Chapter Thirty

Seattle PD

Hank looked at the overstuffed backpack and the large plastic Sears bag, which seemed to contain everything Donnie owned. There were some dirty looking clothes busting out of a front pocket of the backpack and an assortment of notebooks and pens sprouted from another pocket. Hank noticed Donnie’s tiny black LED flashlight, which hung from an equally minuscule D-ring from the pack. It also had an extra reflector on it so others could see Donnie more easily as he walked through Seattle at night.

“When you say you are going deep undercover, you don’t fuck around do you Donnie?” and he laughed gently revealing a beautiful set of teeth.

“I’ll do anything to help my brother. The police can’t spend a lot of time on one case and I am afraid if I don’t, he for sure is going to get hosed at the trial.” Donnie took a sip of his still hot coffee and exhaled with a sub-audible, “Aaaah.”

“You are right on that Donnie. With this rash of other homicides this year, the department is stretched thin. I heard the Chief of Policed ask for help from the Seattle Branch of the FBI. That is serious shit. No local police force wants to have others involved unless it’s unavoidable. Let me grab a coffee and I’ll be right back.”

Donnie used the time that his Dean was waiting for his coffee to pull out some of the notes and findings. He also got some of the pictures ready queued up on his cell phone. Within a couple of minutes, Hank came back with what smelled like a Mocha Latte. He sat down and took his coat off.

“Hit me, Donnie.”

Donnie opened one of his notebooks. He had taken detailed notes of his whereabouts, key findings, people, etc. He was able to describe his journey like a tour guide, but one who was looking back in time.

“Of course, at first, I looked relatively civilized and clean, while I was transforming into what you see today. I thought early on my appearance might blow my cover, but there are homeless people in Seattle and everywhere who actually can hide it well.”

“That’s true,” interjected Hank.

“I have spoken with so many people, but one of the things I did for the first several weeks was just to visit all the places these seemingly related murders took place.” Donnie opened his Greater Seattle Street Map Book to pages 52 and 53. It looked like a military map from a war movie. There were stars and different colored ink markings and circles, notes, etc.

“Wow, you’ve been busy. I am impressed and tired at the same time.”

“I’ve about wore out this pair of shoes, but I think it’s the best way to do this type of investigating. You are talking about a ten-square-mile radius here in Pioneer Square and up into Belltown. Whoever has been doing this has been pretty meticulous and hasn’t really never left any major clues, and, almost all of the victims have been killed in different ways.”

Hank took another sip of his mocha. “Are there any patterns at all?”

“In reading the key findings in the newspapers and from what the Adam’s Public Defender, Angie, has been able to discern, just a few. All of the victims were homeless. Most of the victims had police records related to drugs and in many cases pimping and pandering.”

“Hmm. Someone has a beef with those crimes, a vendetta for some reason it sounds like. Maybe someone who was abused or sold into the sex trade.  There are several motives for serial killers, for example, visionary, hedonistic, power or control.  The way you have described this makes me believe this killer’s motives are mission-oriented.  This type of killer is motivated to ‘rid the world’ of certain types of people they believe to be undesirable.”

“That makes sense. There is something else.” Donnie leaned over the table so he could whisper the next statement. “I saw something weird in Occidental Park the other night.”

Hank leaned in also, “Oh, really?”

“Yes. I saw this tall shadowy figures several times run and pick up freshly-tossed cigarettes and in one case gum.”

“Fuck, Donnie. I bet that’s your guy. No evidence. No clues. I wonder if this guy is contaminating the victims with DNA from other people. It would be an ingenious way to throw everyone off him as the perp. Plus, if he is using lots of different methods, it further clouds the investigation.”

“I literally almost stopped breathing when I saw this guy. I had the same instinct. But I haven’t seen him again,” said Donnie, excitement and volume growing in his voice.

“Don’t confront this guy if you see him. If he isn’t the killer and just a whack job, he might have no issues threatening or hurting you. If he is the killer, well, he’d have no qualms about killing you either, especially given his meticulousness to date covering his tracks.”

“I know. And one last detail.” Donnie’s Adam’s Apple seemed to go up and down in slow motion as he swallowed and got ready to speak again. “I am pretty sure he saw me.”

(c) 2013 – 2016, Darin Hartley

Chapter Thirty One



Author’s Note


I have been working on this novel since 2013.  Since then the plight of the homeless in Seattle and in other cities has only been made worse.   Just this week in Seattle in “The Jungle” several homeless people were shot and/or killed. You can read about it here.

