OK OK GUYS I'M SORRY I'M LATER THAN MARTELLO'S GIRLFRIEND BUT HERE IS MY TWO-MAN BRAWL CONTRIBUTION
The cabbie was not cooperating. Despite his perfect English earlier in the journey, once it came to the matter of money it was all “Wei? No lah cannot. Fifty Singapore dollar or stay in car mister, thirty dollar gently caress you nosir cannot” and a lot of messy Cantonese, which is the best and worst language in the entire world to get cussed out in: ma chao hai sho hai fahk you motha.
“Look,” said Bevan, “we said thirty when I got into the cab. We had a deal.”
He wanted to sound authoritative, but it came out as a whine.
“gently caress you,” said the cabbie, whose name was Sing, “gently caress you we go back to Bencoolen. I turn this teksi around and we go back, then you pay me thirty.”
And he did, while Bevan sat in stunned silence. Like any true Englishman, he responded to a bad situation by ignoring it until it went away. The resulting sulk-off between the two men ended when the cab pulled up at the same red-stone building it had left from, and Bevan was cussed out into the street. The airport had been just there, until Sing had decided to play silly buggers with a gormless Ang Moh.
His father's words echoed around his busted-up brainpan: “you want your mother's money, be in London by Friday. Otherwise, it goes to the Red Cross. Like you, they need it to buy needles.”
Then his father had hung up. The insults were old news, but the money was something else entirely. After clinging with withered nails to the tapestry of life for far too long, dearest mother had finally gone off into the big black gently caress you. Just Bevan's luck then, that he was stuck halfway around the world when it happened. You ever tried to book an international flight at 11pm on a Thursday?
Singapore was both a very good and a very bad place to be a junkie. Bad because they hung you if they caught you, but good because there was more than enough poo poo floating around to kill yourself with first. Real Walter White quality poo poo, made by industrious men in sterile rooms. Think of all the white dragons he could ride with mother's money: hole up in a fancy penthouse somewhere near the river and blow her whole fortune in the few months it took to finally commit slow-suicide by injection.
The dream of that blissful final sleep was slowly departing, sweated out in the tropical heat. After the first taxi disaster, Bevan refused to take another. Caught between two terrible choices, both of which involved talking to people, he stepped out beside the street, and stuck out his thumb.
“Airport?” he said to each car that slowed, but they all shook their heads and took off. Bevan looked at his watch, swore, then waved his thumb more desperately. The cars didn't respond; they just kept on rolling down towards Fort Canning and out of sight. “Airport!” screamed Bevan, “Airport, Airport, Changi loving Airport!”
Something rattled around the corner ahead. It was part bus, part rolling eyesore: impossibly garish, decked out in flowers and more colours of paint than Bevan even knew existed, including multiple shades of pink. Ganesha and his many friends were airbrushed on the side. It had a snarling dragon's face on the front, perhaps left over from the Chinese New Year. It didn't look like a Chinese-owned vehicle, but everybody like an excuse to dress up and get drunk. The windows were rolled down, and awful twangy music blasted from them. To Bevan's horror, it slowed down and pulled over.
The driver was Tamil, with a face so dark and lined it looked like he'd never been indoors in his life.
“You said airport, boss? Get in.”
He did the fevered arithmetic of a racist in a tight corner. Are Indians ok? Father says they're hard workers but gently caress father right up his puckered rear end in a top hat.
“C'mon boss,” said the driver, “pergi, eh? Time is waiting for no man.”
The door was open, so Bevan hefted his suitcase and climbed inside. As it closed, he realised just how many men were crammed into the minibus. The seats had been removed, and everybody was standing like sardines. It stank: BO mixing with the very cheapest cologne, with far too much of both. The men were not smiling. It would be this point in the movie where Mister Whitebread woke up in a bathtub with his kidneys missing. Bevan gulped, and tried to smile. His mouth wasn't cooperating, so he just pulled back his gums and showed his teeth. Nailed it.
This was clearly going badly. They were going to mug him at any moment, and they were going to take all his drugs. poo poo, the drugs. An airport was just about the worst place to have a little baggy of finest Cambodian heroin in your pocket. He needed to get rid of it, and fast.
The bus started rolling again, the jangly hipster bollywood music skipping a beat every time the vehicle's suspension decided it didn't want to suspend any more. These fellows were clearly very Street, and wouldn't mind what was going to happen next. His sleeves were already rolled up thanks to the heat, so the whole process was already started: what was the harm in finishing it.
“Anybody got a spare belt?” he said.
Heads were shaken. The very particular murmur started up; there was a white guy nearby who was going to do some stupid white guy thing then act all smug about it. Bevan called it the Singapore Special, and was convinced they practiced it in the mirror for at least an hour a day, on pain of judicial flogging. loving foreigners, always trying to tell people how to live.
He could barely move his arms inside the packed vehicle. As he struggled to get his belt off, they cleared the mid-morning traffic jams and moved away from the city center. The whole process took about ten minutes, with a lot of shoving and muttering, then trying to pretend nobody had shoved or muttered. God bless the British Commonwealth, for spreading good manners to all men of the civilised world.
It was only when the belt went around his arm that the men started to worry. The murmur turned up a notch. “Boss, the gently caress you doing?” said one, “what happens if the polisi pull us over?”
The baggie came out, and the murmur stopped dead. “What?” said Bevan, “you boys want some? You gotta get your own belt though, 'cos I'm using mine.”
What followed was a scuffle, or possibly even a kerfuffle. Two men tried to pinion his arms, three tried to take his baggie, and somebody who was more flailing arm than man tried very hard to break his nose. “Thugs!” screamed Bevan, “brigands! Have you no decency?” then somebody hit him very hard.
He fell, and saw from his position on the floor his baggie burst in the fight. The China puffed out everywhere, mostly onto the other men. One of them grabbed the ripped baggy, then threw it out the window. “Hounds!” said Bevan, “scum!” then somebody hit him very hard again and he stopped making sounds for the rest of the journey.
They arrived at Changi about half an hour later, and Bevan was cussed out of a vehicle for the second time that day. His suitcase bounced off the pavement beside him, and the Happy-Hindu-Dragon-Bus tore off, apparently very happy to see the back of him. He scrambled to his feet, grabbed the suitcase, then ran into the terminal. According to the giant wall clock outside, there was still time. One baggie didn't matter if he could buy a thousand more.
“Yes!” he cried, careening through the normal, dripping blood and occasionally tripping over his own torn pant leg. “gently caress yes, I did it!”
A flash of red caught his eye, and he turned to the giant departures board. Red, red, red, red. Canceled, canceled, canceled, canceled. “WHAT,” he said, then grabbed a passing man in a suit, “WHAT IS GOING ON?”
The man bristled behind a huge grey moustache. “Volcanic eruption in Java,” he said. English, and trying to hide his disdain, “ash in the air will take a plane right out of the sky. Nobody's flying for weeks. Now, get off me.”
Somebody tapped his shoulder and Bevan turned to see two very serious policemen. One had an assault rifle, and the other had a dog. It was sniffing at Bevan’s shirt sleeve, where the white stuff had spilled from the burst baggie.
“Ma chao hai,” he said. “Motherfucker.”
loving foreigners, always ruining a good day.
[1466 words, total 2495]
|# ? Jul 4, 2014 12:41|
|# ? Dec 11, 2023 09:13|
Only on judge characters.
Wait we're calling dibs?
|# ? Jul 4, 2014 17:00|
Entenzahn/Meeple vs SurreptitiousMuffin/docbeard's Tag Team Thunderbrawl: Unnatural Disaster
I am impressed and delighted at how well you guys managed to get it together. While both of you had prose that was rough around the edges - one moreso than the other (I'm lookin' at your unwriterly rear end, Entenzahn) - your stories were connected in more ways than I noticed at first read. They not only both stood up as complete, individual stories, but I also enjoyed both of them more for having read the other. In a way they serve as counterpoints: loss/recovery. Sin/redemption. Before/after. And the disaster - which is never dwelt upon itself, just as I was hoping, but simply looms in the background - is excellent. They're even consistent in tone and language. Now, this doesn't mean they were great stories: Enten's in particular suffered from flabby language and lots of dithering at the expense of story, although Meeple's had a couple of headscratching moments as well. But I was left sincerely wanting to read more about the little universe you've created. See the links above for (very) extensive crits.
So, Muffin, I get that you were busy yesterday. Funny thing is, I gave you 2.5 weeks to finish. But you decided you'd write the story whenever you felt like it. So, I'll get around to critting it whenever I feel like it. I'm busy today. Maybe next week.
That said, the only commonality between your stories is the nature of the disaster. There's absolutely no other relationship here as far as I can tell. My reading of one was not in any way illuminated by my reading of the other. Apparently you guys couldn't even decide who was writing 'before' and who was writing 'after', so somehow I'm not surprised. Your pieces had to stand on their own, and neither was strong enough to hold up: docbeard's was a love letter to dullness and uncertainty, probably the worst individual story here; Muffin's was the best of the bunch in terms of pacing and consistency of character, but it never elevated the narrator from 'some obnoxious racist guy' to 'some interesting, funny, clever, or enlightening comment on obnoxious racist guys.' It was momentarily satisfying, but nothing more than that.
Winners: Entenzahn and Meeple, by a landslide.
|# ? Jul 4, 2014 17:07|
I choose Xixi
Okay, I have edited my characterpost accordingly.
|# ? Jul 4, 2014 18:36|
I'd like to use this character in my story.
|# ? Jul 4, 2014 18:59|
I've got a great scene in mind between Kendrick and Hanan. She's still available, right?
|# ? Jul 4, 2014 19:00|
I've got a great scene in mind between Kendrick and Hanan. She's still available, right?
I'd like to use this character in my story.
All of the girl gang members have been claimed!
|# ? Jul 4, 2014 19:16|
Thanks, Helm. I really appreciate it.
|# ? Jul 5, 2014 00:36|
Trying to redeem myself for past failures. Better late than never.
Week LXXVII: Well gee, that's certainly something
I'm also in with a for this week. My character is below.
Sister Karen Retinger is an assistant to the Promoter of the Faith, responsible for disproving miracles and so-called prophets. Prim, proper, and highly educated, Sister Karen is a terrifying theological powerhouse determined to achieve sainthood. Her only problems: a sense of skepticism that stretches far beyond the bounds of acceptability and a volatile personality that leaves other people feeling uncomfortable. She loathes having to ask others for help and will often make tasks needlessly complicated to impress her opponents.
|# ? Jul 5, 2014 04:11|
Ray 'Mopey' Dope - Used to be part of the Los Grano D'Oro police department. More or less forced into corruption, then fired for getting caught. Now works odd jobs for independent clients and the mob. He likes to whine about his life sometimes, but mostly he doesn't give a poo poo anymore. Loves a good bottle of Jack, but can't actually tell a good one from a bad one, he's just being a pretentious douche. He's got a beretta that he's decent with, and is more cunning than he looks. He's overweight, in his mid-thirties and wears a trenchcoat, because noir.
