Friday, September 26, 2014
“So, lift me up, Walt.” The skinny black detective with the graying hair shouted as he approached the body, ever present Starbucks cup in his hand.
Murray winced. With his extended jaw line, Willie Jackson always reminded him of a jackass, his braying voice always saying something inappropriate. At lunch he would chomp on corn on the cob with his flat teeth. Chomp. Chomp. He thought about giving him a feedbag for Christmas on year, but chickened out the last minute. He brushed the memory aside and looked down at his notebook.
“Not much here that will do that, as usual.” Scratching an itch with his pen, he continued. “We have a well-ventilated ‘banger about 20 with no I.D. There isn’t a lot of blood, so he was probably dumped and probably not that long ago. The little Vietnamese guy in Diaz’s car found him coming home from work. Interesting thing, he might be connected to the hooker we pulled out of here.”
Jackson’s eyebrows raised with the cup.
“How you making the connection?”
“’Bella Paloma’ tattoo on his neck, and it is done in the same script.”
“How do you like them apples?” Jackson rubbed his jaw. “All this time we thought that was her street name. Maybe this part of something bigger. So, where do we start?”
“Well, Crime Scene is almost done processing. Get a briefing then start canvassing. I’d start with this building on the left. They had the best view of the proceedings. I have Diaz up at the Laundromat at the top of the hill to check for video. There was also a receipt from the convenience store at I-85 that needs to be run down. Meanwhile, I still need to talk to our 911 caller.” He started toward the cruiser, then he turned back towards his partner.
“Oh,guess who I think I saw in the onlookers? Remember that psycho kid that burned up his Mama and Cousin years ago when we were in Dekalb?”
“Jeremy Allen? How could I forget? I thought he was still in the nuthouse. Little bastard bit the hell out of me after I asked him why don’t you do right. Never saw so much hate in one set of eyes ever. He’d be what? 24, 25 by now? Wonder what he was doing here?”
“Hell if I know. Maybe he lives around here.” Murray tapped his notebook with his pen. “He beat feet quick when he saw me, though. He was in an older Toyota, similar to the one described in the hooker case. It will be something we’ll need to check out, but I don’t think this is his style.”
“Didn’t Mama castrate him or something?” Jackson visibly shuddered.“That would make somebody angry enough to lash out at women.”
“Yeah, according to the relatives, she thought he was going straight to hell and his cousin and didn’t want any more spawn. Anyway, let me talk to Mr. Ngyuen, and see what he has to say and we’ll follow up on ol’ Jeremy later. Poor guy’s been here a long time.”
Friday, September 19, 2014
Sweat poured down Jeremy’s face as he waited for the light. That was too close. This was supposed to be a simple reconnaissance trip to make sure the complex would work. Not in his wildest dreams did he think he was going to run into that bastard. And damned if it wasn’t the exact scenario he was thinking of, a body next to a car with the Fuzz all around. The only thing missing was the bomb.
The light changed and he gingerly made the left hand turn, looking in the rear view to see if any cops had followed him out of the complex. Satisfied they hadn’t, he picked up speed down the entrance ramp. A tractor trailer truck blew at him for drifting into his lane.
He picked up an old tissue of the console and wiped his receding hairline. It really was to close. Murray really hadn’t changed much, a little heavier and more lines on his snout. But the beady little eyes were still there, the ones that locked into him for that brief second. Did he recognize him? He couldn’t be sure. It did look like some kind of light went on, though. Just like with Sarah, there always was something keeping him from his goal. His face began to warm with rage.
Focus. He needed to come back to focus. He kept to the right hand lane and exited on to I-285 toward 3 Sheets and cold scotch. And if Murray actually remembered, the bar was two counties away. Benny will give him his drink and leave him alone to sort this new wrinkle.
Jeremy knew that every caterpillar had to struggle to change in to a butterfly. So, he’ll struggle and change the plan a bit.
Jeremy didn’t get a good look at the victim; he had just gotten there when the first patrol cars pulled in. All he could see was the lump on the sidewalk, just beyond the old Buick. Watching the proceedings from inside the car, he noticed one officer was talking to a small Asian man making animated gestures. Jeremy guessed he had found the body. He was one that talked with his hands. Up, down, right and left the small brown hands went. A lit cigarette was dangling out of his mouth. He reminded him of an old street thug from a black and white movie. “It wasn’t me, Officer.” Yeah, right.
Jeremy began taking notes.
The other uniformed guy started rolling out the scene tape, just like they do on T.V. Stepping out a few paces he secured one end on a No Parking sign, and the traced around until he had an area about forty feet across inside the perimeter. After that was finished, he came up to his partner and was then directed to another group of people gathered near the front of Jeremy’s car. One by one, the crowd indicated they didn’t know anything about the body. A few of them walked away without speaking at all.
