Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moved House

This blog languishes because I'm too lazy to pack up and move, and make a clean break. You can find all my new blog posts at Writing in Black and White.

Friday, June 5, 2009

[Fiction] Friday: The Rain

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for June 5th, 2009

“Don’t sit there,” she commanded. “That’s the cat’s chair.”

Benjamin stood looking up. Up to the top of the building and the turbines of the water mining units, capturing the moisture in the air, turning it into water. Water from the air running down pipes – not up pipes like it had once.

Propellers spinning round on the same trajectory. Turning, turning. Caught. Stuck.

As a kid he thought it looked as though the city was trying to escape. Somehow the buildings would gather enough lift and would fly away. Helicopter Buildings enmasse flying to Somewhere Else. Maybe somewhere it rained. A place the rain would wash away the sins of the city instead of allowing them to become ingrained. Where the wounds would be salved. A chance to heal. The building would take him and Clarice away with them and they would start again. A new beginning – in the rain.

Clarice had loved the rain. Always reminding him how cathartic it was to cry. Mother Nature cried and she never got it wrong. Even now, knowing the flood of good hormones which would follow, he could not bring himself to cry. To cry would admit it was over. And the battle was just beginning.

Clarice had never got over the fact it would never rain again. The atmospheric aqua mining had upset the balance of condensation and evaporation in nature. Precipitation became a thing of the past. A meterological relic. Clarice was 10 the last time it rained. The last time she pulled on her pink gumboots and jumped in puddles. Clarice had said she wished she’d stayed out playing longer. If only she had known it was the last time. Is she had playd on maybe it would not have stopped raining.

Benjamin knew all about last time regrets.

If only the City would cry it had a chance to redeem itself. That is what Clarice had said. But the City finally swallowed Clarice. She had been too good for a place like this. A job like her’s. Maybe if only he could cry something would move inside him. His heart might actually break so it could heap. Or the lump in his throat after years, choke the life from him. What life it was.

Benjamin turned his attention back to the street level. Hartog was haggling the fare down and finally allowed the flustered drive to scan the back of his hand for payment. Hartog stepped away from the taxi and glanced at the digital tickertape NewsFeed above the door of the bar.

“Slow news day.”
“Depends on what you call news I guess. Once it was meaningful. Now it just clogs up the brain with irrelevant details.”
“But you somehow still get stuff up there.”
“A drop in the ocean. Who cares anyway.”

Benjamin stepped into the bar, scanning the back of his hand, followed by Hartog how repeated the scanning routine.

“Hey you. You can’t come in here with that.”
The shout came from a middle aged woman behind the bar. Hartog turned to see what Benjamin was wearing which was in breach of the dress code. Looking about it didn’t seem there was any sort of dress regulation.
“No you pretty boy. You can’t come in here in that coat.”
Benjamin smiled. Two could play at Hartog’s game.

“There is a cloak room just off there.” Benjamin pointed to a tiny window with a red button beside it.

Hartog hesitated. He looked about the bar. Looking beyoond what people were wearing he saw the knives, guns, stunners and a few targeted biological weapons lying forgotten beside their owners as they argued, laughed and drank. Just another bar on the other side of town. One way to avoid a blood bath in your establishment. He was simultaneously annoyed and impressed.

Taking a deep breathe he pressed the button and divested the coat of the most important bits, stuffing his hologram badge into the back pocket of his jeans and the InfoCap into the front pocket.

The window shot up and a teenage girl snatched the coat before he could reconsider, scanned the back of his hand and slammed the barrier down.

Benjamin was surprised to see the Detective was well dressed underneath the tattered coat. A clean pressed white shirt clung with tailored perfection to his wide shoulders and narrow waist. No signs of creasing or sweat stains in the arm pits. The jeans looked new, no fraying at the pockets or hemmed and they too looked ironed. On closer inspection however Benjamin saw the shirt was perhaps just an inch longer and the jeans a shade or too darker than current fashion.

