“Are you sure this is the right place?” Mary asks, taking in the grimy buildings and deserted street.
Lyn glances at a piece of paper in her hand. “This is the address Lisa gave me.”
“We should be safe enough,” Lilly says. “I understand this is a cop hangout.”
Debby pats her big hair. “Policemen, really? I love a man in uniform.”
Laverne squeezes under the umbrella. “I’m getting wet, Mary move your bosoms out of the way.”
“It isn’t my bosoms, it’s Lilly’s backside taking up all the room.”
“It’s not my backside,” Lilly replies. “It’s Lyn’s large feet.”
Lyn rolls her eyes. “I suggest we all go in and get out of the rain.”
Low murmurs and the smell of fried food greets the hostesses as they enter the dimly lit room. Decades of
stale cigarette smoke permeate the air, and country music plays from an old jukebox.
“I’m still not sure this is the right place,” Mary whispers.
“Yes, see there’s Jack Renner, behind the bar,” Lilly replies.
“Lisa told us that even though the place doesn’t look like much, they only serve top notch liquor here,” Lyn adds.
Debby smiles. “Great, let’s find a seat and order a drink.” She lowers her voice. “There’s an empty table next to a group of cops, and one of them is awfully cute.”
They make their way through the crowded room, past hard-looking women and harder-looking men, until they sit down at a scarred oak table.
“Hey, look, there’s Oliver, and he’s bringing in the cake,” Laverne says.
“It looks like it’s shaped like a police badge,” Lyn says.
Mary stutters. “This place gives me the creeps.”
“An attractive female cop rises and comes over to their table. “Hi, I’m Maggie Gardiner, are you the hostesses for Lisa’s party?”
“Yes,” the hostesses reply in unison.
“Fantastic,” Maggie says with a smile.
“The wings, cheese sticks, onion rings, burgers and nacho platter are all delicious. And here comes Lisa."
The hostesses all stand.
“We’d like to welcome everyone to Lisa Black’s party. Congratulations, Lisa, on your new release, That Darkness.”
This week's skit written by Debby Grahl
It seemed like a typical week for crime scene specialist Maggie Gardiner--a gang boss shot in an alley, a lost girl draped over an ancient grave, a human trafficker dumped in the river--nothing all that out of the ordinary for the
Jack Renner is a killer who does not kill for any of the conventional reasons…no mania, no personal demons. He simply wants to make the world a safer place. He doesn’t think of himself as a dangerous person--but he can’t let anyone stop him. Not even someone as well-meaning as Maggie Gardiner.
Maggie has the self-sufficiency of a born bit-of-a-loner. She works with a bevy of clever experts surrounded by armed police officers. She is both street smart and book smart, having seen the worst the city has to offer.
But Maggie Gardiner is not safe. And, until she can draw Jack Renner into the light, neither is anyone else.
He asked a question here or there about Brian’s early years, his troubles with the authorities, but paid minimum attention to the answers he already knew. He offered Brian Johnson a drink, a real drink, asking him to name his poison, then gently leading him around to the Crown Royal, Johnson’s favorite. Jack knew that , too. He had a number of bottles installed on the sidebar, its new granite countertop the only sign of renovation in the room, all top-shelf. His clients deserved a little top shelf in their lives. He set down the tumbler with its amber liquid, pushing aside the wariness in Johnson’s eyes with another explanation of the pilot program. It amazed him how easily they always accepted this story, but then guys like Johnson had seen countless doctors, counselors , and social workers of every type, the true believers, the burnt-out cynics, the slackers, the rich kids trying to feel good about themselves and the ones who just didn’t give a shit. Guys like Johnson had been through so many programs, schools, incarcerations, examinations , and therapies to know there was always a new bleeding heart with a new idea to save them from themselves. Why not try good food and quiet conversation? It might work. Nothing else had.
“So you never had much of a chance,” Jack stated. He didn’t have to explain what he meant.
“Never. Everybody, everybody, been fightin’ me since I took me my first breath. So I fight back. What else is there?”
“Don’t min’ if I do.”
Jack carried the glass to the sideboard between the windows, behind where Brian Johnson sat. He picked up the whiskey, tapping it against a liter of Grey Goose.
“I believe that when you meet your maker, He will take that into consideration.”
“I met who made me, and that whore is the reason I ain’t Donald Trump. Or the president.” Brian Johnson didn’t turn to watch what Jack was doing. Brian Johnson wasn’t concerned about what Jack was doing. The clink had nicely covered the extra movement required for Jack to open the low box behind the bottles and extract his grandfather’s Beretta .22, with an added suppressor. He’d already taken the safety off, but he checked anyway. Details. If you didn’t master the details, they would master you. Then he turned and placed the glass on the table near Johnson’s left hand. “There you go.”
The guy’s fingers closed around the crystal tumbler, just as Jack lifted the gun and pulled the trigger.
Lisa Black has spent over 20 years in forensic science, first at the coroner’s office in Cleveland Ohio and now as a certified latent print examiner and CSI at a Florida police dept. Her books have been translated into 6 languages, one reached the NYT Bestseller’s List and one has been optioned for film and a possible TV series.
Contest ends on Sunday and everyone who comments is eligible.(We reserve the right to waive the prize in any week when there are not enough contestants for a draw to be deemed fair and unbiased)