Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Annual Spam Rant

Papenfus C. Coakley is concerned about the size of my penis.

I don't know if Papenfuss C. Coakley is a man, a woman or some mad puppet cousin to H.R. Puffenstuff. I somehow imagine Papenfuss as a stern looking Nurse Diesel type with a clipboard and a ruler, passing judgment on my manly endowment with a rude look and proclaiming, "Why you no hung horse boy!!!" in jarring and broken English.

Alberta Golidupi is intent on selling me "Quality Refinement For Men And Ladies". What this means I have no idea, as Alberta's message is a mass of Hangul characters that I have no hope of deciphering.

Perhaps Alberta is a friend of Papenfus and the other ten thousand people who seem to think that my present girth is insufficient "FOR SATISFI YOUR LADIE FRIENDS".

And then there's DALTON SHERRON who has announced that I FOUND THE JACKPOT, eschewing all forms of internet decorum by SCREAMING his message about replica Rolex watches.

Everything's gone on-line, and I don't like it. I remember the days when if you wanted to purchase stolen goods, male anatomy enhancements or cheap Vietnamese Gucci knockoffs (and who hasn't?) you had to go downtown and hit up a guy down in The Nickel and hope he didn't shiv you when you handed over your five bucks.

What happened to the good old days where a stoner in a white van would drive up to your car and ask if you wanted to buy some speakers? You want that kind of service these days you have to go to the third world. And there's that whole mess of dealing with black market currency exchangers because there's always a run on the bank and only the criminals have any cash.

Knew a guy from Bangkok once, named Bunbah. Import / Export business. Nice guy. Firm handshake. Too many teeth. Smuggled gold out of Thailand. It was illegal to ship bars of the stuff, so he'd have it melted down and poured into jewelry molds. One of those loopholes that kept the local economy running.

Different way of doing business out there. Slow, polite. "How are you? How's the wife? Elephants okay?" It's all very Buddhist. Nobody hurries. Nobody gets to the point.

You could spend a day and a half haggling over the cost of mirrored elephant tchotchkes and not say a word about it.

What was I talking about again?

Oh, right. Spam. Or was it penis stretchers?

I'll go with spam.

For some reason over the past week my spam catchers have failed me. I'm getting more garbage in my inbox than ever before. Is it the holidays? I'm certianly getting more goddamn catalogs for shit I don't need in my mailbox.

I dig the surplus catalog I get, though. More Russian military mess kits than you can shake a crate of used Czech hatchets at.

So, anyway, I've been inundated with spam. I'm not quite sure what to do about it. I dig the names that come in. They always sound like a Groucho Marx character, like Rufus T. Firefly.

So what I'm wondering is what do I do with all that spam? It seems a waste to just drop it into my trash folder. So far I just cull the names and keep the more interesting ones in a file for stories.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

"Plots With Guns" Burns The Body

I found out about Plots With Guns too late to really do anything with it other than marvel at the incredible writing. By the time I pulled my head out of my ass long enough to think about submitting to them they were gone.

Well, sort of. The archives still exist and you can peruse some of the best crime fiction out there. Until Decemebr 11th, that is.

Anthony Neil Smith, one of the founders, has announced that Plots With Guns will be officially going dark on that day. The archives will be no more.

If it wasn't for Plots With Guns and a couple small books called "Gun Monkeys" by Victor Gischler and "Burn" by Sean Doolittle, I probably never would have gotten into this whole sordid crime writing mess in the first place.

To all of the people who made Plots With Guns the kick ass publication it was and to all the people who carry on the tradition in Murdaland, Thuglit and Demolition, thank you.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

You Want A Straw For That?

Fresno, CA

Okay, yeah, I know this is a little north of here, but this one's just too juicy to pass up.

James Fagone, 24, is currently on trial for helping his boss, Larissa Schuster, 45, kidnap, torture and murder her husband. They allegedly locked him in a steel drum and poured acid in while he was still alive.

They were picked up after the cops found the soup that had previously been Timothy Schuster.

Man, I'd have hated to be the coroner on that one.

There's A Reason It Says "Warning: High Voltage"

San Bernardino, CA

The power went out in about 450 businesses in downtown San Bernardino last night. Seems somebody was looking to make a cheap buck by stealing and selling copper wire. Too bad the power was still on at the time.

The thief was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical with burns to 45 percent of his body. Should have stuck to boosting cars.

Armed, Dangerous And Metrosexual

Downey, CA

There's this guy targeting nail salons in Downey. Hit three of them in the last month. One of them twice. He walks in, pulls a gun, demands cash from the till and wallets from the customers.

So, why nail salons? Have you ever seen a pissed off Vietnamese woman? I don't care what kind of gun you've got, these are not people to fuck with.

The suspect is described as a Latino in his 20s, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall. 150 to 160 pounds. Black hair.

And immaculate nails.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Now THIS Is How Golf Should Be Played

Long Beach, CA

I've always thought of golf as the sport of old men and guys who don't know how to box. The kind of sport where disputes are handled with decorum and grace, or a five iron upside the head.

Apparently, I was wrong. A dispute in the clubhouse at the Heartwell Golf Park in Long Beach spilled out into the parking lot, ending with four people in the hospital for non-life threatening gunshot wounds. By non-life threatening, I assume that at least one person got shot in the ass.

If I'd known this was how you played golf, I'd have picked up clubs and a 12-gauge a long time ago.

Size Matters Not

Palm Springs, CA

Jason Lee Gillespie, 29, of San Diego, was arrested after a car chase through Palm Springs. He finally got a flat tire forcing him out on foot where he had his ass handed to him by a rookie cop with one year experience. Here's the part I love:
Police noted that the officer is a 5-foot-2 woman and the suspect is 6 foot 5 and weighs 235 pounds.

A backup officer arrived as the woman yanked the suspect off the wall. That was when police noticed Gillespie had an Uzi strapped to his shoulder.
Turns out Gillespie is a suspect in a murder investigation in San Diego. They think the Uzi might have been used in the murder.

A passenger in the car is still out there. If he's hanging with the likes of this guy it's a good bet he's not someone you want to fuck with. Unless you're an unidentified 5 foot 2 rookie cop.

