Chapter Nineteen

medical record

WAS THERE REALLY SOMETHING WRONG WITH ADAM?

It only took Donnie about twenty minutes to get back home. He was really proud of himself for being able to get Adam’s medical records, but at the same time felt nauseous. Donnie thought, If the receptionist at Adam’s doctor’s office had been aware at all of local current events, she could very easily have outed me. That would have meant the police would have gotten called and they would probably wonder why a defendant’s brother was accessing his medical records.  Donnie felt a blast of hot bile rush to the back of his mouth. He reluctantly swallowed it and the amoebic mass burned as equally on the way down as it did on the way up.

Get a grip Donnie.

He gathered himself and got a glass of ice water and chugged it. He grabbed Adam’s medical records and sat at the dining room table. Donnie knew that Adam had been going to the same primary physician for over eight years.  Adam’s medical records should provide data before, at the time of, and post-passing of his family.

Donnie opened the folder and set it down on the table. He started on each page included in the record. Previous to the time of his family’s death, there were primarily very routine medical reports. Every other year or so there was a significant cold or flu. There was an annual physical, which was perfectly normal, and a tetanus shot after a foot contusion Adam had gotten while his son, Dylan, and he spent a day at Wild Waves, in Federal Way.

The Forensics Professor continued reviewing the record, now focusing on the time around his family’s deadly accident. There were a couple of visits for cold and flu symptoms, but that was all. Donnie read the rest of the record and there was nothing else in the record, which would have indicated any mental illness or depression. There were no meds prescribed. No referrals to specialists, which would have been required for Adam’s HMO. Nothing. It was all a very normal medical record.

I think this shatters at least one of the potential motives that Angela had identified. I need to let her know that we shouldn’t spend a ton of time on this as a motive. We need to focus on motives, which should have a better chance of helping Adam.

Donnie pulled out his iPhone, and asked Siri, “Call Angela Braun.”

Siri responded, “Okay, calling Don Juan.”

“Goddammit Siri.” Once again he asked Siri, “Call Angela Braun.”

Siri said, “Okay, so you want me to call Angela John? Is that right?”

“Fuck you, Siri!” Donnie decided to go old school and just pull up Angela’s number in his contacts.

Angela answered on the third ring. “Hello.”

“Hi Angela, it’s Donnie Lutz. How are you?”

“I am fine. What’s up?”

“I just wanted to let you know, I got Adam’s medical records from his primary physician.”

“Oh, excellent. You must have a Power of Attorney then?”

“Ummm, let’s just say I have the power of Adam’s driver’s license, and our handsome identical looks,” he chuckled when he said that.

“I didn’t hear that. Anyway, did you find anything out to help us?”

“Yes,” said Donnie. “I read every word from every page in the folder over the last eight years, and there was nothing there. Just standard stuff like the flu, tetanus shots, and annual physicals. Nothing at all about referrals to psychologists or psychiatrists. And no prescriptions harder than Amoxicillin.”

“Hmmm. Kinda blows the depression angle out of the water.”

“Yes, I think so. But at least we know we can focus our energies on other areas.”

“You are right Donnie. Do you want to regroup tomorrow and lay out explicit next steps?”

“I’d love that. Let’s meet at Von’s on First Avenue for happy hour at four tomorrow afternoon. If you get there first, save us a table.”

“Okay, Donnie. I really appreciate your help. I want to win this case.”

“Good night, Angela. See you tomorrow.”

“Good night.”

I love her voice, he thought. As that thought was leaving his head, he felt all of the hair on the back of his neck stand up and a nervous current of butterflies erupting in his stomach.

Chapter Twenty

PREFACEPROLOGUECHAPTER ONE

(c) 2013 – 2016 Darin Hartley

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Chapter Eighteen

Schoeller-twins-16SEEING DOUBLE

After Donnie left the pub and got home, one of the potential motives that Angela raised was digging into his psyche. He had seen Adam shortly after his family died, and while noticeably distraught, Donnie didn’t think his brother seemed depressed. Adam and Donnie went out for dinner a couple of different times and Adam was in better spirits. They reminisced and laughed about the old times.

