Let it be me

Searching for a guiding light so bold

Collar turned, bones rattling from the cold

whisper in the wind vibrates upon your ear

mind believing words you hear

I’m reaching for your hand

Giving me strength to stand

I need the touch, you see

you need a light, let it be me

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A New Man Part 21

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The hours had passed slowly and she had refused to talk. Her once beautiful face now was covered in blood and bruised and swollen. Andre had hit her so much that he had grown tired of swinging the gun and yet she refused to say anything. Rachel sat tied to an oak dining chair in the middle of the living room floor. She claimed that she didn’t love him anymore and could care less about what happened to him, but for reasons that Andre couldn’t fathom she wasn’t saying where he was hiding. Had he promised her some of the money? Was she really still in love with him? Or was it as she claimed, that she had no idea where he had gone.
The man that left in the BMW should be returning anytime and with him he would be bringing the bargaining chip that Andre knew would get some answers, her daughter.
“I’m only gonna ask you this one more time.” Andre shoved the barrel of his silver .45 hard against her forehead. “Where is your husband? When is he coming?”
“H-He’ll be h-h..ome in a minu..” her words struggled to come out. He could tell she was tired and in pain. Good.
“Not that husband. You know who I am talking about.”
“Ho’fully ne’er..” her head struggled to stay up, she fought the urge to fall into a sleep induced coma. “I to’d I ne’er want..ed to see h-him agai’.” her breathing was rapid and shallow. Her head started to hang between her shoulders limp at the neck.
Andre pushed her head up with the barrel of the gun but her eyes were closed and her limpness told him she was unconscious. He focused on her and never heard the car pull into the driveway. He was taken by surprise when the key in the door alerted him to the presence of company.
Moving quietly to the stained glass door he held the gun outstretched waiting for the man of the house to enter. The door slowly opened and blocked Andre’s view. The man he saw leave for work ten hours ago shut the door and sat the briefcase down on the floor of the marbled foyer. He tossed his keys into a bowl that sat on a table just inside the door and made his way to the living room, Andre followed quietly behind him. Where is the girl? Andre thought.
“Honey, I left..” He stopped as he turned the corner and saw Rachel sitting in the chair bound and covered in her own blood.
“Good evening Sir,” Andre said, pushing the gun to the back of his head. “I don’t think we’ve met.” He pushed the gun hard into the back of the mans head causing him to stumble forward. “Have a seat.”
The man sat down on a red sofa next to his wife.
“I am a friend of your wife’s ex-husband. I’m trying to find him. He owes me some money.”
The man started to stand, “I don’t see how any of this is our concern,” he said.
Andre swung hard hitting the man in his left temple with the butt of his gun. “Sit down,” he yelled. “Listen to me, I’m sorry what is your name we haven’t been properly introduced.”
“Henry,” he whispered.
“Well Henry, it is your concern because it seems he called your wife a couple days ago and she knows where he is and won’t tell me.”
“I’m sure your mistaken. Rachel hasn’t talked to Jacob in two years.”
Andre chuckled and strutted in his two hundred dollar shoes toward Henry. He plopped down next to him placing himself between Rachel and her husband.
“You see, Henry, Rachel here already admitted to me that she has spoken with Mr. Mallory and that he mentioned having some money, the money that he owes me. Now all I want your wife here to do is to tell me where he is and I’ll leave you two alone.”
“I don’t know how to help you Mr. Andre.”
“Its Andre, or Mr. Macklin,” he said. “I’m not your fucking neighbor.”
“Sorry. Its just that she seems to be unconscious and I need to get her to a hospital.”
“In time you will. If you coopperate with me.” He moved to the window and peered out looking at the dark street. “Where is your daughter?”
“She is not part of this do you hear me?”
Andre raised his gun and pulled the trigger. pfftt. He watched as cotton from the couch flew through the air as it got caught up in the circulation of the room and floated around like snow falling in the living room. Henry jumped, startled by the sudden outburst.
“Did you hear that?” He looked out across the street at the bush he had been hiding in earlier that morning where an elderly woman wrapped it in strings of Christmas lights. She continued on about her business as if nothing happened at her neighbors house.
Henry only shook his head.
“Neither did she. This has a silencer. No one will hear you die. Now where is Mr. Mallory’s daughter?”
“She is at my mother’s house.”
“And why is that?”
“I was planning a surprise evening for my wife.”
“Surprise.” Andre chuckled and moved away from the window.
“T-Thank yo.. Henr..” Rachel was regaining consciousness. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about…… Jacob calling, I just wanted to forget about it.”
“Its okay dear. We don’t have to do this now.”
“Oh yes you do.” Andre said. “I can very easily find your daughter. I found you, didn’t I?”
Rachel’s head rolled toward her purse that sat on the couch. “Get my cell phone. In the call log there is a 573 number that isn’t in my phone book. It’s him. That’s the best I can do.”
Andre dug through the purse until he found her phone and flipped through the call log. There it was, right between Henry and Mom. He selected the number and hit the send button. He held the phone to Rachel’s ear and waited.
***
At nearly six o’clock the sky was black and bar was booming. The after work crowd was gathering at the bar and the dining tables where filling up. No one would have guessed that just a couple hours ago there was a near shoot out here. Jacob sat at the very stool where he took that drink of Chevis just before he went to talk to Kelsey in the back. Then it all went to hell.
What was happening in this town? Blue sat another scotch in front of Jacob and he picked it up, sipping it. He crunched the ice between his teeth and sat the glass back onto the bar.
“Who were those guys, exactly? I’ve seen them on the corner when I was going to leave town a couple days ago.”
“I ain’t getting mixed up in none of this shit.” Blue said wiping the bar.
A man in a red t-shirt pulled up a seat next to Jacob. He tapped the bar and Blue sat down a Budweiser.
“Come on Blue, help a guy out? You seem like an up standing citizen and all, I wouldn’t want anyone to find out what happened here today?”
