Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lucky Seven Sunday Snippet

From Janet, who got it from B. E. Sanderson, a snippet from a manuscript from a 7 page, 7, 17, 27, you get the idea. There area  couple there already if you are interested.

Here's mine. My normal text editor is very bare bones, and doesn't give page numbers. I copied this story into a more featured word process and grabbed a one page chunk from page 7. This is a conversation between Dwen and a cop who is investigating a bone found in the digester, which is a big sealed tank where an anaerobic process breaks down sewage.

`We only do it when we have to. We can tell by the suction and discharge pressures of the pump involved. Normally it would be recorded in this book here, but I can tell you that nobody has written down that they’ve done it in the last year or so. For a while we were having process problems and of the four in use, we probably cleaned one a shift.`
`How big is the piping involved?`
`Ten inch diameter. Big enough for a bone, easy.`
`At this point I’m thinking more in terms of bodies. Could someone have been left in the tank during the last clean out?`
Dwen shuddered. `I don’t want to think about that, but no. You saw how open the tank is. Normally everybody going there would put a lock on the manway so it can’t be sealed. I’m not sure when that digester was last drained, but it would be on the order of 10 years ago. Stu would know for sure. Would bone last that long?`
`The forsenic guys will know. Can the hatches on top be opened when the tank is in operation?`
`Not without getting a faceful of gas. I can take you up and show you them, too. If the hatch is opened, the pressure would drop in the digester, and that would show up on the instrumentation.`
`Is there any way of looking back for that?`
I’m afraid not. Maintenance has been cleaning this tank for over a month now. The computer only keeps records for a little over 24 hours. We used to have pen charts recording some things, but gas flows were never done.`
`Hell. So 24 hours after the hatch is opened and closed, you’d never know.`
`I don’t really want to experiment, but I’d bet that unless you were watching it live, you’d not see it at all. The dip would be over quick enough that it would be lost in the computer processing. Opening the hatch itself wouldn’t be difficult. I’m not sure how you would get the body in without getting covered in gas and foam, or risk breathing the methane. One breath of that and you might join the original victim for a swim. Game over big time, but then we’d find an open hatch.`
`That would have shown up, and would be noted?`

Right now I'm putting in a serious effort to timeline and plot the whole thing out. I've got lots of snippets and individual stories that need to be massaged together into a coherent whole.

Speaking of coherent wholes, that's basically what I'm feeling today, for the first time in several days. There is still a bit of congestion but breathing for ordinary activity is back to normal. My body's thermostat isn't playing tricks on me anymore. With any luck I'll get back on the fitness bus tomorrow.


  1. Good stuff, Keith! Thanks for playing along. I can't wait to see where you go with this. =o)

    1. Where I go with this has been a huge mystery to me for years. I have all these chunks, but I haven't been able to figure out if it's a love story, or a murder mystery, or a weird time and place setting like a China Mieville novel, or something else.

  2. Excellent, Keith! And very intriguing - I love a good murder mystery! Glad you decided to play along ;)

    1. Part of the problem has been that I wasn't sure this was actually a murder mystery. I'm still not sure. Perhaps it's something else that takes place with only the backdrop of a murder mystery. In fact, I'm still not sure. From what I can tell, no writer is every really sure what a novel is until they actually send it to the publisher.

  3. Mmmmm. I Like it too, Keith. Look forward to reading more!

    1. Thank you! I've given the characters lots of time to explore their world. They've sent up occasional messages, but now I'm busy capturing stuff. Fun. So far.


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