Monday, August 29, 2011


Thought I'd share the Smitty short story that was recently rejected by a very famous monthly publication which specializes in crime/mystery writing.

Which, truthfully, kinda pisses me off.

I wrote this story with them specifically in mind.  I wanted a dark, mean, cutting-edge kind of story which--if you believe their statements--is exactly the kind of story they're supposedly looking for.

Nada.  Nyet.  No.  Another time, buddy.  Forget it.

Six or eight times I've sent stories off to this rag and have been rejected every time.  Ah, well.  If you're a writer 'rejection' is your middle name, kiddo. So we'll frat and fume, bitch and moan;  and then in six months or so probably send something off to them again.

Until then, hope you like this 'Smitty' story entitled Vanessa.


She stood in the window above the bright neon light of a local watering hole called Casablanca's.

The neon sign, about the size of an elephant, filled with reds and white and yellows, lit up the dark street brightly every time it blinked. Eerily. The street, coated in a slippery curtain of fresh rain, seemed to explode in a sea of light with each flash of the sign. In front of the pub and directly across the street, lining the curbs tightly, were BMW's, Mercedes, Audi's and Lincolns. Expensive steel outlined in the light from the sign. Below the sign and in front of the doors leading into the popular pub were gaggles of people standing around smoking cigarettes and chatting. It was the young crowd in the late twenties and early thirties. Affluent. Successful. Flashing money around as if was naturally their's to flash.

But she stood in front of the window looking down at the street--a lonely figure framed by the tall, narrow window. She was dressed in a light cotton summer's dress in pale yellow with straps over bare shoulders. Long black hair fell down to her back. Red lips--even in the semi-darkness and from across the street--startling to behold. Full lips. Luscious lips. The kind of lips that would keep a man lying awake at night dreaming about nights in Cancun on a beach listening to the ocean's surf crashing onto the sands and palm trees rustling in the breeze. With her lying by his side.

Her name was Vanessa. Young. Barely twenty. Rich. A woman child of perplexing contradictions. A woman of stunning beauty who was, like a freshly painted butterfly, emerging from her cocoon of obscurity. An only child who had for years been shuffled from one private school to the next. A child kept hidden from the world--deliberately shielded from the cruelties, and pleasures, life had to offer. For years a mousey recluse who shunned her natural beauty and kept enveloped in an artificially created world of a shy recluse.

Until . . .

She was the only daughter of Howard Willoughby. Banker. The CEO of a string of banks that were strewn across five states like dandelion seeds. A shrewd financier who knew the world for what it really was and acted accordingly. A man whispered to have a personal fortune of over three hundred million dollars.

The problem was half of that personal fortune wasn't his. The string of banks wasn't his. The banks--the money--actually belonged to a crime boss by the name of Benny Lovett's. Lovett's was a low life thug who liked to get his claws into those he needed to keep loyal. Vicious, cruel, without a conscience, it came to Lovett's

mind one day that his employee, Howard Willoughby, might become a liability to his money laundering enterprise. A way had to be found to make sure Willoughby remained unquestionably loyal. Unquestionably complacent and pliable.

That way was through the lovely, naive, Vanessa Willoughby.

The best way to trap the Willoughby family was simple. Get Vanessa Willoughby to fall in love with a small time hood. Put them in a love nest where there were a lot of people--potentially a lot of witnesses--around to see the fireworks. Kill the lover and set it up to look as if the beautiful hot headed young Vanessa was the murderer. Old man Willoughby would be beside himself in grief and worry for his daughter. He would do anything to protect her. Anything.

Just the words Benny Lovetts wanted to hear.

Sitting in the darkness of his CTS Cadillac his fingers played idly across the leather covered steering wheel absently. The neon sign in front of him flashing Casablanca's in a mind numbing hypnotic regularity. Waiting. Waiting for Vanessa's young lover to show up and bound up the narrow stairs which led up to the apartment above the club. He would be bringing flowers. Flowers and more. There would be a ring. An expensive ring with a big rock--the genuine thing--set in gold. All she had to do was say 'Yes.'