It didn’t sit right with Donnie. He had a plan and decided to sleep on it over the night. But he wanted to watch the local news and drink a nightcap. He poured a nice double shot of Pendleton into his favorite tumbler and turned on the KOMO news broadcast.
………….

Adam and Donnie grew up close together as many twins do. The fact they were identical only made their bond incredibly strong. In their early years, pre-middle school, the twins’ mother would often dress them in the same clothes. They had the same brunette hair, the same haircuts, both needed glasses at the same time, and only their best friends and family could really discern who was who.

As they got older, their pubescent schoolmates would harass them continually when they dressed alike. So in their middle school years, they wore the same things and hairstyles infrequently.

Something changed in high school. Their high school friends loved their identicalness. It was cool. They were great looking young men and both had rapier wits and seemingly photographic memories. There was no scene from any of their favorite movies they had seen, which they couldn’t act out or repeat word for word often in the voice of the actor or character.

Like other identical twins, they were great practical jokers and throughout high school would swap schedules, classes, teachers and occasionally girlfriends. Oddly enough there was a set of identical twin girls who were a year behind the boys, who reverse pranked Adam and Donnie.

From high school and through college and as adults, Donnie and Adam always carried two driver’s licenses. They would each go down to different DMVs and claim they lost their licenses and get replacements AKA duplicates made. This way if for some reason one of them needed an errand or favor to be handled by the other twin who was out of pocket, they could easily do this. In one instance, Donnie was able to pay Adam’s power bill. PSE was about to kill his service when he wasn’t able to pay in time.

Donnie was glad he had Adam’s Washington State driver’s license now. He knew part of the puzzle he needed to solve, and Adam’s license was the catalyst for getting at least one core answer.

……….

Donnie’s iPhone alarm buzzed and chimed on the night stand next to him. It was 7:45 AM. He silenced the phone and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He was still feeling the effects of the Pendleton from the night before. So he went to the bathroom, started the shower, brushed his teeth, and entered the shower. The high-pressure shower head was blasting streams of steamy water droplets from his head to toes as he shifted around. He leaned his left hand against the wall where the shower head was, leaned his head back, opened his mouth, and got directly under the powerful spray. This always woke him up. He stayed in the shower for another couple of minutes and closed the shower valve.
He dried off as much as he could and then stepped into his closet and got dressed.

After a couple of cups of coffee, catching up on email, and looking at his Facebook account, he looked at his watch to notice it was a little after 9:00 AM. I need to get going, he thought. He pulled up the number of Adam’s primary care physician.

“Dr. Kurtz’ office, how can I help you?”

“Hi, this is Adam Lutz, a patient of Doctor Kurtz. I want to get a copy of my medical records. Can I come down later today and pick up a copy?”

“Sure Mr. Lutz. I can have that ready for you afternoon. Will that work? There is a fifty dollar charge and we will obviously need to see identification.”

“Perfect, I will see you this afternoon, thank you.”

“You are welcome Adam.”

Donnie hung up the phone and breathed a sigh of relief.

……

Dr. Kurtz’ office was in downtown Seattle. Donnie arrived there at around 12:30 and entered the office and approached the reception desk. A pretty twenty-something girl greeted Donnie.

“Hi, how can I help you?” she asked.

“I am Adam Lutz. I called in earlier to pick up a copy of my medical records.”

“I remember you calling, yes. I have it ready. Can I see your driver’s license?”

“Sure,” and Donnie pulled Adam’s driver’s license from his wallet. The receptionist looked at the ID and up again at Donnie’s face. “Thank you. That will be fifty dollars.”

Donnie pulled out fifty dollars in cash and paid the receptionist. “Thank you so much.”

He turned and left the doctor’s office and exhaled a large breath of relief. He got in his car, mission accomplished and headed back to his house.

