No one ever wrote like Big Jim Thompson and no one ever will. Big Jim wrote pulp fiction and did it so well they called him "The Dimestore Dostoevsky".
His fictional worlds were dark and dismal, best read at night and best viewed in black and white.
If you haven't read his work, you still might be familiar with it from the movies: "The Grifters", "The Getaway" and "The Killer Inside Me".
Big Jim is a literary hero of mine.
You know where I am going with this?
Yup, this week we are going to write tough, like Big Jim. Here is my response to this week's challenge, written as a spoof on the recent buzz at Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. If you don't like it; too damn bad. :)
Johnny Retro: Management Consultant
It’s late. Down on the street, they're switching off the bar signs and the hookers are putting on warm pants. Up here I'm filling an ashtray and waiting for a client.
All day, the rain has been blubbering harder than a grounded teen on prom night but I hardly noticed. In my line of work, you get used to blubbering.
What do I do? I'm a management consultant. I rescue corporations that have fallen behind the curve. It's a tough gig. The pay is lousy, the hours are long but I do it because it is good for my karma, and like I said, I keep the tissue handy.
Ah, my client has finally arrived.
There’s no elevator in this building and I listened to her high-heels clicking up all four flights of stairs. It's the way I like it. It makes them work their way to my door.
“C’mon in, Mayer,” I growl as I pour two shots of Old Crow. Marissa is a sweet kid, but she's dropped a long way from Google to CEO of Yahoo.
She slams back the shot and asks me straight up, “You.. you.. you think I can save Ya...?”
I cut her off quick. “No, you can't.” That’s not what she climbed up four stories to hear. “But I can.”
“Tell me how..,” she whispers.
“Let me ask you something first,” I say, “how come a good looking CEO like you falls for a loser like Yahoo?”
“Same reason you rent a fourth floor walk-up,” she says, “I like them panting their way to my door.”
“Okay kid,” I tells her, “here is how it's going to work. First, you forget that bleeding edge crap you learned at Google. Next, you down-grade Yahoo. Make it run slower than frozen syrup on a 24K modem. That’ll bring back the geezers.”
“Listen to me, kid, I’m your only hope.”
“There’s no money in the retiree market.”
“No kidding, Toots.”
“So why do it?”
“It'll bring in the hipsters, the early adopters.”
“How can that be? They are all chasing the latest fad from Apple and Google.”
“Not for long, sweet-cakes. Ask yourself, how many acme pocked engineers at Google are wearing bowling shirts?”
“Quite a few actually.”
“And how many spin vinyl for music.”
“Uh-huh, I did that.”
“Look doll, it’s hard to be hip these days. Every schmuck with a browser can catch the latest technological fad. So how does a hipster stay ahead of the curve?”
“They go retro?”
“You got it, Toots. Even polka is coming back to college campuses.”
“I didn’t know....”
“Now get out of here, I got another client.”
Two police pursuits, a garbage truck and six cigarettes later....
“Quit lurking out there, Ballmer. Get your ass in here and for the first time in your life, shut your gob. Microsoft is already on the retro path but you just got to tune it a little.”
This week's challenge: write like a tough guy. Take any story, take any topic and write it like you got a stranglehold on reality. Be tough, be ruthless...
A few tips:
- Paint a dark world with colorful language.
- Punch your dialogue.
- Use sarcasm to show contempt for the world and everything in it.
- Keep the stakes personal.
- Make every motive suspect.
Post your article to Gather Writing Essentials.
BE SURE TO TAG your submission with MWE. Note: I search for articles using the tag "MWE" If you don't tag it right, I will not find it.
- Include "Monday Writing Essential" in your title.
Last week’s writing challenge: write about politics - drew the following responses:
Weekly reminder: don't forget to recommend an article that you like (to learn why, read Ann Marcaida's article Attract More Writers and Artists to Gather!).. Also try to place a comment on at least one article and say more than you liked the piece. Tell the author what worked and what needs work.