Monday, April 2, 2012

SAMPLE MY WARES II BY JIM WOODS (See Part 1, March 11, 2012)

My fiction collection, Cabbages and Kings, contributed two promotional treatments similar to my earlier “Sample My Wares,” with the stories, “She Serpent” and “The Diamond Exchange.” A basic difference from the previous stand alone “Mexican Holiday” (March 11) is the two extracted independent novellas were made available in PDF prior to release of the complete book. A blurb on the last page of those low priced separate stories alerted the reader to the upcoming master volume, available in print version and electronic formats. “She Serpent” is excerpted here, to be followed at a later date in this space by “The Diamond Exchange.”


The “She Serpent” captains the luxury yacht that will take you for a pricey
deep-sea cruise, but with little expectation that you’ll enjoy the ride.

EXCERPT, from “She Serpent,” from Cabbages and Kings:

“Lieutenant Jordan, take a look at this ad in the ‘Personals’ column. Doesn’t it sound just slightly suspicious?”

BOAT-SIDE BURIAL services at sea.
Private and confidential.
for arrangements and fees.

“Well, it does sound a bit strange, but a lot of people choose to spread the ashes of their deceased loved ones at sea, just as many more like to scatter them in a river, on a mountain, or at Yosemite, or Valley Forge, or some other scenic or historic spot. It’s fairly common even though prohibited by most state laws. You’d have to catch someone in the act off disposing ashes of human or animal remains to make a charge stick. Once ashes are in the ocean or the river or blowing in the wind, there’s no evidence.”

“But,” argued Detective Edward Harper, “this says ‘burial,’ not ashes scattering. Suppose the remains are not ashes, a corpse for instance, from a homicide?”

“Harper, if you don’t have enough to do with the active cases assigned to you, I’ll find you some work. An ad in the newspaper is not a crime. In fact, this ad in the paper indicates an assumed absence of crime. Bank robbers and burglars and murderers don’t take out ads. If a crime was involved here, would the SeaSpirits people be publicly advertising?”

“But you’ve said yourself that disposing of remains like this is against state laws. There’s a good probability here that this service, whatever as it is, is a means of disposing of missing persons.”

“I’ll grant you that, but it also could be just what it appears to be, a service, partially illegal though it may possibly be, of providing access beyond the legal maritime limits for people who want burial at sea for their loved one’s ashes, or even their body, if you insist it had to be a whole body. After all, bodies resulting from deaths on board ships frequently are buried at sea, even deaths that occur on cruise liners. It doesn’t have to be a military ship or wartime for a burial at sea. And if the company is just providing transportation, the most you could charge them with is conspiracy to break a law that everyone looks the other way on anyhow. Have you cleared all your case files? If not, get back to them and don’t look for more work. We’re overloaded as it is.”


Jim Woods has published some four hundred articles in nationally distributed print magazines, contributed to various fact and fiction anthologies, and is the author of sixteen print and e-books with treatments ranging from writing tutorial to fictional political assassination. He is a world traveler, so far having logged his presence in eighty countries. He also is a former Editor, Managing Editor and Editorial Director with Petersen Publishing Company of Beverly Hills; and Senior Field Editor with Publishers Development Corporation, San Diego. He’s a former big-game hunter and has written extensively on African safari, both the hunting and camera varieties. He lives and writes in Tucson, Arizona. Find him on line at:

1 comment: