Some criticism is respectfully requested...


All excerpts in this thread are (c) 2015 by Skoob_Ym (a pseudonym). All rights reserved. Reasonable citations may be made for discussion, review, or criticism.



A passage from my current work-in-progress:


This chapter occurs near the end of the book. I am concerned that the tension builds and releases too quickly, and that the pacing may tire the reader....



       The best thing you can do when confronted with a bomb is to evacuate the area with haste. It is not at all cowardly to run from something that can make you into a grease spot. But if the bomb happens to be wrapped around someone you’re fond of, or whom you feel that you might, in time, become fond of, then you have some hard choices to make. Running away ceases to be an option.


            Let me explain.


            I went back to the hospital the next day, and there was an uniformed policeman in the hallway. He stood up when he saw me, and his hand dropped to his gun. This was not a good sign.


            I walked slowly towards Ilsa’s door, holding the newspapers in a roll, the way that my neighbor had done on the night I was arrested.


            “Stop there,” he said.


            I stopped there. The fact that he had a gun and a badge had a lot to do with this decision. I’ve never understood why people argue with policemen.


            “Is everything alright, Officer?” I asked.


           “Turn around slowly and keep your hands where I can see them.”


            I turned my back to him and moved my hands out, away from my torso.


            “Do you have any ID on you?”


            “Yes, in my back pocket. I’m Ed Burnham. I’m here to see Ilsa Carr.”


            A new voice chimed in. “That’s not the one.” There was a pause, and then the policeman said, “You can turn around now.”


            I turned around. He stared at me for a moment, then nodded to the room. I walked around him and went in to see Ilsa.


            “Thanks for calling him off,” I said. “I see that the SPD is providing you with some protection now.”


            “Yes, the fact that my attempted killer was able to come stand beside my bed with impunity made a few people uncomfortable.”


            “I am not a serial killer!”


            “I meant the other visitor yesterday.”


            “Oh. Right. Good point.”


            “I’m being released this afternoon, but the police will keep someone here in the hospital for at least twenty-four hours. In case he comes back.”


            “A good call. I’ll keep that quiet.”


            “Please do. I’m being strongly urged to go visit my family, over in the valley.”


            “That’s not a bad idea either. Out of harm’s way.”


            “You understand now why I will need your help to catch my … well, nemesis.”


            “Bob says that it’s wrong to name your nemesis ‘Nemesis.’ ”


            “Bob can go fish.”


            “You’re going over to Fresno?”


            “That area. Exact place to be kept under wraps, you understand.”


            “I understand.”


            “So you’ll keep me informed?”


            “As best I can. No promises.”


            She placed a small white envelope in my hand. “For the newspapers.”


            It contained three dollars and fifteen cents.


            I considered that a goodbye and farewell, for all ways means and purposes. It felt odd, like a missed opportunity or a twinge of regret. I was still a little stung from my experience with Alice – the deep feeling, the grief, the splintered memories, the regrets and self-blame, the feelings that if I had only done something differently, I could have changed her and made what we had real – I was still in the middle of all of that.


            I certainly was not ready to start mooning over some woman that I barely knew, and whom I really didn’t trust.


            Yet there was a feel to the whole thing, as if it were a sweet beginning, and yet had been cut off too soon. A missed opportunity, or a Maud Muller Moment. I shook it off and put it out of my mind. Maybe I’d regret it someday, but for now, I needed to put the pretty ADA with the spray-painted shoes out of my mind.


            Imagine my surprise, three days later, when I walked into Bob’s Café and found Ilsa sitting at the counter, enjoying a lamburger. It’s one of Bob’s newest menu items; freshly ground lamb with a hint of rosemary and a pinch of cumin, seared to perfection and served on grilled sourdough with thyme butter. The tempura onion rings that go with it almost seem unnecessary.


           But the lamburger was not the source of my surprise, of course.


           “You’re back.”


           “For the moment,” she said, showing a toothy smile of genuine pleasure.


            “How are those tempura onion rings?”


            “Absolutely amazing. Here, try one.”




All excerpts in this thread are (c) 2015 by Skoob_Ym (a pseudonym). All rights reserved. Reasonable citations may be made for discussion, review, or criticism.





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