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Don of Dixie: Part One

don of dixie short story one
Table of Contents

The following is part one of a three-part short story based on true events. Some of what you read may shock you, but it all happened, more-or-less, so don’t shoot the messenger. That said, welcome to 1960’s Austin, Texaswhere Southern mafiosos run rampant until a local vice cop partners with a Texas narco to end lawlessness in Dixieland.

The morning is hot, the countryside flat and desolate. In the middle of barren farmland sits an old Texas diner, nothing but dirt and dust surrounding it, lone highway running through. 

Inside, the diner has black and white checkered floors, bright fluorescent lights overhead. Against dirty windows sits a row of red booths, empty, save for one—four men eating together. 

Opposite the men is a long counter lined with barstools. A neon Coca-Cola sign hangs behind it, retro, if not for the year:

Austin, Texas — 1962

Ding! From the kitchen a bell rings, a gruff diner cook placing food at the counter window, lit cigarette in his mouth.

“Order up!” He crows, voice like gravel.

An older waitress—Marlow by the look of her nametag—ushers a wide-eyed trainee over to the counter. The trainee is bright-eyed and innocent, apron and knee-length skirt immaculate, hair in an elaborate bun. 

Marlow, by comparison, is tired and disheveled. She hands the young waitress a plate.

“Alright, Judy, order ready for Tim.” Marlow sticks a coffee pot in Judy’s free hand. “He always tips well. Just smile, put the plate down, ask if he wants coffee, and then leave without being a bother. Can you do that?”

Judy nods, turns to go, unstable on her high heels. Marlow steadies her, looking her young form up and down.

“Careful”, Marlow says, her voice trailing. And then, almost to reassure herself: “You’ll be fine; you’ll learn.”

Judy puts on a brave smile, nods, looks at the four men—Tim Overton and posse. They laugh, loud and boisterous, cigarette smoke curling from their booth.

Judy makes her way over. The men grow silent, staring.

“Country fried steak and eggs?” She asks.

Tim Overton motions with his finger. “Over here, sugar.” 

Judy locks eyes with Tim. He’s well dressed, cowboy hat and blazer, no tie. She freezes for a moment before remembering Marlow’s advice. She smiles, puts the plate down, turns to go.

“Coffee?” Tim asks, innocent. 

He motions with his empty mug. Judy refills it.

“For my boys, too?”

No one else offers their cup. Judy leans over the table, filling the empty mugs. The men stare at her cleavage, unabashed.

“Anything else for you, gentleman?” Judy asks, innocent.

Fat Jerry, short, strong, and well-named, snorts. “Shit,” he exclaims. “Gentlemen?”

“Now come on, Jerry,” Tim retorts, “I’m sure Miss…?” His voice trails.

“Judy. Judy Cathey,” she says.

Tim flashes a smile. “I’m sure Miss Judy knows a gentleman when she sees one.” Judy blushes. Tim continues. “Now, how does a classy lady like you come to be in this here diner?”

“I’m from Corpus Corpus Christi—saving for nursing school.”

Tim mocks surprise. “Working here? Gal like you could do better.”

“Could I?” Judy asks, earnest.

“Why sure,” Tim replies. “How much they pay you?”

“Thirty dollars a week.”

The men laugh. “Plus tips,” Judy retorts, the men laughing harder.

Tim silences them with a wave of his hand. He’s nice, soft. “I know a place that pays more,” he says, flashing another warm smile. “Work’s more fun, too.”

Ring! The diner door opens, jingling a bell and breaking up the conversation. In walks patron Harvey Gann, plain-clothed and unassuming. 

Tim spots Harvey, his face turning sour. His men bristle. They get up to leave.

Tim writes his number on a napkin, hands it to Judy. “Give me a call, name’s Tim.” He pulls out a wad of cash, places a large bill on the table. “Come on, y’all, I’ve suddenly lost my appetite.”

Tim leaves, his plate untouched, coffee mug still steaming. His men follow, shouldering past Harvey as they exit.

