Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"The Sisters Rica"

Six a.m. alarm. The sun risen over an hour earlier, breaking through the shades and starkly illuminating the room. The dog whined. The newspaper thudded to the front porch. Today, Monday, the fourteenth of July, Bastille Day, six a.m., today all would begin. His bridges were burnt. The fortnight of two weeks' notice at the bank was completed; over the weekend his wife had purchased a thorough stock of different colored pens, pencils, notepads, blank paper, a new typewriter ribbon, blank tapes for the dictaphone. At the bookstore he had acquired new copies of Merriam-Webster's and Roget's; and, just in case, old copies of each, also. The dog whined again. Time for the day to begin. He was to be a writer. He was a writer!

Eleven in the morning. Third cup of coffee. All pencils neatly sharpened. All pens arranged by color. A blank sheet of paper fed into the typewriter, upon which he forcefully typed out his opening line:
            A shot rang out.
The rest of the page was blank. He knew what came next, how the narcotics detective would weave back and forth between the grey areas of morality, guided by nothing more certain than an eye for detail and a nose for a scam, how the bewitching blonde would saunter saucily through the pages, leading the detective and the reader breathlessly onward into the labyrinth; how the weather would turn unseasonably cold and the denouement would be echoed by the flash of lightening illuminating a broken-down car by the side of the old highway, how the dancers would dance and how the smoke would rise in rings towards the ceiling, how the Scotch would slide over the ice, reflecting the glimmer of light in the darkened bar -- he knew all these things.

But all he had typed was:
            A shot rang out.

reading [will explain the humor in the story:]
The Paris Review: Georges Simenon
air conditioner out, duvet in