Author Topic: Excerpt from second novel. 1140 words  (Read 2639 times)

Offline Mark T

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Excerpt from second novel. 1140 words
« on: January 06, 2014, 02:21:27 PM »
Hi, another couple loose pages. Mixed narrative and dialogue. In this sample section I'm looking for the right balance of these components. Thanks for looking.


Chapter 5

Basher studied Bill Wade who looked back at him stoically. ‘Cut him loose.’ he said to Zoë. ‘Give him back his knife.’
Wade rubbed his wrists and pocketed the utility.
‘How’d you meet up with Doofus?’ asked Basher.
‘I’ve had my name on the books of an agency in London that specialises in supplying ex-military types for various assignments. This was my first job from them. I could have gone to Iraq but I’m getting a bit old for the trenches. This seemed like a cushy job, babysitting a Yank professor, and it was, until he decided to come here.’
Basher grunted. ‘Where’d you get the six-shooter?’
‘Local agency man. Supposed to be an untraceable throwaway.’
‘You’re unemployed now. Is that a problem?’
‘No, it’s a relief to be free of the Professor. I’ve been paid upfront as per the agency’s policy, in case of death. Return air ticket’s in my back pocket.’
‘Where’s your stuff?’
‘Back at the guesthouse where we were staying. There’s nothing there I can’t leave behind. Wouldn’t be the first time.’
‘Tell me, Staff Wade, do you have any interest in primitive cultures?’
‘Only the one I have in London.’
‘Right. So what are you going to do now?’
‘Don’t know. Haven’t thought about it. I suppose a bit of a holiday in sunny and violent South Africa then back home in two weeks time before the air ticket dies.’
Basher looked thoughtful. He picked up the revolver and handed it to Wade. ‘Collect your bullets,’ he said. ‘You might as well come back to the farmhouse with us. Have some coffee and then we’ll make a plan to point you in the direction of the nearest tourist trap.’

Basher, Zoë and Bill Wade got into the Nissan Chevy and bumped their way along the track with Zoë in the back. She had said little since the departure of Du Fuess. Basher realised the farm was becoming crowded. He spotted Elvis in the distance and decided to give him some yard-work so that he didn’t catch up to Du Fuess in the ravine.  

Elvis didn’t agree. He was exasperatingly contumacious, contending that his work assignment, as originally agreed, did not include the clearing of debris from the gutters of Basher’s house, using a ladder without safety equipment and without the necessary assistant. The infinite debate continued, Basher suspecting that Elvis chose to argue simply to practise his adversarial juristic patter in his sonorous Mugabe accent. Basher switched to Zulu which Elvis ignored. Basher raised his voice, to no avail. Eventually, he gave up and instructed Elvis to sit on a hillock fifty meters from the house with a pile of stones and to throw them at any trespassers – excluding Bill Wade who was now a guest, Basher emphasised.

‘Argumentative blighter, isn’t he?’ commented Wade, who had chosen sweet tea over coffee and was contentedly cradling a large mug.
Basher had acquired a faint headache behind his eyes. ‘All I can say is if he flunks his lawyer exams and becomes a salesman of some kind – beware. And, heaven forbid, if he does become an attorney, steer clear of him.’
They were sitting on the verandah. Zoë was indoors, tapping away at the laptop. Melda was still asleep.
The warming day was dissipating the surrounding mist bank and the crests of lesser hills were becoming visible in the distance. The air was clean and crisp, punctuated by the liquid chirp and chatter of birdsong that resonated sweetly from the leafy trees and sunny glades.
‘Nice place,’ said Wade. ‘I can see why you value your privacy.’
Basher glanced at him sharply and then decided that the comment was innocent. ‘What do you do in England? Besides practising your primitive culture.’
‘Well, at something of a loose end really. Bit of this and that.’
‘I was for about thirteen years. It was fine while I was in service but after I put in my walking papers and was at home all the time, things went a bit pear-shaped and in the end the missus and I went our separate ways. We‘ve got two kids so she kept the house and everything. I moved to a bedsit and had to start over. Before the divorce I’d put half of my pension into a fund for educating the kids and the other half went into an interior decorating business that the wife had been dreaming about for years.’
‘How did the business do?’
‘Not very well. It cost a lot to set up and she redecorated our house from top to bottom before it all went bang. The business, I mean, along with the marriage. All I got out of it was a thousand yards of purple curtaining material.’
‘What else have you been up to?’
‘I was a carpet salesman for a while. A mate and I used to moonlight over weekends doing fittings until we found a large stash of drugs under some loose floorboards. We decided to nick them which turned out to be a big mistake. All I can say about that episode is that my colleague disappeared and I ended up in Kenya.’
‘What did you do there?’
‘I was an assistant manager on a coffee plantation. Kenya was all right but I got tired of it and went back home after about four years. The drug baron had been stabbed to death by a jealous girlfriend in the meantime and some of the others were in jail and everyone had forgotten about me in any case. Been knocking about since.’ Wade sighed. ‘I miss the uniform and being a soldier. It meant something. I don’t like being a civvy but it’s too late to go back. I signed up with the freelance brokers six months ago and here I am.’

Basher thought that Wade’s experience had not been dissimilar to his own, although Wade had been married and he had not. Wade had lost everything while Basher still had the farm although he too had lost his pension capital. Basher’s later military units had disbanded while Wade’s regiment no doubt maintained a proud tradition. But they had both been senior NCOs in fighting outfits and had been screwed over by Civvy Street.
‘I was in the military too,’ said Basher.
‘I thought you might have been. You have the look. Not to mention the precision ambush. What rank?’
‘Warrant Two.'
‘People call me Basher these days.’
‘Okay Basher; call me Bill.’
Basher nodded. ‘They bumped me to First as I left in 1993. As a favour to boost the pension.’
‘Young for a RSM,’ commented Wade. ‘Just before majority rule, wasn’t that?’

« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 03:27:55 PM by Mark T »

Offline ma100

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Re: Excerpt from second novel. 1140 words
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 03:58:02 PM »
Are you looking for a review Mark? if so you have posted in the wrong place.?

Offline Mark T

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Re: Excerpt from second novel. 1140 words
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 04:42:32 PM »
Not if H3K is on the loose. The last couple of cut-out pieces i posted here, I prefaced with comments to place slightly in context. Any optional replies are fine, review not required.  
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 04:47:10 PM by Mark T »