Lenkley: Chapter 2

It was Wednesday morning and Lenkley was riding the 72 bus from his rat-hole apartment in the garment district into the heart of Downtown Los Angeles to work. He lived above a warehouse style wholesale shop that sold potted plants of every variety. Every morning at 6AM he was awoken by the rolling aluminum gates that served as the store’s entrance. In the rear, large trucks and even louder truck drivers unloaded the day’s shipment of plants, cacti and other foliage. 6AM worked fine for Lenkley since he had to be in the office by 7:30. A natural alarm clock that eroded his sanity bit by bit every morning, but worked out in a practical sense. Between the blaring Mariachi music, the loud rusty gates being carelessly thrown up, and the cranking clutch of the Mack truck below, Terrence Lenkley had no need for an alarm clock.

He was dozing off on the bus with his forehead leaned up against the glass window, but he didn’t get too deep into slumber as the bus hit a particularly significant pothole in the road and bumped his head against the cold glass. Lenkley was pissed, but there was nothing to be done about it. They were passing through Skid Row and Lenkley watched as the bums sauntered out of their tents and began shakily shifting into hustle gear. The matter of the next high was to be attended. Where would the next $10 come from for their next hit? Theirs were crack-ravaged bodies that gave little credence to the blistering heat or the stinging cold. Lenkley always likened them to ascetic monks-denying their bodies comfort, oblivious to the outside world. The only difference, Lenkley thought, was the ultimate goal. One group sought Nirvana and the other sought a good hit. ‘Which was more noble?’ Lenkley thought to himself as the big orange Metro bus lumbered over the shitty road. One was temporary and one was questionable as to whether or not it could even be attained. Even if it were to be achieved, who was to say Nirvana was not also temporary?

Everyone is on drugs, Lenkley reasoned to himself. Everyone is just looking for temporary relief. That’s all life seems to be: the pursuit of a transitory break from a taxing reality. The strung out hobos were no worse than the corporate execs in the high-rise buildings who wheel and deal to make enough money so that they can afford the next high. Money makes them attractive to the women they cheat on their wives with. A big account here, a signing bonus there and you’ll be able to really woo the slut at the end of the bar at The Standard. And that’s the high, but once blow your load, where will you be? Face to face with the life you can’t stand and that eats away at you little by little everyday. Then its back to the office to play power ball and earn enough scratch for your next fix. Go ahead and pretend you are doing it for your wife, kids, and “a better life,” but I know different, Lenkley thought. I know what you love and its not your family, your career, or even the money-it’s the escape. The drug.

Lenkley was with them everyday as they rode the elevator together. But they were going all the way to the top of the building whereas he would be getting off somewhere near the middle. And they were all chasing the same thing.  Whether you rode the elevator all the way to the top or you parked cars in the dungeon, it was all the same. It was the same for Lenkley too who got off somewhere near the middle, and he hated that fact. The only thing worse than being a bum or being a self-diluted executive was being something in the middle. Street people and CEO’s had something strong and very defining in common: they both had made decisions about what they were going to be. The people getting off on the middle floors were ineffectual, timid types who kind of just drifted in the wind without putting up much resistance and making no defining decision as to who they were going to be. You have to admire the bums, Lenkley thought, because they had the bravery to face the streets, not give a fuck about societal norms, and seemingly care about nothing. You also have to give it to the old, stuffy farts in the corner offices for deciding that they were going to care about everything. Lenkley was somewhere in the middle. He had one foot in the corporate, material world and another firmly planted in the minimalist, Bohemian, I don’t give a fuck world. He was on the fence and was scared to jump off onto either side. He didn’t care about material things. One needed only to look at his apartment to know that. A single studio flat appointed with a futon, a T.V. tray that doubled as a dinner table and desk, a laptop, a second or third or fourth-hand coffee table from the Salvation Army, a mini-fridge, and a small plastic trash can. Lenkley really only wanted to make enough money to be left alone. At the end of the day, he was an extreme introvert.

After his father passed away of pancreatic cancer when he was 12, his housewife of a mother was left overwhelmed and embittered. His only sibling, an older sister, was incredibly attached to her father before he passed and she disconnected almost completely in the aftermath. The death rocked the Lenkley clan who lived too far away from extended family to get much support. His mother went to work as a bank teller to support the family but that left little time for her to monitor how the patriarchal loss was effecting young Terrence. Had she been afforded such time, she would notice more keenly how much Terrence was drawing further into himself and away from the outside world.   So much of Lenkley’s young life was spent alone watching T.V. and venturing into the greenbelt path that ran behind his Carson City, Nevada home. After watching cartoons that subliminally suggested violence against animals, young Terrance would wander out to the greenbelt in search of small rodents and other wild animals. If he was lucky, he could track down a rattlesnake and brain it with a ball-peen hammer or lure a racoon with a piece of bologna then strike it at the last second with a tire iron. These activities became a favorite pastime for young Terrence and he drew pride from the animal graveyard he amassed in the backyard that only he was aware of. At least, in this sense, he had some control over death. A control he had not had when his father passed. A fake control, but something that resembled it all the same. It comforted his developing mind. A psychologist would observe Lenkley at that age and determine that his obvious lack of empathy for the small animals he was savagely slaying suggests dangerous sociological detachment-no such psychologist was ever present in Lenkley’s life.

The bus was rattling through the mid-Wilshire district by the time Lenkley was through with his revelries. He was forced to ponder that which was immediate and pertinent. Namely, the U.S. Bank building in which he worked as a cold-caller for a marketing company. He hated his job but it was a means to an end. For the time being, Lenkley had no goals that extended past the next Gnostic mass when he would once again be in his element. Those masses were the only times Lenkley felt right. To say that he felt like himself in that dingy basement, rolling hard on a coupe good pills, would be an overstatement. Lenkley didn’t really know who he was, which, he figured, was a huge reason he was weak, timid, and indecisive in nature. Still, he felt that was where he wanted to be-hidden away from a culture he felt nothing but contempt for. Free to indulge in in the fantasies he was too modest to pursue in the surface world. He could not wait until the next Gnostic mass. He had a breakthrough of sorts at the last one, going to town on Bythos45. Now things were really getting tantalizing withe the Pistis Core. Now, Lenkley could put up with the droning of the pathetic old shithead that led each mass, knowing that on the other side of the sermon, he would be turned loose like he was in the greenbelt near his childhood home. And that, Lenkley reasoned as he entered an elevator with a group of suited worker-bees, was his drug. Completely unhinging was his narcotic of choice. Being free to act out what he suppressed on a daily, hourly basis, was his drug. He worked, he put on his corporate costume, rode a filthy bus down filthier streets to an office he had frequent fantasies about firebombing, and detached his higher brain to do a job that amounted to nothing, in order to be able to experience that release just one more time. An addict of the highest order.

The elevator bell rang and the digital display showed 14-Lenkley’s floor. The doors pulled open and Lenkley stepped out. The middle of the building. The middle of the road. Somewhere in between a prince and a pauper. Completely normal and unremarkable. But Lenkley could not suppress a mischievous smile as he stepped out onto the 14th floor. He knew that come the next gathering of the Pistis Core, he would be anything but ordinary. That was enough to get him through the week. It would be enough to resist the urge to start up another mass grave in his adult life.

Gonzo Part 7

It was 11:15 P.M. and Detective Isaias and Sheriff Lenkley were tying one on at a local dive bar called The Blue Bull. Lenkley knew the place because he passed it everyday on the way to work but he never went in- Gonzo didn’t know what kind of effect alcohol would have on him. It had quite an effect on Isaias apparently however, as the detective was getting sloppy and loose-tongued. After three shots of tequila and two beers he might as well have been an open book.

“I’m Mexican, I take my tequila like water!” He exclaimed loudly at one inebriated point of the night. His accent was becoming more apparent with every drink and every word. Apparently he stifled it on a regular basis, but it was coming out now. “You know, I don’t mean to offend you, but I really can’t stand this city. I mean, I don’t know how people live here, there’s nothing going on, there’s nothing around, there’s nothing to do!” Isaias sloppily stated.

Lenkley responded, “None taken, doesn’t matter to me what piece of earth you insult. All the same to me, but I kinda like it here.” Gonzo had baby-sat one beer the entire two hours they were at The Blue Bull. It didn’t really do anything for him but he liked how cold it was. As the detective became more uninhibited, so did Gonzo but not because he was drunk. He just knew that the detective was so drunk that he couldn’t make any sense of what was being said to him anyway. Gonzo liked this. He decided that he liked being around drunk people. It seemed to afford both the luxury of not having to be careful with what he said and…opportunity. ‘I’ll have to visit bars more often.’ he thought to himself.

