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Mercedes Keyes

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by Mercedes Keyes   

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Books by Mercedes Keyes
· Webster Fields Bk 3 Family Reunion
· Webster Fields Bk 2 Gold Raven
· Webster Fields Bk 1 Princess Ces'alena
                >> View all



Publisher:  Lulu ISBN-10:  1409206507 Type: 


Copyright:  August 19, 2008 ISBN-13:  9781409206507

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An Interracial novel, stark, controversial and dramatically told! Raw … yet healing … fast paced and shocking! Driving it’s reader to a traumatic and surprising climax…

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Amber Swann Publishing Inc.

Watch Commander Captain
 William Camen O’Malley

1978 Chicago has a growing drug Cartel and a blood trail of murders, including two captains of police; who once headed the narcotics investigation leading to drug lord, Herman Dozer. Having accepted the assignment, Will relocated to Chicago and began setting up his special forces team. Unknown to the public officials, however, was a dual reason for O’Malley accepting the case, beside his deep seeded hatred for the drug world. There was also the nightmare … a nightmare that added to his driven determination to erase as much of the drugs as he could from the streets, from getting into the wrong hands; having been a victim himself, with results that would follow him for the rest of his life.

Detective Carina Artess

Haunted by a nightmarish past, for years and years, memories plagued her mind that she strove to block and deny. With this fine tuned skill, she’d succeeded in doing just that! Until that is, the day she walked into the office of Watch Commander Captain, William O’Malley. The sight of him immediately triggering questions that once again, catapulted her back to a time she thought just a dream, one long forgotten, and dismissed.


The Beginning

April 5, 1964
Friday Afternoon,

“Umm…umm, two gum balls, three licorice sticks, one chocolate bar and-…“
“Carina Artess, yo’belly gone be achin’ for days eatin’ all that candy.” Mr. Pecky warned over the loud talk and jesting of the college students visiting Poe Zak County.
“No sa’ Mr. Pecky, mi’belly like candy. Green beans make me sick.”
“Um hm, well that be fifteen cent-…hey you boys quit ya’foolin’ in my store. Will boy, you know better!” He reprimanded the rowdy group, as young Carina counted out the money for her candy. “Aah Pecky, we ain’t doin’ no harm.”
“Tha’s all right, take it outside! Don’t wan’no nonsense in here….two mo’ pennies, ‘Rina.” He finished, informing Carina of her short. The bottom of her pockets proved to be void of the needed two cents. “Gimme two cent, Gerty.” She asked her friend, who stood aside sucking on her licorice, having made her purchases.
“Ain’t got two cent. Spen’ all my money.”
“Come along now gal, you got it or ain’cha?” Pecky urged impatiently, seeing Mrs. Grimsby approaching the counter with her few groceries. At the same time, Sheriff Hayden entered. Immediately, his presence settled things down with the noisy students.
They were suddenly calm in their snack and chips selection for the party they were having that evening. All five, clearing their throats nervously, as they nodded in greeting, to the small town’s law officer. He merely lifted a brow at them with a silent message to watch the conduct. His gaze mainly fixed on William O’Malley. This was after all, his hometown. The others were his friends from college, spending their short vacation time with him at his family cabin. “How’ do, Sheriff.” Mr. Pecky greeted with a nod.
“Pecky.” Sheriff returned with a nod, and then noticed Carina.
“Carina Artess, why aren’t you on your way home from school yet? Your mama’s gonna take a switch to’ya, you get there too late.” He mildly scolded, his concern stemming from a long friendship with her mama, every since they were teenagers. Bess worked for his parents for years. They’d passed away over six years now. Long before that, Bess had moved on selling her services elsewhere around town as needed to get by.
“We jus’stop fo’ some candy is all.” Carina explained looking up at him with large hazel eyes. “Two pieces of which you ain’t gon’ get if you don’t come up with two cent.” Mr. Pecky reminded her irritably.
“Land sakes Mr. Pecky, wha’s two cent…gone head, take the candy, Carina. I’ll give it for you this time. Afternoon Sheriff.” Mrs. Grimsby offered, and then greeted the sheriff, who nodded smiling. Carina looked back at Mrs. Grimsby, a slight smile, on her small pretty face. “Thank you ma’am.” As Mr. Pecky grumbled to himself aloud. “Two cent be a whole lot in adding, if I was to let everybody that come in, go with it.”
“Well I said I’d pay it, so there. An’ you welcome Carina. With the kind of work your mama do for me, it’s the least I can do. By the way, will ya’ tell her I got more things for her to wash and iron. If it’s all right, I can drop’em off on the way out of town.”
“Yes ma’am, I tell ha’ what you say.” Carina returned walking toward the door with the sheriff smiling down at her. Passing Will, and his friends on the way, he volunteered to carry the message. “I’ll see her before you. She working late for my mama today. Also, she says if I was to see you, that you were to get straight home with your chores and start dinner. Make sure you tell your pa too, she be working late.” Will finished as she stopped at the door to listen.
“She say what time she be home?” Carina asked disappointed. She wanted to ask could she spend the night at Gerty’s. If her mama came home later, she could forget it. She knew her daddy would automatically say no. And his “NO” meant just that.
“All I know is what I told you, Sunshine.” He answered with a shrug, then turned away as she drug her feet leaving the store. Gerty right behind, released a deep sigh. “Now what?” Gerty asked.
“I’mo have to wait till my mama get home.”
“Well, what’ya gotta do is hurry up wit’yo cho’es, then when she get home, she let you come ova’. I’a stay and he’p ya’ if ya’want. My mama won’care.”
“It don’ matta’. If my daddy get there first, he gone say no! Cho’es done o’not. He don’ like me t’sleep ova’ nobody house.”
“Tha’s easy. We hurry’ up an’ do the cho’es and be gone befo’ he get home. We ask yo’mama on the way to my house.”
“But I suppos’ta tell’em mama be home late.”
“Girl, do I hafta’ tell you everything! Leave a note.”
Carina brightened immediately. “That’a work! You bein’ wit’me, make it hard on her to say no. Plus, you can walk ova’wit me.” Gerty nodded with a smile.


