This retro diary is a supplement to The Demon Chronicles series, Volume I through Volume V.
This diary goes back four years to a time when Franklin Marsh, Kevin Ap-Rhys and Marcia Landon barely knew each other. Kevin and Franklin have just started working for their FBI supervisor, Don Padre. They prove to be a handful when they team up as partners for the first time. They are led into dark places they never wanted or planned to go into.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Part I: Kevin and Franklin's First Adventure
This is a serial mystery thriller. Look for a new installment every Wednesday! Enjoy.
book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, government agencies, and
incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Ay resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living, undead, demonic
or dead, is coincidental.Any
governments, nations, government officials or government agencies are fictional
constructs built by the author and they bear no relationship to the real thing.
Early March, 2012, Rest In PeaceCemetery, Danville, California
Don Padre looked like a young Mafia Don in
his black wool overcoat, the legs of his
finely tailored pants breaking exactly where they should have over shoes so
fine they had to have been handmade. He favored Venetian tailors for his formal
suits and Spanish cobblers for his kid leather shoes. He wore a fedora and arrived in a
fog was unrelenting and refused to clear even for the saddest funeral of his
career. Every object and person was washed with a bluish cast that enhanced the
somber, distressing nature of the occasion.
“It is not the woman who we bury here. It
is her godchildren who are suffering in ways that I cannot stand. Those
children do not remember a time when they did not know and love her. They loved
her so innocently, so unconditionally, yet she did such horrible things to
them. She did things that they do not know of. If they know, they will be compelled to get
answers. They will not stop prying and searching until they are killed or live
the rest of their lives dwelling in uncomfortable truths. They will unleash an
enemy so powerful, so horrible that they may die in battle. Three precious
lives, poisoned by your existence! Damn you, Diana Martin. Damn you to hell!”
He was an hour early. His hand picked cemetery
crew arrived in a Black van. Four men removed a casket from the van and rolled
it over to a prepared grave. Then they placed it on a lift and lowered the
ornate, heavy box into the ground. The expensive box was just another brutal
reminder to those who knew the occupant and understood that she did not deserve such
“They both deserve to be doused with
gasoline and set afire!” Don Padre fumed. They deserve the spit that I intend
to contribute to their sendoff.”
The funeral procession would arrive within
the hour, so there was not much time to get the work done. After the casket was
lowered into the grave, the crew used shovels to cover it with dirt. Then they
carefully lined the space with the fake green carpet that conceals brutal and
rough hewn reminders that the loved one will spend eternity living with the
worms and filth of the soil.
“Is all of this going to work?” The Jesuit
had also observed the proceedings in silence.
“It will work, Father. If the children go
too far in their investigation, and I believe they will, it will be much easier
to make things right. If the seven brothers should ever find out what has
happened, it will not take great effort to restore these abominations to their
proper places. Until then, let us pray that no one discovers the whole truth.”
The Jesuit silently reflected on the
situation. “I know that I will eventually have to say something the oldest
brother, Alesaner. I cannot lie to him. It would be too great a betrayal.
Alesaner will not rest until he finds out what happened to his sister, and he
will drag his brothers with him down a path of revenge and self destruction. I
must find a way to make this right. Don Padre is right to do it this way,
however. It is the only way to know that these monstrous deeds have been
confined to one place. But who am I to speak? Am I not an abomination myself?
When I think of the things that I have done in the name of the Church, I am
simply the other side of their miserable coin.”
“Are you going to say anything over the...
the graves, Father?”
“No, no. This is not sanctified ground. If you could ever find a priest who would knowingly say anything, it would be a
miracle. Otherwise it would cost a fortune in bribery. There will be enough
unwitting preachers and speakers who will speak indirectly for her. Someone
will say ‘whoever lies here...” and that will be all. My concern is with the
living. The brothers. Especially the oldest.”
“What is Alesaner doing?”
“He was always obsessed with saving her.
He persisted long after it was clear that she would not be saved. The younger
ones have been ready to move on for a long time, but they will never abandon
her or Alesaner until they have...what do you call it...?
