The Grey Man…

Again with the input needed…

I have been reviewed as NOT writing credible women, supposedly they all sound like ‘men’.

So lady readers, and any others, give me your comments/recommendations to this chapter.

Back on Patrol

Jesse pulled into the sheriff’s department parking lot a little after seven, got her bag out of the car, and looped her duty belt over her shoulder.  Walking slowly to the back door, she sighed and unconsciously straightened her shoulders and tugged at her shirt and pants. Okay, ordering pants is high on the list. I’m not as skinny as I used to be. I’ve done this before. It’s not like this is anything new. Back in the saddle. I can ride this horse.

Jesse walked in and was surprised to see both the sheriff and Johnny Hart standing there, “Morning Sheriff, Johnny. What’s up?”

Sheriff Rodriquez said, “Morning Jesse, since you haven’t been out in a while, I figured it would be a good idea to get you a little refresher. Ortiz called in sick, and Johnny came in to pick up a shift. Since Johnny is our FTO[1] I can kill two birds with one stone so to speak.”

Deputy Hart said, “Let’s not use the word kill there Sheriff!” Turning to Jesse he said, “It’ll give you a chance to get back in the swing of things, without having to jump in the deep end to start with.”

Jesse laughed, “Okay, no killing and no jumping in the deep end with all this equipment on. I’m good with that.”

The sheriff continued, “Y’all have sector two, she’s all yours Johnny. And with that, I’m outta here. Don’t call me unless you have to.” With a wave, he was out the back door, leaving Jesse and Hart standing looking at each other.

“What do you want me to do?” Jesse asked.

Hart replied, “Do the standard checks, and you’re driving. We’ve got two-one-four assigned to us.”

Jesse geared up, checked the boards for any wants, warrants, stolen vehicles and noted the license numbers, and picked a stack of BOLOs out of the box. Sticking her head in dispatch, she got a quick radio check on her handheld radio, and the trooped out to the car. Jesse did the walk around, checked the lights and siren were operating correctly, and checked that the shotgun was cruiser ready. They loaded their duty bags in the trunk and Jesse said, “Okay let’s do this.”

Hart nodded, “You’re in charge. I’m just along for the ride and the OT today Jesse!”

Jesse rolled her eyes, “Whatever,” she said with a laugh. “Dispatch, two-fourteen in service, sector two.”

Dispatch replied, “Ten-four, two-fourteen.”


Four hours into the shift, Jesse and Hart had exhausted the catch up conversation, and Hart was slouched down in the passenger’s seat, “How about lunch? There’s a decent burger joint that opened not too long ago in Sheffield.”

Jesse replied, “Why not, I’ve been good and I could go for a burger!” She turned onto I-10 and headed for Sheffield, until the radio went off on common.

“All units, sectors two, three, four; domestic at westbound rest area mile three-oh-eight. Blue and white RV, back right corner of the parking area. Called in by observer, stating screaming and banging coming from RV.”

Jesse looked over at Hart, who shrugged, picking up the mic she said, “Dispatch, two-fourteen, we’re flipping at mile three-ten. ETA two minutes. Backup?”

Jesse heard cars two-oh-two and two-oh-seven say they were coming but ten and twenty minutes away. As they got close to the rest area, Jesse killed the overheads and eased slowly into the rest area, seeing only one blue RV. It was a big one, and she pulled in directly behind it, blocking it in. As they exited the car, they could hear crying, and the sounds of objects being thrown.

Hart pointed to the right side, and motioned Jesse to the left, Jesse cleared the left side and front of the RV, but all the shades were pulled.  As she came around the RV, she saw Hart, pistol drawn, standing to one side of the door. She sidled down the RV, took position on the back side of the door and nodded to Hart.

Banging on the door, Hart yelled, “Sheriff’s department. Open the door.” They heard one more crash and as Hart started to yell again, the door was opened by a large man in shorts, tennis shoes and nothing else, with disheveled hair and a cut over his eye.

Hart held the door saying, “Sir, would you step out here, please? We have a report of some loud noises and we just heard something breaking as we walked up.”

The man growled, “Ain’t none of your damn business!” and started pulling the door closed.

