The OTHER Laurie King: a PI with a difference
I’ve been writing a few blog posts about “the OTHER Laurie R. King” (see the rest here) that talk about why I write those stories that aren’t inside the Russell & Holmes universe. In some cases, the world Russell inhabits is a little too whimsical for the theme I want to explore. Other times I get tired of breathing 1920s air. Or there may be a voice in my head that’s strong and sure and definitely does NOT belong to Miss Russell. And then there’s genre: sometimes the limitations of the traditional mystery begin to chafe.
Which brings me to “Hellbender,” a story I wrote a few years ago for Gardner Dozois and George RR Martin, an “urban noir” piece for a collection called Down These Strange Streets.
It’s a PI story, classic in its gumshoe hard-talk and bottle-in-the-drawer beginning—but far from usual in its protagonists.
I looked across my desk at my new client, wondering what she’d say if I fished out the bottle and offered her a drink.
Might be a little early in the morning, I decided. Might be a little straitlaced.
At that, I raised my eyes to hers. They were big and blue and welling with just enough tears to get the message across, but not enough to threaten her makeup. The color had to be some kind of an implant, I thought—although you’d swear her hair was a natural blond.
Interesting fact: People of her kind just weren’t born blond.
Interesting fact: People don’t know just how many of us there are. Oh, you may think you do, and you can bet Uncle Sam does, but it didn’t take very many bombings and riots before even the government could see that playing things down might be a smart idea. Once the Supremes turned in their decision regarding our human status, the feds were ready, and pretty much everything about us went away: numbers, characteristics, identities. There’s even the occasional Web rumor that says we’re nothing but a myth, which is fine with me.
When genetic engineering, politics, and religious fanaticism meet tough-guy P? Definitely the other Laurie R. King.