Category Archives: Fiction

Stories that contain moments of truth.

Muse 2

“What are you doing?” She had an alto’s low, husky voice.

An Ikea Etorre desklamp cast a small, blindingly bright circle onto a mess of three-by-five notecards. The rest of the room fell off into black. Jeff looked up from his desk, into the darkness.

“Outlining.”

She laughed.

He loved the sound. It seemed to resonate somewhere inside him.

“I’m working on a story.” Jeff tried to sound positive. He could hear the lameness in his voice. He hadn’t written anything of substance for a while. Starts and stops. Never finishing.

“Outlining,” he said again, tapping the eraser of a dull number two pencil on the notecards, “is a key component in developing good story structure.” Jeff was channeling his college creative writing teacher. He shivered. It always felt weird when he did that. He wasn’t sure if it was the channeling, or the outlining.

“The Police are looking for you,” she said.

“What?”

“Don’t be so naïve, Jeffrey. They found the woman in a warehouse down on 1st avenue.”

Jeff opened his laptop. “You want me to say that I did it.” The laptop screen burst to life, casting bluish light at him.

“I want the truth.”

“You can’t handle the truth.” Jeff chuckled. He thought he did a pretty good Jack Nicholson impersonation.

“Really?”

“Come on,” Jeff said. “You opened the door for that one.”

“Do you want to know what happens next, or not?”

“Not especially. Nothing you’ve said motivates me to care about a skid row dead woman.”

“Don’t you even want to know her name?”

“No! I don’t. Move on to something else.”

“Jill.”

“What?” The hairs on the back of his neck stood up.

“That’s her name, the dead woman.”

“STOP IT.” Anger was a gas stove for Jeff. Instant on. White hot. “You can’t do that. You can’t use my wife’s name. You can’t use my name. You can’t use my kids’ names, or my brother’s names, or anyone else in my family.”

“I didn’t do it. You did.”

“Shut up.”

“They say she was shot twice, execution style, in the back of the head, then dumped in the warehouse.”

Two gunshots rang out, POP POP. Jeff jumped up. He could feel the reports through the wall. Notecards skittered off the desk into blackness.

“Leave me alone. Get out of here. Go away.”

She laughed.

The sound was wrong, incongruous. Jeff put his hands to his head and screamed.

The overhead light flared to life.

Jill stood in the doorway. “Jeff?”

DSC00519_Notecard_VertJeff stood in the middle of the small office, notecards strewn about the floor. His eyes were haunted. He looked at his laptop, then, over at the couch, then, he looked at Jill. Their eyes met. He couldn’t read her expression. He knew she could read his–fear. She shivered.

“Are you Okay?”

He didn’t think so. “I’m fine,” he said.

Jill cocked her head to one side. It was one of the things he loved about her. He always knew when she didn’t believe him.

“You don’t look fine.”

“It’s just this story.” Jeff wasn’t sure what had just happened.

“What’s it about?” She asked.

He didn’t think he had the words to explain it.

“You. It’s about you.”

The Muse

So, I’m starting a flash fiction noir episodic (forgive the cheesy self-portrait:). Each episode will be under 1000 words. I’ll post one episode per week, until the story ends. Writers block began the inspiration for this story. I’d love to hear your feedback, comments, questions, and thoughts. If you’re a writer, you may relate.

THE MUSE
by James Dalrymple

Jeff Baxter leaned back in his comfortable leather chair and stared at the laptop on his desk. His eyes glazed. He was uncomfortable. The chair was too soft. His wife had arranged his home-office. She said it was for maximum creative output.

She should know.

She was an interior designer.

He didn’t like it–the office. She took out all his books. Now, he was surrounded by post-modern Ikea. It was supposed to fuel the imagination. It didn’t. Clean lines and smooth surfaces seemed to reflect his thoughts, not encourage them. It was all they could afford. Jeff liked clutter. He loved books. His old office had both.

“Come on,” he said, in frustration. He took his eyes off the blank screen and looked across the room. A sultry woman crossed her legs and smirked at him.

“What’s the matter, Jeffrey?

Jeff didn’t like being called Jeffrey. His mother called him Jeffrey when he was in trouble. He’d been in trouble, a lot.

Their eyes met. Now, he was really in trouble. Jeff knew she was dangerous.

“I don’t want you here,” he said. “You should go.”

She laughed.

He looked away.

“What are you waiting for, then?” She leaned back into the leather couch, her low-cut short skirt revealing more than Jeff wanted to see. He was trying hard not to look. She knew it, and laughed again. The sound was like music. He could see the notes, but not the words.

Not yet.

He knew she was teasing him. Even from across the room he knew she could sense his desire, his need. He hadn’t written anything important in a long time.

She leaned forward and the leather couched groaned, in ecstasy.

“Let me tell you a story,” she said.

Jeff put his fingers on the keyboard.

“It was late, when Geoffrey Stone entered her apartment.”

“Jeffrey Stone? Are you kidding?”

“That’s Geoffrey with a G.”

“Just because you spell it with a G doesn’t mean it isn’t me.”

“It isn’t you.”

“Yes it is.”

“No it isn’t.”

“YES IT IS.”