Hart didn’t let the door go and said mildly, “Sir, we really need you to step out here and talk with us.”

Jesse stepped around the door, backing Hart up, “Sir, please step down here!”

The man started trying to wrestle the door out of Hart’s hand, and Jesse saw a woman slumped on the floor behind the man. Holstering her gun, she grabbed the door and yanked it, unbalancing the man and breaking his hold on the door, “Female down behind him Johnny.”

Hart grabbed the man’s hand in a pain compliance grip and pulled him out of the RV, as Jesse charged in. Jesse found a middle aged female on hands and knees, blood dripping from her face. Looking around, she saw broken crockery, dishes and multiple things strewn about. She grabbed what appeared to be a clean towel off the counter top and dropped to a knee, “Ma’am, can you hear me? I’m with the sheriff’s department. Is there anyone else in here? Can you tell me what…”

The woman reared up, “ Ain’t but just th’ two us. That sumbitch hit me ‘cause I let him sleep and didn’t have his breakfast hot when he woke up.” Snatching the towel from Jesse, she pressed it over her eye, and glared balefully around, mumbling, “Dammit, I just bought new dishes in Houston.”

Jesse asked, “Ma’am, do you have some identification? Is he your husband?”

The woman started trying to get up, and Jesse helped her to the couch. The woman reached in a purse sitting on the corner. Jesse watched her closely, and was relieved when she came out with a small wallet, handing over a license.

“Mrs. Wharton, is that your husband?” Jesse asked as she quickly wrote the information in her wheel book.

“T’aint married.” Wharton replied.

Jesse heard a yell, “You ain’t arresting me!” And a scuffle start outside. As she turned to the door, she took her attention off the woman sitting on the couch. Stepping to the door, she saw Hart had the situation under control and as she turned back, she sensed something coming at her. Ducking she heard Wharton squall, “You ain’t arresting him!” as she tried a backhanded swing at Jesse with a frying pan half full of stale bacon grease.

Jesse jumped out of the way of the pan, yelling, “Stop it! If you don’t stop, I’ll have to arrest you!”

Wharton simply swung the pan again, and Jesse managed to duck out of the way but got splashed with more bacon grease, then tripped Wharton to the floor. Jesse hadn’t been in a fight in years, and had forgotten how violent and strong women could be. She finally got one arm pinned and got a cuff on one hand, and Wharton on her stomach, riding her like a bucking bronc.

“Give me your other hand,” Jesse gritted as she fought to maintain her position, trying to pinion the other now greasy arm and get a pain compliance hold. The woman continued to flail her free arm, and grunt intelligible things as Jesse tried time after time to get a grip. Suddenly a boot stepped none to gently on Wharton’s arm, and Jesse was finally able to get a pain compliance grip on the fingers, bringing the slippery hand behind her back and getting the other cuff on.

Once she’d done that, she blew her hair out of her face and looked up to see Trooper Wilson, “Thanks Michelle!” This one kinda went rodeo on me.”

Trooper Wilson chuckled, “Fun isn’t it? You okay?”

Jesse climbed wearily to her feet, “I think so.” Rotating her shoulder she continued, “Nothing feels like it’s broke, but she got me with a frying pan and bacon grease, of all things.”

Hart jumped into the RV, “Jesse? You okay?” As he reached down and hauled Wharton to her feet. “Have you searched the rest of the RV?”

Jesse growled, “I’m fine, and no! She went rodeo on me. If you’ll Mirandize her, I’ll finish doing that now.”

Hart frog marched the woman out of the RV as Jesse and Michelle Wilson finished searching the RV. There weren’t any more people in it, but they did find a cat hiding on top of the cupboard in the back bedroom, and six gallon bags of white substance hidden under the mattress. Jesse looked at Trooper Wilson as she held up one bag to the light, “Have you got a test kit handy? I don’t think they meant for us to find these.”

Wilson nodded, “Yep, got a kit in the car, but I’m betting that’s Meth. It doesn’t look like Coke or Heroin, looks like crystal to me.” As Wilson turned to leave, she said, “I’ll get my camera and I’m guessing we’ll have to tear this thing apart to see what else, if anything is hidden in here.”

Hart came in, “What’d y’all find?”

