Steve Burns

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Epilogue

by Steve Burns 05.04.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

Colin took the Budweiser from the sack, twisted off the top and placed the bottle in the fire. As the fire boiled the liquid and it foamed out of the opening, Colin opened the O’Doul’s.

“Here’s to you, Pete” said Colin, raising his drink and taking a sip. Then as an afterthought, “Here’s to you, Joe. Good luck in your next life. You’ve earned it.”

Colin sat quietly and finished his drink, watching as the remaining beer boiled out of the bottle in the fire.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 33

by Steve Burns 04.27.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

“Look at it!” Sheila demanded.

“Easy,” Joe said calmly. He looked at the coin in his hand. It was similar to the one found by Pete Castillo’s body. On one side, the rooster, talons extended. On the other, the five pointed star.

“You know what that is?” asked Sheila with a smile.

“I’ve seen it before, but no, I don’t know what it is.” replied Joe looking back at the coin, taking his gaze from Sheila.

“It’s your death token.” said Sheila.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 32

by Steve Burns 04.20.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

The appearance of the man on the gurney drew everyone’s attention in the holding tank, including Joaquin Torres. Among the deportees, Joaquin did not stand out, as he sat pondering how he would get back across the border once he was released. He recognized Leonard Jefferson immediately and his rage began to grow. In Joaquin’s mind, that was the man who had caused all this crap to happen.

As soon as the paramedics and guards left the tank, Joaquin motioned for four of his companions to watch the door. He walked to Jefferson’s side. Leonard was doped up, but not asleep. He surveyed his new surroundings as best he could, completely held in place by the leather restraints. The man standing over him looked familiar, but it took a moment for him put a name with the face.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 31

by Steve Burns 04.13.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

“Joe, Sheila Masters thinks you killed her partner…” Scott Raines said.

“Wait a minute, Scott, I didn’t even fire my piece,” said Joe, defensively.

“I know that. Hell, we all know that. The fact of the matter is, she thinks you killed her friend, Tyrone. She said she will talk to you and give herself up to you alone.” Scott Raines paused. “She says she will kill someone else if she does not talk to you. Joe, you are off administrative leave. I am sending a patrol unit to pick you up. You must be at the office in fifty minutes to take her call.”

Joe was dumbfounded. Two minutes earlier, he had given up; nobody wanted him. Now Scott Raines stopped just short of begging him to come back.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 30

by Steve Burns 04.06.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

Scott Raines looked at the flashing light on the telephone. “What now?” he said out loud. Picking up the receiver, he said, “Sergeant Raines here.”

“Are you the sergeant of the cop who killed Tyrone last night?” asked the southern-twanged female voice on the other end of the line.

Scott Raines hesitated. “A police officer did not kill anyone last night.”

“Bullshit!” yelled the voice. Then calmer, “I was there, I saw it.”

“Well, we are still investigating the shooting,” he said, not wanting to lose the caller.

“Investigate all you want, I know what happened, I was there,” hissed the voice. Before he could respond, the voice continued, “I got your telephone number at the hospital from your office. Now listen up. You want me. I’m the one that killed that pig the other night.”

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 29

by Steve Burns 03.30.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

Directly above them, dangling from a makeshift rope of bed sheets was Leonard Jefferson. He was almost level with the windows of the second floor. When he saw the two officers he began struggling on the sheets. His gyrations caused the pistol in his waistband to slip out and fall.

“Look out!” yelled Clark, pulling Rusty out of the path of the pistol. It hit the ground with a metallic “crack” and skittered across the pavement. The two officers stuck their heads back out cautiously. Jefferson swung back and forth banging into the wall of the motel.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 28

by Steve Burns 03.23.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

The desk clerk looked up in amazement as the detectives entered the lobby. This was certainly a diverse assortment of people so early in the morning.

“Welcome to Motel Seventeen, how may I help you this beautiful morning?” managed the clerk.

