I’ve told you of my fifth BJ Vinson mystery novel (three published, one pending, and one still a gleam in my eye. Well, that fifth one, ABADDON’S LOCUSTS, is fleshing out and growing on my One Drive. On April 13, I gave you the Prologue and the first couple of pages to Chapter 1. Now let me give you a sample of Chapter 2.
In the following scene, BJ’s life companion, Paul Barton, arrives home to find a hunky Navajo inside talking to BJ. Let’s pick up from there.
“Whose bike is parked out there?” When Paul came into the den, he stopped dead still. “Henry? Is that you?”
The Navajo had made an impression. They’d only met once about three years ago in my motel room in Farmington when I was working a case up there. Of course, both Henry and his brother Jazz were impressive guys—as was Paul.
“’Fraid so. Hope you don’t mind me coming over without no warning.”
I cut straight to the issue. “He’s got a problem. Or at least, Jazz has.”
The love of my life took a seat as I explained the situation. I wasn’t certain how he would react. The green-eyed monster had shown up briefly when I introduced Paul to the sexy teenager I’d been working with in Farmington while searching for a wine mogul’s missing son. Paul was as secure as any man I knew, but Jazz Penrod was such a package of raw sex that he made most men—gay or straight—feel threatened. My lover fooled me… once again.
“Vince, you gotta find him.” The world called me BJ, but two men referred to me as Vince: Paul and my ex, an attorney named Del Dahlman. Paul pointed to Jazz's laptop Henry had brought. “Check this Juan guy’s username through that fraud service you use.”
“Okay, but I can almost guarantee it’s going to be a dead end.”
The two of them followed me into my home office so I could use my own computer to conduct the search. The NoFraud.com service I used wouldn’t lead us to a URL address, but when one was exposed as a fraud, these guys published the Internet address. Juan’s address wasn’t listed, which was no comfort at all. He simply hadn’t been exposed yet.
“Well, crap,” Paul said.
Henry blew air through his nose. “I thought these things were easy to run down. You hear about guys getting hacked all the time.”
“You’ve just said the magic word. Hack. Hackers do it if they have the time and equipment necessary. Law enforcement has to get a warrant, hand it to the server, and wait for a response.” I took Jazz’s computer from Henry. “Don’t know if you caught it, but there were a couple of messages where Jazz and this Juan guy exchanged personal information.”
I searched until I found the Email I wanted. “Here it is. Juan Gonzales with an address of 111½ Fifty-Ninth NW in Albuquerque. And there’s a phone number.” I asked the two of them to be quiet while I dialed. It proved to be disconnected.
“Well, we have his name and an address anyway,” Henry said with a dangerous look on his face.
“They’re both probably phony,” I said.
Paul put in his two cents. “And Juan Gonzales is like John Smith. There’s a million of them.”
“Let me put my office manager Hazel on this,” I suggested. “She’s better than I am at locating people over the Internet. Give me Jazz’s cell phone number so Charlie can start trying to trace it.” Charlie Weeks, Hazel’s husband, was a retired APD cop and my partner in Vinson and Weeks, Confidential Investigations.
The number Henry supplied matched the number already in my records for Jazz. He also handed over the license plate number for his brother’s Jeep, after which I phoned my office and handed out some assignments. That done, I called my old APD riding partner Lt. Gene Enriquez and explained the situation. He was still at the downtown police station.
“You know this kid pretty well?” Gene asked.
“He was one of the local assets I told you about when I was working on the Alfano case up in the Bisti Wilderness. He’s a good kid.”
“Yeah. If I remember, you said he was pretty open about being gay.”
“Yes, honest and open. Why?”
“How do you know he didn’t just go off and meet this other gay guy for a fling?”
“Because he’s more responsible than that. He would have contacted his mother at the very least. No one’s heard from him for a month. At least put out a BOLO on his vehicle.”
“Okay. Give me the details. But this means I gotta open a case. Have the brother come in and file a request.”
“We’ll do that first thing in the morning. In the meantime, will you put out the order.”
“Yeah. Be here at nine, okay?”
When I hung up, Henry asked me what a BOLO was.
“Be on the lookout,” Paul answered. “But tell me something. You say that’s Jazz’s computer. If he was going to meet someone wouldn’t he take it along?”
He’s got a smart phone and a tablet, whatever that is. He claims that gives him access to anything he needs. He usually leaves the laptop at home when he travels around.”
“With photos like that on it?” Paul asked. “What if his mother saw them?”
“Nobody invades Jazz’s privacy. Only reason I did was because I’m worried about him. If he turns out to be all right, he’ll give me hell for peeking at his private photos.” Henry frowned, showing his uncertainty. “And I hope that’s exactly what happens. BJ, you sure we gotta involve the police in this?”
“We need their help. And somebody, Jazz’s Uncle Riley maybe, needs to go to the Farmington PD and file a missing person’s report.”
“He already did. Said he’d go in the next day after he gave me Jazz’s laptop. That would be today. He should have gone in this morning. He was gonna ask for that Sgt. Dix Lee we met back when we were working together.”
“Good. Henry, you’ve got to get over your aversion to authority. If this is what I think it is, the feds will be involved.”
“I don’t know much about it, but when the victim is a US citizen, the FBI is called in. I think they have a Domestic Sex Trafficking Program. If it’s over the border stuff, I’m sure ICE will be involved. That’s US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They’re both a part of Homeland Security, so it’s apt to be an interagency thing. A task force, maybe.”
“Crap. What if he just went to meet a guy and they got wrapped up in one another?”
I leveled a look at the hunky Navajo. “Do you believe that?”
He hung his head. “Naw. I don’t. Something’s wrong. So let’s get the big bad Feebees involved. So whadda we do now? Sit around and wait until tomorrow?”
“Nope. We’re going to check out 111½ Fifty-Ninth NW—even if it is a fool’s errand.”
Folks, I sincerely believe this is turning out to be a good tale. Let me know what you think so far at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Rocks is now available. Hope you will show your support by buying a copy. Publishing houses are rather insistent that there be sales before they’ll bring out another of your books. The following are my contact information and the DSP Publications links:
Don Travis Email: email@example.com
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New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.