The Interview

200247877-001

Ed sat in front of a 3-man New York police detective interview panel. The lead detective in the middle sat back in his chair with his arms crossed. The other two scribbled notes on their clipboards.

Wearing his dress blues police uniform, Ed unconsciously let his right leg start bouncing slightly, his heel pumping up and down. His leather pistol holster squeaked against his duty belt with each leg bounce.

“You nervous, son?” asked the lead detective.

Dammit! “A little,” Ed replied, placing his hand on his right knee, calming his leg.

“Why?”

“I feel there’s a lot at stake.”

The lead kept looking at him. The other two detectives seemed to be writing even faster. The lead said, “One last question…what made you want to be a detective?”

“It’s been a lifelong dream, sir. I’ve always wanted to help—”

The lead cut him off with a wave of the hand. “Stop with that crap. That’s what everybody says. I swear you wannabes will say anything you think we want to hear.”

Ed felt his future in law enforcement slipping through his fingers. He’d wanted to be a detective for a long time. “No, sir. I really—”

Again with the hand wave. “Just give me a straight answer.”

Ed’s mind was blank. He was afraid to ask for guidance. He wanted so bad to say what do you mean? but didn’t want to come across as a dumbass.

After what seemed like minutes the lead said, “What was the one thing that made you want to be a cop? What in your life made you pick this line of work? Was it from watching movies? TV? An event? What was it?”

“It was an event, sir.”

“Well then tell us about it.”

Ed cleared his throat. “All I ever wanted to do was be a cop.” He smiled and said, “But my parents wouldn’t allow it. It was too dangerous they said. They were pretty over-protective with me. Wouldn’t let me play football or participate in any sport where I could get hurt. They let me be in track though. I did the hundred meter dash and the four hundred meter relay.”

“How’d you run?”

“Got second place in the hundred in the state finals.”

The lead shrugged his shoulders, just like Ed’s father had. Well there’s only one person in the state faster than you, his father had said. His mother assured Ed that it was a compliment.

“So anyway Dad convinces me try following in his footsteps. He was a hotel manager for The Truman on West 59th.”

“Nice place,” said the lead.

“When I graduated from high school he started me as a desk clerk for four bucks an hour. I’d been there a couple of years and had moved up to assistant manager. I was working the evening shift one night when we get this call just before midnight complaining about noise from one of the rooms on the sixteenth floor. Room 1616. It was one of those massive presidential suites. Huge place with marble floors and big picture windows that give you a great view of Central Park. Didn’t really surprise me that people would get rowdy in there. Wasn’t the first time someone complained about that room either. Ha, one time the cleaning folks found a couple of chickens and a goat in there. Anyway, I tell the lady we’ll send someone up.

“So Dad being the workaholic was working the evening shift too on account of it being Labor Day weekend. Wanted to give me a hand. Was a bit of a micromanager too so he goes up with one of the security guys to see what the commotion is about. I say Dad, what are you doing? He just smiles and heads on up in the elevator with the rent-a-cop.”

Ed visualized his father’s lingering smile as the elevator doors closed.

“So your dad didn’t want you to be a cop but he goes up on a disturbance call.”

“Yes, sir. Funny, huh.”

The other two detectives continued writing, focused on their clipboards.

“So Dad goes up and I start looking at my chicken scratch on my note pad. Room sixteen sixteen on the sixteenth floor. Shoulda known something would be different. It wasn’t until later that night, after I talked to the police, that the numbers made even more sense—in a jacked up kind of way.”

Ed paused for a moment, seeing the scene replay in his mind even though he wasn’t standing next to his father. “So Dad and the guard get to the room. Music’s blaring. Dad bangs on the door. No one answers. Dad uses the master key card and unlocks the door. Room’s empty. They search the place but all they find are sixteen gift-wrapped boxes on the bed in the master bedroom.”

The detective on the left said, “I know about that case.”

Ed said, “Yes, sir. The Mambano family massacre. Sixteen gift-wrapped heads. A message from the Santoras for them to leave town.”

The lead said, “Sorry about your father.”

He had had a heart attack when he opened that first box. Died before the paramedics could get to him. “Damn rent-a-cop couldn’t save him. Not sure he even tried,” Ed said.

