Friday, February 19, 2016

For Thought

Earlier this week, I was preparing for a writer's workshop.  This group is serious about the time we share and they're all hard at work on their individual stories.  Often they look to me for suggestions on areas in general that they can direct their efforts at.  Sometimes we talk about dialog. Or it could be about characters, or conflicts, or settings. So for this week, I thought working on an ending would be different.  Usually I'll give them a prompt, maybe a few paragraphs or a page to help get them started and see where they go.

But this time I struggled with that concept. Every attempt I made didn't make any sense.  So as happens occasionally, I just started writing, anticipating inspiration would kick in.  What I ended up with was a far cry from what I expected, but when I shared it with the crew, it was well received. So I wanted to pass it along.

For Thought:

 “You’re telling me you knew about the scam?” Cookie asked. “After everything we went through, you knew it all along!”
Baker shrugged. “I had a hunch. I was following my gut.”
“You set this up, didn’t you?”
He shrugged again. “Set up is a bit elaborate. I may have put the wheels in motion. Graham isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. He’d sell his mother and her little hot dog for a decent bottle of Bordeaux. Or maybe a bottle of Boone’s Farm.”
“What about Clementine? You let her run off with him!”
“She’s hot for the guy. They could end up making something sweet.”
Cookie shook her head in frustration. “Let me get this straight. You knew Ambrosia and Monterey Jack staged the robbery. They hired Chuck and T-Bone to dress up as Frito Banditos and steal the deposit bags right after closing time.”
“Yes, but neither of those guys is seasoned. They have the IQ of a turnip. Jack and Ambrosia switched the bags, giving them a few hundred bucks along with some cabbage. Alfredo was waiting outside with the getaway car.”
“But that doesn’t explain what happened to Julienne? Was she in on it?”
Baker nodded slowly. “Of course she was. But she couldn’t make the cut. I don’t think Jack wanted to mix with her. He knew where they’d park the car, so he greased Julienne and stashed her in the truck before the robbery. She was such a little butterball. She never had a chance. Meanwhile Basil and Reuben were just hanging out, waiting their turn.”
“She was a sweet little Twinkie. What happened next?”
Baker slid an arm across her shoulders and drew her close. Her hair smelled of honey and jasmine. “Once the gang got away, they were going to divide the dough. But they never got that far.”
“Why not?”
“It was over easy. Alfredo was driving. Reuben was in that jumbo truck. They creamed him at the stop light, sandwiching him into that parked car. The trunk lid popped open and you could see Julienne’s dead lady fingers dangling there. Basil grabbed the bags and they took off. The car was totaled. Alfredo and the others couldn’t tell anyone they’d been robbed, since they’d stolen the money in the first place.  And they couldn’t explain away Julienne’s body.”
“So those two cops, Newton and Bartlett, just happened to be cruising the area,” Cookie said. With a sigh of frustration, she brushed back her thick blonde hair from her forehead. “They had no reservations?”
“Cops ignore reservations. These crumbs just tumbled into their laps like donuts at the drive-thru.”
 “I’m still confused,” Cookie said. “So the cops scooped up Alfredo, Chuck and T-Bone with Julienne’s body. Basil and Reuben got the fake bags of cash and split. But what happened to Monterey Jack and Ambrosia?”
“Monty Jack booked passage on the dinner train. He had the real bags of cash, plus the jewels in an old steamer trunk. Everyone expected them to leave in a hurry. He chose a slow route, waiting for the attention to simmer down.”
A look of understanding crossed Cookie’s face. “Monty and Ambrosia double-crossed Chuck and T-Bone?”
“Don’t forget Julienne. She was the one who brought them into it. But the original plan was Graham’s.  He thought he was such a Cracker Jack when it came to crime.”
“And Alfredo spilled the beans to Reuben and Basil?”
          “Exactly. They wanted their own piece of the pie.”
“So Monterey Jack and Ambrosia get to walk away with the whole enchilada,” Cookie said. “That just doesn’t seem fair.”
“Hey, it takes a lot of bread to put together a caper like that.”
“But if you know all this, why are we just sitting here, sailing across Tapioca Bay?  Shouldn’t we be doing something?”
Baker gave her a slow smile. “We are doing something.”
“You seem pretty calm, letting the others get away.”
“Well, Graham and Clementine left before the crime, so they’re nothing more than vapor. The cops picked up T-Bone, Chuck and Alfredo, so they’re toast.  Basil and Reuben will end up with egg on their faces when they realize they got little for their troubles.”
“Don’t forget Ambrosia and Monty Jack,” Cookie said.
“Oh, I won’t. You see, while they were busy switching goodie bags on Chuck and T-Bone, I was switching bags with them. Everyone gets their just desserts.” Baker nudged the red vinyl case used to keep pizza warm. “Which leaves just one question?”
Cookie’s eyes grew wide. “What?”
“Do you like diamonds with your pepperoni?”

Moral of the story:

Never write when you’re hungry.

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