Don Raúl - Mexican kingpin and leader of the Locos, a criminal outfit in Los Grano D'Oro that literally consists of crazy people. A businessman at heart, he believes in a free black market and always provides reliable payment to his subjects, in gold, unless he can weasel his way out of a contract and blame it on the invisible hand. He's kind of racist, definitely insane and an utter megalomaniac, or as he likes to call it: megalomexican.
P.S. in motherfucker
|# ? Jul 5, 2014 06:16|
Sign ups are closed. Prologue imminent.
|# ? Jul 5, 2014 07:16|
Google docs utterly hosed up the formatting on my crits and deleted large parts of some of them. Or I did, somehow. (more likely)
While I work on recovering the rest, here are Schneider Heim, D.O.G.O.B.G.Y.N., and Benny the Snake's line by line crits from Week 99.
|# ? Jul 5, 2014 08:11|
Again the hotel telephone rang. Walter didn't answer. He didn't need to pick up the receiver to know who it was. He didn't need to hear his own name repeated - Walter Jodorowsky - to know he was a dead man. Approximately thirty minutes had elapsed since the disappearance of the case. He'd taken the opportunity to barricade himself in the bathroom.
"Saints..." he said, his voice a whisper. "Saints." He said it again, hands wrapped around the sink handles, both taps on full. His palms and fingers were raw and red and scrawny. Several emptied soap cartons lay strewn across the floor.
The sound of the telephone subsided. For the briefest of moments, Walter's world was at peace. His mind began racing. Directly beneath him, thirteen floors down, was the well-stocked and only slightly patronizing bar where he was to meet his contact. Where he had met his contact, or so he thought. They were to know each other at a glance. The contact carried an emerald green umbrella. Walter wore his loudest Hawaiian shirt. He wore it still as he stared into the patterned tiling.
They'd shared a drink and chatted for awhile. She wasn't interested in him, but didn't blame him for trying. "I'm afraid our relationship is purely professional." He'd soured at the news, but a job was a job. He'd relinquished the case. "More fish in the sea."
Two minutes later, she was gone. Ten minutes later, his real contact arrived. Thirty-two minutes later, he was only know realizing what it was he had to do.
"Ah, hell." He twisted each handle shut, teeth grit, fingers snaking. From his back pocket he produced a screwdriver and a packet of smokes. He eased out a cigarette and took his time lighting it. The telephone awoke in tandem with the smoke detector.
"I know, I KNOW!" Walter pressed his full weight against the door as he scrambled from the bathroom. His right hand clutched the screwdriver, its application darkly familiar.
"I'll get it back! I'll get back the case..."
|# ? Jul 5, 2014 10:05|
Those of you using members of the girl gang in your stories: if you didn't get a PM from me telling you that you can go hog wild with your chosen character's fate, then please ensure that your gal survives the events of your entry.
|# ? Jul 5, 2014 16:35|
My name is Todd Templeton, age 43. My profession is professional gambler--which is just a euphemism for “Compulsive gambler with enough skill to keep himself out of bankruptcy”. Bankruptcy doesn't sound so bad now that the dealer has a soft 20.
I'm so absorbed with the cards in front of me that I don't notice anybody else but the dealer. He's a short, wrinkled man with a head so bald and polished that it's reflecting the florescent lighting. I'm 5'11'' myself--under different circumstances, I'd use the gnome bastard for punting practice.
I get a nine and a seven--sixteen is the kiss of death in blackjack. Against my better judgment, I tap my finger against the green felt and I get a suicide king for my troubles. Sticking a blade in my temple looks appealing now that I'm down to my last few chips. I rub a couple of them between my fingers as the rear end in a top hat deals me another 16.
“You keep rubbing those chips like they’re going to multiply,” a female voice says next to me. I grit my teeth so hard, I feel and taste my enamel turning into a coarse powder. I whip my face towards her to say something nasty and instead I find myself speechless. She’s a head shorter than me with platinum hair--definitely a wig. Every part of her gymnast physique, from her face to her shoulders to her gorgeous long legs, are in perfect symmetry. Sure, it’s uncanny how she has no apparent imperfection--I didn’t mind because she exudes this aura of pure, unapologetic seduction. My common sense says stay. My inner gambler screams hit.
“I presume you’re lady luck?”
She let out a girlish giggle that was all wrong for her. “Good guess,” she says as she’s dealt a hard 21. She takes her chips and puts them into a second case she's already filling. “My name's Goldie.”
“That’s a pretty name,” I say while my eyes jump up and down. It wasn’t so much because her red dress perfectly compliments the contours of her body or how the hemline reaches up to her waist. But it was more because ofI her eyes. They’re an off-yellow, most likely contacts. They make her look inhuman, like a predatory animal ready to strike.
“My name’s Todd,” I introduce myself.
“Well Todd,” she says and picks up her chips, “I'm done for today. But I have faith that yours is just beginning.”
She gives me a knowing wink and leaves. Just like the laugh, the word “faith” is all wrong for her. After staring at her rear end for a bit, I check my watch and notice something. It's a black suitcase right next to my foot. I look up to where she was and she's disappeared. I'm about to bend down to grab it but what stops me are the two sweetest words in the English language--“21 blackjack!”
I look down and gape. There it is, a perfect blackjack--an ace of spades and his jack brother looking me straight in the eye. I immediately double my bet and he deals me a pair of aces. I split them and I get an eight and nine as the dealer stands on a soft 17.
Caught in an adrenaline rush, I keep playing hands and I keep winning. It's too good to be true and what snaps me out of it is when I notice that the pit boss is giving the death glare. Putting two and two together, I figure out that the briefcase is a lucky charm. It's why Goldie was on her winning streak. Now she’s passed it to me and the worst person possible sees it too. Luckily enough, I'm able to cash my chips in right before a pair of security guards zero in on me. The one on the left has a cleft chin and the other has a widow's peak.
“Sir, we'd like to speak with you,” Clefty says.
“What's this about?” I ask.
Clefty responds by whipping out a baton and swinging it towards my face. I block with the briefcase and follow up by smashing it down on his head. He's not getting up. Peaky swings at me with a wild haymaker. I block again with the case and with an underhand swing I connect with his jaw. Pretty sure I dislodged it.
“gently caress!” I shout in pain as my shoulder pops out. I see a whole wolf pack of rent-a-cops bearing down on me. Luckily enough, I'm standing next to a table with a dealer setting up. Thinking fast, I grab a case of chips and throw it in the air, staring a stampede which blocks the wolf pack off. I run as fast as I can, ramming the doorman with the case before popping my shoulder back in and taking off.
Inside my hotel room, I sit on the bed and stare at the briefcase for about an hour while my head pounds away like a snare drum. Whatever's in that case it's heavy and it's too much trouble for what it's worth. Either I find out what's inside or I pass it on. I hear a knock at the door and the air escapes from my lungs. As quietly as possible, I grab my pistol from my nightstand and sneak into the bathroom. As the toilet flushes, I load my pistol and pull back the slide. I look through the keyhole and my eyes gape as I realize who's on the other side. With my gun in my right hand, I put my back against the wall, turn the knob, and let the door swing open.
|# ? Jul 5, 2014 17:47|
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 22:15 on Jan 1, 2015
|# ? Jul 5, 2014 22:05|
Hi my name is Jackie Lawson and I'm in the sixth grade. My favorite things to do are practicing tai kwon do, doing sparring, and watching fighting movies. My favorite movie/TV show is Kung Fu Panda. What I'm doing over vacation this year is Going to Los Grandos Dorito because there's a big exhibition I got invited to. I'm really looking forward to it because I'm going to stay in a cool casino and my dad lets me come with him all around town and I can watch him play the card games because I'm good at black Jack.
Jackie (Jacquelyn) Lawson: a ten-year-old bundle of hyperactive rear end-kicking in a taikwondo gi and a pink flower-patterned backpack. She wants her life to be a Jackie Chan movie, and she has one hell of a front-kick.
-Linking up with how she finds the briefcase (ideally, it's left somewhere and she snatches it when no one's looking)
-Someone to confront her after she's kicked hella rear end and convince her to give them the briefcase.
Feel free to use her, with one condition:
She's making it to the taikwondo exhibition tomorrow.
|# ? Jul 5, 2014 23:32|
BLACK ON BLACK BRAWL
Lady Luck: The Fickle One
“You’re out of your goddamned mind, Brennan,” said James McCallister. “I still wake up in cold sweat every now and again. I’m always dreaming about the kids we couldn’t help,” he said, shaking his head.
“I’m not trying to force you back into SVU-”
“Even though you are.”
“-It’s just I miss working with you.” said Brennan. “You’re a good cop.”
“You are! Thirty years together. You’re my longest relationship! I won’t even take another partner cause it feels like I’m cheating on you.”
“David, I just can’t...”
“You mean you won’t,” said Brennan.
Brennan stood, leaving money for the coffee. “If you have a change of heart…” he said, turned, and left.
The monolith of a man eyed McCallister with a sardonic grin. “You should stick to the slot machines. It hurts me to see you throw that money away.”
“Do you see these?” McCallister asked as he spread his arms out and opened his empty hands. “Look at all the fucks I don’t give. Look at them flutter away!”
The bouncer patted him down then stepped aside. “Instead of throwing your money away, you could just give it to me. I can use some new shoes.”
McCallister smirked. “There’s no fun in that.” He walked passed the bouncer and entered the dark and smoky room full of game tables, pool tables and the kind of tables you place drinks on. On stage was a black woman who glimmered in her dress and jewelry. Her smoky voice carried a sultry tune into her microphone while a jazz trio accompanied her.
No one knew any names. It’s what made this casino the best. Nothing’s better than good old anonymous gambling. Especially since it’s illegal.
McCallister was on fire. The roulette loved him tonight. His chips were stacked up high and people were showering him with attention. He dropped a five week salary his lucky number, white-knuckled the edge of the table and watched the silver ball bounce around. The dealer called the number when the ball stopped. “Thirty-seven.”
The dealer had said something else, but the whole table had surged in a frenzy at his victory. His head buzzing with elation, McCallister flagged down a waitress to order another Manhattan and then their eyes locked. He recognized her. She knew him. Holy gently caress, she knew him.
The waitress hurried away. McCallister knew he was made. He excused himself from the table amidst groans and boos, and stuffed his pockets full of chips while fighting to keep his composure under control.
The exit was close but the cage wasn’t very far out of the way. He had an entire year’s pay that burned holes in his pockets. If he left now, all that money would be gone forever. He looked around and noticed no one was paying any attention to him. He brushed his hand against a pocket containing chips.
A win streak like this only comes once a lifetime.
McCallister approached the cage and unloaded all his chips on the counter.
The clerk’s smile never reached his eyes. “Yes sir, any particular denominations would you prefer to have?” He spoke slow and deliberate, as if he sensed McCallister was in a hurry and made it his mission to deny him speedy service out of an unseen slight.
“I’ll take large bills, it doesn’t matter,” said McCallister, urgency creeping into his voice.
