Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Abused - Chapter 24

The Abused is a psychological thriller about nine addicts who go to rehab only to have one of them start murdering the others. The novel is set to release in Fall 2016. 

Reader discretion is advised. Some of this content may be profane and not appropriate for readers under the age if 18.


            Detectives Marcus Patrick and Vincent Valdez had spent a grueling afternoon talking to each addict. Marcus found their insistent chatter emotionally draining. He felt like he had gone from crackerjack police detective to psychoanalyst all in one day. He chuckled to think some people did this for a living. He thought he would have to shoot his brains out if he had to spend a career listening to people whine about their “cravings” and their shitty, little lives.
At one point Marcus wanted to scream, “Hey! I had a shitty life too buddy, but you don’t see me snorting coke and popping pills. Oh no! I’m here trying to figure out who killed your politician buddy who from the reports sounded like maybe a stab or two in the gut was well deserved.”
Marcus though sat there with a languid face and listened to each person’s plausible deniability. “I don’t know nothin’.” “You ain’t accusin’ me, are you?” “I’m an addict not a murderer.” It would be a challenge to see through the bullshit to the truth. Addicts were excellent liars – good at covering up their crap with solid-sounding lies. Well, the smart ones anyway. The stupid ones, they just lied and hoped everyone believed their heaping pile of steaming shit. 
Marcus kept thinking about Merry not the array of addicts parading in front of him. He was looking forward to reporting back to her. She was a beacon of light in the midst of this oddly absurd place called rehab. Though it was Finley Sullivan who caught his attention. The former lawyer-turned-loser addict was barely functional as was the case with Kendra, but at the same time Finley had a vacant expression of lackluster care.
“So, you were a lawyer?” asked Marcus.
“Yeah, okay, yeah, they tell me that, but I honestly don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” questioned Vincent.
“Nope,” said the hapless man who had to catch occasional drool from his own mouth. 
“You think maybe a mental institute might accommodate you better?” asked Marcus.
“Don’t know.”
“Do you know anything at all?” questioned Vincent.
“Not really. You know when is Jell-O time. I like the green shit,” said Finley.
“Lime Jello-O?” asked Marcus.
“Yeah, lime … can I go now?”
“Guess so,” said Marcus in a quiet voice.
Finley got up and ambled off like a drunken fool, which he was by all accounts. Vincent looked at Marcus with a quizzical stare.
“Hell, that man’s chain is loose and his marbles lost,” said Marcus.
“No fooling,” laughed Vincent.
“You think he could stab the shit out of someone?”
“Yeah, and eat some puddin’ later?” jeered Marcus.
“I think he’s one step left of straight and very lost.”
Marcus nodded and considered whether the very confused Finley Sullivan could actually stab a blade into someone’s gut or not. And why would he? Unless he knew the disgraced politician in his former life as a lawyer, which the hapless fool didn’t even remember having done for a living. It didn’t seem particularly plausible except that things that often made zero sense added up to two cents and a confession and life sentence.
“You think those two knew each other at some point?” asked Vincent.
“It’s possible, but the real question is…”
Merry walked in the room, “Did they hate each other?”
Marcus turned and looked at the demure Merry whose eyes sparkled at him with an unusual and unexpected flirtatiousness. “Exactly.”
“Nope!” she said flatly.
“How do you know?” asked Vincent.
“Already checked,” she replied astutely.
“Well then … there goes that lead,” complained Marcus.
“It’s lunch time in the common area … top sirloin and eggs over easy,” offered Merry.
“Cool! I’m famished,” said Vincent. “You coming?”
“Nope, I want to speak to Ms. Fenmore for a moment.”
“Suit yourself … easy eggs and steak await…” and then Vincent bounded out of the room like a hungry hunter destined for some chow.
Marcus focused his attention on Merry. “You always researching the ‘inmates’?”
“No, but then again it’s rare someone gets murdered on the 5th floor, right?”
“You’re very attractive,” blurted Marcus.
“Um, okay…” said Merry with a frown.
Marcus stepped forward and she stepped back in some sort of strange dance move. They both halted for the moment and gazed at each other.
“I like Enya. You like her? I love the song ‘Angels’. You are, you know … an angel.”
Merry had never heard such nonsense. She only stared at the attractive detective and didn’t have anything to say.
“Heaven pass away … and memories to pull …” he spouted like a hopeless romantic.
“What?” she was speechless.
“Angels … all those dark clouds …” he grinned.
“Are you crazy?”
“Um … okay.”
“You want to go to town. The Highways and Byways Diner – best damn waffles you’ll ever taste.”
“I don’t like waffles.”
“Eggs then?”
Merry stared at her perfectly shaped black Italian-leather pumps. The word “angels” echoed through her mind. She looked up and with the slightest smile and replied, “Yes.”
Marcus grinned and they left the room – together.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Corporate Greed Gone Wild

Here is a scenario (and I bet you all can relate):

Have you ever signed up for, say, cable service? They offer one of those contracts to lock you into service for at least a year and offer you a discount. Most of the time the "discount" is really a reasonable cost for service. I don't know anyone who pays the full amount anyway. Next thing you know, the contract ends and out of nowhere your cable bill goes up. Not only does it go up, but also they've ADDED extra services you never requested such as Cinemax. Now your cable bill is suddenly twice the amount. Sometimes it's such a small amount you don't question it. You keep paying it in good faith. Then it goes up again. They've added more service you never requested. Now you have to take time out of your day to straighten out their mess.

Here is another scenario called Auto Renew. Many services will take your credit information and put in the fine print that the subscription will automatically renew each year. Let's say you only need the service for a few months. Next thing you know it has renewed on its own. You're paying money for service you don't need and may not realize it because it's buried in your credit statement. Then when you confront the situation, you're required to spend your personal time fixing it.

Hidden cancellations are another one designed to make it very difficult for the end user to cancel service. While companies make it very easy to add service, they often make it next to impossible to cancel service. The hope here is you'll get sick of trying to cancel it and abort the effort. 

Hidden fees are used to further gauge consumers. Companies will quote the base cost of something and then each month when you receive your bill you'll be faced with extra costs. While some of these costs may only be $1 or $2 extra a month, they all add up.

What's the problem here? 

The problem is we live in a society now driven by greed and scams designed to get as much money as possible out of consumers. Systems are designed to make money with little concern about ease of use when it comes to cancellation. The mantra seems to be to push every last dime out of the consumer as possible. Manipulation of the technology to create not a user friendly system on all fronts, but to avoid features that make it easy to cancel something. 

It's disgusting when you think about it. Making money should not be the end-all, be-all for systems. I'm very confident companies like AT&T make plenty of money. 

Recently I got a notice from Amazon that they now had annual fees added to my account. On top of taking their 55% to my 45%, now they are charging a $99 annual fee. They already make the lion's share of the profit, but they want to take additional money? Why? So they can make even more money. Why not keep it honest. Why not just say we're taking 60% to your 40%? Because it's all about manipulating more money. Do you honestly believe a monster corporation like Amazon needs yet a $100 more a year from small businesses? Do they realize how many books an author needs to sell to make up for that $100? It might not mean much to them, but it means a lot to authors and small business.

I just don't like the overall corporate attitude. It's teaching young people that as long as you get money it's okay. It's any wonder we have a generation of entitled people. When an overall mindset of entitlement prevails in the structures at large, what do we teach others? It's an overall selfish approach to the world. If we want to teach generosity then it has to start with something as simple as not having these corporate giants wring every last penny they can out of people vs. care about the service they provide and whether or not their systems are constructed in a way that serves the customer not gauges them. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Abused - Chapter 23

The Abused is a psychological thriller about nine addicts who go to rehab only to have one of them start murdering the others. The novel is set to release in Fall 2016. 

Reader discretion is advised. Some of this content may be profane and not appropriate for readers under the age if 18.


