Hey, everyone! I realized that I never do book excerpts on here. I know! I know, right? What kind of author am I? Apparently, I am an author who fails to market.
But here’s an excerpt. I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it! That’s me marketing. 🙂
The People Who Kill
He had thought things would be easier further south, closer to the ocean. Not that Downeast Maine was exactly south. But at 44.3858 degrees north and 68.2094 west, it sure felt more south than snow-blown Fort Kent (47.2586 degrees north, 68.5894 west). Even with all the hell breaking lose in his job and his personal life, Fort Kent and its barely there year-round population of four-thousand souls didn’t have much to offer unless you were into dog sledding, Canadian biathlons, rooting for the basketball teams of Valley Rivers Middle School and Fort Kent High School.
He was not into any of that.
He’d expected better things when he left his job as an officer on the Fort Kent police force and headed to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. That county had drunk tourists in the summer and heroin busts in the winter, but on his first day he crashed the cruiser. His second day, a deer hit another cruiser. On his third day, he made out with the shortest dispatcher in the bathroom behind the booking room. On this fourth day, he did the same with the tallest dispatcher, made a running date with the night-shift girl who just had a baby, and a sushi date with another cop.
It didn’t earn him any friends in the department that was for sure. He switched jobs again becoming an officer in Bar Harbor, a tourist town on a big Maine island. Cruising right now, on the mean streets of the town, he knew he hadn’t made any friends there, either. And he’d been on the island what? Nine months? The length of a pregnancy. Lord if he knew where he could go next. Out of state maybe? But who would hire him when the longest he ever stayed was eighteen months and everywhere he left behind had tally sheets and personnel records and stories.
Did you hear about Ernie? Yep. Caught a wild turkey taking a crap on the cruiser and shot it.
Did you hear about Ernie? Ran right into a dumpster looking at a girl’s legs.
Did you hear about Ernie? Heard he puts more product in his hair than Walgreens has in stock. Had to back order American Crew Defining Paste Medium Hold with Low Shine just for him.
Did you hear about Ernie? Got the town manager’s daughter pregnant two months before his own wedding.
Did you hear about Ernie? Responded to a call about the same town manager pissing all over the side of his Subaru parked at the library afterhours and let him go even though it smelled like alcohol. Why? Cause he was too intimidated! What kind of cop is that?
A bad cop. That’s what kind. He knew it. He was scared of the town manager, scared of arresting him, scared of his chief, scarred of pretty much everything.
And the Mount Desert cops ended up arresting the town manager thirty minutes later, the moment he crossed the town line. Good times. Not.
And here he was cruising down the Eagle Lake Road, still employed, thankfully, still married—maybe thankfully—and still miserable and the laughing stock of an entire community. During the appeal of his firing, the manager announced that he and Ernie had “hard feelings” because the newly married Ernie was having an affair with his daughter. The newspaper reported it. At least that was all the administrator had said, because that wasn’t even half of it. Ernie exhaled, longing for some gum. He would stop by the Circle K later and pick some up. Most of the guys still chewed tobacco, which he thought was nasty, mostly because it turned teeth yellow and then brown. He had his teeth bleached, his fiancé insisted, and he had to admit he looked better than ever. A new break. A new start. That’s what he needed.
Maine was a godforsaken state full of nasty people swilling coffee brandy by the gallon, chewing tobacco and spitting it into Pepsi cans. In 1838, there had been an ‘international incident’ up in the county where he came from when the boundary of New Brunswick, Canada was in dispute. Militias were formed on both sides with each side alternately capturing the captain of the other side, declaring captives “political prisoners,” and basically bullshitting about for a year. It was called the Pork and Beans War. Ernie’s great-great grandfather was in the militia. All that back and forth, political bullshit reminded him of Bar Harbor and the whole scandal about the town manager. People talked, took sides, switched sides, and nothing much happened except that the manager lost his job—for now. Lord knows, he was fighting to get it back. It didn’t matter that he was a drunken, carousing, womanizer – so adulterous that it made Ernie look like Mother Teresa by comparison. Ernie’s cheek twitched. He checked the rearview mirror. Nothing coming eastbound. Nothing coming westbound. It was such a boring night. It felt like the whole island was deserted, kind of like some sort of zombie apocalypse had just happened. The other officers were always talking about apocalypse scenarios and even had go-bags, rations. They lived in fear, stupid and paranoid. Ernie refused to be like them. A bitter cough escaped his mouth. Look where that refusal had gotten him. He was the laughing stock of the universe basically.
The dispatcher’s voice broke the silence in the cruiser’s cabin. “Base to 412.”
He keyed the radio. “412.”
“Northeast Harbor Alarm reports an activated sensor alarm at 12 Bayberry, interior motion. 10-3.” The dispatcher, this dispatcher, always sounded scared on the radio like she was going to mess up majorly, but that had already happened, hadn’t it? It happened the day she changed the call for service on the town manager’s incident, trying to cover for Ernie. Jasmine was good shit. He’d had a thing with her too in the evidence room. He could hardly help it. She was always talking about cooking naked and her new husband that didn’t love her.
Ernie sighed and turned the car around in a perfect U-turn, missing two deer that were staring at him from the side of the road. No points for that, huh? Nobody ever cares when you do things right. It’s only when you do things wrong that . . .
“10-4,” he said into the radio. “Enroute.”
