Today my mood is red
Anger bubbles in my pit like magma
Churning, growing ever strong
Rising and melting away
At rocky insides
Until The calm mountain
Becomes A violent volcano
Spewing words like napalm
From the mouth of a dragon
Scorching all they touch
Today my mood is red
Jacob heard the bed squeak as he attempted to roll out of it, stopping mid-roll he glanced over his shoulder to gain a vantage point at the sleeping beauty next to him. She was as gorgeous this morning as she had been last night, good thing the scotch hadn’t clouded his judgment, except the sleeping with a stranger an hour after arguing with his ex-wife, he pushed the thought out as quickly as it had come. She moved on and he should as well. Although he thought a man on the run really shouldn’t be sleeping with a police officer.
The click of the heavy wooden door with beautiful stain glass work closing behind him created a welcome sound. The quiet of the street in the pre-dawn morning had also been a welcome sound. He quietly made is way through the slick icy sidewalk toward his car, when suddenly his entire body and the front yard was bathed in a florescent glow. He whipped around to see a motion activated flood light above the welcome mat on the front steps shining down on him. Jacob sped his pace and made it to the car and out of the driveway before Kelsey could wake and make it to the door.
His radio clock read four fifteen and if it was possible the outside temp on the dashboard instrument panel read thirty four degrees, a whole fifteen degrees warmer than yesterday at this hour in the morning? Then he remembered he was in Missouri where one could experience a blizzard one day and a heat wave the next. Jacob turned the volume up on the radio, he remembered instantly just how cheap his car had been when he noticed that it didn’t even have a CD player, radio only. Not that he had anything to place in it anyway.
Jacob found himself once again on the strip of the downtown area, he needed gas and a newspaper before he made is way out of this god forsaken town. Although it did have its perks, a good blues bar, pretty women and a small town feel, there was something about this place that he couldn’t quit put his finger on but made him uneasy.
The set of railroad tracks that ran parallel with downtown popped and cracked, giving his tiny car a shake as Jacob crossed them. He wasn’t the best with a sense of direction but he was sure he would head toward the interstate where there would surely be a gas station
He saw two men standing on a corner. It was unmistakable what they were doing there. Jacob had to wonder what was this towns flavor of choice. The two men had to be in their early twenties, white and tattooed to the hilt. They stood next to an exit that led to the on ramp for interstate 55. Jacob gave it a quick glance and saw no gas station to right or left of the ramp, and looked back down at the instrument panel, next to the outside temp was the gas gauge, the needle hovered near an eighth of a tank, he could, he theorized, go nearly a hundred miles on that amount of gas in this car.
As he passed the two men, Jacob reached into the back seat and pulled his carryon bag up to the front seat next to him. The men by this time had noticed his presence and the fact that he was driving a tiny blue hatchback, the car didn’t exactly scream masculinity. Jacob saw them pointing and laughing as he passed. Jacob unzipped the bag and pulled out his 9mm Glock, a cheap but effective gun.
He found an spot to turn around and sat the gun in his lap. It happened to be an abandoned grocery store. Graffiti littered the building, art is what some called it but he recognized them for what they were, tags that identified a turf, and this one apparently belonged to BBS, whoever they were.
The men seemed surprised that Jacob rolled to a stop next to them, and even more surprised when the window to begin to roll his window down. “Excuse me, can you help me?” Jacob called out to them. He looked around and thought how easy it would be to get rid of the scum right here.
One was much more cut than the other and he approached first. “Wha’tha fock ya doin’ here,” he mumbled as he leaned onto the door. “I seemta think you in the wrong place mothafucka.”
“Listen buddy, I’m just looking for some gas.”
“You hear that Bash, this mothafucka wants some gas,” He called over his shoulder to the smaller guy in a St. Louis Rams jacket, unzipped over a white tank top which appeared, judging from the multitude of stains, that he lived in it. Jacob noticed that the men had acne, and he assumed they were to old to be going through puberty which more than likely meant he had discovered their ‘flavor of choice’ “we was just admirin’ you pretty purple car. What you say you take us fo’a ride in it.”
Jacob drummed his hand on the Glock to draw attention to it, “It’s blue,” it worked but not in the way that Jacob had hoped. The man stepped back and the one that he called Bash stepped up. They lifted their stain ridden tank tops to show their skinny abdomens and also that their waste bands held two 9’s of their own.
