Black Petals Issue #73 Fall, 2015

Killer Deal
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A Journey Starts with a Flower-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Cold Surprise-Fiction by Paul Strickland
Final Run_Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Gift of the Anasazi-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Killer Deal-Fiction by Denny Marshall
Please Remember Me-Fiction by Charles C. Cole
Safe Haven, Part I-Fiction by Denis Bushlatov
Safe Haven, Part II-Fiction by Denis Bushtalov
The City-Fiction by Wayne Haroutunian
The Witch and the Rock-Fiction by Janet C. Ro
Roadside Accident-2 poems by Denny Marshall
Journey to the Devil's Shore-Poem by Grant Tarbard

Killer Deal-Fiction by Denny Marshall


Killer Deal

 by Denny E. Marshall


An offer not to be refused

Rick hears a slight noise and peers out the kitchen window. He looks in the backyard and sees Jim. He does not like Jim, and the feeling is mutual. They have an ongoing feud that has lasted for years. The reasons are many, the last being Rick dating Jim’s ex-girlfriend, Irene. Rick is no longer serious about Irene, but the two still date off and on.

        Rick has had it with Jim. He snaps, and a demon is unleashed. It takes control and he loses the ability to reason. Rick runs to the bedroom and grabs his gun from the dresser drawer, then runs outside to confront Jim. Rick can see him walking along the side of the house toward the front yard. When they both reach the front yard, Jim sees Rick and walks toward him, yelling profanities, unaware Rick has a gun. Once he is close, Rick shoots three times and Jim falls dead to the ground. A large pool of blood is visible. Rick bends down to check Jim’s pulse to make sure he is dead.

Rick looks up and sees Mrs. Jackson, the retired schoolteacher who lives across the street, staring at him after witnessing the shooting. Upon seeing Rick look her way, she runs inside and calls the police. What is she doing up at this late hour? Rick is thinking, unaware she has just returned from a trip to see her grandchildren.

        Rick runs into the house to find something to put the body in and hide it before the police get there. After he finds an old duffel bag, he runs back outside. The body is gone and all that remains is a small spot of blood! What the hell? He looks around and does not see anything. After a quick search he comes up empty.

       When the police arrive at Mrs. Jackson’s door, Rick walks back into his house. Soon they are knocking at his door. Rick denies everything and offers no information. Police search the house and yard. Forensics is called to look for and collect evidence; the only clue they find is a small amount of blood in the front yard and the gun with ammo in the bedroom. Rick is taken down to the station for a gunshot residue test and put in a holding cell.

One of the officers, Detective Moore, drives over to Jim’s place to look for clues and information. He knocks on the door and is greeted by a man saying, “Yes, can I help you with something?”

The officer explains who he is and why he has stopped by. The man is Jim’s brother and roommate, Scott.

“I find that hard to believe, since he called me ten minutes ago and said he is spending the night with a woman he met.”

When the officer asks him to call his brother, there is no answer, so Scott leaves a message to call him back right away because it is urgent. Detective Moore thanks him and heads back to the station. 

         Moore releases Rick and tells him not to leave town. He will wait for the DNA results and get a subpoena to check Jim’s phone records. All he is sure of right now is that Rick did fire a gun, since the gunshot residue test came back positive. At who or what he will have to find out.

         Rick arrives home late. He sees Milo, the next-door neighbor, on his porch smiling at him. Milo has never smiled at him. In fact, in all the years Rick has lived in the neighborhood he has only seen Milo twice before. Does he know something? Milo is a strange man as far as Rick is concerned. He wears dark clothing all the time, and is tall and thin with squinty eyes and jet-black hair with a receding hairline, the hair kept combed straight back with too much gel applied. Milo’s house is unkempt, unlike the surrounding houses. Tall, untrimmed hedges and bushes obscure most of the yard, its grass high and full of weeds. The exterior could use paint or repairs in some spots.

