Category Archives: mystery

Breeze Rawlons((The Beginning)) Pt 1.

Bumpy and Hush had been close friends since High School.  They were sort of outcasts to the rest of the school because of their appearance, so they gradually transitioned into loners.  Bumpy got his name because of the inexorable amount of acne that was plastered on both of his cheeks and his forehead.  It was a bizarre sight to look at, and you were bound to lose your appetite if he sat near you at the lunch table.

Hush was a step up from him appearance wise, though.  He had Alopecia Areata, and because of that, he wasn’t able to grow any facial hair.  The spot where his eyebrows were meant to be were completely bald, and he didn’t have an ounce of hair above his lip like most of the other boys in our grade.  But that wasn’t it; the reason everybody called him, “Hush,” was because he wasn’t able to bring his voice above a whisper.  Nobody why he spoke with such a low volume and as far as we could tell, it wasn’t due to another medical condition.  It was just that he hated talking too loud.

I watched them from a distance, and they always kept to themselves and accepted the fact that they were outcasts.  In my opinion, between the two of them, Bumpy had the hardest time with it.  He was much more of an extrovert than his counterpart, but Hush?  He had no complaints about it at all.  It fit his demeanor entirely.  Quiet.  Sneaky.  Always thinking.  I would’ve given a week’s worth of lunch food to know what was going through his mind, but by the way he looked at everyone, it didn’t seem like it was anything that could’ve been spoken out loud.  His glare, the way his cheekbones gyrated whenever somebody disrespected him.  He just had an eerie vibe about him; a reclusive personality mixed with a short temper and that was never a good combination.   It was blatantly clear that he was headed for a life of crime.  Sometimes, that life has a way of choosing you, no matter what your will is.

I glanced down at the murder scene; one man was beaten senseless to the point that he was hardly recognizable.  His face was smashed in and bloodied; cheekbones were broken as well as every other bone that would have kept his countenance in place.  His fingers were chopped off, making it much more challenging to identify the victim.  This was all at the hands of Hush, and I knew it, even though there was no evidence pointing to him, I knew his calling card.  Once he wanted to get rid of you, his aim was to get rid of you and make it seem as if you never existed.  That way, whenever we were fortunate enough to find a body, there was nearly no way to identify who he was for sure.  He even went as far as knocking each and every last one of his victim’s teeth out to keep us from checking it against dental records.

I glanced down at the bloody, pulp of flesh smeared into the ground as another detective bent down next to me.  “They really did a number on this guy, aye?”

I took a puff of my cigarette and blew the smoke into the night air.  It fluttered around us like a cloud before it disappeared, “Yeah.  No doubt about it.”

“Any clues?”

“None.  None that I can think of.”

“Sheesh.  This is the third body we have found like this in the past two weeks.  I’ll tell you what, we better find something here, or else, heads in the department will start rolling.  After that, it will be better if one of us are one of these dead men that are popping up around the city.”

He tapped me on my shoulder and then stood up to walk back towards the other police officers.  I blew another cloud of smoke into the air as I looked up to the sky.  Damnit, Hush – I said to myself – what are you up to now?

