Yvonne Jones walked into the motel room where she lived in the San Fernando Valley. She just had a date and was flush with cash. She bought a fifth of whiskey and thought she might go down to East L.A. with the idea of scoring some rock. Her pimp got her this place in the suburbs because she was one of his favorites, so she felt a little bad about this freelance deal she made behind his back, but who cares. He hadn’t been around in a while, and she needed the cash. She doubted he’d be upset even if he found out.

She turned on the TV; it was six o’clock and nothing but news. She watched for a minute as she took a swig.

The reporter intoned, “Body of Nazi concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele located and exhumed outside São Paulo.”

“Whoever or wherever the fuck that is,” she slurred back.

She changed the channel and another reporter said,

“Soyuz T-13 carries two cosmonauts to Salyut 7 space station.”

She turned the TV off and said, “Ahhh, who gives a fuck about any of these people, I just need some rock.”

She loosened her bra and she heard the ashtray fall off the coffee table. She jumped and screamed in fear.

“Shit, how did that happen? I might be doin’ too many drugs.”

She turned on the radio. The words “And all the stars that never were, were parking cars and pumping gas” sung by Dionne Warwick came out. She turned it off. The words cut her soul just too quick. Twenty years ago, she came to be a star, too. She got to be an extra in a couple of low-budget movies, but nothing more came of it. She tried waiting on tables until she found out she could make more by giving men headed off to Vietnam what could be their last, and oftentimes first, good time. Parking cars and pumping gas, indeed! That Dionne bitch was just too much of an optimist, she thought as she turned off the radio, and then she began to cry.

Just then, her door opened. The man kicked it in after unlocking it with his key. He was wearing a trench coat, a green-striped shirt, and about a ton of gold bling. Another man, also in a trench coat with slightly less gold bling, followed.

“Yo, pimp daddy Black Freddy showed up to just to see what you been up to,” the first man yelled as the second grabbed her purse and emptied it out.

“Martel, what’s she been up to?”

Martel gave Black Freddy $540 he found in the purse and then slapped Yvonne in the face. Black Freddy yelled, “Martel, don’t you mess up her pretty face like that.”

Martel put his hands up and stood back as Black Freddy glared at him. As Yvonne was crying, Black Freddy said to her, “So it looks like you’ve been holding out on me even after I got you this place away from the shit on Hollywood Boulevard where you used to be, and this is how you repay me? You know you need to be punished.”

Black Freddy punched her in the stomach, forced her face-down on the bed, and began to brutally sodomize and rape her. Then the door opened, but no one was there.

“Shit, Martel!” Black Freddy screamed. “Can’t you even close a door?” Martel quickly closed and locked the door.

Black Freddy then picked up Yvonne, punched her in the stomach once more, and said, “This is a warning. You can still keep this place. Next time, it’s going to be worse. You can’t hide nothin’ from yo’ pimp daddy Black Freddy ‘cus yo’ pimp daddy Black Freddy can see in yo’ dreams.”

The two men then left.


Detective Nick Williams of the narcotics office in the Downtown Division of the Los Angeles County Police Department was told of a suspected drug dealer who went by the street name “Iceman” and had been killed in the San Fernando Valley. Of course, he was not just a suspected drug dealer: he was a drug dealer because Detective Williams had been supplying him with the drugs from the evidence room. That he was suspected was the pretense for his interest in this case, even though the killing happened outside his division.

He talked to the homicide detective Joe Barton at his local precinct.

“How was he killed?” Detective Williams asked.

“He was shot in the head at point blank range,” Detective Barton replied. “And here’s the disturbing part; he was killed with a .38 Combat masterpiece. The gun that killed him was most likely issued by this department.”

Detective Williams was scared. What could this mean? Was somebody in the department on to him? If not, were they getting close? Who could have killed the man who was paying him off? The wheels in his head turned and turned until all he could think to say was:

“Detective Barton, do you have any suspects?”

“Not really, just the woman who called it in. She was one of this guy’s hookers. This jackhole was into everything—drug dealing, pimping, extortion schemes—you name it. It’s become a trend among some of the pimps to get rooms for their hookers in the better parts of the Valley for their more upscale clients. Of course, they bring their shit with them,” Barton replied.

Williams said, “Do you think she’s guilty?”

“I don’t know. I doubt it. There was no powder residue on her hands and we haven’t recovered the weapon. I suppose she could have worn gloves and then ditched them along with the gun after she done the deed, but she seems too flaky. The story she told in the interview room was nuts. She said the two guys were killed by a small white boy who appeared out of nowhere. She said this white kid offered to give her money for a place to live. It sounds more like a drug-induced hallucination rather than an attempt to pin a murder on somebody else. At any rate, if she actually iced that Iceman, she did the world a favor. Once we identified that asshole by his dental work from autopsy, we found out he had been in and out of jails since he was twelve. What he’d been getting away with is anybody’s guess. You said he was a suspect. Why didn’t you arrest him?” Barton replied.

“We had been given a false name by an informant and we busted the wrong guy. We could never get a name or address on ‘Iceman,’” Williams lied. The truth was that Williams was covering for him and the “informant” was himself.

“Do you think somebody in your division figured it out and took it upon himself to do some vigilante justice?” Barton said.

