Howdy, folks. Just a quick note that NaNoWriMo is going well, meeting my daily quota and whatnot. (Of course, I have probably just jinxed myself by saying that and I will spend the next several days in a catatonic state, staring at my laptop, both my mind and the screen a complete blank.) In any case, here’s another excerpt from the work-in-progress. It’s a continuation of the scene in the previous excerpt. I included the last paragraph from that previous bit, so hopefully you can simply carry on without too much confusion. But if you’d like a refresher, here’s a link.
“My name is Virginia Wolf,” said Vision, thus allowing us to give her a specific identity rather than a vague, demoralizing reference term that could easily be overlooked when casting the movie that will hopefully be made of this book. “I’ve been sent by the Home Office to assist you in your endeavors to find the culprit of this heinous crime.”
This gave Collin pause. Heinous crime? There were so many investigation files on his desk, most of them ignored because it would require footwork in parts of town that he really didn’t cherish. He had no idea what the focus might be in the aerodynamic head of his future beloved, but he was well aware that any missteps at this critical meet-cute moment could cancel any possibility of a movie sequel. He couldn’t let this happen. He had to play it cool.
“Ah, the heinous crime,” said Collin, with an oratory air that he hoped invoked both great wisdom and his sexual availability for the upcoming weekend. “I hope that we can get to the bottom of this dastardly deed.” (Collin’s anarchic and misguided use of long-dead terms was balanced out by his insinuation that he and Virginia were already partners, whether as investigative professionals or mattress-testing paramours. This was a good psychological move.)
Sadly, Virginia was a complicated individual, with one of those complications being that she had obtained not one but two doctorate-level degrees in Human Behavior, along with a trendy Liberal Arts minor in Female Empowerment Studies. Without even blinking, she was able to get to the root of the matter in mere nanoseconds. “Detective Oskopy, I understand that you wish to engage in ribald and naughty behavior with me, preferably in a setting with opera playing in the background, and I cannot rule that possibility out because I have needs of my own. But we have both been hired to do a job and the primary thrust of that responsibility is that we nail some criminal bastards to a wall. Then we can discuss fornication. Are you with me?”
Collin did not have an immediate response, mainly because so many psycho-sexual triggers had just been activated in his cranium that words completely failed him. Luckily, an immediate response proved unnecessary right at that particular moment, as the phone on Collin’s desk began to clamor for attention, a diversionary development courtesy of Alexander Graham Bell. Collin snatched up the functional end of said device with an air of alacrity that would have inspired admiration in the hearts of people who look fondly upon the brisk completion of duties. However, there was no one in the room with such proclivities, and instead the action looked awkward rather than award-worthy. “Yes?”
Voice on phone: “Is she there? Have you made her mad yet? It’s very easy to do.”
Collin: “Who are you?”
Voice on phone, sighing: “It’s your boss, dumbass. This means you’re already smitten, if you can’t recognize my voice after twenty years. I don’t want you smitten, that’s not the plan. I want you to keep it in your pants and get this case solved, that’s why I brought her in, to figure out what happened on that boat, not for you to get another notch on your crappy-ass Ikea bedpost. She’s good, Collin. She can help you.”
Collin, glancing at Virginia before responding: “Perhaps you could have brought up this… arrangement… when we were discussing my cases just an hour ago.”
Boss: “What would have been the point? You would have just argued with me and who has time for that? Work with her. I need results. Now. The deputy mayor has been banging on my door all afternoon like there’s a prize in here.”
Collin: “That’s really not my problem.”
Boss: “Yes, it is.” Click.
Collin slowly returned the receiver to its faded and cracked nesting place, pondering his next words to the sultry vixen (in his mind) who was still standing innocently at his door (in her mind).
Virginia was not a fan of pondering, preferring instead to have immediate results and non-pensive moments. “Who the hell was that? Were you talking about me? I sense that you were talking about me. Is there some kind of issue? Because if there is, we need to clear the air and get over it, because I don’t care for that mess. It’s annoying, it’s unproductive, and people end up writing insipid poems about their emotional conflicts.”
Collin continued to not say anything, which gave the impression of pondering, when what he should have been sharing in this digital world was the emoticon-equivalent for “befuddlement”. He still found her enticing, of course, because of the tightly-bound coiffure and the way her power suit spoke of tidiness and precision in the boudoir. But still, she was already exhibiting warning signs that one usually doesn’t encounter until the third date, after the unbridled purely-sexual exhilaration of the first two dates has faded slightly, and you begin to wonder if perhaps you made a misstep somewhere amidst the feverish conjoining and you are now dating a serial killer.
Collin, balancing his personal alarms with his professional self-interests, chose to take the diplomatic path, which is a good thing, or we wouldn’t be able to move this story forward. “The phone call was unimportant, really, we were talking about another woman who appeared unexpectedly. Perhaps we should review the case files?”
Virginia also chose diplomacy, because who doesn’t want to be in the aforementioned movie sequel, and she strode forth briskly, plunking her designer briefcase on the edge of Collin’s desk, in the exact spot where Collin would normally position his bottle of bourbon once the nosy cleaning staff had left the building. (Collin dutifully noted that the monogram on said briefcase included what appeared to be a serpent nestled amongst the V-W initials. This was another sign that he should ask for the check and then scurry into the night, post-haste. But circumstances were not in his favor at the moment.)
Virginia somehow channeled this unspoken dining reference, and she whipped out her phone. “Do you mind if I order sushi before we get started?”
Collin, not having had the opportunity to partake in departmental training that dealt with raw fish entering the equation, was taken somewhat aback. Still, self-preservation prevailed. “That would be fine. Order away.”
Virginia pressed a single button, waited for some type of celestial connection to be made, then simply said “The Usual” before immediately disconnecting, shoving said phone back into one of her many previously-unnoticed pockets. She marched over to a chair that had been relegated to a dusty corner of the office, paused to pluck something off the seat that she found unsatisfying, hurling the offensive object towards another dusty corner, then she shoved the chair with considerable force so that it whizzed across the room and banged into the side of Collin’s desk. (A neurotic paperweight sitting on said desk decided that all this commotion was simply too much to endure, leaping off the back of the desk and skittering under a filing cabinet where it could presumably seek counseling.)
Virginia plopped into the rezoned chair, creating a noise that was akin to a grizzly bear falling out of a tree rather than the sound one would expect from a well-educated woman who tightly controlled everything around her, including gravity and sound. “Show me what you’ve got.”
Naturally, Collin’s minds flitted through a number of responsive options, both oral and physical. But since he hadn’t partaken of the bourbon just yet (the cleaning staff was still here this evening, he could hear them beating the hell out of something in one of the bathrooms), he wisely chose to keep things on a level with the least potential for lawsuits. “Sure, we can do that. Where would you like to start?”
Virginia: “Let me see your suspect list.”
Collin: “But isn’t that going at it backwards? Creating bias? Shouldn’t we look at the crime scene first, get a grasp on that, and go from there?”
Virginia, smiling a non-smile: “Dearest Collin, let me catch you up a bit. Perhaps you weren’t listening to the narrator a few pages back when he explained that I have two doctorates in the behavioral sciences. He failed to mention the other doctorates I have, of which there are many. Universities are practically throwing them at me because I’m so astonishingly good at what I do. So this means two things. One, I have an entire wing of my house that has nothing but diplomas on the walls, which is actually something of a bitch when it comes to utility bills. And two, I was brought on this case to help you get your ass moving because everyone knows about the bourbon, Collin, not just the cleaning staff, although they were the first ones to make a status update on social media about it.”
Click here to read the next installment in this series…
Categories: The Journey