(With apologies to Uncle Steve) Jay Everett stared up at the towering Twin Pines Hotel, one of the largest buildings this side of the Las Vegas gambling strip. It was a jutting structure built entirely out of steel beams and black glass. The Hotel was surrounded on all sides by the flashing neon lights of Casino Row, which danced across its glossy surface like the ghostly imprints of colored flames. Apparently this place offered some of the swankiest penthouses in the entire city, but Jay wasn’t here for a room. He’d only come here to gamble. He pushed through the front doors and entered the lobby, a spacious room with potted plants crawling up the walls like ivy. The place was packed with men in tuxedos and women in loose evening dresses. Jay felt smothered in his own suit, and he tried easing up the collar with one finger. It didn’t help much. He still felt like he was being throttled by his tie. Most of the crowd was moving toward the check-in desk, but Jay snuck his way through until he could see the flashing lights of the casino. A large metal beam stretched across the entrance. Beneath it was a sign that proclaimed TWIN PINES CASINO in bold, electric blue letters. A bear and a turtle and various other forest animals gamboled across either side. He managed to slip through the bustle without being too pushy, and then he was in. Light background jazz swept across him as he stepped into a world lit up by colored bulbs and strips of eerie black light. The casino actually wasn’t too crowded this early in the night. He almost had the entire place to himself. He stopped before a large, circular game machine emblazoned with the words GOLD KING. The game itself was nothing more than a large spinning disc divided into colored slices. Most of the sections were given small monetary values, but there was one tiny sliver that had been painted a solid gold. The game itself didn’t get too much activity, but the large statue perched above it could be seen from anywhere in the casino. It was a cartoony sculpture of a king wearing red robes and a golden crown. In his hand he held a royal scepter, which would flash brightly and let off a chorus of clanging bells whenever anyone hit the jackpot. Right now he was silent. His blank eyes stared out at the crowd, his mouth open in a creepy cartoon smile. You have until the Gold King goes off to make $19,000. Otherwise… Jay shivered. He couldn’t get Farrow’s threat out of his head; it echoed in his ears like the growl of a distant animal. Farrow himself was nowhere to be found, but Jay knew he’d stationed his cronies in every corner of this place. Some were probably disguised as security guards, others as bartenders or casino patrons. He couldn’t trust anybody. Any one of these people could be waiting to turn him in to Farrow the moment he backed out of this job. So he did what he was told to do. He took a deep breath, let his eyes sweep over the casino, and strode over to the game that stood out to him the most. He had a lot of money to win and not much time to do it. This was a world ruled by chance, where the simple roll of a die could decide a person’s fate, and any ordinary man would have been sweating in his suit by now. But Jay Everett was no ordinary man. Jay had always known how different he was, even as a kid. It wasn’t that he looked or acted stranger than other people. He was just perceptive. He knew the answers in class before his teacher even finished speaking, although he quickly learned to keep this to himself. He could find things too. When little things went missing around the house, Jay always knew just where to look. He couldn’t explain how. He just did. He also had an uncanny skill with numbers. He’d never used a calculator in his entire life and he couldn’t understand why his classmates were so helpless without it. By the time he’d reached 9th grade, he was already taking the highest level math courses his high school could offer. It wasn’t long before he caught the eye of several prestigious business schools, which practically tripped over themselves getting him to apply. He never had to worry about his future. Jay ended up leaving high school early and heading to Stanford, where he started down the fast track to a career in finance. He was snatched up by Tony Salvatore right after graduation. Salvatore was a business tycoon who’d left his footprint in every major city across the country, and he was eager to take Jay on board as his new head of finance. “I’ve been waiting for a kid like you,” he’d said, clapping Jay on the shoulder. “Someone who knows how to crunch the numbers and keep his mouth shut.” It was true that Jay hardly ever talked; it was a habit from his youth that he hadn’t yet outgrown. He just didn’t trust himself to speak. He knew things about Salvatore, things he couldn’t possibly know – like how he came in late on Mondays because he’d spent the night before drinking and hitting his wife, or how he’d gotten bite marks under his collar from a violent fling with his receptionist. Tony would walk into the room and the knowledge would hit Jay in the face like a foul stench. He valued his job, so he kept quiet. He discovered Salvatore’s biggest scandal completely by accident. Jay had stayed late at the office that night to finish up one of his revenue forms, which kept coming up $100 short. It was baffling to him. He’d never had an issue with numbers before, not even a minor issue like this, and he didn’t understand why he kept finding the same inconsistency. So he pulled up some other forms to see if he could trace the cause of the missing hundred. It would have been a cold trail for anyone else, but Jay was good at finding things, and he managed to dig up an encrypted file with a bunch of forms that had never made it into the system. He set up a program to decode the files and discovered that they were all bank deposits – deposits of exactly $100. The missing money was being funneled into an account under the name “Enrico Balazar.” At first Jay didn’t know what to do with the info he’d dug up. This was fraud, fraud of the highest degree, and Salvatore had to be turned in. Jay had no desire to defend the crooked son of a bitch. But he wasn’t stupid – he knew Salvatore had connections in low places, and if Jay made this information public, he’d have a target on his head. He sat in the dark for a while and cycled through his options. When Salvatore showed up for work the next day, Jay intercepted him right outside his office. “Sorry to bother you, sir,” he said. “I was just about to send the tax forms to our Boston division when my computer crashed. Is there any way you could send them out for me?” The bit about the computer was true; he’d just neglected to mention that he’d crashed it himself. Salvatore stared at the papers in Jay’s hand with bleary, reddened eyes. He just had a shot of whiskey in his car. As usual, the thought hit Jay completely out of the blue. Salvatore eventually reached out and took the papers, crumpling them a bit in his fist. “Hold on a sec,” he grunted. He took the papers into his office and set them on the desk, then leaned over to type his password on the computer. Jay’s eyes followed him carefully. Then Salvatore placed the forms in his scanner and began the uploading process. Jay stayed late again, waiting until the last of the workers had left the office before typing a quick command on his keyboard. There was a brief popping sound. The power in his part of the building flickered for a moment, and Jay knew the cameras were disabled. He had a good hour or so before they came back on again. He’d kept a pair of gloves in his briefcase all day, and he slipped them on now as he headed to Salvatore’s office. The tycoon’s personal computer sat in the corner, its screen flashing with an insistent message: PASSWORD? Jay leaned forward and typed it in, his fingers copying the same pattern Salvatore had used this morning. A quiet beep, a loading bar, and he was in. He got to work immediately. When Jay arrived at work the next day, a police car was parked outside the building, lights flashing and everything. He arrived just in time to watch the cops shoving a handcuffed Salvatore into the backseat. Jay made sure to keep his face hidden, just in case, but Salvatore had his eyes turned to the ground. “What happened?” Jay asked one of his coworkers. “You’ll never believe it, man. Some kind of virus got into Salvatore’s computer and made all of his private files go public. It turns he was channeling a big chunk of his clients’ cash to this mob boss in New York. Balthazar or something.” “No kidding,” Jay replied. He watched as the car carrying Tony Salvatore turned the corner and disappeared down 5th Avenue. It was then that he noticed a figure who was standing at the edge of the crowd, his face hidden by the brim of a dark baseball cap. Everyone else was staring down the street, but this man was facing Jay instead. He had his hands tucked into the pockets of a black leather jacket and a thin layer of dark stubble on his face. As soon as Jay noticed him, he lifted a hand from his pocket and gestured for Jay to come over. Jay was hesitant, but it was broad daylight and he was surrounded on all sides by people. It was safe. He circled around the crowd and approached the dark stranger. “Do I know you?” he asked. The man didn’t answer right away. Instead, he reached out and slapped something small and square into the palm of Jay’s hand. Then Jay finally got a glimpse of his eyes beneath the cap. They were shrewd and calculating, a glassy blue that made Jay think of the surface of a frozen pond. “I saw,” he said. “And if you’re interested, I could use your kind of expertise.” Jay glanced at the object in his hand. It was a business card, nothing but a name and a set of digits. He frowned. “I’m sorry, I don’t –” But when he looked up, the man had already disappeared. That was the first time Jay met Rick Farrow. Jay sipped from his wine glass and watched as people tried their luck on the Twin Pines slot machines. In theory, the outcome of these games was completely random. But Jay knew that most of these machines cycled through a random number sequence, and unless it had been rigged to prevent this issue, one could theoretically spot a pattern. The casino owners needed to make sure that some people walked away winners, after all. Not everyone. Just enough to keep people playing. There was a pattern, but it was so subtle that the average person would never have noticed it. 19 pulls got you three cherries and a decent amount of cash. 95 pulls got you a row of three gold coins. And after 171 pulls of the lever, three 7s would plunk into place, bells would go off, and the ring of bulbs around the game would burst into life. Jay watched the colored lights dance across the face of each excited winner. So he sat at the bar, ordered another wine, and waited. He made a mental check mark every time someone new stepped up to play the game. And when the 170th person walked away, he set down his glass, strode over to the machine, and played. The wheels whirled for a good few seconds before settling on the jackpot. The lights flashed, the bells rang, and a flood of coins spilled out of the machine. He collected his winnings without a smile. Now that Tony Salvatore had been removed from his position as CEO, his offices in New York got shuttered. Jay suddenly found himself jobless and in desperate need of cash, as Salvatore had been paying for him to live in a nice apartment on the east side of town. Despite his impressive work history, he seemed to carry with him a kind of stigma for being even somewhat associated with the Salvatore name. So, with no other options, Jay contacted Rick Farrow. The mysterious man arranged to meet with him at once. He conducted Jay’s interview in a rented office space not too far from the old Salvatore building. Farrow asked most of the questions, and he nodded along pleasantly as Jay talked about his passion for numbers and his experiences studying at Stanford. Farrow was a curious character. He never seemed to take off his black leather jacket, which looked slightly too big for his slender frame. His cheeks were sharp and bony and his facial hair was carefully trimmed. It was a fairly imposing look, but when he smiled it completely transformed his character. He was a charismatic individual. One way or another, he seemed capable of winning anybody over. Farrow was impressed by Jay’s experiences, especially by the way he had so cleverly exposed Salvatore, although he refused to tell Jay how he’d seen that particular bit of espionage. In any case, Farrow thought Jay’s skills were perfect for the job, and he told Jay he would take him on immediately. Housing would be provided in one of the apartment complexes near their base of operations. Payment was substantial and would come in on a monthly basis. Jay hardly heard any of this; he was just excited to be welcomed into such a secretive underworld. The weeks passed by quickly as Jay got initiated into his new life. Farrow explained to him that Salvatore had just been the tip of a very large and very dangerous iceberg. CEOs all over the state were funneling illicit cash to various crime bosses in the city, and Farrow had made it his goal to cut off the head of the snake. Multiple snakes, in this case. That was where Jay and the rest of the tech specialists came in. They had an eye for the little details that could bring a corrupt CEO down from the inside. To accomplish this, Farrow and several of his associates went around the city and placed cameras in strategic locations. Sometimes they even hacked into company networks so the tech-heads back at the base could break through any encrypted files. It was tireless work, but Jay loved it. He had never felt more in his element. It gave him a thrill to think that he was doing something with his life, that he was using his knowledge to make the world a slightly better place. Most of the time they operated out of an abandoned warehouse in one of the emptier sections of the city. Farrow had the whole place rigged up with state of the art security systems and a few dozen computers. Jay and the other tech-heads spent most of the time cracking codes and analyzing the footage from Farrow’s secret cameras. If they found any incriminating evidence, they were to report it right away. Then Farrow would take some of his