Resurrection 70

This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.

The Weight

J.W. stayed doubled over for what seemed to Ray White an eternity. Ray was not a particularly empathetic guy, years practicing law had beaten that out of him, but he felt for J.W. He went over and grabbed the trashcan and placed it at J.W.’s feet.

J.W. had stopped retching now and just sat immobile, his torso folded against his thighs, his arms hugging his lower legs. Ray sat back down, also silent. Despite Ray’s newfound empathy, he had no words.

After a few minutes, J.W. sat back up. He didn’t look at Ray, he didn’t seem to be looking at anything, he just stared off into space.

Over the years as a criminal attorney, Ray had seen clients break down, cry, scream their innocence. This was different. J.W.’s mind was just not there. The shock of so much, so quickly, had left him completely stunned. Uncharacteristically, Ray just waited in silence, hoping for J.W. to come back from wherever he was and rejoin him.

When Ray could stand the silence no longer, he said, “J.W.? You OK?”

J.W.’s mind was processing but couldn’t seem to pull all the pieces together. This past week had been unbelievable. He wanted to pray, even in his mind, but he couldn’t mentally form the words. He sat there in shock, not hearing Ray.

Finally, Ray slammed his hand to the metal table. “J.W.! Snap out of it!”

J.W. turned to look at Ray, his eyes blank. “J.W., you gotta snap out of this. Are you OK?”

“No” J.W. replied.

“Look, you have to snap out of this. You don’t want to let them think you’re suicidal, they’ll put you in the hole, and that’s a lot worse than any of this.”

“The Hole” was a single cell in the White County Jail. It was normally used for prisoner discipline and had a toilet/sink combination bolted to the wall, a cot and nothing else. It had a solid metal door with two slots, each with a sliding metal shutter. One was at eye level and one was used to uncuff, cuff prisoners and pass them their food. There was no light so once you were in there and the shutters were closed, you were forced into darkness. Prisoners were placed in there for 23 out of every 24 hours.

When a prisoner was deemed a suicide risk, the law stated they had to be placed into a room where they could not harm themselves. In White County, the hole became that room. The COs would unbolt and remove the cot. The prisoner was stripped down to his underwear and placed in the cell with no blanket he could use to hang himself.

More often than not, when the COs wanted to punish a prisoner they didn’t like but who had not committed an infraction, they would “observe” him engaging in suicidal ideation, note so on his file, then throw him in the hole. “For his protection” they would say.

J.W. appeared broken already, thought Ray, and putting him in the hole would just make it worse.

“J.W. I need to talk to you about this case and what is going to happen. Can you communicate with me?” Ray wasn’t sure he could.

J.W. pulled his mind back from the brink and replied, “yes, I mean, yes, I think I can. I don’t understand any of this.”

“Well it is a shock. I want you to know we’re going to do all we can to make this as easy as possible. I need to talk you through what will be happening to you over the next day.”

“I need you to get me out of here.” J.W.’s eyes were pleading. It took all of his will to not scream.

“We’re going to see about getting that done. Let me tell you what’s going to happen. You’ll be arraigned tomorrow afternoon….”

J.W. interrupted, “You can’t get me out of here tonight?”

“I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. Judge White will do arraignments and motions tomorrow at 1pm, that’s the earliest you can get before a judge.” Ray had become used to referring to his brother as “Judge” having done so for many years now.

“So far you’re only being charged with one murder, Officer Canada, but you’ll likely be charged with two more tomorrow. I will be speaking to the Commonwealth Attorney in the morning.”

“They can’t believe I killed anyone.” Replied J.W. flatly. The fight had gone out of him.

“Look, I’m sure you didn’t. But Chief Dalton seems to think you did and we won’t see the evidence until discovery. Tomorrow at the arraignment I will file a motion with the court to show ‘probable cause’ which will, if the Judge grants it, force the police to show they had probable cause to arrest you.”

“So it could get, what, dismissed tomorrow?”

“Technically, yes, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. There is a police officer dead and it’s unlikely you will get out that easily.” Ray failed to mention his brother was facing reelection and that meant more to Judge White than justice.

“It might tell us whether they have any real evidence though. By now they’ve searched your house and turned up anything they can. Is there any reason they would find a weapon or other incriminating evidence in your home?”

“Over the years I’ve shot many guns, but I don’t own any. I can’t imagine anything in the parsonage being a problem.”

“Good. That’s good. Did they swab your hands when they brought you in?”

