clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Monday, March 4, 2013

Accidental Demise

I'm killing people off. I've drowned them, accidentally shot two, not so accidentally shot another, boiled one alive (and the hippos were boiled in their tanks), hit one on the head, and gave one a heart attack.

One more and I get a set of steak knives.

I'm from a place where the nicest thing people say about you at the funeral is that "he was a hard worker." It sounds like a curse in my ears. I'm using it in a revision. I hope at your funeral people say something else. I'd rather hear "let's go get pizza" rather than "he was a hard worker." In fact, I've left a funeral to get pizza before. It was a treat.

A piece of pulp.

 I like a piece of throw-away dialogue. It's what you expect.

The door opened without a knock and the short man in the grey suit smiled as he stepped into the basement office. It was a new suit and it fit fine on the type of man to whom a suit was a badge. He'd never seen a high school guidance councilor on a Wednesday.

"So Artie, what do you want?," the larger man behind the desk asked.

It was piled with folders and the fellow was pecking figures into a beige computer. Invoices covered the minimal real estate: Happy Hollow Produce, Swenson's dairy, All-Star Meats.

"Bobby sent me," Artie said settling into a almond colored chair. Its arms had been bright chrome in the Carter administration. "He says you're to pay what you normally give him to me from now on."

"Bobby didn't say nothing like that to me."

"Well, he's not going to say much to you anymore."

"That right? Like that is it?"

"Yea. He had a bad accident. Hit his head on some bullets then crawled in the trunk of that Escalade and took a sauna. I think he fell asleep and it got too hot for him but that's just me."

"You're a pig, Schum."

"Five a week keeps you vertical."

His victim nodded. It was like that.

Artie got up to leave. The vinyl chair stretched a little at the release. One step got the hood to the door and he turned around slowly centered in the opening. He had a case of the theatrical.

"Pay your cut and everything goes fine for you. This is a bad neighborhood. The buildings are all full of them firebugs. Hard to get rid of 'em."

He said the words and watched his victim reach and scratch himself looking down at the desktop. He'd won. They were all sheep. They'd fall over for the shearing.

The last thing he heard was both barrels of the J.C.Higgins shotgun blow out the back of the desk.


Unknown said...

I think I'm learning. The top part is "you" right? The bottom part your creativity. Nice start. I like it. Reminds me a little of Dashiell Hammett. Hope that's not an insult. Very Noirish. Yours truly, Toe.

jack welling said...

Right again, Toe! I love Hammett.

There is nothing like a 300-words-to-the-murder drill to get one's juices going. None of it will make it to print but the act of "boom, here it is" really helps stop the loitering that can occur in my usual writing without the application of extreme discipline.

No one cares if the snow was dirty. They care if the body lies on a shoveled sidewalk or a slushy ditch.

To borrow from a presidential campaign: "It's the murder, stupid." It isn't the aroma of fresh pie in the pizza shop.

It's the aroma of cordite mixed with anchovies and Fat Tony that does the rookie cop in ... the murder.

Chancelet said...

Murder and mayhem - sometimes there's nothing better! I hope when it comes to your funeral, hopefully not due to some murder or mayhem - that people will say "What a great writer he was!" the go out for pizza. :)