Tag Archives: Fiction

Wrigleyville Ch. 10 — Billy Pursuing Pursuers?

Wrigleyville

Serial cop drama. Check back for a new chapter every week — or maybe sooner.

Here’s Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4., Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7 , Chapter 8 and Chapter 9.

CONTENT NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNG READERS.

(From Chapter 9) Jackson’s cell phone rings.

“Jackson here,” he says. “Yeah, no kidding. Yeah, yeah, thanks. We’re on the way.”

He turns to Sullivan.

“Goat did go missing. Hole in the fence,” he says. “She failed to mention she was on vacation for the past few weeks and missed it.”

They half-run to the door.


Before Sullivan and Jackson can escape, however, the CO pokes his head out of his office.

“Hey, you two, one more thing,” he says.

They stop and turn back.

“I’ve got a call with the FBI in an hour,” he says.

“What does that mean?” Sullivan says, knowing what it means.

“I’ll tell you what it means when you get back,” the CO says.

On the stairs Sullivan says, “We don’t even know if we need the feds.”

“He said he’s just calling,” Jackson says. “We don’t know if they’ll get involved. Only thing we have linking all this is the Cubs. No physical evidence.”

“They’ll be in,” Sullivan says. “This one’s too good to pass up.”

“Well, if they are we’ll have better shit to work with,” Jackson says.

“And more chefs in the kitchen,” Sullivan says.


Billy smiles as he walks down the sidewalk.

“That was him,” he thinks. “That stupid cop’s son, and he looked right at me. And didn’t know anything. He knows as much as his dumb-ass dad. He’ll know a lot more than dear old dad soon enough.”


On the way out to O’Hare, Sullivan and Jackson hear the radio call of Jorge Soler blasting a double off the wall at Wrigley.

“Hey,” Sullivan says. “The kid’s keeping it going. What the hell.”

“Historic start, no doubt,” Jackson says. “Hey, I got a question for you. You seeing the Cubs differently after all this crap?”

“What crap?” Sullivan says.

“What crap? What other crap you thinking about besides the goat head, the dead fake Bartman, you know, that kind of shit,” Jackson says. “You thinking differently about the Cubs, about the path-o-logy (stressing each syllable) of all the losing and the people who follow that shit?”

“Jesus, Jackson,” Sullivan says. “I wasn’t thinking about it, no. I was enjoying a nice ballgame on the radio until you opened your trap.”

“I’m just sayin’. The whole Cubs thing is kind of demented,” Jackson says, “and now …”

Sullivan cuts him off. “That’s enough Jackson,” he says. “You know as well as I do that this nut job could be obsessing about Bugs Bunny instead of the Cubs. It’s all just a lame outlet for his pathetic psycho behavior. So cut the Cubs crap, and let me listen to the game.”

“Just busting your balls,” Jackson says.

“Yeah, yeah,” Sullivans says.

Jackson’s cell phone rings.

“Sounds good, thanks,” he says and then turning to Sullivan, “the woman from the goat company is there waiting for us to show us the operation, answer some questions.”


Back in his apartment, Billy prints out the photo of the cop’s son that he took on his phone before he was spotted. He takes the photo and carefully tapes it to the bottom of a large chart on the wall. Lines branch out here and there with other photos and newspaper clippings pasted at the ends of the lines. John Sullivan’s photo is there, just above his son’s.

Billy then places a notebook in front of himself on the desk and starts to read intently.

Wakes up: 6:45 a.m.
Makes coffee: 7:30 a.m.
Leaves house: 8 a.m.

The entries continue for an entire page, outlining someone’s activities for a 24 hour period.


Sullivan, Jackson and a forensics team inspect the spot where the fence at O’Hare had been cut open and the goat removed. Since authorities at O’Hare figured the theft was a prank, no police report was filed and the fence was repaired. Rain and the foraging of the farm animals wiped out any other obvious traces of evidence. A road ran along the fence and it was secluded enough that someone could stop and carry out the crime unnoticed. Video cameras did not target this particular area.

“In short, we got nothing again,” Sullivan says.

“Not necessarily,” Jackson says. “I was just talking to the woman from the place that takes care of the animals. She said they graze in this field on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. From here I can see a decent size intersection over there that accesses this road. Might be a camera mounted over there. How many cars would turn down this road in that time period? Shit, not many from the traffic I’m seein’ here now.”

“Good,” Sullivan says. “Let’s check it out. I’m getting really sick of this goat killing mother f’er.”

