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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Interview of Fiction Characters by Fiction Character – Part 16

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

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.

Cheers.

Sharon A.Crawford

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Interview of Fiction Character by Fiction Character – Part 15

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.

          Elmore Leonard

Today, Bast Overture, the crime reporter turned PI interviews one of C.U. Fly’s clients, Guido “Ratty” Rattali, a self-professed blackmailer. How Bast found out about this client is how anybody else would. He read “The Couch” the first story in my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012).

Ratty slinks into the room. He’s dragging his dirty beighe trench coat, half off, behind him. He looks around the room.

Ratty: Hey, buddy, where’s Old Horsehair. Ya know, that couch. C.U. let me collapse there.

Bast: Sorry that couch is buried in the short story of its name. Please sit in one of these padded chairs. They are quite comfortable.

Ratty: Jeez. I don’t know if I can manage a chair. It’s the arthritis you know.

Bast (looking at him as if not believing what he’s hearing). You can stand. Suit yourself.

Ratty walks slowly to the chair the furthest away from Bast, lifts up the back of his coat, and eases himself into the chair.

Ratty: So whata you wanta with me? My dealings with C.U. are confidential, ya know.

Bast: I know. I’m just interested in your impressions of C.U. Fly and how you hooked up with…

Ratty: I didn’t hook up with C.U. We met ata one of them business networking events in downtown Toronto a few years ago. I was alooking ya know for someone to handle my confidential business and C.U. was alooking for clients.

Bast: So you clicked?

Ratty: Ya could say that.

Bast: What was your first impression of C.U.?

Ratty (looks around as if to check no one is hiding in the room. He notices Bast’s tape recorder for the first time): Hey what’s dat? Ya aren’t taping me.

Bast: Just for accuracy.

Ratty: Turn the damn thing off or I’m outa here.

Bast: Very well (hits a button on the recorder). I repeat, what was your first impression of C.U.?

Ratty: Kinda naive, but in a nica way. C.U. was willing to ya know, help me with shall we say certain parts a my business.

Bast: You mean the blackmailing.

Ratty: Now cut it out. What did I say?

Bast: Okay, okay. Tell me how the couch fit in.

Ratty: Well, CU. let us sit or lie on the couch, sorta like talking to a shrink.

Bast: But isn’t the couch itchy? It is made of horsehair after all. And didn’t it make you sneeze?

Ratty: So what? I said I have arthritis. Jeez. Are you sure you don’t have Old Horsehair hiding around here? Maybe in that room? (He points to a closed door at the back of the room, eases his ass up off the chair and starts barrelling for that far door.)

Bast jumps up and chases after him.

Bast: I thought you said you have arthritis.

Ratty: Maybe I a lied. Heh. Heh.

Bast catches up with him and steers him back to the table and chairs. Ratty will have none of it.

Ratty: I gotta go. Business ya know.

He sneers and slinks out the main door. His trench coat is dragging behind him on the floor. He is heard to mutter, “Where is Old Horsehair?”

 You can read more about Ratty 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 – all September events. The next one is this evening September 19 where Sharon A. will host the Canadian Authors Association Toronto branch season opener of readings at the Victory Café in Toronto. Sharon A. will also be reading at both events. More information on these and other September 2013 gigs, go to http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

Next week Bast interviews three more clients of C.U. Fly – two eccentric sisters and their sort of shared dog, Brutus.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Interview of Fiction Character by Fiction Character – Part 14

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.

          Isaac Asimov

For the next few weeks Bast will be stepping into his area for interviews as he tackles the people connected to a too successful private detective agency from the short story “The Couch,” the first story in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, 2012).  Today, he talks to the secretary, Annie Everglades.

Bast: Sit down Ms Everglades or may I call you “Annie.”

Ms Everglades: Ms Everglades will do. I don’t like to get too familiar with people, if you know what I mean.

Bast (looking at Annie who is wearing a tight short dress and five-inch heels): No worries there. I’m gay.

Ms. Everglades: Oh, okay, Annie will work if you wish.

Bast: Good. Now, I understand you work for a very busy PI Agency. How did you come to work there?

Annie: Simple. I answered an ad in one of the Toronto dailies.

Bast: I see. Okay, can you tell me what your PI Agency handles?

Annie: A little bit of everything, but mainly adulterous spouses, jewel robberies, blackmail, con artists, even dognappings and the occasional murder. We keep busy.

Bast: That’s for sure. Okay, your boss is somewhat of an anomaly for a PI – age mid-twenties and running a very successful business. Can you tell me something about C.U. Fly and what’s the secret to success?

Annie: Just being C.U. Fly.

Bast: What does that mean?

Annie: Well, Fly is a real go-getter and is good at listening. Comes from the background. Fly used to listen to everyone’s problems when growing up, even Mom. And Fly once told me that the psychiatric route didn’t cut it – too much schooling I suspect.

Bast: But you have a couch in the office.

Annie (sighing): You got that right and it’s been a blessing and a nuisance. Clients seem to gravitate towards it and well, I guess it helps to loosen their lips.

Bast: But you’ve had or have some shady and unusual clients, like Brutus the dog and Ratty…

Annie: Don’t mention those two. That dog has chewed away at the arm of the couch and Ratty, well his name says it all, doesn’t it?

