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Author Topic: PC039: Honest Man  (Read 6306 times)
Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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« on: January 22, 2009, 12:11:00 PM »

PC039: Honest Man

by Naomi Kritzer
Read by Ann Leckie

“Excuse me…” The man from the front of the restaurant was talking to the waitress, his face obviously distressed. “I am so, so sorry, ma’am, but I just realized that I left my wallet back at my room. I’m going to have to go get it before I can pay, but I don’t want you to think I’m running out on my bill. I can leave my instrument here as security…” He had a violin case, Iris saw; he opened it up to show the waitress the violin inside. “This is a good violin. I paid fifty dollars for it, a few years back, but I think it’s worth more.”

The waitress glanced at it and grunted. “It looks like it’s worth more than your meal, anyway. Go ahead and get your wallet.”

“I’ll be right back,” he promised, and went back out into the rain.

Iris was finishing her sandwich when she heard Leo say, “Can I take a look at that?”

“What, the violin?” The waitress shrugged. “I don’t see why not.”

Leo opened the case and took out the instrument, turning it over in his hands and holding it up to the light. She heard him let out a long, appreciative breath, and looked up to see him swallow hard. For a moment, his eyes darted around the room, like a man with a poker hand that he knows will win the night. Then he looked back up at Iris, and at the waitress. “My God,” he said. “This is a Stradivarius.”


Rated PG. Contains some bleakness — but mostly fun and games (well, con games).
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Void Munashii
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2009, 01:17:09 PM »

  Another long, slow, plodding , predictable yet utterly charming story. I should review my idea that I do not like this sort of tale, as each time one of these comes up, I say that "I don't normally like this type of story, but I liked this one", so it would seem that I actually do like this type of story.

  Of course I saw the ending coming as soon as Iris agreed to help clean out Mr. Lucky's bank account, but it was still a fun ride getting there. I liked the characters and the reading, and i liked the solid sense of closure the story had.

  So what exactly was Mr. Clinton? He is obviously more than just a mild telepath if he is able to adjust his physical age.
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bluedarkyugi
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2009, 06:41:15 PM »

I enjoyed this although I can't say why, actually I can, my Great-Grandmother was one of those people who used to fall for things like the bill scam and it was nice to see the con-man getting his comeuppance.

So what exactly was Mr. Clinton? He is obviously more than just a mild telepath if he is able to adjust his physical age.

Personally, I think he's a modern day manifestation of the Trickster Coyote.
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stePH
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Cool story, bro!


« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2009, 08:12:01 PM »

  Another long, slow, plodding , predictable yet utterly charming story. I should review my idea that I do not like this sort of tale, as each time one of these comes up, I say that "I don't normally like this type of story, but I liked this one", so it would seem that I actually do like this type of story.

  Of course I saw the ending coming as soon as Iris agreed to help clean out Mr. Lucky's bank account, but it was still a fun ride getting there. I liked the characters and the reading, and i liked the solid sense of closure the story had.

  So what exactly was Mr. Clinton? He is obviously more than just a mild telepath if he is able to adjust his physical age.
He also sees into the future, remember?  His "fortunes" held up as Iris' life went on.

I like bluedarkyugi's notion that he's an avatar of Coyote. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2009, 08:26:27 PM »

I like bluedarkyugi's notion that he's an avatar of Coyote. Smiley

  That makes a lot of sense to me too. I kept thinking along the line of leprechaun for some reason, even though it seemed totally wrong.
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Dwango
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2009, 05:21:52 PM »

I kept thinking this story would be a devil tale where the con-man is really trying to corrupt Iris.  I might have liked it better.  As it is, I hate when I'm left hanging at the end.  I like to get the skinny on the truth behind the story, I like completion.  I like a point.  With this I'm left guessing without hope of resolution.

I'm looking forward to a more pointed story, with some action and some more classic fantasy.  This and the last story, while well presented, are somewhat yawners.  I hope we'll hear a little more Howard style of action and mysticism.
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Poppydragon
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2009, 05:32:06 PM »

Another nice piece that is both familiar and well told. The con with the violin has been used in its full version elsewhere recently, although for the life of me I can't remember exactly where. I like the ordinariness of this though, it reminds me a little of Heinlein's "Time Enough for Love" in setting and the feel of the familiar fantastic. For me this was really well read too, the narration was smooth and the characters well defined by the reader. All in all I was just a little disappointed when it finished as I was comfortable and content in my listening. (Nothing to do with wanting to delay getting out of the car into the rain of course  Wink )
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2009, 04:33:55 AM »

Another nice piece that is both familiar and well told.

That pretty much summarises my reaction. Nothing exceptional about this story, just good, solid storytelling.
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Heradel
Bill Peters, EP Assistant
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Part-Time Psychopomp.


« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 09:33:00 AM »

Another nice piece that is both familiar and well told. The con with the violin has been used in its full version elsewhere recently, although for the life of me I can't remember exactly where. [...]

American Gods.
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2009, 10:43:40 AM »

This was a fun little story. I enjoyed it. I was expecting a lot of the little "suprises" - even that he'd con her a little in the end. I still really enjoyed this story.
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Zathras
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2009, 10:44:51 AM »

Predictable yet fun.  Yeah, +1.
The fact that C gave her the $1614.13 was a nice touch.  I felt the story was wrapped up nicely when Iris left the note and the $100 for her kids to find.

