FREE EXCERPT- Cheap Justice

Cheap Justice


Dirty Lou shifted from one foot to the other while waiting behind the dumpsters in the back alley of 9th street.  He was looking at the blue cell phone in his hand.

“One call, one ring.  No, no.  Two calls, two rings.  Wait.  One ring then one call…,” he mumbled.

Lou needed a hit.  His cocaine high was sharply plummeting, crashing like a thousand heavy stones in his brain.

“Come on.  Come on, you pigs!  Call!” he yelled to the cell phone.

He had reluctantly agreed to do this last buy.  Instead of the usual $20, Lou demanded $50 this time sensing the police were finally ready to take Mona Blaise down for good.  They had surveilled his last two buys perfectly and now had the SWAT hidden just a few blocks away.

Someone opened a nearby apartment window facing the alley.  An elderly woman poked her head out and, upon seeing Lou, frowned disapprovingly.  He screamed wildly at her. 

“What are you looking at, old lady?  Mind your own freakin’ business!”  

She gasped then slammed the window shut and quickly downed the shades.  Lou huffed, shaking his head in disbelief. 

“People always sticking their nose where it don’t belong,” he said.

The cell phone suddenly buzzed.  It emitted a short shrill beep, then stopped, then another identical beep, then stopped.  Lou stuffed the phone in his pocket.  He lifted up his shirt, checked the wire taped to his skeletal chest, then put his shirt back down.  He took a deep breath and finally walked out of the alley towards 11th street to Mona’s house.

It was hot, sticky hot.  Lou tried to walk casually down the sidewalk, but he kept wiping his damp face and fanning himself.  The short two blocks seemed like 20 to his food-starved body.  

“Finally,” he muttered when he saw Mona’s house. 

As always, it looked normal and ordinary.  It was a single family corner house with a manicured lawn and red roses lining the walkway.  An old Honda Accord sat in the driveway, its metal body glistening under the intense summer afternoon heat.  Lou looked around as he neared her front metal gate. 

At the front door, he knocked once.  At first, he heard nothing but nearby wind chimes gently swaying to a soft warm breeze.  He knocked again.  Footsteps approached from inside.

“Who is it?” called a voice.

Lou knew the voice to be Mona’s son, Tyler.  Although 16 years old, he knew Tyler to act much younger than his age. 

“It’s me, Dirty Lou.”

“What do you want?” asked Tyler through the door.

“Two dips.  But I, uh, I want to talk to your mom first.”


The footsteps retreated, then another set of footsteps approached.  This time, the front door opened slightly revealing one side of Mona’s small face.

“What do you want me for?”  she said.

“I, uh, I need to talk to you.”

“About what?”

“Um, about the last one.  It didn’t last like you said it would.”

“That’s because you used it all.”

“But I always use the same amount.”

“Well, maybe it’s time for you to quit.  It’s obvious you can’t keep track of what you’re doing anymore.”

“Mona, I need another hit of cocaine.”

Mona paused before responding.  She looked at Lou then abruptly slammed the front door.


“What?” she called from inside.

“I need another hit.  I’m hurtin’ bad.”

Mona did not respond.

“I’ve got double.  I can pay double for the same two dips.  I need it!”

The front door opened again. 

“You sure you don’t have five-oh with you?  You seem weird.”

“I’m always weird.”

“You seem extra weird.”

“Mona, please.  I need a hit.  I’m hurtin’.  Come on.”

“I don’t know, Dirty Lou.  I don’t know.”

“I’ve been comin’ here for years.  I would never do you like that.  You know me, I keeps it real.  I don’t deal with five-oh.”

“Where did you get the money from?”.

“You know I have my ways.”

Mona closed the door then cracked it open again to hand Lou two small Ziploc bags filled with fine white powder.  The sight of the drugs excited Lou so much that he absentmindedly yanked the $50-dollar bill out of his pocket, causing the blue cell phone to rise and hang halfway out.

