An Early Present

It was several hours past the end of his shift, but Marcus Taggert was still at his desk, poring over a stack of folders. The letters danced and blurred in front of his eyes, but still, he went through them, hoping for something, anything to jump out at him. He reread a sentence for what seemed the fourth or fifth time.

He closed his eyes in frustration. Damn. In all their years of trying, the PCPD had never been able to get any charges that would stick on Sonny Corinthos. Everyone knew that his coffee import business was only a front for his real occupation, but there was nothing at all they could do about it. The man was sharp and on paper, looked to be as clean as a whistle. Even if everyone in Port Charles knew different.

Meanwhile, Sorel was running loose, and the word on the street was - nothing. No one was talking. Like there was a blanket thrown over the entire town. Corinthos couldn't be responsible for that, could he?

Even though he'd talked to all of them; Corinthos, Morgan, even Carly Corinthos, who was not known for keeping a cool head, hadn't gotten him nowhere closer to the truth. But he knew it was more than what any of them was saying.

The Salazar woman. He still hadn't given up hope on that angle. She had a connection to Sonny, deeper than what either of them were admitting to - he could feel it in his bones -- but what was it? A check on her background showed that they'd come from the same neighborhood, but she was ten years younger than him, the age gap made it was doubtful if they'd been friends growing up. She traveled a lot, but her job covered that. Port Charles was a place she'd been frequenting for years, but she'd never come to the police's attention before this.
Was she a former mistress? Current? Possible, but doubtful, he admitted to himself for the first time. He'd seen her together with Caroline Corinthos and they seemed friendly enough. Would Sonny have the balls to allow the two of them to meet? He would, Taggert decided. There wasn't much the silk-shirted bastard wouldn't dare.

Why wouldn't she name her attacker? A lot of women didn't, he knew that, but there was something more to this than he could see. He could feel that in his bones.

A sudden rush of activity in the squad room made him raise his head. "What's going on?" he asked, even as he stood and reached for his holster.

"An anonymous phone call just came in," a uniformed officer answered. "Joseph Sorel's been spotted down on the docks."

"We'd better inform the Commissioner," Taggert pulled out his cell phone and made the call. Mac Scorpio met them down by the docks. "An anonymous call?" he said to Taggert as they walked swiftly down the docks, six uniformed police behind.

"Yeah. The uniforms said it was brief and to the point. No time to put a trace, and the voice was unrecognizable."

"Let's just hope it's accurate. And that Sorel hasn't already escaped."

"The call said pier thirty-two." Mac unholstered his weapon and Taggert followed suit as they neared it. They didn't know what to expect. Joseph Sorel was not a man to surrender either peacefully or quietly. Taggert touched Mac's arm and pointed at the lamppost ahead. They could make out the still form of a body. Both men looked at each other in frustrated understanding. One dead body, depending on who it is, could signify the start of a gang war. They moved towards it quickly.

"It's Sorel." Taggert said. Looking closer, his voice changed to one of disbelief. "Alive."

Joseph Sorel, gagged and bound, glared at them. A thick cable rope held him immobile to the lamppost, and a huge red bow was set on the top most knot.

"Looks like Santa sent us an early Christmas present. Joseph Sorel, you are under arrest." Mac grinned. He motioned to his men, who quickly started working on the knots. "Make sure he's mirandized by the book. We wouldn't want any more nasty little technicalities getting in the way."

Taggert and Mac stepped away. "Who do you think is responsible for this?" Mac asked.

"Could be his own men? Maybe they wanted the heat taken off of them." Taggert reasoned.

"It's possible." Mac said. "Or maybe one of his enemies."

"The only real enemy Sorel has is Sonny Corinthos. You saying it might have been him?" Taggert said in shocked disbelief. "My apologies, Mac, but you're giving that Armani-clad thug too much credit."

"It's not unreasonable, Marcus, as much as we may not want to admit it. Look at Sorel. Whoever did this, delivered him to us. How come Sorel hadn't left town yet? He wasn't able to. And there's only one person who could pull that off. Like it or not, Corinthos may well have been the one who gave us Sorel."

"Why wouldn't he just take him out with a bullet to the head and leave the body for us to find?" Taggert said.

Mac shrugged. "This is just a big maybe. But let's not look a gift horse in the mouth."

"I'm going to find out, one way or the other." Taggert said and swore aloud. "Corinthos thinks he owns this town. It's time he learned different." They turned back to the lamppost. The other police had finished cutting Sorel loose and were just handcuffing him.

"Has Mr. Sorel been read his rights?" Mac asked. "To the letter, sir." Was the reply. "Good. We've kept your cell waiting for you, Sorel. All neat and tidy." Mac turned away, a satisfied smile on his face. "Let's go."