Friday, November 26, 2021


“I found the connection, Bannon,” Junior turned from his computer screen. “I got confirmation from the university that our two victims attended creative writing classes there. Same instructor but not at the same time. A couple of years apart.”

“Instructor’s name?”

“Amy Doestal. Stopped teaching about three years ago. She came out with a best seller soon after quitting.”

“Check your email, kid. Feds just gave us another victim in New Mexico three years ago. Ask the U if that victim took any of her classes.” Bannon headed towards the captain’s office.


“Why’d you wait ‘til now?” This didn’t sit well with the captain: satchel contents, Bannon “frozen” and losing the satchel but not to tell him until a couple weeks later?

“Cap’n, I figured you’d think I’m crazy.”

“You got that right.”

“I only had a glimpse of the satchel before they snatched it. It took me a while before I remembered everything and it had to be from a writer of some sort. Junior found that both of our victims attended classes at the U and I bet the New Mexico victim did as well.”

“I should write you up again.”

“What’s that six, seven times?”

“Twenty-two,” the captain laughed the numbers out.

“Huh… Well, if I solve this case, you can suspend me for a couple of weeks. I’ll do some fishing.”

A knock at the door and Junior stepped in. “You were right, Bannon. New Mexico victim took the same classes and overlapped with one of our victims.”

“Junior, I want as much background on Doestal as you can and fast," Bannon ordered, "Also, dig deeper with the university but act like you’re following up about the victims, not her. This should shed some light on ‘perfessor’ Doestal,” Bannon spit the title out. “Publisher?”

“Watts & Company, out of New York,” Junior read from his notes.

“‘Donnie’ at the Feds can help us with that and tell them it’s for security for Doestal’s next novel or something. He owes me.”

“Get moving,” the captain said. “If you need a warrant, I’ll get Judge Baker. He owes me.”

“How?” Bannon asked.

The glare Bannon received told him it was none of his business.

Linked to Poets and Storytellers United: Friday Writings #4: Pain in Ink

Part One: The Dead Need No Words

Part Two: Partners

Part Three: Zen Detective



Friday, November 19, 2021

Zen Detective

Detective Bannon and Junior were in the captain’s office after the morning briefing, “What do you two got so far? A week, no leads, no clue on how the hearts were removed, and still no motive.”

“Not much more than that, Cap’n,” Bannon spoke first. “The closest historical cases were murders in the Low Desert where some perv murders for people’s hearts but he hacked the chest open to do it. These are done with something unknown in today’s medicine. I’ve shown the coroner’s reports to docs at the university hospital and they have no clue.”

Junior added, “We haven’t found a connection between the two victims yet. Crime lab reported that each of their computers were wiped clean. DOD wiped clean. No break-ins to their homes but someone could have hacked in remotely or dropped malware on their systems without being physically at their computers.”

“You got nothing.” The captain sighed. “I’ve got the press hounding the chief about a serial killer which means somebody leaked. I know it’s not you, Bannon, you hate the press more than I do.” The captain looked to Junior.

“Not me,” Junior responded to the glare. “The only people outside this department that I’ve contacted has been the Fed and state agencies.”

A knock at the door by someone at the reception desk, “Captain, I have a Brad Berry insisting to speak with you. He’s from Mayor Zimmerman’s office and he won’t go away.”

“I’ll be right there. You two knuckleheads get to work!”

“Brad… Berry…” Those names echoed in Bannon’s head as they left the office. “The book in the satchel… It was Bradbury! Ray Bradbury!”

“Junior, do you know a Ray Bradbury?”

“Sure. Sci-Fi author of Fahrenheit 451, Illustrated Man, Martian Chronicles, and a ton of other short stories. Why?”

Bannon moved on to his next thought, “Zimmerman… Zimm… Zen!”

“Did he write about Zen – something?”

Zen in the Art of Writing. Pretty good summary of his writing process. You thinking of writing a crime book, Bannon? I’m working on a book. It’s about…” Junior’s words began to drift away, Bannon was preoccupied.

“Junior, were either victim writers?”

