NVDT #50 – Who Does Your Hair, Baby Tarzan? The Yard Man?

But first – if you must use adverbs, use big, unusual ones. Querimoniously. “With complaint”. She stared at the boiled octopus and sighed, querimoniously.

The Prompt – How do you decide to dress your characters?

Circumstantially? Is that an answer? Not that they walk around naked but I might put something on them to set a style or a need. Main characters I will dress for effect but I fall far short of describing them in any detail. For most of a book I have a main character in a tux that fits like pajamas. For peripheral characters, I might not bother at all. Or, I might not bother with names and their clothing is who they are. Easier to see than ramble on about.

***

Bernie eyed the two antsy, shuffly, rumpled men standing in her doorway at the Best Western. “You’re who, again?”

“FBI.” The one in hooded sweats and ratty Red Converses with frayed laces flashed a badge for a spilt second.

“Yeah. FBI,” the other, shorter one said. He had borderline mutton chop sideburns and was wearing what looked like plaid double knit golf pants from the Seventies, complete with two-tone patent leather shoes.

“Yeah?” Bernie shifted her gaze back and forth between them, her finger twitched on the Ruger behind her back. “Our regulars are where?”

“Hadda go. Home. Back. Home. To the office,” Plaid Pants jammed.

“That’s right.” Red Converse’s backed him up. “The home office. Re, uh, re, uh –”

“Reassigned.” Plaid pants elbowed his partner. “You got the money, babe? We’re ready to move. Out.”

***

….. The bearded man in nothing but boxers and untied work boots walking toward them with a semi-automatic pistol in his hand didn’t look happy.

“What the hell y’all doin’ down here?” The pistol flew up, popped twice. Plaid Pants grabbed his left upper arm, howled, and threw his gun twenty feet in the air. “You ain’t hurt,” Boxers and Boots raised his voice to command level and directed with the pistol. “Get on over there with the other three. All of you, hands on your heads.”

***

With a hand on either jamb no beard, Converses, faded jeans, blue and white squares thrift store bowling shirt Jackson leaned in the doorway to Paula’s graphic design office.

***

In fact, she was getting blown out by an unfamiliar young woman with shoulder-length dark hair, a lifelong Arizona desert tan, makeup barely, and thin, colorful feather earrings that must have been a foot long. Otherwise, she was in business-esque attire except for white high top Converse basketball shoes lightly dusted with glitter and a smattering of synthetic gemstones. Her outfit topped off by a beautiful, unusual color of blue baseball cap with a gold, embroidered M. The seam where the bill and hat came together decorated with tiny pink rosebuds. When Amanda commented on how unusual her outfit was, the girl had called it redneck Victorian casual.

***

After four takes of doing it for the camera, the Hollywood girl who was on the edge of too perfect from her teeth to her tan to the way her Daisy Dukes seemed to be part of her behind and wasn’t a parts delivery girl but played one on Monterrey Mick’s Mad Mods, dropped a sponsor’s logo covered box full of nothing on a tool cart next to Bobby.

***

“Wet T-shirt contest?”

“Not so’s you’d know.” Bobby forearmed the sweat out of his eyes, dropped the rope he’d been trying to pull the Swamp Vue Scat up onto the hard-packed mud bar between the north end of Standard Channel and Little Tensas bayou.  He measured the weathered man in worn camo cargos, knee waders and a long-sleeved work shirt. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Bernie reach behind her back and go full vigilant. “We for sure didn’t advertise.”

“Most folks, even the city types, they leave a boat in the water, walk the dog with a leash.” Waders took a deep drag on his cigarette, stole a glance at Bernie through the smoke. His sloping shoulders drooped further when he exhaled. “You don’t appear to be natives.”

“Houma.” Bobby waited for the smoke to clear, tilted his head toward Bernie. “She’s Port Barre.”

“Ma’am.” Waders lifted a black Yamaha cap, smiled with a touch of leer. “All the good lookin’ women Port Barre way keep pistols in their shorts?”