Strange Fruit in the Concrete Jungle

Hello,
I hope you all have been enjoying the short stories that I have been posting.  I started out doing them once a week, but as my Ghostwriting career took off, I began to find it more difficult to continue writing weekly stories in addition to the other contracts that I picked up.  However, another project that has taken up a lot of my time is my upcoming novel, “Strange Fruit in the Concrete Jungle.”  Oh, you didn’t know that I was writing a novel?  Well, let me fill you in on the plot!
Ehhis is young man who moves from a small, racist town in Idlewild, Texas to Harlem, NY in 1921. He has aspirations of presenting an unheard of form of art to the citizens of Harlem, Spoken-Word. But his dreams of becoming an entertainer are quickly interrupted when he witnesses a murder within the first few months of his move to Harlem.  Against the advice of one of his good friends, he speaks to the police and is prepared to testify in court.  If he testifies against the killer, it will expose a string of corrupt cops and city officials and their ties to a viscous, black crime mob terrorizing Harlem. The powers that be are not prepared to let that happen so they seek to handle it the best way they can; eliminate Ehhis.  Not knowing who to trust and where to go, Ehhis becomes a target of one of the most dangerous crime families in Harlem as he stubbornly continues pursuing his dreams as an entertainer. In a narrative that captures the essence of 1920’s Harlem with breathtaking descriptions and painstaking imagery of the Renaissance, it will make you feel as if you are right there with the characters. Journey with Ehhis through his triumphs and downfalls in this epic story of ambition and determination. It will leave you speechless and inspire you to always keep going, no matter what is ahead of you.
Check out the trailer below!
This is the website where you can get additional information on the novel.
There are a couple of snippets of the book inside of this blog and if you want to check them out, just look for the book the cover when you scroll through my blog posts.  I have enjoyed every moment of this process, from starting out in three notebooks (Yes, I wrote the ENTIRE first draft of the novel by hand and it is over 111k words), transferring it to the computer, creating in-depth characters and studying the time period so I would be sure to have everything close to how it really was in the 1920’s.  I have even written a movie script to go along with the novel!  I have put a lot of time and effort into this project and I am thoroughly excited about its release!  I am currently on my third edit of the book and it is going well, but I am reaching the point that I realize I cannot do it all on my own.
NOW THIS IS WHERE YOU ALL COME IN!
I appreciate all of your support, “likes”, and comments so please take a minute and check out the Kickstarter page for my upcoming novel, “Strange Fruit in the Concrete Jungle.” My backers receive an array of packages, ranging from physical signed copies of the novel and Special Edition E-Book bundles, to your name being placed in the books acknowledgements!
Check out the page and see what is going on with this ground-breaking novel that captures the essence of the renaissance! Thank you in advance! Peace.

Allen “Breeze” Rawlons

“Hey Daddy, when can I drive?”

I looked in the rearview mirror to get a better look at my son.  His light brown eyes illuminated as the sun beamed down onto his mahogany complexion.  He sat in his car seat, his feet dangling halfway to the floor.  It was almost time for him to sit on the regular seat like the big kids but he still had a few more months to go, and I didn’t want to rush it.  If I could have it my way, he would stay the same age for as long as I could keep him there like Peter Pan.

“When you get old enough, son.”

“But Daddy, I am old enough.  I can see over the steering wheel.”

“It takes more than seeing over the steering wheel to know how to drive.  You’ll get there, trust me.  Just enjoy the ride for now.”

He sighed and glanced out the window as I smiled to myself.  He was a splitting image of me when I was his age.  My mother would sit down and show pictures of me in my younger days, and if I didn’t know any better, I would’ve sworn that the boy in the picture was the same kid in the car seat behind me.  Just as I was about to speak to him again, the phone buzzed in my lap.  I immediately became disgruntled when I saw the name flash across the face of my screen.

My ex-wife barely gave me any breathing room whenever I had my son.  My visitation rights were cut down because of my job.  Being a police officer took up the majority of my time, and it was mainly the reason why she felt she needed a divorce.  Her insecurities built up over time and for the longest, she just felt like there was another woman.  Somebody, I was cheating on her with and she was partially right.  It wasn’t a physical act that was brewing but more of an emotional one.  She checked out of the marriage, and it forced me to fill the voids in other ways.  In my mind, physically cheating was worse than doing so emotionally, so I chose the lesser of two evils.  In retrospect, emotional adultery was worse, and once those doors opened, there was no way to close them.  I read her text when I came to a stop light.

“Where are you at with my son?”

“This is my time with him.  Why are you worried about it?  I’ll have him home when he is supposed to be home.”

“You better not have him around no other women.  I swear to God, Allen.”

“Look.  This is my time with my boy, aight?  You can interrogate him later on about the other bs, but right now, I am busy.”

The light turned green as I set the phone in my lap and pulled off.  I looked back at A.J. as he picked up one of his toy cars and drove it across his lap.  In his other hand, he made another car crash into it.  “Boom!” he said as he banged the cars into each other repeatedly.  Just then, the phone buzzed in my lap again.  I tried to do things to get my mind off the fact that Lauren seemingly harassed me anytime I had A.J. with me.  She had the ability to send me from one to one-hundred in record time at any given moment.  I looked straight ahead, doing everything in my power not to look at her text but I couldn’t resist.  If it was something disrespectful, I had to fire back.  I couldn’t let it sit and wait until later because then; she would feel like she won whatever childish dispute was going on between us.  The road was clear ahead of me, so I reached down and grabbed the phone as my son kept replaying the same accident over and over.

“Interrogate him?  You should be the one interrogated for posing as a man!  You’re not a man!  A.J. will be ashamed once he knows who his father really is!”

