Tag Archives: crime

Toilet Gator – Chapter 18

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As Sharon entered the lobby of the sorority house, Cole’s heart did backflips. Sharon was walking normally, but it had been so long since Cole had seen his ex-wife that he felt as though he was staring at her while she was walking in slow motion. Every hair flip took forever, every step seemed like it was a thousand years. It was almost as if his mind was slowing the image of his long lost love down on the premise that he better drink in a good view of her now before he never sees her again.

“Hello Cole,” Sharon said as she gave her ex-husband a brief, polite hug. Cole didn’t return it. He was so surprised to see Sharon that he just stood there in a daze. Oddly enough, he could even hear his favorite romantic cowboy song. He thought that was strange, and wondered whether or not he was losing his mind.

“Oh my old lady…done got up and walked out on me.
And now I’m so lonely, I can hardly even see,
What’s the point of not drinkin’ from now until infinity?
Oh drink, yes I’ll drink, till she’s gone right out my mind.
Toss back that whiskey, till the barkeep calls quittin’ time.
But no matter how much damage I do to my liver,
I’ll try my best to forgive her,
But Lord knows I’ll never forget her.”

Rusty’s voice broke Cole out of the trance. “Sorry,” Rusty said as he poked a button on his phone. “I bumped into the wall and my ass turned on my radio app.”

“Rusty,” Sharon said as she gave the red headed a lawman an equally quick hug.

He threw Cole a confused look. “Sharon.”

“How are you?” Sharon asked Cole.

Cole found a little spot on the floor to poke with the toe of his boot, a tactic that he used to stall for time. “Oh, fine, fine.”

Gordon had been standing off to the side for awhile. He coughed to remind his partner he was still there.

“Where are my manners?” Sharon said. “Cole, meet my partner, Gordon Bishop.”

Gordon and Cole locked eyes and traded angry glares. Neither of them knew why, but they instantly did not like one another. Their hands launched out like two angry sharks, consuming one another in a handshake. Gordon squeezed Cole’s hand tightly. Cole returned the gesture with a hard squeeze of their own. The faces of both men turned red. They gritted their teeth, waiting to see who would bow out first until finally they both caved at the exact same time.

“Gordon,” Sharon said. “This is Officer Rusty Yates.”

Before Rusty even knew it, his hand was being crushed by Gordon’s giant hand.

“A pleasure,” Gordon said.

As soon as Rusty’s hand was released, he shook it to and fro until the feeling returned. “Oh shit…likewise, big fella. Likewise.”

Cole scratched the back of his head. “What brings you big time city folk to our little old neck of the woods?”

“Take a wild guess,” Sharon said.

Cole was too busy sniffing the air. It smelled of Eau de Price Town, the cheap perfume that Sharon had always worn. How he missed it. It was as if each nostril full brought him nourishment.

“Countess Cucamonga,” Rusty said.

Sharon tapped the side of her nose with her finger. “You got it.”

“You got any leads?” Rusty asked.

“Just an idiot who’s cooling his heels in lockup,” Sharon said. “But other than that, not a one. Frankly, we were hoping you’d have some.”

Cole kept staring at Sharon. Suddenly, he realized he’d been staring for too long, so he looked around the room, anywhere he could to avoid eye contact.

“Cole?” Sharon asked.

“Huh?” Cole asked as he stared at the ceiling.

“You got anything?” Sharon asked.

“Oh,” Cole said. He half-looked at Sharon. He couldn’t bring himself to look her in the eye, so he focused on the wall just to the right of her. “Not much. Bunch of college kids in the bathroom. The male’s dead. The four females were knocked unconscious and rushed to the hospital.”

“Well,” Sharon said. “We’ll have to talk to them as soon as they wake up.”

Cole nodded.

“What about that old timer in the nursing home?” Rusty asked. “Saw one of the Hot Ass Blonde Chicks with Big Titties talking about it on NN1.”

“Yeah,” Sharon said. “And frankly, I was surprised the media found out about that so quickly. Pretty much the same situation. Man sits on the toilet, ends up all over the walls. No one knows how. No one knows a damn thing.”
Rusty cracked his knuckles. “Sounds like we got the case of the century here.”

“Sure does,” Sharon replied.

