Read Alligator Jackson's book "The Boiling Point" for free on this site. The book is also available as part of the book "Tales From The Huntington Drug Epidemic."  All Alligator Jackson books are sold out at the moment at local stores but are available at Amazon.  Tales from The Huntington Drug Epidemic is just 10.99 for over 400 pages and available at this link.

 


This is a description of The Boiling Point.  It is a fiction story taking place in Huntington.  This was written two years ago before the night 26 people overdosed.  There is a followup to this book with the same characters called Deadly Sorrow and is included in Tales From The Huntington Drug Epidemic.






"Dude, what do you mean your wallet got stolen?  You're a cop.  How does that happen?"  Officer Cory Davis asked incredulously over the phone.  He was pretty sure that his cop buddy was pulling another prank on him because  he trusted his co-worker with his life and could not picture the man losing his wallet or giving it up to anyone.

"I don't know, man.  I've been freaking out about this shit.  What am I going to do?"  Dakota Cook replied with frustration in his voice.  Cook normally was very cool and collected but the adrenalin was coursing through his veins so much he was ready to jump through the top of his 2015 black Ford Explorer.

"I guess call the police like everyone else, but how was it stolen?...Someone kick your skinny ass and take it?"  Cory couldn't help but chuckle.  He was anxious to hear the punch line and was not going to fall for another immature stunt from his buddy.

"I think Allie got something out of the Explorer last night and left the doors unlocked.  I went out there when I woke up and it wasn't under the seat," Dakota was clearly aggravated.  It really was not his daughter's fault, he just did not want look more ridiculous than he already did. 

"Wait a minute... you do realize this is Huntington right...haven't you heard that addicts break into cars every night for drug money?  I'm a Huntington cop and I know by filling out reports every night that I shouldn't leave my wallet in my car...oh, wait... a minute... I forgot, you're a cop, too!" Cory was still playing around with his friend.  He was starting to wonder if Cook was being serious but still was not quite ready to fall victim to a practical joke.  Being a police officer in Huntington, West Virginia was quickly becoming a stressful job and some of the officers coping skills included pulling pranks on each other to break the stress.

"This is serious shit, Cory.  I have to get that wallet back."  Dakota was getting more nervous by the minute. 

Cory Davis was starting to realize that his friend was telling the truth.  "You tell people what to do all the time...call the credit card company and cancel the credit cards." 

"Man, I did that.  In fact, I'm getting ready to walk in the 7-11 by my house.  The son of bitch went down there soon as he left here and made a couple of purchases.  They are getting the videos set up now to take a look at the bastard."

"Or bitch.  Ya just don't know these days."  Cory was still joking around.

"Dude, I'm in deep crap  My badge was in the wallet."

Cory's eyes popped wide open as he spurted out.  "Oh shit, man..."  He knew it was embarrassing enough for a policeman to get his wallet stolen and that feat would get him endless teasing from his fellow cops but to have his badge stolen could get him big trouble with administration.  He shifted from trying to tease his friend to trying to console him.  "We'll get it back.  It's got to be someone local and someone real stupid to use it on camera."

"I can't believe this crap.  I'm going to fuck someone up if I have to go in and tell someone my badge got swiped Well, man, I'm going to go in here and check this video out and then go down to the station."

"Let me know.  We'll get him!"

Dakota Cook was angry, nervous, and confused as he checked his short military cut black hair in his rear view mirror and prepared to go into the convenient store.  Despite his dark hair and tanned complexion, Dakota was the "golden boy" of the Huntington police force.  He was born and raised in Huntington.  He had model looks capped off with a smile that infatuated every Huntington female who ever had fantasies about a man in uniform.

Dakota did not mess with the "badge bunnies" who hopped in his path.  He was faithful to his beautiful fiancee and an excellent father to his three children.  

Dakota Cook just did not make mistakes like this.  He knew better to leave his wallet in an unlocked car.  Dakota was at the boiling point.  The boiling point is that point where human emotions are so heated that they start to boil over and blur sense and logic.  It is then when a person forgets who they are and become capable of anything.

Huntington was at its' boiling point lately as well.  Just a couple of decades ago, Huntington was the kind of All-American town where it was a perfect place to raise a family and to walk safely down the street at night.  Detroit drug dealers have changed that though.

Now, HBO's The Vice has called Huntington "the heroin capital of the United States.". The show says there are three overdoses a day in the city.

Huntington has reached the boiling point.  The residents were fed up with all of the symptoms of a drug epidemic: petty crime, break-in, prostitution, armed robberies, drug-related shootings, and other blights on society that addiction brings.  

The Mayor was at the boiling point.  The police chief was at the boiling point.  The residents were at the boiling point.  Huntington was a city that had reached the boiling point and was ready to explode.

Huntington had become so heated that even the Republican winner in the mayoral primary reached his boiling point and stuck his finger in the city attorney's face and was banned from entering City Hall for two years.
 

Dakota was so upset leaped out of his Explorer and shot through the 7-11 doors and did not even pour himself the free coffee he usually gets for being a cop.  The manager Chris Evans seen him entered and waved him toward the backroom.  Dakota was moving so fast he beat Chris to the office.

The portly bald manager with a stubby blond goatee said, "I found him.  He was in here twice using your card.  He bought cigarettes both times.  I don't ever remember seeing him in here before."

Soon as the manager pushed the button and revealed the thief, Dakota about exploded through the ceiling.  The cop screamed, "I don't believe it.  Damn it, It's that damn Cody Dingess.  I'll wring his scrawny little neck!"

Chris was startled by the police officer's sudden display of anger, "I'm assuming you know him?"

"Oh, yeah, I know him well.  We've had him a dozen times in the last year.  I've given him a break at least a half of dozen times.  I've let him go when I didn't have to then the thanks I get is that not only does he steal my wallet, but he steals my badge.  I mean; I get it, he's an addict, he's not going to turn down money.  But he didn't have to take my badge.  Taking my damn badge just made it personal and earned that little bastard an ass-kicking!"

"Well, at least you know who has your stuff," the manager said.

"Yes, thanks very much, Chris.  You don't know how much I appreciate this information."  Dakota raced out of the office as fast as he entered it.  Once again, he was moving so fast that he never even remembered to get the free coffee he always picks up.

Dakota called down to the police station to Captain Wally Brunty and explained the situation to him and assured  the captain that Cody Dingess was the thief.  Captain Bounty said he would personally take the information to a magistrate and get a warrant for Dingess.  Captain Brunty would then lead the search for the thief.  Since everyone knew Dingess they all know he would be all over Downtown Huntington in the daytime panhandling for money to buy heroin.

He tried to convince the cop to go home and relax and that they would have his badge back for the night shift.

Captain Wally Brunty was a grizzled veteran with twenty five years on the force.  Cory Davis and Dakota Cook called him "Uncle Wally."  They loved to engage the bald,  stocky cop with stories of his you get days on the force.  They had heard all of his stories at least a half a dozen times and still listened intently at every opportunity .

Wally enjoyed the fire and the intensity of the two boys.  They were both still young with Cook being thirty one and Davis being twenty eight but both were experienced cops with Cook being an HPD officer for six years and Davis on the squad for five years.  Brunty, being the overprotective bear that he was, was not about to let anything happen to his cubs.

Wally Brunty knew that Dakota was not going to go home and wait on someone else to find his badge and he would have been disappointed if the younger cop did.  Brunty perfectly understood the boiling point and he knew that Dakota Cook was close to it.  He knew that Dakota boiled thinking that Cody Dingess was roaming the streets of Huntington displaying Dakota's badge as a trophy.

 

Cody Dingess was a good example of what was wrong with Huntington.  Cody grew up across the Ohio River in Proctorville.  He had a couple of short stays in juvenile detention as an adolescent then when he turned eighteen instead of graduating high school, he graduated petty crimes into felonies and spent two years in prison for breaking into a convenience store.  

He was not even out of prison for two months before he broke into three more stores and earned another two year stay in an Ohio prison.  These crimes were committed before Cody became a drug addict.

When Cody moved to Huntington with his mother and sister, he inherited their habits.  Cody became addicted to  drugs.  Like his mother and sister, he preferred heroin but would smoke weed or crack, pop Xanax, or snort pain pills.  Cody was not prejudiced against any drug, he would partake in the consumption or injection of any drug available.

Cody had been panhandling all over Downtown Huntington and up as far as the restaurants on 5th Avenue down past 20th Street. He liked to stand in restaurant parking lots and say he was hungry and ask for money to buy a sandwich.  He save his money until he had enough to get a $20 shot of heroin and then he would be on his Obama phone speed dialing a dealer.

At night time, he would wander the town checking for car doors left unlocked.  He would primary look for change but take anything of value.  Change no matter how small, would eventually add up to a $ 20 dollar shot.  The shot earned by the gathering of change would be almost immediate gratification resulting in a shot that night.  Any items would have to wait to the following day for the pawn shops to open.

It was no coincidence that 20 was the magic number on the streets.  Thieves would want $20 for almost any item.  Prostitutes would charge $20 for most services.  Twenty was the number of dollars it took to by a nice shot of heroin for a quick fix.

Dakota Cook engineered his Explorer down 6th and 1/2 Alley on the outskirts of Downtown Huntington.  On this trip though, Dakota was not looking for prostitutes or drug dealers.  He pulled into one of the multiple big houses that had been turned into apartment buildings.  Dakota Cook had been here on a couple of previous occasions to talk to Cody Dingess.  This building was where Dingess lived with his mother and sister, Dakota parked and ran up the steps to the second floor apartment door in the front of the building.

A very skinny lady with long silver unkempt hair answered the door.  Part of it was pulled back into a pony tail and the other part was straggling off to the side.  She appeared to be in her late forties.  Her eyes were kind of drawn in and wrinkles were starting to crease her face but Dakota was not sure if that was due to age or drugs.  She still had pretty green eyes and a wide but yellowish smile and Dakota could not help but to think that she was probably quite pretty ten or twenty years ago before she started abusing the drugs that were now abusing her body.

The truth was she was indeed a stunner when she was younger.  She was on a serious car accident about ten years earlier and got hooked on pain medication.  It started small with Percocet and she advanced through the gates of addiction until she became addicted to Oxycontin.  

At the time, she was getting prescribed Oxycontin from a pill mill in Portsmouth, Ohio. She thought they were perfectly legal because it was a real doctor prescribing them and she got them at any pharmacy.  

Gradually, they became impossible to get.  The doctor wrote the prescription but the pharmacies quit filling them.  She would find a place to fill it but then the place would refuse the next month.  It became an all day adventure to fill the prescriptions until the pill mill finally got closed down.

The doctors had convinced her that she needed them and now she was totally hooked.  She began buying them off the street but they were $30 for a 30 milligram pill.  When the pills became scarce they raised to $40. 

As they started getting harder to find, the Detroit boys started flooding the area with stronger and cheaper heroin.  This began the heroin epidemic that virtually every city and town in the country is fighting.



The lady looked at the stranger at the door and looked for a few seconds like she had seen him before and was trying to remember who he was and eventually with a puzzled look said, "Yes?  Can I help you?"  She could sense that the young man was somewhat excited.

Dakota blurted out, "Yes... I had been here a couple of times before to talk to Cody Dingess.  I think I may have met you before.  I'm Dakota Cook, a policeman with The Huntington Police Department.  I 'd show you my badge but Cody stole it last night."

The woman's eyes popped open wide and a young girl that looked like her but twenty years younger with a not-so-pale complexion popped in beside of her.  The younger girl said, "Yeah, I remember him, Mom.  That's Dakota, he was looking for Cody one night when they had questions about that purse missing from that fish place on Fourth Avenue."

"Oh, okay, I remember now.  You look different out of uniform,"  the older woman said.  "I'm Debbie Dingess and this is my daughter Sierra.  You say that Cody stole your badge?"

"Well, he stole more than just my badge.  My daughter got something out of the SUV last night and forgot to lock the door.  I had left my badge and wallet under the seat.  He used credit cards at the 7-11 by my apartment.  The credit cards aren't what has me so mad.  He stole my badge!"

Sierra chimed in, "Cody is so retarded when he is high.  Why would he take your badge?"

Dakota was at the boiling point again as he told the story, "I guess to show off and brag.  I'm telling you he's got an ass kicking coming.  I'm sorry, ma'am, I know he's your son but he's got to understand that you can't go around stealing off people.  I'm a cop so I'll beat his ass but I'll stop at some point.  He's going to run into someone who won't stop and beat him to death."
 

Debbie agreed, "I understand.  I don't know why he does those things.  He is not even allowed on this property.  The landlord barred him.  He stole off of six or seven neighbors."

Sierra chimed in again, "He stole a ten year old boys iPad that the boy was getting for Christmas."

Dakota looked at the younger redheaded girl as she spoke and first thought how cute she was but by the sunken look in her green eyes that she had been shooting up..

Again, his mind was back on Cody and he said, "Do you know where I can find him.  I'll beat his ass but I won't hurt him.  I just want to give  him something to think about?"

Debbie answered, "Well, he sleeps on the porch of that abandoned house on Charleston Avenue.  But, he just walks up and down the alleys by the bus station all day and bums for money to buy dope.  He's been banned from Pullman Square, Marshall, and Jimmy John's for panhandling."

The truth was that her eyes Sierra was the good daughter because she went out and found money to buy drugs and bring some of those drugs home to her mother.  Cody was the bad son because he went out and found money for drugs but then did all of the drugs himself.

Dakota knew he had gotten all of the information he was going to get here.  He relayed the information to Captain Brunty.  The captain was able to get an arrest warrant for Cody Dingess from Magistrate White.  He got up a posse and they went searching for the felon.


About two hours later, a police car driven by Captain Brunty was going in one direction up 4 and a half Alley and a police car driven by lanky Dwight Sanders, they both spotted Cody Dingess at the same time.  Dingess had just done shooting up in the bathroom at Husson's Pizza.  Cody was visibly stoned as he was stumbling and falling down.

The cops got out of their cars and told him to stay.  He turned and started to run.  He got about twenty yards when he realized he could not run.  He put his hands up and yelled, "Don't shoot!"

The six foot five but slender Sanders did not stop in his pursuit of the smaller criminal.  He hit Dingess head on and went crashing to the ground.

Suddenly, a figure clad in a green Marshall University shirt and gray sweat pants was swatting the felon with a police baton.  Sanders had Cody's upper body pinned and Cody was still stunned from being blindsided by Sanders and the impact of hitting the ground.  The person with the baton was nailing the prisoner across the legs.

The person with the baton was Dakota Cook!  The off-duty police officer had reached the boiling point.  His anger boiled over and he could not control himself.

Captain Brunty was standing behind the young officer urging him to quit, "Stop, Dakota, stop!  You can't do this.  It's our jobs on the line, there's too many witnesses."

Brunty eventually grabbed Dakota.  Dakota was shaking.  He had hit the drug addict with the baton several times and although the boy was severely stoned he was still in obvious pain.

The officers scooped up their prisoner and parked him in the back of the cruiser.  Dingess led them to the abandoned house on Charleston Avenue where he had the badge stashed. 

While officers were checking the house for other stolen items that Dingess had hid, Captain Brunty led Dakota Cook off to the side.
He got right in front of the younger cop and looked him square in the eyes, "Now, Dakota, you know that you and the boys are like sons to me.  I try to watch out for you all but you crossed a serious line today and you have put several people's hobs in danger."

Dakota slightly hung his head to avoid eye contact and said, "I know Cap.  I sorry I let you down.  It's been tough lately.  Sometimes I wonder why I became a policeman.  Things have changed and it's just not the same.  I mean we chase punks like this Cody kid all over town and then when we catch them, they are back out on the streets in days doing the same shit again."

Cap looked at him understandingly, "I know, Dakota, but we are sworn to protect everyone.  We can't start playing judge, jury, and executioner.  We promise to deliver the accused safely to court.  Then, it's out of our hands.  It becomes someone else's job."

"But what's the point, Cap?  How many times have we arrested that kid this year?  And look what he did to me?  He stole my badge. Who would of thought he would do that.    Who knows when I go to slap the cuffs on him someday if he doesn't sink a couple of bullets in me?  These guys are so cranked up, it's hard telling what they will do.  We spend so much time chasing the same guys.  I mean we really aren't policemen.  We aren't the law.  We spend the time putting out fires.  We are firemen.  We send five cars into a situation and then no one goes to jail, if they do; they are back out on the streets in days if not hours."

Captain Brunty put his hands on the cop's shoulders as to show support. 

Dakota continued almost in tears, "We know who is doing what in this town.  We know who is supplying the poison and who is taking it.  But we are powerless to do much about it."

Captain Brunty, "I understand everything you say and I agree.  We have the toughest of tough jobs.  The odds are against us.  But, you are a damn good cop, Dakota.  Don't ever forget that.  More importantly, you are a damn good man.  I am very proud of you.  Don't get suckered into the thinking that allows you to take the easy way out.  We need good men like you to make sure there is justice...even for the criminals.  We don't get to decide who get's justice...we just make sure everyone has the right to justice."

Dakota said, "Thanks, Captain.  I'll be okay.  I really think I am doing what I was born to do.  It just gets frustrating.  It's a matter of respect sometimes."

Captain Brunty said, "If it makes you feel better, all cops feel this way one way or another.  But, we can never become the bad guys.  I trust that you will look inside yourself and make sure nothing like this happens again.  The good guys need you, Dakota Cook."

 

                       CHAPTER 2


Cesspool...is the word Mike Kitchen would use to best describe what his West Huntington neighborhood had become.  He grew up on these streets.  He played stick ball on these streets and passed a baseball and a football in these front yards.  Those days seemed like a lifetime ago to the big burly construction worker.

Now, Jefferson and Madison Avenues were littered with dirty needles, dirty drug addicts, and dirty prostitutes.  On a cool morning the past spring, Mike swept a handful of used needles from a school bus stop.

Mike had been aggravated for quite sometime over what was happening in the neighborhood where he grew uup but when a pervert tried to pick up his 14 year-old daughter; he reached the boiling point.  If the 6 foot 5 320 pound ex-college football player could have gotten his hands on the bastard, then ol' Mike would be sitting in Moundsville wearing orange the rest of his life.  Mike actually went beyond the boiling point that day.

Soon after that day, Mike's baby blue 2015 Dodge truck became his office for his new unpaid part-time job: head of The West Side Neighborhood Crime Patrol.

The WSNCP was a little group made up of three families that were tired of the prostitutes and the johns that they attracted to the neighborhood orhood.  The families patrolled the west side of town and notified the police of any criminal activity.  They would write down license plates of cars that frequently picked up prostitutes and give the list to police.

They would also take pictures of the girls and the cars and post them on the group's Facebook page.  

Tonight. Mike was patrolling his neighborhood.  It was after 11 and he was tired and ready to go home and sleep for a long day in the sun at work tomorrow.  He noticed a prostitute he knew well that went by the name Ashley Ash.  She was a slender dirty blonde about 5 foot 7 whose face looked caved in due to poor dental work.  Mike attributed the missing teeth to meth rotting away her teeth.

She had an ugly beige tank top and faded, tight blue jean shorts.  She was talking to an older gray-haired man in a silver Chevy S-10.

The girl got into the truck and Mike followed them.  They drove to an old abandoned parking lot.  Mike watched a few minutes from a distance until his blood reached the boiling point.  He whipped into the parking lot causing gravel to fly.  He pulled along side of the other truck.  

The girl had taken off her top and had her head face down in the man's lap.  Mike did not want to see what she was doing so he looked directly in the man's eyes.  He recognized the man.

Mike stared the man down and said, "Aren't you Frankie Porter?"

The man shoved the girl's head off of his lap and fumbled with zipper on his pants but said nothing.

Mike said, "Yes, you are Frankie Porter.  You are Frankie Porter the City Councilman from our district.  How can we clean up our streets when the Councilman who represents us is out buying whores?"

"I dont have to answer to you," the man protested and started his truck and took off out of the parking lot.  Mike's first inclination was to follow the man but he just sat in his truck disgusted that his Councilman is part of the problem.

Mike Kitchen was truly disgusted and he felt helpless.  His neighborhood was falling down all around him.  All he can do was watch it fall.

Mike was heading down West Washington, when his eyes pipes out of his head and his jaw dropped.  Running down the street was two hookers shrieking at the top of their lungs.  One was slightly heavy and was crammed into  a green tank top and shorts like ten pounds of poo in a five pound bag.  Her breasts was flopping up and down so fast and hard, Mike was amazed they didn't hit her in the chin and knock her out.

The skinny girl behind her was half screaming and half laughing.  She kept looking over her shoulder behind them.

Chasing them down the street was an elderly man who was moving pretty fast for a man who looked close to seventy.  He had a long silver Rip Van Winkle-like beard.  The beard was eccentric looking but what stood out most about the man is that he was completely naked.  He was grabbing his penis and shaking it while yelling "I got what ya need, I got what ya need" at the women.

Mike quickly dialed 911.

Dakota Cook choked on his coffee as he heard dispatch say "an elderly man is running down Monroe Avenue shaking his stuff chasing two prostitutes and yelling "I got what ya need, I got what ya need."

Dakota had just started his shift and after the day he had, he really needed a laugh like this.  He was not far away so he radioed back that he would take the call.

When he arrived on the scene, the girls were nowhere in sight.  There was a naked man sitting square in the sidewalk breathing hard.

Dakota got out of the car and shined his flashlight on the man.  "Sir, how are you tonight?"

The man looked up and said, "Well, good, there's finally a policeman when I need one."

Dakota tried to hold back a chuckle as he asked, "Why do you need a policeman?  Did someone steal your clothes?"

"No sir.  These two hookers wouldn't have sex with me?". 

Dakota looked and saw two other patrol cars pull up.  He looked at the man and said, "Why should they sleep with you?  Did you give them money?"

"No sir, they wouldn't take my money.  Hookers can't turn ya down if you have the money, can they?  Ain't it against the law for a hooker to turn you down if you have the money?  They're discriminating against me because I'm old.  They can't do that, can they?"

The cops looked at each other and laughed because the truth is prostitutes in the West End didn't have that shock factor anymore.  If it were Pea Ridge or Stamford Park, there would be shock. It's like the city conceded and just decided to give up the West End.  A naked man shaking his stuff at prostitutes in the West End just wasn't a surprise anymore.  It would take a team of midget strippers and a naked 500 pound lady to surprise anyone in the West End
    When one visits Camden Park, one expects to see kids.  When someone visits Ritter Park, they can expect to see walkers and runners.  When you drive by Washington Arms apartments or Coach's Inn in the West End, they will see hookers: that's just the way it is.

Cory Davis was on the scene.  The ex-Marshall football player looked like a beast next to the other cops.  The hulking cop had his head shaved and had a huge chests and broad shoulders and looked like he was bench pressing Toyotas 

Cory laughed, "There's hookers everywhere down here tonight.  Dakota, if you want to impress one of these ladies tonight, I can let you borrow my badge."

Caleb Carson, a short stock Barney Rubble look-alike, walked up and tossed a toy badge to Dakota, and said," Here ya go, man, I found your badge for you."

Dakota threw it back at him and said, "Real funny, guys, this is serious business here.  We have a 70 year-old man shaking his stuff at prostitutes, this isn't time for bad jokes."

Caleb couldn't help himself as he said, "Was he armed and dangerous and was it cocked and loaded?"

Dakota walked up to Cory and asked, "Seriously, man, what are we going to do with guy?  I mean he is obviously off of his rocker.  He can't remember who he is and there's no way he is carrying an ID.  But there is one place I haven't checked yet, Caleb.  I've got a pair of gloves if you want to give it a look see."

"Well, Dakota, maybe Cody Dingess has his ID," fired back.

Dakota was serious as he spoke, "He had to have snuck off from somewhere.  There's no way he's lived by himself anytime in the last ten years.  He's no drunk or on drugs.  He's plain wacko.  He will have to go to Bateman until we find out where's missing from or even who he is."

Dakota was talking about Mildred Mitchell Bateman which was a state mental health hospital.  Likely the man would go to either St. Mary's Or Cabell Huntington Hospital who would give him an assessment and then file a mental hygiene warrant on him and then a judge would send him to Bateman or Huntington's other mental health hospital - River Park Hospital.

Dakota went to his car and radioed headquarters.  He came out and told Caleb Carson that Captain Foster wanted him to take the man to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Caleb protested, " No way he is getting into my car without pants.  Why can't you take him?"

Dakota said, "A man came home from work and found three dead bodies.  It looks like overdoses.  I talked to two of them today.  I believe two of them are Cody Dingess's mom and sister.  We aren't sure what's  going on but there were four overdoses earlier this evening.  Might be some bad stuff out there."

Caleb said, "The addicts will call it good stuff.  If they find out who has it the sales will go through the roof.  It's probably laced with fentanyl."

Dakota said, "More than likely it is fentanyl.  It's sad.  I'm upset that Cody stole my wallet but, damn; I wouldn't wish this on anyone.  I talked to his mom and sister today.  They aren't bad people, they are caught up in a sickness they don't understand."

Dakota Cook started toward the apartment building on 6th Avenue and was thinking about his encounter with the Dingess women.  He encounters drug addicts every night and there is not much the addicts can do to hide it.  It is in there eyes, it is in the track marks on their arms, and it is even in the desperation of the way they move.  It is sad because when an officer tries to encourage them to get help the officer knows that more likely than not, the addict is thinking more about how to get more drugs than what the officer is saying.  

The greater truth is that people who have never done heroin will never understand what it takes to quit.  Even if an addict defies the odds and quits there is always a chance they will relapse.  Relapses can be deadly because the person's tolerance to the drug is low.  The same amount of the drug that got them high before could easily kill them during a relapse.

There is another sad truth for addicts.  Even though everyone encourages an addict to get help, it is hard to get help.  There are only eight detox beds in Huntington.  Prestera had to shut down their detox unit and take away sixteen detox beds because of lack of funding from the state.  Dakota could not believe with all of the headlines about the epidemic and all of the crime that detox beds would be taken away.

Dakota looked into desperate eyes like Debbie Dingess everyday but what hope could he offer?  There were wonderful places to help like Recovery Point and Life House but the waiting list was weeks if not months and Recovery Point only has four detox beds.  Addicts were dying while waiting to get help.

Detox is the first step in the rehabilitation process.  It is also the most dangerous.  The first few days of withdrawing can be harrowing if not deadly.

Dakota knew that Cody Dingess would get a year or two in prison and should be drug free when he gets out.  But without counseling. To treat the psychological reasons he uses or without the encouragement to stay off the drugs, it was likely he would resume using drugs soon after his release and this beginning the cycle all over again that will lead to his next stint in prison or his death.

Dakota knew that unless some type of rehabilitation or education about addiction was offered in jail and prison, he and other cops would be doomed to constantly be chasing the same habitual criminals.  So.ething has to be done to alter their behaviors or it all becomes a continuous cycle.



Dakota pulled into the apartment where he was earlier in the day.  The bodies were indeed Debbie Dingess and her daughter Sierra.  The other body was identified as Debbie's cousin Patty Collins.  Debbie's boyfriend came in from work and found the three bodies.  They had been dead for about three hours.  Heroin was found at the scene and was taken away to be analyzed.

Debbie was found slumped over the kitchen table with a cigarette and needle close by.  Sierra was found in bathroom slumped back against the toilet with her arm still tied off and a needle on the floor.  Patty was spread out on the living room floor.

The police were buzzing that just today there were seven overdoses with four of them dead.  The police realized that someone had probably just brought back a lethal batch of heroin laced with fentanyl from Detroit.  If this batch was not found immediately and taken off of the streets then there would be more bodies found soon.

A call came across that there was another overdose just up the road from Dakota at 9th Avenue and 14th Street.  Dakota charged down the stairs and headed for the other overdose.  A fire truck had pulled in just ahead of Dakota.  Two firemen , Frank Butcher and Ronnie McCoy had already entered the house.  Dakota was literally steps behind them. 

When Dakota entered the house he could see the overdose victim laying sprawled out in the living room floor.  He was a male in his late thirties.  A girl around 17 was crying and practically hyperventilating.  She had short brown hair with glasses.  "Please don't let my daddy die.  Please don't let him die," She was screaming.

An older woman in her early forties was standing in the hallway by the kitchen.  She, too, was visibly upset.  Frank Butcher had positioned himself down next to the man and started doing CPR to the man who was turning white.

Frank yelled to Dakota, "He has a pulse.  He is only breathing two times a minute."  The firefighter had tried unsuccessfully to wake the man up by shaking him.

The woman squealed, "Aren't you going to breathe in his mouth.  When I learned CPR , we learned to breathe in their mouth."

"We don't do that any more," Butcher said as he started doing compressions on the man's chest.

"What is his name?"  Dakota asked the woman.

"His name is Clay Owens.  He had just done a shot of heroin and stood up and walked in from the kitchen and collapsed.  The needle is still in the kitchen.  Is he going to live?"

Clay was motionless and not responding as Frank continued administrating CPR.  Dakota walked over to the girl and tried to calm her as she was hysterical.  "Miss, what is your name", Dakota asked calmly.

"Tara," the girl replied between tears.

"Tara, please come with me into the kitchen.  We have more help on the way.  We are going to do the best we can to save your father.  I need for you to try to stay calm," Dakota said.

Two paramedics came running into the room and kneeled beside the victim and the fireman.  The victim was not responding.  The woman became hysterical.  Dakota took her into another room and talked to her.  He could see the track marks on her arms and asked her, "Have you had any of what he had tonight?"

"No.  I'm not going to lie, I was going next.  When I saw what it did to him I stopped.  When he stopped breathing I called 911."

"Where's the needle?"  

"It's in a kitchen drawer.  I hid it to do it later.  I don't want it now."  She walked back into the kitchen and gave him the syringe.

"Who sold it to him?"

"I really don't know. "

"This is really important.  People are dying.  I was just at a house and saw three dead bodies.  There was four other overdoses today with one death.  This is the eighth overdose today that we know of.  Someone has a bad batch.  It is likely laced with fentanyl.  We have to find this batch and take it off of the streets before it kills more people."

"Blue.  His name is Blue.  I think he is down in Highlawn somewhere.  I'm really not sure where.  I really have never met the guy.  He came and knocked on the door.  Clay went on the porch with him.  He may have the number on his phone."  She picked the phone off of the kitchen table and looked up a couple of numbers.  She gave the numbers to Dakota and he wrote them down.

They walked back in the room.  Frank had shot the Narcan into Clay's veins and it appeared to work.  Clay was starting to calm down.  Tara came back into the room.  She was still crying but to see her father move around was slightly comforting to her.


Clay was coming to and struggling to get up.  "Why am I so cold.  What the hell is everyone doing here?"

Frank said, "What is your name and do you know what the date is?"

"My name is none of your fucking business and who told you people to come into my living room?"

Frank Butcher said, "Sir, we just saved your life.  You overdosed and if these ladies wouldn't have called, you would be on your way to the morgue right now."

Clay finally made it to his feet and said, "I didn't ask for none of you to come here and I damn sure didn't ask for you to shoot me up with that crap.  All you have done is ruined the high I paid my hard earned money for.  Thanks a lot guys for ruining my night."

One of the paramedics, Johnny Shaffer, stepped forward.  Mr. Owens, you really need to go to the hospital and be checked out."

"You really need to get the hell out of my house.  I don't care if the law is here.  You are not supposed to be in my house without a warrant."

Dakota Cook had heard enough, he raised his voice and said, "You need to quit being an asshole and help us save lives.  Whoever sold you that crap sold you some bad shit.  At least four people have died today and you were seconds away from being number five. More people will die tonight if you don't help us take this crap off of the streets."
 

Clay raised his voiced, "Either arrest me or get the hell out of my house.  You aren't doing anything but scaring my daughter."

Dakota was red hot as he said, "If the fact that you overdosed and nearly died in front of your daughter isn't enough to jolt some sense into you, then consider that right now somewhere in this town; a young girl right around your daughter's age may be getting ready to inject this poison into their veins.  You may have had the tolerance to survive this bad dope but someone else will not!"

Clay did not care, "That's not my problem   You are the one that milks the taxpayer's money, so get out of my house and go earn your money."

Dakota was boiling but not surprised.  He sees this kind of behavior quite frequently.  One would think Clay Owens would be thankful for the first responders saving his life.  It looks like he would be remorseful for shooting up drugs in front of his young daughter.  A wise man would learn from mistakes and seek help and prove to his daughter that drugs are not the answer.

Clay Owens was not about to do that.  Sadly, Dakota knows that most addicts become angry after their lives are saved because Narcan chases their buzz away.  It was more than likely that Clay would attempt to buy more drugs that night.

Dakota knew that the race was on to find the tainted dope and get it off the streets before it caused more overdoses.  He knew they were wasting time at this house.  


Disgusted with the situation, Dakota thanked the other first responders for their help and headed to the patrol car.  He radioed in all of the information he had received.  He said he believed that a dealer name Blue had the laced batch of heroin.  He had also taken a syringe of the dope from the house.  Right now, the top priority had to be finding Blue before anyone else died.


 

                    CHAPTER 3
Ryan Hardy looked at his phone and it was almost one AM.  He had a good time at Hank's Tavern catching up with some old friends but he was now fifty-years old and it was past few his bed time.  He only had three Budweiser's but he really had not been a big drinker for years.

At Six foot one and three hundred and twenty pounds, Ryan had enough weight problems without adding more calories from beer.  He had a lot to think about and Hank's was always good for a few ice cold beers, some laughs, and reminiscing about better times.

It was time to head back to reality and namely his girlfriend Angel.  He gave the owner of the bar, Beth Ann, a big hug and walked out as he put a Cincinnati Reds baseball hat over his balding head.  He saw the blue South Side Sliders vending truck sitting across the street and had to get a couple of delicious sliders before getting in his gray Equinox and heading home.

For the last year, Ryan felt like his life was not heading anywhere.  He met a younger girl Angel Meyers and she quickly moved in.

