Opening scene of a crime story.
Chapter 1 Version 2.0
Dark clouds smuggled the early morning sun over the horizon. Goosebumps flocked across Noah's skin as cold, fresh air poured into the cab through his open window. Sparks erupted on the road as the spent roach he flicked out crash landed. Noah cranked up his pneumonia hole. Behind his temples, a familiar pressure filled his brain and pushed against his skull. The world slowed down as Mary Jane took root deep in his mind. He could feel his eyes trying to swell shut from the inside as a charge for driving under the influence became a possibility.
"That's some good fucking dope. Did you grow it?" Russ asked as he turned and faced Noah. Noah could almost witness the roadmap of veins redden and branch out over the surface of his friend's glossy eyes.
"No, not that shit," Noah admitted, "No, that's hydro from Canada. I buy it so close to the back of the snowmobile it rode in on that it probably still has fucking frostbite!" He eye-balled the rearview and discovered that his 19-foot, aluminum deep-v was still humming tight behind them. Fishing poles, tackles boxes, and equipment were organized and battened down. The boat was tan and white with a stainless-steel rail that corralled the open bow. Numbers and letters pasted in a line on the hull approached Noah's limit of compliance with the law.
"Well, either way, when you get more I'm interested," Russ paused, "Can you beat two fifty an ounce?" The deep lugs on his work boots scuffed against the rubber floor mats as Russ repositioned on the big bench seat. He glanced past Noah out the window at the birthday suited trees that stampeded by. Soggy spots of earth leapfrogged through the retreating blanket of snow.
"Yea, I can get you this stuff for two twenty. I'm almost out of the shit I grew last season and I'm keeping the rest." Noah confessed. "It's about the fucking best I've ever grown." Noah's scarred knuckles whitened on the wheel as he evaded ambush by a perforation in the thawing pavement.
"No Shit? Well, then I don't blame you, but, this stuff's not bad. I'll fucking definitely hook up with you next time I'm looking." Russ said as he rocked sideways with the swerving vehicle. The big, yellow zippers on his army surplus jacket jingled.
"Anytime, let me know. Or, better than that, you could just fucking grow with me this year. We'll have a shit ton of weed!" Noah predicted. "We can even make some money if we're careful." He added as an ambitious, overfed pothole took a run at them but planted itself on the wrong side of the road. Noah regarded the departing void of asphalt and dismissed it with a humph.
"I've been fucking pondering that." Russ admitted. "Did you find the perfect strain yet?" He reached into his pocket and produced a well-used, subdued, tactical knife. A worn ring of shiny, bare metal rode the contours of the black, tungsten handle. A small nickel button protruded from the spine behind the pivot and the white tang stamp peeked out from under the bolster.
"I may have, I grew fucking pounds of bud and like I said, it was dank ass shit." Noah smiled. He extracted his travel mug from the cup holder and took a sip. A wisp of smoke rose from it as he put it back.
"Hell ya! What was it?" Russ questioned.
"White Widow, fucking ten of them!" Noah bragged, "They were all females, and the biggest weighed like five fucking pounds!" A smile advanced across his lips until it threatened to set up operations in his ears. The chip in his right front tooth revealed where an uppercut had slipped past his seasoned guard the night before
"I believe it, I've seen pictures of those at twelve feet tall! Guys not able to bearhug them without squishing the fuck out of em'." Russ recalled. He pressed the button and released the coiled steel spring nestling in the folder's joint. The high carbon blade swung a tight arc and locked into place, sending a metallic snap ricocheting around the cab. He closed it and it pinned shut with a click.
"That sounds like the problem I have, too much fucking girth!" Noah claimed as he turned down the blasting heater.
"That's what she said, brother!" Russ reported. He rolled up his sleeves and a long, red scorpion curled down the inside of his forearm. Its bent tail touched the crease of Russ's arm and its outstretched pincers threatened to lacerate his wrist. A hypodermic-sharp point hovered above the artwork's cruel mandibles.
Russ thumbed the button again and the switchblade flashed open, recoiling in his hand. Hairs exploded off the venomous stinger as Russ drew the titanium infused edge over the tattoo. "I forgot how far this fucking lake was from your place." He complained.
"Well, it's been fucking ages since you've been home." Noah said as he manipulated the wheel. He negotiated the road that meandered through the leafless countryside. A black boat stenciled on a white sign drifted past and advised taking the next right turn.
"Good, almost there," Noah said, "My ass has been asleep for the last fucking hour." The seat cover wrinkled as he ground his vertebrae attempting to realign his back.
Russ closed his knife and ferried it into his keep. He assigned himself to finding their destination. A crowded forest maintained disguise preventing him any previews.
The last stretch of dense trees abdicated their shroud and revealed points of rippling, red light that illuminated the backs of overweight stratus clouds reflecting off a cold, deep lake. A drive led into a long, rectangular parking lot with a concrete ramp that plunged under the water aside a L-shaped dock at the far lower end.
The white, four-door, v-eight turned into the boat launch. The knobby tires bit into the hardpacked lot and the craterous entrance chewed on the stiff suspension while it yanked on the trailer. The water and ice that had formed the fresh set of cavities splashed onto the truck's wheel wells branding the fenders with patterns of drops. The rig rolled to a stop and Russ opened his door. His boots touched ground as a loon's haunting, melodious wail welcomed him.
"Meet you down there," Russ promised, nodding his head at the long, wooden dock. He rolled down his sleeves then plucked a blue watch cap from his jacket and applied to his short, brown hair.
"Alright," Noah answered as Russ closed the door. Russ buried his hands into the pockets of his camouflage coat and walked toward the oak planks that unfolded into the stained, frigid lake.
Red tail lights flashed as Noah inched down the mossy, crumbling ramp. The square stock trailer submerged then the muffler nosedived under the frosty water and started bubbling. Noah hit the brakes, and the boat bobbed on the surface.
Russ stood on the dock and rearranged his body reaching for the strap that imprisoned the boat. He captured the binding and grappled with the galvanized metal hook mooring it. He unlatched it and maneuvered the vessel backward a few feet. A figure eight knot had it cinched it to a cleat on the dock. With the craft secured, he clambered aboard. Russ sank into the pedestal seat at the bow.
Noah monitored Russ in the mirror. A quiver scaled his backbone when he saw Russ zip his coat up and huddle into the tan cushions. Noah shifted the truck into drive and lurched out of the lake. The four by four ascended the ramp, drizzling behind it. Puddles of water followed Noah while he parked his set-up parallel to the grass at the edge of the empty launch lot. He emerged, recovered a thirty rack from the open bed of the pick-up and moseyed to the restrained watercraft