Between Halos and Horns

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - The Midnight Arrival

Submitted: August 19, 2012

Reads: 319

Comments: 4

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Submitted: August 19, 2012

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Between Halos and Horns

As a journalist, I know that some stories are simply worth getting up at midnight for. This is made especially so when the police are calling your house, not willing to speak more than a few words over the phone. Get up, apologize to girlfriend for waking her up, brush my teeth, get dressed, start to brush my hair, decide against it, come back to brush it anyway. I grab a hefty notebook and a couple of pens as well as my wallet and phone, and then leave the apartment to find a cab. Even past midnight, they swarm like mechanical wasps, desperate for passengers. The streets are filthier at night, and so much more interesting. On my way to the police department, I spot four prostitutes, one pimp, two drug-money exchanges, and at least a dozen paranoid homeless.

Pay the driver, step out into the harsh floodlights of the station.

"Are you Jesse Briggs?"

"Yes, Officer. Am I in trouble?"

"Come with me."

I wake up. Someone had handed me a mug of coffee in the confusion, but I didn't know who to thank. I was being escorted through the halls of the police station by a small squad of officers. They all had serious looks on their tired faces, I took a sip of coffee. I hated coffee. It wasn't long before the caffeine kicked in though, and I realized that taking a stroll with a few officers in their 'home base' wasn't exactly normal. Now that I was awake, questions began to form, but looking at the faces of the lawkeepers told me that they could wait.

"Mr. Briggs," one of them told me after we had stopped walking. I looked around and realized we were in front of a one-way mirror. I looked through the glass and saw the man I knew I had been brought here to speak with. He sat there in the room alone, sitting on one of two chairs in front of a big empty table. There were no handcuffs, no cameras, no guards inside... just him.

"Yes?" I reply.

"The man in that room goes by the name Reid, just Reid. He says he will speak to no one but a journalist. He has been granted the death penalty and wishes for a memoir to be written for him, a biography. He promises it is not a waste of time, but will only speak to you. Do you understand what you are here to do?"

"Yes."

"Tell me you understand."

"I understand, Officer."

"Let him in."

The issue of safety lingers in the back of my mind, but surely these fine police officers wouldn't let me into a room with a man under the death penalty if they didn't believe he was really dangerous, right? Not two minutes later I was seated across from him. The room reeked of cigarette smoke, something I never truly cared for. He had an ashtray in front of him, the piles of ash mounting, and several unlit cigarettes scattered around the ashtray itself. He was smoking as I sat down, his big, hazel eyes looking me over intently, as if deciding whether or not I was worthy for the job ahead of me. I began to sweat.

"You the journalist, or are you a cop?" Reid asked in a deep, shady voice. His speech was seasoned with a slight southern accent, I couldn't help but be reminded of old Westerns. He took a long drag from his cigarette and let the smoke drift away from his lungs through his nostrils.

"I'm the journalist, yes."

"Good. Hello, nice to meet you, I'm Reid."

"Hi, my name's Jesse."

"It's pretty late, huh?"

"Yeah, I was sleeping."

"Sorry, bad timin'."

"That's okay."

"I want to tell you a story, Jesse, if that's okay."

"Is it a true story?"

"Every part of it is. It's my life's story." Reid stuck the smoke between his lips, rubbed his fingers a bit, and then replaced the cigarette between two fingers.

"Okay. Let's start."

"Alright then," he replied with a smile, I ready my pen and notebook. "This is how it starts...-"


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