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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 17

I kept my gun pointed at the two goons in the alley. One lay on the floor clutching his ruined eye, the other staring bolts of lightning from his. I didn't waver, or at least tried to look I wasn't. I couldn't see out of one eye and my face and chest were more bruised than a week old banana. Still I tired to play it up, pretend I wasn't hurt that bad. I spit out a huge wad of blood and saliva, and ran my tongue over my teeth assuring myself that they were all still there. It was hard to breath, my nose broken and all, but I could fake it for a few more minutes.

I stalked closer to the one on the ground and laid my boots into the side of his head as hard as I could. He let out a scream but in this part of town, that didn't mean shit. I kicked him a few more times to be sure he was out, and stepped closer to the goon still moving, though as I stepped closer, slowly sunk to his knees. I walked right up to him and put the cold barrel of my Beretta against his forehead. I could see the first tell tale signs of a cold sweat appear on his brow, and he anxiously licked his lips. I pulled back the hammer on the gun and calmly told him that if he didn't answer the questions I asked, I'd show him what a .22 caliber bullet could do at this range.

I asked him about Elsa Lomack and Roger Horner. Who they worked for, and why they wanted me out of the picture. About who he worked for and what he knew. Which sadly wasn't alot. Apparently the club's owner was friends with Ricky Sixx, one of the major dealers in the last few years. Back when I was on Vice, Sixx was one of the up and comers in the business, though we could never pin anything on him. Always thought he had connections somewhere along the line, and it was digging into that that eventually cost me my job there. Sixx had told the owner that if anyone came looking for Horner of Lomack, he was to take them out, and bring the info to him, though my boy here didn't know where to find him. I told him that he had done a good job, then smacked the handle of the gun against his skull, knocking him out.

I limped down the alley and down the street. I wasn't a cold blooded killer, and leaving those two alive may flush Ricky out to me. Worse case, I still had that lead at The Zero Room to follow up on. Still it had been a shit day and I wanted to go home. I limped two blocks down the street and into one of those pay by the hour hotels. I paid for an hour, ignoring the looks the clerk gave at my appearance and telling him to mind his own damn business, and went into the room he had given me. In the room I called a cab to pick me up in thirty minutes, because finding one in the Barrow was gonna be fuckin' impossible at this time of night, especially looking like I did. I spent a few minutes admiring the bouncers handiwork in the mirror, and tried to clean myself up enough to make it home. I stopped the bleeding and cleaned up my eye and nose as best (and gingerly) as I could. I spent the last few minutes sitting on the end of my bed smoking a cigarette, ignoring the pain each time I inhaled through my split lip. Annie was gonna be pissed.

End of Line.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Movie Time: Rewind: The Adventures of Robin Hood

Hey all!

Sorry again for the interruption in regularly scheduled posting, but what can I say, work has beat me around this week. Anyway, enough of the complaints and back to action in general. Whenever I think about great movies of the past to highlight, I try to keep things new and fresh, which isn't always possible. Like any movie, regardless of the year, you like who you like and what you like, and many times it filters back to the same people. After two years of columns, it may be very easy to pick out great films you love, it IS a bit harder to pick out actors, directors, or even genres you haven't tackled before.

Luckily I watched the end of a great movie I watched some time back and it prompted me to this months pick, 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood. The film, distributed from Warner Bros. and directed by Michael Curtiz (known for his tight moving scripts and penchant ability for fast paced epic action) starred Errol Flynn in arguably the biggest film of his career. Flynn was only 29 at the time of this film, but had already starred in films like Mutiny on the Bounty and Captain Blood, swashbuckling epics of renown. It was Robin Hood though that cemented Flynn as Hollywood's leading heart throb and playboy.

Co-starring his long time screen partner the great Olivia de Havilland, The Adventures of Robin Hood is loosely based on the myths of Sherwood Forest and Robin Hood, robbing the rich and rewarding the poor, in the face of the crooked Prince John and courting the beautiful maid Marion. The film starts out with Robin returning from a hunt to find the wicked Prince John (the great Claude Rains) assuming power of the throne, as the rightful King is a prisoner of war from the Crusades. John, aided by Sir Guy of Gisborn (Basil Rathbone) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Melvin Cooper) begin raising taxes and oppressing the people. Robin, loyal to the rightful King, speaks out against the Prince, who vows to stop Robin and chases him into the the surrounding forests of Sherwood. There Robin gathers support for his cause with the likes of Will Scarlett and Little John and the rest of his Merry Men, terrorizing the rich and helping the poor, all the while trying to court Maid Marion. He eludes John's plot to capture him at an archery contest where the prize is a golden arrow presented by Maid Marion. After evading capture, Robin tricks his way into the castle and confronts Guy and Prince John, defeating them and freeing Marion from her cell, intimately restoring King Richard to the crown and marrying his lady love.

The story is something everyone knows, and a big part of the reason for that is this movie. The basis for nearly every Robin Hood tale told since, from Kevin Costner's Prince of Thieves, to Disney's animated Robin Hood. Warner Bros. version was the most expensive movie they had made up until that point in their film making history at nearly two million dollars at films end. Originally set to star Warner top draw, James Cagney (who walked out on his contract due to dis-satisfaction with the studio), it was shelved for three years until heavy pressure from the Haynes office concerning the exploitation and violence of Warner's gangster movies led them to dust it off and make the film, figuring that a historical epic couldn't get them in any trouble.

They had brought in director William Keighly first, due to his expertise in the use of Technicolor in films (in fact, all 12 Technicolor cameras in existence at the time where in use on this movie) but was replaced by Curtiz after producers felt his action scenes were not impactful enough. This was one of 12 films that Curtiz and Flynn would make together, despite the fact that neither man liked each other and tensions would also mount high on the set. It is also one of 8 films that Flynn would make with Olivia de Havilland. Considered one of the 30's best film couples, along with Astaire and Rogers, the two would make a string of financially successful films together.

Flynn himself, already a rising star at Warner Bros. exploded after this film, identifying him as a swashbuckling ladies man of action, a role he would play both on and off the screen. Flynn lived hard and played hard and was a notorious drinker, smoker and womanizer, even being brought to trial on now less than 3 rape charges, all of which where refuted. Flynn relished his role as playboy and bon vivante and lived life to the fullest extent. His dashing ways and mis-spent youth unfortunately also drove him to an early grave. A bout with malaria in his youth had weakened his heart, making him ineligible to serve in WW2, and combined with the drinking and smoking, as well as a nasty bout of food poisoning in early 1959, led to a heart attack and pre-mature death at the age of 50.