“That’s good. It’s important to be comfortable to be happy in your own skin.” The detective said. He switched topics abruptly, “Do you really think there is something up at the Reynolds’ place?” he asked sternly.

Lenkley downed the last of the beer in his glass unpleasantly- it was warm now- and replied solemnly, looking straight into Isaias’ glazed-over eyes, “I really do.”

Detective leaned back slowly and replied, “To be honest, I didn’t think much of it when you mentioned it at the station, but I’m so goddamn eager to get out of this place that I’m willing to try anything.” Gonzo smirked, he knew the feeling. Isaias continued, “I like you Lenkley, you’re a little on the serious side but there’s a sincerity in you and that’s hard to find in this world.”

“You’re not bad yourself, now. At first I kinda thought you were an uptight dick.” Lenkley replied.

Isaias let out a boisterous laugh at this, pounded his fist on the bar and proclaimed, “Ok goddammit, first thing tomorrow I’m gonna do everything I can to get a search warrant from the judge. Fucking worth a shot right?” Lenkley nodded. Isaias continued in a slurred, choked-out Mexican accent, “Anything to close this fucking case- and if this actually leads to something, I will fucking owe you one.” The detective pointed a finger at Lenkley with his last statement. For some reason, Gonzo detested being pointed at.

Lenkley leaned in a bit closer to Isaias and said in a quiet voice, “Did you really not find anything at the hospital?”

“Not a damn thing. Whoever snuffed that fucker out was a real cat burglar.” Isaias answered.

Gonzo stifled a grin. “C’mon, let me give you a lift to your motel.”

Baby Riley had been crying all night and Thomas George was doing his best to pacify his infant son. He carried him in his arms, bouncing him gently as he paced the tiny living room of his apartment. He wanted more than anything to be at The Blue Bull making face-time with Detective Isaias, but he had a wife and kid to go home to. He bitterly imagined the good time Lenkley and Isaias were having while Riley screamed in his ear. George loved his son but resented the fact that Lenkley had no responsibilities that kept him from drinking all night. He was free. George kept thinking of the possibility that Lenkley was the one who committed that grizzly murder. There was no disputing the fact that Lenkley dished out a savage beating on the suspect, so who was to say that he wasn’t also capable of murdering him? Thomas George spent the rest of the night with his thoughts divided between his fatherly duties and finding a way to prove his theory.

The next morning, Lenkley found himself driving to 2154 Lavender Grove Way yet again. He had been summoned in his fourth hour of city patrol by Detective Isaias. When he pulled up to the residence he saw three police cruisers with lights flashing, blocking the street off. The detectives black Crown Vic was among them. Lenkley parked his car and stepped out. He saw Arthur Reynolds and his wife being shoved into separate squad cars, handcuffed. Lenkley found Isaias standing in the dining room of the Reynolds’ house. “I’m assuming I was right?” Lenkley said.

“Fucking right you were!” Isaias responded. Every cop in Carson City was in or around the house, milling about, trying to look busy doing this or that. “We found the murder weapon. You were right, that dog led us right to it. Reynolds buried it under the doghouse. Of course he claimed he had no idea what it was or how it got there.” Both Isaias and Lenkley laughed derisively at this.

“What was it?” Lenkley asked.

“A fucking wood file. Brutal.” Isaias answered.

“Christ.” Lenkley retorted.

“Anyway, this all seems pretty open and shut now. George has the evidence and he is prepping it for the lab as we speak. We’re gonna confirm the blood sample, I’ll be back at the station to write a report, and I should be out of here by tonight.” Isaias was beaming as he spoke, obviously elated by the turn of events. Great police work Sheriff, and listen, I was drunk last night but not that drunk, don’t think I forgot what I said about owing you one. If ever you get the itch for big-city lights and all the fine bitches you can handle, I’ll make sure there’s a place for you at Reno Sheriffs.” Isaias slapped the side of Lenkley’s arm, smiled and walked off to his cruiser. “See you in a bit!” he called back to Lenkley.

