Draft episode -- "Elrod's Awakening" -- novel in progress
In his motel room, Elrod tried to write a blog entry but the memory of the rush of recent experiences transfixed him. He looked out his window at the garden nursery next door then sat back on his bed. I want to regress, he thought, go back to my homeless way of talking about myself in the third person, keep me at a distance. No. That's not possible. I'm unstuck. I laid aside the pretense. Deep down inside I knew it was a pretense.
“What do I do now?” Elrod wrote in his little laptop. “I feel suspended in time and space. When I look out the window, I wonder if I’ll see the large, black SUV or the Venus Appliances van, the Russian speaking men. If I move about in the ways I've become accustomed, I could be spotted and might endanger people here in the motel, including Jenny Clareville.”
Elrod wrote hesitantly about his role in unearthing the whereabouts of the kidnapped street-courier boy and the convenience store robber, his brief association with Detective Bo Carter, much different from that of his former relationship with Raphool Walker, and the suspicion that there might be a bounty on him. When finished, he posted it to his private blog. I need to keep the details in mind, in case my mind clogs up again, he thought. It might be that the days of the once-homeless investigator Elrod Mathews are over, if that’s what one could call me. He added that thought to his blog.
Clareville Motel sat about two miles from the main district of a small town adjacent to the larger city where the crime episodes that Elrod encountered occurred. No buses ran between these two municipalities, though a bus could be taken from the nearby shopping center in another adjacent town, the bus Elrod rode on his last trip downtown with his bicycle.
From the motel, Elrod could see Southern Cookin’ restaurant. He decided to walk there for lunch. Two other small motels that housed long-term residents stood within walking distance as did an old service station, a business that sold boats, and a used furniture store that boasted of antiques that actually were old pieces that had been worked on for resale.
The rush of aromas and warmth made him smile as he entered the restaurant's small crowded dining area. In a booth in the rear he noticed Jim Sylvester and thought about doing an about face, but instead took a seat at the counter. He felt a tap on his shoulder and turned. Jenny smiled.
“Sit with me. I’m in the overspill room. I saw you walking by the window.”
Elrod avoided looking in Sylvester’s direction as the two moved to her table, in a line of sight with the cash register where customers paid the lone waitress. When Sylvester rose to pay and leave, Elrod asked Jenny if she knew him. They both watched him stroll by a window to his car. He waved and pointed his finger at Elrod as if it were the barrel of a pistol.
“No,” Jenny said. “I’ve seen him around. He knows you, obviously, though. How?”
“He showed up at the community kitchen homeless shelter and spoke with me. He knew what I’d been up to.”
The waitress appeared for Elrod’s order and Jenny asked whether she knew the man who just paid.
“Jim Sylvester,” the waitress replied. “He’s a private detective.”
Jenny laughed. Elrod looked puzzled.
"He lives in town, used to be married to Sally, the cook,” the waitress said. “Must still like the way she prepares lunch.”
“Maybe he wants to take you on,” Jenny said to Elrod.
“Me?” Elrod said, shaking his head. “He’s got something up his sleeve. And now he knows where I'm located.”
“If he didn’t already,” the waitress said. “He’s got a decent reputation. Ethical. But lazy. Drove Sally nuts.”
(c) Copyright Wes Rehberg, 2014