Another draft passage from 2nd Elrod story:
Elrod negotiated his new, used mountain bike through shopping center traffic to a circular shaped city branch library, checked it out, it felt accommodating, then, at the nearby bus stop, he loaded the bike onto the front rack of the waiting bus and headed downtown.
Aboard, a feeling emerged as he looked out the window: he felt homesick, but from where? Though he spent a few years on the streets of this southeastern USA city, he felt exiled. At this moment, though, he also felt compelled to try his hand again at “investigation.” He wanted to find out about kids used as drug couriers on city streets, about the connection between the Russian mafia and drug traffic in the city, and about the man who shot at him at the convenience store. But looking into his feeling of homesickness -- yes, this is important, too, he thought.
He oriented himself as the bus approached his stop.
“I’ll just ride around. I might not be so recognizable in a bike helmet and sunglasses,” he said to himself. Off the bus, he slipped his knapsack on, put on the helmet, and rode into the periphery of the troubled Oakdale district. Two blocks in he noticed a disturbance and watched from behind a tree. A small group of young men shouted at a faded black sedan parked in the middle of the road. Rival gangs, he thought.
A gunshot. The car raced off in a direction away from Elrod. One of the young men on the street fell. Another fired a shot at the car. Elrod took out his smartphone and reported what he witnessed to 911, watched the young men crowd around the man shot, the people come out the old duplex homes to take in a familiar scene, and eventually a patrol car and an ambulance arrive.
How many like that this week? Elrod wondered. He’d check the local news reports.
The wounded young man stood up as Elrod rode slowly through the scene along a sidewalk. He recognized one of the others, the convenience store robber, who faded into the background to Elrod’s right as two patrolmen and two EMTs approached, then walked behind one of the duplexes. Elrod continued riding, passing another approaching police car, turned right at the corner, then right again, and caught sight of the young man entering a duplex. Elrod quickly wheeled a U-turn, took note of the street and duplex, and rode away.
Minutes later, he traveled along 23rd Street past Motel 23, and noticed the Venus Appliance van and large black SUV parked in its lot. From alongside the convenience store hit by the robbery he snapped a smartphone photo of the vehicles then continued to the community kitchen through the virtually abandoned industrial section that was the scene of the murder of the homeless woman.
Inside, he picked up a sandwich and coffee available in the dining area, sat in an easy chair, pulled his small laptop out of his knapsack, emailed his smartphone photos to himself, downloaded them into the laptop, and began to jot down his observations. I’ll compose all this for the blog later, he thought. Yes, my head is definitely clearing.
He looked up from his laptop. Patrolman Bo Carter pulled up a folding chair and sat in front of him.
“We tracked your 911 call. They figured you’d be here and sent me to get a statement about what you observed in Oakdale.”
Should I tell him about the duplex and the suspected convenience store robber? Elrod wondered. He decided he should.
(c) 2014 Wes Rehberg