“Five-oh!” Mona said. 

After spotting Lou’s phone, she slammed the door.  Lou heard loud voices and scuffling from within.  He immediately backed away and ran out the front gate.  Instead of running further away, he hid in a small patch of tall dense trees across the street.  Lou pressed a button on the cell phone and whispered the code-word to the person who answered.  After he hung up, he waited.

The take down was swift.  In minutes, dozens of police cars swarmed Mona’s house like bees to a honeycomb.  A large black van pulled up and about five or six police officers jumped out, dressed in all black with big heavy weapons strapped to their bodies.  At first, there was just the noise and commotion of police activity.  Then shots rang out from within Mona’s house.  The police returned the fire, their bullets rippling through the house, shattering windows and practically blowing off the front door.   

Some neighbors stayed inside their houses while others gathered on their front porches to watch, despite police warnings.  Eventually Lou saw several news media roll through.  Hungry reporters flanked by overweight cameramen busily yapped about this ‘historic’ take down.

Lou laughed to himself.  Although he needed to get home to take this hit, he could not peel himself away from this long-awaited demise of Mona Blaise.  She was the second largest drug dealer in the state, controlling all but seven cities.  She had risen steadily through the ranks of drug culture, having started first as a juvenile lookout many years ago.  Despite her prowess, Mona was like a ghost to law enforcement.  She appeared as a small, middle-aged brown-skinned woman with graying hair.  She dressed in Target store clothes.  She smiled and laughed with friendly wrinkles appearing at the crease of her eyes.  To most, Mona appeared like a well-respected, soft and gentle Black grandmother. 

Yet, she was anything but.  Lou had known of other poor drug users who bought Mona’s drugs on credit, then were forced to pay their rising debt with their own lives.  She was known to be fierce and vicious in seeking revenge.  She had often told Lou that she despised unpaid debts and that she absolutely, positively hated snitches.

Lou shifted nervously behind the trees.  He neededto get home, but he had to make sure Mona was caught. 

“I need to see that witch in handcuffs,” he said.

An eerie quiet eventually descended upon the scene.  The SWAT was slowly moving into position, crouch-walking around Mona’s house while carrying their big guns.  Other police whispered cautiously into their walkie-talkies while taking cover behind squad cars.

“Come out with your hands up!” said an officer through a megaphone.


“Come out with your hands up, Mona!”


“You’re surrounded.  We’ve got you.  You’re not going anywhere.  Make it easy on yourself and come out.  Let’s end this!”  

The shattered front door slowly opened.  Mona Blaise appeared in the doorway, unharmed and un-fazed.  She raised up her hands and coolly walked out onto the porch.  Almost instantly, several officers approached, slamming her to the ground to handcuff her.  Then the SWAT busted through the house and, in minutes, dragged out dozens of her workers, one-by-one, in handcuffs.

“This crap is finally over,” Lou said with a sigh.

He figured Mona would be looking at ten to fifteen years behind bars, giving him more than enough time to skip town for good. 


Sabrina Stokes awoke with a start.  She hit her alarm clock several times to quiet it’s incessant beeping.  It was already 7:15 am, leaving her only 45 minutes to make it to court.  Sheepishly, she rolled out of bed and went to the bathroom for a quick shower.  As she later dressed, she thought about her day at the Juvenile District Court where she expected to be on her feet from the moment she arrived through late afternoon.  Sabrina made a mental note to pack several snacks since it was often impossible to eat a meal between fast moving case hearings. 

Five minutes before 8:00 am, Sabrina arrived at the court building.  She gave her keys to the parking valet then rode the elevator to the fifth floor.  By the time she arrived at the clerk’s station, it was 8:00 on the dot.

“Thank God you’re here on time!” said Olga, the senior court clerk.  “Judge Mahoney is already in a bad mood.  Judge Russell is out sick, so Mahoney’s got a double caseload today.”

“Well, I aim to please,” said Sabrina.

