Up on a hill in Waterbury, Connecticut sits a cross lit up by lights on a dark night, a symbol of the Church and Catholic religion. It is surrounded by a small park at its base and you have to walk up to it to get there, after a drive around the back to the entrance. They call that The Holy Land in Waterbury, Connecticut and most are awed by it and respect it well. But every now and then kids play pranks up there and graffiti will be found and need cleaning up, or an accident would happen there and be taken care of, but a Murder on The Holy Ground, well that had never happened, till now.
The rains had fallen for a week and the ground was soaking wet, and the roads gleamed from the wetness. In a police car headed to The Holy Land and the cross park is Detective Mandelon, his boss called him up and sent him, to investigate a murder at the cross. Found tied to the cross like Jesus Christ is a man, beaten and shot and bloodied! The scene is hard to take, the body hastily tied to the cross and beaten to a pulp two shots to the head. Whoever killed him meant to send a message!
Rick Mandelon has been on the force for many years now and in this area for decades and never has anyone even tried no matter what to commit a murder in such a place. Waterbury, Connecticut, Mandelon, knows is not a murder capital of the state or this area, but for some reason this one has occurred here. Detective Rick Mandelon, is the best one on the force and his bosses know he can solve the case given time.
Upon arrival on the scene, Rick runs dead on into the Sergeant in charge, He has cordoned off the whole area around the cross and the body. The Sergeant tells Rick, that when they were called one person called it in on a cell phone but didn’t identify themselves. When the police did arrive all we did as a team was block the area off and close the park. The rest Detective is up to you, but I think you may have trouble solving this one, not much evidence left to find. Rick says ok, I will take it from here, keep all cordoned out, and get the Medical Examiner up here, to collect the body, Rick orders pictures taken of the body and scene from all angles possible. He looks around writing down all he can find and finds the victim’s name and has an officer go notify the family. Rick continues to look around finding the victim’s wallet and car keys, but no car close by. Mandelon walks down the path out of the park, away from the cross and finds a sliver Honda Civic sitting there all locked up. He tries the key and opens the car, looking inside all around, all Mandelon finds is the registration, insurance papers, and a coat on the back seat, from the pocket he pulls a joint. So, our victim was a pothead he thinks, that is no biggie, many of them in Waterbury for sure. Looking back up to the crime scene, Mandelon walks back up and tells the photographer to send all the prints to his office immediately and because the ground is wet and the pavement is all there is here not much to see. Mandelon, decides not more I can do tonight, time to go write up my report, file it and start over tomorrow. Maybe a fresh mind will give me some ideas and I can sniff around more through whatever is found here. Rick Mandelon has been through this before, and knows time will help him solve the crime; it only takes time and some effort. But someone must solve how a man ended hung up on the Cross in Holy Land for all to see, without anyone seeing anything at all.
The drug trade in Waterbury grows each day and each section of the city has its bosses for each type out there. Mandelon decides to look into the pot sellers and dealers to find who would hang a man that way. According to word on the street, only one crazy dealer would dare to attempt such a thing and people are avoiding talking about Crazy Mac the pot dealer! Mac hides in the north end of Waterbury in the projects up there, they have been there since the 1950’s all brick and small but comfy for many. According to word on the street Crazy Mac lives in a two bedroom there in the brick building near the center, Mandelon gets the address and heads off to talk to Crazy Mac. Writing down the address Mandelon heads to 296 Knowlwood Circle, just a discussion no warrants. Putting on his fedora and loading his .38 Mandelon, jumps in the car and rides off, his badge displayed on his belt.
