Thursday, March 27, 2008

I hope you're not letting yourself be influenced by the guns these pocket edition desperados are waving around.

Happy Friday! I'm writing a murder mystery. What do you think? Be honest. I consider this my Magnum Opus.

Chapter One: Charisma Hits the Dance Floor

To say Charisma Ponderosa "appeared" at the top of the Grand Staircase wouldn't be entirely accurate. She didn’t so much appear as she faded slowly into focus in much the same manner as the bartender’s face fades slowly into focus once you’ve fallen off your barstool and flat on your ass after your seventh Tequila Popper.

Atop her poorly bleached hair sat a tiara adorned with enormous faux diamonds. She wore a red sequined gown that she’d been poured into… out of a Soft Serve ice-cream machine. The sequins had the appearance of scales making her look like some gigantic red iguana which had escaped from a fifties horror film by way of "Saturday Night Fever."

Draped around her hips was a loose, zebra-skinned sashay belt which hung just above her thighs. Her large feet were stuffed sausage-like into a pair of expensive polka-dotted designer shoes. You could see the perfume she’d applied generously about her form from the ballroom floor.

Charisma was a vision. A peyote-induced vision, but a vision nevertheless.

She waved. It was the wave rodeo princesses’ use in backwater Fourth of July parades. A slow back and fourth, elbow firmly planted in mid-air. It was the wave of royalty. It was the wave of dismissal.

Charisma began to slowly sashay down the stairs with the intent of making a big entrance. She had no idea that she would accomplish that goal in spades. As she stepped down the stairs her belt suddenly slipped loose and dropped down to around her feet.

She staggered to maintain her balance, but her feet were hopelessly entangled in five-hundred dollars of zebra-skinned doom. Time briefly froze as the crowd at the bottom of the stairs gasped in unison. That is except Charisma’s sister Eunice who was snickering to herself in the corner.

Gravity quickly slapped the lot of them back into reality as Charisma started to tumble down the marble stairs head over heels, a pinwheel of red sequins bouncing with ever increasing velocity. Diamonds, zebra-skin, polka-dots, diamonds, zebra-skin, CRASH!

The coroner’s initial report was simple and concise. "Death by sashay, sashay."


Westcoast Walker said...

"death by sashay", pure brilliance. Your opening is nice and punchy. I'm hooked - more please!

Do you like Elmore Leonard? I have been devouring his books recently.

Randal Graves said...

Brilliant indeed, so much more colorful than "death by misadventure!"

Arkonbey said...

The opening line was actually rather quite nice. It looked like a bit of work to Hammet-ize it.

now, I must make a comment on Bogart's Spade in contrast to modern action 'heroes'. Spade never used a gun, and yet was a total badass; find a gun-less American hero nowadays.

Dean Wormer said...


Thanks! I haven't had the pleasure of reading him yet. He wrote some westerns as well as mysteries, right?

I'll have to head across the street when I get a chance today and pick up a couple of his books. One of the joys of where I work is that one of the largest privately owned used booksellers in the nation is right across the street.


Also it's not set in Australia so I've got that going for me. Which is nice.


I'd never really thought about that thing with Spade. Mostly I'm familiar with the character from the movies and always attributed his bad-assness to the fact Bogart was playing him.

Dr. Zaius said...

That's great! I want to hear more about the gigantic red iguana.

Freida Bee said...

I thought I would be saying, "Nice opening!" and then as I kept reading the exquisitenesses never stopped.

(Only cause you asked and left yourself open for the constructivisms (and how can I say shit with this new George Bush literary style I am getting too addicted to), is the semi-colon in the third from last paragraph correct? Dr. Monkey taught me some new grammar chops recently, so really, either i's a typo or this old dog might learn a new trick.)

That's all to say, I love it!

Dean Wormer said...


Alas, she is an ex-iguana.


If you haven't guessed my grammar is horrible. I removed the semi-colon.

I'm happy you enjoyed it.

Swinebread said...

My grammer sucks to high heaven...

but this story is awesome!

I love "She waved. It was the wave rodeo princesses’ use in backwater Fourth of July parades. A slow back and fourth, elbow firmly planted in mid-air. It was the wave of royalty. It was the wave of dismissal."

plus the "death by sashay" as well

your on your way now pal!

Anonymous said...

Very nice! I love the Dashiell Hemmett/Raymond Chandler feel. You might also look into (if you haven't already) the novels of James M. Cain ("Double Indemnity", "The Postman Always Rings Twice", both made into great movies). Hope to see more of it.

Don Snabulus said...

You even threw in a Douglas Adams-like comparison in there.

Fun stuff. The level of pop culture density is going to be hard to keep up, but you may be up to it.

I likey!

Dean Wormer said...


Thanks! Really appreciate it.

I'm getting stoked about May. Lots of cool stuff planned. :)


I was going into for a Dashiel Hemmett meet Douglas Adams (which don caught) feel. I've never read Cains actual books but I've seen those flicks. More to add to shopping list for Powells.


Are you still in Cali? Have you read any of Adams' Dirk Gentry books?

As for keeping up with pop culture references- I dunno. I just want to write something that makes me laugh but more importantly makes other people laugh.

I'm also working on trashing McCain's new commercial which won't take too long as soon as Overdroid has the time to record the script I sent him.

My smartass-fu is strong.

Freida Bee said...

Oh yea! I just saw it is a Chapter One. I am hoping that is a guarantee of more, though if it's not, a short story beginning with Chapter One relays with even more impudence, the untimeliness of a demise as such, by sashay, sashay.

Dean Wormer said...


Ha! There may be more...

In fact Fridays seem the perfect day for that sort of stuff since everybody, myself included, just wants to drop the serious stuff from the week for the weekend.

Don Snabulus said...

We're back in the land of dripping moss (and freak hail storms).

I think I read one of the Dirk books. I liked Hitchhikers books better (except the last one was a schtinker).

Keep up the smartass-fu!

Dean Wormer said...


Welcome back. At least you missed the snow.

Agree on the Adams books. You might like "Last Chance to See." It's a mix of wildlife conservation and Adams' signature wit.