Well, you asked for it. The New York Times boasts of being "all the news that's fit to print," and in that spirit I have a new motto for this here blog: "All the bits that aren't fit to print. On paper, anyway."
Alright, as mottos go, that's not very snappy. But standards have fallen around here lately. We're not serving up prime rib anymore. These days, it's frankfurters, folks. By which I mean all the little trimmings no sane person would want to consume whole, diced up, jammed together and slathered with mustard. Only there's no mustard here, so I guess I took that metaphor one step too far. See what I mean about falling standards?
Anyway. Without further ado, more odds and ends cut from the first draft of my second book, On the Wrong Track.
* My brother cocked his head and stared at me, obviously waiting for me to chime in with an "A-ha!" What I gave him instead was a "So what?"
Normally my inability to follow his trail of crumbs to the (to him) obvious deduction would provoke little more than a sigh and some snide aside. But the day's disasters had rubbed his already thin patience like sandpaper, and his irritation flared into anger.
"He wasn't in here -- we were! So where did he go? And how is it nobody saw him?"
"Those are good questions," I said. "But come on, Brother -- the robbery's over and done with. Does it really matter now who did what where why?"
"Does it matter? Does it matter? Something happened on this goddamn train right under our goddamn noses and people goddamn died, and you ask me...awwww, you ain't worth the aggravation!"
* "Lord," I sighed as Old Red and I made our way back toward El Numero Uno and his companions in repose, "we end up with any more corpses in here, we may as well put in an organ and open up a funeral parlor."
* "Listenin' to your gut's just a half-step away from guessin'," Old Red said. "And anyway, you don't wanna hear what my gut has to say."
But I already had, of course -- out on the observation platform that evening. What his gut had to say was "Bleargh!"
* "What makes you think someone's in it with the killer?"
Gustav looked at me with the exasperated disappointment of a schoolmarm discovering that her most doltish pupil has once again wet his drawers.
"What is this?" he said, giving the box a knock.
"That would be a crate."
I just stared back at him.
"It's on a passenger train...?" Old Red said slowly.
I kept staring.
"...which means it's...?"
I knew where he was trying to lead me by now, but some perverse part of me didn't want to follow.
"Moving," I said.
My brother gave up.
"It's somebody's luggage," he said with a sigh.
"And you reckon we oughta find the luggee?"
Old Red nodded wearily.
* "You know," I said to Old Red, "if you just spat out what you were thinkin' without all this beatin' around the bush, you'd save yourself a lot of bother."
"Just look, damn you!"
"See? That's much better."
And there you are. Next week maybe we'll finally make our way up to The Black Dove. I'm not sure, though. Seems like I cut enough outta On the Wrong Track to make another book....
Otto "Big Red" Amlingmeyer
December 4, 1893