Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | July 10, 2011

Sample from WIP, “Overload”

The story is told by Mike Ferguson. He is traveling with the protagonist, Frost. Sharon, Mike’s admin assistant had once said that when Frost looks at a woman, he makes her think he knows what color of panties she’s wearing.  Sharon has invited her buddy, Sarah, to get a look a Frost.

***********

Chapter 4
Sharon lit up the intercom light at precisely 8:30. Frost had arrived.
“Send him in,” I said.
He came in, wearing a light blue shirt over a pair of pale tan khakis. Looked right to go to Florida.
“Mike, you ready?”
I nodded toward a black nylon overnight case next to the door. I was wearing white trousers and a blue print Hawaiian shirt. Keeps my .45 out of sight.
“Packed. All we have to do is get a case or two of beer along the way. I’ve got a cooler we can use.”
“Right, let’s get moving. I’m parked in your client’s spot in the deck,” he said.
On the way out, I paused by Sharon’s desk. Told her to call on the cell phone if there was an emergency. Glanced over at Sarah. She was doe-eyed and looked ready to throw her undies at Frost. I winked at Sharon and she rolled her eyes.
Frost had mentioned a new car. It was a metallic black BMW M Class with dark windows. Inside, the leather seats were pale gray. The trim was a carbon black.
The only outward differences an observer would notice, from tamer Beemers, were the ports on the hood and the red, white, and blue M logo. The real differences were not obvious.
We merged into I-610 traffic and headed east. This early, on a Thursday, traffic wasn’t bad. Frost threaded through the tangle of cars moving toward New Orleans. At one point, he had to accelerate to avoid getting boxed-in by two eighteen-wheelers. The power shoved me back in the seat.
“Nice to have the acceleration when you need it,” he said.
“Seems to be plenty of it.”
“Five-hundred horses from a V-10.”
“Adequate,” I said.
He nodded and gave a thin grin, but looked straight ahead.
We stopped in Slidell and bought the beer. I had a cooler I’d loaded with ice before I went to the office. The beer and sandwich makings went in together.
Plenty of room in the trunk for his overnight bag, my bag and the cooler.
Frost played Bach through the car’s sound system. I recognized the music and was almost surprised, but then thought again, Bach was precise and orderly. Just what would appeal to Frost.
The speedometer showed the car was capable of 200 mph. I had no doubts about the possibility, but Frost kept it around 80-85. A radar detector, he said was mounted behind the grille.
“Don’t get very good mileage at this speed, we’ll get some gas and pee,” he said.
“I’ll go for that, and maybe get a small snack. I didn’t eat breakfast.”
We’d crossed a complex of rivers and bayous on an elevated bridge and weren’t far from the Alabama state line. Frost exited at a place where the signs showed a couple of filling stations and fast food restaurants. Not much else.
Frost pulled up to a pay-at-the-pump in the least-sleazy looking station of the two. How the place kept a franchise with the major oil company was a mystery.
“I’ll fill it up. You go pee. Then you can wait here I while I check out the men’s room. Let me know how bad it smells,” he said.
I’d just come back and motioned for Frost that it was his turn. I was still in the store when he came in and went past me. I nodded my head toward the men’s room sign.
“Pretty bad, but don’t stay long, and you can hold your breath,” I said.
I was looking at some jerky to chew as we drove. Frost came out and shook his head; we went down the two steps to the pump area together.
A man in his mid-to-late twenties was sitting on the right front fender of Frost’s car. He was heavyset. Muscles bulged in tan arms under a dirty white tee shirt with holes. He had shaggy brown hair, wore pale blue jeans with ragged knees and a baseball cap turned backward. A skinnier version with pale hair and overalls was running his hand over the car’s trunk.
“Be good if you’d get off my car,” Frost said
The skinny one stood up straight and shuffled to the right rear to watch.
“Yew gotta a nice piece of iron here. Why dontcha let me drive it a while?” Heavyset said.
He didn’t move. I went to the left front fender, watching both rednecks. Frost stepped within four feet of the jerk on the fender. Faced him.
“Get off now, and we can all have a peaceful afternoon,” Frost said.
“I just might get a piece of you, fancy pants,” Heavyset put both hands on the fender and levered himself off the car. When his feet hit the concrete, he reached for Frost with his right hand.
A mistake.
Frost’s left arm with the forearm at a ninety-degree angle stopped the redneck’s arm. He straightened the forearm, wrapped it around the man’s bicep trapping the redneck’s hand under his arm. He slid his palm back under the man’s elbow and lifted—hard—snatching the elbow upward. Heavyset moaned. As he did Frost slid his left hand down to the guy’s wrist. Pulled him close and hammered his right fist in a snap-punch to the solar plexus. Then he dropped him.
“You broke my arm you asshole.”
He moaned through clenched teeth.
The man’s arm looked distorted. Painful.
“No. Just dislocated your elbow. It’ll heal. Stay off other people’s property,” Frost said.
The skinny one at the back of the car started reaching in his pocket for something. Frost saw him and I saw him.
“No,” I said.
He looked into the barrel of my .45 and eased his hand out of the pocket, and put both hands overhead.
“Ain’t got no part of this,” he said.
He turned and trotted off to a rusty pickup truck. It started after a short grind and drove away in a smoke-belching clatter. I followed him in my sights until I was sure he didn’t have a weapon, such as a rifle or shotgun, to turn on us.
The redneck on the pavement continued to crawl around, using his left arm. He moaned, cursed and threatened when he could draw enough air. He barfed once.
“Don’t mess up my tires,” Frost said.
He grabbed Heavyset’s shirt collar and dragged him away a few feet, toward the building.
“Let’s go,” he said.
He guided the car, back on the Interstate and set the cruise control at eighty.
“You think the people in the store will cause trouble?” I said
“No. An asshole like that, no one wants him around. Self-defense, anyway, and you got a carry permit,” he said.
He was right.

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