Guest Blogger Jim Woods continues his series today with Part Two...
Jim Stone turned up again in my follow-up novel, Assassination Safari, but as a minor character at best. If it were a movie, the character would not be listed in the credits. The book was a notable improvement over The Outlander though, in storyline, complexity, cast, writing time and word count—more than ninety-two thousand words. A slightly more detailed look at Jim Stone is offered in this excerpt:
EXCERPT, Assassination Safari, Champagne Books (2009):
“Hello Mister Stone. Thank you for taking my call.”
“Not at all, Willem. I was pleased when my girl told me that it was you on the line. We haven’t talked for too long a time. Obviously it has been too long if I am ‘Mister Stone’ instead of ‘Jim.’ What can I do for you?”
“I have heard that you have some space available in your camp next month? Willem turned the statement into a question as he had observed the English do.
“I see that there are no secrets in the safari business. Yes, I did have a late cancellation. Did you have some clients for me?”
“As you know, my son Marek and your hunter Nigel were planning on making partial use of your vacancy with their personal hunt. I’m speaking for Danie Schwardt who has an American client who can come on short notice if you can accommodate him.”
“An American? By himself? Of course I can accommodate him, and I certainly owe the favor to Danie. I know that he is fully booked. Yes, I will take his client for him. I appreciate your call.”
“That’s good Jim. Danie will appreciate it too . . . but there’s more. If you have the space, I wish to get in a little bird shooting. Would it be convenient for me to join Marek and Nigel for their hunt?”
“You certainly may join Marek, and welcome, but with the American and yourselves, and the remaining party that’s still on, I’ll have a full camp and I’m afraid that I must put Nigel back to work. I’ll have him guide the American, but either you or Marek can go along with him as the second gun. Perhaps the two of you could trade off day-to-day in that capacity. As the paying hunter, the American must be given priority, of course, but you and Marek as my personal guests should be able to get in all the bird shooting you want, even a springbok and an impala for the freezer if you like.”
“That’s very kind of you Jim, and could I prevail on you to not mention to Danie that I was in camp? I would not want him to think that I traded on his good reputation with you.” Nor would I, Willem thought, want him to know that I was in camp to personally check on Leo in spite of what Danie has reported. He would be furious, and rightfully so, if he knew….
….“Hello Danie . . . Yes this is Lucas. How are you? . . . Of course I can come the first of the month,” responded Lucas cautiously, wondering if Danie had forgotten that he had agreed that The Vengeurs were to provide Lucas’ expenses and fees for such a safari and mission. Understanding came slowly as Danie continued….
“…And, sorry Lucas, but it will not be me that meets you in Johannesburg, or guides you this time either. I am fully booked, but I found a tent for you with Gemstone Safaris. Jim Stone is the outfitter . . . Yes, I know that he is an American and that you wish to have your own safari outfit here, but Jim Stone has been hunting here since the 1950s. He even predates PHASA. If fact, if not for him, I and many other South Africans would not be running safaris today. PHASA might not even exist but for his early work. He’s an institution in South Africa’s game capture and relocation business. A lot of us owe our livelihood to him.”
“Yes, of course I know about Jim Stone. Almost anyone who has safaried in South Africa knows about Jim Stone. I look forward to meeting him … and thanks again Danie. Even though we can’t hunt together this trip, if you get a break in your schedule, perhaps we can get together for a Lion Lager and a talk. I’ll call you when I get to South Africa.”
“Ya. That would be good. Call me from your hotel before your hunt. I’ll make time to stop by and have that bier with you.”
~Stay tuned for Part Three Tomorrow!
Jim Woods has published some four hundred articles in national magazines, contributed to various fact and fiction anthologies, and is the author of sixteen print and e-books with treatments ranging from writing tutorial to fictional political assassination. He’s a current world traveler, so far having logged his presence in eighty countries. He also is a former Editor, Managing Editor and Editorial Director with (then) Petersen Publishing Company of Beverly Hills—Guns & Ammo and Petersen’s Hunting magazines; and Senior Field Editor with (then) Publishers Development Corporation, San Diego—Guns and Shooting Industry magazines. He’s a former big-game hunter and has written extensively on African safari, both the hunting and camera varieties. He lives and writes in Tucson, Arizona.