On Writing

Prompt 8 – Our Man in Havana

Book: Our Man in Havana
Author: Graham Greene
Page: 210
Genre: Spy novel
Line chosen by the Hubby

A romantic is usually afraid, isn’t he, in case reality doesn’t come up to expectations.”

Detective Harjo sipped cold coffee out of his paper cup, winced as the bitter black liquid slithered down his throat. The night was a maze of misdirection and misery, and it was only 8pm. He cleared his throat of the coffee gunk.

“There’s nothing romantic about being a spy,” he said, putting the cup on the dashboard of the unmarked white van. He and Buchanan were parked just south of a broken-windowed warehouse in the core of the seediest part of town. This was the land of the most hardened criminals. The whole situation was just too predictable. They both knew it, from their van to their hope to their crappy cup of joe. Harjo shrugged off another chill trying to take hold of the back of his neck. They were meant to be watching, but he knew they were being watched too.

Harjo enjoyed doing the stake with Buchanan. He was a philosophy scholar turned officer turned detective via a very unpredictable path that put him in the top spot for spy hunting in the department. His instincts were slathered in poetry and metaphysics.

Buchanan let out a sigh, and smiled. “You’re a romantic, ain’t ya, Harj?” His green eyes sparkling in the dim light.

“Me? Nah,” Harjo said, visions of his devoted wife likely tidying up the kitchen, closing blinds and locking doors before she headed up to bed to read, streaming in his mind. He and his wife, Naomi, would soon celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Their life was a partnership in support, laughter, and a steady kind of love that helped him keep his head on straight, in reality, in fact, on the job searching for spies. He knocked his right temple with his pointer finger. “Gotta keep the old noggin’ in reality for the wife and kids.”

“That’s commendable,” Buchanan said. “But surely romance helped make the family?”

“Sure, sure,” Harjo said, pressing out the wrinkles in his beige slacks. “But our baby-makin’ years are somewhere back there.” He threw his head toward the back of the van.

“What were you afraid of back then?” Buchanan asked, “If I may.” He added.

Harjo let out a sigh. Took a beat to consider his answer while he stared ahead at the warehouse. There was no action. Not even a piece of garbage being dragged by a wind.

*Note: Okay, so it’s really, really hard for me to not go over what I’ve written at least once and do minor edits. In all transparency, I will be doing minor edits moving forward…to calm my inner critic, in the least!

2 thoughts on “Prompt 8 – Our Man in Havana

  1. gotta say you’re killing me with these writing exercises, Vanessa! I just want more! I want to find out what happens, what the poor guy was afraid of… this genre seems particularly smooth for you… very nice indeed.


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