Tuesday, January 24, 2017
By Daniel Skye
PART THREE: BUSINESS OR PERSONAL?
Wednesday, December 19, 2012.
Zack Garton was not able to shake his meeting with Lucille Ferr. That long, flowing jet-black hair, that scarlet red dress, the sheer black stockings and stiletto heels that she wore for the aesthetic effect. She was a fine looking woman, no doubt about it. The kind of woman who could get Garton in trouble if he wasn’t too careful.
But there was something oddly familiar about her. Something Garton couldn’t quite place his finger on. Had he done business with her in the past? Had one of his associates mentioned her by name?
Garton wasn’t going to let his curiosity get the better of him, though. He’d gone down that road once before and it was a long, dark, unforgiving road. It was an experience he’d spent over four years trying to forget.
As he cruised the streets of Dorchester, Garton felt a lingering presence. He could still smell Lucille’s perfume. It was a pleasant, inoffensive scent that made it seem like she was right there in the car with him.
She certainly was something, Garton thought. But she’s also a client. Don’t get involved with clients. It never works out.
It was getting dark. Garton parked his car on a deserted street and checked his SIG Sauer P226, made sure it was loaded. Then he waited for nightfall.
* * *
“Hit him harder, Lance!” one of the men shouted.
And Lance was more than happy to oblige as he slugged Richie Carter right in the jaw. He hit him so hard, he practically skinned his own knuckles in the process. Richie chortled and spat a thick glob of blood that dribbled down his chin.
“Holy shit,” Richie exclaimed. “I’m actually getting beaten up by a guy named Lance? I didn’t think this day could get any worse, but somehow, it just did.”
Lance struck him again, the blow momentarily blurring Richie’s vision.
Richie was in a chair, hands tied behind his back, unable to defend himself. He could feel and floor vibrating beneath his feet and judging by the noise below, he could tell they were in a room above a bar or a club. The room itself was bare and the windows were soaped up to prevent anyone from seeing out, or in.
“Is that all you got?” Richie muttered, on the verge of a severe concussion. Lance raised his fist again, ready to strike.
“Wait,” a voice said, deep and commanding. “Don’t knock him out. First I want to know why he’s so curious about me.”
Lance stepped back as the man approached Richie. He crouched down to face him. Richie studied his face, memorizing his features. He had light skin, dark brown eyes, a shaved head, high cheekbones, a rough chin, and a faint scar above his left eye.
“You know who I am?”
“I’m not a genius, but I’m going to assume you’re the dude everyone keeps referring to as Cobra.”
“Street names,” he chuckled. “Nowadays, you got to be a living legend for people to respect and fear you. The name keeps everybody in line. I didn’t even come up with it. It was given to me. My real name is Reggie Muldoon.”
“You’re not what I was expecting.”
“What do you mean?”
“With a name like Reggie Muldoon, I assumed you’d be black.”
“Why would you assume I’d be black? You just heard the name Reggie and that I was a drug dealer and you assumed I was black? That’s a pretty racist assumption.”
“I stand corrected, all right? Let’s leave it at that.”
“Whatever. So now you know my real name. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Moe “The Mouth” gave you up right away. Even a snitch like that knows not to cross us. So now you know about me, and I know about you, Richie Carter.”
“If you know so much about me, then you’ll know my brother is with the Dorchester Police Department. I’m a private detective, working a case for him. All I wanted to do was ask you a few questions.”
“So go ahead. Ask.”
“Did you know Allen Painter?”
“Yeah I know the motherfucker. He bought a few unregistered pieces from one of my men. Then he used the guns to knock over one of my stash houses. I heard somebody got to him before we could.”
“You didn’t kill Allen?”
“Nope. But I can’t say I’m sorry he’s dead. Not like it really matters whether I did or didn’t kill him. We can’t let you go. Your brother may be a cop, but his ass can’t save you save you today.”
Reggie Muldoon had two men guarding the door. But they were not prepared for the likes of Zack Garton. And the loud music emanating from downstairs was enough to drown out the shots from his SIG Sauer.