“Well, as soon as the state crime lab boys grace us with their presence, we might know more,” Rusty said. “We’ve been cooling our heels waiting on them awhile.”

“Oh,” Sharon said. “I probably should have called ahead and filled you two in. I called the state crime lab off.”

Cole was useless. Still looking around the room. Still smelling the perfumed air.

Gordon chimed in. “Because we can’t trust a crime scene of this magnitude to a bunch of backwater hayseeds, Opie.”

Rusty stepped up to Gordon. “Opie? Who are you calling Opie?”

Gordon was at least five inches taller than Rusty and had fifty pounds of extra muscle. He looked down at his challenger. “You, Opie.”

Rusty’s angry face disappeared. A fake smile emerged. “Oh! Because of my red hair! I get it. Hilarious, man.”

Sharon turned to Cole. “Thank you for everything. We’ll take it from here.”

Cole nodded.

Rusty was irate. “What?”

“The FBI will be running with the ball on this investigation,” Sharon said.

“The hell you are!” Rusty said.

“You got a problem with that, Opie?” Gordon asked.

Rusty gulped a big helping of fear down his throat, then looked up at Gordon. “As a matter of fact, I do, Gigantor. Cole and I have been patrolling this town for going on twenty years now and the one time something happens worth investigating and you two hot shots with your fancy suits think you’re going to waltz right in here and take it away from us?”

“Damn right, Ritchie Cunningham,” Gordon said.

“Ah, hell,” Rusty said. “That doesn’t even count.”

“It counts,” Gordon said.

“No it doesn’t,” Rusty said. “Because Ritchie Cunningham and Opie were played by the same person, so it’s not like you thought of a new insult.”

“You know I did, Ron Howard,” Gordon said.

Rusty pointed a finger at Gordon. “Now, see! That doesn’t count either!”

Sharon inserted herself between Gordon and Rusty, largely because she saw Gordon was getting a crazy look in his eye, a look she’d seen before her partner had gone off on people larger than Rusty and crushed them with his pinky finger.

“Boys!” Sharon said. “That’s enough. Rusty, this case is bigger than all of us. We’re not going to shut Sitwell PD out of this. You and Cole will be a very important part of the task force.”

“Task force?” Rusty said.

“I’ve got a team on the way to set up shop in your department HQ,” Sharon said.

Rusty couldn’t believe it. It was like every word out of Sharon’s mouth was worst than the last one.

“You’re taking over our department?” Rusty asked.

“Don’t be silly,” Sharon said. “Just the building. Miami’s become a madhouse with all the media coverage, so we need somewhere quiet to work. But don’t worry, Cole will still run Sitwell PD.”

“Oh,” Rusty said as he folded his arms. “That’s very kind of you, Your Highness.”

“I don’t like your attitude, Rusty,” Sharon said as she looked to Cole. “Are you going to say something to your boy here?”

Rusty also looked to his longtime partner. “Yeah, Cole. Say something to these carpetbagging bottom feeders. Kick their asses outta here.”

It took a few seconds for Cole to realize he was being spoken to. When he saw Sharon and Rusty staring at him and waiting for a response, he started to walk away.

“Sounds good, Sharon,” Cole said as he pushed the lobby door open. “Let me know if you need anything.”

As soon as Cole was out the door, Sharon stuck her tongue out at Rusty.

“Succubus!” Rusty shouted.

“See you later, Ron Howard,” Gordon said.

Rusty flipped out. “I’m not Ron Howard! Ron Howard is bald! I have a thick, luscious mane of hair!”

The redhead stormed out onto the campus and caught up to Cole.
“What are you doing?” Rusty asked.

Cole walked faster than his feet had ever taken him before, putting as much distance between himself and the crime scene as possible.

“Aww, who gives a shit, Rusty?” Cole said. “They want it? Let ‘em have it. I got more important things to do. I don’t need to be marching all over God’s green earth looking for the fat ass pop star killer.”

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A Note On Toilet Gator

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Writing a book is a lot like running a marathon.

I’m not talking about stamina.  I’m talking about dealing with mishaps along the way.

Suppose you’re running a marathon and you drop your keys.  You don’t realize until your five miles away from where you dropped them.

Are you going to circle back and look for them or are you going to keep going?