“You think every story is about you. Don’t you?”

“No I don’t.”

“Do you want me to tell it, or not?”

“Not if it’s about me.”

“It’s not about you.”

“Are you sure?”

“No.”

“What?”

“I said, I’m not sure.”

“What do you mean, ‘you’re not sure?’ Whose story is this, anyway?” Jeff was exasperated.

“Jeff! Are you okay?”

The door to his office creaked. His wife was standing there. Jeff looked up at her. His checks flushed and he looked over at the couch.

Gone.

He looked back at his wife. “Yeah,” he said, sheepishly. He could feel the heat radiating from his face. “I was… I was just…” He didn’t know how to explain it. He couldn’t. He didn’t think she’d understand, anyway.

“I don’t want to be late,” she said. He couldn’t read her expression. He hoped it held compassion.

“I’m ready. Let’s go.” Jeff slapped his laptop shut and followed his wife. As he closed the office door, he could hear laughing. It sounded like music.

Executive Privilege Episode 6: Underground

EP6

Here is the script for the sixth  episode of Executive Privilege. This episode is titled, “Underground”.

While John West escapes from the President’s SpecOps search with two vigilante’s, his girlfriend, Jennifer, dines with the President, discovering that drones are targeting John for destruction.

Please read and make comments. We will try and incorporate your comments in the direction of the story. We’ll be launching our kickstarter campaign soon, and, we’re just about ready for cast and crew. Contact me if you’d like to help.

Episode 6: Executive Privilege_Ep6

Previous episodes:

Executive Privilige_Ep5

Executive Privilege: Abduction

Executive Privilege_Ep3.01

Executive Privilege Episode 2: Deception

Executive Privilege Episode 1

Web Series Episode 5, Executive Privilege: Fugitive

EP5

Here is the script for the fifth episode of Executive Privilege. This episode is titled, “Fugitive”.

Government agents capture John West’s girlfriend as Special Ops troops fire missiles at John. John jumps from the moving SUV moments before the missile hits. He is knocked unconscious as the Special Ops search for his body.

Please read and make comments. We will try and incorporate your comments in the direction of the story. We’ll be launching our kickstarter campaign soon, and, we should be ready for casting by April. Again, if you’re interested in working in, or on, or helping produce, contact me.

Episode 5 Script: Executive Privilige_Ep5

Previous episodes:

Executive Privilege: Abduction

Executive Privilege_Ep3.01

Executive Privilege Episode 2: Deception

Executive Privilege Episode 1

Web Series Episode 4, Executive Privilege: Abduction

EP4

My travel schedule has the delayed the posting of this episode. Sorry about that.

Here is the script for the fourth episode of Executive Privilege. This episode is titled, “Abduction”.

In an effort to bring in John West, Government agents attempt to capture John’s girlfriend, Jennifer Jefferson. What they don’t know is that Jennifer’s got skills.

Please read and make comments. We will try and incorporate your comments in the direction of the story. We’ll be launching our kickstarter campaign soon, and, we should be ready for casting by April. Again, if you’re interested in working in, or on, or helping produce, contact me.

Episode Script: Executive Privilege: Abduction

Previous episodes:

Executive Privilege_Ep3.01

Executive Privilege Episode 2: Deception

Executive Privilege Episode 1

Web Series Episode 3, Executive Privilege: Escape

EP_3

Here is the script for the third episode of our web-series, Executive Privilege. This episode is titled, “Escape”.

John West, Navy Seal Commander, head of security for Camp David is framed by the President for murdering the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Events happen in real time.

Please read and make comments. We will try and incorporate your comments in the direction of the story.

And, if you’re interested in working in, or on, or helping produce, contact me. We’ll be launching our kickstarter campaign soon.

Episode Script: Executive Privilege_Ep3.01

Because I am traveling so much, it is taking longer than I hoped to get things launched. It always takes longer than you hope, anyway. I return from travel in March and we will get serious–really serious–about kickstarter, casting and production. Stay tuned.

In case you want to catch up on previous episodes:

Executive Privilege Episode 2: Deception

Executive Privilege Episode 1

Web-Series Episode 2, Executive Privilege: Deception

Ep2_2_screenplay captureHere is the script for the second episode of our web-series, Executive Privilege. This episode is titled, “Deception”.

John West, Navy Seal Commander, head of security for Camp David is framed by the President for murdering the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Events happen in real time.

Please read and make comments. We will try and incorporate your comments in the direction of the story.

And, if you’re interested in working in, or on, or helping produce, contact me. We’ll be launching our kickstarter campaign soon.

Episode Script: Executive Privilege Episode 2: Deception

In case you want to catch up:

Executive Privilege Episode 1

Beginning Stages of producing an Action/Thriller Web Series

I’ve been planning, for some time, to produce an action/thriller web series. I’m gathering like minded people to work on, work in, and work around the project, moving things forward.

This series is called Executive Privilege. I will post the current episode script on my blog once a week. I would love feedback on the script and comments about the characters, story, plot, etc. Let me know if you have story ideas about what direction you think the story should go. I’ll try and incorporate them into the script.

We are planning on launching a kickstarter, crowd-sourced campaign to raise money for the series. If you are interested let me know, I’ll post details as I have them. I will be blogging regularly about our progress. I’ll share the process and progress as we move forward with funding, production and distribution. Here’s Episode 1: Executive Privilege. Click on the link below to read the script.

Enjoy. Comments encouraged.

Executive Privilege Episode 1

Crosswalk

CrosswalkI was late. Sometimes it is just so hard to leave the office—I was about to say ‘on time’—but I never leave the office ‘on time’. I just leave—usually—no—always, late. My cubicle looks pretty much the same without me in it.

I had a headache. By the end of the day, I always have a headache. You probably would too. Day after day of meaningless minutia. Numbers. Numbers. Big numbers. Small numbers. Change the numbers. Move the numbers. Manipulate the numbers. “Hey, they’re not my numbers. Do what you want.” Manipulate the numbers.

Four. It was my son’s birthday. I can’t manipulate that one. I’d missed the first three. He was too young to notice—right? My wife doesn’t agree. She called me an hour ago and suggested—I say suggested because she didn’t yell—her parents were listening in the other room—that I make it home in time for cake and ice cream.

Red light. A low-rider pulled up beside me. Four-beats-to-a-measure. The pulsing bass matched the pounding in my head. Doesn’t that just drive you crazy? When the 10 billion-watt sound system in the car next to you is louder than the screaming talk-radio host in your own car—with the windows rolled up.

Wait. The flashing red hand began a count down from twenty. The low-rider must have been to the drags. For two counts, the engine roared louder than the subterranean thumping. Ten, nine, eight…

There he was. I saw him at seven, stepping off the curb, slowly—well, slowly isn’t exactly the right word. Does a snail move slowly? Is there such a thing as live action slow motion? He was going to cross the street. Seriously! He waited until seven, to cross the street. What was he thinking? Not only that, he wasn’t running. He wasn’t hurrying. He was barely even moving. Three, two, one.

Greenlight. The thumping beside me was gone. The pounding inside me wasn’t. Take a step old man. My head’s going to explode. I don’t think I have ever seen someone walk so slow. He’ll never make it across. The light’s going to change.

Basketball shoes. He’s wearing basketball shoes. That’s funny. Like he needs them. You know, Air Jordan’s or some expensive brand like that. Where’d he get shoes like that? They look brand new. I played basketball in high school. My Dad never bought me a pair of Jordan’s. I could have used them, too. I might have gone on to play college ball. I could have made some real money. Instead, I’ve got this Eight to Seven, sixty-five hour, give it up for the team, sleep deprived, all consuming cubicle. That’s rich. I’m not. He doesn’t even lace them. His pants are tucked into the tops.

Dickies. The pants that never wear out. My Dad used to wear those pants. What do they make them out of anyway—some kind of bullet proof kevlar cloth? This guy had on Dickies. I think they were the drab green kind. Although, they could have been navy. I’m not sure. He might have been an auto-mechanic at one time too. But, they didn’t have holes in them. You’ve got to give them that. He could be the poster old-guy for Dickies pants. Everything else wears out. They never will.

Honk, Honk. The car behind me hit the horn in two—cut time in my head. What do you want me to do, run over the guy? Believe me, I’d like to. He’s taken—what—three steps? I guess you can work up quite a sweat moving that fast with a downless, down jacket on. He must be trying to lose weight. It might make it easier to carry the backpack. Or, the brown paper bag.

Hiking. That’s it. He’s been hiking. I’m sure of it. I had a friend in high school that hiked the Pacific Crest trail all the way from Canada to Mexico—he and his dad. It took them all summer. Junior year. He showed me pictures. They asked me and my Dad to go. My Dad thought they were crazy. “What-in-the-hell would you want to do that for?” My Dad wasn’t much for the outdoors. He was pretty good about carrying the brown paper bag though. And, he did take a hike.

Red light. Again. The old guy stopped. He’s not moving. He’s staring at his feet. What? Got a rock in your shoe? Get your scraggly beard caught in your zipper? Come on, Dude, move. The sun’s going down. It’s your turn. I’m not going anywhere.

Leather. His face. I’ve seen that look before. It hurts. It really hurts. He must have spent way too much time in the sun. I went to the beach once and got so sunburned it hurt just to move. I couldn’t sit down for a week. My Dad’s belt looked just like his face.

Three, two, one. He’s staring at me. Those eyes. Haunting. I’ve seen those eyes.

I’m not going to make it. Am I? The headache was gone—well—not gone, exactly. Just misplaced. I knew it was there, somewhere. I couldn’t find it right now. But, I knew I would, pretty soon. Cheap wine doesn’t last that long. Leaves a pretty bad fruity aftertaste too. I could smell it though. The taste in my mouth matched the sickeningly sweet, fermented odor. I never even really liked the stuff. It just made the pain hide for a little while. Trouble is, it was the other stuff I could never find afterwards.

Where have I seen that face before? On the other side of the glass. On the other side of the street.

I wanted to cross. I wanted to move my feet. I just couldn’t. So, I stopped traffic. I got in the way.

It was my son’s fourth birthday.

Crosswalk.

The light turned green. He made it. I was late.