Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sister Sandy (Blogophilia 36.7)




I stopped by the bar at 3 A. M.
To seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend
I woke up with a headache like my head against a board
Twice as cloudy as I'd been the night before
I went in seeking clarity.

Jeremy really didn’t like this song, but he was too distracted to turn the radio off. Streetlights stretching out forever in front of his eyes as he headed into the city, why he was coming back here? Smoky dives along Memorial, with their faded PBR and Miller High Life signs beckoned him to stop for solace and possibly a friend. Yeah, a friend that would scream about bombs until he had to make her stop. Like he did with Mother.  That was not a risk he could take.

He couldn’t stop anyway.  A quiet voice was urging him on, one that needed to be heard. He knew whose voice it was. It was going to say bullshit. But there would be validation of his thoughts and the comfort in the crap, and some clarification in exactly how to proceed. So he followed the grey stone road to Oz.

Broken down buildings and smelly addicts on ramshackle bicycles lined the sidewalks along this road whose heyday was far in the past. But there were signs of life here and there. Gentrification in the form of trendy restaurants, a warehouse converted into lofts for bearded young professionals. Lives that he had never experienced and would never experience, he was far too damaged to function in their world. It didn’t matter to him though. This was his own little television show and they were inconsequential images in the background. 

He drove past the used tire store and on toward the old bungalow. The one with the sign with the outline of a hand lit in fabulous salmon and purple neon:

Sister Sandy
Psychic Readings
Spiritual Counseling

He couldn’t remember the first time he had come here, maybe a week or two after he was released from the hospital. Gentle and open, Sister Sandy was the first person to show anything but hatred towards him and he appreciated that. He also appreciated her ability to read his mind.

The door chime rang softly as he opened the chipped wood door. A soft voice floated to his ears.

“Be with you in a minute. Please have a seat at the table.”

The table was centered on the back wall of the anteroom. There were doorways with black beaded curtains on each side of the table and a framed zodiac chart on the wall between them.  Bookshelves lined the right hand wall, with titles like “Druids of the Modern World” and “Automating Your Charts.  On the table there was a crystal sphere and a laptop. The ball was for decoration. Sandy was a woman of the modern age. The dove gray walls had been freshened recently. The smell of latex reminded him of the orange and blue trolls wanting to invade his space and thoughts. 

“Focus, Jeremy…” He muttered under his breath.

A cloud of gardenia under laid with copper tinge enveloped him as the psychic emerged from the doorway on the right. Jeremy felt warmth at her presence. Petite and bird like, she wore a pale blue sleeveless blouse and a pair of white draw string pants. Blond hair with the long bangs framed almond eyes and ruby beak. Her movements were also very bird like, flitting from one perch to another and then finally grasping the back of her chair.

“Jeremy! How good to see you!  Sit and let’s catch up.” 

Grabbing his hand, she led him to the metal chair at the table and gently pressed him into it.  She then stepped over to the book case, where a small teapot was simmering on a hot plate.  Pulling two large mugs off their hooks, she continued.

“So, what kind of mischief have you gotten yourself into?  You usually don’t come unless you have some devious and evil plan in that twisted brain.”

She knew him too well.

“I don’t really need to know, Sugar. We’ll get to it soon enough.  You need quiet. Here.” Handing him one of the freshly poured mugs, she settled into the high backed chair. The chamomile had an immediate effect.  The stress lines at his eyes and mouth melted into smudges.

In the silence, he began to focus on a framed photograph of Bran Castle standing on a shelf above the hot plate. It had been taken on vacation some years ago, while her husband was still alive. She said that it reminded her of a much happier time and place, when she did readings for fun and not for a living.

 Propped next to the photo was an etching of Vlad Tepes, The Impaler. The rumors of him drinking the blood of his enemies as they hung from their stakes always thrilled Jeremy. It was the ultimate insult to the deceased.  The life essences sucked away while they watched. He wished he could be close enough to the Pigs to be able to do that. But that was impractical. Revenge in his case would have to be handled remotely.

“I see you are looking at Vlad.”

Setting the cup down, she powered the laptop, a pale shade of moonlight from the reflected in the small face.

“Yes.” Closing his eyes, he could feel Sarah’s spirit come forward, an angel sitting on his right shoulder to watch the proceedings.

“You do realize he wasn’t the only occupant of that place?” Sandy pressed a few keys to bring up the application she wanted.

“Yes. But he was the most important.”

“Why do you say that?” Touching a few more keys, he could hear the mechanical sound of a card deal.

Jeremy seemed to be lost in thought.

“Everything he did was final. There were never loose ends.”

“And you are worried about some loose ends, maybe from Sarah’s death?”

The angel on Jeremy’s shoulder blushed. She knew the answer and yet, did not speak.