She sent a cold chill down my spine.  She knew what buttons to press to piss me off.  My son kept playing with his cars in the back seat, yelling out “Boom!” every few seconds as I drove.  I looked up to make sure the road was clear and with that, I put one thumb on the screen and began firing off my response.  “Boom!  Boom!”  Just after I pressed send, I looked up, but it was too late.  An SUV was coming at us full speed on the same side that my son was seated.  My mouth dropped open, and before I could say a word, the truck smacked into the side of our car and flipped us over like a tumbleweed blowing in the wind.  When we came to a stop, our car was flipped over on the hood as blood trickled down from my forehead and onto the ceiling which was now the floor.

“A.J.?”

I called out to him in a faint voice, struggling to hold onto my consciousness.  I slowly turned my head back to him as he was suspended in the air and the only thing that was keeping him from hitting the bottom were the straps of his car seat.  His side of the car was caved in as blood dripped from his head.  The window beside him had completely shattered, and as I reached back to him, I finally lost consciousness.

“Um, sir?  Are you ready to order?”

I looked up at her as she stood at my table with a pen and a pad of paper in her hand.  She was young and attractive.  She seemed like she was either a single parent reaching to make ends meet or a College student doing what she had to so that she could keep some money in her pocket.  Her hair was tied up in a ponytail, and there were a few loose strands that fell over her forehead.  She pushed them to the side as she smiled, waiting for me to order.

“Yes.  Just um, give me the blackened salmon, please.  Mashed potatoes and corn.”

“Alright, sir.  Will that be all?”

I looked at the menu while simultaneously stealing glances of her pulchritude.  I was good at hiding my eyes with the brim of my hat.

“I wouldn’t mind taking your number.”

She took my menu away from me and winked,

“I’m sorry, I can’t do that… but if I were single, I would.  I would, and I wouldn’t think twice about it.”

She turned and walked away.  She could have been just trying to let me down easily because she didn’t have to add to her reason but at this point in my life, I didn’t care.  The rejection wasn’t something I was afraid of.  There was either going to be a yes or a no and either way; I would live with it.  My son, though?  He wouldn’t have that chance and even though the accident happened five years ago, my mind still replayed it like it was something that just occurred.  I leaned back as the patrons continued to flood into the restaurant.  It was more of a bar than anything else, but there was an area where you could sit and dine and across the room, there were a wet bar and a dancefloor for those who wanted to cut a rug.  The atmosphere around me was a bit cloudy, but I didn’t mind.  It added to the peculiarity of my personality.  Unclear.  Foggy.  Ambiguous.  Enigmatic.  I reveled when people used those words to describe me.  It meant that I came off to them exactly how I wanted to.

After my son’s death, I developed tunnel vision.  The psychiatrists I was referred to stated that the path I was headed down was unhealthy.  “Mr. Eddison, you are powering straight towards a profound and dark depression.  You cannot keep shutting people out and holding onto the bitterness that lives inside of you.  It is going to make you rotten from the inside out and cut your life in half.”  I sat up on the awkward couch that I was forced to lie on, “The more I let people in, the more bitter I become and by the way things are going in this world, it would be better to be dead than deal with the nuances of this life.  I’m fine where I am and quite frankly, Dr. Slowerwizt-” he interrupted me,

“That’s Showerwitz.”

“Whatever.  You are wasting your time with me.  You could be using this slot to help someone who wants your help than to be with me and continue to allow me to patronize you and your profession.  I have been sending barbs at you all day, but I guess you can’t catch on to my sarcasm.  Common sense is not something they teach you.  You have to be born with it.”

The sessions never went well, and finally, my lieutenant let me off the hook so I could do my job.  I went from a regular patrol officer to a detective in eight years on the force.  I loved my job, and it was only because I could get lost in it and forget about the things that were happening in my life.  My wife made the divorce final just one year after my son’s death.  Soon after that, she packed up and moved across the country to California.  I blamed her for his death, but it wasn’t her fault.  It wasn’t her fault at all; I just couldn’t find the strength to shoulder the blame on my own.  I am a man, but I have my flaws, and that was one of them.  I could face anything in life except going to the grave and apologizing to my son for ending his life well before it should have.  I sighed and took my hat off just as the pretty waitress brought my food to the table.

“How does everything look?”

I winked at her, not once glancing at my food,

“Things couldn’t look any better.”

