Just gonna post part of "The Lyons' Den" to show the final version. This is after Daniel's agreed to rework the scripts and be driven up to Bradleyville, where the cabin is located. No HUGE changes, just enough to make it an easier read, I hope.
THAT -- my guy went along with. Dammit. So as Tad worked his magic in getting him off the schedule at his jobs (without him getting fired), and called the intern, and wrote directions to this cabin, Dan-O skimmed the first script...and damn near backed out of the whole deal. It was worse than crap; it was flat out dog-meat.
“Shit,” I whispered in shock, “he’s got me soundin’ like Mickey Spillane on acid.”
“With a dash of Marquis de Sade,” my guy muttered back.
“Oh, dude, write that down; we gotta use it.”
“Already did.” And he was only barely paying attention to me, at this point.
“When?” I asked.
“’The Cadillac Criminal Mind’.”
“Aw, Jeez, we’re repeatin’ myself?”
“No, Carmen,” he muttered. “It was her line.”
Oh, right, when she referred to this rich-but-nice-guy idiot who wanted to be a detective but got the patois down so backwards and bad, it almost got him killed. And she said it as only a girl New Yawk born an’ bred could say it, “Listen, ya little shit, ya wanna play De Sade or Spillane? Make up yer mind an’ stick wit’ it for a day or two.”
“Don’t tell Carmen I did that,” I said with a grimace. “She’ll freak times ten.” Especially since her English really is better than that.
“It is, so I won’t,” my guy smirked, reading my thoughts, since they’re his own.
Then he and I both noticed Tad watching us, trying to keep a smile off his face as he said, “Merde, Danny, tu es si mignon quand tu es fou.”
You are so cute when you’re nuts? Seriously? Back-handed flattery of the condescending kind in French 101?! When you’re asking for a fucking favor?!! Now I knew the bastard was up to something.
So it was all set and Dan-O went to buy provisions at a drug store on the next corner. He exited with a nice full bag just as this skinny big-eyed kid named Paul pulled up in Tad’s Cadillac SUV (the kind that looks like an ice-breaker, of course). His-Gloriousness insisted my guy ride in the back, like this was a cab, then only agreed to have Paul swing by our apartment because we needed to pick up the laptop.
“Okay, I guess you do need that,” Tad grinned. “But shit, Danny, couldn’t you have picked someplace to live that’s more convenient to the freeway -- ?”
“Don’t diss my pad, Tad,” my guy snapped. “It’s the best I could afford.”
Tad laughed, closed the door on Daniel and yelled at Paul, “Go forth, James! Quick on the pedal!”
To which Paul, in his infinite capacity for awareness, replied, “Huh?”
Tad just waved him on and waved us bye-bye as we screamed into traffic, making five yellow taxis honk at us and drawing a torrent of nasty words from a couple of bike-shaws. Needless to say, Dan-O buckled himself in, tight.
That’s when I nudged him and muttered, “Y’know, you really oughta write down that ‘diss my pad’ line. Wasn’t bad.”
“It only works if I put someone named Tad into one of your stories,” my guy muttered back, “and there’s no way in hell I’m doing that to any of my books.”
That’s when we noticed Paul looking at my guy in the rear-view mirror, his eyes getting big. Dan-O just sighed.
Well, Tad’s freakiness must’ve worn off on the kid, or maybe it was just his Wisconsin roots, or maybe Paul just gets antsy about double-parking...because when we got to Dan-O’s building and we had to do that, he whined about it so much, my guy just ran upstairs, grabbed the satchel that held his laptop and notepads and was back down in two minutes, flat. Meaning, he’d be stuck in black slacks (old but nicely worn in), white cotton shirt (no “T” under it; too clichéd), 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 felt too much like a uniform and was not factoring into his happiness quotient.
As for me, well, I can change on a dime. So I was 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. Being fictional has its advantages.
The second we scrambled back in the Caddie, the kid gasped, “Parking enforcement!” and punched it into warp speed, nearly sending my guy to the floor along with his things. And the way we weaved in and out of traffic, it took half an hour to pull laptop and groceries back together. Then in the so-called 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 uploaded the last six scripts to his laptop, scanned through them and flew into what-the-fuck-land at the lunacy of how our babies had been abused.
For example, a bit was added where Carmen gets an anonymous tip in the “...Madam” portion and races off to look into it without telling me. In direct violation of detective rule number one-oh-four. Which, of course, turned out to be a trap and wound up making her a hostage of the badder-than-bad guys, forcing me to risk life and limb to save her in a spectacular gun battle that belonged more in “Die Hard” than one of my mysteries.
“Are you fuckin’ kidding me?!” my guy growled, “now she’s dumber than dumb.”
It got worse. What did the Cheeto-eater have for Carmen’s last line in the script? “You can be my private dick anytime!”
That was too stupid even for porno and set ME to growling, “Okay, Dan-O, who can we contract to remove 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 kept reading and murmured, “Man-oh-man, no wonder Tad needs help.”
“That, or a fall guy.”
“It’s not my fault the scripts were written by someone with the emotional maturity of an aardvark.”
“It will be if this don’t work.”
“Ace...ANY-thing I do’ll be better than this shit.”
And boy was he right about that! Still. “You’re talkin’ a re-do of three-hundred-and sixty 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.”
“At the bar, 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, again, 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.
“How?” my guy asked.
“Mr. Bentley told me.”