The man in the red t-shirt looked at Blue and cocked his head slightly, taking a swig of his beer. “What happened?”
“Nothing it was just a misunderstanding between a couple of friends.” He motioned for Jacob to follow him and told another bartender to watch the front. They scurried down the tiny hallway to the office.
“What the fuck do you think you are doing here?”
“Excuse me, I think I’m doing my job.”
“You would be better off to leave. Trust me on that.”
“I plan to, once I find what happened to that girl. Don’t you care what happened to her?”
Blue stood, unwavering. His body finally relaxed and he leaned against the stock small metal filing cabinet. “They work for a gangster named Rainbow. He deals in drugs, some gambling, which is what Jerry’s addiction is, and some prostitution. Everyone knows, not a lot can be proven.”
Jacob took another sip on his scotch. “Meth?”
“Some, from what I heard he deals mainly in hydroponic cronic and some pills.”
Jacob sat down at Blue’s desk and thought for a minute. Jerry really didn’t seem like the drug or illegal gambling type but after years of watching cheating spouses and insurance scammers he had learned that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover just like the saying goes.
“Where could a guy find him, this Rainbow?”
“That wouldn’t be smart. But say a guy was real stupid and wanted to talk to him about something that was none of his business, he could find him at an old abandoned garment factory just outside of town. Or at his house on Maple. But if that man had a lick of sense he would stay away or at least take a lotta heat.”
“Thanks Blue, you’ve been somewhat of a help.”
Jacob stood and his phone rang. His gut reaction was to ignore it because he most likely knew who it was and had no interest in talking to Kelsey. He let it go to voice mail. He barreled his way down the hallway and made his way toward the exit. He wanted a little conversation with this Rainbow. What the fuck kinda name is Rainbow?
As he left the parking lot and pulled onto the cobblestone streets of downtown his phone rang again. Ignore it, he thought. He let it go to voice mail again. She was a persistent little thing. Then it instantly started ringing again. He fought the urge to let it go but he couldn’t. He looked at the caller id and saw it wasn’t Kelsey at all. It was a number that he recognized very well. He had dialed the number thousands of times but never let it ring, not until two mornings ago.
“Hello?” he answered.
“J-Jacob, don’t h-hang up. Pl-please.” He knew the voice by heart. It was Rachel but she didn’t sound the same. Her speech was labored and slurred. “I have a message for you.”
“Rachel are you alright? What’s wrong? Is it Henry, did he hurt you?”
“It isn’t Henry, its Bob.”
Jacob thought for a moment. He didn’t know a Bob.
“I’m sorry dear, I don’t understand. Tell me what’s going on.” His heart began to race and his breathing grew rapid. He thought that he felt icy water pour from the palms of his hands. He glanced down at the speedometer and noticed his speed was getting excessive for the icy road. The slick road and his sweaty palms on the steering wheel where enough adverse conditions that even in a front wheel drive car he lost control for a second and dropped the phone into his lap. He grabbed he wheel with both hands and gently pulled the car to a stop near the railroad tracks where he had first met Bash and his toady Gordy.
After finding the phone and picking it up and placed it to his ear. “Hello, you still there?”
“Y-yes. Where are you Jacob?”
“What?”
“Where are you at? Are you in Dublin?”
Jacob thought for a minute and wondered why she would be asking that question. She sounded a little drunk.
“No, I’m about two hours away, but I can be there shortly, what do you need?”
“You still have the money?”
“What money?”
“The money you promised me and Maggie?”
“Do you need it for something?”
“Maybe. Where are you, do you have it?”
“I haven’t touched it. It is for you, I didn’t want it.”
“Good, where are you?”
“Pine Bluff.”
“Pine Bluff,” she repeated. But not like she was repeating it for memory but as if she was telling someone.
“Rachel?”
“Ye-yes?”
“Who’s Bob?” fearing he knew the answer.
“He said his name is Bo-Bob Seager.”
Jacob gunned the gas and pulled back onto the road. He knew what this was about and he knew that one of them was going to die. This was about the paper that he had handed to Andre in his office. The name of the witness that he had given to Andre was Bob Seager. At the time Jacob thought it was funny. Now it just pissed him off.
“Don’t come here, Jacob, he just left. He said if you aren’t in Pine Bluff, he’s coming after Maggie. Be there.”
Jacob stopped the car again, pulling into the abandoned grocery store where he had turned his car around a couple mornings ago. He sat. He wasn’t comfortable with the situation, Andre wasn’t one to leave witnesses alive, but if he thought it would keep Jacob in Pine Bluff he might just do it. For now anyway.
“Ray, listen to me carefully. Have Henry take you somewhere safe, out of Dublin preferably. Get Maggie and go to a hospital or some other place where there is security and a lot of people. Do not call the police yet. Wait for my call, then tell them what has happened. All of it if you have too.”
“I don’t know what’s happening.”
“Then you won’t have to lie.”
***
After twenty minutes he called back, they were in route to the hospital at Springfield, which was about a hundred miles from Dublin, but it was the best hospital in the area, the Ozarks aren’t overly populated so the hospitals that are close tend to be under funded and under manned, which might result in Andre being able to reach them rather easy.
“Don’t call the police until I call you back.”
“What if you don’t call back?”
“If you don’t hear from me by within a couple days then call the police in St. Louis, Springfield, and here in Pine Bluff.”
She said that she understood and they hung up the phone.
After circling the building several times and noticing three cars parked in the back up close to the building as to not be seen from the road he determined he was in the right place. He checked his Glock to make sure it was loaded and stepped out of his car. The factory’s grounds sat littered with old rusty equipment that must have been thrown from inside the once busy building.
In one hand he held his Glock and with the other hand he found a door and tugged on it, turning the knob slightly but it made no sound or any effort to move. The wall next to the door held a window with two broken panes and glass on both the inside and the outside of the building. Jacob cautiously reached his hand into the window like sticking his hand into a snake pit. He fidgeted with the door handle but it still didn’t move.
