David Lopez was a mountainous man, homicide detective in the Orlando Police Department. Fair and just; he took pride in his work. As a beat cop he always held a good relationship with the people of the community he served. David was a hero to many of the children because of his impressive physique and the respect he showed them. The uniform made him look almost like a superhero. In a neighborhood where the police were often believed to be a negative presence, David had inspired some of the children to become law enforcement officers. Eventually he joined homicide because he figured he could serve more by solving murders and taking dangerous criminals off of the streets.
As a child David was chubby, unpopular and insecure. He had few friends and wasn’t very athletic so instead of playing sports or joining groups, he lost himself in books. There was one series of books in particular that helped to shape his young mind and grant him confidence. Refuge of the Renegade Ras Cats was his favorite.
The tale was of brave heroes and heroines in feline form, worlds away. The author of the series, Arthur Aimes, captured a generation of children with his exciting adventures in the saga of the Ras Cats. David was so moved that he wrote his favorite author a letter proclaiming his love for Mr. Aimes’ work and the awesome characters he’d created. When he got his response letter less than a month later, David was on top of the world. He felt like he had a direct line to the genius.
Arthur detailed in the letter how David could draw upon the strength of the Ras Cat Covenant. He now had the knowledge and insight to improve every area of his life positioning him to improve the world. All things were now obtainable in David’s world; he just needed to draw upon the lessons he’d learned. That day David changed his mind state, self image and eventually his body image.
David started training and even became a little more social. He grew a few inches in height as well as on his arms and chest. His transformation thrust him into the high school popular crowd early in his junior year. He still wasn’t quite coordinated enough yet to make the sports teams but he became a workout warrior. After graduation he decided that he would be a real hero so he enrolled in the police academy.
Now here he was years later called to the scene of a homicide. By his side, his partner Larry Gaft. Larry was a not a large man like his partner; he was a sensitive man in touch with his feminine side. Gaft fancied himself a gourmet of fine dining and lover of animals. He idolized his partner and friend David Lopez; their bond was strong. David led with the questioning as they crossed the threshold of the penthouse suite.
“Hello, I’m detective Lopez and this here is Detective Gaft and who might you be?”
“Hi, I’m Joel Simmonds, Mr. Aimes’ assistant .”
“Did you find the deceased?”
Joel removed his glasses and wiped away a tear before answering the detective’s question. After composing himself, Joel put back on his glasses, cleared his throat and answered the question.
“No, I was in my room on the third floor; apparently Mr. Aimes was keeping company.”
Joel pointed over to three scantily dressed young ladies sitting on a love seat across the room. The women looked pretty shaken up.
“So from your understanding, what happened here?”
“Apparently Mr. Aimes was enjoying the company of those young ladies of the night and someone knocked on the door. Mr. Aimes looked through the peak hole and after cursing a little about the interruption, let the person in. The guy was wearing a mask. Once he was inside he pulled a gun and shot Mr. Aimes until his gun was empty.”
Gaft was skeptical about Mr. Simmonds account of the events.
“Can you tell me how you know this sir?”
“The girls told me.”
“Oh, and how exactly did you know the gun was empty?”
“The girls told me it was clicking and no more bullets were coming out. They said he pulled the trigger over and over again.”
David was lost in his own thoughts. He had some questions of his own to ask Joel Simmonds.
“Larry, why don’t you go over there and get a statement from the young ladies. We need a first hand account of exactly what happened here. I’ve got a few more questions for Mr. Simmonds here.”
Larry nodded then made his way to the women on the small couch. David turned his attention back to Joel.
“So why were you and Mr. Aimes staying in this hotel anyway?”
“We were in town for a book signing and speaking engagement.”
“Is this gentleman Author Arthur Aimes?!”
“Yes, yes it is.”
“Oh my God! I grew up on his books! I always wanted to meet him, but never like this. This is a huge loss to the world.”
Joel thought David’s excitement to be a bit over the top but he understood the effect his late boss had on the children who read his books over the years.
