Excerpts from BROKEN

EXCERPT from "Eenie Meenie"

            Smiling his wicked smile, Jack let the corpse slide from his grasp and watched as it slid like a boneless sack of skin onto the ground. The tall weeds were perfect for cleaning his hands and the blade of his knife before proceeding. Staring at the body as he finished wiping himself off, Jack watched to make sure the old man had gone over. Can’t screw up and leave it still breathing. Curiously, though, a dead hand still clutched the black garbage bag, as if refusing to part with it.      

            A quick search failed to find a wallet or anything of value, but Jack hadn't expected to discover anything on the body in the first place. The guy was simply a misfortunate target. Someone who had caught his eye, and looked like the perfect victim. What was curious, however, was the lack of any sort of identification.

            "Guess I'll just have to call you That Old Geezer from now on," he informed the body and laughed at his own joke.

            Giving the corpse a nudge with the toe of his boot, Jack glanced toward the roadway to see if any headlights approached. He saw none and thanked himself for another job well done.          

            One good shove with his foot sent the body down the short embankment and out of direct line of sight from the road. The garbage bag was another matter. Throwing trash on the side of the road was illegal in this state. It could lead the authorities to the body before Jack had a chance to flee. There was always a dead carcass of some animal struck during the night and left lying on the roadside. But leave a black plastic garbage bag fluttering in the breeze, and the first cop car to cruise by would stop to investigate. Open it up and check the contents to see what dumbass was stupid enough to leave something inside with a name or address, giving the police an easy someone to blame.  

            Jack paused, remembering how the guy's hand refused to let go of the sack. Maybe it was because there was something of value he could pawn or use inside. Sighing, he pried the bag from the old man's fingers. Lifting the sack, he started back to his car to toss it into the trunk to examine later. After he'd checked it out he'd find a dumpster somewhere to deposit what was left. 

            Without warning, the bag shifted.
EXCERPT from "Red Racing Stripes"

           “But I want that car.” He emphasized each word very clearly, very distinctly.

            “Sir,” the salesman began again, leaning over his black Lucite and chrome desk. “As I’ve said before, you can have the car. I would love to sell you the car, but it must be as is. The model does not come with the option for additional decoration.”

            Rolling his eyes, Deems tried to compromise. “Surely there is somebody in your body shop who can do a decent paint job? Hell and damnation! How much trouble can it be to add a few simple racing stripes?” Feeling the heat rise up into his face, he realized he needed to calm down or his doctor would double up the dosage on his blood pressure medicine.

            “If I’m gonna pay a hundred and eighty-eight thousand for a car, the least you can do is get some red paint and put two or three of those real pretty, skinny lines all the way down the sides, just above the fender line. Crap, I’d do it myself but I haven’t got a real steady hand. Not at my age, anyway.” And I’m too damn old for all this nonsense, too, Deems thought as he pulled a hand across his forehead.

            The salesclerk stood up. “Look, do you mind if I go talk with my manager for a minute?” The impasse had to end somewhere, and it was obvious it was going to take the intervention of someone higher up before any further progress could be made.

            “Please do!” Deems snapped. “And if he won’t agree to my request, I’ll want to have a talk with him myself!” he yelled at the retreating back. “Haven’t you people ever heard the phrase ‘the customer is always right’?”

Lt. Sean Walsh rubbed the grittiness from his tired eyes and tried to focus on the front door of the dark building where they believed their suspect was hiding out. The nearest light in the area was a distant streetlamp, which puddled its mustard yellow glow directly beneath it. Otherwise, a sliver of moon was the only other source.

“Yo, Walsh. Say something. I’m so tired, I’m hallucinating. I’m thinking every shadow I spot in the windows or hovering around this back door is our UNSUB.”

He smiled and keyed his walkie talkie. “Do any of them wear a skirt?”

“Skirts, bikinis, jock straps, you name it. I wouldn’t put it past this guy to put on any kind of disguise in order to slip past us. Hell, he could be anyone. It’ll be a miracle if we manage to catch him. How much longer are we gonna have to remain here, do ya think?”

He checked his watch. 1:54 AM “Two more hours, Dunlevy. I promise. Just hold tight.”

“Copy that. I’m out.”

He tossed the walkie onto the passenger side seat and stretched his legs to relieve the charley horse developing in his right calf. Dunlevy was right. It would be a miracle if they managed to snag this chameleon. The self-proclaimed vigilante was a master of disguise, able to move in and out of situations like a phantom. Enacting revenge on those he felt deserved punishment because he believed the law hadn’t been dealt harshly enough.

Personally, Sean couldn’t fault him. The guy’s last two victims were, what he privately considered to be, the sickest of the sick. But because they had the money and the pull, their high-paid lawyers managed to get them off with little more than a slap on the wrist—a few days in jail, a fine, and some probation because someone at the department mishandled evidence. Probably forgot to put a comma in the right place, he mused sardonically.