Building tension, and a possible love interest too.
Noir mysteries need a mystery of course, and the possibility for a relationship, a short time relationship. The protagonist, whether he is a cop or a private detective, can never commit to anything permanent. Part of the mystery must delve into his damaged personality. What makes him who he is? Why does he react the way he reacts? Why doesn’t he or she just settle down and raise a family?
* * *
Carefully, you turn in the chair then stand keeping you back to him. As you rise, you lift your elbow fast, and hard, hitting the end of his nose, which gives off a satisfying crack, blood runs down into his mouth. As your arm drops to your side, you grab his wrist and twist until you feel the bones grinding, hear his gasp in pain. The gun that a moment earlier threatened to end your life, drops to the floor.
Suddenly the piano stops, the dame singing is as silent as everyone else in the tavern. Without acknowledging the quiet or what caused it, you release him, sit, collect the gun off the floor, and drop it into the pocket of your suit coat.
The gunman groans, holding one hand covering his broken nose and the other hanging uselessly by his side.
“You just made things worse wise guy.” His voice sounds muffled as if he spoke through pain as well as a smashed nose, a mouthful of blood.
You don’t respond or even acknowledge him. Instead you lift your glass drain it and hold it up. “How about a refill?”
The waitress, Susan Pamela Johnson, you remember, smiles, but her eyes show something else, like she’s wary, not quite certain if approaching you is the best idea.
“Come on, doll, you don’t want to see an old friend die of thirst, do you?” You smile your New York’s finest grin. It’s a bit lopsided and doesn’t really reach your eyes, but you know the ladies go for it.
She shakes her head, smiles as if she’s unable to not, returns, and collects your glass. “Not on your life,” she says and walks to the bar.
Now, you turn to the piano player. “I’d like to hear that last song again.” You get up, dig a dollar from your pocket and stuff it in the glass on top of the piano.
Susan returns with a fresh cold beer, the head of foam runs down the side in a narrow stream. She wipes the frosted mug and places it before you. As she does, her eyes lift and seems to examine yours. You watch them moving slightly, and smile wide so she sees your pleasure.
Her face is about a foot from yours when she whispers, “I’m off in about an hour if you’d care to buy a girl a drink.” She places her hand on the back of yours, squeezes lightly, and then straightens, starts to turn away.
“I’ll be right here waiting,” you tell her and watch her walk away.
To be continued
Copyright 2018 Gabriel FW Koch All Rights Reserved