Speaking of which, I want a name, dammit. Who is this mystery ass-kicker? Somebody buy her a beer.

On an unrelated note, this story reminds me a lot of this gentleman's work. You'll have to read his books to find out why.

37 And Climbing - Compton Reverts To 2004 Levels

Compton, CA

In 2005 Compton's homicide rate had jumped 85% from the year previous with a mind-boggling 72 murders. That's not including all the gunfire that didn't result in a death.

The LA Sheriff's Department, which Compton contracts with for policing, moved more officers out of some of its other areas back into Compton. They promptly moved several of them back out throughout the year. Regardless, it seems to have done the trick.

Last night was Compton's 37th homicide this year. Compare that to last November, which ended with 65 homicides.

Yes, this isn't great news, but it's certainly better news. For whatever reason fewer people are dying. I'd hazard a guess that just as many people are shooting, stabbing and hitting each other with sticks, but at least they're not dead.

That's something, right?

Life Imitates Dr. Seuss

Santa Barbara, CA

Anthony's Christmas farm in Santa Barbara has a problem. Somebody has hit it twice in the last week with a power saw taking out an estimated $14,000.00 worth of trees.

My money's on a large green fellow with an antlered dog and a voice like Boris Karloff. Maybe we should send the Lorax to take him out.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Wish For Email That Works

Just as a side note to anyone who might have sent me a Mugshots submission over the last few days. My email's been screwy. So if you have, and it hasn't been posted, resend it to stephen.blackmoore@gmail.com. Thanks.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mugshots #6 - The Smurf by Patrick Shawn Bagley

The smurf came outta the AMPM right when I parked my truck. She musta worked in a hospital or nursing home or someplace like that 'cause she wore white pants and one of them blue tops like they wear in that show Scrubs. You ever seen that? It's fucked up. Some chicks look hot in those hospital outfits. Not the smurf, man. She was short and dumpy and had blonde hair and she looked like a fuckin' smurf. That's what I said to her when I got out of the truck, I said, "Hey you look like a fuckin' smurf."

She had a cup of coffee and a bag of donuts or muffins or somethin', and she kept on walkin' like I wasn't even there. So I followed her to her car and I said, "Hey, smurf bitch. You too smurfy to talk me?"

You gotta remember that cartoon, man; these little blue motherfuckers and they said smurf for everything. Smurf this and smurf that. They lived in a little smurf town and it was nothin' but guys except for this one smurf chick and everybody wanted to fuck her 'cause she was the only smurf pussy in the world. I was just a little kid when it was on, man, and even I wanted to fuck her.

The smurf put her food on the roof of her car and got her keys out of this giant fuckin' purse slung over her shoulder like a mailman's sack.

I said, "Where you smurfin' off to?"

"Leave me alone," she said and unlocked the door.

I leaned on it so she couldn't open it. I was kinda like that wizard Garglemall, you know that guy always tryin' to catch the smurfs and eat 'em? "Don't you mean 'Smurf me alone'?"

So then I saw she was all scared, which was fuckin' great, and I leaned down and said, "I'm gonna eat you." She reached up real quick, grabbed her coffee and dumped it down my fuckin' neck. I jumped back yellin' 'cause that shit was hot and while I did that, the smurf got in her car and drove off.

You know I ain't gonna let some fuckin' smurf scald me half to death, so I jumped in my truck and went peelin' outta there, chased her right up 4th street and onto the Santa Monica Freeway. I rear-ended her smurf-mobile pretty good, fuckin' slammed right into it and made the trunk fly open. Awesome, man! I backed off and swerved into the next lane 'cause I wanted to sideswipe her like in the movies, but I wasn't lookin' in the mirror and a fuckin' Pep Boys van hit the ass-end of my truck and spun me around. Fuckin' cops say I hit some other cars but by then I was knocked out anyway so I don't give a shit.

I don't know what happened to the smurf. She's the one oughta be locked up in here, man. Fuckin' smurf whore caused the whole thing.

---


Patrick Shawn Bagley's writing has been published in various small press journals and on Flashing in the Gutters. His short story "The Red Garter" will appear in the July/August 2007 issue of CrimeSpree Magazine. Patrick is halfway through the first draft of a down-and-dirty Maine crime novel. If you have nothing better to do, feel free to visit his blog (http://hillbilliesandhitmen.blogspot.com).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mugshots #5 - All Blondes Look Alike by Lyman Feero

Officer Delivar looked up from his coffee long enough to see a pack of pros escorted into booking. They were deposited onto a wooden bench. He recognized three as regulars. The other two were new. He guessed that the leggy brunette with the bad teeth must have jumped into town from somewhere else. Cuffs were as familiar as cheap bracelets to her. The young blonde, however, kept her head down and was crying. The three regulars rode her hard; too many ten-dollar hand jobs had stolen their sympathy.

"They're all yours." The new vice officer dropped the initial paperwork onto his desk. "Blondie doesn't have I.D. and she'll only give us her street name."

"Thanks loads." He pretended to rifle through the papers while eying the mini-skirts that lined the bench. He stood and made his way around the desk. He cleared his throat and began his spiel.

"Ladies, you will be fingerprinted, photographed and searched. Let's do this the easy way.” He never looked at their faces.

"You ain't searchin' nothing, Honey," the oldest pro said.

A female officer stepped out of a side office, carrying a pair of blue latex gloves. He grinned.

"Now would be the time to let me know if you're allergic to latex. Shacoco, do you even know what latex is?" The pro dressed in faux fur and PVC gave him the finger. He never took his eyes off Blondie. She looked vaguely familiar.

"We'll start with you on the end."

He approached the blonde girl and bent down to uncuff her. She smelled of his wife’s perfume. He could feel her tremble against him as he leaned in further. It wasn't a grope and it would never stand up in court. It was his way of feeling her heat against him. She refused to look at him as he led her from the bench to the fingerprinting table. Her hands shook as he rolled each finger in the ink, then across the print sheet. Her hands were rougher than he expected. He almost felt sorry for her. He caught a glimpse of her face as he rolled her thumb. There was definitely something familiar. He led her from the print table to the camera. He left her standing against the white wall and its black markings. As he arranged the numbers, he followed her legs straight up to her almost too perky tits. He passed her the numbered tablet and told her to hold it up just above her breasts.

