THE BOOK OF Q
By Rick Kurtis
This book is for a dear friend of mine who wanted to be placed in one of my books in at least two chapters. I decided he was worth a lot more than that, so I made him an entire story about his fantasy life. I hope I have captured his character in the way that he views himself, and he enjoys this book as much as I did writing it.
I would like to take this moment to thank Quinton Van for allowing me the chance to produce a great story.
Thank you, and Happy Reading.
The Plot Begins
Doesn’t this make perfect sense? Kriss Jordan looked out his Vegas hotel window wondering what to do next. He turned and looked at the sweet, innocent girl still asleep on the bed, then looked toward the street to see if anyone looked suspicious.
Who is Kriss Jordan, you ask? Let’s go back to the beginning. Kriss Jordan was conceived on one celebratory Fourth of July in 1989. His birth happened on April 10, 1990 to Mr. and Mrs. Franklin D. Jordan, their fifth child, and he remained to be there last. Being the youngest and having three older brothers, Kriss always tried to keep up and excel in everything that his brothers did. He learned to read at an early age with help from his sister, and being that he was a spring baby, he loved nature and felt quite content on being himself.
After high school, he joined the Air Force, and because of his ability to speed read and retain, he soon moved up to a clerical position working behind a desk. With his high IQ and military background, it didn’t take long before he obtained a job in the FBI building in his home state of Georgia. He often loved barbecuing anything he could think of, and enjoyed swinging a baseball bat in the local park, or listening to R&B with his steady girl. His life seemed quite mundane and average, until this one particular day.
Kriss always woke up like clockwork every day at the same time, even on his weekends. He fed his prized goldfish and had his morning coffee with a croissant while listening to gospel music. On this particular morning, the phone rang before he headed off to take a shower. Kriss answered the phone. “If you have a puzzle to solve, leave a message after the beep. Beep.”
His mother on the other end knew her son and laughed. “Happy birthday, Kriss. It’s been twenty-nine years since the first time I held you in my arms."
"Hi, Mom, thanks. So, how are you and Pop doing?” He sat next to his fish tank to listen, twirling his finger in the water to play with his fish.
“We’re doing just fine. It’s been so long since we’ve seen you. When are you going to come home for a visit and bring that new girlfriend of yours so we can meet her?”
“I suppose I could do that. I have some vacation time left, and I need to use it up before I lose it. But right now, I still have to shower and get ready for work before I lose my job. Maybe I’ll stop by around the Fourth of July.”
"Well, if that’s the best you can do for your old, poor mother, then I guess, I will just have to wait.”
"Oh, Mom, geez. You don’t have to sound so dramatic. I’ll be there. I promise.”
"Good. I’ll hold you to it, and hopefully I can get your brothers and sister to join us. We’ll have one big shindig. I love you, Son. Enjoy your birthday.”
"I love you too. Bye, bye.” He hung up the phone, and stood up to go and take a shower.
Kriss made it to work right on time. He enjoyed his job and the comradery he had with all the female employees. The women loved his funny wit and his outgoing personality, along with his charming attitude. He was quite the ladies’ man, and a super nice guy.
Marlena watched as he stepped off the elevator. Kriss walked in to an unusually quiet office. He announced his presence like every morning. “Good morning, ladies. I see you all survived without me once again.”
Marlena turned and said, “Now.” They all began to sing, happy birthday. Marlena pulled out a tray filled with cupcakes, ‘chocolate chip fudge, Kriss’s favorite,’ with one candle, lit in the middle.
A big smile filled his face, and a blush shone from his dark cheeks. He took the tray and blew out his candle once they all finished singing. He said, “Thank you so very much. This isn’t going to improve my figure much, but they should last me all week. You can all give me my presents later.” They laughed and he passed the cupcakes out around the room. “Genevieve. How’s your new baby?”
“Growing like a weed.”
“No, not like a weed, like a beautiful, well-watered flower, just like you.”
Genevieve took a cupcake, and Kriss walked over to the next lady in the room. “Shaniqua. You look absolutely breathtaking today. Is that a new dress?”
“Yes, yes it is. I wore it just for you. Do you like it?”
“Yes, very much.”
“Maybe I can show it to you on your bedroom floor.”
“That would be nice. I have no problem with a woman taking off her clothes for me, but I don’t think my girlfriend would like it too much.” He continued to the next desk. “Good morning, Marge. How’s your husband’s legs today?”
“Not so good. The diabetes is getting worse. The doctor wants to remove his right leg. So I’ll pass on the cupcake, thank you.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. If there is anything you need, anything at all, you let me know, and I’ll be there to help.”
Gloria’s desk was next. She picked up a cupcake and licked the frosting from her fingers in a seductive way. “Happy birthday, Kriss.”
Kriss shimmied, and twisted his body, while singing her name. “Gloria. G-L-O-R-I-A, Gloria. How is my favorite girl, today?"
“My heart pines for you. I had my nails done just for you. Do you like the points?”
“Those are amazing, just like me. I’d let you scratch my back, but I don’t want the other ladies to get jealous.” He turned away from her desk and walked away. “Antoine, a cake?”
“Yes, please, thank you.”
“How’s your boyfriend?”
“Being a little be-ach, like always.”
“Give him time. Did he tell his parents yet?”
Antoine sighed while peeling his cupcake. “No, not yet.”
“He will. I can tell how much he truly loves you.” Kriss moved on. “Samantha. Haven’t we had our baby yet?”
She took a cupcake and shook her finger. “Now you know my husband doesn’t like it when you call her our baby.”
Kriss put his fingers to his lips. “Shush, it will be our little secret. I do want to be the child’s godfather, though.”
She gave him a smirk. “Not gonna happen.”
He rounded back to Marlena. “Marlena, my love, are you going to tell me that your husband doesn’t like me either?”
Marlena took a cupcake. “No, my husband likes you just fine. But then again, I haven’t told him about us.”
“Smart girl.” He turned and took a bow in front of them all. “I love you all, but I must bid you all a farewell and start my day.”
At that exact moment, his boss, Dick Kirk stood leaning in the doorway with his arms crossed. “Mr. Jordan,” he raised his voice, “Aren’t you supposed to be working?"
Kriss walked over with the seven cupcakes that he had left on his tray. “Yes sir. I was just about to do that. These lovely ladies needed their daily dose of something truly amazing, first, or this place would simply fall apart. Would you care for a cupcake, cupcake?"
Dick rolled his eyes and picked up a cake. “Just get to work,” he said and followed him through the door.
Work in Progress
FBI Agent, Richard Damien Kirk joined the FBI fifteen years ago after being an undercover drug informant in the Las Vegas Police Department. His cover was blown, and he had to be relocated. His cases now revolved around missing persons, but his brain was always being picked when it came to drug dealers. He was that type of person that was whiter than white, and really didn’t care for Kriss, being that he was a black man. He wasn’t the only man of color at the agency. Some were fellow agents and the rest were janitors. Kriss was the only black male intern. He didn’t mind being Dick’s lackey, and did it all with a smile, knowing how big his paycheck was every week. He knew this job was a lot better one than his old job at the Coffee Bean.
Dick made him do every menial task he could find. For years, Dick hated his job, and grew tired, or maybe just greedy. With his drug connections from his past, he ran a very lucrative drug ring right under the FBI’s nose. Not even Kriss knew, even though he saw certain things written on his boss’s desk, or had to deliver certain files to certain locations. He didn’t think much about it. He always thought the good in everyone. It stuck in the back of his mine, but he put it off as one agent helping another.
The day seemed like any other normal day. Kriss finished another cupcake, threw his wrapper in the trash and grabbed his paperwork. He had his daily reports finished and stood to deliver them to Dick. When he approached his boss’s door, he overheard a loud outburst. “What do you mean, you lost it?” With curiosity, he leaned in to listen. Dick yelled into the phone. “I don’t care about your lame problems. I’m coming to get my cut, and you better have it, or so help me, I’ll put you right back in jail where I found you. Do you understand?” There was a long pause. “It’s not my fault that you were ripped off.” Pause. “No, I’m not going to investigate. How would that look? You, idiot. You had one job to do, and you blew it. You just be there tonight with the money.” He slammed down the phone. Kriss straightened up, counted to ten before he knocked. Dick answered, still upset from his phone call, “What is it?”
Kriss opened the door, and walked in like normal. He smiled while holding the daily reports. “Got your daily reports, right here, on time, and looking as good as me.”
Dick hated his little witticisms and how easily he could charm the fleas off a dog. He reached out for the report. “Give them here, and go get me a cup of coffee.”
Kriss turned. “Your wish is my command, master.”
“And if you have any of those cupcakes left, bring me one," he demanded.
Kriss left and returned with a piping hot cup and a plate with two cupcakes. He handed him the cup. “Watch out, I just made it. It’s amazingly hot, just like me." He went to hand him the plate and hesitated. “Don’t take the one on the left. I think it has been poisoned.” He turned the plate around, paused, then turned it back, and picked up one of the cupcakes for a closer examination. He placed it back on the plate, then placed it down on Dick’s desk, and began to walk away. Before Dick could grab a cake, he turned back and rotated the plate 180 degrees.
Dick yelled, “Get out of here, you screwball.”
Kriss smiled and pointed his fingers into the air, shooting them off like pistols. “See, I knew I can get you to smile.” Before Kriss walked out the door, he turned and said, “Ah, you’re left, not mine.” He stepped out, and closed the door.
