Hard-Boiled Amateur Sleuth, Episode Three

Written by Mark Wm Smith

An overeducated, blue-collar cowboy, Mark Wm Smith grew up on along the banks of the Yellowstone River in Eastern Montana. Raised by a long haul trucker and a bartending waitress, Mark learned the hard ways of the modern frontier, scraping life from the unforgiving high chaparral.

December 1, 2018

Murder at the Edge of the Orient, Episode Three

I drove back to Kadena and my empty house. Nansi and the kids were visiting her parents in Virginia. Our household goods were packed and gone. The furniture keeping me company included a tatami mat and two plastic chairs corroded by sea salt and grime. My mind chewed on the details of the “case” Lori Bennett had just used me to “solve.” Now I was alone with the mental images of two dead lovers. One of them used to be mine. 

Sharon had dressed for the romp in a short pink pleated skirt with a sheer charcoal gray blouse covering the scarlet bustier she died in. A small dribble of matching color from the hole in her chin hardly offset the ensemble’s intended allure. Matching red ribbon held her ash blonde hair in a schoolgirl ponytail. 

Which said something about Biff. 

Her face was made up with the vivaciousness of a cheerleader. I could smell her perfume, something she called Poeme that reminded me of sex in a field of flowers, but knew it was only a memory. The end of their playdate reeked of death.

Captain Bradley Biff wore ivory linen skinny jeans with a neat roll in the leg opening. He’d managed to get out of the matching single-breasted beach jacket and his Air Force blue poloshirt was pulled up enough to expose the well-toned abs he’d retained from his college rowing days. His russet  hair was slick with gel and smoothed back to accentuate his widow’s peak. The irony almost kicked a smile up from my jealous heart.

Apart from the blood stained crotch of his fancy pants that had me thinking he didn’t expect the bullet to his groin, Biff’s only fashion faux pas was the Purple Heart medal tacked to his short right sleeve and an Air Force Commendation Medal dangling from a chain around his neck. 

Apparently Sharon’s excitement was elevated by military prowess. It surprised me. She’d never asked me to display my Good Conduct Medal with a bronze star. Then, Sharon’s sexual tastes were varied and selective in ways I didn’t understand.

Whatever her expectations, whatever the expectations of Captain Bradley Biff, the two put too much effort into wardrobe and strategy for a night that barely got started. Biff’s anticipation of oral satisfaction had ended with more flare than any argument for same with his frustrating wife. I had to wonder if, in those last seconds, he’d wished for a lonely beer on his couch in front of a Law and Order episode.

In my first seconds with the two of them, the scene began to disturb me in a secondary way. Biff might be aggravating enough to inspire a .45 caliber dismissal. Sharon was not the kind to end herself. While the dramatic setting and setup were definitely her style, ending the play of life was not. For Sharon, all the world was a stage. 

Master Sergeant Higa and Twin Higa believed this to be murder-suicide. I couldn’t buy that ticket.

Standing outside my bungalow home with its memories of my wife and children sleeping inside as innocent as the magenta petals of a Bitteroot flower, I suppose I shouldn’t have cared. Be done with Sharon Pasfield and my sexual indiscretions. The local cops and my drawling Master Sergeant Higa were competent to solve this or not on their own.

So, I got back in my car and drove into the sweltering night in search of an immaterial truth.

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  1. jerrie

    I may have misunderstood. I do not read on my computer or the “instafreebies” but on my Kindle through Amazon or through BookFunnel or just print books. If your offer of FREE books does not fall into these criteria, please just unsubscribe me from your lists. Thank you. Sorry if I misunderstood.

    • Mark Wm Smith

      Jerrie, there is a mixture of content in the free category, some of which applies and some of which does not. I’ll leave it to you to unsubscribe at your discretion. Thank you for your interest in my work. Mark


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