Chapter one

Lisa looked out of her big, open glass windows onto the city. Her apartment was so high up that she could see over the rooftops of Memphis' businesses, houses and apartment buildings. She sipped her coffee slowly; she wanted to draw out this moment for the longest time possible before going to work. Radio broadcasting was not the career

Lisa had in mind when she moved to this place. Memphis, Tennessee. Not quite Nashville, but close enough, enough to have inspiration for at least one good story to write. She took another sip of her coffee. Decaf with a shot of caramel, she savored.

She grabbed the notebook sitting on the table next to her and jotted down:

"Elaine took the coffee cup out of the Frederick VonRentzel's hand. 'So this is how you murdered Kana Howard!' She took a small sip of the beverage, but didn't swallow it. She spat it back out onto the floor. 'Decaf with a shot of caramel... and poison!' She through the cup down at the killer's feet that were chained to the chair-"

"Pathetic!" Lisa threw the notebook to the side of her chair and watched it slowly tip over the arm onto the floor. She sighed as she ran her hands through her long, blond hair. How would she ever get a good story from such a boring atmosphere?

Well, the reason she even came to Memphis straight out of college was to do her life long dream... write. She thought Tennessee would be the perfect place to get inspiration for a good crime solving novel, but the truth was, she had already run out of ideas in only one year, and hadn't wrote a single book.

Well, she had, technically. It was only three chapters long, and not really going anywhere yet. It was about a detective, a girl her age, with the exact same character and thinking. Actually, in the beginning, Lisa created the character to be identical to herself. But, she didn't end up having the same thrilling adventures as 'Elaine Berglund' had. It so far was a disappointment.

She wouldn't give up though. Lisa was much too stubborn for that. She and an old friend way back in the fifth grade had challenged each other to see who could write a bestseller first. Of course, back in the fifth grade, a bestseller was only something "grownups" could accomplish, I mean, come on, that would never happen!

But even after fourteen years, Lisa was still determined to at least sell one book.

Now that she thought about it, she didn't even know how her friend, a boy named Jordan Apple, was doing after all this time. Last time they spoke was in high school. Jordan was an interesting character, from what she remembered. He was always a very good writer. He never missed trying out for the speech team or school plays, with which he would occasionally help write and direct. He was tall, from what she could recall, probably six-two, with dark hair and complexion, not bad looking, either.

They were neighbors growing up, and Lisa's best friend Carrie lived down the road, so the three of them always wrote little one page stories for each other to read and critique. It was so much fun. If only writing was that easy now. When you're little you just base your story off the latest movie, but now it was so much harder to come up with an original plot line.

Lisa grabbed her cellphone and pressed "new message". She went down the contacts list and found the name Carrie Kendall. She typed into the phone:

"I'm stuck."

A few minutes later, the cell beeped.

"With what?" It was a reply from Carrie.

"My story."

"That story you've been stuck on for a whole year now?"


"Just keep working at it. Whenever I'm stuck I usually take a break from it all."

Lisa couldn't just take a break, this was the one story she took constant breaks from and still wasn't getting anywhere with it. Still, she replied:

"Okay, thanks."

A couple minutes later the phone beeped again.

"Want to meet for lunch tomorrow?"

"Yeah. Lunch would be nice."

After a nice, warm shower, Lisa got ready to go to the radio station. She was definitely not in the mood for it today, though.

She put on a nice summer dress. It was a short sleeved, just above the knees dress. A metallic brown, if that makes any sense, with a shiny black belt across the waist. Her hair was styled wavy, just below her shoulders. Her makeup was simple, and her two inch, high heeled black shoes with her leopard printed purse made her outfit complete.

She poured herself another cup of coffee into her portable mug, locked her apartment door, and made her way out into the city.

The downtown city streets were always crowded in the mornings, everyone hustling and bustling to their jobs, or, for the retired folk, a nice stroll to one of the parks to watch and hear a band play.

Lisa liked walking through the city. It was her favorite part of the day. In the morning you could smell fresh cinnamon rolls from a street vender, or listen to the distant sounds of small bands warming up or gently playing quiet tunes. You would see people in every direction you looked, but it wasn't a ridiculous amount. Bars and restaurants were getting the grills ready for lunch, and you could see a few store owners in the windows of their businesses flip their signs from 'closed' to 'open'.

Then, she would dread this moment everyday, after a couple of blocks, Lisa would turn off of the main road onto a little housing street. It was still nice, not too far from the park, but it wasn't as lively, or exciting as Main street.

Pretty soon, Lisa finally came to "ROX 106.9" radio building.

The building was small, only consisting of two rooms, the main room, where they recorded, and the bathroom, which was too sketchy looking to Lisa's liking.

Ding-Ding. The door hit the little jingle bell still left up from Christmas that was now hanging on the ceiling.

"Hey Lisa," Tom Hardy greeted. He was Lisa's partner during her shifts on the air.

"Hey," Lisa replied. She hung her purse on one of the three hooks behind the door as she shut it. "Anything important to report this morning?"

"Nope! Just the regular, Hallelujah." Tom answered. "Say, you're dressed up all nice today... what's the occasion?"

"Oh, I didn't think it was anything fancy. Nothing special's happening. I guess I just in a dressy mood." Lisa loved the way Tom sounded when he talked. He was from Louisiana, so he had a handsome Southern accent. Especially when he said "Nice" and "Today", and just about anything that has the sound 'ay' in it.

Anyway, she really didn't notice that she had dressed up so nicely. Oh well, better than accidentally putting an ugly T-shirt and sweats.

She sat next to Tom in her desk chair, then sound checked her microphones and head wear.

The small red light bulb on the machine blinked and Tom silently counted down from five on his fingers. Five, four, three, two, one:

"Gooooodmorning Memphis!" He said in an extremely cheerful voice into his microphone. "This is Tom Hardy and it is a beautiful day out there! From the looks of the weather forecast, we are going to have one hot day. Not the hottest, but still a good eighty-three degrees! Better get those pools ready! Lisa, what are your plans for today?"

Lisa leaned in towards her microphone.

"Well, Tom, since it is soo darn hot out there today, I think I might just go get myself a smoothie and sit in my air conditioned apartment while doing something relaxing... like writing, perhaps."

"Wow." Tom said, "Those are some plans. Anyway, have fun today folks and listen to some awesome pop music here on ROX 106.9!"

Tom flipped on a switch on the machine that lit up a little green light bulb next to the switch. The "On Air" neon sign went dark.

"Welp," Tom said as he stood up from his chair, "Today's track is underway. Nothing till noon, now." He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.

At noon, Tom and Lisa did practically the same thing. Talk and talk, then turn on a new list of music, then a couple hours later talk and talk some more. Lisa was bored out of her scull by the end of their shift, about supper time.

"Well, good job today, Tom." She said as she grabbed her purse off the wall. "See you tomorrow."

Ah, finally, the best part of the day... walking home.

It was July, but all the lights in the city made it look darker than what it really was, even at only six in the evening.

This was ten times better than in the morning!

At night the smells were hamburgers and fried chicken, barbeques and steak, home grown fruits and vegetables from nearby farms underneath white canopies, and homemade, soft served ice cream. Lights were everywhere; neon signs for bars and grills, hundreds of light bulbs lined a big movie theater advertisement, and restaurants all had tall, bright signs to lure in hungry sight seers. And the music! At night it wasn't those little park bands, but jazz, country, and popular rock bands. The smells, sights, and sounds were what convinced Lisa to come here. This was somewhere where it was always lively, yet relaxing and enjoyable, like the state fair.

Lisa checked her phone. I've got time, maybe I'll eat out and enjoy myself tonight.

She bought a grilled steak sandwich, a strawberry banana smoothie, and sat down in one of the farthest rows back from the park's stage.

Lisa started tapping her foot to the beat of the song, and clapped hard whenever there was a soloist.

There was an amazing saxophone soloist during one of the jazz bands. The crowd cheered loudly, and the musician got a standing ovation. Lisa had seen him and his band play before. As she looked around to see the reactions of the audience, she spotted a face that looked strangely familiar.

He was tall, probably six- two or so, and had brown hair and a tanned complexion. It was hard to see his face in detail with all the different tinted lights, and he soon disappeared into the crowd.

It was probably nine o'clock by the time Lisa got back to her apartment. She tossed her purse to the side of her bed, and immediately lade on her nice, cool pillow.