Friday, May 11, 2012

Interlude Stories: Richard Godwin


MEMORY LOSS - RICHARD GODWIN

Chicago. It’s winter. I’m losing my memory. The alliance will move me on soon.

Cars are frozen solid, women scurry by the blocks of iced metal, hiding their skins from the cold. Skin has a price. Even yours.

I’m opposite Millennium Park and I ask myself what I’m doing here. There are no answers in the bottles of Jim Beam and Twinkie wrappers that litter the apartment. I pull down my eyelids and stare at my face in the tarnished mirror. You never know where your next job is coming from.

Every time I think of the alliance I see cakes, endless galleries of cup cakes, chocolate gateaux, éclairs and Victoria sponges spurting cream into the sunken jaws of vagrants. I salivate in this comatose virtual realm at the images paraded before me like some sick twisted little sadistic film. I consider that I am a vagrant, an actor in a film with no script. I have to leave the studio. Survival never respects the law.

I’m stepping out of the shower when the door buzzes. Frankie’s standing there with his briefcase. He walks in, sits down, slings a cowboy boot over his Wrangler jeans, and pops a strawberry Zinger in his mouth.

‘So, Harry, ready for the next one?’

He slides a picture of a fat man eating a lollipop across the stained coffee table. It has the usual details on the back, address, schedule of target’s movements.

‘Usual payment?’ I say.

Frankie nods.

‘Bake him. Then we’re moving you to another city.’

‘Where this time?’

‘Does it matter?’

It doesn’t. It doesn’t matter where I am because the life’s the same, except I’m losing myself. ‘How did I get here?’ I say.

‘You don’t want to know that, Harry.’ He leans forward. There is ice on his tongue. ‘We want you this way.’

I watch him on the street down below as he walks to his car, a small man with small ideas, and I get ready.

The reel of my memory is faded, the world is sepia.

*

It’s an easy hit. Fatso’s in the shower when I get inside his house, I can hear him singing Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Rain Coat. He’s croaking, ‘What can I tell you my brother my killer,’ when he stops and gasps like a virgin as he sees me there in my black leather gloves. I say, ‘Bye, baby,’ and spread his head over his nice white tiles. Problem is there’s a half-naked blonde in a G-string in the hallway, who screams and covers her large breasts as I run my eyes down her full figure. Pity to miss a fuck but I pop her too. She looks good enough to eat and I’m hungry as I head out of there. I stop on North Sheffield Avenue at the DMK Burger Bar.

The only beer they’ve got is Heineken and that’s when it hits me. Memory shudders briefly into being. I’m sitting at a bar in Detroit drinking Heineken when Frankie’s boys come in. They blackjack me in the john with my dick in my hand. One minute I’m pissing, next thing I’m lying in a white room listening to Mantovani. A pretty nurse comes in and checks my pulse. I’m aware of something solid in my head, a small hard thing at my temple. It’s a blur of pills and hotels after that.

It’s called the sponge filling. When a gun gets to know too much they control his brain, spooky but true. Soon he’s put in a cake and shipped out to the diners. This job’ll eat you alive.

*

Back at the apartment I open my temple with a scalpel. I cut just deep enough into the side of my head and peel back two inches of skin, removing the chip, which I put in my pocket. I stitch myself up, and put on my hat. Then I pack and head downstairs to the Lincoln waiting to take me to the next city.

The two bozos in the front yap about football as they take the detour. I shoot them at a junction and get a taxi to the airport, calling Frankie from my cell.

‘Think you could do away with me? I’m going freelance.’

‘Good job we have a code. Await your next instructions,’ he says.

Soon I see Bessie Coleman Drive and I taste freedom. It tastes of salt. I move like a shadow through the crowds. I ditch my Glock in a trash can.

As I’m booking my ticket, I feel a hand on my shoulder and a cop asks me to come with him and his colleague. I’ll show them the pictures, I’ll tell them about the alliance. I’ll work for them.

The cop smiles.

‘Do you like cup cakes?’ he says.

BIO: Richard Godwin is the author of crime novels Mr. Glamour  and Apostle Rising and is a widely published crime and horror writer.


Mr. Glamour is his second novel and is out now and is available online at Amazon  and at all good retailers. Mr. Glamour is Hannibal Lecter in Gucci. It is about a glamorous world with a predator in its midst and has received great reviews. Pulp Metal Fiction recently published Piquant, Tales Of The Mustard Man, his culinary genius. His Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse are interviews he has conducted with writers and can be found at his blog.


You can also find a full list of his works on his website.


He lectured in English and American literature at London University before becoming a professional writer.

17 comments:

Paul D Brazill said...

The Dark Lord gives us his own twist on classic hardboiled. And, of cours, it's a beaut.

AJ Hayes said...

Surreal is probably the most over used word in the lexicon today. Justin Beaver (yeah, I know, but beaver fits a whole lot better) saying "this is the most surreal thing that's ever happened to me" for example. But "Memory Loss" is exactly that. The first person/present tense sets the almost dreamy scenes of violence and the equally blurry/sharp interior narrations perfectly. The solidly real last line caps off the uncertain drifting circumstances like the solid thump of a blackjack to the back of the reader's head. Cool.

Salvatore Buttaci said...

Richard, you never disappoint me. Your writing is smooth and straight from the heart. Is it any wonder I count you among my favorite noire writers?

Sal

JD Mader said...

That was fantastic, man. Wow. Love it.

Richard Godwin said...

Paul thank you mate. Bill I know you get surreal and of course it is inextricably entwined with the dark tapestry of Noir. Sal thank you so much, I do appreciate it. Dan thanks, good to see you here.

Carrie Clevenger said...

Super cool short! Like the secrecy in their society, even to the point of embedding chips.

Carrie Clevenger said...

Enjoyed this one, very good twist!

Chris Rhatigan said...

Hell yes!

Richard Godwin said...

Thanks Carrie. Secrecy abounds.

Christopher Black said...

No-one escapes the cupcake of death.

Excellent ideas, excellent writing. Really enjoyed this one.

Richard Godwin said...

Thanks Chris.

Ben said...

Love the sense of place, the minimalism of it. Another one out of the park for Mr. Godwin!

Keith Gingell said...

ysSorry Richard I didn't see this sooner, I haven't visited Twist for a while.
Shit, I found this truly creepy. 1984 Mafia style. Fantastic idea and most likely the shape of things to come.
Thanks for the shudder!

Richard Godwin said...

I'm glad you liked it Ben

Richard Godwin said...

Thanks Keith I'm glad you enjoyed the shudder.

R.S. Bohn said...

Richard, may you someday be sitting down at a bar in Detroit. That's all I can say.

Wait. I can say this: Sure, AJ, surreal is totally overused. But what other word for this dark, delicious dream of a story? The blending of noir and the surreal is beautiful. Loved the second-guessing: "Am I a vagrant?" Hey, maybe we're all vagrants, and we're just fooling ourselves it's anything other.

Excellent stuff. Me, I prefer vanilla Zingers. Just a little FYI for those who keep stat sheets on such. ;)

Richard Godwin said...

Becky thank you for that, I think Noir is surreal at its tattered edge. Join me for a Heineken and a vanilla Zinger.