Saturday, April 10, 2010

Some Random Murder Scene

For Anne Riley's Murder Blogfest: Click

All right you knuckers, I have some murder scenes, but they're not fit for public consumption. Since I write emotionally and without apology, I have a tough time toning down the profanity. Blame the worms. They don't always behave as good Christians, and they never, ever care what you think about em.


But I figured I'd practice a murder scene, and so, here it is. It's a take-off from a scene in a short story that's still a concept, maybe even a book, about a New Orleans hit man name Jugs. I probably won't use this scene at all. Or maybe I will. It's not too bad.

WARNING: Profanity and racial slurs, as this scene contains racial undertones. The bad words are not gratuitous, but are well-thought placements where I believe they are needed.


Waking Jonah LeRoux

"You hate your old man, don't you boy?" Jugs asked. He turned the Mercedes SUV onto a backroad, really just a big gap in the cypress trees, and was impressed by the way the shocks held up on the road. Not bad, but for 60k, they'd better be holding up, sure enough. He slowed down to thirty.

But Marty didn't answer. Marty hadn't said much the whole trip (never said much as a matter of course, unlike his old man who could talk like a bloody nose bled). He just sat there looking pale and scared.

Jugs put the wheels into a barely-visible rut and flipped on the high-beams. Should've done that a long time ago. "I understand you scared, boy, but I know you got some in you. You know what I mean by some, don't you?"

Quiet Marty didn't answer. Didn't even look at Jugs.

"I mean you got some balls in you." Jugs chuckled and tapped Marty's elbow. "I mean on you boy, not in you! You ever got balls in you then you got trouble if you know what I'm talking about. And you gonna need some balls tonight, my brother. You gonna needs some bigguns."

This road went into the woods exactly 3.3 miles, close enough to hear a big gunshot, but far enough to muffle the little guns, something small like a .38 (under the seat), or even a bigger gun like a 9mm (in Jugs's coat). It was a secluded road Jugs had found back in 1993, the first time he'd needed a quiet place, and he'd used it eight times since then, almost once a year, mostly work for Mr. Lancôme, Marty's old man, except for one job he'd done for his cousin, wasted a bad nigger who'd beat her up good. You don't hit no woman.

"We almost there." Jugs slowed down even more to twenty. "Them trees is getting close to the paint. They hitting me over there? I done got scratched up earlier when I was out here."

"How'd you do it, Jugs?" Marty said.

The sound of the boy's voice startled Jugs. For three hours, Jugs had heard nothing but his own voice and a CD repeating curse words and threats. But he didn't think the boy caught his mistake (earlier when I was out here). Jugs wringed his massive hands on the steering wheel. Didn't the boy understand? "You know I didn't really kill her. She got killed by your old man. He the one put a bullet in her."

Marty rubbed his eyes and looked out the window. "You're okay over here. Nothing's scratching your car."


"Now, boy, you get the boat in the water while I get her out the car. You ain't afraid of no snakes, is you?"

Quiet Marty trudged silent to the boat without looking back and without looking at his feet. Snakes were always out here, crawling around where you couldn't see them, those big black cotton mouths, meaner than Mama's boudin. Jugs paid his feet close attention as he walked around the Mercedes and opened the back hatch.

There she was. She'd been a pretty thing a few hours ago, a young mulatto wasted on the white boys and wasted in the end. What a brother could've done with a woman like that.

Even in the tarp Jugs could see the girl's figure. "You're a sick man," Jugs said, meaning not himself, but Mr. Lancôme. That's the one who'd killed the girl. Why didn't Marty get that?

Jugs threw the girl over his shoulder and trudged to where Marty was pushing the boat into the water. "We gonna push out a ways. I got a surprise for you, too, if you're a good boy. That's why I wanted you here, see?"

The boat was an old wooden pero. For a decade it had rotted while making the occasional trip to the middle of the swamp. This week, it had made two trips, one two days ago (and wouldn't Marty be surprised by what he'd brought out here), and another trip tonight. Too shallow to use paddles, Jugs instead used a push-stick to maneuver the boat around the cypress knees, pushing farther away from the still-burning Mercedes headlights, the light fading as the trees thickened up behind them. It'd be almost pitch black where they were going. But by then, their eyes would be adjusted.

Marty sat at the front of the boat, as far away from the girl as he could sit, looking away from Jugs and deeper into the swamp. She was stiffening up. The boy probably wanted to remember what she felt like soft and what she looked like sitting on top of him slapping them creamy thighs.

Jugs leaned on the pole and pushed the boat between two trees. "I tell you, boy, you know what I'd do if someone killed my girl?"

Quiet Marty.

"I'd done killed that mofo. Put a bullet in his head -- after I'd done skinned that boy. You know I did that once. Skinning a man ain't easy, not when he's flopping around all like a fish and shit. I know why doctors use that anesthetic, now, wish I'd had me some that night." Jugs pointed as if Marty were looking. "Dropped his skinned ass over by that tree out there, the one with the bark shaved off. I shaved the tree, too. That's poetry, boy, you get it?"

