Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wild, Wonderful and Wordzzle

So this is Wordzzle #23. Who woulda thunk it.

Here's the deal. Write a story using the words provided by Raven at the Raven's Nest.

Then go there and get on the mister linky. Then read her stories and comment. Then go read the other stories to see how other folks used the words.
If you have any time left over after that then go ahead and read the continuing saga of Sgt Paul Johnson, Thomas McCool and the alleged eco-terrorist Claude Debaucherrie.

Here it is.

This Week's Ten Word Challenge is: follow-up, Buffalo wings, silversmith, furniture, as the crow flies, little red roadster, photograph, pencil pusher, argument, streaking
The Mini Challenge: Ireland, mashed potatoes, book worm, fog horn, T.S. Eliot

As the crow flies the distance from the neighborhood where Claude was staying was no more than 10 miles to slick South Beach. Yet it might have as well have been on the moon for his current new girl Justine. She had grown up in Detroit and moved to Miami to be a waitress in the fancy south beach clubs. After an argument with her Dad she knew it was time to hit the road and Miami seemed as good a place as any. She'd made some money serving Buffalo wings to men at the local hooters and figured the worst she could do was end up at one in Miami.

That was before she saw Juan Carbarello and his hot Ferrari. He and the little red roadster were like something out of a photograph in GQ when she first met him. She hadn't been in town more than a few hours when he pulled up beside her and offered a ride. She told him her name and what she was in Miami to accomplish. He let her know he had connections and would see about getting her a job at the newest hot club "Silversmith" in south beach.

He took her to his apartment just a few short blocks from the beach. His pad was on the 32nd floor and had an unobstructed view of the ocean. The furniture and decorations were modern and expensive. Juan offered her the use of his guestroom and told her he'd help with finding her a job and a place the next day. Sounded almost too good to be true, because it was.

He had some friends over that night, introduced her to them and a few hits of crack and a hit of ecstasy. She woke up the next morning sore in places she shouldn't have been and feeling wanky. He juiced her up with some pick me ups and they did it all over again the next night, and the night after and for what seemed like years. In actuality it was only 11 weeks, but it was enough to bring her down. She ended up on the street, tricking, and doping and finally got picked up by the cops. While in the can she found out she had an STD. They kept her in the hospital wing of the county jail for 90 days till she was no longer contagious, and then put her back out on the street.

That was when Claude found her. She figured him for just another pimp, but he had proved to be more than that and less than that. He kept her clientele to a small number of above average dudes and spent time with her in "training." She'd never known it could be like that or that someone could make her feel as good and simultaneously as bad as Claude was able to make her feel.

He was a very strange man. He was no book worm certainly, yet he read to her. She now knew who T. S. Elliot was, though for the life of her she couldn't figure out how it would make her a better whore. Claude said he had something big in mind for her and she needed a varied education to pull it off. OK with her if it meant fewer Johns, more money and extra “training” time with Claude.

Justine laid a slim thigh across Claude's groin and purred; "I'm not sure I understood that last move completely, can we try it again?

McCool finished his call with Jack Preston just in time to catch the last vision of a shooting star streaking across the sky. He hollered down to the girls, "You see that?" "Yes" came back from the pair "and we both made wishes on it."

"What did your friend have to say about Claude Debaucherrie?" asked Sgt Johnson. "He thinks we're barking up the wrong tree" McCool replied. "Seems to think that a bunch of Claude's rep is bogus, stuff put out by French intelligence after he went rogue.” “What do you think?” asked Johnson. “I think we had better get more info.” “Jack isn’t just an ecological pencil pusher; he mixes with both sides and knows the personalities of the combatants as well as anyone” McCool continued.

“As my hero Fog Horn Leghorn would say, Now boy, I say now boy, are you sure you is a chicken hawk?” Johnson laughed and toasted McCool. They both enjoyed McCool’s imitations. His favorite was Shawn McFlairity O'Hallerhan and his infamous line: "I say laddie would you be flailing your shillelagh?" Johnson thought McCool could go to Ireland and get away with posing as a local, well at least as long as he only talked to tourists.