She smiled and walked away as she switched back and forth.  She made her case, but now, I just thought she was working for a bigger tip.  Life had made my cynical even though most would say that it was one of the effects of bitterness.  To hell with them all.  I popped the napkin open and stretched it across my lap and no sooner, he walked in.  I put my hat back on to cover my eye sight as I watched him walk to his table.  A pretty boy.  Tall, chocolate and deep, wavy hair that most men would kill to have.  He wore a fitted shirt that showed off his physique as two women draped on each side of him.  He was a player and women knew that.  They knew it, but when you have looks and money, none of that matters.  Most women will put up with your flaws when you have it made like that and the more money you have, the more they will put up with.  It was like clockwork.  He was the guy, though.  He was the one that the agency had their eye on.  He had a slew of women at his disposal and periodically, a few would come up missing with him being the last person they were with.  None of us could get a hook into him, though.  The women that were with him kept their mouths shut at all costs.  It was like trying to pry open the mouth of a hungry alligator while his dinner was locked inside.  Nothing was coming out.

I watched him walk over to his VIP booth that overlooked the first floor of the restaurant.  His haughty gaze brushed over the patrons below him as if we were all his peasants and he was the king of the city.  In his mind, he was, but that was far from the truth.  This was my city and the only people that didn’t know it was the ones that hadn’t been crushed by my hands.  I took a sip of wine just as he looked in my direction.  Right now, he was a man that was seemingly able to side-step the grim reaper, but I had my sights on him, and he knew it.  He puckered his lips at me and then smiled.  Taunting.

It wasn’t too long ago that I was at his house asking him questions about the last missing woman.  Just behind him, another female stood with her arms folded over her chest, pushing her breasts up on top of her arms.  He turned around to see where my eyes were fixated,

“Oh, yeah, she is nice, isn’t she?  For the right price,” he leaned in towards me, “You can have her for the night.”

“Not interested.”

“Your eyes make you out to be a liar.”

“Your lips make you out to be one as well.”

His smile immediately wiped away and from that point, he refused to answer anything without his lawyer present.  We didn’t have concrete evidence about anything so we couldn’t go any further.  Ever since then, three more girls had come up missing, and all were with the same MO.  From that point on, he had become the only light in my tunnel vision.

I took a bite of salmon, and before I knew it, the same woman that stood behind him at his house stood in front of me.  She licked her lips and took it upon herself to pull a chair out, “I hope you don’t mind if I join you.”  She said it in a way that said she would be shocked if I said that I did mind.  I was torn on the decision myself.  She was easy on the eyes, full bodied and pretty.  Not movie star pretty, but she was pretty.

“So, what brings you here… alone?”

“My Camaro.”

She smiled,

“Cute.  Real cute.  How about you join us on the top floor.  Mike asked me to extend the offer.”

I took another bite of salmon,

“I’ll pass.”

“Oh, come now.  You can’t possibly be happy sitting here alone.”

“I’m quite content.”

Under the table, I felt her hand brush over my thigh.  My eyes peered up at her slowly as she smiled,

“For me?  I mean, listen, he sent me down here to extend the offer.  I will look like a failure if I can’t do something as small as bringing you back with me.  I mean,” she leaned forward, “WE, would appreciate it if you came with us.”

I couldn’t avoid what she was flaunting.  It was a weakness of mine that I spent time after time praying to God for forgiveness about.  I hadn’t visited a church in months, and that wasn’t the main reason that I gave in, but it had a lot to do with it.  I took another bite as she pleaded with me earnestly and after she had batted her eyes a few times, her long eyelashes fluttering like butterfly wings, I gave in.  It wasn’t because of her pleading; it was more so that I wanted another shot at Mike.  He was too comfortable, and I hated that.  I hated that more than anything else.

Upstairs, the suite was decked out.  Champaign on every table, the lights were low, women scantily clad.  If I were in my younger days, I would’ve indulged myself but I was much older now and besides that, it just wasn’t my thing anymore.  I couldn’t care less about getting drunk and reckless.  Mike extended has hand to me when I made it up there, “Detective Rawlons.  Good to see you again.”  I shook his hand firmly, my lips tight, jawbones gyrating inside my mouth.  “What is this about?”  He laughed, “Oh, come on, Detective.  I thought we would be on good terms now.  I mean, after all, you guys did come back with a search warrant and the whole nine, but you guys couldn’t find anything.  Now,” he leaned towards me, “You guys did trash a few wings of my home but hey, those were materialistic things.  They can be replaced and have been, but I’m willing to let bygones be bygones here.  I mean, I’m even the one inviting you up here with me.  I’ve buried the hatchet, and I think we can have a good relationship.”  He put his arm around me, but I swiftly smacked it off.  “I am not your friend, nor will I ever be.  You understand that now and there won’t be any need for you to invite me up next time.  You still have the stench of kidnapped bodies and missing women on you, and if it is the last thing I do, I will sniff it out.”

