Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Are There No Workhouses???

“If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"”

Now if you'll all excuse me, there's a boy down the street, a lad with a crutch and lisp. I think I shall go and mock him till he cries.

Merry Christmas. You may all have the day off...provided your work is done. 


Monday, December 15, 2008

X-Files:I Want To Believe---revisited

With the X-Files film coming out on DVD, people are going to have a second opportunity to revisit two of the most likeable characters in science fiction and fantasy, Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. In my opinion this film got short shrift when released. Perhaps expectations were set too high, perhaps it shouldn't have been released along with the summer blockbusters, perhaps people were hoping for a story that fit with the canon. Whatever the case, if you haven't seen this film and you are a fan, this is a dvd that should be part of the collection.

I'll agree that it breaks little new ground and that the story isn't mind-boggling. Instead, it nestles in the consciousness as another X-Files episode, perhaps sitting there between the episode about the psychic who sees his own death and the videogame come to life. It's a story about faith and it gives us a complex character, a pedophile priest who is asking for forgiveness and redemption. I would argue the paranormal issues are almost secondary to the reclaimation of Fox Mulder and the moral issues raised by the priest and Dana in her attempts to save the life of an innocent as she fights against hospital bureacracy to employ experimental and uncertain treatment her patient.

This isn't a big budgeted affair. It's quieter than you would expect. The characters are in pain and the plot, improbable and at times unfathomable, takes a back seat to their inner dilemnas.

So, rent this, buy it...give it...but watch it. Just don't expect thrilling car chases, multiple explosions, and strange flying saucers. This is a story about the need of people to connect with one another and to find something to give meaning to their brief lives.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Does She Show?

Several people seem to wonder if the woman at the bar would have gone to Maloney. I was actually surprised that would even be considered. Still, as I continue to consider writing a prequel to a book that I am unsuccessfully marketing, I couldn't help but respond to L.A., who wrote: "When do we find out if she shows up?" and SQT: "Yes. L.A. has the only pertinent question here. When do we get to see if she shows up"

L.A and SQT....this is for you. I'm still outlining this novel, but I wrote this to give me a feel for where Maloney might be at this point in his existence. And this is the last of these for a long time. I have another novel to finish and probably a few short stories. Maloney will have to wait. Unless someone here wants to publish the original novel.

Charlie stood with his hands spread away from his body. His blue eyes blinked rapidly and Maloney wondered if the man was about to start crying.

"You said you never killed no one," said Charlie.

"I never have," said Maloney, transfering the gun from one hand to the other and sitting on the sofa. He fluffed a pillow and leaned back. "It doesn't mean I won't."

"But you won't," said Charlie, the man's voice sounding more at ease. "Manny knows I'm here. Manny sent me. You better stop playing games, James, and turn over Manny's cut."

"Walk around the room, Charlie. I want to see you walk."

"What's that mean?"

"It means 'walk'.

Charlie smiled. His eyes narrowed as if he was trying to read Maloney's thought. "What's this, then?"

"That bag in the back of your car. It took me time to realize who it belonged to. At first, I was skeptical. You're not that brave, Charlie. You're not that independent. I figure, it was a matter of bad timing. Sharlene probably pressured and manipulated you, but Manny won't see it that way. He'll assume you were disloyal."

Charlie opened his mouth, but Maloney stopped him with a dismissive gesture. "I'm not the one who you have to convince. Manny might have believed you when you told him that I didn't pay up, but when he finds out about Charlene, he'll figure I'm telling the truth, and besides being the kind of guy who steals his boss's girlfriend, that you're also the sort of shlub would probably cheat him out of money. I've earned some cred with Manny. Now walk."

"Why am I walking?" Chrarlie whined.

"Because I want you to."

A knock at the door interrupted them. Maloney saw the expression of relief cross Charlies face.

"Come in," he called.

The door opened and the woman from the bar stepped in. As instructed she wore no makeup and kept her head down.

Maloney checked his watch. "9:58. That's cutting it close."

"What is this?" asked Charlie.

