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Preview: Bo Fexler, PI

Bo Fexler, PI

She's a sexy modern, fictional, female private eye who can use her brains, her body and her fists. Here you'll find the author's musings on writing, reading, crime fiction, and other random things. And updates on short stories and novels.

Updated: 2017-10-10T11:48:58.838-04:00


Least Favorite Son at Untreed Reads


My short story Least Favorite Son has now been published by Untreed Reads.  It previously appeared at Darkest Before the Dawn in May 2009. 

Support Bo Fexler!  ;-)

Second Fall


This Bo Fexler story was previously published at Muzzle Flash way back in February of 2007.  It's now been reprinted at A Twist of Noir.  Being able to tell what people want gives Bo an advantage; however, being willing to say anything to exploit that makes her dangerous. 

My Town Monday: Small Towns


The towns in Livingston County have tried to retain that small town feel, particularly around holiday or festival-type events.  There are parades on holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July (so don’t try to make your way down Main Street.)  And each town has a handful or more of special celebrations intended to draw people into town. 

Though, I would argue that there’s one big thing missing in today’s small town-style celebrations.  It’s the sense of community.  We don’t know everyone in town any more.  And these days, most people will enjoy an entire parade or downtown block party without ever talking to someone  they don’t already know.  They’ll wave their little American flags at the passing parade, trying not to make eye contact with the Strangers on either side, before shuffling the kids back into the car to drive the few blocks home.  And this is in an exceptionally safe community. 

With any luck, though, people will continue to attend these events and maybe, just maybe, use them as a way to build community and make new friends.  I’m looking forward to being able to walk or bike into town in coming years with my son—not just for the event, but the chance to mingle.  If people will mingle in return… so far, my outings to the park have only resulted in discussions with grandparents, who apparently are more willing to chat with an “outsider.”  

My Town Monday: Wagner Falls (Pictured Rocks Nat’l Lakeshore)


Yes, there are STILL more waterfalls in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  Which was a nice consolation prize when we visited in the not-quite-spring before tourist season and found that we were seriously limited in what we could do while in the area. 

(image) Anyway, Wagner Falls gest a bit more love than Scott and Alger Falls.  It gets a nice little scenic viewing area.

(image) Wagner Falls consists of several small falls and rapids. 



 Visit the My Town Monday site for other places!

My Town Monday: More Pictured Rocks Area Water Falls


We’ve looked at Miner’s Falls and Munising Falls.  There are a handful of other waterfalls in the Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore Area.

One of them is Alger Falls.  This little waterfall sits beside M-28 (the only major road in the area).  There’s not even a parking area.  I think Alger Falls deserves better than this.(image)

Another disrespected little waterfall is Scott Falls.  No parking area, so we parked on the edge of the road, again. 

(image) This little sign is the only indication that there’s even a waterfall here.

(image) Like the other falls, Scott Falls was icy.  


(image) It make a neat shield of ice back into the cavern behind the falls.


Visit the My Town Monday site for other places!

My Town Monday: Munising Falls (Field Trip)


(image) The little town in Michigan’s UP near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is Munising.  It lends its name to one of the nearby waterfalls.
(image) This was the first waterfall we visited, and the first sign that our trip was going to include some unforseen snow hazzards!
(image) There was a cone of ice around the base of the falls, formed from the droplets of water splashing upon impact.  In fact, though it’s hard to see in these pictures, the cone extends almost up to top of the falls, but behind the water. 
Visit the My Town Monday site for other places!

Flash Fiction Friday: Cycle 26


Unfair Fight

A Bo Fexler story

By Clair Dickson

Word List: Fist, Jab, Knuckle, Spirit, Fighter, Rhythm

Contains explicit language.

“All right you skinny ass bitch, you asked for it. Imma make you regret saying that shit.” She advanced on me, hands beckoning me closer. I may be blonde, but I'm not stupid. I try not to risk assault charges - or my PI license - on misunderstandings or overreactions. And this was both.

“I'm not here to start trouble.”

“Oh, you got trouble, skank!” She advanced towards me, weaving like a fighter should, but without any rhythm. She was nearly as tall as me, but heavier with broad shoulders and big hands. Hands with half a dozen rings on them. Her friend was similar in size and jewelry choice.

“This isn't a fair fight,” I noted.

She laughed, looking over her shoulder at her friend. “Guess you shoulda thought of that before, huh?”

“Perhaps. So, would it matter if I apologized?” I asked, stepping back, but turning my own hands into fists.