He adjusted the camera and watched the monitor as the image came into focus. Her hair obscured her face.

"Brush that hair away from that pretty face,” he said in saccharine tones.

With that, she snapped her head up and her hair parted. The feeling of familiarity washed over him. Something about the eyes. He looked at the image on the screen, at first only seeing a scared young woman, but behind the streaked mascara and pancake make-up was his son.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mugshots #4 - Under The Influence by Anne Frasier

deborah was a southern baptist, yes she was
spoke in tongues

didn't drink and didn't smoke
till she got a kidney transplant from her deadbeat dad
now she closes up the bars

keeps a bottle of whiskey by her bed
just to get her head going in the morning


chorus

tylenol can fuck up your kidneys, yes it can
tylenol can fuck up your kidneys, yes it can

---


Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Hush, Sleep Tight, Play Dead, and Before I Wake, has been recognized with numerous awards, including the RITA and Daphne du Maurier for romantic suspense. Publishers Weekly says Frasier “has perfected the art of making a reader’s skin crawl.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune calls her a “master.” Her latest novel, Pale Immortal is out now. Go read it. Or zombie clowns will eat your head. Honest.

Drumming Up News

Los Angeles, CA

There's a Saturday Night Live skit where they spoof Citizen Kane. Dan Aykroyd as the newspaper mogul is trying to generate news to print, so he pulls out a gun, fires out the window and declares, "Crazed gunman kills three. Print it!"

Now today, I'm taking a look at the news and find this story about people in a residential neighborhood upset with registered sex offender Charles Diorio who they say is running a sex club out of his home.

Charles admits that he's running an internet dating service, but denies that he's running any kind of sex club.

Now as you should know by now this is the kind of story that I eat for breakfast, so I decide to dig a little on Mr. Diorio.

And I find this story from March where CBS news found out about him living in the area and went to his neighbors and told them that they had a registered sex offender living there.
“Did you know that he’s a registered sex offender?”

“No, I didn’t know that.”

“What do you think?”

“He should be in jail. That’s what I think about it.”

“He was -- before he was paroled and moved to California. Now this man lives in the house next to Renoso’s sister-in-law and her four children.
Like the neighbors are going to say, "Chuck? Sure, he's cool. Did his time. Got no problems with him."

He was convicted in New York for rape, was paroled and has relocated to Los Angeles. Seems he didn't register like he was supposed to, which prompted CBS to sic their pet newshounds on him.

I can't help but wonder if his neighbors had never been told by this same news show nine months ago that he was living there if they ever would have known of him or his business.

Did they generate the story in the first place? Are they feeding off the frenzy they set in motion back in March? Is it all just coincidence or are they responsible for this story?

At what point does journalism shift from news reporting to news generating? Where's the line, and should they ever cross it?

"Crazed gunman kills three. Print it!"

Whole Lotta Shootin' Goin' On

L.A., Pomona, Rubidoux an Norwalk, CA

Okay, we got two shootings in Los Angeles, one near the 10 freeway injuring two people and one in the 77th Street District, where five suspects attempted to rob a man and fired on him as he ran away. His ear got nicked. Lucky guy.

Not so lucky in Pomona. Two separate shootings. One a three-year-old toddler dead and a 16-year-old boy wounded, and the other killed a man.

Then we have a drive-by in lovely Rubidoux out in the middle of dirt country where the 60 and 91 freeways meet up. Two men were arrested, but as it turns out they were cleared of the shooting. They were not, however, cleared of the gun and the cocaine found in their car.

And finally we have a head shot in Norwalk.

Yep, boys and girls, this can only mean that the holiday season is upon us.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

One Year On And They Haven't Shot Me Yet

Los Angeles, CA

So, I'm looking at the calendar and something's nagging at me. November 18th. What the hell is it with November 18th?

And then I have it. My dad died on November 18th of 1992. Had a heart attack in Hilo, drove home to Kona to, get this, make sure he had clean underwear because he knew he was going to be in the hospital for an extended stay. It was something like his fifth or sixth heart attack. He knew the drill.

He finally kicked in the hospital a week or two later, prompting the confusing early morning phone call saying that he couldn't be resuscitated and me being too tired to completely click onto what that meant.

"So, he's dead then?"

"Yes."

"Oh. Okay."

It was a rough month.

So I'm musing on this, thinking how things have changed over the last 14 years, but something's still bugging me. And then I really have it.

L.A. Noir is one year old, today.

375 entries, 13,859 visitors.

A whole year of shootings, stabbings, dismemberments, drug raids, gang rapes, hits ordered from prison. Burnt bodies in campgrounds, parked cars and hotel rooms. Murder, arson, short cons, long cons, the occasional angry drunk. Sex offenders, offendees and those who just like a little kink in their porn. Book signings, fiction, the occasional review.

Now, I know some people have enjoyed this site. They've told me.

I also know that many others have very much NOT enjoyed it. I've never had hate mail before. It's been an interesting experience. I wouldn't mind it so much if many of them had more than a third grade reading level, but you take what you can get, I suppose.

So, like it or hate it, it is what it is.

Thanks for reading.

Mugshots #3 - Spinout by K.J. Hayes

Danny heard her screaming in his ear, but it seemed far off, at an impossible distance. Accelerator slammed to the floor, he had the Porsche moving way too fast, headed directly for the Mercedes slowing down in the middle of the intersection ahead.

What are you thinking about? She'd always ask him that right after he came. Most of the time, he was thinking about a cold beer and why the hell she never wiped his dick off with a warm washcloth the way she had the first time he'd fucked her. That was what had brought him back despite the ten-inch furrows she'd clawed in his back and the porn-star orgasms she faked every five seconds he was inside her.

He spun the wheel to the left at the last moment, hoping to grab the corner and avoid the other car. No such luck. The passenger side of the Porsche made contact and they spun off in the direction they'd just come from, the Mercedes rebounding away from them.

Do you love me? She'd always ask him that right before she opened his wallet. He loved the way she sucked him off, and she made a pretty decent breakfast the next morning, the kind that settled his stomach after a long night and kept him going until dinner. The first time she'd asked him that, she'd taken one of his credit cards and raided Victoria Secret. She'd gotten him a silk robe and silk boxers to match, along with about $856 of too-tight lingerie that went into a regular rotation every time she wanted another crack at his bank account.

They slammed into the concrete light pole on the corner of the sidewalk, her side of the car taking the hit once again. Momentum spun them in the opposite direction, back toward the middle of the empty intersection. He was slung over at an unlikely angle, trying to hold onto the wheel with his head in her lap.

Do I look fat? She'd always ask him that right after she polished off a piece of cherry pie at the greasy spoon across the street from the bar. Why they couldn't hit up a Denny's to get sober before driving home from the bar, he never knew. At least Denny's was clean, and had somebody you could sue if you found rat shit in your coffee. But no, she had a thing for the cherry pie at this place, and she'd whine and pout if he didn't sit in the sticky booth with her while she ate. Said it tasted just like the pie her grandma made when she was a little girl.

She'd stopped screaming. Danny realized this as he watched the street lights whirl crazily around them, and grew nauseous in the dizzying moment of silence, waiting for another impact. The Porsche finally slowed and rocked to a stop, the engine stalling.

Do you think she's prettier than me? She'd always ask him that right before she'd flounce up to some hottie waiting for the bartender, bend over next to her, and spread her legs to flash him her thong under the pretense of ordering a drink. She called it her signature move, paraded around with a platinum bleach job and a shaved pussy like she was Paris fucking Hilton. She insisted he wear the silk boxers when they went out and thought that looking at her in the skimpy nylon lace was what got him hard. He never told her it was really feeling the silk cup his balls while he imagined the hottie next to her at the bar soaping up her tits and getting ready for him.

He took a deep breath, smelling gas and burnt rubber and other metallic things he couldn't identify. He stared out the cracked windshield, trying to figure out where they were, waiting for the dizzy to pass. He heard a faint plink, then another, the crushed front end of his dream car shedding fragments of broken headlight onto the asphalt. The fucking body work was going to cost him his left nut. And if he didn't fix it up just right, she'd never let him live it down.

What would you do if I died? She'd always ask him that right before she started a fight, usually about meeting his mother or why he never took her on vacation when he got some extra cash. Never mind that she spent all his extra green the second he got it, it was still his fault she hadn't been to Palm Springs. The holidays were going to be a fucking nightmare.

Danny saw movement out of the corner of his eye, and looked over at her. There was too much blood smearing what was left of the passenger window to see clearly, but through a hole in the shattered glass he could tell somebody was crawling out of the back seat of the Mercedes. He grabbed for the key, trying to get the engine to turn over. If they could get away before anybody else got involved, maybe she wouldn't make his life a living hell, maybe she'd even let him drive the Porsche again after it was fixed up. Fuck. Nothing. He looked at her again. Maybe he wouldn't have to worry about that, after all.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lucky / Not So Lucky

North Hollywood, CA

Two attacks in North Hollywood yesterday, pretty much down the street from each other.

The first, a stabbing outside North Hollywood High School in the early afternoon.

The victim is in stable condition at Cedars-Sinai Medical. Police have one of the suspects, but the other suspect as well as the blue Acura Integra they fled the scene in are missing.

The second one didn't end as well. A fifteen-year-old boy whose name hasn't been released was found shot in the head near Lankershim and Sherman Way last night around 9:15.

Some of the North Hollywood Station's Gang Unit came out and identified the kid as a known gang member. Live and die by the gun, I guess.

Chalk One Up For Indie Bookstores

Pasadena, CA

You've probably heard that The Juice is going to be releasing a book on how he would have murdered Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. You know, if he'd actually done the deed (wink wink nudge nudge). Tasteless, you say? Evidence that the All Star champ is a murdering hyena? The homicidal fucker shouldn't be allowed to profit off the murders that he so obviously committed?

Apparently, Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena feels much the same way.
"...Vroman's has chosen not to profit from this title and will therefore be donating all proceeds from its sale to The Nicole Brown Foundation,"
I'd personally rather they didn't carry it at all, since I don't think the publisher or O.J. should see anything even remotely resembling success off this book.

I think Vroman's (maybe I'm mixing it up with Dutton's?) is one of the five or southland bookstores that the L.A. Times uses for its Best Seller list. Let's hope nobody buys it.

Not How I'd Have Chosen To Get Out of Jail, But To Each His Own

Los Angeles, CA

Steven Howard, a 57-year-old former attorney pleaded guilty in February to 25 counts of grand-theft in the embezzlement of almost $800,000.00. His sentencing hearing was scheduled for today.

Apparently, he didn't want to show up for it. Because he died right before the hearing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mugshots #2 - Free Wheeling - by Sandra Seamans

The Polack was wheeling around Philly in a pink Cadillac he'd found idling in front of a liquor store. He’d been on the prowl for a little sisterly love and figured the Caddy would get him some top of the line female company. He was eye-balling the sidewalks, shopping for the perfect package, when she stepped in front of his car. His shit-kicker boots slammed the brake pedal to the floor, stopping mere inches from sexiest broad he'd ever cast an eye over.

His hungry gaze slid from the bottom of her wrap-around legs to her impressive knockers. He might even consider forking out the price of a hotel room for this babe. Lifting his eyes to her face, he took in the bleached blonde hair framing a face full of tears. A broad on a crying jag wasn't exactly what he had in mind. Dames were trouble enough when they were smiling their way into your wallet.

"You looking to get dead, lady? Why don't you move that fine ass of yours out of the road so I can be on my way," The Polack shouted at her. That’s when he noticed her fingers were curled around a nasty looking .38.

She took one hand off the gun and flipped him the bird.

"Or we can get comfortable with that," he grinned.

“Not now, not ever, you stupid bastard. You smashed my sister with that fancy car of yours, then took off. You killed her, now I’m gonna kill you.”

“I didn’t kill nobody. I just snatched this car off the street half an hour ago.”

“Do you think I'm stupid? Nobody steals a pink car. The damn thing stands out like a whore in a convent. The cops would be all over you as soon as it was reported stolen.”

“Well, I stole it for picking up dames. You need a lift?”

"Fucking men," she screamed, pulling the trigger. "You should all be dead."

