As long-time readers know, my sf/cop/farce, FORCE OF HABIT has been around the block so many times, the local law is about to pull it in for questioning.
The last time it was republished, I did a blog book tour, along with a contest: whoever commented on any of the blog posts got entered into the contest; the winner could name a character in a short story I would write, set in the world of FoH.
Holly Jahangiri (the real one) didn’t win, but, overachiever that she is, she commented ON EVERY BLOG POST AT EVERY BLOG STOP, so I put her in the story anyway. Holly the character being a lot like Holly the person, she took over the story. I ran another contest to name a character in another story, and damn if Holly didn’t win that one!
Since then, the imaginary Holly has become one of my favorite characters, as the real one has become one of my favorite people. So, it seemed inevitable that, when next I republished FORCE OF HABIT, Holly should have a special cameo appearance.
Here it is.
excerpt from FORCE OF HABIT
by Marian Allen
“Most of the ‘items’ I’ve heard about today are public property, some of them are defunct if not imaginary, and the rest are privately owned by people I seriously doubt are selling, certainly not through him.”
“I suspected as much. It’s clearly fraud, then, isn’t it? Is that specific enough for you, Galactic Union Citizen Connell Morgan?”
“But wait!” said the Usher. “There’s more!”
The Archon tapped her printouts with an imperious finger. “Why do I not have notice of it?”
“It’s a surprise witness,” said the Usher. “Surprise!”
The Archon bobbed her head and lifted her hands in the universal gesture for Very well, then, let’s have it.
The Usher strode to the courtroom doors, announcing, as he strode, “Ladies and gentlebeings, I present to you –” he threw the doors wide, “Assistant Librarian Holly Jahangiri!”
Sensation in the court.
Jinx failed to see the reason for the sensation, unless it was the almost otherworldly fluffiness of the purple feather boa around the woman’s neck. Apparently, though, it was her profession rather than her person who caused the stir, for witnesses turned to one another with murmurs of Who? and Which library? and Gosh!
The Assistant Librarian approached the Mercy table and Council bench, bowed to the officials, and turned to face the courtroom.
“District Criminal Investigator Pel Darzin contacted me some weeks ago about a new businessman in town. It seems a man had been selling Earth names, and the DCI hoped I could help the police determine whether or not this man had the proper license to do so. I regretted to inform him – for who among us doesn’t regret dishonesty? – that names on Earth, like those on Llannonn, require no license to use and are free for the taking.”
“Here, now,” said Morgan. “Are you going to let her just walk in and start saying things? Aren’t you going to make her swear to tell the truth or something?”
“Swear to make her tell the truth?” the Archon said, over the hubbub. “She’s a librarian!”
FORCE OF HABIT (the Holly version) will be available Real Soon Now. Meanwhile, I have many books for sale.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Send your character into court in some capacity and for whatever reason.