Thursday, June 12, 2008

Justin Case - A Test Blurb

Below is a bit I wrote for a crime story I have been mulling over. I wanted to see how the 'voice' worked. I'd welcome any comments.

The portly man approached the office door, pausing for a moment to compare the name on the door with the crumpled bit of paper he clutched in his hand; J. Case Investigations. After confirming the match he slipped the piece of paper into the pocket of his rumpled slacks. He took a moment to adjust his equally rumpled suit jacket and gravy-stained tie before reaching for the door knob.

He turned the knob and pushed, but the door didn’t budge. He gave it a more determined push, but with no more luck. He checked his watch and then retrieved the paper from his pants once again. Right there, scrawled in green ink, he verified he had the right time: 10:00am. He checked his watch again, confirming that he was only about 10 minutes late. Not bad for a man as busy as he was.

He did not have another ‘appointment’ until noon, and that was at his favorite taqueria on Bellaire. After pondering his dilemma for a moment, he rapped on the door loudly. Beau Grimes was not a man who gave up easily. His ex-wife had once commented that this was the result of a mind too small to hold more than one thought at a time, but Beau was rather proud of his dogged nature. After a few moments, he rapped again, this time more insistently.

His persistence was soon rewarded with a faint voice from the other side of the door.

“Come on in…it’s open.”

Beau pushed on the door again but was again greeted with disappointment.

“No, it isn’t!” He rumbled, knocking again.

He heard a mumbled curse from inside and then the satisfying sounds of the knob turning. The door swung outward, nearly striking Beau in the nose as it opened. Beau hopped back in a clumsy two-step. He frowned at the though of another broken nose.

The door opened fully to reveal a tall, thin fellow wearing a crisp, white dress shirt and charcoal suit pants showing the razor creases of a recent pressing. The pant legs broke just so onto immaculately polished black wingtips. The pants were held up by black suspenders with a small cloisonné badge pinned on one side.

Had there been someone there too see it, the scene could have looked like some mirror of opposite extremes. The two men stood watching each other for a three count until the sound of a siren outside broke the strange electricity between the two.

“Yes…it is open. Now come of in, if you’d like.”

“You should have a sign on that door…you know one of those that says ‘pull’,” Beau commented as he entered the office.
“I’ll get right on that. My apologies for the confusion,” the man answered politely. “Please have a seat.”

The office appeared as neatly appointed as its inhabitant. The wall behind the large desk was occupied by bookcases filled with leather bound books, arranged rather anally by size; largest to smallest from left to right.

Beau stared at all the books. Books had always made him nervous. Reading had never come easily for him, even as a child. Why should he care about Dick and Jane and where they ran? If something was not right in front of him, he had little interest in it. The attitude had served him well through school, especially in the more practical classes like shop and gym. In his younger days he had always been athletic, whether it be hitting a ball or tackling a quarterback. It was all the same to him; fixate on a target and pursue it…without fail. He hit balls, and quarterbacks with equal zeal, but secretly enjoyed the quarterbacks much more. Baseballs did not cry after particularly vicious hits.

“Please, have a seat,” the man repeated, motioning to a chair positioned at an angle in front of the desk. He stood politely waiting for Beau to sit before taking his own seat. Beau flopped down into the chair, making it groan under his bulk. The man sat, folded his hands and gave Beau a mild, friendly smile.

“I assume you are Mr. Grimes. We spoke on the phone?”

“Yep, I’m Beau. You must be J. Case.” Beau said suppressing a snicker. “J. Case, you know what that sounds like?”

“Yes, Mr. Grimes, I have had the name my entire life and you certainly aren’t the first to point it out.”

“So why do you use it. What does the J stand for? It can’t be as bad as ‘jackass’.”

“Justin, the J stands for Justin.”

“Justin Case ain’t bad….” Beau said and then hesitated. It took him a beat before realizing what he had just said, but when he did, it hit him like an inside joke.

“You have got to be shitting me. Your parents named you Justin Case?”

“Yes they did. Pop was a bit of a joker and dear old Mom never had the heart to tell him he wasn’t as funny as he thought he was.”

“Okay, J. Case is the better choice, but damn, talk about between hell and high water.” Beau laughed as he spoke.


tsolo888 said...

I really like it. You did a great job of painting a picture for me. I caught one typo in this line:
Yes…it is open. Now come of in, if you’d like.” should be Yes…it is open. Now come on in, if you’d like.”

The voice worked well and flowed.

Scott Parker said...

I remember this one. I like the contrast between Case and Beau. What's good about your Beau description is that I can almost smell him.