It is time for Three Word Wednesday. I just counted and it has been seven weeks since I participated, so I am going to use all seven weeks worth of words. This is a continuation on my last Three Word Wednesday posts. The twenty-one words I have to use are:
So here we go:
“You’re not going to believe me.” I stared into his bloodshot eyes and waited. “You laugh and I’ll walk.”
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. “Okay, Paulie. Amaze me.”
He seemed to hunch in on himself even further. “It’s Jason, okay? Not Paul. Or Paulie. Just Jason.”
“Alright, Jason. What did you see the night Marie was killed?”
The music in the bar was a solid pulse pounding through my body, and all I wanted to do was go home and take a shower to wash the despair clinging to my skin off.
Paulie – now Jason – sighed and looked even more weary than before. I was fairly certain I wasn’t going to like what I was about to hear.
“It was a demon that killed her, Detective Luna.”
“A demon?” Was he really brazen enough to drag my ass down here and fill me full of crap? My fingers itched to pull my gun and shoot the little shit.
“I told you if you laughed I’d leave.” He pushed to his feet, weaving unsteadily. Shit. Maybe that last drink was one too many.
“Sit your skinny ass down, Jason.” He plopped back down on his barstool like an obedient dog. “I’m not laughing.”
“Better not be.”
I snorted, but couldn’t generate enough energy to care. “Jason, why don’t you tell me why you think a demon killed Marie.”
“I think she might have been a human sacrifice.”
“So… the evil demon lord sacrificed Marie O’Malley for what?”
The bartender chose that moment to slide a bowl of beer nuts between us. “Either order another drink, cop, or get out of my bar. You’re bad for business.”
I glanced over at Jason and saw hunger written all over his face. He was practically drooling over stale snacks. I pulled another ten out of my pocket and slid it across the bar. He tried to slide it the rest of the way but I didn’t let go. Smoke from his cigarette wafted over to tease my nose. Too bad I’d quit nearly a decade before. “Five more minutes, bubba and we’ll be out of your hair.”
His bushy eyebrows rose and he waited for me to release the money. I let go and watched him lumber off before I looked at the frail, strung out man beside me. He was still gazing at the bowl like it was filled with sacred bread rather than a meager handful of nuts.
“Let’s go, Jason.”
His attention snapped to me and panic flitted across his face. “Where?”
“There’s a little diner down the street, and I could use a burger. You interested?”
His eyes cleared like a hazy veil had been ripped aside at the mention of food. “A burger? With fries?”
“Yeah, Jason. A burger, fries and some talk.” We left the bar together. Tiny, the bouncer, was still manning the door, if you could call shoving his tongue down a blonde’s throat watching the entrance. When I’d first arrived I’d thought he might’ve been decent security. I’d have to modify that opinion now.
Jason’s eyes almost popped out of his head when I stepped up behind the bouncer and swiped his legs out from under him.
“Son of a bitch!” he bellowed up from his sprawl on the sidewalk. “Why the hell did you do that?”
I almost giggled watching him dust off the seat of his pants. Almost. “I just saw two boys walk right past you. They couldn’t have been more than seventeen. You might want to watch the door a little more and spend less time examining the blonde’s tonsils.”
The words weren’t even all the way out of my mouth before the other woman was nuzzling up to Tiny again, and glaring daggers at me.
The bouncer sputtered some more, but I’d already tuned him out. I led Jason half a block down to a greasy all night diner. Just the place to hear about murder and demons.
A fiftyish waitress took our orders and slapped down two chipped white mugs of coffee so caustic I felt the enamel melting off my teeth. Maybe it would sober Jason up some.
“So, Jason, tell me about Marie and the demon.”
“Listen, detective. I know you don’t believe me, but I swear I saw him.”
“Calm down. Just tell me what you remember.”
“I followed Marie home after her shift like I usually do.” He looked up at me from under his ragged bangs and a shard of pity spiked through me.
“You were in love with her weren’t you?”
The waitress slid burgers and fries in front of us, spun around and walked away. Maybe she didn’t like Jason’s B.O. It was beginning to saturate the air. Or maybe she just didn’t give a damn anymore. Either way, I wouldn’t be a big tipper tonight.
“Yeah, maybe, I don’t know. Anyway, I followed her home and waited in the stairwell while she unlocked her door. I always watched to make sure she was safe, you know?”
He shoveled food in his mouth for a few minutes before I pushed him again. “What did you see?”
“It all happened so fast. I mean one second she was all alone in the hallway mumbling about her key sticking and the next, he was there.”
Jason swallowed hard before glancing up at me. “The demon hit her in the back of the head and pushed her inside. I could hear her struggling but it was like I was frozen. I couldn’t move.”
I took a drink of the sludge in my cup. “Why do you think he’s a demon?”
“He killed Marie. He has to be a demon to kill someone so pure and so beautiful.”
And I tuned out again while he extolled the victim’s many virtues. If I couldn’t get him to quit calling the killer a demon, there was no way the prosecutor would use him as a witness. The defense would prove the homeless, drunk, probably drug addicted man next to me was unreliable. Imagine that. But no matter how much I questioned him, he wouldn’t deviate.
“I saw him leave her apartment. His face was all scratched up.”
“You saw his face?”
He nodded one slow bob of his head up and down.
“Can you identify him?”
Another jerk of his head in the positive and I could feel excitement building inside me. This could be exactly the break I needed to find out who killed Marie O’Malley.
I hope you enjoyed this long installment of Three Word Wednesday. Head over there and check it out – maybe get some creative juices flowing.
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