Chapter Nineteen

PREFACEPROLOGUECHAPTER ONE

(c) 2013 – 2016 – Darin Hartley

Chapter Seventeen

ADAM MEETS HIS CELLIE

The King County Jail is like many other large metropolitan jails. The buildings are worn and sterile. Souls are repressed and beaten down. Corrections Officers (COs) are jaded and the jail is overcrowded, boisterous, smelly, and mentally debilitating. The flickering fluorescent lights provide enough brightness to get prisoners around relatively safely, but their dimness, especially in the dreary middle of a dark Seattle winter are nothing less than soul-sucking.

Adam cried many days and nights in his cell. When you have been a free civilian for over forty years, immediate incarceration is a complete mind-fuck. He was intentionally kept alone for the first month. Many first-time inmates were kept in cells alone until they got accustomed as much as possible to their strange new surroundings.

Midday on a Monday afternoon about five weeks after his entry in the King County Jail, Derek Escobar was escorted by a CO to Adam’s cell. Adam was reading one of the local Seattle newspapers and looked up when he heard the CO barking.

“Lutz, this is your new cellie, Derek Escobar. Escobar meet Lutz.”

The CO pushed the talk button down on his lapel-riding walkie talkie and asked for the block CO to open the cell. “Inmate transfer, Escobar into Cell D-20.”

A loud metallic clang rang across the cell block, and Derek Escobar, entered, bed roll and belongings in hand.

The CO unlocked Escobar’s handcuffs and radioed to the block commander to lock cell D-20.

If Adam’s bladder were full at the moment, he is sure he would have pissed himself. Five weeks ago, Adam was a software sales pro. Now he was looking at a beast of a man, well over six feet tall, and about 265 pounds with tattoos in nearly every place imaginable. It seemed he had tattoos on tattoos. Adam had watched enough documentaries to know that many of the tats on Escobar were originally inked in other jails and prisons. He also had the teardrop tattoo next to his left eye, which was indicative of gang membership.

“Hola gringo,” said Escobar in a surprisingly dulcimer tone. “Me llamo Derek. Derek Escobar.” As stated his full name, he reached out a meaty olive paw to Adam.

“Hola Derek, me llamo Adam.” Adam grabbed Derek’s extended right hand and double clutched it. He then laughed and said, “Mi cell es su cell.”

Escobar laughed loud and long. In fact, he laughed so hard that Adam started laughing uncontrollably until both were in tears of laughter.

“Oh ese… I really needed that today.”

“No problema,” said Adam.

Adam then said, “Escobar, I am in the bottom rack now. But I think it will be much easier for you to take the lower rack.”

“Muchacho, that is so kind. It would be harder for me to crawl into the upper rack.”

“Done,” said Adam. He quickly started moving his bedding to the top bunk. Derek got the cleared lower bunk set up, once Adam’s things were moved.

“Gracias Adam.”

Chapter Eighteen

PREFACEPROLOGUECHAPTER ONE

(c) 2013 – 2016 – Darin Hartley

Chapter Sixteen

SBUX first and Yesler

AND THEN THERE WERE TWO

The lust Ned experienced with Penny after killing Denzo metamorphosed into a blood lust. It made him feel omnipresent, invincible, and for the first time in a long time like he was in control. He woke up to a chilly morning in a tent with a naked woman laying next to him in a sleeping bag.

As he rubbed the sleep from his eyes, he awakened fully. All of him arose. He was laying with his belly against the soft part of Penny Lane’s soft back. Her body was smooth and warm…inviting. He deftly moved his right hand from her right thigh, up her belly and gently cupped her right breast. He waited. He wanted to get her reaction. When she put her hand over his and held it there, he knew he was in.
…….

Ned kissed Penny before he exited the tent. He surveyed the other tents nearby and decided to get some coffee. His favorite place was a Starbucks on First and Yesler. On nippier days like today, the place was overflowing with homeless men and women trying to catch a break from the biting wet cold. There were so many homeless people that habited this particular location, management there pulled everything but half and half from the condiment stand. A full cup of whole milk can carry a hungry man through a good part of the day.

He was a regular there and most of the baristas knew his name. The young Asian barista waiting on him was new. “What can I get started for you?” she asked in a cheery voice.