Crazy Mac’s home an apartment in a project is all brick on the outside and has two entries. Driving up to the front Mandelon figures, it is just a few questions and no warrant so I will just knock and ask away if he lets me. Striding up to the door Rick opens his jacket and lets his badge show and clears the way for his .38 if needed. Reaching the door, Rick knocks hard and harder to see if anyone answers and stands to the side. No answer comes, but he can hear movement behind the door, but no one answers, Banging on the door harder with a fist, Mandelon almost cracks the window, yet no answer comes so he yells Police Open Up! Suddenly a shot rings out and the round comes flying thru the window just missing him. Stepping back Rick kicks the door with all his weight and the door slams open and he body rolls in. Coming up on his knees in the kitchen, he scans around with his .38 out in front. No more shots or sounds come. Looking up the back door is open his man is running, but it’s too late now, looking out the door he can see the form in shadow dart into the woods. Mandelon knows now he will never catch Crazy Mac tonight, so he stops and searches the apartment, bongs in the bedrooms up stairs, water pipes in the living room and in the basement pot plants growing under lights by the window which is open. Damn, Rick thinks if this guy did kill the guy on the cross, it had to be a failure to pay or a business deal gone bad. Whichever it is, Crazy Mac just made it all worse for himself and any dealers he may have out here. Detective Mandelon calls it in and puts out an APB for Crazy Mac, confiscating all the pot plants and equipment, and calling in a Patrol to watch the apartment and projects for the sight of Crazy Mac. Rick chews on his old stogie of a cigar now and puffs on it hard and thinks, this guy has to be crazy to shoot at a cop, now it will just get harder for him to hide. We should get this crazy bastard at least soon, with the APB and so many cops looking him now.
Rick heads back to his car and heads back to the station, checking in all the pot and equipment he found and filing his report of his actions and job on duty he did. As he turns to leave for the night, Rick is approached by his boss, the boss tells him, and I trust you will get this guy? Rick sneers back, and then whispers you, can bet your ass I will, he fired at me, I don’t take that lightly! Stomping along grumpy now, his jacket spread wide, and his cigar hanging from his lip, Rick says good night and goes home. Crazy Mac will have to wait till tomorrow Rick thinks in the meantime, I need a burger and fries and a beer, he stops at a neighborhood bar and eats and relaxes then heads on home for sleep. It becomes a restless night for Rick, he sleeps fitfully thinking of the shot that just went by his ear and how close it came. But, in the end he sleeps well and the alarm clock is set for 7am.
Stumbling from bed Rick, makes his coffee and rubs his unshaven face, bristling with ideas to get Crazy Mac and solve this crime. Shaving and staring into the mirror in his bathroom Rick realizes he is not getting any younger the lines on his face are permanent now. He shaves and brushes his teeth and climbs in his shower and gets washed.
After his shower he puts on his working suit and tie and his Fedora for the road, and adds his badge and gun and heads out the door with a cigar on his lip. Mandelon, thinks I need to find Crazy Mac before other drug dealers do, he could end up dead. In the car as he starts his engine, his cell phone rings, and it’s the Medical Examiner, telling Rick he has something for him and to stop by. Rick fires up his cruiser and off he heads to the M.E. Office, let’s see what we got.
The Medical Examiner’s Office and Morgue is quiet when Rick arrives in a backroom you can smell the smells of death and bleach. It stinks thinks Rick as he opens the door and walks in. There is the M.E. now, old bastard he is, but a nice guy when not working. Ok, Rick says what you got Doc for me on the Cross murder? The M.E. tells Rick, this man was shot twice in the head cleanly with a .22 caliber, and hung by both his neck and arms to that cross post mortem. He was dead a bit before hung up there; my guess is he was hung to send a message! What it is I wouldn’t know, as to drugs in his system or booze, no booze, but he was high on pot at the time. Found that in his blood stream, and it means he wasn’t dead long before being found probably.
Other than that Rick I can’t tell you much, this guy used to work out a lot and was healthy before being killed. Thank Doc, Rick says, now all I got to do is look for the .22 and the bastard that tied him up there. The Doc looks at Rick, well one more thing, the knots that tied him up there, well they are Navy knots, so whoever did this knows naval work or served. Interesting Rick thinks and thanks Doc as he leaves and thinks, Navy knots, a .22 caliber gun and a message sent out to others, I think definitely drug related and someone wants someone to know not to do whatever this poor dude did, again.
