In order to give my beta readers a couple of extra weeks to finish up I'm pushing back publishing Tragic City until at least mid-August, but I know a lot of people have been anxious to get there hands on it so I decided on a little compromise. I'll be publishing Chapters 1-5 here on my blog. The post will remain up until I publish the ebook on Amazon. Enjoy
Compression fractures to three vertebrae will teach a person a whole new definition of morning stiffness. I managed to struggle into a sitting position and swung my legs off the edge of the bed. With a grimace I pushed myself up and onto my feet. I shuffled the short distance into the bathroom, opened the shower stall door, and turned the hot water tap to full. I adjusted the temperature to just under blistering and stepped into the steam and hot streams of water. I learned forward resting my head against the wall and let the hot water course over my back.
My back loosened enough that I could stand upright without flinching about the time the water started to cool. I soaped up and rinsed off before the water went cold, then stepped out of the stall and toweled off. I did a few stretches, mostly yoga poses to get things as loose as they were going to get. I ran a hand over my face and decided I could go another day without the razor, then walked back into my bedroom and over hardwood floors to the walk in closet.
I dressed in jeans, a linen Hawaiian shirt, and hiking shoes. Underneath the shirt I had a Glock 17 in an inside the waistband holster on my right and mag pouch holding a spare magazine on my left. On the centerline of my belt I had a small fixed blade last ditch knife, something for sticking in any motherfucker who decided to get too close for gun work.
I filled my pockets with my usual accoutrements, including a Zero Tolerance folding knife clipped into my right front pocket. I put on a pair of tan Oakley sunglasses with bronze polarized ballistic lenses, and headed toward the door.
I own a condo on the fifth floor of the Watts Building on the corner of 20th Street North and 3rd Avenue North in downtown Birmingham. The building is an Art Deco that went up in 1927. Not as ritzy and less well known than the City Federal Building on 2nd Avenue, Watts had a subtle class all its own. The downside was that it was prime hipster real estate. The scraggly bearded faux-hemians and their pasty pale girlfriends with colorful disks in their stretched earlobes infested the place like cockroaches in cheap motel. They at least made for good camouflage, and I kind of liked the hipster girls with their overabundance of piercings and ink.
I took the rattling elevator down to the ground floor and made my way outside to the gated parking lot. My car, a pristine 1968 Mustang GT that I had repainted Highland Green, was all original except for the modern sound system and A/C. The summers in Alabama are no joke, if less intense than those on the Yucatan Peninsula and good A/C was a must.
I lowered myself into the leather bucket seat, slid all the way back on its rails to fit my six foot frame, slipped the key into the ignition, and smiled as the engine rumbled to life. I synced the bluetooth in my smart phone to the sound system and started a playlist before pulling out onto 3rd Avenue North and heading toward the Red Mountain Express Way.
14 minutes ago