So this is something else that is completely different from my previous blog posts. A few months ago I read a book called Mississippi Mud, about the Dixie Mafia and a murder in Biloxi. It was a great book, and got me thinking. Sort of based on the actual Dixie Mafia, I started a detective novel based in Augusta. I pasted the first chapter below and would love to hear what you think. You can comment, or email me. I am almost 20,000 words in, or about a fourth of the way done but the novel is writing itself and moving quickly. This is completely unedited, so there will be tons of mistakes. And the writing will be a bit, choppy.
The main plot line is for the book to be 3 parts. In part one, it's 2008 and the bad guys are introduced and built up, and a young patrol officer who has a vendetta against them is also introduced. In part two that young patrol officer will be a detective, probably around 2013, and then part three will be present day and the detective will be going after the bad guys. That's pretty much it. I'm still in part one, and may post a few chapters after this one. Either way, I'd love to hear what you think! Thanks, David
August 8th 2008, 0017 hours
“I think something is messed up with that girl. I think Bobby screwed up dumping her body, Mr. Jim.”
Mr. Jim, a portly man with receding black hair, and a baby face turned in his seat to his most trusted confidant, Kidd. Usher’s “Love in this Club” was blaring from the speakers in the club that was now infecting Mr. Jim’s office like a virus. Kidd had knocked three times and when Mr. Jim hadn’t answered he opened the door anyway. Mr. Jim had kept his back to him even though he knew the door had been opened by the rush of music, cigarette smoke, and desperation that had flown into his office. Mr. Jim didn’t say anything, he just looked at Kidd to continue.
Kidd, a tall twenty nine year with wavy brown hair and green eyes that seemed to lock into yours when you spoke to him said, “Word is he never made it across the river. He got spooked, or high, or drunk, and threw her in a dumpster under the Thirteenth Street Bridge. Bobby never came back, some damn crank head saw him do it. The guy was walking to the Salvation Army on Green Street. Ran to the first cop he saw downtown. They are there now.”
Mr. Jim stood up. As the owner to four out of seven of the strip clubs on the East end of Broad Street in downtown Augusta, an old run-down sports pub, and several illegitimate operations he was the closest thing Augusta had to a crime boss. Kidd knew what he wanted when he stood up and he filed out of the office. He walked past the dancer on the stage, who was bending over and slipping her panties off just as Usher was hitting a high note. Guys were sitting around with small dollar bill stacks, others were in the booths talking with girls who were waiting for their turn on the stage, and a few guys were getting lap dances in the back section. Mr. Jim hoped at least a few were on the second floor, where a few hundred bucks got more than a lap dance.
Kidd walked with the confidence that people noticed, and stepped out of his way. Mr. Jim walked behind him. Usher kept singing. The girls kept dancing. Nobody really paid them any attention. They walked out the front door, the only entry or exit used at, “Fancy,” the strip club that Jim Gilcrest kept an office at, and his most successful one. As they hit the sidewalk the buzzing neon sign was the only thing breaking up the silence of the Tuesday night on Broad Street in the late summer. Kidd unlocked the passenger door to the Ford Explorer parked out front and walked around to the other side. Mr. Jim sat down, exhaled and waited.
Once Kidd came around the driver’s side and sat down, started the car and pulled away from the curb, Mr. Jim finally spoke. “We should have never given this job to that idiot. I should have had you do it. This is going to bring a lot of unnecessary heat to us.”
Kidd nodded. He pulled away from the curb in front of “Fancy” and drove west on Broad Street. They both checked out the other clubs as they passed what was called the seedy section of Augusta. They all seemed pretty quiet tonight, which was to be expected on a Tuesday. As the passed the City Council offices and headed into the taller buildings of downtown, Kidd said, “She O-D’ed right? She is still an overdose. Her blood will still show all that methadone or whatever she was on in her system.”
Mr. Jim nodded. “It will. But dumping her in a trash can? That is what is going to screw us. Overdoses don’t crawl into trash cans to die. They die wherever they shoot up.” His voice started to raise quickly, “They die in my fucking bathrooms. God-Damn-Junkie-Bitch.”
Kidd nodded and remained quiet. He knew Mr. Jim was working the problem. They started passing the regular downtown bars that had a few people standing out front of and smoking, and he merged onto Reynolds Street. From there they slowed as they were approaching the Thirteenth Street Bridge. Mr. Jim said, “Once I see what is what, I want you to find that son of a bitch, Bobby. I want him in my office tonight.”
Kidd nodded. Mr. Jim added, “I’m serious, Tom. I want him face to face with me tonight.” Thomas Scott was known to everyone as Kidd, after he became Mr. Jim’s right hand guy. Nobody knew where it came from, but Jim was older and Thomas was younger. And they ran a pretty big criminal enterprise. Someone started calling him Kidd, and it stuck. Most people didn’t know his real name, and Mr. Jim used it sparingly.
Kidd said, “I’ll find him. He’s either in North Augusta, at the Highlander, or he ran to Aiken. He didn’t go far, though. I’ll find him.”
All the sudden they could see blue lights from Augusta City Police Cars. As they continued down Reynolds Street they could see crime scene tape wrapped around the side mirrors of the police cars surrounding a dumpster in the small field just past an abandoned auto shop on the Savannah River. The bridge was about a quarter mile away, but they knew they had found what they were looking for. Mr. Jim said, “Slow down, like we are rubbernecking.”
