The Scoop on the Inspector (X-posted)

If you scroll down a bit you can read my short story, The Inspector, first published in Shred of Evidence a year or more ago. The story is a good one, but there's a problem that I can't help thinking it has. I'll get to that in a minute. First, the background of where the story came from.

WhenI was young, my family and I attended a church on Manida Street in the Bronx. It was a storefront church and the pastor had to have a full-time secular job to support his family. He worked as a meat inspector for the USDA. Sometimes, he came to church for an evening service still in his uniform - looked kind of like a mailman's uniform except with a sidearm. I wondered, even back then, why he would need to carry a gun in order to inspect meat. A magnifi=ying glass, maybe, but a gun?

It turns out that the job had its dangers and there were two ways of dealing with them. Imagine this, you inspect a meat processing plant and find roaches or rats or some other major infraction. If you shut the place down, the company loses tens of thousands of dollars if not hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions. Those company owners might want to kill you. Well, you can either have a gun to make them think twice or you can tell them the problem will go away if they give you a small bag filled with cash. My pastor was not a bribe taker.

Still, I could easily imagine how this enormous power could be used to hurt people. That's what my inspector does.

The problem I have with the story is with the ending. I wanted the hero to not recognize herself as such. I wanted the ending to be low-key. I wanted understatement at the end, and I think I got that, but I'm worried. The ending sounds a little like a punchline to my ear. That wasn't my intention. Not sure if any readers have ever thought that. Anyway, it's been published, so it's a bit late to complain. Oh well.

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Comment by Steven Torres on June 14, 2007 at 2:00am
Well thank you for not complaining...But that last line is what's wrong. Probably could have done better by having Gonzalo react. As is, it comes off sounding a little too slick, but what else is a woman in her position supposed to say?

Writing is hard...

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