Here's a scene from an unpublished novel I wrote about a boy reporter and girl social worker in Anchorage during the pipeline boom.

Yes, it's somewhat autobiographical.


Midway through our story:

Harry stopped by Legetti’s club late one night on a whim. He wasn’t likely to learn much there and probably wouldn’t even ask, but being seen there might be useful. Besides, hadn’t Legetti told him to come by any time?

A few drinks later, the effort felt futile to Harry, who left out the back door, walking down the alley toward his car. Only one other person was in the alley, a figure silhouetted against the street light, walking toward him.

“Well if it ain’t the fuckin’ chickenshit reporter,” the man said as he approached. “I’ll tell you, Wheeler, I’m surprised to see you around here.”

“I’m surprised to see you, too, Presley. You sure guys on parole are supposed to be hanging out in bars like this?”

“Shut up, you little shit. You got nothing to say to me, you understand that? You ought to be hiding back in your hole somewhere making up more lies to write about me.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever written your name Presley. Unless you want to confess right now to being one of the John Does I’ve been writing about.”

Presley lunged forward toward Harry suddenly. Wheeler tried to dodge but took a hard push to the shoulder and stumbled backward, landing on his butt in the slush of the alley beside an overflowing green dumpster. He came up wet, slimy with garbage and pissed off.

But his attitude changed abruptly when he found himself looking down the blue steeled barrel of the .44 magnum pistol he’d seen Presley practicing with all those months before. He stopped where he was standing in the melting snow.

“Oh that slows you down now doesn’t it, chickenshit?” Presley slurred. He stepped closer, waving the gun. “I said DOESN’T IT, you chickenshit? Answer me, you fuck.”

Harry stepped back against the dumpster and tried to slow the adrenaline pump flooding his body with a combination of terror and rage. Fight or flight, it insisted, but Harry stood still and did neither.

He breathed deeply. Now or never, he thought.

"Fuck you, Presley. You're nothing but a coward, you know that? Nobody but a coward would do what you did to a woman. You'll never be able to stand up to somebody your own size.

"That pistol makes you feel big, but you're small, Presley. You're a piss ant.”

Presley squinted at Harry and stumbled slightly. Quite drunk, apparently. The pistol’s barrel wavered and lowered slightly.

"You can shoot me, but that won't solve your problems. Shoot me and your problems have just started. This in my hometown, Presley, you shoot me and it will rain shit in your life from that moment until you die. And I hope you live a long time, because I want you to suffer for a long time. Shooting me won't fix anything. It will only make it worse.”

Harry turned his back on Presley and the big .44 magnum and walked away slowly down the alley. His back muscles twitched and clinched as he walked, like he could feel the shot coming. Presley would call his stupid bluff, everything would end right now, like this, in a slushy wet alley in Eastchester Flats.

No shot. No sound. Harry turned the corner onto the sidewalk and shivered almost uncontrollably all over his body. A half-block later he reached his yellow bug, stepped around to the far side, kneeled and started puking.