Leonard I

I said, "They ended up watching Get Shorty. I've seen it twice, but I stayed for the opening. Ten minutes, tops, sets up all the plot points, like dominoes. Doesn't waste any time. Think the book is like that?"

He said, "Don't know."

"Elmore Leonard, what else did he write? Out of Sight, right?"

"And Rum Punch. You know, Jackie Brown?"

"Right. He's the one, all the SF writers say he does great dialogue. Leaves the beginnings off sentences. He doesn't say, 'What the hell are you talking about?', he says, 'The hell you talking about?' Every time an SF writer is talking about dialogue. Elmore Leonard."

He rolled his eyes. "Crime writers want to write like people on the street talk. Science fiction writers want to write like crime writers."

"So what else did the man write? Any good?"

He turned and walked away down the hall, out of the light spilling out of the kitchen. I looked around. Taking it in, playing it cool.

"This." He was back, handed me a paperback. Nice cover, a parrot and this painting of this blue-skin Asian girl, looks familiar. Glitz.

"This a comedy?"

"It's funny in places."

"Get Shorty, that was a comedy. Out of Sight, great film, not a comedy as such. This a comedy?"

He frowned. "More a crime novel. Don't know if you'll like it. Probably won't."

I shrugged. "The hell else I have going? I'll try it."

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