Chapter Twenty One



Downtown Seattle boasts some the most eclectic and fun watering holes in the world. Von’s (famous for its more than 1,000 spirits) is a great example of one of these. Sit at the bar and you will never drink alone, even if you are the only patron. You are accompanied by a veritable village of lovely distilled spirits. Their prices are reasonable and the staff friendly and knowledgeable.

Predictably, Donnie arrived twenty minutes early and sat at a table in the corner big enough for Angie and him to review the notes and documents. He pulled out his lap top and some paper for note taking. Shortly after he got settled a server approached him.

“Welcome to Von’s? What can I get for you?” the striking young woman asked.

“How about a double shot of Crown on the rocks?”

As she turned to get his drink, Angie walked through the door and saw Donnie.

“Miss, the person I am meeting here today just walked in. Do you want to get her order too?”

“Sure, I’d be happy too.”

Angie removed her jacket and put her brief case on the chair next to her seat. “I’d like a Cosmo please. I like a lot of fresh squeezed lime and Tito’s Vodka. Can you get one of those for me please?”

“On my way!” the server said and she went straight back to the bar.

Angie’s distinct perfume was not overpowering but it definitely was intoxicating. Donnie was highly observant, and he was noting wonderful things about the public defender. He loved the shape of her hands and the French-tip nails; her raven locks framed her face like a beautiful oil painting, and the way her cotton oxford blouse fit her was amazing. She had just the right amount of buttons…not buttoned.

Damn it Donnie, get your head in the game.

“Hi Angie, it is great to see you again. How was your day?”

“Thanks Donnie and ditto! It’s typically really busy for me. As you know the Public Defenders are spread to thin for the volume of inmates here. I never feel like I get to spend the quality time required to do right by my clients. Something, and I don’t know what it is tells me your brother is innocent.”

“I do too. What other ideas do you have? I think depression is probably off the table,” he said and took a sip of his drink.

“Crime of passion? Doesn’t seem to fly either. The police report shows no connection between your brother and the victim.”

“Agreed. Adam was gainfully employed and the deceased was homeless. This wasn’t a robbery gone bad either. I think it was probably self-defense or he was framed. Did you read the article and other information I shared with you regarding the murder vicitms in and around Pioneer Square?”

“Yes, I was able to read all of those. It is a little weird that this many people have been killed in a relatively small part of Seattle. The framing angle seems like it could be the best probability of the other options. Adam’s prints and DNA were all over the bloody mini-bat found near him and the victim. It seems odd that there would be no prints or DNA from the deceased unless he never got struck with it. It would also imply that Adam carried a readily accessible bat. I don’t buy that.”

Donnie smiled. “I like that thought and the logic behind it. Those bats are given out at some of the Mariners’ games each year. Adam hated the Mariners and I don’t think he ever went to a game. Someone else could have put Adam’s hands on it though after he was knocked out.”

” What do we do from here?” asked Angie.

The server came to the table and set cocktail napkins down with the couple’s drinks.

Donnie and Angie said “thank you” with synchronicity. “Jinx. You buy the next round,” said Angie. They both laughed.

“You see this beard on my face? I am going to continue to let it grow for months, which will help change my appearance. I am getting ready to go undercover…deep as a homeless man in Pioneer Square so I can see if I can get enough information to help solve this case.”

“Got it. What else can I do?”

“I might need you for some information on the case and for other things as I figure things out in the street.”

“Sure, no problem.”

Chapter Twenty Two


(c) 2013 – 2016 – Darin Hartley

Chapter Twenty

4-Nord-Alley-garbage-truck-by-Karen-Davis-Smith-owned-by-ISITRACKING EFRAIM

It was important that Ned completely understood the habits, hangouts, and hideouts of his prospective victims. Any mistake he made could be dangerous or maybe even deadly with the possibility of a lifetime in prison to boot. Efraim, like most people Ned observed, was no different. Habits make it easier for people to get through life. Doing things differently required new thought processes, activities, and effort. This is why Albert Einstein had seven sets of the same clothes. He didn’t expend any additional mind power thinking of such frivolous things as what to wear each day.

Ned started following Efraim and he did this for almost four weeks. Efraim started most of his days up near the Pike Place Market. There were plenty of younger homeless marks in this part of Seattle.  Most of these young people hadn’t been on the heroin or meth long enough to be completely haggard yet.

The original Starbucks is right across the street from the flower vendors in the Market. This is where Efraim liked to start his day. Many other homeless were there as well, and especially the younger crowd. Ned followed him several mornings and watched how he operated. Efraim would look around at the tables there and invariably spot a homeless woman or teen. He would then go to the counter and buy a Grande’ Latte in addition to his drip coffee. He would make his way over to where his next victim was and offer them “his” Latte. The conversation went something like this.

“Hello, pretty lady. I like to pay it forward with my coffee. You look like you might need this one. It’s on me.”

As sad as it may seem, when you are desperate, lonely, and hungry, often cold, a cup of coffee is a grand gesture. This was Efraim’s brainwashing catalyst. It almost never failed him. And even if it did, there’d be another prospect later that day or week.

Ned was a chameleon in this environment or maybe invisible is a better descriptor. Wherever he was he was a nowhere man. He was fine with that. Ned knew Efraim would make his move soon, and he was ready for him.

Almost as if on cue, Efraim gathered his backpack and coffee and left the Starbucks with a woman who looked fifteen in tow. They headed out towards First Avenue and down Pike Street towards Pacific Place. There was a high concentration of homeless here and plenty of opportunities for connecting with johns and dealers. Once Efraim gained the trust of his new “friends” he started to escalate his target’s dependence on him. Near 3rd and Pike Efraim ducked into an alley with his young lady in tow. Ned started to walk like he was inebriated and squatted in earshot of his prey.

“Parker, nice to see you again fucker. I need a couple of hits of Mud for my lady and me. What you got today for me?”

A wiry 20-something kid turned around. His piercing blue eyes looked like a tiny pool at the bottom of a chasm. Most dealers are users too. And he had to sell product every day to keep up with his $300 a day habit. “Mud” is one of the many street names for Heroin.

“I have what you need, but I need $30 now and I really need to get laid.” As he said this, he leeringly looked at the young blonde with Efraim. “You better get that tongue back in your head Parker. This is tender, prime and not for you.”

Efraim and Parker exchanged the heroin and money like a couple of blackjack dealers. The drug dealer then went back out to Pike Street and Efraim and his new prize went deeper into the alley between a couple of large dumpsters. He went there to take the young woman’s innocence in more than one way.

Ned could hear the muffled whimpers and rhythmic sounds hitting the dumpster. He was incensed. This motherfucker dies this week.

Chapter Twenty One


(c) 2013 – 2016 Darin Hartley