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Suicide by Deceit (Crime Fiction), first four pages. First three chapters set the tone for the rest of the story which takes place 24 years later. It is then when the protagonist will be introduced.

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      Three men remained silent as they sat in the car.  Two in the front seat. One in the back.  Easing up slowly to the end of the street, the driver killed the lights and brought the car to a stop by the side of the dark, dilapidated building. The right-side rear door of the car opened, and a man got in. The front seat passenger watched with concern, then asked, “Where’s Angel?” 

     “How the fuck should I know?  I’m here. Worry about that,” the man replied curtly, annoyed at his lack of concern for him.  Again, they sat silent, but only for a moment.  

     “Are you sure about this?  I think we’re going too big.  It’s too soon.” 

      “Yo, you wiggin’, I’m in.”  The four men crept around to the other side of the building and parked near an overgrown tree beneath a seclusive section of its disproportionate branches.  The man who had just gotten in, got back out and shut the door. A steady breeze carrying with it the scent of rancid garbage followed the man as he leaned into the already opened window. 

     “Give me the bank. I’ll check with you guys later.”

     “I don’t like it,” reiterated the driver. The backseat passenger handed the man a sizeable, beige colored envelope.  He snatched it from him, eagerly opening it to examine its contents. The envelope contained a six-and-a-half-inch bundle of crisp twenties held tightly together with a green rubber band.  The sight was even better than the man had imagined.  A soft whistle passed over his lips.

     “Fuck this, I’m goin’ ghost!” he exclaimed, laughing out loud.  The one in the back frowned, and he two in the front stared blankly ahead.

     “You guys need to chill the fuck out.” He folded the top of the envelope over to secure its contents. Shoving it deep into the front pocket of his hoodie, he slipped the hood on over his long, greasy blonde hair and pulled down on the strings, drawing it tightly around his face.  

     “I’ll hook up with you in an hour at the ushe.”   He smirked at the men in the car, tapped twice on the roof and pointed to the heavens before turning to leave.  

     “Wish me luck. Peace to the gods…”

     “If this goes as easy as you say it will, you shouldn’t need luck,” the driver replied. The three left in the car sat in silence as they watched him walk away. It wasn’t until he was completely out of sight that the driver spoke. 

     “I don’t like the feel of this.  It’s hinky.”  

     “Who knows? Maybe he’s active.  They’re why he goes by Palido, for Chrissake.  He said to trust him.  There’s not much more we can do.”  

     “I know what he said, but we all know he’s a poser.  A punk. And an arrogant one, at that. Thinks he’s way smarter than he is.  That’s what bothers me. A key?  Don’t you agree that’s too much of a jump from nine grams?”

     “Nothing we can do about it now.  Let’s get out of here before someone sees us.  We’ll grab a quick bite.   Shouldn’t be long.”   The driver shifted the transmission into drive and pulled slowly away from the curb. 


      Four blocks away on a corner lot off Talleyrand Ave stood a small-scale, abandoned building.  Built in the early 1920’s, this modest structure was a part of a residential neighborhood which housed mainly blue-collar workers.  The man who owned it, like many of his neighbors, worked for the Ford Motor Company manufacturing Ford’s Model T.  The homes were walking distance from the plant which made the location convenient.  Production of the Model T in Jacksonville ended in 1932, but the plant remained in operation as a distribution hub and continued to do so until 1968 when Ford closed the business for good.  Most of the homeowners found other work and moved east, while others tightened their belts and hunkered down, spending their last days on earth within a meager style of living.   Any properties left unsold to residents got caught up in a rezoning whirlwind and scarfed up by commercial owners who saw the promising future for a business venture on the beautiful St. John’s River.  Which was exactly what happened with the wee corner house.  Several businessowners gave it a go, but the location was unforgiving.  The area remained industrial, never taking off commercially like everyone had hoped.  A little over ten years later, the once loving home sat sad and neglected. Its boarded windows, peeling paint and overgrown shrubbery created the perfect place for anyone demanding secrecy.  In the end of its existence, it had been used for nothing more than storage, filled with abandoned boxes stacked eight feet high and three feet deep giving little allowance to functionality. Tonight, five men were packed into what space was left in the largest room of the forgotten structure.  An aerial view would have likened the men’s position to the number five side of a die.  One man seated in the middle like the center dot, the other four standing post in each of the four corners.  All five were Latino and spoke Spanish with slightly different dialects, but communication amongst them did not appear hindered.  Everyone understood the universal language of disloyalty. Badly beaten, the man in the center sat slumped over at the waist, his wrists bound behind his back and his ankles tied to the chair’s legs.  Even with his eyes swollen shut, he could still see the seriousness of his situation. Bloody, bruised and in immense pain, the Puerto Rican managed a smile. They may have made and tortured him, but he never gave in.  He had paid the ultimate price, but his life would be all they’d get.  If he had any regret, it would have been coming alone.  He should have waited for Palido like they had planned.  


      Glancing over his shoulder, Palido could no longer see their car. He slowed his long, lanky strides for he was no longer in a hurry.  His arrogance had been all for show. Truth be known, the whole situation weighed heavy on him. Without the audience, he dropped the front and conceded to his uneasiness. His fear gave his already sallow skin a deathly pallor that bordered on translucent.  Angel’s take confused him because for a dummy man, what could he be thinking?  He tried to control his breathing, though his chest hurt, and his muscles twitched. For tonight, more than either Angel or the excessive buy, he had a greater fear for himself.


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