Having a twenty-six year-old pretty red head as his girlfriend made him happy for a while but as her addiction grew worse Ryan felt like she only wanted him for his money.  Ryan gobbled down his two sliders and was soon pulling in front of his apartment building 6th Avenue and Second Street.

As he approached the front door, he heard screaming and thumping.  When he went inside he could see his girlfriend Angel hurling herself against the bathroom door.  He recognized the voice screaming from inside the bathroom as his girlfriend's sister April.

"What the hell's going on?" Ryan demanded as he stopped Angel from banging against the door.

"She stole a twenty dollar bill off of me when I was sleeping and bought dope and won't give me any," Angel answered.

"I did not," April countered.  "I don't have any dope and I didn't take her twenty. She was passed out on Xanax.  She spent the money on Xanax bars."

"I did not.  I checked the phone.  You called Blue.  I know he brought you dope."

Ryan said harshly without raising his voice, "You cannot scream  and argue like this.  We will get kicked out."

"Give me the dope!" Angel screamed as she jerked out of Ryan's hold and began throwing herself against the door again.

"I do not have dope.  I'm peeing!" April yelled.

"You can't  do this.  They'll kick us out.  People have to work in the morning," Ryan said losing his patience.  "I'm tired of this crazy crap.  I'm calling the police."

Ryan dialed 911 and let the dispatcher hear the chaos that was going on inside his apartment.  He was at the crossroads in his mind when he was at Hank's tonight but could not decide which way to go.  This nonsense helped make up his mind once and for all.  He was out of here.  As Angel's addiction got worse, the crazier things got.

He let the girls hear his call to 911 on his speaker.  April came out and teamed with Angel in screaming at Ryan for calling the police.  Ryan walked outside and sat on his car.

It took almost a half hour before anyone showed up.  Marshall Mason, a K9 cop, arrived  first and Cory Davis was right behind him.

Marshall Mason was a tall slender cop with short black hair.  He looked very young and Ryan thought that he looked like he was still in high school.   

Officer Mason walked past Ryan toward the apartment.  Ryan called out and got the officer's attention.  

Ryan said, "I'm the one who called.  I called 911 back and tried to cancel the call.  They left.  Everything is okay."

Marshall Mason shined his flashlight on Ryan and sad, "okay, let me get this straight...you called the police because two girls are fighting over drugs.  So they leave and you wait outside to tell us everything is okay?"

Ryan shook his head in agreement and said, "Yes, that is about right.  The main reason I called the police is so that they would leave...and they did."

Cory Davis walked up as Marshall Mason spoke.  Marshall said, "Forgive me here for a minute but listen to yourself.  You cannot tell me that this whole story doesn't sound weird to you.  Why would you wait for me?  It sounds like you are trying to hide something?"

"It all sounds weird?" Ryan asked with a smile as Mason shook his head yes.  " I wanted them to leave and they left. I'm trying to not get the neighbors mad.  If I wake them up and they see the police here I could get kicked out, which was why I called in the first place so they would quit before they woke everyone up."

"Well, maybe you are hiding that you are on drugs or selling drugs,"  Marshall said.

Cory Davis interrupted and said, "We are here  Are you going to let us walk in and check it out?"

"Sure," Ryan said because that was really the only thing he could say.  He had not been in the apartment in over a half hour so he had no idea what the girls were doing now but he did not hear any noises.

Ryan and the two officers walked into the apartment.  Officer Mason asked, "Huntington police, anyone in here?"

The bathroom door was half opened and half pulled from the wall from Angel kicking it and throwing her shoulder against it.   Officer Mason opened the door.  The girls were in the bathroom.  Angel was sitting on the toilet and April was on the floor slumped against the wall.

An empty syringe was on the floor.  The girls were impaired but not in danger.

Marshall Mason asked, "Well, what do we have here?  Looks like someone was in the house after all."

Ryan smiled and said, "Well, I guess Angel was right.  Her sister did have some heroin.  April said she only had a twenty.  It must be strong to mess them both up like that."

Cory Davis looked at Ryan aandsaid, "There is some heroin laced with fentanyl going around.  It is lethal.  Do you know where they got this at?"

"They've been getting some off of some guy in Highlawn called Blue.  I took them down there yesterday."

The cops looked at each other.  Cory said, "Blue, that is the guy we are looking for with the bad stuff.  They are lucky they did just a small amount or they'd be dead now."

Mason looked at Ryan," I've got some good news and bad news for you.  The good news it is your friend's lucky day I'm not going to charge any of you.  The bad news is you aren't going to get much sleep tonight.  You are going to take us to Blue.  We can't afford to let Blue sell any more dope."

Cory added, "These dealers don't keep regular hours any more.  They deal all night and all morning.  It's hard telling how many more people will buy it if we wait until morning.  We've got to get that shit off of the streets tonight."

Ryan looked at them and said, "What choice do I have.  Let's go."

                                                                                                                         CHAPTER 4


Blue closed the door and fell into his comfortable easy chair.  It had been a long day.  He made the deliveries that he usually had a runner make but he made some cash today.  He knew the heroin he had was laced with fentanyl and was ultra-deadly, but he had some debts and needed to make some quick cash.

He knew some people were going to die but when the word got around this his dog food was so good it was killing people, the sales would go through the roof  Every addict would want to try the heroin that was killing people.  They may have a needle with heroin in one hand and Narcan in the other, but they would still try it.  He could probably sell t-shirts that said "survived the killer heroin of 2016" on it.

He figured that the Dingess women were dead because he had not heard from them all evening.  They would be blowing up his phone all night if they were not dead.  If they were broke, they would sell their ass to buy his good stuff.  They were aggravating and owed him money so they were expendable.
 
Blue was chilling and thinking about ordering some food when there was a loud knock on the door.  Blue liked money, but he liked food.  He had made plenty of money today so now was the time to think about food.  Was it going to be Z Brick or Jimmy John’s?
 
The knocks came again but this time louder.  “What the hell?” Blue started but as the last syllable was coming out, the door flew open.  He is not sure which of the men kicked it open but standing in his doorway were three huge African-American men.  Two of the men were standing in front and the other male was just steps behind them.  The two males up front were obviously gang members of same type.  They had black doo rags on their heads and gold chains around their necks.  Both were in the neighborhood of 6 foot 5 and 300 pounds and were packing serious muscle.  Blue knew instantly that he was not dealing with locals this time around.
 
The man in back was  wearing a tan suit and a tan hat.  He also had a pair of dark sunglasses on which immediately stuck out because it was about 12:30 AM.
 
Blue started to talk but was not sure of what to say.  These men were so unlike anything he had ever encountered in Huntington.  He thought of going for his gun but he knew these guys had to be packing as well.
 
The man in the back stepped forward as the other two spread out until he was even with the other two.  He spoke, “Mr. Blue, I presume?  Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Heavy.”
 
Blue definitely agreed with that statement as the man was about 6 foot 3 and 400 pounds.  Blue thought this guy must definitely get his suits tailored somewhere. 
 
Heavy continued, “I am your new business partner.  Well, actually, I guess this is what you would call a hostile takeover.  I don’t need business partners and your product is killing people.  So Mr. Blue, you are both hired and fired!”  He stepped forward and Blue saw the gun in his hand.  Blue reached for his but was not nearly quick enough.  Blue’s head exploded and splattered all over the wall.
 
Heavy looked at the mess of blood and then at his two sidekicks and said, “Looks like   Mr. Blue needs to hire a maid.
 
Heavy felt as a fat black man that he had an obligation to everyone to be funny.  The truth was that money was not funny to Heavy, it was business.
 
Heavy and his gang, The Road Tripz, were a gang in his native Detroit.  He specialized in drugs and prostitution.  But, Heavy’s gang was called The Road Tripz for a reason.  He did not have the fire power for constant struggles on the streets of Detroit and the value of drugs was down there so Heavy would travel to smaller towns and cities and take over the drug trade there.
 
He had long heard about “the heroin capital of the United States” and decided that he should be president of this capital.  He knew that “Moneyton” was crawling with money.  He knew the demand was here and he was going to be the supply.
 
What made Huntington so desirable to Heavy was the fact that there were no other gangs present in the city.
 
Huntington was made up of dozens of “small business” owners” (dealers) who left Detroit for the mountains of West Virginia.  Heavy was going to bring all of these dealers together.  He would hire the ones he liked, provide protection services for others, or simply fire ones he did not like the way he did Blue.
 
Heavy had been scouting the area out and knew basically what dealers were doing what on the streets of Huntington.  He was well aware that Blue had a deadly product.  Heavy knew that if his drug was killing people then he would lose customers.  He did not worry about someone having a better product because Heavy did not sweat competition.  Heavy was going to dominate all of the heroin market in Huntington and eventually West Virginia.  Huntington was now officially Heavy’s town.
 
Killing people was bad for business in other ways as well.  Huntington had enough publicity for the heroin epidemic and did not need more news stories of people dying.  Deaths would only bring more DEA agents to Huntington to shut the drug trade down.  Heavy would provide a good heroin product for the addicts of Huntington and his would be the only product available when he was done.  He did not need the bad publicity of people dying to sell his drugs.


Heavy and his associates, Hammer and Mr. P, were out in Heavy's black 2015 Camaro heading down 3rd Avenue.  The car was a tight fit for the three gangsters.

Heavy looked at Mr. P who was driving, and said, "I hate doing business in my pleasure car.  We need to get us some company cars for work.  Something big and lots of storage space in case we have to haul a body or two!"  Heavy chuckled a little and then continued, " Damn, this working is making me hungry.  I hate firing folks on an empty stomach.  Why ain't these hillbillies got any White Castles anywhere.  I need some food!"

Mr. P thought a little bit and said, "This ain't Motown, Boss
  Not much open after midnight."

Heavy sighed, "I guess we'll hold off on any more interviews until tomorrow.  I think we made an impact tonight
  They ought to thank us for getting that garbage off of the streets."

Hammer spoke up with a laugh, "Which garbage you talking about Blue or that poison he was spreading?"

"Both!" Heavy bellowed as he howled with laughter.   



Ryan Hardy got into the police car with Cory Davis.  Cory was talking to Lieutenant Eric Byrd about how to go in on Blue when reports came in of shots fired.  When dispatch announced the address, Ryan yelled out, "That's Blue's place!"

Davis hit the lights and they were on their way to Blue's.  Ryan scratched his head and said, "Do you think someone tried to rob Blue?"

"Something is going on that's sure.  Maybe someone's getting even for the killer dope", Cory answered.
 
 
Within minutes every emergency vehicle available was at the 1st Avenue house where Blue was murdered.  One of the detectives that was awakened up out of bed was Bill Aaron.

Aaron had been on the force for fifteen years and had been a detective for five.  When his phone rang in the middle of the night, he instinctively sprang to his feet.  Bill Aaron had a hard time sleeping lately and it was not just work keeping him from sleeping.

The heroin epidemic had a hold on many classes of residents.  Heroin addicts were welfare cases, sons of doctors and lawyers, and even daughters of police detectives.

Bill Aaron's daughter, Natalie, was proof that not all addicts were bad people and not all daddy's girls are angels.  She even ruins the cliché that she was running with the wrong crowd.  She ran with the good kids and the rich kids.  It is really hard to put a finger on just how she got on heroin.

While she really was not your classic strung out heroin addict that would steal Grandma's watch if she had a chance, she still was known to shoot up heroin if it was around.  To Detective Aaron there was not such of a thing as a "social heroin user".  In his mind, a person would only take the chance of killing themselves if they were addicted.  He did not see how a person could keep playing Russian Roulette unless they were sick.

There were not many people who knew about Natalie's addiction.  Bill tried to find her help but the waiting lists were long.  Natalie was a pretty twenty-six year-old blond with long slender l egs and a pearly white smile.  She was a nurse at St. Mary's Hospital.  No one would look at her and call her an addict.  In fact, she did not consider herself one.  Someone passed information on to her father that she was a frequent user.  He did not believe it until he found a syringe in her bathroom.  Then, she told him that she used maybe once or twice a week.


The crime scene was one of the worse Bill Aaron had ever seen.  Even the grizzled veteran had to pull a handkerchief out of his pocket as he threw up slightly in his mouth.  

There was blood splattered everywhere.  Bill saw pieces of eyes, teeth, and scalp.  The man was shot close range with a powerful weapon.

By 3:30, there were law enforcement officers of all types on the scene.  Drug Task Force officers, detectives, patrol officers and even state troopers were scouring the house.  This homicide was not just another Huntington drug-related shooting.  While there any doubt this was a drug-related murder, the fact that the victim was also the leading suspect in the overdoses in the past two days changed things.

Bill Aaron definitely wanted to catch whoever did this but the motive was equally important.  Bill saw Dakota Cook and wanted to pick his mind.  He knew Dakota was a good cop and knew that since Dakota was a patrol cop, he had a sense of what was going on.

Dakota had been interviewing curious neighbors who came out to see what was on.

Bill walked up to Dakota and smirked out of the side of his mouth, "Damn, Dakota, I was really craving a cup of coffee but if the night shift doesn't have a cup in their hands, then i guess there ain't none for miles."

Dakota smiled and said, "You detectives make the big bucks.  It's too far from payday for us beat cops to afford luxuries like coffee.  I'm sure if you could pry some cash out of that wallet of yours, we could find some coffee."

Bill smiled an evil smiled, "At least us detectives take our wallets inside at night."

Dakota smiled a wistful smile and said, "I guess you got me there."

Bill turned serious and asked, "What's your take Dakota?  Revenge, robbery, coincidence?"

Dakota had a puzzled look on his face, "So far no one has come forward with seeing anything.  It's kind of hard to believe in a neighborhood like this where the houses are on top of one another that no one saw anything.  The door was kicked in and two shots were fired.  It was about 1 AM.  People heard and reported the shots but said they didn't see anything."

Bill looked around, "That used to be the case, you know the whole snitches get stitches things but here lately, people have been sticking together and telling what they see.  So maybe when they think about it, they may change their mind."

Dakota shook his head in agreement, " Possibly.  Hopefully all of the heroin they found is the heroin that's been killing people which obviously they'll know if it's tainted soon.  It just doesn't look like robbery.  Just too much dope and drugs left for a robbery."

"Revenge, possibly?  Maybe someone's father or boyfriend?  Someone getting even for an overdose?"


Dakota shrugged, "You guys will figure it out.  You always do.  I've got to get back out there and protect the city."

What Dakota was really wanting was a good cup of coffee .  This night was getting to him.

Dakota got into his car and went about two blocks away to The Speedway on 3rd Avenue.  He was pouring a cup of coffee and talking to a cashier about his crazy night when he noticed out of the corner of his eye am older man watching him and acting nervous.  The man kept looking outside.

Finally, the man walked slowly to Dakota.  He appeared to be in his late sixties and was a short, chunky man with white hair.

The man said with a shaking voice, Officer, I saw you over in my neighborhood.". He pushed for a few seconds.  He looked around and then continued to talk, "I saw them.  I saw the killers."

The man froze up again.  Dakota did not want to further frighten him and was patient.  Dakota asked calmly, "Sir. May I ask your name?"

"I'd rather not say.". The man was obviously traumatized from the incident.  He continued, "They aren't from around here.
  Three huge black guys.  Bigger than football players.  Dressed differently.  Two looked like gang members and the other in a tan suit.  I don't know where they are from but they aren't from here.  I don't want no problems."

Dakota tried to act reassuring but had to ask a question.  "Did you happen to see what they were driving?"

The man paused momentarily and then continued, " A fairly new Black Camaro."


Dakota filled out a report on the comments the man made.  He saw Bill Aaron reported the comments to him.  It was all very much a mystery of who killed Blue and why.  One thing was for sure though, if it was just another typical Huntington drug shooting, the HPD would get to the bottom of it soon.  If it was anything else, it would soon be revealed.  Dakota had the feeling this was the start of something big.

When Dakota left the station to go home, the Sunday sun was already in the sky.  Saturday had been a long day.  The Huntington policeman had the feeling that many long days were headed his way.





                                          CHAPTER 5


Sunday afternoon was very peaceful in Huntington.  Heavy got his interview process started about 2 PM.  A local drug dealer, Pokey, was taking Heavy and Mr. P to meet potential associates in Heavy's new Huntington heroin franchise.

Pokey was a little black man from Detroit but had lived and sold drugs in Huntington for the better part of the last five years. Pokey had built a lot of connections in that time.  He was more than happy to be a manager in Heavy's new business.  He was a proud new member of The Road Trip.


Heavy was riding shotgun in Pokey's 2005 black and red Ford Bronco.  Heavy said with a sigh of relief, "I'm just glad to be out of that Camaro.  It has more style than this but this comfy.  Hell, we ain't cruising for chicks, we dealing for some new dealers."

Pokey was driving and turned onto 9th Avenue as he said, "We gonna meet my boy Cash.  He's a cool dude.  We go way back.  He'll do ya right."

Heavy laughed, "Cash, I love that name.  Now, who wouldn't want to do business with a cat named Cash?"

Pokey looked at Heavy, momentarily  taking his eyes off of the road, and said, "So I'm over everyone I bring in right?"

Heavy chuckled, "Pokey, my little power hungry pal  You will be a big man in my organization.  You have already given me much knowledge about this area.  You helped me structure this beast, now we just have to arm it with some good soldiers and good salespeople.  We will control most of the market for drugs in Huntington.  There is no one who has the firepower that The Road Tripz has.  Managers like you, Pokey, will play a major role in how successful we are.  We are a big company and a army rolled into one."

Pokey was happy, "Dog, you could give me Charleson."

Heavy laughed, "In due time, Bro.  Keep in mind loyalty pays off.  I'm going to be in Detroit so I need people I can trust to make me some paper.  Trust is the key word.". Pokey was getting close to Cash's house.  Heavy spoke again, "This cat is expecting us, right?  I don't want to have to huff and puff and blow the house in like I had to at Little Boy Blue's ...or is that Little Dead Boy Blue's?"


"Oh, he knows your coming.  Every homeboy from D-town knows The Road Tripz.  Hell yeah, he wants to be a member." 

The truth was Cash did know that Heavy was coming but he was not very happy.  Not only was he not interested in working for Heavy but this was absolutely the worse timing every.  He had been wanting to get with this hot blonde for a long time.  She was finally in his bed and some fat Detroit bastard was about to come to his door and try to muscle in on his business.

He had worked hard to build his heroin business and he worked hard to sleep with this blonde.  She was not some hoe or bitch wanting to trade ass for heroin.  She did like to party and do some heroin but she was classy.  She had a good job and did not have to give up pussy for dope.
 
She did not have to but she did like to do it.  She had other interests in Cash besides dope.  Plain and simple, she thought the Carmel colored dope dealer was red hot.  Many other girls did too, he was not very tall but his body was like steel.  He had a  grin and mischievous personality that set girls hearts on fire.

He was softly kissing her neck when they heard the knocks on the door.

Cash looked at her naked body and shrugged, "We'll go again in a minute, Baby, I gotta get this it's business."

Cash opened the door and Pokey walked in followed by Mr. P and Heavy in the back.  Pokey introduced Cash to them and they almost instantly started talking business.  Cash came right out front and asked Heavy about his intentions as he asked, "I've heard of The Road Tripz.  Why do you all want to come down here.  There's lots of competition.  The markets really not big enough for all of the dealers.  This ain't a big city like Detroit?"

Heavy walked toward him and said with a smile, "Well, Mr. Cash.  You can say my specialty is getting rid of the competition.  Either dealers work for me or they pay me a licensing fee to do their business."

Cash looked at him straight in the eyes, "So what you are telling me if I don't work for you, then we are going to have problems?"

Heavy sighed, "Mr. Cash, Pokey tells me you are a smart man.  I'd like to have you on my team.  I don't see any reason why we can't come to some sort of an agreement.  Now, Mr. Blue, did not understand the art of compromise and he was selling bad product.  I don't like product that kills people.  You don't get many return customers from dead people.  You kill your customer, you kill your market.  Now, you seem like a smart business man that understands stuff like that."

Cash said, "I don't work for no one.  I work for myself.  I've built my own business.  It's nothing against you.  My business is small and won't effect you."

Heavy looked at him and said, "So you want to pay the license to sell or as others may call it - protection money?" 

Cash laughed, "So what am I buying protection from...The Road Tripz?"

Heavy said, "You make it sound like I'm threatening you.  Why don't you just work for me.  You make more paper working for me and it's a lot less hassle.  You don't have to worry about getting the stuff down here and if anyone tries to muscle in on you, we protect your territory."

Cash laughed again, "I don't need protection.  No one has ever tried to muscle in on my business until you.  I just don't see why you have to be like that.  There's plenty of fish in this river."

Heavy said, "Cash, I'll pay you well.  A good dealer like you will have his own city before long.  I'm spreading out.  Once we get Huntington rolling right, I'm branching off into Southern Ohio, Charleston, Logan, Eastern Kentucky and more.  There's unlimited potential.  I'm staying in Detroit I just need good, trustworthy people to make sure the business is run right.  You are lucky.  Mr. Pokey is in on the ground floor.  He will be rich soon.  He is highly recommending you.  This is your big chance."

Cash shook his head, "It just ain't me.  I didn't come to Huntington to join a gang.  If I wanted to be in a gang I would have joined one in Motown.  I came down here to work for myself.  We can co-exist.  My piece of the pie ain't that big."

Heavy raised his voice, "It's not that easy.  I can't have word going around that anyone refused.  I'm taking Pokey's word that you are a smart man.  I'm giving you forty-eight hours to make the right decision."

Cash looked amazed, "You come in here talking like you are a business man and you are going to be fair to me...then, you tell me I have forty-eight hours.  Forty-eight hours sounds like an ultimatum.  It sounds like I've got forty-eight hours to agree with you or that's it.  Like you are going to try to take me out or something."

Heavy shook his head in disgust, "Dog, you are putting words in my mouth.  I simply mean that the offer is there for forty-eight hours.  After forty-eight hours the offer disappears and I make it to someone else.  It's that simple."


Cash shook his head and said, "Whatever.  The answer is 'no' now and will be 'no' in  forty-eight hours."

Heavy headed toward the door, "Call it whatever you want just think about it.  Talk to Mr. Pokey about the advantages our company has to offer you.  It's your golden ticket, Mr. Cash.  Don't blow it."  Heavy turned away from him and walked out of the door.  Mr. P looked him straight in the eyes and then turned away.  Pokey looked at him like he was crazy and said, "Dog, don't."  Cash started to say something and Pokey cut him off.  "Don't, Dog.  Just don't.  Please don't.  We've been friends a while, Dog.  Please...don't be a hardhead.  This dude is hard, Dog.  Don't put me and you on opposite sides.  I'll call Tuesday.  We need to sit down and talk this out."

Cash closed the door and walked back toward the bedroom.  Heavy looked at Pokey and said with a grimace, "I trust you will talk some sense into that boy.  He's got potential to be a big help to us or a big pain in the ass." 

Pokey gave him a reassuring nod.  "I got this, Big Dog.  I got this."


Cash walked into the bedroom.  He was highly aggravated and his female company had no trouble identifying that.  She had put on the blue scrubs that she had taken off.  She had worked the midnight shift at St. Mary's the night before.  She liked Cash.  She was a little hesitant to get involved with a drug dealer but then again, she was not sure where this relationship was going or if it was even a relationship.  She had bought heroin off him a few times and one thing led to another and before she even realized it, they were in bed together.  He was hot and fun and even offered a little heroin on the side. 

Natalie Aaron was not the type to think about love.  She was young, smart, and pretty with a good job.  She never ever thought she would be seeing a drug dealer but even if her father was a detective, Cash was as an attractive black man as she has seen in Huntington.  While she was certain that this was not going to lead to a wedding where her daddy the detective would give her away to a drug dealer, she was not quite ready to release this fish back in the ocean.

Normally Cash would not be sharing business details with one of his girlfriend's, but she happened to be at the right place at the right.  It was more of a matter of him not controlling his anger than an issue of him sharing aspects of his life with a girl.

Cash felt like he was going to hit a wall as he reached the boiling point in his bedroom.  "That fat son of a bitch thinks he can blow into town and take everything.  I don't care if he is from Detroit, he don't want none of me.  I didn't work so hard to give that fat fuck my business.  And I oughta kick the fuck out of Pokey for giving that bastard my name.  Pokey sold me out!"

Natalie stayed calm.  She walked over to him and started gently massaging then kissing his shoulders.  She said softly, "Don't underestimate yourself.  You'll figure out a way.  There's no way the HPD is going to let a gang move in."

Cash shook his head, "I know your dad's a cop but I don't have that kind of faith in the HPD.  He's hard.  The Road Tripz hold their own on the streets of Detroit.  If they pull all of their firepower down here there's no way anyone can stop them.  There's nothing I  really can do but stop. They killed Blue last night.  What they gave me was an ultimatum.  If I keep dealing they'll kill me next."


Natalie said softly, "If he's the one who killed that dealer last night.  He will go down.  That's my dad's case.  Don't underestimate the police around here.  Huntington is not Detroit.  He does not have anywhere to hide."

Cash sighed and looked away, "The assassins they send down here slip back into Detroit and five replace them.  Heavy can run it from Detroit.  I got things going good.  I'm not going to stop.  He'll just have to kill me.  Fuck him and the rest of Road Tripz."

Natalie was kissing his neck and whispered softly into his ear, "It's just me and you right now, Baby.  The hell with everyone right now.  It's just me and you.  Take me again.  Natalie loved seeing him angry, it turned her completely on to see his muscles flex in defiance.  She was totally ready for him at this moment.

Cash could not resist this beautiful hot blonde all over him.  His adrenalin was coursing through his veins.  He could feel the muscles rising in his arms.  He was fired up in more ways than one and although he realized that a battle loomed ahead for him, he never felt as alive as he felt right now with the thrill of danger and the company of the hottest nurse he had ever met.  Cash had no idea what the future would hold but right now he was in control.  At this moment, he still was one of the best drug dealers in Huntington and right now the prettiest girl in Huntington was leading him right back to his bed.  Fuck Heavy, life is good.   


Natalie started softly kissing his chest as she took off his shirt.  They reached the bed as Cash took charge.  He held her tightly but lightly laid her on his bed.  Now, it was his turn.  His anger and angst had now turned it to sexual energy.  Suddenly, Natalie was the only person in his world.  He kissed her neck.  He tore her scrub top back off.  He was sensitive but strong at the same time.  He was in control.  The blonde beneath him pleaded for his love.  Fuck Heavy, life is good.
 
                                                                             CHAPTER 6

Sunday night was off to a good start for The Huntington Police Department.  Three hours into the midnight shift and nothing out of the ordinary had happened.  The streets were quiet.  In fact, it was very strange but there were not any overdoses at all on Sunday.

There was a buzz going around Huntington that a Detroit gang called The Road Tripz was moving into the city and that they killed Blue for selling bad dope but the story or event did not have any effect on Huntington.

Jill London would soon liven things up in Huntington.  Jill was a hardcore tweaker.  She thought the meth she had tonight was oilier than usual.  This batch of meth contained Ecstasy.  The combination pushed the dangerously skinny, acne faced twenty-six year old addict over the edge.

As Jill sat in her living room, she noticed the shadow people coming up through the floor.  The orange haired girl stayed calm but sprang into action.  She persuaded her husband, Jeb, to go under the house with a rake and to try to keep the shadow people from coming into the house.

This was not enough for her, she ran into the breaker room and started pulling wires to keep the shadow people from getting power.

Somehow, this led Jill to run up and down the street completely naked.  Her skinny arms were flailing in the win and her tiny breasts we were bobbing up and down.  She was shrieking and speaking in tongues.

A few phone calls from neighbors later and the Huntington Police Department's easy night was over.

Dakota Cook, Cory Davis, and K9 cop Marshall Mason were quickly at the scene.  They searched with a spotlight until they saw a sight they had never seen and never will see again.  A completely naked woman covered in mud was heading their way.

The woman was moving faster than they realized and the next thing Dakota knew was that his nose was throbbing with pain and blood was splattered everywhere.  Dakota let out a girly scream that Cory would tell stories about for quite some time.  The woman spun around and came for Dakota again.  As she went to slap him, Cory grabbed one shoulder and Marshall grabbed the other.  They flipped her on her back and the three cops had the addict in a hold.  

The drugs gave the girl super strength and she would not quit fighting.  Marshall was finally able to mace her in the face.  This got her scratching wildly at her eyes and bought enough time to get the wild woman into the back of Cory's police car.  The woman kicked the windows all the way to the police station.


After the attack of The Mad Meth Woman was over, Sunday night/ Monday morning returned to being a peaceful evening.  The cops were outside of the police station enjoying the Summer  night/ morning.

Cory patted Dakota on the back and said with a smile, "There you have it, Buddy, your first on the job injury.  A busted nose from The Mad Meth Woman.  You need to save your blood soaked handkerchief as a souvenir."

Marshall cracked, "Look on the bright side, if that is the worse injury you ever get out here; then you are doing great."

Dakota looked serious and said, "You guys are joking around but that hurt
  I think I'm scarred for life.  I'm going to have nightmares of being attacked by a flock of mad meth women."

Cory joked, "Welcome to National Geographic Magazine Weekly.  On this episode, we travel to the jungles of Huntington, West Virginia to examine a new species that scientists are calling The Mad Meth Monsters.  These beasts are part human and part tiger.  They have long sharp teeth and a mean right hook.  They are as quick as a cheetah."

Dakota laughed but then turned serious again and said, " You joke but she was like a female The Flash.  I swear she was like ten yards from me then suddenly I felt my nose splatter.  I felt the punch when it seemed like she was yards away.  Then, when I looked up she was past me."

Marshall Mason laughed, "That stuff gives them super human speed.  I was worried for a minute that we didn't have enough backup."

Cory look amazed as he said, "Those sounds she was making were unnatural.  I have never heard a human make such noises."

Marshall look at Cory and quipped, "Are we sure that was a human?"

Dakota turned serious again and asked, "So what is up with this gang situation? I hadn't heard anything on the street but the lieutenant said we will probably have a debriefing tomorrow. The mayor and the chief are hosting a meeting of the minds and then they will pass on the intel to us.  The DEA will probably be down here, too."

Cory added, "I heard Aaron talked to some chic who is banging a drug dealer who talked to Blue's killer who is a gang member who said The Road Tripz are going to take over Huntington."

Dakota laughed, "I think I need a road trip after all of this crap.  Is Aaron doing actual police work or is he monitoring Facebook?  That he said she said stuff sounds like hearsay from a couple of thirteen year old girls."

Marshall started to get into his car and said, "I guess we will find out tonight."




It was bright and early Monday morning, Mayor David Miller walked up the steps of Huntington City Hall in a very precise manner aware of every move like he was being filmed.  Mayor Miller did nothing by accident or off of the cuff.  Being mayor to him was an exact science.  His huge, broad shoulders that once blocked pass rushers for Marshall University were arched back and positioned to display his confidence.  His gray hair never fell out of place.  Each hair was exactly where it was supposed to be.  His smile was pearly white and he flashed in pictures every chance he got.  Mayor Miller's best friend was a camera.

He took the job of Mayor of Huntington very seriously.  He was not prepared for the drug epidemic that hit Huntington but his great leadership and feistiness defined his career.  When he became Mayor David, he was anticipating financial heroics for which he was prepared for by a career in the financial industry.  He was ready to repair Huntington's deteriorating infrastructure and bring new jobs to help his hometown thrive into the future.  He was not prepared to worry about his citizens being killed by poisonous drugs brought in by out of town drug dealers from a huge city hundreds of miles away.  He was not prepared for residents to complain about their homes being broken into.  He was not prepared to lay in bed at night and worry if any of his residents were being gunned down in the streets.    

He cared.  He felt helpless at times.  The drug epidemic and watching people dying took years off of his life.  When he shed a tear for an addict who died, it was real tears it was not an act.

He knew when he ran for office that Huntington had a dirty little secret but he was not aware of how big the problem was or how fast it was growing.  The truth is drugs had been coming down from Detroit since the early nineties.  Crack cocaine was blitzing Fairfield, a mainly black district in Huntington  before the end of the century.

In the new millennium, Oxycontin exploded in Eastern Kentucky and that area became known as "the painkiller capital of the world".  The painkiller also known as "Hillbilly Heroin" and it spread into Huntington as pill mills popped up all over Southern Ohio and Eastern Kentucky.

As crack and pills arrived on the streets of Huntington, jail guards noticed that more and more prisoners had M-u-n-n-i-n-g-t-o-n tattooed on the knuckles of their hands.

Huntington became known as "Moneyton".  Police noticed most violent drug related crimes and shootings involved drug dealers from Detroit.

Around 2009, local dealers were sponsoring runs to pill mills as the Oxycontin pipeline ran down into Florida.  Huntington residents were addicted to painkillers but it was a dirty little secret.

As the state cracked down on the pill mills and pharmacies filling prescriptions for painkillers, the demand for heroin was born and quickly met by Detroit drug dealers.

Even as heroin moved in and had a hold on the city, people still tried to deny it and hide the secret.

Many Huntington Police officers were saying that an epidemic would happen.  They were saying this as early as the late nineties, because they saw that the department and politicians largely were ignoring the problem hoping it would go away.

When David Miller ran for mayor in 2012, his opponent Ken Woods, the incumbent bragged about how safe the city was.  Woods claimed that crime was the lowest in decades and for the first time since the eighties, it was safe to walk down the streets of Huntington at night.

All the time Woods was spreading this silliness, drug dealers were digging in deeper and deeper.  In an ironic chain of events that happened on Election Day 2012 when Miller won in a landslide over Woods, two drug dealers from Detroit were robbed and murdered in Huntington.

Miller tried to duck the issue when he got inaugurated into office in January of 2013, but the shootings increased and the problem would not go away.  Robberies and petty crimes increased.  Residents were starting to complain about suspicious people in their neighborhoods.  More reports of drug houses and drug activity were coming in.

