Below is chapter three of my challenging psychological thriller Blood on the Paddle. Someone is killing all the lollipop women in town. Detective John Garrison must battle apathy, his own demons as well as the killer if he’s going to save these vulnerables. Chapters One and Two are also available.
Blood on the Paddle – Chapter Three
‘Jumping the Wagon’
Weeks passed. Lollipop women fell. Hard, bloodyily, and by the dozen. The police tried to get them off the streets and into protective custody, but there was years of mistrust between the fuzz and the poppers – a culture of harassment and mistreatment that wasn’t just going to be kissed and made better. Many refused the sanctuary and took their chances out in the open – plying their trade in broad daylight – easy prey for the maniac.
‘So what’s the plan, Gin? Wait until there are no more lollipop women left to kill?’ one of the guys down at the precinct guffawed as he passed Garrison’s desk. ‘That’s one way of stoppin’ him, I suppose.’ And he high-fived a grinning colleague. Garrison sighed and kept his head down. He no longer had the energy to fight. All the gin he’d been drinking had made him sleepy. The cop leaned in close and sneered. ‘If you ask me you’re doin’ us all a favour, blowin’ this case like this. Those poppers are a cancer on this city. I say we’re better off without them. We have machines now that can do their job.’ Garrison gritted his teeth and remained still, knowing for a fact that this asshole cop used lollipop women every week. He lived near a school and it was widely known that he was partial to crossing the road near it around three o’clock, whenever the wife wasn’t looking. This town’s hypocrisy would be laughable if it wasn’t so disgusting and not at all funny.
Garrison was running out of time. But he had one ace in the hole. A card he didn’t want to play. But his deck was running out. And so it was one card he’d have to play soon. If he had any intention of winning this game of cards that he was playing.
He sighed and turned the key. His apartment was… tidy. He could see the floor. He breathed in deeply – that stale stench of week-old gin was replaced by a fresh citrusy aroma.
‘I got a little bored, so I cleaned. I hope that’s OK.’ Sandra had been staying at his place since they met at the bar, but he hadn’t told his bosses about her. Right now, Garrison couldn’t trust anyone. Who knew how high this thing went? He reasoned that the less people that knew where she was, the safer she’d be. If he could save one popper, at least that’d be something. At least he wouldn’t have failed completely.
‘It looks… great. Thank you,’ Garrison smiled and made a beeline for his drinks cabinet.
‘I threw them out,’ she stammered. Garrison turned with angry all over his face. ‘I’m sorry. I need you at 100%. I don’t want to die.’ Garrison’s rage dissolved in a flutter of those lashes.
‘You don’t understand, Sandra. I need it. It clears my mind. The guys down at the precinct are right,’ he slouched, ashamed. ‘I am Gin Garrison. John Garrison is long gone.’
‘You know there are… other ways to clear your mind,’ Sandra smiled. The sort of smile he hadn’t seen her smile before. The sort of smile that once smiled, can’t be unsmiled. She unpopped the buttons of her ankle-length luminous high-vis lollipop woman coat and let it drop to the floor. She wasn’t naked underneath it, or even in racy underwear, but the dress she was wearing was definitely sexier than her work gear, so it still had the desired effect. Garrison gulped audibly and considered the ramifications of sleeping with Sandra Rebecci. He was her protector now. She was scared and vulnerable.
‘That’s probably not a very good idea,’ he said, responsibly. Nonetheless, she stepped forward and tried to kiss him. He pulled away, responsibly. And although Garrison resisted three times, Sandra wouldn’t relent and so it was clear that she really wanted this and it wasn’t Garrison taking advantage.
They made love. There is nothing more to say.
To be furthered…