Olga pushed several stacks of paper towards her.

“Here,” she said.  “Take those.  That’s what came in over the weekend.  Mahoney is going to take those starting at eight thirty, so you’ve got a little time.”

“Thanks,” said Sabrina.

She grabbed the stack, walked towards an empty bench and sat down to review the files.  They were filled with charging papers, police reports, and some preliminary evidence.  Sabrina noticed that in all these files, the juvenile defendants were presently in lock-up.  Thumbing through them, she made a few quick notes before gathering her things and heading towards the elevator.

Another defense attorney and former boyfriend, Marvin Flager, waved to her as she passed by.

“Is he already in there, Bri?” he asked.  He was pointing to Judge Mahoney’s courtroom.

Sabrina nodded. 

“Yes.  Olga said he’s already growling, so be careful.”

“How many do you have?”  

“Just seven for this morning.  Olga has a stack for you, too.  It’s going to be a busy day for me.  All of mine are right here in lock-up.”

“Ouch!  Better you than me!  But you’re a tough cookie, Bri, you can handle it,” he said.

“I’ll try my best,” said Sabrina.

She quickly took the freight elevators to the basement.  Lock-up was actually a large old file room that had been converted into a make-shift holding facility.  Twelve small cells lined the walls like perfectly spaced rusty white pods.  As always, the air was filled with heat and fear.  A single police officer manned the front desk.

“Hey, Norman.  I’ve got seven down here this morning,” said Sabrina.

“No problem.  Sign in and we’ll take them one-by-one.” 

Officer Norman was an unlikely police officer who more resembled Santa Clause than a steely-eyed law enforcer.  His happy blue eyes twinkled as he spoke and he often talked and joked with the young defendants, giving them words of encouragement and hope. 

“Okay,” said Sabrina.  She briefly read from her papers.  “Let’s start with the first one.  Tyler Blaise.”

“Sure.  I’ll bring him out and you two can talk in the conference room.  I read the charges on that one and, you know, Sabrina, I know it’s not my place but I don’t think they’re right.”  


“Well, you’ll see.  He’s, uh, different.  You’ll see what I mean.  Go on in the conference room.  I’ll bring him out to ya.”

Sabrina sat in the old conference room facing the door.  She was busily reading the case file when Tyler was brought in.  When she saw him, she gestured for him to sit in the empty chair opposite her.  He was a thin teenager of medium height.  His ashen skin was honey-toned.  His small face was framed by short dreadlocks randomly sprouting from the top of his head.  When he sat down, he turned to her with a heart-breaking expression of fear.

“Tyler, hi.  I’m your attorney appointed by the court to defend you in your case.”

Tyler’s expression did not change. 

“Tyler, do you understand what an attorney is?”  

He shook his head no. 

“Well, an attorney is someone who goes to court and talks to the judge about your case.”

“Will you tell the judge to send me home?”  

His voice was unusually high-pitched, almost like a child.  It quivered as he spoke, causing Sabrina to wonder if he was withdrawing from drug abuse.

“Well, that’s why we are going to the court today.  We’re going to talk to the judge about sending you home.  That’s called an arraignment and bail hearing.”  

Tyler shook his head in feigned understanding.

“Tyler, um, have you ever done drugs?  Did you do some drugs at home?”  

Tyler shook his head. 

“Uh-uh!  Maw told me never to touch that stuff.  I never did it.  Honest, I never put it in my mouth.  Never!”  

Sabrina raised her hands in protest.

“Okay, okay.  I believe you.  Well, let’s talk a little bit about what happened?  Is that okay?”  


“So, it says here that you were found with eighty-four grams of cocaine on you.  The charges are ‘possession with intent to distribute.’  That means the police said you were selling drugs.”  

“I don’t sell sugar drugs.  Maw told me not to.  She said I can’t.  She just told me to hold them.”

“She told you to hold the drugs?”  

“Yeah.  When the cops came, she told me to put the sugar drugs in my pockets.”  

