Directions to Handelman Street
Author's Note: Just jigger the timelines a bit so that post season 7 Buffy coincides with the Nina Cassady season of Law & Order, and so that Jenny is 18 at this point. Yes, this is a crossover, even though no Buffy characters appear in the this part.
Also, hi! Yes, I'm still alive, and I will get back to Martian Manhunter, I promise.
Disclaimer: Dick Wolf created Law & Order, and Joss Whedon created Buffy. "Jenny" originally appeared in the L&O episode "Killerz."
X X X X X
She didn't know where this new strength had come from, but it was useful. Months back, not long before she finally got out of juvie -- "I'll never do it again," she'd told the psychiatrist. "It was a stupid phase I was going through. It was wrong and I'm very sorry. I wrote this letter for the boy's family. I'd hope you see that it gets to them."
The psychiatrist had been convinced, but then, most psychiatrists were stupid and easily convinced. There was only that one back when she was on trial -- Skoda. And he wasn't working for New York anymore. It had been so easy to find out. "I'm afraid of him," she'd said. And the dumb doctor had found it our for her.
She bided her time. Kept her strength hidden. As well as the urges she had to roam around at night killing things.
And now her records were sealed, she had a good job working as an auto mechanic (juvie provided vocational training. Turned out she had an aptitude for using tools. Who knew?), and she didn't even have to deal with a halfway house.
And then she'd heard the voice. "Are you ready to be strong?"
Damn right, she was ready to be strong.
No more dealing with little boys. Now it was time to take on men.
She hated men.
She didn't like women, much, either. But she didn't want to kill any of them.
Men deserved to die.
No more luring, no more having to take them from behind.
Now she could just grab them.
Want, take, have.
The fact that she'd grown up to be a fairly attractive woman in the last seven years helped. 5'5", long, wavy reddish brown hair, not that she cared about sex, really, but she'd seen enough magazines to know what men found attractive.
Men were so gullible.
"Excuse me, sir?" she said. "I'm lost. Could you tell me where Handelman Street is?"
X X X X X
Jay Kendall looked at his friend Vic. "Vic, look," he said. "I got no problems with you bein' an Orioles fan. I'm just sayin' you might wanna keep it hidden when we're actually at Yankee Stadium."
Vic Canelli laughed. "A real fan roots for their team no matter what," he said as they turned a corner.
"Well, all I'm sayin' is, it's a good thing you're built like a pro wrestler, 'cause otherwise you woulda got your clock cleaned tonight. Especially after the O's pulled off that big rally in the ninth." He shook his head. "Damn Riviera. I think his time is done. Three runs. Three damn runs."
"I'm telling you, that kid Markakis is a real -- what's that?"
"Over there in the alley." Vic walked over to the mouth of the alley. When he came back, he was pale. "Call the cops."
"Call the fucking cops!" he yelled.
X X X X X
"Good god," Nina Cassady said. The body in the alley was naked and badly battered. It didn't look like a single square inch of the man's body had escaped bruising.
"That was my reaction," Ed Green said. They were both detectives, and even though Nina was a comparative rookie, she went out of her way to prove she was as hard as anyone; though the job got to them occasionally, they didn't show it often. But this -- this was obscene.
"Who called it in?" Cassady said.
"Those guys over there," Green said, pointing to two men wearing baseball caps, one of whom had to be a good six and a half feet tall.
"Is that an Orioles cap he has on?" Cassady said.
"He's lucky he's not the dead one."
X X X X X
The next morning, Green and Cassady were talking to Lt. Anita Van Buren. "And you're sure it wasn't this weightlifter type?" she asked.
"He's got about five hundred witnesses," Green said. "The entire section was ticked at the dude with the Orioles cap. Unless he can teleport, I'd say he's not our guy."
"Anything else?" Van Buren said.
"It's gotta be someone like him, Lieutenant," Cassady said. "You should've seen this guy. It looked like the Hulk had been working him over."
Green said, "We did get an ID on him, though. We lucked out; his prints were in the system. Name's Davis Trimmer."
"A couple of assaults," Green said. "Seems to be a couple of drunken brawls, from the police report."
