Attired in innocuous garb so as not to draw undue attention, Shane Porteous and Tracey Alley moseyed into the Blues Haven Lounge, a quiet, cozy, out-of-the-way place. After obtaining their drinks at the bar, the two slyly maneuvered their way through the low voices at scattered tables and huddled themselves into a corner table, there sitting across from one another.
“You sure Gerald will be waltzing into this joint?” Shane asked in a resonate baritone, his words contemplative as he sipped at his martini, his look that of a sleepy hawk, not unlike that of a hit man in patient waiting as he scrutinized the people sitting at the other tables.
“Not to worry,” Tracey replied assuredly, sipping her gin and tonic, her voice soft, in tune with her flawless complexion, a confident gleam in her eyes. “I was informed he never misses popping into this lounge — his favorite hangout when he’s in town, and I’ve learned he’s in town…somewhere.” Following another sip of her drink, she added emphatically, “As ingenious as Gerald is in eluding us, this time we’ll NAIL him!”
“Ha!” Shane smirked in that suave manner of his. “No one nails Gerald, no matter what — unless he wants to be nailed.” Pausing, reflecting back with another sip of his martini, he continued. “With his mysterious nature…so unpredictable, figuring out what he’s going to do — nailing him — is like trying to figure out some metaphysical riddle.”
Shane paused again, sipped at his drink, took a deep breath, sighed, then managed a paradoxical grunt. “But I shouldn’t be complaining,” he confessed. “The genius of that nature gave us Of Good And Evil, that ROYALTY of thrillers!”
That reflection suddenly enlivened Shane’s mood. “That thriller royalty,” he beamed, with roguish self-congratulations, “I SO brilliantly alluded to in my gasping, unequaled review of the novel.” Shane sighed — almost ecstatically, then declared, “Such a MASTERFUL review…one for the ages…one whom no OTHER reviewer can possibly TOP — or even come close to doing so in their inept attempt to review the book. My review is just too MAGNIFICENT to beat — EVER!”
Tracey’s eyes glazed over in flabbergasted disbelief upon hearing what Shane had just said, then she felt her face flame, taking his remarks as a nasty slap at HER review of Of Good And Evil. Arching her brows, jutting out her jaw, her eyes now like daggers, Tracey’s rancor laid into Shane with a no-holds-barred verbal barrage.
“What EGO!…what GALL!” Tracey began, “appointing yourself as God’s gift to reviews. Well, let me tell you something, BUSTER! You’re no gift. You’re nothing but a bombastic braggart carried away with shameless self-indulgence! And let me tell you something else. MY review TOPS YOURS — HANDS DOWN — leaving your review withering haplessly in the wind compared to mine.
“As for you’re…you’re royalty of thrillers indulgence, my review defines that royalty more meaningfully…proclaiming more elegantly that Gerald has the rare talent of a born writer…the gift of a true story-teller going that step further that separates writers from great writers…that special way of his taking burning passion to pen in engaging the reader with harrowing action and spine tingling romance right to the end. And Gerald’s SCOPE …taking the reader on a wild ride, the world his background…making the reader believe in his daring plot and his vivid, vibrant characters…leaving the reader to sit back spellbound and with on edge suspense reading his page-turning thriller!
“That, Buster, is THRILLER ROYALTY, thank you! As set forth with majesty in MY mind-blowing, masterful review! So THERE!”
Catching her breath, Tracey quickly took a hard swig of her gin and tonic.
Poker faced, Shane had listened quietly and calmly to Tracey’s incoming, with only an ever so slightly crinkling of the eyes. It was when Tracey was gulping down her drink in respite that his eyes begin to twinkle. Then a faint smile sneaked about his lips, and he said glibly:
“I love it when you get WORKED UP like this. You’re so beautiful…so passionate, giving me such strange stirrings!”
“Now STOP THAT!” Tracey snapped. “None of your wiling guile tricks on me! Just stick to the subject — our reviews.”
Shane shrugged, his smile evaporating. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll meet your review and raise you a review. I’ll mention the great maturity Gerald displays in his writing…never seen in MOST writers’ work. I’ll further point out his uncanny knack for dealing with love. Of all the hundreds and hundreds of books I have read in my life, the love between Ron and Amber in Of Good And Evil is by far the most genuine romance I have ever read about. Not only does it boggle my mind the sheer caliber of talent Gerald possesses, it also boggles my mind that his book is not on the New York Times best seller list. It’s the very embodiment of what a paranormal thriller should be, and…”
“While wrestling with all your mind boggling,” Tracey interrupted, her manner more calm, her ire having waned since Shane’s inexplicable wiling, “I’ll tell you why it isn’t on the list. It’s Gerald’s lack of internet marketing.”
“Ah, so,” Shane begrudgingly agreed. After a measured breath, he quietly concluded, “Gerald doesn’t take to marketing — especially on the internet. He regards it as madness! Well need to twist his arm on this. But speaking of marketing, do you still carry the links to Gerald’s book with you?”
“Why, yes. In my purse. You want to see them?”
Shane nodded. Tracey fumbled through the contents of her purse until she found what she was searching for. She handed a small sheet of paper to Shane. With the focus of a master strategist. he studied the sheet’s links while finishing off his martini, gulping down the olive, as master strategists do.
The links he first pondered were those for purchasing OF GOOD AND EVIL, all of them provided on Gerald’s blog my clicking the “Buy the Latest Books!” box at the top of the blog’s Home page. As Shane continued to ponder these and the other links, he grimaced, shook his head, and began rubbing his chin, exclaiming, “Gerald needs a BURST of MAGIC to bring these links to life, so people will be clicking these links in mass. He needs to hit the Internet with real jumping sold out FLOOR SHOWS. He needs to wallow in them!”
Then Shane cringed. “I shudder to think how Gerald will hiss and growl — like some cornered Siberian tiger — and pounce on me for bringing all of this to his attention. But it has to be done. He must get word of his novel out. Its story — a rarity of art many know nothing about — deserves it. A lot of scrambling is needed to extend the thriller’s reach.”
When Shane leaned back, sighing in further contemplation, he noticed that his glass and Tracey’s were both empty, and said, “Just as important, we need another round of drinks, one for you…one for me.”
Tracey’s attention was suddenly grabbed by what she was eyeing at the front of the lounge. “Better make that four drinks,” she said, rather flatly. “The tiger…Gerald…just popped in, waltzing through the door with a tigress purring on his arm, some dazzling blonde looking like the cuddling type.”
“WHAT?!…” Shane’s eyes popped wide as he stared at the front door’s entrance, and what he saw brought on an immediate discomfort. “My GOD,” he gasped, “that blonde is Cynthia Westland, the Boston Beauty…some claim the Boston Bomber. She’s another DANG book reviewer. She tried to outdo my review in her’s by parading Gerald’s book as a true masterpiece!”
“Well,” Tracey sighed, looking a bit envious, “I’d say he’s got his hands full with a true masterpiece now.”
“This joint is beginning to crawl with book reviewer lizards!”
“Maybe we could start some kind of weird convention, with Gerald and Cynthia providing the floor show!”
“That’s a TAKE!” Kruger von Griffin yelled out. “Performances…dey SPLENDID! JA…JA!”