Hartog stripped naked strode to the bar and tried to park his butt on the nearest bar stool.
“Don’t sit there!”

It had been a long day and Hartog wanted to yell ‘Why the fuck not?’ On the other side of town the bar wenches knew who he was. They didn’t scream across the room to take his coat off. They came to him with smiles and his usual order.

He paused with his butt midair. If he had wanted to be ordered around he would have kept his posting in the Regular Army. As it was he wasn’t going to be pushed around by a woman with badly died orange hair and a lip stick smudge masquerading as a mouth. Fanta – Fan-fucking-tastic. He placed one cheek on the bar stool.

She lent over the bar. Her tuckshop lady arms taunted him. He tore his eyes away from the cussing mass of pale cellulite pitted fat.
“I said you can’t sit there.”
“No you said don’t sit there.”
“That is not your chair.” Come in Tokyo – the message was being received loud and clean. “That’s the cat’s.”

It was all the prompting he needed, twisting around to pull his badge. He didn’t care if there hadn’t been a single infringement of a health related nature since the Department of Civil Welfare consumed the Departments of Public Health in a hostile take merge. The by-laws were still on the codex though – a live domesticated animal on a premise where food preparation took place, including a bar, was illegal and punishable with large fines and imprisonment for repeat offences. Faded Fanta looked like a repeat offender.

Benjamin grabbed his hand before he could pull the badge and hissed into his ear, “Leave it. You want to go down as the first officer in 10 years to charge someone with a public health violation.” He got the irony and the rapid fall of grace which would accompany such an action.
Hartog made a mock display of tipping a hat. “As you wish ma’am.”

Benjamin walked off to the furthest booth.
“Are you always a prick?”
“Are you always so uptight?”

The same young girl from the cloakroom came to take their order. Mickey flashed the digital name badge pinned to her flat chest. Her mouth working hard at a lump of greenish bubble gum. She grunted something Hartog construed as “Can I get you something.” But it could have been anything. This side of town was not his side of town.

No smile. No whiff of customer service. Just enough metal pierced in every conceivable location as Hartog’s eye took in the proliferation of studs, spikes, rods, guessing the piercer’s showpiece waiting in other regions. It must hurt. Pain playing at being pleasure. Disfiguration traded as cool. Should he point out they had a way to fix her condition too? He’d be a cranky bitch too weighted down by all that hospital grade stainless steel.

“You got surly on the tap here. I reckon I could go a pint.”
Her hand moved as reflex to the old style tazer clipper to her filthy café apron.
“Excuse my friend. He doesn’t get out much. We’ll have two pints of your home brew.”

Hartog leaned back into the torn vinyl of the booth couch.
“You think drinking something brewed here, with animals on the premise is a good idea? I’m a bit of a health nut. I was thinking of an orange juice.”
“Freshly squeezed genetically modified … I’ll go with homebrew any day.”
“I’m on duty. I don’t drink on duty.”
“Then stare at the head and watch me enjoy mine.”

Hartog took the InfoCap out of his pocket.
“You know what this is don’t you. This InfoCap?”
Benajmin reached across to take it. Hartog closed his long fingers around it.
“It’s show and tell. Didn’t your mother tell you to look with your eyes and not with your fingers?”
“My mother died before I was old enough to have that sort of wisdom imparted to me. Our Aunt wasn’t big on moral education.”
“Let me connect the dots as I see them. You have a degree in neuroscience. Clarice had a degree in Engineering.” Hartog emphasised his point by drawing imaginary dots on the table top and dragging his finger between them. “I’m wondering - is this InfoCap the point where two sibling’s ideas collide – given one is now a feedo and the other is, I mean, was, a prostitute. Both in the information gathering business – one way or the other.”

