Author Archives: Matt Maynard

American Seder, July 4th, 2017

The Feast of Freedom concludes our American Seder: it is the traditional American celebration, filled with food and fireworks and heritage to remember where we came from and why we left there.

  • We fly the 50-star flag, to remember our unity.
  • We drink coffee, to remember we are a new nation (and therefore need a new beverage).
  • We read the story of the Resurrection to remember our independence from sin and how it was won.
  • We read The Declaration of Independence, Draft and Adopted versions, to remember our birth
  • We watch The Patriot to remember the realities and hardships of war have a payoff.
  • We shoot off fireworks and the new classic American rifle, the AR-15, to celebrate the continuance of liberty.
  • We eat the feast of freedom: burgers, hot dogs, steaks, all manner of home-grown food and drinks, in family and community organized celebrations.
  • We drink whiskey with dinner, to remember we are a new nation.

Above all, throughout the celebration, remember you are Americans, and pass on what that means to the next generation.

American Seder, July 3rd, 2017

Independence is not an easy thing to grasp, for it involves removing the hand of a tyrant and replacing it with the hand of the just. It is a fair statement that history shows the latter is harder than the former, for even though removing a tyrant always requires force, installing the just requires a people righteous enough to not become tyrants themselves when given power over others.

Today we remember the difficulties of the fight

  • We drink neither tea nor coffee, to remember the privation brought on by war.
  • We drink no alcohol, to remember the privation brought on by war.
  • We fast from dinner, to remember the privation brought on by war.
  • Devotion: We read the story of Gideon to remember the value of a small force of guerillas fighting for God’s principles.
  • We read Common Sense, to remember the struggles in the Revolution.
  • We watch John Adams, to remember what can be done by a single man with devotion to the cause.
  • We shoot dry-fire practice, to remember their critical lack of ammunition in wartime.
  • We fly the Culpeper flag, to remember the struggle in the South.

American Seder, July 2nd, 2017


The key to the longevity of the Jewish Seder is the inclusion of the children. The youngest child present is required to ask a number of questions that allow the adults to pass the story of the Exodus on to the next generation. If you aren’t including the children in the celebration, you are missing the point. And yes, that includes letting them pull the triggers on the guns. Let them ask questions, and give answers freely – which means you have to know the story well enough to answer anything they might ask.

  • We drink tea with salt added, to remember the Boston Tea Party and the cost of not keeping a watchful eye on our freedoms.
  • We eat a meal of wild-foraged and home-grown foods, to remember the way the founders fed themselves when blockade cut off foreign trade.
  • We drink rum, to remember the Triangle Trade and its consequences.
  • We read the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, to remember the power of standing up to a tyrant with God at your back.
  • We read the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms (Jefferson and Dickinson, 1775) to remember why we fight and under what circumstances.
  • We watch Gettysburg to remember the consequences of compromise.
  • We shoot targets at no more than fifty yards, to remember the scale of the battlefields and what it meant to hold fire until you see the whites of their eyes.
  • We fly the Betsy Ross flag, to remember our birth as a nation.

More tomorrow.

American Seder, July 1st, 2017

You have to hand it to the Jews, because they do remembrance better than anyone. What other group on Earth has had a continual remembrance of an event for more than four thousand years? But you don’t do that without ritual. They commemorate their liberation from tyranny by the hand of God with tradition that varies little (if at all) from year to year, full of symbolism and memory and dignity and the solemnity of righteous law.

Compared to Israel, the United States is an infant with ADD. We remember nothing because we ritualize nothing. Ask any American what they celebrate and they’ll likely say “the Fourth of July”, not “Independence Day”. We have our fireworks, cookouts, and parades, but little else, and little remembrance to go with that fun.

That must change. We should follow the example of the Jews in this regard.

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” – John Adams writing to his wife Abigail, from Philadelphia, July 3rd, 1776.

John had the date wrong, but you can hardly fault him for that. Congress had, after all, agreed to the Virginia Resolution on the second, but that’s a detail lost to most of us because we have chosen to forget it. We read the paper and it says “In Congress, July 4, 1776.” That’s it, and we take it at face value without knowing the rest of the story.

