The trip downtown at four A. M. on deserted freeways took only twenty-two minutes. The black-and-white slick-back that the RHD dicks were forced to drive now finally made a wide turn off Broadway, its headlights sweeping the south side of the Glass House. It pulled up to the security station. Sergeant Welch showed his badge, signed them all in, and drove into the huge underground parking garage that adjoined Parker Center.

The building was known as 'the Glass House' to everybody on the job because of the excessive amount of plate glass that draped its huge boxy shape. The otherwise nondescript building had been designed in the fifties, which had proved to be a decade of architectural blight. The parking garage next door went down nine stories underground. The detectives found a spot on U-3, and both led Shane out of the parking complex, through a security door, and into the third basement of police headquarters. They took the elevator to six and got off at the Robbery/Homicide Division, which took up half the floor and was fronted by a thick glass partition.

Garson Welch buzzed them through and found the OOD, a thin-faced sergeant in uniform, sitting at a computer just inside the squad room. 'Is Captain Halley around? He was supposed to get a call out on this activity report.'

The sergeant nodded and pointed down the hall. 'Interview room Three,' he said.

They moved single file down the linoleum-floored corridor and turned into a small, windowless interrogation room that contained a scarred desk, two wooden chairs, and Robbery/Homicide Captain Bud Halley. Halley had his jacket off and was showing the beginnings of a twelve-hour beard, having missed his shave at four A. M. He had also missed two belt loops. Other than that, he was a remarkably handsome, fit, prematurely gray man in his mid- forties. He was Shane's Southwest Homicide Bureau commander. They had a good professional relationship. In the two years Shane had been assigned to Southwest Detectives, Halley had given him two excellent evaluation reports. As Shane came through the door, Captain Halley motioned him to a chair. 'You guys don't have to stick around unless you need him. I'm gonna send him home after the activity report,' he said to the two detectives.

'Thanks, Cap, check you later,' Welch said as they left the room and closed the door behind them.

'We only have a few minutes and then God knows what happens,' Halley said.

'A few minutes? What're you talking about? You're doing the DFAR. What's the rush?'

' 'Cept I'm not doing it. Deputy Chief Thomas Mayweather is on his way in. He's doing it.'

'The head of Special Investigations Division is doing my activity report? You can't be serious. Why him?'

'Chief Brewer ordered it,' Halley said.

'Same question, then.'

'Don't you know what Ray Molar's assignment was?'

'Yeah… he was Mayor Clark Crispin's bodyguard and driver. He was also killing his wife with a nightstick. He fired a shot at me. Barbara Molar is my wit. This should be a slam dunk. So what's the deal?'

'Lemme give you the secret to survival around here.' Shane waited for the punch line. 'Everything that's not department history is department politics. Chief Brewer was awakened by Mayor Crispin, who called the Big Kahuna from the Dark Side, who got rousted off his sailboat at the marina. He was planning to sail across the channel for a long weekend in Avalon. Now, instead of salt air and sea chanteys, Deputy Chief Mayweather is coming here, in his fucking yacht attire, looking to tear you a new asshole.'

'Cap, let me say this again, so none of us miss it. Steeltooth was killing his wife. He shot first. If I hadn't returned fire, we'd both be in the county icebox bleeding from the ears. I know for a fact Ray has two spousal- abuse beefs in his IAD package. He's a regular at rage-management counseling. Aside from that, we both know he was a head thumper from way back. You don't get the nickname Steeltooth just because your last name's Molar.'

'Don't convince me. Make Mayweather believe it,' Halley said softly.

Shane's hands started to shake. He was coming down from a two-hour adrenaline rush. He had killed Ray Molar, his expartner, a man he had once respected, then came to fear, and then finally to hate. His emotions hovered just below consciousness. He knew he couldn't afford a mistake, so he pushed personal feelings aside and concentrated on his plight, his survival instincts taking precedence.

Deputy Chief Mayweather was six three and ebony black. He had a shaved head and always carried himself with the athletic grace he had shown as a first-string point guard on the UCLA basketball team in the seventies.

He moved through the predawn stillness of the Robbery/Homicide Division and looked at the tired collection of swing-shift detectives who were manning their desks, sneaking glances at the clock, waiting for the day-watch to show up and relieve them. Mayweather stuck his gleaming black head into the interrogation room containing Scully and Halley.

'Let's do this upstairs.' Mayweather's voice was cold and smooth, Vaseline on ice. 'We'll use the conference room on nine. Bud, see if they got some coffee down here and bring it up.' Then, without even looking at Shane, he moved out of the room, leaving them there.

'Good luck,' Halley said as Shane got up off his hardwood chair and followed Mayweather, who was already halfway down the hall, striding toward the elevators with a Yul Brynner elegance, his arms swinging freely, his hips slightly forward. He was not in yachting attire. He'd dressed for this gig. The suit he wore was charcoal gray, creaseless, and fit him like a second skin. Tom Mayweather could easily have made a nice living on the pages of GQ.

Shane moved along behind him like a barefoot, dark-haired, brown-eyed shadow, his own gait more the shuffling stride of a street fighter. Although Shane had always been able to attract women, he found his own looks pugnacious and off-putting. In his mirror, he saw a face marred by cynicism and loneliness. He was always surprised when he heard someone describe him as attractive.

He caught Mayweather at the elevator. Both men remained silent as they waited for the stainless-steel doors to open and take them to the ninth floor, where Tom Mayweather and the other deputy chiefs had their offices down the hall from Chief Burleigh Brewer.

'Sorry about the Avalon trip, sir,' Shane said, going for a little pre-interview suck.

'Let's save everything for when we get the tape running, okay?'

'Sure,' Shane said.

The door opened and they stepped in and rode the humming metal box to the light-paneled, green-carpeted executive floor. All the way up, Deputy Chief Mayweather said nothing, but he was staring at Shane's bloodstained bare feet.

Shane had been on nine only once before. He had been in Chief Brewer's office three years ago when he received a Meritorious Service Medal. He had risked his life, the citation said, freeing two children from a burning car wreck on the San Pedro Freeway.

They moved down the hall. Shane glanced out the plate-glass windows and could see the morning sun beginning to light the corners of the buildings across Sixth Street, throwing a fiery glow on the stone roofs and concrete balconies of the old brown buildings that surrounded the huge police monstrosity like tattered memories.

Mayweather opened the door to the conference room, turned on the lights, and left him there.

The room was paneled in the same light-colored wood. It was huge and windowless, being part of the interior structure of the building. On the walls were portraits of all of L. A.'s past police chiefs. The father of the new department, Chief William H. Parker, was hanging in a place of honor on the wall at the head of the table.

They had all learned about Bill Parker in the Academy. In 1934 then-Lieutenant Parker, a law school graduate, was assistant to L. A. police chief James E. Davis. From that post, Parker saw the workings of L. A. city government close-up. The Shaw brothers presided over a corrupt city, and Chief Davis was beholden to the Shaws. Mayor Shaw's brother controlled the Vice Squad and was selling sergeant's tests for five hundred dollars apiece. Working with Lieutenant Earl Cook, Bill Parker campaigned for the passage of the city charter amendment that contained Section 202, which provided for a Police Bill of Rights and administrative reviews to protect police officers from inappropriate charges of wrongdoing. That section of the city charter set the model of police disciplinary review that the LAPD still uses today. Portraits of Chiefs Davis, Reddin, Gates, Williams, Parks, and Brewer hung on the walls of the conference room and seemed to glower down at him, silently reproaching him for killing one of L. A.'s finest.

'Guy was murdering his wife,' Shane muttered to himself and to the stone-faced gallery of disapproving ex- police chiefs.

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