An excerpt for your amusement.
This is an excerpt from my book after next. While I'm in editing on Bell, Book and Bullets, I've started part 1 of a three part series set at a hotel on an island. In this excerpt, two policemen, both on vacation, meet by surprise in the lobby of a hotel where there will be a large culinary festival over the coming week.
One of them has noticed an odd conversation on the far side of the room, and, as a policeman, can't help making a few observations about it.
Excerpt from Columbia River Inn Saga, Part 1 ("A Thyme to Kill?")
(c) 2017 by Skoob Ym, a pseudonym.
... The feet were the key. They always point where a person wants to go. His were both facing her. Hers – one was pointed towards the fireplace and the other towards the stone arch down into the tiny lobby. She wanted to leave, or perhaps to consign this conversation to the flames. And then leave.
... He leaned back, slumping in the chair, as though he were emptied, exhausted, and frustrated. His eyes never left her. She shifted slightly, turning her hips towards him. She uncrossed her legs, and the foot that had pointed at the arch turned slightly in his direction, while the other, the fireplace foot, now pointed to the door.
... She said something, reaching forward to pat his knee. He seized her hand, lifting it from his knee, leaning forward again. His eyes were intense. She sighed. She made the smallest of headshakes and stood up. He stood as well, and she gave him the slightest of pecks on one cheek before withdrawing her hands and walking away, out the arch and down the steps. He sank back into the chair.
... In a moment, his eyes would sweep the room; it was the obvious thing to do. Bentley moved his eyes down into his book, to disguise the fact that he had been watching the couple.
... “Caveman Apologetics,” said a voice over Bentley’s shoulder. “What exactly should cavemen be apologizing for, anyway?”
... “For sneaking up behind me, as one example,” said Bentley. He turned to look up at Yorga. “And what exactly are you doing here?”
... “Meeting Mauri.” Yorga circled the couch and plopped himself beside Bentley. “She’s supposed to be coming in later.”
... “Are you guys back together again?”
... “Supposed to be. She called me out of the blue, missed me, wants to see me again, the whole nine yards. So back and forth, yada yada, we’re meeting here, and we’ll see how it goes.” He turned towards his colleague. “Do me a favor. Pretend you don’t know me.”
,,, “Won’t work. I met her once, when you brought her to that Christmas thing at the station.”
... “Yeah, hopefully she won’t remember. Look, it’s not personal, you know, but this is a real delicate thing for me. I want to get this just right. So the fewer distractions, the fewer moving parts, the less likely it’s gonna go wrong. You understand.”
... “Not a problem. I’m mainly here for the food and the atmosphere. A great place to catch up my reading. Stopped off in Portland for a couple of nights and visited Powell’s. I’ve got books for days.” He motioned to the small stack of books on the table.
... “You like reading this Og Keep fellow, huh?”
... “It’s strange reading – he goes off on some tangents sometimes. But I also found this: It’s a rare monograph on Koxinga.”
... “Koxinga of Taiwan,” read Yorga. “What’s it about?”
... “In the twilight of the Ming and Manchu dynasties, there was a Ming warlord who kicked the Dutch and the Portuguese off of Formosa and claimed it for his own. He even went so far as to demand tribute from the Spanish for their occupation of the Philippines.”
... “That must have gone over well.”
... “I can’t wait to find out. Intriguing little slice of history.”
... “Velda Gets Knotty. Looks a little racy.”
... “It’s a pastiche about a cult-classic character from the pulp fiction era. A little bit art deco. The author’s a famous cover artist.”
... "Clearly, he had trouble covering Velda."
... "That was the style of pulp fiction in the 30s. Don't worry, all of the nudity is tasteful."
... “The Path of Fire. Who’s this Senek guy? Someone on a trek around the Pacific Rim?”
... “No, it’s a fantasy story. Part two in a trilogy, or it’s supposed to be. So far, I haven’t been able to find book three anywhere, or even get a reliable reference for what the title should be. Something to do with pirates, I think.”
... “You could write the publisher.”
... “I learned my lesson with Moldovan Starlight. I only got reimbursed for one copy.”
... “You got your money’s worth quoting it to us at the station.”
... “He did have a few good lines. Like, ‘If that’s a crime, then I’m a criminal / If that’s sublime, then I’m subliminal.’ ”
... “And if that’s a hymn, then I’m a hymnal.”
... “It’s not for everyone, I suppose.”
... “Reflections of a Christian Kungfu Master. I suppose it’s about a guy who has mirrors in his dojo.”
... “Wrong kind of reflections,” said Bentley, realizing as he said it that Yorga was messing with him. He glanced up at the far end of the room and nudged Yorga. “See that woman?”
... Yorga did see the woman. She was slender yet shapely, and without her heels, perhaps five-eight or five-nine. The heels brought her to nearly six feet. She wore a tasteful dress, in a black and silvery gray pattern. Her hair was almost black, but not quite raven; her eyes dark even against the dusky tones of her skin.
... She might have been Southern European, Slovene, Croatian, perhaps Greek, or more likely Italian. No single one of her features was noteworthy, though none were unpleasant. Still, as a whole, she caught their eyes and held them.
... “Well-assembled,” said Yorga, “But I’m not here to pick up women. I’m meeting Mauri.”
... “I didn’t point her out because she’s attractive,” said Bentley. “Earlier, she was having a very intense conversation with a man. Something about it seemed… Just off, somehow.”
... “You’re off duty and anyway, it’s not a crime for a couple to talk amongst themselves. Many people do it. We’re having a chat right now, about books.”
... “Alright, I see your point, but I… Yeah, okay, never mind.” He picked up Caveman Apologetics. “Feel free to do some light reading while you’re waiting for Mauri. Just make sure I get my books back.”
I hope none of you mind the mentions. If you do, please let me know by PM.
EM_Press, I mentioned G.K. Chesterton's Everlasting Man (the Magdalene Press edition) later in the story.