“There are always loose ends. I have come to accept that.” Jeremy took a small sip of the tea and looked at his lap. “Even when I die, there will be loose ends for someone else to handle. Of course, it won’t matter to me. I will be dust.”

“Yes. That is true. But your Karma will remain to settle, maybe in your next life.”

Jeremy put his mug down and looked straight at the psychic.

“What other life? Sarah and Mother are gone. There is no one else in the family alive. There is no other life to infect. The ends should be allowed to wither.”  And with that, the Angel disappeared off his shoulder.

Picking up the mug again, he continued.

“I am working on a project at my apartment. It is a self improvement course designed to rid myself of toxic influences in my life”

The Psychic grinned. “Let’s get started, then.”

Sandy turned the screen to the side so they both could see.  A simple three card spread this time. Touching a key, the first card popped into the left hand position.  

“The first card is Nine of Swords Reversed.  The card is sometimes referred to as The Nightmare. The first card in this spread always represents the past. You have a lot of pain and misery in your past as we have discussed before. It is interesting the card was dealt in reverse. It could signify healing of the wound. It could also mean there is someone in your sphere that you distrust for some reason.   Let’s draw the next card.”

The key was touched again.

“The second card is the Eight of Wands. It is upright. The second card represents the present. This card is portending change and it is coming rapidly. Maybe even too fast for you to immediately handle. This could be an opportunity whose window has opened but is now rapidly closing. You may instinctively know this, but you may not be completely prepared to act. In combination with the first card, it would be unwise to act without a complete analysis of the situation.  So, what does the future have?

Sandy touched the key for the final time. They looked at each other with apprehension when the card took its place.  She licked her lips, took a breath and began to speak.

“The final card is Death.  It is upright. The final card represents the future. In this instance it likely doesn’t mean your physical death. Rather it means the end of a cycle. In combination with the other two cards, it may mean you are about to resolve a major conflict in your life, for ill or good.  This is always a two edged sword, however. You may want the resolution to be one thing and the fates will capriciously deliver the opposite. The fates don’t care a lot of times. I swear they think we exist for their amusement. With what we have here, you may think you are on the road to enlightenment, when in fact you are on the road to perdition.”

Silence enveloped the room.  There was a lot to digest. 

Finally, Sandy spoke.

“I hoped I helped, Sweetheart. It’s twenty five dollars.”

Jeremy slowly rose, trembling.  He pulled the money out of his pocket and placed it on the table.

“Yes, Ma’am.  I think you have.”

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Lyrics: (c)1989, Emily Sailors. Currently held by Universal Music, division of EMI.


Written for Blogophilia, where we get our write on.

Topic (Sphere):  submitted by Michael Todd.

Picture: submitted by Christine Wichman.

Pic guesses: Readings (in blog), Psychic (in blog), Clarity (in blog), in the cards, future is ours, fates (in blog), paths.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Back at Homicide (Blogophilia 35.7)



“Yeah…It wasn’t a pretty scene…Channel 5 was there, but I let the PIO handle that…Yeah, that annoying bitch…anyway, it doesn’t look like I’ll make it home for dinner…guessing about 10…Yeah, I know…I love ya...Bye.”

As he clicked off, he realized how much he hated making that call. It was like the death notifications, painful. The death of dinner and lost family time made him sad. He had to admit, she was one patient woman.  For 28 years, she was always there, whether with a cold drink or a good ear when a particular case was bugging him never needing details, only the sound of his voice.  She really was his dream lady. For all of the offers from hookers and coworkers he would get, Carol was more than enough for him. She was his serenity; hours spent cuddling on the couch in their little autumn of old.  He sure could use that now.  

Sunlight glinting off the roof of the guard shack blinded him. Flipping down the visor, he rolled down the window and waved his badge at the reader.  With a short beep, the arm rose and he made the familiar left turn into the half empty parking lot. It was still Saturday and most of the staff was off. He pulled the car in and with another way of his badge, he was in the building. 

Homicide was a bullpen that sat to the left of the elevators on the third floor. The Chief was a fan of modern open office design, so nobody had a private office. The Captain bitched about it, but Murray didn’t care.  Staying in his cubbyhole, more than half of his time was on scene or in court anyway.  Filing cabinets, laptop and the interview rooms were all he required here. A place to watch people masquerade as something they weren’t. He flopped down into the chair, putting the notebook in its designated space on the right side of the desk.  It was going to be a long night.

The message light was blinking slowly on the desk phone.  Looked like just one. That could wait a couple minutes. Case file needed to come first. 

The laptop slowly spun to life. Murray quickly keyed his password in and machine froze a moment. Don’t have time for this…He made a note to himself to talk to the Captain about new machine. But that thought was replaced when he saw the red web link on the department webpage:

“Could There Be A Serial Killer Targeting Immigrants?”

