Since Anita is a manly macho man who cares nothing about those things icky girls like, this chapter is about interior decor, clothes and talking on the phone. Truly there is no one more stereotypically macho than Anita.
There was a queen-size bed in the one I was given.
I stormed out, aimed a gun at the owner, and demanded a KING sized bed. “Queen” means he thinks I’m a GURL!
There was a desk against one wall with a reading lamp. There was an extra chair in front of a picture window. The chair was blue plush and comfortable. It sat on a small throw rug that looked homemade and was woven in shades of blue. The woods were hardwood and polished to a honeyed gleam. The bed’s comforter was royal blue. There was a bedside table, complete with a lamp and a phone. The walls were pale blue.
… LKH, you don’t have to list every single item in a motel, especially one as dull as this one. A good writer can sum up a room in a sentence or two, instead of a two dozen choppy tiny sentences.
“The room was a sea of many blues – a deep blue plush chair, eggshell-colored walls, and a carpet the color of the night sky. Van Gogh’s Starry Night was hung over the bed, like a second window.”
See? Isn’t that so much nicer? Or if you want a snarkier version:
“The room’s theme was blue, blue and more blue – a deep plush chair, a homemade rug on the hardwood floor, the comforter on the bed.”
The other details like the phone, desk and lamps… we don’t need that. We’ll fill them in in our heads.
There was even a painting over the bed. It was a reproduction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Then it’s not a painting. It’s a PRINT. Fertheluvvafuck.
Frankly, any of Van Gogh’s work done after he started going seriously nuts creeps me out.
I’m sure LKH’s grasp of post-impressionist art is as amazing as her sensitivity towards mental illness.
For all I knew, the other cabins had matadors done on velvet, but this was okay.
So… is she implying that Van Gogh’s work is in any way comparable to “matadors done on velvet,” or is… INFERIOR to them?
Then again, Anita is so tacky and tasteless that she probably loves the matadors-on-velvet thing.
And then OH FER CRYIN OUT LOUD, Anita starts describing the BATHROOM.
The bathroom was standard white with a small window high over the bathtub. The bathroom looked like standard motel issue except for a blue bowl of potpourri that smelled like musk and gardenia.
- LKH… we do not care about the bathroom.
- Captain Redundant needs to stop using the word “standard.”
- And when something is mundane and “standard” and totally like a million others… we don’t need to be told that. If you hadn’t mentioned it, I would have just assumed that the bathroom was… exactly the way you described it.
- You see, when you are reading something, you’re not actually seeing what the author wants you to see. Your brain is assembling a sort of mental set piece based on things you’ve seen – life experience, artwork, movies and TV, etc.
- For instance, the “in a hole in the ground” setting in The Hobbit does not give you a clear complete picture of what the hobbit hole definitely looks like. If it didn’t have an actual picture of the hobbit hole done by the author, we would all probably have very different
- That’s why so many authors’ choices for casting are total surprises to people who’ve read the books – it’s not what they envisioned, because their brains put together a different person out of whatever hints we’ve been given. For instance, I would NEVER have imagined Henry Cavill
Verne had informed me that this was the largest cabin left. I needed the floor space. Two coffins take up a lot of room. I wasn’t sure I wanted to have Asher and Damian in my room permanently, but I didn’t have time to argue. I wanted to go see Richard as soon as possible. We could always argue about who got the vamps as bunk mates after I saw Richard.
I made three phone calls before we went to the jail. The first was to the number that Daniel had given me, to let him know we were in town. No one answered. The second call was to Catherine to let her know I’d arrived safely. I got her machine. The third call was to the lawyer that Catherine had recommended, Carl Belisarius. A woman with a very good phone voice answered. When she found out who I was, she was sort of excited, which puzzled me. She forwarded me to Belisarius’s cell phone. Something was up, which was probably bad.
A deep, rich, male voice answered, “Belisarius here.”
“Anita Blake. I assume that Catherine Maison-Gillette told you who I am.”
“Just a moment, Ms. Blake.” He pushed a button and there was silence. I was on hold. When he came back on the phone, I could hear wind and traffic. He’d stepped outside.
“I am very glad to hear from you, Ms. Blake. What the fuck is going on?”
“Excuse me?” I said, tone less than friendly.
“He won’t see me. Catherine gave me the impression that he needed a lawyer. I traveled to this godless piece of real estate, and he won’t see me. He says he didn’t hire me.”
“Shit,” I said softly. “I’m sorry, Mr. Belisarius.” I had a thought. “Did you tell him that I hired you on his behalf?”
“Will that make a difference?”
“Truthfully, I don’t know. Either it’ll help, or he’ll tell you to go to hell.”
“He’s already done that. I am not cheap, Ms. Blake. Even if he refuses my services, someone has to pay for the day.”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Belisarius. I’ll take care of it.”
“Do you have that kind of money?”
“How much are we talking about?” I asked.
He mentioned a fee. I did my best not to whistle in his ear. I counted slowly to five and said, calmly, “You’ll get your money.”
“You have that kind of money? I took Catherine’s word for a lot of things on this. Forgive me if I’m starting to be suspicious.”
“No, I understand. Richard’s giving you a hard time, so you’re giving me one.”
He gave a rough laugh. “All right, Ms. Blake, all right. I’ll try not to pass the buck, but I want some assurances. Can you pay my fee?”
“I raise the dead for a living, Mr. Belisarius. It’s a rare talent. I can pay your fee.” And I could, but it sort of hurt to do it. I wasn’t raised poor, but I was raised to appreciate the value of a buck, and Belisarius was a little outside of outrageous.
