Detective Susan McDonnell slowly stalked through the unoccupied office building following the sound of the voices. She smiled to herself thinking how she could finally claim finding Louie Bartoli's operation before that private investigator Bobbi Dale did.
The more McDonnell thought about Bobbi, the more frustrated she got. Bobbi Dale was the head of her own self-named private investigation firm. Bobbi herself was a tall, unnatural blonde who could have a career as a swimsuit model if she'd wanted. In addition to being perky and sarcastic, she had this uncanny knack of undercutting the police on various investigations and then charging a consulting fee without prior authorization. McDonnell suspected both the mayor and the chief had a thing for Bobbi who likely used it to her fullest advantage.
When she heard Bobbi was brought in to help track down Bartoli, she became determined to be the one to discover his location and put that bottle-blonde in her place.
As McDonnell slinked through a cubicle maze, she heard Bartoli's distinctive baritone coming from the far corner of the room. She raised her weapon up to her face and took a deep breath. Just as she readied herself for the confrontation, she was interrupted when a strong hand grabbed her wrist.
McDonnell spun and came face-to-face with a large man holding her gun hand with one arm and a .45 in the other. Had she been so wrapped up in her thoughts a thug this big was able to sneak up on her?
"Joey! Over here!" the man yelled.
Another large thug with an equally-imposing .45 rounded the corner as the first one took her gun. "Well, look what you found, Ramone!" he exclaimed.
Joey watched McDonnell while Ramone frisked her. Finding her badge and handcuffs, he remarked, "We got ourselves a cop. The boss ain't gonna be too happy. I'll see how he wants to handle things. You check around and see if you spot any more." Joey nodded and walked off while Ramone hancuffed her and began marching her toward the rear office.
Bartoli was apparently talking to someone, but stopped as he spotted Ramone and McDonnell walking toward him. "Are you freakin' kidding me?" he asked.
"This one's a cop, boss," said Ramone. "Joey's checking around to see if she's alone or not."
"Let's add her to my collection, then," replied Bartoli, motioning them inside.
McDonnell wondered what he meant by "collection" until she walked in the office and found a similarly-handcuffed Bobbi Dale sitting on a desk inside.
"Hey, Suzie Mack!" grinned Bobbi. (McDonnell hated that nickname.) "Glad you could make it. We've got him right where we want him, don't we?"
McDonnell shook her head. Not only had Bobbi beat her to Bartoli's hideout, but she'd gotten herself caught as well, and her attempts at bravado were going to get both of them in serious trouble. McDonnell sighed deeply, and let Ramone lead her over to the desk and then lift her slightly so she was seated next to Bobbi.
Bartoli looked her over and asked, "I don't suppose you want to tell me how many people know about this place, do you?"
McDonnell just glared at him.
"She never was much for conversation," interjected Bobbi.
"Considering the inane chatter that's been coming out of your mouth for the last hour, I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing," replied Bartoli, causing McDonnell to smirk slightly.
Bobbi shrugged her shoulders. "Just tried to lighten the mood," she muttered.
Joey returned from his patrol and announced he hadn't seen signs of anyone else in the area. McDonnell knew she hadn't told anyone at the station about the hideout yet and figured Bobbi likely rushed here as well.
Bartoli took a brief pause and said, "That's good, but two intruders in an afternoon isn't a good sign. You two start gathering stuff up, and I'll accomodate our 'guests' in the meantime."
McDonnell shuddered, not liking the sound of that.
"Aw, no... mmmff!" grunted Bobbi as Bartoli wrapped a rag over her mouth and knotted it tightly behind her head.
"At last, blessed silence," sighed Bartoli. "Detective McDonnell, despite being quiet so far, I'm afraid it's your turn as well."
McDonnell glared at Bartoli, but otherwise complied. It wasn't like she could put up any kind of effective resistance anyway. Bartoli turned her around so she was sitting the opposite direction on the desk from Bobbi, and then briefly removed a cuff so he could interlock their arms before recuffing her. He then tied a rope around their waists, but over the cuffs, pinning them back-to-back with their arms held down. Afterward, he tied both women's ankles together and ran a rope underneath the desk to keep them from being able to get off the desk.
Bartoli finished gagging McDonnell, and then checked on the progress of his henchmen. All of the files and computer equipment had been removed by Ramone and Joey, presumably into the van McDonnell spotted outside earlier.
"Ladies," announced Bartoli, "it's time for us to go. With any luck, someone will find you in a few days. Until then, try to get along."
McDonnell and Bobbi could only offer muffled complaints in response, and even more when Bartoli shut off the lights, leaving them in almost complete darkness.
Both women struggled in a vain attempt to slip out of their cuffs, but Bartoli made sure they were as tight as possible. Ultimately, all they could do was sit and wait until they were either rescued or died of thirst.
As much as McDonnell hated being gagged, at least she didn't have to listen to Bobbi blather on about whatever entered her mind the entire time.
After nearly a day the lights came on, and McDonnell and Bobbi started making as much racket as they could. An Asian woman eventually made her way to the office, getting an enthusiastic response from Bobbi.
It was one of her associates, Jasmine, who immediately went to work freeing the two women from their bonds. It tured out Bobbi wrote the address down on a sticky note, and Jasmine found it when Bobbi hadn't checked in.
McDonnell thanked Jasmine and quickly excused herself. She was now almost a full day behind on everything, not to mention exhausted from being awake most of the night. Once she could get a good night's sleep, she would restart tracing Bartoli's activities. She owed him for sticking her with Bobbi for an entire night.