I’m writing this post today because I realized that I had left something on the cutting room floor (or editing room) for Death on the Boardwalk: the original opening scene!
“Why did he cut this?” you ask.
Two reasons. One, because I wrote it in third-person perspective. Death on the Boardwalk is told through the eyes of the main character, Clark Thomas. The second reason is that I wanted to plunge readers straight into the mystery from the opening paragraphs. That immediately you know that Clark’s world is forever changed.
The opening in the published version of Death on the Boardwalk begins thusly:
“There was a rug I wasn’t expecting awaiting me in the alcove by the backdoor of my bookstore as I arrived to start the day. The rug had an art deco pattern of periwinkle and sepia-toned multi-colored squares with a tan border. Each square was different. Random. It was a nice rug.
Except for the body rolled up in the middle of it.”
Here is the deleted scene that would have preceded the above:
Palm fronds whipped in the salty breeze on the far side of the parking lot. Soft rays of morning sunlight light cascaded over the waves and cast the tall, oceanfront tower in orange and pink. A tang of salt clung to the air.
An old, scratched, brass key rattled in the lock and twisted forty-five degrees to the right for about the millionth time in its life. Paige Whitaker took a sip of coffee from a McDonalds cup and took a moment to appreciate the rising sun beyond the trees and across the street in the sliver of a view she had of the ocean.
She needed to process the payroll reports for this past week and then head out on a much-needed vacation. Her goal was to arrive in the office before anyone else. The task would take her, perhaps, thirty minutes.
Paige had been with the resort since its inception twenty years ago. She saw the resort built, literally, from the ground up. The OceanScapes Resort was the first hotel over fifteen stories tall in this section of Myrtle Beach. Since then, others popped up around it that rose above the level of OceanScapes, but few had the aesthetically pleasing architectural lines and offered similar grand views of both the sunrise and sunset.
She thumbed the latch and opened the door. She flicked a switch bringing the hallway to light. The hall had white, textured walls and tile flooring. It extended ten feet before disappearing around a bend to the left leading to the lobby. A large aerial photo of the resort being built and several “Best of the Beach” plaques dominated the wall to the right beside her office door. She’d chosen this office because of its proximity to the employee entrance. She could slip in and out as she needed while avoiding interaction with the employees. Paige didn’t keep regular hours, so no one, not even the owner, knew when she’d be in the building.
He was fine with that. As long as she handled the payroll and other human resources-related tasks in her efficient, cost-effective manner, he didn’t care. They went way back.
She opened her office door, turned on the lights, and dumped her pocketbook in the visitor’s chair against the near wall. She set her coffee cup beside a stack of papers held down by thick, square, pewter paperweight that had been given to her upon her tenth anniversary with OceanScapes. She exited the office to the hall and went around the corner to retrieve the basket containing this week’s time cards beneath the time clock.
Ten minutes later, she was half done. This might not take as long as she figured. She might be able to grab her husband and get their trip started early.
The resort had thirty-four hourly employees during this time of year. Fifteen on the housekeeping staff, three concierges, seven at the front desk, four janitors, two in building maintenance, one in back-office support, and five in guest experience around the pool area.
She finished one entry and picked up the next time card. As she began punching in the times punched on the clock for this particular employee, she noticed something. Or thought she did. Paige set the time card aside and leafed back through the others she had already completed. She found the one she was looking for and compared it with the one she was currently processing.
“Hmm,” she grunted beneath knitted eyebrows. That was odd.
She set that time card down and finished inputting the one she’d half-completed. Using a paperclip, she stuck the two cards together and set them aside. She’d have to ask those employees a few questions when she returned from vacation.
She heard the door to the employee entrance open. She wrote the employee schedule and knew who came and went at particular times of the day. That was what was so odd about the two timecards she’d separated from the pile.
Paige tried to recall who she had coming in first today. This schedule was written two weeks ago, but the employees generally worked the same times and days of the week. The only times that changed was when someone needed some time off. It made her job easier if she could just copy and paste one week’s schedule to the next. She liked easy.
Her office door opened and she looked up in surprise.
“Hey,” she said, smiling. “What are you doing here?”
The person at the door neither answered nor smiled.
Paige was dead three minutes later.
April 25th from 11am – 5pm: Spring Craft and Vendor Event at Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach
If you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, then I have a promotion for you! Three of my books, Death on the Boardwalk, Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure, and The Search for the Fountain of Youth are all included with this awesome April is For Adventure! Promotion. Check it out here!