[Carol walks to DePlacher's desk. She sits in the chair, brings out her bag. She begins to roll a joint, shuffling the weed, agitating the paper, shifting the center, licking the edge. She rolls a joint, leans back]
Folks. Let's focus on the opening. Let's take, for example, Charles Portis's True Grit. Crafted back in the day, 1968. That's a fucking while ago, savvy? The opening paragraph says ...
People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father's blood...
Right? Sorry, but that is wonderful, righteous, and it fills the soul of the literati with warm butter. All's we need is something close to that, folks. I mean, you guys, the children I'm hoping click on this, need to craft better. Right? That one line, that first paragraph must make us lick our lips. I could give you multiple examples of bad intros from the last few capitals sent our way, but that'd be rude. I'm simply asking you to pay attention to your opening line. The entire opening paragraph, right? Sorry thing is, no one pays attention to us here in the trenches. They'll just continue to send us their shit piles of prose.
[Carol has the fresh capital spread out on DePlancher's desktop. She sucking in the last dregs of a joint pinched between her index and middle fingernail-tips. Sparks float down to the pages, and she slaps them dead with her palm]
Dude, Boligard. We've a capital entitled Edge of Darkness. Finally, a short prose focusing on the boss, bro! So excited!
[Carol examines the capital, rolling what's left of the roach between her fingertips, making a gooey ball of it]
Oh, wait, fuck. This is not a capital focusing on Bruce, his Bossness, damn it.
[She flicks the gooey ball to the dancehall glass tiles]
[doomey's phone erupts with Aerosmith's Back in the Saddle chorus. he digs in his pants pocket and brings out his phone, thumbs it]
doomey...yeah, but, time flies, Rorschalk, I mean we're working as fast as we can. had to binge Easy on Netflix yesterday, you know? s'not our fault, buster. tell you what, you want us to focus on the job more? maybe you should cut off the internet, uh? you think of that?...hello?...
[doomey thumbs his phone dead, shoves it back into his pants. he thumbs a swan vesta and lights the tip of a pall mall, sucks in some sweet smoke. he looks over at Carol, twists his lip]
Fawns's capital has been pulled. Rorschalk told me we're dragging our heels. says this is what happens when we fuck around, disregard our responsibilities. he sounded upset. but, oh well.
[doomey grabs up the capital spread out on his desktop, he wads it up and tosses it to the glass tiles. he gives the wadded up capital his middle finger]
[he grabs up the capital on top of the towering pile at the corner of the desktop. he spreads this out the cherrywood in place of the recent capital. he blows some cigarette smoke at the pages]
Charlotte Platt's Christmas at Aunt Sally's.
[doomey shuts his eyes, breathes. breathes some more]
[Carol rolls up the current capital, and she twists it tight, twists and twists. She tosses it to the glass tiles. These two must be starting a collection. She pulls the next capital off the pile on DePLancher's desktop. She spreads it out. Squints her eyes]
Tom Miller's Burenfication.
[She begins her examination. After a few beats she can't help but sense Boligard staring at her. She looks up at him]
[the sound of crushing cars erupts from the inside of doomey's suit coat. doomey pulls his phone out. he thumbs the screen]
yowl, fucker...okay, so yeah. shit. fuck...okay okay okay, fuck. we're trying to examine faster, but maybe if you invited Fugazi to the Floor, maybe...no, I heard they're reforming...listen fucker...no...we are staying hydrated, okay? listen...
[doomey peeks through the pile of capital piled at the corner of the cherrywood, he finds what he's searching for, pulls it out and spreads it out on the desktop. he plants the tip of his index finger to the edge of his eyebrow, his other hand maintaining ear-phone contact]
okay, so we lost this fucker, he, she got accepted by some other ezine, okay. we need these fucks, but they need us, right? but...
[doomey examines the sheets of paper laid out before him. he twists his lips. he taps out a pall mall and swan vestas it, sucking some sweet smoke into his lungs. he exhales]
bitches. look at this shit. here, i'll recite this manuscript, this capital, that got accepted elsewhere. okay...