Finally, in at the end of Summer 2013, Miller came out fighting.  He added more police.  He made fighting drugs a top priority.  In doing so, he empowered the religious  community and neighborhoods by encouraging them to get involved and stick together.  He made several speeches visited rehabs and neighborhood meetings.  He provided the leadership that got residents involved in reporting drug activity in their neighborhoods.  The activity was no longer isolated to the black community like it was in the nineties, the activity and violence has migrated to virtually every neighborhood in Huntington.

Information and tips came pouring in and the area jails kept filling up.  The overdoses continued despite the fight and reached epidemic levels with almost 1,000 reported overdoses and 76 deaths in 2015.  This year the overdoses were happening everyday although the use of Narcan by first responders had helped lower the death rate.

Some dangerous events had taken place over the week and as the laced heroin and movement into the area by a  Detroit gang was taking placed, Mayor David Miller was praying for God's help for a solution.

The Monday morning meeting took place in the mayor's office and included Police Chief Jim Riggs, Mike Adams -The Head Of Huntington's Mayor Office of Drug Control Policy (a new agency started by Mayor Miller), several detectives and officers including Bill Aaron, and members of The Drug Task Force and DEA.  When the dust cleared from the meeting, Mayor David Miller emerged from "the war room" and went to The City Council Chambers for a press conference at noon.


This was a different Mayor David then Huntington or anyone was used to seeing.  This Mayor David was ready to fight.  The big 6 foot 5 mayor positioned himself at the podium using the body language that spoke louder than words.  His arms flexed through his suit as he talked.  The Mayor David smile that beamed daily through dozens of photographs was gone and replaced by a serious scowl.  The hair was still perfectly in place but the whole demeanor had changed.  Mayor David Miller had had enough.  Mayor David Miller and The City of Huntington was ready to fight.

Mayor David looked at the crowd that had gathered and spoke with a harsher more serious tone than ever before in his life.  He said, "Citizens of Huntington, we are all familiar with the drug epidemic that has grasped this area the last few years.  There has not been a family that has not been affected by this epidemic.  We have all lost loved ones to this tragic wave of drugs and crime.  No family has gone untouched.

Sadly, though we have fought this battle for over two years, events happened over the weekend that took the tragedy to a new level.  Heroin laced with fentanyl moved through the area and death followed with it.  In addition, we received intel from Detroit and information from our area through various sources that a gang from Detroit that calls themselves The Road Tripz were moving into our area.  Several members were spotted and the gang is being blamed for a murder over the weekend.  The intent of this gang is to move into the area and unite drug dealers through violence to continue to bring drugs into our community and to prey upon our citizens.

The Huntington Police Department along with several other agencies will not tolerate this.  We are standing together and we will fight this gang.  We need the residents of Huntington to come forward and help us.  Please help us fight this unwanted gang presence by contacting us with any information on the murder of Douglas "Blue" Parsons that happened Saturday night or on any drug activity or movement by this gang.  We must fight this gang before they plant roots in our community.

There will be an increase of Huntington Police Department officers and officers from other agencies in our area.  The old adage of "snitches get stitches" is being replaced by "drug toughs get cuffs" as we encourage neighborhoods to stand together and boldly resist any influence by out of town gangs and drug dealers.

We have fought this drug epidemic long enough and now we are ready for the final phase.  Together, we will win the  war against drugs in our town.  We are going to stop the supply now.

In addition, we have talked to several agencies who fight addiction by treating the sick and addicted.  This drug epidemic has become a public health issue.  We are in the process of constructing and opening emergency treatment centers to treat the addicted.  This will help fight the demand side of the drug epidemic."


The mayor spoke further on helping the addicted citizens of Huntington.  The speech was carried on all local television channels and radio stations.  Mayor David Miller was igniting the Huntington residents with the fire to fight the effort of The Road Tripz to increase the drug trade in the area.

The speech had immediate results as the scared man who talked to Dakota Cook after Blue got shot, came forward and gave his name and a complete description of the car used in the shooting and a complete description of the men involved.


Heavy and his gang had Heather French, a 22 year old Huntington girl rent a house in her name out on 775 outside of Proctorville, Ohio.  It was a large two story house located out in the country away from any neighbors.  This was the perfect place for Heavy to be close enough to Huntington to conduct business but still be hard for the police to find.

Heavy quietly watched Mayor Miller's press conference and speech then erupted in laughter.  Heavy boomed, "So Mayor Hair Spray is going to stop ol' Heavy?  He's going to get a few hairs out of place and still not touch Heavy.  It's election year and he's gotta give a good show or else no re-election and no more free hair spray!"

Mr. P laughed at every word Heavy said.  He just shook his head and moaned, "I guess these elected fools have to do something to fool the people.  There's five hundred dealers in Huntington he can't stop, but he's going to get ol' Heavy."


Heavy was enjoying this and cackled, "First off, he is going to put more police out there...all that is going to do is increase coffee and doughnut sales in Huntington."

Hammer joined in, "Not really, because, the cops get all of their coffee and doughnuts free all over town.  It's just gonna make a doughnut shortage."

Heavy continued, "Then, he is going to monitor the bus station for shipments.  Sorry, Hair Spray, Heavy don't use Greyhound.  Then, he is going to work with cops in small towns out of Columbus and make it hard to bring anything down from Detroit by vehicle.  Okay, boys, take notes; because this is how we handle this."  Heavy motioned for Hammer and Mr. P to get a pen and paper.

Heavy was on a roll and was ready to plan strategy.  Mr. P had a notebook and pen and motioned for Heavy to continue.  Heavy took a drink of Sprite and continued, "Okay, for the first few shipments, we are going to use decoys.  We are going to get some cars up in Detroit with Michigan tags and the most gangsta looking dudes you can find.  Dark shades, baseball hats, braided hair...the whole nine yards.  Just make sure they do not have any warrants and that the cars are properly registered.  We are going to run them down Ohio 23.  Straight outta Columbus down through Waverly, Portsmouth, and into this area.  Music pumping, bass a thumping...as loud as it goes.  Now, while these dudes are coming, we get some innocent lil' white hoes with properly registered Ohio tags.  Nice cars, real clean...Have these girls stick as much heroin in balloons up their pussies..  We send them down the back way through Gallipollis.  No speeding and make sure they have their seat belts on."

Mr. P laughed, "Yeah, I can see police dogs sniffing their crotches.  That'd be a big story.  Pervert police dogs sexually office young female drivers."

Heavy was too deep in thought to hear what Mr. P said as Heavy began speaking again, "We continue building our organization but no one is to know about this place.  Got it?  No business here...this is our hideout not our warehouse."

Hammer spoke up loudly to break Heavy's train of thought, "We have two stash houses in Chesapeake, Ohio to keep the dope and three men in each house to monitor what is going on."

Heavy smiled and shook his head and then continued to talk, "Cool.  They already want to talk to me about Blue's murder so they cannot have access to me.  No one talks to me face to face.  Understand?  All communication goes up the chain."

The two gangsters shook their heads in agreement as Heavy handed them a picture of the chain of command.  Heavy continued, "This is how communication travels down here.  Only you two as my top assistants should have direct contact with me.  But, because you guys are wanted for murder as well, you are limited.  K-Dog and Ghost will be directly under you two.  They will be who handles the money and the big deals.  We have a load of dealers under them who make the transactions and bring the money and get the product Ghost and K-Dog.  Each dealer can hire their own runners or whatever.  They run it as a business but they have to give us the money and buy the product from us.  Like Wal-Mart, we bulk buy and get it cheaper."

Mr. P took the opportunity to speak as Heavy caught his breath and grabbed another drink of Sprite.  "We have most of the dealers signed up.  Some are running scared and headed up to Detroit or somewhere else.  A few, we haven't served notice to but Pokey is heading that operation up to get everyone in compliance.  It's going to take a few days but Pokey is in charge of compliance."

Heavy started speaking again, "The ones that don't join our organization will pay a protection fee or we beat the living crap out of them and chase them out.  We have Mr. Blue to use as our shining example as to what happens to people who do not comply.  Quite frankly, I think we need another example.  What do you think , Mr. P?"

Mr. P thought for a moment and spoke, "It wouldn't hurt.  Most these Detroit guys are hard heads and resent our organizing them although it makes them more money in the long run.  So for any of these guys who think they dodge us and still do business in Huntington, I think it would be smart to provide another example for them."

Heavy boomed, "Just what I was thinking.  I think that Cash bastard would be a good example.  I don't really like that boy.  I could see defiance in his eyes.  Once, he gets time to think about it and he does not have us in his face, he is going to do things his own way.  He worries me.  Tell Pokey, I want an answer if he is going to join us within twenty-four hours, if not; tell Pokey that he has the firepower to handle the situation.  Pokey wants to be a big man so here is his opportunity.  He needs to understand I am watching this and how he handles Cash will basically determine Pokey's future.  If he joins us than that makes Pokey look like a good salesman and human resource director.  If he turns us down, we will see how Pokey handles trouble."

Mr. P laughed, "I'm not sure Pokey can handle Cash.  Pokey is just a little boy trying to play king.  Cash has got some fire in him."

Heavy got up and stretched.  "I am going to go up to Detroit for a few days.  I have some business to take care of up there and I want to keep a low profile.  We have a lot to do to establish a presence down here and that PR work makes it hard because we have to be seen by the right people and not seen by the others.  We have to accept some dealers will get busted at first with the crackdown so we have to be careful who knows what.  You guys are running this Huntington operation so be very careful.  If something happens to you guys then all of Road Tripz is at risk.  I'm leaving out of here after dark tonight and travelling alone.  Keep the Camera hidden.  Have some white chicks rent us some cars if you need them." 

Heavy had confidence in Mr. P and Hammer.  He had known these guys since they were kids.  They fought together in many gang fights and were members of two other gangs before forming Road Tripz.  Road Tripz central purpose was to be a Detroit based gang who expanded into small towns and sent their money back to Heavy in Detroit.  The gang was basically a corporation headed up by Heavy.  Heavy received money from several small towns from Michigan on down to West Virginia.  Huntington worried Heavy because it was bigger than the usual towns he dominated.  Huntington was full of money andhe would be a fool not to strike.  He had been watching Huntington for years and realized he should have taken advantage of the opportunity years ago.  He was done stalling, now was the time to make this happen.


The biggest thing that Heavy did not like about the Huntington situation was that he had gotten his hands dirty far too early.  The fentayl laced heroin made it imperative that Blue was erased early in the game.  By participating in the killing himself, Heavy has made it so if he shows his head in Huntington, he will be arrested for murder.  The mistake was a major fuck-up.  It should have been handled by a quiet assassin who would have killed Blue and then quietly disappeared back into Detroit and never be in West Virginia again. 
 
The mistake has cost Heavy his ability to be seen and intimidate people in Huntington.  In Detroit, Heavy was an intimidator.  No one wanted to see Heavy at their door.  Heavy was also sure that since Huntington has put out an arrest warrant for murder on him, that Detroit police would be looking for him as well.

 
Heavy knew in advance that taking over a city the size of Huntington meant there would be a huge need for improvising and the changing of plans.  A takeover of this size was not going to be completely smooth.  He had some good people that he could count on and trust and that made the changing of plans much easier.

Heavy also hated the fact that his mistake meant he could not have plenty of girls at his house.  Huntington was full of cute young girls who would love an opportunity to party with a big city drug kingpin like Heavy.  The girls could not be trusted and Heavy would not take the risk of the girls partying with him and then selling out his whereabouts to the police.  At least in Detroit he had some girls he trusted.  He would have to bring them down with his on his next trip.  One of the perks of being a big-time drug dealer was the women, if there were not any women available as the prize it kind of defeated part of the purpose.  If there were not going to be any girls, then there had better be lots and lots of money available as the prize.  Huntington had lots and lots of money available as the prize, that’s the main reason Heavy was spreading his corporation into Huntington.


                                                                               

 
   
                        CHAPTER 7
 
Maybe it was the stress of The Road Tripz moving in on his territory, but Cash felt a strange attraction to his new acquaintance Natalie Aaron.  
 
Cash was not the kind of man to fall in love, and if he did he would not typically fall in love with one of his heroin addicted customers, but he could not help but to think of Natalie.
 
Even with the pressure of an impending attack, Cash was thinking more about Natalie than Heavy.  She was not the type of girl he was used to being around she certainly was not the typical drug addict.  She was insanely beautiful with a smile that haunted Cash since he met her.  She was very smart and could provide information on anything he needed to know.  She could shut up when she had to which was a quality that Cash looked for in a woman.  He was tired of the young girls in Huntington who just never knew went to shut the hell up.
 
Natalie had beauty, brains, a sense of humor and a touch of class.  A touch of class was certainly something that you did not see in every drug addict.  Perhaps most importantly, Natalie not only had a job but a good career.  Cash thought the reason why he never met a woman that he could ever think about settling down with was because he never met a woman with a career.  
 
If those whole drug dealing gig would go bad then perhaps he and Natalie could escape to another town where she could resume her career and support them until he found a good job.  
 
At some time the drug dealing business would get old and Natalie could take care of them until he found a job in Huntington outside of the drug dealing business.  He could find something legal and perhaps they could have a family.  
 
Cash knew he was getting way ahead of himself, but he was getting tired of looking over his shoulders.  It was getting time for a new life.  Who better to start a new life with than a beautiful, funny, smart and classy blond with a career.

Pokey had tried to call him but Cash did not feel like talking.  It was Monday afternoon.  Cash was feeling like it was time for a change.  He had some heroin and although he was taking the day off and not answering any calls, he was planning on selling what he had on hand.  After this batch was gone, he was not sure what he was going to do.  He knew that he would not work for Heavy.  All the signs were looking like it was time for Cash to go legitimate and find a real job. 

He was not afraid to admit to himself that his feelings for Natalie may be as responsible for this change as Heavy's takeover.  She was a strong positive influence on him.  She changed the way he looked at things.  She made him believe in himself.  He was confident but in a different way.  He was cocky when it came to his street cred.  He knew he could handle himself physically and on the streets.  He knew he was smart enough to swim with the sharks and do his share of eating. 

He lacked the confidence when it came to thinking about going straight and surviving in the business world.  Natalie made him believe that he could go learn and adapt.  She made him believe he could make the transition from success in running and selling drugs to success in the real business world.  She tried to convince him that he had the charm and brains to compete in business.  She was not pushy.  She just had a way about her that was calming. 

He had been wanting to do something special for her for a while.  He knew he got a little upset yesterday and she was understanding and calmed him down.  He wanted to do something special for her to show his appreciation.  He was new to actual dating.  He did not know how to express himself in a relationship because he had never been there before.

He had many girls chasing after him and he had slept with many.  He naturally attracted girls with his good, rough looks and cockiness.  He was street hard and everything about his attitude from the way he dressed to the way he talked to the way he walked, displayed this.  Girls were drawn to this show of confidence.  There were also girls who were drawn to the lure of heroin for sex.  Cash never had a shortage of women trailing him.

His feelings for Natalie were different and he did not totally understand them.  He did not want to feel like this but the more he was around her the more her sweet smile was changing him.  He was going to do something he had not done since high school, he was going to take her out for dinner and a movie.


There was a knock on the door and Cash spun around and checked his hair one more time before opening it.  Instead of encountering Natalie, he was disappointed and somewhat aggravated to find Pokey at his door.

"What up, Dog?" Pokey acted happy to see Cash, but Cash was not feeling it.  Cash turned away and Pokey nudged the door opened and entered the house.

Cash turned and looked at Pokey, then said, "Not today, Man.  I'm not in the mood."

Pokey countered, "What do you mean, Bro?  It's simple.  There's nothing to think about."

Cash walked in and sat down on his sofa.  He took a drink of Fruit Punch Gatorade and said, "I'm not joining The Road Tripz.  I don't do gangs."

Pokey said with a smile, "Don't think of it as joing a gang, think of it as a business venture.  You are consolidating with a bigger company for the advantages and security it provides."

Cash shook his head negatively and said, "I'm not feeling it.  I'm just going to unload the product I have and get out."

Pokey had a frustrated look on his face, "Dog, what are you gonna do?  You are a natural at dealing.  It's in your blood.  You can't change and go legit and you can't deal unless you deal for Heavy.  He's gonna be the only game in town."

Cash looked Pokey in the eyes and said, "I'm getting out.  The game is old.  It's changing and I'm changing.  I don't want it anymore."

Pokey looked sternly at him, "You can't bluff Heavy.  You can't say you are out and still deal.  Dog, he's not that bad.  He has high hopes for you.  He's going to move into Ashland, Charleston, and Logan.  He's going to take on a lot of territory.  He needs good people.  He has heard about you and he wants you."

Cash looked away and took another drink of Gatorade, "I just ain't playing this shit.  I don't need anybody to help my business and I've worked too hard to give any of away.  I'm just done with it."

Pokey warned, "Listen, Dog, if you try to double cross Heavy and deal on his turf and not give him his cut, it won't be good."

Cash could not believe what he just heard and sprung up off of  the sofa and walked over to him and said, "I sold heroin ever since it hit the area.  Fuck that fat ass and fuck you for coming in my face and acting like you are my friend while you are trying to steal my business."

Pokey backed up a step as he was much smaller than Cash but he was feeling cocky thinking Heavy had his back.  He spoke up again, "I ain't done nothing but try to help you , Dog.  You're gonna regret this.  Heavy, already told me he was offering you a sweet deal because I knew you but he wasn't gonna take no shit off of you.  He said you seemed like a rude little bitch when he was here and it was up to me if I wanted you to come on board.  He said if you don't work for him you ain't selling in Huntington or West Virginia period."

Cash was tired of this conversation.  He shoved Pokey hard with both hands.  Pokey stepped forward and swung and missed.  As Pokey's right went wild, Cash stepped into him and jabbed with his left to Pokey's jaw and picked him off the ground with a right uppercut that t caught Pokey under the chin.  The smaller man literally went airborne and landed on his ass


Stunned, Pokey looked up at Cash through blurry eyes.  Cash picked him up by the neck and carried Pokey to the door.  He slung him out onto his porch.  Cash pointed at Pokey and said, "Tell Heavy I'm refusing his offer.  Thanks but no thanks!"

Pokey struggled to stand.  His was dizzy and his chin was throbbing and he was trying to yell, "You're dead you motherfucker.  You'll be sorry.  This ain't over!"

Cash walked inside and promptly loaded up his 9 millimeter Smith and Wesson.  If Heavy and his gang wanted to put Cash out of business, they were going to have to work hard to do it.



 
Natalie Aaron  was becoming more interested in Cash for a variety of reasons.  First, she found him to be insanely attractive and charming.  She was becoming very used to his heroin.  She was also interesting in giving whatever information she could to her father Bill.  

She loved her father and though she did not want to worry him about the type of sharks she was swimming with, she wanted to give him information from inside the local drug scene and particularly the murder case he was working on.




                    CHAPTER. 8

Cody Dingess just sat in his cell.  He was propped up against the wall as best as he could.  His back was on fire.  His head pounded and hurt relentlessly.  His legs were swollen and were black and blue from where Dakota Cooked had beaten with a police baton.

His chest hurt when he inhaled and it equally throbbed when he exhaled.  The physical pain that inflicted his body was nothing compared to the pain his tortured soul was inflicted with when he was told that his mother and sister were found dead after they overdosed on fentanyl laced heroin.

His mind immediately flashed back to better times that seemed so long ago.  

He was just a boy again running on the scorching sand chasing his little sister Sierra as the southern sun beamed down on Myrtle Beach.  They were laughing and giggling.  Their mother Patty was behind them jogging with them.

The three cautiously waded into the waves together as they held hands. There were no drugs.  There was no pain.  There was not any darkness.  The sun was bright and so was the future.

Suddenly, the three were at Ritter Park swinging on the swings.  Then suddenly there in the backseat of a old Camaro watching Batman at the old drive-in theatre on Route 60 in Huntington.

The memories of happy times kept flashing through his mind.  He could feel them.  He almost chuckled when he recalled the Barnum and Bailey clown clowning around with them at The Huntington Civic Center.

His blood boiled as he recalled his first fight defending Sierra from a little boy that was teasing her.

Now, their lifeless bodies were stiff in a cold, dark morgue.  He would never hear his sister's laugh or see his mother's smile.  His heart hurt.  He cried painful tears.

His stomach was raw.  Heroin was calling him.  His body craved what it could not have.  As his mind reminded him of what he was and what he had lost, his body reminded him of what he was now.

He was a slave to heroin. Heroin was the cruelest of masters.  It left the slave's body totally submissive and racked with pain.

The guards looked at him with anger and disgust.  He was the dog shit that was scraped from their shoe.  One guard had spit on him as he slept on the floor of his cell.  He was too sore to climb onto his bed so he spent his day in jail spread out on the floor.

The last time he was in jail, one of his last friends tried to help.  The jail did not provide any resources to help with his addiction.  He was incarcerated because was a slave to Master Heroin.  Master Heroin demanded appeasement.  The wicked master did not care if Cody had to steal or even kill to appease the master.  The master never stayed happy for long.

His friend, Charlene, helped him after he got out.  She called all of the rehabs.  There were no available beds.  Cody was ready to leave jail for rehab but there was not anyone except Charlene ready to help him escape from Master Heroin.

She worried about him when he got out.  He did not call her for days.  The slave was serving his master but Charlene could not understand.  She had to give up.  Quitting on her friend was the hardest thing she ever done but there was no one else to help.  She had to save herself.



The streets of Huntington had become a city of slaves serving Master Heroin.  Cody Dingess was not the only slave.  Every night slaves walk the streets ready to do whatever it takes to appease the master.

Detective Bill Aaron put food on the table by putting these slaves in jail and taking them off of the street.  Then, in a matter of days he would have to chase them again.  The cycle only ended when the body bag was zipped.  Master Heroin was a headless master who did not care to bury a slave.

Bill Aaron was a slave of sorts.  There were not any tracks on his arms...only on his soul.

He was proud of Natalie and loved her very much.  He had confidence in her and knew she was not like Cody Dingess.

Bill Aaron knew that Master Heroin was a heartless killer.  Bill Aaron had nightmares.  The detective would wake up in cold sweat from a nightmare of the body bag being zipped up on Natalie.

Everytime he saw a young overdose victim of an overdose like Sierra Dingess, his knees would get weak.  His stomach would turn as the corpse was jailed away.  At night in Bill Aaron's nightmare the face of the victim would become Natalie's face
  
Every late night phone call scared the hell out of him.  Natalie Aaron may not wear Master Heroin's collar but Master Heroin knew who Natalie was and he wanted her and that kept Bill Aaron up at nights.


Mayor David Miller knew that Master Heroin was preying on his town.  Mayor David has his own nightmares.  It was like the mayor could hear every body bag being zipped.  

The mayor wanted to rescue every slave.  He wanted to take off every chain and set every slave free.  

Master Heroin taunted Mayor David because the master knew the mayor was as helpless as Bill Aaron.  Both men's heart was at the master's mercy
  
Master Heroin was after Bill Aaron's daughter and he had a reign of terror in Mayor David's city.  Both men hated Master Heroin but we're powerless to stop him.


Natalie Aaron hung up her iPhone after Cash told her about his encounter with Pokey.  She stopped at Fat Patty's and got her dad a Black and Blue Burger and was dropping it off at the police station.  She was going to meet up with Cash later for their first actual date.

Natalie walked into her dad's office and with a big smile handed him the sandwich.

Bill Aaron looked up and with a half smile said,. "Natty, you didn't have to do that.  I probably won't have time to eat."

Natalie gave him a funny look as he moved papers away on his desk and started to open the sandwich.  Natalie asked, "No time to eat?"

"No time to eat," Bill confirmed as he bit into the sandwich and blue cheese oozed out the side.  He added, "But if I did, I'd sure it'd be delicious."

Bill was chomping into the sandwich as his daughter added, "well, if you do get time to eat, I'm sure you'll enjoy it."

Bill wiped his mouth and was already halfway through the sandwich but added, "I'm sure I will, if I get time.  It looks good.  Speaking of looking good, where are you going all dressed up?"

Natalie was wearing a green and white Marshall University T-shirt and a pair of white shorts.  Her hair was fixed Nicky but she had a green Marshall baseball hat on.  " Oh, Daddy, I'm not dressed up but I am going to dinner."

Bill Aaron felt a little awkward talking about his daughter's personal life.  He bit into the sandwich again and asked, "With him?"

Natalie knew exactly how her dad felt and what he was thinking, "Yes, with my friend."

They both looked away and then looked back at each other. It was like they could read each other's mind.

Natalie look around the room and then said, "Daddy, I think some bad things are getting ready to happen.  Cash is upset.  One of Heavy's boys, Pokey, came by his house to coerce him into dealing for Heavy.  Cash got into an argument and ended up beating Pokey up and literally throwing him out."

Bill looked up with a worried look, "Natalie, you know I trust your judgement, but please be careful.  There's big time stuff fixing to happen.  We have the muscle here.  The DEA is here.  The Drug Task Force is ready.  The mayor says he's ready to stop this gang before they get started."

Natalie adjusted her baseball hat and said, "Well, I admire Cash for standing up.  Some of the other dealers are heading back home to Detroit."

Bill smirked, "Yeah, we've had a few calls from dealers complaining about Heavy threatening them."

Natalie cleaned up the mess on her father's desk from the sandwich and said, "Well, I am going to talk to Cash and try to get him to leave town.  He wants to fight, though.  He is stubborn."

Bill held her hand and said, "Natty, please be careful.  Intel from Detroit says that there is a major shift of power down here.  Several known Road Tripz members are being monitored and it has been reported in Huntington.  These types of gangsters don't just talk."

Natalie Aaron was street smart, and at one time in her life, she  wanted to be a police officer.  Bill was aware that she did carry a small pistol in her purse but he knew The Road Tripz carried much more firepower.

Natalie hugged her father and then drove around the block to the library.  She pulled toward the back of the parking lot.  She looked both ways.  She pulled a syringe and some of the heroin she got off of Cash yesterday.  She injected the heroin into her arm in the library parking lot, just yards from Huntington City Hall where Mayor David was constructing the strategy to combat The Road Tripz and the drug epidemic.

After she shot up she headed to pick up Cash for their first date.  When she walked into Cash's house, she instantly lit up with a smile as Cash presented her with a red rose and a kiss.

Cash smiled a smile of his own and said, "Baby, you sure look sexy in a baseball hat.  An Ohio State hat would look better but green is your color.  Every color is your color."

She looked stunned, "Ohio State?  You're from Michigan!"

As he leaned in for another kiss, he said, "What can I say?  I spent a lot of time in Columbus."

They walked out to her car and left to go to Pullman Square.  They were talking and holding hands and were unaware they were being followed.

Alexis Rose was right behind the pair as they down 3rd Avenue.  They were totally unaware of the portly young blond in the silver 2014 Nissan Altima.

They parked at a parking garage in Pullman Square and walked to Rooster's.  Alexis Rose was close behind and followed them into the restaurant.  Alexis took pictures of Natalie at every opportunity on her iPhone.

As they examined the menu, Cash said, "I am going to sell what product I have left and get out.  I don't know where to but I have to let things blow over here.'

Natalie looked up from menu and said, "it's time to move on but you don't have to move away.  The police are going to crush the drug business here.  You need to hide.  You can stay at my apartment."

"Nat, I don't want to do anything to jeopardize you.  These Road Tripz guys are killers.  They are going to try to kill me and if you are with me, they will kill you, too."

"They don't know about me.  They will have no way of knowing where you are."

"I have to be visible to sell the stuff I have.  I'm not going to put you in danger.  I'll sell what I have in two or three days, and then hide out at your place for a few days until I figure out where to go or it blows over.  This is all straight bullshit."

Alexis Rose had emailed the pictures she took of Natalie to Pokey and Heavy.  She posted the pictures of Natalie on her Facebook page hoping someone could identify the girl in the picture.

Natalie was trying to forget the drama that had taken over their lives.  This was technically their first day.  She gazed in his eyes and with a smile that said forget the drama, she asked, "So Mr. Cash, when you were a little boy in Detroit, what did you want to be when you grew up?" She saw the gleam in his eyes and added, "Don't you dare say drug dealer."

Cash smiled, "You should have seen what the dealers drove in my neighborhood."

Natalie laughed and said with a twinkle in her eyes, "I knew you would say that."

Cash served up another smile and said, "Naw, every boy in the hood wanted to be Barry Sanders."

"The basketball player?" She asked innocently.

"Girl, what did you just say? Basketball?"

Natalie shook with laughter, "I got you this time.  Barry Sanders was a running back for The Detroit Lions.  I used to watch football every weekend with my dad.  I was a tomboy ."

"You a tomboy? Damn, girl, you look sexy in a baseball hat; but I ain't seeing you as any type of boy.  You're all woman!"

She grinned and added, "I bet you as kids I could have tackled you!"

Cash laughed, "Girl, as fine as you are, you can tackle me anytime you want to!"

Natalie purred, "I might take you up on that offer later."

Cash sighed, "Girl, you're killing me.  No wonder we don't go on dates.  I'm ready to skip dinner and go straight to desert."

Natalie gave him a sexy smile and purred, "You need to et.  Chicken is loaded with protein, you may need your strength later."

Cash laughed, "I'm gonna need my strength later? Yeah, I forgot.  You used to play football".

Natalie flashed him a serious look, "My dad and I are Steeler fans so we watched real football.  It wasn't like that Detroit stuff you watched."

Cash shook his head sideways and said, "Okay, Miss Football Playing Tomboy, what did you want to be when you were a little girl?"

Natalie gave a shy smile and confessed, "I wanted to be a cop like my daddy."

Cash looked around the restaurant and said, "We are from different worlds.  I grew up in the hood hating the cops because Everytime they came in my neighborhood, somebody's daddy or brother was going to jail.  When we go where white people were, the cops would watch every move we'd make.  You were the policeman's little princess.  I bet he warned you about us niggas."

Natalie turned serious, "My father was never like that. He did not judge people.  He always said that sometimes good people do bad things just like bad people sometimes do good things.  He said it wasn't his job to sort out the people just the actions they did.  My father raised me to be the same."

They finally received their food and as she picked at her chicken strips, she said "You probably think I m trying to rebel against a strict father.  You think my father was hard on me so I'm hanging with the black boys and shooting up heroin to spite him?"


Cash shrugged his shoulders and said, "There has to be some of that going on because how else would two people from two different worlds like us get together?"

"Bill Aaron did not hide me inside and say don't go out there because there's a black person out there.  My dad was not like that all."

"So are you saying he wouldn't rather see you with a white doctor than me?"

"My father would not dislike you because you are black.  He would probably dislike you because you sell the drugs that are destroying this city.  But, he would probably rather see me with a black man making minimum wage as opposed to a white doctor who I'm not happy with.  He just wants me to be happy."

"So why are you here with me?  Why are we starting this cop's daughter and the drug dealer drama?"

Natalie was serious and said, "Because I don't see you as a drug dealer.  You are much more than that.  You are charming, cute, witty, and have a hot ass.". Natalie laughed as she said ass and added, "Most important, you treat me like I'm someone special."

"So let's look at us from another angle," Cash challenged.  "We've done looked at from the cop's -daughter and drug dealer angle.  How about the dealer and user angle?"

"I'm not sure what you are implying.  Are you saying that I'm an addict and I like you for your drugs?  I'm not sure of your point."

Cash retreated, "Not a point.  But I do sell drugs and you do take them."

Natalie was kind of insulted, "First of all, do you think I'm an addict?"

"No, I didn't say that at all."

"I really don't use that much.  So do you think I like because of drugs?  You give me some, but I've paid for most I've gotten.  So didn't even suggest that I screw you for drugs, it's not like that at all."

"Whoa, I'm not saying you do.  I was saying that some people may that.  I mean people are looking at us now and thinking 'why is that hot blond that blonde that could be a model with that black thug that probably deals drugs?'. You know people wonder why we are together."

"I can understand why you asked about the cop's daughter and drug dealer thing, but now by just putting labels on us, you seem to be reaching for something and I don't know what or why."

Cash thought for a moment and said, "I guess because for the first time in a long time, I really like someone and I'm wondering if it's some type of game."


"I'm getting confused here...do you think I'm using you for drugs or using you to piss off my dad.  How did you get so insecure all of sudden.  So the big player is worried about getting played?  Is that what this is?  Is the great Cash worried about being some girls bitch?"

Cash protested, "Naw, it ain't nothing like that!"

"So what is it?  Is there something you are scared of?  Why are you acting so weird all of a sudden?"

"Listen, it's been forever since I thought about this type of stuff, but are we just screwing around or are we together?"

Natalie did not have a smile on her face as she asked, "So do you think I'm just screwing around?  Do you think I'm just another hoe trying to get free drugs?"

Cash took a deep breath and said, "This conversation is headed nowhere good.  Let me just say that I'd like to sell what I've got and then get out.  I want to find a legit job.  I want to be with you.  I'd like for you to quit using, when my product is gone.  I think that sounds fair, then at least it won't any more  dealer and user or even dealer and detective's daughter.  It won't even be Cash and Natalie, it will Donald Simmons and Natalie Aaron."

Natalie shook her head yes and said, "I agree.  We can get through all of this stuff together.  We both need change.  We will grow this together.  Now, let's get out of here and go to my place.  I'm ready to start   I've got to work tonight so I need to grow a little bit now."

They drove to Natalie's apartment.  They promptly made love then Natalie got ready for her midnight shift.  The beautiful nurse tried to talk her date into staying at her apartment where it was safer. The drug dealer declined saying he wanted to sell the rest of his product before Heavy's men took over the streets.

Natalie dropped Cash off at his house before driving to St. Mary's Hospital.


