The Client

Page 50… in a fiction series.

Neil Lipman pulled into a full parking lot at Tommy’s Gotcha and snuffed out his cigarette on the ground.  The bar and grill was just up the hill from the Mallard Point Club, the swanky Traverse City yacht club where Miranda used to spend her summer weekends with Harry.  Neil often wondered if Miranda’s ex-husband was “the client” who was paying to have her watched.  Joe Ramano wouldn’t say.

Joe was seated in the last booth on the right, looked at his watch, and greeted Neil with a curt, “You’re late.”  There were chicken wings waiting on the table, and Neil tore into the bucket with delight.  He licked his fingers while Joe reviewed the file.  He was clearly impressed.  “How did you get this?”

Neil was beaming.  “I was stationed at my usual post next to the ladies room.  Miranda was in there half the night reading the same thing over and over.  All I had to do was write it down.”

“This is excellent work, Neil.  Do you know what this means?”

Lipman ordered a beer.  “I have no idea.”

“Think about it, Neil…  it’s her resume!  Miranda’s applying for a job.  And from the looks of things, she’s alot smarter than we gave her credit for.”  Three pretty girls enter the bar, Neil is distracted.  “It explains how she designed that aft super structure overnight, and the extent of the modifications she must have made to survive that storm.  She’s got a good head on her shoulders.”

“The client saw her right over there at the bar.  It was last fall.  She was going on and on about anodized paint compounds, and bragging about her new orbital sander.  Now that I think about it, she had paint on her nose.”  Joe didn’t mention she was drunk.

Neil shook his head.  “For a girl, that’s just plain weird.”  He held up his Bud Lite in a toasting gesture, and ordered the girls a round of drinks, on Joe.

“Maybe.  But the client was curious.  He walked around the bar, stood behind her, and listened to her talk like a pro about boat restoration.  If Miranda would have turned around she would have bumped right into him.”

Neil asked, “Where did ya hear that?”

“I was sitting beside her.  She said she was leaving Mallard Point for Charlevoix in the morning, that she was planning to live on her boat all winter.”  Joe Ramano took a sip of his diet Coke.  He never drank during the day.

Neil’s eyes lit up, finally making the connection.  “So the guy at the bar is the client?”

Ramano wouldn’t say.

“So why’s he having her tailed?  Is he up to no good?  A madman?  A stalker?

“He likes her, Neil.  He’s a guy who has the hots for a broad who lives on a boat.  Happens all the time…”

Neil frowned, brushed the crumbs from his beard.

“We set up the surveillance deal after she left.  I put you on the job the very next day.”

“And I was waiting at the Boat Basin when she motored in.”  Neil downed the rest of his beer.  “Why doesn’t he just ask her out on a date?”

Ramano looked as his watch.  He had to be in court.  “This guy doesn’t operate that way.  He’s a big shooter, Neil.  He wants information before he’ll meet her face to face.”  He gestured to the waitress, asked for the check.

“So he’s not a stalker.”

“No, Neil.”

“And I’m not a real P.I.”

“You’re an overpaid babysitter Neil, but so far you’re doing a real good job.”  Ramano stood up laughing, slapped Neil on the back.  “So where is she now?”

“I have no idea.”

To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.



© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

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21 Responses to The Client

  1. Jan says:

    Every time I read a new page, I am amazed again at what a good writer you are. I often find myself mentally editing stuff I read, but that never happens here. you are a joy; you write so easily and so well.

    • Linda says:

      Thank you, thank you, my friend. I’m just learning to write dialogue, and I know I’m not quite there. Feel free to jump right in, okay? Always nice to see you, hope all is well. : )

      • Jan says:

        Your greatest strength right now is description. And you don’t just tell, you show the characters in action, so we can draw our own conclusions in each page. And I love how you always stop at a point that engenders the greatest suspense, so your readers are panting to know what happens next.
        Are you a reader of Dickens? He wrote many of his novels in series in magazines, and he did that same thing–always leave the reader wanting more.
        would you rather I make comments on your writing here, or in e-mails? some people are sensitive about “criticism” in front of others–to me it is not criticism, but commentary, and I always hope it is helpful, not discouraging. But I never “criticise” without being asked.

        • Linda says:

          Jan, I am humbled. Wow. What nice comments. Thank you…

          Many pages ago you mentioned the Dickens project, and it sounded really exciting. Almost by accident, I’ve started doing that, and I’m going in a direction I didn’t really plan.