A husky voice didn’t match his appearance, because of his size, Jacob would have thought it to be a higher pitch, a teenager’s voice maybe. But it held a weathered voice of an older man, one perhaps three times his age. “Listen, you should probably get outta here, got it?” Jacob couldn’t agree more, “You need to put the heat away.”
“Like I said I just need some gas and directions out of your fine city,” condescension probably wasn’t the best tactic but Jacob really didn’t care.
The one called Bash twisted his jaw and then opened it wide in a yawn like motion, he was jittery and bouncing around like the little toady dog from the Sylvester The Cat cartoons that he remembered as a kid. Jacob was sure that the two were on crystal. Then he pulled the gun out of his waist band in a crazy swift like motion and pointed it at Jacob. Jacob felt his heart fall into his stomach and placed his hand on his gun as well, not raising it, but waiting. Then Bash used the gun as a pointer and pointed to the exit ramp. “If you go up that way, there is a gas station at the next exit, bout two miles up, you can make it two miles right?”
Jacob released the gun from his grip and brought his hands back up to the steering wheel. “I sure can. Thank you for your kind hospitality.”
Bash leaned in close to the window and Jacob could smell his stench, the ripe fragrance of underarms “I don’t wanna see you around here again, you got it smartass?”
Jacob didn’t agree or disagree he only gently eased on the gas and pulled away, headed out of BBS territory and out of Pine Bluff.
Last night I had a dream
aboard a sinking ship i stood alone
Hands on cold metal railing
i peered into blue
Watched as no help came
Ocean’s calm surface
Mask devastation deep
Its frigid water like tentacles
I did not scream
Or ask for help
Plead or beg
Blue all around
Above in the sky
Below in the water
Of what is
The smell of the rental car was horrid, it smelled like ass and Cheeto’s. Jacob never was much for small fuel friendly economy rides and honestly the only reason he was driving the Toyota Prius was because it was the cheapest car that the rental lot offered. All he kept thinking was how he was coming home to get his girls and live happily ever after, but the grey skies above Pine Bluff were doing their best to prove his plans improbable. He took the map from the bag of items he had picked up from the counter at the rental car place and studied it for a minute. It didn’t appear that it would be too difficult to navigate the trip himself. Also he had purchased a “burner” phone and several minutes. He hadn’t talked to Rachel to let her know he was coming home and by now she would be worried sick about him.
He hadn’t told her the plan for one main reason. Her reaction to the police when they told her of his death. Rachel wasn’t much of an actress. Hell she couldn’t even keep a surprise birthday party secret much less the fact that her ex-husband had faked his death.
He heard the phone on the other end begin to ring and waited patiently as it rang four times. Just as he thought that it was going to voice mail he heard a frantic voice pick up.
“Hello,” it was Rachel. He knew the instant that he heard her beautiful voice. She sounded frantic, but not upset.
“Hello, who is this?” she repeated.
“Hello? Listen I don’t have time for games.” Jacob could tell she was about to put the phone down.
“Ray.” It was his nickname for her.
“Can you talk?”
“Jacob you son-of-a-bitch. What do you think your doing? I don’t have time for your games. I told you to never call here again.”
“Can you talk?”
“Of course I can talk. But that doesn’t mean I want to.”
Had the police told her yet? It had been over twenty four hours. It shouldn’t have taken them this long to notify her of his death. Assuming that they thought it had been him in the building.
“Have you not heard the news?”
“That you died in a building fire in St Louis? Yes. Did I believe it? Not for a second. You’re a bastard Jacob and if you come within one hundred miles of me or my family I will call the police and tell them your alive.”
“I’ve got money for you and Maggie. A lot of money.”
“Who did you steal it from? Wait, it doesn’t matter because we wouldn’t be safe, would we? We don’t need your blood money. Maggie and I are fine with Henry. Goodbye.”
She hung up the phone and Jacob was lost. He had no idea she had moved on to someone else. But then again how could he have expected her to sit and wait on him to return especially with no word from him in over three years. Jacob suddenly got a craving for some scotch.
The bar sat on a cobblestone street corner by the riverfront. It’s three story brick façade held no window’s and just above the bright red neon sign that announced the name Billy’s Blues House was a larger name, but this one was inscribed in concrete and bricked around. It was built into the front of the building so it would live forever. The name said Wilson Wholesale Dist. Jacob assumed it had once been a warehouse and distribution center. In fact all the buildings on this street looked nearly the same, and all appeared to have been a hub of some sort back when river boating was a way of life. Back in the days of Mark Twain.
