A new snippet from my ‘Pickman’s Model.’

I am gonna get paid for this story, dammit. I have… plans.

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He found her dubiously observing the cheese tray. “Has it gone off?” Richard asked Abigail. “It’s best to avoid that part of the buffet, after the first two hours.”

She considered a particular half-runny piece, took it with surprisingly swift fingers, and chewed it meditatively. Richard noted she had a respectably powerful jaw. She swallowed in one quick motion and shook her head. “Cheese is all spoiled milk, Richard. There was nothing to recommend this one bit of it.”

Richard noted a touch of — disappointment? — in her tone. “A shame. Better to be awful, than bland.”

“Really? I agree, mind you — but why do you say so?”

“I suspect, for the same reason you might give, Miss Pickman.” He gave her a small bow. “Blandness has no ambition. At least awful has standards.”