.Presenting our (almost) Edgar-nominated story:
A Tyger Blake Mystery
by Clayton Emery
After its appearance in these pages in our Summer
2002 issue, this story was subsequently published in Undertow,
a 2003 collection featuring New England-based writers, and in
turn nominated for a 2004 Best Short Story Edgar Allan Poe Award
by the Mystery Writers of America. However, since the story was
actually published by us the previous year, it was rendered ineligible,
and so Clay graciously withdrew his nomination. Which makes him
not just a good writer, but a stand-up guy, and a winner in my
book, nomination or not.
(Kevin Burton Smith)
As Thrilling Detective's Fiction Editor,
I worked on "Totaled," and was neither surprised to
see it anthologized or nominated, nor to hear of the author's
What happened to that?"
slammed the truck door, stooped over his big gut, hoisted a tire
from the weeds. Raspberry bushes snapped and popped. He pitched
it behind a half-flattened yellow Volkswagen.
......"Kids on Powder Mill
Road. That straight stretch." He climbed back into the cab
and artfully backed the wreck into the slot. It settled with
......The mess had been a Pontiac
Firebird, black with gold trim. The bird painted on the hood
was now folded in half where the bumper, trunk, and finally the
dashboard had hit a very large tree. The headlights were cross-eyed.
The blue engine block sneered from the front seat. Every bit
of glass had been blown away by the impact.
......"Did the tree survive?"
......"Oh, yeah. It's fine.
Ready for next Friday night. The kid driving it's not too good.
Legs in traction and tubes up his nose."
......Brown stains marked the
front seat and dash. I could smell the blood in the warm summer
sun. "He's lucky to be anywhere."
scratched his paunch through a hole in his T-shirt. I knew what
he was thinking. Way back, he used to race stock cars and demo
derbies. Before that were probably many Friday and Saturday nights
drag-racing on backroads. He turned away. "You get them
U-joints in Pierce's truck?"
......I pointed at the truck
sitting in a "done" slot.
......"I did two, but he'll
need the rest in a few months. We supposed to do anything with
......"Not till the insurance
guy looks it over." He climbed in the cab to move the tow
truck. "After that, I don't know."
......I looked at the former
Firebird. "Maybe we can fill the front seat with dirt and
......"Oughta grow good
with all the blood and bone to feed 'em."
......The insurance investigator
looked surprised to see me, a woman, working in a shade-tree.
He wrinkled his nose at everything. Me with my jigsaw face and
hacked-off hair and baseball hat screwed on backwards, our three-bay
cinder block garage, two rusty pumps, two mangy dogs behind chain
link, wrecks on three weedy acres -- and a dozen shiny cars waiting
for service. "You guys must be good, all these customers."
......He squinted, trying to
sort out what was wrong with me. Scars ripple down my face like
rivers running to the sea. They're invisible, I'm told, but my
face just doesn't work right. He was dying to ask. I lied, "I
went through a car windshield. The Firebird's yonder."
......The guy clutched a clipboard
to his chest like a Bible and winced as sharp grass jabbed his
ankles through nylon socks. Without touching anything, he noted
the car's mileage, position of the steering wheel, wear and tear
on the seat belt, other factors.
......"How's the kid?"
I rubbed my face. I don't mind dirt.
......"He's leaking blood
out of every normal orifice and a few new ones. Three teams worked
for eleven hours. They're not even sure he'll ever move his head
again, let alone get out of bed. Boy, he sure isn't going to
drive this thing anywhere." He made a check mark.
......"But the car's not
totaled, is it?" I sniped.
......He squinted at me, then
dusted his hands. "It's totaled."
......After lunch Police Chief
Utmeyer came down and looked the car over. He never touched the
wreck, just scribbled on a form. I stayed on my knees twisting
and turning a catalytic converter trying to shake out a rattle.
New Hampshire isn't noted for its summers, but in the sun the
converter was getting too hot to hold.
......The chief ambled over,
hitched his shiny black belt full of gadgets. "Morning,
......"No. I'm Ron, you're
Susan." He grinned. I didn't. The chief wanted to talk cop.
I was a cop once, before. Now the state of New Hampshire says
I'm a private investigator. He asked, "How's business?"
......"Busy as hell fixing
cars. How's the kid doing?"
......The chief pulled off his
hat, wiped his bald head, tugged the hat back on. I turned and
swore and upended and swore. The rattle sounded merrier all the
time. "He's still alive. Looks like a spaceship hanging
in mid-air. He'll be thirty pounds heavier with artificial knees
and hips and whatnot. Maybe they'll use him in a seat belt ad.
Claims he swerved to avoid a dog. Chuck St. Amour. Know him?"
......"I don't know anyone
in town." Rattle rattle. "C'mon out, you motherfuckin'
......"Join the Library
Committee. Good way to meet people." He rubbed his head
again. "Poor Chuck. I don't wish that disaster on anyone,
but on the other hand, there'll be a lot less drag-racin' and
hell-raisin' for a while."
......A final rattle, then a
plop. A hickory nut bounced in the dirt.
said the chief. And ambled off.
I was drinking coffee and trickling transmission fluid into
a LeSabre and trying not to confuse the two when a guy blocked
out the light of the bay. Extra-large all over, hands like baseball
gloves, out of high school a few years, clothes NBA-approved,
eyes clear red across. He stank of cigarettes and hospital fluids.
......"Hey, I want that
car towed to my house. What'ya charge?"
......"I don't charge anything.
Manny does the towing. You talkin' about the Firebird?"
......"Yeah." He shifted
from foot to foot. "I want it done today."
......I didn't look up from my
trickling. "It's not going anywhere. Not till the
......"What?" He kept
looking around as if expecting a tiger to leap through a window.
"Didn't the guy come by to look? What's to see?"
......"What's your hurry?"
......That brought his chin up.
"Hey. I'm Terry Sullivan."
......I glugged cold coffee.
A fat fly buzzed against a window. "Susan Blake. Pleased
to meet you."
......Too preoccupied to rise
to bait, he bounced in place. "I need that car now."
......"What for? Even the
tire valve covers are cracked."
......"The truck's right
there. How come you can't do the towing?"
......"Because Manny doesn't
want anyone driving his truck."
......His look said, No women,
you mean. Turning on the charm, he said, "I never saw a
girl working in a garage before."
......I fired the empty fluid
can into the corner, a bankshot into the trash. "I'm really
a secretary. I just fool with the engines when the phones aren't
......"Right." He turned
up the cool. "Okay, so what would it really take to get
that thing towed today?"
......"A court order."
......Sterling qualities exhausted,
he swore at me long and hard.
......I cut him off with, "Isn't
Terry a girl's name?"
......That stopped the bobbing
and weaving, anyway. He stepped up alongside the car hood. I
dropped both hands as if helpless before his machismo, grabbed
the handle of a thirteen-inch crescent wrench in my leg pocket.
In the corner, Bruno woke up and growled, then Fido. The three
threats froze him.
......Everyone waited. Then Terry
turned and stomped off, eclipsing the sun for a second.
......The black dog came up and
snuffled my shaking hand. "That Firebird gets more visitors
than we do, hunh, Bruno?" He wagged his tail at his name.
......I'd forgotten to ask about
......Visiting hours were over
at eight. I went at seven-thirty so there'd be fewer people to
meet. I don't like bright places or crowds.
......My sneakers squeaked along
the floor. Late evening sunlight turned white walls toast-gold.
......Visitors talked and joked
quietly, as in funeral homes. They did double-takes as I swung
......The hospital smelled more
of cinnamon and coffee than disinfectant. Almost a homesick smell.
There was a time when disinfectant ran thicker in me than blood.
......Charles St. Amour was in
Intensive Care. Only immediate family members were allowed past
the glass walls, I was told.
......I pressed a finger against
the glass wall and pointed to his bed. Chuck looked like Frankenstein's
monster still in the shop. He was white from head to toe, with
only a slot of pale face showing, and tubes running into that.
Beside the bed sat a girl maybe sixteen years old and eighty
pounds, ten of that dark piled hair. Her face was blotched red,
her fists trapped between her knees. "Who's that? His wife?"
......The nurse, in a blue-flowered
pullover top, was undiggable. "His girlfriend. Not exactly
family, but it's good therapy." She studied my face with
professional curiosity. I was dirty and running cold sweat like
a junkie. A real charmer.
......"I was in a train
wreck," I told her.
......"Ah." She didn't
believe it. "Are you family?"
......"No. I just like to
visit people in hospitals."
......Light was blotted out at
my side. Terry Sullivan filled the alcove. He frowned at me.
The look he shot at the girlfriend inside was murderous.
......He raised a paw and banged
the glass hard enough to turn the head of every conscious patient
and visitor. The nurse jumped. "Sir!"