The interior of the bar looked completely different. Modern tables and chairs lined the exposed brick walls and small stage sat at the front of the large room in front of a large hardwood dance floor. At the back of the room sat a long bar that appeared to seat at least thirty people and one old black man behind the bar.
Jacob took a seat next to a woman who sat at the all Mahogany bar in a high back bar stool and talked to her “old” friend. Jacob heard her say that to the man but from the way he looked her with a face that smiled he knew the old man didn‘t take offence to the comment. He saw the old man touch her hand softly. She gently withdrew her hand and swirled her straw in the martini glass of a pink concoction that that the man had set down in front of her.
“This one is on the house, dear.” Jacob heard the man say. He reminded he reminded Jacob of a cross between Sam from Casablanca and Fred Sanford. He had to be every bit of seventy but he still got around with all the vigor of a man half his age. He stood behind the bar like a statue in a white shirt, black bow tie and a black apron folded in half and tied at the waist. His hair was short and white and his eyes, although happy, held bags and the lines on his face showed his age. He felt most comfortable behind the bar, he could tell that, flinging drink, and Jacob watched as he talked to all the people at the bar like he knew them, which he probably did. He was a man that truly loved his job and Jacob instantly admired him for that.
“Thank you Blue.” She said and shot him a smile.
“No thank you sweetheart. Every time you come in here you make my day.” He touched her hand softly then patted it slightly. If Jacob hadn’t seen him do that to most of the people at the bar he would have thought it a come on, but she smiled and this time placed her free hand on top of his, patting slightly in return.
“How long, you been coming here?” Jacob asked.
“Since the day I turned twenty one.”
“Really, your remember the day?”
“Sure, I remember it well, I heard the band King Browne play for a room of a hundred people. They were a semi-local country band. You heard of them?”
“Well they were actually from Memphis and anyone within a two hundred mile radius becomes a local band by proxy.” She chuckled and her wavy hair bounced just a touch. “Well they are now selling out thirty thousand seat stadiums but I don’t like them anymore. They kinda sold out.”
“Well isn’t that the point?” Jacob asked.
She gazed across the field of four top tables and past a small dance floor to an even smaller stage that held a man. “That’s Charles Luther. He actually is from Pine Bluff and really pretty good. His band, Damned Old Train are a mix of modern country and the outlaw country that gives them their name.”
“They were named from the line in the David Allen Coe song ‘You Don’t Have to Call Me Darlin’?”.
“Yep. You like Coe?” She asked and raised one eyebrow.
“Not really. I just know that every bar I’ve ever been in has a bunch of drunk people belting the song.” Jacob thought it was a ridiculous song. But he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. “This guy any good?”
“Well they have a single playing on a dozen stations in the area, they are better than most big stars.”
Jacob watched as Kelsey watched Luther, in all his tattooed glory, stand in the neon glow of the beer signs and bang on the guitar strings to an up tempo number that had something to do with drugs. He didn’t particularly care for this song but the set was almost over.
“The set is almost over I bet he will play ‘I’m sorry’.”
“I’ll have a scotch, Chevis if you have it.” Jacob said as the man she called Blue returned to their side of the bar.
She turned and looked at him in the eyes, Jacob sat still for a moment, looking back at her, trying to get what she was thinking. He realized that the whole they had been chatting she never even looked his direction. Through their entire conversation up to that point she had been staring at the stage and this man she called Charles.
“You have beautiful green eyes.” she said, and then she turned her attention back to the stage, waiting for the song he assumed she came to hear.
“I wrote this song a while back,” he began, “when I lost someone dear to me. We used to do everything together, she even went hunting with me. Who does that? This song is for Lucy, my lab. 1, 2, 3, 4…”. the band started in and it wasn’t the song. Only a joke. He was playing the crowd and they knew it, a mixture of boos and laughter rose through the crowd.
“Who is this guy?” she said talking to Blue but pointing to Jacob.
She turned around and studied him again as if there were something odd about him. “There is something about him that I can’t put my finger on.”
She patted the bar and pointed her finger at Jacob, his mind raced as he poured the Scotch down his throat.
“I’ve got it,” she said, “I know what it is about you that I can’t figure out. I don’t know you. You see we know everyone here. And I mean everyone. There isn’t a person that can walk through that door that I don’t know.” She turned to Blue, “You know him?”