Ed was quiet for a moment. All Ed could hear were the detectives scribbling.

Finally, Ed said, “Mom died two years later. Doc said cancer but I say broken heart. Anyway, I couldn’t help holding the killers responsible for Dad’s death. I’d say they were an accessory in Mom’s death too.”

The lead said, “You know those sixteen bodies still haven’t been found. Whoever the cleaners were did a heckuva job in that suite. And the killers, those friggin’ psychos, we still have no real suspects even though there was a card left at the scene that said With Love, The Santoras.”

“I know, sir. That’s why I want to be a detective.”

——————————–
991 words / 1000 word limit
Writer’s Cramp submission.
Genre: Mystery
Prompt: On the 16th floor of a hotel in midtown Manhattan (NY), a loud party has been going on all evening in room 1616. At midnight, the hotel manager knocks on the door of room 1616 after several complaints from rooms nearby. When no one answers, he/she opens the door and finds the room empty except for 16 wrapped birthday presents … Write the STORY or POEM.
Notes: After I finished it I don’t think I hit the “mystery” mark. There are people/things/events in this thing that are usually included in mysteries but there wasn’t anything about solving the crime. Hard to do that in 1000 words though…HA!

Advertisements

Good Sleep

I don’t know if other people have the same experience as this but when I stay at my parents’ house for the night I get the best sleep ever. My parents purchased the house in 1985 and they’ve stayed there ever since. I was 16 years old and it was (and still is) the best house I ever lived in.

They’re less than 100 miles from where I live now but ever since they renovated the house’s landscape (adding grass, pavers, fruit trees) I’ve been going over at a minimum of once a month, sometimes every couple of weeks. My parents are in their 70s and my dad, although still quite active (thank God), could use a hand with the yard. (The yard work is definitely worth another post.)

So I don’t think it’s the resulting dehydration and tiredness of doing the yard that helps me sleep well. I think staying over takes me back to when I was a kid. Takes me back to a time of little to no real responsibilities. Stress free living. My biggest need was the need to finish high school. Biggest desire was my girlfriend at the time (thankfully I didn’t end up with her). Dreams included becoming a pilot (what can I say, it was the age of Top Gun) or working with computers (at the time I had a state of the art Apple IIGS with a whopping 512K of RAM). I was dabbling in writing back then too. Also thought about becoming a soldier or going into law enforcement.

Some people say being an adult sucks and I pretty much agree. The responsibilities can become overwhelming at times. At my age I’m preparing for retirement and realizing I should’ve taken it a little more seriously about 10 or 15 years ago. I also realize how fast time is going by and how it seems to go by faster and faster the older I get.

But all those thoughts go away when I’m home, when I’m standing in the kitchen talking with Mom and Dad while they cook something up. I’m a kid again when I’m sitting in the living room watching a movie with them. And when I’m lying down in my old room, everything is right in the world…even if it’s just for a weekend.

 

Channel Surfing

Having an overactive mind not only makes it difficult when you’re trying to pay attention in church and in meetings at work but it can also wreak your sleep. Imagine lying in bed and your mind is shifting from one thought to another, each one not lasting for more than a few seconds. 

The clock’s glowing red letters tell me it’s 4:48. The darkness of the room tells me it’s in the a.m.

I’ve been blessed that I’ve been able to get through work days on anywhere from 3 to 5 hours of sleep. Probably happens twice a week or so when the mind goes into overdrive during the night. 

Right now i have the song Mr. Sandman in my head. I don’t know about you but I always think about the movie Halloween 2 when I hear it. That’s the song that plays during the end credits. 

I hope I don’t stay on this creepy mental channel for too long. Starting to get hungry and I’m going to have to go to the kitchen sometime soon. 

WordPress.com is pissing me off!

awsnap

This f*cking site is starting to piss me off. Too bad I’m like 50 posts into this b*tch. The site keeps crashing at the main behind the scenes page…the Dashboard. Was thinking about converting to blogger.com but damn, that site is worse than this one. And that Send Feedback button…doesn’t work. I mean it does work but once you get to the page where you can detail the problem, you never get the option to send.