All it took was one kick from Garton and the door was reduced to splinters. He entered, fired one shot, and Richie felt warm blood splatter across his face. Lance dropped to the floor, a gaping wound in the back of his head about the size of a golf ball.
“Who the fu–” Reggie never had a chance to finish his sentence. Three more shots were fired, and the room was cleared.
“Hey, partner,” Garton said. “Long time, no see.”
“Oh, fuck me.”
“I’ll pass. So what’d you do to piss these guys off?”
“Long story. What’d they do to piss you off?”
“This is business, not personal. I sure as hell didn’t do this to save you. You being here just happens to be a coincidence. I’m only sparing your life because your brother is a cop and because you and I have history. As far as I’m concerned, you’re a blind witness. You didn’t see a thing.”
“It was you who killed Allen Painter, wasn’t it?”
Garton actually had to stop and think about it for a second. “Nope. Never met him. I would remember.”
“Zack, tell me the truth.”
“I’m telling you the truth. I’d love to take credit, but I’ve never even heard of the guy. Sorry to disappoint you.”
“So why does your employer want Reggie Muldoon dead?”
“You know me. I don’t ask any questions if I don’t have to.”
Garton cut him loose and Richie rubbed his sore limbs. “Let’s do this again in another four years,” he added.
“Hold on a second,” Richie called out. Garton stopped and turned around.
“There’s something you should know about Allen Painter. He was mutilated. Someone left a message on his wall in the poor bastard’s blood. Satan appears in many unassuming forms. Sound familiar?”
“You think Painter knew Kirk Warwick?”
“It’s possible. But we both know Warwick didn’t kill him. Warwick is dead. So if you didn’t kill Painter and Reggie Muldoon didn’t kill Painter, then who did?”
“Beats me. That’s your job to find out, detective. My job is to scratch off every name on my list. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have business to attend to. Feel free to tag along for old time’s sake. Otherwise, I’ll say hello to Kip Stern for you.”
“One day, all of this is going to catch up to you. You can’t keep this up forever.”
“This is real life, Richie. And in real life, the bad guys can win.”
* * *
“Anthony, it’s me. Reggie Muldoon is dead. Zack Garton is back in town. But he didn’t kill Allen Painter. He told me and I believe him. But he’s connected to this somehow. I can sense it. He wiped out Reggie and his crew. He’s going after somebody named Kip Stern next. I need you to find out everything you can about Stern.”
Anthony told him he’d run the name through the system, see if anything turned up. He got back in less than five minutes.
“Kip Stern lives on the outskirts of Dorchester. 55 Palmetto Avenue. It didn’t take long to find him in the system. You should see this sickos file. He’s registered as a level one sex offender. He did a year at Oswald for exposing himself to an eight-year-old. He’s been accused of rape several times, but the charges never stuck. I can have the boys out there in ten minutes.”
“No, this isn’t about Garton, or Stern. There’s something bigger to all of this. Something we’re not seeing here. We wait it out. And if what you’re saying about Stern is true, he has it coming to him. And if he survives and Garton doesn’t, your problem is solved.”
“Are you suggesting I just forget everything you told me and sit this one out?”
“That’s precisely what I’m suggesting. Anthony, this is all connected to Warwick and the Cirico family somehow. I just haven’t put all the pieces together yet. Give me time.”
“And just let Garton roam free through my city in the meantime?”
“You know him. You know he has principles, as twisted as they may be. He’s not looking to harm any innocent civilians. This is business to him.”
“And what is this to you, Richie? Business? Or personal?”
“Personal,” Richie answered vehemently. “Definitely personal.”
* * *
Kip Stern dimmed the lights, lit a few candles, put some classical music on, and then he slipped into a warm bath and closed his eyes. He had a premonition that evening. Saw his own death flash before his eyes.
There was no denying it. Stern was a rotten man who’d done rotten things in his life. And he knew someone would eventually take it upon themselves to punch his ticket. And Stern, tired of a life of sin and depravity, was content with this fact. He was ready to meet his maker.
He heard his executioner’s footsteps approaching, but he never opened his eyes to see his face. “Looks like I have you at a bit of a disadvantage,” Garton chuckled. “I’ve never shot a guy in a bathtub before. One time, I caught a guy on the toilet. But I let him finish up before I plugged him. It didn’t seem right to shoot a man on the toilet.”
“I knew you’d come,” the man said, refusing to open his eyes. They were squeezed tightly shut, so tight his eyes felt like they would bleed from the pressure. “I’ve had visions my whole life. Not just of this moment. I’ve witnessed many moments in time without ever experiencing them in person.”
“So, what are you supposed to be, some kind of psychic?”
“I wouldn’t put a label on it. I guess you could call it an extra sense. I was born with it. I never could figure out how or why. But it doesn’t really matter now, does it?”
“No, it doesn’t make a lick of difference.”
“Very well,” Stern sighed. “My only hope is that when I die, I go to Heaven.”
“Buddy, where you’re going, they don’t even say the word Heaven. In fact, they have a special rung in hell reserved for perverts like you. I’ve read all about you, Kip Stern. I know what you are. You slipped through those charges like an eel. But we both know you’re guilty. How many girls have you actually raped?”
“I never harmed a woman in my life,” he said.
“This is your last chance to confess. If you confess here and now, at least you can die with a clean conscience.”
Stern sighed again. He finally opened his eyes and saw the tall, imposing figure that loomed overhead. “Six women. No, wait. It was seven. Only one of the girls was underage. Unless you count the time I pulled my pecker out on that little girl. But that was an isolated incident, I swear. I had been drinking and I just went to take a piss. I didn’t know there was a block party going on around the corner. The girl must’ve got separated from her parents and wandered off on her own. Next thing you know, she bumps into me pissing against the side of a brick wall and runs back screaming to her parents. It was the one time I was actually innocent and I paid the price for it.”
“Heartbreaking story,” Garton muttered, removing the SIG Sauer from its holster. “But I think I’ve heard to about enough.”
* * *
Richie Carter picked a lock and snuck in through the backdoor. But he knew it was already too late. Garton was gone, and he left no trail behind, unless you count the bullet that was embedded in Kip Stern’s skull.
Richie found his limp body in the upstairs bathtub. The water had turned crimson red. A sign of things to come.
Something ugly and terrible was about to happen. Something far worse than the death of Kip Stern. Richie could sense it in the air. He could feel it in his bones.
“Freeze!” a voice commanded.
Richie, sighed, exasperated. “I really need a drink.”
TO BE CONTINUED
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The rapid evolution of social media has had quite the impact on society. But sometimes people confuse status updates with journal entries. They think what they write is private. That people don’t care enough about them to read what they write. That people won’t take them seriously. But someone is always watching.
Nowadays, you have to be careful with what you write or share on the Internet. You have to stop and ask yourself: How much information is too much information? Where do you draw the line?
These questions are explored in Isaac Thorne’s novella, DISLIKE (available through Amazon). Isaac’s story–comprised of social media comments, messages, and status updates–is a dark and poignant tale about the negative effects and influence that these social networking sites have had.
The story is also painfully realistic, to the point where I found myself shaking my head at the main characters shameless indiscretions. William Dennison, fueled by alcohol and rage, takes to the Internet to vent his frustrations about his soon-to-be-ex-wife. His friends and former co-workers try to cheer him up and talk some sense into him, but William Dennison seems hostile and inconsolable.
Through a series of status updates, we learn that William has lost his job and his wife on the same day. We also learn that he has a gun in his possession…
This is what would’ve happened if Travis Bickle had a Facebook account in Taxi Driver. But all movie references and comparisons aside, Isaac’s story is a concise, dark, and disturbingly realistic portrayal of a man who feels he has nothing left to lose.
Sometimes the simplest stories have the most powerful effect over the reader. This is a horror story for the Facebook generation, for all those millennials who are more obsessed with their iPhones and Androids than they are with the consequences of reality. It can also be viewed as a cautionary tale for those who are unsure of where to draw the line. Let this dark tale be a lesson to you: Watch what you share on social media…
Monday, January 9, 2017
*I apologize for the spacing issues with the paragraphs. This happens a lot when I copy and paste my stories on here. I've tried multiple times to correct it, but everything I do just seems to make it worse :/
By Daniel Skye
PART TWO: LUCILLE
Wednesday, December 19, 2012.