Five o’clock came around, and it was time to leave. Kriss headed to the elevator where the girls were already loaded to go home. “Wait for me, ladies.” They stopped the door, and he squeezed in. On the ride down, Kriss stood in the center. “One more heavenly glimpse. May your dreams be filled with me, all night long. If you feel the urge to pleasure yourself while thinking about me, it is perfectly fine. You have my permission."
While they were all in the elevator, Dick left his office and saw the used cupcake wrapper in Kriss’s trash. He went back to his office and returned with a baggie, placing the wrapper inside without touching it.
Before they made it to the ground floor, Gloria ran her long pointed nails up and down Kriss’s back. His whole body shook like a bowl of Jell-O as he quivered. Then Shiniqua grabbed his ass before stepping out. “Good night, sugar,” she said and twirled out first. She turned and held her hand to her ear, and whispered, “Call me.”
They all said their farewells, and walked off in different directions. Kriss went to his favorite restaurant, Bubba’s barbecue, next to the park, and ordered a full rack of his favorite barbecued ribs. After enjoying a wonderful meal, he walked back to his modest little condo in Oak Hill Estates. Because of the inclement weather, he took another shower before settling in to watch his recorded programs. Two hours later, he was ready to go to bed and read a book by his favorite author, Rick Kurtis.
He picked up the fish food container and shook it, but nothing came out. He popped the lid and saw that it was completely empty. He looked at his fish. “Do you guys throw parties when I leave?” He looked at the clock and thought he would have just enough time to make it to the store before they closed. Kriss left straight away.
The shop owner, Mr. Quigby turned the closed sign around and began to lock the door. When Kriss noticed, he ran. He knocked and held out the empty fish food container and pleaded, praying for help. Mr. Quigby turned back around with a smile, and let him in. “Thank you, Mr. Quigby. You are a scholar and a gentleman. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and my fish will thank you too.”
Mr. Quigby knew Kriss quite well, and the two chatted for thirty minutes before the lights went out. He unlocked the door, and said his good night. Kriss gave him a handshake. “The next set of guppies born will be adorned with your name. The school of Lauren Quigby.”
Mr. Quigby grinned. “You go home now. Good night, Kriss.”
Kriss turned. “You wait and see. I’ll bring you a litter.”
Mr. Quigby stopped his hand shake and closed the door. By now, the time grew late, and Kriss thought he would take a shortcut through the alley down the street toward home.
Trouble in Paradise
Kriss made his way toward the alley. He heard the noise of cans banging around, such like a scuffle, and grew curious as he turned the corner. He saw his boss pushing a man up against the building at the other end of the alley. ‘Wow,’ he thought, ‘a real-life drama smacked down by the FBI. This, I have to see.’ He crouched, not to be seen, and hid behind a dumpster.
Dick Kirk held the guy against the wall. “Listen, you worthless piece of trash. I gave you two weeks, and I’m tired of your excuses and always coming up short.” He pulled out his gun and pushed it into the man’s cheek. “We’re going back to your place right now, and I’m taking everything you have.”
The man trembled, but grew enough courage to push him away and began to run. Dick aimed and shot the man in the middle of his back. The man fell two feet away from Kriss, right there by the dumpster. Kriss freaked as the man lay dying. He saw Kriss and reached out as he gurgled, “Help me.”
Kriss pressed himself against the wall in the dark, and inched his way behind the dumpster. Dick walked up and stepped on the man’s back, took aim, and placed a bullet right in the back of the guy’s head. Kriss held back a scream, and clamped his eyes tight, holding his breath not to utter a sound.
At that exact moment, a teenage girl also saw the whole thing when she entered the alley behind Dick. At first she just stood and watched, not knowing what was going on. When he shot the man the second time, it all sank in. She couldn’t hold her scream, and screamed hysterically. Dick jumped, spun around and grabbed the girl. She kicked and punched, but it did no good. He punched her back until she was knocked out onto the ground. By now, lights were being turned on in the apartments above, and people began to look out their windows. Dick pulled her to a corner and crouched over her to hide her colorful dress.
Kriss still remained frozen, but had to look. His heart felt like it was beating on the outside of his chest. He lay on the sticky, syrup covered ground and crawled behind the dumpster to see if the coast was clear. At first, he saw nothing and thought his boss ran off. He backed up and leaned against the back wall waiting to calm down. His breathing remained erratic as he looked up toward the sky. He didn’t know what he should do, but felt he could at least get up to go home. Just when he leaned forward to stand, a shadow passed by the dumpster, and Dick’s voice came through the air. “Shut up, or I’ll break your neck. Do you understand me?”
Kriss moved his head to peek. He saw the girl’s hands handcuffed behind her back and Dick putting his suit jacket around her. She whimpered in terrifying fear as he grabbed her by the hair and held her close, then walked away. Kriss waited until they left the alley and headed toward the right, down the street. He finally stood and made his way away from them and the dumpster. He ran through the alley looking behind him just in case. While glancing back, he tripped over that same bag of trash and fell. Again, cans rattled and echoed throughout the alley as he scurried to escape. Kriss ran straight to the park and hid in a panic among the trees. His heart pounded and his throat burned from his heavy breathing. He tried to swallow, but his mouth had no moisture to give. Sweat ran from his face as he feared his stumbling noise brought attention and that someone might be following in hot pursuit. ‘I can’t stop,’ he thought, tossing his head against a tree. He pushed off and ran, wiping his face to see. The sweat burned his eyes as he made his way to the other end of the park. While he ran, his mind rambled. ‘Stop running, you fool. You look suspicious. Just slow down and get a hold of yourself.’
He stopped and made himself look like a jogger stretching against a tree. “Whew, what a run,” he said as people walked by. He waved and smiled, saying simple greetings as he turned so they couldn’t notice his garbage sticky shirt and pants. Some people looked at him strangely, while others just ignored him altogether, and yet, a few smiled and wished him well. The people dwindled and Kriss began his long walk home. He had to concentrate all the way home. ‘Keep calm, don’t run, no, stop it. Don’t go trying to run. Just walk as normal as possible.’
Finally, he made it to his front door. When he went to put the key into the lock, he continued to view his surroundings. His hand trembled so much, he had to hold the key with both hands. With a deep breath, the key slid in. He exhaled and turned the key, then opened the door. Like a flash, he stood with his back against the door inside his house, breathing heavily and looking up at the ceiling. He turned and locked the door, along with the deadbolt, then pulled a small curtain aside to peer out into the darkness. Not a soul did he see in the street. He turned back against the door and slid to the floor with a sigh of relief. Just then his phone rang. Kriss jumped in a panic, and his fear came back with a vengeance. ‘What do I do?’ He thought. ‘You answer it?’
// ‘No! What if it’s Dick?’
// ‘He didn’t see you.’
// ‘How do you know?’
// ‘If you don’t answer it, it will seem suspicious, like we aren’t home.’
// ‘Fine, I’ll answer it, I can say I was asleep.’
// ‘Good idea, hurry, get the phone.’
Kriss scrambled and caught the phone by the fourth ring. “Hello.”
A sweet female voice answered on the other hand, “Kriss, where have you been? I’ve been trying to get ahold of you all night.”
“Oh, it’s you. I guess I fell asleep. I wasn’t out and about, if that’s what you were thinking. I was right here. Yes, right here, all night long.”
//‘Shut up, you fool.’
“I’m sorry, Cindy,” is all he could come up with.
“I’m the one that should be sorry.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve been working so hard and helping out at the shelter that I completely forgot that today was your birthday. Happy birthday, baby.”
“Oh, that’s right. We were supposed to go out tonight.”
“I know, and I feel so bad. I tried calling earlier, and I thought you went out without me.”
Kriss couldn’t hold on to his lie and had to tell someone about his ordeal. He couldn’t deal with this alone. “Actually, I fibbed. I wasn’t asleep. I too forgot all about going out, and when I was getting ready to read in bed, I tried to feed my fish, but the food was gone, so I ran to the store to buy some more…” Kriss continued trying to explain everything, but it made no sense as it left his brain.
“All right, baby. You’re not making any sense. Just calm down, and spit it out."
Kriss didn’t want to tell her, or to even get her involved, in case of trouble. But he knew he wasn’t making sense and thought if he could at least tell her, she could tell someone if he disappeared. “I just saw my boss shoot someone. There, I said it. He shot him right there in the alley.”
“He’s FBI, that’s his job, isn’t it?”
“No, it’s not like that. He investigates missing persons. This guy was a drug dealer. I think my boss is dirty.”
“In drugs. Drug running, drug smuggling, drug selling. You name it, he does it.”
“Maybe he’s just helping another agent. You don’t know.”
“I saw what I saw, and so did a teenage girl walking home from the park. He beat the crap out of her and kidnapped her. That’s not helping a fellow agent. This is so messed up. Cindy, what should I do?"
“Easy, go tell the police.”
“I can’t do that.”
“He’s FBI. I am nobody. What am I supposed to say? Hey, my boss is a dirty FBI agent, and he shot this guy and kidnapped a girl. I’m sure they will lock me up, or I’ll be fired.”
“Okay, how about asking him about it?”
“And what, get shot cause now he knows that I know? He can’t have a reasonable explanation for his actions. That’s not happening. I love my life too much to do that. Besides, who would take care of my prize-winning goldfish?” Kriss felt more relaxed now, talking with his girlfriend.
She laughed. “I’ll take care of them, baby. How about talking to his superiors? Explain the situation, and let them confront him.”
Kriss pondered the thought. ‘What if he has a partner in the FBI? Or even partners?’
// ‘No, he’s a loner. In all this time, we haven’t seen him deal with any other agents socially.’
// ‘You’re right, she’s right.’
// ‘Give her your answer.’
