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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fiction Characters Interviewing Fiction Characters – Part 33

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short  story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

If in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns

                         RAYMOND CHANDLER

Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding, Detective Larry Hutchinson, Doris Bowman, and Dana Bowman (all from various stories in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford) sit and huddle around the end of the Thurston library boardroom table. They are staring at the photos and list that Aunt Doris dumped out of an envelope.

Fielding and Hutchinson are wearing latex gloves.

Dana: Where did these come from?

Doris: I told you I don’t know. They just arrived in the mail.

Fielding: Give me the envelope.

Doris hands it over. Fielding and Hutchinson scrutinize it. Dana tries to horn in and when she can’t see it she stands up and leans over Fielding’s shoulder.

Hutchinson:  The stamp isn’t cancelled and there is nothing to indicate it was put in the mail. Mrs. Bowman he turns to Aunt Doris), was this with the regular mail in your mailbox?

Doris: Yes, I think so. I remember the phone bill came the same day and some junk mail.

Fielding: What time does your mail arrive?

Doris: anytime between 10 a.m. and noon.

Fielding: Do you remember what time it arrived that day and what day was it?

Doris: Three days ago, same day I received that phone call on my land line. I brought in the mail just before noon, right after that phone call which came through about 11.40, 11.45 a.m.

Hutchinson: Did you hear anyone at your mailbox?

Doris: I suppose so; I don’t remember.

Dana: Think, Aunt Doris. This is important.

Hutchinson: Ms Bowman, the police are conducting this interview.

Dana: It’s my brother who is missing and unless my eyes are mistaken that is him in those photographs.

Fielding: Very well. Mrs. Bowman, please answer the question.

Doris: What was the question?

Dana: Aunt Doris, don’t be coy. Did you hear anyone at your mailbox that morning? And don’t ask what morning?

Doris: I know what morning it was. And…wait a minute. I was getting another cup of coffee  around 11. 30 or so and was just heading for the kitchen when I did hear something at the mailbox. And I remember thinking that’s funny because I had heard the mailman drop something in just after 10. And I know it was the mailman that time because I looked out the kitchen window and saw him walking down the driveway.

Fielding: And you didn’t check the mail then.

Doris: No. My neighbour was banging on my back door.

Fielding: You didn’t mention her before, Mrs. Bowman.

Doris: It slipped my mind. I am an old woman. And it wasn’t a she, but Mr. Crankshaw, come over to find out if I had seen his cat, Merde.

Dana: Merde? That’s French for…

Doris: I know what it means. But that’s his cat’s name and very appropriate. The little rascal is always in my flower garden leaving little deposits and spraying around.

Hutchison, smiling: It’s called marking their territory. My wife’s cat does the same, but fortunately in our backyard. Now how long did Mr. Crankshaw stay at your door?

Doris: Just a few minutes. Once I told him I hadn’t seen his cat and I better not or it would be sorry, and he started ranting at me about being a bad neighbour, I slammed the door in his face.

Hutchinson: And he left right then.

Doris: Of course. He knows better than to mess with me.

Hutchinson: Did you see him leave?

Doris: I heard his footsteps but when I looked out my kitchen window I saw him heading around the side so I guess he was going back to his place.

Hutchinson, turning to Fielding: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Fielding: Yes. Now Mrs. Bowman, how long has Mr. Crankshaw lived there, how old is he and…

Dana: Just a minute, Fielding. What about these photos of my brother?  Don’t they show that he is still alive?

Fielding: Ms Bowman, we have to cover all the angles.

Dana; I know that. But let’s look at what we have here and then you can deal with Mr. Crankshaw. Hey, you can even go up to Barrie and work with their police department to question him. Maybe he saw something.

Fielding, looks at Hutchinson, who nods. Very well Ms Bowman, let’s look at the photos.

Hutchinson: Try not to touch them, although we’ll have to eliminate your fingerprints.

Doris: Well, you have them already back when Dana’s house was broken into.

Dana: Can you move over Fielding, so I can sit in between the two of you and see the photos?

Doris: And what about me?

Dana: You’ve seen them already.

Doris: But I might have something valuable to say about them.

