Effing Feline makes amends

Photos: DepositPhotos

Fart-Fueled Flying Feline, Effing for short, writes the Weekend Writing Warrior / Sunday Snippet posts on Mr. V’s behalf. Click the pic for info.

I, Effing Feline, want to make amends.

Last week I told you how Mrs V got mad at me for tearing up a cushion. I’ve wracked my brain, trying to think what I can do to make it up to her. If I had enough money, I could buy her flowers, but I don’t. All my cash goes to feed my catnip addiction.

Some cats bring dead or dying mice to their pet humans, as an offering of friendship. There are no mice in this house for me to catch — but there are cacti in the backyard where Twiggles the dog has her litter box. Hmm ….

Today, another selection from The Trial of Tompa Lee. Tompa has been  framed for a deadly bombing. With enemy dreadnoughts approaching, the mission’s leader, Ambassador Schneider (the villain of the piece) seeks to appease them by handing Tompa over to alien justice.

In this scene, Schneider is being painfully brusque about telling Tompa she’s about to be abandoned. Pitying her, Dante Roussel takes over and tries to soften the blow.

“While you were recovering in the med casket,” Roussel said gently, “I read every scrap of information we have about you, Ship’s Ward. Manager McShallin wrote complimentary reports about your hard work. He thought you had a fair chance of making full Navy.”

Had, not have. Oh, shit, shit!

“However,” he continued, “tomorrow, when your head feels better, you will be transported planetside and handed over to the Shons. Ambassador Schneider has given me her personal word of honor that you will receive a fair trial and not become the scapegoat for the current situation.”

Tompa stared brazenly at Roussel, who was staring at Schneider. Good cop, bad cop. He wasn’t on her side at all — and the good cop was the worst, because he was a hypocrite who teased you with hope and used compassion as a weapon.

Prickly pear

Effing Feline here again. Twiggles the dog brought me a couple prickly pear cactus pads. Avoiding the cactus’s thorns and poisonous doggy slobber, I put one under Mrs V’s pillow and one under Mr V’s. They’ll be so pleased with me, don’t you think?

Be sure to visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday posts.

Effing Feline divider

For me, stories start with a grain of sand.

Not literal sand.

Mental sand.

When a rough grain of sand gets caught in an oyster’s shell, the oyster secretes a layer of mother of pearl around the grain, trying to make the sharp edges less annoying. Then another layer, and another. Out of a nasty, unlovely annoyance, a beautiful pearl is born.

Like sand trapped in an oyster’s shell, my stories starts with a tiny kernel. Mental sand, if you will. The kernel rubs against my imagination, reminding me of its presence. With little more conscious volition than an oyster, I add details and characters and incidents. If I’m lucky, I add enough layers that a story is born.

The kernel for The Trial of Tompa Lee came to me in a dream. But the dream, or at least what I remember of it, bears no more resemblance to the published book than a grain of sand does to a pearl.

Effing Feline divider

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  1. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    Yikes about the cacti and Tompa! Sounds like you’re all in a prickly situation.

    1. I bet you’re on pins and needles, waiting to learn how it turns out.

  2. Compassion and hope are cruel weapons. I feel bad for Tompa!

    1. Even though Dante truly wants to help, he isn’t succeeding so far. He’ll spend the rest of the book trying.

  3. Your dynamics are excellent here, Ed. I can ‘feel’ Dante and Tompa. Excellent dialogue.

    1. That’s a high compliment, Kim. Thanks.

  4. That last line says it all. Interesting snippet this week!

    1. So far, the relationship between Tompa and Dante isn’t very promising.

  5. Too bad your kitty couldn’t have found an aloe plant as a peace offering–no thorns. Love the last line of the snippet–this describes their relationship.

    1. Aloe vera does too have thorns! One corner of the yard has a megalomaniacal patch that is slowly but surely taking over the world — and every one of the leaves has thorns along the edges.

      Admittedly, they’re considerate megalomaniacs. The leaves’ juices will heal the owies their thorns cause.

      1. Andrea R Huelsenbeck · ·

        Oh, yes. Aloes have thorns. The last time I transplanted some, my friends asked me if I’d gotten into a fight with my cats. (Sorry, Effing.)

  6. jakerose · · Reply

    That’s a dynamic between two characters you can actually feel from reading. However, I don’t think Dante’s being very helpful…

    1. From Tompa’s POV, he obviously isn’t helpful, but then he’s really clumsy about moments like this. His heart’s in the right place but his mouth isn’t.

  7. Your writing is outstanding, Ed. Although it’s fantasy out-in-space, you give humanity to your characters.

    1. That’s what I aim for, Charmaine.

  8. It doesn’t sound like anything is going to be fair at all.

    1. I patterned her trek to the Shon courtroom after Jesus carrying his cross, if that tells you anything about the fairness of her trial.

  9. Love the description of good cop – bad cop.

    Oh- and check under your pillow tonight – just a heads up.

    1. Too late, Daryl! It’s already the next morning!

  10. Well put about the good cop/bad cop situation. Enjoyed the excerpt, tense times for Tompa!

    1. One of the things I like about good cop/bad cop is that it hints she’s perhaps experienced such treatment before, and thus it fills out her background.