You’ve got to keep going if you want to get across that finish line.  Cross the line, then take a breath, get in the car and go back and look for them.

Same with writing.  You think of something that would have been good after you write certain chapters.

Should you go back and change those chapters?  Not necessarily.  You could…but you might realize other changes need to be made down the line.  You’ll be rewriting chapters forever.

So here’s my note.

I didn’t think at first how Natalie finds out that there are other “murders” with similar circumstances.  I decided too late that she would be getting mysterious text messages.  So, in the rewrite, I’ll have to add that earlier.

This note is more or less for me…though if you are one of the 3.5 people actually reading the chapters, there’s some info for you.

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Movie Review – Patriots Day (2016)

Wacky Boston accents.  Explosions.  Mark Wahlberg wants you to say hello to your mother for him.

BQB here with a review of Patriots Day.

It’s not easy to make a movie about real, tragic events.  First, there’s the possibility that people might be offended by the idea of Hollywood making a buck off of other people’s misery.

Second, real life often does not provide cookie cutter storylines.  Thus, movies like these often come across as well-acted documentaries instead of an actual cinematic story.

Mark “I’m From Boston So I Have to Be in All of the Boston Movies that Ben Affleck Isn’t In, Kid” Wahlberg leads the cast as Sgt.Tommy Saunders, a chronic pain sufferer forced to work crowd control on the Boston Marathon as a punishment.  Saunders is in the dog house with the department for unspecified reasons, but he’s assured this assignment will return him to good standing.

What begins as a fun event quickly turns tragic when bombs go off.  Scenes of mayhem, carnage, responders assisting people who have lost limbs, blood, body parts etc.  Personally, I could have done without seeing that, though I understand the overall goal was to explain to the viewer the pain, both physical and mental, that people experienced due to this attack.

Throughout the film, we are introduced to various people from all walks of life, from a young studious couple who end up losing their legs, to the poor unfortunate MIT police officer who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, to the dude who’s just checking his text messages when he gets kidnapped by a pair of terrorists and forced to go on a scary ride as their hostage.

Things get more interesting as the hunt for bombers/terrorist brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev gets underway.  Kevin Bacon and John Goodman are among the actors who play the assorted suits in charge.

One part that caught my attention was how technology made a big impact on the investigation.  Officers collected cell phones from the scene and were flooded with emails from citizens who had been recording footage.  Based on all that data, the authorities were able to find images of the two suspects.

It all concludes in a frightening chase/stand-off in Watertown, where the Tsarnaevs shoot at and hurl homemade bombs at police officers.  The scenes rival any action packed summer blockbuster.  Intriguing to watch until you realize…this actually happened.  Dun dun dun.

Overall, I felt the film treated the event with respect, though there has been some controversy.  For example, there have been some reports that Dennis Simmonds, a black police officer who was injured during the Watertown shootout, then died a year later from his wounds, was not granted any screen time.  Way to go, Hollywood.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  It runs long.  You could wait to rent it, though the Watertown shoot out scene is pretty intense on the big screen.  Again, I do say that reluctantly, as this stuff actually happened.

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Movie Review: Live By Night (2017)

Tommy guns!  Dizzy dames!  Ben Affleck in a white suit mumbling incoherently.

Youse guys better check out this movie if youse know what’s good for youse, see?

BQB here with the 1930s period piece/screen adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s historical crime novel, Live By Night.

Ben “Look At Me, I’m From Boston So I Have to Be in All the Boston Movies, Kid” Affleck stars as stick up man Joe Coughlin, a petty thug/World War I veteran who, despite being Irish, rises up through the ranks of the Italian mob on a mission of vengeance against the rival mobster who killed the maul he loved.

It’s a great premise.  It’s fun to see the past brought to life on the big screen.  Historic films rarely do well at the box office anymore, so it’s great to see Hollywood sticking up for them anyway.

Further, we’ve seen gangster era New York on screen, but its rare to see somewhere like Boston in the thirties.

My main complaint is the film tends to wander.  The whole point of the film is Joe seeking revenge, but he takes a roundabout zig zag approach to it instead of a straight line.  Halfway through the film you start to forget what Joe is up to.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Probably the best you’re going to see on screen in January.