Hutchinson: Ladies, please. We can all look at them, just not touch.

Fielding picks up the first photo of the three.

Dana: That’s Bast all right. But what is he doing. He just seems to be sitting there staring at the camera.

Fielding: It would appear he is in a room, perhaps where he is being held.

Dana: Oh, so you now figure he has been kidnapped. But there has been no ransom note.

Fielding: No.

Dana: He doesn’t look well, like he’s sleep-deprived. Fielding, you have to do something. Can’t you trace these photos?

Fielding, turning over the photo: There is a photographer listed here – a C.W. Swan Photographer, Barrie, Ontario. No phone number though.

Dana hauls out a piece of paper and pen from her purse and starts scribbling: Good, that’s a start. We can check 411 and…

Hutchinson, waving his arms around: Just a minute, Ms. Bowman. This is police business.

Dana: It’s my brother who is missing. Do I have to keep reminding you of that?

Fielding and Hutchinson: Ms Bowman…

Doris: Quiet. I may have something. There’s a Cory Swan who lives across the street from me and I believe he is a photographer.

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 Sharon A. Crawford’s 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.

Sharon A. is teaching Getting Your Memoir off the Ground Workshop, Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Details at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/SpeakersBureau.html

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Fiction Character Interviewing Fiction Character – Part 32

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

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

A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise because that is how life is – full of surprises

          Isaac Bashevis Singer

         

Since Fielding’s startling news about Aunt Doris’ disappearance, Dana Bowman has kept her son David close to her where possible and arranged with Fielding to have a police car parked outside her house. David appears to be the only family member besides herself who is still around and Dana is worried. However, this morning she received a pay phone call from one of the missing family members, requesting a meeting in the library boardroom. Dana persuaded the constable in the car to come inside to keep watch on David as she didn’t trust what might happen to him if she brought him with her because of that abstract painting on the wall. So, Dana now sits in the boardroom waiting for someone from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, Oct. 2023), Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection.

The door opens. Dana swings around from her seat at the table.

Dana: Good. You made it okay. Were you followed? And where have you been?

Aunt Doris sits down: One thing at a time, please. I’m an old woman. I don’t think I was followed. Look, you know I’m not a fan of your brother, but when things affect Ronald’s (Note: Dana’s ex-husband) son, I have to do something.

Dana: Like disappear for a few days? Where were you?

Doris, lowering her voice: I hid out in a hotel – I’m not saying where.

Dana: Why? And how does this all affect David?

Aunt Doris, scowling her face into its gargoyle look: Things haven’t been normal lately.

Dana sighs: Tell me about it. Now, David.

Aunt Doris waves a hand: Let me tell this. First there were all those calls supposedly from your brother on my cell. But when I picked up there was no one there.

Dana: Fielding did mention that and that your cell is missing.

Aunt Doris: Still is. But now they’ve gotten into my land line? And that’s why I disappeared – so they wouldn’t find me and to think.

Dana: And you didn’t think to call me or the police at least?

Doris: I thought they would get to David. They said not to call the police.

Dana: Who are they, Aunt Doris?

Aunt Doris shrugs: I don’t know. But this time they left a message about David.

Dana, leaning towards Doris: What message? What did they say?

Aunt Doris: That David is next. Don’t call the police or David will be sorry.

Dana, her heart starting to beat fast: And?

Aunt Doris: That’s it. Is David going to disappear too? I don’t want him to go through all that again. You’re his mother so you need to do something.

Dana: I need more information than that. Did you recognize the voice? Man or woman?

Aunt Doris: I don’t know. It was muffled.

Dana: Have you told Fielding?

Aunt Doris: I did decide to call from a pay phone just before I came here. He wasn’t there so I had to leave a detailed message for him in his voice mail. I kept his number that you gave me last year when David went missing…  But I am here now.

Dana: Hm. What aren’t you telling me Aunt Doris? You are being too co-operative with me and I don’t think it’s just concern for David.

Aunt Doris hems and haws.

Dana: Aunt Doris. As you pointed out, David’s security is at risk. Now spit it out.

Aunt Doris: Well, I never. You don’t need to be rude. Very well.

Aunt Doris opens her purse and hauls out an envelope which appears to be stuffed to its limits.

Dana: What’s this?

Aunt Doris: I’m coming to it. This came in the mail the same day as they called about David.

Aunt Doris dumps out the envelope. The contents appear to be some photos and a typed sheet of what looks like some list. Dana leans over to get a better look.

Dana: What is all this?

The door bursts open. Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding and Detective Larry Hutchinson rush in.

Fielding: We’d like to know too. Hand it over.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

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, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html  

 

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Fiction Character Interviewing Fiction Character – Part 31 – Fielding

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

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

Dana Bowman had planned to interview Lilly Clarke of  “Unfinished Business” from Sharon A. Crawford’s short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, Oct. 2012), but Lilly hasn’t returned Dana’s calls. Meantime, Dana has been into Cooks Regional Police Headquarters to look at all the surveillance tapes of someone using Bast’s debit card at ATMs and a short selected video of that is now out in the media. The only thing definite about the person caught on the tapes is that it is not her brother Bast. Now Dana has received an urgent call from Detective Sergeant Fielding and he is meeting her today in the Thurston Public Library boardroom.

Fielding enters the room, nods at Dana, sits down, opens his briefcase and hauls out a laptop which he turns on.

Dana: And good morning to you, too. What have we here?

Fielding: I’m asking the questions today. But have a look here.

Fielding swings the laptop around towards Dana. She leans in to take a look.

Dana: What are all these numbers?

Fielding: Phone numbers – all to and from your brother’s cell phone. I need you to take a look and see if any are familiar to you, particularly that one (He points), which is repeated 12 times from Bast’s cell and eight times to Bast’s cell.

Dana: No, the number doesn’t sound familiar. Let me check my cell’s list of saved numbers…Nope. Is it a burner number?

Fielding: Probably.

Dana: Oh come on, Fielding.

Fielding: Very well, yes a burner phone. Our IT is working on it. Now please check through the remaining numbers.

Dana: Fine. Oh, this one looks familiar. Just a sec and I’ll check my phone list. Aunt Doris? Her cell phone. What was Bast doing calling her and I see she called him back – six times. Fielding, what is going on? You’re not insinuating Aunt Doris had something to do with Bast’s disappearance? She and Bast aren’t best buds but Aunt Doris is old school and committing crime is not her style.

Fielding: Understood. We have contacted her and…

Dana: And you didn’t think to let me know?

Fielding: At first she had nothing to say – she hadn’t heard from Bast. We called her on her land line by the way. Then she called back and said she couldn’t find her cell phone. That was timed with when the calls to and from her cell number started.

Dana: Again, I repeat…you didn’t think to tell me?

Fielding: I’m telling you now.

Dana: Yeah, but those calls started two weeks ago. When did you actually talk to her?

Fielding: A number of times. Right after Bast disappeared and then one of my detectives called her back about once a week to check in.

Dana: And you used her land line for all these calls.

Fielding: No, we used both, but only the land line two weeks ago because her cell had no room in her voice mail.

Dana: I’m still not getting why you didn’t tell me this before. Fielding? Fielding, there is something else you are not telling me.

Fielding: D…D…Dana, your Aunt Doris has also disappeared.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

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, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html  

 

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Fiction Character Interviewing Fiction Character – Part 30 – Oliver

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

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

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes            – Marcel Proust

Dana Bowman, one-half of the Attic Investigative Agency’s PIs has been getting nowhere fast trying to find her business partner and fraternal twin Bast Overture who disappeared on Halloween. In particular the police have been giving her the run around. Today she talks to PC Joseph Oliver, the head of Cooks Regional Police Records Bureau. Oliver has helped her in the past with information, particularly in the short stories “Gone Missing” and “Saving Grace” from Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, October 2012).

P.C. Joseph Oliver sits kitty-corner from Dana Bowman at the head of the table in Thurston Public Library’s boardroom.

Oliver: First, Dana, I want to again say I’m sorry about your brother disappearing. If there’s anything I can do to help…

Dana: Yes, thanks. And there is something you can do. I’m not getting much info from Fielding and Detective Larry Hutchinson who was the lead homicide detective in Susan Stuart’s murder (“Missing in Action” Beyond the Tripping Point), is now avoiding my calls.

