Writing Noir Mysteries Part 5

When it’s time to focus on pacing.

For me when I’m locked into a story, I must stop periodically and reread what’s been written. Normally, I do this daily. Write a few pages, and the next morning while having breakfast or coffee, read the previous day’s work. This does at least two things.

One: I can edit, add or delete. Two: I can fill in or flesh out, whichever terms suits places where I rushed when writing because some thoughts demand to be written quickly. Three: I also start writing what comes next. I do this on paper with a pen or pencil. For me the words seem pulled out by the physical act of handwriting them.

* * *

You’re staring at the water ring on the coaster when you hear the waitress returning. You don’t want to seem too interested, so you act like you don’t know it’s her.

She sits across from you. You look up and realize she has beautiful blue eyes, that she’s again studying you as if she feels uncertain of your intentions. Her long wavy blonde hair is loose around her shoulders.

You smile. “I was thinking we might try the diner around on fifth and forty-third.”

“She seems to relax some and nods. “I’ve been there once or twice and the food was good. Music too if you might want to dance.”

You know dancing is not your favorite activity, but the ladies enjoy it so you agree. “Sounds like a nice night.” You stand and extend you hand. When she accepts your invitation, you help her to her feet. Her hand feels warm and right as you hold it.

When she steps alongside, you hold out your arm and feel her hand move around your elbow. Briefly, she leans her head against your shoulder, which gets you wondering if she’s more interested than she led you to believe earlier in the evening.

As you reach the table were the mob boys sat, you slow slightly, carefully give the table a once over. Nothing remains to show you who sat at the table, but you grow weary as you near the exit to the street.

A quick look tells you it’s nearly midnight and you think maybe the diner is closed.

Just as you reach it the front door swings inward. A young couple, bundled up against the cold outside, hugging each other the way youngsters do, laugh at a joke only they might understand and press their way inside.

Their opening the door gives you a look outside where you spot a car parked across the street with the motor running judging by the exhaust coming from the tailpipe. The driver pulls on his cigarette. The glowing ember illuminates his face enough so you identify him as the thug who accompanied the bastard you knocked around.

Carefully, so you don’t frighten your date, you reach under your suit coat and slip the .45 out. With your thumb, you flip the safety off.

As you step outside, the car’s door opens. The spent cigarette hits the pavement sending out sparks in a small burst of orange. The driver stares at you with his right hand in his jacket pocket. You can hear the rumble of his car’s engine.

You step in front of your companion to shield her and let the driver see your .45. His head goes back as he grins to let you know he’s not afraid.

Knowing hesitation would prove deadly, you lift the .45 higher and walk around the corner of the building into an alley you hope leads to the next street. You don’t want a gunfight while you’re with new lady friend.

Copyright 2018 Gabriel FW Koch All Rights Reserved

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