The young waitress dropped the two pints on the table in front of them, grunted in the direction of Hartog who returned the social pleasantry with his characteristic disarming crooked smile. His face falling in all the wrong direction – probably in need of some of the waitress’s metal pins to hold it all in place. The waitress rolled her eyes and stalked away.

“How does it work?”
Benjamin took a long drink of the beer, licking the froth moustache away with his tongue.
“You’re the smart guy. Why don’t you keep connecting the dots. Or do you need new crayons?”

“Let me put it to you this way Benjamin. Someone likely killed your sister for something she saw, something she had, or someone she knew.”
“Well you’ve got a good grasp of the obvious there Detective.”
“And she had this. She saw something, had something and knew something.”
He took the InfoCap out and held it between this thumb and forefinger.
“And she was the favourite consort of the Minister of Defence. And into the pot you commented, “I told her not to.””
Benjamin drank on as if he was ignoring what Hartog said.
“Well it is obvious Clarice did and now she is dead.”
“And you probably will be too if you flash that thing around in public. You really have no idea Detective.”

Benjamin lent in. “See the guy at five o’clock. He just recorded everything you said and did. As I speak all of that information is being uploaded into the big NewsFeed databank, or if I was to be totally accurate, an off shoot of the databank where all types of information are stored and sold. You have just been placed with me and the InfoCap.” He paused and considered what to say next. “If someone killed Clarice for the InfoCap they would have cut it from behind her ear. I’ve seen the file and I know she was cut up badly. Whoever killed her knows there is more to it and they’re going to want to get the Cap back.”

He eased himself back and picked up the beer again.
“I don’t think I can trust you Detective. I suggest for your own good you give me the InfoCap and disappear out into the crowd in the street. Or else you might find yourself in a difficult situation. Find some thug to take the fall for Clarice’s murder and shut the file. Walk away.”
“I don’t accept bribes.”
“This isn’t a bribe Detective. I’m offering your life in exchange for the Cap.”
“Threatening an officer ..”

Benjamin slammed his fist down on the table.
“You don’t get it. This is big. This is so much bigger than you. I’m guessing someone in the Deparment of Civil Welfare purposely assigned you to this care to get rid of you. Think about that.”

Benjamin clambered out of the booth shooting a filthy look at the feedo sitting at five o’clock. Hartog pushed out and chased after him, stopping at the door, remembering his coat. He pressed at the button as he watched Benjamin cross two lanes of taxis and stopping a taxi in the fast lane. Benjamin was going to the end of the line and fast.

Hartog jabbed at the button again. As Benjamin climbed into the taxi the window slid open and Metal Mickey passed him his coat, adding “Have a nice day.” Pulling his arms through the coat, as he ran out the door, he knocked into an eldery man. He looked up to apologise and froze in recognition

“I’m s-s-so s-s-sorry Cardinal.” He hated it when we stammered.
“Detective Hartog.”
“You drink here?”
“You could say it’s my local. You looked shocked my son.”
“It’s just…”
“I’m a Catholic – not a Puritan. Nothing wrong with a cleansing ale or two. Will you join me.”
“I’m sorry Your Excellency. I’m..”
“Busy I’m sure.”

Hartog stood for a moment longer than necessary, watching Cardinal Ambrosius Tennyson exchange small talk with Fanta from the stool he’d been earlier barred from. Shaking his head, he stepped out into the fading daylight, his stomach growling, calculating the time it was going to take him to reach Dah-Jeerlings.

If you liked The Rain there is more. The first two instalments in the Hartog Series:



Friday, May 29, 2009

[Fiction] Friday: Derby

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for May 29th, 2009:

Put this into your story – “Time out! Time out! We can call that, right?”

This week's story follows on from last week, where we had Detective Hartog investigating the murder of high class call girl Clarice and the mystery of a a strange metal capsule known as an InfoCap.

“Zero one hour and fifteen minutes … and holding.” The bass thundered and the retro nineties dance mash up began, pumping the crowd, who needed no additional priming. But it was tradition.