“Bess, you’ah absolute God send. With the Murphy’s comin’ ovah this evenin’, then Will and his friends drivin’ me to distraction, I don’know how I would’ah made this day right. Oh my goodness, heah they come.” Virgis O’Malley sighed exasperated. Watching from the kitchen window, as her son’s red mustang convertible roared into the yard. His friends sitting up on the back of the seat, hooting and yelling, making nasty jokes and lewd comments about things she thanked God she couldn’t hear.
Shaking her stylishly coiffeured head, she turned from the window, with one hand on her hip, rolling her eyes heavenward. “Lord Bess, I sho’am glad we got the cabin by the lake. Else theah won’be no peace for this evenin’. I do decla’ah, one minute thei’ah precious, sweet lil’boys. And the next thang you know, they beastly, hypa’ young men with only one thang on thei’ah minds.”
Bess chuckled shaking her head, as she finished the last of the hors d’oeuvre tray.
“Aah Miss Virgis, they ain’t that bad. Leastwise my Will…he a good boy at heart. Or man now I guess I should’say. It’s them otha’s I ain’t so sure of he got himself wound up wit’.”
The back door swung open with a bang. “William Camen O’Malley!! Wha’s gotten into you bangin’ that doah that way!? Just close it right on back and head ‘round the otha’ side of the house wheah I can’t heah’ya!” Virgis began fussing as they were about to storm the kitchen.
“Sorry mama. We was hoping to get Bess to fix us a fancy tray for the party.” Will, appealed hopefully. “Young man, I can assure you, I know enough to know the least of what yah’ll be consun’ed oveah is some fancy tray made up by Bess. ‘Sides, she hasn’t the time-…Will, you tell them to hold it down out theah. Ya’ fatha got company in the study about impo’ant business. So hurry and get what ya’ come home to get. And get!” She continued as Will shushed his friends from the doorway.
“Will.” Bess called to him before he made his exit.
“Yes ma’am?”
“Ya’see my ‘Rina whiles you was in town?”
“Yes ma’am I did. I gave her your message. She went right home directly.” He informed her before slamming out of the kitchen back door. Bess nodded with a smile and continued on with her work.


Bess shook her head as she slipped her arm into her sweater at the back door of the O’Malley’s. “Please mama, please! I did all I was ‘spose to do. Gerty mama say she don’ min’.” Carina pleaded as her mother’s negative shake made her fear the plans would fall through despite their planned manipulation.
“Please Miss Bess! My mama say it’s okay, really she did. An’ ain’t no school tomorra’.” Gerty added. Bess sighed, grabbing her hand purse, to lean on the open door, one hand on the knob, the other on her hip, her purse hanging from her fingers. Jumpy and pleading, the two stood before her, begging in their eyes and expressions. It wasn’t that she didn’t like Gerty or her mother. The problem was her father. The man had a strong tendency to drink to access. At present, he was supposedly on the wagon. Still, she didn’t care for her ‘Rina in that type of atmosphere. She was a lucky woman to have a husband like Hamel. He was both God fearing and loving towards his children and her. He was a good provider, respected by the white town folk there in Poe Zak…and very protective of his Carina and her brother Benjamin. “Now ‘Rina, you know how yo’ daddy is ‘bout spendin’ nights elsewhere. He expect you to sleep home in yo’ own bed. I thank we oughta go and see what he sa-“
“Mama please! Please! Please! He gonna say no! I jus’ know it! Please mama, jus’ this once! I neva’ get ta sleep ova’ no body’s house! Just this once please mama!! Say yeah mama, for it start t’get dark! We gon’ go directly to Gerty’s, mama! I promise mama. Please please please!”
“All right all right! Goodness sake chile’! But you go directly ya’heah, Carina Artess!? No where else! I come pick you up in the mornin’.”
“Thank you thank you thank you! Oh mama I promise! We goin’ straight there.”

* * * * *

With the Rolling Stones and the Beatles playing alternatively in the back ground, the cabin literally vibrated as the partiers within passed a joint. Packed thick and firm rolled to the appreciation of the young smokers. This, as they sat watching on the large projection screen, X-rated movies to entertain their baser needs.
“Hell man, enough of that! Put on Elvis. Not that that’s gonna do a whole hell of a lot to livin’ up this party. Damn Will! I can’t believe you didn’t set us up with no women.” Trenton Dailey, complained as he inhaled deeply of the joint now in his possession. Who coughed a short choke, trying to hold in for the full high effect, before he passed it on to Jarvis. Who loudly exclaimed, cutting him off.
“Guldamn!! Look at the rodder on that son’vabitch! Hell, mine was that big, I’d have me women right now lining up to take a blow at it!”
“Or on it!” Dennis chortled as he received the joint next. Trenton laughed finally coughing out his cloud of instant high. Inserting as he laughed, “Only in your dreams, Jar…only in your dreams.”
“Maybe not. Hell, there’s gotta be a way to get one that size, or damn near close to it.” Jarvis voiced hopefully, looking around the room of five for encouragement. Praying there was others present with his problem.
“I hear my daddy once say, let a nigger bitch suck on it enough, and it’a grow as big as the blacky’s!” Simon added, draped high and lazy across the sofa, crudely rubbing his own with ideas playing in his mind.
“That’s bull!” Someone yelled out. “Yeah, bullshit!” Trenton agreed.
“Mine is just as big as any niggers, maybe bigger. Ain’t a whore yet I screwed, didn’t holler out, “It’s too big Trenton, take it out!” – Hell, that’s for damn sure.” He bragged, pitching his voice high, mimicking any given female he laid, causing a roll of robust laughter from the others.
“Remember that chick, Wilma Crasbreckle, Will? She was in two of our classes last semester. Tits as big as Jar’s head.” He pushed Jarvis’s head for emphasis. “Yeah, what about her?” Will returned.
“Trent did her till she screamed!” Simon blurted laughing.
“I can tell my own story, thank you! So shut the hell up ‘til you have one of your own to tell.” He shot to Simon, thoroughly silencing him.
“Anyway, as I was about to say. Word was, she couldn’t get satisfied. No walls, no bottom. Heard she had half the campus by the time she was sophomore. So I decided to enlighten her. See if I could help her with her problem, bein’ the kind of guy that I am. Took her out to eat, treated her to a movie. Then took her back to Jessie’s place-“
“Where you stained up my sheets and stunk up my room so bad I couldn’t even sleep in there that night.” Jessie threw in, steamed again at the memory of it. Trenton laughed good naturedly, shrugging as he continued. “Well, I got to going at her. Like that guy up there on the screen now. I stroked her to the left, no wall…stroked her to the right, nothing. Then I went in deep, hammering for the bottom, hell…wasn’t one!”
“After about a half hour of this, this whore looks up at me, while I’m working my ass off, sweatin’ off a pound a minute mind you, and says…”Damn you Trenton, you’re sweatin’ all over my new do! If my hairs got to get messed, least you can do is make me feel somethin’!” – Cunt!” He spat.
“Yeah, the whore! ‘Cause Trent’s got a big one!” Jarvis agreed.
“How the hell you know!?” Jessie shot the question, momentarily stopping the story. “Cause I seen it!” Jarvis admitted. “You seen it!?” Jessie suggestively resounded. “Actually seen it!?”
“You just go to hell, Jessie Todd! We was all skinny dipping when I seen it!” Jarvis defended hotly, as the others laughed at his expense. “Jarhead, don’t tell me you was looking at my pecker?” Trenton teased with a grin, giving suggestive glances at the others to draw them in on the teasing. “Yeah! – Yeah?!” Some of the others joined in at the same time shouting at him as they threw pillows. “Jarhead was looking at your pecker Trent!” Laughing at his obvious embarrassment.
“I was not! I just seen it I’m telling you.”
“I don’t know.” Trent went on without mercy, shaking his head. “You sure about that Jar?”
“Come on Trent, now cut it out!” Jarvis cried.
“Hey Trent, maybe he was trying to figure out how he could get your pecker.” Simon chortled. The others laughed out and added. “Yeah Trent, better watch your pecker, Jar head needs a pecker!”
“Jar? That right, you after my pecker now?” Trent kidded.
“Just go to hell, the bunch of you! An’ kiss my ass on the way!” Jarvis shot, upset at being the butt of the joke. “Aah, don’t get mad, Jar. We just kiddin’ you’s all.” Trenton supplied the end to the teasing. In his off beat way, he liked Jarvis. Who else would put up with all the crap he dished out?
“Yeah Jar, don’t get all bent out of shape. Now let’s get back to big tits Crasbreckle.”
“Yeah, back to Crasbreckle!” Someone second.
“Yeah Trent, if she had no walls and no bottom, how’d you make her howl?”
Dennis wanted to know. Trenton snickered, as did Jarvis, who already knew the story. “Well, the ungrateful whore! In the blink of an eye, I reached for a jar of Vaseline. Greased my sammy, and flipped her over and stuck her right where the sun don't shine. Hell, it only took one minute before she was squealing and another before I got the best pop of my life.” They all whooped and cheered with a hearty laugh following that disclosure.
All but, Will…who stood from the floor, before the sofa shaking his head…disgusted with the whole story. Walking to the bar, he picked up beer cans and cigarette butts on the way. Wondering what the heck ever made him invite this bunch of hooligans to his hometown. Here he was, twenty-one years old, allowing himself to get mixed up in the wrong crowd. Trenton’s narrowed eyes followed Will to the bar. “Aye, O’Malley, when you gonna get us some women?” He asked from his floor position. “Yeah, the hell with this movie, I wanna see the real thing stretched out in front of me.” Simon added excitedly. The others agreed. Will sighed, shaking his head with a, “Hmph.”
“You all crazy if you think any women here or anywhere else, would be bothered with a bunch of rowdy, high drunks. The women here ain’t like that. Besides, with all you all been drinkin’, I doubt if you could keep it up anyway.”
“Hell if I can’t! You get me a woman, I can’t keep it up. I got something that will make sure I keep it up. All – night – long!” Trent drug out the last, flexing his brows.
“Trenton Dailey, you keep that kind’a stuff up and you’ll be dead by the time you’re thirty.”
“Oh please, save the speech O’Malley. Like you’re some kind of, goody two shoes. We happen to know you’re packing a hefty dagger yourself. Reason we know. You been making the rounds yourself with the ladies. They talk too you know. I had one tell me, she didn’t know which one of us she liked best, me or big, long thick, Willie!!” Trenton snidely mimicked the female pitch again.
“Big Willie!!” Jessie gasped in laughter.
“Long, thick Willie!” Trenton emphasized.
“Ha ha ha, I never said I was a virgin. I just don’t care for the way you guys go about using women like you do. It ain’t healthy and it’s wrong.” That statement caused a round of displeasured moans as everyone began picking themselves up from wherever they sat.
“Stow it O’Malley! I didn’t come here to hear the preaching of those holier than thou. I’m getting’ out’a here! Where can a man go around here for a drink and a woman?” Will stood silent for a moment looking them over.
“Well?” Simon reentered the question.
“Come on. You can drink, but whether or not you’ll find a woman is strictly up to luck.” He said heading for the door. All followed him out to the cars in their possession.