“I’d like to get a drip grande Pike Place coffee. And can you double cup that for me?”

“Sure.”

She prepared the coffee for Ned and he handed her three crumpled one dollar bills. She made his change and he headed over to a four-top table, which curiously was empty. He set his bag down, added some half and half, and returned to the table. He pulled a pen and a notebook out.

With one successful kill under his belt, he wanted to start plotting the next one. And he also wanted to do a mental review of Denzo’s demise. He had been extremely thorough of his reconnaissance of his first victim and it served him perfectly. It went well.

Goddammit though, he thought, I gotta make sure to use some of that DNA evidence to contaminate the crime scene and victim. That could fuck me over if I’m not more careful.

He opened the page of his notebook to the list of the five initial targets he was seeking to kill. He put a big “X” through Denzo’s name. And scanned the four others on the page.

Willie

Darius Johns

Baller

Efraim

All of these guys were lower-level thugs, who thought they were more important than they really were. They all were pimping homeless women and in some cases girls, boys, and men. They all had a penchant for weed, Hennesy, and any other thing that allowed them to escape the harsh realities of their lives for a little while.

Ned started mentally processing the victims to establish the next logical target. It was serious. One or more wrong moves or decisions and he would be locked up and never see Penny again.

He thought, Efraim. He hangs out near the Pike Place Market, pushing drugs and tricks. He preys on other homeless as well as unsuspecting tourists, which overrun that area, especially during the beautiful summer months. He is my man.

Efraim pissed Ned off even more because he trafficked and pimped a lot of minors. Young un-street smart tweeners and teens looking for any kind of support or acknowledgement they could get. Efraim was a light-skinned black man who carried himself and looked like a model. His face was completely symmetrical. He was slender. He looked like a teenager, but Ned knew he was in his mid-thirties at least. Because of his youthful appearance, he was able to easily manipulate those he preyed on.

Ned closed his notebook and put it and the pen back in his pack.

You’re a dead motherfucker walking Efraim.

Ned finished his coffee and headed north on First Avenue towards the Pike.

Chapter Seventeen

PREFACEPROLOGUECHAPTER ONE

(c) 2013 – 2016 – Darin Hartley

Chapter Fifteen

Issey Miyake L`Eau d`Issey Florale
DISCOVERIES AND DEDUCTIONS AT THE IRISH PUB

“So Miss Braun. After talking to Adam and reviewing the information you have to date, what do you think is the best angle for my brother’s defense?”

Angela pulled a yellow legal pad from a folder with “Adam Lutz” written on the tab in Sharpie ink.

“Please call me Angela.  May I call you Donnie?”

“Of course, Angie.”

“Here is what I am thinking so far. I worked with the police department and your brother’s record is squeaky clean. Just a couple of traffic and parking infractions. It is hard for me to make the leap that he suddenly turns to murder.”

“I agree. He has always been upright and has kept his nose clean.”

“I did see that his wife and son died a couple of years ago. Is that right?”

“Yes. And it really tore him up.”

Angie turned in her chair and stared directly into Donnie’s eyes. “Do you think that could possibly have turned him? People don’t realize it, but one of depression’s uglier symptoms can be anger. Improperly managed and internalized, people can become powder kegs of rage.”

“We didn’t stay in regular contact after he lost his family. He became aloof. We hadn’t spoken in over three years before he called me from jail.”

“Well, I am going to start a new list you and I create called ‘Motives and Potential Defenses.’ The DA is going to try to identify a motive as a way to help show reasons Adam is guilty. We should do the same and think of a couple of potential defense angles too,” she said with authority.

“I like it. But once we run out of potential motives and defenses, I think we should start to dig in what the police found at the crime scene. What evidence was discovered? Any known witnesses, etc. Maybe even any video evidence from security cameras, etc.”

Donnie had been leaning close to Angie to see her notepad. He couldn’t help but notice the beautiful sheen and silkiness of her sable hair. He had a great nose for discerning scents and it was reading L`Eau d`Issey Florale, which he loved dearly.

