Posts Tagged ‘book #3’

Yesterday, Working Down In Mexico

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December 8th, 2009 Posted 8:14 am

“Let’s go to church, big guy,” Bernie said.

Church? I’ve been in churches a few times – a perp name of Whizzer DuPuis tried to hide from us under a pew at St. Dominic’s in South Pedroia – and never felt comfortable. Churches were big and hushed at the same time, a combo I didn’t like, but also – what were they all about? I know what a restaurant’s about, for example, or a grocery store, or Petco. But if Bernie says we’re going to church, then that’s that.

The church stood at one corner of the square, a white stone building, actually pretty small. The wooden door, old and cracked, squeaked when Bernie opened it. No one inside, but it wasn’t hushed: I heard a guitar, not far away. There were no pews, just card-table-type chairs set up on the cool stone floor, with an aisle down the middle. We were were walking down it when the music stopped abruptly and a side door opened.

Did I get a fright then or what? A woman – I knew it was a woman, but only from the scent – appeared in the doorway. She gave me the same feeling I’d gotten when Bernie and I went through a period of watching horror movies, a short period because they turned out to be too scary for both of us. I got right next to Bernie, even maybe a bit behind him; I’m not ashamed to admit it, or if I am I’ll get over it soon. The woman wore a strange kind of long black robe, and also had a black hood thing with weird side flaps sticking out, everything black except the insides of those flaps and tight white covering that hid her neck and ears, came up practically to her chin.

“Hola, sister,” Bernie said.

Sister? Do you know that human expression – my heart skipped a beat? At that moment it happened to me for real: I felt a pause deep in my chest. I was shocked, more shocked than I could ever remember. Bernie had a sister and I was just finding out after all this time? He had a mother – a piece of work, can’t go into that now – but no other family. Life was full of surprises, like when out of the blue someone says, “Let’s pick up some dog treats on the way,” but this wasn’t that kind of surprise.

Exactly 4 weeks until Thereby Hangs A Tail pub date, although it may start showing up in stores before then. Also, thanks to everyone sending in photos at Friends of Chet. They’re great!




December 1st, 2009 Posted 9:50 am

Here’s a scene from book #3 – “Hey, anybody got a title?” Spence says. Chet and Bernie working on a case that takes them to Mexico. They’re staying at a cheap motel and Chet wakes up in the night.The power in the village has gone out.

I opened my eyes, saw the bed beside me. I rose and looked at Bernie. He was sleeping, one arm outside the covers, chest rising and falling. I watched that arm for a while, and might have kept that up for some time, but then a gust of wind blew through the open window, carrying a powerful smell, the powerful smell from my dream. The dream itself was gone, but did I care? No. I was already at the window, sticking my nose out into the night. That smell, the very most powerful smell in the nation within the nation: need I mention it’s the smell that females of my kind sometimes get when they … have wants – let’s leave it at that.

The next thing I knew I was outside. I’m a pretty good leaper – in fact, the very best leaper in my K-9 class, which actually led to all that trouble on the very last day, meaning the day I would have gotten my certificate – but with such a low window even a bad leaper, Iggy, for example, could have done it. Well, maybe not Iggy.

Ah. So nice to be outside on a soft and beautiful night, all silvery dark, the moon now in a different part of the sky and lower, nothing stirring, and that special scent a snap to follow. Was this the way things were in olden times? I began to see why Bernie went on and on about them, whatever olden times actually were.

The scent led me away from the motel, across the hard-packed dirt street, still warm from the day, and into an alley with a bar on one side – easy to tell from that barroom smell, which I must have described already, probably more than once – and a crumbling wall on the other. The alley ended at a cross street, also dirt, with deep ruts here and there like black holes. Bernie talked about black holes a lot. They were dangerous, capable of swallowing up everything, so I was careful to avoid them. I made my way down the street, low ramshackle dwellings on both sides, the scent growing stronger. A moment or two later, just beyond a rusted-out car up on blocks in someone’s front yard, I glimpsed a bushy tail, pure white in the moonlight and raised up high.

I trotted on over, not fast; no need to scare anybody. And there she was! Nice and big, although not nearly my size, of course; mostly black and white, with some other colors, too; a longish snout and small watchful eyes: I liked her! She gave me a look with those small watchful eyes and then turned and trotted away. But not fast – we were in tune on that not fast thing. I trotted after her, gave her a sniff. Ah, yes. After that, it got not so easy to keep events straight in my mind. But did she give me a sniff back? Pretty sure that happened. And there’s no doubt I bumped up against her and she kind of pushed back a bit. Then we were in the shadow of the rusted-out car, a very private space. My eyes were on the moon, but I wasn’t really seeing it.

All of a sudden a woman called out from the nearest ramshackle house: “Lola! Donde estas?”

Lola? A cool name, but the interruption was inconvenient. A flashlight went on, and the beam began sweeping the yard.

“Lola! Que haces?” The beam passed over us, came back, and stayed, circling us in bright light. “Dios mio! Vete aqui!” Very inconvenient, because we were busy. And then just like that – in the way the very best things can sneak up on you – we weren’t! Lola scooted out from under me and took off toward the house, glancing back once. Those small watchful eyes: I’d never seen anything quite like them. The next moment something got thrown at me, missing by a mile, whatever that was. “Perro malo – vayase!” Meaning what? Not sure, but I caught the tone and ambled off. I felt tip-top, just about the highest tip-top I can feel. It was great to be south of the border down Mexico way.


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