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View Full Version : Shadow of a Doubt (Detective-ish sort of thing)



CJ Tomlinson
May 14th, 2013, 04:42 PM
Here's the first (draft of the first) chapter of this story I'm working on. It's basically kind of a dark comedy/detective story. I'm working on a lot of things and never seem to have the drive to finish them (mainly due to lack of time), so I thought, hey, why not post a few different bits here and see which one gets the best (or any) reaction?

Any form of comments, ideas, thoughts, hatred or suggestions is appreciated!

Also yeah, this hasn't been polished or edited or anything, so if there's any repetitive parts or heinous errors, I apologize.

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On an otherwise fairly uneventful day in the middle of an Edgedale April, two policemen were involved in one of the town's ugliest pursuits.
Numerous little children were left crying and in shock after the chase forced itself through a schoolyard, massive amounts of property were damaged as it continued past the town's Black Market, and even the end of it saw numerous privately-owned vehicles and, oddly enough, public garbage cans, demolished. The Edgedale Police Department phone lines were constantly ringing throughout the whole ordeal and well after it was done, and once the culprits were caught, they had nothing to say for themselves.


"Can you believe it?", Bernard said with a chuckle. "Good old Chuckie. Man. I mean, I knew McNamara was on the take, but Chuckie?!" He scooped up a spoonful of steaming chili and lunged at it with his mouth, dropping half a bean on the diner table in the process. "I like that tackle you did though, that clothesline spear? Very WWF."

His partner scoffed in disgust. "WWF is the World Wildlife Foundation. And do you absolutely have to talk with your mouth full?"

"I know it is," Bernard replied. "Very wildlife of you. And as for talking with my mouth full... Well hey, we're all wildlife, buddy." He took another bite, making sure his mouth wasn't empty. "See? It all comes full circle."

Bernard was a bit chubby for his late-forties age range, but he was more likely to be called big than fat. His partner, on the other hand, made sure to keep himself in shape. Carter wasn't going to be winning any bodybuilding competitions anytime soon, but he probably would be tackling at least a couple more corrupt cops in his career.
The diner, a favorite of the duo's, was quiet. It was eleven o'clock in the morning, and most of the city took their lunch break at two. Even after the spectacular chase these detectives were involved in not a full twenty-four hours earlier, the general populace fostered an enduring apathy that could, if need be, weather a bonafide storm of scandals.*

"Spit it out." Bernard had a way of observing his surroundings that made him the envy of many detectives; it's just everything else about him that they couldn't stand.

"What?" Carter asked before taking a sip of his club soda.

"You've been scowling at me more than usual. If you have something t-"

Carter sighed loudly as he stared at the bubbles vertically chasing each other in his glass. "You shouldn't have shot him."

Bernard shrugged.

"Seriously, you can't do that. We have no reason to believe he was armed-"

The older detective swallowed his food forcefully as he rolled his eyes in disbelief. "He's a frickin cop!"

Slowed down but ever resolute, Carter persisted. "Still. He wasn't a lethal threat."

Back to the chili with another shrug. "I shot him in the leg. He'll live."

"There's a way to do things, Bernard."

The old detective put down his fork. "Listen, kid. The chief is on the take. The mayor runs the Daisy, or at least pockets half the profits. We're chasing dirty cops through the city. I'm pretty sure none of that is..." He pointed at his partner with each word to emphasize; "'how you do things'."

A waitress, clad in the Roma diner's signature magenta and beige fusion, passed by quietly. She had silver cross earrings on that danced as she moved. Carter shot a small but friendly smile at her, which she did not return. He then whispered loudly to his partner as he gently but firmly tapped he table with his right index and middle finger. "The rulebook is there for a reason!"

Bernard cracked his neck. "The rulebook is made for a specific game; once that game has changed completely, that book goes out the window."

Carter backed down. He sat pensively as Bernard finished his chili, during which time another waitress passed by, and this one did return Carter's friendly gesture but he could swear he sensed a hint of mockery.
Soon it was One O'clock, and the first few customers started coming in. After making sure to leave a tip for his club soda and Bernard's chili, sandwich and two coffees, carter followed his partner outside.

Roma stood at the intersection of Willow and Fourth; about twenty minutes from the Daisy. The two detectives stood there; the big one smoking a cherry-flavored cigarillo and the fit one drawing puffs from his electronic cigarette, in front of a musty old sedan. It was in different phases of gray, and the hood almost resembled a world map done in pastels, especially if one was not that well acquainted with geography.

As they got into the car, Carter turned to his partner once again.

"Did you really have to shove that kid, though?"

"I don't like kids."

The building itself seemed quite healthy and not very old at all; it had gotten a fresh coat of paint within the last year and looked much better than the rest of the neighborhood.
Inside, the ground floor echoed that sentiment with a nice, fresh look that would, presumably, instill confidence in anyone in need of the services provided here.

The second floor, however, seemed much worse for the wear.

Much more shallow in color than the deep blue that adorned the outside, this area seemed to have worn out the paint job by sheer force of will.
Carter and Bernard were at their desks, across from each other. Carter was much more quiet than usual, scribbling nonsense in his legal pad to clear his mind. His partner was flipping through an issue of his favorite comic, GCPD.

Further away from the entrance, almost pressed to the back wall, a detective worked furiously, attacking form-filled papers with a number 2 pencil. Next to those forms was an identical stack.

The corner desk was being used as a poker table by three detectives*, and the door to the Chief's office was open, but never in the metaphorical sense. He was nowhere to be seen.

Carter's smart phone shuddered violently on the wooden desk and he grabbed it. Bernard did not stop reading his comic but he did comment. "I'll give you a hundred dollars if that is not your therapist."

"Friend," Carter replied hostilely, opening the message to read it.

"Sorry; therapist friend."

"No, just friend. I knew him before he was a therapist. So stop it."

"It's just..." Bernard peeked over the edge of the comic, "Don't you think the fact that your only other friend is a therapist is a bit... I don't know, unhealthy? A red flag, maybe?"

Carter looked at his partner. "So now we're friends?"

Bernard folded the upper half of the comic down very slightly, allowing him to peer out over the top of bended pages at the younger detective.
"I was talking about Tobias."

Carter scoffed. "Sure, okay, Man." Carter went back to doodling, and a few silent moments passed. Bernard now completely put down the comic book. "Seriously though, you ever wonder about Tobias?" he asked.

"He's actually the only one around here I don't wonder about," Carter replied, and he shot a quick glance at Bernard before focusing his attentions back to his doodles. Bernard tapped his fingers on his desk, thinking deeply.

"He's a good guy and all, but I mean... Why does he always do paperwork double? I mean is that even legal?"

Carter put his pen down with a sigh. "Seriously? Out of all the things going on in this place, that's what makes your justice-sense tingle?"

Bernard cringed at the description. "Ew."

"He rips them up and tosses the ones he writes in pencil," Carter continues. "I've seen him do it. He's probably just making sure he doesn't make any mistakes on the official form."

"I don't get it. Why would he do that?"

"Hell, Bernard, I don't know. OCD? A very unusual case of Tourette's? Or maybe he just- gasp!- wants to do it right!" Carter feigned astonishment.

"You know," Bernard said, "I'm getting sick of your passive-aggressive garbage, man."

A solid voice interrupted the friendly conversation. "Carter! Maletski!"

Carter grinned the whole time as they walked from their desks to the chief's office, and his smile grew even wider after Bernard punched him in the shoulder before they entered.

The chief stared at the directly as they entered. "You two are great detectives." He spoke with a slow, clear tone and voice.

Bernard opened his eyes widely. "Are you breaking up with us?"

Blatantly ignoring him, the chief continued. "McNamara is coming back in today." Carter's face lost all color, Bernard scoffed then shook his head, and the chief continued uninterrupted.
"I want you guys to play nice. Carter, say you're sorry for tackling him so roughly."

"It was a clothesline spear", Bernard mumbled. "Maletski," the chief continued, "you're going to have to go over to Saint Andrews*. Apologize to Greene; He should be out of his morphine coma by now. I don't want this to get any more out of hand than it already has."


The two detectives continued staring; one in disbelief, the other in disgust.

"I know, I know. You guys were doing your jobs. But my hands are tied on this. Orders coming up from above. You know how it is."

"Yeah," Bernard replied, "you've got the only career where you get paid not to do your job. I wonder what you do on off days?"

The chiefs squinted at Bernard. It was a half-irritated expression meant to convey indignation or anger, but coming from the tall, lean man who always seemed calm beyond rationality, it was unsettling.

"Sir," Carter said, breaking the tension, "I... What are we supposed to do?"

"Just what I said." The chief passed a hand through his short hair. "Play nice. And finish your report." he turned around and began to pour himself a glass of whiskey from a rotund, ridged bottle. Bernard shook his head and patted a distraught and unbelieving Carter, the sign to leave; this battle was not won, not today.

