Monthly Archives: May 2016

Snippet Sunday – Hard-Boiled/Noir WIP – May 28, 2016

Snippet Sunday is a group for writers I’ve been hanging out with.

From the group guidelines; “Welcome to Snippet Sunday, where writers come together to share a few sentences of their current project–whether it’s a recently released novel, a WIP (work in progress), or an older manuscript that’s being revived. Intended to hook readers, gather feedback and build an author’s fan base, Snippet Sunday is the FB group that does all three.”

This week’s snippet picks up where the last one left off. Jake and Marisa have made their exit from Beau’s Bar & Grill – without the brawl they expected.

Now they’re in Jake’s car, heading out into the night…

Like most vehicles of a certain age and tonnage the 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme got from zero to sixty in about three days. If Jed and his party had wanted to catch us they’d have had time to walk to a dealership,  buy a brand new pickup, and then run us down.

I checked the rear view mirror as my beloved scow chugged and gasped into the straightaway, due north from Beau’s Bar & Grill. The door was just as shut as we’d left it. I accepted the absence of a gang of angry locals giving chase, but still gave the Olds more gas.

Sixty to eighty happened much faster. With a bit of forward momentum to work with all eight cylinders got involved, launching us down the moonlit road like a rocket hitting second stage.

“This jail thing,” I said, “when does he have to report?”

She leaned forward,  running her thumbs over her tattooed instep. The blue in the letters of the tattoo and the matching paint on her toes glowed in the soft moonlight.

“Supposed to be tomorrow.” The corners of her mouth twisted upward as she said it.

“Supposed to be?”

“I’ll believe it when I hear that big metal door shut and lock behind him.”

Clouds moved in from over the water, blotting out the moon. I switched on my high beams and concentrated on the road.

I took my right hand off the steering wheel and flexed the ache out of my fingers. I hadn’t noticed how tightly I’d been gripping the thing.

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Snippet Sunday – Hard-Boiled/Noir WIP – May 14, 2016

Snippet Sunday is a Facebook group for writers I’ve been hanging out with.

From the group guidelines; “Welcome to Snippet Sunday, where writers come together to share a few sentences of their current project–whether it’s a recently released novel, a WIP (work in progress), or an older manuscript that’s being revived. Intended to hook readers, gather feedback and build an author’s fan base, Snippet Sunday is the FB group that does all three.”

This week’s snippet picks up where last week’s left off. It’s a longer than usual, mostly because I really wanted to get us out of the bar already! Sorry ’bout that.

We’ve just learned that Jed is headed to jail for shooting someone, which moved him up a notch on Jake’s danger scale. The last lines of last week’s snippet ran like this (Jake speaks first);

“First time he pulled something that serious?”

“First time someone had the guts to testify against him in court.”

And here’s this week’s segment;

That earned Jed another notch. Maybe two.

I stopped dancing. It took her a second to follow suit.

“Only second degree?”

“Jury bought it when he said he didn’t intend to kill the man,” she replied.

I leaned back against the nearest unoccupied table. I had my pick of them. All of the tables in our immediate vicinity had become unoccupied over the last few songs.

“Do you buy it?”

“I don’t think he much cared, so long as he got to shoot him.”

I grumbled something unintelligible. I glanced at Jed’s end of the bar and ran right into five hard stares coming my way.

Jed and his crew had all turned to face Marisa and me and each man had his eyes on us. A uniform aura of the kind of overconfidence a man developed when everyone he’d ever roared at backed off in a hurry blanketed the five of them.

The four followers gave me the dead fish eyes, devoid of everything except for boredom and indifference. They were good at it too, though slight facial tics and a lot of blinking showed me how hard the two latest arrivals had to work to sit still.

The big man himself drained his beer, then gave me a smile that would’ve made a game show host proud.

Everything I needed to know was in that smile.

I matched Jed’s stare until the end of the song, then broke contact and took Marisa by the hand.

“We can clear out of here now,” I said, pivoting toward the door.

She turned with me, slipping her arm around my waist.

“You sure about this, Jake?” she asked. If she was disappointed by our uneventful exit she hid it well. Her tone of voice held only surprise and a hint of doubt.

“He wants me to know he’s there,” I said as we walked. “Nothing more.”

“For now,” she replied.

I paused when we reached the door. Marisa pushed it open.

“If he was gonna pull something we’d be into it by now.” I stifled the urge to look over my shoulder. “That’s how this usually works.”

She stepped forward and led me out of the bar. The heavy wooden door creaked as it inched shut behind us.

A gust of salty ocean wind blew through, chasing some of the cigarette stink away from us. The cries of seagulls enjoying the late night buffet near the edge of the water rode in with it.

“Usually, huh?” said Marisa.

I waited for ten long seconds. The door did not open.

“Usually,” I replied as we climbed into my Olds. “But not always.”

The engine caught on the first try. I gave her little gas before shifting her into gear.

Her sun-browned skin took on a reddish glow in the soft dashboard light. She slipped out of her sandals and stretched out her legs.

“Drive, Jake,” she said, resting her bare feet on my dash. “Shut up and drive.”

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Snippet Sunday – Hard-Boiled/Noir WIP – May 8, 2016

Snippet Sunday is a Facebook group for writers I’ve been hanging out with.

From the group guidelines; “Welcome to Snippet Sunday, where writers come together to share a few sentences of their current project–whether it’s a recently released novel, a WIP (work in progress), or an older manuscript that’s being revived. Intended to hook readers, gather feedback and build an author’s fan base, Snippet Sunday is the FB group that does all three.”

This week’s snippet picks up right where last week’s left off. Jake and Marisa are enjoying each others’ company at Beau’s Bar & Grill, under the watchful eye of Marisa’s ex, Jed. Marisa has just intimated that Jed, has something big on his mind and is about to tell Jake what it is…

“He’s going to jail.”

She showed me a smile packed with joy and regret in unequal parts. I showed her my best quizzical expression.

“He should be there now,” she continued. “His lawyer talked the judge into giving him a week to get his affairs in order.”

“Affairs? Like what? Arranging for someone else to traumatize the locals while he’s locked up?”

The smile faded into a scowl as I imagined visions of past grievances knocking around in her thoughts.

“Kids, mostly,” she replied. “He’s got a lot of kids to be looked after.”

“He’s got kids living with him?”

“It’s hard to tell who actually lives in that house.”

The record in the jukebox changed again. The basic four bar blues picked up a beat. Marisa and I danced a little bit faster.

Beau’s hard stare caught my attention from across the room. He glanced toward Jed’s end of the bar, then turned back to me with his best, “get the hell out of here while you still can,” look on his face.

I replied with what I hoped was my best, “I got this,” face.

“What’s he going down for?” I asked Marisa.

“Second degree assault,” she said. “He shot somebody.”

I nodded, moving Jed up a peg on the danger scale.

“First time he pulled something that serious?”

“First time someone had the guts to testify against him in court.”

 

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Snippet Sunday – Hard-Boiled/Noir WIP – May 1, 2016

Snippet Sunday is a Facebook group for writers I’ve been hanging out with.

From the group guidelines; “Welcome to Snippet Sunday, where writers come together to share a few sentences of their current project–whether it’s a recently released novel, a WIP (work in progress), or an older manuscript that’s being revived. Intended to hook readers, gather feedback and build an author’s fan base, Snippet Sunday is the FB group that does all three.”

When we last left our heroes, Marisa had just confided some past abuse- and her novel solution to the situation- to Jake. Marisa had elicited a promise from an inebriated Jed to never hit her again. The action picks up right where the most recent snippet left off, with Jake asking her if Jed had been holding up his end of the bargain of late.

Her response? She says, “More or less.”

We pick it up with Jake asking another question;

 

“Which has it been lately?”

She took far too long to answer that question too. I gave her the out by asking an easier one.

“How long have you two been exes?”

She sloughed off my arms from around her waist, then waved the back of her ring-less left hand in front of my face.

“Yeah,” I said. “I noticed that back on the beach. Doesn’t really mean anything.”

The freckles on her cheeks reddened as she got sore. Heat spread into her sharp blue eyes.

“It means it’s been long enough.”

“We’re talking years? Months? Hours?”

She placed one hand on my shoulder, pulling me toward her. The clean ocean scent of her hair chased the stale barroom air for a couple of seconds.

“You know, Jake.” she rasped, right into my ear, “you’re beginning to sound like a guy who doesn’t want to take me home tonight.”

I glanced at Jed’s end of the bar. His buddies had all occupied stools and, like their leader, sat in silence, not looking at Marisa and me. Everyone who’d been anywhere near that part of the bar had moved away.

“Your boy sure is the life of the party,” I said, lifting my head back up. She left her hand on my shoulder.

“Why? What’s he doing now?”

“Not a damned thing.”

“That’s how he is,” she said with a shrug. “He looks like the big, loud type, doesn’t he? Well, he’s not.”

“Until it’s clobbering time.”

“Even then he’s pretty quiet.”

We shut up for a little while. Marisa began moving her hips in time to the slow blues number coming out of the juke box. I allowed mine to follow her lead.

“He could have something on his mind tonight,” she said.

“You mean other than you and me?” I put my arms around her as we danced.

“Bigger than you and me, Jake. Much bigger.”

I felt eyes on me from all around the bar, probably every eye in the place, except for those belonging to Jed and his pals.

“Bigger?” I asked. “What might that be?”

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