First, I want to point you to my wacky interview with the wonderful Jen Wylie. She’s a fan of FORCE OF HABIT, so she couldn’t ask me regular questions, could she? Guess not. 😉
Okay, here is an excerpt from FORCE OF HABIT. In this one, District Criminal Investigator Pel Darzin of the planet Llannonn goes undercover to track a villain to his boss’ lair.
Darzin slipped into an alley and turned his fuchsia uniform tunic inside out. Now, it was the sort of cheesy green material a Rural might wear to the city. His black shirt and trousers would pass for city-bought finery. A few seconds with his comb, and his hair was parted in the middle and plastered down over his ears, as if he wanted it obvious he intended to let it grow long enough to plait.
Darzin swaggered to the entrance of The Jipp Joint, like a hick who wanted the city to think he measured up to it, and went in.
He was in luck. The Stokk Gord Pron loitered in the entrance hall, talking to a Stokk Female. Darzin knew she was female because of the several grommets in the rims of her ears; this one’s grommets glittered with jewel chips and were threaded with fine gold chain. Pretty expensive ear job for a woman wearing a plain, loose-fitting suit, tight at the ankles and wrists. Darzin pegged her as one of the club’s bouncers.
Darzin stuck his hands in his pockets and stared at the decor like a man who incorrectly assumed he had a right to pass judgment on it. But he kept an eye on Pron.
Pron spotted the “hick” and pointed him out to the bouncer. They both spread their lipless mouths in derision. “Gotta go,” Pron said. “Take care.”
Pron and the female punched each other on the shoulders and Pron headed for the rear of the entrance hall while the bouncer headed for Darzin.
“May I see your membership card, please?” The female clearly didn’t expect to see one.
“Membership card? What might that ‘ere be?”
“I’m sorry, but no one is allowed in the club without a membership card.”
“Reckon money’ll do,” said Darzin.
“Please forgive me, but I’ll have to ask you to leave. I may not make any exceptions.”
The woman’s courtesy was flawless. She’d been well trained. She’d probably been well-trained in more than courtesy. Darzin hoped he didn’t have to find out.
He didn’t have to. Just as she reached for his arm, the Stokk Gord Pron rapped on a door at the end of the wall to Darzin’s left, entered, and closed the door behind him.
That was all Darzin needed to know.
“I’ll go, I’ll go,” he said. “‘E don’t have to get grumpity. E meant no harm. ‘S just looking.”
“Of course,” said the woman. “Think nothing of it.”
“Money’s good most places in this ‘ere town,” Darzin said, as if determined to save some face. “Reckon I’ll spend it where it’s wanted.”
The woman walked Darzin to the door. She took a slip of paper from a filigree holder on the wall.
“Please accept this from the management,” she said. “It’s a coupon good for one free meal at the Council City restaurant of your choice. And, if you know any members of our club, please ask to be nominated for membership. Your business would be most welcome. Have a nice day.”
The doors of The Jipp Joint closed behind the District Criminal Investigator. Innkeeper Boktu Jippir knew how to keep the forms, Darzin certainly had to give him that. He tucked his coupon into a pants pocket and went looking for a window into the room Pron had entered.
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