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Should I continue with this?

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notpalmerstoat



Joined: 16 Apr 2005
Posts: 3
Should I continue with this?  Reply with quote  

I don't post a lot but I'm a frequent reader of the site. I'd appreciate anyone who has a great deal of patience to offer some comments. I just started writing this and I have a good idea where it will go. So...any thoughts? I know, it's kinda long, sorry. Thanks in advance!
_______________________________________________________

On the first day of June, after midnight on an unseasonably cool night, Eddie was walking by the side of the road, having ditched his broken-down car. He was returning to his apartment after a night of drinking and playing pool at a bar called Dunleavey's on the island. Had his blood alcohol level been lower, Eddie might have been able to appreciate the strong salty breeze rolling across the marsh and whipping through the palm trees that lined the side of the road. But all Eddie could think about was maintaining his balance and trying not to heave the seventeen beers and hundreds of peanuts he had consumed over the course of the evening.

Just before the car went out on him, he had thanked his lucky stars that he'd made it over the bridge and was a mere two miles from home with no cop in sight. Driving drunk was a regular practice for Eddie, and when he looked at it that way, he realized how true the old saying was: Practice makes perfect. He'd never been caught.

Stumbling along, thinking about the evening that had just ended and dreading the day that was about to begin, everything in his world went suddenly black.

He didn't see his shadow cast by the light coming from behind, didn't hear the engine, didn't feel the impact. Drunken comfort one moment, pitch blackness the next. Not even time to think, "Goddamn, I've been hit by a car!"

Edward James Montgomery, 38, died on impact.

****

Hours earlier, Web Pickett had decided to get drunk. And why not? Web could almost never find a reason to ruin a perfectly fine evening with the boredom of sobriety. He had, like most afternoons, stopped at the restaurant he owned to pick up a to-go box containing a sloppy cheeseburger and french fries. His plan for the night wouldn't leave much time for food so he had to get that out of the way. Then he drove to a strip club, dribbling ketchup and mustard down the front of his shirt, dropping every third or fourth fry in the space between the seat and the armrest, and slurping greedily from the straw in his Styrofoam cup of Dr. Pepper.

A regular at the topless club, Web was well known among the dancers. He was notoriously freewheeling with cash, for one thing, buying lots of drinks for himself and the dancers and spending hundreds of dollars per visit on dances at his table and in the private rooms. He was on a first name basis - his first name, their stage names - with most of the girls who were in turn always friendly, offering hellos and hugs when he arrived. They were not, of course, genuinely interested in Web. They were interested in emptying his wallet.

Not all of the dancers were so eager to see Web in the joint, and more than a few of them had a problem with Web's penchant for groping. The clubs No Touching policy was supposed to be strictly enforced by the bouncers, but Web had managed to figure out that excessively tipping the bouncers created a more liberal atmosphere, and they would usually look away as long as the girl wasn't screaming or slapping Web. Which had happened once, but the girl ended up quitting when management refused to ban Web from entering the club while she was working.

Web would spend two of three hours in the club at least three times a week and had he ever stopped to calculate the cost, he would have discovered that he was spending somewhere on the order of a thousand dollars a week on this form of entertainment. His salary allowed for such excess. Being a rich bachelor made it easy; being a lonely horndog made it necessary.

That was how it had been for years: paying profusely for a rotation of nude dancers, tipping bouncers, buying drinks.

Until one day when he walked into the club and saw a girl on stage whom he'd never seen before. The girl called herself "Stormy." She was physically unlike any dancer Web had ever seen and he was immediately transfixed by her curves and her moves as she danced back and forth across the stage, awash in the glow of multi-colored strobes, stopping occasionally to make seductive use of the pole. She even had a faint sprinkling of glitter on her shoulders. Sensory overload.

Web noticed early on that she seemed genuinely friendly and, to the delight of his insatiable ego, interested in hearing him talk. A newbie, Web thought regrettably. Unfortunately, she'd learn the ropes, and all too soon.

Stormy had become accustomed to the stereotypical clientele, mostly simple harmless partiers who wanted to drink and see a little flesh. They most often came to the club in groups. They could get rambunctious at times, but Stormy had yet to see a display of behavior that might make her quit.

Some guys came to the club alone. Like Web Pickett. Web was overweight, Stormy figured by at least fifty pounds, and he carried it poorly, not even attempting to suck it in like some of the other guys she'd danced for. She thought initially that he wore a toupee but later figured it must be real - who would buy a rug that looked like a tangle of dry hay? Still, Stormy tried nobly not to judge the customers. After all, she wasn't there looking for potential romance. Ugly guys, fat guys, bald guys - none of that mattered compared to how much money they were looking to spend. On her second night, Stormy had raked in over a hundred dollars from a half-senile man on a respirator.

So the afternoon that Web first saw Stormy, she became his one and only target for the afternoon. He spent all his money on table dances from the new talent. By the time he left, Web was in love.

It didn't take long for him to make Stormy an offer (including the phrase: "a friggin' shitload of money"). Within a month she was visiting his front beach home at least once a week. She was compensated generously for her time by Web Pickett, who was now saving lots of money since he was no longer spending it on the other strippers.

