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By Anthony S. Engles
Wild Turkey and Broken Glass
July 30, 1983
The tarnished silver bell above the thick glass door heralded the arrival of Washington State Trooper Bob Wooten. His eyes burned from staring down hundreds of miles of mostly deserted black-top, and Denny's was his final stop each night before heading home. He stood with his thumbs hooked in his utility belt and surveyed the damage. He gave a low whistle.
"Jesus Christ, Lynette, you should have gotten the bomb squad down here," he said. "What the hell happened?"
Lynette looked up from the register and offered a weary smile, her thick mane of cinnamon brown hair piled up and clipped in place with wild, loose strands escaping everywhere. She handed change to a young man with a black leather jacket and a military haircut.
"Hey, Bob," she said. "Erika was a no-show and Monique called in sick again. Help yourself to the coffee if you like, you know where it is. We're short a cook, too, so Rita‘s back helping on the line."
Wooten watched a teenage busboy with greasy blonde hair and a volcanic case of acne sweep the entire surface of a cluttered table with his forearm, dumping everything into a filthy gray plastic tub. Platters with utensils and napkins glued on with dried egg yolk, dirty ash trays, banana split boats that swam with melted ice-cream, half-empty water glasses and coffee cups smeared with lipstick clattered angrily into the grimy receptacle. Except for a few diners enjoying coffee and languid conversation, every table in the restaurant was covered with dirty dishes or stripped of everything but a tacky film of residue - as if the only coffee shop for 40 miles had been over-run by a starved mob, ransacked, then abandoned with the same haste. The angry few that remained formed a sloppy line at the register, reluctantly paying their checks and upbraiding the only representative of the company about lousy service - Lynette, the harried swing-shift waitress.
Wooten associated the smell of Denny‘s with the end of long, lonely nights on the highways with nothing but a radio dispatcher to keep him company. The distinct blend of coffee, stale cigarette smoke and maple syrup--even Lynette‘s Avon perfume and Aqua-Net hairspray stood out as cornerstone aromas that helped him unwind. They swirled around him, loosening his neck muscles while he performed his paperwork chores before heading home. Lynette would make an extra strong pot just for him, and he would sip the potent liquid until the effects of the road began to ease their grip on him. Then he would go home to a small, empty house and keep Johnny Carson company until he drifted off in his easy chair.
He set his logbook, paperwork, and portable radio on the end of the counter. Several other seats were taken, most of them fellow bachelors like himself that had no better place to be at 11:15 on a Saturday night. Their heads swiveled towards him in the haze of cigarette smoke and watched with raised eyebrows as he boldly crossed the invisible barrier that normally kept customers out from behind the counter. Wooten grabbed a clean cup out of a rack and filled it with coffee. He sat the cup at his space and looked down the line at expectant faces that watched him where he stood-on the business side of the counter.
"You're wearing the wrong uniform, ain't you, Bob?" one of the men said. The others chuckled.
"Howdy, Earl," said Wooten. "What about it, Lynette, You want me to give this crew a refill while I've got the pot in my hand?"
"Oh, would you?" said Lynette, pinned at the register. "Those poor boys have been dry for ages."
He went down the line, refilling cups so empty the brown residue had dried on the bottom; ashtrays with cigarette butts formed into tiny mountains lay strewn along the counter. The men nodded their heads in appreciation and gave up lighthearted banter about his newly chosen profession, even speculating aloud how he would look in a brown polyester skirt. Back at the warmer, Wooten swapped the empty pot for a full one. After a moment of hesitation, he sighed and made another pot; he had seen Lynette do it at least a thousand times. He made his way to the row of booths along the wide bank of windows at the front of the restaurant that faced Melrose Street.
"Bob, you give the term Public Service a whole new meaning," hollered Lynette from the register, "When I get caught up here, I'm going to make you the best banana split you ever had."
Wooten smiled. He walked across the carpet with a limp that was hard to conceal after working a double, stuck behind the wheel of a police cruiser for sixteen hours. He had taken one in Soc Trang in October of '68, the slug shattering his hip - an injury that never did quite heal properly. The pain was especially acute during changes in the weather or after extended periods of inactivity. Wooten might not turn down a banana split-or anything else Lynette cared to offer him, but what he really needed to wash away the broken glass in his hip waited for him at home in his liquor cabinet: 101 proof whiskey. Wild Turkey was a tried-and-true choice for pain relief that provided the additional benefits of curing White Line Fever and exorcising demons that wore black pajamas and carried AK-47s.
