Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.
– Gustave Flaubert
Bast Overture takes on the hoity-toity Madame Honor Rita Lanscombe, her widowed sister-in-law Amelia and “their” dog, Brutus. II. These characters are some of the questionable clients of private investigator C.U. Fly in “The Couch,” one of 13 short stories in Sharon A. Crawford’s collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, October 2012). Bast gets more than his share of the unexpected when these three come through the doorway.
The door opens suddenly and a huge husky dog charges in, looks a Bast and begins growling.
Honor Rita: Down Brutus. (She grabs the dog’s collar). Sit. (Brutus sits but keeps a wary eye on Bast). Sorry, about that. He’s a bit rambunctious.
Amelia: So that’s what you call it when you claim he is your dog.
Honor Rita: Well, he is.
Amelia: No Brutus is mine and Karl’s.
Honor Rita (turning up her nose): Karl is dead so I don’t think he has a say in the matter.
Amelia: How dare you? I’ve just lost my husband and you dishonour him.
Honor Rita: Well, he did lose…
Bast (raising his hands): Ladies, please. Let’s keep this civil.
Brutus, baring his teeth: Woof. Woof. Growl. Growl.
Bast: You, too, Brutus. Pipe down.
Honor Rita: Where’s C.U.? I thought this was a session with our Private Investigator.
Bast: C.U. will be here next week…alone. I told you over the phone that I’m another PI and…
Amelia: We don’t want to change PIs.
Bast: I realize that. I just want to try to understand some of your shenanigans in “The Couch.”
At the word “couch” Brutus gets up and starts prowling around the room as if looking for a long-lost friend.
Honor Rita: Now you’ve done it. He’ll keep circling around looking for that damn couch. It’s his favourite you know.
Bast: Why? So he can chew on it. I understand he wore out a patch on one of the arms of the couch.
Amelia: So what? That’s what dogs do? Where is the couch anyway?
Bast: You’ll have to ask C.U. or Annie Everglades. As you can see it’s not here. Now ladies…and er, doggie, I have a question about your association with C.U. Fly.
Honor Rita: That’s client confidentiality. You as a private eye should know that.
Bast: True, but that’s not what I meant. I’m just wondering how you came to hire C.U. in the first place.
Honor Rita: C.U. Fly was recommended by one of my friends. She hired C.U. for something shall we say discreet and it was kept discreet. We don’t even know what it was.
Amelia: Oh for goodness sake sister-in-law. Her husband was cheating on her and she wanted to catch him and the other woman in the act.
Bast: Ladies. Okay, okay. I know that wasn’t your business with C.U. But without going into details about what, I understand the two of you ended hiring C.U. on a long-term basis.
Brutus: Woof. Woof.
Bast: And you, too Brutus, for dog-sitting I believe
Amelia: Hey, client confidentiality.
Honor Rita: She’s right. I think we better leave.
The ladies get up. Brutus gives a final growl at Bast and follows the ladies out the door. Bast scratches his head.
Bast: What was that all about?
You can read more about Honor Rita, Amelia, Brutus II and other clients of C.U. Fly in Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search/?keywords=Beyond%20the%20Tripping%20Point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy.
Sharon A. Crawford continues to take Beyond the Tripping Point to several readings and even using it in a workshop she will be teaching with Brian Henry this Saturday, Sept. 28. For more information on this event go to http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html October events will be up there shortly. But meantime go to the Crime Writers Association of Canada website http://crimewriterscanada.com/eventsnews/authorevents/month.calendar/2013/10/26/-and check their calendar of events for October. Some are posted there
Next week Bast interviews C.U. Fly.