The story so far ...

UPDATE: Go to Tash's Fabric Of Life and read Past Live - Part 14. Great Stuff.

I think that today I am going to publish a copy of the story so
far - with a caveat. The story is going to start without reference to David's past life. It's going to start, as you will see, with The Kid in the alley, waiting for his 'next kill'. I've chosen to do this, for this post, because this character has taken on a life of its own - and I want to tell HIS story, not David's. I will, however, maintain the sequence of stories and everything else, as is.

So we begin the story of ... The Kid.

The Kid was waiting. Waiting in the darkened alley. Waiting for his next kill.
It was still hot from heat of the day, in that alley. And he had to keep to the shadows. The shadows he had created when he tilted the shade over the bulb. He did not want to be seen before he was ready to be seen.

He caught a slight movement out of the corner of his eye. He crouched down and swung his gun in that direction.

"Oh, hello Mister Rat. What're you doin' here, huh? Ya know, yer lucky, you are, Mister Rat. 'Cause if I didn't have to be real quiet, 'cause, you know, I gotta job to do here, I'd tap ya. Yeah, I'd tap ya, right between those beady little eyes. 'Cause I don't like rats, see? No kinda rats. Not rat rats. Not people rats. An' what I don't like don't live too long, see?"

The rat didn't move. He just stared at The Kid and wiggled his whiskers.

"Go on. Shoo. Get otta here. I got work to do, see? I don't need no audience. Sully's gonna be walkin' down this alley real soon now and I gotta put a couple in 'im, see? 'Cause the Boss says he's a rat ... yeah .. just like you. A Rat. Boss even gave me this gun to use - poked me in the ribs with it - shit that hurt. I'm gonna pay him back one of these days ... that hurt. He said Sully's been sayin' bad things about me. Says I'm bringin' the cops down on us. I ain't afraid of no cops. These Las Vegas cops are stupid. We own most of 'em anyway."

"Look rat, you better shoo, or you won't live thru '52. Heh, heh, heh, heh. D'you hear that? That rhymed. I'm a poet and don't know it. Damn, Sully, where the hell are you? I gotta pee. 20 years old and I got the bladder of an old man. I gotta quit drinkin' coffee."

He heard a footstep. He saw that a dark shape had entered the alley. He heard each footstep clearly. Every sense was on edge. He waited until Sully walked into the light. He stepped out of the shadows.

"Hey! Sully. G'nite." BAM BAM BAM.
Sully stood there.
"What the ..." BAM BAM BAM click click
Sully stood there, reached into his windbreaker and pulled out a nasty looking .45.
"Say goodbye, Kid." BLAM BLAM
The Kid felt the rounds slam into his chest. He sank to his knees as Sully slowly walked toward him.
"You were shootin' blanks, Kid. The Boss loaded that gun with blanks." Sully's voice was getting distant. There was a rushing sound, like a distant thunder in his ears.
The Kid looked down and saw blood bubbling out of two holes in his chest.
"You screwed up Kid. You brought the cops down on us. You're a liability, the Boss says. Take care of him, the Boss says. I always do what the Boss says. It's healthier that way."
The Kid looked at Sully. His lips moved, but no sound came out. He was having a hard time breathing. His head felt heavy and his vision was turning red.
"Why? You want to know 'Why'? Ya know, we coulda sent you to Chicago 'til the heat's off. If you was anybody else, we pro'bly would have. But not you. Because you're NUTS! You're a raving friggin' lunatic and the Boss says he can't trust ya. Just that simple."
The rushing sound in his ears, in his head, grew louder.
"G'bye, Kid. You coulda been a good one. But you're nuts. Just nuts."
Sully turned and started to walk away.
The Kid fell over on his side. Sully whirled around, gun finding it's target. But he saw no danger. The Kid was on his way out. He slowly walked away.

The Kid saw the rat moving toward him. He rolled onto his back. And the little rat thought in his little rat mind, "Go to hell."
The last thing The Kid felt was the whiskers in his ear and a nibble .....
And everything faded to black.... there was a moment of crystal clarity ... of sanity ... a moment in which he knew he had screwed it all up .. his life had gone completely wrong ... he wondered what was gonna happen next ...

Earlier that evening ...

You know how this story ends. Here is the prelude to that ending ....

The Boss was a big man. Really big. Not tall - five foot nine or ten, maybe. But he was huge.