As expected, she responded with, “Imma make sure you learn not to say shit you can't back up.”

“Oh, I can back it up.”

She didn’t let me explain. She swung at me.

I easily knocked the jab aside. “Tonya, look, you don't want to do this,” I said sternly, stepping back again.

“Oh the hell I don't! I'm gonna enjoy given you a beat down.”

“Perhaps. Perhaps not.” I stopped backing away, brought my fists to hip level, spread my feet and bent my knees.

She hesitated, uncertainty written plain across her face. The fiery spirit flickered, like a flame in the gust from a hastily closed door. She was wise to be cautious about my unusual response. But she put her angry face back on and declared, “Oh, bitch, you really asking for it now!” And she took another step closer.

I watched as she rotated her fists in front of her like a boxer in a movie. Then, I shot my fist through an opening and punched her in the face. I'd missed her nose and instead landed on her eye. The impact of my knuckles against her orbital socket fucking hurt. I brought up the other fist and, while she was still reeling, I landed a solid punch to her ample gut, knocking the wind out of her. She took a half step back before dropping to her ass. I finished with a solid kick to her thick skull.

She uttered one last strangled, “Bitch!”

“Correct.” I nodded at her friend, who, wisely, wanted nothing more to do with me. I took a photo from my pocket and tossed it into Tonya’s lap.

She took it up. Her face fell.

“So, you were wrong about me making shit up—your boyfriend is cheating on you. Well, since he was seeing her first, I guess he’s cheating on her with you. Anyway. You were also wrong about me being an easy opponent.”

She handed the photo to her friend.

There was nothing more to say. I left her with her mistakes.


My Town Monday: Miner’s Falls (Field Trip)


Last week, I wrote about the Pictured Rocks.  But the rocks on the lakeshore are not the only great natural attraction.  There are a number of waterfalls in and around the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. 
(image) One of those is Miner’s Falls.  When we visited the area (about this time last year) there was still snow on the ground… and ice on the water, including the waterfalls!
(image) It was an incredible sight and I’m actually quite glad we got to see this lesser-viewed condition of the falls. 
(image) Pretty sure that thing across the top of the water is actually ice… it doesn’t appear in warm-weather pictures I found on the internet.  I plan to go back someday again, during warmer months to compare views. 

(I'm playing with Windows Live Writer for blog post and still figuring things out-- which is why the picture quality suffered.  Sorry!)

Visit the My Town Monday blogs to visit other places!

Flash Fiction Friday: Cycle 25


INAPROPRIATE A Bo Fexler story   “Imagine my dismay," she said wringing perfectly manicured hands, "when I learned my potential son in law was on the sex offender list. I have to protect my daughter. I need to know what Tony did to get on the sex offender list." She handed me the color print off. It was not the state-run website, but another popular sex-offender site. His picture and address were the main information on the page. “Do you mind if I take this?” “No. Not at all.” "How old is your daughter?" "Twenty-one. She's just a baby! She shouldn’t even been talking about marriage, but as soon as he did, I made sure to look into this guy. I never guessed I would find this!” "Did you talk with her about Tony being on the sex offender list?" "No. I don’t want to alarm her.” “Right. That makes perfect sense.” Before she fully processed my response, I asked, "Am I allowed to speak with Tony or Louise during the investigation?" "To him, but not her. I don't want to trouble her with such things. She’s too young for this sort of thing.” “I see. So, curiosity compels me to ask what you’re going to do the findings of my investigation?” “I’m not sure, yet. I’m still working on a plan for how to fix this little relationship problem. If you have any ideas, I’m willing to consider them.” I could barely keep from laughing out loud. I long ago found that it was best to keep my ethics loose and easy. My job is about finding information—like the maker of a hammer, after I’ve done my job, I’m not responsible for what people do with it. I certainly don’t improve the reputation of private eyes. Maybe being a hot blonde woman makes up for it. I cleared my throat and launched into my spiel about hourly rate, retainer, billing process and minimum charge. Next, I produced a contract. After she handed over the retainer, in cash, which I counted in front of her, I got as much personal information about Tony as I could, including employer and high school. That was enough for me to get started, so I left. The dealership where Tony worked was on my way home, so I stopped there first. Perhaps I could get the story from the source. Given the circumstances, I was more likely to get a whole lot of sandbagging. The man standing at the parts counter with a clipboard and a pen over his ear was dark haired with a slight stubble that could have either been a missed morning shaving or an early evening shadow. He carried the stubble look well, though, which may have had to do with his broad shoulders and stocky frame. He was shorter than me by about an inch, putting him around five-foot-eight or nine. “What can I do for you?” he asked pleasantly. “Tony Newman?” “Yeah…” I smiled, “Is your girl friend perhaps Louise Miller?” His brow furrowed. “Yeah… why?” “Ah, good, you’re the man I’m looking for. Do you also live in the Glen Wood Apartments?” “No. I haven’t lived their for a couple of months. Got a new place.” “Nicer than those apartments?” “Yeah. It’s on a lake, well, a pond really.” “Thinking of settling down with Louise?” “Maybe. What’s with all the questions?” “Just curious.” “Sure. Did Louise send you to see how serious I am about her or something?” “That’s a pretty stiff accusation. Is she the type of girl who would do that?” He thought about it. “No… but her mom might be. That woman don’t like me at all. And she’s scary protective of Louise. Louise can’t do anything without Mom’s approval. You working for her mom?” His lip twisted in an ugly sneer. “Hey, we all have to pay the bills somehow.” I handed him my business card. “Private investigator. Never heard of it. So, are you supposed to see if I’[...]