The semi final bout had brought out a capacity crowd of fanatics and another record bidding match for the broadcasting rights. Hartog had pulled in some big favours to secure the two tickets. He was hoping the gamble paid off.

The ref’s amplified whistle shot outward from the centre of the rink like a line of gun powder racing towards the keg. A cheer exploded from all sides of the stadium as the Jammers, skating ten feet behind the main pack accelerated forward to make their first jam.

The Scarlet Penetrator’s Jammer in her diamante encrusted red tutu and black leather bustier nudged ahead with two huge strides. A naughty peek of ruffled black lace knickers showed, as she bent down. Her fishnet clad legs criss crossed as she cut directly across the path of her rival, tacking for the outer most edge of the pack. Hartog caught a split second flash of the blades on the hubs of her wheels.

His guest beside him remained unnaturally still, in the seething maelstrom of Penetrators supporters, hands folded in his lap, knuckles white in the roaming strobe lights.

The Betty Buster’s Blockers at the centre of the pack, in skimpy lycra nurses get ups barely containing their iconic large breasts, drove at opposing points in the centre of the pack, forcing open a rush space. The Buster’s Jammer hurtled through but was caught at the last moment as the Penetrator’s pivot threw herself against the Buster’s block, forcing both of them into the Jammer’s path.

The Pivot and Block won the battle to stay upright and the pack sped past the fallen Jammer. First blood! It spilt out onto the pristine floor and splattered the white uniform. The howl of protest at the opposite end of the stadium was reflected and amplified on their side by cheers.

“This should be interesting,” Hartog said, leaning into his companion’s ear to ensure he was heard..

The injured Jammer clambered to her feet and after a few wobbling glides, gained her equilibrium. The blood flowing down her leg pooled at the top of her boot and then down the sides, leaving red tracks as she sped towards the pack. The blood slick made the bout even more interesting.

“The lame duck flies again.” Hartog got to his feet and rooted with his arms in faux animation, taking the piss more than finding solidarity among the Penetrator’s fans.

On the opposite side of the rink a Penetrator was down and from the huge real time screen above the score board it was obvious she wouldn’t get up. The tide of blood beneath her was spreading quickly.

The fans were on their feet screaming out in protest and outrage, then in encouragement. Her injuries had the potential to be fatal. The seat beside Hartog was suddenly empty.

“Time out. Time out. You can call that?” He looked hopefully down to Hartog who shrugged his shoulders. “Surely you can call time out. TIME OUT.”
“Shut up dickhead,” the guy two seats up yelled, shoving Dirk’s visitor back down in his chair. “Our girls ain’t pussies.”

Hartog smiled a wry smile which made his mouth look like it was affected by Bells Palsy. He could have chosen to have it repaired – just like the roller derby girls who would be fixed up after the bout and ready to skate the following weekend, but he’d chosen not to have the nerve damage repaired. Gene manipulation, stem cell mechanics, accelerated skin grafting. It was a quick fix society who didn’t tolerate sickness or disfigurement. It meant guys like him could literally wash away the scars – on the outside. He liked to be reminded. And it made others uncomfortable.

Anything and everything could be repaired. You just had to keep the heart pumping long enough. Sometimes the ref’s whistle came too late and all the blood had drained away, the heart stuttering to a heroic end. Or the girls were caught out in the Danger Zone.

“Never been to the blood derby?”
BenJin shook his head with a violence more emphatic than any words he could have mustered. His pale face stood out amid the red faced sea of fanatics surrounding him.
“It’s barbaric.”
“Only if you go down in the first minute and your team mates can’t or don’t want to defend you before you make it to the Blood Zone.”

There had been two reasons to bring BenJin to the blood derby. Firstly he had a penchant for girls in short skirts, legs and big boobs. There was plenty of those here tonight. Secondly he was counting on the sight and smell of the blood to loosen BenJin’s tongue about his sister’s death.

