A family affair

Note: This story can also be found with others at Dave’s blog, The Old Badger Speaks

It’s a Family Affair

By: DS Klausler

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

“God’s not on our side because he hates idiots, also.”

Jackson Guðmundur Zorch ignored the ringing phone displaying “Possible Spam.” Just a coincidence those bank forms were created requiring a confirmed phone contact. Lying sell-out assholes. The second, third and fourth calls all had a familiar area code; they too were ignored. No voicemail was left… shocking. The final call (same area code) matched on his contacts – his demented sister – who he hoped never to hear from again. Frowned at. Ignored. Eventual voicemail:

“Pardon the intrusion Jackie, at your earliest convenience, would you ring me up. There has been a bit of an event regarding your father. Toot-a-loo.”

Dipshit fuck. Like I care about her faux authority or that piece of shit progenitor. Deleted. Phone “Recents”: deleted.

Jackson beat the blue teardrop shaped water-filled heavy bag severely for an hour. Hands, elbows, feet and knees still quick and sharp. One hundred and twenty pounds dancing wildly in tune with the very loud ‘90s rock stream. One hundred and seventy-five pounds glistening and now ramping down. Fifteen minutes of concentrated stretching followed.

Jackson ignored the doorbell and mixed his post-workout green and brown powders with clean water into sixteen ounces of thick liquid. Chugged, belched and cleaned up. The second ding-dong was ignored too, but a quick glance through the beveled glass within and adjacent to the fiberglass and steel reinforced door revealed two large people dressed in dark clothing. A quick check to make sure the HD full color video was online. Cheap dark blue suits. The high exterior camera above the garage showed an ancient unmarked black CVPI; standard civil servant American made junk blocking exit on the driveway. Ding-dong. Ding-dong. He grabbed the cordless land-line unit, and his cellphone adjusted and now rolling the live video. Wearing only shorts, he opened the inner door leaving the stainless steel barred, bolted and anchored security door in place.

Calmly, “What do you want?”

Authoritatively from Suit One, “Jackson Zorch?” Wrinkled off-white Goodwill shirt under a stained polyester jacket with matching pants too short, fully exposing once black and now filthy fake wingtips. No way could the buttons close around the substantial belly.

Calmly, “What do you want?”

Firmly from Suit Two bellying up to the impenetrable cage, “Are you Jackson Zorch?” So many stains that it appears he actually used his plastic clip-on tie as a napkin – for years. Just a mess of non-grooming and physical decomposition.

Low ranking clowns.

Jackson stepped back gracefully and closed the inner door quietly.

Ding-dong. Ding-dong. Ding-dong.

He opened the quad-hinged heavy door once again – with the cell-phone live video display held face high and facing them in his left hand.

Calmly, “What do you want?”

Suit Two, incredulously, to his butt-buddy partner, “Can you believe this guy?” with an exaggerated shoulder shrug.

Silence. Live video obvious. Warning.

Suit One, “I am detective Walker, and this is my partner Detective Dewars,” with a casual arm wave.

Calmly, “Identification.”

Dewars, now angered, “Listen asshole, I don’t know who the fuck—”

Jackson stepped back gracefully and closed the inner door quietly.

Ding-dong. Ding-dong. Ding-dong.

Heated discussion outside, the ultra-sensitive mic easily picking up their third-grade English and adolescent reasoning.



He opened the inner door once again – with the video display face high and facing them. This time he also held the land-line phone in his right hand.

Walker: “Look—”

Calmly, “Identification.”

They stare at each other, then return staring at him – annoyed.

Jackson slowly tucked the cell-phone halfway into the taught beltline of his light shorts and shifted the land-line unit to his left hand. He turned the phone slightly to the brilliant gumshoes so they could see him first press the speaker button and then as he dialed 9-1-1.

Quite loud, “Nine-one-one, what is your emergency please?” Always friendly in these affluent areas.

“Good afternoon, Ma’am, I seem to have two, ahhh, roundish males, poorly dressed and angry at my front door. They are impersonating officers of our fine community. They are threatening me, and I am scared. They will not properly identify themselves as is, I believe – required. What should I do?”

Walker, magically finding his ID. Both hands up in front signaling please stop. Dewars begrudgingly extracting his perceived permission to abuse and interrogate.

