8 July 1982; 0240:
Six blocks from the jail, Gunn turned into an alley. In the middle of the block he drove up to the back door of what appeared to be a residence. "Tell Dispatch we'll be ten-ten at the Roost."
January obeyed, got out of the car and followed Gunn to the door.
When he knocked, a tall, middle aged African American woman wearing a bright Hawaiian muumuu answered the door.
"Good evening, Garnet. This is Officer Farrell. Farrell, Garnet Ledeux."
The woman looked January over thoroughly before she gave a gracious nod. "Good evening Thaddeus. My pleasure, Officer Farrell." She offered January her hand, her grip firm and business like. "Come in, come in, please. Mama Good baked a nice German chocolate cake today. Would you care for some, with your coffee?"
Garnet led them into a parlor-like room that looked straight out of the Gay Nineties, red velvet curtains and all.
"Cake sounds fine." Gunn glanced at January.
"Yes, thank you." January murmured her acceptance in a vague tone as she scanned the florid room. What kind of place is this? It looks like a cat house ... but he wouldn't do a thing like that--would he?
"Sit down, please, I'll be right back." Garnet left the room.
"What kind of place is this, anyway?" January's knew her puzzlement showed in her tone and expression. She couldn't believe what she was seeing.
"I think you'll figure it out soon."
I don't like that smirk. Something is fishy. I feel like I'm being set up. Damn, what's this guy's problem?
A black waitress in a crisp uniform glided in with a laden tray. She placed cups and saucers in front of both Gunn and January and a third set opposite them, adding a plate with a generous slice of cake in front of each officer. She put a sugar bowl, creamer, and silverware on the table before filling all three cups from a large carafe, which she left on the table. "Enjoy." The waitress beamed at January before she left the room.
Garnet returned to sit across the table with the two cops. "Well, Officer Farrell, you're new to the Department, I believe."
"Yes ma'am, this is my first shift."
Garnet shot a sharp glance at Gunn before she turned back to January. "What is your first name, if I may ask?" Her smile glowed with warmth, somehow gentle.
"It's January, and no, I was not born in that month. My father just happened to like the name."
"How delightful. My people often name their children with fanciful or whimsical names. Everyone should have color in their lives, and what could be better than a colorful name? May I call you January?"
"Yes, of course."
"You're quite lovely, January, and your hair is a beautiful color. I'm surprised such an attractive young woman would choose police work as a career." Garnet continued to study her, a thoughtful frown creasing her brow.
"Thank you for the compliment. As for career, I have my reasons. I was in the Marines for six years as well. Again, with what I thought were good reasons."
"It was no compliment, my dear, but the simple truth." Garnet turned to Gunn. "Was the cake all right? Thaddeus, I know about your reputation as a gourmet." Garnet paused to chuckle. "You eat so fast, you couldn't possibly taste anything."
"Yes, Garnet, the cake was fine. Tell Mama Good she can bake cakes for me anytime." Gunn turned his ghoulish grin toward Garnet.
"You are a humbug, Thaddeus Gunn. Don't try your spooky business on me." Garnet frowned briefly at him, then turned back to January.
"January, the girls want to meet you, if you're through eating."
"I'm through. The cake really was delicious." Wait ... girls? Geez, it really is!.
"Good." Garnet clapped her hands. Six young women trooped into the room. Five wore sheer night gowns and negligees, while one was in a scarlet strapless sequined mini-dress. All had on too much makeup, and a common hardness aged their youthful faces.
Hell, it is a whore house! What is Gunn up to? This is crazy. Cops don't take breaks in whore houses!