......But the girlfriend got
the message. She hopped up, all four feet of her, planted a kiss
on her fingertips and then Chuck's bandages, and skipped to meet
......While we waited, Terry
asked me, "What are you doing here?"
......I offered him a box of
chocolates. "Here. You're a tough guy. Give Chuck the creams.
You can chew the ones with hard centers."
......Flicking his wrist,
he almost whapped the box out of my hand.
......The girlfriend slid out
the door and squinted at us with stoplight eyes. Me, a scrambled
stranger, facing off against the butthead confused her. "Let's
go, Terry," she sniffed, crying again. She clutched the
boy's hand. He squeezed hard enough to make her squeak, but she
didn't pull it back.
......The nurse invited me to
leave. I gave her the candy and left.
......Maybe I should have given
......In the summer, I drive
a 1942 Ford (not Willy's) Jeep. I'm never in a hurry and have
no place important to go, and besides, I work in a garage.
......I rattled down Powder Mill
Road. It was shrouded by trees on both sides. There were few
houses, and those set back from the road. Only mailboxes and
yellow reflectors and black lanes marked some.
......I found the spot easily.
The longest straight stretch. Even by headlights I could see
rubber patches where two cars had blasted off, rubber where they'd
shifted to high gear, long wiggly skid marks where Chuck lost
control of the Firebird -- for whatever reason -- and stopped
against a maple tree.
......In its time, this monster
tree had survived farm-clearing, sugar tapping, barb wire, musket
balls, .22s, snow plows, and car wrecks. It had lost a patch
of bark big as a trash can lid. White heartwood streaked with
black and gold showed like meat on a roast chicken.
......"But you'll be all
right," I told the tree.
......As I swung by the garage,
I heard the dogs yelping. Bruno and Fido spend their nights in
the garage to guard the parts cupboard. Now they signaled like
......A light flickered among
the wrecks down by the Firebird.
......I hammered mechanical brakes
and coasted well past the gates.
......Holding the chain taut
so it wouldn't clank, I popped the lock and snuck into the yard.
I padded through the dark. A hooded light showed at the passenger's
side of the Firebird. I hunkered behind the nose of another wreck
......The guy doing the searching
was very big. I couldn't see his face because the flashlight
was shielded in a meaty hand. He poked and prodded, ripped rubber
floor mats, tugged at the blood-soaked seats.
......Mosquitoes chewed my ears,
wrists, and ankles. I'd had enough of being bit, and he couldn't
find what he wanted. I stepped within ten feet of the car, wrench
in hand. "No luck, hunh?"
......The guy jumped, then aimed
the damned flashlight full in my face. Feet thumped. Blinded,
I hopped to one side, but he slammed my shoulder. I spun and
......I rolled, but not fast
enough. He kicked me in the side hard enough to stove in ribs.
I rolled some more, got halfway to my feet. Something swished
by my head. His sneaker after my skull. He huffed and growled
like a boiler ready to explode. He was mad, out of control.
......But so was I. Wrench held
across both hands, I blocked the next kick. It raked his shin,
peeling skin to the bone. He howled.
......I scrambled up and went
for him, swinging the wrench like a baseball bat. I'd have killed
him if I could. Shattered his skull and beat him bloody and kicked
his brains all over the junkyard. I hit something, probably his
......A fist dimmed my lights.
My back slammed the ground. Another fist tried to drive my head
into the dirt like a tent peg, but only sheared my cheek. I jerked
aside and the next missed. But he was on top of me and I couldn't
get clear. I shot my fingers like claws and he walked right into
them, a digit in the eye socket. Then he was gone.
......So was I.
......I woke up, came to, whatever,
to find mosquitoes drilling in my torn cheek.
......Everything was quiet.
......I stumbled to the Firebird,
leaned a hand on the cold hood with its crinkled paint.
......"What is it,"
I asked the mosquitoes, "about this car?"
......My apartment is downtown
over a hardware store. I walked straight to the bathroom, stripped
my work clothes into the hamper, showered, and smeared cream
on my red, white, and blue face. Scar tissue felt like furrows
under my bruised fingers.
......I fed my fish, gerbils,
turtle, and canary, and went to bed.
......After a double slug of
blackberry brandy. Venturing into a hospital, with its white
walls and smiling nurses and bags of blood and shining scalpels,
would have me drinking myself to sleep for a week.
......Anything to get past the
......A week went by.
......The police chief pulled
in, yelled from inside the cruiser's air-conditioning, "You
can release the Pontiac! The insurance company's done with it!"
