Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wordzzle 69 - Mr. Obvious says "Insert Joke here."

You should know the drill by now. Check out the Raven's Nest for all the other stories.

The Ten Word Challenge: Chorus line, clam chowder, apples, jack-in-the-box, puddles, Iran, quarry, housekeeping, speed, letter
The mini challenge: motorcycle, grandiose, summer, flying off the handle, blue jays

I'm feeling slightly overcooked here in Phoenix this week with the daily temps in the 105 - 110 range. These are actually normal summer temperatures, if you can believe that. The weather has made me lazy and unambitious. That being the case, the chance of a grandiose episode coming from my brain this week is slim.

Instead, I've opted for this literal speed letter. This course of action should allow me to do some temporal housekeeping, put my thoughts in order like the dancers in a Chorus line on Broadway and take time out to watch the Toronto Blue Jays put it to the Diamondbacks again in an afternoon game.

I may be flying off the handle a bit in search of literary quarry, but the truth is, I'm just not that into it this week. So excuse me if I take a side trip of the mind and you find yourself stuck in my motorcycle sidecar of ennui.

Perhaps it's the depressing news from Iran, some bad clam chowder from last night's dinner, or mud in the puddles of my cranium, cause I just can't get into the work of storytelling right now.

If you want, blame in on all the bad apples in our lives. You know the one's I mean. Those moron's who invented "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here" or the geniuses that have polluted my mind with that damn Jack-in-the-Box commercial featuring dancing midgets in cowboy getup.

Can you really blame me for losing it every now and then?

Have a great weekend!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wordzzle 68

Even if it takes two weeks, 14 days or whatever; go by the Raven's Nest and say "Hello" to the mistress of missives, the queen of quotes; yes you know who I'm talking about, the Wunderkind of Wordzzle, Raven.

The Ten Word Challenge: sow, close, console, lives, minute, polish, bass, pussy, complex, resume

For the mini challenge: bow, sewer, house, import, intern

This Week's Episode: Ships passing in the night

Charlotte contacted inspector Guy De Leschampes of the Cayenne Capitol police. She had met him and his wife Cherisse at a charity dinner where she'd been honored for her contribution to the homeless and orphans of the city. She'd been careful to sow the seeds of her reputation as a wealthy and generous socialite and minor royalty.

The locals had been ecstatic at her gift of a modest house for the city's use as a temporary shelter for abused wives and children. In every aspect of Charlotte's subtle but pervasive local PR she had done her best to actually have a positive effect on the local's lives. Her name had been mentioned in the minutes of many charitable foundations in the capitol, adding more polish and substance to her complex social resume with each new donation, benefit or ball.

At the same time, she'd made sure to keep her baser instincts in check. There would be no lovely female body found in the sewer with a mutilated and abused pussy to bring any unwanted attention to her local. She remembered the crude saying that Charles had told her: "You don't get your meat where you eat." Instead, she would have to console herself with other ventures and bow to the necessity of redirecting the investigation away from herself.

After using her maid to go through the inspector's new secretary, an intern really; a luncheon date was made to discuss the issue. Charlotte knew the inspector's love of Sea Bass would help in broaching the delicate subject matter and allow her to get all the needed information to execute the next step in her plan.

In addition, the restaurant's fine wine list, which included quality imports from the home country, would help her close the deal as the meal went forth.

That being done, the car was brought around and she decided to drive herself the short distance to the eatery. Her 2006 Jaguar XK-8 convertible in custom Burgundy Red with camel leather interior was familiar to the locals by now. She exited the estate and rode with the top down into town. As she passed a new Hyundai Genesis sedan going in the other direction, she couldn't help but think she recognized the driver. But from where? Like most of us, it would take her till after lunch to figure out the answer. First she had to work on Guy.

Martin had been lucky to get such a nice car for the drive down the coast into Brazil. It seemed like a good idea to him to keep on the move for the time being. He noticed the redhead in the convertible, but didn't think anything of it till he had crossed French Guiana's southern border. Once again lady luck had helped him out. He didn't start shaking till he went up to his room that night in Macapa, a town at the mouth of the Amazon River. It was his intention to head into the vast interior and stay there for an extended period.

He had not allowed for his having jumped from the frying pan to the fire. How had the sullen and angry women found him, or had she? Had he by some impossible coincidence found her instead? Before he made his way upcountry he would have to look into the identity of the woman.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wordzzle 67 -

It might be a lucky move it you stopped by the Raven's Nest and got all the info on this thing.