The clerk gathered the chips closer to him. “So hundreds, fifties…?” His voice trailed off.
“It doesn’t matter,” McCallister said again.
“Excuse me sir?” A thick Irish voice surprised him, causing McCallister to turn around. Follow me please?”
“I actually need to leave. I’m just about to grab my earnings-” McCallister stopped talking when he felt the nose of a pistol shoved into his ribcage.
“I wasn’t actually asking.” He shoved McCallister away from the exit towards the back of the club. “After you.”
McCallister stumbled into the office with a vicious shove. Two other men walked in behind him and they both brandished pistols in their hands.
“Take off your clothes,” the red-headed Irishman commanded.
“I don’t really swing that way, but listen, I just want to head home and sleep. I’m really tired, long day.”
The Irishman holstered his pistol and smiled. “Oh, our apologies. We didn’t mean to keep you up past your bedtime.” He walked forward and made a motion to help McCallister up off the floor. Instead, the motion swiftly changed into a stiff jab that whipped McCallister’s head back. “If I have to tell you to remove your clothes again, I’ll lay down some plastic for you so you don’t ruin my carpet.”
McCallister didn’t have to be told again. He stood in his underwear.
“No wire.” The Irishman pulled up a chair. “Why are you here, pig?”
McCallister blanched. “I’m off-duty. Just having a good time at your fine establishment-”
“Who else knows about us?” The Irishman bored his eyes into him, as if he was going to steal his soul.
“No one,” McCallister said.
“If you’re lying to me, I’m going to make earrings out of your testicles.”
“This place isn’t on anyone’s radar, I swear!”
“Detective McCallister, it seems tonight Lady Luck smiles upon you.” He tossed McCallister his clothes. “I’m going to let you live in exchange for a small favor.”
McCallister’s blood ran cold when he heard his name. The waitress identified him. loving girl. loving greed. Lady Luck is a fickle bitch and she just hosed him in the rear end.
“You know, James, you won me ten bucks!” said Brennan as he drove. “Everyone was so sure that you’d never come back.”
“That’s great, Brennan,” said McCallister, exasperated. Gambling didn’t hold any appeal for him at the moment. “You know anything on the vic besides what in her file?” he asked, changing the subject.
“Not much,” Brennan pulled into the hospital parking lot and they exited the car. “She just showed up last night with a wrecked face and signs of prolonged sexual abuse. I wouldn’t be surprised if she loses her eye, but I’m no doctor.”
“Family?” McCallister’s stomach was in knots. The more he heard, the more he didn’t want to do what he was sent to do.
“No one’s turned up yet.”
The detectives turned the corner and stopped in front of two beat cops guarding the room. They flashed their badges and the policemen stepped aside. Inside the room, a young black girl stared out the window from her bed.
McCallister heard Brennan click his tongue. “What is it?” he whispered.
Brennan shook his head. “I had no idea it was a friend of the family. We’re wasting our time here.”
McCallister didn’t reply. It shouldn’t have made a difference, but he suddenly felt doing the job would be easier.
“You two policemen?” The girl’s voice startled McCallister. Her voice had an unmistakable edge to it - it reminded him of soldiers that have seen too much.
“Yes. I’m detective McCallister and this is detective Brennan. We have a few questions we hope you can help with.”
“You can’t help me,” she said.
“Well, I guess that’s that. Time to go,” said Brennan as he made his way to the door.
“Wait a second, David,” said McCallister with urgency. “Girl, what do you mean that the police can’t help you?” Don’t get invested. Just unlock the windows and walk away.
“He has people who work for him in the police.” For the first time, the girl looked at them. She had bandages wrapped around her head that covered her left eye and her face was purple with bruising.
McCallister found it hard to breathe.
“What’s your name?” McCallister spoke after what seemed a century of silence.
She didn’t answer for a long time. McCallister opened his mouth to repeat himself, but the girl spoke up. “Valerie,” she said. She regarded McCallister icily.
This girl can’t be thirteen years old. “What happened to you?” he asked softly.
Valerie shrugged her shoulders
He pressed on. “Who did this to you?”
Valerie shrugged again. “I don’t know his name. He’s in the Mob, probably.”
“What does he look like?” McCallister was almost pleading. He needed to know.
“He’s about as tall as you with red hair. He talked funny too.”
The Irishman. McCallister felt sick to his stomach. He left, leaving the room window locked. No one fucks with children and gets away with it.
“What’s the matter with you, James?” Brennan asked. “You’ve been acting strange ever- are you crying?”
“I hosed up. I hosed up really bad,” he said, blinking back tears.
“The hell happened?”
McCallister told Brennan all about the illegal casino, how he was made and what he almost did to Valerie. To his credit, Brennan listened quietly until he was finished.
“So what happens now?” asked Brennan. “If you say ‘wait until this paddy kills you’ I’m going to swat you across the mouth.”
McCallister’s eyes were bloodshot. “I have nothing on this guy. No name, no background, no way to get him without loving myself over,” he said.
“So we plant evidence. We’ve done it hundreds of times.”
“This time it’s different. He’ll kill me the moment he sees me. And it’s invitation only so you can’t go in.” McCallister leaned back into his chair and placed both hands over his face.
“Well our witness from the hospital did tell us she escaped a human trafficking ring inside that building. It says so right here on her statement,” said Brennan as he finished forging said statement. McCallister looked up at him with a sort of wonder. “Come on, we gotta break a piece of justice off in this Irish rear end in a top hat. No one fucks with the boys in blue.”
“Don’t-don’t-don’t!” said McCallister in a harsh whisper as he aimed his pistol at the bouncer’s face. “I actually like you. Don’t make me put a bullet in you, son. Gun on the ground, nice and slow.” The bouncer did as asked and another police officer placed some handcuffs on him. “This is just a job to you. You’ll get off easy if you cooperate.”
The bouncer growled, breathing heavily, but he said nothing and allowed the officer to escort him off the premises.
McCallister, Brennan and other armored officers stacked along the wall. Brennan counted down with his fingers, reached over, yanked the door open and then the police raided the casino.
Pandemonium spread quickly. Armed guards who were masquerading as players pulled their weapons to fire at the police, but the boys in blue were ready for heavy resistance and they dropped each thug to the ground, a few bullets heavier.
McCallister had one goal in mind. He raced towards the back office and shouldered through the door with such force that the frame exploded in a shower of wood. He spun to the left, but before his aim caught up, pain erupted from his chest and neck. He stumbled backward, yet with all of his remaining focus, he aimed at the Irishman and fired.
The gunfire had died down. The casino was quiet except for the injured and their moaning. Brennan and two others entered the back office with guns drawn doing a final sweep when they found McCallister against the wall with his neck and clothes wet with blood.
An officer put fingers against McCallister’s neck to check for a pulse while Brennan watched without emotion. McCallister gritted his teeth and sucked in air. “Ow, gently caress, that poo poo stings man.” He pulled at his vest. “It’s suffocating me man, get it off.”
“Your neck, you’re bleeding...”
“gently caress it, barely nicked me.” McCallister tried getting up, but the pain forced him to stop that nonsense. “Do me a favor, David, carry me to the cage. I need to have words with that cocksucker in there. When he pays what I’m owed, I’m buying everyone and their family dinner.” McCallister laughed again, enjoys the effects of adrenaline while it lasted.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 00:49|
BLACK ON BLACK BRAWL
Nethilia fucked around with this message at 08:32 on Dec 4, 2014
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 01:18|
Random offer since I've got some free time this week:
If anyone wants a crit on any story from the past few weeks, let me know. I've got time to handle five of them, so first come first served. Just let me know what story you want me to take a look at.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 04:58|
Link to Retirement Plan, 996 words: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uNNMtp1wJAoMkvNQfEn_mnn_tk_LQw5doNf6LOvjRBM/edit?usp=sharing
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 09:29|
Strange Clientele in Los Grano D’oro
Madame Hyacinth beamed as she walked into the front room of Curios and Cure-alls. “Hello, my dear! If you’re looking for something to stimulate your body and spirit, you’ve come to the right place. Madame Hyacinth has just the thing for…”
She saw her customer. His face was pale as a sheet and stood out like a beacon against his dark suit. He flashed her a predatory smile punctuated by his black eyes. “Sorry, Madame, I’m not here for prayer beads today.”
She grimaced. “Of course not. Dropping off or picking up?”
He held up a black attaché case. “Both.”
A few minutes later he’d walked out with two bricks of heroin his employer had dropped off the other day and left the case behind. Madame Hyacinth bent down on stiff knees and slid it behind a cabinet in the storeroom, then went back out to light some incense. Maybe then, when the next gangbanger stopped by to square away his loot, he might smell the sweet musk and leave with something more spiritually enriching than an Uzi or a pound of coke.
The pale man came back several hours later. He wrinkled his nose. “Jesus Christ, what’s that loving stink?”
Madame Hyacinth sighed. “I’m guessing you want your case back.”
“Bingo. Hey, Madame… you didn’t look in the case, right?”
“No, of course not. Why, is it tip-top secret?”
The man shrugged. “I was sort of supposed to tell you not to look, it slipped my mind. Trust me, it’s best for everyone that you didn’t.” Giving her that shark smile.
Hyacinth looked down to his waist, at the bulge of a gun showing through his suit jacket. “Just wait here. I’ll get your drat case.” She walked into the storeroom and picked up the baseball bat lying against the wall. She shuffled a few of the boxes around, so the man could hear. “Oh, Sir, I could really use some help in here! Mind giving me a hand?” She waited until she heard his footsteps approaching and crouched by the door until he turned the corner into the storeroom. She sprung up and let him have it, the bat making contact with a crack and the gangster crumpling to the floor. She held a hand up to his nose and didn’t feel any breathing.
Madame Hyacinth dragged his body into the back room and locked it in one of the full-body sensory deprivation tanks. She brought his gun and the case out to her front desk. Figuring she’d have to know what was inside before deciding how much to ransom the thing for, she went to unlatch the case but stopped when the heard the wind chimes on the door jingle.
A young girl walked in, twelve or thirteen at most. Hyacinth scrambled to hide the case, then summoned up her wispy, new-age voice to say, “Why, hello, sweetheart! Is there anything Madame Hyacinth can help you find?”
Surprise flashed in Hyacinth’s eyes, but she composed herself quickly. “Uh… what case would that be, dearest?”
“You know what case. I need it. Now.” The girl reached back, pulled a snub-nosed revolver from her pants, and stuck it in Madame Hyacinth’s face. Hyacinth stared at her, stunned, then sheepishly nodded and raised her hands.
The girl rushed behind the counter, saw the case and went for it, but at the same time Madame Hyacinth grabbed her hand with the gun in it and slammed it down on the table. The girl shrieked and struggled, but Hyacinth’s pent-up frustration gave her an iron grip. She managed to pull the girl away from the counter, but her eyes flashed up to the door when she heard the wind chimes ring again.
A teenage girl with caramel skin and her long, dark hair in a braid stood in the entryway. Hyacinth held the younger girl in a chokehold as she shouted, “Raj, please! Help me!”