The windshield shattered around him as his foot slid off the brake and hit the gas.

The cops found the pink Cadillac wedged between some parked cars. The driver was dead and so was the blond who was draped through the broken windshield, her head resting in the driver’s lap.

“Tough way to get a blow job,” snickered one of the cops.

“Trust the Polack to do things the hard way,” said his partner.

---


Sandra’s newest stories can be found in The EX Factor, a new anthology released this month. her work can also be found over at Flashing In The Gutters, and Flashes of Speculation, among other places.

The Great Perv Migration of '06

Wilmington, CA

There's this thing called the '290 Database'. The name refers to California Penal Code Section 290, which covers registration of sex offenders in the state. This database is used to track the addresses of registered sex offenders.

Back in June a sweep of the 290 database showed 34 sex offenders living at three hotels less than a mile from Banning New Elementary School in Wilmington. Registered offenders cannot live within one quarter mile of a school, and high risk offenders one half mile .

The school opened in September, the sweep happened in June. They're just getting around to moving them now.

Some day we'll look on this as old geezers, rocking back and forth in our pneumatically controlled wheelchairs, wheezing with our surgically implanted iron lungs and remember the Great Perv Migration of 06, where they ran them through the streets like the bulls of Pamplona. Their blood running red from the barbs stuck through by laughing children, mothers with fire in their eyes and by those men and women thinking, "There but for the grace of God and the exceptions regarding sodomy and oral copulation between consenting adults pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290, Paragraph 2, Sub-Paragraph D, Clause IV, go I".

The start of a Grand Tradition in this, Our City of the Angels.

Ah, The Innocence of Youth

Murietta, CA

Back in 2005 enterprising young man Michael Ward, then 19 years old, was picked up on charges of pimping. Seems he was running a prostitution ring in Murietta. He advertised underage girls over the internet on Craigslist.com.

After his computers were confiscated, but he was nowhere to be found, seems he called the cops to gloat, which led to his arrest in Houston, Texas. Enterprising, yes. Smart, not so much.

Oddly enough, that's not what this story is about.

While in jail awaiting a hearing on the charges, which, incidentally, he pled guilty to, his phone calls were monitored. During the time he was in contact with several people who allegedly engineered the attempted murder one of his prostitutes.

The girl, 16-years-old, was considered a snitch and he decided she should be taken out.

Preliminary hearings on the charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a crime and gang allegations are being held. The defendants in this are Desiree Liana Delfin, Ira Henry Hatchett, Andre Jeriel Jacques, Sylvana Janee Hines, Shaunta Asune Rankin, Michael Durrell Ward, Tommy Jacquett and Michael's mother, Damita Ward.

Mom's the only one not in custody and allegedly engineered the plot. Ah, a mother's love knows no bounds. Unless she's facing a lifetime prison sentence, of course.

Then fuck the little bastard.

I Don't Care If It Rains Or Freezes / Long As I Got My Plastic Jesus

Los Angeles, CA

Okay, this isn't crime, but it's goddamn funny. At least, I think so. And really, round these parts that's all that matters. God, I'm such a narcissist.

The Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company (based in Valencia. Go figure.) makes a bunch of talking religious dolls. These foot high plastic icons spout various bible verses, presumably when a string is pulled a la "The Cow Goes Mooooooooo".

Anyway, the company decided to donate 4,000 to the Marine Reserves' Toys for Tots program.

The Marines opted not to accept them saying, "We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family."

Now that really is a pity. I can just imagine a nice Jewish boy opening a Hanukkah gift and finding the Lord God Our Savior staring at him and screaming "No! Not the nails! NOT THE NAILS!!! The pain!..." when the string is pulled.

Gets ya right here, doesn't it? I love Christmas.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mugshots #1 - The Luck of the Irish - by Gerald So

In the mirror by the door, Shawn Riley fluffed her hair. She didn't have to be a cop to tell she was nervous. Hard to believe it had been just four days--Sunday night--since she and Tommy shared Chinese food watching The Devil Wears Prada on DVD.

They'd met five months earlier, in line at an IMAX showing of Superman Returns. Tommy made the first move, said he was surprised to see a girl at a superhero movie, then blurted an apology for calling her a girl.

The following week, Shawn saw him in line for Prada. They decided to sit together, and afterward Tommy said he preferred Prada to Superman.

One of the first things I liked about him, she thought.

Monday, around quitting time, Al Romero found her with the desk phone in her hand.

"Calling Tommy?" Romero teased.

"Yes," she said.

Al dropped a folder on the desk. "You may want to hold off."

Hanging up, Shawn's hand went for her holstered sidearm.

"You always do that," Al said, "when we talk about exes. You secretly wanna shoot 'em?"

"Nothing secret about it." Shawn placed both hands flat on the desk. She stared at the folder, then closed her eyes. "God, just tell me."

"You wouldn't believe me," Al said, "if I did."


* * *


Tuesday morning, Riley and Romero reported to Capt. Daniels that Shawn had been dating a wanted criminal.

"Fuck," Daniels said. "Again?"

Shawn made sure to be polite. "Yes, sir, How should I proceed?"

Daniels pored over Tommy's file. He stroked the whiskers on his chin. "What would you do if you hadn't found out?"

"Keep dating him, introduce him to my folks."

"Then that's what we'll do."

"Excuse me?"


* * *


Tuesday night, after an hour staring at her phone, Shawn invited Tommy to dinner at her place.

"Thursday," she said. "7:30?"

"Sure." Now that she listened for it, his voice sounded different. "I've got NCIS Season Two on DVD."

"That came out?"

"Last month."

"Well, I wasn't planning on TV, if you know what I mean."

"I think I do. See you then."

Hanging up, Shawn congratulated herself on her performance. Then she touched her crucifix, thanking God she was shy.


* * *


After fluffing her hair, Shawn decided to redo her lipstick.

Backup should be in place. I might not even have to--

The doorbell rang. Shawn checked the peephole, registering Tommy without really looking. She'd never be able to see him the same way.

Touching her gun with her left hand, she opened the door with her right. "Hi, Tommy." Before she met his eyes, someone shouted, "Police!"

Two uniformed officers rushed in, one handcuffing Tommy, the other pulling off his wig.

