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Excerpt - The Beat Goes On

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CHAPTER TITLES

 The Prince * Dancing with I.A. * Rookie Watch Out
 Amos Amos Got No Peace * Real Rat Race
 The Shaky Gun * Disappearing Van
 God Speed the Nuns * Singing the Blues
Epithalmic Episode * Reverend Sham Digger
 Fear The Bridge * End of Man's Rope 
Monna and The Motorcycle Man * Code Five
 Bandits Twelve * Black Shroud Falls
Taps and Yellow Roses * Two Women One Dan
The Signal Tree * Came a Rapping at the Door
Two Trains One Track * Unfinished Business
What About Nancy?

A Contemplation

Tribute – To The Fallen Heroes
Epilogue –  How Quickly We Forget

 
EDITORS AND PROOF READERS HAVE DECLARED
Dynamic - Moving and instructive.
Action, and piognant, how can you not feel it!

 HOWEVER, IT SHOULD BE NOTED , EACH VOLUME BUILDS ON THE PREVIOUS.
 

                                 The Prince  Excerpt from Chapter 1,  
                                     --------------------------------

       -- After Dan's neighbor disappears, kidnapping, Dan gets in the works --

...
      “Certainly, Mr. Gibson. Try not to worry. If you hear from her, call us immediately.”

Gibson nodded, they turned to leave.

“I’ll check with you in the morning,” Dan promised as his neighbors left.

Badden picked up his paperwork. “We’re on it, Black. Go Home,” he said heading up the ramp to the offices. Telford followed.
        Dan sat a few minutes thinking, then went to the front desk. Phil Perkins was coming out of the supervisors' office behind the station desk.

“Don’t mind me nosin’ around a little, do you Sarge?” Dan asked Perkins.

“Badden’s case. You check with him?”

“Don’t know Badden.”

“Figures,” Perkins sighed. “Okay, he comes off as unconcerned, but he’ll do his job.”

“I’m not sure just doing the job will be enough.”

Perkins shrugged his shoulders. “Badge says ‘City of Cincinnati’ and I know you. Keep it low key, Dan. Don’t stir up trouble for yourself with Badden.”

“Got all the Trouble I can handle waitin’ on me,” Dan said heading for the door.

“I know about the stupid ferret. You’re both from the same gene pools,” Perkins replied, but not before the door closed.

Dan went straight for the Blue Ribbon Restaurant. Inside, he ordered a Coney and a root beer, and then excused himself to the restroom. The hallway was a dozen paces long and in line with the stools at the bar, but there was no line of view from the tables. It first opened left into the kitchen, followed by a door to a storage room. Across from it were the rest rooms.

Storage was locked. Dan already had his picks in hand.

Crooks! They never read Thoreau.

He cleared the knob tumblers in a flash. Storage shelves stacked high with paper goods lined one wall of the small-elongated room. Several folding chairs leaned against the back wall. A small desk occupied the back corner. Dan quickly rummaged through the drawers. The top one contained time cards, and work schedules. The second held stationary supplies and the bottom one contained a stove burner, an armored car schedule with vehicle silhouettes, and bent spoons. He carefully inspected the painted concrete floor.

Nothing.

Dan went to the door. Pausing at the light switch to return the picks to his pouch, he dropped one.

Fumble fingers! Fool around and get caught.

Stooping to retrieve it, a small sparkle at the baseboard caught his eye.

Ummm! A button?

Using his pocketknife Dan pried it out.

A bloody button -- I think.

Dan flipped the light off and returned to his table. He took a bite of the now cold Coney, and flagged the waitress.

“Would you tell the manager the men’s room is flooded?”

“Towels! Why they gotta toss ’em in the toilet? I’ll never know,” she grumbled walking away shaking her head.

Dan quickly returned to the hallway. A barrel-stomached, bear-faced-man of medium height came from the kitchen and went in the restroom. Dan heard the flushing. Then the manager exited mumbling, “Like I ain’t got enough to—

Dan grabbed him by the lapels, shoving him out the back door into the alley behind the dumpster. Getting in his face Dan growled, “I ain’t gonna ask nice, but once. There was a girl here early, teenager. She’s my neighbor. A personal friend, see? Something happened and now she’s missing. You’re gonna tell me what!”

