Detective Romeo Jones in Blood Ties Die, Chapter Two

{ When it comes to crime fiction, Romeo Jones is my one stubborn passion. Even I’m not sure where the character or story is going. Romeo Jones, like that favorite screen adventurer, just rolls off the tongue, but his name is also given to inherent complications. Here is chapter two of his first novel, Blood Ties Die. }

© 2015 Craig S. Hartranft

Romeo Jones arrived late to the County Detective’s office. It was nearly three in the afternoon. He spent most of the most of the last six hours with the Trinity Police Department interviewing witnesses, filing reports, and giving testimony to his involvement in the Swifty robbery. In some shift of uncommon wisdom, Jones advised Chief Detective Henry Mullen that he would be late.

He held a cup of Swifty’s coffee, Jamaican mixed with Dark roast, as he approached Josie Reynolds’ desk. Rome waved politely, but kept moving to the detective’s room. Talking to her only meant asking for trouble, like more paper work.

“He wants to see you,” she said, turning away from her computer. Josie was the detectives’ secretary, a 40-something woman with short brown hair, a pointed nose, a slight scar over her left eye from a recent auto accident, and an athletic figure with large breasts she surrounded with tight sweaters. She was efficient and always to the point, but Jones still found her attractive.

Rome stopped and said, “You’ll have to be more specific.” He squinted and rubbed his eyes. He took sipped at his coffee.

“Your boss, Rome.”

“Which one?”

“You know which one,” she said, a wry smile curled on the left side of her mouth. And a smile always lit up her brown eyes. Jones was a sucker for brown eyes. He wanted to be lighthearted, but it would probably come out as sarcasm.

“No, I don’t. I consider Henry my boss, Redman, a pain in the ass.”

“Well, then, it’s the latter one.”

Rome scratched his cheek, and said, “Yeah, I know. Give me five minutes or so in the squad room, and I’ll be back.” She sighed knowing that was stalling.

Located on the same floor as th DA’s office and assistant, but on the opposite and east side, the Detective’s Room was merely a square sparse room with eight desks, a time trip into the early Sixties when the ‘new’ courthouse was built. Bleak linoleum floor, water stained dull white walls, flourenscent lights that cast this gastly yellow hue on everything, gun metal heavy steel desks from the same decade. As a small consolation, if you were assigned to a desk along the east wall, you got the morning sunshine filtered through brownstone city buildings. A welcome highlight in the morning that is, if you weren’t nursring a hangover.

A few detectives actually had some of the lighter steel desks with faux wood tops from the next decade, some improvement. But spartan and grim were the two words fighting for the optimum adjective for the room’s décor. Rome thought he should be seeing IBM Selectrics on every desk and those spindle things that hold telephone notes. They did have desktop and laptop computers, most slowly transitioning to Windows 7. Wonders of the modern world. Rome just figured that the DAs over the years thought investigators were more interested in solving crimes than finding some comfort in doing so.

Three detectives, of the six on the squad, were in the room, all variously engaged at their desks with phone, computer, or the ubiquitous paperwork. Low chatter was sparked by the raised voice of Andy Gunselman, the second to youngest member of the squad. His tongue was quick and often vulgar.

Craig Hartranft