Raj scowled. “You let her go, woman. We only want the case.”
Hyacinth snarled, “Take another step and I blow her brains out.” She reached forward, jabbed a button under the counter, and grabbed her pistol.
“Raj, she hit the silent alarm,” the girl whimpered. “We don’t have much time.”
“That was stupid of you, Hyacinth. You don’t even know what’s in that case, do you?”
“I don’t care what’s in it. It’s mine to use however I want! And just so you know, my brother’s a cop. Unless you want to do some serious time you’d better clear out now and forget this ever happened.”
Raj shook her head. “I have a very good memory, Madame Hyacinth. And believe me, if you harm my friends, I never forget about you.” She drew a straight razor from her braid and flipped the blade open. “If she dies, I burn this place to the ground. You survive that and I’ll come visit you in the night, skin you alive. Maybe I could track down your pig brother first, tie you up and make you watch him die screaming. Sound good?”
“That case… it’s really worth that much to you?”
Raj stared at her with hard hazel eyes. “That’s not the point. You’ve put my sister in danger, and that’s something I can’t tolerate. We’re La Niñas. We keep each other safe.”
Hyacinth took a deep breath, and nodded slowly. She let the younger girl go. “Fine. Take it. Just gently caress over those gangsters for me, all right?”
Raj walked over, took the case, and put an arm around the girl’s shoulders. She gave Hyacinth a faint smile. “Don’t worry. I will.”
The two girls were long gone when the cops showed up. Madame Hyacinth hugged her frantic brother and insisted she was okay, that the smack-head who robbed the place had only cleaned out the register. They both breathed a sigh of relief. Just then, a loud thump permeated from the back room, the room full of sensory deprivation tanks.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 15:49|
I was going to tap out, but then I wrote this. I suppose it's up to you to decide whether I should have actually bowed out or not. Enjoy?
Funniest Staff Member
-A Los Grano D'oro Moment-
Kurt leant with his elbows against the cold, metal railing. From this high up he could see most of Los Grano D'oro sprawling out in front of him. It had looked impressive coming in on the plane, but now under naught but the dim glow of neon and streetlights it was more than that. It was beautiful, he realised, a word that seemed out of place in his mind due to underuse. The last time he remembered thinking it was back in Devon, the night he had won the “funniest staff member” award, looking out to the sea.
He knew he could never return to Devon now. The dissonance between himself and his ill-judged choice of word was now too great. He’d fallen. He didn’t deserve the beauty. Not Devon. Not Los Grano D'oro. At first he had hated the Improv for replacing him with Burt. But Burt was a funny guy. He deserved it.
He glanced down next to his feet at the black briefcase that rested against the dark railings of the bridge. Garrett from the Open Mic place had given it to him.
“Wasn’t this Mr. Petri’s briefcase?” he had asked Kurt. “The man you were with the other night. Could you return it to him, Kurt?”
His heart had leapt then. Maybe he could get in at the Improv after all. But then he had stopped here at the bridge and it had all started to become clear. Had his heart really leapt at the opportunity to curry favour with Mr. Petri? Or was it all because of what the briefcase had represented to him subconsciously? He lowered his gaze from the skyline to the raging river below. Then he let his eyelids close, and he remembered.
His first night performing as an entertainer at Happy Sands. It was improvisational comedy, and he’d gotten on the set due to a coincidental encounter with a producer at a gig his comedy improv group had done at his university. He membered he was nervous before going on. Due to the quiet country roads in the area he’d been late. Didn’t have enough time to properly meet the other comedians he’d be performing alongside.
He’d tried his best, but all of his jokes and hilarious slapstick bits fell upon the dull ears of holiday park guests, drinking half pints and chewing on pork scratchings, their children running riot. His fellows were good though, would jump in to save him each time, the crowd relishing in laughter each time.
But then the last segment of the night came up. Kyle, one of the other comedians, placed a black briefcase on a table centre stage. He eyed Kurt. This one is for you, he seemed to say. Kurt remembered breathing in, stepping forwards by the briefcase. Pretending he was at a bar, ordering a drink. Kelly came over to ask for the briefcase, like some sort of crime exchange. But after he gave it to her he pretended to suddenly realise she wasn’t the right contact after all. Hilarity ensued.
Kurt had been carried out onto the decking by the crowd that night, tossed joyously amidst the browning plastic furniture, finally being released into the cold, welcoming waters of the pool, choking on the dead autumn leaves, shed by the trees.
Just like those trees, Kurt realised, he’d shed his comedic edge, his predilection for laddish banter, his quick-witted humour. There was nothing for him now. He could neither go forwards or backwards. He was trapped, and Los Grano D'oro was his purgatory.
His eyes glanced at a sign that read: “danger, don’t jump, people die when they jump from here so don’t do it, call this number if you feel like you want to and do not jump because you will likely die”. It was in comic sans. His final goodbye would be on a hilarious high, he realised.
The briefcase would stay on the bridge and he would plummet away, so far away from it. Like a catapult, he thought. A hilarious, gigantic, human-sized catapult, like what was good in Road Runner. He smiled.
“That’s the real punchline,” he whispered as he flipped himself over the edge of the bridge and hurtled into the torrent of water below.
He awoke on a beach as a child threw sand onto his face, the shrill laughter cutting into his ear.
The dry sand specked his mouth and he coughed. But he smiled.
It was good to hear the laughter again. And it was all him.
His eyes opened, and he was engulfed by a bright light.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 15:53|
Sadly I am going to have to bow out this week. My bad.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 15:54|
Week 99 crit here.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 17:55|
The rain pattering on the taxi’s window made shadows. The shadows fell on the briefcase, phantom rivulets running down black leather skin.
Goldie hadn’t ever intended to actually lay hands on the Contents. The case rested across her knees. She hadn’t opened it. Knowing the nature of the Contents was not part of the game.
The driver was giving her a long look in the rear view mirror. The red stoplight glinted in his eyes. Goldie could see the reflection of her own face, pale and looking rather lopsided due to her wig being askew.
“I’ll get out here,” she mumbled, though in what language she couldn't have said. She shoved a twenty note through the slot in the plexiglass that separated passenger and driver, then slipped out into the humid dredges of Los Grano D’oro, briefcase in hand.
She could feel the driver’s stare prickling her back as she walked up the sidewalk. Goldie let the crowd of drunks and dealers swallow her up, just another anonymous fleck of neon in the rain-spattered night.
Goldie had felt unspeakably lucky, at first, when she’d happened upon the confused man in the bar. The man with the briefcase. He’d been so sure he knew her. Waldo? William? Walter? It’d been something like that, something old fashioned. It was the kind of man D’Amour would send to taunt her, except that he’d looked at her so earnestly. And then when she’d stood up to leave, briefcase in hand, and he’d tried to help her into her jacket…
“I’m afraid our relationship is purely professional,” she’d said, tossing the tan trenchcoat over one shoulder. Had he been one of D’Amour’s men, testing her? She’d assumed so at the time, and her response had been cold and husky, alluring denial.
D’Amour was not a man to be cuckolded. It’d been years, but Goldie--Priscilla back then--could still remember the touch of his skin, the way his eyes twinkled slightly in the fickle shadows of candlelight. No. She would never even entertain the thought of being untrue to him.
The briefcase wasn’t heavy, but its weight dragged at her. Goldie’s free hand went idly to the comforting lump under her coat: A big knife strapped to her thigh, in a sheathe to match her garter. Had she been imagining the driver’s interest in the briefcase?
Possibly, but not likely. The Contents were the only topic of conversation across the whole city, it seemed. If D’Amour hadn't put the briefcase into play himself, he was certainly using its whereabouts to his own advantage, though Goldie couldn't fathom why he would lure her into a wild goose chase after years of peaceful estrangement.
Goldie took a roundabout way back to her hotel, which was itself not far from her apartment. But you don’t operate out of your own HQ, not with the stakes so high. She rather liked her little loft in the Silk Road District, and misliked the idea of having it tossed up by someone else looking for the Contents.
An idea struck her. Surely D’Amour had someone watching the hotel. She veered through the main lobby, walking tall and conspicuous under the security cameras, her black kitten heels clicking petulantly on the floor.
Mon Amour, she began composing in her head. As you see, there is nothing in this city that you can hide from me. No trinket, no artifact of intrigue. There is no society or conspiracy that I cannot infiltrate, no deceit I cannot unravel. You, mon amour, are the only treasure that eludes me. Forget the attache case and the Contents; I am the only rarity you need in your collection.
She stepped onto the elevator, completely engrossed in imagining the message she would leave for D’Amour’s goons to take back to him. The car lurched slightly, then began to rumble up its cable.
Someone cleared their throat. Goldie cursed herself. A housekeeper had followed her onto the elevator without Goldie noticing.
“Is the employee lift broken?” Goldie said, forcing as much haughty indignation into her voice as she could muster.
“You don’t go up there, miss,” the housekeeper whispered, keeping her face angled toward the elevator floor. Goldie glanced up, saw another security camera. Ah, I see, she thought.
“Who’s up there?” she asked, the facade of haughtiness dropping instantly.
The housekeeper shook her head. “No one, not yet. But. Coyotaje.” She breathed the last word so softly that Goldie barely heard it.
The elevator stopped. The doors slid open. Her warning given, the housekeeper rushed off of the lift, around the corner and out of sight. The doors slid shut again and the lift lurched back into motion. The briefcase thumped against Goldie’s thigh.
Coyotaje. Not someone she’d heard of, but then, you didn’t hear about the deadliest ones until they were standing at the foot of your bed with a dart gun pointed at your jugular. She wondered briefly who the housekeeper was working for, that she would be given such a warning.
“Mon amour,” she whispered, then set the briefcase down on the floor of the elevator. She looked up at the elevator’s camera, looked into it as though D’Amour himself was behind its glassy eye. She brought her thumbs and index fingers together to make a small heart, then dashed off the lift, onto the wrong floor, out to the fire escape, and into the anonymous neon night.
Let the whole city fight over the briefcase, she thought. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but still in love.
D’Amour would slip up eventually. He would be hers, and she would be his once again.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 19:45|
“You’re listening to LGDO After Midnight, and what a night it is,” Elle crooned into the mic. She swirled the coffee in her cup, watched rain patter against the window outside the booth. The rain was finally coming down, unless maybe it was stopping. “I’m all alone here, why don’t you call in, I’d love to hear from you.”
She smiled and rolled her eyes, conflicted. She could admit to herself that she liked to play up the sultry hostess when it suited her. But it made her skin crawl if she thought about the listeners fantasizing about her. She queued up the next three tracks and left the booth.
The studio buzzer rang, grating and electrical. It rang again, and she remembered that the intern had gone home early, just after 2AM. Enough time left in the tracks, she huffed over to the door. The jackass was covering the peephole.
The porcelain slipped in the loop of her fingers. The coffee sluiced out, like the trail of a comet in reverse as the cup began its tumbling fall. It splashed her cheap, beaten tennis shoes. The cup hit on an edge and cried out with a crack and a ‘ping.’
