Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Part II: Kevin and Franklin's First Adventure

 This is a serial mystery thriller. Look for a new installment every Wednesday! Enjoy.   

Part I is here

Part III is here

Part II
Chapters 5-8

This is the second installment in the Retro Diary Serial. Enjoy and be Horrified.

Chapter 5
Barbara Bain’s Rough night

She was happy. She was slightly dizzy from a warm cocoon of liquor, good food, great friends and beautiful surroundings. It all made her feel like she belonged in this pretty, clean world. For a girl who was once so poor that she made her own toys to a 6,000 square foot home, two beautiful children and a husband who was a university big shot, she had reached the big time. She worked and slept her way through college and graduate school, graduated with a mountain of debt from financial aid and was about to go into the diplomatic corps when she met the love of her life.
He swept her off her feet and had her pregnant before she could mail her applications. The happy, debt free couple eloped and then confirmed their marriage with a big show that his insanely wealthy family could appreciate. Her family consisted of a brother in the Army and stationed in Italy. Her sister-in-law was more like a best friend. A third brother practiced medicine with Doctors Without Borders. He was married to a gorgeous Italian princess. She was a struggling clothing designer.
The three siblings had escaped poverty and entered into the good life, away from broken down rooms that could never be cleaned and away from the incessant fears that could swallow a poor person whole. Barbara’s parents were comfortable in a new house trailer that they vowed never to leave for the rest of their lives.
Her only vice was men. Her husband traveled so frequently that she started to feel like a single mother. When she found out that her husband was having affairs on two continents, she decided to do the same. She sought a man’s touch, but only found quick and sometimes satisfying sex in Los Angeles where no one knew her.
 "I don't pick up men like I pick up toilet paper at the grocery store, that's for sure. You won't see me doing it with the handyman or the landscaper. I want a man of quality who makes me feel special.  I want to make a man feel special. Oh, who am I kidding? There’s no better snob than a snob who started with nothing. I just don't want to think about it any more." 
She shut the negative thoughts from her mind and paid attention to her friends. They were still snickering over a dirty joke that one of them told a good five minutes earlier. One by one, a member of the group would add an embellishment or a new interpretation. Cherisse had obtained some killer pot, meaning that judgment was low and spirits were high.
"You're awfully quiet," Brittany said, poking her left boob. "Are you missing the hubby?"
"No, and why are you poking my boob? Why did you do that?” After the laughter died down, she said, “I was just thinking about getting myself a dream hubby who would cancel his flight out of here and sweep me off to Hawaii for a romantic weekend!" 
"Why don't you go with him next time?" 
"Oh, I tried that. It's lonely being in a strange country with no context. He's got his mistress and his work.” She stopped and thought for a second, “Hey! If you all came, we would really have a blast. Why don't we go? We get along just fine!"
That brought a new round of laughter. "That's not a bad idea!" Tiffany yelled. "We leave the kids with the hubbys and go to Europe!"
"I want an Amex and three nights in Paris!" 
"I want a theater night in London!"
"I want a gigolo! A big, honking GIGOLO!"
That comment caused a wave of laughter to roll through the entire bar. A man yelled from across the room,
"I'm a gigolo! Take me!" He was adorable. His wife yelled,
"Yes! Take him! With the money you pay him, I can come to Europe and party with you!"
The bartender wiped his tears and jokingly told everyone to settle down. He was watching a newcomer he had seen a few times before. The man looked familiar but he was not a regular. This meant he stopped in when he was traveling some kind of regular route. This time, the man was eying the regulars and the bartender did not like the look in his eyes.
“Those women come here on Friday nights to have some fun. They don’t need that kind of stranger hitting on them, especially when that fellow likes the kind of relationship that goes on for days down in a basement.” He completed an order and continued his thoughts, “I may be new in town, but I've been bartending for long enough to know when someone is not right and this guy is sending off all kinds of signals."
While the bartender was busy thinking, Deputy Brandson stalked into the bar and took a barstool. He was in civilian clothes and was obvious about seating himself where he and the bartender could talk. He looked like he was ready to buy absolutely nothing. 
"Hey, Jason. See anything hinky in here tonight? I’m making the rounds tonight." The Deputy kept his voice low and regular.
"Yeah, it’s a ‘don't look now’ kind of thing, but he's at ten o'clock over your left shoulder. I got nothing to back myself up, but there’s something wrong with that guy. You need to keep an eye on that guy."
"Good job. Hey! I got a budget tonight! No alcohol, but I'll have an Irish coffee without the Irish. You even get a tip!"
"Hey, man, you're moving up in the world."
"Ha! How are our girls doing tonight?"
"They’re high. They’re having fun. They might not want to go through the drunk check at Waterston so I’m going to make sure they’re on the Buddy Program tonight. I'm not letting any of those girls out of here without an escort. I just have a bad feeling and I can't shake it."
"I know how you feel man. After that crazy theater group killing, we're all on edge. 
"Whoa! Here he comes. He's got the moves tonight."
"Wait. I’ve seen that guy before. He looks like Honey Barton’s cousin, but Honey’s cousin... hmm... anyway, I'll take care of it. Fire up the Karaoke, my friend and watch my drink."
Deputy Brandson left his seat and called Kevin. "He's here at the Blue Lagoon! I don’t know for sure, but he sure looks like one of the Barton clan. Get over here, please." He pretended that everything was normal when he walked over to the tiny stage, picked up the mike and yelled, "Hey! Are we ready for some groovy tunes, some rock and roll, some smooth grooves?"
The entire bar erupted in groans. "Not you again!" they yelled in unison.
"Heck yeah, it's me again! I got the moooves tooonight!" 
 Deputy Branson made a near fatal mistake that night. He did not keep his attention focused on the irregular bar regular.