My Town Monday: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


If you head up to the top of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you’ll find, amongst the many national and state parks, the Pictured Rocks  National Lakeshore.   The rock is in multi-colored layers and is exposed along the water’s edge.  The water here is Lake Superior, the largest and coldest of the great lakes.  Over time, the lake has eroded away the land, exposing the many colors of the rock.         You can see the layers all the way up the rock face (as I leaned out as far as I could to get pictures.)   The best way to see the Pictured Rocks is by boat… or so I understand.  When we visited, it was late March last year and the tourist season hadn’t begun.  So the boats were not running yet.     Here’s a view of some of the layers as seen on land.        This particular point is called Miner’s Castle, named for the miners who were looking for minerals and other valuable things in the area.              At the time we visited, while warmer weather had moved in across the Lower Peninsula (where I reside), it was still cold up north.  And there was still snow and ice in spots, particularly shaded areas.  This was a bit of a surprise to us, since we didn’t think about the difference in climate an 8 hour drive can make!  But it turned out to be a wonderful surprise…  This shot shows the ice that formed on the cliff face where the waves splashed up.  The next couple weeks, I’m going to show you the waterfalls around the Picture Rocks National Lakeshore (as seen in early spring.)  And don’t forget to visit the My Town Monday blog for other posts. [...]



(image) It seems to me, that male characters are more readily allowed to have superhuman traits.  They take (or give) a punch and rarely suffer any ill effects, for example.  But female characters are expected to be mere mortals.  Not only that, but even “strong” female characters are expected to be rendered helpless by relationship drama in their lives.  The female characters don’t get the privilege of being superhuman—they aren’t allowed to shake off personal problems they way male characters do.  (Not to mention the fact that most male characters can actually stay focused on their job/ task/ plot and not be derailed by personal issues.) 

This is where Bo is an outlier… she is more like a male character.  But with all those fun female traits.  She gets to be sexy and smart and more capable than the average woman.  This too me sounds like a lot more fun than another average woman who gets her friends/ family in danger because she can’t think straight for more than two chapters in a row.

Perhaps this is the type of female character that is preferred?  Except, over in Urban Fantasy, women like Bo are more the norm. 