 
                                                                                                    CHAPTER    9

It was Monday evening, Dakota Cook was on the phone with his mother, Margie Cook.  Margie could always tell when something was bothering her son.  She could sense the stress in his voice. 

A few things in Dakota's life had stopped making sense lately and the stress of the past week and the looming drug war, had just about driven the young cop over the edge.

Dakota sighed and said, "I don't know, Mom.  It's not depression and it's not anxiety, but a little of each combined, I guess...if that's possible.".  

Margie Cook had always been able to get her son back on the right track.  She knew just how his mind worked.  She sensed he was having a spiritual dilemma.  She could tell that her son was struggling with his faith.  

Margie softened the tone of her voice and suggested, "Dakota, why don't you come to church this week?  Afterwards, we can talk to Reverend Delaney."

Dakota sighed, "That's not going to help.  Church isn't the answer to every problem."

Margie continued, "It's been awhile since you've been to church.  Ruth Baker was just asking about you and the girls yesterday.  It'd be good for you to come and see some old friends."

"Mom, I think religion is part of the problem.  I'm having issues right now.  Somethings that I was taught when I was younger, aren't making sense now."

"I think if you sat down with Reverend Delaney for awhile, he could help straighten out a few things for you."

"I'm  having trouble believing right now, Mom.  I've seen too much lately and it's changing me.  It's got me a little scared of what I'm becoming."

Margie's voice was stern as she said, "That's when God helps the most."

Dakota raised his voice, "Mom, God is the problem right now.  I've seen people get their faces blown off.  I've seen brains splattered on walls.  I've seen mothers shoot up and die as their little children watched and scream. 'Why won't mommy wake up?' Now. Tell me how does a loving God allow that?"

Margie was silent on the other end.  It hurt her that her son was in obvious spiritual pain.

Dakota was almost in tears as he continued, "What kind of God would let little children be raped and scarred for life.  What kind of God would listen as a kid says his prayers and then watch as the boy's father comes into the room and does unspeakable things to him?"

Margie's voice was shaking as she spoke, "Son, there are terrible people in this world.  This world is full of unspeakable evil.  That is why the world needs people like you.  The world needs people like you to battle evil and put the bad men away that do such evil things.  God is in you.  If you let him, he will be with you as you fight this evil."

"Mom, I watched this weekend as a body bag was zipped up on a mother and her daughter.  They were killed by heroin.  I arrested the woman's son right before that.  Where was God for that family.  That family was destroyed in hours."

"Dakota, these things aren't your fault.  They weren't destroyed in hours.  Those people were lost a long time ago when they turned away from God.  Those people destroyed their lives over a period of time.  They made a bad choice by turning away and then kept making bad choices by buying drugs.  They didn't die today, Dakota, their souls died a long time ago."

"Mom, I don't know what to believe.  Things aren't that simple.  A loving God would not let people turn away.  He would not let them be lost.  He would help them."

"Dakota, I'm sure they had their chances to be saved. I know it's wrong when little children get hurt.  But that's why God needs you.  He needs you to protect the children.  And you need God Dakota.  He gives you the inner strength to fight evil and to see the difference between good evil, because the difference isn't always that clear.  The devil tries to distract you.  The devil is trying to confuse you."

"It's not that easy anymore, Mom.  It's not that simple.  I'm losing my faith in good.  It doesn't make sense that we put all this faith in God, but yet he lets the innocent suffer, time after time.  Just like those floods in West Virginia, what did those people do to deserve what happened to them?  What was God's plan there?"

Margie shot back, "Dakota, I know you are confused.  You need someone to talk to.  I'll talk to Reverend Delaney.  You must give him a chance.  You have legitimate questions but you can let them cloud your judgement.  You need to get your mind clear and the reverend can help.  You are a good man and you are part of God's plan.  The work you have to do and the people you come in contact with is horrible but God needs you to do that."

I don't know, Mom.  I'll think about it.  I love you.  I've got to get ready for work."  Dakota hung up his phone and took a shower.

He was still thinking about his conversation with his mom a few hours later as he was in his patrol car and got his first call.  A man on Washington Avenue complained that a female guest had stolen his phone, lap top computer, and television set.  When Dakota pulled up to the house, he saw a skinny man who couldn't have weighed more than one hundred and fifty pounds.  He had a long gray beard and looked like the elf on the old Frosty Root Beer bottles.  The man was animated and was throwing his hands in the air and was obviously excited.

The man started exclaiming as Dakota walked up to him, "The whore even took my TV!  She took my damned TV!  Do you believe that shit?  The damn whore even took my TV!"

Dakota raised his hand as to calm the man and said, "Okay, Sir, please calm down a little for me so I can get to the bottom of this.  You said a whore took your TV set.  So the girl is a prostitute?"

"I don't know if she is a prostitute or not but she's a damn whore!  She took my phone and my computer but if that wasn't enough, she had to take my damn TV set!"

"Okay, I'm having a hard time following you.  You are going to have to calm dowm some.  First off, what's your name?"

The man was flustered but realized he was talking to a police officer so he tried to calm down.  Lowering his voice, he said, "Jack.  My name is Jack McComas."

"Okay.  Mr.  McComas, you said this girl was a whore.  Does that mean you paid her to have sex with you?"

"No, no.  I met her at DAV club."

"The one up by the police station on 10th?"

"Yeah.  That's the one.  Her name was Jaime.  Well, that's what she said.  I really don't recall her last name.  I had a few beers.  Well, anyway, I asked her if she wanted to hang out.  I told her I had some crack and I asked her if she smoked it.  She said she liked crack.  So we got into my car and came down here."

"Okay, Sir, first of all.  You do know crack is against the law , right?"

The man's eyes popped open when he realized what he said and he said to Dakota, "Sorry, Officer.  Yeah, maybe I should have left that part out.  But, the cat's out of the bag.  Yes, I know it's illegal.  I don't have any more.  She stole that, too?"

Cory Davis pulled up and Dakota gave him a quick grin and turned back to the man.  He looked at Jack and said, "Of course she did.  Well, Jack..." Dakota said in a voice that Cory could here as he walked toward them, "Here's a little advice.  Next time you fill out a police report, you may want to leave the crack part out."

"Good advice, Dakota." Cory agreed and looked at the man and said, "The mention of crack immediately changes the whole situation.  What's up , Dakota?"

Dakota grinned and said, "It appears a whore smoked crack with him and then took his TV set, computer, phone, and the rest of his crack.  But, I don't think he had sex with the girl so I don't know if she is a prostitute.  Jack, did you have sex with her?"

"No, it was nothing like that.  Partying.  We were partying.  She smoked crack at me at my apartment and then I fell asleep.  When I woke up, she was gone.  And my stuff was gone.  She even took my damn TV set.  How the hell am I gonna watch Duck Dynasty now?"

Dakota looked serious and said, "Well, Duck Dynasty is old now and sucks anyway.  So that part is not much of a problem.  What I am concerned about is that you indicated you drinking beer way up by my police station and you drove way down here.  How many beers did you have prior to driving?"

"About 7 or 8."

"Okay.  What about crack?  Did you have any crack prior to driving."

"No, Sir.  Do I look like an idiot?  I can handle beer but I sure ain't stupid enough to get behind the wheel of a car after smoking crack."

"All right, Sir.  How long ago did you drive down here?"

"It was earlier, about 3 or 4 hours ago."

"Okay, I can't arrest you for that but I have seen many victims of drunk drivers and I don't ever want to see you or hear of you out here driving under the influence of anything again.  Okay?  That means beer, crack, whatever.  You understand?"

Jack shook his head.  Cory Davis tried to hide his desire to laugh and walked back to his car.  Dakota looked back at Jack and said.  "So you are calling this girl a whore but as far as we know, she didn't sleep with anyone for money, right?"

"That's right.  She's a whore or she wouldn't of tooken my stuff."

"Okay, a whore is a prostitute and tooken is not a word, but we are getting off subject.  So I am assuming  that after you and her came back here, you smoked the crack.  Then, you fell asleep and when you woke up you discovered your property was gone?"

"Yes, Officer, that's when I discovered that the whore stole my TV set!"

Cory jumped out of his car, "Shot's in progress a war is breaking out.  Men down!"

Cory sped off as Dakota ran to his car.  Dakota yelled, "Jack, don't smoke any more crack.  Hit the sack and take another nap.  I'll be right back, Jack!  There's been an attack."


Pokey and three Huntington boys that he was trying to recruit for The Road Tripz was walking up to the back of the house Cash had rented.  Pokey looked at Reno, a big tall kid who was not much older than 18.  "Reno, I want you to come with me.  Duck, I want you and Chris to go around front.  I want first shot at him.  He made look stupid in front of Heavy but this is my chance to show Heavy I can handle trouble.  Give us a minute.  If something goes wrong then, he will be running out the front door and you guys pop him.  I'm going to get his punk ass, though.  I can't believe that bitch made me look like a fool."

Natalie had dropped Cash off and Cash had his dope out getting ready to try to make some calls and sell the rest of his product.  He heard a sound coming from the back door in his kitchen.  He got up to check it out.  As soon as he did, he saw Pokey kicking in the door and coming into the kitchen with his gun raised.  Cash immediately pulled out his gun and immediately fired.  Pokey fell dead onto the kitchen floor.  Reno was already behind Pokey and fired aimlessly toward Cash.  Three or four shots were fired with none of them coming close to Cash.  

Cash turned and headed back toward his living room where he grabbed his merchandise and stuck it in his pockets.  He saw another guy coming through the front door.  Duck fired but his shots were off.  Cash fired and shot Duck in the head.  Cash ran outside.  Chris jumped off the porch and ran from Cash.  Cash fired and shot him in the legs.  Chris went down in the front yard.  

Cash could here sirens in the night.  He ran into the darkness..  "What a bunch of amateurs!", Cash thought.  "Those must have been some local clowns Pokey picked up.  Surely that freak show wasn't supposed to be a professional hit?"  

Lots of things ran through Cash's mind as he ran.  He knew this was not an organized hit so he did not expect to run into anyone else that was trying to kill him.
  He knew that the entire block was about to be filled with HPD.  He knew they would be after him and they would not consider it self-defense since it was drug-related.  He would be wanted for murder because he figured at least two or three of them were dead.

He knew that eventually real assassins hired by Heavy would be looking for him, but he did not figure it would happen tonight.  He needed somewhere to hide tonight.  He thought of Natalie but there was no way he was going to bring her into this mess.  He headed toward his buddy Smack's house.  He was sure Smack would hide him out at least until the cops cleared out.  After that, he was not sure what he was going to do.  He knew he would soon have every local law enforcement agency and a gang called The Road Tripz after him.

This was  a major mess, but at least he was still alive.  
            

Heavy had passed through Columbus on his way back to Detroit when Mr. P called him.  P sounded excited for a man that never sounded excited.  "Heavy", P boomed, "There's big things going down!"

Heavy sounded surprised, "Dog, I've only been gone two hours.  What the hell's going on?"

Mr. P responded, "That little bastard Pokey went and got himself killed."

"What the hell?  I leave and shit falls apart."

Mr. P explained," I guess he was trying to show us how big of a badass he was and he got a few of his buddies together and went after Cash."

"He took his own guys?"

"Yep and Cash blew at least three of them away and another is messed up bad."

"What about that punk ass Cash, did they get him?" Heavy was getting excited.

" Nope.  He's on the run.  Police are chasing him on foot through Huntington.  Those idiots never landed a shot."

Heavy pounded the steering wheel and exclaimed, "what the hell?  Is Cash some kind of badass or were those guys idiots?"

"Shit, that boy ain't shit.  It presents a problem for us.  When word gets out, people are going to think Cash messed up Road Tripz soldiers.  They are going to think we are pussies and are going to not listen to us.  Cash will be a hero and a rebel force that the dealers will rally behind."

Heavy was disgusted, "That Cash boy is becoming a real pain in the ass.  Get some of our guys on him before the cops find him.  We have to make a statement."

Mr. P continued, "That was the bad news, I got some good news for you.  You are going to like this."

Heavy was ready for some good news, "Well, what is it, Dog?"

"I received a picture from Alexis of the gel Cash has been seeing.... and a name."

Heavy quipped, "Cool.  I got the feeling though there's something more."

"There sure is.  The little fox is Natalie Aaron!"

Heavy was disappointed , "I'm not getting it, P, is there a punchline or did you get me excited for nothing?"

Mr. P smiled a big smile and said, "She's Bill Aaron's daughter.  As in Detective Bill Aaron of the HPD.  He's the detective in charge of Blue's murder."


Heavy laughed loudly, "How convenient is that.  Get Cash's girlfriend and we get a detective's daughter at the same time.  I know you know what to do."

"I'm on my way.  In a few minutes we will have them both by the balls.  The punk and the police department will be at our command."


Mr.  P called the floor of St. Mary's where Natalie was working and told her Cash was in trouble and needed her help.  She had heard about the shooting.  A few minutes, she was racing out the front doors toward her car.

Hammer pulled the white van up next to the pretty nurse in blue scrubs.  Mr. P opened up the doors and pulled her in with the two gangstas.  


The HPD was on the scene at Cash's house.  The flashing police lights lit up the South Side of Huntington.  Three dead bodies and one wounded made the Huntington community look and seem like a battlefield.  It was a battlefield.  Another territorial firefight in the drug epidemic.  Another battle on the streets of Moneyton.

 The innocent of Huntington were not involved in the battle, but we're still were forever changed by the fact it did happen and can happen right in their own neighborhood.

Dakota Cook and Cory Davis looked at each other as they both stood together lost for words of what happened in their hometown.  Their feelings were a mix of anger, disgust, and sadness but there also was a frustration that although they put their lives on the line every time they put on their uniform, there was nothing they can do to keep the citizens of their community from being woke up by terror.

Bill Aaron was looking at the blood stains on the kitchen floor when his phone rang.  He looked at it and saw that it was Natalie.

He tried to shake the sadness from his voice as he answered the phone, "Hello Honey."

Mr. P was on the other end, "Detective Aaron, let me introduce myself.  I am P.  Folks call me Mr. P.  I met your daughter Natalie tonight in St. Mary's parking lot.  The Road Tripz want her boyfriend Cash.  We will be in touch."

After he hung up, Mr. P took a picture of Natalie tied up and sent it to Bill Aaron.


Mr. P said to Natalie, "Your boyfriend is a very popular man.  Everyone wants a piece of him.  The police, The Road Tripz...everyone wants to chill with your boyfriend."

Natalie was livid, "So you attack him and it is his fault for defending himself?"

Mr. P looked her in the eyes and said, "This is not about that little bastard Pokey and his buddies.  This is about getting everyone's attention including The HPD and your father's attention.  This is us letting everyone know we are here and we aren't leaving.  Respect us or suffer the consequences."

Natalie was not giving up, "What do you expect everyone to do...give you the keys to the city and let you do what you want to do?"

"Girl, this town has always let drugs happen.  Drug wars went on here almost ten years ago.  Gangs from Georgia, Detroit, and Columbus...which was a subsidiary of the Detroit gangs fought it out over crack cocaine and Detroit won.  The Road Tripz are merely stepping up and taking the rights to the drug trade here."

"For one, my father is not going to let a big city gang take over our city."

Mr. P laughed, "Your father and every officer that puts on an uniform in this city knows that Detroit runs the drug business.  They will soon understand that The Road Tripz run Detroit."



Bill Aaron turned white as a ghost.  His hands began to tremble.  Detective Tommy Bishop ran to his side.  "Are you okay, Buddy?  Are you having a stroke?"

Bill gasped, "My daughter.  The son of a bitches have my daughter."  Bill Aaron's worse nightmare was coming to life.  His legs began to buckle.  Tommy Bishop helped him find a chair to sit in.  Sweat was pouring down his face.  Other officers at the crime scene came rushing over.  "Give him a minute,"  Tommy Bishop pleaded.  "He needs a few minutes.  His daughter has been kidnapped.

A hush fell over the room as Tommy uttered the words 'his daughter has been kidnapped.'  With those words, The HPD had reached their boiling point.  Their anger would rise and soon boil over.  The code of The Huntington Police Department officers had always been to never mess with family.  If someone had a beef with an officer, they should take it up with that officer.  It was an unofficial code that if you messed with an officer's family, you were going to fight the whole department.



                                                                                                       CHAPTER 10


Tuesday afternoon saw two important meetings in Huntington.  There was a major meeting in the City Council Chambers with mostly the same people who attended the meeting on Monday.  Mayor David Miller, Police Chief Jim Riggs, Mike Adams, members of The Drug Task Force and the DEA, and other officers were there.  The kidnapping of Natalie Aaron was to be temporarily kept from the public and media.

The meeting was much like Monday's; part strategy and part pep talk.  The meeting concluded with another press conference from Mayor David.  He assured the public that the drug wars would be stopped.

The real meeting was across town in the basement of Rawley Jeffer's house on Piedmont Road.  Rawley Jeffers was on the Huntington Police Department in the seventies and eighties when a group of officer's called themselves The Old Centaurians.  

The Old Centaurians dealt with lawbreakers in their own way.  They did not believe in the catch and release process of today.  Today's catch and release process involves the officers chasing the same criminals around town.  They arrest them and then they either bond out or plea bargain their crimes down to virtually not any time in jail.  Without any deterrent, the habitual criminals are out on the street to repeat their crimes.  There are literally dozens of repeat offenders walking around Huntington with dozens of arrests on their records and people wonder why crime is up.  The increase of crime is not even displayed in statistics as many residents do not even bother to report petty crimes anymore.

The Old Centaurians may have taken the law in their own hands but it was effective.  Justice was usually handed out down by the flood wall in the form of exetreme physical beatings, or as Hank Williams Jr. sings, attitude adjustments.  If they got Barney stealing a law mower, they would visit Barney and get the law mower back.  Barney would also likely be missing some teeth.  It was extreme at times, but the number of repeat offenders on the streets then were very low compared to the plea bargaining practices of today.

Rawley Jeffers was now 72 years old and long retired from The HPD.  He was still a mountain of a man at 6 foot 4 and 270.  His arms may not be as ripped as they once were but they were still big and intimidating.  On his right bulging bicep was a tattoo that said "The Old Centaurians."

Legend among police officers tells the story of a raging Rawley Jeffers capturing a man who had raped a little girl.  He took the man up to the 31st Street Bridge in the east end of Huntington and slung him down into the Ohio River.

As Dakota told the story many times, "Officers were down under the bridge laughing about the man getting thrown off.  They laughed and said that at least the man could swim to shore and that was more than he deserved.  Then, the officers realized that the man was handcuffed, so they had to scramble to fish him out!"

In Rawley's basement were a number of old and current police officers.  The meeting was by invitation only.  Included was Captain Wally Brunty, Detective Bill Aaron, retired police officers and Old Centaurian members David Blank and Russell Buckalew.  Old jail guard Howie Norris was also there.  Current HPD officers Dakota Cook, Cory Davis, Marshall Mason, Caleb Emerick, and Ricky Watts were in attendance.

David Blank was pretty much forced out of the police department at an early age.  He was in his late twenties when he was involved in a shooting.  The shooting was deemed a legal shooting.  A couple of months later, he was in a car chase and slammed into another car injuring two people in that car.

A couple of weeks later, he pulled over a cousin to then Mayor Mary France.  The man proceeded to cuss out David and an officer he was training.  After taking threats and other verbal abuse, Blank blasted the man in the jaw.  David Blank took all of the heat to protect the young officer he was training.  He then negotiated to leave the force on his own terms.

Howie Norris was still friends with many of the old officers.  Howie was in charge a night that a prisoner got out of hand and had to be taken down.  The incident happened off of camera.  The correctional officers working handed him a beating which left the inmate bruised.  The inmate said he was beaten.  The officers said the man was drunk and as they brought him in and took him to incarceration he fell.  Howie Norris was not involved in the beating but he signed off as a witness that nothing happened and that he saw the guy fall.  Howie was trying to look out for the team.  Instead, he ended up taking one for the team.  One of the young guards that he was trying to protect told on him.  The guard even participated in a taped phone call in which he told Howie he was going to tell the truth.  Howie went crazy and started saying if he told the truth then the whole team would get in trouble.  Howie ended up in a work release program and out of the law enforcement field.  Years later, he was still a big guy and still believed in the team. 

These men, assembled in Rawley's basement were to become The New Centaurians.  They were going to try to rescue Natalie Aaron.  They also hoped to drive The Road Tripz out of town.


Rawley Jeffers had created a podium that overlooked three long tables in his basement.  He stood at the front of the basement and hovered over the podium.  

As the big senior citizen spoke, the room became quiet with the exception of his booming voice.  Rawley said, "Most of us in this room grew up in this city.  We remember a time when we could leave our doors unlocked or at least feel safe to walk down a city street at night.

This ain't the same Huntington I grew up in.  I drove through the West End and therewere prostitutes standing around a day care center.  I saw needles laying by a swing set in a park where children play.

Those of you still on the force chase the same criminals over and over.  Criminals have no fear.  They know even if they get caught, they won't be gone long.  Lawyersand courts all of this bullshit plea bargaining has made our city weak and vulnerable.

Now, we have a big city gang from five hundred miles away move into our town.  They want to take over.  They have more firepower than we do.  

I rode with some of you as The Old Centaurians.  We, the law, were in charge.  The criminals didn't run the city, they answered to us.  They knew better to break the law.  They knew there would be consequences for their actions.

Those of you that are in this room have been invited here for a reason.  There is a gang called The Road Tripz who want to run our city.  We must answer the challenge.  We can't do it the way the suits want us too.  We have to do it the old way.  The Old Centaurians way.  We stop them.  We are The New Centaurians.  Your city needs you.  The lawlessness must stop.


I introduce to you a friend we have all worked with.  A man the gang have chosen to mess with.  They have kidnapped his daughter.  You don't mess with our families.  They broke the code they must pay.

I introduce to you Detective Bill Aaron".

Bill Aaron took Rawley's place in front of the podium.  He stood silent for a few moments then spoke, "Friends, you all know how I feel about Natalie.  Some of you remember when she was born.  Some of you have watched her grow just like me....".  The detective was choked up and could not continue.

Wally Brunty took the podium.  With a serious look, he spoke, "I've tried to do things the new way, it just isn't working.  I remember the Old Centaurians.  The Old Centaurians wounot tolerate a gang of outsiders breaking the code.

The old guys here still have some fight in them.  The new guys are here because I have seen the fire in you.  You are the real New Centaurians.  This is your town.  I have seen the disgust in your eyes.  

We are going to bring Natalie Aaron home safely.  We will do whatever we have to do.   New Centaurians will make things right again."

Brunty stopped long enough to catch his breath and get his thoughts together.  He continued, "If anyone in this room does not, for any reason whatsoever, does not want to be a part of this group; you can leave now and I promise that no one will have any hard feelings about it."

Captain Brunty paused two minutes and then said, "Congratulations, you are all New Centaurians!  We will now try to answer any questions."

Dakota Cook raised his hand.  He asked, "We know they have better weapons than the police.  We obviously can't use our police issued guns or they will be easily traced.  So what will we use?"

Brunty answered, "Whatever you want.  But we can't provide weapons so you have to provide your own weapons."

Rawley smiled, "I'm an avid gun collector, so I may have a few things you can use."

Dakota spoke again, "With everything going on, we are all going to be working lots of overtime.  I'm not sure if we will have much spare time."

Rawley answered, "Being a Centaurian is an attitude or frame of mind.  I'm sure each of you will find an opportunity to help."


Cory Davis asked, "What is our game plan?  Do we have any information to go on?"

Brunty offered, "A lot of info we gather at work will help here.  It does seem the hot target for everyone is the dealer called Cash.  Cash is obviously wanted by HPD for the murders, which may well be self-defense, which will be up to the courts to decide."

Rawley chipped in, "This is where Centaurian thinking comes in.  If we find Cash before the HPD does, we will deal with The Road Tripz who are offering Natalie for Cash.  Obviously the HPD won't make a trade but we will."

Brunty said, "The Road Tripz are in the process of bringing product down from Detroit.  Once they get product, they will be visible.  If we can catch one while we are on duty, then we need to get a hold of fellow Centaurians instead of dispatch.  We will then arrange a special interrogation session that hopefully will get us the location of The Road Tripz headquarters."

Rawley said, "Guys, I shouldn't have to tell you this because I'm sure you know this meeting never took place.  There is no such thing as Old or New Centaurians.  Now, with that said...Let's go, Centaurians...let's go get Natalie."

Bill Aaron spoke up, "Thanks.  Please keep me personally updated with any info.  Call me anytime."

Brunty said, "There won't be any more meetings.  We will stay in touch by text.  What was that Brad Pitt movie...Fight Club?  Well, to steal a line from that movie....The first rule of being a Centaurian, is there isnt such a thing as Centaurians!"


                        CHAPTER 11

Cash was frantic.  It was five in the evening on Tuesday and he had been on the run since the shootings.  He received a text in the middle of the night from Heavy that said The Road Tripz had Natalie.

He tried to call Natalie and Heavy's number to no avail.  Cash was wanted by The Road Tripz and wanted by the authorities.  He could not go home.  He slept a couple of hours at an abandoned house on 5th Avenue and 13th Street.

He called a few of his regular customers and sold some of the heroin he had stuffed in his pockets when he was attacked.  He had to move quickly because he feared there was a hit out on him.  

He checked the news and although the news of the shootings was everywhere, there was not any news about a missing or kidnapped woman.

Desperate, he tried calling Natalie again.  

A man's voice answered, " Hello? Who is this?"

Cash answered, "I'm looking for Natalie.  Who is this?"

The voice said, "This is her father.  Who am I speaking to?"

Cash paused for a minute and then spoke, "You don't know me sir but hopefully Natty has told you a little about me.  People call me Cash."

Bill Aaron's was excited, "Everyone in this city is looking for you.  Listen, the gang has kidnapped Natalie.  I got her phone out of her car.  They grabbed her at a parking lot by St. Mary's last night."

Cash was devastated, "Is she okay?  Have you talked to her.  Damn, I don't know how they found out about her, but I'm sorry."

Bill's voice softened, "Word gets out quick in Huntington.  There are eyes everywhere.  Well, the important thing is getting her back safely.  What are your plans?"

Cash shrugged his shoulders as he spoke, "I'm torn.  I know everyone is looking for me.  It was self-defense.  Part of me wants to turn myself in and part wants to go find Natalie."

Bill Aaron said sternly, "Right now, I believe your best bet and Natalie's best bet is to stay out.  If we can rescue Natalie and you help then everyone will be more likely to believe your story.  I need your help.  I've got some guys on the force helping me find Natalie.  The kidnapping has not been publicized so we are working against time before it hits the media and then all chaos will break lose.  We need to find Natalie in the next twenty-four hours.  Do you have any ideas where Heavy is located?"

"Naw, man.  My contact was through Pokey and he is dead.  Whatever you need, just let me know."

Bill said, "You can be valuable.  If I can get you on the inside you have a better chance than the cops do.  You have to stay out of sight now.  I am meeting with the guys tomorrow.  Some of them have some firepower we can use.  I need to get you off of the streets though before someone sees you.  It's not even six yet.  Lets wait until it is dark and I'll move you to somewhere safe.  I have a house out back of Guyandotte that I used to rent out and it is empty.  You cannot be seen and I have some loose ends to take care of.  Can you stay hidden until about one in the morning and I'll pick you up at the flood wall by Harris Riverfront Park.  I'll call you around then."

Cash was not sure about this but he knew it was his best chance to get Natalie back.  After all, the man was the girl's father, Bill Aaron had to want her back more than he did.  If he wanted to set him up for the police then the detective would have talked him into giving himself up.  Actucally, turning himself in sounded like the most reasonable way to dig him out of this mess before the shit got any deeper.

The HPD were everywhere.  Overtime was being given to all of the officers.  The shootout in a residential neighborhood had the whole city shook up and scared.  As darkness fell on Huntington, the streets were empty.  Most of the cars on the streets were police cars.

Cash hid out at the abandoned house.  He was still torn about what to do.  It was not like him to sit around and let everyone else make the decision.  It was not like him to run or give up either.  Cash played the waiting game.

It was after midnight when Cash got Bill Aaron's call and waited for him by the flood wall.  Once, Cash got the call, Bill Aaron was there in five minutes.  As Cash climbed into the car, Bill said.  "I've got an extra change of clothes in the trunk.  I'm going to take you up to the house in Guyandotte.  I'm telling you, Cash, everyone is looking for you!"

Cash was only worried about one thing, "Have you heard anything about Natalie?"

"No," the detective shook his head.  "But, I do need your gun."

Cash looked at him funny, "That's my protection, man.  You can't just dump me out somewhere and leave me alone.  I've got to protect myself."

"Cash, I'm a police detective.  I cannot have a killer with a gun in my car with me.  Just give me the gun for now.  If we get stopped or anything I cannot have you armed."

Cash was reluctant but he was already committed to this plan, so he turned the gun over.  Bill Aaron looked at him and said, "I have some of my men that want to talk to you.  They are police but they are part of a group called The New Centaurians.  They are going to help us.  They have the firepower I was talking about.  That is another reason why I did not want you armed."

"I did not agree to any meetings.  This don't feel right!"

"Just trust me, Cash.  I have my reputation and my daughter's life on the line trusting you.  You can trust me.  If I wanted to arrest you, I would just drive you to the station."

Bill Aaron drove them down 5th Avenue and to under the 31st Street Bridge.  The two men got out of the car and stood.  Two minutes later, another car pulled up.  Two huge black me walked over to the cop and Cash.  Mr. P. had a big smile on his face, "Mr. Cash, it's wonderful to see you again."

Hammer looked at Cash and grinned, "Well, if it ain't the elusive Mr. Cash?"

Cash looked at them and then at Bill Aaron, "So what's up?  Are you trading me for Natalie?"

Mr. P smiled again, "Natalie has already been released.  We gave her to Mr. Aaron a few hours ago."

Bill nodded, "Natalie, is just fine."

Mr. P looked at Cash and said, "You, my friend, are a whole another story.  You are about to see what kind of huge catfish swim at the bottom of the Ohio River.  No one will shed a tear.  You are a murderer and after a while they will quit looking for you and assume that you disappeared back into Detroit."

Cash looked at Bill and asked, "If you have Natty back, why this?"

Bill Aaron snarled, "Do you think I want my baby screwing a murdering black drug dealer?  You think I want that all over town.  Do you think I want her crying at your trial over you.  I have a reputation."

Mr. P laughed, "Truth of the matter is, Cash, since you won't be around to see the ending of this drama.  Mr. Aaron and others have been on our side since the beginning.  Heavy greased several officials and officers palms quite well.  Who better to investigate Blue's murder  than someone on the payroll?  He's not going to arrest the man who is financing his retirement, is he?"

Cash looked at Bill with disgust and yelled, "I may be a drug dealer but nothing is worse than a dirty cop."

Mr. P laughed, "This is how it is done.  Nothing really changes.  Drugs were being sold down here and killing people for years.  We just come down here and pull all of the business together.  Instead of a bunch of little independent dealers like you, we have one business making the money.  The cops will still bust people to make it look like they are doing the job, but Heavy, Hammer, and I will never get arrested because if we do, big names go to prison with us."

Bill shrugged his shoulders, "The same amount of people are going to die.  Maybe less, with the dope coming from one supplier we know it is not laced with fentanyl or anything or that it isn't too pure.  With no competition, all the dope will be the same.  If a bootlegger comes in with tainted product, The Road Tripz will get them."

Cash could not believe it, "You are sworn to protect the people and you are helping put the poison on the streets."

Bill shrugged and said, "It is going to be on the streets anyway.  I'm out there putting my life on the line and working all hours of the day and a little poison selling snake like yourself is making more money than me.  Where's the justice in that."

Suddenly four more figures emerged out of the darkness.  Dakota Cook, Cory Davis, Marshall Mason, and Joe Mullins all emerged with weapons drawn.  Cash laughed and said, "Welcome to the party, guys.  Not a moment too soon."

"Don't be too happy," Bill Aaron said.  "Let me introduce you to the New Centaurians."

"Drop your guns, Bill," said Dakota Cook.

"What?  Are you serious.  You are one of us.  Cash is the murderer.  He's the one that needs to pay.  We are making sure he doesn't kill or give poison to anyone ever again."

"That will be up to a court of law, not you.  It is your job to take them to the court.  It is not your job to determine if they get punished," Dakota said.

Mr. P went for a gun and Cory shot him in the arm causing the thug to drop the gun.  The officers rushed and handcuffed the men including Cash.

"You are a New Centaurian," Bill protested to Dakota.  "You are supposed to make sure the bad guys receive justice."

Dakota looked him in the eyes, "How are you any better than them.  Just because you receive a paycheck from The HPD, does not make you any better.  You are not only allowing these scum to come in here and peddle the drugs that are killing our citizens but you are profiting from it.  I admire the idea of the Centaurians, but not if you are breaking the law."

Cash looked at Bill, "You creeped me out from the start.  I called the police myself tonight.  I told them what was going on.  These guys are here because I called them.  I'll gladly go to jail and do my time for selling drugs and if they think I murdered someone, I'll do my time for that.  But, at least, one more dirty cop is off the streets.  I'm a drug dealer, everyone knows I'm a bad guy.  But, people trust you.  Children are taught young to trust, respect, and listen to you.  Here you are, allowing big city thugs to come in and take over your town.  You, Sir, are a real piece of shit.  By the way, I am wearing a wire so you can damn be sure, you are going to jail."

Several more police cars arrived on the scene.  The fairy tale was not ready to begin and no one in Huntington was ready to live happily ever after.  The Road Tripz were not able to move in and sell their drugs but the independent drug dealers went on about their business like nothing ever happened.

Many in Huntington are sick of their friends, neighbors, and relatives dying from drugs.  The city has reached it's boiling point and is ready to do something about it.  Huntington controls it's destiny.  The HPD and the citizens are in this together.  They decide if this story has a happy ending.