As Rick reaches the door Milo says, “We should talk sometime, Rick.” At odds with his appearance, his voice is powerful without being loud.

Rick is surprised, since Milo has never said a word to him before. After the initial shock Rick responds, “Sure Milo, anytime,” and walks into house. The invitation is more of a chance to find out what he knows than a neighborly gesture.

The next evening Jim hears knocking on his door. It is Milo, so he invites him inside. Now is Rick’s chance to find out what he knows, if anything.

Milo wastes no time and calmly states, “I witnessed you killing a man in your yard.” Before Rick can respond, he continues, “I’ll make a deal with you if you’re interested.”

“Go on...I’m listening,” Rick says, indeed interested.

The conversation lasts a half hour. Milo bids him farewell and departs. Rick contemplates Milo’s proposal and thinks of his options. He will give him an answer tomorrow night.

         The next night, near the time Milo should arrive, Rick is at his front door looking out the peephole. He can see Milo approaching. He opens the door, walks out, and shoots him just like he did Jim. He also makes sure the police will not find his second gun.

As before, Mrs. Jackson is up late and sees the shooting. She has been having a hard time sleeping since she witnessed the first murder. Rick runs toward her, but she goes into the house, locks the door, and calls the police for the second time this week.

Rick pounds on her door, trying to break in. Before he succeeds, police arrive and arrest him. While Rick is placed in a squad car and driven downtown, police search the area and find no body, just like before. They are unable to find Jim’s second gun. The search for blood evidence is unsuccessful because of heavy rains. The detectives are unsure of the exact area to search in.

         After the DNA results come back from the first shooting, the blood found in Rick’s front yard is a DNA match to Jim. The detectives think the phone call Jim’s brother received was made by Rick, even though his brother Scott swears it was Jim’s voice. Jim has not been seen or heard from since that night, his car found abandoned a few blocks from Rick’s house. There is still no sign of the body.

The prosecution feels that, with Mrs. Jackson's testimony, the DNA from the first murder and two positive tests will show that Rick had fired a weapon: a slam-dunk case.

       Rick is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He decides to defend himself, even though the judge warns him this is a bad idea in a capital case, but grants his request after various hearings. She assigns a lawyer advisor to assist Rick; if he wants advice or council, the choice is his.

       The trial starts and opening statements are made. The assistant DA gives an opening statement that lasts forty minutes.

        Rick’s opening statement is one line: “I am not guilty on both counts, and I will prove it.”

        The prosecution calls their first witness, Detective Henry Moore. That is followed by various police officers and forensic experts (on the blood found on Rick’s front lawn and the gun and the positive test for gunshot residue). Then a group of Jim’s friends testify about the long-standing feud between Jim and Rick. Jim’s family members, including Jim’s brother Scott, testify. They don’t mention the phone call, just what a great person Jim was.

Rick only cross-examines two of those witnesses. First, he asks Detective Moore if they found either of the bodies, to which he answers no. He asks Scott about the phone call that was supposedly made after Jim’s death. After some pressure, he admits the call he received did sound like his brother. Rick enters into record the cell phone logs his advisor acquired from the prosecution office. Rick had not called Jim’s brother. The witnesses have testified so far over four days in court. Tomorrow the DA will call their last witness.

        The prosecution saves their best witness for last. “We call Mrs. Katie Jackson to the stand,” announces the district attorney. Her testimony lasts for hours and, by the time it is Rick’s turn to cross-examine her, the judge calls a recess until the next day.

Rick can tell by the jury and prosecution’s reactions that Mrs. Jackson is an excellent witness. Since the jury is buying her story, he has his work cut out for him tomorrow. The only evidence they really have without her statement is some blood on his lawn and that he fired a gun, since no bodies have been found. The rest of the trial has not been evidence.

        The following day is Rick’s turn to question Mrs. Jackson. Rick starts with, “How are you today, Mrs. Jackson?”

She replies, “I’m fine, sir.”

He walks closer to her and says, “Mrs. Jackson, are you one hundred percent sure of the events you witnessed on both nights in question, and certain all your prior testimony is accurate and the whole truth?”

She answers confidently, “Yes, I am one hundred percent certain, and everything I have said is true.”

“Are you sure both men are dead?” is Rick’s next question.

Mrs. Jackson looks at him in disgust, then says, “Yes, I am, and I did see you shoot them.”

Rick probes, “What about the bodies?”

She does not like being questioned by the defendant, but answers his question. “I don’t know because I ran back into the house to call the police. I don’t know what you did with the bodies, but I did see you shoot both of those men in cold blood.”

“Nothing further from this witness, Your Honor.” Rick walks back to the table.

The DA stands up and declares that the prosecution rests. Court is adjourned for the day. The prosecution looks over the witness list at a name that does not register with them. They doubt he can add much to the case.

        It is Rick’s turn to present his case. He calls his first and only witness to the stand. Rick announces, “I call Walter Van House to the stand, aka Milo Vans.”

The shock in the courtroom is evident. No one expects a murder victim to testify in the trial for the person accused of killing him.

Rick's first question is, “Mr. Milo Vans, are you dead?”

“No sir,” he says.

“Did I shoot you, Mr. Vans?” Rick asks.

Mr. Vans says, “No sir, you did not.”

“No further questions,” Rick says.

The Assistant DA stands and says, “We have no questions for this witness, Your Honor.”

Then both the DA and Assistant DA stand and say to the judge, “In light of this new evidence, we request that count two of the indictment filed be dropped.”

The judge grants their request. The stubborn DA does not want to drop both charges, feeling that they have enough evidence with the blood and the previous history on the first murder to get a conviction, although the assistant DA disagrees with him. After closing arguments, the jury takes 26 minutes to find Rick “not guilty”. Mrs. Jackson is sitting in the courtroom in shock and has to be taken to the hospital for observation.

Rick arrives home and takes the rest of day to relax.


A few days later, early in the morning, having caught up on all the things he has fallen behind on, Rick visits Milo. He knocks on the door and hears Milo shout out, “It’s open; come on in, and lock the door behind you.” They go into Milo’s favorite room to talk.

Milo lies down, and then says, “Promise to keep your end of the bargain: run errands for me a few times a month, keep the lawn mowed and the hedges trimmed—I do not want the city bothering me about it again, or sending someone out to do it, or giving me a fine—bring the mail into the house once a week, and keep the exterior of the building in repair as needed?”

Rick answers him, “Yes, I promise, but I do have a question?”

Milo bites, “What is that?”

“How did you pull off the call to Scott, and how did you know I would take the deal beforehand?”

Milo smiles and says, “Well, I can imitate any sound I wish and was not sure if you would take the deal. Then I would have returned the body with bullet slugs that match your gun, which, I might add, I can still do at any time. Although you were found not guilty, you could still face a civil lawsuit and lose everything.”

Rick is surprised to hear Milo answer in his voice. “Anything else?”

Rick has nothing else to talk about or ask, so he says, “No, that’s all I wanted to know.”

Milo is tired and says, “Good, leave me for now and lock the door on the way out. Oh, and before you go, pull the lid down on the coffin.”

Rick leaves, congratulating himself on the killer deal he made with a vampire.


The End



Denny E. Marshall,, of Lincoln, Nebraska, who wrote BP #73’s “6 Tanka,” the poem, “Roadside Accident,” and the tale, “Killer Deal” (+BP #72’s “12 Sci-Fi Haiku” & “9 Zombie Haiku”; BP #71’s “11 Vampire Haiku” and “Hairball, the Movie” [in the PICTURE THIS column]; 22 haiku for BP #66; and “Vampire Sent Back in Time” for BP #67), has had art, poetry, and fiction published. Recent credits include art and poetry in Stinkwaves #2 and Night to Dawn #24. He does have a website with previously published works.

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