cronies and disappear into the city for a few days. In very rare cases, Farrow would ask one of the tech-heads to come with him on an assignment. This only ever happened if the job required hacking skills that Farrow himself didn’t possess. Jay was fairly new to the whole game, so Farrow usually passed him up for one of the more experienced techies. He didn’t mind; in fact, he was nervous about returning the field. The Salvatore affair seemed like it had happened ages ago. He wasn’t quite sure he was ready to sneak around in gloves and a ski-mask again. Jay was busy scanning footage one evening when he heard the slam of a door and the sound of muffled shouting from below. He frowned and took off his headphones. It was definitely Farrow shouting – Jay would have recognized that gravelly voice anywhere. He just couldn’t make out any of the words. Placing the headphones gingerly on the monitor, he got out of his seat and tiptoed over to the door. The main operations room was on the second floor, so Jay peered over the railing on the catwalk to see what was happening below. Farrow and a few of his masked associates were gathered around one of the other tech-heads. Jay thought it looked like Bruno, the guy who worked with him on Tuesdays. He had his back against a drainage pipe and was holding his hands up helplessly. “You took off your fucking mask! Do you know how serious this is?” Farrow was yelling. Even from this high up, Jay could see the angry crease in his eyebrows. “They’ve got your face now. It’ll be all over their security cameras. Your stupid slip-up could have put our entire operation at risk!” “I-I-I’m sorry,” Bruno stammered. “It won’t happen again, I promise!” “You’re damn right it won’t,” Farrow growled. Then he drew a gun from inside his jacket and shot Bruno in the head. Jay clapped a hand to his mouth to stifle a scream. Half of the techie’s face was missing, bits of his skin and brain tissue spraying out onto the warehouse floor. His blood splattered across the drainage pipe and trickled to the ground. Jay could hear the steady drip all the way from the catwalk. He ducked back inside the operations room before Farrow could look up and see him there. His heart was pounding out an erratic beat on his ribcage. As quickly as he could, he slid into his seat and stuck the headphones back over his ears. He hummed a senseless little tune under his breath, trying to make himself look as carefree and oblivious as possible. If Farrow knew what he had just seen… he held back a shudder. Farrow appeared in the doorway a few minutes later, the specks of blood completely wiped from his face. He’d changed into a cleaner jacket too. As Farrow walked past the row of flashing computer screens, Jay tried to calm his racing pulse. “Any good news?” Farrow asked. He placed a hand on Jay’s shoulder, peering down at the monitor. They shoved his body in the wood chipper. The knowledge hit him like a jolt of lightning, clear and strong. It took every ounce of his willpower to force a smile. “Nothing so far,” he said. “It’s pretty quiet tonight.” He was amazed he could keep his voice from trembling. Farrow stared at the screen for a few painfully long moments, then coughed. “Keep up the good work,” he said. He let go of Jay’s shoulder and drifted toward the exit. The masked associates followed him like obedient dogs. When Jay was finally sure he could breathe easy again, he wiped a line of sweat from his brow. He was badly shaken, and not just because he’d seen his coworker shot in cold blood. He was questioning himself now, questioning the whole purpose of this assignment. If Farrow could do something so cruel and violent in the walls of his own compound, what was he doing out in the real world? After making sure the coast was clear, Jay opened up a web browser and began searching for names. He’d been so busy working this job that he’d never bothered to check the papers, to see what was really going on outside the compound. All the news about the crooks they’d toppled had come through Farrow himself. But the search results Jay found online painted a very different story. Farrow had said that the elderly Mitch Cullum had been arrested for siphoning funds to a New York crime syndicate, but Jay managed to dig up the old man’s obituary. Cause of death: gunshot wound. Nancy Deepneau, a leading member of a dental corporation in New York City, had gone missing three months ago. And David Tassenbaum, a prominent figure in the computer business, had been mugged to death in an alley, his body so beaten it had been almost impossible to identify. Jay found a dozen more examples of the “corrupt CEOs” Farrow had supposedly brought to justice. The only thing they had in common was that they’d all been very rich, and there had been discrepancies in their corporate funding following each death or disappearance. The police were unable to track down any leads. His fingers trembling, Jay shut down the browser. For a moment he could only stare at the screen in front of him. What the hell could he do? It wasn’t like he could play dumb forever. He was an expert at staying strategically silent, but a secret this huge would find its way out eventually. His body language would betray him first. The moment he started fidgeting too much, Farrow would know the truth. So he did the only thing he could think of. He disappeared. Erasing yourself from existence is next to impossible. You would have to delete every record of your birth, your social security, your education, your medical insurance, your credit card accounts – any and all places where your name could be found in writing. But Jay was persistent, and he knew things. He accessed every database he possibly could and systematically wiped himself off the map. There were some records he knew he could never touch, but if they were out of his reach, the chances of Farrow finding them were slim to none. He was an invisible man now. Once he was done, he put down the headphones, shut off the monitor, and strode out the front door of the warehouse. It was only a matter of time until Farrow noticed his absence, but he planned to put a few thousand miles between them before that happened. He was free. He’d been shaken to his core, but he was free, and that was all that mattered. He’d have plenty of time later to think about the horrors he’d seen. And who knows? Maybe this was it. Maybe this whole affair was behind him, and one day it would just become a ghastly dream, a nightmare from someone else’s reality. But deep down, he knew it wouldn’t be that easy. “Red 38,” Jay stated. He handed his chips to the croupier, who stacked them on the side of the table with the bets from the other players. Then he gave the roulette wheel a spin. Jay watched as the colors bled together, streaking in an ugly smear of crimson gray. After a few seconds, the croupier tossed the ball down the spinning track. It bounced and rolled every which way before coming to rest in one of the 38 slots. Red 38 exactly. “Damn, you’re on a roll,” the croupier said. He handed Jay his original chips plus the payout. “Sure you want to keep going? This luck of yours can’t last forever.” “I’m sure,” Jay answered. He took a deep breath, waiting for the answer to wash over him like it always did. Then he placed his chips back down on the table and stated, “Black 13. Last bet.” The croupier shrugged and took the chips. They went through the same routine. The roulette wheel spun in its blurry circle, and the ball bounced around for a while before plunking into its final slot. Black 13. Jay ignored the astonished remarks of the croupier and accepted his winnings silently. He couldn’t stay at this table forever, so he turned away from the Rose Bowl Roulette and cast his eyes across the casino. The night was lengthening and the room was filling up with players, most of them clutching thin glasses of cognac and laughing with their friends. He searched for any sign of Farrow’s men, but it was useless – he’d never find them in this crowd. He didn’t want to look, but he couldn’t help glancing at the Gold King’s looming statue. It was still dark and silent. Now that the place was getting busy, though, the chances of someone winning the jackpot had risen significantly. Time was running out. Jay hated using what he knew to win games. It was one thing to find the pattern of outcomes for a slot machine; anyone with half a brain and enough time on their hands could do the same. But what he could do was cheating. No one could ever catch him at it, which somehow made it worse. He’d decided a long time ago that he’d never do exactly what he was doing now. But he didn’t have a choice. He was over halfway to his goal, closer to three-fourths, really, and he couldn’t afford to waste time now. If he had to cheat, then so be it. Too much was at stake tonight. The years following Jay’s escape passed in a dreamlike sort of blur. He moved out west, hopping briefly from town to town and spending his nights in cheap hotel rooms. He had to pay in cash, of course, since his credit card account had recently ceased to exist. Luckily he had plenty to go around. He had a natural talent for hustling, and he won most of his money by playing pool games or dealing hands of poker in the back of shady bars. He never stayed with the same car for too long. He always knew when some idiot driver had left their keys in the ignition, and he took every opportunity to hop in a new vehicle and continue the journey west. He felt a little guilty about hijacking so many rides, but it never bothered him for long. He was far more afraid of Farrow catching up to him. Occasionally he would seek out some underground sources who had a reputation for forging documents. He needed a new identity, which meant a new birth certificate and social security card and everything. He eventually settled on the name Jay Everett – “Jay” after the first letter of his old name, and “Everett” after a small saloon he’d passed through in Denver. He didn’t get all his documents forged in one location. He staggered them, picking up a new one every few stops to try and throw Farrow off his trail. By the time he reached Nevada, he figured he’d placed enough distance between himself and Farrow to finally settle down. He got a low-level office job and rented out a tiny apartment at the edge of Boulder City. As the years passed and his stint with Farrow faded from his memory, he finally began to live a normal life again. He fell in love. He married a beautiful girl named Marcia Thorne who knew nothing about his past, and they had a son together. Trace Everett. He grew up like any ordinary boy, kicking soccer balls around the yard and playing hide-and-seek with the other kids in the neighborhood. When he turned seven they even bought him a small black-and-white dachshund that he affectionately dubbed “Billy.” From that point on the boy and the dog were inseparable; they often went on walks together before his parents called them in for dinner. Jay was happy. He’d gotten away from his past; he’d moved on from a life he thought would haunt him forever. He made love to his beautiful wife and watched cartoons with Trace on Saturdays. It was a perfect routine, and he never wanted it to end. Then one night, ten years after Jay had made his escape from Farrow’s compound, a power surge went through their entire house. The Everetts had been enjoying their Sunday dinner when it happened. The bulb above the kitchen table gave a loud sputter before dying out completely. Billy gave a loud bark and began running in circles around the table. “Calm down boy, it’s just a blackout,” Trace said. He got out of his chair and restrained the dog before he could knock into any of the table legs. “That’s funny,” Marcy said, peering out the window. “The neighbors’ houses still have power.” Jay joined her by the window, frowning. “Hmm. Must be something wrong with our circuit breaker,” he said. “You two go look for some flashlights. I’ll see if I can fix the problem.” The three of them wandered off, stumbling their way through the dark. Jay found the door to the basement and began climbing downward, clinging carefully to the railing. He knew the breaker was located at the bottom of the steps, right next to the garage. He reached the end of the stairs and fumbled in the gloom for the circuit box. To his surprise, the door to the box was already wide open. As Jay’s eyes adjusted somewhat to the darkness, he saw that every single wire in the box had been snipped cleanly in half. Shit, he thought, oh shit, I should have known. But it was too late now. He felt the muzzle of a gun dig into his shoulder blades. “I’ve been looking a long time for you,” Farrow said. His voice floated through the darkness in a soft, amused sort of growl. “You’re the one that got away. Isn’t that cute? You wouldn’t believe how many goddamn hoops I had to jump through just to track you down. But now I’ve got you.” “It’s been ten years,” Jay hissed. “Ten fucking years. What could you possibly want?” Farrow made a disapproving sound with his tongue. “We’ll get to that in a moment,” he said. “First, we have some introductions to make.” Right on cue, Billy began barking furiously in the kitchen. Jay could hear Trace’s high-pitched voice trying to shout over him. “No, no, what are you doing, stop, he’s just a dog HE’S JUST A DOG STOP IT –” Then a gunshot, a muffled whimper, and a shriek that could only have been Marcy. “Jay!” she screamed. “Oh god, oh god, there’s men in the house, they’ve got guns! They shot Billy!” “Time for our big entrance,” Farrow laughed. He shoved Jay in the back with his pistol, forcing him up the basement steps. Jay plodded forward, hardly able to feel his feet. This must be a nightmare, he thought. I’m going to wake up any second now. But he knew that wasn’t true, the same way he knew so many other impossible things. When Farrow pushed him into the kitchen, four dark shapes were waiting for him there. Two of them were Trace and Marcy, their hands behind their heads, their entire upper bodies trembling. The other two were some of Farrow’s masked associates. Each one held a pistol to the head of the prisoner beside them. Marcy let out a sob when she saw Jay climbing up the steps. “Oh god, Jay, not you too?” “Quiet,” one of the masked figures ordered. His voice sounded strangely distorted, like he was speaking through a filter. Marcy drew in