This scene is from the first few chapters, where my intrepid if somewhat clueless main character, Terry Rankin, is just beginning his search for the granddaughter of a forcibly retired (meaning, he’s been in prison for the last twenty-five years) hit man for the Italian Mob in Miami. I hope to have it available for the Kindle some time in April. Right now the MS is in the hands of my publisher; I’m waiting for it, too…
A karate school, FedEx and UPS offices, hair cuttery, grocery store, several banks, a large gas station, a few boutiques, a dentist; a gold mine, in fact. Nikki’s car had been seen in the shopping center, which meant she either lived or worked in the area. Somebody knew something about her.
Roxie’s Hair Cuttery was on the left wing of the shopping center. They weren’t doing much business, and I needed a haircut. An older black woman escorted me to a chair and got right to work. “You got a fine head of hair,” she said. “I just love black curly hair.”
I laughed. “All I do is wash it.”
“Well, whatever you’re using on it is working. Nice and thick, too,” she said as she snipped and trimmed.
“Tell me, I’ve seen a real pretty bronze Corvette here a few times. I dinged the driver’s side rear panel a few weeks ago. I couldn’t find the owner, so I left a message on the windshield with my name and number. Those fiberglass bodies are a bear to fix, but the owner never called me about it. Have you ever seen him in here?”
She laughed a deep, rich laugh. “Her. And her name is Tammy O’Shea, or so she says. She claims to be Black Irish, but if she’s not Italian right down to her socks, then I’m a white girl. Got a beautiful head of black hair. She keeps it too short to my mind, but she likes it that way, I suppose. Easier to care for, anyway. I wouldn’t worry about that car was I you, Mister. That girl makes so much money she probably bought herself a new one the very next day.” She went right on clipping and trimming.
Black Irish, I thought. Black meaning the color of the hair inherited from Spanish soldiers washed ashore from ships wrecked in the storm that destroyed the Spanish Armada in 1588.
I chuckled, saying, “Nobody makes that much money. That’s an eighty-thousand dollar car.”
“Don’t matter none to folks like her. That one’s a party girl, if you know what I mean, and she wouldn’t bat an eye at replacing that pretty car of hers. I done her hair a dozen times over the last few years, and alls she talks about is this party or that john. Me, I ever had a car like that I’d be afraid to drive it.”
“Well, I’d like to talk to her about it, anyway. It’s been bothering me that she never called. Any idea where she lives, or how I can contact her?”
She turned the chair around and looked at me. “I haven’t seen her or that car in about a month, come to think of it. Mister, you seem like good people. You just stay away from women like that.” She started trimming my sideburns and forehead.
“I’m engaged to a very nice lady cop up in Orlando. We’re due to get married at the end of June. I just want to square things about the damage to her car, is all.”
“Orlando? So what you doing bumping into expensive cars way down here in south Miami?”
I laughed again. “Business. I run a protective service. We have jobs all over the State.”
“Protective? You mean you’re like a bodyguard or something?”
“Like that. I own the company, so I don’t have to stand posts or anything. You got any idea how I can contact that girl?”
“She’s no girl, I’m telling you. She’s a hard woman who’s been around the block a few times in her life, if you know what I mean. No, I got no idea ‘bout how to contact her.” She turned the chair around, cleaned up the back of my neck and removed the sheet. “That’ll be thirty dollars.”
I paid her and added another twenty for the aggravation I caused her.
She thanked me and said, “I know she lives close by. I see that car around here two or three times a week. But you mind me and stay away from her.” She took a brush and cleaned the loose hair off my shirt and neck. “You take good care of yourself, and you mind that girl you’re marrying, you hear me?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” I said.