Noir Fragments Archives
January 12, 2007
Jeff R.:It's Not Easy
She wore two emerald earrings that matched her eyes, which flashed like traffic lights on 'go' while her bright red lips said stop, stop, stop: an accident waiting to happen.
"Do you have it?" she asked, leaning forward far enough that only the direct intervention of whatever patron saint covered this kind of thing stopped her breasts from falling out of her dress.
I did. Pictures of her husband playing hide the Salimi with the nanny. Well, more like 'hide the Vienna sausage', really.
She paid her bill. Her money wasn't as green as her eyes, but it spent better.
January 22, 2007
Jeff R.: Someone Sends Me a Calling Card, But Forgets to Sign It
The tail was good; I didn't notice him until seconds before the first shot slammed into the concrete in front of where I'd instinctively stopped short. I stepped out into the traffic. Nice thing about smaller towns: people will stop and swear rather than run you down.
The second shot hit a car. It either hurt or rattled the driver, because he swerved, hit another little import. Low-speed collision, airbags out but no blood on the road. I was across the street, lost in a crowd before he got off a third.
I wondered who sent him. Julian? Lenox? Christine?
January 29, 2007
Jeff R.: Still Two Steps Behind, Trying to Catch Up
They were good, have to give them that.
It was the same brand of lock. Approximately the same age, from the scratches and scuffs. They'd even duplicated the stripped screw and the gouge half an inch beside it.
But not the smaller one below. I figure the key was inches away from completing the circuit and blowing me to hell when I saw it.
Still, I needed the Lenox file. I was sure they'd rigged all of the obvious entries: doors, windows, garage. I needed another way.
Good thing I hadn't gotten around to fixing the leak in the attic.
February 9, 2007
Jeff R.: Some Things Just Won't Stay Buried
There was a message on my machine. I popped the tape and played it in the car after leaving. The voice was one I wasn't expecting, one I thought I might never hear again.
"You need to come and see me." she said. "You need to, please." Sasha Tarrent. Takes me back to when I could still remember how love felt. I helped her prove her husband a cheat and a crook. I offered to run away with her to Mexico. She shot him twice in the head instead.
I got onto the interstate, headed straight to the state pen.
April 17, 2007
Jeff R.:Introspection Can Be a Killer
Nobody to blame but myself. Caught up thinking about Sasha, I didn't notice the Benz until I was on the offramp. By the time I reached the stoplight, he was so close his snaggle-teeth filled my rearview mirror.
The light turned. The Mustang ahead of me sat there. Damn; I was more distracted than I thought if they got a lead and a follow. I hit the floorboards before I realized I'd seen a barrel. The windshield's glass showered my back as I groped under the passenger seat. Not for a gun; I was already wearing three. For a grenade.
April 30, 2007
Jeff R.: Secrets Hot Enough to Burn
The smells of gasoline and barbequed pork hung heavily in the air. All three cars were bonfires, and just one second away from becoming infernos. A saner man would have run right then, bullet in the shoulder or no bullet in the shoulder.
I walked around to my trunk. Holding my keys through a double layer of shirt, I opened the trunk. It still burned my hand enough to leave a mark, but it was open. The disk with the Lenox file was still there, in its case. I grabbed it and ran down the road, toward the Louisa Diner.
May 8, 2007
Jeff R.: A Former Associate Lends A Hand
It took two cups of coffee to get me to 'dazed'. I nursed the third.
A man in a long jacket walked into the diner and ordered a cherry coke. The fifteen-year-old behind the counter's eyes fluttered as she served it, and she nearly swooned as he chugged it down. She's weak, but he's bent in other directions.
He handed me a roll of tens and the keys to a rental, tipped his hat, and left the way he came in. We haven't been partners for years, but he still owes me a dozen or so favors. One less, now.
August 28, 2007
Jeff R.: I Get Another Piece of the Puzzle
When I reached the state pen it looked someone fought a World War there and forgot to alert the media. Trucks were putting out fires after someone decided to take time off their sentences for bad behavior.
Luckily, me and the warden go way back, to when he still wore a size-XXL policeman's uniform. I asked about Sasha. He told me she took a shiv early in the riot and bled out in the room with the hostages. She told one something that included my name, and a few dead Secretaries of the Treasury later the warden passed it on.
June 4, 2008
Jeff R.:I Try to Pick Up the Thread
When a phone rings, something inside me wants to answer it. It's an instinct developed from living where a new client meant not getting too far behind on the rent that the landlady kicked me out. So it took some effort to keep from answering the phone.
Tina's machine picked up on the fourth ring. It was the kind that just says the number in a computer voice, then beeps. The person on the other end didn't say anything but he kept breathing hard, like a guy who's been running more than like a pervert.
Then I heard the gunshots.