Authors: Terry Keys
“I’m not sure I’ll be able to get that for you, sir.”
“Fair enough. Get me someone who can.”
He walked inside the club. I thought about staying in the lobby, but I didn’t want them to conjure up a story for me. I decided to follow him.
As I stepped inside, I spied a tall, slender girl dancing topless on the front stage. Five men lined the stage, holding what I guessed to be one dollar bills in their hands. All probably fifty or older.
I thought to myself. I didn’t want to rattle everyone by giving them the cop vibe, so I just pretended to be an interested patron.
A minute later, the guy from the lobby was at my side. “That’s the manager over there. His name is Steve.”
“Thanks for your help with this.”
I watched the kid go back through the double doors to the front. I figured I’d walk over to Steve and pretend to be holding a conversation about the dancer. Again, trying not to let anyone in on who I really was or why I was there.
“Steve, Detective David Porter HPD.”
I’d extended my hand for a friendly shake, and Steve slowly reached out to take it.
“Calm down. This isn’t a shakedown. Just trying to gather some information. I know John Blake was here last night. He’s dead now. He was last seen entering a hotel room around nine p.m.”
Steve folded his arms, a look of disgust on his face. “What does any of this have to do with me and my club?”
“I think you know exactly what it has to do with you, Steve.”
We gave each other a once-over and stared in silence.
“You think one of my girls was involved? You accusing one of my girls of murder?”
“Steve, I’ll say it one more time: calm down. Again, I’m simply trying to gather some information. I need two things from you, and I’ll be out of your hair. I know you keep a log of when girls come and go each shift. It determines how much their buy-in and payouts are each day. So I need a list of the girls who came in last night—when they arrived and when they paid out. I need times.”
“You’re asking for an awful lot, considering this isn’t a shakedown. You got a warrant?”
“Now I know why your guy at the desk was such a dick. Must have to be one to work here. I can get a warrant, Steve. As a matter of fact, I can call and get one over the phone and never have to leave. The minute I yell
, everyone’s gonna dart the hell out of here. Just need the list—oh, and thing number two. I need to know who his regulars were.”
“I can get you the list, but I’m not giving out names of girls he liked.”
“So let me get this straight. A regular at your club was found murdered in cold blood. One of the last places he was seen alive was your club, and video at the motel shows him going in with a woman. If your girls are innocent, then you’ve got nothing to be afraid of. If you force me to make a scene, you’re going to have more problems on your hands than you want to deal with.”
Steve took a step into my space. “That a threat, cop?”
I stepped toward Steve and placed a firm hand on his shoulder. “Yes, that’s exactly what it is, Steve. You’re a lot smarter than you look. I was beginning to wonder.”
He and I both knew such posturing was going to get him nowhere fast. If the place was crawling with cops, it’d put a serious dent in his business the next few weeks.
“Give me what I asked for, and I’ll be out of your hair. And I’m kind of in a hurry, so could we get a move on it please?”
He placed a call on his walkie-talkie, and a bouncer-type guy with a shirt two sizes too small appeared a few minutes later with my list in hand.
“Good job, Steve. That’s part one. Now look at this list, and put a star beside the girl who sat with John most often when he came in.”
He took the list from me, scanned it, and handed it back.
“None of those girls are his regulars. Well . . .”
“Well what? Don’t make this harder than it needs to be.”
“Seems like he was starting too really like one of them. Barbie.”
I looked over the list. Barbie Foy.
“Looks like she left around eight thirty last night. That common?”
“Girls come and go all the time but no, not common.”
“You see the two of them together last night? You have any more information on Barbie? Driver’s license? Address?”
“No. Don’t take much to get a job as a stripper, detective. Couple of dance moves, some nice tits is usually more than enough. We pay them in cash each night. I don’t ask any more about them than I need to know.”
Sadly, I believed what Steve was telling me. Didn’t help my investigation, though.
“What about surveillance cameras in and out?”
“We respect people’s privacy, so we don’t record the doors or any of the common areas.”
“Got a real name on this Barbie?”
“Like I said, I know as little as I need to know. Most of the girls’ stripper names start with the same letter as their real name. Maybe it’s Barbara, Beth, Brittany, and Briann? Shit, I don’t know; I really don’t.”
I stepped back for a minute and took a long, hard look at Steve, trying to determine if he was being honest or blowing smoke up my ass.
“I think this is enough for now. If I think of any more questions, I’ll be back.”
“Ok man I believe the girls name is Brittany – but that’s all I know I swear.”
I gave him a once over, nodded in acceptance of his information and turned to leave.
I walked away feeling pretty good about the information I was able to get. Maybe I’d be able to use this intel and get a step closer to catching this girl.
Everything was moving too quickly. What a fucking nightmare! Stacy had a carefully crafted plan for finishing off David and his family, but this wasn’t it. She wanted to kill them all, one by one. She wanted him to watch them all die horrible deaths. She wanted him to bear the pain of knowing it was his fault and he couldn’t do a goddamn thing about it. Now, because of his meddling daughter, those plans—plans that were years in the making—were no longer in play.
Karen and Stacy were traveling on I-10 toward Louisiana. They hadn’t spoken much since leaving the hospital in a mad dash. Stacy knew sooner or later she’d have no choice but to break the silence and somehow convince Karen that everything was going to be okay.
“Karen, honey, are you hungry? We can stop and grab something.”
Karen turned and beamed at Stacy. “Where’s my daddy? Why did we leave? I want my daddy.”
Stacy was hoping to buy a little time to come up with a good story since all of this had gone down so quickly. Karen was only six but not too much got by her.