Mandelon thinks Crazy Mac had to go somewhere; he couldn’t stay in those woods too long, no food or water there. So where the hell did he go and get out of the woods at? Grabbing a map, he stares at where those woods lead to and the best possible places to come out. He sees if you go straight through the pine trees and hills here you come out in a small town called Waterville. Did Crazy Mac go there, good place to start Rick thinks and grabs a photo of Crazy Mac from the files and heads on out. This Crazy Mac I need him to see if he did kill this poor bastard, and I am not positive if he did or not, but he did shoot at me and run. Seems no help has come from the APB, no sign of him popping his head up yet. I guess I have to get to Waterville and ask around and see if he is hiding there.
Waterville, Connecticut is a small little sleepy burg, next to Waterbury and in some ways nicer. To search it you start at the bars and work your way thru town and then back to the residential areas, especially when looking for a pot seller. So, Mandelon makes the necessary pit stop at the area’s favorite watering hole to show the photo around and ask if anyone has seen Crazy Mac. The bar tender a burly type with long black hair and beard tells Rick, Hey I taint seen that one around at all! So Rick starts asking customers as they come in, it’s a slow bar till about 8 pm when it picks up. The men and couples start pilling in then and so do the dancers in the bar. Rick hangs around some showing the photo to more people, a girl speaks up. Yeah I saw that guy he was here last night selling pot and hiding in the back, back there! He seem like he was scared of something and hiding, but still doing business, made a few bucks if I remember right. Yet, I don’t know where he went or what happened to him. Rick think Crazy may be here in Waterville, but where if he was here last night is there any other joints around here he asks. The girl says yeah, down the road about three blocks you’ll find Arties. He may be in there tonight selling. Rick says thanks for the info and heads on out the door and into his car. Could be Crazy Mac is dealing here too in Waterville, have to check Arties he thinks and drives on down that way.
Finding Arties with the little neon sign and small parking lot Rick pulls in, and parks and heads to the door. Out of the corner of his eye, Mandelon sees a couple hidden in the shadows in the back making out, he ignores it, Crazy wouldn’t be involved, damn dope head. And He goes in to Arties, The bar is up front and the stools, he scans the stools and bar, no Crazy Mac there. Grabbing a beer to fit in he heads to the back booths and sips his beer to see what is happening. Two couples are in the booths and Rick looks to see if Crazy is in one of them but no luck, so he shows the photo to the couples, the first couple aren’t going to say a word, the second the girl wants to say something he can see but the guy won’t let her. Rick waits till he goes to the men’s room and asks the girl again. She says Sure I saw him tonight he was here earlier! Where did he go Rick asks? He was out front with a girl making out just a bit ago she says, turning Rick runs out the door and looks again, he’s gone they left, damn just missed him! Shit, he’s long gone now I am sure, but Rick looks around just to make sure, finding nothing he heads for his car once more.
Getting into his car, Rick notices a note stuck under his windshield wiper, and gets out and grabs it and reads; Mandelon, I know you’re looking for me and following me, I am not guilty of murder, I didn’t kill anyone! If you want a meet with me, meet me at The Dancing Angels Club tomorrow night in Waterbury, I will spot you and we can talk, be alone or I will disappear, signed Crazy. So Crazy wants to talk to me Rick says, so he must be telling the truth but running scared, I will see him them. Mandelon gets in and starts the car and takes off for home, he’s done tonight, tomorrow Crazy will be in my city to talk, so no rush. Another day of searching for a killer and leads seems to have led nowhere just a chance at Crazy mac to talk is all. And I taint finding him tonight thinks Rick as he drives home, his old stogie lit and hanging from his lips as he stares and drives home, smoke building up in the car. Soon enough though Crazy will talk and I may get some answers, thinks Rick, I need to nail this killer soon or he may strike again!
