Nightfall

dracula's guest

Cover to the story “Dracula’s Guest.”

“T’was the night before Christmas and all through the church,
Sean the prideful had fallen a far way from his perch.”

The Third Chapter in the Undead Life of Sean Becker

It hadn’t been Marishka. It hadn’t been her. Yes, he’d kissed Dol. He enjoyed kissing Dol. He wanted to have sex with Dol. But there hadn’t been anyone in the backseat of his car. He hadn’t seen or heard from Mariska in almost twenty years. What the hell was the matter with him?

Christmas Eve services. Like many other Christian families, the Beckers attended a very crowded First Baptist Church of Dublin for 10 a.m. worship, but for the sake of the children’s patience and the impending arrival of Santa, they would be staying home that evening.

Sean mouthed through the Advent hymns being sung, not paying any attention to the music or the lyrics but only to the demons in his mind. He wasn’t sure if he was more worried that he had hallucinated twice now or about his kiss of adultery.

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Sanctuary and the Death of Kate Steinle

sf sanctuary city

Banner found at OneNewsNow.com

I’m writing this as a companion piece to Jury Finds Garcia Zarate Not Guilty In Steinle Murder Trial: My Initial Reaction which I wrote and published rather impulsively yesterday.

Okay, I’ve done some reading since then. The New York Times makes a case for about 60 percent of the unauthorized population has been here for at least a decade and that the vast majority of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. (89.9%) having never been convicted of a crime.

Of course there are organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform that say merely crossing the border into our nation without permission is indeed a crime, so by definition, 100% of undocumented immigrants are criminals. However, CNN states that under federal law, a person entering the country without permission for the first time is guilty of only a misdemeanor that is punishable by fines and no more than six months in prison.

It gets dicey if you are found to have entered our country illegally on multiple occasions, particularly after having been deported, but the waters get even more muddy since approximately 45% of undocumented immigrants actually entered the U.S. legally and then stayed after their visas expired.

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Jury Finds Garcia Zarate Not Guilty In Steinle Murder Trial: My Initial Reaction

zarate and steinle

Garcia Zarate (left) and his victim Kate Steinle (right)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF & AP) — Jurors Thursday afternoon acquitted the illegal immigrant accused of killing Kate Steinle as she walked with her father on a crowded San Francisco pier of all charges except for felony possession of a firearm.

A spokesperson for the Superior Court of California made the announcement that the jury had reached a verdict shortly after 3 p.m. Shortly after 4:30 p.m., the shocking verdict was announced that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was found not guilty of all charges except for the gun possession charge.

Jurors have been deliberating on the case since Tuesday, November 21, after prosecutors and defense attorneys finished their arguments whether Garcia Zarate was a hapless homeless man who killed Steinle in a freak accident or a calculated murderer intent on playing a sick game.

CBS SF Bay Area

Jurors have found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of killing Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July 2015 in the trial that sparked a national debate over illegal immigration.

Jurors reached the decision Thursday in the sixth day of deliberations after first receiving the case last week.

Zarate was found not guilty of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. He was also found not guilty of assault with a semi-auto weapon. He was found guilty of count two – possession of a felon with a firearm.

Steinle was walking with her father and a family friend in July 2015 when she was shot, collapsing into her father’s arms. Zarate had been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for deportation.

Fox News

I started writing a story about this but I realized I was too angry and too heartbroken to concentrate. I have been following this story and it is just astonishing that the jury came to this verdict. This is exactly why I have “issues” with these so-called “sanctuary cities.” Garcia Zarate has seven felony convictions. Seven! He was in possession of a stolen handgun, which in and of itself is a crime for a convicted felon. The defense says the .40 caliber handgun “just went off.” I’ve been handling firearms for a long time and they don’t just “go off” spontaneously.

