Just for a change of pace, I thought I'd offer an excerpt from the recently released "BRETT GETS HAMMERED" (Brett Cornell Mystery - #6).
This particular novel, like the preceding five in the series, is intended to be read primarily for laughs -- but it does have a few serious moments, such as this one that takes place between Brett and Sergeant Joe Raff.
(possible SPOILERS, relating to events that took place in the novel immediately preceding this one: "BRETT ENTERS THE SQUARE CIRCLE")
An hour later I found myself pounding the heavy bag at the local gym, building up a considerable sweat while doing so, and loving every micro-second of it. I felt strong and energized and even a little bit optimistic and upbeat, would you believe it, which was a radical change from the way I’d been carrying on my life ever since that awful day in February when the Fates threw me to the wolves and then abandoned me completely, just when I needed them to baby me and pamper me and make the pain go away and make it all better.
I had the whole gym practically to myself, too, since it was pretty near closing time and the boys from the Birchwood Police Department were already guzzling down huge quantities of booze at Debbie’s Place, i.e. their favorite after-hours hangout.
But I find that I spoke too soon in declaring that I had the whole place practically to myself, since it turned out that, just as I was pulling my boxing gloves off and looking forward to a cool, refreshing shower within the next five minutes, good old Sergeant Joe Raff turned up – as he always seemed to be doing when I least expected it – and he had a faint smile on his face when he greeted me by saying,
“I heard you nearly got your throat slashed the other day when you decided to take on that murdering maniac single-handedly.”
“Word sure travels fast, don’t it,” was all I said to him, and I turned on my heel and headed on towards the locker room.
As expected, Joe Raff trailed right behind me, and he at least extended me the courtesy of keeping his big yap shut, just long enough for me to pull my sweaty T-shirt off and fling it down to the locker room floor next to where my gym bag was sitting. But it didn’t take long, of course, before he resumed whatever lecture he happened to have on his agenda for this particular evening of my life.
“I also heard that you took Wes Lomax by the throat and pinned him to the wall, right there in Lieutenant Wilson’s office,” the man said to me, but without sounding the least bit reproachful, I noticed, “and now, from what I hear, Lomax is gearing up big-time for his next big fight which he says is going to be against you.” And then he paused – for dramatic effect, I guess – and I simply offered him a crooked grin and came back with,
“No surprise there. I hate to say it, but Lomax reminds me a little of me – what I was like when I was his age – but I’m sure you ain’t here to chat with me about Wes Lomax.”
The man gave out a short laugh, and then he looked down briefly at the floor beneath where he was standing, before looking back up at me and saying,
“You certainly seem in better spirits than you were in the last time I spoke with you – and I’m glad of that. But I don’t know, Brett. I keep thinking and keep hoping that someday real soon you’ll trust me enough – maybe even like me enough – to open up and tell me why you had that falling out with that beautiful young woman you were seeing at the time of your bout against Gil Bailey – if only to make me understand how you could throw away something so precious –“
“You’re right, of course. There’s a lot I don’t know about this situation, and about what you were led to believe or suspect or whatever – but what I do know is this: There’s a young woman involved here who’s wasting away emotionally, who’s confused and scared and just about ready to give up, and I would consider it a horrible sin if I didn’t at least make an attempt to remedy the situation for her – and for you, too, of course -- in any way that I could.”
I had originally planned on taking a nice brisk shower and then high-tailing it on over to Miss Lola Buchanan’s where I was fairly certain I’d be greeted warmly and tenderly. She, so far, had impressed me as being a really sweet and gentle young thing –
But she wasn’t Ginger.
Then, while I simply sat down on the wooden bench that ran parallel to the row of lockers I’d just been standing in front of, I kept my lips closed and looked down at my feet.
And Joe Raff placed a hand on one of my shoulders and told me,
“All I can tell you is this, Brett: I could be wrong, but -- I’ve always believed that the sincere and passionate love of a beautiful woman can transform a man’s life and his soul in a truly miraculous way. Just give that some thought, would you please?”
He didn’t say anything else after that, and he increased the pressure of his hand upon my shoulder – just a tad – without me even shaking it off me as I normally reacted whenever a man put his hands upon me, uninvited.
And so, I just sat there for several minutes, even after Joe had left, and I can’t even recall exactly what it was I was either thinking or feeling at that time. But I can state with absolute certainty that I was NOT thinking about Lola Buchanan – and our date that evening never did take place.
And I can’t even offer a rational explanation as to why it happened that way.
Any comments you may care to make will be most appreciated !!