Scott Raines took the lead. Displaying his badge he said, “San Diego Police. We want to know who belongs to the silver Volvo out there. This is the license plate number.” Scott handed him a slip of paper.

The clerk looked at the paper and then to guest registry. “Here it is. Yes, the owner of that car is registered here.”

“Good,” replied Scott, “To whom and what room number.”

“Oh, I’m afraid I can’t give you that information unless you have a warrant or something,” said the clerk, trying to convince himself that was the way to handle things.

Carl stepped forward and reached over the counter. “Gimme that!” he growled as he grabbed the registry from the clerk. Carl looked down the columns. “Here it is, Leonard Jefferson, Room 314.” He turned back to the clerk and handed him the registry. “Thank you.”

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Part V, Chapter 27

by Steve Burns 03.16.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

Joaquin watched with annoyance as two United States Immigration and Naturalization Service vans pulled in front of the restaurant and stopped. The van disgorged agents in their dark green uniforms and they began herding the workers to curbside to check for green cards.

“Hey, Pablo, you waiting for an invitation or what?” asked the harsh voice with the southern twang from behind Joaquin. He ignored the voice; he had been rousted innumerable times, but was always released after he produced his green card.

“Hey…I’m talking to you,” said the voice, this time accompanied with the prod of a billy club in Joaquin’s back. Joaquin took a deep breath, checking his anger. He then stood and turned to face the agent.

“Lo siento, no hablo,” said Joaquin with a smirk. The young officer had a flat top haircut and far too many freckles to be taken seriously. His name tag read “Robert Pritchard.”

“That’s okay,” replied the cocky agent. “Yo hablo. Papeles, ahora.”

“Bueno, un momento,” smiled Joaquin as he reached for his wallet in his back pocket. The smile left his face when he suddenly realized he had left the wallet in his Bronco. The Bronco he had carefully parked four blocks away. This was not good.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 26

by Steve Burns 03.09.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

Sheila Masters slept in the shower of her motel room.

By the time Colin had discovered Joe and Tyrone in the passage way, Sheila was more than a half mile away. When she landed on the opposite side of the fence, she ran through the underbrush and rolled into a small concrete culvert which ran parallel to the freeway and behind the blocks of commercial buildings. The culvert was full of runoff from the rain. Under the cover of ungroomed pepper trees and oleanders, she slogged her way through the culvert.

Her self-preservation had kicked into high gear. All she thought about was getting away. Tyrone was gone. There was nothing she could do about that right now. She would grieve for him later. And later she would take her revenge. But now, she had to get away. Her clothes were soaked and she shivered with cold as she pushed her way through the heavy underbrush, branches whipping against the bare skin of her face and hands.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 25

by Steve Burns 03.02.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

Colin continued running to the corner, then turned back to Kettner Boulevard. He saw a blue Ford Bronco driving south on Kettner as he reached the corner. There appeared to be only a Hispanic driver. The Bronco was too far away to read the license plates. He mentally filed the information. He was looking for a black man and a white woman.

He slowed to a jog as he continued up Kettner, looking into the fenced yards and parking lots of commercial buildings. As he passed a gap between two warehouses he stopped to look. Under the harsh glare of the security lights, he could see two figures among the debris at the other end. The first was sitting slumped with his back against the wall. The other was lying on his back.

Colin stepped away from the entrance to the passageway. Pointing his pistol toward the figures, using the corner of the warehouse for cover, he surveyed the passageway. He waited several seconds looking for any movement, listening for any sound. Although he could see no movement from the figures, he could hear a faint mumbling. Nothing else stirred in the corridor.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 24

by Steve Burns 02.23.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

“This way,” Sheila said, entering the corridor. They made the end in seconds. Sheila jumped up on a dumpster against the fence. She had started to climb the fence when a voice stopped her.

“Goddammit, I’m not going to say it again!” shouted Joe, his breath labored. “Police Department. Stop and put your hands where I can see them. Now, Assholes!”