“Yeah, that might work. You always know what to say, to make me feel better.”
“Do you want me to come over?”
“No, it’s late, and we both have to work tomorrow. I’ll see you on Saturday. Oh, FYI, my Mom wants to meet you.”
“Because I think it’s about time. I told her around the Fourth of July.”
“Why so far away?”
“Cause I’m busy trying to save the world, and I don’t have any vacation time left until June twenty-sixth.”
“What did you use it all for?”
“I only had one week. Remember, we went to Disney World in Florida for your birthday.”
“Oh, yes, that’s right. I’m sorry, baby. Do you forgive me?”
“I can’t forgive a goddess such as yourself for being so beautiful, so there is nothing to forgive. I’ll be counting the minutes until I see you on Saturday.”
“Oh, you are so sweet. Good night.”
“Good night, my love. May your dreams overflow with me.” He hung up the phone with a smile, then inhaled. He smelled the sour garbage that dried on his clothes. “Woof, this reeks.” He went to the back and removed his clothes, threw them into the trash, then showered before going to bed.
That night, Kriss couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned, dreaming all night about his alley experience. At one point, Dick saw him. He pointed his gun and shot at point blank range. Kriss jumped so fast and fell on the floor. He looked around and noticed his own bedroom. He sat up and composed himself, showered, and headed off to work without breakfast. His nerves were still too intense.
By noon, he knew what he was going to say, and how to approach the situation. He made his way upstairs to Director Simmons’ office. He walked in and saw his secretary. He placed his hand against his chest and stepped in. “Quick, I need a defibrillator. Your beauty is so overwhelming. Or maybe a little mouth-to-mouth from your sweet lips will suffice.”
“Good afternoon, Kriss. What brings you up here today?”
“Just to get a glimpse of your beauty. Is the director in?”
“Yes, he’s in a meeting. You’ll just have to wait.”
Kriss smiled and sat on a chair. “Good, more time for you, my dear.” She smiled, shook her head and went back to work.
Not long after, the director opened his door talking to Dick Kirk. He handed Dick a file and they shook hands, while making small talk. Kriss’s heart jumped up in his throat. ‘You’re trapped.’ He thought. He stood and straightened his suit, swallowed repeatedly and waited, listening to each word being said.
Dick turned and saw Kriss. Director Simmons also noticed him and said, “Mr. Jordan, you look a bit pale. Did you need to see me?”
‘Say something, you idiot,’ his inner voice screamed.
“Ah, what? No.”
He pointed around and at the door. “I just took the stairs for exercise, and I heard that Agent Kirk was up here, and thought I would come up to see if he needed me for anything.”
Director Simmons stepped over and patted him on the back. “Good initiative. I like your style.”
Dick handed him the file. “Go get started on this. I’ll be there shortly.”
The prickly heat raised the hair on the back of his neck as the file slammed into his chest. He held it with both hands. “Yes, sir, Agent Kirk.” As soon as he said that, he knew he did wrong. Dick turned and gave him a look like, what the heck is a matter with you? No witty come back? He turned and continued out thinking it was just because he was in front of Director Simmons.
Kriss grew more uncomfortable. ‘You dummy. Did you see the look he gave you? He knows. Where was your wit, your suave intellect? He’s going to shoot you and shoot you dead.’
Kriss became weak in the knees and he began to sweat. His knees buckled and he fell back into the chair. Director Simmons helped to catch him. “Kriss, are you all right? Shirley, quick, get him a glass of water.”
Shirley came back with a cup. Kriss’s mind filled with anxiety. ‘Tell him!’ His inner voice yelled.
// ‘I can’t. What if he is in on it? What if they are partners? I have to rethink this.’
// ‘Well, think fast, you’re falling apart out there.’
Kriss took the glass of water and slowly drank so he could come up with a good excuse. “Whew, that’s the last time I take green tea on an empty stomach. You see, I’m trying to lose some weight, and to get into shape. I guess I just overdid it." He finished his water and handed back the cup. “Thank you. I’m fine, now.”
Shirley took the cup and placed her hand on Kriss’s forehead. “Are you sure?”
Kriss stood up with Director Simmons holding onto his arm. “Yes, I’m fine.” He tapped his fingers on the file. “I better get busy. Crime doesn’t stop just because I’m amazing.”
Director Simmons smiled. “Yup, he’s back.” He walked back to his office, while Shirley walked with Kriss to the door.
She held onto his arm and asked, “Are you sure you’re okay? Maybe you should stop off at the doctor’s office on your way down.”
Kriss smiled and touched her hand. “Surely you jest. Don’t worry, nothing can stop me from seeing you. You have a wonderful day.” He walked out leaving her with a smile.
When he made it to the elevator, he opened the file and saw a picture of a missing girl. He read through the file.
//‘Missing since last night. Wearing a bright orange, yellow, printed dress. Sixteen, blonde hair, green eyes.’
He looked at the name and almost fell on the floor. (Alexandra Van, Mayor Quinton Van’s daughter.) Kriss closed the file and the doors opened.
Right in front of him stood Dick standing by the door. “What took you so long?”
Kriss stumbled forward as Dick stepped into the elevator. “Never mind. Come with me.” He pushed the button and took the file, pulling Kriss back in. “Simmons wants every available person on this case. Did you see the file?”
Kriss stumbled for words, “Ah, blah, well, ka.”
“It’s the mayor’s daughter. She’s turned up missing.”
Kriss swallowed hard. “And you need me, why?”
To hold my arm. What do you mean, why? You work for me and I tell you when to jump and how high. I need to show that fat-head, Simmons, that I know what I’m doing, and you’re going to watch and write it all down in a report, every day.”
This was the first time that Dick ever took Kriss out to a location. His mind flew, filled with all the uncertainties from the other night. “That is an awesome idea. Let me go back to the office and get a pen and pad, and I’ll meet you where-ever you want.”
The doors opened to the elevator. “That won’t be necessary. I got an extra pad and pen in the car. We need to get to a homicide.”
Kriss’s stomach turned into knots. They jumped into the car and left the garage. When they arrived at the scene, the police, and the FBI agent, Skip Tracer already had the alley roped off. Dick and Kriss exited the car and walked over toward the men. Dick announced their presence, “Good afternoon, Gentlemen. What do we have?”
Skip walked over and shook Dick’s hand. “Just the dead drug head. Probably a deal, gone wrong.”
Kriss stared at the body, now in the light of day. The body swelled with bloat, and the coroner turned it over with most of its face still stuck to the tar. A horrendous smell filled the air, and Kriss turned away. This was the first time he had ever seen a dead body, and the smell was putrid.
Dick had never seen a black man turn green before, and tapped Kriss on the arm, then pointed. “If you’re going to be sick, go stand over there by the yellow tape.” He turned back to Skip. “I’m looking for the mayor’s daughter. They said she always walked through this alley when coming home from the park.”
Skip motioned to a police man. “That’s why you’re here. We found a pocketbook and a phone over by the wall. We’re thinking she might have seen something and got caught up in the middle.”
Kriss stood by the tape, leaning on an orange cone, listening to every word, while Dick continued. “Do you have any leads?”
Skip turned and pointed with his thumb to the coroner. “We have a shoe print on the back of the guy’s shirt, but so far, that’s about all.”
Dick voiced up. “Make sure you dust that dumpster all the way around for prints. Whoever shot him may have hid behind it or something.”
Kriss felt the prickly heat. ‘He knows something. He knows somebody was hiding. He has to.’
// ‘If he knew, he would’ve shot you last night.’
// ‘Maybe, or maybe he saw me running away after I fell.’
// ‘Relax, he’s just playing. He’s probably just throwing them off his trail. I bet there are thousands of homeless that have touched that dirty dumpster.’
// ‘Yes, but I was the only one who touched it last night. My prints are fresh, and they are in the database.’
// ‘Then go over there and touch it before they get to it.’
// ‘You go touch it.’
// ‘Fine, I will.’
Kriss left the safety of the yellow tape and casually stretched while walking toward the dead body.
The coroner looked up from her work and said, “Can I help you?”
Kriss smiled and pointed at Dick. “I’m with him. I see your day started off with a bang.” He casually placed his hand on the side of the dumpster, while the police detective opened their print kit.
The detective said, “Hey. Don’t touch.”
Kriss pretended to stumble and placed his other hand on the dumpster before pulling them both away. “Oh, sorry. This is my first murder I’ve ever seen. Not to say that I saw it happen, but I mean, today, not last night. You know, like, when it actually went down. I was at home, talking to my girlfriend on the phone.”
The detective and coroner looked at each other and she pointed. “It would be best if you would just go back over by the yellow tape, and just stay over there.”
“What? Oh, okay,” he said, and walked away.
Both the detective and the coroner said at the same time, “Rookie.”
Kriss stood by the tape, wiped his face and watched. Dick saw what Kriss had done, which gave him an idea. He stepped over and handed Kriss the girl’s pocketbook. “Hold this.” He walked over to the body and put on a pair of gloves. When the detective reached the backside of the dumpster, and the coroner went to her vehicle, Dick saw his chance. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the baggie containing a cupcake wrapper. He took the wrapper from the bag and palmed it into his hand. “Well, what do we have here?” He tucked the wrapper inside the dead man’s shirt pocket, then with the end of his two fingers, he pulled it out. “Looks like a wrapper of some sort,” he said and bagged it in an evidence bag.
Skip walked over and Dick handed him the bag. “Now, who would keep an old wrapper in their shirt pocket? Run it for DNA. It’s probably a gift from whom ever shot him.”
