The Talkers Part 2

Talkers2
Tammy and Tommy found themselves low on cash weeks later and were ready to do another heist. They contacted the gang’s leader Barry to see if he had anything lined up.

“Yea Tommy, I might have a little something lined up for ya. You and your chick stop by here around two tomorrow and we’ll talk things over.”
“Sounds good Barry, thanks man. Talk to ya then.”
“Later.”
“Later.”

Tommy shared the good news with the girl he so loved and they jumped for joy together. They figured it was time to get high and celebrate. The two raced to their dealer’s place to get a little taste. When they got there he had a lot of questions for them.

“I’m glad ya’ll stopped by today; I need to talk to y’all about something.”

The coupled looked puzzled. Tommy spoke up.

“What’s up Terry?”
“I’ve been trying to find your buddy Ralph.”
“Ralph?”
“Yea Ralph, have you seen him?”
“Well, not for a couple of weeks, not since our last job.”
“Job?”

Tammy nudged Tommy; she knew he had said too much. Terry looked them both over then threw a bag of junk on the table as an offering for the information he was in search of. Tammy quickly snatched it up then nodded to Tommy giving him the okay to proceed.

“Terry can you keep a secret?”

Terry smirked at Tommy’s question.

“What are we in the second grade or something? Just answer my question dick wad.”
“Well, you know we’ve been doing a few heist around town.”
“I know you two assholes aren’t robbing anyone, you don’t have the balls.”

Tammy, spoke up as she sniffed the brown powder.

“Well I don’t have balls at all smart guy and we don’t have to rob anyone. We just talk to them.”

Tommy and Tammy ran down their little team’s operations to Terry and he took it all in. They told him times, locations and everyone’s jobs. Terry now knew that Ralph was a get away driver on Barry’s robbing crew. Unknown to the couple was Terry and Barry’s beef. Terry believed that Barry and Billy robbed him two years earlier of his drugs and cash but he couldn’t prove it. He didn’t share his feelings about the two guys, he just focused on Ralph.

“Look, Ralph is a wannabe drug dealer and fronted a bunch of junk from me. He’s ducking me now and I want my damn money. I need you two to help me find him.”

He pointed down at the bag, there’s more where that came from. Tammy and Tommy smiled wide. They thought nothing of giving up their partner in crime Ralph for free drugs.

Days later Barry held a meeting to brief his crew on their next job. Tammy and Tommy took it all in. After the meeting was adjourned Tammy and Tommy chatted Ralph up. Tammy started in; she knew Ralph always had a thing for her.

“So Ralph, whatcha getting’ into?”

Initially he gave her a skeptical look but her smile won him over.

“I don’t know, I was going to go back to my buddy’s pad and have a few beers. I’ve been staying there for a little while.”

Tammy invited herself along while Tommy made himself scarce.

“Tommy’s got to run a few errands so you mind if I hang out with you guys for a little while?”
“Sure, sure, the more the merrier.”

Twenty minutes later they were back at Ralph’s hideout. Tammy had no intention of showing Ralph any affection. She was just going to drink her fill and do as much of his drugs as possible. The night went as planned. She avoided getting physical with Ralph while getting high out of her mind. She used the excuse of not quite being over Tommy but gave Ralph hope that she could possibly be leaving him soon giving them the opportunity to be together.

When she left there she went home and told Tommy where Ralph was staying. The next day they shared the information with Terry and he supplied them with more free drugs. Later that day Terry kicked open the door to the apartment where Ralph was staying and pistol whipped him well. Terry took everything of value he could find netting himself a nice profit. He got three times what the drugs were worth leaving Ralph broken and desperate.

Terry wasn’t done yet. He still had an axe to grind with Barry and Billy. He knew they robbed him and he’d been waiting for a chance to get revenge on them. Tommy and Tammy told Terry the crew’s plan for the next robbery as he fed them more drugs. He figured he’d use that information to sink his foes. It was time for Barry and Billy to face the music and pay the piper in one.

 

The Talkers Part 1

talkers1

Tommy’s a talker; Tammy is a talker they chat up the gatekeepers. While chatting they observe their surroundings. Note is taken of the time of day, number of employees and security. They play the role of the loving young couple in search of the perfect engagement ring. The two share their dreams of such a bright future, marriage, purchasing their first home and eventually children. They share potential baby names as well as what schools they want their children to attend. Across the counter the older more experienced clerk smiles at their naïveté concerning family. The kids were getting way ahead of themselves.

Unknown to the all knowing jeweler is that these kids have no intention of purchasing anything. They are just the precursor to the robbery to occur days later. Tommy and Tammy put out feelers about hours of operation and the number of employees.

“So this is a family owned business huh? Just you, your husband and your two sons run the place. I would love for us to have our own mom and pop shop one day down the line. We can pass it on down to our children and keep the business in the family for generations to come. I know it had to be a lot of hard work but it must be very rewarding.”

The store owner smiled before answering.

“Yes, it is. It is the most rewarding thing to own your own business. People always told me two things when I was young. If you work half as hard for yourself as you do for a company you’ll have a successful career and if you do something you love for a living; you’ll never work a day in your life. I am so Blessed, I get the opportunity to do both, everyday of my life.”

After completing reconnoiters Tommy and Tammy were off with a promise to return and purchase once they decided on which of the beautiful rings was perfect for them. The store keeper encouraged them to take their time to discuss it. This was one of the most important decisions they would make in their young lives. They part ways with smiles and well wishes.

Three days later the same hardworking lady would be staring down the barrel of a gun while being demanded to give up all of the jewels and cash. Her husband and sons would be called from the back and waned not to push the alarm button under the counter. In less than five minutes they were relieved of their inventory, safe emptied, tied and gagged.

Back at the safe house waited the talkers, another job well done. Tammy and Tommy laughed as Ralph, Billy and Barry shared the details of the heist. The couple collected their cut then rushed to purchase the narcotic that had now become their life source. They sat and got high in a dirty motel room that night. After a meal of Chinese food they lay on the bed and looked up at the spinning ceiling fan caked with dust and debris. High and full, they wouldn’t have to “talk” for another two weeks or so when their money and drugs ran out. The talkers chatted about how much they loved one another, them against the world. Little did they know; they were winning battles but the world would eventually win the war. Their conversations could one day lead to their incarceration. The tale of the talkers.

Praying For The Teller

praying for the teller

A lady rushes to her bank before work to deposit her last thirty-five dollars in an effort to keep from bouncing her tithe check. She has overdraft protection but she wanted to avoid her account going into the negative. Before she left her home, she checked her account, it still held $175.00. Finally at the bank she makes her thirty-five dollar deposit. The teller takes her money, deposits it them remarks. “You know your account is in the negative.” The woman becomes livid, she explained that she just checked her account the asked… “Why wouldn’t you tell me that ahead of time? Why would you take what is obviously my last bit of money and then tell me that? Now I can’t use my account and I have no cash!” The teller had no compassion, she wouldn’t return the money. The lady called her sister on the way to work to vent but her sister had a different take on things. “You know you’re not broke. I owe you twenty bucks from last month when we went shopping. I’ll give it to you today, plus interest.” Her sister was touched. “You don’t have to do that.” “Yes I do. We should always be a Blessing to one another, you were a Blessing to me last month and now I can be a Blessing to you. But more importantly, don’t be mad at that lady at the bank. Pray for her, I feel bad for her for what she missed out on.” Her sister was now left puzzled. So, she continued on. “She had an opportunity to be a Blessing in someone’s life but instead she used that opportunity to cause you strife. You would be singing her praises for being thoughtful enough to warn you but instead you think little of her because she was so callous. Pray for her heart to be softened and changed; you need not worry you’ll always be fine. Your faith will always keep you and God will always Bless you.”

 

Keeping Curious Company

casino

“Girl where you headed tonight?”

“You know I’m going up to the casino to find me a new old fool tonight. I think tonight is the night I hit the jack pot!”

“Yeah, you can’t miss in there girl with all of those horny old men walking around with pockets full of money ready to waste. All you got to do is wait for them to get a little liquored up and then money starts pouring out of their pockets like a slot machine. I would go with you but my boys have got ballgames this weekend. I’ll be out in the hot sun all day and night so I need my beauty sleep.”

“Well I guess that means all the more drunken old sugar daddies for me then.”

The women shared one last laugh then said their goodbyes. Jody closed the trailer door behind her and Heather continued to tease her hair high. She was going for that ‘80’s look that the elderly gamblers loved. The thirty-two year old mother of three slid her slender frame into her tightest, shortest leather skirt.

The kids now lived with Grandma and Grandpa because mama saw partying and drinking as more of a priority than caring for her offspring. Three different fathers over three consecutive years led to her having her “tubes tied” to prevent her from having any more children. Each child was conceived in a drugged and drunken haze yet by the Grace of God each of them were bright and healthy boys. Their Pop Pop was a coach and each of the boys played little league baseball. The boys were happy and well adjusted, all stars.

Relieved of her responsibilities as a mother, Heather had more time to play and hustle men. She strutted into the casino twisting in her heels. Heather made eye contact with everyone and no one at the same time. She was on the prowl yet still playing as if she were hard to get. Leers and lustful smiles came her way as she made her way across the main casino floor. Eventually she settled at a craps table next to a graying man who seemed to be doing extremely well. The man was loud, boisterous and somewhat intoxicated.

Sixty-seven year old Jerry Reynolds was on fire that night. He had driven into town the night before on the pretense of a business trip. That was what Jerry told his loving wife Sharon. Their thirty-three year marriage was filled with Jerry’s philandering, great deceit and deception. He cheated on his wife with loose women of the night, bar floosies and young junkie girls he hired to work for him in his small construction business. He had been caught several times over the years making inappropriate and unwanted advances toward babysitters, employees’ wives and friends of his wife. There would always be a blow up but Sharon would eventually forgive him because she relied on him financially. Also, she didn’t want to struggle to raise four kids on her own. So, she dealt with her husband’s disrespect.

Now here he stood shaking up the dice rolling sevens, elevens and point like no body’s business. Suddenly, there a sexy woman stood next to him with a sparkle in her eye. As he reached for the dice she reached to put a marker down and his arm brushed her bosom. Heather responded sexily.

“Oh, well hello Mr. how are you today?”

She offered an inviting smile. Jerry returned her smile showing off his bridgework and veneers.

“As you can see here Sweetheart, I’m doing quite well. Now that you’re here, I’m doing even better. Jerry Reynolds.”

Jerry extended his hand to her then waved a cocktail waitress over so that he could order a drink for his new friend. Heather took his hand then introduced herself.

“Hello Jerry, I’m Heather Banks.”

“Well it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance Honey.”

They both ordered drinks from the server then Jerry asked Heather to blow on the dice for him. His hot streak still hadn’t been broken. Eventually he told her to put all her chips down; if she lost he’d cover her, if she won she got to keep the money. They won! Heather pocketed her winnings and bet no more. She was now just a good luck charm slurping down free drinks. Twenty minutes later Jerry’s hot streak cooled and he decided to make his way to a slot machine.

Arm and arm Jerry and his new friend made their way across the casino floor with drinks in hand. People gave them knowing looks; they could see the old man was keeping curious company. He was either her sugar daddy, “date” or some old fool the young girl latched on to that night to hustle. No matter the reason; they were an odd sight to behold. Jerry liked to play the big money slots, big money slots for the self proclaimed big shot. Jerry, a legend in his own mind.

“Go big or go home I always say.”

The fast friends shared another laugh. Heather was scheming on how to relieve this old fool of his cash. Little did she know just how easy it would be. Jerry started playing three machines at a time. His cold streak was still going so he drank a little heavier, Heather joined him. Eventually Jerry figured he needed a little extra luck so he had Heather work one of the machines while he worked the other two.

Suddenly lights and sirens went off on the machine that Heather was working. She hit the jack pot, $100,00.00! Heather jumped for joy, Jerry joined her. Casino employees approached her so that they could offer her the grand prize. Everyone was all smiles for a while until Jerry spoke up.

“Hey, hey wait y’all. I paid for these machines, I just let her push the button on this one a few times. Now, that there money is mine.”

He was quickly informed on how he was wrong about the situation.

“Sir, our policy is that whoever pulls the lever or pushes the button is awarded the winnings. If you two want to come to some kind of agreement that’s up to you but as for now, the money belongs to her.”

Jerry was dumbfounded, he turned to Heather.

“You’re not really gonna take my money are ya?”

Her face changed from gleeful to cold after hearing his words. She paused to think about it. Jerry grew impatient as they walked towards the cashier’s booth.

“Look bitch you better tell them something. Tell them it’s my money!”

Heather stopped in her tracks after hearing the insult from old Jerry. He said just the magic words that she wanted to hear. She turned and looked him in his blue cataract eyes.

“Look you got no cause to call me out of my name. I’m nobody’s bitch. You know I was going to give you some of this money but I don’t think you deserve it now. You don’t know how to treat a lady.”

“What! What the hell are you talking about! If you don’t give me my damn money!”

Jerry reached out and grabbed Heather by the arm and tried to shake her as she pulled away. Security rushed to the scene and pinned Jerry’s old portly frame to the floor. The other employees whisked Heather off to collect her winnings. They gave her fifty thousand dollars in cash and a check for fifty grand as well. Jerry was turned over to the authorities and transferred to the local police station for processing. He had to call his wife to bond him out; while doing so she got the details of his arrest from one of the female officers who didn’t care for him cheating on his wife with some young trailer tramp. Little did they know, Jerry had only known Heather for a little over two hours.

Mrs. Reynolds had enough. With the encouragement of her now adult children she decided to divorce her husband. It was just something about the money. He lost that money because as usual he was chasing after some young tail. Sharon got the house and half the business in the divorce. Jerry agreed to an increase in alimony to keep Sharon out of the business. He couldn’t bring himself to answer to her; he still couldn’t submit but he would pay.

Heather returned to the trailer park a queen. She broadcasted her victory all over social media and bragged to all of her friends. Heather bought whatever her heart desired. Jody heard the most of it and Heather had an outstanding debt to her. She’d been owed three hundred dollars from three income tax seasons earlier. When she brought it up to Heather she was told not to bring up old stuff just because she had money now. But then, Heather needed a favor.

“Jody I need a favor girl.”

“What?”

“My money is running a little low so I need to cash this check.”

“Okay, go tot the bank.”

“You know I ain’t got no damn bank account.”

“Well what about one of those check cashing places?”

“I had a situation with… well let’s just say I can’t go there either.”

Jody paused for a moment. It would seem that her friend was a bit more devious than she knew her to be. She had an idea what Heather wanted.

“Alright, what do you need me to help you with?”

“You got a bank account right?”

“Yes.”

“Well I was wondering if you could deposit the check for me. Then let me withdraw it after the waiting period.”

“I don’t know.”

“C’mon, you’d be doing me a big favor. What do you have to lose? Oh, and this way I can pay your money back to you. Hell, I’ll pay you back twice as much.”

Jody hesitated as if she was contemplating whether to do it or not. Her hesitation made Heather even more anxious.

“What do you say?”

“Okay, okay, I’ll do it.”

“Great, great, what are you doing now? Do you have time for us to go down to the bank?”

“I guess so, I’m off today.”