Kidd did as ordered and slowly Mr. Jim eased the window down. Kidd knew he was looking for a familiar face within the police officers, but figured it would be a waste of time. He could barely see any of them from the street, the dumpster they had cordoned off was a fifty yards away. He slowed down some more and Mr. Jim suddenly started laughing. Then he rolled the window up, shook his head and said, “Take me back to the club.”
Kidd proceeded down Reynolds, took a left onto Fifteenth Street, then back onto Broad. He said, “What did you see? I couldn’t make out one cop out there.”
Mr. Jim smiled and said, “I wasn’t looking at faces. I was looking at cars. And damn if good old Detective DeMarco’s car wasn’t one of them. We’ll be fine. In fact, I’ll make sure this shit doesn’t blow back on us.”
Kidd nodded and navigated Broad Street. He thought for a few minutes and as they were coming to red light he turned and said, “How do you know to look for cop cars that you recognize? I thought you wanted to see who was there.”
Mr. Jim said, “Cops love having take-home cars. And it’s easier to spot a car than a face.”
Kidd nodded. He followed up with, “So what is our next play? Are we good?”
“Take me back to the club. I’ll speak with DeMarco, get some of the girls to blow him. He’ll be fine. But Bobby still needs to come back. He screwed this up. She was supposed to go back to her apartment in North Augusta, not some dumpster. He has to answer for his mistake.”
Kidd didn’t say anything else. He knew what Mr. Jim meant when he said he had to answer for his mistake.
Patrol Officer Keller James was called to handle the crime scene security a little after midnight. And he wasn’t happy about it. He was only two hours into his shift, and the body that had been discovered wasn’t on his beat. But the Sergeant was good about his guys not having to sit sedentary for long, and had already worked out a schedule for his shift of ten patrol officers to work on the homicide scene in the dumpster behind the abandoned auto store just east of the Thirteenth Street Bridge.
When Keller arrived he relieved the initial responding officer, who had received the call two hours ago. The officer had secured the area around the dumpster, requested a supervisor and detectives. All that had gone on while Keller had been working his beat up toward Washington Road, where most of the businesses were along with the gated off Augusta National. Keller was actually working on some kids who were breaking into cars in National Hills, the neighborhood surrounding the National, where the most prestigious golf tournament in the world is held every April, when he was called to stand guard at the crime scene.
Keller called the Sergeant on his cell phone as soon as he was dispatched but it was useless. It was his turn. So he took the Calhoun Expressway to downtown, found the crime scene, took the log from the guy keeping it and stood there. He was bored to death in the first three minutes, and wasn’t looking forward to the next one hundred seventeen minutes into his two hours.
There were six detectives and two crime scene technicians working the scene. They were cataloging everything in the dumpster, and photographing the scene. Keller hadn’t been paying attention to them one bit until a couple of detectives had come over to where he was standing guard. Keller lifted the crime scene tape up and they ducked as they walked underneath it. Once they were safely out of the scene they both lit cigarettes. One of them said, “No trauma, bet this is some bullshit.”
Then the other detective, who was different than the rest of the guys because he wore a shoulder rig, with his gun and extra magazines hanging loose off his shoulders said, “Look at there, Mr. Jim and his best shooter Kidd are driving by.”
The two detectives stared as the blue Ford Explorer drove down Reynolds Street, slowing as it passed the crime scene. The detective with shoulder holster proudly pointed his middle finger at them as they passed. The other detective said, “Easy now. DeMarco is here and this is his case.”
“Fuck DeMarco and fuck him. What’s right is right. What’s wrong is wrong.”
Keller couldn’t catch any more conversation between them. They both went back to help sifting through the dumpster. About an hour later Keller heard a different detective, who had been on the other side of the crime scene tape say, “I think I got her I-D’ed.”
The other three detectives who were still in the dumpster with the body slowly picking through the trash, and the crime scene guys who were helping them all stopped. The guy who was calling to them had an olive complexion and dark black hair. Keller already knew him, and knew his last name was DeMarco. Once he had all the detective’s attentions, he said, “I just got a call from a confidential informant. He said the girl was a methadone addict, and was stripping at Fancy’s. He said she overdosed, and her boyfriend freaked out.”
Keller felt his chest tighten, and eased away from the yellow crime scene tape he was supposed to be guarding against people entering. Another detective laughed and said, “You have a body in the dumpster off the Thirteenth Street Bridge and you want to call it an accident. Well done, DeMarco.”
Keller kept moving. He got to the dumpster and suddenly threw the clipboard he was holding down. The detectives were staring at him, and the one with the shoulder holster said, “Rookie, what’s wrong?”
Keller didn’t stop and looked at the body. Surrounded by trash, the maggots had already began forming and were crawling over bare skin. She still had a top on, a purple sleeveless blouse and a jeans skirt. Her dark hair was brushed behind her pointed ears and Keller felt a tight tug at his chest.
He didn’t hesitate, grabbed her shoulder, and brushed her hair back revealing her face. The recognition was instant. The bile was creeping up the back of his throat and he had to bend down to vomit. The two detectives who had been taking a smoke break earlier had jumped out of the dumpster and were pulling him away from the crime scene.
One kept saying, “Rookie! Calm down, man. Calm down, Rookie.”
Keller kept throwing up and kept trying to catch his breath. Once he was able to get everything under control he realized that everyone was watching him. The two detectives that had helped him away were searching his eyes. He didn’t know what else to say so he told the truth.
“That’s my sister.”