Jesse held up one of the bags, pointing to the others and Hart whistled, “Damn, that’s a load. Looks like the RV is registered to one of those RV rental places and they’ve had it for six days.”

“So, are they delivering or picking up, or both?” Jesse asked as Wilson came back with a test kit.

Opening the kit, Wilson took out the meth test ampoule, “I think they were delivering based on all the bags being identical. I’m betting this is it, and we can test one here. If it’s positive, the others can be tested back at the station.”  Opening the bag, an odor of Geraniums welled up as Wilson touched the end of the ampoule to the powder. A bright turquoise color showed as soon as she cracked the ampoule.

Hart chuckled, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner! That stuff must be pretty good to light up that quickly.” Looking at Jesse he sniffed, “Looks and smells like you’ve been in a fight with a greased pig.”

Jesse looked down ruefully, “Yeah, glad I’ve got another uniform in my car. And a greased pig was easier, trust me! She might be older and fatter, but that damn grease out of the skillet made it harder than hell to try to get a grip on her!”

They heard a voice, “Where are y’all?”

Jesse and Hart both recognized the sheriff’s voice and chorused, “Back here Sheriff.”

Sheriff Rodriquez stopped in the door and peered at the bags on the bedding, “What you got Michelle? Good bust?”

Wilson replied, “Oh yeah, Sheriff. I’m betting ten, maybe twelve pounds of quality meth!” Waving the ampoule at him, “Look at the color, and how bright. This stuff is pure uncut, and probably all from the same source.”

Hart chimed in, “Looks like they rented the RV in Pensacola, Florida and they’ve had it for six days. Be interesting to know where they’ve been in the last six days.”

The sheriff glanced at Jesse and sniffed, “Bacon grease?”

Jesse sighed, “Greased pig. The woman took a swing at me with a skillet full of grease, thankfully it wasn’t hot grease. It kinda went rodeo until Michelle stepped in, literally, and I could get her cuffed.”


A half hour later, Sheriff Rodriquez and Sergeant Greenwood from DPS shook hands and turned over the crime scene to DPS and Ranger Clay Boone. The sheriff walked back to where Jesse and Hart were leaning on the side of the car saying, “Okay, got that one off our plate. With John on vacation, I don’t have anybody to do the investigation, and frankly I don’t want to deal with another damn set of druggies in the tanks. Why don’t y’all head on back to the office and Jesse, you can go on home…”

Jesse bristled, “Jose, all I want to do is get a shower, change uniforms, and get back out here. There’s still two hours left on the shift!”

Holding up his hands in self-defense, the sheriff replied, “Okay, okay! I was just going to give…”

“I’m not a shrinking violet that needs coddling Sheriff! I need to get back in the saddle, and getting back out here is the way I want to do it,” Jesse replied. Turning to Hart she said, “You ready to clear and head back? I’d really like to get this bacon grease off.”

Hart shrugged, “You’re driving. Let’s do it. Do you mind if I put my window down?”

Jesse stuck her tongue out at him, “Fine. Just get in the car.”


Jesse stood in the locker room shower, sluicing the shampoo out of her hair and looking down at her hands, which were shaking. Stop it already! You came through that fine. One minor screw up, but you recovered. You didn’t die, and you didn’t shoot anybody. You’re going through an adrenalin dump. You’ve been here before. Time to get back in the saddle.

Quickly drying off, she slipped into her spare uniform, moved everything from the shirt and pants to the uniform she was wearing, threw the other one in a trash bag, and thought, Gotta wash this as soon as I get home, otherwise, it’s going in the trash. And order new pants!

She grabbed a cup of coffee from the break room, dropped the trash bag in her car, and popped the trunk on two-fourteen, ensuring nothing was missing or moved. After gathering Hart up, she pulled back onto I-10 and headed east. “Okay Johnny, can we do a rehash of the domestic and what went wrong?”

[1] Field Training Officer

So… Anywhere close to right??? Reaction wise or thought wise???


The Grey Man… — 29 Comments

  1. I’m not a female, but I liked it – no complaints here. Domestic dispute calls can be awfully busy.

  2. Your ladies are living / working in a physical environment. So why shouldn’t they reflect behaviors that the feminists in the world are “unhappy” with. In all other aspects of their lives they are women and proud of it.
    Keep writing in your style and don’t pay too much attention to the critics.

