Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rattler in Jail

The Los Angeles County Jail housed more inmates than many state prisons. Having cleared security, Jon was admitted to the visitors' area. Waiting for the appearance of the prisoner, Jon marveled at the turnaround in attitude that had brought him here. At first, Jon demanded that the county throw the book at the kid who could have killed Stevie and Collin. He had recognized the suspect from a picture in the newspaper from a robbery: snake tattoos entwining bare arms, the gaunt face, and the hard eyes. His homeys had called him Rattler, but his name, was Eugene Hackett.

In that instant of recognition, the frightening spring break encounter at the rec center was suddenly fresh in Jon's memory. He remembered Hackett's vile taunts, his threatening behavior, the scuffle and fall that had bloodied the kid's face. In Hackett's sick mind, shooting up Jon's house and blowing away anyone inside was somehow justified because of the humiliation he had suffered in the gym at the hands of the recreation director. Jon no longer wanted the county to prosecute Eugene Hackett, he wanted to take care of Hackett himself.

When Eugene Hackett sat down on the other side of the glass and appraised the visitor, his face showed no sense of recognition but the tattoos on his scrawny arms were a dead giveaway. "What do you want?" Hackett sneered. "My name is Jon Van Horne." He waited for the kid to process the information.

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