8Pm; The next day, Mandelon, takes a seat at the Dancing Angels dressed casually and not showing gun or badge. Waiting on Crazy Mac, he orders a rum and coke and lights up his cigar. The smoke wafts across the room as he drinks and watches for Crazy. Suddenly from behind Rick is tapped on the shoulder and Crazy is here. He takes a seat across from Mandelon and says ok let’s talk. Crazy tells him, look I deal pot yes but I did not kill anyone, that guy on the cross is not my work; someone is setting me up to take a fall. Rick says well tell me how that could be and who would set you up? Crazy tells Rick about a man on the West Side of town he’s a bastard and works out by the Park there. Rick says which park, Crazy tells him Hamilton Man, Hamilton Park he works out of the gazebo there/, he sells all drugs not just pot. They say the last guy who crossed him ended up behind a Cadillac dragged for 500 feet and then shot in the head. I don’t know if it’s true, but you should check him out. He goes by Dodge, but his real name I don’t know, but if you watch the gazebo, he will be there at night. Mandelon looks at crazy and says you ran why now when I wanted to talk to you? Crazy tells him I thought it was Dodge’s boys, he doesn’t like me because I sell pot man; he thinks I am cutting onto his shit. Rick tells him, Look Crazy, you stay low, I am going to get this Dodge character and find out what happened if I find out you had anything to do with this killing, well, you get the idea. Crazy shakes his head and stands and walks out slowly, Rick lets him go, if I can find him this fast, so can Dodge, so I better get to Dodge fast!.
Walking out the door Rick calls for a cordon around Hamilton Park and the gazebo to be watched closely, he tells him no one move sin just keep it surrounded I am on my way. Dodge might of hung the guy on the cross, and I bet if he did he isn’t above doing so again! Rick picks up speed in his car and gets to the park in no time flat it’s only a few miles. Jumping out of his car, he looks for the officer in charge, and finds old, Jimmy Crane the man running it all. Officer Crane is elderly but smart as a whip and has it all surrounded tight and in control. Crane tells Rick, he’s here man in the gazebo there and he isn’t going anywhere, he has customers coming in and out, for his shit. Ok Rick says, we need to close in slowly and only at my command we want him alive, he may be the Cross Killer we want. He coordinates the close in slowly and carefully, and tells the cops there, shoot for the legs if he runs but don’t kill him, I need him. They all understand and slowly the circle closes in in Dodge and his drugs and deals. The circle shrinks slowly but surely and no one cannot see them coming. When they get within 100 feet, Mandelon stops the troops and gets a bull horn. He calls Dodge out and tells him you have nowhere to run your completely surrounded this is Detective Mandelon come on out Dodge, now. Waiting for these guys to make a decision to try to run or give up is bitch thinks Rick, but given time I think Dodge wants to stay in one piece. Rick holds the troops and waits for a reply from Dodge and soon he gets one. Dodge yells out ok, ok, I am coming out and I am not armed, hands in the air Dodge walks out of the gazebo, kneels and puts his hands on his head. Cops rush in and take him down and cuff him, Mandelon has his man now. , The time has come for Dodge to answer questions, take him in and book him for selling drugs, Crane and lock him up till I get there. I will question this bastard and find out what happened. Once the catch is made of Dodge Rick lights up his cigar and heads to dinner, hungry after the chase. Rick orders his favorite, steak and baked potatoes and mixed veggies, and a wine. Rick eats well and is in a good mood because the murder isn’t fully solved but he believes Dodge is his man, now I have to prove it, Rick thinks. Tomorrow will tell, and Rick now full heads home to sleep, day is done.
The interrogation of Dodge may take hours Rick Mandelon thinks as he brushes his teeth and combs his hair, finishing dressing with a tie and his jacket Rick is ready to face a new day at the station. Awaiting him is this man Dodge a drug dealer and culprit that could do almost anything, but he is now locked in a cage, and held till I get to him. Clipping his badge to his belt and his cell phone on the other side Rick, heads out the door to work. The ride is slow and leisurely, and a coffee is what he needs and get at Dunkin Doughnuts on the way. The station is right next door so Rick arrives about 8 am and is ready for the confrontation with Dodge.