Oliver: I understand how frustrating it must be.

Dana: Okay, if you understand, don’t you agree that as Bast’s twin sister and his partner I should be given updates on the investigation.

Oliver: Agreed, but you know the police can’t tell all in their investigation.

Dana: Oh, come on, Oliver. Considering our history and particularly your history with Bast when he was a crime reporter, I thought you at least would help.

Oliver: All right. I can reveal a bit but you didn’t hear it from me.

Dana: My lips are sealed.

Oliver: We have been tracing your brother’s financial records, including credit card use, and cell phone use. As you know, his cell phone disappeared with him.

Dana:  And?

Oliver: Well, someone has been using his credit card since Halloween with the last entry so far yesterday as well as ATM hits on his personal banking account. His cell phone, however, has not been used, at least we can find no record of that and our IT experts have been on it since Day 1.

Dana: I see. And what and where from are credit card entries showing?

Oliver: Well…

Dana: Come on Oliver. I have a right to know.

Oliver: Very well, without going into a lot of detail – they seem to be from Toronto and Barrie.

Dana: Where in Toronto and Barrie?

Oliver: Hmm. Well without going into specifics, mainly department stores, sports stores, computer stores and a few fast food places.

Dana: Oliver, Oliver, you need to be more specific.

Oliver: Very well, The Bay – both in Toronto and Barrie, McDonald’s and Timmy’s –again in both cities, IT Etc. in Toronto, and Sports Unlimited in Barrie.

Dana: What is this person buying?

Oliver: Sorry, that I can’t tell you. The fast food places should be obvious and I can tell you that at the IT store one item was a burner cell phone.

Dana: Damn. So, you can’t trace the calls.

Oliver: No.

Dana: What about a laptop or iPad? Bast’s laptop and iPad weren’t stolen. In fact his iPad was left in the boardroom.

Oliver: Can’t say right now.

Dana glares at Oliver: Well, PC Joseph Oliver, what can you say? Can you tell if it is a man or a woman who is using Bast’s credit card?

Oliver: Er…not at this point.

Dana: What about those ATM hits? Surely their surveillance would show something.

Oliver taps his fingers on the table, nods his head, and seems to come to a decision: All right, Dana, I can tell you this much as we would be contacting you about it shortly anyway. All the ATMs are from banks, not the same branch or even the same bank. But the person wears a hoodie and sunglasses and is bending down in most of the photos so we don’t get a clear photo of the face. But there are photos of the person walking away so we can see the build…

Dana: Man or woman?

Oliver: Can’t tell. But we were planning on letting you view the photos to see if perhaps you had any idea – from the build or even what is seen of the face – who it could be.

Dana: And you were going to do this when?

Oliver: IT is still trying to get more info with the photo, so then.

Dana: Can you give me a date and time?

Oliver: A couple of days. Fielding will get back to you.

Dana: Thanks. One more question. Is Fielding doing anything about that abstract painting on the far wall. You do know the info about it?

Oliver: Yes, I do. And Fielding is looking into it. And that’s all I can say about that for now.

Dana: Fine. Just make sure he or you get back to me on it.

Oliver nods: And I’ll call you in a day or so to get you to come in to look at the surveillance tapes.

Dana: Fine.

Oliver gets up, nods at Dana: Take care, Dana. We’ll find your brother.

After Oliver leaves, Dana holds her head in her hands.

Dana: Why didn’t they get back to me with the ATM surveillance tapes sooner? And Oliver didn’t give me any timeline for that. Guess I’ll have to speak to Lilly Clark (from “Unfinished Business” in Beyond the Tripping Point) as she lived in both Barrie and Toronto. I’ll have to check Bast’s interview notes with her first. At least they didn’t disappear.

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, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html  

 

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Fiction Character Interviewing Fiction Character – Part 29 – Fielding

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

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

If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.

