Haley was amazed that Detective Dale did not link the two death’s together although the old woman seemed to die from natural causes and the girl’s case looked like a freak accident. Besides the old woman lived in a low-income neighborhood while Shiba lived in an expensive area. She didn’t dwell on her good fortune for long because she had already found the next person who was unfortunate enough to peeve her off, a regularly intoxicated customer, an ignorant truck driver named Condor Hawk who stopped every few weeks at the store for food for his potty mouthed parrot Pete who traveled across the country with him in a cage. All the cashiers scattered when Condor came into the store hoping that they didn’t have to serve him. Finally Haley had decided to punish Condor when his parrot Pete mimicked Condor’s belches and farts and on command his protege began to squawk out a slew of words so foul one dare not repeat them like bitch, whore, skank, cocksucker, you know words we all abhor. Before the cashier had a chance to call for the manager, Condor left giving her the finger and stumbled out, drunk to the gills. Haley was livid as she went out the back door and followed the brute out to the far back corner of the parking lot. As Condor loaded his foul-mouthed parrot into the truck Haley pushed him and he smashed his head into the door edge slicing a large gash in his forehead and knocked the bastard unconscious. The dead crickets and bag of bird food Condor was holding fell to the ground and split open. Haley began to panic a little wondering how in the world she was going to cover this up but as she stood back to assess the situation the ever-present scavenger seagulls and ravens in the neighboring fast food parking lot flew over and began to fight over the loose food and crickets strewn all around and on top of Condor providing the perfect alibis. Going over to the passenger side of the truck Haley opened the cage and Pete the parrot flew into the air free as a bird yelling a few choice words of parting for his owner like dick-face, shithead, and even the British favorite wanker. Haley smiled sadly watching Pete fly away wishing she could have kept the bird and taught it to stop swearing but the damage was already done. Once you taught a parrot a word they always repeated it, fuck, fuck, fuck.

Anyways, Condor was such a birdbrain that his dirty mouth got him killed. It would be nice to say that he got what he deserved but yet again Haley didn’t have all the facts. Condor was a product of his environment; his old man was an abusive son-of-a-bitch who beat him and his mother black and blue after six or seven beer. His father’s cruel disposition was also brought to bear down on a pit-bull that he bought to keep trespassers and burglars away. He purposely starved the dog and beat it explaining that it was to make the beast a better guard dog, make him mean but Condor could tell by the look in his eyes and evil grimace that the creep enjoyed it. Condor Senior also owned a loaded handgun and two rifles located beside the front and back doors of their run-down home in case of emergency but he was always threatening his terrified wife and child with the weapons in case they got out of line. His dad worked in construction so in the winter time he was on welfare which meant he was home more often so drank increasingly and was more violent than ever. His mother was a housewife who was forced to stay at home because her husband told her she was good for nothing. The best part of you ran down your mother’s leg, you were adopted, or we found you in an alleyway behind a dumpster were his favorite slurs towards Condor Junior. When the principal called home complaining about little Condor bullying other students his father said it was about time that his son showed some balls and told the man to go to hell. Throughout his teens his father was his same old sadistic self but a growth spurt enabled Condor Junior to finally fight back and he managed to get in some good punches before he was overpowered but the time came when the balance of power switched from father to son and Condor Senior found himself eating his just desserts. At age 17 Condor and his mother walked out on his father with one powerful well-placed punch to his jaw and a few swift kicks to his ribs while he was down and out as a parting gift and a warning not to try to find them or get them back. Six months later his mother died from hidden internal injuries caused from years of being beaten, a last kick to the stomach that sealed Condor’s view of the shit-can world he had to live in but he figured it all had to be uphill now. Unfortunately Condor’s luck was as bad as ever and without even a high school education a well-paying job was hard to come by. Finally though his luck changed when Condor saw an advertisement in the newspaper for unskilled truck drivers and that the company was willing to pay for the candidates training and the truck license so he applied and got the job. Condor’s cantankerous personality was the epitome of the trucking trade. It was decent money but because he was on the road all the time Condor didn’t have a steady relationship with a girl, he bedded down with hookers and female hitchhikers whom he treated roughly, forcefully with abuse despite what he and his mother had to endure from Condor Senior, or maybe because of it. Experts say history repeats itself and a child can mimic their parent’s behavior. So Haley’s indignation was totally founded at the truck driver’s behavior in the store but yet again she had no knowledge of what made Condor, Condor or was it the case that Haley felt there was no excuse to treat a woman like that and that he should be taught a lesson besides the fact that he taught his parrot to swear like a sailor.

Illustrated by: Jason Hendrickson


When Detective Buck Dale arrived at the scene it was like that old Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds”, where birds attack the townspeople. Buck was told by the cashier that the trucker was really drunk so it wasn’t a stretch to believe he fell down and hit his head. The second that Buck saw it was a refrigerated truck he knew it could be transporting only a few commodities, food or as he hoped horticultural plants. He was delighted to find a large shipment of cut flowers and was thrilled to find a potted Atropa Belladonna also known as Deadly Night Shade, beautiful but poisonous. He smiled at the irony of it as he took the flowering shrub into “evidence”. This death was obviously accidental in nature Buck thought as he pondered where to plant his new treasure. In his defense none of the murders had any common link that he could see; the victims were of various genders, ages, and backgrounds as well the cause of death and crime scenes differed greatly.