I also didn’t realize until I started working on this novel that Seattle is now one of the top four cities for homeless people.

My hope is when I get this book completed and published to give some portion of the proceeds to a homeless charity and/or even better a homeless charity that supports homeless veterans.

If you have recommendations for charities that would be worth supporting to help the plight of the homeless or homeless veterans, please provide comments so I can take them into consideration.


Chapter Twenty Nine

Cube clutterANGIE DIGS IN

She didn’t know why, but something about Adam Lutz’ case intrigued her. In the other murder trials, she had defended there was an ambivalence about her clients because they had no viable reasons or alibis or the human character to believe them. It’s hard to win anything you don’t truly believe you can do.

She had a special place in her heart as well for Donnie, who was putting his life on hold and at risk to help her with the case and to exonerate his brother. Donnie hadn’t called her in more than a month, so she did the best she could with the time she could work Adam’s case given her significant case load.

She went to the King County Court House every day and she was always checking out or checking our records for review on her cases, but most of the files were related to Lutz’ case. She had reviewed the summary article from the Seattle Times so many times, she could almost recite it verbatim, like a student who shares Tennyson’s “The Charge of The Light Brigade,” to the class. She was reviewing more of the information in the files again from her dingy fabric-covered cube. It was getting late. Most of her co-workers had left for the evening. It was so quiet, she could actually hear the soft hum of the fluorescent lights in the ceiling above.

She was staying late because she had connected all the edge pieces of this puzzle, and was starting to complete the middle of it. Patterns were emerging with the people and location and the modality. One of her strongest defense ideas was to show that the patterns shown in the related homicides were contrary to any of the daily habits of Adam Lutz.

Hmmm. The biggest commonalities here are the fact that all the victims were primarily chronically homeless, all but one of the victims were male, and almost all of them had prior criminal records from multiple misdemeanors to felonies. With a few exceptions, most of the victims had been in some sort of state-provided drug or substance abuse rehabilitation. While there were many similarities, with one exception, none of the victims knew or were connected with each other. In each case, there wasn’t a common way the homicide victims were killed and there was minimal to no physical or biological evidence retrieved.

She liked where the ongoing research was taking her. It helped establish patterns with the related crimes, which were contrary to the daily life of Adam Lutz. While Adam was on trial for one of the crimes committed, even the Seattle Police Department had requested support from the Seattle Division of the FBI because the team covering these homicides believed, at least, some of them were linked.

I’m going to meet with Adam tomorrow. He may have some additional information for me. And, I can update him on what I have been able to figure out to date. I feel pretty good about what I have pieced together so far.

She logged off her computer, added a quick touch up to her pink lipstick, grabbed her belongings and left the office.

(c) 2013 – 2016, Darin Hartley

Chapter Thirty



Chapter Twenty Eight


Ned was in a deep and wonderful sleep. He had wonderful visions and feelings swirling around and enveloping him. He rolled over and saw a beautiful constellation on a shapely and smooth back in front of him. His substantial maleness got more substantial as if to be awakening and hungry. He rubbed his eyes and rolled over on his back and looked up at the canvas ceiling of the tent.

Penny felt his stirring, yawned and rolled to her back and grabbed Ned’s right hand with her left. “Good morning lover. You were wonderful and completely exhausted. You’ve been asleep since yesterday afternoon. Are you hungry?”

“I’m starving and ready for some coffee for sure, and I have to pee like crazy.” Ned pulled a pair of ragged jeans on and a pair of shoes and left the tent and found a slightly-hidden corner of the wall near the tent and relieved himself. He normally didn’t do this, but he really had to go.

When Ned re-entered the tent, Penny was already dressed, except for her shoes. She was sitting on the ground tieing her bright pink converse high-tops sneakers. Ned pulled a plaid cotton oxford shirt on and a light warmup jacket. If there were awards for the least fashion coordinate real couples, this pair would win hands down.

They exited the tent quickly and held hands as they walked towards a diner on Washington Avenue, which served breakfast until two in the afternoon. They promptly closed their doors then to prep for the next day’s rush.

The diner was decorated in mid-twentieth century relics and “antiques” from the fifties, sixties, and seventies. There were old 45 records, and movie posters, and even one of the Wurlitzer jukeboxes, which now played CDs.