“Yes! Closure. A very powerful word.”
“Do not worry, father. Time and God will
heal their wounds. They will be compelled to move on with their lives. Bright
and shiny things will draw them away from this horror.”
Don Padre’s radio beeped and he picked it
up. His senior operative said, “Sir. The funeral procession is about five
minutes out. You might want to move on.”
“Yes, Good job.” He put the radio away and
turned to the Jesuit. “We should be moving on. I don’t want the children to see
us. If you don’t mind, I will only be a moment. I will catch up with you.”
The Jesuit could not help but worry as he turned
and walked briskly to their limousine. Don Padre was cutting the time a bit
“At least if I am in the car, Sir Kevin
will not notice me. He will certainly recognize his boss, however. Come, Don
Padre! Finish what you are doing and come along!”
Don Padre approached the grave and looked
down. He mouthed the words, “Rot in hell, both of you.” He spat quickly while
no one was looking, turned and joined his old friend in the limousine. The car
sped away and was gone before the funeral procession arrived.
A second, even grander casket was removed
from a hearse and rolled over to the grave, this time to be interred in front
of hundreds of mourners who moaned and wailed even as they were getting out of
their cars. A preacher carried out the graveside ritual and he did say once
“Who lies here...” A choir sang like angels. Mourners dug from a decorative
pile of dirt and tossed the dirt on the casket. The sound of grit hitting wood
Two handsome young men and a beautiful young
woman sat in the front row with the family. One wore the face that battled
between hatred and neutrality. One wore the face of loss, disgust and exhaustion.
One wore the face of shock, loss and horror. All three had resolved to find out
what happened, no matter what the cost.
No one was aware that two bodies were
being buried in the same grave and on the same day.
Late August, 2008, Friday Football Night
The late summer smell of rotting fruit and
dried grasses was a signal that California's Chaparral was much too close to the self
combustion stage. There was always a slight transition at the end of August
where the smell of death came on and lingered in the air. Beetles and wasps
were at work, clearing up the remains of the last picnics and barbeques, They
worked on the desiccated corpses of birds and small animals. More small animals
than normal had failed to make it to their lairs in time to avoid the kinds of
predators that left uneaten and rotting body parts behind.
Franklin Marsh and Kevin Ap-Rhys were both
29 years old. This was a miracle since they were born a world apart, yet at the
exact same second, minute, hour, day, month and year of 1979. They had come to
Taylor City, California to arrest or kill a man. They would not leave TaylorCity until they had completed one act or the
The sound of shrilling and shrieking
filled the streets after dark. Young children had gorged on overly sweet late
summer fruits. They were high on sugar and were terrorizing their neighborhoods.
They were aware of the change of season and made themselves ready for anything
that could take their minds off of school.
Older children took on an adult's
universal sadness over summer's end. There would be no more skinny dipping at
the river or copping feels on late, hot evenings. No parents with any sense
were happy about their teenagers going out after dark with a serial killer
running around loose. Even parents who had no sense paid closer attention to
any kids found wandering around after the sun dipped below the horizon.
"I sure would like to see some rain
and for this heat to die down." A woman said as the store cashier tallied
up her massive pile of groceries. "It always takes me a long time to get
used to the change, but I like the Fall and Winter."
"Well, I don't get off until midnight," The cashier replied. "and
it’s hot when I come to work.”
"Hell, it's dark when I go to work
and it's dark when I come home," a man violated the grocery store checkout
small talk rule. The cashier did not like to engage in small talk with more
than one customer or she would make a mistake.
A football game was about to start on the
north side of town at Roosevelt High. The crowd was roaring at the antics of the
school’s moderately talented arts nerds. More of the kids were recruited from
the student body just to keep them off the streets and give them something to
do. As a result, Roosevelt High’s pre game shows were spawning imitations by
schools across the nation. The shows were the brainchild of a community that needed
to get its disaffected and pissed off youth off the streets on Friday nights.
The resulting spectacle attracted a larger than normal crowd who would be ready
for action when The Trojans and the Cardinals mixed it up.
