Friday, February 14, 2014

What's in a Face? A Valentine WEP

Sometimes we fall in love with a face, not knowing what's behind it. A dangerous proposition. . .





She Wore Red

As he arrived at the cafe, he saw a woman look up at the door. He couldn't take his eyes off her face.The red scarf was draped around her neck, as she had told him it would be. Her black leather jacket molded to her shape.  She had called earlier, asking him to meet her at Cozmo's.

He remembered Veronica Lester, the local girl who changed her name. She used to sing at the jazz club, but left when she was offered a contract in New York. She came back a few days ago, at the same time her ex-partner at the club went missing.

"I'm Jarvis, you called me earlier today. . ."

"Yes, I hear you're good at what you do."

"I am. I'm a private investigator. You want to hire me?" Her red lipstick made her look  dangerous.

"Yes, I want you to find a friend of mine. I can't go to the police. I'm afraid he's dead."

"Tell me more.  What's your real name?"

"Veronica Lester is my legal name; years ago, I was Vickie Rasmussen."

"Well, Ms. Lester, what is your connection to this person you want me to find?"

"He was an old friend that I promised to keep watch over. If he's dead, I need to know."

"Did you say your name was Vickie?"

"Ah, the light brightens?"

"I do remember the name, and I heard you went to the big city to make a name for yourself."

"Of course, I wanted a career and a recording contract. My ex-partner was  negotiating a future booking at the jazz club, Smoke, in New York. A couple of days ago, he dropped out of sight."

"What's in it for you, if I find this guy?"

"The truth? Money. He owed me back pay, and the Smoke gig was going to be my ticket into the world of New York jazz and blues."  

"I see. How much are you paying me?"

"Enough. What do you charge?"

"That depends."

"I have cash. And, I really need your help."

This dame liked to spar. But, she had cash. If it wasn't for that face and those lips, I'd turn her down.

"I'll do it."

To be continued. . .

*** 

A Face from the Arc de Triomphe sculptures, Paris, by DG Hudson

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February Theme: What's in a Face? 
A Valentine's Day excerpt

Learn more about WEP at Denise Covey's - Write Edit Publish. This is a monthly themed bloghop with the purpose of getting us to write more, share photos and poetry, and jumpstart a few short stories. Check it out, you might be intrigued. Word count is limited to 1000 words or thereabouts. My entry is once again the seed of another story.

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What's your opinion on Valentine's Day? A Hallmark institution or a chance to be romantic? Do you try to read a person's face to determine if you can trust them?

Please share your thoughts in the comments. I'm always listening.

***
References:

LIE TO ME - a TV show, now off the air. The show is inspired by the work of Paul Ekman, the world's foremost expert on facial expressions and a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine. Jim Roth's character in Lie to Me, a tv series, was based on Paul Ekman.

***

http://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.ca/   Denise Covey's site, info on WEP

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ekman   Paul Ekman, and Facial Expression Studies

41 comments:

  1. I'm not a big fan of Valentines Day but maybe if I had a honey I'd like it more...

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    1. I don't know, mshatch, it's a manufactured holiday. Good honey is hard to find. . .

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  2. A story beginning that makes you want more. Of course Valentine's Day is a Hallmark Day and a chocolate day, but it's also nice to have a day to treat our loved ones to something special.

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    1. Yes, I agree, Inger. It's just the commercial hype that annoys.

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  3. Hi, D.G.

    SOOOOO happy the BEANS made it to you and you are enjoying it! I was just about to contact you because everyone else had received theirs and I was getting a bit concerned. YAY!

    Really like the noir feeling of this piece. It peaks my interest for sure. As you know I'm in the process of writing a noir novel set in 1940's Chicago.

    I wanted to write another expert, but I thought WEP was at the end of the month which it normally is. Oh, well. I'll wait until next month.

    As for V-day... you already read my post. LOL.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

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    1. Thanks, Michael, will be having that second pot of coffee today. There really is no comparison.

      I'd probably be interested in that noir you working on.

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  4. You've certainly started something here. I wonder how it will end? He only took the case because of how she looks, how does he know she can pay him. I can see a few more twists and turns in this story.

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    1. She did have cash to give him an advance. I like your assessment of twists which can play out here.

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  5. Beauty is a curse -- not for the cliched reason -- but because often the beautiful grow to feel entitled until they feel for no one but themselves, becoming like the Dead Sea, taking but never giving.

    Like Michael, I think this piece is great but also (from his own post) that Valentine's Day can be used to remember those who are hurting or who have become special to us ...