A middle-aged server with the raspy voice of someone who spent a lot of time smoking or in smokey bars came to Ned and Penny’s imitation leather booth seats with the Formica table tops.

“Good morning you two. What can I start you off to drink with?” She passed them each a tri-fold menu, which seemed to be dirty inside the vinyl protective sheet as well as on the outside.

Simultaneously, Ned and Penny said, “Coffee.”

“I’ll be right back with that while you look at the menu.” She turned and left with urgency, so she could get their coffee and attend to customers on the way to and from the kitchen.

“I want the classic two-egg breakfast, with over-easy eggs and sausage,” said Penny.

“I think I’ll have the biscuits and gravy.”

When the server returned to their table, she poured their coffee and took their orders.

“Ned, I wanted to thank you for killing Efraim. I have run into him a time or two over the years and he is an absolute dick. He has hurt a lot of people over the years and the police didn’t seem to care.”

“He pissed me off too Penny. That heroin he is running is the absolute worst stuff. It is super potent and addictive. It was easy for him to own people once he got them hooked.”

“Well, it absolutely turned me on. I have a special challenge for you. And if you can make it happen, I have a special surprise for you.”

Ned slurped his coffee loudly and almost choked on it. “Special challenge? Tell me more.”

“Do you think you can take two of these assholes out at the same time?” she asked with her eyes starting to twinkle and a tone in her voice like orange blossom honey.

She could see Ned thinking about the request. “I believe so. These assholes often run in pairs so they have an extra set of eyes on the lookout. I’ll have to be on the top of my game, but I love surprises, especially the ones from you.”

Penny stood up and leaned over the booth and kissed Ned seductively on the mouth. It seemed to last a long time and then the couple heard the server say, “Here’s your order. Can I get something else for you?”

Penny sat down with a seductive smirk on her face. “I think I am good.”

The server set their food on the table and left them.

“I am feeling lucky Penny. I am going to do it. You’ll see.”

(c) 2013 – 2016, Darin Hartley

Chapter Twenty Nine


Chapter Twenty Seven


Donnie had blended seamlessly into the Pioneer Square neighborhood for over three months. He looked completely disheveled. His hair was long and matted. His hands, nails, and face were filthy. His beard was unkempt and now had gray patches erupting, like patches of wildflowers in the median of a highway. He had taken lots of notes and photos. He had spoken to a plethora of the homeless population on the streets, missions, parks, sidewalks, and other places they congregated. His sighting of the strange figure picking up cigarettes and other items was fresh in his mind. He hadn’t seen him again yet, but he sensed there was some sort of connection.

I think I need to see Hank again. I have been so close to this an outside opinion might be great. I am going to send him a text and see if we can meet soon.

Dean Rusk was in is office during office hours with a graduate student. His phone chirped and he noticed “Donnie Lutz” appear on the screen.

“Excuse me, Susan,” he said politely. “I need to respond to this text right away.”

The grad student responded graciously, “No problem Dr. Rusk. I was thinking I’d like to grab a pop from the machine. Can I get you something?”

“No thanks. Take ten and I’ll see you back here.”

Susan left quickly and quietly and a waft of light lovely perfume filled the room momentarily.

Rusk texted Donnie. I have ten minutes. Can I give you a quick call?

Sure. Would be great to catch up with you.

Donnie’s phone rang and he answered the phone. “Hi, Hank. So nice to hear from you. I have been in the streets here for over three months now and I’d love to reconnect face-to-face as soon as you can. I want to share some of my findings and bounce them off you. I am really deep on this and really close. I think some fresh insights from you would be invaluable.”

“I’d love to. I can catch you up on some things here with the Department as well.”

“Can you meet me at the Starbucks on Second & Jackson?” asked Donnie.

“Sure, how about 10 AM tomorrow morning?”

Donnie kinda chuckled, “Uh sure. I have kind of an open schedule now.”

“Okay, I’ll see you then. Goodbye.”

“See you tomorrow Hank.”


Donnie slept restlessly in a downstairs cement cubby that was an entrance to a store on near First and Yesler. He was excited to see his colleague and afraid of what he might think of his appearance. He made sure to leave the place before 7 AM to avoid the hose down many businesses here did to clean their entrances and dissuade homeless people from squatting there. He also wanted to grab a quick shower at the Compass Hygiene Center, on Alaskan Way, which opened at 7AM on weekdays. The line started forming after 6 AM.

Donnie finished his shower, got dressed, and wandered through Occidental Park a little while longer. He grabbed some new photos, spoke with a couple of other homeless people, and sat at one of the tables in the park to take notes in his notebook.

At 9:45 AM, Donnie headed over to the Starbucks in preparation for his meeting with Hank. There were a few customers in front of him as he waited his turn. He got to he counter and a perky brunette barista with the trademark green apron and happy greeting asked Donnie, “Hi Donnie. What can I get you today?”

Donnie liked that several of the baristas here knew him, “I’ll take a Venti Pike and no room.”

This was of course followed by the up-sell, “Is there anything else I can get you?”

Donnie said, “No. Right now just coffee. I may be up a little later for something to eat.”

The tattooed male barista working next to her quickly spun around and filled Donnie’s paper cup with dark and steamy coffee. “Here you go.”

“Thanks,” said Donnie. He surveyed the available tables and grabbed a seat near the back, which was less crowded. The place teemed with homeless men and women in various stages of haplessness and unkemptness.

At about 10:05 AM, Donnie saw Hank walk through the door of the Starbucks. He was looking at all the patrons like someone trying to find a person in a large crowd. He looked directly at Donnie and then his eyes focused on the front of the coffee shop again. He turned, opened the door, left the shop, and stood on the sidewalk near the entrance.

Donnie bolted from his table and ran out the door. He tapped Hank on the shoulder. “You see, I told you I was in deep.”

As Hank spun around he recognized Donnie’s voice immediately, but the cognitive dissonance of Donnie’s appearance made his mouth fall open. “Holy crap. I looked directly at you and didn’t know it was you.”

“Come inside. I have a table and we need to talk.”

Donnie and Hank went back to the table with all of Donnie’s possessions and sat down.

“So, this is what I have been up to and what I have figured out so far.”

(C) 2013 – 2016, Darin Hartley

Chapter Twenty Eight


Chapter Twenty Six

Cafeteria JailChapter Twenty Six


Adam continued to cope better with his situation. He knew his brother and Angie were working on a defense for his case and his cell mate worked tirelessly to be Adam’s “guide-on-the-side.” Not only was Derek a behemoth of a man, but he was respected inside the jail. He was so respected that it created unintended consequences for the two new friends.

The food in the cafeteria on most days was unimpressive and mostly bland, so on days when it was marginal, that was like eating at a great restaurant. Oddly enough, breakfast seemed to be one of the better meals on a regular basis. It is pretty hard to create bad scrambled eggs and toast. Adam looked forward to his breakfasts.

One morning, Derek and Adam were going through the cafeteria line, joking, and getting their utensils. They spotted a seat near the center of the grouped tables. Derek liked being in ready access to the closed-circuit cameras, which monitored the cafeteria and most other parts of the jail. They had been seated not more than a couple of minutes when Derek caught a flash in the corner of his left eye and heard a disturbing dull thud followed immediately by a banshee-like, “You Mother Fucker!”

The rounded corner of that tray caught Adam’s right forehead with enough force to create a large gash just over his eyebrow. Blood spurted out in micro-pulses and the table soon looked like the mat of the octagon in an MMA fight. While Adam was still trying to figure out what happened, the unknown assailant had time to catch him with the same tray on the opposite temple. Adam grabbed each side of his head to try to slow the bleeding. He could feel the tray whiz past his head as the prisoner cocked the tray again for his next shot at Adam.

Like a superhero with uncanny catlike speed, Derek jumped up just in time to grab the inmate’s right arm and squeeze it so hard he had no choice but to drop the tray. He struggled briefly with the taller more wiry man as he put his right arm at a disgusting angle, which made the attacker fall to his knees. Derek then quickly pushed his beefy knee into the small of the attacker’s back and forced him to the ground.

In what seemed like an eternity to Derek and Adam, several COs busted into the cafeteria. They had seen the whole thing on camera. “Escobar, we’re going to take this prisoner to a holding cell, while we try to figure out what caused this. The medics are on the way. They’ll take care of Lutz.”

As requested, when the COs got close, Derek released his hold, and they took the prisoner away. He got a good look at this guy on the way out.

“Now you see why I like to sit out here in the middle of this cafeteria?” asked Derek.

Adam was still in shock from the incident, but the pain had reached a consistent level, which made it bearable. “Thanks for your help Derek.”

