Wednesday, January 05, 2011

New Beginning 820

"Ho, ho, fukkin' ho."

"I'll take that as a compliment," she said.

Santa looked her up and down. Long shapely legs below and hourglass figure all topped by bright brown eyes in a sophisticated face. Just the sort to make the naughty and nice list at the same time.

"So what can I do for you?" asked Santa.

"Aren't you going to warn me it's a hundred dollars a day, plus expenses?"

She walked through his office like it was a model's runway, walking through a pool of light from the hooded bulb in the ceiling. She glided into the chair in front of his desk and pulled out a cigarette.

"Got a light?"

"What for? You don't smoke. He watched the expression on her face. "Your skin is too clear, there are no stains on your fingers, and you've got the filter tip pointing away from you. Now, what do you want from me?"

She looked down. She'd had a plan, he'd just crushed it. She had no plan B and so, slowly, the truth would start coming out. Santa gave her time. He didn't have to press her.

Outside, the city was having ans uneasy sleep. They all thought Christmas was a long way away and by then the old man would forget. Santa never forgot, though most times he could forgive. When he couldn't, well, that's what the detective agency was for.

"I need you to find someone," she said at last.

Santa sighed. Down to business. "Okay," he said, dropping himself into an oversized office chair that echoed his sigh as his weight hit it.

"My ex-husband," the woman said.

Santa picked up a pencil, looked at her and raised his eyebrows.

"Oh, right. Six-two, black hair, balding--"

"His name?"

"Oh, uh, Peter Patrick Marley... You're not writing."

"Just give me a second." Santa cleared his throat. "Here." He stabbed a map with his pencil. "He lives here. 1204 Regents."

"That's it?"

"I'm Santa. I know where everyone lives. That's a hundred bucks."

Santa took the money and watched the woman sway out of his office. This was sure easier, and more profitable, than his previous gig.


Opening: D Jason Cooper.....Continuation: Anon.

10 comments:

Evil Editor said...

The idea of Santa as a private eye is appealing.

P6: I don't like "walked" and "walking" in the same sentence. Maybe change one of them to "prance." Get it? Prancer?

P8: What do you want from me? is pretty harsh for Santa or for any businessperson. How can I help you? is more likely.

P10: If they all think Christmas is a long way away and by then the old man will forget, why are they having an uneasy sleep? Seems like they'd be uneasy only if they knew he never forgot, or if Christmas was close.

BuffySquirrel said...

You could tidy up having her walking through the office and through the light in the same sentence.

Surely a model doesn't walk 'through' the catwalk, as implied; she walks...well, I don't know how you walk on a catwalk, exactly, but you don't walk through it. Why they don't just drape the clothes over wiggling sticks and put Ex-Lax out of business overnight is beyond me anyway, but la.

Is there a market for this sort of thing? Seems like the only part that isn't cliched is Santa being a PI.

Dave F. said...

I always tell people to cut their writing, usually by half. This is about a 1/3 reduction and that would be OK. It's still needs polishing (oohlala, my accent is showing).

She walked across his office like a model on the runway and glided into the chair in front of his desk. She pulled out a cigarette.

A PI in a Santa suit looked her up and down. Long shapely legs below and hourglass figure all topped by bright brown eyes in a sophisticated face. Just the sort to make the naughty and nice list at the same time.

"Ho, ho, fukkin' ho."

"I'll take that as a compliment," she said. "Got a light?"

"Why? Your skin is too clear, there are no stains on your fingers, and you've got the filter tip pointing away from you. What do you want from me?"

If she had a plan, he just crushed it. Outside, the city slept uneasy. They all thought Christmas was a long way away and by then the old man would forget. Santa never forgot, though most times he could forgive. When he couldn't, well, that's what the detective agency was for.

"I need you to find someone," she said at last.


With the exception of one sentence, it's all Jason's words and it's his idea. I just cut out those "was" and "had" that I think slow the story and rearranged the sequence of the words so the action flows from door to chair to conversation. I don't like to split the dialog between two people with exposition. Dramatic pauses aside.

And I just realized that Santa is running this scene. It's his office and he is in control. Now her timidity is expressed in her actions as Santa the PI guides his reluctant client through the same-old, same-old path.

Angela Robbins said...

oh man, i knew when i got an error messgae my entry didn't get to ee's cold wrinkled hands! i had fun with it, too.

Chicory said...

I love this! I'm a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. Santa doing the whole deduce-your-life-at-a-glance made my day. :)

chelsea said...

I liked this premise a lot but I do think you might be squeezing in too much about the woman's appearance/movements.

Also (and this is a tiny nit), how come it's "fukkin" instead of "fuckin"?

Otherwise, no complaints. I'm definitely interested to see where the story goes.

alaskaravenclaw said...

In my experience relatively few people use "fukkin" in their initial greeting to a potential customer.

Evil Editor said...

Actually, it's pretty common among prostitutes and mattress salesmen.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:


Her candy apple red-tipped fingers dove deep into her handbag and she plucked out the photo of his mug--some block-head, a real schmoe, the kind Santa would never forget nor forgive.

"It'll cost you triple..." Santa stroked his long beard as he thought this broad filled her stockings with things much tastier than those snot-nosed brats would ever get come Christmas morning. "I haven't seen that goddamn bastard's red nose ever since he went union." --Angela RobbinsHer candy apple red-tipped fingers dove deep into her handbag and she plucked out the photo of his mug--some block-head, a real schmoe, the kind Santa would never forget nor forgive.

"It'll cost you triple..." Santa stroked his long beard as he thought this broad filled her stockings with things much tastier than those snot-nosed brats would ever get come Christmas morning. "I haven't seen that goddamn bastard's red nose ever since he went union."

--Angela Robbins

Dave F. said...

In my experience relatively few people use "fukkin" in their initial greeting to a potential customer.

Of course you don't hear a word like that in casual speech.

When a writer uses a word like that so early in the story, he or she sets up a very adult, very sophisticated atmosphere. This is not a casual clerk/customer relation. These two are fencing. It is parry and thrust with words. That's part of the NOIR in the story.

These aren't two innocents negotiating a contract at arm's length. There is history on display here.