Kriss watched every move that Dick made and saw him remove the baggie from his own pocket. He thought. ‘What is he doing?’
// ‘I already told you, he’s throwing suspicion away from himself.’
// ‘Oh, smart cop.’
// ‘Ah duh, he’s FBI. The question we need to know is who is he throwing the suspicion to?’
Kriss continued to think and watched while the body was being removed.
A few days went by with no great revelations. Kriss went back to his old self, but still felt leery about his boss. He didn’t know why Dick took him to the scene, because he never took him before, and hasn’t taken him since. A call came into the office, and Dick left the building.
A little time passed while Kriss chatted it up with the girls. The elevator door opened and Skip stepped out with two officers by his side. Kriss saw them approach and held his hand. “Agent Tracer, if you’re looking for Agent Kirk, he left about fifteen minutes ago. If you give me a badge, I’ll be glad to prove to you how awesome I am.”
Skip really didn’t shake his hand, but spun him around and said, “Christopher Jordan, you’re under arrest for murder and kidnapping.” They handcuffed his hands behind his back, while reading him his Miranda rights, then walked him to the elevator.
Kriss’s mind went frantic. ‘Tell them it was Dick. No, say you want a lawyer.’
// ‘You put your hands on the dumpster. The wrapper, wasn’t it Brown?’
// ‘The cupcake wrapper from my birthday. That’s what he planted.’
// ‘That dirty, son of a. Say you want a lawyer.’
Kriss turned his head and yelled, “Call my lawyer. I want my attorney. I’m innocent, I tell you. Call my mommy.” The elevator doors closed, leaving the girls in complete shock.
They took Kriss down to the FBI interrogation room and sat him down on a stone cold, concrete bench, then pulled a heavy steel table in close. The room felt like a slaughterhouse, all concrete with dark brown stains embedded into the walls. Cameras pointed down from all four corners in the room, and a dark glass mirror lined one wall. Kriss had been everywhere in the FBI building, so he thought, but this room never filled his itinerary.
They un-cuffed his hands from behind his back and ran the cuff through a ring in the center of the table. The position felt awkward and uncomfortable, but there was not much that he could do about it. He raised his chest and scooted his butt up. By this time, they all left the room. His mine raced. ‘You’re going down, Mister. You don’t have a leg to stand on. He’s going to plant this whole thing on you, and there is nothing you can do about it.’
// ‘I have the truth…’
For an hour, things ran over and over in his mind as he battled with his own wit.
Then Skip stepped back into the room. He noticed Kriss’s discomfort and removed the handcuff from his left hand. He sat on the other side of the table and opened a file, while Kriss sat up and rubbed his wrists. “Christopher Jordan, born in Las Vegas, Nevada. Moved here after your stint in the military as an office clerk. Applied for a position here eighteen months ago.” He closed that file and opened another.
Kriss sat stoic and listened. “Edwin Brighton, same age. A known liar and thief. Arrested twice for drug possession. Oh, lookey here. Born and raised in Las Vegas. Went to the same high school that you did. What a coincidence.”
Kriss didn’t know where this was going and said, “That doesn’t prove anything. I didn’t even know him.”
Skip pulled out a yearbook and opened it to a football game photo. He turned the book around and pointed. “Isn’t that you and Edwin standing there arm and arm for the picture?”
Kriss took a good look at the picture. His high school days flooded back into his memory. Yes, he knew Edwin. They parted ways before their junior year. “Oh, that Edwin Brighton. I haven’t seen him since high school, before junior year. He was arrested and sent off to Juvi jail. Wait, was that him in the alley? I swear, I had nothing to do with that.”
Skip pulled out another file, opened it and said, “That’s a funny thing. Your prints came back from off the dumpster.”
“Well you know I touched it. You were right there.”
“He slapped a photo down on the table. “Yes, you placed your whole hand, as a matter of fact both of them right there on the side. How can you explain these? This one is from the back.”
Kriss looked shocked, shrugged and said, “Double gainer?" He gave Kriss his snide look, and Kriss knew he was caught. “Okay, I was there, but I didn’t shoot anyone. I was just walking home from Mr. Quigby’s Market after buying some fish food for my fish. I started through the alley and heard a ruckus. I hid behind a dumpster in fear for my life. I didn’t know it was Edwin. He tried to run, but the guy shot him in the back and he fell right where you found him. I was terrified and slid behind the dumpster at that point.”
Skip asked, “Did you see who shot him. After all, the second shot was right there, right in front of the dumpster. Being that close, you should’ve saw something.”
Kriss’s inner mind raced. ‘Don’t you dare tell him, it was Dick, or you’ll be dead.’
“I really can’t say. It was dark, and it all happened so fast. After the first gunshot I slid behind the dumpster and closed my eyes. It was all I could do to stay quiet until I heard him walk away.”
Skip shook his head and pulled out the cupcake wrapper in the evidence bag that Dick planted at the scene. “Then how did you explain this? It was found in the victims pocket and guess what,” he tossed a report on the table, sliding it forward toward Kriss. “It has your DNA all over it.”
Kriss cringed as his mind went wild. ‘That dirty rotten. My birthday. He took that wrapper out from my trash. I have to tell them now.’
// ‘How? You have no proof. It’s just your word against his. Just clam up and yell lawyer.’
“That was my cupcake wrapper from the office. Agent Kirk planted it there the other day.”
Skip slammed his hand down on the table. “Cut the crap. You and your buddy had a drug falling out, and you lay in wait behind the dumpster then shot him in the back. He was still moving, so you put another round into his brains. The question is; where’s the girl.”
“I don’t know! Agent Kirk grabbed her. He’s the one that shot Edwin, and he’s the one that took the girl. He hit her a few times, cuffed her hands behind her back, then he dragged her from the alley. I ran the other way.”
“Why didn’t you call the police?”
“And say what? My boss, Mr. FBI just killed a man and kidnapped the mayor’s daughter. He would have me killed. The only reason I’m telling you now is because you’re blaming me.”
“Damn right we are. You took this job to hide under our noses. You knew that Dick Kirk was an undercover agent in Las Vegas by the name of Curtis Richards. You and your buddy, Edwin ran in the same circuit. Isn’t that right?”
“You would snoop around and get Intel from this office, so you could operate in our investigations and then stay clear. You were so smart you thought you could get away with it, but then something went wrong. What did your partner want? A bigger cut? Was he going to blow your cover? It’s your DNA. It’s your fingerprints. It’s your shoe print on his back, isn’t it? Now, I’m going to ask you again. Where is the girl?”
Frustrated, Kriss took off his shoes and placed them on the table. “Here, test them. They are FBI standard issue, and I was behind that dumpster. But I didn’t shoot him, I didn’t step on his back, and I don’t have the girl. I want my lawyer.” He sat with his arms crossed almost in tears. His heart raced with fear, anger, and anxiety.
A knock came at the door, then opened. An officer came in and whispered into Skip’s ear. Skip picked up his case and picked up the shoes, and handed them to the officer. “Run these down to forensics and see if they are a match. Tell them to put a rush order on it.” He stood up and looked at Kriss. “Sit tight, I’ll be back.”
Another two hours past, and Skip walked back into the room along with agent Dick Kirk. “Good news and bad,” Skip said. They closed the door and sat down.
Kriss had hope. “What’s the good news?”
“Your shoes didn’t match the print on his back. But you already knew that, didn’t you? The bad news is, we found another pair in your closet that did match. You knew you had three other pairs at home. We also found your dirty clothes, and soon will find the blood splatter, gunshot residue, and the girls DNA transfer. But here’s the kicker. While Agent Kirk searched your apartment, he found this, and this.” He opened the big bag and placed an evidence bag down on the table with the mayor’s daughters dress inside. Then he placed down the second bag, which had the murder weapon. “Yes, a nine millimeter handgun. Serial number scraped, now what do you have to say?”
“Kriss leaned back and crossed his arms giving Dick a dirty look. “Lawyer. Lawyer, lawyer, lawyer.” They picked the evidence bags back up and walked out from the room. Kriss sat and thought. ‘You’re in for it now, buddy.’
// ‘I’ll wait for my lawyer.’
// ‘Ha, ha. You don’t have a lawyer. You’ll be lucky to even get a public defender. We’re talking about murder, and kidnapping the mayor’s daughter. When Dick brings her in dead, with your cologne from your apartment, or maybe plants her prints on your toothpaste, or drowns her in your fish tank...’
“Shut up! Just shut up,” he said out loud, holding his head. He looked around the room, at the cameras, then in the mirror and went back into his mind.
//‘Oh that’s good. Act like a crazy man. That’s going to help.’
// ‘I need to get away to think. Just shut up and go away.’
// ‘All right, I’ll sit back and wait.’
Kriss heard someone by the door. He still had one cuff around his right wrist. He quickly put his hands together and the cuff around his other wrist, but held it firm in his hand. The door opened and an officer said, “Time to take you to a holding cell.” He stepped in and helped Kriss to stand by grabbing him by the bicep to escort him to a cell.
Kriss kept his hands together and the guard didn’t notice that he wasn’t cuffed and Kriss said, “Hey, bro, from one brother to another, I was in there for over five hours. Can I at least take a whiz before I piss my pants?”
“Sure,” he said and walked him down the hall to the men’s room.
It was late and no one was around. Kriss went inside and the guard stood outside the door. He did his duty and looked for a way out. There were no windows and only the one door. He zipped up and went into a stall to think. The guard looked in. “What’s taking you, bro?”