Back at the station George was preparing the murder weapon to be sent to the lab. It was an old file about a foot long. It was caked in blood and dirt. George stared at it through the big, transparent, plastic bag it was in. He couldn’t believe Lenkley cracked the case. He hated it. He hated him. As he stared at the file he noticed a faint etching on its wooden handle. George looked closer. “C-A-F” he said aloud to himself. The initials C.A.F. were etched into the wooden handle of the file as if to signify ownership. It was barely visible with all the blood and dirt however. “C-A-F” he said aloud to himself again, “who can that be?” Arthur Reynolds initials were A.R.R. It didn’t make sense, but Lenkley’s initials obviously didn’t match either. ‘Who does this file belong to?’ he asked himself. At that moment Detective Isaias burst through George’s office door.

“The transport is here, that thing ready to go?” he said, looking at the bagged-up file.

“Yeah but I found something here-”

“Don’t wanna hear about it, send that thing out now now now” Isaias interrupted, grabbing the file himself and taking it outside. George went after him but Isaias was already handing it over to the transporter charged with the task of taking the piece of evidence to the forensic lab two towns over. The van sped off and the two men stood watching it disappear in the distance.

George spoke, “Now that the case is closed, how about a victory drink on me tonight at my house?” He figured his wife would not be able to protest when he told her that he was bringing a detective from Reno home with him.

But the detective refuted, “You did good work in this case Thomas but I gotta get back to Reno. Thanks for the invite but I’m gonna have to decline.The results of the blood work, which will no doubt be a match, should get back here in a couple hours, then I’ll write the report, then I’m a ghost.”

“Then how about now. We’ll knock off for a while, they’ll call us when the results are in.” George rebutted.

“Sorry, no can do.” said Isaias, not even offering an excuse. He was already heading back into the station.

“Opportunity was slipping through George’s fingers once again and he exploded, “But you can have a drink with Lenkley!?”

Isaias turned around with a puzzled look of contempt on his face. “Don’t make this awkward George.” and he walked back into the building leaving Thomas George alone, outside.

Three hours passed before the boys at the forensics lab called the station with the results. They were conclusive, the blood on the murder weapon was that of Omar Daniel Ramos, the late home invasion suspect. “Well that’s that!” declared Isaias as he walked into the briefing room to prepare his report. They were all at the station to await the results. The chief, Lenkley, Isaias, and George. The case was all but closed. The detective had only to complete his report then he’d be off. Thomas George was melancholy. Two more hours passed and Detective Efran Isaias was done with his report. He emerged from the briefing room which was serving as his makeshift office, said his goodbyes, and shook hands with the chief, George, and finally Lenkley. “Remember my offer Lenkley, it’ll stand as long as I’m in Reno.” Isaias said as he shook Lenkley’s hand. Then he was gone. George was furious. He could only imagine what Isaias had offered Lenkley.

As Deputy George drove home that night, the letters C-A-F still haunted him. He thought as hard as he could but he couldn’t remember anyone with those initials and he knew pretty much everyone in Carson City. He passed the avenue that led to Lenkley’s weird little shack. Then it hit him. Charles Aaron Foxborough was the man who sold Lenkley that shack when he came to town. George had known the old craftsman, he hung out at the hardware store all the time. The file must have been his and by proxy, Lenkley’s. George immediately pulled a hard U-turn and headed toward Lenkley’s shack. It was time to pay Terrence Lenkley a visit at his home.

 

Gonzo Part 6

On the ride back to the station, young deputy Thomas George felt dejected and disappointed; their investigation of the hospital room turned crime scene yielded nothing. More importantly, despite his most sincere efforts, he himself was unable to find any leads and prove his worth to Detective Isaias. Isaias himself was perplexed at the crime scene. No fingerprints, no footsteps, and no one of the eight nurses and staff members on duty at the time saw or heard a thing. All there was to go on was a corpse with a jaggedly cut open neck. Whatever the murder weapon was, it wasn’t sharp. Isaias just wanted to get the case solved as soon as possible and get the hell out of Carson City and the day yielded no progress toward that end. Both Isaias and George rode back to the station in silence. Both irritated by the crime for their own separate reasons.