Outside the diner, four American-made muscle cars wait in the dusty gravel parking lot, surrounded by hot, flat countryside. Tim and gang climb into separate vehicles, speed away, dirt billowing behind them.

Judy watches from the doorway, the whisps of smoke and dust dissipating into the mid-morning air. Behind her, Marlow stands, disapproving.

“Best forget about them, Judy,” she warns, returning to work.

Judy lingers, staring—she can’t. 

Tim Overton and gang drive their muscle cars west across winding dirt roads. To their left and right, nothing but brown farmland leftover from the dust bowl.

Ahead of them looms downtown Austin, the iconic Capitol building gleaming in the late-afternoon sun. On the other side are beautiful mansions lining the Colorado River—a clear divide between east and west.

They reach the upscale West Tarrytown neighborhood by dusk. It’s Halloween night in 1960s Austin; completely lawless. Mayhem, everywhere. Teenagers run from mansion to mansion, throwing eggs and water balloons at buildings, cars, and people. Fistfights break out. A flaming tire rolls down the street. Austin P.D. does its best to keep the peace.

Tim Overton and posse—Fat Jerry, Hank Bowen, Freddie Hedges, and brother Darrell Overton—walk down a wide street with bats, chains, and duffle bags in hand, unencumbered thanks to the surrounding commotion.  

  “Alright, y’all,” Tim exclaims, giving them a curt nod. The five men fan out into two groups, picking mansions that look unoccupied.

Tim, Freddie, and Hank choose a quiet and beautiful house on a hill, shrouded by lush trees. Inside, the mansion is filled with ornate furniture, crown molding throughout. There’s rattling in the kitchen, when…

Smash! A glass door shatters, its wood frame still locked.

In walks Tim Overton, stepping right through the now-missing pane. Next is Hank Bowen, reaching through the door and unlocking it, swinging the frame open and walking through, then…

Slam! He closes the frame on Freddie Hedges. Freddie jumps back, then shakes his head and steps through the broken entrance without bothering to open it again.

Tim turnes around, annoyed. “Will you two hens stop clucking?” His voice is calm but demanding. Freddie and Hank snap to attention. “Check upstairs,” he instructs them. “I’ll look down here.”

The lackeys exit toward an ornate spiral staircase. Tim shakes his head, pokes around in drawers and cabinets, moving through the house like an experienced burglar. Next, the dining room—rummaging through the china cabinet. He considers a silver spoon, breathes on it, polishes it with a shirt sleeve and puts it in his bag, when…

Ring! The doorbell. 

Tim freezes, head snapping toward the front door. He tip-toes over, soft, looks through the peephole. On the other side is a group of young kids, dressed in costumes and holding pillowcases full of candy. Tim pauses, unsure what to do.

Upstairs, Hank and Freddie snoop around the master suite. Freddie opens dresser drawers, one-by-one. He finds a pair of woman’s underwear, holds it up for Hank to see, when ring! They hear the same doorbell. They freeze. Freddie pulls out a gun, previously hidden, both creeping downstairs to join Tim.

“What’s up?” Hank asks.

Tim shrugs. Freddie raises his gun, reaching for the handle. Tim stops him. “ What are you doing? It’s just a bunch of kids.”

“Kids can talk to cops, too,” Freddie replies. He goes for the handle again.

“Jesus, Freddie,” Tim says, grabbing the gun. He replaces it with a bowl of candy sitting on a table in the foyer, opens the door.

“Trick or treat!” The kids squeal.

“Well, look at you! Happy Halloween,” Tim exclaims, pushing Freddie forward.

Freddie doles out the candy, plastic smile on his face. He pauses at a child dressed as a police officer, skips him. “Sorry, I don’t like—” 

Slap! Tim hits him in the back of the head.

“—Missing Austin’s finest,” Freddie finishes, grumbling. He pours the rest of the bowl into the child’s pillowcase. The kids’ jaws drop, mouths agape.

“Stay out of trouble, ya hear?” Freddie says, exiting back into the house.