Kriss had to think fast. “When I started to go, I felt the urge. I had a big breakfast.” He made a fart noise and splashed the water with his hand. This gave him a little longer time to think. He stepped out and tried to turn off the lights, but the switches didn’t work. The bulbs were all exposed, so he stood on the urinal and removed them all, but one, which he hooked in half way, making it very dim. He locked the stall door closed, and crawled out from under, then stood behind the bathroom door. He was ready. He dropped the fluorescent bulbs, and they popped with a loud noise.
The guard came charging in and went straight to the stall. When it didn’t open, he went to kick it in. Kriss wasn’t that strong, but he was fighting for his life. He stepped behind the guard, and used the handcuff chain to choke out his victim.
The guard tried to punch and backed up, banging Kriss against the wall, but nothing worked. He soon fell to the floor and became unconscious. When he stopped moving, Kriss let go. “I’m sorry, Bro, but a man has to do with a man has to do.” He searched the guard’s pockets and found a handcuff key. He removed the cuff from his wrist, and cuffed the guard to the leg of the stall. Then he removed his shoes and put them on his feet. They were super tight, but he knew he couldn’t walk out barefooted, so he suffered with the pain.
Kriss opened the bathroom door and peaked down. The hallway remained empty. He didn’t know which way to go and thought back to how they walked him in. His mind ran through every step, and he ran his steps backwards, making his way to the elevator. He pressed the button and the doors opened. When he stepped inside, he could faintly hear the guard yelling for help. One minute later, he stood in the parking lot to make his escape. He ran to his car, but then remembered that they took away his keys, his wallet, and his cell phone. They took everything. All that remained was his door badge for the building.
The building warning lights came on and Kriss jumped over the rail to a four foot drop and ran down the street to get away. The dark night helped to hide his escape, but his white dress shirt shone like a beacon. He noticed and quickly removed it, throwing it away in the bushes.
His mind rattled. ‘Don’t throw it there. Now they know which direction you’re going. Turn around and go the other way.’
Kriss didn’t listen to himself, because that would mean going back toward the FBI building. He made a right turn, and ran a few blocks away from the business section and out to the suburban housing.
Out of breath and secluded, he hid and thought. ‘Where do I go? What do I do? I can’t go home. That’s the first place they’ll look. I can’t catch a cab, I don’t have my wallet.’ He thought and thought, waiting for a brainstorm idea.
Thunder and lightning shot across the sky, and a storm broke his concentration. Rain began to fall, and his mind spoke, ‘Do you want me to tell you what to do?’
// ‘Go for it, I’m drawing a blank.’
Kriss saw a dark shirt hanging on a nearby clothes line. He snuck over and pulled it off, then headed on his way, while listening to himself.
On the Run
Kriss walked all night, and the rain stopped. By four in the morning, he stood on a stoop, knocking on the door. The door opened and he slipped inside, pushing the girl back into her apartment. He covered her mouth before she could scream. “Sh, sh, sh, shoosh, it’s me. I need your help.”
She looked at Kriss, and smacked him, pulling his hand away from her face. “You turd. You scared the crap out of me. What are you doing here?”
Kriss looked frantic into her green eyes and held her by her arms. “How much money do you have?”
“I just cashed my paycheck. About twelve hundred dollars, why? What’s going on, baby? You’re soaking wet.”
Kriss heard a siren outside the building. He looked out the window and watched as it zoomed by. “Kriss, baby, you’re scaring me.” Kriss closed the curtain and stepped toward the bathroom. He took off his wet clothes and grabbed a towel. “You’re not going to believe this, but my boss just framed me for that murder and kidnapping.”
Cindy fell back and sat on the bed. “What? How? Why?”
Kriss went to her clothes closet and grabbed his spare suit and shoes. He came back out and placed them on the bed. “It’s too much to explain right now, and I don’t think anyone knows about us and where you live, so the less you know right now, the better.”
“But baby, you can trust me. Wait, you haven’t told anyone about us?”
Kriss put on his shorts, then sat down to put on his socks. “Of course I have, but not your full name or where you live. Everyone knows that my heart belongs to the sweetest goddess in the world. You just need to trust me. I’m in deep, and I mean coal miner deep. Now go get me all your money and your credit card. I have to lay low for a while.”
Cindy loved Kriss and trusted him completely. She grabbed her pocketbook and gave him all her cash and her credit card. Kriss stood up, tucked in his shirt and sipped his pants. He stuffed the money and the card into his pocket and pulled her in close. Passionately, he kissed her, caressing her body with deep feelings of emotion. He wanted to remember every inch just in case he never made it back.
She melted in his arms with a big sigh. Kriss reached for his suit jacket. “I also need to barrow your car. I promise, I’ll bring it back.” She stepped away and returned with the keys. She lingered for another kiss. Kriss gave her a peck on the cheek. “Sorry, my love, one per customer. I have to get moving. Throw everything else that is over here of mine away, and wipe down every place in this apartment where you think my hands or prints could be.”
He opened her apartment door, looked cautiously down the halls and stepped out. “I don’t remember if I said this enough, but, I love you.”
Cindy stood in the doorway as he stepped down the stairs, then raced to her car. He cracked the window open and waved, then drove away. Cindy closed her door, not knowing anything.
Kriss needed to find proof, and somehow produce evidence that Dick Kirk was still the drug runner. He had to find some of the papers that flew across to his desk from Dick. His mind now turned while he drove. ‘I know he has to keep a record someplace.’
// ‘It can’t be at work. It has to be at his house.’
// ‘What was his address again?’
// ‘You’re asking me? How should I remember? You’re the brain.’
// ‘Yes, but you’re supposed to remember. While I look for it, you need to find some evidence that they might have missed in that alley.’
// ‘The FBI, miss something?’
// ‘Come on. You know they do. You worked there long enough.’
// ‘Yes, probably too long.’
Kriss continued to drive in the dark.
Early the next day, Kriss parked down from the alley. He looked his best and walked like he belonged. He saw a store camera outside of a shop and knew it was the way that Dick walked with the girl. He entered the shop, full of courage. The store clerk said, “May I help you?”
Kriss held out his FBI badge that gave him access through the doors, the only ID he had. He said in a deep voice, “I’m agent Kriss Jor,” ‘Wait. Change your name.’
// ‘I can’t. My name is on my badge.’
// ‘Oh yeah.’
He cleared his throat, “Kriss Jordan, FBI. I see you have a camera on the outside of your store. No doubt, you heard about the murder in the alley. I’d like to see if there is anything recorded on your system.”
“Don’t you guys coordinate? An Agent Kirk already took the tape and said there was nothing on it.”
“Oh, yes, good man that Kirk, but very tightlipped. Thank you for your time.” Kriss walked out and stepped toward the alley, hoping for something. He looked at every nook and cranny in the back alley.
He was just about to leave when he heard a woman yell at her son. “Dammit, Ronnie, I told you clean up your room.”
“Shut up, Ma.”
As the banter continued, Kriss looked up the fire escape to the open window. Out from the window sat a very small camera and a wire dangled down from floor to floor. He followed it down and saw another camera by the base of the fire escape pointing down toward the alley. Kriss sprang into action and ran to find out who lived in that apartment.
He entered the building and went to the top floor, searching down the hallway while getting his bearings. There in front of him stood the door with the arguing still going on behind. Kriss knocked on the door with a heavy knock. A woman opened the door. “What do you want?” She saw Kriss in his suit, and changed her attitude. “Oh, yes?”
Kriss flashed his FBI door pass and said, “FBI, may I come in?”
She backed away and opened the door, not saying a word. Kriss stepped in. “I’m investigating a murder that happened down in the alley.”
She said, “I was wondering if anybody would come by. Please, have a seat. Ronnie, get your butt out here. The FBI is here. Would you care for a drink?”
“No, thank you. I noticed you have the camera out on the fire escape. Does it work?”
“Yes, we have had problems with these little punks climbing up and stealing things. So my son put up cameras to catch them. Ronnie. Where is that boy?”
Ronnie came out from his room. “I’m here, geez, had to put on my pants.”
“This man wants to know if your cameras work.”
“Yeah, sure. Come into my office,” Ronnie said, swinging his arms toward the door.
Kriss stood up and walked to Ronnie’s room. Ronnie followed in and closed the door. He grabbed a bunch of clothes from his bed and kicked a few more away on the floor. “Have a seat,” he said and sat next to a card table desk. “I bet you’re here to see if there is anything from the other night, right?”
Kriss lowered his brow and tried to look tough with a snarling smirk. “Do you think?”
Ronnie turned on his computer. “Check this out.” He played with his keyboard until the screen displayed the dark alley. “This is when it began.” He pointed. “There’s the dead guy. He just walked in at 10:35. Let me speed it up. There he comes, Mr. Killer. They talk right there under the fire escape. Dead guy takes a swing and runs, then Bam, down he goes.”
Kriss watched the screen. “Where’s the girl?”
“Wait for it. When he steps on his back, there she is. She looks, then jumps. Bang, when he shoots the guy again. He turns and sees her, runs back to shut her up, then goes out a frame when the lights turn on. He comes back in right about, now, see? Miss Lulu’s light is still on. See, you can see him looking up to her window clear as day.”
Kriss squinted. “Yeah, but he is too far away. I wish we could see his face, up close.”
Ronnie turned and tapped him on the arm, and said with excitement, “You ain’t seen nothing yet. That was just my top camera. Wait till you see the view from the bottom of the scape.” Again he played with his keyboard and the alley reappeared. He saw as Edwin Brighton walked in.
He was shadowed, but even Kriss could see who it was. “That’s Edwin all right. Very nice night vision on there.”
