Moving On From Goodbyes

Private Eye

Remly gives the door a swift jerk, hearing the soft click of the lock sliding into place. Someday, when finances allow, he will replace the damn door. Better yet, he might just move out, and leave the ghosts behind. With a satisfied grunt, he makes his way down the dimly-lit hallway of the building, whistling to himself a nameless tune.

The elevator shaft is a distance to the other end of the building. Why this is so, Remly doesn’t know. But it does mean his unit is the cheapest in the building. Being far removed from the nosy neighbors and prying eyes only sweetens the deal.

Still, it doesn’t change the fact that he’ll be out on the streets if business slips. He could let out one of the offices, but that means changing the signage out front as well.  No, what James & Manson really needs is a new gig, and Remly wants it now. Taking his cigarettes out from his coat pocket, he lights one up as he rounds the corner, distracted by his own problems.

“Excuse me.”

What? Remly looks up from his stupor to see a elderly gentleman in a white suit walking towards him. Well-groomed beard, a studded ivory cane and a spot of decent cologne, Remly smells money.

“I say young man, do you to know where I might find the offices of James & Manson? The unit I was given doesn’t seem to exist.”

Remly blinks, trying to control his excitement. He plays it cool and throws his cigarette to the floor, stubbing it out. “You found it, Remly Manson at your service.” He extends a hand which the man warmly accepts.

“Oh wonderful, I’ve been referred by an associate of mine, he tells me I should speak to a Mr. Albus James.”

Remly feels his enthusiasm wane. “James is gone for the day, if there’s anything I’ll be more than…”

“Thank you, but no” the old man says, raising a hand. “I’ll like to speak to Albus in private,  it’s a matter of upmost confidentiality. Is there anyway I can reach him?”

Think fast Remly. “I can assure you, that as a partner of James & Manson, I am just as capable in handling your request, Mr…”

“White, Sullivan White.”

“Mr White,” Remly tips his hat. “Now, I’ve been in business with Albus for the last thirteen years. There ain’t a thing we don’t trust each other with. Don’t let this youthful mug fool ya.” He forces a laugh to appear to friendly.

The old man looks at Remly warily. “You’re the Manson of the company?”

“Presently so,” Remly answers. “Now why don’t we go back to our office so that we may discuss this business in private.”

The old man bites his lips, considering the proposition.

Remly weighs the costs in his head. “Tell you what, there’s a nice little restaurant just across the street. If time permits, perhaps we can discuss this matter over dinner.”

The old man’s features start to soften. “Well I guess….”

“Good, let’s go then. I hope you like steak.”

<– Part 1: An Intro To Goodbyes    <–Part 2: A Follow Up To Goodbyes

 

Authors Notes: 

  • This part has the ‘sudden’ appearance of another character to let the story move forward, let me know if the handling of it here is ok, or is it just too sudden. I can always add a “he looks up  and sees a man exiting the elevator”, or something like that.
  • As per the part 1, I have opted to do away with most dialogue tags. This makes it read faster which can be a good or bad thing.
  • I’ve went back to edit Part 1 and 2, trying to insert the character descriptions into the text without dedicated an entire chunk to it. I need to create an image for Albus. I’ll see if it works.
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A Follow Up To Goodbyes

Detective

Picking up his uncle’s rolodex, Remly fingers through the yellowing cards. scanning the all too familiar names. James & Manson hasn’t had a new customer in years now, and its day-to-day survival depended entirely on the few companies unafraid of employing a little subterfuge in their dealings. Debt collectors, employment agencies and other shady businesses. They make up the entirety of the agency’s client list.

Now that both founding members of James & Manson are gone however, Remly needs to find out which of these regulars will be sticking around with the new management. Only one way to find out. He picks out a card at random and makes the call.

“Hey Wachowski, long time no hear. How’s the bailor business.”

A gruff voice on the other end answers, “Ain’t got nothing for you Manson, better luck next time.” He hangs up.

Remly picks another card. “Milo? Remly here. James & Manson. No, just calling to check if…” Same answer. He pulls out three more cards and tries again, and again, and again.

“Words out you’re flying solo now Manson. The boss ain’t too thrilled about that you know, Albus has always been the one handling our business. You lack experience kid.”

“Krippie, I know your business inside out, I’ve been working with you since I was a kid! You know my dad.”

“Sorry Remly.”

Another hang up. Five strikes in a row and Remly’s psyche is shot. He slams the receiver down and grabs for the bottle, pouring himself a double. “I’ll show em’,” Remly fumes, chugging down the whiskey. The liquid burns down his throat, forcing him to wince. “To you dad,” he croaks, raising his glass. “And so-called friends.”

The heat spreading inside Remly’s belly helps him to relax. He pours a generous helping again, gulping down the fiery liquor with gusto. Just one more. The drinks start to fly, by the time Remly stops, he had finished half the bottle. “Sorry dear, won’t happen again,” Remly slurs, chuckling as he mimics the voice of his father. Leaving the mess on the table, he stumbles out of the office, ready to call it a night. He will call again tomorrow, though the prospect of rejection looms heavily upon that promise.

