Inspector Madame Parisianne Modert is not so clue-so-less!

(is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to be me?) Good Evening, Literati! Our second semi-finalist for our contest, Once Upon a Time, is Madame Parisianne Modert, submitting here for your review and entertainment the first chapter to her novel-in-progress: Smoke Veil Bridge. Again, as often, I remind our readers …

(is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to be me?)

Good Evening, Literati!

Our second semi-finalist for our contest, Once Upon a Time, is Madame Parisianne Modert, submitting here for your review and entertainment the first chapter to her novel-in-progress: Smoke Veil Bridge.

Again, as often, I remind our readers (that would be vouz) that we at The Word are editors, not censors. Nuf said?

Let’s see if this entry, with its very clever word-use, is enough to propel Madame into the finals!

Here is chapter one,

Underwater Swan

by Madame Parisianne Modert

 

Rex James, a self-proclaimed entrepreneur whom his wife, Vixa, recently had relabeled as in-the-manurer, had planned on sleeping in on the morning after New Year’s Day 2015, because his various clients were either closed that Friday or had scheduled year end meetings which did not require his attention as an advertising consultant.  The all too familiar cellular ring tone of “Swan Theme” from “Swan Lake” disturbed his overdue and indulgent rest.  On New Year’s Eve, the last time he had seen his wife, he had delayed her long enough to execute his plot to end Vixa’s affair with another woman named Rouxette Belvedere.  The stalling scheme had begun with an uglier than the usual verbal exchange of repeated insults and accusations.  Surfacing cascades from the couples’ deepest festered wounds inflicted death upon their marriage.

Vixa had stormed out of the Sinclair-James residence with a defiant aloofness yet awkward step as if she were being filmed walking a French poodle in a Jean-Luc Godard’s film.  Rex laughed mockingly at her filing for divorce proclamation believing her anger to be nothing but Vixa’s same old, same old tirade charade too often retracted once her emotions cooled.  Still her knife-like wounds of savagery for the first time had included calling him a closeted gay man in denial.  Vixa’s lack of restraint had shocked even his callous scabbed over ego.

Vixa’s last words to her husband were, ”I’ll kill myself before I return to this house you prickless cocksucker.”

Rex’s reply had been, “Promises, promises, I hope Rouxette and you remain heartless black swans for eternity!”

Rex discovered in the moment that Vixa’s car engine sound faded that his raw emotional release was two fold.  The first was a feeling of victory with a sense of relief that she would be taught a lesson before returning home contrite with her heart broken believing Rouxette would unintentionally jilt Vixa.  The second release was a puzzlement why Vixa hated him so much when he had given her a beautiful home, clothes, travel and social standing.

Granted there had been days when they both had struggled  to accept each others’ infidelities during marriage counseling sessions, but the chasm regardless of small successes had only widened over the years.  Part of Rex wanted an end to his acted out affairs for business more than sex and had wished Vixa could love him as a husband she could respect and obey.  The other part or Rex prayed his Vixa would decide never to come home again.

This wavering angst pushing and pulling him as the tide along the beach below their home had kept him up the remainder of New Year’s Eve 2014 and for all of New Year’s Day 2015 without Vixa calling or returning his.  The lighted, glittering ball dropping celebration in Times Square in Manhattan was nothing similar to the ball and chainsaw massacre carnage at the Sinclair-James residence in La Jolla.  This evening’s jeweled privilege by the sea had gone dark without the fuel to relight its beauty.

On the freeway’s drive to the resort hotel party, daring to be arrested, Vixa had called Rouxette’s cell to announce her new arrival time.  The call was never been received on Rouxette’s smart cell phone, because it had drowned in champagne punch.  The sour impressions on the party guests and irritated catering service staff allowed Vixa to stay one flight behind Rouxette’s reign of charitable outburst at the San Diego Airport ticket gate.  British Airways had not betrayed the gate departure for London, but an elderly man with Rouxette’s car keys and signed over auto registration had.  Vixa was informed that Rouxette’s last USA words were, “My baby’s a black corvette, license plate 2SWANSN followed by a false black heart like hers.  Your assistant vet is in E4 Doc.  She is signed over to you…just add your signature…here, catch the keys…be a darling and feed Cat…got to run to make my flight.  We were never meant to be married you and me, Doc, anymore than my heartless bitch of a black swan and I were.  Rouxette whimpered sentimentally at the bewildered English man, “Remember me kindly Doc.”

Vixa caught the next flight sitting next to the startled English man who was bringing home a pale, brushed cowboy hat souvenir and stories of insane women no one would believe.  He handed over the keys and registration to Ms. Sinclair-James upon her questioning of him.  Vixa had recognized Rouxette’s lipstick on his cheeks.  After explaining his meetup encounter with Rouxette’s version of Audrey Hepburn, Doc wanted no part of the lesbian insanity either of the two such uncultured, pretentious women.

Vixa fumed at the man’s, “I’ve told you everything; I’m not this Doc you speak of and please leave me alone,” deciding to make his flight a redeye nightmare.

“But Doc, you will sit by me for old time sake won’t you?  Just remember me fondly as the young, wild girl who married you too young without knowing what a beautiful world we live in.  Don’t hate me Doc.  I’ve changed is all. I’ve grown up and claimed myself Doc.”

“Can you tell me why both of you mad women keep calling me Doc?”

