A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Parking Lot Mystery

Weird week. Lemme tell you what happened.
I arrived early.
Some of you (anyone who’s ridden in my car, for example) may be surprised by that. (Move on, people.)
The building was on a busy street. It was 1970’s construction, red brick, rectangle. Two floors. No windows facing the street. The parking lot was nearly empty. Deserted. Cement cracked. Weeds knee-high toward the edge, where I parked.
The only other car in the lot was a sleek, black Lexus.
The back of my neck began to prickle.
Okay. This is where I have to admit. I grew up on the Southside of Chicago. This is the point in the story where my life experience began to…engage.
I was there to deliver books to a group of women for an ESL class. I lugged two heavy bags of children’s books to the front door of the building. It was hard to see anything through the glass door. Someone had covered the inside with a reflective cling-film. The door was locked. I’d ventured to say, it was more than "locked." It was super, ultra-locked. I could see the metal dead-bolt through the gap in the aluminum door frame. 
I rang the bell.
I knocked.
I turned around and stared at the empty lot and my 12 year old mom-van...
...the Lexus.
Back in the day, kids would say, “You know he didn’t inherit the money.” A Lexus? Hmmm.
I reminded myself I was still a wee bit early. I knocked again.
The door opened suddenly. A man appeared. He was a foot shorter than me. Older maybe? He had a bushy white beard and his teeth had not had the benefit of American dentistry. He was wearing traditional Middle Eastern clothing, including a knit cap on his head.
“What?” the man says to me. 
I picked up my bags of books. Immediately, he held up a hand. “No.”
“I have books for the ladies. The meeting?”
“No. Not here. No. You can’t come in.”
He was brusque. He hardly looked at me; his gaze was fixed about three feet to the left of my head.
I could feel myself getting irritated. I pulled myself up taller, which is useful. I'm six feet tall in shoes. Seriously? I’m bringing books, dude. Who was this guy?
For half a second, I had the urge to crowd him. To push forward. Are you talking to me? Are you using a tone…with me?
Instead, I stepped back. “I’ll wait in the car.”
“Yes. You wait. In car.” He shut the door in my face. I heard the lock snick.
The books were heavier on the way back to the car.
About two minutes after I sat down in the car to think, the building door opened, and the man came out. He got into the Lexus and drove off.
Now, I was alone in the parking lot. The neck prickles were back. I imagined the man picking up the phone to report to his associates the strange, white woman in the parking lot.
This is the point I must pause to remind you, I write fiction.
So what happened?
The ladies drove up. They were sweet and welcoming. I carried the books back to the door and into the building. They didn’t seem as heavy.
What did you think would happen?


B.E. Sanderson said...

Oh, that's definitely plot worthy. My brain's all atwitter with possibilities. Not that any of it fits in with anything I'm writing right now, but you definitely got the muse awake today. Thanks!

Cathy Perkins said...

It's that one of the fun parts of writing fiction?

Anything's fair game - including writing yourself into a parking lot in a rundown part of town...with the Lexus...and maybe a terrorist cell...or the crazy guy with twelve people locked in the basement...


Anne Marie Becker said...

Weirdness! Love it! LOL

Elise Warner said...

Great story. I'd go with it and call the FBI.We had people in my neighborhood for awhile ranting about the USA, women, gays etc. We also had police protecting their right to free speech. Then they disappeared. Some of them were caught in London after setting off bombs.

J Wachowski said...

Heehee. That's what I was hoping would happen!

J Wachowski said...

I know, right? :)
All those bits & pieces turned into a story in my head. I had to be careful NOT to be in writer mode.

J Wachowski said...

Thsnks, Anne Marie! ;)

J Wachowski said...

What?! That's a way better story than mine, Elise. Details!!

Rita said...

OMG! ANYTHING can happen. Each time you read it there could be a different outcome.
Can anyone say interactive e-book?

jean harrington said...

Potential here, definitely. But maybe I'd be careful not to taint someone from the Middle East (knitted cap, garb) with a negative brush.

J Wachowski said...

Jean! That was exactly my point! I sat in the car and said to myself, there another way to frame this?
What if he's not making eye contact because it would be disrespectful in his culture? What if I'm violating one of his cultural norms--if someone sees him talking to a woman alone he'll be disgraced? There were lots of other ways to think about it and I decided I wouldn't be fearful. I'd be See what happens next.
It was a perfect chance to explore how my past experience had colored how I saw the present moment.

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