500 Words (II)

Well, here we are once again in my goal to write 500 words a day. I had said I wouldn’t be posting everything, but I wanted to post this. It’s a continuation of the last post, written in a sort of episodic format that is either ingenious or maddening. Also, I prove that I don’t know how to speak Thug. You’ll see. It’s embarrassing.

***

The mockingbirds and finches sang their happy tunes as Thomas walked into a building too cheery to be government-related. The sun glinted off its glass-and-steel modern architecture in a playful way. In stark contrast, thunderstorms were roiling in Tom’s mind as he walked with heavy steps toward another day of disappointment. The Bureau of Latent Investigations was not a well-known branch of the government and was even forgotten by those whose political prowess acclaimed them to both public scrutiny and laud. Being forgotten had a way of affecting one’s mind. Another dead-end case. Another “Who cares?” from Uncle Sam.

Tom slammed his suitcase on his desk in his floor-three cubicle and fired up the computer. He shuffled around some of the files in the cluttered area, trying to pull up anything he had on Exzayvius VonTrapp. After he gathered it all, he examined the paltry excuse for a pile: Exzayvius (Zay for short) was the criminal kingpin of an international gang, the name of which was undetermined. Tom got a million answers: The Church, Tyrants, Vein Juice, The Bowling League… They ranged from the idiotic to the menacing.

A woman had been murdered last week in Tucson. A baby blue handkerchief had been put in her right front pants pocket. It was difficult to connect the murders with Zay’s gang, but a few former members came clean. They would not say how or why, but the gang was associated with baby blue. Tom looked at one of the interview transcripts in his pile.

NAME: [REDACTED]
REASON FOR ARRREST: Resisted arrest. Dealing drugs. Suspected gang involvement.
INTERROGATION OFFICER: Do you know why we arrested you?
CRIMINAL: ‘Cuz I’m in a gang. I don’t know nothin’ bout Zay.
IO: Who is Zay?
C: Shoot, you cops ain’t got nothin’ on us. Zay’s head of the Fish. We don’t care about anyone else. We’re just fightin’ for ourselves.
IO: The Fish is the name of your gang?
C: Yeah.
IO: Have you heard of the Bad Bloods?
C: Psh, they’re made up, man.
IO: I had a member of the Bad Bloods in here just yesterday. He said Zay was his head.
C: He’s a liar. Bad Bloods don’t exist. Only other gang in town is the Snap.

Tom moved his attention to a new interview transcript.

NAME: Darius Feld (D-Pain)
REASON FOR ARREST: Breaking and entering. Drug possession. Suspected gang involvement.
INTERROGATION OFFICER: You admit to murdering Donna Vanderpool?
FELD: Of course I do. I ain’t ashamed. She deserved it. Couldn’t pay me back. Held out on what she owed me. She knew what would happen.
IO: I see. Are you aware you’re suspected of involvement with a gang?
F: Yeah, maybe because I’m in one! Bad Bloods, representin’ right here. You arrest me, you goin’ get Zay comin’ after ya.

He scanned through the file. This particular member became emotional and broke down. The interrogation officer was quick to jump on the opportunity, but gained little information.

IO: How? How did they torture you?
F: Baby blue… Baby blue…

Tom closed the file in defeat. He used to love his job. This one particular case changed him. He was tired of false leads and vague identities. He wanted to know who this Zay character was. He wanted to know what the goals of the gang were. He wanted to solve years of unsolved mysteries through piecing all the clues together. There just weren’t many clues.

The finches continued their song outside, out of earshot of the officers locked away at their desks.

***

“Hi there, neighbor! I’m from R+F Research Marketing and I’d love to tell you about our fantastic line of makeup products.”

Tom pointed to the No Soliciting sign posted on the side light. “Sorry, buddy. Not today.”

The salesman did not seem to care about the McQuinn vendor policy. “You got a missus?”

Tom blinked.

“Check it out.” He began to reach into his suitcase to pull out samples.

Tom breathed heavily. “Get off of my property. I’m not interested in your crap.”

“B-but, sir, this will only take a second—“

The door was slammed shut.

Tom walked back into his living room, cursing when he saw he missed a touchdown. He flopped down into the couch, more than a little annoyed, but was able to quickly immerse himself in the game to forget about the incident. His television volume was also loud enough that he did not hear the rustling of backyard bushes of a man casing the house.

***

“He should get the death penalty.” Tom was adamant. He looked around at the group of people at the Bible study, wondering if he was the only one who had been dragged there by his wife. “Plain and simple. Any sort of scumbag who would just murder people like that should have the same thing done to him.”

Tara was slightly embarrassed by her husband’s no-holds-barred attitude, though she agreed with the general sentiment. “I mean, if he doesn’t die, where is the justice?”

Pastor Sheffield spoke in his calm manner. “Ah, but is our sense of justice coming from ourselves or from God?”

Tracy Burnum spoke up. “Well, for certain sins in the Old Testament, the punishment was death. So, it’s not like it goes against God. I think the death penalty comes straight from the Bible.”

Bubba Truman was next. “But didn’t Jesus’ sacrifice get rid of that need? I mean, I think we should pray for that guy. Maybe in jail he’ll come to know the Lord.”

“But didn’t he give up that right when he committed murder?” came another reply.

“Well, is it ever too late? Did God ever give up on us?”

“No he didn’t, and I don’t think he gave up that right either,”” someone else exclaimed.

“He might not have given up that right, but he should still be given the death penalty. Maybe he could accept the Lord before he dies.”

“All I know is I want to see justice done. That poor boy is missing a mother now. How do you think it’d feel to him knowing that the man who killed his mother is still out there living? Sure, he might be in prison, but they get movies and internet access and conjugal visits and all sorts of stuff. And it’s all paid for by your tax dollars! I’m sorry if it makes me a terrible person, but he deserves death.”

Pastor Sheffield interrupted the conversation in an effort to bring the group back to discussion on the book of Galatians. The Wednesday night study often went into tangents, especially on current events, but the conversation was becoming too heated for the Pastor’s liking.

No one walked away from the meeting that night with a different opinion on the death penalty. But Tom often thought about that night. He wondered how anyone could be so dense. The murderer deserved murder. No questions asked. He wondered if anything could happen in the future to change his mind on that.

***

What do you think? Please let me know. I’m always looking to improve my writing.

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