I'm going to update this blog regularly with classic thriller scenes. These are scenes that are either tense, funny, or in the case below, both. I may even begin a poll with my readers voting on their favorites. You can leave comments with suggestions and I'll definitely add them to the mix.
Below is a scene from the opening chapter of Elmore Leonard's Freaky Deaky. Chris and Jerry are bomb technicians who were called to the house of a known mobster who's sitting on a chair with a bomb underneath. Chris and Jerry left the mobster alone inside, screaming at them to fix his problem. They're walking to get their equipment to diffuse the bomb, when they strike up a conversation about Chris's wife. Enjoy:
“What it is,” Chris said, “Phyllis says things even some guys would like to but don’t have the nerve.”
“Yeah, ‘cause she’s a woman,” Jerry said, “she doesn’t have to worry about getting hit in the mouth.”
Chris shook his head. “I don’t mean putting anybody down or being insulting. Like, we’re at a restaurant, one of those trendy places the waiter introduces himself? This twinkie comes up to the table, he goes, ‘Hi, I’m Wally. I’m going to be your waitperson this evening. Can I get you a cocktail?’ Phyllis goes, ‘Wally, when we’ve finished dinner, you gonna take us out and introduce us to the dishwasher?’ She goes, ‘We really don’t care what your name is as long as you’re here when we want something.’”
Jerry grinned, adjusting his Tiger baseball cap. “That’s good, I can appreciate that. Those guys kill me.”
They drew on their cigarettes. Chris looked at his, about to say something, working the butt between his thumb and second finger to flick it away, and the French Doors and some of the windows on this side of the house exploded out in a billow of gray smoke tinged yellow. They stood looking at the shattered doorway, at the smoke and dust thinning, settling over glass and wood fragments, shreds of blackened green-and-white debris on the patio, silence ringing in their ears now. After a few moments they started down the drive, let the people waiting in front know they were okay.
Chris said, “Yeah, the twink comes up to the table, says he’s gonna be our waitperson. But you have to understand, Phyllis wasn’t trying to be funny, she was serious. That’s the way she is.”