The Passover Seder and the Chanukah festival are my guides here. The idea is to design a multi-day ceremony with actions and feasts that are each symbolic of a different part of the story of the American Revolution. Therefore, on the First of July,

  • We drink tea in the morning to remember what life was like before the Revolution.
  • We eat fish & chips to remember the English heritage of this country.
  • We drink Madeira wine with the meal to remember the sloop Liberty and how it was a milepost on the way to rebellion against tyranny.
  • We read the story of the Exodus from Egypt to remember deliverance from tyrants by God’s miracles.
  • We read “Bloody Butchery by the British Troops” to remember Lexington and Concord.
  • We watch 1776 to remember the political difficulties that were overcome for the sake of unity.
  • We shoot a flintlock to remember how war was waged.
  • We fly the Bunker Hill Flag to remember the struggle in the north.

I can imagine some would object to the religious references, but to ignore those is to ignore perhaps the most critical aspect of the people who accomplished the Revolution, and to ignore John Adams’ advice to commemorate it with acts of devotion to God.

More tomorrow.

Ditch the car, it’ll only slow us down

Total miles: 1216
Miles to go: approximately 1214

Behind every traffic report, there’s at least one disrupted story. This is mine.

We made it fifteen minutes before we hit trouble. Or rather, trouble hit me, in the form of a guy with a Budget rent-a-truck (wisely) moving out of New Jersey for somewhere else. Silly me, I thought I was in the driver seat but it was actually Isaac Newton, who really, really wanted to hit the Camaro in front of me. So he did, as the glass flew forward and the airbag blew out and my dog started wondering what the hell was going on.

It didn’t kill the motor, just bent the hood and the bumper. The Camaro got its bumper bent in, same as mine, and the moving truck got the least of it with a couple broken grill ribs. We all pulled over and did the awkward thing where we pretend no ones at fault while we know who is and don’t say anything until the cop showed up and made it official.

So as I transferred all my stuff out of the car into the trailer my wife was pulling, I realized that the car was never destined to go west of the Mississippi, and may have known it. But that’s okay; the nature of change is partially expected, partially not. One cannot predict all changes without having a complete data set beforehand.

We made it to Dallas without further incident just before midnight, where we stayed at the house of my wife’s uncle. We’re going to visit her grandparents tomorrow, and assuming all goes well after that, we’ll arrive in the Phoenix Metro Area on Saturday. That is, of course, a giant question mark at this point, since carma (heh) seems to have it in for us. At least Scott didn’t have to deal with this, but he might in the future. I am god of his universe (and thankfully nothing else) and he may yet just have to deal with a pile of more crap than he’s seen before. Maybe.

West bound, hammer down

The screw that delayed my departure from Virginia by 14 hours
Total miles: 551
Distance from Virginia house: 551
Miles to go: approximately 1879

There is a relief you feel when you finally start heading where you are supposed to go, one that pushes all fears and concerns aside as the miles slip by. I haven’t felt that relief in a long, long time, and as it came over me today I welcomed it wholeheartedly.

For ten years (insert Grosse Pointe Blank reference here) I have lived in Virginia, having come here to help a particular church ministry and finding employment with two different companies. I learned to shoot (and hit the target) here, grew my family here, and published my first two books here, but the time has come to go back home to Arizona. My son needs his family close, so we packed up the house into five boxes and a trailer and off we went.

Or at least, that’s what we planned to do, before the car decided to crap out with both battery and tire (the screw above screwed me for 14 hours, but kept me on a sane schedule; I just didn’t realize it at the time). But those were easy fixes, despite it being 5PM on a Sunday.

(On a sidenote, there is nothing quite like moving to inspire one to declutter life and get rid of the crap contained therein.)

So we’re in Nashville, waiting to start off tomorrow for Dallas to visit my wife’s family. Then a dash to Walter White’s house to pick up some research notes (kidding, that’s not the direction the story is going), then into Arizona.

My boss, God bless him, realized as a programmer I really can work anywhere, and decided to keep me around. So that need is filled, and the hours I will be keeping will allow me a lot more time to pour into the story of Scott Philipson and the world that is beginning to fall down around him. Which stories?

  • Scott’s story of the 20 years between the end of The Hand of Justice and the scenes at the beginnings of that volume’s chapters. This will become The Dragonslayers vol. 3: Descent Into Darkness.
  • Detective Royce’s story and the end of the story in Charlottesville, Virginia. This will be a Justice Delayed: A Dragonslayers Novella
  • A storyline in Arizona set during the DS3 timeline about a border militia, title to be decided.

