PAW AND ORDER: Chapter One, First Excerpt
We blasted out of bayou country, Bernie behind the wheel, me in the shotgun seat. Our ride’s a real old Porsche, the oldest we’ve had in our whole career. The last one got blown up; the one before that went off a cliff. And who can remember the one before that? Not me, amigo, except for how loud train whistles turn out to be from up real close. The point is, old Porsches are how we roll at the Little Detective Agency, just one of the things that makes us so successful, leaving out the finances part, where we’ve run into some hiccups I won’t go into now. And don’t get me started on hiccups, which is the annoying thing about them, namely that you can’t stop. What else do you need to know? Bernie’s last name is Little, which is how come we’re the Little Detective Agency. I’m Chet, pure and simple.
We came to a crossroads with a roadhouse on one corner. Bernie slowed down and read the sign: “Ti-Pierre’s Cajun BBQ.” No surprise there: for some time now, barbecue had been in the air, impossible to miss. Bernie tilted up his face—no need to describe his face, the best human face in the world—and took a sniff. “I can almost smell it,” he said. Yes, the best human face, not at all like those tiny-nosed human faces you see so often. Bernie had a nose that looked capable of doing big things. So why didn’t it? I turned to him, gave that nose a good long look. He gave me a good long look back.
“What’s on your mind, big guy?” he said. Then he smiled. “I got it—you’re up for one last taste of the local grub before we head for home.”
No! That wasn’t it at all! Bernie laughed and gave me a nice pat, scratched the spot between my ears where I can’t get to. And just like that, one last taste of the local grub was all alone in my mind, whatever had been there before completely gone. I couldn’t have been happier, which is how I like to operate.
We pulled into the parking lot at Ti-Pierre’s Cajun BBQ. I was just noticing all the bikes in the lot, the big kind that bikers like, when the phone buzzed. Bernie hit speaker.
Welcome to the Friends gallery: Delli; Xeno & Xantara; Maggie; Jonas; K-9 dude; Sunny; Godiva (note to Godiva’s human companion: Spence will be at Murder By The Book in Houston Monday Aug. 11 at 6:30PM.)
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