Posts tagged ‘Fiction’

For The Record, Chapter 3

(it ain’t dead yet)


No one else is in my apartment–no one ever is–but I shout “Shit!” regardless. It feels necessary, like an admonition to my ass to keep its contents shut tight, even though there’s fucking bullets flying about.

Speaking of which, bullets number two and three embed themselves in my crappy couch even as I dive behind it.

“Shit! Shit! Shit!”

I crawl along the floor on my elbows like a soldier deep in the brush. I seriously have to concentrate so as not to wet myself. For a few seconds, I’m not sure where I’m crawling, but then I have the hare-brained idea to head for the open window and look out of it.

I’m a fucking moron. Just as the top of my mane of uncooperative short black hair rises above the sill, bullets four through six smash through the window glass. It shatters and rains into my hair. Goddamnit.


I crawl toward the place I shoulda crawled toward to beign with–the fucking door–and after a moment or two, I realize I’m crawling in silence. Except the music–that perfect, lush music–is still hissing from the headphones, the details barely clear. Again, I feel a warmth wash over me.

Yep, it’s urine. I’ve gone and pissed my pants.


December 4, 2008 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

NaNoWriMo08: The Crossroads

It’s been about three days since I touched my NaNoWriMo novel.

I’m at 14,284 words. Of 50,000.

It’s not happening, folks.

I’ve spent the past few days coming to terms with that, contemplating alternatives, and so fucking tired and sick from not sleeping and having the mild flu that I can’t see straight, and sometimes hallucinate that animated baby from Ally McBeal being shoved into a meat grinder.

I’m about seven chapters ahead of what I’ve been posting, so I plan to keep posting. I also think I may try to finish what I’ve started–the other big problem is that I’m realizing the story I thought could sustain 50,000 words is really more like 25,000 to 30,000, probably.

So maybe I’ll try to get to that 25,000-30,000, which would be a draft of a novella, basically, and spit all that up on the site, and pretend I’ve accomplished something.

Aw, fuck it–I will have accomplished something. And I will have done it under extreme duress thanks to what the kids call “real life.” Unavoidable duress, to be sure–duress I willingly and often happily accept–but duress nonetheless.

No blame. No shame. Just positivity. Moving forward. Getting done. Making happen. Amen and alleluia.

November 19, 2008 at 2:56 pm 1 comment

For The Record, Chapter 1 (NaNoWriMo 2008)

June 27, 10:53 a.m.

Every year in Chicago, this is the perfect moment. The date and time when the stars always align to create the ideal weather.

I’m not what you’d call the religious type, but if there is a God, then that fucker knows what he’s doing. And if there’s a heaven, then Chicago, Illinois on June 27 at 10:53 a.m. is its annual location.

On this particular June 27, in the Year of our Lord whatever, I’m making my way down Heaven’s Magnificent Mile toward the WXLP studios. That’s where I work. I’m a DJ, one of those fossils old enough to still remember when there were actual discs to jockey. I still try to ignore the computer and do most of the thinking, some of the time.

I had been on the El, and I usually take it to Jackson and then walk a couple blocks to the studio, but noticing the date, and the time, and the urine-soaked homeless dude resting his head on my shoulder to grab some shut-eye, I disembarked at Grand, and hoofed it the remainder.

November 11, 2008 at 5:05 pm 1 comment

For The Record: Prologue The Second (NaNoWriMo 2008)

Orlando, Florida
Three Days Ago

It is unnecessary to imagine a giant gaudy white castle rising up out of the former swamplands of Central Florida. Such a castle exists. You have seen it on television, or perhaps photographed your family in front of it.

The Magic Kingdom enables its guests to float past robot pirates pillaging a foam core village; it allows children to climb aboard the back of a flying elephant for three minutes of moving slowly around in a circle; and it invites families to pay outrageous prices for the privilege of eating shitty food inside the aforementioned castle.

This is Cinderella’s Royal Table. Waitresses in off-the-shelf wenchwear bustle about with trays of stainless steel mugs and microwaved turkey legs. Little girls in rayon blue dresses plead with their moms to take them to see a Princess who’s pissed cause she smoked her last Lucky Strike on her break and now she’s out.

A big guy in a loud Hawaiian shirt blends in and sticks out. In passing, he’s just another tourist, maybe one of the legions of hardcore Disneyphiles who live in apartments and condos surrounding the Disney property and spend their every free waking moment stumbling around the parks in a childlike daze.