Bast: So, I gather you are not too happy with that couch.

Annie: Well, it’s made of horsehair and it itches.

Bast: But you wanted to get rid of it, didn’t you?

Annie: That was C.U. moving it down to the basement – the clients complained, so it had to be moved back upstairs.

Bast: I repeat. You wanted to get rid of it, didn’t you? You gave your boss an ultimatum?

Annie: I suppose so.

Bast: How did all those clients affect you? Did you have to do any of the PI work or?

Annie: C.U. took care of that – surveillance, interviews – some at clients’ places, but most here. I just took notes and typed up the reports on my laptop.

Bast: I see. Now about all those clients, didn’t your boss come up with a unique way to decrease the number of clients?

Annie. C.U. did have me send out notices about downsizing.

Bast: But that didn’t go over very well, so what else did your boss do?

Annie: That would be telling. Anyone who wants to find out will just have to buy Beyond the Tripping Point and read about it. Now, if you’ll excuse me. I have to go. Work calls.

Annie stands up, smoothes down her short skirt and clicks out in her five-inch heels.

You can read more about Annie Everglades and her boss C.U. Fly 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 will be taking Beyond the Tripping Point to several readings and even using it in a workshop she will be teaching with Brian Henry – all September events. The next two are this Saturday, Sept.14, 2013 at Du Café in Toronto, where Sharon will host a Murder and Mayhem reading by Crime Writers of Canada members and Thursday, September 19 where Sharon A. will host the Canadian Authors Association Toronto branch season opener of readings at the Victory Café in Toronto. Sharon A. will also be reading at both events. More information on these and other September 2013 gigs, go to http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Interview of Fiction Character by Fiction Character – Part 13

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

The scariest moment is always just before you start.

 – Stephen King

Today Bast is hoping to interview Lilly Clark, the mother of Trish who was interviewed last week. Trish avoids the limelight but Trish promised she would persuade her mother to show up for a brief interview. Bast and Trish have been exchanging texts on the progress Trish has made getting mom to come to the interview.

Note: Trish and Lilly Clark are the main characters in “Unfinished Business” one of the 13 stories in Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012).

Bast’s I-phone buzzes.

Text from Trish: Mom’s coming. See u in 5.

Five minutes later, Trish and Lilly enter the room.

Bast (extends his hand): Bast Overture. Good to meet you Lilly. Have a seat.

Lilly (remains standing): I prefer to stand. And Trish has to stay.

Bast: Hm. Okay, but the interview is with you.

Lilly: I understand. Trish is only here for moral support.

Bast (leans over the table and turns on the recorder): Okay. But feel free to sit down if you wish.

Lilly (points to the recorder): What is that? I don’t want you recording any of this. What are you going to do with it? You’re not going to put it online are you?

Bast: Very well. (He hits the power off button). Now, Lilly, tell me something about your background. You grew up in Toronto, in the east end?

Lilly: Yes.

Bast: Did you have any siblings? I’m asking because your daughter mentioned she wanted to know about your background?

Lilly: Well, she already knows now. I had no brothers and sisters just my parents.

Bast: Sounds like you wish you had a sibling?

Lilly (shrugs): I don’t know.

Bast: Do you think if you had a brother for instance that things would have been different when you were 12?

Lilly: I don’t want to talk about it.

Trish interrupts: Mom, you said you would. And remember what the therapist said – it is part of your heeling. Sorry, Bast. I’ll keep quiet.

Lilly: Very well. I think I’ll sit down now. (She sits down and so does Bast). Maybe a big brother would have helped. Maybe with a big brother that awful er “thing” wouldn’t have happened.

Bast: Do you want to talk about that awful thing?

Lilly: Not really.

Trish interrupts again: That would be telling the reader. Oops sorry. I’ll shut up.

Lilly: Yes, the reader does have a sort of intimate relationship with me when he or she reads my story, so spinning it out in my story for the reader I guess is okay. But I can’t talk about it in an interview.

Bast: Fine. So, let’s talk about the after effects. You moved around the US and Canada a lot. Can you explain why?

Lilly: Well, obviously because of what happened. But in therapy I’m learning that I was acting “normally” for someone in my position. I was trying to block out, run away from what happened because if I could block it out then maybe it never happened. But it isn’t like that at all. It followed me around and I had to return to Toronto. My parents were both dead by now and Trish was turning 12 and I kept thinking what if something like that happened to her?

Bast: And you had to confront this because your demon showed up? How did this affect you?

Lilly: I think it scared me but it also shook me up. No way was that creep going to hurt Trish. So I faced him and I think in doing so, I started to get it out of my system.

Bast: Sort of mother protecting the cub?

Trish snorts.

Lilly: Of course. A mother will do what she has to do for her child even though she won’t…won’t do it for herself. (She starts crying). Sorry.

Bast: That’s okay. One more question. And I’m going to apologize ahead of time, but I have to ask. Do you forgive your parents for not being there for you?

Lilly stares right at Bast. No. Never. (She stands up.) Come on Trish. We are out of here.

You can read more about Trish Clark and her mother Lilly Clark 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 will be taking Beyond the Tripping Point to several readings and even using it in a workshop she will be teaching with Brian Henry – all September events. For Sharon A.’s September 2013 gigs, go to http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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