Jones & Morales Residence, Philadelphia, PA
The drive over to the apartment that Jasmin Morales shared with her roommate had taken about twenty minutes. In the time that they drove over Kevin had made contact with Pennsylvania State Police and had them heading to the park cabin to conduct a search and had attempted to reach out to park rangers or park police but failed. The State Trooper he spoke to said they’d make the request to the park and get back to him. With that done he had reached out to his contact at Philadelphia PD and notified them they’d be making a search at the address Seaman Recruit Malcolm’s mother had given them.
“Let’s take a quick lap or two around the building in the car first and see what we’re looking at before we make a plan of approach,” Kevin said, as they were about two blocks away from the apartment building.
“Rough neighborhood,” he observed, taking in their surroundings as the pair drove. “PD is going to send a car but said it might be a while.”
He’d seen worse, but that wasn’t really the point right now. Buzz exhaled softly as he craned his head within the limits of the vehicle, glancing up at the buildings. Low rent, heavy on the graffiti and garbage… just sort of place he’d frequented often during his time in Charleston PD.
“Rough, sure. But we can handle it,” he told Kevin with a wry smile. “PD probably have enough work for the week just on this block alone…” Buzz added, checking for signs of overt trouble.
“Likely,” Kevin agreed. “That’s the building,” he said, slowing as they drove past the front and came to a stop for a moment until it caught the attention of someone up the block who stood and began to shuffle off around a corner. He slowly kept going, it was the center building of five in the middle of the block and it didn’t appear they could get a good look at the sides or the rear from the surrounding blocks.
“Uh huh,” Buzz noted, more of his attention on the visual than verbal as Roe did the slow drive-by. “Someone’s seen us,” he said. “They don’t look dangerous…”
Building wise, it had a narrow frontage, five storeys. Looked like it went back aways, and there wasn’t much of an angle to see much more from the road either. If they wanted a proper recon, they’d have to tab it.
“Not really much to go on,” he said, as they slowly passed the front again. “We should wait for PD to help us cover other exits at the very least,” Kevin said, as he turned down the same block again. This time instead of making a circle around the block he went down an extra one so they could park away from the entrance. They pulled into an empty spot in front of a fire hydrant and shut off the lights.
Buzz nodded his agreement. “Probably wise,” he reluctantly agreed. He wanted to get out there, get this done, but he understood the value of back-up well enough. No sense in creating trouble that he and Roe didn’t need. “You take me to all the best places,” he joked, but his gaze was searching the ground around them, seeking entrances, exits and any sign of life, no matter how transient.
“Roe,” Kevin said, answering the phone that began to ring from the cupholder. “We’re parked in a fire hydrant zone like two blocks up. Have the officers meet us here and we can pull up together. Thanks.” Kevin hung the phone up and returned it to his pocket this time after putting the phone on vibrate.
“Police should be here in a few minutes,” Kevin explained, “we can just keep an eye on the front from here for now.”
“Duly noted. Anything moves we oughta see ’em from here.” Buzz kept his focus outward, seeking motion as they both waited. “Doesn’t exactly look like a romantic getaway though, huh?”
“I got you that nice room in Cape May and took you to my favorite restaurant, what more do you need?” Kevin asked.
Buzz chuckled. “Well, I miss cuddles, but that might be crossing a line.” He beamed a big open-mouthed grin and kept his gaze outside the vehicle, trusting that Roe knew the line between humour and violation of personal space. “But yeah,” Buzz continued. “Your moves are on point. Anyone in the emotional firing line for real?” He asked, unsure if Kevin had a current partner or not. Small talk. Kept you busy while you waited.
Then a familiar sound of an engine in low gear broke the mood.
“Here we go,” Kevin said, as a patrol car pulled up alongside them and he rolled down his window. “We’ll pull up together, do a quick circle of the building for exits and then move in. I’m Roe and this is Bradley,” he said, pulling his creds out of his pocket and showing them to the officer.
Right on cue, Buzz swiftly followed suit with a show of his badge, then pocketed it neatly.
“White and Carson, sir,” the cop in the passenger seat said.
“Alright, let’s go,” Kevin said, putting his creds in his lap for now and then putting the car in gear pulling out in front of the patrol car. They pulled in front of the building and double parked and as they got out of their cars he stuffed his creds back in his pocket and phone in a back pocket.
“Buzz stay here and watch the door,” he ordered, motioning one cop down the left side and the other cop down the right and he followed down the right.
“Aye-firmative,” acknowledged Buzz and he adopted a stationary position that gave him the optimal view of his surroundings while covering the doorway.
It was a small space, but cheap. The kind of apartment where you get what you pay for it and even then barely that. Tile well past the era in which it was fashionable lined the kitchen and bathroom, what might have once been brown now yellowing and cracking, brittle where edges pulled away from each other.
The door led into a sitting area in the middle, old overstuffed couch and a mishmash of chairs circled around a TV that might have been rescued from someone’s yard–or liberated from someone’s basement. The ashtray on the low 70s style coffee table held fresh ash, a cigarette pitched inward and balanced on one of the semicircular depressions in the glass.
Ky’ira Jones paced the space. Feet clothed in bright pink fuzzy slippers slapping against the tile, then onto the threadbare living room carpet and down the small hallway where bath and bedrooms could be found, then back again.
“Bitch…” the woman spat as she paced, switching from mumbling angrily to herself to swearing loudly every few turns of the space. “Fucking bitch.”
She paused to resume her cigarette taking a long drag, hand on tightly clad hip, before blowing the smoke back out of her mouth toward the ceiling.