A few minutes later Sullivan and Jackson are standing next to their car looking up at the street light over the intersection Jackson had pointed out.

“Bingo,” Sullivan says.

There, mounted on the large metal pole is a new looking camera, trained on the intersection.

To be continued …

You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.

Wrigleyville Ch. 9 — Goat Clears The Way

Wrigleyville

Serial cop drama. Check back for a new chapter every week — or maybe sooner.

Here’s Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4., Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7 and Chapter 8.

CONTENT NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNG READERS.

(From Chapter 8) “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” the little voice repeats over and over.

“What buddy?” Jackson says, opening one eye to see his son’s head five inches away from his own.

He’s standing next to the bed. “You gonna stay in bed all day?” he says.

“Not all day, buddy,” Jackson says. “Maybe 15 minutes.”

“15 minutes,” his son says. “That’s forever. Mommy says that if you’re going to be out all hours you gotta pay the price. How much you gotta pay Mommy, Dad?”

“Probably a lot, buddy,” Jackson says with a weak smile and struggles to sit up.


Sullivan and Jackson regroup with their CO at the station, and these meetings are now getting uncomfortable for everyone. They need answers, everyone knows they need answers, and everyone knows they don’t have them right now.

Sullivan can almost feel the weight of the dead bodies pressing him down toward the earth. “Just a hangover,” he thinks, but the thought doesn’t lighten his load. It’s all he can do to not collapse to the floor.

“You OK, Sullivan?” the CO says. “Rough night?”

“I’m fine,” Sullivan snaps, looking from him to Jackson. “What have you got Jackson? Thoughts?”

Jackson starts to go over the case again, and Sullivan’s mind returns to the weight on his head, his shoulders, pushing him down. Two dead bodies, one of them that Johnson kid whose parents turned on him, are crushing him. He strains his head up and can almost see the goat head being shoved at his forehead. Pushing, pushing, heavier, heavier, can’t hold it back.

“What?” Jackson says. “What the hell you talkin’ about?”

Sullivan snaps out of it, feeling lighter but confused.

“I didn’t say nothing,” Sullivan says.

Jackson and the CO look at each other.

“Uh, yeah, John,” the CO says. “You said ‘Goats in the air?’ What does that mean?”

Sullivan looks baffled.

“The goat, the goat,” he says quickly, his mind scrambling. “Goats in the air, goats in the air …”

Jackson’s mouth is agape and the CO’s face hardens. There have been rumors about Sullivan’s private life, but it never affected his work enough to intervene. And now he’s gone off the rails.

“Jesus Sullivan,” the CO blurts.

“The air,” Sullivan says again. “The airport, the airport. I knew I had seen something about goats. We couldn’t find where the guy got the goat, but O’Hare has been using goats to clear vegetation. I read it.”

All three men look visibly relieved.

“OK, good,” the CO says. “Check it out. Get going.”

On the way out, Jackson turns to Sullivan and quietly says, “You OK?”

“I’m fine,” Sullivan snaps. “Let’s go.”


“You should really call your dad.”

“He never answers.”

“Still.”

“I know.”

John Sullivan Jr. sits at a table outside a coffee shop in downtown Naperville across the table from his wife.

“If I am ready to forgive him,” Alicia Smith-Sullivan says, “then you can forgive him. Or at least talk to him.”

“I don’t know that I’ll ever get over it,” Johnny Sullivan says. “In this day and age, a grown man can turn his back on his only son because (lowering his voice) he marries a black woman. Are you kidding me?”

“I know, I know,” she says.

“I mean, can he be a worse stereotype?” he says. “Irish, bigoted, hard-drinking Chicago cop? What a joke.”

“Does your mother talk to him?” she asks.

“Not that I know of,” he says and then standing. “Speak of the devil. Mom.”

Eileen Sullivan walks up to the table. She’s a slight woman but well dressed. She does not look like she would be married to the aforementioned stereotype. And though she technically still is, it is clear she is putting physical and mental distance between herself and those days.

“Mom, you look better every time we see you,” Alicia says.

“No kidding,” Johnny says, hugging his mom and giving her a kiss on the cheek.

“I feel better,” Eileen says.

Johnny pulls out a chair for his mother and after she’s seated maneuvers back to his own seat. As he sits down he notices a young man passing by quickly on the sidewalk. Their eyes meet for a moment and then he is gone.

Like a thin passing cloud a thought floats into Johnny’s head. It’s kind of hot for that Cubs jacket, he thinks. And then his head clears.