More patrol cars arrived. A Sergeant with a large sleeve tattoo began to supervise the proceedings. He took over the interview with the Asian and sent the patrol officer to look around the car. The stage was being set. More information than Jeremy could have ever hoped for.
And then he looked up and saw Murray and his stomach turned to knots. He was on the other side of the Sergeant chatting when his eyes caught the car. He wished the car had shades pulled down low. How long had it been, really? Ten years? It didn’t matter, he left hoping they were too busy to notice.
So where was Jackson? He didn’t see him there. That doesn’t matter, though. Even if they aren’t working together, getting Murray will be enough.
Pulling off the Roswell Rd exit, he began to smile. The pain’s coming and everything will be alright.
Pic Guesses: Dog and Butterfly, Former ugly ducklings, Fly away, Metamorphosis, Swan Song,
Pic Guesses: Dog and Butterfly, Former ugly ducklings, Fly away, Metamorphosis, Swan Song,
Friday, September 12, 2014
Clouds were beginning to gather as he pulled the Crown Vic into the complex entrance. The crime scene was immediately visible. Dodging an elderly lady walking with a large laundry basket, he made his way toward the yellow taped area. At first all he could see was the car, an older Buick sedan with a large amount of dust on the windshield. It had been there for days. He pulled in behind one of the patrol cars and got out into the humid air
A uniform guarded at the entrance point. He was a very obnoxious rookie he had dealt with before. But this time, the idiot recognized him and passed him through. Murray spent a moment taking it all in. He noticed Sgt Arturo Diaz by the car, making notes.
Afternoon, Diaz.” Murray offered his hand.
“Hey, Lieutenant.” Shaking the hand vigorously. “Long time no see. Like maybe yesterday?”
They both had a laugh at that. Murder every day and it was like a play, with the two of them playing the same roles. The difference last night was the cold, hard rain falling, making a mess of the evidence. This one counted as matinee in comparison.
“So, what do we have so far?”
The portly sergeant glanced at his notepad.
“The first call came in to 911 about 6:30A.M. Our caller, a Mr. Ngyuen, Is in my patrol car over there.” Diaz pointed across the parking lot to a rather battered patrol vehicle with a small Asian man inside.
“Mr. Ngyuen had come home rather late from work and was coming down the hill from the street, when he noticed a lump next to the car there. As he got closer, he noticed the blood and decided to do the right thing. Cerullo and Martin over there were the first responders. They took a look and started securing the scene.” Diaz turned a page.
“I came on scene at 7:45. I’ve done a quick glance around. Our Complainant is probably Latin, about 20. He was found dressed in a green wife beater and blue shorts, probably colorblind. There is a visible tattoo saying “Bella Paloma” on his left arm and a rose is visible on his right wrist...
Murray stopped him.
“Bella Paloma? Isn’t that the name of the hooker we pulled out of here about a month ago?”
“Yeah, I noted that in my report, not sure if it will mean anything. We haven’t moved him or checked an for I.D., yet. Waiting for the M.E. folks to get here and do their thing first.”
Just as those words came out, vans for Crime Scene and the Medical Examiner’s office drove down the hill. The men turned and nodded acknowledgement. Each of the crews exited and came within the secured circle. Diaz continued.
“There is also a tear drop on his right cheek. There is a visible defect on his head just above the left ear, probably a gunshot wound. If he has more, they will probably be underneath the body. Not much else.”
Murray nodded. “Thanks.” And he turned his attention toward the crime scene.
The body had been shielded from public view by the car. The usual crowd of curious onlookers stood across the parking lot, trying not to look too interested. Canvassing was probably not going to be fruitful. But he knew he had to do it anyway. Beyond them, he noticed a beige Toyota with a skinny, unkempt white male inside. He looked familiar, but he couldn’t place where he’d seen him before. Before he could react, the car started and left. Murray shrugged and turned to the body.
The victim looked pretty typical, young, dumb and now dead. Murray wondered if he was a solo coyote or did he have family. There was nothing in his hands and it looked like his pockets had been turned inside out. One of the M.E. techs took pictures as another one placed various measuring scales around the head wound.
After about fifteen minutes, the camera equipment was put away and the lead Medical Investigator came up. She was a short, stocky woman with spiky blonde hair. Murray could never remember her name.
“So, Lieutenant, are you ready?” The investigator asked.
“Yeah. Got to see it sooner or later.”
The investigator slipped his hands underneath the victim’s hips and shoulder and slowly lifted. As the body rose, the assistant began to call out the location of the holes. Right temple, entry with no exit… Right shoulder, entry in back, exit in the front… Right hip, entry only… When they were finished, there were a total of seven holes, made by four bullets. A lone 9mm casing was found under his left leg. A Crime Scene tech took pictures and bagged it for the files.
