Blogger Tips and TricksLatest Tips And TricksBlogger Tricks

Friday, January 26, 2024

F³ Establishing Bona Fides 49

             “Um,” I said, confused. “I’m looking for Han Lee.”

            “Yes, this is the place. This is Han Lee’s, shop.” The young woman beamed a customer-service smile.

            “It’s changed since I was here last. Is Lee here?”

            Her smile slipped and her eyebrow questioned me. “Why do you want Grandpa?”

            One of his granddaughters. Thought he said none of them were interested in running the shop.

            “I know him. I’m Matt Allen. Wanted to ask him about some things.”

            Her smile completely disappeared. “Ask about what things? Grandpa’s not in some kind of trouble, is he? I won’t answer any questions without a lawyer.” She pulled out her phone.

            I held up my hands defensively. “Whoa. I’m not a cop. I’m a PI. Your grandpa has helped me on cases, before. I’m Matt Allen.”

            “What’d you buy?”


            “You’d have to buy something for Grandpa to help you out. So what’d you buy?”

            I searched my memory. “Jade tortoises, a bunch of them. A bronze gong. Some beads. Silk cloth. Some other things over the years. I’m sure he wouldn’t have talked about them.”

            “No, he didn’t, but I’ve got all of the shop’s records I can search through?”

            “Wait, Lee digitized everything?”

            “No, I did. Grandpa is still afraid of cordless phones, much less mobile phones and cloud computing.”

            That fits.

            “Hmm. Okay, I can see that you have made purchases.” She scrolled through her phone. “Pretty random stuff, and you only come in rarely. Would it kill you to be a more regular customer?”

            “I’m a bit far away to be a regular. Usually only need his expertise rarely. Is he here?”

            “Expertise? On souvenirs? That’s weird, man. No. He’s not here. He went back to China.”


            She shrugged. “Maybe. He is pretty old. At least a year, though.”

            “Oh, well. Okay. Thanks.” I turned to leave.

            “What? That’s it? Thought you had some case and needed answers.”

            “I do.”

            “So, ask. I know about everything in this shop.”


            “Everything. Grandpa wouldn’t agree to me running the shop until I knew everything. I had to sit through and listen to him drone on until I could repeat it back to him.”

            “Okay, but I don’t have questions about items in the shop. I need to know about Chinese mythology and this.” I pulled the jade figurine from my coat and unwrapped the cloth carefully.

Friday, January 19, 2024

F³ Not The Guy 48

             Shadow Valley was a warren of tangled streets that made the Grind look navigable. While the Grind came from the Hooverville shanties during the Depression, Shadow Valley’s knots of streets arose from the various immigrant communities setting up their own places since they were forced to live outside of the towns where they worked in factories.

            Modern GPS systems didn’t know any straightforward way to get to a destination, insisting on dozens of turns in what it thought was the most direct route, but over the last few years, I had learned a shortcut that worked off of three streets, based on landmarks rather than street signs, which had a habit of disappearing.

            The smells of the Golden Peach restaurant called to me. I almost always stopped for some food before I came here, but it was already late, and Han Lee kept irregular hours in his shop. Instead, I went down some steps to the basement of the building and entered the shop.

            Before getting all the way in, I froze. A waving cat statue greeted me. Bright overhead lighting banished all shadows, and instead of the chaos of shelves and counters that resembled the streets above, the place was completely organized. It looked like a dozen other souvenir shops I had passed on the way here.

            “Welcome to Lee’s Cruios,” a woman’s voice said as I came in. “Something I can help you find?”

            I turned to the woman, who was in her twenties, wearing a Chinese-style dress in green silk.

            That was not the guy.

Friday, January 12, 2024

F³ Punny Business 47

             For a vampire, who was hundreds of years old, Nikki displayed uncommon impatience over the next few days. She virtually clung to me as I spent time online researching. I also ended up sending Jen and Jessie to DeGradi’s library to look up some of their more obscure folklore collection, particularly from the Far East collections. It turned out that Nikki didn’t care to piece together fragments of folk texts and apply them to real-life.

            “ ‘Jade is a semi-precious gemstone, highly regarded in Asian cultures and certain North American Native American tribes due to the large deposits of jade found in British Columbia, The Yukon Territory, and parts of Alaska.’” She read. “Why are you looking up the geology of this substance, Matthew?”