 

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Should Amazon’s Alexa Be Forced to Help with a Murder Case?

“Alexa, can you under me new socks?  Alexa, can you order me more toilet paper?  Alexa…can you help solve a murder case….DUN DUN DUN.”

Yes, 3.5 readers, Amazon’s Alexa, the little voice on an Echo Dot that you can put in your home and ask to order you shit and do stuff for you has become the focus of a murder case in Arkansas, where authorities believe Alexa may have heard (i.e. recorded) incriminating evidence or may have been used to order something incriminating.

I don’t know.  On the one hand, Amazon can be a big help.  You can order things as you realize you need them and if you have Prime, they’ll come in a day or two.  Otherwise, if you are busy, you might have to suck it up and go without it until you can get to the store, and then what if you go to the store with your shopping list and you forget?  Plus, you have to drive to the store, walk around all the aisles, carry all the shit into your house…bleh.

I can see why prosecutors might want the information in order to help put a murderer away.  As a conspiracy theorist though, I wonder if there’s a slippery slope where government agents in black helicopters might start collecting info on when I order new underpants or whatever.

I don’t have an Echo Dot.  I have mixed feelings on Amazon.  The ease of ordering is good.  Sometimes it is too good and then you end up ordering crap you don’t need.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Man Robs Bank to Go To Jail So He Can Get Away from His Wife

As reported in today’s Washington Post and other media outlets, a 70 year old, apparently fed up with his wife after an argument, robbed a bank and as he stated to police, to go to jail because he felt that being in the hoosegow would be a better fate than having to live with his wife.

Well…my first thought is maybe he’s just exaggerating and maybe he and his wife just had a really bad day…but then again, I’ve never met his wife.

I guess he could get a divorce but then again a) if that led to her getting the house and b) he’s not a young stud muffin who could rebuild his life and get another house and c) he’s not wrong about her being that bad then…hell, maybe his scheme was almost understandable.

DISCLAIMER: Understandable, but obviously not advisable. Surely there are public programs, charities and services one could turn to if you’re old and you hate your wife and don’t want to live with her anymore.

At any rate, this fine blog and its proprietor do not advise you to rob a bank under any circumstances and especially as a ploy to get away from your wife, no matter how horrible you believe her to be.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

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Let’s Talk Making a Murderer

Thanks Netflix.  Thanks a lot.

Got no work done this weekend, ended up binging on Making a Murderer instead.

SPOILERS!  SPOILERS!  SPOILERS!

Don’t read on if you haven’t watched it yet.  This post is meant to be a discussion for people who want to talk about the series…WHO HAVE ALREADY WATCHED IT!!!

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: I have no idea if any of the crap I am about to say is accurate.  I am just opining on the show.

So here we go.  BQB’s thoughts:

 The First Case – Penny Beernsten

So it’s clear Steven Avery is innocent here.  Testing that occurred years after his conviction due to advances in DNA testing methods indicated that the culprit was in fact Gregory Allen, a guy in the area who physically looked like Avery (same hair color, body type).

Allen, according to the documentary, had been known to local law enforcement, so much so that they kept him under surveillance.

Did the police act with malice?  (i.e. did they intentionally try to put Avery behind bars because they didn’t like him?)

There was the argument that one of the deputies was friends with a woman that Avery had run off the road and so on.

Personally, I think the issue might have been more about negligence – i.e. they found a suspect, they made it stick, and it was just too much of a pain in the ass hassle to go after someone else.

Is negligence better?  Well, it’s not great, and it thoroughly sucks that someone was wrongfully convicted.

At any rate, its impossible to deny the wrongful conviction.  The court set the conviction aside, Avery was released, even the victim acknowledged the mistake.

The Second Case – Teresa Halbach

A tougher case.

First, as the documentary starts to get into it, your gut begins to tell you maybe something’s up.  What are the odds of a guy wrongfully convicted of a crime being accused of another major crime?

  • Avery had become a public hero and a symbol for a justice reform.
  • The state legislature had been in the process of working on a bill that would compensate him $450,000.
  • A civil case was underway that’d likely have gotten him millions.

BUT…as much as the wrongful conviction sucks…people who have had sucky things happen to them don’t get a free pass or an excuse to commit a terrible crime.