a shuddery breath but stayed quiet. “So, the gang’s all here!” Farrow exclaimed. “Wonderful.” He performed an exaggerated bow, his gun still nestled in the small of Jay’s back. “I’m Rick Farrow, a man of many trades. Right now I’m a man with a gun. Funny how that gives you so much power, doesn’t it?” Jay said nothing. In his mind’s eye he could see the gun Farrow was holding, a thin barreled pistol that looked like something out of a Western. A Colt Paterson revolver, his brain spat out uselessly. As if it mattered. It would put a large hole in his chest no matter what type of gun it was. “It appears you folks have already met my men,” Farrow went on. “They’re pretty low on the corporate ladder, but they do what they’re told, and what more could a man ask for?” He lifted the gun from Jay’s back to do a mock sort of clap with both hands. Jay wasn’t fooled; he didn’t move an inch. He was still Farrow’s prisoner, even if he was no longer at gunpoint. “What do you want with us?” Marcy asked. Her face was damp with tears, but she’d managed to steady her breathing. Trace leaned against his mother’s legs with a scrunched up expression of anger in his eyes. He was trying so hard not to cry. Jay did his best to look away from the furry mass on the floor that used to be Trace’s beloved dog. “What do I want?” Farrow said. “Ah, therein lies the question.” He turned his attention back to Jay, his eyes still bright and glassy blue in the darkness. “So, you go by ‘Jay’ now, do you?” He said it again, slowly this time, as if to savor its taste. “Jay. I like it. Nice and low-key. It suits you well.” He gave Jay a casual tap on the shoulder with his pistol. A toothless smile appeared on his face when he saw Jay wince. “You were good, Jay,” Farrow said quietly. “You were one of my best, actually. When you took off like that, I knew it wouldn’t be easy to find you. But I kept trying. The other tech-heads made stupid mistakes, botched their missions; they were disposable. But you. You were the grand prize, the golden fleece. I needed you back. You did stuff with numbers that could make a fella’s heart sing.” Here Farrow paused. His glassy eyes were staring more intently at Jay this time, a careful sort of scrutiny that made his skin grow cold. “But it’s not just numbers, is it? You see things. Patterns, clues, tiny details other people would miss. That’s what makes you so special. That’s why I need you.” “Just tell me,” Jay spat through clenched teeth. “Tell me what you want to do. I’ll do anything.” This time the smile that creased Farrow’s bony cheeks was wide and toothy. “Now that’s more like it,” he said. “Have I got a job for you, big boy. This one’ll be right up your alley.” Jay said nothing, waiting for Farrow to break the silence first. “Here’s the thing,” Farrow said at last. “There’s a man out in Las Vegas by the name of Jonas Carver. He runs a big casino in the heart of the city called Twin Pines. My men and I have been eyeing the place for years and we’re just about ready to strike him where it hurts.” He pointed an enthusiastic finger at Jay. “What I want you to do is take a hefty chunk out of this man’s wallet. Let’s say… $19,000. Enough to make him question the security in his casino. Afterwards, when he’s checking for cracks, we’ll sneak in and do our part.” “Are you going to kill him?” Jay said. His voice came out hoarse and weak. Farrow grinned. “Don’t worry about Mr. Jonas Carver. He’ll be in good hands. You just focus on playing the right games and making the most moolah.” Jay’s neck felt stiff as a board, but he nodded. “I’ll do it,” he insisted. “Just let them go.” “Ah,” Farrow said. “We’ve reached that little snag.” He began pacing the kitchen floor in front of Jay, swinging his revolver like a baseball bat. “See, the thing is, I can’t do that. I need a little insurance here. If I let them go, what’s stopping you from running off to the West Indies for another ten years or so?” “I won’t,” Jay managed to choke out. “Listen to me, goddammit. I won’t run. Just let them go.” Farrow pretended to think about it for a second. “Nah,” he decided. “Tell you what. Let’s play a game instead. Inside the Twin Pines Casino, there’s a wheel-of-fortune type game called Gold King. You can’t miss it. It’s got this ugly fucking statue of a cartoon king on top. Every night, without fail, someone wins the jackpot and bells go off and that statue waves its flashing staff at everyone. But only once. For the rest of the night it’s just a statue.” When Farrow turned to Jay again, his eyes were icy. “Tomorrow night,” he said. “You have until the Gold King goes off to make $19,000. Otherwise your family gets it.” He made a careless gesture at them with his pistol. “One shot each, right in the head. Boom. Boom. And you have to watch.” “I’ll do it,” Jay repeated. “I’ll play your goddamn game the way you want. But unless I fail, you’d better not lay a finger on them.” Farrow was examining something under one of his fingernails. “Done,” he stated. He waved his hand absently toward the door. “Take them away, men. You know where to go.” The two masked men dragged Marcy and Trace out the back door, both of them crying out and struggling to get free. “Be quiet,” the first masked figure said in his distorted voice. “If you don’t shut up, we’ll make you shut up.” Both of them immediately quieted down, but they couldn’t hide the expressions of pure fear that were plastered across their faces. Jay felt blood pumping furiously through his veins as he watched his family getting dragged away. Farrow lifted his hand and gave them a pleasant wave as they disappeared out the back door. In the side window of the kitchen, Jay managed to catch a glimpse of Marcy’s face for what he hoped wasn’t the last time ever. He blew her a kiss with trembling lips, but the masked men shoved her and Trace into a waiting van before she could see it. Then the two of them were gone. Jay was in the middle of a poker game when the Gold King bells went off. He’d managed to keep his cool throughout the entire night, but the blood drained from his face when he heard the loud clanging noise echoing through the casino. He turned to see the cartoon statue gamboling in place, flashing its toothy smile at the surrounding players. The scepter in its hand was dancing with flecks of neon light. No, he thought in disbelief. No, not yet! I was almost there! He’d been so close to the $19,000 mark that this poker game would probably have pushed him over the edge. The Gold King had gone off just as he was about to play his final hand. Now he watched the statue spin in lazy circles, its hideous bells still ringing in his eardrums. “Hey,” a voice said suddenly. It was the dealer, trying to get Jay’s attention. “Hey buddy, this is the last hand. Are you calling or folding?” Jay looked at him in surprise, then down at the cards in his shaky fingers. He hadn’t even bothered to look at them yet. What was even stranger, his usual powers of perception were failing him. He knew what all the other hands looked like, he knew who was bluffing through their teeth and who posed a legitimate threat, but he didn’t even know what cards he was holding. He wondered how long it would take for Farrow’s men to cut through the crowd and take him away. He figured he had about thirty seconds, a minute at most. Was it possible? Could he make enough off this hand to complete Farrow’s sick challenge? The Gold King hadn’t finished its death knoll yet when the final hand was dealt. It was a technicality, but he was banking on it. It might just save Marcy and Trace’s lives. Now it was up to these last five cards to decide if they saw the light of another day. He offered a quick prayer to a God he never believed in. Then he turned the cards over and stared down at the hand he’d been dealt.
Game conditions at Prairie Wind Casino in Pine Ridge, SD?
I know they have a DD and a 6-deck game, but I was wondering about their game conditions. I can't seem to find much online. Please be as specific as possible if you can (penetration, table limits, DAS,DA2,RSA,SP4, H17/S17, Surrender,etc.?).
In Hell or High Water (2016), Chris Pine's character is watching Texas A&M football at a casino bar. That same night, Jeff Bridge's character is watching the Texas Longhorns at the hotel. These schools are in-state rivals, a metaphor to the feud between the two characters in the movie.
You’ve probably seen the meme that says we’re living in the wrong timeline. While this sounds like a joke, there might be some truth to it. There are some researchers who claim what happened on 9/11 was a temporal event that caused our timeline to split in two. Supposedly there is a parallel world where the Twin Towers still exist and the apocalypse is being avoided. This is not to say I think we are living in the wrong timeline, but that is something I will get into in another thread. Just know that there is still hope. Perhaps the darkest timeline is needed for some collective shadow work. However, I do think our timeline has been altered and probably more times than once. While this is not something you can really prove, there are many oddities surrounding 9/11 as well as a synchronistic pattern hidden in pop culture that seems to point to this. In the movie Back to the Future, after the protagonist accidentally activates a time machine and alters the future, the Twin Pines Mall becomes the Lone Pine Mall. Notice how the clock reads 9:11 when flipped upside down. 134 reads like hel when flipped upside too. Are we living in a bardo state like in the movie Jacob's Ladder or the show The Good Place? Was this a reference to the Mandela Effect and the Twin Towers becoming the One World Trade Center? In the second Back to the Future movie, the protagonists accidentally create a new timeline where a wealthy man named Biff takes over their town. Biff lives in a skyscraper casino and turns their town into a chaotic dystopia. According to the screenwriter Bob Gale, Biff was based on Donald Trump. This is not a political statement, I’m just saying it’s odd how things turned out. I wonder if Bob Gale knew Trump would run for president? In the Super Mario Bros. movie, a meteorite impact millions of years ago caused the universe to split into two timelines, the one we live in, and one where dinosaurs evolved into a humanoid race. President Koopa, a reptilian human hybrid, seems to be another caricature of Trump. President Koopa wants to merge his dimension with ours and attempts to rule Manhattan from the Twin Towers, which are portrayed as a gateway between worlds. The Super Mario franchise is strange when you think about shamans eating mushrooms to commune with serpent gods. Looks kind of similar, right? There are many more examples of the WTC acting as a gateway. In an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Twin Towers are used to transmit energy that propels the earth into another dimension. Take note of the sphere between the buildings, this will become relevant later. In the intro of Power Rangers: Time Force, a machine called the Time Shadow is seen standing on the towers. Take note of the moon in the background as well. This will become relevant too. During the final scene of Fringe season 1, the WTC is seen intact in a parallel universe. In the intro of Power Rangers: Time Force, a machine called the Time Shadow is seen standing on the towers. Take note of the moon in the background as well. This will become relevant too. During the final scene of Fringe season 1, the WTC is seen intact in a parallel universe. I miss cartoons. Another interesting example can be found in Star Trek. In the show, space explorers are sent back in time to stop an alien invasion in the 1940s that altered the outcome of WWII and allowed the Nazis to invade the US. Once they kill the alien leader, one of the characters tells the protagonist that the timeline has corrected itself just as an image of the Twin Towers burning passes in the background. From Star Trek: Enterprise The idea of a parallel world where the Nazis won WWII is very prominent in pop culture. But why is this? Is it possible creative people can intuitively sense other realities while absorbed in the act of creating? Philip K. Dick believed that’s what he did when he wrote The Man in the High Castle. He claimed: "I in my stories and novels sometimes write about counterfeit worlds. Semi-real worlds as well as deranged private worlds, inhabited often by just one person…. At no time did I have a theoretical or conscious explanation for my preoccupation with these pluriform pseudo-worlds, but now I think I understand. What I was sensing was the manifold of partially actualized realities lying tangent to what evidently is the most actualized one—the one that the majority of us, by consensus gentium, agree on." Coincidentally, Philip K. Dick was one of the first modern thinkers to predict the Mandela Effect. He once declared: “we are living in a computer-programmed reality, and the only clue we have to it is when some variable is changed, and some alteration in our reality occurs.” The Nazis were rumored to be in possession of a time machine known as Die Glocke, or in English, The Bell. They were supposedly taught how to build this device by extraterrestrials and the craft was said to be kept in a facility known as Der Riese, or The Giant. It sounds far fetched, but The Nazi Party was actually formed from The Thule Society, an occult group that dabbled in channeling and other magical practices. They were also known to use the Black Sun symbol, an esoteric representation of a gateway into another dimension. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sun_(symbol)) In Twin Peaks, a show about a small town caught in the midst of an interdimensional battle between good and evil, there seems to be a reference to Die Glocke. In season 8 there is a device that looks just like it, and at one point, a character called The Giant appears next to it. A conception of Die Glocke compared to the mysterious bell device in Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks is full of occult symbolism. In one episode a character is given instructions to find a portal that opens 253 yards east of Jack Rabbit’s Palace at 2:53 pm on October 1st. This portal is located in Washington. However, there is another in Las Vegas. Strangely enough, on October 1st, 2017, the Las Vegas shooting occurred in a lot 253 yards away from the Luxor Hotel, a giant black pyramid with the strongest beam of light in the world shooting out of it. Victims were mostly those attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival. There's also black pyramids on the instructions. But it gets stranger. Jason Aldean was one of the headliners. If you look at his tattoos, there’s a Jack card and an Ace card underneath a black sun, which as mentioned earlier, is an occult symbol that represents a portal. This card from the Illuminati game is almost identical. A Jack is worth 10 points. An Ace is worth 1 point. This odd coincidence seems to be a reference to the date 10/1. Keep in mind this date looks like the number 101. This will become relevant too. But was the Route 91 Harvest a literal harvest of souls meant to energize a portal? This one is too much of a coincidence for me. The name Twin Peaks seems to be a reference to the Twin Pillars, a Masonic concept that originated from the Biblical idea of Boaz and Jachin, two pillars that stood on the porch of King Solomon's Temple. The Twin Pillars can be found in ancient architecture all over the world and are sometimes used in Tarot. They are said to represent a doorway into a higher realm. In this Masonic artwork, you can see the Black Sun between them. Jachin, Boaz, and the Black Sun. The Twin Pillars and the gateway in between can be represented by the number 101. In Twin Peaks, the entrance to The Black Lodge, a place that exists in another dimension, is depicted as a rabbit hole between two trees, which resembles a zero between two ones. In George Orwell’s famous novel 1984, Room 101 is a place where people’s worst fears come true. In The Matrix, Neo’s apartment number is 101. Here it’s interesting to note that he escapes the matrix by going in room 303. This year marks 303 years since Freemasonry was founded. Perhaps they will make their getaway come December? Many occult researchers claim the Twin Towers were supposed to represent the Twin Pillars. There even used to be a statue called The Sphere placed in between them, making the buildings resemble the 101 Gateway. The Black Lodge entrance from Twin Peaks and The Sphere centered between the Twin Towers. Is it possible that the WTC‘s design was intended to create an interdimensional doorway using sacred geometry? Some say the Twin Towers even acted as a tuning fork. The buildings were wrapped in aluminum alloy with a resonant hollow interior. If you look at the picture above and to the right, you can kind of see how the sides of the towers even look like one. The Colgate Clock also once faced the WTC from across the water. If you’ve read my previous threads, you’ll probably notice it’s octagonal shape. Many portals in pop culture are portrayed as being 8 sided, like CERN, the largest particle collider in the world. Many conspiracy theorists speculate CERN is actually an interdimensional doorway. Some of the scientists working there have even said this. Why is there so much symbolism? Can it all really be just a coincidence at this point? Did 9/11 really alter our timeline? The Colgate Clock compared to CERN. According to many people, 9/11 is the reason the Statue of Liberty’s torch is closed. However, this isn’t true. Lady Liberty’s torch has been closed for over 100 years. Yet, there are some people who claim to have visited it. But according to official history, this is impossible. In this reality, The Black Tom Explosion was the reason the Lady Liberty’s torch closed. The explosion occurred in 1916 and was one of the first foreign attacks on US soil prior to Pearl Harbor. The explosion was also one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever documented. The explosion was so powerful it caused the outer wall of Jersey City's city hall to crack and the Brooklyn Bridge to shake. Ironically, besides Lady Liberty’s torch, the explosion lodged shrapnel in the clock tower of The Jersey Journal building, stopping the clock at 2:12 am. It also caused windows miles away in Times Square to shatter. Perhaps the matrix was trying to tell us something. Was this a time shattering event? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Tom_explosion https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d103887-r126254125-Statue_of_Liberty-New_York_City_New_York.html Some people also claim they remember the Statue of Liberty being on Ellis Island. However, it has always been on Liberty Island. Once again, this is not something I recall learning in school. I’m sure some people do, but if my theory is correct, it’s because only some people in this timeline are from the old one. However, you can still find what appears to be residue left over from the previous reality. Residue from a previous reality? There are references in pop culture that seem to hint at the connection between the Mandela Effect and Lady Liberty as well. In the video game Assassin’s Creed Unity, the protagonist must find an exit portal to get himself out of a simulation. He finds it on the statue’s torch. In the movie Men in Black II, the statue’s torch is actually a giant Neuralyzer, a handheld device that uses a bright white flash to wipe people’s minds. At the end of the movie, the torch is activated and it illuminates the sky, erasing the memory of everyone in New York City. The scenes from Assassin's Creed and Men In Black II In the Netflix series The OA, a show about people who can jump between parallel universes, the Statue of Liberty shows up a lot. It seems to play an important role that was never really explained due to the show’s sudden cancellation. Some fans have pointed out that in one scene, Lady Liberty is holding her torch in the wrong hand. Some say this was just an error while others think it may have a deeper meaning. The Statue of Liberty scene from The OA. In The OA, the protagonist searches for The Rose Window, an object she says acts like a portal to other dimensions. I find this very symbolic considering the Twin Pillar symbolism mentioned earlier. Many older cathedrals have huge rose windows centered between two tall towers. Old cathedrals with 101 Gateway symbolism built into the architecture. If you’ve read my previous threads, you might have already made the connection that the 101 Gateway is another version of the Saturn Stargate. If you’re not familiar with the theory, we live in a simulation controlled by Saturn and the Moon, and The Elite are tying to break out. Our simulated reality is sometimes represented by a cube, and some say The Kaaba is one of these symbolic structures. The Kaaba sits between two pillars underneath a clocktower with a crescent moon on top. Kaaba at Mecca. Ironically, Fritz Koenig, the artist who created The Sphere sculpture between the Twin Towers, said The Kaaba was the inspiration behind his art installation. We can see this symbolism repeated in much of our pop culture as well. In the video game Fortnite, a giant cube destroys a location called Tilted Towers then forms a portal in the sky. At another point in the game, it is revealed that the cube’s true form is a giant demon named the Storm King. His horns are reminiscent of a crescent moon. The second time you fight the Storm King its at a location called Twine Peaks lmao. But are there anymore significant Mandela Effects associated with the WTC? According to some people, Hurricane Erin never happened in their timeline. If you‘re unaware, like I was until recently, there was a massive hurricane headed right for New York on the morning of 9/11. Because of the events that occurred on 9/11, I understand how Hurricane Erin would be easy to forget. Nevertheless, the storm was strange. Hurricane Erin, which was slightly larger than Hurricane Katrina, received almost no media coverage as she charged toward New York City. On the morning of 9/11, just as the planes were about to hit, Hurricane Erin grew to her largest size, but slowed down and remained almost stationary off the East coast. But right after the WTC fell, she made a sharp right turn and headed back out to sea. Hurricane Erin on September 11th, 2001. Hurricane Erin’s name is also interesting. The name Erin originated from Ériu, a goddess typically seen by the sea playing a harp. I find this curious becau HAARP uses extremely powerful radio frequencies to heat up the ionosphere and create clouds of plasma. Not only does this affect the climate, but the electromagnetic waves produced by it could hypothetically mess with our minds, perhaps changing or even erasing our memories. se many conspiracy theorists blame HAARP for both weather manipulation and the Mandela Effect. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89riu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-frequency_Active_Auroral_Research_Program In my last thread, I talked about MH370. I believe it’s disappearance, like the events discussed in this thread, was a part of a Saturn Stargate ritual. A sacrifice to the god of time. Would it be beyond the god of the fourth dimension to grant someone access to a wormhole? Perhaps The Elite are not purposely creating Mandela Effects and branching timelines. Perhaps it is just a side effect of trying to beak the matrix. But I digress. At the end of my last thread I said I would talk more about rabbit symbolism and its association with time travel. However, before I talk about that, or the Law of One, I thought I should talk about this first. Thanks for reading. Oh yeah, in case you did read my last thread, check this out. The fact that this article was posted 2 weeks after my MH370 conspiracy post has me kind of spooked lol. https://nypost.com/2020/10/07/washed-up-debris-on-australian-beach-could-belong-to-missing-mh370/
I won't even get into the fact that I think it's a tacky eyesore, because that gets more into the subjective areas. But I think we can all agree that the fact that the southbound turnpike traffic slows to a crawl between Stirling and Griffin every single night at dusk, with no accidents, is a fucking joke, especially in tourist season with all these complete idiots slowing down to 20-30mph on the fucking highway so they can catch a video of the fucking thing.
When we were kids, my little brother died on Halloween. He's come back to visit me every year since his death.
Jimmy returned for the first time exactly one year after the accident. I was home alone. Dad was at the bar and Mom was dead. We’d crammed her into a pine box and shipped her off to the incinerator months ago. I’d been sitting on the couch watching a plump cockroach scuttle across the coffee table, sipping whiskey that I’d liberated the previous night after Dad passed out. I wasn’t quite drunk yet. At eleven years old, my tolerance to alcohol was comparable to most local stumblebum drunks. A knock came to the door, the gentle tap of brittle knuckles upon rotted wood. I paused with the rim of the bottle resting against my lips. Even the cockroach cocked its long antennae curiously toward the door. The local trick-or-treaters knew better than to come here seeking candy. Our ramshackle abode was always one DHS visit away from being condemned, and the cobwebs and sundry creepy-crawlies in our front windows certainly weren’t decorative. I reflexively choked out a sob when I opened the door and saw his ghostly form. The sheet draped over him was stained brown and soaked with stinking river water. “Jimmy?” I asked, my voice croaking in disbelief. As if to answer me, his jaw fell slack and I heard the tiniest groan emerge from under that sheet, like a whining door hinge in a quiet house. He raised his hand to me and I shrank back in fear, expecting him to thrust an accusatory finger and damn me as a liar and murderer. Instead, I realized that he was holding his hand open, expecting something. A dry, throaty sound whistled up from his slackened jaw and I suddenly understood what he wanted. My little brother had come back for his favorite holiday. I rushed up to my bedroom, reached under my bed, and grabbed Jimmy’s pumpkin-shaped Halloween bucket. I flicked off the roaches and shook out mouse shit then ran back to the front steps, where my little brother was waiting. As Jimmy snatched his candy bucket from me, I saw them, watching us from the corner. It was the same group of older bullies that harassed us last year, on the night of the accident. Last time, they’d been wearing clown masks. They chose the Power Rangers this year. Despite their masks, I could tell that those bullies didn’t quite believe what they were seeing. Jimmy had been presumed dead for a year, yet here he was, wearing the very same costume they’d seen him wearing on the night he went missing. I’d had a growth spurt since that night. Rage and self-hatred did wonders for a growing boy’s physique. Fueled by whiskey and a desperate urge to blame anyone other than myself for Jimmy’s death, I charged them. Outnumbered four-to-one, I took some shots, no doubt, but I routed them regardless, and I left one of them bleeding on the sidewalk, beaten nearly half-to-death. Then I returned to Jimmy, smiling, and hooked my pinky around his before we set off to celebrate Halloween. # I sat on my couch, eyes trained on the flickering candle on my coffee table. The power had been out for a month and I hadn’t seen any good reason to turn it back on; I’d only be cutting into my meager booze budget and, besides, the city was kicking me out in a few days. The house had been bought and paid for by some long-dead relative then passed down to my parents as an act of pity. When Dad finally kicked the bucket, he left the house to me, but I was never quite able to stay ahead of the property taxes. I wasn’t going to miss the place. It wasn’t exactly full of fond memories. At this time of night, I’d normally be blackout drunk, but tonight was Halloween and I didn’t want to miss Jimmy. My entire life might have amounted to a hill of shit, but I’ve promised to never let my little brother down again. I checked the time. Eight o’clock on the dot. I grabbed Jimmy’s Halloween bucket and headed out front. Jimmy never did tell me why Halloween was his favorite holiday. He’d been a gentle kid, small for his age, fair-skinned and wispy. You wouldn’t have known it to look at him, but he preferred the schlock and gore of October grindhouse horror movie marathons to kiddie fare more appropriate to his age. He never flinched at the scary parts, when the