Gonzo knocked on the door of 2154 Lavender Grove Way at about ten A.M. Like all the other residents on that working class street, the home invasion victims were not home- working, naturally. No one answered the door so Gonzo checked in all directions around him to make sure no one was watching then he jumped the fence into their backyard. The first thing Gonzo heard on the other side of the fence was barking. He feared the worst. “Shit!” he whispered softly but emphatically and figured that they must have bought a guard dog after the home invasion. He braced himself and reached for his gun but was put at ease when he saw a Labrador Retriever eying him cautiously from around the corner of the house. It was a large dog, but after a friendly whistle and a few cajoling words from Gonzo, he was letting the intruder in uniform pet him peacefully. Gonzo looked around the backyard and saw a large plastic doghouse. He looked back down at the dog and thought to himself, ‘perfect.’ Gonzo walked over to the doghouse, turned it over and began digging in the dirt beneath it with his hands. The dog watched, apparently puzzled at the queer site of a man digging with his bare hands. After Gonzo got the hole to about a foot in depth, he stood straight, reached into his pants, and produced the bloody file he used to hack the robbers’ neck open. He placed the file in the hole, replaced the dirt on top of it and put the doghouse back in its place. The sun was beating down in full force causing Gonzo to sweat profusely after his labors. He wiped the dirt off his knees and hands. He patted the Labrador on the head, put his finger to his mouth and gave a, “Shhh” to the dog before scaling the fence and leaving.

Back at the station Deputy Thomas George was at his desk writing a brief report on the day’s events. He looked at the picture of his wife that he kept there and gave a defeated sigh as he felt his opportunity and her love slipping away. His thoughts naturally turned to Terrence Lenkley: the man who had originally stolen his opportunity. Then he thought about how bad that corpse had looked in the hospital bed. Then he thought about how bad the suspect looked before he ever got to the hospital. Lenkley had beaten the shit out of him. Supposedly because he pulled a knife on him. Now he was dead. George sat with all these ideas floating around in his head. Then, the ideas gradually started to connect to form a bigger picture. ‘What if’ the deputy mused to himself, ‘what if Lenkley killed this man to keep him quiet about brutalizing him? Maybe he didn’t even have a knife, that would give Lenkley a perfect motive.’ These were revolutionary ideas, and pure conjecture at that so George thought it best to keep them to himself for the time being, but he was tantalized and his resentment for the the man Lenkley made it all the easier for Thomas George to follow his suspicions as far as they could take him.

Lenkley made his rounds in the town for a few hours then returned to 2154 Lavender Grove Way. This time to actually get a statement. The residents were home this time. Julie and Arthur Reynolds; a married couple with no kids. Lenkley was invited in politely and he extracted a statement from the husband and wife. They thanked him for his efforts on the day of the robbery and before he left, Lenkley informed them that the suspect had been killed and that there was an ongoing investigation into his murder. The wife seemed shocked, Arthur seemed indifferent.

At the end of the day, Detective Isaias, Deputy George, and Sheriff Lenkley all convened in the briefing room to pool any information the day had yielded. There wasn’t much to speak of, but before the pow wow was adjourned Lenkley spoke up. “Look it may be nothing but I got a really odd feeling with the Reynolds while I was there getting a statement.”

“Oh yeah? How so?” Isaias replied, seemingly disinterested.

“Well for one thing their dog was going crazy over something the whole time I was there.” Lenkley continued.

“You saw their dog?” interrupted Isaias.

“Yeah I could see it through the back glass door. It was barking and sniffing at its own doghouse as if it had never seen it before.” Lenkley answered. George stood silent listening to the exchange between Isaias and Lenkley, watching them go back and forth. Felling impotent. He had nothing to bring to the table on the investigation and here was Lenkley, the inexperienced drifter he grew to resent more and more each day with what sounded like a lead. “The dog was adamant about something in or around its house the whole time I was there. I don’t know, I guess it could have been a dead lizard or something but-” Lenkley paused, letting his eyes trail off “but when I told them the suspect had been murdered, they got really…flustered. The wife got real jittery and the man’s face kinda glazed over.”

“You told them he was killed?!” Isaias asked incredulously. “Why did you do that?”

“I don’t know, I thought they deserved to know, but they didn’t react the way I expected.” Lenkley answered. Isaias sighed heavily and rubbed his temples. His mind and body were exhausted by the day.

