Monday, October 01, 2007

In the Deserts Of The Heart - Chapter 2 Part 2

Chapter 2 Part 1
Note - production was delayed because I wasn't satisfied with a plot twist and ended up dumping a couple of chapters worth of material and re-writing. Sometimes a story just won't give you a murder within the first few chapters as is a convention of the murder mystery genre and it doesn't do you any good to try to force it. Oh well.

Fifty miles away, Ray Olsted was looking at a printout from the California Death Register.

"Clarrise Foster, you're in a lot of trouble," he said to himself, looking at the piece of paper. Marlena knocked on the door and he told her to come in. Almost didn't even notice her. He was getting old. Seemed only yesterday he'd been riding a trail bike up the mule paths to remote mines that nobody had seen for a hundred years, thinking nothing of falling down. Now his joints ached, and his skin was thin and cut easily, and if he fell down bones broke. Old. Beat the alternative, but when a fine sturdy woman like Marlena didn't even bring the little soldier to attention, much less make it salute...

Marlena told Ray about Jerry's call.

"I'm heading out there," he told her. He grabbed his hat, pulled his gunbelt on, and headed out the door.

Marlena watched him leave, and frowned. She went back to dispatch to check on where the other deputies were. There were only four deputies on duty to cover the whole county at the moment, daytimes were quiet time, it was the evening when the bars opened that things got rowdy. She thought about it, then dispatched a deputy to be close to the action in case the Sheriff needed backup. She thought about it a little more, and called CHP dispatch to see if there were any CHP officers in the area. There was one on CA 190. She asked if he could possibly be shuffled down to CA 178 for a few hours, just as a favor, in case her sheriff needed backup. Please? She sweet-talked the dispatcher for a few minutes, until finally she wheedled him into doing it. And all it took was a date. Heck, given her social life lately, it wasn't as if she were giving up anything. Her life nowdays seemed to be nothing but work, fixing her old Jeep CJ, and repairing her old shack to keep it from coming down around her head. Eating a restaurant meal with someone of the male persuasion was going to be a nice change.

One of these days she figured she was going to be out there on patrol too. If she could just get that community college diploma. The GI bill wasn't what it used to be, but six years in the Marines still qualified her for a little bit of money... but the whole reason she'd joined the Marines was because she hated school. For a miner's daughter who'd spent most of her childhood outdoors school had been horrible, all inside and everything. Somehow she'd always managed to miss the cutoff date for applying at the community college. Until she did that, she wasn't going anywhere.

She leaned back to her chair and sighed. She was stuck inside anyhow. She might as well apply.

There were no applications or paperwork sitting around for her to file or start processing, so she grabbed the tawdry romance that she'd been reading off the shelf, and went to the next page, frowning intently. She was a bit farsighted, and reading always made her head hurt, and it was a stupid book. But there was nothing else to do in this place during the daytime when she was waiting for something to happen. So she slogged on, lips barely moving, as she read about the ridiculous exploits of some drama queen and the knight in shining armor who was rescuing her. Marlena snorted. If it'd been her, she would have just blown away the bad guy with her .357 the first time she met him and been done with it. But that would have made the book, like, only five pages long, so...

She wondered what Sheriff Olsted would do when he found out "Clarrise"'s real name. Marlena had known it for a few weeks, of course. As well as a certain other thing that she was sure the Sheriff would be surprised by.

Men. Marlena laughed to herself. They were so full of themselves. They didn't even think to ask a woman about things. Marlena turned a page, and frowned again, and shook her head at the stupidity of it all.

1 comment:

  1. Been enjoying the story. It is very good and keeps me waiting for the next chapter. thanks


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