Steve Eaglefeather, An Introduction
"Don't you think it's time to call in your buddy?" Tina asked. She stood in my doorway with her hands on her hips and waited.
"Not much for him to do right now, plus we don't have a client," I finished the report I was working on and saved it to my desktop. When I looked up, Tina hadn't moved.
"You don't have to pay him," she said. " You know that."
"Having to and needing to are two different things."
"For a guy who doesn't like following rules, you sure seem to have a lot of them," she crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against the door jamb.
I recognized her "I'm ready to argue this until you see it my way" stance. I'd seen it before.
"I think he's busy on something right now," I said as I got up and took a few steps in her direction. She shook her head and for a second I thought she meant to keep me in the office.
"You've already made the call," I stood in front of her. She smiled and the brilliance of it threw a cold bucket of water over the flash of my anger.
"Why do I even bother to pretend to be the boss here," I asked.
"I think it makes you feel important,” she said. “but I'm not a shrink." She stepped back and I passed through the doorway shaking my head but making no comment.
I put on a half pot of coffee and watched it brew. Tina sat on the edge of her desk while I got a couple of cups out of the cabinet and fixed us one each.
"What did Steve say?" I asked handing her a cup.
"He'll see you tomorrow," she said blowing on the coffee and then sipping a little. "How did you guys meet, anyway?"
So I told her.
"I drove over to this redneck bar just outside Little River to meet a CI and was waiting on him to call to set up the meet and I got thirsty. I went in and was sitting at the bar when I heard the bartender talking to him....
"You some kind of freakin' Indian?" The bartender tossed the business card onto the bar. Steve Eaglefeather put it in its black leather ID case, put the case back in his hip pocket and looked around.
There were eight guys there and I was the only one not wearing motorcycle colors. Well, me and the freakin’ Indian.
"So, do you know this man or not?" Steve turned back to the bartender and placed a photograph on the plywood bar.
"Eaglefeather, ....... shit," he snorted. "Got to be some sort of Indian name." The bartender was nasty, fat, and about fifty, with a salt and pepper gray ponytail and matching goatee. He hadn’t even looked at the picture.
"I'm going to take that as a no," Steve said and turned to face the others, holding up the 8 by 10 glossy print. "Anybody here seen this guy around?"
"You some kind of freakin' Indian?" The bartender, at it again.
"Ask your girlfriend," Steve said and didn't even turn to look at the man.
I laughed and everyone looked at me so I shrugged and sipped my beer. The Indian walked to the center of the room and held up the photo.
He was tall and muscular, with dark black hair combed straight back neatly trimmed. He wore a faded blue denim long sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled and the tail out. His blue Levis were a couple of shades darker than the shirt and his brown cowboy boots were scuffed and had more that a few miles on them.
"I'm looking for this guy, Reggie Farnsworth. Raped a twelve year old girl just across the line in North Carolina, jumped bond. Anybody ever heard of him?"
It was so quiet in the bar you could hear the cockroaches crawl.
"He knows I'm looking for him. That makes him a child molester ..... and a coward."
Nothing but a mixture of hostile and empty stares.
He walked over and took the bar stool one over from me, ordered a Bud and watched to make sure the bartender didn't spit in it.
"Bounty hunter?" I asked quietly.
"Among other things," he looked over at me and sipped some of his beer.
"Cop?" He said.
"Among other things," I thought but just nodded slightly and held up my empty to the bartender who was whispering over in the corner into a cell phone.
Eventually, Steve finished his beer, I finished mine. Six of the eight guys had wandered out of the bar.
"Reggie ought to be here by now," Steve said and got off the stool.
"Backup?" I offered my cell phone.
"I think they have enough help," he shook his head and headed out into the warm afternoon sun.
I dialed 911, spoke to the Horry County Sheriffs office and then went out the front door into the gravel lot. Off to the right side in the back was a line of four by four posts with a rusty cable strung between them. The cable still held targets that had been used for a turkey shoot the previous fall. I wondered about the lunacy of mixing rednecks, cheap beer and target practice. Nothing could be finer...........
Steve Eaglefeather stood in the center of a circle of men, hands at his side and a peaceful countenance on his face. No one was moving and I leaned back on the concrete wall of the bar and heard the rumble of an approaching bike. Reggie Farnsworth pulled off the highway on a flat-black rat rod Harley and rolled toward the group in the back lot. He leaned the bike over on it's stand, got off and stepped into the circle, cursing.
No one paid me any attention as I walked over to my car and popped the hatch on my trunk with the remote. That was about to change.
A Remington 870 pump shotgun makes an impressive noise when you rack the slide. It's even more impressive if you're close and point the business end at folks. I did so.
"Ladies, you all know the drill. Assume the position on the wall over there." At first I though they were not going to comply, but then they all did. Except Reggie.
"You want to come along peacefully now, Reggie?" Steve asked pulling a pair of cuffs from under his shirt tail.
Instead of answering, Reggie jerked a knife off his belt and charged Steve. I had no time to react. The two were too close for me to intervene with the Remington.
Steve dropped the cuffs, stepped backwards outside the first swipe of the knife blade, then grabbed Reggie’s arm and twisted it. The knife fell to the dirt and Steve released him. Enraged, Reggie stepped up and swung a right hook that didn't even come close. Steve slapped his face three times. Right, left, right and then delivered a quick jab to Reggie's nose. Blood flew. Reggie screamed, wiped at the blood with his forearm.
"Had enough Reggie?"
Apparently not. He took another run at Steve as I heard a siren wail in the distance. Steve grabbed his arm, threw him over his shoulder and when Reggie got up he delivered a spinning kick to the side of Reggie's head that would have made Chuck Norris proud. Reggie crumpled, falling face first into the gravel. Couldn't have done his nose much good. Steve cuffed him.
" How much of that is the truth?" Tina asked.
"Have I ever lied to you?" I asked.
Tina rolled her eyes and finished her cup. She handed it to me.
"More?" I went back to the pot to heat up my cup.
"Story, yes .... Coffee, no."
I refilled my cup and went back to sit in a chair in front of Tina's desk.
"There's not much more to that story. The informant I was supposed to meet there never showed up and after I saved Steve's butt he's followed me around like a puppy."
Tina laughed at the notion. "He tells the story a little different."
"I'm sure he does," I said. "Just remember how his people screwed us on that whole Manhattan deal."
- Brand New Again, A J.J. Justice Short Story
Here's a short story inspired by the title cut from Tracy Walton's debut solo album. Brand New Again. Private detective JJ JUstice and his friend Steve Eaglefeather are back and things are heating up on the Grand Strand of South Carolina!
I am currently working on a book (Justice At Sunset) about a private detective who works the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina. The first draft is too short and I decided I wanted to add this character to the pot and stir it a bit. In order to do that I wanted to know how the two men met and this is the result. I don't think this part is going in the book, so I thought I'd post it.
By the way, I used the word "freakin" in this story in place of the stronger word from the original.
Thanks for reading.