Chapter 16…

Geez. There goes another pair of 40- dollar JC Penney Jordans. I just can’t have anything nice, as my mom used to say. But I don’t recall anyone throwing up on her shoes. Probably me, I suppose. Oh, well.

” You know, I was totally buying the whole ‘ Lana Turner- film noir’ thing, but I think it’s safe to say you just shot that whole thing in the ass.  Given your delicate constitution, you probably keep  cleaning supplies and contractor bags in the trunk, so I’ll just grab one of those and cut some arm holes in it. Can I get you one too?”

” Sorry, I’m having a rough morning. You may very well have noticed. Many people might have, if they could only see past their donut obsession.”

Wryness…gone straight to unabashed sarcasm.

I have often had that effect on women. They just can’t help themselves, the poor things. Seething resentment was likely only a few minutes away.

” That is a perfectly healthy obsession, little miss. Not just donuts…Allie’s. Allie’s Donuts. Certainly, you’ ve had them. You weren’t raised in a cave, were you?”

” Please stop talking about food. Please.”

” Allie’s donuts are not food. Broccoli is food. Cauliflower is food. Cauliflower in the wrong hands could easily be a weapon. Allie’s donuts, by comparison, are the glue that holds Western society together. Chocolate crullers with a delicate whipped German chocolate filling…made by angelic creatures who only aspire to provide nutrients to mere mortals in a form they might recognize. And the icing is only to keep them from floating away altogether.”

” Well, you stay right here and use up all the oxygen you want, then. I’m going inside. I need to freshen up. And don’t you dare to come into Jenn’s house with those shoes on… sorry about that, by the way.”

” If there’s a garden hose around, I can make do with that.”

” Just around to the right there.”

I followed her in a few minutes later. She hadn’t seemed to react to my question about the car until I asked it…odd. Maybe she was lying about the car being there to begin with…or maybe had forgotten that she had said that it was there.

But if it had been here earlier…then someone had been here in the meantime.

Thinking that I shouldn’t have let her go in alone, I saw her standing in the middle of the living room. It had been completely trashed…shattered TV on the floor, framed photos broken, and sofa cushions that had been cut open.

She turned and started to speak, and I quickly motioned for her not to. Whoever did this might have taken the car if it was ever here, or might still be in the house. There may be more than one person involved in this, too.

I kept her attention while I slowly took my Springfield XDS .45 out of the shoulder holster- the only reason to wear a bulky jacket on a warm day. Released the safety and pointed it at the floor.

She didn’t even flinch.

Pretty damned ‘ film noir’, I thought to myself. Bogart would have liked this girl.

I was beginning to like her a little, too.

A phone rang, and she made a high- pitched panicky noise. My heart slammed into the top of my throat, finally dislodging that little bit of Allie’s cruller that had been stuck there for two hours now.

The phone call went to the cover message. It was the first time I had heard Jenn’s voice in over two years. And felt a touch of vertigo… it sounded so normal, so Jenn…

As I stood in her trashed house, with a drawn weapon, eyes locked on her panic- stricken sister.

Yes. She was definitely, absolutely having a rough morning.





OK, just one more intermission, and then back to The Book. BTW, The Book is still open to collaboration, if anyone chooses. As long as your addition seems to advance the storyline downfield, and doesn’t just go sideways. No extraneous guitar solos, if you will.

Anyway. I am out of work these last two days, having recently had big burly men hold me down and extract an old wisdom tooth. And, I asked for it, and paid for it to boot. This proves that for as dumb as I was pre- extraction, I am now dumber still. And, I now have a total aversion to tools of all sorts. Especially vice grips.

So. Have been noodling all day, while the 24/7 Perpetual Television plays in the background. The View has been on, and I have just observed…that a scott is a scott is a scott. And that is a joy to behold.

I speak of Denis Leary. He’s out promoting something, and is doing all the talk shows. He is a scott of the first order.

And in stark comparison to the edgy, dangerous vibe you generally get from younger scotts, Denis is older, much more in control, relaxed, and an absolute master of All Things Scott.

All the tools are still there, and being used so skillfully that you anticipate his arrival, thoroughly enjoy his effortless dominance of the environment, hope that you might be the object of his skillful deployment of such, and find yourself wanting his visit to last even longer. He told a great story about meeting President Obama, and managed to sit beside Barbara Walters with his hand on her knee.

Flawless. Owned it completely, and gracefully relinquished control back to the View girls as he left.
Late last night, I watched him do the same on the Seth Meyers show. Seth is a roger of the first order, and had the good sense to play the support role, ceding the workspace to the clearly more experienced professional. Fabulous.

A good scott is a beautiful thing.

Editor’s Desk…

Just wanted to give a quick welcome to a few new readers, and a short explanation of how this blog is set up; should help to alleviate initial confusion.

