The Tip

So I had a possibly modified bullet or a strange Russian caliber, I needed some more data on this whole thing, Dan said he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) help me. I considered going to Chang, he was an expert in firearms but most of his knowledge came from the virtual world, I needed someone who knew about guns in the real world and I thought I had just the man for it.

Kai Jones was actually a pretty smart and knowledgeable guy, he just liked to play the surfer dude. We’d talked about a lot of stuff on some of our group outings, he’d told me about his folks back in California and his former life there. It was amazing what some beers and a sympathetic ear could uncover. The police, being modeled after the military, was very much like it in the sense that ranks didn’t usually mix; officers would seldom socialize with the regular soldiers, etc. So it was in the precinct, the detectives would almost never hang out with beat cops or unis, that’s just the way things were I guess. I didn’t give a fuck about all that rank bullshit, to me a good cop was a good cop, irrespective of rank, gender, social status or race. Kai was a good cop, he was good at his job and, more importantly, was a good guy, a good human being, and he had funny and interesting stories, icing on the cake. So I hang out with him when we got a chance, I didn’t make a habit of searching him out man-crush style, but if a bunch of us went drinking I’d often sit with the guy and listen to his stories. I’d learned quite a lot. For example, his dad was a Navy SEAL and had wanted Kai to follow in his footsteps, but Kai wanted to do his own thing and came over to start fresh here, away from his dad’s influence. Not that they didn’t get along, quite the contrary, they had a great relationship and his dad’s buddies treated Kai just like one of the guys since he was little. They’d taught him not only to shoot but all sorts of things about weapons and explosives and God knew what else. He’d left because he really wanted to see what he could do for himself, without dad’s favors, he figured if it didn’t work out he could always go back, you had to admire him for that.

On one occasion we’d all ended up at his house and he’d shown me his gun collection, it was alarming to say the least, he had enough firepower to start World War Three by himself but he was very professional about it, even with a couple of beers under his belt, he never kept them loaded, always under lock and key and wouldn’t let anyone touch them. I found that very reassuring. When everyone had left and it was just the two of us, he took a couple of rifles out of their cage and showed me how he could strip and reassemble them in what looked to me like a world record, it was incredible to see this kid handle that thing like an extension of himself.

I forget what we spoke about till the wee hours of the morning, but I’ll never forget how he handled those weapons, I suspected he’d had an M4 instead of a Teddy Bear in his crib. So Kai was just the man to ask about weird ammunition and where to get a rifle that used it.

I phoned Dispatch to find out where he was, as luck would have it, he and his partner had just come back after picking up some guy for disturbing the peace and where in booking so I headed there. Kai and his partner were processing a guy who was handcuffed and a bit rowdy, screaming obscenities at them.

“Hey Kai, you got a second?” I asked him.

“Sure dude,” he said, then turning to his partner, “Mike, would you mind processing this guy while I talk to Harding?”

“Yeah, no problem.” Mike said.

Kai came over and said, “What’s up, dude?”

“You ever heard of a 9×39 mm bullet?” I asked him.

“Sure, the 9×39, based on the 7.62×39 mm round, almost exclusively used in Russian weapons.”

I loved this kid, he was a walking gun encyclopaedia. “Where can one get a gun like that in the city?”

“I’m not really sure, dude, that’s a pretty specific caliber, I’d have to ask around.”

“Can you do that and get back to me? It’s for a case I’m working on.”

“Sure thing, dude. Later.”

He gave me the hang loose sign and went back to his partner and the guy they were booking.

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