One Trick Pony

For the last fifteen or so years I've been living with a bunch of dead guys at a motel in West Texas. Like the characters in my stories, I'd really like to move on, see the world, go places. But I'm just like them. Anchored by love, worn down by circumstances and fascinated by how much there really is underneath it all. So I keep writing their stories and tell myself that someday, when I've got this all out of my system, I'll write deep, meaningful literature about... something else. In the meantime, this is a place for the short attention spanned. I'm making a commitment to keep it small here. Flash fiction and scenes from the life inspired by, The Bella Vista Motel.

Thanks for reading.


Friday, October 22, 2010

We'll Just Talk About The Murder

Agent Ramiel walked around the corner to his nondescript black Ford, got in and drove two blocks away from the crime scene.  The details were burned into his eyes like afterimages.  The detective's words kept coming up in his mind like an irritating song, "She was a nice girl, a waitress.  She wasn't a whore."

He parked in front of Clark’s drugstore, killed the engine and sat there watching the red-and-blue neon mortar and pestle sign blink and spin while he waited.  He wondered if his would-be informant would actually show up, she was new, someone referred by a friend to his under the table network of eyes on the street.

He needn't have worried.  Ten minutes later a striking young woman with improbable red hair paused next to his car.  She wore an equally vibrant shade of red lipstick and an attractive turquoise colored summer dress.  He glanced at her neutrally and watched while she rummaged through her red handbag and pulled out a compact.

He rolled down his window as she powdered her nose.  “Excuse me, Miss, did you make a phone call earlier this morning?”

She met his eyes over the edge of her compact.  “Maybe, who’s asking?” she answered cautiously, scanning the sidewalk and windows around them.  Her hands were shaking and her vivid blue eyes were glassy.

“I’m Agent Ramiel.  Have you had your breakfast?  There’s a diner a few blocks away from here, isn’t there?”

She pulled out a tube of lipstick and tried to reapply it with slow, forced nonchalance, but her lips quivered and she messed up the line.  “Goddamn it,” she cursed under her breath.  “I don’t think I’m ever gonna eat breakfast again.”  She capped the lipstick hastily, dropped it back in her purse and pulled out a handkerchief to dab away the errant color.

“I understand,” he said kindly.  “How about a cup of coffee then?  It will get us off the street and we can talk a bit.”

She glanced up suspiciously, the handkerchief half way to her mouth.  “Nobody said anything about talking.”  She glanced around nervously, “I made the call, I get a reward.  Right?”  She shifted her weight from one foot to the other and back again.  Her red patent leather pumps, while fetching to the eye, appeared to be cruel on the arches.  “Anyhow, it’s way past my bedtime, if you catch my meaning.”

He smiled.  Her coloring made her look like a painted carousel pony in the early morning sunlight.  “Having a cup of coffee would be more discreet then standing next to my car and taking money through the window.”

She frowned and snapped her compact closed.  He had her there.  

“Please talk to me, I won’t take very much of your time and I’ll pay extra, Miss…?”

She hesitated.  “Ruby.  Just Ruby.”  

He tipped his hat.  “Pleasure to meet you Ruby, my name is Ramiel, Agent Ramiel.”  

“Yeah, you told me already,” she commented, as she narrowed her eyes and looked over the interior of his car in an appraising manner.  Her gaze seemed to note each item and weigh it in some personal scheme of judgement--his camera case beside him on the seat, a fine, well-used brown leather satchel, open and brimming with files, the day's newspaper hastily refolded, his light weight grey suit coat laid over the back of the passenger seat.  The car was clean, but he became aware of how very lived in it must appear to her.  He thought it was a good thing she couldn't see inside the trunk.

She abruptly met his eyes again and seemed to continue her assessment.  “I didn’t believe you were for real when Belinda told me about you.”  She dropped her compact back in her purse.  “How do you know her?  You a trick?”

He glanced at her upper lip, at the place where the lipstick had gone astray over the edge. She’d forgotten to fix it.  He had an urge to reach out and smooth the line with his finger.  He met her eyes with a calm, steady gaze.  “No.  I’m just a friend.”

She nodded and looked away, perhaps unconvinced, scanning the street again for observers.  “The nearest diner’s called Jack Flap’s.  It’s three blocks down, one to the left.”

He leaned over to unlock the passenger door.  “Don’t bother,” she said quickly.  He looked up at her, puzzled.   

“You’re getting ahead of yourself, mister, if you think I’m getting in a car with you.”  She turned briskly and started walking.  She didn’t look like her feet hurt once she started moving. “I’ll meet you there,” she said over her shoulder.  

He watched her go and thought about Belinda as he started up his car.


  1. Ruby seems like a smart dame...despite her vices.

    I loved the line "Her coloring made her look like a painted carousel pony in the early morning sunlight."

  2. Fantastic images and great stirytelling. Any plans to collect these? Maybe an ebook?

  3. Jack Flap's - PERFECT name for a diner!
    Ruby's a cool customer. But I think Agent Ramiel can take her.
    You write noir like nobody's business, Pamila.

  4. I was completely sucked in by this story. I could see everything - the early morning street, Ruby's messed up lipstick, the agent's car. Fantastic storytelling.

  5. Maybe I'm not supposed to, but I just love Ruby, how "in-your-face" she is.

    I too love the description: "Her coloring made her look like a painted carousel pony in the early morning sunlight." So unique.

    Another great installment Pamila!

  6. Was Ramiel in an actual accident before? I need to read back some, I can't remember what Ruby & Ramiel were each up to last. Someone really must start paying you to do this so I can hold all these parts in one volume and read it from beginning to end! $$$

  7. @Harry - I'm treating these as stand alone pieces. There's no order to them here on the blog, but yes, Ramiel really did get into an accident in one of the other posts.
    @Paul and @Harry and anyone else who's interested - Yes - I'm working on putting together a new book. Don't know how it will be distributed yet, but it will be set free from my brain come hell or high water.
    Thanks everyone for your support.

  8. Great writing again Pamila. The visual effect of your descriptions is immediate and real.

  9. Love it. There is so much intensity in this, I wanted more. ;-) Yuo are alraedy 'there' Pamila, We just need to get yuo an agent.

    Evrey time I come here, I ask myself why i dnt come mre often. Excellent work.

  10. Sometimes you just need to talk, desperately. I dig, Pamila.

  11. Ruby seems to be quite the colorful character. I'm interested to see how she handles a sit-down conversation. I'm sure it'll be quite a ride.

  12. Ah, nice to see Ruby again!

    Descriptions are perfect, as always.

  13. Great atmosphere, and her insistence on walking was great.

  14. I like the dialogue in these stories, and as has already been said, Jack Flaps is an absolutely perfect name for the diner. :)

  15. Another great story; just enough to leave you wondering about a few of the details. Also, Jack Flaps made me laugh :)

    Kari @ The Best Place By The Fire

  16. When I thought of the name, Jack Flap's, it made me want to open a diner just so I could call it that. Doubt I'd have much time to write flipping pancakes, though.

  17. I love Ruby. I'm so glad she didn't get in the car.

    And there's going to be a book? Best news I've heard all day. Count me in!

  18. I think this is my first visit to your stories, but it will likely not be my last. Nicely done! I also liked that Ruby didn't get in the car. I suspect Belinda is in the trunk?


  19. So much to love in this ... Um... Jack Flaps for one ... And yes, please keep us all posted about a collection. I'm first in line.

  20. Can't wait to see where this goes. Good on her for walking instead of getting into a stranger's car. Says a lot about her, and him.


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