The poor, persecuted, self-proclaimed unscrupulous bastard -- (that would be Brett Cornell, for those of you who haven't been formally introduced to our "hero") -- takes a couple of shots on the chin in this little extract from "BEACH BUM BRETT" wherein the local homicide detective (Captain Prentiss) has gathered his suspects together -- a la Hercule Poirot, you might say -- and is about to ascertain the precise sequence of events, as related to the murder currently being investigated.
And so, in Brett's own words:
Then the boring part came when each one of them was asked to relate what had happened all night. The two lifeguards told the same story, just like you’d expect from a pair of losers like them, saying that everybody’d been real friendly with each other and having a good time when “that tough punk” Brett Cornell had burst into their midst and disrupted everything.
“Me and Steve here,” said Duane, “were just standing out on the terrace with Craig, minding our own business, when that punk-bastard-know-it-all-punk-bastard turns around and slugs me for no reason.”
“By ‘punk-bastard-know-it-all-punk-bastard’ – I take it you’re referring to me,” I broke in with. Then I leaned in towards Prentiss once again and watched him scrawl something in his little notebook, so I told him,” Make sure you get that right, man. That’s ‘punk-bastard-know-it-all-punk –“
“I heard what he said,” the guy cut me off, suddenly losing his cool. But then, just as suddenly, he reverted to his old boring self and looked over towards Duane once again and asked him to continue. Whereupon good old Duane told him,
“After that punk-bastard-punk or whatever-you-wanna-call-him slugged me, I went down for the count, so I don’t know what happened after that, but I’m sure Steve can tell you.”
“I sure can,” the idiot said, picking up his cue from Idiot #1, and his eyes kind of twinkled as if he were enjoying himself, as he continued,” That punk-bastard-know-it-all-punk –“
“Just call him Cornell!” Prentiss yelled out, starting to lose it all over again. “We all know who the punk-bastard in question happens to be.”
But rest assured, dear readers. By novel's end, Brett is exonerated of all wrongdoing -- as far as the murder itself is concerned -- and is free to go on his merry way and disrupt and ruin the lives of even more completely innocent, clueless people in the next installment of the series: "DON'T MESS WITH BRETT"