Tag Archives: noir

Rampage Writing–Taking a Stand for Your Opinion


Warning–Adult language

The lesson today came about after reading Damantigui’s Blog. He is a world traveler–both business and pleasure. He is seasoned in life, culture, and observation. When one is seasoned, one is unafraid to share criticism. Damantigui doesn’t suffer fools lightly.

In a moment, I am posting an excerpt from a recent rampage on Damantigui’s Blog.

First, let’s discuss where rampage writing is useful: on the Op Ed page of the newspaper (dwindling market?), in political speech writing (seasonal work and hard to get?), in dialogue (movie and television scripts, books, plays–better) and, finally, on the soapbox (think of the public square of today: the blog or jokes for comedians. Ahhh, now we’re getting somewhere).

Rampage writing is persuasion on steroids. It’s purpose is to modify the views of the reader by hyperbole, education and/or intimidation. Humor helps. When slapping someone, it helps if you can get them laughing about it.

Enter Damantigui, aided by George Carlin.

The following example of rampaging is extracted from his November 8 post titled “Truth Teller.” In it, he(via George Carlin) challenges the necessity of the Save the Earth movement, among others.

We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet will be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.
You wanna know how the planet is doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, “How the planet’s doing?”  You wanna know if the planet’s all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilowaia, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.
The planet will be here for a long, long —LONG— time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself; it will cleanse itself, because that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover; the earth will be renewed; and, if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the Earth plus plastic!  The Earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the Earth. The Earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children.
Could be the only reason the Earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old philosophical question, “Why are we here?”  “Plastic! Assholes.”

http://damantigui.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/truth-teller-en/

Response to Forever Young Song Prompt


Forever Young

by Fay Moore © 2012

The halls smell like urine—stale urine, gone rank in the heat, ground into the cheap linoleum tiles laid decades ago when this building was new and this neighborhood was a good place to live. A wire cage surrounds the single light bulb illuminating the dingy corridor. Cecily pulls the door to the apartment shut behind her as she leaves. The soles of her shoes stick to the floor with every step.

Cecily cringes as she thinks of her mother, drunk and in the bedroom, lying under some guy. The grime in the halls doesn’t make her cringe. She’s used to that. She should be used to her mother’s whoring, too.

Her mother puts out for anyone who will pay her twenty bucks. She collects the money in an envelope in her dresser drawer. Momma always worries out loud about having enough money to pay the rent when the superintendent comes around. If the money isn’t there, the superintendent gets ugly. One time, when Momma didn’t have all the rent money, Cecily saw the man shove Momma to her knees. When he grabbed Momma by the hair of her head and fiddled with his zipper, Momma yelled for Cecily to run away, which she did. She made it to the bottom of the stairs.

That’s where she met Guido. He saw her crying and pulled her to safety inside his apartment.

Guido lives on the first floor. He’s older than Cecily by a decade. The apartment belongs to his grandmother, who has lived there forever. She’s got rent control, Guido says, so it doesn’t cost much to live there, so long as his grandmother doesn’t move away—or die. His grandmother is old, blind and crippled, so she stays in her room, playing funny sounding music from when she was young. Guido lives in the apartment, too. He sleeps on the couch. He takes care of his grandmother as best he can. He doesn’t have a regular job. He sells weed in the alley beside the apartment building, so he’s got pocket money.

To Cecily, Guido is fun. He takes her to the corner deli and buys her stuff. He tells her she is pretty.  Today he says he has a surprise for her. He says he’s going to make her a star.

Cecily doesn’t believe him about the star thing. That’s just how Guido talks. He’s always making things up about what he’s going to do when he doesn’t have to take care of his grandmother anymore. He says he is going into business and make lots of money.

Guido shows Cecily the kind of car he’s going to buy when he’s rich by pointing to advertising banners on the sides of the city buses. He wants a black Chrysler 300 with spinner hubcaps and leather seats. Cecily thinks it’s funny because Guido doesn’t have a driver’s license. Guido says he doesn’t need one: he knows how to drive. Cecily knows he steals cars sometimes to earn a few bucks.

When Cecily reaches Guido’s apartment, he’s excited. He has set up extra lamps without any shades on tables around the sofa. The room is really bright with light. He’s talking fast about making movies and selling them on the Internet. He tells Cecily he’ll pay her to act in his movies. She’ll be captured on film, forever young, like Halle Berry or Jennifer Hudson. She listens to him, thinking this is more of his big talk. Then he brings out a small digital video camera and sets it on a makeshift camera stand. He explains that all Cecily has to do is take off her shirt, then her pants, then her underwear while he takes her picture. He’ll pay her twenty bucks.

