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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From "It's Always Darkest" by Steve Spencer

It's Always Darkest (The Paul D. Mallory Novels)Reporter Paul Mallory found handball referee Lori Schachter murdered in her bed twelve hours ago. Then she showed up on his doorstep...

"Now," I said. "What in the hell is going on here?"

She took a deep breath. "Karin is dead because they thought she was I."

"They? Who is 'they'?"

"It is the word that first came to my mind. I do not know who killed Karin—who intended to kill me."

"Why do you think 'they' thought it was you?"

"Because Karin and I changed rooms when we checked into the hotel."

"Why change rooms?"

"Karin was abergl√§ubisch...what is the English word—superstitious. Much more so than I. Her assigned room number was 418 and mine was 416. So we naturally changed rooms."

"Naturally. Because 418 is such a well-known harbinger of...oh, wait a minute. Four plus one plus eight is thirteen. Is that it?"
Lori nodded.
I believed her. Sports people are a superstitious lot across the board: athletes, fans, officials...journalists, too. I was no different, except that my superstitions made perfect sense and were firmly based in logic. I wore a blue shirt every Friday, never wrote on the first page of a new steno pad, and always used two stir sticks when I bought coffee at a convenience store.
And just look at how lucky I was.

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