This week's Ten Word Challenge: nausea, everything is on sale, expect great things, frying pan, pledge, birds of a feather, stick, Saturday morning, liver and bacon, caterpillars

The mini challenge: aggravation, protective, bargain basement, take me out to the ballgame, break a leg

This week's Episode: Shopping for Clues

The trip up I- 40 to the I-17 turnoff took a while, but the group kept the conversation lively. Carla and Jean were anxious to see what the shops in Sedona had to offer and the two men were focused on what Connie Liplin could have purchased from the Archangel Apothecary. The shop was located in the exclusive Tlaquepaque (pronounced Ta-lock-a-pockee) Arts and Crafts village. After a thrilling drive down through Oak Creek Canyon the group continued through downtown Sedona to just before the bridge at the south of town.

The sprawling adobe village sat alongside Oak Creek. It was a labyrinth of tiled courtyards, shops filled with colorful goods and great restaurants. McCool found a parking space under a Cottonwood and the two couples walked through the massive gates into the entry courtyard.

The first thing that Jean noticed was the sign on the bulletin board, "Everything is on sale." "Well, I guess we should expect great things" Carla grinned at Jean. "Whatever won't fit in the car we can have them store and come back on Saturday morning and pick up" Jean winked at Carla. If she had hoped to get a rise out of the boys, it did no good. They were concentrating on the layout map at the other end of the courtyard as they searched for the apothecary.

The guys and gals agreed to meet at Olevera's, a great Mexican restaurant in the complex for a meal before returning to Laughlin. The girls put on their "in search of bargain basement" faces and headed into the maze of stores. Both women enjoyed casual fashion and were really birds of a feather when it came to shopping for deals.

Knowing there was no pledge needed from Jean concerning her thriftiness; McCool uttered the famous theatrical quote, "Break a Leg" as the pair went their way and the two mean walked towards their investigative destination.

Dan and Thomas found the "Archangel Apothecary" right where the map said it would be and entered the quaint storefront. The first thing that they noticed was the smell of incense or patchouli or some such new age odorant. The shop had various and sundry old style glass canisters filled with a variety of objects and creatures. Some, like the multicolored caterpillars, were easily identifiable, others not so much. The old world counter was backed by a wall of medicine bottles and dead in the center of that was a door through which the duo could hear someone whistling over the piped in music out in the main store.

Dan thought the tune almost sounded like a Celtic version of "Take me out to the Ball Game" but then thought better of it when the proprietor came through the door. The visage facing Dan and Thomas was more like that of a medieval wizard than a modern man. A large man with a full black beard and fierce blue eyes smiled a greeting at the pair. "Now it's fine day isn't it lads and what would ye be having on your minds this afternoon then?" he asked.

"Can I ask you what tune that was that you were whistling back there?" Dan said. "Oh that" replied the man. "Just something me dear old Da used to whistle while he worked" the big man replied. "Can't say that I ever heard the name" he continued, "but I knew I was about to be told a very good story when he finished whistling."

McCool took that moment to introduce the pair to the store owner, who turned out to be one Patrick Ian McGregor, or "Paddy McStick" as the man stated he was known on the links. "I'm not sure if it's the "good walk spoiled" or just adult aggravation" he continued as he invited the men to take a seat at the counter, "but the courses here in Sedona are beautiful and it keeps me out of the house long enough to give my Missus a break" he finished. "We've all had the disease" McCool said in sympathy with the man.

When Dan showed Paddy the picture of Liplin, he recognized her immediately. "A fine tall lass with unusual emerald eyes" he stated. Luck was with the men and records where produced with Liplin's purchases. They were seemingly harmless, though one that the pair smelled carried the faint odor of liver and bacon, as opposed to the more traditional liver and onions. When questioned about the various ingredients, McStick told the men that they were used for everything from nausea relief to sleeping aids.

Paddy showed the men a book on old world remedies and ingredients and they bought that and samples of the ingredients in question to take with them. By the time they left they knew everything Liplin had purchased, how much and when. With the aid of the book and some tech help from the FBI they were optimistic they would find the disabling agent used by the serial killer to subdue her victims.

Feeling they'd accomplished all they could at the Apothecary, the pair said goodbye to their most interesting host and went in search of the girls. On the way to the restaurant McCool stopped in a cooking shop and purchased a new Teflon frying pan. "It's for omelets on Sunday morning" he explained to Dan. "Jean won't throw out the old pan, even when it gets beat up and the non-sticky isn't working anymore" he added. "So... whenever I see one that I like, I snag it." "I wondered if you were contemplating cooking up the ingredients we purchased from Paddy" Dan laughed. "I'm way too protective of my health to try that without some professional help" McCool smiled back.