Angie sensed him looking through her. She liked it. She spent much of her time around questionable characters both men and women, so attentiveness from an attractive, smart man was always appreciated.

“Agreed,” she said. “Let’s get started on the motives and defenses. And let’s even think creatively so we are thinking ahead of what the DA and detectives might be pondering.”

Angie picked up her pen and wrote across the top of the blank yellow legal pad “Motives and Potential Defenses.”

“Let’s start with the one we already discussed. Depression.”

She started the list. And underneath that wrote:

– Death of family
– Potential depression
– Anger
– Rage
– Aloofness

“Anything else under this motive?”

“Not that I can think of.”

“And now for a defense. The most logical defense if he truly has clinical depression and repressed rage would be an insanity defense. What do you think Donnie?”

“Of course, it seems logical. But, I know how stubborn Adam can be. Remember, he wouldn’t let me help him get an attorney.”

Daggers flew from Angie’s eyes, “I am an attorney!”

“I didn’t mean it that way and I know you are. I am just trying to give you an example of how stubborn he is. And we also need to be thinking about how alternatives for each defense in case he won’t support it.”

“Yep. You’re right. And as an identical twin, you are probably as close to his psyche as anyone.”

“Okay,” she said as she flipped the legal pad page over. “Next motive.”

“Self-defense,” said Donnie. “He was walking home late from work that night through a sketchy part of Pioneer Square. Maybe someone was trying to mug him or hurt him and he was fighting for his life. That could have been the motive, and in that case, the defense is for a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.”

“I see that as completely viable. That part of town is notorious for all kinds of crime.”

She flipped the legal pad over again to the third page. “Next motive?”

“I don’t believe he willfully or in a pre-meditated way did this, but maybe we should add that as a motive, just to cover our bases.”

“Premeditated or revenge,” she said.

“And I think the best defense for that is to find gaps in their evidence or logic or evidence collection. I have a lot of interest in that defense. I have been in forensics science for many, many years, and I think I can help immensely.”

“I think so too,” she said.

“I think this is a great start. This is what I want to do. I would like you to send me copies of notes and all of your files on the case. If you need me to I will sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. I want to find holes in the evidence, which can help prove Adam’s innocence. Here is my email address. Also, you should know I am taking this very seriously. I am on a sabbatical to help my brother until the trial is over.”

“I’ll do that. In fact, I can send you some stuff right now.” Angie opened her email and sent some files to Donnie.

“Thanks, let’s grab one more Guinness before we go. I want to get to know you a little better.”

Angie smiled. “Okay.”

Chapter Sixteen

PREFACEPROLOGUECHAPTER ONE

(c) 2013 – 2016, Darin Hartley

Chapter Fourteen

Amid_Seattle_s_Affluence__Homelessness_Also_Flourishes___NPR
NED GETS HIS JUST REWARD

Penny Lane was awakened by her cell phone ringtone shortly before midnight. She was in a four-man tent by herself underneath the Alaskan Way viaduct close to the ferry terminal at Columbia Street. This had become one of the many makeshift “tent cities” spreading throughout Seattle. Seattle’s homeless population was growing beyond the city’s and local charitable organizations capability to keep up with the demand of its many needy clientele. Real estate developers were raking in massive profits per square foot on any space that could be rented in Seattle. In desperation, many of Seattle’s homeless pulled together the money to buy tents so they had some place to stay at night that offered some sort of shelter.

Penny rubbed her tired eyes and looked at the message and its sender.

The text read: Penny, I killed the first asshole in Pioneer Square. A dick named Denzo.

Penny texted back: Really?

Yes, check out this picture.

Within 15 seconds,  the image of an African American man laying on his back with dead looking eyes made Penny’s phone chirp again.

Penny saw the inbound picture and a slightly guttural moan erupted from her diaphragm spontaneously.

She texted Ned. Do you know where the cluster of tents are underneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct?

Ned texted, Yes.

I am in a bright orange four-man tent there. I am by myself and I want you to see me tonight. I want to reward you for your hard work. I am in the only bright orange tent. I hope to see you soon.

