The guy standing about ten feet from me didn’t look nervous and that bothered me. When a guy is nervous, he’ll do stupid things, and one of those things is he’ll tip you off when he’s about to draw the revolver all gunfighters wore like he wore his – low on the hip and tied to his thigh with a leather thong. Usually, his hands will shake just enough he’ll fumble a little getting it out of the holster and that little fumble had always given me enough time to draw my own revolver and put him down.
I always waited for the other guy to draw first because I didn’t want anybody watching to say I hadn’t given the guy a fair chance. It was a personal code I’d adopted after my first gunfight. One of the guys watching claimed I’d beat the other guy to the draw because I drew first.
It wasn’t yet noon, but the sun was high enough I was having trouble seeing what the guy was doing because the sun was in my eyes. If I’d have had a choice, I’d have had the sun at my back, but this had happened too quickly for me to have that choice. The guy had just stepped out from between two buildings and yelled that I could either draw or run like a coward.
I’m no coward, never have been and never will be, so I stopped, pulled my Stetson a little lower as a sunshade, spread my legs a little for balance and started watching the guy for any move he made toward the revolver in the holster on his belt.
Watch his eyes, I told myself. All gunfighters who managed to live very long knew the eyes will tell you when your opponent is going to draw. It’ll just be a little flick down toward his side to make sure his hand is close to his revolver grip and then back at you, but right after that, he’ll draw. If you’re fast enough, you can draw your own revolver a split second after that flick, and to anybody watching, it’ll look like you’d both drawn your guns at the same time.
The guy just stood there grinning for about ten seconds before I saw that flick. By the time his hand touched the grip on his revolver, mine was half out of my holster. The guy was slow, too slow to even get his revolver leveled at me before I had mine pointed at his chest. I grinned as I pulled the trigger because I knew I had him.
The guy frowned at the crack of the shot that proved I was still the fastest gun in town. Smoke streamed from my Hubley Model 285 Texan six-gun. I pulled the trigger three more times. The Hubley barked twice more, but the roll caps jammed on the third and there was just a click as the hammer fell on an already-fired cap. As the guy fell to the ground, I reminded myself to clean out the mechanism and put a drop of oil on the moving parts so that wouldn’t happen again. I’d intended to do that after the gunfight the day before, but Mom wouldn’t let me stay up late enough to do it.
Bart got up off the ground then and walked over with a frown on his face.
“Ronny, how’d you know I was going to draw? I didn’t do anything before I did.”
“Yes, you did. You glanced down and looked at your gun. You always do that and I know you’re gonna draw right after that.”
“Wanna try it again? Bet I can beat you this time.”
I shook my head.
“Nah…I gotta go home. Mom’s going shopping for school clothes after lunch and I gotta go with her.”
For some stupid reason, that little scene played out in my head while I was standing behind my car fender with my Glock .40 aimed at the guy standing in the doorway of his house. I suppose it was because the situation was sort of similar to that standoff in the alley behind Bart’s house, except Clarence wasn’t a good friend, and we weren’t holding cap guns.
“Show me your hands”, I yelled, but the guy didn’t. He gave me the finger with his left hand and yelled, “Go the fuck away. I done my time and you got nothing on me.”
Well, as it was, I did have something on Clarence Hayes. I had a warrant for his arrest for drug dealing, the same charge that had sent him to prison three years before. One of our confidential informants had told us Clarence hadn’t changed his ways and was dealing out of his house. We’d staked out his house to see if that was the case.
Clarence had a lot of people coming to his house late at night, and they didn’t stay long enough for a social visit. We gave the vehicle descriptions to the two patrol cars parked a couple blocks away, and when the buyers went by, the uniforms pulled two of them over. Sure enough, one had a baggy with about twenty grams of cocaine and another, larger bag of weed. The other had a bag with about a dozen prescription pills and a baggy with what tested as methamphetamine. Both had a set of scales and some baggies in the trunk, so it looked like they were small time dealers instead of users.
We arrested them for possession with intent to sell based upon the scales. The quantities of the drugs were iffy for a charge of dealing, but we needed information, and the more severe felony of dealing might make them talk. That proved to be the case.
When I offered to reduce the charges to simple possession in exchange for telling me who their supplier was, they both confessed Clarence had sold them the drugs. That was enough for us to get an arrest warrant for Clarence and a search warrant for his house.
I was the detective assigned to the case, but I wasn’t going to serve the warrants by myself because our CI also told us Clarence had a gun. I took two officers with me, one to watch the back door and another to crash the front door if Clarence didn’t behave himself and give up.
When we knocked on his door and announced we were police officers and had a warrant, Clarence didn’t behave himself. Instead, he yelled, “Fuck your warrant”, and put a round through the front door. Since neither I or the officer were stupid enough to be standing in front of the door, nobody got hurt, but that’s why I’d taken cover behind my unmarked car and had my Glock leveled at Clarence’s door. Rick, the other officer, was crouched around the corner of the house and had his Glock aimed at the door as well.
After about half an hour of telling him to open the door and give up because he couldn’t escape, Clarence finally did open the door, but he had his right hand behind the doorframe. I figured he had his gun in that hand and was just waiting for one of us to give him a big enough target.
I didn’t want either of us to shoot Clarence. Selling drugs wasn’t enough to get yourself killed over. It also wasn’t enough for Rick and I to set out a week or two while the board judged if the shooting was justified or not. That’s what was likely to happen if Clarence even raised his gun in our direction, because Rick and I would both fire. It wasn’t likely we’d both miss, and unlike my weekend shootouts with Bart, Clarence wasn’t likely to get back up and ask me how we beat him. Even one bullet hitting him would see to that.
A .40 S&W bullet hits with about four hundred foot pounds of energy at that range, so he’d be on the ground and only thinking about why he was having trouble breathing. That would be if only one of the three rounds I’d touch off hit him in the chest where I’d be aiming but had missed his heart. He’d be on his way to the hospital once the EMT’s got there. If he wasn’t lucky and more than one of my or Rick’s rounds hit him in the chest…there wouldn’t be any need for the EMT’s except to haul his dead ass to the morgue.
I yelled back, “Clarence, you know you can’t get away. I have the SWAT team on the way, and they won’t do much talking. They’ll just fire in a couple concussion grenades and then hit the house from both the front and the back. If you even look like you’re thinking of shooting at them, you’ll take a dozen rounds and I guarantee you won’t get up. Take that pistol by the butt and toss it out in front of you and then get on the ground.”
Clarence yelled back, “You assholes’ll shoot me anyway, no matter what the fuck I do.”
I keyed my radio and told Rick and Jeff, the officer who was watching the house to stay put and not to fire unless Clarence fired first. They already knew that, but I had a reason for telling them again. I also told Jeff to stay behind the house in case somebody besides Clarence was inside and decided to make a run for it. Then, I yelled back at Clarence.
“Clarence, I just gave the officers the order to hold fire unless you shoot first. My dash cam recorded that order just like it’s recording what’s happening. If one of us shoots you after you’ve given up, we’ll all be in deep shit. Now, toss out that pistol and then get on the ground."
In truth, I hadn’t called for the SWAT team and I didn’t have a dash cam in my car, but if Clarence believed I did, he might decide today wasn’t a good day to die. Thankfully, about a minute later, Clarence said, “OK, here comes my gun”, and tossed it into the grass in his front yard. As soon as he was face down on the step, I covered Rick while he walked up and cuffed Clarence.
I asked Jeff to bring his car around to transport Clarence to holding, and once he left, Rick and I searched the house.
Clarence was in for some serious jail time. In one closet, he had about ten pounds of weed, and in another, about a thousand pills of various prescription painkillers, a kilo of cocaine, and bag with a little over a pound of meth. We also found about twenty thousand in cash, four more handguns and a sawed-off shotgun.
Something was wrong though, or at least it seemed wrong to me. The amounts and type of drugs were way out of Clarence’s league. He’d gone to prison over a few grams of cocaine and a little weed. This stash was more what a supplier to several dealers would have on hand. I calculated the street value at almost two hundred thousand, and I was sure Clarence didn’t have the money to afford the price he’d have had to pay for all that. It was more likely somebody else was keeping their inventory at Clarence’s house and Clarence was more of a store clerk than a drug dealer.
I wanted to find out for sure, so I didn’t mince words when I interrogated Clarence.
“OK, Clarence, here’s what you’re facing. The quantities of each drug we found put the charge into the category of a first degree enhanced felony. If this was your first offense, you might get fifteen to twenty years, but you’ve been convicted of dealing once before. I’m also charging you with attempted murder because of that shot you fired through your front door. Between the two, you’re looking at life. You might get a parole hearing when you’re about eighty.
“I have to charge you with the first degree enhanced felony because of the evidence we found, but personally, I don’t think the drugs are yours. What I think is they belong to somebody higher up the chain and you were just selling them. If you were to give me a name and where I can find that person, the DA might let you off with just first degree felony possession with intent to sell and assault on a police officer. You’d still be looking at probably fifty years, but you’d get a parole hearing in thirty or so. You’re thirty-six, so if you behave yourself, you could be out before you turn seventy. It all depends upon you giving me a name and an address that pans out. Don’t make something up that ends up going nowhere. The DA doesn’t take kindly to people wasting his time.”
Clarence looked at me and sneered.
“Go fuck yourself.”
“OK, we’ll see what happens at the trial. Oh, by the way, did I mention we also found several firearms including a sawed-off shotgun in your house. It’s illegal for a felon to have a weapon, so that’ll add another fifteen years or so. The feds will probably want to charge you with possession of a short barreled shotgun, but maybe they’ll let you serve that sentence concurrently.
“Either way, you’re going to die in a jail cell, well, unless you give me a name. I’m gonna to go get a cup of coffee and have a smoke. You think about it while I’m gone, OK?”
Clarence looked up at me then.
“Hey, man, can I have one of them smokes too?”
I just smiled.
“Well, Clarence, we don’t allow smoking in the building - government rules, you know, so I can’t let you smoke in here. You won’t be able to have a cigarette until I put you in a cell. If you’d given me a name, we could be heading over there right now, but you didn’t. If you keep being stubborn, it might be several hours before you get that smoke. I’ll see you in about ten minutes.”
I don’t smoke, but I knew Clarence did because we’d taken a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket when we searched him. He’d asked for a cigarette while we were waiting for Jeff to bring his car around, but I’d told him there wouldn’t be time. I also knew he hadn’t had a smoke since then, and it had been about three hours since the whole thing started. Clarence had to be dying for a cigarette, and that would give him another reason to give me a name. Yeah, some people would say I was taking unfair advantage of him, but I needed the name only he could give me.
I let Clarence sit in that interrogation room by himself for twenty minutes, but I wasn’t drinking coffee. I was sitting at a monitor connected to the camera and microphone in the interrogation room. Beside me were the shift captain and an attorney from the DA’s office. I’d explained to them what I thought was going on and they both agreed with me.
Since I’d left Clarence cuffed to the table he couldn’t go anywhere but he didn’t sit still, and I figured all the fidgeting and finger tapping he was doing wasn’t just because he needed a smoke. He was worried. He’d been caught red-handed with the drugs and he’d shot at two police officers. There was no way he was going to talk his way out of it. The best any lawyer could do for him was try to get the sentence reduced.
Before I went back into the interrogation room, I asked Bill, the lawyer from the DA’s office what I could offer Clarence if he gave me the name. Bill scratched his head, and then said he’d agree to reduce the charges to a simple first degree felony and drop the weapons and assault charges if the name Clarence gave me checked out and if Clarence pled guilty. Otherwise he was going to prosecute the first degree enhanced felony, assault, and the weapons charges.
When I sat down across from Clarence again, I apologized for keeping him waiting.
“Sorry that took so long, but while I was out, I called the DA’s office. Like I told you, I don’t think the drugs were yours but the DA calls the shots about who gets prosecuted for what. It took some doing, but I managed to get the DA to agree to prosecute this as a first degree felony and to drop the weapons and attempted murder charges, that is, if you give me a name and an address that check out and if you plead guilty. It’ll still be probably at least thirty years, but at least you might be eligible for parole while you still have some life left.”
I could see it in Clarence’s eyes. He wanted to tell me, but he was afraid if he did, he wouldn’t live very long in prison. He was probably thinking correctly because I knew it had happened before. A drug dealer I arrested ratted out his supplier, and that supplier got arrested and convicted too.
About six months later, the drug dealer was in the exercise yard and got stabbed to death by another inmate serving life for murder. The inmate was tried and convicted for the murder, and got a second life sentence to the one he was already serving. That just added to his status in prison so it was a net gain for him. The money his mother got from somewhere was enough to buy her a new car and a trip to New York to see her sister.
“Clarence, you worried about what’ll happen to you in prison if you tell me a name?”
“What if I told you that name will be just between you and me – no press release and no mention of it at the trial where you plead guilty? If the guy checks out, we’ll be able to find a reason to arrest him without saying you tipped us off.”
“You’ll promise that?”
“Yes, I’ll put it in writing and the DA will agree.”
I could tell Clarence was struggling with the decision, and I didn’t blame him. If I was lying to him, he’d probably end up dead. After five minutes, he looked up at me.
“Well, it ain’t a guy. It’s a woman and she’s a smart bitch. I don’t know her real name but she goes by ‘Dragonfly’. I don’t know where she lives either. She never came to my place and I never went to hers. We only met once, right after I got out of prison, and that was at the bus station on tenth. She said she’d set me up in a house and all I had to do was sell her drugs for her. I’d get five percent of everything I sold. She sent one of her guys over every Sunday to drop off more drugs and to pick up the cash.”
I asked if he could describe her. Clarence nodded.
“She was a lot shorter than me, maybe five two or so, and she was skinny. Looked to me like she was Japanese or Chinese or something, ‘cause her eyes looked like that. She had long blonde hair, but it was either bleached or a wig because her eyebrows were black as the ace of spades. Kind of good-looking if you like that kind of women. I don’t, so I didn’t look at her much. Too young for me too.”
Clarence nodded again.
“Yeah, except she looked mean as a snake. Never smiled or anything. Just said if I did what she wanted, I’d get rich, and if I didn’t, I’d get dead because I’d seen her face. She said that’s what happened to the last guy who sold for her. He was using and she found out about it, so he disappeared.”
There had to be more. Clarence hadn’t been high enough in any drug organization to be singled out for what he’d been doing. If he was telling me the truth about how he ended up in that house selling drugs for some woman named Dragonfly, there had to be a reason.
“Clarence, why’d she pick you? There are a lot of dealers on the street with closer ties to either the mob or one of the cartels.”
“I don’t know because she never said. Can I have that cigarette now?”
I wasn’t sure Clarence had told me everything he knew, but I had enough to start and I could always question him again once I’d done a little investigating.
“Let’s get you back to a cell and you can have that smoke. If you think of anything more, just tell the guard you need to talk to me. The more you tell me, the more likely it is the judge will go easier with your sentence.”
I got Clarence into a jail cell where he’d probably stay until his trial. It wasn’t likely he’d get bail since this was his second offense and he’d shot at a police officer. He was pissed that he was going to be arraigned on the original charges, but I had told him his story had to lead me to the woman before the DA would reduce the charges.
Back at my desk, I opened a new investigation file and typed in everything about what had happened, what we’d found when we searched Clarence’s house, and what he’d told me about the woman named Dragonfly. Then, I got signed in to the NCIC database and started searching using what information I had.
“Dragonfly” seemed more like the name of a spy in a James Bond movie. Usually, criminals aren’t that inventive. They go by a street name like “Crazy Charlie” or “Nickel C”. When I typed in Dragonfly as an alias, I did get back about a dozen names.
Half the names were men, so I wrote down the information but didn’t immediately use it. I was really interested in the women on the list. After narrowing my search to women of Asian descent, there were only two and they were too old and on the west coast instead of anywhere near Nashville, Tennessee.
My search for women of Asian descent gave me a lot of results. Most weren’t anywhere close to Nashville either, but the last known residence of two was.
Marsha Nguen was born to Vietnamese parents but because she’d been born in the US, was an American citizen. She’d been arrested four times for prostitution, but that was it. She was also a little tall for the description Clarence had given me, and the arrests were when Marsha was in her twenties. She was thirty-five now, and hadn’t been in trouble since she was twenty-four. I didn’t think she would have started dealing, and even if she did, eleven years is a long time to be dealing without being arrested for that at least once. She was also too old as well.
Susie Richards was more interesting. Her mother was Chinese American and
both her mother and her father had been killed in a car accident when she was fifteen. Susie grew up in a foster home, and she’d been in trouble a lot. Her rap sheet started with shoplifting and progressed though fifteen arrests and four convictions, the last of which was when she was arrested while crossing the US/Mexican border in California with a hundred grams of cocaine in a hidden compartment in her suitcase.
She was twenty-one at the time, and had been sentenced to three years in the California prison system and had served the whole three years because she couldn’t manage to stay out of trouble in prison either. She’d now be twenty-four, so she might seem young to Clarence.
Evidently Susie had either reformed or at least hadn’t been caught doing anything illegal since. Maybe she’d changed, but she did have at least one connection to the drug trade, and once in, most people either can’t get out or just don’t want to because of the money. The other thing that made me take a closer look at her was she was born and raised in Lebanon, Tennessee, just about an hour away from my desk at the Nashville PD. Since she knew the area, it was probable she’d come back. I decided to have a talk with her foster parents to see if they’d heard from her lately.
Mr. and Mrs. Evans were cordial when I called them and asked about Susie, but the didn’t have many good things to say about her. According to Mrs. Evans, Suzie had been a handful and they were glad when she turned eighteen and aged out of the foster care system.
“No matter what I did for that girl, she hated me and my husband. We got Susie out of jail three times before she left, but that didn’t seem to matter to her. She’d go right back to shoplifting or getting drunk. Once she left, she never came back.”
I asked if they’d heard from her in the past couple of months and Mr. Evans said no and they were happy they hadn’t.
“The last we heard from Susie was when she got out of prison in California. She called and asked us for money so she could come back to Lebanon. The last thing we wanted was to have her back here, so I told her she’d have to make it on her own. She called me a bastard then, so I hung up on her. She hasn’t called us back so I hope she’s still in California.”
I didn’t tell them why I was interested in Susie, but I did ask where she might go if she came back to the Nashville area. Mrs. Evans said she thought Susie had a boyfriend who lived in Nashville.
“They seemed to be serious for a while when she was seventeen, so maybe she’d come back to see him. I remember his last name because it was the same as my maiden name – Pena. His first name was…Honey, do you remember his first name?”
Mr. Evans frowned.
“Yeah, his name was Carlos, Carlos Pena. Worthless son of a bitch was ten years older than Susie and kept wanting her to move in with him. After she left, I think that’s where she went. Wouldn’t surprise me if he got her involved with drugs.”
“She was into drugs?”
Mr. Evens shook his head.
“She never took any that I ever knew about, but the asshole had a lot of money and he didn’t seem to have any type of job. There’s only one way I know of to do that, and that’s selling drugs. Susie always wanted more money, and if she had a chance to get more without working for it, she’d probably jump at the chance.”
Once I got back at my desk, I ran Carlos Pena through NCIC, and decided Mr. Evans was probably half right. Susie wouldn’t have come back to live with Carlos because he was in prison for drug trafficking, but it made sense she’d made the connection in Mexico through him. The next morning, I drove to the Turney Center to talk with him.