He moved to the north end of the building to where he had seen another door. As he approached he noticed something odd about the door. Some luck could be on his side, this door happened to be cracked. He stepped up quietly and peered into the lions den. Across the middle of the factory floor appeared to be an old office of some sort. Four two foot high walls made an area about nine by nine. The only light in the building came from two flickering florescent lights hung above a table that held three people. Two guys and a girl.
Jacob eased onto the factory floor. He looked around searching, but there wasn’t much in the way of cover anymore. He could imagine it at one time packed full of metal sewing machines and sweaty old ladies making blue jeans and shirts. He found a couple wooden crates to crouch down behind. He wanted to get a closer before making his appearance.
As he stepped to get behind the crates a large metal canister rolled off one of the tables that had become a home for spider webs and dust. The loud metallic bang echoed throughout the cavernous expanse of the factory. All three people surrounding the table jumped to their feet and drew their weapons aimed in Jacob’s direction. He holstered his weapon and stood with his arms raised.
“I’m sorry I knocked and the door was open.”
A man with short greasy black hair and arms in sleeves of tattoo’s pointed his gun at Jacob. Staring down the sights. “Who the FUCK do you think you are? You don’t come into my home without an invitation.”
“I’m sorry. I just have some information about an associate of yours.”
“Excuse me?”
“Bash, maybe or Rowland. And a Gordy.”
“I don’t know what your talking about but I think you need to leave before you get shot, mutha-fucka.”
“Rowland came into Blue’s and roughed up my client. Now I didn’t have anything to do with it but he was taken to the police station by Detective Lawson. He was running his mouth that my client owed you some money.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Gambling, I think he said, I would get him out of jail before he keeps running his mouth about your operation if I were you.”
“Well you aint me mutha-fucka.”
Jacob could see he was getting no where. “I’d like to speak with Rainbow. Is he in? Its about his money, it really is that simple.”
The man with the bead on Jacob leaned into the ear of the girl who sat in short shorts and pink tank top. Her breasts, although obviously not in a bra, still stood at a perky C cup. They were most likely fake. Her legs were long and thin and her hair sat pulled back in a tight ponytail. How could these people dress like this with ice on the ground? She would have been beautiful once, before the meth had eaten away at her muscle and tissue causing her to be emaciated, her figure resembled a skin covered skeleton. She most likely was the “prostitution ring” that Blue had mentioned. The only person wearing a sweatshirt in this motley crew stood to the left of the table and Jacob recognized him from somewhere. He had been in this town too long if he was beginning to recognize people.
The man with the bead patted her bony shoulder and she picked up some cash off of the table then scurried off toward the door that Jacob had tried to enter first. The one by the cars.
“Come, have a seat.” he motioned to the chair that the skinny girl had left behind.
Jacob sat, his heart began beating fast and his stomach started to turn flip-flops.
“So this is about my money?”
“You see, Jerry is good for it. He just needs a little time to grieve at the moment?”
“And why would that be?”
“His daughter.”
The man who sat across from Jacob spoke up, “What about her?”
Jacob turned his attention to him. “You Rainbow?”
“No, I’m his brother. Names Charles.”
Then it hit him who he was talking to, “Damned Old Train, Charles?”
“Yep.”
The man with bead spoke up again. “You’ve heard of my bother?”
“I seen him at Blue’s a couple nights ago and then I heard him on the radio. Good stuff. So your Rainbow?”
“Yes.”
“May I ask how you got that name?”
“Name is Raymond, Charles called me Rainbow once when we were little and it stuck.”
“Oh, well like I said, just as a professional courtesy I would like it if you left Mr. Murphy alone for a few days. He lost his daughter and needs to grieve. Did you hear they found her body today?”
Charles squirmed in his seat, his arms crossed in front of him.
“No, I’m sorry I hadn’t. But so you know that has nothing to do with the fact he owes me ten g and I can’t run an operation with no cash flow, Mr.. I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name.”
“Nathan Collins. I am a Private Detective who was hired by Mr. Murphy to find his daughter.”
“But he couldn’t pay me? You look expensive. Maybe he should of invested his money more wisely, Detective. It seems you didn‘t help him much.”
“I’m not charging Jerry anything at the moment, and his company is going to pay the bill. But I did my job, she was dead long before I came to town.”
Charles spoke up, “You mean his daughters business.”
“I mean the company which he works for.” Jacob turns his focus back to Rainbow. “You wouldn’t know anything about her death, would you?” Jacob thought it never a good idea to come into some one’s home and start pointing fingers, especially when those people had guns aimed at you, but asking the questions where the only way to get the answers.
Rainbow fidgeted with the gun in his hand. He pointed it at Jacob, “You asking if I had something to do with that girls death, Mr. Collins?”
“I’m asking if you know anything about it?”
“And why would that be? Why would I know anything about a teenagers death?”
“Maybe you tried to send her father a message.”
“When I send messages, Mr. Collins, they come through loud and clear. There is no mistaking what I’m saying. If I wanted to make some one in Mr. Murphy’s life disappear I would’a made Mr. Murphy disappear. I can tell you that I had nothing to do with Haley’s disappearance or her death.”
Rainbow’s cell phone lit up and vibrated on the table. He picked it up and said a few ah-ha’s and then hung up.
“Piper, just bailed my guys out of jail. She said that Gordy has a gunshot wound in his leg. You wouldn’t have anything to do with that would you, Mr. Collins?”
“It is a scrape, I assure you. I handle a gun very well.”
“Well thank you for giving me the heads up on the arrest and I was able to get them out before they started talking too much. It seems I owe you.”
“It was nothing really.”
“Get out before Bash gets back. He’s pissed and when Bash is pissed I can’t control him. He likes his bat, you know. He got his nickname because he used to be obsessed with McGuire and Canseco when they played for the A‘s. Then he liked to hit things with his bat that wasn‘t a ball.”
Jacob got the hint. He received the message loud and clear