The wind whipped around the trees tonight and whenever that happened the super sensitive sensors at the ultra-rich’s summer homes always went off. This was his what? Fourth alarm this shift. Always a pain in the ass. You had to do a perimeter check of the property, search for unsecured windows and doors and then wait for the key holder (usually a caretaker who lived off island) to come and reset the alarm system. Fun. Fun.
Maybe they could just move back to Fort Kent.
Maybe they could move out of state. He heard about George West, this game warden who allegedly had an affair with Jasmine, too. Anyway, he and his wife (totally insane – made Morgan look normal) got back together after a year and he just took a sweet job working security at SeaWorld in Florida.
A smile transformed Ernie’s face. Warm all year long. No snow ever. Tank tops. Short shorts. Bright teeth.
He would bring it up as an idea. Morgan wouldn’t like being so far from family, but they were four hours away already. A quick plane ride for visiting. There was probably even a direct flight from Bangor to Orlando? There used to be.
“Brilliant question,” he muttered as he pulled through downtown Bar Harbor. Half the shops were still boarded up, closed for winter, but it was mid-March and things would start opening up soon. Every year it was as if the town belched out all its visitors, closed its doors and hibernated, an introvert that couldn’t handle the influx of a million hiking, biking, driving, cranky families meant to enjoy the views of Acadia National Park.
Turning the cruiser off Main, past Mount Desert Island Hospital, he passed the boarded-up Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream shop where President Obama stopped and had a cone one summer. Or maybe it was a dish. He couldn’t remember. He was not a detail man. He was a big picture kind of guy. He turned left onto Livingston, past the wrought iron gates of the Faltin house. They were benefactors of the hospital’s in-patient care center, heirs to the Yummy Moore fortune and former “friends” of the manager. They had deserted him after he was put on leave. Most people had. John King was a bitter, angry, powerful alcoholic who liked to gamble and make people crumble with a perfect barb or insult. Imagine Sherlock with one eighth as much brains and even more of a sociopath, add in sexual addiction, and that was the town manager. Even now people were too scared of him to not support him and his cowboy ways.
Even though it was just off of the town proper, one block deep towards the ocean and Livingston Road quickly became tree lined. At its end and to the right, was the gate to the Faltin property, manned by a gate house. On the left was Bayberry Lane. The private driveways meandered from the right of the main road down towards the oceanfront property. Twelve Bayberry Road was just like the other three houses that lined the ocean’s rocky shore—huge, shingle-style, with the porches tucked under the footprint of the main structure. Even the porches get cold here, Ernie thought. The mansions seem to match the craggy coast—flinty, rugged, masculine.
“I hate this f-ing place,” he muttered as he passed the concrete pillars marking the entrance of the drive, which circled to the front of the house. He could never remember if you were supposed to drive in clockwise or counterclockwise, but one way would always get you stuck. He chose counter clockwise and called in his location to Jasmine. “Yeah, I’ll be off at 12 Bayberry. Nothing currently showing at this time. I can hear the alarm. “
Ernie stayed in the car another minute, hesitant to go out in the cold. March was way too damn cold this year. He wished people would stop calling the weather changes global warming and call it climate change. He wanted his own damn climate change. That was for sure. He keyed the microphone. “You made any contact with the key holder?”
Jasmine had an unfortunate tendency to forget to call the key holders and another unfortunate tendency to forget to inform the officers that the key holders had been called. But this time she said, “Affirmative. Ted White is in route. Estimated time fifteen minutes.”
“10-4.” Ernie rolled his eyes even though nobody was there to see it. Saying ‘affirmative’ didn’t make her a better dispatcher. It just made her sound like she was trying to show off. It made her feel special or something, he guessed. He didn’t begrudge her that. Everyone wanted to feel special. Even him. Especially him. Isn’t that why he fell for Jessica King in the first place. It wasn’t just because she was hot. There were a ton of hot girls out there. Well, there were a lot in the summer. He liked her because she made him feel special and on fire, sexy, not like a pretty boy but a man. It didn’t matter now. What mattered now was moving on. He undid his seatbelt and keyed the mic again. “I’ll be out of the car on portable.”
The mountains wreaked havoc on the portables’ signals. It was always good to remind the less intelligent dispatchers about this. Plus, it was policy.
“10-4,” Jasmine replied in a super sultry way.
He was not attracted to Jasmine. She was skinny and everything, but she looked like she spent a lot of time making duck-lipped selfies where she always looked so much better than in real life. Still couldn’t hide her crazy eyes though. That had been a mistake. So many mistakes.
He opened the driver’s side door and stood up, only thinking about turning on his blues at the last second. Ted White was a firefighter, so he decided to. He didn’t want Ted to complain. His personnel file was large enough as it was. One quick reach back inside and the lights were on, illuminating the driveway, the hard, frozen ground devoid of snow. There would be no obvious footprints. Not like there was a real burglar anyway. These things were always false alarms. Always. And with the way the wind was blowing there was no chance it could be real. All Ernie could think about was the cold as he grabbed the edge of the cruiser door to shut it. He would definitely talk to Morgan about Florida. Getting away from all this cold, all this gossip, was probably exactly what they needed.
He took two steps towards the house before the pain came, smashing against the back of his head. His perfectly white teeth hit the hard ground, one chipped, another broke in half from the impact. It didn’t matter. Another blow smashed against the side of his face. Then another. Then another. He never had a chance to draw his weapon or open his eyes. Never had a chance to see who killed him and then who walked the stone steps to the main building, smashed a window, then turned and walked away, never looking back to make sure that he was gone.