The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 4

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The Alibi – Chapter 4

 
Cisily Throne lay naked on her stomach on a white and black checkerboard beach towel. The S/V Lady Eglesia‘s Volvo Penta IPS gently thrummed. Sometimes Throne’s seventy-five foot power sail’s thrusters adjusted its position over its Boston Harbor anchorage. The low vibration transported Throne back home; one or two elders clapping, others singing, and a didgeridoo throbbing in the background.

She missed being washed in the didgeridoo’s sound, of feeling the Old Ones take semi-human shape and walk towards the fire.

But that was thirty-five years and half a world away.

Today she let the sun warm her back and stretched out until her fingertips and toes touched Lady Eglesia‘s teak foc’sle deck. Her left hand brushed past her mobile and she shoved it so hard it skidded to the fore-railing before banging to a stop.

She seldom took time off and when she did, it was understood – Nobody Bothers The Alpha Bitch.

Cisily chuckled.

Lady Eglesia served as her vacation while at work. A short dinghy ride from dock to boat and she could strip of her work clothes, close her eyes and be back home.

Her mind’s eye saw the brilliant magenta shield of Hamersley Range. She swam in pools of still, clear water, listening to the birdcalls of tiny white corella and pink galahs flying overhead. At night she would power out into deep water where the city lights grew dim. She’d shut down the Eglesia‘s running lights, lie on her back and watch the stars, so different from her northern Australia home, and remember the stories of her Banyjima, Yinhawangka, and Kurrama ancestors.

A passing launch tooted its horn. Throne rolled sideways on the towel and waved, her movement revealing her milk chocolate breasts capped by their dark chocolate aureola. Boys lined the launch’s deck and applauded. She smiled, shook her head and lay back down. Both men and women still appreciated her late forties body. Long legged, full hipped, narrow waisted, and with just enough breast to keep a partner satisfied without getting in the way. Her skin glistened without needing oils or balms or ointments. A child of biracial birth, she grew up desired and hated, a dark skinned lubra in a white goddess’s body. People assumed she was the child of rape. The thought of her black father and white mother cherishing her and each other beyond their bigoted understanding.


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The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 3

Previous entries in this novel:

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The Alibi – Chapter 3

 
Cranston grabbed the railing as he jogged up the stairs to Precinct House 17. He may have been a linebacker in college, but that was thirty-five years ago and now he needed to pull himself up inclines when he jogged them.

He snapped his hand back as if the railing carried high-tension electricity and stared.

The railing was shaking?


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The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 2

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The Alibi – Chapter 2

 
Rexall Shaul stood quietly at the top of thirty flights of stairs. He held the door open for a moment and peered down the stairwell. The stairs descended from the art deco paneled hallway on AirCon’s corporate office floor to the garage underneath their building. There were many such buildings, some taller, some shorter, many shared, dotting Boston’s Incubation Center’s waterfront, and Shaul sometimes believed he could feel the waves rocking the building’s foundation pylons buried deep into the landfill supporting the Incubation Center’s population.

He let go of the door and waited, quietly, meditatively, listening to the pneumatic cylinder ease the door shut behind him. The click of the latch was his runner’s starting pistol.

He slowed his breathing and relaxed his still-lean body, techniques he learned as a USAA level competitive gymnast, and debated lifting his arm to check his Omega Dark Side of the Moon watch.

Lifting his arm would raise his pulse a beat, maybe two.

The hesitation alone raised his pulse a beat or two and he wondered if he was losing his edge.

The sound of the pneumatic piston slowly increased as it reached the last moments of its transit.

Quick glance at the Omega. The gun sounded.

Off.

He walked quickly but not hurriedly.

Steady pace. People wouldn’t think twice, let him pass. A burst of speed once in the garage if necessary and never necessary before.

Break a sweat and he revealed too much.

Keep it all inside. Maintained.

He opened the door to the garage, glanced at his watch.

Two-hundred-forty seconds. Eight seconds per flight. Not breathing hard. Didn’t break a sweat.

Good.

His best time made use of gravity and dropping down the stairwell, his hands working the railings like descending uneven bars.

He smiled and walked to his black Lotus Exige. Two parking spaces were assigned to him as part of his package. He parked over the center line of the two so the Exige had three feet on either side clear.

Footsteps. Running, flanking him.


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The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 1

You can get the backstory on this rewrite at The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 1 (backstory).
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The Alibi – Chapter 1

 
Ed Voss stood in the middle of his orchard focusing on G. His only knowledge of G came from Maestro Fortuna, the stories he told him. And once Maestro Fortuna stood on this very spot with him and smiled as a shape formed in the air.

It took Ed a moment’s focusing to recognize the shape as female, its body’s curves outlined in earth tones of browns and greens and blues. Eyes floated in what now and again seemed to be a face, and he heard laughter.

No, not quite laughter. More like a chuckle. A playful chuckle, the kind of sound someone makes when they’re tickled by someone they know.

And love.

And a moment later Ed’s orchard came to life. Leaves budded, apples ripened, flowers opened, birds nested, bees buzzed, worms burst through the soil.

And that was just what he could see. Could feel. Hear. Taste. Touch.

Could experience.

Maestro Fortuna sighed as the shape faded. “Her gift to you, Ed, for inviting her here.”

But Ed couldn’t find her – communicate to her? – on his own. Not yet.

Possibly not ever.

The warm, August sun dried sweat on Ed’s bare chest and back, both permanently tanned from many summer suns above and below the equator. He took his ballcap off to wipe his brow and felt furrows there, as if plowed like his fields, and realized he was tense with concentration.

But that’s not how Maestro Fortuna did it.

Maestro Fortuna relaxed with slow, even breathing.

First lesson; Lower-Center-Relax-Breathe.

He descended through the levels of awareness of his training, cocked his head, and stopped.

A sound?

His name?

Someone called his name?


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The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 1 (backstory)

Long Ago and Far Away…okay, starting in August 2022, I shared chapters from The Alibi. That lasted to mid-September when life and starting a new business got in the way.

Life and a new business consumed more time than I expected. I still wrote – actually updated, edited, and got ready for publication my first non-fiction in six years, That Th!nk You Do (due out 15 Jan 2023. You should all buy a copy and leave glorious reviews) – but The Alibi took a backseat (and it annoyed me I did so, by the way).

But I’m also sensitive to my own cycles, transits, methodologies, dispositions, … . I knew the story wasn’t going where it was suppose to go, but I didn’t know where it was suppose to go.

So shelve it. Give it time. Ruminate.

Some time late-September 2022, Susan and I talked about it. I mentioned my biggest challenge with the story was not seeing a character who would change through the course of the novel, didn’t know who or what would act as the throughline, both of which are (to me) critically important.
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