Tim smiles at the child. “Make sure you share,” he says, closing the door and getting back to work.

Hank claps Freddie on the back, ushering him upstairs. “See, doesn’t that make you feel good?”

The look on Freddie’s face says it doesn’t.

Sunrise basks early-morning Austin in warm rays, the city calm after last-nights events. Inside the Austin police department, however, things are frantic.

Harvey Gann, man from the diner, leans over a desk littered with papers, looking at a map of Austin. He wears a cowboy hat and plaid dress shirt, sleeves rolled, police badge dangling from his neck.

A uniformed police officer approaches. “Another one reported, sir. That makes eleven.”

Harvey shakes his head in disgust. “Another God damn Halloween. Another coordinated robbery attempt,” he says, exasperated.

“Attempt?” The uniformed police officer asks.

“Successful attempt,” Harvey concedes, “for now.”

“You have a lead, then?”

“I don’t need a lead, I know who it was.”

“Oh?” The police officer responds, surprised.

“Yeah, but I can’t prove it. Not yet, but I will, even if I have to search all of God damn Dixieland.”

Like Austin P.D., the Austin-American Statesman—Austin’s staple newspaper outletbuzzes with activity. In the bullpen, reporters slave over typewriters, manically trying to meet deadlines—a state of controlled panic.

In the center of the madness is Executive Editor Don Brown, groomed mustache and laser focus, standing hunched over an identical map of Austin. “Lou!” He shouts.

A portly reporter, elder statesman of the newspaper, makes his way over, small minnow in tow. The young reporter in his wake is Jackie Sanders, wearing a classic reporter’s outfit, pad of paper in hand, trying her best to look the part.

“What’s up?” Lou asks, slightly out of breath.

“Eleven,” Don says, “can you believe that? Eleven.”

Lou nods. “I can believe it.”

“Eleven?” Jackie asks, trying to sound sure of herself

“Yes?” Don replies, hopeful.

“Eleven of what?” 

Don deflates, turns to Lou. “Who is this?”

Jackie thrusts her hand forward. “Jackie Sanders, sir,” she says. Don doesn’t shake it, raising his eyebrow.

“Fresh meat for the bullpen,” Lou says.

“So you’re my new reporter, then,” Don says, addressing Jackie. “Investigative?”

“I’d like to be, sir,” she replies.

“We’re starting her off with some easier beats,” Lou interjects. “You know, parades, community picnics—get her comfortable in the saddle.” 

Don shakes his head, walks away, motions for them to follow. They snake through the building’s bustling hallways while Don talks.

“Eleven. Eleven houses in Tarrytown were knocked over on Halloween. Police say the total rake was well over twenty thousand, give or take a few diamonds. Lou, we need somebody on this.”

“We’ve got somebody on this,” he retorts.

“Come on, Lou. crime is up. Vagrancy is up. Racial tension is up. Austin is headed in the wrong direction and we don’t have anything to say about it.”

“Don—”

“Want another number?” Don asks, cutting him off. “Thirteen. Thirteen unsolved robberies in the past two years. Everything from drugstores to bookstores, but never enough to cause attention. 

“Now, I’m no mathematician, but by my count, these robberies add up to nearly two hundred thousand in stolen loot. Unrelated petty crimes, or connected? Planned? A coordinated robber’s guild, if you will, always flying under the radar, working together, but independently. 

“Where’s that story? That’s what we owe the people of Austin. A bright light, shining on the entrenched and persistent crime in this town.”

The trio stop walking, arriving outside Don’s office. 

“It’s unrelated, Don. I don’t want to glorify petty criminals in the Statesman,” Lou pleads.

There’s a pause. Jackie musters the confidence to speak. “I have a theory.”

“Do you?” Don asks.

Jackie hesitates, then goes for it. “What about Tim Overton?”

“What about him?”

“Couldn’t he do something like this?”, Jackie points out. “He has the temperament for it, and the friends.”

