Hello again followers 🙂 I’d like to offer my thanks to Kayleigh Macleod for the opportunity to participate in the Navigating Indieworld Summer Blog-a-day event!! For those interested (and, really, why wouldn’t you be?) you can follow the entire event here: http://kaymacleodbooks.com/summer-blog-a-day-2018/
For my part of this event, I’m going to share 2 posts today. This first one will give you an excerpt from Singularity, which will be released on August 14th (so close now). It’s on pre-order now https://www.amazon.com/Singularity-Eldon-Farrell-ebook/dp/B07F76N7TL
And now, a taste of Singularity…
Outside Jitters Coffeehouse, Nathan took a sip of his high-octane brew before he cinched the collar of his trench coat tighter. It wasn’t enough to keep the wind from biting at the flesh underneath as it whipped up Carolina Street.
He stepped to the curb and saw the wall four blocks north. The new American dream.
His melancholy was interrupted when an unmarked cruiser pulled over to the curb next to him. The window slid down, and his partner said, “Time to roll, Miller.”
Nathan downed the rest of his coffee in one gulp and tossed the cup in a wastebasket before lowering into the cruiser.
Quinn Baker gave him a sidelong look from behind dark shades and offered a smile. “Good to see you, partner. You enjoy the time off?”
“What do you think?”
Quinn chuckled as they pulled away from the curb. They took the road south to twenty-seventh then hung a right toward the station ten minutes out on Campbell Avenue.
“I miss anything?”
“Same old shit,” Quinn said, “You know how it is.”
“Any leads on the bastard who squealed?”
“No, not yet.”
They turned onto Stephenson Ave without slowing—to the dismay of pedestrians on the corner.
“Don’t worry though, we’ll find them,” Quinn said.
“Fucking right we will.”
Turning the strobes on, Quinn pushed the accelerator down and ran the light at the corner. They turned a sharp left onto Broadway Ave before a quick right onto Franklin Road. Quinn doused the lights.
“Mind if I ask you something?”
Nathan clenched his left hand and nodded.
“We’ve been riding together for two years and the whole time I’ve been wondering something. Why the hell you live outside the wall? I mean, South Providence? Seriously? You clear more than enough to move on up, so what gives?”
The road rose over the railyard, and they left the grim spectre of the wall behind. As they passed over the two-twenty highway, Nathan said, “I was born in South Providence long before the wall—why should I move?”
Quinn slapped the wheel. “You shitting me? You might sleep better for starters. Fucking animals out here.”
“This is my hood.” Nathan smirked. “I sleep just fine.”
Quinn shook his head. “You gotta be the only guy I know who chooses to live out here, surrounded by the displaced.”
“Let me tell you something about the goddamn wall, Rook,” Nathan said, “It was a bad fucking idea to start with, and it hasn’t improved over the years. Walls like that have choked the life out of decent neighborhoods all across this country. How we ever allowed Americans to become refugees in our own land. . .” Nathan whistled as he trailed off. “Shameful.”
“Rising waters and the big one out west,” Quinn said, “Sixty-five million people is a lot to relocate. The resources just aren’t there.”
“So much for the American dream,” Nathan said, “Forget the tired, poor, huddled masses—every man for himself now, that it?”
They drove in silence until Quinn took a left onto Third Street. “You weren’t home last night?”
“Was getting marching orders from Logue,” Nathan said, “I’ll fill you in.”
Quinn made a face. “Later, Singh wants you in his office first thing.”
“Thought you’d like that,” Quinn said, “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
“And what does the captain want?”
Quinn swung the cruiser onto the lot and pulled into a spot out front. “Maybe he wants to welcome you back?”
They shared a laugh as Nathan got out.
Omar Singh waited behind a scratched glass window.
His office looked out at the warren of desks that made up the detective pool known affectionately as the Clubhouse.
He shuffled paperwork as Nathan darkened his doorway. After a moment, he set it aside and said, “Take a seat, and close the door.”
Nathan obliged then waited for him to begin.
Singh steepled his fingers and narrowed his gaze. “Have you anything to say?”
Nathan glanced away and shrugged.
“So, that’s how you want to do it then? Fine.”