Ned’s final text to Penny was, I am on the way.

The inside of Penny’s tent was pretty bare, although there was a backpack with clothes and supplies and a sleeping bag big enough for two people to share very comfortably. She quickly checked the zipper on the front entrance and then removed all her clothes. The crispness in the air spoke to her ample breasts and her nipples rose to the occasion. She jumped inside her down sleeping bag just as quickly as she could to get warm.

Several minutes elapsed while Penny lay there waiting. Anticipating a visit from her new charge. She then heard the plodding rhythmic sounds of a bigger person running with heavy boots nearby. The person stopped when close to the cluster of tents and she could hear the person moving close to the front opening of her tent.

A deep voice called out close to her tent. “Penny, it’s Ned. Is this your tent?”

Penny called out, “Yes, this is the one. Open the zipper and come inside.”

Ned’s hands were shaking in years worth of anticipation and sexual frustration. It took several attempts to locate the zipper and open it.

When he was successful, he first stuck his head in. He looked down and saw the beautiful head and shoulders of a perfect siren tucked into the sleeping bag.

“Come here you,” ordered Penny.

Ned was quick to oblige.

“Why do you still have clothes on Ned? I am proud of you. My demons are a little less loud tonight. Get in this sleeping bag with me. You really turned me on tonight.”

With ninja-like moves, Ned was completely undressed in less than 30 seconds and slithered into the sleeping bag with Penny Lane. “Brrrrr…you are cold Ned.”

“Well warm me up then,” he said while laughing, but also serious.

Penny put her right hand around the back of Ned’s head and pulled his mouth close to hers. She teased him at first, exploring his upper and lower lip, occasionally licking, kissing, and sucking. Ultimately she started to kiss Ned passionately and with her full open mouth and searching tongue.

Ned was squirming now. His manhood was expanding and starting to move on its own, seeking prey. Penny could feel it in her upper thigh and occasionally grazing her lower belly. She sensed Ned wasn’t going to last long.

In a move reminiscent of an ultimate fighter. She flipped over and quickly was on top of Ned riding his sexually tense member to an exciting but relatively quick ending.

“I am sorry Penny,” said Ned somewhat shamefully.

Penny leaned over and hugged Ned. “There is nothing to be sorry about. You did what I asked and I told you, I was yours if you did. If you continue to listen to me, this won’t be the only time.”

Ned was starting a shallow snoring. He was spent. He was dreaming something wonderful.

Penny laid down next to Ned and wrapped her right arm across his supine torso.

Chapter Fifteen

PREFACEPROLOGUECHAPTER ONE

(c) 2013 – 2016 – Darin Hartley

Chapter Thirteen

Emerald
IT WAS MISTER STRAHAN IN OCCIDENTAL PARK WITH A…

“Denzo’s a dead guy,” thought Ned. “He is a complete sphincter. He is 1,000 percent abusive to the women in his harem, and he will be a perfect first kill for Penny Lane. She will be proud and happy. Now…how can I do this? There aren’t many awake people in Occidental Park when I want to whack this guy, but I still need to be quiet. Hmm, what can I use?”

At that moment, Ned had a vivid flashback to his time in Desert Storm and the piles of Iraqi bodies his Army tank crew passed and in some cases ran over. It was an image he could never quite shake from his memory. He was over six feet tall and a solid 196 pounds, but these images never stopped haunting him. Even nearly twenty years later he was still a daunting specimen, and he hadn’t forgotten any of his Army training. He ended up doing three years in the service before he was dishonorably discharged after three demotions, because of repeated AWOL incidents. He never really quite figured out what spurned his demons, but certainly the death and anguish he witnessed first-hand in the desert was a part of it.

Ned remembered one of his obscure lessons he attended during his15-week tank crew training in the Army. It was about survival, hand-to-hand combat, and making lethal weapons from ordinary objects. In particular, he remembered the garrote, a simple but particularly deadly weapon, which has been used by assassins for hundreds of years. The garotte is a handheld ligature weapon, which can be made from a variety of materials like, ropes, cable ties, fishing line, piano wire, guitar strings, scarves, nylon, telephone cords, etc. The assassin attaches the material of choice to a couple of handles. When the assassin is ready to strike, he (or she), approaches the victim from behind and quickly pulls the ligature tightly around the victim’s neck with one of two potential deadly outcomes. The victim is either asphyxiated or has the carotid artery lacerated so the victim can bleed out.

