CAW SOP Sex Machine

    Apr 30, 2012

    Matt hustled through the door of our apartment and set a box on the floor. “Look what I got.”

    “Is that a drone?”

    “Damn straight it is. We're gonna see shit no one else does. This is the coolest fuckin' thing ever, dude. Get my tool kit from my room. Help me put it together.”

    I knelt on the floor next to him while he unpacked the contents of the box. “Whoa, Matt! That's no toy. I've seen drones like this on TV. How the hell did you afford it?”

    He put on his best fake innocent face. “I got it from a buddy.”

    “Oh, wonderful. More stolen merchandise. You take some damn stupid risks, Matt.”

    “Don't be a choirboy, Jason. You didn't complain when I got those speakers for your room.”

    “They're worth a hell of a lot less than this. You always said the cops work more on thefts of high-dollar items. I suspect this qualifies.”

    “If I stole it myself, I'd worry, but hell, technically I don't know if it's stolen or what. It was an early Christmas present, okay? Quit your bitchin'. Find the assembly instructions.”

    “No way trouble comes back to you?”

    “Bro, I'm not fuckin' stupid. Like I said, it's not 'stolen' as far as I know – more like lost in transit, inventory error, some such shit.”

    “That's a fine line.”

    “I trust the guy I got it from, okay? We've been tight forever. I did a lotta favors for him when I was a kid. He owed me, so he gave me this.”

    “You make me nervous, Matt.”

    “You're such a wimp, dude. Relax. This is about fun. Think of what we might see.”

    “That's true.”

    He laughed. “We're gonna have a fuckin' blast. You're supposed to register a drone this big, but screw that. I don't have to stand out in the open to fly it, so who's gonna know whose drone it is? If I crash it or go out of range and someone finds it, as long as there are no pics of us on it, we'll be fine. If they lift prints from it, so what? I never got fingerprinted. Did you?”

    “I don't do dumb shit that could get me arrested, so no.”

    “Dude, I never got arrested because I'm smart. I don't do dumb shit. I do careful shit, so fuck your attitude. There are no prints on file for either of us, which means it's not a problem if someone finds the drone. I mean, yeah, I'll lose it, but it's not like I paid for it.”

    “How quiet is this thing? Can you get close enough to really see much?”

    “Read the box, Jason. It's supposed to be for stealth surveillance. Hell, you can turn off the running lights so it's pretty much invisible in the dark. What the drone sees shouldn't be a problem. Latest tech hi-def zoom lens and all. Even low light vision for night flights. You steer by the camera in the drone – view it with an iPad on the controller. I can fly while you're someplace else talkin' to me on your cell. That way you can sorta keep watch and tell me if anyone seems to notice the drone. It's supposed to be super quiet for its size, but I have no clue how quiet that is. We'll find out when we get it put together. Here, plug this charger in and figure out the batteries.”

    After some cursing and well over a six-pack of beer, the kit was assembled. Matt stepped back a few paces to look at the drone as a finished unit. “That thing's fuckin' nice. Too bad it's gettin' dark.”

    “You said it has night vision.”

    “Next generation low light vision, dude. It won't record in total darkness, but if there's any light at all, they say it can get an image. Not green like old military crap or black and white like a hunter's trail camera – digitally enhanced full color.”

    “So we can actually spy on people under the cover of darkness, huh? That's some serious cloak and dagger shit right there, Matt. Sounds like now is a great time to go out with it.”

    “Yeah, but I never flew a drone before.”

    “You have two radio-controlled cars and an R/C boat in your room. You race them, for pity's sake. This controller is more complicated than those, but the basic stuff must kinda work the same. How hard can it be?”

    He finished his beer. “Probably hard enough I should practice with it somewhere open first, like out in the country where no one will see us, and there isn't as much shit to hit. Even if it was daytime, we shouldn't drive out there with it now. I'm sure I'm over the legal limit, and you drank as much as me. Campus security doesn't give a damn as long as we don't hit stuff, but real police are different.”

    I nodded. “You're probably right. If we do anything to attract a cop's attention, he smells beer, and he sees that thing in the back seat, we'll have a lot of questions to answer.”

    He looked though the instruction book. “It says here the batteries should charge overnight the first time for best service life.”

    “Fine. We don't know where all the trees and wires are around here anyway. Who pays attention to that?”

    “People with drones,” he laughed. “Let's take a walk and see where we can fly on campus.”

    We took our jackets with us and headed outside. It never really gets cold here in winter, but if you're strolling around at night, sometimes a jacket is good. The campus was quiet for a Friday, probably because most kids were working on papers or cramming for finals before semester break.

    “Check it out.” Matt pointed to the fourth floor of Pearson Residence Hall, the university's largest girls' dormitory. “The window on the left end – the one with the curtains open. If we had the drone, we could see what's goin' on.”

    “Don't you think girls probably close their curtains when they undress?”

    “Maybe not, dude. If you have your curtains open all day on the fourth floor, would you worry about 'em at night? Look around. The nearest place tall enough to let you see in that window is the men's dorm on the other side of the quad, and there's a row of trees in front of it. The girls probably can't see it that well, which means guys over there can't see them. We're close enough, but we're not at the right angle down here. The drone won't have that problem. We could probably see that girl if she's changin' clothes like we were in the room with her.”

    “You thought this through before you ever got the drone, didn't you?” I asked.

    He laughed. “Bro, I'm a pervert like you, but I never considered a drone until it was, ya know, offered to me. If it's quiet enough, we could be a safe distance away outside a window and zoomed in. Plus, I know a girl who lives in that dorm. She said on nice days there are dozens of 'em on the roof enjoyin' the sun. Some don't like tan lines. It's the tallest structure on campus, so it's not like anyone can see 'em. Heh heh heh. Until now.”

    “That won't work, Matt. They'll spot the drone in daylight.”

    “Sooner or later, maybe, but can I get close enough for good pics before they do? I wanna try flyin' above someone, you for instance, and puttin' the drone between you and the sun. If I'm up high enough there won't be a shadow, and you can't look straight at the sun anyway.”

    “The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow,” I said. “You know that abandoned farm about four miles north of town?”

    “You read my mind, Jason! That's the perfect place. Come on. Let's explore some more.” We walked around for over an hour, surprised by how many people let their curtains open at night. “The beauty of a drone,” Matt said, “is I won't need a clear vantage point to operate it, since I'll see what it sees. I can stay a discrete distance from a target. If someone spots the drone, I'll fly it somewhere safe to pick it up. You'll be on the ground, so no one will suspect you of peekin' in upstairs windows. It's perfect.”

    Saturday morning we were up early, at least in college student terms. All batteries were fully charged, and the kit came with a car charger to top off between flights. Matt put the drone camera in one corner of the room and turned it on. I went outside with his iPad docked in the controller to watch him fill a backpack with drinks and snacks for the day. Then we downloaded the video to my laptop.

    “Stop,” he said. “Go back, and pause on the fridge door. There! Look! You can actually read the brand names on shit.”

    “I can also see your plumber's crack. Let me start the vid again.”

    “Wait. The camera was at least fifteen feet away from me. Is it zoomed in all the way?”

    “Not even close. You'll see at the end.” I pressed play, and we watched the rest of the recording. After Matt was out of the frame I moved the camera around with the controller and then zoomed in on my room, visible through the open door. It was easy to read the copyright information at the bottom of a poster on the far wall, letters only a fraction of an inch tall. “That's zoomed in all the way.”

    “Jason, that's gotta be at least thirty feet from the camera, and your shades are down! I'm surprised the camera could see that well with as dark as it is in your room. It's set to normal vision mode, too, not night vision. Damn! Think how good the image would be in bright light! This is the kind of drone they use to make TV shows, like followin' a car around a test track or a skier down a slope. It has to be maneuverable and fast for that work. That means we can fly in, get our shots, and get out in a hurry if we need to. With that zoom lens we're gonna have some serious fun. Do you have gas in your car? I'm pretty low.”

    “Maybe you should start stealing gas. Put everything in my car.” I got my key from my room. “Bring the spare parts that came with it too. I'll get your tool kit. We might need to fix stuff if you crash.”

    We drove out of town into the scrub land of the countryside around it to our favorite keg party spot, an abandoned farm. I pulled up in front of the crumbling house, and we unloaded the car. After a number of failed attempts but only minor repairs Matt was able to control the drone, taking off, flying around, and most importantly, landing in one piece. Learning to use all the features of the camera at the same time was a bit more tricky, but by mid-afternoon, we had some quality video of the location. The images were clear enough we could read the rust-pimpled chrome “V-8” logo on an old Ford truck returning to the soil outside the barn. We even practiced flying the drone from my moving car.

    “Listen,” Matt said. “It's really quiet out here.”

    “I think I can hear traffic on the interstate near campus, but that's pretty much it. Way quieter than back there, even at night, but that's city noise pollution.”

    “Right, so whatever sound the drone makes might be hidden, especially during the day. Let's see how close I can get to you if I come in from the sun like we discussed,” Matt said.

    “Okay. I'll go stand by the barn. If you launch from near the road and come in high, let's see how close you can get before I spot you.”

    He nodded. “I'll find you with that white tee shirt you're wearin'. When you hear me, point to your ears. When you see me, point to your eyes.”

    I trudged through the weeds and found a good spot in front of the ruins of the barn. Matt was somewhere on the other side of the house, the sun glaring over its sagging roof. I called him on his cell. “I'm in place.”

    “Goin' up.”

    I thought I heard the drone lift off, but there was just enough background noise for me to wait to respond. I shielded my eyes from the sun with my hand and saw nothing. After about a minute I was sure the sound I heard wasn't insects or traffic. I pointed to my ear for a moment before I saw it. The drone circled overhead within easy sight and then flew away. I dialed Matt again.

    “Dude,” he answered, “there's an old Budweiser can maybe twenty feet behind you to your left. It's all faded out.”

    I trampled the weeds around it. “How the hell could you tell what it was? Did you see it when you were circling low?”

    He laughed. “No, bro! I saw a white spot in the weeds, so I zoomed in for a better look. I read the brand name just before you heard me.”

    “I can barely read it, and I'm right on top of it. It's really sun-bleached.”

    “It is,” he agreed, “but I saw it fine with the drone cam. You signaled me at about a hundred feet above the ground, and with the sun I got down below seventy before you saw me. I was about forty feet up when I circled around you. Damn! I can't believe it's that fuckin' quiet! The controller has about a one mile range, so we can spy in complete safety, zoom in, get some good video, and get away with no one knowin'. Think of it! If we see a girl with somethin' tattooed on her mound, we'll be able to read it.”


    “No shit, Jason! Let's get out of here.”

    We drove back to campus. While the batteries recharged, we strolled past Pearson Hall again, making plans for the night.

    “We have to be careful, Matt. If anyone sees us with that thing, especially flying around windows, we're pretty much screwed.”

    “That's why you're gonna walk around talkin' to me on your cell while I drive someplace I can hide to take off, fly, and land. Let's keep it simple at first. See the lot behind the student union? No one goes back there at night, so I should be good. It's a clear line of sight from there to the end wall of this dorm. It's completely blank – no windows at all for people to see me from. That should help for my first night flight. Look. The curtains are still open in that fourth floor window we saw last night. Hell, a lot of them are. We can do this, bro. You can sorta spot for me and maybe see if anyone notices.”

    “That should work.”

    We went back to our apartment. “What do you want to do if we get any good video, Matt?”

    “Well, duh. We can both make copies so we can enjoy them when we want. Maybe we could even sell a compilation vid if we get enough hot girls.”

    “Sell it? No way! If we fly the drone often enough, people will see it, even if they don't figure out whose it is. The images we get could only be made from the sky, right? Airplanes and helicopters make too much noise to spy on people close up, so anyone who sees our footage will know it came from a drone – specifically, that drone.”

    “Maybe, but it's not like people would know whose drone it is. We're takin' pics of random girls. We could probably get away with it.”

    “You're nuts, Matt! You can easily identify my face in the vids you took at the farm, and anyone who's been there would know the location. Someone will know this campus if they see it. Hell, a montage of aerial shots from a helicopter is the homepage of the university's website. It's not that damn hard to figure out what buildings you're looking at if you're familiar with the campus at all.”

