Thursday, August 28, 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The sun bore down the worn wooden bleachers. The large, older man groaned and rubbed his thighs uncomfortably. Walter Murray was here to see his grandson play T-ball for the first time this season. The first three Saturday mornings he had to work. And he was happy not to think of dead people and grieving victims. Swiping a stained handkerchief across his shaved head, he looked around.
A group of parents sat to his left. The parents for the opposing team sat on the other side of the backstop. A gaggle of girls had gathered behind the fence on the first base side to play zoo with some toy animals. They would march the menagerie up one side and down the other. One girl deliberately turned a zebra into a bush and screamed it was lost. And all the other animals rushed into the imaginary forest to find it. A small bit of string found and was used as a rope to pull it to safety. Hooray!
Best Friend Park hadn’t changed much since he coached his sons twenty years ago. The copper infield was smooth as glass and the emerald turf immaculate thanks to Old Man Johnson. Johnson took care of the field back then, when life was simpler. Working with the boys made him think of the street kids he dealt with on patrol. Bored and looking for something to do, they usually found trouble. Most needed strong adults and there just weren’t any for them. He managed to get a few interested in the Police Athletic League but he couldn’t save them all.
Faces, both white and black, reflected in the faces of the children here on the field.
He loved being a detective. No two cases were the same. But Homicide was another animal. At least when he was with Robbery or Major Crimes, the shifts were consistent. Coaching ball and playing with his kids was possible. Homicide was a 24/7 on call position. When Friday night’s damage was found early Saturday morning, his world stopped and he had to deal with everyone else’s issues. It was like being Batman, but without the cool tools. Mornings like this reminded him of what was missing in the civilized world.
The grandson, Little Wally sat on the bench in front of him, playing with a blade of grass, sandy brown curls blowing in the breeze. He looked so much like his father at that age, not an ounce of fat. He was a bundle of energy bounding from place to place, white uniform hanging off thin shoulders. The kid didn’t always pay attention, but he did seem to have fun. One of the other kids kept hitting him in the arm, but Wally just kept at the blade. He put the end in his mouth and began to chew.
“Hey, Superman.” Murray yelled out, “It’s almost your turn. Go get ‘em!”
The little boy turned and smiled at his Grandpa. Tossing the grass on the ground, he walked to the end of the bench where his Dad double checked his helmet. The small gray and orange bat felt good in his hands. He waited at the edge of the dugout for the kid at bat to finish.
There was a cheer from parents and exhortation for the kid to run fast. The ball dribbled out towards first and was grabbed by the opposing fielder and the out was made. The parents groaned and the kid slouched dejectedly back to the bench.
It was Wally’s turn.
The little man strode confidently to the plate. Murray tensed with anticipation. With one swing, the ball flew high over the second basement and past the right fielder. It came to rest at the fence about 150 feet away. The parents cheered. The afternoons in the yard with Grandpa paid off again. The kid was already showing talent at five. Little Wally rounded the bases with ease and was met with the high fives of his team mates. The game ended and everyone went to the parking lot for snacks.
They were coordinated by Ms. Scalini, the team Mom. An invisible woman handed out juice boxes and cookies to the suddenly hungry team. Some little brother came up in Spider-man pajamas to get his. Murray couldn’t help but smile at that. Wally brought him a juice box and asked excitedly if he’d seen the big hit. Murray rubbed the curly head and assured him he had.
"Grandpa, can we play catch later?"
His cell phone buzzed.
They both shrugged. Another case to deal with.
At least it wasn’t a completely ruined Saturday.
Pic-Michelle Marko King.
Pic Guesses: Zoo, Menagerie, zebra (all in blog), Jungle Life, Dr. Doolittle, InterMural, Animal art,
Friday, August 22, 2014
Fluffy white clouds surrounded him as he drove down 316 towards home. Blue sky reminded him of Sarah’s soft eyes at the beach cottage. He relaxed a little and smiled.
He must have been eleven or twelve then. It wasn’t much of a house, just three room of concrete block with peeling white paint. The first night they had slipped away from Mother and ended up on the dock. Sitting quietly next to each other, they marveled at the purple and gold streaks stacked on top of each other as high as they could see. She wore thin, white blouse that night with nothing underneath. Small breast were just visible. Her lavender scent was masked by low tide. They knew they should be doing something, but having no idea what it was. She turned towards him, damp blonde hair framing her soft eyes.