Mike glared at me and for a moment, I believed he was going to swing at me.  I wanted him to.  I was looking for a reason to put my fist to his jaw and send him crashing to the ground.  He was a few inches taller than me and as he peered in my direction, nostrils flaring, he decided against it and suddenly, a smile appeared across his face.  I was disappointed that he didn’t take his shot.  “Well, Detective, you are going to have a long road ahead of you, following a scent that is not even there.”  I squinted my eyes and looked around the room at the women that perused the VIP area.  Some walked around gauntly while others were smiling as if they were just happy to be around.  I made eye contact with her.  She sucked on her cigarette and blew the smoke out, then quickly turned away from me.  I knew who she was because I never forget a face.  I turned to Mike, “Thanks for bringing me up.  I’m sure we will bump heads later.”  He laughed, “Alright, Detective.  You can keep chasing ghosts and pass up on all these beautiful women.  I’ll tell you what, though, I will not make another offer for you to leave the slums and dine with a king.”  I stopped in my tracks as I walked away from him, wanting to turn back around and empty my clip into his chest.  He continued, “And if I catch you on my property again, harassing me with that nonsense, you will regret it.  I will make sure of it.” I took the cigar out of my pocket and relit it, leaving a cloud of smoke behind me as I left the VIP room.

My home was in shambles.  I hadn’t cleaned in over a month, but I didn’t see a need to.  I was barely home, and things seemed to be easier to find whenever I didn’t put them up somewhere.  I grabbed a cup of room temperature water from the table and took a few swallows of it.  Only God knew how long it had been there, but I didn’t care.  It wasn’t a time for me to be picky about it.  I pulled out my phone and flipped through the contact list until I got to his name.

“Donald.  I think we got a way in.  I saw Sherrie there, and she looks like she is mixed up with Mike.”

“Jesus, Allen, you’ve gotta leave that guy alone.  We’ve been embarrassed twice already by trying to put that guy’s name in some place that it doesn’t belong.”

“That’s bull, Don, and you know it.  We both know that Mike had somethin’ to do with-”

“Listen, Breeze, I hear you.  I hear you loud and clear, but it is not about what we know, it is what we can prove.  We can’t take some hair-brained case to the prosecution.  She will laugh us out of the office, and I know she will tell Lieutenant Branderson.  You know she will.”

“Alright, Don.”

He sighed,

“Listen, man, I’m sorry, alright?  I’m sorry, and you know I usually have your back on these things.  I had it when nobody else did.  I’m the one that went to his house with you when we didn’t even have a warrant, but enough is enough.  If he is guilty, it’ll show.  We just have to wait.”

“Yeah.  And in the meantime, those girls are going further and further into the sea of forgetfulness.”

There was a brief silence between us.  I knew he had already made his line in the sand, and he wasn’t going to cross it, so it would be up to me to find those girls.  I don’t know why it drove me to this point, but if I had to guess, it was because I know what a missing child can do to a family.  I’d seen first-hand how A.J.’s death ripped whatever strands were left of my marriage apart.  Not only my marriage but my reclusiveness had even driven me away from my family.  Instead of pulling everyone close together, it pushed me away.  As the silence lingered between us like a thick, morning fog, I hung up my phone and placed it on the crowded table.  What did I have to lose, I thought to myself as I picked up the glass of water and took another swallow.  The warm water slid down my throat like backwash as I looked around my apartment.  Nothing was hanging on the wall except a picture of A.J., his broad smile jetted across his face, exposing the missing front tooth that had fallen out just days before he was set to take his school pictures.  “It’s alright, man, the little girls will love your smile.  Just tell them you got into a fight and they won’t think twice of it.”  I remembered giving him that little pep talk the day before he was set to take the pictures.  I walked up to it and removed it from the glass so I could fold it and shove it into my pocket.  I wanted to make sure I had it with me because, for some reason, I knew I wasn’t going to be home.  Not for a while.