    “You may be right, bro. We'll edit out any long range shots. A window kinda looks like a window, so we should be okay with close-ups.”

    “That's not the point, Matt! What if a girl recognizes herself, or some guy does and tells her about it? That sounds like a game of cops and lawyers to me.”

    “You're such a pussy, Jason. Fine, we won't sell videos. If we share images we can pixelate faces.”


    “Like, with buddies or guys we chat with online. This could be some good shit to trade.”

    “You trade pictures of girls with people online?”

    “Well, yeah. Don't you?”

    “No! Not real girls!”

    “What? You and your dweeby online buddies beat your meat to pics of blow-up dolls?”

    I glared at him. “Don't be a douche-bag. I meant I don't get online and share nudes of girls I know.”

    “Wait. Do you have naked pics of girls you know that you didn't show me? Are you holdin' out on me?”

    “Screw you, Matt.”

    He chuckled. “Remember that crazy slut Heidi I dated last year? Remember that blowjob vid I showed you? She let me watch the one her last boyfriend took, so I shared the fuck out of her suckin' me off.”

    “That's different, somehow, maybe. She knew you were recording her. The whole point of the drone is they don't know we're recording them.”

    “Yeah. So? Screw that gentleman shit. You sound old when you talk like that.”

    I looked at my friend. “You don't see the difference, do you? I wouldn't share pictures of someone I know in real life.”

    “Bullshit, Jason! You showed me photos you took of the blonde who moved in next door to your parents' house over the summer. The divorced woman who doesn't close her bathroom blinds – what's her name? Jenny? Jaime?”


    “That's it. She's, like, thirty, and definitely still fuckable. You have about a dozen pics of her nude in the back yard sunbathin' behind her privacy fence and a bunch of shots you took through her window. You even told me how you pulled your pud watchin' her shave. You know the woman, and you showed me pics of her tits, pussy, ass, and face that you took without her knowledge. The next time I visit you at home, I'll recognize her if I see her, and I'll know what her cunt lips looks like, so don't go all moral on me.”

    “No sharing, Matt. I mean it. I don't want anything to do with that crap. What if we get an illegal image?”

    “You mean an underage girl? Hell, no, I agree with you there. I'm not into that shit, and I sure don't want to get caught for it. But we're on a university campus, so it shouldn't be a problem.”

    I shook my head. “We could get caught for all of this, especially if we share! Everything about this is illegal!”

    “It's voyeurism, dude. Calm down. People have been doing it since the days of fig leaves. Why do you think porn is such a big deal? You've been to strip clubs. Same shit.”

    “No, it's not, and you damn well know it. Porn stars and strippers do it 'professionally' for money. We're talking about invading girls' privacy. That's not the same thing at all.”

    He shrugged. “Suit yourself. Go ahead and live by your cute little standards. Don't share, Mr. Moralist. Jeez, I thought we were buds.”

    “We are buds, Matt, but sharing pics of girls who don't know they're on camera is over the top for me.”

    “Fine, but quit tryin' to be my mommy.”


    It was raining on Sunday when I woke up. I stumbled into the kitchen to find Matt, obviously just out of bed himself, sitting slouched at the counter. “Coffee should be ready in a minute,” he mumbled.

    I flopped on the stool next to him. “The weather's crap.”

    “The manual says you can fly in rain, but watch out for wind,” he grumbled between bites of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. “I'm not up for crashin' in a storm, and we wouldn't see much today anyway. Pics of girls in raincoats don't do it for me.”

    “Maybe we should finish our term papers.”

    “There you go again, Jason, bein' all responsible and shit. But this time you're probably right.”

    We slaved through the day, helping each other with wording and proofing each other's work. I emailed my paper to my prof and then made dinner. Matt sent his off after we ate.

    “The rain stopped,” he said. “I just checked the weather online. Supposed to be clear and calm for a while tonight. No wind or rain until later.”

    “You wanna try a night flight?”

    “We worked all day, dude, so we owe it to ourselves. Let's try Pearson Hall. I'll take the drone and controller and launch from the student union lot while you spot for me, like we said.”

    “Deal.” I set off on foot. When I got to the sidewalk in front of the dorm, I called him. “Where are you?”

    “Just about set up. No one's out here, so I'm good to go.”

    “The girl on the fourth floor has her curtain open again.”

    “Then that's the first place I'll look. Yes! I see the window. The drone is about halfway there.”

    “I can't hear a thing. Too much traffic noise.” I said.

    “Dude, it's quiet. When I launched, I watched my altitude. I couldn't hear the drone at all when it got to about seventy feet off the ground. The interstate is less than a half mile away, so that kinda hides the drone noise. You realize what that means, don't you?”

    “You can fly lower than we thought.”

    “Right. If I can be that close to the ground, I can be that close to a window, and no one will hear, even if it's open.”


    “I checked out the lay of the land, found the drainage plans from when they built the dorm. Have you ever been inside?”

    “A few times.”

    “A girl kinda gave me a tour a couple months ago,” he said. “The first floor in front is all lobby and study rooms with a big stairwell to the lower level entrance out back. That's kinda the basement – laundry rooms, utilities, that kinda shit, but with an entrance and steps to the main lobby above. The ground slopes up toward the front door but falls away on both sides. See what I'm sayin'? That's probably why they planted those ornamental trees and bushes. They sorta hide all that blank wall. What we see on this side as fourth floor windows are about eighty feet off the ground on both ends of the structure. We'll be fine. Oh, wait. You're wearin' your Baltimore Orioles baseball cap, aren't you?”

    “Do you see me?”

    “Don't look up! I'm on your left, about a hundred feet off the ground. The white and orange on the cap shows up real nice.”

    “Matt, I can't hear a damn thing over the noise from the highway.”

    “Good. I can see you plain as day, especially with that cap. You should definitely wear it when we go out at night so I can find you right away. Kinda helps me get oriented, ya know? Seriously dude, this night vision shit is first-class. You might see the drone when I get between you and a lighted window. Check the one we talked about before. I'm goin' in for a better look.”

    “Hold off. Someone's coming toward me from my right,” I said as quietly as I could.

    “Where? Oh, I got her now. Good job spottin' her. Let me zoom in. Wow, dude, big tits. I can't see her face right 'cuz she's doin' shit on her phone. Blond hair with pink and blue streaks in it like fuckin' Harley Quinn. Look. She's goin' in the front door. Nice booty too. Let's both watch for a light to come on upstairs.”

    “I'm going to sit on the bench to my left. It won't look as conspicuous if I'm talking on my phone there instead of standing around. I'm on high ground. I can see the sidewalks and the front of the building pretty well from here.”

    “Sounds good. I'm goin' in for a look at Miss Fourth Floor.”

    For an instant, the drone was visible because it blocked my view, but then it moved away into the dark. “Matt, I saw you in front of the window.”

    “Yeah, I thought maybe you would. From your vantage point you shoulda been able to. I wanted to test that, comin' straight in. I watched stuff on YouTube last night about spyin' with a drone.”

    “You actually found a spy how-to video?”

    “A couple of 'em. They said it's not a good idea to approach from below where people outside are more likely to spot you in the light comin' out of a window. I didn't see anyone on the ground but you, so I flew in front of the window on purpose to see if you'd notice. That's why I moved. I'm off to the left of the target with blank wall behind me now. Can you find me?”

    I studied the dark area near the window. “No. Can't hear the drone, either. Could you see anything inside?”

    “Lemme go back over there. Okay. The room is empty, dammit. Kinda messy too. Clothes on the floor, trashcan full. Hell, my room doesn't look much worse. Oh, wait! The door just opened. She musta been in the shower. A girl came in with a robe on and her hair in a towel.”

    “A robe?”

    “Woo hoo! Not anymore! Damn! Not bad. She's naked now. Nice compact ass. I wish she'd turn around.”

    “What's she doing, Matt?”

    “Dryin' her hair in her dresser mirror. Brunette, pretty face, slender arms and legs, firm little butt. I think I've seen her around, but I don't know who she is. Maybe average height and ... oh, shit!”


    “Bro, she just turned around. Damn cute tits and a little trimmed patch over her pussy. No tan lines, either. She is seriously smokin' …. Uh oh. Fuck. She's lookin' toward the window.”

    “Get out of there!” I hissed into my phone.

    “No, I'm okay. She doesn't look alarmed, so I'm gonna stay right here. Remember, it's dark out here but light inside her room. I don't think she sees the drone. If she does, I can go straight up and be back in my car headed home in about ninety seconds. I wanna see what happens. Okay, she's sittin' on her bed, still nude. Damn, she's sexy. She's on her phone now. Wait. Oh my God.”

    “Tell me,” I said.

    “She got, like, a hot pink vibe out of a drawer next to her bed. She's lyin' down now, kinda propped up with pillows, knees spread, … damn! I can see her pussy like I was standin' right there, bro! She's talkin' on the phone and rubbing her tits with her toy. Those nipples are hard! All crinkled up into, like, pencil erasers. Fuckin' nice. She's rubbin' around her pussy with her fingers now. Looks nice and juicy. Wait. Holy shit, dude! She's sucking on the vibe. Wow. She turned it on.”

    “How do you know that?”

    “Bro, it's like I'm at the foot of her bed. She flipped the switch on the damn thing – easy to see. Wait'll we get home and I can show you. Now she's rubbin' the vibe around her clit. Holy fuck, her pussy's wet! I can see it so clear I can almost taste it.”

    “Keep both hands on the controller, perv.”

    “Fuck you, Jason. I only do that in the privacy of my room.”

    “Which is fine, after you make a copy for me,” I said.

    “No problem, bro. She's still talkin' on her phone and playin' with her clit with her vibe. That's so damn sexy. Oh, God! She pushed it in! She's fuckin' herself! Maybe she's havin' phone sex with her boyfriend.”

    “That's hot.”

    “Ya think?” Matt answered. “I'm gonna stay right here and see how long she goes.”

    “Sounds good.” I scanned the building from my vantage point for more possible targets.

    “Jason! She just pulled it out of her cunt, sucked on it like it was a cock, and rammed it back in.”


    “I know! She's really gettin' into it now. Her ass is off the bed, and she's plowin' away, really fuckin' herself. My God, dude. If she acted like that with my cock I wouldn't last long. Holy shit. It's like watchin' a damn porno. Oh. Wait. Yeah, dammit. That's it. I think she just came. She dropped the toy on the bed and rolled on her side. Wow. I can see her juice drippin' from her pussy from this angle.”

    “Did you get a good vid?”

    “I'm still watchin' her. I wonder who she's talkin' to. I think she's a freshman, so maybe it's some dude from home. That means we could have a chance if we could figure out how to meet her.”

    “Now there's a thought, Matt!”

    “Hell, yeah. We can sorta window shop. Why spend a night tryin' to pick a girl up and get her naked if you know she's got floppy tits and doesn't groom at all? I hate the Lady Sasquatch look. Big turn-off to me, anyway. Not like this girl.”

    “She's nice, huh?”

    “Dude, her tits aren't the biggest, but the shape is perfect, and they look nice and firm. No sag at all when she stands up, just big enough to move a little when she fucks herself. Damn, bro, she wouldn't have to ask me twice. That pussy and ass look like she shaves them every day. Not a hair out of place in her little snatch patch either. She takes pride in her appearance. Any guy who doesn't get hard lookin' at her is gay.”

    I chuckled. “I'm anxious to see her.”

    “Oh, I'm sure, but think of the bigger picture. We're both goin' to grad school here, so we can gain valuable knowledge for the next couple years. Think how many girls we can check out! This could be the best datin' tool ever. Oh, wait. Our girl picked up the vibe again. Fuck! She's lickin' it clean! Damn, that's hot. Okay, just talkin' on the phone now. Hmm, she stood up again. What a body on her! Now I know I recognize her, but I didn't think she was that fuckin' hot! Wow. She put the vibe with her wet towel. Guess she'll clean it right tomorrow. She just plugged her phone into the charger. Ah, shit. Lights off. I can still see her though. Yeah, she's pullin' up the covers. Show's over.”

