Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Guest Post. Thanks Guy for Getting Me Off the Hook


Another Albuquerque author and I started discussing blogs at a meeting of SouthWest Writers last Saturday and ended up deciding to do guest posts. He offered to do mine this week provided I’d do one for him at some time in the future. How could I refuse a deal like that?
 
Mark Wildyr writes both contemporary and historical gay erotic fiction. What follows is the opening to one of his published short stories entitled “Killer.” It appeared in the STARbooks Press anthology, SAINTS AND SINNERS sometime back. Enjoy. (Don’t tell Mark, but I have no idea what I’ll write for his blog at markwildyr.com.)

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KILLER
By Mark Wildyr
 
The killer looked down at the boy at his feet and fought a rising irritation. How come the kid still looked so good? Death hadn’t done a damned thing diminish the little queer’s looks. Wasn’t right. When you’re dead, you oughta look the part.

The boy hadn’t sensed danger until it was too late. A nano-second later, the bullet splintered his sternum and punctured his heart. The man gave a disgusted sigh and stowed the small handgun in his waistband. Then he calmly walked down the dark alley and vanished into the night.

#

Albuquerque Police Department Detective Calvin Grajek muttered a curse as the telephone interrupted a set of curls. Early morning calls at home were never good, and this one was no exception. Body. Alley. Yeah, he’d go straight there. He hung up and headed for the shower.

Cal knew from the address what he’d find. The site was on the fringe of a Rabbit Run around East Central Avenue, once historic Route 66. If his hunch was right there had now been five gay murders over the past two years, and since his old partner was prematurely retired by a heart attack, Cal was the detective in charge. Together, they’d gotten nowhere. On his own, he hadn’t achieved much more than to gain some introspection into the city’s deviant culture. Until this started, Cal figured a queer was a queer was a queer. Now he understood the gay underground was at least as complex as mainstream society. Come to think of it, it wasn’t so underground anymore.

Cal parked his unmarked Ford four door behind a black-and-white at what was known by locals as Indian Alley. For a couple of miles, the broad, mostly paved alleyway half a block south of East Central paralleled the thoroughfare through a commercial neighborhood of 1930’s-style one-story shop buildings. A few had been restored; most simply struggled against decay. A well-traveled route used by the homeless, drunks, Native Americans, and a host of others avoiding curious eyes, the alley was an unlikely place for murder, although it had seen more than its share of mayhem over the years. Most of the area’s habitués would deny seeing anything. It truth, they probably hadn’t, either from alcoholic haze or a lifetime of keeping their eyes glued to the ground.

Several people were already on hand, including Cal’s new partner, Brin Haskell. Who the hell named a kid Brin? The guy’s personnel file showed it was short for Brindle, but that begged the question. Who’d name a kid Brindle? This was the twenty-eight-year-old’s virgin assignment as a detective, and Cal suspected the guy’s drive was fueled as much by the fact that he was the nephew of a deputy chief as by natural enthusiasm.

The new detective stepped away from the small group of uniforms to greet him. Crap, the guy didn’t look much older than most of the victims. Hispanic with a gringo name. Tall, athletic, good-looking, recently divorced. Cal wondered if Brin’s obvious dislike of gays was cultural or a defensive measure, although there was nothing soft about the guy.

Brin shook his head. “Another one.”

“You can tell by just looking?”

“A kid. Teens. One to the heart like the others. And yeah, I can tell. If I get the willies, it’s one of them.”

“I like that,” Cal said dryly. “The scientific approach.”

Brin flushed. “Give you ten-to-one odds.”

“No thanks. Given the location, you’re probably right.”

As they reached the body, Cal studied the blond youngster sprawled on his back, face pallid in death, his grotesque Kiss T-shirt made even more so by a glob of crusted blood. There was already a distasteful odor. The sound of nearby traffic signaled that life went on. While uniforms put up the crime scene tape to keep the curious at bay, the detectives slapped on latex gloves and made a quick examination of the corpse before the crime scene boys arrived and chased them off.

Cal read from the ID in the kid’s wallet. “Kevin Kenally, Sixteen years old. What a waste.”

“Been a waste for a couple of years already,” Brin muttered.

Cal rounded on him. “What’s with you, Haskell? He’s like any other kid. What’s he done to earn your scorn? Maybe you oughta go work another case.”

“Look, I don’t like queers, okay? But that doesn’t mean I’m not a good detective. Doesn’t mean I won’t do my job.”

Cal brought his voiced under control. “You’re right. And you might as well get started. There’s gay bookstore with a private teenage hangout called Brothers and Sisters next door just a couple of blocks down the street. Go see if you can learn anything useful.” Cal removed a snapshot of the kid standing with an older youth from the victim’s billfold. “Maybe Kenally was there last night. See if you can find out who he left with. Use this snapshot until I can get a better picture. And see if you can find out who the other guy in the photo is.”
 
 
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Does he have your attention? Mark tells me he's going to post the entire story on his blog just as soon as he figures out how to do it. He's about as good with the computer as I am.
 
Next week: Once again, I won’t know until the last minute!

New posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

 

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