Twelve years ago today, a disabled veteran was pursued to a cheap motel in a small town in the Midwest. His pursuers were a collection of corrupt police officers, sheriff deputies, private investigators and several private citizens who among other things laundered money for a variety of criminal enterprises.
Their intent was to intimidate or, if that didn’t work, hurt, kill or imprison by any means necessary the 50 year old disabled veteran they were following.
His misfortune was to discover through a variety of means the involvement of some of them in murder and extortion. Small town criminals, especially low level ones with badges, like to brag amongst themselves or to intimidate others, and in the course of some bad dealings they bumped up against an old man recuperating from a long illness.
There’s something very disconcerting to bullies, cowards and criminals when someone refuses to be intimidated. Of course, that’s not always the smartest or healthiest path to choose. As one of them said, “He could get rolled in a hole.”
A hole in a cornfield, maybe on the edge of a farm owned by an acquaintance, where suspected informants, uncooperative fellow criminals or people who pissed off the bosses could end up.
Protecting the bosses and their lifestyles is the first imperative for the so-called “soldiers” or “troops” as the bosses liked to refer to their thugs. Rewards are plentiful for those who do that job well: prostitutes, bank loans that never need to be repaid, cash money, lucrative side jobs, nice houses and cars that never have to be paid for by the “troops.”
Of course referring to people like that as “troops” especially on Veterans Day is a grave insult. Some people might just end up in a grave as those people liked to say.
And it never entered their mind that it might end up to be them.
It’s an interesting thing to those of us who study Evil. It’s almost a required subject these days for thriving and staying anti-fragile in chaotic times. There’s a lot of fascinating byroads in the study of Evil big and small, and both in my professional life and my personal life I’ve had ample opportunity to see it, smell it, hear it up close. There’s a spectrum that ranges from the casual hatred in a man’s face when he looks at a publicly affectionate lesbian couple, to the indifference shown by a man with a badge crushing a prostitute’s skull under his boot, to a judge that takes away somebody’s kids with the full knowledge that the foster home those children will be assigned to is run by abusive pedophiles who get paid to keep their mouths shut and, of course, there are the various officials who profit from various enterprises and enjoy sex with the “black girls” in the local whorehouse and who will ensure that those girls, should they get uppity, end up rolled in a hole.
So what do you do when you’re faced with that kind of top to bottom corruption? Who knows, maybe you live somewhere the entire line of “authority” up to and including the governor might be on the take. Maybe you have a child to protect, maybe there are other innocents in the line of fire. What do you do?
The smart course would be to go along, do what you have to do, move away.
But if that doesn’t work, and the bad people want to see you snuffed out? How far can you run, where you can hide?
Or what if you’re not inclined to run but have to keep other’s welfare in mind?
Interesting questions, yes?
Especially if the corrupt officials and their goons keep trying to kill or silence him or impeach any possible testimony. Maybe they’ll say the guy’s crazy, or threaten his children or friends, have him arrested on some minor charge so he ends up the recipient of a jailhouse beating that will kill him, compromise him with video of him having sex with a girlfriend he’d want to protect.
Just easier to kill him, yeah?
Maybe sneak into a deserted campground with a few friends armed with baseball bats, hoping to surprise him sleeping in his camp, or pull him over in your squad car, shoot him, and “Have the Lieutenant fix the crime scene.”
One would think they really have something they don’t want exposed to go through such lengths.
Sure makes you wonder what might that be, that an organization of corrupt cops, deputies, private investigators, and “officials” would continue to pursue someone for 12 years?
And why should they worry? After all, the only people with the resources and patience to pursue a 12 year case against corrupt officials and murdering cops for would be the Feds under RICO, which would take care of the whole statute of limitations things, or so I’ve been told. The Feds would have made an appearance, interviewed people, right?
Great grist for a story, huh?
I had an interesting discussion with a friend who is an attorney with Judicial Watch, and another discussion with a friend who is a high level investigator at the Department of Justice (the guys that investigate the stuff the FBI can’t touch) to seek their counsel in how to shape this novel properly.
“Just wait, dude,” said a very tough and experienced retired DEA agent. “There might be something cooking that’s just like that novel of yours, strangely enough. Lots of juicy details you can fictionalize in there.”
It feels like this pot is just about done, so in memory of that old veteran by himself in a cheap hotel surrounded by armed thugs 12 years ago, here’s a bit from THE ACHY MAN – soon to be a FINISHED novel — and movie.
THE ACHY MAN
They had been beating him for a long time.
One of them, who’d been a deputy for not quite as long as the other, wondered how long the prisoner would last. His partner, a big porcine man, had been working on the man’s face, which no longer looked like a face – it looked like old meat turning blue in the sun.
But there wasn’t any sun.
Just a quarter moon in the night sky, the only sounds beside the dull wet thump of flesh breaking under fists and boots the whisper of the wind in the corn stalks, and every once in awhile the distant hiss of a car passing by.
“How long before he dies?” the younger deputy said.
The older man looked over at him. Silent. Blood spray on his face. Considered the question. “Not long.”
He stepped away, then kicked the man curled in a ball at his feet.
“I want you to kick him,” the older deputy said.
The look on the older man’s face set the younger to almost shitting his pants.
“I’m not asking you. Kick him.”
The younger man poked at the prisoner with his boot.
A slap across his face stunned him, the solid thwock of the meaty palm across his narrow face echoing in the corn field.
“Don’t play with me,” the older deputy said. “Kick him. In the face.”
