Saturday, March 11, 2023

Books by donalee Moulton are featured today as Saturday's Blurbs #Hung Out To Die #Mystery #Blurbs #Rael Brava


Three blurbs




I’m moving full steam ahead up three flights of stairs to my office. Speed is not second nature to me. Given my innate state of being, caution is synonymous with survival. The faster you move, the more likely you are to misstep. Generally, that’s something I can’t risk.


I’m reaching for the hallway switch when I notice a light three doors down. That’s Norm Bedwell’s office. And that’s unusual. Our comptroller is typically among the last to arrive. Only a fresh honey crueller from Tim Hortons has ever changed his timeline.


I’m running to Norm’s office now, tirade at the ready. The only thing that can prevent the outside security system from working, aside from someone hacking into our server, is if the door doesn’t latch firmly behind the entering employee. A loud audible click lets you know the system is armed, and then you can move forward. Employees are trained to wait for the click; if they don’t, an alarm will sound for two minutes, albeit relatively soft as alarms go. But at this time of day, no one is around to hear it.


It must be Norm’s fault, which may mean the system has only been down for minutes if he just arrived. It’s a question I’m tossing at our comptroller even before I’ve stepped inside his office.


Norm doesn’t answer.


He can’t because he’s swinging from a rope tossed over an open beam (the designer’s brilliant idea), a noose tight around his neck. He’s blue, but not as blue as I believe a dead man should look. This poses a dilemma. I need a few moments to assess my options and identify the safest and most effective course of action. However, I am aware I don’t have the luxury of time. I’ve seen enough Law and Order episodes to know if you don’t call the cops immediately, the delay in time will get noticed, and you’re more likely to find yourself on the suspect list.


Dammit. I’m a suspect.





Raynes looks like he’s getting ready to leave. Looks can be deceiving. He lingers for a second. “Have you ever had a donair?”


Donairs are a Halifax specialty. Some residents contend this is Nova Scotia’s official food. Aficionados spend a great deal of time discussing the nuances of the dish, thin slices of spiced beef on a warm pita, sprinkled with diced onion and tomato, and swimming in a sweet, garlicky sauce. Or so I’ve been told. To answer Raynes’s question, “No, I’ve never had a donair.”


“Let’s go.” He pauses for a split second. “I won’t tell Tiffany.”


I’m in. We head to the Donair Queen in Elmsdale, a play, I assume, on the King of Donair in Halifax, where the dish is said to have originated. I let Raynes order for me. “Two donairs,” he says. Apparently, it’s not complicated.


The decor is fast food meets comfort food. You order cafeteria-style and either head out or grab a seat. Most people do the former. A few plastic chairs and tables are scattered at the back of the restaurant. Raynes and I stake out a table in the corner. Only one other person is eating inside.


For the next 15 minutes, Raynes and I concentrate on demolishing our donair. It’s not as easy as it sounds. The meat, toppings, and sauce are rammed into a loosely folded pita and blanketed with a small piece of tinfoil. No matter where you bite, something falls out or spills over from another place. I see why Raynes grabbed a large handful of napkins.

“What do you think?” Raynes asks when we’ve finally swallowed the last sloppy morsel.


“I think I’m in heaven. Let’s do this every week. And if Tiffany finds out, my marriage will be over.” Raynes laughs.


It feels casual and natural. And I should know better. “You want something, don’t you?”




The parking lot, as usual, is almost empty. It’s a large lot; we need space at the front (and back) for delivery trucks. I walk toward the front gate, counting one black SUV, one silver SUV, one four-door sedan, and maybe a Camry. It’s my mantra. Screw you, Neil Phillips.


I am running my card across the security reader when I see it. Orange truck far right tucked almost out of sight. I’m uncertain what to do at this point or what’s expected of me. I always play by the rules, yet I almost sprint back to my car. Somehow my cell phone is in my hand, and I’m dialing Raynes. “We have got to stop meeting like this.” I hear the laughter in his voice.


“Orange truck.” I’m almost gasping, moving so quickly back to my car.


“Where?” Raynes doesn’t miss a beat. I can hear him scrambling to put clothes on in the background.


“It’s in the parking lot. Empty,” I say, anticipating his next question.


“I’m on my way. Stay put.”


Well, so much for Raynes’s rules. After a few minutes, I get out of my Lexus and casually saunter over to the truck. There’s nothing casual about how I’m feeling. I keep glancing around, expecting someone to jump out of the darkness at any moment. And somehow, I continue moving forward. It’s the scene in every horror movie when audiences yell, “Don’t go there.”


I snap a picture of the truck’s license plate and all sides of the vehicle. I even get several pictures of the inside from the driver’s side and the passenger’s side. Each snap, whirr, click is preceded by a furtive glance around the lot. It remains empty.


I head back to my car and climb in, wishing I had stopped for coffee. Even a McDonald’s would taste good right about now. And in fairness to the Golden Arches, the coffee is very decent.


Turns out, it may be just as well I don’t have any liquid to spill. A lone figure approaches the truck. I feel myself stiffen and straighten, and then I immediately slide down in my seat. I’ve watched enough Law & Order to know what pretend cops do.


Raynes is at least 10 minutes out. I’m staying hidden while simultaneously getting a description of the perp (perhaps I watch too much Law & Order) by taking his picture. It is a man.


He is now in the truck and slowly backing out of the CCC parking lot. I turn my car on and follow. I honestly don’t know what the hell is wrong with me lately.


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