“I know. I got them on Amazon. Here comes the other guy.”
Kriss looked. “I can’t make out his face, because of his hat.”
“Let me speed it up.” He ran it forward until all the lights came on. The camera blurred, readjusted to the light, and the man came into view with the girl. He wasn’t wearing his hat, and when he looked up to Miss Lulu’s window, his face stood out like a sore thumb. Ronnie stopped the video on his face. “There he is, plain as day.”
Kriss said, “Have you shown this to the police?”
“Nope, you’re the first. We just came back from my aunt’s and I just happened upon this an hour ago.”
“Can I get a copy of both?”
“Yeah, hundred bucks.”
Kriss pulled out his badge. “I’m the FBI, son.”
“And my mom and I are starving. By the time you come back with a warrant, I’ll have it all deleted.” He held his finger over the delete button.
Kriss held out his hand. “Okay, hundred bucks.”
Ronnie slid a disk into his computer, and downloaded both camera feeds while Kriss pulled out the money. Ronnie watched as the $1,200 unfolded. He held out the disk already in a case. Kriss flipped $100 bill on his card table desk and went to grab the case. Ronnie pinched it tight. “$100 for each camera.”
Kriss gave him a dirty look, flipped another hundred dollars onto the table. Ronnie let go and Kriss put the disk into his pocket. Kriss said, “If I were you, I would pull those cameras right now, and if anyone comes to the door, it might be you know who. If he mentions the cameras, just tell him they don’t work.”
Ronnie fell on the bed. “I didn’t think about that.”
Kriss opened the door and turned back. “And clean up your room. It smells like Mr. Wong’s Fish Market.” He stepped out and tipped his hat. “Ma’am, thank you for your hospitality, and enjoy the rest of your day.” Kriss stepped out into the hallway and couldn’t believe his luck. He walked to the stairs, thinking. ‘Now we have our proof. We can go to Director Simmons and…’
// ‘Hold on, cowboy. We still don’t know if he is in on it.’
// ‘Okay, then we take it to the police.’
// ‘You’re going to trust them? They didn’t even see these cameras. We need more proof, more evidence. We need the girl.’
// ‘Okay, what do you suggest?’
// ‘I dug through your mind and found Dick’s address. We had it filed under worthless garbage. Tonight we do a little recon and pay his house a visit. Like you thought before, he has to have some sort of paper trail in his drug activity.’
// ‘Good thinking, mind of mine.’
By the end of this conversation with himself, he walked through the door, still cautiously looking around, and headed to his car.
That same day, Kriss prepared for his mission. He went to the hardware store and picked up some things. It took him quite a while, but soon had a kit of tools and wire. He drove to Dick’s house and waited, watching for any movement.
Dick drove right past Cindy’s car, and pulled into the driveway. Kriss frantically slumped down in the seat, hoping that he wasn’t noticed. He peaked over the dashboard and saw him enter into the garage. ‘Quick, before the door closes.’
He jumped from the car and ran, making it to the garage three seconds too late. The neighbor’s dog began to bark. He hid next to the corner of the house. “Plan two,” he said, running back to the car.
Kriss drove away and bought himself dinner, then drove back, parking in a different spot behind the house so not to look suspicious. He waited and waited, planning his strategy. The time came to head in. He climbed over the back wall and landed in the bushes. From there, he snuck up to the house, and slid his way to the back kitchen door. He knew there had to be a security alarm, so he looked for wires or boxes, and sure enough, the door had one.
Kriss came prepared. He opened his kit and began. With a large hairpin, he picked the doors lock. “Now for the alarm.”
He opened the door, locked it from the inside and closed it, then ran to hide in the bushes while the alarm sounded.
Dick heard the noise and checked the house. Kriss watched as he checked the door. As soon as Dick walked away, Kriss hurried back and picked the lock again. The alarm went off, and Kriss locked the door and hid once again in the bushes.
Again, Dick checked all the doors and windows, turned off the alarm and left. Kriss did it one more time. This time Dick open the door, turned on the lights, and stepped outside. While he walked around the area, Kriss snuck into the house and hid in the kitchen’s pantry.
Dick came in and shut off the alarm. The phone rang and he answered. “Hello, no, another false alarm. I think one of my door triggers is malfunctioning. I’ll have my security team check it out in the morning. Thank you, goodbye.” He hung up and walked past the pantry, and down the hall, turning off the light.
Kriss waited and slowly opened the door. He stepped like a ninja getting closer to the back study. He heard Dick talking. He peered through the office door crack trying to stand as thin as possible. He stood straight as an arrow, all dressed in black. The only visible white came from his eyes.
He listened to Dick’s conversation. “No, don’t kill her. I repeat, do not. I need her alive. Take her to my old house in Vegas and hold her there. I don’t want to hair touched on her head. You understand? Good. After this all blows over, I’ll come and get her emerging as the hero. Okay, half a hero. Of course, she has to die. She saw the whole thing. But I did my job and found her. That’s what counts. I might even get a pay raise. All right, see you in about a month.”
He hung up the phone and turned out the light. The room glistened from the back lights bouncing off the pool.
Kriss quickly backed away and felt a doorknob, opened it, and slid inside. The door slowly closed just as Dick passed by. He heard Dick going up the stairs and waited. Being that he ate, he had to go. He looked around thinking and noticed that he stood in the downstairs bathroom. ‘Well, as long as I have to wait.’
He pulled down his pants and quickly did his business. When he finished, he almost flushed. ‘No,’ his mind screamed.
He pulled his hand away, and closed the lid. “That’s going to leave a stain,” he whispered.
He opened the door and snuck into the study, and quietly closed the door. Once inside, he began his search. He turned on the light to the desk lamp and checked each drawer. There, right on top, sat a ledger book. He placed it down and paged through. It was filled with all the information he needed. Kriss took a good long look and recognized certain places, dates, and things that he did for Dick during his employment. He took the book and jammed it behind his back in his belt. He continued to look for more and noticed a file with the name Curtis Richards on the front.
Kriss opened it and got a glance before the light in the room lit up. He looked up and saw Dick standing with the door open, and a gun in his hand. Dick said, “Boy, you made this so easy. I shoot you and one case is solved. I turn out to be the hero.”
Kriss said, “You’re not going to get away with this. I have a video of the whole thing.”
Dick stepped closer, holding the gun out. He smiled. “Dead men tell no tales.”
Kriss instantly flip the blotter off the desk and hit Dick right in the face. The gun went off in all the confusion. Kriss turned and broke through the French doors, falling on the pool deck. By the time he scrambled to his feet, Dick fired another shot. Kriss kept running, and Dick ran after him. He made it to the tennis court, saw a racket and grabbed it on the run. Another shot ricocheted off the court and the sparks flew. He felt a sharp pain in his lower back from the next shot and turned the corner. He stopped and waited with the racket in hand.
Dick came running in, and ‘BAM’, Kriss swung a mighty blow, knocking Dick right off his feet. He was out cold, broken nose and all. Kriss didn’t stick around to play doctor. He jumped the fence and drove away. He drove to a motel far from the city, in the next town over to be exact. There, he took a look at the pain in his back.
His leather belt was stuck to the ledger book, along with a bullet from Dick’s service revolver. After a good long shower, he went to the car’s glovebox and pulled out the DVD made by Ronnie. He went back inside the room and sat down to compose a letter. “To whom it may concern…” He wrote down everything he could think of and even explained what he thought of doing next.
The next morning, he placed it all into a box so he could mail it to his grandmother. He knew that she would know what to do, and who to give it to. He thought about sending it to Cindy, but thought by now that Dick would have figured her out. His grandmother on the other hand, he thought, would never enter into the equation.
Finding the Girl
After mailing the package, Kriss ran through his mind. ‘You saw that file, right?’
// ‘What was that address of Curtis’s old house in Vegas?’
// ‘Gimme a minute. Okay, here it comes. 5606 East Dunes. No, scratch that, East Desert Inn Road. It’s 5606 E. Desert Inn Road.’
// ‘Man, you are good. Mind like a steel trap.’
// ‘Well, thank you. Let’s get going.’
He went back to his room to pack up and stood up from the bed. He felt the pain from the gunshot. “I hope I broke his nose.” He left the room and drove away, heading across the country to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Meanwhile, Dick woke up from the morning sprinklers, and drove himself to the hospital. He had no clue that Kriss was heading for Las Vegas. The paper file still remained scattered on the office floor, and he saw Kriss opening it and thought he saw nothing before the lights came on. He knew the ledger was gone, but also knew that nowhere in the ledger did it have his name. Dick continued with his own plan and told no one about his intruder encounter.
Kriss drove straight through, only stopping for gas and food. He slept in the car when he felt too tired to drive. By 2 o’clock in the afternoon, Kriss had made it to Las Vegas, driving down Boulder Highway. He had a map of the city and kept his eyes open looking for Desert Inn Road. There it was, right up ahead.
After two days in the car, he reeked from sweat, because Cindy’s car air conditioner had broken, and the car began to overheat. Kriss had to turn on the heater to full blast and ride with the windows down all the way from Albuquerque.
He pulled into the first motel next to Desert Inn, The Boulder Station and checked into a room. He showered and changed into some new clothes that he bought from the shop downstairs. Then he planned his next step. ‘Now to find the house.’
// ‘Yup, wait until dark.’
// ‘Why? Nobody knows we’re here.’
// ‘Just in case. The less people see, the better.’
// ‘Don’t be such a worry wart.’
Kriss left the hotel, driving down Desert Inn looking for the number 5606. He saw the number 04, then 08. He turned the car around and slowed to a crawl, driving back past the houses. The numbers on the other side of the street were all odd numbers, so it had to be between those two.
