Friday, January 27, 2006

Shark People Excerpt, post-script

I cut and paste the sneak preview from my first novel, "The Shark People" from a Word doc and apparantly, blooger does not recognize some of the characters, like quotation marks.
After all, they are universal in all English-speaking circles, but of course, blooger doesn't recognize them.
So, I apologize for the unfamiliar characters in the excerpt, but please make do and leave comments and critiques at the guestbook or message board.

Excerpt from "The Shark People"

Hey everybody. It's been a while since I blogged anything new, so I figured I owe my readers an explanation...
I've been feverishly working on my novel, trying to scratch some coins together, and I'm ready to show some of it and receive criticism.
With the exception of mySpace, this is the first sneak peek of "The Shark People" anywhere. Check it out and let me know whatcha think.
Please leave comments at the guestbook or the message board.

Sheriff Freeman sat in his cruiser parked behind the Audi, wondering what was going through the minds of these kids. He laughed to himself and picked up the microphone. “One to Base, Angie. Did you run the plate on this car? Over.”
Static popped and Angie replied, “Affirmative Chief. California, five Roger Roger Baker, zero one niner. Registered to a Benjamin Brian Phelps, he’s clean Chief. Is John Thomas there yet? Over.”
“Negative Angie. I’ll give him another minute. Stand by.” The owner of the car had no criminal record of any sort, but Freeman was willing to bet dollars to donuts that Mr. Benjamin Brian Phelps was not driving the Audi. It sat motionless, which told Freeman that the occupants had calmed down and prepared their lie. No doubt they were wondering why the cop that had them pulled over was sitting in his cruiser. The anxiety that cops put on people was the last true delight Freeman had for his job, especially here in Brody. There were not nearly as many perks to the job here as in New York City, so the chance to instill fear in clueless teenagers was something that he was keen on kindling whenever the opportunity presented itself.
The radio popped static and John Thomas said, “Three to One, Chief.”
“Go ahead Three, what’s your twenty? Over.”
“Coming up on ya right now Chief, over.”
Freeman smiled. “Acknowledged Three. Are you ready to have some fun? Over.”
“Always Chief. Over.”
Freeman looked in his rear view mirror and saw John Thomas pulling up. Thomas passed Freeman’s cruiser and parked his in front of the Audi.
“Three to One, Chief, what’s the plan? Some ass kicking or a simple fright night? Over.”
“A little bit of both. Follow my lead Three. Out.”
Freeman grabbed his nightstick and exited his cruiser. The red and blues were still twirling on the roof, as was the case on Thomas’ car. Both officers approached the Audi from opposite sides, and on the way, Freeman noticed the old man by the market, sitting and watching with little more than disinterest. Freeman tipped his cap with the nightstick and said, “How goes it Lloyd?”
The old man returned with an informal salute and, “I’d complain, but who’d listen Sheriff.”
“How’s Mavis?”
“The same.”
Freeman acknowledged Lloyd with a nod and as he came upon the Audi’s rear bumper, he threw on his game face and cleared his mind. No more Angie, no Old Lloyd or his ditz of a wife, not even Deputy Thomas, who was now walking along the Audi’s passenger side, checking the interior and staring daggers at the boy in the passenger-side front seat. All that mattered to Freeman right now was the carload of little fuckers driving fast in his town.
As Thomas came to a halt at the Audi’s rear, still on the passenger side, Freeman walked up to the driver’s door and tapped the glass hard, three times with his nightstick and motioned the driver to roll down the window. The driver complied. The plan was to be firm at first, without too menacing a demeanor.
Freeman said, “Boy, when a police officer pulls you over and walks up to your car, roll down the fucking window to see what he wants.”