* * * * *

“Is he gonna kill’ha?”
“I don’no ‘Rina. But I hate him! I hate’im so much, I wish he was dead! Deada’ than dead!” Gerty Jean Payne, whispered passionately as the two frightened girls huddled close against the wall on her bed. Her room right off the small living room. A narrow strip of light shinning through the slight crack opening of the door was all they could see by…leaving a path across the floor, almost reaching her bed. Broken occasionally by Neada Payne as she was slung from one side of the room to the other…immediately followed by the drunken monster who was Gerty’s father.
The sounds of the night were clearly heard, screaming, begging, cursing and fighting. Sometimes muffled, sometimes clear pieces of the argument filtered through. Nathan’s slurred rendition of the white man’s unfair interference in his life.
“Please Nathan, please not tonight. Carina’s ova’…please don’t let ha’ see you this-…“ Neada pleaded from the floor, praying for any respite. “Rina?” He cut her off asking. Her name seemed to stop him. “Yes! She sleepin’ ova’.”
“‘Rina Artess…Hamel Artess, gal!?” He asked with narrowing eyes, peering down at his wife. Quickly she nodded.
“Who da’hell tol’ ha she could sleep ova’ my house!? She got ha’own goddamn house!” He sneered nastily. “Please Nate, I said it was okay. You promised me you wasn’t gon’ drink no more ever!”
“I do what’da hell I want!” He muttered, backing off of his wife. “Don’ nobody tell me what I can do in my own goddamn house! If I wanna drink, I drink! You don’ like it, get the hell out!”
“Please Nate, she gone hear you.” Neada pleaded.
“I don’t give a goddamn! She’kin get the hell out too! Can’t stand ha’ daddy no way! His uppidee ass! Kissin’dem white peoples ass! Thank he a betta’ nigga’dan me!” He mumbled meanly, glaring at the door that stood cracked open and began yelling.
“Nate Please!!” Neada jumped up running to him pleading as he crossed the room to the door, grabbing his arm to pull him back. “Woman you betta’ let me go! I’ll knock eva’bit’a black off yo’ass!”
“Nate please, it’s in the middle of the night. Please don’t do this!"
“I don’ told you!” He warned.
“I’m beggin’ you Nate, DON’T!”
“Let – me – go!” He ground out low…his bloodshot eyes blazing down at her.
“Jus’ go’ta sleep Nate, don’ involve ha’-“
“I’m not gonna involve ha’! I’m jus’ gone send ha’ lil’yella ass on out the dough! Den I’mo co’mense ta whippin’ on yo’ass. ‘Cause ya’ had no bidness ‘vitin’ha ova’ the first place!” With that he threw open the door to the room. Both Gerty and Carina were crying. He looked through the dark room to the bed where the girls sat against the wall clutching each other in a frightened death grip. He fixed his eyes on Carina, who looked too much like her father for his liking. “YOU!” He barked harshly. “Get yo’ goddamn ass outa here!”
“Daddy please don’ make ha’ go!” Gerty pleaded as Carina stared up at him in shock and terror…the girls holding onto each other as they sobbed. Carina was struck dumb and helpless in the face of this situation she found herself in, with no immediate way out.
“You shut up and go’ta sleep! You! Get yo’ass up! Get yo’shit on! An’ the hell outa my house! NOW GODDAMNIT!!!” Carina jumped from the bed with her eyes wide, glued strictly on Nate. Scrambling around trying to find her clothes to put on quickly. Her heart hammering so it disturbed her breathing. “Rina don’ go! Please don’ leeeave me here!” Gerty sobbed pitifully.
“YOU SHET UP!! I said she goin’ an’ I mean it!!” Nate thundered, then grit out the last between clinched teeth. Neada, was now sobbing out of control. “Nathan Payne… I hate you fo’ this! I ain’t gone never forgive this…not as long as I live!” She screamed out the last as he turned and back handed her to the floor. When he turned back to the room, Carina had most of her clothes on. But Gerty was dressing too. “You betta’ get yo’ ass back in that bed!” He charged Gerty, grabbing her by the arm, slinging her to the bed…where she lay crying and afraid to move. With most of her clothes on, except her shoes, Carina darted pass him out the bedroom door. Her shoes in hand, she headed straight for the kitchen door.
“That’s right! Get – yo’- yalla ass gone!!!” He yelled following behind the frightened child as she scuffled to open the back door. “An’ when ya’ get home, tell that uppidee nigga, yo’ daddy…TO - KISS MY – BALD BLACK - ASS!!!”
By the time he finished, she was out the door running across the yard towards the open field out back…running with her eyes wide and her heart pounding. The door behind her slammed shut.

