Even in the face of a gang of vicious dope peddlers, eighteen-year-old DON SHIELD, lifeguard, is ready to do his best to protect the innocent!
Another young man is caught up in the soul-destroying Los Angeles drug trade. Don Shield and his friend, Pete, go there and attempt to rescue him.
“I have just finished reading The White Horror (this was the working title for DEADLY DUST) and have found it a book with a fine story line that gives honor, glory, and authority to Jesus Christ … I recommend this book as reading for entertainment, and also for enlightenment on drugs.”
Captain Richard B. Murphey, police officer, Phoenix, Arizona
For a sneak preview of this book read the sample pages below:
1 — THE PROWLERS
TWO LONG-HAIRED YOUNG MEN lowered themselves carefully over a cliff. Hanging from the rock encrusted edge by their hands, they exchanged glances, as though both wanting the other to make the next move. The cliff itself was not high; a few feet below the men’s toes it softened into a sandy slope with brush growing here and there. But the sandy hill was a long one, and farther down it once more turned into a sheer drop.
The year was 1969. The world was in a particular phase of madness, with soldiers from various parts of the world being swallowed up by the thousands in a little blood-soaked jungle called Vietnam; Neil Armstrong had set foot on the moon so recently that the moon dust was still settling; large parts of the world were in the grip of Communist propaganda; and flower children were claiming that all the answers to life could be found in a sugar cube laced with LSD. Other drugs were rampant as well, with heroin being the greatest such destroyer of young lives.
The west coast of California had it all.
The young man on the right told his partner, “You let go first. This whole thing is your idea anyhow.” His shoulder-length straight hair was quite blond, almost golden. Its ends were spread out over the collar and shoulders of a psychedelic patterned shirt that would have been glaringly bright had it not been so faded and dirty. Its frayed bottom hung over jeans that were equally frayed, grimy, and ragged. But the dangling feet were in handsome Indian style moccasins replete with fringes and colorful beadwork. The youth was of medium size and build, but too thin. His handsome, exceptionally sensitive appearing face was boyish enough to indicate that he hadn’t yet celebrated his twentieth birthday.
The other man looked a few years older, was considerably taller, thinner, much less handsome, and a good deal dirtier. He had stringy black hair and his lanky body was covered by a dark brown shirt; his jeans were too tight on his thin legs. Wood and leather sandals hung loosely on his grubby feet.
He let go his hold and made a reasonably good landing although he slid downward a couple of yards on hands and knees and the binoculars hanging from his neck dragged in the sand.
Now the blond let himself fall. He hit the slope, fell to hands and knees, slid. Then he lost his balance further and fell on his shoulder. He would have gone into a roll, but his companion grabbed him as he went by. The two of them slid a few yards more together before their digging sandals and moccasins brought them to a stop.
As they carefully got to their feet on the steep hillside, the blond youth used language that was as colorful as his shirt and a lot uglier. Then he said, “I don’t know why I let you talk me into this–coming out here and risking my life. And I don’t even know where I’m going.”
The taller man stood with one foot braced against a low shrub. With a worried expression on his narrow face he checked the binoculars, looking for scratches on the lenses. He let them drop back to his flat chest. “Quit worrying, man. We don’t have much farther t’ go. And wait’ll you see what I show you. It’ll blow your brains.”
“If I don’t have ‘em smashed out first, on a rock.”
“Cool it, man–this is the last tricky place. From here on it’s a good trip, man.”
“Why can’t you tell me what this … this way out thing is that you’re gonna show me?”
“I want it to be a surprise, man. Don’t spoil my fun.” He turned and carefully began to move down the slope, bracing his sandaled feet against rocks and brush roots. “C’mon,” he said.
“Fun!” echoed the other with disgust, but he followed.
The walking soon became easier as the two got onto a wide, almost level ridge of rocks that led them away from the steep hillside and the sheer cliffs farther down. Here and there among the boulders stood gnarled, stunted cypress trees looking like embittered old cripples who couldn’t get along with one another. Farther along and lower down on these seaside mountains there were more of them growing closer together. Their shade looked inviting.
Even though the early August sun beamed its rays at a merciless right-angle against the sides of the California mountains, the two young men kept their sleeves buttoned at the wrists. They had given up wearing short-sleeved shirts–for a good reason.
“How much longer is this whole fiasco gonna take?” asked the golden-haired youth. “I gotta have a fix in five hours.”
