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Farewell, My . . . Something

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I’ve said it before, Wikipedia is your friend.

Doing some reading on Film Noir, I ran across a synopsis of Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely. Oddly enough–or perhaps not so oddly–it inspired me to write another Hadrapole story. Hadrapole is the setting I use for my urban fantasy fiction. My story “Flotsam Jewel” is set in Hadrapole, as are some unpublished ones.

Below is the opening for an untitled Caspan Trey story. Caspan is a sword-for-hire scrapping to get by in the Old Bazaar, a not so nice quarter outside the walls of Hadrapole. He’s in a story I’m shopping around right now which began life as “the Charm Seller” but is now “Simple Coin.”

So, urban fantasy noir. This is completely first draft, so be kind.

UPDATE: 24 February 2010 “For Simple Coin” has been published in On Spec. In that issue (and elsewhere), I mention the idea of sword noir. One can certainly see the germination of that term here. Now that “For Simple Coin” has been published, I’m back to work on this one, which used to have the working title of “Caspan Trey 2,” but now the file is named “CaspanTreySwordNoir.” Funny how things turn out!


A shadow fell over Caspan Trey as he leaned against the wall watching the families around the well. He looked up. Mollo.

Caspan frowned. “I thought you were dead.”

In the Old Bazaar, Mollo had been known as Smiles. He had a second smile just below his chin. Someone tried to settle an argument. It hadn’t worked. He had something new–the character for thief branded on his right forearm.

Mollo didn’t react to what Caspan had said. “They say you sometimes help people.”


“It’s around.”

“I’m sure it is.”

For money, he had helped people, had tried to help people. Sometimes things didn’t work out right. That happened, and people died.

The two stood just inside an alley. The hawkers on the street had started to make way for the whores, and the drunks had started to rise from their sleep nestled in the detritus of the alley.

Caspan returned to watching the square at the crossroads. The children played while their mothers gossiped around the well. “So you aren’t dead.”

“Maybe not to you.”

That made Caspan look. Did he see regret, maybe sadness in the eyes of that stringy monster? Mollo didn’t look like much, but word was that he had gutted more than 50 men. Caspan had known some of them. They wouldn’t be missed. “To who, then?”

“A woman.”

He didn’t intend it, but Caspan chuckled.

Mollo took a step forward. “You think I can’t have a woman?”

“You want another smile?” Maybe Mollo had killed 50 men, but that had been knife work, mostly from behind.