Murder on the Edge of the Orient

Noir Mystery Short Read

 

He was sent for proof that a man was cheating on his wife. He found jealousy, murder, and his head in the crosshairs.

Connor Pierce is days away from his last day on the Rock when he's cornered for one final investigation--get photographic proof that his old lover is sleeping with another man. Easy enough if it was just another photo shoot. But this gig goes bad fast and Connor finds himself tangled in a web of betrayal and deceit the likes of which he could never predict.

 

Will Connor make it out of Okinawa a free man, or will the Special Investigator and his sidekick Chief of Security Police Higa end his tour with an arrest? 

A noir mystery full of murder, betrayal, and broken dreams.

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Excerpt

There’s a heat that wraps you in its steamy wet blanket. An oppressive tropical heat that pretends to shield you, but instead, locks you inside a cocoon of sensory deprivation. The kind of heat that enflames adulterers and inspires murder.

Me, I was one of those adulterers, hiding in the shadows outside the Half Moon Love Motel, a two-story coral cement apartment building designed with the ambition of a CIA safe house. I watched from the obscurity of my brine-toned, once white 1984 Toyota Corolla Sedan. 

My thoughts wanted me somewhere else. This was the wrong place for an ex-lover who aspired to resolve his misplaced jealousy. It raised a stench—the kind that sticks under the armpits and steams up car windows on an equatorial island. The kind you can’t smell inside a bubble of self-gratification.

Two of the self-gratified, Captain Bradley “Biff” Bennett, and my ex-mistress, Sharon Loyola Pasfield, cloistered themselves in Room 211. The unit closest to the street. With its privacy screen on the garage door halfway down, declaring their passion by cheapening their dignity.

It wasn’t that I knew whether Captain Biff’s wife gave a rat’s ass. Lori Bennett ran the preschool slash daycare where my two children spent three raucous days a week. When she asked me to follow Biff, I suspected she knew my investment. It saved her having to bribe me fifty bucks a day to put the squeeze on my old squeeze. With Sharon in the picture, I didn’t have a chance against her conniving tactics. 

If Nansi found out by some miracle what I was up to, she’d sure as Christmas convict me of reneging on my word and chasing after Sharon again. Call me the cooked goose.

 

I decided tailing Biff was worth the risk. He left the base around ten p.m. in a 1993 Ford Crown Vic imported from the Grand Old US of A by a Yakuza gangster. Of course, I’m guessing at that last, but my estimate of a Captain’s pay suggested it was a bet I’d win. He’d made a rolling stop at the corner of Gate Two Street and Hoikusho Dori that almost exposed my tail. 

They’d arrived at the Half Moon fifteen minutes later. He’d walked fast and furtive to the privacy screen, shoulders hunched. Sharon had stopped him, tugging against his clandestine movements, coercing him to take in the view before pulling the large curtain down on their tryst.   

 

In the third hour of surveillance, I realized I’d put Sharon off twice after returning from burying my father in the frozen Montana dirt. For Sharon, that was one too many rejections. She knew my father was dead. Was probably showing her sexualized brand of sympathy to Biff Bennett right now.

 

Three other loving couples arrived in that time. Two left, their surreal smiles mocking me in the glow of mint-green dashboard lights. One guy caught a glimpse of me as he passed. His grin clamped up like my cynical heart before his image disappeared. I figured Biff and my one-time dependency better come out soon, before the Okinawa City Police came by to dispute my stakeout.

 

Another five minutes longer to stew my way to a confrontation. Those three hours and a nickel had blackened my already charcoal gray mood. 

 

I made the decision to move this ship along. Bust through the door, snap a Polaroid of Biff in the buff, then skedaddle like my hair was on fire. With a smidgen of luck, I’d be cuddled all alone on my single-sized tatami mat by two a. m. 

 

The Half Moon was straight as a bent horseshoe, curling with an architectural pizzazz absent from ninety-nine percent of its neighbors. I had pretty much a line drive into number 211, and Sharon’s brazen choice to leave half of the Crown Vic’s license winking at passersby made entry a cake walk. I crossed the sultry driveway and ducked under the curtain. The heat from the Vic’s engine had dissipated, and light from the streetlamp outside allowed my pupils to adjust inside of fifteen seconds.

 

My energy level was high. I looked forward to slamming against a hardwood door and hearing the crunch of my jealous anger surprise the bejeezus out of Sharon-doesn’t-give-a-shit-anymore Pasfield. Instead, a gleam of disappointment highlighted the space along the doorjamb. 

 

I pushed in, hearing nothing. My Polaroid Sun 600 one-handed like Magnum PI, I kept my finger squeeze-ready against the red trigger, itching to salute Captain Bare-assed Biff Bennett in a blazing click and whir of instant memories. 

 

Every feeble light in the room was on. The place hadn’t changed a lick since my last visit. Most of Sharon’s clothing lay tossed on the bed along with Biff’s jacket, shirt and cheap polyester tie. Otherwise, the space looked as pristine as if they’d just arrived. 

 

Only, bare-chested Biff, military grade officer, had been demoted to slain adulterer. He was sprawled in a lone club chair, hands covering his bloody groin. An agonized awe contorted the blank-eyed stare that questioned my presence. Questioned the universe. 

 

My forbidden mistress reclined at his feet with a Heckler & Koch MK 23 cradled in her fist. The medium caliber round had pushed her head backwards into a vaudeville laugh. The bullet’s entry point marred her perfect chin and undermined the dramatic effect of her semi-nude pose. 

 

This day had started with a brilliant sun that cooked bad intentions out of most of the population. Here inside Room Number 211, the sins of three fools had settled to earth and swaddled us in blood and death.

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