“No,” he said as he walked away.
“My name is Nathan,” Jacob put out his hand. “Nathan Collins.”
She grabbed his hand and shook it with authority. She didn’t feel like a fish in his hand. She was gorgeous, in an exotic looking way. She didn’t look like she fit into the scene at Pine Bluff, maybe an island in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Greece. Her skin was an olive hue and seemed a little tan for mid December. She had on a black low cut sleeveless shirt that was clingy and showed that she had nothing to be embarrassed about. Sitting in her chair he guessed her at maybe five ten, relatively tall for a girl and thin, maybe one twenty. Her long black hair was curly and pulled back into a loose pony tail. He could smell a slight floral scent, not as though she had put on perfume but maybe bathed in a rose water, which he thought seemed unlikely the instant he thought it.
“You hear him, make up your own mind. People around here love him. But he is one of our own so we might be a little bias.” She turned and the scent of rose flowed from her hair again.
The old black man came back to the end of the bar and looked at Jacob. “‘nother Chevis?”
“Where you from son?”
“Name’s Nathan, from St. Louis.” Jacob saw in the mans eyes that he had heard a lot of stories over the years and wondered if he bought his.
“St. Louis is a big place, where ‘bout?”
“Lived in Clayton area, worked just north of downtown. Branch of AIG. You from STL?”
“Nope, Memphis myself but know a lot people.”
Kelsey turned back to Jacob. “This is his big hit right now. Listen and be the judge.” He saw a light in her eyes. Like a kid in a candy store.
The old black man leaned in to Jacob’s ear. “People call me Blue. She’s like a daughter to me. You understand me son?”
Truth was Jacob had no intention of caring want the man said. He would be out of town with the sun and he was just looking for scotch.
The song had been touching and heart felt. Jacob honestly wished the best for the young man. He seemed troubled and Jacob knew how hard it was to breakaway from a small town. As Jacob drove the Prius up the snow covered riverfront streets and then into the old downtown district it reminded him a lot of Dublin, not Ireland, Missouri. Rachel and Maggie still lived there. Some two hundred miles west. It was a small town nestled in the foot hills of the Ozarks that in reality were merely foothills themselves. Pine Bluff’s downtown district was filled with small shop owners selling handmade crafts, a few shoe stores, a camera shop and couple furniture stores. The main economic business had headed toward the interstate, it appeared, several years ago.
Jacob couldn’t help but wonder what had kept young Charles here. It was obvious that he intended on making his way to Nashville in hopes of a music career and God knew there was nothing for him here. Pine Bluff appeared to be like most small towns. If you didn’t come from money chances were that you would never have any. And from Charles’ outward appearance he didn’t have any.
Kelsey lay half passed out in the passenger seat of the tiny car. Her height made it hard for her to spread out.
“So where is your house?”
“Make a left at the next stop light.”
After a few more rights and a couple lefts Jacob found himself in a cushy neighborhood near a college of which he didn’t recognize the name. Her house was small and cozy but classy. Not quite a brownstone but in that line of architecture. Its brown brick front was narrow like a row house. The interior was just as predictably modern yet safe. Hardwood floors covered the entirety of the home.
Jacob made his way around the sitting room and noticed a few pictures hung on the wall above the mantle over the fireplace. One was of an older man and a teenage boy and Kelsey as a young girl, maybe ten, on a fishing trip, she held up a small fish that appeared to be a perch. The next one was of Kelsey with an older lady in a turquoise dress and grey short curly hair and a Wilma Flintstone pearl necklace. If Jacob was a betting man he would put a hundred dollar bill on the fact she was a school teacher. The next picture was Kelsey in a cap and gown holding a college diploma.
“I’ll be right back, make yourself comfortable. I’m going to go upstairs and slip into something else. Kitchen is that way.” She pointed toward the back of the house from midway up the stairs. “Sorry there is no Chevis though.” She called from upstairs.
“It’s okay, I’m done drinking anyway.” Jacob lazily strode through the downstairs looking at anything that would hint as to who this girl was. She was amazing and beautiful and crazy and reckless but the shape of her home and everything about her said just the opposite.
“So what exactly does a day trader do anyway?” she was still calling from upstairs.