Ned knew exactly where he needed to go. Emerald City Guitars was on S. Washington in Pioneer Square. He was only a couple of blocks away from the vintage guitar shop with some of the finest collectible guitars in the city. He looked around at some of the beautiful instruments and then approached one of the store clerks. In most places, Ned’s physical appearance would have caused the store staff to be on alert, but not in Pioneer Square.

“Can I help you?” the thirty-something tatted headbanger asked Ned.

“Yes. I just want to get a package of guitar strings.”

“Classical or Acoustic?”

Ned said, “Acoustic. And I want them to be really strong.”

The clerk dug through a box underneath the glass counter near the cash register. “Here you go. Anything else?”

“I need to replace the wooden bridge on my guitar, and I want to have a spare as well.”

“Okay. What brand?”

“A Martin.”

The clerk handed Ned two Martin wooden bridges.

“That’s all I need,” said Ned.

“That will be 35 dollars.”

Ned pulled out two twenty dollar bills from his ragged wallet.

The clerk took the cash, rang him up, and gave him a small bag with the parts and his receipt. “Happy riffing man!”

“For sure, ” said Ned and he left the vintage guitar shop and headed to Occidental Park to work on his weapon of serial destruction.

It only took a couple of minutes to get to the park from Washington Street in Pioneer Square. Ned found a table to sit at away from others milling about in the park. He looked around one other time to validate safe surroundings and then pulled the guitar strings and wooden Martin bridges from the bag. He set them on the table.

“These bridges are already drilled,” he thought. “It will make it so much easier to make the garrote.”

He pulled the E string from the package, which is also the thickest string, and pulled one end of the string through one of the bridge pieces and tied a knot around the bridge with one end. He repeated the process for the other end. He then checked the length. He stretched it out and because of the length retied the second knot to shorten it a little. He pulled it hard between both bridges, spreading his arms to pull the wire taut.

Perfect, he thought.

It was about 9:30 PM, so he had a little time to grab a drink or two at the J&M Saloon on First Avenue South before ending Denzo.

It’s not every day you kill an unsuspecting victim, so in addition to a couple of local craft beers, Ned asked for a double shot of Maker’s neat. Now he was ready. He paid for his drinks and headed back to Occidental Park. Rather than going straight up Washington to the park, Ned went down to Main and into the park so he could flank Denzo. It was 11:20 PM and on schedule, Denzo was sitting underneath a totem smoking a fat blunt and oblivious to the world around him.

Ned stealthily and nonchalantly moved closer to Denzo. He got within three feet of Denzo with just the garrote in hand. He had ditched his gear about twenty feet away and dawned a pair of surgical gloves.

Ned took a deep breath and in one fluid motion, wrapped the E-string garrote tightly around Denzo’s neck and pushed his knee deep into the middle of his back, creating an unnatural arch, and a flailing of Denzo’s arms. Ned had to compensate for Denzo’s flowing dreads by tightening the garrote as hard as he could. It was over very soon. Within 90 seconds the flailing stopped, the breathing stopped, and Denzo slumped off the cement blocks around the totem with a dull thud.

Ned checked Denzo’s pulse with the garrote still tightened around the victim’s neck, just in case. There was nothing.

He removed the garrote and put it in a plastic bag he pulled from his jacket pocket. He then deftly removed his surgical gloves inside out to prevent cross contamination and placed them inside an empty crumpled Walmart bag he had in his pocket. The plastic bag went into his duffle bag. He quickly returned to Denzo’s still body and snapped a picture with his cell phone.

He texted it to Penny Lane and smiled.

Chapter Fourteen

PREFACEPROLOGUECHAPTER ONE

(c) 2013 – 2016 – Darin Hartley