            Craig noted the addicts were far more restless than usual – not that he could blame them. Assemblyman Pendergrass lay dead on a morgue slab. If they weren’t upset he would have wondered about their humanity except most addicts were more concerned with their cravings than anything else.
Addiction is a nasty business. Addicts – all they care about is their next fix. Their next high. Addiction trumps love, family, work – everything important to most people. Addiction starts to become a best friend. It talks to you. It tells you “use me,” “get high” “forget everybody else”. Addiction is a self-absorbed, taken-over-your-life vice that destroys everything in its path. Addicts don’t care about anything or anyone but their drug of choice. And once addicted and until that addiction is beat, an addict will never care about anything else but the next high.
Straight people don’t understand the urge to use. Straight people don’t understand how addicts feel. They work from their perspective of normalcy – eat, drink, go to work, live life. Addicts live from their perspectives – get high, and when can I get high again? The two thought processes don’t match. Addicts need enablers and fellow users to continue their lifestyles. Straight people are afraid for addicts. They are afraid their addict family member, lover or friend will kill themselves. They’re afraid that the addict will never return to them. The two worlds clash in a division of addiction vs. non-addiction, love of substance vs. love of life. It’s a battle where the substance wins until the substance destroys all. And once all is destroyed (AKA rock bottom) nothing will change. And change will only come upon awakening from the substance-induced coma.
Craig should know. He was a former Oxycontin addict. The heavy-duty prescription pain killer almost turned his once neat and tidy life into a war zone. He got “embedded with the troops,” meaning to sustain his addiction he started going out with local gang members at age 18 to break into pharmacies. If it hadn’t been for his Uncle Joe, a local priest, Craig surmised he would be dead and six-feet under by now.
Uncle Joe had one day pulled his wayward nephew aside after Catechism. They walked out into the wide hallways outside of the rectory. Craig remembered Joe wearing a short-sleeved black shirt and the priest’s collar. Maybe Uncle Joe would have done this in confessional, but Craig’s father Ike had personally asked Joe to be his son’s guiding light but not his priest. Craig wasn’t particularly into religion anyway – well, not then anyhow.
“Can I ask you something?” Joe inquired in his usual quiet manner.
“Yeah,” replied Craig in a twitchy, uncomfortable way. He was needing a new fix, and this conversation seemed like it might take too long – his itch might become a heavy-duty scratch.
“What are you doing?”
“With your life?”
“Huh?” Craig didn’t want to have this conversation. His left foot was pointed toward the street-end of the hallway.
“Nephew! Your life?” 
“Ah, living,” came his smart-ass reply.
Joe grabbed the young man by both shoulders and stared him right into his blood-shot eyes. “God has given you a gift,” he said and looked down at his emaciated body. “You chose to destroy that gift with that poison. What’s it going to take? Your death in some sewer infested with rodents to wake you up? Hmm? Because it’s your choice. You’re making this choice over life. Is that what you really want to do?”
Craig didn’t know whether it was the breeze that kicked up when Joe said it or the fact that his stomach wretched and he blew the scrambled eggs and chew onto his uncle’s black shoes, but whatever it was Craig never used again. Sometimes life comes with defining moments, and really nasty barf on your uncle’s shoes. Regardless, Craig sobered up. He also found his life’s path – to help other addicts find a new life. A better life – the way his uncle woke him up.