A New Man Part 20

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After searching a town that he wasn’t familiar with Jacob finally found Jerry at Blue’s. He sat behind a tall glass of what appeared to be whiskey. After he took a closer look he saw the bottle of Southern Comfort sitting next to him. Jacob watched from the doorway as Jerry picked up the bottle and poured some more into his glass. Blue, who stood just opposite Jerry on the other side of the bar, picked up the bar gun and shot some cola on top of the So-Co.

Jacob gently placed his hand on Jerry’s shoulder as he pulled out the empty stool next to his.

“Can I get a Chevis?”

“Sure thing,” Blue said and scurried off.

Silence was the only sound that Jacob gave. He waited for Jerry to make conversation. And he sat there for several minutes before it was broken by the whimpering that came from behind his glass of pain killer.

“I miss her already. I just thought about when she wore glasses. She would do this thing with her nose and lips to push them back up without touching them. And if they were down she would tilt her head back to see out of ‘em. It’s silly but that’s the things I’m remembering.”

He didn’t want to break his thought process. He needed this, Jacob doubted the man ever let himself think that she was gone. He held on to hope so hard that the thought had never even made an attempt to make itself known. Four months of denying himself of that grief came flowing out all at once.

“I take it you already know?”

“It’s a small town, Nathan, I knew before she was out of the woods.”

Blue sat the glass of Chevis down in front of Jacob and slid him a hand scribbled note on a bar napkin.

‘I’ll watch him, Kelsey is in the office through the back. She wants to talk’.

Great, he thought. He hoped that she wouldn’t show here, but he knew it was her job.

After downing his Chevis, throwing the glass back and taking it in one gulp, Jacob made his way past the stacks of liquor and beer boxes that lined the tiny hallway that led to the even tinier office. Inside Kelsey sat behind a small metal desk that held nothing but a stack of papers in disarray, a large calculator with a half used roll of register tape, a coffee cup with a couple pencils and a pen. Next to the desk sat a small gray filing cabinet, two books sat on top collecting dust. One was titled ‘Missouri Liquor Laws’, the other was the ‘Bartenders Bible’.

Kelsey sat reclined with her feet up on the desk and her arms crossed, her blue jeans fit tight around her legs. Her satin shirt hung loose revealing her left shoulder. Her black Berretta 9mm sat lazily in its holster on her hip and her badge hung between her breast on a chain around her neck. Her face pinched and the little makeup that she wore was beginning to leave due to the hard day she had had.