An hour later Heather was endorsing her check over to Jody and she deposited it. Heather was excited to know that is three business days she would be flush with cash again. Three days came and went and there was no word from Jody. Heather went over to her house and banged on the door, no answer. She walked around and looked in the windows; the place was empty. Heather was instantly overcome with fear, dread then anger. She rushed over to a neighbor’s house and asked if they’d seen Jody. Heather was told that she left two days before. Jody told some people that she was moving to Arkansas and others that she was moving to South Carolina. She told the next door neighbor that she found a great job in Georgia and the lady down the street that she was going to Kentucky to take care of her sick auntie. Heather was at a loss… and a loss. Heather contacted the police, went to the bank and complained to anyone who would listen to no avail. She endorsed the check of her own free will; she was under no duress. Therefore she had just given Jody a gift. A gift of a lifetime

It would seem that she had been keeping curious company as well. Jody was always a good friend to Heather, giving but never receiving much in return. The few times Heather had her boys over the years, Jody looked after them while Heather played. When Heather’s food stamps were late, Jody fed her. When the men she scammed came looking for Heather, Jody gave Heather refuge and sometimes misinformation to the men to get rid of them. Yes, Jody had been a good friend to Heather and then Heather came into a bunch of ill gotten money. With that being so, she still couldn’t pay her dear friend what she owed her. Heather was just to much of a taker. She always had to be on the take, even when she had more than the giver.

So, for the first time in her life Jody decided to give someone a taste of their own medicine. Heather ran through fifty thousand dollars wastefully. Jody had a plan to change her and her kids’ lives with the same amount of money, moving and starting a new job in Maryland. They would live in a home in a safer neighborhood and her boys would go to better schools. Jody felt little remorse for she knew that Heather wouldn’t do anything good with the money and she should have given the old man half anyway. Well it would seem that the greedy Heather needed a little help learning to share. Jody was happy to offer that lesson to her former friend. Heather was back walking the casino floor and now Jody was living in a good community among good people, no longer keeping curious company.

Evicted from Society

evicted2

“Ma’am, I’m sorry to bother you, but do you think that you might be able to spare any loose change you may have.” Esther stepped back and looked the scruffy looking young man over then asked him one simple question. “Do you love Jesus?” Steven lifted his head and pushed his dingy brown hair out of his eyes to see Esther better before answering. “Yes ma’am I do, with all of my heart.” Esther continued to examine the man from a safe distance. He didn’t reek of alcohol or look to be strung out on drugs; he smelled of out doors but nothing that a shower couldn’t cure. Esther cocked her head at the man then asked him a second question. “Do you talk to him everyday.” Steven let out a chuckle and gave a brown toothed smile before replying. “Ma’am being in continual dire straights, how can I afford not to.” They shared a laugh and then Esther replied simply. “None of us can afford not to baby. I’m Esther and you are…” Esther said extending her hand to her new friend. Stephen wiped his hand on his pants before shaking the lady’s hand and introducing himself. “I’m Stephen, Stephen Murphy, good to make your acquaintance.” Esther took a seat on the bench outside the store and then patted the spot next to her, directing Stephen to sit down beside her. “Son, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” “No Ma’am, go right ahead.” “Well, you seem like a nice man and somewhat intelligent. I was wondering how you got to be homeless. You are homeless, aren’t you?” Stephen chuckled again. “I guess my uniform here gave me away.” He answered while pulling at the bottom of his stained shirt, looking down at it. The two fast friends laughed together again. Then Esther chimed in. “You sure are in high spirits for a man in your situation.” Stephen allowed his face to reveal the sincerity in his heart. “Ma’am I’ve got the joy of the Lord’s love in my heart always. He sent you here to speak with me today and for that I am grateful. This is the first bit of kindness I’ve been extended in several days.” Stephen ran his hands back through his hair as he took a moment to reflect on his journey before sharing his experience with his new friend. “My story is quite the sorted tale ma’am. I am actually from Flint, Michigan, born and raised. I’ve been homeless the last three years due to a string of unfortunate events. I used to work construction for over ten years before I got injured. It was great, traveling to everywhere in the mid-west to do work. Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati; I’ve work in ‘em all. I had a house, cars, savings, a wife and a child on the way as well three years ago. Things were great and I was on top of the world, literally; I worked high steel, sky scrapers. That was until I got hurt on the job, back injury.

I was out of work only three months when the bills started piling up. We ran through my savings in no time. My insurance didn’t cover much so I took out loans against my house to keep the lights on. Then I sold one of my cars. My wife was pregnant and caring for me was putting a great strain on our relationship. She left me five months after I was injured on the job; then I found out something that tore me to pieces. I didn’t have a baby on the way. My wife was pregnant but the child wasn’t mine; it was a high school buddy of mines. They had been carrying on for years whenever I was out of town. I can’t tell you how much it hurt me to discover how I was being betrayed by two people I trusted. I suffered many sleepless nights in pain, emotional and physical. Within six months my back was starting to feel a little better and I could walk around without a lot of pain. By the seventh month, my house was foreclosed on and I was evicted to live in my car. My parents died three years earlier and I didn’t have any family in the area anymore. We never had much family. Most of my friends, except the one having an affair with my wife, had moved away and started new lives in other cities. I eventually migrated into Detroit to be in a more metropolitan area where I might be able to find work and shelter. When I arrived there, I learned what it truly was to be homeless. After my car was towed, my third day in Detroit and I was left with no shelter, I became a citizen of a new dangerous world. I was attacked on my first night sleeping in the streets, robbed of all the worldly possessions I had left and beaten with a chain and lock. I almost starved while trying to recover from my injuries. That night I learned not to be weak. I found a small community living in a downtown bus terminal and joined them, my fee for entry was two half eaten Big Macs I found in a dumpster behind a Mc Donald’s. I’d never been much of a fighter in my life, but I certainly learned to fight back, I had to if I were going to survive. I lay on wet cardboard out in the open like an animal many night’s of my life. I often shared my bedding with animals mostly large inner city rats.” Esther winced at the graphic detail Stephen gave of a homeless man’s life in the big city. Stephen continued on with his terrible yet true tale of torment.

“The people living in the street displayed behavior of survival; it was a dog eat dog world. I could somewhat understand their brutality and immoral conduct but the actions of the “civilized people” truly surprised me. I never realized how cruel we Americans were to people without homes. They spat at me when passing by, teens ridiculed me or stole my shoes, tied the laces together and threw them up on a telephone wire when I was asleep. I would hear well to do ladies tell their children not to get too close to me as if touching me might be hazardous to their health. I was made to feel as if I weren’t human. Sometimes I wanted to yell out to them “This is not my choice, I didn’t want this; this is something that happened to me.” That is exactly what they don’t understand. Most of them are just one pay check away from being where I am, lost in an outcast world of desperation. The police were never any help to us what so ever; they were sometimes worse than the citizens. They called us skells or lice heads when running us away from some area that “decent folks” didn’t want us in. That was the only time that they interacted with us, to show us how much we weren’t wanted by the rest of the populace. That was when I finally understood that I had been evicted from society.