“I’ll follow up Monday with forensics and see if there is any other way Claude’s DNA and prints could have gotten in our crime scene” Sgt Johnson remarked. “Between the great booze, this cigar, that awesome meal and the extra helping of mashed potatoes I had; I’m not thinking all that straight right now.” “What do you suppose the girls are up to down there?” he finished. “Let’s go down and find out; maybe a swim will clear our minds a bit.” “Or we could drown” Johnson smiled as they got up to go down to the pool.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wordzzle # 22

This Week's Ten Word Challenge is: cardboard box, liquor cabinet, ostrich feathers, longitudinal, hamburger helper, partnership, laundry detergent, magnificent, San Francisco, prognosis

The Mini Challenge: worst case scenario, marginalia, water fountain, specialized, fortitude

Ch .. CH.. Changes

McCool put down the phone, finished off his drink and headed inside to the liquor cabinet. "I need another one of these Paul, how about you?" "Sure, this cigar is only half done; I'll have one more" he answered.

Thomas opened the magnificent antique cabinet, grabbed the whiskey bottle like a jug of laundry detergent and poured equal capfuls (shots in this case) into the glasses. In honor of their longtime partnership the duo would get blitzed together at least once a year and let it all hang out. Tonight seemed like the appropriate time.

Sgt Johnson looked up from his reverie as McCool came back with the drinks. He'd been admiring the sleek longitudinal lines of Zan's legs and thinking about what Tom had said. "I guess you're right about not waiting" he offered as he accepted his drink from McCool. "It's just with this job I never know where I'll be or how long I'll be there."

McCool didn't bother to tell his friend that it just sounded like an excuse and not a reason; Paul was smart enough to figure that out for himself, with a little nudge from his friends. "OK, I know Zan and I have to seriously talk about it, are you happy now?" the Sgt finished. "Yea, I'm happy and sick of talking about you anyway" McCool joked to lighten the mood.

"Let's focus on something less serious, like serial killers" he added. Just then his Sat phone rang and he answered. It was his old buddy Jack Preston returning his call. Johnson sat back and enjoyed watching Zan and Jean on the pool deck below as he sipped his whiskey and pondered his and Zan's future. He picked up bits of the phone conversation, but waited for McCool to finish and fill him in on the information.

Claude returned to the window. He had noticed a bum sleeping in a cardboard box across the street. His instinct told him it was nothing, but his years on the run from the law told him to check it out anyway. He removed his binoculars from their specialized case and pointed them toward the sleeping form. This was truly a homeless person when seen up close. From the looks of the man he hadn't bathed in some time and dental hygiene was not on his list of priorities. Claude noticed the writing on the box now, Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat. What a load of BS he thought to himself, this from Americans who thought hamburger helper was fine dining.
This made him think of his current situation. Someone in this town was trying to frame him for the "Alley Cat" murders. His source inside Miami PD had informed him that the FBI and their dogged profiler Sgt Johnson were on the case as well. What really puzzled him and pissed him off was how someone got hold of his old sword and planted it at Eminem's murder scene. That took some doing. He had not been back to his old apartment for years and really didn't know what had become of his belongings, but he knew now that somebody had stolen his sword and planted it here in Miami.

Claude would find that person or persons and make them pay. He had been retired and out of mind of the police for several years. The party responsible for bringing him back to their attention would be very sorry indeed. Already his sources in the city were looking for the culprit or culprits and Claude didn't doubt that the money offered for information was enough motivation to bring results.

This situation just required patience and planning. Claude excelled in both of these. The prognosis for the cure of this frame-up was good. Since he knew the police were looking for him he had changed his appearance, lost his accent and changed his methods. No one who had known him before would think this blond, biker looking dude was the Frenchman Claude Debaucherrie. No one that is until he found his tormentors; they would learn who they had messed with and what the consequences were.

Worst case scenario, he found them and killed them slowly and painfully; best case, he did that after making sure the police knew who the "Alley Cat" murderer really was. Either way, Claude knew he would prevail. He possessed the fortitude to wait them out, the expertise to sift through all the marginalia to locate the person or persons and learn their identities.

