Thursday, November 11, 2004

Local Custom

This scene just kind of came to me while I was foundering about for some way to introduce Brooke Adams, local tavern owner. It's a prime example of my patented stage-direction-free dialogue. In my mind, I know what's happening; hopefully a portion of that is conveyed to readers who are not me.

Graham took a look at her neck; the scar, at least a half inch wide and paler than the surrounding skin ran from the top of her BREASTBONE around the RIGHT (non-jugular) side of her neck to the bottom of her ear, which was missing part of the lobe.

He glanced up and saw her looking at him. She turned and nodded to the man tending bar at the other end. He, in turn, rang a brass bell below a rack of glasses on the wall.

“Twelve seconds,” Adams announced. “Who has twelve?”

A small man in his fifties wearing a John Deere ball cap raised his hand.

“Vic Soames, Rudy. Pour him a Guinness.”

As Vic got up to claim his drink, he passed by Graham. “Thanks, buddy,” he said and clapped his hand over Graham’s shoulder as he walked away.

“What was that about?” Graham asked.

“Local custom. When a new guy comes in, he’s timed from the moment he comes up to the bar until he cops a peek at my scar. Took you twelve seconds. Thanks for looking at my eyes first; you’re a real gentleman.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

“Uncomfortable? Please. I stopped being uncomfortable about it about a month after the stitches came out and it stopped itching. It is what it is, and mostly it’s been good for business. That’ll be four dollars out of your tab.”

“But – “

“Or you can leave now and never come back.”

“But what if I wanted to include a tip?”

“How much?”

“Buck fifty?”

“Fair enough.”

(daily word count: 2,552 words; total word count: 21,649 words; words remaining: 28,351)