Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

OT's Chapter 2 continues

The story rambles a bit but I like how it's building a life around Jake and Antony, and sidling into the mystery. (The photo is of Matt.)
Tone plopped a bottle of water on the table and sat with us, then I plowed into my sandwich. Man, he knows how to grill cheese. It’s not just how he slops butter on the whole-grain bread, it’s how he grates three or four cheeses together and slips in chopped up olives and diced tomato and just a dash of onion. Marry that up to a can of tomato soup with a bit of Basil in it and more diced tomatoes, I could easily forget the world and all its crap.

When I finally came up for air, I looked at Matt and said, “Tone says you been busy.”

“I have a new client,” he grinned. “In Ireland. We’re working up a game based on Celtic legends. I’ll show you some of it, later. But that’s nothing. Big news is what you asked me to look into.”

“It’ll sound familiar, Jake,” Tone said, casting glances between me and Matt.

“When was the last time you talked to him?” Matt asked. “Your uncle.”

“On the phone?” It took me a moment to remember. “About three months back. I think the last e-mail was a few weeks later. Maybe a text? Yeah, text.”

“Nothing since?”

I shook my head. “For me and Uncle Owen to talk more’n twice a year was a big deal; he wasn’t big on e-mails or letters or crap, except when I was in jail. So what’s up?”

“Did you know your uncle was busted for public indecency?” Tone asked.

I nodded. I’d gotten a long e-mail from him about it, and he was pissed as he wrote –

I still cannot believe what happened to me, last night. I walked over to Price’s convenience store for some milk, butter, eggs and bread, and was arrested. By a police officer in plain clothes, who claims I asked him to have sex with me. Right there! Talk about ridiculous.

First of all, the man was not the least bit attractive. He looks like one of those puffy body-builders who give off the air of greasiness and psychosis. Seriously, I think he would have exploded if he’d taken in too deep of a breath, that’s how tight his skin was over his face and body. Probably on triple doses of steroids.

Second of all, he was doing everything he could to make me notice him and think he was available for some fun. Seriously, it didn’t matter where I went along those long narrow aisles of overpriced goods, the moment I stopped, he’d appear next to me to “look at something for himself.” Then he’d cast me a glance and all but licked his lips to send out that age-old signal of “blow-job.” It actually spooked me, a little, so when I went up to pay for my things and he appeared behind me, before the clerk could begin ringing me up, I said, “I forgot something,” and scurried to the very back of the store to check in the coolers for...whatever. I just wanted him to leave.

When he finally did, I took my time paying for my things, but he was waiting outside as I exited. He approached me and asked me if I wanted to have some fun. He said that he was really horny.

I told him, “That’s not where my head is, right now, thanks.”

He frowned and said, “C’mon, I know you’re gay.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” I asked, more than a little peeved. Because I’m queer I’ll jump on anything that has a dick, whether I’m in the mood or not? What a stupid thing to say.

He kept following me, saying, “C’mon, man, I really need to fuck with somebody, tonight. I’m so fuckin’ horny.”

I began to get nervous. His insistence was beginning to seem more pathological than needy. A number of gay men have been beaten and robbed, recently. One’s still in the hospital. So I stopped and said, “Dammit, I left my cell phone on the sales counter. Tell you what – let me get it, first, then we can talk some more.”

I started to return to the store, but he said, “No need to faggot. You’re under arrest.”

“For what?” I asked.

“Public indecency.” The words leapt from his mouth as if they were just waiting for release.

I pulled away from him, angry, telling him, “You’re no more a police officer than I am!”

That is when he held up his badge, saying, “And that’s resisting arrest.”

He slammed me against the side of the store, handcuffed me from behind and yanked me over to a new red Camaro, handing me the Miranda saying the whole way, even as I protested. I was taken to the city jail in Indio, booked, fingerprinted, and put in a holding cell. No one else was around. I’d never been arrested before, so I can’t say for certain all jail cells are like this one – but it was vile. A toilet in a corner of the room with nothing in the way of privacy. A sink was beside it but the water came out in a trickle. A table jutted from another wall with stools affixed to the floor. Two pair of bunk beds sat at a ninety-degree angle to them. Hardly “Architectural Digest.”

