He had been trained as a baker the first time he went to prison...And had come out baking cakes and pies....Soon he opened up a very successful bakery..
He laundered dirty money for the drug boys...and he hired stick up crews and safe crackers or Box men as they were known on the streets and set up high line scores..mostly of jewelry stores, banks, and the homes of the well to do...
He had been doing this for years...The cops knew, but they never could put a tag on him...
I wasn't aiming to today...I just wanted that painting back...
There was a pretty little girl working there..
"Can I help you sir?" she asked..
"Yes...Can I have a large tumbler of coffee..three creams, six sugars....A Bear Claw and a fresh doughnut from the oven...?" I asked..
"Coming right up...That'll be $7.50 sir." she said..
I gave her a ten...
"Keep the change...Uh and could you ask Mr. Jordan to come over here?..I would like to discuss some business with him.." I said.
She smiled. She was probably used to shady people coming in here from time to time ,asking for the boss..
"Sure..I'll go and get him.." she said..
Sweet Tooth was a very nattily dressed man...Tall, thin, with a toothy grin...
He saw me and he walked over to my table..
''Who are you?" he asked.
"Sit down"I said calmly...
The smoke was coming up off of my coffee...
My Bear claw and my doughnut arrived..
"They were both fresh out of the oven...
Sweet Tooth Jordan was impatient..
"You didn't call me out here to critique my doughnuts or my coffee...Now I'm gonna ask you again ,who are you and what do you want?" he asked.
"See that? It's a portrait....It was stolen from Tommy Don's Art gallery....Day before Yesterday...The thief was Randy "Cat" Stevens....I stopped by his last known residence and I even found the Acura he used to transport it...Car was clean and apartment was empty..He's good..but not that good..Now I know you're the guy in this area..You're the shot caller...No score goes down without you getting a piece of the action....Now I want that portrait back..."I said..
Sweet Tooth Jordan smiled..
"Oh really? You don't look like a cop.."he said..
"Damn Man, these are really good.."I said and finished my coffee...
Sweet Tooth Jordan smiled..
"How bout if I tell you I don't know what you're talking about?" he said..
"How bout if I re-iterate...I want that portrait back...Tell Cat to get it back...I'm certain you haven't moved it yet....I want it back ,by this afternoon if possible.No questions asked."I said.
"Get out of here.. Next time you come back it better strictly be to munch on my pastries and to drink my coffee....Anything else...and I know some people that will make your life very uncomfortable...You feel me on that?" he said..
"This afternoon...Remember that!" I said.. "Good Bye Mr. Jordan....oh and my compliments...The coffee and the pastries are off the chain.."I said..
I quietly left his establishment...I walked three blocks down the street and got in my car and pulled off..
"Turn around and I'll blow your gotdamn head off.." he said quietly...
Clerow also had on a mask and a .45 in his stomach...
"Okay...Okay...Just don't shoot me..please...What-What do you want?" he asked.
"We'll get to that! But I think you know.."said Kool Kat...
They walked the startled Sweet Tooth Jordan to an old beat up truck..
The tough talking gangster was frightened to death...
"What- What do you want?" he asked...Urinating on himself..
"Look, I haven't got it....Look a man..a man named Jennings...He paid me 25 Large to have that portrait stolen..I paid Cat Stevens...4 large to do the job...He did it..I'm no longer involved.." he said...
"I swearrr..don't hurt me..pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.."he pleaded...
Clerow was doing the best he could to contain his laughter..
"Where is Cat?" he asked..
Sweet Tooth Jordan gave him Cat's address....
"That's the truth...I got my money....I 'm out of it..." he said..
"If we find out you're lying...We'll do this little song and dance again.."growled Kool Kat...
"I'm not lying..I swearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....I swearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!" Sweet Tooth Jordan cried out, tears streaming down his face and his legs shaking like a leaf!
So scared that he closed up shop and went home for the rest of the day...
"That's right Mommy...I found that old portrait of Mom-Mom that Pop Pop painted..." said Sepia.
"What? The one with her by the Brooklyn Bridge at Night?" asked Mrs. Cokeley..
"The same Mommy...It's in an Art Gallery, it was to be auctioned...I was going to buy it.."said Sepia.
"You said was gonna...what happened? Somebody out bid you?" asked Mrs. Cokeley...
"No, somebody stole it...Stole it from the Gallery....Supposedly it's worth much more than it was when you had to sell it..."said Sepia..