    “I can't believe you recorded that.”

    “Jason, that was only the first. I'm headed to the third window from the left on the fifth floor. The light just came on.”

    “I see it, but I don't see you.”

    “That's because I came in from above, and I'm off to the side a little. Hmm. This may be the one with the big tits we saw outside. She has her back to me now. Yup, same hair – it's her. She's fuckin' hot, dude! And she's gettin' undressed.”


    “Only the shoes and sweatshirt so far, and she has her back to me. Let's see. Wide bra straps usually mean nice hooters. And she's takin' it off. Oh, damn, they are nice, at least Ds, maybe doubles, but they don't sag much. Nipple piercings too, gold barbells, and a little gold chain hangin' from her belly button. Wow. She's built like a brick shithouse! Ah, yes, there go the jeans. She has a tat. Hard to see since she's movin' around.”

    “Where's the tat?”

    “Left ass cheek. Looks like a rose or somethin'. It's halfway under her panties. Maybe she'll take them off next. She's puttin' her socks in her hamper now. Ah, shit. She just put on a night shirt. Yup, lights out. Let's see what else I can find.”

    “There are a couple curtains open on the top floor, Matt.”

    “Goin' there now. Whoa! Shit! Hang on. Okay. There's some wind when I get above the roof. This fuckin' thing is hard to control. I caught it, but I'm havin' trouble holdin' steady. It's startin' to rain again too, dammit. I don't wanna crash the first time out. Let's go home and see what we really have.”

    Back in our apartment, Matt downloaded the images onto his laptop and played them on the TV while making a copy for me. “I don't know about you, dude, but I need some alone time.” He took his laptop and went in his room. I sought my own privacy.

    When I got up Monday, Matt was busy on his computer at the kitchen counter. “Your first final is Wednesday, same as mine, right?”

    “I only have three finals this semester – one each on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.”

    “Excellent,” he said. “That means we can fuck off today. Look at this map of the campus. If my math is right, I should come in over the library this afternoon to see that dorm roof but be hidden by the sun. It's a beautiful day, warm enough to work on a tan.”

    “Do you think many girls will be out today?”

    He snickered. “They can't study all the time. Even if they do, they can wear sunglasses on the roof, can't they?”

    “Is it smart launching behind the library?”

    “There are no windows out back, remember? As long as I get up in the air without bein' spotted, it's cool, and that's as good a place as any to start from. I can park my car back there, launch, and then move if I have to. Remember, the controller has about a mile range. I'll sit in my car. I can fly the drone home from there. If worse comes to worst, I can park the drone in the air and try to drive someplace where I can land it. That won't be necessary if you do your job – keep watch. Same deal as last night.”

    “I don't like it, Matt.”

    “What's not to like?”

    “It's risky. Do you know what kind of trouble we could get in?”

    “No, I haven't looked up the laws, chicken-shit. What's with you? You're no fun anymore.”

    “I don't want to get busted, that's what's wrong!”

    “We won't get busted. Jeez, dude, stop bein' such a wimp. If you're smart you can stay out of trouble. I always have. Did I get busted gettin' you those speakers? Or my laptop? Or the drone?”

    “Not yet.”

    “Oh, c'mon, Jason. No one's lookin' for the speakers or the laptop anymore since I got them months ago. The trail is cold, the stores probably got their insurance payments, so it's forgotten. The drone is a little more iffy since it's new, but I'll just walk away if someone sees it. There's really no evidence to connect it to either of us. I guess technically it's MY drone anyway, so no one will give a damn about you. And don't give me any moral bullshit – how many times did you whack off last night?”

    I didn't say anything – just glared at him.

    “Uh huh. Probably as many as me, dude. The first girl? The one with the vibe? I got a hard-on watchin' her on the controller, and she looked a lot better on my laptop. So just shut the fuck up and enjoy the show.”

    “You're an asshole, Matt.”

    “Yup. I think the best flight times will be between one and two this afternoon.”

    We did the same routine as the night before. I sat on a bench where I could see the entrance to the parking lot behind the library. Matt drove in. A minute later, my phone rang.

    “All clear where you are? I'm ready to launch,” he said.

    “I don't see anyone close by, so now might be your best chance.” A few seconds later a speck appeared in the sky above the library, climbing fast. “I saw the drone for a second, but then it went too high. Can't hear a thing.”

    “Stop lookin' at the sky, idiot!” Matt barked back. “I can see you, and you look damn conspicuous. I'm hoverin' up here tryin' to see if anyone notices the drone. Doesn't seem like it, even with you rubber-neckin' like a fuckin' moron. Chill out. The roof is about a hundred fifty feet off the ground on this side, and I'll stay way above that. Okay, I'm gonna try to see if anyone's up there.” A moment later he said, “Jackpot. There must be over thirty girls lyin' in the sun, and half of them are naked.”


    “What did we decide yesterday? A hundred feet was the closest we could get without being heard, right? And that was without a highway close to us.”

    “You said you couldn't hear the drone yourself last night at about seventy feet. You could probably get that close here,” I answered.

    “Too risky. A hundred feet above the roof is good. I read a faded-out Bud can from that height, remember? The last thing we want to do is get spotted. You saw the shit we got last night in low light. This zoom lens is incredible, much better during the day. We're set, dude. With this much light we'll be able to see if a girl missed somethin' when she shaved. Hold on, okay? Gotta figure the coordinates so I stay hidden in the sun.” After a moment he said, “Here I go.”

    He fell silent for a minute or two, but then, “Dude!”


    “You know that redhead who usually sits in the front in world economics lecture?”

    “Melanie Phillips? She lives in that dorm, doesn't she?”

    “Yeah. Those tits must be real. No scars under 'em. Pale little nipples. Hell, they make her boobs look bigger. And she trims her pubes nice and cute. The hair color must be real too – she's a definite fire-crotch. And that Jamaican girl who's datin' Jerome What's-his-name, the second-string quarterback? There isn't a hair on her body. She's on her back readin' a book with her knees up and spread, dude! I can see a little pink. Ah, she's rollin' over. Damn. No wonder he's all over her. I'd eat that ass like groceries. Wait'll you see.”

    “You're getting some good shots, aren't you?” I asked.

    “Oh, hell yeah. I'm as close as I dare to get, but you wouldn't believe the images, and all I'm lookin' at is an iPad. Holy shit, this is good stuff. No action, but still. Fourteen girls buck naked, three topless, and twenty-two in bikinis, and the ugliest one is about a seven out of ten. Pretty good mix of races and body types. Big tits, little tits, shaved, hairy, curvy, skinny, you name it. I need to stock up on hand lotion and tissues for real, dude.”

    “How much battery life do you have left?”

    “Around seventy percent. I think I'm done here, but I want to check the Chi Omega house. Those girls have a pool in the back yard with a high privacy fence, so you know damn well they don't all wear bathin' suits. Climbin' sucks some juice, but it's safer. From five hundred feet I can still see enough to know if I should go in for a closer look. Cruisin' up there doesn't take any more power than at two hundred feet, so I'll stay high so no one sees me. Flyin' there now.”

    “There's a car turning into the drive back to where you are, Matt.”

    “Shit. Thanks.”

    “You okay?”

    “I think so. I sorta slouched down in my seat. I can barely see out the windows, so I'm pretty hidden. The guy didn't look at me, and he went in the back door.”

    “What if he comes out?”

    “Fuck, I dunno. How about this? The drone's at five hundred feet. I'm well within range of the our place from here, and I should have enough charge left to hover for about fifteen minutes after the flight home. If I stay hunched down like I am now I should be fine. I'll fly the drone to the apartment now. Get your ass back there and tell me if the coast is clear to land. Then I'll drive home.”

    “Okay.” I hurried down the couple blocks of sidewalk to our apartment. “I'm in the back lot of the building they're remodeling next door, on the other side of that row of trees. No one's around. If you can see me, bring it down.”

    “I'm right above you. Gonna land behind the contractor's storage trailer.”

    “It's still clear,” I said. “Oh, I see you now.” The drone settled to the ground at my feet. I switched it off. “Got it, Matt.”

    “Good deal. That guy still didn't come out of the library, so I'm outta here.”

    When he got back to our place, he downloaded the video. “There you are, Jason, gawkin' like a damn fool. Now I'm flyin' across the street to the dorm. Look at that! Is that a nice sight or what? All those girls on blankets and lounge chairs, tits and pussies out. It's like a damn buffet.”

    “An all you can eat buffet.”

    He clapped me on the shoulder. “Fuckin' right it is, dude. How many of those girls do we know?”

    I studied the images on the screen. “Well, there's redhead Melanie and Jerome's girl, Janesha. I could tell she had a spectacular ass before, but it's nice to see proof. Those two blonds on the lower right – aren't they the Spencer twins?”

    He paused the video. “Stacy's the one who always straightens her hair, right?”

    “Yeah, I kinda made out with her one night at a party freshman year.”

    “Jason, you need to try to get back with her. Look at that body.”

    “Trust me, I am.”

    “If you can hook up with her, invite her and her sister to the apartment some night. We could have one hell of a party.”

    “You wish, Matt. Hey, look. There's that girl Ali you had the hots for last year.”

    “Her tits are real firm, dude, and her pussy is like a wet velvet glove. She was shaved bare then. The landing strip is new.”

    “What happened between you and her? You never said.”

    “I only got to fuck the bitch once. Then she did the friend zone routine with me and started datin' that wrestler.”

    “Big surprise there, Matt. Wow. Is that Mayuko near the top of the frame?”

    He continued the video. “I sort of panned from side to side and bottom to top to make sure I got 'em all. You'll see in a minute. Look, there's the Harley Quinn wannabe. No panties this time. Clean shaven, nice fat pussy, and a hood piercing. Shit, I'd bang her in a heartbeat. She rolls on her belly soon. There! Damn, that's a sexy ass! What's the tat say?” He paused the video. “Holy shit. It's like a tribal tat with a rose and the words, 'Semper Fidelis'. Maybe she's an ex-marine? Or she's fuckin' a marine? She's kind of a big girl.”

    “Like you said, Matt, built like a brick shithouse.”

    “I know, dude. She's not fat, but she has big tits, a big booty, and meaty thighs. Can you imagine her oil wrestlin' with some of those other girls? Shit! Her body's built for sex. I bet she can fuck your brains out.”

    I studied her for a moment. “Marine, huh? I could see myself yanking her fatigues down and bending her over the nearest Humvee.”

    He chuckled. “I like that fantasy, but maybe puttin' her on all fours would be better. Then we could share her. Remember that girl we picked up at that party freshman year? She was into gettin' spit-roasted. We could do the same thing with this Harley Quinn wannabe. I could grab some pink and blue hair and fuck her throat.”

    “With all those girls on that roof we wouldn't have to share.”

    “True,” he replied. He started the recording again. “There she is – Miss Fourth Floor. Look at her! Tell me you don't want to take the place of that toy.”

    I nodded. “I spent some quality time last night thinking about doing exactly that. She's got a damn fine body.”

    “Fuckin' right she does. Damn! There's that brunette with the big tits who was dating Joel last year, Wendy or something like that. Dude, those hooters are huge! What would you say? Double E cup?”

    “Hell if I know. Big enough to have some great fun with for sure. I love tits, but I never dated a girl with boobs that big.”

    “Me either,” he agreed, “but I'd sure like to. I saw her in a wet tee shirt contest at a party once, but you get more of an idea of their size here. And look. They don't sag off to the side much. Can you imagine slidin' your cock between 'em?”

    “Joel told me she loved it when he gave her a pearl necklace.”

    “He told me that too. Damn. Now I can appreciate what he was talkin' about.”

    The camera panned up to Mayuko. “Stop right there, Matt.”

    “Wow,” he breathed. “You know what's hot? We both have classes with her, so we see her every day. Now we know what she looks like naked.”

    “I wondered if she shaved, or if she went for the Japanese schoolgirl look.”

    “Honestly, Jason, I'm a huge fan of bald pussy, but I like her hair. Trimmed and shaved to a cute little bush – she looks fuckin' smokin' that way. She totally rocks the innocent look.”