“Ray,” she gasped.
He looked like a ghost. A soggy ghost in a rain soaked tan trench coat. But she’d never seen a ghost gain weight. He nodded, asked, “Can I come in?”
She lead him into the booth. He set the attache down, looked a little nervous around the equipment. She breathed uneasily, heart all panicked thunder. He wore a smirk somewhere between coy and oblivious. She busied herself with work, pretending it would make him go away. He took out a flask.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
She shrugged. It was scar tissue now. It didn’t hurt, not really, but that platitude was empty and poked her and called her ugly. She sat, he stood. She took a nip of cheap Jack, swallowed hard.
“-- for showing up like this,” he went on. When she looked up at him his eyes were hard, his face cut like stone. There was a shade of the man she loved once in there. A wraith chained into the man he became. What had he gotten into now? Did she even care? She must have, she hadn’t slammed the door in his face. “I -- I really need this from you, Elle.” (of course he did) “Things got kinda messed up” (didn’t they always).
The phone rang. Elle didn’t have time to listen to the man talk about the lizard people in the sewers or the fluoride in the water. She hung up before he could get going. “I can’t Ray. I won’t do it any more. Please leave.”
“We all listen to the show,” he said and like that he was gone again. She saw him cross a puddle in the street, hands shoved deep into that stupid, sex-offender coat. He had left the case behind.
She hefted it and set it beside her broadcasting equipment. It weighed far more that it should have. She scribbled the combination down before checking to see if it opened. It did. Her eyes widened. She snapped it closed, whirled the wheels and stuffed it under desk, piling her coat on top of it.
The microphone swung smoothly into place. The song ended and she switched the feeds, “We have a little impromptu contest tonight, kittens. So, this one goes out to Ray, if you’re listening. Give a call, whoever’s got the winning number, your prize is waiting for you.”
Did he want her to have it? Of course he couldn’t just admit what it was he wanted, the bastard.
Ray had been charming, picaresque once. He cared in his own way. He had stood for something, been a strange sort of resistor to the city’s slide into something worse than anarchy. Or so she had told herself. Those halcyon days of loving Ray boiled away, the spirit evaporating into the air and never condensing again. It left her with the sort of hangover that didn’t split in two, but slowly drilled and held pain to the mind. He was the flask of cheap Jack of lovers, and there had been a time she had wanted that.
Was she really so foolish? Did she, even for an instant, want that back?
She answered a call: wrong answer, terrible come-on. She hung up. Played another song.
When Ray walked away the first time, she felt the pain of it in her heart. The second time, in her head. And now, she wanted to tell herself she felt nothing at al. That it was finally over and he could go on being “Mopey” and schlepping around with whatever two-bit villains he liked. She hoped that was the case.
For the rest of her show that case sat there under the coat and the desk, out of sight, waiting for its owner. But as the early morning traffic report guy arrived to take over, it fell to her to carry it out. She groaned as she lifted it. It felt like it had gotten heavier just sitting there.
This time, she left it in the rain.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 19:52|
A deal's a deal
Baz was looking up at the overhead train track, watching the graffiti-scarred carriage rock its way across the city, when the attache case tumbled gracefully through the rain and struck him in the head. He fell backwards, sending a group of metal rubbish bins flying across the street in a clatter and a mess. The case landed a few feet away, looking none the worse for wear.
The briefcase looked vaguely familiar, insomuch as Baz was an expert on black attache cases that fell from the sky. He contemplated it as he lay on the grubby pavement, bins rattling a comedy drumroll behind him.
“You mind?” said a gruff voice from somewhere behind him. The smell of bin-stink grew even stronger.
“Not at all, mate, it’s very comfy down here,” Baz said with angry sarcasm. He craned his neck further up until a man in a hi-vis vest loomed upside-down in his vision. The fat man looked down at him, nudged him with a steel toe-capped boot.
“You drunk, boy?”
Baz tried to clamber to his feet, slipped on slime, fell, recovered again. “Do I look loving drunk to you? I…” he thought about the attache case, bit his tongue. “I fell, alright. Dropped, er, dropped my case. You seen it?”
“This?” The man held up the attache case, eyeing it and Baz with suspicion. “You don’t look much like the briefcase type, boy.”
“Yeah, I’m loving lawyer in disguise, ain’t I mate?” Baz snatched the case off him.
“If you say so,” said the man, turning to collect the fallen bins.
“Let me get this straight. You not know what in case. You not know how to open case. You not even know where case came from. And you want me buy this from you why?”
“Look, forget about the case mate, it’s not about the case. Issa mystery you’re buying, innit? Ain’t you curious? Don’t you wanna know what’s inside it? Could be a priceless artifact, like, or missing diamonds wanting reunited with their owner, or anything.”
“You are crazy, Englishman,” Dawei said. “I give you ten dollar, is no good to me but some stupid kid might buy it.”
“Ten? You’ve having a loving laugh mate. Two hundred, no less. Maybe it’s belongs to a businessman? He’ll give you top dollar to get it back, I’ll bet.”
“Twenty dollar, last offer.”
“Twenty, if you no like I call cops and you explain to them where you got case from.”
“gently caress you mate, just gently caress you. Fine, twenty, you loving cheapskate.”
Baz snatched the offered notes from the counter and slammed the case down.
“Wise man. Now gently caress off, I’m closing.” Dawei made the case vanish behind the counter and pointed to the door.
Baz slammed the door hard behind him on the way out setting the waterfall of brass bells tinkling. It was raining again, and curiosity trickled down his spine alongside the water.
Two hours later, Baz found himself scrambling down a rusty fire-escape that overlooked the back of Dawei’s shop. A steady stream of complaint and curses trailed behind him like a comet tail.
“Stupid fuckin’ chink, if he don’t value it he won’t miss it.” He sidled slowly along the handguard to get past a section where all the steps had fallen away. Wet flakes of rust dug into the palms of his hand, staining them brown. “He can give the bloody thing back and I’ll find out what’s in it myself.” The metal creaked beneath him.
“‘Twenty dolla’ my arse,” he said, then: “gently caress! loving cheap oval office needs to repair his poo poo!” as the handrail gave way under his weight, bending with deceptive sloth to deposit him in a heap on the turn of stairs below. The deep boom reverberate for a long time in the canyon between buildings and Baz held his breath, pressing himself against the metal.
After a long wait, he concluded that either nobody had heard him or nobody cared, and slowly pulled himself upright again. He winced at a stab of pain from his ankle and hobbled down the last few steps to the bottom landing. The retractable ladder down to the enclosed yard below had long since retracted into a pile of amorphous rust. He kicked at it angrily; a chunk fell off and landed on concrete below with a clatter.
“oval office,” he said, with feeling. Ignoring the complaint from his ankle, he lowered himself on his stomach over the edge of the landing until he was dangling by his fingers. The floor was still a good four feet away; he closed his eyes and dropped. It was a poor landing, a stumbling collapse into a crumbled, moaning heap on the ground rather than the graceful drop-and-roll he’d been planning on. When the pain subsided, he crept up to the back door of the shop and tried the handle. It was locked, naturally, but the key was on the inside of the lock and his elbow made short work of the glass.
“Gotcha, you fucker,” Baz whispered under his breath. The attache case was in the corner of the stock room, jammed between a box full of old porn tapes and a shelf of dusty beanie babies. “Come to daddy.” He reached out for the handle, felt the worn leather under his hand for just a second before pain exploded in the back of his head. He collapsed to the floor.
He heard heavy boots tread lightly on the floor behind him, and then an arm reached past him and the case was taken away. He managed to roll over to face his attacker, but between the darkness and the onset of concussion he couldn’t make out much more than looming height.
“Am sorry, friend. Be needing this back again. It nothing personal,” said a thick, eastern European accent. The briefcase was raised above the stranger’s head, the last thing he saw before he was once again struck in the head by its black leather.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 20:24|
All in - 932 words
Mr. Williams spread the photographs of Sidewalk’s End across a pool table in the back of the pool hall. He wheezed from the fog of cigar smoke that filled the pool hall. His left hand rapidly stuffed a small handful of butterscotch candies in his maw. Mr. Williams grinned as the coughing subsided. Clacks of the billiard balls knocking together as well as the thump they made when the bounced on the sides made him relax. It was the perfect cover. He resumed his talk with Ruth Lin.
“Ruth, these shots are fantastic,” he said. Almost every angle of the bar was exposed. The pictures in the last batch covered the rest of the bar.
“Thank you Mr. Williams,” said Ruth. She didn't trust Mr. Williams. Despite giving her the opportunity of snapping as many pictures as she could in 3 hour time slots of her choosing as well as giving her access to the poker site servers in the basement of the pool hall, Mr. Williams was still very off putting. He stank of the cigar smoke and when she couldn't smell that, she smelled the butterscotch candies that seemed to have melted into his suit. The poker site did nothing for his face; it was easy to read what might come next.
“Do you have an idea as to who might have taken the briefcase?” said Mr. Williams, slouching in a chair.
“Maybe,” she said. She took one of the photographs and pointed a tall man in a loud red jacket. “His name is Adrian Stepwater and…”
Mr. Williams burst out laughing, almost choking on the candy still in his mouth. “Adrian Stepwater? The weirdo who sits in the corner mumbling on the most random poo poo? My customer who asks the freaks that drive trucks cross country to cut out their cursing? That man couldn't bust teenagers drinking in the park,” Mr. Williams said, wiping the tears from his eyes.
“You didn’t let me finish. When I was at Sidewalk’s End, he was rambling on about how he had the thing that would blow up the whole case. He kept on referring to this Elizabeth in the conversation we drifted in and out,” she said.
Mr. Williams cocked an eyebrow. “He has a relationship outside the ones he pays for? You do learn something new every day. Might have to check the database later. Fancy a game of pool? How about a cigar or butterscotch?”
“Pay me first.”
“Ok, you earned it,” he said, looking for his wallet. “Ungrateful bitch,” he thought.
The basement of the billiard hall was warm despite the air conditioner humming. Servers were placed on a wall opposite computers that were running games of poker. Fortunes were lost and made with a few clicks. Mr. Williams sank into an office chair and logged in. He looked into a database he had Ruth fix up. All the bets, tables, and dates were accessible from this location.
He searched for the game where the briefcase was bet. He smiled at the memory when he won the briefcase, its contents were priceless. It arrived on his porch one morning of June 20th, true to bettor’s word. After a quick peek of what was inside, he carried it everywhere with him, making himself feel powerful. A quick cigar outside of Sidewalk’s End and it was gone.
Finding Ruth helped immensely, as searching all alone was an arduous task for a man running two businesses. Ruth’s pictures and ways to carry on a conversation with people meant that a lot of ground was covered at visits.
But why did Adrian Stepwater have the case? All he did in the billiard hall was ramble on and yell at other people when the cursed. What did he gain from having the suitcase?
He reached into his pocket and through the wrappers of butterscotch he called Ruth.
“Tell Stepwater to I need to talk to him in a week right before we close.”