***

The blonde man with the sharply trimmed, dark auburn sideburns stepped from his spot leaning against the tree and fell into sync with Jackson’s lazy amble toward Broadway. The man’s blue windbreaker rustled lightly with his walk, his shoes made no sound at all. He was a touch shorter than Jackson, five-nine, maybe ten. He put out a dense, close-fitting force field vibe like he was made out of bricks.

“I wasn’t going to like you,” ski jacket said.

***

Kaitlin Everson, the actress responsible for the lawsuits that roared like background noise on cheap tape through almost five months of his life stood on the other side of his small kitchen divider, nervously tapping her fingers on the tile top. She looked good. Dangerous. The swept up cascade of ringlets over silky dark waves, sprayed-on yellow capris and a snug, lacy sleeves to her elbows top. He stayed with his back against the counter on the opposite wall of his narrow kitchen, arms folded like a shield. As if it would help if she went full Tasmanian devil.

***

She eyed the idling diesel box van that blocked off the narrow street in front of her flat, looked at the two men in daylight. Where did Jackson find these guys?The taller one with long, grown out beyond shaggy surfer hair, blonde goatee, Laguna Beach Tunnel Hustler t-shirt, jeans with holes in the knees and a palm tree earring. Dorch. Sheezus. The other one shorter, wider, a long, skunk striped ponytail, flowered surf jams, untied workboots and spray-on white undershirt over a serious didn’t-get-it-in-England tan was a for-real weight lifter. Torch. Good God, she was up for a second M-Phil being dressed, timed and led around by guys named Dorch and Torch?

***

The lanky, former All American mid-thirties black guy, overdressed in a trendy, peg-legged weird shade of blue straight-out-of-the-Sixties suit brushed his hands together like he’d somehow gotten dirty on his cat-like climb of the 2×12 plank stairs. He beamed a thousand-watt smile in my direction. “You look surprised to see me, Casper.”

***

I know I’ve probably said this a thousand times, but dialog will often tell you what someone looks like. To you, as a reader. One more and I’ll stop. Here is a guy meeting a Hollywood Press Agent for the first time. I don’t need to use the words boistrous, loud, any of that. What she says is who she is.

“Jackson, shake hands with Shannon Latouche. She’s our talent press agent for Twice Is As Good As Forever.”

“Nice to —”

“You are fucking killing me. Oh my God. Who does your hair, baby Tarzan, the yard man? Do you own a razor? Smile. Okay, that’s good. Thank God your mother knew about dentists. Take your shirt off.”

“What?”

“Take your shirt off. Good. You could use a little weight, not too much.” She lit a long, white filter cigarette. “You work out?”

“Yeah, I —”

“Good. Don’t stop. Eat a little more, protein mostly. Grab a burger, throw all of it away except the patty. An extra one every day until you pick up three to five pounds.” She pinched his chest. “Your cheeks will go chipmunk. Five, and no more. And keep them hard. Don’t go up a pants size, get meatier, not bigger. There’s a difference.” She pinched his waist for effect. “Run. Not too much, it kills your knees and I swear to God it makes people walk weird, but it’s good for your complexion. Get healthy. Stay healthy. Be healthy. Take your shirt off when you run. Anytime you’re outside,” she blew smoke sideways, ashed in someone’s nearby coffee cup. “I don’t need the makeup nightmare of dealing with redneck ring and farmer’s tan. Don’t stop working out. In fact, work out more. Where’s that damn phone?” Someone behind her set it on the desk she was leaning on. She pulled a small, green booklet out of her purse, flipped a few pages, dialed. “Olin? Shannon. Oh, you are too sweet. Kisses back. Neck up, this is the guy. Yeah, urban rugged. You’re my man, Olin.” She blew out a short cackle. “You are so naughty, darling. Okay, one of them.” She set the receiver down, looked at Jackson. “What was your name again?”

“Jackson.”

“Oh, that is terrif. Western-y. How tall are you?”