Look more closely and he’s too slick to be a tourist; his shit’s too together for a vacation. This guy is here on business. He means it too.

He steals the occasional glance at a small man with a giant shock of curly long hair and a tie-dyed T-shirt, seated at a table for one nearby. This man looks nervous and uncomfortable. He always looks that way.

A third approaches. He’s quite clean. His crisp dark suit seems to stick its nose up at the Hawaiian shirt. The shirt responds by flipping the bird.

“Charming location,” the clean gentleman says.

“No one will ever find us here,” the big guy replies.

The clean gentleman unfolds his napkin, twists up his face at its state of cleanliness, then sets it next to his plate, which frankly, isn’t much cleaner.

“I was under the impression there was no one left to find us.”

“Probably true,” the big guy replies. “We lost Dominguez in Naples, and Maxwell–” he gestures to the nervous one in the tie-dye, “–made sure the O’Riordan twins never made it out of Sydney.”

A decidedly unregal, gawky wench approaches the table. Her “character” falls well short of convincing. Maybe it’s the braces.

“Good morrow, fair sirs, and welcome to Cinderella’s Royal Table,” she whines in a tone that indicates either extreme boredom or severe mental damage. “May I interest either of you princes in a beverage?”

“Tea, hot,” the clean gentleman says. The big guy covers his water with his hand and shakes his head.

“Right away, most gallant knight.” She slouches toward the kitchen.

“That leaves only us.”

“Not quite,” the big guy says. “Don’t play dumb; you suck at it. She made it out of Cairo.”

The clean gentleman rises in his seat and starts pouring milk and sugar into an empty mug.

“Was it with her? That’s probably the relevant question, isn’t it? We only know she vanished.”

“I only learned she vanished. Then I told you. Now we only know.”

“To where?”

The big guy reaches across the table and clutches a few of the clean gentleman’s fingers in his hand. The clean gentleman winces briefly. The nervous man stands up, until the big guy glares in his direction, and then he sits down chagrined.

“This ‘honor amongst thieves’ bullshit only works if we’re completely honest with each other.” The big guy’s grip tightens slightly. The clean gentleman’s eyes widen. “That’s where the ‘honor’ part comes from.”

The clean gentleman forces a smile.

“But why should I trust you?”

The big guy lets go of the fingers. “Why shouldn’t we trust each other? The record is thousands of miles away. Neither of us has it. Until we’re far closer, it’s only logical to share information. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

“I suppose you’re right.”

“Of course I’m right.” The big guy swipes a roll from the basket and peels open a prepackaged pad of butter. “Loosen up. Goddamnit, you’re so British sometimes.”

“When do you–”

“We leave tonight.”

“Is it cold there, you think?”

“Gotta be.” The big guy fills his mouth with the roll. “Why else would they call it the Windy City?”

November 8, 2008 at 10:18 am 1 comment

For The Record: Prologue the First (NaNoWriMo 2008)

Cairo, Egypt
One Week Ago

The tightly-packed back alleys of Egypt’s signature city look nothing like a scene from Indiana Jones, but let’s pretend they do. Let’s imagine for a moment that instead of dank spider vines shooting off dingy metropolitan thoroughfares, all too similar to those in New York or London or Tokyo, the streets of Cairo are sand roads packed tight from the endless feet and tires traveling over them.

Let’s watch this woman, clad in a dark ensemble that makes her resemble a cat burglar from a comic book, dart in and out of these alleys as she is chased by four hulking stereotypes. Large men wearing turbans and carrying scimitars, their swords swing haphazardly from their belts as they run.

The woman carries a small brown parcel, roughly the dimensions of a vinyl record album. She clutches it tightly, precious cargo, but not too tight–she doesn’t want to break it.

She explodes into a quiet coffee shop. Tables overturn. Chairs topple over. Mugs shatter; liquid covers the floor.

Hot on her trail, the stereotypes burst in behind her. The guy in front slides a few feet in a puddle of coffee before crashing onto his ass. The second guy trips over the first guy. The third and fourth guys narrowly sidestep the pile-up.

The woman approaches a massive Air Mail box. She darts glances to her left and her right. She reveals a second package, identical in shape and size, resting behind the visible package. One is a decoy. The other is quite real. She opens the slot and drops her package in.

“Please, Mr. Postman,” she whispers breathlessly.

Clutching the fake to her chest, she waits a split second to catch the eye of the last remaining thug before she darts off again into the imaginary Cairo crowd.

November 6, 2008 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment


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