Carlos didn’t have much to say about Susie except that she didn’t stay with him for long.
“When her foster parents made her leave, I gave her a place to stay. I wasn’t fuckin’ her like her foster dad thought. I grew up in a foster home too, so I knew what it was like. When I got thrown out of my foster parent’s house, I got hooked up with the wrong people and ended up in drugs. I didn’t want that to happen to Susie, but she saw how much money I was making and wanted in.
“I wouldn’t let her do anything with drugs, so she hooked up with the guy supplying me. I think she made a couple trips to Mexico with him, because she came back once and showed me this tattoo she said she got in Juarez. It was a dragonfly on her right tit. After she came back that time, she said she was moving in with the guy, and I haven’t seen her since.”
“What was the guy’s name?”
Carlos looked at me and frowned.
“Juan Mendez. Why do you want to know? You can’t arrest him and he can’t tell you anything ‘cause he’s dead.”
“Oh, what happened to him – another dealer decided to eliminate his competition?”
“Something like that, or at least that’s what I heard in here. Susie decided she didn’t like taking the risk and only getting ten percent of the money.”
“Susie killed him?”
“That’s the word I got. Happened in Mexico a couple months ago. So many people in drugs get killed down there nobody really investigates just one killing, but the word I got from another guy who should know was Susie cut his throat one night.”
Well, by then I was pretty sure I knew who “Dragonfly” was. I just had to find her and that wasn’t going to be easy unless I could find someone besides Clarence who knew her. Clarence had said she was smart, so she probably wouldn’t have used her real name to rent the apartment, but that was pretty common among drug dealers.
No landlord would do much of a background check if there was enough money on the table in front of him, and especially not for a woman. Sure enough, when I ran her name in the phone listings for all the cities and towns within fifty miles, I didn’t come up with anything.
Since she had Clarence doing all the heavy lifting for her, I also figured there weren’t many people who had actually met her. That’s also pretty common among the big drug dealers. They have other people to do the work while they sit back and enjoy the profits. Still, it would surprise you if you know how much information is out on the streets if you pay the right price. That’s what I was going to do next – talk to a couple of our CIs to see if they’d ever heard of a woman who went by the street name Dragonfly.
I found Penny Majors about eight that night standing on the same street corner she always used to pick up johns. I was driving my personal sedan and I was certain Penny would recognize it because she’d seen it several times before. Even though unmarked police cars are supposed to look like any other car, if you’re close enough you can see the lights behind the grill. CIs won’t talk to you if you’re in an unmarked police car because anybody seeing them will spread the word.
When I pulled up to the curb and rolled down the passenger side window, she stuck her head in and smiled.
“Hi Ron. What can I do for you tonight?”
“Get in and I’ll tell you.”
“I have to get paid or my man is gonna be pissed. How much am I gonna make if I get in?”
“It depends upon what you tell me, but it’ll at least be twenty. That’s still what a blowjob costs, right?”
Penny opened the car door and got in, and once she buckled her seat belt, I drove down the street to the alley behind an abandoned building. I turned on the dome light then so I could see Penny’s face. If she was making something up, I’d probably be able to tell from her face.
“Penny, you ever hear of a woman who calls herself Dragonfly? Real name is Susie Richards. She looks Asian and she’s pretty small.”
Penny thought for a second, then shook her head.
“Nope…at least she’s not hooking. I’d know if she was.”
“How about a guy named Juan Mendez?”
“Nope, never heard of him either, but Mexicans don’t ever come down here. They have their own girls up on eighty-second. Can’t see a Mexican hooking up with an Asian anyway. Why do you want to know? You think they’re together?”
Word on the street works both ways, so if I’d told Penny why I was looking for Dragonfly and Mendez, every hooker and pimp in the area would know about it before the night was over. If Dragonfly had ears on the street too, she’d know somebody was looking for her by tomorrow morning.
“I don’t know if they’re together. Her parents just haven’t heard from her in a while, and well, she’s been in trouble before. They gave me the name Mendez and said he’s a drug dealer. Susie had a problem with drugs at one time and she told them Mendez sold her the pills. I thought if she was still hooked on pills, she might either be doing tricks to support her habit or had hooked up with Mendez to get her pills in exchange for sex.”
Penny shook her head again.
“I don’t hear much about drug dealers cause they all have their own girls, but I know somebody who might. Out on thirty-first, where it turns into County 7, there’s a bar called ‘Jason’s’. Talk to Mattie. She used to own that little antique shop on my corner and she let me use the restroom if she was open. We got to know each other pretty well over a couple of years.
“She tried to talk me out of doing what I do, but I wouldn’t let her. Wish I had now that I’m getting older. She’s still trying so we stay in touch. She tends bar at Jasons, and she told me several of her customers have a lot of money to spend and she figured they were selling drugs to get it.”
“You think she’ll talk to me?”
“If you tell her I sent you there, she will. Mattie’s almost like a mother to me.”
I gave Penny twenty and promised her another twenty if Mattie gave me any information that panned out, then drove her back to her corner.
It was a Wednesday, so I didn’t figure there would be many people at Jason’s. Some people might stop by after work, but they’d be gone by seven or so. A few real drinkers might be there, but most of the partying would happen on Friday and Saturday nights. When I drove into the parking lot, that proved to be true. There were only half a dozen cars there, and at least a couple had to be employee’s cars.
I did take the precaution of taking off my jacket and tie and then rolling up my shirt sleeves. The only people who wear suits anymore are detectives and executives. From the outside, Jason’s didn’t look like a hangout for CEO’s, and I didn’t want to advertise that I was a cop to anybody. My service pistol and clip-on holster went in the trunk. I still had my backup .380 on my ankle but it wouldn’t show and my badge went into my hip pocket. I wasn’t likely to have use for either, but it pays to be prepared for the worst.
The bar was almost deserted when I went inside, so I didn’t have to look for a seat away from everybody else. A woman I assumed was Mattie was drying shot glasses at the other end, and when I sat down, she put down her towel and started down the bar.
I couldn’t imagine Mattie working in an antique shop. I never go to antique shops, but I always figured any woman who worked in one would be older and probably pretty plain. Mattie was about my age, and she was anything but plain. She wouldn’t make it all the way up to fashion model because she was too old for that and she wasn’t built like a pencil, but she probably had to keep telling the guys in the bar she didn’t do that sort of thing.
When Mattie asked what I wanted I smiled and asked if she knew a woman named Penny Majors. Mattie’s face changed from a smile to a worried look.
“Has something happened to Penny?”
I shook my head.
“No, Penny’s fine and she says, ‘Hi”. She told me you might have some information about a woman I’m looking for.”
“So you’re a cop.”
“Yes, detective actually. I’m looking for an Asian woman named Susie Majors. Sometimes she goes by the name Dragonfly.”
Mattie relaxed enough she smiled at me.
“I suppose if Penny sent you, you must be OK. What’s this woman done?”
“Nothing that I know of except to stop calling her parents. They filed a missing persons report and I got the job of finding her.”
Mattie shook her head.
“I don’t remember any woman named Susie or Dragonfly ever coming here.”
“Well, she might be with a guy named Carlos Mendez. Ever heard of him?”
“Carlos? Who hasn’t? He used to come here all the time. Haven’t seen him in a while though. I figured he went back to Mexico. He said he had family there.”
“Did he ever bring a woman with him.”
“When didn’t he? He always had some young girl on his arm. Don’t know why. From what I heard, he wasn’t very nice to women.”
Mattie’s eyes lit up then.
“Now that I think about it…the last time he was here he had this really young Asian girl with him. I remember because it struck me odd. All his other girls were Mexican.”
“What did she look like?”
“Well, she was just a little slip of a thing. Couldn’t have weighed much more than a hundred pounds if that. Oh, I remember something else now too. She had this tattoo on her boob, wasn’t very big, and I wouldn’t have seen it if she hadn’t leaned over the bar. It looked like a dragonfly to me. Maybe it was her.”
I asked Mattie which breast and she said the right one.
“Well, that sounds like my girl. You didn’t get a name?”
Mattie shook her head.
“No, but Carlos brought girls in here like you’d take a dog to the park. He’d squeeze their boobs and pat their butts when he was here, but he never introduced any of them. That was another thing that was odd. He didn’t touch this girl. I suppose that’s because she didn’t have much in the way of boobs and her butt was real little. All the other girls he brought here had big boobs and big butts.”
“Have you seen her since that time?”
“No, but like I said, I haven’t seen Carlos either.
When I got back at my desk the next morning, I added what Mattie had told me to my case file and then read through everything hoping for another lead. The only thing I hadn’t yet checked out was where Carlos lived. If he was dead, he wouldn’t be there, but maybe a neighbor would have some more information about him.
I found his name in the phone book for Nashville, and when I saw the address, I wasn’t really surprised. It was one of the newer apartment complexes that had gone up in the city to accommodate the tech companies that are sprouting up all over Nashville. Software engineers and their managers and directors get paid very well, they want housing that reflects that, and they want to live close to their offices in downtown Nashville. As it happens, drug dealers have a lot of money too, and they like to live in the same type of place so they appear to be legit.
When I checked out the website for the building at that address, I was a little amazed that anybody could afford to live there. A one-bed, one-bath apartment was almost twenty five hundred a month, and if one wanted to go all out with three bedrooms and three baths, it would cost on the near side of twelve thousand a month. That twelve thousand a month was over twice what my gross monthly pay was.
At those prices, I expected some sort of security, and there was a concierge at the desk, a guy about thirty who looked like he could lift a truck with one hand. I figured he was as good a place to start as any.
“Excuse me, I’m Detective Ron Allison of the Nashville Police Department. Do you have a tenant named Carlos Mendez?”
The guy looked me up and down, and then smiled a fake smile.
“Sir, I’m sure you realize we don’t give out that kind of information to anybody.”
I’d expected to get the runaround, so I was ready to show him I could play hardball if that’s what he wanted.
“OK, I’ll go get a warrant for your tenant list. I’m sure he lives here, so I think while I’m at it, I’ll get a warrant to search his apartment. We have reason to believe Mr. Mendez is involved with one of our suspects in a drug trafficking case. It’ll be interesting to see what we can find in his apartment.
“I’ll be back in an hour with six patrol cars and a team of forensic techs. My guess is if I call a couple TV stations, they’ll be happy to send out a film crew too. We’ll lock down the building so the officers can talk to Mr. Mendez and your other tenants, and we’ll be sure to tell them why we’re interested in him. I’d bet more than a few of them will decide not to renew their lease once they know you rented to a drug dealer.”
The guy’s fake smile changed to a frown.
“Let me make a phone call.”
Two minutes later, he hung up the phone and smiled again.
“In the interests of cooperating with the police, I’ve been authorized to tell you that Mr. Mendez lives in one of our studio apartments on the twenty fifth floor.”
“I thought you might see it my way. I’d like to have a talk with Mr. Mendez, so if you’d call him for me…”
The guy shook his head.
“Can’t do that because he’s not here. He’s in Mexico, some sort of deal he’s working on to have his software sold there he said. Been gone for a couple of months and I don’t know when he’s coming back.”
I didn’t know for certain that Carlos was dead, so I didn’t tell the guy he probably would be coming back. What I was wondering though was, if Susie had hooked up with Carlos and then killed him, might she be living in his apartment? If she was, that fit the model of a major drug dealer.
“Damn…I really wanted to talk to him. Maybe his housekeeper would know. He does have a housekeeper, doesn’t he? I can’t see a man making enough money to rent one of these apartments doing his own cleaning and cooking.”
The guy nodded.
“Yeah, he has one.”
“When does she come to work? Maybe she’ll know when he’d coming back.”
The guy thought for a while before he answered, and I figured he’d have to make another phone call before he did, but finally he leaned toward me and spoke in a quiet voice.
“She lives up there with him, and I don’t think she’s really a housekeeper.”
“Oh, why is that?”
“He took her to Mexico with him.”
I asked if she was still in Mexico, and he shook his head.
“No. She came back after a week down there. She said he told her to come back and get the apartment ready for when he got done. She said it would be in a couple of days, but like I said, it’s been two months. Last time I saw her, I asked where he was, and she said he’d gotten a chance at some business he couldn’t pass up and wasn’t sure when he’d be back.”
“Does she ever go out, like for shopping?”
“Yeah, usually Sunday afternoon.”
“What does she look like, just in case I decide to come back on Sunday?”
“Well, she’s really small and she looks like she’s Japanese or Chinese – long black hair and her eyes are kinda slanted. She’s not bad looking…not bad at all.”
“What’s her name?”
The guy shrugged.
“I don’t know her real name because she never said. Mr. Mendez never told me her name either. The only time I ever heard him call her anything, he called her his little dragonfly.”
“Any idea why he’d have called her that?”
The guy shook his head.
“No, but he didn’t call anybody by their real name. My name’s Howard, but he always called me ‘Toro’ because he said I looked strong as a bull.”