    “You know, Matt, if I hadn't bought her a drink on her twenty-first birthday last month I'd say we needed to get rid of that image.”

    Matt nodded. “The hair helps make her look legal. Look at those itty bitty titties. They need my cum rubbed into 'em to help 'em grow.”

    “She looks amazing. She's a really nice girl, you know? Just … genuine. The sweet, quiet routine she does isn't an act. I always liked her, kinda thought she was sexy in … I dunno … a subtle way. I wonder if she makes those cute moans and squeaks in bed like some of those Asian girls in videos.”

    Matt studied her image on the screen. “I bet she's a fun fuck. Have you ever seen her with a guy?”

    I thought for a moment. “Not really. I mean, not like a guy she seemed to be dating.”

    “I never saw her with anyone but girls. Maybe she's a lezzie. I'd love to interrupt while she's with one of her friends.”

    “Matt, you couldn't handle two girls at once.”

    “Fuck you, dude. I did it before, and those girls didn't look like these. Are you gonna tell me if you were on that roof you couldn't screw more than one of 'em? Look at those two.” He pointed at a pair of buxom brunettes playing cards, sitting cross-legged and naked on a blanket. “If you couldn't get hard for the second one after bangin' the first, I have questions about your masculinity and your health. I'd go to those two to get my cock revived after it's tired from other girls.” He started the recording again.

    “There are almost too many to choose from,” I answered. “What a fantasy! I mean, if we could get on that roof, and they were into it, I'd have a difficult time deciding who to do first.”

    “Bro,” he chuckled, “the male brain can't handle that many choices. When sex is involved we turn in to cavemen. That means keep it simple, ya know? I say we start at opposite corners of the roof and work our way to the middle. We'd be cummin' dust before we got there, but so what?”

    “We know a lot of those girls, Matt. At least enough to say 'hi' to.”

    “I know, dude. I think I'm gonna be sayin' 'hi' a lot more often to some of 'em. Wow. Can you imagine gettin' any of 'em in bed? I'm makin' a list of girls from these vids to try to hang out with. Imagine bein' alone with one of 'em and watchin' her strip for you! She'd think it was the first time you saw her naked, but you'd know what you're in for.”

    We continued to watch the screen until the drone rose and turned away to focus on the lot behind the library where Matt was. “This is when that guy parked near me and I had to fly home. I did a little reconnaissance work on the way. Check it out on the left – another dorm with girls on the roof and the backyard of the Zeta Beta Tau house. You know those guys have crazy pool parties. We could fly a night mission there.”

    “Why do I want to see a bunch of drunk guys?”

    “Because they feed drinks to all the girls to get them drunk too. That shit about tequila makin' a girl's clothes fall off is true. Think, dude!”

    “A lot of my blood flow is being directed away from my brain at the moment.”

    He laughed. “I hear you.”

    “Matt, the batteries should be at full charge again in a couple hours. Like around the time some girls get ready for bed.”

    “I like the way you think, bro. We haven't checked any of the other girls' dorms yet.”

    “Or the sorority houses.”

    “Not too sure about them,” Matt said. “They could be tough for window shots. Lots of trees and wires, and I'd have to fly pretty low.”

    “You're probably right.”

    After dinner and a little cramming for our finals, we went out, Matt driving to the student union parking lot and me on foot. “Should we start on other side of the building tonight, Matt? Over six hundred girls live here, and more than the two we saw leave their curtains open.”

    “Works for me. The ground's lowest on that side, so I won't have to worry as much about bein' spotted. I can see your baseball cap, so start walkin'. When you find a place to hang out, lemme know.”

    I walked down the sloping sidewalk to the back of the dormitory. “You know, the back wall of this building is weird. No windows until you're about twenty feet off the ground.”

    “Remember?” he responded. “The doors back there go into kind of an exposed basement. The next level up is the lobby and all that crap, and bedrooms are on the so-called first floor above that.”

    “Right. Ugly design, but good for what we're doing. I'm going to sit on this retaining wall. I can see the parking lot below me and the whole back of the dorm. This looks okay, Matt. Can you see me?”

    “Yup. I'm going for the third floor window right above you. Hang on. Oh yeah, pay dirt. I know her – Liz Mayer. She's a dance major. Super trim and athletic. Beautiful girl with great legs and a nice bubble butt. The rest of her isn't bad either. I met her at a party.”

    “Yeah? What happened?”

    “The bitch shot me down.”

    “You're such a loser, Matt.”

    “Shut up, dude. I don't see you out bangin' some hot girl tonight either. Liz said she had a serious boyfriend at home, so it had nothin' to do with me, okay?

    “Of course.”

    “Screw you, bro. Maybe I can see her naked anyway. She's in a tee and panties now. Little t-bar thing. That is one fine little ass. Wait. Yes! She took her shirt off! Perky tits, perfect nipples, and a cute little camel toe in those panties. I hope she strips down the rest of the way. I need to see if that pussy is as nice as I think it is. She looks like a fuckin' centerfold! Damn! I'd tap that.”

    A car alarm in the parking lot below startled me. Flashing headlights sporadically illuminated two figures struggling on the ground. “Matt! Something's happening in the parking lot behind me.”

    “Lemme turn around. I see a car with flashin' lights. What's goin' on?”

    “I think there's a fight.”

    “Shit. I'll fly over there and look.”

    “A girl's screaming. I'm going down there.”

    “I see 'em,” Matt said. “There's someone on the ground and a dude runnin' away.”

    “Follow him!” I barked. “I'll check on the girl.” I yelled to her as I clambered down the stairs. “Are you okay?”

    She was on her feet and running toward me. “Help!” She threw herself against me at the bottom of the steps from the parking lot to where I had been sitting, crying hysterically. I held her until she calmed down enough to choke out her story. “Some man attacked me. I don't know where he was hiding, but when I unlocked my car he grabbed me. I hit the panic button on my keys, but he tried to drag me away from the car.”

    “I heard you scream. You were on the ground then.”

    She pulled some tissues from her purse and blew her nose, but the sobbing didn't stop. “He pushed me down. He had a knife. I got my pepper spray out of my bag, but I'm not sure I hit him with much of it. He ... he told me to take my panties off! Oh God, he said he was going to rape me!”

    “Did he cut you?”

    She fished another tissue out of her bag and wiped her eyes, still crying. “No, but he said he would if I didn't stop fighting him.”

    “I think he ran into the library, Jason,” Matt said over my phone. “I lost him in those trees near the entrance, but that has to be where he went. I don't think I got a shot of his face. All he'd have to do is take off his hoodie, and I'd never recognize him. What did he do?”

    “I'll tell you later. I need to call the cops.”

    “Who were you talking to?” she asked.

    “My roommate.” I dialed 911. “Hello, I need to report an attempted rape in the back parking lot of Pearson Residence Hall. Male attacker, maybe six feet four, bulky guy, hoodie, all dark clothes. He ran into the library.”

    “Your name, sir?” the dispatcher asked.

    “Jason Long. The victim is with me on the steps from the parking lot to the dorm. Hang on.” I turned to the crying girl still clinging to me. “Are you all right, miss?”

    She struggled to bring herself under control. “I skinned my elbows, but I'm fine. Just scared shitless. I don't know where he came from. All of a sudden this guy with a red beard had his hand on my throat.”

    I spoke into my phone again. “She has some brush burns and bruises from fighting the guy, but she says she's okay. She tried to pepper spray him, but she thinks she missed. She says he has a red beard. He threatened her with a knife but didn't cut her.”

    “Police and an ambulance are on the way.”

    We heard sirens seconds later. A campus security car lurched to a stop near the still-flashing headlights. “Over here!” I yelled.

    In minutes we were surrounded by a group of emergency personnel. They whisked the girl away to the hospital. A middle-aged man in a suit and tie came to me. “I'm Detective Lieutenant Davis, head of the Sex Crimes Unit. You called it in?”


    “Your name, sir?

    “Jason Long.”

    “Ah, yes, that's the name the caller gave. Are you a student here?”

    “A senior.”

    “May I have your address, Mr. Long?”

    I gave it to him. “It's an apartment about a block from campus.”

    “Ah. Tell me what happened.”

    “I heard what sounded like a fight and then a scream. I started to run closer to see what was going on, but the girl damn near bowled me over on the steps.”

    “You said the attacker ran into the library.”


    “Where were you when you saw that? Did you chase him? You can't see the library entrance from here. You can barely see the trees in front of it.”

    “Um, he took off running in that direction. I guess he went inside.”

    “So you didn't actually see him enter the building.”

    “No, sir, I didn't.”

    “You told the dispatcher you did.”

    “I meant he ran that way. He was headed that direction when I lost sight of him.”

    “Ah,” he said. “You also said the attacker had a knife. Did you actually see that?”

    “No, the girl said it.”

    He ran a hand through his gray crew-cut hair. “You'd be a lot more help to me, Mr. Long, if you stuck to telling me what you actually know to be true. The bit about the knife is hearsay, second-hand information. Someone else told you, but you didn't see it yourself. The victim's account corroborates that part of your story, but your statement alone is next to useless. I'm asking for your own personal observations. As far as him running to the library is concerned, what you said is a logical assumption, but that's all it is. If we took that idea and used a lot of man-power to search the building, we could be all wrong at the worst time in an investigation – when the trail is still warm. Do you understand what I'm saying? If you tell me something you don't personally know to be true, and I take it as fact, it could hurt our chances of finding the attacker. What if he got into a car and drove away?”

    “I don't think he did, sir. It was really quiet, no traffic on the street. Yeah, there's the noise from the interstate, but nothing was moving around here. I didn't hear a car start up, and I didn't see any lights come on. I'm making the assumption he didn't drive away based on that.”

    “Ah. See?” His tone was friendly, but his face was not. “You gave me facts, and qualified which part of your statement was assumption. That's the kind of valuable information I want. So the suspect probably fled some distance on foot? He didn't drive away or get picked up by someone?”

    “I guess, but like you said, I don't know that to be true.”

    “Understood. Assumptions are fine, as long you say they're assumptions. This one makes sense with what we've found so far. A campus security officer found a black hoodie smelling of pepper spray on the ground near a tree at the side of the library, so we have some officers inside looking for the suspect. But, he could have just dumped the hoodie there and ran off. We scoured the area and didn't find anyone matching the description. Of course, the hoodie was a big part of what we know about his appearance. It's a size triple extra large, so it's logical it was worn by our tall, bulky suspect, especially with the pepper spray on it. If it fit him well, we can get an accurate idea of his physical stature, which helps. Hmm. Were you standing here the whole time? I'm surprised you didn't get a better look at the guy.”

    “No, I ran down here when I heard the commotion. By that time he was running away. I didn't actually go out into the lot. The girl met me at the bottom of the stairs where we are now.”

    “Where were you when you heard this 'commotion'?”

    “Sitting on the wall up there.”

    “Odd place to sit. It's pretty dark. You'd be half-hidden in the shadows from passers-by. Were you waiting for someone? Or watching someone?”

    “No! Nothing like that. Just walking around, talking on my phone. I decided to sit down, and that seemed like a good place.”

    “Ah. Who were you talking to?”

    “My roommate. I hung up with him to call you guys.”

    “I see. What's your roommate's name?

    “Matthew Johnson.”

    He wrote it down. “I'm sure you know his number.”

    I gave it to him. No point in pretending I didn't know.

    “Thanks. Where is he now?”

    “Not sure. He may be back at our apartment, but I don't know.”

    “Back at your apartment?” the detective asked, still scribbling notes. “Was he on campus before?”

    “Um, not sure.”

    “There's no possibility it was him that attacked the girl, though.”

    “What the hell? No! Matt's not like that! Besides, he's shorter than me! Doesn't match the description at all! What are you accusing Matt of? What are you accusing ME of?”

    His painted-on pleasant face never changed. “I'm not accusing anyone of anything, Mr. Long. Just asking questions. I have a job to do. I'm sure you understand. Did you tell him what you saw?”

    “I said there was a fight or something, and I needed to call the cops.”

    “Ah. All right, Mr. Long. Let's get a clear statement from you once more. Take it from the beginning. I need you to tell me exactly what you heard and saw, but only what you, yourself, heard and saw.”