He observed the homeless box dweller walk from his abode to the park down the block. Once there the man took a drink from the water fountain and even washed his face and hands.
Claude returned the binoculars to their case and turned back to the bed. His hooker was starting to wake up. He moved to the bed, removed the headdress made of Ostrich feathers she'd worn at the hooker's ball last night and gently touched her cheek. His cover as a new pimp on the block had some benefits and he felt like enjoying some of them now. She smiled as he joined her on the bed and asked him if she was going to work today.

"Today is a training day baby, I think it's time you learned some new moves."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wordzzle # 21

The Ten Word Challenge will be: gouged, symmetrical, Spanish moss, ATV, parallel parking, Luscious, origami, amphibian, turkey, gravy train

The Mini Challenge: pouring rain, mastiff, church bells, wedding dress, stock car races
You all know the drill by now. I'm too lazy to do more than one story; in fact I just continue the same story. I revel in my literary slovenliness.
McCool and the Gang part whatever

Claude loved Marseilles, what a great town to live in as a child. He had enjoyed the boisterous seaport, the wild weather and citizens while growing up. Right up till the time of the chemical plant explosion that first maimed and disfigured, and then after years of pain and suffering, killed his mother. His father had been luckier he supposed; he had died outright. His old man had worked at the DuPont facility for pesticides for many years. Neither parent had thought much about using the company assisted housing outside the plant's doors. All that changed when the terrible accident had gouged out a city block with the resulting explosion. It had not been a symmetrical event. The factory workers housing and the plant itself had borne the brunt of the force.

The executives, who lived in the hills overlooking the site from their Spanish moss covered estates felt the ground shake, heard the sirens and then the church bells that rang for days to commemorate the 346 dead and injured, but they lost only those at work that Saturday. The majority of the dead were the families living outside the gates and the maintenance workers on duty. Had young Claude not gone with his friends to ride their ancient ATV in the hills that Saturday morning he would have suffered the same fate as his mother: excruciating chemical burns and then death. He had watched his once luscious and vibrant mother waste away in perpetual agony.

All this seemed as if a bad dream till he awoke in a sweat in the seedy Cuban district of Miami and realized it was just the same recurring nightmare he'd had since he was twelve.

Claude rose from the bed and padded silently to the window. He checked his car (recently stolen and replated) that he'd put in the parallel parking slot beneath his second floor window. With what he had stored in the trunk it could never be too far from his sight. He turned from the view of street, the car, and the pouring rain back to the bed and looked with an amphibian smile upon the sleeping form.

Perhaps he should slap the hooker awake and teach her once again that working for him was no ride on a gravy train with biscuit wheels. (Where had he heard that before he wondered? Biscuit wheels?)

Claude washed his face in the basin, opened the door to let the large brown mastiff named "Cherie" that he kept constantly at his side out to do her business. No one would attempt to steal the dog and Cherie would bring her sweet self back to his door when finished. In spite of her fearful appearance she was a loving and faithful companion; the only one that Claude had ever known.

The first call that McCool made was to his friend and mentor in Big Sur, Jack Preston. Jack was an imminent environmental historian and general trivia hound of all things ecological. McCool knew he would get all the scoop on the "Butcher" from him. What he hadn't expected was a message on Jack's machine stating that he and long time lady love Arlene were away in Sacramento having her fitted for a wedding dress. The thought of Jack getting married seemed as likely to Thomas as Jack becoming a NASCAR fan and going to stock car races.
McCool left a message and congratulated Jack on making an honest woman out of Arlene, or was it the other way around? He looked toward Sgt Johnson and laughing said, "Old Jack is getting married man, are you going to be next?"

Paul looked deep into his whiskey glass and took a puff of the great cigar McCool had provided before answering. "Zan and I have talked about it Tom, it just never seems to be the right time." McCool lifted one of the quaint origami birds that the owners placed about their home each day. He let it loose over the railing and watched it glide toward the girls and the pool.