I left then and went back to my desk. I was pretty sure the woman living in Carlos’ apartment was the Dragonfly I was looking for. What I needed to prove that was catching her involved in drugs. Since Clarence had told me this Dragonfly sent a man on Sunday to deliver more drugs and to pick up the cash he’d collected, it made sense that her Sunday shopping trips were to oversee that operation and to collect the money.
I set up twenty-four hour surveillance on the building to start that night just in case she decided to deviate from past practice. She didn’t, so that Sunday at about ten in the morning, I was parked in my unmarked sedan in the lot of the apartment complex across the street. I had an unmarked car at each end of the street ready to follow her when she left. Once I caught up with them the first car would back off and I’d take over for a few blocks before handing off the tail to the second unmarked car. We’d keep switching the tail every few blocks just in case she was as smart as Clarence thought and figured out she was being followed.
About one, I saw an Asian woman walk out of the building and get into a black Cadillac SUV. I radioed the vehicle description and license number to the other officers, and when she turned North, told Aaron she was headed his way.
Apparently, she didn’t realize we were following her because she didn’t make any odd turns or run though any red lights. She just drove to a self-store place out on Gallatin Road, pulled in through the electronic gate and then sat in her SUV. I left Jerry ready to block the exit and Aaron and I parked in the lot in front of the place.
About five minutes later, a black Ford van pulled through the same gate and parked beside her. A guy got out of the sedan with a gym bag, and after the woman opened the door to the storage building, they went inside. When they came out, the woman was carrying the gym bag. I radioed Jerry to block it. Aaron moved his car to block the entrance and I joined Jerry.
The SUV pulled through the exit gate first and then beeped the horn when she saw Jerry parked there. The guy in the sedan pulled up behind her and stopped, then got out and walked up to the SUV. I’d joined Jerry by then, and yelled at them both.
“Metro Police. Put your hands up, turn around, and walk backwards toward the sound of my voice.”
I figured at least the guy would try to run, but neither of them did. The guy turned around, put his hands up, and started walking backwards like I’d told him to. The woman didn’t turn around but she started walking towards Jerry. I told her to stop and get on the ground, but she wasn’t listening. She kept walking toward Jerry.
I didn’t see Aaron come up to the guy from the sedan, push him down on the asphalt and cuff him because I was watching the woman’s eyes. She looked like she was getting ready to do something. She was about thirty feet from Jerry when her eyes flicked down at the purse she was carrying. Just like Bart always did during our gunfights, she was looking to make sure where her purse was. That probably meant she had a gun and was getting ready to use it.
I pulled my Glock and leveled it at her, then told her to get on the ground. Instead, she quickly jammed her hand inside the purse. I saw the blade flash in the sunlight as she pulled it back out and started running at Jerry.
There’s a rule they teach you at the academy, and that rule is if you’re being attacked by a perp with a knife, you probably can still draw your weapon and put the perp down if he’s at least twenty-one feet away when you start to draw. That presupposes the officer can draw and connect with a basically un-aimed shot in less than two seconds. In reality, a perp hopped up on adrenaline can sometimes run faster and unless you practice instinctive pointing of a weapon a lot, you’re likely to miss. The woman was a small target and she was fast.
I already had my Glock aimed at her chest, but the woman was only about fifteen feet from Jerry before I could touch off the first of three rounds. Jerry got off two before stepping to the side in case she kept running.
When my first round hit her in the middle of the chest, the force of the impact made her drop the knife and slowed her down a lot, but didn’t stop her. Jerry’s first round hit her high on the right shoulder and spun her around. My second round hit her on her left shoulder and Jerry’s missed. My third round missed too, because she was falling to the ground when I fired. She’d covered the last ten feet before she did, so if either of us had missed, she’d probably have gotten at least one swipe at Jerry with her knife, and she’d have been too close to Jerry for me to risk a second shot.
She was still alive when we got to her, so Jerry ripped open her blouse to try to stop the bleeding from the chest wound. I keyed the mike on my radio and requested the EMTs and a patrol car. After dispatch confirmed both were on their way, I got the first aid kit from my trunk and ran back to Jerry.
She’d stopped breathing and Jerry was doing CPR, but I knew it was useless. Her eyes were blank and staring off into space. My shot had hit her dead center in the chest and probably had punched through her heart. It was only the adrenaline and her momentum that kept her going until Jerry’s shot spun her around. We both knew it wasn’t going to do any good, but we kept trying to bring her back until the EMT’s got there and pronounced her dead. It wasn’t until they put her on a gurney for transport to the morgue I saw the dragonfly tattoo over her right breast.
Jerry and I surrendered our weapons to the patrol officer who got there a minute or so later, gave him our statements, and then drove back to the station. We’d be on administrative leave until the board cleared the shooting. We weren’t worried because Aaron had witnessed the whole thing, but procedure is procedure. I’d be out of the case for at least a week, so another detective would take up where I’d left off.
Jim Conners was that detective, and after he interrogated the guy from the sedan, he told me what he’d found out.
The guy admitted to being the intermediate between Susie and Clarence. She knew of Clarence through his old supplier, none other than Carlos Pena. The guy also said he was glad Susie was dead. She’d told him that if he ever breathed a word about her operation to anybody, if he ever stopped working for her, or if he ever stole even a dollar, she’d cut off his dick and balls and laugh while she watched him bleed to death. He believed her because he’d heard from a guy in Mexico that Susie had killed Carlos.
When she came back from Mexico, she kept living in the apartment like Carlos was coming back, and she also took over his business. Carlos had done all the drug deliveries and money collection himself, but Susie was too smart to take that risk. Instead, she hired this guy to do that for her. He knew if he got caught he’d end up dead, but it was really Clarence who was taking the biggest risk so he stayed on as her courier.
Every Sunday afternoon, he’d meet another guy behind the high school and pick up a new supply of drugs, then drive to Clarence’s house and drop off the drugs and pick up the cash. Then, he’d meet Susie at the storage place, give her the money, and get paid.
He said when we busted Clarence, Susie wasn’t worried. She had another house and had found another guy to run it. He was good enough to give Jim the guy’s name and the address of the house. When Jim and half a dozen officers raided the place, they found about the same thing as I’d found at Clarence’s.
That guy was in custody and was talking as well. Apparently, Susie’s method of keeping her employees loyal was to pay them well and tell them if they ever crossed her she’d smile when she killed them. Once the guy knew Susie was dead, he was trying to save his own ass from life in prison. Jim staked out the high school for two Sundays in a row, but nobody showed up so they had no leads on the guy who delivered the drugs.
The raid on Susie’s apartment didn’t yield any drugs, but they did find almost two hundred thousand in cash. Jim talked to the building manager while the officers and techs did the search and found out Susie paid him the rent in cash. You’d think that anybody making a rent payment of over twelve grand a month in cash would raise some eyebrows, but apparently the building manager claimed that wasn’t all that unusual.
