(Some time ago, a reader requested a love story for LJ, the animated leather jacket we first meet in Lime Gelatin & Other Monsters. This was my response. Which only got me in hot water and had readers demanding more for LJ. Look for more in Skim Blood & Savage Verse. ;) )
The rain covered everything like a dirty gray blanket. A see-through dirty gray blanket. It was a stupid metaphor, but he was in a noir kind of mood. He wished he could smoke. Noir detectives always lit up when they were pensive and melancholy.
She stood beside him as the train pulled in, motionless, maybe thinking noir thoughts as he was.
With a gesture at the slowing train and back to her, he indicated, Do you have to go?
A little shrug as she stuffed her sleeves in her pockets. We've been through this.
He pointed to her, to him, back to her. What about us?
Her shrug was slower this time, sadder. Beyond that, she didn't answer.
She'd blown into his life just two weeks before. Had it only been two weeks? Gorgeous hunter green pea coat with big dark buttons and a mountain of attitude. Their sleeves had met over a bin of shiny glass beads, though he'd just been looking. She'd been stuffing them in her pocket. Petty stuff as thefts went. Still, he warned her off lifting things in that part of town. He wasn't just some punk anymore; he knew police officers. Even liked some of them.
Instead of taking offense, she touched his zipper, seemed fascinated by it like it was the first one she'd seen up close. Maybe it was. She was like that, this strange recipe of jaded and innocent all wrapped up in a beautiful package of trouble. They spent hours together just drifting through parks, making smartass observations about people they saw, feeding the birds, playing hide-and-seek around the statues like they were kids. They haunted chocolatiers and ogled the selections. They snuck into a film festival to watch anime, tossing popcorn at each other and laughing silently. He'd never had such an intense connection to anyone and she felt it too. At least, he'd thought she had.
But something had changed in the last couple of days. She said she never planned on staying so long. Just passing through. The harder he tried to convince her to stay, the more stubborn she was about having to go.
He tugged on her sleeve as the train doors opened. Don't go.
Gently, she patted his lapel, took out pen and paper and wrote something. When she boarded, she turned and pressed the paper up to the window for him to see. See you, Space Cowboy.
Leather Jacket turned his collar up against the rain and watching the train until it disappeared in the gray pall of rain.
Offbeat Crimes 3
General release coming 4/4/17!
When a ferocious book attacks Carrington at his own birthday party, he believes it’s an isolated incident. But similar books soon pop up all over town, menacing innocent people with harsh bits of poetry and blank verse that deliver damaging physical blows. It’s a frustrating case with too many variables and not enough answers, and the stakes go up with each attack.
With the help of his misfit squad mates at the 77th and the public library’s Rare Books Department, the missing pieces decrease but not Carrington’s vexations. His commanding officer rakes him over the coals at the beginning of every shift. His police partner has lost patience with what she sees as his delusional relationship choices and his inability to pick the right man in a vast field of two. City Hall demands that the books be stopped immediately. It’s enough to put a nutritionally challenged vampire off his skim blood.