Marty looked back at Jugs. "I don't think I'd have to skin the guy. Dead's dead."

"You got that right. Now how would you do it? I mean, if you had a chance to kill the man that killed your woman here."

"To kill you?"

"No, boy, ain't you listening? I didn't kill your woman. I'm saying your daddy killed her, put the money in my hand that put the bullet in her head. Would you kill your sonuva bitch old man?"

"I'd kill the man that killed her, sure."

"Then I got you a surprise, right up here on the other side of that island." Jugs pointed to a small mushy island that spent the spring under the swamp, but this was the fall, and a good bit of the island poked up like a giant turtle's back. In the middle grew a cypress tree.

"What kind of surprise?"

"You'll see boy." Jugs reached in his coat. He was taking a chance giving the boy a loaded pistol. And Jugs didn't like taking chances.

He handed the pistol to Marty.

"What?" Marty said.

"There he is," Jugs said. "He on that tree, tied up good and tight the way Daddy taught me."

Jugs watched Marty's face change when he saw his father, known throughout New Orleans as Mr. Lancôme, leashed to the tree by a seven foot chain and a metal collar around his neck. Several years ago, Jugs had spent six hours in that very same spot with the chain wrapped around his own neck, the mosquitoes biting, the snakes swimming by, the alligators, testing the strength of the chain and the collar and looking for ways to get out of it. Not even his own giant arms could break it free, and he doubted if a little white man like Mr. Lancôme would have any chance of getting out.

"You're one dead nigger," Mr. Lancôme said.

His hands were either bloody or muddy, probably both. There was a pile of shit to one side of the tree. Guess he couldn't hold it.

"Nossir," Jugs answered. "I got your son here and I do believe he got something to say to you, don't you boy?"

Jugs pulled the hammer back and took the safety off, then handed the gun to Marty. "Go ahead, take it. It's live, boy."

Marty took the gun and looked at his father. Jugs had stripped him naked so the mosquitoes could get at his man regions better. Smearing mud on himself hadn't helped either. Jugs knew that from experience.

"Now you do what you said you'd do, boy," Jugs said. "What would you do to the man that killed your girl here?"

"I said I'd kill him."

"You said you'd put a bullet in his head. Now go ahead, there's his head. You know how to shoot, don't you?"

Apparently Marty did know how to shoot. He aimed the gun quick, right at Jugs's chest, and squeezed the trigger, flinching a little at the expected recoil but keeping the muzzle level. Not that Jugs's chest was a hard target.

And when the hammer fell, there was only the click of metal on metal. Jugs didn't take chances. He hadn't lived this long taking stupid chances.

"You think I'd give you a loaded pistol, boy? You think I'm just some dumb nigger?" Jugs pulled out the .38, the quiet gun though he didn't need to be quiet way out here (though it never hurt to be quiet). "You said you wanted to kill the man that killed your girl. You a liar."

And without flinching and with a steady bead on the white boy's head, Jugs shot Marty in the skull and watched him fall over the lip of the boat. It was shallow here, and Marty's back stuck out of the water, where already the mosquitoes had found a fresh source of blood.

"You son of a bitch," Mr. Lancôme said.

"No, you the son of a bitch. You killed this girl because she black and you're son's white and you don't like em mixing them body juices. Now you get to smell her and your son while they rot and mix it up real good like." Jugs tossed the girl into the swamp next to Marty's body. "Shouldn't take long. The swamp eats things up quick.

"I'll be back for you in a month. If you're still alive, I'll think about letting you out of here. If you're dead, there's still plenty of swamp left to swallow your ass."



Courtney Reese said...

Love the line "could talk like a bloody nose bleed." SO vivid!

Great writing. It sucked me in and I just had to get to the end to see if Marty would kill Jugs. Very good read!

Andrew Rosenberg said...

I think there's a new King of Murder Blogfest.
I felt myself out in that there swamp, fixin to fight them gators.
Keep doing what you're doing, that's some mighty fine writin!

Tara said...

Fantastic. The writing is incredible, the story sucked me in. The lingo and dialogue is spot on. Wonderful stuff.

dolorah said...

eew, nice. That Jugs is a cool character; someone you just love to hate. I'm ready for more.

One thing you might want to look at. When he handed Marty the gun his thoughts were: He was taking a chance giving the boy a loaded pistol. And Jugs didn't like taking chances.

I took this to mean the gun was loaded with live bullets. It's ok to lie to the boy, but not the reader.

Other than that, this was really excellent reading. As part of a larger work, or by itself as a short story.

Very intriguing.


Eric W. Trant said...

D, on re-read, I did catch that little lie part about the gun, and I also mucked up on putting a gun beneath the seat. That's part of the revision process, eh! Thanks for catching it.

All: Thanks for the feedback! This is my first blogfest post, so I'm getting my feet wet here.

- Eric