Jim did try to connect him with the drug organization, but it turned out the building manager was just greedy. The “tip” of five hundred a month Susie gave him probably helped him ignore the fact that most people don’t carry around twelve grand in hundreds.
It took eight days before Jerry and I were cleared for the shooting. That night, I drove over to Penny’s corner. When she got in my car, I drove to the same alley and handed her two twenties – one so she’d have something to show her man and the second just for her. She grinned.
“I saw about the shooting on TV. I guess Mattie must have told you what you wanted to find out.”
“Yeah. The woman was a major drug dealer in Nashville. We got most of the rest of her organization too, thanks to Mattie. By the way, you thought any more about giving up hooking? It would be the best thing you’ve ever done with your life.”
“Yeah, I have. I’m getting old enough johns are harder to attract, so I’m not bringing in as much money as the younger girls. Howard won’t like it if I quit, but he’s not like some of the other guys. He won’t chase me down and make me keep working. He’ll just find some twenty year old who wants some quick money and give her my corner.
“Mattie says I should go to bartender school like she did and she’ll loan me the money. She says it isn’t all that hard, and you make good money with the tips. I’m just waiting until the first of the month when the next class starts.
“By the way, Mattie says she likes you. You oughta go see her and tell her thank you for what she told you.”
I did go see Mattie again, but first I went to tell Mr. and Mrs. Evans about Susie. They weren’t surprised, but I could tell they weren’t happy about it. Mrs. Evans cried and kept saying, “I wish somehow I could have figured out how to straighten her out.”
I don’t know if I made them feel any better when I told them some people are just born to end up like Susie, but that’s what I told them. I do believe that too. Most people would never think of breaking the law, well, except for speeding and maybe cheating a little on their taxes, but there are a few who seem to go out of their way to break every law they can.
I figure Susie was one of those. Some people might say she was mentally ill, but I don’t think she was. What I think is that some people are just evil to the core and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. That’s why I and a lot of other guys and girls wear a badge – to protect the rest of us from people like Susie.
When I walked into Jason’s that night, Mattie saw me and grinned.
“Penny said you might come by. She said I helped you find that girl you were looking for.”
I’d been thinking about what Penny had said about Mattie liking me, and now that I wasn’t on duty, I looked at Mattie a little differently. Like I said, she wasn’t beautiful, but she seemed like she might be fun and I hadn’t been out with a woman since my divorce ten years before.
“Yes, you did, and I’d like to thank you for that. You ever have dinner with a cop before?”
“No, but there’s a first time for everything. Where would a cop take a bartender to dinner? I thought you guys always ate at fast food places.”
“That’s just when we’re on duty because we don’t have much time to eat. When are you off?”
Mattie leaned over the bar. I couldn’t help but notice the nice cleavage when her top fell open a little more.
“We’re closed on Sunday, and I don’t have to be back here until six on Monday night. Think that’ll be enough time?”
That statement about having enough time and the fact she was fluffing her brown hair when she said that made me wonder if she was thinking about more than just dinner. I didn’t ask anything like that, or course. I barely knew the woman.
After that dinner, though, I knew Mattie a lot better, and I was wishing I had asked. She turned out to be a pretty sharp woman with a great sense of humor, and she wasn’t bashful about saying what she thought. I liked that last thing because that’s something I need from time to time.
Most people meet cops when they’ve done something wrong, and because we’re taught to use what the Academy calls a “command voice”, people get the idea that cops are all domineering assholes. There are a few who are that way, but most of us are just ordinary people once we take off the uniform.
Most cops do have a pretty big ego though, me included. You have to in order to put up with what we see and do everyday, but sometimes you need to have somebody to tell you you’re full of it and to shut up. I thought Mattie could do that quite well.
The second time I dropped by Jason’s and asked Mattie to dinner wasn’t a reward for her. It was a reward for me. That first dinner, I found myself becoming more relaxed than I had in years, and as the evening progressed, decided I liked Mattie a lot. That second dinner didn’t change my mind, so I asked her out again the next Sunday.
We were walking to my car after eating when Mattie slipped her hand in mine. When I squeezed it gently. Mattie chuckled.
“I haven’t held hands with a man since high school, but it feels nice. Do you hold hands with all the bartenders you take to dinner?”
“Only the bartenders I like a lot.”
“What else do you do with the bartenders you like a lot?”
“Well, I don’t know. You’re the first one.”
Mattie turned, put her other hand on my arm and stroked it a couple times.
“I suppose we could find out what you’d do.”
I stopped and turned to face Mattie.
“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
Mattie put her arms around my neck and grinned.
“Since you’re a detective, maybe I need to give you a clue.”
Mattie gave me two clues that night in the parking lot of the restaurant. The first, she could have faked. She pulled herself close enough I felt her breasts pressing into my chest and then she kissed me. When she eased back down and smiled up at me, the second clue – the way her eyes looked really open and bright – told me the first clue was exactly what it felt like.
Mattie’s house in Gallatin looked homey on the outside, and it was filled with antique furniture on the inside, but I didn’t spend a lot of time looking at either. As soon as she locked the door behind us, Mattie put her arms around my neck again and pushed her breasts into my chest when she kissed me. She felt so small and delicate I was afraid my embrace might be too tight, but Mattie only sighed and wiggled herself a little closer. When I let one hand drop to the swell of her hips, Mattie pulled away gently and smiled at me with her wide open eyes.
“I think you’ve figured out what I want. Now show me.”
Afterwards, Mattie told me her bed was an antique “Jenny Lind” bed. All I saw once I undressed her was a very sensuous and inviting woman lying on the sheet with her arms out and beckoning me. Her body, just like her face, wasn’t what most men would call beautiful, but her round breasts, thick, dark nipples, and the dark brown bush on her mound spoke of the erotic woman she truly was.
I suppose it was the way Mattie had basically asked if I’d make love to her more than her body that made me feel that way. It was knowing she really wanted me and wanted me to want her. My ex had never given me that feeling. With her it was more of a feeling she was doing it because she thought she had to. When I stretched out beside Mattie, she hooked her smooth, soft thigh over me and snuggled close enough I felt the hair on her mound against my thigh.
Everything Mattie did just made her that much more desirable, from kissing me with her nibbling lips and searching tongue to the way she caught her breath and then moaned softly when I cupped her breast. I felt her nipple stiffen and grow longer when I stroked it, and the way she rocked her mound against my thigh when I gently rolled her nipple between my fingers.
