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Beware, The Glass Hangman Part 1
By Joel L Young
Thursday, June 20, 2002
Once there was a gallows
I made from shallow glass
And everywhere detectives went
I always kicked their ass!
It was a hard case. The hardest I ever had before I went legit. Legit that is as a friend of the common man. The private hero, the last great dick, somebody could call upon when the boys in blue couldn't carry the load. It begins in 1992 when I was with the highway patrol.
The streets glistened from a soft rain. St. Petersburg, Florida shined with an opulence of a nice beachfront town. My partner Peter Hollis and I were driving our usual beat between the Orange Blossom Trail and Alligator Alley.
The Alley is a stretch of black top that crosses between Ft Myers and Miami. The only thing more noisy than the gators are tourists, who smuggle, haunt girls from strip clubs, spend money at Disney or run a little swamp water up to Daytona in July. Sometimes you run into a panther or two. I'm not talking cats.
At our patrol house it was a code for a prowler. This panther liked to hunt and he mauled the daughter of a well-affiliated state senator. She lived but the tie and coat boys couldn't find him.
One particular night it all went south. Pete answered the blue call:
"Copy that Tampa, 224 is near our 20, have backup from locals on standby."
"Now what Peter?"
"We got a 10-54 Karl, forty miles outside of Arcadia, right on the edge of the Glades."
It was a murder pure and simple. A woman and her husband Jessica and William Hanlon were strangled in a RV at a campsite than drove and dumped in a canal. The killing wasn't kind. There was bleakness to the day. The trees were dry. The sun was hot; a burn ban was in effect throughout the county. Death came dressed in black with fine linen. The only thing suspicious at the crime scene was a glass gallows clutched between the man's neck like it
was in a vice.
Another call came through on our way back to the sub station. It was a long ride back. This made it longer: Pete and me thought it was the devil himself.
"Once there was a truck on it's from Monterey
A woman and her husband picked up, a lonely stray.
The man tasted bitter, the woman tasted sweet
Once there were two patrolmen, now only one will drive his beat."
"Mr., this is a restricted channel for emergencies, police only. Who are you?" I had said it with a little more flourish than that.
"Quite so Officer Glass, I'm the Hangman. Believe it or not I'm watching you and your partner right now.
"I'm pondering which one of you will live and the other...well..."
From out of nowhere, a tire blew out from high-powered rifle. Our vehicle wavered out of control and spun into the meridian, Pete did all he could to avoid oncoming traffic. Our boy was watching but where? Where!
Another high-powered shot splattered the windshield and Pete's shoulder. I pulled him out with one arm and called 911, and every damn field office I could think of. I just knew one of us was going to eat a bullet. Opening the right backseat car door. I threw Pete into the back. I patched him up with a first aid kit and bandages. Then I shielded him with Kevlar vests between the car door and me for extra protection.
Pete quipped, "Not sure of this clown, but he's off my Christmas list!"
"Mine too, I'd like to clean his clock thoroughly! You all right?"
"I'll live. Where the hell is he Karl? He was at the crime scene. He knew our tags! This guy's a professional psycho."
"Pete, somehow, some way, some day, I'll get the bastard and his little rifle, Toto, too!"
"Okay, buddy, I knew there was a reason I liked you. You have my permission."
Fortunately, I don't like lead with my vegetables. Neither did Pete, but he didn't have a choice. The cavalry came a half hour later. After that night in the hospital, I never saw Pete again. I couldn't stay all night. They found him the following morning. The coroner's mentioned he didn't die in his sleep. It was worse.
Ten Years After
Mary Jane was in the kitchen seeing what our friendly protectors were having. I received a call from a FED pal.
"Karl, Agent Jim Borders. Sellers, told me to contact you. We received a strange note on a case in Montana. We were looking at your back-file and saw you were a Highway Patrolman in Florida early 90's. See if this rings.. 'Once there was roadie working for a time, his music was suspicious he wrote it in bad rhymes, Now he's feeling lazy down, the man is pushing daisies, in the cold, cold ground.' It was signed the Hangman."
"Jim, that sonofa...Have you any idea who this monster is? He shot my partner when I was a beat cop in Tampa. He killed him as well. We arrived on a crime scene and for our sins. We were shot at. I've studied the case at least twenty bodies over ten years maybe more. He always kills in twos. A glass gallows is always left on the scene. One was found in Pete's room. An elderly woman had been killed that night as well. Jim I want on the case, screw the
mob, witness protection, everything. Above all protect Mary Jane! Protect her damn it!"
Jim felt my urgency and was over at our house in minutes with two squads, a moving van and a DVD collection of the Partridge family. Those boys of his have to have something to watch. Mary Jane doesn't watch TV.
MJ knew something was up. "Karl, babe what the hell is going on?"
"Babe it's the Hangman." I said it straight with no chaser.
"No, No! Not again. Not another damn adventure. Karl Glass I know it's important. I swear if you get killed. I will never speak to you again! God, be careful. Kill him, beat him senseless, drag him to Alcatraz but come home."
She was nervous, frantic and started ranting. I held her. I held her all afternoon, kissed and we made love in our minds but it wasn't going for the last time.
"MJ, shush, I have to do this. It was a promise I made to Pete. I aim to keep it. It maybe a wild moose chase I don't know. I don't want him to know you exist or anything else."
MJ had a look in her eye. My mom had that look when I was five years old. My baby sister came about eight months later.
"Sweet one, I know the game. I would be another pawn, a stereotype girl victim in the middle like in Alaska, except. This freak would slice first and probably make a girl suit out of me and run off with a traveling salesman, the witch!"
"Damn, lady you are so cool sometimes! You're pretty close."
"Thanks you're kind of hot yourself, Mister. Good, be careful out there."
She smiled and hugged me. Gave me a mother, wife, girlfriend kind of kiss that lasted for hours, 'told me to be careful.' There was something else she wanted to say. It would have to wait. Mary had that kind of restraint but when she fired, she shot from the hip. She was some kind of woman.
Site: Joel L Young's Book Page
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|Reviewed by Sonya Henderson
|Felt like I was listening to a muder mystery on the radio from days gone by. I really love the way this reads. Also, I like the descriptive details that is Florida...S|