Wednesday November 17th, 2010

The exercise:

Let's go with: the detective.

Writing update later.

Update: day seventeen. The word count is a bit off on this one, since I kept going past midnight in order to finish at a good place. Ah well, just makes for a head start on tomorrow.


"What do we got today?"

The lab geek jumps a foot and a half. He looks like he wants to tell me off but thinks better of it. Smart kid.

"One dead, via a gunshot to the head. Bullet entered here, came out here." He rotates the image on his computer screen so I can see the exit wound. "Only prints on the gun belong to the deceased. No sign of break and entry, all the doors were bolted from the inside."

"So you're calling it a suicide?" I ask, lighting a cigarette.

"Looks like a pretty open and shut case, detective," he says, waving the smoke away from his face. Ah, he's one of those.

"Sure seems that way."

So why is my gut telling me it's not?


summerfield said...

hey, marc, you're rather early tonight. there's a bit of CSI going on in that story of yours. methinks a continuation is in the offing one of these days.

the detective:

Leilani spots him right away, sitting on the farthest side of the food court. His fedora hat tilts forward almost covering his eyes, the unlit cigarette loosely hangs from his lips but never falls, even when he talks on his cellphone. A boy sits on the tiled floor polishing his black and white Brogue shoes. He loosens his tie just slightly so and continues to leaf through his newspaper.

"The guy's a private detective," Leilani whispers to Diana who starts to turn her head to look. "Don't look! Don't look!"

"But why?" Diana asks.

"Because he might think we are looking at him or we are talking about him," Leilani says.

"But we are, aren't we?"

"Yes, but don't look. He has a gun tucked at his waist. I think he's following me,"

"What the..? Why would a detective follow you?"

"I think my husband suspects that I am seeing someone."

Diana turns her head and looks in the direction of the detective. Suddenly, she bursts out laughing, loud and uncontrollable, doubling over on her chair.

"Stop it, Diana!" Leilani hisses at her. "I told you to not look at him!|

"Oh, Leilani, are you and your husband role playing again?!"

Anonymous said...

Неплохой пост, но много лишнего.

Greg said...

@Summerfield: great story, and not at all the ending I was expecting! The conversation flows very naturally.

@Marc: Your anonymous commenter's comment translates (roughly) as "Not a bad post, but a little bit wordy" (I say roughly because my Russian is very rusty, and I can't remember which case the last two words are in).
I like your detective suspecting he's got a locked-room mystery to solve, and like Summerfield, I hope we get to see a little more from you on it!

The detective
Charles Ascugimento, Head of Building Security, looked at the line of applicants for the retail detective position. A number of the shops on the mall levels (colour-coded malt in the evacuation plan) had been complaining that petty theft was on the increase and that Building Security needed to do something about it.
"The problem with these applicants is," he began, sucking air between his teeth and setting the HR manager's nerves ajangle, "that I can see all of them."
"?" Sheila, the HR manager, produced a noise conveying surprise. She hated how intimidated by Charles she felt.
"I can see them all. What good is a store detective if people can see him?"
"We need to be able to see him or her to be able to interview them," said Sheila, emphasising that the detective could be of either gender.
"But I don't want to see him, her, or it," riposted Charles. "The successful applicant wouldn't need an interview if they were good enough at their job!"
Sheila wondered briefly if she'd get into trouble for smashing her clipboard into Charles's face.
"Just call the first one in," she said, clicking her pen rapidly.
"Actually, I've been here five minutes already," said a voice, and the shape of a man unfolded from the couch. Sheila's jaw dropped, as Charles's face beamed with pleasure.
"My name's Stephanie, but my form says Stephen as the gender reassignment surgery has happened but the official paperwork hasn't come through yet."

Zhongming said...

Marc - your piece feel real to me. Great work! :)

Summerfield - lol, I didn't expect that ending, nice work! :)

Greg - Ah, another paperwork issue.. Nice work! :)


The detective

The detective

"Hey, someone is lying on the ground, would you mind calling an ambulance or something?" He said that across to the group of bystander. There is an approximately six person with two females. One of them with a sudden action, she just move right into the casualty and offer to help.