I’m going to publish something this year, most likely Justice Delayed. But we’ll see: The Muse is nobody’s bitch, unless you make her yours.

And soon, I will have the time to make her mine.

A quick update

A quick update: I’m not suffering from Writer’s Block, or enjoying every minute of it. I’m in the middle of a personal project that is monopolizing nearly all my free time, and will for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately I can’t disclose any details for about another week or so, but all will be understood when I do.

That being said, I will publish something this year, most likely a short story called Justice Delayed. For those of you who haven’t finished Dragonslayers 2 (and seriously, why not?), this is the story that wraps up the plot in Charlottesville.

In the meantime, take a look at this to see how I relate to Nick Cage more often than not.

Writer's Block – A Supercut from Ben Watts on Vimeo.

Resistance is a bitch. Your job as a writer is to make it your bitch.

Announcing The Dragonslayers, Volume 2: The Hand of Justice

The Dragonslayers vol. 2: The Hand of Justice
Fear. Friendship. Fortitude. What will find Scott?

Scott Philipson fought the law, and the law fought back. Now he’s on the run – but with the police closing in, will those he left behind be able to find a cure for Colonel Reynolds before time runs out? Or will fear and government win out over freedom and individuals?

I’m pleased to announce that my new novel, The Dragonslayers, Volume 2: The Hand of Justice, is now available for sale in Kindle, Nook, and paperback editions. This volume continues right where The Dragonslayers, Volume 1 left off, with the police hot on the trail of Scott Philipson, following the death of Officer William Cavanaugh under mysterious circumstances. With Scott on the run, only his girlfriend Carley Hill and Doctor Olivia Romano can help Colonel Steven Reynolds deal with his pancreatic cancer. Can they heal him and discover a new frontier in medicine? Or will other, more nefarious forces prevail?

Free excerpt:

Call for editors: The Dragonslayers vol. 2

Gah, I know, I know. The last post (from the end of March) said DS2 was coming this spring. What can I say? I’m a programmer by training, you can trust our estimates about as far as you can throw us.
Well with your bad knee, Ed, you shouldn't throw anybody
Anyway, there was crap to cut, scenes to add, scenes to edit. There was trouble scheduling time to write, family health issues, family death issues, laziness, distraction, procrastination …
I don't give a shit.
Okay, okay, enough with the excuses. I blame Resistance, to use Steven Pressfield’s term. I knew that if I didn’t get this one out this year I would hate myself as a writer. Although some writers – I’m thinking of the Balph Eubank’s of today – would say writer’s block and non-production are good for my character, I prefer to think of what is good for the story and my readers, and that means that production must be accomplished. Therefore, I set a schedule and called my cover designer and sat down and banged it out.
Captain Picard clapping
And by “banged it out” I mean I’m down to my last dozen scenes, all short things that can be done before the editors get to those parts of the book.

So, want an easy job, since I’m better at grammar and spelling than the average American high school graduate? Want a free copy of the book? Be Ross to me.
Click the “Contact” link at the top of the site and let me know you’re interested.

EDIT 2015-11-11: Speaking of Balph Eubank …

Sneak Preview: The Dragonslayers vol. 2: The Hand of Justice, Chapter 1

Coming this Spring in Kindle, Nook, and paperback formats.

Chapter 1 The Road Ahead

Scott felt the rifle dig into his hand as he settled into his shooting position, 316 yards from the state highway. I’m way too old for this shit, he thought to himself. He looked to his right towards Manuel, who looked back at him with a mix of fear and apprehension, and Scott couldn’t tell which emotion dominated. Did I really look that scared twenty years ago when I killed Cavanaugh? he thought to himself. Yeah, he probably did.

He cast a look towards Eric on his left, who wore a look of determination that seemed fitting for a man of sixty three who was going to war for the second time in his life. It looked like the faces he remembered on television from when he was seven. He hadn’t understood then why those buildings had fallen down or why there were so many people who were scared and so many who were angry. Eric looked like those people he remembered in the lines for the military recruiters, who knew they were signing up for war. He gave Scott a thumbs-up and went back to looking through his rifle scope.