Hartog kept smiling.
“You know they can fix that.” BenJin’s eyes strayed to the massive electronic bill boards encasing the inner fence of the rink, advertising the two major sponsors – leading biomechanical firms.
“I was going to say the same about our razorblade belles there. Just as long as you keep the heart pumping right?”
“I hear the fans show their loyalty in the number of pints they donate.”

Hartog was certain he heard BenJin snort.

The injured Penetrator inched her way across the rink, one hand pressed hard against the gash in her thigh, blood leaking from between her fingers and the other fist clenched, as she used her forearm to brace and drag herself towards the inner sanctum of the rink. The Blood Zone – where she would be able to bleed free of the fear of further injury. If she could make it before the pack returned.

Hartog imagined Clarice had employed the same manoeuvre trying to escape broken and cut up from her attacker. The finger tips on her right hand had been torn – down to the bone on one digit. Soft pink fingers scrambling to make purchase on the coarse grey concrete. Dragging herself away as she bled to a terrified death. Whoever had murdered her had meant her death to be a painful and undignified end.

BenJin shifted in his seat. Hartog was certain BenJin knew enough details of Clarice’s death to be disturbed. He had the technology and the expertise to find out if he wanted to. And Hartog knew BenJin wanted to know.

Hartog could not have shaped the bout more perfectly had he personally scripted it.

“She’s haemorraghing.” The Penetrator’s movements were slowing as the pack sped towards her, the pool of blood behind grew. “Why don’t her team mates do something? Shit.”

Hartog was pleased at how unsettled BenJin was – so early on in the bout too. Team mates, regardless of personality clashes and disparity in corporate sponsorships, kept each other safe in the finals series. The blood letting always happened in the opening rounds when scores were settled and sponsorships were still in flux.

Two Penetrators cut from the pack to run defensive sorties across their injured team mate’s path. There would be no sudden blood in the semi final.

“They both exposed themselves to an unwarranted attack to protect her.” BenJin’s eyes were fixed on the bleeding woman crossing into the blood zone. “You just don’t understand the intricacies BenJin.”

Hartog noted with satisfaction his guest flinched at the use of his name.
“It’s Benjamin. I’m not here in a professional capacity.”
“I thought this was the sort of thing you scum of the earth feedos got off on.”
Hartog put his hand into the inner sanctum of his trademark overcoat and wrapped his fingers around the InfoCap.

“That’s where you braindead coppers don’t understand the different between hype, voyeurism and integrity. Look at any of my news feeds and you’ll know I’m not interested in this -” waving his hands about at the rink “ propaganda of the irrelevant. It’s just another fucking Coliseum.”

Without shifting his eyes from BenJin’s Hartog lay his hand in the feedo’s crotch and allowed his fingers to open like a defiled lotus blossom.
“What the … Shit!” BenJin’s voice softened. “I told her not to.”

Hartog’s fingers closed around the InfoCap.
“Shall we go somewhere quieter to talk.”
BenJin nodded and was on his feet, forcing his way through the baying crowd.

Author's Note: all constructive criticism welcome!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fiction Friday: Hartog

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for May 22nd, 2009

A high-priced prostitute suspects that one of her best customers is falling in love with her."

Hartog stood at the door to the brothel holding the tiny capsule between his bent pointer finger and thumb. He turned it over allowing what little sun penetrated through the smog haze to bounce off what he guessed was titanium covering, then slipped it back into the inner pocket of his jacket.

It was too hot for the jacket but it was one thing Global Warming couldn’t make him give up. Hartog felt naked without it. Hot and smothered in it. Still he wore it. Good thing, he thought as he pressed the buzzer on the intercom.

He spoke before the receptionist could get a word in.

“Detective Hartog here to see your boss. She knows I’m coming.”
“Good morning Detective Hartog.”