Sabrina scanned the police report which stated that at the time of arrest, Tyler was wearing cargo pants in which small baggies containing 84 grams of cocaine were found.

“Tyler,” said Sabrina.  “It says here that you sold drugs with your mom.  It says that you gave drugs to people who were buying it and you took their money.  That means you sold drugs.”

Tyler’s face immediately crumpled as if he was about to cry.  He looked down at the desk and squeezed his eyes shut.

“Tyler?  Are you okay?”  

He opened his eyes and looked at her.

“I want to go home.”

“I’m going to try to work on that for you.  Tell me, do you have an auntie or uncle or cousin around?  What about dad?”  

“It’s just me and Maw.  Maw said my dad is gone.  I don’t know anyone else.”  

“Okay, that’s okay.  I can work on finding a guardian for you.”  

“I want my Maw.”  

“Well, I think your mom will be gone for a little while.”  

Tyler’s eyes welled with tears.  

“I want my Maw!”

Norman opened the conference room door. 

“Everything okay in here?” he asked Sabrina.

“It’s alright, Norman, it’s alright.  We were just talking,” she said.

“Okay.  I’m right behind the door if you need me,” he said as he closed it.

Sabrina turned back to Tyler. 

“Tyler, what grade did you finish last year?”


“Ninth grade?  What school?”  

“Pinkerton High.”  

“Pinkerton?  Okay, okay.  Great.  Tyler, I want to ask you some questions about when the police came.  Is that okay?”  

Tyler shook his head yes.

“Alright, now.  Before the police came, where were you?”  


“Okay.  Now, what were you doing at home?”

“Helping Maw.”

“Helping Maw with what?”

“I had to put the sugar drugs in the bags.”

“Oh, okay.  You had to pour the sugar drugs in the little bags?”


“Was there a lot of sugar at your house?”

“Yup.  There was a lot.  Maw put them inside the wall.”

“Oh, I see.  What else did you do?”

“I answered the door.”

“Okay.  When you answered the door, what did you say?”

“I asked them what did they want.”

“And what did they want?”

“They wanted a dip.”

“What’s a dip?”

“Sugar drugs.”

“Oh, okay.  Did you know that the sugar drugs were bad?”

Tyler fiercely shook his head again. “No!” he cried.

“Okay, okay.  When you gave them the sugar, did they give you anything?”  


“What did you do with the money?”

“I gave it to Maw.”

“Okay.  So Maw took the money?”


“Tyler, did she ever give you some money?  Ever?”

“Nope.  Maw said I don’t need it.  Maw said she gives me everything already.”

“I see.  Did you ever hold a gun or shoot one?”  

Tyler’s eyes opened wide.

“No way!  Maw would yell at me if I touched the gun,” he said.

“Oh, okay.  Tyler, do you know what people do with the sugar drugs?”  



“They put it on their food.”

“Is that what Maw told you?”


“Do you believe that?”



“Because Maw said that people need the sugar drugs to put it on their food to make it taste better.”

“Did you ever wonder why people would buy sugar from your mom instead of from the grocery store?”

“Yeah.  Maw said her sugar is less money.”

“Oh, I see.  Tyler, one last question.  Did you have a special teacher at Pinkerton?  Or maybe a favorite teacher or administrator?”  

“Yup.  Ms. Dice.  She’s in charge.”

“Ms. Dice.  Got it.  Okay.  Well, do you have any questions for me?”

“Are you going to take me home?”

“Well, I’m going to try.  Even if the judge says you can go home, I need someone to be your guardian because you’re a kid.”

“But Maw is my maw.”

“Yes, but your mom is busy.”

“Doing what?”

“Your mom is in court, too.  Just like you.”


“Because the sugar drugs she was selling was very bad.”


“But I will look around and find someone to take you home if the judge lets you go today, okay?  It might take me a few days.”

She reached out and patted Tyler on the shoulder.  He warmed into a bright smile and almost giggled.