Thinking on his feet for a minute, Williams replied, “Yes, that has occurred to me. That is why I would like all of the information you have on ‘Iceman,’ especially everything related to his killing.”

“Will do,” said Barton. “I’ll send the interview video, 911 tapes, and ballistics reports. There really wasn’t much.”


“Two men have been shot in the head in a Cadillac Fleetwood parked at the ABC Package Store on Hollywood Blvd. Both victims appear to be black males in their late twenties or early thirties—Damn!” a beat cop screamed hysterically into his walkie-talkie, completely forgetting officer code and protocols after discovering the corpses.

The detectives were stumped. There was no trace of a suspect, murder weapon, or witnesses. They seemed to have parked the car and somebody in the back seat shot them and left without a trace.


Detective Williams watched the interview tapes with the Iceman’s hooker. She kept insisting to the officer that she only saw the boy holding the gun until after he was dead. She explained this boy was offering her money for a place to stay, but she got too scared and ran away. During the interview, she admitted she was angry with the boy because Iceman had helped her, despite the bruises on her face that suggested otherwise.

“These bitches like to be beaten. They’ll defend their pimps to the end. It’s the same reason why domestic violence is the hardest crime in the world to prosecute. The damn victims come to the aid of the defendants: sheesh!” Williams thought to himself.

He concluded there was no way that bitch did it; it must have been somebody else. Somebody with an LAPD-issued gun. Just thinking about his original suspicions made a lump appear in his throat. “Why did he do this and how much does he know?” He comforted himself by imagining the possibility that it was just a rival gangbanger who got the gun from another corrupt cop, but he had to know for sure.

Williams knew it would be pointless to trace how he obtained the gun. He knew that cops were better at covering their own asses than anything else. Whether from carelessness or corruption, they all knew how to avoid responsibility for a missing piece. Instead, he decided to talk to his friend Kevin in the ballistics lab to check if the gun had perhaps been used in other crimes. That would give him some idea what this person was doing.

Kevin was the sort of pencil-necked nerd who was always flattered when approached by more masculine jock types like Williams. It’s not that he was gay, even though he was often accused of being so. It’s that he always thought of himself as not exactly a real man and was often bullied. He thought it quite affirming to have a friendship with a man like Nick and hence would be willing to do things for him that were off-protocol but not wrong.

“Kevin, buddy.”

“What’s up, Nick?” Kevin replied.

“Remember the murder of the Iceman?” Nick asked.

“The Iceman? Leroy Simmons. Yeah, he was killed with one of our weapons,” Kevin stated sotto voce.

“Well, I’d like to find out off the record if that same weapon was used in any other crimes. Do you mind checking your records and see if that gun could have been used in some other capers? Let’s talk about it over beers at the Lobo this Friday while we watch the Lakers take it back,” Nick replied.

“Will do, Nick. I’m working on a program in FORTRAN that I can use to search the databases in this new HP mini-computer. It’s not going to be as fast as the Crays at the FBI, but I can get the job done for this city and its environs,” Kevin said.

Williams had no idea what any of that meant, no more than Kevin knew the difference between Magic Johnson and Eric Dickerson, but he knew that Kevin was able to come through for him and said, “See you Friday, Kev,” and left.


At the sports bar called the Lobo, Nick and Kevin were talking—despite the din of the crowd cheering for the Lakers—about the issue involving the gun and where it was used. Kevin was rambling about how he could pull off searching through all of that data and what algorithms he used. Nick just told him to cut to the chase.

“There is a 95.6% likelihood that gun was used in three other area crimes. The first was the burglary of a Burger King.”

“A burglary?” Nick wondered. “Don’t you mean a robbery?”

“No, I mean a burglary. The gun was used to shoot the lock off the safe. It appears to have been an inside job. The second crime was the arson fire at the Los Angeles County Registrar and Vital Statistics Office a couple of months ago.”

“Huh, what was the gun used for there?” Nick inquired.

“To shoot the lock off the door,” Kevin replied.

“Gee, what kind of jerkwad gets a cop gun just to burn up some birth and death certificates and a few marriage licenses,” Nick said as he contemplated how asinine the whole world was and how he was just making his way in it by skimming off the top.

“Well, I don’t know. Who knows why anybody does anything these days, but the third one just came in; it was a double homicide.”

“Of who?” Nick screamed.

“Of two career criminals similar to Leroy Simmons. Their fingerprints and dental records proved them to be named Frederick Smith and Martin Conners. It happened on Hollywood Blvd. A patrolman found them both dead in the front seat of their car.”

Nick choked on his beer. Fred Smith and Martin Conners were two other “informants” who were paying him off for drugs and looking the other way. This was hitting close to home and getting scary. There was no doubt about it. Somebody was gunning for him, but how and why? Couldn’t they just kill him or report him to Internal Affairs? And what’s up with the Burger King and the county registrar? It made no sense.

“Cough! Ack! Ack!” Nick went as Kevin asked if he was okay.

“I don’t know, man,” Nick replied. “I think it’s time for me to turn in. Call me if you have any more information regarding crimes involving that weapon.”

“Will do, Nick,” Kevin replied.


For all installments of “Who Am I?,” click here.