Murder Points North (excerpt)

Sunlight limboing beneath shades, songbirds, and fresh brewed coffee welcomed me to Saturday morning.  I didn’t see any point in peeking behind those shades.  It was going to be another beautiful day in Points North.  Just like yesterday and the day before that and last week and last month.  It was enough to make a person pull the sheets up over their head and call it quits.

Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoyed the balmy breezes, the hazy afternoons and sultry sunsets right along with everybody else, back in October.  Back when they were a novelty.  But it was December 20 and we were in New Hampshire’s White Mountain --  snow country.             

Tourists and holiday shoppers were at a premium.  Skiers were nonexistent. Revenues were down and tempers were high.  The Arrest Log in the village weekly read like a phone book.  And all of it was being blamed on the weather-- the dog bites, the fist fights, the colicky babies, the mood swings.

Locals were pretty much split as to whether we were victims of the longest Indian summer on record or teetering on Armageddon.  Personally, I found the whole Indian summer argument lame and the Armageddon crowd optimists.  After all, the end of the world would cancel or at least postpone Home for the Holidays and that would have been way too easy. 

I’d done about as much a person could short of offering up a human sacrifice. Granted my motives had nothing to do with restoring fiscal security and communal bliss, they were nonetheless sincere.  I’d already wasted a small fortune tossing coins into wishing wells, coy ponds and fountains, lit enough candles at Our Lady of the Mountain to declare the chapel a fire hazard, and rattled off enough prayers to the patron saints of lost causes and foul weather to bring about the next Ice Age.  Either the Fates, fairies, and saints were deaf, dumb, and blind or they flat out didn’t give a damn.    

I wasn’t asking for much. It didn’t even have to be snow.  A hurricane would have done just fine.  Rockslide, earthquake, volcanic eruption, you name it, I was up for it. And it didn’t have to last long.  Twelve to fourteen hours tops. Come nine o’clock the heavens could clear, the ground go still, and order return to the universe.

Who am I kidding?  I was desperate.  I would have sold my soul for a strong breeze and a cloud or two in the sky.