Freeman's Front Porch Musings

Home of an aspiring writer seeking to improve his craft.

The Rainy Ripper…the beginning of rewrite #3…unedited..

“Mama always said there’d be days like dis,” Job muttered as he walked through the torrential rain toward The One Stop Shop. “But I bet she never thought her oldest son would wind up on the streets, walking through a hurricane to get a Raspberry Iced Tea. Some things you can’t see, no matter how much prophetic juices you got flooding your veins.” The doorbell chimed as he pushed the door open and stepped into the store. After shaking off the rain as to not track up the white tile floor, Job shuffled to the cooler and took out two cans of tea.

No one worked at the counter, and the only noise came from the television that hung from the ceiling and the humming of the coolers. Taking the tea with him, Job walked back toward the storeroom. As he passed the last aisle, Job stopped in his tracks and dropped his tea. What in the world? Oh no, no, no…

Bloody footprints led into the hallway, and in the shadows, Job saw Talia leaned up against the cooler. Her throat was slashed open, the gash deep enough Job could see her spinal cord and the pool of blood that soaked the concrete floor. Behind him, Job heard a noise. He turned his head to see what caused it, when suddenly, he no longer had any need for Raspberry Iced Tea.

Meanwhile across town, Thermopolis Konan lifted his collar to shield his neck from the downpour of rain. He pulled the sleeve of his London Fog trench coat up and glanced at his watch. He scowled and dropped his sleeve back over the watch. It’s always the same thing; make the new guy wait. Behind him, the bartender turned the sign on the door to ‘CLOSED,’ locked the door, and dimmed the lights. An unmarked sedan, a black Crown Vic with blacked out windows and a push bar mounted on the front, pulled up next to the curb where Konan waited. The driver inched the window down and leaned over the center console. Peeking out, the driver asked, “Are you Detective Thermopolis Konan?”

“Yeah,” he grunted. “I’m the wet version.”

“Well, get in. It’s pouring out.”

Konan climbed into the passenger seat and the driver extended her hand toward him. He sat back and studied the driver. She returned his stare and gave him an unsure smile. “What?” She asked, but then she snapped her fingers and said, “Oh, right. I haven’t introduced myself.” She grinned and placed her right hand on her ample chest and said, “I’m Detective Lilly Thompson, and I’m your new partner.”

“Hi,” Konan replied. “As you’ve already mentioned, I’m Thermopolis Konan.” Lilly shook Konan’s hand. Lilly’s full lips pulled back into a soft smile, and Konan found himself smiling along with her. She whisked a curly tendril of her brown hair from her soft, round face, while her green eyes took in Konan’s scruffy appearance.

“It’s nice to meet you Thermopolis…”

Konan guffawed, and said, “Please, just call me Konan. It’s a pleasure to meet you as well.”

Lilly motioned toward the two cups of coffee in the cupholders, and she said, “I’m sorry, I’m late. I stopped to get us coffee, and the bottom fell out while I was inside.” She handed him a cup of coffee, and asked, “You do drink coffee, right?”

“I do drink coffee,” Konan said. “Thanks for making the gesture.”

Konan watched as Lilly poured half-and-half into her coffee along with two packets of sugar. When she finished, Lilly handed the bag of condiments to Konan. “I didn’t know what you took in your coffee, so I just brought everything they had.” Konan nodded and replied, “Sugar, lots and lots of sugar.”

Lilly’s eyes drifted over Konan as he stirred his coffee. So far, so good. He doesn’t look like the type of cop that would betray his partner. From the crown of his bald head to his wide back and muscular quadriceps, Konan looked as if he could handle most anything. Konan took a sip of the coffee and let out a satisfied sigh.

“So, you came to us from the 112th?” Lilly asked, before she took a sip of her coffee. Konan nodded and blew on his coffee, and answered, “Yeah, that’s where I transferred in from.”

“I’ve heard good things about that department,” Lilly commented. “I heard you were a top-notch detective there.”