If one of us got attacked they would receive no medical treatment; the assault would even go uninvestigated unless someone was killed and sometimes not even then. If a person on the streets is sent to prison for a crime they commit, it is almost a reward for them. They knew that they’d eat and shower everyday. But, in actuality they were just being removed from one jungle and dropped into another. Tax payers came first; that’s who justice and medical treatment was meant for. It was certainly not essential to care for a man, woman or child who was not currently paying into the system no matter how many years of their lives they worked and paid taxes. I saw many people freeze to death in the cold winter streets of Detroit. I eventually migrated east to Philadelphia where I found survival to be just as challenging. I traveled by the same means as the men they once called Ho Bo’s. I hopped freight trains. There in Philly I slept on the subway platforms or heated grates around the city. ATM vestibules were a safe place to sleep sometimes until the mayor started cracking down on that as well. Police would often jar you from your sleep with a whack from their baton on your lower leg. That was your alarm, pain and ridicule. After another horrid winter outdoors, this time in Philly, I decided that it was time I moved to a warmer climate. I gave thought to settling down in Charlotte or Atlanta but I knew that it never got cold in Orlando so this is where I came. I thought that I might be served up a little southern hospitality and a steady day laborer’s job. Unfortunately, neither came to fruition. I was still viewed as a scary, smelly, subhuman being shunned from civilized society. Pan handling even became more difficult when they made the poor register for cards granting them the permission to pan handle then band them from being in certain areas of the city at certain times. If found you were detained and arrested. A lot of people, including myself, have gotten arrested on purpose just to get out of the rare cold, get a shower, a bed or meal.” Stephen paused and shook his head while inhaling deeply as he thought about his last shower and how good it was. “Showers are like a little piece of heaven in our world. To be clean and smell good is a luxury to a person on the street. I’ve done many things that I thought I’d never do while living out here. The way we live is a social injustice. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that a large number of people living on the street are there because they are addicted to drugs or alcohol, mentally ill or criminally insane. There are ways to help these people and to make the streets safer for everyone. There is no reason that even one American citizen should live on the street. We are the richest nation in the world. Rich enough to be involved in several wars at one time, explore outer space continuously and provide humanitarian efforts all around the world. A person’s mental health is not essential to treat if the person or their family has no money. Rehab facilities are big business now, there’s money to be made. They can’t be admitting anyone who is unable to compensate them handsomely for treatment. The criminally insane are never brought to justice as long as their crimes are against the undesirables. Some days can become mentally depressing as the anguish of a bleak future and the struggle to find food can overwhelm even the strongest of people.” Stephen pulled a napkin from his pocket and dap a tear from his eye as Esther listened intently. “There has been only one comfort during my three year decent into the world of homelessness. JESUS!

I was raised in a Pentecostal church as a boy in Flint and my parents were devout Christians. As I got older, I moved away from Christ and further into the ways of the world. I no longer attended church, tithed, prayed or read the Bible in my adult life. Things were going good, I had everything that I wanted and I thought that it was all because of me and the greatness I possessed. I never once gave thanks or praise to the Lord although I always knew the truth. It even took two and a half years of not having a home for me to turn to him. I have now and because of that, I have peace in my heart and spirit during these trying times. I know that he will deliver me from this and that’s what keeps me going. I understand that our time on this planet is temporary; it’s just a test. When I am done with this trial the Lord will call me home; he can now trust me with this life because I will use it to serve him until my time here is done. I don’t know exactly when my life here will get better or if it ever will but, I am grateful for my suffering. If it were not for me having to endure such hardship, I would never have turned to Jesus. I could have died the richest man on earth and been headed straight to hell for eternity. So, I remain grateful and thankful.” Esther threw her arms around Stephen’s shoulders and held him tight. She then started praying to Jesus that HE would give her the wisdom in her efforts to help this man and that they may both use his struggles to help others. She thanked HIM for allowing their paths to cross on that day and for the opportunity for them both to serve in a greater capacity. When she finished her prayer, she pulled back from Stephen and looked him deep into his tired eyes. “Stephen, our lives are going to change today, yours and mine. Oh how we are going to do a powerful work in our Lord and Savior’s name. I’m so excited. I want you to look around at your surroundings, say goodbye. When you return to these streets it will be as a champion of the people, your people. The people you will never forget.” Esther stood and pulled Stephen up from his seat by his shoulders; he stood 6’2” when upright. That evening Stephen met Esther’s large Jamaican family and the following Sunday morning he met her congregation and pastor. That Monday he was working, helping to build a new church sanctuary. He returned to the streets to minister to people and serve food every Tuesday and Thursday. Three months later he helped to organize Esther’s home church’s first food drive for the homeless. Three months afterwards he helped to start and worked at a soup kitchen for Orlando’s homeless. He conducted a small service at every function. Reverends and pastors from around the city joined him in his causes. Stephen created a Christian workshop and job training facility that offered lodging to its enrollees. Stephen spoke at churches all around the city on the plight of the homeless and his call as a Christian to assist them in their time of need. He always shared the story of his rise and fall and rise again through Jesus. Within two years of first making Esther’s acquaintance, Stephen ran for councilman of the district where most of the homeless lived and he worked for their causes. He even started a voting drive amongst the poor and homeless and got a large number of them to register to vote. Stephen won in a landslide and continued to be a champion for the forgotten. Clothes drives, book drives and more food drives were held around the city until peoples’ perceptions of the homeless became more positive and realistic. They began to realize how close some of them actually were to joining them or how close they had come to being homeless at different difficult times in their lives.

Stephen took his hardships and adversity and turned it into triumph through his faith in Jesus. Enduring devastation and destitution is possible through faith. When faced with challenges and adversity, you should pray that much harder and be that more grateful because often times these are the things that help us to see much more clearly. Strengthening our faith and bringing us that much closer to the Lord. The next time privation and poverty present themselves, pray and praise HIM that much stronger. Trust that your faith in HIM will not be in vain. HE will deliver you; just ask Stephen. Thank you Sister Esther and all those like you!

Whispers in Wonderland Part 2

Whispers 2
Dennis tried to follow the investigation into Joe’s murder but found information difficult to come by. There was nothing on the evening news, no article in the local newspapers, no mention on the radio or internet. It would seem as though it never happened. It was just another example of how undesirables were treated by the law. These things Dennis despised but would now use to his advantage. The same law enforcement that was listless in its investigation of the murders of three young boys was again showing minimal effort in another unsolved homicide.

In the weeks that followed Joe’s demise Dennis started living life as he always intended. He ate, slept, taught, made love and laughed. His new attitude did not go unnoticed by his grateful spouse.

“Jennifer, I can’t believe the change in Dennis. He is like a new man. I had him visit a therapist to kind of air things out about these nightmares he was having. It must have done the trick because he’s been sleeping, we’ve been going out and he’s a tiger in the bedroom again.”

The sisters shared a laugh, Sarah continued on.

“I don’t know what it is but I just hope it continues. Maybe I’ll finally have that baby mom’s always bugging me about. Even if I don’t, I’m going to have fun trying.”

Jennifer laughed with her younger sister once more before they said their goodbyes and hung up. Little did Sarah know, Dennis had more work to do. He would be this “fun Dennis” for quite some time to come. Kristopher and Chauncey would be avenged just as Treyvone was. Dennis now felt duty bound not only to the victims but also to himself to rid the world of these scum. It would seem that there would be more whispering in Dennis’ wonderland.

Coach Finedusky taught and coached children for over forty years. He had been molesting his students and players for the past thirty. All the trust and respect garnered from his position and his teams stellar records were used as currency to purchase his victims. Ashamed, guilty, embarrassed, sub-human, feelings silenced his victims. Who would believe a poor little kid over the prestigious Coach Finedusky? Many a damaged, wounded boy grew into a dysfunctional adult because of the horrors committed against them.

Only the weakest, most eager to please was chosen to receive coach’s special attention. Finedusky had always viewed himself as a good judge of character; he knew how to pick ’em. He came across a thin dark skinned boy name Chauncey that held ideas of becoming a great basketball player. Anxious was the lad to have private basketball lessons with the larger than life coach of his older cousins’ AAU team. Put up a fight Chauncey did when Coach got a little tricky with him. A struggle ensued and threats were made by the boy to tell his thug uncles. Finedusky didn’t want those problems so he instead chose to snuff the little boy’s life out. Strangled and smothered was young Chauncey until his little lungs held breath no more; the cowardly fifty-five year old lay on the boy’s chest with all his weight crushing his ribcage. Right hand around a thin windpipe, left forearm pressed down on a gym towel that was covering Chauncey’s mouth. Chauncey’s soul traveled home before his limp body cooled. Still warm was lifeless Chauncey, still aroused was Finedusky. The boy’s dead body was violated then dumped never to be identified once found. Finedusky being the last to see the boy should have been the primary suspect but very few questions were asked of or answered by the great coach. Chauncey became just another missing Black kid that no one gave a second thought to. No Amber alert or massive man hunt, just a few flyers and his mama crying on the eleven o’clock news. The case quickly turned cold and coach continued on living his life of depravity. Dennis heard rumors about what happened to the boy from very credible sources. As years passed more evidence came to light but not much action was taken. Dennis was now prepared to take that action.