What does my face look like right now? he thought as he looked at the road through his Trijicon. His fortieth birthday had been yesterday, and the militia had thrown a small get-together for him. The Trijicon was his present, an exorbitant gift these days, but he had to admit he needed one. Scopes don’t help you shoot better, they help you see better, and Scott had need of seeing better after four decades. None of them had spilled the beans on where it had come from, but Scott suspected there was a federalized local police officer who had been torn a new asshole in the past week. He had appreciated the gesture, and it made him feel comfortable and loved by the men and woman he commanded in the field this day.

He remembered back to when his path to freedom fighter began, two decades and hundreds of lost opportunities ago. He remembered the losses he had suffered, both those he deserved and those he didn’t. He remembered his parents and how they had looked in their caskets – paid for by the federal government to cover their complicity in the deaths of Adam and Anne Philipson. He remembered the week he had suffered in a Colorado jail, waiting for the government to decide what to do with him after the mall shooting. He remembered the years he’d spent watching his freedoms be eaten away, one by one, until he realized they were, for all practical purposes, as irretrievably lost as his parents.

And with each remembrance his face became a bit harder, his expression a bit colder. Father, he prayed, in your hands I leave my safety this day. You commanded us to rescue the weak and needy and deliver them from the hands of their oppressors, who will shortly travel the road before me. Let my aim be true, and let me not endanger my troops unnecessarily. The lead vehicle of the expected convoy turned the bend in the road and he clicked the radio button on his vest once. Let confusion reign amongst my enemies. The radio clicked twice in his ear; team two had the convoy in sight and was ready. Let fear drive them before us, and let them turn on each other as they did in the days of Gideon. The radio clicked three times; everyone on his side was prepared to kill. And above all, Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’ve started. His aim settled ahead of a man foolishly exposed in the turret of the last vehicle of the convoy. The M1A bucked in his shoulder, and the bullet that struck home a third of a second later ended the third life Scott Philipson had taken in his forty years on Earth.

Twenty years earlier

In any other situation, a blonde nurse in handcuffs on the couch would be a rather sexy affair, but the medical examiner standing over a dead body in the hallway put a rather harsh damper on things. Not that Ronald Royce was into handcuffs outside his profession as a sheriff’s deputy, but he had to admit she was rather attractive. But tonight he had bigger problems to worry about, namely the location of Scott Philipson and why there was a body in the hallway of his house – and why it was this body in particular.

William Cavanaugh had been found dead by the nurse, Carley Hill, when she had arrived home after shopping at the Victoria’s Secret in the Charlottesville shopping mall. She had been expecting her roommate and lover, Scott Philipson, but found the corpse and called 911. Cavanaugh had been dispatched with one shot from a .40 Smith & Wesson semiautomatic to the back of the head at close range, dying instantly. His wallet had been removed from his back pocket, but it was unclear if any cash had been taken. All the cards and his Charlottesville Police Department badge seemed to be in place, and the wallet had been found next to the body. Philipson had shot him and fled the scene when he realized who the dead man was, or so Royce surmised.

But there was no reason for Cavanaugh to be there in the first place. Cavanaugh had been the arresting officer in Philipson’s drug arrest in December and the trial had concluded today – a verdict of not guilty being returned by the jury. The defense had called Cavanaugh’s honesty as a cop into question, a strategy that hadn’t surprised Royce, given his own previous experience with the deceased. But the evidence seemed pretty cut and dried to him. Regardless, Cavanaugh had last been seen leaving the courthouse square at about the same time as Philipson and the two had not exchanged any words or anything more than glances from a distance, according to police and press eyewitnesses. So why and how had Cavanaugh ended up in Philipson’s home?

“Just spoke with the manager at the Victoria’s Secret,” Deputy Schottke said to Royce. “The nurse’s alibi seems to check out. Her receipt matches the time the manager remembers seeing a blonde in medical scrubs in the store, and I’ve sent a C-ville cruiser over to pick up the surveillance video, just to be sure.”

“Good. Any ideas why Cavanaugh would be here though?”

“Nah, I’m more concerned with the fact that there’s a cop killer on the loose,” Schottke said. “Don’t get many of those in this part of the state,” Schottke said.

“Never heard of a cop killer who kills in his own house, though,” Royce said and walked over to the couch. “Hands,” he said to Carley, who offered hers up with a scowl. “You’re alibi checks out, at least so far,” he said as he unlocked the handcuffs.

