THE GYPSY TWIST
A Max Royster Mystery
by Frank Hickey
By the Same Author
The Gypsy Twist
Funny Bunny Hunts the Horn Bug
Brownstone Kidnap Crackup
Can Showbizzers Crush Crime?
Spy, The Movie
with Charles Messina
& Lynwood Shiva Sawyer)
Twist: A Max Royster Mystery
Copyright © 2014 by Frank Hickey
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by
any means, mechanical or electronic, including manual re-input, photocopying,
scanning, optical character recognition, recording or by any information
storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the copyright
is a work of fiction. All characters and events described herein are fictitious
and wholly the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to events
or actual persons, living or dead, is unintentional and coincidental.
Twist / Frank Hickey
1. Fiction – Crime 2. Fiction – Mystery 3.
Fiction – Hardboiled
by Pigtown Books, an imprint of
Hidden Pearl Books L.L.C.
information, please contact:
10 9 8 7 6
5 4 3 2 1
Edition / First Issue
To Larry Hickey
1920 – 2011
murder expert, told me how the first kill went down.
Rusty, was running along Central Park’s dirt bridle path after dark. That
October night blew cold for the season. Leaves had fallen on the path, but we
got enough of Rusty’s footprints later to reconstruct the murder.
prints, we knew that Rusty sprinted along the path and then slowed down for the
told us that Rusty hated to run.
But his father made him do it. He said that the park was safe enough now for a boy his age.
walked near a grove of trees, weariness weighting his heels. The strangler was
waiting for him. From the mixture of two types of sweat swabbed from his body,
we knew the killer was nude for the kill. It must have made the murder that much more exciting.
would be able to extract DNA from sweat they way they did from blood or saliva.
could not do it now.
strangler jumped him there and wrapped a
forearm around the boy’s chin. And squeezed.
For a long
time, the strangler lay in a lover’s hug on top of Rusty. Forensics told us
that much. For the killer, this was their time for a sweet nap of release. The
murderer could relax at last.
Then the strangler jumped onto the boy’s back and wrapped legs around
him. Bruises from heels being dug in his flesh showed later.
killer dragged Rusty’s body deeper into the trees and stripped off his clothes.
They were together and naked and secret.
CHAPTER 1. Policing
the blue-and-white NYPD car through Brooklyn’s back alleys, past broken toilets
and gardens of scattered newspapers.
missing some bumps, Maxy,” Hardesty, my cop partner, said.
boasted heavy forearms, with black fur that matched his eyebrows and his five
o’clock shadow. He was chewing gum and switching his violet cell-phone on.
waking up on this hellish street each morning,” I said. “It would sour a saint.
No wonder everyone here lives loud and angry. The City of Pink People wrote off
this black neighborhood before you ever hit the delivery room.”
says you talk funny for a cop, Max.”
2319 Lott Place, signal 10-17,” the radio
said. “Domestic violence. Female armed with knife, possible EDP.”
“EDP?” I repeated.
Those words chilled my gut. Knives scared me. EDPs, Emotionally
Disturbed Persons, disturbed me even more.
I wanted someone else to take the call. But nobody did.
“Let’s take it, partner,” I said. My voice cracked. “Why not?”
“First, she might slice us with that knife,” Hardesty said. “You’ve been
cut before. So you’ve already seen these politically correct bullets couldn’t
stop a nut.”
“Maybe she’s calm now.”
“Or we protect ourselves and ignore the call,” Hardesty said. “We take
it and shoot, it means the Duty Captain, Firearms Review Board, various angry
reverends and newspaper columns. Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al. Calling us
racists. Pickets in front of my house in Massapequa Park. My kids threatened at
school. Maybe federal prison. All pointed at us. That’s why not.”
someone else to take it?”
haven’t eaten yet. Both fricking starving. Collar her, we don’t chow all night.
Other cops in New York, let them take it.”
volunteer, they’ll leave us alone?” I asked.
a cop to get left alone?”
cussed and speared the radio mike.
“Seven-One Eddie. Give us the job on Lott Place,” he said.
Trying to breathe slow, I gunned the engine and whipped the car past two
Wooden frame houses splintered all weary into kindling on either side of
the street. I slid to a stop near the address on Lott Place and hauled out my
220 pounds and six feet of uniform. The car’s rearview mirror showed my
flame-colored hair topping green eyes over a buffalo hunter’s moustache. Today my joints
felt older than forty-four.
that crumbling apartment building on a rent strike,” I said. “No gas, water or
juice this week. Squatters took it over.”
window high up, a shriveled Latino man about sixty waved at us.
the lady!” he sang out in a syrupy Spanish accent. “She like my sister, to me.”
hurt her,” I said. “What’s her name?”
But the man
ducked inside without speaking.
NYPD car stopped. The driver, Gist, a black woman, jangled out of the car. She
waved her Glock 9mm.
this job, Maxy,” she said.
assassinate someone else,” I muttered.
this job on paper, Gist,” I said. “Cover the side. Okay? Thanks.”
wearing a dress, Max,” Gist said. “Use your piece for once. Bang!”
inside the dark lobby of 2319. Sweat sponged my dark blue uniform. Hardesty,
followed, drawing his gun.
already shot three citizens,” Hardesty muttered, squinting into the corners. “Just
got off Restricted Duty. Why does she always want to pull a trigger?”
to her childhood. We don’t handle this smoothly, she’ll score Number Four.”
for a shot,” I said, my voice shaky. “Give me room. I’ll spray the bear
work. Can’t see in here.”
I moved ten
feet away, across the lobby. Afternoon sunlight poked through the wrapping
paper taped across the broken windows. I gripped a Mace canister in my left
Someone wailed from the staircase. Footsteps hammered. A huge black woman bolted downstairs.
Blood smeared her shirt.
devil!” she screamed. “See the devil everywhere!” She clutched a stained bread
back!” I shouted. Somehow, I sprayed Mace at her. My other hand dug under my
The jacket snagged my thumb. I fought to clear my hand.
“Tear-gas!” she screamed, moving in. “Nothing but honkey white boy
“Halt!” Hardesty shouted. He aimed the 9mm two-handed on her belly. His
trigger finger pulled back.
“The Devil, you!”
I yanked a smaller, orange-colored spray bottle from my jacket. I
squirted it onto the floor in front of the woman.
Red liquid spurted out. The woman stepped onto it. Her foot flew out.
She sprawled backwards.
up! Got a clear shot.”
My wet hand
swung my baton. The baton smacked her knife hand. She screamed. She tried to
stab me. The blade brushed my jacket. I wailed.
baton wobbled in my mitt. Then I swung again and again. The baton hit the
snapped and flew behind her. The woman scrambled up. She fell down again,
gripping the broken knife handle. Her legs splayed out.
can’t stand up,” I said. “Lie on your stomach, hands out in front.”
She spat at
moved closer and trained the gun on her. “Max, don’t try cuffing her. Get some
Gist’ll blow her into rock ‘n’ roll heaven.”
I snaked out my new handcuffs, waited and lunged. One handcuff snagged
the right wrist. The steel levered against the bone.
you’re hurting me!”
the left, ma’am. Then it stops hurting. That way, everyone wins.”
got to a knee. Her foot flew out on the slippery floor. She sprawled again. I
crunched my teeth together, concentrated and caught the left wrist. I jammed it
into the open cuff. Then I sank down, chest heaving.
crawling into a dumpster and not waking up
She lay panting, handcuffed, and covered with red grease.
“Mace never works,” I said. “Karate would just make her mad. Tranquilizer gun will kill
her. That slippery stuff knocks her down and keeps her down. God bless it.”
you find it, Maxy?”
Wild animal trainers use it.”
“Someday, maybe our Department will okay us to use it.”