My Town Monday: the Upper Peninsula of Michigan


  Michigan is one of those unique states.  We're a peninsula. TWO peninsulas, even.  And our peninsulas have more peninsulas on them-- not just puny ones, but big ol' peninsulas.  And if that doesn't sound suggestive to you... your mind is much cleaner than mine.I reside in the Lower Peninsula, not too far from civilization.  But because the Upper Peninsula holds several neat land marks, there are times when a Michigander should venture up there.  Many Michiganders have cabins, "cabins" and vacation homes in the northern parts of Michigan, for hunting or just escaping (or "escaping") from city life.  The Upper Peninsula is largely unsettled, though.It consists mainly of forests and coastlines along the Great Lakes.  Plus some tiny towns.  US-2 meanders along the bottom edge of the Upper Peninsula, heading West into Wisconsin.  This road, while being  US road, is not a highway (or freeway or limited access highways)-- the speed limit is 55mph.  There is no limited access highway across the UP from east to west.  I-75 goes from the tip of the Lower Peninsula up to Canada, but that's it for highways in the UP.After all, moose, bear and snow mobiles don't use expressways.In the UP, it's colder than the rest of the state.  Winter comes earlier and the snow is heavier and around longer.  This situation is in someways exacerbated by the proximity of the icy water of Lake Superior.  More lake effect snow (where extra snow is created by the moisture of the lake).  But the lake, allegedly, has a moderating affect on the temperature-- which also causes more snow since snow can't fall if it's too cold.Ice does form on Lake Superior and in massive chunks.  It takes awful cold weather to cause ice to form on a body of water that cold.  This shot was from April.  In the part where I'm from, the ice was gone, but on the shore of Lake Superior, it was large, cold reminder that the Upper Peninsula is a different world.Traveling through the UP is interesting.  There are few towns.  And those that do exist are very small.  Some are so small that they don't have gas stations (a little disconcerting when you're miles from nowhere!)  Others have quaint combination bar/ restaurant/ grocery store/ post office/ barber shops like existed once upon a time.  You can drive for hours without seeing other cars on the roads of the UP.  It's tranquil... until it gets really boring.This is a main road heading into Munising in the UP.  It was pretty busy that morning...I like making visit to the UP.  Sometimes I imagine living in one of the small cities up there.  But only if I could work from home and never have to drive in the thick snow or go out in the cold.  You know, hibernate.  With high speed internet.  But it sure is pretty up there.Join us for My Town Monday [...]

My Town Monday: How to Complain About Michigan Weather


Michiganders love to complain about the weather.  There are some guidelines for these complaints, though, so everyone is on the same page.

If it's in the thirtys and snowy in January or February, complain about it being too snowy.
If it's below zero in January, complain about it being too cold (and ask where's global warming?!?)
If it snows in January or February, complain about how you're done with winter already.

If it's still below freezing any time in March, complain that it's supposed to be spring (and ask where's global warming.)
If it's warm in early spring, complain that everything is muddy from the melting snow.
If there's snow in late March, complain about how you're sooooo tired of winter!
If it's warm during the day, but cold at night in March, complain about how cold it is at night, as if it's some anomaly.

If it's in the 70s before June, complain about how long winter was.
If it rains a lot in March, April, or May, complain about the dreary weather and you're ready for summer.
If it's below freezing at any time in the spring, complain about how winter is supposed to be over!  (Don't forget to ask where global warming is.)

If it's over 80 in early summer, complain about the humidity or complain about how it's too early in the summer for heat like that.
If it's below 40 any time in early summer, complain about how it's still cold and how summer's NEVER going to start.
If it's hot and dry during the summer, complain about how brown and burnt all the plants are.  If you live on a lake, complain about low lake levels.
If it's hot and humid during the late summer, start complaining about how you're ready for fall.
If the temperature is in the 70s, complain about how cold the store air conditioning is or about how it's not hot enough.

If the temperature drops below 50 in September, complain about how you're not ready for summer to end.
If the temperature shoots up to 80s in September, complain about how you're done with summer.
If it's cold and wet on Halloween, complain about how it's always cold and wet on Halloween.

If it's below 40 in November, complain about how you're not ready for winter.

If it snows more than once in December, each subsequent time requires complaining about how you're done with snow already, even though it's barely started. 

That about covers it.  Happy complaining!

My Town Monday: Ice Harvesting Exhibit at the CoBACH Center


The old town hall in Brighton was recently repurposed for use by the the Brighton Area Historical Society.  They've been doing some different exhibits.  For the month of February, it's ice harvesting, which was a huge industry in the early 1900s, not just in Livingston County but in many colder climates.  During the winter, local residents and migrant workers would score the ice and break it into large blocks. It would be stored in ice houses along the shore.  During the summer months, the ice houses would be slowly emptied of their ice. 

(image) The CoBACH center (City of Brighton Art, Culture, and History Center) borrowed some items from the Port Huron Ice Harvesting Museum and set up a rather nice display.  There were local photos of the ice houses and information about the tools of the trade.  They also made a mock up of a small ice house. 

(image) I went there with Hubby and my Baby Son and we happened to go at the right time, I think.  One of the leaders of the Brighton Area Historical Society was there giving a well-informed tour.  My son was fixated on the sound of the tour guides voice, which was amusing.  (The kid's only 8 months old, so I'm sure he wasn't that interested in ice harvesting.) 

 This is an image of the Mill Pond in Brighton.  You can see the ice house on the shore past the boaters.
Here's some more recent images of the Mill Pond.  The ice house sat where the brick building (barely visible over the bridge in the second photo) is today
There's one more week of the Ice Harvesting Exhibit.  I wonder what slice of local history will be displayed next? 