Kriss came to a stop, and took a good look. 5604 for the most part looked like one big house, because of all the junk in the front yard. That’s when he noticed that it wasn’t connected and 5606 didn’t have a number on the house. “That has to be it,” he said. He sat up and accidentally hit the horn. Kriss jumped and saw someone looking out the window from the house. ‘What do I do?’
// ‘Step out with a smile and walk to the house that you parked in front of.’
He jumped out and turned toward 5605 and waved, and walked up the sidewalk and knocked on the door. The door opened and a woman said, “Yes?”
Kriss folded his hands. “God bless you, my dear. Have you given a thought on how God could change your life?”
While he talked, he looked and watched the house across the street, viewing from her front patio window. The woman stopped his rambling. “I’m sorry, I don’t have time for you today. Thank you,” she said and closed the door.
Kriss saw the curtain in the house across the street close, and whoever was inside lost interest. He went back to his car and drove away. He still needed to see what he was up against. Was there one guy or six. ‘Okay, use your brain. There is only one car in the carport. One guy that looked out the window. We have sat here, down this side street for three hours, and no one has come or gone.’
He watched as a car drove up. The man jumped out with the pizza box in his hand. He knocked on the door and the door opened. The same man who looked out the window answered the door and took only the one box contained in the oven bag. ‘Okay, one box, two people. The perp, and the hostage.’
// ‘This gives me an idea.’
// ‘You’ll see.’
// ‘Are you going to clue me in?’
// ‘Maybe later. Keep thinking about how we are going to get away.’
Kriss followed the pizza guy back to Pizza Hut. He walked up and into the store. The clerk asked, “May I help you?”
“Yes, I would like to order one large pepperoni pizza, please.”
“What’s your name and address, please?”
Kriss gave him a look. “I’m standing right here. I’ll wait.”
“I’m sorry, man. This is only a delivery store. We can’t take walk-ins.”
“Then why do you have a front door?”
“In case of fire.”
Kriss gave him another look and pulled out his ID badge. “I’m Georgia, FBI. Surely you can make an exception.”
“Nope, not even if you are the president of the United States. Rules are rules. I need your name and an address.”
Kriss turned around and walked outside. His whole plan hinged on this one idea. He looked up at the address, then came back into the store. “1535 Boulder Hwy. The name is Kriss Hornbuckle.”
“All right, what would you like on your pizza?”
“One large pepperoni pizza.”
“Do you want hot wings? How about a side order of garlic nubs?”
“No, I just want the pizza.”
“Okay, the time is 8:03. Delivery time will be under thirty minutes or your next pie is free.”
“How much is it?”
“With delivery, it will cost you $15.29 plus the tip.”
Kriss put a twenty dollar bill on the counter. “Here you go.”
“I can’t take that. You have to pay the delivery driver.” Kriss picked up his money and stepped outside to wait by the door. Twenty minutes passed by, and he saw the delivery guy drive out from the parking lot. He stopped down the street and turned around, pulled up to the door, and gave a puzzled look.
Kriss stepped back inside, just to make sure. The delivery guy knocked on the glass door and Kriss opened it. The delivery man said,“Is there a Kriss Hornbuckle here?”
Kriss raised his hand. “That’s me.”
The pizza delivery guy pulled out the pie. “That will be $15.29.”
Kriss handed him the twenty dollar bill. “Keep the change.”
“Wow, thanks, mister.” He stuffed the money into his pocket and jumped back into his car.
Kriss stepped out and walked to his car. He watched the delivery driver drive out from the parking lot, then drove back in just to park in the back. Kriss shook his head and drove away.
He went back to watch the house while he ate half of the pizza. Now it was time to make his move. He closed the box and stepped up to the door and knocked. A voice behind the door said, “Who is it?”
Kriss said, “Pizza delivery.”
The guy opened the door and saw Kriss standing there with the box. “That’ll be $15.29.” The man stood in the doorway and Kriss looked around with a glance.
The guy said, “There must be a mistake. We already got our pizza.”
“Isn’t this 5604?”
“No, that’s next-door,” he said and stepped out to point.
Kriss took a good look inside, while the man pointed. “Oh, with all that junk, I thought this was the front door. Sorry to a bothered you, Sir.”
Kriss backed away and the guy closed the door. Before it closed he saw the girl on the couch, passed out and tied. The only other person was the perp. Kriss dropped the pizza box in the junk pile next-door, and saw a nice aluminum baseball bat in the pile. He pulled it out and went back to the door.
He knocked. Hey, bro, that guys not home. Are you sure you’re not trying to skip out on my tip?”
This angered the guy and he swung the door open. “Look,” is all that uttered from his lips before the bat clubbed him in the head. He stumbled all the way back to the couch and landed next to the girl.
‘BAM’, “Home run,” Kriss said.
He walked in and pulled the gun from the guy’s waistband and threw it into the junk pile. He saw a pack of zip ties on the kitchen island and pulled him off the couch and over by the table. He grabbed the pack and zip-tied the guy’s M hands to the table legs.
When he finished, he went over to check on the girl. She was out cold. On the coffee table sat a syringe and a small bottle. Kriss put the bottle into his pocket and picked up the girl. He carried her outside and lifted her over his shoulder in order to carry her to the car.
By the time he placed her in the front seat and walked around to jump in and start the car, the man came out from the house with a shotgun. Kriss saw him stop to take aim. He started the car and peeled rubber. The gun went off hitting the rear side window.
The man ran toward the car and Kriss drove toward him. He stood right in front of the car and the gun fired. Kriss pulled the girl down and crouched. He heard a thumpity-thump after the windshield shattered. He looked up and saw the man flying through the air and rolling across the street. Kriss turned the corner and sped away.
He made it back to the hotel with a flat tire in the back. When he stepped out, he saw the shotgun stuck in the grill of the car. The radiator hissed, dripping antifreeze from the barrel. Kriss rubbed his face. “Cindy’s going to kill me. She loved that car.”
He pulled the girl from the car after removing her restraints. He carried her up on his arm as if she had too much to drink. People did give him a look, but no one questioned why or what. He made it up to the room and placed her on the bed. As she lay there sleeping, he looked out the window.
Calling for Help
Kriss stayed awake all night, watched the girl, and the street below. He thought all night long on his next step. They were 2000 miles from home with no more money, no ID, and no help. Kriss decided to call the local police. He remembered an officer that came to their school, so long ago. In his mind, he was an honest man and the only man he could trust.
The police answered, “Metro, what’s your emergency?”
I need to get a hold of Officer Wright, a short, chubby black man who gave talks at the high school like twelve years ago. It’s a matter of life or death.”
“Who is this? He’ll want to know.”
He doesn’t know me, but I was a student at Cheyenne high school back then. My name is Kriss.”
“All right. This might take some time. What’s your number, we’ll have him give you a call.”
Kriss had to start to trust somebody, so he gave him the room number and the hotel. He hung up and the girl began to wake up. Kriss sat on the second bed to watch her. She opened her eyes and freaked. She jumped and Kriss tried to calm her down. “It’s okay. You’re safe. I got you out and away.”
It took some convincing, but he explained. “We are here in Las Vegas, stuck in this room. I called the police, and they are going to call me back. You were kidnapped by my boss, an FBI agent, and he pinned the murder, and your kidnapping, on me. Now he is coming to get you, then kill you in the rescue attempt. I don’t know how many friends he has in any law enforcement, so I need you to trust me.”
She remained on edge and tried to run toward the door. Kriss blocked her way. “I don’t know you from squat,” she said. “For all I know, you bought me and now you’re going to rape me, or sell me in the sex trade. That’s what happens in Vegas.”
Kriss looked into her eyes like he does to all women. “I know. Isn’t that just sick? If I was going to rape you, you would have woken up naked and still tied. If you want to go, I don’t blame you, but I’m telling you the truth. If you walk out that door, you are on your own, and I can’t help you. Look out the window and you can see my car. The yellow one with the flat tire and a shotgun hanging out the front grill. I can’t even leave myself. My boss used to be an undercover drug cop here in Vegas, so I can’t trust anybody.”
Kriss stepped aside as she walked back to the window and looked down at the car. She saw the doorway clear. Kriss swung his arm as to show her the way. “You, Alexandra are a very beautiful girl, and I’m just trying to get you home to your father.”
“You know who I am?”
“Yes, you’re Quinton Van’s daughter, he’s our mayor. If you want to go, then go. I won’t stop you. But remember, that guy that was holding you is still out there.” Kriss moved aside and sat on the bed.
Alexandra slowly made it past and went out the door. The phone rang, and Kriss jumped. He quickly grabbed the phone. “Hello.”
“Kriss, this is Officer Wright. I was told to give you a call.”
Kriss knew it was the same voice he remembered from high school he went through the whole scenario, starting with his boss and his undercover name. Halfway through a knock came on the door. “Excuse me, someone’s at the door.”
Kriss put down the phone and looked out the peep hole. It was Alexandra. He opened the door and she hit him. “You were going to let me go out and get myself killed? What kind of hero are you?”
Kriss brought her back inside by the arm and closed the door. “I’ll get back to you on that. Right now I’m talking to the police.” He picked the phone backup. “Are you still there? Good. Okay, she came back. I have her safe and sound…” Kriss continued spilling out everything in fine detail.
By the end, Officer Wright was up to speed. “Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m sending out a patrol and I’m coming out personally myself. I’m giving strict instructions for them to wait until I get there. You do not open that door for anyone except me. Not even a fellow officer. You just wait there until I arrive.”