So he did.
After, when the last breath wheezed between the broken stubs of the dead man’s teeth, the younger deputy leaned over and vomited his fried chicken dinner. The older one threw him a shovel.
“I did the work,” the older deputy said. “You dig the hole. Dig it deep. And roll him in it.” He laughed. “That’s how we roll in Mason County.”
Lieutenant Dick Gant steered his Mason County Sheriff Department squad car around the parking lot in a big circle. The other deputies were careful to ignore him, avoid eye contact. Gant wasn’t a big man, but he had a hateful, bitter twist to his face, and besides the stink of tobacco that surrounded him there was always a sense of, well, jangling was what one deputy described it. Loose cannon didn’t catch all of it.
Just plain mean, was what one dog handler said.
“If he was a dog, I’d put him down,” the handler said. “No training that bitch.”
` The other deputies laughed long and loud, as they always did, as long as the lieutenant wasn’t around. The loot had a long memory, and if you got on his bad side, you never got off, and he had a gift for making life hell for people. He nursed a particular grudge for anybody who did their job well, and an open contempt for the deputies who might actually take their job and the shield they wore seriously.
Made you wonder what his idea of the job was about, but then, in Decanter, you didn’t ask those kind of questions. Not if you were a deputy and you wanted to get out of the jail and out on the road, not get caught in the hell of the corrections unit or, worse, court services.
And then there was always the question of the payroll.
Not the paycheck, meager as it was, they collected every other week.
The Loot had a lot to do with that.
But then, he’d been around for a long time.
Wilhelm (known as Will or Willy at his insistence) Eichmann threw his golf clubs in the truck of his Crown Vic, slammed the hood down and slid into the front seat. From a distance, the brown Crown Vic looked like a police cruiser; it was the same basic model as the State Police used, with a mounted light on the driver’s side, and a set of antennas on the rear bumper.
Pretty fancy ride for a bank guard, or so some of the cops he liked to hang around with said. He pretended not to hear, forced a laugh, and bought more rounds than he should, but that was the price he thought he had to pay to hang out with the real cops. Once, a long time ago, he’d thought about going for it, taking the exam, going through the academy…either the police department or the sheriff’s department, but the prospect of having to ride in a car alone, even with a gun, at night in Decanter, was something he never wanted to face up to.
So he settled for the next best thing, which was an okay paying job as a guard which led to pretty rapid advancement, and after twenty years he had his look alike cruiser, a lieutenant’s rank in the bank’s regional investigation team, and a whole team of his troops, as he liked to call them, to order around.
And he had his cruiser.
He backed out of the parking lot, shooting a hard look at a couple of old-timers who brushed by his car — washed everyday, stroked lovingly by hand himself, in the driveway of his house — almost marring the near mirror finish he liked to keep on the car. He rolled down the power window, and propped his elbow in the open window, just like a real cop, or so he thought.
He drove down Woodrow to Washington and made a left, tooling down past Sacred Heart Church, then onto the main drag that took him into the little downtown of Decanter. He parked his car across the street from the courthouse, checked the time on his cheap Rolex knock off, and went into the lobby, and paused beside the security checkpoint.
“Hey Will,” said Deputy Jeff Parrott. He was short, lean built in the same way a pit bull is, all muscle and bone, blond and with a certain coldness that led most anyone with any sense to avoid him. Hard to do when you’re a prisoner in custody, but then in Decanter, what happened in the jail stayed in the jail. Or so that was what word on the street was.
Willy Eichmann puffed up, looked around as he did, always checking to see if anyone was looking at him – especially someone of importance, somebody higher up the food chain than him, and even in a town this small, there were quite a few, in the Sheriff’s Department, the County Attorney’s office, the County Board, the bank management…the list went on.
But in his little world he liked to think he was the top dog. He wasn’t shy about reminding those that worked for him, including the deputies who moonlighted (against county regulations) as armed couriers on his armored truck runs, and they tolerated him because he paid well and on time, and in Decanter that went a long way.
“Jeff,” Eichmann said. “How’s it going? How’re the troops today?”
Jeff let the hint of a sneer cross his face and looked away. “Troops?” he said. “Yeah, us troops are just fine.”
The other deputy, a heavy-boned man with the long jowls of a hound dog, head closely shaven, crossed his arm and grinned at Eichmann.
“Hey Will,” said the deputy, whose name was Fergus. “Saw your kid the other night. Over by the high school.”
“That’s where he works,” Will said.
“I thought they was a law against school employees hitting on students,” Fergus said. “In this state I believe that’s a sex offense.”
Will grinned, quick and false, looked around. “That’s funny.”
Fergus grinned. “Yep. Real funny. Kinda weird, but what do I know?”
“Kids,” Will said. “Your kids, somebody else’s…pain in the ass. I don’t know why people bother anymore.”
“Funny thing for a father to say,” Jeff said.
Will shrugged and looked into the distance. “Some kids are more of a pain than others.”
Will Eichmann’s kid was cruising around in his red Ford Explorer, his elbow resting propped in the open window, his hand curled around a Styrofoam cup of coffee — just like a real cop. His buddy Danno was sitting in the passenger seat, flipping through a magazine of Eastern European porn, “the fancy stuff” as he liked to say.
“The fuck?” Bryant Eichmann said.
“What?” Danno (known as Good Twin) said, distracted by the high resolution close ups of shaved pussy and dick, something he thought of often in his role as catamite…
To Be Continued…