clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Bad Fruit

Rotten oranges at right provided copyright free from wikicommons via the gracious Downtowngal who posted the lovely picture for our use! Thanks. Perfect.

Little smells as sweet as rotting fruit. Rotting meat - well. That's the "bad" smell. fruit when it starts to rot gets that cloying aroma.

It's that smell that tells you something is amiss.

I like my characters as fruit in the orchard. You know they're hanging there with all the potential in the world. If I let them twist in the wind a little longer than ripe, they'll go bad.

And we so love the bad ones.

I love a dyed in the wool through and through killer. I like despots. I like angry villains with an eye towards mayhem.

I'm not big on the sneaky killers. For whatever reason, I like killers. Just killers. The killers' defense in my stories are that anyone who is going to try pursuing them for justice doesn't have the tools, capacity, experience, whatever to do the job.

That is, unless our murderer runs up against a real killer. 

You run up against someone who looks at you and smiles not because he thinks you're pretty, but because he knows you smell like pork when roasted: that's a guy we want on the case.

He - or she because one of the hardest edged individuals I ever knew wore a skirt every day and looked nice in it - expects the worst parts of people. Wears on 'em though. Makes 'em want to retire to where they see the mailman and the grocer and maybe Alan at the hardware store and that's it.

I'm not talking about cops. Police detectives follow the rules, pay attention, cover the ground, and do a fine job of an unpleasant task. They're not given enough credit. 

They're pretty hard-edged, too. They have to be. Sometimes they find mom killed her own child. That's a tough job.

I'm speaking of the sheriff who gets a call from the county supervisor because one of his mower guys was going along throwing crap on the dirt road from mowing the bar ditch when he sees a human hand lying in the clear back behind the mower.

He's out and looks and that's all there was: a hand. Doesn't look like his blunt blade cut it off anything and he walks the ditch for a couple hundred meters looking for a body. He finds none and calls it in.

Now the sheriff has a hand in a bag. He's pretty certain it didn't just fall off and when his officers walk the whole mower route that morning to make sure it wasn't just carried downstream somehow, well.

He's go a body out there that goes with the hand. That's not a casual "accidental" shooting.

He's got a killer. Good thing he's one too. Carries a shotgun. Wears a badge. Doesn't have a lot of call to do it; but, he likes it. Dreams of it.

Now we've got as story.

Ever read those spy v. spy bits in Mad Magazine?

Put a badge on one.

I love those sort of stories. I've no patience for the amateur but show me professionals at work: great drama.

Properly, great narrative tension.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

"He's pretty certain it didn't just fall off." :)

Love this, Jack. I enjoy police procedurals, too (actually, my favorite type of mystery to read).

And I wasn't allowed to read "Mad." :( Strict parents. Although I still read it from time to time...

jack welling said...

Well, I've seen Mad but I couldn't have it either. Subversive.

I got to read 1984 though and Animal Farm.

Probably why I'm not a comedy writer.