Sunday, February 28, 2010

Daniel O'Shea's Flash Fiction Challenge: "The Original Rainmaker"

Daniel O'Shea has a flash fiction challenge and he said, "Is it flash fiction time again? Yes, says I, so I’m throwing down the gauntlet. And would you look at that, almost Ash Wednesday. In this lovely Puritanical Republic of ours, the ancestral home of Jimmy Swaggert, the Bakers and buggered altar boys (well, OK, maybe we can’t take credit for inventing that last one, though they damn near perfected it out Boston way, I’m told, and, damn it, televangelism? We OWN that) it seems your local house of worship is the perfect setting for a little malfeasance.

You with me? 1000 words max, set wherever good folk hit their knees. Let’s say March 1. If you’re game, lemme know and I’ll add your name to the dishonor roll."

Here is "The Original Rainmaker," and it's a sequel of sorts to "A Sheep In Wolf's Clothing."

Madison, Brandi, Candi and Taylor sit at the bar, happily counting their money and gleefully bumping shoulders. Some NBA player from a European country they’ve never heard of just came by and spread his wealth in here, one of the few strip clubs in West Fayetteville, Arkansas. No one knows just why he chose to spend his cash at this particular establishment, as his accent was nearly indecipherable to everyone. The bartender understood the word “vodka” and the girls understood Washington, Lincoln, Jackson and Franklin.

The owner Lamont Hubble, trudges wearily out of his office. Business has been down lately, after the initial upswing that followed after this place was robbed. With the novelty of the crime forgotten and the economy being what it is, Lamont is worried that he might have to start watering down his drinks, and it’s not the beauty of his girls or the club’s atmosphere that make the customers choose the Candy Shack over all the other places.

“It was Windowpania,” squeaks Candi.

“It’s Lithuvia,” affirms Taylor, who actually knows a thing or two about accounting because she took a class in it. She still doesn’t geography from her brown eye.

“Who cares what country he’s from? The boy is rich and clueless,” Madison chortles. “I never followed basketball before, but you best be sure that I’ll make sure to watch all of his games, I’ll be looking him up. Nobody told him that when you make it rain, that you’re supposed to use only singles.”

“Making it rain” is when one showers strippers with one dollar bills. Lamont pours a drink and allows himself a smile. “I was the original rainmaker, ya know?”

“Oh, c’mon, Lamont,” says Brandi. “How are you gonna lay claim to that?”

“You best believe that as sure as the four pounds of saline on your chest, that I was the first to make it rain.”

After several moments of silence, the surgically-altered beauties lean forward…with the botox in their faces making them look more serious than they are. Lamont takes a deep breath and tells them his tale.

“I was twelve in 1978, when we moved to Elmwood, Louisiana. My father was a sergeant in the Army and he was transferred to Fort Polk. I was an average kid, average height, was average at sports, and I should’ve fit in, but I didn’t. Hell, I even had a twang, just like everybody else, but I was the only new kid.

“This gangly kid that was a whole head taller than the rest of the class decided I was the one that came up with the nickname ‘Mantis’ for him. Apparently everyone had been calling him that since the spring before, but this was his chosen excuse to pick on me. He told me he was going to kick my ass at lunch time, and every lunch time thereafter, until Christmas vacation.”

“He couldn’t have stood a chance,” squeals Candi, “I’ve seen you threw out all three hundred pounds of R.J. out on his ear.”

“Well, I was different back then and I had to man up…and man up real fast. I asked for permission to go to the bathroom. I went out the classroom door, then out the school’s front door and I kept on going. I wandered around Elmwood aimlessly, trying to figure out just how I could get my father to put me in another school.

“A lit cigarette went right past my feet, and I looked to see a Catholic priest exhaling smoke on the side steps of a church. Father Fidel was his name and he said, ‘what are you doing cutting school, young man?’ as he took a sip out of his flask.”

“I knew that he was a holy man, but that’s about I knew about Catholics. I told him about my situation and he gave me some advice. He said, ‘tell Mantis that you’ll fight him after school in at 20 Henderson Street, and make sure to say in front of at least four people.’ Then he gave me a ten dollar bill.”

“That wouldn’t be the first time a so-called holy man approached a kid with some money,” sneers Brandi.

“No, it wasn’t like that at all, though he did whisper the rest in my ear and that part made me uncomfortable, until I realized that he being what he was, didn’t want any of his parishioners to hear that.