"WOW!...and I sold it for $350 dollars..."said Mrs. Cokeley..
" Well the bidding starts at $5000.00."said Sepia..
"It starts at $5000.00? whoooooo Lord!"said Mrs. Cokeley..
"If Somebody stole it...They did it for somebody else...Somebody with deep pockets and they've probably unloaded it by now...but if anybody can find it..It's that husband of yours....You know Sepia, if I subtract the fact that he's responsible for me being here...He's not so bad....He's taken care of you....He's given me a granddaughter and he keeps money on my books....And plus this prison isn't so bad...He's alright as Son in laws go...He's a lot better than that damn Cock Robbins.."said Mrs. Cokeley...
I knew what he looked like.... and I knew he was too smart to use his real name...
It was easy to find the name he used and even easier to find his floor...
I knocked on the door..
He came to the door in his boxer shorts....
He was stunned to see me..
We didn't ask for an invite, we barged our way in and pushed on to his couch....Just to let him know we meant business.. Kool Kat opened his suit jacket and showed him his .44 mag...
"So you're the mysterious Cat, I've heard so much about.." I said.
He was speechless...
"Whoa...Now hold on...Who are you guys? How do you know my name?"
"You stole something I want back BADLY!!" I said..
''Who me? Nahhhh man!" he said..
I pulled out my smart phone and showed him the portrait of Sepia's Grand mother standing by the Brooklyn Bridge that he stole from the art museum...I showed him film footage of him unloading it from his Acura and taking it into an apartment complex...He couldn't argue with that..
"How did you find me? How did you trace me and get that footage?" he asked..
"I'm just that good..The man I'm working for wants it back...NOW!" I said..
The Cat was terrified...
"No..No...Look I already unloaded that portrait....A man named Jennings...C. Bartlett Jennings..." said The Cat...
"That's what Sweet Tooth Jordan told us.."said Kool Kat,...
"You guys went to see him?" asked Cat..
"How do you think we found you here genius.....He gave you up with very little persuasion.."said Kool Kat..
Cat looked disappointed..
"I'll be damned...He put me on to this score in the first place..." said Cat...
"Know what else he did? he ripped you off...he paid you 4 large to steal that painting....He was paid 25 large by Mr. Jennings....He pocketed 21 Large..."said Kool Kat.
Now Cat was furious...
"That gotdamn chisler...He ripped me off and fingered me on top of that...I'll steal it back for you for price.." he said..
"You've got 24 hours...and don't try to run..I found you once...I can find you again."I said..."24 hours..I'd better hear from you.."I said.
"That's why I rolls with you...you think of everything..." He said..
As we chowed down, we followed the progress of our thief...
We could now track him to where ever he chose to hole up and hear his conversations...
"Who do you think he's calling?" asked Clerow..
"Whoever paid for that portrait...Not Sweet Tooth Jordan..he was the middle man...This is the guy we want to be talking to..."I said..
''Hello Mr. Jennings..."said Cat Stevens..
''Who is this?"
"I'm the man who lifted the painting you wanted from the art gallery.."
"Where are you? are you on a protected phone?"
"I am...I'm in my car....We have a problem?"
''What kind of problem? I reached out to find the best talent to get that painting...I reached out with 25 large.."
''So they were telling the truth.."
"Who is they?"
"I suspect Tommy Dee hired somebody to find this painting...And whoever he hired is good..They found me and they found Sweet Tooth Jordan...and they know your name..but not much else...They paid us both a visit today..They didn't know that I still have the painting....I'll deliver it to you tomorrow...I had to cut out of my condo...They even found out where I live..I' going to my other safehouse over in Camden...I'll meet you tomorrow after noon for the exchange..but it's gonna cost you.."
"Cost me? I've already paid 25 large for that damn painting.."
"I only got 4 large out of the deal.."
"That's between you and Sweet Tooth Jordan...Not my problem.."
"Oh I think it is....I still have the painting...If you want it ,it's going to cost you 20 Large.."
"20 Large?? THAT'S ROBBERY!!!"
"That sounds funny coming from you....I could always sell it back to Tommy Don...I bet he'd pay."
"Alright...Where do we meet?"
"The Camden Aquarium..Come with the money...No games!"
"You'll be paid..Don't worry!"
"I swear, there is no honor amongst theives." he said..
I cracked up laughing.....
"Never Thought there was partner!" I said.
(TO BE CONTINUED)