To the Sheriff, this meant all kinds of
wildness, including fights and underage drinking. The lower classes of TaylorCity would use the distraction to steal and
deal. The higher classes would pretend they enjoyed having a kid in the
pre-game show, on the football team or in cheer leading.
Some adults would come to relive their own
high school Friday night careers. They would come to realize that Friday night
football was the reason why they still lived in TaylorCity since they were pregnant, alcoholics,
druggies, crazy or got on Uncle Sam's meal ticket before they had a chance to
live anywhere else.
"These days, it's likely to be the
girl who goes off to the military while the boy stays home and takes care of
the kids," The police chief yelled over the noise. He eyeballed everything
while he talked, knowing that anything might happen.
"Yes. And it's just as likely to be
the boy who does the cheerleading while the girl tries to get on the
team!" The Chief of Police griped.
"Did you set up a drunk driver
check over on Waterston? I know that some of these grown ups are sneaking in
with beer and worse."
"Yeah. I put Franklin and Kevin over
there. They stocked up on alcohol tests and have a set of games for the drunks
to play. They even have a wagon on standby so our guys don't have to keep going
back and forth with one drunk at a time."
"It’s odd, having those two here.
They are reserve FBI agents! One of them is an Inspector Detective in San Francisco. What would possess them to come down
here and volunteer for something as simple as a drunk driver check?"
"They are after someone who has
eluded them by setting up in towns like ours. They believe he is here in TaylorCity and won't say who he is. I’m happy to
have them. These aren't the times for getting into pissing contests between
local law enforcement and feds with budgets. But those two are something
different. They know how to treat people."
"You’re right. These are not the
times to mess with the feds and their money, and you won't get any argument
from me. My budget is stretched so tight, I can hardly manage a high school
football game. Here! See?" The Chief barged over to a group of pre teens
who were clearly out after curfew without adult supervision.
"What are you kids doing here without
your... oh! I see you, Tyler and Beth. Carry on. Just go on in and don't get
separated." He walked back to his car and resumed his conversation, his
eyes in constant movement over the crowd.
"That's The Wanderys. They brought
some of the kids from their neighborhood. The kids are going stir crazy so the
parents are taking turns with them, taking them out for pizza or movie nights.
It's better than having them sneak out like we used to do."
"Hell, I still have to sneak out. My
kids want to go wherever I go when I'm off duty and I can't just take them everywhere.
Since I'm a single father now, my shrink told me to get some 'me' time every
week or I'd go around the bend. Since I started, I've come to appreciate having
some time for myself, even if I’m at work." The Chief looked at the
Sheriff who was turning out to be an interesting fellow. He lived on a thousand
acre ranch and did not have to work. The family had enough money to live large
"You still at that theater group?”, he
asked. “They got a little kinky, caused all those people to start acting like
witches and vampires or whatever? I wish I'd been here for that." The
Chief's tone revealed a longing for some real freaky city action and the
sheriff thought he was getting a little homesick.
"No you don't wish that! They were
into some real freaky role playing and it got way out of control. They weren't
just role playing like Harry Potter, either. Those folk were trying to be
devils and dark angels... big shot demons from Hindu and other mythology. It was something. Some French guy started the
group and they took it way too seriously. One of the members killed 14 people,
including the founder... the French guy. He was trying to burn the place down
when we rolled up on the scene. At least we got him before he could get the gas
can out of his car. We never did get anything out of him, either. He plead
guilty and went straight to prison."
"Demons? Fallen angels? What kind of nonsense
was that? TaylorCity is a small town, so how come no one knew
all that was going on? I come from Los Angeles, where no one could ever find out what
goes on in basements and behind gates. But here?"
"You'd be surprised. The
sickest, most evil things can happen in small towns just like this one. TaylorCity might seem like it’s life in a fishbowl,
but dirty little secrets are hidden in plain sight. Sometimes a whole family
has something to hide and, let me tell you. They can be better team players at
hiding something than the Cardinals, who are going to kick our ass tonight by
the way. That theater group had a lot of dirty secrets, too. Orgies. Drugs. You
"So the theater group is still going
on after all that?"
