Chapter 8

Written by: Ant Gavin Smits

Things are never as they seem, reflected Karen Simonivic, as the clock ticked past six. A more-or-less routine enquiry to establish the identity of a youth killed in a traffic accident turns up criminal activity in the police force, a reprehensible and distasteful occurrence. She flicked the phone record transcript onto her desk. She’d already called the Area Superintendent, her boss. He would deal with Rizzo.

She opened a drawer and picked up her keys. Hopefully, the week was done. She’d cut a track and escape before the phone rang again. Tim had promised a special dinner if, for once, she managed to get away at a sensible hour. 

While driving home, Karen pondered the communication she’d received earlier, updating an art theft advisory. How many paintings called Waterfall could there be, she wondered. Apparently, the artist whose painting was stolen had confessed to forging it – so someone had nicked a fake. Karen smiled, pleased that a buyer couldn’t now be taken in. And what of the painting Rizzo was helping to fence? A forgery of a fake? She shook her head in disbelief as she parked and thumbed the remote to close her garage door.

Her husband had a broad smile as he hung up Karen’s coat. “Happy Birthday,” he said. “I hope you’re hungry.”

She kissed him, grateful. “Let me change,” she answered. I’ve had enough of this uniform for one week.”

The food was delicious, of course. Karen relaxed and listened as Tim recounted a classroom incident. Most teenage students were not at all interested in mathematics, yet he found pleasure in teaching them, and it showed.

“You’re very chipper tonight,” Karen observed. “Hiding something, aren’t you?” 

Tim scowled. “Trust me to marry a copper,” he said. But his eyes sparkled. “Come sit on the couch. I have a surprise. Bring your wine.”

After they were settled, Tim reached behind and pulled a large squarish package into view and put it on the coffee table. “I went wandering in the city after school yesterday and came across this.”

Karen lent forward. “Let me guess,” she said. “One of your trick wrapping jobs, I imagine. A necklace in a package large enough to hide a folded-up clothes horse – which it better not be. I’m sure you wouldn’t make all this fuss over something dull and domestic.” She jabbed him in the ribs, grinning. 

“Hey,” said Tim. “None of that. Open it, why don’t you?”

Karen cut the string and discarded layers of brown paper and cardboard packing onto the floor.

“Art?” She looked down at the painting. Minimalist or modernism or something, she guessed. A few splashes of colour within a large frame. She liked abstract.

Tim pointed to the blank wall across the room. We’ve talked about getting something for there, and I thought you’d like this. I hope you do.”

“Funny you should buy me art,” she said. “It’s all I’ve been thinking about this week. What’s it called?”

“Waterfall,” said Tim, proud trophy hunter.


Oh I like this a lot. The story was getting just a tad confusing as to how many copies of the original there were and who had them. This chapter has explained this in a clever way. I have a couple of points that I noticed - one is the way Tim describes the packaged painting as squarish. This might be nit-picking but either a painting is square or rectangular. The second point, another nit-pick, is Karen suggesting she hopes the package is not containing a folded up clothes-horse. I think that's a little too far fetched. Other than that this is a chapter that starts with clever explanations and ends with some good snappy dialogue. I liked this one, Ant.
Thank you Ray. In response to your points, I offer these thoughts: First, a square package is, indeed, square, agreed. It either is or isn't. But what if it is, as I was imagining, say, 36 x 38 inches? In that event, it is almost square and might be thought so at a glance, while not actually being so. I hoped to give the idea that at first glance, the thing seemed more or less square. I'd be interested to know how you'd convey that idea in one or two words. As for the idea that a concertinaed wooden clothes hangery thing (don't know the exact name) woodent fold down to something about two inches thick and three feet 'squarish' - well, they do. My parents owned one. Why do you think that idea far fetched? What would you have had Karen think or conclude could be contained in a package of roughly those dimensions, which her husband had bought her? And what if she was pulling his leg when she made her guess, simply to wind him up?
Your comments are very welcome, as always.
I don't argue with any of your points but Karen's take on what the package contained seemed a little odd for her, an intelligent hard-working and tired detective who has rushed home to a hubby making dinner for her and when given a gift asks if the package is a clotheshorse. However, I take your point but I do not suggest an alternative because I would not have written the script in the same way. As stated, I liked your chapter that nicely brought things together, no mean feat. BTW I do see you jest (I hope) "woodent fold down" I look forward to your next chapter, Ant.
Aye, I jest. And I'm not down to write any more of this; Karen's future is in the hands of others. Perhaps she'll solve it all and get an OBE.
Hi Ant and Ray, this conversation is a great example of two writers critiquing work. It'd be wonderful if we could get more of this happening as it is with constructive feedback that writer's grow.
I loved the twist of Karen's husband buying the painting. I wonder how that will feed into the final two chapters. I did suspect that was what was coming about half way through...not sure if that is an issue or not. Possibly an indication that the structure made the end a bit predictable. But you were working with what writers had put together previously and that can make for unique challenges. As for a folded up clothes horse? Why not? Adds to the domestic scene. I loved the flow and easy banter between the two.