When I’m upset, I process by writing, but this one is over the top. A 32-year-old woman walking with her Dad on Pier 14 was gunned down and collapsed in her Father’s arms. As a Dad to a daughter and a Grandpa to a granddaughter, I am grief stricken and absolutely outraged. I’m going to need some time to process this before I write in order to process this. I’ve written on social issues here in the past with varying results, but like I said, this one is off the scale.

Our justice system says that the jury’s decision must be respected and I can only hope the prosecution files an appeal. If not, then in my opinion, Zarate gets away with murder and San Francisco is his sanctuary city protecting him from experiencing any consequences for his crime. Is this really the ideal we’re striving for here?

Addendum: Having had some time to mull over this issue, I have authored a more thoughtful response to this issue I present for your consideration: Sanctuary and the Death of Kate Steinle.

The Escape

 

bleak

© Sue Vincent

“Are you out of your mind, Jake? If we get caught here, they’ll add ten years to our sentences.”

“Relax, Hubie. We won’t get caught. Now get off your lazy butt and help me drag the raft higher on the rocks. We’ve got to get it in undercover.”

Jacob “Jake” Falco and Hubert “Hubie” Pavoni had both been sent up for twenty years to life for their part in the largest bank heist of the 20th century. Three guards and two hostages were killed during the shootout and only Jake and Hubie got away long enough to hide the $10 million in cash they’d made off with. That was six years ago, and they were still the only two men alive who knew where to find a fortune.

“Okay, Jake. We’ve got the raft and supplies under this outcropping, so it can’t be spotted from the air and sure as hell no one’s going to step foot in this place except crazy people like us.”

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Threatening Violence

street car

© Yinglan

It had been a long time since Eddie played tourist, especially in San Francisco. He’d lived here a long time ago when you didn’t have to be a wealthy tech worker to afford a place in the City. Eddie got off the Number Four cable car at the Market-Powell turnaround intending to take BART back to the East Bay where his sister still lived.

As he stepped down to the street, over a dozen kids, probably gangbangers, surrounded the car and started pushing people around. “Wallets, jewelry, the usual stuff and right now.”

Eddie was astonished at how docile everyone was, including the car operator.

“Drop dead,” Eddie growled at the nearest punk. The kid pulled a knife but twenty years in the Marines made it impossible for one person to take the older man down.

“Get lost or I’ll slice him.” Everyone turned to see the middle-aged man holding the kid’s knife at his throat. The gangsters fled and several would be victims called 911 asking the cops to arrest Eddie for assault.

I wrote this in response to the FFfAW Challenge-Week of May 30, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 173.

My story was inspired by a couple of news items I’d read recently: Mob of teens drag woman off Muni bus, rob her in San Francisco and Teens Commandeer BART Train in Violent Takeover Robbery of Passengers.

I lived in the Bay Area for seven years, including in San Francisco (late 1970s, early ’80s) and am astonished that crime there has gotten this bad. I used the photo plus these news reports as my inspiration. No, maybe one person resisting might not have stopped these crimes, but people could at least try. Of course, as in the case of the BART crime, if 50 or 60 criminals are involved, they’d be hard to stop.

I did add a spin making the witnesses more afraid of Eddie than the robbers because he was the most threatening figure. Sometimes in our modern western world, people confuse heroes for villains and vice versa.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

One Night Out a Year

halloween

Image: San Francisco Chronicle/Carlos Avila Gonzalez

Halloween was the one night of the year when Gary felt completely at home in a crowd. He had just gotten off the BART train at Civic Center and made it on the MUNI heading toward Castro Station. They had the best Halloween parties in the Castro.

Of course, the whole city of San Francisco turned out for Halloween in one way or another. He was among of a vast collection of oddly dressed and featured people on the train. True, he was just about the only one alone rather than as one of a couple or in a group, but anyone seeing him would probably assume he was on his way to a party or to meet someone.

It was strange and not a little ironic that the rest of the year, when Gary wanted to go out, which was rare, that he actually had to wear a mask. Tonight, everyone else was wearing make up and a mask except Gary.

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