Unfortunately for Dennis the coach’s notoriety would ensure that there would be a thorough investigation if Finedusky were to be murdered or come up missing. Dennis figured that he might have to make it look like an accident. Finedusky was old, not in the greatest health due to his alcoholism and on several medications that could cause drowsiness. He loved to visit his local watering hole; Finedusky stayed thirsty. Dennis figured he’d join coach in a few drinks one day and chat him up a little. Finedusky could never pass up a free drink.

“This seat taken Coach?”

Finedusky looked Dennis over then offered the seat to him.

“Naw, the seat’s all yours. Do we know each other friend?”
“Well coach everyone in this town knows you; you’re a legend. Dan Jennings, class of ‘99”

Dennis extended his hand and the coach shook it with a firm grip.

“I’ve seen many a game you’ve coached, we always wondered why you didn’t leave us. You know, we always thought that you would move on to bigger and better things. It took me some time but now I understand; it’s your dedication to this community. Men like you don’t do it for the fame or the money. You do it to make a difference! And I thank you for it. Bartender can I have two of what Coach is drinking here?”

When the bartender came back with two glasses of Wild Turkey and Coke Dennis called for a toast. Several other men joined in as Dennis flattered the old man after dosing him with GHB. The date rape drug took hold quick, Dennis ordered the third round then paid the check with cash. He had taken a cab to the bar because he knew that he wouldn’t be driving himself home. His car was stashed near where he would leave the pedophile. To the other patrons it seemed that coach had just had a few too many (as he often did) when Dennis carried him out, one of coach’s arms draped around his neck and his arm around the old man’s waist to steady him.

“I’ll drive the coach home so that he can sleep it off. You boys take it easy; don’t do nothing I wouldn’t do.”

A few of the guys chuckled as the door closed behind Dennis and his new friend. Dennis placed Finedusky behind the wheel; propped a stick on the gas pedal and stirred from the passenger seat. Dennis pushed the gas peddle hard with the stick, the car accelerated and Dennis steered carefully. A mile from where Dennis had his car parked there was a wicked curve above a huge body of water. As they approached he whispered in the ear of the evil doer.

“How ya feeling coach? Feeling no pain huh? Just you wait a few minutes. Why do you do it, rape little boys? It’s easy as taking candy from a baby right. I’m sure usually they don’t put up much of a fight do they? But one did though right, didn’t he you old sick fuck. Chauncey is dead and he will be avenged. I would like to say you’re going to join him but young Chauncey is in Heaven with our Father. But you’re going to hell to spend eternity with the master you serve. You sick son of a…”

Dennis couldn’t finish his sentence, rage took over as he punched and slashed at the old man’s face with his pocket knife. The drugs and alcohol were beginning to wear off as Finedusky screamed in pain from his beating and stabbing. Before he could say anything coherent, Dennis snatched the wheel to the right and dove from the car after snatching up his acceleration stick. The car smashed through the guard rail and plummeted into the cool waters below. As Dennis came out of his roll and stood up he could hear the old man screaming once the car got airborne then fell rapidly. The large lake held many gators and to remove more evidence Dennis figured he’d put the gators to work. The short jog was made to his car and he drove pack to the scene of the accident where he poured a bucket of blood into the water surrounding the wrecked car.

Finedusky certainly couldn’t have survived the fall in his condition but police didn’t need to see fresh knife wounds and bruises on his old face when they recovered the body. There wouldn’t be much to find. Two-fifteen Am and not a car in sight. Dennis headed home a little scraped up but relaxed and in the mood to pleasure the wife. Pleasured well Sarah was, longer and stronger than ever before.

A day later Dennis sat proudly watching the evening news; reminiscing on the events of the night before. Finedusky thought it to be just another night of reveling but instead it became a night of destiny. He was always destined to pay for his crimes; unknown to him that it would be in the form of a most violent death.

“Whatcha watchin’ Hun?”
“Oh just watching the news. Sad thing, local legendary basketball coach Finedusky drove off the road and into a lake.”
“Oh that’s awful. Was he drinking?”
“Apparently he was on his way home from his favorite bar.”
“What a shame, I’ll pray for his family.”
“Pray for his victims.”

Dennis thought to himself as he rose from his seat and embraced his wife. A gentle kiss was placed on her lips and then her slight buttocks grabbed firmly as she was pulled to him. More passionate kissing and heavy petting ensued. Dennis wondered silently to himself about his new found sexual prowess and its connection to the “work” he was doing as he carried his wife to their marital bed. Strong love was made, Mrs. Reynolds found slumber, Mr. Reynolds took to the shower. His wheels were once again turning, plotting the third part of his mission while monitoring the progress of the investigation into what he had already accomplished.

For days Dennis watched every report and read every article about the death of the Great Coach Finedusky. The patrons at the bar spoke of another gentleman who may have left with the coach but in the same breath they spoke of a stubborn old man who wouldn’t listen to anyone. The authorities assumed that the old man refused a ride home and drove himself over an embankment and into the lake below. That was the only conclusion that made any sense. Surely the other man didn’t drug him then drive him over the side while diving out of a moving vehicle. The case was quickly closed and officially reported as an accident.

When a young Kristopher Shumphert went missing from Pine Hills Elementary there was an outcry from the community to find the lost boy. An article appeared in the back page of the local newspaper, it was run only one day. A few concerned citizens put together search parties but their efforts yielded nothing, not even a clue. There was no Amber Alert put out for the boy thus the case went cold in less than a month. To Dennis the case never went cold, he never forgot the little boy with kind eyes behind thick glasses. Kristopher oldest of three siblings was an inquisitive athletic young boy full of promise. Many a prayer said and tear shed by his loving single mother over the disappearance of her special little lad.

Dennis started his own investigation and even tried to share information with the police. His insights fell on death ears. The police were on to the next case or simply passed him on to the next officer who was just as unwilling to assist him or even hear him out. Every employee of the school’s background was looked into by Dennis before he started investigating parents and locals. Something didn’t sit right with Dennis about one man in particular a janitor named Bob Robinson.

Bob Robinson seemed to have been employed at several elementary schools across the country were apparently children had gone missing. The majority of them were inner city schools with mostly underprivileged students. When children with parents who have less money, education and social standing go missing there is less attention paid. No one loses much sleep or gives much attention. Bob Robinson knew and prayed upon this. A professional janitor you might call him since he had been employed as one for over twenty-five years. There was no better place for a pedophile to spend his days than around an abundance of prey. The more Dennis investigated, the more he learned about his new target. Mr. Bob Robinson was not only a pedophile but potentially a serial killer as well. Dennis just couldn’t understand how he could so easily obtain information on the primary suspect of this heinous crime but law enforcement couldn’t find the first clue. The conclusion was made in Dennis’ mind that young Kristopher had died in a most horrible way at the hands of this sadistic old man. Again, the boy would be avenged.

The janitor’s closet was a dark dank place full of chemicals and abuse. Outside the door lay a thick maroon rug that sometimes got caught in the door causing it not to close fully. Dennis knew this and actually used adhesive to position the rug so that it would leave the door partially ajar every time it was closed. Dennis on his day off was on school grounds and stalking his prey. On this day once again Bob was himself preying, preying upon a kindergartener whom he’d lured into his lair of debauchery. Behind himself and the little boy he closed the door then readied himself to do his little dirty business. As soon as the door was closed Dennis removed his ski mask from his backpack and slid it over his head. As the bell rang for class and the hallways emptied Dennis abruptly pushed his way into the spacious double door closet. In his hand he held a homemade weapon consisting of a metal pipe wrapped in duck tape. Bob stood with his hand on the boy’s shoulder pushing him to his knees. Exposed and erect was Bob’s genitalia anxious to destroy yet another young life. Upon seeing the masked man wielding a weapon Bob lost his concentration. Before he could utter a syllable his testicle were beaten with the pipe. Dennis struck the evil man between his legs with an uppercut motion then ordered the young boy out of the room. He pulled the rug from the door allowing it to shut flush. Bob lay on the ground in the fetal position with his hands between his legs cursing and writhing in pain.

