Monday, March 14, 2011

A Twist Of Noir 668 - Katherine Tomlinson


You’re with Raimundo on K-ESE Los Angeles and it’s time for the news.

A clash between Montagues and Capulets left five dead as gang violence spilled over in Verona this afternoon. Responding to pressure from residents of the small suburb of East Los Angeles, the Verona police chief announced a new zero tolerance policy that would implement the death penalty for any gang member caught breaking the law.

The first time Romeo Montague saw Julieta Capulet he forgot all about Rosa, the Capulet cousin he’d been boning in order to get intel on the Capulet gang. Rosa had invited Romeo to her cousin’s quinceanera on a dare and to her surprise, he and his compadre Mer-Q had shown up.

Romeo was chowing down on home-made tamales when Julieta appeared on the dance floor wearing a turquoise dress he wanted to rip off like wrapping paper. Some little nerd of a cousin was dancing with Julieta when Romeo stepped up to claim her, right there in front of her father and everyone else. “I don’t know you,” Julieta had said as he danced her backwards around the room.

“You have always known me,” Romeo said in Spanish so that it wouldn’t sound cheesy. “My name is Romeo Montague.”

She’d gasped at his boldness and pressed herself closer to him, thrilled by the danger Then Julieta’s cousin Pablo, the one they called Count P, had security throw him out. As he was hauled away by the rent-a-cops, Romeo saw Rosa staring balefully at him. Puta wasn’t happy at all.

Neither was Julieta’s mother, who intended for Julieta to marry Pablo, who was destined to take over the Capulets from Julieta’s father. “You’ll marry the Count,” she told her daughter harshly. Julieta, who privately thought of Pablo as “the cunt,” didn’t answer.

That night Romeo sneaked into the Capulet compound and climbed up to Juliet’s window. Warmed by lust and stolen sips of tequila, the two pledged their love and made plans to sneak away the next morning to be married.

Only problem was, the church was in Capulet territory and a banger called T-ball peeped Romeo coming out of the side door. He followed him back to a Montague chop shop and called him out. When Mer-Q realized Romeo was just going to stand there like a fucking maricon and let the guy talk trash, he stepped in front of his hermano to deal with T-ball himself.

You’re with Raimundo at K-ESE in Los Angeles and it’s time for the news.

Despite a crackdown on gang activity in Verona, an encounter between rival sets turned deadly this afternoon. Witnesses say a Capulet known as T-ball fatally stabbed Montague gang member Mercer Quinero, known as Mer-Q, before being shot by Quinero’s companion, Romeo Montague. Verona’s Chief of Police responded quickly, issuing a warrant for Montague’s arrest. Montague is believed to have fled to Mexico where he has family.

Furious over the death of T-ball, Julieta’s mother laid down the law. Marry the Count, she told her, or face life alone on the streets. Julieta took option C, sending Rosa to a street dealer to procure a drug she’d looked up on the internet. When her mother came to dress her for her second wedding, she found her daughter dead.

Romeo heard the news from Rosa, who, trying to make amends, texted him with directions to the mortuary. Slipping back into California, Romeo broke into the place, knocked out a guard and found Julieta lying on a slab waiting to be embalmed.

Filled with despair, Romeo kissed her lips and injected himself with a hot shot he’d purchased on the way home.

Julieta awoke to find Romeo’s corpse on the floor. It was just as she and her father had planned. Romeo was handsome, but he wasn’t very bright. He thought he was playing Rosa when all the time, she was just setting him up for her cousin.

Julieta was her father’s daughter and her father’s motto was “Death to all Montagues.”

BIO: Katherine Tomlinson is the publisher of Dark Valentine Magazine and co-creator (with artist Mark Satchwill) of the weekly fiction series NoHo Noir. Her collection of short fiction, Just Another Day in Paradise, can be purchased here.


Jim Harrington said...

Nice updated telling of an old story with an unexpected twist. Well done, Katherine.

Nigel Bird said...

nice last paragraph and an unusual update to the story. 'wanted to rip off her clothes like wrapping paper' is a great image, perfectly descrbing lust.

R.S. Bohn said...

Katherine, I knew I was in for a good ride when I read: The first time Romeo Montague saw Julieta Capulet he forgot all about Rosa, the Capulet cousin he’d been boning in order to get intel on the Capulet gang.

You didn't let me down from there. I am impressed as hell and thrilled--so creative, even the ending, which was a helluva surprise. Pitch-perfect and--okay, I'll stop before I embarrass myself. :-)

Paul D Brazill said...

Fantastic spin and a great ending.

Unknown said...

Compelling story. I liked that line too, about her dress like wrapping paper. Really nicely done!

Joyce said...

Terrific re-telling, with quite the twist at the end. Slick stuff.

Heath Lowrance said...

Clever as hell, and a great ending. Love it, but it's Katherine so that should come as no surprise.

Kaye George said...

Love it! As everyone else has commented, the spin at the end makes it extra special, and it's already a great re-telling.

Alex said...

This is a gem - there seems to be no end to your abilities - your facets have facets. I like the radio announcer, the strong female character, and especially the images you convey to your readers: who hasn't eagerly ripped off the wrapper to get to the present inside? You're stories continue to impress and delight me - thank you.

Michael Solender said...

nice retelling - the Bard would no doubt be pleased..

kitty said...

retelling works very well and you definitely caught me off guard with that ending.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You are too clever. I think a movie is in the works.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Thank you all.

Anonymous said...

What's next, The Merchant of Venice Beach? Seriously funny yet sad. Encapsulates modern and well as medieval gang bangers and the logic of the back hills and hollers swamp rat gothic South as well as the schemes of Machiavelli and the Borgia Boyz and Girlz.

Chris Rhatigan said...

Smart twist! A very complete tale with some cracking lines--the one Nigel mentioned jumped off the screen.

M. C. Funk said...

Shades of Baz Luhrmann with a stiff twist of, well, noir. Very interesting presentation, too. And you know how I adore the classics filtered through a fantastical urban lens.