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.
Sharon A. Crawford