Richard e Hill - a Writer's Journal

a/s/l please?

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Fancy meeting you here…


"asl"  The ice-breaker, “do you come here often” singles bar style pick-up line of the internet Chat Room is delivered in varying formats; "asl", "a/s/l please", "asl pls", “a/s/l plz” to enumerate a few. Each asks for the same information age, sex, and location as if this would be a qualifier to establish a mutual area of conversation. "A" "S" "L" Three letters to begin what could be a polite query to segue to an in depth conversation and experience or end with an abrupt response of "sorry". There are other acronyms in the lower-case, abbreviation-laden, colloquially phrased, symbol driven jargon of chat rooms e.g. "ty" for “thank you”, "omg" for “oh my god”, "brb" for “be right back” and the over-used "lol" for “laugh out loud”. These eclectic computer venues serve as places to vent outrage, to seek compassion, to recruit members for more specific areas of concern or lifestyle and to disingenuously transform losers into winners. Obtuse others sit before the steady, scrolling, free form banter on the illuminated monitors to merely observe the transpiring cyber-camaraderie and vicariously participate.

All businesses use the Internet; even the business of ‘crime’ with people like Chicago Police Captain John “Handsome Jack” Sullivan.  “Come on Slick; open the door this is heavy!” He commanded flipping the doorknocker up and down with his shoulder while burdened with two boxes.

His neighbor and drinking buddy, Richard Dante, PhD casually opened the door to his high-rise apartment and commented, “Where’s the fire!  Whoops, wrong department!  What do you have there?  Looks too heavy to be doughnuts!”

“It’s just what it says it is a case of Bollingier Champagne and a case of Old Style beer.  Don’t try to look surprised, Mr. Lakers-in-five!  DAMN! Do you ever lose?  Never mind; you’ll probably want to bet on that, too!”

“It probably didn’t cost you anything, put the arm on some nervous liquor storekeeper didn’t you?”

“You know I’m not into that shit; you’ll never see me hustling a little guy!  Besides; you’re taking me out for drinks and a steak tonight to celebrate.”

“This should be good--- To celebrate what?”

“The 50K contract I got ya’. I know it pales in comparison to some of those fat insurance investigator deals, but it’s easy bread, something you can work on without leaving this fancy pad.”

“I think we had better define ‘contract’ at this point. Pour yourself a drink and grab me an ‘Old Style’ while I throw a suit on.”

“You are going to do some specialized research and teach me how to REALLY use the Internet.  There are some major and petty drug deals being done, locally and internationally by some smooth dudes using the Internet chat rooms.”

“What’s the name of the room?  Drugs ‘R’ Us?  Wouldn’t that be a little obvious? Where did you get this?  Besides that you have hundreds of technical personnel working for the Department.”

“Come on, Doc. This project requires ‘special talents and a creative mindset’; things that wouldn’t hold up in court if we did them. You know a lot goes on over the Internet and you have all these questionable friends internationally and this knack for getting into secured and private areas. What’s wrong; afraid you’re going to run into somebody you know like the ‘Latin Little Caesar’, Tico Santana?”

“Where did you get the ‘4-1-1’? Besides that referring to Sr. Santana as ‘Little Caesar’ implies some known and proven illicit activity.  As we both know, Sr. Santana doesn’t even have a traffic ticket or a juvenile record. He has never been arrested ---”

“OK! OK! Doc; just rattling your cage a little.  I love it when you start tossing al the high-level lingo around.  IMPLIES! ILLICIT!” Sullivan began his deep bass laugh. “Our information or 4-1-1 is quite reliable. It comes from a high tech guy like you, Wallace Winters, PhD.”

“The CONVICTED pedophile!  The creep who got the slap on his greasy wrist and a country club prison sentence? This asshole was using twelve-year old girls for “puberty pie” and playing “Mr. Popsicle” with their seven and eight-year old brothers.  Can you spell--- DEAL?”

“Now that’s the Doc that I love to hear.  MR. POPSICLE!  PUBERTY PIE!” Sullivan began to redden from laughter.  “Come on; let’s get over to Andy’s. There’s a great band playing.  …MR. POPSICLE!!!!  You are too crazy!”

Dante and Sullivan were in their fifties; that autumn part of life where the warmth of summer’s romance is still sought and the chilling loneliness of impending winter is stubbornly resisted.  They were in denial of the fear of being alone during life’s final season; instead they flaunted the freedom of renascent bachelorhood wearing it as badges of honor over empty hearts.  Two men, one unspoken objective: to fall in love for the last time. Jack Sullivan, former Navy SEAL personified the tough street cop and was constantly badgered with offers for bit parts in the many TV shows and movies being produced in Chicago.  These offers fell on deaf ears until a television news interview impressed a talent scout for a major movie company.  Jack then contracted an agent to ‘follow-up on this and see where it goes’.  Richard Dante directed an international consulting firm from a luxurious apartment/office in a riverfront high-rise.  The offices and staff were on the ground floor of the building and were managed by the fastidious COO, Marvin “Money” Warren and Coral “Irish” Ford, office manager.  Coral was nicknamed Irish for her ‘luck’ in handicapping thoroughbred racehorses. The insouciant Dante belying an adventurous lifestyle and encyclopedic mind with his long-time aide Carmen “Mariposa” Colina’s purviews were the firm’s clandestine operations.  His executive office and conference room on the ground floor were only used for meetings and he interacted only with the COO or the beautiful, efficient Irish.  Limited accesses notwithstanding, all were convinced that he knew EVERYTHING about them both professionally and personally.




