The Man Who Did Too Much is an old-fashioned mystery adventure, featuring Karla, a movie-obsessed small town "spinster," and George, a compulsive secret agent only slightly less neurotic than his PTSD-suffering girlfriend (who eats nothing but cheeseburgers).
In this scene, Karla has just had a run in with a pair of thugs who were after her missing friend Maria. George is also after Maria, but since he rescued her from the thugs, Karla is willing to let him make his case for cooperation....
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Excerpt from Chapter 6 - "Poppins and Bond, Together"
from The Man Who Did Too Much by Camille LaGuire
WHEN SHE CAME out of the bathroom, her new friend George had most of the contents of the first aid kit laid out on the table. He held up a tube of triple-antibiotic creme.
"These are all expired," he said, accusingly.
"Not all," she replied. "I just bought some last month."
"Perhaps one should throw away the old ones when one buys new."
"Perhaps one should," said Karla. "But some of the old ones are still good too. At least they were when I bought the new one."
"Clearly you don't use so much that you need to save every last drop."
"You never know what you're going to need."
He gathered up a dozen or so tubes and dumped them in the trash.
Karla picked up the fresh tube and began to apply the antibiotic to her chin.
"Shouldn't we call the police?" she said. "I mean, now that guns are involved?"
He paused and then came back to the table slowly. He sat down and started digging in the first aid kit again before answering.
"I won't discourage you from calling the police. Your house has been broken into, and you will need a police report for your insurance claim."
"That will just make my rates go up, and the police would mean trouble for Maria."
"Maria is the person you're protecting?"
He turned his attention to a roll of gauze tape.
"You don't have scissors in your kit."
"I've got a pocket knife with scissors," she said. But it was in her left pocket, and her hand hurt too much to squeeze into her jeans pocket. He pulled out a knife of his own, and cut some gauze, and then held out his hand to her.
"Hand," he said. She hesitated, but it's really hard to bandage your own hand. Just watch that scene in Casablanca where Paul Henreid tries to wrap his hand in a towel and goes around and around and around. She gave him her hand. The bruise had blossomed into purple and red and bluish highlights in just the short time since he had looked at it down by the shed.
"My god, that's beautiful," he said. "We should ice that before it gets worse."
"There's a bag of frozen okra in the freezer. It's too woody to eat."
He fished it out of the freezer while she got up and dampened a towel to wrap it in. She pressed the okra compress to her wrist and turned to him.
"So now it's your turn," she said. "Why don't you want to call the police?"
"The police have a tendency to do awkward things like enforcing the law and arresting people. I'd rather call on them when I'm sure that's what I want done." He looked like he might want to say something more, but then he sat down and marshaled the many different varieties of bandages she had. "You need a larger gauze pad, I think."
Karla put the okra aside and sat down. She pulled out her pancake bandages. They were big and round and printed to look like pancakes, complete with melting butter. She handed them to him.
"You have bandages shaped like pancakes?"
"And bacon. I think I have some gumdrops too. They're smaller."
He stared at her for a moment, and looked again as if he might say something, but didn't. She smiled.
"You can get them down at the Dime and Dollar."
"Do they have cheeseburger bandages?"
"I think so. I know they have hot dogs. Do you like cheeseburgers?"
"No, I despise cheeseburgers. I really truly despise them. But I know someone who considers them to be the ultimate comfort food."
I hope to have The Man Who Did Too Much available in December in ebook format (in January in paper). (I am still looking for a few more potential beta readers. (Contact me at maudecat at gmail dot com if you're interested.)
Until then you can check out "Revenge of the Peeps" a flash fiction story featuring George and Karla in the Pink Snowbunnies In Hell anthology. Twenty stories in many different genres, inspired by the theme "Pink snowbunnies will ski in hell before..." 99 cent eBook available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in multiple formats at Smashwords.
See you in the funny papers.