"Don't wait too long for the perfect time Paul, people drift away from you sometimes, just like that little paper pelican." They both looked down as the delicate paper creature landed at Zandilla's feet. “OK turkey, you’re getting a little too cute now, don’t you think?” Johnson remarked. McCool just grinned and shrugged his shoulders. “Who knows man, looks like an omen if you ask me” he answered.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wordzzle, Wordzzle wherefore art thou, Wordzzle

This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: handy, operation, gratitude, parallel bars, the color purple, manic depressive, Puget Sound, fragmentary, perpetual motion, secretive

Mini Challenge: sympathetic, filet of sole, mysterious stranger, elephantine, music
As always I'm too lazy to do more than the Mega.

The Puget Sound B & B, so inappropriately named, was turning out to be a great weekend retreat for the McCools and Sgt Johnson and Van. The owners had moved from the shore of Washington state and named the famous old southern mansion after their previous local as a joke and also a statement; the couples state of mind being somewhat maniac depressive after the move and remodel.

While the B & B had many handy references to the local history and attractions, it also was filled with nautical art reflecting the owner's origins. After a relaxing day by the pool, some great southern cooking at a local eatery where Thomas showed his companions the beauty of a "plate lunch", and an extraordinary dinner in Atlanta of fillet of sole and a delicious wine, the couples came back for some time to just sit and catch up.

Van and Jean took fuzzy navels down to poolside and settled in while the boys occupied the veranda sipping whiskey and smoking cigars. Paul and Tom talked about how well the B & B's owners' handled their operation as they caught fragmentary bits of conversation from the ladies beside the pool. Paul expressed his and Van's gratitude for the McCools handling the accommodations, especially since it had been done (out of necessity) in such secretive fashion. Because the paparazzi were in perpetual motion looking for new angles on the "Alley Cat" murders it had been necessary for McCool to let his friend be the mysterious stranger in all arrangements made.

Just then the owners stopped by to tell the men that they would be showing the movie "The Color Purple" in the ballroom that evening if they wished to see it. The gentlemen demurred and called down to the ladies to see if they were interested. "I guess we're sitting this one out" McCool replied. "But thanks for asking" he finished. "No problem" Harvey (the husband and co-owner) replied. As he walked away, Johnson commented on the still huge forearms of Harvey from his days as an Olympic hopeful on the parallel bars. "He's got to be close to sixty and still in good shape" the Sgt observed. "Yea, he stays that way from lifting the elephantine furniture when he and Ruth clean the public rooms" McCool said in his most sympathetic voice. "I know I wouldn't want to lug that heavy old furniture around" he concluded.

Music drifted up from the pool as Tom and Paul got down to business. "OK Paul, I've read what the newspapers have to say, but you said something about eco-terrorists; how do they fit in?" "I'm not sure they do, but here is what the evidence tells me and why I need your help on this one" the Sgt replied.

The Sgt went on to tell McCool that the fingerprints on the murder weapon in Miami had been those of a supposedly dead or at least out of circulation eco-terrorist, Claude Debaucherie. The Frenchman was rumored to have perished in 2005 during a failed attempt at bombing an offshore oil rig in the North Sea. Now his prints were on the murder weapon of the "Alley Cat" murders case.

McCool recalled the career of the Claude and his tenuous ties to the green earth and ecology movements. What few had known of Claude was that he had trained with the French secret service in the 90s and was adept with weapons, especially bladed weapons. He could have filleted a trout or a person with ease. In Thomas's opinion it was not a stretch that Claude was the murderer, but a motive was pretty hard to come by.

What the infamous Claude "the butcher" Debaucherie and the now horribly deceased "Eminem" had in common was hard to figure.

"Claude was cruel and vicious, but his attacks were usually on property with people just being secondary" McCool stated. "And they were always about environmental issues" he added. "What do you suppose is the environmental connection here?" Thomas wondered. It was still early on the west coast. McCool had some connections our there with the environmental activist crowd. He picked up his Sat-phone and dialed the first number.