Short Stories

Bullets zipped out of a darkened window of the two-story building, knocking leaves off the trees above the patrol car. At 3:24 a.m., the officer at the wheel slid low in his seat and sped away while calling in a Code Red. A block over, he parked with the engine running. Soon backup arrived without lights or sirens. Drawing a small handgun from his vest,the officer tucked it beside his passenger, got out, locked the door, and said, "If you have to use that, don’t say where it came from."

What a riveting start for a tale of mystery and suspense. However, the preceding narrative is not a fictional account. Noreen Ayres was that passenger and the recipient of the firearm from the officer. She was in the patrol car on a hot summer Southern California night on an approved civilian "ridealong." Looking for authenticity to infuse into her writing, she got a lot more than she bargained for. And, in the bargain, came away with a deeper understanding and respect for the complexities of the difficult and dangerous job of law enforcement.

That same night, along with the officer, she encountered gangbangers, stabbing victims, junkyard junkies, street prostitutes, and, on an isolated street with a park on one side and a boarded-up building with broken windows on the other, held a patrol unit spotlight on two suspected bank robbers with tattoos flowing down their upraised arms like blue Kool-Aid. Just another night on the job for a cop is the realization the author came away with.

Once she decided to write, Noreen had to pursue the knowledge and feelings about her subject matter. Without them, she felt her storytelling would be presumptuous and shallow. So, to aid her pursuit of authenticity, she attended classes in criminal investigation, toured prisons, jails, crime labs, and morgues, and endured many times the gut-wrenching emotions that the uninitiated experience when viewing an autopsy. To further enhance her knowledge of criminal investigation and forensic science, Noreen completed classes at UCI and Irvine Valley College.

Noreen Ayres has published novels, short stories, and poetry, and has had three teleplays produced, winning several awards for writing. Her varied career includes positions as a technical writer/editor and publications manager for major engineering, petroleum, and aerospace companies. Holding a Masters degree in English and post-grad certifications in business, she has taught composition, creative writing, business, and science. Her spirit is indomitable. An example of this is, "I once received an odd personal rejection I didn't appreciate then, but it gave me hope after I thought about it. During a job interview which included an IQ test, the boss said he wouldn’t hire me because I was too smart. I'd be wasting my time at his shop. He said to keep going to school, that I’d be successful somehow, in something." Her story of perseverance is told in a book whose title says it all: UNSTOPPABLE. Her story is featured alongside such notable figures as Paul Orfalea, the founder of Kinko’s, Millard and Linda Fuller, the founders of Habitat for Humanity, performer Joan Rivers, and a host of others.