Writers do a lot of interesting, and sometimes unusual, things in the process of creating a story. For my newest release, TO TOUCH A THIEF, I prepared for the opening scene with a bit of practical research.
Here's the excerpt:
A Seance, Secrets, and Spreadsheets
It would end her career as a forensic accountant. She knew the arrest was going to happen, had helped to plan it, participated in the fine tuning, and even requested they handcuff her before the “event” so she’d know what to expect. They’d refused. Insisted it needed to be a virgin handcuffing to keep her response authentic.
A slippery column of sweat trickled along her spine and pooled at the small of her back. The detective held the yellow plastic handcuffs loosely, almost as if they were a toy or an ingredient in a sexual fantasy. But they weren’t. This was all too real, right down to the newspaper reporters and the snarly, disgusted twist of Parker Steele’s mouth. Perfect lips should never wear such an ugly expression.
The detective snapped the handcuffs in front of her face, sending a ripple of fear to her belly. “Jayne Hunt, you’re under arrest for theft, grand larceny, and fraud.” And then he read her the Miranda warning—so rote on television, so terrifying in real life. Chief Hayes better have her back on this, or…
The detective’s meaty hand circled her upper arm, and panic clouded her senses. She focused on the anger and loathing in Parker’s glare to keep her from screaming when the plastic cuffs tightened on her wrists, and flashes from the reporters cameras blinded her.
A uniformed officer stepped to her other side, grabbed her arm, and together they fast-walked her to the waiting cruiser.
Bars and locked doors.
A glimpse at her future.
The officer put his hand on her head, just like they did on the small screen, and pushed. She landed on the hard seat with a thud, pain shooting through her wrists. A wash of heat stained Jayne’s cheeks. She’d never allowed anyone to manhandle her. Not ever. It was positively tawdry to be arrested. And being photographed in handcuffs was worse—a permanent testament to her sins.
The cruiser door slammed. She wanted to hide, or maybe evaporate. But when she inhaled, the sickly smell of sweat and fear with a whiff of stale alcohol coated her nose and throat, making it impossible to do anything but accept the reality of her situation.
Nausea churned in her belly, and chill bumps covered her arms and legs. They could have picked her up in a clean vehicle. Really, they could have.
Well, I needed to get into Jayne's head, to learn what it was like to be handcuffed. Fortunately, I have really cool friends who were happy to help out. I will refrain from mentioning their names to protect the innocent, er, or maybe the not so innocent.
The men arrived at my house separately, each driving an SUV. Guy cars built for North Dakota winters. I hesitated before walking outside to meet them. Did I really want to do this? The answer was yes, but that could have been to avoid the embarrassment of explaining that I'd changed my mind.
They approached me, one from either side. And there I was surrounded by two hunks, one dangling a pair of shiny metal handcuffs from his fingers. If I wrote erotica, this would have been a killer scene. But alas, I don't. So rather than sexy, the cuffs looked...uncomfortable. The men suggested we go inside, away from my neighbor's picture window.
Did they know something I didn't know? Surely my neighbors knew me well enough that they'd know this was, um, planned. Right? I scuttled inside, leading the way to the front room. Within a single minute, or maybe it was seconds, my hands were securely fastened behind my back, one hunk holding on to the chain between the cuffs. I. Wasn't. Going. Anywhere.
He let go and I walked around for a while, getting the feel of the cuffs. They were snug, dug into my skin with a sharp bite. I sat, wanting to know what Jayne would feel when she was stuffed into the squad car. And then tough guy pulled a little white card from his wallet, and read me my rights.
I wasn't expecting it. Hadn't planned for it. Tingling trepidation crawled over my skin, and I couldn't stop the first blossom of panic building in my abdomen. I knew he wasn't arresting me. Not for real. But there's something about those words that locked around my heart and wouldn't let go. If I ever had thoughts of being lured into a life of crime, they evaporated in that instant.
When he took the handcuffs off, my wrists were sore, red pressure dents clearly delineated on my skin. And I'd only had the handcuffs on for ten to twenty minutes. My imagination ran wild with images of being arrested for murder, for something that kept me cuffed for a long time, and maybe later convicted and jailed. Nope. Not gonna happen.
So, gentle readers, have you any personal experience with handcuffs--aside from recreational situations, of course? How did it change your life? Inquiring minds would love to know.