Girl from Ipanema

“Well, what do you know Walt, Christmas cards from the ‘rents and Viv,” her voice echoed in the empty post office atrium. Flipping open the card written in her mother’s feminine flourish, she smiled at the childish cartoon drawing that was her father’s signature.

Pauley was still adjusting to her long-dead mother resurrected, and living a life of leisure in a Moroccan villa with a crazy man who turned out to be her biological father.

She tensed, suddenly overcome by that uneasy feeling when someone is encroaching on her personal space. Unbuttoning her jacket, Pauley loosen Walther from his tooled, custom-made, Brazilian leather holster. She cocked her head just enough to catch sight of the interloper.

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Arcozelo,” Pauley said, relaxing.

Settling her .22 handgun, Pauley re-buttoned her jacket, and slipped her mail into her pocket. “Como é você hoje?”

“Muito bom, obrigado,” the older woman smiled, showing brown, tobacco-stained teeth. “You’ve been practicing. Your Portuguese is improving.”

Dressed in a light blue velour track suit, embellished with rhinestones and hand-painted beach scenes, Mrs. Arcozelo, owner of the local Bodega, was well-known in the neighborhood. Her arms were laden with holiday issues of Lillian Vernon and Finger Hut catalogs.

“Here, I already have one of these,” Mrs. Arcozelo said, handing Pauley a Hickory Farms catalog, “It has some wonderful holiday ideas.”

Thanking her, Pauley left the building, chuckling at the idea of sending Gail and Butch a gift basket of summer sausage, faux cheeses and spicy mustard.

A blast of icy, New York air brought tears to her eyes. Walking to her nearby apartment, Pauley was grateful her radiator was working for a change. Keeping her jacket on as she set the kettle for a hot cuppa tea. She pulled out Vivian’s card, showing an idyllic beach in sunny Rio de Janeiro.

Humming “Girl From Ipanema,” Pauley fanned herself with the card. “Maybe it’s time for a visit Viv.”

Trifecta, a weekly one-word prompt, challenges writers to use that word in its third definition form, using no less than 33 words or no more than 333. The week’s prompt is: Uneasy [adj. \uhn-ˈē-zē\] 3: marked by lack of ease : awkward, embarrassed

Pauley, a hired killer featured in the Summer Series, “Dead Money,” written with Lance (he of My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog), is recently returned to New York, after being drugged, kidnapped, and flown to a country with no extradition treaty with the U.S. Even though the series finale was published last week, she is hard to quit. Vivian, aka Millicent, was her last partner in crime.

If you missed the series, the link to past issues is in the top nav bar – Pauley: Dead Money.

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I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

20 thoughts on “Girl from Ipanema

  1. I, too, particularly enjoyed the faux cheeses and Finger Hut. Too funny. Great job with the dialogue. This definitely makes me want to go back and read all of them. Thanks for linking up and sharing!


  2. I have indeed missed the series, but this little flash piece did endear me to the character. Mostly, I thought it was impressive that you had Portuguese in it. I didn’t quite get that she was in New York, though.

    As far as characters being hard to quit, just think of JK Rowling with Harry Potter. When she finished writing that series, she raided the hotel’s mini-bar where she was at the time and cried. She said that every writer who has finished a book or a series knows how hard it is to let go of the characters when you’re done, and she was with hers for 17 years…


  3. Oh oh OH, you KNOW KNOW KNOW that there is a letter from Shit why can’t I get her name to pop into my head, MILLICENT. You know there is a letter from Millicent in that catalog. YOu just KNOW IT.

    Great little story about Pauley after the end of the last tale.


    1. Vivian is Millicent’s alias that was revealed in Lance’s last chapter, one of Pauley’s postcards was from her. But I love your idea of having a message hidden in the catalog. I may have to use that later.


  4. I’ve never read one of your post before (I don’t think). So I was wondering as I read it, I wonder what Pauley does for a living. Great excerpt. I read it again after I read the series info at the end.


    1. Pauley is an assassin, a gun for hire. In the series, Vivian (Millicent) and Pauley were hired to kill a lawyer, a hit that went very wrong. I hope you get a chance to read “Dead Money,” It was a fun story to write, and the co-author, Lance is an excellent writer.


  5. I love the brief portugese dialog, too. And a visit to Brazil should be in the works. Also loved the Hickory Farms bit and the “faux cheese”! Crazy fun story.


  6. I love that you had her learn portugese, inspired by her weird friendship. Now we have to dream up a visit/vacation.

    breezy dialogue.


  7. OH! Wow! I still love that girl and this story.
    It was perfect, it flowed and I got so caught up.

    Plus you used BODEGA, one of my favorite words, next to shenanigans. 🙂 (must be the “I really wish I was a New Yorker” in me)

    and the use of another language gives this such a nice flavor, a new layer. I just loved everything about it.


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