Sometimes I almost think I’ve got it all figured out. Like there’s this map in my head of the way things are, or the way things ought to be; but then things happen to fuck the map up, little things that just don’t seem right, don’t seem to be in the right place, as if some asshole had moved the pieces around on the map just to screw with my mind. Then one day everything on the map flat out disappears, vanishes before your very eyes, as if it had never been there. That’s when your stripped down bare, left naked in the face of the darkness that seems to be everywhere and especially in you. No place to hide, no place to run because you are the darkness while the darkness last. You’re in the old parlance, fucked royal. No getting around that.
I walked into the department and realized it the moment I stepped through the door. It wasn’t the way people looked at you, it was the way they didn’t, as if they knew something you didn’t, yet they we’re not about to be the ones to let you in on it, whatever it is. They knew it was bad. Real bad. So they all edged around me as if I were invisible. Even Lucy who was usually all smiles and laughing, ready to get me a little coffee on her way to the Captain’s office. But no, not even her; not a peep. Her eyes were plunged down in case files as if her life depended on it.
So I went to my desk. Even my partner, Caleb, was off somewhere missing in action. My desk was cluttered. Hell even I didn’t no where anything was unless I needed it, then something in my mind would click in and my hand would just reach out and there it would be. Like my brain knew things I only wished I did.
About the moment I took my first sip of coffee I heard the Cap behind me calling my name. Figured it would happen.
Captain Otis Robitaille been around these parts all his life. A short stocky man, a fighter when he was young; scars above his eyebrows where he’d boxed Clayton Jacobs ‘The Mauler’ and won; and an old shoulder wound that had crushed the bones to smithereens and left him partially paralyzed on the left side. One of those gifts from another Gulf War. At one time he’d even won a state arm wrestling championship. Had those pond eyes, almost black with brown flecks, like a gator hovering just above the water’s edge that could read you a mile away. Wasn’t anyway to get one past Cap. None in this lifetime at least. I wouldn’t even try. I walked in and took my badge and gun and just placed them on his desk, saying: “I quit.”
He gave me one of those looks. One that absorbed everything in you like a sponge. He reached down below his desk pulled out a bottle of whiskey from Donner-Peltier Distillers in Thibodaux. The good stuff, smooth and full of that slow kick that one comes to expect. Gave me a glass. He took one and said, “I’m not going to try to talk you out of this. All I’m going to say is: don’t.” Then he downed his in one slip. I did the same. We both knew what he meant by “don’t”.
He knew I’d be back. He also knew it was personal, and said one simple thing: “Kill the bastard will you.” I intended to do just that. Yet, both of us knew it wouldn’t go down that way. We both swore those oaths and had a deep pride and fealty to the laws of the land. So he and I both knew it would go unspoken.
“Now get the hell out of my office.” he spoke just loud enough so the others could hear him. But before I turned to leave he said: “Good hunting, Jess!”
“Aye, Cap.” I finished my shot and put the glass down solid and left.
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Short chapter… I’ll be filling it out with detail later on. Working through the main story at the moment. So just doing a base storyline and skeleton to work back through, so thought I’d give you a peak at the rough draft in progress. 🙂
Obviously a lot of foregrounding and back grounding will be added in a second run through down the pipe. Going for a 80,000 word novel for a first shot. I love James Lee Burke but he pads a lot of his stories with excessive descriptive passage and purple prose. I love it personally, but I also admire James Sallis and the streamlined approach of paring down. So it’ll be a toss up once I get to that stage.
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– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.
Read the rest: Flowers for Lobelia – Noir Novel in Progress