Mr. Williams lit a cigar he found in a desk drawer.
A mountain of a man walked in the billiard in the dying light of summer, the color of his jacket matching the color of the sky. Mr. Williams stood behind the bar, rocking back and forth.
“Mr. Williams, you wanted to speak with me?”
“Adrian, glad to see you. Sit down for a moment.”
Adrian sat down a stared ahead, looking like he rushed through dinner to be here. Mr. Williams swallowed a butterscotch candy. He breathed deeply, rapped his knuckles on the bar and finally spat it out.
“Find any briefcases lately,” said Mr. Williams, wasting no time.
Adrian glared at him and left his seat. When he started towards the door, Mr. Williams tried to follow. He found that Adrian drew a massive revolver that was poised to wipe off his face from his head.
“Don’t do anything that will make Elizabeth yell, Mr. Williams. She’s mighty loud for a woman of her size.” Mr. Williams backed away. Adrian laughed. “I took your briefcase, Mr. Williams. You would get in a lot of trouble if you kept it, but I know what to do with it. I hate to see a quality entertainment hall lose its owner.”
The man in the red jacket walked out of the billiard hall, leaving Mr. Williams standing in an empty pool hall.
“I’m a betting man, Adrian. You don’t cross a man that’s about to go all in with an empty hand,” he said to no one. He lit a cigar, grabbed a pool cue, and set off to find Stepwater.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 20:48|
Alex Lecosto lifted a thin eyebrow as she studied the man across from her. “You don’t look like much of an artist,” she said. “I’m not sure why you’d want to rent out a gallery, and I’m not sure how I could help.”
Peter Scolt wore an oversized suit, powder blue, with a grey shirt and matching tie. He was on the chunky side and clean shaven, revealing his weak chin. “Appearances deceive,” he said. His voice was a low drawl, just shy of slurring the words together. “But more importantly, I have clients. And I know you have connections.”
Alex drummed her fingertips on the table top to an arrhythmic beat. “And why should I do you this favor?”
He smiled, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. “I could offer money,” he said. She began to reply, but he cut her off swiftly. “But I know that you don’t need money. And so I offer you this.”
He hefted the attache case up and laid it on the table top. It was black, unadorned, save for the combination locks on either side of the handle. “Trust me, darling, this is worth more than you might think,” he said.
She reached forward to unlock the case, then looked up to him. “What’s the combination?” she said.
“I do not know,” he said. His smile became a broad grin, that mirrored itself in his eyes, a maniacal gleam in his deep set expression. “Don’t you worry any, though. Ownership is meaningless.”
She leaned back then, her gaze dropping back to the attache case. “Possession yields little,” she said. “Exchanges are our way of seeing the world, through the haze of quantum uncertainty. Water drop in the mist.” A private smile graced her lips. “This is beautiful.”
He laughed. “Looks fairly plain to me, darling. So, what do you say?”
“I can give you a month, you’ll have to handle the associated fees yourself,” she said.
“A month? No, that won’t do one bit. I need at least three,” he said.
“Three months?” she said. “That’s enough time for a whole style to fall out of vogue, let alone the career of one of your clients. I might be able to give you two months, but even that is pushing it.”
“Pushing it?” he said. “I know that you’re capable of pulling more than a few strings.” He was silent for a long moment and she looked up. Their gazes met and locked. Despite his sleepy eyelids, there was steel behind Peter’s expression. “Ten weeks.”
“Ten weeks,” she agreed.
Alex looked down from her private booth, watching the mass of flesh as they writhed to the synthetic beats pouring from the speakers. The dim lighting obscured their individual figures, leaving only the undifferentiated collective, the brownian motion of dance.
Two figures emerged from the press of flesh to slide across from her. Their similar looks marked them as brother and sister, and their nearly identical outfits marked them as co-workers. They wore black slacks and tight magenta shirts, to highlight similarly slim and athletic forms.
The sister spoke first, “You’re looking quite fabulous this evening, Miss Lecosto.”
Alex wore a white suit, with black pinstripes to disguise the lines of her form. “Please, call me Alex,” she said. “And you have me at a disadvantage, Mr and Mrs…”
“We are the Smithwicks,” the brother said. Alex stiffened for just a moment as recollection flared across her memory.
“I can see that there is no more need of pleasantries,” the sister said. Her voice was a husky mirror to her brother’s. “So let us get right down to business.”
“Not that business has to be unpleasant,” the brother said.
Alex’s expression smoothed in a neutral mask, but she maintained the stiffness of her posture. “Might I inquire to whom your employer is for this evening?” she said.
“You might ask,” began the brother.
“But we will not answer,” concluded the sister.
“Well then, what is the offer on the table?” Alex said.
“Our employer has done some extensive research on you, Miss Le- Alex,” said the brother. “And we would be at your use.”
“For whatever you may desire,” said the sister. “Protection, acquisition, anything.”
Alex lifted up a black attache case from beside her feet. The twist of her body gave her a view of the guns that the siblings had pointed towards her stomach. Alex set the attache case onto the table top, facing her, and flicked open the locks. The siblings froze, eyes wide as Alex opened the case.
“Your employer’s research has likely been insufficient. It is always insufficient,” Alex said. She reached into the darkness of the attache case. “What I desire is beauty. But not the beauty of an attractive body or a priceless painting.” She looked up to the siblings and smiled warmly, but not genuinely.
“Aesthetics has always been a most subjective philosophy,” Alex said. “Bound by the laws of personal taste. But I think I’ve stumbled upon a truth beyond all truths. The greatest beauty stems from chaos.” She withdrew her hands and aimed two pistols, one at the chest of each sibling.
“The case is out there, in the swirling motion of the night. The search for it will be beautiful,” Alex said.
The bass pounding out of the speakers swallowed everything.
Alex leaned against the railing, gazing out onto the rolling waves. She clutched a hand to her stomach, where the red stained her shirt. “You’ve made some enemies this night,” said Peter Scolt.
“All I’ve done is set some things moving,” Alex said. “In the morning, the tableau of the night will be writ in blood across the streets of Los Grano D’oro, and the picture will tell more than the doing.”
Peter didn’t respond, and simply moved to stand beside her, watching the progression of the waves crashing onto the beach.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 21:10|
Hoping it's not too late to claim Adrian Stepwater. Came back from a long weekend with no internet and had to catch up quickly.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 22:07|
The hammer of my beretta clicks. “Don’t make a scene now,” I say. The man in the other room of the confessional booth is quiet for a while.
“What do you want? Motherfucker,” he finally says.
“You’re in possession of a black suitcase. I have been sent to retrieve it. This can be easy, or it can be hard.” I want to click the hammer back again to emphasize my words. “Your call.”
I hear a slow, deliberate movement and I hope he doesn’t do anything stupid. He plays it cool. There’s a dull thud outside and I see faint traces of a black suitcase through the curtain.
I get up, leave the booth and pick up the suitcase. Some jackass glued diamonds all over it.
The church floor is littered with people, moaning, mumbling, spaced out on drugs. I’ve never seen so many unwashed people in one place, and I’ve been to Paris. I try not to step on them as I make my way to the exit.
“Behold!” yells the man’s voice behind me. I turn around and there he is, Black Jesus in all his glory, stretching out his arms as if to scare off a raging bear. “My sexy brethren, behold this here Judas and his case-stealing ways! Show him what happens to those who interfere with your messiah, and his grand schemes of booty acquisition!”
The first guy is already on me. No time to aim. I smack him with the case and the diamonds fall off and scatter all over the ground. People who were just about to lunge for me now scurry across the floor fighting for treasure.
All except Jesus. He takes a swing and a jackhammer breaks my jaw. I jerk up the gun and pull the trigger. Thunder tears through the hall so mighty this might as well be the church of Zeus. Jesus is hurled backwards, lands on the ground and doesn’t move. I leg it.
There’s a rancid stench inside the phone booth. Dirt and grime of undisclosed origin cover the walls and windows. I’ve been to toilet stalls cleaner than this. I put a quarter into the machine and dial Don Raúl’s number. I’m not looking forward to the call. He’s the leader of the Locos, and the Locos definitely earn their name.
The phone rings one and a half times.
“Yeah?” a deep voice says at the other end. El Mustachio, the Don’s right hand man.
“This is Ray.”
“Why are you answering the phone for your boss?”
“Ahhh, he is a worried little flower. He has a taster too. I think this is the same, for phones.”
I rub my eyes. “Just give me the Don.”
The phone changes hands. The new voice is raspy, and has a Mexican accent. “Ray, my melancholic prince! What can Don Raúl do for you?”
“The job is done.”
“The guy is dead?”
“What? I’ve got the briefcase.”
I wait for him, but he doesn’t remember. “You just wanted me to kill the black guy, didn’t you.”
“This... brown man walks around my town, proclaiming to be my messiah? No! Don Raúl will not have it.”
“gently caress, whatever. Payment?”
“I don’t want the briefcase anymore.”
“Okay. You never wanted it. This was a hit. Payment?”
“Ahhhh, esé. Do you not know about supply and demand? Don Raúl pays his bills, but what worth is your service? The contract was for a suitcase. I want to cancel that order. I could pay you for the hit, but the guy is already dead, so wouldn’t that be pretty stupid of me?”
“Are you serious?”
“The invisible hand provides.” There’s a rustle on the phone as Don Raúl probably moves his hand to cross himself. I hang up.
The guard up front at the Locos hideout is easy. He knows me, we’ve had a few beers together. He lets me in, no issue. Up two stories, there’s El Mustachio, the man with the moustache, guarding the Don’s door. He knows we have beef. I don’t waste any time with niceties. I pull my gun. Silenced.
He raises his hands. “Chill out, you sexy fucker,” he says in his most suave voice.
I nod towards the door. He opens it for me and I knock him out from behind. I step over his body. The Don sits in his office, all business as usual, looking at me expectantly.
Then he leans back in his chair and makes a confident gesture with his hands that invites me to fire away.
The bullet pierces his chest right where his heart is. Don Raúl oofs, blood gushing out of his breast as if somebody had detonated a C4 charge from the inside. He rears up, then slumps back into his chair, eyes closed.
It’s all too melodramatic.
He stays like that for a few seconds. Then he chuckles. His eyes open. He heaves himself back into a composed, upright position and folds his hands on the desk. He smiles at me.
“Esé, you don’t get it. Don Raúl is no man, he is an idea. And an idea whose time has come, you cannot kill.”
“Sure,” I say, “not if I keep firing into Kevlar.”
“Don Raúl does not know what you are talking about.”
I aim for his head.
“Okay,” he says. “Maybe Don Raúl has a faint idea.”
“Shut the gently caress up and pay me.”
He squints, then takes a tiny gold bar out of a drawer and puts in on the table.
“Do you ever pay anyone in actual money?” I say, bagging the gold.
“The suitcase…?” he says.
“You cancelled that order. The gold is for letting you live. Supply and demand.”
“You are making a powerful enemy here.”
I fire another bullet into his vest.
I leave the building. Nobody stops me. I go for a walk. I toss the case into the trash.