“Because you look more like Buddy Ebsen than George Peppard Doc,” Vixa sadly cooed to the elderly man slipping her arm in his.  Doc shrugged, deciding to play along having seen the move before, but without a clue still as to why he was being mistaken for a hillbilly, cat loving, medicine man.  How glad he was to not be an American.

Vixa hummed “Moon River” placing her head on Doc’s shoulder not holding back her tears of worry as the jet trans-versed the Atlantic.  The unfortunate man from Chelsea pulled his tan stetson over his eyes and pretended to sleep.

**********

His cell’s ring tone of Tchaikovsky brought Rex out of his dreamer’s fog.  He tapped the green phone icon then gently pressed the phone to his right ear as if it were a hangover’s icepack.  After a day his wife was finally waddling back to him with her tail feathers between her legs rather than her lover’s tongue.  As Vixa’s husband it was time he put his foot down on her flapping back.  Rex opened his eyes as if they were slitted venetian blinds while setting a determined frown on his face so he could be stern with Vixa.

“God damn it Vixa, where the hell have you been?  If you are in jail have your whore bail you out this time.  I can hear your breath so I deserve an apology Vixa.  I’m trying to get some sleep so this is no time to give me the silent treatment.  You better not still be mad about the note I had sent to your Holly Going-nowhere-but-to-hell.  You’re my wife and I did you both a favor.”, Rex grumbled before switching the phone to speaker and slamming it on the nightstand.

“Are you Monsieur Rexford H. Sinclair-James of San Diego, California?”

“Who the fuck wants to know?  And what are you doing with my wife’s phone mister?  I’m looking at the incoming number on screen, so don’t deny you are calling from it prick.”

“Certainly not sir.  This is Inspector Saindon of Paris Police Nationale and I…”

“Am boning my wife too, Tex?  Crisp her to a turn over a barbecue pit on the Bush 43 ranch for all I care, cowboy.  Throw her out of a plane with Bush 41 if it’s easier for you.”

“Note my accent and demeanor monsieur.  I am not in one of your westerns, but in Paris as in France Monsieur James.  Please listen carefully to me since I unfortunately can not arrest you for your ugly American, lack of manners.”

“Your Euro Napoleonic Justice, if you have the Gaul to be Franc with me mon-sewer, but it better be good gendarme.”

“It is my sad duty to inform you that your wife, Mr. James, has been found drown here in Paris and has passed on.  She never regained consciousness, so her suffering is presumed to have been minimal.”

“Vixa is dead?” Rex asked with confusion in his voice.  “My wife died in Paris, France?  That doesn’t make any sense even for her.  You must have a case of mistaken identity.”

“Again I am sorry for your loss sir, but the identification of the deceased being Mrs. Vixa Sinclair-James of San Diego has been verified through fingerprints.  You are aware that your wife had a criminal record.”

“I am painfully aware of her Tiffany’s diamond stick pin heist prank which costs me plenty to get reduced to a misdemeanor of disturbing the peace.  Are you aware you are disturbing my peace?”

“This is an active police investigation, monsieur.  I know you must be in shock, but please do not try my patience any further.”

“Sorry.  I guess I am in shock.  Shocked that I ever married Vixa in the first place.”

“May I continue?”

“Ask away if you must.”

“I do have further questions of you since your wife’s death does not appear to be a suicide.”

“You suspect me of fowl play?  No one is pinning this one on me inspector.  My secretary will swear I was with her at the time.  May be a black swan murdered her.  Vixa loved those vile creatures, so much that she left here dressed as one on the night she left me.”

“You are not a person of suspicion monsieur.  This I can assure you, because we checked with French entrance and exit customs earlier today.”

“Thank God for someone in your country being sober enough to put down their bottle of Merlot and moldy cheese, swallow their stale, crusty bread and do some actual work for once.”

“Please do not revisit this attitude of yours again full of your absurd insults.  Let me do my work.  Evidently Mrs. Sinclair-James was attempting to rescue a woman, which initial autopsy results show, died of an unidentified poison in her lungs and blood stream.  Your wife therefore was not alone at the time of her death.  We suspect that the ladies might have known each other, because they were both from the San Diego area and wearing matching Givenchy dresses.”

“My wife and I are from La Jolla, not San Diego I’ll have you know.  You expect me to believe my wife traveled thousands of miles without running up my card at Hermes to go diving in icy water to bob for a bimbo she might have known?  Enough of the jokes, inspector clueless-so.”

“I am very serious sir, so stop the Peter Seller jokes, please.  I have heard them all before.  If you hang up, authorities will be asked to bring you in for questioning.  This is an official investigation of two untimely deaths of foreign citizens, so I must insist on your full cooperation.”

“All right, I’ll play along, Pink Panther.  If you really are French you should know who that socialist, isolationist, no can do business anymore with my clients president of yours is.”

“I’m sure Mr. Hollande wouldn’t agree with your labeling of him, but I can assure you that he is above suspicion in this matter as well as Mr. Sarkozy who he replaced.  Mr. Chirac is not a person of interest either and Mr. Mitterrand has the alibi of being deceased.  Satisfied?  Do I need to file a complaint with my supervisor to be referred to your state department?”

“So Vixa really played Swan Lake out to the curtain call this time?  No wonder your feathers are so ruffled over there in gay Paris.”

“You think this is a time to act like a homophobe?”

“You were about to ask me something French pastry?”

“I do not understand you so let me check my notes.  Ah…the woman who your wife was evidently attempting to rescue when they got entangled together…”

“Don’t bother, I bet the other tramp in question was a lesbo, wife stealer named Rouxette Belvedere.”

“Um…here we are and yes, you are correct as to her name Mr. James.  The only contact with the deceased Madame Belvedere we could ascertain was your wife which is why I can confirm your suspicion.  Madame Belvedere apparently left no surviving relative.”

“She probably embarrassed them to death, inspector.”

“Ha, ha, but can you tell me in your own words what your wife’s relationship might have been with Madame Belvedere other than wearing the same designer dress?  In France this is a crime according to my wife, but I have not met Madame Royal to verify this.”

“Who’s the Punch line now, Judy?” Rex quipped.

“My apologies to any offense against either deceased lady, but…”

“They are not ladies.  My slut-au-jour and her bimbo-baste were lesbian lovers to each other for over a year inspector.”

“I see, but tell me about the last time you saw your wife alive, monsieur.”

“My wife left our home after a verbal exchange in one of her snit-fits on New Year’s Eve, about nine at night Pacific Time, after informing me that Rouxette had been her lover for a year and a half and that she was leaving me for good.  Inspector I had a detective prove they were having an affair months ago, so I picked an argument with my wife to stall her. I had been aware of their plans to meet that night and had had enough of Vixa’s infidelity with that pussy-licking, never-pick-up-a-bill dyke.”

“Cut the vulgarities please and focus on the facts.  What did you do about this affair?”

“I had my secretary forge a note in my wife’s pen style from samples of my wife’s handwriting and arrange for a courier to deliver the note to Rouxette presuming she would be at the location on my wife’s party ticket.  Rouxette is the kind no class who does not know how to arrive fashionably late to anything, so I knew she would be there before my wife would.  Did I commit a crime by doing this?”

“If you were in France it would be up to a panel of judges to decide that, but all I want to do is clear up the loose ends.”

“My wife and that piece of junk in her trunk had loose swinging derrières alright.”

“Tell me what was in the note your secretary wrote from your instructions Mr. James.”

“The note said that Vixa was dumping Rouxette and staying with me, because she had fallen back in love with me.  May be, part of me wanted this to be true.  Convincing my secretary that this was just an innocent prank took some charm and a diamond bracelet Vixa hadn’t worn in years.  I didn’t hire my secretary for her shorthand if you know what I mean?”

“Your secretary is also your mistress, monsieur?”

“You’re a French man inspector, so you understand that a man’s needs are different than what most women want?”

“No comment on that one.  Let me ask you why you would do such a thing to your own wife and her lover.  Was it more to spite them, actual love for your wife or jealousy?”

“The first one more than the other two, but I still have…I mean do…did have limited feelings for Vixa.  Does it matter?  Rouxette must have believed that note, so what does that say about their grand amour?”

“I am not a woman nor know how they think.  I swear to you that women here in France refuse to be understood.  Are your American women the same?”

“You mentioned that you are married inspector?”

“Oui, almost twelve years now.”

“Well, thank God you’re not a fag like this client of me who keeps coming on to me.  He keeps asking me to divorce my wife and marry him.  What’s wrong with this fucked up world I ask you when that is allowed?  Since that damn Prop 8 got overturned, California is once again the land of fruits with over-active, rainbow nuts.  You let those perverts marry as well I hear.”

“Only recently, but so what?  You aren’t gay, are you monsieur?”

“Listen, Pepe Le Pew.  I’ve got nothing against them as long as stick it to their own.  You think I got any pleasure from sucking off my client who has a crush on me?”

“Why would you do that monsieur if you are not gay yourself?”

“To land a business deal with that pecker of could and would cum down my throat.  You had ever blown another man, monsieur?”

“Never, I assure you, but was it worth it?”

“Anything for a sale, but I threw up for a week and still don’t salt anything.  You think Vixa would have been grateful given how much that travel account brings in rather than accusing me of being queer like her.  The sacrifices I have made so she could live the lifestyle she insisted on.  That sick man still wants me too…I mean he has a crush on me…you don’t need to know this do you?”

“No, we French do nor judge what goes on in the bedroom like you puritanical Americans do monsieur.  My sister’s oldest thinks he is Brigit Bardot saving the baby seals.  He makes more money playing her on stage in a nightclub than I do by speaking with people like you monsieur.  My wife thinks it makes perfect sense which proves how out of touch she is.”

“O, I agree with you inspector.  Even that Love Boat, Judy McCoy, cruise directing my ass of a client of mine, who is hung like a long shore man when dry docking me, makes more sense than my wife.  Men get straight to your bottom line.  That sounded wrong, but you get his point don’t you?  I mean … do you ever understand what your wife tells you?”

“Comme ci comme ça. My wife is a bit of a beautiful mystery, I’ll tell you.  She dangles her words as if they are hypnotic earrings deciding which to wear with what dress asking me if they match and make her look fat.  She is thin as a bulimic runway model and I am color blind when it comes to fashion monsieur.  I tell her that I understand when I do not, because no matter what I say I am wrong and she changes her mind anyway making us late to everything.  Why does she want my opinion when she doesn’t trust it?  I thought may be it was only French women, but it seems universal.”

