The following novel in progress is based on a real crime, but is largely a work of fiction. I started this novel in 2008 and stopped after just a few chapters. I will post those chapters here, and (hopefully) finish the remainder of the novel during NaNoWriMo.
Chapter 17 is here.
Sheriff Cooley sat in the dark trailer, listening to palmetto bugs scurry across the linoleum floor, mosquitoes buzz about his head. His back started to itch and he wondered how many colonies of fleas were living in the smelly sofa he was sitting on. The floorboards creaked and he looked up to see Billy James enter the living room. The young man was zipping up his jeans. Something glistened on Billy’s hands and Cooley assumed it was blood. Although there was no love lost between him and Melody, Cooley hadn’t really enjoyed listening to Billy have his way with her. And it hadn’t sounded like she enjoyed it either.
The trailer was the usual spot where their drug transactions took place. Once Cooley had called to let her know Billy was there, ready to deliver, Melody wasted no time in coming over. Unfortunately she came without any money. She had stumbled over to the trailer long after Sarah and Michael took off. Cooley grinned to himself. Now that was fun, scaring the shit out of those two. Billy had been real disappointed that Michael showed up, ruining the fun he had anticipated having with Sarah. Billy had told Cooley that he wanted to see if her hair was as red at the other end as it was on her head. He thought that was so funny, the fool was still laughing about it when Sarah pulled up. Cooley had had to clamp his hand over Billy’s mouth to keep him from giving them away.
And then there was Michael. And Billy would have killed him if Cooley hadn’t scared them away. He never intended to kill either of them. Just scare them enough to get them out of Oyster Point. He wanted Michael to go back to Iraq and step on an IED. He wouldn’t mind having a little fun with Sarah himself, but he knew it was better for her to go running back to wherever she had come from. He’d heard that Lucas was in bad shape. Without either of them, Misty’s petition would miss the deadline and the little skank would spend the rest of her life in prison.
“You gonna track them down?” Billy stood in front of Cooley, close enough that Cooley could smell sweat and semen. Even Cooley had his limits and he stood up, forcing the young man to quickly step back.
“Hell, no, I ain’t going after them. What kind of stupid fool are you, Billy? Ain’t it enough you sliced up an attorney, for god’s sake. We just need the clock to run out on them. Nobody needs to be cut up or raped or killed. At least, no one whose not asking for it.” He knew Billy could argue that Sarah and Michael were asking for it. He was getting tired of covering up for Billy. Edna paid him well, but Cooley was starting to feel like there was no sum of money large enough to make him want to keep going on like this. He was getting too old.
Billy tossed back his stringy hair and sauntered into the kitchen. Nothing worked in the trailer, of course. It was just a broken shell, a place to do business. The few trailers that were occupied were way on the other side of the lot, and those people tended to be deaf, blind and dumb when it came to the occasional altercations that occurred at this trailer. Billy bent down and flipped open a cooler of beer.
“Want one?” He held out a bottle of Colt 45 to Cooley, but the fat man shook his head.
“Someone’s got to keep a clear head, Billy. You know, that could be you from time to time. It doesn’t always have to be me.” Cooley jabbed a half-spent cigar in his mouth and walked down the steps of trailer. He heard Billy come up behind him and knew that if he turned around, he’d be eyeball to ball with Billy’s crotch.
Cooley thought he heard a whimper come from deep inside the trailer, but he tried to ignore it. He wasn’t interested in ramming Melody after Billy had had his way. He didn’t like the smell of another man’s cum on anyone he was fucking. Back in the day, when he used to pay for it, he’d make the women take showers while he watched, making sure they cleaned themselves real good. But that was way back, when he was much younger and preferred to go over the bridge for his pleasure, keep things on the down-low. It was also way back when Jimmy and Billy were little boys and the James’ had just made him Sheriff and life was simple.
He’d had a thing for Edna back then. And she had been pretty damn good-looking with her blond hair long enough to graze her fine ass. She’d had legs that wouldn’t quit and breasts that practically begged to be touched. Cooley rubbed his eyes. Damn, he had been so hot for her he even helped set up her husband’s death. Just another driver falling asleep at the wheel and there he goes off the side of the road, down an embankment and into the river. It was sure convenient being sheriff then.
He thought after that, he and Edna would marry. He had anticipated how lovely it would be to have her to himself every night. The only problem was she hadn’t seen it that way. Once her old man was gone and the insurance money came in, her favors to Cooley became less and less while her demands became more and more.
An empty bottle of malt liquor flew over Cooley’s head and smashed against an old concrete block. The shards of glass glittered and actually looked pretty for a moment. Cooley sighed.
“You sticking around, Sheriff? You want a turn with Melody? She’s awake now.”
Cooley could hear the evil smile in Billy’s voice. For a moment, he regretted calling Melody, letting her know where Billy was. But he knew that Michael had been to her place, and that she had always had a soft spot for him. She needed a reminder to keep her mouth shut, or things could get much, much worse.
“No, I’m going on.” He looked up at the night sky. It was so full of stars, out there in the dark and silent trailer park. As a boy he used to love to study the stars. When he and his father would go camping in the summertime, his dad would always take the time to point out the different stars and planets that danced overhead. Cooley’s favorite was Vega, in the Summer Triangle. He could usually pick that one out right away, and his dad would always give him a pat on his back when he did. It gave him some comfort that even now, decades after his father’s death and the death of his childhood, he could look up and see the Summer Triangle, and in particular Vega. It made all the heat and humidity and bloodsucking bugs worthwhile.
“Whatever you want.” Billy sighed, like he was tired of Cooley just standing there, some old fool, looking up at twinkling lights. What a stupid thing to do, he thought, as he stepped back into the trailer and slammed the door.