I’m Detective Staff Sergeant Deviled Yeggs. I work homicide in the big city of Tracy. My partner is Jim Wednesday. My nephew, Detective Poached Yeggs, is in the office with us, along with Detective George Evident, on loan from Organized Crime. As recently reported George was going to take the detective’s exam and he recovered from the poisoning just in time.
We begged Organized Crime to get George for the Anna Filaxis case even though he was a victim. He might be able to get the evidence necessary to put away the woman who poisoned him, a woman that we only know by the name we gave her, Anna Filaxis. George was always good at interviews with witnesses.
When I last reported on the status of Anna Filaxis, the Captain was grilling her. She loved the nickname Anna Filaxis and insisted that she should be known by no other name. Her fingerprints were not in any database. Facial and voice recognition got us nowhere. We think she was probably a scientist that stumbled upon the poison that mimicked anaphylactic shock, and she saw a way to make a few bucks. Then, we could never find the money trail. Was she doing it to provide a means of euthanasia for those who were requesting it? Then why did organized crime employ her to get rid of some witnesses before they could testify in court? It was that angle that Lt. Tagliolini relented so that George could join us. If George could make that connection, it might lead to bringing down more of the Rotten Apple Gang.
We had a lot of questions. She never asked for a lawyer, but she only spoke to ask for water, food, or a trip to the restroom. And of course, to request that she be known as Anna Filaxis. The captain thought he could break her, but she broke him instead. She has been interrogated many times since the initial interrogation with the same results. When not double-shackled in an interrogation room, she has been in a holding cell, practicing her martial arts. It becomes a laborious process getting her shackled for transport.
But the captain finally decided to shift the investigation to the previous victims. She was being held for the attempted murders of George Evident and my Dad, Thousand-Year-Old Yeggs. Also, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer or two were available. The one death that alerted us to her returned presence was being investigated. We connected her unique poison to the victim, and since the local scientists had never heard of the formula, that alone would connect her to five murdered victims in Tracy alone. There were many more, but the bodies were either too degraded to detect the poison or the family, or the courts, would not sign the exhumation orders.
George, being the disarming fellow that he was, took Poached along and the two visited the old victim’s families. George made it sound like the manner in which their loved one had died was similar to several others and we were helping the health department to see if there was a connection to avoid a spread of a new disease. In sitting down to chat, George would get to the question about what their loved one was like. He would avoid the usual questions like “Did he not get along with someone?” or “Did someone come into some money after the death of old Uncle Sully?” It was conversational and a pleasant trip down memory lane. Most of it, a giant waste of time, other than honing the routine down.
Then when the conversation would get around to sibling rivalries or “playful” squabbles that might not be that playful, we started getting somewhere. After one conversation, a niece of the victim suggested that we ask the Cowboys. The “Cowboys” was short for “The Cowboys of Hades,” a local biker gang with branches in a two-state radius. The niece whispered the suggestion as she walked Poached and George to their car. It was one of those unexplained blessings. The niece had been visiting from out of state when George and Poached had shown up. She had probably heard a family member mention the Cowboys in hushed tones. It was not the first time that something like that, a fluke encounter, had happened to crack a case wide open.
The Cowboys of Hades ran drugs, but the Rotten Apple Gang had exclusively worked directly with the Rosales family for that. Yet, the Rotten Apples had used the Cowboys to do some of their work requiring muscle. With Pink Lady Apple’s father in prison and a few of his lieutenants in the graveyard, Red Delicious had the Cowboys on speed dial for a few years. Red Delicious never wanted a permanent relationship, which might result in a power struggle. Lately, the Cowboys had very little presence in Tracy, only used to provide “security” at some rock concerts on the outskirts of town.
But then, the rock concert organizers had nothing to hide. We got contact information from them and that led to some conversations with a few local bikers who claimed to not be members of the gang, but they knew people who knew people.
One of the bikers that Jim and I interviewed did not seem to care that we were the police. Flowen Blut was bragging about having ridden with several of the biggest biker gangs in the country. It took us a while to narrow his focus onto the Cowboys. We asked how we could contact the Cowboys about providing security for an outdoor event. He had all the information and none of the details, that is details that led to someone that we could find and interview. This went on for a while about various activities that the Cowboys were suspected of being involved.
Then Jim leaned in really close, “And what if I need to contact someone to help my uncle? He’s dying of cancer, and he doesn’t want those years of suffering, you know?”
Flowen stopped for only a second or two and then mentioned a bartender at the local Handlebar Grille, the biker bar north of town. All he knew of the bartender was his name, Hank, and that he worked happy hour on the weekends. Flowen was sure that he worked other hours, but those for sure. We got enough details to know that you went to the bar and if the conversation naturally went toward your dying uncle, then Hank would get your contact information. The Cowboys would call you. Then, you would go back to the bar and set up a bar tab. You paid so much each month for alcohol that you did not consume, and your uncle died. Flowen said that Hank spooked easily. If it did not seem legitimate, Hank would suspect the cops and suddenly not know anything.
We set up a sting with George complaining about his uncle who indeed had cancer. The uncle lived alone. It was the perfect set up and since we had never found out who Anna Filaxis was, Hank had no idea that she was in custody, and as it turned out, Hank did not know that Anna Filaxis was female.
Hank was arrested along with his contact with the Cowboys. We sent out the message to all the counties in the state and most of them, all who had biker bars, had a “Hank” of their own. It also spread to neighboring states.