“She runs your life including when she interferes with your mirror time?”

“She is in control anywhere in our home including her vanity mirror.  My wife whines, she complains, tells me I don’t love her, throws her hands up in the air in disgust and then dares to ask me if I can stand being seen with her in public.  When we are out she just pouts and drives me out of my mind on purpose.  In France they are taught this from an early age.  It is the ultimate power play for French women to get what they want.  I have seen this learned behavior in my daughter too and she is only seven.”

“But you stay with your wife and she is faithful to you?”

“Yes, because I am mad in love with her monsieur.  We French men are lovers to our women not pigs looking for truffles outside the home.”

“Ouch!  But what would you do if she cheated on you with another woman?”

“I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be laughing or happy about it as you seem to be.  We live in strange times where women marry each other too.  C’est via.  Speaking of which before I forget.  How often have you seen this other woman in your wife’s company?”

“More times than I care to remember.  My wife wanted me to be friends with her Rouxette for some reason.  So what exactly happened to cause Vixa’s death?”

“The matter is still under investigation, but I can tell you that your wife and Madame Belvedere both were unable to be revived.  It is our diver’s theory that your wife was attempting to free Madame Belvedere from an entangled purse strap, but got entangled herself.  We also found a tiara of surprising value near them.  Would you know anything about that?”

“Vixa gave it to Rouxette at a birthday party last month, because that woman had a Breakfast at Tiffany’s fetish.  I’d appreciate that tiara back if it proves to have been paid for rather than stolen.”

“What right would you have in claiming it, since it no longer belonged to your wife?”

“If she paid for it off one of my cards I can sell it to recover part of my loss, crepes foot.”

“That will be all for now, Mr. James other than do you have a passport?”

“Why, you wish to confiscate it Champ’d Elysees?”

“No, I thought you might wish to travel to Paris to claim Mrs. Sinclair-James’ remains for a proper internment nearer to her family and you.”

“Flambé her to a cognac crisp as far as I’m concerned.  She made her river bed so let her lie in it with her mistress from the deep lagoon.”

“Actually they died in a stream at Parc de Bercy on the north bank of the Seine.”

“Well she was south of sane rejecting me, and you are insane if you think I want back anything but that tiara and any other jewelry of value.”

“That will not be for me to decide Monsieur James.  I am obligated to tell you that the people of France and I are sorry for your loss.  My department will be in touch if we have any further questions which is most unlikely.  Other people will be in contact with you to make whatever arrangements are deemed appropriate by the judges presiding over the inquest.”

“Fine, fine.  Tell you what I’m going to do.”

“And that would be?”

“I’m going to bake a soufflé for one out of two eggs pretending they have been dropped out a black swan’s asshole, open a bottle of French champaign and celebrate my liberté, égalité, fraternité.  Good riddance to that lotus munching former wife of mine.  I’m pulling out of her old train tunnel and push it into a newer, tighter one inspector.”

“Au revoir,monsieur,” Inspector Saindon concluded before clicking off Vixa’s cell phone.

“I’d turn lesbian,too, if I had to put up with that imbecile,” Inspector Saindon expounded before returning the phone to the evidence clerk.  “See if you can find a charger that will work with an adapter for this phone, officer, so it can be examined in greater depth.”

“Yes, mon inspector.”

**********

Rexford Harrison James who had always refused to include his wife’s maiden name of Sinclair in his legal papers, broke two extra large eggs into a bowl naming the first one Vixa and the second one Rouxette, turned the oven gas knob without checking if the pilot light was lit, dropped the gooey egg shells accidentally onto the floor.  He felt extra dizzy from breathing in the gas as he opened the old-fashion oven door with two black swans painted on it.  Rex slipped in his slippers with his feet going backwards and his head bouncing nose first in the oven for his last swan dive.  Sylvia Plath would have given Mr. Rexford Harrison James only half credit for his insincere self-execution by gas oven and far less as a homophobic husband.  Women poets scorned and abandoned by men are stranger and more angry creatures than even female black swans in season.  Whether underground in a church graveyard such as Mrs. Plath-Hughes or tangled underwater such as Rouxette and Vixa, women are better off in these places rather than staying with men such as Ted Hughes or Rex James.

The maid upon turning her key to the Sinclair-James residence the next morning choked and gagged on the atmosphere inside before calling the police from her cell at a safe distance from the house.

**********

The funeral card referred to the deceased advertising consultant as Mr. Rexford Harrison Sinclair-James of La Jolla, California.  Of the attendees at Rex’s memorial service all could be said to be business clients other than Rex’s pissed off, soon to be unemployed secretary.  The deceased guest of honor’s former secretary yawned in boredom having done her job of making the funeral arrangements and firing the maid.  On her left wrist was the diamond bracelet she had more than earned.

Sitting alone in the back row, Mr. Quincy Chance, of Chance Cruise Lines, was the only one to shed tears for Mr. Rexford Harrison Sinclair-James.  In his heart Quincy believed that his married to a less than classy woman, reluctant male lover in the closet loved him.  Rex’s lips had betrayed his repressed orientation makeover.  One kiss had led to another on Quincy’s lower anatomy which Rex had no problem receiving as well no matter how much the advertising consultant had protested later.