The booths along the windows lay abandoned and cluttered except for two. Wooten approached the first table - two mildly inebriated women in their thirties, their faces still aglow from a ladies night out. While he refilled their cups, one of them leaned forward provocatively and batted thick eyelashes at him.
"Thanks, officer," she breathed lustily. Her companion giggled and the counter gang chuckled as well. Wooten was not a small man; he stood six-four at just over two hundred pounds. He wore his fine black hair long on top, parted to the side, and combed back-a style somewhat dated for a man only thirty-three. When his blood was up, his sub-zero cobalt-colored eyes were able to unnerve and subjugate even the most belligerent drunks that stood bobbing and weaving on the side of the road.
Wooten stopped at the other table although neither customer had a coffee cup. An attractive couple in their late teens leaned across the table, holding hands, oblivious to the universe around them. The girl was big-eyed with honey-wheat hair in a ponytail, wire rimmed glasses, and a willowy figure. The boy had thick brown hair, intense blue eyes, and a movie star chin. He wore a spotless dress-white Navy uniform, with his dixie cup on the table, off to the side.
"I thought that was you, Miller," said Wooten. "What brings the Navy to Vermilion? You know, the nearest port is over 400 miles away."
"I joined up, Sir. I came back to get my girl. We're going to get married."
"Don't shit me, Miller. It sounds like you swiped that line out of an old Gene Kelly movie."
"It's true. We got the date set and everything."
Wooten narrowed his eyes and looked at the girl.
"Colleen, isn't it?"
“Yes, Sir,” she said.
"Your folks know you're getting hitched to a Navy man? You know about these guys, don‘t you?"
The girl smiled. She squeezed the boy's hand harder.
"Yes, Sir. I think I've finally got him tamed."
Wooten gave a somber nod and returned his attention to the sailor. "You know, you have to be an officer to play football in the Navy. It seems like your recruiter would have let you in on that little piece of information."
"I know, Sir."
"Well, the Army's got a hell of a team, too. Maybe it's not too late to divert you to O.C.S., what do you say?"
The boy laughed.
"No thanks. I'm done with football." He straightened his back, his eyes gleaming with pride. I plan on getting into law enforcement."
Wooten raised his eyebrows.
"Well, I'll be damned," he said. "Congratulations. On all accounts, I mean. To both of you."
He turned to leave, coffee pot still in his hand, but stopped and fixed the sailor with a stern glare.
"Stay off my roads if you've been drinking, Miller. If I catch you again, I'll drag you in and book you."
The boy's face colored slightly and he dipped his head, duly penitent.
"I will, officer. Thanks for the break last time."
Wooten returned the coffee pot to the warmer and took his place at the end of the counter, his hip grinding as though it were packed with jagged pieces of gravel. He lit a Chesterfield and drew deeply. He aimed the plume of blue-white smoke upwards toward a speaker that currently provided a lively Muzak rendition of "Eleanor Rigby". Wooten secretly enjoyed Muzak and found it soothing, but he despised the Beatles. He turned up the volume on his portable radio slightly to create a distraction for himself. He adjusted the squelch. It had been a quiet night, and there was nothing more than a steady stream of distant chatter-most of it from the Whitman County Dispatcher 35 miles northwest, towards Spokane.
"How's business?" asked Earl, from his right. “Thwart any evil-doers?"
Earl was in his fifties, widowed, and owned the feed store over on Ridge Road. He wore a greasy ball cap that was as old as he was and had the checkered Purina logo on the front.
Wooten sipped his coffee and shook his head.
"Slow, just like I like ‘em," he said. "Couple of folks who spent too much time at the beer garden and a fat doe that bought it trying to cross 469 down by the golf course. Not much else, I‘m happy to say."
"Poor thing," said Lynette. She stood just a few feet to his left and gave change to a dour, elderly woman with puckered lips and eyes that could cut stone. Apparently, her dining experience had been less than pleasurable; she snatched the change from Lynette's palm and stomped out with her rickety husband in tow.
Wooten set out to complete his paperwork, starting with the daily entry in his log. Lynette wished the final customer at the register a good night and began to restock the restaurant, wiping each surface thoroughly as she went. Wooten looked up from his work occasionally to see her walk past. He enjoyed watching her walk. A big-boned woman, her backside had an easy, gentle sway no matter how busy she was. Even in a uniform designed to conceal all traces of her femininity, Lynette carried herself with a confident, sensual elegance that kept the counter lined with lonely bachelors throughout her shift. She appeared with a pot of coffee and an appreciative smile.
"Once I take this order out, I'm going to fix you up, Bob," she said. "Do you like walnuts?"
Wooten smiled at her.
"I can't eat ice cream this close to bed time. It gives me nightmares."
"Seriously? That‘s no fun."
"Not really. But, I don‘t need it," he patted his flat stomach. "Thanks anyway."
Lynette opened her mouth to protest. Just then the sound of ceramic striking metal rang out as four steaming platters of eggs, sausage, pancakes, and French toast clattered on the pass bar behind her.
"I'm not finished with you yet, mister," she said.
"I hope not."
Lynette turned her back to him so she could gather warm containers of maple syrup, individual jellies, and scoops of whipped butter.
His attention back to his paperwork, Wooten wrote for several seconds then stopped in the middle of a word and lifted the pen from his ledger. He turned and looked at Earl. Earl's leathery, gray-stubbled face was twisted up and his head was cocked; He was hearing it, too. Lynette turned her head and looked toward the east, dark brows knitted together in concentration, her hand with the butter scoop suspended above the stainless steel counter. Wooten turned his head toward the sound.
The adjacent building to the east was the new Circle K, its fluorescent lighting spilling out into the parking lot. Melrose Street continued past the Circle K, turned into
Highway 114 just beyond and disappeared into the blackness. The mill lay two miles out, but past that was nothing except hundreds of miles of cornfields and timothy.
A faint high-pitched mechanical whine was growing louder with every second, swelling from the east. Stationary silhouettes began to take form -tall black cut-outs of trees backlit with the pale glow of approaching headlights. In an explosion of light, the beams broke the plane of the dark horizon, forcing Wooten and the others to momentarily look away.
The car appeared in a flash of purple and chrome in the neon light of the Circle K, a five year-old Toyota Celica coming fast. The four-cylinder engine screamed like a jet preparing for take off. The car was either stuck in first gear, or the driver had failed to upshift. The Celica disappeared from view for a moment as it passed into a blind spot created by the foyer, then re-appeared in the far right edge of the bank of windows in the front of the building, speeding west. Wooten guessed the speed of the car at around sixty mph.
"Jiminy crickets!" said Earl.
As the Celica reached the mid-point of the restaurant, the driver stomped on the brakes. The car went into a sideways skid and all four tires screeched to a smoking halt. The engine gunned twice, then lurched forward and stalled. The driver started the Celica and gunned it. This time he successfully navigated the car into the parking lot after jumping the curb and uprooting a two-foot swath of Arbor Vitae. The car skidded into the space next to Wooten's cruiser-avoiding the rear bumper with the driver-side door by an inch.
The driver abandoned the vehicle and sprinted towards the entrance. The glass door flew open, almost tearing the bell off its tiny chain, and a young woman burst into the lobby, chest heaving. She was the archetypal student - minimal make-up and a gray sweatshirt with W.S.U. on the front. Her eyes locked with Wooten‘s. Dark irises stood out in fields of white; her mouth opened and closed as she took in great gulps of air. Cold adrenaline crept along the length of Wooten‘s spine. He and Lynette rushed to meet the girl, Lynette still holding her butter scoop.
"Now just take it easy, Miss," Wooten said, "Try to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Like this, watch. One. Two. One. Two. That's it."
After a few breaths, the girl was able to manage a few words.
"I forgot - until I saw your car-I was looking-for a phone --"
"It‘s okay, it‘s okay. Just breathe."
She did. The few customers in the restaurant had gathered around, but maintained a respectful distance.
"What is it, sweetie?" asked Lynette gently. "What happened?"
The girl half-turned and pointed in the direction that she had come from. Once more, the night had swallowed everything beyond the Circle K.
"A wreck," she blurted out. The color left her face and she began to shake. She looked at something faraway that only she could see. "It's awful. There's people --"
The young woman doubled over and ejected the contents of her stomach onto the carpet, splattering several shoes, including Wooten's and Lynette's. The other patrons took a step back and covered their mouths and noses-the sour stench of vomit immediately thick and overpowering. The sick girl had turned a chalky green color, a thin sheen of perspiration coating her face. Wooten and Lynette helped her to a vacant seat at the counter. While Lynette went for a towel, Wooten placed his hand on the girl's shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
"How far, Miss?" he asked.
