into a pair of sheer-to-the-waist pantyhose to hold her tuck and help her slide into her skin-tight black leather pants. She put on a yellow silk blouse and suede ankle-boots and fixed her hair and makeup. She put on a soft leather coat and picked up her purse inside of which was her Walther PPS M2 9mm pistol. She had the hotel order her a car as she didn’t want to drive.

The Longhorn was full of off-duty and retired cops, some wives and girlfriends and more than a few cop groupies. The bar was crowded, the dance floor was swinging and out back the pool tables were busy. Jennifer saw Katya and the others crowded into a booth near the front windows. She was used to heads turning as the delicate little woman that she appeared to be strode across the room to join them.

Gary Rasmussen, Dan Murphy, and Tim Morrow sat on one side of the U-shaped booth and Penelope Bishop and Jaylene Foster sat across from them. Katya Kuznetsova and Alice Leasingham were squeezed together at the end and Jennifer slid in beside Jaylene Foster and introduced herself.

“Silvia Bickle and Steve Edwards are still tied up in Austin. Felicity has arranged a series of shows at Club Caribe so she can join Steve,” Gary explained the absence of the rest of Penelope’s team.

Felicity Benson was Steve Edwards’ lover and was otherwise known as the famous drag queen Felicity Goodnite. She owned Ride ‘Em Cowgirl, a Balwyn nightclub featuring drag shows and she had once appeared on RuPaul's Drag Race.

“I’ll leave you all to it; enjoy your dinner,” Gary Rasmussen squeezed out of the booth.

He seemed happy that his task force was playing nice together and that Penelope appeared to have gotten over her animosity towards Jennifer Jones.

“Hello I’m Jaylene Foster, Penelope and I saw you running in City Park this morning,” Jaylene introduced herself with a beatific smile.

“I need to improve my tailing skills they’re a little rusty. I’m Jennifer Jones,” Jennifer returned Jaylene’s smile.

“To be fair we didn’t notice you until you were running towards the exit; your size sort of gives you away. You are this perfectly formed beautiful woman delivered in a petite little bundle,” Jaylene giggled.

“Good things come in small packages,” Jennifer smiled back.

“Not necessarily,” Penelope countered.

“One asshole I arrested and put in Huntsville sent me a nice little pink box with a pretty bow on it. When I opened it, it was full of scorpions,” Penelope scowled.

“Penelope! Why are you being so rude?” Jaylene bristled.

“Just saying that you don’t know what you don’t know,” Penelope’s scowl remained fixed to her face.

“Your friend Katya is quite exotic. I love her accent. Alice seems taken with her,” Jaylene ignored Penelope.

“That one’s no daisy either,” Penelope sniffed and sucked on her Coke.

“Ignore grumpy-bum and tell me about yourself,” Jaylene smiled.

“I’m not what I appear to be,” Jennifer caught the attention of the waitress and ordered a round of drinks including a double Stolichnaya on ice for herself.

“Penelope told me that you used to be an FBI agent and that you worked undercover,” Jaylene gushed.

“She tells you an awful lot,” Jennifer smiled.

“It’s just pillow talk,” Jaylene said innocently enough but Penelope blushed.

“You’re not the only one with secrets. I used to be a hooker until the love of my life rescued me from the streets,” Jaylene grinned and kissed Penelope on the cheek causing her blush to deepen.

“And here we are… three transgender women sitting side by side in a cop bar in Balwyn Texas. Who would-a thunk it?” Jaylene giggled and finished her Jack Daniels and Coke.

“That’s it! You’ve had enough. Let’s go home,” Penelope tried to squeeze out of the booth but Jaylene wouldn’t let her past.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’ve got a burger coming and so have you. Today’s our cheat day!” Jaylene whined.

“Well fuck! Behave yourself and take it easy on the sauce,” Penelope said tersely.

“I always get my way. She loves me,” Jaylene smiled at Jennifer and then leaned in and kissed Penelope affectionately.

Penelope returned the kiss and stroked Jaylene’s cheek. Age difference aside, they could have been an old married couple.

Trays of burgers, ribs, tamales, stuffed peppers and bowls of hot crispy french-fries were delivered to the table and everyone began to dig in.

“I see what you mean by cheat day,” Jennifer stared at the food.

“What calories she doesn’t fuck out of me tonight, she’ll run out of me tomorrow. She’s gotta top tonight because I’m wasted,” Jaylene giggled and stuffed french-fries into her mouth.

Penelope bristled but Jennifer gave her an understanding smile.

As the booze flowed and the evening wore on people relaxed. Katya held court at her end of the table and even had Dan Murphy and Tim Morrow beguiled by her looks, her accent and her stories. Penelope and Jaylene canoodled with each other and Jennifer remained a little removed from the festivities. She glanced down at Katya and Alice Leasingham who was sitting close together. Alice was gazing at Katya with open adoration.

Then Jennifer thought about what she had said to Penelope earlier in the day about setting a trap to catch Alexi Reznik red-handed.

They needed a tethered goat to entice the jackal out of his lair.

Jennifer knew where she could get the required the goat.

Katya was not going to like it.

To be continued…

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Comments

I do love

Robertlouis's picture

…a Penelope Bishop story. And pairing her with Jennifer Jones is a brilliant stroke.

☠️

Katya was not going to like it

This kind of gives us a clue what's coming next. Great story as usual from Michele Nylons.

>>> Kay

Fit

I always like how each of the Nylon’s stories fit with each other in the Nylonsverse !