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Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:21 pm Reply with quote
I'm not taking my time purposely. I just get around to it (like twice) when i think, "Maybe I'll get back to Harry) and the fact that I've been lazy writing lately. Started a number of efforts on my Word Perfect, but they all went nowhere, including my follow up to Max Golden which went to about 145 pages before I concluded that it wasn't going anywhere interesting and didn't have much snap to it. That first (and only book) was a cinch. I even wrote two more drafts of it. I still have a number of things I want to change in it, but if it is not going to be published, why bother. I did try to get it published a few times, or even get it looked at, but it was such a pain in the ass that I quit. As I'm sure you remember, that phony publisher said they'd publish it. Laughing

Last edited by marantzo on Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:04 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
Gary - What I meant was that the writing didn't seemed rushed. That's a compliment. And yes, I do remember what happened with that publisher.

I had a feeling you meant Winnipeg and had to read your writing over again because I just thought I missed it. Maybe it would be a good idea to italicize "the city" to clarify your point.

I really like what you've written so far. I hope you continue.
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Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:15 pm Reply with quote
Thanks, I mean to. I do have the character sketched out slightly in my mind, such as his family background, but other than that I'll be telling the story as it comes to me. From his last name anyone in the Canadian prairies would be pretty sure from which denomination he had sprung but I don't think NYers would have a clue. There are some Jews with that last name, but he isn't Jewish.

I think I should reserve some time each day to add something to it. So far I have written far more words about writing it than actually writing it. Laughing
Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:15 am Reply with quote
Chapter 2


Harry was born forty eight years ago, on January 1, just missing out the first new year baby in the province by fifty six minutes. He was the runner up. The winner, a female baby, had cheated by being born two months prematurely. This may have been the reason that Harry never trusted women all that much. He was born at the Women’s Pavilion of the Health Science Centre in the city, Winnipeg. His family, mother and father, lived on a modest farm just outside of Steinbach, Manitoba. His mother insisted on going to Winnipeg for the birth. Steinbach had a good hospital but his mother disliked Steinbach. His mother and father were born Mennonites, with both having left the fold in their teen years. They hated the stiff, conservative attitude of the religion and were only too happy to bid it farewell. They were both born in Steinbach and Harry’s mother didn’t want her son to be born in this ultra conservative community. Harry’s father was far more easy-going than his mother and didn’t care where Harry was born. He didn’t care that Harry got nosed out of the new years baby of the year contest either, but his wife insisted that the premature baby cheated. And she was serious.
Harry’s mother was Anne and his father was Martin. Harry was the only child they had and he was doted on by both of them. He was very much like his mother in his demeanor and very little like his father. Harry either didn’t have or suppressed the emotionalism that his mother had in spades. She was fiery in her opinions and never hid them. She was always dressed very well and had the carriage of a duchess. The one thing that Anne and Martin had in common was a great sense of humour. Martin’s was more gentle and Anne’s was usually biting. One of Anne’s favourite jokes was the question, “Why are Mennonites opposed to fucking standing up?” Answer: “Because it might lead to dancing.”
Harry wasn’t aware of it, but his decision to change his life was subconsciously a desire to be more like his father. He respected his mother without reservation, but he adored his father and loved the way he looked at life with such a cheerful perspective.

Last edited by marantzo on Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:05 pm Reply with quote
Harry's memoirist is getting bored so Harry does the right thing and kills himself.

Everyone who wants Harry to go to heaven, put up your hands.

Everyone who wants him to go to hell, yell "damn You".

Everyone who wants Harry to just die because you are tired of him, yell YESSSS!

Posted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:24 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6908 Location: Black Hills
We spot patterns, and in that knack that we humans have, we construct a world
that is full of transformation. When we see something die, we don't see
non-being, but a disruption of pattern: we see transformation and our mind fills
in with some other aspect of being that is somehow beyond our ken. Non-being is
impossible to imagine, and all things that lead to it, like total annihilation,
are beyond imagination. In a sense, the only real light in the universe is
consciousness, and that light can only fall on existent things. Try to imagine
a black insensate void and your mind can't do it. Something, some thing, pops
into your attempted imagining of nonbeing. Even if you achieve the void, there
is a perspective that is being had regarding the void. Which means it's not
really a true void. If you die, memories are gone, but there can be no
certainty that consciousness at the particular resonance of "yours" is gone.
The ego is gone, for sure, as it requires memory. But it's impossible to
determine that consciousness is gone....could be that resonance is existent in a
fetal brain somewhere and sees, at its birth, another take on the world, the
beingness of light as it was experienced by something called "you" earlier. Or
that's how it seems when I reflect on nothingness.