“You shouldn’t have done that Lenkley.” He said in an almost sarcastic tone. George couldn’t stifle a smirk as he drew satisfaction from Lenkley being chastised.

“I’m sorry but like I said, I got a funny feeling. Maybe they’re worth looking into.” Lenkley said sheepishly. George never heard him speak like that before, in that tone.

“Ok I’ll see what I can do about a warrant.” Isaias replied, obviously eager to leave the station. In truth he did want to leave, but he didn’t want to go back to his cracker-box motel room. This investigation was already taking a toll on him and it looked like it would drag on longer than he planned for. As the trio exited the building and walked to their cars, the detective stopped and asked, “Any good bars around here?”

Gonzo Part 5

Deputy Thomas George was wide-eyed as he drove his Ford Explorer to the station on this particular morning. His keen state of mind was uncharacteristic since his shift started at 6 A.M. The sun was barely creeping over the foothills but he was as awake as he’d ever been. He was coming in extra early because he had received a call from the Carson City Police Chief  at about 4 A.M. telling him he had to be at the station to meet a detective from Reno. George incredulously questioned the chief as he lay in bed with the phone to his ear, still half asleep but the chief gave no details, ordered him to be at the station early to meet the detective and stated that he would be informed when he arrived. So Thomas George drove purposefully down one of the two major streets in Carson City that passed through downtown. Thomas George was from Pueblo, Colorado. A man of 29 with a wife and an infant son. He had been a deputy in his hometown of Pueblo but he ventured west when he realized that he and a pool of no less than 25 other young men were gunning for the same career spot in Pueblo: Sheriff. Pueblo is a large town, the kind of town that makes it hard for a young officer trying to make a name for himself, and Thomas George was an ambitious young man. So he packed himself and his then girlfriend up and eventually found Carson City. Carson City was so small and quiet that his experience in law enforcement in Pueblo essentially guaranteed him a nice position at the Carson Sheriff Station. Still, he was only made a deputy. A deputy under one Sheriff Lenkley. George bit his tongue when Lenkley was made sheriff. He resented it. He resented the man who replaced Sheriff White’s geriatric ass when George himself had been in Carson City much longer and had more experience. In fact Lenkley didn’t have any experience in law enforcement at all, he was just a drifter, but somehow smooth talking and charismatic. Two things that George rarely was. He resented him for taking the promise of a better life and career opportunities away from him. These were promises that kept afloat his relationship with his wife, and when Lenkley was swept into office he dashed those hopes and caused the young couple much marital discord. Thomas and Samantha George were wed one month after Thomas was hired as deputy. They were sincerely in love but drunk on the hope of a future that hinged on Thomas becoming sheriff…soon. The swift and decisive manner with which George was hired as deputy gave them every reason to believe that he was on his way up, and fast. Lenkley changed that. George still thought of the night he told Samantha that an out-of-towner named Lenkley was to be made sheriff over him. The affection that stemmed from an unconditional love for him fell from her eyes and he had seen a look on her face he had never seen before, but would grow to become painfully familiar with. It was a look of judgement and disappointment. Especially since that was the night she told him she was pregnant.

