Monday, 19 August 2013

Morigan 3

My hope to update every day floundered when my friend came to stay at short notice. I've had a lovely time frolicking this past week, but back to the grindstone. Here's part three of my slightly hokey noir-esque crime.

As he shouldered the front door open and kicked the mail out of the way, Morigan thought about Frankie and his collection of exes. He’d never met Darlene but he knew she was a whiner. Despite the fact they’d been divorced for eight years, she still thought Frankie was the root of all her problems. Sandra on the other hand was just unlucky-in-love. Of all the ex wives Sandra was the most sane and Morigan actually kind of liked her, or at the very least he recognised what Frankie saw in her originally. Bouncy, blonde and ditsy, Sandra was the poster-girl for what you didn’t want an ex-wife to be: likeable. Morigan knew that Frankie and Sandra were still friends and that if Bex ever found out Frankie would be denied certain husbandly privileges for a very, very long time. Maria of course was everything the other two weren’t. Driven, fashionable, and severe from her manicured talons to her designer accessories. The alimony she claimed must have been out of spite, as she herself had a highly successful business selling off the possessions of the dead.
Morigan struggled to remember the last long-term girlfriend he had and came up blank. He had trouble trying to find his type of woman and so usually went for the type that you didn’t have to call in the morning. Shrugging off his jacket and toeing off his shoes he stumbled towards the kitchen and the stash of bourbon he kept in the cupboard next to the boiler. He wrinkled his nose a little at the way his socks stuck to the tacky floor; he should really hire a more efficient cleaner. 

He grabbed the bottle from the cupboard, retrieved the mail and slunk over to the couch. Junk, junk, bank statement, junk, letter from ‘Anne Acquaintance’?
“Hunh, very cute” he mumbled. He took a swig from the bottle and tossing the others aside, ripped open the inconspicuous white envelope. Inside was a single sheet of paper with two words typed neatly in the middle: STOP LOOKING. Morigan sighed; it was amazing how creepy people could make something so pathetically un-violent seem threatening. His jaw tightened and his left hand twitched involuntarily as he reached for the phone on the coffee table. He dialled the office.
“Yo, Lisa?”
“What is it now?”
“Hey beautiful,” Morigan said this in an attempt to butter her up of course; Lisa was a wiseass receptionist and not overly reliable. Morigan liked her well enough but although he enjoyed the back and forth, Lisa was definitely not his type of woman. At 55, she was too old and far too cranky.
“Listen buster, don’t go pullin’ that smooth talkin’ bull on me. If ‘t’ain’t in the job description, I ain’t doin’ it.”
“Actually, it is. I need to report a threatening note.”
“Oh really? La di da, what does this threatening note say then?”
“It says stop looking.”
“Doesn’t sound so bad to me, it don’t even have no bad language in it. Who you lookin’ for anyhow?”
“Mind your beeswax and just put it on file would you?”
“Don’t take that tone with me mister, I’m hard at work and your sittin’ on your lazy bee-hind.”
“Are you goin’ to do it or not?”
“Maybe. You better fill out the report tomorrow though ‘cause I don’t really want to see you now, I might just whoop your ass.”
“’Night Lisa”
Morigan heard the click at the other end of the line and knew that Lisa wouldn’t file the report, she never did. He took another swig from the bottle, propped his feet on the table, switched the phone for the remote and kicked back. The criminals of the world could wait, he thought, he was watching the game.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Morigan 2

Frankie’s may not have been the most swanky bar on the south side, but it’s clientele were mostly good people. Frankie Peterson worked the bar with his current wife Bex. He’d been married three times before but he always told Morigan that Bex was a keeper. Morigan hoped so, the other three had Frankie paying alimony out of his kaboose. Personally he thought Bex was nice, but he didn’t really get the whole red-headed Dolly Parton look. She was in her mid-thirties, and had a penchant for lycra, high heels and high hair that required so much hairspray it could probably destroy the ozone single-handedly. Without the heels, she was an average 5’6’’, with them she was 5’10’’, including the hair she was probably about 6’3’’. Some might say that stood together, Frankie and Bex were comical, but there was something kinda sweet about the contrast Morigan thought. Frankie was genuine third generation Italian-American and proud of it, but like most of his Italian gene-pool, he was just over five foot. 5’3’’ and a quarter to be precise, and with Frankie you never forgot the quarter.