“That tickles!”

Sabrina softly smiled in response.  There was something special about Tyler that immediately touched her.  He wore his innocence on his sleeve as if he were a small child who was eager to please.  She made several notes in her case file then signaled for Norman to come in.  As Tyler shuffled out of the conference room back to his cell, he turned towards Sabrina.

“Will you tell the judge I want to go home?”  

“Yes, Tyler, I will.”  


 “All rise.”

Judge Mahoney walked into the courtroom and plopped down at the bench in an angry huff, barely noticing the attorneys and defendant in the courtroom.  With a look of annoyance, he took a case file from a stack of folders on his desk and opened it.

“Martha, let’s go,” he said to his assistant.

“Court calls People v Tyler.”

Sabrina, Tyler and the prosecutor stood up, looking at the Judge expectantly.

“Okay, let’s get this show on the road.  Prosecutor, what you got?” asked Judge Mahoney.

“Your honor,” began Boris Tidwell, the assistant state attorney.  “The juvenile defendant was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute an illegal substance, namely cocaine.  He was found with eighty-four grams on him.”

 “And?” asked Judge Mahoney.

“And we are requesting two hundred thousand dollars bail due to the severity of this Class A First Degree Felony and the defendant’s association with one of the most notorious drug dealers in this state.”

“Judge,” said Sabrina.  “The defendant that the state speaks of is just a sixteen-year-old boy who lacks the necessary intent for this crime.  And it was impossible for him to not associate with the so-called notorious drug dealer in this state since she, Mona Blaise, is Tyler’s mother and the raid occurred at Tyler’s legal residence.”

“Well, he’s sixteen years old, not seven.  How do you know he lacks intent?”  

“Well, I will have Tyler evaluated as soon as possible to confirm it.”  

Judge Mahoney sighed. 

“Sabrina, if you want to have him evaluated, fine.  But at this point, you have no proof that he even possibly lacks intent.  So what else do you have?”  

“Judge, the state’s preliminary evidence lacks proof that Tyler was allegedly dealing in drugs.”    

“He was found with eighty-four grams of cocaine on him!”

Allegedly, Judge,” said Sabrina.  “The state has yet to confirm toxicology reports that the substance found was indeed an illegal narcotic.  And furthermore, there are significant issues with the police’s search and seizure of Tyler.”  

“Okay, I’m listening.”  

“Well, the search warrant that the state attached to the police report revealed that the police had the authority to search the entire home, Mona Blaise, and eleven named individuals, none of whom were Tyler Blaise.  In addition, the usual “any persons present” phrase that the police commonly use in search warrants was obviously lacking in this one.”  

“State?” said Judge Mahoney to Boris.

Boris cleared his throat before responding. 

“Well, uh, Judge, that may or may not be true.  However, once the police executed the search warrant, they certainly had probable cause to arrest Tyler for drug dealing.”  

“Judge, Tyler has absolutely no record,” said Sabrina.  “He has never been in trouble before and as an officer of this court, I believe Tyler may be suffering from some type of mental disability.”

“Of course.  That would be perfect, wouldn’t it?” said Judge Mahoney. 

“Judge, I would not proffer a falsehood upon this court,” said Sabrina.

“Oh, I’m not calling you a liar, Ms. Stokes.  I’m just tired of hearing about these kids trying to get out of paying for their crimes.”  

“Judge, uh, this court is bound by fairness and the Constitution.  Tyler is innocent before proven guilty,” said Sabrina.

Judge Mahoney slammed his hand on the desk. 

You don’t tell me how to run my courtroom!  I know what this court is about, not you!”  

The Judge fidgeted with his collar before continuing.

“Alright.  Five-thousand-dollar bail, then release to guardian.  Martha, give me a new court date,” he said.

“What about June twenty-seventh?” said Martha.

“Great.  That’s it.  Next case!”  

“Uh, excuse me, Judge?” said Sabrina.