In other words, your gut, or at least mine, began to tell me to keep an open mind on both sides:

  • Yes, it is odd a wrongfully convicted person got convicted again but…
  • It isn’t impossible for someone to be not guilty of a first crime and then be guilty of a second crime.

The Frame Defense

Hmmm.  This was a tough one.

This is where some may disagree with me but…

I don’t believe the officers framed Steven Avery.

Why?

  •  You see a hole in Avery’s blood vial from his first case.  You, like Buting, start to think, “Oh well, maybe that could have been used to put Avery’s blood in Teresa’s RAV4.”
  • OK…BUT – what about the fire pit with all the bone fragments?  And the barrels with all the bone fragments?

Someone tell me if I’m wrong but for the police to have framed Avery, they would have had to…

  • Dig into Avery’s life until they discovered that a photographer for Auto Trader was coming to the Avery property on a regular basis to take car photos.
  • Kill her.
  • Plant Avery’s blood in the car
  • Dump her car on the Avery property without the Averys noticing.
  • Burn her body somewhere else but then scatter bone fragments in a pit and in barrels on the Avery property, AGAIN without the Averys noticing.
  • Plant Avery’s DNA on the car key and plant it in Avery’s room.

BUT – Could someone else have killed Teresa and the police just took advantage to railroad a guy they didn’t like?

In my opinion, where the “Frame Defense” gets weak is the bone fragments.

Did the police have access to Avery’s blood? Yes. However, the FBI did run a test that showed some of the blood in the car did not have the testing chemical that would have been in the stored blood sample.

But ok.  Say you still think they planted the blood in the car.

How did the bone fragments get onto the property then???

I think if you accuse the cops of planting the blood, then you practically have to accuse them of planting the bone fragments too because if Avery didn’t do it then how else would the bone fragments have gotten there?

You could argue well some mysterious other murderer did it, then dumped the car and the fragments on the Avery property and then the cops were like “Yahoo!  We hate Avery so lets plant some shit to make this stick” but between accusations of cops planting a RAV4, putting blood in the RAV4 and then ANOTHER party dumping bones and making it look like a burning took place in the back yard…

…well, with all that happening I have to feel like the Averys might have noticed.

Was there a civil case?  Yes?   Were two cops deposed?  Yes?  Does that mean they’d go to the lengths of framing a guy?  I find that doubtful.  Cops, public officials, office holders, etc are sued all the time.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t envision cops being worried about a lawsuit enough that they’d frame a guy, plant evidence and somehow manage to either sprinkle the victims bones on the Avery property or benefit from some mysterious evildoer who did so.

So what the hell happened?

What made us all agree Avery was off the hook in the first case was the identification of another perpetrator.

Here, no other alternate suspect was found.

Brendan Dassey

Well, here’s where the case gets really complicated.  There’s another suspect and I suppose that means there’s room for theories that a) Avery did it and the nephew’s just a sap that got roped into it b) They did it together as the state alleged or c) maybe the nephew did it and Steven didn’t and well…while never Steven or Brendan came across as rocket scientists, I’m not sure Brendan could have pulled this all off on his lonesome.

The confessions are troubling.  Perhaps there should be a rule that kinds under 18 should always have a lawyer present during police questioning no matter what.

As a cautionary tale, if you’re a parent and your kid gets charged with something, insist you be there for any interviews and insist a lawyer is there too.

As for – is Brendan innocent?  I mean, he made statements he did it, and that he didn’t do it. He was clearly, for lack of a better description, not the brightest bulb, so yeah, he was probably manipulated into confessing and certainly the part where his own lawyer’s investigator is badgering him into confessing is troubling.

From the documentary itself, just as a pure question of whether or not he did it, I can’t tell.  What makes it hard for me is at one point he tells his mom something like he had to because Steven was stronger than him and then at another point he tells his mom basically that he just said what the cops wanted him to say.

In other words, in a very cloudy mind, his statements to his mother seem to provide the most insight into his head, and he made conflicting statements to his mother.

So who did it?

I think the bones on the property is the piece of info I can’t get away from.    The RAV4 on the property, the key in the room, the bullet in the garage, explain them all away but I just fail to see how the bones could have gotten there otherwise.