“Five eleven. And a half. Sometimes three-eighths, sometimes five-eighths —”

“Five-eleven. Couldn’t we just say six? No? No. Do me the biggest and don’t talk so much. I like it, honestly, the little accent, but slower would help. You’re not a hick, the drawl is good. Think about your golden radio voice. Practice on the phone. Call people, have normal conversation, only lower, and a little slower. Too slow with that you’re a Gomer. Tomorrow, three o’clock, with Olin.” She scribbled in the little green book, ripped a page out. “Here’s the addy. Sit in the chair, practice your voice. He knows what I want. You’re going to be gorgeous, I can tell. Where’s the girl?”

Jackson got ushered out of the small office the same way he’d been ushered in. Quickly.

 

PART OF OPEN LINK BLOG HOP

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

NVDT #49 – IT’S NOT CENSORSHIP, IT’S…

There are some particularly wonderful words available for everyday experiences. Gore Vidal, writing as Edgar Box (because he’d been blackballed for not being a “right thinker”), has a character say

“…what was that wonderful word they use to describe someone being pushed through a window: defenestration?”

Here’s another one to help us all forget sanitizing, cleansing, political correctness, censorship, mob intimidation to tow the line even in fiction. Ready?

Bowdlerizing – the act of rewriting earlier works of fiction without their “salty” language. Popularized by Thomas Bowdler. Dig this. 1754-1825. His main work was an expurgated version of Shakespeare. He was not the first, as Nahum Tate and John Dryden changed up King Lear and The Tempest, respectively, a hundred years earlier. Lear got a happy ending, sounds like an opportunity for Travolta to make his Shakespearean debut or Hugh Grant to ‘bone up’ on his classics. In The Tempest re-write, Ariel got a girlfriend and more supporting cast members. Like there weren’t enough people on that little island already. Can anyone say Gilligan’s Island?

Why, you may ask, do we need another word for fucking up Huckleberry Finn? Because fucking up is exactly what it is, but fucking it up implies that changing it is wrong. We should all believe that there is something inherently wrong with Huckleberry Finn that needs changing for the good of our eight-second attention span “culture”. After reading this the other day https://raimeygallant.com/2020/07/14/democratizingthepublishingindustry/  I saw intimidation as censorship being perfectly acceptable to “artists” and “creatives”. I replied that this was tantamount to censorship, and was immediately censored. I was even on my best behavior. Still, no room for reasoned argument when marketing yourself as sympathetic to trend speak in an attempt to sell politically correct spineless drivel to watered-down minds.

I read another justification on how this behavior wasn’t blatant censorship by intimidation from someone who said that Woody Allen didn’t have a constitutional right to having his work published. True enough. He can farm it out himself or try Jim Bob’s alt self -publishing. They have accused Woody of being a perv. Proven, I believe. Maybe, like prisoners, he shouldn’t be allowed to monetize his story. But publishers offering a deal and subsequently excusing themselves down to intimidation? Maybe if Woody had Bowdlerized his story?

Look, throughout my career I have made many friends who aren’t “breeders”. But I also like Chick-fil-a. Like me, Chick-fil-a is entitled to their opinion. Just because I don’t agree doesn’t mean waffle fries are off my menu. I do avoid Hobby Lobby, though, because what medications a woman takes is her own damn business, not management’s. Again, freedom of choice and opinion. A rapidly vanishing option in today’s reactionary environment.

I write a line in fiction from some crazy gun-toting characters, “The nigger’s good as dead we leave him here. Let’s go.” As a writer I want to show them as crazy, gun-toting racists. You read that, you get it. If instead I write, “And they were both wrapped in confederate flags and were card-carrying racist Klansmen.” At that point I’m telling and selling, not the characters. Ten years from now, no one will know what a Confederate flag is. It would be nice if Klansmen became obscure. But I promise you until we unweight the “bad” words, no one will forget the N-word. And brothers can blame brothers for that. Check out these racist, sexist, exploitive lyrics as published by Sony for Tinashe’s “2 On”. Anybody from @BLM or @MeToo camped outside Sony? Hell no.  But if I have a street character in proper character say to another “If you a lame, nigga you ain’t making no noise” I’ll be shunned, clucked, tutted and touted as a racist profligate. But for Tinashe and the $? Plus sexist stuff in there is so way gone it’s unbelievable sisters would let it slide. And this is Sony people, not Jim Bob’s alt self-publishing. Where is the outcry?