“Well, I am requesting that this court open a dependency case for Tyler.  As is widely known on the news, his mother and only legal guardian, Mona Blaise, was arrested.  In addition, his residence will likely remain a crime scene for some time.  I am requesting the court assist him with foster care since he currently no longer has a legal guardian nor a legal residence.”

Judge Mahoney’s green eyes glared at her.  The last thing he wanted to do was add to his docket.  Yet, he knew he could not mess up this case since it was directly connected to his mother’s high-profile case in the adult criminal court.

“Bail is set.  He’ll stay in the custody of the police,” said Judge Mahoney.

“But Judge, if I find a relative that can make the bail, that relative will have to go through dependency court to qualify as his legal guardian anyway.”  

“Does he even have a relative?”  

“Well, uh, I’m going to find that out.”  

“Good.  Then when you find that out, you can come back here and make your request to open a dependency case.  Until then, he stays in police custody until bail can be made,” said Judge Mahoney.

“But, Judge-“

“That’s it, Stokes!  Bailiff, bring in the next one!”   

Boris chuckled as Sabrina walked back to the defendant’s table. 

“You’re in over your head, Sabrina,” he said.

“Look, Boris, I don’t have time for your games, okay?  Besides, this case is going to go away anyway.”


“Dismissal, that’s how.  My client could never have the intent to sell drugs.”  

“Sabrina, it doesn’t matter what that kid’s intent was.  The cops just brought down Mona Blaise.  Trust me, your kid’s going nowhere but the slammer.”  

“Is that so?”

“Yeah, that’s so.”

“Well, expect several motions from me in a few days, Boris.  I want every scrap of evidence you’ve got on Tyler.”  

“You’ll get what I give you.”  

“Excuse me?”  

“You heard me, Stokes.  You’ll get what I give you.  I’m not blowing this case for some Pollyanna dumb orphan.  Tyler Blaise is going down with his mother and that’s that.”  

Sabrina glared at him. 

“Boris, if you mess with me on this case, you’ll regret it.”  

“Is that a threat?”  

“No, Boris, it’s a promise.”  

“Look, we’ve got him locked tight.  There’s no way out for your kid.  I’m not even going to offer you a plea.”  

“Good, ‘cause I wasn’t asking for one.”  

“Sabrina, don’t let your confidence blind you.”  

She scowled at Boris, then abruptly turned away, purposely giving him her back.  She wordlessly gathered her briefcase and followed the bailiff and Tyler back to lock-up.  Once there, Sabrina returned to the conference room with Tyler to explain to him what just happened.

“Tyler, uh, the judge will let you go after someone pays a little bit of money.”

“Why?  Why can’t he just send me home now?”  

“Well, because the sugar drugs your mother was selling was very, very bad.  And since your mother made you help her, it looks bad on you.”  

“But I wasn’t bad!  I didn’t do anything bad!”

“I know, I know.  Don’t worry, okay?  I’m going to try to track someone down to pay the bail and get you out of here.”


“Well, I’ll need a little time, Tyler.  You said you don’t have any other relatives, but I can’t believe that to be true.  There’s got to be someone out there, even a close family friend, somebody that will take you in.”  

Tyler shook his head.  

“Maw said it’s just me and her.  She said she didn’t trust anyone.”

“Well, she definitely had good reason to say that.  Look, Tyler, it’s going to take me some time, but I won’t give up.”  

“Where do I go now?”  

“Oh, yeah.  Well, later today, they’re going to take you to the Juvenile Detention Facility.  You’ll stay there until I can find someone to get you out.”  

“I don’t want to go!”  

“Tyler, you’ve got to.  You’ve got no choice.  I will come visit you in two days, okay?”  

Tyler sighed.  “Okay.”  

Sabrina signaled for Norman to come in and take him back to his cell.  He shuffled out of the conference room without looking back.

“Norman,” said Sabrina as she walked back to the front desk.  “When you take the kids down, can you make sure they put Tyler in the egg shell unit?” she asked, referring to the special unit for juvenile defendants with disabilities.

