Single Mom (8)

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 56, 7.

Finished transcribing today. I have a complete story now in a digital file, and have copy-edited it. The next step is to cut it down as much as possible: right now, it’s 5600 words, where 5000 is the absolute maximum I want it to be. Here’s a couple of interstitial sections.

Kareem Jones from Burglary since his tea. “Y’all really just pick mint right off the plant, and throw it in the teapot? It’s tasty, though.”

Mustapha said, “Nah, we rinse it off, first, get rid of the dog piss.”

Diana said, “We got this batch from the murder scene.”

Jones put the glass down. “That’s kinda ghoulish. I don’t know what I can tell you about your murder. Your typical burglar is one hundred percent risk-averse. Non-confrontational. And generally not a chick. The homeowner shows up, burglar’s going to run out the door, not stick around to stab the guy. Where did the knife come from?”

Diana said, “Bayonet.”

“The fuck? Where’d the victim keep it?”

Mustapha said, “We don’t know. He never served; we talked to a few of his bros and some of the women he dated, and nobody ever saw it.”

Jones picked up the tea, sipped, thought. “Man, I’m skeptical. Professional burglars never carry weapons with them: they get caught, it adds years. And a bayonet? Those are like two feet long. Maybe, maybe, the thing is right there, she stabs him on the way out? I still don’t buy it. But then cutting the guy’s throat? Shit. Burglars are cowards.”


Jessica Levine would have looked unbalanced even without the flyaway hair. “Thomas. Thomas isn’t even his real name. Played me like a… guitar? So sensitive: lost puppy, grieving his poor, dead wife? I ate that shit up. Tell me something bad happened to him.”

Diana said, “He was murdered. Where were you Monday morning, Ms. Levine?”

“On the way back from Dallas. Wait, shit; he’s really dead?”

“I’m afraid so. You’ve made eight calls to his voicemail in the last three weeks.”

“Yeah… wow, he’s dead? Like, murdered?” At Mustapha’s nod, “Well. I didn’t do it. Really. My flight landed at a little after noon, and I went to the office from the airport. You want to talk to my boss?”

Mustapha said, “We sure do.”

“Um, okay, sure. Look… I’m passionate; I’m Italian. Well, Jewish Italian. He told me a lot of lies, and that after he left, I started feeling like crap, took a pregnancy test, came up positive. Now I’ve got a second-grader. So, I wanted him to at least acknowledge what he’d done.”

Diana nodded. “We’ll confirm with your boss. Say, have you ever read a blog called Never Cum Inside a Single Mom?”

“Never what? Um, no. What’s it about?”

“A man like your Mr. Greene, giving dating advice to other men.”

“No. I mostly just surf Pinterest. I thought his last name was Grant.”

The second half of this is essential, because this character is another red herring. The first half? It’s fun, but how much does it really need to be there? It’s something Diana and Mustapha would both know, and thus can be dispensed with. Cut, cut cut: sometimes we need to kill our darlings, even if they’re cute.

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  1. Single Mom (9) | Julian Cage
  2. Single Mom (10) | Julian Cage

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