Sunday, May 1, 2011

SampleSunday: Excerpt from Tough As Nails (a sort of crime novel in progress)

I had to go to a shrink in order to drive and I should have gone to one for cooking, too. Now I drive anywhere except the Cross-Bronx Expressway which is terrifying. I’m speeding toward Exit 53 on the LIE with the radio blasting Paul Simon singing that he's going to graceland, graceland. In Memphis, Tennessee. That shows how unafraid I’ve become. Once off the Expressway I pull over to look at the Nassau County Street Atlas for the address on the police report. What do you know? There’s no Tenniscourt Lane in Rockville Center. There’s a Tenniscourt Road in Cove Neck and a Tenniscourt in Garden City but no Tenniscourt Lane in the entire county. I drive to a small shopping center and ask a deli counterman for a phone book to look up Alfred Gordon. There are seven A. Gordons in the Nassau book and four Alfreds. None of them live in Rockville Center and needless to say on Tenniscourt Lane.
I return to my car with a funny feeling seeping down. If the guy who hit Tiffany gave a mythical address, then he has a phony driver’s license and the whole case is murky as hell and about a thousand times more interesting.
My pituitary gland revs up to pump out about a pint of adrenaline into my bloodstream. I forget about Butts and Guts and drive back to the police station. Could they have made a mistake? Joe Teneca is coming down the stairs as I pull in. I know he’s going to be cranky over what I’m going to ask him but I ask anyway.
“When you filled out the report on the guy who hit Charlene’s dog, what ID did he give you?”
“A license.”
“Nothing else?”
“No.” he says benignly, “a license. Some prissy ass address as I remember.”
“Tenniscourt Lane?” I don’t mention that he missed checking the phony license. I have a long way to go with Joe Teneca.
“Yeah,” he says sarcastically, “but you can’t arrest a guy because you don’t like his address.” He laughs and continues down the stairs on his way home to eat with his wife and kids. For about fifteen seconds I would give my right arm to be Mrs. Teneca smushing up some chopped meat and onions and slopping ketchup over it and sticking it into the oven for my family’s dinner. Which goes to show how little you can trust your emotions.
I go home, pull off my vintage slip/skirt and put on some Gap biking shorts and a faded purple pocket tee. I turn the TV on to the six o’clock Jeopardy on cable and turn the sound off so I can call the seven A. Gordons and the four Alfred Gordons. Jeopardy is having the college tournament. There’s a Princeton guy, a Harvard guy and a Grinnell girl. The Grinnell girl answers the first three questions correctly making
Alex get mushy.
In answer to my question, “Do you drive a blue Audi,” the first A. Gordon answers thus: “How’d you like this phone up your ass?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“You got me out of the shower to ask what car I drive? You telemarketing assholes should be gassed.”
The second A. Gordon is a woman. The third A. Gordon has an answering machine with such detailed opening remarks there’s little chance he would have a phony license
I un-mute Jeopardy for thirty seconds to listen to the Princeton guy answer something about the Baltics which he gets right without a blink. I never reach the fourth A. Gordon because about twenty police sirens start wailing outside my door.


  1. Can't wait to see the finished article, consuelo, it' a great read.

  2. Consuelo, your writing always makes me smile. You are so damn clever.

  3. Ditto to what Kathleen said. This is terrific and I can't wait to read the book.

  4. I agree too! Your writing is great.

  5. Wow. This gives me the energy to keep on going. Thank you all so very much.