Most of their rendezvous were set up by phone but every once in a while Web would drop by the club. Paranoia being what it is, and Web being who he is, he felt it necessary to maintain the illusion that he was getting his thrills only in the club. Of course, once he had stopped paying them, the other girls didn't give a rat's ass if he ever darkened the doorway again. Most were also relieved they wouldn't have to fight off his meandering hands or his requests to "come on, honey, jes sit on lap, jes fer a minute?" So Web showed his face every once in a while, to make sure things appeared above-board.

Which is why he was now in the club, sitting at a table with Stormy. He'd been begging her to leave the club with him. She refused, citing the fact that she'd get fired if she skipped out during a shift. Web sighed and offered her "five hunnert" dollars. She laughed - endearingly, not snidely - and put her hands on his. "Tomorrow, I promise," she said, and then thought, Is he falling in love with me? They guy's getting a little too attached and much to demanding. Clingy, was a good word for it. But the money, she could really use the money.

They reached a compromise. The club would be closing in two hours and she'd go home with him then.

"Hallelujah," Web said, and ordered another highball.

Two hours and fifteen minutes later they were in the car, driving over the causeway back to Web's home on the island. They had had a slight argument in the strip club parking lot, Stormy wanting to drive because Web was drunk, Web insisting he was fine. "Plus, you can count your money on the way home," Web argued, and Stormy gave in.

Web put a CD in the player, his pink stubby fingers half-rhythmically drumming the steering wheel along to Bad Company's "Feel Like Making Love." Riding shotgun, Stormy was counting her earnings in her lap. She'd started to develop a mild headache from all the second-hand smoke she'd inhaled during her shift, so when Web rolled down the window to smoke she asked him if he could wait. Plus, she hadn't worked all night so her money could blow out the window and over the side of the bridge to be washed out to sea, for God's sake.

Driving across the causeway, approaching the drawbridge, she asked him to turn on the overhead light. He did, and when he saw all the money in her lap - ones, tens, fives twenties...there must be a thousand bucks there!- he was momentarily distracted from the road. The car swerved. Stormy laughed and said he'd better pay attention to the driving.

"It's late, sweetie," he said. "No one else is on the road."

"If you get pulled we'll be even later getting back to your place," she tried to reason with him.

She had a point, Web had to admit to himself. The last thing he wanted was to wait even longer to get her in his bed.

Five seconds later Web's eyes were again drawn to Stormy's lap and the pile of money, which seemed to be getting larger, but Web chalked that up to his boozy perception. He also gazed at her legs, long and tanned and, with her skirt riding up, exposed nearly all the way to her hip. Anticipating what was to happen once they were back at his place, Web excitedly floored the gas.

That's when the car struck something. Web hit the brakes and cut the wheel. The car rumbled to a stop on the shoulder of the road.

Stormy couldn't see what they'd hit. Had they swerved again and hit one of the roadside palms? Didn't sound like it, and she didn't see a tree nearby. Maybe a small bush or one of those orange traffic cones, she thought. All of these thoughts rushed quickly, between the time she felt the impact and the car stopped and she looked up to see dirt swirling in the beams of the headlights.

"Holy Shit, didja see that?" Web said.

"No, and apparently neither did you, until it was too late. What was it, a cone?"

Web sat silently, looking out the windshield.

"Helloooooo," sang Stormy, waving her hand in front of his face. "You awake?"

"Holy Christ," he said again.

Stormy started to get out of the car but Web grabbed her arm and held her back.

"Don't," he said. "I gotta back up without running over him again."

"Him?" Stormy, incredulous. "Was it a dog? Don't tell me it was a dog. Oh, God, a cat! You ran over a kitty!"

"It was a guy, a fucking human. Shit, he's gotta be dead. You hear anything?"

Stormy sat in shocked silence. Some of her cash had fallen to the floorboard when the car suddenly stopped. She looked over at Web whose face had taken on a deep shade of red, redder than Stormy had ever seen it, even in the height of ferocious sex.

Stormy reached into her purse and pulled out her cell phone. This broke Web's trance.

"What the hell are you doing?" he screamed.

"Calling for help." She flipped open the phone. It beeped twice and the little blue lights flickered to life.

Web reached over and snatched it from her hand. "Help? The bastard ain't moving. Ain't making no noise. And for crap's sake, I'm half blitzed with a hooker in my car! And you want to call for help!"

Stormy didn't appreciate the slur but she didn't say anything, just started retrieving the cash that was strewn all over the console and floorboard.

All of this would have been bad enough, but nothing in Web's Pickett's life was complete without complication of the highest order. He'd swindled a lot of people, for money or other gain, but he'd never killed anyone before, even by accident. And now, virtually on the eve of announcing his candidacy for mayor, he sat behind the wheel of his car, drunk, a prostitute in the passenger seat, and a dead man ground into the gravel below.

"Web, we have to do something!"

"We are," he said. "We're getting the hell outta here."

Post Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:29 pm   View user's profile Send private message
uncleskwrly
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continue  Reply with quote  

I've read quite a bit of CM's fan submissions and yours was one I wanted to read more of. I vote you continue.

Post Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:46 pm   
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 Reply with quote  

Hey, why'd ya quit, I was getting into it!

Post Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:10 pm   
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