Jan 162015
 

Well friends I am back with Fiction Saturday volume 2!!!  This is a noir style piece that I did a while ago.  Looks like 6 episodes of this one!  Thanks for reading!

Most people call me Jack.  Jackson is just too long, unless it’s Jackson Malone.  That rolls off the tongue quite nicely.  That’s me.  Jackson Malone.  Private Eye.  And I am on a case.  The case is simple.  Murder.

The brother of the victim had come to me for justice.  The police wouldn’t help much.  Their case was open and shut.  One homeless derelict beats another to death over a blanket or some other trinket.  Happens all the time in the city.  Case closed.  Until Rob Moran came into my ramshackle office that Thursday.

“Mr. Moran.  It’s nice to meet you. I’m Jackson Malone.  How can I help you today?” I asked this to a short man in a cheap suit as he entered my office for his appointment.  “Fine.  Fine.” He nervously replied.  “I need to, well, kind of, hire a, um, well, a, um, detective.”   “Well you’ve come to the right place.” I assured him.  “Would you like some coffee or something?”  “Than, than, thanks.” He stammered.  “But do you have anything stronger?”

“Sure, “I said “But it’s only 10 in the morning.”  “That’s ok.” He blurted out.  “I just need it.”  I got the bottle of whiskey from my desk drawer, a glass from the shelf behind me, and poured a couple of ounces into it.  He drank greedily.  I tilted the bottle to offer more but he shook his head.  “Thanks.  I needed that.”  “Well Mr. Moran,” I started again, “What can I do for you?”   “Well, I need help.” He said.  “I want you to find out who killed my brother, Nelson Moran.”

“Woah.” I said,  “This case has been all over the news.  The police have already closed it.  I may not find anything.”   “That is alright.” He replied.  “I just want you to look and try.  I need to know what happened.”   “Fine.” I said, “I will do what I can.”  “Great.  I appreciate it.”  He said as he pushed a retainer check for $500 across the battered wood surface of my desk.  That was more money than I had seen for a good 2 or 3 months.  I took the case.

“I’ll start tomorrow.  Where did he live?”  “That’s the thing,” he started.  “He was kind of homeless.  I do know that he had talked about shacking up in a warehouse on 1st and 32nd but I heard that place burned down about a week ago.  I can’t be much more specific than that.  He wouldn’t come live with me.”  “Alright.”  I said.  “Tomorrow, I will go down there and see what I can dig up.”  “Please do I really want to find out what happened.  My psychiatrist says it is “Closure”  I hope it will help.”  “I hope so too.” I said.  We stood, shook hands, and he left me to my thoughts and the $500 retainer on my desk

The next day was almost dismal, the weather trying to decide if it was sunny or going to rain.  I was in good spirits though.  I had some cash and a job to do.  I actually got up early to begin.

Rob had told me that his brother was homeless, which didn’t help hardly at all, but I decided to check out the warehouse down on 32nd street.  I walked the dozen blocks to the place and stood in front, just looking for anything that may be helpful.

The warehouse had been condemned and boarded up after the fire but it looked like a good place to find homeless people who may know something in exchange for five bucks or so.  I threw my half -burned cigarette to the ground and crushed it out with my shoe, preparing myself for anything.  I walked towards the alley that ran beside the building, hoping that a side door had been jimmied open and allowed ingress to the building.  There was.

The smell of smoke and burned paper were still strong as I approached the warehouse even though the fire had been out for over 3 months according to Alan Rich, my editor friend at the Times.  He had told me that the warehouse was a storage facility for sensitive documents that the police were holding.  The theory was that the fire was a cover up.  Of course nothing could be proven so here sat the empty warehouse.

As I got to the entrance to the alleyway and ducked the yellow crime scene tape, the scents of feces and urine joined the smoke.  Rotting garbage made its appearance, further assaulting my nose as I entered.  The sun was high over head, if filtered by high clouds, and it was easy to see the stained concrete and the graffiti on the walls; as well as the door to the warehouse, jimmied open.  It was on my right about thirty yards ahead of me.