To return to the film though, it is shot in beautiful Technicolor and is really the gold standard of great swashbuckling films, sword fighting and dashing heroic leads. Some of it may seem cliche nowadays, but the fact that this film is the basis for those cliches that make it so timeless. What attracts me to the film is that it os really the essence of fun at the movies. A great popcorn film that provides adventure and excitement, and it stars one of Hollywood's most charismatic actors in his prime. If you haven't seen Warner Bros. 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood, check it out, you are in for a real treat.

End of Line.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 16

STUPID! STUPID! I'd let my guard down and now the fucking bouncer had me by the scruff of my neck. He jerked hard and I tipped over the back of the couch and hung by my neck against the wall. Kitty tumbled to the side, legs spread so far apart you could almost see out her throat. She hit the ground hard with a thud, but I still couldn't get an angle on the guy who had me, his sweaty grip was like a vice. I started to twist, but the second bouncer rounded the corner and entered the cubicle. He was a huge mother fucker, all muscle and no neck, with black eyes that almost seemed cut into his face. He reared back one meat hook and socked me so hard in the gut I lost my breath. He clocked me again across the jaw and I saw stars. A third punch and I felt one of my eyes swell shut.

The guy who had me by the neck let me go and I hit fell against the back of the upturned couch. I watched blearily from my good eye as the second bouncer laid a few boots into Kitty as she lay crumpled on the floor. She cried out after the first one, but a few harder kicks later and she didn't say a word. Just curled herself into a ball and whimpered. I tried to suck in a few breaths to get some feeling back in my chest, I knew these guys weren't quite done yet. I'd obviously hit a nerve, a nerve that was about to hit back.

The first bouncer came around the cubicle and pulled me up by the collar, I thought about going for my gun, but I couldn't get my head clear fast enough before he introduced his fist to my face. I felt my nose crunch and tasted something dark and coppery as he pulled my head back by the hair and asked me why I was lookin' for Elsa Lomack. I smiled, the blood stained between my teeth, and spit. Probably not the smartest move, as it pissed him off good and he rear back and knocked me again. My eye, still tender and puffy, split and I cried out as I hit the ground. He grabbed me and pulled me up by the shoulders. The second goon grabbed my legs and the two carried me out the back entrance.

The back alley reeked of piss and shit and old garbage as the two pushed me up against the wall. One screamed at me, asking me question, while the other held me up, peppering my gut with punches. I didn't say anything, just tried to draw my breath and wait for the chance. After a few minutes my chance came. Good one wanted a shot at me again, and they switched. I was tired, and hurt, and my left eye was wrecked, but I knew that it was now or never. I snapped out with my forehead, headbutting the second bouncer when his face was turned. I brought my left hand up and flexed a single rigid finger, and jammed it stiffly into the eye of goon one. He yelped in pain as I brought my right arm around, holding my gun. I pointed at the two bouncers, one laying on the ground clutching his bleeding eye, and the other who was picking himself off the ground, wiping blood from his forehead.

Now these fuckers were gonna answer my questions.

End of Line.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Hey all,

Sorry about the moratorium on posting the last week or so. I have been having a really hard time at work this past week and it has honestly just taken everything out of me. I am coming home just physically and emotionally spent from the work day and I haven't really been able to shake this funk. In the past two weeks I have gone from a pretty good situation with my managers to a fairly slim one. It's effected my staffing levels and ultimately the other managers have not increased their productivity to help me out. As a result I find my self taking on more responsibility and ultimately increasing the amount I have on my plate.

Conversely my boss has been deep up my ass unhappy with pretty much everything I am doing this month. I am not working the right days, not focusing on the right tasks, and not giving him the numbers he wants. Truth be told, I am working on my plan to get these things back along the lines we have been running, the difference is I am doing it with less help and it's harder, frankly, my other assistant managers need to step their game up and they haven't been. I am just tired of hearing my boss bitch about everything. Even when I have great numbers he still finds the bad, he constantly looks to put you down or make you doubt yourself. It has never been good, but this past 6 months it has been worse.

For the most part I do like my job, the people and the the actual shift by shift basis are often times fun and easy, and I do get a feeling of reward when I am teaching a class or coaching someone. It's all this other crap. I don't know. I am just really tired, really ready to get away from work (yeah I know.. I was out of the store for like 3 weeks last month but so much of it was on the go) I just want to unwind and decompress.

Basically just frustrations and discontent at the workplace spilling over into my creative output. I missed my Flash Fiction post this past weekend, so I am going to attempt to get back on track the next few days with a new Noir story tomorrow, plus an edition of the Rewind before the end of the month. Stick around, I may even get a bonus Flash Fiction tale before the month is out too.

End of Line.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Movie Review: District 9

Hey all,

This past weekend I caught the new film, District 9, from producer Peter Jackson and director / screenwriter Niell Blomkamp. District 9 is a very different science fiction film, shot partially as an interview documentary, partially as a point of view narrative,and partly as a giant epic blockbuster. Yet somehow first time director Blomkemp really keeps the movie held together and gripping. It has a great narrative and directing style, really running the audience through a myriad of emotions.

The film starts off with a truncated history of the first arrival of the alien race, called "Prawns", due to their resemblance to the water dwellers, nearly 20 years ago. They arrived on a giant mothership that is now suspended over Johannesburg, South Africa. Initially the Prawns are set up in short term camps on the ground as housing, but over times the temporary camps become permanent slums in which the Prawns live, scavenging through trash and debris like animals. The initial shock of discovering alien life quickly fades as mankind realizes that the alien technology, including the advanced and much convented weaponry are keys to the prawns specific DNA, making the tech virtually useless to humans.

The prawns are leaderless, having lost the upper structure of their hierarchy on the journey somehow, leaving nearly a million "worker" prawns stranded. Without the mantle of duty or purpose, the prawns descend into a mixture of poverty and prejudice, a modern day apartheid. Meanwhile, the human have formed a multi-national company called MNU to effectively regulate and control the growing population, which after 20 years exceeds 2 million prawns. Many humans want the prawns out of the city and away from them, believing that it should not be their duty to help a race that cannot help us or themselves. As tensions ratchet and violence in the slums, now called District 9, increase, the MNU decide to move the entirety of the prawn race towards a new camp outside of the city. They place a man in charge named Wikus Van De Merwe, played by newcomer Sharlto Copley, who is ordered to evict the entire prawn race from the tenements and confiscate any contraband he finds within.

Wikus is generally a nice guy, well meaning, who speaks the prawn language. Unfortunately during the armed eviction process, he is contaminated by a foreign substance found in an unknown piece of prawn equipment. This substance begins to change Wikus on a molecular level, integrating him with prawn DNA making him one of the most valuable people on the planet, for with the knowledge in him, humanity can finally get it's hands on prawn technology. Wikus though, doesn't want the transformation, a transformation that begins to take over his whole body, slowly changing him more and more. Wikus then must re-evaluate his perceptions of the world, when his only chance at salvation, lies with the very people he has tried to control.