He sat behind his huge desk, in his huge chair in front of the huge picture window that looked out over Frontier Street, Las Vegas' downtown and home to the casinos.

The Kid sat in one of the two overstuffed armchairs that faced the Boss's desk. His leg was thrown over one arm of the chair, and he was cleaning his fingernails with the point of his stiletto.

"Take off your hat Kid. It's impolite to wear your hat indoors." The Boss's voice didn't seem to fit him. That breathless, high pitched whisper was totally unexpected in a man his size.

The Kid place his grey 'stingy brim' on the floor next to the chair. "Yeah, sure Boss. No problem."

"So, waddya want? Chico said you wanted to see me."

"Yes, I did send Chico. Normally I would have sent Sully, but that's part of the problem I want to talk to you about. There seems to be some dissension in the ranks. And Sully seems to be at the locus of that dissension. He seems to think your recent activities have alerted the Law to us. He seems to think you're out of control, and that you represent an extreme danger to this whole organization. You're not out of control, are you Kid?"

"Nah, you know better than that. Don't I always do what you want? Don't I always do what you tell me to do? Sully, he's just gettin' soft, that's all. He doesn't like gettin' pushed by the new guys - like me."

"Yes, but it's your methods, Kid. It's the WAY you do what I want you to do that he's bothered with. And now, I fear, he may take a course of action that may expose us to danger. I believe Sully has talked to some of our 'official' contacts and made arrangements to turn you in. I don't want that to happen. You are far too important to this organization."

The Kid cut through the air with his knife.

"You want me to stick 'im, Boss? I can send him back to Chicago in little pieces for ya, if that's whatcha want."

"No, Kid, I've a different idea in mind."

He reached under his desk and pulled out a beautiful red lacquered box, which he carefully place on his desk. He flipped the two brass latches on the box and opened it.

"Come around to this side of the desk, Kid. I've something for you."

As The Kid walked around the desk, he could see the shiny new gun in the case. As he moved up close to the Boss's chair, the Boss suddenly, with cat-like grace and speed, whipped the gun out of it's case and stuck the muzzle in The Kid's ribs.

"Hah, GOTCHA!!"

The Kid flinched and jumped away.

"Don't worry, Kid, I'm not going to kill you. Just playing a bit. How do you like this?"

He flipped the gun around and handed it to The Kid, butt first.

"Gee, Boss, this is a nice piece. I never had a piece this nice before."

"Yes, Kid, it is a very nice piece. It's all loaded and ready to go. Now I'll tell you what I want."

The Kid sat down in his chair, twirling the gun.

"I'm sending Sully over to the Cheese Warehouse tonight about 10 o'clock. I would suggest to you, that if you were to be in that alley with your nice new gun, perhaps we could see an end to the divisiveness which is beginning to permeate our ranks."

"Okay, Boss. I getcha."

The Kid got up and began to walk toward the door.

"Oh, and Kid, watch out for the rats in that alley. They'll eat you alive."

Two Years Earlier ...

The Kid sat back in his seat, eyes closed, the thrumming of the engines beating a slow rhythm through his chest. He was airborne, headed to Vegas. Chicago and Midway were fading behind him. Next stop Des Moines. And then a whole bunch of other stops as this all night milk run to Vegas wound its way from one rusty bucket to another. Just as long as he made it to Vegas. Yeah, Vegas. They were building new hotels and casinos and the rackets were running wild out there. He'd get a job with somebody - he just needed to make the right connection. And he had one. A name at least. The guy worked the protection racket. Sully. The guy's name was Sully.

His hat was down over his eyes. He thought he might sleep. He hoped so. He hadn't been able to rest for days. The cops were on his ass. He had messed up. He hadn't done his work with his usual efficiency. They found Joey The Hat quicker than he thought they would. And too many people had seen him with Joey. And the fuckers ratted him out. The cops were on him so quick he didn't even have time to set up an alibi. So he had to run. And it seemed wherever and whenever he stopped to rest they would be hot on his heels and he would have to keep moving. But he'd given them the slip long enough to catch a cab to Midway and get on this plane. Yeah, well he'd been thinkin' about Vegas, anyway. He just didn't plan on goin' so soon. He didn't even have time to pack. At least he'd got this hat. Yeah. Thanks Joey. But now he was tired. He thought about how tired he was. He hoped he would sleep. He needed sleep. But sleep didn't always help. The dreams would come, sometimes. Them fuckin' dreams. Oh, how he hated them dreams.