“Yeah, I know,” she said. “Now hand me my purse, I need to call my lawyer.” Royce did, but only after looking through it.

“What? I have a duty to look for the gun,” he said in answer to the glare. She yanked the purse from his hands and grabbed her phone from it. She called the lawyer who had represented Scott in the drug trial, Martin Shanston, and told him the news. He walked in the door thirty minutes later.

“Any word from Scott?” he asked without preamble of Carley.

She shook her head. “No answer on his cell phone, goes straight to voice mail.”

“Same for me. You’d think he would pick up for me, at least.”

“Unless-” Carley began, but Shanston cut her off with the wave of a hand.

“Later,” he said. “Needs to be confidential.”

“I do not believe, for a moment, that a police officer with Cavanaugh’s record would willingly go to the house of a suspect and let his guard down to the point where he could be shot in the back of the head,” said James Brodine, Chief of the Charlottesville Police Department. “There is no reason for him to be there at all, let alone for him to give opportunity to a man with motive and means to kill him,” he railed.

“Sir, there are no signs of forced entry, and no signs of a struggle,” Royce had argued. “Either Cavanaugh was let into the house or he broke in, and I can’t imagine why Philipson would let him into the house. Sir.” He added after the briefest pause.

“Then you need to expand the range of your imagination, Deputy Royce,” the Chief said with a glare.

Forty six hours later that same glare faced him as he offered the casket flag to the Chief. Ronald Royce had been chosen by bureaucratic protocol to present the flag to the Chief, since Cavanaugh had been unmarried and had no other family to receive it. Royce was glad the script called for him to step back, salute, and retreat to his assigned position to stand at attention.

Chief Brodine was a dour old man, close to retirement but didn’t look like it. The only betrayal of his age was his wrinkled eyes and gray hair, which contrasted with his tight physique and quick mind. He had spent his entire professional career in Charlottesville, except for a six-year enlistment in the Air Force where he had served in the Security Force. His Defender badge hung on the wall over his chair, and when standing at attention before him it was exactly at eye level.

The rifles barked, the bugle called, the priest closed, and the crowd of mostly police and politicians was dismissed. Royce found himself milling about, making polite conversation, and wondering if it was too early in the day to get a beer and ponder what he’d discovered so far. His gaze drifted to a blonde woman standing at the edge of the crowd, watching him intently. She wore a black, knee-length leather skirt and a purple sweater to keep away the early Spring chill, and he realized she’d been there since the ceremony ended. He thought about introducing himself but was interrupted.

“Deputy Royce, nice to see you here,” he said.

“Hello Officer …” Royce asked, shaking the offered hand.

“Peter Metoskowicz, CPD,” he replied. He was short but carried himself well, and a scar on his chin gave him the air of a man who had some experience with roughness. “I understand you’re heading Albemarle’s investigation into the death of Officer Cavanaugh,” he said.

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Any luck?”

Royce hesitated, not wanting to reveal that he had essentially nothing at the moment. “Some. Less than I’d like, but it isn’t like the murderer’s going to just walk into police headquarters.”

“No, I suppose not. Well, it was nice to meet you, and if you need any help with the investigation, please, let me know.” He took a business card from his pocket and passed it over, then walked away quickly and quietly.

Royce almost called out to him in surprise, but checked himself. He felt a small data chip taped to the back and wondered what Officer Metoskowicz might know that would force him to resort to clandestine tactics such as this. He was still wondering when another man came up to him, this one dressed in a suit and tie.

“Deputy Royce? I’m Agent Edgar Ward, DEA. I’m told you’re in charge of the investigation of Officer Cavanaugh’s murder.”

“Yes, that’s right,” Royce repeated.

“How’s it going?” the agent asked, and Royce gave the brief rundown. “Well, it seems we’re after the same man. Have you heard about the Executive Order the President issued last week?” Royce had. The President had issued an order directing all federal law enforcement agencies to ‘take all measures necessary to pursue the maximum penalty under the law’ for any crime involving the death of a police officer. It was part of a political push to shore up his law-and-order base before the election next year. The President wanted to appear tough on crime and tough on drugs, and the executive order had come along with others that dealt with marijuana prosecutions in states that had legalized it and offenses involving guns. Inside the course of a single week, the nation’s federal bureaucracy had been turned against the rising tide of states who felt marijuana prohibition was a bad policy to follow.

