The Secret Life of Anna Blanc was 127,000 words in it's most bloated draft. I cut 12,000 words before delivering the manuscript to my publisher. He cut some more. This wonderful scene did not survive.
See what you think.
The scene's set at the California Club on Fifth and Hill, pictured above in 1907--the same year Anna Blanc took on the New High Street Suicide Faker. (The club is still going, BTW)
If you haven't read the book, read no further.
But if you have read the book, this scene happens while Anna is undercover at the brothel, before the raid takes place. In fact, it's why the raid takes place.
Chief Singer waited for the Mayor in a secluded booth at the California Club. The Mayor entered and lifted his hand in a half-hearted wave. It fell back to his side like a kite that lost wind. He slid into the booth. The Chief slapped him on the back. “You’re looking peaked, Mayor. Did ya eat?”
The Mayor grimaced. “No. Lulu’s kitchen smelled like a tree stuck by lightning. Anyway, got no stomach for it. Edgar Wright’s leaving town.”
The Chief frowned. “I’ll be damned.”
The Mayor stuck out his lower lip. “There’s been some rift between him and Christopher Blanc. The wedding’s off. He’s taking himself and his money back to Boston tonight. He called to say goodbye.”
The Chief sat back in his chair and exhaled slowly. He was silent a moment. “What happened?”
“He won’t say. You know what this means for me, if the bank fails.” He stared at the Chief, as if waiting for him to make it all better.
“I do.” The Chief scratched his neck. “Let’s visit Christopher in the morning and find out what happened. Maybe we can patch this thing up.”
The men fell silent. The Mayor mopped beads of sweat off his brow and swallowed the remainder of his whiskey. Periodically, his upper lip twitched. Chief Singer sat back and looked thoughtful.
The owner of the California Club approached the table and cleared his throat. “Excuse me, gentleman.”
The Mayor snapped. “What is it, Sal?”
The club owner looked indignant. “I have a question for the Chief.”
“Shoot,” the Chief said.
The man handed the Chief a fifty-dollar bill. “If someone tried to pay a tab with this bill, would you accept it?”
The Chief held it up to the lamp and turned it over. “No, sir. It’s smash. Where’d you get it?”
The club owner folded his arms. “Forgive me, but the Mayor here paid in smash.”
“Hell’s bells.” The Mayor sat up straight in his seat. He dug in his suit pocket for an alligator wallet and spread the contents on the table for the Chief to view—ten fifty-dollar bills. All had the same crisp brightness.
The Chief examined each bill, one-by-one and shook his head. “My oh my. This isn’t your day.”
And that's the deleted scene.