And the odd thing about it--Vanessa Willoughby was going to say yes. Yes to Chucky Evans proposal of marriage. Chucky was one of Benny Lovetts' boys. An incredibly handsome, smooth operator with thick curly black hair combined back like some 1950's hood, with bright blue eyes that always seemed to be filled with fun and a grin on his handsome face that'd melt the heart of a Siberian peasant into a puddle of butter.

Yeah, he was told by Benny to get Vanessa to fall in love with him. That was the easy part. But there was a problem. The problem was Chucky fell in love with Vanessa. The two kids--against all odds--were madly in love. They were thinking about eloping. Running off to Vegas and getting married. They were going to do it. Tonight. Got the tickets to leave and were packed and ready to go.

Problem was Benny Lovetts didn't give a shit about Chucky Edwards or Vanessa Willoughby. Chucky had to die. And made to look as if the girl had killed him. It was his job to make sure everything went down exactly like Benny wanted it.

Or else.

The dark eyed man sitting in the shadows of his Caddy tried to get Benny to change his mind. To spare Chucky Edward's life. There were other ways to cement Old Man Willoughby's loyalty without involving the kids. Without the need to murder someone.

"Fuck that shit, Smitty!" Lovett's harsh voice hissed as he lowered the glass of bourbon in his hand and stared at the dark eyed man the night before in Lovett's apartment. "This is the plan. Kill Chucky. Pin the blame on the dame. Leave everything else to me. Can you handle that, Smitty? Or do I have to send someone else to do the job?"

The black pits for eyes played across the sneering round face of Benny Lovetts for a moment or two and then nodded.

"I'll handle it, Benny."

He didn't wait for Benny to make another comment. He sat down his glass of bourbon--Lovett's expensive bourbon--and walked out of the apartment feeling the hard stare of Benny Lovett's eyes burning the back of his neck. Sensing the mob boss' anger at even bringing up the subject of sparing Chucky's pitifully useless life.

Now, sitting in the black Caddy four car lengths down from the club, he waited for Chucky Edwards to show up. Waited in the darkness of his car drumming fingers encased in a pair of thin black leather gloves on the steering wheel. Pulling back the leather of his glove on his left wrist he glanced at is Rolex and he noticed it was a quarter past midnight. Exactly the time Chucky usually showed up for these romantic rendezvous. Looking up from the watch he almost smiled when he saw the handsome figure of Chucky half walking, half skipping through the throng of people milling about in front of the club. Under one arm was a bouquet of flowers. In one hand, tossing it up in the air and playfully catching it as if it was a baseball, was a black velvet box containing wedding ring.

The moment Chucky disappeared into the door just to one side of the club's entrance which would lead him upstairs Smitty rolled out of his car and closed the door gently. Unhurriedly he cross the street, moved between the bumpers of two parked cars and stepped onto the sidewalk. And paused. Paused and half turned to gaze at the gaggle males and females smoking cigarettes and sipping their bottles of beer or glasses of wine while they chatted to one another. Several of them turned casually to stare at him. Their faces were young, innocent, naive, and curious.

And mostly sober.

That was the key. Someone in the crowd had to be sober enough to remember him. For a few seconds the dark eyed killer allowed those watching him to get a full view of his face. As if he wanted to be recognized. Had to have his image indelibly burned into the synapses of those standing in front of the club. Absolutely crucial that he and his face would never be forgotten.

For a heartbeat or two he stood on the sidewalk in front of the dark entrance which would lead him to the upstairs apartment and stared at the crowd. And bent thin lips back in a slow motion sneer of pure animal violence for just the briefest of moments before plunging into the doorway's dark entrance.

It was an exhibition of pure evil so intense one young buck in the crowd of twentysomethings dropped his cigarette from between his fingers and just stared into the open space recently vacated by the grinning man. Another had his hand grow numb in stark terror. The bottle of beer in his hand slipping from his grip and shattering into a thousand pieces on the sidewalk.

As quiet as an unwanted thought he ascended the stairs one step at a time. Narrow stairs with a hard ninety-degree turn half way up to the second floor. As he mounted each step slowly a gloved hand slid underneath his sport coat and pulled out a bulky looking object. A Dan Wesson .357 caliber revolver. As big as a the blade of a spade shovel. A weapon powerful enough to drive lead through an automobile engine block. His other hand reached into a side pocket of his coat and pulled out a long barrel-shaped object and began twisting it onto the barrel of the big revolver.

