This daylog is the first in what will hopefully be a series of fiction-writing exercises for me. I came to e2 to learn to write, dammit, and just doing factual nodes all the time is such a waste of the potential for personal growth as a writer that I see waiting for me here.
I started this story by picking a pseudo-random word in my dictionary and building a story around it, as good a method as any to use for an exercise, I suppose. I am a mathematics and computer science major; I do not consider fiction or indeed any creative writing to be one of my strong points. Nevertheless I like this story, and feedback on it (in the form of /msgs) would be greatly appreciated. With any luck I will start doing this on a semi-regular basis.
What? What? What kind of inspection? "Um, I'm sorry?"
"I don't... Um, what... What are you inspecting?"
"Thank you, ma'am." He's dressed nice, at least. Wearing a suit, and nice shoes and all. And he's got a clipboard. Of course he has a clipboard, it's just an inspector type thing to have. "Mind if I just take a look around?"
"Um, no. No, of course not. Suit yourself."
What is he inspecting? Does he know about the drugs? Did the neighbors turn her in? Who is he?
He doesn't look like a police officer. A private investigator? She had only ever been able to imagine private eyes as being like the ones in the film noirs, but this guy looked like a businessman.
Scratching on the clipboard. If she could get a look at the clipboard, she could maybe see what he was up to. He was in the dining room...
"This is nice china, ma'am. Where did you get it?"
"It's not stolen, if that's what you're wondering. Just because it's nicer than anything else in here."
"Please, ma'am. I'm not trying to imply anything. I was just wondering where the china came from."
"Well... it was my grandmother's. She... she died about ten years ago. She had a small company, and made the china by hand. I guess it's sort of an heirloom. Or it will be. I don't really know how many generations something has to be, you know, passed down, before it's really an heirloom."
"Mmm hmm." Scratch, scratch on the clipboard. "Did you know your grandmother well?"
"Why are you asking me this?"
"Just small talk, ma'am."
"Well, yeah... I knew her... pretty well, you know? She was kind of inspiring to me, starting a company back then and all. But my mom sort of let it die with my gramma. She never had much of an interest in the china... she wanted to be a doctor, I guess. It didn't pan out. I'm just left with these heirlooms now... my mom's working as a secretary or something."
He was nodding. Scratch, scratch, as he looked around. He walked down the hall to the bedroom.
There was a piece of the china, just a small dish, on the bedside table, with a very small amount of cocaine in it, which she had forgotten when she let the inspector in, but now her heart skipped a beat as she thought about her foolishness at letting in this man, who she didn't even know who he was, into her house, and now she could end up going to prison because of a moment's confusion.
"Um! Um, I'm sorry! What... what are you here for?"
He turned around to face her. "I'm just collecting some data for a private enterprise, ma'am. Here." He reached into his pocket, pulled out his wallet, and offered his ID and a business card for her examination. "It's my own company, run from home. Feel free to keep the card. If you don't trust me, you have my name and home address right there if I do anything uncouth."
She kept the business card and returned the ID. "Sure. Look..." Did she look as nervous as she felt? It was all right. Let him think there was a used condom on the floor or something, just something embarrassing she didn't want him to see. "Um, could you... not go in my bedroom, please? I need to... straighten it up." Lame. Lame. Would he buy it?
He looked her in the eyes and said, "I noticed you've made use of that china for things other than decoration. Can I ask why you don't want me to go in your bedroom?"
"Are you going to arrest me?"
"Ma'am, I've told you, I'm just trying to run a small business here. I'm not with the police. If you were worried about the drugs, I've seen them and I'm not going to turn you in. May I look around your bedroom?"
She went back to the living room and sat down and just waited for him to finish inspecting whatever.
"Can I ask your name, please?"
"All right, Alison. Thank you for your time. Watch my company, you may be seeing something pertaining to yourself in a few months, based on the information I've collected here."
"What do you mean? Like some kind of statistical thing?"
He paused on his way out the door, and turned to face her.
"Yes," he lied.
He was always amazed how infrequently people questioned him, and how they never noticed his hands shaking with nervousness. A nice suit did wonders for one's credibility.
He sat down at his typewriter. Looking at the notes on his clipboard, he wrote:
Heirlooms: A Story
Dedicated to Alison
And, filling the cracks in his knowledge with tales that may or may not have been larger than life, he started telling Alison's story.