* * * * *

Patsy Cline’s strong melodious voice filled the bar, singing “Walking after Midnight”. The billiard table clacked as each ball rolled to hit or miss its pocket. Smoke rose to settle in place among the rest of it, thick and held in place by the roof…tearing the eyes of those unaccustomed to cigarette smoke. Trenton Dailey sat his stool with his back to the bar and a beer in hand. Watching Will, set up a shot in the game he played with Simon.
His mind constantly working, planning and plotting…there was one thing Trenton couldn’t stand. And that was a man pretending to be something better than he was. Trenton knew that in the eyes of all women, he was a user. A roguish scoundrel with no moral limitations…he was also willing to admit that it just may be true. But the problem with it was he didn’t like being cast in such a light alone. It made him feel some how dirty, abnormal. But if he were in the company of others with like habits, it didn’t look so bad. It even looked normal, acceptable … admirable even.
Yet here was William O’Malley, making him look freakish or cruel. He wasn’t that way. He was just a realist. Reality was, man’s pleasure first. He understood, as many women did, that their main asset in life was for the pleasure of man…especially when it came to sex. If it weren’t so, there’d be no hookers or easies.
He used either to the fullest. After all, he was young, damn good looking and well endowed with the necessary equipment to assert his sexual prowess to the limit. All men thought the same…all men wanted what he had and was able to do with it. No matter what they tried to claim…including William O’Malley. Regardless of what he tried to convince them otherwise.
When it came down to it, he’d use any means what so ever to gratify his needs. Trent was convinced he was just as animal as he. He hated a phony. With a devious smile lighting his attractive features, he felt it only right to help his fellow man to see the truth of what they argued so heatedly about on the way to the bar. Jarvis, who was sitting next to him, saw that light come to his eyes.
A grin burst upon his face as he flexed his brows noting the old familiar signs that Trenton was conjuring up a scheme. “Why Trent, I do believe that’s a devil that just popped up on your shoulder.” Trent only grinned in return, winking an eye, then replied as Will was on his way to the bar to take a sip of his drink. “We’re about to go to work here, could be, this will become one of our best pranks yet.” He finished as Will came to stand next to him as he took a sip of his fresh poured beer. After a couple of swallows he commented with the raise of a brow.
“Well Trent, looks like you’re out of luck for a woman tonight.”
“What can I say, big Willie…what can I say.”
Will sighed with that response, but shrugged it off. He sat his drink back on the bar and returned to his game, it was late, and he’d all ready gone over the limit for himself with everything they’d done that evening. He controlled himself pretty well, but he was well pass intoxication. Another game, and he’d head for home. Trent turned on his stool towards Jarvis, gave him that eye contact that spoke so well, then looked at Will’s beer. Jarvis looked from the beer to Trent, wondering what he intended, but didn’t have long to wait to find out. Trent pulled from his pocket a small envelope and poured a tan colored powder in his palm, then looked towards Will. Who was bending over the pool table aiming for a shot.
He turned back and quickly sprinkled the powder in his beer…then swished the glass around a spell to dissolve it as bubbles fizzed and suds up from it. Jarvis’s mouth dropped open stunned as he looked from the beer to Trent. Who easily sat the beer down, and looked at his friend with an accomplished grin.
“Now we’ll see who uses what…after that hits him in the ass.”
“I don’t know about this Trent, maybe you oughtin'.”
“Ah bull, it’s harmless. I’ve taken a small dose of it myself when I’ve wanted to really fly and experience some serious pleasure. It’ll give him a stiff rodder for the night, and a uncontrollable need for a woman like he ain’t never known before. An if he can’t find a woman, I hope somebody’s got sheep –(he chortled)-… ooouweee, would I hate to be the one he gets a hold of.”
“That was a lot though Trent. What if it messes him up? Does somethin’ to him?”
“Relax Jarhead. It’s only gonna make him screw crazy! So he’ll spend the night jaggin’off…besides, he needs to be brought down a notch or two. See how honorable he is after this night is over.” Jarvis gave a deep sigh. He liked Trenton, he really did. But sometimes, just sometimes, there were things he did that really made him feel strange. Like now, this just didn’t seem right.

* * * * *

Will shook his head again as he drove home. He was glad the evening was over, for him that is. He left the guys at the bar, choosing not to return to the cabin with them. Truth be told, he wasn’t feeling too well. Obviously he’d gone further over his limit than he first thought…every minute that went by, he began to feel more and more strange.
It was the first time that marijuana and beer had made him feel this way. Then he remembered that he’d tried acid for the first time. That was it. Never again! His heart was pounding fiercely and it suddenly felt hot in his car. His testicles felt swollen and heated. He began to squirm. He was starting to sweat, and reached up to wipe his brow. He’d already pulled over once, maybe he should again…suddenly a fierce wave of dizziness swept over him. Rocking slightly forward, the car skidded on the road. As he went to snap back to attention, a scream lit the air. Startling him he slammed on the brakes. The dark world around him spun. The lights shining from his front beams seemed to dance before him as a small figure fell to the side of the road.
For a moment he just sat there with the car running. The head lights on, and the radio playing. Shaking his head again, he shifted the car into park, reached down and opened the door. The world seemed for a moment to go vertical on him, then horizontal.
As he went to stand from the vehicle, he found himself staggering, then falling to his knees. Again he shook his head trying to look up, trying to get control of his dancing senses. His groin area felt heavy, sensitive, making him squeeze his thighs. From the bright glaring of the head lights, as if in slow motion, he could see someone moving on the ground near him. He crawled a little nearer trying hard to focus. Suddenly the figure before him, sat into a kneel, before him. This all seemed so slow to him. The longer he stared, the better his blurred vision. As awareness momentarily returned, he called out a name. “Carina….Artess…that….that you…R – R, ‘Rina?”

