True-life incidents make for exciting action in David Steece’s blistering story based on his own extraordinary experiences with the criminal mind, sexual exploitation, and corrupt politics. Paradox is filled with colorful, larger-than-life characters and interspersed with real-life documents from Steece’s criminal rap sheet, ownership of gambling casinos, and his late conversion to law enforcement.
Like the two faces of the Roman God Janus, David Steece’s Paradox portrays Blackie—Steece’s street name—as a connected gangster; a sociopath…nefarious, vindictive and egomaniacal. Then, conversely, it reveals him to be a true crime detective and a warm, humorous family guy; a doting father who adores his “angel” daughters.
The Story Begins:
The ringing phone broke the silence of the early morning. Blackie rolled over and picked it up on the third ring and said “Yeah”. Blackie, David Steece’s street name, was 6’3 and 235 pounds, his muscular upper body and wiry legs required that his clothes be custom altered in addition to the coat adjustment to hide the .44 Magnum that was always on his right hip. His natural dark complexion was copper colored from the southern sun, accenting his high cheek bones and making his distinctive black eyes menacingly that of a predator when angered. His nose had been broken a couple of times but, hell, Sicilian noses were big and crooked anyhow. He had a scar on the edge of his chin where a pistol sight had cut him in a fight. There was an indention over the right eyebrow where a shotgun pellet had dented the skull permanently. He had a three and a half inch scar on his throat from surgery. A knife fight had left him with a scar crossing the middle, ring, and little finger on the left hand. His natural body oils made his coal black hair seem even blacker than it was. After listening a minute, Blackie said, “Yeah, I have to go kick some coonass’s ass the Commissioner don’t like. I’ll call ya later.” He dressed in a black mohair suit, white on white shirt with diamond stud cuff links, white on white tie, gold nugget bracelet on one wrist, his Rolex on the other. A three stoned diamond pinkie ring and black alligator shoes, the standard dress for his image. He strapped on his ankle gun, put his pet .44 Magnum on his hip. He kissed his three sleeping girls good-by, turned them over to his trusted girlfriend, and jumped into the Commissioner’s white Buick.
He pulled off the interstate into the fertilizer companies parking lot, parked and walked into the office. Blackie went in the front door and saw a blond, thirty-fivish, sitting at the reception desk. He told her “The Commissioner called, Lefty’s expecting me.”
Blackie surveyed the reception office as the secretary disappeared into the private office. She reappeared almost instantaneously and held the door open for Blackie to enter. He strode inside pulling the door closed behind him. It was a large, expensively furnished office with sofas on two walls, a bookcase with a TV on the other, and two high wing back chairs in front of a huge mahogany desk. He crossed the room as Lefty stood up from behind the desk and came to meet him. Lefty was a late forty’s kind of a squat ruddy-faced man, obviously of French descent. The mousy brown hair had receded enough to leave a round shiny spot. He was dressed in a white open-collar shirt, slacks, and cowboy boots.
As they shook hands, Blackie said, “The Commissioner told me you have a name and address of someone who’s having a mouth problem.” Lefty picked up a small piece of paper off his desk and handed it to Blackie. It had a name and address, apartment number, a car model, make, color and license number. He glanced at the paper and asked, “Can you give me a physical?” Lefty responded with a nod. “He’s about 6’ 190 pounds, dark hair, and a smart ass.”
“Does he live alone?”
“I guess he does unless he has some one-night stand.”
“Does he carry?”
“I don’t believe.”
“Okay. The commissioner appreciates this, ya hear. He’ll be in touch with ya.”
They shook hands and Blackie left. As Blackie walked back through the reception office and thanked the blond, he wondered if she was any good when she was twenty. Cellulite, bleach and too much make-up had taken its toll, and he figured if you unsnapped her bra and skirt at the same time, she’d roll out like a broken dam in all directions.