“Oh, I am awfully sorry that I have disturbed you… they seem to have found their law enforcement credentials. All is well.”

911, pensively, “Are you sure? I see you that you’re calling from 1313 Mockingbird Lane, it’s no problem to send a cruiser by… there is one nearby.”

“Yes Ma’am, their identification looks authentic, and they are now apologizing for the misunderstanding. Have a good day,” pressing the “End” button in front of them.

Jackson set the phone on the floor via a full squat and extracted the cell-phone from his waist while rising smoothly.

Calmly, “Hold the IDs up next to your faces.” They do and even though the video is being captured from four cameras, he snapped a few pictures with the excellent cell-phone camera to make the threat crystal clear. He then set the cell-phone on the floor and gestured with his hand – palm up: “Identification.”

Dewars: “You piece of shit—”

Jackson stepped back gracefully to close, and Walker found his voice, “Wait… please.”

With the door back open they both handed him their leatherette ID badge wallets. After exaggerated close-up scrutiny of the cheap silver metal, Jackson nodded and handed them back through a gap in the bars.

Matter-of-factly, “It seems that you tough guys are out of your jurisdiction. Shall we ask 9-1-1 if you have obtained proper permission?”

Silence. Fidgeting.

Calmly, “What do you want?” They’ve persisted, now I’m interested.

Dewars: “We ask the questions here pal.”

Jackson stepped back gracefully and Walker once again found his voice: “Come on… wait.”

Opening back up, “Last chance McGarrett, what do you want?”

Walker, pleading, “We just want to ask you a few questions, may we come in?”

Calmly, “No. About what exactly?”

Silence. Gears of the powerful minds turned slowly. Dewars fidgeting.

Jackson calmly picked up the cell-phone and once again activated the live video display and then pointed it to them.

Walker gives it up, “It seems that there was an incident with your father and our sources indicate you may have some relevant information.”

Calmly, with eyebrows raised, “Sources?”

Silence. Consternation.

Jackson stepped back gracefully while stating, “I have no more time for your games.”

Walker, exasperated, “Okay, okay. Can we at least come in to discuss the situation.”

Calmly, “No you may not. Sources?”

Dewars attacking, “Your fucking sister says you did the deed jackass. She’s a real piece of work.” Fake laugh follows. Brilliant detecting there, infantile analysis skills still in play by Chief Wiggum.


Walker: “Look, we have been nice, now we’re going to need you to come in to the station and make a statement.” They actually believe this shit.

Calmly, “You guys have been watching too much TV.”

Dewars, now furious, “Look asshole, how about we drag your naked ass down there and cool you off with the randy gorillas in the cage?” Randy? Did this guy attend anything beyond TV kindergarten?

Humorously, “May I see the arrest warrant?” while eyeballing all around the obviously robust steel door.

Walker barks, while Dewars blows a fuse: “We’ll get one if we have to!”

Calmly, “Goodbye.”

Jackson stepped back gracefully and closed the inner door quietly. Great.


“I’ve access to 28% of my cerebral capacity. I can feel every living thing.”

Jackson Zorch selected one of his reserved burner phones and texted his confidante and legal representative with their long ago agreed upon code word “Guðmundur”. He followed that with a phone call to the same subconsciously recalled number. Lucy answered on the first ring.

“Axe?” How could she have already heard and knew to use the revered moniker? Tricksy lady.

“Lucia?” [She had warranted the beautiful and formal variation upon first meeting decades previous.]

“What have you got yourself into this time?”



“6:00pm. I’ll send you a video of a visit I just received. Also, please review my heritage; it may be in the news.”

“Already done. See you there.” Tricksy indeed.

Lucy Klüft didn’t stop at the hostess stand, she simply nodded and strode by to the table where Jackson was now standing, awaiting her. She was six feet in her modest heels, equal to Jackson as they only shook hands, but warmly with subtle facial expressions. Sleekly dressed in form-highlighting grey, her alluring trim Nordic looks drew stares. Jackson wore a crisp white Egyptian cotton shirt covered by a navy linen jacket and simple hole-free bluish Levi’s down low. He assisted her chair. They sat. He poured her a half-glass of the Clean Slate Riesling. They touched glasses lightly.

“I like your hair.”

