i’m finding more and more that divergence is an important part of my creative process. That’s part of the reason why i’m writing a blog post every week as well as working on the fiction project. It’s impossible to stop inspiration, and there are times when lightening strikes, but it completely misses the story over here in favor for one over there. i’ve struggled a lot with capturing these kinds of things–i’m forever terrified that i’m not going to be able to find out where i wrote that one thing about that one story when i’m finally around to writing it. i’ve developed a somewhat complex system of notebooks, Evernotes, Google documents, labels, etc, but i think it works. My expectation is that when i finish with Venus and move on to the next thing, the first few days will consist solely of hitting all of the myriad bits and pieces of character notes, setting ideas, plot points, dialog snippets, etc.
i decided the other day to take one such divergence and run with it for a while. I’ve been toying with a story titled Forgive Us Our Tresspasses for many years now. i had always envisioned it as a comic book series, but after 10 or so years of not following through with that idea, i thought i would make it the next “book” after Venus to try on the short fiction website idea. Well, i had an idea the other day that brought Tresspasses to the forefront of my mind, and i really wanted to write some of it. My desire was mostly born of a fear that the story would not lend itself to standard prose, but i found the motivation none-the-less and went with it.
i’m really happy with how the piece turned out. It’s much more clipped and minimal than what i’ve written for Venus thus far, which is something that came out of the moment. The piece is below.
This would be the first part of the first part of this story.
Forgive Us Our Tresspasses
Joseph Cavallo sat on an upturned milk crate in an alley off of 7th street. It was across the street from a little sports bar called “The Penalty Box.” There was someone Joe was waiting to see who would be arriving at the Box to watch the Blades game, which was starting soon.
Joe was dressed for business. His black suit was expensive, his black shirt was expensive, his black shoes and black socks were expensive, it was expensive to cut his black hair. The cigarette he smoked was expensive and the only indication that he took anything less than impeccable care of himself.
He had a day old newspaper from a nearby recycling bin and was doing the puzzles with the expensive pen he kept in an inside jacket pocket. In the time that he sat there on the milk crate in the alley waiting, he had taken the crossword as far as he could–about half–and was staring at the chess puzzle. He grunted, amused, because the first move was obviously for the black knight to take the white bishop.
The car that Joe had been waiting for carrying the man that he had been waiting pulled up in front of the bar. The Penalty Box was a dive, but it was a dive with a TV and booze. The man who was now getting out of the white Escalade was not allowed to watch Blades games at home anymore by order of his wife. His wife said he got too rowdy and drunk when he was watching the games. He also got violent when they lost, and sometimes even when they won. This suited the man just fine because he also liked to conduct business while he watched the hockey games, and his wife liked his business less than she liked his drinking. Joe knew this because it was his business to know this.
The man was also dressed for business, but all of his clothes were white. His large white car had a license plate that said “Bishop.” Joe knew it would. Two other men got out of the Escalade, one very stocky, somewhat short, and very muscular. Joe knew that this man was very dangerous. The third man was much younger, maybe 19 or 20, and Joe had seen him around the neighborhoods, but never in the company of these men before.
The business man and the dangerous man had exited the car laughing and joking, cracking each other up in the way of men who had started drinking early. The younger man was looking at them in wonder, staring, sometimes smiling, but not getting any of the jokes. Most of the jokes consisted of name dropping and obscure references to events that the young man had not been a party to. Joe knew the references and the names because it was his business to know. He moved his milk crate into a shadow and put out his cigarette and listened.
“I cannot believe the amount of pussy that man has on retainer.”
“You say that like he’s paying them to just sit around and wait for him”
“All it takes is a phone call, my son.” The business man put his arm around the little stocky man.
Both of the large men laughed raucously. The young man smiled, only got the joke intellectually.
“Maybe we should have him call in some for young Samson, here.” The stocky, dangerous man tried to put his arm around the young man, but he was too short, and ended up bringing the young man down to his level.
They laughed again. They finally closed their car doors and turned to go inside of the bar.
“What about tonight? Is he calling in one of his regulars?”
“Are you kidding? Didn’t you see the limo? He wouldn’t get a limo for some tramp he already had on the line. The limo is for….” The business man leaned over and whispered into the dangerous man’s ear. The first man laughed. The short, large man opened his mouth in disbelief.
“My hand to God.”
Joe sat up. The business man shushed the other man with a laugh and a nervous look around, but the damage had been done. Joe stood up from the shadows and pulled a Glock 17 from the holster under his right arm. He also had a noise suppressor that he screwed into the end of the gun as he crossed the street at a jog.