“Lets get something out of the way, Mr. Collins. The only reason I called you was because you are a representative of the Bledsoe family and they deserve that respect. But as of now this is a murder investigation and I expect you to stay out of my way.”

Jacob didn’t move from the door. He sat leaned against the frame with his arms crossed. The tension in the air was as thick as her hair which he could smell five feet away.

“I’ve done what I was hired to do. Mr. Murphy will be briefed on what I know and now that the…er…girl has been found I see no need for them to need my assistance.”

She smiled at him and threw her feet off of the desk and stood, adjusting her shirt as to not show too much skin.

“Can I ask one question though?”

“No, this is none of you business.”

Jacob stood erect, his chest grew about two inches. He moved closer to her, blocking her exit.

“When Jerry asked me to find his daughter, it became my business. The instant he wouldn’t listen to my suggestion when I told him he didn’t want to go down this road, it became my business. When I spent two days talking to people that you didn’t talk with, it became my business. The minute he handed me a flyer in that bus station, it became my business.” He stepped even closer to her, he could feel her breath on his face. “The second I walked into this bar and saw that man crying because his little girl was murdered and thrown away like a piece of trash, it became my business. So you take what ever grudge you are holding against me for whatever reason I don’t know and throw it out the window and I’ll ask you again. May I ask you a question?”

Kelsey took a step back and placed her hand on her gun. For a moment it was silent in Blue’s office, and only the heavy breathing of two angry people cut through that sound. Then the sound of something else, yelling. Jacob could hear people in the front of the bar, and not the sound of a fun loving crowd. Then he heard the sound of footsteps echoing down the tiny hallway. Blue busted through the doorway pointing to the front.

“One of you guys wanna get out there and break that up?”

***

They made their way back past the boxes stacked in the hallway. The sound of men yelling grew louder and his heart began to pound to the rhythm of his jog. Kelsey was right on his heels. He glanced back and caught a glimpse of the jet black Berretta flowing back and forth as her arms pumped with her legs.

As he entered through the door into the dimly lit bar his vision became night blind. Waiting for his pupils to dilate he tried to make the men in the bar. He reached behind his back to feel for his Glock. He felt the cool metal of the grip. He flipped the snap on his belt holster but didn’t pull the gun, as best he could tell no one, besides Kelsey, had drawn.

Finally his eyes grew clear and he could see Jerry bent over the bar with his hands behind his back. He held the So-Co bottle by its neck in his hand, now it was a broken thrusting weapon. It had once been Jerry’s pain killer and now it had become his pain maker. The man behind Jerry wore a ball cap turned around backwards. And a sleeveless shirt. His blue jeans were stained and torn. His arms and neck were beat red, Jacob couldn’t see his face from where he was standing but assumed that they too were red. Meth head. Then he saw the tall skinny guy brandishing a baseball bat. His face beat red and his eyes were glassy. He was the one called Bash.

Jacob looked over his shoulder to see Kelsey moving to the left around to the front of the bar in a shooters stance with her gun trained on Bash.

“Put the bat down, Rowland.”

“We just wanted to have a little chit-chat with Jerry here and he went all crazy on us.”

Jacob easily slid the gun out of its holster but kept his arm to his side. He could hear Blue behind him in the door of the hallway panting like a hot dog. Jerry had become motionless, more than likely tired of fighting for the day.

Jacob moved to his right to get a better view of the man holding Jerry in some sort of twisted arm bar, he hadn’t been trained, something he had most likely picked up on the streets. The man whipped his head toward Jacob and his eyes flashed red.

“Hey, Bash,” the man said. Jacob instantly recognized him as Bash’s toady from the street corner. “Look who we have here. If it isn’t pretty purple car man. I thought we told you to leave town.”

Jacob put his hands on the bar revealing the Glock.

Kelsey was now standing about six feet from Bash and Jacob stood right on top of his partner.

“Why don’t you let this man go,” Jacob said, tapping the gun with is trigger finger.

“You think I’m fucking scared of your gun? I got my own in my waist.”

Jacob leaned closer. “You think you can draw yours before I get a shot off? I don’t think so. So lets just let him go.”

“He owes Rainbow a lot of money. We came to collect.”

Kelsey, keeping her gun on Bash, said, “I don’t think now is the time to worry about that boys. Rainbow can settle up later. Jerry here has had a really bad day.”

“We know.” Bash said, still not lowering the bat. “That’s why we are here. Seems Mr. Murphy here just came into a lot of money. Rainbow wants what’s owed to him. We didn’t come in here looking for a fight. But Jerry here threw the first punch and broke that bottle.”

“Then why the bat, Rowland?” Jacob asked.

“The name is Bash. Like the ‘Bash Brothers’ from baseball. I used to love them guys when I was a kid, wanted to be just like ‘em. But I didn’t get the bat until Jerry broke the bottle. By time I got back with the bat, Gordy here already had the situation under control.”

“Then put it down,” Jacob said, repeating Kelsey’s earlier request.

