Yes, two new books are coming! The Vacillating Vigilante will be released in time for Christmas and The Wasted Womanizer will be released in early January.
The Vacillating Vigilante pits MacFarland against a vigilante who is taking the law into his or her own hands. No one doubts that the people the Vigilante kills deserve their tragic ends, but vigilante justice is not the way to go. MacFarland makes it his goal to find out who the Vigilante is and bring the individual to justice.
The Vacillating Vigilante is also the start of a brand new trilogy. It begins on…
Thursday, October 4, 0815 Hours
Rufus Headley and Mark MacFarland had finished setting up the hot dog cart at the corner of Elati and 14th Avenue. MacFarland had gone to a downtown office to take his PI Licensing exam, promising to be back before lunch. “How long can it take?” asked MacFarland.
“Good luck on the test, boss,” said Rufus.
“I don’t need luck. I’ve got this thing mastered.” MacFarland went off, appearing a lot more confident than he really felt.
Rufus set up the lawn chair, waiting for the morning crowd to arrive. The coffee was brewed, the donuts ready. A small number of hot dogs and bratwursts were already heating up on the rollers. He and MacFarland did not typically sell much of their product during the morning rush. Rather, they provided inexpensive coffee and donuts to the people heading off to the courthouse. They didn’t make much money on the morning rush, but they did establish goodwill for when the jurors broke for lunch or finished up their jury duty. They also attracted a rather predictable flow of repeat customers: lawyers, cops, and court personnel who stopped by the cart to get a good cup of coffee and share gossip with their peers.
Most of the people who stopped by the cart for coffee operated on the honor system. Coffee was one dollar a cup, donuts were free as long as the supply lasted (one donut to a customer, please). Tips were appreciated, but not mandatory. If someone needed change, Rufus was there to make change. Often, when he was alone, he would just wave off the purchase, telling the customer to pay when they had smaller bills in their possession.
Surprisingly, most of the customers did pay.
Well, except for lawyers. The slimy worms of the legal system often took advantage of MacFarland’s and Rufus’ generosity.
Oh, and cops. For some reason, they felt that donuts and coffee should be free.
And homeless people. As a matter of policy, neither Rufus nor MacFarland would allow a homeless person to pay for anything.
As Rufus sat in the lawn chair, watching customers and potential customers pass by, he wondered if they needed to rethink their pricing and charging strategy. It was no wonder they didn’t make much money.
Rufus was considering what options they had when something seemed out of place. His sixth sense, honed in the rice paddies of South Vietnam, alerted him to someone watching him. He narrowed his eyes and looked around, searching for the person causing his unease.
He didn’t see anyone watching him. No one suspicious or out of place.
But Rufus wasn’t satisfied. His instinct was usually correct. It had kept him alive all those years in Vietnam, it had helped him survive dozens of years on the streets of Denver. He knew he could ignore it…but he knew that ignoring it put his life in jeopardy. He had suspected someone was after him a year earlier, and he had been right. Of course, the person wasn’t Charlie–the Viet Cong–but it was someone who wanted to kill him.
Rufus stood up, hoping to get a better view of his surroundings, even though he knew he presented a larger target to any would-be assassin. He kept moving around the cart, as he scanned the plaza across the street, searched the parking lot for anyone who didn’t belong there and checked up and down the streets that led to the corner where their cart was located.
He had to draw the man who was watching him out into the open. The question was, how to do that?
He went across the street to Sidney Morgan’s hot dog cart. Morgan, who had once worked at Lockheed Martin, had set up his own hot dog cart when Sidney had been laid off. Now Morgan operated a food cart business that specialized in high end and exotic hot dogs. Rufus had long been envious of Morgan’s marketing savvy and apparent success.
“Hi Rufus,” said Sidney. “Where’s Mac this morning?”
“He’s takin’ a test,” said Rufus. “Say, you notice anyone watching me lately?”
“Watching you? Really? Are you serious? Is this about your truck? I thought you got that back.”
“I got the truck back. It was stolen by a bunch of Vietnamese gang members.”
“Oh, sorry to hear that. Yeah, I remember that crowd. They stole your truck?”
“I think so. But now I think someone is watching me.”
“One of the Vietnamese gang members?”
“I don’t know. I just think someone is watching me.”
Morgan pursed his lips in thought. “I haven’t seen anyone loitering in this area. I’ll keep an eye out if you want.”
“Yeah, that would be great. Be careful, though. This guy might be dangerous.”
Morgan tried to suppress a smile. “I will be careful, Rufus.”
Rufus returned to MacFarland’s hot dog cart and sat down. The feeling of being watched, however, didn’t leave him. He finally decided on a radical move. He got up and headed north on 14th, then turned right to walk around the block. He walked down past Police Headquarters, then continued on around the block. When he got to the front of the shopping plaza on 13th Avenue, he stopped and hid behind a planter. He waited, the same way he had waited for the Viet Cong to reveal themselves during the war.
He didn’t have to wait long. About three minutes later, a man turned the corner and started to walk past the entrance to the shopping mall.
Rufus stared anxiously at the man. The man was in his forties, wearing a dark ski cap and a winter coat.
Rufus’ eyes narrowed. The man was Vietnamese.
Charlie had finally found him.
Rufus knew what he had to do.
He had to kill the man before Charlie killed him.
You can get The Vacillating Vigilante on all popular sites which distribute ebooks.
I will write more about The Wasted Womanizer in my first blog of 2020. Until then, happy holidays to everyone.