"Son, do you know how fast you were going?"

"Pretty fast."

"Yes, you were. Nice car."

"Thanks. I was just opening up the engine a little. I didn’t mean any harm."

The highway patrolman looked into the car. He looked over at Jerry and nodded to him before taking Miles' license and registration back to his car.

"Pretty fast? Damn, you are a fucking moron. You ought to just take off."

"What?"

"Start the car and take off. He'll never catch us if we take off now."

"He has my license and registration. Taking off is stupid under the circumstances."

Miles removed the keys from the ignition and put them into the front pocket of his jeans. He grinned at Jerry and waited for the highway patrolman.

The patrolman returned and handed the license and registration back to Miles. He did not appear to have written a ticket of any kind. "There was a murder down in New Haven tonight. I don't suppose you gentlemen know anything about that," he said, looking directly at Jerry and the bloodstains on the front of his shirt.

"We're homosexuals," announced Jerry. "We don't know anything about any murder."

"The whole thing looked like some kind of Mafia hit. They shot one guy right between the eyes and cut off another guy's nose. Ugly stuff. I don't suppose you gentlemen know anything about this?” The patrolman drummed his fingers on the roof of the Corvette, waiting for a response.

"I told you, cop. We're homosexuals. We went to the beach because we're in love and wanted to demonstrate a lasting commitment to each other."

The highway patrolman slipped a Swiss Army knife out of his uniform and selected a corkscrew from its wide array of blades and tools. He ran his tongue over his lips, smiled at Miles and began scratching the paint on the driver's side door with the corkscrew.

"I don't suppose you gentlemen are remembering anything about the criminal activities I mentioned a moment ago. It would be helpful if you did, but if you were really just humping each other at the beach I suppose I'm wasting my time," the patrolman yawned, continuing to scrape the corkscrew blade of his Swiss Army knife back and forth across the paint of the Corvette. "Is it pissing you off that I'm doing this?" he asked Miles nonchalantly.

"I wish you wouldn’t," Miles said, "but I can't stop you."

The patrolman smiled and began scratching the paint on the roof of the Corvette. "If you gentlemen are not in any way aware of what transpired in New Haven this evening, then I suppose I should just give you a speeding ticket and send you on your way. I hope you will be willing to testify to your love affair in the event you are required to appear in court regarding these matters."

"Of course we are," Jerry said. "We're not closet homosexuals. We're out there."

The highway patrolman snorted, folded up his Swiss Army knife and stepped back from the car. "1981 Corvette Stingray. Sure is a nice car," he said as he unzipped his fly, slipped himself through the fly and began urinating back and forth across the side of the Corvette.

"Is this how you usually respond to people speeding?" Miles asked, acting completely unaffected by what the patrolman was doing.

"Depends on whether or not they know about murders and people getting their noses cut off. If they don’t know anything then this is how I like to handle it." He finished urinating and put himself back together, zipping up his fly with a self-satisfied snicker.

"What if we did know something about this murder?"

"That might discourage me from breaking your windshield, which is one of the things coming up on my agenda."

"What would we have to know before you would consider not breaking my windshield?"

"The man who was killed was Dwight Fuller. He was a seedy little character, to tell you the truth. He ran afoul of the law on many occasions. His death probably just saves us some cell room at the old prison. Anyone who could make a hit on Dwight Fuller is of interest to area law enforcement."

"Why?"

"We couldn’t touch him. We can't touch anyone in the organization."

"Why not?"

"Situations developed that complicated our attempts at shutting down the operation. We didn't really want Fuller. He was just a pawn. We want the bishop."

"The bishop?"

"The bishop. We're willing to pay a substantial sum of money to anyone who can take out the bishop."

"No way," growled Jerry. "The bishop stands."

"That’s the deal, Jerry. Take out the bishop and we’ll pay you six figures."

"Not interested. Since when do cops have a hundred grand laying around anyway? This is a bullshit offer if I ever heard one, cop."

"Either take the offer or I'll have every cop in the northeast crawling so far up your ass that you won’t need to take any more trips to the beach with your boyfriend."

"The bishop is untouchable. You can't ask me to do that."

"Are you afraid, Jerry? Does the bishop scare you?"

"Fuck no. Nothing scares me, asshole. It has nothing to do with being afraid of the son of a bitch. It has to do with the fact that the bishop can't be fucked with. That is just the way it is. Give the kid a ticket and go fuck yourself."

The patrolman put his hand inside the driver's side window. "Give me your keys, kid. Give me your keys."

Miles pulled the keys out of his pocket and handed them over. The patrolman walked around to the back of the Corvette, opened the trunk and pulled a tire iron out. He walked around to the front of the car and without any emotion, used the tire iron to smash the windshield. It started with a few cracks that grew into a series of spider-web like breaks and ended with the entire windshield collapsing and falling onto Miles and Jerry’s laps, filling the car with broken glass. When he was finished, he carried the tire iron around the car and put it back in the trunk. He closed the trunk calmly and returned the keys to Miles.

"The bishop, Jerry. Either you take the bishop out or we'll make your life a living hell. Don't fuck with me."

"I'd rather fuck with you and every cop on the force than fuck with the bishop."

Miles put up his hands. He was ready to surrender. "I'll take the bishop."

Jerry laughed violently.

"Fuck you, Jerry," said the highway patrolman. "At least the kid has balls. That's more than can be said for you."

"Very funny, asshole," Jerry told the cop. He turned to Miles and told him, "The bishop took my balls. This son of a bitch knows all about it. The bishop had me castrated. It wasn’t pretty."

"Castrated?"

"I fucked up a deal. He sent his thugs to pick me up and bring me to him. He had this psycho chick with him and when he asked her what he should do with me, she suggested he cut my fucking balls off. I still hate that bitch."

"Who the hell is this bishop?" Miles asked.

"I figure you'll find out for yourself," Jerry snorted. "Can we go now?" he asked the highway patrolman.

"You can go for now. I'll have to write you up for the windshield first, however. You can't drive on the highway with your windshield all broken out like that."

"Do you want to know why they call him the bishop, shit for brains?" Jerry asked Miles after the patrolman went back to his car to write up the ticket for the broken windshield.

"I suppose it might help."

"Most people move forward, one step at a time. The bishop moves diagonally and he can go from one side of the board to the other in one move if no one is blocking his path. If they are, he takes them out. That's why they call him the bishop."

"How do I find him?"

"You don't. If he knows you're looking for him, he’ll find you."


At the request of some dangerous folk who shall remain nameless, this is another excerpt from the novel I'm working on. We've entered the third quarter of the story and we are about to meet The Bishop, who may answer some questions or just raise more.

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