Saturday, September 21, 2013

MOVING ON ... LIFE'S FULL OF THE UNEXPECTED ....

Hi, All,

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far. I am happy to say that I dove back into writing... YAY! It's been over a month since I wrote a single word on my current WIP... Thanks to my good friend, Denise Covery, I never would have even considered writing a 1940's film noir novella. I had written a flash fiction piece for an entry for the Romantic Friday Writers. It was this piece that started me the ball rolling and six entries later, I have a good start for a full novella.

Denise has now revamped the RFW and the Write ... Edit ... Publish ...  blog was born. Each month Denise chooses a prompt. This month it's "MOVING ON"... How appropriate. Especially after my demise of last month. I am certainly moving on from my accident and feel more like myself each day.

If you haven't visited Denise's new blog. PLEASE DO. I'm sure you'll enjoy the other entries and perhaps you'd like to join in the fun and hop along with us! You can post anything from poetry, photos, flash fiction or whatever strikes your fancy.

Here is my September entry. Many of you are familiar with the story. If you'd like a bit more back story click here for last month's entry. I hope you enjoy it... Tell me what you think.


The Palace Grill’s marquis barely penetrates the dim, charcoal sky, as the northwest winds sweep the downtown streets with the debris of once colorful autumn leaves.

All but one booth is empty. A flamingo pink polished hand raises a steaming cup of joe. Rosebud lips pucker and blow, sending vapor curls into an unsuspecting jukebox. A tinny click resonates and another selection begins to play. Rosemary glances at the shimmering, Lady Gruen curvex watch positioned strategically on her wrist.
The bell tinkles at the door and her eyes shift to a dumpy figure hidden under a policeman’s cap. With his head down and eyes averted , he trudges toward her. Leather soles squeak to the beat of Francis Craig crooning Near You. Each step quickens Rosemary’s heartbeat.

A gloved hand reaches inside his coat and pulls out a crumpled envelope. Rosemary extends her hand and grasps the letter. Silence louder than a sonic boom deafens her. 

“Thank you, officer.”

He tips his hat, turns, and leaves.

Rosemary stares at the envelope in her trembling fingers. Why didn’t he come? Breathing deeply, she frees the note and drops it onto the table, smoothing out the wrinkles.

Only seven words ink the plain stationary. 

In a flash, Rosemary slides out of the booth. She crams the paper into her pocket book, gathers her coat and suit case, and bolts to the door.

Dozens of headlights reflect off chrome bumpers streaking uptown. Rosemary flags a bright yellow, checkered taxi. The brakes grind to a stop. A moment later, a rumpled driver steps onto the sidewalk. Cigar ashes drop inches from Rosemary’s feet as he snatches the luggage and loads it into the trunk. He pulls the door open and stomps around to the driver’s side.

Rosemary slips into the peeling vinyl seat and gasps. A thick haze of cigar smoke suffocates whatever oxygen is present. She winds down the window and her lungs seer from the crisp outside air.

The cabby turns his head and another ash drifts close to her feet. “Where will it be, lady?” His eyes wander to her exposed calves and slowly work their way up to her face.

Heat radiates through her cheeks, tinting them with a hint of ruby. She clears her throat. “Chicago Air Park.” She is thrusted back into the seat as the taxi peels away from the curb.



*     *     *


Thick fingers drum the weathered desk as smoke rings curl into a caterpillar-like state. Haunting, bloodshot eyes read the same letter for the hundredth time. What can she possibly say to me? She’s a murderess. She’s lucky I don’t arrest her on the spot for Marty’s death.

He tosses the note into the gunmetal trash can. “I should go. Hear her side of it.” He slouches back into his desk chair and tears at his thick, raven hair. It had to be self defense. Marty was no alter boy.

The smoldering cigarette invites him to take another drag. Inhaling, his lungs fill. Slowly, like steam engine exhaust, the smoke escapes his throat. The minute hand on the clock continues to tick. Each click magnifying the urgency. He snuffs out the butt. As the smoke clears, the hour hand sweeps into the Ninth position.

By the next tock, he is gone.



A black and white pulls in front of the Palace Grill. The fedora hat nearly lifts off his head by an unanticipated gust of wind. He slams the door, takes a step, and nearly falls. He loosens the tail of his coat, rushes inside, and surveys the scene. A family of six sit a circular booth in the back corner. A young, teenage couple share a malted in the smallest booth. And other couples and families fill most of the remaining tables, but no Rosemary. 