Flatly, Shawn said, "Teresa Aviles, you're under arrest for fraud and endangering the welfare of a minor. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will sound like bull to me anyway."

---


Gerald So is a writer, fiction editor of Thrilling Detective Magazine, moderator of the Yahoo Group DetectToday devoted to detective fiction and all around swell guy. He blogs over at If You Want To Know About My Life...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mugshots

Patrick Shawn Bagley over at Hillbillies And Hitmen wrote a comment in a recent post with an excellent idea.
It would be an interesting exercise to write flash fiction based on random mugshots.
I couldn't agree more.

So, gentle readers, below are a series of booking photos, delicately culled from the nation's databases, of the lowly, the degenerate, the downright funny lookin'. Use one or more of these for inspiration.

Email me your mugshot inspired flash fiction, 500 words or less, and I'll post it here throughout the remainder of November.



Have fun.

Death In The Valley - How Did I Miss This?

Other Side Of The Hill, CA

So, I'm poking around the Daily News website, and come across this, a Google mashup of homicides in the San Fernando Valley with, in some cases, links to Daily News reports of the murders.

My cup runneth over.

Unlike Incident Log or the LAPD's Crime Maps both of which rely on police reports, the Daily News maps seem to be based on Valley specific headlines that they've reported. It's also easily narrowed down by what really matters in this sort of thing: Date, whether it's gang-related, the age of the victim and the type of weapon used.

As such, it's a little more focused. It's by no means complete, but this is one of the reasons I like the Daily News over the Los Angeles Times. The Times, regardless of its name and heritage, isn't a local paper. The New York Times covers Hollywood better.

The LA Times has been the Tribune's prison bitch for far too long. Take a cue from the Daily News or the LA Weekly. Focus on the local and stop trying to go after Pulitzers. Nobody's fucking reading your paper, anyway.

The Daily News seems to understand this, giving the news people (i.e. Me) want.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Author Events This Weekend

Mysteries To Die For

Thousand Oaks, CA

Duane Swierczynski signs The Blonde at 2:00 pm, Saturday, November 11th

Duane Swi... Swzre... Hell, that guy from Philly has a new one out, The Blonde.  Last year he put out The Wheelman, which you need to read.  Really.  It's fucking good.  Anwyay, the Blonde.
The author of last year’s highly acclaimed THE WHEELMAN returns with a high-octane thriller that chronicles a long, frenzied night in Philadelphia. Journalist Jack Eisley is poisoned at a Philadelphia airport bar by the blonde, Kelly White, who tells him that unless she can keep someone within 10 feet of her at all times, she’ll die. If Jack wants the antidote, he’ll have to stay with her all night. At first, Jack thinks she’s crazy, but as the violent night wears on and he encounters a relentless assassin, a double-crossing spook, an eccentric pair of crime scene cleaners, a violent waitress and shady cab drivers…he begins to believe her. Rapid fire pacing, hard-boiled dialogue - this thriller explodes on the opening page and never eases up.
Well, I'm sold.

In fact, I'll be there. Unless you're one of those people I keep getting hate mail from, in which case I'll be nowhere near there.

---

The Mystery Bookstore


Westwood, CA

Robert Greer signs The Fourth Perspective at 7:00 pm, Friday, November 10th
The bail bondsman/bounty hunter has finally retired to run an antiques store, but he can’t stay out of trouble for long. He buys an old book that turns out to contain a rare photograph of the Golden Spike ceremony; when the book’s former owner turns up dead, CJ himself is a prime suspect.
Larry Karp signs The Ragtime Kid at 3:00 pm, Saturday, November 11th
Fifteen-year-old Brun Campbell arrives in Sedalia, Missouri in 1899 hoping to study ragtime with Scott Joplin. Instead, he discovers the body of a young woman, and picks up things from the scene before he realizes what’s happened. The items turn out to belong to Joplin himself, but Brun can’t believe he’s guilty – nor does he believe the man the police have arrested, another musician, is responsible.
Duane Swierczynski signs signs The Blonde at 6:00 pm, Saturday, November 11th

Yeah, we already covered this one. But still, it's good. Really goddamn good. Ya know, since it's closer to me, I might be at this one, instead. That's for the benefit of the armed hate mailers.

---

Book 'Em Mysteries

Pasadena, CA

Larry Karp signs The Ragtime Kid at 2:00 pm, Sunday, November 12th

If you can't make it to Westwood for his signing on Saturday, Larry will be out in Pasadena.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mugshots Of The Day: A Nobody And A Somebody

Garden Grove & Santa Monica, CA



Is it just me, or do these guys look like they're straight out of a Jim Thompson novel?

First off, we have Jay Thomas Gardner, 42, who was arrested in Fullerton for exposing himself to children in San Bernardino. Police had reason to believe he was out there, and, sure enough, Garden Grove police found him. He was living in his car and, as you can see, does not look well.

Next up we have actor Daniel Baldwin, 46, who was arrested at a Santa Monica hotel for stealing a GMC Yukon in Orange County, and for possible drug possession. The funny thing is that he was arrested in April for drug possession and threatening a woman at a different Santa Monica hotel. Trial is still pending on those charges and he's currently out on $20,000.00 bail.

I'm not sure which of these two looks worse. Baldwin's got those craggy features where I think he looks better the more fucked up he is. Gardner, though, he just looks beaten and defeated.

There's a point for some people where they just can't function anymore. Whether it's mental illness, drugs, or just plain old, mean spirited stupidity. Either way, I think Baldwin's going to crash more cars before Gardner waves his pecker at any more children. The benefits of privilege, I suppose.

Doing His Part For Jail Overcrowding

Castaic, CA

If you're in the Castaic area you might want to keep an eye out for Felix Stiglbauer, 5-feet-8-inches tall, brown hair and hazel eyes. Oh yeah, and he's wearing a bright yellow jumpsuit with the words "Los Angeles County Jail" on the back.

Stiglbauer (now there's a name that would drive a man to crime) escaped from the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic this morning around 7am. Was this a daring escape with gunfire and bars yanked from a wall by a gang of armed cronies with names like "Legs Murphy", "Mick The Mick" and "The Wart"?

