writer friday; from the dame’s point of view

Today’s Writer Friday, albeit a little late, is a special one. The writing prompt is the emotion/state nervous with the added bonus of written in the noir style. This is brought to you by Chuck M, an old buddy of mine who has exceptional writing chops (especially in this genre) and who I hope to have on this blog at some point. I’m not that great at this style, not without reading more Hammett and whatnot but here goes nothing.

Let’s dip the bill Chuck, next rounds on me.

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart

It was dark when she approached the opaque glass door but there was enough light to highlight the name broadly painted on the door; Dash Marlowe, Private Dick.

The name alone was enough to stop her in her tracks. But she was in an honest to goodness jam and despite the profession, or because of the profession if she was honest with herself, she needed Dash. He was an honest jobbie who played fair and square with his clients.

He wouldn’t involve the coppers and he wouldn’t endanger any dame even if she was guilty. She knew that. Knew it without a doubt.

It didn’t make any of this easier.

She swallowed against the dryness in her mouth.

She didn’t want to do it; didn’t want to knock on the door to face the man inside. They had too much…no, they had a lifetime of history and she didn’t have the gall to face the shamus inside.

“You can do it Nancy,” she murmured to herself as she smoothed sweaty palms over her pink wool skirt, she adjusted her matching  straw hat and took a deep breath. She could do this. She had to. It wasn’t a matter of wanting to. It was a matter of life or death. If Elizabeth wasn’t found by Friday…she bit her rouge stained lips and tried to block the mental image of her sister being tormented.

It would be the big sleep for her baby sister.

Despite the butterflies in her stomach and the bile rising in her throat with each passing minute; despite all that, she had a duty, an obligation, to make sure her sister was brought back in one piece.

Shivering in the dim hallway, she steeled her spine. Her parents were dead, her brother was trying to marry into money in London and the only person she could trust, she had kicked to the curb a year ago.

She had no one.

Except for Elizabeth.

Though she was the moll of Frankie Abruzzi, the leader of the local trouble boys,  Lizzie was still her baby sister and Nancy couldn’t just let her get caught up in shenanigans that could kill her.

No, she had to forget Dash’s kisses, his tenderness, his broad shoulders that could take on much more than hers ever could and just focus on the means to an end.

Dash was the best. She needed the best.

Opening her eyes, she licked her lips. Professional. Yeah, she had to keep this professional and distant.

She could be cold. Dash had accused her of that many times.

A bubble of laughter spilled out of her mouth as she reached for the door knob. Dash might be the best flatfoot in the business, but he wasn’t terribly observant when it came to his personal life.

Professional.

Cold.

Pushing back her errant thoughts and the feeling of wanting to be sick, she turned the cold steel knob.

She could absolutely do this.

She had to.

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writer friday. look ma, no hands!

I’ve been having some serious writer’s block lately. I think it’s because I haven’t been stimulated my brain but that’s hard to do when you’re in the house all day and you’re only means of intelligent conversation is a goldfish and two finches.

To combat insanity, every once in awhile I post a plea on Facebook for a word or phrase or emotion to start writing. A writing prompt if you will.

This is a repeat of one that I did a few weeks ago. It was sent in by my MIL and the emotion was Despair. Enjoy.

 

 

She stood stock still in the middle of the sidewalk, her shoulders rigid and her left hand still clutching the active cell phone. The sounds of traffic faded away until all she could hear was the roar of her blood in her ears. Her heart, the thing that she had tried to protect at all costs, was broken.

The news wasn’t unexpected but it still hurt.

A bump to her shoulder sent her cellphone to the sidewalk and reality crashed back into her. With adrenaline and fear guiding her body, she grabbed her phone and put it to her ear as she started walking. “Is there anything I can do?”

“Where the hell did you just go?” the voice on the other end, at once familiar and strange, barked. “This is what I’m talking about. This is why this is happening. Just…”

She was sure he continued his tirade but she couldn’t listen. Her life was shattering into tiny pieces and her mind was desperately grasping at anything she could gather and rebuild. “Why?”

A deep sigh echoed through the phone and she couldn’t help but picture his face. He would be rubbing his eyes and looking down as his exasperation took over.

“Tell me what I can do to fix this. Please?” she heard her voice break and belatedly winced at the pathetic note in her voice. She shook her head as she heard him shifting on the other end. “Please?” she whispered, the adrenaline winding down and her eyes burning. “Tell me, I’ll do anything. Anything. Please.”

There was a pause, a moment of delay that gave her hope, a big beautiful bright ray of hope until she heard him clear his throat. She knew that sound, knew what he was gearing up for. The burning in her eyes escalating until she couldn’t breathe.

“Joe, please. Please! Don’t do this.”

“I have to. I just…we aren’t the same people we were ten years ago. I…love her.”

Someone sobbed, a high deep sound. ‘Me,’ she thought as she staggered to a stop in front of a building. “How? Why?” It was meant to be an inside thought. She had been taught to never ask a question she didn’t know the answer to.

“I’m sorry.”

She laughed, a maniacal sound even to her. “You didn’t break a dish Joe, you’re leaving me. Sorry doesn’t even cut it.”

He cleared his throat again. “I thought I at least owed you enough to tell you in person. The papers should be at your office in an hour.”

Oh that’s right. Lunch. She had been grabbing a bite to eat when her phone rang. Numbness settled into her bones as she leaned against the warm brick of the building. “Owed me?”

“Yes,” irritation crept through the line and she found that she couldn’t care. Couldn’t dredge up a single iota of empathy.

“Your sense of noble gallantry has been filled Joe. Thanks for the call.”

“I -“

A sliver of fire ran through her as her stomach roiled. “Fuck you.”

Disconnecting the call, she sniffed and rolled her head back. Ten years of marriage and all it took was ten minutes to end it. There was no bargaining, no begging, no strategy that she could employ that could save the life that she knew; that was comfortable and safe in. No, ten years of marriage and she was leaning on a building with absolutely no idea what the hell to do.

Blinking, she let the numbness slide over her. “Fuck you Joe. Fuck you.”