Chapter 6
An Unforgettable Evening at the Blue Lagoon

"Kevin!" Franklin yelled. "That was Deputy Branson! He's at the Blue Lagoon Bar and Restaurant. Call the Sheriff and tell him to send everything he has and to keep them half a block away, no sirens!" Kevin looked at a drunk he had been holding up and dropped him gently to the ground before he ran for their police car. Franklin tossed a half written citation through a car window before he sprinted across the street to jump into the already moving vehicle. He called the sheriff while he helped Kevin navigate the crazy route to the southwest area of town and the Blue Lagoon. Sloughs, creeks and train tracks crisscrossed and curved through Taylor City to create confusion.
Fifteen minutes later, they waved their badges, drove through a checkpoint and pulled over a half block away from the bar. The sheriff pulled in right behind them and the three of them walked the rest of the way together. Kevin and Franklin deferred to the sheriff who was working up a strategy for the strange situation. All three knew that something was completely wrong, but they had no idea what was wrong. Deputy Branson was unresponsive. No one answered when the Sheriff called the Blue Lagoon. They could hear music playing, but there was no buzz of conversation or people lingering in the parking lot.
"There's no conversation, no yelling. I hear nothing but the sound system. I don't feel good about this. Keep everyone outside of this perimeter," Kevin indicated the entire parking lot. He, or they, had to have left something in this parking lot and we need this place unmolested! Do you have a gas mask?"
“A gas mask! This stinks of a hazmat situation!”
The Sheriff called for gas masks and was soon holding three bulky packages. He gave masks to Kevin and Franklin, then donned his and ordered his key personnel to put the others on.
Kevin had his mask on in seconds. He slithered up to the entrance, flung the door open and slipped to the side. He peered in the doorway and stood completely still before he relaxed and waved the others forward.
More people barged in and froze when they saw what was inside. Kevin stepped inside, ignoring the screaming radios and bleating phones. The scene was like something out of an apocalypse movie. 
Every person who was once so lively was now an inert body. Bodies were draped over tables, curled up on the floor, flattened out behind the bar and curled up in a pile on the tiny bandstand. No one moved or made a sound. Kevin went to the first body he could get to, donned a pair of latex gloves and checked for a pulse.
"This one is alive!" he yelled. "Check everyone in this building. I think he used some kind of sleeping gas. He took a woman! I am positive that he took a woman."
Franklin, the Sheriff and several others flooded into the bar, checking and straightening out every body they could find. "Lay them out on the floor so they won't stop breathing or choke on their vomit," The Sheriff yelled. He was the first to react with the hazmat orders. "Check for head injuries and bleeding. They probably fell right where they were standing or sitting. Check all the restrooms and every other room in here!" 
Kevin and Franklin sprinted from the bar and bashed through the building. They found several people, all unconscious, in a back room. It became obvious that an illegal card game had been going on when Franklin whistled softly at the pile of money and chips strewn over the table and the floor.
“This must be at least half a million dollars! Look at that Rolex. And that’s a Savile Row suit. These are whales!” He was referring to big-ticket gamblers who travel the world, thinking nothing of winning or losing a million or two in one night.
Three waitresses and two cooks were on the floor in the kitchen. Fortunately, no one was working at the still lit stoves or fell into a massive deep fryer. Franklin turned off the stoves and fryers while Kevin left to find the Blue Lagoon manager. Kevin found the man in his office, slumped over his partially naked head waitress.
“You go, dude!” Kevin muttered.
 The searchers located four more assorted individuals in other parts of the building. Kevin did not stop with the building. He went outside and carefully examined every square foot of the parking lot.
“Now what are you up to?” A police department detective barked.
