Nothing so fretful, so despicable as a Scribbler, see what I am, & what a parcel of Scoundrels I have brought about my ears, & what language I have been obliged to treat them with to deal with them in their own way – all this comes of Authorship.
– George Gordon, Lord Byron
Bast Overture is still missing. His fraternal twin Dana Bowman is determined to find him. She has decided to interview everyone Bast interviewed from some of the short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, Oct. 2012). Last week she talked to Chrissie, the main character in “Missing in Action” and we know how well that went. She had planned to interview Detective Larry Hutchinson again but he isn’t returning her calls. So, today she is talking to Todd, Chrissie’s co-worker at the Ontario Government.
Dana sits in the Thurston library boardroom. She is staring at the abstract painting on the far wall and shaking her head.
Dana: I just don’t get it.
Dana swings around: Sorry, I didn’t hear you come in. You must be Todd.
Todd: That’s correct. Chrissie emailed that you wanted to see me.
Dana: Yes, and as she might have told you or perhaps you found out through the media, my fraternal twin brother Bast Overture disappeared from this room right after interviewing Detective Larry Hutchinson.
Todd: So, what does that have to do with me? I wasn’t here then.
Dana: True. But Bast did interview you before and you are involved with the sequence of events in “Missing in Action.”
Todd: Well I work with Chrissie and I could see she was upset.
Dana: So you started following her around and…
Todd: Who told you this?
Dana: Todd, I’m not stupid. I’ve read Sharon A. Crawford’s story “Missing in Action” so I know exactly what you did and didn’t do. (She glares at him). Do we understand each other?
Todd: Yes, but…
Dana: No “buts,” or “ifs” or “ands” either. Just honest communication. I’m not here to get you into anymore shall we say difficulties, unless you had something to do with my brother’s disappearance.
Todd: I don’t know anything about your brother’s disappearance. He was fine when he interviewed me and still here when I left.
Dana: I know that, if for no other reason than he interviewed Detective Hutchinson after you.
Todd: Then why don’t you speak to him again?
Dana: Oh, I will. But now I’m speaking with you and I’d like some co-operation. Now, to answer my question – you started to follow Chrissie around right after she got that cryptic email alleged to be coming from her long lost cousin Robbie Stuart.
Todd: Who isn’t lost anymore as you probably know from reading the story. Why don’t you talk to him?
Dana: I will, but today, right now I’m talking to you, so answer my question.
Todd: Yes, I was following Chrissie. Like I said…
Dana: Oh screw, what you said. You had another reason besides Chrissie’s welfare. Never mind that now. Remember I read the story too. What I want to know is this: are you still following her around?
Todd: No. Should I be?
Dana: I wouldn’t know that. Okay, let’s go to something else. (She turns to look at the far wall and points to the abstract painting). What can you tell me about that painting on the wall?
Todd: What painting?
Dana: Oh come on, Todd, don’t be dense. The abstract painting on the far wall – look straight ahead where I’m pointing.
Todd: I just see a bare wall.
Dana. Christ. Okay, Todd, we’re going to take a little walk to the end of this room and look at the wall.
Dana and Todd get up and walk to the wall. Todd shrugs his shoulders.
Dana (pointing to the painting): Now Todd, tell me what you see.
Todd: A blank light green wall. No painting. Sorry.
Dana: Oh for Christ’s sake. Chrissie saw it; even Detective Hutchinson saw it. It scared Chrissie right out of this room. Didn’t she tell you that?
Todd: No. We’re not speaking.
Dana: That must be fun. I mean with the two of you working together.
Todd: I’ve been moved to a different office, different section.
Dana: I see.
Todd: Just until I’m cleared. I still have a job. I didn’t want to upset Chrissie.
Dana: That’s rich. You already upset her a lot.
Todd: Look. You don’t understand. I cared…care for Chrissie.
Dana: That must be awkward with all that’s happened.
Todd shrugs his shoulders: So, you can’t help who you care for.
Dana: I agree. Now one more question…for now. When following Chrissie around, what was she doing?
Todd: I said I wasn’t following her around now…
Dana: Todd, the truth.
Todd: Oh all right. I keep an eye on her – for her own safety. She’s been doing nothing out of the ordinary – going to work and returning home. Visiting her cousin Robbie – a lot of that recently. Going out to dinner – with Robbie and girlfriends. Not much else.
Dana: You must be watching her almost 24/7. Has she noticed?
Todd: That’s two questions. And enough. I have to go.
Dana: Fine. But I may call on you again.
He gets up and leaves the room. Dana gets up and walks back to the abstract painting. She runs her fingers lightly across it.
Dana: What the hell is it with you and why can’t I see it?
You can read more about the characters and their stories in from 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://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.
See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html
Sharon A. Crawford