District 9 was made on a very slim budget, only 30 million dollars. It doesn't have a name cast, or even an actor you have ever heard of before. Director/screenwriter Blomkamp was a visual effects artist before this film and had directed some minor work before, but District 9 is his first real foray into any type of mainstream media. He manages to squeeze better effects and story elements out of this film and this budget, than many of the summer's biggest blockbusters. I personally guarantee that the effects work in this film will destroy whatever you may see in GI Joe, which had a $175 million budget. The mix of practical makeup and CGI are perfect, and the climatic final fight sequence is one of the best science fiction battles ever put to film. Alien weaponry versus mankind's own weapons, including a giant mech fight.

You have to thank producer Peter Jackson for recognizing the talent in Blomkamp and for backing this film. His pedigree (and effects house!) have a huge effect in the success and marketability of the film. While only a producer, it's Jackson that has the clout to get the film made and distributed and Jackson has made very few mistakes in the choices he has made at the movies.

Despite having an unknown cast, each actor effectively inhibits the role they are cast in, from Wikus's emotional journey of change and acceptance, to his wife's battle with the physical changes in him, Blomkamp really stages some striking similarities to real world problems. Things like prejudice, racism, separatism, apartheid, hate crimes, and even concentration camps and poverty all have a light shed on them. A light that is filtered through a science fiction tale, but a light none the less. It forces the viewer to confront many harsh realities about the world we live in, a world where these views and these injustices still have merit with in some countries. It's a hard look at our own perceptions, and how the view of the world isn't always the right one.

My only complain, how ever minor, is that sometimes the film forgets that it is shot with a documentary style. Many times throughout the film they cut to interviews about the prawns or Wikus, or show the action in the movie from the public security cameras. It treats the film that we are watching events as they unfold. Sometimes though the movie gets caught up in the blockbuster aspect, especially in the final climatic fight,where the film is much more traditionally shot. I didn't mind it really so much, I just thought it a minor matter of inconsistency.

This is easily one of the top 5 movies of the year so far. It's a film that can potentially change the way we look at science fiction and movies in general. I loved District 9, especially in a summer of so many bad films, it's great to see something refreshing and original. This is definitely a movie that should be on your watch list. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 15

Kitty recovered quickly, I'll give her that. Those wide green eyes quickly hooded themselves back into a look that at one time screamed wanting, but now just made her look a bit uninteresting. She continued to grind on my lap but murmured that she didn't know what I was talking about. I slipped a few extra bills from the fold in my shirt sleeve that I'd stashed prior to the dance and waved them in front of me, promises to make it worth her while. I could see the conflict in her mind, the wave of $100's in front of her was probably more than she would make all night, but still something made her nervous. I told her I'd throw in a few more bills, after all I had a pretty fat expense account, and she agreed.

I followed her back to the private show floor. It was sectioned off by a big black wall and broken into smaller booth, almost like cubicles. Each one had a dingy black sofa and a single bulb muted by a black shade. Kitty slipped the bouncer some cash and placed our drink order, another longneck for me, and some kind of cocktail that had more fruit in it that I'd had in the last year. I settled back into the chair as Kitty pulled up beside me. The music wasn't as loud back here, but at least I could hear Kitty's voice over the faded din of rap music in the background. We didn't say anything until the drinks showed up, but I watched Kitty drain most of hers in one big gulp.

I waited patiently as the next song started and Kitty re-mounted me. She whispered into my ear that they had cameras back here and she needed to keep up the part. I nodded and put a soft smile on, playing my role. I told her who I was and who had told me to ask for her. She nodded, her head dipping towards my crotch, who so far seemed to be taking all that grinding in stride. I filled her in on what I was doing in low tones and what I waned from her, if she could help.

She looked up and at me and sat on my lap, I could feel her hot breath on my neck and she whispered into my ear, telling me what she knew about Elsa Lomack. I slid the money down into the top of her boot as she told me what she knew. Mostly that Elsa hadn't been here in the last month and most of the muscle that ran the place had told the girls not to ask about it. She had been dancing here a while, but the drugs and abuse where starting to show on her body. Her boyfriend, which I knew was Horner, had been working some bigger deals and kept telling everyone at the club that he was gonna be a rich man soon. She told me about a bar he hung out at when he wasn't stirring up trouble around here, The Zero Room. She was just about to tell me more about Elsa when I felt a big meaty hand grab the back of my jacket and pull.

This wasn't gonna be good.

End of Line.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Turned to Grey

Hey all,

This is the fourth poem I wrote while I was on vacation last month. I do have the shambles of another that I will be trying to finish sometime in the next week or so, but I thought it was high time I put this from paper to screen. This was actually the first poem I wrote of the four, on the plane trip to Orlando some weeks back. For several reasons it was the last one I posted, mostly because I felt it was the weakest. I liked how the second half of the poem came out, the first half seems to meander a little. Mostly it is about growing old and the fears of being alone at the end of life. Anyway enjoy the poem and I will be back online tomorrow with a new Flash Fiction, with the installment of Noir story that I skipped telling that other tale last Sunday. Thanks.

Turned to Grey

Forgotten more than happiness,

And all that's gold has turned to grey.

Days so short have since shown long,

As the heart beats pump away.

Just one habit I can't break,

The loneliness of being alone.

It remains my only friends,

The alternative the mysterious unknown.

Darkness outshines the light.

Retracing my steps on a broken path,

That leads me to my only home,

A house made of hurt and wrath.

Melted off all that feels,

Down to the hard and calloused soul.

A thick-set shell which can't be hurt,

Yet all within's an empty hole.

I'd call myself a liar,

If the truth didn't ring so true.

I'd name myself a lover,

If only I had paid my due.

But now my years have come to rest,

As I sat by and sulked alone.

The dreams I'd had since locked away,

Are the penance I must atone.

Said farewell to opportune chance,

And all my goodbyes were less than sincere.

The only friends I still had left,

Were my salty tears.

What hurt was it that pulled me down,

Which part had cut me so deep?

That made me shy away from everyone,

To afraid to make that fateful leap.

The shiny moments of yesteryear,

Had once glittered with a golden ray.

Now that brilliance is but gone,

Heavy was the price I pay.

The resonance of loss,

Is all I have to tithe.

For it has been my sole companion,

A far more hurtful wife.