Join us next week for part 2 of Fiction Saturday!  Jackson Malone.

Thanks for reading!

-Justin

Jul 092014
 

**Hey folks this is a reprint of part 4 of The Man With the Hazy Suit that originally ran on June 12, 2010.  I have been few and far between regular posts this summer, and that is the same thing that has killed some of my favorite TV shows, like Alias.  So I am going to rerun the whole story and finish it strong!  Thanks for reading for the first time or rereading if you have been here before.  The Choose your own adventure aspect is not available anymore.**

Hello there! I hope you have had a great week and are ready to dive right in to another episode of The Man in the Hazy Suit.  Thanks for indulging me last week with the poem, it really is one of my favorite things I have ever written.  I will have to post some of the fun exercises we had in some old writing classes where we had to make a sentence with as many words as possible, without being a run on sentence.  I got pretty good at it and held the record in the class that year.

But that is not today!  Today we are back in the Haze….

Previously in the Man in the Hazy Suit:

Police detective Thompson was wrapping up a crime scene when he found a scrap of paper in the dead man’s posessions. The paper led him to the bus station and a locker that was filled with legal pads, all written by the deceased man.  Sergeant Thompson is currently reading the legal pads which are spelling out a strange narrative and a chronicle of a serial killers murders, that somehow the man writing the story knows before they happen, if only by moments.  So far our writer has witnessed 3 deaths with apparently more to come…

When we left our story last time:

I woke up with a start, sitting in my chair, sweating in my Bagel Hut uniform.  Luckily I had tonight off from the Taco Barn.  I was going to sit here and try to rest up.  These last few nights have been hard.

I got up to change my clothes and take a shower.  I smelled of bagels and fear sweat and slightly of gasoline, but that must have been my imagination.  Cleaned and refreshed I headed to the kitchen to make some dinner.  I flipped on the television as I walked past.  The commercial ended and of course the news came on.

The reporter started, “And in a sad story, local university student…” I dropped the pan I was getting out as Karen’s picture flashed on the screen.  “…was killed last night just off of campus.  She appears to have been beaten and then set on fire.  Police are investigating similarities between this murder and a few others that have been happening lately.  More on this story as we go to…”  I had seen her leave with the man in the hazy suit.  I could have stopped this one as well.  What was going on???

And today we join the story already in progress:

I sat down on the floor, dumbfounded.  My jaw hung limply open.  I had seen this girl before she was killed.  I didn’t know what to do.  Why was I seeing these people before their deaths?  I should be glad I didn’t see the later deaths themselves.

I spent the next few hours with the TV off.  I didn’t want to see any more of my dreams being reported to me.   I did mundane things during that time.  I cleaned up my apartment, I paid some bills, I ate some food and washed the dishes.  All very normal things.

When bedtime rolled around I changed into my most comfortable flannel pants and t-shirt and went to bed having not thought of a killing for at least 3 hours now.  Little did I know, that was about to change.

I was following the Man in the Hazy Suit again.  I felt pulled along behind him, never gaining, never losing his pace.  We were walking down one of the main streets in town again, not far from the place where he had killed the two girls and lit their car on fire.  He held the red plastic gas can in his left hand.  His right hand was concealed in the pocket of his hazy overcoat.

We walked past the police tape that marked where the burning car had been and continued.  We finally slowed in front of Jakes Discount Auto Parts.  There were two girls there, cell phones in hand arguing.  The first one was skinny with limp brown hair and a nose ring.  The second, a classic brunette with the most gorgeous green eyes I had ever seen.  I knew both of these girls.  January Dixon had the nose ring and Faith Harper was one I had asked out at least 20 times.