“No, they didn’t. It all seemed so fast. I was just talking to the chief and the next thing I knew he was arresting me for murder.”

“OK, I will ask the court to check your clothes for gunshot residue. The prosecution will want to explain it away, but it can’t hurt.”

“Now, let me walk you through your arraignment…” Ray then talked through the steps J.W. would go through Monday afternoon.

When he finished, he got up to leave.

“Please, don’t go.” J.W.’s eyes were pleading.

Ray placed his hand on J.W.’s shoulder and leaned down close to his face. “You’ll be okay, we’ll get you through this. Pray, meditate or whatever you can do. The next day will be hard, but you’ll make it.”

Ray walked to the door, called for the guard and he was gone.

 


Resurrection – 61

This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.

Church

Treva Barnes arrived at the church at her normal 8:30am to prepare for the 9am pre-service. She was the organist and choir director and she was typically the first after J.W. to arrive. She was surprised the church wasn’t already unlocked, and was about to go over to the parsonage to raise J.W., when she saw Ben Garrison pull into the lot. “He’s early,” she thought to herself.

Ben came up the steps and pulled out the keys. “J.W. won’t be able to be here today,” Ben said stoically.

“Oh, is he sick?” Asked Treva.

“No, it’s nothing like that,” was all Garrison said, opening the door and letting Treva in ahead of him.

Treva wasn’t particularly fond of Garrison and didn’t push. He obviously didn’t want to talk.

As the worshippers filed into First United Methodist they couldn’t help but see the police cars blocking the street just a half a block up. The officers had wisely put up screens so no one could see Canada’s car nor his body, which was still waiting for the final release from the Laurel County Coroner.

People are by nature curious. As they came into the church, the ladies took seats and began asking each other if they had any idea what had happened. Most of the men stayed outside, talking and observing, having the same questions. A few of them smoked their last pre-service cigarette as they talked. In Kentucky it wasn’t uncommon for the church to have a butt disposal right by the church door and First UMC was no exception.

Ben Garrison climbed into the pulpit at 9am and the congregation at First UMC became quiet. It was the usual 80 or so parishioners, but he figured once word got out the crowd next week would be larger. “Good,” he thought, though he made sure his face stayed somber.

Office Harlan was Ben’s wife’s nephew, so once the interview with Reeves had ended, Harlan wasted no time calling Ben and filling him in. Ben knew Reeves was now implicated in at least three murders and the investigation was just beginning. According to Harlan, who speculated to Garrison despite the Chief’s warning to stay mum, that Reeves was having an affair with Polly Henderson and had killed her to cover it up. Somehow the body at Bonhollow was also his work, though they were not sure the tie-in there yet.

Garrison, despite how much he disliked Reeves, was dumbfounded that Reeves was a killer. Sure he was a little over-sympathetic with the poor and needy, spent too much time with them. Have an affair? Yeah, that didn’t surprise him either. The idea he might have killed three people seemed beyond Reeves, but then again preachers are an odd bunch.

Garrison cleared his throat, “I need to make an announcement. Reverend Reeves will not be with us this morning,” Garrison considered his words carefully, “I can tell you he has been arrested.”

Gasps could be heard throughout the congregants.

“Now this is a small town and you all know how quickly rumors spread. I am asking you, as Lay Leader, do not encourage rumor and speculation. This is a shock to all of us and all we can do is pray for Reverend Reeves, his wife and child and pray that God will make sure whatever has happened, the investigation will bring about justice.

“We trust our law enforcement and trust God will guide them through this investigation.

“I think the best course of action for us today, right now, is to take a moment to pray for Reverend Reeves and his family, then we will have a brief service with no sermon.

“I would ask that after the service, members of the Pastor Parish Relations Committee stay behind for a brief emergency meeting.

“Let’s all bow our heads and pray.” After an appropriate time of silence, he said “Amen.” and the congregation echoed.

Garrison turned and whispered to Treva, who was behind him at the organ, and she began playing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”.

“Now let’s turn to number 149 in the Hymnal” said Garrison, leading the congregation in song.

The mood for the rest of the service was somber. Everyone wondered what had gone on, and they couldn’t wait for the offering to be completed so Garrison could pronounce the benediction so they could tap into the gossip network.

Garrison had played this well, and he congratulated himself. He had encouraged everyone to seek out whatever gossip they could find while appearing as if he encouraged just the opposite. Finally, whatever Reeves had or had not done, he was never again going to be their pastor.

