There’s a super fun writng game on Twitter called #SlapDashSat. It’s hosted by the amazing @Madd_Fictional and is different from other Twitter writing games because it doesn’t have rules or a theme. I don’t play that often, but I had a bug up my butt this morning so I decided to come up with a line. That line painted a picture in my head of a man and his world and now 1500 words later I’m on my way to a new story.
I have a new Character, a new setting and a new adventure for you all to share in, however. I also have a lot on my plate at the moment and I don’t want to make promises to you or myself that I may not be able to keep, so, I’m going to be building this story here, in the blog. Story entries will be marked with #BishopChurch. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’m enjoying writing it.
I don’t have a story outline or anything for this. No character list or even the slightest road map to where it’s going. I’m finding out what happens line by line as I write, so buckle up, this thing could get crazy.
Now, I present to you:
“Goddammit,” I said laying the gun down on my kitchen table. “Two assholes dead and I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet.”
I suppose that wasn’t such a great yardstick, I hadn’t brushed my teeth in three days at that point, but in my defense I had drank a lot of bourbon, so I imagine that would have killed anything too dangerous hanging out between my gums. Either way, it was early, too early to be dealing with this kind of shit, but that didn’t change anything, I still had two meat sacks taking up floor space in a studio apartment that was short on square feet to begin with.
It was bold, coming into my apartment like that. I had to give them that, but it didn’t bode well for the rest of my day. I’d been happy to stay boxed up here in my place for the past four days, and if I had had to guess, I would have been happy to stay another four. I was in no hurry to head out into the over eager world where people wanted you to take on extravagant responsibilities like showering and putting on clean clothes. My place, my little twenty by twenty cubicle was just fine by me, and as long as I didn’t have to take care of anything pressing, like disposing of two dead bodies, I could happily hide out there until the liquor store stopped delivering.
That said, now I did have two dead bodies that I had to get rid of before they started attracting flies. It was the flies I worried most about, not the smell. I didn’t imagine two bodies could ever smell any worse than the place already did, so it was unlikely that people would complain about that. Flies on the other hand, well, they’d certainly make a mess of the product they were cooking in the tub in the unit above mine, so, I’d have to get rid of the bodies before they started attracting flies, but, still and all, it would have to wait. Even in my shitty building folks would notice someone dragging a couple corpses out the front door at ten in the morning. Well, probably they would.
Since disposal would have to wait I figured I might as well finish my coffee and try and figure out who these goons were. They were dressed nicely, not suits or any shit like that, just nice, like, ya know, no holes in their jeans. Clothes were clean. They had recent haircuts and were both clean shaven. Definitely not from around here.
I ruled out petty burglars since I had nothing worth stealing. Hell, no one in this part of town did, except maybe the meth lab upstairs. Maybe they just had the wrong place. Unlikely though, their teeth were white and their skin was clean and clear. These weren’t junkies looking to steal a score, no, they were after something specific.
Since I had nothing that anyone would want that left two possibilities. One, they mistakenly thought I had something they wanted, or two, I was that thing. The first seemed more likely. I’m not really anything special, hell, I’ve been turned down by three dollar hookers. Plural, as in more than once. The only thing that would make you notice me on the street is my smell. That said, I do seem to have a way of pissing folks off. It’s kind of like my superpower. The question is, is it enough for someone to pay a couple of mouth breathers to off me? The answer, I suppose, is that it’s never happened before, but it wouldn’t surprise me either.
The list of potential whos on that list was too long to pick apart without having some more information to narrow down the list. It was most likely someone from a previous case. It couldn’t be current because I didn’t currently have a case to work on. I knelt next to one of the assholes and stuck my hand in his jeans pocket. In retrospect it seems obvious that that’s when someone would walk in my door.
The first thing I saw was her ankles. They were nice. Shapely in nude stockings, set atop slender feet in red suede heels, the left one circled by a delicate gold chain. Honestly, I’d be better off if that’s all I’d ever seen of her, the rest just caused me problems.