Rick has an officer place Dodge cuffed to a car in Interrogation Room one and makes him wait some before he goes in. Making Dodge sweat a bit, may help break him. Looking at this guy through a one way glass, Rick see’s he may be jonesing for a fix, or just sweating from nerves, not sure, I will make him wait till I finish my coffee at least. Sitting back down and sipping on the hot coffee, Mandelon still can’t figure why this guy went to such extremes, to make a statement about not messing with him and his deals. Soon Rick thinks he will tell me, or I will let him rot in jail.
Entering the room now, his coat off and his fedora tipped back, Mandelon slides into a chair across the table from Dodge and looks him in the eye. Ok, Dodge what the hell happened here and why did you kill the guy on the cross, let’s have it man. Dodge won’t admit a thing at first; it is a slow conversation of Dodge and his relationship with Crazy Mac and how he hates him at first. Rick slams a hand on the table, and looks at him again, who the hell is the guy on the cross Dodge and why did you hang him there. Dodge’s eyes move quickly side to side and his head rocks side to side too but he won’t talk yet. Rick decides ok, let him sit here a while longer and we shall see. He gets up and goes for a second coffee leaving Dodge alone again for a while. Let’s see how long before he talks and breaks down, he doesn’t look so tough, thinks Rick besides he may need a fix soon from the looks of his sweats. I will give him a little more time to feel it more, and then question him harder.
After a couple of hours, it is time to question Dodge again and when Rick walks in Dodge is nearly crazy and jumping out of his skin, his body is sweating and he is begging for help. Rick offers him some help and says let’s make a deal Dodge, you tell me who was on the cross and why you put him there and I will get you medical attention and help! No answers no help dodge I can let you sit here 48 hours if I have to, wake up man!
Finally Dodge says ok, ok I will talk, but I want a Doctor now. Talk now Dodge or no Doctor not without your statement, get to talking the faster you do, the faster you get help.
Slowly the story comes out, Dodge was pissed at Crazy Mac who was dealing the pot around Waterbury, and Crazy had a buddy Bobby Grant. Bobby told Crazy he was going to open up his own area of dealing and it got back to me. I sent a message to this Bobby character and told him to back off nicely first Dodge says, but he was persistent and wouldn’t quit moving in to my area. I warned him through Crazy Mac and he told Crazy to tell me to fuck off. I got pissed and sent a couple of my guys to get this dude. Well, he fought and beat them back with his own boys so I had enough. I set him up in Holy Land that night.
I set a meet with Bobby and waited for him from about 11pm till almost midnight when he showed. When he did I had my boys and he had his, the difference his abandoned him as the conversation went on. I told him to back the fuck off and leave my business area alone, he told me to fuck myself and he was doing what he wanted.
In the end I got pissed and told him stop now, or die, he refused and pushed me. I pulled my .22 and put two bullets in his head and everyone ran off. So I grabbed some rope from my car and hung the bastard on the cross as a warning to all, not to step in my way again. Yeah I shot the creepy little bastard and hung him on the cross for all in Waterbury to see. And that’s what the fuck happened now get me a Doc! Wait one Rick says, where is the .22 and proof you’re telling the truth? Dodge gives up the gun at his place and tells Rick where he got the rope, receipts and all are at his place. The search comes up with all Dodge said and more drugs too.
Rick hands Dodge a pen and paper and says write it out man, I am going to get you a Doctor, to help you! Dodge sits and writes as, Rick calls for a Doctor and gets him help. The case is ended now, but, Rick has Crazy picked up too, little bastard shot at me and books him on attempted murder, the case has ended now. Rick plops in his chair and rests a hot coffee in hand and peaceful once more! His feet up on his desk, coffee in hand Rick sits back yacking and awaiting his next case!