She shook her head violently as if to drive the memory from her head.
"I don't know. Ten miles, maybe."
Lynette returned with a warm, wet towel.
"Have her leave a number where she can be reached," Wooten said. He snatched up his paperwork and radio, hailing the Columbia County Dispatcher as he rushed for the door.
"Be careful!" Lynette called after him.
The light breeze offered a weak breath of vitality and carried the aroma of the nearby Snake River. Wooten slid behind the wheel of the Plymouth Fury sedan and turned the key in the ignition. The 383 Interceptor sprang to life, its blood still warm, anxious to roam the highways once again. He activated the safety and emergency lights, backed out of the parking space, and flipped the switch for the siren. He left the lot and sped east into the night, red and blue lights flashing overhead while the shrill blare of the siren cleared his path. The radio was abuzz with local traffic, abrupt beeps and the crackle of keyed transmitters as the dispatcher relayed information to other agencies. Wooten's current position in relation to other emergency services- those of Whitman County Memorial Hospital being 14 miles north of Vermilion- increased the likelihood of his being the first official on the scene.
Wooten gripped the wheel of the cruiser. The engine thrummed and the tires whined, forced to take 35 mph corners at twice that speed. The modified rigid suspension allowed him to feel every pebble on the road through his palms on the steering wheel. This stretch of highway had been part of Wooten's route for several years -- he could drive it in his sleep, and often did while in bed at home. The 10 mile mark from Denny's would be at the middle of a long, straight section of road that ran through lush fields of timothy in the spring, or a layer of snow several feet thick in the winter. The Ricknor farm and surrounding property of ten thousand acres ran along the south edge of the highway for several miles. This area was also the favorite haunt of local hot rodders; they would flock here to measure each other's cocks and let off steam, so Wooten was surprised to see the linear strip of highway deserted with only impenetrable night on either side of his headlights. Directly ahead lay nothing but cracked asphalt and faded white lines that sped toward him.
Wooten pressed on the accelerator, the needle on the speedometer edging toward eighty. After two miles, a low rise and gradual curve to the right loomed, forcing him to reduce speed. With the skill of a stock car racer, Wooten negotiated the winding road that cut back and forth through an area wooded with thick stands of pine, dipping in and out of shallow ravines. He would break sharply going into a turn, then rowel the Fury onward when he came out the other side - the front end lifting slightly as Wooten drove the gas pedal to the floor.
At 15 miles, there was still no sign of the accident. Wooten drove another mile, then another. The night hurtled toward him as his headlights peeled back layer after layer. He feathered the brakes going into a steep curve, then applied them with force when the phosphoric pink flash of a flare winked at him from the far left of his periphery. He carefully followed the turn and suddenly the wreck was in full view, his windshield a panoramic screen swollen to the edges with macabre visions of horror in flashing red and blue. He inhaled slowly, and then exhaled with the same deliberation. Plastic and broken glass crunched under his tires as he pulled the cruiser to the side of the road.
Wooten killed the siren and stepped out onto the gravel. He stood motionless for a moment and let his senses catalogue the overwhelming amount of stimulus that bombarded him. Two cars -- a red station wagon and a late model oxidized-green Ford sedan -- had collided head-on. Pieces of wreckage both mechanical and human littered an area the size of an Olympic swimming pool and prevented traffic from moving in either direction. Besides Wooten’s, three vehicles that had been heading east stood empty, parked in the middle of the road with headlights left on, illuminating the grisly scene. Eight or nine cars sat on the other side of the crash, west-bound towards Vermilion, abandoned with their doors still open. A dozen citizens, stunned and shocked, shuffled towards Wooten, their appearance spectral and unnerving as they swirled with the ethereal fumes of spilled gasoline. Some of them were blood spattered like grossly under-dressed surgeons with haunted eyes that peered out from deep sockets. Flares lay in a circular pattern dangerously close to the fluid leaking hulks and completed the hellish vision of carnage and destruction. Bone jarring heavy-metal music continued to pound from the sedan and bore down on Wooten‘s nerves.
