Meeting the Suspect

Author’s Note: So today I pulled a snippet out of my backlog, from a story that I wrote a while ago, one that I finished and started a sequel to but found myself writing them out of character and shelved. Still, I like this particular mistake. It amused me.

Meeting the Suspect

“You Corbett? Not like… Richard, Robert, Rudy, Roscoe, Russell—”

“Yes. Like them. You don’t have to list them off. There was a Corbett on the police force when this was just a homestead over a century ago, or so the legend goes,” she interrupted, not wanting to hear the names. That was a long legacy full of pain, and she didn’t want to remember it, not now. She’d have to make a trip to the graves, make sure they were being maintained, try not to think about the empty plot waiting for her. It was only a partial joke when Robbie had bought it for her after she joined the academy. He’d placed it next to his and laughed.

He was already in it, the bastard, and she wasn’t sure if any of them was noble—just masochistic—or unable to turn away from the inevitable.

“Agent Bulloch told you we needed a tech for this, right? You have one you can spare us?”

“Maybe. ‘Fore we settle that, better deal with the guy we have in interrogation. Found him nosing around your latest crime scene—I figure you’ll want to get out there soon enough, but you should have one of yours talk to him. He just keeps calling us a bunch of idiotic feds. Maybe your boss there can get more out of him.”

“Usually works,” she agreed, taking the file that the other agent held out to her. This field office was looking like a joke, and she was no longer surprised that they’d gotten this call. How many people did he have under him? One? So, two feds for the entire area. Great.

She crossed over to where her supervisor stood with Ducas. She gave the profiler the file—he’d end up getting the interrogation. He always did. He was supposed to know people’s minds, after all. “Bull, they’ve got someone they picked up at our new crime scene. Who do you want to talk to him and who’s going over to the site?”

“You and Ducas go in. We’ll keep me as bad cop when we need it.”

She nodded. Ducas stepped around her, opening the door to the interview room for her. She shook her head at his patronizing act.

“What is it with you feds? Is it something about working higher in the government that rots out your brains and turns you into complete morons? No, I know. It’s the suits. Sucks the soul right out of you, doesn’t it, Chel?”

She leaned against the wall, shaking her head. She couldn’t help the smile. He hadn’t changed one bit. Oh, his hair was just a fraction longer than the last time she’d seen him, and he’d gained weight—he wasn’t fat, but he’d been so gaunt the last time that she could have been the one knocking him over with a tap, not Bull.

“You know him, Rachel?”

Frowning, she shot Ducas a dirty look. She just told him not to use that name. She was not a Rachel. She’d gotten stuck with it to carry on the tradition, but it never fit.

The handcuffs rattled, drawing her eyes back to the “suspect.” It was almost laughable, the mistake that they’d made, but then again, it wasn’t. He still dressed like a damn bum, and she’d always hated that about him. This time he’d shaved, but the hair was a mess, and those old clothes of his had to be part of his latest act.

“He one of your CIs or something? You going to give me something to work with here?” Ducas turned to the file. “You got a real name somewhere? I see a bunch of aliases. T, Trey, Main, and so on… Multiple busts for possession, possession with intent to sell, aggravated assault… He’s a petty little hood, but since none of these were prosecuted, I’m guessing CI.”

“You’re as much of an idiot as the rest of them.”

Ducas sighed. He put the folder on the table and looked to her. “You mind helping me out here? I know this is a joke to you, but it doesn’t seem all that funny.”

“Please tell me the two of you aren’t dating.”

Though she figured the question was for her—and since when did he have her so damn wrong?—the profiler’s head jerked up. “Excuse me? Just because she’s a woman and I’m a man doesn’t mean that we’re dating. That presumption is—”

“Full of crap. Fine. I’m just saying, if you’re dating, this is going to get very awkward, very fast.”

Ducas frowned. “Why?”

“I’m her husband.”

Old Friends Want New Sequels

Recently, I had to correct the mistake I made in leaving the notes I’d complied while rereading my stories ignored for up to five months. These are my editing notes: typos, poor word choice, missing words or explanations, those sorts of things. All of that I try and pay attention to when I’m reading so that I can help the editing process along. Rereading and editing is my process.

The danger in that, of course, is getting caught up in the stories again. I reintroduce myself to old friends, and the longer it’s been since the last time I read the story, the more I miss the characters.

Now I would love to tell more stories with all those old friends. It’s been too long, though, and I don’t mean just in the sense of how long it’s been since I’ve read the story.

I have this distressing feeling that I would not be able to capture the true essence of the characters after this long away.

Last time I tried to do something with Frankie and Rico from In the Family, Frankie was nothing like herself. Attempts at sequels for The Geek and the Fed and Tearing Down the Pedestals left me with two stories at the same time that were out of character.

On the other hand, I was able to pick up The Lady in Black, The Consultant and the Cat, and Criss-Crossed Paths after years of abandonment and finish them. I think the difference there may be that I had started them by hand, and I had to type them before continuing them, so the flow was still there, the mindset and understanding of the characters.

Starting the sequel to Tearing Down the Pedestals almost immediately after finishing it did not keep Chel and Tremayne in character, though.

So I’m not sure. I don’t know what that elusive quality is that would allow me to pick up where I left off with the characters (or even jumping ahead a little) and keep going.

I want to find it, though. I miss my old friends. I want to continue having adventures with them.