......"Release it where?"
Manny lowered his head from the frame of a Mustang. "It
wouldn't even make good landfill!"
......"How's the boy doing?"
......"Still in the hospital,
eating solid food, last I heard! I gotta go!"
......I asked Manny, "Where
do the St. Amour's live?"
......"What? Dinsmore Street."
......I laid a carburetor out
neatly on the bench, flipped through the phone book with black
fingers, pushed blackened numbers. No, Mrs. St. Amour certainly
didn't want the damned car back. It had been nothing but trouble
since the day Chuckie got it. He'd paid twice for it with speeding
tickets. I asked how he was faring, and she sighed, wrung out.
Chuckie had response in four toes, should be able to walk in
six months. How nice, I said, and hung up.
......"Where's the welding
......Manny's voice echoed under
the car. "What are you welding?"
racked the cutting torch, tilted the oxygen bottles on their
handcart, and wrestled the whole magilla out of the shop. It
was a bitch dragging it through the sandy dirt, but I got it
propped up by the Firebird.
......The baby powder I'd sprinkled
on the car each evening was unmarked except for a raccoon's footprints.
......I hooked on the mask, tugged
on horsehide gloves, and sparked the torch. I wicked off the
passenger-side door and tossed it against the fence. I cut through
the seat, making vinyl flare and smoke. I cut through the dashboard,
the plastic stinking. I sliced wires by the handful and yanked
them out. I cut out the heater core so it leaked green blood.
I cut out floor panels. I licked through steel with a white flame
the way a dragon would dismember a knight.
......Chuck St. Amour took good
care of his car. No potato chip bags, no beer cans, no cigarette
butts. Everything shiny and clean. Until he hit a tree.
......I cut to the firewall and
kept going. I cut the last engine mount and the block dropped
to the ground. I stepped around and cut loose the hood and levered
it aside. I cut through the air vents below the missing windshield.
......And found something. A
glint of silver, almost impossible to see through the black glass
of the welding mask, deep inside the air vent. I turned off the
torch, dragged off a glove, tested the metal, fished it out.
......It was a beaten silver
earring like a lumpy dime on a silver loop. With a jot of brown
inside the loop.
......I buttoned the earring
in my shirt pocket. I tore the rest of the car apart, leaving
no piece larger than a toaster, but didn't find anything else.
......Manny wandered out, scratched
his curly Amish beard, looked at the parts on the ground. "What's
......"It's like a jigsaw
puzzle, only in reverse."
......Manny sniffed and shook
his head. "You leave any oxygen?"
......Fortified by a blackberry
brandy from Pat's Cafe, I went back to the hospital just before
visiting hours. Chuck was cranked up, still swaddled in bandages,
but more of his face showed. It looked as bad as mine, but his
would heal. Beside the bed sat the thin girl with the mass of
......When I rapped on the door
frame, the boy screwed his head around slowly. I called, "How
......Peering over a broken nose,
he croaked, "Better, thanks. Lots better." But he wondered
who I was.
......"Great. Glad to hear
it." I crooked a finger at the girl. "Out here, honey."
......The girl looked to Chuck.
He tried to hold her back, but I interrupted. "He needs
some private tests, hon. We'll wait out here." Confused,
the girl caught her pocketbook and followed me into the hall.
......"What's your name,
......Neither yes nor no.
......I held up the silver earring
like a pounded dime. Puzzled, tired, she had trouble focusing
on it. She was strung tight as a piano with fear or worry or
guilt or something.
......"Yours?" I asked.
......"Know where I found
......A nurse came out of her
station, looked at us, went away.
......"In the car?"
......"Oh. Yeah, it's mine."
......"You lost it in the
......She hesitated. Even she
understood that if she'd survived the accident, she'd be in pieces
in a bed beside Chuck. I felt lousy battling wits with an unarmed
......"I musta lost it earlier."
......"Nope." I closed
my fist over the earring. "If it were yours, you'd have
said so right away. So whose is it?"
She looked around for Terry or Chuck to make a decision. "It
must be Linda's."
She was Chuck's girlfriend."
......"Yeah. She rode with
him a lot. But she ran away. Left town."
......"I -- I don't know.
Who are you?"
......Finally, she'd learned
not to answer questions. "A friend."
......Light was eclipsed. Terry
Sullivan filled the alcove again. He shot both of us a look of
pure murder. He snagged the girl's hand so hard she bleated.