* * * * * *

Saturday Morning

Hamel kissed his wife one last time as he rolled from her to lie on his back. A contented moan escaped him as he released a pleasurable sigh. Bess smiled as she sat up in bed…looking back at her handsome husband. “Now don’ you get too comfortable laying there Mr. Hamel. We got a lot of running ‘round today.” She said heading for the bathroom. A bit later she returned to find her husband in the same position. "Hamel!"
“Okay…you go’on get up, I’m just gonna take a lit-tle nap-“
“I don' got up, gone to the bathroom, dressed an' all. Oh no you don’t! You just get yo’tail up!” She demanded, going over to his side of the bed, shaking his side, adding a little tickle as she did so. “Gone now Bess, I be up in a minute.”
“Um emm, ya’ see, every time I give you a little bit in the mornin', you go to getting’ lazy on me, now come out that bed, we still got to go pick up ‘Rina.”
“All right, all right…just give me one-“ Cutting him off was a strong knock on the door. “Now who could that be this early in the mornin’?” Bess stated walking around their bed, heading for the door. “I don’t know, but whoever, lemme in the bathroom first, ‘fore you let’em in.” Hamel urged as he stood quickly from the bed, pulling on his pants as he did. Soon as he was safely there, Bess went to the door. Opening it she found a shaken and upset Neada. Standing next to her was a teary eyed Gerty. Instantly she was in the door crying and spilling out her end of endurance for her husband, crying and rambling as they entered together.
Bess stood looking out into the yard, and then around the door for her daughter to enter with them. “I tried, I mean I really tried Bess. But I can’t take no more. I’m finish wit’ that man, fa’good this time. Las’ night was the las’ straw. An’ fa’ po’Rina to see him like that, the things he said to ha’. I just had to come and ‘pologize ‘for I left town. I just, can’t stand the thought…of you and Hamel mad at me. I’m sorry Bess, God knows I’m sorry.” She swore passionately, realizing now, that she had been babbling on. It was the look on Bess’s face that finally brought her litany to an end.
The two women stood shock still staring at each other. Gerty was looking around the house for Carina. Having heard much of what was said from the bathroom, Hamel came out very slowly drying his face, a deep rolling fear suddenly gripping the center of his gut.
“Bess???…-“ Neada suddenly swallowed and looked at Hamel. Her breathing deepened as she looked back at Bess. Who seemed frozen unable to move or speak. Gerty looked from Hamel to Bess, then up at her mother, then around the small house where things were suddenly silent. “Rina sleepin’ – Miss Bess?” Gerty asked carefully. Even at her young age, she knew something was wrong.

* * * * *

“Sheriff, come in sheriff!” Sheriff Hayden picked up his squad car radio, pushing the talk button.
“Yeah Amy.”
“Plaine just come in, still nothin’.”
“Damn! Damn, damn, damn, damn!”
The sheriff sighed deeply with the closing of his eyes. Again he pressed the button.
“Amy, tell’im I want them to stay out…tell Plaine to take Old Crane road, and Dassuar, Poe Zak county rd. I’m headin’ out for highway G.”
“Okay sheriff, Plaines on his way.” And the dispatch went out. Sheriff Hayden continued down highway 190 to reach highway G. The whole time his mind worrying over what could have possibly happened to little Carina Artess.
“Got-damn you Nathan Payne. I’d like to break yo’ fool neck!” He muttered. It was reasons like this that he enforced a curfew for the Negroes in his town, they were safer that way. Most all citizens there were a kind sort. Yes, Poe Zak had its bigots, but no real cruel prejudices. But then, he couldn’t be the judge of all the people there. For that reason he made it a point that all his Negro population be at their homes and off the streets by nine in the summer when the days were longer. Seven come winter. It was his way of protecting them.
Yet, here it was, late Saturday morning to find himself, out searching for a ten year old little girl who had no business being out at the time she was. All because of Nathan Payne, who was in jail for breaking curfew, himself. Thanks to Neada Payne who told of the previous evenings, event. He had to find that child, he just had to. He knew he could never face Bess if he didn’t. Here it was years and years after she’d worked for his folks, only to find that he was still in love with her.
A wife and two children of his own hadn’t killed his occasional longings for her, knowing even though, Bess, would never have anything to do with him romantically.
He’d tried, yes he had. But she had always been in love with Hamel. That was something he just had to accept. In doing so, the friendship between them had grown…to last through the years. And now the daughter of the woman he even now, dreamed about, was missing. Beautiful, sweet little Carina Artess, she was smart as a whip. Pretty as a picture, gentle as her name…and missing.
Suddenly the sheriff put on brakes. The rock gravel road crunching beneath his tires as he almost missed the red car that was parked a hundred or more feet off the road, seemingly, nestled just a little too snugly against a tree. The sheriff parked his car on the side of the road, and for a moment just sat looking at the car. It was familiar. It was Will’s car. There was only one new, red ‘64 Ford mustang convertible in the area.
“Now what in the hell it this?” He muttered stepping out of his car. Shaking his head as he went down the slight ditch to the open field where the car sat against the tree. As his steps brought him closer, he noticed the car door was ajar, and laying on the ground right outside the door, with one foot still in it was, Will. Out cold. The slightly high grass had obscured his presence at first. Immediately he went to his knees beside him feeling for a pulse, which was strong. Will’s head moved suddenly as he released a groan. Angry now that he should dare be in such disarray, out in the middle of a field. No shirt on, his pants open with his privates out in open view…and stains. Peculiar stains on his lower belly as well his genitals. The sheriff was disgusted as he finally shook Will too, obviously passed out from too much drinking.
“WILL!! William O’Malley, wake your ass up…Will, I said wake up damn you!” Again Will groaned as his head moved to the side.
Slowly he began to wake up, very slowly. With his lips clinched tight, his jaw hard, the sheriff stood to find something to cover Will and hasten his awakening. Feeling a fearful discomfort about the dark stains covering his lower body, he couldn’t help wonder, had the boy hurt himself somehow in his drunken state.
As he went to the door of the car for such aids, a sound in the back seat caught his attention. He looked back at it and saw nothing but Wills shirt and a few other articles of clothing he couldn’t identify. But then again, there were more stains on his back seat clearly noticeable on the white upholstery of his car. His eyebrows bunched in the center as questions began forming in his mind, the same moment a sound came to him once again. Later on, his wish would be that he had never heard the sound with his ears, nor come to witness with his own eyes what he had.
A low keening, frightened whimper. A panting panic, it didn’t even sound human to his ears. Sheriff Hayden leaned over the back of the seat and looked to the floor. All the color drained from his face. A high pitched ringing scream lit the silent morning. A scream that seemed to go on without stop. He fell back to the front seat in a sitting position, staring out the windshield. An overwhelming, red hot attack of dread, and revulsion assailed his senses as tears rushed to his eyes…the continuing scream deafening him. “Ooooh Lord…God Almighty.”