“Well, its just a fancy way of saying that I’m a banker that trades stocks, bonds, futures, pretty much anything. I’m getting burned out though and I’m looking to get out. That’s why I’m heading south. I’ve got some money saved and I’m looking to make a chan…” his thought trailed off as he came back around the corner from the kitchen and back into the sitting room. He had been looking at the fishing picture again. Kelsey stood in a red and white lace bra and panty set. Her hair was down and hung over her shoulders. It wasn’t as curly as he had thought it was in the ponytail, but had more of a wavy body to it. But it was her small perky breasts that held his attention at the moment.
“Change?” she finished the thought for him.
“Yes, change sorry, you’re so beautiful. Your so fit, you must devote hours a day on that body.”
“I run two miles a day, that’s all, natural beauty, I guess. That’s me and my dad and my half brother.”
Jacob moved closer to her. “What is it that you do exactly? I can usually read a person pretty good, but you Kelsey Lawson seem to have stumped me.”
She moved closer to him and pushed her near naked body close to his. She ran her hands over his inner thighs and he became instantly hard.
She whispered in his ear, “Its Detective Kelsey Lawson.”
I can not explain
How It works
It works How it works
It will heal
I have faith
Not in spirit
Faith in flesh
How can i heal
Without your hand
To guide me
Direct my life where it needs to go
At times it seems
Your anger will succumb
To the pressures
I inadvertently place on you
Your love must be strong
Hard and callus
Yet it must be soft
For me to lay my head
I know i ask a lot
A request i do not deserve
But i plead
For your love will be my healing
Ever river through me flowing
Cuts a valley deep of knowing
Erodes away with each mistake
Teaching ones to not again make
Jacob chose to make his escape by the cover of darkness. A flight out of the city headed in the direction that he needed to go was scheduled to depart at 9:10. But he decided that the two hours for security would liken his odds of getting spotted to something like the odds of a whore contracting an STD. Pretty damn good. So he decided to take the train home. Not too many people traveled by train anymore and the security was next to nothing. He had to worry about the ticket man but that was about it. Soon he would be holding his daughter in his arms. Something he’d missed greatly.
The Amtrak station was nothing like the solitude of the quite personal space that his office provided. There were people everywhere, and frankly it made him nervous. He hadn’t planned on so many people and it was probably due to the economy now that he thought about it. Cheaper than driving and flying. Surely his office was ash by now, along with everything inside, and the police shouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. Sleazy ex-cop turned sleazy P.I. and a gang banger had a shootout. Two dead shitbags and a shithole building burnt to the ground. To them it was probably a long unanswered prayer realized. He was sure they weren’t looking for him but he couldn’t be too careful. He got off the train at the first stop to stretch his legs and get the blood flowing back into them and was hit by the frigid winter air. Snow was falling in a near blizzard onto the deck of the train station, covering it in a blanket of thick wet snow. The sign above the entrance to the depot read “Welcome to Pine Bluff population 17,646”.
His blue blazer and jeans was nothing special, he always wore them when trying to blend in. A man in a blue button down shirt with a wiry face and a five o’clock shadow appeared out of nowhere, and tapped Jacob on his unrepentant shoulder, sending him into a startle. Jacob hadn’t seen him coming at all. The man began reaching for something behind his back, and out of instinct Jacob reached for his snub nose from the belt holster on his back. DAMN! It wasn’t there, left it on the junky. He looked around for a place to dive behind when the shooting starts. There had to be a bench or a table he could overturn like in the movies, something. That was when Jacob saw what he was packing. A stack of flyers.
“Excuse me sir,” The man said.
“I’m sorry I’m in a terrible rush, I only have a few minutes before my train departs again.”
“It will only take a minute of your time.”
“A minute is something I don’t have, and I don’t have any spare change.”
“No, I don’t want your money.”
The man continued to follow Jacob up the hallway that led into the lobby of the train station. He eyed the people in the room, looking for anyone that might give him trouble, then Jacob saw a big black man in his early thirties making his way toward him. He was wearing a light gray suit, his hair cut in a high and tight buzz cut, defiantly ex-military and most likely security.
Jacob turned to make his way back the way he had just come but now found himself face to face with the pursuer.
“It’s just my fifteen year old daughter is missing, and I need all the help I can get.”
He must have saw the look on Jacob’s face. “Do you have a daughter, sir?” He asked.
“Yes, she’s five, that’s actually where I’m headed now, to see her. It’s something I haven’t done in a very long time.”
The Big Man approached them quickly. “Mr. Murphy, I’m not going to tell you again to stay away from the customers.”
