Write Before Thinking

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The NaNoWriMo Challenge

To get off my writing ass, I signed up to participate in the NaNoWriMo.org write a novel in 30 days challenge. For any of you who have attempted to write a book, you know that a novel in 30 days is no small feat. That’s why I’m giving my readers a disclaimer: don’t expect what you read to be great, much less even very good. Why? Because stringing together 50,000 words that kind of make sense is tough enough as it is.

I’ll try to post what I write as I write it. And while I’ll try to keep typos to a minimum, you’ll note that the editing is non-existant.

The working title is “Canned Heat”. I hate it. The plot is as follows:

Set against the backdrop of 1950s Los Angeles, Canned Heat introduced readers to Frankie “Caboose” Carousel – a professional (if you can call it that) wrestler at a crossroads. Barely getting by, his wrestling career going nowhere, and saddled with more gambling debts than he can ever pay back, The Caboose knows his life is in the shitter. What he doesn’t know is how to get it out. But when Frankie wins a match he shouldn’t and runs afoul of the local promoter, One-eyed Jack, he’s faced with a choice that really isn’t that much of a choice – living without a head or helping One-eyed Jack take care of a problem with a rival promoter. As it turns out, as bad as Frankie Caboose is at wrestling, he’s as good when it comes to killing folks.

 

Chapter One

The way Frankie Caboose saw it there were some things a man could simply not tolerate. And bad manners were one such thing. Heck, if there was one thing that made him angrier than bad manners he couldn’t think of it. Maybe folks hitting animals, but Frankie equated that with bad manners too. To Frankie, there were all sorts-a-things that could be qualified as bad manners. Not taking your hat off indoors? Bad manners. Failing to stand when a lady entered or left the room? Bad manners. Doing whatever it was brought you to meet Frankie’s acquaintance? Probably bad manners.

“Now, if only Pretty Boy Pete wouldn’t a said such an ugly thing, we wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation.”

The man sitting across from Frankie Caboose didn’t reply on account of his mouth being taped shut.

“But,” Frankie Caboose continued, “You can’t call a guy’s girl a tar-titted nigger and suffer no consequences, can you?”

The man nodded. As if agreeing would help his cause.

“That’s exactly what I thought.” Frankie waved his oversized gloved hand in the man’s direction. “It’s rude.”

Frankie turned and took a look at the fella taped to the chair. Aside from the swollen eye, he was in good shape. Scared, but otherwise okay.

“Now I know what you’re thinking,” he said to the man. “Punching a guy in the eye when he don’t expect it ain’t exactly the most polite thing to do, right?”

The man shook his head.

“Well you’re right, it ain’t.” Frankie smiled. “Suppose that means I’ll be putting a quarter in the manners jar when I get home.”

Frankie Caboose shrugged as if thinking about what he’d done then walked over to his leather duffle bag. Pulling out a cloth and a bottle of ether, he looked at the man sitting in the chair.

“Now I know what you must be thinking,” said Frankie as he held up the bottle and rag.

As if on cue, the man started to panic. Nostrils flaring, he strained with all his might against the ropes that held his arms and legs to the chair. A high-pitched moan fought to escape the tape over his mouth.

“You’re thinking, ‘this can’t be happening’. ‘I done nothing to deserve this.’”

The man fought harder against the ropes. A dark stain grew around his groin.

Frankie grinned as he saw this and patted the man on the shoulder. “It’s okay pal, lotsa folk piss themselves at times like this.”

The man made eye contact with Frankie. For a brief second he calmed down. Then he started crying.

Frankie pulled up a chair and sat facing the man. “I tell ya, I even pissed myself once upon a time.”

This made the man cry harder.

“Here I was on this pretty French beach and the next thing I know I’m pissing my pants. Course, it’s not like I was the only one. Some fellas crapped themselves. Can you believe that? Grown men just going in their pants!”

Frankie took the cap of the ether and with one hand cupped behind the back of the man’s head he took the other and held the bottle to the man’s nose.

“Now you’d think the whole beach would’ve stunk like piss and crap on account of so many of us doing so, but it didn’t,” Frankie said.

“You want to know what it smelled like,” he asked though the man’s sobs.

“It smelt like burnt marshmallows,” he continued as he pulled the bottle from the man’s face.

Frankie grabbed the rag that was sitting on his lap and held it to the top of the ether bottle. He was about to pour the contents of the bottle onto the rag when he suddenly stopped.

“I can’t stand that smell no more,” said Frankie. “I smell it and they all come back. I smell it and I see all them fellas’ guts and brains and mangled bodies lying in the sand. I see all that blood.”

Frankie shook his head, clearing it of that memory and began pouring the ether onto the rag.

“You’d figure after seeing all that blood I’d be used to it but to tell the truth I can’t stand the stuff.”

The man looked up, confused. Maybe a little bit hopeful.

“That’s why I use the ether. No mess.”

The man groaned.

Frankie Caboose patted him on the leg. “And it’s a lot nicer for you.”

Realizing what was about to happen, the man defecated.

“Whoowee,” Frankie said, waving his hand in front of his face. “That’s one of the worst I ever smelt.”

Leaning forward he quickly peeled the tape back from the man’s mouth, shoved the rag in and stuck the tape back over his mouth. The man gagged as he fought to get what little air he could through his nose. Frankie let him get a few good breaths before his pinched the man’s nose shut.

And then he waited.

Within seconds the man passed out. Within a few more he stopped breathing. Frankie checked his pulse to make sure he was dead. He was. A few minutes later he checked again. Still dead.

Frankie stood, surveyed his work and took a look around the motel room. Another job well done, he thought.

He was starting to get the hang of this.

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