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Chandleresque – excerpt

This is the opening of an as-yet untitled short novel that I have been writing on and off for the last year – it is Chandleresque as I just loved that style of storytelling and the movies that were made of those novels..

Please let me know what you think of the opening and the overall idea.

The Office Party (An excerpt from Chapter 1)

I knew it was going to be one of those days as soon as I stepped out of the cab. I stood on gum that some joker had spat onto the sidewalk. No amount of jolly good mornings from Joe the driver made up for me having to hop the last few steps over to the brownstone that had been my office for the last few years. I occasionally would look up at the six-storey to admire the architectural niceties that adorned the roof. Not today. The only gargoyle that I had on my mind was the lowlife that had messed up my shoe. I scraped off what I could of Mr Wrigley on the first cracked stone step that I came to. Unnoticed by me some dame was coming down the opposite side and loudly tutted at me. She loitered just long enough for me to get a good look at her. Her face was shrouded by a large green hat that may once have looked good on her when she was half the age that she was now. I could see just enough of her face to know that she was high maintenance, powdered with enough make-up to sink a battleship. Maybe that was it, she was going to war and I laughed to myself at the thought. Her hips were spread out to take the full weight of her green pleated dress. I’d say she was on the wrong side of forty, maybe even pushing fifty. In her time she’d probably given a few men a helping hand into poverty by agreeing a divorce at any cost. Not wishing to miss an opportunity for some fun I let out a low wolf whistle whilst staring at her, still rather shapely, legs. She didn’t disappoint and this time tutted even louder. I watched as she climbed into her cab. Settling into her seat she turned for the briefest of seconds and looked me right in the eye and there it was, a girlish smile: the payoff. We had both got something out of our little encounter. She went away happy with the thought that she still had that certain something that attracted men – and me? Well I was happy to get my first lie of the day out of the way. To me lying is an art form. Nobody ever got far telling the truth.

prose © copyright Brian Shirra 2011

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