  3. I’m guessing the negative reviewers have never met west Texas ranch girls working as deputies. Go read Momma Fargo’s The Boogie Man is My Friend blog. You’ll feel better about your character then.

    • Hey. ROFLMAO. What is that supposed to mean? I’m a man? LMAO. I like OLDNFO’s women. They are not pussies. He isn’t creating southern belles for Pete’s Sake.

      • Fargo, I’m not saying you’re a man and, please, no nudies. You talk enough about your vajayjay to leave nothing to the imagination anyway. My point is that you are a female formerly in law enforcement and you are as tough as they come with a vocabulary to fit your experience.

        • I was just giving you heck. So like oldnfo I need to be more girly girl

  4. No comments or criticisms about the female psyche. I liked reading it, but don’t have a frame of reference. But a bit of realism concerning the meth: if it’s white (or brown or red) it’s meth. If it’s clear (it looks like shattered safety glass) it’s called crystal meth. That’s the street lingo for it, at least in my state. The clear “glass” or crystal meth uses a different cooking method than regular meth, and so displays different physical characteristics. The white powdery meth can still be very pure, and clean, but it would be called just meth, not crystal. Also, I-10 is a trafficking corridor, and we mostly see cocaine coming east-to-west, and Meth going west-to east. Marijuana goes both ways. The meth comes out of Mexico through Texas and California. Otherwise, exactly what I would expect out of meth-runners!

  5. Of course I like it. But I think the Wingman series is high literature. When Jackie gets home I’ll have her read it. And with her Dad being a homicide detective, she’ll get a lot.

  6. I don’t have any particular problem with it. I guess you do write a “masculine” women, but considering that the main female character is doing mens work day in and day out I don’t find that especially bothersome. Authors each write the genders differently. Your women aren’t any “worse” than some fairly popular authors I read.

  7. I would be one of those saying that you don’t write credible women characters. Two reasons; 1) They swear A LOT more than normal women swear (even Army women, and I have some experience here), 2) there’s a few spots where the women character changes “voice” and transparently says what men would say, or what men think they would like women to say.

    But, overall, this is not a huge complaint. You don’t have super-women characters, as is currently in vogue.

  8. I’m not female, but I saw no problem in the way things played out from the deputy’s perspective. I saw one tiny typo that you’ve probably already caught, it was:
    Suddenly a boot stepped none to gently on Wharton’s arm, and Jesse was finally able to get a pain compliance grip on the —————-
    The use of “to” instead of “too.”

    Really enjoyed it! Thanks!
    Bob G.

  9. Having met Sgt Leigh Ann Hester (Bronze Star recipient), I can say that she did speak like this during her briefing at a convention I attended on her actions during the day in question. I have been critical of grammar in Amazon reviews, but your characters are more believable than the string of cupcake-baking detective characters with which we’re being flooded now. Self-assessment is important, but lots of folks on Amazon don’t have a clue how people act outside heir little bubbles. Looking forward to the next book.

  10. j.r.- Thanks!

    Wayne- I am not ‘critic’ driven, but I also want to give my readers ‘believable’ characters, hence the reach out… 🙂

    Daddy- Oh hell yes! 🙂

    DLG- Ouch, nice catch. I can fix that, thanks!!!

    SPE- I’d appreciate it!

    Ruth- Is that ‘damning with faint praise’??? LOL Thanks!

    Rockeye- Thanks for the input, I’m ‘trying’ to get better!

    Bob- Thanks!

    Matt- Appreciate the comments. I’m NOT an Engrish major, and spent WAY too many years writing tech pubs! 🙂 I AM trying to get better!

  11. I am an old guy who lives a few miles off of I-10 about 200 miles East of the action in your story. I have read your previous books and I enjoy your characters, especially Jesse since she reminds me of lots of Texas women I have had the privilege of knowing. In our local shooting club Sunday afternoon the top score was made by a woman shooting against some of the best best ABRA benchrest shots in the nation. Not too far away in Kerrville the local college has an excellent women’s skeet team and all of these women I have met are fine upstanding Texans who are comfortable being women but they hold their own in any situation neither asking for special consideration or giving it. At least that’s the way I feel about a good number of our Texas women.

