Story By Committee

Poor Bubbles, only one person voted for him in last week’s poll.  Still, though, he’s featured prominently in the novel I’m currently working on (a murder-mystery centered around a musical theater production and solved by band geeks) so I guess things turned out okay for him.

It’s funny, when I wrote that post I was utterly at a loss for what to write next.  I wrote that post as a Hail Mary, in a desperate attempt to stumble across some brilliant idea that was lying unobtrusively in the back of my mind.

And it worked!

My friend Matt, who I’ve known since…Definitely since high school, and maybe in middle school, and we definitely went to elementary school together but I don’t think I knew him then.  Anyway, my friend Matt gave me some excellent advice, which was to write what I know.

That got me to thinking about what I know.  I know mothering, housewifing, blogging, working, schooling, nannying, band geekery, and a couple other things.  Of those, band geekery was the only thing I felt I could write a novel about, and thus was my newest work in progress born.  And yes, Bubbles the goldfish is in it.

So yay Matt!  And yay all of you for reading my blog and helping me out!

And now, for the story you all chose:

It was a cold, windy Seattle day.  Rain assaulted the windshield of Chauncy’s taxi, rendering his wiper blades useless against the downpour.  He relaxed back into the cheap cloth seat, breathing deeply through his nose as he considered the sea of angry red taillights ahead of him.

Pine Street was completely stopped in both directions as police cordoned off the entrance to the Tiffany’s store down the street.  The rotating red and blue bulbs of light atop the police cars refracted off the drops of water on Chauncy’s windshield, though he closed his eyes and ignored them as he rubbed his face with both hands.

The door to his cab opened, and a sopping wet woman wearing bedraggled furs and impractical high heeled shoes all but threw herself into the car.  Chauncy looked back in surprise, taking in the missing foot of her fox fur and the scuffs around the soles of her bejeweled shoes.

The woman smoothed the ruin of her hair away from her face and snapped, “What are you looking at?”

Taken aback by her rancor, Chauncy blinked and replied, “Well, you, ma’am.  This is a radio-dispatched car, I don’t generally pick people up off the street.”

She rolled her eyes, “Well, it’s not like you’re working right now, is it?  So why don’t you just drive me to the airport?”

He faced behind him, noting as he did the acrid scent of smoke that swirled around her, coupled with the faint smell of bananas.  He flashed her a smile and asked, “Would you like me to put your bag in the trunk for you?”

She eyed him suspiciously and held it close to her chest, “No, I wouldn’t.  I just want you to take me to the airport.”

He turned back around, increasing the frequency of the windshield wipers so he could better view the traffic ahead.  The cars in front of him inched forward, enabling him to better view the smoldering edges of the Tiffany’s store where the door once was.  Police and crime scene analysts paced outside, waiting for the fire department to finish extinguishing the flames.

A police officer directed traffic outside the store and the cars around him began to creep past the wreckage.  As Chauncy’s car drew parallel with the officer, Chauncy lowered the window and hailed him, “Excuse me, officer?”

The officer bent down, “Just keep going sir, everything is fine.”

Chauncy nodded, “Right, I just thought you might like to know I have the person responsible for blowing up that building in the backseat of my car.”

The woman behind him gasped and attempted to scramble out the door, but Chauncy depressed the door lock button and held it.  The woman, her eyes frantically scanning the car, came to rest on the string of pearls around her throat.  As the officer watched, stunned, she flung her pearl necklace off her neck and wrapped it around Chauncy’s throat, pulling tight.

The officer moved for his gun, and the woman snarled in Chauncy’s ear, “Tell him he makes one move and you’re a dead man.”

Chauncy, astonished at the sudden turn of events, repeated her statement to the police officer while his hand groped beneath his seat.  His fingers slipped around the slim can that rested in a plastic holster under his seat, and he brought the can up and depressed the button atop it into her face as quickly as he could.

The small car filled with noxious pepper spray fumes, and Chauncy stumbled out of his cab, his eyes streaming.  The woman screamed in the backseat, and continued to scream even as backup police officers led her away.

Sitting in an ambulance a few minutes later, the officer who witnessed the whole bizarre incident questioned Chauncy, “How’d you know it was her?”

His eyes violently red and pained, Chauncy grimaced and replied, “Oh, a whole lot of things.  She smelled like dynamite, she had a pressing need to go to the airport, she wouldn’t let me handle her bag.  But mostly I just wanted an excuse to get her out of my car.”

The officer shook his head and walked away.  Chauncy thanked the EMT who had examined his eyes and shambled back to where his taxi was parked on a side street.  As he walked, he felt something against his belly.  He untucked his shirt, liberating the expensive string of pearls that had dropped down after his attempted strangling.

Securing the pearls in his pocket, he skipped back to his car giddy with anticipation to tell his wife that not only was he a hero, but he’d gotten her a fine pearl necklace as well.

8 thoughts on “Story By Committee

  1. Fantastic. But I have to ask – why did the woman smell of bananas? (is that what dynamite* smells like?)

    (*forevermore to be pronounced as ‘dee-na-mee-tay’ in my head thanks to watching “Hoodwinked”)

  2. You’re far too brilliant. I can’t WAIT to read about your band geek/musical theater hybrid mystery! We really do need a genre devoted to us.

  3. -Blanche, Thank you! From what I can tell, dynamite smells faintly sweet and banana-like from the nitroglycerine. But, I’ve never smelled it, so I could be totally wrong. As for the mispronunciation, I have the same thing going with the word ‘escape’ which I always pronounce es-cah-pay thanks to Finding Nemo.

    -Txtingmrdarcy, Aww, you’re far too sweet! What instrument did you/do you play? I can make sure it’s represented :)

  4. I was a band geek too…but it turned into more of an easy grade than a passion by the time I was a senior in HS.

    In middle school, I started out with the “C” sax (larger than an alto, smaller than a tenor – mine was silver and originally owned by a family member who later died of tuberculosis) first, then oboe for concert; for HS marching I did percussion, including marching bells (those SOB’s were HEAVY) for parades, marimbas, cow bell and tambourine for halftime (bonus: never having to learn any of the movements).

    The most memorable moment was during a football halftime show when the tambourine disintegrated as I was enthusiastically shaking it. I think it was homecoming too, so it was an extra large crowd who got to see the show as the pins and jingles went flying about.

  5. -Blanche, You are blowing my mind right now, lady. I had NO IDEA you were a band geek too! I’ve never heard of a C sax, but I did play the baritone sax in my HS jazz band. I actually set off a precedent of female bari players, for which I was proud. I played B flat clarinet in concert band, and bass clarinet for marching band. Heck yes was my left arm super strong after marching with that beast :) Your tambourine story made me giggle, by the way!

  6. I was the less obnoxious Rachel Berry, only I was tragically a DOUBLE THREAT because of my suckage at dancing. I played a mean “Dorothy” though. By “mean” i reference “awesome” and not “bitchy,” because nobody wants to see a jerk “Dorothy.” (I also play the piano well enough to get by.)

  7. -Txtingmrdarcy, How awesome! If I got all my blogger friends together, I bet we could put on a pretty nerdalicious musical…

    -Blanche, Interesting…I never knew…Hmm. I have a guy in my novel who plays three different saxes, maybe I’ll have him mention the C sax just for giggles :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *