The following post, by Geoffrey Jason Kagan Trenchad, is the ninth installment of 10, 12th Street Online’s first serial novel. Last semester, five authors were asked to write two chapters each, not knowing what their fellow authors would write until the previous chapters were published.

The story of a bat mitzvah and a marriage gone bad has morphed into a murder mystery. You can read the first eight installments here. Be sure to check in next Monday for the conclusion. You might be asking what we’re asking: how will they wrap this up?

From: (Mike Lowry)

To: (Mike Lowry)

Re: Case # 120-9

Nov 3 2008 3:14 PM

Subject exits Whole Earth Montessori School, 277 E. 78th St.

Subject wears red backpack, brown shoes, tan pea coat, green scarf

Subject walks south on Lex

Enters 77th St. subway stop

< Sent from my iPhone >

 

From: (Mike Lowry)

To: (Mike Lowry)

Re: Case # 120-9

Nov 3 2008 3:46 PM

Subject boarded 6 train approx 3:16 PM

Transfered at Grand Central to 4 express approx 3:31 PM

Exits Union Square in front Virgin Megastore

Walks N thru park

Enters B&N bookstore

Escalator to 4th floor

Takes copy of Watchman graphic novel from shelf

Escalator to 3rd floor

Buys hot chocolate at café 

Sits at table in front of window

< Sent from my iPhone >

 * * * * * 

Mike thanks God for living in the future. Back when he started, he had to take all his notes by hands. If it was a car watch, no big deal. But a foot follow, it gets to be a pain in the ass trying to write down everything but not look like your writing everything down. These days he just e-mails himself. Time and date recorded without ever having to check a watch. And these days everybody’s shuffling their thumbs. He can be standing in the magazine aisle of a bookstore between Modern Bride and Soldier of Fortune monitoring all movements of a subject without looking suspicious at all.

Jeremi is at the part of Watchman where the bad guy reveals how he did it. How the master plan was conceived of and executed. There is a flashback and a voiceover. A series of panels show a man falling out of a window. The ground gets closer and closer in each frame. The good guys tell him he must be stopped but they don’t realize it’s too late.

* * * * *

From: (Mike Lowry)

To: (Mike Lowry)

Re: Case # 120-9

Nov 3 2008 5:21 PM

Subject exits B&N main doors

Turns right on 17th St., westbound

Turns left on 7th Ave., southbound

Walks to 14th St. subway stop

< Sent from my iPhone >

 * * * * * 

 

Mike thinks this is stupid. He can’t let it end like this. They were married for Christ’s sake. Still are, sort of. They made promises in front of God and everybody.

He remembers how she looked walking down the aisle, like a movie star, so beautiful it didn’t seem real. He had balled up his toes into a little foot fists to keep his leg from shaking, just like his dad told him to do.

Even if it’s over, it doesn’t have to be like this, he thinks. They can be civil. This is not a Dashiell Hammett novel. He is not Sam Spade. He is a real private investigator.

He does not need to have a spurned ex.

He is a real private investigator who is stalking a 12-year-old prep school kid that doesn’t have the body mass to throw another boy of comparable size off a balcony. Especially if that balcony has a rail that comes up to near the boy’s shoulders. It’s simply a question of leverage.

Yes, Mike is a real private investigator who is making his rent this month taking money from a clearly depressed and desperate father who is willing to drain his dead child’s college fund to find out why he died. A client that will not take a simple suicide for an answer.

* * * * *

From: (Mike Lowry)

To: (Mike Lowry)

Re: Case # 120-9

Nov 3 2008 6:11 PM

Subject goes N on 1 train, last car

Exits 103 St.

Subject walks E to Amsterdam

Turns left

Subject enters parent’s house

1038 Amsterdam Ave., Jessup Building.

< Sent from my iPhone >

 

From: (Mike Lowry)

To: (Katherine Brenerton-Lowry)

Re: hey

Nov 3 2008 7:23 PM

hey, sorry about the other day. can we get dinner? drink later?

< Sent from my iPhone >

 

From: (Mike Lowry)

To: (Katherine Brenerton-Lowry)

Re: hey

Nov 3 2008 8:45 PM

seriously. let me make it up to you. just a drink.

< Sent from my iPhone >

 

From: (Mike Lowry)

To: (Katherine Brenerton-Lowry)

Re: hey

Nov 3 2008 9:52 PM

make your paranoid husband feel better. just tell me to go to hell.

 < Sent from my iPhone >

 

From: (Mike Lowry)

To: (Katherine Brenerton-Lowry)

Re: hey

Nov 3 2008 9:53 PM

you could just get old school and tell me to 7734209. ;]

< Sent from my iPhone >

* * * * * 

 

Mike knows he shouldn’t be here. He knows that just because she didn’t return his e-mails, it doesn’t mean something’s up. He’s walking down Katherine’s hallway, half expecting to see her turn the corner. Fuck, that would be awkward. What’s he gonna say if he sees her? What if she’s with a date? Shit, he thinks, she’s still using my name. If that was worth something to the doorman, it should be worth something to whatever guy she’s…

Mike reaches her apartment and the door’s an inch ajar. He knocks firmly on the frame.

“Hello? Anybody home?”

No answer.

This is a bad idea, he thinks as he enters. In the doorway he tries to reach with his ears, but there is no noise. He takes a few more steps. The coffee table has been pushed off center and the lamp is tipped. An arc of blood is splattered against the wall leading to the bedroom.

Every nerve in Mike’s body is screaming to get out of there. He very much regrets leaving his gun at home. The blood splatters get thicker the farther he gets down the hall. The door to the bedroom is half open. He pushes the door open with the tip of his shoe. The blankets and sheets have been ripped off the bed. The mattress is covered with a puddle of blood. His wife’s body is sitting against their old headboard. Her head is in her lap.

 

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