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He turned the corner at Mesa Drive and walked in the direction of Canyon Circle. This was the third time that he had been on Canyon Circle and after a hundred visits to this street on Google Satellite Maps—he felt like he was in his own neighborhood. The target house was just a few homes ahead and was on the right side of the quiet street. It was a typical Villa Park home, ranch style, on a winding street with no sidewalks. Sunset had been several hours earlier, and the sky was partially cloudy. His right hand went deep into his jacket's pocket as he fingered the plastic bag.
Villa Park is the smallest incorporated city in Orange County, California. Completely surrounded by the City of Orange, Villa Park is only a little more then two square miles in size. The city does not have its own police department, but has its public safety needs served by the Orange County Sheriff Department.
A final glance around the neighborhood indicated that he was alone on Canyon Circle. After taking a few more steps he spotted the boxwood hedge and large trunk of a palm tree that he had already selected as a staging area. Trying to be as casual as possible, he stepped behind the hedge and found himself positioned behind the palm and finally out of sight.
He pulled the plastic bag from his jacket and spread its contents on the dirt between the five-foot hedge and palm tree. As he knelt down on the piece of plastic that had been in the bag, he felt the pressure from the silencer taped to his thigh under his faded wrangler jeans. Almost 8 inches long, the AAC Evolution suppressor would lower the sound of a gunshot by about 40 decibels. He mentally reviewed his checklist - preparation, staging, the hit, escape, and evidence destruction.
From his hiding spot he had a clear view of the front door and at the same time he could see down Canyon Circle. All was clear. Dogs were not going to be an issue.
Using a prepaid cell phone he had phoned the Dupree home last week and identified himself as an officer with Orange County Animal Care. He had questioned the homeowner about dogs in the home that needed a current license. Satisfied that dogs were a non-issue, he had pulled the sim card and burned the phone and card in his barbecue.
Working in the shadows of the large palm tree, he pulled the silencer from his left pant leg and in a calm and deliberate manner he organized surgical gloves, three envelopes and a cell phone. After giving the street another glance, he pulled a Glock 37 from his Galco shoulder holster.
He liked the Glock 37 because it gave him the punch of a .45 caliber but had a grip that was smaller than most .45 cal. handguns. When he put on the gloves he was careful to pull them up and over his right coat sleeve. There probably is not a person left on earth who does not understand gunshot residue. He screwed the Evolution suppressor to the barrel of the Glock without any problems. He gathered up the tape and plastic bag and gave the area a final clean up.
Now, standing behind the palm, he tucked the three envelopes under his arm while he opened the prepaid cell. His right hand carefully held the pistol and its ten rounds of 200 grain Speer Gold Dot 45GAP ammo.
Anticipating that it would be difficult to use the small prepaid with gloves, he had earlier entered the Dupree home number into the speed dial. After pushing the 2 key and the Send button, he took a deep breath and slowly exhaled to bring his heart rate back down. In just a few seconds old man Dupree would answer his phone. Other then an involuntary tick, which caused his head to jerk to the right, he was ready.
His den was decorated more as a shrine to the past, than as a room used for entertainment. Ever since his wife died, Fred had not been into entertaining. Truth be told, he had not been into anything. His son would stop by every couple of weeks to help his father with minor home maintenance and to make sure that he was taking his hydrochlorothiazide for his high blood pressure. His home, located in Villa Park California, was now a little large for a widower. The kitchen, bedroom and den were the only rooms that Fred used. Fred reached over with his right hand and grasped the Waterford glass that contained a Cadillac Margarita. Even at seventy-two, he could still build a world-class drink. Two ounces of middle grade tequila, six ounces of Baja Bob mix, and three quarters of an ounce of Grand Marnier - shake with ice, pour over ice and then top with Patron Silver. Even in retirement, Fred always said, "It only takes ten percent more to go first class."
Bonney's cancer had ended a fairy tale life. His left hand scrolled through the cable news channels while his eyes drifted to a bookshelf of old mementos and memories.
He and Bonney had gotten married while he was working in Tacoma, Washington with Asarco. For most of the eight years at Asarco he had used his University of Washington Engineering degree to test and recommend procedures to reduce the arsenic in the neighboring city of Ruston. Arsenic was a byproduct of Asarco's smelting business.
Bonney and Fred had dated for a year before getting married. Their time in Tacoma was filled with wonderful memories. It was almost a ritual that every Friday night they would drive down 6th Avenue and pull into the Frisko Freeze Burger joint.
Fred's experience in Tacoma with environmental issues opened the door to an opportunity with the EPA. The era of Superfunds and the government's commitment to clean up toxic sites gave Fred and Bonney a new career in Portland, Oregon. As the 90's approached, Fred saw a shift in environmental focus from water issues to air quality. He and his wife pulled up stakes and relocated to Southern California. Fred formed Dupree Environmental Solutions, a company specializing in air testing and pollutant mitigation. Fred sold the firm only one year prior to Bonney's cancer diagnosis. His wife's battle with cancer was courageous and lasted fourteen months.
