As a first time author, the enormous amount of work and time that goes into editing and revision came as a bit of a shock. All the hours that I’d spent slaving over characters and researching locations: erased in the click of the mouse for the sake of the plot and the flow of the story.
A sacrifice, I’d decided, worth making.
But I couldn’t quite bring myself to delete it all entirely. Whilst a couple of darling characters had to bite the dust, I’d like to share with you here one of the Remi scenes cut when I decided his activities needed to be more of a reflection of Jerry’s. It reminds me of some of my favourite creative times in writing It’s Killing Jerry and I was sad to see it go, but at least I get to share it with you now. 🙂
Remi reaches Vancouver
Remi cut the Sunseeker engine and she bobbed into the last remaining slip at Quay Side Marina. Peak of his cap thrust down against the wind, he sprang across to the pontoon and tied her off. Halyards clanked and twanged at their masts around him while water sloshed against the marina walls.
Remi scanned the crescent and saw nothing that troubled him. He checked his watch: 19:50. Rendezvous was at 21:00.
Back aboard, he made final checks. The journey up the west coast had given blissful solitude in its raw return to nature. There hadn’t been time to linger at fuel stops and even in the tempting climes of California he’d found himself hurrying back to the boat, keen to continue his captaincy. At one with the sea and defeating the weather, he’d been empowered and elated.
The temperature had dropped progressively as he’d travelled north. After seven days he’d arrived at Vancouver in a chilly 5ºC. He was ready for a warm hotel room and solid ground under foot.
Shouldering his Louis Vuitton backpack, he left the yacht behind.
Back on terra firma a smile crept into his eyes. Vancouver towered before him. A crowd of monolithic tower blocks twinkled in the crisp night air. They loomed over the pristine streets and clipped shrubbery lined promenade. The wind whipped up and worried at the six day growth about his chin.
Head down, he turned right and set off for the Waterfront Bar & Grill. Traffic was light; a single black Cherokee crawled along fifty meters ahead and then made a slow left into a service road.
Jaunty yellow umbrellas stood guard outside the Bar & Grill; their canopies already snapped shut against the wind. Soft burbles of conversation drifted through the door as a couple left, leaving it ajar. Remi took a seat in a cosy alcove, ordered a coffee and took his time over the menu.
At nine o’clock sharp a raincoat clad woman swept in. She shook out her umbrella and tutted at the rain that had hammered down for the last half hour. Dropping the umbrella into the pot by the door, she stalked to the row of bar stools, scanning the room and fiddling with her bobbed black hair.
Remi called over the waiter and gave him a note for her. She read it and shrugged, hopped off her stool and joined him in his booth.
“Buy me a drink stranger?” she cooed, eyebrow raised.
Remi nodded to the waiter, who brought over the champagne bucket and glasses.
“You turning tricks now Lola?”
She pulled out the bottle and smiled at the label “The good stuff – you must want me bad”
Their eyes met while they paused for a sip. Lola was very friendly this evening. She slid around the seat of the booth, closer to Remi and ran a teasing fingertip up his thigh. “So did you bring me a present?”
The waiter laid a plate of oysters in front of Remi and retreated from Lola’s stare.
Over Lola’s shoulder Remi saw the Cherokee from earlier glide to a halt on the other side of the street. He slid the champagne bucket away and watched the car in its shiny surface. Two men sat in the back and something glinted from within.
Lola cringed, “Oysters? Don’t you remember Cap-Ferrat? I was sick as hell all night. You can have them.” she sniffed, “I’ll be right back.” She swept away toward the powder room.
Saint Jean Cap Ferrat had been the back drop to a job they’d worked on together two years ago. Remi remembered it well. He threw back a mollusc and watched the reflection. The driver held his cell phone to his ear, answering a call. He looked toward the Bar & Grill then broke away and waved agitated hands before snapping the phone shut.
“Lola. Lola.” Remi muttered under his breath.
Another oyster later, Lola sashayed back to the table. She flopped down onto the banquette with mock petulance “Can I have my present now?” she pouted.
Remi retrieved an oblong box from his bag and slid it across the table. “There’s a little something extra for you” he twitched a cheeky eyebrow at her. Lola pulled the box over and flicked open the lid. “A bracelet. It’s gorgeous.” The words were grateful, but her brow was furrowed, perturbed. Remi leant across, unsnapped the clasp and showed her the USB connector hidden within. She smiled, relieved. “Do it up for me”.
Admiring the bracelet on an outstretched arm, Remi snatched a glance at the Cherokee driver; he’d climbed out of his cab and now leant against the hood of his car. The driving rain soaked through his jacket.
“Remi, this is too gorgeous to waste on a dump like this – let’s go to my hotel – I’m staying at the River Rock.” She was already standing, pulling on her raincoat.
“Good idea” he smiled “You go ahead. I’ll finish up and see you there”.
“Great.” She was out the door, leaving her umbrella behind.
The man in the rain when there was a perfectly good car to sit in; the phone call from the ladies room; the hurry to leave: they all added up to trouble. He slid out of the booth, scooped up his pack and bolted for the kitchen, pressing two $100 bills into the waiter’s palm. “Keep the change. Mind if I use the back door?” The waiter didn’t mind at all.
Out in the car park he squeezed an alarm fob and scanned for lights. A Ducati Monster winked from the shadows. Remi jammed on the lid that had hung from the hand grip, hitched the bag onto his back and leapt on. He pulled out of the car park and rolled down the service road, stopping at the junction with Marina Crescent. He could see Lola in the Cherokee passenger seat from his corner. Looked like she had the bracelet plugged into a palmtop and was freaking out. That would be the virus he’d given her instead of the real data. A little something extra.
“Call Aqua” he breathed. His headset clicked to life.
“Agent Red. Did you make the drop?” she asked, tone clipped.
“Negative. Contact has gone to the dark side. Strike Agent Cerise from active duty.”
“Damn it. What’s your position?”
“Leaving the drop off. Heading for Air Lift Whiskey.”
“Very well.” She disconnected.
The Monster rumbled out onto the main street. They flashed passed the Cherokee at sixty and roared off toward the mountains and Whistler.