The interrogation

“I don’t know, it was all just a blur,” he said as the detective sat across from him with his arms folded across his chest. He sucked his teeth at the young man’s response. He knew there was something off. The way he fidgeted in his chair. How he consciously avoided eye contact whenever the detective looked him squarely into his bold, brown eyes. “A blur, huh? You really expect me to believe that? Your best friend is dead. Your wife is dead. You hear me. DEAD. And you have the nerve to sit there, no tear in your eye, no feelings of remorse, nothing!” the detective spoke as his deep voice began to rise, “on top of that, all you can give me is, ‘it was all just a blur’?!” The man leaned back in his chair, scooting further away from the detective but going nowhere. The room was small and the detective sat as close to him as possible, knees brushing against his. The room they sat in became smaller by the second. The young man fanned himself with his hand as the temperature increased in the room. “Is… is it getting’ hot in here or is it just me?” he asked the detective with a befuddled look. The detective said nothing. It was all calculated because they knew he was semi-claustrophobic. The fact that they chose the smallest room available. The way the detective sat as close to him as he did. The sudden raise in room temperature. The detectives on the other side of the glass watched as one of them consistently increased the temperature in the room every five minutes. The two detectives involved in this case were strong chess players. Their mouths all watered whenever they had the opportunity to employ these type of strategic moves during their interrogation. “Well, can I at least get some water or somethin’? I feel like I’m about to pass out” the young man said as if the life was draining from his body. The detective motioned towards the two way mirror. Moments later, another detective brought in a bottled water. It was much warmer than room temperature. The young man gagged as he swallowed it. It was better than nothing. “Now, are you done messin’ around?” the detective asked, his deep melodic voice seemed to vibrate the walls that kept them in. He was a large man. His arms resembled thighs more than biceps. Nobody could tell if people confessed to him because of his rhetoric or simply because he intimidated them that much. Either way, he was a homerun hitter but the man that sat across from him was not like the rest of them. “Two people were in that room with you at the time of the murders. Guess what? The bullet shells we found matched the gun that was on you. You know what else? I’m pretty sure we can make a case that you killed them.” The young man wiped sweat off his forehead, somehow still remaining calm in the midst of the accusations. The detective scooter closer to him brushing against his leg. The young man pressed his teeth together inside of his mouth and clinched his eyes tightly together. He wanted to yell but he restrained himself. After a few moments passed, he relaxed, breathing slowly. Inhale through his nose, exhale gently through his mouth. “So, you think I killed them?” he asked patiently, “that’s what you think? Just because you didn’t see any tears fall out of my eyes? Just because I didn’t break down crying in front of you? Good luck with proving that” he said as he gulped down a mouth full of the warm water. He didn’t even gag this time around. It was as if he nestled into the uncomfortable situation and made himself at home with it. “We know you know more than what you are giving off and if you don’t want this pinned on you then you better start talkin’!” the detective said as he leaned in closer to the young man. He smirked at the threat, “That’s all you got?” he asked with an aura of confidence as sweat plummeted from his head. His bravado was astounding. He didn’t even move to wipe his forehead clean. He blew the drops of sweat away from his mouth as they dripped down over his lip. The detective sprang up as they made contact with his face. He grabbed the young man by his shirt and hemmed him against the wall. The bottle of water tipped over onto the floor and spilled out onto the ground. The young man looked down at the warm water as it slowly drained out. There was a brief silence between them before a soft, sarcastic voice broke through the intense moment, “So, can I get another water?” he asked while he was in the grasp of the detective. The man threw him back down into the chair and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

The young man straightened out his shirt and picked up the bottled water. It was halfway empty as he took another swig, smiling at the two way mirror. Inside, he was breaking apart. His best friend and his wife was just murdered right in front of his eyes. His tears would never be seen by any detective but the truth? We would all die to know it. It wasn’t that he was afraid to snitch, it was just the code that he lived by. He didn’t want justice in the form of prison bars. He wanted street justice. There was no way the men who did this would live to see another day. He already had it made up in his mind.
“He’s not breaking” the large detective said to his counterpart on the other side of the glass, “he’s smart. He’s in there mocking us drinking that water knowing it’s hot. He knows good got-damn well it’s hot and he’s still drinking it!” he said as the anger seeped out of him in the form of erratic yelling. “Hey, hey big fella, calm down. We’ll get him” the other detective said as he peered at him from behind the window, “he knows something. Maybe he didn’t do it. Matter of fact, I’m sure he didn’t do it but he knows who did.” They peered at him as he sat in the room, still drinking the warm water. He emptied the bottle and held it up to the mirror, pointing at it as if he was suggesting a refill. “Look at him! Look at him! That cocky son of a-”, the other detective interjected, “easy, easy big man. That’s what he wants you to do. He wants you to lose your mind and pull something out of your behind that you have no way of proving. Let me take a run at him” he said as more of a heads up call than asking for permission.

