You never forget your first book, just like you never forget your first love unless your spouse asks for the name. The first book I ever completed was during National Novel Writing Month in November of 2008. I had always wanted to write a book that began “It was a dark and stormy night, ” and I had always wanted the opening of the book to include the hero of the book waking up to a large number of guns pointed at his head. I created a spoof of the OJ Simpson story called, “What If He Didn’t Do It?” The major problem with this book so far, aside from some plot holes is that I never did any editing on it. You would notice that lack if you read the excerpts. So, feel free to have fun picking these excerpts apart! Here are the two scenes I always wanted to write about in the opening:
It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning flashed in the eastern sky and Detective Rodriguez looked at his partner. Detective Johnson looked back as Rodriguez’s face lit up with the flash of lightning. Rodriguez laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Johnson asked.
“I feel like I’m in a cheap horror novel. Look at the night, dark and stormy, lightning flashing. All we need to complete the picture would be a body swinging from the tree.”
Johnson had been with the force far too long and had seen far too many things to think there was much that was funny about their work. “We’ve got a body lying in the morgue right now, two bodies in fact, and I don’t see nothing funny about that.”
Detective Rodriguez shook his head and sighed. Johnson took things too seriously for him sometimes. “Ok partner. Message received.”
“There’s the house, just ahead. Now quit yapping and get ready.” Detective Johnson was not happy about the long walk up the driveway. Rich people always had more money than sense and he never liked houses set so far back from the street.
The patrolmen accompanying them looked at each other. They wondered how these two were able to stay together as partners. They didn’t realize that these two had been partners for so long just because they enjoyed the give and take they shared. Rodriguez had explained it to his captain one time: “Some partners argue two or three times a day. Me and Johnson…in all the time we’ve been partners we’ve just had one argument. It started the first day we worked together and it never stopped in all that time. We both thrive on the conflict.”
Slowly they approached the house. Rodriguez held up a hand to stop the patrol. They were in silent mode now. He pointed to a bush by the front steps. Something was flapping in the breeze. One of the patrolmen walked over and looked carefully. He raised his arm and pointed one finger in the air. He pulled out an evidence bag and carefully extracted something from the bush and put it in the bag. He straightened and waved the team over.
Johnson walked over and looked at the bag. The patrolman then pointed further down the bush line. The lightning flashes were growing more intense; revealing more with the light, but reminding them that the rain was coming closer. He waved Rodriguez over and whispered, “Looks like we may have some stuff that might help us in the case. We might want to pick it up before the rain hits.”
Rodriguez looked at the house. There were no lights anywhere; no signs of motion. He nodded his head. They pulled the patrolmen together and gestured to let them know how they should search. They fanned around the house picking up some of the debris and leaving other bits on the grounds. When they met back at the front of the house Johnson and Rodriguez discussed what they had found.
“All of this makes me think it’s a slam dunk,” Rodriguez whispered.
“It looks that way, but there are times when you might have too much evidence,” Johnson opined.
A.J. Robinson usually enjoyed the off-season. He slept better not having game day nerves 6 days a week and after game regrets the other. But tonight he was sleeping fitfully, tossing and turning. He moaned lightly and turned over on his side. Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled, causing him to open his eyes slightly. He closed them briefly, giving his mind time to register the scene in his room. He jumped up and turned on a light before the others in the room could react. He didn’t like seeing 6 guns pointing at his head. “I’m sorry guys, I don’t keep any cash on hand, but my…”
Detective Johnson cut him off, “Are you ok sir? I’m Detective Fred Johnson.” He flashed a badge. “This is my partner Marco Rodriguez. We noticed that your front door was open and we were concerned for your safety.”
A.J. breathed a sigh of relief, “Door open? I may have left it unlocked without thinking about it. I had my hands full when I came in tonight. I had just bought some groceries.” It struck AJ, suddenly, “So why were you guys so close to the house anyway? Is something wrong? You couldn’t see the door from the road…it’s too far away.”
Detective Rodriguez chose his words carefully, watching for any reaction, “Sir, I’m sorry to inform you that your wife is dead. We found her body at the Ramada downtown.”
“Don’t you mean my ex-wife, detective? We’ve been divorced for two months now.”
Detective Rodriguez noted no perceptible reaction as Robinson spoke. He glanced at his partner. His partner returned the glance confirming that he had heard nothing in the response that gave him any clues either.
“We didn’t know that you were divorced, sir. We’re sorry to hear that,” Detective Johnson lied. Inwardly he thought that might open up a motive or two that could be used in any upcoming trial.