“The DEA is pursuing federal charges against Mister Philipson. I’m your federal liaison on the case, and the Sheriff of Albemarle said I could have your full cooperation on the matter. I’d like a complete review of the available evidence on my desk by Tuesday.” He offered his business card, which Royce was obligated to accept.

“I’ll be in touch, Agent Ward,” he said.

“Good to hear,” Ward said, shaking Royce’s hand with a tight-lipped smile. Curiouser and curiouser, Royce thought to himself. Royce looked up and saw that the crowd had dwindled but the blonde was still there. He looked around, noticing no one else seemed interested in her, not even the reporters that were making small talk with law enforcement. He walked over to her.

“Normally I don’t try to pick up women at funerals,” he said, trying to be light hearted, “but you seem too interested.” She smirked and glanced away, the mirth less effective than Royce had hoped.

“You’re Deputy Royce, right?” she asked. “I saw you on TV a few days ago.”

“Yes, that’s me. What’s your name?”

“Friends call me Paige,” she said, fidgeting. “Too bad about Cavanaugh,” she said.

“Yeah, worse for the killer though,” Royce said. “You know how cops are when they lose one of their own.”

“Look, I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead,” she began.

“But …” Royce said, annoyed at the developing trend, “that’s exactly what you’re going to do?”

She huffed. “Look, not every cop is a good guy, and I happen to know that this one wasn’t.”

“Oh? And how do you know that?” Royce said.

“I have a friend who is, shall we say, paid to be friendly? Cavanaugh stole from her when they met one time.”

“Well, in terms of vague accusations, that’s pretty impressive,” Royce said, then hesitated. “And it may or may not fit with what I may or may not have been told about him from sources that may or may not be reliable. What are you getting at?” Royce asked.

She scowled, annoyed at Royce’s disbelief. “I know I don’t have anything but the accusation – it was a cash deal, like always, so there’s no receipt – just don’t believe everything you hear about him in your investigation.”

“When you say your friend is paid to be-”

“Come on, Deputy, you’re a smart man,” Paige said, cutting him off.  “And I’m a loyal friend. Let’s just leave it at that, alright?”

“Alright,” Royce said, not wanting to drive her away. “Anything else you wanted to say?”

“It was nice meeting you,” she said flatly, turning on her heel and walking away. Royce thought about calling to her, but decided against it. Best not to draw attention to her, especially when what she was saying fit with what he’d discovered about Cavanaugh.

The man had come from Baltimore, and there had been trouble there before there was trouble in Charlottesville. A few discreet calls had turned up a highly polished badge – a police record not tainted by anything so much as a bad word, officially, but lots of rumor and innuendo, hearsay and secondhand stories. Cavanaugh had joined the Baltimore force and been assigned as partner with an old beat cop named Nathan Drake, who had the misfortune to be shot during the pursuit of a suspect. He’d lived initially, but died a few days later of a pulmonary embolism. The suspect, Shawan Thames, had died of a gunshot from an unknown assailant, coincidentally on the same night. Royce couldn’t help but notice the coincidence and wondered at it, but knew there was no way he could tie the two together. The gun recovered at the scene of the crime had belonged to Thames at one point but was clean of fingerprints. The murderer had never been captured.

Shortly after the deaths of Drake and Thames, Cavanaugh had moved to Charlottesville, where Royce met him about five years later. He was with the Charlottesville Police Department at the time and hadn’t liked Cavanaugh from the start. They had gotten into a row over how a suspect was being treated and it had boiled over into Cavanaugh punching Royce. There was a reprimand and an apology and Royce had taken it like a man, but there was no official punishment. Things had cooled between them over time, but Royce had always looked at Cavanaugh with suspicion.

His phone rang in his pocket. He didn’t recognize the number but answered it anyway.

“Deputy Royce,” he answered.

“Deputy Royce, my name is Deputy Andrew Wethernock, of Bath County Sheriff. I was told you were the one to contact about the Cavanaugh murder. Is that correct?”

“Yes, I’m the lead investigator on that case,” Royce said.

“We’ve picked up a suspect that you’re looking for, Scott Michael Philipson. He was driving a 2003 Honda Accord west on state route 39 this morning when he encountered a safety check. We were going to cite him for just the headphone rule, but the check of his license turned up your BOLO. We’ve got him in custody, how would you like him delivered?”