“Gordy, let him go, we’ll talk to him tomorrow.”

“Yeah, Gordy,” Jacob said, so close now the he could whisper in his ear.

He released Jerry who shook off the pain and dropped the bottle to the floor. Jacob looked him over, he didn’t see any visible signs of injury, he seemed okay. Jacob turned his attention back to Gordy.

“I got your fuckin’ number, m’fucka. I ain’t playin’,” he said pointing at Jacob. “We told you to leave town. Now get, or I’ll find you and you’ll wish you had.”

Jacob saw the flash of a fist moving through the air. Jerry put his entire weight into the punch, throwing his body at the man who had held him captive. He connected to Gordy’s jaw and went down.

Jerry turned to the table and took the last swig of his whiskey which was, miraculously still in its glass.

Gordy bounced up and threw up his arm and Jacob could see the flash of metal in the dim light. Jacob glanced at Kelsey who was moving in to get the bat from Bash. She had re-holstered. Her hair whipped through the air as she turned to see the gun as well. Jacob threw up his gun and took aim placing the bead on Gordy, who was taking a few steps forward, moving closer to Jerry’s back. Jacob steadied the gun and fired. The loud pop echoed throughout the empty bar and then it became quiet. Until the sound of Gordy’s gun hit the floor. Then the sound of Gordy screaming filled the room.

Jacob jumped over the bar and kicked the gun away from
Gordy who lay on the floor clutching his right bicep.

“Fuck you.” Jacob said.

Jacob watched as Kelsey loaded the three men into her SUV and then make her way back to him.

“Don’t you go anywhere, I’ll be back. I’m taking these three to the station.”

“I’ll be right behind you, I’m gonna bail Jerry out.” Jacob insisted.

“I don’t think so,” Kelsey said. “I got some questions for you Mr. Collins. Frankly I don’t understand a few things and I would rather not do this at the station. If I come back and your gone, your ass is mine.”

Jacob made his way back into the bar, it sounded like a good time for some Chevis.

INK

Lines drawn upon my skin
Stories of life they tell
Artfully placed
Color stark against alabaster
Some call them sacrilege
Understanding them not
Destroying temples we live in
I call them stained glass
Some call them ugly and gross
How is that art?
I call them beautiful
Expression of self
you don’t want to hear my story
Don’t listen
you don’t want to see art
Don’t look
But Don’t judge my Ink

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Superdad

This is an earlier piece revived for Father’s Day!

hughiegibson author

Prompt, write a poem in voice of super hero, feeling whimsical today

Superdad

Cooking bacon
Not too crisp
I want my panckes
In the shape of a ship

In the bathroom
Comes screams of please
Come wipe my butt
And i think i pooped in these

No problem at all
I will throw them in the washer
Its only a little maybe a skidmark
At least it wasn’t a gusher

Back the kitchen i find the bacon
Just cooking away
I burnt the toast
And the pancake looks like a sleigh

Nothing is going according to plan
I must right this wrong
Its only a matter of time
Mom will step out of the shower and proclaim “damn!”

No time for horsey or piggy back
I’m late for work
Boss says my job
Is starting to slack

My cape is ragged and will is bleak
I try and try and…

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At Death’s Door: A D-days story part 7

Liam – 6 Months ago
“What am I looking at?”

“In simple terms, Mr. President, it is the end of the world as we know
it.”  Liam moved in next to the president and placed his eye upon an
identical white microscope. Its cool metal felt good on his skin and
the smell of the sterile room pleased him to no end. But what his eyes
peered was not so comforting, in fact it gave him pause. How was he
about to explain his actions, actually the actions of his entire team
of researchers. The thought of the retribution he would face stirred in
his mind as he looked down at the tiny amoeba shaped creature that he
stared at through the lens. Its minuscule spikes reaching out and
grabbing cells and pulling them in and overtaking them, swallowing them
whole like an anaconda and spitting them out in a mirror image of
itself.

“Well what is it exactly  Dr. Russell?”

“That Mr. President is 1670.”

“I thought 1670 was a g-nome project?”

“It was, sir, was.”

Charlton moved back from the microscope and took a seat in a rolling
computer chair. “I backed this program Liam, against my better judgment
I might add. I took a hard hit from my constituents because you
convinced me that it could save lives.”

“Sir, it was supposed to. I couldn’t have predicted this outcome.”

“Destroy it. NOW,” He stood and headed for the door. Then stopped.
“Susan, I expect you owe me. I only did this because it was something
near and dear to your heart.”

She said nothing.

“Mr. President, you don’t understand,” Liam hesitated, the pause gave the mountian of a man an opportunity.

He flew across the room and got in Liam’s face. The brim of his large
cowboy hat touching Liam on the forehead. “I am going to say this one
time. I do not care what you have to do you little twerp, I WILL NOT
loose this country on my watch, do you understand me. I will witness
the downfall of this great nation because some fucked up god-less man
and woman decided it was up to them to choose when people live and die.
It is His call not mine, not yours and certainly not a swimmers choice.”

“The world,” it was all he could postulate.

“What?”

