Another fragment from my soon to be well received first novel, "The Accidental Murderer."
Claude turned off the Expressway and drove into a quiet, little North Shore town named after a mollusk. He drove nice and slow, which was how the local cops liked it. Darlene loved the place. “Wow!” she enthused, “this place is great! I wish we’d got here before all the leaves fell.”
They drove into a neighborhood where the houses were not so close together and there was still a lot of green around. There was a corner house with a long driveway that ended around the back; Claude drove in, parked near the back door, and got out. Darlene followed, but not until Claude had already knocked on the door. There were no signs of life.
“See,” Darlene said in a scolding tone, “I told you to call first.”
“It don’t matter.” There was a free standing garage at the back of the property, and behind that was a row of tall, straight fir trees that blocked the view from the next house. Claude walked around the back of the garage. Darlene didn’t follow him, she figured he had to take a leak. There was a compost box against the back wall of the garage, and that’s where Claude went. He opened the top: nothing had been disturbed. He reached in and brushed some fresh leaves off the top before he found what he was looking for, what he had left there several days before. The owner of the house was a Skull.
“Where did you get that?” Darlene, always asking questions. “What’d I tell you?” Claude went over to the car, opened the driver’s door and reached in to unlock the back door. “You drive,” he told Darlene, and he climbed into the back. She just said, “okay,” and got into the driver’s seat. When they set off, Claude was holding a cookie tin on his lap.
“Where should I go,” a reasonable question for a change. “Just go back to the Expressway, the way we came,” adding upon reflection, “and not too fast.”
He opened the tin and took out something wrapped in a rag. Darlene was still jazzed about the town. “This is great out here! Look’t all the room, and the air and everything, it’s great!” It was a nice town, an old town, nothing was cheap, not houses, not gas, not pizza, nothing. Claude liked it too, but only for its small, rocky beach. “It’s too quiet,” he said, “even sleepin’ in a house is like campin’.”
As they approached the Expressway, Claude told Darlene to get on, going east. He was sitting in the back using the rag to clean some of the oil off of a large pistol, a magnum, stainless steel, black plastic handgrips, four inch barrel, named by its manufacturer after a particularly disagreeable snake. Claude loved this gun. He’d only fired it a couple of times, and never in anger. He loved it because it terrified people so much that it was unnecessary to shoot them. It just looked dangerous, in fact, it looked like a cannon. He wasn’t even planning to take it out today, just open his jacket with the pistol in his belt while he talked to a guy, a guy who owed him money. Darlene heard a mechanical noise and asked, “is that the car?”
“No,” he said, and the low, clicking sound continued.