My Town Monday: 6 More Weeks of Winter


Puxatawny Phil predicted an early spring.  Livingston County's own woodchuck (aka groundhog) Woody predicted 6 more weeks of winter.  Now, Woody's record is 9/12 correct so far, so my money is on her.

(image) That said, in Michigan, 6 more weeks of winter WOULD be an early spring.  Sure, the vernal equinox falls March 21st (ish), which is about 6 weeks after February 2nd, but that's hardly the start of spring in the Mitten shaped state.  Not weather wise at any rate.  There is often still snow on the ground and one last snowfall in late March. 

(image) Spring doesn't really start here until mid or late April.  That's when the weather starts to stay above freezing during the day.  And the sun comes out from behind never ending piles of gray clouds.  It feels so good to Michiganders, that winter coats are often prematurely shed in the "warm" weather.  By the end of April, it feels like spring is finally starting.

That's also the start of road construction season...

My Town Monday: Snow Storm


Snow is part of Michigan winters.  And that includes the occasional snow storm.  The Big One last Wednesday was a bit overhyped in my area, and, as with all things overbyped, it did not live up to the predictions.  In my area, we got about 6 inches of snow. This is about the amount needed to shut the area down for a day or so.  Livingston County is part rural, part suburb-- but not a very dense suburb.  It is largely a bedroom community to places like Ann Arbor and Detroit.  So, the snow fell.  It piled up on top of the previous inches-- I think there was about 6 inches from prior snowfalls currently on the ground.My driveway was complete obscured by the falling and blowing snow.  I'm standing next to my garage.  The road is past the fence.  This driveway is only marginally longer than average.Yes, we have a snowblower.  One of the most interesting thing about the last snow storm was how quite the world got.  Few cars ventured out most of the next day. I rather liked it myself.  Also absent from the roads were snow plows.  I live on a main road heading into one of the two larger towns in the county.  Well, it's called a city, but it's not very big.  (I know, it's a term that defines local government size and function more so than population size and density.)  Anyway, usually this road is one of the first and best plowed, being that about a mile away it turns into Main Street.  But even at 1 in the afternoon, the road is still snow covered. Not bad though.  One could easily get around in this sort of snow fall.  I don't care much for driving in snow-- but that's just because other drives don't have the sense to slow down and exercise caution.  I happen to like when the snow comes down and the world is quiet.  It's peaceful.  There's nothing quite like the barely perceptible sound of snow falling-- yes, it has a sound. [...]

FFF 8: Time


I'm a little late this week... partly because I still thought the deadlines for F3 were Friday.  And partly because I really just need the whole week.  =/  I'm gonna keep trying the prompts, when they tickle my muse, but I already know I'm not gonna make any Wednesday deadlines.  ESPECIALLY not Wednesdays!Anyway, here's my story for F3 #8...Wasting TimeA Bo Fexler StoryThe clock ticked off the seconds, each a piercing reminder that time moved forward.  It was already late on a bitter cold night.  The heat had turned off for the night—and the long holiday weekend—in the office building.  The cold workspaces, extra clean by some managerial mandate, were even more impersonal in the dropping temperature.My shoulders were tensed, as if doing so would contain what little body heat remained in my body.  My fingers were so numb that I could barely feel the shape of the mouse as I navigated with it.  Without the intermittent whooshing and humming of the heating system, the office was still, lifeless.  Only the barely perceptible whir of the computer fan, the faint click of the mouse button, and the interminable ticking of a clock on the desk next to the computer broke the still stillness.  Everyone that normally worked in that office building was off doing holiday related things.  If not enjoying their families for Thanksgiving, they were tolerating them with whatever coping methods or alcohol they could manage, or just plain avoiding them at home or at the bar.  The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is the biggest bar night of the year.  Few people work that night—besides the standard retail workers, law enforcement and emergency responders, and bartenders.  The occasional private investigator will put in a few hours, checking to make sure that a certain spouse is actually working late, rather than finding unauthorized reasons for giving thanks.  Then they, too, would join one of the normal Thanksgiving activities.  Being a PI, like being a cop, can be hard on personal relationships, though, with the odd hours and spying and trust issues that come with watching everyday people betray the trust of those who care for them.  Luckily, I had trust issues long before I entered the PI business.  It makes the job easier.The holidays no longer have any meaning for me beyond the normal ebb and flow of business as people increase or decrease their need to know the truth.  It’s just part of the passing of time.  One month to the next, one year to the next.  I tucked my hands under my arm pits, trying desperately to restore some feeling to them, while the computer considered my request.  Fittingly, the machine turned a digital hour glass while we waited.  The sand grains didn’t move though.  It was an old machine, running an old operating system.  It made my job both easier and harder.  Security on that old computer was something of a joke.  And the man who used that machine wasn’t very good with computers.  The collection of empty folders named New Folder was amusing.  The man who worked on that computer was at home with his wife and grown child.  According to the wife when she called me, he was pretty well trashed too.  That was why she'd asked if I was busy—or more importantly, was my time claimed by anyone else that holiday-eve.  She'd first thought maybe he was staying out late because he was having an affair with some office girl.  But a couple days of surveillqnce showed that the husband was the last to leave his office, an[...]

