‘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.
I said earlier that this story would be in 3 parts. It has taken on a life of its own. It will now be in 4 parts. I hope you enjoy Part 3. There is a question in this part. It is simple to answer: Everyone has some decency in them. Don’t they?
DAVID STARED AT KEVIN Atkins. He was waiting for Kevin’s daughter to join him. The police were going to see first hand that he was not a bad person. He was just like anyone else in this world. He was trying to get by and make his family’s life better.
Kevin was handcuffed in the back of the police cruiser. He wanted to get out and beat the hell out of David. But he also knew he was in the best place he could be for his survival. David and his men were standing ten feet or more down the driveway. Then there were the two police officers who stood between him and David. He felt semi-safe.
“Hey, doc,” David yelled through cupped hands. “You didn’t have the guts to put your wife in rehab. Instead you tried to hide your family’s secret. But it didn’t work. Why? Your wife couldn’t stop pedaling her ass. Anyone who would give her a taste of drugs could have her.”
“Why don’t you shut up!” Kevin yelled out the window.
“You’re a pathetic man, doc,” David said. “Wait. You’re not a man. You thought not giving your wife money would make her stop using. Turn off the money spigot. And she’d stop.” He laughed. “Wake up. She’s a drugged-out whore. She’s not worth putting on the street. You’d lose money with her. You’d have to give her away. You…”
“You no-good piece of shit,” Kevin yelled from the back seat of the police cruiser. “You know nothing about my family. So you can go to hell. Worry about your own screwed up life. You’re nothing but lowlife scum.”
Officer Newman and Officer Pellgram let David and Kevin trade insults. They were certain that Callie’s whereabouts were wrapped up in the insults. Either David or Kevin knew the truth about where Callie was.
David told them he was having the girl brought to him. That was five minutes ago. They were not sure if David was lying. He could have been gaming them. Maybe he was looking for a favor in the future from the police department. His motive did not matter. They had to follow his lead. Like it or not, he was the only one giving them a lead on Callie.
David and Kevin kept yelling at each other.
Officer Newman and Pellgram knew the risks they were taking by letting the insults escalate. There was a real danger to it. Insults could quickly rise to violence. That was why they kept a gauge on the level of verbal hostility between David and Kevin. Talk was talk until it was not.
“Your wife gave her ass to so many people until it was too loose for anyone to want it any more,” David said. His men laughed.
“You’re a filthy rodent!” Kevin yelled out the cruiser’s window.
“I’d rather be a rodent than my wife’s pimp,” David said. “You knew she was selling her ass. What was your cut?”
“Go to hell!” Kevin yelled.
“You sorry bastard,” David said. “You knew everything that was going on. Yet you let your wife pedal your eight-year-old daughter. You better be thankful she gave the girl to us. Because my guys told her we didn’t want your daughter. Sandra, however, your gem of a wife, said she was going to take her to Elk Street then.”
Kevin exhaled in anger.
Officer Newman and Pellgram glanced at one another.
“Ask the officers about good old Elk Street,” David said.
The officers knew about Elk Street. It was home for junkies and sexual deviants. Layers and layers of crime existed on that street. Every day and night saw crime. A kid could go missing on that street within minutes. And never be heard from again. They could be sold or simply taken by someone. Many people had gone missing on that street.
One of David’s men tapped him on the shoulder.
David turned around and knelt. “How are you, Callie?” David asked. “My sweet, sweet girl.”
Eight-year-old, brown-haired Callie rubbed her blue eyes. “I’m tired,” she said. “I’m sleepy. Can I go back home with you?”
“You’re home,” David said. “Unfortunately, you’re home, sweet girl.”
Officer Newman and Officer Pellgram looked at one another. They could not believe it. It was Callie.
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I look forward to seeing you next week.
Have a great weekend. Stay safe.