“Holy shit, you fucking killed him!”
I looked up slowly and honest to God, the rest of her almost killed me. Legs to the sky, barely hidden inside a light, loose fitting red dress with black lace trim at the edges. Hips you could drive a Jaguar around and butter white skin dotted with caramel freckles in places that made you embarrassed to notice. She had fire red lips that rested with a part between them that made the imagination run wild, and hair the color of roses that brushed at her shoulders in a way that gave me shivers.
“Well, I mean, he started it,” I said.
She looked at me dumbfounded.
“So, who is he anyway?” I asked. “And while we’re at it, who are you?”
“You’re Bishop right? Bishop Church?”
She held out a thin slip of scratch paper.
“You’re a P.I.? A private dick?”
I took the scrap from her. It was from my ad. I have flyers around town with tear off tabs at the bottom with my name and number on them. No address though, which made me wonder how she found the place.
“Not really,” I said. “The city requires a licence to be a P.I. and the private nature of my dick is less by my choice than others. We’ll say I’m more in the category of freelance services provider.”
“That sounds like a distinction without a difference,” she said.
“I’m still waiting on your name,” I said, “and theirs”
“Penny,” she said. “Penny Steeler.”
“Of course,” I said rolling my eyes.
I took my hand out of the dead guy’s trousers and stood up. I held the hand out to shake hers. She glanced at it, then busied herself by opening her handbag and taking out a pewter cigarette case and matching lighter. She flipped it open and drew out two Pal Mals, offering one to me. I took and and accepted her light. While she lit up I walked over to the kitchen to get my coffee. We stood there looking at each other, smoking. I took a sip of my coffee and spat it out into the sink. It was cold.
“Penny,” I said. “I was making eggs.”
“Oh, no thank you,” she said. “I’ve already eaten.”
I took a drag on my cigarette and blew the smoke at the floor.
“I wasn’t offering,” I said. “It’s what I was doing when your boyfriends showed up this morning.”
She glared and me and dragged on her smoke.
“They’re not my boyfriends,” she said exhaling smoke as she spoke. “I’m not that kind of girl.”
“What do I know?” I said.
I swirled the cold coffee around in the mug and stared at it contemplatively. After a moment I lifted the mug and swallowed the rest down. I took the last hit off my fag and dropped the butt into the mug. It hissed and then went out.
“Aren’t you going to offer me a seat?” she asked starting to seem annoyed.
“I didn’t even offer you to come in,” I said with as much ambivalence as I could muster.
She sighed, sucked out the last of her coffin nail and crossed over to me and dropped it in my mug. Then she walked over to the body and stared down at it for a while.
“He’s been following me,” she said still gazing at the corpse. “This one, the one you were groping when I came in.”
I squinted at her.
“I was search… I mean, I wasn’t, oh, fuckit, never mind.”
She looked at me quizzically.
“For how long?” I asked.
“Couple weeks,” she said.
“And the other guy?”
“Never seen him before.”
I put the mug in the sink and grabbed to metal folding chairs from next to the Fridgedaire. I set them out and gestured for her to sit.
“Ms. Steeler,” I said setting an ashtray down on a milk crate between us. “What is it I can do for you?”
She glanced at the bodies laying on my floor.
“Well,” she raised her eyebrows, “not much of anything now I suppose.”
“You were here about them?” I asked.
“Well, him,” she said nodding at the one closest. “Just the one. Like I said, he’d been following me for a while. I wanted to know who he was, what he wanted. He was making me nervous. When I saw your sign I thought maybe you could help.”
“And other than him following you, you’ve never seen him before? You don’t know his name or have any idea what he wanted?”
“Look, Mr. Church,” she was anxious. “I’m a good girl, I don’t know what you may have heard that runs contrary to that, but it’s true. I’m a good girl and I don’t have any clue as to who this man is or why he would be following me.”
“Penny, I haven’t heard anything about you. I’ve never heard of you before, or them. Honest to God lady, I was just trying to make some eggs for breakfast.”