He steps to the counter. 

“What’s buzzin cousin?” the waitress asks.

“Have you seen a blonde, young girl alone, earlier?” he asks in a gruff voice.

She eyes the detective like a hawk ready to devour its next meal. “She’s long gone, honey. But I get off in fifteen minutes.” She snaps her gum and winks at him.

“Did she say where she was going?”

The waitress didn’t answer.

“This is police business. You better tell me everything you know or I’ll run you in for questioning.”

Her face flushed. “All right, honey. Don’t flip your wig.” She snapped her gum again. “All I knows is, she had luggage with her and she was dressed pretty spiffy. I’d try the airport if I was you. That gussied up dame wasn’t goin on no bus or train.”

“Fine. I’ll check the airport first.” He turns on his scuffed wing tips and heads out the door.




A hazy moon beams through starched clouds on this All Hallows evening. Each one filled with icy flakes anxiously waiting to dust the streets of Chicago with its crystalized beauty. No longer do the winds rend. Only a quiet chill permeates the air, as two automobiles streak southwest toward the same destination.


Polished chrome wings reflect bright, incandescent rays on a single cinder runway. Frost lives in the brown-black vesicles, glinting fragments of starry light. Two figures appear and position a staircase in front of the aircraft door. 

Scantly dressed passengers cloaked in furs and overcoats wait inside the lobby. Only one more passenger is expected. A checkered taxi parallels the curb. The door opens. Rosemary steps out onto the sidewalk and rushes inside. The cabby drops her luggage at the curb and is gone in a flash.

The porter joins Rosemary a moment later. She hands him a bill and smiles. The young man pales. His freckles more noticeable than ever. “T-Thank you, miss.” His voice cracks.

Rosemary nods. 

An enormous stack of Louis Vuitton suitcases and trunks roll into sight. Rosemary glances at the tragic valise next to her and pulls the veil from the hat over her eyes. The porter lifts her bag and adds it to the top of the tram.

“Ten minutes to Boarding for flight 223 to Miami,” blasts from an overhead speaker. 

The elegant group of seasoned travelers gather and stroll merrily to the the gate. Chills run down Rosemary’s back. It’s time. My life will never be the same. She inhales and checks the seams in her silk stockings. She squares her shoulders and takes her first step.

“Rosemary.”

34 comments:

  1. So well told as always! Love the description of the cab driver. Felt as if I were there. Masterfully told, but now I'm wondering does poor Rosemary really get to move one?

    So glad to see you back at it! Excellent!

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  2. Wonderful that you have started writing again! I loved this...You made me feel as if I were back in time with your characters. This sultry style of writing suits you well!

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  3. Brilliantly written as always. Love the descriptions. Very powerful and absorbing. Glad to hear that your cast is off and no surgery required.

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  4. I'm coughing just reading the smoky description! Well done, Michael. And think she's busted.

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  5. Hello Michael! So very happy to hear you are back to your writing, which is, as always, very compelling. Keep doing great. :)

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  6. Michael, thanks for posting! Sorry I'm a bit late commenting, but it's Sunday here and I had a few other things to do before I could get to your story.

    No wonder I wait for this each month. I think your novella is going to be a winner. See how we all love it. Your characters, your settings (which are characters in their own right) and the atmosphere and language--you've got it all. Love your imagery such as: 'Silence louder than a sonic boom deafens her.' and so much more. This is the type of story I love to wallow in.

    Hmm. That detective is hot on Rosemary's tail. What's going to happen now. Next month the prompt is HAUNTING, so be prepared to start thinking about how that would fit into your 'noir'. What is haunting Rosemary? Or who?

    There were a couple of minor typos which you will pick up yourself, but nothing that took me out of the story.

    Thank you for going out of your way to write something for the bloghop. I know it must be hard, but you know how much I appreciate the effort.

    Denise

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  7. Enjoyed this excerpt, Michael. I'm intrigued at what the seven words were.

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  8. I'm glad you are feeling well enough to write again Michael. You've been through a lot the last couple months.

    Ahem: if you're up for job referrals, eFiction magazines is always looking for cover artists. Just keep scrolling down through this link, you'll see what I'm referring to:

    http://www.fictionmagazines.com/submissions/

    ......dhole

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  9. Well I hope Rosemary jumps on that plane with all the well heeled passengers!!!