reanimated undead wreaked havoc or dream demons emerged to slash open teenage throats. I’d never attributed his love of Halloween to something so cliché as donning a mask to pretend to be someone else, though I wouldn’t have blamed him. No, I’d always suspected that Jimmy loved this time of year specifically because it was when the world went dim and happily embraced the horrific. Vampires and possessed dolls and werewolves made more sense than the more abstract horrors we faced at home. Or, shit, maybe the kid just really liked candy. I stepped outside and the riverwards were alive with grinning jack-o-lanterns, windows glowing orange and framed with fake spider webs, and scores of yuppie parents leading their kids door-to-door. I spotted him walking slowly toward the house. I swore, he got smaller every year. I waved to him. He didn’t wave back, but he did cock his head slightly, as if he was struggling to remember who I was. As always, he was wearing the filthy sheet, soaked in river water. I felt a passing wave of revulsion and guilt when I glimpsed the faded bloodstains where the fabric hugged Jimmy’s misshapen occipital. I smiled and offered him the bucket. Jimmy snatched it from my hand. Though there was only darkness within those crooked eye holes I’d cut into the sheet twenty-five years ago, somehow I knew that if he still had eyes, they’d have been gleaming. I reached down to his hand, hooked my pinky around his, and I took my little brother trick-or-treating, like I’d done every year since he first returned. This wasn’t our neighborhood anymore. Sure, the names of the streets were the same, but that was about it. The yuppie influx, with the ensuing rent increases and property tax hikes, had squashed out most of the old guard. The newbies didn’t care for the sturdy, century-old houses forged with brick and mortar. One by one, those stout homes were being flattened to make way for flimsier, but more stylish facades. Soon, our childhood home was going to suffer the same fate. Jimmy must have sensed that something was amiss because he tightened his pinky around mine. Though I haven’t heard his voice since that night by the river, his pinky squeeze said enough. It said, I’ve got you. That was our private show of reassurance that helped sustain us through our childhood. When Mom wept at the dinner table as we split a dried hunk of welfare cheese for dinner, I’d give Jimmy a squeeze. When Dad staggered home drunk and started laying into Mom, I’d join Jimmy on his small twin mattress. We’d squeeze pinkies, eyes shut tight, with pillows over our ears so we wouldn’t have to hear Dad’s fist knocking against Mom’s head. I’ve got you. Tonight, we stopped at every house that still had its lights on. Our new neighbors smiled awkwardly, genuinely troubled by the sight of the neighborhood drunk escorting a child in a raggedy ghost costume. I didn’t give a shit what they thought as long as they tossed a few bite-sized Snickers bars into Jimmy’s bucket. Soon, the streets began to empty and the trick-or-treaters went home. One by one, those grinning jack-o-lanterns went dark, those orange window lights dimmed, and it was just Jimmy and I wandering the lonely streets. We headed back toward the house. This was where we would normally part ways, with Jimmy heading back on his own. Tonight, though, I remained at his side. He cocked his head again, curious. I squeezed his pinky. # Though I loved Jimmy, he was still my little brother and, often, I treated him as such. Just because I hated the neighborhood bullies didn’t mean I didn’t glean some pointers from their abuse. Sometimes, I’d slap Jimmy around or steal his toys because he’d annoyed me somehow. Other times, I just wanted to feel stronger than someone else. The day of his death, Jimmy had put me in a particularly foul mood. Using the five-fingered discount, I’d gotten comic books from the drug store on York Street and I was looking forward to thumbing through them. Jimmy came rushing into our bedroom, crying because the rats had gotten to his hand-me-down Jason Voorhees costume. The critters had gnawed through the plastic hockey mask and left the (fake) blood-splattered overalls stinking like rat turds. I told him to take it up with Mom and Dad, but he said Mom was passed out and Dad was at the bar, as usual. My mood instantly turned black, not necessarily because of Jimmy, but because, once again, I’d have to pick up the slack for our parents. I cooked most of Jimmy’s meals. I scrubbed the stink off his clothes and got him ready for school every morning while Mom and Dad were off, drunk and doped. All I’d wanted was a night to myself, curled up in bed with some stolen comic books, but they couldn’t stay sober long enough to even give me that much. Somehow, I kept my temper in check. I got him to stop sobbing by yanking the sheet off his bed, cutting out those mismatched eye holes, and draping it over him. “There,” I said. “You’re a ghost now.” His green eyes were visible through the holes in the sheet. His cheeks perked up under the sheet and I could tell he was smiling. “Can you take me trick-or-treating?” he asked. No, I didn’t want to, but I also didn’t want him crying again and Mom would have beaten the shit out of me if I let Jimmy wander the neighborhood alone. So we set out into the streets, amongst a legion of Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters and Barbie dolls brought to life. Though it was simple, he enjoyed his makeshift costume. I was just hoping to get through the night without bumping into our enemies. That was certainly naïve of me. It didn’t take long for them to zero in on us. There were four of them, all older boys. Even the smallest one towered over me. They were wearing clown masks, thin plastic smiling red-nosed clowns that filled my stomach with dread. None of the parents milling about with their kids noticed the brewing confrontation, not with the dozens of trick-or-treaters clogging the sidewalk. Jimmy clutched his candy bucket to his chest. One of the bullies reached for it, and that was when I snapped. I couldn’t help it. I might have been pissed off at him for dragging me out here, but this was Jimmy’s favorite night of the year. I couldn’t watch some assholes ruin it for him. I swung, hard. My fist connected with the bully’s face and I heard a loud crunch right before blood trickled down from behind the clown’s visage. I grabbed Jimmy by the wrist and we took off into the throngs of costumed kids. We rounded the next corner and disappeared into an alley. We hid there, holding our breath as the bullies sped past. There was no way they were going to let this go. Two of them would likely roam the neighborhood looking for us, while the other two would lay in wait near our house. “What are we going to do?” Jimmy asked, voice quivering in fear. Every night, right before I blackout, I think about how I should have just squeezed his pinky. But I didn’t. Instead, I blamed him. We wouldn’t have been in this trouble if he hadn’t been such a crybaby back home. That was why, of the dozens of places we could have gone to hide, I chose the river, because I knew he was terrified of the river. # Today, the Delaware riverfront was as gentrified as the rest of the neighborhood. A casino and towering condominiums loomed large and quaint pedestrian walkways were infested with pop-up beer gardens. In our youth, the riverfront had been an industrial graveyard, dominated by long-shuttered factories with stretches of wilderness between them. Stinking sumac trees swayed overhead and plump river rats darted through the bushes. This wasn’t the first time we had to hide back here. Jimmy always hated it. Although the neighborhood lay only a quarter-mile to the west, Jimmy thought the riverfront was too isolated. He feared that if our bullies ever caught us here, they could kill us and no one would ever know. My mood hadn’t improved when we finally reached one of the piers, big gray concrete blocks jutting out fifty feet into the sloshing water, supported by a number of wood pilings underneath. Jimmy remained a few feet behind me, still in his costume, nervously gripping his Halloween bucket. The tide was coming in and he jumped every time he felt a wave hit the pilings beneath us, as if the pier might collapse. But what scared Jimmy the most was the possibility of falling into the water, that those rough green-brown waves might trap him under the pier, where he’d come up for air and smash his face against unyielding concrete instead. “Can we just please try to go home?” he whined. “No,” I snapped back. “Not unless you want those assholes to knock your teeth out.” He lowered his head. “But I don’t like it back here.” Looking at my whimpering little brother, I lost all sense of empathy. After running scared from our bullies, I was eager to assert myself as an alpha. I yanked him toward the edge of the pier. “I’m so tired of you acting like a wimp,” I snarled. I shoved him closer to the edge, where the water sloshed violently ten feet below us. “There’s nothing to be afraid of back here.” “I just want to go home,” he cried, the eye holes in the sheet now rimmed with tears. “Stop being such a pussy!” I shouted then instinctively gave him a stiff right hook to the shoulder. What happened next occurred within seconds, yet in my memory, it seems to play out for an eternity. I’d hit him harder than I meant to. Jimmy dropped his candy bucket then staggered as his shoes got caught in the pool of fabric underfoot. I watched in muted disbelief as he flopped over the pier, arms waving, right before the back of his head cracked against the concrete edge. There was a splash ten feet beneath me and my brother was gone, leaving behind nothing more than a red patch on the concrete and white bubbles breaking the water’s surface. # Pinkies locked, we maneuvered through condominium parking lots and empty beer garden stalls until we reached that old pier. For a moment, my memories blended with the present and I saw myself, cold and shivering and soaked with river water, trudging back toward the neighborhood alone, clutching Jimmy’s candy bucket. I remembered how cold and dark the river was when I dove in, fighting the waves, trying in vain to find my brother before finally giving up. I never told anyone what happened. That night, when I got home, Mom was still passed out and Dad hadn’t come back from the bar yet. I hid my wet clothes then, later, told them that Jimmy had simply run away from me. I was terrified of what would happen if they knew the truth. There was a police search that amounted to nothing. Dad didn’t seem to care very much. Months later, Mom swallowed forty sleeping pills and never woke up. I took to stealing swigs of Dad’s half-empty liquor bottles to soothe my guilt, a habit that had served me ever since. But even that relief has proved fleeting. As Jimmy and I walked along the pier, I tightened my pinky around his, content to die sober. We stood at the edge of the pier. Though I couldn’t see his face, I could tell that he was no less afraid of the river now than he had been twenty-five years ago. Jimmy stepped off the pier and disappeared into the water below. I wondered, once this pier was inevitably torn asunder to make way for a condo or another casino, would Jimmy still resurface on Halloween? If he did, and he ventured into the neighborhood, would he even recognize that the shiny new studio apartments were standing on the grave of our old house? Either way, I was going to make sure that he didn’t go through it alone. I stepped off the pier, just like Jimmy had that night. I cracked the base of my skull against that concrete lip. A lightning flash of pain shot across the world and I crashed hard into the water, pushed at once by the tide under the pier. A wave slammed me against one of the pilings and I felt something snap in my back and, when I tried to scream, filthy river water filled my mouth. Yet, as I was thrashed about under the dock, my consciousness slowly fading, I felt Jimmy’s tiny pinky finger squeezing around my own. I’ve got you. # That happened almost one year ago, last Halloween. Though I wanted nothing more than to slip into a watery slumber with my little brother, he must have felt otherwise. I woke up, weeks later, in a hospital. They removed patches of my skull to relieve the pressure from the brain bleed, courtesy of cracking my head on that concrete lip. My ribs had been shattered to splinters from the paramedics’ vigorous chest compressions. They found me on the road, which meant Jimmy dragged me from the water, across the industrial wilderness, then out to the waiting blacktop. I asked the medics if there’d been a boy in a ratty ghost costume with me when they arrived. They said they hadn’t seen one. Anyway, I’m writing this on the computer at the public library right off Girard Avenue, but I better finish up. The librarian is a real asshole. Doesn’t like it when street bums like me stink up the joint. It’s almost Halloween once again. Jimmy might not want me down in the water with him, but I’m going back to join him, regardless. I’ve got his candy bucket, so we can hit the neighborhood one last time. I’ve also got a box cutter with the sharpest goddamn razors I could find. Once Jimmy slips back into the water, I’m going to open myself up – both wrists, then my carotid artery – and I’m jumping into that green-blue Delaware shitwater right along with him, because I’m Jimmy’s big brother, god damn it. I won’t let him swim alone.
2015 Toronto Bird #46: Pine Warbler, Hanlan's Point. Name: Ælfric. Has had memory problems ever since that time at Casino Rama when he hit on 17 and was beaten over the head with a chip tray by an old Vietnamese woman.
(Selling) 4K Movies. Marvel, DC, The Matrix Trilogy, Daniel Craig Bond collection, and others.
Will respond to comments as soon as possible. Will do discounts if you buy multiple. Venmo or PayPal F&F
DC MOVIES Wonder Woman 4K MA ($7) MARVEL MOVIES Black Panther - 4K MA ($7) Deadpool - 4K MA ($7) Thor 4K MA ($7) OTHER MOVIES James Bond: Daniel Craig Collection (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre) - 4K Vudu ($28) Matrix Trilogy - 4K MA ($21) SOLD Star Trek (Chris Pine) - 4K Vudu SOLD Star Trek: Into Darkness - 4K Vudu SOLD Star Trek: Beyond - 4K Vudu, Fandango, Itunes SOLD
Name that flower card game? 1 captures 8, 2 captures 7, and so on.
