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Saturday, November 13, 2010

RIGHT TURN ON DEAD


Hurricane Katrina has shredded New Orleans. Politicians are scrambling to toss responsibility for the fiasco on anyone but themselves.

The two great undead world powers are about to square off for the final conflict.

Just outside the fabric of reality, ancient beings strain against the unraveling barrier holding them back from destroying all life on earth.

And in the nexus of all dimensions, Meilori's, the doomed Samuel McCord ponders just what one lone undead Texican can do to stem the tide of death ...

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

RIGHT TURN ON DEAD

"I move in all kinds of circles, meet all sorts of people. I learned

engraving from a counterfeiter, accounting from a swindler.

A succubus once tried to teach me the tango. But nothing doing. I didn't have the

hips for it."

- Samuel McCord


I turned around and faced my newly re-born night club. Meilori’s was back. And it had only taken a small fortune to make her return breath-taking.

Luckily, I had stumbled across more than a few lost treasures in all my manhunts. When the last owner of a fortune is several centuries dead, it made giving it back harder than just keeping it. But I spent it wisely. Or tried to.

My night club shimmered in the dim illumination of spinning, sparkling chandeliers. Meilori’s stood on a busy French Quarter corner. But even so, it seemed to go on for much longer and wider than it appeared from the outside.

Which made sense. It was wider and longer within than without.

Courtesy of Rind, the Angelus of Death, my place led into a crossroads of dimensions that only a few could enter and from which even fewer could return.

Everyone was safe who stayed up front. Those who ventured deeper did so at their own peril. The sign to my place read : HERE BE MONSTERS. TO VENTURE DEEP WITHIN IS TO CHANCE NEVER RETURNING AT ALL.

Not that many paid much attention to the words, mind you.

But they had only themselves to blame if they never returned from the shadows. Besides, New Orleans had lost a good many visitors long before my place showed up.

The city had just lost a cite more since then was all.

Hicock was playing poker in the far table, his new spectacles gleaming on his nose. He nodded. I nodded back.

He gestured to an empty seat beside him. I shook my head. I kept my gambling limited to my life not cards.

Major Strasser, immaculate in his black Nazi uniform, sat closer to me. I ambled to his table. He smiled with sharp white teeth.

“Still hold Casablanca against me?”

“Not so you notice. Remember I shot you in your withered heart, not in the acupuncture point that could have killed you.”

“Just so. Is it really the year 2005 out past those doors?”

“Yes, but I’d advise against going out there. Go back the way you came. You’ll still have years of blood and madness across all of Europe if you return that way.”

He stared at me curiously. “You know how the war ends?”

“Yes ... everybody loses.”

"I come as representative of both the Fuhrer and Empress Theodora ..."

My face became the stone my heart felt. "One's already dead. The other will be if she touches New Orleans again."

"You are a fool."

"Lot of that going around."

I turned from him and made my way to the gleaming bar. And yes, if you are wondering --- there were mirrors on the walls -- when you could see them.

Each table surface was reflective as were the steps of polished marble scattered in random spots along the length of the red carpet sweeping it seemingly into eternity. Elu got lonely sometime.

And he also got --- hungry.

What can I say? Meilori’s is that kind of place.

I was in my dress black western suit. Black shirt, black tie, long coat, slacks, boots. Even my broad Stetson was black. I sighed.

I missed Sammy in his all white attire. Samuel Langhorn Clemens was probably having them all in stitches somewhere in a far better place than my night club of the damned.

I blinked back hot tears. Sixty odd years is a long time to know a friend. I missed him.

I slowly moved through the room that seemed to become larger, wider, deeper the longer I was in it.

The president of modern France sat with his young love. They were chatting with Marie Antoinette, her slender throat neatly stitched so well only I could see the slight scar of the incision. She smiled coldly at me.

I tipped my Stetson to her and moved on. That was one of the problems to my night club.

Every aisle led to a place you’d rather forget. Every table brought back memories of what you had done or should have done.

And every woman reminded you of another woman. Or in my case, one woman. The only woman. Meilori.

Off to the left was one of my internet jazz stages. Erin Bode was singing in the middle of its spotlight.

She was an up and coming jazz vocalist. She didn’t like to be type-cast as a jazz vocalist. There were worse things to be called. I should know. I had been called most of them.

I liked her. Meilori would have, too. Erin had called me up and volunteered to sing at my place.

