Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May Secret Agent #49

TITLE: Keeping Time

Some Timekeepers saw the Schedules as a rigid set of rules never to be broken, but I figured a little creative interpretation never hurt anyone.

The dust was thick in the air and heavy on my tongue as I inhaled. With every breath, history took root in my lungs. A flowery perfume tried to hide the musty scent, but the smell of years long gone still lived on in the antique store.

“Change of plans,” I said as my assignment partner rounded the corner of the aisle. He jumped out of the way to avoid sending a teetering pile of old books crashing to the floor.

Trent sighed. “Why do you always do this, Mik? What was wrong with the original plan?”

“Do you really think just prompting him to buy a book from her would be enough?” My gaze drifted towards our target. “It's too simple for a guy like that. We’ll need something a bit more drastic to get through his thick skull.”

Thirty-year-old Joseph Bolland stood on the far side of the store with stiff shoulders and a straight back. The window behind him, dirtied with years of grime, let in very little light. Even with the dingy overhead lamps, the wine decanter in his hands was barely visible.

I ran through my mental checklist for matchmaking assignments. The briefing was on point with almost everything, but it had failed to mention Joseph was a real jerk.

Trent’s voice sliced through my annoyance. “What’d he do to piss you off?”


  1. The descriptions are good except that I think dust might be "sticky on my tongue" not heavy on my tongue (that would take a lot of dust!)

    This sort of seems like "The Adjustment Bureau" where assigned people are trying to orchestrate events in the lives of others. The fact that our MC likes to go off-script will make it a fun read.

    I would keep reading.

  2. I like this start. I would keep reading for sure. One little thing I noticed is the sentence "...jumped out of the way to avoid sending a teetering pile of old books crashing to the floor." was a bit confusing, jumped out of the way indicated that the pile was already falling. Maybe clarify. Good luck!

  3. An antique store is always a great setting. Although I'm a little confused who Joseph is and how he fits into the scene. I think what intrigued me the most is that the timekeeping assignment has something to do with matchmaking. Like another commenter said, it reminds me of The Adjustment Bureau. I'm interested to know what happens next.

  4. I liked it, I would read on, but when you say the guy is 30 I think kids will move along to another story. At 15, 30 is totally ancient.

  5. I like the voice and the story has a lot to offer in mystery. I agree that a teen is going to wonder why they should care about a 30 something. However, I'm curious how he fits into the scheme of things.

  6. Overall, I enjoyed this. Nice work. With the exception of the first two paragraphs (more on that to come), I found this breezy reading. Do be careful when pointing out Joseph's age -- it feels a touch forced, and you may turn off younger readers.

    As for the first two paragraphs -- the style of the second feels different from the others, which isn't working in your favor. As for the opening paragraph -- does it convey what you intend? "Some" and "but I" suggests to me that not every Timekeeper follows the rules, in which case what makes your protagonist stand out from the other Timekeepers? Essentially, I'm not sure what you're meaning to convey about the protagonist here.

  7. The first sentence doesn't really fit. It's in a different voice than the rest of the opening, and it mentions breaking a rule but the follow paragraphs don't explain what the rules are or how her change of plans breaks them. I'm more confused than intrigued at this point.