Monday, December 24, 2012

Second Time Around

[In the next novel (#4) the private eye gets a second talking to by the heavies. This is how the first pass at the scene came out. The blogspot doesn't handle indents so I've double spaced between paragraphs for the dialogue. The first three novels are up on Thanks for stopping by.]

They quietly let themselves in. Murdock was going to have to start locking the outer door. Two of them. Knee breakers. Bill collectors. A different pair this time.

“Outside, buster,” said the tall one. Jerked a thumb towards the same alleyway as before.
Murdock let file folder slide out of his hands and settle on the desk. He hesitated. Surveyed his options. Found none. Stood. The tall man signaled Murdock to raise his hands. Higher. Then removed Murdock’s thirty-eight from the shoulder holster. The tall man waved Murdock towards the door. Murdock kept his hands up but short/fat growled at him from the door. “Put ‘em down, joker. We know what you’re doing.”

The short, fat one, guarding the sidewalk door, stepped aside. Stubbed out his cigarette.

“Shouldn’t litter,” said Murdock, “it’s not nice.” The tall one shoved him out the door and shorty shoved him around the corner.

Murdock kept back peddling, trying to stand up straight over the gravel alleyway in the weak light of the streetlight.

“You didn’t get the message the first time, huh, smart mouth,” said fatty.

“And what message was that exactly? All I recall is being to told to back off and got a black eye for an exclamation point.”

“Don’t know nothin’ about the point business but you knew what you were supposed to do. Now we’ll just have to resend the message and make it louder in case you can’t hear good.”

Murdock kept his balance from the shove by tall/thin and tried not to get too far into the dark of the alleyway. Street light was his friend at the moment. But it didn’t last. The dark of the alleyway took over. Murdock could stand his ground or run for the dark hole. His memory failed for a moment to remind him what he should have noticed during the days about the condition of the alley. Nothing like running into a brick wall or a fence or a hole.

But there was a two-by-four. Handy. Like someone had placed it there.

“My, my, Murdock. Do you think that’ll help. You ever hear of the saying about bringing a knife to a gun fight?”

Murdock keep his eyes on the pistols on their belts. His stance was more like Mickey Mantle preparing to launch a game-winning home run.

“Would a shot gun help,” said female voice. Quietly. With authority. The two men tightened but didn’t move. “It’s called a Remington Wingmaster. Twelve-gauge automatic. I can get both of you before the second one gets turned around.” A pause. “By the way, freeze. This is the police. Let’s see those hands.”

“How do we know you’re the cops?” said the short fat one.

“You don’t. Try me. Tell ‘em Murdock.”

Murdock had stepped to one side to avoid wayward buckshot.

“She’s about five six and a hundert and five pounds …

“. . . I appreciate that.”

“. . . right now it’s very good looking twelve gauge without the ventilated rib. Mine has a ventilated rib, Estep. But yours has a nicer looking fore stock. I’d show you her badge but I don’t think we can choreograph that.”

“They armed,” said Estep.

“Yup. Pistoles. Left hand hips.”

“Alright, gents. Hands higher, please. Face the wall. Careful now.”

Tall and thin seemed willing to reply. Short/fat took some persuasion. Estep laid the cold muzzle on his collar.

“Tall guy, on the right. Look left and tell me what you see. Either of you make a false blink and shorty will be about nine inches shorter.”

He looked left. Swallowed hard enough even Murdock heard him. Cleared his throat.

“Against the wall. On your knees. Kiss it. Like you meant it!” She draped her cuffs over tall/thin’s shoulder. “Cuff yourselves, gentlemen, please. Don’t mind me watching, okay? Don’t even think about something tricky. I don’t have to aim. Just point and shoot. Just like a camera.”

She frisked the shorter one first. Pulled out a thirty-eight automatic. Cell phone. Wallet. Keys. Brass knuckles.
Frisked the taller second. Relieved him of a nine-millimeter automatic. Phone. Wallet. No keys. Another pair of brass knuckles.

“What’s this,” she said. Felling along his right front pocket. She was constantly clicking her tongue as she frisked both men and found this treasure trove of violations. “You’re not happy to see me are you?” The man didn’t move. She poised to stick a couple of fingers in his pocket. “Is this gonna stick me?”

“No,” said the tall one. Croaked voice.

“It better not.” She pulled out a knife by two fingers. “Aha! Lookee here, Murdock, will you? Six inches long. Spring loaded flick knife commonly called a switchblade. Illegal in all fifty states and Washington, D.C. Son, you are in a heap of trouble.” She added the blade to the pile of effects on the gravel. She frisked him further. “Jeez, what’s that!” Estep recoiled and then wiped her hand on the man’s back. “We got laws in these here parts about public urination, honey. I bet you didn’t know what you were getting into when you came to the land of hillbillies and Deliverance, did you?” She seemed to be enjoying this. “I hope you have permits to carry otherwise you’re seriously in trouble here in Tennessee.”

She now finally flipped open her phone and called dispatch. Murdock gathered up the personal effects. Looked through the wallets. She clicked off several pictures with her phone’s camera.

“From where?" said Murdock. "S-a-l-i-n-a-s? Kansas?”

“Well, you’re not in Kansas, anymore,” said Estep.

Murdock made a face.

“I’ve always wanted to say that,” said Estep.

A siren approached and presently two squad cars blocked the alleyway. Both men were re-cuffed and led off in separate cars.

“Tell me something,” said Murdock. “How’d you know to show up.”

“Got a call. An anonymous tip, would you believe? Said a couple of low-lifes were hanging around your front door. Good thing, too, that two-by-four was laying there. Huh?”

She smiled. Tossed the twelve-gauge over her shoulder and sauntered into the light of the street. Murdock pursed his lips in wonder. Was it his lucky day?