Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sneak Peak Part I

Cotton Clouds, Healdsburg, Ca. 2007
S.O.L. is a published novelist but it's been a couple years since her last one hit the ol' Borders. In fact, both of her well-received tomes are currently O.O.P. (out of print). Do not fret, my people, for a new S.O.L. novel is in our future.

Here is the first of what will be several excerpts featuring a new character, L.A.P.D.'s Percival "Perc" Baldwin. You can read it here first and exclusively, but please note that this material (including the name "Percival "Perc" Baldwin") is copyrighted by and soley owned by the author and is not permitted to be used for any other purpose under any circumstances. Ever.)

August 1986

Sherman Oaks, California

He watched him from afar. Always. A small part of him knew this was wrong but it was better that way. Safer. For everybody.

He didn’t know a lot about people but he knew who he was, he knew enough about himself to know that he was better off staying back. Too much of him was too much for most people. Hell, it was too much for anybody, himself included. Keep your distance and you leave people guessing, leave ‘em wondering what made you tick. Like the goddamned Sphinx. That’s what he was. A fucking Sphinx.

So he sat in his car, perfectly still, hearing the static of the radio turned low but not really understanding the words. Around him another Los Angeles summer was getting beat to death, the winds out of the Valley bringing a heat made bearable by the fact that the days were getting shorter. Before long, he’d be watching him in the dark. It was a thought that gave him comfort.

Later he would only feel like an idiot. A stupid, gutless idiot.

Then, then he just felt something else. Pride? Sure, he’d admit to that one. You just had to look at the kid to know he was his. Not the features. Thank God, he got his from her. It was the way he carried himself. It was all his side, generations of his people supported by those six-year-old shoulders. Freaking amazing how you could see it. Even from here, 100 yards away through a dirty windshield.

It was funny how much he cared about something he didn’t want. Funny how it changed him, how it made him realize he didn’t have any answers. It made him realize how careful he needed to be. He couldn’t let it affect him, not on the job. He had to be sharp. Always sharp. That’s why he had to do it this way. Stay in the background.

He wondered if eventually it would wear him down. If he’d have to give in to it, be that other guy. Live up to something bigger than himself. He remembers thinking on that day that there were moments in a man’s life that change everything, that maybe he was staring at the thing that was going to change him. Like that saying about it being the first day of the rest of your life.

It sure changed him all right. That very fucking day everything changed. Forever. But it wasn’t the first day of anything. It was the last. The last fucking day of his miserable life. He should have eaten a bullet right in that car. Put his brains on the side window. Let them find him afterward. Save everybody the trouble.

He couldn’t do it. Not because he wasn't brave or anything. He couldn’t do it because it would be too awful not knowing. And he had to know. He had to. He would keep going, every step he’d ever take would be like climbing the steepest mountain on the hottest day in bare, blistered feet. He would do it. For him. For the knowing. For the answers.

That’s all he would ask of God on that terrible day. That’s all he would ever ask, before or after. One single question would burn a hole through his brain from the moment he woke up in the morning ‘til he shut his eyes to the coming nightmares. One question would haunt him, would be his Holy Grail. One damn question to which he would never get an answer.

Who stole his boy?

(to be continued...)

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