Glass City EclipseWritten by Dave DeChristopher | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Chapter 9: The Trucker with the Paint-Spattered Boots
I went around the block slowly, orbiting the main library. Even if the guy from the Kwik Parking saw me, he wouldn’t be able to catch me … although he might get my license number.
I spotted Tania at the corner of Adams and Ontario, alternately hiding behind the low stone wall and popping up to look for me. I skidded to a stop, and she hopped into the front seat.
“Let’s burn rubber,” she said. “Take me to the Powerhouse Gym.”
Powerhouse was the designated destination on the latest clue we had stumbled onto in our shaggy dog adventure, which so far was a safe distance from excellent.
“Easy, speed racer,” I said. “This isn’t a game, remember? That was a real dead body we saw, and a real bloody knife we found.”
She seemed to hear me.
“Okay; tomorrow we’ll take it all to the police.”
“Good,” I said.
“And go back to our dull Midwestern lives of marginal employment, and – “
“Stop! Or I’ll break into a chorus of ‘We’re Strong for Toledo.’”
“But tonight,” she declared, “we’re sleuths.”
We rode in silence for a minute or more before I admitted that it had been kind of exciting.
“That’s the spirit,” Tania said. “And maybe this could become a job, after we bask in the glory of it as local heroes.”
I let that one pass.
“Here’s what I don’t get, though,” I said. “Why did our mystery blonde dispose of the knife in the book drop? Why didn’t she get rid of it securely?”
“Maybe she wasn’t exactly getting rid of it. Maybe she was passing it along to an accomplice.”
“Some sort of a pact, or proof, I don’t know. That’s something we should find out too.”
“So she knew who was going to get it? I mean, before we intercepted it.”
“Very good, grasshopper,” she said. “Didn’t you think it strange that the same person — ”
“That guard with the salt-and-pepper moustache.”
“Mm; shooed people away from the body in the afternoon and emptied the book drop in the evening.”
“He lingered a bit over the body, too, as I remember.”
“Coincidence, maybe, but I don’t think so.”
“What time is it?”
“10:30,” she said.
“Good. Maybe we’ll get there before our blonde friend in the PT Cruiser.”
“Let’s come up with another name for her,” she said. “I’m over calling her ‘mystery blonde’ or ‘our blonde friend.’ I mean, she probably killed somebody.”
“Noted,” I said. “What if we call her the evil woman?”
“No,” Tania said. “That’s what I call my mother.”
“Me, too! I didn’t know that.”
“Then how about just ‘EW,’ I suggested.
Tania wrinkled her nose. “‘EW’ is Entertainment Weekly,” she said. “It would be too confusing.”
“Tania, in all the years that we’ve known each other, have we ever talked about Entertainment Weekly?”
“Good point,” she said. “‘EW’ it is.”
We pulled into the parking lot of Powerhouse Gym, not near the building but at the far end of the lot by the bus kiosk. Next to us, a semi was parked at an angle, the driver leaning up against the back of the truck, smoking a cigarette. With his old paint-spattered boots, baggy jeans, flannel shirt, and shaggy hair, he looked straight out of central casting. He was probably smoking a Camel.
“What do we do now?”
“Wait until midnight,” Tania said. “Either EW has been here already, and we’ll get her package at 12:01, or that blue PT Cruiser will pull into the parking lot over the next hour or so.”
“Okay,” I said. “Got any snacks?”
To be continued …