Does the documentary reveal a lot of things that law enforcement can do better? Yes.

But…absent evidence that someone carted a bunch of bones and spread them around Avery’s backyard, my gut tells me he did it.

Anyway, keep in mind I’m no expert and I’m just shooting my mouth off on a series.  Don’t take anything I wrote above to be accurate or correct.  Watch it yourself.

What are your thoughts?

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Making a Murderer

Anyone watch it yet?

I’ve only watched the first half hour so please, NO SPOILERS!

Generally speaking, is it as good as everyone says it is?

I mean, so far, it seems like bad police work but as far as the show goes, its not blowing me away so far, though like I said, I haven’t seen much of it.

Does it get better?

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Movie Review – Black Mass (2015)

All is forgiven for Mortdecai, Johnny.  All is forgiven.

I’d announce SPOILERS though all this stuff actually happened!  BQB here with a review of Black Mass.

“If nobody sees it, then it didn’t happen.”

So goes the advice of infamous Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to his young son after he got in trouble for punching another kid at school.  It’s a line delivered so eerily that it sets the whole tone of the movie.

It gives the viewer insight into just the kind of guy Whitey is.  Most parents would tell their kid not to punch anyone.  Whitey tells his to just make sure no one’s looking before he punches someone the next time.

Step aside Tony Soprano, as this true crime gangster flick shows  Whitey as one cold, calculating sociopathic serial killer, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake during his tenure as the boss of an organized crime family known as the Winter Hill Gang in South Boston from the 1970s to the 1990’s.

I was a fan of The Sopranos and the ongoing theme of that show was that Tony often felt bad about his crimes.  Of course, that didn’t stop him from being a murderer, but after the dirty deed, he’d feel bad, overeat, not sleep and walk around in his bathrobe and get so depressed that he’d need to go spill his guts to his confidant/ shrink Dr. Melfi.

Whitey, on the other hand – SPOILER – is able to strangle a hooker then take a nap and have dinner afterwards.

In one of the saddest turn of events in modern law enforcement history, FBI agent John Connolly struck a deal to use Bulger as an informant, but as we see in the movie, John becomes less concerned about justice and more about helping Whitey, his childhood friend, not to mention getting some extra gifts on the side.

Meanwhile, Whitey plays the FBI like a fiddle.  He gives them info needed to take down a rival Italian crime family moving in on his turf, but after that, pretty much feeds them bupkis.

If this sounds familiar, you might recall 2006’s The Departed, which was somewhat based on Whitey’s reign of terror.

I’ve always felt The Departed was one of the best gangster flicks I’ve ever seen and this one does meet it.

Johnny Depp solidifies his reputation as an actor who can become anyone.  He plays the ruthless yet somewhat quiet Whitey to a T and is barely recognizable on screen.

To complicate matters, Whitey’s brother was William Bulger, President of the Massachusetts Senate.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the South Boston politician well, delivering a powerful speech about how he’ll drive crime out of South Boston just as St. Patrick drove the Romans and British out of Ireland.

Ironic, given who his brother was.

What did William know about his brother, when, and what was his involvement?  Those are questions left on the table, though the film takes the standpoint that Billy basically suffered from being tied to a degenerate brother.

Can’t pick your family I guess.

Joel Edgerton turns in an excellent performance as Connolly, the fast talking Fed who always has a comeback ready to explain to his boss (played by Kevin Bacon) as to why Whitey’s being allowed to jerk the FBI around for his own personal gain.

Jesse Plemons (aka Creepy Todd from Breaking Bad) plays another creep, Whitey’s associate Kevin Weeks.  Poor Jesse’s stuck playing creeps I guess.

Adam Scott (known for comedic roles such as his part as Leslie Knope’s husband, Ben Wyatt on Parks and Rec) makes his first notable foray into drama as a Fed who’s suspicious of Connolly.

Overall, it’s a solid cast.  I could go into more detail, but I’d end up giving the rest of the story away.

Did Whitey win?  If you’re a news watcher, you know he went on the lam in the 1990’s after being tipped off by Connolly to an impending arrest, only to be caught in Santa Monica in 2011.

You might say justice was finally found.  Then again, Whitey was in his 80’s when he was nabbed so, he did get to live out his retirement years.

This is one of the first major Oscar contenders of the year and cements Depp as one of the greatest actors of our time.

If he takes home a gold statue for this, he will have earned it.

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Pop Culture Mysteries: The Wrong Guy – Part 8

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6   Part 7

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

I turned around to find two latinos, gangsters presumably.

I’d like to note I didn’t assume they were gangsters just because they were latino, but rather because of the heaters they were carrying.

Sorry, but Ms. Donnelly has advised me I have to be specific about these things so as to not upset today’s modern reader shutterstock_225997414-2(even though I only have 3.5 of them).

The one in the middle, the leader I presumed, was carrying a .45 Magnum.  That caliber of gun didn’t exist back in my day, but I’d seen them in a few movies over the past year and had been dying to get my hands on one of them.

(Not that it could ever replace Betsy, of course.)

The man in charge wore a long checkered shirt and he pulled a pair of sunglasses to the top of his head so he could stare the wannabe Rastafarian in the eye.

“Fernando!  So good to see you.  I was just about to call you.”

“Myron, you dumbass.  I can’t believe you’re still here.”

To Fernando’s right was a giant ox of a man, more like Mount Everest with eyes than anything.

“Told you, boss.”

“You did,”  Fernando said as he pulled out a big bulging billfold.  He pulled off a twenty-spot and handed it to his associate.

“Brujo and I had a bet,”  Fernando explained.  “I said there was no way you’d be stupid enough to still be here after that shit you and your boy pulled on Diego and Brujo said you were, in fact, that stupid.”

“Guys,”  Myron said.  “Can we all just take a deep breathe, have a seat, and talk about this?  I’ll put on a pot of coffee and we’ll really hash this thing out.  Whaddya say?”

“I say you start telling me why you were dumb enough to sell Diego a bag of baby powder for ten grand and think there wouldn’t be any consequences.”

Fernando looked at me.

“Who’re you?”

“Looks like a cop,”  Brujo said.

The situation called for some fast thinking.  Luckily, there wasn’t a private dick in LA with a speedier brain than mine.

“Nah,”  I said.  “Nah, I ‘aint no cop, see?”

I relinquished my grip on Myron’s neck, allowing him to stand freely.  I gripped Wanda’s handle and propped her barrels up against my shoulder.

Gangsters.  Sixty years since I’d been in the game and their modus operandi hadn’t changed a bit.  One bad guy hoodwinks another bad guy.  One bad guy says another bad guy owes him money and threatens to outfit him for a pair of cement shoes. It’s the same old song and dance number.

“This numbskull flim flammed my boss too, see?”

“What?”  Myron protested.  “That’s a lie!”

I backhanded Myron across the mouth.  “Shut your piehole ya’ mook ya or there’s another one where that came from!”

“Shit Myron,”  Fernando said with a grin.  “You and Craig are the two dumbest white boys in town.  Who’d you piss off now?”

Crickets.  Myron kept his mouth shut.

“Whose your boss?”  Fernando asked.

“What’re you writing a book or something?”

Fernando looked at Brujo.

“One-eyed Frank.”

“That’s it,”  Fernando said as he gestured toward me with his piece.   “One-eyed Frank is so paranoid he always tells his people to keep their mouths shut.”

Sometimes being a private dick means making a split-second decision and running with it, letting the chips fall where they may.

“Yeah,”  I said.  “Yeah, I work for One-eyed Frank.  Franky the Cyclops we call him.  What’s it to you?”

Fernando grabbed me by the neck and Brujo pressed the cold steel of his .45 up against my jaw.

“I hate One-eyed Frank.  Him and all you racist Aryan Brotherhood expletive deleted…”

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  I try to keep this blog PG-13, but if you must know, Jake’s original unedited case file stated that Fernando accused the Aryan Brotherhood of fornicating with their mothers.

“I ought to blow your head off right now, chop you up and send you back to that eyepatch wearing expletive deleted…

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: More alleged mother fornication.

“…in pieces.”

I’d made a mistake by saying I worked for One-eyed Frank without knowing who he was, but it was too late to back peddle.

Aryans.  Modern day Nazis.  As the 3.5 readers of this series are aware, there’s no one who hates Nazis more than yours truly.