Jacob looked the Big Man in the eye. “It’s okay, Mr. Murphy and I are old friends.”
“Sure you are, well Andy has been warned several times to stay off the property or the next time he harassed someone he was going to jail.”
“Well, Jerry, and I have known each other for years. So I guess you’ll have to wait for the next time because Mr. Murphy isn’t harassing me.” The Big Man looked confused, but walked away, not far, but out of ear shot.
“How did you know my name? Are you psychic?”
Sometimes Jacob wished he was, he might not be in the mess he found himself in now, running to get out of a city he’d called home for four years. The fact of the matter was he did what he had been trained to do, find clues. “No, I used to be a Detective and I saw your name on the flyer your holding.”
“Well, thank you,” he said with a smile. “So have you seen her?”
Jacob took a good look at the picture, she was a beautiful young girl, full of life and happiness. Her long blonde hair flowing behind her as the wind blew in her face. She sat on a tire swing. A very lovely and homey picture. His heart, cold as it was, broke for her, and them, because he didn’t have to be a psychic to know she was dead.
He just looked Jerry in his sad eyes and said, “I’m sorry, I haven’t.”
She lay in her crib, her eyes rolling back in forth in haste under her tiny eyelids, obviously dreaming whatever a one year old would dream about. Her mother stood stoic in the doorway, arms crossed and her eyebrows turned down in a furrow when he pulled out of the drive. It killed him to leave them. But as harsh as it might have appeared, it was for their own good. He wasn’t worth being a father and a husband to them, what they needed, no what they deserved, was more than he could give. It’s not that he didn’t care enough about them to stay, he just couldn’t prioritize the things in his life. Well that wasn’t true, he did prioritize, he just hadn’t seen what was truly number one. Work had won. Like always.
But all that changed. He sat on that train waiting for it to leave this tiny town in the dust and he felt at peace for the first time in his life. Funny, to feel that way, he had to kill a man and become someone else.
He sat at the back of the train car in silence and watched the people taking their seats. One by one they walked slowly down the aisle, searching for their seats. Buses, trains and planes are always full of emotion. People are usually on there for an emotional reason. Weddings, births, deaths, vacations, honeymoons, and if you learn people like he had you can usually tell why they are there. The guy coming down the aisle now is a corporate pig, working everyday for the dollar but never sees his family, the wedding ring on his finger tells Jacob he’s married, it’s a little scuffed so a few years, and most men his age have at least one kid and an ex-wife, Jacob would know. He sits down with his lap top in the seat across the aisle from Jacob and immediately opens it up, workaholic.
The woman and man coming down the aisle next are a beautiful young couple, probable mid twenties, obviously honeymoon. He can also tell by the flowery shirt the jackass is wearing that they are going somewhere tropical, bastards, I’ll be freezing my ass off.
You get the point.
Jacob grew tired of watching people and his nerves began to be tested when he looked at his watch. Ten fifteen. The train should have departed ten minutes ago. He decided to close his eyes for a few minutes and drifted into darkness. He wished he had dreamed of his wife and daughter in those few moments but he hadn’t. All he remembered seeing before he woke to what he thought was the force of the train jerking to a start was actually the face of Andre. That prick and baby killer.
But when he opened his eyes Jacob saw another large black man. The Big Man pushed him back in the seat, shaking him.
“Sir, we are deboarding,” he was saying, apparently several times.
“What,” Jacob forced out the response. “We just got on.”
“Yes, sir. Everyone is being asked to leave the train. All routes are cancelled until the ice is cleared from the tracks, could be morning”.
“Where’s the bus station?”
“Sorry pal but the interstate is closed as well. The bridges are iced over. I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t damage to them from all the ice. My guess is that the train won’t be going for a couple days. Maybe a week. Depends.”
“What am I supposed to do?”
“I suggest getting a hotel. But I can tell you this. You aren’t leaving Pine Bluff tonight.”
All we want is desire
One that makes us smile
Tips of fingers pulsing happiness
All we want is desire
A sparkle in the air
Someone to laugh at our jokes
Even the ones that are not funny
All we want is desire
To look with wanting eyes
Someone to find us attractive
Even when wake and look our worse
All we want is desire
Wanting, longing, lingering
Someone to desire our touch
Fingertips pulsing happiness
All we want is desire
Face like sunshine
Making the gloomy days bright
And the sad days bearable
All we want is desire
To be needed
To have and to hold
All we want is desire
To have that feeling
quenched when you’re holding me
All we want is to be desired
Here is the short story that began it all; once I wrote this story the world of Jacob Mallory and Pine Bluff Missouri was born. This could have very well ended the Jacob Mallory saga, but the next chapter propels him into a world he is somewhat unready for.