End of Line.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Movie Review: GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Hey all,

Caught GI Joe last week, though I am just getting around to posting my thoughts on the experience today. To be honest, it wasn't as bad as I thought. I mean it was still horrible, but it wasn't the bottomless pit of suck I more or less expected. GI Joe stars Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Ray Park, Sienna Miller, and Dennis Quaid in more or less a huge spectacle of a film that favors style or substance any day. Not that you really expect anything less from director Stephen Sommers, of the Mummy franchise and Van Helsing fame. He is a director that often delivers high octane, high budget set pieces, usually with a minimal plot thread together to make the film find a semblance of life.

Tatum plays Duke, a military soldier, who along with his best friend Ripcord (Wayans) are ordered to protect a special military shipment of weaponry from being stolen. Unbeknownst to them the creator of the weapon is Destro, an agent of the burgeoning Cobra terrorist organization. Having using NATO money to build and design the rockets, they use nano technology to destroy metals and construction materials unless deactivated. He arranges for one of Cobra's top agents, the Baroness (Sienna Miller) to steal the rockets. She succeeds, but not before Duke identifies her as his ex-girlfriend. After a quick rescue from GI Joe, a secret worldwide military police force, they join up to go after Cobra and recover the weapons. Along the way you meet other Joes, like GI Joe team leader General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), and the popular Snake Eyes (Ray Park). On the Cobra side they are lead by Cobra Commander (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), with Destro (Christopher Ecceleston), Zartan (Arnold Vosiloo), Baroness, and Storm Shadow (Snake Eyes counterpart played by Byung Hung-Lee).

The film is one giant set piece after another, from breakneck explosions to another action fight. From a rumble at GI Joe Headquarters in the deserts of Egypt over the missing rockets, to a battle that destroys most of downtown Paris in a winding street fight and car chase, to the final battle at Cobra's Arctic underwater base, there is no shortage of spectacle. What hurts though is that for $175 million dollar budget, the CGI was shoddy at best. It wasn't smooth or flowing and there were plenty of places that practical special effects would have worked just as good or even better, everything is so synthetic you don't really bond to any of the characters. The script is simply a tool to piece the sets together, but to be honest you aren't expecting a great script for a film based on a cartoon. With the light script and the synthetic feel, it doesn't go a long way towards getting you emotionally involved in the characters.

Also I have never seen a franchise so untested, so set up for a sequel more. The entire film is almost a prequel to the formation of Cobra and the battle of GI Joe versus their perpetual enemies. By the films end you know the Joe's will succeed, but Cobra has plenty of tricks left up their sleeves and the movie ends in such a way that a sequel is inevitable. It is a huge opportunity in terms of plot and character development. It's good that you see the formation of some of the Joe's and Cobra agents, but other get pushed aside. I really don't think you needed all the buildup to creating Cobra, just call them a terrorist organization and move on with the plot already. As it stands the sequel will likely turn out to be the movie Joe fans were expecting.

As for the casting, I thought it was one of the better aspects of the film. Despite a few misfires, (Marlon Wayans) everything was pretty good. Ray Park, of Star Wars fame, was born to be Snake Eyes and Quaid as Hawk was a great bit of casting. Overall I liked the choices they had made, I just wish they had better material to choose from. In fact, the best part of the film is Sienna Miller as the Baroness. She brought some tough sexiness to the role and may have been the most fully developed character on the screen during the film. I really enjoyed her in the movie, she had fun with the role and was about the only thing I looked forward to during the course of viewing.

I think you all know what to expect with a movie like GI Joe. You go into it thinking to get a fun popcorn flick that offers a little bit of entertainment. The film is heavy on corn and light on just about everything else. To be honest your best bet is to check it out on video later. With it's huge budget it falls out of the range of a purely fun film and doesn't equal up to the memories I had as a child. For GI Joe purists, they take a lot of liberties with origins and relationships with people so that may be a turn off. If you aren't familiar with GI Joe, what you're getting is a live action cartoon, not necessarily a live action movie. It trends a bit more sci fi than semper fi so tread accordingly. GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, is a poor film whose only saving grace is the performance of Sienna Miller. Treat yourself to a better film this week, like District 9.

Thanks for reading.

End of Line.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quick Hit

Hey all,

I don't know where this story came from. I crafted it in my mind driving home from work, maybe some dark music in the radio? I really don't know. Let me know what you think and I promise to have a double dose of your regularly scheduled Flash Fiction on Wednesday and next Sunday.

End of Line.

Flash Fiction: The Fifth Time.

I made my first suicide pact at the age of 13. Me and Nancy Allen Callahan together said we were gonna do it. We were both madly in love with David Cassidy and this was a few months before his infamous article detailing his love of drugs and promiscuity. We were in love with the squeaky clean Keith Partridge. Nancy's older sister Becky had seen him in concert and met him backstage. We listened at Nancy's vent as she detailed what she and Keith had done backstage and we wanted to die. He was ours to love and now he had broken our hearts.

Nancy and I agreed to end it all that night, stealing a paring knife from her mother's kitchen drawer and penning morbidly morose suicide notes, we knew that life without Keith was not worth living. I went first and drug the knife over my wrist, and it was the first time I had felt a feeling of satisfaction. Watching the ruby red blood spill down my wrist and onto the pleated hem of my skirt. Nancy saw the blood and panicked, screaming for her Mom. We managed to hide the notes and claim it was an accident, but I always thought Nancy's Mom knew. We didn't hang out much after that.

The second time I tried to kill myself was the night of my Senior Prom. By this point my father had gone nearly a decade and the scar on my wrist a faded memory to everyone but me. I was long over David Cassidy, but I was dating a young boy named Alan O'Neil. Alan was a nice boy, the kind that your parents love and the whole town adores. I hadn't been popular in school and preferred to be alone with my writing, so I was surprised that someone like Alan had even noticed me. I spent most of my time avoiding my mother and the parade of "suitors" she brought to the house. I didn't like the way most of them looked at me. Or even acted around me.

I can't say why I agreed to go out with Alan. Maybe it was because he was so popular and handsome. He was everything I had wanted when I was 13, but at 17 I didn't know what I wanted. All I knew was that the most popular kid in school liked me, and that was enough then. I don't remember much of Prom itself, punch and dancing mostly. Posing for pictures on the stairs with my mother and her boyfriend at the time, watching Alan made Prom King and the stab of jealousy that rouse when he danced with Amy Sue Whitman, the head cheerleader and Prom Queen. Alan and she had dated before, but he was with me tonight.

