Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Coming Attractions: "The Price of Perfection"

No, most guys would miss her the first time they looked around a room full of women, but to me? She’s perfect. I’m falling for her and that’s what’s eating me…I’ve only fallen for one other woman before like this and that’s how this poor gal got sucked into this situation.

The first time I saw Ella was nine months ago, New Year’s Eve. Here we are, in a new decade, and I’ll be damned if anybody wants to put The Depression behind us more than me. I was working a case that night at The Beverly Hills Hotel and Ella was there working for Laird Thompson, a rival detective and one of the cheapest bastards to ever walk the Earth. I should know. I started out working for him back in ’32 and I’ve since passed him by in business like I was a Ford Flat 8 and he was a Model T with four square wheels.

Every once in awhile he would try to poach or sabotage my business, and this looked to be one of those situations. I noticed Ella, not because of her strong resemblance to the woman that had just left me in a lurch, but because she was doing a bang-up job keeping Laird at bay. The man pitched woo like he ran his agency…dirty, shameless, unorganized, and all over the place.

Ella got tired of his gorilla antics and she flung a glass of champagne in his face. Laird reeled back like he was going to slap her, and she grabbed a pitcher of water from the bar and poured it on him. He stormed off and she made for the exit. I waited a moment, and then I went after her.

I didn’t want the man I was originally tailing to see me and he would have, as she had the attention of everyone in the room.

I called after her, “I hate to see what you do to people that are actually thirsty.”

She froze in her tracks and wheeled around with anger. “Are you a friend of that octopus?”

“No, I’m not as smart as you; it took me two whole years of working for that schmuck to get wise.”

“Well, when he comes back, tell him I quit!”

She wheeled off and I froze her feet again with, “Well, he and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms. Besides, you were probably here because you were supposed to distract me.”

She came up to me, gave me the once-over, tilted her head and said, “Come again?”

-From the story "The Price of Perfection" in Astonishing Adventures Magazine Issue #5, now available on or


Princess LadyBug said...

Have I mentioned that you are a tease?! You just left me hanging there. Wanting more.

Princess LadyBug said...

Okay, I'm better now that I found the story and finished it. :)

Brilliant, my friend! Absolutely brilliant!

SkylersDad said...

Great stuff!

Paul Brazill said...

From this peek, I'd say you've scored a hat-trick at A. Adventures. maybe your best 3 stories?

Cormac Brown said...


Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. If I didn't tease, you wouldn't read. It's the whole milk and the cow thing, and nobody respects writers in the morning.

Sky Dad,

Thank you.

Paulie Decibels,

The first time was me being a little more hungier than usual, and these last two stories are really all on Super Editor Katherine Tomlinson. She's a miracle worker and first-rate conjurer.

Gifted Typist said...

When I saw depression, I wondered if it were that one or this one.

Great trailer. Is that the right word? Trailer.

Cormac Brown said...


I've staged all three Astonishing Adventure Magazine stories between 1932-1941, which was the tail end of the Golden Age of Pulp.

"Is that the right word? Trailer."

Thanks and "trailer" is the correct term, coming from the movie previews that "trailed" a feature, when they used to show two movies, a newsreel, and a cartoon.

Kevin Michaels said...

Absolutely love this - great start. It has the feel of Hammett and Chandler but with a nicer touch (and a little more detail and description). Looking forward to reading this in its entirety!

Gifted Typist said...

my novel was partly based in that era 1940-41 Blitz London. I love that era, it's rhythms and pre-ocupations

Cormac Brown said...


Thanks, I hope you enjoy it.


Steer us towards your novel...

Dale said...

The story's perfection and so is the magazine, brilliant work from you and Mr. Brazil!

Paul Brazill said...

Dale, er thanks but, you know..

Cormac Brown said...


Thank you and what???

Paulie Decibels,

Er, way to go?