Either that, or we all live in a giant supercomputer. Red pill? Blue pill?

He was wise beyond his years, but only by a few days.
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Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:37 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6908 Location: Black Hills
The numinous nature of numismatics,
gives solace to lonely indoor asthmatics.

He was wise beyond his years, but only by a few days.
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Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:25 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6908 Location: Black Hills
Tall Grass

I step from the car
as a gust shakes the dry brush
and the sun opens a yellow door
revealing along the shoulder
a few puddles glistening
like mercury
puddles like new-minted coins
drawing my greedy eyes
which have too long
turned inward;

On a hill's open face, the new sun
catches fire, spangles a million
mineral dots,
and I stretch and walk away
from the road
as if voyaging to some tiny galaxy;

At the bottom of the tiny dazzling cliff,
anonymous bushes with orange berries
draw shapeless clouds of waxwings
falling like tiny shreds of a torn kite
then turning into keen darts that shoot
from branch to branch
like the nerve impulses
in a foliage brain.

The tall grass beyond gives
the illusion that nothing terrible
has ever happened here,
the arrowheads are long buried,
the bones milled into flour
and earth and forgetful Springs.

* * *

He was wise beyond his years, but only by a few days.
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Posted: Wed May 30, 2012 7:04 pm Reply with quote
Good piece Bart.
Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:40 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
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Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:29 pm Reply with quote

Monday Morning

I'd just settled into my office chair behind my office desk in my new office on the first day of my new occupation, private eye, when the phone rang.

"Cornell Mann, private eye."

"Mr. Mann, I just saw your ad in the Sun and I need your services," a sing song voice said from the other end of the line.

"Who am I talking to?'

"My name is Samantha Cabot and my husband is missing."

"Well, Samantha, when did he turn up missing?"

"He didn't turn up, he's missing."

"Yeah, I know. When did you noticed he was gone?"

"When he wasn't here anymore."

"When was that?"

"About a week ago."

"A week ago? How come you didn't report this until now?"

"Well he does go away quite often. He's a traveling business man."

"What kind of business, and why wouldn't he have told you about going away?"

"He's in the collection business and he always leaves me a note when he goes away, but I cleaned up the house the morning that he left for work and I figured I must have thrown out the note. He always leaves it on the kitchen table and I thought I must have thrown it out with the morning paper. I never read the paper except the movie schedules. Anyway, I started to worry this morning because it's been a week and he hasn't called or anything, so I looked in the classified in this morning's paper and found your agency under Personal Services right under the massage ads. Please Mr. Mann, you have to help me."

"Do you have money to pay for my services?"

"Sure, I think so."

"What do you mean, you think so?"

"How much do you charge. I have lots of money in the bank. Fred always put the money in my account and everything in my name. He loves me very much. How much do you charge?"

"Two hundred a day plus expenses."

I really didn't know what to charge. I never thought of that.

"That sounds OK. Do you take Visa?"

"No I only take cash and I'll need a week’s pay in advance. I'll refund any money if the case is solved before then."

I was starting to like the way I was handling this financial business. My first case.

"Mrs. Cabot, you have to come down so we can discuss all the details face to face. Bring fourteen hundred bucks so if I take the case I can start right away."

"You have to take the case, Mr. Mann. You just have to. I'm worried sick."

"Call me Cornell, Samantha. You bring the fourteen hundred and I'll put all the other cases aside.
Can you be here in an hour or so?"

"Sure I can. Sure. I'll be there in an hour, and thank you so much."

"See you then Samantha, goodbye."

"Goodbye, Cornell."

I didn't know what to make of this woman. She sounded a little off-kilter. The phone rang. Wow, business was booming.

"Mr....Cornell I don't know your address, it wasn't in the paper."

"1400 Broadway. On the corner of Broadway and Kennedy. Office number 901."

"Thanks, see you around ten."

Around ten to ten the phone rang again. Another case? No, it was Samantha.

"Cornell, I'm going to be a teensy weensy bit late. I'm at my bank just down the street and I forgot that it doesn't open till ten."

"That's OK. I'm just finishing some paper work."

"Good. I'll be there as soon as I can and thank you for seeing me so promptly. I just know that you are going to do a good job."

"I'll do my best, baby."

I figured that a little PI lingo like 'baby' was called for.

