I like the name, except for one problem. It seems to be a take-off on "Naked Came The Stranger," which was a spoof written by a collection of writers trying to write a trash novel as poorly as possible.
I'm sure I speak for everyone who contributed when I say that in contrast to Penelope Ashe and her friends, we take our writing, and our selves, VERY, VERY seriously.
In addition to a name, we need to give some serious thought about how we are going to split the royalties. If this becomes a mega-hit, with movie rights, and a tv show, well the money could become pretty serious, pretty quick.
How about "Are you my daddy?" as a title?
Or maybe we leave it up to Jane Starnes since this was her brainchild.
How about using the name of this thread as the title?
"Are You my Moma's Baby's Daddy?"
just about every defendant's wife or girlfriend I've dealt with calls him "my baby's daddy" rather than the father of my child..
Horsewafer, being dead, wouldn't object to a 'look-see' around the apartment. After all, where was Rod going to find information on her next of kin. His partner, Shaft, decided to wait on the Bice Boys, they would eventually make the local noodling hole. He'd find them there and give them a good once over.
Rod and Shaft looked at the door, 1L, the residence of Horsewafer. It was a peeling, crusty painted door in the color of 70's mocha, meant to compliment the creme color walls that had turned a dark latte over the last 30 years. The door was dirty, in a way that you could tell the entire Bay Area DNA could be found in a single swab. Rod got out his hankie and knocked. No answer, good, she lived alone. He turned the handle, and the door gave with an unmistakable sound of sticky paint, and swollen wood. Inside, the sunlight filtered through an unbearable haze of nicotine and bacon grease. It looked like the air in Houston, Texas on what they refer to, politely, as an 'ozone alert' day. If it was possible to see air, you saw it at Horsewafer's.
The unmistakable odor of old lady, big dog, and staleness cradled the room like an oversized housecoat. Shaft looked on the kitchen table, bills, bills, bills. Horsewafer was behind on her bills, and she had cryptic notes written on each envelope, with dates, times and names.
Rod went to the freezer. He wasn't a newbie, he'd been working the force since 83. Old people were predictable, they kept their money wrapped in foil in the freezer. He opened the door, and didn't think it was possible, but the freezer smelled worse than the apartment. He saw two unused ice trays, and the ice was older than horsewafer, a coffee can, and two foil wrapped packages marked 'meat'. Rod instictively opened the foil wrapped packages and hit paydirt, the phony 100s were right there. He hollered to Shaft who was digging in the bedroom. Shaft came running, and they both knew immediately that this case would be big, this was good paperwork.
Templeton heard the hollering in Horsewafers apartment, and snuck down to see what was going on. He peered through the open door, just in time to catch the eye of Rod and Shaft, the air filled with hostility. They all went back a long way together, to the unfortunate conclusion of Templeton's career in law enforcement. Templeton had a long memory, and he wasn't likely to forget how they screwed him.
"Hey boys" said Templeton, "I'm Horsewafer's attorney-in-fact, and have her power of attorney to act in her interest in her absence. I don't recall receiving a search warrant before you busted in her place. Unless the Supreme Court and the 9th Circuit have completely rethought their prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure during the last few days, I'm thinking we got a problem here. Mucho Problemo if you fellers don't have a valid warrant."
Templeton leaned back against the wall in the apartment hallway, smug and relaxed because the fat lady was for sure singing right now, and lit that premium cigar he'd been saving for just this moment.
It was that damn smug look that Rod hated. His blood pressure went up immediately. He glared at Templeton, his pupils narrowed to slits. He hated the guy, and somewhere in the resources of his thick skull, felt satisfaction at orchestrating his demise.
He hated that type of beat cop, the goody, goody. They weren't part of the wall, they couldn't go along to get along. Hell, he reminded himself, everyone took bribes back then. No cop could have lived in the area on what the city paid them. But Templeton, he wouldn't have it, he wouldn't take. That made him dangerous. He deserved what he got, the little &^%$!
