|Protect and Serve: House of Blues|
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Copyright © 2011 Shelby Morgen
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Walking in Memphis
"Hey, Springsteen, this is my corner. Go find your own real estate."
There was no one else around, so I stopped singing long enough to give the prosti my best who-the-fuck-do-you-think-you-are once over. "Cohn."
"Cohn. Marc Cohn. Springsteen's version's a lot more bluesy." She should have recognized the difference, if she'd known shit about music. "Looks like your ride's here."
A shiny stretch pickup, circa half a century or so ago, rumbled to a halt at the curb, obscuring my view of the rest of the street, but effectively ending the tug-of-war over territory.
The prosti pulled on her working face and leaned into the cowboy limo. "Hey, there, big boy. What's a hunk like you doing out here all alone on a nasty night like this?" He said something and she laughed. "Let's go back to your place. I can think of ways to warm us both up."
She looked forty, despite her enhancements. My guess? Closer to sixty. If I'd been in uniform I'd have checked her license and found some reason to run her in. As it was, I dropped her off my radar, mentally. Not young enough. Not pretty enough.
I went back to Walking in Memphis, picking up where I'd left off. I'll admit, I'm not going to be the next great retro singer to go viral on the net, but I can croon a tune well enough to pass for a Nashville wannabe without getting made.
Yeah. I'm a cop. Protect and Serve, and all. So why am I standing on the corner of Commerce and Second, across the street from B.B. King's Blues Club and just down from the Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville, Tennessee?
A woman, naturally. And not just any woman. This one's screwed with my senses from the moment I first laid eyes on her. This case is going nowhere fast, and the captain'd love to pull me off this detail, but now she's under my skin and I've convinced the brass to let me stay.
In lust or not, I'm a cop, damn it, and even if she never really notices me, the last thing I want to do is take my next look at her in the city morgue.
Because I know this bastard by now. And he will strike again.
I guess I better back up a little.
The District, as they call this part of Nashville, is not only some of the most expensive real estate in the area, it's also just one block west of the river -- the Cumberland River. The river where, over the last three months, a dozen ambitious young singers, songwriters, waitresses, and prostitutes have been found floating facedown, their delicate necks crushed by a monster who squeezed them so tight they didn't just suffocate, they died with their larynxes crushed.
Takes a hell of a grip to do that.
Takes more than just a good grip to get a dozen women far enough away from the busy street where they work so's not to be heard when they scream. And from the things this monster'd done to them before they died, I knew they'd screamed.
So the prosti got in the truck, and she and her John drove off, and I didn't really give a damn. This bastard likes 'em young. And pretty. And dark. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Deep, sultry voice. Sugar and spice and everything that sets my night on fire...
Oh, Lord. Keep it together, man. Every bit of common sense and professional training I had seemed to go out the window as soon as I caught scent of her.
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