As promised, this is going to be a banner year for me. I’ve got Just Say Maybe being released soon as well as On the Level, Across the Lines. After going over and further review of Bright Lights and Cold Steel, I realized that it was actually long enough to be suitable for printing! I managed to design a cover for this novelette and it will be released at the same time that the Kindle version is! Here’s another little taste of it for you all:
from Bright Lights and Cold Steel
They rounded the corner onto Hargraves Street and rolled into the lot as the sun was making it’s last stand in the Spring sky. There were other units in the lot already, two vans and a Braun, similar to the Cadillac, with it’s hood open and a black man in a soiled jump suit working over the engine. A football spiraled through the air and an EMT caught it in his hands with a slapping sound of leather. The garage door was open, the afternoon light pouring in illuminating the old couch inside were a pair of smokers were sitting watching the game of catch being played before them.
Richard backed the Cadillac into a slot beside the Braun and the mechanic presiding over the dealings under the hood looked up at them, a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. They climbed out, shutting the doors with a whack.
“Hey, Reuben,” Richard said to the mechanic. The man looked up at Richard from under the hood, smiled and offered his hand.
“What’s good?” Reuben asked grinning.
“Ah, you know,” Richard shrugged. “How’s my baby doing?” he asked pointing his thumb to the Braun.
“She’ll be alright, for a while anyway,” Reuben said. “These engine’s don’t last the way they get beat on. I keep telling Mr. Davis to buy those TECs that Ford puts out. They look pretty good.”
“Yea you’re talking to the wall on that one,” Richard said as he watched John enter the locked door to his small office. He shut the door behind him and the distinct sound of the latch locking behind him resonated through the garage bay. He had his own world in there; his desk, a bed, even his own television. In there he got to be the big shot CEO he envisioned himself to be. He’d failed every fire and police exam that had come up before settling into the idea that he could be a chief if he started his very own company. “Besides, you’d be out of a job if he did that.”
“Yea, I should probably keep my mouth shut,” Reuben said.
Richard settled into the couch sitting beneath the dispatch window. The window slid to the side and Meg stuck her head out, a cigarette clenched in her teeth.
“How ‘bout it?” she asked passing Richard a can of Narragansett. He reached up and took the cold can of beer from her.
“Yea, it’s about that time,” he said. “You coming out of your cell, Meg?”
“I can hear the phones from outside,” she replied. She limped around the desk, littered with paperwork, police and fire scanners, a typewriter, and notebooks and opened the half door that led into the bunk room before stepping out into the garage. Richard heard her pull the tab on her own can of Narragansett as she joined the rest of the group around the garage bay. “How’d your lady make out? The car wreck?”
Richard sipped from the can and shrugged. “Not sure. We didn’t get a call to transfer her anywhere so maybe they were able to help her at Union. Maybe not…”
“That’s got to be a shitty way to go,” Meg lamented. The cigarette in her mouth wobbled as she spoke, a flicker of ash dropping to the cement floor at her feet. The Red Sox game could be heard starting up on the television inside. Richard stretched his feet, his shoes scuffed and marked with wear. The cloud of smoke billowed over their heads, growing thicker in the sunlight. The spent cigarette butts littered the floor of the bay, swept up once per week by the newest employee whoever that might have been. There was a fine brass standing ashtray beside the couch, lifted from a hotel sometime in ages past and had found a home in the ambulance base.
The interior bunk room was made up rather similarly to that of the dispatch office; fine wood paneling and warm orange and yellow curtains. A payphone was hung on the wall because John Davis didn’t want employees calling home on a company line, and he charged seventy-five cents for a soda from the machine, pocketing the profits for his own use rather than putting it into some form of an employee fund. Soda wasn’t always a priority when beer was available though, and spent smokables other than cigarette butts were often found in the ashtray.
Where management was concerned Pocasset left a lot to be desired, but it was a steady job with tolerable pay, and that was all most of them could ask for. John tended to look the other way when it came to beer and the occasional joint, but expected his crews to be level headed when the calls came in. That was most likely a major reason that they didn’t go for the extra pay offered by TranStar up on the North end of the city. Sometimes certain problems could be overlooked when your job had other side benefits…