Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Work in Progress

Like pretty much every other Private Investigator in existence, I entertain the notion of writing a novel.

Yep, sorry.

Actually, the desire to practice writing actually led me to start this blog, so in some ways you have only yourselves to blame.

Be that as it may, I actually have written a number of 'scenes' or vignettes, if you prefer, with the idea of (eventually) stringing them together in some coherent manner that tells a meaningful story.

I even have most of the meta-plot figured out, which surely has to count for something? Shame I haven't done much actual writing in a while.

But that is about to change. Time to get back on the horse and finish what I have started.

Anyway, in lieu of something more investigatory-related, here is one of said vignettes for your appraisal and critique.

PS: it's about a down-and-out PI.

Fiction, I tell you.

"Excusez-moi, vouz-avez du feu?"  asked a deep but distinctly feminine voice to Hayes' left.

Wearily, he turned towards the source and found himself faced by an attractive woman perhaps in her mid-twenties. Tall and slender, head almost too large for her body. Like a doll's. Her dark hair was styled messily, and no doubt expensively, into a short bob that framed her face. Almond eyes, not quite Asiatic, met his.

"Désolé. Je ne parle pas français.Hayes replied with a shrug, almost exhausting his command of the language.

"English?" she asked.

Unsure whether she was asking about his nationality or language of choice, he
just nodded.

Slender pale fingers, nails painted an exquisite shade of burgundy, waved a slim white tube vaguely in his direction. No filter. "Do you have a light?" she asked, lips curling into a smile as she cocked her head slightly to one side. The other hand brushed aside a stray lock of hair that had fallen across an eye.

Hayes shook his head slowly. "Sorry, I don't smoke."

"Pity" she said with a momentary frown then sat at the vacant stool next to Hayes, nodding curtly to the barman. She loosened her fur stole and Hayes glimpsed the red cocktail dress she wore had a plunging neckline.

Hayes wanted to say something further but, unsure quite what, decided instead it was better to say nothing. He turned his attention back to his unfinished drink on the bar. Beside him, the woman had leaned forward, cigarette placed between her lips, to reach the outstretched hand of the barman and the dancing flame from the lighter he held.

Although Hayes tried not to notice, out of the corner of his eye he saw that the low cut of her dress had fallen open as she leaned forward exposing pale skin and the generous inside curve of a breast. 

The end of her cigarette flared briefly and then she leaned back into her seat and turned to face Hayes. Exhaling a thin stream of white smoke to one side, she gave him an appraising look before speaking.

"Are you here on business or pleasure?" she asked.

"Business," he replied.

Hayes drained the last of his drink and signaled to the bartender for another. The man moved smoothly behind the bar, replacing the glass with a fresh one on a cardboard coaster (advertising some kind of imported beer from Madagascar) while simultaneously extracting a frosted bottle from a small freezer. He poured the clear liquid with a practiced motion then returned the bottle.

Hayes took an appreciative sip. Grey Goose L'Orange, his personal favourite if he were that way inclined. Which, admittedly, tonight he was.

"What kind of business are you in?" the woman asked. She spoke in an Eastern-European accent rather than the anticipated French. Russian, Hayes guessed.

"I'm a consultant," he responded.

Taking one last long pull from her cigarette, she stubbed it out in an ashtray in front of her. Hayes glanced at the still smouldering remains, eyes drawn to the faint red ring on one end that matched the dried-blood colour of her lips.

She nodded as if this revelation meant something to her then leaned towards Hayes. He felt an electric thrill briefly as her hand (accidentally?)  touched his knee and then caught her scent. Something exotic - an underlying hint of spices.

Her lips brushed his ear and he could feel her hot breath on his cheek. "Room 208" she whispered.

She suddenly stood and wrapped her fur stole around her shoulders. Without looking back she strode away from the bar. Heels on the tiles sounding suddenly very loud, Hayes was certain every eye in the room, including his, was on her retreating back. Or somewhere thereabouts.

Turning back to the bar he caught the bartender smirking at him. Next to Hayes' hand was a fat card in grey plastic. He recognised it as a hotel keycard although did not recall how it got there.

As he pondered over the keycard on the bar, Hayes' phone suddenly rang, the vibrations clearly felt through his jacket pocket. He quickly extracted it and checked the display. Unknown caller.

Hayes answered on the third ring. "Hello?" he asked.

The Old Man's voice grated in his ear. "Go to the room as instructed, Eduard." The line was curtly disconnected with an audible click before Hayes could formulate a response.

He stood and put the keycard in his pocket. Time to earn his keep.


  1. Good start - looking forward to when more of this is available. You have kept us waiting quite a while for your writing....

    1. You know, I've been a constant disappointment to everyone who knows me.

    2. I like to leave lipstick marks, particularly on the glass that held my white Russian.