Cecily isn’t listening to Guido any more. In her head, she is seeing her mother down on her knees, crying out for Cecily to run. Cecily listens to the words of her mother and runs out of Guido’s apartment. She doesn’t know where she’s going, but she doesn’t look back.

On Being a Rake or Zack and Zealous Women


S. W. May wrote a cunning post:

Zack and Zealous Women

Zack wanted to share his life with a zealous woman. But as Zack sat wondering what he part of his life he should share, which he often did while his not-so-zealous woman snoozed, he came to the conclusion that, to women, sitting next to Zack was like taking Zolpidem.

I replied to S. W. May:

I think that Zack is at a lack of what it takes to be a rake.

You may read more from this young author at http://swmay.wordpress.com .

Justice: Part 3, The Finale


Justice: Part 3

by Fay Moore (c) 2012

Good god, man,” says the Chief. A pause, then, “Call me later with the rest of the findings.”

The Chief of Police is silent. Six pairs of eyes focus on him, trained to read the faces of men to reveal what is in the heart.  At the moment, the face of the Chief is tabula rasa. Under the circumstances, the eyes stay riveted to the chief’s face, mining data from each subtle nostril flare, each bat of an eyelid, each pupil dilation.

Standing, the Chief hands off the cell phone to an assistant, straightens his uniform coat, then locks eyes with his audience.

There’s been a fire at the GS Global Investments building. All the senior executive offices burned. Once the blaze was controlled, firemen made a cursory search through the suite, to be sure all flames were extinguished. In the executive bathroom, they found a pair of severed hands on a plate, covered in blood, under a glass dome. The coroner said the hands appear to have been removed from a cadaver. You know, one of the pickled bodies used for training in medical schools. Thank God for that. I was afraid the hands belonged to another investment banker.”

One of the detectives in the room chuckled. “Blood on your hands.”

What?” asked the Chief.

Blood on your hands. The perpetrator is sending a message. The investment banking community has blood on their hands.”

If you count the kills in Asia, Europe and here, we have eleven dead bankers in forty-eight hours. I’d say you’re right that whoever is behind these hits is sending a message, a very lethal message.”

Did they find anything else?”

Yes. Under the glass plate holding the hands, there was a copy of an article from a San Francisco newspaper, written by a Bill, Phil, or Will somebody and called “Unrepentant and Unreformed Bankers.”

Another voice responds, “I saw that article on the Internet. It has gone viral on the free video channels. That crowd sees our perpetrator–or perpetrators–as a kind of Robin Hood. You know, delivering justice where the regulators and courts won’t.”

The Chief growls in reply, “Let me remind you that we deliver justice, not some vigilante. You can’t have people taking the law into their own hands. Remember that! Now show me the article. You said it’s on-line?”

The detective uses the Chief’s computer to find it. The search returns several references to the article, as it has been printed not only in the San Francisco newspaper, but also in the Huffington Post and on various Internet web sites.

The Chief scans the article as the detectives peer over his shoulder.

Money laundering. Price Fixing. Bid rigging. Securities fraud. Talking about the mob? No, unfortunately. Wall Street,” a detective reads aloud. There’s a laugh around the room. “Old Phil Angelides knows how to start an article off with a bang. You know, Chief, he’s got a point.”

A glare from the Chief silences the speaker. “We have crimes to solve. Now get to work.”

It takes weeks of coordinating investigative efforts with global law enforcement and intelligence organizations to turn up bumpkus. The police entities can’t identify who is behind the mayhem. The killings have stopped: the spree is short-lived and focused. Nowhere is there sympathy for the victims.

Over and over, excerpts from the Angelides article appear on television. In coffee shops, barbershops, taxicabs and airports, the buzz is the same: the banks and their leaders have faced no real political, economic or legal consequences for their wrongdoing. The banks are cozy with the regulators and with legislators. Wall Street is solipsism, a world of utter madness that, till now, others could not affect.

——-

Somewhere in Hong Kong, an octogenarian is on his deathbed. He is thinking about the Year of the Dragon; it is a year of bravery, of passion, a time to eliminate negative chi from the past. He considers his life. He has been favored in business and industry. His personal fortune exceeds the total economy of many individual countries. Before he dies, he wishes to leave a gift to his children and grandchildren. He believes he has done it. He believes he has made their world better.

How does he know?