But tomorrow can worry about itself. Tonight, Remly has his mind set on a steak dinner. The thought of one anyways, since he can barely afford a sandwich. Sighing at his sad state of affairs, he grabs his coat and hat off the rack, shuffling out the door. Without uncle Albus around, he makes doubly sure to lock up everything behind him. Fumbling with his keys, Remly can’t help but smile. Already he is starting to miss the old man.

<– Part 1: An Intro To Goodbyes     Part 3:

Author’s notes: 

  • So far this is my writing style, write as much as I want, rewrite the entire thing, then cut it down to size. Usually I can cut off about 25%-30% of the text without losing any context, though I have to try to slow down the pace if it reads too fast. 
  • Playing the subtext of the relationships without being too direct.
  • First time writing a scene about drinking. Lemme know if it works.
  • My constant war against “As” “And” “Before” “Then” “After” — Basically link words. I try to cut them down and just separate the sentences if I can, as long as it still reads right. I am overly reliant on the word “As”, usually I find about 10-12 of them in a 500 word chunk before I cut them down. It is incredible how versatile that word is, yet is totally meaningless and can often be replaced with something more descriptive.

Removing as to make it more descriptive: (as is usually associated with the dreaded -ly, the telling words)

  • Albus turns away, shielding his eyes. With a final pat on Remly’s back, he …
  • Albus turns away, shielding his eyes as he pats Remly firmly on the back. He…

Where it fulfils no purpose: 

  • The warmth spreading through Remly’s belly makes him relax.
  • The warmth spreads through Remly belly as it starts to make him relax.

 

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An Intro About Goodbyes

Detectives

Six-Thirty.

The glare from the setting sun cuts through the window, bathing the clutter in the office in a warm orangey hue. Remly, lost in his thoughts, looks up from his desk. Time. He straightens his shirt and walks across the hallway, passing the tarnished signage with its unremarkable lettering: James & Manson – Private Eyes.

In his room, Albus sits on his desk, the back of his bald head turned to the door as he stares motionlessly through the blinds. Whether he notices Remly coming in or not, he makes no show of it. Waiting quietly by the door, the younger admires the view of the evening sky outside, watching it cool into a navy blue.

Eventually, Albus stirs, wiping his face with rugged hands.  “Well, this is it I guess.”

“Yup.” Remly looks at the floor as Albus picks his coat off his chair and puts it on, eyes still transfixed on the sky.

“Been here over forty years ya know.”

Remly smiles.“Forty-one, twenty-eight with dad, thirteen with me.”

Albus turns back and grins, wrinkling his eyes. “Forty-one years and the best damn partners a man could have hoped for.”

“You can always visit,” Remly says, walking towards the desk. Albus produces a bottle from his drawer and pours out the drinks, handing one of them to Remly.

“Ain’t gonna be the same kid. You gonna spruce this place up?”

“Maybe.” Remly says, lowering his eyes to the glass in his hand.

“Well, at least the old girl’s in safe hands.” Albus says, running a hand across his mahogany desk. He stretches out to make a toast. “James & Manson is all yours now Remly. Remember. If you ever need anything…”

“You’ll be the first to know uncle.”

“Good,” Albus says, blinking back tears. “We’re proud of you, you know that?”

Remly sighs, “Too bad pride doesn’t pay the bills.” He downs the smoky brown malt in a single gulp and grimaces. “…where you get this stuff?”

“It’s been sitting around.”

“For what, a decade?”

Albus laughs, downing his own with a satisfied smirk. “Strong stuff. Bet your old man would have appreciated it though, that man knows his whiskey.”

“Enough to die from it.”

The moment lapses into silence.

Albus makes a slight cough and puts on his hat. “Well, guess I better be going…”

“Sure you don’t want me to call you a cab?” Remly asks, taking the glass from Albus.

“Save it. Buy yourself a nice dinner tonight. God knows you’re gonna need it. Goodbye junior.”

Remly gives an appreciative smile. “Goodbye uncle. Thanks for everything.” The men share a quiet hug.

Albus turns away, shielding his eyes. With a final pat on Remly’s back, he breaks away and disappears out the door of his office for the very last time.

Remly sheds a tear before forcing himself back to reality. Looking around the abandoned office, he worries about making the rent this month. Other than that though, life goes on. It always does.

 

 Part 2: A Follow Up To Goodbyes –>

Author’s Notes: 

  • Does the silence work?
  • Going for a more mellow tone here, the yin to Pixel’s yang.
  • Inspired somewhat by Madmen. Picture Don Draper and Roger Sterling at one of their bar scenes. Don says almost nothing of direct note most of the time, but the emotions still get through.
  • Men always have trouble with good byes.
  • Want to get a Noire thing going without being overly cheesy. The mention of private eye already conjures up a grayscale 60s office.
  • Trying out subtext here. Letting words go unsaid etc. I need to be less direct.
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