Chapter One

Monday, September 16, 1978

Watch Commander Capt. William Camen O’Malley, let out a long tired sigh as he sipped from his coffee leaning against the kitchen counter looking out over his newly obtained apartment. Boxes were everywhere, half packed, the other half torn open in which he and his son had gone through searching for clothing and other necessary articles that would aid them in beginning this new day they were forced to start.
He looked down at his wristwatch then up again as he waited for his son to make an appearance. “Bobby! Come on son, it’s exactly 6:30. I have to get you to school and registered, then myself to the district office.”
“I can’t find one lousy sock that has a mate. Dad I hate this, I can’t find anything in this place. There’s stuff everywhere!” He complained walking into the kitchen, feeling cranky far beyond the problems of settling in after moving…a sock across his shoulder, and three others in his hand.
“I know son, hopefully by tomorrow I should have someone in here to make heads or tails of this mess. But for now, just find two white socks that match as close as possible and wear them. Then come have a bowl of cereal so we can get out’a here.”
“Dad, I can’t start in a new school with mix matched socks. Besides, my pants are black, so are my shoes. White socks just won’t do it this time.”
“What about navy blue and black?”
“Dad! I need matching socks! Black matching socks!”
“Tell you what, come eat your cereal, and we’ll stop at Walgreens and get you a new pair. We really need to get going here.”
“I can’t find my comb either.”
“Use mine.”
Bobby stood for a moment peering at his father, and knew his excuses were weak beside the real problem. Quietly he walked to the counter and poured his Corn Pops as his father stood beside him waiting for the real reason to come forward. After the milk was poured, he grabbed his spoon, scooped up a heap and hesitated to bring it to his mouth, with a sigh he looked up at his father.
“Aren’t you just a little scared? I mean, things are so different here. Everything is so much faster. There are so many things we don’t know about Chicago. What if after a while we come to find we don’t like it here, then what?”
“Well, before we cast our votes against this big city, how about we first get settled in and test the waters? After all, look how much it has to offer culturally-“
“Dad-…“ He complained.
“Son, I had to-“
“But why? What was wrong with New Orleans? Why’d we have to move here? Mom would’a never liked it here-…“
“Bobby, it’s been over a year now since your mom died. I think it’s time we started a new life in a new place.”
“Son I think you might come to like it if you just give it a chance. Besides, I’ve been transferred here for specific reasons. The Chicago Area Three Detective’s Division, believes I can help with a problem case that’s rapidly getting out of hand.”
“Well, they’re suppose to be tough here. Why would they need you?”
“It’s not about being tough son. It’s about putting together the best team available to overcome an extreme problem. I’m proud to say that my reputation has made me necessary in aiding in this case.”
Bobby said nothing to that as he took a couple of mouthfuls of cereal. Will walked to the table and picked up his suit jacket. “Aren’t you scared? I mean what if they try to kill you too? Like they did the last two?” Bobby asked softly. Will hesitated to answer that question as he slowly drew his arm through the sleeve. Taking a deep breath, he turned to his son. He would soon be fourteen. And together the two of them still had so much to settle in their lives. What if he did get killed? Where would that leave this child that he had no idea he would love as much as he did?
He couldn’t answer those questions himself right then. But what he did know was, that he hated drugs and those who callously peddled them. He hated them with a deeply seated, personal passion that went beyond the norm.
It was that passion, that obsession that made him the reputation he’d acquired. There were times when he agreed with his commander, agreed that it was just possible, he’d grown out of hand with this whole narcotics situation. Fact is, it was highly possible he had no conscious for those, who had no conscious or care, for the lives that were destroyed due to drugs.
If there was truly a burning hell, he would gladly see that they all, those deserving of it, made it there as quickly as possible for the leeching deed. He’d be more than willing, to sacrifice himself to hell just to see that not one escaped their hell. Just as there was no escaping his own. Now he was taking on the position of captain in the Area Three Detective Division. The last two captains found dead, by very ugly means…which very well could be, his own end.
Yet here stood his dear to heart, thirteen year old son. The optimum reason he should have rejected the assignment. But he couldn’t. There was a nightmare, and a once sweet, gentle, little girl, that wouldn’t let him, and so he would not.
“Son, I won’t tell you that it’s not possible. All I can tell you is, because of you, I have a hell of a lot to live for. I have absolutely no intention of letting anyone or anything come between us…including death, if I can avoid it. However, you know in this life, there are no guarantees. Once I walk out this door, I could be heading for death just going to the market. Hell Bobby, I don’t have to walk out the door. Death could walk right in here on me.” His son stared at the floor. Then turned back to the counter to finish the cereal he was truly not interested in. No prouder son could there be than he of his father.
But Bobby wasn’t a cowboy and Indian, father gun packing, power cop dreamer who believed all he had to do was go arrest the bad guys with his .44 magnum in their back. His near death incident had brought that fantasy crashing down around him when he almost had to face life without his father. The whole incident had done something to him that had changed him forever more…maturing him rapidly. Just as his world began to right itself again, his beautiful mother, Dana O’Malley up and died on him. No, Robert Damien O’Malley had stopped fantasizing long ago.
Now, at his age, he was a realist who couldn’t understand his father’s obsession to court death. He’d like to throw at him that he didn’t love him, or else he would give up his life as a law officer. But he knew better. Because one thing Robert was sure of, and that was that his father loved him deeply.
There were two things keeping his father going, the love for his son, and his job as a narcotics agent. But then he thought, maybe there were three things. The nightmare he walked in on in the middle of the night that left his father sobbing and weak at times. Sweating and shaking so bad that he’d refuse to go back to sleep, afraid the nightmare would return. For a while after one, he seemed even more driven. Bobby looked up at his father after that statement. Death could just walk in. But the chances that it would, was less than him walking out to meet it everyday. With a sigh Bobby said no more. What could he say that his mother hadn’t over the years? Nothing. His father’s problem went way beyond mere words or fear.
“I don’t want anymore.” He said, pushing the cereal away.
“Rinse your bowl and let’s get going then.” Will returned noting the subject had ended between them, for now anyway.

