The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.
Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives come to realize that the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.
Extract #7 = George Receives A Note
Not just any note. George is full-blooded Navajo and was trained by his grandfather to become what non-Native Americans would call a Medicine or Holy Man. As such, George like his grandfather, believe in the spirit world and he receives “messages” by way of dreams and visions. He has had troubling dreams that he cannot explain or understand. Now added to this is this message from someone in the school.
George was in a sour mood. His smile was noticeably absent, his dark eyes more intense, his jaw set. Danny met up with him in Spanish IV and couldn’t pull him out of his funk. They stuck together because they were the only ninth graders in the class full of juniors and seniors, evenly split between boys and girls.
He smacked him on the upper arm and said, “What’s up?”
George frowned and shook his head once and Danny backed off.
The first part of the lesson was on conjugating past tense verbs, followed by a short five minute video clip of a mother talking to her daughter about shopping for a dress for her to wear on Saturday night for dinner and a play. The students had to translate the Spanish dialogue to English. For George and Danny, it was as natural and easy as transcribing English to English which was why they were in Spanish IV. The other kids in the class struggled with it and asked George or Danny for help or in a couple of cases, just looked at their papers and copied their work.
After the transcription which was turned in as a benchmark test grade, the students had to come up with a Spanish dialogue discussing the Spanish version of Don Quixote that would be presented to the class the following day. Danny and George were paired together by their teacher, Don Lehmann with the instruction to work on the symbolism of the story.
George picked up his notebook and a copy of his book and sat down on the other side of the room at a desk facing Danny leaving his backpack at his desk. He and Danny talked about the book the entire time in Spanish. Both took notes, laughed a little- Danny more so than George, but were busy the entire time. Those who sat nearby stared at them in awe.
The bell rang which for them meant first lunch. For others, another class before lunch and still others who would go to class, lunch and back to the same class.
Danny gathered his things and waited patiently for George who stuffed his book, his notebook and pen back into his backpack. He slung his backpack over one shoulder and met Danny at the door and together walked down the hallway towards the cafeteria.
They didn’t get halfway there when a girl, neither of them knew or saw before, handed George a note and said, “Some guy asked me to give this to you.” She handed George a folded piece of paper and just as quickly disappeared into the crowd moving the other direction and vanished from sight.
“Who was that?” Danny asked.
Bewildered, George stared off hoping to catch a glimpse of her, but failed to.
“What’s the note say?”
The two boys leaned against the lockers out of the way and read the note together.
George didn’t get scared easily, but he felt himself grow pale and sweat broke out on his upper lip.
“Jesus, George! You have to show this to your dad! Now!”
Rooted to the spot, he didn’t move.
“Did you hear me? Now! Go now!”
George took off, quick-walking to the guidance office dodging huddles of kids dotting the hallways before the bell rang for the next class.
Joseph Lewis has written five books:
Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.
Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.