He is watching the news. The broadcaster describes a global reordering of the financial world. In the aftermath of the multiple murders, fear seizes those who ran the old order, and they flee to hide in their hidden bunkers. Systems that have been in place for decades are being disassembled. The central banking system breaks up into small localized units. Fiat currencies are replaced with asset-backed money. Sovereign debts are forgiven. Taxpayers are off the hook. Governments cut size and balance budgets. International banking criminals are arrested and prosecuted vigorously.

Optimism and hope are in the air. Economies will be rebuilt. He can die in peace.

Justice, Part Two


Asklotta requested I write Part 2 to 8/23/2012’s short story “Justice.” Your wish, Asklotta, is my command.

I went hunting for inspiration and found it on www.zerohedge.com in Tyler Durden’s 8/23/2012 post titled “JPM’s London Whale May Face Jail Time for Mismarking Billions in CDS.” I hope you enjoy another installment of “Justice.”

Justice: Part Two

by Fay Moore © 2012

 On the 20th floor, night’s blackness is arriving without a sound. Reds, purples and oranges chase the sun out of sight beyond J.R.’s office window.

Late nights are de rigueur at the Wall Street firm, so an analyst knows where to find J. R. when the after-hours news comes across the wire. J. R. is in his office, as expected. Unexpectedly, J. R. is in front of his desk when the subordinate knocks on the jamb of the open office door. The boss is striding back and forth atop a broad gilded stripe on the carpet, as if the line is a runway and his feet, the plane flown by a pilot practicing incessant touch-and-go landings.

The underling centers himself inside the door frame, lowers his eyes and waits politely. J. R. makes two more passes in front of the desk before acknowledging the interruption.

Can’t you see I’m busy?”

You asked me to let you know if anything hit the alternative news wires. Something is up on ZeroHedge.”

The boss swears under his breath and heads for his desk. He grabs the arm of the executive desk chair forcefully, rolling it backwards, and jumps into the leather seat, driving the rolling chair forward. The ricochet reminds the subordinate of the lethal motion of a pistol slide.

The Internet article says J. R., as chief executive officer, and his firm are in trouble: in addition to the uncomfortable news of the firm’s suffering massive losses for the quarter, now comes an accusation that players in the firm engage in criminal mismarking of credit default swaps to boost reported profits with the intent to defraud shareholders and investors.

J. R. knows that regulators are three years behind in following up allegations of wrong-doing. A bigger threat, in the form of bad press, comes from self-appointed enforcers outside the establishment. Envious or angry insiders leak damaging information into the alternative news channels. Internet-based sleuths are busy lifting carpet corners, shining light on hidden filth missed by lazy, stupid or blind regulators. Going from trickles to torrents,  the news leaks push J. R. to make admissions about the bad behavior of the London-based trading office, and name names of guilty parties. To cover his own ass, he denies foreknowledge of the crimes. Then there’s the LIBOR scandal, to which J. R.’s firm is a party–if not directly, then by association.

J. R. belongs to the You-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours Boy’s Club where men help each other evade the law, at least, and commit horrific crimes, at most.

The executive admits to himself that the media snowball is rolling downhill and growing out of control. The bad news, that came in monthly dribs and drabs of disjointed factoids in the beginning,  is coming faster and faster now; from monthly leaks to weekly to daily to hourly ones.  At first, J. R.’s smooth spin paints the Internet newsmongers as “nutters” chasing phantoms. J. R. is a master at disconnecting the dots. His executive board loves him for that quality. But now the fouling of the firm is overwhelming. The big question at the top is who is going down?

J. R. is waiting for a call from his criminal defense lawyer. That’s why he was pacing when the associate showed up in his office doorway. He needs the legal firm’s resources to manufacture an escape route that will keep him alive and functioning. He is trying to keep his neck out of the noose.

The television mounted on his office wall—the one that is always on and tuned to the financial news network with the prettiest broadcasters–sounds a bell. For some odd reason, J. R. mistakes the sound for the peal of the early warning system. He looks up at the screen. The announcer speaks. The news rattles him. The former head of a competing firm is dead, shot today by an unidentified gunman while he and his wife are vacationing in the south of France.

In the middle of a sentence, the broadcaster stops speaking, pressing his finger against the device in his ear.

After a pause, the reporter says, “We have breaking news. The shooting appears to be an assassination. A source inside French law enforcement says the shooting has all the hallmarks of a professional hit. We’ll bring you the details as soon as we know more.”

A professional hit? By whom?” the underling asks his boss.

I don’t know,” he answers, his voice quieter than normal. “Look, I have a call to make. Thanks for telling me about the ZeroHedge thing. That’s all for now.” J. R. walks the man toward the door, shutting the door behind him.

