April 30, 2018

Z is for Zenon

        In a plain white-painted room, with plain stackable tables and chairs, a nondescript man in khaki scrubs sat with another man who looked somewhat similar, but was noticeably handsomer.  Where the first man was average height and average build, the younger one was taller, more muscular.  Where the first had average light skin, the second was a little tanner.  Where the first had average brown hair, the younger man’s was a little darker and a little wavier.
        It was visiting hours at the prison, and all around the two men prisoners and their visitors sat at the tables talking and sharing food from the vending machines.  Guards watched over the room, but paid little attention to individual conversations.
        Zenon Blank was saying, “I can drive up to Boston this week.  Give me the address where they have one of those books you told me about, and I can have you out of here next time I visit.”
        Ammon Blank shook his head.  “Slow down.  I don’t want to be here a day longer than I have to, but it would be stupid to mess this up.  If we don’t do it right the first time, we’ll end up getting ourselves in bigger trouble.  So first of all, it won’t do us any good to steal the Books in Boston or Cleveland.  Those people know about the connection between the Books and as soon as you steal one, they’ll go through the portal from the other and find you.  You need to steal the Book that’s in London.”
        “London!  Are you gonna pay to fly me to London?”
        “What happened to all the money I gave you last month?”  Ammon sighed.  “Fine.  I’ll make arrangements to get you an airplane ticket.  The Book is at the Christopher Wren Museum.”
        “You’re sending me to rob a museum instead of a private house?  And this is your idea of a safer job?”
        “Keep your voice down, Zenon!  You do remember we’re in a prison, right?  It’s a pretty small museum and I don’t think it has a major security system.  I’ll see if I can do a little research from here, but you’re going to have to do some work yourself for once, Zenon.”
        Zenon scowled for a moment, then shrugged and smiled his charmingly handsome smile.  “Okay, big bro.  I got this.”

        Zenon Blank from The Extraordinary Salamander Door, the in-progress sequel to upper middle-grade fantasy The Extraordinary Book of Doors.

[Picture: created by photoshopping from model.]

A-Z Challenge, all posts for the letter Z.

        In addition to being the last post of the A-Z Challenge, today is also the last post of the month, and that means it’s time for a Word of the Month.  In honor of the Extraordinary Book of Doors, here is a fun door-related word:
        Tomason - an architectural feature that has lost its purpose and become useless, but still remains, making a sort of inadvertent sculptural element.
        One type of Tomason is doors that open onto air in a high place, precisely one of the things that Chen worries about in the book, and which indeed one of the doors turns out to be.  Other common types of Tomason are stairs to nowhere and bricked-up windows, but any sort of no-longer-functional architectural element is fair game.  The word was coined by Japanese architect Akasegawa Genpei after baseball player Gary Thomasson, who received an enormous contract in 1981 and then never played much (or well).  Because of this derivation the word is also sometimes spelled Thomasson or
Thomason.
        So keep your eyes open and enjoy any Tomason you may notice - just be careful when stepping through unfamiliar doors.


[Pictures: Elevated door (Image from shuusukeshiroi);
Staircase from the demolished Winston Churchill Bridge in Strasbourg, France (Image from Messy Nessy).]

4 comments:

  1. I wrote onto a continuing story about books and portals and I can't remember how it turned out. There is a bridge built over a street here in Atlanta that used to go to a building, but now goes nowhere.

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  2. And congratulations on finishing the A to Z this year with such an interesting series. Lots of books I should read.

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  3. Today's excerpt has me wanting to encourage you to move this from in-progress to published. :-)

    I wasn't aware of the word Tomason to describe that phenomenon, but they certainly are unsettling.

    Congratulations on completing the challenge, and thanks for giving us peeks into what I'm sure will be books I love reading.

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    1. Yeah, I have three works in progress, and unfortunately they've all been "in progress" for far too long. But I have high hopes to get back in gear and back into serious work. Thanks for the encouragement!

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