“De nada. You make sure you tell your lawyer what happened here and I am going to do a little investigating myself.”

The medics arrived shortly and started working on Adam.

“I’ll see you back in the cell later Adam.”

Chapter Twenty Seven


(c) 2013 – 2016, Darin Hartley


Chapter Twenty Five



Ned nonchalantly headed towards the Puget Sound down three blocks to underneath the double-decker Alaskan Way Viaduct and headed south. He was confident and felt alive…no radiant. Adrenaline seemed to have replaced all of the blood in his body and he was an ambulating mass of untouchable energy.

He pulled his cell phone from his pants pocket and texted Penny Lane. I did it – I killed that effer Efraim. Couldn’t wait til it got dark. And I can’t wait til tonight for you.

He picked his pace up a little more now. Penny Lane’s tent was just about five city blocks away now. He felt his adrenaline supply taking a southern trek and his member was awakening too.

He got another couple of blocks before the Beatles’ Penny Lane ringtone chirped on his phone. The smile that appeared on his face in synchrony with that sound was Pavlovian. He looked down and read the message from Penny. Mmmmm. I am here and waiting for you. Hurry up!

Ned ran the last couple of blocks to Penny’s tent. When he got there, he was slightly out of breath, the labored breathing caused in equal parts by the run as well as the sexual tension he was experiencing.

He called quietly to Penny when he was at the zipped door to her tent. “Penny, is that you? Are you there?”

“Yes, lover. I’m here. Come in and zip the tent behind you.”

Ned’s hands shook and he could feel a bead of sweat running down his forehead and to the tip of his nose before it baptized his left hand. He finally was able to control the tiny zipper and lifted it high enough where he could duck inside. As soon as he was able to see inside the tent, he emitted an audible gasp as he caught Penny’s figure laying on her side, head on one hand against her folder arm with her beautiful back visible. She had an amazing Orion tattoo across her back, which had the constellation’s trademark belt in three stars situated to perfectly in relation to the rest of the star formation.

Ned entered the rest of the way and quickly pulled the zipper closed. He started stripping down layers of clothes and was naked in less than 15 seconds. He dropped his clothes in a heap and fell to his knees and crawled over to her. She smelled of citrus, almost tropical, like a day at the beach.

As he got within a foot of her lovely backside she asked seductively, “So, you really did it huh? I have heard a lot of sirens over the last couple of minutes. Someone must have discovered your handy work.”

He smiled lecherously, “It was probably the girl he took advantage of. Actually, it could have been anybody, for all I know. It was the middle of the afternoon.”

Ned couldn’t hold back anymore. Her beauty, sensuality, and her scent were too much. He gently touched her round and delicious butt with first the back of his large hand and then with the palm. Slowly…softly. She moaned almost inaudibly at first but louder as he gently kissed each of the stars on her back. As Ned’s mouth got close to her neck and shoulders she pulled his left hand to her left breast and told Ned, “Take me now.”

Ned, was of course, eager to oblige and quickly ravished her from behind to a frenetic and exhaustive climax. The pent up emotions, desire, and stress created a perfect storm of spent energy and the need to sleep. Ned fell asleep, still inside her, and caressed her lovingly, while he snored gently.

Chapter Twenty Six


(c) 2013 –  2016, Darin Hartley


Chapter Twenty Four


Shadow.jpgDonnie was desperate to help exonerate his identical twin. The initial research he conducted with the public defender didn’t make sense and there wasn’t a motive that resonated based on the evidence.  And he knew in his heart,  what was being said of his closest relative couldn’t be true.

The killer is still out in Pioneer Square. Maybe near the Market. Maybe in Occidental Park or living in one of the alleys or cubbies of the many buildings and shops in Pioneer Square. I can review all the police reports and newspaper articles I want to, but at the end of the day, I know the killer is still at large, which means he or she is still surveilling the area and on a continuous search for the next victim. A mistake will be made. A pattern will be revealed and I will nail this fucker.

The normally metrosexual-looking Donnie decided to go unshaven and as unkempt as he could possibly get. He didn’t shave for weeks. He dressed in clothing that was unclean and distressed. He purposefully didn’t wash his hands and allowed his fingernails to grow ridiculously long and to get encrusted with dirt and filth. As his beard got longer, he let food particles and other items stay in his beard. He carried a frazzled backpack and to further the illusion more had a plastic cup and sign he could use to ask for donations.

