Posts Tagged ‘beginnings’

Beginnings (Not)

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December 4th, 2022 Posted 7:56 am

Sunday is when we do beginnings, taking a look at the start of a Peter Abrahams novel, including those written under the Spencer Quinn moniker™. But today how about an excerpt from Santa 365, a Chet and Bernie short story some folks like to read at this time of year? It’s available on digital and audio form, and this little passage seems relevant.

“Remind me of your sentence, again?” Bernie was saying.

“Four years,” Plumpy said.

“We can’t be even close to that.”

Plumpy nodded, one of those enthusiastic nods that make jowls wobble on humans that have them, which Plumpy did. “Paroled after eight months,” he said, “on account of overcrowding.”

“So you did eight months – “

“Less six weeks on account of good behavior.”

“ – for stealing one point two million dollars?”

“Stealing puts it in such a harsh light, doncha think?”

“But that’s what a Ponzi scheme is,” Bernie said.

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Beginnings (There ain’t no sanity clause.)

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November 27th, 2022 Posted 7:24 am

Sunday is when this small business takes a look at the start of a Peter Abrahams novel, including those written under the Spencer Quinn moniker™. Since we’re in the holiday season for sure – satellite radio tuned at the moment to the Country Christmas channel – how about we go with Santa 365, the C&B Christmas e-short story, perhaps a good way to introduce a newcomer to the series? (As some of you may have noticed, this small business likes turning out dialogue from time to time.)

“There’s no Santa Claus,” Charlie said.

“Who told you that?” said Bernie.

“Esmé.”

“Who’s Esmé?”

“At school.”

“Well,” said Bernie, “everyone has their own opinion.”

“It’s not an opinion, Dad,” said Charlie. “It’s a scientific fact.”

“Oh?”

“From a scientist.”

“Any scientist in particular?”

“Groucho Marx.”

“Esmé told you that?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Know much about Groucho Marx?”

Charlie shrugged his skinny little shoulders. “He was a scientist and he said there ain’t no Santa Claus.”

“What do Esmé’s parents do?”

“Drive her to school. Pick her up.”

“I meant for a living.”

“Like you’re a private eye?”

“Yeah. Like that.”

“I don’t think they’re private eyes,” Charlie said.

“Why not?”

“They’re rich.”

 

 

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Posted in Chet The Dog

Beginnings (Not)

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November 20th, 2022 Posted 7:16 am

On Sundays, we do beginnings, taking a look at the start of a Peter Abrahams novel, including those written under the Spencer Quinn moniker™. But today I’m going with the post I meant for Veterans Day. This is from Into The Dark, third in the middle-grade Echo Falls series. Unlike the Chet and Bernie series, Echo Falls should probably be read in sequence – Down The Rabbit Hole, Behind The Curtain, Into The Dark. So let’s get to Mr. Sidney, the old school bus driver who endured some of the worst that WW2 had to offer, talking to Ingrid and her friend Ty about Bataan, which of course is all new to them.

“Very next morning they had us on the road to the prison camp. Not going to talk about the Death March – you can look it up. Not going to talk about the starvation, or the disease, the heat, or what happened to anybody who lagged behind, even to drink from a mud puddle.”

“What happened to them?” said Ty.

“What did I just say?” said Mr. Sidney.

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Beginnings (Not)

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November 13th, 2022 Posted 8:11 am

Normally on Sundays we do beginnings, taking a look at the start of a Peter Abrahams novel, including those written under the Spencer Quinn moniker™. But with the very recent collapse of the crypto exchange FTX we want to post this little excerpt from The Numbers After Two, found in the Chet and Bernie short story collection Short Tails, available wherever books are sold, and maybe a good place for newcomers to the C&B series start (so feel free to share this post). One of the amazing things about the FTX story is not that so many little guys are going to lose their investments – that’s expected – but that the same thing is happening to big, sophisticated hedge funds and private equity investors. So here’s out little excerpt. Bernie, the detective, is talking to Crommie, a young man of about the age of Sam Bankman-Fried (FTX founder, and what a perfect character surname – I wish I’d come up with it). Chet narrates the story – a dog, yes, but not a talking one!

But – but how does it work?” Bernie said.

“You good with numbers? What’s your math background?”

“Mediocre and long ago.”

I polished off the last bacon bit. Numbers was the subject? Not my strongest strength. I seldom go past two, as I may have mentioned already.

Crommie nodded. “Basically what we do – me and a few guys in various parts of the world who came up with the concept – is run all the blockchain algorithms backwards. Do you realize that when you do that you’re actually going back in time?”

Bernie shook his head.

“Neither did we, at first. And then our programs started spitting out all this money! Where was it coming from? After a while it hit us – the money was coming from the future! Like maple syrup was flowing out of the bottle and back into the tree. And we were in the tree, Bernie!”

“Is … is it legal?” Bernie said.

“Legal to run algorithms backward?” said Crommie. “The question answers itself.”

“How about running them inside out?”

Crommie laughed, a laugh quickly cut off. He leaned back, gave Bernie a close look. I’d seen that look directed at Bernie before, the look of a someone starting to realize what he was dealing with.

“You’re a smart operator, huh?” he said.

“I wouldn’t say that,” said Bernie.

 

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