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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Submission #6--DiamondBlack

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Title: DiamondBlack
Genre: Urban Fantasy

To a ghost, telling a lie is like dancing a tango. The one-on-one action is stimulating as hell but an audience makes it even better.

I’d tried getting the truth out of Marv, the recently deceased by playing nice. When that didn’t work, by giving him the stink eye. But he shimmied like a goofy puppy and sported a self-satisfied grin. Time was running out.

Ghosts look as real to me as my living, breathing colleague does. Thorne stirred and uttered a mild curse popular in Australia but otherwise didn’t move. My partner’s frustration wasn’t lost on Marv though. His smile brightened.

“Smallest violin, Di,” Marv said rubbing his thumb and forefinger together. Then he gestured to my fisted hand. “Won’t that smudge your nail polish?”

I forced my hands to relax. “You’re beginning to piss me off,” I said through my teeth.

Marv laughed outright and gave an elaborate bow. His green and red plaid vest hugged his trim waist. “At least you can’t say ‘you’re a dead man if you don’t tell us where the papers are’.”

Thorne fisted his hand then glanced at a slim woman walking us. Her initial interest was probably due to my partner’s blond hair and svelte physique. But the bared teeth made him look a teeny bit postal. She frowned then quickened her steps past the bench where we stood by the hamburger joint. I leveled a stare at Thorne. He shrugged and muttered, “Ratbag piece of…”

I turned back to the ghost who now wore a gray pin-stripe suit.

“Geez, Marv. You’re a regular fashionista,” I said. “Look. Here’s the deal. No more games. Your heir needs the papers. You hid it and I can’t figure why.”

“To keep it safe.” Marv’s voice held a twinge of anxiety.


I nodded. “To keep it safe. Yes. And you did a fantastic job, keeping the document safe from those creeps.”

“They killed me.”

Marv’s suit had turned into a dark blue polo shirt and tan slacks, a style more like what he’d worn when he was alive. A maroon logo, Rainaire Industries, decorated the left side of the shirt.

I patted his shoulder as he stood with head bowed. “They didn’t get what they wanted though did they?”

He barked a short laugh. “For sure they didn’t. No Will. No papers. No inheritance. Zip.”

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blankenship.louise said...

>To a ghost, telling a lie is like dancing a tango. The one-on-one action is stimulating as hell but an audience makes it even better.

(shrugs) sorry, that one shot right by me.

>Time was running out.

so why was Di wasting time being nice and giving stinkeyes?

>uttered a mild curse popular in Australia

Don't be shy. And don't make the reader stop and guess.

>Won’t that smudge your nail polish?

Really? Quick-dry polish came out decades ago.

>slim woman walking us

missing words?

Your dialogue... when two people both know what they're talking about, they don't refer to it directly. Which is a PITA, but it's the difference between dialogue that rings true and dialogue that doesn't. Luckily, the hole in the dialogue created by that thing they both know about can be used to intrigue the reader.

"Where are the papers, Marv?"
"They're safe."
"So safe they're screwing everyone over!"

... or whatever. I hope this is helpful, because I'll be honest and say this bit didn't grab me. I'm a little curious why Marv keeps changing his outfit, but I wouldn't keep reading.

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

I like the flow of this. I like how the mc is shown to be imperfect yet likeable. The tension of the scene feels as though it's building to something ...that we can't get to cause of the 400 word restraint damn it!
The only glitch I had was that I kept stumbling on the phrase "fisted hand". You use it a couple of times. I think the more, maybe popular isn't a good term, but more recognizable (?) wording would be clenched fist. I honestly had to re-read that sentence a few times to figure out what you were describing. It just feels a little awkward considering how smooth everything else is.
Overall I really enjoyed it! I would read on!