7 The authors continue bickering; Blue has a bad night.

[I’m re-writing. It’s a travesty. It’s not Bogart & Bacall,  just two kids {…} indicate where changes are]

{c8.0 There was silence. Euan drove. Janice wiped her eyes, said, “but now it looks like I’m in it too somehow. I didn’t mean to be}

{c8.1 “So I might need a bit of help,” she added, and her voice lost some balance. “We’re both in this now, seems to me”}

{c8.2 Euan drove, and thought. If Janice was involved because of him, – it was her own stupid fault. But she had a point}

{c8.3 If the silly bitch hadn’t kissed him, he’d be back at work by now. And she hadn’t even meant it. He glanced over at her.}

{c8.4 She was flushed & there was still an overlooked tear. She brushed her hair out of her eyes. But mostly she looked angry.}

{c8.5 That was something; she wasn’t going to collapse like some lassies might. Meantime they had to stop and think what to do}

{c8.6 Euan parked the car in Grangemouth’s best attempt at a shopping mall. “There’s probably a cafe there,” he said. “We need to think.}

{c8.7 As the car stopped Janice reached & grasped his arm. “Euan, you had nothing to do with that death, did you? Swear?”}<

[This boy lives with his MUM. And now he’s suddenly Indiana Jones? You tipped the power from Janet to Euan…]
[Now he BLAMES HER for his pathetic male turn-to-putty in the face of one kiss!]

[Yes of course he BLAMES HER. And Euan’s not exactly Indiana Jones, whatever you say. I know perfectly well who is in control, thank you.]
[It may be Euan has a limited future, if he keeps doing that sexist rationalization thing….]
[Ah – would you like to look at your original version? Sexist?  And how!]

Oregon:

15.2 The next day Jill visited Blue’s office at lunch. “Leave it open,” Blue said. Doors open with students–especially girls.

15.3 Jill sat in a chair with the desk between them. “”Thanks for the A on my paper,” she said. “It’s not a gift,” he said.

15.4 She looked idly at the notices on the bulletin board behind him. “Aunt says you’re coming to the séance,” she said.

15.5 “What séance?” He wished she would leave. Then he could call Evie, & hear her voice. “Sunday,” she said. “to sleuth the murder.”

15.6 “What murder?” Blue was impatient. Barely time to ring Evie before his next class. “The cat,” Jill said. “Oh yeah,” Blue remembered.

15.7 “I don’t know if I can make it,” he said. The weekends are busy.” He stood up. Jill rose slowly. “Evie says she met you,” she said.

15.8 He began gathering files off the desk. “Who?” he said. “Evie Lane,” she said, “the… landscape designer.”

15.9 He went on. “Yeah I met her once. It’s a small town. Sorry Jill, but I have to go.” Then he added, “That paper was college level work.”

16.0 The Blackfish Café was busy, like most every night. Blue was hungry & wished Evie weren’t late to every damn thing.

16.1 A waitress kept her eye on him. “How about another glass of wine, while you wait?” This as she passed by with a full tray.

16.2 “A bottle,” Blue called after her. He looked at his phone for a message, but then Evie appeared at the table, unbuttoning her coat.

16.3 Blue looked up, surprised. “You move like a cat,” he said. “Cats scare me,” Evie replied, & she handed him her coat.

16.4 The other diners wore wool sweaters & parkas, sweatshirts & jeans; Evie wore a silvery dress that flowed like water. Everyone looked.

16.5 She sat & crossed her long legs & tilted a high heeled shoe. “I know I’m late,” she said. “Took longer than I thought to get here.”

16.6 Blue’s fault. He had picked the Lincoln City restaurant, 30 minutes from Newport. It was one of his favorites– & away from his town.

16.7 She smiled. Light from the halogen ceiling lamps hit her blond hair and created little halos. Blue forgot she had kept him waiting.

16.8 The waitress brought a bottle & filled Evie’s glass. “To your new career!” Blue said, and the glasses clinked. They drank. Evie smiled.

16.9 “I’m learning,” she said softly. “It’s not so far really, between an art degree & garden design. But Jill has me in her sights.”

17.0“Jill?” Blue liked Jill. He felt kind of bad about having used her to get Evie the job. But it was heaven having Evie close by.

17.1 “Oh Jill’s okay,” he said. Evie raised her eyebrows. “I don’t know…” she said. “I don’t think she likes me. Not sure why. I’ve tried.”

