This scene is from my novel, Purple Knot. Reyna Cruz, a petite powerhouse, uses her skills as a private detective to solve her best friend's murder while trying to mend fences with the man she left at the alter...her best friend's twin brother.
The scene that follows is between the antagonist, a biker named Crawley and Shane, the pharmaceutical tech he snared into a corporate drug scheme. Parker is the husband of Reyna's friend, she suspects he had her murdered to cover up his involvement in the drug ring.
Business Meetings at the Chug-A-Lug
Seventeen miles away, Shane, noticed light glint off of something for the second time tonight. He couldn’t quite place it, but he’d seen the effect before. He did a few lines before coming to see Crawley, and the drugs were making his skin itchy and his eyes hyper sensitive to light. Shane glanced back at the where he’d seen the light, decided he should probably write down the instances he thought he was being followed, and then batted at a non existent ant on his forearm.
He scratched at his chin stubble, thinking, before he walked up the broken wood stairs to the bar and peered in through the window. Crawley was perched on a torn, red vinyl bar stool. He tossed back a shot of tequila.
Shane’s heart beat in his mouth, and he tried get himself together. He had to tell Crawley about the detective chick. Parker had warned him she would get into their business and despite Shane’s efforts, she had. Now she was more of a problem than he’d ever imagined possible. He squared his shoulders and walked into the bar and up to Crawley who didn’t bother to look over at him.
“What do you want?” Crawley asked.
“We have a problem.”
Crawley spit a sunflower shell down at the floor and eyed Shane with disinterest.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Shane forced himself to stay rooted to the floor and not to run like his entire body was screaming for him to do.
“Well, you’re not going to like it.”
“Just spit it out, Shane.”
Shane sidled onto the stool next to Crawley and spun the little wood peanut bowl a few times. He didn’t quite now how to begin.
“Parker met me at ‘The Border’ tonight. He said he absolutely can’t move the chemicals right now. And…and I think, Crawley, that maybe he’s right. The audit people are coming…”
Crawley rolled his eyes and sighed. He motioned to the bartender to bring him another drink.
“I told you that don’t matter to me. You and Parker promised me the ingredient I need, and I expect you to deliver.”
“I know but, you see the paperwork could really get us both in trouble and now with his wife murdered…”
Shane never finished his sentence. Crawley backhanded him off the stool so fast that Shane brought the bowl of peanuts down with him. Stunned, Shane crawled on all fours toward the table a few feet away. He knew from experience it was harder for someone to kick you if you had some cover. The bartender and two other men in the bar stared into their drinks, making sure not to witness anything.
“Get back here,” Crawley growled and yanked Shane by the neck of his shirt. He led the two of them back out onto the pea gravel parking area behind the bar. “How much have you been doing, Shane?”
“Crawl…Crawley, wait,” Shane stammered. “I just needed…”
Crawley rammed Shane against a nearby truck and shook him by the front of his shirt.
“Get your nose out of the drugs. They’re rotting your brain. Now, I have a deal lined up to sell close to two million dollars worth of tablets, and I need those chemicals for the batch I promised.”
“I-I know, Crawley. I just need a few more days…” Shane tried to focus on Crawley’s face but his head was spinning.
“No, we don’t have a few more days,” Crawley said and Shane thought he looked nervous.
Shane scratched his head and made a face like he smelled something horrible. It was his thinking face.
“Well, Parker said he won’t do it, and he won’t meet with me anymore,” Shane whined. “He said that tonight, just an hour ago. Parker said he’s out.”
Crawley looked at Shane like he wasn’t there, like he was looking through him to the truck behind. Crawley narrowed his eyes, thinking.
“Didn’t you say that Parker’s had some changes to his family recently, something about his wife's will?”
Shane nodded even though he did not, in fact, remember.
“Give me your cell phone.”
Shane complied, and Crawley called a number and waited through the rings.
“Hey, it’s Crawley. Do you know where the rich boy is right now?”
Shane watched Crawley frown and then nodded.
“Are you sure?”
Crawley’s head snapped to Shane and that made him jump. Shane wondered what Parker was doing.
“Well, let’s see if we can’t find a way to motivate him, then.”
Photograph by theopie, Uploaded on August 17, 2007.