......"Shut up, Sherri."
To me, he snarled, "What are you doing here?"
......"Selling Girl Scout
cookies. Chuckie's on solid food. He'll be out soon."
......Terry growled, yanked and
almost dislocated the girl's arm. The two clattered off down
the hallway, Sherri protesting, but not much.
......The nurse invited me to
leave. I left.
......The Ruggieri house reeked
of cigarettes and dope. The woman who opened the door was already
at half-mast. She had to tilt her head back to look at me.
......"Yeah? Christ! What's
wrong with your face?"
Are you Mrs. Ruggieri?"
......"Yeah." But she
had to think it over. She was ten years into middle age and still
fighting. Her slacks cut into her thighs, her blouse needed buttoning,
her stack of hair trended south. The television shrilled in the
living room like a chain saw. "Are you here for Linda?"
......"Are you expecting
someone for Linda?"
......"Not really. She hasn't
been gone long enough."
......With the door open, mosquitoes
droned into the house. Neither of us cared, it seemed. "Gone
long enough for what?"
......"To call for money.
Or a ride home -- Why the hell am I telling you this?"
......"Has Linda taken off
......"Oh, hell, all the
time." She waved a hand, looked into the living room as
if she'd forgotten something. "It's just to get my goat.
I ignore it."
......"How do you know she's
gone? Did she take a bag? A suitcase? Money?"
......"All of the above."
......"May I see her room?"
......She stared at me hard,
trying to get past her blurred vision. "I don't get it.
Who are you?"
......"Just someone asking
......"I can see that."
......"Someone who cares
......"Well." She leaned
against the doorjamb. "We all care about Linda."
......"Then may I see her
......"I guess so."
It was easier not to argue. She squinted at my filthy clothes.
"Are your shoes clean?"
......I followed her past the
blaring television, a sloppy kitchen, up a flight of stairs with
dirty clothes and junk on the risers. Linda's room was a worse
mess than the rest of the house. Everything was on the floor,
including the bedclothes. "What's missing?"
......The mother crunched stuff
underfoot and yanked open a closet door. The uppermost shelf
was bare. "That's where her suitcase should be. And a week's
supply of panties and bras are gone. And some of her clothes.
She could never take them all. And her bear, Mister Bear. She
still sleeps with him. When she's not sleeping with someone fleshier,
......"She's sexually active?"
......"What a quaint way
to put it. Yeah, she is. I find packs of condoms in her jeans.
When I do the laundry."
......"Who was she going
......"I don't know. She's
popular with all the boys." Again she peered at me. "Are
you from the school? You're not one of the guidance counselors."
......She jerked at the "ma'am".
Her voice turned frosty. "Well, I'll guess you'll have to
......"All right. Thank
you for your help. When did she leave?"
......Stumbling back to the door,
she said, "Why do you -- Hell, Sunday afternoon. I had a
date. There was a note on the table when I got back."
......I followed her down the
stairwell. "May I see the note?"
......"Jesus, you're a nosy
thing. I suppose." She veered into the kitchen, fished in
a basket atop the refrigerator.
......The paper was torn from
a school notebook. Dated Sunday, in a girl's tiny neat handwriting,
the "i"s with circles for dots. It stated that she
was leaving for a while, would call soon, and not to worry. As
if a mother would worry when her daughter ran away.
......I gave back the note. Friday
night had been the accident. The following Sunday Linda moved
......"When was the last
time you saw your daughter?"
......"Oh, god." She
opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of beer. I had to twist
the top off. "Friday morning. I ate the last muffin and
she bitched about it."
......She swigged beer and burped.
"Didn't I ask you to leave?"
......I swung by the garage,
picked up Bruno and Fido. They bounded around the inside of my
Jeep so much we almost had our own accident. They seldom got
......I parked by the scarred
maple on Powder Mill Road. The dogs peed and galumped around
the car, jumped over stone walls and back, slobbered against
my legs. In the late evening sun, I looked for the most open
path into the woods on either side. At one spot, the stone wall
had tumbled and taken poison ivy with it. I went that way, whistling
up the dogs.
......Within a minute they found
a small clearing that excited them.
......I let them dig until they
uncovered her face.
......Linda's left earlobe was
torn. The other held a silver earring like a beaten dime.
......Police reports took half
the night. Nobody in blue or green thanked me for doing their
job. Chief Utmeyer buttonholed me on the way out. "You used
to be a cop. Why'd you make us look bad?"