FFF3-Deadly Coincidences


 Joining in with the other fine folks at Flash Fiction Friday.  This week was a themed word list with a suggested genre of suspense or horror.  I got the words, but I'm not so sure on genre.  I do know I'm not feeling the current title.  Here's my piece anyway.Deadly Coincidences A Bo Fexler Storyby Clair DicksonThe death of my car battery turned out to be an omen of the disruption death was going to cause in my life the next few days.  I had to cancel a meeting with my client and get a battery delivered from an auto parts place to the grocery store parking lot where I was stranded.  Canceling the next meeting with my client only bothered me in that my client was hiring me to find her missing niece, who she cared about greatly.   As soon as the delivery hit showed up, it started to rain.  And the rain was predicted to continental for the next several days.  Regardless, I still had work to do, and to do it, I needed my car back from the dead.  I lost my umbrella in the hasty move to the new apartment, so I just stood in the rain while I installed the battery. A couple people stopped and stared.  It’s rare enough to see a woman working on a car, let alone one who is tall, attractive, and standing in the rain.  To my surprise, the only comment was from a matronly woman who told me that I was going to catch my death of pneumonia out there.  I wondered what Louis Pasteur would think of such an enlightened comment.    When I went inside, I found a shallow puddle of water on my bed.  It took a moment for the implication of that to set in.  My bed is fairly absorbent, so for there to be a puddle, there would have to have been an unfortunately large quantity of water.  A deluge.  With a sigh, I went down to the land lord's unit and knocked.  And knocked.  The nosy old lady across the hall poked her head out.  “He's gone,” she snapped.“Clearly.”She glared at me.  “I'll try later then.  Maybe he’ll be home tonight.  He likes to watch the Late Shows.”  Her eyes narrowed and nearly disappeared in the wrinkles around them.  “He's gonna be gone all weekend.  Death in the family.”  She slammed the door on my incredulous response. I debated between spending money on a hotel room or just sleeping on the couch.  The couch-- or rather my spendthrift ways-- won out.  I did flip the mattress up against the wall and put the bedding in the wash.  I was centering a bucket under the continuing drip when my cell phone rang.  “This is Bo,” I answered.  “Bo.  It's Raquel.   I'm gonna-- I mean-- I guess I don't need you any more.”“Okay.  Why not?” “They-- the police were just here.  They found McKayla.  Her car went off the road into a swamp.  The think it happened two weeks ago.”  She cried as she spoke, her voice wavering every few syllables.“I'm so sorry for your loss,” I replied, the words automatic because my feelings were still sorting themselves out.I was fired because the young woman I'd been hired to find was found already, and found dead. After I hung up the phone, I sat on the couch a moment.  Then I grabbed my coat and went down two blocks. The church was old, styled in a Gothic sort of way with narrow arches and tall stained glass windows depicting scenes from Jesus's life.  I hadn't been to church since I was a child and I couldn't articulate what I thought my visit would do or get.But it seemed like a good ide[...]