 

 

 


NaNoWriMo Diary – 28

Well, I just broke 60K. Once I hit my 50K I decided to not take time to write before I went to work in the morning, but I wanted to get a chapter or two in tonight, I ended up writing 3K or so.

Yesterday I engaged in terrible writing but got in 7K. If you read the draft, I apologize. The final will be better. I am seeing the value of getting the story done and then rewriting to make it “purdy.”

Yesterday the story took a turn I wasn’t expecting. I hate it when fiction authors say that. But it’s true. I was trying to wrap up the book quickly and found it needed much more. I am hoping to finish in about 80K or less, we’ll see. Waco thinks I need about 100K. She might be right.


Resurrection 56

This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.

Clusterfuck

Tab didn’t panic. Panic causes one to lose perspective, to make mistakes. Driving back to Corbin he was at the brink of panic, something he hadn’t felt in a long, long time.

“No loose ends,” he reminded himself. “The cop had to go. It was the best choice at the time.”

It didn’t seem like a good choice.

He didn’t have any remorse for the cop. On the contrary, he hated cops. They were just criminals with a badge. The problem was the consequences.

Kill a drug dealer and even the cops don’t care. Kill a nobody and some people care. Kill a prominent person and the police do a better than average job of finding the killer. Kill a cop and you become every cop’s personal project.

He would lose the gun, it now had two bodies on it. The sooner the better. A simple traffic stop could send him to prison for life. He should probably leave The Wayside as well, get out of town. He also needed to get rid of the car. If someone saw it on Front Street, especially with the light show from the cop, they would be looking for it. It was non-descript as cars go, but it was a risk he wasn’t willing to take.

When he got back to The Wayside, he collected his things and packed them neatly in the Buick. He dismantled the gun, wrapping each piece in a towel then putting each in a separate garbage bag. He put them on the passenger seat and headed north on 25W.

Starting in London and continuing to Berea, he stopped at unattended dumpsters, leaving one bag in each until he had completely distributed the bags. He continued up 25W until he reached Richmond, then headed to I75 for the rest of the drive to Cincinnati. He would be home before 9am and he could put the Buick in the garage until he decided his next steps.

He consoled himself he hadn’t done badly. Yes, one of his targets was still alive, and may end up in protective custody, but he had made off with not just his fee, but a nice gym bag full of $100s from his first target. He would have to waive the remaining fee, probably the bonus as well, but he still got paid.

He pulled into his garage, closed the door and decided he would unload the car later. He went into his living room, powered up his stereo and put on Schubert’s Trio in E-Flat, Opus 100* and poured himself a drink. Today he needed one.

Tomorrow he would scan the news to see the fallout. Possibly he still had a chance at Reeves.


*In the original “The Mechanic” released in 1972, this is the music Charles Bronson, the hitman, is playing as he narrates the opening sequence. The more you know.

 

 


It’s Official

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner_congrats

Just updated my official word count at NaNoWriMo.org and they gave me this graphic. While the novel is nowhere near complete, I got to this milestone. Thank you for your support and encouragement along the way.


Trump on NaNoWriMo

Donald Trump on NaNoWriMo

I’m good at writing. Believe me. I am good at writing books. I know words, believe me. Big words. Words with meanings. Words with lots and lots of letters.

Those other writers are hacks. They don’t know words. They don’t know sentences. When they’re writing their NaNoWriMo novels they’re not bringing in their best, their brightest. They’re using little words. “Be” verbs. Not adverbs. Not adjectives. They bring in the words that can destroy NaNoWriMo.

But when I finish my novel – and I’m going to write a great big novel. A novel like no one has ever seen. When I finish my novel, they’re not going to be allowed to publish those words. My novel is going to be so big, so bright. I gotta tell ya’. It’s going to be YUGE and they’re going to go back to where they came from and use those little words, those words with no imagination, no style, and self-publish them at Amazon and no one’s going to buy them

But my words will get picked up by every major publishing house. You’ll see. Just watch. I’ve used words all my life. Big words. And I know something about words.

Let’s make NaNoWriMo great again!


Resurrection 42

This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.

Dr. Geoff Sanderson

Being rich has its perks. Private schools for the kids, a spacious home, club memberships, luxury cars, vacations. Most people aspire to be rich, or at least envy those around them who are, and want to trade places. A few million dollars upgrades a person’s life. But rich people still go to work, wait in lines, buy their own groceries. They live “ordinary” lives for the most part, like upgrading from coach to first class. Same plane, better seats.

Being wealthy is like going from coach to having your personal jet at your disposal.

