Category: rough draft

…The moment of truth. I’ve been hesitating to move forward with the next step of the publishing process because I knew the opening paragraph (and a few others) were just too damned much: too (”cleverly”) wordy. And, admittedly, some of these word clumpings are still overly zealous, but creativity with the craft is (partly) what I’m in the game for. So here’s the opening chapter (prologue). Who (out of those who actually read books) would be turned off by the writing; would put the book down and say, “Nah… Too much, dude”? Observe–


Christmas Eve:

stalactites of frosted what-the-twisted-fuck-is-happening-right-now chillingly maturated from the corners of the
truck-bed’s gate like demonic slushie fingers bent on being noticeably
villainous. One tail light busted, the two thoroughly baked teens in the
truck’s cab were lucky to be navigating Winterset, Iowa’s version of the river
Styx on a dreadfully snowy night that harbored the dreary and barren air of the
planetoid Pluto in a K hole. Not a creature was stirring…other than these two hungover hamburglers, carting
around several near-frozen carcasses five hours before midnight.

The delicate
flakes of a white Christmas swirled in their pickup’s wake. They’d coursed this
path before. Maneuvering the bumpy backroad with close to pitch-black looming
at their periphery was becoming old hat. Hardly a word was exchanged between
them on the drive.

Four boots
crunched against the frozen, wet annoyance at their feet before two heavy doors
slammed shut, both sets of galoshes aiming their clumsy paths toward the
truck’s gate. One screeching of angry old hinges later – like the howling of a
sickly, injured beast – and two hands reached to heave while one mouth hooted—

“Ho…ho…ho… Waitaminute…”

Marvin, the taller
of the two youths, angling for the bit of the tarp that burritoed a sizeable
head, paused, discernibly numb to the
moment. He was the darker of the two teens. Where Shawn could compare the shade of
his melanin to that of Ice Cube’s, Marvin would more closely blend in to a
scene with Chris Tucker. Either, consequently, could match bowls in a
bong-off with Smokey and Craig despite being just short of legal age. In their
senior year at Benjamin Bakem High, at this point in the semester they both wondered
if they’d ever get the chance to throw up the “deuces” at their graduation and
doobie the fuck on out; blunts tucked under beanies, boastfully rebellious stroll
carrying them off the podium…

“What?” Slightly sticky with stupor from the hold up, Marvin’s
bloodshot eyes told the tale of a young man who’d been heavily over-medicated.

You get the legs, man. I got the legs the last time.” Shawn,
just as spent in the tanked-bank as his best dude, hung slothfully in the
moment, waiting for their mutual agreement. Facial hair like lint on his chin,
if the town were to put it to a vote it’s likely they’d motion for him to just shave
it all off and stop pretending his scruff was dignified.

“The fuck difference does it make?” The afore-described “sticky with
stupor” escalated to a gooey, mystified squint.

“The legs is heavier. Dude’s got big ass feet – fucking boots on an’

“You seen this fucker’s belly? All the weight’s in the middle,
bruh.” Marvin found the strength to fail at a gesture toward the
cadaver-burrito’s bottom half. “Dude’s short, anyways – legs are like…I dunno…
Fuckin’ corndogs or some shit.”

“Fuck, man… Just get the legs, a’ight? Damn… We in this shit together.”

A sigh moved Marvin’s light green, alien-beanied forehead to meet the
tarped torso before he discovered more of that strength he waisted gesturing
and used it to lift his chin and nod. “A’ight, man, chill… Here, get on this

Boots depressed snow, positions exchanged, and Shawn grabbed just
enough head to lose his half the minute the weight slid over other two
tarped bodies and off the pickup.

A thump preceded Marvin’s drowsy concern.


Shawn attempted to recover his fumble but found his ass in the snow
sooner than he found redemption.