She was always nice when she turned me down though.  I kept trying even though I knew she would never go out with the tall skinny kid who worked two jobs.  It was nice to hope for something that positive.  I had even given her a Christmas present last year, an old fashioned phone from the 1940’s, one of the units with the earpiece separate from the mouthpiece.

I had spent hours dreaming of her lips talking into that phone, on the line to me and to the matching phone that I had on the counter in the kitchen.  I don’t know if she ever even took it out of the box when she got home.  She had opened the gift and thanked me for it when she could have thrown it in my face.

Now she was here being watched by the man in the Hazy Suit.  January Dixon was talking loudly and very animatedly to Faith.  She didn’t notice the Man or me for that matter.  She was almost yelling, “And I get this text message from Jakes auto parts that my part is in.  I have never ordered a part for my car!”  It was very strange.

The Man in the Hazy Suit watched the two girls with the same detached indifference that he showed on this street before.  He stood stock still, his head slightly cocked to the right, showing me an almost profile of his face.  His old fashioned fedora sat on his head, pulled lower over his eyes, as if he were in a strong wind and didn’t want it to fall off.

He turned a bit more to the right and winked at me.  I had a bad feeling he had chosen someone else that I would see on the news.  He grinned and began to walk down the street, leaving the girls behind.  I woke up in a panic.  I knew these girls and maybe I could stop what was going to happen.

I ran to my kitchen, barely noting the open front door and found the business cards for the two cops that had visited me a few days earlier.  I dialed the number on the card and asked for Patrolman Thompson.  I was going to prevent these murders.

Join us next week for more in the Saga of The Man in the Hazy Suit!

I am sorry to tell you that the choose your own adventure thing didn’t pan out like I was planning on so for now I am just following the story as it comes.  If you have any suggestions or ideas, please leave them in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Jul 092014
 

**Hey folks this is a reprint of part 1 of The Man With the Hazy Suit that origonally ran on May 8, 2010.  I have been few and far between regular posts this summer, and that is the same thing that has killed some of my favorite TV shows, like Alias.  So I am going to rerun the whole story and finish it strong!  Thanks for reading for the first time or rereading if you have been here before.  The Choose your own adventure aspect is not available anymore.**Posted again 9/11/10

***6 August 2011.  I am re-re-running this again.  I will finish it this time.  It has been over a year since I started this story and it should be finished.  It will be a free e-book when it is finished, so look forward to that if you want the whole thing.  More details will follow with that.  Thanks for your patience.***

Good Morning my fine friends!  I hope you are as excited as I to get to this new tale of murder and strange intrigue.  This is a story I have ideas and scenes for but I have not written it yet.  My other stories were written previously and I just edited them into posts. This story will unravel as it goes.
At some key points, I am going to have a poll, where you dear readers, will have a choice as to what path the story will take.  In the end, we will have the blog version of the story and the alternates all packaged like one of those old “Choose your own adventure” books.  I loved those books. I don’t know how long this story is going to go.

In a previous poll I asked how far was too far for the story, and the most votes was on keep going until the story plays out.  That is where we are today.  This will probably go on for a while.

There is not a vote today, but there should be next week.   It will be open until Tuesday noon MDT.  At that point the direction of the story will be determined by the most votes!

For today, and without further adieu, I present:

The Man With The Hazy Suit

Part 1

The man was dead.  We were finished.  The Wilton County Sherrif’s department was convinced that the “Gas Can Killer” had been killed in Murphy Park, in a hail of bullets from every deputy in the vicinity.  As far as the Captain was concerned, the case was over. We would never know who he was and why he became a killer.

I was finishing some paperwork as the medical examiner was taking the body away.  As ranking officer on the scene, I had bagged the items found on his person and was completing the list of items for the official file.  I had written down a Swiss Army type pocketknife; 2 small boxes of penny matches, one full, the other with 3 remaining; a nail file; and a small scrap of paper. What was on the paper could have been a clue to his identity, or it could have been gibberish.  “NCCS 1658 10-33-58”  That was what it said.  Written hurridley in a shaky hand with red magic marker.  The paper wasn’t much bigger than a golden dollar.  It appeared to be plain notebook paper.  I wrote the inscription in my personal notebook.  Something to think about later.

Back at the station, all of his belongings were boxed up with the case files and stored later that day.  Finished.  The papers would report it later that afternoon.

The phone on my desk rang.  “Sergeant Tompson” I answered.  It was a reporter.  I filled in some details on the case as I knew them and hung up reminded about the message on the scrap of paper.  I opened my notebook and looked at what I had written again.  NCCS 1658 10-33-58.  What could that possibly mean? It looked like a Star Trek reference.

I turned to my computer and typed the reference into Google.  No results.  I tried NCCS.  Nothing promising.  “Think Mike” I told myself.  “Think”.  The phone at the main desk rang and was answered by someone.  I wasn’t paying much attention until I heard the typical answer, “Wilton County Sherrif, how can I help you?”  Something clicked in my head. Wilton County.  Wilton County, North Carolina.  It couldn’t be that easy could it?  North Carolina, NC.

I started plugging in North Carolina and CS.  Google returned North Carolina Central Station.  A Bus Depot.  Could it be such a cliche thing as the North Carolina Central Bus Station?  A locker?  1658? That was too easy, I thought as I gathered up my notebook and keys on my way out of the station.  I was going to check it out.  Maybe I could find some finality to the case.  We would have to see.

I pulled my cruiser into the North Carolina Central Bus Station parking lot and noticed the sign.  NCCS.  Bingo.  I headed inside and looked for lockers.  A whole wall on the left hand side of the station was segmented into rows of lockers.  I headed that way.

The first row of lockers held 1000-1100.  I went to the next.  1100-1200.  And so it went until the next to the last row.  1600-1700.  I started searching for 1658.  And there it was.  Grey and battered, with a small combination lock on it.

These lockers were rented for weeks at a time.  The contract must not be up yet, or the lock would have been cut off.  I was nervous with excitement.  What could that locker hold?

I looked back to my notebook and tried the 3 numbers as the combination.  The lock opened.  This was way too easy.  Something had to be, well, wrong for it to be this easy.  I took a deep breath and lifted the latch. Inside there were 13 yellow legal pads, filled with a tight handwriting.

My hands shook as I took them out of the locker and headed to a bench in the station where I started to read.

My name is Aaron Goodwin.  If you are reading this, I am dead.  And all for the better.”  This opening line made my heart skip a beat.  I decided to read the rest before calling it in.

I had never been interested in anything to do with the law.  Sure I had read detective stories as a kid but I never thought I would be in one.  I am sittting here now, trying to figure out what to do with the information that I have gathered.  The outcome does not look good, for me.  I need to get all of this out, get all of this written down so no matter what happens, there will be a record of the truth.  It may be cliche, but I have to do this.”

I knew there was a long night of reading ahead of me.  I couldn’t read this here.  I stood and forced myself not to run to my car.  I resisted the urge to drive home at full speed, lights and sirens blaring.  I had found something great.

That’s all for today!  Join us next week for more of The Man With the Hazy Suit!

What did you think?  Comments are open below!

-Justin

Jul 092014
 

**Hey folks this is a reprint of part 4 of The Man With the Hazy Suit that originally ran on May29, 2010.  I have been few and far between regular posts this summer, and that is the same thing that has killed some of my favorite TV shows, like Alias.  So I am going to rerun the whole story and finish it strong!  Thanks for reading for the first time or rereading if you have been here before.  The Choose your own adventure aspect is not available anymore.**

Hello all!  It has been a less than ideal week for writing so this is a shorter part of the story.

I am kicking around the idea of recording each of these stories and adding them as a downloadable mp3 each week with the whole story coming at the end.  What do you think about that?

No other explanation, lets get on with it!

