Monday, October 10, 2011 2:35 PM
Today's Sample Sunday Entry is from Philadelphia Story. In this scene, we are finding out a little bit about Lance and then *BAM* a new case barges into his small but full office.
Please remember, this is an unedited sample from an as yet unreleased novel.
So just as I had before, I threw my feet up and stared out the window. I could see the people milling about. People walking across the street to the Constitution Center or maybe even to Benjamin Franklin’s house. Some people standing in line on the corner, probably waiting for a horse drawn carriage ride to see all the historic sites. There were so many of them in Philadelphia. Just right here in a six block radius you could spend all day and still not see it all. Then I saw her walking from Independence Hall to the corner. Today her dark hair was in a pony-tail and bobbed slightly while I walked. I wasn’t close enough to see her face but I knew what she looked like. I know how her misty blue eyes contrasted with her alabaster skin and how here hair made those eyes just pop out at you. I looked at the clock and sure as the sun it was 10:45. It might seem like I know this woman or maybe I’m a stalker but neither is true. She just reminds me of someone… someone who is… was very special to me.
“Carolyn…” I muttered softly and returned my gaze out the window. I threw my feet back up on the window sill and saw her face dancing across the window pane. Her beautiful blonde hair flowing over her shoulders and her smile that was so bright it seemed iridescent. She was one of those things in my life that seemed so long ago and so far away then at times I’d wake up and thought I heard her bare feet tapping down the hallway. Or I’d walk into the living room and smell her perfume. It was a lavender scent. She loved lavender and now, so do I. I shook my head and rubbed my face with both palms feeling the unshaven stubble of my beard underneath them. Back to reality, as sad and lonely as that was at times. I was about to resume people watching with everything I had when there was a knock on my office door. Before I could respond to the knock, in walked an eyeful of the feminine form. I am pretty sure my mouth was open just a tad when my eyes went from her expensive burgundy pumps up her fishnet stocking covered legs and then I got stuck for just a moment on her knee length skirt that matched those pumps perfectly. She coughed which drew my gaze up to her perfectly made up face.
“Do you mind?” She spat at me.
Not missing a beat, I replied “not at all. I’m quiet enjoying it and it is my office after all.” I looked back down to her feet. “Nice kicks, those Choos shoes?”
“Choos?” She replied with so much disdain in her voice you’d think someone in the room had just cut one, “These are Louboutin!” She announced emphatically and turned her ankle just enough to reveal a red sole to the shoe. “Only whores wear Jimmy Choo.”
“Oh,” I replied in my best fake startled voice, “who knew? I mean not too many women stroll in here with a hundred dollar pair of shoes.”
The look on her face was pure digest. “Hundred? I would be caught dead in a hundred dollar pair of shoes. Try five hundred mister detective!”
“Excuse me,” I put my hands up in defense, “I was a little caught up in those long legs you have there.” Leaning forward and throwing my best Bob Barker smile at her. She crossed her arms over her white blouse bringing it taut against her now noticeably firm and large breasts. She was one well put together woman.
“Do you speak to all your clients this way?” She said looking down her perfectly formed nose at me. Seemed a tad too perfect the more I looked at it. Almost had a Michael Jackson feel to it.
“Are you a client? You seem more like a prospective client at this point.”
“My name is Janet Pence. This,” she gestured behind her to the empty door and sighed in an annoyed manner before shouting, “Linda!” After waiting a moment, someone whom I assume is Linda appeared in the door.
“Hi Linda,” I waved at her, “Come on in and have a seat.” Linda came through the door in a yellow sundress that barely concealed her more than ample breasts and hung down to he ankles. She looked to be in her mid-twenties with bleached blonde hair and perfectly blue eyes.
“Hi.” Linda sheepishly offered as she sunk slowly into one of the brown leather chairs in front of my desk. Janet Pence made her way to the other chair but I put my hand up to stop her.
“I didn’t ask you to sit. You were saying?” Janet looked at me hard.
“This,” she pointed at Linda, “is Linda. Linda has a problem that we’ve been told you can help her with.” She reached up with her nails that were painted to match the skirt and shoes to push some of her black hair from her face. I looked from her to Linda.
“So, Linda. You’ve got an issue you think I can help you with? How did you hear about my services?” Linda had her head down.
“You are a private detective, aren’t you? Cam said you were and that you were very good.” Janet answered.
“Yes, he said you were very good at finding people and Linda needs someone found.”
“Linda?” I looked at her wondering who the hell Cam was. “How can I help you?” Linda looked up at me, then at Janet.
“Linda’s husband has taken her baby and run off!” Janet announced with a great flourish of her hands. “You must find him and get her baby back!” I looked at Janet wondering if her name was really Linda. I was taken by how the muscles on her neck played into her shoulders. She looked like she had been an athlete not too long ago. A swimmer? No, a dancer I bet.t
“I’m taking your word for it that your name is, indeed, Janet but every time I talk to Linda you speak. How is that, exactly?” Janet pursed her lips and her eyes threw daggers at me. Man she was attractive when she was mad. I turned to Linda and spoke to her again. “Now, Linda. Tell me about it.”
“Well,” Linda began unsure of herself. “It’s Lenny. He’s gone and he took Sammy with him.”
“Lenny is such a loser…” Janet threw out there, in case I was interested.
“He is not,” Linda shot at her, “Lar… I mean Lenny… he just gets confused sometimes is all.”
I leaned forward and put my elbows on my desk, “Tell me about it. What happened?”
“Well,” Linda began gaining a little confidence now. “Lenny was supposed to be home on Friday at six.” She stopped and looked up at the ceiling as if a script was written up there for her to read and then continued without looking back down, “but he didn’t. Then it was Saturday and he didn’t come home and then Sunday and well today is Monday and he’s still not home.” I nodded my head in my best understanding manner.
