Sea Legs


I kissed her hard. She wasn’t expecting it, and one of her words got caught in my throat. It was ‘no’.

I don’t know what kind of girl you think I am, Mr. Carlisle, but that’s not it. Do you want the job or not? You’re just a name on a scrap of paper to me.”

I thought about it. Sure, I made a mistake about the kiss, but who could blame me? That splash of freckles on her shoulders, and that windswept hair the color of bourbon. They were distractions. Looking at her, you’d never know she was a widow twice over and a soon-to-be divorcée . She kept the gunpowder makeup to a minimum, and her legs were a mile long. She had lousy taste in men, and I went ahead and proved it. Did I want the job? Did the pope want a hat?

Sure. I need the dough up front, though. Expenses and incidentals.”

I don’t pay for your whiskey and whores,” she said. Her voice was as flat as a stick of gum.

Film for the Brownie, and gas for the Buick,” I said. “Gas isn’t cheap, and neither is shoe leather.”

I’ve seen your shoes. I’m not impressed. A hundred now, a hundred when I get the pictures. Quality pictures. Pictures that show everyone he’s a son-of-a-bitch.”

My specialty,” I said.

That’s what the scrap of paper said. When can you start?”

I thought about it. It was an easy job, and I could do it in my sleep. But she might be a complication. Those legs and that hair. That splash of freckles on her shoulders. “Tomorrow,” I said, and she handed me the envelope. (Steven Baird)

It was Gin, not whiskey and the pint was empty after the second swallow. Bitter and just a bit too cold. The other bottle was hiding behind the papers from the courthouse and the Colt. Somehow I managed to avoid the ditch as I fumbled in the glove box but the revolver tumbled to the floorboard, ignored when my fingers found the smooth glass of the backup resting under a folded Esso roadmap.
“Whiskey, my dear, is for old ladies,” I said to myself.
But the Gin only made the trip seem longer. More time to ponder on those damn freckles…
(Mike Fuller Author —

To be continued…


(Note: Please feel free to contribute to this ongoing story. Just leave a comment at either or, include a link to your site,  and we’ll include you in the adventure. We look forward to hearing from you, whether it’s a  couple of sentences or a few paragraphs. And have fun! There’s no telling where we’ll end up. It’s a big ocean! Photography by K’lee.)


Author: Steven Baird

Writer, amateur photographer, ad compositor and chicken herder.

81 thoughts on “Sea Legs”

  1. It was Gin, not whiskey and the pint was empty after the second swallow. Bitter and just a bit too cold. The other bottle was hiding behind the papers from the courthouse and the Colt. Somehow I managed to avoid the ditch as I fumbled in the glove box but the revolver tumbled to the floorboard, ignored when my fingers found the smooth glass of the backup resting under a folded Esso roadmap.

    “Whiskey, my dear, is for old ladies,” I said to myself.

    But the Gin only made the trip seem longer. More time to ponder on those damn freckles…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. My few lines to get started:

        “Is your Mr. Carlisle going to be a problem?”

        “No. W-What makes you say that? He kissed me is all. A man like him all but assures us success in this venture”, purred Mathilda, drawing a slim platinum cigarette case from her oversized Hermes bag. “You tell Mr. Ito everything is going according to the plan. In a week’s time, we’ll not only have his initial half mil, we’ll toss in a bonus quarter simply because we can.”

        “All right, Mattie”, sighed Jonah. I won’t arrive in San Francisco until Sunday. That gives you three days to solidify this thing, then-

        “Relax, honey”, Mathilda laughed, balancing her phone between her mink-clad shoulder and her diamond-studded right ear as she looked out over the Golden Gate Bridge from her suite’s bay windows. “Everything, and I do mean everything will be just fine.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ah so! I’ll have to check a few of those out as I’m also a third-person guy. I’ve yet to find my chops with first-person, but I’ve always loved the immediacy and rhythm of its usage.
        Nelson DeMille comes to mind for me as I discovered his books (The Gold Coast and The Charm School, then his John Correy/NYC detective works while living in Europe years ago.)
        I need to practice more first.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I’m more than willing to give it a go. Of DeMille’s works, ‘Gold Coast, the story of a mafia don who insinuates himself into the lives of a NYC lawyer and his ‘old money’ wife on the fabled Gold Coast of Long Island, remains one of my favorites, but the John Correy stuff I’d funny, fast paced, and keeps you guessing right until the end of six or seven books. I’ve read them all and enjoyed each one.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I admit, i went through a phase where DeMille was pretty much all I was reading. Up until finding him, I hadn’t read many detective/thriller types of novels. Fantasy and SCIFI are my favorites, but his style and the ‘truth’ behind a character like John Correy drew me in immediately. I’m glad I found, ‘The Gold Coast’ and ‘The Charm School’ (all about a secret eighties-I think- school where Americans are ‘made’ then sent back to the US for nefarious purposes). A great book and yes, takes you to the end with the guessing what’s going to happen thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I love Parker, both Spencer and Stone stories. Have you read anything from James Lee Burke? He’s one of my favorites. I’ve also read some Raymond Chandler who certainly elevated the genre into literature.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes to both Burke and Chandler. Can’t get the image of Bogart, sitting in a 40’s black sedan with his hat brim pulled low as the fog swirls across the damp waterfront pavement, out of my head. “Marlowe, Phillip Marlowe”.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Yes. It may take a bit of time as open collaboration is not the norm for some writers, but I’m keeping the faith people will find it fun first, community-building second, and all other things (a distant) third…

