Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Page 99 -- The Waterfall Dance by Andrew Quinn

Page 99 from The Waterfall Dance
A Novel
By Andrew Quinn
Reprinted with Permission: Copyright 2010 By Andrew Quinn. All Rights Reserved

Book Description: The maxim of the three wise monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil too often describes matters of American justice; though in new author Andrew Quinn's debut novel, Waterfall Dance, one very special primate is poised to show and tell all. Renowned English primatologist Emily Bennett has taught sign language to generations of chimpanzees, but only recently has the project, Simian Says, adopted sign language recognition and speech synthesis technology designed for communication-impaired humans. Voice changes everything, so when Emily is arrested for her involvement in the rescue of three experimental chimps from a Seattle lab, her prize pupil is thrust into the spotlight. Emily's lawyer, ambivalent pretty boy Will Thomas, can't help but fall for his primate-passionate client, which will either help the case or interfere with her scheme. In the twenty-first century's most sensational trial comes the most anticipated witness in courtroom history. Time is running out on our closest relative in evolution. To turn the tide, Will Thomas must change what it means to be human. The woman gave him clarity. The trial taught him courage. But it is an animal that must teach aimless Will Thomas what it means to be human. The prospect of meaningful communication with a great ape is just around the corner--not the ambiguous interpretation of body language and gestures, but the plain English of American Sign Language synthesized into voice. Much of the technology required is already here. The rest will soon arrive. What will they say? What would you ask? What does it change?


She peeked into her mocha, slurped a dab of whipped cream, and then stared away. She licked her lips before turning to him.

“What? She said.

He smiled. “Where would you be if it weren’t for all of this?”


“If you didn’t have to do all of this, the project and chimps.”

“I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

She didn’t seem to understand the question. In a sense, he was setting her free.

“But if you could.”

“I wouldn’t. I would do exactly what I’m doing.” While smoothing an errant bang, she looked over his shoulder as though at something of interest. He spun to look at a wall hung with underwhelming metal art.
“You like metal art?”

“What about you? What dreams may come of Will Thomas?”

The scenario was as old as high school and he had played it in his head a thousand times. He had browsed catalogs in search of just the right retro-Casablanca furniture, and surfed temp agencies in search of just the right sassy red-lipped secretary. Yet he knew nothing of the destination he desired.

“I’d open a PI pop stand in Key West and change my name to Dick Savage, get me a straw fedora and one of those sturdy retro desk fans to push the heat around. I could get Cubans there, cigars to loll away the time.” His hand spread. “The neon outside would say Whodunit Dick, on your case like stink on shit.”

Melanie had laughed her ass off. Emily covered her mouth to hide horror.

“This would make you happy?”

It barely peeped out. “No.”

“I don’t understand.”

He felt stupid now. “Just a stupid kid thing.”

She touched his sleeve. “I see Will Bond, foreign diplomat, pressed suits and sultry ladies, passports and euro-trains, the State Department’s savviest spy for humanitarian relief work.”

As a young man, Andrew Quinn left the relative comfort of his Minnesota roots in search of solace in the Northwest, residing twice in Montana and living for nearly a decade in a remote cabin in Oregon. Alcoholism counselor, carpenter, and ranch hand are but a few of the many occupations he has employed in an adventurous life. Home again in Minnesota, writing became a fever. Starve a cold; feed a fever. To learn more about Andrew or his debut novel, Waterfall Dance, visit him on the web at StoriesThatStir.com


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