* * * * *

“Captain O’Malley, come in…come in.” The commander stood from his desk to invite Will within his office. With a nod and a smile Will entered and immediately took the hand extended to him. “Commander Heywett.” He greeted in kind.
“Have a seat.”
With a nod he took one as the commander did likewise. “How was your trip here? Pleasant I hope?” Will smiled. “I can’t complain, seeing that I drove myself here with my son.”
“A son have you…and your wife?”
“I’m a widower.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” He apologized gently, then taking a deep breath, he decided to get right to the point. “Well captain, I would like to thank you for taking on this assignment which is probably something different for you, but to put it mildly, we need what you can offer.”
“I’m just glad I was available for the position.”
“Well the mayor should be here shortly, as well Lt.Byte, Sgt.Childers and detect-…“ Before he finished, the two detectives from homicide walked in. More introductions were made, and before completed, in walked the mayor and a few others.
Among them, the district attorney. With all present and the ceremony of introductions over, the main topic was brought to the fore, with the mayor addressing the issues first. “As you may know, the last two, captain of police were found dead.”
“We pretty well suspect that it had everything to do with the resent outbreak of drugs in the district. Mainly speaking, angel dust and other hallucinogens. First, there was Capt. Duranski, who we’ve come to know had hard incriminating evidence that we feel made it to his desk, but no further. The two detectives who were working on the case, supplying him with the evidence at the time of his murder disappeared without a trace. No bodies have been found, but of course we haven’t ruled it out.” The commander added.
“What about leaks?” Will asked. “As much as we hate to even think it, it’s possible.” Again, the commander.
“It left his office some how. We found him the following morning in the trunk of his car after he called me, the night before about having important information to do with this case.”
“Perhaps it wasn’t taken from the office at all, maybe he kept it with him and was taken from him at the time of death?” Will considered aloud.
“True enough, but someone knew that he had it on him. I would hate to think he would be so callous as to carry something that vital around with him, jeopardizing his own life.” This, interjected by the mayor.
“And there was nothing in his office, at his home, or in the car.”
“When he talked to you that night, he gave you absolutely no clue as to what this information was in connection to?”
“Bullet to the head…38 special.”
“Capt.Mescarello?” Will asked moving on to the next captain, trying to gather as much information as he could remember to ask for now. “We found him here in the office dead, from strangulation. He’d taken the position and was on the case for three weeks.” Will then turned to the detectives from homicide.
“I take it ballistics and finger printing have been taken care of?”
“Absolutely.” Detective Harcourt answered.
“Well I’d appreciate it if you and Dexter would gather all you have on the two murders and be at my office first thing tomorrow morning.” They nodded in agreement. He then turned to those who were handling the narcotics case and told them likewise, turning back to the commander.
“Exactly what do you have to indicate that their murders are drug related?”
“Nothing substantial as of yet other than the phone call preceding Duranski’s death. However, last year this whole mess started growing from what we assumed was an unfortunate death of a woman who worked for B.K. grocers. What was unfortunate was she happened to be thirty-two years old and healthy. Suddenly dead of a drug overdose.”
“I don’t understand?” Will questioned.
“Previous to this, she had no drug abuse habits what so ever. She was a working housewife who put in six hour days at B.K’s. No needle marks, and a clean nose. At work, she suddenly freaks out. Convulses and finally died. Her husband demanded an autopsy, which turned up a large amount of barbiturates. He swears his wife would never consider drugs for any reason. So homicide took the case.”
“What makes you think the two cases are connected?”
The commander reached to the side of his desk for a file folder that contained all information leading to the last captains death. “This captain, is for you. Everything that I could tell you now is within this folder, among other files you’ll receive.”
With a nod Will took the file as the others stood. The mayor had another appointment that morning. So made his leave with a few parting comments as to his desire that this whole nasty incident be brought to the open. The commander and district attorney were all that remained of the group as they went about showing the captain the station, and presenting him to the police force beneath his command. Last was his office, where by the afternoon he was left alone to get himself settled in. As he did so, he knew there was still yet something else he had to do. He had to locate one Carina Artess, who was the first and foremost reason he had taken this assignment.

* * * * *

“Mr.Dozer, they’re back again. What would you have me do sir.”
One of Herman P. Dozer’s, -(better known as the bull dozer)- men interrupted his game of pool he was playing with his fourteen year old son, Ian. He made his shot dropping two of the stripped balls in the side pockets, then circled the table to shoot again. His man stood there waiting at the door, saying nothing more. Knowing not to. Dozer had heard him loud and clear, when he was ready to answer, he would.
Finally he missed a shot, his son laughed out, unconcerned with his father’s visitor’s, and circled the table to take his shot. The game went on for ten minutes more before Ian finished the game and won shooting the eight ball in his chosen corner pocket.
“Goddamn you Ian! You tryin’ to break your ol’man.” Dozer simpered reaching into his pocket to withdraw a hundred dollar bill, which he promptly laid into his son’s open palm. “Um, excuse me, I do believe that was double or nothing on the corner pocket of my choice. Since I can count to two, I’d say you owe me one more of these with the two zero’s behind it.” Ian reminded him grinning and flexing his brows. Dozer shrugged with a grin. “Lil’bastard, here, get the hell out’a here.” Ian folded his two hundred with the one hundred he put up, stuck the money in his pocket, and skipped up the two steps to the double doors of his father’s den. “Aye! Don’t go getting’ your little ass in any scraps.” He called in warning. His son stopped at the door smiling back at him and said.
“Don’t worry dad, I promise, I won’t be getting’ into anything you wouldn’t.”
That statement should have scared Dozer, which only left him with an unwanted expression of acceptance. What exactly could he say in reply to that? He was just a little too wise to even consider telling him, “Do as I say and not as I do.” So he left it alone. Hoping just as he was a survivor, his son was also. He was too settled in his way of life to even consider changing for the sake of his son. Anyway, why should he? His being straight wouldn’t guarantee that his son would turn out so. After all, look how many straight and so called honest parents turned out criminal minded law breakers. And he knew why. Because they were too chicken shit to be honest and say they broke the law too like so many others. It didn’t matter if they were small incidents, considered unimportant. The law was still broken. But they’d lie and make excuses for their behavior to save face and look righteous, when all along, their kids were reading the situation as it should be read. Eventually they would grow to amplify their parents habits, not knowing how to cover such criminal errors.
Once they were exposed, of course the parents would turn on them, saying things like; “I just don’t understand why you’ve turned out this way?!” Or, “How could you shame us this way?!” or even more so, blaming someone else. “It’s those damn kids you hang with!” Or his all time favorite, “He’s a black sheep, because he sure didn’t get it from us!” Well, with all things he might be before his son, one thing he wasn’t, and that was a liar.
“I suppose you can show them in now Jose.” Dozer finally responded as he made his way to his desk where he sat taking a cigar from its box. Before the tip was properly clipped, his guest stormed into his office.
“Damn you Dozer! We didn’t come here to play waiting games with you!” The first man shot angrily as they came through the door. Dozer finished lighting his cigar, took a couple of puffs to get it going, then sighed as he finally brought his eyes to theirs. “Since you came to see me, with no appointment, and uninvited as well, you will simply have to wait until I feel comfortable enough to be bothered with you. Which I still am not, but then, I have always been a patient man.”
“Well you will excuse us if we don’t feel as you do! We made a pack Dozer, an agreement! We did our part, now damn you, fulfill your part. We want our percentage, Now! Not when you feel ready to give it!”
Dozer puffed his cigar and stared up at the two missing –(assumed dead)- detectives before him. It was amazing how brave two dead men could be. “I don’t know if I want to pay you…what you say I owe you.”
“What the hell do you mean-“
“I wasn’t finished speaking yet.”
“I don’t give a damn. You promised us a cut if we took care of Duranski for you, and we did. The clues he left for Mescarello, we cleaned up, and took care of him too. Now we want what was promised us.”
“The both of you are idiots! Why the hell the city took you on as detectives I will never know! What you consider a means of taking care of things, I consider only another log added to the heat already burning around me.”
“You said take care-“
“I did not say murder them! They were both city officials. Now I have double the teams of investigators out searching and connecting. There are others means of dealing with people.”
“What’s done is done. Unless you want those logs lit under your ass, you had better pay what you promised.”
“You speak as if your hands are all clean in this.”
“Look Dozer, with you wadin’ in it chest high, don’t worry about our hands being dirty. You just worry about giving up what you owe, right now tonight.”
“If I don’t?”
“If you don’t!?” Detective Richard Stowe asked incredulously. “I’m not worried about if you don’t. Simply because, we have enough evidence on you to send you to prison so long, by the time you get out, Mars will be completely colonized into thirty major states and overwhelmed with over population! And of course, we have plenty insurance on our lives. In five locations around the city we’ve seen to it that evidence has been placed accordingly.”
“I see.”
“We sure as hell hope so.”
At the time, Dozer could see no way out of this. But he already had his men working on it. Once he had what he was looking for, he could shake himself free of these insidious parasites.
Saying nothing more, he stood, and went to the safe behind his desk. Opened and removed two, five thousand dollar bundles in hundred dollar bills. “This is all I have available right now. The rest will have to come from the bank.” He said placing each bundle before them. With a smile, Stowe and Gray gladly reached for their pay.
“You’ve got two days to pay five thousand more. It seems in your neglect to pay promptly, you’ve allowed interest to build. So, it will take a while for your debt to be caught up. After which, you’ll begin our weekly payments.”
After the detectives left, Dozer called his three trustworthy companions in the business. Who stood before his desk awaiting instructions. “I want someone on their ass every hour of everyday until I have the locations of that information. Tap their lines, bug their phones, bug their cars and everything else they may have contact with, until you have something to bring me. Get on it, now!!” Immediately they left, only for two of his other men to enter with information. “We got a shipment coming in on the three o’clock load.”
“You know what to do. Get it ready and out there. Make sure you leave nothing behind when you’re through.”

