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A SNITCH IN TIME

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CHAPTER 1

Detective Bobby Razulo stormed into the double-wide trailer, leaving a stream of obscenities in his wake. The other narcs in the unit turned to look at him, shrugged, and went back to planning which cases to work this week. They automatically tuned out the rant and histrionics. Just a start to another day of Razulo and his high drama.

Razulo slammed his fist on the cheap metal desk, a discard salvaged from the Central County warehouse. A few of the greener narcs turned abruptly in their rickety office chairs, but the older detectives calmly tapped away on their computer keyboards.

“Cool off, Razulo,” ordered the sergeant from his office down the hall.

Andy Perrelli might have been in charge and hovered a foot over Razulo’s wiry frame, but he knew better than to confront the detective, especially when Razulo was steaming like Mount Vesuvius.

Mumbling curses learned at his mother’s breast, Razulo grabbed the telephone receiver from the cradle and punched in a number. His hand clenched and unclenched as he listened to the ring on the other end.

“Hey, man,” lolled the recorded message. “This is Lester. I’m not around right now, but that’s cool. Just tell me what you need. Word out.” Beep.

“Mofo!” screamed Razulo into the receiver. “I’m going to kill you! I had the meet all set up and you’re off screwing around. Your ass is mine, Lester. I’m going to make you pay, dickweed. That’s a promise, not a warning.”

There was a click at the other end. “He’s dead,” a soft, female voice whispered.

“What?”

The anonymous female let out a little sob. “Lester’s lying here on the floor with his head bashed in.”

“Who the hell is this?” Razulo demanded.

“I have to go.” Click.

Razulo stared at the receiver in his hand, uncomprehending. A dead snitch meant a mountain of paperwork and several deals down the drain. Homicide detectives crawling all over the crime scene. Questions. More paperwork.

They would find his death threat on the answering machine.

Razulo let out a howl and banged the plastic receiver on his desk over and over as if he could kill the message by destroying the device.

“Bobby, I swear to God, I’m not calling General Services out here to replace another phone,” warned Della.

The secretary made a grab, but she was too late. Razulo ripped the cord out of the wall and the phone went airborne across the crowded office. Stopped by the dart board, broken pieces of plastic went flying.

“Bullseye,” muttered Martinez. He went back to reading the newspaper.

Razulo barreled down the hall to Perrelli’s office. “Sarge, I gotta go to Burlap.”

“I told you yesterday not to set up anything. We’ve got deals to do in Del Sol and Hurtado. No riding to the foothills today.”

“I gotta go.”

The sergeant stopped adding stats for the quarter’s meth seizures. “You’re not being a team player. The other guys have to get their deals going. Burlap can wait until next week.”

“My snitch is dead.”

“What the hell? Which informant are you talking about?”

“Somebody killed that asshole, Lester.”

The rest of the team crowded around the sarge’s doorway.

“Is that who you were threatening to kill over the phone?” asked Henderson, always ready to stir the fire.

“Shut up!” Razulo hissed.

“Has Homicide been notified?” Sarge finally asked.

Razulo, subdued, looked like a nervous ferret. His body twitched, impatient to launch into action. “I don’t know.”

“Get up there and do damage control. If Headquarters is already at the scene, you just showed up to pick up the confidential informant for a deal. You don’t know anything about any homicide. Everybody on board with that story?”

The team nodded in agreement. Staying off the radar of the brass was a common goal.

“Can I steal the answering machine?” Razulo asked.

“He never had an answering machine,” replied the sergeant. “Make this situation disappear.”

Razulo grabbed his piece and headed out the door. Over his shoulder, he called, “Della, order me another phone. Tell General Services there was an accident.”

“I swear this is the last time I’m doing this for you, Bobby.” Della stomped to her office. “General Services is starting to give me hell. Next time you’re replacing your own damn phone.”

But Razulo was already running to his undercover vehicle, a battered pickup. He beelined out of the driveway, kicking up a shower of gravel as he circled the double-wide and launched himself in the direction of Burlap.

Order:
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Noes on A Snitch in Time :

No book should take 5 years to write. A Snitch In Time was produced with many interruptions. I made a detour to work as an acquisitions editor and learned the book business from another angle. I lectured on the publishing industry, how to win short story contests and book promotion. At some point I went from a writer to a mentor. All well and good but fans reminded me they were waiting for the next installment of the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries.

Health took front and center when my single functioning kidney started to fail. I staved it off for 2 years before finally succumbing to dialysis. Turns out dialysis isn't the hell it's cracked up to be! I love the team of techs who take care of me 3 days a week. I'm also on the transplant list. The VA is taking care of everything.

At some point I lost track of the storyline for A Snitch In Time. I questioned if what I had was any good. I believe all authors go through this at some point. We lose faith in ourselves, in our characters and our writing ability. But, it comes back. When I read what I had written, I started to believe again.

Life is full of interruptions. Luckily, I have friends and fans who were patient with me. I write for them.