Joe had stepped far enough into the passageway that he was now under one of the lights. Sheila could see his face clearly. She looked down at Tyrone, who was still on the ground. He looked to her for guidance. She motioned toward Joe with her head and raised her hands. She could take this guy if she could just get close enough. Tyrone raised his hands. No one saw the figure appear behind Joe.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 23

by Steve Burns 02.16.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

Leonard’s telephone call had left Joaquin very anxious. He was upset at Leonard for hiring two people of questionable ability and discretion. Now Leonard had told him they were snitches. He had only met Sheila and Tyrone once. He did not like either one. Tyrone was stupid. Stupidity was not a fault which could be tolerated in his business. Sheila on the other hand was a woman. Joaquin simply did not like to work with women. They were unreliable and moody. He did not need that. If he wanted that, he could stay home with his wife.

Joaquin and Leonard had agreed the best thing to do was to get rid of Sheila and Tyrone. Since they knew Leonard, he probably could not get close enough to do the job. Joaquin would raise little suspicion; he was just another of Leonard’s workers, as far as they knew. He would go to them at their motel and tell them that Leonard wanted to see them. When they opened the door to the room, “pop, pop.” And that would be that.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 21

by Steve Burns 02.02.2013 Culture

Joe had stopped at one of the local Roberto’s taco stands on the way to his apartment and purchased dinner. In the early eighties, a Latino family from South Bay had opened a chain of very successful taco stands throughout the county.

The chain had been named Roberto’s after a family member. Other members of the Latino community, seeking to cash in on the famous name, had named similar stands with only slight variations on the name. The county now played host to a number of Royberto’s, Aliberto’s, Juanberto’s, Panchoberto’s, and the truly obvious Chuckberto’s.

But to the truly discriminating, only Roberto’s was capable of making the best carne asada burrito, which was a meal by itself. Made with grilled beef, guacamole and salsa, the ingredients were wrapped in a flour tortilla about the size of pillow case. The aficionado always requested extra picante sauce served in small plastic cups. The soda was an absolute necessity with the burrito, for without it, the gases created from the concoction could easily rip a tender stomach lining to shreds. The soda was a catalyst to encourage a series of lengthy, hearty belches from the consumer, thus, in all likelihood saving many lives.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 20

by Steve Burns 01.26.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

Now, as Tyrone maneuvered his way through the light rain, Sheila sat in the passenger seat chewing her thumb nail, staring out the window of the Dodge Caravan. She rocked back and forth, quietly humming the song Elizi had sung to her their last night together.

“What d’ya think Leonard’s gonna say?” asked Tyrone.

“I guess we’ll find out when we tell him,” said Sheila, annoyed to be disturbed.

“Should we go to the club tonight?” asked Tyrone.

“That’s where he said he would be. Just drive, OK?” snapped Sheila.

Tyrone bit his lip; he was never really sure how to act around Sheila when she got this way. He did know it was best to do as she said. Tyrone continued the drive to their budget motel on Pacific Coast Highway. The rain had changed to a heavy mist.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 19

by Steve Burns 01.19.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

As Joe walked down the hall he thought to himself how police work never ceased to amaze him. Part luck, part skill. He pushed the down button of the elevator and the door opened. He began his descent to the garage.

A little over twelve hours ago they had almost nothing. If it had not been for that kid freaking out in the courtroom they might still be stymied. But they were able to put a little piece here and a little piece there and the picture was starting to come together. They had a way to go before it was wrapped up and that could be any minute now.

He reached the garage and walked to edge of the overhang. He lit up a Camel and took a long drag, holding the smoke until he got the head rush from the oxygen deprivation. The rain had let up somewhat and was now no more than a heavy drizzle. The heavy clouds created a false night. The amber light of street lamps sparkled, reflecting off the wet pavement. Maybe it was the cigarette, but Joe felt relaxed. He was admittedly tired from the long night and day, but he felt relaxed from the satisfaction that they were about to put another deserving soul or two in jail.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 18

by Steve Burns 01.12.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

“There, pull up next to that van and stop,” said the big man. The van, an older brown-colored Dodge Caravan, sat parked next to the rear door of the bar.