    I went through the whole thing, carefully limiting myself to things I knew from my own observations after my initial screw-up. “So that's about it. The girl said she has no idea who he was. She hung onto me until that lady cop pulled her off. Is she gonna be okay?”

    “Apparently only some bruises and scratches. They took her in to clean her up and get her started with a rape counselor.”

    “She said he didn't rape her.”

    “No, apparently he failed. That's a blessing, but she's badly traumatized. This was a violent attack with a deadly weapon, a real intrusion into her personal space, a sexual assault. That can do real damage. I hate bastards who take advantage of women. We take sex crimes very seriously, and our unit has a high clearance rate.”

    “Good. I hope you find him.”

    “Oh, we will, Mr. Long. My greatest concern is this seems to have been a random attack. In my experience, most of the guys who don't get what they want the first time try again. That's why this investigation is highest priority. We'll get to the bottom of this mess. Well. I think we're done for now. Will you be going home for the holidays?”

    “I'll drive home Christmas eve and stay for the day. I'll be coming back to my apartment here that night. Why?”

    He handed me two business cards. “Write your parents' address on the back of one and give it to me.”

    “What for?”

    “You're the only witness we have so far to a felonious assault besides the victim herself. I assume you used your cell phone to call 911?”


    “Good. We have that number on file. Call me if you think of anything more.” He walked back to some uniformed officers.

    I headed to the apartment. When I was sure no cops could see me, I called Matt.

    “Please tell me you said nothin' about the drone,” he answered.

    “Hell no, but a detective made me give him my parents' address so he could 'stay in touch' over the holidays or some such shit.”


    “I'm the only witness.”

    “I don't like cops,” Matt stated. “Keep me out of it.”

    “He knows I was on the phone with you when it happened.”

    “You told him that? Wonderful. Of course, you gave him my name, didn't you?”

    “Well, yeah. Number too. I kinda had to. He asked.”

    “That's just fuckin' great. Thanks a lot, asshole. There's nothin' like havin' my name on a police investigation. Where the hell are you?”

    “Halfway to the apartment.”

    “I'm already there. We need to talk.”

    I found him in front of the TV, paused on a shot from tonight's video. I pointed to a man in dark clothes running across the parking lot of Pearson Residence Hall. “That's him, isn't it?”

    He ignored my question. “Tell me exactly what you and that cop said.”

    After my account he shook his head. “Jason, Jason, what the hell am I gonna do with you? You know you fucked up big time.”

    “When he asked me if you could have been the attacker I almost lost it.”

    “That mighta been some scare tactic to rattle you. The girl knows what the guy looked like too, so that's all bullshit.”

    “He acted like he didn't believe anything I said. Sorta like the bad cop in a TV interrogation.”

    “Your detective pal called before you got here. He pretended to be friendly, but he's a shitty actor. He asked me a couple questions. I told him I knew you were out someplace taking a walk. We were on the phone (I mentioned I always use hands-free in the car), and you said you heard a fight and were gonna check it out. Then you said you needed to call 911.”

    “So our stories match.”

    “Well enough, I think. Just make damn sure you don't say somethin' dumb if you talk to cops again.”

    “I think we're okay, Matt.”

    “Let's hope so. I followed the guy to the library. He went under those trees like I said, but then all hell broke loose with cop cars and shit. I didn't want to be around if they sent a chopper up to try to find him, so I took off. I flew the drone back to me and came home. But check this.” He started the recording again. It showed the man running through the parking lot and across the street in front of the library building. Then Matt paused the video. “I'll play the next couple seconds in slow motion. I didn't see it on my iPad, but he turned around to look behind him before he got to the trees. I got a good shot of his face.” He played more of the video file.

    “Red beard. I recognize him, Matt. Big red-headed guy. Didn't we run into him at a bar once? Isn't he one of your friends?”

    “Friend? Fuck, no! If you remember, I wanted to leave the bar when I saw him there. I met him maybe a half dozen times doin' what I do, ya know? I try not to spend much time around him. They say he's crazy, like violent crazy. Rumor is he curb stomped some poor bastard.”

    “Who is he?”


    “Mick who?”

    “How the fuck should I know? He's Big Mick to me, okay? I don't really wanna know more.”

    “Where did you meet him?”

    “He kinda works as a guard, I guess. He watches stuff until people pick it up. Makes sure nothin' happens.”

    “He's a security guard?”

    “Muscle is a better word. They say he does freelance work, collecin' debts, settlin' disagreements, that kinda stuff. He's protection for hire. No one fucks with him. I saw him at a warehouse once and at a couple other places where I've gotten stuff. He just kinda stands around while people pick shit up. He rode shotgun, literally, in a delivery van to a drop-off a couple times.”

    “He tried to rape some girl tonight, Matt.”

    “Doesn't surprise me. The dude is seriously fucked up in the head. He's bad news. I don't think anyone really trusts him.”

    “We need to tell the cops.”

    “Are you fuckin' kiddin' me, bro? If we tell the cops we know who he is, they'll ask how. We'll have to tell them about the damn drone, Jason! I don't even wanna think about how many charges they can lay on us. Plus, I'll have to say how I know the guy. No way in hell I'm doin' that! If he hears we ratted on him before they arrest him, we're dead, same as when he gets out of prison. If the cops get him, he could try to make a deal by rattin' out the people he works for, so we might still be dead. This shit is WAY outta my league.”

    “There has to be a way to tip off the cops about who he is. What if he tries it again?”

    “I honestly don't know, bro. Maybe he won't.”

    “Yeah? Maybe he will. Then what? Do you want that on your conscience?”

    “Don't lay this moral shit on me, Jason.”

    “That little blond cousin of yours is a college freshman somewhere, isn't she? How would you feel if some guy raped her? Or even just tried like tonight? That girl is seriously messed up from this, and she was damn lucky to get away. Does your cousin carry pepper spray? Would she be able to fight off an attacker? This guy had a knife. What if some asshole with a knife attacked your cousin? What if he carved her up? What if he overpowered her and did what he wanted? Raped her, maybe got her pregnant, maybe gave her an STD? How would your cousin deal with any of that?”

    His face tightened with anger. “You had to go there, didn't you? All right. Fine. How can we tip off the cops without gettin' ourselves in trouble?”

    “Can you make screenshots of the guy?”


    I searched on my laptop. “Here it is. Anonymous tip line. There's an email address too.”

    “That's a fuckin' scam, Jason. How anonymous do you think it really is? They can trace a phone call or check the email address to see who sent it. They'll know it's us.”

    “It says it's anonymous.”

    “Right. My mom told me there was a tooth fairy, too.”

    “Okay, another idea. Print out some good pics of this Big Mick, ones where you can see his face. We can wear gloves if you're worried about fingerprints. I'll mail the pictures to that detective. He gave me his card, so I have his address. I won't put mine on the envelope, just a note inside with the guy's name and that he's the one they're looking for. How's that for anonymous?”

    “They're overhead shots, Jason. How could anyone take photographs in that light from that vantage point?”

    “Oh. I guess you're right.”

    “Yeah, genius, so now what?”

    “Do you know where Mick lives?”

    “No, and I don't want to. Except for that time in the bar, the only places I've seen him he's been doin' his security guard routine. That means he's playin' with a knife and has at least one gun on him displayed where everyone can see it. That fucker is hardcore badass. You're nuts if you wanna go after him.”

    Both our phones sounded their tones for incoming texts. I read mine – a joint message from the Dean of Students and the Chief of Campus Security.

    “As some of you may know, a student was attacked outside one of the dormitories earlier this evening. We are relieved to report that only superficial injuries occurred, but this is a serious situation. Anyone with information is urged to come forward. We are coordinating efforts with city police to find the perpetrator. Patrols have been increased by both marked and unmarked vehicles, and our own staff and city police are using plainclothes officers on foot. We are doing all we can to ensure the safety of everyone. However, we urge you to be aware of your surroundings and to travel in pairs or groups after dark if at all possible until this criminal is apprehended.”

    I looked up from my screen. “If the campus had decent security cameras, maybe they would have seen him.”

    “If they had better cameras they'd see the drone too, Jason. Don't forget about that. Dammit. I wouldn't be so fuckin' worried if you hadn't been stupid with that cop.”

    “He did seem to question my story.”

    “No shit, Sherlock. That's his job. Cops try to catch people in lies. Your little fuck-up made him suspicious of everything you said. That's probably why he called me. At least my story fit yours. Let's hope he doesn't actually suspect us of being involved somehow.”

    “Do you think he could?”

    “Hell if I know, dude. He was a detective, right?”

    I pulled out his card. “Detective Lieutenant Davis, Sex Crimes Unit.”

    “That's just fuckin' great. He knows your face and he talked to me.”

    “Yes, but he thinks I'm a witness.”

    “If he thinks all you are is a witness, why the fuck did he want to know where you'll be over Christmas? He could think you're an accomplice, maybe MY fuckin' accomplice. That would actually make sense. You could have lied about any detail to try to cover for the rapist, or at least he might think you did, since he obviously thinks you're lyin' about somethin'. This could be bad shit, here, dude.”

    “Neither of us looks anything like the attacker. The girl told the cops exactly the same thing I did.”

    “So? We could both have been look-outs or maybe even part of some gang rape. You have no idea what that cop's thinkin'.”

    “That's why we have to point him to this Big Mick character.”

    “We went through this, bro.”

    The next morning the local news had a report. “Listen to this, Matt! 'Elderly woman attacked in home invasion.' It says the victim was beaten and sexually assaulted after a man forced his way into her house. She described her attacker as a stocky Caucasian male with a red beard.”

    “Don't tell me that shit, bro.”

    “What do you think the chances are that was your buddy, Big Mick?”

    “I told you, dude. He's not a buddy.”

    “I damn well hope not. He beat up an old lady and raped her, Matt!” I read the full write-up about the assault. “He threatened her with a knife. It says he didn't cut her, but he really roughed her up. She's in guarded condition in the hospital with broken ribs, a broken wrist, and facial injuries.”

    “That's fucked up, Jason, but with Big Mick, nothin' surprises me.”

    “I wonder why they don't say anything about how this woman's description of the guy matches the one the girl and I gave to the cops. It can't be a coincidence. Two similar looking guys a couple hours and blocks apart doing the same thing? How likely is that?”

    “I know damn well it was him, dude. So do the cops, unless they're a lot dumber than I thought.”

    “So why doesn't the article mention the other assault?”

    He pondered this for a moment. “Lettin' the public know there was a second assault is enough to make people careful. It's not just a campus problem now, so everyone will be watchin'. That's good enough for public safety, I guess.”

    “Why not point out the similarities, Matt? Maybe another witness would come forward.”

    “It could be they want Mick to think they're not on to him.”

    “Is he that stupid?”

    “He's that crazy, bro. He may think he can get away with it, or he may just not give a damn. I told you, he's seriously fucked up in the …. Oh, shit! Oh, fuck!”


    He pointed out the front window. A plain, unmarked sedan was at the curb. Lt. Davis and a woman walked toward the door. Matt grabbed the drone and controller and put them in his room, closing the door on his way back to the living room.

    I answered the front door when they knocked.

    “I took the liberty of stopping by rather than calling, Mr. Jones, since we were in the area. This is Detective Martinez, also from the sex crimes unit. We have some more questions. Oh, I see Mr. Johnson is home. We'd like a minute of your time too, sir.”

    “You want to talk to us here?” I asked.

    “It's just a couple questions, so there's no reason to go downtown. We'd rather not talk through the screen door, though. Do you boys want to come outside, or may we come in?”

    “Do you have a warrant?” Matt asked.

    “Do you feel we need a warrant?” Davis countered. “We're here to talk, not look around or take anything. Come out here if you're uncomfortable with having us inside.”

    “Let 'em in,” Matt said to me, so I stood aside and motioned the detectives through the door.

    “This will only take a few minutes, gentlemen. May we sit down?”

    Matt pointed to the couch, and Lt. Davis and Det. Martinez settled in, notepads in hand. Davis said, “I assume you saw the local morning news.”

    “Not a fan of current events,” Matt replied.

