Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Sample of My Next Book

My next Murder Mystery, "A Penalty in Blood", should be out the August. I thought this would be a good time to give y'all a little taste from the book. Hope you enjoy it:

On the way back to the station, Gator asked Alisha if she’d mind if he made a short detour to stop at the Quarter Grocery and Deli. A friend there had some bones set aside for Seven. 
Pulling up and parking just short of the corner of Burgundy and Dumaine Streets, they immediately noticed a small altercation taking place near the entrance to the store.

As the two detectives sat watching from the car, a tall skinny white kid in his late teens or early twenties, dressed like a street hustler in a sleeveless Levi Bikers Jacket and torn blue jeans, was flashing a pocket knife and demanding money from an elderly man. Elton, the store owner, was standing in his stores doorway, yelling at the kid to go before he called the cops.

Alisha leaned her head towards Gator and said, “Well podna, looks like our quiet afternoon is at an end.”

“Naw, darlin’. Let ‘ole Gator here show you how to do this the easy way.” He grinned as he stepped out of the car and went on, “Y’all walk across the street and circle to the other side of him. Once you’re about 10 feet from him on the opposite side, just stop. I’ll be sending that older gentleman over to you.”

Gator then took off his coat and tossed it in the car seat. It was cold, but he wanted the badge and gun on his belt clearly visible. 
There was a kid’s little plastic airplane toy laying in the gutter. Gator casually picked it up and took it in both hands. He kept looking down, examining and playing with the little plastic toy as he slowly approached the store.

The young man did not notice Alisha taking up position behind him. He did, however, notice Gator and immediately saw the badge and gun.  He very quickly folded up the knife and slipped it into his back pocket.

The other two men saw Gator walking up and everything fell quiet as they watched him approach.

When Gator got about 8 feet from the young man, he leaned against a light pole. He finally looked up at the kid and said, “Good morning, cousin, a little cold outside today to be kicking up such a fuss, don’t you think?”

The young man immediately started talking very fast. “I aint done nothing wrong. We were just arguing about something silly. If I said something to make them mad, I’m sorry. I’ll just go on home now.”

At that, both of the other men started talking over each other trying to tell Gator that the little thug had a knife and had robbed the old man.

Gator, still leaning on the light pole, held up his hand and said. “Easy, easy now. Don’t y’all be in such a rush. Remember, my partner there and I saw what was happening too.” He nodded to Alisha. “Y’all just quiet down a bit. Take a few deep breaths and we’ll sort this mess out together.”

The young man looked and saw Alisha with her gun drawn and pointing at him. He looked back to Gator and said, “What’s that for? I aint done nothing. You don’t need to be pointing a piece at me.”

“Well, that’s not exactly true. We both saw the little knife you put in your pocket so that makes this what we call an Armed Robbery. That makes you a felon and gives her the right to use deadly force to stop and apprehend you. My advice is to stay quiet and don’t move. She likes her job and that gun has a hair trigger.” Gator replied.

He then looked at the elderly man and asked, “Are you alright, Père (the Cajun word for father, often used as a respectful way of addressing an older man)?”

“Oh, I think I’m alright but he really scared me. He just started yelling, like a crazy man, and wanted my cash. All I had was four dollars but when he grabbed it from me he said he knew I must have more and he was going to cut me if I didn’t give him more money. He would have too, if that nice man from the store hadn’t come out and start yelling that he was calling the police.” The man was stooped over from age and visibly shaking.

“Now, now Père. Calm down. We are here now and no one is going to hurt you. Why don’t you go stand by Lieutenant Montgomery over there. She’ll protect you and she’s going to want to take a statement from you later.” Gator said in a calming tone.

The man said okay and slowly shuffled over to stand behind Alisha.

“What’s your name?” Gator asked the young man

“Slinger, everybody calls me Slinger.” He replied.

“No, I meant your real name, but that’s okay. We’ll just call you Slinger for now. Do you live in this area?" Gator asked.

“I, uh, I live in Algiers across the river but I come over to the Quarter sometimes.” He answered.

“Well, Slinger. I like to be real clear about things. You know, upfront and honest. So I’m going to tell you what is going to happen next and how it will end. As I see it, you have three options. The first and best option is for you to go quietly stand by my car there and empty your pockets on the hood. I will then come over and do a quick search. Then I’ll slip a pair of handcuffs on you and help you take a seat in my car. The second option is for you to try and make a run for it around that corner and up the street. If you tried that, I’d have to walk up to that corner, take out my gun and do my best to put a 9 millimeter slug right up the center of the crack of your ass. That may sound kind’a funny, cousin, but it isn't. When the bullet comes out the other side it may take a part of your anatomy with it. A part that will mean your love life will fall off considerably, even after you get out of jail.”

“Shoot me? Who are you kidding? You aint going to shoot me over this.” The little thug replied defiantly.

“See? That’s why I like to explain things to everyone. You see, Slinger, we have a report that you took money from that man by threatening him with a knife. That makes you a fleeing armed felon. We get to shoot those guys all the time.” Gator replied, his unchanging smile starting to unnerve the kid.

“What’s the third option?” The young man asked.

“Oh, the third option is for you to try and play tough guy and make me arrest you by force. I have to tell you though, that option always ends with you being booked down at the Police Ward at Mercy Hospital.” Gator replied.

“Yeah? Well I think I can take you.” The young man snarled.

“Maybe, but you ought to know up front that I cheat. I spray you with Mace first then use a leather sap.” Gator answered, his smile never changing and his stare fixed on the young man’s eyes.

“Mace? Is that stuff as bad as they say it is?”

“You bet.” Gator answered quickly. “But the lead in the sap is what does the real damage. Now it’s your turn. You’re an adult, capable of making his own decisions. Take a moment to think it over and let me know what you want to do.” Gator then looked down and started playing with the little toy airplane again.

After a few moments, and several glances at Alisha's gun, Slinger said, “Okay. Let’s do this the easy way.” He slowly walked past Gator and reluctantly started emptying his pockets on the squad car hood.

Gator put the little airplane in a trash can sitting nearby and walked over by Slinger. “See how much better it is when you explain things ahead of time so we can all make good decisions based on all the facts?”

After putting handcuffs on the kid, Gator reached around him and picked up four one dollar bills from the hood. “Now y’all stand here and wait quietly for me while I give that man back his money. When I come back we’ll take a ride to the station house and get you a bunk. I should be charging you with Felony Armed Robbery, but no one’s been hurt, the man has his money back and you’re letting us do this the easy way, so I’m only going to charge you with Misdemeanor Theft. Now listen carefully, cousin. You’re in the French Quarter, My French Quarter. Whatever you do in Algiers is none of my business but everything you do in The Quarter is my business. Your Uncle Gator here has his eye on you now and will be watching. You try anything here again and it won’t turn out so nice. Got it?”

Gator gave the money back to the old man, who was very appreciative and happy. Alisha walked over and put the young man in the car. Elton, the store owner that had been quietly enjoying the show, went and got the bones for Seven that he had promised Gator. He also insisted on making the two detectives a couple of baby Po’boys to take with them.

Live Long and Prosper...

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