“He’s examining the evidence before the ambulance crews arrive. Get over there and walk the rest of the property or leave my scene,” the Sheriff barked back. Kevin grunted and took several pictures with his smart phone. Then he went inside.
"How many women and purses are in this bar?" He asked. When no one responded, he yelled,
"Will someone count the women and the purses in this bar?"
"Why?" A deputy asked.
"Just count the females and answer his question! You don't waste anyone's time here, Deputy!" The Sheriff would not tolerate bad behavior from rookies like Jarrod Clark. Jarrod was another local who enlisted in the military for two years, saw no combat and came back acting like he knew more than anyone else. 
A few minutes later, the kid said "Twenty three females, sir."
"Good, now count the purses, please." Kevin said. He was taking more pictures with his smart phone.
“Women keep their purses close, so see that every female should match up with one. Don't move anything, just count and do it quickly please. Once the ambulances arrive, getting them to hospital will be the first priority."
"Yeah!” Someone added. “Once the evidence apocalypse team gets here, we’re gonna lose everything."
Franklin had other things to worry about and could not care less about evidence. He wanted to know why Percival Windsor gassed everyone in the building, but left the poker cash behind. “You know, Kevin. It doesn’t make sense that Percival would leave that poker money behind. What’s your thought?”
“I imagine he saturated the place with that gas. He did not want to take anything with him that would carry the residue from his own gas?” This was Jarrod.
“That is a very good answer, but he could have just bagged it all. I got it.” Franklin said. “He made a bigger deal tonight. Half a million was nothing to him. He just wanted a woman. Now we just have to find out where he made that deal and where he took the woman.”
"I have twenty four purses and twenty three women, sir!" Deputy Clark yelled a few minutes later.
"This is the extra purse." Kevin yelled, grabbing an expensive leather clutch from a far corner of the stage area. He videotaped that part of the floor and carried the clutch to the bar. He opened it and carefully removed the contents. He opened a wallet and read the name of the owner,
"Barbara Francis Bain. She is Barbara Bain, age, uhm... thirty-three. She is with him."
"You mean she works with..." The Sheriff started to say,
"No, he took her! She is unconscious, like the rest of these people. He had plenty of time to get her into the car..."
"Surveillance cameras!" Franklin yelled from a back room. "I got the video. He's driving a black Mercedes SUV with upgraded rims, license..." Franklin stepped out into the bar. He started to write the statement for an all points bulletin, but stopped and said,
"Let’s hold off on an APB. The suspect may have a scanner. We do not want the public getting involved. Let's just keep this with law enforcement for a few minutes. Put this out instead. If you this car, you are to back off and use their cell phones to call for backup. If they use their radios, lights or sirens, the suspect will probably kill them before they can even remember whether they paid their last life insurance premium. This is a sophisticated, almost whimsical killer."
"We're not completely incompetent here," a senior Taylor City detective barged in with the Chief of Police. The Chief looked like he was ready to take automatic offense at any of Franklin's orders.
"We've dealt with some serious players along the I-5 corridor, I'll have you know!"
"It's not that you are incompetent, it's that the suspect is a genius at evasion and killing, detective. He's like nothing any local agency has dealt with and that is why we are here."
"Still, we know what we are doing and we... “the detective started to say.
"You know, I would say that Deputy Branson is pretty sharp, detective, wouldn't you?" Franklin interrupted. He was standing by the stage.
"Why yes, in fact, he'd make a damned good detective."
"He’s one of the best I have worked with," The Sheriff made his way over to the stage, wondering what Franklin was up to, but ready to back him up. The detective was a known racist.
"Yeah, he is that," the detective barged after the Sheriff.
The Sheriff suddenly saw what Franklin was getting at. He went red faced and yelled, causing everyone in the room to jump.  
"So do you want to tell me why my best Deputy is over here, lying on this stage, sleeping like a baby?"