He walked into the room with another bottled water. The condensation from the coolness dripping off the surface of it. “Sorry about that last one” the slim detective said, “I know it was kinda’ warm. Don’t know how it got to you that way.” The young man shook his head, seeing right through the feeble attempt to cover the lie. “Don’t sweat it” he said, speaking with a double entendre. He unscrewed the top and took a swallow, internally savoring the coolness but being sure not to give the detective the satisfaction of knowing that he appreciated it. “How about a towel?” the detective asked. The young man left it dangling in the detective’s hand. “I’m good” he said in a low, barely discernable voice. The slim detective smiled and laid it over the young man’s knee completely disregarding his response.
“You hungry?”
The young man looked sternly into the detectives eyes as his jawbones gyrated inside his mouth,
“I’ll get something when I leave here” he said matter-of-factly.
“When you leave? That may be a while from now.”
“Oh, you think so?”
“Well, you see… the murder you were a part of-”
“I wasn’t a part of no murder.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Let me clarify. The murder you witnessed. I know the death of your friend and your wife is something hard to digest. The shock of it all may not have passed you yet so I’m not concerned with your lack of emotion. I’ve seen it all many times before.”
The young man remained silent, drinking his bottled water and avoiding eye contact with the detective. He continued, “How long were you all friends?”
“I knew Dejuan my whole life. We grew up together on the North Side.”
“North Side, huh? I used to play ball at Marshall myself. I wasn’t too good but I could hold my own.”
The detective attempted to make small talk but the young man was not biting. He sipped his bottled water and kept avoiding eye contact.
“What about your wife? How long have yall been married?”
“We were married for about a year now.”
“Newlyweds, huh? She was a beautiful young woman. It’s a shame she had to go so soon. I bet you guys were just beginning to enjoy each other.”
“Yeah” the young man said devoid of enthusiasm, “just beginning.”
“Where did you guys honeymoon?”
“Courthouse. We didn’t have a honeymoon.”
“Were you guys planning one?”
“Yeah. We were going to go to Venus but our travel bookie had a hard time finding a flight and reservations.”
“That’s funny” the detective said with a manufactured smile, “I bet you kept her laughing all day.”
“Look” the young man was getting impatient, “I’m not here to small talk with you and play these little mind games you’re playin’. If yall ain’t chargin’ me then I need to go.”
“Hold on young fella, just hold on. Now, like my man say, you look good for this murder. Ballistic reports show that your gun was fired. The shell casings in the house match your gun. Your prints are all over the weapon. I mean, it’s not looking good for you right now.”
The detective scooted closer to the young man and spoke in a low voice as if he was trying to keep what he had to say a secret between those two, “look, in my heart I don’t believe you did it. Not for one second. But the prosecution? They are looking for somebody to put away for this and right now, you fit the bill.” The young man sucked his teeth and took another gulp of water, peering over the bottle at his accuser. “A bluff” he thought to himself, “and a horrible one at that.”
“Don’t you even care about the two people you had close relationships with? The two people that died in the same room you were in? I mean, you’re coming off pretty heartless right now, don’t you think?”
“What I think doesn’t matter. I’m just waiting on a charge and if I’m not bein’ charged, I’m just waitin to leave.”
“Look. It’s going one of two ways; either you killed them both or you had them set up. We did a little digging around.”
“Like archeology?”
“No, like finding a motive. You don’t think we knew that your wife and best friend were fooling around with each other?” The young man froze, staring just beyond the detective into the wall behind him. The news hit his chest like a bag of bricks and a nauseous feeling went straight to his stomach. He kept a straight face, “everybody knew that” he said as he fell apart inside. His best friend and his wife. He had seen it too much in reality TV shows. It was something him and his wife would shake their heads at all the time. She covered it perfectly to the point that he never suspected a thing. Had he found out, he may have really been on the hook for murder right now. “They were like brother and sister” he said to himself, fighting back tears. “So, you mean to tell me you knew about it and at the same time, you were chilling with them? With no issues? No problems? You REALLY expect me to believe that?”
“It really don’t matter what you believe” he said as his heart shattered piece by piece, “it only matters what you can prove.”
“Perception is everything. And you know what the perception is here? Motive. Weapon. Shells. They all point to you.”
The young man slowly began replaying the murder scene is his head as the detective rambled off empty threats.

