Long Fiction

Long fiction pieces for readers with more time.

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THE PIZZAZ DEFICIT

A Mystery, By Lee Thorn

Chapter One

The janitor's radio alarm clock went off at 6:00 AM, the familiar voice of the morning DJ penetrating Sam Gilbert's consciousness. Gilbert hit the off button and stumbled to the shower. He never listened to the radio for longer than it required to jolt him into wakefulness.

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Chapter Two

Mike Cox was glad of his cubicle. Unlike the open bay squad rooms on TV cop show, the Tucson Police Department gave its detective teams two-man cubicles whose partitions were covered with light gray carpeting. They were almost genteel compared to what the TV cops had. There was room for two desks with computer terminals, two swivel chairs and four filing cabinets, a cozy semi-private space that everybody decorated with pictures of wives and children.

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Chapter Three

Cox was seeing the ME van off moments later and savoring the bright fresh morning despite himself when the minister's restored Edsel ripped into the parking lot. He briskly walked over to the vehicle and introduced himself as the minister got out.

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Chapter Four

Uncomfortably conscious of the time it was taking, Cox got through town and onto I-10 going north. Minutes later he was turning off the highway onto the short road that led to his development, a sea of almost identical two-story homes on postage-stamp lots, all in the same dreary beige. Part of the home owners' association agreement was that you wouldn't paint your house a different color. The sea of beige would remain in perpetuity.

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Chapter Five

Driving home for the second time that day, Cox was of two minds: He felt that he'd had a reasonably productive day, but he didn't have an inkling about the true nature of the crime. He would certainly be pleased to see his partner's usually grumpy face when Max returned from vacation tomorrow. He didn't bother to go back to the office after his interview with the church secretary. Max wouldn't be there and the lieutenant probably would be. That, he thought, was a perfect example of an no-win situation.

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Chapter Six

Scott Anderson couldn't wait to get to the foothills home of his mistress.  It struck him as funny that his most urgent need was to talk to her.  How many times, in his professional capacity, had he heard the words, "My wife doesn't understand me"?  But weren't women the ones who were supposed to crave talk?

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More chapters to come.