"No sir! A group from the University
took over. They found money to lease the building and they started a real
theater group. I joined just to have something to do and I was impressed with
the new group. Now we're getting ready to do "Nashville". I like that show. My wife liked it
too. We saw it on Broadway when..." he trailed off and glared at a man who
definitely did not belong at a high school football game.
"That's Barry Pepper. Sumbitch! He
knows better than to show up here!"
The Sheriff barked orders into his radio
and set off a swirl of activity. Barry took off into the evening with two
undercover detectives on his tail. They caught up with him two blocks
away, knocked him to the ground and handcuffed him. They pulled Barry up and
made him sit on the curb to wait for a patrol car.
“Barry Pepper is on probation for
statutory rape, pimping and pandering. He had a couple of under aged girls in his
stable, which put him on the sex offender's registry. He’s not supposed to go
within a hundred feet of a school activity or facility.”
The undercover detectives were retired
deputies who helped on the football nights.
They both remembered the under aged girls floating up from the bottom of San FranciscoBay just before Barry was to go to trial.
With the state's key witness gone, Barry then pleaded to lesser charges, did
two years in Folsom prison and was back in TaylorCity.
"This violation will send him back
for another six to ten years, I hope," The Sheriff said. "Watch the camera over there!" He pointed to a kid with a smart phone camera pointed at the action. "I hope he
has an accident on his way back to jail, the bastard." He kept that
thought to himself.
"I've got a lot to learn about this
place," the Chief said, shaking his head. "I was hoping for a quiet
retirement in a wholesome little town!" He added this in a comical, New York style combination of gripe and whine.
"No you didn't, Chief!" The
sheriff laughed. He stopped and stared with a comical, exaggerated look and
yelled, "Hey! You! Get over here! What? What? Don't make me have to come
Friday night football was not just a small
town treat any more. Friday night football was a brave new world of small
town law enforcement.
Kevin, Franklin and their drunk check
"Kevin! What are you eating now?"
Franklin Marsh was shocked at his partner's ability to consume food, any food,
in abnormal quantities, yet he had the body of an African warrior. There was
not an ounce of fat on the man. The two reserve agents were now deputized drunk
check officers. They sat in a TaylorCounty police car and waited for someone ripe to
come weaving along for them to catch. So far, all they encountered were pushy
women and giggling teenagers who admired large good looking strangers.Franklin stood
at 6’2” and Kevin was a shade shorter. Franklin looked
like an Afro/Asian warrior and Kevin looked like a Cornish warrior. Oddly, it
was Kevin who had the most African ancestry.
"It's small town desperation," Franklin mused. Too bad they don't have school as
an option. That new University campus seems off limits to them. Sad.”
“But what are you eating? It looks like a
"It is from that food truck over
there. It has vegetables and some kind of flatbread. Quite delicious, I
"You will blow up like Henry VIII by
the time you're forty, I'm warning you." Franklin was perpetually worried that his new
partner would become grossly obese if he ever had to give up his Olympics
quality athletic activity. Kevin was known to run five miles before breakfast
and do a martial arts workout so beautiful that it was more like a ballet than
a deadly and ancient form of combat.
"I burn my food even when I am at
rest, Franklin.” Kevin spoke in an upper class British accent and with
exquisite grammar and syntax, which made the situation even more surreal. “There
is no need for me to suffer from hunger, now is there?" He took another
huge bite from the still unidentified item.
"No, Kevin. You need not suffer.
Gahh... now you have me talking like a British poobah! Do you think he's here
in TaylorCity or are you up to something else?"
"Oh, he is here, Franklin. I can smell him. He is drawn to this
town because everyone is drawn to this football game. He has business out in an
isolated area. Later, he will go after someone attractive, drunk and gullible. If
he is observing the game, he will be forced to pass through this alcohol
checkpoint where we will see him."