 

 

Read Alligator Jackson's book "The Boiling Point" for free on this site. The book is also available as part of the book "Tales From The Huntington Drug Epidemic."  All Alligator Jackson books are sold out at the moment at local stores but are available at Amazon.  Tales from The Huntington Drug Epidemic is just 10.99 for over 400 pages and available at this link.

 


This is a description of The Boiling Point.  It is a fiction story taking place in Huntington.  This was written two years ago before the night 26 people overdosed.  There is a followup to this book with the same characters called Deadly Sorrow and is included in Tales From The Huntington Drug Epidemic.






"Dude, what do you mean your wallet got stolen?  You're a cop.  How does that happen?"  Officer Cory Davis asked incredulously over the phone.  He was pretty sure that his cop buddy was pulling another prank on him because  he trusted his co-worker with his life and could not picture the man losing his wallet or giving it up to anyone.

"I don't know, man.  I've been freaking out about this shit.  What am I going to do?"  Dakota Cook replied with frustration in his voice.  Cook normally was very cool and collected but the adrenalin was coursing through his veins so much he was ready to jump through the top of his 2015 black Ford Explorer.

"I guess call the police like everyone else, but how was it stolen?...Someone kick your skinny ass and take it?"  Cory couldn't help but chuckle.  He was anxious to hear the punch line and was not going to fall for another immature stunt from his buddy.

"I think Allie got something out of the Explorer last night and left the doors unlocked.  I went out there when I woke up and it wasn't under the seat," Dakota was clearly aggravated.  It really was not his daughter's fault, he just did not want look more ridiculous than he already did. 

"Wait a minute... you do realize this is Huntington right...haven't you heard that addicts break into cars every night for drug money?  I'm a Huntington cop and I know by filling out reports every night that I shouldn't leave my wallet in my car...oh, wait... a minute... I forgot, you're a cop, too!" Cory was still playing around with his friend.  He was starting to wonder if Cook was being serious but still was not quite ready to fall victim to a practical joke.  Being a police officer in Huntington, West Virginia was quickly becoming a stressful job and some of the officers coping skills included pulling pranks on each other to break the stress.

"This is serious shit, Cory.  I have to get that wallet back."  Dakota was getting more nervous by the minute. 

Cory Davis was starting to realize that his friend was telling the truth.  "You tell people what to do all the time...call the credit card company and cancel the credit cards." 

"Man, I did that.  In fact, I'm getting ready to walk in the 7-11 by my house.  The son of bitch went down there soon as he left here and made a couple of purchases.  They are getting the videos set up now to take a look at the bastard."

"Or bitch.  Ya just don't know these days."  Cory was still joking around.

"Dude, I'm in deep crap  My badge was in the wallet."

Cory's eyes popped wide open as he spurted out.  "Oh shit, man..."  He knew it was embarrassing enough for a policeman to get his wallet stolen and that feat would get him endless teasing from his fellow cops but to have his badge stolen could get him big trouble with administration.  He shifted from trying to tease his friend to trying to console him.  "We'll get it back.  It's got to be someone local and someone real stupid to use it on camera."

"I can't believe this crap.  I'm going to fuck someone up if I have to go in and tell someone my badge got swiped Well, man, I'm going to go in here and check this video out and then go down to the station."

"Let me know.  We'll get him!"

Dakota Cook was angry, nervous, and confused as he checked his short military cut black hair in his rear view mirror and prepared to go into the convenient store.  Despite his dark hair and tanned complexion, Dakota was the "golden boy" of the Huntington police force.  He was born and raised in Huntington.  He had model looks capped off with a smile that infatuated every Huntington female who ever had fantasies about a man in uniform.

Dakota did not mess with the "badge bunnies" who hopped in his path.  He was faithful to his beautiful fiancee and an excellent father to his three children.  

Dakota Cook just did not make mistakes like this.  He knew better to leave his wallet in an unlocked car.  Dakota was at the boiling point.  The boiling point is that point where human emotions are so heated that they start to boil over and blur sense and logic.  It is then when a person forgets who they are and become capable of anything.

Huntington was at its' boiling point lately as well.  Just a couple of decades ago, Huntington was the kind of All-American town where it was a perfect place to raise a family and to walk safely down the street at night.  Detroit drug dealers have changed that though.

Now, HBO's The Vice has called Huntington "the heroin capital of the United States.". The show says there are three overdoses a day in the city.

Huntington has reached the boiling point.  The residents were fed up with all of the symptoms of a drug epidemic: petty crime, break-in, prostitution, armed robberies, drug-related shootings, and other blights on society that addiction brings.  

The Mayor was at the boiling point.  The police chief was at the boiling point.  The residents were at the boiling point.  Huntington was a city that had reached the boiling point and was ready to explode.

Huntington had become so heated that even the Republican winner in the mayoral primary reached his boiling point and stuck his finger in the city attorney's face and was banned from entering City Hall for two years.
 

Dakota was so upset leaped out of his Explorer and shot through the 7-11 doors and did not even pour himself the free coffee he usually gets for being a cop.  The manager Chris Evans seen him entered and waved him toward the backroom.  Dakota was moving so fast he beat Chris to the office.

The portly bald manager with a stubby blond goatee said, "I found him.  He was in here twice using your card.  He bought cigarettes both times.  I don't ever remember seeing him in here before."

Soon as the manager pushed the button and revealed the thief, Dakota about exploded through the ceiling.  The cop screamed, "I don't believe it.  Damn it, It's that damn Cody Dingess.  I'll wring his scrawny little neck!"

Chris was startled by the police officer's sudden display of anger, "I'm assuming you know him?"

"Oh, yeah, I know him well.  We've had him a dozen times in the last year.  I've given him a break at least a half of dozen times.  I've let him go when I didn't have to then the thanks I get is that not only does he steal my wallet, but he steals my badge.  I mean; I get it, he's an addict, he's not going to turn down money.  But he didn't have to take my badge.  Taking my damn badge just made it personal and earned that little bastard an ass-kicking!"

"Well, at least you know who has your stuff," the manager said.

"Yes, thanks very much, Chris.  You don't know how much I appreciate this information."  Dakota raced out of the office as fast as he entered it.  Once again, he was moving so fast that he never even remembered to get the free coffee he always picks up.

Dakota called down to the police station to Captain Wally Brunty and explained the situation to him and assured  the captain that Cody Dingess was the thief.  Captain Bounty said he would personally take the information to a magistrate and get a warrant for Dingess.  Captain Brunty would then lead the search for the thief.  Since everyone knew Dingess they all know he would be all over Downtown Huntington in the daytime panhandling for money to buy heroin.

He tried to convince the cop to go home and relax and that they would have his badge back for the night shift.

Captain Wally Brunty was a grizzled veteran with twenty five years on the force.  Cory Davis and Dakota Cook called him "Uncle Wally."  They loved to engage the bald,  stocky cop with stories of his you get days on the force.  They had heard all of his stories at least a half a dozen times and still listened intently at every opportunity .

Wally enjoyed the fire and the intensity of the two boys.  They were both still young with Cook being thirty one and Davis being twenty eight but both were experienced cops with Cook being an HPD officer for six years and Davis on the squad for five years.  Brunty, being the overprotective bear that he was, was not about to let anything happen to his cubs.

Wally Brunty knew that Dakota was not going to go home and wait on someone else to find his badge and he would have been disappointed if the younger cop did.  Brunty perfectly understood the boiling point and he knew that Dakota Cook was close to it.  He knew that Dakota boiled thinking that Cody Dingess was roaming the streets of Huntington displaying Dakota's badge as a trophy.

 

Cody Dingess was a good example of what was wrong with Huntington.  Cody grew up across the Ohio River in Proctorville.  He had a couple of short stays in juvenile detention as an adolescent then when he turned eighteen instead of graduating high school, he graduated petty crimes into felonies and spent two years in prison for breaking into a convenience store.  

He was not even out of prison for two months before he broke into three more stores and earned another two year stay in an Ohio prison.  These crimes were committed before Cody became a drug addict.

When Cody moved to Huntington with his mother and sister, he inherited their habits.  Cody became addicted to  drugs.  Like his mother and sister, he preferred heroin but would smoke weed or crack, pop Xanax, or snort pain pills.  Cody was not prejudiced against any drug, he would partake in the consumption or injection of any drug available.

Cody had been panhandling all over Downtown Huntington and up as far as the restaurants on 5th Avenue down past 20th Street. He liked to stand in restaurant parking lots and say he was hungry and ask for money to buy a sandwich.  He save his money until he had enough to get a $20 shot of heroin and then he would be on his Obama phone speed dialing a dealer.

At night time, he would wander the town checking for car doors left unlocked.  He would primary look for change but take anything of value.  Change no matter how small, would eventually add up to a $ 20 dollar shot.  The shot earned by the gathering of change would be almost immediate gratification resulting in a shot that night.  Any items would have to wait to the following day for the pawn shops to open.

It was no coincidence that 20 was the magic number on the streets.  Thieves would want $20 for almost any item.  Prostitutes would charge $20 for most services.  Twenty was the number of dollars it took to by a nice shot of heroin for a quick fix.

Dakota Cook engineered his Explorer down 6th and 1/2 Alley on the outskirts of Downtown Huntington.  On this trip though, Dakota was not looking for prostitutes or drug dealers.  He pulled into one of the multiple big houses that had been turned into apartment buildings.  Dakota Cook had been here on a couple of previous occasions to talk to Cody Dingess.  This building was where Dingess lived with his mother and sister, Dakota parked and ran up the steps to the second floor apartment door in the front of the building.

A very skinny lady with long silver unkempt hair answered the door.  Part of it was pulled back into a pony tail and the other part was straggling off to the side.  She appeared to be in her late forties.  Her eyes were kind of drawn in and wrinkles were starting to crease her face but Dakota was not sure if that was due to age or drugs.  She still had pretty green eyes and a wide but yellowish smile and Dakota could not help but to think that she was probably quite pretty ten or twenty years ago before she started abusing the drugs that were now abusing her body.

The truth was she was indeed a stunner when she was younger.  She was on a serious car accident about ten years earlier and got hooked on pain medication.  It started small with Percocet and she advanced through the gates of addiction until she became addicted to Oxycontin.  

At the time, she was getting prescribed Oxycontin from a pill mill in Portsmouth, Ohio. She thought they were perfectly legal because it was a real doctor prescribing them and she got them at any pharmacy.  

Gradually, they became impossible to get.  The doctor wrote the prescription but the pharmacies quit filling them.  She would find a place to fill it but then the place would refuse the next month.  It became an all day adventure to fill the prescriptions until the pill mill finally got closed down.

The doctors had convinced her that she needed them and now she was totally hooked.  She began buying them off the street but they were $30 for a 30 milligram pill.  When the pills became scarce they raised to $40. 

As they started getting harder to find, the Detroit boys started flooding the area with stronger and cheaper heroin.  This began the heroin epidemic that virtually every city and town in the country is fighting.



The lady looked at the stranger at the door and looked for a few seconds like she had seen him before and was trying to remember who he was and eventually with a puzzled look said, "Yes?  Can I help you?"  She could sense that the young man was somewhat excited.

Dakota blurted out, "Yes... I had been here a couple of times before to talk to Cody Dingess.  I think I may have met you before.  I'm Dakota Cook, a policeman with The Huntington Police Department.  I 'd show you my badge but Cody stole it last night."

The woman's eyes popped open wide and a young girl that looked like her but twenty years younger with a not-so-pale complexion popped in beside of her.  The younger girl said, "Yeah, I remember him, Mom.  That's Dakota, he was looking for Cody one night when they had questions about that purse missing from that fish place on Fourth Avenue."

"Oh, okay, I remember now.  You look different out of uniform,"  the older woman said.  "I'm Debbie Dingess and this is my daughter Sierra.  You say that Cody stole your badge?"

"Well, he stole more than just my badge.  My daughter got something out of the SUV last night and forgot to lock the door.  I had left my badge and wallet under the seat.  He used credit cards at the 7-11 by my apartment.  The credit cards aren't what has me so mad.  He stole my badge!"

Sierra chimed in, "Cody is so retarded when he is high.  Why would he take your badge?"

Dakota was at the boiling point again as he told the story, "I guess to show off and brag.  I'm telling you he's got an ass kicking coming.  I'm sorry, ma'am, I know he's your son but he's got to understand that you can't go around stealing off people.  I'm a cop so I'll beat his ass but I'll stop at some point.  He's going to run into someone who won't stop and beat him to death."
 

Debbie agreed, "I understand.  I don't know why he does those things.  He is not even allowed on this property.  The landlord barred him.  He stole off of six or seven neighbors."

Sierra chimed in again, "He stole a ten year old boys iPad that the boy was getting for Christmas."

Dakota looked at the younger redheaded girl as she spoke and first thought how cute she was but by the sunken look in her green eyes that she had been shooting up..

Again, his mind was back on Cody and he said, "Do you know where I can find him.  I'll beat his ass but I won't hurt him.  I just want to give  him something to think about?"

Debbie answered, "Well, he sleeps on the porch of that abandoned house on Charleston Avenue.  But, he just walks up and down the alleys by the bus station all day and bums for money to buy dope.  He's been banned from Pullman Square, Marshall, and Jimmy John's for panhandling."

The truth was that her eyes Sierra was the good daughter because she went out and found money to buy drugs and bring some of those drugs home to her mother.  Cody was the bad son because he went out and found money for drugs but then did all of the drugs himself.

Dakota knew he had gotten all of the information he was going to get here.  He relayed the information to Captain Brunty.  The captain was able to get an arrest warrant for Cody Dingess from Magistrate White.  He got up a posse and they went searching for the felon.


About two hours later, a police car driven by Captain Brunty was going in one direction up 4 and a half Alley and a police car driven by lanky Dwight Sanders, they both spotted Cody Dingess at the same time.  Dingess had just done shooting up in the bathroom at Husson's Pizza.  Cody was visibly stoned as he was stumbling and falling down.

The cops got out of their cars and told him to stay.  He turned and started to run.  He got about twenty yards when he realized he could not run.  He put his hands up and yelled, "Don't shoot!"

The six foot five but slender Sanders did not stop in his pursuit of the smaller criminal.  He hit Dingess head on and went crashing to the ground.

Suddenly, a figure clad in a green Marshall University shirt and gray sweat pants was swatting the felon with a police baton.  Sanders had Cody's upper body pinned and Cody was still stunned from being blindsided by Sanders and the impact of hitting the ground.  The person with the baton was nailing the prisoner across the legs.

The person with the baton was Dakota Cook!  The off-duty police officer had reached the boiling point.  His anger boiled over and he could not control himself.

Captain Brunty was standing behind the young officer urging him to quit, "Stop, Dakota, stop!  You can't do this.  It's our jobs on the line, there's too many witnesses."

Brunty eventually grabbed Dakota.  Dakota was shaking.  He had hit the drug addict with the baton several times and although the boy was severely stoned he was still in obvious pain.

The officers scooped up their prisoner and parked him in the back of the cruiser.  Dingess led them to the abandoned house on Charleston Avenue where he had the badge stashed. 

While officers were checking the house for other stolen items that Dingess had hid, Captain Brunty led Dakota Cook off to the side.
He got right in front of the younger cop and looked him square in the eyes, "Now, Dakota, you know that you and the boys are like sons to me.  I try to watch out for you all but you crossed a serious line today and you have put several people's hobs in danger."

Dakota slightly hung his head to avoid eye contact and said, "I know Cap.  I sorry I let you down.  It's been tough lately.  Sometimes I wonder why I became a policeman.  Things have changed and it's just not the same.  I mean we chase punks like this Cody kid all over town and then when we catch them, they are back out on the streets in days doing the same shit again."

Cap looked at him understandingly, "I know, Dakota, but we are sworn to protect everyone.  We can't start playing judge, jury, and executioner.  We promise to deliver the accused safely to court.  Then, it's out of our hands.  It becomes someone else's job."

"But what's the point, Cap?  How many times have we arrested that kid this year?  And look what he did to me?  He stole my badge. Who would of thought he would do that.    Who knows when I go to slap the cuffs on him someday if he doesn't sink a couple of bullets in me?  These guys are so cranked up, it's hard telling what they will do.  We spend so much time chasing the same guys.  I mean we really aren't policemen.  We aren't the law.  We spend the time putting out fires.  We are firemen.  We send five cars into a situation and then no one goes to jail, if they do; they are back out on the streets in days if not hours."

Captain Brunty put his hands on the cop's shoulders as to show support. 

Dakota continued almost in tears, "We know who is doing what in this town.  We know who is supplying the poison and who is taking it.  But we are powerless to do much about it."

Captain Brunty, "I understand everything you say and I agree.  We have the toughest of tough jobs.  The odds are against us.  But, you are a damn good cop, Dakota.  Don't ever forget that.  More importantly, you are a damn good man.  I am very proud of you.  Don't get suckered into the thinking that allows you to take the easy way out.  We need good men like you to make sure there is justice...even for the criminals.  We don't get to decide who get's justice...we just make sure everyone has the right to justice."

Dakota said, "Thanks, Captain.  I'll be okay.  I really think I am doing what I was born to do.  It just gets frustrating.  It's a matter of respect sometimes."

Captain Brunty said, "If it makes you feel better, all cops feel this way one way or another.  But, we can never become the bad guys.  I trust that you will look inside yourself and make sure nothing like this happens again.  The good guys need you, Dakota Cook."

 

                       CHAPTER 2


Cesspool...is the word Mike Kitchen would use to best describe what his West Huntington neighborhood had become.  He grew up on these streets.  He played stick ball on these streets and passed a baseball and a football in these front yards.  Those days seemed like a lifetime ago to the big burly construction worker.

Now, Jefferson and Madison Avenues were littered with dirty needles, dirty drug addicts, and dirty prostitutes.  On a cool morning the past spring, Mike swept a handful of used needles from a school bus stop.

Mike had been aggravated for quite sometime over what was happening in the neighborhood where he grew uup but when a pervert tried to pick up his 14 year-old daughter; he reached the boiling point.  If the 6 foot 5 320 pound ex-college football player could have gotten his hands on the bastard, then ol' Mike would be sitting in Moundsville wearing orange the rest of his life.  Mike actually went beyond the boiling point that day.

Soon after that day, Mike's baby blue 2015 Dodge truck became his office for his new unpaid part-time job: head of The West Side Neighborhood Crime Patrol.

The WSNCP was a little group made up of three families that were tired of the prostitutes and the johns that they attracted to the neighborhood orhood.  The families patrolled the west side of town and notified the police of any criminal activity.  They would write down license plates of cars that frequently picked up prostitutes and give the list to police.

They would also take pictures of the girls and the cars and post them on the group's Facebook page.  

Tonight. Mike was patrolling his neighborhood.  It was after 11 and he was tired and ready to go home and sleep for a long day in the sun at work tomorrow.  He noticed a prostitute he knew well that went by the name Ashley Ash.  She was a slender dirty blonde about 5 foot 7 whose face looked caved in due to poor dental work.  Mike attributed the missing teeth to meth rotting away her teeth.

She had an ugly beige tank top and faded, tight blue jean shorts.  She was talking to an older gray-haired man in a silver Chevy S-10.

The girl got into the truck and Mike followed them.  They drove to an old abandoned parking lot.  Mike watched a few minutes from a distance until his blood reached the boiling point.  He whipped into the parking lot causing gravel to fly.  He pulled along side of the other truck.  

The girl had taken off her top and had her head face down in the man's lap.  Mike did not want to see what she was doing so he looked directly in the man's eyes.  He recognized the man.

Mike stared the man down and said, "Aren't you Frankie Porter?"

The man shoved the girl's head off of his lap and fumbled with zipper on his pants but said nothing.

Mike said, "Yes, you are Frankie Porter.  You are Frankie Porter the City Councilman from our district.  How can we clean up our streets when the Councilman who represents us is out buying whores?"

"I dont have to answer to you," the man protested and started his truck and took off out of the parking lot.  Mike's first inclination was to follow the man but he just sat in his truck disgusted that his Councilman is part of the problem.

Mike Kitchen was truly disgusted and he felt helpless.  His neighborhood was falling down all around him.  All he can do was watch it fall.

Mike was heading down West Washington, when his eyes pipes out of his head and his jaw dropped.  Running down the street was two hookers shrieking at the top of their lungs.  One was slightly heavy and was crammed into  a green tank top and shorts like ten pounds of poo in a five pound bag.  Her breasts was flopping up and down so fast and hard, Mike was amazed they didn't hit her in the chin and knock her out.

The skinny girl behind her was half screaming and half laughing.  She kept looking over her shoulder behind them.

Chasing them down the street was an elderly man who was moving pretty fast for a man who looked close to seventy.  He had a long silver Rip Van Winkle-like beard.  The beard was eccentric looking but what stood out most about the man is that he was completely naked.  He was grabbing his penis and shaking it while yelling "I got what ya need, I got what ya need" at the women.

Mike quickly dialed 911.

Dakota Cook choked on his coffee as he heard dispatch say "an elderly man is running down Monroe Avenue shaking his stuff chasing two prostitutes and yelling "I got what ya need, I got what ya need."

Dakota had just started his shift and after the day he had, he really needed a laugh like this.  He was not far away so he radioed back that he would take the call.

When he arrived on the scene, the girls were nowhere in sight.  There was a naked man sitting square in the sidewalk breathing hard.

Dakota got out of the car and shined his flashlight on the man.  "Sir, how are you tonight?"

The man looked up and said, "Well, good, there's finally a policeman when I need one."

Dakota tried to hold back a chuckle as he asked, "Why do you need a policeman?  Did someone steal your clothes?"

"No sir.  These two hookers wouldn't have sex with me?". 

Dakota looked and saw two other patrol cars pull up.  He looked at the man and said, "Why should they sleep with you?  Did you give them money?"

"No sir, they wouldn't take my money.  Hookers can't turn ya down if you have the money, can they?  Ain't it against the law for a hooker to turn you down if you have the money?  They're discriminating against me because I'm old.  They can't do that, can they?"

The cops looked at each other and laughed because the truth is prostitutes in the West End didn't have that shock factor anymore.  If it were Pea Ridge or Stamford Park, there would be shock. It's like the city conceded and just decided to give up the West End.  A naked man shaking his stuff at prostitutes in the West End just wasn't a surprise anymore.  It would take a team of midget strippers and a naked 500 pound lady to surprise anyone in the West End
    When one visits Camden Park, one expects to see kids.  When someone visits Ritter Park, they can expect to see walkers and runners.  When you drive by Washington Arms apartments or Coach's Inn in the West End, they will see hookers: that's just the way it is.

Cory Davis was on the scene.  The ex-Marshall football player looked like a beast next to the other cops.  The hulking cop had his head shaved and had a huge chests and broad shoulders and looked like he was bench pressing Toyotas 

Cory laughed, "There's hookers everywhere down here tonight.  Dakota, if you want to impress one of these ladies tonight, I can let you borrow my badge."

Caleb Carson, a short stock Barney Rubble look-alike, walked up and tossed a toy badge to Dakota, and said," Here ya go, man, I found your badge for you."

Dakota threw it back at him and said, "Real funny, guys, this is serious business here.  We have a 70 year-old man shaking his stuff at prostitutes, this isn't time for bad jokes."

Caleb couldn't help himself as he said, "Was he armed and dangerous and was it cocked and loaded?"

Dakota walked up to Cory and asked, "Seriously, man, what are we going to do with guy?  I mean he is obviously off of his rocker.  He can't remember who he is and there's no way he is carrying an ID.  But there is one place I haven't checked yet, Caleb.  I've got a pair of gloves if you want to give it a look see."

"Well, Dakota, maybe Cody Dingess has his ID," fired back.

Dakota was serious as he spoke, "He had to have snuck off from somewhere.  There's no way he's lived by himself anytime in the last ten years.  He's no drunk or on drugs.  He's plain wacko.  He will have to go to Bateman until we find out where's missing from or even who he is."

Dakota was talking about Mildred Mitchell Bateman which was a state mental health hospital.  Likely the man would go to either St. Mary's Or Cabell Huntington Hospital who would give him an assessment and then file a mental hygiene warrant on him and then a judge would send him to Bateman or Huntington's other mental health hospital - River Park Hospital.

Dakota went to his car and radioed headquarters.  He came out and told Caleb Carson that Captain Foster wanted him to take the man to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Caleb protested, " No way he is getting into my car without pants.  Why can't you take him?"

Dakota said, "A man came home from work and found three dead bodies.  It looks like overdoses.  I talked to two of them today.  I believe two of them are Cody Dingess's mom and sister.  We aren't sure what's  going on but there were four overdoses earlier this evening.  Might be some bad stuff out there."

Caleb said, "The addicts will call it good stuff.  If they find out who has it the sales will go through the roof.  It's probably laced with fentanyl."

Dakota said, "More than likely it is fentanyl.  It's sad.  I'm upset that Cody stole my wallet but, damn; I wouldn't wish this on anyone.  I talked to his mom and sister today.  They aren't bad people, they are caught up in a sickness they don't understand."

Dakota Cook started toward the apartment building on 6th Avenue and was thinking about his encounter with the Dingess women.  He encounters drug addicts every night and there is not much the addicts can do to hide it.  It is in there eyes, it is in the track marks on their arms, and it is even in the desperation of the way they move.  It is sad because when an officer tries to encourage them to get help the officer knows that more likely than not, the addict is thinking more about how to get more drugs than what the officer is saying.  

The greater truth is that people who have never done heroin will never understand what it takes to quit.  Even if an addict defies the odds and quits there is always a chance they will relapse.  Relapses can be deadly because the person's tolerance to the drug is low.  The same amount of the drug that got them high before could easily kill them during a relapse.

There is another sad truth for addicts.  Even though everyone encourages an addict to get help, it is hard to get help.  There are only eight detox beds in Huntington.  Prestera had to shut down their detox unit and take away sixteen detox beds because of lack of funding from the state.  Dakota could not believe with all of the headlines about the epidemic and all of the crime that detox beds would be taken away.

Dakota looked into desperate eyes like Debbie Dingess everyday but what hope could he offer?  There were wonderful places to help like Recovery Point and Life House but the waiting list was weeks if not months and Recovery Point only has four detox beds.  Addicts were dying while waiting to get help.

Detox is the first step in the rehabilitation process.  It is also the most dangerous.  The first few days of withdrawing can be harrowing if not deadly.

Dakota knew that Cody Dingess would get a year or two in prison and should be drug free when he gets out.  But without counseling. To treat the psychological reasons he uses or without the encouragement to stay off the drugs, it was likely he would resume using drugs soon after his release and this beginning the cycle all over again that will lead to his next stint in prison or his death.

Dakota knew that unless some type of rehabilitation or education about addiction was offered in jail and prison, he and other cops would be doomed to constantly be chasing the same habitual criminals.  So.ething has to be done to alter their behaviors or it all becomes a continuous cycle.



Dakota pulled into the apartment where he was earlier in the day.  The bodies were indeed Debbie Dingess and her daughter Sierra.  The other body was identified as Debbie's cousin Patty Collins.  Debbie's boyfriend came in from work and found the three bodies.  They had been dead for about three hours.  Heroin was found at the scene and was taken away to be analyzed.

Debbie was found slumped over the kitchen table with a cigarette and needle close by.  Sierra was found in bathroom slumped back against the toilet with her arm still tied off and a needle on the floor.  Patty was spread out on the living room floor.

The police were buzzing that just today there were seven overdoses with four of them dead.  The police realized that someone had probably just brought back a lethal batch of heroin laced with fentanyl from Detroit.  If this batch was not found immediately and taken off of the streets then there would be more bodies found soon.

A call came across that there was another overdose just up the road from Dakota at 9th Avenue and 14th Street.  Dakota charged down the stairs and headed for the other overdose.  A fire truck had pulled in just ahead of Dakota.  Two firemen , Frank Butcher and Ronnie McCoy had already entered the house.  Dakota was literally steps behind them. 

When Dakota entered the house he could see the overdose victim laying sprawled out in the living room floor.  He was a male in his late thirties.  A girl around 17 was crying and practically hyperventilating.  She had short brown hair with glasses.  "Please don't let my daddy die.  Please don't let him die," She was screaming.

An older woman in her early forties was standing in the hallway by the kitchen.  She, too, was visibly upset.  Frank Butcher had positioned himself down next to the man and started doing CPR to the man who was turning white.

Frank yelled to Dakota, "He has a pulse.  He is only breathing two times a minute."  The firefighter had tried unsuccessfully to wake the man up by shaking him.

The woman squealed, "Aren't you going to breathe in his mouth.  When I learned CPR , we learned to breathe in their mouth."

"We don't do that any more," Butcher said as he started doing compressions on the man's chest.

"What is his name?"  Dakota asked the woman.

"His name is Clay Owens.  He had just done a shot of heroin and stood up and walked in from the kitchen and collapsed.  The needle is still in the kitchen.  Is he going to live?"

Clay was motionless and not responding as Frank continued administrating CPR.  Dakota walked over to the girl and tried to calm her as she was hysterical.  "Miss, what is your name", Dakota asked calmly.

"Tara," the girl replied between tears.

"Tara, please come with me into the kitchen.  We have more help on the way.  We are going to do the best we can to save your father.  I need for you to try to stay calm," Dakota said.

Two paramedics came running into the room and kneeled beside the victim and the fireman.  The victim was not responding.  The woman became hysterical.  Dakota took her into another room and talked to her.  He could see the track marks on her arms and asked her, "Have you had any of what he had tonight?"

"No.  I'm not going to lie, I was going next.  When I saw what it did to him I stopped.  When he stopped breathing I called 911."

"Where's the needle?"  

"It's in a kitchen drawer.  I hid it to do it later.  I don't want it now."  She walked back into the kitchen and gave him the syringe.

"Who sold it to him?"

"I really don't know. "

"This is really important.  People are dying.  I was just at a house and saw three dead bodies.  There was four other overdoses today with one death.  This is the eighth overdose today that we know of.  Someone has a bad batch.  It is likely laced with fentanyl.  We have to find this batch and take it off of the streets before it kills more people."

"Blue.  His name is Blue.  I think he is down in Highlawn somewhere.  I'm really not sure where.  I really have never met the guy.  He came and knocked on the door.  Clay went on the porch with him.  He may have the number on his phone."  She picked the phone off of the kitchen table and looked up a couple of numbers.  She gave the numbers to Dakota and he wrote them down.

They walked back in the room.  Frank had shot the Narcan into Clay's veins and it appeared to work.  Clay was starting to calm down.  Tara came back into the room.  She was still crying but to see her father move around was slightly comforting to her.


Clay was coming to and struggling to get up.  "Why am I so cold.  What the hell is everyone doing here?"

Frank said, "What is your name and do you know what the date is?"

"My name is none of your fucking business and who told you people to come into my living room?"

Frank Butcher said, "Sir, we just saved your life.  You overdosed and if these ladies wouldn't have called, you would be on your way to the morgue right now."

Clay finally made it to his feet and said, "I didn't ask for none of you to come here and I damn sure didn't ask for you to shoot me up with that crap.  All you have done is ruined the high I paid my hard earned money for.  Thanks a lot guys for ruining my night."

One of the paramedics, Johnny Shaffer, stepped forward.  Mr. Owens, you really need to go to the hospital and be checked out."

"You really need to get the hell out of my house.  I don't care if the law is here.  You are not supposed to be in my house without a warrant."

Dakota Cook had heard enough, he raised his voice and said, "You need to quit being an asshole and help us save lives.  Whoever sold you that crap sold you some bad shit.  At least four people have died today and you were seconds away from being number five. More people will die tonight if you don't help us take this crap off of the streets."
 

Clay raised his voiced, "Either arrest me or get the hell out of my house.  You aren't doing anything but scaring my daughter."

Dakota was red hot as he said, "If the fact that you overdosed and nearly died in front of your daughter isn't enough to jolt some sense into you, then consider that right now somewhere in this town; a young girl right around your daughter's age may be getting ready to inject this poison into their veins.  You may have had the tolerance to survive this bad dope but someone else will not!"

Clay did not care, "That's not my problem   You are the one that milks the taxpayer's money, so get out of my house and go earn your money."

Dakota was boiling but not surprised.  He sees this kind of behavior quite frequently.  One would think Clay Owens would be thankful for the first responders saving his life.  It looks like he would be remorseful for shooting up drugs in front of his young daughter.  A wise man would learn from mistakes and seek help and prove to his daughter that drugs are not the answer.

Clay Owens was not about to do that.  Sadly, Dakota knows that most addicts become angry after their lives are saved because Narcan chases their buzz away.  It was more than likely that Clay would attempt to buy more drugs that night.

Dakota knew that the race was on to find the tainted dope and get it off the streets before it caused more overdoses.  He knew they were wasting time at this house.  


Disgusted with the situation, Dakota thanked the other first responders for their help and headed to the patrol car.  He radioed in all of the information he had received.  He said he believed that a dealer name Blue had the laced batch of heroin.  He had also taken a syringe of the dope from the house.  Right now, the top priority had to be finding Blue before anyone else died.


 

                    CHAPTER 3
Ryan Hardy looked at his phone and it was almost one AM.  He had a good time at Hank's Tavern catching up with some old friends but he was now fifty-years old and it was past few his bed time.  He only had three Budweiser's but he really had not been a big drinker for years.

At Six foot one and three hundred and twenty pounds, Ryan had enough weight problems without adding more calories from beer.  He had a lot to think about and Hank's was always good for a few ice cold beers, some laughs, and reminiscing about better times.

It was time to head back to reality and namely his girlfriend Angel.  He gave the owner of the bar, Beth Ann, a big hug and walked out as he put a Cincinnati Reds baseball hat over his balding head.  He saw the blue South Side Sliders vending truck sitting across the street and had to get a couple of delicious sliders before getting in his gray Equinox and heading home.

