Glass City EclipseWritten by Dave DeChristopher | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Chapter 5: The Guard with the Salt-and-Pepper Moustache
“He looks kind of dead,” the woman behind me repeated.
I wondered what her first clue was, the open sightless eyes or the gaping mouth or the red blot on his tie, clearly not a Rorschach sample.
We were in the Main Library on Michigan and the dead man in the brown suit was the guy Tania and I had been trailing for the last hour or so. No sign of the mystery blonde whom we watched ream him out at Space 237, or of Tania for that matter.
As people rushed up, I thought of that old Groucho Marx line: “Quick, quick, everybody crowd around so he won’t recover.” The man had fallen in that first inner room after the library’s main lobby, where there were rows of illuminated signs, apparently intended to lure the marginally literate, with messages like “NEW” and “COOL” in block letters. He was sprawled in an aisle between the two signs “TRENDS” and “NOTABLE.” Near his body was a copy of Nora Roberts’ latest novel, open on the floor.
Hey!” Tania was pulling on my sleeve. I jumped a little bit and she rolled her eyes. “What happened?” She pulled me off to the side, under a sign that declared “HOT.”
“Isn’t it obvious?” I said. Look at that book.”
“Do you think it’s a clue?”
“He was clearly done in by somebody with good literary taste.”
She gave me that look with the eyebrow.
A security guard with a salt-and-pepper moustache shooed everybody away, then leaned over the body. It looked like he was patting it down. Or looking in the pockets. Then two EMS charged in, and the security guard backed away. A minute later, the corpse was gone and a woman with an ID chain around her neck had reshelved the Nora Roberts novel.
Like it had never happened.
“I thought this was fun when we started,” Tania said, “and kind of exciting. But now —”
I know,” I said. “Do you wanna knock off? The new Kevin Smith movie just opened at Cinematique.”
“Do you wanna knock off?”
“Of course not,” I said quickly. “I just thought —”
“This started as just a game, right? But maybe we stumbled onto something more important.”
“Or dangerous,” I offered.
“So maybe we should go to the police.”
“With what evidence?”
“Well, funny you should say that,” Tania said. “That’s what I came back inside to tell you. I caught up with our blonde friend again outside.” This was the accomplice (or boss) of the newly dead man in the brown suit.
I didn’t see her in here,” I said.
Huh. Maybe she had a partner, or maybe … you just didn’t see her.”
I didn’t feel like arguing.
“She came outside — she smells like White Linen, by the way.”
“Noted. Then what?”
She looked around, and put something in the big book drop out front.”
“I couldn’t tell.”
“Did she see you?”
“Are you sure?”
Tania sighed, which clearly meant, “Oh, ye of little faith.”
“So maybe we can go to the police with this …” I said.
“We could do that,” she said. “Or…”
To be continued.