The Wages of Cin (Cin Fin-Lathen Mysteries Book 4)

BOOK: The Wages of Cin (Cin Fin-Lathen Mysteries Book 4)
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The Wages of Cin

 

A Cin Fin-Lathen Mystery Novel

By Alexie Aaron

This book is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

~

Copyright 2015 – Diane L. Fitch writing as Alexie Aaron

ALSO BY ALEXIE AARON

 

CIN FIN-LATHEN MYSTERIES

 

Decomposing

Death by Saxophone

Discord

The Wages of Cin

 

HAUNTED SERIES

in order

 

The Hauntings of Cold Creek Hollow

Ghostly Attachments

Sand Trap

Darker than Dark

The Garden

Puzzle

Old Bones

Things that Go Bump in the Night

Something Old

The Middle House: Return to Cold Creek Hollow

Renovation

Mind Fray

The Siege

NOLA

Never Forget

 

PEEPS LITE

 

Eternal Maze 3.1

Homecoming 3.2

Checking Out 9.1

Ice and Steel 9.2

I dedicate this book to the readers who asked me to write another Cin Fin-Lathen mystery.

And to my son Aaron whose music inspires me.

~

Free song download at Alexieaaron.com!

Chapter One

 

Reunion band member electrocuted on Florida stage.

It was just a little sidebar on an otherwise innocuous television news broadcast.  I wasn’t really listening; it was the background noise I had playing while I was shelving books in the family room.

Band member
and
Florida
got my attention.  I stopped and studied the helmet-haired broadcaster a moment.  She smiled sweetly into the camera and repeated, “Reunion band member electrocuted on Florida stage.  Nineties rocker Elijah Broadhurst will have to postpone his comeback yet again.  His new bass player, Simon Simple, was taken to the Broward County Hospital after his amplifier malfunctioned and sent a surge of electricity into the musician.  He is expected to recover, but second degree burns will have him sidelined for the summer concert season.  Fans of Ely’s Coming will have to wait yet again to hear the much anticipated new album,
Ely’s Coming Again
, performed.”  She smiled once more and added, “We wish Simon Simple a speedy recovery.”

I didn’t know Simon Simple, although I suspected it was a stage name.  I had enjoyed Ely’s Coming when they originally topped the charts.  They weren’t exactly rockers.  I, being old school, thought that rock bands had to be all about driving, ear-busting music.  Elijah Broadhurst’s compositions were more alternative.  His lyrics were upbeat and at times humorous.  They were set off by some great arrangements that had you humming for hours after you heard them.  He chose his band’s name from Three Dog Night’s ominous song "Eli’s Coming."  I guess changing the I for a Y kept him out of small claims court.

I walked over to where I kept my old music collection and found three of the band’s CDs that I had in my possession.  I opened one and scanned the names of the band members but didn’t see Simon’s name.  There was a Gareth Goodbody listed as playing bass guitar.

“Please tell me you’re not going to be on a nineties music binge again?” Harry asked from the kitchen.

I looked over at him and contemplated several good lies to tell him, but instead, I chose the truth.  “I just heard that one of the band members was electrocuted. I was checking out to see if he was an original or a bass for hire.”

“What band?”

“Ely’s Coming.”

“Don’t know it.”

“I bet you know their music though,” I said and started to sing what I thought was a popular lyric.

“Stop!  Cin, you have many, many talents, but singing is not one of them,” Harry informed me.

He’s right.  I have a very limited range and tend to be off-key.  It didn’t stop me from singing in the shower, the car, and at home where all but
one
critic were absent.

Harry, however, was a natural singer, and liar, but I won’t get into that right now.  Harry was hard to explain.  He arrived on my doorstep, at the urging of my son Alex, to act as my bodyguard and never left.  He helped me to identify and catch the Coconut Palms Community Band’s serial killers, find a missing priest, and stop a small terrorist group from attacking the crowd at the Palm Beach Airshow.  We weren’t private detectives; we had no license. But as consultants, we had earned enough to convince Harry that he could make quite a living as one.  He liked the intrigue and the accolades we received when we solved cases.  I, on the other hand, wanted no part of the glam life.  I wanted to simply sit in my community band and perform music.