“Margot. Dr. Margot Grey.”

“I do not follow, she is your partner, what does she have to do with anything?”

“Two days ago she disappeared. I went to her room to wake her. We were
to discuss what to do with 1670, how to destroy it and move on, she was
no where to be found.”

“You are a hundred miles from anywhere, did you send out the guards, contact authorities to look for her?”

“Yes and to no avail. My only assumption can be that she had someone meet her outside the facility compound and left.”

“So, she met a lover, got tired of the confinment. We will find her, hush this and be done.”

Liam plopped down in the chair that the president had abandoned. “It
would be nice if that was all it was. She took the D-virus with her.”
“D-Virus?”

“Death Virus. We dubbed it that because it will be the death of the planet. No living creature will survive. One hundred percent destruction.”

The president removed his hat to run his hand through his hair and turned back toward the door. “How long Dr.?”

“Less than a couple weeks it will be a widespread pandemic, if she has released it.”

“There has been a few strange cases of a flu like virus in St. Louis.”

Liam knew it was her, she had been born and raised there.

“The first case was a Jane Doe who stumbled into cafe covered in white boils and burning with fever.”

He knew it was no Jane Doe, It was Margot Grey.

A New Man Part 19

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He couldn’t believe what he saw and he refused to touch it until he called Kelsey, which he did the minute he got cell service. He waited two hours before he picked up the bag and carried it out of the park. He had left her a message on her cell and on the voice mail at the station, short of calling 911 he didn’t know what else to do. He knew that he had to get it to safety before someone else came along and discarded it as trash.

He didn’t know how the bag hadn’t been covered with snow after all that had fallen since he had arrived in town but there it lay under another bench down the “road less traveled”, it looked like a bag that he had seen in several of the pictures of Haley. It was a pink drawstring bag and had a splatter paint and peace sign design. There was no mistake that it belonged to Haley.

Since Kelsey never showed he took the bag and the contents back to the Nowhere Inn and laid it on the table and stared at it for what felt like hours. He didn’t want to contaminate any evidence that might be in the bag but the suspense began to kill him. The answer to where Haley had gone could be in that bag. Why would she leave it behind if it contained something important to her? He feared he had already compromised the bag by bringing it into the hotel so looking inside could have disastrous results. But the eagerness to peek inside was like telling someone not to push a button and then walking away.

He didn’t have any latex gloves so he found the extra trash bags that they put with ice buckets and placed one on each hand. He, with the art-like precision of a surgeon, pulled the drawstrings loose and turned his eye downward. Inside he saw a pair of running shoes and clear plastic zip bag that contained makeup. That was all, except for a red leather bound book with frayed tan pages. It was warped and dirty from the moisture from which the bag had failed to protect its contents.

Jacob retrieved the book and opened to a random page:

June 18th

Saw S today, he was a jerk as usual. He knows how I feel and yet he doesn’t care. I wish I didn’t have his secret, he knows it kills me. Good run this morning and had a meeting with C. He promises to help me get better with the guitar. D doesn’t understand my need for the money and that’s why I help C. Its getting hot here so I’m going home to do some writing. I have a good idea for a song dedicated to Mom.

He flipped through the journal and it was the same throughout. She talked about missing her mom, and no names appeared within its pages. Only first letters. It was pretty easy to figure out who most of them were, S = Seth, J = Jordyn, G = Graham and so forth. He assumed D meant Dad but there were a couple that puzzled him. C, B, P, R, and someone she referred to on several of the last pages as “the lady in blue”.

Jacob made his way to the counter at he front desk. The kid behind the counter could have easily been the girl from the grocery stores twin brother. He bore the same gothic style as she and his black spike hair with purple tips were visible from a mile away. The kid said nothing, only pointed to a room that had a plaque that read “employee’s only”. Inside Jacob found the copy machine he had asked about.

Just as he finished copying the two hundred pages that nearly filled the book, beginning in late may and ending on the day before her disappearance, his phone vibrated in his pocket. He pulled it out and stared at the caller, ID.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hello, Nathan, Detective Lawson,” she said matter of fact, “I am outside your hotel and am on my way in. Just wanted to make sure you were decent before I barged in on you.”

He thought for a moment and said, “I am on my way down to get a cup of coffee. I can meet you at my room. 217.”

He hung up the phone and darted out of the door of the managers office, electing to skip the wait for the elevator, and up the stairs, taking them two at a time. Just as the door to his room closed behind him he heard a wrap and Kelsey’s announcement.

With his hands shaking he stuffed the book down into the bag and carried it to the door.

“I presume you haven’t touched anything?”

“You would be correct. I have left it just as I have found it.”

“Except its, here.”

“Except its, here. I grew tired of waiting at the park and decided it would be best to remove it before someone threw it out.”

“I understand.” She took the bag and left him there. With the photocopied journal.

He had made the decision to take a trip to Memphis. The roads had been cleared and the bridges reported as safe again. He would do the interview with the mother and then give the journal to Jerry and be in Dublin by seven P.M. It was a fool proof plan.