“Oh, yea!” She exclaimed now looking back at me. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Janet’s face bunch up as if she was in pain. “He was supposed to bring Sammy home Friday. He always brings Sammy home from school on Friday.” She nodded her head emphatically. I looked from her to Janet.
“He’s an ass.” Janet offered.
“Can you stand up for me?” I asked Linda. She looked at me with a confused expression. I nodded my head and waved her to stand. Linda looked at Janet before slowly beginning to rise and as expected, Janet interjected by placing her hand on Linda’s arm.
“Why does she need to stand up?” She shot at me.
“Listen, Janet. As much as I’d like to lick fresh maple syrup off that flat stomach of yours, you need to shut up now unless you have something to offer besides snide remarks and negative attitude.”
“Well, I never!” She shot up in front of my desk. “Cam said you’d be like this.”
“Oh he did, did he? Tell me, how do you know Cam exactly?” The detective beginning to detect.
“I used to clerk down at Judge Snyder’s office. I knew him from my time there.” I nodded my head now making the connection. Cameron Simile was a not-so-hot assistant district attorney in Philadelphia. Not much with digging up facts and people, so he’d call me every so often for small things like finding a guy who knew a thing about a thing. He slipped my mind because I never heard him referred to as Cam. This guy was no Cam. “And,” she unfortunately continued, “how dare you speak to me that way!”
“Listen lady, I’d love to not speak to you at all. I have more nefarious things in mind that include,” I began to tick off each finger, “syrup, whipped cream and cherries. But right now, it seems this poor girl may or may not need my help.” I pointed to Linda who looked more confused then ever. “Now, if you don’t mind sit that perfectly rounded ass down and shut that expertly sticked set of lips. Thank you.” She sat. “Now, Linda?” I gestured for her to stand again.
“Stand up?” She questioned.
“Yes, dear. If you don’t mind.” Linda stood in front of me and I looked her up and down. In particular I took in her very thin and young looking midsection.
“Is this good?” She asked, twirling just a little making the dress dance.
“Yes, it is. Thank you.” I sat back contemplating that either this was a body that never pushed a baby from inside it. I whisked softly. “You are in incredible shape, my dear.” Linda smiled and blushed before sitting back down. “How old did you say Sammy was?”
“He is seven.” Janet answered matter-of-factly. I looked at her blankly.
Still looking at Janet, “And where does Sammy go to school, Linda?”
“I don’t think Linda should tell you any more.” Janet stated. “We don’t know anything about your qualifications.” She looked around my office, staring hard at my Felix the Cat clock on the wall. It’s the kind where the tail ticks away the seconds and the eyes move in the opposite direction. A gift from a client a while back. I love that clock.
“My qualifications? Isn’t Cam’s reference good enough? I mean, he did say I was good… right?”
“Yes, but…” she paused still looking around my office, “you aren’t exactly in Liberty Place. I nodded.
“Janet he doesn’t…” Linda tried to jump in, apparently feeling uncomfortable.
“No, it’s OK Linda. I am thirty-six years old and have been a licensed private detective for six years now. I am about six foot two inches tall and weigh in in the neighborhood of two-hundred pounds. I’m a cancer and my birthday is in July. More importantly I am a private detective… I detect things… find things… help people. You need something or someone found, I’m all over it. Husband cheating? I can help. Husband hitting you, I’m there. I don’t do custody stuff. I’ll find your husband and boy but then its your problem. I won’t remove a child unless there is imminent danger and under no circumstances will I intervene in any dispute that does not have danger written all over it. I am licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to carry a concealed firearm and I do. Regularly. Betsy is a Walther PPK. I’m a pretty good shot, too, if I don’t say so myself.” And there was that Bob Barker smile again.
“Betsy?” Linda questioned with a small smile.
“Yup, that’s my girl.” And I pulled Betsy out of her holster and placed her on the desk for all to see.
“Mr. Carter!” Janet stood and quickly got behind the chair. Because leather chairs are bullet proof.
“Linda,” I reached inside my desk drawer and pulled out a hello legal pad, “do you have pictures?”
“Pictures?” Linda looked confused.
“Yes, pictures. Sammy? Lenny?”
“Here,” Janet reached inside her purse and produced two formal pictures. One of a man in his late twenties and one of a young brown haired boy.
“These Lenny and Sammy?” Linda nodded. The whole dynamic between these two was mind boggling. But I was still enjoying staring at Janet’s svelte form so it was all good.
“Here,” I handed the pad to Linda, “why don’t you write down the address of the school and your address for me. I’ll need the names of Sammy’s teachers, too.”
“Wait,” the annoying woman spoke again, “we haven’t hired you yet. Are we on the clock now?” Now she’s concerned with money?
“No,” I began slowly, “I don’t charge by the hour. I charge a flat fee and consider this a…” I waved my hands in the air and sat back in my squeaky chair, “a free consultation.”
Janet looked at me very hard for a moment before saying, through clenched teeth, “Fine. Write down the addresses and names, Linda.” She turned and stalked out of my office. Linda looked at me, uncomfortably again before scrawling down the information and handing me the pad.
“She’s not always like this. She’s just scared. You know, for Sammy.”
I nodded, “and I’m sure you are too?” That seemed to catch her off guard.
“Oh, of course.” She said with a small laugh. We exchanged finalities and I promised I’d be in touch once I’d spoken to some people.
I didn’t know what to make of those two. One thing my keen detective instincts told me was that either Linda was blessed by the gods with a body that never quit or she did not have a seven year old son.
From: Philadelphia Story due out January 2012 from Bucks County Publishing in Paperback, Kindle, Nook, Smashwords and iBookstore formats!
Copyright ©2011 Bruce A. Sarte
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