The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 31

Still sharing what I’ve already written before inundating you with yet another set of edits…which I’ll be starting some time today…promise…

The Alibi – Chapter 31

Naomi listened to her new floor manager go on and on and on and…on. A young, overweight, balding man whose greatest daily physical effort, she reasoned, was lifting his pants up after he shit, replaced the ignorant sac-o-shit woman who thought a maroon jacket bestowed power like the Green Lantern’s ring or Thor’s hammer. This idiot had the same maroon jacket – okay, larger. Much, much larger – and same sense of power.

She nodded as he droned on and on and…on about how things were going to be different and how she needed to change her attitude and how jobs were not as plentiful as she might think and how she still hadn’t been with the company long enough to warrant benefits and she glanced periodically at the big screen TV over in Electronics broadcasting the news.


She stepped across the aisle, out of the traffic of shoppers pushing carts and baby strollers, and left him ranting on the other side.


People pushed their carts and strollers down other aisles rather than pass him.

He strode across the aisle. One hand held a tablet and he stood in front of her, hands on hips. “Naomi!”

She blinked and stared up at him. “I’m sorry. Were you talking to me?”

“God, woman. Don’t you know your own name? Do you have another name you’d prefer me to use?”

You think anybody would know if I followed you into the can and killed you? She pointed to the big screen. “Do you know anything about this?”

He glared down at her. “I know about Cleaning Supplies in aisle 13. You – ”

She raised a finger to her lips and her focus returned to the broadcast. “Shh. I’m listening. The TV showed a drone’s-eye view of Innovation Square. The top of the screen had a white-on-red flashing “Breaking News” logo. On the screen it occasionally blocked out what the drone picked up. “Jesus. That’s an awful lot of equipment for an accident or fire.”

He moved to block her view. “Naomi!”

She stepped around him to watch the news.

He tapped his tablet. “I’m taking this to HR!”

She stepped away from her manager and squinted at the ticker at the bottom of the screen.

She glanced at his retreating form and noted his face almost matched the color of his manager’s jacket.

News teams were on the scene interviewing people. The view switched to a reporter holding her mike up to some talking head. She couldn’t hear what she said.

She scanned the crowds. Her eyes popped when she saw on a civilian walking in the background.

Just walking, not paying attention to anything in particular, coffee cup in hand, just another civilian watching the show and enjoying the chaos.


Letting himself get caught on camera?

Must be damned important for Obsidian to risk being caught on camera in public.

Her young, overweight, balding manager strode back and stood in front of her. His voice held hints of gleeful sweetness. “Naomi, would come with me to HR, please?”

She didn’t think she’d get any more from the broadcast, turned to stare at him and blinked a few times. “Who do you bet keeps their job today, you or me?”

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