One of the benefits of this experiment is that, since these pieces are short, I get to play with new voices and genres. This week I try my hand at detective fiction. As always, thank you for reading.
Stats: 519 words. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 35 seconds.
“This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen”
The body lay on the living room rug, right in the middle a floral pattern that was far too lavish for its present guest. Shadows drifted over her pale legs and past the hand curled under her thigh. The stitched white orchids beneath her hair had blossomed into maroon petals.
Cameras flashed. Pens scribbled notes in report books. Since everyone was focused on the girl, no one paid attention to the other person out of place.
Parker Owen sat alone in the corner, head in hands. Today wasn’t supposed turn out like this. In truth, nothing had gone right. The woman on the floor shouldn’t have been the main event. What’s worse, she’d still be alive if it weren’t for him.
Parker raised his head to find a freshly minted homicide detective. Garcia. That’s what someone called him. The gold badge clipped to his belt had been polished to a shine, and Parker could have sworn his step had a swagger to it. The kid must have been a decade Parker’s junior and eager to run with the big boys. Intelligence likely accelerated his promotion, yet Parker knew the job required more than smarts.
“Detective Owen,” Garcia continued, “let me get this straight. Sandy Williams, the, uh, deceased…introduced you to her dealer, which was when your cover was blown. So when did the suspect shoot her?”
Parker raised his head and glared at his interrogator.
“She got nervous. That’s when he knew I’d turned her. He pulled the gun; I tried to move her out of the way; and he fired.”
The detective scratched his head with his ballpoint. “Why didn’t you go for your gun instead?”
“Wouldn’t have saved her. I thought it’d be quicker to pull her into the next room.” Parker replayed the scenario in his head, searching for anything he could have done differently. Then he looked at the girl he’d come to know over the past few weeks. “Not quick enough.”
“Then you fired three shots at the suspect and missed.”
A statement. Not a question. Parker’s chest burned at the insinuation that he had failed due to incompetence. His bullets that had splintered the doorjamb were only a half second too late. The dealer got lucky. That’s all.
“This your first homicide?” Garcia asked.
“Is this yours?” Parker shot back.
Just as the kid puffed out his chest and opened his mouth to defend his authority as the investigating officer, Parker’s phone rang. He held up his hand to quiet the detective and stepped outside the apartment, praying for a bit of good news. Turns out there was a god.
“We got him,” his partner said on the line.
As Parker hung up, he turned and bumped right into the detective. Parker tried to use his size to intimidate the kid into moving out of his way, but Garcia stared him straight in the eye. The youthful glimmer he had seen earlier was gone. In its place was a look he knew well.
“It’s not my first homicide, Detective Owen.”
“Then let’s go. We have work to do.”