This is a two-column blog. One column is comprised of Posts, which is what you’re reading right now. The other column consists of the Work Area, where you and everyone else on the planet is invited to assist in the writing of a collaborative novel. The work is well under way, and so far we have offerings from four writers, myself included. You are certainly encouraged and welcome to take part. There are rules involved; they are posted in the ” About the Rag” footnote. Current additions are submitted as comments in Work Area #2, under reply.

To mention one curiosity for the sake of new readers; Posts are listed in reverse order. The most current one is what you’ll see when you first check in; the first one ever is at the very bottom of the list.This makes it a bit harder for the reader if I use Posts to tell a concurrent theme or story ( as I am currently), because the entries appear backwards.

I am currently using the Post area to highlight the town of Leadville CO, where the novel that is being written takes place.

So… the Post area runs alongside of the Work area ( where the novel is ). The Posts are written solely by me and are generally likely to support the novel as it goes along. ( This explains why the Opera House in Leadville is about to be inhabited by a motley crue of interesting dead people). Posts are like my own personal finger-painting area; good fun and good therapy.

You are also welcome to reply to any post in the way of a comment. Always good to get feedback. Go ahead and be critical if you like; I’ll just ask Doc and Roland to go out and discuss it with you. ( See? That is an example of a teaser, and now you’re supposed to go back through the  posts to find out who the hell they are, and what that even means). I reserve the right to make up terminology as I go along; that’s one of the benefits of being the Editor.

So, welcome again, and thanks for your patronage. And please consider getting involved in the writing; there is nothing quite as terrifying as writing something and hitting the “submit” button for the first time, knowing that your words are smeared across eternity for …well, eternity. ( Unless, of course, you ask me to edit something out).

.36 or .44?…

With so much ado about Leadville lately, Rag residents were quite pleased to receive Doc Holliday at the gates this morning. He says he’s just feeling nostalgic for the old place, and Roland is thrilled to have another gun enthusiast on board. Doc ‘s never seen shell casings before, and Roland can’t figure out how to reload Doc’s nickel-plated 1851 Colt Navy revolvers. The trick , says Doc, is…don’t bother. Even for a experienced guy, it still takes four or five minutes to reload a cap-and-ball. Just keep extra pre-loaded cylinders on hand, and reload them later on, when things quiet down a bit. Says he got that from a guy who served in Bedford-Forrest’s cavalry. They’d go into a charge with a revolver in each hand ( 12 shots ), and always admired how dashing the Yankees looked with their sabers flashing, just before they shot them out of their saddles.

Doc is wondering if we might consider having Joseph and Millie working from his old hang in Leadville. It was called Hyman’s then; now Doc Holliday’s Bar and Grill. I said that I thought that the Manhattan or the Silver Dollar had a better look, and he seemed a tad disappointed. He says its OK, though, because he’s my huckleberry…

I quickly change the subject.” Were his Colts .36, or .44 cal.? No one seems to know”,  I say. He snorts derisively. ” .36, of course. Colt Navy? Ring a bell? Shorter barrel, lighter, faster? As in ” not Army? Hello? Hellooo?”

” Where were you brought up, son? Ever use one of these before?”

” Rhode Island”, I say. ” I’ve got a Remington .36, I like the reinforced band  and the safety setting on the cylinder. Colts don’t have that.” 

Colts don’t have that”  he sneers. ” What, are you afraid somebody might get hurt with it, girlie? Think you might shoot yourself in the foot, farm hand? Grow up, get a real gun…Rhode Island? I ought to plug you just for that, you useless farmhand immigrant mule. Go for it, punk. Make my day…just make sure the safety’s not on…”

” Excuse me, Mr. Holliday, I’d rather you didn’t misquote from other sources. It’ s confusing for our readers.”

” I will confuse your readers even further by killing you and taking over this blog. Just like I took that line from Dirty Harry. An actor, for God’s sake. And no Oscar Wilde, if I do say so. Oscar ever tell you who shot the piano player? Yeah, that’s right, farm hand…do the math…now get me some coffee before I turn into a goat…

Dia Dhuit Ar Maidin…

Good morning, in Irish Gaelic. Doesn’t sound like it looks, though. Try saying it whilst slamming your finger in a drawer, and you’d be much closer.

Kobe is off to defend his homeland against the Celtic horde, and we wish him well. In actuality, we are lying; we do not support this endeavor. But he is a very affable young man, and presents very good manners to our English queens. He is always welcome at court, even after his embarassing defeat.

On the novel front, DS1 has reverted attention to the Leadville restaurant. A canny maneuver; we must not leave these people unattended for very long. No Character Left Behind. And let’s not forget the Sleazeball Jimmy, who somehow managed to slide out of town altogether.  Did he go via  Rt.24, or Rt. 91? It could matter very much. Thank God for Google Maps. And on what road might we find Scott/Wanda/Chelsea? Stay tuned…

Glenn now has the floor…an dtuigreann tu. ( ‘If you please’ …but sounds like falling down a flight of stairs )

Don’t Shoot, Roland…

It’s only Kobe.