FFF: Knowledge of Good and Evil


I'm feeling a little rusty at this fiction thing, but I decided to take a shot with the Flash Fiction Friday folks.  Knowledge of Good and EvilA Bo Fexler Storyby Clair Dickson“Mom said I was going to be something one day.” She smiled as she said it, a big toothy grin that revealed a missing front tooth. She twirled the end of her blond pig tail around her finger. "And what would you like to be?” I asked. If anyone had bothered to tell me just how much small talk I would do as a private eye before I got licensed, I probably would be in a whole different vocation-- for better or for worse.She shrugged. “Is Carrie home?” I asked.“Nope. Not until 4. She's my sister, you know.”“I do know,” I answered. I had also been reasonably sure she wasn't home. “Can I come in and talk with you for a little while?”Jaimie hesitated, chewing on her lower lip. “I dunno.”“I brought some ice cream that I was hoping you would help me eat.”She grinned “I love ice cream. Chocolate chip cookie is my favorite.” But she still blocked the doorway.“Can I come in?”She nodded, hesitated once more, then finally opened the door to let me in. She led me to the kitchen and got two bowls and two spoons from the dishwasher. “How long have you been living with Carrie?” I asked scooping a large bowl of ice cream for Jaimie and a more reasonable sized bowl for myself.“Hmmm... Since March. Sisters are like friends but better, right?”It was either the statement or the way she said it, but something about that bothered me. “You like living with Carrie?”She looked around and made thoughtful faces before answering, “Yeah.”“It's better than living with Aunt Tara?”More thoughtful faces. “Sometimes.”“When is it better?”“When she takes me places or buys me a new movie. I have a TV in my room so I can watch my movies. Aunt Tara never let me have a TV in my room.”“When do you like not like being at Carrie's?”“When Jeff comes over.” She frowned. “What don't you like about Jeff coming over?” I didn't really want to hear the answer. I never do, but my job requires that I ask the questions anyway. Some days, I would gladly trade that for the stupid paperwork or clueless bosses that other people complain about.“When Jeff comes over to spend the night, I'm supposed to stay in my room. I don't like always being in my room. Carrie said if I lived with her, then we'd do fun things. But we don't do fun things when Jeff comes over. And he comes over a lot.”“Do you ever get to play with Jeff?”She shook her head. “No. Carrie says that he’s her friend so they play together.” She shrugged. “I just wish he didn’t come over so much.”“Does Jeff ever come over when Carrie isn’t here?”“No. He’s Carrie’s friend, so he wouldn’t come to play with me. He never plays with me.” She finished the last of her ice cream and licked the spoon clean. “Did Carrie say anything about what the court thought about you living with her?” The main reason I was there. I wasn’t particularly threatening, nor was I part of the justice system. My client and I had both figured that might make it easier to get information out of Carrie.Jaimie licked her spoon. “Well, she said that since she wasn't married, that the court wouldn't send me checks any more. She helped me get a job so I can still buy things that I want. I'm saving up for a Wii. I got almost a hundred dollars.”I smiled. We talked—or rather, I let Carrie tell me about herself and her life with Carrie [...]

My Town Monday: Rough, indeed


Financially, things are a little tight in the state that catered to the Auto Industry for decades.  One of the areas that has suffered is roads.  There just isn't money to maintain them (not counting the millions of mispent money.)  This is also a state that LOVES to salt the roads all winter.  As if the normal freeze-thaw cycle isn't hell enough of roads, adding salt exascerbates the problem.

So we get roads that look like this:
Yes, this section of road is merely a collection of hot patch asphalt.

This is the solution, apparently. 


My Town Monday: Canadian Quarters


Canadian quarters-- and other coins, but mainly the quarters-- have been a recurring frustration in my life.  Canada is a mere 2 hour drive from my house.  But that's not much consolation when I'm standing at the vending machine with a damned Canadian quarter... effectively 25cents short of what I need because Canadian money isn't accepted in U.S. vending machines.

Back when exchanges rates were far more favorable for the U.S., I'd heard rumors of unscrupulous shop owners crossing the border to get rolls of Canadian quarters.  This ultimately would lead to profits for them on conversion.  I don't doubt that a few vending machine operators employed this tactic too, given the frequency with which change machines and vending machines would spew the same little coins that they refused to accept.

I always figured this was a greater problem in states like Michigan, where the foreign land is so near.  Does it happen much in other states?  And do Canadians have problems getting U.S. quarters?

Though, I do think the dollar and two dollar coins that Canada uses are awesome.  Especially for vending machine use, they totally trump crumpled bills.  I am saddened that the dollar coin, which seemed to start taking hold a few years back with that Sacajawea coin, again faded in favor of the paper dollar.

My Town Monday: Hot and Bothered


Folks in Livingston County get all worked up over anything related to sex.  Like the Intimate Ideas shop that moved into town a few years ago to sell mostly lingerie (per local ordinance) and some adult toys.  You know, the fun stuff that plenty of people use, either married or not, to enjoy themselves sexually.  And, yes, I know about that sort of thing.  (If you're here, than surely you've read a few of my stories!)

But a good number of Livingston County residents got upset about how such a shop didn't represent the interests of the local community. Okay, so, if the local community doesn't want such a horrid, "depraved" shop in their midst, then sales would reflect it.  Oh, well, it's still open.  And... so is the much older store of a similar nature in the next town over.  The one that no one has picketed.  Same concept, but it was the new store that got people upset... for a while.

