Sunday, 18 December 2016


Season One
"Carlotta Wynn"
Act 2
Carlotta Wynn closes the blinds and switches on the light and. Then she pushes the button on her desk which will allow her mystery female client to open the down stairs door and let herself in and up the stairs to her third floor office.

When the woman knocks on the P.I. window and slips quietly into the room, Carlotta carefully observes her potential client. Her first impression of the stranger (first heard over the intercom) is quite correct; she proves not only to be well spoken.. but attractive: elegantly dressed and positively oozing wealth and breeding.

The stranger hastily introduces herself as Mrs Darlana Winslow... and again Carlotta observes, the woman almost instinctively pulls a packet of cigarettes from her purse and lights one immediately - the cigarette is Russian and smells strong and ugly.

Over the next half an hour, Carlotta ascertains (in fits and starts) that the Mrs Winslow is being pursued by a group of extremely unsavoury types: who it seems were intent on acquiring a certain sheaf of valuable papers belonging to her late husband. The woman had sensibly hidden these away in his private and hidden safe.
She will not tell Carlotta what is in the papers, but hints they are to do with legal land ownership rights to property in the Jiangsu Legation of East Blüdhaven.

Apparently, the ownership rights were in dispute at the time of her husband's death, and when the other interested party attempted bribes to get Mrs Winslow to part with the claim (without any fuss): these attempts met with stubborn refusal. That was when things started to turn nasty.

It appears that Mrs Winslow (who claims she is being followed by hired thugs, simply waiting for her to make her next move in the game of cat and mouse) would like Carlotta Wynn to procure a one way ticket to the East Blüdhaven Docks.. on a Blue Star Passenger Steamer due to leave Gotham City on the afternoon tide the following day.

Hmmmm that`s China Town.. bad, bad district! Carlotta calmly observes to herself. 

Mrs Winslow offers Carlotta $500... out of which she is to purchase a berth for one person. The woman will then return to the office at first light: pick up her ticket, and pay Carlotta the balance of an additional $400 for her kind services – after being safely escorted to the ship, and standing watch over her: until the very moment the ship departs from the wharf.

...sounds a snatch. But there has to be a snag? Carlotta reasoned to herself. Her cynical mind working silently in stoic overdrive.

Carlotta can see the logic of the situation; this woman, tired and harassed, upset over the death of her husband (which seems to have been due to natural causes), simply wishes to slip away undetected before the 'persuasion mob' even notices the widow is gone. Once clear of danger, she will be free to start her life over again in a new country. A fresh start: and a new beginning.

Hmmmmm, Carlotta can empathize with this; but she smells a rat. Something doesn't add up and she feels sure the stranger is being more than conservative with the truth. Yet the money is good, and if the story stinks – is it any business of hers what her client's real reasons are? The woman will be out of her hair within a day, and Carlotta's bank balance will be in the green.

Carlotta accepts the case... more of a shopping trip than a proper case; but she agrees to help none the less.

By the time the conversation is over, Darlana Winslow has smoked the best part of half a packet of cigarettes, something Carlotta is not slow to notice; the nervous energy of a highly strung nicotine addict, or a sign of genuine fear?

Money passes hands. The woman shakes Carlotta's hand; then slips out the door as quietly as she came in.

Carlotta watches Mrs Winslow leave, peering out of the grease smudged window (courtesy of the fat fans from "Al Chino's Speakeasy Bar & Grill" situated opposite), but suddenly she notices a greasy looking rod standing in a doorway half hidden.. except for a nearby street light.

The suit is obviously a gun toting hire hand, and when he turns up his collar against the rain and starts following Carlotta's client... the P.I. makes a snap decision, and rushes downstairs and out the front door of the building, intent on following them both to see what develops.

Article by Steve

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  1. Ooo, very short piece, for you hehe. You must have had to restrain yourself considerably.

    I like the way you use the Stephen King trick of switching to writing in present tense when the `chapter` is all about the thoughts in one person`s head. Then (no doubt) switching back to past/present to return us to the main action. Its an effective little tool for intensifying focus on the main character.

    Only one problem.. I WANT MORE NOW :)

    1. Thanks Tar` I`m really glad you are getting into it. I bet its really strange for you to see your regular table top rpg game sessions turned into a campaign in this way, and rendered to pages on the blog.

      Fun though ain`t?

  2. What I like is the way you have me still guessing, making me go: "isn't this meant to be a superhero story based in Gotham?" Its great, you`ve not even mentioned any of that stuff (and I suspect you will continue in this vein for some time, knowing you as I do). The city, the story, the characters, they are all developing at their own natural pace. Unhurried, and unpushed. I imagine when we get to see a familiar cameo reveal itself to us, it will feel like a foreshadowed inevitability. A fated destiny with an iconic city we all know and expect to appear.. but this face lift feels fresh, it feels noir, and best of all, it feels vibrantly alive.

    1. Thanks `old girl` that's awfully spiffing of you to say.

      *big hug and kisses*

  3. The plot thickens...
    In the current age of instant gratification and 'binge-watching' it's refreshing to have soemthing that harks back to the old way of experiencing tv shows. And this is what this feels like - we're slowly having characters and plots introduced with no idea what's going to happen next, but definitely wanting to 'tune in' to find out.
    Very nice work, my friend.

  4. THANK you so much Jez mate. I`m so glad the idea is working.. its just what we sat and planned, and hoped it would feel just the way you describe it does for you. So yeeeeey and triple woohooo!!! we got it right :))))

  5. A good continuation of your story. The plot thickens and I certainly don't trust Mrs. Winslow. She smokes Russian cigarettes - never a good sign!

    1. Cheers Bryan. The story`s barely begun, and certainly not beyond even the basic intro yet hehe. But yeah, the scene is being set for what I hope is a new face lift on an iconic city.... Goatham Redux :-))

  6. lol, reminds me of an old PlayStation game my brother used to play "Battle Arena Toshinden" where one of the female characters he always liked to play, after doing a knock out blow would cry out "Haa, Russian Revolution."

  7. I do like the thriller's atmosphere, money, beautiful women, unsavoury types, collar turned up, and so on...And, of course, I love your pictures, they highlight brilliantly your story...Well done Stephen, very well done!

  8. Thank you Phil, your kind words are greatly appreciated. I feel the same way about your latest Bolt Action article over on your blog... its absolutely brilliantly done.