          I don’t write the next page until I finish and post the current one. So I’m always open to everyone’s thoughts.

          Please comment right here at my blog. I’m sure other writers would like to get some pointers, too. I’ve been thinking about it all day… very exciting!

          My weakest areas are punctuation, paragraphs and quotation marks, and sentence structure. Also constant use of (…).

          My writing experience was as a copywriter, writing ads for a radio station. The rule was, if it sounds good when you read it out loud, it’s a hit. Also, I’m almost 50, so be patient. It’s hard to chage old ways. : )

          Thanks again! ; ) (over use of smiley faces.)

          • Jan says:

            You already know what your weak points are. I can’t do much better than that for you.
            … called elipses, and literally means something was left out, or deleted. On line, people tend to use them to indicate they don’t exactly know what to say, or how to end a thought, or sometimes to indicate passage of time.
            I used to require that my students read their writing out loud to another student before turning it in. It’s a great technique for catching errors. so keep reading aloud!

          • Linda says:

            I asked a friend/teacher to read my resume, and she about lost it over these “elipses”.

            “No, no, no! Good writers don’t write that way on a resume!” So yes, I know that’s bad. ; )

            I’ve set aside some days to review grammer/usage websites. But as soon as I flip open my laptop, I get an idea and know if I don’t write about it fast, it will drain from my thoughts and be lost forever. So much for study time.

            I thought of you yesterday when all those tornados swept through Texas. Oh my gosh. How sad for those people who lost everything…

  2. Larry Who says:

    “…So where is she now?…”

    Two scenes in a row without Miranda and now we don’t know where she is.

    Okay, I’m ready. Let’s turn the page.

  3. Theresa says:

    She is in for a huge surprise, isn’t she? :)

    • Linda says:

      Surprises always get Miranda in trouble… or is it just poor judgement? But you’re right, something big and devastating looms ahead… : 0

  4. Another cliffhanger! You title this page “The Client” and get my hopes up that I might learn who the client is, but you only give a hint of his motive and nothing about his identity. I could never write a story that continuously keeps me on the edge of anticipation with just enough detail to not leave me frustrated that the anticipation is never satisfied. It’s a fine line and you walk (or rather write) it very well. :) Peace, Linda

    • Linda says:

      Last summer I started reading John Grisham novels. At the end of every chapter is a wicked cliffhanger. I just loved everything about the way he writes, and the cliffhangers were so intense. Boo! : )

      Anyway, I’m feeling inspired to condense some pages, introduce the client, and move into Part 2. Boca is where I got saved, and there are alot of warm memories here. I better get busy! Also, thanks for the kind words. I wonder if it’s the lawyer in you that wants to get right to the facts… : )

      • Linda, I started reading the last page of books long before I went to law school! I think a desire to get to the point, to get to the facts, is what led me to law school, actually. :) Now off to read the next installment! Peace, Linda

        • Linda says:

          The chicken or the egg. I look at last chapters, too.

          But the salesman in me would say, “Wait! Think of what you might be missing! All the surprises… new characters… a tragedy that changes everything!? We’ll see… : )

          • Jan says:

            My habit of reading the last page first drives my husband and daughter crazy. I say, if the last page doesn’t catch my attention and make me want to find out what happened before, why waste my time reading it?

          • Linda says:

            Yes, I understand. Now I have TWO readers playing detective and looking ahead to the end of the “book”. Just click on the link for to see how it ends. Just messin’ with ya. ; )

  5. Debbie says:

    I agree with all everyone is saying about how well you write. You know Linda, I forget that this isn’t how you started out, exactly. And I forget that you aren’t already a published well known author. You’re that good. And if it’s what you want, I’m praying that it’s what you will be! :) God bless you and give you a hug from me!

    • Linda says:

      Thanks Debbie. I appreciate your comments so much!

      I was just reading some of my old posts, and while practice doesn’t make perfect, it sure helps.

      Published well known author… stop, you’re killing me. Maybe by God’s grace I can master pumctuation! : )

  6. ann says:


    Oh-boy-oh-boy! … what next?

    ( So happy I am ‘cheating’ and reading in catch-up mode.I get to turn the page now!)


    God bless you, Linda. Beautifully captivating writing. Your other readers do say so too :-)


    • Linda says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Ann. Catch-up mode is probably best here since most people don’t read a long story 600 words at a time. ; )

  7. Really….such a beneficial web site.|

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