The New McCarthyism – Bari Weiss’s resignation letter to The New York Times makes it perfectly clear that homogenous, narrow, trend speak is the new norm for fear of social media backlash. Back in the early Fifties, last century for the children out there, McCarthyism was out to expose all the sorry, pinko, commie rat Socialists doing business in America. Mostly actors and writers. If you got called in for being a Commie, your career was over for a while, maybe forever. I recently read several “pop” books from the era. By the various authors’ tones, it was obvious where they stood. Mickey Spillane was selling himself hard with his preaching and railing against the commies, his hero a one-man vigilante against all things commie and our “way of life.” Gore Vidal, already blackballed, had his characters comment satirically about narrow-mindedness in high places.

And that’s the real issue. Narrow thinking. Narrow pleasing. Narrow interpretation of facts and events so as not to piss anybody off. Sanitary little scenes and sanitary characters. Screw that. Sony is still raking in the $ for Tinashe. If you aren’t offended as a woman, not just of color but any woman, and the implication that “you a lame nigga” if you don’t party hard in a Mercedes, then be offended by the dichotomy in our culture of pandering to ANY social media mob oriented trend speak rightness and then backing up to the pay window with your hand out.

Tell your story. Tell it straight. Be true to your characters. Before you can’t. If your ganstas talk like gangstas you’re apt to offend some gangstas. Too effing bad. Like “cleaning up our act” as creatives is going to straighten out the gangstas?

NVDT #48 – Okay, Now What and Other Minor Epiphanies

The Prompt – Have you ever let a story write you into a surprise corner? Do you backtrack or shift gears?

All the time. And I wait it out. Or I sit down and say Okay, y’all, now what? Sometimes it works, sometimes they get way off in the weeds and I whack it back, save it as another file and wait.

Most recent – Fuck me, Paro.” Tave gave me an iron man squeeze. “You did have a plan.” He lifted his head skyward at the sound of an approaching helicopter. “What you got in mind for that?” This, from an exercise. I had this whole final scene in my head. Boom. The story had a different idea. In fact that entire WIP has been one surprise after another.

In the weeds – I had a nice little two-parter coming of age happy ending I wanna be a women’s rights activist when I grow up. The heroine had other ideas. “I need to…” She paused, caught her breath, let it out in a rush. “I’m leaving for Cambridge, the one in England, on Friday. I can finish my degree and maybe get a double Masters, they call them MPhils, in three years, maybe less…”  Great. Thanks, Deanna. So 250,000 words later we’re off in neverland, I’m trying to keep up. They told me how it ended. I gave up. Who has that kind of editing time?

And it wasn’t just her – Her soulmate Jackson, half a world away, shows up to sub for a rockstar buddy winds up inheriting a softball team full of A level Hollywood females   …Randi Navarro gave him a lady handshake, waited a little long to let go, followed it with her big, expensive Number One in the AM TV anchor smile. “Jacksass, Jackson, Jax, whoever you are…as of now, you are the new manager of whatever the hell we are. I like you. And I don’t. So.” She handed Jackson a brown manila envelope she’d been sitting on. “I kept it warm with my best asset, just for you. I’m done with the captain, manager, phone girl BS. I dealt with this ship of fools last year.” She found everyone else with her eyes. “This is my last roundup as trail boss, everybody, then our new middlefingerforward cowboy is up. We play Country Safe Insurance in twenty minutes, right here.” 

I have book two of a serial character in the can – I went back to the undone book one and said okay, whatcha got.     The sixty-foot-long string of fire along the back wall of SwampVue’s old galvanized odds and ends warehouse didn’t go up with the special effects wooomph Bobby thought it should have. Okay. How the hell did we get here?

The list goes on. I’m curious what others do in this situation because as I said earlier I have about 250k (three books) worth of following Jackson and Deanna and supporting cast around, beyond the two that started it. And I’m not sure WTF to do with it. I’ve gotten some good shorts out of pulling chunks. But jeez, you know? I was thinking instead of linearity just dropping alternate bits until she comes back and at last exposes her motivation. Bobby B? That crew is Louisiana chilled so they’ll wait for me to come back from the “exercise.”