Morigan took a last drag on the cigarette and flicked it in the gutter. As he pushed open the reinforced door, the familiar stench of beer and sweat washed over him. He manoeuvred through the small bustle of people to the bar and inched himself onto one of the empty barstools. He glanced round the room and seeing only the usual crowd turned back towards the bar. He was greeted by Bex in her standard clingy lycra.
“Hey Morigan honey, how ya doin’?” she chewed her gum a couple times and rested her hand on her hip before he answered.
“Peachy keen as always Bex, I’ll have a bourbon” she looked at him for a couple of beats,
“Please?” he added. A smile flashed on her face.
“Sure honey, coming right up.”

Morigan stared down at the beer mat in front of him. Some form of beer bottle was accompanied by a smiling pig. He wasn’t sure what this meant as the name of the beer was indistinct, being coated in spilt drinks had made one edge crinkled with moisture and age. Bex returned with his drink and placed it on the mat, making the face of the pig distorted through the liquor.
“Hey Bex, is Frankie around?”
“Yeah, he’s out back, you can go on out if you want, he’d be glad to see you for once.”

He picked up his glass and downed it, savouring the fire in his throat and the warmth in his belly. Slamming the glass on the bar, he swept through the door to the side, past the greasy kitchen, to the dingy office where Frankie did his books. Frankie was slumped behind the miniscule desk with a half bottle of grappa grasped in his fist. He looked up when Morigan sauntered in.
“Judging by the fact that the bottle is only half empty, the books must be in the black this month.” A smile twitched his lips.
“Ha, ha, very funny. You wouldn’t be so flippant if you had three ex-wives that’re robbing you blind.”
“No, but there’s the difference Frankie. I had no Catholic mom tellin’ me I had to marry a woman before I slept with her.”

Morigan took a step to the right and slumped into the chair Frankie kept for the rare visitor, wedged in the corner next to two industrial filing cabinets and below the lone fugged-up window that was perched high up on the wall. He surveyed the bleak room and then focussed in on his friend.
“What do they want this time Frankie?”
“Darlene’s claiming that she needs to hire a fumigator, Sandra needs more surgery to reverse what she had done last time and Maria just needs the Gucci shoes.”
“Jeez Frankie, just get your cousin Louis to bump ‘em off. Save yourself the grief and hassle, not to mention the money.”
“Says the cop. Boy, you must’ve had a bad day.” He leant back and scratched his chin.

Friday, 9 August 2013


Again, am very unproductive today so I've dusted off another oldie. I started writing a short story, but due to a a human error in file transfer etc, I lost half of what I'd written and gave the whole thing up as being too hard. read this opening and if you like, let me know if I should pick it up again.

Winston Croach sat opposite, on the other side of the sticky red-checked Formica table. The harsh, neon light of the tacky downtown diner emphasised the bulges of flesh bidding to escape from the collar of his yellowing shirt. Everything about him seemed somewhat yellow: the nicotine stains on his stubby fingers, his teeth, the skin of his pale leg visible between his socks and his too-short trousers and the oddly pearlescent beads of sweat decorating his forehead, balding scalp and neck.

As he mopped at his brow with a paper napkin from the dispenser, Morigan unclenched his hand under the table. Croach was taking too long to fold. He glanced quickly at the ceiling to see brown damp feeding off the steam from the kitchen. Unable to stop his top lip from curling, he once again looked back at Croach.

“I told you Morigan, I don’t know where he is.”
“Winston, can I be frank?”
“Heck, I’ll call you anything you want, Frank”, a small chuckle died in his throat as Morigan’s eyes darkened and narrowed and he tilted his head to the side.
“The truth is Winston, you can’t afford to be holding out on me. The judge will have no qualms putting you in jail; he’s been looking for any excuse since your son ran off with his wife. If you’re lucky, maybe you won’t see Smoky Joe on the inside.”
“Hey man, Smokey Joe’s not right in the head.”
“Yeah and he’s real mad you didn’t tell him about the ambush. Maybe you ought to just tell me where I can find Tommy.” Winston gulped and tried to ease his too-tight collar with a fat sovreigned finger. He began to sweat more profusely.
“Unofficially mind… you might find him at the Spend and Save on Saxby Road”

Signalling discreetly to the two officers by the door, Morigan kept Croach’s attention occupied with small talk.
“The Spend and Save, that’s a launderette?”
“Yeah, no one would’ve hired him, but his Aunt Sally owns the place. She’s not had many customers lately on account of they all think Tommy’s nuts.”
“That’s a real shame – Cuff him boys.”