Well, not as such. He kind of just, oh, walked away. Yep. Wandered off a work detail. Nobody knew until a monitoring device went off. By that time he was already gone.

So with that in mind, remember, when driving by a prison don't pick up hitchhikers. Especially not ones wearing bright yellow jumpsuits.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Congratulations! That Gets You The Death Penalty!

Eagle Rock, CA

Jennifer Flores was murdered last August. She was dragged behind a truck and left for dead. The evidence, a quarter mile of blood, bone and belt-sanded flesh, led from the site of her body to the home of L.A. Fire Captain David Jaime Del Toro.

Police obtained a search warrant for his home and found blood in teh living room, as well as in the kitchen sink. He was arrested and charged with her murder. Released on a one million dolalr bond, he was facing 25 years to life.

Today, though, things are looking a little more bleak for Mr. Del Toro.

He's now facing additional charges of torture and the special circumstance of murder involving the infliction of torture. She suffered a broken jaw, broken ribs and a variety of other injuries before finally being strangled and driven down the street.

With the additional charges he's looking at the death penalty. Though there seems to be a lot of evidence against him, I mean, come on his truck's covered in the woman, the death penalty is a slow and arduous process in California. It could be a good thirty years before he gets his little shot of happy juice.

Or the state could get lucky and the Upright Prisoner's Brigade will shiv him in the exercise yard. I know, wishful thinking.

Prop 83 Passes - Now What?

California

Proposition 83, Jessica's Law, named after nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a paroled sex offender, passed by about 70% of the vote. Its intent is to strengthen sentences against sex offenders, open up more sex offenses to felony status, restrict where sex offenders can live and create a system for lifetime tracking via GPS.

I think it's going to fall apart.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the intent. Hell, I even voted for it. Personally, I'd like to see convicted rapists and child molesters hunted down in the streets and shot like, well, not like dogs. I like dogs. Shot like some obnoxious, slimy thing that one shoots in the streets. Rats, telemarketers, possums.

Anyway, my point is that it's intentions are good. I recognize that. I agree with it. I just think it's going to be too difficult to enforce and easily attacked by civil liberty groups.

This year alone there have been 742 reported rapes in the city of Los Angeles. That doesn't include the surrounding cities or unincorporated county areas. Look at those and the numbers top a thousand plus easy. And that's just rape. Other sexual offenses don't necessarily fit into that category.

There's a common element to all spin. The idea is that you find a buzz-phrase, or a particular topic that is so overwhelming that the details can be hidden in the rhetoric. "It's for the children." "A vote for him is a vote for the terrorists." And so on.

The big one for this was, of course, "Get rid of the rapists". More specifically, considering its source, it was "Get rid of the child molesters". A strong enough statement to overshadow the holes in the legislation.

There are two areas that I think are going to get hit, the GPS tracking and the housing restrictions.

The GPS is just going to turn out to be a failure. It's expected to cost at least $100 million. They're going to have to expand the tracking facilities for local law enforcement, standardize it across all agencies, have software that will effectively alert law enforcement to any violations, hire more people to pay attention to it, etc. Not to mention the fact that nothing is foolproof. Someone will figure out a way to take off an ankle cuff. It's not like it's going to be the kind to enforce house arrest, which is tied to a central location and movement from that location sets off an alarm.

It's going to cost a fortune, and nobody knows how it should be implemented. After all the money and time is spent getting everyone up to speed they'll realize that it's ungovernable and we'll have wasted a bunch of time and money for something that doesn't work.

The housing restriction requires that a convicted sex offender not live within 2000 feet of a school or park. Great. Keep them away from the children. Except...

There are very few cities in California that fit that model. San Francisco, for example, according to a State Senate created map, has only a few blocks that are more than 2000 feet from a school or park.

This means that sex offenders will have to live in rural areas, areas that maybe don't have a dense enough law enforcement presence to effectively track them. They move to a rural area, they fall off the radar.

Then, of course, there's the question of whether or not the state will need to pay to relocate people currently living within a restricted zone. Where will the state put them? How much will they pay for? Which rural burg is going to become known as the Sex Offender Capitol of California?

The lawsuits have already started on this one, and the ACLU is going to have a field day. And if one part of the law gets sacked, it could easily put the other parts into jeopardy.

What I would rather have had happen, and I think this holds for almost all legislation, is that a series of bills were proposed. Bills with only one or two conditions. That way, if one area of the law is contested and found lacking it doesn't threaten the rest.

I know that's not how it works, though. Riders get attached, every group involved wants to add their own thing. People don't want to have to vote for what they think is the same thing over and over. There's always a perception that a law enforcement bill didn't go far enough. There are countless reasons why this approach doesn't work.

But when good ideas get lumped in with bad ones, sometimes you just have to take the hit and hope for the best.

Learning From A Bad Example

Palmdale, CA

Back in August, a ten-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in a Palmdale movie theater at the Antelope Valley Mall. After investigating all the known sex offenders in the area, running a composite sketch through town and doing all the things that police are supposed to be doing, they finally have a suspect.

Marque Clark, 31, has been charged on 5 felony counts; forcible lewd acts on a child, sodomy of a person under 14 with 10 years difference, aggravated sexual assault of a child, kidnapping to commit another crime and criminal threats.

The funny thing about this is that he was tagged when they went to interview his 60-year-old father, who's a registered sex offender and lives within a mile of the mall.
"While speaking with the (son) about the reason for the visit, the suspect made several statements about the crime that focused suspicion upon himself," sheriff's Capt. Margaret Wagner said after Clark's arrest.

He subsequently failed a voluntary polygraph test taken at the sheriff's station, and detectives "obtained a full confession" upon interviewing him, according to Wagner.
The nut doesn't fall far from the tree, huh?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Racially Motivated Mob Beating Or Treat

Long Beach, CA

Those wacky kids. Looks like some young whippersnappers got carried away on Halloween. No, wait. Sorry, I meant to say "a mob of psychopathic, pubescent thugs".

Nine girls and a boy (ages 12 to 17) were arraigned Friday on three counts each of felony assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to cause great bodily harm. Apparently, three women, all white, were attending a Halloween block party in Long Beach when the group, all black, swarmed them and attacked.
The women, who are white, said that their attackers, who were black, shouted, "we hate white people, f--- whites" while beating and robbing them, according to the Press-Telegram.
Which leads us to the second part of this.

