First Page: Cherry
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Friday, December 16, 2011
Some people just wanna die.
Elmore Leonard would follow that kick-ass opening line with a kick-ass story about a petty thief who, through a series of unbelievable coincidences, manages to wrap his mitts around a shitload of mob money. Realizing his mistake, he tries to return the dough, but his efforts are thwarted by a succession of increasingly ridiculous goofs and gaffes. Meanwhile, The Boss has caught wind of the little snot’s crime and orders a hit; meaning, of course, that the unfortunate idiot is running out of time.
Truth is, the idiot’s been running out of time for a month now. He’s been running non-stop, 24/7, for a solid month and he just can’t do it anymore; hence, the loaded .44 Magnum on the passenger seat of his car, next to the fifth of Smirnoff.
That’s “Plan B.”
“Plan A” looms 500 yards ahead: a behemoth iron gate stretching across the service road, built to stop idiots from driving onto the dike.
I bet that thing could stop a tank, he thinks. He opens the vodka for one last pull, closes it up and sets it on the seat; then, he looks in the rearview mirror.
“Why did you do it?” he asks the schmuck in the rearview.
The schmuck in the rearview answers back, “Seriously? Because you’re an idiot.”
“You may be right,” he says.
He crosses himself and turns the key, shifts into ‘Drive’ and punches the gas, yellow gate rushing up fast and the last thing the idiot says is: “I hope I don’t feel a motherfu—”
Kudos to Elmore Leonard, the undisputed master of Hip & Grit.
Not to compare myself to the incomparable Mr. Leonard, but I, too, have been known to put pen to paper every now and again. Case in point: I keep a journal. Kept. Anyway, that’s how I envision Elmore Leonard’s story.
Now, here’s mine.
He’s been running non-stop for nearly a year; running toward the kid and away from himself, or. . .maybe it was the other way around, but that’s not the point. The point is, he can’t do it any more, which explains the loaded Browning 9mm Hi-Power pistol on the passenger seat of his van, next to the fifth of Bacardi 151.
That’s “Plan B.”
“Plan A” looms 500 yards ahead: a behemoth iron gate stretched across the service road, built to stop idiots from driving onto the dike.
I haven’t written the ending yet. I think he’s going to go with “Plan A,” but I’m not sure, because I don’t understand his reasoning. Can’t he just go home? Can’t he just turn the van around, go home, and take a nap or something? Can’t he take a nap or watch some porn or bake a cake or crank his fucking shank I mean come on, Cherry, there has to be a “Plan C.”
Please tell me there’s a “Plan C,” Cherry.
Some people just wanna die, Mr. B.