What I do when they write me into a corner is wait for what’s better than I had in mind to surface. I can write and write and write and get nowhere or I can listen and answer the doorbell when they call.

I tried to explain it once in a short. Reading further, as always, is optional.

THG 3- Ch 10 – Minor Epiphanies

Albuquerque, New Mexico / Thursday February 15, 1979

The Taco Bell sat up on a hillside not far from the University of New Mexico. Jackson gauged the steepness of the hill and landed on indecision. Six weeks ago he would have popped the clutch, hit the hill hard and hoped all of his wheels came off the ground Smokey and the Bandit style when he cleared the top, landed, drifted and stopped before he hit the retaining wall. All he could see now was his car on its top, sliding back down the hill. He wasn’t alone. The lot was empty except for two Jeeps. The Taco Bell was in overflow, the street so jammed he had to park a block away.

He picked up his order, tried to shake off five weeks in the desert where he’d babbled to the wind before he’d moved up to horses and a big, solemn Navajo. Last night in the Motel 6 was the first time he’d seen televison in six weeks, understood why he hadn’t missed it. He stared at his enchirito, knew something needed to gel besides enchilada sauce and cheese. Quick. The hundred bucks Tony had given him wasn’t going to last long. He took a deep breath, let it go in a low, slow whoosh. He’d managed to re-acclimate to reality but his social skills were in tatters and there was no place else for him to sit. He could pace around rubbing shoulders and kicking feet saying “sorry…” while the plastic cover on his enchirito got steamier or drop into the one vacant chair in front of him, beside her. Long, straight brown hair. A lot of thin abalone, silver and turquoise bracelets and a big leather purse. And an enchirito. He dropped.

“No place else. Sorry.”

“You’re fine.” She said without looking up, checked, just to be sure. He smelled like soap, had on goofy moccasins and put out a spacey vibe, didn’t really look at her. She offered him a friendly on the cool side smile. “As long as you watch your elbows, Geronimo.”

“I do a better Tonto. Less pressure, you know?” He thumbed the lid off the enchirito and slid it under the bottom. “‘Yes, Kemosabe. Me go get horses, put out campfire’. No hero stuff required.”

She laughed. “Careful. This is Tonto Central. You must not be from —” She stopped, watched him dip his spork slowly into the enchirito, turn it in measured half-circles, each lower than the turn before until it was loaded to perfection, last turn in the cheesy sauce picking up an olive slice. She continued to watch, transfixed, as the spork traveled in slow motion to his mouth, none of it getting on the beard he needed to shape or get rid of.

“Religious experience?”

“Had one of those.” His eyes and enigmatic smile were momentarily a thousand miles away, the spork suspended in midair. “Been living in a hogan, doing some work for a Navajo guy. Coffee, fry bread and tamales. Eggs and beans once in a while. This is manna.”

“You seriously think God gave Moses enchiritos?”

His second perfectly loaded spork blew into his tray. She immediately reached out with a handful of paper napkins and wiped it down, caught the question in his eyebrows.

“Habit. Student teaching. Primary. They stuck me in kindergarten. None of them can eat without it ending in disaster.” She reached out for round two of the cleanup. “You’re not the usual muttering vision quest vagabond type we get around here. You flunk out, lose your compass and your razor at the same time?”

“I flunked advanced girlfriend. She went to England, I took a drive.” He rubbed the beard he’d forgotten about. “I was supposed to be in school a month ago.” He lifted the reloaded spork around her stewardship of his mess.

“Took a drive?”

“Looking for Los Angeles. I turned right at Albuquerque and got lost for a month, my survival cash got hijacked. Now I need to hang for a while. Find a job, make some traveling money.”

“Where’re you staying?”

“I just got back a couple of days ago. I can keep doing the cheap motel till I get a job or run out of money. Then I’ll —”

She dropped a roll of papers on the table, slipped the green rubber band off and flattened them into a short stack of Xeroxed ads.