George pulled up to the station and saw an immaculate, blacked-out Crown Vic in the parking lot. ‘That’s gottta be him’ he thought to himself. When he walked into the small debriefing room he saw the chief, Lenkley, and the man who must have been the detective. The three of them were speaking quietly and seemed to be wrapping up business when they noticed him. “George, this is special Detective Isaias, the Reno man I told you about.” the chief said. The two shook hands. “Pleasure to meet you, but what’s going on?” asked George. The Chief began to explain but the tall and evidently Hispanic Isaias interrupted him. “A suspect in a recent home invasion case was murdered last night.” The room fell silent. There hadn’t been a homicide in Carson City since George had lived and worked there. “The one from Thursday? The one in the coma? How!? He was in a damn hospital!” George said incredulously. “Someone snuck into his hospital room at around 12:30 last night and cut his throat open, he was still in a coma” detective Isaias answered and handed George a couple glossy photos. The robber lay in his bed, covered from the chest down in blood. His neck had been jaggedly cut open and all manner of blood and innards were spilled out onto his chest. It looked like his neck was making a long, devilish, Joker’s smile. George thought it serendipity that he had no time for breakfast; for he surely would have lost it upon seeing those pictures. “I’ve only done a quick survey of the hospital room but there are no obvious signs of a break-in so far. I will be leading this investigation from here on with Sheriff Lenkley assisting directly under me. I will need your help in this investigation deputy.” The detective looked straight into George’s eyes and spoke clearly and concisely. “I will need your familiarity with the town and its residents.” The detective continued, “You think you can help me?” He spoke to George in the same manner that an adult speaks to a child; Thomas George didn’t notice it because he was in a horrified stupor but he snapped out of it at the detective’s question. A big city detective was asking for his help in solving a murder. Maybe this was his opportunity. “I surely c-can!” George stammered in response. The detective cracked an endeared smile and Lenkley and the chief shared a derisive chuckle. Thomas George was never good in big moments. “Don’t worry,” the chief patted Detective Isaias’ shoulder, “he’s a little wiry but he’s a damn good deputy.” George was embarrassed and irked, he hated being talked down to, ‘especially by people in this goddam town.’ “I’m gonna go get a statement from the home invasion victims.” Lenkley declared. He seemed at ease, leaning his ass against a desk, staring downward with his arms crossed over his chest the whole time. “Ok, the deputy and I are gonna go back to the hospital to follow up and probe the scene a bit more” the detective said. “Alright, go get ’em boys!” the chief exclaimed, and they were off.

Deputy George rode with Detective Isaias in his specially outfitted Crown Victoria. “How long have you been with Carson City Sheriff?” The detective made conversation. “About five years. My wife and I came here from Colorado when I was 24.” Thomas answered. He let some quiet air pass between them before he found the wording to ask the question he had on his mind. “No offense, but why did Reno send you? Is this case expected to be a complicated one?” The detective laughed behind his mirrored aviator sunglasses, never taking his eyes off the road. It was now 7 A.M. and the sun was already beaming strong. It was going to be another sweltering day. “No not particularly. At least I hope not. To be honest the only reason they sent me is because the deceased perp was wanted for grand larceny after making off with 3,000$ worth of chips at a casino in Reno.” Isaias paused. “And they just wanted me to tie up the loose ends and close the case on this…unfortunate asshole.” He paused again, “and they wanted to make sure someone does a decent job of it all. Mind you I don’t share their opinion, I’m sure you guys are capable of doing a fucking bang-up job and frankly, I don’t want to be here any more than you guys want me here.” that last part was actually true. Detective Efran Isaias resented the fact that the higher-ups sent him to this ‘fucking hick-town.’ He hated small towns like Carson City and wanted to nail the culprit and get back to Reno as soon as possible. “Still, there seemed to be little to go on when I saw the hospital room earlier” the detective continued “That’s why we’re going back there. I need your fresh eyes. Maybe you’ll see something I didn’t.” George nodded excitedly at this. He felt like the detective was patronizing him with that last statement but he didn’t care, he was determined to find something and show his worth to the big-city detective.

On the other side of the town Gonzo stood atop the butte he visited often and was laughing like a jackal. He looked down at loathsome Carson City and doubled over in laughter at it. He didn’t know why, but all he could do was laugh, and he was cackling like a fresh lobotomy patient at the circus. He hadn’t felt this good since…well since he killed that hobo in Barstow or when he first escaped. He lit a cigarette and hiked down the hill, still chuckling to himself. It had been about two hours since he left the station. He was supposed to be getting a statement  from the robbery victims but he felt to good to be doing any work. He felt no presence of Lenkley in him. Things were easy and his plan for continued freedom was in motion. Less than 24 hours ago he was in a literal bloody mess. Anxious and feeling out of control, he felt like Lenkley would pull hard enough to rid himself of his unholy invader at any moment, but that was before he took down a mountain lion that had to have weighed at least 120 lbs and then crushed its bones with a blunt mallet. Then calm returned to him; clarity, then finally, inspiration. At present he felt like a million bucks despite the fact that it was 75 degrees at nine in the morning. He climbed back into his cruiser unable to wipe the smile from his face and headed towards his home. Once there he retrieved the old woodworkers filing tool, caked in blood. Back in his cruiser he headed toward 2154 Lavender Grove Way. It was time for the second phase of his plan.