#FridayFlash: Plea Bargain, Part 4

Plea Bargain, Part 4

by Tony Noland



As he flipped through the psychiatric report, the frown that Assistant District Attorney Quantrell Wilson started with grew deeper and deeper. Exactly when it crossed the line into being an actual scowl would have been hard for Dr. Campbell to say; the endpoints of the change were easier to pin down.

"The secondary evaluation from Dr. Janice Fulbright is in Appendix A," the psychologist said. "She came to the same conclusion."

"Who is Janice Fulbright?"

"Clinical specialist in self-identity psychosis, came up from University of Maryland. She went over the records, reviewed the tapes of the last twenty sessions and spent two days in direct observation of him."

The ADA turned to the back part of the report. "And she agrees with your diagnosis?"

"Yes. Full-scale withdrawal from reality into an aberrant mental construct."

"Just because he thinks he's a vampire now doesn't mean there was any mental aberration during the murders. He's still on the hook, as far as I'm concerned. Complicit at the very least, guilty of murder two, maybe even murder one on some of the other victims."

Dr. Campbell said nothing. The only sounds in the room were the rustle of pages being turned back and forth and the buzzing of the overhead fluorescent lights.

Wilson said, "Does this Dr. Fulbright agree with your recommendation? Long-term institutionalization?" The psychologist nodded. Wilson closed the file and scowled out the window. "Tom, this is going to be a tough sell for the families. We still haven't recovered all the bodies, and it's still an open investigation. This vampire stuff is bullshit."

"I honestly don't think so, Quan. If he were going to pull a fake insanity gambit, he would have been more obvious about it in the first eighteen months."

"Maybe he's just smarter than you give him credit for."

"That's not it and you know it. He's plenty smart and he knows the criminal justice system. The way this developed was way, way outside the scam zone. It was only after we broke through the repressed memories of his mother's shooting that -"

"Oh, Christ, don't say 'repressed memories'!" He tossed the report onto his desk. "We've had more bad apples walk free ever since that whole 'repressed memories' thing was debunked, you don't even want to know about it."

"Well, whatever he started to confront since that session last year has matured into a dissociative self-demonization, a real bell ringer. You can't be in a room with him for more than three minutes and he starts trying to control your mind, hypnotize you. He goes into this Hollywood-creepy voice," Campbell said, wiggling his fingers in front of him, "like he was in a low budget  horror movie. He thinks he can fly, walk through walls AND turn into an invisible gas. He's lost almost thirty percent of his body weight because he won't eat, and he's barely coherent because he won't sleep. We have to strap him down ever night. He also claims to be superstrong, but he hasn't been violent. Not yet, anyway."


"He's on anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety, systemic sedatives, muscle relaxants and glucose tablets. We're still working out the dosage for the anti-psychotics."

"And you want to keep him for how long, exactly?"

"For the foreseeable future. You can't put this guy in with a general prison population. No way. He's not stable. When the other prisoners start to work him over, I can only assume he'll go into the attacking part of being a full-blown vampire."

The ADA sighed. "Fine, I wash my hands of him. I've got fourteen months until the next election, so this won't matter much. Keep him locked up and keep sending in the reports. From now on, they'll be status updates only, not transfer-readiness evaluations. Tom, let me be clear on this: I don't want a ping-pong match with this guy. If he's truly crazy, I want him locked up in your place forever, understand? Don't come back to me in a year and say he's showing signs of improvement. I want him buried, out of sight and out of mind. Got it?"

"Got it. Martinez is as batty as they come, Quan. I don't see any way forward with this guy. None at all."

Forty minutes later, in the far corner of a run-down McDonald's parking lot, Dr. Campbell sat in his car, looking out through the glare of the sun obscuring his windshield. He pretended to eat french fries while he spoke, just in case anyone looked his way. He left the engine running.

"It's done, Master," he said. "The Assistant District Attorney won't even read the reports from now on. You're free to come and go as you wish."

