Novel 3: Act II, Chapter 1, Scene 1e

TOC page here.

We’ve just discovered that the body in the building was Mario, who was so helpful to them the previous month. Now, Diana goes back outside the building to make some phone calls, and encounters the Greek chorus:

Diana picked her way back downstairs and emerged from the building to see Brown, nightstick in hand, facing down two familiar men. “For the last time,” said Brown, “the hotel is closed tonight. Go find somewhere else to drink yourselves to death.”

“Tommy! Ray-Ray!” said Diana cheerfully. “I’m afraid Sergeant Brown is right: you’ll have to clear off.”

“Hey, Ms. Detective,” said Tommy. “Tell us it wasn’t that old Reaper.”

“Nope. Just someone… looks like his heart gave out. We’ll take care of him.” She looked at Brown. “That goes for you guys, too: I’ll watch the door while we wait for Forensics.” To Slaughter, “Inspector Alawi is up there smoking cigarettes. Yuck.”

“That shit will kill you,” said Tommy, quite seriously.

Diana said, “It sure will. By the way, y’all are on camera now, so behave.” She pointed at Slaughter, who pointed at her body cam.

“No shit?” said Ray-Ray.

Tommy crouched a little, waved and smiled. “Hi, Mom!”

Ray-Ray said, “I thought your mama was dead.”

“It’s just what you say, man. Get with the program.”

Brown sheathed his nightstick. “If you say so, ma’am.” To the men, “Run along, now.”

Diana said, “Oh, that’s all right.”

Brown and Slaughter got into their cruiser and drove off south on Peachtree into the labyrinth of office buildings. Tommy said, “It’s him what should have that camera.”

“What I said. But that grump wouldn’t budge. You fellas see, or hear, anything? White vans?”

“No, ma’am. We had an eye out, too. Everybody made it through the holidays all right.”

Ray-Ray said, “Except whoever’s up there.”

“Yeah, ‘cept it’s already the middle of January. Holidays are over.”

Diana took out her phone. “Well, I have to make some calls. Stay safe, fellows.”

“You too, ma’am.” They gathered their packs and melted into the shadows.

Remember that the function of the Greek chorus (here, there are only two of them) is to reinforce the commonly-accepted wisdom. Cigarettes will kill you, you say “Hi, Mom” when you’re on camera, Brown is kind of a bad guy. Nothing to see, here: move on. But Brown has a camera now, and if you think this is only going to come in handy when Brown drops a gun on a random non-bad guy he’s just dropped, you haven’t read enough of the product of my twisted mind.

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