Donnie had thoroughly researched where each murder had been committed and sensed that any additional ones would be in this same geographic area. His plan was to stay as mobile as possible within the boundaries of the previous killings and befriend as many people as possible in the community. He was going to use them for information to help identify the suspect if possible. If he couldn’t catch the serial killer in the act, he wanted to have as much information as possible in case he needed to testify at Adam’s trial.

Donnie decided to go as deep and real as he possibly could. That meant he wasn’t going to enjoy the comforts of his home each night while he was undercover. His plan was to stay in Pioneer Square and emulate the homeless he saw there and ultimately gain their trust. Presence led to presents. And this might be in the form of useful information or a survival tip. So, Donnie wanted to ensure an “all-in” mentality while he was in Pioneer Square and homeless.

After Donnie’s first couple of days on the streets as a homeless person, he knew that going undercover was going to be daunting, but he really was unaware of the sheer volume of homeless in this part of Seattle. He was sheltered from much of this because of where he lived and because he was a professor at UW. Pioneer Square was crowded with homeless souls. They were in Pike Place Market, they slept in cubbies in most buildings in Pioneer Square, they were of course in the parks there as well as the ferry terminal, and every place in that part of town, which was lax on the homeless including the Seattle Ferry Terminal and most Starbucks in or close to Pioneer Square.

Donnie did keep his cell phone available and charged. He was able to document sights, videos, and findings as well as GPS-tag locations of interest. He also wanted a phone in case he needed to contact the police or others if he was in any imminent danger. Carrying a phone wouldn’t make him blend in any less. Plenty of the homeless in Pioneer Square had phones or laptop computers or tablets. He didn’t stand out and that was just fine with him.

Days in Pioneer Square turned into weeks and soon months. Donnie quickly learned the ins and outs of where and when to eat; where he could use a shower or bathroom; and, basically how to stay alive like the other homeless people he emulated. He asked lots of questions and took lots of pictures. He marked up his Greater Seattle Map Book with highlights and notes.

One cool night, while he sat on a green slatted bench in Occidental Park, he noticed a shadowy figure moving stealthily and gingerly through the park and picking up cigarettes and food discarded and putting it into baggies. He then quickly put them in his backpack. Now, it isn’t strange for a homeless person to pick up a still burning cigarette and smoke it down to until the filter starts to burn. It’s not even unusual to see a homeless person pick up food or partially full bottles of beer or soft drinks and down them. But, Donnie had never seen anyone meticulously pick up items like this and seemingly catalog them. Donnie set his phone to “no flash” and took a picture of the mysterious person. With the man’s darker clothes and hair, the only thing that showed up was a creepy looking dark shadow.

Dammit. I think I may have at least one good lead here.

Ned seemed to realize he was being watched after Donnie snapped his picture. He gathered his belongings and left the park in double time to get out of site.

(c) 2013, 2016, Darin Hartley

Chapter Twenty Five


Chapter Twenty Three

blacks surgical gloves


Ned had pondered how he was going to do Efraim. He hated what he was doing to these young kids on the street and he knew that Penny Lane would really love this sphincter to be dead. But how?

Ned thinks to himself, He’s more active in the day than most, and I really have to be careful. He does like to work those alleys and if I am quick, I think even in the daylight with the cover of those dumpsters and him being high, I can get to him quietly enough. It’s noisy then too and his mark will be so wasted she won’t know anything. I’ve got it.

Efraim, like most of the people Ned tracked, was a creature of habit. We all use habits to minimize the amount of thinking we have to do. So as suspected, Ned was able to find Efraim in his favorite Starbucks in Pike Place Market. And on cue, an hour later, Efraim and his new toy walked up Pike Street to the alley on Third Avenue to meet the dealer.

“I need some mud,” said Efraim, “and I want a bigger hit. I want my lady friend here to get really messed up here.”

The cow-eyed brunette looked thrilled to have met a “friend.”

“Here’s a c-note. Hook me up.”

Parker took the $100 bill and pressed a larger package into Efraim’s other hand in one deft movement. Parker then walked away looking for his next customer and Efraim escorted his new victim back between two dumpsters in the alley. Ned pretended to be drunk again and stumbled and slid backwards against a brick wall with his backpack in hand.

After several minutes, where Efraim prepared the girl and the dope, Ned heard him cooing to the girl, “You’re going to like this baby girl. You are going to forget about all your worries and all your pain.”

