MY FAVORITE SCENE
Back in 2003, I had just finished my new mystery when the blue screen of death flashed across the monitor; that was the day my computer crashed. My daughter, a computer technician, said to send it to her in Salt Lake, Utah, saying she would recover my files from the hard drive and put them on a new computer. The only problem was the postman delivered the computer to the wrong house. My manuscript was lost forever.
I moped around for three months before a light bulb came on . . . if my critique partners were as dilatory as I about deleting my sent files, maybe they didn’t either. Between the four critique members, I recovered all the chapters but two. My novel was resurrected from the dead. It was tedious to retype and revise the novel, but I was determined to save my story.
Today, I’m sharing my favorite scene with you, my readers.
Emma put the tray on the coffee table, handed Suzy a plate filled with chips, the slap sandwich, and wedges of fresh green pepper. “Can you reach your coffee if I set it on the table?” Emma asked as she put the cup down.
Suzy nodded, crunching the food with obvious delight.
Emma settled on the couch and bit into the sandwich.
Suzy fixed her eyes on the ceiling with a faraway look. “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to kill someone? To actually murder and feel the burst of emotion first hand, to capture the sensation in your writing?” She stopped and giggled. “Of course, it would need to be someone weak and unable to fight back. I’m at a disadvantage in this wheelchair. Still, other ways are just as effective, like rat poison, for instance. It would be easy to slip something like that into a drink. Get what I mean?” She arched her brows, leaning a bit toward Emma, watching her with narrowed eyes.
Emma froze. Her sandwich stuck in her throat. She took a quick gulp of coffee and choked. Her mind exploded with questions. Was Suzy involved? Was that why she came to visit? She had motive, however bizarre, by acting out murders to use as research in her writing. But taking realism to a new level by murdering someone for the sake of a novel was unthinkable. Yet . . . .
Suzy’s voice cut through her thoughts. “Are you all right, Emma? You look a little pale. Did I upset you?” She crammed a mouthful of food in her mouth and chewed vigorously.
“It’s okay. My sandwich got stuck.” Emma fingered her throat. “I’m fine now, though.”
“Ohhhhhhhhh . . . well, that’s good,” Suzy said, rolling her eyes and nodding. “Sometimes I get so carried away.” She took a small brown notebook from her jacket and opened the pad, reading from a list. “Here’s a good one,” she said, placing a finger on the page. “Smothering an old person is easy and never leaves bruises if you use a pillow. Oh, and this one is great. You can hide medicine from an asthmatic or someone with a heart condition. Look.” She turned the book so Emma could see and flipped through the pages. “These notes are full of fool-proof ways to murder without getting caught.” She paused. “I’ve been researching this crap forever.” She finished the last of her sandwich, gulped the rest of her coffee down, and leaned back with a satisfied smile.
Emma swallowed hard. “Sounds like you’re thinking of killing someone. Am I having lunch with a killer?”
Suzy’s laughter peeled through the room. “Tell me you haven’t thought about the realism that murdering someone would add to your work. Admit it!” She leaned forward, reflections glancing off her glasses as her eyes appeared to measure Emma’s reaction.
Emma’s heart beat double time, and she edged forward on her seat. Suzy’s bizarre visit took on new meaning. For the first time she wondered how Suzy had known which apartment was hers unless she’d been shadowing her. Now, Emma was trapped with a crazy, giggling writer who wanted to talk about different ways to commit murder. Was the woman insane?
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