"Move aside everyone!" She said that with a serious tone as if she was one of the policeman that does crowd control. 

She tries to read his pluses by grabbing his wrist but found that there is no sign of heartbeat. She quickly proceed to unbutton his shirt and left him fully exposed under the shade just below the coconut tree. She skillfully put her left palm the right in the middle of his chest then she start to count "one of five" "two of five" "three of five"... And then she place her two lovely index finger one above the other just below his mouth and then she open his mouth as gently as possible with that tiny little hands. Then she place her mouth as close as possible to him, in hope to revive him from his unconscious state. She gave him a full breath and attempt the chest pumping again. This time his body moved slightly. So she try to give him some more air by mouth again. Then he cough and water was flowing out of his mouth so she hurried to help him up and he slowly have his eyes flipped open. With a weak tone he said "thank you..."

He recalled that the thief was the one who tossed him over to the sea and he faint again. 

Watermark said...

The detective


Mia brought her pointer finger to her mouth, flicked a fierce look and drew a burrowed frown on her face. Mia had agreed to bring her best friend along to ‘the lookout’ as long as she promised to stay quiet. As it turned out, the lookout was a relatively elevated piece of land that was well hidden in a cluster of trees. Mia had stumbled upon it by chance when she had been running after her dog one day. It proved to be the perfect spot for some good detective work.

The girls watched as the man shovelled deep in his garden, the force of digging his spade in the earth was tensing up his neck and shoulders. Dirt flew up in the air and the girls peered through the leaves and branches to see what he would throw into the ground.

“Are you sure he’s got a dead body down there?” whispered Mia’s friend rather loudly.

“Yes! I saw it with my own eyes! I’m sure he’s trying to bury the evidence now.”

When the digging was all over, the girls held their breath, waiting.

“Come on, you can bring it out now,” shouted the man to someone inside.

A little boy, with eyes red from crying, emerged from the house carrying a small round tennis ball. Mia gasped. It was Edgar, the new boy at school. Edgar dragged his feet reluctantly towards the hole in the ground, knelt down and placed the ball inside.

“There, feel better now? I’m sure Ronald will be much happier with his tennis ball,” said the man kindly.

Mia’s friend looked at her suspiciously realising that there was no dead body – just a dead pet rabbit buried in the ground.

“So much for the detective club!” said Mia’s friend as she walked off in a huff.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

I had something good going on my itouch, but it tried to eat it, and it must've choked pretty badly on it, 'cause the itouch died (don't worry, it just ran out of battery).

But, I've had time to rethink the piece, so I'll do some of that instead.
- - - - - - - - - -
The rest of the day was much tougher than I thought it would be. As I checked books in and out I kept starting at the beep the scanner made; as I reshelved and set aside reserves I kept glancing suspiciously over my shoulder.

Apparently my conscience wasn't as dead as I thought.

Throughout the day I subconsciously passed the incriminating section of books several times. I have to hide the evidence, something in the back of my mind pushed desperately. Do it, hide it.

Just don't make it obvious.

I simply picked up a book or two each time I passed and stashed them behind the circulation desk. It made the day a bit more stressful, especially in my trips between those shelves and the circulation desk.

Then, around closing, just as I had the last book almost behind the safe barrier of the circulation desk, I saw the cruiser pull up.

Black, unmarked. But I caught sight of someone who wasn't exactly welcome right now.

"Pat," I said, doing my best to sound unfazed, "would you finish closing up? I just remembered I've an appointment--"

"Sure thing." He hardly looked up from the books he was sorting. And he hadn't asked a question as to my obviously strange behavior. Bless his heart.

I slipped through the little break room, hidden from the rest of the library. I could hear the library door open and someone come in. Pat probably would've thought it was just a regular patron making inquiries.

I tried to cross the tiny room as quietly as I could, but I'd forgotten how much the floor creaked. The most I could do was listen.