“No, you haven’t,” Konan responded. “Let’s not get this partnership started with a lie. The 112th has a bad reputation, and anything you might have heard about me is the rumor that I betrayed my last partner.”

Lilly laughed and tried to contain her grin. “That’s exactly what I heard,” she said. “I tried to tiptoe around it, but you’re about as subtle as a bulldozer in a trailer park.”

Konan sipped his coffee. Lilly stared out the window at the sheets of rain that pelted the windshield, and then softly asked, “Did you betray your last partner? Or is it only a rumor making the rounds at the precinct?” She sipped her coffee and waited for him to answer.

Lilly watched as Konan drained the last of his coffee. He crumpled up the cardboard cup and turned to face her. “I did not betray my partner,” Konan began. He turned and looked out the passenger window at the rain. It continued to bang relentlessly against the windshield; the wipers slapped it away. Finally, Konan continued by saying, “I turned my partner in for corruption. However, if you asked Val Rankin, I burned him. Rankin’s not alone in feeling that way about it. In my defense though, my partner took bribes from politicians, he abused his authority, and tried to set me up to take the fall for all of it.” Lilly finished her coffee and tossed the empty container in a brown paper bag, and asked, “So, if your partner was corrupt, why did the 112th kick you to us?”

Konan scoffed and shook his head, then retorted, “Because my chain of command hated me. We couldn’t get along,” Konan remarked. He stretched and let out a yawn, then said, “It didn’t matter to them that I was innocent. An opportunity to get rid of me presented itself, and they pounced on it. The whole time they sent me over here, they claimed it was for my benefit.”

The conversation dried up between the two, and an awkward silence fell over the two detectives. For several moments, they listened to the rhythmic drumming of rain on the roof of the car. The silence finally receded with the ringing of Lilly’s phone.

“Hello, this is Detective Thompson. What’s the address? We’re on our way.”

Lilly flipped the switch that turned the siren and lightbar on, and she whipped around and floored the accelerator. The turbo-charged engine roared, and Lilly sped off. “Who’s the victim?” Konan asked, as he reached for the bar above the passenger door. Lilly weaved in and out of traffic, honking the horn at the slower drivers, and zipping around them like a punch-drunk boxer trying to avoid a knockout punch.

“I don’t know,” Lilly snapped, as she honked the horn and tried to pass before oncoming traffic blocked her attempt. Konan pushed his feet into the floorboard and closed his eyes.

“How many are dead?”

Lilly said nothing and continued to honk the horn. She shrugged and shot around the slow driver. An elderly woman raised her middle finger, and Lilly grinned. “Well, do you know anything?” Konan’s tone had taken on a note of frustration, and Lilly didn’t miss it.

“I know they’re dead. Otherwise, we’d still be having that awkward conversation we just left.” Konan shook his head and braced for the inevitable crash that seemed to draw closer with every near miss.

Up ahead, flashing red and blue lights announced their arrival to the scene. The flickering lights glinted in the puddles of water in front of The One Stop Shop. Overflowing ditches and drains flooded the low-lying area, and a single officer stood outside the yellow ticker tape. He watched their approach and stopped them short of the scene.

“Hold up,” the young officer said. Lilly gave him a forced smile and flipped open her badge with one well practiced motion. “I’m Detective Lilly Thompson, and this is my partner Detective Thermopolis Konan.” The officer grinned and scoffed. “You said Conan,” the officer remarked. “If a strong breeze came by it’d knock him flat. He doesn’t look anything like a Conan I’ve ever seen.”

Lilly giggled, and Konan’s cheeks flushed crimson. It matters not where I go, there’s always an idiot willing to shove his foot in his mouth. Konan forced a grin that didn’t reach his eyes, and he growled, “Well, isn’t that wonderful? Another Neanderthal that’s confused his bicep size with actual intelligence.”

The young officer blushed and glared at Konan. Lilly laughed and motioned for Konan to follow her. Konan ignored the stiff frown on the officer’s mouth and his narrowed and threatening eyes. “That’s a pretty good comeback you got there, Konan. Let’s get in here and see what we’re dealing with.”

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