    Martinez raised an eyebrow, but Davis' face never changed. “An elderly woman was beaten and raped last night less than three hours after the assault you reported, Mr. Long. The perpetrator broke into her house, six blocks from the earlier attack. This victim's description of the man seems to match yours – same build, clothing, and beard. And he flashed a knife.”

    “Why are you here tellin' us instead of out looking for the bastard?” Matt asked.

    “We are looking for him, sir,” Det. Martinez snapped. “That's why we're here.”

    “He sure as fuck isn't with us!” Matt sputtered.

    “Mr. Johnson, we didn't think he was,” Davis responded, fake pleasant persona in high gear. “If we did, we would have brought more officers and a warrant. We simply want to ask you additional questions.”

    “Go ahead,” I said.

    “Where did you go after we spoke last night, Mr. Long?”

    “I came back here. I have finals coming up, so I wanted to review a couple things. Then I went to bed.”

    “Ah, I see. You, Mr. Johnson?”

    “I was on my way back here when I was on the phone with Jason. I have finals too, so I did what he did. I think we were both in bed by, like, midnight.”

    “Ah. Is there anything about last night that you may have forgotten to tell me, Mr. Long?”

    “Like I said, the first I knew anything was wrong was when I heard them. I looked where the scream came from and saw the girl on the ground and the guy running away.”

    “And you told your roommate that on the phone before you called 911.”

    “Yes. I hung up on him, yelled to the girl, and called the cops.”

    “Ah. Where were you, Mr. Johnson, when you were on the phone with Mr. Long?”

    “In my car, like I told you. I use Bluetooth so I can talk.”

    “Yes, you mentioned that. What I'm asking is where you were going.”

    “Back to the apartment here. I said that before too.”

    “Right. Where had you been?”

    “Out driving around. I do that sometimes, don't you?”

    “No, not unless I'm working, anyway. Were you near the campus when Mr. Long called you?”

    I tried not to cringe. Would Matt come up with a convincing lie?

    “Actually, I was. I went out in the country for a drive and was comin' back. I guess I mighta been a couple miles from here when Jason said there was somethin' was goin' down. Then he got off the phone with me to call you. That's all I knew until he got back here and told me the rest.”

    “Ah. So you were on the phone with him for several minutes before that.”

    “Not sure how long, but yeah.”

    “What were you talking about?”


    “'Stuff,' Mr. Johnson?”

    “Guy stuff, ya know? Final exams, going out drinkin' after finals are over, semester break, that kinda shit.”

    “Do either of you know the girl who was attacked?”

    “The first time I spoke to her was last night, detectives,” I said. “The only way I know her name is from you guys.”

    “Jason told me her name,” Matt offered. “Mandy Summers, right?”

    Det. Davis nodded.

    “I think she was in a freshman history lecture with me, but I'm not sure I even said 'hi' to her since.”

    Davis flipped to a clean page on his notepad. “Mr. Long, is there anything more you can think of to tell us about the attacker?”

    “Like I said, big guy, maybe six-four, stocky, dark clothes, red hair.”

    Det. Martinez pulled up a report on her screen. “You told 911 and Lt. Davis he wore a hoodie. How do you know he had red hair?”

    “Well, he had a red beard.”

    “Mr. Long,” Davis said, “when I was your age my whiskers were dark brown. Before they turned gray they turned red. I used to have dark brown scalp hair before it turned gray. There was never any red in it. Is red hair on the suspect another of your assumptions?”

    I realized my blunder before I saw the sweat beading on Matt's forehead. “I guess so, Detective.”

    “Another guess. Too bad. Knowing his hair color would really help.” He motioned to Detective Martinez, and they stood up to leave. “Thank you for your time, gentlemen. Mr. Johnson, are you leaving campus for the holidays?”

    “My older sister lives on the other side of town. I'll go there Christmas Eve to visit with some relatives. Probably come back to the apartment Christmas night.

    “Ah. I have that address from your university records. We'll keep in touch.”

    When their car pulled away, Matt flew into a rage. “You dumb fuck! Now they know you're not tellin' 'em stuff!”

    “I'm not used to lying to cops!”

    “That's pretty damn obvious, dude!”

    “So now what?”

    “You're askin' me? Hell, I dunno. I guess we lay low. I don't want cops sniffin' around.”

    “We have to tell them what we know.”

    “Fuck that! Do you want to go to jail? We're peepin' Toms, dude! Do you want to wind up on some sex offender list for the rest of your life? That shit follows you forever. You can't get some types of jobs, can't live near a school – all kinds of problems. I know a guy who got busted for takin' a piss in an alley at night on the way home from the bar. Cop car rolled by, and they saw him. Indecent exposure, they called it, 'cuz he had his dick out. All he was doin' was takin' a damn leak, and no one saw anything but the cops. Didn't matter. He's on a public list now as a 'morals offender'. Are you ready for that?”

    “Of course not. But we can't let Big Mick hurt more women.”

    Matt stood and paced the room. “We can't send the cops pics.”

    “Because it's obvious they're from a drone?”


    “Maybe we can spook Big Mick if you get pictures to him somehow.”

    “I'd rather take my chances with the cops, dude. Mick was there when I got the fuckin' drone. He knows I have it. If he puts two and two together, I'm dead, and he'll find you too.”

    Nothing more happened during final exams week. We both left campus Christmas eve to endure obligatory family holidays.

    My phone rang as I was driving back to the apartment after Christmas dinner. “Mr. Long, Lt. Davis. Did you have a good holiday?”

    “About like I expected.”

    “Where are you now?”

    “Halfway back to campus.”

    “Ah. You're about two hours away, then?”

    “I guess. Why?”

    “The guy with the red beard attacked another woman – a young nurse, wife, and mother on her way home from work to have a late Christmas celebration with her family.”


    “She's in intensive care on life support.”

    “Wow. That sucks.”

    “Mr. Long, I've been a cop for thirty years. My first duty sergeant helped me become the youngest detective in the department. Over the years I've developed a real sense about the truth when I interview people. You and your roommate know more than you told me.”

    “Why do you say that?”

    “Three decades of experience.”

    “I was out of town when it happened, Detective. Matt was at his sister's house. We both have people who can vouch for us. How can you think we're involved?”

    “I don't think you were directly involved in today's attack, but I do think you're lying to me. At this point I'm not sure whether to consider you and Mr. Johnson as witnesses or something more. Keep in touch, okay?” He hung up.

    Matt got to the apartment soon after me. “Dude, that cop called me. Mick damn near killed a woman this morning. He thinks we know somethin'.”

    “We do.”

    “Yes, and your stupid fuck-ups made it obvious!”

    “I wasn't the one who got antagonistic and sweaty when Davis and Martinez were here. I don't think they liked you at all.”

    “I don't like cops, okay? I never got myself in a situation where I had to talk to a pair of fuckin' detectives before.”

    “Well, you're in one now, and I only know one way to get out. We have to tell them what we know.”

    “Out of the question, dude. We discussed all this. The best outcome is we get busted and labeled as sex offenders.”

    “Then we have to lead them to Mick somehow. You really don't know how to find this guy, Matt?”

    “I told you. We're dead if we go after him.”

    “What if we spy on him?”

    “You mean with the drone?”

    “It has some sort of 'follow me' feature, doesn't it?”

    “I don't think I can use it to follow someone else.”

    “Okay, but if you went someplace where he was, you could launch the drone, get it to watch you, and then when you get back to your car you could watch him. I can fly the thing well enough to follow him if he leaves first if he's on foot. When you come out you can take over.”

    Matt pondered for a moment. “I guess that could work, bro. But what then?”

    “We track him. See where he goes. Maybe catch him following some girl.”


    “We call the cops to try to stop him before he does something. We'll tell them we were in the area and saw this guy doing something suspicious – only what we can see from the ground.”

    “Dude, I don't know.”

    “If that woman dies, it's a homicide. We could have prevented it.”

    “I hate your fuckin' logic. Don't do this, Jason.”

    “We have to, and you know it. He's a serial rapist now, a violent one. You told me yourself how he broke a guy's jaw. Do you know why he did it?”

    “The story I heard was the guy mouthed him off. Mick didn't bitch slap him, didn't even look mad, they said, like he didn't care. Then, boom! No warnin'. Just punched him in the gut, kneed him in the nose, threw him on the ground, and curb stomped the poor bastard. That's why I don't wanna fuck with him.”

    “Do you have a reason to go somewhere he might be?”

    “I got some Christmas cash. Kinda want a new laptop. Lemme call my boy Shaky Jake.”

    When he got off the phone he said, “I put in an order with Jake 'cuz always uses Mick for muscle at pick-ups. The type of laptop I want is out of stock now, but Jake said he should have some in about a week. Holiday slowdown and all that.”

    “Does Shaky Jake know where Mick lives? Maybe we can get information from him.”

    “Dude, you're dumb sometimes, you know that? What am I gonna do? Call him and say I need info to give to the cops?”

    “He must know something.”

    “Jake's not an idiot. He probably knows Mick's cell number, but I'd bet good money he doesn't know much more about that bastard than we do. Jake and I talked about him one time. He uses Mick because no one will fuck with the guy. Jake's in a dangerous business, you know. Lots of cash, lots of stuff worth stealin' from him, maybe even beatin' the shit outta him to get it. He needs protection, so he hires Mick. He's lethal, but he does what he's told when you pay him. No one trusts him. He's bad news, bro.”

    “Then we'll have to spy on him.”

    Matt sighed. “Yeah, I know.” He pulled out the drone's instruction manual. “Hmm. Max safe flight time on a full charge for the drone is an hour. Since we don't know where we're goin', we might need more.”

    “How much are spare batteries?”

    “I'm lookin'. Don't want to buy them from the drone company, but someone else must sell them. Ah, here they are.”

    I looked over his shoulder. “They're expensive.”

    “They'll fit an R/C boat I wanna get for summer, so fuck it.” He got his credit card out of his wallet. When he was done on the computer he said, “Spare batteries will be here tomorrow.”

    “What do you want to do till then?”

    “Like what? Play fuckin' detective?”

    “No, but I need to get out of here. Too much Christmas dinner. I ate like a damn pig. Maybe I could use a walk.”

    “Should I bring the drone?”

    “I think we should walk around on campus and be completely innocent, Matt. The cops know we're here. If Mick does something tonight, it might be good if we're seen out in the open.”

    “Most people probably stayed home for the rest of Christmas break, but you're right about havin' an alibi if that motherfucker attacks someone again. Let's just walk and see who's around.”

    The campus was largely deserted. We saw a few kids going into their dorms laden with presents they got, but no one was strolling aimlessly like us.

    “We're pretty conspicuous, bro. No one's out here.”

    “There's no law against going for a walk, Matt.”

    A campus security car idled by. The officers inside looked at us. I waved, and the driver waved back and accelerated away.

    “Well, okay,” Matt said. “They checked us out. If somethin' happens, they know where we are now, at least. Let's head over to Joel's apartment. He said he might come back tonight.”

    “Call him.”

    We nodded to a campus cop walking on the path where we stood while Matt made his call. The officer looked at us for an instant, nodded back, and kept on his way.

    When he was gone, Matt said, “Joel's phone went to voicemail, so I have no clue where he is. But, we've now been see twice lookin' like two respectable guys doing nothin'. Let's head to the bar across from the Chi Phi house. There has to be someone in there. If we use our credit cards, the bills will show we were there if we need proof later.”

    We chatted with the few kids we knew and eventually headed home. An unmarked police car sat idling at the curb as we walked by. “We're not staggerin', but he watched us, bro. That's the third time a city cop or campus security paid attention to us, plus there were the people in the bar. I think we've established our whereabouts tonight.”

    Things stayed quiet that week. Matt and I went to a small New Years Eve party together and made sure people knew we were there. We made a point of being seen in public a lot to build alibis in case there was another rape. The weekend everyone came back to campus for the start of the new term, Mick struck again. DNA samples from this battered victim matched evidence collected from the others. He left semen in all but his first.

    Lt. Davis called and woke me the next morning. “I suppose you heard the news about another rape.”

    “Yes, sir, last night.”

    “Right. Same attacker. I thought you should know something that's not on the news yet, although it will be soon. The family of the woman attacked Christmas day took her off life support. She died a few minutes ago.”

    “Oh, no. That's horrible. I feel so bad for her and her family, sir.”

    “Yes, I'm sure you do. Homicide investigators are working the case now too. Are you sure you don't remember anything else that could help us find this guy?”

    “I don't think so, sir.”

    “Ah. I thought you'd say that. Well. I guess you need to get ready for class. Have a good day, Mr. Long.”

    Matt came out of the shower. “Who the fuck calls at this time in the morning?”

    “Lt. Davis. Mick got another one last night.”

    “Yeah, it was on the news.”

    “Davis also told me the family took that nurse off life support. She died this morning.”


    “Yeah, Matt. Mick's a killer now, as well as a rapist.”


    “We have to do something.”

    “Dammit, dude, if we get busted we're through, and if Mick catches on, we're dead. I'm scared.”

    “So am I, but we can't let this go. You know that as well as me. Both the main and spare batteries for the drone have a full charge. When's your laptop supposed to be here?”

    “He said soon.”

    “You told me that when you ordered it. When is soon? Call the guy.”

    “That's not how it works, bro. He'll send me a text when he has it.”

    The following afternoon Matt was waiting for me when I got back from classes. “Shaky Jake texted me. I can pick up the laptop tonight.”


    “Rented storage unit – ya know, one of those places with rows of overhead doors where people keep stuff. It's pretty open ground – no trees. Well-lit for security too. You can't see anythin' from the ground lookin' up at night, so flyin' over the place should be safe enough. The locker Jake rents is small. No one goes inside but him. That means Mick will be stationed out in the open.”

    “These transactions happen outside?”

    “The dude who owns the place turns the security cameras off at certain times. That's why Shaky Jake rents from him.”

    “What time can you go there?”

    He re-read his text. “My appointment is at eight-thirty. He tries to not have a crowd, so he tells people specific times to show up.”

    “Do you drive right up to the door?”

    “Not enough space, really, since Jake's car will be there. He likes us to come in on foot anyway if we're not gettin' a big shipment. I'll park around the side.”

    “Will anyone see if I'm with you, Matt?”

    “You can hide under a blanket on the back seat floor. As long as the controller antenna is near an open window, you'll be fine, especially if I set it to hover before I give it to you.”

    “Is there enough noise there to cover the sound of the drone lifting off?”

    “Probably not, but there's a rail line on the other side of the storage yard fence and an abandoned factory next to that. I'll launch from there and fly up high over the tracks. When I find Mick, I'll park the drone above him and then drive in.”

    “How easy do you think it will be to spot him from the air?”

    Matt grinned. “He's a big son of a bitch. He never wears a hoodie at a drop, probably so people will know who he is. That way he doesn't even have to open his mouth to intimidate 'em. Hell, you saw him in that bar. Imagine him with a gun and a blade. Would you mess with a guy like that?”


    “Right. There will only be three or four people at the locker at any one time – customers, Jake, and Mick. With red hair he shouldn't be that hard to find.”

    At eight o'clock we parked next to the deserted factory. Matt launched the drone and set it to hover two hundred feet above us. He pointed at the well-lit, fenced in area on the other side of the railroad tracks. “Look at the storage units over there, Jason. Now look on the iPad.” He held the controller so I could see. “Watch.” He flew toward the drop point. “See that car leavin' the property?”


    “I bet he was the eight o'clock appointment. Hmm. There's Mick's truck just inside the gate.” He panned the camera to the left. “There. See?” He zoomed in on a large man leaning against the side of a car near one of the units. “That's Mick, talkin' to Jake.”

    The image on the iPad showed a big man with red hair and beard, playing with a hunting knife. Jake stood a few feet away. A car pulled into the lot, its headlights illuminating the blacktop near the two men for an instant, and then parked near Mick's truck. A man got out and walked toward Jake and Mick.

    “Who's he?” I asked.

    “Probably the eight-fifteen guy. Yeah, look. He raised both hands to show he's not armed. Mick's pattin' him down. There. See? The dude gave Jake an envelope.”

    Jake counted the cash and pointed to a spot where the buyer couldn't see inside the storage unit door. When the buyer took his position, Jake disappeared inside. In a moment, he came out with two large bags and placed them on the hood of his car. He beckoned to the customer who joined Jake to inspect the merchandise. “Phones,” Matt said. “Looks like about two dozen. That's quite a haul. I'm gonna park the drone over 'em now so we can drive to the yard for my appointment.”

    I got in the back seat and hid under a blanket.

    Matt waited until the previous seller left and then drove across the tracks and through the gate to the storage facility. “I'm gonna park where the other guy did,” Matt said. “Mick's truck is on our right.” He shut off the engine. “The drone's still in place. Here's the controller.”

    The view on the iPad showed Matt walking toward the locker, hands in the air. Mick patted him down, and then Jake shook his hand. An exchange of cash and merchandise, and Matt walked back to the car. He took the controller from me. “How much battery life do we have? Oh, good. Stay down. I'm gonna leave the drone parked up there and drive back to the factory. It will look pretty funny if they don't see my car leave now.”

    I sat up when I felt us jostle over the railroad tracks. We parked where we couldn't be seen from the road, and I got in the front seat. “Now what, Matt?”

    “Mick was bitchin' that he needed pussy. Jake said it would an early night, so maybe Mick will go on the prowl later. I think there may only be one or two more customers. Look – there's a car drivin' in now.”

    We watched the transaction on the iPad. Essentially the same deal. When that car left, Matt said, “Jake and Mick are just standin' there. That means someone else is comin'. It's time for fresh batteries.” He flew the drone back to us, changed batteries, and launched again. “Put these on quick charge, dude.”

    By the time I had them hooked up, the drone was over the storage yard again. A man parked his car near Mick's truck and walked into sight of the pair at the locker. When the transaction was done, everyone got in their vehicles.

    “You drive, Jason. I'm gonna try to track Mick.”

    We traded seats, and I drove in the direction the truck had gone. “Turn right at the next light, bro. Mick went that way. I'm still on him. Go to the next block and find a place to park. See the alley comin' up on our left? He drove down there and got out of his truck. Park in that restaurant lot on our right.”

    “Doesn't your sister live around here?”

    “She's about two blocks further down the street we were just on.”

    “What's Mick doing, Matt?” I found a place to park where we could see the entrance to the alley, but not Mick or his truck.

    He turned the controller so we both could see. Mick was on foot about thirty yards down the alley from where he had parked his truck. He moved slowly, taking cover behind parked cars.

    “Shit! I thought maybe he lived there.” Matt breathed.

    “Doesn't look like it. If anything, it looks like he's searching for a house to break into.”

    “I think so too, bro. He's not followin' a woman. I just zoomed out. There's no one outside on the entire block.”

    “I'm calling the cops. We'll drive down the alley and 'happen' to see him.”

    “What reason do we have to be here, Jason?”

    “I don't know. Why does it matter?”

    “It matters because it doesn't make any sense. The cops will ask too many questions. Plus, I have the damn drone.”

    I got out of the car. “Plan B. Do you have enough battery life to fly the drone home from here and park it in the air until you can get there to land it?”

    “I should, yeah.”

    “Okay. Do that, and then call your sister and drive to her place. Tell her you dropped me off at the other end of that alley so I could walk to this restaurant for take-out food. I'll let you know what's happening on my cell when I can.”

    “Just stay clear of fuckin' Mick, bro. He'll tear your head off.”

    I jogged across the street and down the alley past Mick's truck toward the area where we saw him on the drone. I hid behind a parked car and peered into the spotty illumination from houses onto the alley. Eventually I spotted him. I dialed 911.

    “911 Emergency. Do you need police, fire, or ambulance?”

    As quietly as I could I spoke to the dispatcher. “I need to report a prowler. There's a man in Veteran's Alley between Third and Fourth Streets. He's hiding behind hedges and cars and checking out the houses. I'm outside too, hiding from him. That's why I can't talk louder.”

    “Your name, sir?”

    “Jason Long.”

    “Can you see the prowler now?”

    “He's hiding behind a hedge. Oh, wait. He's running across the back yard of a house with scaffolding set up outside. He's climbing it.”

    “Police are responding.”

    “He's trying to look in the windows. There's a light on in one room. I'm going to move so I can see him better. Okay. He moved to the other end of the house. It looks like he's trying to jimmy a window open. The room looks dark behind it.”

    “Can you tell me the exact address, sir?”

    “I'm out back. Can't see a house number. We're on the odd-numbered side of Third Street, six houses from the intersection with Vine Street. The place has yellow siding on the side walls and some of the back. The houses on either side are brick.”

    “Thank you sir. Units are responding.”

    A few seconds later blue and red lights appeared at the end of the alley. I walked out of the shadows and beckoned to two officers exiting the car. “He's in there.” I pointed to the open window on the second floor of the house. “I called it in.”

    The cops approached, weapons unstrapped in their holsters. I raised my hands, holding my phone so they could see what it was. One officer got on his radio. “Dispatch, was the caller male?” Satisfied I wasn't the prowler, he said, “Car One Four from Car One Seven, we're behind a house with yellow siding. My partner is going out front. It should be number 311 Third Street.” He turned to me. “Can you describe the man you saw enter the building?”

    “Big guy, Caucasian, dark clothes. He climbed those metal steps and went in through that open window.”


    “Looked kinda red.”

    “Facial hair?”

    “I think he had a beard.”

    “Dispatch, advise all responding units, this may be our serial rapist.” To me he said, “Get in the back seat of my car.”


    “Safest place for you. Units are going to be looking for a man on foot.” He closed the back door and jogged away.

    I called Matt on my cell. “Where are you?”

    “On my way back to you, bro. What's goin' on?”

    “I'm in the back of a cop car.”

    “What the fuck?”

    “He put me here for my safety, or so he said. The alley's blocked at both ends, and I saw cops on Third Street in front of the house. They all have their guns out.”

    “So I can't come get you.”

    “Not now. Go to your sister's house, tell her what we talked about, and wait.”

    “Shit. Okay. Watch what you say, dude. Call me when things change.”

    I put my phone in my pocket and sat watching men in assault gear run by. A megaphone sounded from the street in front of the house. “You are surrounded. Come out with your hands up.”

    Officers crouched behind bushes and trash cans where they could see the back of the house. The driver of the car I was in came back. “This could get messy, so I need you out of the area.” He hustled me around the corner and into the back seat of another squad car.

    Again the man with the bullhorn said. “If you come out now with your hands up we will not harm you. You can't get away, so let's make this simple.” There was silence for a minute. Then, we all heard the shots. One sounded like a pistol. The other two were from a high powered rifle.

    “Hold your fire. Suspect down,” came over the radio.

    Twenty minutes later, Lt. Davis opened the passenger's side front door of the squad car I was sitting in. He settled himself inside and closed the door. “You and I need to talk, Mr. Long.”

    “Am I under arrest?”

    “Should you be? Why are you here, anyway? Quite the coincidence, wouldn't you say? I don't believe in coincidences, Mr. Long.”

    “My roommate's sister lives near here.”

    “Ah. Her name and address?” He wrote down the information when I gave it to him. “And?”

    “Matt and I were going to visit her, but he dropped me off so I could get take-out food from the restaurant over there.” I pointed in the direction of the parking lot.

    “Why didn't he drive you there and wait for you?”

    “We didn't think about ordering anything until we were almost here. Neither of us knew the number, so I said I'd walk over there and order. Their service isn't fast, and we were running kind of late, so he dropped me off at the other end of Veteran's Alley so I could cut through there. I'm supposed to call him to pick me up.”

    “Ah. And you just happened to see the suspect break into that house.”

    “I saw a guy hiding behind some bushes, so I hid too so I could see what was going on. Then he climbed the scaffolding and pried open the window. That's when I called 911.”

    “What did the man look like?”

    “Honestly, Lt. Davis, I think it might have been the same guy I saw running away from that attack on campus. Same build, anyway, and he had a beard. It was too dark to see the color for sure, but it looked reddish.”

    “Ah. Why did you think it was the man you saw before?”

