Sunday, January 10, 2010

Entry #100

The Eton Rifles
by Alan Griffiths


Smithers-Jones swung the shotgun and squeezed the trigger in one swift movement. The wood pigeon dropped like a stone and the gundog disappeared into the gorse after it.

“Valentine,” Smithers-Jones, a plumy Eton toff, broke both barrels. “An associate highly recommended you.”

Smithers-Jones was resplendent, from top to toe: Checked flat cap. Tweed shooting jacket. Plus fours. Argyle socks. Leather boots.

My old man liked a hat and a shotgun. He’d have taken a hacksaw to Smithers-What’s-His-Face’s Purdey and stuck-up the local bank with it.

“I’m a Private Investigator Mr Smithers-Jones.” I scraped my shoe on the wet grass, “What can I do for you?”

“Find my daughter,” Smithers-Jones scanned the lead grey skies for another feathered victim. “She’s a bloody embarrassment.” A beat passed. “Drink and drugs. That sort of thing.”

“Daughters come home, to their loved ones, of their own accord eventually,” I turned up my coat collar against the wind. “When the money runs out.”

Smithers-Jones flashed me a look like I was a turd. Just like the piece I’d removed from the sole of my brogue.

“Her junky friends persuaded her to take a rather expensive family heirloom. Hence the urgency.” He slotted two cartridges and snapped the shotgun shut. “If I had my way...” He sighed, “Her mother wants the situation handled… delicately.”

Smithers-Jones, I thought, despite his money, guns, fancy clothes and country pile, was just like all the other punters that hired me.

Same shit different arsehole…. As my old man would say.


(Alan Griffiths, a rookie writer, hails from London, England. His short fiction can been found on: A Twist of Noir, Pulp Pusher, Powder Burn Flash, The Flash Fiction Offensive and Thrillers, Killers n Chillers.)

36 comments:

Lena said...

With or without money a bad guy will always remain a bad guy. Loved the MC here. Not much of him but already a character.
Well done!

onipar... said...

Good stuff. Really get a feel for the characters in this one.

Preeti said...

I loved this. It is so well written. And it made me feel sorry that it ended. :-(

There is something about the detective. :-)he's almost got a jason stathamish air to him. :-))))Wicked!!

Lee Hughes said...

Fantastic piece Alan.

"My old man liked a hat and a shotgun. He’d have taken a hacksaw to Smithers-What’s-His-Face’s Purdey and stuck-up the local bank with it." Loved that line.

Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

You've created a character that can get under a person's skin. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Your strong word choice sets the tone and makes this story stand out. Nicely done. --JR

Bernita said...

Feel I've been left at the beginning of a very interesting story.

Scattercat said...

And intriguing setup for a good old-fashioned noir story.

sandra seamans said...

Oh yeah, nice one, Alan! I could see this going longer but you nailed the flash perfectly.

Michael Solender said...

dryly sardonic and oh so well crafted

JaneyV said...

Alan - this is excellent. Your characters are well formed and already we love Valentine, loathe Smithers-Jones and hope to god the daughter will be saved from her current fate as well as her parents.

This could be the beginning of a very fine novel.

David Barber said...

Alan,

Valentine gets everywhere, I love him.

Great piece, David.

Aniket said...

Left me wanting more of the detective. He reminded me of Paul Drake from the Perry Mason series. One my all-time favourite detectives.

Craig said...

I love the atmospherein this piece.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Great characters. Would love to read more.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Valentine may have got himself in a bit of a JAM there...see what I did then?

Damn good shot!

pjd said...

Terrific. I just have to echo what everyone else has said. And I love the father. I hope he isn't dead and makes at least one appearance in the ultimate story, should you choose to write it.

NQ said...

Top work ang great title.

Scribblers Inc said...

wicked, wicked writing...and to imagine that you are the hundredth entry...couldnt be more fitting! :)

Mithun Mukherjee.

angel said...

This was great! So vivid!

Kartik said...

I just love the dry sarcastic tone here!! And I agree with Preeti's Jasom Statham assessment.

laughingwolf said...

need more, alan...

Laurel said...

If Wodehouse wrote noir, this would be what he writ!

I love this. Great tone, refreshing on the literary palate, and I am very intrigued by the mystery. I would love to read more.

This is a standout.

Tara said...

Excellent! Not hard to see why the girl left home.

Four Dinners said...

My top 5 was at 18.

I'd been searching for my favourite.

I just found it.

Turn this into a complete novel mate. Trust me I'm from London...well...via Oldham and I ain't a cockney but....

Brilliantly written!

MRMacrum said...

I get confused I guess. I was sure I had commented here already. But I guess not.

Another quality piece of writing Alan. Very clean and well done. Maybe my favorite Valentine story - nah. I still like the first one of yours I read best. But this ranks right up there.

Patsy said...

Not sure why the highly recommended PI had to explain to the client what his job was, but otherwise he does seem a strong character.

Deb Smythe said...

Great characterization. Hero and villain- you nailed 'em both.

Lily Childs said...

Great title (I'm singing it...) and brilliant description of stuck-up British bluff and blagh hunter-types. Loved the come-uppance.

Alan Griffiths said...

Thanks to all of you who have read my piece and left so many positive and kind comments. They are all much appreciated.

I had much fun writing this flash and comments saying that it was enjoyed are the icing on the cake!

macaronipants said...

Nice! I hope there's more to this one. If not, keep going!!

Rabid Fox said...

A good jump off into what could also be a good short story.

truevoid said...

Same shit different arsehole sums up, nice line.

Chris Eldin said...

Love the last line! And I am also left wanting more! I can easily see a series of books starring your MC. Really enjoyed your voice, loved spending time with your story.

catvibe said...

Well, luckily for the rebellious (with reason) daughter, she has a mother who cares. I like the father character. Actually not, but like hating him. And your PI.

Aerin said...



my caveat

Something I Would Keep


Something I Might Tweak


Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the Golden Globes or those wretched Old Navy dummies.