    On that last note: HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, D.G.! :-)

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    1. It's the mirrors and the 'who's the fairest of them all' syndrome, I guess. We must know to look beneath surface value and see the core within.

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  6. This should be fun... The only thing (if you don't mind me saying) I might suggest is in the line "Her red lipstick looked dangerous." is to say "Her red lips looked dangerous" as you make an allusion to them at the end... and, lipstick doesn't look dangerous unless it's on those lips... Just a thought!

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    1. An excellent suggestion, Lisa! Thanks.

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  7. The red lipstick got me.

    Yes, Valentines Day is a Hallmark holiday. I don't celebrate. I'm such a curmudgeon, I don't really celebrate any holidays any more. lol

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    1. You - a curmudgeon? I doubt that. I don't celebrate all these holidays either. Just the biggies.

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  8. NOTE TO FELLOW WEP visitors, I'm a little slow visiting, but will catch up on my visits. I will visit your blogs soon.

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    1. Reason: switching everything to a different laptop and setup is killing me. Blogger is set up so that's ok.

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  9. Well done at keeping the voice of the individuals without messing it up with dialogue tags. I loved the banter and the tension building. I am intrigued.

    ........dhole

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    1. Coming from you, I appreciate that, Donna. I liked your bantering of the gods. . .

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  10. hmmm very interesting--i think people do tend to trust a good looking face---pretty stupid really---i am not too thrilled with valentines day

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    1. I agree that most people trust those who fit their own tastes and beliefs. I watch the eyes. Will be by to visit your blogplace. . .

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  11. You've raised so much here D.G. First, I'm a fan of Valentine's Day as I'm a romantic, but I understand the opposite opinion too. Celebrations are what we make them.

    Your story has that noir feel, which Michael excells at. I haven't tried the genre, but would love to have a go. Another thing I love with your story is the dialogue, so snappy, without tags . Made your story move right along. These two characters are intriguing, so I was glad to see TBC at the end. I like Sally's suggestion for the lips...I thought that too. You've opened up so many possibilities to explore and you've hit on something that definitely needs TBC.

    Thanks for posting to WEP. Lovely to have you!

    Denise

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    1. Well, I do like those Marlow movies and the Maltese Falcon. I'd cast Bogie and Bacall lookalikes. She had the lips.

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  12. You got me hooked to the story ~ Now I am dying to know what is going to happen ~ And nice to meet you as well ~

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    1. I'll work on it. Thanks for the follow.

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  13. Very cool excerpt -- will this become an ongoing serial? Hope so. Big fan of noir, and I enjoyed the Ping-Pong dialogue. I do read faces; so many muscles can say so much without any words.

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    1. I am gathering a few of these seeds for stories, so you will probably see more of these for WEP.
      Facial expressions are important, most are involuntary.

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  14. Very intriguing excerpt, would love to know more. However one might like/dislike it, research does show appearance counts. The greater the symmetry of the face, the more acceptable it is, we are supposed to be hard-wired that way. Expressions count too. Many possibilities in this beginning.

    Not a big fan of VDay - too commecialised. Prefer to carry on the romance on ordinary days instead! Thanks for joining over at mine.

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  15. Ooh, I want to read more. Love noirish stories like this. Excellent.

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    1. Thanks, Julie. It's the types that inhabit the noir tales that make them fun.

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  16. Definitely love the noir style of this, especially the banter. Looking forward to the continuation!

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    1. This one interests me too, I'm going to try it out.
      Thanks.

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  17. That was a teaser that promises to be a good story! Love the noir style.

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    1. Thank you, Scheherazade. I'll be working on it.

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  18. Thanks for the text and image on your sidebar, D.G. Am off to the surgeon now. Gulp!

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    1. We'll be wishing and hoping for you to have a successful outcome, and sending healing energies your way. Friends help friends.

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  19. I love this snippet. Can't wait to read more.

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    1. Glad you liked it. I'm working on more. . .

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  20. Fun story! I love the sculpture photo - must show it to my sketch artist sister. Valentines? We generally try to pretend it doesn't exist, but this year my FrenchGuy really outdid himself. Bubbly by a outdoor fire under stars with cheesecake. I'm horrible at judging faces - I try not to decide on people right away because my first impression are so very far off!

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    1. Your guy must be a romantic, lucky you. And that sculpture does beg to be sketched, doesn't it? It's also how I felt when I had climbed up the Arc de Triomphe stairs. . .300 +

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  21. Great start to the story! I'm looking forward to reading the rest.

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