Lou scoffs. “Overton and his boys? No way. Criminals, yes. Sociopaths, maybe. But masterminds? No.” He turns to Don. “You’ve met him. I don’t think Tim has the ambition, or the brain.”

Don considers it. “Put her on assignment,” he tells Lou. “Give her what we already know about Overton and his gang. See what she can come up with.”

Jackie and Lou are both shocked. “But Don—” he starts.

“Now, Lou,” says Don, cutting him off. He walks into his office, closes the door, avoids protest.

Lou turns to Jackie, who looks proud. “I’d drop this if I were you. The Overton boys might be dumb, but that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous.”

He leaves, reality dawning on Jackie.

The night is black, with no lights on the desolate highway. A rundown motel stands alone off to the side, faded sign across the front: M&M Courts Motel. It’s a grimy road-side establishment you’d never want to find yourself, should you have other options.

Inside, prostitutes fill the lobby. Tim Overton and gang lounge around, popping pills and shooting up, women in their laps. Proprietor Hattie Valdez works the front counter. She’s short, silver-haired, and steely, pistol hidden in her garter.

Tim smokes a cigar, dumps a bag onto a table. Diamonds, jewels, and cash rain down. He shakes it for good measure. A few stragglers rattle out. 

“Which hen you got for me, Hattie?” Fat Jerry crows, unable to contain himself.

“Pick one yourself,” Hattie replies, not even bothering to look at him. 

“Pick one myself? You see what we got here, don’t you?” He possesses a diamond across the room. Hattie catches it with one hand, stashes it in her brazier, scans the room, signals two girls over to Fat Jerry’s waiting lap.

“Slow down, Jerry,” Tim warns. “No need to blow your load so fast—or ours.” 

Fat Jerry’s too preoccupied to hear. Tim looks around, everyone equally absorbed by female talent. He gets up, walks past a prostitute on his way to Hattie. The prostitute holds a silver serving tray. Tim places a necklace on it, pearl by pearl.

“Meet me in my room,” he says. The prostitute smiles, walks down the hall, experienced. Tim continues over to Hattie, nonchalant. 

“Nice place you got here,” Tim says, nonchalant.

“What do you want, Overton?” Hattie asks.

Tim acts surprised. “Now, why do I have to want something?” 

She eyes him suspiciously. “Trick in your bed, and you’re out here talking to me? Cut the shit.”

Tim grins. “I like you, Hattie, I really do.”

Then, Tim acts like he’s been struck by an idea. “Say, my outfit’s recent successes have got me thinking we should expand into greener pastures, enter new markets. A partnership between us could be…mutually beneficial.”

Hattie snorts, leans in. “A partnership? With you? You might be a pimp, Overton, but I run prostitution here in Austin.”

Tim smiles, slides a jewel across the counter. “It’s not just prostitution that interests me.”

Hattie looks down at the gleaming rock, back at Tim. “You know, my daddy always told me that pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered.”

Tim laughs, gives her a pat on the cheek, soft, but dangerous. “Think about it,” he says, walking down the hall in search of his woman, whistling an old country tune.

Tim arrives home later that night, his car screeching to a stop in front of a small, rundown apartment complex. He exits the car, drunk, stumbles to his front door, fumbling for his keys before entering.

Inside, the apartment is dark and quiet, modest, mid-century furniture throughout. Two girls sleep in their shared room. 

Tim bursts through the front door, loud, making it to his bedroom. Inside, Tim’s wife, Sue Overton, is awake, waiting. Tim notices Sue, stops—ashamed, but too proud to show it.

“What?” He asks. 

“Nothing.” She’s curt.

“Why you up then?

“Waiting.”

“Yeah, for what?”

“You promised my kids you’d have dinner with them.”

“Your kids?” Tim asks, his temper rising.

“Yeah. My kids,” Sue retorts, defiant.

“Yeah, well, I was out.”

“At Hattie’s?”

“I had business.” Tim’s voice is flat, trying his best to control his anger.