Jackson calls the Department of Aviation and after some runaround is connected to someone who knows something about the herding program at O’Hare.

“That’s great, that’s great,” Jackson says. “Sounds like a great program. But I have a question. Have any of the goats gone missing?”

He listens.

“Oh, you sure? Yeah, OK. Who? Well, if you hear anything, tell me. OK, thanks.”

He hangs up.

“No missing goat, according to that woman,” Jackson says.

“Shit,” Sullivan blurts out. “I thought we were on to something.”

“Yeah, what you have a vision or something this morning?” Jackson says.

“Very funny,” Sullivan says.

“Really, that was weird, Sullivan,” Jackson says.

“Screw you. So I had a couple too many pops last night,” Sullivan says. “I was tired and thinking. Thought I came up with something.”

“Maybe we should head out to O’Hare anyway,” Jackson says. “We can put the Cubs on the radio if you want. Jorge Soler’s home debut.”

“I’ve been a Cubs fan my whole frickin’ life,” Sullivan says. “And this is the first September when the team sucks that I have given a crap. Some of these kids are gonna be good. Or maybe I’ve just drunk the Kool-Aid too long.”

“Well, it ain’t Kool-Aid you been drinking,” Jackson says. “But these kids do look good. Soler has been ridiculous. I think he might be the best of the bunch. Quick bat, good eye. You see that second homer he hit against the Cardinals the other night?”

“I did,” Sullivan says as they walk into the hall and head toward the back door. “Reminded me of Kingman or Glenallen Hill. He killed that ball.”

Jackson’s cell phone rings.

“Jackson here,” he says. “Yeah, no kidding. Yeah, yeah, thanks. We’re on the way.”

He turns to Sullivan.

“Goat did go missing. Hole in the fence,” he says. “She failed to mention she was on vacation for the past few weeks and missed it.”

They half-run to the door.

Continue to Chapter 10.

You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.

Wrigleyville Ch. 8 — Bad Billy Gets Busy

Wrigleyville

Serial cop drama. Check back for a new chapter every week — or maybe sooner.

Here’s Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4., Chapter 5, Chapter 6 and
Chapter 7 .

CONTENT NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNG READERS.

(From Chapter 7) The man sitting in the chair in front of a television that is still on looks just like Steve Bartman 2003. Dark sweatshirt, green turtleneck, the Cubs cap and, of course, the glasses. He looks like he’s watching a game, the game. He’s got a pained expression, like it had just happened. He had reached out, and he knew his life would never be the same.

This poor guy was frozen in that moment, and he would definitely not be the same.

“I’d say he’s been dead since last night,” Kowalski says. “TV is on WGN. Time of death could coincide with the Cubs game. We’re processing the scene.”

Sullivan snaps out of his reverie.

“Jesus H. Christ,” he says.


“How does nobody see nothing?” Sullivan says in the car after a long day of processing the scene, talking to neighbors. “Nobody sees a guy lugging around a goat head. Nobody sees someone coming or going from two dead guys’ apartments. What we got, a ghost?”

“No sign of forced entry again,” Jackson says. “Again within a few blocks of Wrigley.”

As they pull up to the station, Sullivan says: “I’m off the clock and going to get a beer. You want one?”

“Will wonders never cease,” Jackson says.

“Forget it,” Sullivan says quickly. “Just thought we could run over the case, but screw you.”

“Jeez, Sullivan,” Jackson says. “You’re like dealing with one of them Siegfried and Roy tigers. One minute you’re all friendly and then you bite my head off. Shit man, I’ll get a beer.”

“Fine,” Sullivan barks. “Follow me.”

Jackson gets his car and pulls around. Sullivan pulls out and leads him a few miles from the station into Rogers Park where he pulls up to a hole in the wall bar that looks like it is avoiding attracting customers based on the half-lit Old Style sign in front.

The assorted old men at the bar look up when they enter and do a double take that Jackson knows all too well. But they turn their white heads back to the bar soon enough, exhausted by the strain of that extra look.

Sullivan orders a Budweiser draft, and Jackson says he’ll take one too.

“Can I get a shot of Jim Beam too?” Jackson asks the bartender, who nods assent.

“Make that two, too,” Sullivan says, glad that Jackson took the lead on something stronger than beer.

“Lot of Q-tips in this place,” Jackson says after the bartender walks away.

“Q-tips, what the hell are you talking about?” Sullivan says.

