Friday, April 03, 2009

New Beginning 624 (excerpt)

Kincaid and Manuel walked into McDonald’s Boarding House in St. Louis and approached a round man with a flush face. Drammin’ probably caused the red face, Kincaid thought, and idlin’ made him fat.

“How much for room and keep for thirteen men?” Kincaid asked.

“Are the others like him?”

“What do you mean ‘like him’?”

“Greasers. I won’t have no greasers here,” he said. “Good, god-fearing men live in my establishment. I won’t have them put up with papists crossing themselves, muttering their mumbo-jumbo, and playing with beads.”

Kincaid tried to push down his anger, but felt it rising instead.

“And you. You’re wearing the same get-up he is. Are you a greaser-lover?”

Kincaid lunged at the man but met a horse pistol in his face. The gaping muzzle seemed large enough to blow his head off.

“Watch it, laddie. Best be movin’ along. And take your ‘friend’ with you.”

Kincaid started to turn away, but Manuel grabbed him by the arm. "No," he said. "I can take care of this." Kincaid was about to protest, but he noticed the determined glint in Manuel's eyes. "You don't have any room for us?" the Mexican said to the clerk. "Even if I offer you this?" He pulled a waxed paper parcel out of his pocket and slowly opened it. A thick, flour tortilla, packed with ground beef, lettuce, tomato and a special spicy sauce.

"Okay," the clerk said, breaking into a grin. "I got rooms for you all!"

[The rest of Kincaid's group enter, playing and singing a jaunty Mariachi song.

Voice Over: "Taco bell. We put the 'I Can' into Mexican Food."

Opening: Wes.....Continuation: A


Steph said...

I'd buy it if I was running the advertising show at Taco Bell.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

"Wait," said Manuel. "What about the stable?"
The man looked them skeptically. "What, you pregnant?"


Kincaid and Manuel walked to the next building, Burger King’s Saloon, and approached a thin man with a paste face. Sunscreen probably made the paste face, Kincaid thought, and fastin’ made him thin. From the smell of Burger King’s food, no wonder he was fastin’. --Rachel

Kincaid sighed. "Sorry, guys," he said, turning to the others. "How do we feel about Burger King Hotel?


Manuel and Kincaid retreated, their starched white robes rustling. "Don't worry," Manuel muttered. "When Sister Sanctissima hears about this, he'll be sorry he disrespected St. Euphemia's Junior Boys' Choir."

"Sorry!" Kincaid grinned, his anger fading. "He'll be singing with us--soprano!"


"And thus," the old storyteller's voice dropped to a whisper, "did the Wicked Innkeeper lose his chance to host the Last Supper, just as La Befana lost her chance to shelter the Wise Men. Like her, he goes from house to house, for centuries, hoping to catch up with the Holy Ones he turned away."


Kincaid bowed his head in resignation. Despite he knew he was in the right, he also knew there was no arguing with some people -- specially those with a loaded horse pistol.

The clerk watched them leave as a younger man rushed in, his face flushed with panic. "Hank, dammit Hank, the bearings have seized on the pump. If we can't free her up, we ain't gonna have no hot water for the guests tonight!"

Hank closed his eyes momentarily, then looked out to the street to see the greasers disappearing round a corner. "Bugger."


none said...

If the innkeeper won't have greasers in his establishment, why does he ask if there are any more of them? Does he have a number of greasers that he will tolerate, ie one?

Seems to me he should just go straight to the line telling them to eff off.

Dave Fragments said...

The gun in your excerpt and my the gun in my opening have the same problem.

It's tough to authentically describe what a barrel and chambers of a 45 caliber look like when pointed at your face.

"Kincaid might lunge and stopped when with the gun barrel pointed at his face. He stares at the bullets in the cylinder."

Sarah Laurenson said...

I like the pacing and the flow of this. And I didn't have a problem with the wanting to know if there were more of 'him'. I've seen people ask that to feel out how much crap they can get away with without courting being beaten to a pulp.

Kincaid tried to push down his anger, but felt it rising instead.

“And you. You’re wearing the same get-up he is. Are you a greaser-lover?”

Kincaid's anger rising made me think he was about to speak, but the line wasn't his. That threw me.

Really liking your story, Wes. Impatiently waiting for the book...

writtenwyrdd said...

Gotta agree with Buffy here. The guy is rejecting them, so perhaps change it up to say, "Not if they all like him." Or something like that.

