As I mentionned yesterday, I’m setting aside all Fridays of November to share excerpts of my National Novel Writing Month project (which may be projectS is my mind keeps being uncooperative with the current one).
Here is the first draft, unedited opening scene of a would-be novel tentatively titled “Mr. Patsy Pants”.
Hope you enjoy it!
* * *
My mug shot looked so nonthreatening it called for those cute cat memes’ captions. If anyone bothered to look at me twice, they wouldn’t convict me no matter how many proof I fabricated. Scrawny face, over-sized eyes and long lashes, my face spell “Disney talking pet” more than it did “crazed killer”.
I closed the file and wedged it in my backpack. In the next one, the mug shot was much more convincing. Furrowed brow, sunken eyes, wide jaw, a whole lot of beard and a tear-shaped tattoo under one eye, THAT was a man you weren’t sure you could trust.
And according to the file, you really shouldn’t.
The perp was wearing a bystander’s blood at the time of the arrest. The unfortunate liquor store clerk rested in an artificial coma at St. Rose and the prosecution waited to see how he would recover from the blood loss and knife wounds before they slammed into his maybe-killer full force.
Slam dunk. Known perp. I wasn’t patsying for this one.
I put the file aside and opened the next one on my stash.
Maybe it’s the beard, I thought as I saw the next picture. When I hit puberty, the whole world forgot I ever existed. Parents, policemen, facial hair. Same difference. It was a blessing when I was behind bar because my baby face would have made me everyone’s bitch if they remembered my existence.
“Hey Jerry!” I smiled to the detective walking by. He gave me a generic nod-and-half-smile combo — the kind one gives to someone they know they should remember but really can’t peg why. The combo was typically super-sized when memory loaded up the “why”.
But no matter how many dollar ninety-nine I threw at it, Jerry’s smile wouldn’t widen with recognition. Hell, he even hurried his steps to escape the awkwardness.
The kicker? Six months ago, Jerry arrested me for a crime I didn’t commit.
For the third time.
I sipped my coffee and returned to the file on my lap while the station went about it’s usual business, bustling around me without even a glance spared at the stranger sifting through confidential file. I found a couple of unsolved crimes to watch out for and a few muddy cases that wouldn’t make an easy conviction. All good prospects that should make Bea’s day, I photocopied the files and put them in my bag.
Unless I actively forced them to pay attention to me, everyone would keep ignoring me. Bea was the only exception I ever found to that rule. And she was my agent.
When I returned the original files to the right detective’s desk, I acted as if I did that every day and though they couldn’t recognize me, they didn’t call foul either.
One of the files I copied had a good suspect in custody but if his lawyer was half decent, he would walk. His name was Tony and his file said he had ties to the local mafia. I sincerely doubt the system would be able to convict him.
“Keep up the good work, Jerry!” I gave a pat on the detective’s back on my way to the holding cells.
Tony sat alone in an interrogation room, stewing in his own juice on the off chance that would be enough to draw a confession out of him. The guy wasn’t that dumb.
I unlocked the door with the key I copied months ago — sleight of hand was a no brainer for me. Tony cocked an eyebrow when I walked in but accepted the coffee I put on the table. I slid one of my cards toward him.
“Tell your lawyer to drop us a line.” I headed back for the door. No use for long sales pitch he would not remember so I always stuck to the information he could figure out on his own by reading the card again.
“Professional patsy?” He chuckled.
“We can help. Don’t let the coppers see it.” I walked out.
* * *
And what’s great about NaNoWriMo is that a whole bunch of writers are doing it at the same time! Some of them are also participating in #NaNoFriday and you can find them here:
From the Absolute Write Water Cooler forums:
CJ Michaels: http://www.christinajmichaels.blogspot.com/
Michael Shoemaker: www.michaelshoemaker.com
Want to participate too? No need to be on the AW forums. Leave your blog address in the comments, post a excerpt with the list of participants and I’ll add you to the blog roll!