Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hope it's getting better

Just posting some of what I been doin'. This is in the middle of Chapter 2.


So Dan-O bought provisions at a drug store across the street, and exited just as this skinny big-eyed kid named Paul pulled up in a Cadillac SUV. Tad insisted my guy ride in the back, like this was a cab, then only agreed to let us swing by our apartment because we needed to pick up the laptop. His freakiness must’ve worn off on Paul (or maybe it was just his Wisconsin roots) because the kid got so antsy about double-parking as he waited, my guy just ran in and grabbed the satchel that held his laptop and notepads and almost forgot his towel and soap (explanation to come later). Meaning, he was stuck in black slacks (old but nicely worn in), white cotton shirt (no “T” under it; too clich├ęd), the comfy loafers he always wore and a knee-length parka for the weekend. And while that look gave him a level of coolness that almost matched mine, it still felt like a uniform to him and was not factoring into his happiness quotient.

As for me, I was already wearing the latest in cool-detective trench coats over your basic casual travel attire, which helps me feel like I’m on top the case...and which I can change in a flash.

Well, the second we scrambled back into the SUV, the kid punched it into warp speed, and in the nearly two-hour drive (that took over three hours because Little Lord Perfect told Paul to stay on the 287 instead of follow the 87 north, which none of us figured out until we were halfway back to the city) Dan-O read the last six scripts and grew angrier and angrier at the lunacy of what had been done to our babies.

“Aw, he CAN’T have Carmen doing that!” he squawked, reading a bit where she gets an anonymous tip in the “Madam...” part and races off to look into it without letting me know where she's going...which wound up making her a hostage of the badder-than-bad guys, of course. “Now she’s dumber than dumb.”

It got worse.

“Wait, wait, wait, no!” he howled. “She’s NOT saying, ‘You can be my private dick anytime’!?”

I just snarled. “Okay, Dan-O, who can we contract out to cut off this dickhead’s fingers so he can never type, again?”

“Gregory might know someone,” my guy said, giving my suggestion a moment of serious thought. Then he added with a note of triumph, “Well, looks like Tad really does need help.”

“That, or a fall guy.”

“It’s not my fault the scripts were written by someone with the emotional maturity of a five year-old.”

“It will be if this don’t work.”

“Jeez, Ace -- ANYthing I do’ll be better than this shit.”

And boy was he right about that. Seriously -- the more we read, the more it looked like the Cheeto-eater’d thought “Temple of Doom” was the “best movie ev-ah” and had played one too many Resi-Evil rip-off v-games, so he’d worked Carmen into a new-millennium-old-sexist version of Willemina Scott (with fewer smarts and a pair of forty-fours, and we ain’t talking pistols, here) while I was the Chris Redfield of Sam Spades with some Indiana Jones spread over the De Sade parts. Not that I minded being super-dude; it’s just...well, it wasn’t me, y’know, and I had my fans to consider.

Still -- “You’re talkin’ a re-do of four-hundred pages, Dan-O.”

“I can make it.”

“You just gonna cut and paste from the books?”

“On the first pass...and second...then polish.”

“Rinse and repeat.”

Dan-O looked up and blinked, asking, “What’s that from?”

“An old commercial for shampoo. Saw it on Comedy Central.”

“Right. Meaning use the shampoo twice as fast for no effect. Talk about advertising to waste resources. That guy should’ve been throttled.”

Of course, that’s when we noticed Paul eyeing us in the rear-view mirror, his wide eyes even wider, his hands gripping the wheel so tight, his knuckles were white. So Dan-O popped off with, “Don’t worry; I’m only borderline psychotic.”

“I know,” Paul squeaked.

You do? “How?” my guy asked.

“Mr. Bentley told me.”

He DID?! “What else did he tell you?”

“Listen, I -- I’m straight. Okay?”

Dan-O chuckled. “Don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you, will we, Ace?” And he looked right at me to say it, meaning to Paul it looked like my guy was talking to his very imaginary friend in the seat next to him.

The kid gulped and stared straight ahead (pun intended).

I snickered, “I love it when you’re wicked.”

“So do I. Now shut up and get to work.”

Thinking my guy meant him, Paul drove a little faster. Made me wonder what else Mr. Bentley’d told the kid about Dan-O.

But I blew that off and kicked back and started pondering the possibilities, peculiarities and just plain persnickitiness of the present project (told you I liked to alliterate). It was looking more and more like this job was gonna be fun, and the only thing missing was Carmen, who’d refused to join us on the trip. She said she’d be around if we needed her, but I got the feeling she’s really pissed at how she’d been made over and just wanted to see if we were going to leave her like that. Like she had no trust in my guy (which made me halfway wonder if she was off sweet-talkin’ some other writer to put her in HIS book, just in case this blew up in our faces; meaning, yes, we characters can be very fickle, especially if we feel we’re being dissed, ‘cause then we’ll just get pissed, and so some will insist they find a new, uh, to do the writing -- okay, so I’m not a poet!)

Anyway, it was also good my guy wasn’t driving, ‘cause it started to snow. Nothing heavy, at first, just little flurries that got flurrier and flurrier the farther away we got from the city. It didn’t matter as we were traveling up this neverending toll road (which Dan-O had to pay since Sir Moneybags had given Paul zero cash) but then we crossed the Hudson and the snow started building into something mean. Combine that with the wrong-way fiasco, which meant we had to get off the freeway and trip along this street that couldn’t decide if it was a highway or a boulevard for so long, I thought we’d missed the connection back to the 87, and the rest of the crap in the scripts, my guy was close to being a wreck and Paul was starting to shiver in fear at the horrible things being threatened against the Cheeto-eater. The worst was when we exited onto the 6 and Daniel had to hand over a final buck-twenty-five just to get off.  He really started growling then.

“This is why I don’t own a car. Everywhere you turn they’re hitting you up for tolls, fees and added expenses.” No bullshit on that. Besides, why would anybody even need a car in New York City? The mass-transit’s great and it costs as much as an uptown apartment to put the damn thing in a parking garage. And do NOT get either of us started on the traffic.  Though it was too late for that; my guy was way into muttering mode.

The 6 turned into the 17 and we drove through an area of hills and twists and turns and construction as occasional signs read, “Future 86.” Which reminded Daniel of what they say in restaurants when they’ve run out of something. Which then reminded him he’d had to wait tables while in college. Which he hated. Which sent him on a spiral into thinking it was an omen of how things would turn out as regards the deal because he was probably 86’ing his future and on and on...till I reminded him he had some “Nine Inch Nails” on his iPod (which he’d just bought recently, and then only because he had some left over from the ten-K Tad paid for the option to my books -- okay, OUR books) so he pumped up “Closer To God” and we rocked along. Okay, so maybe the idea of a gay man singing “I wanna fuck you like an animal” in a car driven by an already nervous straight kid from Wisconsin isn’t what you’d call the nicest situation, but sometimes you just have to be all you can be, even if it IS a bit on the wicked-as-shit side.

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