I was given nothing to eat or drink until seven a-m the next morning, then I was taken to another room where I was arraigned. And the Assistant handling the bail hearing for the DA’s office was this huffy little thing that looked like she could blow away if the breeze got to be too strong.

I was led before a judge as my trial numbers were read aloud. The moment the bailiff stopped, the ADA said, “People ask for one-hundred thousand dollars bail, your honor.”

“What?!” shot out of me.

“The defendant accosted a decorated police office, exposed himself and attempted to have the officer follow his lead on a public thoroughfare. When he learned he was talking to a policeman, he became irate and tried to storm away. Indications are he would be a flight risk.”

“That’s nonsense you honor!” I snapped. “The officer approached me and asked me for sex, and when I said no -- .”

“This is preposterous on the face of it, your honor. The arresting officer actually told the defendant to leave him alone in hopes he could just drive away.”

“Oh, you want to talk about preposterous?” I cried. “That I’d risk being beaten, robbed, or even killed for something that looks like him!”

The judge finally told us to be quiet and asked me, “Do you have a lawyer, Mr. Taylor?”

“I do.”

“Where is he?”

“She was not answering her phone; all I got was her voicemail. But your honor, I own property in this town. I have no criminal history. No arrest record. I don’t even have an unpaid parking ticket.”

“Is this true, Ms. Ginty?” the judge asked.

“We haven’t fully vetted his background, sir.”

“Yes or no?”

“So far as we can tell -- .”

“That’s the same as a yes.” He tuned to me and asked, “I assume your plea is Not Guilty?”

“Absolutely,” I shot back.

“I’m setting bail at five-thousand.” Then he slammed his gavel down.

I paid a bondsman to handle the bail and I was released just a little while ago. The first thing I did when I arrived home was take a shower and feed myself something decent. The breakfast they force upon the inmates appears to be made of combinations of cubed chicken, powdered eggs and cheese whiz wrapped in a flour tortilla. I hate flour tortillas.

I spoke with my attorney a little while ago, and she told me her expertise is real estate but a colleague of hers could probably get me a good deal. I told her, more than once, I’d done nothing wrong or illegal and she all but ignored me, so I contacted another attorney, some firm named Baskin, Baskin and Reed, and received the same response; “We can get you down to public nuisance or disturbing the peace.” That I’d done nothing wrong was beside the point, apparently.

So it will be me representing myself, apparently. Both attorneys were willing to fight on my behalf, but I’d rather have someone who believes me defending me, not some fool going through the motions. And since I’m the only one who does...

“I called him and we talked for a while,” I told Matt. “He said he had some evidence that would probably kill the case before it went to trial, but he wouldn’t tell me what it was. He didn’t want to jinx it.”

I finally woke up to how quiet Tone was being. I looked at him...but he didn’t look at me.

“Jake,” he all but whispered, “why didn’t you tell me?”

“C’mon, Tone, you ever known me to gossip?”

“This isn’t gossip! It’s a system of justice being misused and -- .”

“And look at what you’re doin’!” I snapped at him. “Already taking it on like you did against Stanton and Thomas and the whole fuckin’ state of Texas, which almost got you killed! Hell, you’re still caught up in their crap, and you wanna take on California, too? You got enough to worry about, Tone, and my uncle wasn’t interested in sharing with anybody, right then. So back it off. This ain’t about you.”

“Uh, Jake, Jake,” Matt said, “there’s more to it than just your uncle’s arrest. Do you know what happened after that?”

I looked at Matt. Something about him being so careful about the info didn’t feel right, so I decided the hell with gossip and privacy, and I told them everything I knew.

Including how there was another e-mail.

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