Thursday, November 12, 2009


Scene seed from Dana Goodyear's New Yorker article, "Lady of the House":

Its chapters are organized by color: camellia, wisteria, vermilion; pyrite, alabaster, onyx; cerulean, tourmaline, peridot. The front door was open; sunlight splashed across an inlaid floor of emerald-green quartzite and Calcutta marble.

My scene, "Camellia":

Hank's GPS squawked, "Now arriving at 422 Kamel drive on left." The houses were large here in the sprawl south of Camellia City. Hank parked on the street under the shade of one of the many Valley Oaks and Sycamore trees that grew throughout this subdivision. The house was painted a tea rose pink that peeled in the heavy California sun and clashed with the red Porsche parked on the stone driveway. The car was out of place -- too rich -- but something else felt suspicious that Hank couldn't pinpoint.

The Central Valley heat was oppressive. Hank clicked the lock button on the Camry's key fob and saw tomato seeds stuck to the windshield of his rental car. As he walked across the yard, yellowed grass crackling under his footsteps, he tapped the Bianchi Hawk shoulder harness under his Armani suit to ensure he could draw the pistol fast and felt in his pants pocket to make sure that he had the USB drive with the encrypted 18-round virus. Hank knocked on the door and a Himalayan man came to answer it.

"Are you Narayan Koirala?" asked Hank.

"Yes," answered the man.

"I'm from the Bee, and have a couple of questions for you," lied Hank. "Do you mind if I come in?"

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