ROOMMATE WANTED
Private Patio Home – Near Campus
Rent Only – Bills Paid
Personal Hygiene a MUST
UNM Preferred

He tapped the address at the bottom like it meant something. “Nice idea, but I’m more U of nowhere headed for USC.”

“Yeah. But you’re clean and not too weird and we eat the same. People call me crazy but I accept things like you landing next to me as minor epiphanies.”

The spork stalled mid-flight. “I get that.”

“Good. One other girl and a guy and no weirdness ‘cause nobody’s screwing anybody. There’s two guys, actually, but one of them owns the house and he’s never there.” She turned his way, her elbow on the table. “He works construction. Sometimes.” She made the universal for crazy finger rotating by her head move. “He wants to write acid head mysteries. Like Castaneda meets Miss Marple? We pay for his house, he eats ‘shrooms and disappears for a couple of weeks. There are mountains of notebooks in the garage.”

The spork stalled again, his head turned so he could see her. “You read any of it?”

“I tried. It reads like what I think happened to you when you turned right in Quirky the first time and missed USC.”

“Maybe it’s contagious. I’d feel better if it was.”

“Don’t get high on that feeling. It’s more like stupid. The best time to say ‘no’ isn’t the next time.” She stood. “If you’re following me I…We can go to the house and I don’t have to hang these posters.”

“Sure you don’t want to audition more weirdos?”

“Seen one, seen ‘em all, right?” She held out her hand. “Carmel. Or Mel. Or Lita. Don’t ever call me Karma. Education and Philosophy.”

“You have a handful, I have one.” He took her offered hand, light squeeze. “Jackson. Front or back, either way. Story if you want it.”

“Later.” She smiled, shook her hair and picked up a key ring that had at least fifteen keys and a long, fringe-y leather thing with turquoise and silver beads hanging from it. “Lucky for me today was one and done. Génene, the other girl? She has a test tomorrow. What do you know about transportation economics?”

“Nothing.”

“You’ll be an expert by this time tomorrow.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Look at me. I student teach five-year-olds. Last week I helped her study and learned all about container metrics and Inland Marine insurance and more other kinds of useless information than I thought existed. I can’t believe people get into doing shit like that for a living. What about you?”

“I’m a musician.”

“Oh yeah?” She raised an eyebrow, shrugged her purse up. “I really can’t believe people try to do that shit for a living.”

 

PART OF OPEN LINK BLOG HOP

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

NVDT #47 – Excuse Me Your Rules Are Showing

The Prompt – What generic ‘rules’ did you abide by when you started writing that have gone out the window?

“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.”Claude Debussy

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Pablo Picasso

Adverbs are the devil, said is it, blah blah blah. My favorite is Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules for Writing. Of which he said there was an 11th he cut for space, and it is “Throw out all 10 rules if it makes the story better.”

I do not pretend to be a great artist, but I understand the rules. Understood the rules. I got into electronic music, by that I mean as a user not an appreciator, and the “regular” rules went out the window. I know what Picasso was saying. Okay, here’s a canvas and some paint. Here’s a keyboard with black and white keys, knobs and wires. What happens next is not how you trained, but where you use that training to find your voice. And that is the entire discussion of rules. Except for this one.

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” – Ernest Hemingway

Back to the prompt – I signed up for an online writing class at Stanford. The course was titled “Setting the scene. The building blocks of story.” I assumed, foolishly, that we were to be instructed in the finer mechanics of setting a scene, “rules” for good ones. I have dissected literature since I was 12, I was ready. Let’s get it on. Wrong. It was the elements of fiction for idiots broken out over 12 or 16 weeks. I want that I have my wife’s PowerPoint. I also discovered that student scenes were to be no longer than 750 words. They could be garbage and “everyone’s a winner” rule applied. I raised hell and applied for my $ back. I got it. My final upload to that class, exactly 750 words, is below. It also exists on my site, but here you go. I broke every rule I could think of, the wrong way. Humorously, of course. No offense to anyone writing their memoirs or cookbook mysteries this way.

The Magic Typewriter, by P. Huston

Looking out his window of the house he’d lived in for 54 years, Bob seen a pickup truck. Parked in front of his house. It was his neighbor Darnell again. By golly, Bob thought angrily, today was the day it stopped. Knowing in his mind Darnell, attempting to avoid the heatwave later, would be sitting on his pickup drinking beer.

