Hey guys! We missed WIP Wednesday in July because the first Wed of the month was July 4th. And then the first Wed of this month, I was on a rare vacation, so that let out that day, too. It made me realize that the first Wed of the month might not be the best day for WIP Wed here–I know a lot of other blogs doing things on the Wed of the month. So I decided to move it to the last Wed of the month.
The rules are simple: please keep your snippet to 500-600 words (I know sometimes that’s not a good stopping point–a little fudging is allowed) and no graphic sex–let’s keep the tone PG-13 for the general reading population.
I’ll go first–I’m currently working on the origin story for my Redclaw universe. In it, my heroine, Henrietta (“Rhett”) Bishop is interviewing for a job at the mysterious Redclaw Security firm–and it is not going exactly as she’d hoped…
He settled a pair of pince nez on his nose and glanced down at the open file. “It says here you can type forty words per minute.”
The Dragon Lady must have given the agency more than just my name. I forced my lips into a pleasant smile. “Yes sir, that’s correct.”
“You realize that is somewhat below average, yes?” His expression was kindly, even a little rueful.
He picked up the top sheet and peered at it. “You seem to have interviewed with several organizations.”
“And was hired by all of them, sir.”
He lowered the page. “But you didn’t stay at any of these jobs. Why is that, may I ask?”
I gave him my stock answer. “Some of the assignments were only temporary ones. In some cases, I felt my skills could be better utilized elsewhere.”
He lifted a somewhat disbelieving eyebrow. “Mr. Billingsly of Haversham’s Insurance claims you broke his hand.”
“Mr. Billingsly’s hand was unfortunately where it shouldn’t have been at the time.”
His lips twitched at that. “And Mr. Steinbreinner’s foot?”
The instep is a very sensitive part of the body. A well-placed high heel can temporarily cripple a man if necessary. And if you open your eyes very wide and apologize profusely, it is possible to make it look as though your actions are merely very clumsy instead of intentional. Even if your intent was self-protection. “That was an accident, sir.”
He placed the paper back in the file and closed it. “Miss Bishop, I’ll be frank. Your shorthand is described as passable, though not always accurate. Nearly every company that hired you states you have excellent organizational abilities, and that you are both efficient and thorough when it comes to assignments. But your reasons for leaving some places of employment aside, most of your previous employers spoke of an unseemly forwardness and a general inability to know your place.”
My face burned.
He continued without seeming to notice. “We’re at an interesting juncture here at Redclaw Security. Our business is growing rapidly, in excess of expectations. It’s more than one person can do to answer the phone, collate information, type up reports, and so on. And yet, at the moment, there isn’t really enough work for two people. We’re looking for someone we can delegate the less sensitive assignments to, thus freeing up Miss Climpson to handle the more critical information.”
“However, I’ve argued against taking on someone without, shall we say, the particular criteria I think necessary to work at such an organization such as Redclaw. Ryker disagrees.”
“Sir?” I cocked my head inquiringly.
“Mr. Ryker. Head of the agency.” Mr. Jordan removed his pince-nez glasses and polished them with a handkerchief. “Anyway, Ryker feels there are advantages in hiring ‘outside blood’, so to speak. I disagree, but then I am not the boss. I do have the power to hire and fire, though. And frankly, Miss Bishop, though I wish you well, I suspect you would not be a good fit for Redclaw. We need someone who can demonstrate discretion and, above all, a circumspect attitude at all times.”
I thought of the time Em had stayed out past curfew, and then had the nerve to sneak Tigh Brannaugh into our rooms overnight, or when Professor Helmsley hit on me in the chemistry labs and to speak out about it might result in a failing grade, or the most embarrassing moment of them all: Tommy’s drunken proposal. I knew when to keep my mouth shut and when to speak up. “I am very discreet. Ask Mr. Steinbreinner.”
So there you have it! Let me know what you think, and please drop a snippet from your WIP in the comments below! Everyone knows it’s just a rough draft–no one will hold that against you!