Denver Bar Association
January 2006
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Murder on the Reunification Express: Part Three

by W .

Editor’s Note: This is a continuation to a serial fiction piece written anonymously by Docket committee members. Each month, The Docket will feature a new installment by a
different committee member.

Logan’s lawyer instincts churned over the prospect. Find Tran’s killers, but keep law enforcement out of it. Clients with pull. They draw you in and then drag you where you shouldn’t be.

A politically connected murder victim wouldn’t be forgotten unless somebody wanted it that way. The young man’s mother knew something. She ended up in Bangkok years earlier.

Logan flew the groggy miles to the Bangkok airport in Thailand later that day. He shrugged off the questions put to him by Vinh and Thanh. He waffled in his resolve, anxious about deadlines in the calendar for Denver. Maybe I can add a few days to this guilt trip I’m on from Mickey Thornton, he thought. I hope I will remember her face when I see Tran’s mother, MiWan.

On the flight his stomach didn’t settle as he thumbed through letters she sent to Mickey from the mid-to late ’70s. They stopped coming after about 1982. By then, Tran was advancing through a tightly controlled education system imposed during the days of Soviet money and policy
adherence. She got out somehow when her concerns became overwhelming. She mentioned dreading the party’s discovery of his mixed parentage, knowing it would ruin his chances. She must have kept up with him even after escaping to Thailand with her secret.

It took two more phone calls to Mickey to get into the Phoenix connection. After MiWan’s escape to Thailand in ’75, Mickey brought her to Phoenix for a few months. Their connection was ragged. She did not want to stay in America. She blamed Mickey for not using his American "pull" to get their son out of Vietnam. She had to go back to Tran even though she thought it would be suicide for her to enter Vietnam again. She must have thought their bonds could be re-established if she stayed in Bangkok.

It was a good thing that Mickey was willing to scan those old letters. Logan could barely translate, but he picked up a few of the threads. Mickey had been sending MiWan money, but any help she tried to channel to Tran was eaten up by the bureaucracy of party causes.

Logan hoped her ties to the young man had not been lost after Vietnam became open to Western visits and Western commerce, following the demise of the Soviet influence. A mother would get through to her son somehow. Maybe his biracial heritage blocked his career progress. Perhaps it figured into his murder. She would know.

Logan doubted his skill in dealing with locals in Thai, Laotian and Vietnamese as his plane bounced to a stop. Where did he really expect to find her. Would she remember that night? The photos of Tran made him wonder. He never discussed the liaison with anyone in the states.

Stay tuned. ...

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