Without another word Morigan swaggered out of the diner, lighting up as he got outside. Taking a deep drag on the cigarette, he watched the end flare. He turned left and started walking, he needed a drink.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cary Grant

There's something indescribably charming and handsome about Cary Grant. He's one of those men with eyes of chocolate and a voice that sets your heart a-flutter whilst continuing to be a perfect gentleman. Bringing Up Baby (1938), directed by Howard Hawks, is one of my all-time favourite films. It was the first I had to analyse at University and is continuously witty and fast-paced with surprisingly effective special effects involving a playful leopard. Cary and Katherine Hepburn are the typical odd couple, and hijinks ensue with misdirections and comic mishaps galore. Cary appears in another screwball by Hawks, Monkey Business (1952), in a similar role opposite Ginger Rodgers. This time he's an uptight chemist rather than professor, but essentially the same character 20 years later. Both times he's caught short wearing women's clothes which I find quite amusing.
I think it's his timelessness that I love about Cary. He's funny and sweet in just the right proportions, and I admit to having a teeny weeny crush on him.So if you get the chance, watch one of these films and it won't be time ill-spent!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Very nearly almost forgot to write anything today. But I've dug out an old one of mine, dusted it off and finished it. It's not a happy one, so handkerchiefs at the ready.

He felt like his insides were burning. He knew about adrenaline, but he’d never expected it to feel so strong, so intense. Fumbling to get a grip on the grubby ladder, he felt the sweat bead on his forehead under the weight of the helmet, which all of a sudden seemed constricted. He wanted to rip it off but continued to hold the ladder, staring ahead at the blank wall of earth. He thought he recognised a hand in the mulch of lime – very probable. They’d been using the husks of men to barricade the deteriorating trench for weeks now – who knew, it might be someone he had known. A split second of silence interrupted the barrage of artillery, just enough to hear the command. All at once muddy boots were heaving the live bodies they carried onto the ladders and over the top.

Nothing could have prepared him. The ache in his belly hadn’t been adrenaline, it had been, was, out-and-out fear. It knotted his nerves, clawed at his throat and scraped at his heart. Once he’d waded through the mess and melee of various body parts, he’d found a shell hole and slithered into it, wanting to escape, fall into some state of unbeing, but it was all too real. The gore was burned into his eyelids. He lay, shivering with shock and cold, remembering a warm summer at his mother’s house by the sea. The salty wind had blown their hair about as they played cricket on the beach, and the playful music from the grand gramophone inside was the only sound that interrupted the waves and their laughter. Ginger beer fizzed with gleeful gaiety, followed by stolen kisses in the dunes by moonlight.

The images were blurring now, becoming muddled and violently intruded upon by decapitated heads with no eyes, scattered limbs, soiled uniforms and blood. Endless blood. He just wanted to forget. That was a lie, he didn’t want forgetfulness for that would imply continuing to live, to be in a state of ignorance. No, he wanted to cease to be, and he could see only one honourable way forward to escape this hell. He wrenched himself from his muddy reverie and continued his stumbling path through the mist towards the enemy line.

Men either side of him fell and for a short while, miraculously, he did not. Emboldened by this, and by fond summer memories, he straightened from his hunched posture. It was only a fractional movement, but it was enough. Fire pierced his chest, ripped through heavy fabric and sought out that section of his heart which contained bravery. He crumpled like concertinaed paper, he grew numb. Everything was fading fast. He thought he felt warm, but really he felt nothing. His blood wetted the ground beneath him and two slow blinks were all that he could manage before he simply ceased to be, and he escaped his mortal cage.

In the weeks that followed corpses were reclaimed from no man’s land. Dismembered fragments reinforced the ramparts, whole corpses were recorded in the ledger and dogtags collected to send to mothers and widows. Those without tags were laid out, hopefully to be identified by commanding officers or other personnel.

Sandburg’s grass mixes with wild and aptly named forget-me-nots. It grows thicker in some places, one patch more than any other. It flourishes atop the heart of one Unknown Soldier, “known unto God”.