My uncle lived in Korea for a few years a long time ago. We half-remember rules for a game played with flower cards and someone showed up to Christmas with a deck of flower cards. After much Googling the closest I've come is koi koi. I think it was played with 2-4 players. The big difference from koi koi is that instead of a pine capturing a pine, it captured pampas. Plum blossoms capture clover. Basically "months that add up to nine" capture. 9, 10, 11, and 12 capture themselves as in koi koi. Other family suggested that there was an element of potential stopping/booking when a suitable tile for your intended match comes off the top of the deck. You see a pine, play a pampa to capture, and another pampa comes off the top. It prevents your capture and becomes a ripe opportunity for an upset. I'm a little leery of this because it came out after we'd watched videos on the wrong card games and I know we've all played Casino with 52-card decks, but they would remember better than me. Maybe that's part of it. Scoring details are obliterated in our memories since you just capture the cards with extra symbols and it's hard to remember the fine details. My uncle called it kodori, but that might have been his acquaintances asking if he wants to play "cards" rather than the specific game with adds-to-nine capture. Ring any bells?
Zodiac's Message In The Misspelling of Words and The Mistakes He Made In Letters.
Zodiac meticulously hand drew his ciphers, but his handwritten letters were sometimes sloppy and often contained spelling errors. Theories about the misspelled words vary. But I think they do have a purpose. I was looking at the dragon card message when I realized the obvious. Zodiac was meticulous with his correspondence. Nothing was included that wasn't meant to be there. Because he put in so much effort, he wouldn't have allowed for any mistakes. If you read the message you will notice that he misspells a word, only to spell it correctly a couple lines down. So he knows how to spell correctly. There are no mistakes in any of those letters. The misspellings are meant to be there because they serve a purpose. 1) The first mistake is the last word of Line 6 - "butons". Now, if you write the correct spelling "Buttons" above "butons" and cross out the matching letters in each word, you are left with a "T". 2) The next mistake you will come to isn't a misspelled word, but contains one. The Zodiac is talking about all of the buttons he sees people around San Fran wearing. One of his examples is "Melvin eats bluber". The Melvin Belli reference aside, this was a mistake. There never were any Melvin eats blubber buttons. The buttons actually said "Melville eats blubber". So, write that above his mistake and cross out the letters that occur in both words. You will get N, L, L, E, B. 3) Next is the word "considerbly" which will give you an A. 4) Then another "Buton" which will give you a T. 5) Lastly for this message, another "Melvin's", which will give you N, L, L, E. So all together you have ( T N LLE B A T N LLE ) You can make that into several things. I first saw the last name of one of the prime Zodiac suspects, Arthur Lee Allen. Remember, Arthur Lee Allen lived with his mother, whose name was Bernice Allen. B Allen? TELL B ALLEN NT BALLET or BATTLE? It may just be nonsense. But there are obvious clues in the letters besides the ciphers. For Instance, the 13 cipher with the map of Mt. Diablo. The 13 cipher uses letters and symbols from the face of a 1968 Zodiac Watch Company Sea Wolf watch. Now, Zodiac drew the watch company's symbol (his symbol) of the circle and cross over Mt. Diablo. He then wrote 0, 3, 6, 9 and "Set to Mag. N." next to the 0. (FYI, a model of the Sea Wolf had a compass N,E,S,W dial around the face). So, the 3,6,9 are all in the correct place where they would appear on the watch face. BUT THE 0! The 0 is where the 12 o'clock should be. I think there may have been a 0 on the ring around the watch face as well, but can't remember. Now, in the same letter Zodiac drew his circle and cross with "-12". He was saying there wasn't a 12, there was a 0. Because Zodiac -12 SFPD - 0. Was this his location in relation to the SFPD and not his body count? Also, the South Lake Tahoe letter and victim Lass. She worked at a casino there. In the 13 Cipher, you can clearly see that the first word plainly says C A S I N × O. The message on the postcard in question said "Peek through the pines". Could he have meant, "Peak through the pines", as in mountain peak? Zodiac had said that the cipher related to radians and inches on a map. The first and last letters of this cipher are C and G. In geometry, C represents radians, G represents gradians. I am not extremely proficient in math, but I can't see where it actually does represent what he says it does. I think he was lying..Go figure. A while back I took a different approach to the 340 or 408 Cipher, can't remember which one I used at the time, and I lost everything because that computer crashed. I have an anger issue with computers. I punch them too much, which greatly affects their performance. But all of the symbols used are actually astrological symbols that, in turn, represent specific numbers. They are symbols that are used to make a person's astrological chart, like for the moment they were born. It gets difficult tracking down the meaning of each symbol when you know nothing about astrology. But, I went one symbol at a time and replaced them with their numeric value and it actually read real coordinates of longitude and latitude. The first coordinate was a place in Northern California, near the Nevada Border, by the Scott Warner Wilderness Area. I only finished the first two lines, so I don't know if it would have lead to something of actual importance. But I think it would have been just another dead end or another puzzle. All of the tangents, leads, and circumstantial evidence can lead you in so many different directions. I know a lot of people were very excited when they discovered the 1952 Tim Holt Red Mask comic book. The issue that featured Lady Doom and the Wheel of Death. The wheel listed ways to die, like "Death by Knife", "Death by Gun", "Death by Rope". So the Zodiac's message scratched into the car door at Lake Berryessa appears to be directly linked to the comic. People began looking at Tim Holt. But even more curious was the illustrator of the comic book, Frank Bolle. He signed his initials in the artwork "FWB" in a way that is extremely similar to one of the symbols designs Zodiac used later on (not in a cipher). Frank Bolle wrote a comic strip in 1971 called Alexander Gates. The character was an astrologist. Frank Bolle is deceased now, but the coincidences were strange. Despite all of this, I can't get by the idea that Zodiac wasn't just one or two people, but the result of several events. The first couple killed were David Farraday and Betty Lou Jensen. I do not believe Cherri Jo Bates was a Zodiac victim, but was later claimed for understandable reasons that I will discuss. I read an interview with Betty Lou's family after the murder, and I was left with the feeling that there wasn't really any grieving. The father, Verne Jensen, struck me as odd. Verne Jensen was a career Army officer, and was working at the GSA in that area. One thing that I noticed was that Betty Lou had siblings, or at least one sibling, an older sister. After she is pictured in that interview, you don't hear of her again. From my understanding, the relationship between Verne and his youngest daughter Betty Lou, was somewhat rocky. Betty Lou was sort of the black sheep. She wanted to date boys when she was too young, and had been in trouble with her parents before that. On the night of the murders, she was supposed to be at a school function, and I believe her parents had forbid her from going on a date. So, perhaps Verne suspected something, or saw her pull away from the diner in a boys car. But he followed them out to a remote lover's lane spot. He had been upset about how her activities made the family look. It would not have been good if she was whoring around with some boy. And kids go out to lover's lanes to have sex. It's that simple. Instead of going to the school function like she was supposed to, she went to the diner with the boy to meet friends, then went to the lover's lane. Verne pulled up, and in a fit of rage, ordered them out of the car. One thing led to another and he shot David Farraday in the back of the head. Betty Lou was back from the car. Perhaps he had ordered her to go back to his car. But then, out of anger and fear, he shot Betty Lou. She was shot five times, opposed to David's one. There was some prejudice and a connection between her and the killer. Six months later..Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau are parked in a dark, remote lover's lane. A car pulls up, leaves, and comes back about ten minutes later. The two can't see because of the lights from the car behind. That's why they think it's a cop. The killer fires multiple rounds into the car, killing Darlene. Michael survives. Darlene Ferrin was a married woman. No matter how you try to spin this, the husband could not have been happy with her activities. So, perhaps he drove by and saw them parked. Or one of his friends did. They pulled in, verified it was them, went to get a gun and came back. Once again, Darlene was killed. Michael survived, but probably not on purpose. I think different ammunition was used in this killing, as opposed to Betty Lou and David. After that, the killer got scared. If it was Darlene's husband, his only thought was that he would be the prime suspect. So he panicked. Three blocks from his house, across the street from the police station, he called the police and reported the murders. He also said he was responsible for the other two murders six months before, and hung up. Why would he do that? The first two murders were shocking, and everybody in that area knew about them. He didn't want the police to suspect him, the natural suspect in this type of murder. So he claimed to be the killer of the kids at both places. If the police went on the idea that one psycopath killer was responsible, and if the husband had an airtight alibi for the time when Betty Lou and David were killed, then he couldn't have been responsible for any of them. I don't know if Verne wrote the first letter, or he did. But it solidified the idea that one person was responsible for the two seperate instances. Anybody who followed the case at the time would know this. So then we have the Lake Berryessa murders, which was well planned. Someone had followed the case and made himself a Zodiac costume to hide his identity. But this killing wasn't like the others. The killer tied up his victims and used a knife. And he did it in broad daylight. He was using the Zodiac image of the killer that had been created in the news. To tie them into the others, he wrote the dates of the murders and played off the Tim Holt comic book. Then came Paul Stine, which didn't match any of the others. In that time, letters were written which the Zodiac established his identity, taunted the police, threatened more killings, and included cryptic ciphers to mislead the police. The Cherri Jo Bates murder became known as a possible Zodiac killing, and the writer gladly claimed credit. The more killings, the more locations, the more times, if all tied into one suspect, would essentially disqualify any of the killers (one, two, or three people). Because not one of them could have been in all those places at those times, and that would have provided an alibi. One thing that the writer of the letters could count on, was the fact that he could claim the previous murders and not worry about the real killer stepping forward and saying, "No he didn't. That was me." Because Verne would have just wanted to be forgotten about. And handwriting analysis was not very good at the time. You will notice that some Zodiac letters are sloppy and some are neatly printed. They vary. I wouldn't doubt if the ciphers are all just nonsensical bullshit. The more murders you tie into one person, the more of an airtight alibi you create for yourself. Because, if one person was responsible for all of them, then an alibi for just one would disqualify you as the killer for all of them. Lastly, you have to look at serial killers before and after. Serial killers kill for personal reasons. It something that is very private to them. They usually have one safe spot where they feel comfortable. Ed Gein had his farm and was somewhat of a recluse. The Green River Killer had a remote spot on the Green River. John Wayne Gacy had all of his bodies under his house. Richard NG had the bodies under a remote cabin. Ted Bundy broke this rule, but killed in the same manner as he travelled across country. But the bodies were mostly in one private location. It would probably have really bothered any of them to have their private locations discovered. None of them wrote lettter after letter claiming responsibility for killing. All of them killed by one method. The last thing any of them wanted was to be a suspect, or to be in the spotlight. None of them wrote letters to shame the police. They were all very private people. So, Zodiac strays away from this. It doesn't match the profile of a serial killer. It's not what a serial killer would do, because it's not why a serial killer actually kills. I don't think we will ever know who the killer or killers actually were. Thanks for reading, Matt Brubach
Bird #46: Pine Warbler, Hanlan's Point. Name: Ælfric. Has had memory problems ever since that time at Casino Rama when he hit on 17 and was beaten over the head with a chip tray by an old Vietnamese woman.
Heres a list of some movies I’ve seen and liked Goodfellas Wolf of wall street Scarface Pulp fiction Reservoir dogs Django unchained Hateful 8 American history x Dazed and confused Dog day afternoon Bronx tale Godfather 1 & 2 Taxi driver The departed Usual suspects Hacksaw ridge Seven Fight club Carlitos way Heat Donnie brasco Casino Raging bull Saving private ryan Full metal jacket American sniper Shutter island No country for old men Leon the professional Fargo Shawshank Redemption Place beyond the pines Apocalypse now Prisoners 3 billboards Baby driver American beauty Into the wild Dallas buyers club Parasite
Missing and Murdered Indigenous...Men? Why are there so many missing men and boys from the Yakama reservation? Part 2 of 2.
