Category Archives: Writers and the like

Excerpt from the South Hills Conspiracy

Lenticular05“So, Mr. Powell, tell me your story again,” Samantha said.  She was readjusting her gear in preparation for the next climb.  Her climbing partner Stacie was working similarly on the other side of the tent.  Andrew thrust his fists into his pockets where hand warmers embraced them with intense heat.  He’d spent the last hour trying to explain his presence without jeopardizing the chances of gaining Samantha’s cooperation.  Her reaction was tending towards skepticism so far.

“David and I work at the college together.  The chancellor asked me to find him.  He’s heading up a research project that is very important to us and it is nearing a very critical phase.  Since he left unexpectedly without leaving a method for contacting him, I was sent to do it the old fashioned way, in person.”  Not knowing just what Samantha knew about David or his work, Andrew was taking a risk by fabricating part of his story.  But standing near the top of the mountain he felt he had to play every card in his deck now that he’d found his only lead.  Failing to put Samantha’s piece of the puzzle in place could result in Andrew’s investigation coming to an abrupt end.

“And he sent you why?”

“She, Marie Marisol, thought I’d be a quick and inexpensive option.  For starters I know David.  I also have experience finding people.  Add to that the fact that I’m relatively free during the summer term.”

“What kind of experience?” Stacie asked.  She had been quietly but attentively listening since they’d met.  Now her curiosity was apparently piqued by what he’d said.

“He’s a cop.  I recognized your name.  Aren’t you the Police Chief of South Hills PD?” Samantha asked.  Andrew could see that Stacie was now giving him her full attention.

“I used to be.  I’m retired from law enforcement now.  I work at the police academy which is run under the auspices of the college, my current employer.”  Andrew pulled his hands out of his pockets and held his palms open.  Years of experience had taught him that if he was going to be able to establish rapport and build trust quickly, then his time to strike was now.  Otherwise he might never succeed, even after the considerably longer investment of time that would have to be spent in the relationship.

“So after talking with family and friends my search has narrowed down to Samantha being the only person known to possibly be able to help locate David.  We really appreciate any information you could give us.  Anything at all, no matter how trivial, I’d like to know.”  Andrew sat down on a cot and leaned on his elbows.  Body language was a key tool for interrogators and he was careful with his now – lower the tension, hide any indication of desperation – but keep the conversation moving forward on the subject of David’s whereabouts.

Samantha, however, was clearly resistant as she asked, “If you’re saying David is missing, shouldn’t the police be involved?”

“The South Hills PD does have a missing persons case open.  I am acting on their behalf.  The current chief Kenneth Hand will confirm that if you call the number on his card here.”  Andrew handed the card to Samantha who looked over at Stacie.

“So,” Stacie began, “the department found no evidence of criminal or suspicious activity at David’s home and there were no hits from his credit cards or cell phone I take it?”

“No.”

Stacie nodded at Samantha and Andrew detected an unspoken message passing between them.

Samantha asked, “Why not just wait to hear from him?  I assume that is what happens typically in these cases.  He knows the importance of the project obviously since he’s in charge of it.”

Everything about his police instincts told Andrew that something was not right about Samantha’s reluctance to accept him.  After years of dealing with interested parties an officer could recognize distinguishable patterns of behavior.  Innocent or uninvolved witnesses did not act the way Samantha had.  As sure as he was about Samantha’s behavior Andrew was also as sure that he had to get something out of her or all his efforts so far would be for naught.

“Well there is that yes,” he said calmly, slowing the pace of conversation, “But I’d hate to think that David might be in a situation where it’s not possible.”

“You aren’t suggesting that David is either in danger or has been harmed, is that correct?” Stacie asked.

“That is correct.” Andrew answered.  He was trying to plant a seed without pressing down too hard on the earth above it.  The question remained as to whether he had added the right amount of water.

Samantha appeared to have lost some color.  Her eyes widened and she folded her arms tight around her.  “Well what do you think?  What should I do?”  She was speaking to Stacie but pacing back and forth while doing so.