Maybe it’s user error…

Today’s excuse for not writing…doubting this new story I just started to frame out was any good. That and my xBox one is calling my name.

Short….on….brain power…ugh.

And forget tomorrow. Traveling out of town to go to my parents’ house to help with the yard. It’ll be an all day thing. I’m sure the last thing I’ll want to do is write when we get back home.

However, maybe I’ll do some more reading. Almost done with Armageddon in Retrospect by Vonnegut. I believe reading decent books is important to the writing process. Stephen King says you have to read a lot if you want to write.

But what does he know?

***five minutes later***

It’s BROWSER error. Chrome Canary is having the issue with the site. On IE the site works fine…just FYI.

 

The Fight

I fight with an overactive mind and I work at a job where it’s a lot of brain work. When I get home I don’t want to do things that require a lot of hard thinking. Writing requires hard thinking especially the way I go about writing–going at it hard for a few months and then just letting everything else in life get in my way until the urge presents itself again a year later.

I just realized it today, looking at the dates of my short stories I’ve written over the years. Craziness. Bursts of writing and then long periods of nothing. I think a lot of it also has to do with the fight against Mr. Doubt. He’s the sumbitch that waits until I’m about 30 days or so into loving the process of writing and then starts whispering in my ear.

“Dude…what are you doing?…..Why are you wasting time?……This shit is hard work and then 2 things are inevitable: 1) Nobody’s going to really like it and 2) You’ll have wasted AAAALLL this time that you’ll never get back. …..Really bro? The odds of you being a success are worse than you winning the lottery 3 weeks in a row.

“Look at that gaming system there. You hear that?…….That’s Grand Theft Auto 5 calling your name. That’s something you’re good at. And you can make money playing. I mean it’s game money that you get from being a criminal and going on missions but look at the apartments and houses you own in that virtual world. Go have fun in your sports cars, your motorcycles, your airplanes. Go be a bad ass

hottub

“And that bad ass gaming computer you bought a few months ago…wow. You can flightsim the shit out of your spare time, man. Put on those headphones and hear those jet engines scream as you zoom down the runway and up into the sky, piercing clouds, climbing and climbing until the sky is black and you fall back to Earth. You’ll regain airspeed and expertly land that baby wherever you want. You’re an ACE!

2016-04-03 16.21.35

“So why are you going to go back to writing? It’s not real fun. Why are you going to put your babies out there for people to pick apart? F*ck that, bro. You a glutton for punishment or what?

“Oh yeah. And don’t forget you have to work for a living. 10 hours a day to pay the bills. Stick to that. It’s not a bad life.”

“Mr. Doubt?” I said.

“Yes.”

“Go f*ck yourself.”

FredFlipoff

Self-censorship

According to Wikipedia self-censorship is defined as the act of censoring or classifying one’s own work out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities or preferences (actual or perceived) of others and without overt pressure from any specific party or institution of authority.

I hate to admit it but I’ve been totally guilty of doing that. Unfortunately although I thought I’d been doing it for the right reasons, it actually went against my writing instinct and method. In the original version of my novel “Disintegration: A Memoir” it started with the following line:

The first time I saw someone die was when I was seven.

From there it goes into the time when the main character, as a seven year old, kills a class bully. But the doubt that lives in some of us new writers got the best of me. I began to fear that people would be put off with reading about the death of a seven year old, bully or not, and not want to buy my book. So you know what I did two weeks after uploading the original version?…..ugh, I removed the first couple of scenes taking out the death of the kid and the killing of a noisy dog. Totally chicken-shit in hindsight. So a halfway decent Chapter 1 with a first-line hook (or at least an attempt at one) turned into a half chapter of descriptions and the reader having to get through several pages before he/she gets to some conflict.

It’s taken me 3 years to realize that maybe I could be doing better with the book if I hadn’t taken out the hook. Having a hook early on is Writing 101 shit, man.

So I uploaded new versions of the novel to include the original Chapter 1.

Lessons to all you thinking about writing a story:
1) Have confidence in yourself.
2) Trust your instinct
3) Your story is your story. It is what it is…and hopefully people think it’s something good.
4) Don’t kill the hook!