Turning hard to the right he kept climbing the stairs until he came to the second to the last step. Above him, through a skylight, a wide beam of moonlight cut through stairwell's darkness and illuminated in a pale ghostly whiteness the killer standing motionlessly on the step with the big weapon held in a gloved hand down by his right leg.

Nothing of his face was revealed. But the moonlight playing across his shoulders, arms, and hands painted a portrait of a primordial fury waiting to wreck havoc onto his prey.

To his left he heard the voices of Vanessa Willoughby. Her voice was filled with excitement, energy, and passion. Interspersed between her bursts of emotion was the deeper voice of her fiancé. He too sounded excited. He laughed a couple times, cracked a joke or two. Laughed some more.

In the darkness the dark eyed killer listened. Listened to their conversations. Listened to the noises of the two embracing and kissing. Listened as the door to the apartment's bedroom door softly whispered shut. But he didn't move. He didn't ascend the last step and walk toward the apartment. He wasn't here to complete Benny Lovett's perverted plan.

But he was here to finish a job.

Noiselessly Smitty turned and stared down at the black well of fifteen wooden steps he had just ascended. Descending one step he quietly bent his knees and sat down on the second step from the top, gloved hand still gripping the .357 expectantly. He didn't have to wait long.

From out of the inky darkness below he heard heavy footsteps, two sets of footsteps, smack down on the first step of the stairwell. Two heavy bodies were trying to quietly move up the steps. But one of them had hard time of it. With each step up Smitty heard the man grunt in pain. The smell of cigarette smoke and booze drifted up the stairwell and played across his nostrils. Cigarette smoke, booze, and cheap cologne. Familiar smells.

When the two of them came around the corner of the stairwell and started up the second flight of stairs the moon shot another knifing lance of bright light through the roof's skylight and played across the dark outline of a man sitting on the step at the top of the stairwell. A compact, thin man. No face visible. But the light of the moon fully illuminating the big silencer attached to the .357 in the man's hands.

"Jesus Christ! Watch out, Kelly!" one of them hissed, digging suddenly a big hand into his coat for his weapon.

"Knew you were coming, boys. Too bad for you," Smitty said quietly just before the .357 barked twice in a kind of loud hiss.

Phffft! Phffft!

The two killers tried to step aside--tried to dodge the bullets meant for them. But the stairwell space was too confining. And they're reflexes far, far too slow. A bullet square in the heart caught each man, lifted them off their feet, and hurled them angrily backward into the darkness. With a nerve wracking clatter the two dead men banged off the stairwell wall behind them and then rolled and bounced down the bottom flight of steps before flopping to a halt at the very bottom.

But the show wasn't over just yet. Smitty said he would take care of it. Told Lovett's he would finish the job. And finish it he did.

Descending the stairs he stepped over the dead men and exited the stairwell and out onto the sidewalk. Glancing to his right he smiled again as he noticed the small crowd was still standing in front of the pub's entrance. Turning toward the crowd he made sure several of them saw him lift the big revolver up in his hand and aim it into the darkness of the doorway.

A woman screamed. A couple of boys yelped in fright.

He fired four more times into the darkness. Not at anything in particular. Just sent flying the last remaining rounds of the .357 into the back wall of the stairwell. The explosions of the gun--minus now the silencer--deafening. Like cannon fire. Like Judgment Day. Numbing. Terrifying. People screamed. People began running for their lives in all directions. People tried to open the pub's big door and flee inside. But a few were too terrified to move. Like deer frozen in the headlights of an oncoming car they watched in horror at the man in front of them firing the gun into the black inkiness of a an open doorway. They watched as the man kept squeezing the trigger of the weapon even after the last shot was fired.

Click! Click! Click!

The madman kept firing on empty chambers! And then, as if realizing he was out of ammunition, the man hurled the gigantic weapon into doorway and turned and started walking away. Walking away as if he was leaving the club and going home to his wife and kids.

No one tried to stop the man. They watched him cross the street and slide into a black Cadillac sedan. They watched the car gently slide out and away from the curb and then move down the street. They etched into their memories the license plate of the car. And when the car turned on its right turning signal and swept around a corner and out of view--they all ran to the curb, bent over, and vomited violently into the gutter.