Later on the same day as Rex’s funeral, Quincy reflected on his own effeminate sensibilities that his father, a retired naval officer had disdained.  The coiled rope off the sailboat which father and son had built and sailed together still hung on the office wall as a treasured memorabilia of the love he had for his deceased father.  The Rear Admiral’s passing had left the Cruise Line to his gay, son Quincy.

With a lonesome sigh of no one to live for, Quincy removed the rope from the wall, tied the hangman’s slip knot he needed, threw it over the crossbeam made from an ancient mast.  Quincy stood on his father’s crafted desk while placing the rope loop around his own neck.

“I cannot live another moment without you Rex, because you are my eternal love.  This salute is for you daddy.  I’m so sorry I couldn’t be the man you wanted me to be.  Forgive me God.”, the melancholy thin, Quincy prayed before walking off the edge of the driftwood, hand crafted desk with ivory inlay towards a less painful world.  The weather-beaten, water-stained rope snapped to attention during its final deployment as Quincy left Earth’s mortal coil.

**********

The flower decorated folder containing the specifics on the life of Mr. Quincy Chase would arrive in the empty in-basket of one Chandra le Papillon the following morning.  Compared to her current three more challenging assignments from the counsel, Quincy would be a joy to welcome, orientate and socialize into the beautiful afterlife he would spend in Elysium.

 

 

11 comments

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    Thank you for reading all or part of my Chapter One of “Smoke Veil Bridge” entitled “Underwater Swan Song”. The lives of the characters are indeed underwater with their lives and deaths. The vulgarities within were not written to reflect my own views of the straight, gay and lesbian communities, but to develop characters in need of redemption from the karma they have spun during their troubled lives.

    Regardless of being advanced to the finals or not, Chapter Two entitled “Elysium Swan Song” will be offered to A Word With You Press to share with its readers if it wishes to do so. I wish to thank my editor, Mr. Thornton Sully, for being so gracious with both my fickle and terribly obscene nature of late. To publish such a work uncensored is a courageous act. Will Chapter Two be less provocative than the Prologue or Chapter One? Hardly, but it will introduce us to an afterlife of lessons needing to be learned. There is a darkness to the beginnings of this novel to make the brilliance of love more appreciated later. Unfortunately this contest will not take us that far, so for now have faith dear reader that I am not entirely a black swan beyond hope.

    I wish both the other semi-finalist further success within “Once Upon A Time” and their writing careers. This wish I extend as well to the fine staff who work so diligently to publish our stories and to everyone engaged within this writing community. I look forward to reading each and every Chapter One submitted.

    In closing I wish to acknowledge my beta test group which includes Mr. Bill Straith along with Mr. Carl Selnick and his wife Mary Selnick. Their patience, laughter, shock, feed back and swan anatomy lesson have aided me in beginning this novel with such an underwater launch.

  2. Tiffany Monique

    I love the descriptive nature of your writing Parisianne. The flight with Vixa & Doc was cute, and written to propel the story forward, and the character of Rex is written to make me see him as a victimized villain anti-hero. I also like the way you wrote Quincy’s brief back-story and suicide. These things work for the story, and make me ask questions. But that pun-fest with the French inspector was hard to believe and that phone call could be trimmed a bit because I feel it works against the momentum of your story without enough reason. Not only that, it makes the transitions between characters a bit jarring. It was not until the very last paragraph that I felt truly pulled into this story, which I could easily see becoming a tragi-comedy/magic-realism/mystery. As for the “oscenity”, it was well written and subtle, despite the provocative nature, and if kept in that thinly veiled way, makes your story have credible shock value, without being literotica.

    When I read the last bit of your first chapter, I thought of the waiting room in the movie Beetlejuice when the social worker says, “If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have had my little accident.” (referring to the notion that those who commit suicide become social workers in the afterlife)… http://youtu.be/Vi52_qprBT0

    This has the makings of a wicked romp through sexuality and the afterlife…

  3. Parisianne Modert says:

    The French Inspector’s straight man conversation with the sarcasm of Rex James was meant to demonize Vixa’s husband enough to give plausibility to her leaving him for Rouxette. The brief frustrations of the inspector from Paris are to show the reader that in part we are all somewhat poisoned from the behavior of those around us. The three main characters continuing are peas in a pod which will close in on them in Chapter Two. Karma means there is a need to face one’s own and each other’s demons.

    Rex is conflicted whether he wishes his wife to come home, Rouxette was conflicted, because she was too quick to doubt Vixa’s love for her. Vixa is conflicted, because neither Rex nor Rouxette have ever proven their love for her when she has tried so hard to give hers to both of them. Quincy at this point of the story is relatively undefined as well as Chandra. In Chapter Two we begin to learn about the beginning of the difficult path to redemption in the afterlife set in Elysium for our characters who have passed on.

    I appreciate your critique Tiffany while wishing to offer as my excuse for the bitter humor a relief from the grander tragedy. With my mind, I saw my characters as having years of pent up, under expressed angst and repressions of their orientations and their relationships with each other. While Chapter Two will continue this form of humor between the women as they meet and have to deal with both Chandra and their afterlife beginnings, it should be noted that this form will dissipate as the characters learn to have compassion for each other and empathy for each other. The goal of the novel is a selfless love.

    To my readers wishing a deeper explanation of the psychology of both Vixa and Rouxette who are soul mates in this novel, I suggest watching the movie, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard and Patricia Neal and Buddy Ebsen with music by Henry Mancini. The use of the “Pink Panther” isn’t central to the overall novel’s understanding, but fit Chapter One well as a decoration for the investigation within and a symbol for the confusion of the relationships yet to be made stable.