“How it would be good to take a boat out there on the sea. Get away from Mother”
“Can I go?”
“If we can find one. I’ve never sailed, though. And I have to get away from Mother’s prying eyes long enough.”
Leaning in to Jeremy’s arm, she whispered, “The lonely sea prevails when all seems lost.”
Almost as soon as the words were out, yelling about a belt came from the house and they went inside. They couldn’t risk being caught together.
At least it was a sort of pleasant memory. Not many of those.
The first test had gone much better than he expected. The stump disintegrating into sawdust and splinters and he was there to enjoy it. Now he had to work on the remote detonation methods. There were a couple that would work well. He would try several without explosives first. He might be crazy, but he wasn’t stupid
He saw the “Welcome to Gwinnett County” sign come and he slowed for the change in speed limits. He began to think about how the trap should be set up. A traffic light turned red. A sign pointed to the right saying Police Headquarters. He turned almost involuntarily. He’s here, why not?
He passed the County jail. He couldn’t remember if he had been in this one. Nah, he didn’t think so. There was a parking lot across the street. The Toyota magically found a space where he could watch the comings and goings without being noticed.
The cold, concrete monolith rose like a weed in an old cow pasture. No spirit or passion exuded from the façade. Flanked on three sides by the jail, lie a Terra Cotta army he had read about once. The concrete itself wanted to do battle and he was the enemy scout. It didn’t surprise him the buildings were as cold as the people inside. Cops have no humanity, no souls. It will bring pleasure to bring such a travesty to the ground.
Cameras were peppered everywhere. It even looked like the traffic on the street was monitored. If there was a blind spot, he couldn’t find it. Would they recognize a threat as it came down the road? He couldn’t be sure. He could pull into the public lot and go in for a while, then leave another way. How would he get a second car in without being noticed?
A security hut sat on a short drive just off the public parking lot. A trim young recruit stood guard, checking credentials of those entering. Very routine, a car would drive up and stop. With a salute the guard would lean in with his clipboard to speak to the occupants. Papers would be passed and information transferred. Another salute and the car would turn into the larger lot behind the building. Is this a weak link? He assumed the papers were various authorizations for business. How difficult would it be to get past that?
A black Crown Vic turned into the lot. It looked like the picture Murray’s car he had at the apartment. But the driver was a woman and he couldn’t see if there were any passengers. His wife, maybe? Or was it just another pig? It really didn’t matter. He knew he wasn’t going to include his family members on this project. Making the same sin as the pigs did wouldn’t fix the world. The punishment has to be meted to the perpetrators.
He could see the security desk through the glass of the front door. Citizens with complaints or compliments trudging through the metal detectors like cattle in a slaughterhouse. Humiliating wand searches and surprise detention awaited them. He had seen it too many times. You go in and never come out, kept on some trumped up transgression, another piece of fuel for the pigs. A cross stitch of “Abandon all hope, all ye enter here” probably hangs on the wall inside.
After a few minutes he had seen enough. This wouldn’t be the best place, too light and bright. There were too many eyes. Seclusion and darkness is needed to fight dark and evil. Murphy at least, was a homicide detective. It probably would be best to get him in the field.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
A flash of lightning notwithstanding, it was a beautiful day for science. Rain pelted the roof and buckets caught the drips off the brown stained ceiling, but that didn’t matter. Plastic, metal and wires in neat stacks on the side table waited their turn and it was a thrilling sight. The radio was set to that WOFT-oldies station and they were doing a Motown retrospective.
‘…My guy. Talking about my guy…”
Mary Wells, sweet voice soothed him as he picked the piece of pipe. Inspecting the inside for flaws, he found none. Good. Placing it securely in the bench vise, he made sure threaded ends were accessible on both sides. He slowly twisted a cap on one end, working it back and forth until he was comfortable with the fit. Can’t be too careful, you know. He rubbed the threads gently, the emery cloth sweeping the last burrs on the table. The fumes from the nasty cement made him dizzy. He turned his head a bit and held his breath. Applying to pipe with quick strokes, he screwed the cap on for the final time.
A clap of thunder shook him from the reverie. Maybe he should patch the roof? Nah. I’m running out of time here.
After letting the cement set, a drill placed a simple 1/8” hole down part ways from the open end of the pipe. Slipping a piece of detonation cord through the hole, he used a piece of duct tape to hold it place. This was fun.