Now Craig found himself staring at seven other newly sober addicts who were alarmed over the news that a murder took place. Questions. They all had questions. Craig had no answers, because there were yet to be any answers. Those detectives, Marcus and Vincent had requested private interviews with the group. Not all of them – especially Darian and Kevin seemed terribly thrilled to be being put under suspicion of anything. Kendra though as usual was quiet and withdrawn. Craig was wondering if maybe she needed antidepressants like Paxcel or Lexapro or even Zoloft to shift out of this near catatonic state she was constantly in.
“Darian, I understand you don’t want to meet with the police, but they need to interview everyone who was in the building that night,” said Craig to the surly teenager.
Darian looked down and was picking at her gnawed-down fingernails. She was like a mouse constantly nibbling her nails to a nub. It was an ugly, dirty nervous habit. “I ain’t gonna mess with no detectives. I always get it up the ass from them dudes. Fuckers!”
“What have we discussed about language?” prompted Craig.
Jesus Christ,” cried Kevin Sanders. “We’re potential witnesses to a murder, and you’re all twisted up about ‘language’? You are certified nuts!”
“How’d he die?” interjected Frank.
“Stabbing,” replied Pete.
“Really?” brightened up Kevin.
“Where’d you get your info from?” asked Craig of Pete.
Pete chuckled in amusement, “Your staff’s not so closed mouthed. What? Those orderlies were like bitching about cleaning up the mess.”
“Mess?” asked Kendra with a sudden interest.
“Well, honey most stabbings ain’t clean,” replied Darian as she stuck another finger in her mouth and chewed back and forth.
“Should we be worried?” asked Deacon feeling alarmed.
“No, we’re going to keep your wings closed up when we’re not in session – for your own protection, of course,” replied Craig.
“Of course,” Pete said in a sarcastic tone.
“Can we please get to group now,” Pete all of a sudden said. “I came here to get clean not investigate murder.”
“Do you want to talk about how you’re all feeling? You’re a week into detox. Congratulations.”
“Oh well thank you,” Pete remarked. “I feel so great. Can’t wait to get out and use some more. Love your program.”
“No one expects you to be over the cravings in a week,” assured Craig.
“You know what I want?” asked Darian. “A big bag of meth, a good fuck, and a smoke! Fuck rehab.”
“Yeah,” echoed Deacon. “I want to call my girlfriend.”
“Oh fuck me,” cried Kevin. “When are you going to stop pissing on and on about your girlfriend? You’re like this little pansy puss. Oh Violet, boo fucking hoo.”
“That’s very assertive of you, Kevin,” said Craig.
“Fuck off,” cried Deacon. “You don’t know what it’s like to be in love.”
“Neither do you,” said Frank. “Real love has nothing to do with obsession.”
“Very good Frank,” said Craig.
“Are you saying I didn’t love her?” cried Deacon.
“Deacon, I think what Frank is saying is that perhaps you should evaluate your feelings. Did you really love a girl who rejected you? Treated you badly? Is that love? Did your mother or father treat each other poorly? As a boy, did you see that as love?”
“My whole family loved on me,” Darian suddenly said. “Yeah, they banged me after the boys paid me. Only they got freebies.”
Deacon started sobbing. He looked down in shame. Craig could see something was brewing on this topic. He remembered from the file his father had killed his mother. The room lapsed into silence.
“Deacon, let’s resume this discussion in your daily session,” said Craig.

After a tempestuous discussion, the group adjourned. Deacon walked out into the hallway to Craig who was aware he was in deep pain.
“I hate women,” declared Deacon.
Kendra who was staring out the window close by turned and gave Deacon the strangest look. “You don’t think women hate you, too?”
“Um, let’s not …” Craig began to say.
Deacon aggressively turned on Kendra. “Shut up you pouty little mouse bitch.”
Kendra stood her ground in a most surprising way. “Men like you,” she spat on his shoe. “You think you can control women. Treat us like toys. Have sex with us. Hit us if we don’t comply. Destroy our hearts. You think we’re just things. Things meant to please or displease you. Get this, we’re human beings. You know what that feels like?”
Deacon stepped back in total shock. The quiet and distraught woman had a shockingly loud and strong message. He felt his dick grow hard. She turned him on. He became flustered in the flurry of the mixed feelings – fuck her or punch her? Maybe that was the root expression of little boys who pulled ponytails of little girls they liked. Get her attention if you can’t get in her pants. It didn’t matter anyway. Kendra was done. She turned heel and headed toward the elevator to return to her room.
Craig thought but didn’t say, “Shit! I want a smoke.”
Deacon only snarled at Craig and headed on his way. Craig shook his head.

Monday, June 20, 2016

5 Daily Habits for Success

Coming soon Habits and Attitudes by Dr. Lance Casazza. The book releases in the fall. 

Here are my five daily habits. These are the things that help keep me on track and successfully running my company 3L Publishing (