Chapter 7
Percival Entertains His Victims at the Lumberyard

Percival Windsor was a proper British gentleman. He was only three years old when his father, a veteran of the first Gulf War, wanted to test Percival’s ability to hold his breath under water. His father tied a rope around his feet and slowly lowered the tiny boy over the side of the family yacht. He kept lowering Percival into the waters off the coast of Monte Carlo until the boy could no longer breathe.
Percival’s mother had to hit his father with a marine fire extinguisher before she could convince him to end the exercise. The yacht captain barely managed to grab the rope in time to bring her unconscious son aboard.
After that incident, Percival and his mother moved from village to town to city. His father pursued them relentlessly and with determination until he caught up with them at her father's estate in Cardiff. Percival’s father became so loud and violent that Percival’s grandfather used a shotgun to finish the job that his mother had started.
Percival’s mother recovered from her injuries and buried his father with full military honors. She was a new woman now that she and her son would never have to run from that monster again. 
After inheriting his father’s substantial estate, Percival attended the best public schools and attended Oxford University. He fell in with an elite crowd and developed a reputation for high living. He avoided drugs and kept his drinking within limits, but he was a confirmed hedonist.
He had a brilliant understanding of art history and went into the art appraisal business. He entered the job market as an eager flunky at Sotheby’s, where he patiently suffered the merciless scrutiny of his superiors. After a few years, he worked his way up to a senior appraiser position. When the firm offered him the assignment of his choice, he chose to work in the New York offices.
New York made it easy for Percival to continue with the lifestyle he enjoyed at college and in London. He partied hard on weekends and added to his existing stable of beautiful, sophisticated women from around the world. The major modeling agencies sent young beauties to him because he had a reputation for smoothing their rough edges and sharpening their not so dull young minds. The lucky girl who spent a few months with Percival gained a worldliness and refinement that made her even more valuable to designers, agents and wealthy men.
Older women loved Percival for his social graces. They made sure that he was seen and heard at the best parties. They guaranteed him a place at every major event during the Palm Beach and Hampton social seasons. He vacationed in Palm Beach during the winters and stayed at the best ski resorts in Europe. The Paris social scene fit him like a glove.
He dutifully visited his mother and grandfather four times a year until their private jet exploded and crashed into the sea near Dubai. He quickly inherited his parents and grandparents money, but continued to work in art appraisal. He kept to his lifestyle, eventually becoming an older, more relaxed version of his Oxford self.
Then he learned how to deal in forgeries. He became addicted to the gratification that came from forgery, stealing and running confidence games on gullible billionaires. He had finally found a drug that he could not resist.
While the streets around the Blue Lagoon in Taylor City erupted into a frenzy of ambulances and police activity, a man believed to be Percival Windsor drove a black Mercedes SUV down a two lane back road.
“I am GOD tonight!” the man howled, flipping his head back and forth, flinging beads of sweat all over the cockpit. “Ain’t no one gonna forget me tonight, Whooo!”
The man sped past the farm where he had just stolen millions of dollars, killed a man and set up a freeway disaster that killed several more people on I-5. He continued eastward along the base of the Sierra foothills until he pulled into a lumberyard. The lumberyard was just one of several properties that Percival Windsor had purchased over the years. He buried the property ownership under so many corporations that no one but his most trusted attorney could connect the lumberyard to him. 
The man believed to be Percival Windsor pulled up to the lumberyard’s front gate and used a gate opener. Slowly, he drove onto the property. Two large dogs bounded out of the dark to snarl and bark at his SUV. He shot both dogs before slowly proceeding toward a large pile of creosote soaked railroad ties.