Seems that lingerie and adult stores do reflect the interests of at least SOME of the community.  Though I prefer to buy my items online.

The latest hoopla to get in the press is the new Hot Spot Coffee shop.  You've probably heard about coffee shops like these.  The young, hot chickadees dress in skimpy attire while serving up hot coffee.  The idea has been very popular in other locations.
The controversy provides lots of free press as first there are articles in the paper.  Then there are the several letters where people must voice their outrage that such a shop does not reflect the interests of the community.  I dunno, I drove over there even though I don't drink coffee.  If I did drink coffee, I'd totally go there for the scenery.  Who doesn't like a nice mountain view?  And so far, business seems to be doing well.  Time will tell if this place-- like the two adult novelty stores-- fits the 'character' of Livingston County.

On an "unrelated" note, after some 30 years, the local Christian Bookstore is closing it's doors...

My Town Monday: Naked Guy On the Move


The Naked Guy is infamous in Brighton.  He's pretty controversial.  And he's been dressed up a good number of times.
(image) Now, he's on the move.  The Powers That Be in Brighton have decided that the Naked Guy statue will be relocated from his present position-- where he flashes drivers on Main Street and visitors to the Mill Pond-- to another, yet to be disclosed location.

Frankly, I'm a little disappointed.  I was enjoying his changing attire-- like the shirt for the local Cancer Run/Walk or the Red Wings Jersey.  Then again, I don't get all hot and bothered by undefined lumps that don't at all resemble genitalia.  (Oh, man, I could so make a comment here about local men lacking balls and dicks, which is why neither the men or women around here know that the Naked Guy isn't showing ANYTHING off.  But I'm not like that.  ;-)  I mean, really, a Ken doll has more definition than the Naked Guy.

But the Naked Guy is going to go on a naked trek somewhere else in Brighton.  A new piece of art will replace it.  I hope it's not some abstract hunk like the big orange THING up the street a ways.

Now this knee-jerk "conservative" town will have to find something new to get upset about.  That new coffee shop seems like a good idea... but more on that next week.

Too Pretty


The latest Bo Fexler story has indeed found a home.  This little flash piece follows Bo as her attempts to seduce a man at the bar don't go as planned.  Being a pretty girl doesn't mean she gets everything she wants... find out what happens in "Too Pretty" over at Twist of Noir.

Fun author's note about this story: it was composed entirely on my cell phone using Mobile Word, and almost completely with T9.  I still hate T9, but it was the only way to write with one hand while I held my son in the other.  Since T9 doesn't have quote marks, I used parentheses in the original draft.  And thus, a shred of my sanity was preserved.

My Town Monday: What's Missing?


Little Ceasar's PizzaDunkin DonutsMr. PitaBig Boy ResturantWhat do these things have in common?They each closed locations in Livingston County.  For years, this county had one or more of the above businesses in the local towns (including nearby but actually the edge of Oakland County's town of South Lyon.)  But in the last 10 years, many of the locations have shut down.  Sometime, pulling out of the area completely.  There is no longer a Dunkin Donuts-- though the shop previously known as Dunkin Donuts still makes Donuts, etc. under the name Brighton Donuts.Little Ceasar's pulled out of most of it's locations, then brought a few back in new spots a few years later.Mr. Pita lasted a few years in an odd, difficult to get to location before leaving.  Like Brighton Donuts, the shop operated a little longer under a generic name before giving it up all together.Big Boy-- now this one I know-- was struggling financially as a company and shut some of it's least popular locations.There are a good many places that have never made an appearance in Livingston County, for reasons I may never understand.  Sure, population is a little light out here, but not that light.  As a suburban area, I would expect to see a few more businesses take the opportunity to bring their wares into an area where they're not represented.  It was only in the last few years that Livingston County got a White Castle.  Still no Sonic or Krispy Kreme.  No California Pizza Kitchen.  I couldn't even list what we're 'missing.'No Dominoes Pizza, even, which is a shocker since Ann Arbor-- home of the corporate HQ-- is just 20 mins south of here.Being in the Metro Detroit area, I see a good many commercials for places that just don't exist out here.  It doesn't break my heart any, since I can't eat most places, but it's always struck me as curious how many businesses don't open a location out here.I can't tell you how excited folks were for the White Castle to open.  I understand there were people camped out iPhone-release-style before the opening.Tell me your favorite chain location and I'll tell you if we have one nearby.[...]