Just another day in Los Grano D'oro. I need a drink.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 22:52|
Nethilia fucked around with this message at 04:46 on Dec 30, 2014
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 23:39|
several hours later
Less of this, please.
For the rest of her show that case sat there under the coat and the desk...but as the early morning traffic report guy arrived
It is not too late.
Hoping it's not too late to claim Adrian Stepwater. Came back from a long weekend with no internet and had to catch up quickly.
|# ? Jul 6, 2014 23:44|
The False Prophet
Word Count: 781
“My niggas and sistas!” The prophet Black Jesus held a diamond bedazzled suitcase up high over his head, “Our LORD and savior Black God has given me an icon in his image to show us how much he loves and cares for us! He came to us in the high tide from this very night!”
“Excuse me, Mr. Jesus?” Out in the congregation, a dirty white man with a scraggly blonde beard raised his hand up. “Why would any god choose to be a suitcase?”
Black Jesus set the suitcase down on a garishly decorated table, full of linens, golden candelabra, and half naked, coked out women. He stood in front of this man and held out a hand. One of the altar girls ran up beside him and dumped some baby powder into his cupped hands. “What is your name, child?”
“In the name of the Father, Myself and the Holy Spirit,” said Black Jesus in a righteous fury and then bitch-slapped the sin from Morris’ mouth. A cloud of white enshrouded his head and settled in his beard and hair, giving him the appearance of an old saint. “You are blessed by the Holy one himself even though you insult in ignorance!”
The congregation murmured an amen. Morris sneezed.
“Niggas! Sistas! It is time to partake in God’s flesh. Bring out the cocaine and the malt liquor! It’s time for worship!”
Black Jesus was coked out of his goddamn mind.
“How you feeling Beej?” slurred a woman right before she did a line off someone’s rear end.
“If I were to rate how high I was on a scale of one to a hundred, I’d be very loving high right now.” A revelation sparked in Black Jesus’ mind and he shot straight up, throwing a girl who was resting her head on his lap to the floor. “I’ve just had a revelation! Black God spoke to me, goddammit!”
“Praise be to the gee oh dee.” said Morris as he was startled awake due to Black Jesus’ outburst. “...Where the gently caress are my pants, man?”
“We don’t loving need pants where we’re going, Saint Morris. We’re going to recreate a tableau!”
“Black Jesus, I need another hit,” interrupted a short blond girl as she staggered up to him.
Black Jesus’ face went dark. “Morris, I need you to be the right hand of Black God.”
Morris noticed that Black Jesus’ hand was wrapped in bandages. “What happened to you, Nigga of Man?”
“Bitches.” Black Jesus shook his head. “I need you to do two things. First, slap yourself, cause nigga, you white as hell. You can’t be saying that poo poo. The matter wit’ you?” Black Jesus held up three fingers. “Two, slap the poo poo out of her. Bitch needs to know you don’t disrespect the Nigga of Man like that. I’ll meet your rear end downstairs; and for gently caress’s sake put on some pants.”
Walking down the steps Morris was busy working his belt when the sudden sound of pandemonium grabbed his attention. Black Jesus stood at the edge of the baptism pool whipping his congregation up in a frenzy.
Black Jesus shouted above the cry of the crowd and they quieted to a low murmur. “The loss of our great God, Black God is a travesty. But all it not lost!” Black Jesus put up four fingers. “One, The Great Black God has come back to us somehow. BEHOLD Sister Karen has returned with our Lord Almighty!”
Sister Karen waved to the crowd appearing very awkward.
Black Jesus continued, “Black God has given me the gift another icon, a smaller miracle in the form of this jewel encrusted dildo!”
The crowd cheered him on. The ladies lost their poo poo when Black Jesus tossed Black God’s phallic miracle at them.
“Black God loves his honeys, that’s for drat sure. Two, Black God has instructed his son, me, to prove to you that he is the one true God by walking across this pool of water!” He steps to the edge of the pool and lifts his arms into the air. “LORD! Fill me with the holy motherfucking spirit!”
The holy spirit fills Black Jesus and then he does the krump with such spiritual fervor that many attending the Black Mass pass out from Holy Ghost overdose.
He stopped the dance. He placed a foot on the water tentatively. With a nod, he placed the full weight of his body on his foot and belly flopped into the water. Black Jesus erupted out of the water, arms flailing. “Help! I’m black! I can’t swim!”
Morris shook his head and heads back upstairs to steal some drugs and money before he moved on.
|# ? Jul 7, 2014 00:30|
The Passion of St. Elmo 1000 words
The briefcase was exactly the type of thing for which he’d juice a man with two-hundred-thousand volts in the back and James “Papa” Biaggio had just handcuffed it to his wrist. “You guard this with your life, Elmo,” the mob lawyer said.
“Sure, Papa.” His cell whistled the theme from Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. “I need to take this – for the party.”
Balloons. “Yeah, everything was as promised,” Elmo said. They should be downstairs with Molly anyway. He’d picked them out a couple of weeks ago: silver and pink.
Goldie’s voice smoldered, even over the phone. “Good. One more thing. There’s someone looking for you, name of Coyotaje.” She paused, then whispered huskily, “He knows your last name. Keep your eyes open.” Elmo tongued his front-left tooth, a silver remnant of his luchador days after leaving seminary. What they wouldn’t have given for his first name back then.
“Thank you, ma’am. Goodbye.”
“Just the balloon company. Calling to thank us for our business, wish a happy thirteenth to the birthday girl.”
The balloons actually made her feel a little better about the black eye. She tied a couple onto her backpack; the colors matched the streaks in her hair. Elmo must have picked them. Beside her, the new driver shifted from foot to foot. “Papa ain’t gonna be happy about that shiner, kid.”
She never had a chance to retort. When the elevator dinged, Elmo and Papa stepped out. She walked forward. Papa reached out toward her, but Elmo sprinted, a non-descript briefcase cuffed to one hand. “Molly!” they shouted. Gunshots cracked behind her and the driver’s blood fountained past, covering her father in gore.
Elmo slammed into her, wrapped his right arm around her waist, and pivoted his whole frame. As she whirled around, she glimpsed men in black, SWAT on the front of their vests, and then she was sliding across the waxed floor of the lobby on her rear end into the adjacent hallway. The echoing thunder of gunfire never stopped.
She ran her hands everywhere, checked for blood. The balloons orbited lazily above her head in the recirculating air.
While the barrage took Papa in the throat, he struggled to rebalance after the throw, then launched forward, tucking his shoulder into a roll and coming up next to Molly. The kid’s face was ghostly pale, except for the purple and green surrounding her left eye, which matched a few of the colors in her hair.
“Molly.” Her eyes were locked onto the blood pooling around her father’s corpse. “You got my balloons.”
“Molly, we have to go. Now.” He reached out his hand and stared at the flattened mesas of his knuckles, unable to meet her eyes. The brush of her fingertips on his palm loosed him and they ran for the fire exit.
She tried to keep up, but Elmo towered over her, and her feet barely touched the ground. He kicked open the fire door. Three SWAT members stood so close she saw the surprised looks on their faces when Elmo grabbed the nearest by the throat and crotch, that briefcase still dangling, and raised him overhead. “Hraahhhh!” It seemed ridiculous, a showman’s yell, but he slammed the full grown man and all his gear into the others. He flicked his arm to the side and, when he laid into the pile of bodies with his right fist, the crackle of electricity filled the air.
She’d heard rumors about why they called him St. Elmo’s Fire.
He never saw the fourth officer coming.
The impact of the bullets smashed him into the building. He slid to the ground and willed Molly to stay hidden, but the kid stuck her face out and narrowed her eyes as the man passed by. Then, she tiptoed behind him and filled his mask full of pepper spray.
He scissored the legs out from under the bastard and gave him a good dose of shock therapy with the stun gun.
“Elmo, you’re alive!”
He let the kid help him up to a sitting position against the wall. “Bullet proof vest.”
She threw her arms around him. “You’re the only one I have left.”
They walked and jogged through the alleys of Los Grano D’oro, inside the maze of concrete and steel in the center of the city. He talked to keep Molly distracted from the bloody footprints he left behind.
“How’d you get the shiner?”
Instead of answering, she asked, “Why would they kill my dad?”
“Hell, Molly. Did you get that fighting about your dad’s job?” She nodded. “Well, it’s true. He worked for the Syndicate.”
She practically dragged him out of the alley, knocking over some smelly garbage man in the process when Elmo overbalanced. They hurried away, ignoring the noises from behind. A bullet had torn through his upper hip and his back was a mess of bruises.
“What’s in the briefcase?”
“Something valuable. And when I deliver it, we’ll live someplace quiet. Together.” Weathered oaken doors fronted the Fourteen Holy Helpers Cathedral. She pulled one open and they staggered inside.
A bombshell in a long jacket sashayed out of the north tower. “Who’s this with you?”
“It’s the kid, Goldie. His kid. Her name’s Molly. You’ll need to keep her safe until I come for her.”
“What?” They both spoke at the same time.
“Molly, it’s dangerous where I’m headed. Will you trust me?”
“Yes.” There was nothing else to say.
She gritted her teeth as Goldie drew her eyes along every inch of Elmo, taking in the bruises and blood. “Can you still deliver, Domingo Silver?” Elmo Domingo nodded fiercely. Light from the stained glass window of St. Erasmus glinted off the silver tooth in his grin. Goldie threw Elmo a set of keys. “The El Camino out back.” They left, trailing a lone, pink balloon.
The last time she ever saw Elmo, he was walking away, briefcase in hand.
|# ? Jul 7, 2014 02:21|
He’s been driving up and down the same dockside avenue for forty minutes because there’s some bad men at home with Melinda. They have bullets and belt straps, and the creative, angry minds to put them to good use if they don’t get what they want.
One Week Earlier
His trailer home was a mess of glass and splinters. Not a surface was intact, minus a single end table in the center of it all. A cellphone sat atop it, propped against the photo of his daughter from the bedroom.There was only one number saved in the directory. He called it.
“Mr. Clinton. Taj Clinton. You know we never forgot about you.”
“I do now,” he said.
“And you probably know that we have your daughter.”
“It appears so.”
“You move people for a living, Coyotaje,” he told him, “so find the man named Domingo Silver and move him here. Then you get your girl and the debt you owe is forgiven.”
He took a drag from his cigarette. “An even trade?”
“On our honor.”
The bad man couldn’t tell him where Domingo Silver is, but Taj knows the he can be found somewhere in Los Grano D’oro. A man like Silver has a way of attracting bad poo poo, and since bad poo poo happens at the docks, this is where he starts. Taj pulls into an alley to adjust the volume on his police scanner when there’s a knock at the window. His hand’s on the Beretta that lives on his hip.
There’s a blonde girl behind the glass, and she gets so close when she talks that the window fogs. “Heya mister,” she asks while chomping on a glob of bubblegum, “I lost my daddy. Can you help me find him?” Her finger is tipped in cherry red and matches the bows in her pigtails. She draws a heart in the condensation.
