Excerpt Waka Woyuha


                   CHAPTERS


CH  1:    KNIVES AND BULLETS
CH  2:    BUFFALO ROBE LEGEND
CH  3:  
 SWIFT'S FLOOR DANCE
CH  4:    RED HERRINGS

CH  5:    A TAIL'S SHADOW

CH  6:    BUTTER BEUATIFUL
CH  7:    BARTER MARKERS
CH  8:    PIN BALL DIVERSION
CH  9     RETREAT AND ATTACK
CH 10:   SUSPECTS APLENTY
CH 11:   EAGLE DANCES
CH 12:   MINI MADNESS
CH 13:   TROUBLESOME FIND
CH 14:    HYPOTHETICAL ACCOUNT
CH 15:    BLOODY HORNS
CH 16:    DEVEL COLLECTS DUES
CH 17:    A LEDGER'S LESSONS
CH 18:   NEZ PERCE CONNECTION
CH 19:   GUMSHOE GAUNTLET
CH 20:   LATE NIGHT LAUNDRY
CH 21:   SIMPLE CRIMES
CH 22:   COUNTRY CREMATORY
CH 23:   SQUEEZE PLAY
CH 24:   WAKA WOYUHA SING

 



Chapter One

 Knives and Bullets

                                                       [A Reflection]

 

        It was my own fault I awoke next to a dead Indian[1] with two of my bullets in him and Detective Worley asking questions I couldn’t answer. From the start, I knew better. I didn’t buy Milton as totally on the up-n-up. Most clients hold back. But, being a decoy for a lady in distress seemed an honorable thing. However, greed’s allure being into quicksand, my appointment foreordained calamity.

        Why my fault? Like every Sunday, I slept late. having fallen away from church attendance years ago after mother died. Sure I feel a little guilty, that’s why when I wake, I yell ‘Thank God for Sundays’. It’s a conscience appeasement. Oh, I still believe in God, just not sure where he fits into my world right now.
        Ginger was out of town, so I skipped showering and ate an ample brunch. After my bookkeeping chores, I hit the links. My driver picked up a case of ‘the slices’ and my wedges ‘the fats’. By late afternoon, the dark clouds gathered. Pressured to hurry, my game totally fell apart.
        I could smell the coming rain. Not a clean rain, but one soaked with city dust. The wind picked up on the way to my office as verified by the swaying of the new sign:

Abel Detective Agency 221-B Upper Loft

        Okay, it’s not Baker Street and not everyone gets it. But, it beats ‘Shamus Over Barber.’ Not that I haven’t been referred to as an SOB, but why invite it? If nothing else, 221-B is quaint. The office in the small town of Clairisville is remote enough to have small troubles and close enough to the large metropolis of Bigsprawl to support a PI.
        I climbed the metal steps hanging off the side of the building, a simple task slowed by the increasing humidity of the hot May day. Inside I flipped on the radio. The news blared about Thomas Cavanaugh being sentenced to life in prison for attempting to sell stealth bomber secrets to the Soviet Union. 
        It’s 1983, I thought. Treason of the highest. Should’ve shot him as a spy. 
        I put Candice in the center desk drawer. It’s hard to hide a .45 ACP pistol under a golf shirt. The AC sticking through the wall sputtered air stale as last month’s bread. After pushing yesterday’s lunch into the trashcan, I opened the side pane of the bay window.
        In spite of the gloomy horizon’s blow, I sat on the window bench, kicked off my shoes, cradled my feet in the desk chair, and leaned back against the panels. The gust brought a faint aroma from the bakery and the Chatham clock chimed as if to say ‘thank-you-very-much’.
        It began to rain; a drizzle that makes me think the city is crying. Why shouldn’t it? Humanity decomposing. The few greedy, uncaring, power mongers, and politicians smothering the common and good.
        People on the street below scurried to find cover. A tall stranger in his thirties, glossy black hair, caught my eye. His gray sharkskin suit pants didn’t match his suede vest and cowboy boots. Indifferent to the rain, he stepped out from between the dry cleaners and the bakery with a hurried gait. Loud boot-steps warned me he took the metal treads two at a time. The door thundered open and I jumped up scarcely having time to turn and face him.
        
“You Abel Rose, the PI?” he asked forcefully, his face full of purpose. Before I could reply, his spidery legs whisked him to my desk. “I need you to find my sister,” He said dropping a picture before me.
        It’s my own fault—bein’ in the office.
        “Don’t take clients on Sunday,” I said. It’s Rule Number One. Breakin’ it draws misfortune like steel to a magnet.”
        He picked up the picture and held it out.
        I couldn’t help taking the five-by-seven, black-and-white photo of a woman with long dark hair, enticing eyes, and a smile that made her bland face above average.
        “I’d say she’s in her late twenties. In my book, that’s old enough to be on her own,” I said holding the photo out for him to reclaim. “What makes her missing?”
        
He didn’t take the picture. “She’s not exactly missing. I know where she is, but she needs help to come home.”
        “Buy her a bus ticket.”
        “You mind?” he asked pointing at the client chair.   
        
“If you must.” I offering him the picture again.  
        
He took the photo, and with yoga like moves, lowered his body into the chair and said, “Boyfriend’s abusive. He’s beaten her before. She’s fearful of leaving because he’ll chase after and there’ll be a ruckus.”
        “Time out,” I said making a ‘T’ with my hands. I opened the center desk drawer, positioned Candice, and brought a pad to the desktop. “To start ... who’re you?”
        “Milton Dawson.” He waggled the picture at me, “She’s Darlene Dawson. The bruiser’s Mark Edmonds.” He drew his legs in tight giving the impression he was preparing to leap.
        “The police can hold his hand while she leaves, Mister Dawson. That’s what they get paid for.”
        “We—Sis and me—live in Nevada. Back there you watch after y’ur own. Marshals and courts complicate things.”
        “Sorry, don’t do domestics. It’s Rule Number One.”
        Milton reached inside his suede vest.   
        
“Go real slow fellow,” I snapped laying my hand on Candice. By the way his vest lay flat against his muscular chest, I didn’t suspect a weapon, but being less than cautious is how PI’s make premature visits to the morgue.
        
He slowly pulled out a pack of bills and extended his arm, laying Darlene’s picture and the bills on the desk.
        Noticing his skin tone, I wondered, Part Indian? “From Nevada, huh. How much Indian blood do you have?”
        “Some. That important to y’u?”
        “No, just curious.” I shrugged.
        My inner voice whispered caution, but Jackson and his brothers were shoutin’ too loud to hear it.
        “All she needs is f’r you hold him off for a couple days. By then, we’re out of town.”
        “ ‘Hold him off a couple days?’ That’s kidnappin’?”
        “I followed Sis to the store today and we talked. She’s going to slip out after he’s asleep and meet a couple streets over. He comes after her, you run interference long enough for us to cover our trail. That’s an easy grand. He shows back up on the ranch ... we’ll deal with him.”
        “Still sounds like a domestic,” I said picking the bundle up and flipping through it. “Domestics are always trouble!” I set them back down and scooted them to the front edge of the desk.
        Milton leaned forward. A vein on his temple bulged as he spoke. “Ma Paw’s dying. He wants Darlene home...” a second bundle hit the desk, “...and he can afford it.”
        Wouldn’t hurt to see if she wants to go. The Jackson choir sang ballads of ladies in distress. And I considered, Need be, could run a little interference.



[1] The setting is 1983. A transitional time where the term ‘Indian’ was being set aside for ‘Native American’. The term Indian is not intended to imply any disrespect, but is in keeping with the times of this story.

 

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