Re: RARA-AVIS: Michaela Shayne

From: Maura McMillan (
Date: 17 Dec 2000

the first and last eight hundred words of a very bad novel:

let's say it's set in Miami.

Michaela Shayne got out of bed and stretched hard, out to the tips of her long fine fingertips and shapely toes. She took a hot shower and after drying her tousled red hair slightly she wrapped the towel around her head and piled it up like a turban. In the kitchen she prepped her espresso machine and poured out her morning shot of Blue Label Herradura. Yes, she was an alcoholic, but then that was par for the course. She'd never met a private dick that wasn't. She had it down to a medicinal approach: her first shot with her coffee, the next about two hours into the working day, and whenever it seemed appropriate from there on in.

With a double jolt of extra strong espresso following the tequila, Michaela went back into the bedroom to get dressed. Not too hard to figure out what to wear  -- her entire wardrobe was either black or white, and nothing in between. She felt life was morally gray enough without having to stare it in the face just to get dressed.

She hadn't had enough sleep.

She'd had to bail Roger out of jail  again -- after a fight one of his two favorite bars. Three Aryan Youth types had chosen last night to crash the place. Roger sent two to the hospital and scared the third so badly he wet his pants. After wrangling with Menendez at the desk for an hour and a half she'd got back home at three.

He could be a pain in the ass. But she could ask for no better assistant, organizer, and all-around back up. Roger packed and broke jaws when he had to. And he could word process like the devil himself. Monday through Friday, Roger opened the downtown office at nine and closed at five. Unless she needed him with her.

As soon as she slipped into a short black skirt and long black jacket, an ensemble that showed her mile of legs to her advantage, the phone chirped. She knew it was trouble as soon as she heard that too familiar note of concern for her well-being in Roger's voice. He cared about her far too deeply for her to find him enticing. But he was willing to give heterosexuality a chance, he'd always said, in her case.

Thankfully he wasn't calling to apologize for last night. He was calling about business.

"Michaela  when I got here, about fifteen minutes ago, this gangster movie lackey looking kind of guy was here waiting to see you."
"Elijah Cook Junior? Or more Peter Lorre?"
"Goddamn it, I'm serious."
"Roger. Can the hysterics. Describe the guy, okay?"
"I will! I will! I'm really okay, really. Just give me a second."
She waited while he drew a breath, relaxing now that he knew he had her full attention.
"He was short," Roger said. "Like five three, dark skin, white hair, somewhere in between 30 and 60, definitely carrying."
"Nice age estimate," she snorted.
"That was what was so icky about him. I honestly couldn't tell if he was young or old. His hair might have been bleached. He had no age lines around his eyes, anywhere on his face. No sign of surgery, though. He didn't have any kind of accent."
"Dark Armaniesque suit and shirt. Good shoes. Manicured nails. He said he'd been sent to talk to you and you alone, that it was a matter of life and death, he actually said that, and that the person who sent him was someone you once were very close to. He wouldn't say who. Just refused. Said he would tell you. God, Michaela, it was SO out of a book, I had to tell you as soon as he left."
"Is he coming back, or what?"
"I told him to come back at 11:00."
"Okay. Sounds absurd. I'll be there."
"Yes, Roger?"
"Don't wear the new white blouse, okay? I don't want this creature looking at your tits."
"I appreciate your attention to detail, Roger," she said. "See you in about an hour."

After she closed the phone Michaela stood for a moment brooding over her Marlboro. Five three, white hair, dark skin. None other than ex-husband number two. He was right, they'd once been very close. So he was still spending heavily on clothes and shoes. Good. Michaela had a special sliding scale for guys like him.

She moved to the coffee table in front of the couch and cut the deck. The Eight of Cups. Abandonment of previous plans.

She pulled on her spike heels and checked herself in the mirror once more. No unsightly bulge from the shoulder holster. Hair good. Facial expression just mean enough to scare off the usual irritating men.

She heard someone outside the apartment door and froze in her steps. She flicked the holster snap open, slipped out her Glock and waited. Whoever it was couldn't decide whether to ring the bell, go away, or jimmy the lock. After thirty seconds the bell rang and she barked, "Who is it?"


So it couldn't wait until eleven. She  put her gun away and shot back the deadbolt.

That's as far as I thought it worth taking. I wrote this in the car driving out to the Everglades.

Anyway, Guido's in a bad situation, because someone is blackmailing him with compromising photos of him with the boss' 16 year old niece. he doesn't know who's doing the blackmailing. The boss will kill him -- literally -- if he seesthe pictures. It goes on from there. Michaela treats him scornful affection at times and at others with complete disgust.

Notice she both barked and snorted.

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