I do remember after Prom. He drove to a secluded spot in the woods and spread out a blanket on the grass and poured some clear liquid out of a flask he kept in his jacket pocket. It was my first drink and I remember how the alcohol burned my throat and roiled in my empty stomach. I didn't want any more, but I kept drinking, not wanting to upset Alan, afraid that he wouldn't like me, that he wouldn't kiss me. We laid on the blanket and drank, and I felt his hand run up my leg. Alan got more and more urgent and I tried to tell him to stop, but I couldn't. I remember the sound of my panties ripping and him entering inside me. The sounds of thrusting and moaning, him saying I love you as he came in me. Finally him collapsing beside me as I curled up. His quiet snores that followed my tears as I lay on the grass, my hand reaching into my purse. I remember feeling the aspirin bottle and taking the pills inside. Swallowing them until my gorge rose and I blacked out.

I awoke in the hospital with my stomach pumped. No one was really sure what had happened, though Alan had awoke and found me barely conscious, driving me to the hospital. I never spoke of what had happened in the woods to anyone, not of my actions or Alan's. He might have been my first, but my innocence had been lost long before that.

The third time was two months after Prom. I had just returned from my doctor's office. He had told me I was pregnant. I remember sitting in my room, holding my father's gun. He had left it here when he abandoned us and mom kept it for safety purposes. I remember how the cold the barrel was in my mouth, the taste of oil and metal on my tongue. I remember how it felt to have the feel of the trigger on my finger. Only my brother's arrival from school stopped me.

My mother nearly disowned me and most of the small town I lived in shunned me, though Alan did offer me money for an abortion. I went and stood in the doctor's doorway for three hours before going home. I couldn't kill myself when I had tried earlier and I couldn't kill a baby now.

The fourth time was after they took my baby away. I had agreed to put her up for adoption having few other options as a single mother in a small town, but they had let me hold her first. I remember her tiny hand wrapped around my finger and her smooth soft head nestled in mine. I could feel her heart beat against my chest, and I could feel the emptiness as they took her away from me. I watched the nurse walk down the hall with my baby in her arms. My baby Jessica.

I tried to kill myself the day after they sent me home. I was sitting in my mother's car and the engine was running. I watched as the garage filled with smoke and began choking my lungs. The windows were down and the radio was playing a sad Elton John song. I hadn't bothered to write a note since the first time, and I didn't this time either. It just slowly got darker as I closed my eyes to go to sleep. To sleep away the hurt.

My mother found me and an ambulance driver performed CPR on me. She had came home from work early to check on me and saw what I had done in the garage. Once again, I had been robbed of the fate I deserved. This time there were to many coincidences, to many instances of behavior. I spent a long time in therapy. A long time in a hospital, under care, under watch. I spent a longer time hating myself. I saw a battery of shrinks, each probing the reasons I tried to kill myself. What was the cause. Most agreed it stemmed from my father abandoning us. Some thought the pain of losing my baby. Other's thought some childhood trauma.

By the time they let me out I was almost 30. It had been 13 years since my first suicide attempt. 13 years since I had first felt the satisfaction of release. My mother had re-married and my brother was a successful businessman. I spent the first few weeks of my new life doing everything that was expected of me. I found a job and even looked at apartments with my step father. I played the part that was expected of me.

The last time I tried to kill myself was a few minutes ago. I ran the knife over my wrists and let them bleed into the bath tub. It was the way i had meant to do it the first time, and the way I finally knew was right. I laid in the tub and felt my life trickle away. I had two last thoughts, one was of Jessica, 13 years old today. My daughter, I'm so sorry. The last thought before I fell asleep, was to wonder if this is what it felt like for my father.

End of Line.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Word Balloon: Asterios Polyp

Hey all,

This month's edition of the Word Balloon takes us into the realm of the independent comic book, specifically a wonderful little book I heard about just before Comic Con but only managed to track down recently during my trip to Chicago, Pantheon Books Asterios Polyp, by writer/artist David Mazzucchelli. I first heard about this book from G4 TV correspondent Blair Butler on her weekly comics segment and I had to admit, I was piqued by her exuberance for the title. While at Con I talked to a few other folks who had also either read the book or were looking for it, citing it as a front runner for comics Academy Award, the Eisner's for best Original Graphic novel. Unfortunately I never found a copy until this past week.

David Mazzucchelli has been in comics for nearly thirty years breaking into the business in the early 1980's. He hit it big very quickly working with Frank Miller on the writer's legendary Daredevil run during that time, most notably penciling the seminal DD tale, Born Again. Later on he worked with Miller again on the reboot of Batman in the late 80's penciling the Batman: Year One story arc, also considered a seminal Batman story. By the mid 1990's he had dedicated himself to producing independent comics. Asterios Polyp, nearly a decade in the making, marks his first graphic novel.

Asterios Polyp on the surface is a very simple tale. Asterios is a somewhat successful architect and teacher who has an opinion on every subject. His apartment (and world) is shattered after a fire ruins all of his belongings. In a haze, he saves a few meager possessions from the blaze and escapes his life by heading into the heartland of America, to find himself. As the tale unfolds, we learn what Asterios is escaping from, as the book moves between the present and the past, unfolding his life and the reason for the path that Asterios finds himself on. More so, it introduces Hana, a sweet and smart artist with whom Asterios had led a blissful and happy life. As the book plays out, you slowly find out what makes Asterios tick, and just what happened to Hana. Ultimately, you also find out what life has taught Asterios.

Beneath the surface of this book is a deeply complex tale, wherein Mazzucchelli plays out his thoughts on many subjects, like art, design, social morality, eccentricity, and even man's insight to it's own human perceptions. Never before in a book have I seen such great use of design and color to accentuate a story. He employs an old artistic trick to tell his story, using a different art style for each character. Each character is their own separate universe, drawn in a distinct style to create the sense of independent realities for each. Each with their own style, the book throws them each into a mismatched world creating a juxtaposition of color and shape.

Asterios is comprised of primary shapes, Hana is abstract. The life they create together becomes an interesting blend of the new kind of physical reality that is resultant of their relationship. Mazzucchelli makes even more daring moves in his artistic style, particularly in his use of negative space. It's the space BETWEEN the panels that actually help us to realize what Asterios is realizing, the emptiness of his life. Even in the pages where they are happy together, the white space helps to frame the reality that they have created.

Even more amazing is his use of color. Mazzucchelli targets the use of the primary printer's colors, Magenta, Cyan, and Yellow. He uses them in a myriad of ways. To create a sense of the character's mind, to create separation, to set mood, even to mark the changing of time periods in the story. The soft palette really highlights the artists use of panel spacing and setting tonality in the story. Between the color scheme, the negative space and perspective, and the use of shapes, all of the tools collide together to create a sense of isolation. As you read you understand more and more who Polyp himself feels, maybe even before he knows it.