"We’re stuck here! We’ll be forced to
let him pass through. We can't just run off after him, so what are you up to,
"Don't worry, Franklin," Kevin pulled a case from his
pocket. He opened it to reveal a tiny, matte black box with an antenna sticking
out of it. "This is the latest in Global Positioning Satellite tracking
devices. This little monster will track that human monster if he drives off a
cliff. I have a computer in the car with the latest software, so it won't be
difficult to finish up here and track him down."
"So we are that sure, are we? I'm not
buying it, Kevin. Come on. What are you up to? And what’s in that thing? It
smells good." Kevin broke off a large piece and gave it to Franklin, with a napkin, of course.
Franklin and Kevin had only been partners
for a month and were always at odds with each other. They had been competing
FBI legends. Kevin came first and was known as the new Sherlock Holmes. Kevin
also went into reserve status after his two years and used a small part of his
inheritance to start a private security firm in San Francisco.
Franklin joined the FBI a year after Kevin and
earned a reputation as a legal prodigy. Both were on the outs with their
superiors because neither wanted to spend their entire careers in the FBI.
Franklin was an ex-Marine and Lawyer who left to
join his sister as a partner in her San Francisco law firm. He was convinced to stay on as
a reserve FBI agent when he was asked to serve as a hybrid SFPD Inspector and
FBI liaison. His pioneering position was expected to cut the hostility when the
FBI and city had to work together on special crimes.
Franklin had another connection to Kevin that went
back to Kevin’s childhood in Botswana. He followed a very strange and surprise
filled route that ended in Cornwall. When he got to the bottom of Kevin's
story, he returned to his hometown of San Francisco to settle down. Upon hearing that his big
mystery was in the city, he contacted Kevin and invited him to join him as an
independent contractor with the city.
first special case involved a con artist named Percival Windsor who
supplemented his grifter's income by seducing young women and extorting money
from their wealthy parents. The suspect slipped up in Utah and seduced an under aged girl. He took
her across state lines, raped her, cut her throat and left her to die in the
desert outside of Las Vegas. The girl lived long enough for some hikers to find her
and get her to the hospital. She died shortly after hearing a local news report
that her family refused to pay the man and that was why he tried to
Her mother and father came onto the screen
and lied, claiming the girl was a troublemaker. The truth was that her parents
had been lying about their financial position all along. Despite their showy
lifestyle, they did not have the money to pay off any kidnappers. They
planned to use the girl's sad ending to earn money and to keep their lifestyle
going. Now the girl was dead and the parents had to live in the isolated
wreckage of their highly publicized wickedness.
"Her parents refused to pay him
knowing he would kill her in cold blood, Franklin," Kevin's normally polite, cultured
voice had taken on a bitter tone.
"She survived only to lose hope when
her parents publicly lied about her and destroyed her reputation. I want him as
much as you do but we must be careful. This is a desperate man who will take
any measures necessary to escape. He has military training and international
experience with gun running and explosives. He might be working for or with
someone. TaylorCity hosts some high value targets who
are related to the university and high profit ranching, so he may be after
their children. If he tries to run, he could end up on a private jet out of
Kevin had another line of work that he
never discussed. He turned into something else when he traveled overseas on
"business". Franklin tried to find out if he was MI-6, but one contact said
that Kevin was a cipher who was best left alone. Many had tried, but none had
succeeded with meddling in the young man's affairs.
"What could be above MI-6?" Franklin wondered. "I know that boy is
a spy, but with whom? The Brit's version of the NSA?" He turned and looked
at his partner. "Kevin! Is that a sunburn on you? I told you to wear your sun
block. You are a grey eyed, nappy haired blond devil.”
"I am a Black man living in America, Franklin! Eye to eye! Hand to hand! Heh!" He
did a little James Brown move.
"I will remind you that I have more
African ancestry than you do."
"Your grandfather was a Botswana prince, Kevin, but your father was
straight out of Cornwall! You have to wear sun block with those grey eyes and that
blond hair or you are going to look like old leather when you’re forty. It's
the way of the Wild West, dude."
"Botswana no longer has a royalty, Franklin, but I shall
wear my sun block tomorrow, I promise. He finished his meal, wiped his hands
and fiddled with his computer. He could not admit to Franklin that his plan was pitiful. It stunk to
No way was their target going to leave TaylorCity alive.
