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For Sweet Pea

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. --Albert Einstein

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.--Matthew 5:9

Chapter One

Death does not become a child. Small caskets are not cute nor quaint like handmade collectible dolls, adorned with frilly lace dresses, neatly arranged in a display cabinet behind a protective glass barrier, preserved memories of wide eyed innocence, meticulously painted by a craftsman's careful hand, artificially simulating life with a p√Ęte mix of skin tone colors, cotton stitches and plastic fibered hair. No. A corpse that never had a chance to fully mature in life does not, in spite of its size, generate a feeling of nostalgia nor delicate quaintness, even though the coffin that contains it might be lined with the finest silk and surrounded by the most lavish floral arrangement that money can buy.

Between Arnold Penxa's two year infantry tour of duty in Vietnam and his thirty years of police work in Detroit, he had seen his share of dead children. Napalmed babies fused to their mother's bodies, loving arms futilely wrapped around swaddled infants, burnt and peeling strips of flesh embedded with charred remnants of clothing still smoldering, emitting a nauseous odor of rotting pork that contrasted with the jasmine flavored smell of rice paddies he and his squad had to march through in order to sweep and secure attacked villages.

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