Maloney instructed her to sit on the floor by his feet.

"Now walk," said Maloney. He aimed the gun at Charlie's head and the man started moving, stepping uncertainly, awkwardly.

"I want to watch you move. No, not like that Charlie. I want you to strut. Don't just move in circles. Let me see you put something into it. Give us something special. Excite me."

Charlie started to move a bit more fluidly. He went to one side of the room, paused, then returned with an athletic prowess. He paused, hands on his hips. "Is that enough?"

"It's never enough," whispered Maloney. "Now walk, and if you please me, if you please us, you might just get that money that you came for."

Charlie started walking again, strutting aggressively, his shoulders swaying with each step.

"Take your shirt off."

Charlie froze. "Oh, come on, James. This is enough. I'm not taking off my damn shirt."

"Then you won't get your money."


Charlie glared at him and began to unbutton his shirt.

Maloney nodded, reaching down with his free hand and stroking the hair of the woman beside him.

"He's pretty, isn't he?" asked Maloney.

She nodded.

"And do you want to know the best part? One of us isn't going to live to see the dawn."

He felt her flinch under his touch. Grabbing a handful of hair, he pulled her closer. "I didn't say you would be the one. "

Charlie watched them. He dropped his shirt.

"And then, I didn't say you wouldn't, " added Maloney.

Friday, December 05, 2008

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Jon recently read a chapter from the novel I am working on. Remarking on the villain he said: "It's Maloney. He's changed, altered, but he's Maloney." I disagreed vehemently, describing that my inspiration for the vile character had been more along the lines of Clancy Brown's Rev. Justin Crowe. Granted, both men are amoral and both are the heads of a perverse religious community, but I don't think the two are alike. So, here's to Jon, a reminder of Maloney (what follows is new, mostly written for my own benefit)...

Maloney's gray eyes penetrated the bar's smoky interior, scrutinizing every detail about her, analyzing and catergorizing until he could break her down into manageable parts. That being done, he slipped from the bar stool and began his walk.

"I don't want to know your name," he said.

She was the sort who was probably stunning in high school and who mistakenly thought adulthood raised her beauty. "I'm sorry?" she responded.

Maloney sat next to her, enjoying the look of consternation. "I saw you were sitting alone and it was obvious you wanted company."

"Well, you're wrong," she said. She adjusted her professional attire, pulling up a collar, pulling down a hemline. "I'm not looking to get picked up."

"I don't pick people up," Maloney commented. "That's way too much work."

She turned away from him and focused her attention on the dance floor. Maloney watched her, recognizing the dismissive gesture but refusing to accept it. When she turned back , he still watched her, his face unexpressive.

"Why don't you go away?" she said with undisguised annoyance. "I don't want to be bothered. I don't want you here.

With a grin he placed a hundred dollar bill on the table.

"What is that for? What do I look like?"

Maloney pursed his lips. "I'm staying at the Kramer. Room 302. Be there by ten."

The shock on her face pleased him. He shut his eyes and inhaled the moment. When it passed, he opened his eyes again and ran a finger along the side of her face. She cringed, but didn't pull back.

"You're a sexist pig," she said. "You're disgusting."

"This isn't about sex," replied Maloney, his voice flat.

He stood to leave. She took the hundred dollar bill and slowly ripped it in two. The halves fluttered to the ground.

"Don't worry. There's more where that came from. When you come, make sure you aren't wearing makeup. Also, keep your eyes down. Don't look directly at me."

She slowly held up a middle finger.

"By ten," he said. "One minute after and you won't be let in."

He turned and walked toward the exit. On his way out he paused to tap another woman on the shoulder, someone who didn't look old enough to be drinking. Maloney bent over and kissed her, holding the kiss until everyone who noticed turned away in discomfort. . He broke away and whispered something in her ear. As she burst into tears, he grinned and winked.

"Ten O' Clock," he called over his shoulder without looking back. 

She'd be there.

[and mike, wherever you level of depravity is a far deeper well than you could ever fathom]