Anthony Carter called his brother’s office that morning. Richie had went straight back to his office after he left the scene and brewed a fresh pot of coffee, waited for Anthony’s call. He nodded off at some point in his desk chair and slept a total of three hours before Anthony called.
The victim’s name was Allen Painter. Anthony had ran his name and info through the system. Painter had quite the rap sheet. And yet nobody in the Dorchester police department had heard of him. But Richie Carter had a plethora of sources to consult with about Mr. Painter’s extracurricular activities.
Richie’s brother had reached out to him for help, and had given him five hundred dollars to start out with. Richie never felt comfortable accepting money from family. But desperate times called for desperate measures.
And seeing as how he couldn’t drown his sorrows in alcohol anymore, he figured helping his brother with the case would be a good way to occupy his time. He’d worked hard and he wasn’t about to flush four years of sobriety down the toilet.
Plus, this case brought up some demons from the past. Demons that Richie had hoped would stay buried.
What was the significance of the dragonfly poster in Painter’s house? Who wrote that message on Painter’s wall in his blood? Was it Zack Garton? Was this his handiwork? Richie had not crossed paths with him in four years. And he wished to never cross paths with a man of his caliber again.
But if Garton was behind this, Richie was going to find out. He started on the corner of Ludovico Street, which was where you could always find Moe Sharpe, better known as Moe “The Mouth.” And Moe worked both his ass and his jaw off to earn himself that nickname.
Moe was a dealer, but cocaine and heroin wasn’t his specialty. He sold weed, and occasionally pills. But primarily weed. That’s why the cops didn’t really hassle him. He was a small fish in a huge pond. But he was definitely on Richie’s radar.
Moe Sharpe stuck to his own territory. He steered clear of the other dealers in Dorchester. But he knew all the big names, all the higher-ups, so to speak.
Richie came prepared, bringing a bottle of whiskey to butter Moe up. It was so hard to resist the temptation to imbibe as he walked in that liquor store to purchase the bottle. But he summoned all of his willpower and walked out of that store feeling victorious.
“How’s business?” Richie asked Moe when he met up with him.
“It’s booming,” Moe bragged. “Everyone is swept up in this 2012 phenomenon. All these idiots think the world is ending in two days and everyone is looking to get baked one last time.”
“People will believe anything nowadays. Oh hey, I got you something.”
Moe accepted the bottle of whiskey with gratitude and said, “So what can I do you for?”
“Allen Painter. Name ring any bells to you? He was murdered recently. Might’ve been drug related. They found cocaine and heroin in his possession. Not to mention the unregistered weapons.”
“Can’t say I’ve heard of him.”
“You’re Moe “The Mouth”, you know everybody.”
“I’m telling you, I’ve never heard of him. But cocaine and heroin is not my game. I don’t fuck around with that shit.”
“So then who does fuck around with that shit? Give me a name. Point me in their direction.”
“You’re putting me in a tough spot, Richie. Promise this won’t lead back to me. I really enjoy breathing.”
“I’ll keep you out of this. I swear. Just give me a name.”
“Cobra,” Moe whispered.
“Cobra? Is he a GI Joe villain?”
“That’s what he calls himself. His real name is Reggie Muldoon. He runs the north side of Dorchester. Drugs, guns, crack, cocaine, heroin. You name it. I’m telling you, this guy is a straight up psychopath. I can tell you some scary stories, man.”
“Save it for another time. I’ve got work to do. Thanks for the help, Moe. Enjoy the booze.”
“Sure you don’t want a swig? It’s pretty cold out. It’ll warm you up a bit.”
“I’ll pass on that,” Richie said, fighting that voice inside his head that so desperately wanted to take Moe up on the offer.
* * *
Zack Garton’s contact had given him Lucille Ferr’s address. The place was a palace in Garton’s eyes. Extravagant in every sense of the word. The property was protected by ten-foot-high wrought iron gates. Garton had to get out at the front gate and press the buzzer for them to let him through.