When I let my hand slide down to cup her hip, Mattie lifted the leg draped over me a little higher, and moaned when I slipped my hand down until I was feeling the puffy, hair covered lips between her thighs. She moved a little, and I felt those puffy lips open, so I slipped a fingertip between them. Mattie moaned and rocked her mound against my thigh, then wormed her small hand between us and found my cock. We were so close she couldn’t really stroke it. She just ran a fingertip around the swollen head, and then giggled when I involuntarily lurched.
“I think you’re ready. So am I.”
I thought she was going to roll over then, but instead she raised up and straddled me, found my cock again, and then moved it back and forth between her slippery pussy lips a little. When she moved the head back to her entrance, I saw Mattie smile and then start to impale herself.
She worked slowly at doing that, just moving down a little and then raising back up. With each stroke, a little more of my cock slipped inside her. About halfway in, Mattie made a few little short strokes that caused her to moan again. After that, she took a deep breath and slowly pushed herself down until she was sitting on my thighs. I groaned when she contracted her passage around my cock.
Mattie didn’t go very fast and that was a good thing. It had been a long time for me and the feeling was pretty intense. It was made more so by the sight of her breasts wobbling up and down and back and forth as she rode my cock, and if she’d gone any faster, I’d have cum in seconds.
It didn’t help me at all when I reached up and fondled her breasts and then rolled her stiff nipples, but it helped Mattie. Mattie gasped and rocked her hips a little, and when she did that, my cock head slipped into someplace really wet and slippery that sucked at my cock when she raised back up.
From time to time, Mattie would bend down to kiss me, and those kisses were also making it hard to hold back. They weren’t kisses, really. They were Mattie’s tongue tangling with mine through the little moans she made and the little rock of her hips just before each moan. After a couple of those kisses, I couldn’t stop myself from thrusting up when Mattie went down, and each time I did, Mattie would gasp and then moan again.
I knew she was close when she gently pulled my hand down to her mound, and I didn’t need her to tell me what she wanted. When my fingertip touched her clit, Mattie’s hips sort of made a double lurch and she gasped. When I started stroking beside the stiff little button, Mattie sped up her strokes a little, and then a lot. I felt her get wetter as she did, and when I looked up at her face, her mouth was open and she was starting to pant. I felt little tightening sensations around my cock, and then the feeling of her pussy pulling in and then pushing out. That pushing out caused the feeling of something wet and warm flowing around my cock and down onto my balls.
Less than a minute later, Mattie lurched down on my cock and cried out. I lost track of everything then. Her hips started rocking her pussy over my cock so fast I couldn’t begin to keep up with the thrusts I was trying to make. When she cried out the second time and I felt that pulling in and then pushing out of her pussy, I lost it and groaned as the first spurt shot up my shaft and splattered inside Mattie. She was still shaking when the third spurt flew from the tip of my cock, but when the shaking stopped, she eased down so her breasts were flattened against my chest.
She didn’t say anything for a while, but she didn’t have to tell he how she was feeling. I kept feeling her passage contract around my cock and hearing the little moans she made when that happened. When those contractions stopped, Mattie kissed me and then snuggled her face against my neck and shoulder.
“I like the things you do to bartenders you really like.”
I stroked Mattie’s hips with both hands and she shivered a little.
“Careful, or you’ll have to show me again.”
“I think I could make that happen.”
“Mmm…I can hardly wait.”
Mattie had to wait half an hour, but that was a fun half hour. I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to be with a woman who really wanted me. Truth be told, I probably never had that feeling, at least I couldn’t remember feeling about my ex like I felt about Mattie. That feeling didn’t change the next morning either. Mattie seemed to like riding my cock, and I decided if that’s what she wanted, that’s what I wanted too.
Over the next several months, my Sunday’s became the day I looked forward to instead of just another day I had to figure out how to occupy my free time. You’d think there wouldn’t be much to do on a Sunday, but Mattie and I went to a lot of places. She still liked antiques, so we went to antique stores and flea markets. When it was warm, we’d go to one of the parks and walk for a while. We went to the beach a couple of times and I got the pleasure of smoothing suntan lotion on Mattie and the pleasure of feeling her do the same for me.
Every Sunday night, we’d end up in bed together. We didn’t always have sex, and the twice in one night and again on Monday morning thing soon gave way to just once and then a long slow kiss good night. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to. It was that it was nice to just lay there together and snuggle afterwards until we fell asleep. We did have some fantastic Monday mornings though.
It was after six months that I decided I couldn’t live without Mattie, so I asked her to marry me. She didn’t say yes right away. It took another month, but finally, she did. It wasn’t a big wedding. We were married in the court house in Gallatin and Penny stood up with her and signed the license as a witness. Jerry did that for me.
Well, there’s not much to tell about what happened after that. I moved into Mattie’s house as soon as we got back from a trip to Chattanooga for a week. I’m still a detective and Mattie’s still a bartender. We don’t see a lot of each other during the week, but our Sunday’s and Monday mornings are great.
I’m thinking about retiring early. I won’t be able to draw a full pension if I do, but I won’t have to be chasing down people like Susie and shooting them when they try to kill my partner either. That one kind of worked on me because Susie was the first woman for me. It just didn’t seem right that I’d had to shoot a woman even though she would have tried to kill Jerry if I hadn’t.
I don’t yet know what else I’ll do, but Mattie says I should think about working as a private detective and that intrigues me a lot. I already know how to do it, and probably nobody will be taking shots at me since I won’t be investigating criminals. The more I think about that, the better it seems, so maybe.
Oh, Penny did go to bartender school, and now she tends bar at one of the little bars down on Second Street. I didn’t have much respect for Penny when she was hooking. I figured she’d end up like most hookers do – old and worn out and living on the street once they couldn’t get a john no matter what the price.
Mattie saw something in Penny I hadn’t , and she helped Penny change her life. I’m proud of Mattie for being able to do that. The three of us get together about once a month now, and I see what Mattie saw. Penny’s an intelligent woman who just made a bad decision and didn’t know how to reverse it until Mattie helped her. Like Penny told me, Mattie is almost like her mother, and Penny has become almost like the daughter I never had.
Funny how things work out, isn’t it? I started looking for a woman who called herself Dragonfly, and that led me to Penny who led me to Mattie who led me to Juan Mendez who led me to Dragonfly even though he was already dead.
It also worked out that I found something in Mattie I didn’t think I’d ever find, and I wouldn’t have found her if life hadn’t tossed Dragonfly into my path. Makes you wonder if there really is some grand plan like some people claim. Maybe there is…or maybe I’m just one really lucky son of a bitch.