If you haven’t yet, Catch up here!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

When we left our story last time:

I flipped on the radio as I dressed.  After some chatter and worn out banter by the DJ’s they began to read news.  I had just picked up my Taco Barn uniform and I stopped at what I heard.  “…girls under the car and then the car set on fire.  No details have come out yet but it looks like murder.  I’m surprised no one saw this happen”  I did.  It may have been a dream but I saw it happen.  What could I do about it though?

Nothing I decided, just a strange coincidence.  Maybe I was psychic like on some of those TV shows.  Maybe I could be that detective who saw things before they happened and could fix them.  Maybe I was just losing my mind.  I held a strong possibility for the latter because I had convinced myself that I could smell gas on my Taco Barn uniform as I dropped it into the hamper.  Foolishness.

I went to work still pondering the dream.

And now we join our regularly scheduled program already in progress:

My shift at the Bagel Hut was a wreck. I was so tired I think I went through a pot of coffee myself. My boss was so pissed at my lack of work he sent me home early to “Get my head right.” He had seen Cool Hand Luke too many times. But I went home.
So there I was, home. Home and sitting in my recliner staring at the nothingness on the wall. I finally was so tired that I fell asleep sitting there, still wearing my Bagel Hut shirt.
I dreamed about the Man in the Hazy Suit again. He walked through a library at what must have been the University. He walked through the library carrying his red plastic gas can and stopped to look around. No one seemed to notice this man, garbed in a hazy, long black coat and old fashioned fedora. No one noticed his gas can.
The library was crowded today, the small round tables filled to the capacity of 4 nearly everywhere he looked. Conversations over textbooks and notes intertwined with conversations about last night’s escapades. Voices and the clack of keyboards all contributed to a dull hum that seemed to be coming from everywhere.
The sunlight that filtered through the many skylights was bright enough to render the reading lights on each table useless, yet they were lit anyway. The man walked around the tables seemingly in an aimless daze, but with that same…searching that he had outside of the car from last night’s nightmare.
He must have found something because he wove through the rest of the tables and walked slowly towards the center of the library. There was a bank of elevators lining a central pillar in this 5 story library. He walked purposefully that way, moving like a snake, or water even, just flowing through the dense crowd.
When he reached the elevators, he didn’t press any button. He just turned around, briefly surveyed the room, and checked his watch. I was puzzled. What was he doing? It was then that he looked directly at me and winked. I froze with a wide-eyed stare. He then knelt as if to tie his shoe and disappeared.
I looked frantically for him and then found him, heading out of the back doors with a curvy, redheaded girl. His left arm was draped casually across her shoulders and his right held the gas can. There was something very familiar about the girl, kind of like the girl that sat across the aisle from me in philosophy.
The one I took out last week. Her name was Karen, and I thought we had something that may turn into something else, and here she was heading outside with this guy. I tried to push my way through the crowd to the door but I wasn’t moving very fast. The man in the hazy suit turned at the door, stared right at me, and smiled. He knew I was there. And he was being vindictive.
I woke up with a start, sitting in my chair, sweating in my Bagel Hut uniform. Luckily I had tonight off from the Taco Barn. I was going to sit here and try to rest up. These last few nights have been hard.
I got up to change my clothes and take a shower. I smelled of bagels and fear sweat and slightly of gasoline, but that must have been my imagination. Cleaned and refreshed I headed to the kitchen to make some dinner. I flipped on the television as I walked past. The commercial ended and of course the news came on.
The reporter started, “And in a sad story, local university student…” I dropped the pan I was getting out as Karen’s picture flashed on the screen. “…was killed last night just off of campus. She appears to have been beaten and then set on fire. Police are investigating similarities between this murder and a few others that have been happening lately. More on this story as we go to…” I had seen her leave with the man in the hazy suit. I could have stopped this one as well. What was going on???

Join us next week for more from “The Man In The Hazy Suit!”

Thanks for coming by and reading!

have a great weekend!

-Justin