Four blocks away Smitty walked away from the Caddy. The car sat with its front wheels up on the sidewalk, the car angled sharply off the street, the left car door wide open. Lying on the front seat of the car was the .357 magnum. In the air all around him were the screams of sirens rapidly approaching. In moments the street was going to be filled with cop cars, their red and blue lights filling the night's darkness with daggers of pulsating lights.

He wasn't worried. He kept walking down the street in an unhurried fashion. In his right hand was a small hand towel. He kept playing the towel across his face and nose and chin--wiping away bits of makeup and pieces of soft putty like an actor might do after the curtains of the last act had ended the evening's performance.

In his left hand he held a cell phone up to his ear.

"It's done," he whispered softly as he continued walking and mopping his face with the towel. "Went down exactly like I said it would."

"My daughter. She is safe?"

"They're both are safe, Willoughby. By now they are half way to the airport. By tomorrow afternoon they'll be in Las Vegas reading about Benny Lovett's arrest on charges of double homicide in the papers."

"You sure the witnesses saw Benny Lovetts do the shooting? There's no way he can beat this?"

"Lovett's finished. The gun I used is registered to him. His fingerprints are all over it. The kids standing in front of the night club got a full view of Benny Lovetts before and after the shooting. The car is Lovett's. There's no way he's getting out of this."

He heard the father of Vanessa Willoughby let out a pent up hiss of nervous exhaustion. The last twenty four hours had been hell. A very real hell for a father worrying about his only child.

"Well then, I guess it's over with. A deal is a deal. I'll wire the money to the agreed upon account from one of my banks in the Caribbean. It should be there within the hour. And Smitty . . . . thanks. Thanks for saving my only child from this horror. And the life of the man she loves."

The dark eyed Angel of Death didn't say a word. Snapping the phone closed he dropped it into a hip pocket and kept on walking. Walking until the night itself seemed to dissolve him into oblivion.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Warrior Poetry

Okay, now for something absolutely, totally, completely freaking altogether different, old girl.

As you may or may not have guessed, I like to play with words.  I like laying them down and making them flow off the page like cool water whispering down a mountain creek.  I like to twist them around, rearranged them in ways that startle the reader.  I like verbal portraits.  Words painting pictures in the mind--creating vivid images that are crystal clear to the beholder.

And.  I like to inspire.  A bit egotistical of me to admit; I know.  But I firmly believe words can inspire.  Can change lives.  Can fire the imagination.  Can open up vistas never before glimpsed--or at least, rarely glimpsed--by the majority of people.  Make people feel deep, raw emotion.

Okay, this is a long preamble to today's offering.  But needed.

I write something  Warrior Poetry.   Not quite poetry--not quite narrative fiction.  An odd squishing together of both.  Think of Homer's Illiad.  A narrative poem telling an action-packed recounting of Greeks and their gods against the Trojans and their gods in a war that lasted for years.  I'm trying to mimic that style. 

So, with little else to say, I offer this piece to you for your consideration.  Hope you like it.

Champion Reluctant

Old wounds ache; muscles hard from years

of dangerous toil.

Temples gray yet bright the dark eyes


of warrior’s youth.

Come he has, this man of granite, to bathe

in paradise green. With

Palm trees whispering in evening’s alluring

chants—of aromas


building dreams of bounteous panoramas.

Lounge he lay in pools of waters cool

As children many laugh and play in gardens


Shed he did, bronze grieves from old shins scarred

Set to one side he wished shield ancient so badly marred.

Of blood crimson spilled, of bronze trumpets blare, of the martial

tread of men marching to battle

No longer he wished to dwell.

No, Pilgrim; time has come

for warrior old to set aside his youth

and discard deadly skills honed from

countless duels—to dream

No more of pennants snapping rudely in morning dews.

Of arrogant kings of old and their bloody fools.

No longer wished he to grip the hammered blade darkened and honed;

Blade so sharp, its thirst grimly unquenchable;

forever eager to sever flesh and bone.

Gently he sat bronze helm with red horse hair plume

On table near to remind him many of encounters dear with his old friend

All mortals so chillingly fear.

Age, warrior: age is the enemy unrelenting,

a thief sneaking who saps the strength so fleeting.