The gates opened up and he parked his car in a semi-circular driveway. He was greeted at the door by two lumberjack-sized bodyguards who patted him down and relieved him of his SIG Sauer P226.
“Be gentle with Fran,” Garton advised them. “She’s my special lady.”
The guards, dressed like secret service agents, complete with suits and dark sunglasses, led Garton through the foyer. They traveled down a long, narrow, dimly lit hallway. The observant Garton counted three doors on each side of the hall.
How the hell do you find the bathroom in this place? Garton wondered.
They took a left at the end of the hall, which led them to a set of tall glass doors with wood panels to give the appearance of windows. One of the guards motioned for him to go in.
Lucille was waiting for him in the parlor. She was spread out on a black chaise lounge sofa, her legs crossed at the ankles. Garton stared at her for the longest time. She was definitely worth a stare. Especially those legs, that were visible to the knees. They seemed to be arranged for viewing.
The ever observant Garton took note of her provocative wardrobe. She was wearing a scarlet red dress, stiletto heels, and sheer black stockings with seams that ran up the back. She twirled her jet-black hair with one red painted finger and took a sip of her scotch.
“Can I offer you a drink, Mr. Garton?”
“I’m on the clock. And please, call me Zack.”
“You have quite the reputation, Zack. Tell me, how is it that you’ve never been apprehended?”
“This is no movie, darling. This is real life. And in real life, the bad guys can win.”
“Very true,” she said, taking another sip of her scotch. The rim of the glass was smeared with dark red lipstick. “Well, Zack, I know your time is valuable, so let’s get down to business.”
“Let’s. So what’s the job?”
“Jobs,” she corrected him. “Plural.”
“You are aware of my fee?”
“I’m well aware. And I have more than enough money to cover it.”
“I don’t doubt that,” Garton said, glancing around the parlor.
“You see, my husband was a good man. But his business attracted a lot of unwanted attention. And he gained his share of enemies over the years. Now he’s dead and these savages are still trying to cut into his business. I need this issue sorted out. I’ll leave the rest up to you. I don’t care how you do it, as long as it gets done.”
She got up and walked across the room. She produced two sealed envelopes from the top drawer of an antique mahogany desk and handed them to Garton.
“One of these envelopes contains your fee. I know you charge per hit, so there’s more than enough cash in there to cover the jobs. And second envelope contains a list of names and addresses. I think you know what to do with that.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Garton said, tipping his invisible cap to Lucille. “And might I add, it’s been a pleasure, Ms. Ferr.”
“Please, my friends call Lucy.”
The guards walked Garton back to the front door, where they returned Fran. Garton gave her a kiss before he placed her back in his holster. Before he walked out the door, he leaned in close and whispered to the guards, “If you ever touch my gun again, I’ll skin you both alive.”
* * *
Richie Carter stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb on the north side of Dorchester. He passed the housing projects and parked in an adjacent lot. He didn’t even bother locking the doors because there was nothing inside for anybody to steal. And he knew nobody was desperate enough to steal that rusting, decaying, beat-up buckets of bolts he called a car.
He crossed the street, leaned against the side of one of the housing projects, and waited for the dealers to flock to him. On the north side of Dorchester, all you had to do was stand in one place long enough, and the drugs would come to you.
Richie took out a pack of Lucky Strikes from his jacket, lit a cigarette. He watched a young man turn the corner. He had both hands in front pockets of his black peacoat.
“Are you Richie Carter?” the young man asked.
“That depends. Are you a creditor or a process server?”
“I work for the man you’re looking for. I work for Cobra.”
“Then shouldn’t you be shouting ‘Hail Cobra’?”
A black SUV pulled up along the curb. Carter felt the cold steel of a gun being jammed into his ribs. “Get in.”
“It’s okay, I have my own car.”
Richie shuddered as the cold steel of a gun barrel was jammed against his ribcage. “Just get in the fucking truck.”
The backdoor opened. Richie glanced around, took a deep breath, and unwillingly got in. The black SUV sped off down the road and disappeared around the corner.
TO BE CONTINUED