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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Mistress of the Stone

I was feeling restless. Clients had come and gone, mostly gone and Sheri was immersed in her books. When she drank she didn’t like interrupting. When she read it was worse. When she read and drank it was time to find another room in another city – and burn the phone.

Outside the sky fluttered, its light sinking in darkness and heat. Skimmers flashed and vanished like predatory fish; slower craft weaved between slender chimneys, copper and glass buildings, and the debris of earlier times. There was a smell in the air, the stench of rat-like men and damp cannibal steam condensing on ancient brick and dribbling slime to black ponds below. I closed the windows, switched on the desk lamp. Poured myself  four fingers of bourbon. I held the glass to the lamp, enjoying the fragmented diamond twinkle of cut crystal, the rust coloured glow of the bourbon it held and downed it in one. It was time to find Sheri…time to start dreaming.

I walked along corridors, shelves groaning with books - on dark nights they screamed – past lesser shelves, whispering in parchment and shadow. Eventually I reached the main library, where Sheri holed up when she’d been hitting the booze.

The library was cavernous, books lining the walls from ceiling to floor. Walnut cabinets gleamed in dim lighting, each holding neatly rolled parchments and maps, yellowing Playboys, Penthouses and Hustle, Glocks, Smith and Wessons, Mausers, Rugers, all loaded and ready for use. I’d pretty much got the room the way I liked. I hoped Sheri wasn’t drinking. It seemed a pity to move

In the corner squatted a low obsidian table, books scattered across it like pirate doubloons; some calf-skin covered and crumbling with age; others bound in pale leather and inscribed with small patterned diamonds. They gleamed emerald and dark ruby as my torch skimmed across them and settled on Miss Lamour, lost in a world of her own.

“What gives?”

Sheri Lamour sighed and closed the book, stroked its front cover with a pale finger tipped in magenta. There wasn’t a bottle in sight and I ended her sigh with one of my own. One of relief. 

“Oh, Clay,” she breathed. She breathed again and I breathed with her, wondering who would be the first to give up. She had that look in her eye, one I hadn’t seen for some time. She was in love and it wasn’t with me.

“What’s his name? ”I snarled. I hadn’t snarled for some time. There’d been little need. Maybe it’s my face or the fact that a punch works best without warning. 

“Xander Daltry.”

 She said, without a trace of apology. Dames. 

Her lips twitched in what may have been a smile. “And there’s one here for you…Luisa Tavares. She’s your kind of girl, Clay. She’s my kind of girl.”

This had possibilities – except for one thing.

And Sheri read minds.

“Xander Daltry – he’s a dream man, Clay. . .You’re the real thing.”


Maria Zannini said...

Aw, Sheri Lamour has a heart of gold.

Thank you for the lovely write-up. Clever as always.

Mike Keyton said...

Thanks, Maria. It helps keep Sheri and Clay fresh in my mind - somewhere in a Blade-runner future. Poor, doomed Djinn

LD Masterson said...

Fabulous. Both your post and Maria's book. Fabulous.

Angela Brown said...

Now that's a fantastic way to share the allure of Mistress of the Stone. Great job, Mike.

Mike Keyton said...

LD, Angela - Many thanks for the generous words. I like to think of Clay and Sheri as Muppets with attitude

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

RE your comment on my post...

...and yet
...despite your irritation with no reply
...you are yourself a no-reply blogger

(scratches head)

Mike Keyton said...

I always reply. Scratches own head

Custom Lapel Pins said...

Mistress of the Stone is very nice movie.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Consider removing your no-reply setting.

I enjoy reading your comments...but the no-reply is a pain in the butt.

Mike Keyton said...

I'd love to but I don't understand. I just assumed that if someone makes a comment I reply to them. End of story. Clearly I'm missing something but I don't know what : (

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...