Another Jeopardy Excerpt

crime scene

The living room was in disarray and on the floor between the couch and coffee table laid a bleeding Janice Bryant.

I dropped to my knees and pulled off my blazer, I quickly turned it inside out and placed it on the major wounds. As my partner called in for medical help I heard a crash in the rear of the apartment.

“Dutch! Rear exit” I yelled as I tried to keep pressure on the major wounds. He took off in the direction of the sounds and I glanced around the apartment looking for signs of who’d done this to her.

I looked up at the boss of us all as he asked what I needed him to do. I’d forgotten that he was even there. “Sir, can you locate the bathroom or linen closet? I need all the towels or sheets you can find” I told him. He ran down the hall and I began talking to her.

“Janice, stay with me! Janice, can you hear me?” I asked her. I noticed that her eyes had lost focus so I leaned down to her ear and spoke. “I know you want to go Janice but David would want you to fight, he would want you to live the life that you two were building together” I told her.
Santiago came back with sheets and blankets and began to help me keep pressure on the wounds. I looked around trying to see it anything else had been disturbed in the attack.

“Ms. Bryant, Ms. Bryant! The ambulance is on the way, okay” Santiago told her. I looked over at him and watched as he pulled his cell phone and checked on the location of said ambulance.
I could hear someone approaching and I leaned closer over Janice as Santiago swirled and directed his gun at the front door of the apartment.

Janice’s neighbor, the one who’d let us in the building dropped a casserole dish in shock. Santiago lowered his weapon and I asked her to go to the front of the building to wait for the ambulance. I assured her that my partner was chasing the assailant but that we had to get Janice some medical attention.

She covered her mouth to block a sob but she left and went to the door.

I looked at Santiago and he sheepishly smiled. He said, “I guess I’m a little rusty.”

“I respectfully disagree, sir. Someone who was rusty wouldn’t have responded like that. In my opinion, those are the reflexes of a seasoned field agent” I said.

We both grinned until we remembered the situation and that’s the scene that Dutch returned to followed by two paramedics. They came to us and tried to take over but I didn’t want to move.

“Agent Robinson, let’s allow these men to do their jobs” Santiago said. He held out his hand and I allowed him to help me up.

We stood there watching them work until they loaded her on the stretcher and headed for their rig.

Outside we stood near the car waiting for the paramedics to get Janice ready for transport. I kept looking towards the ambulance hoping that they would come out with good news.

“What do you want to do? Dutch asked before he went to the trunk and pulled out crime scene tape and gloves for him and the boss.

“I don’t want anyone but our CSU team in there. No Philly PD. Can you get Sellers over here? Or do you want to control the crime scene? Also we need a lid on this, I think” I said.

SAC Santiago stepped up looking like he really was enjoying every bit of being back in the field. “I can handle that part. We’ll contain the information, nothing will get out that you two don’t approve. For right now, I think that’s for the best and we might want to think about something else too but we can talk about that later” he told us.

“Also, we’ve been working under the assumption that David was the target. Get Runyan on Janice’s background again. I want to make sure that this wasn’t something from her past coming back at her. I don’t want to waste another day chasing our asses” I said. I wasn’t tired anymore. I was amped and pissed off. Whoever this killer was he or she had guts to attack through a very small window knowing that the victim was under police protection.

“We’ll get on it” Santiago assured me. Normally Dutch was the one to convince me when I got all crazy during a case but when I looked at him he only wore a smile that told me he loved having the big boss in the field with us.


Fresh Grief

humpty dumpty syndrome

I feel as if I have been valiantly taking these body blows. Without complaint, without falling apart, without asking why or wondering if the final goodbye was truly the final one.

But today, I am shocked. I am in disbelief and my grief has caused all of the above. I never would have guessed that after 35 plus years of friendship, cousinhood and foolishness that it would end like this. My grief is my own but also for your sons, your husband and your mom.

Personally, what has held me together so far is the fact I am still so very afraid of falling completely apart and suffering from Humpty Dumpty syndrome.



ajar door

Looking through the inventory of items collected from the scene I realized that there was no record of David’s personal cell phone, his briefcase, or any record of his appointments. I felt myself frown as I reviewed the list again. Without looking up, I picked up the phone and called CSU. When someone answered I asked for Agnew. He came to the phone and gruffly asked what I needed.

“Hey, this is Robinson from CID. I’m looking at the inventory from the Dixon crime scene. We didn’t recover any cell phones or personal items connected to the victim? I asked. I knew it was unnecessary, Agnew ran a meticulous ship but I just had to be sure.

