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‘Not So Pretty’ came from an article I read over a decade ago.  It was basically about people ignoring the obvious.  Because it made them feel better about themselves.  And they were willing to allow someone to be sacrificed.  All of it was to keep up their pretense of being ignorant of the facts.


The story will be in 3 parts.  One part will be posted every week.  I hope you enjoy the story.     


Not So Pretty


A LEXUS LX PARKED along the curb.  A Range Rover parked behind it.  Their engines continued to run.  A minute later a Lincoln Navigator parked behind the Range Rover.  All three were black with dark windows.


Ten feet in front and to the right of the Lexus was a stone-paved driveway.


The SUVs’ engines shut off.  The doors of the Lexus and Navigator opened.  Four or five men exited each vehicle.  A few of them were quite large.  All of them wore blue suits and had serious expressions.


They looked up and down the street.  No cars were on the road.  Most of the houses were dark.  Many residents went to bed before midnight on this street.  It had to be one of the quietest neighborhoods in the city.


It helped that the address was Three Nineteen Avondale Street.  A low-end house went for four million.  A top-end home was eight million.  The average vehicle cost was over sixty thousand.


The sidewalks and yards were immaculate.  The lawns were healthy shades of green.  Trees were in front of every yard.  They were the same types of trees.  They were the same distance from the sidewalk.  Each looked as if it was brought in just to improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood.


One of the larger men tapped his knuckles on the driver’s side window of the Range Rover.  He then opened the door and held on to it.


A cowboy boot stepped out.  Another one followed.  A six feet one-inch man exited the Range Rover.  He wore a blue suit with a gray shirt and blue tie.


He straightened his jacket and tie and looked around at the houses.  He shook his head.  “All to keep up with the Jones’s,” he said.


The other men laughed.


“Well,” the man in the cowboy boots said.  “Is everyone coming with me?  Or do I have to go by myself?”


The men laughed.


They surrounded the man wearing cowboy boots.  Their coats were unbuttoned.  Each man had a pistol in a shoulder holster.  The holsters were strapped across their chests.  Whether they intentionally wanted their guns to show was unclear.  But they were visible.


The man in the cowboy boots nodded for the men to follow him.  He walked to the driveway and began to walk up it.  “This is rather steep in boots,” the man said.  The other men laughed.  “Don’t laugh at me.”  The men smiled and snickered.


The men were halfway up the driveway and stopped.


A police cruiser was parked in the driveway.  It was in front of a large house.  The house was approximately five thousand square feet.  It was tan in color.  It had a California look to it.


The man in the cowboy boots glanced to his left and right at the other men.  He smiled and shook his head, then nodded forward for them to keep walking.


They were twenty steps from the police cruiser when the front door of the house opened.  Two police officers walked out.


The man in the cowboy boots stopped.  The other men stopped too.


The police officers stood frozen, looking at the men.


The men stared back at the officers.


The man in the cowboy boots grinned at the police officers.


“What’s going on here?” one of the police officers asked the men.  Both officers had a hand on the butt of their Glocks.  Their eyes scanned across the group of men.  The officers’ faces indicated they were afraid, cautious.


Both sides were tense.


The group of men had put their hands close to their pistols.  The man in the cowboy boots looked at the men.  He waved his hands downward.  The men moved their hands away from their guns.


“How can we help you?” one of the police officers asked.


“One thing you can do is to not put your hands on your guns,” the man in the cowboy boots said.  “We’re coming up here peacefully.  Let’s start with that.”


The officers did not move their hands from their pistols for a second or two.


The group of men gave the officers stares that made them uneasy.


“Are you going to do that, or what?” the man in the cowboy boots asked.  “We’re not here for trouble.  But it seems you are.  We can simply turn around and go back home.  We’re doing you a favor.  You’re not doing us one.”


One of the officers glanced at the other one.  They slowly moved their hands away from their pistols.  They did not want to.  They did it for self-preservation.


They were outnumbered and outgunned.  They would not survive a shootout.  And they were fairly confident the men were not there for trouble.  Not these guys.  Especially not the man in the cowboy boots.


“We know who you are, Mr. Jason,” Officer Pellgram said.  “The question is why are you here at this family’s residence when there’s a crisis going on?”


“It’s funny you ask that question Officer…Pellgram,” the man in the cowboy boots said.  “And call me David.  All my friends do.”  The officers did not respond.  “Try to be friendly, you guys.”  He shook his head.  “You’re always suspicious of everyone.  Try to be a little trusting sometimes.  It would be a better world.”


“How can we help you, David?” Officer Pellgram asked.


“See, that’s better,” David said.  “Like I said.  You’re not going to help me.  I’m going to help you.  I have a story for you.  One I know will interest you…”


Just then, a man in his late fifties stepped out the front door of the house.  He was behind the two officers.  In his hand was a Glock nine-millimeter.  He raised it and aimed it between the two officers at David.


“Do you have my child?” the man aiming the gun yelled.


The officers had glanced over their shoulders when they heard a noise behind them.  They headed toward the man with the gun as he was aiming.


David’s men had pulled their guns from their holsters.  David had turned to them.  “No.  No.  No,” he said.  Both his hands were on some of his men’s guns, pushing them down.  “No.  He’s distraught.  He’s just distraught.  Let the police have him.  They have him under control.  We would all feel the same way.  Put them down.”


David’s men looked at him.  But they kept an eye on the police officers and the man who had the gun.


The officers grabbed the man’s wrist and unarmed him.  They slammed and pinned him against the police cruiser’s trunk.


“See, they have it under control,” David said to his men.  “The boys in blue have handled it.”  Some of his men still had hold of their guns.  “Put them away.”  David stared at his men.  “I mean it.  Now.  Put them up.”


The men holstered their pistols.


I’ll see you next week with Part 2.

Take care of yourself in the face of this ongoing medical crisis.

Stephen Wallace