The Ghost of Alma Matterson
Chapter 7: [Ctrl-X] [Ctrl-V]

Almost a full seven hours and thirty-six minute passed between Esperante's escape and Peter Matterson's arrest. Do you really think that the Lord of the Five would have let valuable merchandise roam the streets without a tracer?


Peter remembers those hours as a dream. Esperante came to the halfway house with horrifically bright eyes. "I want to see this Cutler's Nob of yours."

Peter felt an awkward fool. He had spent his life's savings on the foolish notion of buying love. Now, standing before him was offered freely more than he had ever desired.

Peter had spent his life in a juvenile home. He hadn't a clue how to build a life with another being. Esperante yammered on about her dreams. Together they climbed Cutler's nob.

There wasn't much there on the nob. The trees had been cleared long ago. There was a crumbled cement foundation, an old chain link fence, some cardboard, wood, and a lot of trash. Other than that, the hill in pristine condition. No-one was sure why the small hill survived the onslaught of suburban development. It was situated between the boys home, a sewage plant and the river. No-one had thought to build a ranch house on it, like the rest of the burned suburban waste of America.

Peter led his young lover through the open fields of the nob. He pointed out the different cells of the Washington County boys home. He was from block C. An oak tree grew near a fence that he would climb late at night for his excursions on the hill.

Esperante showed Peter how to make  a friendship braid from the loose yarn of her sweater. Peter's first attempt at weaving the braid was a bunch of knotted lumps.

Esperante spoke about bus tickets, and the different directions they could travel. She related the nightmares of her addictions, and the paradise of her dreams. Peter found his head filled with dreams greater than anything he had imagined in the home. He wanted just a night with a woman, but here was a chance of a lifetime together. He had found something worth fighting for.

Their dreams began to meld together. There could be something more. 

This man could truly love me...Esperante's thoughts shot through her mind her faster than reason could follow...He doesn't want just sell me...She trembled at the thought of DJ...with love...she didn't have protection...but with love...she hated to be pawed...but with love there was hope...

"Peter, last night you paid for something..." her small voice faltered as she ran her hands through his hair. She didn't have her protection...but didn't care.


The two lovers rested in each other's arms. Peter could have filled reams of paper with the thoughts drifting through his mind. Imagine the soft sounds of a symphony, or the rhythm of waves breaking against the shore. 

The sound of the car doors slamming did not belong in the scene. Neither did the sound of feet rushing up the hill. It was the actual wrenching the lovers apart that brought Peter back to the world.

The first thug had a gun pointed at Peter's temple. The second had a knife to Esperante's throat. DJ Sloop leaned against the black town car. He swung the bleeping light of a small transceiver in one hand, and a street modified taser in the second. When DJ killed, he liked to see sparks.


The police responded to a report of shots fired behind the Washington County Boys Home. They usually kept a patrol on duty in the neighborhood just in case there was an escape. They had officers on the scene within twenty minutes.

Apparently the man firing the shots did not aim true. The gunman laid unconscious with a revolver in his hand. A large rock shaped bruise crowned his balding head. 

A second man writhed in pain with with a knife protruding from his right thigh. The young naked girl laying in the weeds had the worst of the fight. Her naked shoulders showed the burns of an amped up taser. 

A naked young man stood in the center of the carnage. He had one knife wound and a bullet wound in the side. At his feet was the battered hulk of a fur clad man. The officer recognized the bleeding hulk as the Lord of Five. They would need an ambulance, and a few extra pints of blood if there was any hope of ever reviving this one.

Even so, the Lord of Five had the right friends in the right places. The officers were careful with their reports.


I spoke at length with the attending physician at the emergency room. This DJ Sloop case was quite a mess. The doctor's opinion was that the first blow was a swift kick to the groin. I personally think the first blow was the one to the pimp's stomach that broke his lower ribs. It was clear, though, that the second blow was the one that shattered his chin.

The broken fingers were the result of Peter wrenching the taser from the pimps hands. The shoulder was dislocated when he was spun around and slammed against the window. You could tell this by the penetration angle of the small bits of glass embedded in the contusion between the broken nose and the skull fracture.

The physician was quite surprised that human body could take as heavy a beating and survive.  It took several hours of surgery to patch the wounds and no fewer than three full operations to give the client some semblance of a face.

The physician could remember the patient ranting about how Peter Matterson would spend the rest of his life in prison. He made calls to judges, and pull favors from politicians. "I have pictures!!!" the pimp yelled. Peter Matterson would be locked in prison to his dying day.

It wasn't until after the surgery that the physician learned his patient made his living selling young girls on the street. "If I had known..." the physician muttered as the thought of an unfortunate operating table accident appeared briefly in his mind.


Peter never saw Esperante again. The bus she caught went south. A letter from a Nashville hospital arrived nine months later:

"Our child's name is Alma. Alma is the Spanish word for soul. He was born out of love, Peter, I know we are in love. We will be together someday. Remember, Peter, you are the rock, the matter which brought this beautiful soul unto the earth. Alma is your son. I have a quick job to get some money. I give you all my heart. With hope and love - Esperante"

Esperante stab at smuggling drugs did not go as well as planned. The second letter came from the state of Kentucky. A condom full of heroin had ruptured in her colon. Young Alma was now a ward of the state.

Peter read the letter. He collapsed to his knees as gently caressed the bars of his new prison. He had a son. Somewhere out there was a small soul of his making.


Peter tried to believe that there was something more to his life than the pathetic tale of a juvenile delinquent knocking up a whore and beating up her pimp. He knotted the friendship bracelet in his sweating hands. He tried to play his fantasy life of a happy household with Esperante and Alma the prison transport raced toward his destiny.

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