        Liked by 2 people

      8. I’ve got a couple more contributors that I’ll add tonight, including your of course. I think I’ll update it on a daily (or when necessary) basis… something like Sea Legs 6-25, and so on. It will mean some cutting and pasting, but that’s not hard. There does seem to be a genuine interest in it, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I parked my car on the street across from the house; I had said that I’d start the job the next day, but there was no sense in showing up unprepared. A few minutes getting the lay of the land can go a long way towards a smooth operation. I pulled film out of a box in the back seat of the car. [i]She has two dead husbands and she wants to ruin the third,[/i] I thought to myself as I jammed the film clumsily into the camera and took another swill of gin. [i]Either she’s a gold digger, or she has the worst luck in husbands.[/i] I reached into my breast pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Cloves. Hell or high water, I always smoked cloves. [i]And if those first two men were nudged into death a little early, she might also be one cold bitch.[/i] I fumbled the first cigarette onto the floorboard, but managed to get the second into my mouth. My zippo lighter flashed in the darkness. [i]The hell if I care,[/i] I concluded, [i]those damn legs won’t stop walking circles around my mind.[/i]

    -Anderson Ryle

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I guess we can leave it. Some stories do go back and forth between POV, first person to third. Whatever you feel comfortable with is fine. I’m sorting through the different emails and trying to line the pieces up the best I can for tomorrow. It’s very cool how some people have responded. I think the more the story builds up the better it will come together. I wonder if you could email me another one of your photos? They’d be perfect to separate each day’s installments.

    And I wonder how frequently we should add onto the story? Every other day, every day, a couple times a week? I’ll probably add another few sentences tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly, you can’t rush a good thing and this has real potential to be good. I’m also holding off writing the next bit so I can digest what’s on the plate already. Another day or so…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I figure you’ve gots lots happening right now as do many of us. I’ll follow your lead and add when that door is open. The freshness of a new story developing is always exciting. You don’t want to get in the way, but at the same time you don’t want to toss in too much too soon… A percolating story develops richness and depth is my take.

        I also had an idea of in between new chapters doing some sort of ‘synopsis’ of what’s happened so far and where we think the story’s going. It could be another way to get others who don’t quite trust their collaborative skills yet to participate and join in the fun?

        Let me know what your thought are on this?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I may try to add to it tonight and post what we have tomorrow. It’s been a busy couple of days, so I’ll have to read what we have and go from there.
        I think it’s a great idea to post synopses after every chapter or two. It’s getting challenge even for the writers. 🙂 And I agree, it would be a great help for those unsure about collaborating. Is that something you’d be interested in doing?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes, you’re doing enough as it is, Mr. B. I will start formulating something now on the topic. We may then see what kind of views are out there on what’s already readable. Really liking what’s happening here. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thanks. I don’t really enjoy writing synopses, even for my novels. I’ll post the start of a new chapter tomorrow morning, unless you want to put something up first? I figure Anderson’s major contribution should get things moving.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I’m genuinely surprised by that confession, Sir. Your style suggests you’d create great synopes. I’m currently writing between three pages of things, so I’d better shoot for morning too. Yes. Anderson’s piece should definitely liven things up around the corral.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I think that it’s condensing something into a couple of paragraphs. So much work goes into a project that it’s hard to narrow it down so clearly. And since I’m not a genre writer, it makes it even more challenging. I can do it, but it takes me a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. …’no, really guys. I was having an online discussion with my buddy Steve, when out of the blue he says…’
        It coould happen you know… but now I feel an overwhelming need to ask: why a sexy vampire AND ghost?

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Ha! Don’t know about that, but something’s telling me you might have something there… Vampires are no doubt passe, but if you coud explain how one becomes a ghost… hell, make it a comedy to boot?

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Of course. I wrote a humor column for 10 years way back. Sometimes the humor still shows up. THAT was hard work. Not by being funny, but keeping it fresh. I burned out on it, but the humor part is a big part of me. A dry kind of humor, so not everyone gets it. I was no Dave Barry. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Yeah? Well, now I know this about you, I’ll be expecting a snippet of the vampire/ghost story sometime in the near future!

        Seriously, I can see burning out on something like writing humor. Dave Chappelle gives some very cool insights into what that’s like on a show called, ‘The Actor’s Studio’. Hell, he ended up walking away from a new contract worth fifty mil because of the pressures.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. I remember that. It really is hard to maintain. So I thought I’d let it come out naturally, through dialogue or observational stuff, not make it my focus. I’m not a “funny” guy, but I do have a good sense of humor. I do know how to laugh at myself.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. I think humor is a natural thing that comes from observation and relatability. Funny is different, something that’s on display. I think they’re two separate but very close entities. Hmmm… I’ll have to give this one more thought.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. No, man. You hit the nail on the head with that analogy. It’s as if funny makes you automatically respond or laugh, while humor can do the same , but more likely takes you deeper and might stay with you longer.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll give the next part a try in first. It’s not like the heavens will open up and swallow me if I don’t get it right off. I might even jump back into some of my other stories and try the switch.

        Liked by 1 person

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