Love, Murder & Mayhem: Read it Now: The Case of My Old New Life

Russ Colchamiro’s “The Case of My Old New Life and the One I Never Knew” has cosmic private eye Angela Hardwicke investigating the music club she visited the night before, which mysteriously burned down not long after she left. Was the fire an accident, an insurance scam, or a pathway to murder? Or was it even more personal than she realized?

To follow Hardwicke’s investigation, here’s an early look:

The Case of My Old New Life and the One I Never Knew

By Russ Colchamiro

Hung over. Again. Crap.

But I needed a night out, a night where I didn’t have to be Angela Hardwicke, private eye in Eternity. A night where I could forget about E-Town’s shady underworld and missing jars of the Universe’s DNA, and banished galaxy designers, so I could go see my favorite band, have a few drinks (a few too many, as it turns out), and then enjoy a nightcap.

“Unn,” the nightcap says, groaning from my bed. 11 a.m. Sunlight seeps into the apartment. “Close the blinds. Too bright.”

“Quit your whining. Just putting up the coffee.”

Okay, yeah, so . . . he’s a few years younger than me. Three, tops. Maybe five. On the outside . . . eight. Hard to tell sometimes, even for me. But what can I say? I’ve got a weakness for drummers. Strong, steady hands. They’re all about rhythm. They know how to keep a beat.

“I’m surprised you didn’t make a play for Josh,” nightcap says.

“All the chicks love ’im.”

I offer a raised eyebrow smile, point to my head. “Some fantasies I like to keep up here. More fun that way.”

“Ha, I hear ya,” he yawns. “You don’t want to get mixed up with him anyhow. Josh is the best dude I know, sweet to the core. But his love life? Forget it. His crazy ex-girlfriend was stalking him at the show last night. Tiny little thing. But so needy. Always some drama. We’re on the road a lot, so she hooks up with other dudes to make him jealous. Been on again off again for like two years. Besides . . . Josh’s been pining over some lost love since forever. Don’t know who it is. He never talks about it. But that’swhat half his songs are about.”

This is why I hate the sleepover. The longer they stay, the more they talk. Better to peel off in the night. I need a distraction, so I click on the wall-mounted TV. Morning news. There’s always something crappy going on, someone—in Eternity or off-realm—who needs a dame like me.

. . . And in today’s top story, a massive fire erupted last night at the King Beat bar and music venue after a surprise performance from singer songwriter Josh Boden and the Electric Dream in advance of the upcoming Astropalooza festival. The recently renovated club was utterly destroyed. The ETPD have been on site controlling the scene as firefighters spent hours extinguishing the blaze. No word yet on the cause.

“Hey,” I say. “You hearing this? You. Danny.”


“Whatever. The King Beat. It burned down last night.”

“Huh. How? When? We were just there.”

That’s a damn good question.

Nightcap sits up, groggy, naked beneath the covers. “Should we go down there?”

“We . . . ? No. Me? Yes.”

My phone buzzes. Text from Beatrice. Owns the King Beat.

We go back a ways.

Need you. Fire. They’re asking questions. Wasn’t me.

“Get dressed,” I say, and toss him his wrinkled black t-shirt with a stencil on the front of a dragon in sunglasses riding a skateboard. “You need to leave.”

“Mmm,” demurs the Electric Dream’s twenty-something drummer as he stretches his tatted arms, hair rumpled, abs tight.

“I need a shower.” He tosses the same smile that worked on me last night. “Wanna join?”

Always playing the beat.

“I really don’t have time . . .”—nightcap drops the blanket so that he’s now on full display—“but I’ll make it work.”

To read the rest of “The Case of My Old New Life and the One I Never Knew” click here.

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