Wingate & Henry

Sergeant Anders sighed through the phone, “We got another one on River Drive.”

Mara Wingate flipped the turn signal and pulled a u-ey. The uniform riding along with her looked over with a question in his puppy-dog eyes. Six-foot-something and a wall of muscle, Henry was a former college linebacker with a heart full of wide-eyed justice.


Mara gripped the wheel hard, swinging into the outside lane to turn right onto River Drive, a shady, congested parkway that followed Elliot River and the public green space that flanked it from downtown out to the ‘burbs. “Another flipped SUV by the Sesquicentennial Bandstand.”

As they passed Sacre Coeur Hospital, Officer Henry squinted out the window of the unmarked cruiser at the long lines for the new Coffee Bucks drive-thru in the parking lot. “Am I the only one who thinks it’s creepy that franchise only opens near hospitals?”

“Never gave it any thought,” Mara muttered, pulling the car up onto the sidewalk about fifty yards south of Sacre Coeur. The emergency responders were already getting ready to leave. She sighed at the sheet-draped body being loaded into the stretcher.

“Henry, do me a favor and pump the other uniforms for info? I’m going to take a look at the vehicle.”

Henry nodded and headed for the cluster of police cars.

It was the same as the six previous incidents. The flipped SUV, the M.D. plates. The higher-ups didn’t agree with her theory; Mara didn’t believe in coincidence. Nothing in forensics or toxicology supported her so far. She’d bet her badge everything would come up clean on this one, too.

She frowned at the mangled Cadillac, willing it to give up its secrets.

Henry joined her. “Nothing good.” He knelt, squinting again. This time he focused a cup in the upside-down interior of the Escalade. “Is everybody drinking that stuff? Seriously. It’s morbid.”

Mara’s intuition pinged. “What?”

“Every single one of these, the dead doc’s been drinking that coffee.”


For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Eric Storch gave me this prompt: What if the coffee “Coffee-Bucks” served wasn’t really coffee?.

I gave Tara Roberts this prompt: Mourning the loss of someone who hasn’t died.

The Trifecta word this week was “Heart,” meaning personality.



Write On Edge: Red-Writing-HoodFor Red Writing Hood, Angela prompted us to write about a collision.


  1. A mystery! Interesting change for you, and it works. The off hand comment may start to tie things together . . . Now to discover the nefarious motive . . .

  2. Millicent loves her coffee…maybe….

    seriously, I liked the noirish aspects. Eric’s prompt was tough but you slayed it. well done, Cam

  3. Ha! I knew coffee chains were evil. I wonder what they’re REALLY serving…

  4. You had me at Wingate & Henry.

    Seriously. Cool name, cool characters.

    And who doesn’t love a heart full of wide-eyed justice?

  5. Creepy. What is in that coffee?

    Awesome as usual Cam

  6. I knew it! I may never drink another Sbux latte.

  7. MUahahaha. Very very good!! I was wondering if the doc’s blood was going to wind up as the fuel, since I knew the prompt. The dialogue is fabulous, as is the detective’s jaded attitude.

  8. I always wondered how “u-ey” was spelled. :)

    The details in this piece are what make it so utterly believable, and then you throw the mystery at us at the end. Fantastic! I am curious, though – what was Mara’s theory if not the Coffee Bucks-MD connection? I figured that’s what you were hinting at, but then she was surprised when Henry mentioned the coffee.

    • Mara is convinced it’s a serial killer of doctors, but she hadn’t noticed the coffee cups, so she was still trying to figure out how, and of course why… thank goodness for Officer Henry 😉

  9. Ha ha! I love it. Turns out, it’s not just that the chain coffee joints are putting the little, local guys out of business, they’re killing people, too. Great job with the prompt(s).

  10. Your writing is top notch as usual. I love the tone of this piece. I want to know about Wingate. How did she get so jaded?

  11. I like it! Mystery works well for you.

  12. What a great job of blending all of your prompts into a cogent story. Visiting from WOE.

  13. Never watched Scrubs. I had a Fringe moment. Nice. I like that his heart was full of wide-eyed justice. Perfect!

  14. Your style of writing has always appealed to me, but this story is one I would pick up and read from cover to cover. Will we find out if the coffee is the culprit?

  15. Oh my. The coffee……that is superb, Cam. I love the pace and hum of this one.

  16. Nice. The apparent aside that suddenly becomes pivotal, and this line is gorgeous: “heart full of wide-eyed justice.”

  17. Pingback: Weekly Roundup August 17-23 |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *