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.

Comments

  • Well, Skoob, it reads like erotica. It may be that's it's Saturday night.

     

    I'll read it again in the morning. Fantastic smooth flow, tick tock tick tock, a pace like seduction.

  • It starts off a bit like Philip Marlowe to me, but no harm in that. There is rather a lot of book name-dropping in it though, almost as if it's written as an advertorial. None of mine however!

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Em_Press wrote:

    Well, Skoob, it reads like erotica. It may be that's it's Saturday night.

     

    I'll read it again in the morning. Fantastic smooth flow, tick tock tick tock, a pace like seduction.


    I didn't mean it to sound erotic, though the man and the woman whom Bentley is observing do have a past together, and possibly a future.

     

    Thanks for the comment on the flow. I think that dialog is easier to write than many other parts.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    kevinlomas wrote:

    It starts off a bit like Philip Marlowe to me, but no harm in that. There is rather a lot of book name-dropping in it though, almost as if it's written as an advertorial. None of mine however!


    I prefer to think of it as "Product Placement."  Smiley Happy

     

    I don't happen to have any of your books, but if you have a title you'd like lampooned, I'll work it in. No promises of any effect, real or imaginary, on your actual sales. More of a shout-out to fellow writers than an advertisement per se.

     

    This is the work after next; in the current project Bentley winds up buying two copies of a book at inflated prices. That book is entirely imaginary -- the Moldovan Starlight mentioned above.

     

    And finally, to sound like Phillip Marlowe would be a great thing. Raymond Chandler had a line that he wrote for Fred McMurray's character in Double Indemnity -- The client's wife says, "I wonder if I know what you mean," and he replies, "I wonder if you wonder."

     

    Clever stuff.

  • Very well done!

  • I didn't mean it to sound erotic,

     

    One person's erotica is another person's day out at the beach or gym.

  • I prefer to think of it as "Product Placement."  Smiley Happy

     

    Same sort of thing really.

     

    I don't happen to have any of your books, but if you have a title you'd like lampooned, I'll work it in. No promises of any effect, real or imaginary, on your actual sales. More of a shout-out to fellow writers than an advertisement per se.

     

    Gosh, you have never looked at my Spotlight?! But in order to describe books and recommend them even in fiction, would one not had to have read them all? Nah it's Ok thanks, it looks a bit strange naming all those potentially unknown books in so little text, but that's just my opinion. Is it set in a bookshop though?

     

     

    This is the work after next; in the current project Bentley winds up buying two copies of a book at inflated prices. That book is entirely imaginary -- the Moldovan Starlight mentioned above.

     

    That could annoy those who try to look for it on Amazon.  Smiley Very Happy

     

    And finally, to sound like Phillip Marlowe would be a great thing. Raymond Chandler had a line that he wrote for Fred McMurray's character in Double Indemnity -- The client's wife says, "I wonder if I know what you mean," and he replies, "I wonder if you wonder."

     

    Aye, often the old stuff is very well written to be witty and sharp and hard to emulate because it's all already been done.

     

     

  • One thing that might add a bit of humor (and reveal character) would be to carry on the 'feet' bit and tell us where Bentley and Yorga feet are pointing. If 'the feet are the key' then as observes, we can enjoy knowing the direction of their feet, even if the characters remain unaware.
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Paul_Lulu wrote:
    One thing that might add a bit of humor (and reveal character) would be to carry on the 'feet' bit and tell us where Bentley and Yorga feet are pointing. If 'the feet are the key' then as observes, we can enjoy knowing the direction of their feet, even if the characters remain unaware.

    Interesting point. Since they are both relaxed, their feet should be at liberty to point anywhere. I suppose that Bentley's feet would point towards the couple, since that's what he's currently thinking about. Yorga's -- one would be pointed towards the arch, from which he hopes to see Mauri appear, though she's not due in for hours, and the other would be... Good question. Possibly towards the couple, since Bentley has pointed them out; possibly towards the room in general.

     

    I'll see if I can work it in... I will also need a bit about the other people in the lobby, in order to obfuscate the couple somewhat. Maybe a catalog of foot pointing... Hmm. Of course, that could be a bit Vonnegut ... "George had the longest nose of all, at thirty-seven meters, but most of it was in the twenty-third dimension."

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Ron Miller wrote:

    Very well done!


    You flatter me, Sir.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    kevinlomas wrote:

    ...

     

    This is the work after next; in the current project Bentley winds up buying two copies of a book at inflated prices. That book is entirely imaginary -- the Moldovan Starlight mentioned above.

     

    That could annoy those who try to look for it on Amazon.  Smiley Very Happy

     

    ...

