The Man Without A Tie

Don’t you think “The Man Without A Tie” makes a nice title? It’s the title of my first draft of a noir novella of almost 19,000 words. I’ve been working on it for the last thirty days. Yesterday I put “The End” tag to it.

It’s the first person story of a schmuck on the losing side of ten grand. His name is Cord. It takes place in 1953 when “Hank Williams was dead, Frank Sinatra had gone Hollywood, Eisenhower was President, and the government was taken over by the commies. At least, that’s what Joe McCarthy said.”

It may not be a dark and stormy night in the City when the novel opens but it soon will be. There’s always a dark and stormy night in the City in these kind of stories. Just like there are eight million stories in the Naked City.

The main character isn’t Mike Hammer or Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe. But his luck may be changing when he’s offered the chance to erase the ten grand gambling debt by two of the local crime lords. All he has to do is find out who killed the blonde. Unfortunately the police consider him a suspect.

It opens with this paragraph:

The blonde might have been dressed like a lady, but she was no lady. She was a regular circe. And she knew how to enchant the hell out of a fellow. There I was in bed with her, making like I knew what the heck I was doing. When we finished, she leaned toward me with those baby blues and put her ante down. “That’s a down payment, Baby.”

For the last thirty-something days, I woke up and wrote at least five hundred words on it first thing in the morning. If I don’t write first thing in the morning, there’s a good chance I may not get anything of my own written during the day. If I don’t write first thing in the morning, I feel guilty the rest of the day. If I don’t write first thing in the morning, I’m a real pain in the neck to know. And in other parts of the anatomy too.

Each morning I pull myself out of the old bedsky, feed the cat, get a cup of coffee, then go to work and let my subby-conscious do all the work. But it’s worth it. I never know what I will come up with. This time I came up with “The Man Without a Tie”.

Want to know why Cord doesn’t wear a tie. Want to know why he doesn’t have a first name. You’ll have to read it when it shows up on kindle sometime in the fall. In the meantime, I have to figure out whether his eyes are blue or brown. One thing is for sure. We know why Cord calls Cherry, the bartender at The Big Easy, Cleavage.

Hamlet: So you think you’ve got problems

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Hamlet 1. 5. 

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 1 Scene 4 1/2. We already know that it is a dark and stormy night at Elsinore Castle. Well, it’s about to get darker and stormier.

There’s Team Hamlet—Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus, Barnardo. Sounds like a law firm, doesn’t it? Or a vaudeville act? The Marx Brothers. The Three Stooges without the nyak-nyak-nyak. Up on the roof, chattering their teeth off from the chill. Next thing you know, Horatio’s teeth stop chattering. Then to Hamlet, “My lord, look, it comes.”

Now that “it” can only be one thing. Not Polonius. Not Claudius. Not Gertrude. Not Laertes. Definitely not Ophelia. Yep, you guessed it.

Enter the ghost. Just three words. If you’re looking for a good plot device, this is a good one. After all, Dickens did it. So why not Shakespeare? They are about to change Hamlet’s life. Hamlet turns. Not slowly and not fastly, but just right the way Goldilocks liked her porridge. The next thing out of the Hamster’s mouth,” “Whoa, dude.” The “dude” comes from his surfing days.

He buckles up his courage. That is Courage with a capital C. “Okay, Big Guy. WTF are you?” Hamlet takes a gander at Horatio. His eyes big as saucers. Not just any saucers either. Flying saucers. “Is that who I think it is?”

Horatio nods an uh-huh.

Hamlet to the ghost, “Hey, are you from heaven? You don’t look like you’re from heaven. You’d be all shiny and new if you were. Maybe you’re a demon.”

He leans over and whispers to Horatio, “Run and get an exorcist. We have a big one here.” Then thinking better of it. “Oh, never mind. ”

He squints and speaks to the ghost, “Well, if it don’t beat all. It looks like the Old Man. Hi, Dad. I got to tell you that you forget to pay my college tuition for this semester. The school almost booted me out. Thank God for financial aid. But you know the interest rate I am having to pay on that loan. It’s enough to bankrupt the kingdom out of castle and moat when I become king.”

Hamlet then realizes he may not be talking to dear old Pop. “Look, dead corpse—you are dead, aren’t you? How did you get out? And don’t give me that yo-ho-ho-and-a-bottle-of-rum-on-a-dead-man’s-chest either. I read Treasure Island and I know how it turns out. It ain’t you.”