Romeo Jones Prequel: As a Deputy United States Marshal Fugitive Hunting in the Poconos

web-banner-add-vertical-01c{ I have many ideas for detective Romeo Jones, not the least of which are being worked out in Blood Ties Die. But, like any good character, Rome has a past, a history. His most recent past, prior to coming back to his home town of Trinity, was as a Deputy United States Marshal, a fugitive hunter. Here’s the beginning of one of his “Marshal stories,” perhaps to be developed into a short story. Enjoy. Usual caveats about spelling apply. }

© 2015-16 Craig S. Hartranft

Looking past the woman, who was trying to stuff her sheer white blouse into a very tight denim skirt while rocking back and forth on high heels, Jones saw his partner, Harry Anderson, passed out in the bedroom.

“How much does he owe you?” Jones asked pulling some wrinkled bills from a pocket of his faded Wranglers.

“What? You think I’m a hooker?” she said teetering on Stuart Weitzman knock-offs.

“What would you rather be called? Whore or prostitute?”

“How about school teacher? Jerk.”

“Better be sex-ed,” said Jones admiring her lean tan legs and noticing the red heart and shamrock tattoo above her right ankle.

“Third grade at Pocono Heights Academy.” The blouse finally found its place.

“They teaching sex-ed that young now?”

“You’re not funny.” She stood straight, then began searching the room for something.

“I thought it was funny. Pretty damn funny actually.”

The blonde with light gray eyes only glared.

“What’s your name?” Jones asked.

“None of your damn business,” the woman said.

“That’s a really stupid name,” he said.

She didn’t answer, spying what she was looking for. She reached for a black clutch purse on the coffee table of the sitting room. Jones snagged it before she could., and backed up to the motel room door.

“Hey! That’s mine. Give me that.”

“Not until you tell me your name,” he said pulling his coat aside to reveal his Marshal’s star.

She noticed and said, “Holy shit! You’re a cop?”

“Deputy United States Marshal Romeo Jones.”


“Romeo Jones. Most call me Rome. You can call me Deputy or Deputy Marshal.” He flipped his star twice to bring her attention back.

“Oh.” She looked over her shoulder to Harry Anderson sprawled on the bedspread. “Is he one, too.”

“Yes. Now what’s your name?”

“Lois. Lois Hawkins.”

“Alright, Lois Hawkins,” Jones began, “You didn’t know he was a Marshal? Because Harry sure likes to show off his badge, especially to women. I’ve seen him do it.”

“He was somewhat wasted when we got here, even before.”

“He can get that way after a day’s work chasing fugitives.”

“He was. I’m not lying.”

“Yeah. Okay.” Jones looked at Harry. He was snoring now. “So how is it he has his clothes on and I find you trying to get back into yours?”

“Nothing happened,” she said. “He passed out while …”

” … you were trying to seduce him with your womanly charms,” Jones finished.

“Cripes, you make me sound like I’m some sort of slut.”

“Are you?”

“Listen, whatever your name is, deputy whatever. I’m just a girl out on a Friday night, having some fun, few drinks. I was feeling horny, thought maybe I’d like to get laid.”

“Now you sound like 95 percent of the red-blooded American males.”

“Girls like sex, too.”

“I count on that myself most times.”

“Sure. Okay, Deputy. I get it. You want to pick up where your buddy passed out. You want sex?”

“Nope, not in the least. But I am wondering why a third grade school teacher is cruising bars looking to have sex with men she doesn’t even know.”

“What are you, my father?”

Jones smiled at her rising indignation, and said, “Not hardly. Yet I wonder what your children, or better their parents, would think if they knew their kid’s teacher spent Friday nights looking for dick in all the wrong places.” Jones smiled at his own contrived country music metaphor.

“So now you want to be the morality police. Forget you. I’m leaving.”

“Be my guest.” He tossed her the purse and stepped away from the motel room door. “But I would advise you not return to that bar. Too many more law enforcement officers.”

“Fine.” She passed him quickly and turned the door knob, but stopped. “So what are all the cops in town for anyway?”

“You haven’t been watching the news,” Rome suggested.

“No, wise ass, I’ve been too busy trolling The Poconos for dick.”

Jones ignored her words, and said, “We’re chasing down a fugitive wanted for bank robbery and shooting a local police officer from Montgomery County. We think he might be, actually pretty much sure, back in your neck the woods. He grew up around here.”

“What’s his name?”

“Raymond Oscar Porter. Also known as …”

“… “Ray Ray” Porter.” She finished his sentence.

“What? You know him?”

“Yeah. I went to the senior prom with him.”

Craig Hartranft