“I ran out after school, and I got to 20 Henderson Street about five minutes ahead of everybody else, which was perfect. I put that ten dollar bill down, got what I needed and there was about fifty kids waiting for me when I got outside, along with Mantis. He was pacing back and forth like a tiger at the zoo, winding himself up to break out.”

“He waved those long arms of his and said, ‘are you ready to get your ass kicked?’ I told him that he had that all backwards and that he would have to go to the doctor’s, to have his head removed out of his own ass. I ducked under his first punch and I gave him an uppercut, with fist holding a roll of quarters. He flew backwards in an explosion of coins and by the time he hit the ground, three kids were already scrambling for the money.”

“Mantis was woozy and tried to get up, but he was knocked back down by the swarm for the money. He was elbowed, kicked and even punched during the scuffle. When it was over, Mantis was colder than a mackerel, and there were quarters everywhere. I was top dog, and everybody was rich.”

“’Rich?’ You can’t buy anything for a quarter!” jeers Taylor.

“Well, candy bars only cost fifteen cents back then, so that bought me a lot of friends. Father Fidel went through the exact same situation and someone gave him a five, so he used nickels. Well…maybe was he was the original rainmaker.”

The End

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Writing quotes, courtesy "Biloxi Blues"

Eugene Jerome: Why is that we come from the same background, but I can't understand you?

Arnold Epstein: You're a witness. You're always standing around watching what's happening, scribbling in your book what other people do. You have to get in the middle of it. You have to take sides. Make a contribution to the fight.

Eugene Jerome: What fight?

Arnold Epstein: Any fight. The one you believe in. Until you do, you will never be a writer, Eugene.

Later in the film...

Arnold (to Eugene): Once you start compromising your thoughts, you're a candidate for mediocrity.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Caption This IV!

It's simple enough...

...caption this.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Get Plugged In #6

Oh, I have links, but first comes a lecture. You see, you kids have so easy today. You have A Twist of Noir, Beat To A Pulp, Crime Factory, Pulp Metal, Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers, Yellow Mama, (hopefully still) Astonishing Adventures, and many more places to submit your work to. In this sense, we are now living a golden age of crime fiction, where there are several venues for you to perfect your art and for you to have an audience.

Go all the way back to January 2007 and most of the magazines and sites mentioned above didn't exist. And the ones that did exist were expired, or on the verge of expiring. In stepped a man with a vision, Aldo Calcagno. He started Powder Burn Flash and the rest is history. So many of the writers in my links section and the aforementioned zines, have Aldo to thank for where we all are today.

Paul D. Brazil interviewed Aldo, and you really should read it. Not just because I say so, but also becuase it is an insight into the ever-changing world of crime fiction, and its existence on the Internet.

Katherine Tomlinson has updated her links and all of her works that can be accessed through the Internet, are at the top right of her page.

Last but certainly not least, while on holiday in Britain, Quin has met up with my favorite fiction couple, Margaret and Neville. Their latest tale has started off with a cliffhanger, and the next two weeks should get real interesting.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Writing Quotes and I don't see eye to eye, with James Baldwin

These quotes came from The Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter.

"One writes out of one thing only -- one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from the experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give."
- James Baldwin

I politely disagree. One writes based on one's own experience, but a good or great writer won't limit themselves to their own experiences only. If you see things from only your point of view as a writer, well...

The folks at Creative Screenwriting rightly added this quote right after, to serve as a counter-point-

"The good writer seems to be writing about himself, but has his eye always on that thread of the Universe which runs through himself and all things."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Baroness interviews an NHL legend!

The Baroness Von Bloggenschtern has an interview exclusive and NBC will be incensed when they find out that they've been scooped!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All of a sudden, I don't hate Kindle quite as much...

...Hell, I must grow to like the thing. Of course, I'd still want a paper version of my work still around, and I'm not sure this would help publishers in the long run.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Writing Quotes and the only time you will ever Michener's name on this blog

"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible."

- Vladimir Nabakov

"I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions."

- James Michener

From The Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Writing Quotes From Screaming Lord Byron And Meself

"But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think."

-Lord Byron

From The Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter

It's easier to destroy, than it is to design, construct and finish.

-Cormac Brown

BTW, I have a Cafepress shop where my slogans are better articulated.