Tape recording found amongst the possessions of Jack Lyle by the police after his overdose death.

“Despite all of the security, I got into the billionaire software developer Jason Atkins’ mansion on Mercer Island east of Seattle.  I know that the family is in Majorca, and the staff has the night off except for some security people who ate sedated pizza an hour ago.  Not as big and grand as the Gates’ place, but pretty damn big and fine.  While looking for the facilities I found myself in the guest bedroom. It is huge with mirrors from the floor to ten feet above the floor.  Despite my experience picking places apart, I can’t seem to find anything of value.”

“There are eight buttons above the bed.  Just for the hell of it, I punch in his birthday 02/10/1953.  Much to my surprise, all the mirrors light up and a menu appears in the wall just to the left of the bed.  A number of kinky options are listed.” 

“With no idea what awaits me, I choose straight sex.”

“The next menu gives me more choices.  It names prominent Hollywood and porn stars to choose from as well as scenarios like:  after the prom, first date, anniversary, bar pickup.  I choose after the prom.”  

“The mirrors become 3D screens which don’t require glasses.  I get a show much as requested with my chosen actors, doubles or damn good simulations.  The scene starts with the guy picking up his date from her parents’ house.  The various mirrors show the scenes from different angles.  Nothing out of order here.  They drive to the dance and act like affectionate dates at an average prom.  After awhile, I get bored of the prom scenes and notice a slide bar at the bottom of the menu.  I move it up from 30 minutes to hour 3.  By this time they are in a motel room and having a very good time.  Now that I have the scroll system down, I go back and forth looking for the good stuff.  It sure looks like Cathy Simpson from that restaurant show and Chuck Grant from that office sitcom, but could it be?  Before I notice, two hours have gone by.”

“On the next try I get a lot of well known Hollywood stars.  At least when dressed they look like the usual Hollywood stars.  After another half hour it is time to leave.  As much as I would like to try it, I don’t have time to try the voice activated controls.  I check out the drawers one last time and spot a list of visitors.  It includes the A list of politicians and executives who have spent the night in the room with dates and show preference.  Surprise, surprise several conservative religious leaders have watched the mirrors.”

“I get out safely and back home; I do a little internet research.  I see that the people on the list have done a lot of favors for Mr. Atkins.  There is certainly a way for a smart guy, which I am, to monetize this information.  A few anonymous calls should loosen some purse strings.”

Conversation after tape has been played:

Sergeant Stevens –“Captain, can we use this tape for anything?”

Captain Rogers – “We could never get a probable cause warrant on Atkins.  What have we got, the ravings of a junkie thief on tape?  Atkins has lawyers that make as much as our whole police department and we have nothing to show that anything illegal has been done.  What we suspect and what we can prove are two different things.”

“Makes you wonder why Lyle was taping his robbery.  Was he going to publish ‘The Memoir Of A Junkie Thief’?”

Sergeant Stevens – “That’s one of a long list of questions we’ll never get answered.”

A slightly different version was previously published in the defunct AWS.



Sergeant Sam York got the tip by phone in the morning.  “You know the rash of disappearances that have happened lately?  I think that I know the house where they are kept.  Strange noises have been coming from 5280 Simpson for a couple of months.  Not only that, but vans show up late at night behind the house where they can’t be seen.  When you pay the reward, remember who called – Homer Bartholomew.”

York picked up his partner Jean Jersey at her desk and filled her in.  On the way to their car, they couldn’t help but notice that they attracted whispers and chuckles.  Jean said “They’re talking about us.  What do you suppose that they know and what do you suppose they imagine?”  Sam just shook his head.

It took half an hour to get to the house in their cruiser.  Before they got to the door they could hear a quiet cacophony of sounds.  Unnerved, they both got their guns handy.  After they knocked, an average looking forty something male in bloody overalls answered the door.  “Hi guys, what’s up?”

Sam and Jean looked at each other clearly thinking that this doesn’t sound like a mass kidnapper.  “Well sir, strange sounds coming from your house have been reported.”

“Oh, I’m very sorry about that.  I’ve tried to quiet the inmates and my place is really well insulated.  I’ll show you.  But I’m so sorry about forgetting my manners, I’m Jason Atkins, but call me Jace.”

After introducing themselves, Jean asked “Maybe you could also explain your bloody clothes too.”

“Sure, sometimes the inmates injure themselves.  Also, I have to butcher a lot of bloody meat.  I should really be more careful, but sometimes I can’t help getting blood on my clothes.  Ready to see them?”

Both Sam and Jean were both confused and wary, but Sam said “Lead the way.”  Underneath Sam’s calm exterior he was deeply disturbed and began to sweat.  He began to knead the butte of his gun.

On the way through the house, Jean looked into a room and spied a voluptuous naked woman tied to a chair.  She had a ball gag and various things attached to her that Jean didn’t understand.  Startled and aroused, Jean’s breath became shallow and rapid.  Despite that scene, Jean decided it was best to see to the “inmates” first.

As they got close to the staircase, the cacophony increased.  What seemed like laughter and screams emanated from the cellar.  As they descended the staircase their trepidation increased, until their first view of an inmate came into view.  It appeared to be an anteater.  When they were able to take in the view, they observed a veritable zoo of animals of various kinds – monkeys, hyenas, pigs, parrots, different kinds of cats in cages.

Jean blinked and said “Huh?” while Sam’s mouth just dropped open.

“As I said, I do my best not to disturb my neighbors, but what can you do with howler monkeys?  You are probably wondering what I’m doing with this menagerie.  I contract with the zoo for special projects – some veterinary work, isolating animals if necessary and keeping some of these guys while transport is arranged back and forth to other zoos.”

Sam said “We are so sorry to have bothered you.  You may have heard of several missing persons cases in the last month.  Somebody suggested that you might have been keeping them based on the sounds coming from your house and the late night deliveries.”

“No problem.  I don’t pay much attention to the news.  Tell me about the missing people.”

“As I said they were missed over just a few days.  Jerry Stock, Sally Hendrix, Jo Hemple, George Simpkins are a few of the people that I can remember.”

Jace cackled “You came to the right place.  I just solved your case.  I know those people.  They snuck off to the PST swinger’s convention and they will go home soon with some sort of innocent cover story.  PST stands for Portland Swinger Time.  We use the abbreviation around the uninitiated.  Judy and I couldn’t make it this time.  Oh crap, I forgot all about Judy.”

Jace ran upstairs follow by Sam and Jean.  He went into the room with the woman Jean had seen earlier.  He got her loose from her shackles and introduced everyone around.  Judy seemed mildly peeved about being forgotten, and not the least bit embarrassed, but Jean was unnerved by Judy’s rapt attention switching back and forth from her to Sam.    

Jace and Judy looked at each other, and then Judy looked at Jean and said “Maybe you two would like to join our kinky group?”

Jean said “We’ll have to think about it.”

On the way out Sam whispered to Jean “That clears up everything but one.  How much do you think PDT charges members and is it a onetime charge, annual or both?”