“Anyway, they were about to start a reunion tour. All the nineties bands seem to be doing it,” I explained.  “Some have even written new music, but that’s not a prerequisite.  Now’s the time to do it.  Reunion tours draw the now affluent Generation Xers out for a summer evening of listening to their favorite tunes and spending mega money on memorabilia and booze.  Nothing’s better than drinking an icy Jack and Coke while listening to Tonic and Toad,” I said and sighed.  Note to self: look up Tonic and Toad the Wet Sprocket tour dates.

“I remember some of Ely’s stuff. He had kind of a short run, didn’t he?” Harry asked.

“I don’t know…  I seem to remember that there was some kind of tragedy before the band broke up, but I can’t be certain,” I confessed.  “I was more into raising a family at the time than reading
Rolling Stone.”

Harry gave me an incredulous look.

“What?” I asked.

“I bet you have never read an article, much less an issue of
Rolling Stone.”

“What makes you think that?” I snapped.

“You’re a classically trained musician,” he said, holding up one finger.  He moved another finger beside the first and said, “You read genre books, and three, you’re a mom.  Moms don’t read
Rolling Stone.”

“I think you’re being awfully narrow-minded.  Lots of moms read
Rolling Stone
.”  I didn’t, but that was beside the point.  I was just about to serve up a list of rocker moms when my sleepy son Alex walked into the kitchen.

“I can hear the two of you in my dreams,” he complained.  “What’s the deal?”

“Ely’s Coming’s
bass player was electrocuted,” I informed him.  “A guy named Simon Simple.”

“Simon!  Aw shit!” Alex swore.  He walked over to the refrigerator, grabbed a Dr. Pepper, opened it and downed it in one before putting his hand through his blonde hair as if it would help him to think.  Harry calls it
airing out the gray cells
.

“I take it that you know him.  He’s got second degree burns and is recovering over at Broward County Hospital down in Miami.”

Alex burped loud and long.

This made me cringe, but Harry, who had taken the full blast of foul air turned green.

“God, Alex, you’re such a pig,” he said, waving his arms as he walked out of the stench.

Ignoring Harry, Alex answered me, “Yeah, we had some classes up at State.  What was he doing in a loser band like Ely’s Coming?”

“Probably needs the money,” I offered.

“Nah, he’s got a whatchamacallit.”

Whatchamacallit
was such a broad term.  It could mean anything from a car part to an STD.  I thought I’d narrow it down a bit.  “A what?”

“You know, trust fund.”

“Must be nice,” Harry said, snatching his cup of coffee while keeping out of the way of the eleven o’clock zombie who was my son.

Alex wasn’t an early riser.  He felt he was making a large sacrifice venturing out of his cave before noon.  I watched him scratch himself while contemplating whether or not he was going to eat or go back to sleep.  He took out another soda and took his time drinking it.  “Broward County Hospital, where exactly is that?”

“Oh, I don’t know, how about Broward County?” Harry wisecracked.

I ignored Harry and told Alex where it was located.  “I’ll drive you,” I offered.  “The BMW could use a good run.”

“Nice way of excluding me, Cin,” Harry said.  “Taking the two-seater.  Alex has a car, or we could use my jeep.”

I didn’t mean to smile, but it was plastered across my face before I could deny it.  “I didn’t think you knew Simon, Harry.”

Alex looked at Harry and back at his soda.  “We’ll take my car, but, Mom, you drive.  I’m not in driving condition, and Harry drives like a coked-up society girl.”

Harry was torn between the joy of being included and the backhanded criticism of his driving.  I watched his face in wonderment.  Harry, a very handsome young adult with blue-black, tamed, curly hair and nearly black eyes, didn’t have a poker face.  Every emotion showed on his face.  It was probably the main reason I was able to catch him in half the lies he told me. I must have been looking away for the ones I did fall for.  “I’d like to hear what Simon has to say about the whole deal,” Harry said.  “I seem to remember this band as being jinxed.”

“Okay, you get cleaned up, and we’ll head out in an hour,” I instructed.

Alex sniffed his underarm and wrinkled his nose.

“A shower, mister,” I warned, “is not an option.”

Alex saluted and headed for the bathroom.

Harry looked over at me and perused my outfit.  “You
are
changing, I hope.”

I looked at my wrinkled and mismatched outfit and shook my head.  “These are my cleaning clothes.  Give me some credit.”