Blackie turned into the apartment parking lot, he wished he wasn’t in the commissioner’s white Buick. It was like waving a red flag in front of a bull, and he didn’t need that. He parked, and went to check the mail boxes for the dude with the bad mouth. No mail in his box, which meant he was either already home or he didn’t know anybody who knew how to write. Blackie walked through the apartment complex and by the window of the dude’s apartment, but he couldn’t see anything. Damn! Why weren’t these ass holes more cooperative? Bad mouth could just come outside so Blackie could kick his ass and get it over with. He went back to the Buick and found a parking place with a better view and waited. After a little while, his luck turned. The dude’s door opened and he came out. Blackie got out of the car with a piece of paper in his hand, approached the man, and asked him for some dumb name. The dude said he never heard of him and as he turned away, Blackie drove a hard right shot into his left kidney that doubled him over. Blackie spun him around and drove another into the pit of his stomach, and out came the rest of his wind and most of his last meal.. It’s hard to yell with your wind knocked out. But just in case, Blackie put his left hand behind the dude’s head, and right hand over his mouth and drove his knee up between his legs and the dude lurched and slumped to the ground. Blackie bent over him and snapped the switchblade open and pressed it against his neck.
Speaking quietly, Blackie asked, “Hey asshole, you ever try to talk with your throat cut? Cause if you make one peep, that’s what’s gonna happen, Got it?”
Fear was shining in his eyes as he nodded. Blackie raised up and looked between the parked cars. Even though it had only been a few seconds and almost no sounds, you could never be too careful. Leaning back over the dude, Blackie said, “Listen to me good boy, cause I’m only gonna say this once. You gotta bad mouth. Someone I know don’t like it over in Baton Rouge. You think you’re a bad ass but you’re just an asshole. You say one more word on that radio station you work for or anywhere else and when you least expect it….poof! You’re gonna disappear. Now I know after I’m gone you’re gonna think about this and figure I got lucky this time. You think that the police, or the feds, or that somebody else will protect you. You’ll get big and bad again with that bad mouth. But while you’re thinking, remember how well they protected Jimmy Hoffa, and how quick they caught the guys who did him in. And they had a lot of people lookin’ for him. An asshole like you, the fuzz will stop after a couple of days. Even if my man goes to jail, or gets hit by a car, or is unlucky and lightening strikes him, you’re still gone, see, cause I already got my bread and I got a reputation to keep. I’m gonna go now. Don’t move until you hear the car drive away, and after I’m gone, you can get up, go tell the apartment manager you fell down in the parking lot and sue ‘um, and your night won’t be all bad after all. Be seein’ ya.”
With that, Blackie closed the knife and left. He drove straight back to his county hideout outside of Hammond, wanting to get there before the girls went to bed.
As he sped along the interstate he thought about his daughter Teri, and how quickly she had grown to be a beautiful young lady. His ‘little princess’ with the enchanting almond shaped brown eyes was already in college – time does fly! Bitsie, his angel, away at a private school in New Orleans now. Even though she was adopted, she was so much like him you would have thought he spit her out. Coal black hair, passionate, big brown eyes, always filled with love and happiness at the sight of him.
Lu, his heart, was just a year younger, and didn’t have that same black hair but she had even bigger brown eyes. She followed him around constantly with a total admiration, sort of a female Dennis the Menace, but definitely a Daddy’s girl.
Alley, his eyes, was just starting school and was awed by her ability to suddenly pronounce words on highway signs as she began to learn to read. She was the one that most people said was the ‘apple of his eye.’ And she definitely had his black expression-filled eyes.
Rae, his love, the baby, was still into pushing her doll around in the carriage and had almost perfect features like her mother. Copper colored complexion like daddy but she had her mother’s petite build and soft warm quality. Not loud like the others, he wondered where they get all the loudness from, chuckling to himself.
He wondered if he’d ever find a woman who could love him and his girls, so they could all live some semblance of a normal life.
Random Quote“Hello Dave…was good to meet you at the Shawnee OK Gun Show. I like your book and if you are ever in town let me know, and we will get something to eat. Rock on.”
by Chief Bill Sides, Davenport Police Department