The dreams made him crazy. At least, he thought they did. He knew he wasn't 'right'. He knew he was different. And he didn't care. In fact, there was something very liberating in knowing that he didn't care about things that mattered to other people. Like life, for example. He didn't care one way or the other whether people lived or died. There was power in that. Power, because he didn't care whether HE lived or died, either. Which meant he could do just about anything. Anything at all. Except go to jail. He'd been in jail a couple of times and he resented, he hated, being cooped up, being prisoner. And that's how he felt when she put him in the closet. Like a prisoner.

The sound of the engines drifted away ... farther and farther away ...

He was in that dark place. It felt hot and stuffy and cramped. There was no light. But he could hear sounds through the door.

I'm in the closet again and I have to stay in here cause she's not alone, there's a man, I can tell it's a man, I can hear his voice and he sounds rough and angry and she wants me to stay in here when she's not alone, but it sounds bad, like he's hitting her and hitting her and I can't get out, the door is locked, she locked the door, I can't get out and now it's quiet and I don't hear anything. I feel something at my feet and it's wet and slimy and it makes my fingers sticky and it smells familiar and I know it's blood.

He waited and waited and finally, there was light under the door. The cop opened the door and lifted him out of the closet. He tried to pull away, but the big Irish cop just held on to him all the more tightly and the rage began to build in him. The rage and the hatred at being held, he didn't like being held, it made him prisoner again, he needed to get away and he couldn't and the rage built and it built until he finally let out a blood-curling SHRIEK!! "Sir!! Sir, are you alright?"
"Fuck!" He shook his head, tried to clear the cobwebs. "Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. Fell asleep, I guess. Bad dream. Where the fuck are we?"
"Des Moines, sir. We've just landed in Des Moines."

Des Moines. And then Kansas City, and then Oklahoma City, Albuquerque and then Vegas.

Shit. It's gonna to be a long night.

To Kansas City ...

Airborne again. Des Moines had been left far behind. It was dark, and but for the engines, quiet in the cabin of the plane.

Try as he might, he was having difficulty staying awake. The Stewardess had said they would be on the ground for an hour when they got to Kansas City. Time enough to get off and stretch his legs a bit, and wake up. He really wanted to wake up. The dreams were going to come, again. He knew the dreams were going to come. But the sound of the engines, droning on and on, the gentle vibration through his body ... and he was drifting away from the sound to where it was soft and quiet ...

He stood there in the cold drizzle, next to the pine box that her body was in. He held a small bunch of purple flowers in his hand, his eyes tightly shut so he wouldn't have to pretend to cry. A few people were there, grownups, people who towered over him and seemed to talk in whispers and everybody was dressed in black and everybody sounded so sad. And the whispers said "Poor kid" and "Only six" and "whore" and "no way to raise a kid" and "father was executed" and "little bastard". And the priest said words in a language he didn't understand and then the box was gone into the ground and it was time to leave. He knew he was supposed to cry. But he just stood there, eyes tightly shut. Someone picked him up and carried him and held him tight, and he opened his eyes as he struggled to get free and he saw it was his uncle, he didn't like his uncle, his uncle hurt him and made him do things and he didn't want to go anywhere with him he wanted to stay with her but she was gone now and he had no one, no one but his uncle and the things he did, the THINGS HE WAS GOING TO DO!! He woke up with a start."FUCK!!"

He wiped his hand across his face.

The Stewardess looked down at him.

"Are you alright?"
"Where are we?"
"We're about an hour out of K.C. Can I get you something? You're perspiring. Would you like a wet cloth?"
"Yeah. Cold. Ice cold."

The Kid looked out of the little square window of the DC-3. Nothing but dark out there. Dark, occasionally punctured by little pinpricks of light. Farmhouses. There'll be lots of lights in Vegas. And good times. Lots of good times. Joey The Hat had had a full money belt. Of course, he knew he would. Joey was a runner and a bag man for the bookies. And he'd been skimmin'. Filling his moneybelt with other people's money. And those other people were not happy. Just how stupid did Joey think they were? Dumb fuck. But had he caught him at just right time. There must be Twenty Grand in Joey's belt. He hadn't had time to count it all, yet, but it was around Twenty Large. He intended to turn it in like he was supposed to, but the cops found Joey so fast - the cops were after him so fast, he never had the chance to give the money to the people it belonged to. And now he's runnin'. And when you're on the run, it's Finders Keepers. Like Joey's hat. Joey's hat had come off in his hand as Joey slipped to the ground, like the hat was his now. He pulled the knife from Joey's neck and slipped the hat onto his head. It felt good there. Like it belonged. Like the moneybelt. The money was his ... and the hat was his. And he was goin' to Vegas. Just like that.