The driver, obviously shaken by this stern piece of advice said, “Oh. Yes sir. Sorry sir. But I’ve never been…”
“Save it, sweetheart.”
The boy kept quiet. So much for not being too menacing. In a less intimidating tone, Freeman smiled and said, “Now shut the goddamn engine please.”
“Yes sir.” Again, the driver complied.
Freeman took a glance around the interior and all the passengers. Both girls in the back were staring at their laps, unwilling to make eye contact. Freeman said, “Well now,” and turned to the driver, “let me see your license, registration, proof of insurance, all the goodies. C’mon now boy, you know the drill.” As he watched the driver fiddle with his wallet, Freeman asked, “You were driving kinda fast, don’tcha think?”
The driver extracted his license and looked at Freeman. With a smile he said, “Oh, well, I, I wasn’t driving too fast, y’know? We’re on vacation and um, just havin’ a little fun in your town, is all. Um, sir.”
“Ah.” Freeman said, smiling. “Sure.” He received the license, gave another glance to the passengers, and then read the document in his hand. “Well now, Roderick, I can appreciate a little fun but there are rules. Where’s your registration and proof of insurance, son?”
Roddy’s eyes quickly roamed up, to the right and back at Freeman; a telltale sign that he was about to lie. “This is my father’s car, sir. I don’t know where he keeps those.”
Freeman bent down to be at face level with Roddy, and stuck his face just inside the car. With the nightstick, he pointed past Roddy to his companion in the front seat. “Maybe it’s in the glove compartment?”
The passenger took this as an opportunity to get involved in the conversation, and quickly said, “It’s not there.”
Freeman shot him a glance that suggested, “Prove it, punk.”
“I checked already sir,” the kid continued, “when we first stopped, I mean. It’s not there.”
Freeman gently arched his head, just a little bit to one side and said, “You sure? Should I double check for you?”
Roddy must have thought his friend was about to make matters worse, for he quickly countered, “That’s not necessary sir. I could call my father to confirm I have his permission to use the car.”
“No-no, no” Freeman said. “I believe you have his permission.”
Roddy smiled and nodded his head, “Yes.”
“I would like to ask him,” Freeman continued, “why his car smells like a brewery.”
Roddy’s smile abruptly left his face. He looked around the car quickly, sniffing in deep breaths as if he didn’t believe Freeman was accurate in his assessment. Still sniffing, he looked back at Freeman, shrugged his shoulders, raised his eyebrows and shook his head, “No.”
“Freeman stuck his head in a little closer to Roddy’s and asked, “Does he work for Coors?”
“No sir.”
“Budweiser?” Freeman asked with a strict tone.
“No s…”
Before Roddy could answer, Freeman yelled, “Then why does his car stink like a frat house on Sunday morning?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’ve beat down on drunken rowdies in truck-stop bathrooms that smelled cleaner than this foreign piece of shit car. Do you think I don’t know the fuckin’ scent of beer, Roderick?”
“I don’t know sir.”
Freeman noticed how uneasy the girls in the back had become. “You girls all right back there?”
In unison, they answered, “Yes.”
“You been drinkin’?”
Once again in unison, “No.” they replied.
The accord of their answers could not have been in better synchronicity if Freeman were a musical conductor and the girls were his choir. “Oh really?” he said, his words dripping with sarcasm.
Freeman took another look at Roddy, who was sweating profusely. There was more to be found in the Audi, and he and Thomas were sure to have a fairly decent payday courtesy of this bunch. He motioned to the passenger, “What’s your name, Fucko?”
“Tim.” He replied.
“Okay Junior,” Freeman pressed on, “open the glove box.”
Hesitant, Tim looked in the side view mirror and saw the shadow of Thomas approaching the door. “But I…”
“Open it, boy.” Freeman ordered.
“It’s not my car.” Tim offered weakly.
“Open the fuckin’ box, now!” Freeman yelled. “Not my car.” He thought to himself. How pathetic.
Tim slowly released the latch and to his horror, a corner of the map he apprehensively stuffed on top of the marijuana had caught in the upper crevice of the glove compartment. So when the box was open, the pipe and bag were exposed for all to see. Tim swallowed a gulp of nerves as he heard Roddy sigh and moan “Nice one, dickhead.” To add insult to injury, Tim looked out his window and saw the other cop peering back at him, and in a moment of grotesque realization, the cop winked at him.
“Well lookie there.” Freeman said as Tim’s head jerked in his direction. Both cops saw the stuff Tim was designated to hide. Freeman continued, “Tiny Tim, would you kindly roll down your window so my associate can take a closer look in the glove box?” Roderick, engage the battery, if ya please.”
Roddy turned the key once and when the lights and bells sounded, Tim lowered the automatic window on the passenger door.
“Thank you boys,” Freeman said. “Turn the car off Roderick.” Freeman scratched his head as Roddy followed directions, and said to his deputy, “Officer Thomas, what appears to be in the little bag right there?”
“I don’t know, Chief,” John Thomas answered, “but it appears to be some sort of vegetation.” he said with a mock sense of intrigue.
“Vegetation?” Freeman echoed. “Let me guess boys, broccoli, right?” Freeman recognized this as one of those times it was great to be a cop. With a sarcastic tone that was meant to remind these children that they were, in fact, just ignorant children, he said, “Your mommy and daddy packed you all a nice lunch for the long car trip and you didn’t eat your vegetables?” In a louder tone directed to his deputy, Freeman said, “How about you Office Thomas, did you eat your vegetables today?”
With a chuckle Thomas replied, “No Chief, I don’t believe I have.”
“Well luck for you, Roderick and Tiny Tim have some extra broccoli. Would you like to eat some broccoli, Officer Thomas?”
“With the fresh scent of pine, Chief?”
“Oh there’s a fresh scent of something I’ll bet.” Freeman said with a chuckle. Of the four deputies under his command, Freeman had a favorite, and it was this snappy John Thomas because he played the game better than the rest. He wiped his nose and said to Tim, “So how ‘bout it Tiny Tim? Would you mind if my hungry fellow law enforcement agent had a piece of your broccoli?”
Tim said timidly, “He can have all of it, sir.”
In a mock appreciation, Freeman said, “Why thank you very much, young man.” Everyone sat still and Thomas stood there, waiting. Freeman said to Tim, “Well give him the bag, dummy.”
Tim handed the marijuana to John Thomas, who snatched it quickly.
Freeman said, “Officer Thomas, what is your favorite part of the broccoli?”
“The part that looks like tree leaves, Chief.”
“Yeah, me too.” Freeman said. He nonchalantly looked at Roddy, who appeared to be very sick and said, “I don’t care too much for broccoli stalks. It’s like smoking marijuana stems. You just don’t get the buzz, right Roderick?”
Roddy timidly met Freeman’s eyes and said, “Yes sir.”
“Chief?” Thomas said.
Freeman, who was now resting his chin on his crossed arms on the window opening said, “Yes Officer Thomas, is something wrong with the broccoli?”
“Chief, I don’t believe this is broccoli.”
Freeman scrunched his eyebrows and gave a quizzical look to Roddy. “Well what can it be?”
“I’m no expert Chief, but I do believe this broccoli is really oregano.”
Freeman shot his head up and ridiculed the Audi’s occupants with a sardonic look of amazement. They all shared the same surprised look of bewilderment. “Oregano?” Freeman asked. “You mean the stuff Italians put in their pizza sauce for flavor?”
“No Chief. I mean the stuff people put in their pipes and smoke to get high.”
“That’s not oregano Officer Thomas, that’s called marijuana.”
“Oh that’s right.” Thomas said. “This stuff is marijuana. Isn’t that illegal Chief?” “Yes Officer Thomas,” Freeman said with a sigh. “I’m afraid these kids are in possession of illegal marijuana.” He ascended from his crouch position, tapped the roof of the Audi with his hand and said, “Okay fuckers, everyone out of the car.”