***

About one o’clock in the afternoon Bob, walking purposefully across his lawn, was confronting Darnell.

“Darnell, you have to stop parking in front of my house,” Bob said, testily.

“Why?”

“It’s very unattractive and I do not like looking at it,” Bob replied.

“Think of it as sculpture. Modern art.”

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a long time. I’m not the only one, you know. The Mexican woman across the street is tired of it, too!!!!” Bob proclaimed noisily.

“The one with the little dog that looks like a woman who has sex for money’s bedroom slipper and poops on the sidewalk? I’m awfully tired of seeing that.”

“You wouldn’t see it if you parked in front of your own house,” Bob said, firmly.

“I’ll think on that for a while, Bob. Later. Too gosh darn hot right now.”

Bob, walking away stridently thought Darnell the most boorish person ever to live in the house next door. Slamming his door Bob was walking into the dining room where his mother, dead these 20 years, had kept 183 penguin mementos, acquiring them in her travels as a military nurse. One with sunglasses leaning on a palm tree, one as the handle of a coffee mug. One with a clock in its belly, one…Wait a minute, does anyone really care? No? Sorry. Bob had the cleaning lady dust them once a month never having the heart to box them up.

Well, enough of Darnell. Bob, lifting the lid on mother’s old Remington Travel Riter and sitting and inserting paper and typing he began…

***

“Darnell, is that beer cold?” his sister Monik hinted, tentatively.

“Yes.”

“Could I have a sip?” she asked, hopefully.

“No. It’s my last one.”

“Didn’t Momma teach you any manners?” she demanded, haughtily.

“They wore off.”

Monik walked away huffily in disgust. Well, she thought, Darnell was the worst brother ever but she decided cleverly to walk around the side of the house and hide behind an overgrown boxwood and wait patiently for Darnell to set the beer down and go inside to answer the call of nature knowing he did that regularly.

Sure enough, after a few minutes, Darnell set the Colt 45 Tallboy in the ice chest sitting in the bed of his truck and went inside.

Monik, running to the truck, drank hastily all the remaining beer.

Darnell, returning, tipped the can to his lips expecting beer, then pulling it away, looking down inside it.

“Monik, did you drink my beer?”

“No,” she said, averting her eyes and looking away.

“Yes you did.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did.”

“Okay, maybe I did. So what?” she retorted hotly, wondering what sort of stupid big brother thing Darnell would do now.

“Girl, I told you it was my last one. It’s 112 degrees and the air conditioner is broke.”

“Get over it,” she said, dismissively. Turning, she was watching Darnell walking to the front, reaching inside, walking back with something in his hand.

“What do you think you’re doing, Darnell?” Monik asked, apprehensively.

“I told you.”

“Darnell –” And she was looking at her brother. Shooting her in the head.

***

The policeman leading Darnell to the squad car with another policeman, asking him curiously, “Why did you do it? What were you thinking?”

“Ask the idiot who wrote this.”

“Him?” The policemen guffawed immodestly. “We did. He said this was Limited Omniscient. Didn’t you see it? You got no tags, no interiority. Besides, what’s in a man’s head who shoots his sister over a beer?”

“That’s not fair,” Darnell said, blubbering sadly.   (ooops)

“Coulda been worse. Coulda been Objective. Or Journalistic. Woulda been over a long time ago.”

“Yeah, and we wouldn’t have gotten any lines!” The two policemen shoving Darnell in the car laughing and laughing, thinking they were the two funniest policemen on Earth.

***

Bob watching gleefully the tow truck pulling Darnell’s pickup away. Rubbing his hands together briskly, stepping lightly to the table he was snapping the latches on mother’s typewriter, closing the lid gently. Darnell was handled. The Mexican woman’s bedroom slipper pooper would have to wait for another day.

 

Fact -In the midst of the 1980 heatwave a Houston, Texas man shot and killed his sister for drinking his last cold Colt 45.

 

PART OF OPEN LINK BLOG HOP

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.