Sherrie and Dajuan walked into the apartment together as Charles sat on the couch playing Madden.
“Whassup, yall”, Charles said as he saw his best friend and his wife walk through the door.
“Nothin much, man” Dajuan said as he sat down next to his best friend. Sherrie kissed Charles and walked over to the recliner.
“Where yall comin’ from?” Charles said with his eyes fixed on the television.
“Us?” Dajuan said nervously, “Aw man, we just comin’ from the store. I picked her up on my way over here.” Sherrie avoided eye contact with them, pretending to focus on the video game that was being played right in front of her. Dajuan picked up the vacant game controller, “Let’s get a game in” he said quickly in an attempt to avoid further questioning. They knew where they just came from and it had nothing to do with a store. Sherrie and Dajuan were just alike in the sense that they thrived on danger. The fear of “almost getting caught” is what kept the fire and passion in their affair. She believed she married Charles too young and since he cheated before, she had to get him back. She had to do it in a way that would teach him to think twice before he ever did it again. It was only supposed to happen once but once turned into twice, twice turned into three times, and three times turned into almost six months of treachery that was so covertly operated that the navy seals would’ve been proud of it.
“Aight man” Charles said, “I think you need a reminder of what happens every time you pick up them sticks” he said as a smile jetted across his face. Sherrie smiled in his direction, looking more towards Dajuan. The two men sat so close to each other that one could barely tell who her attention was really on. The way he redirected Charles made her want Dajuan even more. They were midway through the second quarter when the doorbell rang. Charles got up and walked to the door. Once he realized who stood on the other side, he scooted outside and cracked it behind him. “What are you doin’ here?” he exclaimed in a stern, hushed voice. It was the woman he cheated on his wife with almost a year ago. She would show up unannounced at times asking for things that she left hanging around his house. He believed she left traces there covertly just to have a reason to come back. “I need my notebook. It’s under your bed” she said in an irritated voice. “No its not! No. Its. Not! And you’re gonna’ have to stop comin’ roun’ here, Jazmine! I told you that!” he said as he peeked behind him into the house, making sure nobody was coming to the door. “Boy, please. Like I said, I just want my notebook. If you’re not gonna’ go get it, then I will” she said as she tried to push her way past him. He put his hand up to block her, “No, I’ll get it. Just wait here.” He looked to his right as a black Monte Carlo began creeping down the block. It was right on time. He left her at the door, closing it as she stood there waiting with her arms folded. “Who was that?” his wife asked as he briskly walked past them in the front. “Huh?” he said, attempting to stall as he walked back to their room and began searching under the bed. Moments later, he yelling coming from the front room. Jazmine and Sherrie began arguing at the door. He glanced at his watch, knowing he had to get back out there as fast as he could. He climbed all the way under the bed and pulled out a notebook she had tucked on top of the ledge of the box spring. He shook his head as he snatched it out and scooted from under the bed. As he rose up, he heard three gunshots. His heart dropped in sync with the notebook he once held in his hands. He grabbed the gun from out of the closet and rushed to the front as he heard four more shots rang out. The door was left wide open. His wife was on the ground, blood pouring out of her as the last breaths were leaving her body. He turned to look at his best friend. His head leaned back on the couch with a bullet hole right in his forehead. “Oh my god!” he yelled as he looked out the door. He fired two shots from his front porch as the black Monte Carlo sped off. Across the street, 2 men laid lifeless on the ground. He began losing his balance and fell to the ground.
“Look” the detective interrupted him out of his daydream, “I’m done here. If you don’t want to talk, that’s fine. That’s fine with me but please believe that there will be somebody you will have to answer to. We’re gonna hold you here for that traffic ticket until we can sort the rest of this out.” He shrugged his shoulders as the detective walked out of the room. He sat there, cold and sullen, sipping the final drops of water out of his bottle. He knew he would be out in a couple days and when he did get out, he would go back to life as it was before. Before the adultery. Before the wrong choices. It was a restoration time for him. He smirked at the detectives as they watched from the other side of the mirror. He held up his hand and pointed at the empty bottle. He knew he was going to get away with murder.