It had now been three years and he had not yet found substantial activities to occupy his time. His son had recently suggested that he buy a dog. The house was certainly large enough and like most Villa Park homes he was situated on a half-acre fenced-in lot. Home security was another reason to give the idea serious consideration. Villa Park was a very safe city, but Fred knew that you can never be too security conscious.
The ringing of his phone jarred him away from his rambling thoughts. As Fred picked up his portable phone, he also clicked his TV to mute.
"Fred, this is Robert Bishop down the street. The post office messed up and gave me some of your mail, three letters actually. My son is coming over to drop off your mail.... Sorry Fred, got to go—have another call ringing in."
Fred Dupree took one more sip of his drink and returned it to the drink holder in his Lazy Boy chair. The little lever by his right hip electronically lowered the chair's leg rest. Fred stood up and started walking down the hallway that connected to the front door entryway.
The electronic doorbell started playing Ave Maria. The name Robert Bishop did not remind him of a neighbor he knew, but that was not a surprise to him, as there had been several homes on the street that had recently sold.
In the old days, he thought, the postman knew all the homeowners and it was very rare to get the mail mixed up. He saw the outline of his neighbor's son through the doors beveled glass. He pushed in the alarm code to disarm the system and opened the door.
Fred heard the visitor say, "Hi," and then he saw the man's left hand reach out and hand him three envelopes. A second later he saw the man's right hand come from his back holding a large hand gun—at the same time as he felt himself being pushed backwards into the house. The push was so hard that he lost his balance and crashed against an antique chair and landed on his back on the hard travertine floor.
The man said something about just wanting a TV. Looking up, he saw the man close the front door, step over him and aim the gun at his head. Within a fraction of a second, a bullet blasted into the front of Fred Dupree's head, creating a tunnel of pulverized brain tissue and leaving a three-inch hole in the back of his head.
Mr. Dupree felt no discomfort because within a second the .45 caliber bullet had transferred its kinetic energy into his skull and exited along with a fair share of bone and brain particulate.
The killer stepped away from the body and spotted the shell casing still spinning in a little circle on the travertine tile floor. Even though he knew the gun was clean and not traceable to him, his system was to try and recover as much potential evidence as possible. After placing the brass in his pocket he turned his attention to the inside of Dupree's house and listened carefully for any sound that would alert him that the shot had been heard. He heard nothing, and he then watched the pool of blood grow in size and start to run down the grout lines that formed nice diamond shaped patterns between each floor tile.
Prior to the head-shot he had said to Fred, "Don't worry I won't hurt you, I just want your TV." He thought it was important to always give the victim hope—it keeps them from getting aggressive and trying to be a hero. Stepping back a few feet, he raised the gun until it was once more pointed at Fred's head. He remembered that this gun had the NY2 trigger spring. Instead of the standard 5.5-pound pull, this gun had a pull more like that of a revolver: 7 pounds at the start that gradually increased to 11 pounds. When the trigger traveled a half-inch the trigger pull was at 11 pounds. After the gun discharged, it became clear that a third shot was not going to be needed.
He felt no emotion as he looked down at the body and took in the damage that the two bullets had done to the head. Even though he was amped up from the surge of adrenaline, he knew that he must control the dozens of random thoughts that were now jumping around in his mind. "Dust" is what he called any distraction to his clear analytical thinking. Another twitch or tick caused his chin to jerk toward his right shoulder.
He knew he was not normal, and it had been his ability to minimize the dust that had kept him free from the fucking cops for the last five years. Mental discipline would keep the dust from distracting him from his system of lists. He reviewed his checklist: preparation, staging, approach, the job, cleanup, escape, and evidence destruction.
Unscrewing the silencer from the Glock allowed more dust to enter his head. What is the difference, he thought, between a myth and an urban legend? There is never the pink mist from a head-shot. The legend is that when the bullet tunnels through the brain and blasts out the back of the skull it creates this big cloud of pink mist. His recollections of his last three kills were that he didn't remember any pink cloud. Just like the green flash that is supposed to happen when the sun finally sets out in the ocean - or the myth that ... "Stop!" he said out loud to himself. He needed clear thinking for the cleanup.
He retrieved the envelopes that had fallen and the last shell casing with the utmost care. Yes, he said to himself, I am back on my game. Dust is not going to interfere with my system. He then said in a low whisper, "It is time to fuck with the brains of the dickheads from the crime scene department." He pulled a little plastic bag from his back pocket and carefully removed three items. He started to chuckle to himself as his gloved fingers selected a suit coat button he had stolen from a Goodwill store. Still laughing, he flipped it near the hand of dead Fred.
He then selected some toilet paper he had grabbed from a Northern California rest stop. Of course he had wiped the paper around the back of a toilet to pick up a bunch of random DNA. The paper he tossed out of sight near the front door frame. Lastly he took three decoy shell casings he had brought and dropped them near the spots where he had picked up his own spent casings. No dust in his head now, he was on top of his game.