Josef did as he was told.

“Wait here. Don’t even think about leaving. If the thought does cross your mind, Habib, just remember, I’ve seen what your family looks like and I might be inclined to pay them a visit.” He smiled menacingly as he got out of the cab and dashed the few short yards to the rear door of the bar and disappeared inside.

Josef turned around and looked down at the small man in the back seat. He turned back, raising his eyes, and sighed. The big man paid him; he was probably going to let him go, he thought. Wait here, that’s the best thing to do. It will all be over in a few minutes. Just a few more minutes.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 17

by Steve Burns 01.05.2013 The Dove and the Cockerel

“Really? What have you got?” asked Colin, pulling his rapidly filling tablet open to the next empty page as he prepared to write.

“John Doe’s name is Alfred Schmidt,” began Morgan. “He was looking at doing some time in the joint for dope convictions. That was about six or seven months ago. He did a deal and was released after his ninety day evaluation at Chino. He was on parole, sort off. He was assigned a parole officer, Madeline Conklin, but only as a formality. He was under loan to the Feds as a C.I. From what Madeline tells me, it sounds like he was turning some pretty good stuff and getting paid too. Get this — he has been paid $74,000 in the past six months.”

“Jeez, we’re in the wrong line of work, pal,” interjected Colin.

“Judging from Mr. Schmidt’s current condition, you can have it. The down side to his line of work is a little too drastic for me,” said Morgan.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Part III, Chapter 16

by Steve Burns 12.29.2012 The Dove and the Cockerel

“Wake up, Joe! Goddammit! You’re drunk again!” the voice shrieked at him, fingernails digging into his shoulders as he was shaken awake. He slowly opened his eyes to the enraged face of Francine. “You fucking drunk, where’s Joey! I can’t leave you alone for two hours.”

He bolted upright on the leather couch in his living room. Oh no, not again, he thought, his brain unable to make his mouth work. “Outside, hurry! In the back!” he was screaming, but no sound came. He lurched off the couch, crashing through the glass coffee table, slicing his arm, but feeling no pain. His blood spilled on the orange shag carpet which had the consistency and stability of Jello.

“Hurry, hurry, Francine! Not this time, we can save him,” he soundlessly implored her. No voice came from her mouth, her face contorted with jeering hatred. He slogged his way across the floor to the sliding glass patio door. He could not find the handle and began pounding on it. He could see the open gate just beyond which led to the swimming pool, the plastic Hot Wheels tricycle bobbing up and down at the edge. Suddenly he was in the pool, it was miles across. At the far side stood Joey, waving, beckoning him.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 15

by Steve Burns 12.21.2012 Culture

From the copper colored ’74 Buick Regal, parked less than fifty yards away, Leonard Jefferson and Christopher Swank had watched in silence as Lester was arrested by the undercover narcs and the subsequent struggle. To their amusement, they also watched the two narcs being helped into a paramedic van and driven away a few minutes later. This did not, however, lessen the blow from the loss of profit they would have realized had Lester sold the 150 hits of LSD and not been arrested.

“Dumbshit,” grumbled Christopher. “I spotted those narcs a mile away.” Christopher was a skinny middle aged speed freak. He combed his thinning, greasy brown hair over the bald spot on top of his head. His droopy moustache was equally thin and looked more like a cheap disguise than the real thing. A native of Linda Vista, a small racially mixed lower income community overlooking Mission Valley to the south, Christopher was currently on parole from Chino State Prison where he had been serving time for his fifth conviction for possession and distribution of methamphetamine. Christopher had met Leonard while in the joint and had hooked up with him upon his release.

