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Friday, October 21, 2016


Sigmund Freud had his own views on what makes a criminal.

 Freud proposed that much deviance resulted from an excessive sense of guilt as a result of an overdeveloped superego.  

Persons with overdeveloped superegos feel guilty for no reason and 

wish to be punished in order to relieve this guilt they are feeling and committing crimes 

is a method of obtaining such desired punishment and relieving guilt. 

Do I believe that?  Not so much. 

I lived on the rough streets of Detroit as a six year old and 

as an adult on the lawless streets of New Orleans after Katrina.

As my best friend, Sandra, says: 

"Most people are only as good as their chances to do bad with impunity."

August Aichorn is probably the best known neo-Freudian in criminology. 

 Aichorn felt that there were three predisposing traits that had to be present 

before the emergence of a life of crime: 

the desire for immediate gratification,

 placing greater desire on one’s personal desires over the ability to have good relationships with other people 

 and a lack of guilt over one’s actions.




{The Infamous Barbary Coast Madam, Ah Toy}

(The Barbary Coast 1851)

Accompanied by 16 year old Sammy Clemens in the haunted saloon, Casa, 

McCord approaches the table of the second most dangerous man he knows: the Green Dragon.  

McCord is younger and ah, a bit more feisty.

I walked to his table certain he would try to kill me if he could.  It must have shown on my face.  He smiled in enjoyment.

“Ah, Běnguān,” he smiled wider.  “I should be surprised that you are still alive, but I am not.  Cockroaches are irritatingly hard to kill.”

I sighed bored,
 “When we shared common goals I never played you false.  When our goals differed, I never betrayed you to your enemies.”

His green eyes twinkled.  
 “A most naïve attitude to take which is why I should be surprised you are still alive.”

His lips pulled up in what he must have felt looked like a smile; he was wrong.   

“You never cease to amaze me, Běnguān.  You write me you wish to control all the prostitution here in this cesspool.  How the mighty have fallen.”

I motioned for Sammy to sit down beside me which the boy did, though his face was drawn and pale.  
 I nodded to the petite woman to my enemy’s side, taking off my Stetson and placing it on the table.  She raised an eyebrow.

I said, “I always take my hat off in the presence of a lady.”

Her tiny face darkened, and she spoke in stiff, hard-fought English.  “Now you mock me!”

“Not at all, Ma’am.  I know you poisoned your husband on the voyage from Hong Kong and seduced the Captain who became your lover and showered you with gifts and gold, enabling you to land in San Francisco with your own personal fortune.”

The woman nodded, “So you know of Ah Toy, do you?”

“No man will ever truly know you, Ma’am … or turn their back on you if they are wise.  I was taking my hat off in respect to the young girl sitting beside you.”

The young girl mentioned possessed an exquisite beauty that seemed almost ethereal as if she were visiting from a higher plane of existence.  
 She was taller than Ah Toy and exuded innocence like a campfire casts off heat. And speaking of heat, Sammy’s face was reddening by the heartbeat.  I smiled.  First love can hit hard like that.

I turned to my enemy.  “I asked you to introduce me to Ah Toy here, for I have a business opportunity to talk over with her.”

Ah Toy laughed like a crow.  “You want my body?”

“And the head that goes with it, as well,” I said in perfect Cantonese.

She started, and I nodded, continuing in English for Sammy’s sake.  “You are clever, strong, resilient, and you have invested your fortune wisely.  I wish to make you even richer.”


“I want you to run my ‘boarding houses’ (which was the euphemism for brothels).”


“Yes, I have influence with the police and the mayor.  Enough money can work miracles.  I want you to look after the ladies in your employ with all the ingenuity and care as if they were you yourself.”

Sammy, being Sammy, just couldn’t keep from interrupting.  “Ingenuity, Captain Sam?  How did she show that?”

I smiled at the young colt of a boy and said,
 “When Ah Toy first arrived, she was one of the only Chinese ladies ... (Ah Toy snorted in derision at my use of the word) … and she used that to her advantage.”

The young girl leaned forward as if eager to learn more about the woman who owned her as I continued,
“She knew how starved Chinese men were to just be in the presence of a woman from home.  So she charged them an ounce of pure gold just for a look at her.  The price, of course, was higher if they wanted to get, ah, more frisky.”

Sammy smiled at that, and then blushed when he noticed the young girl was looking at him as if studying him to paint a portrait.

I turned in my chair to look at her and smiled, “What is your name, little miss?”

Ah Toy snapped, “That will be an ounce of gold, lawman.”

I tossed her a gold double eagle and said, “The next time you interrupt me I’ll kill you, murderer.”

She looked into my eyes and was wise enough to believe me.  Sammy swallowed hard.  I knew he believed me.  We had ridden the river together more than once.   
The Green Dragon edged a bit away from her in his chair.  He had seen me mad more than once.  He believed me, too.