Checklist; think clear. The gun was back in the holster and the silencer was taped to his thigh. Looking carefully at the floor he saw no footprints, just the ever-widening pool of blood and pieces of brainshit.
With a gloved hand he made a small opening in the curtain next to the door and carefully studied the front yard. It was clear. He was able to open the door far enough without having to move Fred's feet. He then stepped out quietly into the beautiful California night.
"We are near the end of this gig, Forrest." Forrest Dupree stole a quick look at the small clock that was attached to his floor tom, and gave Leon a nod of okay. It was 11:25 PM and it was time for the Purple Cinnamon to finish the evening with the final three. Leon Coyne was the band's bass player and had been with Purple Cinnamon for six years. A simple newspaper advertisement was how Forrest had found Leon. When Coyne lit up his bass, Forrest had thought that he was listening to The Who and bassist John Entwistle. Six years later, Coyne still played with the same intensity that he did when he first auditioned for Forrest.
"Final three," Forrest announced as he reached down and grabbed the charts for Purple Cinnamon's last three songs of the evening. This was the third year that they had played for the Boys and Girls Club fundraiser. He liked the gig because the band got a big break when the event organizers brought up the auctioneer to run their live auction. They should be happy this year, he thought, they had one guy bid $3,700 for a suite at Angels Stadium for a Yankees and Angels ballgame.
One, two and three taps of his stick on the edge of the snare was the start of "Every Breath You Take."
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you ...
Leatha was on her game tonight and her light rasp gave Sting's music just the right touch. Leon had used to vocal this piece, but every once in a while, Forrest would get ground on by a jerk who said they should not play a stalking song. After he gave the vocals to Leatha the complaints stopped.
Forrest formed Purple Cinnamon eight years earlier, and the band had had their present members for the last two years. As Leatha pounded the keys and sang away, Forrest stole a glance at the lead guitarist. Shaun Watanabe and Forrest had started the band, and Shaun split his life between coaching baseball and being P.C.'s lead guitar.
They referred to the band as either P.C. or The Cinnamon. Originally Forrest and Shaun wanted to call the band The Dog's Breakfast, because he and Shaun had heard of the expression and thought it would be a cool name. After a couple of months they found out that another group was called The Dog's Breakfast, so they changed the name to Dog's Dinner. The group then did a Google search and discovered that Dog's Dinner was also being used.
The chart for the next to the last song was ready to go as Leatha brought home "Every Breath You Take."
I'll be watching you ...
I'll be watching you ...
That night Purple Cinnamon did not get through their third set of twelve songs. Forrest wanted the band to stay on top of about fifty songs and usually do three sets with twelve songs per set. The Cinnamon would add one, maybe two songs each month and drop the ones they were sick of. It looked like about half of the crowd had left and the East Room of the Richard Nixon Library was feeling empty. The room was a replica of the East Room in the White House. With about eight couples on the dance floor for Every Breath, he wondered how many would hang in there when they kicked it up a notch.
Shaun took the lead as they jumped into Love Shack. The goal of the members of Purple Cinnamon were to finish a gig on a high note. The final three was designed to bring the evening to a strong close, one that assured a re-booking. Love Shack was originally performed in 1989 by the alternative rock band The B-52's.
That night, Shaun on guitar and Leatha on keyboard were working very well together. Forrest liked to see how well he could get his bass drum to be hitting with Leon's bass guitar. It appeared to Forrest that several more couples were coming alive and moving to the dance floor.
"Let's bring it home Purple Cinnamon!" Leon shouted while Leatha flipped a bunch of buttons on the Roland keyboard, so it would have the synthesizer sound of Van Halen. Shaun was ready to give his axe a big workout. Many rock n' roll historians have said that Eddie Van Halen's long guitar solo in their band's song "Jump" was the best guitar solo he ever wrote. Forrest saw that Leatha was ready, so he gave P.C. a start for the night's final song.
... Ah, I might as well, jump. Jump!
Might as well jump
Go ahead, jump. Jump! ...
Excerpted from The Drummer by Burr B. Anderson Copyright © 2012 by Burr B. Anderson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted February 1, 2013
This is one of the best murder mysteries I have ever read. It is a page turner. The characters and places are very real. The plot left me wondering what would happen next. This author seems very well informed about forensics and police procedures. The book was very entertaining, and I look forward to his next novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2013
The story runs real fast, easy to read and follow. Great little side notes of interesting and fun facts throughout the story leading to more interesting knowledge of the points being made. Just as you start to wonder what is going to happen next, the next chapter solves that mystery. Some you see coming, others jump out and get ya!
The characters are all very believable... as in any of them good be true to life and living next door to you. If you like a story line that is fun, interesting, fact filled and could happen in your town.... this book is for you. I am looking forward to author Burr Anderson's next adventure.
Posted January 18, 2013