“Karen, honey . . . I have some bad news to tell you. You’re going to have to try to be a big girl.”
Stacy pulled the car off the road and turned into a gas station.
“Listen, I have to get gas, and we have to get going again pretty quickly. This is going to be really hard for you to hear. Your dad told me shortly after your mother died that he really didn’t want kids anymore. He actually said he no longer wanted to . . . well . . . even be alive. He really loved your mother and missed her so much that his heart was broken. Then I got pregnant, and he was really unhappy because he didn’t want another kid to take care of. I didn’t think I could take care of you, Hilary, and the baby, so I had to leave Hilary behind. That’s why I grabbed you and we left. I hope she’ll be okay alone with him. Are you okay? I know it’s a lot to handle. I’ll tell you a little secret; my daddy didn’t want me either. He left me and my mother when I was about your age. I turned out pretty okay, don’t you think?”
Karen turned away from Stacy and stared out the window. Her eyes began to water, and a single tear rolled down her cheek.
“Daddy wouldn’t say a thing like that . . . would he?” Karen said, still staring out of the window.
“I’m so sorry, Karen.” Stacy moved closer to the girl and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.
“I tried everything I could to change his mind. That’s why he offered to let you stay with your grandparents. It wasn’t because you were sick. He wanted to get rid of you for a little while. Why do you think I offered to move in? It was so I could help. Don’t be angry at him, Karen. Losing your mother was hard on him.”
“It was hard on all of us! I
mad at him. I can’t believe my daddy doesn’t want me anymore. I don’t believe you!”
The two sat in silence for a minute as Stacy gathered her thoughts.
“Honey, I know it’s going to take some time, but it’s the truth. It’s okay that you’re upset. If it helps, you can even be mad at me. There’s good news, too; you still have me, and I’ll do everything I can to be a good mommy to you.”
Stacy climbed out and filled up with gas tank. She didn’t expect anything less from Karen. She’d have to keep a close eye on her, at least for a few days.
Two and a half hours later, they crossed the Louisiana border and headed into Sulphur. Stacy drove slowly, looking for the perfect motel to crash in for the night, somewhere she could get in and out of in a hurry and without being seen. She had work to do.
At the gas station in Texas, she’d glanced over the front page of the Houston Chronicle and knew part two of her plan was a go. Detectives were hot on the trail of what they believed to be a female killer. Someone had drugged and murdered a local politician who had been known to frequent strip clubs in the area.
“She did it,” Stacy muttered. “Good for her! She fucking did it.”
Stacy found a motel that appeared to suit her needs and quickly pulled in. She turned the car off and grabbed the keys.
“Wait here, honey. I’m gonna go inside and get us a room.”
She made sure to lock Karen in as she left the car. A few minutes later she was back, motel key in hand.
“Why do we have to sleep in a motel room? I want to go home. I want to sleep in my bed.”
“Well, Karen, we’re headed to my Grammy’s house, but we need to rest. It’s been a long day. We’ve been driving quite a while. Aren’t you tired?” Stacy said as she leaned in nose to nose with Karen.
“A little, I guess.”
“There’s that beautiful smile of yours. Here’s some milk for you and a pack of your favorite cookies.”
Stacy made sure to spike Karen’s drink with enough sedative to make her sleep clear through the night. As Karen enjoyed her late-night snack, Stacy scoured the net for her next victim. She needed to leave a trail for David, let him know where she was but not let him get too close until she could lure him into her trap.
“C’mon! I know a little town like this is full of freaking perverts,” Stacy said as her fingers flew across the keyboard.
And after only a few clicks, she opened the list of local sex offenders. Next she would spend a few minutes researching each of them. She wanted a sure thing. No time to foul this up.
Karen stretched and rubbed her eyes. “Stacy, I’m getting sleepy.”
“Aww. Okay, sweetie. Why don’t we turn the TV off and let you get some rest? Everything is going to be okay, dear,” Stacy said tucking the blanket in tight around Karen. “I’ve got you and you’ve got me. Always, kiddo.”
Karen smiled and drifted off to sleep.
Stacy created a profile on a hookup website and was hoping to get a quick hit. If she got lucky, one of the names would be a match for someone on the sex offender list. An hour in, she was starting to believe it might take longer than she’d planned. She’d gotten several hits, but none were on her list. And then . . . voilà! Sam Wilson.
“Well hello, Mr. Wilson. Let’s see how bad of a boy you really are,” Stacy mumbled, opening a chat window.
Hi I’m Stacy wanna play tonight?
Hey there cutie – what kinda trouble you lookin to get into 2night?
Trouble? Are you a bad boy? You gonna spank me? I’ve been a really bad girl.
Maybe, if that’s what you’d like . . .
It is. You don’t have a girlfriend or anything do you? Don’t wanna get you in trouble with the Mrs.
Nope, it’s just me, “Sam I am”
Ohhh that’s cute! So am I coming over to your place? It’s been way too long for me, if you know what I mean.
This was going to be easier than Stacy thought. Guys were so fucking stupid and pathetic. She checked on Karen. Milk all gone. Sound asleep. She locked Karen in and headed for 732 Moore Street.
Stacy brought her own special cocktail for her victim. No sooner had she turned her car off then Sam Wilson appeared on the porch of his single-wide trailer. He was even more repulsive in person than she’d expected: unshaven, long unkempt hair, and a ratty flannel shirt that screamed 1980.
She looked around to make sure no one was watching her arrival.
“Hey, sugar, c’mon in,” Sam yelled from the porch.
“Sugar?” Stacy mumbled under her breathe as she walked toward the trailer.
“Whatcha got there, hun?” he asked with a nod at the bottle she was carrying.