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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

#TuesdaySerial: Xenocide, pt 5

Previous episodes: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

Xenocide, part 5
The Crack House That Wasn’t

“Hey. Can I talk to you?” The Moss kid stuck his head through the window of my patrol car.

“Sure. What about?” I put a finger to my lips, then grabbed my ears and stretched them away from my skull.

He smiled, lips pressed together, shaking with silent laughter, then recovered quickly. “Uh… you know there’s a crack house just up the block from here?”

I cocked one eyebrow, he shook his head. “No. What’s the address?”

“I didn’t write down the number. But I can show you where it is.”

“They’ll be watching for cop cars. Maybe you can take me on foot.”

“Yeah.” He smirked. “C’mon, I’ll show you.”

I rolled up the windows and locked the car, and we walked up the block. “They bugged you too?” he asked me, sotto voce. “That’s some serious shit. I mean, yeah, what’s a kid gonna do about it. But a cop?”

“I doubt there’s much we can do about it either,” I said. “They’ll just deny it. I was trying to figure out how to get word to you when you came by just now.”

“I saw ‘em do it.” Moss shook his head. He looked angry. “Assholes. My computer’s in the living room. That ice queen’s on the sofa, she leans down to tie her shoe, and the big jock’s at my desk. I saw him reach up underneath. I guess he figured I’d be staring at her tits or something. Yeah I did, but I didn’t exactly focus on them. They were okay, but there’s girls at school with better racks than hers. One or two I might even have a chance with.”

I laughed. “What did you do about it?”

“I downloaded that sucky Cop Killer track off a torrent, hung a speaker right next to their bug, and put the track on repeat at full volume for a couple hours. Parents were out, so I just left the house and left it running. By the time I got back I figured they got tired of it and turned it off, so I pried it loose and threw it in the garbage.”

We both laughed. “You know they probably left one or two more where they wouldn’t be so obvious. The sheriff figures they can hear everything going on in the office, so we don’t talk about it there or in our cars.”

“Damn. So you guys are still on the case?”

“Let’s just say we haven’t closed our books on it just yet.” I stopped and thought a minute. “Hey… doesn’t your dad own a car detailing place?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“If we get lucky, he just might have a lead for me.” I motioned for us to turn back. “Listen. You’re a smart kid, smarter than you let on. Stay out of trouble, and you might just surprise some people, how far you go. Okay?”

To my surprise, he laughed. “That’s what I’m plannin’ on, Ossifer Friendly.”

The senior Moss owned Northside Detailing — the name made me wonder if the kid inherited his dad’s sense of humor. There were over a dozen full-service detailers in the county, some that made house calls, and more self-serve car washes than I could count. If the perp decided to hose that alien goop out on his own, I was SOL — and that’s what I expected. But I had to run these leads down. I couldn’t do it from the office, because the Fibbies were sure to have the phones tapped on top of the mikes they left around. A visual inspection turned up four bugs, including one in the men’s room, and we hadn’t even started electronic sweeping yet. I figured my home phone and cellphone were similarly numbers of interest, so I used the old drug dealer trick of paying cash for a prepaid cell and enough minutes to deal with the situation.

On a smoke break the next morning, I let the sheriff know what I had in mind. He surprised me: “You know that Cutlass we impounded back in April? It’s still in the lot. I’ll let Sam know you need it for some undercover work. There’s some cash from the same bust, still in the safe.” He grinned. “You never know when you’re gonna need a slush fund.”

I laughed. “Man. The Fibbies really got on your bad side. I wonder if they know how bad.”

Sheriff Carmichael put the grin away. “To be honest, Adler: I’m probably taking this a little too personal. But someone dumped a body in my county, and the Fibbies bugged my office. I don’t mean to let either one just slide. There’s not a lot I can do personally, but I can give you a whole lot of leeway to pursue this.” He shook his head. “If you decide you’ve hit a dead end, though? Just let it drop. I’m probably giving you too much encouragement as it is. But I’d sure like to wipe that smug look off the Feds, you know?”



  1. I really really like the character development you are doing in this series. I think you have captured the right relationship between the boy and the cop. The dialogue is believable and the Moss kid is turning out to be much brighter than I first thought.

    I like that Sheriff Carmichael is aiming to get one over on the Feds - can't wait to see how this all plays out.

    Well done, keep going ^__^

  2. Thanks, Helen! Jacob was originally going to be a cameo, someone who found the body and was never mentioned again. But, as has happened with secondary characters in the past, he pushed for more lines. ;-)

  3. Fantastic!

    You definitely have a good story going here. The dialog sounds natural, and the kid did exactly what I would have probably done in the same situation.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Thanks, Antony! I'm hearing good stuff about dialogue lately, so maybe I can start obsessing on improving something else. ;-)

    I just got a full crit from John Xero, so things should be well in hand from here on out.


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