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Thread: Richard Blaine

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    Richard Blaine

    Richard Blaine gives essence to the question that has puzzled many for years – Who was Rick before he opened Rick’s Café? Even for the younger generation who may not have experienced the movie classic, the book Richard Blaine is still a thrilling tale and a valuable lesson to remember always that freedom and liberty, unless given away belong to everyone


    1

    A man by the name of Smythe once said that with the right demeanor and a little luck, a chap could become nameless and faceless in the army. Taking the point further he said that, unfortunately, there are those who have distinguishing physical features – such as they have extremely long arms or they are extraordinarily tall or they display some other oddity that would cause them to stand out in a crowd. But lacking these exceptions a man could render himself virtually invisible.

    The visitor had listened patiently to Smythe for over a half an hour before responding, “Hey, that would be pretty nifty for a guy running from the law or the mob. Hiding out in the army would be the perfect cover for someone on the lamb,” he said. “It would be even better if there were a war on. What with all the commotion; no one would ever notice just who was coming or going.”

    Smythe exposed a vacant stare. Although he was no native to North America, his mannerism suggested that he had been around, and possessed an apt ability to endure rough verbal contact with the wittiest opponents.

    The visitor continued, wanting his lecturer to understand that he knew exactly what Smythe was proposing but was also well aware of the risks. “If you ask me I’m all for the army. The army might solve all your woes; protect and hide you too if you don’t get bumped off first.” he said. For a brief moment, a mocking smile crossed the man’s face… it was gone now.

    Smythe had neither missed the smile nor the sarcasm; touché, he thought, “Yes… yes of course there is always that rather grim possibility. However, if one applied oneself, the army could turn rather average sorts into astonishingly clever fellows.” Again, Smythe stared but this time directly into the man’s eyes to gauge the effect of his words more closely. Being a tall, lanky sort, and to avoid hovering, Smythe sat on the front edge of his sparse desk, which put him even closer to his audience, “I dare say what it might accomplish for someone of your… calibre.” he said.

    In order to persuade certain people to roll over on their former associates and benefactors one would say just about anything, the man thought as he looked up, not shying away from Smythe’s rather brusque retort. He clearly did not like army types or recruiting pitches. He also did not put much faith in things he heard, which was plenty in his line of work. What Smythe would soon find out, however, is that he was not talking to some stoolie for the mob, but to a man who made his living by legal means, ran from no one – and did not habitually evade tough situations, or hard-hitting conversations.

    In some other ways though, Smythe was different. How, exactly, the man could not say. For much of his life he had spent listening to people boast of big things – about having the big idea but in the end offering nothing substantial in its defense. Some had even called him a few choice names. But Smythe had said a few things that caught his attention and held his interest.

    As he sat in the dull and badly lit office on Third Street, thinking of what pitch would be thrown at him next, Smythe called him a name he had never been called before and was not quite sure what to make of it.

    “You are most assuredly, a true patriot,” Smythe said.

    A true patriot.

    Smythe went on with his ideology skillful as ever, having noticed a slight change in the man’s previous attitude. “Whose army you are in does not matter, really, as long as you have acquired some rank – but not too much mind you. With too much rank,” he said, “you will have to go about giving an account of things. Before you know it, you will be answering an invariable number of absurd questions, asked by an equal amount of rather foolish people.

    “And most assuredly, you do not want to be caught telling things you really aught not. That would be rather awkward and unwise – would you agree?” Smythe certainly knew the score, and under the right circumstances he could and would, for the man’s sake, bend the rules occasionally on certain… ethics.

    Both men wanted something, and because what they wanted was substantial, they were willing to do whatever was necessary to reach an equitable agreement.

    The man, however, kept his casual tone not wanting Smythe to know the persuasive and positive effect his words were having on him: “Right you are sport.

    “Now who would want a stoolie around ‘accounting’ for things – what with all the lead flying this way and that in a real war? Everyone has a gun too mind you, or something or other to blow a man’s arm or leg off if he can’t keep his mouth shut.

    “My motto is: keep your head down and get your dough.” The man said.

    “Get your dough, yes… well that is a rather novel way of putting it. Yes, of course. In any event I implore you to carefully consider what we have discussed…” Their conversation went on as to the details of what would satisfy both parties after which there was a short break.