The first motorist to reach Wooten was a man in his fifties in a loose fitting canary-yellow tank top and a white-collar haircut. Fresh blood coated his hands up to mid-forearm. He pointed a dripping finger at the green Ford that had been picked up by a fifty-foot tall giant, twisted and crushed, then hurled back to earth.
"The racket's coming from that one," he said in a loud voice. "I must have gotten here seconds after it happened, I could still hear the echo of the crash when I opened my door. Creepiest thing I ever heard. How the hell could the battery have survived that?"
It was a good question. The Ford lay in a crumpled "V," the front half from just below the driver's seat bent upward at a forty-five degree angle, yet the stereo was intact; a heavily distorted guitar chattered like a machine gun while the vocalist unleashed demonic howls. Wooten realized he was grinding his teeth.
"What's your name?" he asked the motorist.
"Strand. Albert Strand. I own Columbia Paint down in Bend. I was on my way back from Pomeroy. Rafting trip."
"It looks like you've rendered assistance. Where are the survivors?"
Strand pointed his chin at the gravel shoulder on the northern edge of the road.
"I tried to help that one, but he was dead when I got to him, probably before he hit the ground. You‘ve got a live one in weeds in front of the Torino, but he wouldn't let me get near him. He‘s got - well, you‘ll see. It's a mess.”
Several other motorists began to gather around like zombies in a horror film, eyes glassy and jaws slack.
"Strand, help me kick these goddamn flares away from this fuel before we all get blown to hell."
Wooten flicked on his Mag-Lite and made his way to the northern edge of the road, kicking flares back. Tiny chunks of twinkling safety glass carpeted the pavement as though it had fallen from the sky in a strange storm. The odor of burning rubber blended with the seductively sweet smell of gasoline, and Wooten felt the first wave of nausea pass through him, leaving a sour taste in his mouth. He swept the beam of his flashlight in a wide arc to the left, and an icy hand closed its fingers around his heart. He had been able to get used to all aspects of his job but this: dead children.
It was a boy, ten or eleven years old. Only the style of clothing on the small broken body allowed Wooten to determine the sex of the victim. The head and upper body was an unrecognizable mass of glistening bone and sinew with much of the skin torn away. Wooten swallowed hard. He swung the beam of his light back towards the west-bound station wagon. The boy had been jettisoned from that vehicle and thrown close to twenty feet to this spot, where he may or may not have drawn his last breath. Anger surged in Wooten’s veins, anger at the boy's parents for not strapping him in, anger at the futility of seatbelt campaigns. He acknowledged the emotion, embraced it, and then dismissed it-he was a professional and had work to do. He moved towards the wagon.
A windshield lay on the pavement, nothing more than a lump of clear plastic encrusted with chipped glass among a small sea of flotsam: A large tweed suitcase split open like an oyster, empty except for a navy blue pajama top hanging limp over one edge-men's shirts, still creased, a woman's beige skirt, a pair of Scooby-Doo underpants, a tennis racket in a black vinyl case with a neon green Spalding on the face-all scattered about like a bomb had gone off at a yard sale. Wooten reached down and picked up a Mrs. Beasley doll that had not received a scratch from the impact; her face smiled up at him, every blonde curl on her head perfectly intact. He set the doll down and closed his eyes for a moment to will away the nausea and clear his head. Where were the paramedics? The heavy metal from the Torino chipped away at his powers of concentration. He trained the beam of the flashlight on the station wagon. The front-end had been driven to the firewall, most of the engine in the front seat.
Neither of the occupants in the front seat had worn seatbelts either. The passenger, a woman, lay half out of the opening where the windshield had been. Her head, left and shoulder were unseen, crushed to the width of cardboard by a crumpled section of hood and right front quarter panel. Wooten resisted the urge to reposition the woman's blouse that had been torn back and away so that it lay in a clump of blood soaked rags bunched up around her waist. She'll be wearing a plastic sheet soon enough Wooten thought.
The driver's death was no more dignified. The explosive force of his brief forward flight had been arrested suddenly and violently by the vertical support designed to keep the windshield in place. The narrow piece of steel had cleaved the man's skull in two, lengthwise.
Wooten swept the beam of his flashlight through the passenger compartment, looking for survivors. A spatter of blood and hair the size of volleyball marked an inner side window, but there was no sign of other victims. He stepped cautiously across the white lines toward the mangled Torino, skirting a tiny human appendage that had been torn out by its roots, part of the fourth victim, no doubt. Wooten did not linger. He pushed the image from his mind like so many others that he had during the war. He took a series of controlled breaths with the same count - in and out - then moved on.