Marvin’s shoulders slumped; beanied, alien antennae appropriately
lackluster over his skullie. It was one of those uber hip, pop-culture snow
caps that looked like no male over the age of four should own but somehow found
their way into men’s sizes. Reflective, elliptical alien eyes adorning his
forehead with two moveable antennae, green-balled tips, braided green rope
dangling shoulder-length from the earflaps…

“Hurry, man, shit…”

Battling gravity and his weather-weary gear, Shawn made his way to his
feet and found a stable grip under the twine that kept the tarp closed. He
lifted at the neck – six inches shorter than Marvin in eight inches of snow –
just barely getting the cadaver’s caboose up high enough to lug it toward its
unlikely place of final respite, several miles into the woods and an hour north
of the mall where the trio had first been acquainted. The path they tromped was
another familiar one, blood and what was likely a small intestine dripping from
the center of the tarp. By the time they made it to their destination – a
quarry they figured would soon fill with snow – seventeen feet of some sad
sap’s colon lazily laid behind.

“On three.”

Shawn nodded, and the sendoff proceeded as planned. Three counts and a
release sent a two hundred and thirty-five-pound body over a steep ravine with
serpent-like sinew whipping behind. Shawn’s fingers had loosened the twine around
the tarp so that it unraveled in its fall, unveiling the
barely-hanging-together carcass under it in jolly red velvet with white trim.
The bloody and matted flag of a once proud, long white beard waved in the
gully’s wind…until the elastic keeping it attached slipped from his head along
with his Christmas hat and fluttered the rest of the way down. The body splattered
into several pieces when it landed and joined the unthinkable carnival of gore
that presided there before it.

Seven other jolly dead sons of the Happiest Time of Year already decorated
the snowy floor, spread in fragments over a hundred feet; bits of red and green
fabric and pink flesh scattered about like yuletide sprinkles over vanilla

“C’mon, man…”

Marvin led the way back for the next two flavors to add to their very
troubled snowy desert while Shawn dragged behind. Santa’s little helpers were
easily half the big man’s size, so they grabbed a tarped-elf apiece and
proceeded to top off their evening’s burdens after both stumbling to their
rumps three or four times, trails left behind as glairing as neon signs
reading, “Murder Depository in 100ft”. The two elves’ tarps came apart like
Santa’s before them, and if there was ever a greater waste of a sexier pair of
candy cane thighs under holiday green skirts, it was not only a crime against
Christmas, but against all of mankind.

Afterward, Shawn –
brow and ears hidden under his red, black and white Star-Wars-themed Christmas
beanie – shuffled back over their path, kicking up snow to hide the trail of
death they left behind. But Marvin stayed fixed, manifesting a moment of
clarity (or a resemblance of something thereabouts). His eyes cut through the
icy winter breeze into the vicinity of an unspoken decree, and there, for the
first time in his near-adult life he discovered something most weed-heads
thought to be a myth:


His plod back to
the passenger side of the truck and into the cab was an assiduous one.

“Grandad Santa.”

“Wha?” Shawn was
exhausted when he got in the truck: a lump of snot stuck on the seat. Not in
any kind of condition for purposive conversation.

“That’s who’s
next. That’s where we gotta go.”

“Fuck you mean,
man? We can’t—”

“This shit ain’t
over, man.” He looked to his one and only true friend, eyes never more
unfaltering than now. “Not until it’s over.”

“What… You mean
like right now?”

Shawn knew what he
meant. An answer wasn’t required. Truth be told, as exhausted as he was, he was
just as ready as Marvin was for this to be over… He’d just prefer to handle it
after a few bong loads and a month-long nap.

He sighed.

The key in the
engine turned, the emergency break went the way of the killer whales, wet boot
met pedal, warm grill sucked cold snow…

The “day of” was
nearly here…and only one man was left in town who was down on his luck enough
this season to have agreed to take the velvet reins – and all for a beggarly
wage of ten-eighty-five an hour…


But for the sorry
son of a bitch known as Grandad Santa, it may be too much to hope for a happy
New Year.


Raise your hand if you made it this far in the post. lol How was the read? Too heavy to struggle through a whole novel of more of the same? Thanks for your thoughts. -z/cm