“All I know’s what I told the cops. Four of ’em was carryin’ on. But honest man, I know nothing about murders and kidnappings.”

“How come everybody qualifies lies with, ‘but honest’? That makes two lies in one breath, and me askin’ nice,” Dan shook his head, and then slugged the manager in the gut. He doubled over, gasping for breath. Dan took the opportunity to remove his wallet and check the ID.

“See how quickly I get irritated, Mr. Coydon Middman. You ain’t gonna be stupid and make me mad, are you?”

“No! No! I don’t know nothin’ about the girl.”

“Already heard that lie. What happened to the girl?”

“Like I done sa—Ughhhh!” The man winced from another jab.

Dan waited for the manager to recover before continuing.

“Bet my face is getting’ red, ain’t it? I hate this. Would you believe? Been seein’ a shrink. Court says I gotta problem with anger management. I’m trying, but well -- I just can’t be responsible. You miffin me, and she bein’ my neighbor, and all.”

“He’ll kill me! I talk I’m dead!”

“Wooo now! What a coincidence. Who’s gonna kill you, if’n I don’t?”

“You ain’t—UUHG-uh.”

“He ain’t here! I am!” Dan said twisting Middman into a headlock choke hold. “And, this dumpster makes a convenient coffin.”

Middman cursed hoarse denials as his face paled. Then suddenly he rasped, “The Prince -- what he – calls himself.”

Dan released the hold.

The manager gasped and coughed. “You’re both maniacs!”

“Hold on to that thought. Take a deep breath. Now, give! All of it.”

“Look, I don’t know who he is! Last month he shows up with a wad of bills. Wants to rent my backroom to hold meetings. I’m in ten large at the track. I don’t ask questions.”

“How many ‘meets’ this Prince hold?”

“So far, six. Every Tuesday and Saturday night.”

“And tonight? What was the meet about?”

“I’m tellin’ ya, I don’t know! He goes back there with a tall dude an’—

“Describe him.”

“My height and build without this,” he said rubbing his pendulous abdomen. “Black hair, bushy mustache. Wore jeans, mustard colored leather jacket cut like a suit coat over an ugly green shirt. Had a canvas shopping bag, blue. Oh, and burgundy sissy loafers.”

“Sissy loafers?”

“Yea, like penny loafers only they got tassels. It’s all I know. No matter how much you pound me.”

Who was the third man?”

“What third man? Only two tonight. The other Joes were other times.”

“What’s this Prince look like?”

“Didn’t pay much attention.”

“You’re tellin’ me, you don’t know him? Don’t pay him no mind, but you know he’ll kill you? Callin’ me stupid!” Dan yanked the man’s hand against the side of the dumpster, and drew his revolver. He spun it to grip it as a hammer. “Which of your fingers you want me to smash first?”

“You a cop?”

“I look like a cop? Do cops hold parleys behind dumpsters? Your ‘Prince’ owes me, and I ain’t talking a measly ten large. I aim to collect, and you’re gonna help or die trying. What about this Prince? Last chance. The pinkie’s first!”

“Lanky, a dark one he is! He walks by; I get chills. Eyes are empty. Like my brother’s eyes was, and him in his coffin. I swear!”

“So, this spine-chillin’ dude shows for all the meetings?”

“Yeah”

“What about Mister Tassels?”

“No, first I’ve seen him. Sometimes only two meet. One time must’ve been half dozen.”

“These other Joes, what’d they look like? How’d they dress?”

“Bunch of hard cases. What d’ I know. I’m not their tailor.”

“See how we’re getting’ along. Ain’t even broke pinkie yet. Now, tell me about the girl. Don’t leave anything out. Pinkie’s countin’ on you.”

“Okay, there was a scream. I came out from behind the counter and saw the Prince dude chase her into the alley.”

“And you didn’t peek in the meeting room? BULL!”

“Maybe I glanced. Prince wasn’t gone long. I’m no idiot. I stayed clear.”

“Still jackin’ me around. You looked!” Dan snarled grabbing and slamming Middman’s arm against the dumpster.

“The dude was on the floor! Shivved!”

“Dead?” ...
                                               

                                               ---------------------
                                                 NOT READY
                                                

                                              Please, tell me why?

 

 

 

 

 

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