Sunday, January 1, 2017

Some Help from a Friend





People who know me will tell you that I am a practical person.  I'm not prone to romanticism.  If anything can be said of my personality it is this, I am predisposed to a fact-based life.  For the last ten years, I have been a police officer with the Seattle Police Department. Just two short years ago, I was promoted to Detective Sergeant with the Special Investigations Division.  As a detective, I am reluctant to delve into intangible ideas such as supernatural events connected with crimes.  Still, I can't deny what the facts reveal.  I was helped up the career ladder by a ghost.

Welcome, scholars to 2017.  This is Audio Stories with J.B. Simien and this is the story of "Some Help from a Friend." Please visit www.jbsimien.com if you would like to download this story for later consumption.  The 2016 season of Audio Stories is now complete and the stories have been compiled into an e-book called "Paranormal Mystery" available on Amazon.com.  There is a link in the show notes below.    I think you will enjoy the book.  Please purchase a copy and help me pay the Audio Stories bills.  Now, this is the story "Some Help from a Friend."

In 2014, I was a plain clothes patrol officer working out of the vice division.  Two important issues deeply concerned me at that time.  First, I wanted to earn a promotion to Detective Sergeant.  Second, I wanted to marry my girlfriend Paula Harlan.  However, I desired to be more advanced in my career before I asked Paula to marry me.  Paula is successful criminal attorney with several high profile case wins attributed to her skills.  She is paid sums of money I can only dream about.  Paula is on her way to a level of achievement I will never reach.  Though I knew Paula loved me and would marry me if I would just ask her, I didn't feel that we were equals.

I was not advancing in my career (as I preferred).  As an old fashion male, I wanted to be more successful than her.  I can see now that I was desperate to feel worthy of her.  Therefore, I was continually seeking opportunities to distinguish myself on my job.  Plus, I took online education courses to help pass the Sergeants Exam and volunteered for difficult assignments. I did everything I could do to get face time with my bosses.  It worked.  I begin to be notice and praise for my efforts.  Their remarks indicated that I was on track for promotion to Detective Sergeant.

On the last day of August, I was working the graveyard shift on a slow Saturday night.  I was patrolling alone in uniform in the Central District.  There was not much activity that night. Primarily, I was just wishing for something horrible to happen (so that I could get more face time with the bosses).  I had just pulled over at the Starbucks on Jackson and 23rd Street for a restroom and coffee break.

As I departed the vehicle, I was still dreaming of promotion, when I was startled by an older male voice calling from behind me, "Hello Officer Terry." Because of the location, I always expected trouble.  So, I turned quickly with my hand on my weapon prepared to draw and shoot (if necessary).  As I faced the person, I observed an older, graying, heavy set man with a steaming cup of coffee in his hand.  He was no threat.  Just a citizen.

I was surprised to encounter him.  I had not observed him anywhere near the vehicle as I was preparing to exit.  I always check.  It's necessary to guarantee my safety.  Yet, somehow this man had managed to appear out of a bind spot.  I needed to be more careful.  "Hello Sir," I replied.  "You startled me," I said.  He smiled and said, "Yes, I have been told that I am too damn quiet for my own damn good."

"How may I help you, sir," I asked.  "Truly, officer it's not what you can do for me," he said.  "I've decided to help you." Great, I thought, he's nuts.  "You don't know me," he said. "However, I know you because I am an associate of your girlfriend Paula.  She did something very good for me a while back. Now, I want to repay her by helping you."

"Then you're a client of hers," I asked.  He said, "I was a client of hers and I owe her still. So, I want to repay her by helping you solve a crime.  Hell, you might even get promoted.  At the very least it will look good for you," he said.  I have a no-good friend that needs to be arrested."  I was very doubtful about his story.  "Why do you want to turn in your friend," I asked?  "What did he do?"  "Have you ever heard of Tony Lex.?" He asked.  "Of course who hasn't?" I replied.

Lex was a gang leader with known ties to international organized crime. He was suspected of murders, theft, and drug trafficking.  He had been convicted of some major crimes five years ago. He was sentenced to twenty years of hard labor.  He embarrassed federal prison authorities when he escaped after two months (five years ago). He was known to be still conducting his business underground.  Capturing him would be a major plus for any cop.

"What do you know about him? I asked.  "I know that he is held up in a house in Renton and he has plans to use a stinger anti-aircraft missile to down a big jet as it lands at the Airport in a few hours."  "How do you know this," I asked?  "I don't want to say but I'll give you the address to the house in Renton, Washington. There is still time to arrest him before anything happens."

With that said he called off an address and I recorded it in my patrol book.  "I asked him for his name."  As I looked up, he was gone.  It had taken at most fifteen seconds to record the address in the patrol book. I didn't hear him leave and I didn't see him walking away in the parking lot.  Damn he was quick!  I must admit that I was not sure that any of that conversation had actually taken place.

I went into Starbucks and took my restroom break.  I knew the clerk at the counter.  He said, "I'm glad that you didn't shoot that guy by your car.  It looks like you were about to go Wild West on him for a minute."  "Did you see which way he went?" I asked.  "No." He said, "I saw you pull up and suddenly this guy comes out of nowhere."  "I saw you talk to him then write something down but he just disappeared."  "I saw you scanning the parking lot for him but I didn't see him leave either."  "I tried to video it for YouTube but it happened to quick."