In the story, Asterios saves three items from his apartment, a lighter (his father's) a watch (his) and a knife (Hana's). As Asertios progresses through the story, these items represent Polyp maturity and the unburdening of his soul. Each item has a meaning, and as he sheds them, they each represent a new aspect of his outlook on life. The lighter is maturity, preparing himself for a world outside of his one way perspective. The watch, the understanding that value of practicality in the world over one's theory. The knife, understanding selflessness and accepting the fact that you are ready for change. Even better is the twists along the path though down this road. That sometimes your life isn't changed so easy, it's not gift wrapped in a pretty bow. Sometimes the universe has to hit you over the head to make you understand.

Mazzuccelli crafts a very expansive story, but doesn't bog it down with unnecessary words or dialog. He lets the art and the colors tell a story that no other medium can quite duplicate. The best part is how reading it through more than once unlocks new elements you don't get on the first read through. How key plot elements from later in the tale unlock content peppered throughout the first read through. It is a wonderful blend of storytelling and art that isn't designed to be fully realized in one sitting.

Mazucchelli has been working on this book for a number of years, but the time, energy and patience has really paid off. While artistically he is using a more cartoonish style than his earlier pulp work, the clean images and beautiful palette is a win for the creator. It has been a long time since a book made me change the way I think about what the medium of comics is capable of, especially one produced this decade. I have read plenty of books that remind me why I love comics, plenty of books that validate the story and the art of a medium, but this book is one of the rare few that challenges the totality of the medium itself. Asterios Polyp is simply one of the best comics I have ever read. Please don't let the $30.00 price tag affect your decision to buy this book. It is beautifully presented and bound, with a striking and stylistic cover. This books gets my highest possible recommendation, you should definitely check it out.

End of Line.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Movie Review: Funny People

Hey all,

I actually saw Funny People last week while I was in Chicago. To be honest, it wasn't that good. Directed by Judd Apatow or Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin fame, its a film that stars Adam Sandler, Seth Rogan, Leslie Mann, and appearance by Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman. Despite this stellar cast, the movie falls into the same traps as Knocked Up, and some of the other Apatow produced flicks have as of late, indecision.

The movies stars Adam Sandler as George Simmons, a wealthy and successful comedian and actor who is diagnosed with a terminable blood disease. George has been making successful, if not rewarding, comedies much like the films he makes in real life, playing of his man child, goofy humor image. Within though, George has several problems that the illness brings to the surface, loneliness, apathy, regrets, fears. While at a comedy club doing some really dark stand up, he meets Rogan's character and hires him as a comedy writer/assistant. Rogan's character, Ira, is a struggling comic working at a deli who sleeps on his friends coach. His friends, Schwartzman and Hill are both more successful than him. Schwartzman is the lead on a lame TV show called Hey Teach, and Hill is having more success with stand up than he.

Sandler begins to undergo experimental procedures to treat his malady, while he and Rogan get closer, doing stand up performances and traveling together. Eventually, Sandler comes to realize that he is dying and tries to re-attach with his estranged family and with the only woman he ever loved. The love of his life, who had left him some years earlier due to his chronic infidelity, has since remarried and had children. Re-connecting with ex-flame Laura (Leslie Mann) begins to stir the old feelings he has held inside for so long, an due to his illness, she is open to talking to him again.

Sandler begins a path to change the things he is unhappy with in his life, re-connecting with people and donating to charity. This change of heart and change of lifestyle, whereas he realizes that for all his wealth and fame he doesn't really have anyone except Ira, his paid assistant. This also gets the communication re-opened with Laura. When Sandler discovers that the experimental medication he has been taking is working, he thinks this is his chance to get at the life he really wants, and arranges to spend a weekend with Laura and her kids at her house. Laura is unhappy in her marriage and she believes that her husband is cheating on her during his business trips. Sandler thinks that this is his chance to re-kindle the old romance.

Problems arise on the trip to visit her in the unexpected arrival by her husband (Eric Bana) from his trip early. Sandler comes quickly to realize while he does love Laura he may not be ready for the full package of kids and a domestic life. Meanwhile, Bana discovers the truth behind Sandler's visits and that he is not sick anymore thanks to Rogan's interference. Faced with the betrayal of his only friend, and the realization that the one love of his life may still love her husband, Sandler has to find out where his new life starts, or if his old life ever ended.

Overall Funny People wasn't that funny to be truthful. It fell into a trap that Apatow has been leaning closer too on his films, losing the humor inside the message of the film. Often comics draw their humor and jokes from the darkness in thier life and in this film, it really gets mired in that. The movie becomes so much about the dark message of Sandler's character, that the humor only really comes from the ancillary characters. Even then it's not that much. I felt like I spent the whole movie waiting for it to get funny, it just didn't.

I will say I appreciated Sandler tackling a subject matter that he normally avoids. In the film he kind of lampoons his own film and career choices, making goofy dumb humor films that people love. Unfortunately if you went into the film expecting some of that, you are not going to get it. I went in looking for something along the lines of the 40 Year Old Virgin, humor with a heart. Here its just heavy handed in its message. Sandler really plies some depth into his character and takes the identity on a journey, only to find that not every road leads where you think it will.

Seth Rogan is neither good nor bad in the film, he just is. He brings to the table a role we all can relate to him, the everyman schlub who tries to do the right thing. It's certainly not breaking any new ground for the actor. Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill and Jason Schartzman try to infuse some humor into the movie, but its a little far between. The bit of casting I did like was Eric Bana as the over the top manic Australian who really brought some energy and fun to what is a fairly down trodden film. Whereas Rogan or Sandler kind of lurched into humor, he brought some energy to what I felt was a fairly lethargic film.

This is a film best rented. It does manage a few chuckles, but loses its humor by being overly preachy and dark. The humor that is thrown in really tries to offset the message, but it comes up short. You don't really get attached to any of teh characters, Sandler is to much of an egoist, Rogan to much of a schlub, and Leslie Mann to much of a dichotomy to know where she is going. I really hope Apatow can get back to his comedic roots and find the funny again. I think the 40 Year Old Virgin was one of the best comedies of all time, and I hope he can re-capture that lightning again. Overall, Funny People just needed one more thing to be successful, some funny people.

End of Line.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 14

I sat in the corner of the club and tried unsuccessfully to nurse my beer and not chain smoke. Something about this place had my gut in a broil, but I still didn't have any leads. I tried to get a good lay of the club as I sat there, both exits, plus one I figured back through the girls changing areas. I eyeballed both bouncers over, huge mother fuckers to be sure, but I didn't see any bulges beneath their suits that would indicate they were packing either so that was a relief.

I checked out the girls as well. Annie wasn't kidding when she said that the girls at this club worked the hard life. A lot of them wore long gloves or sleeves to cover the track marks, some of them didn't even care about that. You could see that glassy dead look as they twisted and grinded through the motions, scooping up the dollars at the end of the set with a nearly frantic urge, just that much closer to another hit. On the floor side nearly anything was possible, depending on the girl you picked. Anything from a hand job to out right fucking was offered for the right amount of cash. These girls were walking the edge of the burnout, and we were just here to watch the ride.

I had drank 3 beers and was nearly out of smokes before they called Kitty's name on the floor. The DJ had that same sleazy, deep baritone that every club announcer has, and I watched Kitty take the stage. She came from behind the revolving mirror on the stage that led to the dressing room. She wore a sexy cat suit, a leopard spotted bikini with an attached tail and tall matching spiked boots that went nearly to her knee. She had on a pair of cat ears nestled into the tangle of bleach blond hair. I waited until she started her routine, trying to drone out the incessant 80's hair metal being churned out, to move closer to the stage. I pulled out a wad of singles and started peppering the stage to get her attention. Whether she knew Annie or not, a little bribe never hurts in the long run.

I stood there as she danced and waited until she leaned her head near mine, trailing her hair over my face and whispered to meet me after her act. She didn't say anything but she smiled, as I dropped a few more singles and returned to my seat. I watched her finish her set and drained the last of my beer as she slinked towards me. She got close and pulled up a seat on my lap, and I could smell the the tell tale signs of perfume, baby powder, sweat, and beneath that, desperation, that so many girls faced. She leaned in close, whispering promises in my ear, of the things that she could do to me if the price was right. I leaned back and whispered that I had some questions about Elsa Lomack, and then watched her eyes go wide with fright.


End of Line.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Travel Blog: Chicago

Hey all,

Well, I am home and ready to relax from my travels this past month. Chicago wasn't as exciting as Orlando or San Diego, a lot of it was simply hanging out in my hotel, studying for my classes or watching TV. I even lost the Internet from Wednesday to until I left as the wifi was down inside the hotel. So I didn't get to blog up on the last few days of my travels. So today I thought I would take a few minutes and end cap these travails.

Wednesday was actually where things started to pick up on the trip. Much of Sunday through Tuesday was bland, staying in my room, eating my meals alone, it was so bad I actually went to a movie on Tuesday by myself. I was looking forward to Wednesday though, as this meant a trip downtown into the heart of Chicago. I grabbed the shuttle that bussed us down and finally got a chance to talk to some people with similar interests, and despite having my own agenda in the city, I agreed to meet a few of them at the Navy Pier later to watch a scheduled fire works show. This was one of the first mixed group events that happened, so you didn't get a whole lot of interaction with other tables within your classroom setting, or even meet the other classes.

We got into Chicago after a pretty long shuttle ride and I made a beeline for a store called Rotofugi. It is a wonderful little vinyl toy store in Chicago with a huge selection of toys and artwork. I spent a good 30 minutes just browsing and picked up a few souvenirs to take back. I was amazed at the amount of selection they had, I took a few pics which you can check out below. They had some rare stuff and plenty to chose from, but nothing I thought I had to have so I stuck to some small items, though he did set me up with an online ordering site to get some plus sized shirts with the store logo on it so I am excited about that.

On the cab ride over (as the shuttle didn't get me close enough) I had also saw a small comic book store nearby. I hoofed it through what wasn't the greatest part of town, but browsed the store which had a wonderful small press section, where I found two books I had been desperately searching for. Transmetropolitan vol 2 by Warren Ellis and Asterios Polyp, by David Mazzuchelli. Polyp is a new book that I was looking for in San Diego, but couldn't find. I have even had issues locating it at my central store in town, so I gladly payed the $30 for the beautiful hardbound book. Expect a write up later this month in my Word Balloon Column detailing the read.

After browsing I cabbed back downtown and ate dinner at Portillo's, a really great Hot Dog and Italian Beef joint. I ate a Chicago Style dog, sweet peppers, onions, tomatoes, relish, mustard, and a huge dill pickle, with a hot dog on a poppy roll, plus half an Italian Beef sandwich, shredded beef soaked in au jous sauce, sweet peppers, and Swiss cheese, with fries and a beer, for like $12. It was amazing! Next up was to head downtown to the Pier and the crazy story that follows.

I was lost, looking for directions towards the Pier, I didn't want to take another cab and I was told it was about a mile walk, something i thought i could handle in plenty of time before I was due to meet my party. As I am looking for directions, this large black guy comes up to me and asks if I am lost. I say Yes, I am looking for the Navy Pier and he says to follow him. As I am following him down the street it occurs to me if he leads me down one of these dark alleys I will probably die. But I follow anyway. We reach a street corner and he turns to me and asks, " Do I party?"

This is usually code for doing drugs, at least in the movies, So I say no. He asks, " Do you wanna buy some coke?" I reply, "I've got school tomorrow." That has got to be the gayest response to someone trying to sell you drugs of all time. I mean I had HU classes yes, but I am 32 saying I got school. Terrible. Anyway he looks at me and says fines, points me to the left and says a free trolley will pick me up and take me to the Pier there and goes on his way. Sure enough, a trolley DID arrive and take me down there. The people of Chicago where nice, even the drug dealers!

Anyway, to make a long story short, I finally made it to the Navy Pier and met up for fireworks and beers. I had a good time hanging out with some folks from other tables, even getting a little flirty with one girl until I found out she was married. We watched a really fun fireworks show an split a cab back to the shuttle. All I know is 5 people splitting one cab is a pretty tight experience.

Thursday was marked by a night of studying and a few beers down at the hotel pub. It was fun just hanging out and studying and getting a chance to be in a relaxing situation with some of the people I met. We all turned in fairly early, especially with no ability to get online, I felt a good rest would do me great.

Friday was the last day of class so that meant taking the assessment (I did okay, missed 3 questions) and graduation. Overall I was happy with the class but it probably would have helped me out more 2 years ago when the class was meant to be taken, and not 3 years into the position. Still I was grateful for the opportunity to learn and network, and to meet one of McDonald's living legends in Fred Turner, the founder of HU and creator of our first systems manual back in the early 60's.

The graduation ceremony was held over a lunch, with a nice meal of beef brisket and potatoes. We got our diplomas and mingled, before heading back to the room to change and check out of the hotel by 2pm. I hung out in the bar for a few hours with a couple of the girls in my class and caught a free limo ride to the airport, to wait 2 hours before my flight. That was the plan at least, until the flight was delayed by rain by nearly 2 hours. The weather had been beautiful for the whole week while I was there, not to hot nor cold, just perfect. Until Friday, which was reduced to a rainy grey drizzle. I enjoyed the rain to be honest, until it delayed my flight so long.