Missing and murdered indigenous people If you have spent any time reading about true crime, you probably know that American Indian/ Native American women go missing from the United States and Canada at alarming rates. On some reservations, women experience violence and are victims of homicide at 10x the rate of women in other communities. But what about men and boys? Missing and murdered Indigenous boys and men are the forgotten group of this epidemic of violence on tribal land and many families are aching to see the cases of their missing/murdered male loved ones solved. Just like with the missing women, men and boys are going missing at an alarming rate on tribal land, but race is not the only factor. Men (and women) of all ethnicities who live on the Yakama reservation are missing and murdered at disturbing rates. Missing and murdered indigenous people is a complex issue with prejudice and jurisdictional issues playing major roles. If you want to know more about the root of these issues, I suggest “Missing and Murdered” podcast by Indigenous Canadian journalist Connie Walker, who explains the issues much better than I ever could; that podcast is linked below. Today, I want to highlight the stories of some of these men and boys, specifically those missing from the Yakama community. Because there are so many missing people who are practically unknown, I have decided to profile the cases of ALL the men and boys missing from the reservation, regardless of race. This is a companion piece to another write up I completed about missing women and girls from the Yakama reservation. That write up can be found here. If some sections sound similar that is probably why. https://www.reddit.com/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/htvnv6/extensive_write_up_on_missing_and_murdered/ Background Washington state is home to the fifth largest Indian reservation in the United States, the Yakama reservation, which is home to the Klickitat, Palus, Wallawalla, Wenatchi, Whishram, Wanapum, and Yakama people. According to the US Census Bureau, only the Osage, Puyallup (also in Washington state), Navajo, and Choctaw reservations are more populous. The Yakama reservation is located in South Central Washington state, just south of the city of Yakima. Of the 31,000 people who lived on the reservation, 11,000 are enrolled tribal members. Most people who live on the reservation claim Hispanic/Latino, white, or mixed-race descent, but Hispanic is by far the most common ethnic group. There are also small Filipino, Japanese, and Korean communities nearby. The Yakama reservation is located just south of the town of Yakima, Washington, a large farming community of 100,000 people. Apples, cherries, peaches, pears, grapes, and hops are all grown in the dry surrounding region. Harvest time brings thousands of migrant workers to the area, so the population is always in flux. Outside of Yakima is the town of Union Gap (Pop. 8000), which is partially on the reservation, and partially off it. There are two other proper towns on reservation, Toppenish (pop. 8000) and Wapato (pop. 5000). Other small communities such as Satus, Harrah, White Swan, and Granger all boast several hundred residents each. All in all, the Yakama nation consists of 2,200 square miles of sprawling, rural land stretching from south central Washington nearly to the Oregon border. But from this unassuming patch of high desert and grassland, more than 30 Native women have gone missing/were murdered. If we add Native men to the equation, the number jumps to nearly 40 unsolved disappearances, deaths, and murders. If we add the deaths and disappearances of non-native people missing from the reservation, the number grows yet again. Although the land is vast, the tribal population is small. From my estimates over .5% of native people on the reservation are missing or murdered. Like many tribal communities, unemployment and poverty is common, appropriate housing is scare, and according to the tribal council "disregard for the rule of law and general civil unrest" as well as gun violence and substance abuse is common. In 2019 a curfew was instated after a particularly bad shooting. According to the Washington State Patrol, the Yakama nation has the highest percentage of missing people of any Native community in the state, even though they are not the most populous. The FBI created a task force in 2009 to investigate the possibility of serial killer among the Yakama, but the investigation determined that a serial killer was unlikely, but not impossible. This was because the causes of death were so different from victim to victim. The investigation did close 2 cases on the reservation after DNA on both women linked them to a man serving life in an Oregon prison, but the man is not believed to be responsible for any other crimes in the inquiry. Whether a serial killer is loose on tribal land or not, this issue is complex and long standing and demonstrates how much substance abuse, domestic violence, accidents, and random crime affect the native communities in this county at 10x the rate of other communities. Some progress has been made such as state bill 2951 which allows Washington state authorities to track cases and help investigate and search for missing individuals on tribal land. Because tribal lands are usually under federal jurisdiction, state authorities previously were not able to help, despite being more familiar with the area than the FBI. This is only one small step in the right direction and although awareness is growing, the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people will not simply go away. Many people have heard of this epidemic, but few know the names of the victims; today it is time to change that. Below are the profiles of 20 men and boys who are missing, murdered, or who have suffered mysterious deaths. For some of the individuals very little information is available. The list below is not necessarily complete. If you know of other unsolved cases let me know in the comments below. Quick guide: Yakima- large town near, but not on, the reservation Yakama- the tribe and people group NOTE: all cases organized most to least recent. In order to be profiled the cases in this piece must havesomeconnection to the Yakama Indian reservation. This could mean those who lived on the reservation, were last seen on the reservation, are believed to be missing within the confines of reservation, or are of Yakama heritage by birth. Hope that makes sense. Missing Bernard Schieber, 86, of Yakima has not been seen since Aug. 8, 2019, when he left his home in the 2500 block of South 84th Avenue in Yakima. His black, full-size Chevrolet pickup was found a few weeks later in a closed portion of the Yakama Nation reservation. It appears to have been parked normally and not crashed or damaged. When he left his home in the city of Yakima, Bernard had only ¼ tank of gas and no money. He suffers from dementia. Bernard is described as a white male with blue eyes and gray hair. He weighs 190 lbs. and stands 5’ 11” tall. Anyone with any information about Schieber is asked to call the Yakima County Sheriff's Office at 509-574-2500. He is still missing. Josiah “Jo” Michael Hilderbrand aged 25 and his friend 47-year-old Jon Joseph Cleary left southern California in early June 2020 to travel to a Grateful Dead concert at The Gorge a venue in Washington state. Both men were traveling together in a light blue 2004 Honda Civic hybrid when they were last heard from on June 7th, 2019. On June 8th their abandoned burned out car was found 8 miles west of Toppenish in a deserted, rural area of the reservation. The FBI has stated they believe the men are dead but they are officially listed as missing. Josiah Hilderbrand is described as white male, age 25, with light brown wavy hair and blue eyes. He is 5’8” and 165 lbs. He has a neck tattoo. Jon Cleary is a white male, 47 years old, and 6’3” in height weighing 230 lbs. He has brown/gray hair and beard and brown eyes. He usually wears a baseball cap. Remains found August 5th, 2020 near Toppenish may belong to the men. The FBI is handling the case as the men were found on tribal land. The families are offering $35,000 for information that can solve the murders. Even if the remains are those of the “Dead Heads” the crimes of their deaths remain unsolved. Strangely enough Hilderbrand and Cleary died on the same day that a mass shooting occurred in White Swan where two men, Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud and James Dean Cloud, killed five people. The shooters have been convicted in that crime and some have speculated that both crimes are related. This mass shooting was the crime that inspired that reservation-wide curfew to be put into effect. Elias Chief Culps, 25, was last seen in White Swan on Dec. 27, 2018 and has not been heard from since. In 2015 Elias was a witness in a court case about unreasonable searches and seizures and whose jurisdiction should be involved when fugitives are found on tribal land- the outcome of that case is unknown. There is little information available about Elias’ disappearance. Those with information are asked to call the Yakama Nation Police Department at 509-865-2933, case number 19-009167. He is described as a Native American male, 5’6”-5’7” in height and 150-170 lbs. He has brown hair and eyes and a tattoo on his neck. Jose Francisco Canales a 43-year-old father of 7 children was last heard from on July 7, 2018 in Harrah, Washington where he resided with his wife of nineteen years. He was last seen at La Guadalupana (a store in Harrah) on July 6, 2018 where he cashed his paycheck. The next day, July 7th, he called his boss to report that he would not be coming into work that day. This was the last time anyone saw or heard from Canales. He is described as a Hispanic male, 5’7” or 5’8” in height and 145 lbs. with brown hair and eyes. He has a scar on his left hand about 1” in length and a tattoo of a heart on his right arm/shoulder area. He was last seen wearing along-sleeved t-shirt (possibly green), blue jeans, brown sneakers and a blue baseball cap. He has a receding hairline and some gray hairs in his beard. Canales may be driving a gray 1994 Ford Ranger single cab pickup truck with the Washington license plate number B53351T. There may be a green 2018 Polaris 450HO four-wheeler in the bed of the truck; it has the vehicle identification number (VIN) 4XASEA509JA252860. Canales's case remains unsolved. Rolando Gabriel "Gabby" Gutierrez, of Mabton has been missing since Sept. 16, 2017. The 44-year-old was the oldest of six siblings and was close to his family. When his family last heard from him, Gutierrez was in Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, a Mexican fishing and resort city on the Gulf of California. He was staying in the area and had weekly phone contact with his family. Gabby was planning to come home for his niece’s birthday in October, but he never made it. One of his sisters worried that Gabby was “wrapped up” in the drug trade. In November 2019, forensic scientists in the Mexican state of Sonora announced that they had recovered 52 bodies and skeletons from a mass grave near Puerto Peñasco. Gabby’s family told an Associated Press reporter that they thought there might be a chance his body was among them, but this is not known for certain. Rolando “Gabby” Gutierrez is described as either a Hispanic or a mixed race (Caucasian/ Hispanic) male who is 5’10” in height and weights 180-260 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes but he shaves his head. He also has a zodiac cancer symbol tattooed on his arm and has pierced nipples. There is currently a go fund me for Gabby’s family so one of his siblings can travel to Mexico to give their DNA for comparison. Mexican authorities are investigating this case. Kristopher Fowler, 34, was last seen Oct. 12, 2016. Fowler, affectionately known as "Sherpa" and “Kris” was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and had started at the border with Mexico with a goal of completing the 2,800-mile trek to the Canadian border. He was last seen in the White Pass area only a few hundred miles from his destination. Kris was last seen at a convenience store in very rural Yakima county. Kris is described as a white male, 6’2” and 165 lbs. He has blonde hair and beard and blue eyes. He is believed to be lost in the wilderness. His step mother still hopes the body can be recovered some day. Those with information should call the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office at 509-574-2500. Joseph Eric Miranda Jr., 24, has been missing from Granger since May 26, 2016. Reports say Joseph went to his bedroom on May 26, 2016 around 10:30 pm after talking with his father. His mother went to check on him in the morning but he was nowhere to be found. She last saw him late on the evening of May 25, 2016 and initially thought he had gone on a walk never returned. It is unclear if Miranda and his wife also lived at the house with his parents or if he was only staying there. According to one source, Miranda left his wife a note that said he “wouldn’t be seeing her for a while.” Miranda had a bank card and a cellphone with him when he disappeared, but because the cellphone was a government issued phone (a burner phone maybe?) it cannot be pinged. His bank card was last used on May 25th to buy a soda at a gas station and it has never been used again. He left his keys and his car at his parent’s home. There has been some activity on Miranda’s social security card but it is unknown if the user is Miranda or an identity thief. Joseph’s favorite movie is a 2014 film called Wild, about a girl who hikes through the wilderness of the Pacific Crest trail. His family worries he embarked on a similar journey and either got lost of met with foul play. They ask that if Joseph is out there to please contact them so that they know he is alive and well. Joseph is described as a Hispanic male, 5’7” or 5”8 and 180-195 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes. Miranda had long hair and a beard at the time of his disappearance and usually wore his hair long but occasionally cut it very short. He wears prescription eyeglasses with silver frames. He has a strawberry birthmark on his chest and a small mole on his upper lip. When last seen he was wearing multi colored swim trunks, a green long-sleeved shirt and superman flip flops. He often wears flip flops, his Rx glasses, and bandanas or hats on his head. If you have seen Miranda or have information please called the Granger PD at 509-854-2656. Chad Nathan Stotz-Gomez, 36 of Union Gap, drifted between homeless camps at the time of