From the back seat, Jesus Martinez reached a bony, claw-like hand forward and patted him on the shoulder. "Well done, doctor. Well done. Now, go back to hospital and make today's notes on my condition. Say that I am... quiet."

"Yes, Master. Are you hungry?"

Jesus's fingers traced the pulsing line from Campbell's jaw up along his neck. "Yes, doctor, I'm starving. But I can wait until we get back home."

The doctor nodded, rolled down the window and threw the uneaten fries out onto the ground. Without another word, he drove across the parking lot and pulled out into traffic.


The End.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. "Martinez is as batty as they come, Quan."

    Haha! A batty vampire! You're so silly, Mr. Noland.

    1. And I'm very glad that you and Katherine Hajer got the little jokes I salted in there.

  2. Hm, this one had a different tone. Jesus was a lot quieter (okay, lying in the back of a car will do that to you). But nice, very nice.

    "I want him buried" was the phrase that made me smile.

    1. Jesus is certainly not the man he once was. I'm glad you got that joke! It takes a close read of my stories to catch all the turns of phrase that reveal the humor.


  3. I wonder why Martinez is going along with the whole charade — if he can truly walk through walls and be gone, why does he bother to hang around? What's his (ahem) stake?

    Still & all, this does a nice job of wrapping things up.

    1. From Part 3: "And as my power grows, I will control your mind, Doctor. I will use you to make sure I am free to wreak the vengeance I was born to execute. You'll protect me and help me, because you'll have no choice."

      Martinez is using the hospital as a hideout, a base of operations... a "home", as he calls it here. With the doctor signing the reports and the ADA content to have him locked away forever, no one will ever suspect him. It's better than a castle somewhere in the Carpathian mountains.

  4. Something about the fact that the denouement took place in the carpark of a MacDonalds tells me he is truly insane. But then he wasn't the one eating the fries...

    You do manage to tie all this up very nicely. Did you find it an interesting process? I assume you didn't know which way it was going to shake out when you wrote each section, especially the first because at that point it wasn't even going to be a series, or do I have that wrong?

    marc nash

    1. Thanks, Marc. Yes, this was interesting to write. My previous attempt at a serial, Just Enough Power also grew out of a stand-alone flash. For that one, I worked out a general story arc. For this one, I was making it up as I went along.

      Honestly, for this story, I didn't know how it was going to end until I got in the middle of writing it. Several possibilities presented themselves, ranging in blood and gore, as well as in crazy vs. magical. I rather like the way it all worked out.

      Still, because I didn't have a clear sense of where this was going, I was happy to wrap it up after four episodes. There are a few threads left hanging, but there's a symmetry between the all-dialogue pieces and the conventional third person POV narrative pieces.

  5. Aw man you can't leave it there!! I've genuinely loved this series. Brilliant stuff.

    1. Thanks, Icy! The psychodrama is fun to write.

    2. I genuinely see a novel in this idea. So if you ever want to go back to it...

    3. I have a different vampire novel in mind, actually, based on my story "Canine Farming Technician". It's a bit... brutal.

  6. I'll have to go back later and catch up on the series, but this alone was very nicely done. As usual, you do an excellent job of writing natural dialogue that flows without the use of tags and the mental ward is a great cover.

    1. Thanks, Danni. I enjoy writing dialogue. Maybe I should forget about novels and do a screenplay instead...

  7. Hadn't read the other ones, but this wrapped everything up nicely with a great twist at the end!

  8. Oh I really, really like how this series is developing, keep it up, can't wait for the next instalment! ^_^

  9. I'm with Danielle you have a great style for writing dialogue. This was a brilliant installment (the best of the 4 in my opinion!)- nice work Mr Noland

  10. I enjoyed the ambiguity of the earlier pieces, but this does tie things up fairly neatly.

  11. Enjoyed the ending! Not what I was expecting. But I am not sure what I was expecting, except a bit more blood. But maybe we'll get the vengeance he was born to execute in some future date, hmm?


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