“Send word to Richard that I hired you. Call me back if it makes a difference. He may refuse to see either of us.”
“You’re paying a great deal of money, Ms. Blake, especially if I take the case. I assumed you and Mr. Zeeman were close in some way.”
“It’s a long story,” I said. “We’re sort of hating each other right now.”
“A lot of money for someone you hate,” he said.
“Don’t you start, too,” I said.
He laughed again. His laugh was more normal than his speech, almost a bray. Maybe he didn’t practice his laugh for the courtroom. I knew he practiced that rich, rolling voice.
“I’ll send the message, Ms. Blake. Hopefully, I’ll be calling you back.”
“Call me even if he says no. At least I’ll know what to expect when I come down to the jail.”
“You’ll come down even if he refuses to see you?” Belisarius asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“I look forward to meeting you, Ms. Blake. You intrigue me.”
“I bet you say that to all the girls.”
“To very few, Ms. Blake.” He hung up.
Jason came out of the bathroom as I hung up. He was wearing the suit. I’d never seen him in anything except T-shirts and jeans or leather and less. It was odd to see him standing there in a navy blue suit, white shirt, and a thin white tie with a tastefully small design running through it. When you looked close, the tie was silk and the print was tiny fleur de lis. I knew who had picked out the tie. The suit was a better cut than most off the rack, but Jean-Claude had ruined me for off the rack no matter how nice the fit.
He buttoned the first button on the jacket and smoothed his hands through his blond hair. “How do I look?”
I shook my head. “Like a person.”
He grinned. “You sound surprised.”
I smiled. “I’ve just never seen you look like a grown-up.”
He fake pouted at me, lip pushed out. “You’ve seen me nearly naked and I didn’t look grown-up?”
I shook my head and smiled in spite of myself. I’d changed my clothes in the bedroom while he changed in the bathroom. I found a few dark spots of blood on the red blouse. As it dried, it would turn black and look even worse, which was why the blouse was soaking in the sink. Red shows blood no matter what people say.
The black jeans had escaped unstained as far as I could tell. A few spots of blood are hard to find on black. Black or navy blue hides blood best. I guess a really dark brown would work, but I don’t own much brown, so I don’t know for sure.
The fresh blouse was a pale, almost icy, lavender. It had been a gift from my stepmother, Judith. When I opened the box at Christmas and saw the pale blouse, I assumed she bought me yet another piece of clothing that would look better on her blond ice princess body than on my darker one. But the pure, clear color actually looked pretty spiffy. I’d even been gracious enough to tell Judith I was wearing it. I think it was the first gift in ten years that I hadn’t exchanged. I was still 0 for 8 in the gift department for her. Oh, well.
Black dress pants with a belt wide enough for the Browning and wider than was fashionable, black flats, and I was ready. I’d added just a touch of makeup: eye shadow, mascara, a hint of blush, and lipstick. I tried not to think why I’d dressed up. It wasn’t for the local cops. Jason and I were probably both overdressed for the locals. Of course, if we’d shown up in jeans and T-shirts, we’d have been underdressed. The only really good thing to wear to meet police is a uniform and a badge. Anything else and you are not in the club.
There was a law being discussed in Washington, D.C., right now that might give vampire executioners what amounted to federal marshal status. It was being pushed hard by Senator Brewster, whose daughter had gotten munched by a vampire. Of course, he was also pushing to revoke vampires’ rights as legal citizens. Federal status for executioners, maybe. Revoking vamps’ legal rights, I didn’t think so. Some vampires would have to do something pretty gruesome to give the antivamp lobby that much push.
In March, vampire executioners had been officially licensed. It was a state license because murder was a state, not a federal, crime.
But I understood the need for federal status for vampire executioners. We didn’t just kill, we hunted. But once we crossed out of our licensed area, we were on shaky ground. The court order was valid as long as the state we crossed into agreed to an extradition order. The extradition order was then used to validate the original order of execution. My preference was to get a second order of execution every time I crossed a state line. But that took time, and sometimes you’d lose the vamp to yet another jurisdiction and have to start all over again.
One enterprising vampire crossed seventeen states before he was finally caught and killed. The general run, if they run, is maybe two or three. Which is why most vampire executioners are licensed in more than one state. In our own way, we have territories, sort of like vampires. Within that territory, we kill. Outside of it, it’s someone else’s job. But there are only ten of us, and that’s not a lot for a country with one of the largest vampire populations in the world. We aren’t constantly busy. Most of us have day jobs. I mean, if the vampires had been bad enough to keep us hopping, then they’d never have made legal status. But the more vamps you get in an area, the higher your crime rate. Just like with humans.
Having to stop every time you left your licensed area made it harder to do our jobs. Having no real status as a police officer made it impossible to enter an investigation unless invited. Sometimes we weren’t invited in until the body count was pretty damn high. My largest body count for a vampire was twenty-three. Twenty-three dead before we caught him. There had been higher body counts. Back in the fifties, Gerald Mallory, sort of the grandfather of the business, had slain a kiss of vampires that took out over a hundred. A kiss of vampires is like a gaggle of geese; it’s the group name. Poetic, ain’t it?
The phone rang. I picked it up and it was Belisarius. “He’ll see us together. I’ll try to have something to tell you by the time you get here.” He hung up.
I took a big breath in through my nose and let it out in a rush through my mouth.
“What’s wrong?” Jason asked.
“You’re nervous about seeing Richard,” he said.
“Don’t be so dammed smart.”
He grinned. “Sorry.”
“Like hell,” I said. “Let’s go.”