One Down (The First Casualty)

Saturday, September 13, 1997
I sat outside of Sean Messina’s townhouse for a long time before breaking into his Geo Prism. Ok…well..I didn’t really break in because the car was unlocked, but I’m pretty sure it was still illegal. I was ready to smash a window with a rock if I had to, but apparently Sean had more trust in people than most of us.

I had just dug up the business cards from his glove-box when I smelt the smoke. I couldn’t place it at first – birthday candles, barbeque? I was too busy flipping the cards over and over trying to make sense of them. One had Dani’s name printed on it. The second looked exactly the same except with the name Tori Smith. The third was a blank card with a phone number jotted down on one side.

How did Sean get these cards? Was Dani actually handing out business cards for her little drug business? And if so, this Tori chick must have been doing the same thing. Who had printed the cards? I had so many questions and I still couldn’t figure out why it smelled like smoke. Or why it’d suddenly gotten so hot outside.

Maybe there was something more in the glove box. As I leaned towards the compartment, my eyes caught on the flames outside of the car. In the minutes that I’d been rummaging through Sean’s car, his apartment had turned into a mass of fire.

Was Sean Messina still in there? He had to be. He would have needed his car to leave and if he’d seen me inside it, he would have confronted me. I sprinted back over to my car and drove to the nearest payphone. Luckily you didn’t need any quarters to dial 9-1-1.

Moments later the dispatcher told me, “We’ve already responded to that fire.”

“What do you mean you’ve already responded? It just happened.” But sure enough, I could see the red pulsing lights reflecting off the pavement. “Just tell Brant Garrison please,” I said.

“Miss?”

“Tell Brant Garrison that I’m pretty sure Sean Messina is dead.”

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