The prosecution was originally planning on adding a hate crime charge to the list, but decided against it. They may still throw it on there if they feel they can prove it.

Personally, I've always had a problem with the whole hate crime thing. How is a white man killing a black man, or a straight man killing a gay man, worse than any other kind of murder. They're just as dead, right? Aren't both murders, after all, equally important? I get the whole motivation of sending a strong message that crimes borne of racial hatred will not be tolerated. Fine. Wonderful.

But how about we work on educating people to get rid of the intolerance in the first place? Hate crimes start off as, "I don't like those people over there because they look different from me." Somebody doesn't just decide one day, "Ya know, I really hate Armenians/Chinese/Samoans/Eskimoes" without having some kind of history of it.

So instead of tackling a symptom in a way that heightens the magnitude of one person's murder over another, lessening the tragedy of that other person's death, why don't we work to fix the root cause of the problem? Work on the issues of education, poverty, the sense of disenfranchisement that so many people have that makes them feel justified in perpetrating these crimes in the first place?

That said, I do hate the French.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Funny, I Don't Feel Old

Los Angeles, CA,

I'm 37 today.

I'm a Scorpio. So is Charles Manson. This should surprise no one.

My amazing and wonderful wife, who puts up with me despite my incessant snoring and frequent walking into walls, gave me the best birthday present EVER this morning.

Behold! The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of.


It will be taking on honored place among the writing totems on my desk, those things I turn to for inspiration.


In case you're wondering, that's Cthulhu, draped in Mardi Gras beads, sitting atop a Royal typewriter, within which sits Sigmund Freud festooned with Tibetan skull prayer beads. That should explain a lot, right there.

Later today we're heading to the newly renovated Griffith Observatory. They've redone the whole place, cleaning and polishing the telescope domes of the green rust that's plagued them for the last forty years, rebuilding the planetarium, putting in new exhibits and an extra theater, and, thankfully, replacing those WPA torture seats they used to have.

I'm a very lucky man.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's Always The Ugly Ones

Monterey Park, CA

Terry Lee Shields, 51, was picked up at the beginning of October at an internet cafe in Bellflower on suspicion of kidnap, rape, forced oral copulation, lewd acts with a child and possession and production of child pornography. He's linked to the sexual assaults of four children.

At 6-feet, 350-pounds, he's a big-un. That's him up there. Pretty, no? The sheer mechanics of what might have been in some of those photos boggle the mind. Child pornography is bad enough, but dear Christ. Take a look at him.

Cops hit him with warrants at three locations, netting a whole shitload of porn, more than 10,000 photos, many of them with children.

Taking a closer look at things, the Special Victims Bureau thinks that there might be more victims and would like the public's help.

Now here's where I muse on the motives of the press. In the article CBS says,
Shields, who drives a 2002 burgundy Kia, license plate 4WXT339, is scheduled to make his next appearance at the Bellflower Courthouse, 10025 E. Flower Ave. Wednesday at 8 a.m.
Something I've noticed since starting L.A. Noir is that the local news is particularly bad at identifying places. They might have a block or a wide area, but rarely do they have a specific place. And almost never a time. Especially for things that haven't happened, yet.

So, are they hoping someone pops him outside the courthouse? Are they willfully trying to endanger his life by chronicling his crimes and giving a time and place? And what's with the license plate and car description? He's already been picked up. The cops aren't looking for him. Besides, he's kind of hard to miss.

Or are they just giving the public a heads-up that there's a sexual predator out on bail and to keep an eye out?

Now, I added the Google Maps link. And I reprinted part of their article. Does this make me part of their nefarious plan? Do I have a nefarious plan of my own? Am I just a pawn in the great game of the Media? Is this all nothing but a bunch of recursive, self referential bullshit?

Well, whatever. I'm sure he won't last long in any case. On the outside the locals will have his hide and on the inside they'll shiv him in the exercise yard. Pedophiles aren't exactly well regarded in any community.

Buy A Burger For A Fallen Officer

Los Angeles, CA

A few weeks ago, Officer Landon Doris was hit by a car and killed while investigating a traffic accident. Three year veteran of the LAPD, six with the CHP. Left behind a fiancee and two children.

Larry and Ralph Cimmarusti, owners of a local Burger King, have decided to help out. They will be donating 100% of the day's take to the family.

I know, you're looking at this and wondering what the fuck. You come here to find the latest on crazy L.A. drug murders, body dumping, prison fashion tips. Well, it's fucking depressing. What's with you people? The man's dead. Somebody's doing something nice for a change.

Besides, I've got drug overdoses and fat perverts for you today.

Anyway, if you're around Downtown today, go buy a whole mess of charred animal fat from the Burger King at 700 W. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue. The family could really use a hand.

34 Handguns, 2 Shotguns, 1 Rifle... And A Partridge In A Pear Tree

Westminster, CA

Christmas came early for some lucky gangbanger this year.

Back on October 2nd, two males, wearing dark, hooded sweatshirts were caught on surveillance in the rear parking lot of Bolsa Gunsmithing in Westminster, right before the power was cut to the alarm system.

The theft was discovered the next day. Thirty-four handguns, two shotguns and a rifle were stolen.

The police are asking for the public's help in locating the firearms and have offered a $5000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest of the thieves.

If you know anything you can call the BATF at (800) ATF-GUNS or Westminster Police at (714) 898-3315.

The Problem With Drug Overdoses

Baldwin Park, CA

Michael Morales, 36, was found in the 4100 block of La Rica Avenue in Baldwin Park Wednesday morning. Originally thought to be a shooting, the body didn't show sings of trauma. Police are thinking it might be a drug overdose, but only a tox screen during the autopsy will tell.

With a violent death, you pretty much know where you stand. Shotgun to the head, you KNOW it's a shotgun to the head. But with a drug overdose, anaphylactic shock, aneurysm, what have you, somebody's got to rootle around in the body to figure it out.

And it comes down to the overworked, backlogged forensics departments to do it. So, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out, yet again, the Crime Lab Project, headed up by Jan Burke, which is trying to get desperately needed funding to forensics groups throughout the nation.