Tilting her head and slowly combing the feathery light blonde right side, “Mmm, I got tired of the maintenance of the long locks. You still look decent,” with a slight smirk.

“As you know, it takes work.”

Silence. Sipping the sweet wine while simply looking at each other.

“I spoke to ADA Jefferson.” Long emphatic pause, “they have your file… THE file. My early work with you. Worse, your sister somehow had a copy – the summary anyway.” Tilting downward, slight shake back and forth, “Sorry. It was possibly mistakenly included way back in the competency hearing days, but it sure looks stolen and leaked. I’ll see Jerry tomorrow, but I doubt he’ll tell even me where it came from – we’re not that friendly. As you know, the manslaughter charge was largely public.”


They ordered; Lucy choosing Ahi Tuna and Jackson selecting the Bourbon Peppercorn NY Strip. Both added spinach salads. Jackson refilled their glasses.

“Anything else?”

“They have some undisclosed evidence; I’ll hear about that tomorrow. Your father is dead – bludgeoned – skull. Your mother, also dead, but from what looks like asphyxiation – choked. Oreos is the running joke. Sorry… there are photos of the table circulating – the cookie package is visible. They are seated, in death. Happened some time last night; called in early today. Murder-Accidental Death… murder by the other victim has not been ruled out but seems unlikely due to the age and physical condition – and extent of the damage administered.”

“Mm hm.”

Silence. The food arrived incredibly fast as Lucy is well known as a prodigious public reviewer of services rendered. Salads just three minutes before the entrées.

“I have filed a formal complaint about the detectives at your door – The Scotch Brothers. Dewars has received them previously – he’s a true wildcard. Walker is your typical bully, but he also had some color on the record – according to Jerry. He knows that I’ll follow up. He also seemed hesitant to mention you explicitly but did say that it is unlikely that an arrest warrant is eminent. Again: tomorrow; before noon for sure.”

Salads vacuumed up. Wine finished.

“My beef is perfect, how is your fish?”

“Very good.”

Silence. She is comfortable not speaking aimlessly. The ice-cold bubbly water is good.

“Thank you… Lucia.”

Her plate is empty as is Jackson’s. Jackson tips generously and pays roundly in cash. He assists Lucy’s chair, and they glide out together. Outside, they hug deeply – no words – and disperse.

The Verdict

“I know about you. You couldn’t hack it as a lawyer. You were a bag man for the boys downtown and you still are, I know about you.”

Even decades beyond her emigration to the U.S. Midwest, the early warm summer breeze still felt fantastic to Lucy Klüft as she ordered a simple green tea for herself and a standard black coffee for Gerald Jefferson from the Dunkin drive-thru. She parked her immaculate old silver Volvo XC and headed in through dozing security to Jerry’s office. As usual, he was already there at a quarter to seven. Does he ever go home? she thought. She knocked lightly with her free hand on the open wooden office door in the otherwise empty expansive space.

On sight, Jerry stood to greet her. A loose shoulder hug was appreciated given the Danish smeared on his brown corduroy jacket. While crouching slightly to meet his lesser height, she spread her right arm wide to avoid spillage of the reinforced paper tray holding the hot beverages. He’s rounder.

Casually admiring her appearance, “Lucy, as beautiful as ever.”

“Your usual black, Jerry,” offering the tray with his cup nearest the small reaching hand. “How are you?”

“Thank you.” Indifferent shrug emphasizing “same old, same old. The world turns as the cities burn.” Huh? That’s new. “You?” as he shuffled around to sit in his ancient wooden swivel armchair.

With a mild flick of her long fingers tipped with neutrally polished nails, “I’m fine… work is more interesting these days,” while seating herself in the old wooden armchair opposing his completely covered messy desk.

“Hmmff.” Dramatic pause leading to “So your boy…” Great. “Probably not going to be an issue; the physical evidence was definitive, it seems. But that guy… that file… he’s something else,” questioningly.

“Jerry. That is serious business; procedurally troublesome – for your office.”

“Yes, yes, of course, Lucy. The document will be noted, logged and shredded in due time. You would know better than I, but what a story of family, huh?” This never ends.

Ignoring the poke, “You mentioned ‘physical evidence’? Please elaborate.”

