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).
Enjoy!


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.
Continue reading “The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 1 (backstory)”

The Alibi – Chapter 7

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The Alibi – Chapter 7

 
Rhinehold wore a Boston PD visitor pass on a chain around his neck. Every time Cranston held up his badge, also on a chain around his neck, Rhinehold did the same. Every time he did, the uniforms chuckled and let him pass.

The fourth time Mary Cucello, a short, overweight, mid-forties BIS Forensics specialist, broke the seal on a vacuum sealed bag. It sighed as air rushed in. She handed Cranston the enclosed white, disposable coveralls, gloves, and booties.

Rhinehold knew there was another term but they looked like booties to him. He almost asked if the coveralls came with mittens attached to the coveralls with string.

He stood waiting. The forensic specialist glanced at his pass, snorted, and looked at Cranston who was already descending into the garage’s blast zone.

Rhinehold reached towards the forensics supply unit. “What about me?”

Short, overwieght, mid-forties Mary Cucello slapped his hand away. “Read your pass, kid.”


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The Alibi – Chapter 6

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The Alibi – Chapter 6

 
MyKayla Dillinger diverted her attention from the daily sales projections on her monitor to the exodus from Women’s Fine Apparel to Home Electronics.

All the departments on her floor were emptying to Home Electronics. She stepped out from the counter and gazed down the aisle to the crowd gathering there, all eyes on flatscreen TVs all showing the same news broadcast.

Except she could see the WBZ, WHDH, WCVB, WNAC, and NECN logos in the upper left corners of some screens.

Must be something major for all of them to descend at once.

A management message scrolled across her monitor and it beeped for an acknowledgement. Tell staff and customers to remain calm. Bomb Squads are on their way. Shut down your stations, lock your drawers, and guide everyone to the Washington St exit.

A timer appeared on the screen and ticked down: 60…59…58…57…


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The Alibi – Chapter 5

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The Alibi – Chapter 5

 
Leddy sat across from Penny Lane in the Boston Public Library’s Johnson Building. Leddy always thought they’d look like those tower salt&pepper shakers if Penny could get on her shoulders. Leddy, stocky and dark like her father, Penny thin and fair like her father if he didn’t get to his Bermuda home for a weekend.

Out the window she watched firetrucks and ambulance race towards AirCon until people crowded around her and blocked the view. She switched her tablet from screen to dVids, a gift from Penny’s father, and guided her drone with a specialized pen she designed inside MIT’s Media Lab as part of the Future Entrepreneurs Club. She couldn’t stop actionable ideas from coming to her. Her advisors wondered if she were adopted. Grad students and professors attempted to copy her designs. Penny’s father, Briggs Lane, Senior Partner at Fish, Cuomo, and Greenberg, told Penny to keep an eye on her and bring any things she came up with to him.

Briggs had Penny and Leddy to lunch at least once a week and probed Leddy about anything Penny brought to his attention, but gently, conversationally, so she wouldn’t know.

Leddy thought him a playable fool. He could get his hands on tech even her Media Lab buds knew nothing about and Leddy always let him think something profitable would come of it.

But gently, conversationally, so he wouldn’t know.

She tapped Penny’s tablet. “People will see what’s on your screen.”


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