"Maletski", the chief added before the detectives exited, "your gun."
Bernard scoffed and continued walking away without turning back. "I'll be at my desk if you want to try and take it."


Carter's desk was covered in scratches. Covering it in a much less permanent fashion were an electronic cigarette charger, some neatly stacked paperwork and a copy of Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant.

His partner's desk was a barren wasteland, serving only as a place mat for the GCPD comic.

"Are you okay?"

Carter was staring directly at Bernard, who sighed and opened his desk's uppermost drawer.

"I'm splendiferous."

He took out a pack of cigarillos and a flimsy-looking yellow lighter. Then, in a loud voice, said "If you've got something to say, say it!"

Carter looked confused, then saw Tobias getting up from his desk and walking over.

"I hope so hard that you weren't trying to be inconspicuous," Bernard said as he lit a cigarillo.

"Hey guys. I just- well..." Tobias stopped, thinking of how to best phrase his question. His sentences always started uncertainly, but ended with confidence.

"What did Weaver say to you?", he continued. "Was it about the chase?"

Bernard blew a smoke ring, then attempted to blow a smaller one through the first one, but he failed, and he took a long draw of the cigarillo, then released it upwards and inhaled it with his nose.

"What... What I guess my friend here is trying to say," Carter started, "is that we got a slap on the wrists for going off-book. For whatever reason, these guys are protected. Even though we caught them selling drugs. They saw us, and just ran."

Tobias glanced around, suspiciously. He was fiddling nervously with the end of his black leather belt, but he did not seem to know it. "I eh... Don't think that's all though." Carter raised an eyebrow at the gray-suit-wearing detective. Bernard was now also looking at him. "I think you guys should come over to my place for dinner later tonight." Tobias pulled a business card from his front pocket and carefully placed it on Bernard's desk. "Call first. Later, guys!" he smiled, and walked back to his desk. Bernard and Carter shot each other a look, then simultaneously looked at the card, then back at each other.

"Weird mannerisms, fancy suit, expensive-looking business card... I'm telling ya, I'm getting a serious Patrick Bateman vibe from that guy."

Carter chuckled. "Tobias is alright. You're just mistrusting of anyone who doesn't seem rotten on the surface."

Bernard shrugged, releasing another smokey circle. "Why wouldn't I be? It's unnatural." He sighed deeply, pressing the lit cigarillo stub into the end of his desk. "Let's get this garbage over with." he got up and stretched, cracking his back loudly. Carter stared at him.

"It's not right, you know. I mean yeah, you shouldn't have pulled your gun, but-"

"It's alright," the older detective replied. "I knew this was gonna happen."

Carter got up as well and they walked towards the entrance, which was now blocked by the three detectives who had been playing poker earlier.

Carter and Bernard stopped short, and looked over to the chief's office which was open and had the chief himself leaning in the doorway with his arms folded and a half smirk on his face. He shrugged, and Bernard rolled his eyes as he took his gun out of his side holster. He handed it to the tanned man with stitches on his forehead and walked through. Carter mumbled "Sorry Mac" to the same man and followed his partner.

The hallways seemed darker than usual, and the humidity clung to the atmosphere.

"Wait, so are you suspended, or..."

Bernard scoffed loudly at the question, and maybe, for no reason, at his partner as well. "It's just a power play. He knows I have another one anyway."

As they entered the elevator, Carter wondered whether or not that answered his question, and how messed up everything was, and what sort of dinner would be waiting for them later at Tobias' place.

TheWritingWriter
May 15th, 2013, 03:37 AM
"Can you believe it?", Bernard said with a chuckle. Comma is unnecessary.
Second paragraph,

Bernard is an interesting character. He's not necessarily mean, but sort of blunt and snarky, whereas Carter seems to be a "black and white" guy, leaning more towards following the rules. They complement each other as characters.


I noticed that you are referring to Carter by his last name, but to Bernard by his first? Is there a particular reason for that?


I think you might be depending on dialogue a little too much to tell your story. You can always step aside from conversation for a minute to elaborate on the topic. There were a couple of things that needed to be explained more, like Bernard's going off the book with the chase & what exactly the chief was asking of them to do? Yes, apologize, but why exactly?

It had a slow start, but as I began to like the characters, my interest grew. I would definitely continue this story if you were to post more. I ended up liking this piece more than I thought I would.

By the way, I loved the American Psycho reference!