The link was from that witch at Channel 5 that he saw at the Graves earlier. What was her name? Tiffany? Heather?  Those bimbos all look like they came out of a factory.  Don Henley described them right, pretty faces that would sell their grandmothers’ into slavery for a story.  And this one had a special knack for springing a story without having all the facts in place. He skimmed over the piece with a combination of interest and anger. Damn, the Dude he just left hadn’t even had a chance to get cold before the scare package comes out.

The piece described five cases, including the two at the Graves. The others were just over the county line in Doraville, in the area he first worked as a patrol officer. Back then, it was pretty respectable place. But like the area around the Graves a combination of poor management and some sweetheart Section 8 deals had turned them into slums. 

The victims included three women and two men and they all had the distinctive tattoo on their necks.  All had been found shot and dumped. The oldest case happened about a week before the hooker was found.  He was identified as a Salvadoran national that was here illegally. The others still had not been officially named. Surprise. Surprise.  Murray picked up the desk phone and hit the message button. 

“Hey, Wally!” The basso voice of Artie Gomez, came over the line. “You need to buzz back to your old home. I got some info on your dead Hooker. New number. 404-555-9664. Later.”

Gomez was his former boss in Dekalb. He had retired a few years ago, only to be called back as a consultant when a Senior Brass was caught soliciting boys outside a bar in Atlanta. He pushed paper mostly, but every now and then a case would get too hot for the regulars and he would handle it. Bella Paloma was turning out to be one of those. 

Captain Hudgens came rolling out of the elevator, with Jackson close behind. With a wave, he summoned Murray to the conference room.  As soon as the door shut he began.

“I assume you saw the Channel5  piece.” 

Murray snorted, “Yeah. Can I shoot her?”

Not in public.” 

A quick bit of laughter lightened up the room.  After everyone settled down, Hudgens continued.
“So, what do you have so far?”

“Not much. I haven’t really started the case file. Our complainant is a Latin, 18-22, deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. He was found about 4:30AM by a Mr. Ma Ngyuen as he was returning home to his apartment from work. The body was dumped next to an old Buick that looked like it had been there a while.

Jackson chimed in. “The car came back stolen about week ago out of Cobb County. I found that out after you left the scene. I went ahead and impounded it just in case.”

“Really? Good.”  Murray noted to follow that up. “Anyway, Ngyuen reported he had never seen him before then. Not much blood around, so there is another scene somewhere. When I left, we didn’t have an ID on him, but he’ll probably generate a print hit.”

Hudgens stroked his chin.

“Had either of your heard about the cases in Doraville?”

Jackson spoke first. “Not until I saw the web link, although it doesn’t really surprise me. One of the leads we had on the hooker was had been staying around there between street shifts. We could never generate an address, so, it there was nothing that could be followed up.”

Murray continued the thread. “I recognized one of the dumps from working patrol down there. The distance between the Graves and that place is only a couple of miles, so a connection could happen. Speaking of which, before I got I yanked n here, I got a message from Artie Gomez at Dekalb PD.”

“Good ol’ Artie, just like Yves the Butler, ready to assist.” Jackson scoffed in his normal braying tone.

“Hey, don’t talk bad about our former Slave driver. Gomez said he has some info that might be useful. I think we probably need to put our heads together and see if there really is any link.”

“Yeah. And I know what you mean about Artie. I worked with him on a couple of prostitution investigations. He can be rather...uh...trying.”

Hudgens, stopped a second. “Jackson said you saw someone from a prior case on scene?”

“Yeah. His name was Jeremy Allen. About ten years ago, he burned his house down with his Mother and disabled Cousin in it. Pretty gruesome case. Mama had blunt force trauma to her head when she was found. Jeremy sent to Central State Hospital and never was tried that I am aware of. If it was him, I wonder when he got out?”

“Probably worth checking.” Hudgens took a sip of his coffee. “Let’s go ahead and get a couple of hours in now and get organized. We probably won’t be able to do the meeting with Gomez until Monday, so don’t come in tomorrow. You can get out of here now.”


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 Blogophilia-Where addicted writers write.

Topic (Autumn of Old) Stormy Gail Dormire.

Pic-Gerard Villegas

Pic Guesses-Masquerade (In Blog), Black and White, Anonymous, Guy Fawkes, Comedy, Tragedy, Halloween, Devil, Demon, Yin/Yang, Face Off. .



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Turn the Page (Blogophilia 34.7)



So, what to do?


Moon slanting through the kitchen window, Jeremy had his notebook, a bottle of Cutty, and bemused smirk. Taking a slug from the bottle, he turned a page and assessed all that happened.


