Meter Maids Eat Their Young

Welcome to my page devoted to my work-in-progress: Meter Maids Eat Their Young. I am hoping to have this novel finished and in the wind by mid 2011. Below is the first draft sample of Chapter 1. Keep in mind this will likely change by the time the book is published.

Chapter 1

Except for the half-dozen cats scattered about the king-sized bed, I was alone beneath the twisted sheets, deep in an uneasy dream. Someone off the dream stage struck a gong and struck it again, the reverberations lifting me to consciousness in a room faintly glowing with predawn light. The beeper chirped on the bedside table. I reach over and turned it off without looking to see who it was. The page could only be from one person. I fumbled about for my cell phone, flipped it open and pushed the only speed-dial number set on it.

“A little early for a Sunday wake-up call, don’t you think?” I said when the connection was made.

“Never too early for news, Teller,” said Felice, her usual melodious voice muted and somber. My heart began to race.

“Bad news, I suspect.”

“For you especially, I’m afraid. Your friend Harrison de Whitt was found dead in the East River Monorail parking lot.”

I bolted up, scattering cats. Harrison? I’d just had dinner with him two nights ago.

“When?” I asked, swallowing hard. “How?”

“As to the when, approximately 10 minutes ago,” she said. “As to the how, I assume you are asking how was he found and not how he died. I can answer the former but have no information regarding the latter.”

There was a long silence. I could hear a deep inward breath followed by a long exhalation.

“I’m sorry, Teller. That was a harsh way to answer your question. He was my friend as well.”

“I know, Felice, I know.”

“His body was discovered shortly after most of parking meters in the lot went up like Roman Candles. I’m afraid I know nothing more, which is why I’d suggest you get there as quickly as possible.”

I rolled off the bed.

“I’m on it,” I said. “I’ll call as soon as I have something.”

I flipped the phone closed and went in search of clothes.

I dressed quickly in what I could find in the dim glow of pre-dawn. I wasn’t ready for lights. I wasn’t ready for Harrison being dead.

In the kitchen, I poured food in the cat bowls, spilling most of it in my haste. There was a drip supply of fresh water but I checked it anyway, kicking it sharply with my toe and splashing water across the floor. Cursing, I considered mopping it up but decided I didn’t have the time.

As I stepped out the front door it struck me that the light in the stairwell leading to the upstairs flat was out. The darkness gave me pause. That light burns 24/7, one of those low watt forever bulbs and its being out meant something. As an investigative reporter, I’ve learned that a healthy dose of paranoia is a good defense mechanism to have.

Standing there, the dawning sun broke and shone through the balustrade, casting slanted shadows up the stairway, stirring up fragments of dream memory. For a moment I could smell a hint of L’Eau de Temps in the air. But that wasn’t possible. I knew it wasn’t my upstairs border’s. She wore a fruity blend of something I couldn’t quite distinguish the scent of.

I closed the door quietly behind me and hurried to my car, that hint of L’Eau de Temps following like a phantom.

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