He calls his lawyer again and gets the receptionist.

He identifies himself to her, then says, “This is urgent. I need my attorney now.”

The barrister’s paralegal comes on the line. He recognizes the investment banker’s voice. J. R. gets to the point.

I don’t know if you’ve heard the latest. I fear someone is targeting investment bankers.”

Yes, I heard the French news.”

“Then you understand. I need protection, and I need it tonight. I don’t know who is behind the threat, but. . . .”

A bullet breaks through the office window glass, striking J. R. in the back of the head and blowing a gaping hole in his frontal lobe as the projectile exits the skull. As J. R. falls, a tinny voice calls through the small speaker of the phone.

Hello? Hello?”

In a moment, the line goes dead.

When Words Won’t Come


For two days I have wrestled with a story from the song prompt “Lightning Crashes”. I don’t want to wimp out in my writing when confronting that which is raw and primal. Nor do I want to go down the path of describing a scene of evil, which is the image my mind keeps presenting.

I have told my brain, “No. Find something else.”

So I sit here, figuratively with pen in hand, with nothing to write.

Response to Song Prompt “Calling All Angels”


Here’s my sudden fiction piece generated by Train’s “Calling All Angels.” If you’ve ever experienced a personal moment of desperation, you may identify with Hannah. Sometimes things intervene that cannot be explained away.

Angels

by Fay Moore © 2012

Hannah’s thirty. She has a two-year-old and a husband. There are no money problems in the home that any other young married couple isn’t facing. Everyone in the family has good health.

But Hannah is tired, so tired. And with a baby to chase after and a business to run, she doesn’t get caught up on her rest before the daily grind discharges her batteries again.

She shuts herself in the bathroom and cries. She has thirty seconds to herself before there is an intrusion. The baby gets down on his knees outside the door, puts his tiny mouth to the gap between the bottom of it and the floor, and starts calling through the crack, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.”

Hannah sits on the closed toilet lid, her face in her hands. Her crying turns to head shaking.

I can’t even go to the bathroom and have five minutes alone,” she laments.

Hannah gets up and unlocks the door. Her toddler scoots in and wraps his arms around her legs.

Where you are, Mommy? I look for you,” he murmurs.

I’m right here,” she answers, scooping him up in her arms. She forces herself to smile at him.

Honey,” her husband calls from the kitchen. “Where are the hamburger rolls?” He’s shoving things around inside the refrigerator.

Hannah carries the child with her to the kitchen.

There aren’t any. We used the last ones the day before yesterday. We’re out of milk and eggs, too. You watch your son,” she says as she hands the toddler off to her husband, “and I’ll make a grocery run. I’ll be back in 30 minutes. That’ll give the two of you time to make the burgers and salad. Need anything else?”

Yeah. A package of razors and a gallon of iced tea. Oh, and some pickles. Those sweet ones.”

Bread and butters?”

Yeah,” he says, as he puts their son in the high chair, placing a plastic bowl half full of Cheerios on the tray.

Hannah blows kisses. Her boy catches them, but her husband has already turned his back and buried his head in the refrigerator, rummaging for dinner ingredients.

Half an hour later, it’s dark outside. Hanna starts home with the groceries. She revisits the feelings she had while in the bathroom at home. She feels grim, then melancholy, then depressed. She begins to think dark thoughts. She grips the wheel with both hands, holding the car to the center of her lane.

She doesn’t know if it is her imagination, but she swears she hears conversation in her head. She is being urged to run the car off the road. She grips the wheel tighter.

I’m tired. I’m worn out. That’s all. I don’t want to die,” she says aloud, half praying, half trying to convince herself to ignore whatever fiend is messing with her thoughts. She’s crying again. Her shoulders begin to slump as her grip relaxes on the steering wheel. The car edges to the right.

At that moment, Hannah’s mind lets go. Though she sees nothing visible, she senses a presence, no, two beings, one at each forward fender. She is driving, but the sensation is that the invisible beings have control and keep her car on the road. She travels about a quarter of a mile with this impression.

Then, it is as if she has returned to herself and shaken off whatever it was that possessed her thoughts. She doesn’t understand exactly what just happened. Her mind tries to reason that she imagined the whole episode. But in her heart, she knows she nearly died by her own hand. Something, or someone, intervened to move the vehicle back onto the roadway. She holds fast to the steering wheel and leans forward, eyes riveted to the road.

Hannah is shaken, but determined to get home safely. She wonders what she will tell her husband. How will she describe what happened?

Angels?” she asks herself.