Sue shakes her head, fed up. “You’re just like your deadbeat father,” she says under her breath.

Tim hears, can’t control his temper. “I told you not to bring him up under my roof!” He bellows.

“Our roof,” Sue says softly.

“I found you, Sue, don’t you forget that. Who were you before me? A sad, single mother, husband in jail, no job to support her two beautiful girls. A heroin addict. I found you, Sue. I pulled you up off the pavement. I gave you a life. 

“I promised? I’ll tell you what I promised. I promised you and your kids wouldn’t starve, that your ex-husband wouldn’t beat you. That’s what I promised.”

Sue musters all the confidence she can. “Look, you can lie to me. You can use me as a trick. You can stay out all night, hell, stay out all week. I don’t care. But don’t lie to my kids. They’ve had enough failed father figures already.”

“Failed father figure? Just because I was working too damn hard to eat dinner like a happy family?”

Tim gets a drunken idea—tightens his tie, flattens his jacket, checks his watch. “Well, hell, it’s not too late, is it? We can still have dinner.” He storms down the hallway.

“Tim, Tim!” Sue hisses, rushing after him.

He reaches the kitchen, thrusts open a green-cream fridge, grabs deli meats, mayo, mustard. Next, a knife. Menacing. Sue tries to restrain him. Tim throws her off, grabs bread, makes two deli sandwiches. He carries them towards the girls’ bedroom.

“Tim, please, no! Please,” Sue cries.

Tim ignores her, opens the bedroom door, flips on the lights. “Wake up girls, wake up,” he calls to them. The two girls are in opposite twin beds, groggy. They rub sleep from their eyes, confused. 

Tim approaches. “Your mom wants us to have dinner.” He reaches down, puts a sandwich in each one of their faces. They refuse, look at their mother, frozen in the doorway.

“Come on, girls, you gotta eat.” They refuse again, wild in their eyes. “I said eat your dinner!” Tim bellows, smashing the sandwiches into the girls’ mouths, rubbing their faces in the food, condiments everywhere. 

They cry. Sue lunges forward. 

Slap! Tim backhands her. She falls to the floor in a heap. 

Her body on the ground sobers Tim, bringing him to his senses. Flashing through his mind are memories of his father, Snooks Overton, sitting at a beat-up kitchen table, drinking. His shoulders slouched—poor and ashamed of it. Tim’s mom, Ima Nell, entering, saying something Snooks doesn’t like. Snooks hitting her, hard.

Tim backs away from his wife’s crumpled form, her daughters still crying in the background. He escapes for the driveway, distraught, trying to unlock his car door. He can’t. His hands are shaking. 

He lights a cigarette, takes a deep drag, calms himself. He opens the door, speeds off.

Tim Overton saunters down the deserted streets of Downtown Austin, bottle in hand. He’s drunk, stumbling, his tie loose, his coat ruffled.

He stops, looks at his reflection in a storefront window. He’s disgusted with himself, pulling at his disheveled clothes. 

Then, behind his reflection, he sees a suit well-fitted on a mannequin.

The next day, Hank Bowen and Freddie Hedges loiter on the east side of Austin, white t-shirts tucked into tight jeans, cowboy boots on their feet. 

Hank throws a rock at a can. It clangs off with a dull ring.

“What’s takin’ ‘em so long?” Freddie exclaims, exasperated. “It’s hot as a two-dollar pistol. I want to go to Ernie’s.”

Hank ignores him. “Bet you can’t make it in the can before I do,” he says.

“How much it worth to you?”

“Beating you? Priceless.”

Both men search for winning rocks. One by one, they toss pebbles at the open can, focused, when…

Smack! A stiff boot kicks the can down the dirt road. 

Hank and Freddie look up, annoyed. In front of them is a Texas Ranger, complete with a wide-brimmed hat, gleaming star-shaped badge, and reflective sunglasses.

“Hello boys,” the Ranger says, feigning friendliness. “What we got going on here?”

“You ruining my mood is what we got going on here,” Freddie growls.