“I never liked the guy, especially back then… didn’t buy the self-defense claim, no matter the credible witnesses.” Conveniently forgetting that I was one of those witnesses. “Now this revelation. Come on, he’s essentially blaming his parents – his father mostly. Which is, or was, key to the case at hand. Many, many adults are just fine given their varied childhoods. I’ve seen far worse, and I do not see anything so special here,” waving the pilfered file at her.

“Jerry, I will not give specifics despite the already extant and egregious invasion of privacy. I will say that every person is different – emotional deprivation can be devastating. There is some correlation between the number of siblings and the extent of the causative behavior. Physical as well as mental manifestation includes a myriad of potential future problems. These can be insurmountable absent serious professional experienced treatment along with diligent participation by the victim. Many are unaware of the usually buried trauma and consequently never seek such care. We’re speaking of abuse.”

Casually, “Uh huh, spoken like a true supporter of your very own lucrative profession.” Ignoramus.

“Well Harvard, have you ever considered what your privileged life might have been like absent the pampering throughout?” Come on now Lucy, stay on the high road. “Have you read his Intelligence Profile therein?”

Silence. Drumming fingers.

Body language dismissing the elevated scores at every measure. Finally, “Yes. I also saw what Axe did to that guy.” The State speaks once again.

Controlled fury, “Come on Jerry, that guy, as you call him, was an attacking well-trained 6’5”, 225# personal bodyguard.” You egocentric wimp. “Have you seen his public teaching awards? Children. Have you any idea of his various instructor credentials? Females. He clearly specializes in assisting those weaker, abused or less powerful than their peers. This all counters his purposely and selectively exposed history. A clear demonstration of overcoming public demonization. This is the guy you want on your team – especially when things get rough.”

“Did YOU see the recent commentary from our expert? Let’s see: no tolerance for authority, no empathy, no sympathy, no guilt, sexual promiscuity, grandiose sense of self… similar traits exist for a psychopath – but you’d know better than her, correct?” Gross TV generalizations – what a dunce. “Ms. Zorch would also tell a different tale regarding daddy – she has done so actually. Says Axe always hated him… threatened him frequently.” Rambling misdirection, old news and lies, it’s obvious from the file content (that he apparently missed).

Concealed exasperation, “You mentioned physical evidence?”

“Okay Lucy. Okay. The case bothered me back then, now this – not the refreshment I sought – ever.” Lengthy pause in thought, “Yes, a hammer was used, and it was located after overwhelming crime scene fingerprint and hair evidence led to a search of the sister’s dwelling. Or “art” studio, or whatever CSI are calling it. Along with the bloody weapon in a zip-lock within the freezer, there were dozens of sketches, or drawings posted around the place depicting the violent crime. Crayon was the medium, if I remember correctly. She’s in special holding now. Pysch there too – assisting. Recorded violent babbling confession and sometimes incoherent rant at arrest. Seems crazy to me.” Once again, the ignorant expert speaks – unbearable.

“Oh, thank you so much for joyfully wading through all this again just to admit innocence!”

“Innocence? Hardly… what a family. No official Press advisement yet, maybe never. Forget your usually requested apology. Let it go.” What a DICK!

“Pray he doesn’t find out that you were the leak.”

“Why Lucy dear, was that a threat?”

Purposeful silence.

Arms open palms up, head tilted slightly, “And the Scotch Brothers?”

“Idiots… tipped off by overzealous morons coerced by the manipulative sister. They have surprisingly remarkable quantitative results involving lesser suspects. Axe definitely surprised them – clearly well out of their league. Your complaint is pending internal evaluation.” Zzzzzz.

Lucy nodded, stood, smoothed her fashionable but appropriate length skirt, straightened, looked into his eyes, did not shake the little hand on his slumped and unrisen old body, turned gracefully and stepped out.

The Book of Eli

“We’ll get out, both of us.”

Jackson Guðmundur Zorch and Lucy Klüft exited the trendy tavern through the crowded outdoor dining area. Just a casual relaxing drink while the case status and some personal updates had been deeply discussed. Pleasant. No presstitutes despite her picture recently being sensationalized alongside stories of protecting an animal – purposely omitting the indicted confessor and absence of charges against Jackson.

Dewars appeared at the large ivy-covered patio entrance arbor. Recognizing Jackson first, he advanced straight to them. Body language indicated alcohol inhibited calculations emulsifying.

