Monday, September 8, 2008
L. A. Mischief excerpt by P. A. Brown
If you have already read L. A. Heat by author P. A. Brown, you have met David Eric Laine and Christopher Bellamere. If not, get ready to make their acquaintance in L. A. Mischief, a fast-paced novella that details the early months of their relationship. David-a LAPD Homicide Detective-is stubborn, proud, and barely out of the closet. As the story opens, he is struggling to find the balance between his intense feelings for Chris, the urges of his newly liberated libido, and the demands of a job where bodies pop up on an all too regular basis. Chris-blonde, smart, out and proud-faces his own set of challenges, including helping his best friend cope with his ongoing grief after the brutal murder of his lover. Life events conspire to bring David and Chris together while at the same time keeping them apart-will they be able to push their way through and find a common ground for happiness and their shared love?
L. A. Mischief
Bristlecone Pine Press, an imprint of Maine Desk, LLC (September 3, 2008)
Monday, 7:30 am, Northeast Community Police Station,
San Fernando Road, Los Angeles
The squad room was a noisy cacophony of phone calls and low pitched voices. Somewhere a desk drawer slammed and a chair squeaked. David Eric Laine paid very little attention to anyone around him. He was intent on the voice on the other end of the phone, who was calling to report a missing and abducted eighteen year old woman.
"When did you last see Holly?" David asked with a show of patience he was far from feeling.
"Thursday night. We met for coffee at Starbucks, you know the one up on Los Feliz?"
"Yes, ma'am, I'm familiar." David scribbled on the notebook he had opened in front of him when the call had first come through, thinking then it might be legit. He was having serious doubts about that now. Across from him his partner of seven years, Martinez Diego sat chewing on peanuts he was taking out of a bag of fresh roast he had brought in that morning. Martinez was on a recent health kick and had heard peanuts were the new blueberries. David was skeptical, but, hey if it worked for the guy... He had his own phone pinned under his shoulder. When he caught David looking at him he rolled his eyes and pantomimed lips moving. He had a talker too.
"Well, we met up there and Holly was all excited. She saw some news story on the TV about sightings."
"Sightings, ma'am? I don't follow."
"Sightings. Lights, physical phenomena. She said they were all over Griffith Park. Probably came to look over the observatory up there. Maybe they think we're spying on them."
"Yes, ma'am. What happened then? Did you leave Starbucks together?"
"Yes," the woman who had introduced herself as Meagan Dupress early in the conversation, seemed impatient. Like David should be getting it by now and wasn't. "She was going to go home and I was off to work."
"And where do you work, ma'am?"
"Kressler Auto, on South Brand. Car sales. We're open till nine and I was doing the evening shift."
"Yes, ma'am. What then?"
"Well I don't think she went home. I think she went up to the park to find them."
"Find who, ma'am?"
"The aliens. Don't you get it, officer? The aliens took her. God knows what they're doing to her as we speak. You have to put out an APB on her. They could be torturing her right now. Something unspeakable."
"I, ah, seriously doubt that, ma'am. I'm sure aliens wouldn't come all the way here to do that."
"That's what they want you to think. What about Roswell? Area 51?" she crowed triumphantly. "The government's been covering that up for years. Didn't you see Independence Day?"
David dropped his head into his hand and massaged his temple. He hadn't noticed a full moon last night but what else could it be? Certainly not aliens. Ah, that's right. It was Halloween. No wonder she was seeing little green men. They were probably trick or treating at the observatory.
"If you like ma'am, I can have a patrol car sweep that area—what did you call it? Area 51?"
"No, no, you don't get it. Area 51 is in New Mexico. That secret government installation where they're hiding the alien bodies!"
"Yes, of course. New Mexico. Then how can I help you, ma'am?"
"Find Holly. She's in the park. I just know it."
Along with the little green men? David thanked his caller and said he'd have a patrol car keep an eye out for Holly and her 'abductors.' Thankfully Meagan seemed satisfied with that.
He looked up again to find Martinez off his line looking despondent. "Feel like taking a drive?" he asked before Martinez could speak.
"Griffith Park." He tried to keep a straight face but Martinez knew him too well.
"We're looking for one Holly Barnes, recently abducted by aliens. No doubt being anal-probed as we speak."
"I'm not, but her friend was. Government cover-up. Hidden space ships and lights in the sky."
"Always wanted to find me one of those. The kids would love one under the tree at Christmas." Martinez's grin slipped. "So you doing anything important right now?"
"Yeah, calling the FBI about a possible UFO abduction, what do you think?"
"I think you need to get out more."
David didn't wince outwardly, but he did inside. He had been getting out more since his silent break up with Chris—silent at least in the eyes of his partner. He hadn't made a big deal of the fact that they were no longer seeing each other and Martinez would never ask.
Martinez would be comfortable with never hearing about David's aberration ever again.
But David had been going out. It shamed him no end, but he'd had a taste of what it was like to be open about his sexuality and he was loath to crawl back into the closet completely. So he went out.
Each morning after he berated himself for letting his libido control him, and most nights he could ignore the call, but then the pressure would build up and he would have to find an outlet for it. It had been three days since his last breakout and his body was giving him the unmistakable signals that it was time.
So far he'd fought it, but he knew, deep in his gut, that the fight was one-sided.
The only question was where he would pursue his pleasure.
He had avoided the places in Silver Lake and WeHo where he knew Chris hung out. He didn't think he could stand to see Chris using his considerable charms on some other man. He wasn't prepared to go back to the rare trip to Palm Springs but he had to find a place Chris wasn't likely to go. He settled on The Eagle, a leather bar in Silver Lake. He wasn't at the point of gigging himself up, but he loved the way it looked on a muscular man.
Even that shamed him.
He forced his overheated thoughts back to the moment. He focused on Martinez. "Got something in mind?"
"Just got a call out for a drive-by on Drew Street. Interested?"
"Let's check it out."
Drew Street in Glassell Park was a notorious gang hangout primarily run by the Avenue gang, a subset of the Crips. A gang injunction had been laid against them and a major bust had led to numerous arrests of high-ranking gang leaders. But like a bad smell, the gang regrouped and was back in business.
Ironically, they were only a couple of hundred yards from the Northeast Police Station as a ghetto falcon flew.
This drive-by had netted two bodies, one of them a six year old. The kids were always the worst. They stood on the front steps of the structure called the Twin Towers after the Los Angeles County Jail in downtown L.A. because so many of the residents were ex-cons, staring down at the tiny body curled up under a rusted out lawn chair. The second victim, an older teen, lay on the lawn, her short skirt and T hiked up over bare legs. A single gunshot wound marred the nearly flawless skin of her forehead.
David crouched to get a closer look. Near the graffiti-covered street several shell casings from a nine millimeter weapon had been recovered.
"Who was she?"
"Avenue gangbanger, Maria Real. That's her daughter, age six. No one seems to know who the father is." Martinez looked bleak. "Pretty much the same news all over."
David glanced out at the street, studying a pair of tennis shoes that had been tossed over the power line in front of the apartment. The silent signal that the dealers were in and open for business. His gaze swept back over the yard then out to the street where the shooters had probably driven. Had the woman been their target? Or just collateral damage?
"Any one see anything?"
"You're joking, right?"
David sighed. Right. No one ever saw anything on Drew Street.
Larry Vance the SID crime scene technician stepped out of his van, lugging his 3D Leica camera. A second tech was flagging the shell casings and any other evidence the site might yield. He didn't expect much.
In the real world there would be no fingerprints on the shell casings. No tire marks would be matched to some unique vehicle that only one particular gangbanger drove. And of course, no witnesses would develop a conscience and risk their lives to clean up Glassell.
They spent hours canvassing the neighborhood then called in a couple of patrols in to take the canvass through the Twin Towers. You never knew. Sometimes you got lucky. And it never hurt to tell the bad guys you were on to them. One thing about Glassell, there was no interest from the local news hawks. Glassell didn't register on the radar of the average Cali reader.
They grabbed lunch out of a mariscos truck in Eagle Rock and headed back to the station to write up their reports. The autopsy would be scheduled later. They hadn't decided which of them would attend.
They spent the afternoon going over various cases, including writing up a sixty-day report on another Drew Street homicide that still hadn't yielded any suspects, and at this late date wasn't likely to. David had a bad feeling about this latest one. Drew Street homicides had a dismal habit of entering a black clueless hole.
That evening David was scheduled to speak at the monthly Community-Police Advisory Board. It wasn't his first choice of a night's entertainment, but the Lieutenant wanted him there. David figured it had as much to do with his being gay as his media savvy. He spent the last hour at his desk going over his notes.
Dinner was leftovers and a Bud. The CAPA meeting went without any major public blow-ups. The Drew Street shooting was mentioned, but David wasn't surprised when no one seemed willing to apportion any blame to the young teen mother who had chosen the life and taken her daughter with her. Just one more dead banger, probably killed by one of her own people.
Thirty minutes after the meeting was ended, he entered the Eagle. He could hear the heavy beat of rock music through his feet. He slipped off his Ray Bans and nodded at the bouncer. Inside the TV screens were full of hard core porn and the dark paneled walls were covered with posters advertising upcoming shows. He stared at a heavily muscled blond wearing a leather and chrome harness and a skimpy jock that barely concealed his massive cock and balls while he waited for his eyes to adjust to the gloom. The guy looked back with interest.
David stepped up to the bar and got his Bud and retreated to the patio where the music was softer. He studied the sparse crowd. The air was full of sexual tension and smelled of testosterone and poppers. He watched three men playing tonsil hockey grope each others' rigid cocks. He got hard as he let himself play with the fantasy: what would a threesome be like? It wasn't long before he felt the presence beside him and a hand went between his legs, cupping his hard-on.
Moist lips traced the outline of his jaw and nibbled on his ear lobe.
"Was hoping you'd come in tonight."
He turned and looked down into Blair's dark eyes. "I wasn't going to."
David pulled muscular black man into his embrace. "No," he said huskily. "Mine."
The heavily muscled blond walked out onto the patio and David's eyes slid over him again, raw lust on his features. Blair picked up on the look and desire as he pressed his hot lips against David's throat. "Interested in a three-way?" he whispered.
"Maybe," David answered, his voice husky.
Just before his lips closed over David's Blair murmured, "Let me ask around."