“Get in,” Taj tells her.
The girl walks around the front of his Challenger in a playful half-skip that sends her skirt swishing and gives Taj a peek at what’s underneath. She wants to look thirteen, Melinda’s age, but her body language betrays her. It’s all too practiced, a characterization only convincing to the deluded pedophiles she’s trying to attract. She gets in and takes a schoolgirl posture, back arched, legs crossed high on her thigh so her skirt hem creeps higher and higher.
“So, what’s your name, daddy?” she asks before blowing another bubble. She reaches over, heading for the zipper on his denim but eyeing the gun in his holster, but Taj is fast and draws on her.
“My name is don’t loving try it. What’s yours?”
The girl breaks character and slouches in her seat. “The name’s Honey, now what do you want?”
“Information is just as expensive as a gently caress,” she says.
He begins to tell her that she can gently caress right off, but the police scanner announces that a man matching Silver’s description just took out half a SWAT unit. He’s on foot, heading north on Eighth Street. Taj floors it. The girl just has to come with.
Out of all the animals Taj has tracked, humans leave some of the biggest, bloodiest, prints. He explains it to the girl while they follow the trail that ends at a dusty cathedral. He also explains to her how she is going to help him catch Silver.
First, Taj makes Honey lower her loving skirt and gives her a jacket to cover up; he smears off her makeup with his sleeve. “Next,” he says, “go do the lost little girl bit, only don’t act like you want to suck his dick.” He produces a wad of bills. “Then you get this.”
When Honey enters, she doesn’t skip or swing her rear end; she just drags her feet and tells him that she’s scared. He’s tells her not to get too close, but she cries and runs into his arms anyway. These aren’t the I’ve-been-a-bad-girl-so-spank-me-harder tears that Taj expects; they’re the real deal. She even sobs. That’s when Taj grabs what black hair he can and bounces the man’s face off of the pew. The man’s nose is pouring blood, but he still finds the strength to get up. An electric crackling fills the space between the floor and the fresco ceiling. Taj throws a haymaker, but the man catches it and sweeps the legs from under him.
“You think I am an animal for you to hunt, Coyotaje?” the man asks through gritted teeth.
Elmo lifts his foot high, ready to stomp, when a thud overtakes the crackling air. Elmo’s eyes roll back into his head, and he topples over. Behind him is Honey with a pair of brass knuckles. She reaches out with those cherry tipped fingers and helps Taj up.
He searches the man’s mouth for a signature silver tooth, and when he finds it, he handcuffs the big man, tapes his mouth, and moves him to the trunk of Taj’s Challenger. There’s also a briefcase that gets tossed in the backseat. Taj gives Honey her money. Then she knucks him for good measure.
When Taj wakes, he doesn’t bother to look for Honey. She’s gone, and so is El Camino that was parked in the back lot. His money’s gone too, but she’s left everything else where it belongs. There’s also a big smooch on Taj’s cheek, left with her pink lipstick, which he fails to notice.
On his way back home, the phone with only one contact begins to ring. There’s a big man on the other end making an even bigger promises. A man named Walt has hosed up, and if Taj deals with the Walt situation, Mr. Big will ensure that the Zetas stay honorable. Taj cuts a u-turn across the median; the night’s young, afterall.
Walt’s house has already had a once over by some goons. There’s a Honda out front with slashed tires and the front door’s been kicked in. Taj finds a half-packed suitcase in the middle of the bedroom. Walt must have run out the back door. Underneath the bed is a laptop marked with a cracked bootprint. The screen’s been shattered, but a single panel of the fractured glass still works. Walt had just purchased a bus ticket when the goons showed up.
There’s only one bus station in town and only one bus leaving before sunup. Taj catches Walter there, standing in a line with his little backpack, ready to say goodbye to Los Grano D’Oro and hello to Montpelier. If Taj hesitates, even for a moment, Walter is going to board the vehicle and Taj is going to have to kill a whole busload of people. He has neither the patience nor bullets to do so, instead he revs the engine, pops the curb, and puts five rounds through Walter’s Hawaiian shirt, dotting the yellow pattern in red splotches.
Taj steps on the gas and pushes the car as fast as it will go. He calls Mr. Big and tells him the job is done, but right before he hangs up, the rearview mirror lights up in blue and red. Someone at the station must have gotten his plate. Taj drives fast, weaving through alleys and side streets while Mr. Big tells him where to go. Taj hears Silver sliding around in the trunk. There’s a movie executive named Brückenau and he’s going to make it all disappear. At one point, Taj nearly splatters a Chinese girl on rollerblades. His car is still suped up to outrun border patrol and anti immigrant militiamen, so he manages to lose the cops, even if he also loses his driver’s side mirror, rear bumper, and a good deal of paint in the process.
When he pulls on to the lot, Taj is directed to park on a city-street set. With all the cameras and actors, it’s clear that the set is live. There’s an overweight man sweating through his shirt and barking orders; Taj figures him to be his problem solver.
Taj exits the vehicle while calling his contact with the Zetas. He wishes he could tell him that things went bad, explain, but he hasn’t the trust nor time, so he bluffs and mentions Mr. Big, and he tells the Zetas that he will kill Silver. Taj doesn’t let the man respond.
“And if you lay a loving finger on my daughter,” he says, “I’ll do to each of you what I’m about to do to Domingo Silver.”
Taj turns on video conferencing, pops the trunk, and leaves the camera squared right on the man the Zetas want. He slams the lid.
“Thanks,” Taj said as he hands the fat man the set of keys, “owe you one.” Taj lights a smoke as he walks towards the street. There’s a bounty out there that needs cashing in and more people he plans on visiting.
|# ? Jul 7, 2014 02:43|
New Friends and Old - 995 Words
docbeard fucked around with this message at 15:19 on Dec 29, 2014
|# ? Jul 7, 2014 02:50|
Lily Catts fucked around with this message at 10:43 on Dec 7, 2014
|# ? Jul 7, 2014 03:10|
|# ? Dec 11, 2023 09:13|
“Hey Lily, more vodka!” one of the truckers called.
Prima ballerina Elizabeth Lucas – “Lily Capone” at work – brought them a bottle. “You gentlemen paying for the round, the table or both?” she asked.
“How about a round on the table?” one of them jeered.
Cool as the black swan, Lily pulled a lighter from her pocket, flicked it open and lay it on the green of the pool table, which started to scorch. She said through the curl of smoke, “You can drink this bottle or burn in it – boss wouldn’t mind the insurance money if the place goes up, so really, it’s your choice. Felt or fire, fellas?”
They paid. She pocketed the table fee and finished her shift. As she walked out of Sidewalk’s End, she could hear the truckers insisting to Mr. Williams that they’d already paid for their pool.
They’ll get over it, she thought, thumbing through her pocket of twenties and wondering how she had gone from stealing the show to stealing from truckers.
It was twelve blocks and up seven flights of stairs to her father’s apartment. After her younger brother had died on the police force and her mother from cancer a few years after, her father had become a bit of a shut-in, pushing Elizabeth further and further away. She hadn’t minded. Her career in dance had paid poorly but taken her to hundreds of cities on six continents. When she’d returned to Los Granos d’Oro to care for him, she found it both the same and different: cities were cities, and the stink never changed.
She could hear her father coughing as her keys clattered at the locks. “Daddy, are you ok?” she called, rushing back to the living room.
“Where’ve you been, Liz?” he coughed.
“On shift, Dad, that’s all. I need to work.” She offered him a glass of water.
“Darn well better. Put your rent into my account on Monday, you’re two days late. I got a right to my money.”
“Yes Daddy,” she said. “Did you take your medicine?”
“That snake oil? You know those prices are all the government’s fault, they’ve let this city fall into shambles, not respectin’ a man’s right to his health and his house and his money. Tax system’s blown, public works’s a den of villainy, and the courts’re…!”
He stopped for another coughing fit. Elizabeth went to the kitchen and fixed him a plate of pills and a bigger glass of water. She brought them back and handed him each tablet one-by-one, and he chased them all with a swallow of water.
The sun went down slowly, red reflecting in sharp angles off the peeling wallpaper. “Liz, I’m expecting Mr. Stepwater,” her father said after a long silence. “If he calls, let him in.”
Elizabeth didn’t know what else she would’ve done with their hulk of a neighbor. He’d been her brother’s captain while he was on the police force, but she’d never cared for him. Her boss, Mr. Williams, said he’d gone crazy not long after her brother was killed.
The sunset was just starting to fade when there was a knock on the door.
“Good evening, Miss Beth,” the man in a red jacket said. He had his hat in one hand and a black briefcase in the other. “Is your father well?”
“Well enough, Mr. Stepwater,” she said, stepping back. “He’s expecting you.” He laid his hat on the counter as he walked past, but otherwise paid her no mind.
She followed him into the living room. "You've found it," her father said. Then, when he noticed her, “Liz, give us some privacy. Men got a right to talk."
She walked back into the kitchen without a word. Five months and she felt no closer to her father than she had ten thousand miles away, lighting up the stage in Tangiers, Singapore and Berlin. The men talked in low voices for about half an hour. She went and stood by the open door a while later and lit a cigarette.
She didn’t hear them walk up behind her. “Liz, put that drat thing out, you’ll kill me! I got a right to my health!” he yelled at her, then bent over to cough.
“You shouldn’t swear at your daughter,” Mr. Stepwater said, patting him on the back.
Her father went suddenly quiet. He clutched at his throat, lips blue. Elizabeth froze. Mr. Stepwater seemed confused. “Mr. Lucas? Sir, are you…? Mr. Lucas!” He set down the briefcase and grabbed the old man, pulling his fists into the diaphragm in a textbook Heimlich maneuver. Elizabeth watched.
Her father never made another sound.
Fifteen minutes later, Elizabeth still watched as Mr. Stepwater laid her father down on their kitchen floor. She asked, “Why didn’t you call an ambulance?” and was surprised to find herself sobbing.
“Bunch of clowns,” Mr. Stepwater said, standing. “Man has a right to his dignity. He was a good man, your father.”
Elizabeth looked at him. “You’re such poo poo,” she said. “You and this whole goddamn town.”
“Miss Beth, you shouldn’t- ”
She grabbed his briefcase and his hat and calmly stepped out the front door and threw them into seven stories of air. He rushed past her, not even finishing his reprimand for her swearing.
“rear end in a top hat.” She lit another cigarette and left her door open. A few minutes later, her boss, Mr. Williams, knocked on it.
“Miss Lily, you haven’t seen a Mr. Adrian Stepwater, have you? Lives in this building I believe, might’ve been carrying a black briefcase?” He said nothing about her father’s body lying at his feet.
“Downstairs, Mr. Williams,” she said without looking up from her laptop. Plane tickets to Paris, message to her old dance company. “I quit, by the way.”
He had already run off. She grabbed a bag packed from her closet of a bedroom, upended a bottle of vodka over the kitchen counter, and threw her cigarette butt back over her shoulder as she walked out.
|# ? Jul 7, 2014 03:18|