family, fiction

For Writers (and a Snippet)

I get into the nitty-gritty of my last promotion effort over at the Mad Genius Club today. I don’t consider myself an activist for Indie Authors (yes, I was recently asked that!) but I do like to share what works, or didn’t work, for me so hopefully others can garner some useful stuff from my work. Or learn from my mistakes. It’s all good!

And now I’m off to help the Ginja Ninja get ready for her first job, and buy school clothes for her and the Little Man, and, and… it’s the weekend. I’m a whirling dervish. Also, we have family in town I want to love on and spend time with. So as much as I want to blog and talk to you all, I want to get stuff done, too!

That’s too short. Here, have a snippet!

 

Ten Pigeons

 

“It is illegal to import more than ten pigeons a week, unless they are from Mexico.” He blinked at her through thick lenses while she tried to digest this pronouncement.

 

“Mr. Gaush, I have no intention of importing pigeons. Not even Mexican ones.” Lauren Middling leaned back in her vintage office chair and looked at him. He showed no signs of going away and leaving her alone again in her office, and she was long past wishing she hadn’t invited him in.

 

“Of course not. Pigeons are very messy. I mean that everything is illegal, somewhere, to some extent.” He crossed his hands over his paunch and reminded her of a pensive owl.

 

“I’m sure it is.” She wasn’t going to ask him for examples. She was afraid he’d give them to her. He seemed like the kind of man who would have a bottomless font of such trivia. “You came to me because you were afraid you had committed a crime, if I understood correctly.”

 

He had been slightly incoherent on the phone, and Lauren wondered (not for the first time) if she had too finely developed her pity gland. It served her in her job from time to time as she dealt with grieving widows and bereft parents, but it left her vulnerable to people like William Gaush.

 

“I am, very afraid.” He leaned forward, his eyes big behind their magnifying glasses. She wondered idly just how bad his prescription was to justify those lenses. “Ms. Middling…”

 

“Miss.” She interrupted him. “It’s Miss Middling.” She was retro, from the polished wood and velvet chair cupping her derriere to the green-shaded lamp on the desk between them.

 

He blinked in surprise, which was a perfectly normal reaction to her naming preference. “Miss. Miss Middling…” He faltered like a toy that had wound down.

 

Lauren prompted him again. “It had to do with your mother’s death.”

 

The man across from her in the panelled office didn’t look like a murderer, but she knew from experience they mostly didn’t. Murderers, that was. He was short, portly, with a cherubic face and those ridiculous glasses. Dress him in a tuxedo and he’d be a dead ringer for a penguin.

 

“Yes, er, well…” He found the thread of his thoughts again. “She passed two weeks ago, you see.”

 

Lauren raised an eyebrow. She found it very effective at getting people to keep talking, while words made them lose their place. He obediently kept going with his story. “I live with… lived with her. I have always, except for one time…” He looked away, briefly, and she sensed that while there was more story there, it didn’t pertain to the case in front of her. “We shared bank accounts.”

 

“And you are uncertain if you can withdraw funds?” She asked when he fell silent. That was simple enough, and certainly not unprecedented.

 

“Oh, no, the executor assures me that my salary… oh, I should explain that I was paid for her care, of late. Anyway, I was assured that until the will is probated, I may continue to draw my salary. And I am the sole heir, so it matters little once probate is complete.”

 

“So what is the crime?” Lauren was feeling wasted time trickle past with more than a little impatience.

 

“Well, I’m not sure it is a crime.” Gaush stared at her for a long moment. Then he blinked, and went on. “You see, yesterday morning a very large sum of money was deposited into that account.”

 

“I see.” Lauren wasn’t sure what, but she did understand his concern. “Have you spoken to the bank, Mr. Gaush?”

 

Perhaps he wanted to know if it were legal to simply stay quiet and hold onto the funds.

 

“Oh, yes. I keep track of it online, and I went right over to my bank when I saw it. They were able to tell me that it wasn’t a mistake, and the monies originated via a wire transfer from the Caymans.”

 

Lauren wasn’t up on her non-extraditing countries and banking shelters, but it seemed to her that the Caymans were considered one. It was unlikely that it was an insurance payout, in that case. She asked anyway, but he simply shook his head. “I have all her papers, and there was an insurance, a small one, but it will not be paid until after probate.”

 

Well, then. This was interesting. She leaned forward over the desk. “Mr. Gaush, what is it you would like me to do for you?”

 

He settled back into the chair, and a hint of a smile swept over his lips so quickly she nearly missed it. “Why, Miss Middling, I’d like you to find out where it came from. Then, if it is a crime, we shall report it.”

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