So polite. He wondered what she was wearing. He couldn’t help himself. A French maid in vinyl - or leather. After all this was an up market establishment if his research was correct. A flimsy silk nothing with cheeky nipples peeking out at him or a gushing black creation of lace revealing a lush expanse of cleavage.

“I appreciate your enthusiasm for you work Detective, but I will just confirm your appointment with Miss Amanda.”

Damn it! The woman had summonsed him. And here he was loitering at the door like some common Joe. He pulled himself up again. This was an establishment, not a brothel and the door looked like any other door on the strip. He could easily have been waiting for his accountant or lawyer or style guru to buzz him up.

“Thank you for your patience Detective Hartog. Miss Amanda will see you now.”

He glanced at his watch and waited for the door to click. It was a good he’d never had an interest in getting on the Vice and Device team. His mind was too fertile, too active to allow sex and breasts and legs up to here to bleed into his thoughts. Cloud his judgement. Women were always his downfall. Dead was the only way he could cope with them.

The receptionist was waiting for him at the door, in a simple black suit, a flourish of scarlet beneath the jacket. Fumbling with his holographic badge, he mentally dropped kicked himself – caught up in his own fantasies. No lace or leather here. Purely business.
“May I get you something to drink Detective Hartog? Coffee, tea or perhaps something a little stronger?”
“Water will be fine.” He’d given up the hard stuff. His doctor telling him it was booze and an early grave, which for a while had seemed the better option.
“If you take a seat Miss Amanda will be with you in a moment.”

Ten minutes later Miss Amanda appeared in an almost identical black suit, this time with a violet blouse beneath, plunging to unbusinesslike depths beneath the tailored suit jacket. Hartog dragged his eyes from the cleavage and rose from his seat. She towered over him and that was saying something. Even without the heels she was a giant. And he knew, that she knew it.

“I appreciate your expediency Detective,” she said, striding down a corridor to a large, sun drenched office with lush tropical plants at strategic decorating points. “I was just tying up a loose end. I apologise for the wait.

It had to be a trick of lighting. There was never that amount of clean, clear sunshine in the city. Everything was painted in the tawdry shade of pollution – but in here, the den of iniquity it was bright. No shadows dancing in the corner.

Miss Amanda motioned to a spartan leather chair to the side of her desk and settled herself opposite him, a pitcher of water between them and two crystal glasses. No expense here. It was more comfortable than it looked. Many things in this place were more or less than they seemed.

Miss Amanda, the Madame was one point in question. She was neither young nor old. Her dark hair rolled into a timeless French bun at the back of her head and her long legs casually crossed. Neutral make up enhanced her simple beauty. She could have been stunning but she chose not to b.

“I am interested to know how the Clarice’s case is progressing Detective.” She poured and offered him a drink.
“It looks like the case of another whore being cut up.” He took a long gulp at the ice cold water and winced the pain freezing his frontal lobes for a moment.
Miss Amanda uncrossed her legs and lent forward. “My girls are not whores Detective. Let’s get that straight from the beginning. Clarice was one of my highest paid call girls. She has a Masters degree in Engineering and was studying for her PhD.”
“And her death is bad for business.”

Miss Amanda lent back and recrossed her legs. Hartog took out tiny recorder and placed it on the table in between them.
“You don’t mind if I record this conversation.” He couldn’t bring himself to call her Miss Amanda and she didn’t fit the title of Ma’am. And he wasn’t really asking her permission any way.

“Clarice came to me about a month ago and told me she had a problem. It appears one of her clients had taken an unhealthy interest in her.”
“It’s a rather unhealthy business you dabble in.” He narrowed his right eye and looked hard at Miss Amanda – no surname that he could find on the City’s database.
“I told you Detective my girls are not whores. They are paid for services other than sex. They are sought after because they are intelligent and beautiful. Clarice was worried he was falling in love with her. That it would complicate things.”

“Don’t mix love and business hey?” Miss Amanda didn’t bite. She didn’t even twitch. “Who was this client Clarice was upset about.”