Memories horrible; of screams in the night of the dying,

Of fires raging, famished and thirsty for destruction sure.

Of men coated in crimson sheen, severed heads hell high in triumph pure.

Aye, Pilgrim

Age and memories--foes no warrior mortal equal to the task

to defeat in their lives limited.

The time comes for shield and blade to be discarded: the

helm gleaming and horse haired plume waving

in morning's bright light

To be set aside and allowed for dust to gather.

Youth, in his rude and arrogant grandeur, has fled the warrior's heart

leaving behind

Only the scarred, harden eyes of experience terrible:

The heart of an old warrior too bitter

to feel the gentle touch of a passionate soul.

Yet the Mistress Cruel named Destiny

Will relent not.

She calls her siren's song to ancient warrior bold,

Forces upon the Dreamer of Chaos battles bloody to be told.

In the quiet of the pool's soothing waters come the screams

of the frail.

Comes the pleas for succor from those who wish to rein upon

the heads of the weak and innocent

horrible Death and pain unwarranted.

Rise he does this ancient dealer of death;

Rise from the waters cool like the God of War he had been for years untold.

Dons he does his bronze grieves. Over his head he

lowers battered bronze helm with its rudely brilliant red

horse hair plume.

With hands still strong and willing he grips round bronze shield

and reaches for the dark and grim blade, his terrible friend,

who knows no limits to its terrible fury.

Go, warrior: fight your battles terrible.

Go, knowing that someone must stand; someone must

push back the terrors that fills the hearts

of the many.

A battle continuous

A battle that must be fought

Yet knowing that no one will be victorious.

Go, warrior: and may the gods smile upon your fearless spirit for eternity.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

'Insatiable' has arrived! I'm howling at the Moon as we speak!

Oh boy, momma!
It's out!  My offering to Paul D. Brazill's Drunk On The Moon series.
I'm pumped!  I'm a nervous wreck!!  I've chewed so much of my fingernails worrying about this writing assignment I'm down to bone.  Just the idea of Paul inviting me to get involved in this project was a humbling experience.  But then I had to write something.  I had to take his private investigator-closet werewolf character and run with it.

I mean . . . come on, Lady Gaga!  You're up at the plate and you'd damn well better be swinging for the fence line!

So I started writing.  Hadn't a clue how it was going to end up.  Knew I had to put the werewolf motif in there somewhere.  Wanted to write a 'Fer sure, Dude!' genuine whodunit.  And then I got an idea.  One I thought had some legs to it.  What if . . . what if I wrote about the character just two days before the full moon came out and made him all hairy and with a bad attitude . . . what if I described how it felt knowing the 'change' was coming?

I mean, think about it.

Those who are a werewolf must know--must feel--a slow process within himself of the physical changes that are about to explode within him when the first moon beam hits him.  So what would change?  His sense of smell?  His vision?  His hearing? 
His sense of  . . . . taste?
Add to the this the request from an old friend to help him solve a murder.  A murder so horrible, so brutal, it had to be caused by, yeah that's right, a werewolf!  So our P.I. friend is approaching his 'change' and at the same time trying to solve a vicious crime.  How does he stop himself from leaping onto his friend, when the time comes, and making his old buddy an evening snack?  How does he find and remove from the city a werewolf who happens to be much older, and far stronger, than he is--and not create a panic among all the potential meal tickets walking around?

Ah . . . you'll have to buy it to find out the answers, me boyos.

Notice how each of the covers in the series remains essentially the same.  I like that.  It gives off a feeling of continuity that bespeaks the main concept Paul had in mind for the series,   It's like the old serial Saturday afternoon movies kids used to go to before the advent of television.  You
were fed installments ever weekend--and left the theater  wondeing how the hero was going to get out of the newest predictament
which ended the reel. 

So Paul's re-inventing an old ploy that I think will work and work very well!

How far does this series go?  Dunno. I do know they've got writers lined up for a few more installments.  Each installment is slated to come out about every three weeks.

Personally I hope this thing takes off and goes on for a very long time.  I would love to write another offering.  If asked.  But first, children, my offering needs to find an audience.  You should find it on Amazon.Com in the next few days.