“I don’t know Sam.  But if it were my brother, husband or boyfriend, and he was missing under similar circumstances, I’d want somebody like Andrew here to care enough to come all this way to find him.  I like that in a man.”

Hearing those words caused Andrew to again take notice of this impressive woman.  A mystery lay there he thought, and well hidden.  He was motivated to stay around long enough to uncover those secrets.  If for no other reason than the fact there was so much more to her that Andrew found attractive.  Andrew stood, walked over to Stacie and smiled as he bowed before her.

“This is what I can tell you, Andrew is it?  I don’t know where David is or how to reach him.  I am expecting to meet him in three days though I can’t tell you where.  That leaves you with two choices in my view.  You can go home and wait until I meet David, and then let him decide whether or not to call you, but your problem is solved knowing you’ll eventually hear from him.  Or you can tag along with us and see him when we do.”

Andrew turned back towards Samantha as she spoke that last sentence and uttered the only reply he could think of, “Thank you.”

The Knight I Shined

The Knight I Shined

Odd ends from a career as a street cop.

  • The night I booked a suspect into jail and went back out on patrol without my firearm. I handled an entire call (with one hand over my holster) before driving back to the jail and retrieving my gun undetected.
  • The burglary scene where I left my posse box containing evidence. An hour after returning to the station, I remembered where I left the police report and the evidence, in my posse box at the home of the burglary. One phone call later, I was on my way back to the victim’s house. Not good.
  • Driving down Pacific Coast Highway when a couple ran across the street in front of me completely nude and entered an apartment. I stopped in the roadway and immediately was struck in the rear of my police crusier by a woman in an SUV. I had to call for a supervisor to investigate the collision while the culprits escaped.
  • The night I drove a drunk to his home instead of to jail.  He passed out in the back seat and would not wake up.  I had to drag him to the front door but I couldn’t find his keys.  Finally I got him inside and left so I could drive back to the city I actually worked in.
  • The night I caught the armed robber.  A robbery just ocurred in the Cheesecake Factory parking lot.  The suspect was described with a gun and a vehicle driving north from the scene. After at least fifteen minutes with no sighting, I stopped on the road north of the restaurant.  Apparently he had stopped too because he drove right past me 10 blocks from the scene of the crime.  I followed him downtown where he pulled into a parking space, then I held him at gunpoint until backup arrived.  He didn’t move.  I found the loaded gun and the stolen property under the passenger seat.  That was the knight I shined.

 

The Loss of Innocence

Things have changed since I was younger, in a way which I am unhappy about.  I want it to be like it was in the ‘old days’.  What do I mean by ‘old days’?  I mean the days when some things were better than they are now some places.  I want it to be like it was when we left our front doors unlocked, and NEVER gave it any thought.  I want to look outside and see lots of little children selling homemade lemonade, BY THEMSELVES.  I want popcorn balls, fresh baked cookies and cupcakes, even fruit handed out as a Halloween treat that’s safe to eat. I want back some of the innocence we’ve lost. Why did it happen? Did it have to happen? I miss it. Do you miss it too?
If you are younger than I am and you do not get what I am talking about, I apologize. I am sorry that you’ll never get the chance to experience what I’ve been describing so you can decide for yourself whether or not you agree with me. I’m sorry that the choice has been denied to you. Do you have somethings that I didn’t when I was your age? If so, is it a fair exchange? I don’t believe so. What would you trade for the loss of innocence? Is there anything left to lose? Is there anything more to gain?

“It’s always te…

“It’s always tempting to decry the present historical moment as uniquely depraved. More specifically, it’s easy to look at the Isla Vista shooter and say something about kids today. But kids today are like that because we made them like that. If we cherish the hope of fewer shooting sprees in the future, fewer guns would help. It would also help to discourage one half of the population from thinking of the other half as mechanisms that should be destroyed if they fail to respond appropriately to certain stimuli. The United States would be a safer place if there were fewer guns. It would also help if there were fewer rakes.”

This from the last paragraph of Jonathan Beecher Field’s essay Guns ‘N’ Rakes printed in Avidly

http://avidly.lareviewofbooks.org/2014/05/27/isla-vista-two-essays/