***

Professor Wade Dean, as the frosted glass door announced, sat behind his long oak desk in his gray tweed suit. A pipe lay in an ashen covered tray that sat next to an amazing computer. It was connected to sound mixing equipment and Jacob had no idea what any of it did. His gray beard was similar to an Amish beard and his gray hair showed his age of nearly sixty years. Pictures were scattered here and there throughout the office, one sat on his desk and another sat on a bookshelf that contained several books on the art of music. The woman in all of the pictures looked strikingly beautiful and held an eerie resemblance to Haley.

“I’m sorry to have to bother you on your free period Mr. Dean.”

“Its no bother really, and it is Professor Dean or Wade. My father was Mr. Wade.”

“Yet you smoke a pipe?”

“I guess I do.”

Jacob wriggled in the chair, his butt becoming uncomfortable already. “I just needed to know about your relationship with Haley?”

“My relationship was one of non-existence. I never met the child.”

“But you knew of her?”

“Sure, she contacted me sometime after Carol had made the trip home after her mother had passed. She said she was trying to reach her mother and she was having little success in the matter.”

“You make music?”

He found the question amusing. “Yes, yes I do.” He pulled a tobacco pouch from his tweed jacket pocket and picked up the black pipe. “Mind if I smoke Mr. Collins?”

“It is your office, and it is Nathan, my father was Mr. Collins.”

“Not Detective Collins?”

“Not anymore. I’m in the private sector now.”

“I see. That money belongs to Haley. Her father has no control of it. Only what is granted to him by the lawyers for her well being.”

“I assure you professor that it isn’t about the money.” Jacob again wriggled in his seat.

“I’m sure I will not be of any assistance in your investigation and you have more than likely wasted a trip and my time.”

Jacob stood and walked over to the picture on the bookshelf and pulled it from its home. Carol sat in a chair with Wade leaning over with his head resting on her shoulder. She was the focus of the picture and Wade was merely an ornament.  “How could anyone do that?”

“Excuse me Mr. Collins?”

“Leave.”

“I’m not sure I follow you.”

“Sure you do.” Jacob returned to his seat. “Haley was just a little girl and did nothing to your wife. She simply left town and left a two year old in the hands of an unsuspecting father.”

“I’m sure there are two sides to the story.”

“I’m sure professor, so why don’t you tell me that story since your wife refused to meet with me today.”

“She had a prior engagement that I am sure she told you about.” he puffed on his pipe, sending smoke into the already stuffy air of the tiny office. “But if you must know, I had no idea that she even had a child until I received an e-mail from a girl claiming to be interested in attending this college and subsequently this music program. We began to IM and I later found out that she was in fact the daughter of my wife.”

“When was this?”

“It started about two weeks after the funeral, and the reading of Noreen’s will.”

“You honestly had no idea?”

“Mr. Collins, I am a busy man and highly devoted to my work. My life and the life of my wife had no time for a child and we never even discussed the matter.”

“Noreen never mentioned it?”

“I only met her a couple times and it was never brought up. I can now assume it was because she knew it was a sore subject for Carol.”

He leaned forward in his chair getting closer to Jacob and nearly halfway across the large expanse of the oak desk. “Is she dead Mr. Collins?”

“I don’t know, professor. Why do you ask.”

“I only heard from Mrs. Bledsoe that she feared Jerry may have a few demons.” He took a puff on the pipe again sending smoke into the air to join the smoke that yet to dissipate from the room.

“What sort of demons?”

“Some that require a lot of money.”

Jacob thanked him for his time and stood to leave.

“Mr. Collins. I agreed to meet with Haley. For the program and to set up a meeting with her mother. She was thinking of moving to Memphis. She was a talented songwriter.”

“When did you meet?”

“We didn’t. She was supposed to come the weekend she went missing. She never showed and I never heard from her again. We had no idea she was missing until you called this morning. No one from Bledsoe Industries or Jerry himself thought of contacting us.”

Jacob couldn’t feel sorry for them. Haley only wanted to meet her mother, she had gone so far as to create a rouse in which to meet her. But her mother had been too self involved to care.

“Maybe she should have called as well.”

The drive back from Memphis offered Jacob some time to reflect on what he learned. Jerry was the last known person to see Haley alive and did he receive the money if she died? Maybe. The only thing Jacob didn’t know is the identity of the person giving her problems but he was pretty sure he had just found Musicman28.

Just as he was pulling into Pine Bluff his phone rang again. He glanced at he ID although he knew the name that it would give. He answered with a hello.

“We found her body Mr. Collins.”

He was speechless. Although he had expected as much, something in him had held onto some sliver of hope, maybe for Jerry as much as for Haley herself.

“She was in the park near the pond.”

He knew this part of the job, the part no cop likes. The informing of the family. And in his case an associate. He had been hired to find a missing girl and he had failed. Although the outcome was inevitable and she was already doomed to the fate before he had even arrived in town.

“Would you like me to tell Jerry?”

“We have an officer headed to his home now.”

He couldn’t believe the words he was about to say. No one would offer search a thing. “Stop them, I’ll do it.”