Young Love


To avoid anticipated media frenzy, Wallace Winters had been released two weeks early from a minimum security prison. To further conceal his early departure and new location a disguised police official would dash from the prison tomorrow to a waiting limousine and lead selected, tipped off media on a veritable merry-go-round to O’Hare Field airport. Wallace Winters bearing new ID and appearance had checked into the trendy downtown Eastern Star Hotel. Previously glabrous and disheveled, he was now the distinguished yachtsman/financier Covington Van Waring, complete with a full head of mixed gray hair, neat Hemingway style beard, and immaculately tailored suit. His sly, lecherous grin and roving, undressing elevator eyes were practically concealed. Only the wealth, computer acuity, and appetite and quest for young girls remained for this charter member of the digerati. He was able to maintain his affinity for young girls for sexual pursuits by communicating through the prison´s computer system while volunteering as a computer instructor for well-heeled inmates. Downloading encrypted bit formatted nude photos and pornography for later decoded private viewing onto his portable computer.

Occupying an expensive four bedroom suite with his ‘wife’, her sister and niece; he was ready for action as neither the wife nor her sister were ever seen and security cameras would subsequently reveal, ever existed. “The niece” arrived mid-afternoon in a contracted stretch limousine, bounced from the car with the assistance of the doorman while exhibiting youthful over exuberance by tipping the driver ten dollars. Dressed in the private school attire of the pecunious ---- blazer, short skirt with calf height argyle stockings, patent leather low heel shoes, and carrying a backpack as two long chestnut braids swung beneath a beret, she pushed up her glasses and walked directly into the hotel heading to the gift shop. The chief of security, Paxton Brown nodded to the doorman and four bellhops that he had been engaging in male speak, “She’s going to be a real killer when she grows up, loses those pimples and shaves the peach fuzz off those big legs”. “She’s from ‘old money’ and been trained well, gave me five dollars”, the doorman added in accord as Brown followed her into the gift shop and stood discreetly by the male cosmetics as she approached the sales clerk. “Pardon me Ma’am, I’m Brooke Cartwright; I believe my uncle, Covvy Van Waring left a package for me”, she politely queried.

The matronly clerk responded, “Of course he did and your key card as well. Aren’t you the cutest and most well mannered little darling I have ever seen!” she resumed “He bought a teddy bear and some sweaters for you and said you could exchange them if you want and pick out anything else you desire”.

“I’ll get some sweats for me and a couple of nightgowns for my Mom. We put them on, drink cocoa and have girl talk when my father is out of town on business.”

Brown rolled his eyes, clutched his throat and faked gagging as he called the front desk to verify the registration.


Bouncing from the gift shop, Brooke declining assistance gave the bellman five dollars while giggling, “I want to carry all my goodies; it feels like Christmas when I do.”

As she entered the suite holding the packages and teddy bear in front of her short skirt, Van Waring terminated a telephone call, took a sip of vintage Napoleon brandy and moved to the sofa. He lustfully ordered, “Come here, I want to put my face where Old Teddy has his”.

She placed the packages and backpack on the writing desk by the door and moved tantalizing toward him. Playfully shoved Van Waring into a prone position, covered his face with the teddy bear, and placed a .32 automatic with a silencer attachment an inch from his heart, then fired a single muted shot.  Removed an athletic bag from the pack; inside the bag were a makeup kit, high heel shoes, tinted stockings and a head turning little green dress. Undressed, unfastened a restraint from her chest releasing firm 34 C’s, removed the “pimples” from her face with a solution, placed her glasses, clothing and braided wig into the pack, put on light makeup, bright wet appearing red lipstick, and diamond earrings with matching necklace. After re-dressing the braided pimply bespectacled teenager had morphed into a sultry blue eyed blond. Completing the scene by placing her parochial clothing, teddy bear, backpack and packages into the athletic bag, put a note by the telephone, wiped her prints from the pistol, pressed Van Waring’s forefinger on the muzzle, and placed the pistol with the silencer now removed on the floor by the sofa. She spoke her only words since entering the suite, moving toward the door, “Goodbye Pervert!”

Smiled when making slight eye contact with the security chief who gave a behind the back thumbs up to the bellmen as she exited; the chief was correct in his prognostication, “she was a real killer when she was grown”. Within minutes after she left the hotel, federal officials arrived to arrest Van Waring ‘an international fugitive from justice’. All surveillance tapes were seized to aid in the investigation of the discovered ‘apparent suicide’. Wallace Winters had ‘fled the country’ and was sought as a ‘fugitive from justice’ for violating terms of his release. A month would pass before Winters was privately acknowledged as being Van Waring. 


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