    My style for writing novels is to approximate 20-25 chapters totaling 125K – 150K words; although my previous full novels (all unpublished so far) are anywhere between 70K -225K in length. “Smoke Veil Bridge” is projected currently to be about 100K words in length which translates to approximately 200 pages long. Including the length of the prologue chapters one and two the readers on this site will only be exposed to the first tenth. Try to keep in mind that a novel is a stew where ingredients keep getting added for a while as well as spices for taste. it needs time to blend characters and story lines before it is placed on a bookstore shelf. Therefore I ask the reader not to judge the overall novel when it is complete by such a brief and early taste.

    For my more devoted readers I wish to tell them that I am primarily a poet not a novelist, short story writer or flash fiction contestant. When I publish my first volume expect my truer art to be a collection of my poetry.

  4. Parisianne Modert says:

    Finalist or not I now have a full acceptable edit to Chapter Two of Smoke Veil Bridge complete with photo and selected video. This process has allowed me to take breaks from grieving.

    Given the current, necessary mourning and celebration of one of our very dearest souls of this community and others, there is no need for any time schedule nor reason for any further contest. We will in time continue however, because that is what our friend Gary Clark would and does want us to do.

    I hope that when the time arrives to begin again, we will remember how sacred and precious we are to each other. There is an empty place in my heart, because like you I miss Gary, but my heart also shines with memories of him and love for each of you. Thank you for being so special to me and to each other.

  5. Parisianne Modert says:

    The writer who does not believe in her own story is wise never to submit her work for reading and critique. Given that I am a semi-finalist in “Once Upon A Time”, but hardly guaranteed I will be one of the three finalist, it would be bold indeed to submit a Chapter Two finalist piece before the finalist are announced. Thus you may consider me both confident in the quality of Smoke Veil Bridge and arrogant in submitting Chapter Two, a photo intro and video request to this site. So be it, but I would also remind those of you that there was an open submission in the semi-finalist stage which includes the potential for Chapter One’s outside the announced semi-finalists list.

    I hope that win or lose, we have each arrived here to share our stories than to compete. So I have offered up a novel that at this point doesn’t have a Chapter Three anywhere, but in my mind. I look forward to writing that next chapter in the upcoming days. In order to that I needed Chapter Two to be sent in and off my printer’s plate.

    Whether I am a finalist or not, I hope you will enjoy Chapter Two of Smoke Veil Bridge which is entitled Elysium Swan Song. May I also add a thank you to my patient of spirit editor and his fine staff for putting up with my eccentricities. I am after all, speaking as a Brit today in spirit, a bloody handful to endure. Hopefully my story offered this reflective day will be found endearing in its beginnings of redemption for both the characters and myself, her authoress. Carry on now and tah tah.

  6. Michael Stang says:

    Again, Parisianne, I am lifted off my feet entering your world of words and am left at the end, my rear end hard back to reality, wondering how you manage to weave magic spells. Everything is always covered, and sometimes more. No one character is single minded. Everybody has a closet full of toys. When you throw a party, my head spins keeping them all connected with each other. The mystigue swirls around the plot as the boil thickens; a particular Modert signature. How I would read this chpt one to the end of the book.

  7. Parisianne Modert says:

    Thank you Michael,

    The Prologue gets two of my characters to the edge of leaving this life and chapter three brings in the death of two more with lighter mention implied on two more who have passed previously. Chapter Two will bring us to the afterlife that is Elysium which I took from the Greeks and made into a hippie karma world of nature, but purpose. Of the four main characters it is clearly Quincy Chase who is the closest to redemption, but even this gay man must face the karma he has left dangling from a rope.

    In Chapter Two to come we begin to understand why Rouxette did not wait for or believe in her Vixa. We find out the vanity level of Vixa which is based on a life style her husband Rex has afforded her. We will discover later in the novel that all the one line farcical puns, insults and attitudes are really the dysfunction driving the bad karma which each of them need to heal from and be redeemed by love and trust for each other.

    I was surprised to make the semi-finals this time Michael and I hope with the exercise that someday soon I will have legs again that will arouse gentlemen if my skirt goes up a bit. For now I am rolling with the opportunity, have submitted Chapter Two with photo and video request. I believe that Chapter Two is better than Chapter One was. The real redemption begins with the last line of Chapter Two, so it is a gateway into the real body of Smoke Veil Bridge.

    I write my moods, my emotions augmented by music which will keep me focused in fantasy. Chapter Two unlike the rest needed a softening to relax into hints of the more feminine and yet the pain of Rouxette and Vixa towards being emotionally splintered from each other. In Gestalt Therapy it is said that each part of the action with characters is part of us. Rouxette and Vixa are each part of the Holly Golightly character from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. They are both in denial to some degree about their poorer and younger days. Vixa has been off and on whether she could ever commit in love to another woman. Her husband Rex shows masculine outrage as a homophobe in denial of his feelings for Quincy in Chapter One. There are turns and twist about the afterlife and the beginnings of adjustment to the afterlife by the characters.

    I do apologize slightly for the onslaught of emotions I have written, but I write from my heart. Many of you who have followed my published works will remember that I suffered from depression for 50 years and have at times been suicidal. My responsibilities have been the only thing keeping alive until recently. Let’s just say that I wasn’t expecting to write Smoke Veil Bridge, but a strong challenge, the giving up a dream through very tough love from another took me to the edge of death once again. The emotions in the Smoke Veil Bridge Prologue was about losing it mentally. So in reality I wrote it when I was Rouxette inside. Not all of Rouxette is that state of me, but mostly me. Vixa is a composite of women I have loved in various ways.

    By the time of Chapter One I was very, very sad but more a quiet bitter and sarcastic rather than so angry. Rex is a composite of how various women have complained to me over the years about their men. The inspector was just a straight man for Rex to play his angst and confusion off of, but I added a little colorful angst to the inspector as well. I’ve been getting a lot of that Mars versus Venus information lately from mostly my girlfriends and relied on my past for the how men talk about women when they don’t think there is a woman about. Quincy is a character I love and I feel for. I pulled his death from an incident from my own life about 30 years ago. At the time I was a data manager over three shifts of a banking computer system. Everyone in the house including my operators knew I was coming apart at the seams, but not that I was a transsexual in her first days doing something about it. My neck was nasty red across it from electrolysis. I heard in whispers on a Monday that the guess in going around in gossip was that I had tried unsuccessfully to hang myself over the weekend. I let them believe what they would except that I got called into my manager’s office and asked if I had tried to hang myself. I denied it in a way which left doubt as to whether I was telling the truth. He nodded, but there were actual betting pools on when I would be dead. They all must have lost, I guess. Sadly the telling the truth would have gotten me fired; whereas they allowed my darkness to go without helping because no one else would put up with the hours I worked for so very little. Quincy therefore is a little bit of Pete (my former name); although Pete did not have an attraction to men, but with 26 years of hormone replacement I do. Therefore Quincy is also based on one of my better friends who is gay. No matter how much we wish to detach ourselves from our characters as writers, bits of ourselves or the people we know or cared for sneak into the characters if they have real life to them. I hope as the novel continues to be written that Rouxette, Vixa, Rex, Quincy and I can find new directions.

    A little clue to Chapter Three which is hinted at with a cliff hanger at the end of Chapter Two was influenced by my decision to claim myself as a straight woman only interested in straight men very recently as an answer to my brief but dangerous set of feelings. When you read the last line you will begin to see how this completely changes the storyline and sets up Chapter Three for a most unlikely reunion of unlikely lovers. Karma is a strange brew. In this season, I finally accepted my femininity as my happiness knowing that I could no longer be equal in both and remain happy. Chapter Three isn’t named for the ying yang of Tao, but it could have been.

  8. Laura Girardeau says:

    This is a delicately crafted piece. I am struck by your style and cadence. It is classy and has a regular rhythm that does not break out of step. This reads like a series to me…not only a chapter in a novel, but the kind of thing that could do well if there were sequel novels, appealing to many audiences.

  9. Parisianne Modert says:

    Thank you Laura. I write as I experience a movie playing in my mind generally. Dialogue to me is string theory pulling us in and out of the multiple dimensions of one, two or many different psyche. The crafting is to let the emotions and need of each character to dance in the beat of the moment. A tango is not a salsa is not a waltz. Generally, I write to the music I put on at a very low sound level whether it be Parisian cafe, Russian opera, Mozart or jazz. I pick music which gives me the rhythm of the scene. The other thing is that men and women are a contrast of rhythm of beat and melody, yet when in concert they must belong together. To write about them and from them, I pounded the conflicts within and between Vixa and Rex. I put myself in their shoes and action. There must be originality, because characters are boring otherwise, familiar enough that we can feel an empathy with them. We haven’t been through 90% of what they are doing with each other, but we need that 10% of been there done that to relate.

    The Prologue was a monologue within Rouxette’s mind building her insanity, courage and despair towards her suicide. The reader needs to feel each of these so when she takes that puff, they take that puff with her. The dialogue in Chapter One is mostly about the introduction of Rex who needs a straight man to bounce his bitter confusion. I wanted the reader to absolutely have their hearts broken over Rouxette’s loss of reality, be confused and questioning about Vixa’s contradictions and be outraged at Rex. I wanted him to be an insensitive jerk. Otherwise a basically straight, bi-curious woman named Vixa never can reach the point plausibly of leaving Rex for Rouxette. I wanted the reader to see Rex as materialistic as well as Vixa and somewhat Rouxette. The difference is that the La Jolla man and wife cling to their possessions and Rouxette gives her prizes away. The inspector is most likely now out of the novel going forward, because he gave us Paris and the consequences of death and the judgments and exposure of Rex as a closeted gay man in denial.

    At the end of Chapter One it is important to establish a doorway to Chapter Two and beyond. In the Prologue Vixa was pure hearsay and Rex not mentioned by name. In Chapter One Rex is exposed along with a briefer one for Quincy Chase and his father the Admiral. We also get only a hint at Chandra, but she is set up for her entrance in Chapter Two.