The Axe Man!” as he swung wildly with a sloppy left haymaker.

By habit Jackson simply stepped slightly outside the telegraphed range to his right, but by misfortune Lucy had just stood from greeting a diner at a nearby table and was nearly at Jackson’s left shoulder. As Jackson eased out, he realized Lucy’s new presence and grasped with his left hand and forearm at waist height to back her up, but it was too late. Lucy saw the blow coming and tilted her face aside – also too late – as the ring on the middle finger of Dewars’ club sized fist sliced across the tip of her delicate nose. She fluidly stepped back in parallel with her head motion as Jackson’s right fist came in destroying three or four of Dewars’ exposed left ribs. The impact stopped the big man’s body from rotating and redirected it to the ground with Jackson now grabbing his upward flailing right hand. A sharp and powerful tearing double arm pull while spinning his own weight against the mass lifted the dead weight slightly up and backwards away from the tables and into the aisle. Lucy stabilized instantly. Jackson continued to rotate, elevating Dewars’ wrist while straddling his arm now pinned between both his knees and relocated feet at armpit and deltoid. As Jackson bent the wrist backwards forcefully, the shoulder began to hyperextend and a quick strike of his right heel on the back of the shoulder yielded a distinct and dull pop while Dewars howled. Moving his left foot out wide, Jackson continued to twist now using the torque of his core, shoulders, and body weight to rip the disconnecting arm well behind the owner’s head and beyond permanent debilitating damage. Dewars screamed loudly into the slate tiles then vomited an orange slurry. Lucy placed her hand on Jackson’s shoulder and squeezed gently. Jackson eased up then released the limp disjointed limb on an unconscious Dewars. Three patrons had their phones out shooting video – mostly the ending due to the incredible speed of the event.

Calmly, reassuring, “Jackson… I’m okay.”

Silent evaluation of the scene. Some guy moved in low to check on Dewars. Lucy confirmed that he knew what he was doing. Another was speaking to 9-1-1. Jackson sat down neutrally at a nearby empty chair – people moved back. Lucy spoke to a couple of the video people asking them to please save the recording of the event; Jackson could see them nodding in agreement. Lucy moved to sit next to Jackson and await the Meds then possibly Feds. She glanced back to see a roof mounted camera. As she knew the owner well, it seemed likely that the event would be safely recorded and probably archived off-site.

Absence of Malice

“You had a leak? You call what’s goin’ on around here a leak? Boy, the last time there was a leak like this, Noah built hisself a boat.”

Lucy gazed at the multicolored forest from her balcony with Jackson seated in a cushioned chair while absorbing the warm sun. Her porcelain nose had healed with neither physical nor mental scarring. Brief chit-chat of the recent history then the update.

“Yes, felony aggravated assault for Dewars… as you may know, he’s already been suspended without pay. Union still screaming of course. He’ll be fired before being locked up, but the penalty will probably be for some ridiculously short term – six months would be my guess – and he may be out in just thirty days. On the clock, carrying both his badge and sidearm – you’d win any criminal suit against the city. They will probably make an offer without suit. They would like this to go away of course… silently. You’d also easily win a civil suit if you wish to punish him further – monetarily – but he has virtually nothing. Oh yeah, Walker ‘retired’ last week. Thirty-six years… he will live fine on the pension.

“Take the city’s money AND force a public apology of some kind. Jefferson?”

“He dumped it onto his lead investigator who in turn claimed that your sister had the source file from which they made only evidentiary copies. Possible, but extremely unlikely given her state and lack of resources. She is currently unavailable to anyone outside her mandated care of course. In summary: standard procedure legally for them throughout – no criminal intent identified. Consequently, nothing warranting an investigation. However, he now has obvious problems for the future… not much for us to do there, or anywhere.”

“We’ll see.”

“I’m sure the lawyer pestered you for input, but even with your silence there was no burial service. Strange that they were cremated by an uncertified will stipulation.” Hanging pause then, “Probate required but nothing for you anyway… all for her. You may not know that there was a well-attended memorial service just last week.”

“Good fucking riddance.”

2 thoughts on “A family affair

  1. Let’s see: no tolerance for authority, no empathy, no sympathy, no guilt… Hmmm. Another fascinating story! By the way, I shared your end of the world as we know it story to a friend of mine and his words were “wow, what a story.”


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