For the last year, Ryan felt like his life was not heading anywhere.  He met a younger girl Angel Meyers and she quickly moved in.

Having a twenty-six year-old pretty red head as his girlfriend made him happy for a while but as her addiction grew worse Ryan felt like she only wanted him for his money.  Ryan gobbled down his two sliders and was soon pulling in front of his apartment building 6th Avenue and Second Street.

As he approached the front door, he heard screaming and thumping.  When he went inside he could see his girlfriend Angel hurling herself against the bathroom door.  He recognized the voice screaming from inside the bathroom as his girlfriend's sister April.

"What the hell's going on?" Ryan demanded as he stopped Angel from banging against the door.

"She stole a twenty dollar bill off of me when I was sleeping and bought dope and won't give me any," Angel answered.

"I did not," April countered.  "I don't have any dope and I didn't take her twenty. She was passed out on Xanax.  She spent the money on Xanax bars."

"I did not.  I checked the phone.  You called Blue.  I know he brought you dope."

Ryan said harshly without raising his voice, "You cannot scream  and argue like this.  We will get kicked out."

"Give me the dope!" Angel screamed as she jerked out of Ryan's hold and began throwing herself against the door again.

"I do not have dope.  I'm peeing!" April yelled.

"You can't  do this.  They'll kick us out.  People have to work in the morning," Ryan said losing his patience.  "I'm tired of this crazy crap.  I'm calling the police."

Ryan dialed 911 and let the dispatcher hear the chaos that was going on inside his apartment.  He was at the crossroads in his mind when he was at Hank's tonight but could not decide which way to go.  This nonsense helped make up his mind once and for all.  He was out of here.  As Angel's addiction got worse, the crazier things got.

He let the girls hear his call to 911 on his speaker.  April came out and teamed with Angel in screaming at Ryan for calling the police.  Ryan walked outside and sat on his car.

It took almost a half hour before anyone showed up.  Marshall Mason, a K9 cop, arrived  first and Cory Davis was right behind him.

Marshall Mason was a tall slender cop with short black hair.  He looked very young and Ryan thought that he looked like he was still in high school.   

Officer Mason walked past Ryan toward the apartment.  Ryan called out and got the officer's attention.  

Ryan said, "I'm the one who called.  I called 911 back and tried to cancel the call.  They left.  Everything is okay."

Marshall Mason shined his flashlight on Ryan and sad, "okay, let me get this straight...you called the police because two girls are fighting over drugs.  So they leave and you wait outside to tell us everything is okay?"

Ryan shook his head in agreement and said, "Yes, that is about right.  The main reason I called the police is so that they would leave...and they did."

Cory Davis walked up as Marshall Mason spoke.  Marshall said, "Forgive me here for a minute but listen to yourself.  You cannot tell me that this whole story doesn't sound weird to you.  Why would you wait for me?  It sounds like you are trying to hide something?"

"It all sounds weird?" Ryan asked with a smile as Mason shook his head yes.  " I wanted them to leave and they left. I'm trying to not get the neighbors mad.  If I wake them up and they see the police here I could get kicked out, which was why I called in the first place so they would quit before they woke everyone up."

"Well, maybe you are hiding that you are on drugs or selling drugs,"  Marshall said.

Cory Davis interrupted and said, "We are here  Are you going to let us walk in and check it out?"

"Sure," Ryan said because that was really the only thing he could say.  He had not been in the apartment in over a half hour so he had no idea what the girls were doing now but he did not hear any noises.

Ryan and the two officers walked into the apartment.  Officer Mason asked, "Huntington police, anyone in here?"

The bathroom door was half opened and half pulled from the wall from Angel kicking it and throwing her shoulder against it.   Officer Mason opened the door.  The girls were in the bathroom.  Angel was sitting on the toilet and April was on the floor slumped against the wall.

An empty syringe was on the floor.  The girls were impaired but not in danger.

Marshall Mason asked, "Well, what do we have here?  Looks like someone was in the house after all."

Ryan smiled and said, "Well, I guess Angel was right.  Her sister did have some heroin.  April said she only had a twenty.  It must be strong to mess them both up like that."

Cory Davis looked at Ryan aandsaid, "There is some heroin laced with fentanyl going around.  It is lethal.  Do you know where they got this at?"

"They've been getting some off of some guy in Highlawn called Blue.  I took them down there yesterday."

The cops looked at each other.  Cory said, "Blue, that is the guy we are looking for with the bad stuff.  They are lucky they did just a small amount or they'd be dead now."

Mason looked at Ryan," I've got some good news and bad news for you.  The good news it is your friend's lucky day I'm not going to charge any of you.  The bad news is you aren't going to get much sleep tonight.  You are going to take us to Blue.  We can't afford to let Blue sell any more dope."

Cory added, "These dealers don't keep regular hours any more.  They deal all night and all morning.  It's hard telling how many more people will buy it if we wait until morning.  We've got to get that shit off of the streets tonight."

Ryan looked at them and said, "What choice do I have.  Let's go."

                                                                                                                         CHAPTER 4


Blue closed the door and fell into his comfortable easy chair.  It had been a long day.  He made the deliveries that he usually had a runner make but he made some cash today.  He knew the heroin he had was laced with fentanyl and was ultra-deadly, but he had some debts and needed to make some quick cash.

He knew some people were going to die but when the word got around this his dog food was so good it was killing people, the sales would go through the roof  Every addict would want to try the heroin that was killing people.  They may have a needle with heroin in one hand and Narcan in the other, but they would still try it.  He could probably sell t-shirts that said "survived the killer heroin of 2016" on it.

He figured that the Dingess women were dead because he had not heard from them all evening.  They would be blowing up his phone all night if they were not dead.  If they were broke, they would sell their ass to buy his good stuff.  They were aggravating and owed him money so they were expendable.
 
Blue was chilling and thinking about ordering some food when there was a loud knock on the door.  Blue liked money, but he liked food.  He had made plenty of money today so now was the time to think about food.  Was it going to be Z Brick or Jimmy John’s?
 
The knocks came again but this time louder.  “What the hell?” Blue started but as the last syllable was coming out, the door flew open.  He is not sure which of the men kicked it open but standing in his doorway were three huge African-American men.  Two of the men were standing in front and the other male was just steps behind them.  The two males up front were obviously gang members of same type.  They had black doo rags on their heads and gold chains around their necks.  Both were in the neighborhood of 6 foot 5 and 300 pounds and were packing serious muscle.  Blue knew instantly that he was not dealing with locals this time around.
 
The man in back was  wearing a tan suit and a tan hat.  He also had a pair of dark sunglasses on which immediately stuck out because it was about 12:30 AM.
 
Blue started to talk but was not sure of what to say.  These men were so unlike anything he had ever encountered in Huntington.  He thought of going for his gun but he knew these guys had to be packing as well.
 
The man in the back stepped forward as the other two spread out until he was even with the other two.  He spoke, “Mr. Blue, I presume?  Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Heavy.”
 
Blue definitely agreed with that statement as the man was about 6 foot 3 and 400 pounds.  Blue thought this guy must definitely get his suits tailored somewhere. 
 
Heavy continued, “I am your new business partner.  Well, actually, I guess this is what you would call a hostile takeover.  I don’t need business partners and your product is killing people.  So Mr. Blue, you are both hired and fired!”  He stepped forward and Blue saw the gun in his hand.  Blue reached for his but was not nearly quick enough.  Blue’s head exploded and splattered all over the wall.
 
Heavy looked at the mess of blood and then at his two sidekicks and said, “Looks like   Mr. Blue needs to hire a maid.
 
Heavy felt as a fat black man that he had an obligation to everyone to be funny.  The truth was that money was not funny to Heavy, it was business.
 
Heavy and his gang, The Road Tripz, were a gang in his native Detroit.  He specialized in drugs and prostitution.  But, Heavy’s gang was called The Road Tripz for a reason.  He did not have the fire power for constant struggles on the streets of Detroit and the value of drugs was down there so Heavy would travel to smaller towns and cities and take over the drug trade there.
 
He had long heard about “the heroin capital of the United States” and decided that he should be president of this capital.  He knew that “Moneyton” was crawling with money.  He knew the demand was here and he was going to be the supply.
 
What made Huntington so desirable to Heavy was the fact that there were no other gangs present in the city.
 
Huntington was made up of dozens of “small business” owners” (dealers) who left Detroit for the mountains of West Virginia.  Heavy was going to bring all of these dealers together.  He would hire the ones he liked, provide protection services for others, or simply fire ones he did not like the way he did Blue.
 
Heavy had been scouting the area out and knew basically what dealers were doing what on the streets of Huntington.  He was well aware that Blue had a deadly product.  Heavy knew that if his drug was killing people then he would lose customers.  He did not worry about someone having a better product because Heavy did not sweat competition.  Heavy was going to dominate all of the heroin market in Huntington and eventually West Virginia.  Huntington was now officially Heavy’s town.
 
Killing people was bad for business in other ways as well.  Huntington had enough publicity for the heroin epidemic and did not need more news stories of people dying.  Deaths would only bring more DEA agents to Huntington to shut the drug trade down.  Heavy would provide a good heroin product for the addicts of Huntington and his would be the only product available when he was done.  He did not need the bad publicity of people dying to sell his drugs.


Heavy and his associates, Hammer and Mr. P, were out in Heavy's black 2015 Camaro heading down 3rd Avenue.  The car was a tight fit for the three gangsters.

Heavy looked at Mr. P who was driving, and said, "I hate doing business in my pleasure car.  We need to get us some company cars for work.  Something big and lots of storage space in case we have to haul a body or two!"  Heavy chuckled a little and then continued, " Damn, this working is making me hungry.  I hate firing folks on an empty stomach.  Why ain't these hillbillies got any White Castles anywhere.  I need some food!"

Mr. P thought a little bit and said, "This ain't Motown, Boss
  Not much open after midnight."

Heavy sighed, "I guess we'll hold off on any more interviews until tomorrow.  I think we made an impact tonight
  They ought to thank us for getting that garbage off of the streets."

Hammer spoke up with a laugh, "Which garbage you talking about Blue or that poison he was spreading?"

"Both!" Heavy bellowed as he howled with laughter.   



Ryan Hardy got into the police car with Cory Davis.  Cory was talking to Lieutenant Eric Byrd about how to go in on Blue when reports came in of shots fired.  When dispatch announced the address, Ryan yelled out, "That's Blue's place!"

Davis hit the lights and they were on their way to Blue's.  Ryan scratched his head and said, "Do you think someone tried to rob Blue?"

"Something is going on that's sure.  Maybe someone's getting even for the killer dope", Cory answered.
 
 
Within minutes every emergency vehicle available was at the 1st Avenue house where Blue was murdered.  One of the detectives that was awakened up out of bed was Bill Aaron.

Aaron had been on the force for fifteen years and had been a detective for five.  When his phone rang in the middle of the night, he instinctively sprang to his feet.  Bill Aaron had a hard time sleeping lately and it was not just work keeping him from sleeping.

The heroin epidemic had a hold on many classes of residents.  Heroin addicts were welfare cases, sons of doctors and lawyers, and even daughters of police detectives.

Bill Aaron's daughter, Natalie, was proof that not all addicts were bad people and not all daddy's girls are angels.  She even ruins the cliché that she was running with the wrong crowd.  She ran with the good kids and the rich kids.  It is really hard to put a finger on just how she got on heroin.

While she really was not your classic strung out heroin addict that would steal Grandma's watch if she had a chance, she still was known to shoot up heroin if it was around.  To Detective Aaron there was not such of a thing as a "social heroin user".  In his mind, a person would only take the chance of killing themselves if they were addicted.  He did not see how a person could keep playing Russian Roulette unless they were sick.

There were not many people who knew about Natalie's addiction.  Bill tried to find her help but the waiting lists were long.  Natalie was a pretty twenty-six year-old blond with long slender l egs and a pearly white smile.  She was a nurse at St. Mary's Hospital.  No one would look at her and call her an addict.  In fact, she did not consider herself one.  Someone passed information on to her father that she was a frequent user.  He did not believe it until he found a syringe in her bathroom.  Then, she told him that she used maybe once or twice a week.


The crime scene was one of the worse Bill Aaron had ever seen.  Even the grizzled veteran had to pull a handkerchief out of his pocket as he threw up slightly in his mouth.  

There was blood splattered everywhere.  Bill saw pieces of eyes, teeth, and scalp.  The man was shot close range with a powerful weapon.

By 3:30, there were law enforcement officers of all types on the scene.  Drug Task Force officers, detectives, patrol officers and even state troopers were scouring the house.  This homicide was not just another Huntington drug-related shooting.  While there any doubt this was a drug-related murder, the fact that the victim was also the leading suspect in the overdoses in the past two days changed things.

Bill Aaron definitely wanted to catch whoever did this but the motive was equally important.  Bill saw Dakota Cook and wanted to pick his mind.  He knew Dakota was a good cop and knew that since Dakota was a patrol cop, he had a sense of what was going on.

Dakota had been interviewing curious neighbors who came out to see what was on.

Bill walked up to Dakota and smirked out of the side of his mouth, "Damn, Dakota, I was really craving a cup of coffee but if the night shift doesn't have a cup in their hands, then i guess there ain't none for miles."

Dakota smiled and said, "You detectives make the big bucks.  It's too far from payday for us beat cops to afford luxuries like coffee.  I'm sure if you could pry some cash out of that wallet of yours, we could find some coffee."

Bill smiled an evil smiled, "At least us detectives take our wallets inside at night."

Dakota smiled a wistful smile and said, "I guess you got me there."

Bill turned serious and asked, "What's your take Dakota?  Revenge, robbery, coincidence?"

Dakota had a puzzled look on his face, "So far no one has come forward with seeing anything.  It's kind of hard to believe in a neighborhood like this where the houses are on top of one another that no one saw anything.  The door was kicked in and two shots were fired.  It was about 1 AM.  People heard and reported the shots but said they didn't see anything."

Bill looked around, "That used to be the case, you know the whole snitches get stitches things but here lately, people have been sticking together and telling what they see.  So maybe when they think about it, they may change their mind."

Dakota shook his head in agreement, " Possibly.  Hopefully all of the heroin they found is the heroin that's been killing people which obviously they'll know if it's tainted soon.  It just doesn't look like robbery.  Just too much dope and drugs left for a robbery."

"Revenge, possibly?  Maybe someone's father or boyfriend?  Someone getting even for an overdose?"


Dakota shrugged, "You guys will figure it out.  You always do.  I've got to get back out there and protect the city."

What Dakota was really wanting was a good cup of coffee .  This night was getting to him.

Dakota got into his car and went about two blocks away to The Speedway on 3rd Avenue.  He was pouring a cup of coffee and talking to a cashier about his crazy night when he noticed out of the corner of his eye am older man watching him and acting nervous.  The man kept looking outside.

Finally, the man walked slowly to Dakota.  He appeared to be in his late sixties and was a short, chunky man with white hair.

The man said with a shaking voice, Officer, I saw you over in my neighborhood.". He pushed for a few seconds.  He looked around and then continued to talk, "I saw them.  I saw the killers."

The man froze up again.  Dakota did not want to further frighten him and was patient.  Dakota asked calmly, "Sir. May I ask your name?"

"I'd rather not say.". The man was obviously traumatized from the incident.  He continued, "They aren't from around here.
  Three huge black guys.  Bigger than football players.  Dressed differently.  Two looked like gang members and the other in a tan suit.  I don't know where they are from but they aren't from here.  I don't want no problems."

Dakota tried to act reassuring but had to ask a question.  "Did you happen to see what they were driving?"

The man paused momentarily and then continued, " A fairly new Black Camaro."


Dakota filled out a report on the comments the man made.  He saw Bill Aaron reported the comments to him.  It was all very much a mystery of who killed Blue and why.  One thing was for sure though, if it was just another typical Huntington drug shooting, the HPD would get to the bottom of it soon.  If it was anything else, it would soon be revealed.  Dakota had the feeling this was the start of something big.

When Dakota left the station to go home, the Sunday sun was already in the sky.  Saturday had been a long day.  The Huntington policeman had the feeling that many long days were headed his way.





                                          CHAPTER 5


Sunday afternoon was very peaceful in Huntington.  Heavy got his interview process started about 2 PM.  A local drug dealer, Pokey, was taking Heavy and Mr. P to meet potential associates in Heavy's new Huntington heroin franchise.

Pokey was a little black man from Detroit but had lived and sold drugs in Huntington for the better part of the last five years. Pokey had built a lot of connections in that time.  He was more than happy to be a manager in Heavy's new business.  He was a proud new member of The Road Trip.


Heavy was riding shotgun in Pokey's 2005 black and red Ford Bronco.  Heavy said with a sigh of relief, "I'm just glad to be out of that Camaro.  It has more style than this but this comfy.  Hell, we ain't cruising for chicks, we dealing for some new dealers."

Pokey was driving and turned onto 9th Avenue as he said, "We gonna meet my boy Cash.  He's a cool dude.  We go way back.  He'll do ya right."

Heavy laughed, "Cash, I love that name.  Now, who wouldn't want to do business with a cat named Cash?"

Pokey looked at Heavy, momentarily  taking his eyes off of the road, and said, "So I'm over everyone I bring in right?"

Heavy chuckled, "Pokey, my little power hungry pal  You will be a big man in my organization.  You have already given me much knowledge about this area.  You helped me structure this beast, now we just have to arm it with some good soldiers and good salespeople.  We will control most of the market for drugs in Huntington.  There is no one who has the firepower that The Road Tripz has.  Managers like you, Pokey, will play a major role in how successful we are.  We are a big company and a army rolled into one."

Pokey was happy, "Dog, you could give me Charleson."

Heavy laughed, "In due time, Bro.  Keep in mind loyalty pays off.  I'm going to be in Detroit so I need people I can trust to make me some paper.  Trust is the key word.". Pokey was getting close to Cash's house.  Heavy spoke again, "This cat is expecting us, right?  I don't want to have to huff and puff and blow the house in like I had to at Little Boy Blue's ...or is that Little Dead Boy Blue's?"


"Oh, he knows your coming.  Every homeboy from D-town knows The Road Tripz.  Hell yeah, he wants to be a member." 

The truth was Cash did know that Heavy was coming but he was not very happy.  Not only was he not interested in working for Heavy but this was absolutely the worse timing every.  He had been wanting to get with this hot blonde for a long time.  She was finally in his bed and some fat Detroit bastard was about to come to his door and try to muscle in on his business.

He had worked hard to build his heroin business and he worked hard to sleep with this blonde.  She was not some hoe or bitch wanting to trade ass for heroin.  She did like to party and do some heroin but she was classy.  She had a good job and did not have to give up pussy for dope.
 
She did not have to but she did like to do it.  She had other interests in Cash besides dope.  Plain and simple, she thought the Carmel colored dope dealer was red hot.  Many other girls did too, he was not very tall but his body was like steel.  He had a  grin and mischievous personality that set girls hearts on fire.

He was softly kissing her neck when they heard the knocks on the door.

Cash looked at her naked body and shrugged, "We'll go again in a minute, Baby, I gotta get this it's business."

Cash opened the door and Pokey walked in followed by Mr. P and Heavy in the back.  Pokey introduced Cash to them and they almost instantly started talking business.  Cash came right out front and asked Heavy about his intentions as he asked, "I've heard of The Road Tripz.  Why do you all want to come down here.  There's lots of competition.  The markets really not big enough for all of the dealers.  This ain't a big city like Detroit?"

Heavy walked toward him and said with a smile, "Well, Mr. Cash.  You can say my specialty is getting rid of the competition.  Either dealers work for me or they pay me a licensing fee to do their business."

Cash looked at him straight in the eyes, "So what you are telling me if I don't work for you, then we are going to have problems?"

Heavy sighed, "Mr. Cash, Pokey tells me you are a smart man.  I'd like to have you on my team.  I don't see any reason why we can't come to some sort of an agreement.  Now, Mr. Blue, did not understand the art of compromise and he was selling bad product.  I don't like product that kills people.  You don't get many return customers from dead people.  You kill your customer, you kill your market.  Now, you seem like a smart business man that understands stuff like that."

Cash said, "I don't work for no one.  I work for myself.  I've built my own business.  It's nothing against you.  My business is small and won't effect you."

Heavy looked at him and said, "So you want to pay the license to sell or as others may call it - protection money?" 

Cash laughed, "So what am I buying protection from...The Road Tripz?"

Heavy said, "You make it sound like I'm threatening you.  Why don't you just work for me.  You make more paper working for me and it's a lot less hassle.  You don't have to worry about getting the stuff down here and if anyone tries to muscle in on you, we protect your territory."

Cash laughed again, "I don't need protection.  No one has ever tried to muscle in on my business until you.  I just don't see why you have to be like that.  There's plenty of fish in this river."

Heavy said, "Cash, I'll pay you well.  A good dealer like you will have his own city before long.  I'm spreading out.  Once we get Huntington rolling right, I'm branching off into Southern Ohio, Charleston, Logan, Eastern Kentucky and more.  There's unlimited potential.  I'm staying in Detroit I just need good, trustworthy people to make sure the business is run right.  You are lucky.  Mr. Pokey is in on the ground floor.  He will be rich soon.  He is highly recommending you.  This is your big chance."

Cash shook his head, "It just ain't me.  I didn't come to Huntington to join a gang.  If I wanted to be in a gang I would have joined one in Motown.  I came down here to work for myself.  We can co-exist.  My piece of the pie ain't that big."

Heavy raised his voice, "It's not that easy.  I can't have word going around that anyone refused.  I'm taking Pokey's word that you are a smart man.  I'm giving you forty-eight hours to make the right decision."

Cash looked amazed, "You come in here talking like you are a business man and you are going to be fair to me...then, you tell me I have forty-eight hours.  Forty-eight hours sounds like an ultimatum.  It sounds like I've got forty-eight hours to agree with you or that's it.  Like you are going to try to take me out or something."

Heavy shook his head in disgust, "Dog, you are putting words in my mouth.  I simply mean that the offer is there for forty-eight hours.  After forty-eight hours the offer disappears and I make it to someone else.  It's that simple."


Cash shook his head and said, "Whatever.  The answer is 'no' now and will be 'no' in  forty-eight hours."

Heavy headed toward the door, "Call it whatever you want just think about it.  Talk to Mr. Pokey about the advantages our company has to offer you.  It's your golden ticket, Mr. Cash.  Don't blow it."  Heavy turned away from him and walked out of the door.  Mr. P looked him straight in the eyes and then turned away.  Pokey looked at him like he was crazy and said, "Dog, don't."  Cash started to say something and Pokey cut him off.  "Don't, Dog.  Just don't.  Please don't.  We've been friends a while, Dog.  Please...don't be a hardhead.  This dude is hard, Dog.  Don't put me and you on opposite sides.  I'll call Tuesday.  We need to sit down and talk this out."

Cash closed the door and walked back toward the bedroom.  Heavy looked at Pokey and said with a grimace, "I trust you will talk some sense into that boy.  He's got potential to be a big help to us or a big pain in the ass." 

Pokey gave him a reassuring nod.  "I got this, Big Dog.  I got this."


Cash walked into the bedroom.  He was highly aggravated and his female company had no trouble identifying that.  She had put on the blue scrubs that she had taken off.  She had worked the midnight shift at St. Mary's the night before.  She liked Cash.  She was a little hesitant to get involved with a drug dealer but then again, she was not sure where this relationship was going or if it was even a relationship.  She had bought heroin off him a few times and one thing led to another and before she even realized it, they were in bed together.  He was hot and fun and even offered a little heroin on the side. 

Natalie Aaron was not the type to think about love.  She was young, smart, and pretty with a good job.  She never ever thought she would be seeing a drug dealer but even if her father was a detective, Cash was as an attractive black man as she has seen in Huntington.  While she was certain that this was not going to lead to a wedding where her daddy the detective would give her away to a drug dealer, she was not quite ready to release this fish back in the ocean.

Normally Cash would not be sharing business details with one of his girlfriend's, but she happened to be at the right place at the right.  It was more of a matter of him not controlling his anger than an issue of him sharing aspects of his life with a girl.

Cash felt like he was going to hit a wall as he reached the boiling point in his bedroom.  "That fat son of a bitch thinks he can blow into town and take everything.  I don't care if he is from Detroit, he don't want none of me.  I didn't work so hard to give that fat fuck my business.  And I oughta kick the fuck out of Pokey for giving that bastard my name.  Pokey sold me out!"

Natalie stayed calm.  She walked over to him and started gently massaging then kissing his shoulders.  She said softly, "Don't underestimate yourself.  You'll figure out a way.  There's no way the HPD is going to let a gang move in."

Cash shook his head, "I know your dad's a cop but I don't have that kind of faith in the HPD.  He's hard.  The Road Tripz hold their own on the streets of Detroit.  If they pull all of their firepower down here there's no way anyone can stop them.  There's nothing I  really can do but stop. They killed Blue last night.  What they gave me was an ultimatum.  If I keep dealing they'll kill me next."


Natalie said softly, "If he's the one who killed that dealer last night.  He will go down.  That's my dad's case.  Don't underestimate the police around here.  Huntington is not Detroit.  He does not have anywhere to hide."

Cash sighed and looked away, "The assassins they send down here slip back into Detroit and five replace them.  Heavy can run it from Detroit.  I got things going good.  I'm not going to stop.  He'll just have to kill me.  Fuck him and the rest of Road Tripz."

Natalie was kissing his neck and whispered softly into his ear, "It's just me and you right now, Baby.  The hell with everyone right now.  It's just me and you.  Take me again.  Natalie loved seeing him angry, it turned her completely on to see his muscles flex in defiance.  She was totally ready for him at this moment.

Cash could not resist this beautiful hot blonde all over him.  His adrenalin was coursing through his veins.  He could feel the muscles rising in his arms.  He was fired up in more ways than one and although he realized that a battle loomed ahead for him, he never felt as alive as he felt right now with the thrill of danger and the company of the hottest nurse he had ever met.  Cash had no idea what the future would hold but right now he was in control.  At this moment, he still was one of the best drug dealers in Huntington and right now the prettiest girl in Huntington was leading him right back to his bed.  Fuck Heavy, life is good.   


Natalie started softly kissing his chest as she took off his shirt.  They reached the bed as Cash took charge.  He held her tightly but lightly laid her on his bed.  Now, it was his turn.  His anger and angst had now turned it to sexual energy.  Suddenly, Natalie was the only person in his world.  He kissed her neck.  He tore her scrub top back off.  He was sensitive but strong at the same time.  He was in control.  The blonde beneath him pleaded for his love.  Fuck Heavy, life is good.
 
                                                                             CHAPTER 6

Sunday night was off to a good start for The Huntington Police Department.  Three hours into the midnight shift and nothing out of the ordinary had happened.  The streets were quiet.  In fact, it was very strange but there were not any overdoses at all on Sunday.

There was a buzz going around Huntington that a Detroit gang called The Road Tripz was moving into the city and that they killed Blue for selling bad dope but the story or event did not have any effect on Huntington.

Jill London would soon liven things up in Huntington.  Jill was a hardcore tweaker.  She thought the meth she had tonight was oilier than usual.  This batch of meth contained Ecstasy.  The combination pushed the dangerously skinny, acne faced twenty-six year old addict over the edge.

As Jill sat in her living room, she noticed the shadow people coming up through the floor.  The orange haired girl stayed calm but sprang into action.  She persuaded her husband, Jeb, to go under the house with a rake and to try to keep the shadow people from coming into the house.

This was not enough for her, she ran into the breaker room and started pulling wires to keep the shadow people from getting power.

Somehow, this led Jill to run up and down the street completely naked.  Her skinny arms were flailing in the win and her tiny breasts we were bobbing up and down.  She was shrieking and speaking in tongues.

A few phone calls from neighbors later and the Huntington Police Department's easy night was over.

Dakota Cook, Cory Davis, and K9 cop Marshall Mason were quickly at the scene.  They searched with a spotlight until they saw a sight they had never seen and never will see again.  A completely naked woman covered in mud was heading their way.

The woman was moving faster than they realized and the next thing Dakota knew was that his nose was throbbing with pain and blood was splattered everywhere.  Dakota let out a girly scream that Cory would tell stories about for quite some time.  The woman spun around and came for Dakota again.  As she went to slap him, Cory grabbed one shoulder and Marshall grabbed the other.  They flipped her on her back and the three cops had the addict in a hold.  

The drugs gave the girl super strength and she would not quit fighting.  Marshall was finally able to mace her in the face.  This got her scratching wildly at her eyes and bought enough time to get the wild woman into the back of Cory's police car.  The woman kicked the windows all the way to the police station.


After the attack of The Mad Meth Woman was over, Sunday night/ Monday morning returned to being a peaceful evening.  The cops were outside of the police station enjoying the Summer  night/ morning.

Cory patted Dakota on the back and said with a smile, "There you have it, Buddy, your first on the job injury.  A busted nose from The Mad Meth Woman.  You need to save your blood soaked handkerchief as a souvenir."

Marshall cracked, "Look on the bright side, if that is the worse injury you ever get out here; then you are doing great."

Dakota looked serious and said, "You guys are joking around but that hurt
  I think I'm scarred for life.  I'm going to have nightmares of being attacked by a flock of mad meth women."

Cory joked, "Welcome to National Geographic Magazine Weekly.  On this episode, we travel to the jungles of Huntington, West Virginia to examine a new species that scientists are calling The Mad Meth Monsters.  These beasts are part human and part tiger.  They have long sharp teeth and a mean right hook.  They are as quick as a cheetah."

Dakota laughed but then turned serious again and said, " You joke but she was like a female The Flash.  I swear she was like ten yards from me then suddenly I felt my nose splatter.  I felt the punch when it seemed like she was yards away.  Then, when I looked up she was past me."

Marshall Mason laughed, "That stuff gives them super human speed.  I was worried for a minute that we didn't have enough backup."

Cory look amazed as he said, "Those sounds she was making were unnatural.  I have never heard a human make such noises."

Marshall look at Cory and quipped, "Are we sure that was a human?"

Dakota turned serious again and asked, "So what is up with this gang situation? I hadn't heard anything on the street but the lieutenant said we will probably have a debriefing tomorrow. The mayor and the chief are hosting a meeting of the minds and then they will pass on the intel to us.  The DEA will probably be down here, too."

Cory added, "I heard Aaron talked to some chic who is banging a drug dealer who talked to Blue's killer who is a gang member who said The Road Tripz are going to take over Huntington."

Dakota laughed, "I think I need a road trip after all of this crap.  Is Aaron doing actual police work or is he monitoring Facebook?  That he said she said stuff sounds like hearsay from a couple of thirteen year old girls."

Marshall started to get into his car and said, "I guess we will find out tonight."




It was bright and early Monday morning, Mayor David Miller walked up the steps of Huntington City Hall in a very precise manner aware of every move like he was being filmed.  Mayor Miller did nothing by accident or off of the cuff.  Being mayor to him was an exact science.  His huge, broad shoulders that once blocked pass rushers for Marshall University were arched back and positioned to display his confidence.  His gray hair never fell out of place.  Each hair was exactly where it was supposed to be.  His smile was pearly white and he flashed in pictures every chance he got.  Mayor Miller's best friend was a camera.

He took the job of Mayor of Huntington very seriously.  He was not prepared for the drug epidemic that hit Huntington but his great leadership and feistiness defined his career.  When he became Mayor David, he was anticipating financial heroics for which he was prepared for by a career in the financial industry.  He was ready to repair Huntington's deteriorating infrastructure and bring new jobs to help his hometown thrive into the future.  He was not prepared to worry about his citizens being killed by poisonous drugs brought in by out of town drug dealers from a huge city hundreds of miles away.  He was not prepared for residents to complain about their homes being broken into.  He was not prepared to lay in bed at night and worry if any of his residents were being gunned down in the streets.    

He cared.  He felt helpless at times.  The drug epidemic and watching people dying took years off of his life.  When he shed a tear for an addict who died, it was real tears it was not an act.

He knew when he ran for office that Huntington had a dirty little secret but he was not aware of how big the problem was or how fast it was growing.  The truth is drugs had been coming down from Detroit since the early nineties.  Crack cocaine was blitzing Fairfield, a mainly black district in Huntington  before the end of the century.

In the new millennium, Oxycontin exploded in Eastern Kentucky and that area became known as "the painkiller capital of the world".  The painkiller also known as "Hillbilly Heroin" and it spread into Huntington as pill mills popped up all over Southern Ohio and Eastern Kentucky.

As crack and pills arrived on the streets of Huntington, jail guards noticed that more and more prisoners had M-u-n-n-i-n-g-t-o-n tattooed on the knuckles of their hands.

Huntington became known as "Moneyton".  Police noticed most violent drug related crimes and shootings involved drug dealers from Detroit.

Around 2009, local dealers were sponsoring runs to pill mills as the Oxycontin pipeline ran down into Florida.  Huntington residents were addicted to painkillers but it was a dirty little secret.

As the state cracked down on the pill mills and pharmacies filling prescriptions for painkillers, the demand for heroin was born and quickly met by Detroit drug dealers.

Even as heroin moved in and had a hold on the city, people still tried to deny it and hide the secret.

Many Huntington Police officers were saying that an epidemic would happen.  They were saying this as early as the late nineties, because they saw that the department and politicians largely were ignoring the problem hoping it would go away.

When David Miller ran for mayor in 2012, his opponent Ken Woods, the incumbent bragged about how safe the city was.  Woods claimed that crime was the lowest in decades and for the first time since the eighties, it was safe to walk down the streets of Huntington at night.

All the time Woods was spreading this silliness, drug dealers were digging in deeper and deeper.  In an ironic chain of events that happened on Election Day 2012 when Miller won in a landslide over Woods, two drug dealers from Detroit were robbed and murdered in Huntington.

Miller tried to duck the issue when he got inaugurated into office in January of 2013, but the shootings increased and the problem would not go away.  Robberies and petty crimes increased.  Residents were starting to complain about suspicious people in their neighborhoods.  More reports of drug houses and drug activity were coming in.