Am I the only one who caught the 2 C notes joke?
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Poppydragon
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2009, 12:22:31 PM »

Another nice piece that is both familiar and well told. The con with the violin has been used in its full version elsewhere recently, although for the life of me I can't remember exactly where. [...]

American Gods.

Thank you kindly, means I can stop wracking my brains now  Huh
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Man - despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.
izzardfan
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2009, 08:16:33 PM »

Am I the only one who caught the 2 C notes joke?

Maybe not, but I didn't.  Care to explain, please?  (PM me if you want to keep the rest of the readers in suspense.)

As for the story, I knew "Franklin" was in on it as soon as he offered his expertise on violins.  But I didn't expect the background story of testing people's honesty.  I enjoyed the story, and the reading was excellent, as has already been said.

I kept thinking this story would be a devil tale where the con-man is really trying to corrupt Iris.  I might have liked it better.  As it is, I hate when I'm left hanging at the end.  I like to get the skinny on the truth behind the story, I like completion.  I like a point.  With this I'm left guessing without hope of resolution.

I didn't think about not knowing exactly who or what Franklin/Clinton was by the end, until I read it here.  I'm OK with no specific explanation, but if Naomi Kritzer reads this, maybe she could explain.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2009, 08:18:07 PM by izzardfan » Logged
Kaa
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2009, 01:20:19 PM »

I'm on the "cute story, well told" side of the fence with this one.  I saw where it was headed, but as has been proven so very often, it is not the destination but the journey which is important.

The only thing that bothered me at all, in fact, was that the reader didn't quite have a different enough voice for the two female characters during the first piece of the story, so it was hard to tell whether it was Iris or the waitress who was talking.  Other than that,  it was great.
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Zathras
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2009, 08:22:19 PM »

I don't know if it is intentional or not, but a C note is slang for a $100 bill and the note Leo, or whatever his name is, was signed "C", thus, it, too, was a C note.

Or I just pay attention to the wrong things.
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2009, 08:40:45 AM »

I enjoyed it. It had a Neil Gaiman feel to it, that melding of the supernatural and the mundane. I was reminded of American Gods, what with these supernatural beings reduced to swindling old ladies to make ends meet. Definitely had some charm to it.
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2009, 09:10:32 AM »

I had great fun with this story, in the way it was told and the narration too. Perhaps it was the day I had but it brought some comfort and peace, somehow, when I listened to it before sleep. Liked it enough, in fact, to register here after years of meaning to, in order to leave a comment.

Thumbs up from me!  Cheesy
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naomikritzer
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2009, 09:27:42 AM »

I'm sorry I haven't responded to this yet.  I had a reply all typed out last week and then my browser crashed on me.  I promise I'll come back and answer the questions today, after I've had my coffee.  Smiley 
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Corydon
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2009, 11:21:25 AM »

I enjoyed this story very much.  Partly because I always enjoy reading about scams, grifts, cons and cheats (and living in a big city, I occasionally see people trying to pull them off); but that aside, the story was fun and charming. 

I couldn't help wondering about the next chapter, though...


RE: CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS PROPOSAL

DEAR MISS IRIS

MY NAME IS MR. THOMAS OBAMA (THOMAS LIKE THE MOVIE STAR, OBAMA LIKE THE PRESIDENT.)  I MUST SOLICIT YOUR STRICTEST CONFIDENCE IN THIS TRANSACTION...
« Last Edit: February 02, 2009, 11:37:15 AM by Corydon » Logged
naomikritzer
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2009, 01:00:48 PM »

::lol:: at the confidential business proposal. 

Regarding who Franklin/Clinton really is -- the character might be trying at the end to imply that he's an avatar of Coyote, but I don't know why you'd believe him. Wink  (More seriously: he's intended to be an avatar of a trickster god, and I've been fascinated for a long time with the fact that American folklore is full of trickster heroes.  I wanted to play with that aspect of American mythology, but I didn't do the research I'd have needed to do if I'd really set out to write a story about Coyote or, for that matter, any specific mythological figure.)

I did not intentionally insert the two C-notes joke.  I like it, though.  Cheesy

The Iris in the story is my grandmother; I originally set out to write a story that would make a good 80th birthday gift.  She is incredibly proud of having an author granddaughter but she's not much of an SF/F reader so a lot of my stories leave her kind of baffled.  I thought it would be fun to put her in the story as the protagonist and to give her an adventure that fit in around real events from her life.  Given the constraints I set for myself at the outset, Iris could not ever be truly corrupted; she also had to get a reasonably happy ending. 

I don't normally write about real people (or at least, if I model a character on someone, I don't name it after that person and tell them about it!) so it was a very different experience writing this. 

Neil Gaiman lives roughly in my metro area (Minneapolis -- I live in the actual city, Neil lives in a small town in Wisconsin just beyond the outer suburbs).  I don't know to what extent this is true everywhere, but there are definitely things about our metro area that encourage me to imagine the supernatural blending with everyday life.  (I started giving examples here, but I don't want to go on and on and on....)  I loved "American Gods," but I read it when it first came out and I had completely forgotten that the Fiddle Game con was in it -- I googled for stories about cons that exploit dishonesty, that was how I came up with that part of the story. The con I remember in American Gods was the "night deposit broken, give money to security guard" one, which was fabulous. (Er, to read about, I mean.)

Thanks for listening to my story!
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