“Cool it,” said the dark haired man. “We’ll be back at the car long before that.”
“Huh? You mean you’ve got some in the car?”
“Sure, I got two bags.”
The blond quit walking. “You outa your skull? You left it in the car?–right there in the rest-stop, with all hat traffic going by, and stopping there?… And the pigs….”
“Ah, can it,” said the other man, stopping and looking back impatiently. “Nobody’d ever find it. It’s hidden in a secret place…. You got a good head, man, but you lose your cool too easy. That’s your only trouble…. Now, c’mon, let’s go.”
The youth said nothing, and when the lanky man proceeded to lead the way he once more followed.
The Pacific Ocean was a great silver-blue plate with wispy streaks of white running parallel to the shore. At one place a little strip of pale yellow beach-sand was visible, but for the most part the incoming tide broke against the solid granite of the Big Sur–one of the most rugged coastlines in North America.
About half an hour later the two had descended to a point near the ocean and now walked on a comparatively level area wooded with cypress and other trees.
The lanky man put a hand on his companion’s arm. We hafta go quiet from here on,” he said in a low voice.
“How come?” The blond showed his apprehension by once more coming to a stop. “Man, what’re you getting’ us into?”
“Quit worrying. Just don’t make noise and follow me.”
The blond youth obeyed, and soon the quiet walking degenerated into outright sneaking. Bent over low, the darker man led his companion from bush to bush and from rock to rock, always peering about with a great show of caution before he made these quick hunched-over dashes. They were crouching behind a three-foot-high boulder and were in the shade of trees when the darker man said, “This is far enough, brother. We can see it fine from here. We won’t even need the binocs.”
“I’m glad I’m not your brother,” stated the younger man.
“Go on, you know what I mean–we’re buddies.”
“Right,” said the blond with ironic sarcasm in his voice. “So what am I supposed to see? I don’t see anything.”
“Aha! That’s ‘cause you don’t know where to look. But I’ll show you. See that dark spot against the face of those rocks?”
“You mean way out there?–at the bottom of that low cliff?”
“That’s right, man. See it?”
“The dark spot? Sure, looks like it’s probably a hole in the rocks, maybe even a cave. So what?”
The narrow faced man leaned toward his companion. “That’s exactly what it is–a cave. You want me to tell you what kind of a cave?”
“No, but you will anyhow.”
The dark-tanned face showed white teeth for a few silent seconds. This sly smile and hesitation was the man’s way of expressing that the information he was about to impart was truly momentous. “That cave,” he said, “is the hideout of the Connello brothers.”
The youth’s mouth dropped open.
“Yeah, man,” said the other, “I told you I had something big to show you.”
The blond got his jaw working. “Why are you messing around with this?!…. And why are you telling me?!…. Hey! Wait a minute. You’re puttin’ me on. Is this your idea of a joke?”
“It’s on the level, buddy.”
“Well, why’re you telling me? I don’t want to know…. How do you know that’s their hideout?”
“I know plenty,” bragged the slim man. “I’ve been doing a bit of detective work, just like a narc. Let me tell you, man, the pigs would be really proud of me if I was working for them.”
“What’re you up to, Al?”
“Plenty,” said Al, “and you’re gonna be in on it with me.”
“Leave me out of this, whatever it is. I’ve heard too much already.”
“Listen, man, you wanna be just a junkie pusher for the rest a’ your life? You wanna keep on bein’ a sucker an’ takin’ all the risks while the smart cats are getting’ fat? Bein’ a pusher on the street is a no-future proposition. And sooner or later some pig is gonna come along and bust you. And you know what that means–sweatin’ it out cold turkey in a tin can. But you stick with me, buddy, and you’ll have a different future.” He then seemed to try switching from enthusiasm to friendly sincerity. “Look, Ellis, what’re you afraid of? You and me can do it. It’s been done before.”
“What’s been done before?” asked Ellis, shaking a rope of blond hair out of his eyes and trying to look angry instead of scared.