“No, your inventory shows everything we collected. There were no personal items to indicate that the victim drove himself to the office. I think we only found his office keys and his security badge to get in the office” he told me. I thanked him and was about to hang up when I hear him call out “Hey Nat! Don’t forget you owe me $30” he said.

“We were robbed” I told him and hung up.

My niece and his son played in the same soccer league and he bet me that their team wouldn’t win their last game. He was right, they finished the season 0-9.

“What’s going on?” Dutch asked. I told him what I’d discovered and wondered aloud if the items had been found in David’s home.

SAC Santiago who by this time had taken off his suit jacket and was reviewing another list told me that no cell phones, briefcase or PDA was listed on David’s home inventory. Lipscomb confirmed that nothing like that had been found. If it had he would have told us. There had been a desktop, MacBook, and iPad found though and the techs were scrubbing those.

“Lips, can you check with tech and see if he had an appointment book on any of his computers?” I asked. He left the room to do that and Dutch reminded the rest of us that we had the next best thing if we couldn’t locate a physical copy of his appointment.

We all looked at him waiting for him to make sense.

“Janice Bryant” he said. We continued to stare at him, not getting the point he was trying to make.
“Who do you think made the majority of his appointments?” he asked. “Even if she uploaded them to a system that they shared she’d still have a password protected copy on her hard drive.”

“He has a point” Santiago said. “There’s also the chance that he left the physical copy at her house. After all, we have no idea where he was kidnapped from. Bryant was in a study group that evening right?” he asked.

We confirmed that and he continued on to say that if David was taken from his girlfriend’s home then the perp had to work fast because he had no idea when she’d get home.

That made sense so we decided to go over to the one location that we hadn’t searched yet. I couldn’t believe that Janice would be willingly hiding anything from us but she’d been a mess both times we spoke to her so it was possible that all of the missing items were sitting right in her apartment. I tried to call her but she didn’t answer at home or on her cell.

“Sir, would you like to come with us?” I asked. “After all you’ve been working with us for quite a few hours and you might be able to give us new insight on Ms. Bryant.”

As we drove to Janice’s address I tried to call her two more times as we talked about various cases and what caused me to transfer from the Newark office. When we arrived we noticed that Janice’s car was there in spite of the fact that she hadn’t answered my calls. We surveyed the surrounding before leaving the car and heading towards the building. We got to the building just as another tenant was about to go inside. I flashed my badge and told her that we needed to do a safety check on one of her neighbors and she agreed to allow us to follow her inside.

“I don’t normally do this” she told us, “but I saw you two on the news last night so I know you’re really FBI agents. Even in this neighborhood you can never be too safe”

I agreed with her and she smiled at us before heading towards her own door. We stopped at Janice’s front door and Dutch was about to knock when something made me grab his hand at the last second.

“Wait” I whispered. I cocked my head closer to the door and felt it again. Something was wrong. I told Dutch and he pulled his gun. He counted one-two-three by raising his fingers and on the third finger we kicked in the door.

The living room was in disarray and on the floor between the couch and coffee table laid a bleeding Janice Bryant.



shange pic

Today, I wanted to share a section of one of my favorite monologues from Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf. I have always been drawn to this section; it appeals to the basest elements of my personality and I love it. There is a truth and honesty in these words that reflects my feelings about apologies and sorries. I hope you all enjoy!

“one thing I don’t need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i don’t know what to do wit em
they don’t open doors
or bring the sun back
they don’t make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didn’t nobody stop usin my tears to wash cars
cuz a sorry.”
― Ntozake Shange, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf




I am no saint.

I’ve sought the calm of

The bottom of a bottle many times.

Swam with sharks and other

dangerous predators.

Walked alone down hazardous

darkened streets

with the confidence that only

being a teenager can bring.

Have listened to no other voice

But my own at 3:39 in the morning

When sleep evaded me.

I have put myself and my sanity at risk.


But it always comes back to this:

pen in hand,

pressed closely to paper

or snuggled up in bed with a good book.


Life’s greatest pleasures can

be so simple.


l’écriture est…


They said that writing is pain.
Writing is pain?
Nah, not for this writer
For me, it’s healing; therapeutic, cathartic, relaxing.
Especially poetry writing;
There is something implicitly soothing about
Words caressing paper
Lightly touching it with imagery, alliteration and hyperbole
Bursting forth from the mind fully formed
Like a goddess of Greek mythology
Writing is life affirming
It is the moment when you are
Almost asleep and words pour forth
Erupting without end
It is the moment of creation
A literary big bang
Just waiting to
Be discovered
To be read and adored