Monday, June 25, 2012

WIP Sample: My favorite mayor, again

I'm editing the final chapter of the novel I'm working on, the second Grant Starr thriller. I've stated several times in posts that my favorite character is Mayor Mateus Dutra, "Manny".

Grant thinks Manny is dirty, which he is, and suspects he killed a female member of the city council he'd once had an affair with, for reasons unknown. Probably having something to do with the pot deal Manny is trying to push through the city council. Grant collected some of Manny's DNA and his fingerprints the night before, from some bar glasses, and is waiting for the lab to process the evidence. He's sure Manny's DNA will match skin found under the victim's fingernails.

Manny's in a pinch. He doesn't know he's being investigated for murder, he just thinks Grant's on him about taking a bribe, which he hasn't yet done. He's got $300,000 coming Wednesday night, from the pot company, for his part in getting the city council to sign on. But the cops have been all over him... All he's gotta do is make it to Wednesday.

The final chapter takes place on a Monday. Manny has negotiated a little advance on his bribe, which he expects to collect at the bullfight that night. But then Grant is in his face again...

Grant pulled his truck into a parking slot in front of Dutra Insurance Services and shut off the motor. They could see the mayor through the floor-to-ceiling window, and the mayor made a face at them, and said something to his secretary. She glanced out the window at the detectives piling out of the truck, grabbed her purse and exited the front door, holding it open for the detectives.
"What can I do for the cops today?" Mayor Dutra said, trying on his mayor face.
They had decided, in the truck on the way, they wouldn't divulge they were investigating him for the murder of Marina Terra.
Grant said, "I'm glad you didn't leave town, Mayor."
"I ain't got a reason to leave town, and I gotta be at the bullfight tonight anyway. I told you everyone calls me Manny."
"I don't care what everyone calls you, I'm calling you Mayor Dutra."
This brought a glare from the mayor, which he quickly tried to turn into a smile. He and Grant stared at each other until Bensen said, "What time you closing the office today?"
"Why do you wanna know? I don't gotta tell the cops when I'm closin' up."
"In case we need to talk to you again."
The mayor turned his head to face Bensen and said, "Maybe three, maybe four."
"You goin' home after that?" Bensen said.
"I told you I gotta go to the bullfight tonight. I gotta march in the openin' ceremonies."
Grant shifted gears. "Have you spoken to anyone from Allied Valley Growers today?"
The mayor turned back to Grant, his face a dark red. "You know how you kiss a Portagee's ass? The same way you kiss that bitches ass" -- he pointed at Amber -- "you kiss it, but you don't gotta give it no tongue."
Grant popped out of his chair, reached a long arm across the desk and grabbed the mayor's collar and yanked it, lowered his face to the mayor's and said, "You motherfucker..." He made a fist with his free hand and cocked his arm.
Caught off guard, the mayor fell forward onto the desk, grunting and cursing in Portuguese. Bensen and Amber jumped up and grabbed Grant's cocked arm, and Bensen said, "Whoa there Ali. Let's cool this down a tad."
Grant shouted into Dutra's face: "I'm gonna kick your ass, you hear me!"
The mayor, struggling to regain his balance, said, "I'm gonna sue your ass! I told you I ain't gonna talk to you no more without my attorney and now I'm gonna sue your ass!"
Grant shoved Dutra back into his chair, which did not hold his weight and tumbled backward, spilling him onto the floor. Grant shook off Bensen and Amber and pushed his way to Dutra, kicked him in the ribs and bent down and growled, "You pissed off the wrong cop, and you know what? Before this day is done it'll be my pleasure to lock your fat ass up. If I don't kill you first."
Dutra flailed his arms, trying to right himself, looking like a turtle caught on his back, and he shouted, "I'll have your badge and everything you got! I'm gonna--"
"Stuff it," Grant said. "It'll be your word against three cops, and everyone in town knows you're a crook."
"He took a swing at you," Bensen said. "We can haul him in for assaulting a police officer." He moved to stand on the other side of Dutra.
"You fuckers!" Dutra yelled. But he quit thrashing.
"We should haul your ass in," Grant said, "make a spectacle of it. But I'm gonna wait until we got enough on you so they never let you out."
Dutra stared up into Grant's face and said, "You wouldn't be so tough without that badge and gun."
Grant pulled his shield and gun out and set them on Dutra's desk. "You wanna try right now fat man?"
Their eyes remained locked for ten seconds, then Dutra said, "Get outta my office."
Grant said, "We'll be seeing you soon," picked up his things and the detectives filed out of the mayor's office.

Sweating and shaking with fury, Manny rolled out of his chair and used the desk to pull himself up. The blue Ford was backing away from his office, but he could see the tall cop looking back at him. He gave the cop the bird, and the cop made a gun with his index finger and thumb and fired it at Manny.
"Goddamn you!" Manny yelled.
He lurched to the water cooler, drank three cups and doused his face. He knew a guy who could get him a gun on short notice. In fact, he knew a couple of guys. He didn't think the cops had anything on him, he hadn't taken any money yet, but if they did, he'd take that cop down with him. He'd shoot him if the face if it was the last thing he'd do.
 The section still needs a little polishing, but I like it.