The Stewardess brought him the cold cloth to wipe his face and neck.

"Would you like a beverage, Sir?"
"Yeah. Coffee. Black."

The Stewardess walked to the back of the plane to get a mug and fill it with coffee. She wondered about the thin young man in the hat. Most people took off their hat when they flew. But not him. She had thought to offer to take his hat and stow it for him, but he had covered his face with his hat almost as soon as he'd boarded, so she left him alone. She'd do it later, maybe. When he woke. But it was when he woke that she thought better of her planned kindness. Once she looked into his eyes she knew, instinctively, that no kindness would soften the cold hardness she saw behind those grey eyes. When she looked into his eyes she felt a tightness in her gut. She realized the tightness was fear.

She brought him his mug.

He sat back in his seat and sipped the coffee. It was hot and strong and burned all the way down to his stomach. But it felt good. Yeah, real good. Probably like his uncle felt that night he staggered into the apartment with the knife stuck in his gut. In the year after she died he had stayed with his uncle. And his uncle had hurt him, over and over again. So as his uncle was dying he just stood there and watched. And when his uncle finally died, he pulled the stiletto out of his gut and kept it. The stiletto that was in his pocket, that he had kept for the last 11 years. The stiletto that he had used on Joey The Hat. Joey, and so many others. The stiletto that fed him and clothed him and kept him alive. The stiletto he knew he would find a use for in Vegas.

"Fasten your seatbelt, Sir. We're on final approach to Kansas City."

Kansas City and still awake. Good.

I'll get off, walk around, stretch my legs and wake the fuck up.

And then it's Oklahoma City.

That's it, so far. The whole story up to this point. The next episode is ready to publish and the one that follows is finished to the point that it's ready for polishing. The rest of the story is now planned - at least generally. All of the main characters have been introduced and a few minor characters have yet to be brought into the story, although they don't change the direction that anything is going to take. They're window dressing. But there are going to be surprises. And we are all going to learn the mind of a psycopath. What made him. What motivates him. and what he thinks and feels. Much of what remains is going to be dark, very dark. I hope you all are entertained by what's coming. Just keep in mind that this is all, every bit of it, from imagination. There is no autobiographical information in this story, at all.

It's just that I have a VERY ACTIVE IMAGINATION.


Unknown said...

So I was thinking....we're not positive he's dead. Right?

Anonymous said...

Glad you clarified that there was no autobiographical content, or I would be scared. Real scared, see...

Shadow said...

and we're all the better off for your active imagination, thanks!!!

Christy said...

Awesome Lou!

I've said it before, but I think you'd also be a great screenwriter....

Elizabeth said...

I started "seeing" this story in my head in black and white. How weird is that??
Active imaginations are a great thing!

Anonymous said...

Lou, need you to email me please.


Anonymous said...

you lie, there's always something of the author in his/her work.

you got it from somewhere Lou.
what dark secrets are you keeping?

Anonymous said...

Delish and waiting for the rest!

moneythoughts said...

I like it, but sometimes your characters use a bigger vocabulary than the people I worked with in the trust departments I worked in. Either this is a better educated class of gangsters, or I worked with some really lower rung people. Please don't tell me it is the latter. Some parts I can see the movie actor George Kraft saying the lines.

Momisodes said...

Wow! I love that you posted it all under 1 post. It really has taken a life of it's own. Now how can we get this published?!

Holly said...

You are on a roll!

What are you going to do with this story?

Unknown said...

hyphen mama: No. This is not a soap opera. He's dead.

kelley: And well you should be.

shadow: Thank YOU - for reading - for enjoying.

Christy: I'm waiting for the offers to roll in. And waiting ... and waiting ...

elizabeth: That's hte way I write it - in black and white.

warriorwoman: I've known some of these people - I grew up in a rough neighborhood.

maggies mind: I love that word - 'delish' - as though you savor it ...

moneythoughts: The BOSS is intentionally well spoken. And yes, George Raft would have felt very comfortable with some of this dialog.

Sandy C: Like I said, I'm waiting for the offers to just roll right in ...

Holly a.t.o.m.: I have no idea. Use it as the basis for a book if I ever get an advance.