17.2 “Better keep on her good side,” Blue said then. “She’s a clever cookie. You should see the stuff she writes. & she’s a serious reader.”

17.3 Evie said, “Does she have a boyfriend? Or some girlfriends even?” “Not that I’ve noticed,” he said. “She’s friends with Billy Killins.”

17.4 “The writer?” Evie said. “Yeah,” Blue answered. “He’s really popular. Travels a lot– I haven’t read his books…”

17.5 “I have,” Evie said. She ordered the grilled duck, & Blue the salmon. Later she said,“God this place is fabulous,” & he was pleased.

17.6 Blue had been crazy about this woman since they’d met in grad school. Finally it felt like he had reeled her in. He ordered more wine.

17.7 Evie ordered dessert. And coffee. Then Blue reached across the table and took her hand. “Coming home with me?” He asked.

17.8 It was during a moment of quiet in the room & several heads turned to catch the answer. Evie smiled & her diamond earrings glittered.<

Scotland:

c8.8 It was 3pm in the cafe Torino. Euan and Janice sat at a table. Low clouds were blowing over Grangemouth. It would get dark early.

c8.9 Euan was working at his laptop. He was piggy-backing on a nearby hotel, whose wi-fi connection was laughably insecure.

 c9.0 Janice was scribbling in a notepad which she had brought to her interview with Euan. They had not spoken to each other for some time.

c9.1 Janice looked at her tea. It was getting cold. She didn’t like tea, but Euan had bought it without asking her. “I need to make a call.

c9.2 …I need to tell my flatmates something.” “OK,” said Euan without looking up.”But use a phone box.” “A phone box? Do they exist?”

c9.3 “Is there a phone box?” she asked the waitress. “I forgot my mobile” “I don’t think so. Sheila, is there a phone box anywhere?”

c9.4 A voice came from the back room. “There’s one outside Mathiesons” “That’s go left outside, then right at the end,” said the waitress.

c9.5 Janice found the phone box. On her way, she had passed a bank and drawn out some money. She had gone in and changed a note for coins.

c9.6 The phone box seemed complicated. She had never used one. A mobile was easy. But her phone was in pieces on a pavement somewhere.

c9.7 She rang the West Lothian Courier. Since she wasn’t there to man the phones, the call went straight through to the small ads department

c9.8 She asked to be put through to Stuart Ross at the newsdesk. “Stuart, it’s Janice. I’ve got a story. If I read it, can you take it down?

c9.9 Stuart Ross was an old-school journalist. He had once worked on the Daily Record out of Glasgow, but had moved to local papers.

c1.0 He liked digging himself into a community, and he liked the slow pace. He was happy covering gala days and break-ins and heroic kids.

c1.1 But at the moment he was trying re-cast the splash. The death at Broxburn plants would have to be on the front page. He had some time.

c1.2 The Courier came out on Thursday, and went to the printers on Wednesday. That gave him Tuesday, so he had a full day to get facts.

c1.3 So he was happy to cut Janice some slack. He was old enough to be trained in shorthand, so he took down the words she read out from…

c1.4 …her grubby sheets of paper in Grangemouth. “Are you OK, Janice,” he asked when she had finished. “I’m fine.”

c1.5 “You know we don’t come out ’til Thursday. But I might find someone who can use this.” “I want my byline on it.” “No promises; I’ll try.

c1.6 “Where are you?” Stuart had been concentrating on the words, not the meaning. But now he started to realise.”Not saying,” said Janice

c1.7 “Got to go now, Stuart. Bye” The line went dead. Stuart read over what he had scribbled. It was terrible. Janice was not trained.

c1.8 She had no idea how to structure a story, and it was far too long. She’d written it as if she had a captive celebrity in a hotel.

c1.9 Stuart sighed. He felt bad about telling Janice to track down this Euan person without checking whether it was important. Now she’d…

c2.0 ..gone crazy. Still. He looked at the copy again and started to sort out the facts. He checked against what the police had released.

c2.1 He checked Twitter. The tabloid journalist in him resurfaced…he found the number for Euan’s mum and rang her, pretending to be from..

c2.2 …the tax office, and confirmed the girl, the package and the car. Euan’s mum sounded a bit worried; probably the police had called..