[doomey clears his throat, and then negates that by puffing on the pall mall. he leans in close and looks into the camera-that-no one-else-can-see]
by joseph motherfuckin' cusumano
[doomey lowers his head, shakes it, raises it]
Why title your capital something so iconic? People look at you and spit on you, bash your cheek with their purse. I mean, why?
[doomey sucks smoke out of the pall mall]
so here's what joe typed:
"How much?" Jag had trouble believing the size of the reward for anyone who could repossess the space yacht from Uriel and return it to its owner.
"One billion credits," Balthazar repeated. "And you don't have to facilitate Uriel's arrest. The reward money is just for the return of the Star Clipper. Senator Mosby wants his yacht back, no questions asked."
"But that's way more money than the yacht is worth," Jag pointed out.
"I know. He must have some kind of sentimental attachment to it. Or maybe his wife does. At any rate, I know its location, and you're the best pilot for the job."
"And if I manage to steal the yacht back from Uriel, what's your cut?" Jag asked.
"A mere 20%."
Jag, an experienced repo man, considered what the job would entail. He rarely attempted to recover property from criminals, let alone someone as dangerous as Uriel.
Sensing Jag's reluctance, Balthazar said "Look, I'll take you to the Star Clipper. You outsmart the security and get inside. You pilot it home. How tough can it be?"
"That's what you always say."
"Yeah, and it's worked out pretty well so far hasn't it? We're a good team."
Jag thought about it and had to agree. More importantly, Balthazar had never cheated or lied to him. But Jag said "This is a lot riskier than the usual job. I'll give you 10%, and I want to know how you located it."
They eventually settled on 15%, transportation to be provided by Balthazar, no details on the source of information. If Jag could pull this off, he'd be a very rich man even after paying off all the debts he had incurred.
Two days later, they left for New Canaan.
[doomey lowers his head, he twists his lips. he thumbs in Patti Smith's Gloria. and he sits there, sucking what's left of his pall mall, bobbing his head to Patti]
[Carol looks up from her examination. She spits some leaf from her lip, screws up her brow]
Oh my fucking god. That's fucking horrible.
[She rolls the tip of her joint in the base of her new Rat City Rollergirls (money coming in now, motherfuckers) ashtray. She rolls it, making the tip a cone of fiery weed, and she puts it to her lips, and she sucks in some Train Wreck]
''' [Carol exhales, feigns a cough, grumbles and shakes her head]
No, but really, wow. I'm guessing there be capital out there that goes full on dialogue. And I mean, why not just craft dialogue. Man, that would make crafting so easy. Boligard, what do you think about this style of crafting? This anti-crafting?
[Carol, after a few hours of intense inspection of the current capital, throws her boots (when'd she get those horsehairs) on DePlancher's desktop (her feet inside the boots). She leans back and sucks in some smoke from her current spliff. She taps the capital neat and tidy against her tightly leathered crotch]
See, now this shit was funny and well crafted. It's going up to the Terminal. Is it so fucking hard to be funny and craft well? Over the last week or so, seems so. Tom Miller's Van Burenfication has been tossed up, folks.
[She folds the capital, and she folds it again, and, yep, she shoves it into her leather pants (and btw, wow, when'd she get those?). Not sure that's going to work, but she looks pretty positive, wiggling her ass in the chair a little. And then she says]
Oh yeah, there it goes.
[She leans back, weaves he fingers behind her head, leans further back, the joint tittering in her lips as she sucks it pretty much dry. Out of the corner of her mouth, she says]
[Carol has moved around to the front of DePlancher's desk. She stands there, her back to Doomey, the current capital spread out before her on the desktop, her palms planted to either edge of the capital spread, and she's leaning in, examining. She purses her lips, and she taps the title page with a fingertip]
Avra Margariti's The Domovoi. Pretty fucking good. So far.
[After shoving the top page aside, she places her palm back on the desktop and continues her examination]