December 12, 2009

The Steve Weddle Memorial Airport Flash Fiction Challenge



You can find the challenge here


My step up to the plate can be found below:


My Airport


“What’d I tell you?” Mickey asked.

Jaime switched off the faucet and looked in the mirror. “It’s a big airport.”

“I know how big the airport is. That’s not what I asked.”

Jaime smirked, picked at a pimple on his jaw line just below his left ear, and said, “You told me to stay away from the airport.”

Mickey exhaled slowly and slid both his hands into his dark jeans. “And here the fuck you are.”

Jaime stood back and fussed with the frosted tips of his razored bangs. “Here the fuck I am.”

Mickey’s fist came out of his pocket, fingers all brass knuckle gleam. Jaime’s mouth O’ed. Mickey shoved him with his left and cracked him on the back of the head. Something exploded by Jaime’s eyes and he went down, clutching for anything to stay standing.

Mickey crushed the fingers clutching the sink rim. Jaime started to scream, but Mickey smothered it under his smooth palm, driving the blond head to the floor and unleashing another punch on the muscled abs beneath the tight, baby blue t-shirt.

“Now,” Mickey said, “my next punch…” He didn’t finish; just removed his hand and brushed Jaime’s big lips.

“No, please…”

“Just one more punch? Come on. It’ll improve your abilities.”

“Please…”

“What are you going to do?”

Jaime sniffled. “Get up—get up and walk out.”

“Why?”

“Because—“

Mickey raised his fist again, the brash knuckles smeared with scarlet.

“Because it’s your airport.”

Mickey helped Jaime up, handed him a paper towel and patted his ass on the way out.

****

Mickey followed the older man wearing the pressed suit into the bathroom. He sat his briefcase down on the white tile and stepped up to the urinal. Mickey paused for a moment before taking his place beside him.

He felt the man look over as he unzipped. Suit’s eyes quickly found a spot on the wall. Slowly, Mickey moved his foot over to the polished wingtips. The aged eyes found the gleam in Mickey’s blues.

Mickey pointed his chin to the closest stall.

To his stall.

It was his airport after all.

December 7, 2009

Strong Women



Bold is the starter sentence provided at Friday Flash Fiction. The rest is all me.

She was always threatening to punch someone in the face, but this time she meant it.

I didn’t pick up on it right off, being across the room at the jukebox; a real jukebox, the kind filled with little records and the mechanical arm pulling ‘em from the stack and dropping ‘em for a needle spin. I knew there’d be good stuff on there.

I was too busy looking for Copperhead Road to know exactly how it started. Pretty damn crowded in there and the jukebox was right next to the pool table and this short dude who musta been pregnant with a boy, cause he was carrying low, was smacking the balls around like it was a lonely Saturday night.

It was Saturday, by the way.

But first thing I heard was Tara’s voice screech, “Bitch, I will punch you in the goddamn face.”

It got quiet. I started jabbing faster. They didn’t have Copperhead Road, but they did have Guitar Town and my favorite Johnny Paycheck song. Was hoping to hear at least one before they started screaming and the goddamn night was ruined and I’d have to set at a table in the corner and pat her hand and buy her those damned drinks that cost eight bucks cause they’re all fru-fru and served in some weird glass.

Then the other chick made the mistake of her life. She called Tara the C-word. No one calls Tara the C-word.

I left the jukebox, but Tara was already power-heeling her way over to Claw-bangs. Arms held up like she was wading through water, Tara’s fake tits (ex-husband number two was still paying those off) lead the way.

“I’m gonna punch you in the face,” she said again.

Claw-bangs smirked and said, “C—“ I cornered the pool table, “U—“ side-stepped around the big-assed waitress like I was back playing High School ball, “N—“ tripped my way through a line of chairs, “T.”

And Tara punched her hard in the mouth.

This wasn’t no girl punch. It was a man punch. It hit Claw-bangs square on the mush. Knocked her clean out and she hit the floor hard.

I snatched Tara round the waist and hauled ass. Once I hit the parking lot, I let her down, pushed her into the truck and fired that 350 up.

We was about halfway home before we even talked about it. Talking about it, we both got a little…well…hot, you know. I mean it was a rush. A pretty damn big rush.

I pulled the truck over and next thing I know we were going at. Truthfully, it kept our marriage going and it opened up something inside me, I don’t think I ever want to put away.

I likes me some strong women.

That’s how it all begun, really. Going out. Finding new bars. Started trouble. And her punching people. Short chicks. Tall chicks. Thin chicks. Fat chicks. Young chicks. Old chicks.

Man, it was awesome.

Watching her workout on the heavy bag I bought her. Wailing away on it. Getting hot and sweaty. Shower sex and then cruising to town.

Sure helped with her mouth at home. It was like her firing a hard right cross square into sparkly lip-gloss, took all the bitch out of her at home.


You know, we was even talking about getting her some boxing lessons.

Until tonight.

I ain’t never seen a chick hit like that. You box? No? You should. Maybe take up MMA like that hot chick, Gina Carano?

What size are those arms, baby? Why don’t you let me buy you a drink? Tara’s gonna be at least a week in the hospital.

Tinseltown Benedictions


I have a new story up at The Darkest Before The Dawn.

But first:

Big thanks to Aldo for maintaining so many first rate sites, being an A-1 stand-up guy, and putting up with a couple of whiny e-mails from me about when he would be able to resume posting the accepted pieces.

Now, you can read Maiden’s Prayer for something a little quieter than my usual work.

If you like it, you may be in luck and get to see the main character again, relatively soon.

November 23, 2009

Ring time!



I have a new story up at A Twist of Noir. You can check out Mask versus Mask here.

Soon, at Darkest Before The Dawn, a second story will flash across the ether. Sometime this week, assuming the holidays don't eat up all my non-day-job time, I'll post the next chapter of Dogfight.

November 20, 2009

The TV Show I Love


The television and I have always been close. As a kid, we lived out in the middle of nowhere and the few houses remotely close were childless. Both my parents worked a great deal, so during the school year I poured my own bowls of cereal, got myself dressed and down the long driveway to the mailbox where I waited to board the bus for my hour ride. In the summer, I kept myself occupied during the hazy stretch of days.

Naturally, I read a lot of books.

But I also watched a lot of television and have fond memories of a number of shows. A few, like Punky Brewster, are part and parcel with my childhood. I don’t think I’ll ever forget all the cartoons from back when Saturday morning was nothing but cartoons. The shows like The Cosby Show and Quantum Leap offered those rare times when the entire family sat down together and they remain among my better memories.

Though, it’s not all pleasant. A number of old shows I used to watch have been released on DVD. After a repeat viewing, they've been revealed to be utter pieces of shit. (*cough* 21 Jump Street *cough*) After the worst ones, I considered calling my parents to apologize for forced them to ever sit through any of that.

I suppose there’s a lesson there about how our tastes change; maybe even something about putting away childish things? Or, more likely, simply, the realization that some things should never be drug from nostalgia’s blissful mists and memory is really, despite all its assurances to the contrary, one lying motherfucker.

However, there are some shows that hit me on a deep level; either entertaining and exciting me or speaking to me in a way that shaped whole facets of my personality and my opinions. These haven’t lost luster after a viewing with adult eyes.

I still love anything by Jim Henson—The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Storyteller. If it can ever be said that I’m a decent person, not hateful or selfish or mean, Henson takes some of that responsibility. I’ll Fly Away, the sadly neglected masterpiece set during the Civil Rights era, informed my sense of drama. Alice will always remind me of my mother. I still want Tom Baker’s scarf in Doctor Who. The two brief seasons of Michael Mann’s epic Crime Story led me to pulp and hardboiled fiction and cemented my love of pompadours and sideburns. Not to mention the strangeness of Stacy Keach in Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer with his period outfit and 50s era misogyny in a world that was obviously still 1985. The late night horrors of Friday the Thirteenth: The Series scared the shit out of me and gave me my first television crush on a woman, the lovely redhead who played Micki Foster (Alyssa Milano in the awful Who’s The Boss was the first crush on a girl). Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey still seem like old friends to me. And I chased the truth with Agents Mulder and Scully all the way to the end.

But if I had to pick a show, one show and only one, to write about it would be Beauty & The Beast.

Man, I loved that show. I never would have admitted it at the time. But I can now.

A case of mistaken identity leaves Catherine Chandler with her face slashed and her body dumped in Central Park. She’s rescued by a mysterious stranger and taken to a secret city far below the mundane world. In this sanctuary, this subterranean utopia; the castoffs, the forgotten, and the lost make their home safely away from the horrors of the metropolis above...

The stranger nurses her back to health.

When the bandages come off, Catherine's eager to meet the man who saved her life, who cared for her and read Dickens by candle. But the stranger is no ordinary man; Vincent is a beast. He doesn’t know where he came from or why his visage is so terrifying. As a child, he was abandoned and left for dead. Found by the man the citizens below call Father, he was taken down into the depths where everything has a right to live.

Catherine returns to her world. She leaves her high-priced law firm and joins the D.A.’s office. But Vincent can’t let her go. The two of them share a bond. And when her life is again in danger, he will risk his own by coming to the surface.

The first season of Beauty & the Beast was one part romance and one part crime show. The second season eased up on the criminal elementals, featuring more imaginative and character driven pieces. Regrettably, near the end of the second season the action took center stage in an attempt to increase ratings among younger, male viewers. The third and final season opened Catherine-less, featuring a new female lead following the startling and violent season finale.

The show was a wonderful mixture of different genres that managed not to come off as a half-assed. It dealt with all the "real" issues "literary fiction" tries to claim as its own, yet remained entertaining. It was imaginative and exciting. Well-acted by Linda Hamilton, Ron Perlman, and the under-appreciated Roy Dotrice. The superb effects were crafted by the FX Master, Rick Baker. Author George RR Martin served as story editor and penned some of the most outstanding episodes.

In college, I took a class on Shakespeare. The professor could got me the way Vincent did when he recited, "When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes..."

Now, I'm not embarassed to admit that I love this show. Most dismiss it as just silly romance. It's not and, even if it were, what's wrong with romance?

Romance isn't male or female.

Love is human.

Even if it has a lion's face.

October 12, 2009

Head Explodey...





I often work on several things at the same time when I write. My brain runs wild with thoughts (if you ever read an unedited piece, you'll understand). When I'm working on something, I'm always reading, or watching tv and movies. This sets my brain firing off in other directions.

I do this, too, for those times when I get stuck. When the words aren't coming out the way I want them, or I'm simply having trouble separating Chad and all his doubts and worries from the moment. Being able to put that aside and go to something else usually helps.

Sometimes, it backfires. And when it backfires? My work crawls.

Anyone else have this problem?

October 4, 2009

The Concierge




Two of my stories feature a man I refer to as the "Concierge". The guy who specializes in getting you all those weird things you didn't know how to get on your own and sure as hell didn't want to admit you wanted.

In "The Double D", he's after John Dillinger's penis that was severed and kept in a jar on orders from J. Edgar Hoover. In "Lord Knows", he's after Tupac's bulletproof vest. Both stories reference other things he's obtained.

I'm working on a new story.

But I've run into two problems. I've never thought about either one. The first is balance. Expecially, when it comes to explaination and exposition. One hand, I'd like to assume that someone reading it has read the other stories and understands the shtick. On the other, chances are, someone reading the third story probably hasn't read either of the two. So, how do I put enough in so the new reader gets it, and get's it quick, but without boring the old reader? For that matter, how do I keep spinning and explaining his "skill" in new and interesting ways?

The second problem is style. I would like to think that if I look at the first story in this crop, not just the Concierge pieces, that I've improved as a writer. I think I'm still finding my voice and experimenting. I know there are things that identify a piece as mine, or at least my wife tells me so, but I don't think it's all quite there yet.

What about you? Do you think it's important to have a consistent voice for the same character? Do all Concierge stories need to read the same? Especially, since they're written in first person?


September 15, 2009

A Few Words...



Finished my submission for Eric Beetner's contest. Gonna let it stew for a couple days and then give it a read through, probably a tweak before sending it off.

More linkage thanks to Christopher Grant.

September 13, 2009

Pictures of You







The piece Keith Rawson and I finished a couple months ago, Pictures of You, is now up at Darkest Before the Dawn.

Dig it here.

Next month, Maiden's Prayer.

September 3, 2009

Another Contest...





Eric Beetner is running a contest over at his site to garner buzz about Too Many Blows To The Head

You can enter it here.

Meanwhile, the The Watery Grave Invitational is shaping up to be a slugfest. So, far: me, Keith Rawson, Paul David Brazil, Patti Abbott, and Eric Beetner.

August 29, 2009

Updates and Dogfights



Just heard back from Aldo at Darkest Before The Dawn. He took Maiden's Prayer, but it won't drop until October. However, sometime this month, the story I wrote with Keith Rawson, Pictures of You, will be appearing at DBTD.

Got another two pieces to finish that I've been dicking around with for too long. Also, need, despite what my contact says, to whip my horror submission for the role-playing thing into shape. I want it done and over.

Yesterday, I finished the first chapter of a project with Brian Roe. I've very very pleased with how it turned out. I sat down for only an hour, hour and a half, and wrote it without much forethought.

You can check it out here.

First chapter by me, second chapter by Brian and repeat.

August 27, 2009

Quiet No Longer



Haven't been working as much as I'd like, but last night I just finished a new piece. Maiden's Prayer is set in Hollywood. I'm happy with it, for now, and looking forward to seeing it online.

Keith Rawson and I are working on our second collaboration.

I've been invited to contribute a bit of fiction for an anthology as part of a pitch for a new edition of a long out of print role-playing game. No guarantees, but it's nice to work on something a little different.

Signed up for The Watery Grave Invitational. One of the judges is Mr. Hard Luck himself, Dave Zeltersman.

Soon, the first part of a project I'm just starting with Brian Roe will be up at The Dogfight. It'll run for 13 bloody and sexy chapters.

June 13, 2009

Mars Shines Red Like Blood






New story up at Beat To A Pulp. You can read Six Bullets For John Carter here.

So far, it's gotten a positive reaction both over at SF Safari and at Marooned. Also, noticed a lot of links popping up out there.

I'm very happy it's garnered this level of interest. The editing at the Beat To A Pulp streamlined it into a nice lean piece, but I still wish more of the cut background had remained. I worry that without it, a couple of things aren't clear.

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