“That’s what I get for trying to branch out and diversify. I gotta just stick with crystal,” replied Leonard matter of factly.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 14

by Steve Burns 12.15.2012 The Dove and the Cockerel

An individual under the influence of LSD experiences mild cardiovascular stimulation and, of course, mild to severe hallucinations. Behavior exhibited by the user may fluctuate between catatonia and manic outbursts. To the inexperienced and unsuspecting, the hallucinations can range emotionally from pleasant to terrifying, consisting mainly of an altered perception of all the human senses. The individual’s environment also plays an important role in the “trip” experience as well.

As with many other legal and illegal substances, the human body tends to develop a tolerance and may require more to achieve the desired effect. And while the jury is still out on physical addiction, most professionals in the health care field agree that LSD can at least be psychologically addictive, leading to short or long term personality changes.

In other words, the effects of LSD remain unpredictable.

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Sex In San Diego: It Happened in Hillcrest

by Steve Burns 12.12.2012 Encore

In June 2011, I received a telephone call. The source of the call was as unexpected as the call itself. The caller identified himself as a deputy prosecutor from a small northern Colorado town and he asked me to confirm I was indeed who I was. Hesitant, I asked why before I said, “I am.” I had not been to Colorado since I was thirteen on a family vacation, and I am certain anything I did there was past the statute of limitation. I am still, however, very wary of prosecutors from anywhere. What he related to me was nearly unbelievable.

Seems the authorities had arrested a fella for rape. As abhorrent as that is, it did not really shake me, until he told me the name: Stephen Morehouse. I actually said the last name in unison with prosecutor, as the memory came flooding back. He did not need to ask if I recalled my encounter with Morehouse. He did ask, however, whether or not I would be willing to fly back to Colorado to testify against Morehouse. Here’s why.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 13

by Steve Burns 12.08.2012 The Dove and the Cockerel

“I didn’t know Pete was in the Corps,” said Joe.

“What?” said Colin, his voice detached.

“He’s got a bull dog with a helmet and “Semper Fi” tattooed on his right arm here,” said Joe, pointing to Pete’s bicep.

“What does that have to do with anything?” asked Colin rhetorically.

“Nothing. I just didn’t know Pete was a Marine,” said Joe as he shrugged his shoulders and walked away toward the girl’s body on the middle table.

Colin lingered by Pete for a moment and whispered, “I’ll get them, Pete. You rest now, buddy.”

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 12

by Steve Burns 12.01.2012 The Dove and the Cockerel

On her break ten minutes earlier, Beatrice had been told by the jail watch commander to notify him if anyone came to visit or bail out Douglas Peters. She was told he might have something to do with the murder of Officer Castillo the night before. Now here they were: a man and a woman to bail out Douglas Peters.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 11

by Steve Burns 11.24.2012 The Dove and the Cockerel

“Clarence, Clarence…Clarence!” barked Charlie. “Look at me!”

Clarence responded obediently and robotically. His eyes were red and bloodshot. He had been unable to wipe his nose and a sheen of snot covered the space over his upper lip. “What’s going to happen to me?” he asked no one in particular, in a quiet trembling voice.

“That is entirely up to you m’boy. It depends on how well you can pull yourself together here and tell me about your friend in jail last night,” said Charlie in a serious voice.

“What friend?” asked Clarence.

“The guy you told me about. The one who killed a cop, Clarence,” Susan interrupted.

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The Dove and the Cockerel: Chapter 10

by Steve Burns 11.17.2012 The Dove and the Cockerel

“No, no, don’t!” cried Clarence Taylor, pulling back from the bailiff as two other deputies approached.

Susan withdrew to avoid the gathering melee. This was not the pompous ass with the Gucci penny loafers and cardigans from school. This was a person ready to snap. No, he had snapped, and she was going to distance herself before she got caught in the maelstrom. But it was too late. Clarence had grabbed her waist and had her in a death grip, tearing her blouse, exposing her lace camisole, much to the delight of Kenneth Piedmont and all the other males present.

“Don’t let them take me, Susan!” he yelled.

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