"So maybe his latest brawl got out of hand," Van Buren said.
Green's phone rang. When he put it down, he said, "MEs' ready."
X X X X X
"Let me guess," Green said. "Cause of death is blunt force trauma from getting hit with some kind of instrument."
The medical examiner, Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers, said, "You'd think, but no. If this guy was hit by anything other than a body part, I can't find any evidence of it -- except for a few incidental scrapes that probably happened when he hit the wall and the pavement."
"This was all done with someone's fists?" Cassady said, disbelievingly.
"No," Dr. Rodgers said. "Some of it was done with feet."
Green rolled his eyes. "Well, whoever did this, we're looking for someone pretty damn big. Trimmer's not the size of that muscleman in the O's cap, but he ain't short, either."
Putting a file away, Dr. Rodgers said, "Well, if they're big, they've got tiny hands and feet."
Frowning, Cassady said, "How tiny?"
"Well, hand and foot size isn't the most reliable factor, but unless they've got ridiculously small extremities I'd peg your perp for being no taller than five and a half feet tall. And that's the upper limit."
"Five and a half feet?" Cassady asked in disbelief. "That doesn't seem possible."
"Not necessarily," Green said. "I know some martial arts experts could probably do a number on people bigger than they are."
"I'm not a psychiatrist," Rodgers said, "But Mr. Trimmer's injuries seem to be far more than any karate expert would need to beat someone up or kill them."
"Thanks," Green said.
As they left the office, Cassady said, "So, do you want to take a look at Trimmer's apartment, or try to track his movements?"
"He's married," Green said. "We talk to the wife, maybe we'll figure out where he went."
X X X X X
Mrs. Trimmer opened the door as sson as Green and Cassady showed their badges. "I can't believe you got over here so fast," she said.
"What are you talking about?" Cassady asked.
"I just reported Dave missing an hour ago."
Cassady and Green looked at each other; they hated not to break the news right away, but sometimes you learned something when you didn't." Cassady said, "When did you first notice he was missing?"
"When I woke up this morning," Mrs. Trimmer said.
"You didn't notice him not come home last night?"
"Last night was Dave's poker night, over at Mort Pulaski's. Sometimes he doesn't come home till one in the morning. But he always comes home."
"Where does he play poker?"
She frowned. "You're not going to get them in trouble, are you?"
"We're not the gambling police, Mrs. Trimmer."
Something in Detective Green's tone must have alerted her. "And you're not from Missing Persons, either, are you?"
Cassady said, "There's no easy way to tell you this, Mrs. Trimmer . . ."
X X X X X
"Mr. Pulaski?" Green said.
"That's me. What can I do for you?"
"You had a poker game here last night, right?"
"We're homicide," Cassady said. "We don't care how much money changed hands. We're trying to trace the movements of one of your regulars."
"Which one?" Pulaski said.
"Is he --"
"I'm sorry to tell you this, but he was killed last night," Green said.
"Damn. He was a good guy."
Green and Cassady looked at each other. "We understand he has a bit of a temper."
"Dave? Naah. Only when he gets drunk. And he doesn't do that anymore."
"Twelve-step group?" Green asked.
"Not as far as I know. He just got a bit of discipline. Doesn't have more than a couple of beers."
"So he didn't get angry last night?"
Pulaski said, "Wouldn't have even if he was stil drinking heavily. He ended up the night's big winner and anyway he was sober when he walked out."
Green's cell phone rang; he excused himself. Cassady asked, "Anyone in your group especially short?"
Pulaski shook his head. "No."
Pulaski laughed. "We're all married. We come here to get away from women for a night. No offense."
Green said, "Right." and flipped his phone shut. "Cassady?"
"We got another one."
"Thanks for your time, Mr. Pulaski," Cassady said.
X X X X X
The first one had been easy. Good. She hadn't wanted to start off with a challenge.
There was something inside her -- telling her to kill only at night. It felt like she should be killing something else, but she wasn't sure what. She ignored it, for the moment.
Men would do for now. Here came another one.
"Excuse me, sir," she asked. "Could you tell me where Handelman Street is?"