    Admiration and contempt divided the man. When they continued, he had a mind to let Smythe know just what had bothered him since he first saw Smythe at his father’s door after the death of his brother Ralph. But he had a specific reason for being in Smythe’s office now, and did not want to give away too much, too soon.

    Smythe, too, wanted to withhold certain facts; that he and his superiors had wanted to get close to him and his father all along. The man had guessed as much. He also guessed that Smythe and his friends had only fabricated that period of bereavement consultation for him and his father, under the guise of true concern for their loss. However, they had only done this as a last resort. Just until they could find out what association he and his father had with the Genovese underworld, if at all. Smythe needed to know, one way or another, if he could persuade one of them or even both of them to testify in court in connection with Ralph’s death…


    2

    The man had not seen or heard from Sir Hénri Smythe of Her Majesty’s Secret Service for some time. As he reflected on the past talk he had with the British agent, it seemed not that long ago. He had been genuinely impressed with Smythe’s confidence in him and appreciated his willingness to help resolve a problem he and his father had in an untenable situation.

    “When people are sincere, I want to remember what they say as though it were yesterday. Makes a guy want to go back for another visit sometime so he could talk some more. The fellow with the accent could say some more things back, and we could have a swell time discussing what really matters – see how it all adds up and how it all makes perfect sense.” The man said.

    The doctor had been listening quietly and patiently for almost an hour now.

    It had been on a Thursday when the man had more or less bared his soul to Smythe in his shabby little office on Third Street. It had been two years ago to the day since that meeting. Every Thursday afterward he had remembered what Smythe called him; a true patriot as though that would make him feel better about everything that had occurred since; make him feel it had all been worth it.

    Smythe was not your average government type – more of an Oxford man on loan, perhaps for something special. Even so, the man respected Smythe and had given his full attention when the agent explained how outside forces threatened national security in the United States and other countries. Insurgencies had been mainly targeted toward tougher places like Chicago, Detroit, and other larger urban cities where the crime rate was high. Foreigners had begun to take undue advantage of the times, Smythe said, to hide their covert un-American activities, slowly at first. The man remembered him saying that in due time he, Smythe, along with the American and British secret services would gladly take action.

    He had only heard about eccentric fellows like Smythe – Foreign Service types. However, in a short time, he had gotten to know the agent, and Smythe had gotten to know the kind of man he was, only more so. Smythe had come to know the man affectionately as… Richard Blaine.
    Last edited by Jodie Christian; 09-11-2011 at 11:31 AM. Reason: Needed to inform readers with the story's premise.



  2. #2
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    Is there a question involved with this?

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    Which reminds me: I haven't seen Casablanca in, oh, several months now.

    (Gary, writing person, should I have put that colon there? Would a comma have been better?)

    *_*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Kessler View Post
    Is there a question involved with this?
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/87551

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    AHso...I should have Googled the author's name instead of Richard Blaine.

    *_*

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    Oh, I do apologize Gary. I am a new novelist, and new to the writers forum. This is my first novel and I would like feedback. I have over 41,000 words completed and would appreciate your help to further my work along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty Foyle View Post
    Which reminds me: I haven't seen Casablanca in, oh, several months now.

    (Gary, writing person, should I have put that colon there? Would a comma have been better?)

    *_*
    Kitty,

    I believe it depends on the aim of the sentence. The colon works fine. However, its use here makes the sentence: I haven't seen Casablanca in, oh, several months... stand out; as if more so making a statement rather than simply a comment.

    On the other hand, using a comma instead of a colon causes the singular sentence to read with less sarcasm.

    Intent, I believe, is the key to which is better.

  8. #8
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    Welcome to WN, Jodie.

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    Hey, thanks Jodie, yer a smart one!

    (That was not intended to be sarcastic.)

    *_*

  10. #10
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    Technically this is pretty clean prose (it has a glitch or two, e.g., "....someone on the lamb”), but I don't find it very engaging. The style is too dense for me, and with nothing about the two characters to draw me in, I found myself skipping ahead. The omniscient POV is a bit off-putting as well, but that may just be me.

    I'm curious—you've got over 41,000 words completed, which implies (to me) that you're not done yet, but you've got it for sale? How does that work?

    Final thing, you're novel is Casablanca Rich's backstory; wasn't he in Paris at the outbreak of the war?... I did see that in your blurb.

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