Twenty minutes later there was a quiet knock at my door. I called out "come in" and she did. I couldn't believe what I saw. She had just walked out of a 40's 'B' movie. A haystack of platinum blonde hair cascading to her size 38 D's, bare shoulders and poured into a tight white summer dress with red flowers. White patent shoes with 4" spike heels and topped off with a large white straw sun hat sheltering a doll-like face with doll-like makeup, lightly rouged apple cheeks and bright red full lips. Big blue eyes with long lashes that looked real. Seeing her, triggered Helen Kane singing "I Want to Be Loved By You" in my brain. “Boop boop e doo...”

I stood up and greeted her, shaking her hand and asking her to sit down in the chair in front of my desk.

"Mr. Mann, Cornell...can I call you Corny?"

"I'd rather you didn't."

"OK, but you can call me Sam. Can I call you Manny?"

"Sam, call me anything you want, but not Corny."

"OK, Manny," she said with her little sing song voice.

"Have you got the money, Sam?"

"Yeah, right here. You know you can call me Sammy too, if you want. I can never decide if I like Sam better than Sammy or Sammy better than Sam. Some times it's one and then the other. I guess I should make up my mind and stick to it, but I don't want to have a nickname that I'm going to get tired of. What people call you is very important. Don't you think so?"

"Yes, Mrs. Cabot, I think so, now can we get down to finding your husband?"

She went through all the details of her husband’s job that he had told her about. That he worked for a very wealthy man who financed business ventures, mostly south of the border in places like Detroit and Cleveland and St. Louis. Sometimes the people he was financing stopped making the payments and her husband was sent down to the States to collect what was owed. Between these assignments her husband was the rich man’s gofer doing errands and arranging meetings. The rich man insisted on anonymity and Fred had to sign an oath of secrecy when he applied for the job and couldn’t even tell his wife who he worked for.

Listening to this story, it seemed clear to me that this sweet innocent had been handed a load of bull by her hubby.

“Sam, I have to ask you some personal questions. Don’t be offended, I need all the information I can get to be able to solve this thing.”

“That’s OK, Cornell...Manny...Corn....What did I decide to call you?”

“I think it was Manny.”

“Oh yeah, Manny. I do like that name best. What did you ask me again?”

I started to get the feeling that I was interviewing a Playboy Bunny.

“If personal questions would bother you, remember?”

“Oh yeah. They won’t bother me I’m open minded. I will be forced coming with my answers.”

“I believe that you mean forthcoming.”

“Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I’ll be with my answers, forthcoming!”

“Sam have you ever been a Playboy Bunny?”
“Oh, Manny, you are a good detective. No, I wasn’t a Playboy Bunny but in 1989 I was Miss October in Jail Bait Magazine.”

“Jail Bait? How old were you?”

“I was nineteen but I could pass for a very sexy younger girl. They wouldn’t use anyone under eighteen. That’s against the law!”

“Yes, I know. Now let’s get back to the case. Have you every suspected that Fred was cheating on you or lying to you about what his job was?”

“No, I don’t think that Fred ever cheated on me. He seems to enjoy fooling around with me too much to want anyone else. I never have. He’s a very good lover. Once we....”

“Hold it. I don’t need those details.”

“OK I guess I was being too......forthright! What was your other question?”

“Did you ever think that Fred might be lying to you about his job?”

“Well, he was sworn to secrecy so maybe he had to lie sometimes, but he always came home and he never hit me and he always let me have lots of money even though I never asked. And I’m sure he never cheated when he was on those trips either, because as soon as he would come home he wanted to make love to me. When he went away I dressed in very sexy clothes every day so whenever he came home I would look good for him. We have a wonderful life together. We make each other flurry.”

“Do you mean, flourish?”

“Yeah, flourish. We make each other that.”

“You are up to the eff’s in the dictionary, aren’t you?”

“Wow, you are a good detective!”


My first case was so weirdly typical of a fictional private eye novel that I began to think that some of my friends were playing a practical joke on me. I phoned a few of my friends, the one’s who knew I was starting this business, but they seemed genuinely surprised by what just occurred. And they all wanted to meet this client of mine. Of course I told them, no.

I came from a wealthy family. My father had a large men’s outwear factory producing everything from parkas to leather motorcycle jackets. My mother was a housewife who was a secretary at my dad’s business for the first three years of their marriage, till they had me. I’m an only child. My parents were killed in a car crash on a road in Saskatchewan three years ago. I was a lawyer then. Handling civil cases. I was bored silly. I was left the factory and arranged the sale of it to my dad’s floor manager. I was left with a lot of money. The accidental deaths doubled the insurance money which was substantial without the doubling.