  12. Looks okay to me. Seems realistic for women working in the field. You write strong women working in stereotypical masculine jobs. No issue from this chick.

  13. Ok. Apparently, I need to go find my refined girlism and get back with ya as I am considered a man. Pshaw. I get it now. Do I need to post nudies too, or just talk without sarcasm and cursing?

  14. Reads really well, but two more nits:

    “… and the(n) trooped out to the car.”

    “back in the saddle” three times in one chapter.

    Some of my Navy friends assure me that the carrier in the CAPTCHA pics is an RV, too.

  15. Questions to ask yourself: what are the qualifications of the person who made the negative review? Are they credible, with other reviews that can be checked?

    The reviewer might simply be an SJW engaging in the usual carping about a white male writing (or not writing) characters to suit the SJW’s own prejudices.

  16. WSF- That and military females, both enlisted and officer! 🙂

    Old Texan- Thanks!

    MC/Fargo- Thanks!!!
    Frank- Fixed… LOL on the carrier…

    Robert- Dunno, never checked.

  17. Well, I am a female, and I enjoy reading your books a great deal because of the female characters. I feel they are portrayed in a realistic manner, especially given the jobs you have them doing. I think that as your gals are from West Texas, are comfortable with guns and shooting, and are either law enforcement or military or military family, I see nothing wrong with how you have them speak, think or swear. They don’t do it all the time, but, let’s be honest, when the day goes sideways, or get rough, everyone lets out a few swear words once in a while.

    What I like about your characters is they are independent, able to stand on their own two feet ladies who are not afraid to fight for what they want either in their job of choice or their relationships. You have certainly depicted the nurses accurately. And you have put Jesse in some pretty challenging scenarios, being shot with head injuries…that is painful and a grueling obstacle to overcome. And with Michelle being in that gun battle at the river, same type of deal.

    I like how you write. If other folks have an issue, they can always go find a different book to read. There are lots of Harlequin romances out there for people who want a whiney selfish, pouty little Princess Snowflake who feels entitled instead of empowered by doing useful, meaningful work. Work many times involves getting dirty, tired, sweaty, maybe blood or other body fluids on your clothes, occasionally injured depending on what work is being done. All of which can annoy the heck out of any gal.

    I guess I like that your characters have “sand” as my Grandpa used to say. It didn’t mean they needed to take a shower, it meant they were dependable, good workers who stood up for what they believed in. The whole values concept. 🙂

    After all, not all females are drama mommas…

    My $0.02.


  18. Jesse is a cop, raised by a cop and an agent, so I don’t find
    her manner of speaking odd.

    Other female characters who are not cops, or raised by cops,
    are different, as I would expect. The Hispanic women in your books
    are a case in point, I think.

    Anybody can get in a rut with expressions. I am working on a
    novel myself and one of the things I have been checking is
    expressions that I might be leaning too hard on.

  19. I’m a little late to the party, but I’ll add this. I don’t feel qualified to comment on what is a ‘credible’ woman, since I came to the conclusion many years ago that there is no chance I’ll ever understand women…

  20. I have with for and round strong women.
    My two cents is that the women in your stories are fine.
    As far as the language I have heard things coming some women that would make a sailor blush. No pun intended

  21. “flail her free arm, and grunt intelligible things ”
    Should that be unintelligible?

    I have no problem with “realism” regarding Jessie’s character/behavior, in part because of things mentioned in the above comments, and in part because any number of women I’ve worked with and for “talk and act like men” under some/many circumstances. Interestingly, no few of these “tough women” are often well dressed, well groomed, and not infrequently, intrinsically good-looking to begin with, apart from the penchant for dressing up. Then again, my sample is biased, as these are women mostly in the engineering, physics, or non-touchy-feely (i.e. cardiology, surgery) medical fields.

  22. My take on any man really understanding women is the punch line to the genie-granting-a-wish joke that goes, “Was that bridge two lanes or four?”

  23. Rick- Thanks, I have too!!!

    Mike- Thanks, you’re right. Appreciate the comment on the tough women too!

    Chris- There IS that… 😀