Snippet Sunday – Hard-Boiled/Noir WIP – May 14, 2016
Snippet Sunday is a Facebook group for writers I’ve been hanging out with.
From the group guidelines; “Welcome to Snippet Sunday, where writers come together to share a few sentences of their current project–whether it’s a recently released novel, a WIP (work in progress), or an older manuscript that’s being revived. Intended to hook readers, gather feedback and build an author’s fan base, Snippet Sunday is the FB group that does all three.”
This week’s snippet picks up where last week’s left off. It’s a longer than usual, mostly because I really wanted to get us out of the bar already! Sorry ’bout that.
We’ve just learned that Jed is headed to jail for shooting someone, which moved him up a notch on Jake’s danger scale. The last lines of last week’s snippet ran like this (Jake speaks first);
“First time he pulled something that serious?”
“First time someone had the guts to testify against him in court.”
And here’s this week’s segment;
That earned Jed another notch. Maybe two.
I stopped dancing. It took her a second to follow suit.
“Only second degree?”
“Jury bought it when he said he didn’t intend to kill the man,” she replied.
I leaned back against the nearest unoccupied table. I had my pick of them. All of the tables in our immediate vicinity had become unoccupied over the last few songs.
“Do you buy it?”
“I don’t think he much cared, so long as he got to shoot him.”
I grumbled something unintelligible. I glanced at Jed’s end of the bar and ran right into five hard stares coming my way.
Jed and his crew had all turned to face Marisa and me and each man had his eyes on us. A uniform aura of the kind of overconfidence a man developed when everyone he’d ever roared at backed off in a hurry blanketed the five of them.
The four followers gave me the dead fish eyes, devoid of everything except for boredom and indifference. They were good at it too, though slight facial tics and a lot of blinking showed me how hard the two latest arrivals had to work to sit still.
The big man himself drained his beer, then gave me a smile that would’ve made a game show host proud.
Everything I needed to know was in that smile.
I matched Jed’s stare until the end of the song, then broke contact and took Marisa by the hand.
“We can clear out of here now,” I said, pivoting toward the door.
She turned with me, slipping her arm around my waist.
“You sure about this, Jake?” she asked. If she was disappointed by our uneventful exit she hid it well. Her tone of voice held only surprise and a hint of doubt.
“He wants me to know he’s there,” I said as we walked. “Nothing more.”
“For now,” she replied.
I paused when we reached the door. Marisa pushed it open.
“If he was gonna pull something we’d be into it by now.” I stifled the urge to look over my shoulder. “That’s how this usually works.”
She stepped forward and led me out of the bar. The heavy wooden door creaked as it inched shut behind us.
A gust of salty ocean wind blew through, chasing some of the cigarette stink away from us. The cries of seagulls enjoying the late night buffet near the edge of the water rode in with it.
“Usually, huh?” said Marisa.
I waited for ten long seconds. The door did not open.
“Usually,” I replied as we climbed into my Olds. “But not always.”
The engine caught on the first try. I gave her little gas before shifting her into gear.
Her sun-browned skin took on a reddish glow in the soft dashboard light. She slipped out of her sandals and stretched out her legs.
“Drive, Jake,” she said, resting her bare feet on my dash. “Shut up and drive.”
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