Miss Amanda’s eyes lowered and held the warp and weave of her suit pants in her gaze as she contemplated her answer.
“As you can appreciate Detective – my business is of a delicate nature and we normally protect the identity of our clients. But in this case..” she broke off and poured herself a glass of water. Long pale fingers curled around the crystal glass. She drank slowly. “Clarice had a number of high profile friends through our agency.”
“Miss Amanda,” the words fell out his mouth before he could catch them. He felt like he was addressing the old bitch who had taught him third form algebra. “Either you tell me now or I come back with a search and seize warrant.”

“Let me remind you Detective you were invited here for this discussion and that my friends sit in places much higher than you.”
“Touche.” Hartog stood, reaching out for the recorder and turning it off. “Strictly off the record, who was Clarice concerned about.”
“She told me Howard McClean was in love with her.”
“The Minister of Defence!” Hartog sat back down in the warm leather, allowing it to cushion and comfort his skinny frame. “You are telling me the Minister of Defence, the former leader of the Puritan party is one of your clients. That he’s implicated in the murder of a call girl.” Hartog laughed. “I’m sorry Miss Amanda, but I just don’t believe that.”

“Mr McClean has a penchant for smart, witty women. He likes conversation. Clarice was good at conversing. You only have to look at his wife to know he’d be seeking stimulation outside of his marriage.”
“Are we talking double entrendes here?”
Miss Amanda ignored him. “I am suggesting to you Detective that someone got to Clarice as a warning to the Minister. And I imagine that would be of interest to you and your colleagues at the Department of Civil Welfare.”

Hartog turned the recorder back on and placed it on the table between them.
“Was there anything special about Clarice?”
Miss Amanda reached out and switched the recorder off.
“You insult me with such a question Detective. Perhaps I called the wrong person.”

Hartog stood again, slipping the recorder into his deep coat pocket.
“Thank you for your time. I will keep you updated as to the progress of the case. And I do appreciate our little chat.” He emphasised the words, mimicking her faux politeness. Smiling a crooked smile and let himself out before she could get out of her chair.

As he rode down in the elevator he slipped an ear pod in and waited for the phone call. He sat further down the street drinking a bad coffee when the call finally went through.
“They have Hartog on the case.” “Did he mention anything about the InfoCap?” “He said nothing about anything found on the body and I didn’t want to venture with leading questions.” “Did you really think someone like Hartog would whip the InfoCap out onto the table and ask if you knew what it was?” “I did as you asked. I feed him the information. Now what?” “We wait and see. Did he mention Clarice’s brother?” “He’s got no idea. He never mentioned her surname. He thinks it is just another whore being cut up – quote unquote.” “The department would not put Hartog onto a whore slashing. Sit tight. You have done well Amanda.” “My pleasure sir. Would you like me to book you someone for this week.”

Hartog smiled and took the tiny capsule out of his pocket again. So it had a name. An InfoCap. He charged his coffee streaked mug in mock toast to Miss Amanda and waited while his notebook brought up all the information the City’s database had on Clarice, wirelessly programming the last known address for her neurologist brother Benjamin into the NavMan. It was only when the photo of Benjamin came up Hartog smiled with genuine heart for the first day. Benjamin, aka BenJin was the city’s most notorious feedo. The day was getting more interesting by the second.

The recently added part two in the Dirk Hartog series is Derby

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Unsent Letters #8: The Sun

Dear John,
The sun was out today. I took myself out with a book and lay there for hours. It was like I was a depleted battery sucking up the energy. It felt good to be warm again. I took a book out with me but couldn't concentrate. Which doesn't surprise me - I didn't think I would be able to concentrate, but like the sun, it felt good to just hold it in my hand.

Smal touch stones my mother would say. Small things that anchor us in the here and now. Who would have thought she would go all new agey.

I'm sending you some beautiful sun John - breathing the gorgeous rays of light into every word as I write them.

