An apparent suicide and the detective who gets roped into the case. (Writing exercise.)
| She couldn't tell which was louder: the noise of the traffic that passed overhead, or the whistling of the mighty bay winds that grabbed at her hair and clothes. Her bare feet pressed against the bridge's metal surface, her skin molding to the steel bars and grooves. She felt light-headed, yet oddly weighed down, as though her body were made of marble. That's what I am, she thought. Lifeless marble, Galatea, still yearning for the touch of life from the gods.
She reached out her arm, watching as the buffeting winds jerked it around. It reminded her of her childhood, of the family trips when her father would yell at her for sticking her arm out of the car window and watch, mesmerized, as the speeding air moved her hand up and down, as though controlled by a puppeteer. She gave once last glance to her surroundings: the blue waters below, the misty hills surrounding the bay, the tips of skyscrapers that poked into the sky on the horizon.
Moving with geriatric slowness, she passed her legs over the guard railing, pressing her heels into the gaps of the fencing. Gripping the painted metal tightly, she bowed her body towards the sky, imaging a bungee cord of light tautly extended from her belly button to the sun. This is a good way to die, she thought, as her fingers peeled away and her body floated out into space.
She kept her eyes open; she couldn't have closed them even if she tried. The wind ripped at her eyelids as tears streamed out. She felt nothing, no regret, no fear, only a mild sort of curiosity as the blue abyss raced toward her. Seconds before impact, the wind, cruel and capricious, snapped at her blouse, causing it to flip over her face. No, she thought, I want to see! Before she could clear the fabric from her eyes, she slammed into the water, the impact shattering her body, a split-second of agony before merciful death.
A shadow lingered on the bridge, observing the distant splash, before melting away in the glare of the sun.
Private Investigator Moses March paced his office in an abbreviated circuit, his movements restricted by the four dingy walls that formed the small room. Hogging the limited floorspace and further impeding his ambulatory musings were the furnishings: a battered industrial metal desk, with accompanying squeaky desk chair; the lone visitor's chair that sat in the middle of the room, its vinyl seating cracked and torn; and the large potted ficus next to the door which, if Moses were to be honest, had long since passed away and was now firmly on the path towards becoming mulch, despite the loving ministrations it received from his secretary, Molly.
Molly Laguna, red-headed and barely five feet two in bare feet, a powerhouse of maternal energy and sporadic efficiency, who loved detective stories and longed to be one, who still couldn't operate the digital camera and thought guns were “icky,” burst into Moses' office, nearly colliding with the lanky detective.
“Whoops, sorry!” she warbled, deftly sidestepping his size 13 clodhoppers and moving to his desk, where she deposited a still-neat pile of folders and a large pottery mug generously filled with strong, hot coffee.
“Got a new case for you, Sam!” She'd nicknamed him 'Sam' her first day on the job, after her favorite detective, Sam Spade. Five years later and he was considering legally changing his name to suit her.
Author's Note: I realize this story is quite abbreviated; it is a definite work-in-progress. It was written as an exercise for my Creative Writing class and, although what I have written here just poured out of me as though I were merely a mediumistic channel for my characters, the remainder of the story is an absolute blank at the moment. When I have the time and the inspiration, I will be adding to it; in the meantime, when reviewing this work, if any of you have ideas, suggestions, or tips for me, they would be greatly welcomed and appreciated! I've never tried my hand at a roman noir private detective story, so I have no clue as to how to handle it. Thanks in advance!