Thursday, February 18, 2010


The prompts at 3WW this week are: Occur, Ragged and Tidy. Here is my continuation of last weeks 3WW.

It wasn’t hard to find Paul Smith after all. He was sitting alone at the end of the bar hammering back drinks as fast as he could.

His hair was ragged and greasy strands fell forward to cover his eyes. I got closer and realized exactly why he was alone. Paulie was in desperate need of a bath. Body odor and booze leaked out of his pores, creating an almost tangible haze around him, leaving very little breathable air.

I slid a tidy sum of money down the bar to him. “Talk.”

He never glanced up at me, but his dirty hand covered the bills. “I knew Marie. She volunteered on Thursdays at the mission downtown.”

Homeless. I figured as much if his hygiene was anything to go by. “I didn’t just give you money for you to tell me something I already knew.”

I caught the bartenders eye and waited while he strolled over. He was polishing a glass with a dirty bar towel and had a lit cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

“Beer for me. Whatever’s on tap, and I’ll buy his next round.” Maybe if I lubed him up some, Paulie would stop wasting my time. The bartender ambled away and I wondered if we’d get our drinks in the next hour.

I leaned over the counted to yell at his back, “And none of that light shit!”

“She talked to me. Marie did. She talked to me about growing up in her perfect family, with her perfect parents and her perfect brothers and sisters. She asked about how I grew up and I told her some make-believe story about having a great home life, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t believe me, ya’ know?”

A beer slid in front of me and I looked up to see the bartender’s grin around his cigarette. “Five bucks.”

I pulled a ten out of my pocket and told him to keep the change. Paulie waited until the other man left before he started talking again. “I used to follow her out of the neighborhood after she got done with her shift at the mission. To watch out for her, ya’ know? She was sweet.”

The thought occurred to me that he’d had a crush on little Marie. “So, you followed her the night she died?”

“Yeah. I saw the freak who did it.”

The nerves in my body sang out and my muscles tensed. “So, Paul Smith, who killed Marie?”

Come back next week to find out who killed Marie Francis O'Malley. And check out 3WW for more writing.


anthonynorth said...

Nicely done. Left me wanting to know more, and that's all important.

Jay Thurston said...

Awww... come on! I want to know who the murderer was!

Vivid painting the scene of this dialogue, and great cliffhanger to leave it on! I look forward to next week!

Tim Remp said...

*Slides another stack across to Paulie* Come on...

That was a fun story!


my 3ww:

Lilibeth said...

I'll be back.

Andy Sewina said...

Phew, you're keeping me hanging on.

Nicely done!

Dee Martin said...

I'm hooked!

Tumblewords: said...

I'll be here. Nice write!

peggy said...

One detail that made me pause:

The bartender cleaned the glass with a dirty rag and your narrator/protagonist seems very street savvy. He would have insisted, yelled at the bartender to make sure his beer came in a bottle.

Other than that, great scene and build up to the cliffhanger.

ThomG said...

you've advanced the story really well, with some great dialogue.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I enjoyed the suspense, carefully sewn together. Tasty!