  11. Karen Michelle Nutt · · Reply

    Poor Tompa. I feel bad for her, but I have a hunch Dante will eventually come through for her. I’m intrigued and want to find out.

    1. Love your comment, Karen. Like any good reader, you’ve developed a mental map of the ground the book has to cover and are curious how the ground will be travelled. That, in a Nuttshell (so to speak). is how I hope people will react,

  12. Good twist, but wrong reaction. She is in a horrible position.

    1. Her reaction foreshadows how the book will play out. She’s loathe to trust him.

  13. I have fallen in love with Tompa already. I now plan to get the rest of the series. I love your analogy of the grain of sand and the oyster shell. It’s great when things fall into place like that. Oh, and you have a feisty cat in Effing. Don’t be too hard on him over the cactus.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  14. nancygideon · · Reply

    Cat presents are the Best! Unless you step on them – or lie on them, I suspect. Poor Tompa. Will she accept this as gratefully? I think not!

    1. I’d say she views his attempts to help exactly the way people view the dead birds cats bring us.

  15. “teased you with hope and used compassion as a weapon” — what an awesome line!

    1. It is kinda nice. I wrote this around a dozen years ago, so lines like this leap out at me, too.

  16. Poor Tompa. Had as in past tense…and that’s the least of her problems. As for Effing, maybe Mr. V will help you spring for a nice fruit basket. Cushion tearing is a Class 5 offense.

    1. Class 5 offense, eh. According to Canada’s Code Criminel it’s a capital offense — which cats, of course, interpret to mean it’s a jolly good, capital prank to play.

  17. Diane Burton · · Reply

    I’d check under my chair cushion as well as my pillow if I were you, Ed. I liked Tompa’s description of good cop/bad cop. She’s got their number. Good snippet.

    1. What, you think Effing might have more loving tricks up his furballs?

  18. “The good cop was the worst, because he was a hypocrite who teased you with hope and used compassion as a weapon.” That is SO true. It’s the good cop that you have to watch out for–he’s the one who’s get you to break.

    1. Hmm. You sound like you have far too much personal experience with these things, Cara.

  19. When I was kid, my parents bought a house that had a cactus garden. There was one cactus in it that looked very fuzzy and soft.

    Uh, no. Do not pet the cactus. I ended up with a whole bunch of tiny stickers in my finger.

    1. Once again, you have personal experience, Cara!

  20. Good cop and Bad cop both want the same thing, so she has a point about the hypocrisy. Especially since they’re already making her a scapegoat, as she had nothing to do with the bomb so far as I can tell!

    1. Dante at least has good intentions.

  21. Effing, you’re going to end up being handed over along with Tompa. Great scene, Ed. It’s easy to see why she’d turn against her only friend.

    1. Hand over Effing along with Tompa … Alexis, your a genius!

  22. At this rate, Effing might soon be joining Tompa in being tried for criminal acts! Even though like Dante, his heart seems to be in the right place.

    1. Effing’s heart is in his chest. If that’s what you mean that it’s in the right place, I agree. If you mean it metaphorically, well …

  23. Things don’t bode well for the heroine, or for you, effing feline. You should do what small humans do and bring those bright yellow headed flowers… DandyLions?

    1. Alas, Arizona yards boast every other conceivable type of weed, but no dandelions.

  24. Yeah, that past tense of “had” must have been devastating. I’m hoping it’s a temporary thing and she’ll be exonerated. Not any time soon, I’m sure. Effing, I think you need some more ideas in gift giving. Cut back on the catnip and try the Hallmark store.

    1. Yes, it;ll take a while, especially since Shon justice involves trials by combat.

  25. elainecsc2013 · · Reply

    he was a hypocrite who teased you with hope and used compassion as a weapon. I do so love that line.

    1. It seemed like the kind of sentiment a street person would have about police.

  26. Well that’s not nice using compassion as a weapon and teasing with hope. Sounds like a true hypocrite! Good snippet Ed!

    1. Unless, of course, this is just her assessment of the situation.

  27. Sounds like she’s in quite a bind. 😉

    1. Yep. I worked hard to make her as ‘under’ an underdog as I possibly could.

  28. Oh, crap, crap! Well that’s not going to be good. Not at all. Love the lines about the good cop, bad cop routine. It actually makes a lot of sense that the good cop would be worse. New perspective there, interesting. I hope she finds a way out this mess.

    1. I’m glad you think it makes sense. I was looking for some reason for her to be particularly mad at Dante, even though he’s the one who feels bad about handing her over to the aliens.

      1. It actually makes a lot of sense in my head. The good cop can be the most manipulative one, playing on fears, hopes, worries… Wow… The possibilities of perspective and plotlines is awesome.

  29. I’m not feeling reassured by ether. Great snippet.

    1. Being handed over for trial for something you didn’t do is never reassuring. Trial on an alien planet has got to be worse.

  30. Love Tonka. She’ll save herself and everyone else.😊

    1. I’m glad you have faith in her.

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