Ø  Eat homemade healthy foods and avoid processed foods (basically anything in the middle of the supermarket). When you eat homemade vs. store-bought food or restaurant dishes, you know exactly how many calories and how much sugar and salt went into your meals. When you go to a restaurant you have absolutely no idea what that food contains. In a country where diabetes is becoming a national epidemic, it’s best to avoid carbs and sugar, and restaurants load their dishes with carbs and sugar.
Ø  Meditate and visualize success every day. First thing when I wake up, I meditate, say my mantras, and visualize a great day. Leaders like Steve Jobs advocated meditation. I find that it puts my head in the right space to start the day with a positive attitude. The day might not always turn out right, but at least I started out with the right mindset.
Ø  Create daily routines and stick to them. I always get asked how I accomplish so much in a day. The answer is I have a routine of activities I follow. I get up in the morning and the first activities of the day involve marketing and promoting my business. I try to make all phone calls and contact in the morning, and then I do the work that doesn’t require a time of day to be done in the afternoons and early evenings.
Ø  Create daily, weekly and monthly goals. Goals are so important. Goals give you direction and purpose. I keep a desk calendar and write down my daily, weekly and monthly goals. I write vs. type because it stays in your brain longer. Writing down my goals also makes it easier to keep track and check them off as I achieve them. Smaller daily goals lead to bigger overall accomplishments.
Ø  Family first – my boyfriend tells me that you can have the most money in the world, but if you don’t get your intimacy issues right you can be the unhappiest person on the planet. Rich people who don’t have love will commit suicide. So, make your family and significant others your priority. As they say, “Work isn’t going to visit you on the porch when you’re old and sitting in a rocking chair.”

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Amazon Reviews of Body in the Trunk

 The Kindle version is only $2.99 at Amazon (click here)
By D. B. Stearns, Author Harmonic Wars on June 15, 2016
Format: Paperback
If you’re looking for an erotic thriller, Michelle Gamble has written a winner with Body in the Trunk. This murder mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat. Gamble does an excellent job capturing and expressing the heart pounding attraction between lovers and the jealousy of a failed marriage. I loved the realism of the characters and how they struggled with temptation, but how deeply they connected to each other. Excellent book and a real page turner! 
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Body in the Trunk is exciting, sexy and mysterious! Written in a no-holds barred fashion by an incredible writer, the book grabbed hold of me and I was glued to the pages for days. The characters are relatable and vivid, making the reader feel they are a part of the story. I enjoyed this book immensely and I could envision it playing extremely well as a movie script. Michelle's writing style is both entertaining and titillating, and she keeps you guessing until the very end. I highly recommend this book. 
Format: Paperback
Michelle Gamble has written an exciting mystery about love, betrayal, and murder. Her ability to excite the reader with her vivid descriptions is amazing. The characters are people we all have met in our life or some we can actually relate to. The twists and turns are so real that I couldn't stop reading. I will be sending her publisher a bill for lost hours at work. 
on January 11, 2016
Michelle Gamble has written an exciting mystery about love, betrayal, and murder. Her ability to excite the reader with her vivid descriptions is amazing. The characters are people we all have met in our life or some we can actually relate to. The twists and turns are so real that I couldn't stop reading. I will be sending her publisher a bill for lost hours at work.
on November 6, 2015
I picked up the book and next thing I knew, the day was over! I absolutely fell in love with the characters and could not put the book down. I wanted to know what would happen! A must read!
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on October 19, 2015
I usually do not purchase or read such books as this one. I am very pleased to have purchased this book. I plan on reading this book a few times to figure out who did it. Very well written book.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Abused - Chapter 22

The Abused is a psychological thriller about nine addicts who go to rehab only to have one of them start murdering the others. The novel is set to release in Fall 2016. 

Reader discretion is advised. Some of this content may be profane and not appropriate for readers under the age if 18.


            Captain Hardy had convened his two key detectives on the case Marcus and Vincent. They both sat in front of their captain in two slightly uncomfortable wooden chairs. Marcus always wondered why they couldn’t just procure some decent furniture. The captain though was always complaining of budgets and fiscal years and no money for extras. Marcus thought a decent chair should be considered a necessity what with “ergonomics” and all that modern shit they were coming up with, including carpal tunnel. Since Marcus spent more time in the field than at the desk, he just considered himself fortunate not to be the desk cop who checked in the offenders.
“So fellas, we got that there politician on a slab. Guess he had some ‘friendlies’ with the higher ups. They’re insistin’ we find our killer there fast.”
“The executive director is going to let us interview the addicts and staff … see if anyone has any info we could use.”
“Good, good,” the captain nodded. “What’s your initial thoughts there?”
“Our guy ruffled someone’s feathers … probably on the inside,” said Marcus.
“He wasn’t a popular guy I hear,” said Vincent. “Pissed off lots of people in Cali. Maybe someone tracked him down?”
“They got cameras all over that joint. We looked at the videos from that night. Nothing too suspicious in the common areas. No one came in that didn’t belong there … that we spotted in our initial review anyway.”
“All right then fellas. Sounds like you got a plan there.”
The both nodded and got up.

