Alice’s Restaurant

February 16, 2007

Suzie’s House 6: Back to Work

Filed under: Suzie's House — aliceaudrey @ 1:25 am

The tour of Suzie’s house ended right where it had begun.  In the kitchen.  Drew watched Suzie move to the stove where something good was cooking and turn all the burners back on.  Conscientious woman, Suzie Hammacker.  Drew liked that about her.  Miranda, dressed in black leather and thigh-high boots, leaned against the counter to talk to Suzie.  Lots of sex appeal there.  Good fling material, were he so inclined. 

“I need to talk to you.  In private.”  Vin’s voice came in low and mean like a stray dog, but Drew wasn’t worried.  Whatever bothered his old friend could be worked out.  It always was. 

“Certainly.  Let me give you a ride to your apartment.”  Drew glanced over Vin’s shoulder at the ladies as he spoke, then leveled his gaze at Vin and spoke more slowly to convey his real meaning.  “As we agreed before.” 

Vin’s chin came up and he visibly checked his anger.  “Ah.  Yes.  Of course.”  He turned toward the ladies.  “Suzie, we’ll get back to you about Drew’s room.  I’ll take the one in back.” 

“All right.”  Suzie smiled uncertainly.  Drew wasn’t sure she really wanted to rent out either room. 

Be that as it may, he had other concerns.  He nodded his farewells, and followed Vin to the Subaru.  Vin got in his face, literally,  grabbing the front of his polo shirt and snarling at him. 

“Keep your hands off of Miranda.” 

Drew wasn’t surprised.  Without hesitation he said,  “All right.” 

Vin blinked a couple of times, apparently caught off guard by Drew’s easy acceptance.  

“Are you telling me you don’t have any designs on her?” 

“None.  Mind you if she keeps throwing herself at me….” 

Vin growled.  For a moment Drew thought he might start swinging, which could prove interesting.  Though more heavily built, Vin didn’t have as long of a reach as Drew.  They had gone a round or two in their spare time when they were at Quantico together.  In the last few years they hadn’t come to blows at all.  It would be interesting to see what time had done to their technique. 

Vin must be nuts about Miranda to be willing to do it in Suzie’s backyard, but if that was what he wanted, Drew would be quite happy to bring it on.  Vin struggled with his temper, his face doing some interesting contortions.  He released Drew’s shirt, then stomped around the car to the passenger’s seat.  Safely hidden by the car, Drew grinned. 

He had suspected for some time now that Vin might be more interested in Miranda than either of them let on.  Not that he minded.  Miranda wasn’t really his type.  If anyone, Suzie….  No.  Drew had no particular need for romantic entanglements at the moment. 

He settled behind the wheel of his old Subaru Legacy before giving Vin an assessing look.  “Want to see today’s footage?  The camera is in the back seat.”  Drew gestured in invitation.  “You did some fancy driving.” 

“I had to.”  Vin reached between the seats for the camera.  He fiddled with the buttons, then watched the playback screen intently.  “They were out for blood today.  Oooooh, That was closer than I realized.  Hah!  Nailed his partner in the rear finder.” 

Drew started the car.  “Notice we have the faces of the drivers from both cars.  I’ve already got the connection between them and the web site.”  He made a Y-turn in Suzie’s three-car parking lot, then eased up the narrow driveway to Jennifer Street. 

For the last several weeks Drew had been working on all the ins and outs of the case.  He wanted more than a slap on the wrist for the founder of an internet based club whose stated mission was to turn America’s streets into a demolition derby.  They played a number of games, racking up points for the amount of damage they could do to a car without paying for it.  Hit and Run for Hit Points they called it.  They used cab drivers as hockey pucks in several of their games. 

Though he had enough evidence to put most of the members away, he wanted the founder of the game more than anyone.  So far the founder had been very illusive.  A few days ago Drew had unearthed a connection he thought might help him flush out the self styled Smash Master.   

“I think the man in the blue mustang is the founder’s best friend.  Notice the grin on his face?”  Drew turned at the end of the block. 

“I’ll bet he ran straight to his buddy and told him how much fun he had beating up on the taxi driver in the red barrette.”  Vin looked quite smug.  The barrette was his idea, intended to give the club something to focus on.  “Did you check the web site to see if they have anything more about us?” 