It wasn't hard to do if you knew the right person for the job, and Vinnie the Mooch was the right person for the job. He was good ... slick! He could lift a dam pacemaker if that's what you needed. A drop off, a lift, no one ever felt or saw his hand. Only problem is that you owe Vinnie, the little bastard. At least he kept his yap shut if you made good.
Rod couldn't speak, he wanted to work Templeton over, shove his smug look up his ... Just at that moment, Shaft broke the silence. "The door was open, yeah, open, we came in to check" Rod just stood there and nodded, as if his nod was just the confirmation Templeton was looking for. Shaft knew Rod could not think and talk when Templeton was around. Shaft feigned his best look of innocence, and pointed to the money on the table "look at this, paperwork, good paperwork, we found it right here". Frankly, no one had seen such good paperwork since Carmine "Leonardo" Fuentes went up ten years ago. Was Carmine out?
Just then Jane showed up and the boys were tranfixed. She had a way with them, but that is what a nip, tuck, lift and dye will do. She marched over to the table and picked up the bills, they were cold, ice cold. She knew they were lying.
Out on the bay a tugboat's steam whistle broke thru the Bizentine Fog which was creeping into the city on little cat's feet. From the honky tonk on the corner, could be heard the doleful sound of the house band playing "Harlum Nocturn." In the apt. upstairs, a beatnik was typing out a beat poem that no one would read. "Sounds like he's using an Underwood No. 5," Templeton noted. "He's probably wearing a turtleneck sweater," he thought. In the apt. next door, people could be heard talking and laughing, as the sounds of "Mack the Knife," came off their record player. Someone in the building was having a late supper, Templeton noted, as the distinctive smell of rice-a-roni "The San Francisco Treat" wafted thru the air. Off in the distance a trolleycar bell rang out.
Just then, out of the gloom, approached a man in a fedora and trenchcoat. Templeton recognized him instantly. It was Lt. Tragg.
"Well, well, well, counselor--what have we here?" Tragg asked with a sneer.
Tragg was undoubtedly the dumbest cop on the West Coast. He was an arrogant wise ass, and he took great pride in being able to "move cases."
And he was prolific. He was able to close 52 major cases a year for ten years. Where--in Tragg's view--lesser cops, took weeks interviewing witnesses, he would move forward with grand assurance he had all the facts.
The only person dumber than Tragg was the L.A. district attorney, Hamilton Burger. Every week, for 10 years, Tragg was able to sell Burger on his case. Not only would Burger accept the case, but he would insist on trying each case--even tho he had 1,200 assistant D.A.'s to do that work.
Burger never got to a jury trial, because every week at the preliminary hearing, the famous defense atty. Perry Mason would hand Burger's head to him on a silver plater. Every single week, Mason not only proved there was no probable cause to hold his client, he would conclusively prove that his client was totally innocent, and he would prove--beyond a shadow of a doubt--who the real culprit was. Almost always this was accomplished by the true crook breaking down and confessing on the witness stand under Mason's laconic cross examination. Someone that neither Tragg nor his men had bothered to talk to.
You would think that after having arrested and built cases on several thousand actually innocent people that Tragg would have some concerns. But no. To Tragg, talking to people was for "sissys." "I've got cases to move my boy," he would respond, as if he was talking to a half-wit.
Templeton looked at Tragg. "What are you doing here, Tragg? I thought you worked for the LAPD?"
"I retired. But then, the chief up here said he needed some help in moving his cases. Apparently, he has a lot of detectives who spend too much time talking, and not moving their cases. That's why I'm here."
Templeton's heart sank. With Tragg on the case, sooner or later--and with Tragg it was probably sooner--some totally innocent guy was certain to be making a trip Down Town.
Just then, a nightninggale sang from across the street in Barkley Square. Templeton looked at his watch. It was midnight.
God how this town STANK! And not just like death, sour milk and burnt fireworks. The muggy night air wrapped itself around the faces of a few pre sunrise foragers like a funky wet washcloth from the host hotel of a past Criminal and Civil update.
From where he stood in the shadows Templeton watched Tragg's slow, unsteady progress up the street between the vanilla cones of light toward his car and another waiting travesty labeled as an investigation.
"What a frickin shame! That guy had a future flinging socks for Rooster Andrews... and threw it away.... wasted talent, just wasted talent" he muttered into the collar of his stained trenchcoat. As the brim of the rain stained fedora dipped into his line of vision, a ghostly orb appeared from the darkeness between two of the cones of light, dipped, rose high above Tragg and dipped again then dissapeared at once in the direction of an alley with 9 different exits.
As a Bus idled and released its pent up frustration in a mechanical sigh that sounded like... escaping air; a sorrowful twanging wafted on the fetid zephyr to Templeton's ears more like the Waxahatchie Jr. Barber College Deaf/Mute Banjo Orchestra warming up than anything recognizable by an audiophile.... Tragg's legs were visible from the knee down as he lay half in/ half out of the the yellow glow of the streetlight. Eyeballing gummy soles facing his direction Templeton's understimulated synapses mumbled that Tragg was gone and he was a witness AND the last living contact of the latest victim of the Serial Banjo Smacker. "OH THAT'S JUST GREAT!" Templeton Spit.
Looking more like the superhero he wasn't, Templeton sprinted up the sidewalk to the body with his Trenchcoat floating behind him like a cape.
No doubt about it. The spreading pool of dark cherry colored liquid told the tale more eloquently than Mickey Spillane ever could... and without the useless metaphors too. Templeton caught himself after he'd spun toward the alley and taken a halting step. A hoarse cackle drifted to him from the darkness and then the notes of a poorly plucked banjo... concentrating against the deafening quiet of the sad city he made out 5 bars of I'll be seeing you; and then that cackle again...like a cross between a kazoo and a cat catapulting a doosie of a hairball. "If the Salvation Army isn't marching around the corner old boy, your ticker is making that noise." Retrieving a battered motorola brick phone from his coat pocket he dialed the seven digits he'd begun to loathe. "Gimme Homicide.... no, no emergency ma'am this guy's not getting up, he's getting colder though."
[This message was edited by w.d. willis on 10-10-05 at .]
[This message was edited by w.d. willis on 10-10-05 at .]
It seemed there would be no end to the conflicts in the life of Templeton, he pondered as he climbed high on the structure known as the Golden Gate Bridge. He could barely make out Jane and the police officers she had brought with her below, they really did look like ants from this high up.
How Jane knew that he had decided to end it all was beyond him. It seemed like she had a sixth sense when it came to Templeton.
The drinking. The women. The bills. The bad gambling debts. They were all fixing to disappear. All he could think about was Trixie and her banjo.
(I can't read this anymore. It's giving me a headache.)
I am so afraid this will end up having the same life span of Corroburation/Cowabburation.
Only time will tell, JB, but at least you are paraphrased in it. And hell, Jane is a hero of sorts in this unresolved short story.
Now if we can just figure out a way to work Kepple into the sequel...
In between a semester's end and a fateful decision to join the Peace Corps, Rob Kepple sits on the hood of a really nice 72 Rally Sport Camaro picking a guitar and nursing an Orange Nehi in front of a Flatonia Drive In Gro. A particularly odd fellow with protruding ears and few teeth shuffles over to the car and begins to strum a banjo and while drooling.
Somebody please stop me....... before I type again!
OR Rob Kepple could be doing an illegal BASE parachute jump off of the Golden Gate Bridge, coincidentally at exactly the same time as Templeton jumps off the bridge, grabbing Templeton on his way down and safely landing in a speedboat piloted by Shannon Edmonds who was there to catch Kepple when he landed.
At the same exact moment, John Bradley is on the shore watching this transpire whilst he is taking his weekly Banjo lesson from our friend A.P., and thus the entire event has a Banjo soundtrack.
Greg, that ending is preposterous! Let's try to keep a little reality in the story, ok?
At the same exact moment, John Bradley is on the shore watching this transpire whilst he is taking his weekly bagpipe lesson from our friend A.P., and thus the entire event has a bagpipe/Banjo soundtrack.
Dedicated to Jane Starnes
"It was a dark and stormy night....Cortes Templeton dried himself off as he climbed out of the bay."
He was late for the witness interview.
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