A short while later, they found themselves standing in front of the mangled, grayish-colored body of the late Assemblyman Pendergrass. The Coroner Stewart King handed them both masks to protect their olfactory senses from the stench of death. Marcus always said you don’t know from a horrific smell until you’ve gotten an unpleasant whiff of days-old death. Once asked what it smelled like and Marcus said, “It’s the rankest smell on Earth – a foulness like no other.” Those around him from the force who had the unfortunate experience of smelling a decaying body didn’t disagree. 
The men covered their noses and mouths as they got a closer look at the slash wounds.
“We think the time of death was around 9 pm judging from the rigor mortis, but he could have laid there for about 10 to 15 minutes before he bled out. None of the wounds were fatal. The cause was blood loss,” said Stewart in his matter-of-fact tone. Nothing affected him anymore. He had seen all manners of death and some were more gruesome than words. In his opinion, this was a clean “go” as he was known to say.
“So you think he enjoyed a long blood bath before he checked out?” asked Vincent.
“Looks like it,” replied Stewart.
“Any evidence? Anything under the nails?” asked Marcus.
“Yes, we found bits of latex. Our killer must have worn gloves. He probably tried to either pull the blade out or jerk it from the person’s hands,” said Stewart who then lifted his right hand to reveal slash marks on the fingers and palm. “He was a righty.”
“So probably got jumped,” observed Marcus.
“Good assumption from the wounds,” he lifted the body up just slightly, “on the back lower hip. I think our perp didn’t want the guy to die from the stab wounds. The way he meticulously avoided vital organs was pretty, excuse the pun, sharp.”
“Well, we already figured there was some passion to this one. You don’t torture your victim unless it’s personal … or you feel it’s personal,” commented Vincent.
“Malice,” whispered Marcus.
“What?” asked Vincent.
“Malice,” replied Marcus louder. “Malice is when the murderer’s deeply evil impulses are specific to that person. They are full of rage – targeted malevolence. Our politician here had to have pissed someone off in a very private way. Set off a sort of intimate time bomb if you will. Just the very element of slashing and hacking up his face … well, that’s just downright wicked shit right there.”
Vincent and Stewart had both been sucked into Marcus’ eloquent description. They had both been staring mesmerized by his words. So when he finished, they both just nodded in agreement.
“We’re going to need to find the link,” continued Marcus. “There is a personal link somehow to someone who is either checked into or works for St. John’s. Can we get background checks on all the addicts?” asked Marcus to Vincent.
“Sure thing. I’ll get on that right away.”
Marcus stared once more at the politician. “Yes, our murderer knows the assemblyman. We find out that connection, we solve the case.”

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Abused - Chapter 21

The Abused is a psychological thriller about nine addicts who go to rehab only to have one of them start murdering the others. The novel is set to release in Fall 2016. 

Reader discretion is advised. Some of this content may be profane and not appropriate for readers under the age if 18.