“Son of a bitch! What the hell are you doing?”

Dennis quickly retorted.

“What the hell are you doing?! What kind of hell have you been bringing into the lives of all of these children you’ve raped and murdered? I’m here to make things right Bobby and that’s exactly what I am going to do!”

With that being said Dennis beat the man in his knee caps with his metal pipe. Before the screaming got too loud Dennis soaked a rag with ammonia and shoved it into the man’s mouth then taped it shut as he beat Bob around the head and neck. The dull dingy room was suddenly brightened up with splatters of color on the walls, ceiling and floor. The remainder of the bottle on ammonia he poured into a metal bucket as he kneeled down next to Bob so that he could whisper in his ear.

“Today in your demise you will feel the pain you’ve inflicted upon so many families. Today I am your judge, jury and executioner and I must tell you; I take great pride in my work. Enjoy hell my sick demented little friend.”

Bob was almost about to pass out so Dennis snatched the duck tape and rag from his mouth then crushed both his ankle bones with his trusty pipe. The man let out a slight yelp as he tried to catch his breath. Bob’s shallow breathing turned heavy as Dennis poured bleach into the bucket of ammonia sending toxic fumes billowing from the bucket up into the air. All over the room Dennis scattered articles, notes and pictures of Bob’s past alleged crimes. He didn’t want this man to receive sympathy from anyone who may find his corpse. Dennis smiled as he took off his gloves and mask then eased from the room with his back pack over his shoulder. Bob lay in the smoke filled room lungs and eyes burning as he gasped his last few breaths unable to walk or even crawl to freedom. Dennis exited the building to the bright daylight of the Florida afternoon refreshed and relieved his job was done. Into his luxury coup he climbed and drove off back to his lovely home in Windermere. Several minutes later the toxic fumes would be discovered and the school evacuated. Eventually Bob’s body was found and an investigation into his death ensued. Not only did the authorities investigate the murder of Bob Robinson but also the materials they found in his tomb of sorts. Once they realized that they were dealing with a murdered pedophile who had been preying on and maybe even murdering children for decades the investigation cooled. A vigilante it would seem was behind this but instead of pursuing the offender the police were more inclined to give him a metal and a key to the city.

Later that night again Mrs. Reynolds got her world rocked and Dennis slept like a baby. Repent he did for his sins being a “Good Christian” but shamefully Dennis felt so justified in his actions that he half heartedly asked for God’s forgiveness. Nonetheless being a believer and lover of Christ, he was forgiven and given a new purpose. Dennis opened a grief center that specialized in the investigation of abuse of all types. He worked hand in hand with law enforcement never again crossing the line into vigilantism. Eventually the Reynolds were blessed with their own child and Dennis continued to work tirelessly as an advocate for the victims of the world giving his life a higher purpose. His victims still burn in hell, this day and forever.

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Whispers in Wonderland
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Whispers in Wonderland Part 1

Whisper 1

Through fields of grain they run, arms wide pretending to be birds soaring through the sky, each one trying to fly higher than the other. They glide in and out of formation one in front of the other laughing and giggling the whole way. Early twilight, sky golden as the sun slowly sets illuminating the filed in which they play. The boy’s smiling faces glow. Each bird tries to fly faster than the others racing to the clearing. A tie, none faster than the others they each complete their journey at the same time. High fives and good jobs go all around. The field leads into a playground with everything from swings to a bouncy house. Three boys Treyvone, Kristopher and Chauncey take off their ball caps and throw them in the air in celebration for the great time they were about to have. Not a care in the world, the boys were in heaven climbing on the monkey bars one minute, spinning around on the merry go ‘round the next. The playground is theirs’ alone on this special late afternoon in the summer’s sun. No happier could a young boy be frolicking around with no restraints. Parched they became so over to the water fountain they ran to get their sips in. Sips turn to hard swallows, hard swallows turn to gulps. Front of shirts become wet as the three amigos begin to splash and chase one another with hands cupped full of water. More water leaked through their little fingers onto their shirts than actually stayed in their palms to be thrown at their friends. Joy, pure joy and elation they felt, the warm evening air drying their shirts as they climbed onto the swings. Back and forth they swung, one trying to swing higher than the other laughing up and down. Treyvone, Kristopher and Chauncey loved their playground. It was their personal wonderland.

Most young boys are inflicted with a serious sweet tooth; these three were no exception. Kristopher waved his little hand to his two friends in a “c’mon” motion. They quickly followed. Off the playground and down a dandelion covered hill they ran. Race car noises they made during this race. Pretending to be gripping steering wheels they weaved through the patches of sun colored weeds. Suddenly each of them put on their brakes and came to a screeching stop. Three weeds were plucked from the earth’s floor and held up to little lips. Blow they did, hard sending what they called white feathers through the humid air. Just then a gust of wind blew through lifting the feathers high up into the atmosphere. The boys pointed up trying to follow the feathers until they were no longer visible. Little eyes shined, the late sun reflecting off their pupils. Another race was in order.

“One your mark, get set, go!”

Treyvone yelled as the three took off once again. Motivated by their sweet teeth the three raced on to the next destination, the ice cream stand. Once again the race ended in a tie as they each touched the small building in the shape of an ice cream cone at the same time. What do you know? No line. From their pockets each pulled a coin, placed them on the counter and placed their orders. Soft serve in huge waffle cones is what they sold. The boys’ mouths watered watching each cone being made, vanilla for Treyvone, Strawberry for Kristopher and Chocolate for Chauncey. Under a large tree covered in Spanish moss they sat looking up at what they pretended to be large grey and green spiders hanging from the huge branches. Another gust blew giving the spiders life. They danced back and forth to the boys’ delight. Giggles were shared as the sun still sat in the same place. It seemed daylight savings time was working overtime.

By the time they finished their cones ice cream ran from their little hands down their arms pooling at the bottom of their forearms. To the park bathroom they speed walked, still racing. Another tie, once inside, they washed the sweet dairy from their hands, arms and faces. In the mirrors the boys looked laughing at one another’s distorted reflections. Chauncey made the decision to go to the pool before they lost all light. Each of them had a locker in the pool’s locker room. In each of the boy’s lockers was a pair of swimming trunks, flip flops and towel. Not quite thirty minutes after eating ice cream the boys threw caution to the wind and dove in the pool.

“Cannonball!”

They each yelled before splashing down in the cool water. Very skilled swimmers were each of the boys, good thing because there seemed to be no lifeguard on duty. Laps back and forth they swam trying to determine a champion. Still none was had so they launched into a spirited game of Marco Polo.

“Marco”
“Polo”

The boys’ voices echoed through the pool area as the boys splashed away, great summer fun. Swim they did until each of them became fatigued. Back into the locker room they went to change back into their clothes. They dried themselves, redressed with ball caps on heads and headed for the boardwalk.