Finally, in at the end of Summer 2013, Miller came out fighting.  He added more police.  He made fighting drugs a top priority.  In doing so, he empowered the religious  community and neighborhoods by encouraging them to get involved and stick together.  He made several speeches visited rehabs and neighborhood meetings.  He provided the leadership that got residents involved in reporting drug activity in their neighborhoods.  The activity was no longer isolated to the black community like it was in the nineties, the activity and violence has migrated to virtually every neighborhood in Huntington.

Information and tips came pouring in and the area jails kept filling up.  The overdoses continued despite the fight and reached epidemic levels with almost 1,000 reported overdoses and 76 deaths in 2015.  This year the overdoses were happening everyday although the use of Narcan by first responders had helped lower the death rate.

Some dangerous events had taken place over the week and as the laced heroin and movement into the area by a  Detroit gang was taking placed, Mayor David Miller was praying for God's help for a solution.

The Monday morning meeting took place in the mayor's office and included Police Chief Jim Riggs, Mike Adams -The Head Of Huntington's Mayor Office of Drug Control Policy (a new agency started by Mayor Miller), several detectives and officers including Bill Aaron, and members of The Drug Task Force and DEA.  When the dust cleared from the meeting, Mayor David Miller emerged from "the war room" and went to The City Council Chambers for a press conference at noon.


This was a different Mayor David then Huntington or anyone was used to seeing.  This Mayor David was ready to fight.  The big 6 foot 5 mayor positioned himself at the podium using the body language that spoke louder than words.  His arms flexed through his suit as he talked.  The Mayor David smile that beamed daily through dozens of photographs was gone and replaced by a serious scowl.  The hair was still perfectly in place but the whole demeanor had changed.  Mayor David Miller had had enough.  Mayor David Miller and The City of Huntington was ready to fight.

Mayor David looked at the crowd that had gathered and spoke with a harsher more serious tone than ever before in his life.  He said, "Citizens of Huntington, we are all familiar with the drug epidemic that has grasped this area the last few years.  There has not been a family that has not been affected by this epidemic.  We have all lost loved ones to this tragic wave of drugs and crime.  No family has gone untouched.

Sadly, though we have fought this battle for over two years, events happened over the weekend that took the tragedy to a new level.  Heroin laced with fentanyl moved through the area and death followed with it.  In addition, we received intel from Detroit and information from our area through various sources that a gang from Detroit that calls themselves The Road Tripz were moving into our area.  Several members were spotted and the gang is being blamed for a murder over the weekend.  The intent of this gang is to move into the area and unite drug dealers through violence to continue to bring drugs into our community and to prey upon our citizens.

The Huntington Police Department along with several other agencies will not tolerate this.  We are standing together and we will fight this gang.  We need the residents of Huntington to come forward and help us.  Please help us fight this unwanted gang presence by contacting us with any information on the murder of Douglas "Blue" Parsons that happened Saturday night or on any drug activity or movement by this gang.  We must fight this gang before they plant roots in our community.

There will be an increase of Huntington Police Department officers and officers from other agencies in our area.  The old adage of "snitches get stitches" is being replaced by "drug toughs get cuffs" as we encourage neighborhoods to stand together and boldly resist any influence by out of town gangs and drug dealers.

We have fought this drug epidemic long enough and now we are ready for the final phase.  Together, we will win the  war against drugs in our town.  We are going to stop the supply now.

In addition, we have talked to several agencies who fight addiction by treating the sick and addicted.  This drug epidemic has become a public health issue.  We are in the process of constructing and opening emergency treatment centers to treat the addicted.  This will help fight the demand side of the drug epidemic."


The mayor spoke further on helping the addicted citizens of Huntington.  The speech was carried on all local television channels and radio stations.  Mayor David Miller was igniting the Huntington residents with the fire to fight the effort of The Road Tripz to increase the drug trade in the area.

The speech had immediate results as the scared man who talked to Dakota Cook after Blue got shot, came forward and gave his name and a complete description of the car used in the shooting and a complete description of the men involved.


Heavy and his gang had Heather French, a 22 year old Huntington girl rent a house in her name out on 775 outside of Proctorville, Ohio.  It was a large two story house located out in the country away from any neighbors.  This was the perfect place for Heavy to be close enough to Huntington to conduct business but still be hard for the police to find.

Heavy quietly watched Mayor Miller's press conference and speech then erupted in laughter.  Heavy boomed, "So Mayor Hair Spray is going to stop ol' Heavy?  He's going to get a few hairs out of place and still not touch Heavy.  It's election year and he's gotta give a good show or else no re-election and no more free hair spray!"

Mr. P laughed at every word Heavy said.  He just shook his head and moaned, "I guess these elected fools have to do something to fool the people.  There's five hundred dealers in Huntington he can't stop, but he's going to get ol' Heavy."


Heavy was enjoying this and cackled, "First off, he is going to put more police out there...all that is going to do is increase coffee and doughnut sales in Huntington."

Hammer joined in, "Not really, because, the cops get all of their coffee and doughnuts free all over town.  It's just gonna make a doughnut shortage."

Heavy continued, "Then, he is going to monitor the bus station for shipments.  Sorry, Hair Spray, Heavy don't use Greyhound.  Then, he is going to work with cops in small towns out of Columbus and make it hard to bring anything down from Detroit by vehicle.  Okay, boys, take notes; because this is how we handle this."  Heavy motioned for Hammer and Mr. P to get a pen and paper.

Heavy was on a roll and was ready to plan strategy.  Mr. P had a notebook and pen and motioned for Heavy to continue.  Heavy took a drink of Sprite and continued, "Okay, for the first few shipments, we are going to use decoys.  We are going to get some cars up in Detroit with Michigan tags and the most gangsta looking dudes you can find.  Dark shades, baseball hats, braided hair...the whole nine yards.  Just make sure they do not have any warrants and that the cars are properly registered.  We are going to run them down Ohio 23.  Straight outta Columbus down through Waverly, Portsmouth, and into this area.  Music pumping, bass a thumping...as loud as it goes.  Now, while these dudes are coming, we get some innocent lil' white hoes with properly registered Ohio tags.  Nice cars, real clean...Have these girls stick as much heroin in balloons up their pussies..  We send them down the back way through Gallipollis.  No speeding and make sure they have their seat belts on."

Mr. P laughed, "Yeah, I can see police dogs sniffing their crotches.  That'd be a big story.  Pervert police dogs sexually office young female drivers."

Heavy was too deep in thought to hear what Mr. P said as Heavy began speaking again, "We continue building our organization but no one is to know about this place.  Got it?  No business here...this is our hideout not our warehouse."

Hammer spoke up loudly to break Heavy's train of thought, "We have two stash houses in Chesapeake, Ohio to keep the dope and three men in each house to monitor what is going on."

Heavy smiled and shook his head and then continued to talk, "Cool.  They already want to talk to me about Blue's murder so they cannot have access to me.  No one talks to me face to face.  Understand?  All communication goes up the chain."

The two gangsters shook their heads in agreement as Heavy handed them a picture of the chain of command.  Heavy continued, "This is how communication travels down here.  Only you two as my top assistants should have direct contact with me.  But, because you guys are wanted for murder as well, you are limited.  K-Dog and Ghost will be directly under you two.  They will be who handles the money and the big deals.  We have a load of dealers under them who make the transactions and bring the money and get the product Ghost and K-Dog.  Each dealer can hire their own runners or whatever.  They run it as a business but they have to give us the money and buy the product from us.  Like Wal-Mart, we bulk buy and get it cheaper."

Mr. P took the opportunity to speak as Heavy caught his breath and grabbed another drink of Sprite.  "We have most of the dealers signed up.  Some are running scared and headed up to Detroit or somewhere else.  A few, we haven't served notice to but Pokey is heading that operation up to get everyone in compliance.  It's going to take a few days but Pokey is in charge of compliance."

Heavy started speaking again, "The ones that don't join our organization will pay a protection fee or we beat the living crap out of them and chase them out.  We have Mr. Blue to use as our shining example as to what happens to people who do not comply.  Quite frankly, I think we need another example.  What do you think , Mr. P?"

Mr. P thought for a moment and spoke, "It wouldn't hurt.  Most these Detroit guys are hard heads and resent our organizing them although it makes them more money in the long run.  So for any of these guys who think they dodge us and still do business in Huntington, I think it would be smart to provide another example for them."

Heavy boomed, "Just what I was thinking.  I think that Cash bastard would be a good example.  I don't really like that boy.  I could see defiance in his eyes.  Once, he gets time to think about it and he does not have us in his face, he is going to do things his own way.  He worries me.  Tell Pokey, I want an answer if he is going to join us within twenty-four hours, if not; tell Pokey that he has the firepower to handle the situation.  Pokey wants to be a big man so here is his opportunity.  He needs to understand I am watching this and how he handles Cash will basically determine Pokey's future.  If he joins us than that makes Pokey look like a good salesman and human resource director.  If he turns us down, we will see how Pokey handles trouble."

Mr. P laughed, "I'm not sure Pokey can handle Cash.  Pokey is just a little boy trying to play king.  Cash has got some fire in him."

Heavy got up and stretched.  "I am going to go up to Detroit for a few days.  I have some business to take care of up there and I want to keep a low profile.  We have a lot to do to establish a presence down here and that PR work makes it hard because we have to be seen by the right people and not seen by the others.  We have to accept some dealers will get busted at first with the crackdown so we have to be careful who knows what.  You guys are running this Huntington operation so be very careful.  If something happens to you guys then all of Road Tripz is at risk.  I'm leaving out of here after dark tonight and travelling alone.  Keep the Camera hidden.  Have some white chicks rent us some cars if you need them." 

Heavy had confidence in Mr. P and Hammer.  He had known these guys since they were kids.  They fought together in many gang fights and were members of two other gangs before forming Road Tripz.  Road Tripz central purpose was to be a Detroit based gang who expanded into small towns and sent their money back to Heavy in Detroit.  The gang was basically a corporation headed up by Heavy.  Heavy received money from several small towns from Michigan on down to West Virginia.  Huntington worried Heavy because it was bigger than the usual towns he dominated.  Huntington was full of money andhe would be a fool not to strike.  He had been watching Huntington for years and realized he should have taken advantage of the opportunity years ago.  He was done stalling, now was the time to make this happen.


The biggest thing that Heavy did not like about the Huntington situation was that he had gotten his hands dirty far too early.  The fentayl laced heroin made it imperative that Blue was erased early in the game.  By participating in the killing himself, Heavy has made it so if he shows his head in Huntington, he will be arrested for murder.  The mistake was a major fuck-up.  It should have been handled by a quiet assassin who would have killed Blue and then quietly disappeared back into Detroit and never be in West Virginia again. 
 
The mistake has cost Heavy his ability to be seen and intimidate people in Huntington.  In Detroit, Heavy was an intimidator.  No one wanted to see Heavy at their door.  Heavy was also sure that since Huntington has put out an arrest warrant for murder on him, that Detroit police would be looking for him as well.

 
Heavy knew in advance that taking over a city the size of Huntington meant there would be a huge need for improvising and the changing of plans.  A takeover of this size was not going to be completely smooth.  He had some good people that he could count on and trust and that made the changing of plans much easier.

Heavy also hated the fact that his mistake meant he could not have plenty of girls at his house.  Huntington was full of cute young girls who would love an opportunity to party with a big city drug kingpin like Heavy.  The girls could not be trusted and Heavy would not take the risk of the girls partying with him and then selling out his whereabouts to the police.  At least in Detroit he had some girls he trusted.  He would have to bring them down with his on his next trip.  One of the perks of being a big-time drug dealer was the women, if there were not any women available as the prize it kind of defeated part of the purpose.  If there were not going to be any girls, then there had better be lots and lots of money available as the prize.  Huntington had lots and lots of money available as the prize, that’s the main reason Heavy was spreading his corporation into Huntington.


                                                                               

 
   
                        CHAPTER 7
 
Maybe it was the stress of The Road Tripz moving in on his territory, but Cash felt a strange attraction to his new acquaintance Natalie Aaron.  
 
Cash was not the kind of man to fall in love, and if he did he would not typically fall in love with one of his heroin addicted customers, but he could not help but to think of Natalie.
 
Even with the pressure of an impending attack, Cash was thinking more about Natalie than Heavy.  She was not the type of girl he was used to being around she certainly was not the typical drug addict.  She was insanely beautiful with a smile that haunted Cash since he met her.  She was very smart and could provide information on anything he needed to know.  She could shut up when she had to which was a quality that Cash looked for in a woman.  He was tired of the young girls in Huntington who just never knew went to shut the hell up.
 
Natalie had beauty, brains, a sense of humor and a touch of class.  A touch of class was certainly something that you did not see in every drug addict.  Perhaps most importantly, Natalie not only had a job but a good career.  Cash thought the reason why he never met a woman that he could ever think about settling down with was because he never met a woman with a career.  
 
If those whole drug dealing gig would go bad then perhaps he and Natalie could escape to another town where she could resume her career and support them until he found a good job.  
 
At some time the drug dealing business would get old and Natalie could take care of them until he found a job in Huntington outside of the drug dealing business.  He could find something legal and perhaps they could have a family.  
 
Cash knew he was getting way ahead of himself, but he was getting tired of looking over his shoulders.  It was getting time for a new life.  Who better to start a new life with than a beautiful, funny, smart and classy blond with a career.

Pokey had tried to call him but Cash did not feel like talking.  It was Monday afternoon.  Cash was feeling like it was time for a change.  He had some heroin and although he was taking the day off and not answering any calls, he was planning on selling what he had on hand.  After this batch was gone, he was not sure what he was going to do.  He knew that he would not work for Heavy.  All the signs were looking like it was time for Cash to go legitimate and find a real job. 

He was not afraid to admit to himself that his feelings for Natalie may be as responsible for this change as Heavy's takeover.  She was a strong positive influence on him.  She changed the way he looked at things.  She made him believe in himself.  He was confident but in a different way.  He was cocky when it came to his street cred.  He knew he could handle himself physically and on the streets.  He knew he was smart enough to swim with the sharks and do his share of eating. 

He lacked the confidence when it came to thinking about going straight and surviving in the business world.  Natalie made him believe that he could go learn and adapt.  She made him believe he could make the transition from success in running and selling drugs to success in the real business world.  She tried to convince him that he had the charm and brains to compete in business.  She was not pushy.  She just had a way about her that was calming. 

He had been wanting to do something special for her for a while.  He knew he got a little upset yesterday and she was understanding and calmed him down.  He wanted to do something special for her to show his appreciation.  He was new to actual dating.  He did not know how to express himself in a relationship because he had never been there before.

He had many girls chasing after him and he had slept with many.  He naturally attracted girls with his good, rough looks and cockiness.  He was street hard and everything about his attitude from the way he dressed to the way he talked to the way he walked, displayed this.  Girls were drawn to this show of confidence.  There were also girls who were drawn to the lure of heroin for sex.  Cash never had a shortage of women trailing him.

His feelings for Natalie were different and he did not totally understand them.  He did not want to feel like this but the more he was around her the more her sweet smile was changing him.  He was going to do something he had not done since high school, he was going to take her out for dinner and a movie.


There was a knock on the door and Cash spun around and checked his hair one more time before opening it.  Instead of encountering Natalie, he was disappointed and somewhat aggravated to find Pokey at his door.

"What up, Dog?" Pokey acted happy to see Cash, but Cash was not feeling it.  Cash turned away and Pokey nudged the door opened and entered the house.

Cash turned and looked at Pokey, then said, "Not today, Man.  I'm not in the mood."

Pokey countered, "What do you mean, Bro?  It's simple.  There's nothing to think about."

Cash walked in and sat down on his sofa.  He took a drink of Fruit Punch Gatorade and said, "I'm not joining The Road Tripz.  I don't do gangs."

Pokey said with a smile, "Don't think of it as joing a gang, think of it as a business venture.  You are consolidating with a bigger company for the advantages and security it provides."

Cash shook his head negatively and said, "I'm not feeling it.  I'm just going to unload the product I have and get out."

Pokey had a frustrated look on his face, "Dog, what are you gonna do?  You are a natural at dealing.  It's in your blood.  You can't change and go legit and you can't deal unless you deal for Heavy.  He's gonna be the only game in town."

Cash looked Pokey in the eyes and said, "I'm getting out.  The game is old.  It's changing and I'm changing.  I don't want it anymore."

Pokey looked sternly at him, "You can't bluff Heavy.  You can't say you are out and still deal.  Dog, he's not that bad.  He has high hopes for you.  He's going to move into Ashland, Charleston, and Logan.  He's going to take on a lot of territory.  He needs good people.  He has heard about you and he wants you."

Cash looked away and took another drink of Gatorade, "I just ain't playing this shit.  I don't need anybody to help my business and I've worked too hard to give any of away.  I'm just done with it."

Pokey warned, "Listen, Dog, if you try to double cross Heavy and deal on his turf and not give him his cut, it won't be good."

Cash could not believe what he just heard and sprung up off of  the sofa and walked over to him and said, "I sold heroin ever since it hit the area.  Fuck that fat ass and fuck you for coming in my face and acting like you are my friend while you are trying to steal my business."

Pokey backed up a step as he was much smaller than Cash but he was feeling cocky thinking Heavy had his back.  He spoke up again, "I ain't done nothing but try to help you , Dog.  You're gonna regret this.  Heavy, already told me he was offering you a sweet deal because I knew you but he wasn't gonna take no shit off of you.  He said you seemed like a rude little bitch when he was here and it was up to me if I wanted you to come on board.  He said if you don't work for him you ain't selling in Huntington or West Virginia period."

Cash was tired of this conversation.  He shoved Pokey hard with both hands.  Pokey stepped forward and swung and missed.  As Pokey's right went wild, Cash stepped into him and jabbed with his left to Pokey's jaw and picked him off the ground with a right uppercut that t caught Pokey under the chin.  The smaller man literally went airborne and landed on his ass


Stunned, Pokey looked up at Cash through blurry eyes.  Cash picked him up by the neck and carried Pokey to the door.  He slung him out onto his porch.  Cash pointed at Pokey and said, "Tell Heavy I'm refusing his offer.  Thanks but no thanks!"

Pokey struggled to stand.  His was dizzy and his chin was throbbing and he was trying to yell, "You're dead you motherfucker.  You'll be sorry.  This ain't over!"

Cash walked inside and promptly loaded up his 9 millimeter Smith and Wesson.  If Heavy and his gang wanted to put Cash out of business, they were going to have to work hard to do it.



 
Natalie Aaron  was becoming more interested in Cash for a variety of reasons.  First, she found him to be insanely attractive and charming.  She was becoming very used to his heroin.  She was also interesting in giving whatever information she could to her father Bill.  

She loved her father and though she did not want to worry him about the type of sharks she was swimming with, she wanted to give him information from inside the local drug scene and particularly the murder case he was working on.




                    CHAPTER. 8

Cody Dingess just sat in his cell.  He was propped up against the wall as best as he could.  His back was on fire.  His head pounded and hurt relentlessly.  His legs were swollen and were black and blue from where Dakota Cooked had beaten with a police baton.

His chest hurt when he inhaled and it equally throbbed when he exhaled.  The physical pain that inflicted his body was nothing compared to the pain his tortured soul was inflicted with when he was told that his mother and sister were found dead after they overdosed on fentanyl laced heroin.

His mind immediately flashed back to better times that seemed so long ago.  

He was just a boy again running on the scorching sand chasing his little sister Sierra as the southern sun beamed down on Myrtle Beach.  They were laughing and giggling.  Their mother Patty was behind them jogging with them.

The three cautiously waded into the waves together as they held hands. There were no drugs.  There was no pain.  There was not any darkness.  The sun was bright and so was the future.

Suddenly, the three were at Ritter Park swinging on the swings.  Then suddenly there in the backseat of a old Camaro watching Batman at the old drive-in theatre on Route 60 in Huntington.

The memories of happy times kept flashing through his mind.  He could feel them.  He almost chuckled when he recalled the Barnum and Bailey clown clowning around with them at The Huntington Civic Center.

His blood boiled as he recalled his first fight defending Sierra from a little boy that was teasing her.

Now, their lifeless bodies were stiff in a cold, dark morgue.  He would never hear his sister's laugh or see his mother's smile.  His heart hurt.  He cried painful tears.

His stomach was raw.  Heroin was calling him.  His body craved what it could not have.  As his mind reminded him of what he was and what he had lost, his body reminded him of what he was now.

He was a slave to heroin. Heroin was the cruelest of masters.  It left the slave's body totally submissive and racked with pain.

The guards looked at him with anger and disgust.  He was the dog shit that was scraped from their shoe.  One guard had spit on him as he slept on the floor of his cell.  He was too sore to climb onto his bed so he spent his day in jail spread out on the floor.

The last time he was in jail, one of his last friends tried to help.  The jail did not provide any resources to help with his addiction.  He was incarcerated because was a slave to Master Heroin.  Master Heroin demanded appeasement.  The wicked master did not care if Cody had to steal or even kill to appease the master.  The master never stayed happy for long.

His friend, Charlene, helped him after he got out.  She called all of the rehabs.  There were no available beds.  Cody was ready to leave jail for rehab but there was not anyone except Charlene ready to help him escape from Master Heroin.

She worried about him when he got out.  He did not call her for days.  The slave was serving his master but Charlene could not understand.  She had to give up.  Quitting on her friend was the hardest thing she ever done but there was no one else to help.  She had to save herself.



The streets of Huntington had become a city of slaves serving Master Heroin.  Cody Dingess was not the only slave.  Every night slaves walk the streets ready to do whatever it takes to appease the master.

Detective Bill Aaron put food on the table by putting these slaves in jail and taking them off of the street.  Then, in a matter of days he would have to chase them again.  The cycle only ended when the body bag was zipped.  Master Heroin was a headless master who did not care to bury a slave.

Bill Aaron was a slave of sorts.  There were not any tracks on his arms...only on his soul.

He was proud of Natalie and loved her very much.  He had confidence in her and knew she was not like Cody Dingess.

Bill Aaron knew that Master Heroin was a heartless killer.  Bill Aaron had nightmares.  The detective would wake up in cold sweat from a nightmare of the body bag being zipped up on Natalie.

Everytime he saw a young overdose victim of an overdose like Sierra Dingess, his knees would get weak.  His stomach would turn as the corpse was jailed away.  At night in Bill Aaron's nightmare the face of the victim would become Natalie's face
  
Every late night phone call scared the hell out of him.  Natalie Aaron may not wear Master Heroin's collar but Master Heroin knew who Natalie was and he wanted her and that kept Bill Aaron up at nights.


Mayor David Miller knew that Master Heroin was preying on his town.  Mayor David has his own nightmares.  It was like the mayor could hear every body bag being zipped.  

The mayor wanted to rescue every slave.  He wanted to take off every chain and set every slave free.  

Master Heroin taunted Mayor David because the master knew the mayor was as helpless as Bill Aaron.  Both men's heart was at the master's mercy
  
Master Heroin was after Bill Aaron's daughter and he had a reign of terror in Mayor David's city.  Both men hated Master Heroin but we're powerless to stop him.


Natalie Aaron hung up her iPhone after Cash told her about his encounter with Pokey.  She stopped at Fat Patty's and got her dad a Black and Blue Burger and was dropping it off at the police station.  She was going to meet up with Cash later for their first actual date.

Natalie walked into her dad's office and with a big smile handed him the sandwich.

Bill Aaron looked up and with a half smile said,. "Natty, you didn't have to do that.  I probably won't have time to eat."

Natalie gave him a funny look as he moved papers away on his desk and started to open the sandwich.  Natalie asked, "No time to eat?"

"No time to eat," Bill confirmed as he bit into the sandwich and blue cheese oozed out the side.  He added, "But if I did, I'd sure it'd be delicious."

Bill was chomping into the sandwich as his daughter added, "well, if you do get time to eat, I'm sure you'll enjoy it."

Bill wiped his mouth and was already halfway through the sandwich but added, "I'm sure I will, if I get time.  It looks good.  Speaking of looking good, where are you going all dressed up?"

Natalie was wearing a green and white Marshall University T-shirt and a pair of white shorts.  Her hair was fixed Nicky but she had a green Marshall baseball hat on.  " Oh, Daddy, I'm not dressed up but I am going to dinner."

Bill Aaron felt a little awkward talking about his daughter's personal life.  He bit into the sandwich again and asked, "With him?"

Natalie knew exactly how her dad felt and what he was thinking, "Yes, with my friend."

They both looked away and then looked back at each other. It was like they could read each other's mind.

Natalie look around the room and then said, "Daddy, I think some bad things are getting ready to happen.  Cash is upset.  One of Heavy's boys, Pokey, came by his house to coerce him into dealing for Heavy.  Cash got into an argument and ended up beating Pokey up and literally throwing him out."

Bill looked up with a worried look, "Natalie, you know I trust your judgement, but please be careful.  There's big time stuff fixing to happen.  We have the muscle here.  The DEA is here.  The Drug Task Force is ready.  The mayor says he's ready to stop this gang before they get started."

Natalie adjusted her baseball hat and said, "Well, I admire Cash for standing up.  Some of the other dealers are heading back home to Detroit."

Bill smirked, "Yeah, we've had a few calls from dealers complaining about Heavy threatening them."

Natalie cleaned up the mess on her father's desk from the sandwich and said, "Well, I am going to talk to Cash and try to get him to leave town.  He wants to fight, though.  He is stubborn."

Bill held her hand and said, "Natty, please be careful.  Intel from Detroit says that there is a major shift of power down here.  Several known Road Tripz members are being monitored and it has been reported in Huntington.  These types of gangsters don't just talk."

Natalie Aaron was street smart, and at one time in her life, she  wanted to be a police officer.  Bill was aware that she did carry a small pistol in her purse but he knew The Road Tripz carried much more firepower.

Natalie hugged her father and then drove around the block to the library.  She pulled toward the back of the parking lot.  She looked both ways.  She pulled a syringe and some of the heroin she got off of Cash yesterday.  She injected the heroin into her arm in the library parking lot, just yards from Huntington City Hall where Mayor David was constructing the strategy to combat The Road Tripz and the drug epidemic.

After she shot up she headed to pick up Cash for their first date.  When she walked into Cash's house, she instantly lit up with a smile as Cash presented her with a red rose and a kiss.

Cash smiled a smile of his own and said, "Baby, you sure look sexy in a baseball hat.  An Ohio State hat would look better but green is your color.  Every color is your color."

She looked stunned, "Ohio State?  You're from Michigan!"

As he leaned in for another kiss, he said, "What can I say?  I spent a lot of time in Columbus."

They walked out to her car and left to go to Pullman Square.  They were talking and holding hands and were unaware they were being followed.

Alexis Rose was right behind the pair as they down 3rd Avenue.  They were totally unaware of the portly young blond in the silver 2014 Nissan Altima.

They parked at a parking garage in Pullman Square and walked to Rooster's.  Alexis Rose was close behind and followed them into the restaurant.  Alexis took pictures of Natalie at every opportunity on her iPhone.

As they examined the menu, Cash said, "I am going to sell what product I have left and get out.  I don't know where to but I have to let things blow over here.'

Natalie looked up from menu and said, "it's time to move on but you don't have to move away.  The police are going to crush the drug business here.  You need to hide.  You can stay at my apartment."

"Nat, I don't want to do anything to jeopardize you.  These Road Tripz guys are killers.  They are going to try to kill me and if you are with me, they will kill you, too."

"They don't know about me.  They will have no way of knowing where you are."

"I have to be visible to sell the stuff I have.  I'm not going to put you in danger.  I'll sell what I have in two or three days, and then hide out at your place for a few days until I figure out where to go or it blows over.  This is all straight bullshit."

Alexis Rose had emailed the pictures she took of Natalie to Pokey and Heavy.  She posted the pictures of Natalie on her Facebook page hoping someone could identify the girl in the picture.

Natalie was trying to forget the drama that had taken over their lives.  This was technically their first day.  She gazed in his eyes and with a smile that said forget the drama, she asked, "So Mr. Cash, when you were a little boy in Detroit, what did you want to be when you grew up?" She saw the gleam in his eyes and added, "Don't you dare say drug dealer."

Cash smiled, "You should have seen what the dealers drove in my neighborhood."

Natalie laughed and said with a twinkle in her eyes, "I knew you would say that."

Cash served up another smile and said, "Naw, every boy in the hood wanted to be Barry Sanders."

"The basketball player?" She asked innocently.

"Girl, what did you just say? Basketball?"

Natalie shook with laughter, "I got you this time.  Barry Sanders was a running back for The Detroit Lions.  I used to watch football every weekend with my dad.  I was a tomboy ."

"You a tomboy? Damn, girl, you look sexy in a baseball hat; but I ain't seeing you as any type of boy.  You're all woman!"

She grinned and added, "I bet you as kids I could have tackled you!"

Cash laughed, "Girl, as fine as you are, you can tackle me anytime you want to!"

Natalie purred, "I might take you up on that offer later."

Cash sighed, "Girl, you're killing me.  No wonder we don't go on dates.  I'm ready to skip dinner and go straight to desert."

Natalie gave him a sexy smile and purred, "You need to et.  Chicken is loaded with protein, you may need your strength later."

Cash laughed, "I'm gonna need my strength later? Yeah, I forgot.  You used to play football".

Natalie flashed him a serious look, "My dad and I are Steeler fans so we watched real football.  It wasn't like that Detroit stuff you watched."

Cash shook his head sideways and said, "Okay, Miss Football Playing Tomboy, what did you want to be when you were a little girl?"

Natalie gave a shy smile and confessed, "I wanted to be a cop like my daddy."

Cash looked around the restaurant and said, "We are from different worlds.  I grew up in the hood hating the cops because Everytime they came in my neighborhood, somebody's daddy or brother was going to jail.  When we go where white people were, the cops would watch every move we'd make.  You were the policeman's little princess.  I bet he warned you about us niggas."

Natalie turned serious, "My father was never like that. He did not judge people.  He always said that sometimes good people do bad things just like bad people sometimes do good things.  He said it wasn't his job to sort out the people just the actions they did.  My father raised me to be the same."

They finally received their food and as she picked at her chicken strips, she said "You probably think I m trying to rebel against a strict father.  You think my father was hard on me so I'm hanging with the black boys and shooting up heroin to spite him?"


Cash shrugged his shoulders and said, "There has to be some of that going on because how else would two people from two different worlds like us get together?"

"Bill Aaron did not hide me inside and say don't go out there because there's a black person out there.  My dad was not like that all."

"So are you saying he wouldn't rather see you with a white doctor than me?"

"My father would not dislike you because you are black.  He would probably dislike you because you sell the drugs that are destroying this city.  But, he would probably rather see me with a black man making minimum wage as opposed to a white doctor who I'm not happy with.  He just wants me to be happy."

"So why are you here with me?  Why are we starting this cop's daughter and the drug dealer drama?"

Natalie was serious and said, "Because I don't see you as a drug dealer.  You are much more than that.  You are charming, cute, witty, and have a hot ass.". Natalie laughed as she said ass and added, "Most important, you treat me like I'm someone special."

"So let's look at us from another angle," Cash challenged.  "We've done looked at from the cop's -daughter and drug dealer angle.  How about the dealer and user angle?"

"I'm not sure what you are implying.  Are you saying that I'm an addict and I like you for your drugs?  I'm not sure of your point."

Cash retreated, "Not a point.  But I do sell drugs and you do take them."

Natalie was kind of insulted, "First of all, do you think I'm an addict?"

"No, I didn't say that at all."

"I really don't use that much.  So do you think I like because of drugs?  You give me some, but I've paid for most I've gotten.  So didn't even suggest that I screw you for drugs, it's not like that at all."

"Whoa, I'm not saying you do.  I was saying that some people may that.  I mean people are looking at us now and thinking 'why is that hot blond that blonde that could be a model with that black thug that probably deals drugs?'. You know people wonder why we are together."

"I can understand why you asked about the cop's daughter and drug dealer thing, but now by just putting labels on us, you seem to be reaching for something and I don't know what or why."

Cash thought for a moment and said, "I guess because for the first time in a long time, I really like someone and I'm wondering if it's some type of game."


"I'm getting confused here...do you think I'm using you for drugs or using you to piss off my dad.  How did you get so insecure all of sudden.  So the big player is worried about getting played?  Is that what this is?  Is the great Cash worried about being some girls bitch?"

Cash protested, "Naw, it ain't nothing like that!"

"So what is it?  Is there something you are scared of?  Why are you acting so weird all of a sudden?"

"Listen, it's been forever since I thought about this type of stuff, but are we just screwing around or are we together?"

Natalie did not have a smile on her face as she asked, "So do you think I'm just screwing around?  Do you think I'm just another hoe trying to get free drugs?"

Cash took a deep breath and said, "This conversation is headed nowhere good.  Let me just say that I'd like to sell what I've got and then get out.  I want to find a legit job.  I want to be with you.  I'd like for you to quit using, when my product is gone.  I think that sounds fair, then at least it won't any more  dealer and user or even dealer and detective's daughter.  It won't even be Cash and Natalie, it will Donald Simmons and Natalie Aaron."

Natalie shook her head yes and said, "I agree.  We can get through all of this stuff together.  We both need change.  We will grow this together.  Now, let's get out of here and go to my place.  I'm ready to start   I've got to work tonight so I need to grow a little bit now."

They drove to Natalie's apartment.  They promptly made love then Natalie got ready for her midnight shift.  The beautiful nurse tried to talk her date into staying at her apartment where it was safer. The drug dealer declined saying he wanted to sell the rest of his product before Heavy's men took over the streets.

Natalie dropped Cash off at his house before driving to St. Mary's Hospital.