    Bet she's no murderer - just misunderstood!

    Take care
    x

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  10. Wow, Michael....you are an amazing writer! I thoroughly enjoyed this. And congrats on being re-bitten by the writing bug. I just wen through a dry spell myself and finally pulled out of it last week, so I know what you're going through!!

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  11. I read this as if watching a movie - it grips the reader from the start and pulls us in. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I'm so glad your wrist is on the mend but don't over do it!

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  12. I love the hard-boiled detective feel. Very strong visual imagery. Great work, sir.

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  13. The Noir atmosphere is well done. Poor Rosemary -- is moving on in the cards for her? :-(

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  14. A cliffhanger. Does rosemary get away or will the detective capture her. Me thinks Miami isn't far enough, but it might have been in those days, Well written.

    My story is up.
    Nancy

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  15. Love it! You always include such great imagery. :)

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  16. UH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What happens next?!!!!!!

    Well done :)

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  17. It's like watching a movie. The way you tell it suits the scene and characters. Fast paced and edgy. Keep it coming!

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  18. Oh this is fantastic! You've taken me right to the story :D

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  19. Even though the sound was louder than a sonic boom, I swear I heard that paper crinkle.

    Nicely done~ And YAY! for writing again.

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  20. I've been out for a while but so glad to read your stories again. As usual, your imagery is exquisite and the story pulled me in fast. This was such a wonderful read!

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  21. Very nice! love it. And so glad to hear you are back to writing...hope the words are flowing. Best to you. hope you are feeling good.

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  22. Talk about a unique setting/genre. Awesome.

    I'm so glad you're back up and writing. A little at a time, eh?

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  23. It's a movie! I swear everything you write is just how a director would film his masterpiece... we can feel and see everything. It's so wonderful. You do this period SO WELL. It's a gift!

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  24. Geez, you know how to build the suspense, Michael. And I'm betting it's not who we're hoping it is at the end. Because that would be too easy. lol

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  25. Nice atmospheric piece of writing. Good for you for getting back to the pages.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  26. Does this mean you're able to type with both hands again? I hope so! :)

    Well done, my friend!

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  27. Oh, what a cruel place to stop! I want more right now. :D

    Amazing as always, Michael. Love your descriptions of the Palace Grill, I could see everyone there and loved the personality of the waitress. Details like that just add to the atmosphere of the story.

    So glad you're back to writing again and feeling more like your old self. :)

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  28. Hi Michael .. from seeing tv programmes I can envisage the setttings etc .. one does wonder where Rosemary is going in life - will she be able to move on, will she be held back, will she be able to start again .. so many questions - I guess I have to wait to the next session!

    Also glad you're settling back and life with your wrist is easier .. cheers Hilary

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  29. Michael, so glad you started writing again--you have a remarkable gift! Your descriptive writing is fantastic and enthralling. We need more...

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  30. I like the atmosphere you've captured in this piece. Also felt her disappointment when he doesn't appear and then with the sound of her name, I imagine how her heart must have leapt.

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  31. Hooray that you're back to writing. You know, your lush background image makes a nice backdrop to reading this lush story - so beautifully detailed.

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  32. Hi Michael,

    A wonderful read. I'm so glad that you are continuing your noir story. Your characters come alive with your first words. Wonderful descriptions from start to finish. You really know how put us there!

    I am very sorry to hear that have had some kind of accident. Hope everything will be alright. I have had a horrible summer and have been too selfish to even think that anyone else can have problems. Shame on me.

    But here you are again, back to writing with the same sparkle that is your unique gift.

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments about my story.
    I am hoping to make it longer, but my writing time is short. My offline life, as far as work is concerned, is chaotic right now.

    For what it's worth, I have put your new link on my blog.

    The children are fine. Thanks for asking. You can see photos of them here:

    Anna's ISWG for August: Dealing with Practical Problems

    Anna's ISWG for September


    Best wishes & hugs,
    Anna

    For the benefit of other readers:
    Anna's W-E-P-Challenge for September: Moving on...

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  33. I'm rather late popping in to read your WEP story... but I've been really caught up with family commitments in the last 10 days...
    Great writing as per usual!
    I was there... in the moment...

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