            “Because I never know,” I said.

            “Never know what?”


            “I warn you I am in no mood for word games.”

            After three days of this kind of questioning, I as in a mood, too. “Tough,” I said. “Research doesn’t move in straight lines. There’s no old man nor a book with all the answers. I piece all of this together. This is detective work.”

            “I expected more searching for clues.”

            “We’ve got a lot of clues. We don’t have a lot of information about them. I need to know more about this stuff before I can make an educated guess before I pump my guy for information.”

            “Guy? This is the first time you’ve mentioned a guy. Some magician, perhaps? Or maybe Tony?”

            “Tony’s long gone, Not coming back as far as I know.” It would have been nice if he would come back. He probably had the raw power to undo the enchantment, or at least be able to pinpoint what did it. “And my guy is more a con artist than a magician.”

            “This does not inspire me with confidence, Matthew.”

            “Ha! Good one,” I said.

            She frowned at me.

            “Confidence,” I grinned. “Con artist.”

            She rolled her eyes. “I was not making a pun.”

            “That’s too bad.”

Friday, January 5, 2024

F³ The Business 46

             We left Parker as he was calling the 24/7 hotline number on the card.

            “How did you get a card from Customs and Border Control?” Nikki asked as we climbed into her car. “And why?”

            I wanted to play it as the cool detective who knows his business, but it was Nikki. She would almost certainly laugh or give me a flat look. “I’ve had a few cases dealing with smuggled items, before.”

            “So you know this Colleen Fenton. Won’t she recognize you by description?”

Parker would certainly describe Nikki and me, particularly Nikki. It wouldn’t really do to get identified by the a border control agent. It was possible, if not likely, that someone at the Club had paid some of those agents off. Even if that wasn’t the case, it represented a loose end, a connection to us when we wanted anonymity.

“Never met her before,” I smiled. “Customs and Border Control sounds imposing, but it’s not the FBI. Regular people have to deal with them all the time, so people are constantly wandering in their offices. I picked cards from a few desks to have on hand, and to call with a question so I can bypass the switchboard.”

            “You are quite a rogue at times, Matthew.”

            “It’s my business.”

1001 Nights (4) Abraham (11) Adonis (4) Aphrodite (18) Apocalypse (6) Apollo (5) Arabian (4) Ares (2) Artemis (5) Arthur (12) Athena (7) Bard (1) Ben Slater (13) Bible (88) Boxing Day (6) Celtic (2) Character File (2) Chinese (1) Christian (6) Christmas (1) Conferences (30) creation myths (15) Criminalelement (11) Dark Business (61) Dark Winds (22) Demeter (10) Diomedes (6) Don Iverson (4) Eden (5) Enchanter (16) essay (9) Exploding Storm Rider Mystery (1) F3 (632) (2) Fairhaven Club (6) Fairy Tales (20) Family (2) Flood Myth (8) Flynn (84) Greek (96) Greeks (1) Guest (1) Hades (10) Halloween Fall Formal (6) Hercules (9) Hestia (2) Hindu (2) History Prof (22) Holiday (12) Holiday Myths (6) Incan (1) Iranian (2) Jacob (13) Japanese (1) Job (21) Joseph (18) Judges (12) Knowledge Myths (3) Levite (12) Library (8) Life (123) Love Gods (4) M3 (253) (1) map (13) Matt Allen (268) Medieval (7) Metamyth (5) Misc Flash (36) Mom (1) monthly chart (21) Movies (6) Myth Law (2) Myth Media (4) NaNoWriMo (22) Noah (5) noir (9) Noir Tales (1) Norse (10) Odyssey (8) Persephone (15) Perseus (14) Persian (1) Poseidon (1) Prometheus (8) publishing (24) ramble (113) Red Riding Hood (6) Review (1) Sam Faraday (53) Samson (14) Santa's Helper (3) Scavenger Hunt (20) Sci Fi (15) science (1) Serial (84) short story (14) Spotlight (8) Storm Riders (139) Teaching (136) Tech (18) Transformation (5) Travel (27) TV (10) TV Myth (1) Underworld (6) Unhappily (2) Vacation (15) vampires (18) W3 (11) WIP (20) Writing (166) Writing Tools (16) Zeus (21)