The clothing was then searched. No wallet was found, but a receipt for a taquito and soda from a local convenience store was in his left front pocket. It was time stamped at 11:00PM the previous night. More pictures were taken and again the item was carefully bagged and labeled. It would be something to follow up on. Maybe he was with somebody and that somebody had something to say. Jackson can follow that up.
Crime scene was moving efficiently through the circle routine, slowly radiating out from the car. In forty minutes, every possible piece of litter within fifty feet of the body had been cataloged and filed. Murray knew a lot of it would be useless, but each candy wrapper and used needle carried a story with it. Taking facts and adding them to facts to make a truth thereof. Huh, sounds like some philosopher he read once.
Looking up, he saw Jackson coming across the tape. It was time to make a plan.
It's been a fun week writing one and recycling one.
Pic Guesses: The future. Two against the world, Young Live, This city is ours.
Friday, September 5, 2014
The tears of a clown
Are all that is left
Of a gift given
Only to be left fallow.
Were you afraid?
Did the lust of a fling
Make you feel so damaged
You couldn't return?
Since you took up brush and oil.
Or the chisel
Or even the crochet needle.
Years spent chasing money
And false affection.
Men who cheated you
And those you cheated.
Now it is over
Found alone in a high rise.
With your hoarded belongings
Your only friends.
Photo (c) Christopher H.Mitchell 2014
Painting (c) Marilyn E Mitchell 1964
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Murray slouched to the black Crown Vic and got in. Let me guess. It’s here in Norcross. He thought about going home and changing into more professional clothes, but that would take too long. Baseball shirt and shorts will have to do. Wincing as he slid on the hot vinyl, he dialed back to headquarters to get the location.
“Gwinnet Homicide. Jackson.” Even after all these years that donkey voice still grated at his nerves.
“Hey, Murray here. What’s up?”
“Sorry to bust up the ballgame Lieutenant, but we just got a call out of the Graves. I knew you were in the neighborhood and I figured you could field this.” Murray heard a suppressed bray from his partner.
“I love you, too, Jackson. But, the game is over. What do we know about it so far?”
“Not much. Male. Latin. No age or I.D. yet, but pretty young. Found by one of the residents at the bottom of the hill a little while ago. Patrol apparently has the scene secure, so you should be ready to roll when you get there. Crime Scene is also en route and may beat you there. I’m finishing up a report, so I'll be down about 20 minutes.
“Take your time. I doubt you’ll miss much. See you there.”
As he clicked off, Little Wally came running up, curls flowing in the breeze.
“You going to work, Grandpa?”
“Yeah. Somebody is hurt and needs my help.”
The little boy nodded and grinned, flinging his sticky arms around his neck.
“I love you. Maybe you’ll get home in time to play some catch.”
“We’ll see, Superman.”, He patted him on the shoulder. “Now get on back to Mom. She’s waiting.”
As the little boy ran to his parents, Murray sighed. He wondered if his deceased had left anyone behind. There probably was a Mama, possibly a girl friend and kids. He probably lived a “Fuck the Future” life. A lot of those young kids do, with no plans for the future past Friday. Then the future fucks them back and leaves their corpses littering the landscape.
He cranked the car and turned the air conditioning up to full.
Turning out on to Jimmy Carter, he frowned. While it was only about three miles to that cesspit of sin, he had to travel the worst designed road in the State of Georgia to get there. Sure enough, he went about five hundred yards before he hit gridlock. Sweat poured down his face as he thought about what he might find.
This was the third or fourth case this year out of the Graves. He had worked a domestic and Jackson had drawn a bad drug deal. Both of those closed pretty quickly. The perps involved were well known and there was enough physical evidence not to need much testimony. Last he had heard, both were negotiating plea deals. This was helpful since this was a neighborhood where snitches were likely to get killed.
One case was still open. A young illegal girl was found naked in one of the dumpsters with her throat slit. Two months later they didn’t have a good I.D, just her street name: Bella Paloma. She was about 18, very thin with coal black hair and sharp features. Murray had seen her once or twice working at Jimmy Carter and Singleton, but never had any reason to talk to her. The other hookers knew nothing about her, only that she had come from El Salvador maybe a month or six weeks ago. Now she was just another piece of used trash.
Working that scene was tough. The girl had been killed somewhere else, very little blood anywhere around. The dumpster itself was out of the direct line of sight from the other buildings, so when the neighbors claimed they didn’t see anything, they may have been right. But the detectives didn’t even get that. Everybody claimed they were inside and that wasn’t their business. They certainly didn’t want the attention of some pimp with Sureño Trece ties.
The only lead they had was a tire tread in the clay next to the dumpster and a beige Toyota seen leaving about the time she was found. Of course, no one had a description of the driver.
So, would this new body be connected to that one? Nah. Nobody promised me magic in this job.
Pic-Guardian, Watching, King of my domain, Kitty, Bird watching, Purrrfect.
Pic-Guardian, Watching, King of my domain, Kitty, Bird watching, Purrrfect.