We’re in the final edits on Floater. Here’s another excerpt and an illustration from the forthcoming graphic novel. Enjoy…
The next morning, I met Luc for coffee. Knocking on his door, I pulled my shoulders back confidently. I wanted to be prepared for whatever mood he might be in. Luc was the kind of person you had to prep for, so you didn’t get blindsided. I didn’t bring flowers this time. I would never do that again. He opened the door and met me in the corridor. I wondered what he had in his apartment that he didn’t want me to see? Stop calculating, I told myself. Maybe it’s just a mess.
We took the elevator down to his car. As Luc was about to open the car door for me, I told him about my weird phone call last night – or rather very early this morning. I saw irritation forming in the furrows of Luc’s brow as I got into his car.
“That is it. You are out.”
Luc spoke with finality as he carefully pulled into the first lane of traffic on Turk Street. When he signaled his next lane change, a driver cut him off. Obviously annoyed, Luc pushed the accelerator pedal down hard. The car’s immense engine growled like it was happy to show off its power. It screamed forward and dodged in between a couple of cars, cutting off the driver at the next light, in quick retaliation. Luc was like a high-tension wire pulled tight and ready to snap.
I was uncomfortable with Luc’s aggressive driving and not accustomed to being told what to do. Tensions heightened within me too.
“I decide when I’m out. Do you really want more people to die? Looks like you need all the help you can get.”
“What makes you think you can help?” Luc asked.
“I’m getting a little tired of your attitude,” I said.
I was silent for a few seconds to gain control of my anger. Luc took advantage of the quiet to intensify hostilities.
“Well, fuc −”
“Settle down Bucko…Sure, you could figure this out on your own, but you’re thrown off by the fact that the killer is murdering your friends and people you −”
“I do not do friends. There are a lot of people who think I am their friend, but I am not.”
“You must have felt something for the two women. You kept seeing them, saw them often enough that the killer connected them to you,” I said.
I knew I had him there. He opened his mouth to say something, thought better of it and closed it again.
“But the killer would also have to know the man you found under the stairs, was your father and know where to find him,” I said.
I stopped to think about the implications of what I’d just said to Luc, as he parked the car. Out on the street, we stood hesitant, waiting in front of the coffee house; not sure if we wanted to go in at this point. I tilted my head slightly and looked at Luc with a sideways glance, scrutinizing him like a strange insect. Like a bare wall before the new paint is applied, I saw Luc clearly for only a few seconds, before his facade morphed back into place.
“Or do you want me out of the way?” I asked.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Maybe you know more about these murders than you’re telling me.”
“Maybe,” Luc said, looking up at the sky as though he was bored and ready to go.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“You can ask questions, but I might not respond to what you ask.” Luc said.
“It’s time for me to go.”
I turned away and Luc grabbed my arm.
“I did not kill those girls if that is what you are saying. I did not kill my father. Shit, I did not even know where he was,” Luc growled in a whisper, his mouth so close to my ear I could feel his breath, warm on my face.
Wrenching my arm away from Luc’s grasp, I said, “I find that kind of hard to believe. What are the odds of you both living in San Francisco and not knowing?”
“Do you think I care if you believe me?”
“Yes, I think you do.”
Luc looked disgusted but remained silent.
Realizing I was getting nowhere, I tried another tactic.
“OK, if you didn’t kill them, I would think you’d be desperate to stop the real killer. When you’re desperate you can’t focus clearly. You miss things, crucial details. Two heads are better than −”
“Enough, I get it…if you are going to start with the clichés,” Luc said.
Framed under an ivy clad, brick archway near Union Square, we probably looked like classic young lovers in San Francisco. No one would know how far from the truth that was. Luc gently lifted my chin, forcing me to look directly into his eyes.
“Just be aware of your surroundings OK? He knows how to find you now. Take care.”