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Dead Boss Chapter 1

 Detective Jack Creed leaned against the kitchen cupboards looking across his lounge through the beach gums to the ocean. His hands rested on the granite bench top, his fingers pursed as if he were beginning the Olympic 100 meter dash.  Something niggled at the back of his mind, something he felt he should remember but it forever ran just out of reach.  Why was he so tense?  There had to be a reason, even if he didn't quite know it yet.  Cases were fine, so no worries there.  Was it family?  He closed his eyes and called up a memory of his wife and daughter.  It seemed forever since he saw them.  Maybe that was it.  Maybe he just needed a holiday.  

It was an autumn Sunday morning, one of Jack’s favourite times of the year. The air was crisp and the crystal clear ocean waves pounded onto the beach.  It had been three years since he moved from Brisbane and taken up residency at the Seaview Motel at Cabarita Beach. The double standards of the Brisbane C I D did not sit well with Jack’s morals. Jack didn’t have any time for Chief Constable O’Halloran and his Fortitude Valley ‘dining mates’ of Italian extraction, and O’Halloran didn’t like Jack’s unorthodox ways.  They agreed to disagree, which suited both just fine, especially Jack.  The less O'Halloran got in his way, the better.

Robin and William liked having Jack around the Motel. He gave the place a sense of security. Although the town was a fairly quiet place, occasionally a bit of riffraff from Brisbane would venture down and cause a little bit of mayhem after a few sherbets. Nothing serious and definitely nothing Jack couldn't handle, but Robin and William liked having him around all the same.  The motel was a favourite for wedding guests, often hosting ceremonies in the gardens or on the front grassy path with stunning ocean vistas. It made for a perfect backdrop in a couple’s life-long memories of their splendid day. Once, Jack had to step in between a father and his new son-in-law after both had too much jungle juice on the wedding night, but that was as rowdy as it got.

Jack sipped his black coffee. Today it was instant, but normally he would walk up to the corner and grab a coffee from Jake at Kartel Espresso. Jake stood out in Cabarita. His full arm tattoos momentarily distracted your eyes from his nose and ear rings, but he made excellent coffee; a real saving grace for Jack and ‘the Melbourne coffee connoisseurs’ who breezed through on their way to trendy Byron Bay where the lattes and macchiatos flowed more readily.  Up until Jake and his crew arrived, the town had been subjected to some substance that resembled and tasted like dishwater dealt out by Donny at the local Black & Gold supermarket. No wonder everybody was leaving and the in crowd kept on driving past. Donny was secretly murdering the place.

A cool sea breeze passed through Jack’s two-bedroom suite and he thought about how he would spend the rest of the day with his family in Brisbane.  He smiled.  Had it really been six weeks since he visited Melissa at the New Farm Clinic?  Since today was Sunday, there should be no reason why he couldn’t venture an hour north to catch up with his family for the day. In fact, he looked forward to it.

Jack’s mobile phone rang out. The apartment echoed with the theme song to Mission Impossible, a ringtone that annoyed many of Jack’s peers. He looked down at the caller ID screen.  Jo Boston-Wright was calling. Jack heaved a sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger.  So much for a quiet day with his family.  If Jo was calling, it could only mean one thing – another case.   

“Morning, Jo. How are you this fine Sunday?” Jack asked. “I take it you’re not calling to ask about my health or offering to buy breakfast?”

“You’re right on both accounts, Jack.”  Wind whistled around Jo's mobile phone, making her voice sound crackly and far away.  “We’ve got a body down here amongst the rocks not far from your place. I think you had better pop down.” 

“Why the bloody hell do dead bodies turn up on a person’s day of rest, Jo?”  Jack's annoyance headache was turning into a full blown I-have-no-life-when-a-case-is-on migraine.  “Can’t people do the right thing and die Monday to Friday? I was planning to head up to Brisbane to see Melissa today. Looks like that’s on hold or at least delayed...again.” 

“So can I count on having you down here or not?”  Jo asked.

“I'll be there in twenty.”   

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