E is for Evil. E is also for Excerpt. Therefore today I'm going to post an excerpt from Operation Camilla, showing the most evil character I've ever written. I will be very disappointed if any reader rates this guy lower than 9 on the How Much I Hate This Character scale.
Donald Blackman kicked the dog hard enough to knock it across the footpath into the gutter. An anguished yelp rang out, and he looked quickly about to see if anyone had observed him, but the early morning street was quiet and empty. He picked up the slightly mangled newspaper and brandished it at the dog, which whimpered and limped away on three legs.
Blackman strode across his front lawn, looking neither right nor left. A squish beneath his foot caused him to look down, and he roared with rage, scrubbing his foot on the artificial grass and smearing the fresh dog poo more thoroughly over his suede desert boots. Seven o’clock and he could already feel the day slipping out of his grasp, sinking into the vast, amorphous expanse of wasted days that had become his life. He let himself into his semi-detached office and tossed the day’s mail and the soggy paper onto his secretary’s desk.
In the sanctum of his inner office, he threw himself into his chair and glowered out the window. The day stretched ahead, void of client meetings, void of court appearances, void, if he were honest with himself, of work. The only files he had that were current were a couple of conveyancing matters. He had had to refer most of his regular clients to other practitioners following his trouble, when his practising certificate had been suspended for three months. None of them had come back when he’d reopened his doors. Not a single one. He was relying on his mates at Acme Real Estate for a trickle of conveyancing referrals, but they didn’t even generate enough income to cover his secretary’s wages.
A few nice, juicy divorces, that was what he needed. High net worth individuals meant rich pickings for the family lawyer. High net worth individuals with children, he mused. Those were the best; the arguments about custody and access could drag on for years, with many court appearances. The nastier it got, the more he raked in.
He heaved his bulk out of the chair, stumped back out to the front office and picked up his newspaper, his mind still half on dreams of golden wealth furnished by human misery. If only, he thought, there were some way to make people get divorced.
That prat John Mills was on the front page again, accepting some award. Smug bastard. Businessman of the year. Look at him with his bloody trophy wife and his five blond children. I’d like to have you in my office fighting for your life, you smarmy git. You wouldn’t look so bloody pleased with yourself then.
He frowned suddenly, bending over the paper to look more closely at the photograph. That wasn’t the woman he’d seen Mills with at the Commercial Club last week. She was blonde and uptight-looking. That woman last week had been a slutty-looking brunette with tits the size of watermelons and a skirt that looked like it had been sprayed on. Heh, heh. So Mills was playing away, was he? Dirty bastard. He chuckled appreciatively.
There was nothing much of interest in the paper. Blackman skimmed through it, sneering at the picture of the happy children who’d found their lost dog and the one of the stupid hippy festival. The hippies were no good. They lived on their commune, didn’t own enough to bother making wills, and there were never any family law matters; they didn’t bloody get married in the first place, and they never seemed to argue over their children even if they did split up. You might get the odd criminal matter over possessing some marijuana, but that wasn’t worth anything; they were always on Legal Aid, so you could only charge the scheduled fee. Someone like that Mills, that was what you wanted. An enormous asset pool with that thriving department store, probably a self-managed superannuation fund, big expensive house, probably a holiday house too. And plenty at stake, with the five kids. Yes, if only Mills were getting a divorce. If that uptight bitch ever found out about the other woman…. He drifted into a pleasant reverie where a now-humble Mills was shivering in the client chair, begging for his help. Allegations of child abuse would make it go on even longer. Sometimes, if you were lucky… of course, a discreet rumour might spark those allegations. As long as it wasn’t traceable….
He looked up with a frown as he heard the outer door. “That you, Shelley?” he called.
“Yes, Mr Blackman.”
Blackman glanced at his watch. It was eight fifteen. “Get in here,” he roared. “Now!”
His secretary crept into the office.
“What bloody time do you call this? Hey? Hey?”
“I’m sorry, Mr-”
“Your hours are eight to five. That means you are here at eight every morning. Not swanning in halfway through the morning. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?”
“Yes, Mr Blackman, I’m sor-”
“So what the hell d’you think you’re doing turning up at eight fifteen?”
“I’m really sorry, I-”
“Do you think that because you’re only seventeen you’re not expected to do a full job? Is that it? Think you can just loaf around and come in when it suits you?”
“No, Mr Black-”
“It’s not acceptable, Shelley. I pay you to be here and I expect you to be here, on time, every day. Your work’s shit, I left the Mulgrave file on your desk, the whole thing has to be retyped. If you paid a bit more attention to your work perhaps you’d be able to do a simple task without having to redo it five times. What kind of impression do you think it makes when you spell the client’s name wrong, hey? You stupid little bitch. Do you want to make me look like a fucking amateur? And you need to smarten yourself up, for Christ’s sake, you look as if you’ve been dragged through a fucking hedge.”
She was crying now, he saw with satisfaction, doing her best to hide it but he could see the telltale shine in her eyes and hear the muffled sniffs. Good; serve her right.
“Get me a coffee,” he snapped. “At least that’s something you can do properly.”
Isn't he vile?
Now for the rest of the day I'll be proceeding as normal. Breakout activity will again be television, but as today is E, it's back to Sir David for some more Life on EARTH. I'm meeting a friend for coffee in town this morning, though, so with travelling time added I don't know how much I can expect to get done.
I start the day by getting the house straight so it's 9:15 before I sit down to work. I'm feeling stressed because I know I have to leave later this morning to go out, but I manage to get my NaNo wordcount within half an hour, leaving me just enough time to get Emily brushed before our outing.
When I get home it's after twelve. Work isn't running as smoothly as it had been, and I ascribe this to the deficiency of the middle part of my outline. Although I still have only 600 words, I decide to take my first break.
The show I've chosen for today is Life On Earth. I watch an episode about the desert. As usual Attenborough distinguishes himself for courage, casually picking up a large, poisonous lizard in his bare hands and delivering some of his lecture as he hikes through desert at 94 degrees Centigrade.
One thing I have noticed as the month goes on is that my incentive towards productivity is lessening as the daily amount I require to reach my Camp NaNo goal decreases. This is rather a sobering thought, highlightiing as it does the laziness against which every writer must struggle. I struggle on, and finish the day with 1100 words.
Tomorrow will be brought to you by the letter F.