I turned to the very pale young girl and smiled as warmly as I could muster.  
 “So, darling, just what is your name?  You know if you don’t tell me, I’ll just call you Rachel.”

“Which is a big honor, Miss,” blurted Sammy.  “It was the name of his dearly loved sister who’s been long dead.”

She cleared her throat, looking fearfully at Ah Toy who was testing the double eagle with her teeth at the moment.  She turned to me with a timid dip of a slender shoulder.

“Since you would honor me with the name of your beloved sister, I will tell you my name.  It is Bai Chun.”

I smiled wider.  “Person of purity born in the spring.  How fitting.”

My enemy spoke to Ah Toy.  “She is a virgin as you promised?”

I glared at him, but he waved lazily at me.  “Do not look at me so, Běnguān.  I bought her from Ah Toy before you got here.”

Sammy looked gut-shot.  Bai Chun didn’t look much better.  Low thunder rumbled overhead as it only did when I was just about to unleash Hell.

“I’ll kill you where you sit, you lay one finger on her.”

Ah Toy rose gracefully.  “I accept your gracious invitation to run your boarding houses, Běnguān.  Just a question: what if the Tong or the police intrude into our affairs?”
“I’ll kill them.”

She nodded.  “Just so.  I believe you.”

I reached into the inside pocket of my black broadcloth jacket and handed her a bank draft. 
 “For ten thousand dollars.  Consider it an Ernest for my intentions to do right by you.”

Ah Toy shook her head at me. “I have never respected a white man before.  Never.  But I believe I do now.”

She turned to Bai Chun.  “I foresee an interesting life for you.  I do not believe it will be a long one.”

Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. 
Ever since he was a child he wanted to do right by the city he loved 
by cleaning up the streets and protecting its
citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.
On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. 

Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. 
Except the only way he can do that is by
infiltrating the Mob.
Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. 
Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. 
Will he make it out of the Mob alive or will he
be their next victim?


  1. That sure is an interesting theory Freud had, but I'm not buying into the guilty part. But maybe the part about seeking punishment for their crimes makes a little sense. Certainly gives you something to think about.

    Thanks for participating in my Mobfest!

    1. Glad to do it. Looking forward to visiting you on November 11th. :-)

  2. Commit crime to assuage guilt? Now that's bizarre. But so are humans.


    1. All Capitals, huh? You implying it is a trite or over-used word? Thanks for visiting and taking time to comment. :-)

  4. I do believe it's a lack of guilt and not an overwhelming sense of it.

    1. Yes, a lack of empathy and conscience. We have bred a generation of sociopaths. :-(

  5. I'm going with "the desire for immediate gratification", it sums up any mobster of late ;-)

    I've already downloaded "The Stars Bleed at Midnight" I think it's next up on the stack.

    Chrys, you're rockin' this marketing business! Not to mention pumping out books like a gumball machine ;-) Woot!

    1. Thanks so much for downloading THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT! Kindle or Audible?

  6. Freud always came at things differently than others. I'll have to think about this one a bit. I loved the tale of Ah Toy, and her prophecy for Bai Chun was chilling. Great post.

    1. Soon you will be able to listen to the fate of Bai Chun in the soon to be released audio book, DRAGONS OF THE BARBARY COAST.

      I had fun contrasting Freud with Mark Twain this past April all through the A TO Z CHALLENGE!

  7. Loved the post and the Freudian. Great story, spine tingling.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

    1. I'm glad you liked my story. The ghost of Freud is ruminating on just why you liked his take on crime. He just can't take a simple compliment! :-)

  8. I never want to get caught doing bad. I may feel guilty, but not enough to want to be punished.

    Notoriety is a whole different mind set though.

    1. I think Freud was putting his own head on criminals' shoulders. You are right: Kim K. has made millions, all stemming from that sex tape!!

  9. I'm not sure I follow Freud's line of thought on this. I don't know why we do bad. I imagine the need for instant gratification is what leads most criminals to the courtroom. I can't believe the guilt is enough to lead someone to commit an act that will ultimately lead to punishment. That presumes the person committing heinous acts has the capacity to feel empathy and guilt and most criminals don't think that far ahead and they certainly don't think about the consequences of their actions or how their actions will affect others. That's partly why our prisons are over populated. I enjoyed your suspenseful story. It was a refreshing take on the mobster blogfest. You are such a talented writer and I loved the twist at the end.

    1. Freud was a child of the Victorian Age and saw life colored by its precepts despite his sex-based theories.

      I agree with you: criminals want what they want and people just do not exist for them except as means to an end, whether sexual or financial. In a dog eat dog world, no dog stays winner for long. :-(

      Thanks for tweeting about my story and the nice words. I am sending an audio version of THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT, a mix of sociology, daring-do, Mark Twain sniping at Oscar Wilde -- most of it happening in 1895 Egypt!

  10. Replies
    1. That was Freud's theory, but it has since been discarded. Sociopaths feel no guilt. :-(