“My brain’s on fire! Fire! I’m gonna have me a time tonight. First, I’m gonna let Honey know who’s boss, then I’m gonna take out these two. I feel like I could do this all night. Maybe I’ll head on over to the school and get me some more fruit for my tree... ha ha!”
He wiped spittle from his mouth, took a huge swallow of Jack Daniels and parked at a distance from the creosote woodpile. He got out of the SUV and stepped over to a shed. He removed a hand truck and went to the back of the vehicle where he opened the large rear hatch. With an impish grin, he leaned into the compartment and yelled,
"Well, trusted attorney, are you coming out of it yet? I got hired to do some work on yew!" He used a loud, grating voice to annoy his captives into semi consciousness. He wanted them to feel something when he went to work on them.
"It's a fine evening in rural Taylor County. This here’s the quietest place on Earth! Yee Hah." His rebel yell echoed through the isolated lumberyard but went no farther.
Percival talked aloud, telling stories and explaining his actions for the next two hours. He had a grandiose opinion of himself that would be annoying had his captives been awake.
"I made a big mistake in San Francisco. Shoulda burned that girl before I threw her into the bay. I don’t know how that Black cop got his nose in my business. I got a lotta money. I can lay low in Oklahoma City for a while. Them Russians will be looking for me but they won’t find me there!"
He wheeled his groggy victims from the SUV and onto the creosote soaked railroad ties. That wood was kept well separated from the other wood stock to prevent a pitch fire from spreading. After he tied his victims to the woodpile, he continued to talk about his life and his situation,
"I should never have given in to Honey’s charms. She needs to be next tonight. Nah. I better leave her alone ‘cause she made me rich."
He felt a stirring in his groin as he carried the woman to a pile of railroad ties and laid her down. He was never good at controlling his urges when he stripped a victim’s clothes off. He used a heavy nautical rope to tie her.
“Yeah, girl, now I got yew in a way I can get to any part of yew I wanna use.”
 Barbara Bain groaned softly, indicating that he needed to start on the lawyer.
“Yew’ll be good and ready for me at midnight, girl! That man gave me gas  from a lab in Atherton. He said it would keep yew semi conscious like this.”
 Percival continued to mutter and ramble until he was finished securing his victims to the woodpile.
"I can’t hardly contain myself,” he whispered. “I got to have you now," He groaned, tore at his pants to release himself, and mounted her. He squirmed and rutted on her like an animal until he exploded. He repeated his acts until he was satisfied.
“Oh yeah, this was much better than sex with that dead girl. You moved real good. I’m gonna remember that gas.”
He hauled himself off the woman, pulled up his pants and went to work on his attorney with a set of surgical knives. He stripped much more than clothes from the man’s writhing body. He skinned him because Honey told him to. That was not true. The man believed to be Percival Windsor believed things that were a product of his fractured mind.
When he was finished with the still groaning, horribly mutilated lawyer, Percival went to his SUV, climbed into the back and slept for three hours. When he awoke, he felt rested and ready to do more. He hogged down a stale sandwich and coffee as he went to the lumberyard’s storage building and returned with a shovel and a can of gasoline. He set everything down, went to the woman and forced her to satisfy him a few more times. Then he said,
“Time to finish my masterpiece!”
When he was through, he cleaned himself up, changed into fresh clothes and repaired his disguise. He got into the SUV and headed toward the university.
“There is at least one drunk or drugged child out there for me tonight. It will be one more for the woodpile!” He laughed heartily at the idea.
The man believed to be Percival Windsor did not hear the words that came out of the lawyer he just skinned. With what was left of his mouth, the lawyer clearly said,
“You’re not Percival Windsor! Who are you?”