“Now, Freddie, I’m sure this law dog has a perfectly good explanation,” Hank assures his friend. “You do, don’t you, law dog?”

The Ranger spits, chaw in his mouth. “Looks to me like we have two vagrants. Loitering, boys?”

“We’re not loitering,” Hank explains. “We’re waiting.”

“For what?” The Ranger asks, unbelieving.

“None of your damn business,” says Freddie, sticking out his chin.

The Ranger sighs. “Boys, what I see here is no visible means of support. Vagrancy, which, as I’m sure you know, is illegal here in the great state of Texas, making it all of my business.”

“Come on, you know that law is corrupt bullshit,” Freddie says, eyes narrowing. “Just like the Rangers.”

The Ranger takes a step closer, imposing. “Men’s clothing store was knocked over last night. Bunch of suits were taken, not to mention cash. Real shame. Y’all wouldn’t know what I’m talking about, would you?”

Freddie spins around, arms wide, modeling his clothes. “Does it look like we know anything about it? Maybe you should question someone in a suit.”

“What’s going on, boys?” A voice inquires.

Arriving is Tim with brother Darrell and lackey Bobbie Joe Ward, a shifty character. All three fully suited. They stand still, defiant, bags in their arms.

“We’re getting harassed,” Freddie replies. “You know how I feel about getting harassed.”

“It’s ok, Freddie,” Tim assures him. “I’m sure this Ranger is just doing his job.”

The Ranger raises an eyebrow in Tim’s direction. “Nice suit.”

Tim hands his bags to his lackeys, walks up to the Ranger. “This thing? Oh, it was a gift—From my mother.” The boys chuckle in the background.

“You wouldn’t mind if I check the tags then, would you?” The Ranger asks.

“I would mind,” Tim retorts. 

The Ranger stares, silent. 

Tim reaches into his pocket, pulls out a roll of cash. “Silly me, is this what you meant by tags?” Tim hands the wad of cash to the Ranger, who accepts. “You know,” Tim continues, “I heard it might be them boys from Dallas. You can have that tip for free.”

“I’ll look into it.” The ranger doesn’t move, arms crossed—he won’t.

In the distance, a loud muscle car approaches, music blaring. 

Tim tips his cap to the Ranger. “Excuse me, but this is our ride.”

“Y’all stay out of trouble, ya hear?”

The car pulls to a stop, Fat Jerry in the driver’s seat. He stares at the Ranger. Tim and gang pile into the car. Bobbie Joe Ward motions with his hand like a gun, shoots the Ranger, almost friendly. The muscle car speeds off.

Within the Austin police department, Harvey Gann sits in his office, feet on his desk. He stares at a corkboard with information on Tim Overton and gang.

Within the police department Harvey Gann sits in his office, feet on his desk. He stares at a corkboard with information on Tim Overton and gang.

Ring! His desk phone. He answers. 

“Gann.”

On the other end is the Texas Ranger, leaning against a dusty phone booth on the side of the road, phone to his ear, toothpick in his mouth, counting his cash. “Harvey Gann?” The Ranger asks.

“Yeah, what of it?”

“This is Brayden Morgan, Texas Rangers.”

Harvey snorts. “The Rangers? I’ve got better things to—”

“I hear you’re on a new beat,” the Ranger says, cutting him off.

“Sorry, but I don’t buy my tips.”

“Consider this one a freebie.”

“Hardly,” Harvey quips.

“I just ran into Tim Overton,” the Ranger replies.

Harvey sits up in his chair, finally interested. “Oh?” He asks, cautious.

“Yeah, I was investigating a clothing store robbery.”

“That 10-31 already came through dispatch—” 

The ranger cuts him off again. “It’s not that. It’s Bobbie Joe Ward.”

“Bobby Joe who?”

“Bobby Joe Ward,” the Ranger confirms. “Safecracker, pimp, drug dealer extraordinaire. Saw him hanging with the Overton boys earlier. We got word from a local trick that he’s running a deal tonight for the Dallas mob. Maybe your boy Tim will be there.”