She had wanted her fee to go to the Katrina Relief Fund. All the money from the live internet feeds of tonight and the nights to follow would help the hurting in my adopted city.

As Erin was singing “Alone Together,” Toya, the club's manager, swayed up to me. I smiled wide at her, the image of the six year old I had found out by my dumpster settling over her Cleopatra features.

Skin the color of milk coffee gleamed under the swirling lights above us. Her black dress was so short that it could have qualified as a long blouse. Any shorter and it would have been a wide belt.

Tonight she was dressed as a buccaneer. Lafitte would have made her captain of his ship, if not his heart.

Me? My compass had left me seven years ago. And I was lost, so lost.
**************

Wander too far into Meilori's and this song will become your theme :


21 comments:

  1. And there you have a glimpse into Meilori's and my urban fantasy, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE. I hope the agent who requested my first five pages wants to see more. Wish me luck, everyone.

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  2. February : Thanks. Knock on wood for me. Thunk. Thunk. That was me knocking on my head!

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  3. I'd knock on my head for you but the few remaining marbles would fall out.

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  4. February : LOL. You made my afternoon.

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  5. Glad to hear it, after all, I live to entertain.

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  6. Good luck. Crossing my fingers for you Roland.

    J

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  7. Thanks, Jodi. My head is sore from thumping it for luck!

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  8. Feeling happy for you keeps me from feeling sorry for myself. I hate that I can't type properly. My fingers used to be able to keep up with my thoughts, now they can't.

    I just finished typing my entry for the "retold" blogfest which will post on the 16th. The last one I will probably be able to enter until this finger heals. I will still try to muddle through my daily posts if I can.

    I wish you all my best and will wait to hear. In the mean time, let me worry for you, I'm already in the thick of it anyway. You just concentrate on writing.

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  9. Wendy : I will pray that your finger will heal at warp speed. Thanks for the concern for me despite your own pain.

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  10. Not only luck am I wishing but I'm stirring the good mojo chanting your name :)

    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  11. Roland, you're scarily good. I can't imagine the agent passing on this one. This chapter I just read is one of your best and you are so deserving of publication.

    Go Roland.

    That paragraph on the modern French president and Marie Antoinette was priceless..:)

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  12. Jules : Keep stirring the mojo, and I'll keep praying!

    L'Aussie : Thanks for the kind words. I rather liked that image of the modern French president and Marie Antoinette myself.

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  13. We're all pulling for you Roland! You deserve it!

    Sorry to be coming to you so late, but I spent the whole day priming my living room. It quite vast and had to paint over plaster which is harder that just painting over paint. It took forever... had to do two coats and tomorrow's the cut in... What fun.

    I'd also like to thank you for you comment about my blog. I've been trying so hard to keep up. I am having a blast too! I am meeting so many fun people with so much talent.

    But my favorite part of my blog day is to visit you. I can't wait to see what you come up with next. I cracked with Sam's comment about not having the hips for the tango when a succubus offered to teach him! Too funny.

    I hope you had a more fun day than me.

    Thanks again for the encouragement.

    Michael

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  14. Michael : Let's try this a second time shall we?

    Blogger hates me.

    Anyway, you must be exhausted from all that painting today. I always hated it when it came time for me to do it every other October on the exterior of my home -- it is the one thing my home burning down robbed me of that I do not miss!

    Thanks for the good thoughts about the agent. Maybe this one will be the one.

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  15. You know I'm wishing the very best of luck, Roland. You're writing is...beautiful. It's amazing.
    --Lindsey

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  16. Lindsey : Thanks. Your support means a lot. And thanks for thinking my writing beautiful. It means a lot to hear that after casting my dreams into the darkness, hoping to hear back from agents.

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  17. This would be a neat place to hang out in for real. And I promise, I would avoid the deeper, shadowy regions. Sounded like a mystical western in my head.

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  18. What an introduction! You would write one heck of a jacket cover my friend! Fantastic chapter as well.

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  19. Heather : Now, if only some publisher would buy my novel and let me write that jacket cover! Thanks for the praise.

    Words Crafter : You know I would like to hang out in Meilori's as well : that desire was the reason behind GHOST OF A CHANCE which gave me the opportunity. I promise to finish when December comes and my NaNo friends have the time to read the last few chapters.

    And you'll never believe who the real villain is -- but I played fair. All the clues are there.

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  20. Really? Dang, now I have to go back and re-read the whole thing! Wait a couple days into Dec! I wanna see if I can figure it out! (BTW, that's so cool!)

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