Part One: The Dead Need No Words

Part Two: Partners


Linked to Poets and Storytellers United:  Friday Writings #3: A Different Interpretation


Thursday, November 11, 2021


Oldtown, Detective Bannon’s city (as he claimed it), was packed with immigrants, both recent and generations back, all settlers of humanity who had nowhere else to go. Those that escaped never returned for fear of being sucked back in to this world where dreams and hopes wither away as dust.

There were bright spots where a flower grows from a crack in the sidewalk but the only people that got ahead were those connected to the mayor and city council. The rest of the people wished some of that largess would trickle down to them. A lucky few received the rain while the rest just got wet.

Captain’s Daily Briefing was meant to give updates and progress from the department before he had to face the chief.  “Bannon,” the captain barked, “what about last night?”

Bannon relayed the previous night’s case: the male body, evidence washed away in the rain and the scene contaminated by the crowd, and the neighborhood canvas came up with no witnesses. “I’m waiting for the coroner’s report and crime lab.” He left out the theft of the satchel. “Something doesn’t feel right about this one, Cap’n.”

“Your ‘Spidey-sense’ tingling again?” That came from a voice in the crowd.

“How many cases has your gut solved, Junior?” Bannon replied. “Junior’s” family was connected with the mayor and everyone suspected he made detective a little too quickly.

“Bannon, I want you and Junior to work together on this one. As you just pointed out, he needs experience.” The nickname had stuck and Junior hated Bannon for that. An office pool was made that day on how long the partnership would last.

Back at their desks, Bannon obsessed over the contents of that satchel, handwritten words in journals, the discs and memory sticks, and he now remembered seeing a book with a title he couldn’t recall. Some of the words in the journals were crossed through by someone’s editing. “I only had it a few seconds…” The phone ringing brought him back to the moment. “Dammit! Thanks, Doc.” The coroner’s nickname changed based on the situation.

“What was that?” Junior asked.

“Our dead guy had no heart.”

Part One: The Dead Need no Words

Linked at Poets and Storytellers United: Friday Writings #2: Always Learning 



Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Dead Need no Words

“He’s dead.”

The grizzled detective nudged the body on the sidewalk with his boot, the reflection of blue lights flashing in the gutter to his right. Hairs stood on the back of his neck as the drizzle soaked his collar. Rain at night was always cold this time of year.

“Uh, Detective. He’s got a pulse.”

“Rookies. Always trying to save the world.” Detective Bannon thought. “Look,” Bannon spoke over his shoulder as his back was to the officer, “twenty-five years on the job… I think I know a stiff when I see one. You might want to keep the crowd back so they don’t contaminate my crime scene.”

The growing crowd was pushing towards the body. The rookie approached them, commanding the rain-soaked wall of humanity to stand back.

The coroner soon arrived, declared the body dead, then asked his assistant to take photos.

“Just like the last one, Harms?” Bannon asked the coroner. Bannon never took the time to learn anyone’s name, he just gave them one. The rookie would have one before the morning.

“I hope not.”

The “last one” was found without a heart. No trauma to the body but no heart inside. Like someone, or something, reached down their throat and neatly removed it. Neither saw trauma to this body.

Bannon reached for a satchel a few feet away and rifled the contents. Papers and notebooks nearly filled with scribblings, along with discs and memory cards in the side pockets.

“That would be for me.” The voice came from behind Bannon.

He turned to look but couldn’t move. He was frozen. The crowd, the rookie, everyone stopped in time. At least Bannon could hear and see but the voice wouldn’t come into view.

“These words don’t belong to him, Detective.” A hand retrieved the satchel. “He was murdered though. You killed him. She killed him.” The hand pointed towards the crowd. “I killed him," the voice paused, "then he killed himself.”

The voice stepped back into the shadows as the world became unfrozen.

Bannon pulled his pistol and followed where he thought the voice went but no trace remained.

Those neck hairs were beginning to bother him...

Link to Poets and Storytellers United - Writers' Pantry #94: Ends and New Beginnings


“I found the connection, Bannon,” Junior turned from his computer screen. “I got confirmation from the university that our two victims atten...