“Look around,” Jackson says smiling. “White hair. Q-tips.”

“Very funny,” Sullivan says. “You’re lucky they don’t swab your ass out of here. Back in the day …”

The bartender sets down their beers and pours the whiskey.

“That must have been way, way back in the day,” Jackson says.

Sullivan starts to smile but takes a long swig from his beer before Jackson can see him enjoy the joke.

“Here’s to catching this freak Cubs fan,” Jackson says, raising his shot.

Sullivan picks up the whiskey and they both knock it back.


Billy admired the photo of “Bartman” for a while and would have stared at it longer, but he knew he needed to get back to work.

So he sits and studies his charts, trying to come up with his next move. He is deep in thought, his eyes moving systematically over the names and numbers in front of him, but something keeps trying to wiggle its way from the outside into his consciousness. He automatically keeps it at bay until frustration starts to infiltrate his studies. He’s not seeing what he needs to see. He’s not, not …

“What the hell is that sound?” he hisses and stops his work and cocks his ear.

He hears the faint meowing of a cat. Again and again.

He stands and follows the sound to the door, which he unlocks. Stepping into the hall he stops and finds that it is louder here. Down the hall, to the front door. The sound is coming from just on the other side.

He takes a quick look through the peephole and then unlocks the deadbolts.

The long-haired cat on the other side looks up. It is not afraid. It walks up and before he can step back, it rubs its side against his leg, purring. He recognizes it as Mrs. Milito’s cat.

Billy looks down the stairs and seeing nobody, snatches up the cat and quickly closes the door. The deadbolts snap back into place.


“Enough of talking about the nut job that we know very little about,” Sullivan says, his words a little slower and a little freer due to the beers and whiskey. “Why the hell are you a White Sox fan, Jackson?”

“My dad,” Jackson says. “He followed the White Sox. He grew up on the South Side, so I guess it made sense. We’d sit there at night, him with a 40, me with a Dr. Pepper. We had Harry Caray back in those days. Jimmy Piersall. Falstaff, right? They drank Falstaff, I think. Shit, I don’t know. But it was a good time.”

“Yeah, Falstaff,” Sullivan says. “Man, that was some shitty beer. But Harry and Jimmy, they were funny. I’ll give you that.”

“You got a son, right?” Jackson says. “He a Cubs fan or you turn him to the White Sox with your endearing demeanor?”

“Very funny, Jackson,” Sullivan says.

“Really, though, he a Cubs fan? You watch games together,” Jackson says.

“Yeah, we watched games,” Sullivan says. “He was a Cubs fan. I don’t know now.”

“What, he switched, lives someplace else, what?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Sullivan says, taking a swig.

“What?” Jackson says.

“Doesn’t fucking matter,” Sullivan says, setting down his beer and looking at Jackson sternly but with a hint of sadness where the core of anger usually resides. “I’m out of here.”

“No big deal,” Jackson offers. “Didn’t mean to pry.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Sullivan says. “Big day tomorrow. Later.”

He turns and shuffles out the door.


The next morning Billy bounds down the steps, ever-present crisp and clean Cubs hat on his head, and heads toward the front door of the building.

Mrs. Milito throws open her apartment door.

“Hi Billy,” she says. “I’m glad to catch you. Have you seen my Mittens? I can’t find him anywhere, and he never stays out like this.”

Her voice edges toward frantic.

“Your cat. Why no, Mrs. Milito. I haven’t seen him,” Billy says. “But if I do I’ll bring him right home.”

He pulls open the door and then turns back.

“You have a good day, Mrs. Milito,” he says with a smile.


The sun hits Sullivan’s eye and causes him to twitch, but he remains asleep. The light expands across his face and he squints.

He looks around and realizes with a sinking feeling that he didn’t make it out of his recliner. Two beer cans sit on the table next to him. The television is on.

“This day is gonna suck,” he says, pushing the chair to an upright position, which makes his head spin a little.


“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” the little voice repeats over and over.

“What buddy?” Jackson says, opening one eye to see his son’s head five inches away from his own.

He’s standing next to the bed. “You gonna stay in bed all day?” he says.

“Not all day, buddy,” Jackson says. “Maybe 15 minutes.”

“15 minutes,” his son says. “That’s forever. Mommy says that if you’re going to be out all hours you gotta pay the price. How much you gotta pay Mommy, Dad?”

“Probably a lot, buddy,” Jackson says with a weak smile and struggles to sit up.

Continue to Chapter 9.

You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.