Come to think of it, punching Adolf Hitler in the face had been the greatest accomplishment of my life so far, even though my own government had sworn me to secrecy on the details of Operation Fuhrerpunschen.

So I didn’t like being accused of being one of those sickos, but I wasn’t in a position to argue.

Fernando let me go and backed off.

“Ahh, but the last thing Diego wants is a war.  I kill one of Frank’s guys, he kills one of ours, it all turns into a whole thing.  Who has time for it?”

“I’ve never met this man in my life and I don’t know anyone named Frank, one eye or two eyes or whatever,”  Myron added.

I slapped Myron again.  I was starting to enjoy it.

“What did I tell you jerk-o?  Keep yer yapper shut or I’ll shut it for you, see?”

“Is that true?”  Fernando asked.  “Are you bullshitting me now?”

“Nah,”  I said.  “This guy’s a degenerate liar, see?  Sold One-eyed Frank a bag of baby butt powder and told him it was one hundred percent pure snow.  Frank’s madder than a mental patient and out for blood.  Of course this turkey won’t admit it.”

Fernando tucked his hand cannon into his waistband, then grabbed Myron’s hand and slammed it down on the nightstand.

Brujo flipped open a butterfly knife.

In Myron’s eyes, I could see an ungodly fear.

“All right, check it out,”  Fernando said to me.  “Diego wants his head but it’s cool if you want to take a few fingers back to Frank as proof that Myron’s dead.  How many you want?”

“Guys, I just want to make it clear that Craig and I realize the error of our ways and if you give us some more time, I’m sure we could come up with a payment plan that would satisfy…”

“Shut up,”  Fernando said.  “Start choppin’ Brujo.”

“Eh,”  I said as I shrugged my shoulders.  “I don’t need this galoot’s digits, boys.  Frank trusts me.  You two have fun.  I’ll get out of your hair.”

I whistled a jaunty tune as I walked out of Myron’s bedroom and made my way to the door.

It felt like justice to me.  Myron was obviously an imbecile who’d nosedived into the criminal underworld without a true understanding of its rules, or rather, lack thereof.  He was about to learn the hard way that the only rule is that if you piss of the wrong guy, you’re going to end up fish food.  (Or worm food, depending if you’re buried at sea or in the ground.)

But then, as I put my hand on the knob, I heard Myron scream not like the man he was physically, but the little boy he was inside.

Sometimes it’s not easy being the good guy.  Being on the right side of the law means never leaving a man behind, even if he’s a poor excuse for one.

I walked back into the bedroom just as Brujo was about to slice off Myron’s thumb.

“Say fellas…”

The gangsters turned to me.

“I was just thinking, old Myron here is the only one who knows where Craig is and if we hack him to ribbons before he spills the beans then Craig might walk scott free and I don’t know about Diego but Frank sure won’t be happy.”

“He’s got a point,” Brujo advised Fernando.

“Talk,”  Fernando said.  “Where’s Craig?”

“OK! OK!”  Myron said as his eyes streamed tears.  “He’s at…”

Sweet Mitzi Gaynor’s garter belt, this kid held less water than thimble.

I wanted to catch Craig myself, not invite Mr. Medium and Mr. Extra-Large to carve him up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

“Here, let me at him!”

I walked over to the window, opened it up, then grabbed Myron by his dreadlocks and dragged him over.

“Tell us where Henneman is or out you go!”

“Oh shit,”  Fernando said.  “Frank’s boy is hardcore!”

“I’m trying to tell you!”  Myron squealed.  “He’s hiding out at…”

Like I said, sometimes being a private dick means making a split-second decision, running with it and letting the chips fall where they may.

The human mind had an uncanny ability to explain away the unexplainable.  All day long, I’d been telling myself that my throat hadn’t really been cut the night before, that I’d dreamt the whole thing.

But I knew pain and I knew it really happened.

If I could live through having my neck opened up like a Pez dispenser, then that was certainly an advantage, to say the least.

It was time to stop denying my immortality and start embracing it.

To this day, I don’t know why I did it, but I scooped Myron up in a bear hug, turned around, and hurled us both out of a twelve story window.

The things I do just to keep myself from becoming a bad guy.

Copyright (2015) Bookshelf Q. Battler.

All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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