c2.3 That left the tweet that had been sent to Janice. That was the most worrying thing in the story. But it also ruled her out of reporting.

c2.4 If you become the story, you can’t be the reporter. Stuart was clear about that. He started to re-write. A 4-par filler, no more.

c2.6 He would ring the police once he had finished. ”Twitter drives young couple to flee from crime’ Two decker head, not brilliant but OK.

c2.7 ‘A series of mystifying tweets connected with a suspicious death may have caused two young people to disappear…’ Stuart worked on.

c2.8 He ended with the timeless phrase ‘Police are baffled.’ He read what he had written. Then he picked up the phone and rang Tom Fordyce.

c2.9 He had known Tom a long time. Reporting on burglaries, drug busts and car crime throughout West Lothian brought frequent contact.

c3.0 He knew the detective sergeant for a solid citizen, not averse to a pint or two. He’d had his mobile number for several years

c3.1 Tom answered. “Hello Stuart. I have nothing to say. You don’t go to bed until Wednesday, so there’s no hurry. Speak to me tomorrow.”

c3.2 “I’ve only got one small question,” said Stuart. “Are you baffled?””Entirely off the record,” replied Tom, “Just a little bit.”

c3.3 “Then let me unbaffle you fractionally. But I warn you, the story is written and sent (this was not entirely true). But I’m worried..”<

Oregon:

18.0  It was after nine when they left the restaurant, driving separately. Blue felt a little dizzy from the wine, but so in love.

 18.1 He pulled out of the parking lot first, and Evie followed in her van. There was heavy rain, & oppressive darkness.

 18.2 Alone & driving, Blue turned on a Lyle Lovett mix and tried to relax as he strained to see through the rain. The stripes were a glare.

 18.3  His head hurt. Such bad visibility. Bright headlights coming, window a river, swishy wipers. Lyle sang,“She’s hot to go, she’s ready…”  

 18.4 He recalled that guy at the next table, looking, & how the woman with him fumed—too bad for HIM tonight.

 18.5 Then he thought of the beautiful dinner, and how Evie held her coffee cup. He remembered her iridescent eye shadow.

 18.6 The half hour drive seemed long. Blue’s headache got worse. Lyle sang “she’s a– phono-graphic dream.” Blue felt foggy.

 18.7 He almost missed a red light. But he made it home & up the stairs to his ocean-view apartment.  He held the door for Evie.

 18.8 He turned on the gas fireplace. Then he fell upon the couch, dizzy. The headache raged. Evie hung her coat gently over a chair.

 18.9 She glanced at him. “Got any brandy?” Blue was pale. “Yeah,” he said. Evie knew the kitchen, & she helped herself. His eyes closed.

 19.0 She turned on the television to an old episode of Boston Legal. She settled into a soft chair to enjoy James Spader’s smile. It ended.

 19.1 She poured more brandy & swished it around in its stemmed bowl. She sat close to the fire & tucked her silky dress around her knees.

 19.2 “Hey Blue,” she said. There was no response. She got up and stood by the couch. She shook his shoulder, gently.

 19.3 “Huh?” he said. He didn’t open his eyes.
“You want me to sleep with you tonight?” she asked.
He almost opened one eye. “Yeah.”

 19.4 (17.9)”You are sweet, Blue, but I think not tonight. In fact, not ever.”

 19.5 She tipped up the brandy glass then slipped on her coat. “Bye-bye,” she said, & she walked out.<

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6 thoughts on “7 The authors continue bickering; Blue has a bad night.

  1. Sheila says:

    I like how you worked me into the story 🙂 I hesitate to intervene in an author’s quarrel, but I do agree that Euan’s sudden turn into condescension of Janice doesn’t fit with his character … unless he has multiple personalities … Once again I’m left hanging. Is Evie a murderess?!

    • linniew says:

      Yes we try to INVOLVE our readers, Sheila! And please, never hesitate to intervene when you agree with me. Is Evie a murderess? My goodness. I think you will have to keep reading…

  2. Alberto says:

    “it was heaven having Evie close by”
    that’s brilliant, I love english because a normal sentence becomes a rhyme. But where were we? Ah yes: the quarrel about Euan being more manly than he’s supposed to… Well, shall we talk about a smart dressed woman in high heels driving a van? I bet both of them are bad actors… At least I’m sure about Evie. But now I have ‘next page’ still to read…

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