......"I was curious. I
found an earring and wondered what happened to the rest of the
......"And women get chewed
up and spit out every day of the week, and nobody cares."
......"That's what the police
......When that sank in, he stiffened.
"Hit the road."
......I was so tired when I reached
my apartment I didn't notice the lock was busted. As I touched
the knob, the door whipped open. A huge hand snagged my shirt
and doubled my spine snatching me inside.
......I grabbed the jamb as I
went by, half-spun. Terry squeezed my middle, a backwards bear
hug. He lifted me off the ground. To crush me, I guess. He imagined
he was strong enough.
......I lifted my feet and kicked
the wall. Both of us shot backwards into the kitchen. He fetched
up against the stove with a bong. I kicked at the kitchen table,
hard, and drove him halfway up the burners. I grabbed for anything,
caught the wire dish rack, whapped it behind my head, bent it
around his face. He let go. I hopped and rolled right over the
cockeyed table, putting it between him and me.
......The apartment was dark
except for the light over the sink that I leave on. My canary
shrilled in the dark. He hunted for a weapon, same as me. But
he had a choice of iron skillets and other utensils, and I had
the telephone. I ripped open a closet and snatched out a dry
......The weapon he found put
me in a cold sweat. The only knife in the house. Four inches
of stainless steel. I wouldn't even own a knife, but you need
something to cut carrots.
......I lie, but it was a knife
took my face apart.
......I couldn't breathe. My
knees shook. I wet myself. I had four feet of wooden pole on
him, I could have popped his eye out, but the handle just rattled
on the tabletop.
......"I'll kill you,"
he grunted. Blood ran down his forehead.
......I barely heard him. The
blade filled my vision, blinded me. My voice quavered like a
child suffering a nightmare. "T-too late for th-that. You
can't -- p-punch your way out. They found her -- body."
......The air whooshed out of
him. "Oh, man..."
......I plowed on. "It was
all -- Chuck's idea, right? The cover-up? Y-you were draggin'
side by side. Chuck went off the road -- and hit the tree --
and Linda went through the windshield. Right? So you buried her."
......"It was all Chuck's
idea!" The knife almost flew out of his hand. "He's
all blood, screaming, just pieces, blood bubbling out his nose,
but he's going on and on, `You gotta hide Linda's body! You gotta
hide Linda's body!' So like a dummy, I do it!"
......"But you missed the
......"Man, I never should
have gone near that wreck! But Chuck kept bugging me about it!"
......"You tried to get
the wreck towed home, but that didn't work, so you snuck in at
night. But you couldn't find the earring. It was on the outside
of the car, down in the air vent, where no girl could drop it.
Unless she went through the windshield and it tore out of her
......"She probably caused
the accident! She probably grabbed his dick! She was always doing
shit like that..." He sounded exhausted, as if he hadn't
slept since the smash-up. Maybe he hadn't. "I can't believe
what I did for that guy..."
......"Was it Chuck's idea
to make Linda run away? Sherri snuck into the house when Mrs.
Ruggieri was out, or passed out. She packed Linda's suitcase,
even her teddy bear, and left a note. One girl's handwriting
looks like another's, especially if Mom is stoned. This way Linda
just runs off and never comes home. Poor old Chuck was just unlucky,
not guilty of negligent homicide or manslaughter."
......"Yeah, right. Then
poor ol' Chuck takes Sherri and I can't bitch. He'll claim he
didn't know about buryin' Linda, that he was knocked out. He'd
get sympathy and I'd get the shaft. Like I'm his slave all of
......"He hooked me too,
Terry. But I wondered why you were so angry. Scared or worried
I could understand, but angry... Chuck's a real sweetheart, but
it's in the open now. Put down the knife, will you?"
......It clattered in the far
corner and my heart started again. Terry swore. "That bastard.
I hope his back stays broken. Sherri was willing anyway. Girls
love to mother a guy who's all busted up."
......"But never the other
Copyright (c) 2002 by Clayton Emery.
Clayton Emery has been a blacksmith, dishwasher, schoolteacher in Australia, carpenter, zoo keeper, farm hand, land surveyor, volunteer firefighter, and an award-winning technical writer. His novels include a dozen fantasy-adventure novels, the "Robin & Marian" and "Joseph Fisher" mysteries in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and other fiction. He lives in New Hampshire with his doctor wife and foster kids, and spends his spare time restoring a 1763 house and 1942 Jeep. Read more of his stories at www.claytonemery.com
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