    “Well, … same area, big guy, beard, and maybe red hair.”

    “Ah, yes, you told the dispatcher that.”

    “I heard shots. Did you get him?”

    “The suspect came to the front door and fired at an officer. A sniper took the shooter out.”

    “Was it the same guy?”

    “We'll have to wait for DNA matches to be sure, but he fits the general description. Can you give us positive identification if we show you the body, Mr. Long?”

    “What? No. I don't know the guy. Like I told you, I only saw him from a distance on campus. I didn't see him well here either, but he looked similar.”

    “Ah. No assumptions from you tonight. Well. I guess you should call Mr. Johnson for a ride unless you need a unit to take you somewhere. You're free to go.” He opened the back door of the squad car for me.

    When I got out, he said, “I may need to speak with you again, Mr. Long.” Then he walked away.

    I called Matt. “I'm headed for the restaurant now. What do you want to eat?”

    “Fuck that shit, bro! Are you okay?”

    “They shot him, Matt. Big Mick is dead.”

    “Oh! Good. That's a relief.”

    “But the cops are still watching me, so I'm walking to the restaurant. Do you want anything?”

    “Dude, I'm not hungry.”

    “Neither am I, but I said you dropped me off so I could get some food, so I'd better do it. Give me some time inside there, too. Lt. Davis probably knows your car from seeing it at the apartment. It might look funny if you show up too soon.”

    Fifteen minutes later Matt pulled into the parking lot. We drove to his sister's place, picked at the food I bought, and told her about tonight, but nothing else. Then we went home.

    “Bro, I'm still nervous as hell. Davis doesn't believe you, does he?”

    “How should I know? Every time I talk to him I have to lie.”

    A few weeks passed. The story on the news came and went. Then, Lt. Davis called. “Mr. Long, I wanted you to know the case is officially closed. Every surviving victim identified morgue photos of the suspect, and his DNA was a match with samples we had.”

    “That's good, right?”

    “It means we got our man, so yes. That scum will never hurt anyone else. The mayor is pleased, the chief is pleased, and women are a little safer. But, here's the thing. I still think you know more than you're telling me about him.”

    “I don't, Lt. Davis.”

    “Ah. Somehow, I'm not surprised to hear you say that. Well, thank you for your help, Mr. Long. Maybe I'll see you around somewhere.”

    I hung up the phone and turned to Matt to repeat the conversation.

    “Maybe he'll see you around?”

    “That's what he said.”

    “Shit, dude! He's head of the Sex Crimes squad.”

    “I don't think we should fly the drone around here anymore.”

    “But bro, what about all the cool videos we recorded? What about all those open curtains we didn't check out? All those girls?”

    “Matt, it's too risky. And it's wrong. How would you like it if someone spied on your cousin?”

    “Dammit, Jason! Why do you have to be so fuckin' logical?”

    “I'm right, and you know it.”

    He sat, looking at the floor. “Ah, shit. C'mon. We're goin' for a drive.”

    We left town and drove to the reservoir in the hills above it. Matt got the drone out of the car and launched it. When it was above the center of the reservoir, he cut power. It hit the water with a small splash and sank. Then he put the controller on the ground and backed his car over it several times. He put the pieces in a couple small bags. On the way home, he dropped them in trash bins at fast food places we passed. “It was fun while it lasted, bro.”
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  2. JayneyRedd

    JayneyRedd Porn Star

    Jan 31, 2010
    Oh my, what a good story. It started with the typical, almost cliched, two college 'dudes' into girls and beer (very well portrayed by the author) and I smiled at their (rather distasteful) pranks, but then the story took a much darker turn.

    Definitely one for my shortlist.
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  3. mlc101n

    mlc101n Casanova Voyeur

    Oct 26, 2014
    [​IMG] thats all
    Fantastic story....can't rally add much but I luved this one
    Thank you for your time and effort
    Good luck!
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  4. tonybs

    tonybs Porn Star

    Jun 22, 2015
    It was a good story, it read well, a bit long winded for my liking, but I did manage to read it all without getting bogged down.

    It also featured crime, something which has been missing or only peripheral to a lot of the stories. There was crime everywhere. Stolen goods, flying the drone, and the bad guy. There was good shading in the character, they're not averse to some nefarious dealings, but they have their limits. I did think they should have been able to come up with a better solution on how to tell the cop sooner. At the very least, they should have talked to an attorney and see what they could do about it. They could probably have made a deal, immunity for the evidence. But such is the problem when you're caught in your own crime. I think they should have felt somewhat more guilty for not stopping him sooner, rapes and murder should weigh heavy on the conscience.

    It read like the account of a frat boy, that was well done. They were smarter than your average criminals, and considered the possible consequences of their actions before going ahead. I'm sure most criminals never do that. In fact the scene of them debating over how to do it was one place where the story dragged a bit. "A bit too much philosophy," is what my notes say.

    The masturbation scene was amusing. I'm not that convinced that you'd get the girls sunbathing nude on top of the building. There seemed to be a few missing commas early on, but if there were later I stopped noticing.

    All in all, good.
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    1. wantsomefun
      You've obviously never been on a college campus on a warm day if you think girls don't sunbathe on the roof. Drones hadn't been invented back in the Pleistocene era when I was a student, but binoculars had. Sometimes the ladies weren't too careful about getting close to the edge when they stood up. :drool:
      wantsomefun, Mar 5, 2017
    2. tonybs
      Sunbathing yes, nude is what I was questioning. If it were happening when I was at college, I missed out there.
      tonybs, Mar 5, 2017
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  5. ahorsewithnoname

    ahorsewithnoname Porn Star

    Feb 11, 2011
    This was the second story that I've read from this CAW. I thought the first one was well-written. This one, however, was better.

    I didn't notice a single grammatical error. That's not to say that there weren't any. If there were any, they were not obvious to my Grammar Nazi eyes. For that, I applaud you, author. As a fellow author, the technical aspects of writing are important to me.

    The story, of course, is of tantamount importance. I thought it was brilliantly written in a Manheimian style , and I'm 99.44% sure who wrote it. I have but two issues. First, I liked the first part of the story better than the second part. I was totally happy with the story being about these two college guys, and I thought that the crime might eventually be "peeping" and there'd be some twist, they get busted, or something. I was sorta' hoping for that. When the assault took place, I knew we were gonna' go in a different direction. That's fine, actually, just not what I was hoping for. Second, it did get a little wordy there about two-thirds of the way through. It's a long story to be sure, but I was okay for most of it because it was dialogue and moved along quickly.

    I found their actions entirely plausible. I disagree with earlier comments about them going to see a lawyer, etc. No college student would do that. To do so would have caused me to call bullshit.

    Overall, this story has set the bar quite high. It'll take something amazing to topple it.
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  6. justanotherslut

    justanotherslut Everyone's Favorite Slut

    Jul 20, 2015
    Nothing to say but good things! Well written, creative plot and suspenseful. Thanks for sharing it was very enjoyable:).
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  7. freethinker

    freethinker Pervy Bear

    Aug 17, 2009
    Hmmmmm...I liked the story, the plot, the details, actually all in all I think it was very good. It sounds like the kind of prank some teenagers would pull, though in some places I think they got a bit more bogged down in planning and details than most would. Never having been a college frat boy, though, I just wrote it off to, I don't know, higher education I guess. The change-up from stealing the drone and peeping to the assault as the crime to focus on was a good twist and worked very well. An excellent read, and very enjoyable.
    wantsomefun likes this.
  8. HisBabyGirl

    HisBabyGirl Always & Forever His

    Oct 2, 2011
    So well written and a complete story. The dialogue was terrific, showing a real talent for making things sound natural. Bravo!
    wantsomefun likes this.
  9. Redbeard1031

    Redbeard1031 Sex Machine

    Jun 28, 2013
    Every once in a while you come across a story that keeps your interest throughout its telling. This was one of those. I enjoyed making my way through it. The characters were lifelike and the dialogue really added to the reality of the story.This story will be hard to beat and I would like to thank the writer for adding to the enjoyment of this reader,
    wantsomefun likes this.
  10. wantsomefun

    wantsomefun Storyteller and Lover In XNXX Heaven

    Dec 11, 2014
    While long (maybe the longest in this CAW or in fact most CAWs), the story seemed shorter than it was. The characters had distinctive voices, making it easy to tell who was talking -- essential in a story with lots of dialogue. I found a few minor errors but nothing that really detracted from the overall work. Wordy? Maybe, but that's what you sometimes get when two people discuss their actions. I found the planning they did necessary to explain to the reader what would happen next.

    The boys DID seem concerned about the actions of Mick, just not concerned enough to risk their own futures. They were criminals too, after all, with receiving stolen goods, giving false testimony to the police, and repeated acts of voyeurism. I question whether the average kid that age would even consider going to a lawyer for advice on how to handle it. As Matt said, "Dammit, dude, if we get busted we're through, and if Mick catches on, we're dead. I'm scared." They were too caught up in their own criminal culpability to make wise decisions.

    At least the bad guy got it in the end.
  11. pineapplelovers69

    pineapplelovers69 Porno Junky

    May 30, 2009
    For me, this was the perfect crime story. Not only was it well-written but the characters were so normal. Between the descriptions and the dialogue, this was nothing but an enjoyable ride. Really great job!
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  12. JayneyRedd

    JayneyRedd Porn Star

    Jan 31, 2010
    I'm going through the stories to decide on my votes, and I am reminded of just how well this was written. Plausible, cleverly constructed, excellent work!
    wantsomefun likes this.
  13. wantsomefun

    wantsomefun Storyteller and Lover In XNXX Heaven

    Dec 11, 2014
    Crime was the theme, and crime is what you get with this one. If you bother to read it, anyway. Let's see more reads and votes.
    JayneyRedd likes this.
  14. luvsalik

    luvsalik Porn Star

    Oct 20, 2013
    I thought that the premise was a good one. A software upgrade on Hitchcocks "Rear Window" binoculars,

    I liked that it was all dialogue but I felt that it was just too long. You could have shaved some off after the beginning, maybe the last part of the beginning and some off the middle.

    It seemed to be drawn out and it made me want to skim , I didn't skim however, ,that's not fair in a competition in my opinion, but I wanted to. I'm sure it wouldn't have suffered being shortened. Funny for me to say as I love long stories.

    It picked up again after a while and got my interest again. The characters were very true to life. We all have light and shade, no one is all good and truthfully if you got the chance to peek, who wouldn't- just a little bit? :p

    I did like that Jason was, at heart a decent upstanding bloke and they worked out a way to do the right thing.

    I didn't notice any mistakes but I read it very late one night and didn't take my usual notes :D

    It's my kind of story , I love a bit of murder. I'd have liked more sex (shock I know! ) but honestly apart from maybe girl on girl rooftop action, I don't know where you'd put it. Unless you'd cut some dialogue and engineered a meeting of sorts with one of the drunk horny college girls. :D Truthfully, I don't think that would have fit.

    It is a very well written, well crafted piece that took a lot of time and a great effort . One that is appreciated, so thank you. Good luck in the comp and we'll done. Luvs xx
  15. wantsomefun

    wantsomefun Storyteller and Lover In XNXX Heaven

    Dec 11, 2014
    I came in SECOND? Woo hoo! I thought this was too long to even be a contender, but it was the length I felt it needed to be to tell the story. There's no overt sex in it, but that's because I couldn't find a way to have a sex scene that wasn't creepy as hell (the boys seduce one of their drone targets) or violent (Big Mick raping someone at knife point after beating the shit out of her).

    So that's why I'm surprised and thrilled people liked it.

    Thank you, to UncleB71 for a great theme, to the people who waded through my entry, and to those who gave it some points.

    One thing -- Manheimian style? I guess someone figured out who wrote this :rolleyes: but he was wrong, in that I'm not in Manheim anymore.
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  16. 1 Toy Maker

    1 Toy Maker Kuns og Kram Smukke Love once found never lost

    Sep 17, 2013
    So I am late and I'm sorry. BUT here's my two cents anyway. It was a good story and read easily, part of it seemed contrived, I have been that naughty boy, beer and boobies, reckless and fleckless. Good story and well worth the second place.
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