It'll cost you about a buck for each of the selections.  Buy'em all and enjoy the lot.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So today I thought I would share the opening scenes of a movie I'm slowly . . . very slowly trying to write.  It's a Turner Hahn/Frank Morales film.   Called Dubious Intent.

It's based off one of the Turner/Frank short stories I wrote some time back.  As you know, Turner and Frank or homicide detectives.  So yeah, it's a police-procedural kind of movie. 

I want it to make it visually unique.  And I want to fold quite a bit of music into it.  Michael Mann comes to mind to compare the style I'm trying to convey.  But Mann's work is not quite what I have in mind.  I want to rely more on John Ford's sparsity of dialogue and more on the images themselves in telling the story.  And of course, I want action.

In checking out the first scene you got to remember this;  it's a double-image screen.  Two different sets of action are going on at the same time.  Confusing to explain.  But I'm thinking it's gonna be visually stunning to behold. 

Or maybe I'm just biting off too much to chew.  I dunno.

But tell me what you think.

Dubious Intent


(Double tracking-shots dividing the screen at the same time)




ANGLE SHOT NO. ONE: A man steps out of his bedroom and into a small hallway.

We see only the man’s TORSO and LEGS. He has on a

white SHIRT and a pair of tailored, expensive gray

SLACKS. As he walks down the hall we HEAR the hum


In the background we HEAR the grind of downtown traffic.

Screeching BRAKES—diesel engines—SIRENS wailing—

HORNS blaring.

SHAFTS of sunlight SLANT through big windows and

CREATE puddles of light on HARDWOOD FLOORS as

he walks through each.

ANGLE SHOT NO. TWO: The man enters a KITCHEN. The kitchen is PRISTINE

and SPARTAN in its cleanliness. He walks past a

REFRIGERATOR and PUNCHES the ‘play’ button of an

expensive stereo setting on the counter beside the frig.

Immediately MUSIC begins to play (The group, Deep

Dish, and their song FLASHDANCE)(the music plays

throughout the entire set of tracking-shots)

He TURNS to his LEFT and opens the frig’s door. He

grabs a long-neck bottle of beer and twist’s off the cap

and lift’s it to his lips. We SEE only the man’s strong

CHIN and a thin, well cropped black MUSTACHE. He

takes a long PULL from the bottle, the turns again to

face the small kitchen TABLE setting in front of the frig.

ANGLE SHOT NO. THREE: On the table is a WHITE towel. On the towel is a

DISASSEMBLED .45 caliber KIMBER semi-automatic

pistol. The weapon is a COLD BLUE piece of machined

steel brightly POLISHED and deadly.

We SEE only his HANDS as he begins to

assemble the pistol. He does so LOVINGLY and


When assembled, the man reaches over to a kitchen

chair and grabs SHOULDER HOLSTER and WEBBING.

He INSERTS the gun into the holster and then sets the

holster and webbing onto the table before he begins to

button his shirt. Afterward he SLINGS over his shoulder

the holster and webbing and straps himself in. Reaching

over to a SECOND chair he grabs an expensive blue

SPORTS COAT and slides into it.

INT. LARGE GARAGE: The man exists through a door and begins DESCENDING

down set of wooden stairs. BELOW him is a long, narrow

garage floor filled with classic American-made MUSCLE

CARS of the 60’s though the 80’s. MUSTANGS,


immediately visible.

ANGLE SHOT NO. FOUR: He walks over to a large double-door steel CABINENT,

unlocks it, opens a door, and reaches in for a set of keys.

TURNING he strolls over to a 1967 GT 350 SHELBY

MUSTANG. The car is WHITE with RED racing stripes

running down the length of the car’s hood and roofline.

Sliding into the car he starts the engine. The deep,

powerful RUMBLE of the FORD V-8 is almost

SENSUAL to hear.

He slowly BACKS the MUSTANG up and then carefully

makes his way past the rest of his collection of cars and

EXITS out through a garage door.


stop in front of a large, well-kept RANCH STYLE suburban

home. In front of the house is a DEEP, LUSH green yard.

Littering the yard are BICYCLES, TRICYCLES, and an

INFLATABLE children’s swimming pool.

On the porch is a rather unusual looking MAN and his

NORMAL looking family. The man looks like a modern

day NEANDERTHAL. He has stringy red hair, apparently

no NECK and a thick, cement-block shaped HEAD.

His wife is absolutely GEORGEOUS. The four boys, all

under the age of TWELVE, each are normal looking.

The NEANDERTHAL kisses his wife on the forehead,

JOSTLES the hair of each of his kids, then TURNS

and JOGS his way to the MUSTANG.

EXT. DIFFERENT SHOT: Just as FRANK MORALES climbs into the car

a CELL PHONE rings. The phone belongs to the DRIVER.

TURNER HAHN reaches inside his sport coat and retrieves

the phone.


(close-up shot—revealing someone with a

strong resemblance to CLARK GABLE.)


(coming out of cellphone speaker)

Turner, there’s been report of gunfire

over on Crawford and Holmes. Some

black-and-white’s are in route now.

But I want you and Frank to check it out.


Sure, lieutenant. Be there in less

than twenty minutes.

EXT. SHOT: Mustang ACCELERATES rapidly from curb just as FRANK turns to

look at TURNER with a questioning glance.





ANGLE SHOT NO. ONE: A set of ELEVATOR doors open. In

the elevator is a woman. We SEE only her TORSO.

She is wearing a dark blue dress. Her FIGURE is


The woman moves out of the elevator. She moves

as if she has a PURPOSE and MISSION to

accomplish. BRISKLY she walks pasts DESKS

and WORK STATIONS which are currently

unoccupied. In the background we hear the

CLOYING sounds of MUSAK playing some

unrecognizable song.

ANGLE SHOT NO. TWO: The woman makes a RIGHT turn and enters a

private office. The office belongs to the corporate

owner—definitely MALE in DÉCOR. One wall is

LITTERED with the heads of BIG GAME trophies.

A second wall is FILLED with PHOTOS of the

corporate owner KNEELING beside fresh kills of


The woman walks across the LENGTH of the

deeply carpeted and SILENT office and comes to

a HALT in front of a huge glass-enclosed GUN

CASE. She UNLOCKS the case with a KEY and

reaches in and grips REMINGTON bolt-action

.308 caliber RIFLE. The weapon his a long, powerful

BUSHNEL telescope on it, along with a thick BULL

BARREL. Attached to the barrel is a TRIPOD.

Holding the rifle in her arms like a BABY she uses

one hand to open a drawer below the rack of guns.

From out of the drawer she removes ONE long,

GLEAMING brass cartridge. TURNING, she leaves

GUN CASE and the DRAWER open and walk’s toward

the office’s large OAK Desk setting just in front of


ANGLE SHOT NO. THREE: The woman GENTLY deposits the weapon

onto the carpet directly in FRONT of the window.

She then slips to the carpet and WRAPS the gun

into her arms. She SLIDES the bolt action BACK

and insert the cartridge into the FIRING CHAMBER.

We have, so far, not seen her face.

Cradling the rifle she PUSHES the muzzle gently

through a HOLE cut into the lower right hand of the

WINDOW. Lifting the rifle up, she LOWERS her

head and settles into a PRONE firing position. We

catch a GLIMPSE of bright PLATINUM blond hair.

A HAND reaches up and begins ADJUSTING the

view of the scope. SATISFIED she begins a WAITING


EXT. MORNING TRAFFIC: A BIRD’S EYE view of a long, straight city four

lane AVENUE jammed with bumper-to-bumper

traffic. On either side of the street is one

UNINTERRUPTED set of one or two-storied

commercial buildings. In the DISTANCE,

GLISTENING in the morning sun, is a

five-storied GLASS office building.

ANGLE SHOT NO. FOUR: In the INTERSECTION of the street is a

LINCOLN CONTINENTAL TOWN CAR. It is setting with its left turning signal blinking

WAITING to make turn.

Inside the car is the corporate CEO waiting

impatiently to make his turn. He is a man with a

HARD face. He once was an ATHELTE and he

is still in relatively good shape. But he has no

PATIENCE. His eyes have a HARD, CRUEL

look in them.


zero onto the PROFILE head shot of the man

in the TOWNCAR. At first the image is slightly

BLURRED but rapidly comes into FOCUS.

The man is centered into the crosshairs

ANGLE SHOT NO. FIVE: A FINGER curls around the TRIGGER of the

rifle. For a second or two it just TOUCHES

the trigger. But then we SEE it begin to

SQUEEZE slowly.