The gunpowder canister stared at him and he stared back. Was he ready to cross this line? Ready to take the next step in vengeful notoriety? Yes. Yes, he was. He loosened the vise and stood the pipe vertical to accept the magic mixture, making sure the fuse was set in deep. Gluing the other cap in place, he sat back and looked at his handiwork. Capped pipes, fuses and wiring stacked haphazardly on the table next to him. It won’t be long now. Someone he hadn’t thought of in a long time came to his mind.
The sea hag face of Mother’s piano teacher. And she had the steel ruler held out from her side. The one used to beat him when he missed a note. Atonal chords rang in his ear. The ones played just to set the bitch off. His hands shook at the memory as Jeremy absently fingered a scar. Another discipline lesson.
At the end of the lesson, there would be the report to Mother was what a useless worm he was. Then Mother would have her turn with the ruler, across both hands and back until blood would flow. Sarah would look from the top of the stairs with tears on her face at the humiliation. It couldn’t go on.
“….R.E.S.P.E.C.T. That is what it means to me.”….”
A baseball bat swinging and screams made the bitch go away. There were muffled voices and the smell of the gasoline around him. Why they came with SWAT squad, he had no idea. Everything else was a blur. The leather restraints smelled like oil, and the drugs used to calm him were bitter. The electrodes as they hooked them on his head and the pain of the shock. They would never give him anything for the pain.
When it was over, he was released. But there was nowhere to go, just a revolving door between the street and jail. It was all a big bullying game to teach him RESPECT. The judges reminded him of clowns from a Mexican Circus. They would stare at the back wall of the courtroom as they would make their pronouncements, never looking him in the eye. Sometimes jail was involved, other times not.
Planning was over and now it was primetime. Turning off the radio, He packed the devices carefully into a box and walked out on the porch. The rain had stopped, leaving small puddles at random intervals. He looked down at his shoes. Boots were better for this mud. He quickly changed and stepped out into the back pasture.
There had been rumors saying the farm had been used as a toxic waste site after Mother and Sarah died. Given the brown weed patches scattered in the fields, he didn’t doubt it. Maybe he should blow up the house when he was finished? Eh, not ready for that step yet. Need to take advantage of the isolation as long as possible.
From of the dead zones, he scanned the area. Where he stood was hidden from the road and didn’t seem to be within earshot of the neighbors. Fifteen feet from the tree line was a fairly large hickory stump he had decided to use for a first test. The wood was fresh and would splinter well.
Pacing straight lines away from the stump, he sees how far he can cover in 90 seconds. At each of the stop points, He turns and crouches low, making note of whether he is higher or lower than the stump. The average of the lines is 500 feet. It should be far enough. He’ll know for sure soon enough.
As he walks, a metronome began to click in his head. Step…Step...Step... Every Good Boy Does Fine. Click. Click. Click. Every Good Boy Does Fine. Every Good… E.G B. D. F. His pulse began to keep time. Whack…Whack…Whack… The ruler beating him time was interspersed with the timer. The scars on his back of his hands began to sting again with the memory. It was like a pile of quicksand he was trying to escape. And the fucking Cops with their tear gas and tasers, making him leave the house. Who cared if the taxes hadn’t been paid? That was the dead bitch’s job, not his. Her face began to glow in the stump. It was the right target.
The pipe slid in a gap the base of the stump. He didn’t bother to cover it, since he really just wanted to see how far the debris would go. The lighter flashed and flicked the 120 seconds of fuse to life. Moving back toward the farmhouse, he stopped about half way and turned watch. Time was caught in the quicksand now. Very slowly the spark came closer to its target.
It sounded like a shotgun he once fired. He could see the smoke rise and drift in the early evening breeze. The rain of debris lasts a few seconds. Then it is quiet. Not even the crickets sounded.
There was a hole four feet across and eight feet deep where the wood had been. He was all smiles. The pieces lay on the ground in an oblong pattern, with the narrow side corresponding to the ends of the device. Using orange cardboard markers, he marks all the fragments. The farthest piece had landed almost 100 feet away.
Packing his gear, he returns to the porch and locks up. He starts the beige Toyota and heads back to Atlanta analyze the results.
Topic Deborah Truitt
Pic Guesses-Trio, Jazz club, Bebop, Cool, Paris, Downtown, Miles, Bird, Birdland, Weather Report, Coltraine.