“Haven’t had the chance yet.”  Drew turned on Willy Street headed for Shenks Corners.  “I’ll check their blogs after I drop you off.  I did hear from the home office, though.”  Drew kept his eyes on the road.  Vin wasn’t going to like what Drew had to say, but it had to be said. 

“Vin, I might have to take you off the case.” 

“Not on your life, buddy!”  Out of the corner of his eye Drew saw Vin put the camera down.  “We’ve almost cracked this case.  You can’t cut me out now.” 

“There’s been a fatality.  A cab driver in Chicago.  I can’t in good conscience expose you to the level of risk we are now facing.” 

“Did anyone claim the hit on their Hit Counter?” 

 “Yes.  The Smash Master.”

“So that’s why he wasn’t taking our bait.”  Vin sounded thoughtful, and not the least bit concerned.  “He was out of town.  We’ll get him now for sure.” 

Drew stopped at the light, the last one before Willy Street turned into Atwood Avenue, and leveled his friend with a hard look.  “Do you have any idea how dangerous what we are doing could get?  There isn’t much I can do from the Subaru to keep them from forcing you into a tree or a building.” 

“Better me than some cab driver who doesn’t know what’s going on.” 

“But any other cab driver would simply pull over and call in for an accident report.” 

“Which is what makes hunting me so much more fun for them.  We did it on purpose, remember?  I didn’t go into this deal blind.  I knew what I was doing when I offered to help.  I’ve faced worse danger in the line of duty.” 

“Yes, but you’re a civilian now.  The rules are different for civilians.” 

“Bend them.”  Vin’s eyes flashed angrily. 

That was the problem with Vin.  He never could live by the rules.  Drew bit back on a sharp retort.   

“I know what you’re thinking, but you won’t say it because you need me.” 

Drew ground is molars together, refusing to rise to the bait. 

“You won’t kick me off the case because if you do then Smash Master will get away from you.  You know he will.  You can’t get anyone in for a small-time case like this quickly enough to replace me.  He will slip through your fingers without me.” 

Drew opened his mouth to argue, then clamped it closed again. He really did need Vin.  Though he didn’t want to use him, letting him go would set the case back more than he cared to contemplate.  And they both knew it. 

He gave Vin a dirty look.  Vin grinned and waggled his head in smug victory.  “So I’m still on the case?” 

“You’re still on.” 

“Good, because the light went from green to red and green again and there’s someone behind us.” 

With a grunt Drew put the Subaru into gear. 

 .

February 15, 2007

Winter

Filed under: From the Mail Bag — aliceaudrey @ 2:01 am

Before we turn the weather front corner into spring, I’d like to offer one last tribute to winter. 

Poor tree 

 How would you like to sit here?

 

 Notice the van above?  Now check out the other side of it.

 

 According to the email that had these pictures in it, these are all of Versoix Switzerland, a town near Geneva.  The lake in the background is Leman Lake.  Apparently the lakefront there looks like this every winter.

 .

Alice

February 14, 2007

Where to Start A Story

Filed under: Writing Technique — aliceaudrey @ 9:31 am

Readers who haven’t tried their hand at writing tend to belittle the problem of where to start.  They don’t see the characters lives starting out before the first word, or the little silly things like the way a character spends a day.  The characters don’t live for them the way they might for a writer.  From inside the lives of the characters it isn’t so clear where an event really begins.

So how do we bridge the gap between the imaginary world of a character’s life and the starting point of the dramatic world of a characters story?  In other words, where should a story begin?

The author needs to step back.  One way to step back it to look at the story with the Hero’s Journey in mind.  The journey starts with the mundane world, the world those characters would consider normal.  This gives the reader a point of reference by which to judge what comes next.

In most cases the mundane world can be set up with little more than a couple of paragraphs.  It seems too trivial to bother with, but consider that for a vampire what is normal isn’t the same as what is normal for Suzy Home Maker.  Taking the time to show the reader which end of the spectrum we are starting from won’t go amiss.

Next, and this is still part of the beginning of the story, comes The Call To Adventure.  In other words, the character will be tempted, or forced, to do something he or she would not normally do.

You want to get to this part fairly quickly, because it’s where the story really takes off.  Many books incorporate The Mundane World into The Call To Adventure.  This can work perfectly well, and can sometimes be mixed with, or the first scene end with, The Crossing of The Threshold.  Once you’ve hit the crossing, there’s no turning back.  However, rushing through the steps too quickly can cause problems.