I hope it is warm where you are - somehow.
Love Sissy xxxx

Monday, May 18, 2009

Unsent Letters #7: Parents

Dear John.
I should have known that by some weird 6th sense my parents would have known about yesterday and descended. Which of course they did today.

I tried to assure them I was ok - which was pretty hard given I don't remember the last time I slept for more than two hours at a stretch - nor went to sleep before the small hours of the morning. It seemed I spent more time trying to ease their worries that the reverse. I didn't dare tell them about the police coming over yesterday. It would have really set them off.

What they have done - which hopefully will help with the worry and the stress - Dad will pay the rent until I am back on my feet. I wanted to assure him I would pay ever cent back once I got back on my feet but I just smiled and said thank you. I have no idea when I will get back on my feet.

Mum told me I need to take it one day at a time, one hour, one minute. Sounds like she's been reading some weird Louise Hays stuff - or Buddhist. That sort of stuff is Buddhist isn't it. So I worked at it while they were there. One minute at a time until they were gone.

Mum begged me to come home and stay with them - they were really worried about me and my safety. I told them I want to be in my home, surrounded by my stuff. I don't want to be fussed over. Just left to get on with it as best I can.

They were so careful not to mention you John. After the mail incident I took all the mail and hid it. I should have asked Mum and Dad to take it over to your parents - but I didn't want to put them in that position. I might ask Larissa if she will drop it over to your parents. They will know what to do with it. But at the same time - I don't want to make it any worse for them than it already is.

What would you do John? Would you're parents have fussed and carried on the way mine are now if our places were reverse. If you were here and I was there?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Unsent Letters #6: Anger

Dear John,
I'm angry. They say that it's cathartic. They say that it is good for me. Someone has even tried to tell me that it is a compass and I should look to where it is pointing to get my answers. To find some healing.

Well if my anger is a compass it is pointed squarely at the police.

Two of them turned up here today and stood at the door expecting to be let in. I looked down at the pile of mail growing for you on the table by the door and wanted to scoop it all up and hide it before they came in. But of course there was no time.

They of course stared at it and stared at me. No one made a comment though. It was like there was a huge pink elephant doing the macarena in the loungeroom that everyone pretended wasn't there.

They said they just wanted to ask a few questions. I told them I wasn't feeling up to asking any questions - perhaps they could come back another time. They told me they had been patient up until now and they really had to ask me the questions. I could feel the sear and the crack in my head.

Told them I had a head ache to come back another time but they insisted. So much for community relations.

I don't know why they bothered. I couldn't tell them anything they didn't already know. I don't know what they were expecting. Me to tell the truth or something? Assuming that I actually knew the truth? I have no idea what was going on in your head at the time. I thought maybe they were trying to pin it on me - given they can't get to you. When I kept saying I don't know they treated me like I was being obstructionist - that's the word I'm sure they used. As if I was purposely feigning a mental lapse.

So now they've got nothing more than they had a few hours ago and I've got a head ache which feels likea canyon is cracking open down the middle of my skull. The medication they've given me makes me puke - so it's have the head ache, or try and keep the stuff down long enough to have an effect then hope the vomitting doesn't bring it on again.

Wish I had have known what you would have done in my circumstances. Gone and hid somewhere quietly like when the Jehovah's came around. Remember the dude that knocked on the door the first Sunday we slept at the new place - before there was any furniture and the three of us just drank and passed out on the shag pile carpet? Who puts shag pile down on the floor in the tropics and thinks it's a good idea.

Remember the guy knocked on the door, 'happy first morning in the new house - as per the jehovah's' - he took one look at me and said 'a picture tells a thousand words and I bet you've got a good story to tell.' I don't remember now if I just shut the door in his face of tried a wise crack.

At least I'm smiling now - even though my head hurts!

We were good together - weren't we John. Bad, but so good at it!

Love you
Sissy xxxx