The sun had set. When they reached the bright lights of the boardwalk they headed directly for the arcade. The boys had finally tired of racing, they just walked along at an excited brisk pace. Once inside they each headed straight for their favorite video game which just happened to all be side by side. A ton of “wows” and “awesomes” were said from one friend to another as they each tried to top the previous high score. Play long and hard they did until hunger set in on each of them. All of the high scores were eclipsed by the three gaming masters. Congratulations and praise they gave one another for their achievements. Exiting the arcade they were taken over by the enticing aroma of fresh baked pizza. They followed the heavenly scent until they reached its origin. Again they each pulled a coin from their pockets and placed them on the counter. A huge slice was served to each boy. Treyvone was served pizza with extra cheese. Kristopher had pepperoni and Chauncey Sausage. Sodas were ordered as well Sprite for Treyvone, Dr. Pepper for Kristopher and Coke for Chauncey. On the benches of picnic tables they sat enjoying their dinner. Grease they wiped from their tiny chins as they slurped down the last of their sodas. In the distance they could see the giant Ferris wheel. The boys all let out cheers then took off running towards it. The colorful wheel was on the other end of the boardwalk; there was much to distract their little minds before they got there. Suddenly Kristopher saw a ring toss booth up ahead. They all stopped to try their luck at the game of chance and skill. There were prizes to be won and each of the boys had intentions of winning one. Again they each pulled a coin from their pockets and placed them on the counter. Three rings were placed in front of them and they each kissed their ring for good luck. One, two, three, they each tossed their ring onto the peg on the first try.

“We have three winners!”

The attendant announced over the heads of the boys. The three jumped for joy in a small huddle before choosing their prizes. There were so many to choose from. After brief contemplation, they each decided to get some “sports stuff”. Treyvone dreamt of becoming a pitcher in the Big Leagues so he chose a baseball and baseball glove.
Kristopher had dreams of becoming an NFL quarterback so he chose a football. Chauncey fantasized about playing in the NBA so he chose a basketball. The boys thanked the attendant then ran along in the direction of the Ferris wheel.

They only got five hundred yards before they were drawn in by another fun filled distraction.

“Bumper cars!”

The boys yelled in unison. They rushed onto the slippery floor and jumped in the car of their choice. Treyvone chose red, Kristopher picked blue and Chauncey jumped in a green car. Around they drove bumping into each other, chuckling with every collision. As their cars came to a stop the boys heard explosions from a far. They looked up to see the night sky lit up with fireworks.

“Wow, this is the greatest night ever!”

Kristopher exclaimed to his two buddies. Little boys’ faces shining from the random rays and colors of light created by the fireworks. The fireworks show ended with a grand finale of a choreographed dance of noise and light created by the explosions followed by smoke in the air. The boys applauded and whistled their approval of the wonderful display. The Ferris wheel became their focus again so they headed in that direction.

The boys walked past several buildings and booths on the way to the Giant Ferris wheel in the sky. As they passed one particularly dark building a voice called out to them.

“Treyvone, come here. I’ve got something for you.”

Treyvone seemed to know the voice so the boys stood and waited for him to come back from where the voice called him to. Then they heard another voice from across the street.

“Kristopher, let me show you something over here.”

Off went Kristopher to see what the voice wanted to show him. Lastly Chauncey heard a voice behind him. He dared not turn around.

“Chauncey let’s go over here.”

A strong hand nudged him into the shadows. Seconds later, blood curdling screams echo throughout the boardwalk, pool, park and field. Harm was being done to the boys. Screams, more screams, screams!

Just then Sarah Reynolds shakes her husband from his reoccurring nightmare. Dennis wakes in a cold sweat; shaken from the horrors he had just witnessed subconsciously.

“Dennis, are you alright Honey?”

Dennis wiped his brow trying to gather himself and make sense of why he was tortured nightly by such heinous acts.

“Yes Sarah, I’m ok. I just can’t shake it that’s all. It still haunts me, knowing and then knowing that nothing is being done about it. How does that happen?”

Dennis’ loving wife let out a sigh before responding. She was growing tired of reliving what happened to those poor little Black Boys in which she considered the ghetto of Pine Hills but there was nothing they could do about it.

“Dennis, Honey I am so sorry that you’re having these awful dreams but we need to get past this. It’s tragic and unbelievable that such acts could go unpunished but we’re not law enforcement officers we’re educators. You obsessing over it won’t solve anything.”

Dennis sat up in bed now perturbed with his insensitive wife.

“That’s exactly the problem Sarah; it doesn’t have to be solved everyone knows who committed all three crimes. How young lives are taken and nothing is done about it is beyond me. I know that you don’t deal with much outside of the curriculum in your upper middle class school but where I choose to teach you have to do a little more than that. Sometimes unfortunately I’m all these children have in the form of a positive role model or parental figure at all. We do the same job in theory but I go through a little more so I guess you just wouldn’t understand.”

With that being said Dennis got out of bed and walked into the bathroom to wash his face and neck. His pajamas were soaked so he thought it necessary to take a shower. He needed some space to think anyway. Dennis could hear his wife’s voice outside the bathroom door but couldn’t make out what she was saying. From her tone it sounded somewhat apologetic but he was in no mood to listen to it. Exiting the bathroom thirty minutes later Dennis could see that Sarah had decided to go back to sleep so he headed downstairs for a glass of Merlot. Inflicted by Insomnia in his late teens and early twenties he spent many a night struggling to sleep. The events of this school year had caused his old ailment to return. Walking barefoot across the cool tiles of his large kitchen Dennis thought of ways to bring the worst of criminals to justice. He stopped at the sliding glass door and looked out onto his large backyard. Upward he looked out at the large, safe gated community he was blessed to live in. His life was one of privilege and luxury. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth Dennis Reynolds decided to do more with his life. He was dedicated to helping the under privileged and easily forgotten. The rewards were few yet powerful; the young lives he’d touched over his eleven years teaching in the rough and tumble community of Pine Hills were worth the sacrifice for Dennis. A great disappointment to his father he was, but the old man still loved him. A tree hugging, save the world, bleeding heart liberal he was always called by his father Frank. But Frank had a soft spot for his only son and secretly admired what he chose to do with his life. Two Tylenol PM pills were popped and another glass of Merlot was swallowed in an effort to induce slumber. By four in the morning he was back in bed only to be awakened at six by the same nightmare. The nightmare was like an alarm clock waking him up just in time to return to the battlefield labeled a classroom. Sarah was more sympathetic this time around.

“Hey are you ok Dennis.”

Dennis, still startled blurted out what she thought was nonsense.

“Why can’t they ever make it to the Ferris wheel?!”
“Dennis, what are you talking about?”
“The boys, they never make it to the Ferris wheel! They never make it. Babe, they never make it.”

Sarah hugged her husband’s head gently in her bosoms in an effort to comfort him. Her words were soft, careful.

“Dennis you know you’ve been having this nightmare for quite some time now, maybe it’s time to talk to someone about it. I wish that I could help you with this but I don’t know exactly what to do. I love you Honey and I want you to be well, understand?”

Sarah expected some resistance to the idea of Dennis seeing a therapist but she didn’t get any. Dennis readily agreed. He just wanted the pain to stop.

“Maybe you’re right honey. Maybe I need to see a professional; this stuff is tearing me apart.”

Dennis hugged his wife tighter, stood and kissed her on the forehead.

“Sweetie, thank you so much for putting up with me. I’m lucky to have such an understanding wife, I love you Sarah.”

He leaned down and gave her a dry peck on the lips. She collected it, no spark little passion. Dennis decided to see his childhood psychiatrist. He hadn’t seen him in years but at least they had a history. Being from a well to do family he, like everyone else in his family had his own mental health care professional. Dr. Paul Depot wasn’t only Dennis’ therapist, he was also a close friend to his father Frank. As Dennis grew out of adolescence into early adulthood he decided that his Doctor’s close relationship with his father gave him a conflict of interest. Dr. Depot, a man of great integrity, respectful of and responsible with his vocation, would never break doctor/ patient confidentiality. A young Dennis couldn’t get over his own paranoia and insecurities in his relationship with his sometimes overbearing father so he terminated his treatment. Now a grown man he knew that Dr Depot would be his best option for help in dealing with this painful period in his life.

The beginning of the first session was like two old friends being reunited. Their hand shake led into an embrace.