We ( the respective Queens, Anne and Mary; and that is the collective Royal “We” ) are in general support of Mr. Bryant. He is , after all, one of the best ever. But, with his being from the Dark Side, we cannot indulge him; yet we do enjoy his company. This morning, Kobe arrives with ass intact; it’s all the other Lakers that have experienced posterior separation. We do so enjoy the playoff season. Please, can someone get Kobe a bowl of coffee before he turns into a goat…again?

Profound thanks to all who visited the Rag this past weekend; a great many visits were logged. The novel is going just swimmingly, with several enticing directions having been presented. All residents of Rag Central are on the edges of their collective seats; bowls of coffee all around, hearts on sleeves and heads in hand ( where applicable ). A Bene Placito.

Busy, busy…

A  good morning in Blogworld today.

The WD was on target, and the Spatula was terrific. Makes me wish I had something to offer…but no. Nada. Nyet. Nein.

Thanks to The Clark ( WD ) for a prompt and provoking entry. Must have been triggered by my canny use of  ancient Latin phraseology; not only did it generate an entry in record time, but has also garnered the attention of several decapitated Roman gladiators from northern England. They’ve been filing in all night, says Roland. He was shooting them at first, but says that murderous small-arms fire doesn’t phase them. They’ve been hacked to death with broadswords, for God’s sake. And torn apart by lions. Insult to injury.

They’ve apparently come to see how Kobe gets his ass re-attached. Hopes we can do the same for them. I’ve tried to explain that these things aren’t necessarily literal, but they’re not buying it. Kobe overheard all that, and wants us to immediately transfer him to another blog that’s more Laker-friendly. Demands retribution, revenge on Ray Allen, and his ass back on by 2100 hrs EST.

The gladiators want to know why NBA guys don’t have weapons. And where they can get an agent, and what is a salary cap? They say they know how to stop the fast break;  a trident spear, and a net. Easy. And, they like Dwight Howard. No surprise there.

On the novel front, I think we have enough characters for now. I’m considering another traumatic event that will; a) solidify them as a group b) prevent diffracted character development. The event will tie in nicely to something I found on a conspiracy-theory site. Even has cryptic lettering; the HAARP IRI. Aut viam invenium aut facium.

As it turns out, I got my entry up there this afternoon. That leaves things in DS1’s capable hands. Give ’em hell!!

Just Too Many…

As promised;

This is an example of a 12-bar blues in the Delta style. As opposed to ” La Bamba”, this uses the three primary chords ( I-IV-V ) in a varied pattern, but nonetheless begins with and  finally resolves to the tonic I chord. ( By the way, Bach also created chord theory as we know it.) And, I really like Son House.

I was planning on posting a video to illustrate each type of “roots” music ( folk, bluegrass, blues, country, gospel, rock and roll ); but I’ve found dozens of sites that already do a better job of it. So I will cease and desist.

The point to all that would have been that all of those styles use the Bach music theories in exactly the same way. Just a subtle shift in a rythym pattern, and you’ve got a new style of music. Not that any of those people were, or are, necessarily aware of it.

On the purely vocal side of things, gospel is only a few degrees away from traditional Protestant church music; and that is only a short distance from the grand European cathedral choirs of Bach’s day.  Of course, Bach created the four-part theory of vocal harmony that serves as the foundation for all that. And, thanks to T-Bone Burnett, I am now aware of ” Sacred Harp ” singing. This is a Methodist variation where the typical four-part structure is intact, but supplemented with an ingenious way to teach people to sight-read their parts without studying music formally. These groups meet once or twice a month, and sing just because they like it. They also have national conventions, just because they want to. It’s vocal only; no accompaniment of any kind.

Sacred Harp, also called Shape-Note or Fasola, stands as the earliest form of American roots music.

And we owe it all to an old guy who looks like a goat if he doesn’t get his coffee. ( No, not me…let’s not go there again.)

And now, let’s all bow our heads and pray for our heroes’ deliverance from the despised Lakers…

Oh, Foo…

Just waiting on the next entry to be put up, and this seemed like a good video to help pass the time. Theme? Trying to continue working while pressure keeps building…

All right, yes, that is a bit of a stretch. How about I just really liked these guys? Great band, and a sense of humor. Roland wants to shoot at the stuff that gets thrown off the bridge. He swears he hit the TV just before it hits the ground.

Mel still has a few hours before we pass the wand to Clark.

Paul Pierce and Glen Davis think their heads may stay in place long enough to play tonight. Mary Queen of Scots says that if Paul had slipped Dwight Howard a gold coin, he might have made a cleaner job of it. And Mary offers a little-known historical fact; when she leaned in to whisper to the axeman, she asked him if he could change a twenty…thinks in retrospect that maybe that wasn’t such a great idea.

Should be an entry showing up pretty soon. In the meantime, Go Celtics!!

The HCC…

Checked in to Rag Central this morning to find Roland, Paul Pierce, Glen Davis, Mary Queen of Scots, and Anne Boleyn conducting a meeting of the Headless Celebrities Club. They’re deciding who to get for a keynote speaker at the convention…HenryVIII, or Dwight Howard.