Dan and Thomas went into Olevera's. Since the women weren't there yet, they decided a cool drink at the bar might be nice while they waited.

Charlotte received the call from her "father's" housekeeper concerning the visit made by the inspector. After hearing what had transpired, she decided to step up the dosing of parasites the housekeeper was giving the old man. "Time for Papa to move on" Charlotte instructed the woman. With that out of the way, she terminated the call. If they were this close to her, if there was the slightest suspicion that her new identity was blown, then she would have to act immediately.

It would mean delaying her search for the last remaining girl involved in her gang rape in high school. She'd had all the others eliminated in one form or the other, including personal revenge where she thought appropriate. Too bad, since she'd gotten a lead on Jane Insterham just two days ago. First things first though. She needed a strategy to direct the investigation away from her.

Perhaps the local constabulary could be of some assistance. She'd call her contact the first thing in the morning.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wordzzle 66 - Come on Boxcars!

Take a cyber roll of the dice and sashay on over to the Raven's Nest for the odds on favorite hostess of Wordzzle.

The Ten Word Challenge: swashbuckler, heads-up, dry martini, recovery, jungle gym, whiskers, bathing suit, spade, circular reasoning, abrasive

The Mini Challenge: butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, stagnation, chart, star crossed lovers, apricot brandy

This Week's Episode: Answers?

In the period following the untimely death of Charles Hollingsworth in the house fire, the investigation in the Mortgage Fraud Department had taken on new meaning. With the connection to several murders and perhaps even a serial killer, the multi-billion dollar fraud case attracted the FBI's best and brightest.

Like star crossed lovers, the disparate departments within the agency joined forces to disclose the true identity of the woman involved with both the fraud and the murders. The trail seemed to go cold with Cathy McCarty's trip to French Guiana. The agency had served notice to Hollingsworth's company for recovery of much of the fraudulent loans, but the underlying assets, the homes, had long since been foreclosed on or otherwise changed hands.

The agency also took note of the fact that one of the company's accountants was deceased, believed murdered in the desert and the replacement was no where to be found. It didn't seem like abnormal or circular reasoning to suspect the now missing, believed dead Martin Heingold had suffered a similar fate to the first number cruncher. Still a nationwide alert was put out for Martin.

For Martin's part, he had not needed a heads-up to realize that his time in L.A. was done. He had read the L.A. Times story on the house fire and decided to chart a different course of action. He did the only thing he could think of and got out of dodge. He did not return to work, left his apartment the day he read the papers and didn't look back. In fact, he went a step farther and burnt all his old ID and used a set of documents he'd had made some months prior after his gambling problem had put him in jeopardy for his life.

Martin decided South America sounded good, so he booked the first flight out of LAX that evening. It turned out to be a flight to Cayenne, French Guiana. This capitol city on the northeast coast of South America was a jumping off point for tourists interested in visiting Devil's Island, the famous (or infamous) French prison. Martin scarcely realized he was taking the same trip that Humphrey Bogart had flown to film "We're No Angels" with Joan Bennett back in 1954. And though he thought of himself as a Steve McQueen fan, he missed the connection with the 1973 movie Papillion, also filmed at Devil's Island. Unlike his famous predecessors, Martin wouldn't be drinking a dry martini on the veranda with Joan Bennett or sharing the regions exquisite apricot brandy with some young starlet.

No, Martin was traveling to escape and be reborn. For this trip he just needed his bathing suit, his new ID and a change of clothes. He would hang out on the beaches of South America and defer to temporary social stagnation for the near future. Perhaps after sufficient time he would buy a sailboat and fulfill his dreams of being a dashing swashbuckler, only on a modern Sloop with auto reefing and A/C.

Martin stepped off the plane in Cayenne just days after Charlotte's charter had landed at the same airport, though into two entirely different worlds. Martin sported a few days growth of whiskers and was dressed casually enough to play on the jungle gym with the young children at a nearby park.

Charlotte, on the other hand, had been picked up by her limo at the executive jet hangar and whisked away to her estate. The chauffeur had been all of 5 minutes late due to traffic in the city and was concerned he'd receive an upbraiding from his employer. While to most who met her Charlotte seemed that old world lady that the saying "Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth" might be attributed to; she could be quite abrasive and demanding with the help. Always one to call a spade a spade, she demanded and more often than not received, the utmost in service and care from her staff.

Had Martin known that he had flown thousands of miles only to
jump from the frying pan into the fire, he would have surely gotten on the next plane to anywhere else in the world.