When I returned to the patrol car.  I called the Desk Sergeant and told him I had a possible location for Tony Lex in Renton given to me by an informant.  Ten minutes later I received a call from a Police Commander who directed me to meet with the FBI at the Renton Police Department.

I told the FBI I had been tipped by an anonymous informant.  Within two hours, of having been given the information by my informant, I observed as the Renton Police Department and the FBI breached a house and successfully arrested Tony Lex and several other high profile criminals.  He had indeed been planning to down a passenger jet with a stinger missile and blackmail the government to keep him from doing it again.

This was a big break.  It made international news. I was the hero of the day.  I spoke at the press conference alongside a platoon of high-ranking officials.  In a few days, I was awarded a medal for valor by the Seattle Police Department.  Also, I was advanced to the number one position for promotion to Detective Sergeant.  In less than one month, I was promoted and assigned to special investigations.  I was proud.  I was ready to marry Paula.  She said it was about time.

One month later, I was sitting in my new office when I looked up from a report that I was completing at my desk.  I saw the informer who had given me the tip about Tony Lex seated on the couch in my office looking through magazines. I was pleased to see him but I was also curious as to how he had gotten into a three-door security area without being escorted. I was amazed.  So, I just stared at him for a minute.

He said, "Well I see you got the Tony Lex case wrapped up. That will teach him to screw me over." "Yes," I said, "Are you here about the reward?  That's something the federal government will have to pay."  "No," he said, "I just wanted to let you know that I am satisfied and that I want you to agree that I have paid back Paula value for value."  "Who are you?" I asked. "What did Paula do to help you?"  "Well now," he said. "She made me happy." I turned away to come around my desk and join him on the couch.  When I look again, he was gone!  I never heard the door to my office open. Damn, he's quick!

I pulled the surveillance tapes for the entryways and the hallways leading to my office. No one can move around a police station and not be caught on video but somehow, I knew he wouldn't be on the video. I just had to satisfy my curiosity.  There were no fingerprints either.

Months later, I had a request from Tony Lex to visit him at his new prison.  Accompanied by an FBI profiler, I spoke with Tony in a secured location.  Everything was recorded on video.  He wanted to know one thing. Who told me where to locate him?  He said that everybody who knew about that caper was captured in the house in Renton.  No one else could have known about it.

I told him that I didn't know the informant's name. He identified himself as a former associate of yours who wanted revenge.  "That covers everyone I ever screwed over," Tony said.  I notice that he had a photograph with him.  He asked if the man in the photo was the informant.  I looked at the photo.  Yes, it was the informant.  With my best poker face, I said the informant was unknown.  Tony was taken back to his cell.  The profiler recognized the photo as Clifford Wall.  He asked, "I wonder why Tony thinks it's Clifford?  He's been dead for three years."  I didn't tell the profiler he was the informant.

When I returned to Seattle I asked Paula about her association with Clifford Wall. She smiled and told me the story. In her third case as a self-employed lawyer, she had worked to get Clifford Wall and several others freed of false charges for the importation of illegal drugs.  She managed to free the group but it cost them everything.  Later they discover that Tony Lex had falsely informed on the group to avoid federal charges for the crime he said Clifford's group had committed.  Tony had ruined several families when the accused were charged on his word alone.

 After being released by the court, Clifford Wall used every bit of legal maneuvering possible to make Tony Lex's life hell.  Clifford disappeared three years ago.  It is commonly believed that he was killed by Tony Lex.  I told her that I had seen Clifford Wall and he turned in Tony Lex to me to reward her for making him happy.  I didn't tell her the strange circumstances of our meetings.

A few days after this discussion with Paula, I was driving home from work when I noticed Clifford Wall watching me from the sidewalk as I pulled out of the parking garage.  I unlocked the passenger door and waved for him to get into the car.  As he entered and adjusted his seat belt he said "Hi Officer Terry. I was hoping to see you out here."  I asked him, "How is it that you can disappear so quickly from our encounters?"  I asked, "Clifford are you a ghost?  Did Toney Lex kill you?" He replied, "I just move when you're not looking man.  So, you know my name now?" He asked.

I told him that I know that he is Clifford Wall and that he disappeared three years ago.  He confirmed that to be true.  "Where have you been?" I asked.  "Just hiding," he said.  I told him that Tony Lex didn't know that he was the informant but he suspected that he was.  He told me that he had visited Tony frequently in prison and that he had already told Tony that he was the informant.

Tony knew the day that I visited him in prison that Clifford was the informant (that's why he had the photo).  Clifford gave it to him.  I told Clifford that I could make arrangements for him to meet people from of the federal witness protection program.  I told him that Paula and I are grateful and that we could help him.  He said "I'm glad Paula is happy.  I owed her a lot."

I paused at a traffic light and made a left-hand turn.  When I turned my head back toward Clifford to ask him another question, he had disappeared again (this time from a moving car).  Clifford Wall never said to me that he wasn't a ghost.  He just said that he moves when I'm not looking.  Got damn he's quick!

Well, that concludes Audio Stories "Some Help from a Friend," written and narrated by me, J.B. Simien.  I hope that you have enjoyed it.  Please join me again next Saturday for a new original story.  Also, please use the link below or visit www.jbsimien.com to purchase your copy of "Paranormal Mystery" at amazon.com.  You will find a good book to read and your purchase will help me pay the Audio Stories bills.

Thank you and take care.




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