SKIN GAME by Nick Hahn, due 2014

isearch“May I ask a question Mr. Slim?”

He looked at me with surprise, he was not used to be questioned by subordinates, especially a new recruit.

“ A question, hmmm, why not, what’s on your mind Cosita?”

“If one of your assets does an especially good job satisfying a client, attracting repeat business, are there incentives or rewards for exceptional performance?”

The look on Slim’s face was incredulous, how, he wondered, could this unremarkable child from a barrio outside of Panama City be schooled in the art of negotiation. Where did she get the nerve to ask for a bonus when her safety and well being were all she had a right to expect.

“My young friend, now tell me, did you learn to bargain on the streets of El Chorrillo?”

I looked back at him and smiled.

“Put your left hand on my desk Cosita, palm down,” His voice was unusually soft and quiet, this was a strange request but I did as he asked.

As my hand slid across the polished mahogany his movement was so fast I barely saw the knife flash in the sunlight streaming through the window. The blade struck the back of my hand, artfully missing the bone, and pinned it to the desk. My blood erupted from the wound, Slim glared at me, and yanked the knife out. “This will be your bonus for a dissatisfied client, for a happy one you will be rewarded with your life and continued room and board in my building, am I making myself clear Cosita?”

I gasped, sucking in huge amounts of air as I wrapped my hand with the towel Slim had thrown across the desk. He told me to wipe off the desk, go to the infirmary and return to class. I’d be getting further instructions about my meeting with Hassan.

(nick’s thought for the day)

I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.”
― Madeleine L’Engle



(nick’s thought for the day)

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
― Charles BukowskiFactotum



(nick’s thought for the day)

At my signing event last evening at RJ Julia in Madison, I spoke of my infatuation with Ernest Hemingway, reading these lines convinces me it was more than infatuation, he could say more with less than writer of his era.

“Oh Jake,” Brett said, “We could have had such a damned good time together.”Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly, pressing Brett against me.Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” 

― Ernest HemingwayThe Sun Also Rises



(nick’s thought for the day)

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

― Rosemarie Urquico


PS: Julie reads, a lot!  :))




1) Weds, Oct 23, R J Julia Booksellers, Madison, 7:PM
2) Thurs, Nov 7, Lyme Public Library, Lyme, 7:pm

Pick a date and enjoy an evening of reading, signing and discussing one of today’s hot button topics, sub-human rights in the developing world. Under The Skin takes you to Uganda, East Africa for an exciting tale about a brutal dictator and two courageous young woman who confront him with an ingenious if not dangerous strategy.