The rifle FIRES. The explosion of the firing is

DEFEANING. It LEAPS off the carpet but the

woman is in complete CONTROL.

EXT. LINCOLN TOWNCAR: There is an EXPLOSION of shattering GLASS.


passenger side of the car. The passenger side

WINDOW is COATED with blood and

brain matter.

The TOWNCAR is suddenly rocked from behind.

A JEEP CHEROKEE. The Jeep’s front end has

buried itself into the rear bumper and trunk of the

town car.

ANGLE SHOT NO. SIX: A young teenage boy gets out of the Jeep. He is

dressed in a high school LETTER JACKET and

is wearing blue jeans and SNEAKERS. Around him

IRATE drivers are honking their HORNS and screaming

obscenities at him as he walks up to the driver’s side

of the Lincoln. He too looks angry as he bends down

to peer into the car. But anger turns to horror as he sees

the BLOODY MESS within. He steps back, bends over

suddenly, and VOMITS all over the street.

INT. CORPORATE OFFICE: The woman, still WRAPED around the rifle like a

LOVER, wipes all of her fingerprints off the gun. She

then comes to her feet, walks to the gun case, and wipes

it clean of all prints. Satisfied all has been wiped clean

she turns and calmly walks out of the office and



EXT. SHOT—STORM CLOUDS. Tower thunderheads, moving like an ominous

gray/blue curtains, building up higher and higher

into what once was deep blue skies. The sounds

of distant THUNDER is heard rumbling repeatedly.

EXT. SHOT—PEDESTRIANS standing around on the sidewalks staring at the same

scene. HOT pedestrians. Definitely suffering from the GRUELING


Friday, August 19, 2011

Feeding the Monster

Here's the problem, old girl.  How do you follow the footsteps of  keeping a character alive after the author who created the character has check out?  Left for the Big One In The Sky.  You know . . . keeled over and Bought The Farm.

Huh.  See the predicament?

The creator is dead.  But the character is, like a Frankenstein, demanding to live on.  A monster has been created who refuses to fade into the sunset.  So someone still breathing has to be found to follow the master's footsteps and keep the monster at bay.

This is the scenario for the continuation of the Jason Bourne series.
Robert Ludlum, that prolific writer to action-adventure-conspiracy novels, created Jason Bourne.  And the character became an instant hit. Maybe a gazillion books were sold featuring Bourne--and then, by god!--the movies came out.

And a legend was created.

Don't count me as a cynic in this discussion.  I admit it freely; I am a died-in-the-wool fan of Jason Bourne.  Slap his name somewhere on a book cover and the odds are I'm going to buy the damn thing and read it.  And keep it in my library.  For me, Jason Bourne makes James Bone look like an over-sexed choir boy.  Put the two in the same room and force them to fight--and I suspect Bourne will walk out of the room bloodied, but the only one capable of walking and still in one piece.

But the question remains.  When the creator dies, who takes over?  And how does the character change in style and context when the new writer spins his web of intrigues and lies?  Ah . . . that problem!

This has happened to both Bourne and Bond.  Robert Ludlum, the creator of Bourne, dies and Eric Van Lustbader takes over.  Ian Fleming, the creator of Bond, dies--and a plethora of authors step in and fill the void over the years.  I will step out on a shaky limb here and make the categorical statement that Lustbader's version of Jason Bourne is pretty damn close to the real-deal.  Those who have tried to capture Fleming's magic he created in James Bond haven't faired so well.

But Lustbader's version of Bourne, or the style and pacing of his novels in mimicking Ludlum, isn't quite as satisfying to read.  He comes close in a few of the ersatz Bourne novels (I think he's written four or five Bourne novels by now).  But several miss the mark.

Maybe that's to be expected.  One can hope our favorite fictional character will remain the same (or--Christ!--maybe even improve and become more three-dimensional!) but we really shouldn't expect it.  We have to accept the reality that the magic probably is gone from the original creation.  The only question remaining is; is the current offering of our favorite close enough, and interesting enough, to remain a fan?

That's a decision each of us has to make.

I've made mine. Yeah, (sighing)  I'll stick with Lustbader's Bourne.  He's still better than a wimpy Bond any day.