Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

New opening to "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor"

I'm still not 100% on this new direction, but it does get you into the story faster...

It was nearly midnight and I was driving down a residential street in Palm Springs when flashing lights rolled up behind me and I was beckoned over. They had no reason to, since I wasn’t speeding, wasn’t drunk-weaving over the road, and hadn’t even passed a traffic light, yet. Plus, this was a rental car; I could be pretty sure all its lights work.

Of course, everybody knows cops use traffic stops as an excuse to get at you, if they want you. But why would they be doing that with me? I hadn’t even been here twelve hours yet and had just left the only people who really knew me here.

I glanced around. We were in the middle of a dark space, empty lots on either side of the road, with no traffic. I was alone in a place I didn’t know. Shit. I didn't have a recording app on my cell phone so I speed-dialed a number, hoping to God the guy on the other end wouldn’t answer. He did.

“Jake, do you know what time it -- ?”

I cut him off with, “Hang up. I’m callin’ back. Let it go to voicemail.”

“Okay,” popped out of him. No hesitation.

I redialed and set the phone on the center console as I pulled to a stop. The cop stayed right behind me, lights still flashing, high beams blasting straight into my mirrors. He got out, slow and easy, and started for me. All I could make out was a half-silhouette.

Then another cop exited the passenger side.

And walked around to the driver’s side.

Oh, shit, shit, was more than just a traffic stop. Okay, fine, motherfuckers, bring it on. I'm not as dumb as I was five years ago.

Of course, that’s when some goofy song about being in love with a fairy tale started on the car stereo and cut my nerves back to where, if I needed to be Joe Cool, I could be. Handle the situation like an adult. Like a man. Hold back my inner wolf and let it just play out.

The first cop wandered up to me, his hand twitching to go for his pistol or Taser or whatever torture toy he liked. I didn’t move. He stopped by the back door.

“Driver’s license and proof of insurance,” he snapped.

“It’s a rental,” I said. He must’ve already known that. What game was he playing?

“Rental agreement.”

I nodded and carefully handed him my Texas driver’s license; I’d yanked that from my wallet the second I put the car in park. I hadn’t had a chance to shift to a Danish license, yet, and I was glad; made life simpler. “The agreement’s in the glove box," I said. "Is it okay if I get it?”

“No,” was the snarly reply. “Unlock the doors. Keep your hands on the steering wheel. Hey, Roy, come get the rental agreement from this guy’s glove compartment.”

In case he’s got a gun in there? What kind of bullshit was this, and why would a cop be so stupid as to -- wait, Roy!? Aw, couldn’t be. Could it? Were they that fucking stupid?

Roy strolled up to open the door. Nice and casual. A long, lean block of serenity, like he knew this was all a game they were playing.

I kept looking forward as I said, “I don’t understand; what’s the problem?”

“You ran a stop sign, back there.”

There weren’t any stop signs on this road. Period. So I didn’t argue; just let him give you the ticket, Jake, and fight it in court.

“Aw, shit, Roy, this fag’s from Texas.”

“Yeah? Nothin’ but steers an’ queers there.”

Okay...the only way they’d make a crack like that was if their body-cams and the camera in the patrol car were off. Why the fuck do cops think they’re flashing a really big dick when all they're proving is their little head's smarter than the one on their shoulders?

“Blaine?” said the guy behind me. “Jacob Blaine? This your license?”


“You look Mexican, to me. Got proof you’re an American?”

“What d’you mean? I’m black Irish,” I said. And half-Persian, but no need to mention that. Assholes like this love to use anything unusual to hang you with.

“Rented the car at LAX-ative,” said Roy, his voice hard and chuckling, as if he’d made a funny.

“What’s a cocksucker like you doin’ in California?” said the guy with my license.

“I came to see my uncle.”

“No shit? Your uncle. How much is he payin’ you?”

“Must be a cheap bastard,” Roy sneered. “Didn’t even spring for a decent ride.”

Okay, that did it. Wolf was tired of this shit. Time to put the cubs in their place. I gasped in an oh-so-surprised voice, “Wait, Roy? Roy?! Could you be that hot cop I've heard so much about?”

“What the fuck’re you talking about, faggot?” Roy was not happy.

“Hey, dude,” I said, still not moving, “You can supplement your income any way you want, and from what I hear, you got plenty to supplement with and -- .”

The cop behind me suddenly yanked the door open and screeched, “Out and on the ground, faggot, face down! Now! NOW!”

I started to do it but he grabbed my jacket to sling me to the asphalt, so I hooked a finger in his holster and he came down with me, slamming his face against the edge of the door. By the time Roy’d scrambled around from the other side of the car, his taser out, I was lying flat, my hands and legs stretched out, not moving an inch and fighting to keep from smiling.

No comments: