Novel 3: Act I, Chapter 2, Scene 5

Chapter 2 Scenes 1, 2, 3, 4.

But of course our detectives don’t know that the lady wasn’t Rosa, or at least they have to make sure it wasn’t. So let’s find her. Here’s the final, short scene of Chapter 2:

Grady Hospital in downtown Atlanta was the only public hospital and the only Level One trauma center in the city. To a casual observer, the emergency room after midnight on a Monday would seem like somewhere between purgatory and pandemonium: behind the desks, sweaty, harried nurses moved bodies and paper, while in the chairs sat the worried, the sick and the destitute sat.

But to Diana, who had long been used to the worst of the chaos, Monday night in the Grady emergency room seemed quiet and peaceful. It only took her five minutes to track down someone who knew Rosa Pinelli and only a couple more to find out that Rosa had the night off. She returned to the emergency room to find Mustapha, who was being congratulated by a couple of cops and a paramedic; all four men were doing that manly half-hug pat on the back thing that always made her want to laugh.

“Did your team win?”

“Naw. I just gave these guys a hand with a patient.”

The paramedic smiled at her. He was a beautiful man with a cleft chin, but the grapevine had long ago labeled him gay. “Guy was on PCP. Your partner helped us restrain him.”

The cop left. “What he means, Detective, is the Inspector whacked the guy with a fire extinguisher.”

“Right on the head,” said the second cop. “Dropped him like a rock.”

“Why I keep him around,” said Diana. She tugged on Mustapha’s sleeve. “I got a home address. Cabbagetown.”

“Let’s go see what she has to say. Take it easy, fellas.”

The paramedic handed Mustapha the fire extinguisher. “Better go armed.”

Diana took it from him. “He’s a thinker, not a fighter.” She put it back in its cabinet before following Mustapha back out the main doors.

So this is cute: she’s not at the hospital, but we know where she lives. Off we go, and we get a good look at Mustapha and at Diana’s relationship with him.

But it sucks, and is a classic example of bad writing that needs a serious edit before it makes it into the book. Why? Because the funniest and most action-packed part takes place offstage. Hitting someone with a fire extinguisher is great theatre, and we (and therefore Diana) need to see it.

On to Chapter 3.

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