The World Mystery Convention, Bouchercon, is in St. Louis this weekend, September 15-18, and that seems like a great time to re-post these excerpts from a short story.
Way back in 1980 I took a fiction writing class at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville taught by Lloyd Kropp, and my final project was a short story that, frankly, doesn't live up the the promise of it's first two and a half pages. Those first pages, though, are worth posting here.
It was 10:30 by the time I felt sufficiently revived to venture out of the office into the streets. The first place I went was to the bank where I cashed a check for $100. From there I made my way to a barber shop where a saint with scissors managed to get me looking somewhat respectable.
The next stop was a Goodwill resale store where I picked out a sort of cliche movie detective outfit: dark suit, tan overcoat, and a battered but not beaten fedora. I was hoping that Curt would get the joke. I returned to the office where I changed into my getup. Things had been going well and showed every sign of continuing that way.
When I called the public library to ask for information about Ramiland, I was connected to a very friendly and helpful librarian who sounded like she'd be a lot of fun when she wasn't being a librarian. She didn't know anything off hand about Ramiland but told me that she could locate some sources for me if I wanted to come by and pick them up. I told her that was fine and told myself not to get too excited about the librarian. She was probably about 70-years-old and most likely had a figure like a baby elephant.
She wasn't and she didn't, I found out when I got over to the library. We had a pretty good time talking and she thought my detective outfit was as amusing as it was supposed to be. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to make it out to a club sometime in the very near future. The only sources she had been able to find were articles in two magazines, which she handed over to me with a wink.
And here, dear reader, my story grinds to an expository halt never to recover, except for this brief passage:
It was around 2:00 when I finished reading. The librarian I took the magazines back to was 70-years-old and did have the figure of a baby elephant. She had a pretty voice and I was in a good mood so I flirted with her for a little bit. We didn't exchange phone numbers, though, and I didn't even get a wink.