Percival Windsor and the Abandoned Acre
It was a bright night out in the country,
away from the glow of TaylorCity. The full moon made the abandoned acre
glow as if it was lit from within. Two figures could be clearly seen as they
skittered across an open field of wild oats and tumbleweed that had been dried
out for months. The field was part of a thousand acres of vineyards and
orchards. Hopefully, no police helicopters would come out this way. Probably
not, since the Friday football game took up most police resources.
The two figures moved at a rapid clip
until they reached a parked SUV, opened the doors and slithered inside. Then
they drove the vehicle back through the field and parked in the center with the
headlights glaring into the night. Two more SUVs appeared, drove up the same
impromptu road and headed toward the headlights. When the last car was in
position, two men stepped out and showed a briefcase. The hosts opened the back
of their SUV and stepped to the sides and backward. The weapons and ammunition
inside were nothing nice. One or two rounds would take the top half off a
person who moved or stepped wrong.
"Is that a..."
"Yes it is! That gun will turn the
top half of you to ground beef so let me do the talking." A well built man
had gotten out of an SUV and had stepped into the space between the cars.
One of the hosts said to the other. "You
see? This is our reward for setting up this meeting point. It allows a man to
prepare for the worst."
"Staying one step ahead, eh?"
The other man chuckled. He was nervous and excited. This kind of business was
new to him and he had no survival techniques. The problem was that everyone
else had survival techniques. The visitors were set up for a battle to the
"Hey! You! Get over here!" One
of the goons was ordering their host to come over and get into a black SUV. The host was not buying it.
"Shut up! Everyone in the middle! You
men put your weapons down and stay on the perimeter. And you stay out of our
business. Do NOT open your mouth and try to tell me what to do again! You in
the cars! You have 30 seconds to get out here now!" The speaker was a
small, well built man. He spoke with an indeterminate European accent.
He got his way when the sound of clicking
weapons and heavy bodies moving in the tall rustling grass came from all
directions, indicating that the group was surrounded by several well armed
people. It was clear that no one in the center of the field would live to get
off the first shot.
The guests complied immediately and
gathered in the center of the well lit area. "Good,” the well built man
said. “Let's get to business. I have the guns. Do you have the money?"
A well dressed older man stepped forward
carrying a large case. He opened the case and showed a large mass of bills.
"Pour the money out onto the ground!" The older man emptied the money
onto the ground. It was all neatly bundled into bricks and did not appear to
have any dye packs or explosives mixed into it.
"Very good. Here are the keys. Take
this SUV and leave yours behind for us. Take the weapons. Move now!"
Three men moved to the SUV, got in and
drove off. They stopped a short distance away and checked the cargo. Satisfied,
they continued on their way. The others got into the second SUV and left the
The two men were left standing in the
clearing with a large pile of cash. The second man opened the back of the SUV.
The two men checked the cash for tracking devices and loaded it onto the
motorbike's cargo bin. They drove out with the headlights off and made their
way to the top of a rise where they could look down on the roadways and the I-5
"It should be happening soon. The
other man said. "There it is!" In the far distance, about two miles
away. They could see a tiny ball of fire, then two. They had planted explosives
on their vehicle. Apparently the second car was tailgating and was caught up in
"Very stupid", the well built
man said before he shot his companion several times. He got into the SUV and
rode into the night. He returned to the edge of the clearing and called in the
"help" with a large remote control device. The help was a collection
of remote controlled toy cars that were fitted with high quality radios and
speakers. He packed them into the SUV and headed for TaylorCity. It was Friday football night, time for a
little treat. Maybe an older woman this time.
Two unarmed men had just used an army of
remote controlled toy cars to intimidate, cheat and destroy one of the most fearsome
arms dealers in the world.
The Sheriff, Kevin and Franklin Save the Children
The Sheriff pulled up behind the police car
where Kevin and Franklin were waiting to accost drunk drivers. He got out and
approached from the driver's side. The car was empty and the two FBI agents
were nowhere to be seen. Suddenly he heard scuffling and shouting. He saw Kevin
dragging two inebriated kids out of the alley by their collars. Franklin stepped out with three more.
