Gambits #11 – Rattlesnake, Whiskey and Uranium

Plus a Handgun, a Suspended License and a Stolen Car

Character Study +

John D MacDonald, Elmore Leonard, Dashiell Hammett, Laura Levine, Fitzgerald – A few words and a reasonably complete picture. From characters to towns. Solid. You know who and where and aren’t bogged down in details. His suit looked dirty but wasn’t. Avocado appliances, a small box-store table for two. A Grand Canyon dishtowel hung from the oven handle. A big man. Pink. Rubbery. Thin and nervous enough to make it contagious. Yellowish skin. Dark circles under unsteady eyes.  He was wide and plodding. Neckless, shoulderless, bald. His necktie short, loose, the knot partially buried by a third chin.

Okay, enough fun. Gambits is about writing prompts, cues, unusual manners of death. Here’s another one from an old friend of mine. From The Daily Oklahoman. A paper I threw in my youth (quite accurately) from a red Sting Ray.

GUTHRIE (AP) — Police in Oklahoma say they found a rattlesnake, a canister of radioactive powdered uranium and an open bottle of Kentucky Deluxe whiskey during a traffic stop of a vehicle that had been reported stolen.

The traffic stop happened June 26 in Guthrie, about 30 miles (45 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City. Guthrie police Sgt. Anthony Gibbs told Oklahoma City TV station KFOR that police don’t know why the uranium was in the vehicle or how it was obtained, though uranium ore can be bought on Amazon.

Gibbs says police also found a gun in the console and a terrarium in the backseat containing a pet Timber rattlesnake.

Gibbs says the driver, Stephen Jennings, was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, transporting an open container of liquor and driving with a suspended license.

There’s the setup, here’s the character – What the hell was this guy up to? A hit man gone to seed?


Trivia – Guthrie was the original state capital of Oklahoma. A handful of bu$ine$$ men wanted it in Oklahoma City. Guthrie, the original territorial capital didn’t want to give it up. The capital is where the state seal resides, by God, and it’s in Guthrie. As bu$ine$$ men will do, they arranged to have it stolen from Guthrie. When it arrived they removed it from a canvas bag and set up shop in a downtown OKC hotel. Where there were smart enough to keep it locked up and guarded.

Published by

Phil Huston

11 thoughts on “Gambits #11 – Rattlesnake, Whiskey and Uranium”

    1. And a handgun. You know a guy was on TV a while back complaining about racial profiling traffic stops. He was stopped driving a car with a bogus paper tag, no inspection sticker and only one operable tail light. He had a suspended license, no insurance and an unregistered pistol. He went to jail. Another one said the same thing. A city councilman no less. Stopped, he said, because a black man shouldn’t be driving a Mercedes. He’s on the cop cam saying that, and the cop says “NO man should be driving a Mercedes 80 miles an hour in a 35 zone. Jeez. This guy, I can hear him now. All cops hate trailer park meth heads…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “Guy says, deliver this car over to the Pond movie shoot, they need cake and poison. Well, I didn’t think much of it, I just hopped in and pedal down. The car was pumped and shit, so was I, said they’d pay me two-hundred n’ fifty to take it out to that gully.”
    “Pond shoot?”
    “Yous know, James Pond, oh-oh-oh, shit, some oh’s and seven.”
    “You thought you were delivering this payload to a movie set?”
    “Can I get my two-fifty now?”
    “Do you know what yellow-cake is?”
    “Well, shit, happy birf-day.”
    “And the…”
    “I had to keep spewing a mouthful oh whiskey, keep the snake from crawlin’ out. Jeeze, you’d think they’d put lids on shit like that.”
    “On the terrarium.”
    “Not the flowers, you dumbshit, the fishtank with the gottdamn snake in it.”
    “So, you got in and delivered it?”
    “Well, obviously not. But you, or sumon owes me two-fifty large.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Look, y’all can keep the snake and the dayglow baby powder and my daddy’s pistol even, but ya need to let me get back to the batch a meth I’m a cookin’. Doan know if’n y’all ever seed a lab go up but it ain’t purty. An she’ll take that trailer park she’s a settin’ in an ’bout half a Logan county blowed all ta hell too when she goes.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hmm, pet snake, gun, uranium and whiskey. Oh yes, and stolen car. Maybe he thought HE was James Bond? Maybe all those things were gifts for a lady friend out on the plains somewhere? Or maybe he was planning the murder of an ex-lady friend and couldn’t make up his mind about method? Or maybe a disgruntled ex secret agent with a drinking problem who was on the run because he knew too much. An inebrieated, none too bright Jason Bourne who lost his memory…?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes! Kiss Me Deadly. You know, that was on TCM last week, and they only gave it two stars! Can you believe it? I couldn’t.


      2. No. It gets high marks for camera work and low marks for some of the acting and the purists all want it to go BOOM at the end. Plus I think it gets lumped in there with the drive-in quality shows of that sort. I think it’s great.

        Liked by 1 person

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