* * * * *

“So how was your first day of school?” Will asked as he went straight to the refrigerator pulling out a jug of cherry kool-aid to drink directly from the bottle.
“It was okay I guess, no big deal.”
“I see…and your classes?”
“Not too different. Just a little bigger. The subjects are a little ahead, or behind depending. But otherwise it’s a school.” Bobby replied soberly.
“No new friends?”
“Yeah, one or two…there’s one in my home room who’s a real asshole.”
Will’s head jerked up from inside the refrigerator. “Bobby!!” He called his name in reprimand. “Well he is. I don’t like him. He walks around with big money in his pockets like he and his father rule the world. I don’t like him, and the feeling is probably mutual.”
“Well just stay away from him.”
“I will. Mrs.Wilkes fixed us a casserole, if you’re hungry. It’s in the oven.”
He informed his father who left the refrigerator to bang through the semi empty cabinets, looking for something quick to fix. “Good, I was just about to order out. She’s nice, that Mrs.Wilkes. Where is it?”
“In – the – oven…an’ you say I don’t listen. It’s still hot, so don’t burn your hands.” He finished just as his father almost dropped their dinner from grabbing the dish with his bare hands. Bobby shook his head rolling his eyes to the ceiling. Got up from the table to grab the pot holder, and took the dish out as his father gave him a warning glance, holding his one hand over the sink under cold running water. Bobby took the lid off and took a sniff.
“It sure smells good.” He commented. Will, could tell that Bobby was in a lowsy mood. He tended to be sarcastic, even a little disrespectful. Holding his tongue, Will removed two plates from the cabinet, stopped by the drawer grabbing a fork for each of them, and a serving spoon. Bobby took down two glasses after having set the casserole on the table. Finally the kool-aid from the fridge, as his father sat and started serving them up a dish each.
“Is school that bad?”
“Then what’s wrong?”
Bobby hesitated, as he poured drinks for them both. He sat down, and spread the casserole around with his fork, examining its contents with hopes of some kind of identification. “Well?” Will, prodded further. “She didn’t just cook, she helped me unpack some of the boxes too.” He finally responded. Will forked up a helping of the beef stroganoff tasting it, nodding his approval. Not quite sure yet what that had to do with anything. “Emm, this is good. Place looks good too. She’s got the kitchen completely in order…I’ll have to thank her.”
“I helped her unpack.”
“You find all your things?...You didn’t find your things?...You didn’t want to help her unpack?...Where is this going son, I still don’t get it?” Bobby sat staring at his father as he ate. Wondering should he bring up the subject that had been on his mind every since he’d found what he had of his dad’s possessions. Reason being, he knew it to be a very touchy subject with his father. He couldn’t count how many times he’d lain awake listening to his mother and father, argue about her. “There’s one box of yours that I happen to open. It wasn’t marked.” Will looked up, sat back in his chair, noticing the look on his son’s face.
“And, so?”
“It was a box with all the pictures and letters and papers on that girl, that lady. You promised mom that you’d gotten rid of it, but you still have’em…why?”
Will just stared at his son for the moment. Not knowing what to say. He knew that sooner or later this was something he would have to tell him. But he just didn’t know how to go about it. Not only that, he wasn’t sure he could handle knowing what he had done.
“Look son, it’s a long story. I lied to your mother to calm her down. I didn’t want to have her upset any further. But that’s over now. I have my reasons for keeping them.”
“She’s the reason why, isn’t she?”
“The reason why, what?”
“The reason we left New Orleans! The reason we left our home! The reason we came to Chicago! Because, she’s here!”
“What makes you think that?” Even as he asked the question, he knew better.
“Come on dad, give me a break. I can read you know. I’m not a little kid, so stop treating me like one.”
“Okay, I’m sorry. How can I not treat you like a little kid?”
“Tell me the truth about what’s going on? Am I right, did we move here because of her?”
“Look son, all I can tell you now is, there’s more to this than I can possibly explain right now. Let’s just say, that I owe her.”

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