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Opening lines - comments?

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Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Posts: 34
Location: Minnesota
Opening lines - comments?  Reply with quote  

Ghosts or Spooks or Haunts.
Those things that go bump in the night. The cold breeze on the back of your neck. The step on the stairway, the voice in the attic, the half-seen figure at the foot of the bed.
Dead people.
And not normal dead people.
Listen - 98% of all dead people lead after lives that mirror their former life – un-remarkable, forgettable. If it wasn’t for a piece of marble or granite there would be noth-ing to mark their passage, nothing to remind the world that they had been here. For most of us that marker is the first truly permanent address we’ve ever had.
Cremated guys don’t even get that. Sorry bastards.
It’s that other 2% that you have to look out for - the Type A’s, the over achievers, those people with unfinished business, those people with a mission, an agenda - that cause the dog to whine and make you reach for the light switch when you’re home alone.
Here’s the thing; every life has a final chapter. We spend most of our lives writ-ing it, watching the grammar and spelling and punctuation, double-spacing and playing with the font size, trying to stretch it out as much as possible. Nobody wants to write that last sentence, nobody wants the story to end. But it does. And it always comes as sur-prise. We smoke a pack-and-a-half of Winstons a day. We eat as much as we want whenever we want. We drink too much beer and ride our motorcycles. We let our goofy friend Jimmy, who really knows how to use a canoe, stand on the gunnels and cast for Brown trout on the Brule river, which is, of course, perfectly safe and acceptable - never mind that it’s late October, the wind is blowing out of the north and the water tempera-ture is only slightly above freezing.
This is how this part of your story ends. Cancer eats your face, your heart stops pumping, run your Harley into a tree or drown. You’re dead. No more playing the lot-tery hoping for a miracle. You’re dead. No more explaining to your girlfriend that it was just a game and you had been drinking and you promise to never ever ask her to do that again. You’re dead. The best you can hope for is that when your time comes those peo-ple entrusted with the care and prepping of your earthly remains idea of fun doesn’t in-clude anything overly intimate, cigars, funny hats or Polaroid cameras.
Because, after all, you’re dead.

--- stuff happens, and then ---

It was dark, after nine when they pulled into the driveway. There was a light burning in a window that wasn’t supposed to be on. He grabbed an armful of gear, got the dog out of the car and they walked through the porch into his kitchen. It was pretty much the way he had left it; dishes in the sink, jar of peanut butter and loaf of bread on the table.
But there was a pile of his stuff in the middle of the room – Guitars, cameras, shotguns and, standing right behind that pile, Roy.
Roy Nash is a weedy looking guy with glasses, gloves, thinning hair and a gun stashed in his pocket. Ron has seen him around, mostly in bars. He’s in his mid-fifties, a nervous, twitchy little guy who hears voices. He lacks the social skills necessary to be a really good criminal and if it wasn’t for the voices egging him on, he wouldn’t have had the nerve to sneak into somebody else’s house. If he and his voices hadn’t gotten greedy and just left with a guitar or the stereo or something else equally fungible, he would have been gone by the time Ron got home.
But they had, they hadn’t and he wasn’t.
People have habits. You have habits. Like tugging an ear or scratching your chin. Like saying ‘umm’ or ‘uh’ or playing with your glasses before answering a ques-tion or making a decision. It’s a way of buying time, especially in stressful situations, while arranging your thoughts or figuring a course of action. Some people shuffle their feet or whistle. Some people swear.
Roy looked at Ron, played with his glasses, and said, “Fuck.”
Ron scratched his chin, shuffled his feet and tried to whistle. Recognizing a bad situation that was only going to get worse said, “Yeah... Fuck.” There just didn’t seem like anything else to say.
Roy shot Ron.
Once in the chest.
Bullets are cunning, insistent little devils, and this particular bullet was more cun-ning than most. Maybe not the magic bullet that did Kennedy in, but certainly a close second. Entering the body just below the sternum, he danced around the chest cavity rip-ping up organs and blood delivery systems until he got tired of it and forced his way out from just below the left shoulder blade. He knocked a lottery ticket off the fridge, bounced off the stove and ended up hiding in Scratch’s food dish.
Ron ended up on the floor, slumped against a cabinet, sitting in a widening pool of blood and body fluids.

--- again, stuff happens, and then ---

Elizabeth Miesner is the Chief of Police. In Rivers Fork this has been a hereditary position. Not that she didn’t earn the position or wasn’t qualified but her great-grandfather was the first person paid to protect the peace, her grandfather was the first real chief and when her father was killed, she took over the family business. She’s also going to be the last of the Miesners to hold this position. An only child, she has no chil-dren of her own, and at 46, she’s not likely to have any. Elizabeth is a big girl, over six feet and weighs what she should. She’s not fat, she’s solid and has curves – excellent, dangerous curves, all in the right places and properly proportional, just bigger.
Generous, happy curves and she usually keeps them hidden behind her uniform and Sam Browne. Under her cop’s hat she has long hair the color of an old penny that’s seen one too many pockets.

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