I found the "Drammin'" and "idlin'" bits distracting and didnt' like them. Don't know what Dramming is either, so it didn't help to give me a sense of story.

Your opening does do quite a bit of good work to give us the situation (in the past based on the term horse pistol and greaser; not sure, though, that those terms overlap. Greasers the term has been most recently used for teenage hoodlums in the 50s as well as the racist definition for hispanics. And we also learn that there are fifteen guys showing up in this berg to do something.

That's great. But the first paragraph is not focused enough yet and doesn't do as much for you as it could. I'd suggest tightening, remove the "drammin' probably caused the red face", and you likely already know that using McDonalds in the first sentence leads the average reader in the wrong direction.

Perhaps you might just tighten it thusly: "Kincaid and Manuel walked into the boarding house. The man behind the counter was round, his face flushed." Add some other telling description that leads to the dialog and you've got to the important bit, which is the conversation.

And a hilarious continuation. If it wasn't so non-PC it would make a hilarious commercial.

writtenwyrdd said...

I just realised I completely overlooked the great big "excerpt" in the header. So mentally edit what I said with that oversight in mind, please!

Chelsea Pitcher said...

I feel like "I won't have no greasers" doesn't match the grammatically proper sentences that follow. I kept expecting the man to say crossin' and mutterin'. (He does say movin' later.)

Also, "met a horse pistol in his face" made me think he'd been slapped with the gun.

_*rachel*_ said...

Can you name it something other than McDonald's?

You don't have a Mary or a Joseph in the group, do you? I'm sure you do have some sort of donkey, but that can't be helped.

I don't particularly care for the drammin' or idlin', either.

You know, there's only one way to know for sure what a loaded gun looks like when it's aimed at your face. Just keep your hands away from the trigger when you try it, Wes and Dave.

talpianna said...

I'm pretty sure that drammin' means "drinking"; I must say that I was annoyed by finding the dropped g's in internal dialogue, even if the person would use them in speech.

Dave Fragments said...

No gun is unsafe just because it is a gun. I've had 5 and they were lumps, doorstops, or paperweights until loaded and you never loaded them until you were ready to use them on the target range.

You see, that's what most people don't understand about a handgun. Once loaded means the gunman has decided to use it. I never made the decision to kill, therefore I never kept a loaded gun in my house. Hey, I'd give the burglars everything just not to have that burden on my mind.

I used to own Ruger Single Six (22 cal) with a 6 inch barrel. It was a target pistol and one loaded it by completely removing the cylinder and replacing the empty shells. It used a 7 or 9 shot cylinder and was always loaded with one less bullet. The empty cylinder being under the hammer (firing pin) so that a drop or jar could not fire a bullet. That wasn't the only safety feature.
Ruger has pictures of it. Pretty gun. Really sweet for shooting targets.

Now my 38/357 Wesson was a huge pistol, chromed, long barrel for targets and impressive. It was loaded on the side of the cylinder, one bullet at a time. I never loaded it except right before I used it. those bullets were just too powerful to even think about walking around with it loaded.
There aren't any good pictures IMO, but this was a beast of a gun. It looked big, was big, recoiled hard and just ripped anything it hit to shreds. I forgot once and fired it without earmuffs and my ears rang for hours. And it spit flames out the barrel. I sold it. It wasn't fun to shoot. Too big, too heavy, too powerful for targets.

writtenwyrdd said...

Dave, a .38 or .357 is not huge for a handgun. Nor is it all that powerful unless you have special hot loads in it. Try a .44 with an 8-inch barrel! Now that's a big revolver! And even with earplugs and headgear on, it made my ears ring. (Of course, that said, I don't like plinking with anything more heavy duty than a .22 long rifle. The noise, kick, and cost of the ammo for larger shells is off putting.)

The single action revolvers do tend to be heavy and bulky in appearance because the metal frame and cylinder need to handle the stress from the larger rounds. But if you get into the semi-autos, like my Glock .17, which is composite for about 80% of the weapon, it's really light empty. It's the lead in the 18 bullets that makes the thing heavy.

The thing about heavy handguns for larger caliber rounds is that, IMO, the recoil is more manageable with more gun weight. Revolvers, overall, recoil more than their magazine-fed brethren because they are not using any of that energy to eject the brass and jack a new round.