 
                                                                                                    CHAPTER    9

It was Monday evening, Dakota Cook was on the phone with his mother, Margie Cook.  Margie could always tell when something was bothering her son.  She could sense the stress in his voice. 

A few things in Dakota's life had stopped making sense lately and the stress of the past week and the looming drug war, had just about driven the young cop over the edge.

Dakota sighed and said, "I don't know, Mom.  It's not depression and it's not anxiety, but a little of each combined, I guess...if that's possible.".  

Margie Cook had always been able to get her son back on the right track.  She knew just how his mind worked.  She sensed he was having a spiritual dilemma.  She could tell that her son was struggling with his faith.  

Margie softened the tone of her voice and suggested, "Dakota, why don't you come to church this week?  Afterwards, we can talk to Reverend Delaney."

Dakota sighed, "That's not going to help.  Church isn't the answer to every problem."

Margie continued, "It's been awhile since you've been to church.  Ruth Baker was just asking about you and the girls yesterday.  It'd be good for you to come and see some old friends."

"Mom, I think religion is part of the problem.  I'm having issues right now.  Somethings that I was taught when I was younger, aren't making sense now."

"I think if you sat down with Reverend Delaney for awhile, he could help straighten out a few things for you."

"I'm  having trouble believing right now, Mom.  I've seen too much lately and it's changing me.  It's got me a little scared of what I'm becoming."

Margie's voice was stern as she said, "That's when God helps the most."

Dakota raised his voice, "Mom, God is the problem right now.  I've seen people get their faces blown off.  I've seen brains splattered on walls.  I've seen mothers shoot up and die as their little children watched and scream. 'Why won't mommy wake up?' Now. Tell me how does a loving God allow that?"

Margie was silent on the other end.  It hurt her that her son was in obvious spiritual pain.

Dakota was almost in tears as he continued, "What kind of God would let little children be raped and scarred for life.  What kind of God would listen as a kid says his prayers and then watch as the boy's father comes into the room and does unspeakable things to him?"

Margie's voice was shaking as she spoke, "Son, there are terrible people in this world.  This world is full of unspeakable evil.  That is why the world needs people like you.  The world needs people like you to battle evil and put the bad men away that do such evil things.  God is in you.  If you let him, he will be with you as you fight this evil."

"Mom, I watched this weekend as a body bag was zipped up on a mother and her daughter.  They were killed by heroin.  I arrested the woman's son right before that.  Where was God for that family.  That family was destroyed in hours."

"Dakota, these things aren't your fault.  They weren't destroyed in hours.  Those people were lost a long time ago when they turned away from God.  Those people destroyed their lives over a period of time.  They made a bad choice by turning away and then kept making bad choices by buying drugs.  They didn't die today, Dakota, their souls died a long time ago."

"Mom, I don't know what to believe.  Things aren't that simple.  A loving God would not let people turn away.  He would not let them be lost.  He would help them."

"Dakota, I'm sure they had their chances to be saved. I know it's wrong when little children get hurt.  But that's why God needs you.  He needs you to protect the children.  And you need God Dakota.  He gives you the inner strength to fight evil and to see the difference between good evil, because the difference isn't always that clear.  The devil tries to distract you.  The devil is trying to confuse you."

"It's not that easy anymore, Mom.  It's not that simple.  I'm losing my faith in good.  It doesn't make sense that we put all this faith in God, but yet he lets the innocent suffer, time after time.  Just like those floods in West Virginia, what did those people do to deserve what happened to them?  What was God's plan there?"

Margie shot back, "Dakota, I know you are confused.  You need someone to talk to.  I'll talk to Reverend Delaney.  You must give him a chance.  You have legitimate questions but you can let them cloud your judgement.  You need to get your mind clear and the reverend can help.  You are a good man and you are part of God's plan.  The work you have to do and the people you come in contact with is horrible but God needs you to do that."

I don't know, Mom.  I'll think about it.  I love you.  I've got to get ready for work."  Dakota hung up his phone and took a shower.

He was still thinking about his conversation with his mom a few hours later as he was in his patrol car and got his first call.  A man on Washington Avenue complained that a female guest had stolen his phone, lap top computer, and television set.  When Dakota pulled up to the house, he saw a skinny man who couldn't have weighed more than one hundred and fifty pounds.  He had a long gray beard and looked like the elf on the old Frosty Root Beer bottles.  The man was animated and was throwing his hands in the air and was obviously excited.

The man started exclaiming as Dakota walked up to him, "The whore even took my TV!  She took my damned TV!  Do you believe that shit?  The damn whore even took my TV!"

Dakota raised his hand as to calm the man and said, "Okay, Sir, please calm down a little for me so I can get to the bottom of this.  You said a whore took your TV set.  So the girl is a prostitute?"

"I don't know if she is a prostitute or not but she's a damn whore!  She took my phone and my computer but if that wasn't enough, she had to take my damn TV set!"

"Okay, I'm having a hard time following you.  You are going to have to calm dowm some.  First off, what's your name?"

The man was flustered but realized he was talking to a police officer so he tried to calm down.  Lowering his voice, he said, "Jack.  My name is Jack McComas."

"Okay.  Mr.  McComas, you said this girl was a whore.  Does that mean you paid her to have sex with you?"

"No, no.  I met her at DAV club."

"The one up by the police station on 10th?"

"Yeah.  That's the one.  Her name was Jaime.  Well, that's what she said.  I really don't recall her last name.  I had a few beers.  Well, anyway, I asked her if she wanted to hang out.  I told her I had some crack and I asked her if she smoked it.  She said she liked crack.  So we got into my car and came down here."

"Okay, Sir, first of all.  You do know crack is against the law , right?"

The man's eyes popped open when he realized what he said and he said to Dakota, "Sorry, Officer.  Yeah, maybe I should have left that part out.  But, the cat's out of the bag.  Yes, I know it's illegal.  I don't have any more.  She stole that, too?"

Cory Davis pulled up and Dakota gave him a quick grin and turned back to the man.  He looked at Jack and said, "Of course she did.  Well, Jack..." Dakota said in a voice that Cory could here as he walked toward them, "Here's a little advice.  Next time you fill out a police report, you may want to leave the crack part out."

"Good advice, Dakota." Cory agreed and looked at the man and said, "The mention of crack immediately changes the whole situation.  What's up , Dakota?"

Dakota grinned and said, "It appears a whore smoked crack with him and then took his TV set, computer, phone, and the rest of his crack.  But, I don't think he had sex with the girl so I don't know if she is a prostitute.  Jack, did you have sex with her?"

"No, it was nothing like that.  Partying.  We were partying.  She smoked crack at me at my apartment and then I fell asleep.  When I woke up, she was gone.  And my stuff was gone.  She even took my damn TV set.  How the hell am I gonna watch Duck Dynasty now?"

Dakota looked serious and said, "Well, Duck Dynasty is old now and sucks anyway.  So that part is not much of a problem.  What I am concerned about is that you indicated you drinking beer way up by my police station and you drove way down here.  How many beers did you have prior to driving?"

"About 7 or 8."

"Okay.  What about crack?  Did you have any crack prior to driving."

"No, Sir.  Do I look like an idiot?  I can handle beer but I sure ain't stupid enough to get behind the wheel of a car after smoking crack."

"All right, Sir.  How long ago did you drive down here?"

"It was earlier, about 3 or 4 hours ago."

"Okay, I can't arrest you for that but I have seen many victims of drunk drivers and I don't ever want to see you or hear of you out here driving under the influence of anything again.  Okay?  That means beer, crack, whatever.  You understand?"

Jack shook his head.  Cory Davis tried to hide his desire to laugh and walked back to his car.  Dakota looked back at Jack and said.  "So you are calling this girl a whore but as far as we know, she didn't sleep with anyone for money, right?"

"That's right.  She's a whore or she wouldn't of tooken my stuff."

"Okay, a whore is a prostitute and tooken is not a word, but we are getting off subject.  So I am assuming  that after you and her came back here, you smoked the crack.  Then, you fell asleep and when you woke up you discovered your property was gone?"

"Yes, Officer, that's when I discovered that the whore stole my TV set!"

Cory jumped out of his car, "Shot's in progress a war is breaking out.  Men down!"

Cory sped off as Dakota ran to his car.  Dakota yelled, "Jack, don't smoke any more crack.  Hit the sack and take another nap.  I'll be right back, Jack!  There's been an attack."


Pokey and three Huntington boys that he was trying to recruit for The Road Tripz was walking up to the back of the house Cash had rented.  Pokey looked at Reno, a big tall kid who was not much older than 18.  "Reno, I want you to come with me.  Duck, I want you and Chris to go around front.  I want first shot at him.  He made look stupid in front of Heavy but this is my chance to show Heavy I can handle trouble.  Give us a minute.  If something goes wrong then, he will be running out the front door and you guys pop him.  I'm going to get his punk ass, though.  I can't believe that bitch made me look like a fool."

Natalie had dropped Cash off and Cash had his dope out getting ready to try to make some calls and sell the rest of his product.  He heard a sound coming from the back door in his kitchen.  He got up to check it out.  As soon as he did, he saw Pokey kicking in the door and coming into the kitchen with his gun raised.  Cash immediately pulled out his gun and immediately fired.  Pokey fell dead onto the kitchen floor.  Reno was already behind Pokey and fired aimlessly toward Cash.  Three or four shots were fired with none of them coming close to Cash.  

Cash turned and headed back toward his living room where he grabbed his merchandise and stuck it in his pockets.  He saw another guy coming through the front door.  Duck fired but his shots were off.  Cash fired and shot Duck in the head.  Cash ran outside.  Chris jumped off the porch and ran from Cash.  Cash fired and shot him in the legs.  Chris went down in the front yard.  

Cash could here sirens in the night.  He ran into the darkness..  "What a bunch of amateurs!", Cash thought.  "Those must have been some local clowns Pokey picked up.  Surely that freak show wasn't supposed to be a professional hit?"  

Lots of things ran through Cash's mind as he ran.  He knew this was not an organized hit so he did not expect to run into anyone else that was trying to kill him.
  He knew that the entire block was about to be filled with HPD.  He knew they would be after him and they would not consider it self-defense since it was drug-related.  He would be wanted for murder because he figured at least two or three of them were dead.

He knew that eventually real assassins hired by Heavy would be looking for him, but he did not figure it would happen tonight.  He needed somewhere to hide tonight.  He thought of Natalie but there was no way he was going to bring her into this mess.  He headed toward his buddy Smack's house.  He was sure Smack would hide him out at least until the cops cleared out.  After that, he was not sure what he was going to do.  He knew he would soon have every local law enforcement agency and a gang called The Road Tripz after him.

This was  a major mess, but at least he was still alive.  
            

Heavy had passed through Columbus on his way back to Detroit when Mr. P called him.  P sounded excited for a man that never sounded excited.  "Heavy", P boomed, "There's big things going down!"

Heavy sounded surprised, "Dog, I've only been gone two hours.  What the hell's going on?"

Mr. P responded, "That little bastard Pokey went and got himself killed."

"What the hell?  I leave and shit falls apart."

Mr. P explained," I guess he was trying to show us how big of a badass he was and he got a few of his buddies together and went after Cash."

"He took his own guys?"

"Yep and Cash blew at least three of them away and another is messed up bad."

"What about that punk ass Cash, did they get him?" Heavy was getting excited.

" Nope.  He's on the run.  Police are chasing him on foot through Huntington.  Those idiots never landed a shot."

Heavy pounded the steering wheel and exclaimed, "what the hell?  Is Cash some kind of badass or were those guys idiots?"

"Shit, that boy ain't shit.  It presents a problem for us.  When word gets out, people are going to think Cash messed up Road Tripz soldiers.  They are going to think we are pussies and are going to not listen to us.  Cash will be a hero and a rebel force that the dealers will rally behind."

Heavy was disgusted, "That Cash boy is becoming a real pain in the ass.  Get some of our guys on him before the cops find him.  We have to make a statement."

Mr. P continued, "That was the bad news, I got some good news for you.  You are going to like this."

Heavy was ready for some good news, "Well, what is it, Dog?"

"I received a picture from Alexis of the gel Cash has been seeing.... and a name."

Heavy quipped, "Cool.  I got the feeling though there's something more."

"There sure is.  The little fox is Natalie Aaron!"

Heavy was disappointed , "I'm not getting it, P, is there a punchline or did you get me excited for nothing?"

Mr. P smiled a big smile and said, "She's Bill Aaron's daughter.  As in Detective Bill Aaron of the HPD.  He's the detective in charge of Blue's murder."


Heavy laughed loudly, "How convenient is that.  Get Cash's girlfriend and we get a detective's daughter at the same time.  I know you know what to do."

"I'm on my way.  In a few minutes we will have them both by the balls.  The punk and the police department will be at our command."


Mr.  P called the floor of St. Mary's where Natalie was working and told her Cash was in trouble and needed her help.  She had heard about the shooting.  A few minutes, she was racing out the front doors toward her car.

Hammer pulled the white van up next to the pretty nurse in blue scrubs.  Mr. P opened up the doors and pulled her in with the two gangstas.  


The HPD was on the scene at Cash's house.  The flashing police lights lit up the South Side of Huntington.  Three dead bodies and one wounded made the Huntington community look and seem like a battlefield.  It was a battlefield.  Another territorial firefight in the drug epidemic.  Another battle on the streets of Moneyton.

 The innocent of Huntington were not involved in the battle, but we're still were forever changed by the fact it did happen and can happen right in their own neighborhood.

Dakota Cook and Cory Davis looked at each other as they both stood together lost for words of what happened in their hometown.  Their feelings were a mix of anger, disgust, and sadness but there also was a frustration that although they put their lives on the line every time they put on their uniform, there was nothing they can do to keep the citizens of their community from being woke up by terror.

Bill Aaron was looking at the blood stains on the kitchen floor when his phone rang.  He looked at it and saw that it was Natalie.

He tried to shake the sadness from his voice as he answered the phone, "Hello Honey."

Mr. P was on the other end, "Detective Aaron, let me introduce myself.  I am P.  Folks call me Mr. P.  I met your daughter Natalie tonight in St. Mary's parking lot.  The Road Tripz want her boyfriend Cash.  We will be in touch."

After he hung up, Mr. P took a picture of Natalie tied up and sent it to Bill Aaron.


Mr. P said to Natalie, "Your boyfriend is a very popular man.  Everyone wants a piece of him.  The police, The Road Tripz...everyone wants to chill with your boyfriend."

Natalie was livid, "So you attack him and it is his fault for defending himself?"

Mr. P looked her in the eyes and said, "This is not about that little bastard Pokey and his buddies.  This is about getting everyone's attention including The HPD and your father's attention.  This is us letting everyone know we are here and we aren't leaving.  Respect us or suffer the consequences."

Natalie was not giving up, "What do you expect everyone to do...give you the keys to the city and let you do what you want to do?"

"Girl, this town has always let drugs happen.  Drug wars went on here almost ten years ago.  Gangs from Georgia, Detroit, and Columbus...which was a subsidiary of the Detroit gangs fought it out over crack cocaine and Detroit won.  The Road Tripz are merely stepping up and taking the rights to the drug trade here."

"For one, my father is not going to let a big city gang take over our city."

Mr. P laughed, "Your father and every officer that puts on an uniform in this city knows that Detroit runs the drug business.  They will soon understand that The Road Tripz run Detroit."



Bill Aaron turned white as a ghost.  His hands began to tremble.  Detective Tommy Bishop ran to his side.  "Are you okay, Buddy?  Are you having a stroke?"

Bill gasped, "My daughter.  The son of a bitches have my daughter."  Bill Aaron's worse nightmare was coming to life.  His legs began to buckle.  Tommy Bishop helped him find a chair to sit in.  Sweat was pouring down his face.  Other officers at the crime scene came rushing over.  "Give him a minute,"  Tommy Bishop pleaded.  "He needs a few minutes.  His daughter has been kidnapped.

A hush fell over the room as Tommy uttered the words 'his daughter has been kidnapped.'  With those words, The HPD had reached their boiling point.  Their anger would rise and soon boil over.  The code of The Huntington Police Department officers had always been to never mess with family.  If someone had a beef with an officer, they should take it up with that officer.  It was an unofficial code that if you messed with an officer's family, you were going to fight the whole department.



                                                                                                       CHAPTER 10


Tuesday afternoon saw two important meetings in Huntington.  There was a major meeting in the City Council Chambers with mostly the same people who attended the meeting on Monday.  Mayor David Miller, Police Chief Jim Riggs, Mike Adams, members of The Drug Task Force and the DEA, and other officers were there.  The kidnapping of Natalie Aaron was to be temporarily kept from the public and media.

The meeting was much like Monday's; part strategy and part pep talk.  The meeting concluded with another press conference from Mayor David.  He assured the public that the drug wars would be stopped.

The real meeting was across town in the basement of Rawley Jeffer's house on Piedmont Road.  Rawley Jeffers was on the Huntington Police Department in the seventies and eighties when a group of officer's called themselves The Old Centaurians.  

The Old Centaurians dealt with lawbreakers in their own way.  They did not believe in the catch and release process of today.  Today's catch and release process involves the officers chasing the same criminals around town.  They arrest them and then they either bond out or plea bargain their crimes down to virtually not any time in jail.  Without any deterrent, the habitual criminals are out on the street to repeat their crimes.  There are literally dozens of repeat offenders walking around Huntington with dozens of arrests on their records and people wonder why crime is up.  The increase of crime is not even displayed in statistics as many residents do not even bother to report petty crimes anymore.

The Old Centaurians may have taken the law in their own hands but it was effective.  Justice was usually handed out down by the flood wall in the form of exetreme physical beatings, or as Hank Williams Jr. sings, attitude adjustments.  If they got Barney stealing a law mower, they would visit Barney and get the law mower back.  Barney would also likely be missing some teeth.  It was extreme at times, but the number of repeat offenders on the streets then were very low compared to the plea bargaining practices of today.

Rawley Jeffers was now 72 years old and long retired from The HPD.  He was still a mountain of a man at 6 foot 4 and 270.  His arms may not be as ripped as they once were but they were still big and intimidating.  On his right bulging bicep was a tattoo that said "The Old Centaurians."

Legend among police officers tells the story of a raging Rawley Jeffers capturing a man who had raped a little girl.  He took the man up to the 31st Street Bridge in the east end of Huntington and slung him down into the Ohio River.

As Dakota told the story many times, "Officers were down under the bridge laughing about the man getting thrown off.  They laughed and said that at least the man could swim to shore and that was more than he deserved.  Then, the officers realized that the man was handcuffed, so they had to scramble to fish him out!"

In Rawley's basement were a number of old and current police officers.  The meeting was by invitation only.  Included was Captain Wally Brunty, Detective Bill Aaron, retired police officers and Old Centaurian members David Blank and Russell Buckalew.  Old jail guard Howie Norris was also there.  Current HPD officers Dakota Cook, Cory Davis, Marshall Mason, Caleb Emerick, and Ricky Watts were in attendance.

David Blank was pretty much forced out of the police department at an early age.  He was in his late twenties when he was involved in a shooting.  The shooting was deemed a legal shooting.  A couple of months later, he was in a car chase and slammed into another car injuring two people in that car.

A couple of weeks later, he pulled over a cousin to then Mayor Mary France.  The man proceeded to cuss out David and an officer he was training.  After taking threats and other verbal abuse, Blank blasted the man in the jaw.  David Blank took all of the heat to protect the young officer he was training.  He then negotiated to leave the force on his own terms.

Howie Norris was still friends with many of the old officers.  Howie was in charge a night that a prisoner got out of hand and had to be taken down.  The incident happened off of camera.  The correctional officers working handed him a beating which left the inmate bruised.  The inmate said he was beaten.  The officers said the man was drunk and as they brought him in and took him to incarceration he fell.  Howie Norris was not involved in the beating but he signed off as a witness that nothing happened and that he saw the guy fall.  Howie was trying to look out for the team.  Instead, he ended up taking one for the team.  One of the young guards that he was trying to protect told on him.  The guard even participated in a taped phone call in which he told Howie he was going to tell the truth.  Howie went crazy and started saying if he told the truth then the whole team would get in trouble.  Howie ended up in a work release program and out of the law enforcement field.  Years later, he was still a big guy and still believed in the team. 

These men, assembled in Rawley's basement were to become The New Centaurians.  They were going to try to rescue Natalie Aaron.  They also hoped to drive The Road Tripz out of town.


Rawley Jeffers had created a podium that overlooked three long tables in his basement.  He stood at the front of the basement and hovered over the podium.  

As the big senior citizen spoke, the room became quiet with the exception of his booming voice.  Rawley said, "Most of us in this room grew up in this city.  We remember a time when we could leave our doors unlocked or at least feel safe to walk down a city street at night.

This ain't the same Huntington I grew up in.  I drove through the West End and therewere prostitutes standing around a day care center.  I saw needles laying by a swing set in a park where children play.

Those of you still on the force chase the same criminals over and over.  Criminals have no fear.  They know even if they get caught, they won't be gone long.  Lawyersand courts all of this bullshit plea bargaining has made our city weak and vulnerable.

Now, we have a big city gang from five hundred miles away move into our town.  They want to take over.  They have more firepower than we do.  

I rode with some of you as The Old Centaurians.  We, the law, were in charge.  The criminals didn't run the city, they answered to us.  They knew better to break the law.  They knew there would be consequences for their actions.

Those of you that are in this room have been invited here for a reason.  There is a gang called The Road Tripz who want to run our city.  We must answer the challenge.  We can't do it the way the suits want us too.  We have to do it the old way.  The Old Centaurians way.  We stop them.  We are The New Centaurians.  Your city needs you.  The lawlessness must stop.


I introduce to you a friend we have all worked with.  A man the gang have chosen to mess with.  They have kidnapped his daughter.  You don't mess with our families.  They broke the code they must pay.

I introduce to you Detective Bill Aaron".

Bill Aaron took Rawley's place in front of the podium.  He stood silent for a few moments then spoke, "Friends, you all know how I feel about Natalie.  Some of you remember when she was born.  Some of you have watched her grow just like me....".  The detective was choked up and could not continue.

Wally Brunty took the podium.  With a serious look, he spoke, "I've tried to do things the new way, it just isn't working.  I remember the Old Centaurians.  The Old Centaurians wounot tolerate a gang of outsiders breaking the code.

The old guys here still have some fight in them.  The new guys are here because I have seen the fire in you.  You are the real New Centaurians.  This is your town.  I have seen the disgust in your eyes.  

We are going to bring Natalie Aaron home safely.  We will do whatever we have to do.   New Centaurians will make things right again."

Brunty stopped long enough to catch his breath and get his thoughts together.  He continued, "If anyone in this room does not, for any reason whatsoever, does not want to be a part of this group; you can leave now and I promise that no one will have any hard feelings about it."

Captain Brunty paused two minutes and then said, "Congratulations, you are all New Centaurians!  We will now try to answer any questions."

Dakota Cook raised his hand.  He asked, "We know they have better weapons than the police.  We obviously can't use our police issued guns or they will be easily traced.  So what will we use?"

Brunty answered, "Whatever you want.  But we can't provide weapons so you have to provide your own weapons."

Rawley smiled, "I'm an avid gun collector, so I may have a few things you can use."

Dakota spoke again, "With everything going on, we are all going to be working lots of overtime.  I'm not sure if we will have much spare time."

Rawley answered, "Being a Centaurian is an attitude or frame of mind.  I'm sure each of you will find an opportunity to help."


Cory Davis asked, "What is our game plan?  Do we have any information to go on?"

Brunty offered, "A lot of info we gather at work will help here.  It does seem the hot target for everyone is the dealer called Cash.  Cash is obviously wanted by HPD for the murders, which may well be self-defense, which will be up to the courts to decide."

Rawley chipped in, "This is where Centaurian thinking comes in.  If we find Cash before the HPD does, we will deal with The Road Tripz who are offering Natalie for Cash.  Obviously the HPD won't make a trade but we will."

Brunty said, "The Road Tripz are in the process of bringing product down from Detroit.  Once they get product, they will be visible.  If we can catch one while we are on duty, then we need to get a hold of fellow Centaurians instead of dispatch.  We will then arrange a special interrogation session that hopefully will get us the location of The Road Tripz headquarters."

Rawley said, "Guys, I shouldn't have to tell you this because I'm sure you know this meeting never took place.  There is no such thing as Old or New Centaurians.  Now, with that said...Let's go, Centaurians...let's go get Natalie."

Bill Aaron spoke up, "Thanks.  Please keep me personally updated with any info.  Call me anytime."

Brunty said, "There won't be any more meetings.  We will stay in touch by text.  What was that Brad Pitt movie...Fight Club?  Well, to steal a line from that movie....The first rule of being a Centaurian, is there isnt such a thing as Centaurians!"


                        CHAPTER 11

Cash was frantic.  It was five in the evening on Tuesday and he had been on the run since the shootings.  He received a text in the middle of the night from Heavy that said The Road Tripz had Natalie.

He tried to call Natalie and Heavy's number to no avail.  Cash was wanted by The Road Tripz and wanted by the authorities.  He could not go home.  He slept a couple of hours at an abandoned house on 5th Avenue and 13th Street.

He called a few of his regular customers and sold some of the heroin he had stuffed in his pockets when he was attacked.  He had to move quickly because he feared there was a hit out on him.  

He checked the news and although the news of the shootings was everywhere, there was not any news about a missing or kidnapped woman.

Desperate, he tried calling Natalie again.  

A man's voice answered, " Hello? Who is this?"

Cash answered, "I'm looking for Natalie.  Who is this?"

The voice said, "This is her father.  Who am I speaking to?"

Cash paused for a minute and then spoke, "You don't know me sir but hopefully Natty has told you a little about me.  People call me Cash."

Bill Aaron's was excited, "Everyone in this city is looking for you.  Listen, the gang has kidnapped Natalie.  I got her phone out of her car.  They grabbed her at a parking lot by St. Mary's last night."

Cash was devastated, "Is she okay?  Have you talked to her.  Damn, I don't know how they found out about her, but I'm sorry."

Bill's voice softened, "Word gets out quick in Huntington.  There are eyes everywhere.  Well, the important thing is getting her back safely.  What are your plans?"

Cash shrugged his shoulders as he spoke, "I'm torn.  I know everyone is looking for me.  It was self-defense.  Part of me wants to turn myself in and part wants to go find Natalie."

Bill Aaron said sternly, "Right now, I believe your best bet and Natalie's best bet is to stay out.  If we can rescue Natalie and you help then everyone will be more likely to believe your story.  I need your help.  I've got some guys on the force helping me find Natalie.  The kidnapping has not been publicized so we are working against time before it hits the media and then all chaos will break lose.  We need to find Natalie in the next twenty-four hours.  Do you have any ideas where Heavy is located?"

"Naw, man.  My contact was through Pokey and he is dead.  Whatever you need, just let me know."

Bill said, "You can be valuable.  If I can get you on the inside you have a better chance than the cops do.  You have to stay out of sight now.  I am meeting with the guys tomorrow.  Some of them have some firepower we can use.  I need to get you off of the streets though before someone sees you.  It's not even six yet.  Lets wait until it is dark and I'll move you to somewhere safe.  I have a house out back of Guyandotte that I used to rent out and it is empty.  You cannot be seen and I have some loose ends to take care of.  Can you stay hidden until about one in the morning and I'll pick you up at the flood wall by Harris Riverfront Park.  I'll call you around then."

Cash was not sure about this but he knew it was his best chance to get Natalie back.  After all, the man was the girl's father, Bill Aaron had to want her back more than he did.  If he wanted to set him up for the police then the detective would have talked him into giving himself up.  Actucally, turning himself in sounded like the most reasonable way to dig him out of this mess before the shit got any deeper.

The HPD were everywhere.  Overtime was being given to all of the officers.  The shootout in a residential neighborhood had the whole city shook up and scared.  As darkness fell on Huntington, the streets were empty.  Most of the cars on the streets were police cars.

Cash hid out at the abandoned house.  He was still torn about what to do.  It was not like him to sit around and let everyone else make the decision.  It was not like him to run or give up either.  Cash played the waiting game.

It was after midnight when Cash got Bill Aaron's call and waited for him by the flood wall.  Once, Cash got the call, Bill Aaron was there in five minutes.  As Cash climbed into the car, Bill said.  "I've got an extra change of clothes in the trunk.  I'm going to take you up to the house in Guyandotte.  I'm telling you, Cash, everyone is looking for you!"

Cash was only worried about one thing, "Have you heard anything about Natalie?"

"No," the detective shook his head.  "But, I do need your gun."

Cash looked at him funny, "That's my protection, man.  You can't just dump me out somewhere and leave me alone.  I've got to protect myself."

"Cash, I'm a police detective.  I cannot have a killer with a gun in my car with me.  Just give me the gun for now.  If we get stopped or anything I cannot have you armed."

Cash was reluctant but he was already committed to this plan, so he turned the gun over.  Bill Aaron looked at him and said, "I have some of my men that want to talk to you.  They are police but they are part of a group called The New Centaurians.  They are going to help us.  They have the firepower I was talking about.  That is another reason why I did not want you armed."

"I did not agree to any meetings.  This don't feel right!"

"Just trust me, Cash.  I have my reputation and my daughter's life on the line trusting you.  You can trust me.  If I wanted to arrest you, I would just drive you to the station."

Bill Aaron drove them down 5th Avenue and to under the 31st Street Bridge.  The two men got out of the car and stood.  Two minutes later, another car pulled up.  Two huge black me walked over to the cop and Cash.  Mr. P. had a big smile on his face, "Mr. Cash, it's wonderful to see you again."

Hammer looked at Cash and grinned, "Well, if it ain't the elusive Mr. Cash?"

Cash looked at them and then at Bill Aaron, "So what's up?  Are you trading me for Natalie?"

Mr. P smiled again, "Natalie has already been released.  We gave her to Mr. Aaron a few hours ago."

Bill nodded, "Natalie, is just fine."

Mr. P looked at Cash and said, "You, my friend, are a whole another story.  You are about to see what kind of huge catfish swim at the bottom of the Ohio River.  No one will shed a tear.  You are a murderer and after a while they will quit looking for you and assume that you disappeared back into Detroit."

Cash looked at Bill and asked, "If you have Natty back, why this?"

Bill Aaron snarled, "Do you think I want my baby screwing a murdering black drug dealer?  You think I want that all over town.  Do you think I want her crying at your trial over you.  I have a reputation."

Mr. P laughed, "Truth of the matter is, Cash, since you won't be around to see the ending of this drama.  Mr. Aaron and others have been on our side since the beginning.  Heavy greased several officials and officers palms quite well.  Who better to investigate Blue's murder  than someone on the payroll?  He's not going to arrest the man who is financing his retirement, is he?"

Cash looked at Bill with disgust and yelled, "I may be a drug dealer but nothing is worse than a dirty cop."

Mr. P laughed, "This is how it is done.  Nothing really changes.  Drugs were being sold down here and killing people for years.  We just come down here and pull all of the business together.  Instead of a bunch of little independent dealers like you, we have one business making the money.  The cops will still bust people to make it look like they are doing the job, but Heavy, Hammer, and I will never get arrested because if we do, big names go to prison with us."

Bill shrugged his shoulders, "The same amount of people are going to die.  Maybe less, with the dope coming from one supplier we know it is not laced with fentanyl or anything or that it isn't too pure.  With no competition, all the dope will be the same.  If a bootlegger comes in with tainted product, The Road Tripz will get them."

Cash could not believe it, "You are sworn to protect the people and you are helping put the poison on the streets."

Bill shrugged and said, "It is going to be on the streets anyway.  I'm out there putting my life on the line and working all hours of the day and a little poison selling snake like yourself is making more money than me.  Where's the justice in that."

Suddenly four more figures emerged out of the darkness.  Dakota Cook, Cory Davis, Marshall Mason, and Joe Mullins all emerged with weapons drawn.  Cash laughed and said, "Welcome to the party, guys.  Not a moment too soon."

"Don't be too happy," Bill Aaron said.  "Let me introduce you to the New Centaurians."

"Drop your guns, Bill," said Dakota Cook.

"What?  Are you serious.  You are one of us.  Cash is the murderer.  He's the one that needs to pay.  We are making sure he doesn't kill or give poison to anyone ever again."

"That will be up to a court of law, not you.  It is your job to take them to the court.  It is not your job to determine if they get punished," Dakota said.

Mr. P went for a gun and Cory shot him in the arm causing the thug to drop the gun.  The officers rushed and handcuffed the men including Cash.

"You are a New Centaurian," Bill protested to Dakota.  "You are supposed to make sure the bad guys receive justice."

Dakota looked him in the eyes, "How are you any better than them.  Just because you receive a paycheck from The HPD, does not make you any better.  You are not only allowing these scum to come in here and peddle the drugs that are killing our citizens but you are profiting from it.  I admire the idea of the Centaurians, but not if you are breaking the law."

Cash looked at Bill, "You creeped me out from the start.  I called the police myself tonight.  I told them what was going on.  These guys are here because I called them.  I'll gladly go to jail and do my time for selling drugs and if they think I murdered someone, I'll do my time for that.  But, at least, one more dirty cop is off the streets.  I'm a drug dealer, everyone knows I'm a bad guy.  But, people trust you.  Children are taught young to trust, respect, and listen to you.  Here you are, allowing big city thugs to come in and take over your town.  You, Sir, are a real piece of shit.  By the way, I am wearing a wire so you can damn be sure, you are going to jail."

Several more police cars arrived on the scene.  The fairy tale was not ready to begin and no one in Huntington was ready to live happily ever after.  The Road Tripz were not able to move in and sell their drugs but the independent drug dealers went on about their business like nothing ever happened.

Many in Huntington are sick of their friends, neighbors, and relatives dying from drugs.  The city has reached it's boiling point and is ready to do something about it.  Huntington controls it's destiny.  The HPD and the citizens are in this together.  They decide if this story has a happy ending.