The early morning light sat just under the horizon, waiting for the chance to protect the innocent from all the creatures of the night. Jacob sat at his computer desk waiting as well, but not to protect. He knew that the information he possessed would hurt people. The name that he held in his head wasn’t important to a lot of people, but there were some who wanted it bad enough to pay for it. And Jacob had found himself in the business of selling it.
He was relaxed, well as relaxed as a man who was about to either meet his maker or double cross the most feared crime boss in the city out of a lot of money could be. He sat, sinking into his black English leather chair, the only expensive piece of furniture in the room, but his mind remained tense as he concentrated intently on the baby blue and yellow walls, painted that color not by his choice, but because the room, at one time, had been a day care for the law offices that once occupied this building. Now it had become home to a few artsy new age shops on the ground floor and a café, which made his office smell like bagels and chocolaty mint coffee.
The second floor held mainly dot com offices, which in the past few years have become more and more extinct. The only businesses on the second floor making any money were the two porn sites that sat at the end of the hallway, just beneath his office, which gave him the benefit of hearing sex all day and night.
Jacob Mallory Private Detective Agency sat nestled at the end of the hallway on the third floor, his little slice of heaven. The floor empty except for his small cramped quarters, which he took not for the sex sounds, but because it was the cheapest and it was the cheapest because it sat the furthest from the elevator, which he didn’t mind the walk, and his only view of the city was of a brick wall and an alley that had become the home to junkies and drunks sleeping off a bad night and a few homeless kids that thought life would be better prostituting themselves for ten dollar blow jobs than to stay at home and live by mom and dad’s rules. Teenagers never know how good they have it.
Jacob liked to keep things simple, the only thing in his little slice of heaven, except for the chair and computer, was a cheap oak desk that he picked up at goodwill and paid one of the homeless teenagers, Mike, twenty bucks to help get it up the three flights of stairs. Jacob figured since he was screwing the kid he would give him his going rate. Mike had been the same young man that pointed out to Jacob a couple of mornings ago that he had spotted a man asleep next to the dumpster at the end of the alley, come to find out the man wasn‘t asleep but instead dead. Jacob figured he had more than likely overdosed on heroin sometime in the night. Jacob called the police for Mike because he didn’t want to them find out about his little business he was running out of the abandoned building next door. Somehow Jacob suspected they already knew, but the police never showed up to retrieve the body so Jacob had to get rid of it himself.
Oh, and also on the desk beside the computer sat a picture, a small one, but it was there, of his ex-wife Rachel and his daughter when she was a small baby. Maggie was almost five now, my God, has it been that long since I saw her last, he thought. Oh, well she doesn’t need a father like me in her life anyway. He hasn’t even talked to her in months. Rachel says that he should come home and see her but being a P. I. and catching cheating spouses and bail jumpers doesn’t tend to be a nine to fiver. Now he probably won’t have a chance to see them again.
Deep down he knew leaving them would be for the best. Being a private detective isn’t the life for a family man, but he tried because it was all he knew. After being kicked off of the force for using “unconventional methods”, that’s what the captain called it, Jacob put his skills to better use, breaking fingers was never that hard for him, I can live with the pain, its not mine. But when Andre comes tonight, if he is careful, all that could change. He could be a new man.
Andre’s limo pulled to a stop in front of the boy hookers building. The unbearable smell of the urine and feces wafted through the cold night and invaded his nostrils forcing him to raise his silk handkerchief to cover his delicate nose. His alligator skin shoes hit the pavement of the street as if it were the alligator sliding into the swamp, his long mink coat flowed down and its bottom stopping just short of the putrid street hanging at his ankles. A little over six foot and weighing two hundred and fifty pounds of pure muscle he was dominate yet refined. His skin glistened in the street lights like dark chocolate, his eyes dark and deep, his face long and narrow and he looked as though he should be on the cover of GQ, not a baby killer.
The road and the sidewalk were covered in slushy black snow and the air frigid. Andre found it amazing that people on the streets could still make a living in ten degree weather. Sex knows no bounds, he thought.