"They had the nerve to hang out in
the alley next to a drunk check?" The Sheriff yelled, stepping in to help
the kids into the van.
"Get in there and don't get smart just
because I'm here! What happened?"
Franklin answered. "We heard giggling and
figured it was a pot party in the alley. I was tempted to leave it alone until
I saw more kids coming into the area. Groups of twos or threes would show up
about every ten minutes or so, but they would not come back this way. I assumed
that some kind of dealing was going on. We rounded up fourteen kids and a very cool bicycle. They’re
in the van and we called it in. Kevin you tell the rest while I clear something
“I took up position at the other end of
the alley. When Franklin and I closed in, we figured we could keep the
sting going all night! We rounded up the two dealers, but they aren't
worth much. Your county doesn't even send these kids to jail... Isn't that the
mayor's kid? And that one's dad is a Republican congressman. I'm not even going
to bother to find out they have past arrests and no convictions."
"Unless they are Black or Hispanic
kids?” Franklin had returned. “Look, none of them are
worth anything to us, so you may as well legalize pot in Taylor county tonight. That bunch looks like
they come from the good end of this place."
Kevin was disgusted. He leaned against the
van with his arms folded.
"Hey, wait! Are you saying it's not
like that in San Francisco?" The Sheriff said.
"Of course it's like that in San Francisco! That's why we're disgusted!" Kevin
yelled. "These potheads will go to college and run for president. The
others will have criminal and prison records so they cannot ever get good jobs.
It is sickening."
"It sure is and I'm going to do
something about it tonight. YOU! Shut up! You have the right to remain
silent," He paused and used his radio to call in some backup. "Yeah,
get over here to Waterston and take in some kids." He finished reading
their rights to the mass of kids who cringed in the back of the van. Even the
two smart mouthed kids managed to shut their mouths.
"TaylorCity is not their parent's fiefdom any more
and they should know that now. The university brought in an educated, much more
demanding crowd who will change things around here. Are you two still
interested in catching Carly Bindermann?"
"Aww... uhm.. no, man!" Kevin
yelled, "Does everyone think we were looking for Bindermann?"
"I didn't say that. There were three
cars that blew up over on I-5, about five miles down the road in CountyB. It was a professional job from the looks
of it. The dogs alerted on explosives and I thought you two would want to get
over there. From what I hear, it is the kind of work that your target would be
mixed up in.”
“It’s Percival Windsor and he is
desperate. He probably worked a deal for cash. A lot of cash. You think
he's going to come after some kid from the Friday football game?"
"Probably not. I think he will come
here for a woman tonight. Someone in her 30s. The football night is perfect for
him because he's known to work the fringes of large events, away from the
center of action where no one will be looking. He's also known to work our last
nerve by coming through a checkpoint in disguise. I was sure that he would come
"What if he doesn't?" The sheriff
"Then we try something else until we
get him. Right now, he's not expecting Franklin or me because he does not know
that we exist. We're two local deputies working a drunk check on Friday night.
Now who would be so foolish during the next couple of hours as to go off with a
"I used to be able to answer that,
you know. We have a lot more of them now, with the university crowd. But for
mid twenty to late 30 year olds, I can narrow it down to a group of about sixteen
women. They go out to party and drink over at the Bocadera mall on Friday
nights. They go to the Blue Lagoon restaurant and bar. Good food, but
overpriced. So that is why you're on Masterson with this drunk check. The rich
kids and their parents head to that mall and then come right up Masterston to
Wild Horse homes. See that glow down there? That's the mall. Behind us, that
other glow is Wild Horse. Nice area."
"Where do you live, Sheriff Bindermann?"
"Call me James! My kids and I live on
my parent's ranch. I Just built myself a house there and plan to take over the
business in a couple of years. We grow the best wine grapes in the state. You
know what? Napa has nothing on our grapes down here, we just need to learn how to
hype the product."
"How about up north along Highway 49?
Is that good vineyard country?" Kevin asked.
"Heck yeah! Plymouth is good for growing all kinds of things.
That's over there by Apple Hill. You can't throw a football without hitting one
orchard or farm all up in those foothills. Except for the bay area and our
ranch, that's some of the prettiest land on Earth. By the way. If you two
aren't doing anything tomorrow, why don't you join us at the ranch? We're
having a barbecue. I'll get the ATVs out and we'll take a tour of the
"I would love that!" Franklin yelled. He and his father loved to look
at rural properties. They did not want to own a rural property. They just liked
to drive out and look at them. Kevin, however, was serious. He wanted to be a
real western man with a real ranch, horses and crops.
"Here's what I'm going to do. I just
thought about a couple of other places single women might go to. I'll have one of my deputies make the rounds
all night if he has to. What else are you looking for?"
"He will try to pick off a straggler,
not a complete drunk, but the one woman who is not quite ready to leave the
bar. It will be a high end bar, one that she feels safe in. She will drive home
carefully if she does not meet a man of substance and quality. She is married
and her children are with their grandparents, not a babysitter. On the Father's
side this weekend I think. Her husband is traveling, probably to a conference
in Europe, not Asia. She is white, has a graduate degree, is
very attractive and well traveled. She will be wearing an interesting piece of jewelry
that is designed to be a conversation starter. This will not be the first time
she has had a "one night stand" while her husband was traveling."
"Whoa! Are you just making this up,
my man?" The sheriff yelled.
"No he's not. He does this all the
time and he's usually right all the time. I've never seen anything like
it." Franklin stood up for his partner.
“I feel protective over Kevin even
when I know that Kevin is perfectly capable of taking care of himself. I guess,
with someone as smart as Kevin, my natural tendency is to take on a
protective role.” Aloud, he said.
"People this smart are always
unfocused about the real world, but Kevin pays attention to everything.”
“When he does that out of the blue, he
scares people! He makes people think that he is crazy. He doesn't need me
trying to take care of him, but I will help him to hold back on that with
strangers." Franklin thought, "It is just going to take time to get used
to a smart person who can kick ass, I guess."
Kevin was doing his own thinking. “Franklin acts like a big brother! I admit that he
is more experienced in American life and I should respect that experience. It’s
odd that I don’t get huffy and defensive about it, though. Franklin just carries a gravitas about him that
makes others look up to him. He also saw through my bullshit, but never made a
fuss about it.”
"Uh oh," The sheriff yelled and excused
himself. He went to the back of the van to yell orders at the backup police.
Get those kids over to the jail and book them! Do NOT let the mayor interfere
or you can arrest him, too!" the sheriff said.
"Isn’t that the mayor trying to get
his kid out of the van?" Franklin wondered. "I don't believe it."
"He's going nowhere with that," Sheriff
Bindermann grinned. "I'm an elected sheriff and he is under a weak mayor
city charter. It's time we let him and his cronies know that they can't just
remove their kids from a police vehicle and take them home. The real issue is
that the Mexican and Asian drug cartels are coming into the area and this isn't
just a bunch of innocent kids growing a few buds in the backyard. I have to
send a message to the kids who still think they are invincible because of their
rich rancher parents."
"This is important to you, isn't it,
Sheriff?" Kevin asked, his eyes narrowing slightly.
"Yeah. It’s an old problem in these transitioning rural
communities. A handful of big shots used to call the shots when I was growing up.
Most of the big ranchers like my folks never let us behave like that. On the
other hand, they didn’t have to deal with the drug culture.”
“I understand.” Kevin said. Now Franklin was squinting at him. He said, “OK, so we
were all screw ups in our teens and we each got straightened out by someone,
“Right!” Kevin and the Sheriff yelled in unison.
They did not know what they were talking about. Events were about to unfold that would take their health, idealism, sanity and possibly their lives. On the surface, Taylor City was a halcyon, friendly little peach of a town.
Kevin and Franklin were about the peel the rind off of a complicated and treacherous fruit.