          Richard Bach

After all the nonsense with the abstract photo on the wall, especially “seeing” Bast’s head appear there – or did it – Dana decides to speak to the artist who painted the picture. However, it may not happen as the artist is now dead – murdered in one of the short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, 2012). She tries to get another interview with Detective Larry Hutchinson, the last person Bast interviewed before he disappeared on Halloween. Hutchinson is still playing hard to get, but Dana can get Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding to return. He’s the detective in charge of finding Bast. Dana decides to play on Fielding’s feelings for her to get some information.

Fielding has arrived at the library boardroom and is sitting opposite Dana, who is at the head of the table.

Dana: Thank you Fielding, I mean Don, for coming back.

Fielding nods: You’re welcome but I can’t go into police business.

Dana, smiles and puts her hand on Fielding’s arm: Don, Don, you don’t know what I’m going to ask. I want you to take a look at that painting on the far wall and tell me what you see.

Fielding: Painting? It’s an abstract, not very interesting from what I can tell from here. What of it?

Dana: Do you know who the artist is who painted that photo?

Fielding shrugs.

Dana: Okay, Don, humour me. Let’s go up to the painting and take a look at it.

Fielding shrugs again but gets up as Dana does the same. The two walk to the end of the room and stand in front of the painting.

Dana: Look at the artist’s signature.

Fielding: S.B. Stuart. So?

Dana: Do you know who S.B. Stuart is?

Don: The artist who painted the picture. What of it?

Dana: Don, Don. Don’t you realize that S.B. stands for Susan Barbara Stuart?

Fielding jerks forward: Susan Stuart. The woman murdered in “Missing in Action?”

Dana: One and the same. I googled her. She had the start of a promising career as an artist when she was killed.

Fielding: Hmm, interesting. But she wasn’t killed for her artistic endeavours.

Dana: True, but some strange things have been happening with that painting. At first I didn’t believe any of them, until I sat here with David on Boxing Day. At one point the lights went out and I swear I saw Bast’s face in that painting… and

Fielding: You were probably just imagining things what with the power outage.

Dana: I would have thought so, too, but it was David who noticed it first and pointed my hand to it. He’s also been drawing pictures of Bast a lot lately.

Fielding: He’s probably just missing his uncle. Tell me, when the lights went back on did you still see what you er, claim you saw in the dark?

Dana: No, and I don’t think David did. With him not speaking it’s kinda hard to tell although his body language said he didn’t. He kept staring at the painting and frowning – even went up to it and looked closely. When he started banging on the painting I went up to it to calm him down.

Fielding: Interesting.

Dana: Interesting? Is that all you can say about it? I thought this might be of some help in your investigation.

Fielding: I’m investigating Bast’s disappearance, not Susan Stuart’s murder. Detective Hutchinson solved that one and the suspect is in jail awaiting trial. And certainly not any mumbo-jumbo about an abstract painting suddenly showing faces.

Dana: Don, Don, not just any face – my brother’s and David saw it too.

Fielding shrugs.

Dana: Okay, will you at least consider this and look into it?

Fielding: And call in a so-called psychic?

Dana: Come on Fielding. I know police forces sometimes call on psychics to help them find missing persons so I’m taking a leap here and presuming Cooks Regional does this too.

Fielding: Well, your leap is for nothing.

Dana: I understand. You don’t want to admit it. But please consider this painting, the artist who painted it, and that my brother, just before he disappeared was alone in this room with only the painting. Detective Hutchinson did confirm that he left him alone and Sara, my librarian friend saw Hutchinson leave but not Bast.

Fielding: Yes, but she wasn’t keeping constant watch on the exit down the stairwell from this floor.

Dana: Ah, so you did talk to Sara. What else did she say?

Fielding: Sorry, I can’t say. Police business.

Dana: Police business my ass. Bast is my brother, my fraternal twin. Don’t you think I have the right to know how your investigation to find him is going?

Fielding shrugs: I might be able to tell you some. Right now I have a meeting to be at. Look, D…Dana, I’m not trying to be evasive. I understand you and your brother are close. I…I’m somewhat conflicted here. Let me think about it and I’ll call you.

Fielding places a hand on Dana’s hand, stands up, appears about to say something more, but doesn’t. He leaves the room.

Dana: That went well. Damn the man. I’ll have to talk to Oliver.

You can read more about the characters and their stories 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://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.

 

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