Sunday, April 29, 2018

Ain't Nuthin' But a Number


I’m a music fan. Whether it’s classic rock, blues, jazz, swing or big bands, I enjoy a variety of genres.  And that variety often comes into play with my writing. I’ve been known to dial up a certain type of music to help set the mood for a scene.  Something slow and romantic like Sinatra, Van Morrison or Diana Krall can fit the bill when passion is in the works. For action, it’s more likely something with a driving rhythm will be blasting from the speakers.

Hey, whatever works.

There’s a scene in the upcoming “Your Turn to Die” that’s a perfect example. Chene and Simone are having a quiet moment, where he’s telling a story from his past.  During the conversation, Chene makes the comment ‘I am so going to hell’ in reference to his behavior at the time.

When I was writing that segment, a heavy metal classic by AC/DC was on the air. Some people are surprised to learn that I’m still a big fan of rock music.  I merely shrug and respond in the voice of Pappy Cantrell: ‘age ain’t nuthin but a number’. Usually I remind them that The Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen and many other rock and roll giants who are all qualified for their AARP cards are still performing today. 

To prove that point, here’s a little video that crossed my radar today.  Just remember, you can’t tell a book by the cover.



With that in mind, here’s an excerpt from “Fleeing Beauty”.  In this scene, Jamie, -her mother Vera and her step-father Bert, are at the studio when one of the art experts arrives to appraise the collection of her late father’s sculptures.

“This is Nicholas Cullen.”

 I remembered the background on Cullen. He seemed too young to be an art expert. Actually he looked more like a surfer. He was tall and lanky, with bleached out hair that swept over the collar of his suit. There was several days’ stubble on his cheeks and chin. Or maybe he only shaved once a month, whether he needed to or not. According to the biography, Cullen was from California. He currently represented two museums and a number of galleries along the Pacific Coast. What surprised me was when he saw Vera. 

“Vee, darling, it has been ages!” 

“Nicky, is that you? I had no idea you were going to be here.” 

Bert appeared beside me. Together we watched Vera and Cullen give faux hugs and kisses and chatter away about socialites they had in common. Eventually he took a portfolio and clutching Vera’s elbow, went to view the collection. 

“How could she not realize this guy was going to be here?” I muttered to Bert. 

“You don’t think she really read any of that background do you? Vera trusts Banning to do the dirty work. She also knew that you and I were going to be here. There was no reason for her to do any heavy lifting.” 

“I’m glad we did. And I’m also glad you’re here, Bert. Even if this feels uncomfortable for you. Your opinion means a lot to me.” 

He winked at me. “Actually, Vera asked me to be here too. I don’t know what her reasons were, but I let her believe I was doing it as a favor.” 

“You didn’t mention that I asked you too?” 

“What, and pass up having Vera owe me?”

 I looked at him closely. “You rat. She came in yesterday. You had another booty call.” 

Bert looked away and adjusted his tie. “I refuse to comment. And what your mother and I did or didn’t do in the privacy of her hotel suite is none of your business.” 

“I don’t believe you for a minute,” I said, biting back a laugh. 

“Just don’t ask me to explain the location of certain rug burns.” 

“Are those on you, or on Vera?” 

He winked at me again. “Yes.” 

“Whatever. I just hope she doesn’t have to pay for the damages.”

Here's a shot of what Bert and Vera might look like.

 

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