Dick Langford was wealthy. He didn’t wait in line or buy their own groceries. The only reason Dick still had a driver’s license was because he enjoyed driving his Maserati Quattroporte from time to time. Otherwise, he road in the Escalade with Thomas driving him. His meticulously planned diet was planned and prepared for him and plates brought to him whenever he requested. The custodial staff organized themselves in such a way he never saw them or interacted with them. The bars’ decanters were always refreshed with premium liquor of every stripe. He never experienced the normal fears and routine tasks of life.

One thing wealth can’t escape is the normal decay of the body. But even the wealthy had an advantage there: Dr. Geoff Sanderson.

Dr. Sanderson was an above average MD and catered to the general medical needs of his wealthy patients. He was always available to them and would come to their estates to examine, prescribe, diagnose. In his specially equipped Land Rover SUV, he carried all the basic equipment he might need to take care of the basic medical needs his patients, able to treat anything except those in the most dire circumstance.

Dick had decided it was time to get his back checked out. It was still bothering him and it seemed to be getting no better and might even be worse. He had lost his appetite as well, probably due to the pain. He had Martha, his personal assistant, summon Dr. Sanderson to Langford Farm, telling him to be there at noon today.

Dr. Sanderson and his nurse Michele arrived promptly at noon and were shown to Dick’s bedroom.

“Yes, Geoff, I’ve been having some back pain,” explained Dick. “Doesn’t seem to be getting any better.”

“Sit here on the bed and let me give you a basic examination Mr. Langford.” Dr. Sanderson said, motioning to the bed. After taking his blood pressure, which was slightly elevated, Michele moved to the attached bath to set up the portable scale to weigh him.

Geoff went through the initial exam. Listened to Dick’s heart, breathing, the arteries in his neck. Having him lie down on the bed, he probed Dick’s abdomen. As he did, Dick winced.

“That makes your back hurt?” asked Sanderson.

“Yeah, it’s not quite a sharp pain, but it gets much worse when you press on my stomach.”

Sanderson made some notes on his pad.

“OK, now I’d like to get your weight. Let’s go to the bathroom and Michele will way you.”

“Right this way, Mr. Langford,” said Michele, motioning to the door.

Michele took Langford’s weight and recorded it. At 5′ 10″ he weighed 180 pounds, looking at his chart he had been 201 three months ago. She didn’t say anything. Dr. Sanderson made it clear she was paid to do her job, not make small talk and keep her mouth shut.

She then handed him a urine cup and stepped out of the bath while he gave a sample. He emerged and placed it to her gloved hand.

“Thank you Mr. Langford, you can go back and be seated on the bed.”

Sanderson was looking at his phone, using Epocrates. Michele walked over to him and handed back Langford’s chart, making sure to point out the two weights without actually saying anything. She wanted to be sure he noted the change.

“Mr. Langford,” Sanderson asked, looking up from his phone, “Have you been on a diet?”

“No, I’ve just not felt like eating. I don’t know if it is the pain or what, but I feel a bit full all the time.”

“Have you noticed any change in the color of your urine? Changes in your bowel movements?”

“No, I don’t think so. Geoff, what’s this all about. This seems like a lot of questions for a sore back.”

“Mr. Langford I can’t be sure what’s causing the back pain without an MRI, but it seems you have tenderness in your abdomen. It may be simply a soft muscle injury, but I need to rule out other possibilities. I want you to get an MRI this afternoon. Michele can set you up for one right away.”

Michele stepped out in the hall to make the call.

“Today? How about we do it next week? I’m booked solid this week.” Dick didn’t like to have someone or something dictate his schedule.

“Mr. Langford, I don’t want to alarm you, but this could be serious. If it is, the sooner we find out, the better. As I said, it could be a simple soft tissue injury. It could be you have a vertebra issue. It could also be something more serious like cirrhosis or an advanced kidney infection.” Sanderson intentionally avoided the word “cancer,” no need to worry him until he got back the MRI. “I think it prudent not to wait.”

“OK,” Dick surrendered. The idea of cirrhosis scared him. “How soon can I get into the machine?”

“Michele can call now and find out if it is currently open. If so, you can go now. If not, it will be open within the hour.” Sanderson knew they would push him to the front of any other patients. Dick Langford doesn’t sit in waiting rooms.

“As soon as I get the results later this afternoon, I will call.” Said Sanderson, standing.

Michele re-entered. “Mr. Langston, you can get your MRI right now. They will hold it open until you get there.”