It’s easy to tell when you’ve missed the mark.  Miss placed beginnings tend to be either confusing or boring. Or in my case, a little of both.

Generally when it’s confusing the first scene opens too far past where the story really begins, in other words, too late in the storyline.  This happens a lot when an author tries to “jump into the action” in search of a hook.  Too much ground covered too quickly makes it hard to understand what is going on or why the characters are doing what they are doing. 

Just as often having jumped into an action scene right at the beginning can lack meaning, which is boring.  This is where I end up with beginnings that are both confusing and boring.

Most of the time when it’s boring, the author is filling in too much backstory, or focusing on something that doesn’t offer your protagonists a challenge.  In other words, the writing starts too early in the storyline.  Looking at the character’s goals, motives, and conflicts can clear this up.

Miss placed beginnings can result from an author’s attempt to include something about the characters that would be better handled in flashback.  Starting with a scene involving nothing of significance to the rest of the story tends to cause boredom, and confusion.  Focusing on an image, no matter how powerful an image, can make a good hook, but be the wrong way to start a book if the image doesn’t set up the changes the protagonist will have to make.

Any number of things can derail a story in the first scene.  But every bad beginning has an easy remedy.  Remove it, and put in one that caters to the needs of the story.

.
Alice

February 13, 2007

When Should You Complain About Your Doctor?

Filed under: Day to Day Life — aliceaudrey @ 1:33 am

Mr. Al thinks it should complain now.  I’m not so sure.  And really, my problem is with the receptionist more than with the doctor.

See, the doctor said I had to see a specialist, and that the specialist in question would have his office contact me to set up an appointment.  It never happened.  So I called today to let my doctor know the specialist’s office didn’t call, which is what my doctor told me to do, and to see when the results of my poop samples would be back.

What I got from my doctor’s receptionist was the phone number for the specialist, which I already had, and a vague comment about the results being mailed to me when they were ready.  Pardon me?  I was in the hospital for 10 hours over this.  I think a brush off is a little cavalier.  But I dutifully called the specialist to make the appointment and let the rest slide.

I got an answering machine saying the office of the specialist would be closed until February 26th.  So I called my doctors office back and asked whether or not my condition was stable enough to wait that long or if I should seek a different specialist.  Without consulting anyone or even hesitating long enough to flip open my file the receptionist said I should leave a message on the specialist’s answering machine and wait for them to call me to make the appointment.  In other words, she gave me the brush off.

I’ll have you know that I am no wimp.  My doctor knows this, and has had words with her receptionist in the past for giving me appointments weeks after a medical emergency.  I don’t go running off to the hospital for no particular reason, especially at 5 am.  And I really dislike the brush off.  But I consider it par of the course and generally let it slide.

Mr. Al doesn’t see it that way.  He thinks the receptionist is negligent for giving out medical advice to patients without consulting a doctor.  He thinks I should write a letter to the doctor with a carbon copy to be sent to hospital, for which she is a member of the board of directors.

What do you think?  Is it worth rocking to boat, or not?  Or maybe what I should really do is find a doctor with a good receptionist.

.

Alice

February 11, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith Autopsy Photos.

Filed under: Uncategorized — aliceaudrey @ 12:54 pm

Moved to the new site. Click here.

February 10, 2007

Moe and Joe

Filed under: From the Mail Bag — aliceaudrey @ 4:26 pm

This joke is probably going to sound morbid, taken in context.  But honest, it came in the mail yesterday and I thought what the heck.  I’ll share.  😀
.

Two 90 year old men, Moe and Joe, have been friends all of their lives.
When it’s clear that Joe is dying, Moe visits him every day. One day
Moe says, “Joe, we both loved baseball all our lives, and we played
minor league ball together for so many years. Please do me one favor,
when you get to Heaven, somehow you must let me know if there’s
baseball there.”

Joe looks up at Moe from his death bed,” Moe, you’ve been my best
friend for many years. If it’s at all possible, I’ll do this favor for you.

Shortly after that, Joe passes on.

At midnight a couple of nights later, Moe is awakened from a sound
sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to him,
” Moe–Moe.”

“Who is it?, asks Moe sitting up suddenly. “Who is it?”

“Moe–it’s me, Joe.”

“You’re not Joe. Joe just died.”

“I’m telling you, it’s me, Joe,” insists the voice.”

“Joe! Where are you?”

“In heaven”, replies Joe. “I have some really good news and alittle
bad news.”

“Tell me the good news first,” says Moe.

“The good news,” Joe says,” is that there’s baseball in heaven.Better yet,
all of our old buddies who died before us are here, too. Better than that,
we’re all young again. Better still, it’s always spring time and it never
rains or snows. And best of all, we can play baseball all we want, and
we never get tired.”

“That’s fantastic,” says Moe. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams!

So what’s the bad news?

“You’re pitching Tuesday.”

February 9, 2007

Suzie On Hold

Filed under: Day to Day Life, Suzy Homemaker — aliceaudrey @ 10:47 am

I didn’t make it.  Can you tell?  I’m sorry but Suzie is going to have to wait until next Friday when Suzie’s House will make it’s regularly scheduled appearance.

In other news, I got my samples in and am feeling much better.  Still no appointment for the cysts, but I’m not too worried.  One of the pains is completely gone and the other not bothering me much. 

I’m going to go work on Suzie now.  Anyone got anything in particular they’d like to see the characters do?

Alice

February 8, 2007

Drawing Lines

Filed under: Day to Day Life — aliceaudrey @ 3:37 pm

I’m in the bathroom trying to come up with a sample for my doctor to analyze, and thinking about the ovarian cyst they found yesterday.  Hmmm…. sounds like this is going to be one of those Too Much Information posts.  For the squeamish, don’t worry, it doesn’t get much worse than this.

Back to the potty, I’m thinking “What if I have to have the ovary removed?”  I’m not planning on having any more kids, and have a spare ovary.  Is it really such a bad thing to lose one?  What if they both have to go?  I really, really don’t want to have to take estrogen pills every flipping day for who knows how long.

And what about the other cyst, the one right where my appendix used to be?  Shouldn’t we be thinking about removing it as well?  No one seems the least concerned, so maybe I can ignore it.  But if they tell me the guts have to go, then what?

I know a man who had to have a LOT removed.  He now lives with a colostomy bag.  Ok, so I lied to the squeamish.  My apologies.  But the point is I don’t want to live like that!

I won’t do it!  I draw the line at colostomy bags.

Unless…   Lord, this could be a lot worse, couldn’t it.  This could kill me.

Suddenly the line I drew doesn’t mean the same to me as it did a few seconds ago.

I don’t particularly want to die.  Somehow, realizing how very bad things can get when it comes to malfunctions of the body, I see it all a little differently.  Suddenly daily pill popping and external appliances don’t seem quite so bad.

Pfft.  Why worry about it?  I’ll probably turn out to have some sort of bacterial infection, have a minor operation on the ovary, and ignore the thing where my appendix used to be.  Scary as this thing has been, it’s probably nothing.

Meanwhile it’s back to the bathroom.  Now where did my book go?  I wonder if things would move faster if I ate a cookie.
Alice
 

February 7, 2007

Goals

Filed under: Day to Day Life — aliceaudrey @ 3:59 pm

Goal for today – have a bowel movement

Goal for tomorrow – see if my doctor can figure out why this stupid bowel movement put me in the hospital for 10 hours.

Alice

February 6, 2007

Question

Filed under: Day to Day Life, What Are You Reading? — aliceaudrey @ 8:48 am

I’m reading Ahead of the Game by Suzann Ledbetter which has the following passage (p.34) :

Hank just said she’d get back to dating in time.  Zoey replies “No, I won’t.  Not because I’m still hurting.  Actually, I feel guilty for not hurting – not to mention stupid, for not calling it quits a long time ago.  Like before the wedding, when I knew I wasn’t having cold feet but convinced myself that was all it was.”

I recently saw a YouTube video in which a woman cuts her hair right before a wedding because the hair dresser made it curly.  I know the feeling where the hair is concerned, but suspect she might also have had cold feet.  I had a case of cold feet the morning of the wedding, which was ridiculous.  We co-owned our house by then, and left for the wedding in the same car.

It got me to wondering about having cold feet right before you marry.  Is this common?

If you are married, did you have cold feet right before?

Alice

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