The standards and truths of the time must influence your
stories if you choose to set them there. You ignore them
at your peril as a writer, and you risk missing out on the
really important stories that might be waiting to come out.
Durken took his flask from his coat, uncapped it and took a drink, then he poured some whiskey down McAfee's throat. "If I'm not back in an hour or so, I'll likely see you in Hell."
McAfee looked up and said, "Speak for yourself."
This intentionally gives the reader a breather between one extremely violent episode and another to follow, which provides the climax of the novel.
Smeck looked dubious. "So you're telling me that the world turns around once a day?"
"Yep. Just like the hour hand on a clock," Dinwiddee chimed in. "Ain't that right, McAfee?"
"Well, sort of, but the hour hand goes around two times every day."
"But what's that got to do with a e-clipse?"
"The moon goes around the earth, and once in a while, it gets between the Earth and the sun so the moon's shadow falls on part of the earth." He demonstrated with the chestnut and the potato. "And for a little while, it gets dark. Then since the moon keeps on going along its path, it moves from between the sun and the Eearth and the shadow goes away and we have regular daylight again."
"Hold on a minute," Smeck said. "You're telling me the world turns all day long, and we're riding on it like a pony on a carousel, how come it don't matter what time of day I walk out of the bunkhouse Vulture Peak's always right in front of me?"
McAfee rolled his eyes.
McAfee chases him, Bob fires at him and nicks McAfee's ear. McAfee runs him to ground, and Bob is surprised to recognize his pursuer.
"Clarence? Clarence McAfee? Is that you? Well, I'll be damned."
To which McAfee replies, "That's a foregone conclusion, Bob," before ultimately drawing on him and gunning him down.
"It can go a couple of ways. One way is we give you a nice fee for deciding that Wayne isn't shaving anything but his gace. The college likes that, Coach likes that, we like it. Nobody doesn't like it." Deegan gave me a big grin.
"And the other way?"
"We put you in the ground," Deegan said. His voice was pleasant.
"Eek," I said.
"Sure, sure," Deehan said. "I know you're tough. We talked to a couple guys we know up here. But think about it. What's worth dying for here?" ...
"How much you willing to give me?" ! said.
Deegan glanced around my office again. "Two bills ," he said.
I shook my head.
"How much you want?" Deegan said.
"Two hundred thirty-eight billion ," I said.
Deegan was silent for a moment, then he grinned slowly.
"Well, like the old joke. we've established what you are, now we're just haggling over price."
"Be a long haggle," I said.
Deegan nodded . "Option two's looking better ," he said.
We sat for a moment quietly while Deegan lit another cigarette.
"So what are you going to do?" Deegan said.
"Hell, Bobby, . don't know. I was trying to figure that out when you came in and distracted me."
"I thought you was trying to get a look at some broad 's ass," Deegan said.
"That too," I said.
Deegan rose. "Okay, pal. You think about it some more, and I'll check back with you. Try not to be too fucking stupid"
"I been trying for years." I said. "Usually it doesn't work out."
Deegan laughed and walked to the door. He opened it and stopped and looked back at me.
"You know we mean it," he said.
"Sure," I said.
Deegan shrugged and started out.
"Leave the door open," I said. "I didn't hear her come back yet."
Virgil took out his ID case, pulled out several business cards, shuffled through them, found the one he wanted, handed one to the lead Simonian, and told him to call with questions... As they drove away from the medical examiner's office, Jenkins said to Virgil, "Better you than me...
They got nothing to contribute, but they're gonna call you every fifteen minutes."
"Don't think so," Virgil said.
"I got a hundred dollars that says they call you fifteen times a day. At least fifteen times a day."
"You're on," Virgil said.
Jenkins examined him for a moment then said, "You're too confident."
"Because I gave them one of Shrake's business cards." ...
Jenkins snorted and said to Virgil, "You're my new role model."
Shrake's phone rang and Jenkins started laughing.
I looked at Rojack.
"Be my guest," he said. I think the sound in his voice was mockery.
"Go ahead...big shot," Randall said.
I shrugged, reached under my left shoulder, pulled my gun and put a bullet into the middle of the body bag. The sound of the shot was shockingly loud in the silent gym. The body bag jumped. I put the gun back under my arm, smiled in a friendly way at Rojack and Randall, and walked out.
The waiter blinked in surprise but quickly regained his composure. "Did you forget something, sir?"
"As a matter of fact, yes." I turned to Marge. "Shall I?"
She shook her head and said, "I'll take care of it." Then she socked the little rat in the chops, knocking him backward over the old folks' table, where he lay like a tuxedoed parody of the crucifixion.
The van der Snoots stared open mouthed. Marge shook out her aching hand and stuck it in their ice bucket. She smiled at them and said, "Sorry. Enjoy your dinner."
The morning was grey and cold, the grass white with frost. Maura was crouched by the fire stirring a pot of oatmeal when Slate came out of the shack. "We need to talk."
"Okay, just you and I, not the others?"
"For the moment. You've studied werewolves; so have I, but I've also read a lot about wolf behavior. You?"
"Not as much."
"I'll get to the point. What happens if you're fertile on a full moon and we sense it? Do we try to mate with you? And do we fight each other for the privilege?"
Maura stared at Slate, then chuckled, then laughed out loud, great cathartic guffaws that echoed through the trees and unraveled all the anxiety and tension that had built up over the past three days.
"What?" said Slate. "What's so funny?"
"Courting behavior. The thought of three werewolves lined up, one with a bouquet of roses, one with a heart shaped box of chocolates, and one with a bottle of champagne."
Then Slate laughed too.
"John, I don't think you have to worry on that score. I've been on the pill for years. I couldn't risk getting pregnant on a six-month trek into the jungle or the steppes. Romantic encounters aside, I could have been abducted by natives, raped by bandits—who knows what? There's no fertility to sense. Besides, if I'm using the farkas ostor, I think I can manage a horny werewolf."
Singer stepped out of the shack slapping his crossed arms over his chest. "What's so funny?"
Slate and Maura grinned at each other and Slate said, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Singer warmed his hands over the fire. "So when do we leave for Fairfax?"
"It's two hundred miles, give or take. Maybe in an hour."
"I'll go shake the boys awake."
|Harlan Ellison at the Harlan Ellison Roast. L.A. Press Club July 12, 1986. Los Angeles, |
California. Photo by Pip R. Lagenta used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
|Juan Gris: Deutsch: Stilleben mit Bordeuauxflasche 1919|