Wooten circumvented the tail end of the Torino and identified it as an early-seventies model he had seen around town. He scanned the database in his mind, but could not place a driver behind the wheel. The ceaseless hammering of the music vibrated pea-sized pieces of safety glass on the bent trunk lid. Wooten found several crushed sixteen-ounce Budweiser cans scattered on the slick pavement. A woman's sandal lay on its side in a puddle of fluid, the strap torn away. The car was twisted at such an angle that the passenger door hung from above; Wooten was forced to duck down and bend his upper body sideways to access the interior. He squirmed his way into the dark cave of twisted metal, torn upholstery and bent plastic. The thunderous bass from the rear speakers reverberated through the frame while the overpowering smell of alcohol and gasoline threatened to send him into a swoon. Gritting his teeth, he shone the light at the dashboard while he reached behind it with the other hand and tore wires away indiscriminately. The vocalist continued to shriek, searing his venomous message into Wooten's brain:
Do you believe in God?
He's chained up like a dog
and every hour he screams
‘Satan rules supreme!'
Wooten's hand finally closed on the correct group of wires and the ear-splitting din ceased with an eerie suddenness and finality. He exhaled with relief.
"Jesus Christ," he said.
Before he left the passenger compartment, Wooten's flashlight fell upon another sight that caused icy insects to creep up the length of his spine - the shattered windshield on the passenger side had blown out and hung like a limp flag. Intricate spider web patterns twinkled against a backdrop of drying blood in the glow of his Mag-Lite. He knew where to look for the other victims.
Wooten extricated himself from the interior of the Torino and walked east along the gravel shoulder. A soft breeze carried the smell of freshly cut timothy and the wail of emergency vehicles still a short distance away. Above the whisper of tall grass, along the side of the road, Wooten heard someone talking. The voice was male and originated from a point ahead and off the road, speaking in a relaxed, conversational tone. Wooten followed the voice into the knee-high grass. Ten feet from the road his flashlight beam fell upon the bare back of a shirtless survivor
He sat in the tall weeds, facing away towards the blackness of the timothy fields. Wooten now recognized the boy as a local teen by his thick tangled black hair that hung past his bare shoulders, his pale skin smeared and smudged with engine grease and blood. He rocked back and forth, talking quietly as though he was telling a bedtime story. Wooten came closer.
“Son, I'm coming up behind you. My name is Bob Wooten. I'm with the State Patrol."
The teen did not respond. Along the trail of crushed grass Wooten's beam showed heavy amounts of blood, arterial splashes every foot or so; someone was losing copious amounts of the precious liquid fast. Wooten came within a few feet of the boy. The rocking seemed to quicken.
He caught a glimpse of a bare foot, then the other that wore the sandal that matched the one by the Torino. The teen had a girl in his lap. He held her and talked to her while he rocked faster and faster. His voice began to break as he lost control. The girl wore tight-fitting pants, the cotton fabric pristine white from the knees down, spattered with red drops above the knee and a deep, wet crimson from mid-thigh up. Her legs shivered violently with shock. Wooten was directly behind the pair now and he could smell stale beer and plasma. The girl made a ghastly gurgling sound, and her legs went rigid; every muscle contracted while she went into a seizure. The boy began to weep. His upper body shook and convulsed with hers as she slipped away. Wooten stepped around the two and shone the flashlight on the young woman to assess her condition.
"Good Christ," he said.
He covered his mouth with the back of his hand and stumbled back a half step. He closed his eyes to will the horrific vision from the sight of his mind, but the action only ground it into his memory - the vision that an ocean of Wild Turkey could not wash away.
To be continued...
|Anthony Engles 832039|
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center
P.O. Box 769
Connell, WA 99326
My name is Anthony Scott Engles, born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1965. After a brief stint in the Navy, I pretty much roamed around the country, waiting tables and bartending. I settled in Spokane in 1994, then got pretty heavy into survivalism and related activities. I got in a shoot out with Stevens County Deputies in 2003 and wounded one of them. I’m serving a 30-year sentence in Washington State, where I have done the majority of my writing. I have one short story published and several unpublished short stories and poems.