Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Wrongful Termination

Hey all!  I'm at a loss today for what to post, so here's another snippet of the book I'm currently rewriting: Wrongful Termination.

If you missed the basic plot for this book last time I posted a snippet, it's about a big-city detective who goes to a small town to attend his brother-in-law's funeral, and discovers the rash of accidental deaths that Serenity's been experiencing may not be so accidental at all.  Too bad for him the local authorities aren't really interested in his theories.


Pulling into the parking lot of the police station slash ambulance barn, he still didn’t have any answers.  Its corrugated metal painted a bland beige sure wasn’t providing him any information, but he couldn’t make himself go into the building.

Minutes later, a tap sounded at his window.  Clem Washburn stood there with a smoking stogie hanging out of one corner of his mouth.

“I was wondering when you’d make it back around here,” he said after Dennis rolled the window down.  “Still looking under rocks for a murderer?”

“I haven’t found one yet, so I guess the answer’s yes.”

“You do know that by now you aren’t likely to find one.”

“We aren’t back to that again,” Dennis said.  “I thought after Linda Lopez, you were on board with the idea.”

“Well, see, here’s the thing.  I spent some time investigating… you know, that thing we officers of the law do?”  Washburn laughed like the concept was foreign to big-city cops.  Dennis failed to see the humor.  “Anyway, I got it on good authority that the old guy who owns the RV is more than a little forgetful.  Betty herself says he’d forget his ass if it wasn’t bolted on.  And the neighbor across the street swears she saw that old fool out messing with the RV about the same time Linda got home from work.  She said he was tinkering in the Winnebago for about fifteen minutes before going back inside the house. Looks like he left the damn thing running after all.”

Dennis shook his head.  A lecture about the difference between real investigation and relying on hearsay hovered on his lips, but he knew his words would be wasted here.  “So the neighbor witnessed him starting the RV up and walking away?”

“She didn’t have to.  In this weather, an old guy like that ain’t gonna sit in his camper, freezing his balls to the naugahyde.  He must’ve started it and then forgot.  I spoke to Stew.  He’s ruling it accidental.”

“Of course he is.  He’s getting pretty good at filling out the ‘accidental death’ box on his forms, isn’t he?”

“What are you trying to say?”

Pulling out his notepad, Dennis ran his finger down the page.  “Looks like in the past six months, at least a dozen accidental deaths occurred.”

“Kids drive like idiots around these country roads,” the chief said, leaning on the edge of the SUV’s window.  “Deaths are bound to happen.  It’s a tragedy, but it ain’t murder.”

Dennis grabbed the cuff of Clem’s coat.  “I’m not talking about car accidents, Clem.  I’m talking about accidental deaths.  Take this lady, for instance,” he said, pointing at his pad.  “Winifred Meeker.  Age sixty-eight.  Accidental overdose.”

The chief scoffed.  “Winnie took some heart medication and then half hour later, she forgot and took it again.  I don’t see the mystery in that.  Not to speak ill of the dead, but she was a crazy old bat.”

“She forgot and took enough to kill herself?  I can see taking an extra pill, but I know this drug and she would’ve had to take ten times the prescribed dosage to cause death.”

Shrugging his arm away from Dennis’ grip, he said, “Stranger things have happened.  Stew said it was an accident and I don’t have reason one to doubt his word.  He knows his job.”

Dennis had his doubts about the validity of that statement, but he kept his sarcasm to himself.  One by one, he read off the names on his list, detailing the causes of their deaths.  One by one, the chief came up with plausible—if entirely improbable—reasons for each.

“Enough,” the chief finally said.  “You’re jumping at shadows, Haggarty.  Why?  I don’t have the faintest.  Go back to where your theories might blow someone’s skirt up.  Denver sounds like the perfect place for a guy like you.  Serenity was doing just fine before you came and it’ll be doing better after you’re gone.”

“You’re making a mistake…”

“The only mistake I’ve made is letting you have your way in this damn town for too damn long.  I let you go and upset people fir no damn reason.”  He stepped away from the vehicle.  “Now, you’ll excuse me but I have actual work to do.”

Running a hand through his hair, Dennis stared at the police chief like he’d grown a second head.  “That’s all you have to say?”

“I think I already said everything that needs saying.  Except ‘goodbye’.  Goodbye, Detective Haggarty.  Feel free to come back to Serenity anytime, but stay the hell out of my way when you do.”  The chief’s phone began a tweety version of Stairway to Heaven as Dennis put the car in reverse. 

It's not polished yet, but it's feeling pretty good at this point.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Who knows, maybe someday this one will actually make it into print.  ;o)

11 comments:

Janet said...

Ooh, I hope it does, B.E. - loved the snippet (wanted more) and the tone! Great juxtaposition between the city 'mouse' and country 'mouse' in their mannerisms and speech! Well done :)

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks, Janet! You know, this snippet was hard to post. Like handing strangers an origami bird you made of tissue. You never know if they'll appreciate it, ignore it, or use it to blow their nose. ;o)

jblynn said...

Love "a tweety version of Stairway to Heaven" :-)

B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL Thanks, JB!

Karyn Good said...

Great snippet, B.E. Loved the interchange between the two mean. Can't wait to read more!

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks, Karyn!

Gina Gao said...

This is really great! I enjoyed reading this very much.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Silver James said...

...an old guy like that ain’t gonna sit in his camper, freezing his balls to the naugahyde.

I splorted coffee. Hate the chief, love the detective. You've nailed them! Can't wait to read the whole thing.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks, Gina, and welcome to Killer Chicks!

B.E. Sanderson said...

Hehee, that's awesome, Silver. Love it when I can make a reader splort coffee.

Aisyah Putri Setiawan said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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