    Dialogue to me needs to ask and answer questions moving life along the conveyor belt. The other part Laura is that dialogue is similar to taking a hammer and smashing a piggy bank in pieces in various directions before putting it back together one piece of the Gestalt at a time. The destruction according to a friend of mine is the masculine and the creation is the feminine. Whether we are men or women like you and me we have both energies within us. Both need to be honored I feel. The prologue, Chapter One and most of Chapter Two are destructive with hints of how healing my begin, but keep failing. At the end of Chapter Two the last sentence is pure femininity presented for a most unlikely male character to be presented with. That sentence is the pivot of the novel. It is the shocking line which reveals the intent of the overall novel. In Chapter Two you will discover that Rouxette, Vixa and Chandra are dominant much like Rex and the Inspector were in Chapter One and Rouxette was in the Prologue, but the ending of all three are shockers where the scene is stolen away. The Prologue is stolen by Vixa, the Chapter One by Quincy and Chapter Two by…o, that would be telling, so I hope my readers will want to find out.

    Finally Laura and other dear readers, I would tell you that there is a difference between dialogue and monologue. Dialogue needs to be crisp, short, snapping in your face, humorous if the material is dark and profound if the material is everyday. Dialogue needs to surprise us in language yet make us logically follow with belief. Dialogue either must answer questions or create mystery. To me narrative creates sub-text not dialogue. Narrative plants subliminal seeds in our heads which are going to sprout later or link the past to the future. Fictional characters need to have we writers or our muses or influential experience people in them or we write with a dull pen. Rouxette is basically me mixed with the character Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the time I wrote the Prologue, Vixa is a different part of Holly mixed with elements from two of my best girlfriends. Rex was very difficult to do, because he is the most unlike me, yet I lived in denial of having to transition for years until it nearly killed me. Rex therefore is based in a few gay men I’ve known over the years. Quincy is the character I love most and cried the most for while writing. He is in someways the innocent. I used my knowledge of one of my better friends for him along with elements of my own quiet desperation for love. Chandra is a combination of my niece, myself and may be a certain lady from Moscow, Idaho. Wonder who that lady could be Laura? So there you have it.

    I wish you well in the semi-finals Laura as i do the other four. If you were to win this contest, I would think that your writing is of the quality to deserve the honor once again, but I think Robert’s this time is better. To my reader I will tell you that I write primarily for me, to save myself from me. Shocked? Rouxette commits suicide, Vixa gives her life trying to save Rouxette, Rex dies from being stupid and mean. Quincy dies from loneliness and the loss of hope for the love he wishes. The Admiral…ah…well ….you’ll have to wait for the novel. My point is that the cab driver who is minor lives on, the inspector and his clerk live on again minor, but all the main characters die.

    For you students of literature I will ask you to guess which modern writer influenced me to this dark humor style? The answer is John Irving. Unlike Mr. Irving you won’t find wrestling in Iowa, a stay in Vienna or bears on motorcycles…hmmm…no too easy. Or is it?

  10. Well… how very Joyce-Carol_Oates of you baby!

    I see why you’re tearing up the pages here. What a dizzying descent into a world of sex, taboo and claws, I actually feel a little breathless. There is a raw outpouring of passion and enough nit-picked rule breaking to lend it an excellent air of realism. Lovely suspension of disbelief. A few transitions need polish, and some repetitive descriptors need tweaking to avoid a few miniscule speedbumps in the read, but overall, considering the newborn mix in this stew, I think time and a little nurturing will produce a glorious marriage of all the right flavors and spices, yes indeed, it promises to please the pickiest gourmandian logophiles once it pops out of the cooker (yes I make up words outside of manuscripts, so nanny boo boo over all of that).

    Simply divine my friend:)

    I hope I get to read Chapter Two.

    Fond regards,

    Shawna

  11. Parisianne Modert says:

    Thank you for both your articulate and colorful critique praise and suggestions Shawna. Chapter One indeed was not as well edited as I might have liked. At the time I advanced, Smoke Veil Bridge was not my choice if I did, so it had not received the attention that my other two Chapter One entry potentials had out of Prologue entry.

    There is power in the content and developing knowledge of what happened and who Rex is, but the piece is choppy. That’s why I placed it fourth and not second or third. Chapter Two has been submitted and is cleaner.

    Let’s consider for a moment however that Rex is a man who has lost his wife. A wife who has finally been unfaithful to him for a year and a half with another woman no less. Rex has manipulated women and one man to make his business career. This story is about the corruption of wealth and the addiction of holding on to its privilege. La Jolla for those of you not from the San Diego area is outrageous in cost in real estate. A home at the edge of the ocean is practically unspeakable in cost. They have travel, clothes that are opulent. Until Rouxette comes into Vixa’s life there have been flirts, but Vixa is vane and pampered. She doesn’t appreciate what Rex goes through to provide her lifestyle. Vixa however as well as Rouxette remember the kind of poverty and backwards beginnings that Holly Golightly did in the movie.

    Dialogue is an odd beast. When people are stressed, have slept enough, are awoken with shocking news they are not at their best. Rex relays information that the inspector does not want to hear, but that is human. The character needs to be in shock, because he has lost his wife that part of him still loves and wishes to come home to him.

    I am hoping that even if I am not in the final three that my Chapter Two gets published. The last sentence is worth enduring the prologue, chapter one and two for. The novel’s beauty begins with that sentence. I believe that before beauty can begin all the monsters under the bed have to be flushed out. The quality of Smoke Veil Bridge is that it begins with four human beings needy of and capable of redemption no matter how unsettling they have been on Earth during their shortened lives. Thank you Shawna. I was sad not to read your Chapter One. You were clearly one of my favorite prologues.

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