Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NYC is not to be

And I'm beat, and did some more l writing...and here's the new direction for LD's opening. Hope it's better.

The Lyons' Den

Y‘know, Daniel never should’ve agreed to help Tad (excuse me, Theodore J. Bentley, the Third; he’d snarl in disgust without the full and flowing exclamation of his name), but the little shit knew exactly which buttons to push. And he hit every damned one of them with a sledgehammer.

You see, Master Bentley was one of those young, perfect East Coast types who just KNOWS he’s meant to be perfect on the West Coast (meaning Hollywood, baby, since he’d already produced and shown one whole cable movie; helps to know the background of the natives). And because of that one movie, he was already considered a player by both coasts. It helped that it was based on a rather successful mystery novel written by Daniel -- “High-Heeled Moccasins,” featuring yours truly, Ace Shostakovich. And the crème-de-la-crème was that he even had an option on two other books of Daniel’s to make into a crime series for cable. Also featuring me.

Meaning, yes -- I’m the lead character in them books. But if you think it’s weird somebody who’s not real is telling this story, you ain’t seen what happened, yet.

Overall, Daniel (excuse me, Daniel J. Bettancourt, but I get to call him Dan-O) has six of my mysteries to his credit. Unfortunately, being published don’t necessarily mean you’re making enough to live on in New York City. So while Tad was flying high playing Mr. Producer, my guy was still tending bar at two different jobs. Until this...well...”problem” arose.

You see, Little Sir Great-and-glorious went out and hired this overpriced twenty-one-year-old-Cheeto-eater (who people SWORE was the hottest screenwriter in Hollywood since Orson Welles) to do the adaptations of those two books into scripts. Give him something to show the money boys. And Tad had just gotten the screenplays. And he’d arranged to meet with the “yea or nay” guy at HBO on Monday. And only then had he sat down to read the damned things -- and had seen his fledgling career crash and burn before his designer contacts. Seems the Cheeto-eater’d had so little interaction with reality (since birth, probably), he had problems making fictional characters act like real ones instead of second-rate film noir clichés with crap dialog. But just as he was about to fake-toss himself off the balcony of his 45th floor condo, great-and-glorious-producer remembered Daniel worked Friday lunches at a diner that was just blocks away, so raced over to catch him.

At this point I should make it known, Tad and Dan-O were a couple for over two years. Fact is, they’d broken up only six months ago and my guy was still raw from it, so anybody with half a brain could’ve told you that this was a catastrophe in the making. But the way Tad rushed in, breathless, his ice-blue eyes projecting fear and need and horror on top of that hint of a quiver he can get in his voice, as he all but begged, “Danny, please, help me,” -- well, it would’ve crashed the first wall of any defense. So now he and Dan-O were seated in a downstairs booth, in a back corner of the diner’s faux 1890’s decor, and Tad was going on with, “ALL the scripts are crap, all fuckin’ eight of them, including the Bible.” (“The Bible” not being that book of Christian conflict but one that outlined the direction the characters and story would take; also helps to know the lingo of the natives, in cases like this.)

“Tad!” (Daniel being the only one allowed to call him that.) “I write books, not scripts.”

“But they’re based on your books! And you’re the one who was always telling me, A story’s a story.”

“A script isn’t a story,” Dan-O growled, “it’s a desecration.”

“Danny!” (And Tad was the only person allowed to call Daniel by that name.) “I told you from the outset, you can’t fit everything from a two-hundred and fifty page book into an hour and forty minute movie. And don’t forget, reviewers still said we stuck really close to what you wrote.”

Daniel had no real answer to that. The fact is, the movie had turned out nice enough...but it just wasn’t...well, he’d have kept Ace (me) less cynical and made sure Carmen (oh, she’s my sexy secretary) stayed more important, like in the book. But he’d made enough money off the rights to pay down a couple of bills and get a better apartment, so he couldn’t bitch too much. And since this series of scripts were based on what he’d written, he probably did have a pretty good idea of what they’d need to work.

“Besides,” Tad said, “you’re the guy who always said -- and I mean every time you got stuck on a story, ‘My characters’ll work it out. Ace’ll take care of everything.’”

“Which you said made me sound crazy!”

“You know what I meant,” Tad snapped.

Dan-O slipped into a sulk. “Did I? Did anybody? Really?”

Tad rolled his eyes in that way that always pissed my guy off. Not so much because it was condescending or dismissive, but because he looked so damned good when he did it, the little shit. Even when he shot back with crap like, “Yeah, right, I’ve seen you say things” (his words, honest) “that would’ve put you in a padded room, fifty years ago. But I’ve also seen it work. I should never have said that, Danny. I’m -- I’m sorry.”

Which floored Daniel. Tad really was one of those perfect people who never admits they’re wrong about anything, and have the looks, attitude and charisma to pull it off. If he says the sky is green, it sorta-kinda is -- even when it’s really blue. If he says the world is flat -- hell, not even the horizon will argue with him. But here was big, bad, beautiful Tad -- oops, Theodore J. Bentley, the Third (I keep forgetting, one must have one’s moniker correct, you know and...and...oh, the hell with it; let him snarl) -- here he was, admitting error.

It knocked Daniel off center just enough for the bastard to jump in with, “It’s just -- Danny, this series -- it’s only as good as the scripts I hand over for those jerks with the network to mangle with their notes and suggestions and stupid-shit ideas and -- and, you -- you’ve got six books out there, all nice and neat and selling nice and steady and all yours and -- and all I got is my ass on the line, putting more money into this project than I should’ve, hiring that twerp and -- and the meeting’s Monday! At noon! If you don’t do this, I’m fucked. I’m totally fucked. I’ll get sued and put in jail and spend my life bankrupt. You -- you gotta help me, Daniel Bettancourt; you’re my only hope.”

Aw, jeez, the “Star Wars” reference!? That was below the belt!

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