Saturday, January 11, 2014

Excerpt from Cocoa and Chanel by Donna Joy Usher

Cocoa and Chanel
By Donna Joy Usher

I love this scene because it was a total surprise to me. The character Bianca sprang out of the depths of my mind and into the story. Up till this scene, I didn't know she was going to be in the book at all, and then Bam! - there she was and she wasn't going away. 

This was one of those scenes that flowed fully-developed onto the page;
the dialogue prattling out of me as if I was eavesdropping and not creating it. 

The reason I wrote the scene is not apparent in the excerpt I have included. It was to give Chanel her next clue in unravelling the mystery of the Kings Cross Serial Killer. 



The one day I really wanted to see Roger and he still hadn’t shown up for work. All right, so I really wanted to see him every day, but today was different. Today it wasn’t about my Guinness Book of Records’ sized crush.

Because I was doing the early night shift there were only a few hours that we overlapped, and that time was ticking away. I was kept busy with a stream of visitors coming through the front door: people bailing out friends or relatives, officers bringing in suspects for interviews and building contractors. One of the rooms had sustained some rain damage a few months ago and it was only now being fixed.

When he finally did show it was with a woman in handcuffs. Her attire indicated she was one of the working girls; bright red tight spandex skirt and boob tube top. It was a brave clothing choice given her bootaliscious butt and impressive chest.

‘Hey girlfriend,’ she said to me as he dragged her through the front doors. She didn’t seem at all concerned about her predicament.

‘Bianca,’ Roger said, ‘can I trust you to stay here or do I have to lock you up?’

‘You can trust me,’ she said, shooting him a cheeky grin. Her large teeth shone white against the glowing ebony of her skin. I found myself responding to her cheery disposition. It was either that or the fact that Roger was in the same room with me.

As soon as Roger left, Bianca bolted for the front door. I vaulted over the counter, a feat that surprised me as much as it did her, and landed in front of the doors. It seemed all the obstacle course training had paid off.
‘Don’t even think about it,’ I said.

‘Damn girl, you like a superwoman or something?’

I shook my head at her and pointed to the chairs on the other side of the room.
‘You been exposed to some serious radiation shit?’

‘No,’ I said, laughing as I made my way back round to the other side of the table.

‘You’re like a ninja, right? I bet you could kick my big black arse all over this city.’

‘Who could kick your arse?’ Roger asked.

‘Your girl there. She’s scary.’

‘Chanel? Yes, she is scary.’ He shot me a grin that threatened to stop my heart.
I took a deep breath and tried to get a grip on my emotions. I wasn’t going to look so tough if I started hyperventilating just because he’d smiled at me.

It wasn’t so much that he’d smiled. It was the way he’d smiled, and I don’t want to bore you, but it was cheeky and endearing and there had been a light in his eyes when he’d said my name. I’d had to stop myself vaulting the table again so I could wrap myself around him and shove my tongue down his throat.

I tore my eyes away and focused on the stupid manual I was only part of the way through, while I tried to think of a way to swing the conversation the way I wanted it to go. I couldn’t do it with Bianca in the room though so I was going to have to wait for him to finish with her.

As Bianca followed him into the interview room something tickled at the back of my mind. I ignored it, knowing if I tried to identify what it was it would slip further from my conscious mind. Eventually it surfaced, floating up to bob amongst my other thoughts.

Hadn’t Bruce said that one of the working girls they were friends with was a Bianca? I wondered if it was the same one. I tried to suppress my excitement but by the time Roger had finished with his interview I was almost hopping from foot to foot.

‘What are you in for?’ I asked her, smiling in my friendliest manner.

‘I had some Buddha on me.’


‘Some Maryjane?’

I shrugged my shoulders.

‘Some gangster? Locoweed? Ganja? A reefer?’

I shook my head as I stared at her and wondered what the hell she was on about.

‘Some grass.’

‘Oh marijuana,’ I said.

‘You’re as white as your skin. No wonder you a cop.’

‘I’ve tried it,’ I said before I remembered where I was. I shot a nervous look over my shoulder. ‘Once,’ I whispered.

She chuckled and shook her head.


Donna's debut novel, The Seven Steps to Closure, took gold in the humour category of the 2012 elit Publishing Awards and was shortlisted for the Shirley You Jest 2012 Book Awards and the 2013 Indie Excellence Awards.

Follow Donna on Twitter @DonnaJoyUsher

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