It’s Sample Sunday again, good ladies and gents. Today I share with you the beginning of Chapter Two from my upcoming release A Blade Away.
The gentle rain had mutated into a torrent, making the short trip to Old Louisville seem more like a road trip to Kansas. At times like this, it was so tempting to just flip the switch and plow through traffic as if we were on our way to an in-progress, or a sale in the Dillard’s shoe department – something we could both appreciate.
“You know, I was working it with this little number when you buzzed me on the bitch. He was about to give me his email address. I’m going to die an old maid. All because of this damned radio!” He pulled the radio off his sleeve and confronted it.
“I hate you. Do you hear me? I said ‘I hate you!’” I knew he was only doing this to lighten the air. I could always count on him for levity. Like my knack for knowing when something bad was about to go down, Skip had this knack of knowing when my knack was getting the best of me. And when he knew this, he did everything he could to create a diversion. Bless his overstuffed heart.
“So, who was the lucky number? Do I know…?” I couldn’t even finish the sentence.
“I seriously doubt you would. He’s…he’s…” Skip was stuttering, which meant he was embarrassed.
“Do I have to guess?” I poked fun.
Skip mumbled, “A little young.”
I think my smile gave away too much. Skip turned bright red and turned to look me straight in the eye.
“Not a word, Jamie Davenport.” His tone was all business.
“Not a word, Skip Abrahm. Not a word.” There was a brief silence. “Was he hot?”
He looked at me as if I had just broken some cardinal rule. “Sorry”. I made a gesture of zipping my mouth shut. Skip smiled.
After a twenty minute drive, we arrived at the scene. Skip got out of the car and went to the trunk to grab our gear. We met at the front of the car and then proceeded to walk through the crowd of gawkers and the press, which was sometimes the same people, to get to the front door.
The scene was a small carriage house off of an alley. The Mag Bar, noted for its lesbian clientèle, was two blocks down. I’ve been, for the atmosphere, of course. Other than the Thursday night chess tournaments, it was nothing to write home about.
Walking into the house, the smell could have easily knocked us flat on our collective ass. It was an odor I would never get used to. Death. It really sucks.
The chief was standing to the right of the entryway. His eyes were glued somewhere in the center of the room, and he had that smug-as-hell look smeared across his mug. To the left was the city coroner. When we entered, he looked at Skip as a stealthy smile slid across his lips. The two of them had had a fling once or twice. Skip wasn’t too forthcoming with the details.
The chief finally locked his gaze on mine, and then he pointed to where he had been staring. “Well Jamie…” The chief again gestured toward the middle of the room. I nearly did a double take. There was, a woman hanging from the ceiling. Judging from the smell, the body had been dead for quite a while. The chief must have seen the confusion dance across my eyes. “Look a little closer.” The chief spoke softly. I suddenly realized that the body was not that of a woman, but of a man in drag. Full drag. From a nicely-styled blond wig to an expensive pair of leather heels. “What do you think?”
I circled around the body and looked for anything that might give away the circumstances. “Well…” I stalled. I wasn’t very good at stalling, and the chief knew it. If this was to be my big test, I had to take my time and nail it right off the bat. My nerves were shooting sparks from my heart to my fingertips. “From the looks of it, we have a middle-aged male hung from the ceiling of a carriage house apartment. The man is in full drag and was hung from a ceiling beam with a pair of woman’s stockings.”
“Conclusions?” The chief seemed to be in a rush. This was odd for a man who was known for being far too microscopic on a case. There was a reason he had once earned the nickname Sherlock, but he obviously wasn’t living up to that name at the moment.
“Well, my initial conclusion leans toward auto-erotic asphyxiation…” I trailed off. There was something that didn’t want me drawing that conclusion. Sherlock caught on to my doubt.