He opened a folder on his desk. “This is the official report on your suspension. As you’re no doubt aware, IA found insufficient grounds to uphold it.”
Singh slapped the folder shut. “They may have cleared you, Miller—but I haven’t. You have a history as long as my arm of complaints against you. Allegations of misconduct, excessive force, bribery, you name it. So, why should I reinstate you?”
Nathan stared back at him.
“I could fire you right now, and there isn’t anything you can do about it. Your union is behind me, Miller. They feel you’re more trouble than your worth.”
“You know what, Captain?” Nathan said, “I don’t give a shit what the fucking union thinks.”
“Tough guy, huh?”
Nathan licked his lips. “Fuck you.”
He stood up and turned to leave. “Sit down, Miller. I haven’t dismissed you yet.”
Nathan stared at him with contempt.
“I said sit the fuck down!”
Nathan took his time before he complied.
“Jesus,” Singh lowered his voice as he asked, “Just what the hell happened to you?” Pointing to the window, he said, “You used to be one of the best detectives out there. I’ve read your file—you were exemplary once.”
Nathan didn’t rise to the bait.
“Fine,” Singh tapped the folder and said, “I’m not going to fire you—yet. For some reason, I believe you can be exemplary again, so I’m going to give you that chance. This is it, Miller. Step out of line one more time, and you’re out of here. Are we clear on that? You get so much as a parking ticket, and you’re done. You have no room for error. I know you’ve seen The Ransom—press this department doesn’t need. Even the brass protecting you will agree with that. So be glad I’m on your side. Get out of my sight, and don’t make me regret this.”
“Some reason?” Nathan straightened from his slouch. “Would you like me to tell you the reason you’re keeping me around, Captain? The Commissioner—your boss—has instructed you to do so. Isn’t that right? He wants me on the street. He knows you need me out there. It must really get to you, huh? Wanting me gone so bad but being unable to do a fucking thing about it. Getting the gutless union and IA behind you and still . . . just powerless. So please don’t act like you’re doing me some fucking righteous favor here. You’re not—you’re doing what you’ve been told to do.”
A sinister grin played across his face. “I’m fine with that, Cap. But, just so you know, I’m gonna continue to do what I do out there. I’m not changing a goddamn thing for you.
“You want to fire me?” He removed his badge from his pocket and held it out to him. Singh didn’t take it. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
Turning his back to Singh, he strutted to the door.
“Don’t think I won’t do it, Miller. I don’t care who has your back.”
On his way out, Nathan added, “The last captain thought like you too. You’ll notice he’s not around anymore.”
Riverdale used to be an up and coming suburb of Union City—a happening place for young professionals to put down roots. Before the wall.
Riverdale is now home to abandoned properties, addicts, and roving gangs of displaced on the hunt for anyone foolish enough to be outside after dark.
Pulling the cruiser up to the mouth of a laneway, Quinn shifted into park. Glass shattered somewhere in the alley. Turning to Nathan, he asked, “What the hell are we doing here?”
“What are you . . . scared?”
“Actually,” he said, “I’m tired. Been a long day. Don’t you get enough of this filth when we’re on duty? Just let me take you home and call it a day.”
Opening the car door Nathan lifted one foot out and said, “Gotta make a stop first. Stay in the car.” Shutting the door, he paused a moment before leaning back in the open window. “Try not to shoot anyone while I’m gone.”
Darkness enveloped Nathan as he strolled into the alley.
A feral cat hissed at him as he passed a pile of refuse with someone sleeping beneath. The sight twisted his stomach into knots. He bent at the knee and slipped some bills under the person.
With a clenched jaw, he arrived at a steel doorway. A bare bulb flickered above, casting sparse light on the step. With his left fist, he pounded three times on the metal, shaking the frame. A view port slid back to reveal a pair of angry eyes.
“What do you want?”
“Fuck off.” The panel slid shut.
Nathan’s eyes widened. Drawing his sidearm, he used the barrel to rap on the door.
The panel slid open again. The eyes were venomous slits until they took in the Glock pointed between them. “Open the fucking door asshole. I need to speak with Cain.”
A few seconds later, he heard locks disengage, and the door swung inward on rusted hinges. Nathan mounted the single step. He threw a shoulder into the guard as he passed.
Deep reds, vibrant greens, and flashing neon lit the interior—a poor simulation of the rush of Vegas casinos. Players paused in mid-roll or looked up from their cards. He had the air of a cop, and they wondered if this was a raid—if their luck had run out.
Nathan revelled in their fear.
Passing the gaming floor, he mounted the steps to the bar area and caught a whiff of strong perfume. The fragrance stung his eyes and made him flinch.
Hookers lined the bar, each one waiting to be selected by a john. Nathan gave them a dismissive look as they rolled their dead eyes at him.
“Still pressing the flesh huh, Roxie?” He said to a leggy brunette wearing a skin-tight dress and cheap makeup.
“You looking for a good time?” She licked her lips and winked at him for effect.
Nathan suppressed a laugh as he answered, “I’ll let you know when I find one.”
“Fuck you, Miller.”
“You wish.” Nathan gave her a last look before he spotted the owner of the club and left the desperate scene behind.
With a grin, he took the unoffered seat across from Austin Cain.
“Miller,” Cain said as he dismissed a pair of working girls from his lap, “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Take that ridiculous hat off when you’re talking to me, and the fucking glasses too.”
With a forced smile, Cain removed his fedora and sunglasses.
“The fuck is the matter with you anyway?”
Cain laughed—a high-pitched sound. “Can I get you a drink?”
“You know what you can get me, Cain?” Nathan leant forward as he said, “You can get me my fucking money. Last I checked, you were behind.”
Cain’s gaze shifted. He gave a slight nod to the hulking brutes next to the stairway. “Last I heard, you were no longer a cop, Miller.”
“So, you thought that meant . . . what?”
A waitress deposited a bottle of wine on their table while security inched closer behind Nathan.
Cain smiled. “If you’re not a cop, what would I be paying for?”
Nathan looked down at the table. “I see.”
He reached into his jacket and dropped his badge on the table with his right hand while his left wrapped around the wine bottle.
Rising from his seat, he smashed the bottle over Cain’s head before whipping around to face his security.
He drove his right fist into the bridge of the first guard’s nose and sent up a mist of blood. Nathan clamped his left hand around the second guard’s throat and lifted him off his feet. He tossed him over the top of the bar to collide with the racks of glass bottles.
A Glock appeared in his right hand, keeping the first guard from retaliating. Shocked by the display, the hookers squealed, and a hush fell over the gaming floor.
“Nothing to see here folks,” Nathan said. He kept the guard in his sights. “Go back to your games.”
Cain’s head rested on the table. He groaned. “My fucking head!”
Cain reached into his pocket to produce an envelope bulging with cash. Placing it on the table next to Miller’s badge, he said, “There’s your fucking money.”
“Where’s your share?”
Lifting his head, Cain glared at Nathan through the blood that trickled down his face. “You can’t be serious.”
Nathan stepped closer. “Call it a penalty.”
Breathing heavy, Cain nodded to his guard who stumbled back behind the bar before returning with another envelope. This one bore a smear of blood on the paper from the guard’s gushing nose.
Pocketing both envelopes and his badge, Nathan said, “And let’s get something straight, Cain. This arrangement has nothing to do with being a cop. These are my streets. You exist because I allow it—and only because I allow it. We’re finished when I say we are. You clear on that?”
Head in hand Cain said, “Yeah.”
Nathan grinned while holstering his weapon. “Now that we understand each other, I need you to do something for me.”
With a napkin, Cain wiped the blood from his scalp while scowling at him.
Nathan asked, “You don’t mind, right?”
“Not at all,” Cain answered through gritted teeth.
“Good. I need you to put the scare into Alexis King.” He reached into his coat and pulled out a manila envelope. He dropped it on the table and said, “There’s a photo in there along with her details. Have her roughed up but keep me out of it. I need it done yesterday.”
Cain sighed. “I’ll see to it.”
“I know you will.” Nathan leaned over and clapped a hand on Cain’s shoulder. “While you’re doing things for me, find out who talked to her.” Nathan shrugged. “Maybe she’ll tell you.”
“Anything else?” Cain’s tone dripped sarcasm.
Taking a step back, Nathan said, “Yeah, hire some new help. I don’t want any fucking hassles next time I come around here.”