Thursday, July 14, 2011

Entry #5

Elementary
by KJ Hannah Greenberg


According to Colonel Prig, failing to kowtow to torture was overrated. Much better was ratting on cohorts than was flinching from splints inserted under fingernails or crying when bits of extremities were chopped off and made into salad.

What’s more, a dead spy was of less use to either organization than was a turncoat; the latter could be transformed into a pawn while the former, if lucky, went six feet under. As per losses incurred from voluntary disclosure, professional risk was as concomitant to espionage as were venereal disease and bad chop suey. Neither Mallory nor Richard ought to be set up, but they were not funding the Prig Kids’ College Fund.

Accordingly, when Devin held the Walther P99 to Prig’s head, Prig sung better than any budgie. He spoke of the director’s hidden Floridian glade mansion and of Agent Tiny’s expertise in Chin Na. Prig even drew a sketch of the vault where Commander Green had secreted the Empress Diamond.

Devin pulled the trigger, nonetheless. His Palm Beach County team had already located the competitor’s manor. Tiny, a double agent, was more reputed for Wing Chun than fancy choke holds. The Empress Diamond was paste; Devin knew as he had planted it.

Tsking over the Colonel’s spilled grey matter, Devin punched a number into his phone, pulled up a chair and then got comfy was a book. While waiting for backup, Devin read a little more about Watson’s choices in “His Last Bow.”

19 comments:

Aimee Laine said...

I had a really hard time with the opening paragraph as it wasn't coming clear to me. And I'm not sure the overall plot of the story, but that's probably just me not picking up the nuances.

There are tons of great analogy throughout the piece though. Those little extras gave some parts a real flare. :)

amsko said...

I really like the way u have sneaked in the references.. U make it look real, and to be set in Florida, wow.

I would love to see the longer version of this one.

Joni said...

Intriguing characters and a gut-wrenching snapshot into the darkest side of espionage. I got a bit confused as the POV shifted mid-piece, but I understood why that was implemented. The details added a lot of depth.

Jade L Blackwater said...

nice bit of irony! (and plenty of texture in the prose)

Mikki said...

Wow. This was a great look into your character's dark thoughts. It packed a certain irony, particularly in light of the subject matter. Nice work.

Thanks for sharing!

Aniket said...

I'm a big fan of Forsyth's work, so I like spy stuff where the protagonist has cool demeanor to himself. Though I'm not sure if I caught all the references, I still liked the plot and the analogies you threw in.

fairyhedgehog said...

This felt like part of a larger story and I wanted to know what happened next!

Catrina said...

I think if I understood the allusions, I would have appreciated it more. Nonetheless, I found Colonel Prig's pragmatic view of things quite refreshing.

Loved this line: "professional risk was as concomitant to espionage as were venereal disease and bad chop suey."

You've debunked the glamorous life of a spy.

Good job.

Peter Dudley said...

Like Catrina, I might have enjoyed this more if I understood the allusions, particularly at the end. Even after a couple of reads, I don't really get what competition is going on or why Devin killed Prig or, for that matter, why he even needed to interrogate him if he already had all the information. Sorry, I must be missing something important.

bluesugarpoet said...

I love the nonchalance of Devin at the end - a real devil of a spy! :) ~Jana

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

It's tough when the interrogator becomes the interrogatee... Nicely played.

Dottie :)

JaneyV said...

I liked Prig's pragmatism and I also liked that Devin killed him nonetheless. What I'm uncertain about is why he was being interrogated in the first place but then, perhaps, I am not meant to know.

Old Kitty said...

Brutal!!!! I really loved the irony here!! Take care
x

Richard Levangie said...

Hannah... During my years in university, I used to read thrillers written by Forsythe, Higgins, et. al., frequently, and you you've done a fine job of capturing the tone and mindset.

Chris Allinotte said...

The POV shift was a little jarring, but the thought process of Prig was a refreshing take on the spy genre, and the reasons behind it make sense within the story.

Love the Sherlock Holmes at the end.

Aidan Fritz said...

You've got this packed with a lot happening. I like the way you capture Col. Prig and the mention of the double-agent is intriguing.

Guilie said...

This is FANTASTIC! Good job getting into the characters' head, and I loved the switch of POV - very nicely done. I had to smirk when Devin pulls the trigger anyway - just desserts, yes, but nonetheless sad. Thanks for the great read!

Aerin said...

Prig was a double agent with no philosophical qualms about being one, but Devin was part of the agency, too, assigned to oust the mole, which was Prig.

Yes?

Having just read Mark Terry's Derek Stillwater series, this felt as though it would be right at home made into a book-length story, but it works quite well as flash, too. Great!

jason evans said...

A sense of hugeness of story. Even though I'm to blame for the word limit, I wish for more words to open up this world.