            With the center in lock down it was quiet, which was strange for a place usually softly humming, but sometimes with remote screams from detox. Deacon sat on his bed reading The Help. He didn’t like the book much, but it was all they had in the library that he even considered looking at. He stared out the window just as the light drizzle of the evening rain began and wind gently swept and sprayed the window.
Deacon kept thinking about Violet and was too distracted to really absorb the story. Ever since he met her he hadn’t been able to get her off his mind. The obsession had driven him to drink just to soften the edges of the pain. He thought about her strawberry blonde hair, the natural soft curls, and the shine of light-red highlights. He thought about her creamy complexion so unlike his own. He would close his eyes and remember the last time they made love. How he had run his fingertips along the curves of her hips and stroked her lower back. He remembered her childish giggle whenever she drank fine wine, and how her eyes sparkled in the light. He got hard thinking about their lovemaking. He considered rubbing it out, but the lights of the police cars below caught his attention.
He went to the window to see as far down as he could. The police cars just kept arriving in droves. It looked like a station parking lot at this point. They hadn’t said exactly what happened when they asked the patients to go to their rooms, but Deacon knew by the looks of the men-in-blue it was serious. He had a fleeting thought maybe someone was killed, but that seemed ridiculous in a place like this one. It was as far from maximum-security prison as you could get. Yet the new arrivals definitely had his hackles up.
They were allowed into the hallways, but the hall doors were locked tight. Deacon got up and walked out into the corridor to find Kendra standing by the north window. She was mesmerized by all of the cars, but also looked strangely dazed. Well, she always looked on the edge of catatonia. She had those doe-like eyes that were never fixed on you. She seemed to stare through you and over you, but never at you. Deacon only knew bits and pieces of her story from group. He knew there had been a baby involved, and that was enough (for him) to understand her remoteness and closed-off body language.
He walked over to her and briefly admired her olive complexion and dark hair with just a single curl hanging in her face. He wanted to brush it away, but knew not to come any closer. She would move away and probably rush back to her room. He had learned to give her a wide berth.
“Got any idea what happened?” he asked.
Kendra kept staring out the window. “No,” she responded almost imperceptibly.
“Looks serious to me,” he said and inched just a touch forward, but not enough to alarm her.
“So many men,” she uttered just as quietly.
“Any good looking ones?” he chuckled.
That comment made her pause. Her eyes fluttered a bit, and she stepped back from the window and just slightly further from Deacon, the Italian heart throb.
“Hey, it was just a joke,” Deacon said when he could see such a strange look pass over her face. “Are you okay?” he asked and stepped forward just a bit. He felt like she needed to be comforted.
“Fine, yes.”
Their dance of “distance” continued with Kendra moving back toward her room. She was like this nervous deer caught in the headlights of his presence. She looked down and moved quickly into room before Deacon could say another word. It was then that Frank came out from his room on the far end of the hall. He walked over to the same window and observed the scene below, too.
“That’s a whole lot of blue,” he muttered. “Someone got killed.”
“You think?” asked Deacon remembering that Frank was the CHP guy with the dead best friend and a nasty drug habit.
“Yep. They don’t invite the squad unless something major has happened,” said Frank as he watched the comings and goings of the forensic team.
“Wow! Here?”
Frank turned from the window and looked at the handsome Italian. “Apparently.”
“But this is rehab not San Quentin,” said Deacon.
Frank chuckled for a moment. “Maybe one of our dear friends decided to take the easy way out.”
“Yeah, that’s probably better than three days in detox.”
Frank laughed, “Anything’s better than detox.” Frank acted antsy and went back to the window. “Wish I were in on the action.”
“You miss it?”
“Sometimes,” he sighed. “I mostly miss the bike … and Jonesy.”
“Oh no one,” he sighed.
Deacon nodded. “I miss Violet.”
Deacon had moaned so much about his ex-girlfriend that everyone knew her name – and not in a good way. Deacon’s obsession ran everything he did and said. He knew it was unhealthy. He just didn’t know how to quit thinking about her. He thought about suggesting hypnotherapy to Mr. Craig Pauline, but even then he wasn’t sure what would happen. Craig had only placated him by saying “All break-ups are hard.” Deacon knew it was hard. Hell 10 bottles of whiskey later and he knew it was hard.
“God I could use a drink,” he suddenly blurted.
Frank stared at him. “A pile of coke would do it for me.”
“I think about Violet all day. Shit I’m addicted to her more than the booze,” he moaned.
“Sex addiction?”
“No love.”
Frank laughed and slapped his arm. “Get over it my friend.”
“Yeah, well easy for you to say.”
“Hey, we’re all in here because we’ve got shit to deal with. It’s not the drugs you know. It’s the painful shit in life that for some reason our group of friends here avoid with substances. Believe me when I say, it will get better.”
“Is that from you to me or me to you?” smiled Deacon.
Frank looked down below and nodded. “Yep. Murder.”
He watched them load a body bag into the back of a Coroner’s van that had just backed up into the driveway.
“Fuck! Really?”
Deacon ran over to the window and saw the scene down below. Both men stood there and watched closely as two guys slammed the van doors shut and stood back. Deacon was totally speechless. And for the first time in a long time he wasn’t thinking about Violet. He was mesmerized by the scene going on and the thought that someone had died in the place.