The money flow was hidden due to the people that wanted a “loved one” killed, assuming to be painless (but not really), and they set up a bar tab. The payments were stretched over a long period, nothing unusual unless we knew that the person making payments never drank alcohol. The biker bar, in turn, purchased “alcohol” that was never delivered. The Cowboys did two or three jobs for their cut of the profits. They contacted Anna about the next job, they provided transportation from town to town for Anna, and they provided stolen vehicles for her to use while in town if she requested them. They might need to provide a little muscle if someone started talking.
After we had people in ten different states following the trail of euthanized family members, we had Anna come into an interview room that was not my office.
Captain Hart said, “It has been some time. So good to see you, Kim Seo Jun.” She gasped.
Then Jim added, “But I doubt if Kim Seo Jun is your real name that you were born with. That was the name that you used when you immigrated to the USA and started working at a lab on the west coast. With the direction that your research took, we are thinking that you were planted here to create a bioweapon, but once you stumbled over your little poison, you decided to cut out your North Korean bosses and make money instead. We are thinking of having you deported. You know, telling the North Koreans that you did not cooperate with them because you had become a Christian and did not wish for your discovery to be used as a weapon of terror.”
Having so much of the information correct and the fear of being deported under those circumstances, Kim Seo Jun started talking. If they thought she was a Christian, she would be tortured and possibly killed. The fact that she had stayed in the USA to make a profit and hold out on those who had been controlling her would have also resulted in painful death.
And while every business transaction was done by mouth, paid in cash with bartenders and biker gangs handling the money, she kept meticulous records on the cloud, in an account that we had yet to discover. She was dealing with common citizens that might not have a lot of money, some wanting to cash in on the life insurance policies, but most hating to see their loved ones suffering. She never charged a lot, but she had been ending the lives of over a hundred people each year for over ten years. For the first couple of years, she continued to work at the lab, but then, to hide from those who controlled her, she changed identities and went off the grid for a while, communicating through three different biker gangs. When she had a contract to kill a witness in an organized crime trial, those were usually people who could afford to pay a lot more. She never got rich, but she never made the mistake of getting greedy. She had remained silent because she had never developed an exit strategy if she was ever caught. She thought her scheme was foolproof. But the important thing was that she did not wish to return to North Korea, especially if prison would be in her future. Prison in the USA was much preferred.
Sadly, the organized crime connections in Tracy were people who were already in prison, including Baldwyn Apple. We could not put any more of the Apples away.
Flowen Blut could be Flowing Blut, Blut being the German word for blood. Probably a fake name, as he seemed to be all talk, and no action.
In using a bartender named Hank, I remember dining at a couple of places in Thailand known as The Henry J. Bean’s, but his friends all call him Hank, Bar and Grill. The food was pretty good, and they claimed that their ice for their soft drinks was made with clean bottled water, but I still ordered mine without ice. I only got sick once in Thailand and once in Mexico, but I always avoided water and ice unless the water was bottled with no broken seal.
Euthanasia is, by definition, a painless death, but anaphylactic shock is not.
In using a biker gang, I made up the name, Cowboys of Hades. There is a biker gang that is in our area. One of my friends at work had a neighbor who was in the biker gang. In polite conversation one day, my friend was bold enough to ask if the gang had a price list. The biker chuckled and pulled a list from his wallet. There were prices for the various types of theft from pickpocketing a specific person to burglary with or without a safe to crack. Assault pricing depended upon whether the person should be hospitalized or not. And murder was split into body not found or body found. Body found was twice as much. If you wanted to send a message, then body found was more effective, but there was a greater chance for trace evidence to trip up the biker gang, thus double the price.
When I worked in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, one of the students in class was affectionately nicknamed, Biker Dude. It seemed every other word was “eh,” but once he asked me, “Hey, eh, you from Pittsburgh, eh. You ever meet up with the [Cowboys], eh? I rode with them, eh! They’re a great bunch of guys, eh!” Of course, he used the name of the local gang instead of Cowboys, and what I already knew about the gang, I wondered if Biker Dude was crazy, sly, telling an untruth, or just making conversation. Probably the latter. He had a lot of stories to tell. Thus, you could say that Flowen Blut was patterned after Biker Dude. Maybe some of Biker Dude’s stories were true.
Kim Seo Jun is a name combining a common given name for a girl with the most common family name, Kim. I did not wish to play games with names that sounded like something else in English for a joke. When my last employer started getting several contracts in P. R. China, a list of “Chinese” joke names filtered throughout the company, playing on how various Chinese names sounded in English, including many that sounded Chinese but were not. One of the engineers, who should have had his head examined, shared the list of joke names with one of the Chinese customers. The joke did not cause offense, just confusion, since the Chinese customer knew what the Chinese words meant, those that really were Chinese words, but the combinations simply made no sense.
This is partly due to many of the languages of that area in Asia being dependent on the inflection of how a part of a word was said. For example: I taught a group of steel mill workers from a town near North Korea. I had three people who were all Mr. Lu, but one spelled his name in English “L-V.” I asked if that meant that his name was Lu-u. In pronouncing the “u-u,” I started with a high pitch sliding to a low pitch and then sliding back to a high pitch. Everyone except for this fellow laughed because I took far too long to make sure I was using the proper inflection, but Mr. Lv beamed and said that I was the first American to get it right. Okay, right, but slow enough to be comical. Hey, I tried!
Taken out of context with no inflection given, the joke names became gibberish. Of course, we were all made aware of the incident, as making fun of a customer and a customer’s language and culture could ruin the chance for future business. Instead, I avoided it out of respect for the person.