By Gayle Carline
Author of Mysteries, Humor, and Whatever She Damn Well Pleases
We writers are a funny lot, especially those of us who write mysteries and thrillers. A hike through the woods has us thinking about all the places we could hide a body. When we take out a knife to slice an apple, we often caress the handle and study the blade - could this penetrate deeply enough to cause instant death? Medicine cabinets are like treasure chests. Ah, the drugs!
Apparently, not everyone shares our imagination. My husband, Dale, needed his car serviced recently, so we traded vehicles for the day and I drove to my favorite mechanic, Allen. His employee, Bob, changed my oil and rotated my tires while I waited.
He backed my car out of the service bay and came in to tell us it was ready. I watched him look back, out the door.
"Oops," he said.
It's not a word I like to hear, but I'd rather hear it from a mechanic than, say, my surgeon. It seems there was a brown, greasy trail on the garage floor, leading out to my car. After some investigation, he discovered a bad O-ring and went to work fixing it.
Allen and I walked out to see what had happened and I saw the trail of oil. It was a dark dribble straight to my vehicle. Gayle the wife who helps her husband disappeared. Gayle the mystery writer (whose stories are set in her hometown) entered.
"You know, this looks like it could be a blood trail. Allen, there may be a murder in your garage soon."
My brain didn't stop there, so neither did my mouth. "You come in one morning, open the big door, and see this dribble all over your floor. You're all mad, thinking, 'darn that Bob, leaving a mess for me to clean up' and you start mopping it. Then when you get to the car, you look underneath and surprise, there's a body wedged under that Ford."
Allen laughed again, but from more of a distance.
"Of course, you've just destroyed a bunch of evidence," I continued, "but hopefully a good CSU could find the blood trace with luminol."
Now he was across the parking lot from me.
"I don't know," he said. "The floor is epoxy with a coating of degreaser. There may not be any blood left."
He was either trying to discourage me or shut me up, but it wasn't working. I was on a mission.
"Not unless you used bleach to clean it," I told him, then suddenly realized how macabre I sounded.
Making up stories is half the fun of being a writer. Sharing them with others is the other half, however, you may not want to share them before they're in your book. You might give someone the wrong idea.