“Dennis it’s so good to see you. What’s it been thirteen years or so?”
“Yea, something like that, so how have you been Doc?”
“I’ve been well, things are good, please take a seat. Your father tells me that you’ve been teaching in Pine Hills for the past eleven years. Initially that must have been quite a culture shock. Pine Hills is a far cry from your Bay Hill roots. I commend you for choosing such a noble profession. I know you must have your share of challenges.”

Dennis spoke freely, quickly.

“Honestly Doc it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. That is why I’m here today. I have knowledge of horrible crimes committed against children. The worse part of it is the perpetrators have gone unpunished. It tears at me everyday Doc and I have the most awful nightmares. Knowing who committed these crimes and not being able to bring them to justice makes it a hundred times worse…”

Dennis led into a horrible tale about young lives lost to disguised predators. Predators disguised as parents, mentors, new friends and extended family. Young trust gained for no purpose other than to get close enough to hurt. Children, so trusting and naïve; to the predator their greenness is like fertile ground in which to dibble holes to plant seeds of pain and destruction.

Dennis finished his first session with Dr. Depot no less tormented but with a new resolve. The perpetrators, he knew who they were, where they lived and worse of all he knew they’d offend again when given the opportunity. Two more sessions were had with Dr. Depot before Dennis proclaimed himself cured to the doctor. His nightmares ceased but thoughts of the crimes were always in the forefront of his consciousness. His new resolve gave him peace in his slumber. Dreams were now of avenging the boys and punishing the wrong doers. Every night as Dennis slept a plan was beginning to take shape in his mind. The boys would be avenged and attention would be brought to this horrible situation. Dennis would be that voice for the poor and forgotten. The undesirables that society can accept being abused or even murdered. In these dreams a champion for them all was born. Mr. Reynolds’ feelings of powerlessness had escaped him infusing him with strength and courage. Unfortunately rational planning gave way to thoughts of retribution, rage and revenge, none the less, justice would be had!

Joe Robinson was a forty-two year old unemployed man whose only contribution to society was the labor he gave in prison while serving a five year sentence for his participation in an armed robbery. Joe struck a deal and testified for the State of Florida against his co-defendants. When released he moved in with his loving mother, Mary, who always thought her son’s problems to be the product of other’s behaviors and actions. She was wrong. Her son Joe was the foul man the rest of the world knew him to be. Mary was not only saddled by a needy son but also her grandson Treyvone. Treyvone was a bright, energetic little boy who dreamt of becoming a professional singer or baseball player.

He was the light of his grandmother’s life. Her daughter, Tangy fell in love with several illegal substances several years earlier. Her commitment to her vice was so great that she could no longer care for her only child. Three year old Treyvone was relieved to be living in a warm home with plenty of food and love. For three years his childhood was what fairy tales are made of… until Uncle Joe came home.

Mary was happy to have a babysitter and male role model for her grandson. It would also give Uncle Joe something to do to make himself feel useful and help him to have a smooth transition back into society. Unknown to Mary were the horrors her son experienced while incarcerated. Even in a medium security prison the weak are sought out and sodomized. Joe was a mama’s boy; the only thing he ever got off his mama’s couch to do landed him in prison. The first time wheelman got nervous and, deviated from the escape route. Joe’s wrong left and right turns landed them at an interception surrounded by police responding to the first call. When interrogated Joe’s partners and buddies since high school, Trevor and Jake, kept their mouths shut. Joe sang like a canary the moment he was asked anything. When he finally got an attorney all he had left to bargain with was Joe’s testimony against the others. Five years was what his testimony was worth. Jake and Trevor knew many people serving time in the state of Florida so getting a kite to some buddies in Joe’s prison wasn’t hard at all. He was raped daily and traded for prison currency. Now home, the prey turned predator preyed on his own blood first with verbal abuse, later fondling and eventually full on oral and anal penetration. Treyvone had already dealt with the violation of his body and soul in his early life with his mother at the hands of her junkie boyfriends. The young boy thought that he had escaped that abuse forever only to see it return in the form of family. Mary a good, hardworking Christian had one major flaw; she was blind. Blind to anything her two children ever did. Mary found liquor in her daughter’s room, her friends were to blame. Her son’s slothfulness was always someone else’s fault; his friends were all holding him down. The sign’s of abuse her grandson showed were overlooked as well. One night Joe, especially high and drunk, got impatient. He couldn’t wait until his mother was gone; he had to have it that night. Screams were heard by Mary and she rushed in to her grandson’s bedroom to witness the most horrible act she had ever seen in her life. Mary’s screams matched her grandson’s.

“Joe, what are you doing?!? Get off that boy! Lord Jesus help me.”
“Ma it ain’t what you think, we was just playing.”

Joe stood pulling up his pants and brushed by his mother as she rushed to comfort her grandson. Joe stood listening around the corner as his mother told her grandson how they were going to the police in the morning and he would never have to see Uncle Joe again. Joe stormed out of the house; mind racing. He popped his last two pills and licked the last of the resin from an empty bag that once held cocaine. Joe hung out with the bums around the convenience store panhandling and bumming cigarettes while thinking of a way out of his situation. Finally some crack was scored and shared. Joe’s mania went to the extreme, his shallow thoughts turned evil.

As the clock struck four Joe found himself, with a gas can dousing the foundation of his mother’s old wooden house. The neighborhood was quiet and the air crisp as the flame was ignited. Within minutes three homes were ablaze on Pine Street; residents fled into the streets to escape certain death. Joe’s poor mother and nephew Treyvone weren’t as fortunate. They were both asphyxiated as black smoke filled their bedrooms then the lungs of its sleeping victims. Their bodies were charred beyond recognition when they were finally discovered. Slow to respond to the poor neighborhood was the fire department giving the fire time to consume half the block. Due to lack of evidence the arson went unsolved.

Uncle Joe was a person of interest but the case wasn’t pursued vigorously. The police and fire fighters are to serve and protect; at what level they serve and protect often times depends on the class of the citizen. The wealthy get the best justice money can buy while the less fortunate receive less justice. Oh the perils of the peoples of Pine Hills. It was known in the community who was at fault but it was never told. Never told to the right ears or just never listen to when told. Dennis listened, he always did. He felt it time that his listening turned to action and he knew just what action he would take against good old Uncle Joe.

Dennis spent seasons in his youth sitting in a tree stand patiently waiting for that perfect buck. A good shot he was, taught by his father Frank. That was their bonding time. As Dennis grew into adulthood his blood lust was lost. No longer was he a hunter, seeding the fields during the off season, but he was still a great shot.

Joe lived in a rundown motel paying rent weekly with proceeds from petty crimes he committed throughout the week. Outside he stood smoking a butt he found on the ground. It was an hour past dusk and there wasn’t much stirring going on. Dennis sat high on his perch several hundred yards away. Joe was in his sights. Dennis held no nervous or anxious feeling in his heart as he slowly squeezed the trigger. The shot was loud but common sounding as if were merely a pallet falling over at one of the near by factories. Joe dropped instantly and Dennis was pleased. The entry wound was small but the exit wound was almost the size of a softball. As Dennis quickly, quietly packed up his gear and removed all evidence something came over him. He could see Joe twitching and thriving yet no one had come to his rescue. Dennis put his equipment away and rushed on the scene looking the part of the hero. As Dennis kneeled down next to his victim; the junky tenets slowly filed out of their units. He spoke quietly into Joe’s ear as he took his last breaths.

“I know what you did Joe, I know what you did. You like raping little boys and burning people up. Well you’ll meet allot more assholes like yourself when you get to hell.”

Dennis giggled and Joe gasped. Dennis looked up at the junkies gathering around him and shouted orders.

“You, get me some towels, you, call 911. Somebody get the manager!”

People scattered in all directions at Dennis’ behest. Joe was now bleeding from his mouth and eventually his head slumped over. It was done and Dennis quietly made his way to his vehicle and drove home. That night Dennis made love to his wife for the first time in three months. He also slept like a baby, no nightmares. Avenging was relieving to Dennis; the night’s events convinced him that his mission must be completed.