As he made his way up the stairs and down the hallway to Jacobs office he could feel a sense of dread, something was going on, he just couldn’t put his finger on it. Something was telling him that it had been a bad idea to come alone like Jacob had asked, but he needed the name and was in no position to bargain. Even as powerful as he was.
As he grew closer to the door he could see Jacob pacing in front of his desk, his office door open. He reached into his coat pocket before he got to the door and began feeling for something. Then he stopped, pulling it out into the light of the hallway, he tapped the envelope on the glass window of the door.
Jacob’s eyes locked on the envelope that Andre tapped on the door. Good, things are going as planned.
“Is that the..” he paused, “The money?”
“Yes,” Andre looked Jacob in the eyes.
Jacob could feel his eyes dart back and forth from the envelope to Andre. He could feel the sweat bead on his forehead and his hand began to tremble.
“That doesn’t look big enough to hold a million dollars,” Jacob said with skepticism. “Because I’m not giving you the name without the money, deal’s a deal.”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Mallory, it’s all here. It’s a bank account number set up under aliases. You do your part and the account is yours to do with as you please. Name please.”
“I would like to check the account if you don’t mind,” He took the envelope from Andre’s hand.
“By all means, just hurry I have things to do tonight.” Jacob punched a few numbers into the computer and there it was, a bank in an offshore account with one million dollars in it. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a number that he had written down and tucked in his wallet. He punched in the numbers and hit transfer. The amount went from one million to zero in a matter of seconds. Jacob was a millionaire for a minute at least.
“Are we ready then, my trial starts tomorrow and I’d like to get this taken care of, ya’mean?” He said.
“Sure.” Andre was about to stand trail for the drive by shooting of a little girl on the south side of town, she wasn’t the target but she died non-the-less. Andre wanted the name of the only witness that identified him as the shooter, the prosecution had asked that his name not be revealed until the trail because they felt that his life might be in danger.
Jacob walked behind the desk and slowly opened the drawer, in it lay a piece of paper with a name on it and next to the paper a silver snub nosed .38 which he always carried, and a tan wallet. He slowly slid the gun into his pocket and then pulled out the paper. When Jacob looked up he found himself not only staring into the eyes of a killer but down the barrel of a 9mm. I had a feeling this was going to happen.
“You can put the gun down, Andre.” He said calmly, barely able to move with the vest on under his shirt. I hope it’s a body shot.
One shot to the chest, not dead, but it still hurt like hell. He laid there like he couldn’t move, the fact was that he hadn’t tried, he might not have been able to. He began to hear footsteps until he felt Andre standing over him. Andre reached down and picked up the paper that still lay in Jacob’s hand.
He opened it up and read it. Jacob felt a little laughter building as he looked at Andre’s face as he read the name on the paper.
“I will take the real name to my grave.” He dropped the paper and aimed at Jacob again, but this time Andre noticed that he had the snub nose pointed at him.
He double tapped Andre in the chest and blood flew onto the baby blue walls behind him as he stumbled back a few steps and fell like a tree falling from a lumberjacks axe onto the floor.
Jacob rose to his feet and begun the next phase of his plan. He pulled the dead body out of the closet, put the Kevlar on him and laid him in Jacob’s place on the floor. It had been a good thing the cops never came to get the body. He picked up Andre’s gun and shot the man in the neck and replaced Andre’s gun on the floor by his body and placed the snub nose in the homeless mans hand. He casually walked back to the desk and took out the tan wallet with the mans I.D. He tossed a match into a wastepaper basket next to the desk and watched it smolder for a minute before Jacob walked out the door of the office.
Jacob walked down the wet sidewalk away from the burning building a new man. His only thought was I wonder what Maggie would like her new daddy to bring her.
I love Dylan’s Simple Twist of Fate. This is my take on that song.
Bright light catches the gaze
Winking blindly at scandalous rays
A falling star dangles from her ear mouth utters words no man dare hear
Forbidden touch of a nightly lady
No Scarlet shown in dark alley rainy
Tips of his bride left prints latent
Songs of forever left her un-content
Alone they moved together
She showed no promise of forever
Pushed his wandering hand away
No intention of seeing the day
By the morning dawn he woke
He heard no words she spoke
Sheets of satin he lay alone
Light of day through the window shown
Tonight he will again look
searching the pages of THE book
For that ONE line of meaning great
It is more a simple twist of fate