Camp NaNo July: Bedouin Boy Page 18

glass panel of a book store
Photo by Jill Evans on

Copyright © Kate Kelsen 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Jasem stood in front of Gordon’s desk, holding his resignation in his hands. Gordon sat back in his office chair, turning slightly side to side in his office chair as he spoke.

‘The police have a suspect in custody. A seventy-year-old male. They believe he abducted Rocco for his personal sexual gratification.’

Gordon sat forward, resting his elbows on his desk and clasping his hands together, pointing his two index fingers at the paper in Jasem’s hands.

‘What’s that?’

‘My resignation, sir.’

Jasem stepped forward and placed the document on the desk in front of Gordon. Gordon folded his arms, looking up at Jasem.

‘I’d like to take you on as a consultant, Jasem.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘It won’t be full-time; we’ll call you when we need you. And we won’t be able to tell anyone the true nature of your role. But I think your ‘skills’ could be useful to us. You could help us pick juries, interview potential witnesses, and suspects in line-ups. That sort of thing. So, what do you say?’


Five Years Later

Under the shelter of his umbrella, Omid observed the bookstore from the opposite side of the street. In the window was a poster. At the top it read ‘JASEM BAHAR: LAPD MEDIUM’ and at the bottom below his picture ‘BOOK SIGNING 10TH JUNE’.

From where he sat at the signing table, Jasem couldn’t see the end of the queue, a line of endless faces with names he’d quickly forget.


He looked up, and for the first time that afternoon he recognized the person standing in front of him.

‘Papa!’ he exclaimed. ‘You came!’

‘It’s good to see you, Jasem,’ Omid smiled. ‘Are you free for coffee later?’

‘Sure. I finish up here at three.’


Jasem and Omid found a table in a quiet corner of the coffee shop, and a waiter promptly approached them to take their order.

‘So, how is the book tour going?’ Omid enquired.

‘Really well,’ said Jasem. ‘I’m going to be on TV, too.’

‘If only your mother could see you now.’

‘She can, Papa.’

An awkward silence fell upon them, momentarily relieved when the waiter returned with their coffees.

‘You have an incredible gift, Jasem,’ said Omid. ‘I know it seems like I didn’t want to listen to you when you tried to tell me about it.’

‘I always thought you were jealous that I could see Mama and you couldn’t.’

Omid nodded.

‘I miss her very much. I would give anything to see her again.’ He sighed. ‘I was

afraid for you, Jasem. This gift brought a lot of trouble for your mother, and I was afraid the same would happen to you.’



Camp NaNo July: Bedouin Boy Page 17

silhouette of a man during sunset
Photo by Johannes Plenio on

Copyright © Kate Kelsen 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Gittins turned the squad car turned off the road, pulling up in the parking area. The rest of the convoy followed. Gittins looked at David in the passenger seat.

‘Tell me why we’re doing this again?’ he sighed.

‘It’s all the local news shows are talking about,’ said David. ‘And the Superintendent thinks we don’t have a clue. So now we have to listen to whatever leads we get, no matter how far-fetched.’

David looked to the north side of the road and spotted the head of the trail, and the uniformed officers followed him through a gate and along a beaten path. The distant traffic noise was gradually absorbed by the thick forest of fragrant eucalyptus trees. A sudden wind whipped through the treetops, as the birds sang their last songs of the day. David stopped, gesturing to the uniforms.

‘Here,’ he stated. ‘Start digging.’

The uniforms stepped forward with their shovels. First they unearthed a shoe with a foot, and then a hand, and then a torso. The uniforms recoiled in disgust at the sight of the remains. David raised his radio to his mouth with a shaky hand, fathoming for his voice in the shock of it.

‘This is Cohen. We’re going to need back-up here.’


‘This morning the body of an eight-year-old boy was recovered from Elysian Park Trail. The body was positively identified as Rocco Quintero, who was reported missing by his parents on Sunday. A homicide investigation has been launched.’

Antony looked up as his cell door opened and David appeared.

‘I’m releasing you on condition,’ he stated. ‘You need to hand your passport into the station within twenty-four hours.’ David paused. ‘These allegations are about as serious as they get, Antony.’

‘You’re not even charging me,’ said Anthony. ‘You’ve got nothing on me.’

‘The investigation is ongoing.’

Anthony followed David to the front desk.

‘Just sign here,’ said David. ‘We’ll be in touch, depending on what comes up.’


Jasem held the phone to his ear, his heart thumping with every trill of the dial tone, leaping into his throat at the sound of his father’s voice.


‘Papa, it’s me.’

‘Jasem? Are you alright?’

‘I’ve been fired from my internship, Papa.’

‘Fired? For what?’

‘It’s hard to explain. There was a little boy who was murdered down here, and his spirit appeared to me. Like Mama.’


‘His spirit came to me, Dad. He told me where his body was.’

‘Why would you do that, Jasem? Are you crazy?’

‘It’s the truth, Papa.’

Omid scoffed down the phone.

‘Always this nonsense, Jasem! Ever since you were a boy! And now this! Now you’ve gone and done it, opened your mouth and look where it got you!’


‘I told you, son, but you wouldn’t listen, would you? Do you know how hard I worked to get you into college?’

Thanks for reading! Another excerpt coming tomorrow!


Camp NaNo July: Bedouin Boy Page 16

man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography
Photo by lalesh aldarwish on

David gazed blankly into the long rectangular mirror as he washed his hands in the sink. Gittins pushed open the door to the restroom, propping it open with his shoulder.

‘There’s someone here. He wants to talk to you about Rocco Quintero.’

David flicked the water off his hands, ripping two paper towels out of the dispenser and hastily disposing of them as he followed Gittins out of the restroom. As he came down the corridor with Gittins, he spotted Jasem standing with another uniformed officer outside the interview room. He motioned to them to follow him in, and sat down at the table opposite Jasem.

‘So, you say you’re some kind of psychic?’ David began.

‘I’m not a psychic,’ said Jasem.

‘Are you here for my entertainment, then? Because I’m not entertained.’

‘No, sir.’

‘Then what are you here for?’

‘He’s dead.’

‘Who’s dead?’

‘Rocco Quintero.’

David’s dismissive impatience suddenly sharpened with focus.

‘The missing boy? How do you know he’s dead?’

‘Because I’ve seen him.’

‘You’ve seen him? Where?’

‘It’s hard to explain…’

‘Where did you see him?’

David’s tone was firm.

‘At the DA’s office. In the cafeteria. He appeared to me…’

‘He appeared to you? How?’

‘His…his spirit.’

David scoffed, throwing a smirk at Gittins.

‘Look, do you know where he is or not?’

‘Elysian Park Trail.’

‘We swept through that area already. We didn’t find anything.’ David stood

abruptly. ‘You’re wasting my time.’


‘What the hell are you doing?’

Jasem followed Gordon across the open plan desks to his office. Gordon opened the door, and Jasem followed him inside.

‘I thought I could help with the investigation,’ said Jasem.

‘Your job is to sort the crime scene documents, not solve crimes!’ Gordon sat behind his desk. ‘This is a District Attorney’s office, not a detective agency.’

‘The boy’s spirit appeared to me.’


‘I know how it sounds, but I wanted to do the right thing…’

‘Why would you do this, Josef? Are you crazy?’

‘It’s the truth, sir.’

Gordon scoffed.

‘You’ve made a fool of this department, Jasem. Of me.’ Gordon exhaled along, thoughtful sigh. ‘I want your resignation on my desk tomorrow.’

Thanks for reading! Another excerpt coming tomorrow!