Still after that delay and the headwind the plane caught I didn't get home until nearly midnight, and I had to work at 7am. All in all I was glad to have taken the trip, but I was more glad to just be home. Below are a couple of pics from the trip, hope you enjoyed the Travel Blogs, I am not sure when my next trip is scheduled, but I'll continue to update as it happens.

Fireworks at the Pier!

Several shots of Rotofugi



Fred Turner, one of our Founding Fathers.

Hope you enjoyed the pics and everything. I will be back this week with two movie reviews as well as new Flash Fiction and I am still sitting on some poetry. See you soon.

End of Line.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Hey all,

I can recall a few days when I have felt lonely. Really lonely. The day my mother called me after she left home, one time when I was all alone in a movie theatre parking lot. At a friends wedding. Facing another rejection. Looking afar at someone who I had feelings for and knowing it would never be me. There have been others. Today was one of those days.

I am here in Chicago and I just feel utterly isolated. My learning group is fractured, all already in existing groups of people outside the table. Usually I am okay by myself, but today I found myself walking down a long street heading to eat dinner by myself, and it felt empty. I am in a brand new city and it costs to much to taxi back and forth downtown on my own dollar, so I went to a movie by myself and ate a dinner alone. I just don't feel like I have anything in my life to share today.

This marks my 500th post on the site. I wrote this poem (though I modified it a bit today) before I left Phoenix. Thanks for reading.


Pensive thoughts to days gone by,

And all the good what came before.

So much time given wing to fly,

Passing years fallen once more.

Those moments that once seemed so long,

Have stretched so far and ever thin.

What once seemed right now feels wrong,

Forgotten where I did begin.

Invincible I once faced the world,

Bared my chest to face full brunt.

Ready to best what be unfurled,

Prowling out upon the hunt.

But I look back at foolish ways,

And all the things That I would change.

For the truth is cruelest in the days,

When better years are out of range.

500 years once stretched ahead,

Though they seem not as vast.

Closer to the end they're dead,

Nothing remains unto the last.

Though as the tears tick farewell,

And the vim has paled the vigor.

I wish I knew how to tell,

A younger me to avoid the rigor.

So fade away into the sun,

As it sets into the West.

A few more days until we're done,

To enjoy one last final rest.

End of Line.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Travel Blog: Chicago!

Hey all,

Typing this here from Chicago and I gotta say that the trip is the height of un-eventfulness. I am here for some advanced training for work and I arrived on Sunday. I got in early enough that I had plenty of time last night to troll around town. I am staying a couple of miles outside of Chicago in Oakbrook, home of the corporate office and a wonderful resort called the Lodge. I took their complimentary shuttle into town and walked around a huge mall last night and picked up some new reading material.

I had a nice meal at a place called Houlihans and had a great meal at a really inexpensive price. A huge Caesar salad, steak and baked potato, and bourbon pecan pie all for less than $15.00, it was great! I headed in early and surfed the web, catching an early bedtime for class.

Up early for class today and it was fun, if a little repetitive. I ordered some pizza and am chilling in my room right now. My room mate (assigned randomly by the hotel) is here with a huge group of people, like 9 total so they are out every night partying and that pretty much leaves me alone. My wok group in class is also a bit different. Three of the seven have actually done this class before and are simply here for a refresh, while two others are both from Boston and know each other. Another speaks primarily Spanish so that leaves little old me, but that's okay. So tonight I am content to hang around the room and watch a movie. I will be online tomorrow with a new poem, commencurating my 500th post! See you then!

End of Line.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 13

I tossed the wad of cash into the passenger seat and got out of the cab. It was still mid day and overcast, but it always seemed that much darker in the Burrow. I watched the cabbie drive away as I pulled my collar a bit tighter around my neck. My first stop was a once over of the burnt out tenement that was Horner's last known address. I didn't really expect to find any answers, but I needed to start at the beginning.

I spent half an hour rooting through the place. The police file said the place had burnt down over faulty wiring and there wasn't much left. Nothing of value that had survived the fire had long been swiped by looters, and the place was in such bad shape that even squatters didn't stay here. I riffled through the litter and the remains in the room, but came up fruitless. Eventually I decided to check out my next lead, my last lead, at Sin's Castle.

Sin's was a rough joint. I had told Annie about the lead on the way home last night and she had tipped me off to a contact there, a girl she had once worked with named Kitty. Sin's was about a 15 minute walk from the tenement and even though I wanted to take a cab, I had fat chance of one stopping for me in this neighborhood. Cabbies know better than to pick up fares around here. Still, it was early enough that I wasn't to concerned. I made the walk in 10 minutes, but found the club closed. They didn't open until 5. I walked across the street and grabbed some coffee and a sandwich at a greasy diner that had seen better days.

I watched the club as I nursed my cup and fired up my cigarettes in succession. People started showing up around 4:30, but I waited until nearly 6:30 before heading over. My breath was heavy with nicotine and caffeine as I walked over. I discreetly slid my gun into the small of my back in class one of the bouncers patted me down. I wasn't worried about it really, at a place like the Castle, a weapon may have been the least of your worries. I showed my license and paid my cover before heading in, before heading towards an ass kicking that I wouldn't soon forget.

End of Line.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Assorted Nuts!

Happy August All!

July seemed to fly by, so much happening so fast it was hard to keep up. I have to say that I enjoyed how the Travel Blogs turned out and I look forward to having a few more this week with my upcoming trip to Chicago for work. In truth a lot of the posts turned out well, and I liked my poetry output. I still have 2 poems written that I will post up, the last one that I wrote while in Orlando, and another I wrote while in San Diego to celebrate the upcoming 500th post on the blog that will happen later this week.

There is still plenty of stuff going on for me as well. I have several movies I plan on catching up on when I get back from Chicago, including Bruno, Public Enemies, and Funny People. We will be ramping up into the meat of my current Flash Fiction serial Noir Story, as well as beginning to break ground on another new serial. I would like to say that despite the long layoff on The Darkest Dawn, I haven't abandoned that completely either, and I do intend to return to it soon, though the format may change up slightly. The long prose narrative style that developed over the course of the series has hurt my motivation to work on it, and I am thinking about returning to it, but in a format closer to the 4 paragraph style of Noir.

Anyway, be on the lookout from my first post from Chicago Sunday night, providing I can get some decent Wi-Fi access at the hotel with brand new Flash Fiction, plus I will update my Travel Blog semi regularly from there. See you tomorrow from Chicago!

End of Line.