NVDT Random – Scene Edits

Since no one is paying attention I’m gonna pull random scenes out and sharpen my editorial scythe for a diegesis rework of The Great Kerrigan Bank Robbery

Not a Full English

Cathedral bells tripped, stumbled, bounced off the walls of the narrow alley. Globular pieces found their way through the open-an-inch-at-the-bottom window, hit the floor and rolled into the back of Meyers’ head where they exploded like steel bubbles. The grimy, threadbare oriental rug felt like part of his cheek. He wanted to spit out the cotton balls and lick his lips, didn’t want to risk finding the rug with his tongue. After what seemed like days, the last cathedral bell bubble shattered, echoed away. He opened his left eye enough to see through his lashes. From an iron bed frame a filthy, once pale blue chenille bedspread draped off a filthier sock-covered foot onto the floor. He listened, the only sounds a light snore from the bed and rats on the windowsill. He reached up, felt the burn in his left shoulder blade, tugged on the sock. The girl wearing it shot upright, peered over the edge of the bed.

 “I expected a rat.” She tilted her head. “You were supposed to be dead, but I guess he messed it up. You messed it all up.”

“Granted. What happened?”

“You walked in, that one on the floor jumped out from behind the door and tried to give you a ginormous shot of something… ” Her gaze shifted beyond him. “You broke his neck when he tried to stick you. The needle must’ve broken when–”

“Can you see it?”

“Yeah,” she tilted her head as far to the left as it would go, stuck her tongue out. “Doing the blue face would be a stretch.”

“The bloody needle, girl, not him.”

“Oh. There is some blood on your jacket where he poked you… ” She slid off the bed and next to him, ran her finger over the small circle of blood.

“Ow! Shit!”

“Shhh. Found it.”

“So you have. Pull it out.”

“I can’t.”

Can’t? Goddammit –”

“No… It’s only sticking out a little. I can’t…”

“Don’t you have fingernails?

“I keep them short, now. I… ”

“Teeth?”

“What? That’s way too gross. Wait… ” She pulled the shoulder of his jacket down. “Don’t make any noise.” She pushed down with her thumb and forefinger on either side of the broken needle. Meyers held his breath. An extreme burning sensation flashed through his left side, faded.

“Jesus, Mister…” The girl held up a bent two-inch-long hypo needle so thick he could see the fluting on the business end. He rotated his shoulder. Not much residual pain, free range of motion. He came up to all fours, nodded at the body.

“They know he’s dead?”

“Nope.” She sat back on the bed, cross-legged.

“When do they come back?”

“They go home at night to argue or screw or something. They’ll bring breakfast when they get around to it.”

He sat back on his heels, shook his head like a wet dog, rubbed both eyes with his thumbs.

“The window. Nailed in?”

“Nails. Screws. Won’t go up or down.”

He reached out, tried to lift the bed.

“Do you honestly think I wouldn’t have thrown it through the window by now if it wasn’t bolted to the floor? What is it with England? All the fucking furniture is bolted down.”

“Oxford. Students. Lease agents don’t want it stolen.”

“That some thousand-year-old rule? You can’t steal what you can’t use, or don’t want?”

“You’d be surprised. My last secretary stole cheap toilet paper from the office.”

“The really cheap stuff?”

“Cheapest.”

“God. Tight ass. You fire her?”

“She quit.”

“Looking for a raise and better toilet paper, I bet.”

“Didn’t ask.” He pulled her off the bed, raised the thin, stained beyond rusty brown mattress to find welded slats, no springs. “Damn.”

“I told you.”

“Yeah, you did.” He looked around. Nothing else in the room except the nasty rug and the dead man.

“He’s wearing high top Connies. I checked that, too. Nothing useful in his pockets, either.”

The door downstairs opened and closed. Two muffled voices.

“That’s probably breakfast. Now what, hero?”

Meyers weighed the percentages in breaking two more necks, or using the dead man to create an electrical loop from the light switch to the doorknob. Instead he drug the dead man to the window. The flat was a walk down, the street only six feet below.

“Give me a hand.”

“Doing?”

“Grab him on the other side there, by his jacket. Up. Backward and forward.” They swung the corpse head-first toward the window, then back. “Got it. On three. One, the glass breaks, two, you get the hell out, three…” They launched the body at the thick, ancient glass. It cracked, didn’t break, the body thumped to the floor. Footsteps pounded up the stairs. “Move,” Meyers shoved the girl against the wall.

The door banged open, Meyers grabbed the first person inside, spun him in a wild series of fancy footwork Fandango pirouettes, threw him at the window that shattered this time. He turned, the girl had her shirt wrapped around a short, fat woman’s head. He yanked the shirt like a top string, spinning the woman to the window where she screamed. He slugged her, she followed her partner into the street. He looked down. Bent galvanized trash bins rolled side to side, their contents scattered. Rats scampered away like wind-blown leaves, dogs barked. The man was another broken neck. The woman tried to stand. One leg wouldn’t work.

“Who hired them?”

“Dunno.” She shrugged into her flannel shirt. “My money’s on the old lady.”

“Doesn’t want you to be a Duchess?”

“With her son his Royal Gayness in their high-dollar six-hundred-year-old rooms-by-the-hour fuck shack? No way.”

“She’s doesn’t know you’re not much for Duchessing over a knocking shop?”

“Must not or we wouldn’t be here.” She tossed him a croissan’wich from the Burger King bag the fat woman dropped. “Where I’m from? Nobody’ll ever believe this shit.”

Meyers opened the sandwich wrapper, knitted his brows. “Where I’m from, no one will believe I threw two people out a window for calling this shit breakfast.”

Published by

Phil Huston

https://philh52.wordpress.com/

6 thoughts on “NVDT Random – Scene Edits”

  1. Maybe people don’t pay attention because they’re mad they’re not funny.

    “He turned, the girl had her shirt wrapped around a short, fat woman’s head. He yanked the shirt like a top string, spinning the woman to the window where she screamed.” That’s priceless!

    I don’t know the word “diegesis.” What do you mean by it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was something. I don’t recall it from the story. I’ve got an envelope full of “and”s, I’ll send them to you. Reminds me of a treatment I tried once or thrice. I was gonna attach dramatic illustrations to each page. Something like this:
    Fire fly embers
    drifted down
    dying,
    landing and
    igniting.
    Baby flames,
    turn to teens,
    then raging
    adults.
    Horses screaming,
    frantic
    pacing
    Crack and a
    pine tree
    falls
    explodes.
    Escape across the blazing prairie.

    Like

    1. That was new, from a folder of jams. I use ‘and’ on occasion, usually at the end of a string, or too many as a rhetorical gimmick. I try to avoid ‘then’ like the plague. There were a few cliche golden throne moments for adverbs even in the pulp genre, but this one got trimmed to the bone. Leaves room for seasoning. All the color comes direct. It could do with a rewrite there when she comes off the bed but I was headed for pulp, not art.
      Here’s a thought. Your piece paints its own picture, forget illustrations. Once all the junk is gone we’re left with essence. Where words become visual. Almost like sequential memory training. Typewriter. Apple. Fire. No language processing, only visual relationships. That was about a beaver dam, right? Just kidding! Like a picture, a moment in time.

      Liked by 1 person

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