“What you and me are gonna do. We’re gonna go a few rungs up the ladder, baby. We’re gonna become distributors…. Look, I’ll tell you what I’ve dug up. Sweet Sammy buys his supply from an operator called Stein–Big Bill Stein. Stein is high cat, man. He actually buys the stuff right at the point where the raw material becomes heroin. He’s got a man out there. The H comes in by boat and gets dropped in the water tied to salt bags. When the salt dissolves, the H comes up and floats. The Connellos go out in their cruiser and pick it up. They bring it here to their cave hideout. The cave is surrounded by small mines that’ll blow your legs off if you step on ‘em. No one could get through to the cave unless he knew ahead of time exactly where the mines are. Anyhow, this is where they get the heroin ready for the street, package it and, I’ll bet, cut it with a lot of garbage to make it stretch further. Then they bring a supply of it right into LA to Sweet Sammy, who portions it out to us suckers who have to take all the risk on the street…. But I think you and me know too much to be just little-fish pushers from now on. Don’t you agree? We’ll tell ‘em that from now on we wanna be distributors like Sweet Sammy. We’ll work as a team and make a stack a’ bread. We’ll have plenty of sucker pushers working for us for a change. Whadaya say to that?”
Ellis didn’t answer immediately; he just squatted there looking dejected and disgusted. But then he said, “You’re a fool. You’ve messed us up, but good…. If you want to get yourself shot, that’s one thing, but why get me shot too? You think the Connellos or any of those other high cats are gonna let us live if they find out what we know? Never!”
“No reason why they should kill us,” denied Al, but his face showed that he was no longer convinced about the truth of his words. “We’re on their side. They’ll just make distributors out of us–‘cause they’ll know it’s time to start treating us a little better.”
“You’re a fool,” said Ellis again. “You’ve really messed me up…. I can tell you now–it doesn’t matter…. I was thinking seriously of getting out of LA–cutting out of the whole rotten scene. But first I was going to go to a clinic. There’s one on Shatto called New Life House. I thought I might try it. I don’t know if their treatment is methadone or cold turkey and religion, but I was willing to try anything. If I could really get off the hook I was going to split and never come back to this rotten scene. I thought I might go back to…. Well, I won’t be going anywhere now, and neither will you. The moment the Connello brothers find out that we know where their hideout is, and that we know who they work for and how they operate … that’s it for both of us. We won’t live another forty-eight hours after that…. And they will find out about what you’ve dug up.”
Al wasn’t smiling anymore and too much sweat was glistening on his forehead. “Don’t let me down, kid. I need you. The two of us together can do it. Sammy likes you–he says you’re a smart kid. Let’s go talk to him. He’ll put in a good word for us to Stein and the Connellos. They’ll make distributors out of us.”
Ellis shook his blond head slowly. “It’s no good. We’re cooked…. Well, no use sitting around here. Let’s start back to the car. The sooner I get out of here the better I’ll like it.”
“Okay,” said Al. “I’ll lead the way till we get out of this danger area. We’ll talk some more about the whole thing later.”
“Not if I can help it,” said Ellis. He followed the tall man’s skulking form toward the next place of concealment as they began their journey back up the mountainside toward State Highway 1.
* * *
A muscular man with a revolver strapped to his waist put down his binoculars and picked up a two-way radio. He was well hidden by foliage. “Ricardo, this is Paul,” the man spoke softly into the radio. “We’ve got a couple of prowlers. Better patch me through to King John or Steve.”
Only seconds passed before the sentry was able to talk to one of the men he had asked for. “King John, two men have been prowling about. They’ve been sitting here looking at the cave and talking. Now they’re leaving. But you can probably still see them if you look with binoculars. They’re in plain view a little to the right of the giant cypress. Do you want me to nab them?”
King John Connello soon appeared within the mouth of the cave. He got his binoculars on the prowlers and zoomed them in close, but looked for only a few seconds. He smiled, then spoke into his hand-held radio. “Good work, Paul. I know both of those cats. They’re junkie pushers working for Sweet Sammy–happened to be picking up their supply from Sammy the last time I saw him, and he told me a bit about those two. Their names are Albert Faul and Ellis Johnson.”
“You want me to nab them?” Paul asked again.
King John scratched his big nose. It was huge, but it would have looked even more monstrous if his head hadn’t also been oversized. Under his narrow-brimmed gray hat, his dark hair looked to be combed straight back, but it was long and puffed out around his neck. Above his rocklike jaw his wide, lipless mouth curved into a smile of evil confidence. “No, let ‘em go, and tell Janzen and Kelly to tail ‘em. We have to find out who put ‘em up to this, if possible. In any case, we’ll see to it that they don’t die of old age.”
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