     


     

    Should a demand emerge, I'd be glad to write the book to meet the outcry.

     

    The given descriptions in Bell, Book, & Bullets state that it is poorly-written beat-style poetry from the nineteen-sixties, with interspersed lines that look as if a printer's devil was cruelly electrified while doing the typesetting. Lines quoted from it in that book and this one include:

     

    My father sleeps in a field at the edge of town

    When I am much younger, and he is younger still,

    I shall meet him there, to discuss many things.

     

    or

     

    If that's a crime, then I'm a criminal

    If that's sublime, then I'm subliminal

     

    or

     

    He stood upon the tilting deck
    With other Eagle lords
    And thought of that great Lion
    To whom he’d sworn his sword

     

    In short, anyone who can write doggerel or English eights can imitate "Paolo Gituean," the "author" of Moldovan Starlight.

     

    As for the reason for the book dialog, it serves two purposes: First, it establishes that Bentley stopped at Powell's (the famous Portland bookstore) and secondly, it distracts the reader from the couple whom Bentley had been watching.


  • Paul_Lulu wrote:
    One thing that might add a bit of humor (and reveal character) would be to carry on the 'feet' bit and tell us where Bentley and Yorga feet are pointing. If 'the feet are the key' then as observes, we can enjoy knowing the direction of their feet, even if the characters remain unaware.

    If their feet are facing backwards it could be a whole different story.

  • Interesting point. Since they are both relaxed, their feet should be at liberty to point anywhere. I suppose that Bentley's feet would point towards the couple, since that's what he's currently thinking about. Yorga's -- one would be pointed towards the arch, from which he hopes to see Mauri appear, though she's not due in for hours, and the other would be... Good question. Possibly towards the couple, since Bentley has pointed them out; possibly towards the room in general.

     

    I'll see if I can work it in... I will also need a bit about the other people in the lobby, in order to obfuscate the couple somewhat. Maybe a catalog of foot pointing... Hmm. Of course, that could be a bit Vonnegut ... "George had the longest nose of all, at thirty-seven meters, but most of it was in the twenty-third dimension."

     

    Don't they normally point in the direction one is facing? When stood up that is. Apart perhaps from people who have had ballet lessons, who, when they are stood still, their feet are at 90 degs to the 'normal.' Or people in high-heels who's feet point downwards.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    A reference work on body language:

     

    https://www.amazon.com/What-Every-BODY-Saying-Speed-Reading/dp/B006ZNFEKW

     

    According to Navarro, a former FBI agent who specialized in reading body language, the feet are the most readily visible indicators of intent and emotional state.

     

    Look around you at people near you. Where are their feet pointing? Some will have their feet pointing directly ahead, but others will have turned their feet towards something of interest. If a couple are "into" each other, their feet point at each other. If one of them is not so keen on it, the feet will point elsewhere.

     

    Observe the world around you and see what you learn, Kevin.

  • And it was once thought that reading the bumps on people's heads was an indication of personality, and facial measurements could indicate if one is a criminal. And did you not know that evidence from Criminal Profiler's and lie detectors is no longer admissible in court because it's far too unreliable?

     

    "Observe the world around you and see what you learn, Kevin."

     

    That's remarkably insulting. I am trained in observation of movements down to 1/100th of a minute. Are you? Just because some chap publishes a book about something does not mean it is true (especially for the  FBI!) But surely that means you learned it from his book? not by observation of the world around you?

    People do communicated with their bodies even if they do not always know it, that is true, but apart from the basic signals, people's body-language is just like people, not all the same.

    They also communicate by odours. Love at First Sight is actually the detection of a compatible mate via smell (even if masked by bottled smells) but not perhaps how people assume, because Opposites Attract comes in to play because DNA likes to mix randomly.

     

    If you observe the world around you, see what you learn ...

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Investigators do still read bumps on one's head, but most often it's to find blunt force trauma.

     

    You said I am trained in observation of movements down to 1/100th of a minute. Are you?   Well, that's fascinating. How did that come to pass, pray tell? Curious that one would use decimal minutes; is it easier that way?

     

    Kevin, if I may, you have an odd tendency to be easily offended. You do realize that we're just chatting here, right? I suppose that I should have couched that in a Shakespeare quote, such as "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies."


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    Investigators do still read bumps on one's head, but most often it's to find blunt force trauma.

     

    Now you are just being silly. Hits on the head by hammers are not natural bumps and they are not being 'read'.

     

    You said I am trained in observation of movements down to 1/100th of a minute. Are you?   Well, that's fascinating. How did that come to pass, pray tell?