When my parents were killed, my job as a lawyer was even harder to take. I was genuinely depressed. Sometimes I couldn’t even make it to my office. I let my cases slide until I finally had to let my clients go. I refunded most of their money and set them up with a friend of mine who was also a civil lawyer. Sent over all my files and closed up shop. I bummed around for about a year. Traveling, partying, ordering in and watching an awful lot of TV. I was lonely. Sometimes I would sit on my sofa surrounded by silence and weep for the loss of my parents. I was thirty three and a lost soul, not knowing what to do except feel sorry for myself. Rather a pathetic figure.

Then the good Lord, whom I have no belief in, sent me a message in the form of a Humphrey Bogart marathon.
I had to be a private detective!
This revelation saved my sanity, though my friends thought it only proved insanity.
So here I am. Sam Spade in the crime capitol of North America, Winnipeg.

A Shamas Is Born

The perfume that my bouncy client Sam was wearing, lingered in my office. She was a ditz, but a very delightful and likeable ditz. I wasn’t in danger of being mistaken for a Lothario, but I did have thoughts of making it with sexy Sam. I never knowingly bedded a married woman. Something that went against my grain, so I was sort of hoping that her husband would turn up dead. I rationalized that wishing someone dead was less egregious than sleeping with his wife.
I was fairly certain that Fred was not in a legitimate business. One didn’t have to be a good detective to think he was probably some kind of enforcer for some bad people. I knew some guys who were bookies and they did have some contacts with some serious criminals. The one that I knew best was Bugsy Levine. I phoned him.

“Bugsy, Cornell Mann. I wonder if you could help me about something.”

“Sure, pally, What can I do for you?”

“Well, I’m a private dick now, and......”

“What? You’re kidding me. You are kidding, aren’t you? What kind of dick was that again? ”

“No it’s legit. I left my practice and opened an office. This is my first day on the job and I have a client.”
Bugsy started laughing hysterically. He had a very high pitched laugh and it sounded evil. He couldn’t catch his breath for what seemed like five minutes. I could picture the tears running down his cheeks.

“You have a client.........”

He started laughing again.

“Don’t tell me.....she’s a big gorgeous blonde, right? And trying to kill her.........”

Now my friend Bugs was roaring with laughter.
On the other hand, I was wondering what his reaction would be when I told him that yes, my client was a big gorgeous blonde. I was worried that he might have a heart attack from laughing so much.

Finally he caught his breath.

“Corny, what’s a rich prick like you opening up a PI office for? Are you having some sort of mid-life crisis?”

“Yuh know something, maybe I am, but it’s what I want to do.”

“OK pally, what can I help you with?”

“Let me tell you something before we go into details. And please don’t start laughing again. You’re going to have a stroke.”

“OK, my man, shoot!”

“My client is a big gorgeous blonde.”

I put the speaker phone on and sat back waiting till he finished laughing once more. I’d heard that laughter was healthful. He was getting very healthy.

“Do I know my cinema noir or do I know my cinema noir?
What can I tell you Philo?”

“Do you know anybody named Fred Cabot?”

“Yeah, I know him. Not a friend or anything but I see him around. What do you want him for? He seems like a nice guy, but he’s...he’s...well let’s say, he can be dangerous.”

“He’s missing. His wife is the blonde. She wants me on the case.”

“Holy shit man. You might be looking for trouble. He’s a strong arm guy, for some very bad people.”

“That’s what I was thinking. His wife doesn’t have a clue. He told her he was some kind of collector for some mysterious legit millionaire business man.
Anyway, he went on one of his trips down to the States, supposedly to collect some money owed his boss and he is missing.”

“I don’t know how I can help you pally? I know his people, but it’s not like we are buddies. These fuckers scare me. They are connected. Not mafia, but definitely organized, and definitely not averse to causing great harm.”

“Ah jeeze, my first case and I’m dealing with killers.”

“Pally, I’m not comfortable on the phone talking about this. Let’s get together tomorrow at that joint we were in the last time I saw you.”

“OK, got it. What time?”

“Maybe tonight would be better? Nine o'clock at the same place?”

“Good by me. See you there.”


While thinking of my first and only client, it occurred to me that I should have a secretary. All those guys had secretaries. Blackie, Philo, Marlow, Spade, all of them. If I were going to be my idea of a gumshoe, I needed a secretary. My office was one room, but there was a small room beside my office that was unoccupied. I decided to phone the building manager and tell him I wanted to rent the other room and put in an adjoining door. I did this and he said that he’d ask the owners. I told him it was something I needed right away. He phoned back within the hour and told me that the owners, Winipaco, were OK with that but said that I would have to pay for the renovation. I know I could have got the cheap fucks to do it, the room was empty, but I had the scratch so it wasn’t a problem for me. Also, I could do it the way I wanted it done. I phoned a builder I knew and made an arrangement for him to come up tomorrow and I’d tell him how I wanted it done. I would pay him cash and save the federal and provincial tax. Being able to afford it with no change to my lifestyle wasn’t the issue. I was a Winnipegger and we don’t pay full price for anything, so why screw with my friend the builder, I’d rather screw the government. The material would have to be taxed but his time would be off the books.

