August WIP Wednesday

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.

“Yes sir.”

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.”

“Yes, sir.”

“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!

2 thoughts on “August WIP Wednesday

  1. This is a great idea! Thanks for allowing others to join you.

    Distopian future: Christian Fiction.

    Surrounding every polling station across America, FFF members guarded those who came to partake in their constitutional rights. Possibly for the last time. Voting would most likely continue but Jordan was convinced that the foundation of American principals would meet their end.

    “I’m going in,” Jordan said.

    Shey nodded.

    “Where do you want us stationed?” Bently asked.

    There was no official ranking in FFF but Jordan had men he trusted to follow his leadership and they had hundreds who followed them. It trickled out to include over 200 million registered Fighters For Freedom members, which included over half of the US population.

    “Here.” Jordan gestured to where they stood. “We’ll find out our fate together.”

    Bently nodded, his dark skin blending into the night.

    Jordan stood at the end of the quickly moving line. Layers of beautiful stones accented stained glass windows. Other than weddings and funerals, he never stepped inside any religious institutions. Despite knowing there were dramatic differences in theology, all religions fought for the second to the last place on his scale of importance. The absolute bottom of the pit was reserved for anyone who hurt his family.

    “How do you plan to vote?” whispered an older woman. Her trendy pale blue dress and designer purse matched the attire that dominated the Pacific Coast.

    Though Jordan had voted in the last four presidential elections, he had never been asked that question. At least not while standing in line waiting to cast his ballot. He had been asked multiple times over the past six months. If he had endorsed one of the candidates, then there would be little doubt his choice would win. Jordan Shepherd had the power to sway America to being anything he wanted.

    “Why do you ask?” Jordan replied.

    “I don’t know what to do.” She ran a hand through her straight blonde hair, smoothing out already perfect strands. “President Timmons promises compromise and Mrs. Washington promises to end the war. Do you know what she plans to do?”

    “No. She has given no details.” Jordan had heard rumors, information he wasn’t supposed to know and shouldn’t share with a stranger.

    The man in front of her turned to them, his eyes narrowed, and a scowl implanted on his angry face. “Americans shouldn’t be fighting and killing their own.” On the older man’s head sat a cap with the Navy’s insignia. War War II soldiers had all been laid to rest, which left Jordan to wonder if he had served in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.

    “This isn’t our first Civil War,” Jordan said.

    “But at least the other one had a noble cause. This…” The veteran’s fingers clenched into a fist as he shook his head. “It’s fighting for the sake of destruction. The loss of everything I was willing to give my life to protect.” He projected a lump of spit onto Jordan’s shoe.

    Such disrespect in the open was a bold move.

    • Thanks for joining in! Your snippet raises so many questions–obviously this takes place in the future, but not too distant. And how does Jordan come to be in a leadership role over such a large grassroots organization? What brought them to this point?

      That’s the best part of reading these snippets–trying to figure out what is going on and where the story is going from here!

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