Harry pointed in the direction of my end of the house.  I walked into the master suite and opened the walk-in closet and contemplated my choices.  I had dropped a few pounds, so I had more to choose from.  My tall, five-foot nine, curvy frame wasn’t usually easy to dress.  I chose separates to take advantage of mixed sizing for my pear-shaped torso.  Miami demanded a bit more of a classy look, so I mixed a little Ralph Lauren with INC.  I pulled my red curls back with a folded over scarf before dusting some powder on my freckled, tan face.  I locked eyes with the brown-eyed woman in the mirror a moment, promising her I would stay out of trouble, hopefully arriving home with both of my Marc Jacobs sandals intact.

I have a problem with shoes.  I go through them at an alarming rate.  If they aren’t destroyed in the process of investigating crimes, they are resting in plastic bags in evidence lockers.  I would buy cheaper shoes, but... that’s not the Cin Fin-Lathen thing to do.

 

~

 

I offered to drop Alex off and pick him up after, but he insisted that Harry and I go with him into the hospital.  We stopped in the gift shop and purchased a balloon with something derogatory printed on it and a few
guys’
magazines.

Harry and I hung back as Alex entered the private room.

“Simon, you son of a bitch, I’ve come to collect that fifty you owe me before you kill yourself,” Alex said to the startled young man propped up in the bed.

“I believe it’s you that owes me a hundred bucks, asshole,” Simon countered, recovering quickly.

“Mom, pay the man,” Alex ordered.

Caught off guard, I actually opened my purse and started digging for my wallet.

“We’ll let it go for now, Alex,” Simon said.  “I’m sure that if I check my records, it’s much more than that.”

“Could be, could be,” Alex said, plopping down in a reclining chair.

Harry attached the balloon to the bathroom doorknob and stacked the magazines next to an uneaten lunch.

“Thanks, mate. Do I know you?” Simon asked Harry.

“I’m just part of Alex’s entourage,” Harry said.  “Harry O’Rouke, and this is Alex’s mom…”

“Detective Fin-Lathen,” Simon finished.  “I saw your picture in
Rolling Stone.”

“I’m sure you’re mistaken,” I said, blushing.  “It was a British rag, and let’s just let that be forgotten.  Please call me Cin.”

“Cin Fin-Lathen is Alex’s mommy.  You know, I would have never put it together, but I was never too smart,” he admitted.

“Stupid, more like it.  How the eff did you get involved with Ely’s Coming
?”
Alex questioned.

It was Simon’s turn to blush.  “My girlfriend is friends with Broadhurst’s daughter.  It was a favor.  Mandy wanted to hang with daddy on tour and wanted Cerise to come with her.  I wasn’t doing anything, so I offered to fill in as the bass player until Gareth could get out of his contract gig with the cruise line.  We were rehearsing and checking out the stage when, I don’t know, it felt like lightning hit me.”

“How’s the digits?” Alex asked.

Simon wiggled his fingers slowly.  “In one piece but barbecued.  I can’t imagine anything smelling this bad tasting like chicken,” he said, holding his fingers close to his nose.

Harry gagged.

“So, I guess the tour is canceled?” I probed.

“Don’t know.  Bass players are a dime a dozen.  Good bass players a bit more.  Hell, Alex could fill in.”

“No,” I said.  I didn’t want to say it aloud, but I did.  Alex looked embarrassed.  “I mean, he’s got his own band.”

Simon looked at Alex, and to my relief, he responded, “What she said.”

“How much does it pay?” Harry asked.

Simon told us.  Alex sat up straighter and asked “The whole tour or…”

“Per performance,” Simon filled in.

I raised my hands and kept my objections to myself.  If Alex wanted to earn some quick money, then I really couldn’t stand in his way.  Simon would only be laid up for a few gigs and would take over for the rest of the tour.

“I have to warn you that the band is jinxed, strange shit going on all the time.  You have to check and recheck your stuff.  Don’t eat or drink anything you haven’t brought.  We lost a roadie to food poisoning already.”  When Simon finished talking, he looked over at me.  “Seems to me that Elijah could use a good detective.”

“Nope, not licensed,” I said.

“Aw, Mommy, you could be my groupie,” Alex teased.

“No and double no.”

“Why not?” a soft voice said from the doorway.

I turned and looked over at the door.  An attractive thirty-eight-year-old male stood leaning in the doorway.  His face was clean shaven, hair styled, and his lips were curved into a lazy smile.  I only had a moment of sanity before I fell in love with the deep green eyes of Elijah Broadhurst.

BOOK: The Wages of Cin (Cin Fin-Lathen Mysteries Book 4)
6.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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