“All right, you got it, brother.” Kriss hung up the phone. “Okay, all we can do is wait.”
Thirty-five minutes passed by, and Alexandra was looking out the window. “Hey, the cops are here, and they are looking at your car.”
Kriss walked over to the window. “I sure hope it’s the ones that Officer Wright sent.”
They both sat down on the beds to wait for a knock on the door. Fifteen minutes past then came the knock. Kriss looked out the peep hole and saw a tall white guy in uniform. He turned and put his finger to his lips. “Shush, that’s not our man,” he whispered very lightly.
The knock came again. “Open up. This is the police.”
Kriss motioned her into the bathroom. They entered and closed the door. “You get down in the tub and stay quiet.” Kriss sat on the floor and pressed his back against the door, bracing his legs against the tub and the toilet, and his hand against the sink. He heard the hotel door open, but the inner latch stopped it.
Suddenly, they heard the door being kicked in and it banged against the bathroom door. Alexandra screamed and the cop heard, trying to open the bathroom door. “I know you’re in there. You have no place else to go. Come out with your hands up.”
They didn’t move. The cop tried kicking the door in by the knob. The door broke loose, throwing splinters of wood all over the top of Kriss. But Kriss pressed back and held his ground. The cop couldn’t budge the door, so he shot holes through it. Kriss took a bullet in the back of his arm, and the cop pushed his way in.
Kriss played dead, even though he wanted to scream from the burning pain. The cop went straight to the tub, threw open the shower curtain, and grabbed the girl. “You’re coming with me,” he said in a stern voice.
Alexandra tried fighting, but he grabbed her with both hands and muscled her out the door. Now in the hallway, the elevator doors began to open. The cop didn’t want to be seen with the girl, so he turned away and walked her down the corridor.
Kriss ran out from the room and tackled the cop. Officer Wright stepped off from the elevator and saw Kriss, then ran with his men. They pulled Kriss off. “Kriss, it’s me, Officer Wright. Are you okay?” Officer Wright grabbed the dirty cop on the floor and had him under his knee. He looked at his men and said, “Let him go. This cop is the dirt bag.”
Kriss felt an overwhelming relief, but still a tremendous pain in his arm. He slid down the wall as the other two helped Officer Wright lift their suspect. The two officers carried him off, and Officer Wright and Alexandra helped Kriss to his feet. Kriss smiled. “Hey Bro. It’s about time you showed up.”
“Hey, I’m not a beat cop anymore. I work at the airport handling drunks trying to board a plane. What can I say?”
Wrapping it up with a Nice Big Bow
By the time they made it downstairs, everyone was there. The ambulance, fire truck, and twelve cop cars. Kriss sat on the edge of the ambulance while they doctored his arm to stop the bleeding. Alexandra and Officer Wright stood close by. An officer came over and said, “They got the guy down on Desert Inn. Pretty busted up, so they took him to Sunrise under close watch.
Kriss listened to the guy’ voice and thought. ‘Is it the drugs for my arm, or do I know that voice from somewhere?’
// ‘I think you’re right.’
// ‘He sounds so familiar.’
Officer Wright said, “Alexandra, you go with Officer Jenkins, here, down to the station. Jenkins, stop and get her some real food before she falls over.”
Jenkins took her by the arm and said, “Okay, Spanky, you don’t have to tell me twice.”
Kriss’s mind raced. ‘That’s it! The phone calls.’
He thought back, and in a flash he remembered the many phone calls that came to Dick’s office. (“May I help you?”
/ “Put Dick Tracy on the phone.”
/ “All right, if you wait for just one minute, I’m sure I can put you through. Can you hold?”
/ “Okay Spanky. You don’t have to tell me twice.”)
It all came blasting out. Kriss pulled out the IV and jumped from the ambulance. He ran and tackled Jenkins before anyone knew what was going on. Again, he had to be pulled off from a police officer. “He’s dirty,” he yelled, “He’s one of Dick’s men. I can prove it.”
Officer Wright held Alexandra, and pulled out his Taser, pointing it at Jenkins. “Drop your belt until we get this all sorted out.”
Jenkins protested. “What? You’re going to believe this lunatic? Spanky, he jumped me!”
“I’m ordering you to drop the belt.”
Disgusted, Jenkins replied, “All right already. You darky’s all stick together.” He reached down and pretended, then quickly reached for his gun. He cleared his holster, but before he could point it at anyone, Officer Wright pulled the trigger on his Taser. Jenkins folded up like a wet blanket. The other officers took away his toys and cuffed him.
By now, Las Vegas FBI came on the scene. Officer Wright held on to Alexandra. “Kriss, you go and get that arm taken care of, and don’t worry about Alexandra. I will not let her out on my sight until her dad picks her up, personally.”
Kriss felt relieved, and gave him a big hug. “You better, Bro, or I’m going to have to take you down too.”
The EMTs approached and helped Kriss back into the ambulance. Alexandra stepped over and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you, my brave knight.”
Kriss smiled. “To help a beautiful girl such as yourself, it was all worth it.” Before the ambulance doors closed, he saw his girlfriend’s car being towed away. “Oh, Cindy’s going to kill me.” He collapsed in the ambulance placing his arm over his eyes as the doors closed, and the ambulance drove away.
One day later, Kriss sat watching TV and eating his chocolate pudding dessert in the hospital. The nurse came into the room to take away his food tray. Kriss gave her that dazzling look. “You know, you’re my favorite nurse, right? Maybe you can find me a few more pudding cups and we can bond over chocolate.”
Officer Wright came into the room to visit Kriss. Right behind him walked in Alexandra, along with her dad, Mayor Quinton Van and his wife. Kriss used his finger to pull out the very last bit of chocolate from his cup, looked up and saw them walk in. “Officer Wright, how nice of you to pay me a visit. I was just telling Nancy here, how everyone in Vegas is so nice.” The nurse rolled her eyes and stepped out. “Alexandra, I see your safe, and Mayor Van. I’m so glad you’re here.”
The mayor shook his hand. “I want to thank you, my boy. We owe you our lives.”
Mrs. Mayor kissed him. “Thank you. You went well above and beyond to save our precious little girl.”
Kriss blushed. “You don’t have to thank me. Just to gaze upon your beauty is thanks enough. Now I know where your daughter gets it from.”
They stepped back and Officer Wright sat down next to Kriss. “You are quite amazing, Kriss Jordan.”
“Well, I keep telling everybody that, but you tell me why? I always like to hear from someone else.”
“It seems you managed not to only save the mayor’s daughter, but you also opened up a whole can of worms. After you left, the FBI rounded up fifteen dirty cops after Jenkins spilled the beans.”
“Wow, worms, beans, be careful, I just had lunch. So, that’s nice to hear, but what about my life? I’m still a wanted man.”
The mayor stepped forward. “I guess you haven’t been watching the news.”
“It seems that somehow Tomi Lauren got her hands on a DVD and a ledger book with a bullet stuck in it. She plastered it all over the news, and director Simmons opened a big investigation. In the time it took to blink, Agent Dick Kirk was arrested and also arrested were fifty-three men in a drug raid. They seized 250 kilos of heroin. Almost every one of those men pointed their finger to Dick Kirk as the king pin.”
“What about the bloody shoe print?”
“His shoes are a different size, and they are running a DNA analyses on the inside of the shoe as we speak.”
Kriss smiled. “That’s my grandma. I knew she would know what to do.”
Officer Wright said, “The doc says you’re ready to go, and the mayor here, has a plane ticket with your name on it to fly back with them.”
“This sounds wonderful.” Kriss began to get out of bed. “Now, if you want to see a beautiful moon, stick around, because I’m getting up to take a shower. When I’m done, we can go.”
Everyone smiled and began to leave the room. Alexandra had to give him one last hug before she left.
Early the next day, the plane landed at the Atlanta airport. A limousine drove them all back to Peach Field, Georgia. When they arrived, a whole crowd of people were there, along with news cameras, reporters, and a high school band. The fanfare started on the limos approach. The limo stopped, and the doors opened. Kriss stepped out to cheers and hollers. His grandma was the first face he saw. He walked over and gave her a big bear hug. “Grandma, you are simply amazing.”
She smiled and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “No, you are amazing. I just had the good sense that the Lord gave me to share your package with my neighbor, Tomi Lauren. She is a sweet girl.”
“Yes she is, Grandma, yes she is.”
Tomi walked up to shake his hand. “I want an exclusive.” She handed Kriss her card. “Call me, today. We will interview tomorrow.”
“Yes, you got it,” Kriss said with a smile.
The next person he saw was Cindy. She waited until he noticed her. When their eyes met, both of them went running into each other’s arms. They kissed and hugged, not caring about anything else in the world, until Kriss’s mind kicked in. ‘What about Cindy’s car?’
Kriss pulled away. “Cindy, I know how you loved your car and I promised that I would bring it back, but…”
Cindy stopped him. “Sh, sh, shush, baby. I already saw the car on the news, and the mayor already bought me a brand-new hybrid. There are no worries.
Kriss smiled. By now the mayor was done with his speech and called Kriss up to say a few words. Kriss stepped up and waved to the crowd and started, “Wow, I see so many beautiful women out there in the audience. I would’ve never thought that I would be so popular to so many ladies. I thank you all. I guess all I can say is, what can I say? My grandmother always told me, and I hold it dear to my heart. Kriss Jordan, you are truly amazing. Believe in yourself, and you shall be blessed. Thank you.” He stepped down and put his one good arm around Cindy and walked away with her and his amazing grandmother by his side.