Harvey puts his feet back up on his desk, smile creeping across his face. “Well now, that is interesting—”

Knock knock! Someone at the office door. 

Harvey straightens in his seat, professional. “I gotta go, thanks for the tip,” he says, hanging up his desk phone. “Come in!”

The door opens. In walks Ernie Scholl, a surely WWII vet dressed in a black suit, badge pinned to the inside of his coat. He addresses Harvey, military precise. “Harvey Gann?”

“Yes.”

“Ernie Scholl, Narcotics Unit, Department of Public Safety,” he says, offering his hand. Harvey shakes it.

“Of course, why didn’t you say so? Harvey Gann, Lead Detective, Austin PD. The brass told me they were sending someone from Narco, but they didn’t say it would be Ernie Scholl.”

Ernie shrugs. “Boys from Travis County called. Looks like they ran your Overton problem up the flagpole—I’ve been assigned to your case.”

“Didn’t you but Jimmy Reed?” Harvey asks.

“So the story goes.”

“Well, enjoy it while you can, because Tim Overton ain’t no Jimmy Reed.”

“That’s why I’m here,” Ernie replies, solemn. “Tell me about him.”

“Robberies and drug deals, mostly, but he’s not too particular. Houses, pharmacies, hell, he’s even suspected of knocking over a men’s clothing store.”

“Clothing store?” Ernie asks, surprised.

Harvey shakes his head, barely able to believe it himself. “Took fifty-two suits and twenty sports coats.”

“What could one man want with all those suits?”

“Who knows,” Harvey admits, shrugging. “That’s the thing about Tim Overton. He’s good, but random. Just like we wake up and go to work, Tim Overton is out there committing crimes like it’s his job. My gut tells me he knocked over a clothing store because he felt the impulse.”

Ernie strokes his chin, thinking. “Sociopath, maybe?”

“Maybe, but I don’t buy it. Tim might seem like a petty criminal, but he’s got lofty aspirations and the ego to prove it. If I know Tim like I think I do, he’s working towards something, something big.”

“He must not be alone, then.”

Harvey nods, directing Ernie’s attention towards the corkboard filled with pinned mugshots and notes. He points out each of Overton’s posse. “With him are Fat Jerry, Fred Hedges, Hank Bowen, and Darrell Overton, just to name a few. 

“Jerry’s the nastiest of the group and Tim’s second in command. Freddie Hedges is their trigger man, probably the most dangerous, mainly because he’s too dumb for his own good.

“Darrel Overton is next, basically idolizes his brother, would do anything for Tim, including kill a man or two. Finally, Hank Bowen, thinking man, coolest head of the group. He plans logistics and sometimes jiggers for the crew.” 

“Got it,” Ernie says, synthesizing the information. “So, what about the drugs?”

“Mainly prescription pills. Opiates, amphetamines, whatever you want, really.” Harvey points at locations on the corkboard. “They run most of their drugs through the M&M Courts Motel, a prostitution joint owned by an old and weathered broad named Hattie Valdez. Tim moonlights as a pimp and uses the motel as his office. 

“There’s also a cabin on Lake Travis and Ernie’s Chicken Shack, and we suspect he’s laundering the drug money through his father’s old muffler shop—rundown old place, something from the 30s and 40s. It’s still operating, far as we can tell, but it doesn’t do much business.”

Ernie looks at the web of yarn connecting pictures on the corkboard—a giant web of confusion. “So, where do we start?”

“We just got a tip that Tim’s in on a deal tonight. Seven pounds of grass coming in from Dallas.”

“That easy, huh?”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Harvey warns. “Tim’s as slippery as an eel.”

Ernie smiles, patting his new compatriot on the back. “Don’t worry Harvey, I’ve seen this a thousand times before. Tim thinks the sun comes up just to hear him crow. He’ll get arrogant, sloppy—and then we’ll have him.”

— End of Part One; Check Out Part Two Here or Sign Up for Updates Below —

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