Ned heard the girl wince a little and then start to moan almost inaudibly. He heard the rubber hose get popped off her arm and a lighter flick. Ned knew Efraim’s time on this earth was drawing nigh. Ned waited for Efraim to cook his junk and quietly, unnoticeably donned a pair of black surgical gloves, which from a distance looked like any gloves one would wear with a coat. Ned pulled a trusty wooden-handled ice pick with a sharp eight-inch point and stumbled over to where Parker was.

Great. This asshole has a needle up the back of his hand. Perfect.

In a cat-like move, Ned jumped Efraim from behind as the pimp knelt in a state of semi-euphoria and disbelief. He wrapped his strong left arm under Efraim’s neck and locked it in place using his right shoulder to grip. Within a microsecond with his free hand, he stuck the ice pick to the hilt of the wooden handle through the top of Efraim’s skull. Efraim had a hard head, but in the world of physics, Pressure is Equal to Force per Area. And Ned’s rage drove a phenomenal amount of force to a very small area of Efraim’s head. This is the reason it hurts so bad when a woman steps on the top of your foot with her high-heeled shoe. The combination of the heroin, the lack of air, and the pressure exploding through his victim’s head made a quick end of Efraim. Within 30 seconds, Ned released his lifeless body to the ground, removed the icepick, placed in a bag with his gloves he removed inside out and left the scene. The girl was heavily sedated and saw none of this, but was breathing.

I can’t wait to see Penny.

Chapter Twenty Four


(c) 2013 – 2016, Darin Hartley

Chapter Twenty Two


The death of Adam’s wife and child were the toughest and darkest time of his life. The first two weeks of his stay in the King County Jail ranked second. During both experiences, he seriously contemplated ending his life. The angst and despair were nearly unbearable in both situations. Incarceration was like nothing he had endured; the noises, smells, food, clothes, inmates, and routine were enough to make anybody, at least temporarily, insane.

Surprisingly, though the power of the human spirit started to squirm, awaken, and ultimately bellow inside Adam.

If there is one thing serial offenders and jailbirds can sense it is fear and naivete. Without a trusted advisor, living in jail can be not only miserable but treacherous. Adam was lucky that Escobar became his cellmate. He had been in and out of the court and corrections system over half of his life and actually drew comfort from the penal ecosystem.

Derek helped Adam navigate the unwritten laws and expectations inside the jail. He knew who the gangs were and who led them. Escobar explained the inmates absolutely off limits and those who if crossed would have no issues beating or killing him. All of this was invaluable to Adam who had only seen jail from television and movies before this.

“Escobar, why are you so intent on helping me?”

“Adam, I am 35 and a career criminal. Basically, since I was 14, I have been in trouble with the law. Just like in the movies it started with shoplifting, drugs and alcohol, gang membership.”

Adam said, “Yes, I see.”

“And before you know it you have to ‘prove’ yourself. You have to pick up your game. Maybe you get the shit kicked out of you by the gang, or you are asked to commit a more violent or serious crime. In my case, I was asked to rob a convenience store when I was 17.”

“Geez, that’s fucked up Derek. 17, really?”

“Really, and of course, I hadn’t robbed a store before at gunpoint, and things got out of control, and I shot the clerk and blew his ear and part of his face off. Didn’t kill him, but injured him enough that I could get $100 bucks and some cigarettes from the store. But I was stupid and didn’t have a mask and because of the fight from the clerk, my face was clearly visible for a couple of minutes. My couple of days of fame with my gang was short-lived since I was arrested two days later. That was my first trip to the joint for an extended time.”

“But I don’t see why you want to help, and by the way not complaining, just curious.”

“I survive in here because I can read people. I can read the assholes. I can read the truly religious. I can read the gang bangers. I can even read the COs. And, I can read you. And you aren’t a criminal and I am pretty fucking sure you are innocent.”

“Thanks, Escobar. It means a lot to hear you say that.”

“I am going to be here a long time. And if I can help someone get out of here with what I know, I want to do it. In some way, I feel like I am giving back in the only way I can.”

Adam extended his right hand and shook Derek’s and wrapped his other arm around pulled him in close bouncing his chest off Escobar’s.

“Let’s go get some lunch,” said Derek.

Chapter Twenty Three


(c) 2013- 2016, Darin Hartley