NaNoWriMo is on my mind. I have been attempting it. I also have been flailing sadly at how out of sorts I have been with my own storytelling- the only creative endeavor in which I find any creative flow.
As it were, I had picked up The 3 A.M. EPIPHANY by Brian Kiteley about ten years ago from Borders Books. I wouldn’t say I was intimidated by the work that would go into it, but rather the fact that I wasn’t ready. The book was forgotten and gathered dust on my bookshelf… shame on me.
That said, as I was looking through my personal library for my BOOKSHELF ACADEMY series, I pulled this off the shelf and perused it, promising myself that I WOULD indeed do the exercises and, hell, why not post them as well?
I thought I had done the first exercise but it wasn’t to be found on any hard drive, but I suspect it may live in typed form- playing on an old Smith-Corona Classic 12 that I had found at an estate sale; something about channeling Hemmingway, Kerouac, and Asimov. Meh. I suspect they would all willingly use a laptop with Word had one been accessible, but I digress.
Here’s the first exercise in what will likely become another attempt at legacy in some form or another. There’s very little editing- it could probably use some, but moving on:
Exercise #1: THE RELUCTANT “I” (624 words) 11/11/18
The exercise asked to write in the first person, but keep the amount of “I’s” to a maximum of two… I managed three by using “my” as a crutch. I also realized I tend to do too many grisly endings.
There were about a million pieces to this investigation that nobody could fit together. All clues, all pertinent, but nothing was gelling. Perhaps it was all a matter of coincidence? It was likely the lack of sleep and coffee. The city doesn’t sleep, and apparently, we’re not supposed to either.
Charlie had enough. He was in my office looking through the day's report, laying across my couch as if someone were going to listen to his childhood problems.
“You realize that once Mrs. McCleavy lawyers up, this case is lost.” He said, not taking his eyes off the casefile photos of Mr. McCleavy’s remains in the kitchen, the bathroom, the livingroom, and the back patio.
There’s nothing to say but shake one’s head at the entire mess. “There’s no way she could have done this anyway. What is she? Ninety?”
“Sixty-four,” The words were dry and telling- there was no way my throat could keep the pitch low, “And she worked out. She may be tiny, but she looks strong.”
Charlie darted up and walked over to the office door. The office was empty save for the night dispatch and some snoring down by the holding cells. He turned around and looked straight at my eyes with a tremor.
“What does she do for a living?” He asked slowly. He knew, but he putting the pieces together.
“She’s employed by… hold on,” All the papers had become scattered and it took a second to dig out her personal information. “Ah, here it is… Genome Dynamics.”
Charlie pulled out his phone and ran a quick search.
“Genome Dynamics. There isn’t much, but they do look like they have quite a bit of government contracts.” Suddenly, a call lit up his face.
“Weird. This is a D.C. area code.”
“Well, answer it.”
Charlie shrugged and took the call. “Detective Watts.”
A sudden ear-splitting sound shrieked into his ears and he dropped the phone. Still staring at me, his arm fell to his side and he collapsed to the floor, a steady pool of blood began to grow about his head.
“Charlie!” I jumped over to him- the phone continued its deafening shrill- grabbing it and hung it up. It was hard, pulling Charlie unto my arms and pulled my own phone out dialing 911- only to get a busy signal.
“Damn it!” Looking down at Charlie, he was beginning to convulse – I tore one of my shirt sleeves off to try to stop the flow of blood now coming out of his mouth, nose, and eyes.
Running to the door and screaming at Old Sarge on dispatch- “Get on the radio and call in an ambulance! NOW!” Sarge hasn’t moved like that in likely fifteen years. Gotta give him credit.
The tremors stopped and he let out one last breath- a hollow rattle that never leaves you. Jumping on his chest the compressions we learned in basic training came back, but blowing down into his mouth only gave me a mouthful of blood. Spitting it out and continuing, but he wasn’t getting air- as if there was nowhere for the air to go. Sitting back and wiping my mouth, looking over at the night dispatch officer who had pulled over the cb radio.
“He was gone the second he hit the floor, Lieutenant. Was nuttin’ you could do.” Old sarge was right.
Sirens howled in the distance and shouts came from the drunk tank. The paramedics came in, again trying to revive old Charlie and hitting him with voltage to kickstart his ticker… Sarge screaming into the dispatch and calling in the Chief.
I looked down at the report and knew fine and well that this case, the mauling of Mr. McCleavy was out of our league.