“No prob, Sabrina.  I got ya,” he said.


“Name?” asked a heavyset woman stationed at the entrance of the Juvenile Facility.

“Tyler Blaise.”

“Date of birth?”

“July fourth two thousand.”

“Next of kin?”


“Next of kin.”

“I don’t know.”

The woman sighed. 

“Bobby!  Who’s this boy’s mama?  I need a next of kin on the form!” she yelled to a tall man standing in the hallway holding a metal clipboard.

Bobby walked to the woman in a few quick strides. 

“Who?” he asked her.

“This one,” she said pointing to Tyler.

Bobby glanced at some papers affixed to his clipboard.  His eyes widened when he read the name.  

“Mona Blaise,” he whispered.

The woman drew in her breath.  She looked Tyler up and down, then peered into his eyes. 

“Look, don’t you bring no trouble here, you understand me?” she said to Tyler.

Tyler shook his head in confused acknowledgment. 

“Bobby, you better take him to the twenty-four.  I don’t want no problems with this one,” said the woman.

“But Lucinda, I have orders to put him in the egg shell unit.  Apparently, he’s slow,” said Bobby.

Lucinda leaned closely to Bobby.

“Look, I don’t care what they say.  His mama’s got people all over this city and I don’t want him influencing or threatening anybody.  He’s going to the twenty-four and that’s that.”

Bobby lifted his walkie-talkie and barked some words in what sounded like code.

“Hey, uh, I’ve got a one-three-six-nine over here.  I need someone to transfer him over to the twenty-four asap,” he said.

“Roger that,” was the anonymous reply from his walkie-talkie.

Bobby unhooked Tyler from his chains, then walked him to a far corner of the hallway.  The facility was large and spread out with a labyrinth of hallways, rooms and office pods.  Tyler smelled faint scents of urine, feces, saliva, rotten food, and other things he could not detect.  He instantly felt dirty and overwhelmingly tired.

“I want to go home,” he said to Bobby who was standing beside him.

Bobby snickered before replying.

“Kid, I don’t think you’ll be seeing home for a long time.”


Bobby chuckled again.

“Oh, yeah.  We’re definitely going to keep an eye on you.”  

They waited until two armed men approached.  One of the men stared at Tyler while the other talked to Bobby.

“This the one?” he asked Bobby.

“Yeah.  Keep him in twenty-four,” said Bobby.

“This little thing sure doesn’t look like Mona Blaise’s son,” said the officer.

Bobby glanced at Tyler.

 “Well, it don’t take but two minutes for them to raise hell.  It took us almost two years to get rid of that drug trade by the Robinson twins.  You remember?” he said to the officer.

The officer nodded. 

“Oh yeah.  I’ll never forget it.  Alright.  Let’s get this one down there.  Come on, boy.”

Each officer grabbed Tyler by the arm and practically dragged him down the hallway towards a freight elevator.

“Wait!  Where are we going?  Stop!” said Tyler.

They led him onto a large empty elevator.  After the door closed, one of the officers threw Tyler onto the floor and placed his foot on his neck.

“Listen, you little clown!  I’m the head honcho in here, got it?  If I hear about you raising hell, you’re going to have to contend with me!” he said.  He dug his foot into Tyler’s neck and shoulders.

“Ow!” Tyler said.

When the elevator doors opened, they grabbed Tyler and dragged him down a dimly lit corridor.  After winding around several corners, they finally threw him into a small cell.  It was fully enclosed with no window and no furniture save for a dirty urinal hanging crookedly in the corner.  The officers slammed the door shut and left.

“Hey, get me out of here!” said Tyler.

He was the only inmate in the basement, surveilled by a small camera hidden in the ceiling of his cell.   Tyler slumped into a corner of the room, drew his legs up, bent his head down and cried.

Copyright 2017. Michelle St. Claire. All Rights Reserved.

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