On the good side, the trip to farm far exceeded expectations. Watching the stump evaporate as exciting and he was ready to do it again. He guessed it was like it the first time for sex or something.  At least that was somebody told him it was like, an explosion.  He never felt any explosions. He’d never had sex with anyone, he didn’t think. Nobody ever got that close. The bombs were a good substitute. He could screw those who screwed him from afar and not getting of the mess on him.


The size of the device was set. 24”X 1 ½”. It produced enough of a blast to affect those within 50 feet. There was still the matter of additional shrapnel. He was leaning toward 8 penny finishing nails, maybe with some washers and nuts of similar size. They were small enough to travel a distance with enough mass to do damage.  Probably will need to test it a bit, tuning it for maximum damage.


Detonation would be handled with a couple of old Nokia phones, hooked to a nine volt battery. The phones were $10 on Craigslist and the sellers took PayPal. They showed up at the apartment two days after the payment cleared, using someone's hacked credit card, of course.  


The phones could be tested here using an electric thingamajig. The one that shows how much current is going through? Dial it up and see if the charge registers. How much charge will it take? Jeremy made a note to look that up. It shouldn’t be that much.

Anyway, pipe bomb and detonator most certainly did not need to be together until he was ready. It probably would be good to test the shrapnel and the detonator together up at the farm. He could set up some targets to track the progress.  Altogether, that the trip was a plus on the balance sheet.


The reconnaissance part had been a disaster. First he wasted the fifteen minutes on Police Headquarters. Well, no, it wasn’t a waste. He did get a good feel of the compound layout and realized it was a poor target. Only one public entrance, heavily guarded. Hitting there would be like stirring an ant hill. The pigs would just pour out like the worker cogs they are. He wouldn’t be able to run fast enough from the colony when it was stirred up.  


The trip to the Graves was totally on a whim. Mother, Sarah and him had lived there when he was very little in a building at the far end of complex. Sarah had only just begun living with them. Mother never did say what had happened to her mom, only she was dead and that she was there to stay. Jeremy didn’t mind. She was someone to play with, even if she was older. 


The Graves was new back then. There was a small patch of woods behind the building he and Sarah would play in. Chasing each other, they would pretend to be Prince and Princess. He would never mention her make her sad and he couldn’t handle her crying. Jeremy would cover her mouth with his hand until she would fall asleep. Laying her carefully on the forest floor, he would hold her until she woke up. Thinking back, she looked like one of those paintings. The ones that would be called “Girl in Repose” or “Innocence Sleeps” or something stupid like that. 


They would return to the apartment dirty and happy. Mother would be waiting for them, spoon ready. She would wail about dead slut sister as she would yank their pants down. They were nothing but dirty urchins who were sent by God to punish Mother for her sins. 


They would take the spankings standing at the table together, mother alternating between their bare bottoms. It was the daily thunderstorm.  When it was over, they would be locked in the bedroom and they would cuddle themselves to sleep. Misery together was much better than misery apart.


One day, Sarah tried to run during the process. With her panties at her ankles, she tripped and hit her head on the table. Blood went everywhere and here was a lot of confusion. Sarah was taken away for a while and Mother and him ended up moving to the house.  It was quite a while before she came back and she never was the same.  


The apartment complex sure had changed. Broken windows and patchy pavement met his gaze. The woods were replaced by a nondescript building with a loading dock. A sea of brown faces looked warily as he drove. They regard him as being from another planet. Jeremy gave a thought of turning around and going on home, but this was a mission that needed to be fulfilled. 


Since this was where Sarah’s troubles started, this was a good place to avenge his troubles. The plan was to drive to his old building and snoop around for a spot to drop the car. It wasn’t until he started down the hill that he saw the crime scene. He couldn’t believe it. If he was quiet, he could watch it being worked, great information for later. An empty parking place was directly across the drive and he took advantage. 


He had been there about twenty minutes when Murray showed up and ruined the party.  Did he recognize me or not? And does the idiot realize he wasn’t connected to the body?  It really didn’t matter. The best option now was to find a better deployment.  Another accidental spotting in that area would get Murray’s attention for sure. But that area still has promise. Immigrants were scared of the cops.  He knew of one complex not fare away that dead ended into a cul-de-sac.  It was far enough away the Graves to that nobody would make a connection. 

Turning to a fresh page in the notebook, he made note to drive over there in the morning and walk around. Measurements need to be made and sightlines assessed. He wanted to watch. He needed to be sure he could.



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Almost forgot.

For those of you who are new here, Blogophilia is a fun group of people who write based on challenges.

Topic-Sandy Glenn

Pic-Nina Nixon.

Pic guesses: Girl in Repose (in blog), Innocence Sleeps (in blog), Afternoon Delight, Siesta, Nap Time, Peaches and Dreams.