Then I phoned the Sun and the Free Press and put an ad in the classifieds.

Secretary wanted for detective agency. Phone 942-1655 btw 9AM and 4PM. Must be presentable, have typing and computer skills.

It was a little after one and I had nothing to do till I met Bugsy at Rae and Jerry’s Steak House at nine. I turned on the TV and waited for the phone to ring; Hoping that it wouldn’t because I already had a case and any more would probably overwhelm a rookie like me. The phone rang once. I was apprehensive. It was a wrong number. I was relieved. I decided to close the office and go back to my apartment, have a nap, get cleaned up and head out to RJ’s.

The Case Begins

I was seated at the bar at 8:45, nursing a scotch and soda. Bugsy bounced into the bar about ten minutes later. He was a short guy and sort of funny looking. A nose that had been broken so many times that it hung on his face like a sausage. He was a bright guy and could add, subtract, multiple and divide numbers like a calculator, which was a very good talent to have for a bookie. He spoke like a Damon Runyon character, which wasn’t an affectation because I had known him since he was a kid and he always talked that way.

Bugs gave me the lowdown. Sam’s husband was in the
employ of an organization that ran an underground railroad for drugs, arms and money, in and out of Winnipeg, to and from destinations from the mid-west states, east and west Canada.

When I asked him why the cops or whomever, weren’t on to them. He said that he didn’t know if they were onto them or not, but there are some guys you can get to on the local force.

We drank and had dinner. We talked about how things were going for each other. For him it was going well. Lots of action and there didn’t seem to be any heat at all. They had better things to do, I guess, since there was a big murder problem for a mid-size city like Winnipeg. And I think the gang situation was probably the worst or most numerous, or both, than in all of Canada.

An enjoyable evening.

Back at home around 11:30, I had a couple of tokes and in that enlightened state stared out into the middle of my brain, (you know how every once in a while you think, “Where the hell am I from and where the hell am I going?”) that was about it for my train of thought. I decided that I’d find out in good time, where I am from and where I was going was an adventure as a Private Eye. I liked entertainment. The danger part, I wasn’t to thrilled about.

I was looking out my window watching the traffic pass by, eighteen floors below. All the vehicles were red except for a white motorcycle ridden by a white haired woman who kept riding out of view and then appearing again from the point she had come into view in the first place. I kept watching her appear and disappear until about half way through one of her appearances, a bright red sports car swerved into her and crushed her and her bike up against a telephone pole. The car backed up and the old woman and her bike fell smack on the ground, both lifeless. I could hear an ambulance coming, but instead of a siren, it was ringing like a telephone. It stopped ringing and I woke up to a voice message being left by my favourite client.

“Manny, this is Sam. I hope I didn’t wake you. I’m sorry for calling you at home. I looked up your number. You are the only C Mann in the phonebook. I’m worried. Fred is in trouble. I know it.”

She started to cry and could barely get the words out.
“ me. I’m I..’m sorry.” click.

I stared at the ceiling, feeling very much like a knight in shining armor. I was thrilled and confident that I was going to deliver this beautiful naif from her dungeon of sorrow. I didn’t question my confidence. Better to ride with it and see what happens.

Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:45 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
Seems like everyone's got Marilyn Monroe on the brain. I guess it's to be expected, this being the anniversary of her death and all, or is it her birth? I can never remember which.

I read the beginning, Gary and save for a few editing mistakes, it made me chuckle. That's a good sign, don't you think?
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Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:01 am Reply with quote
Thanks for reading it Marj. Laughing out loud would have been better, but I'll settle for chuckles. Laughing

I wrote this a few years ago. I decided the other day to work on it again. I never had Monroe in mind. Jane Mansfield was sort of a model for Manny's client.

What were the editing mistakes?
Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:30 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
Gary, I promise you that they're minor. And I have a feeling I'll be up late tonight - not by choice, so I'll reread the first part again. If I can, I'll post what I can find. I warn you though, I'm terrible with paragraph breaks.
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Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:17 pm Reply with quote
Marj, you don't have to do that. The editors at Simon & Schuster will do that.

So how far did you read? Till the end of the Samantha and Manny meeting?

I'm going to start back on the book shortly.

"I'm terrible with paragraph breaks."






Very Happy

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