"Is the reference librarian in?" the visitor was asking.

"She was just about to leave, she might still be here... I'll go check--"

"That should be unnecessary, shouldn't it?" the visitor asked, raising his voice enough to call to me.

He knew I was still here.

I cursed under my breath, collected myself as much as I could, and came out.

"Can I help you find something?" I asked, sounding as innocent as I felt.

"As a matter of fact you can." The visitor, whom I recognized all too well as Inspector Elliot Graham, fished in his pocket for a scrap of paper with a call number section scrawled across it.

The call number section.

The one whose contents I'd hoarded behind the circulation desk as one hoards dynamite in a match factory.

"Does this mean anything to you?" Inspector Graham asked.

I shrugged. "It's a call number, but for what I don't know off the top--"

"Then why don't we go see?"

I tried not to gulp. "Doing specific research?" I asked as my legs refused to function properly and make me walk normally from behind the desk.

"You could say that," he replied. I couldn't help but notice a smirk tug at his lips.

We got to the section in question, where he crouched to scan the shelf, and looked up at me. "Huh. None of the books are here."

"Somebody probably checked them out," I hastily replied.

"Really? The system says they're all in."

I mentally cursed.

"But no matter," said the inspector, straightening. I couldn't help but notice how imposing his height and attire were. "So, Madame Librarian, what can you tell me about Tesla?"
- - - - - - - - - -
Hm... I kind of like this library-books-as-clues idea, I might have to do something with that later.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

ps: Cripes, I just realized how long my bit was ><

Heather said...

Marc- Your piece like a parody of a cop show. Not that they aren't basically parodies themselves. Is that what you were going for?

Summerfield- I think this is my favorite piece of yours yet. Very entertaining!

Greg- Charles aught to be happy, but I would not be happy to have Stephen following me around. Kind of creepy for anyone to be able to blend in that well.

Zhongming- A picture now? No more complete anonymity? So than, is it really you in the picture? Good story. I hope the robber is caught!

Watermark- Great descriptions! I can totally see the hide-out and the disappointment in the one girl's face when it isn't a body being buried.

G2- I am very intrigued as to which books these are and what role the librarian played in the scandal.

Well, well.... it appears I have more time on my hands these days. Between the comments and the piece, it won't fit in the limited space. Guess you'll have to go to the site to see it.

Language Is A Virus

summerfield said...

but, g2, and greg, i'd like to see what comes next in your stories. they are quite interesting. i meant no disrespect for zhongming's and watermark's postings, because they are very good, but the premise of your story and greg's just sort of got me.

whenever i linger around the library, i often would have this thought of opening a book and finding something intriguing. like many years ago, i found a very thin chain bracelet between the pages of a history book, the pages before and after had circles around the first letters of some of the words and i was pretty sure they were codes for something. and i had wished at that time that i was invisible and could go through the person's brain so i could find out what the codes exactly were and whatever they were for.

Marc said...

Summerfield - too funny, the prompt was inspired by my watching CSI for the first time in years yesterday :)

Loved your surprise ending.

Greg - thanks for the translation, I was just going to assume it was spam and delete it :)

I suspect that Stephen/Stephanie has that job in the bag.

Zhongming - great scene, you really pulled me in there.

Watermark - that reminded me of a Simpsons episode I saw a long time ago. Good stuff :)

g2 - good to see you write something longer :)

You had me utterly fascinated throughout and now I want to know more.

Heather - I don't know if I was shooting for parody, but I was definitely having fun with it :)

I'll be showing up at your blog shortly.

Summerfield again - I would so totally stake out that book to see who came to collect the message. That's way too intriguing for me to let go :)

Greg said...

@Summerfield: thanks for the praise, and I'm sure you'll see more of what's going on with Charles and Stephen/Stephanie as I tend to re-use characters a lot when I post here. Marc's always been polite enough to not comment on it (too much)!

Btw, finding that chain and the circled letters is fascinating! I wonder why it was never retrieved by the intended recipient :)