Chapter 8
Franklin and Kevin’s lumberyard adventure

Kevin was on either the phone or his computer from ten o’clock to midnight. Franklin asked questions and listened to people, learning as much as he could about Taylor County. He was the more sociable agent while Kevin preferred to retreat to a closet sized room at the Sheriff’s department. He used the resources of his security firm, Ap-Sec, where he had a growing team of investigators and information technology specialists.
Franklin chatted up anyone who knew the county while Kevin gathered information that much larger security firms or government agencies could access. At midnight, Franklin found something interesting. He surveyed odd property purchases in Taylor County and struck gold just as Kevin took a phone call that got him excited
"He owns properties in Taylor County? No wonder he came here. What is that? A timber yard? What?" Franklin walked in and signaled for Kevin to hang up.
"The lumber yard sounds like the place, Kevin! The Sheriff and that asshole detective were talking about an old lumberyard that went bankrupt. They hate the place because it is an abandoned firetrap. The yard holds a large stock of creosote soaked wood used in railroad construction. Someone bought the yard at auction and beat the county's bid by fifty thousand dollars. The problem is, the county can't find the owner because the property is buried under several corporations. I did some checking and found out that..."
"Percival Windsor owns it!"
"Bingo! Damn we're good! High five, brother!" Franklin put his hand out and met with air. Kevin had missed by a mile.
"Damnit, Kevin, you must learn how to do a proper high five. It is not right for a Black man living in America to miss a high five."
"I practice, Franklin, I do. I fail in the execution. Where is this timb... uhm... lumber yard?"
"It’s about five miles east of the Sheriff’s property and a couple of miles due south of the university."
"We must get out there now, Franklin. If he is at the university, he has access to anyone who is outside. He is hunting. He is a good looking man... oh here's his photo, by the way!"
They rounded up the Sheriff, his top deputies and the county SWAT team for a planning session. With little to go on but local knowledge and some luck, the team packed their equipment, vehicles and weapons and led a caravan to the lumberyard. The Sheriff knew that the roof of the main building would allow the SWAT team to look down on the entire property, but Kevin and Franklin insisted on getting Barbara Bain out of danger first. They did not know that Percival’s now mutilated lawyer was also on the property.
It was 1 o’clock when Kevin, Franklin and five SWAT team members slithered through a back fence and into the lumberyard and hid in some shrubs for a few minutes and waited for guard dogs. When no dogs appeared, they slithered around the perimeter of the lumberyard until they found the dead security dogs near the front gate. The front gate was open.
Three SWAT team snipers headed for the main office building. Two team members carried a medical kit and went with Franklin to rescue the victim. Kevin headed for an equipment storage shed to look for a vehicle. As he approached the shed, he heard an engine.
“That can not be Percival.” He muttered. The Sheriff radioed the SWAT team commander and asked what was happening. 
"It’s the Chief, sir!” The commander radioed back.
 “What the hell’s he doing here?”
“He appears to be heading toward Agent Ap-Reece! He's driving...!" 
Kevin yelled, "Someone get a weapon on him now and flash his windshield. Take out his tires! Something’s wrong with him."
 It took a special round to "flash" or cause the windshield glass to go opaque. Kevin had given several flash rounds to the SWAT team leader. Two loud pops indicated that the team had blown the police chief's tires.
Kevin went back to work, slithering around the entire perimeter of the creosote woodpile. He saw Barbara Baird and something that looked like a giant red dummy.
“Oh my God, Percival has skinned someone alive!” He yelled into his radio. “Get over here! I must find out how Percival planned to ignite this pile. The man will get more satisfaction from a more primitive mechanism and I am sure of it.”
“What’s he doing, sir?” A SWAT team member asked the Sheriff. The Sheriff was sprinting toward the creosote woodpile.
“He wants to locate a trench or wires before Percival can return and light up that pile over there. The woman is tied to that pile.”
Kevin scurried faster until he found a small, deep trench and a forklift about twenty feet to the south of the woodpile. He radioed his findings and was looking around for something to dig with when a giant sledgehammer pounded into him and knocked him to the ground.
“Oh that is a big bullet...,” he muttered. Before he lost consciousness, Kevin managed to turn his eyes to the left. A scrap of paper lay on the ground. It boasted about “The Finest Timber and Creosote Pine”.

To be continued....

Part III is here!


A New Installment every wednesday! Part III is next!

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