But the point of this response is that I got to wondering about "horse pistol" and the definition. A horse pistol is one that was holstered on the saddle, I believe. If I recall the setting correctly, Wes' story is in the era of the Spanish colonialization, the latter days of it? So I am not positive, but the gun itself might be a true horse pistol, even a pre-cartridge type gun, or a black powder gun of some sort. But likley not a 'six-shooter' from teh Old West days.

Since this is an excerpt I presume that the type of firearms used is clarified earlier on.

_*rachel*_ said...

Goodness, I only brought it up because it was funny and y'all were talking about what a gun would look like aimed at your face. And no, I don't know a thing about guns; I most heartily approve of the Second Amendment, but I'm not touching those things unless I have to.

Wes said...

Great continuations. Picking one must have been a tough choice.

Thanks for the feedback. I hadn't thought about the effect of using "McDonald's". I can easily change it to another protestant Scottish or Scot-Irish surname.

Yes, greaser was a slur used in the period. Many books still in print written in the 1830s-50s used it.

A horse pistol was a very large caliber (up to .75, that's 3/4 of an inch in diameter) handgun carried in a holster hung from the pommel of a saddle. The MS has Kincaid thinking the bore is so large he could stick his thumb in it, but I cut that to meet EE's 150 word limit. If a person was wealthy enough, he/she would have a brace (two) of them. In this period the gun would be a flintlock.

I'm a competitive shooter and fire about 500 rounds per month in matches, but I'll spare you the details. A "round", BTW, comes from the period because the projectile was a "round ball" as opposed to an oblong bullet.

Dave Fragments said...

There's quite a few pictures on the internet showing revolvers with 38/357 calibers and you can definitely see the bullets in the chambers. 45 caliber guns have large cylinders. I've never fired flintlocks or muzzle loaders. Those round balls and large calibers did terrible damage in the Civil War.

My neighbors and coworkers are all hunters. My Niece's son got a trophy buck (8 points) at 12 y/o. He's just turning 14 this month. I don't hunt. I just watch the dear eat everything in sight. Hungry critters.

I have been told that when you ride horseback through certain parts of the Southwest Deserts, It pays to carry a 22 cal loaded with shot shells (like buckshot but smaller) for shooting rattle snakes. Now that might have been apocrypha for the city slickers.

And Rachel, you are right. It is totally stupid to look down the barrel of a loaded gun, but it's necessary to write the description in the story. I personally believe that everyone should have lessons in how to handle and fire a gun once in their lives just so they know how to be safe.

Wes said...

Hi, Dave.

There are several theories about how to deal with rattlesnakes. I thank a snake for rattling and warning me that I am getting close. I've never shot one, because I want that evolution to continue. There are some rattlesnakes that don't rattle. I might shoot one of them. Books written during the period of my WIP such as Josiah Gregg's COMMERCE OF PRAIRIES ( describe the constant gunfire as traders shot rattlesnakes while traveling on the Santa Fe Trail.

If you look closely at my pic, there is a pommel bag over the saddle horn. Holsters for horse pistols would have been in that location. I carry water and my .45 Glock in mine.

I only hunt with antique or replicas of antique rifles. Muzzleloaders have a problem of having the powder get wet during rain or snow so the gun won't fire (Keep your powder dry.). Once in Colorado after a snow storm I was making elk calf calls trying to attract a bull. Instead a mountain lion came in to about 40 yards from me. It was a big tom, but he didn't see me because of my camo and the wind was right. I was quite concerned that my rifle wouldn't fire if I needed it. Since then I carry a .45 or .357. New Mexico's hunting regs prohibit muzzleloading hunters from carrying a modern handgun. Guess the next time I hunt there I'll take a horse pistol.

Dave Fragments said...

In Pennsy, it's against the law to hunt deer with a handgun of any kind and it's also against the law to hunt within 100 yards of a building or house and it's against the law to hunt in a county park. But that didn't stop a coworker from getting a huge trophy buck with a magnificent rack next to the township building with a 357. It was a shame he could never display it or brag about it.

Now half the world has no idea what we're talking about. Or even why some of these restrictions exist.

talpianna said...

Just a passing thought: can an innkeeper, no matter how bigoted, afford to turn down than many customers?

Wes said...

Look at all the business passed up during segregation in the U.S.

Kincaid's group ends up staying in a stable as Rachel proposed in her continuation.