his disappearance, but talked to his mother and other family members regularly. He was last seen on July 10th 2015. He has not been seen or heard from since. Some believe that this case is connected to the case of Cody Turner (details below). The same day Stotz-Gomez disappeared, there was shooting at a homeless camp between Yakima and Selah, Washington. The victim, a 36-year-old woman, was injured but the victim has not cooperated with law enforcement and no arrests have been made. Police found Stotz-Gomez's DNA at the shooting scene. Some have speculated that the shooting is connected to the November 2015 murder of Norma Emmerson, who was shot in the head outside East Selah, Washington. Some reports say Norma had information about a homicide committed by her ex-boyfriend, Raven Cutler. Cutler ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Cutler told Cody Turner's mother he'd seen Cody Turner (case below) and Stotz-Gomez together in downtown Yakima, but his information has not been verified. Other witnesses believe that the two men, Turner and Stotz-Gomez, knew each other casually and believe that their disappearances must be related. In the past Stotz-Gomez has lived in New York and Montana and he may have traveled there. At the time of his disappearance, was required to check in weekly with the police. Stotz-Gomez is described as a Hispanic or mixed-race Hispanic/Caucasian male, 5’9” and 180-190 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes and usually wears a beard. He has the following tattoos: barbed wire on his upper left arm, a skull with wings on his right arm, the letters "SUR" on one hand, the number 13 on the other hand, and a small cholo face on his chest. If you have any information please contact the Yakima County Sheriff's Office 509-574-2550. Cody Turner, 24, was last seen July 26, 2015, in Yakima leaving the home he shared with his father and grandparents. Cody had been gone that day with his dog Ariel but arrived at the home in the evening where he ate, showered, and picked up some cigarettes before leaving the house again. He had his cellphone on him but since July 28th, 2015 the phone has gone straight to voicemail. According to some sources Cody was homeless at the time of his disappearance but according to others he lived at his grandparent’s house with his father. Cody has a history of meth usage and his family believes he was using at the time of his disappearance. Despite his drug use, Cody’s family said he usually returned home every evening and talked to his family daily. He does not have a history of dropping out of sight or being out of touch with his family. Cody is described as a white male 5'5 - 5'7, 150 - 170 pounds. He has sandy colored hair and green eyes. He keeps his hair very short and tidy. He sometimes wears facial hair (a goatee and mustache) which he keeps short. Turner's nickname is Cooter. He has two scars, one on his left wrist and one on his abdomen. His ears and tongue are pierced, but he had stopped wearing his earrings and tongue ring prior to his disappearance. Turner has the following tattoos: the name "Natilie" with flames and barbed wire on his right bicep, three skulls with swords going through them on his left bicep, and a tribal stamp on the inside of his upper left arm. Turner has previously fractured his left foot and he smokes cigarettes. His case may be connected to Chad- Stotz Gomez’s case which is why it is included in this piece, even though he has no connection to the reservation. Justin Lee McConville has been missing from Toppenish since sometime in January 2015. He was 24 years old at the time and was last seen on the Yakama reservation, but often travels to Oregon and fishes along the Columbia River. Some sources say he is nomadic and had no permanent address but others say he lives in Toppenish. Justin is described as a Native American male with long brown hair which he wears in a pony tail and brown eyes. McConville has a half-sleeve tattoo of a Native American man, Chief Joseph, on his upper right arm. He also has a tattoo of a tribal fishing design on his left arm and a tattoo of a Native American design on his back. He is 6’0”-6’2” and weights 165 lbs. Yakama Tribal Police are investigating. They can be reached at 509-865-2933. Anthony “Tony” Peters, also known as Anthony Colfax Peters, 56, was last seen in October 2014 at Legends Casino in Toppenish. According to his sister, Peters was homeless at the time, living with relatives or friends or elsewhere when necessary, but he regularly talked to his family and friends. According to his sister, Alfrieda, Tony like many homeless individuals had a complicated life. His temper sometimes got him into trouble, but eventually he always came around. His sister remembers him as a natural born artist who did powwow dancing, beadwork, and drawing for fun. He was also a good singer. In the past, he has been known to travel to other nearby reservations such as the Umatilla or Warm Springs. He has also been known to travel to Seattle. He would drop out of sight from time to time, but never for more than a few weeks. Tony is described as a Native American male with black hair and brown eyes. Peter’s nickname is Tony, and he may use the name Anthony Colfax Peters. He has an overlapped front tooth and one front tooth is missing. He is 5’6” and his weight fluctuates regularly. His missing person case remains open with the Yakama Nation Police Department, number 15-006132. Roland Elton Woodall Sconawah a Yakama by birth was last seen in either Lyle or Dallesport Washington in November, 2013. Both communities lie on the Columbia river in Klickitat county in what was once the land of the Yakama people. Tribal members have fishing rights in the area even though it is not technically on the reservation. This is where Roland was last seen. The 23-year-old was somewhat transient. He went missing under unclear circumstances. Roland is described as a Native American male with brown eyes and black hair. He stands at 5'6 - 5'8, and weighs 140 - 160 pounds. He is sometimes referred to as Roland Sconawah Sam. Klickitat county sheriff’s office 509-773-4545, is investigating. Ira Kennedy YallupSr. was last seen at the Lone Pine fishing site near The Dalles, OR. in May 2010. His family has offered a $1,000 reward for information about his whereabouts. He is a Native male in his 50s with black hair. No other vital statistics are available and he does not even have a Charley Project page. Yakama tribal police are investigating. Francisco Javier Mendoza was 27 years old when he was last seen in the early morning hours of June 8th 1994 leaving a 7-11 convenience store in Toppenish. Francisco was with two friends at the time. Later that morning, the three friends were outside of Toppenish when their car broke down. Francisco apparently went walking in the direction of town in order to get help and vanished into the night. He has never been seen again. Few details are available and his friends’ story is considered suspicious. Francisco is described as a Hispanic male, 5’5” in height weighing 160 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes. Mendoza may have a mustache, beard or a goatee. Some agencies may spell his first name "Franciso." He was wearing a white tank top, shorts and sneakers when he was last seen. Toppenish police are investigating, 509-865-4355. Lawrence Jay "Larry" Riegel, 57 of Yakima worked as a carpenter and contract pilot before breaking four vertebrae, and injury that left him disabled. Right before going missing Larry had a surgery on his neck and some sources claim he was in a neck brace. Unable to work, Riegel was collecting disability. The last contact anyone had with Larry took place on Christmas day, 2009. He contacted several relatives and friends including a call to his mother to thank her for some clothes she bought him for the holiday. He was supposed to join his family in Yakima for a belated Christmas dinner on Dec. 26, 2009, but he never showed up or called. Riegel’s family described him as a “chatty Cathy” who talked to just about anyone and had daily phone contact with his friends and family. Riegel’s last phone call took place at approximately 5:30 pm on Christmas day. It is believed that the call was made to Riegel’s tenants who rented a farm from him in Union Gap, a town on the reservation. His tenants owed him $3000 in back rent. Riegel lived with his girlfriend, Ladena Mann before he went missing. Mann claimed that the couple argued on Christmas day and Riegel left the home presumably to go see his tenants. She also claimed that Riegel assaulted her either on Christmas day or on January 4th before disappearing. When Mann tried to report this assault weeks later, she was unable because she had no injuries or proof of violence. Mann used Riegel’s money and EBT card after he disappeared as well as applied for her own EBT card claiming she still lived with Larry. Mann was charged with welfare fraud and perjury, but charges were dropped when she paid back the money and entered a diversion program. In one media interview she claimed that Larry is still alive and that he has “contacted several people” since going missing. She thinks Larry is residing in Idaho or Montana and has accused his family of knowing where he is. Ladena Mann is a person of interest in Larry’s disappearance as are his tenants, the last known people to have spoken to him. Riegel’s family is offering a $25,000 for information in the homicide investigation that leads to his remains. They have billboards all over the Yakima valley asking for information. Larry’s mother, aged 90, still drives around rural areas searching for his body. Riegel is described as a white male with gray hair, a gray mustache, and hazel eyes. He is 6’2” and weights 200 lbs. He has surgical scars on his left knee and a prominent vertical scar on his neck from recent surgery to fix four broken vertebrae. He often wears eyeglasses and he has a limp in his left leg. He is also an alcoholic who frequented neighborhood bars. Yakima Police Department Yakima Police Department (509-576-6573) is investigating. Donnie Sampson, 71, a well-known religious leader, had been serving for eight years on the Tribal Council’s Code of Ethics Committee when he disappeared in the fall of 1994 while hunting elk about 45 miles west of White Swan, near Mt. Adams. Donnie had a heart problem and had been prescribed nitroglycerin as a result. Right before his disappearance, he told his daughter that he (and the ethics committee) “was getting into something that’s going to make everybody mad.” He even went so far to tell her that he would be “making enemies” and that she and the community would hear about his findings soon enough. He had been investigating rumors of corruption in the tribal council and the housing authority before he went missing, but other committee members refused to elaborate on the matter. Donnie’s truck was found Oct. 30, 1994, in the foothills of Mount Adams by volunteer searchers, but searchers found no trace of Sampson. His nitroglycerin, lunch, clothing and three rifles were found in his truck. A fourth rifle he left home with disappeared with him. Donnie’s children say tribal police has done little to investigate the disappearance, which they believe is a result of foul play. For example, his children were never interviewed and his truck was found by volunteers, not official search and rescue. Tribal authorities believe that the elderly Sampson simply got lost while hunting. There are no photos or description of Donnie Sampson available. He does not even have a Charley Project page. Tribal police are investigating. Roland Jack Spencer III disappeared in late May 1984. He was 3 years old when last seen in the area of Knight Lane and Campbell Road in Wapato, although some sources say he was last seen in Toppenish. Roland is presumed to have been abducted by a non-family member, when he was in the yard. Curiously, Roland’s mother died under suspicious circumstances several years earlier (her case is featured in my previous write up). After her death Roland moved in with his great-aunt. Roland is described as a 3-year-old Native American male, with black hair and brown eyes. Roland has a scar on his abdomen. His nickname is Do-Boy and he may go by his middle name, Jack. Roland has some severe medical issues and disabilities. One website explains that Roland experienced brain damage in the womb which lead to his medical issues. Despite his hardships, he was a happy child who loved playing with cars. He is classified as mentally disabled, hard of hearing, and suffers from epilepsy. He takes medication to control his condition and may fall into a coma without it. He can only walk a few steps at a time and has very limited vocabulary and speaking skills. He was last seen wearing corduroy pants, a long sleeved red and white shirt, and tan boots. His was declared legally dead in 2000. Yakama tribal police are investigating, (509) 865-2933. Murdered Darryl Keith Celestine of Zillah, was murdered Sept. 25, 1988, in Wapato. He was found strangled outside his home. Darryl, a Yakama, was only 22 years old at the time. His murder is unsolved. Very little information is available. What happened to these men? Why are so many people missing from such a sparsely populated area? Sources These sources are a good place to start. https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/loved-ones-of-missing-and-murdered-men-and-boys-also-wait-for-answers/article_99d6a596-befe-5860-aa5d-a8fef822725f.html https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/lower_valley/one-year-later-white-swan-quintuple-homicide-suspects-awaiting-trial-law-enforcement-targeting-crime-in/article_4ed98a29-a273-573c-8af1-031fdec6d248.html https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/they-need-closure-families-of-men-who-went-missing-in-yakima-county-ask-for-publics/article_11358e29-b133-5458-9f13-acf4face7abe.html The Charley Project and NAMUS If you are interested in this issue as a whole, I suggest this podcast by Canadian journalist Connie Walker who explains and dives deeply into the issues discussed in the piece. You can listen to the podcast Missing and Murdered here: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/findingcleo/missing-murdered-who-killed-alberta-williams-1.4556030#:~:text=Sparked%20by%20a%20chilling%20tip,in%20British%20Columbia%20in%201989. If you are interested in the cases of other missing Native Americans, my write ups on the Teekah Lewis and Bryce Herda cases can be found here on my reddit profile. https://www.reddit.com/useQuirky-Motor
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