     

    The usual way, obviously. But you are not that fascinated.

     

    Curious that one would use decimal minutes; is it easier that way?

     

    It was decided that  a 60th was not enough, and more than 100th was too little. I always thought it was too much.

     

    il_fullxfull.43962342.jpg (1000×1000)

     

    Kevin, if I may, you have an odd tendency to be easily offended.

     

    Well actually I am not, but this "Observe the world around you and see what you learn, Kevin."  is without doubt an insult and not necessary.

     

    You do realize that we're just chatting here, right?

     

    Insults are Ok in chat then? Gosh! Tell that to social media sites who are trying to remove them.

     

    I suppose that I should have couched that in a Shakespeare quote, such as "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies."

     

    See, that's another insult. You do it without realising, whereas I don't allow mine to reach my fingers.  Smiley Very Happy


     


  • kevinlomas wrote:

    Skoob_Ym wrote:

    Investigators do still read bumps on one's head, but most often it's to find blunt force trauma.

     

    Now you are just being silly. Hits on the head by hammers are not natural bumps and they are not being 'read'.

     

    Somehow I get the distinct impression that that strange whizzing sound you heard was a joke passing over your head.

     

    You said I am trained in observation of movements down to 1/100th of a minute. Are you?   Well, that's fascinating. How did that come to pass, pray tell?

     

    The usual way, obviously. But you are not that fascinated.

     

    I am. Let's hear it.

     

     


  • Ron Miller wrote:

    kevinlomas wrote:

    Skoob_Ym wrote:

    Investigators do still read bumps on one's head, but most often it's to find blunt force trauma.

     

    Now you are just being silly. Hits on the head by hammers are not natural bumps and they are not being 'read'.

     

    Somehow I get the distinct impression that that strange whizzing sound you heard was a joke passing over your head.

     

    And I somehow get the distinct impression that you dis not realies that I too was making a joke ...

    See, there you go with potentially insulting assumptions again.

     

    You said I am trained in observation of movements down to 1/100th of a minute. Are you?   Well, that's fascinating. How did that come to pass, pray tell?

     

    The usual way, obviously. But you are not that fascinated.

     

    I am. Let's hear it.

     

    So you don't know who uses stopwatches calibrated to 100th of a min then?

     

    Nowadays it's mostly called Human Resources, and it became called that because its original name of Time & Motion Study became a bad word, and often for very good reasons.

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_and_motion_study

     

    Some of the criticisms there are true and why I stopped doing it, but it is being used to set up industrial robots because they don't moan about it or go on strike.

     

    Part of the training is how to spot if people are lying and if they are deliberately slowing down while being timed. It can give one a bad headache.

    Oh, and psychology also, and other stuff such as this lot >>>  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_resources

    And having to wear a suit.

     

    Feel free to read all of both of those.

     

     

     

     


     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Fascinating, Kevin.

     

    You have unplumbed depths.

  • I tend to prefer characters bordering on the caricature.The contrast between the learned character (he's reading Koxinga of Taiwan) and the man-in-the-street is interesting, but not marked enough. Yorga should be made completely down-to-earth, and be shocked that some people still read books - he hasn't read a single one since he left junior highchool. He minds a lot men who read books. His leitmotiv: "Real men don't read." He plans to steal Bentley's books to observe how he'll react, and make fun of him.

    Well, as you can see, my imagination is now running wild, and very far from your purpose.

     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    An interesting reading of the characters... In another book, they fight about doughnuts -- Yorga is on a diet, and Bentley is always eating doughnuts. They don't actually hate each other, but they find each other irritating.

     

    I'll see if I can push them a little farther apart. Thank you.


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    Fascinating, Kevin.

     

    You have unplumbed depths.


    Bottomless.  Smiley LOL


  • potetjp wrote:

    I tend to prefer characters bordering on the caricature.The contrast between the learned character (he's reading Koxinga of Taiwan) and the man-in-the-street is interesting, but not marked enough.

     

    It should be strived for to make each person as individual as possible. Granted, many people are not, but they are not interesting to read about! There's one famous fantasy writer who, although he writes interesting stories, all his characters speak in the exact same manner, and it can get annoying!

     

    Yorga should be made completely down-to-earth, and be shocked that some people still read books - he hasn't read a single one since he left junior highchool. He minds a lot men who read books. His leitmotiv: "Real men don't read." He plans to steal Bentley's books to observe how he'll react, and make fun of him.

    Well, as you can see, my imagination is now running wild, and very far from your purpose.

     

    Not many people do seem to read books and there are even those who look down on people who do read as if it's something to be pitied or mocked.

     


     

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