“Yes, it is a big loss.”
David felt a great need to solve this horrible crime. He took the murder of his friend and hero personally. Arthur Aimes would be avenged; David would see to it. He felt the need to share his story with Joel.
“You know, I wrote a letter to him when I was a kid and his response changed my life and shaped me into the man I am today.”
“Yes, he told me that there was great strength within me. I just needed to tap into it like a spring and then the greatness from within me will be forever flowing. It all starts with believing.”
Joel looked the large man over, debating whether or not to break his heart and ruin the image he had of his childhood hero and favorite author. He figured he was a big boy so he should be able to handle it. He was going to find out one way or another.
“Were you a chubby Puerto Rican kid with glasses living here in Central Florida?”
“Was your greatest fear an alien attack on the earth?”
“Yes, you read my letter and saw my picture?”
“Yes I read your letter and I wrote you a letter back.”
“What do you mean? I thought Author Aimes wrote me back.”
“No, I wrote you back like I did all of the lonely kids that wrote the great Arthur Aimes. I used one of four closing responses I wrote up to inspire little underachievers and under believers to do more. Arthur was far too busy with his hookers, cocaine and gambling to even consider responding to his biggest fans. So, he left it to me.”
David stood there just looking straight ahead with a blank expression on his face; he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. This couldn’t be the man he worshiped all of his life. Joel was on a role. He was happy too get some stuff off of his chest. He couldn’t help himself, he had to tell it all.
“I know you want to find out who did this and you’re willing to pour a lot of resources to into finding Arthur’s killer but that won’t be necessary.”
David snapped out of his trance.
“What do you mean by that?”
“I mean, I know who the killer most likely is.”
David was irritated.
“Well why didn’t you lead with this?”
“Well you didn’t ask me.”
David fought a slight urge to choke the man before asking him to continue on with what he had to say about the murder.
“Please tell me what you know about this murder.”
“Mr. Aimes had another assistant who worked part time for him doing some of the same things I do. He did a very good job but was fired by Mr. Aimes three months ago.”
“Why was he fired.”
Joel took a deep breath while shaking his head. He now felt terrible for not intervening in the mess that was Arthur Aimes’ and Jack Hall’s relationship.
“Well Arthur was carrying on with Jack’s wife and that caused him to have to fire the guy. He said that he didn’t want to have to hear someone walking around all day bitching about who he banged… even if it was their wife. So, he just fired him. Then a week later he dumped Jack’s wife. He told her the thrill was gone. With Jack not being there to suffer over their relationship, there was no thrill to banging her. He ruined their family for nothing. They have three kids and a mortgage!”
It took David a few moments to digest what he had been told. He just couldn’t believe it. This was the man that taught him to dream and then dream a dream greater than that dream. How could he be this despicable of a character?
“So you think this Jack Hall was angry enough to shoot Mr. Aimes?”
“Yes without a doubt. He said he was going to do as much. He told everyone within earshot that he was going to kill the son of a bitch.”
That night after his shift David confided in his partner about his feelings on what he learned about his childhood hero.
“Larry you know I thought he was the greatest guy in the world and he was damn near the worst. I can’t believe the things he did and how he lived his life. He didn’t even write me the letter that changed my life. He was pretty much a fraud and that’s where I gained my strength from? Well what does that make me?”
His little partner walked over and put his hand on his shoulder before answering his rhetorical question.
“It makes you the hero that you have always been. You are a hero to many people in this city and you are a great man to boot. It was great that you got your confidence from a book we all have to get it from somewhere. I get mine from you. Aimes’ shortcomings are his to own, not yours. David, you are my hero.”
They both laughed as David broke Larry’s embrace.
“Alright, this is getting a little too weird for me.”
A week later they arrested Mrs. Maureen Walker for first degree murder after interviewing her husband and verifying his whereabouts at the time of the murder. Maureen was caught on camera walking into the hotel lobby shortly before the murder was committed. She was convicted and David and Larry were awarded and commended. David learned that he was still a hero after all.