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Start Right Here – Quick Sample

Start Right Here - 3DThe first chapter of ‘Start Right Here’
(c) 2016 Martin Skate

Chapter 1: Lou

I’d never had a gun pointed at my head before. Sure I’d seen it a lot in films, guys pointing the gun at some punk and then they over elaborate on why they’re gonna blow them away, such a cliché. Hell I’ve seen a lot of actual gun toting shenanigans down dark shady alleyways back in Dearborn in the fifties, but to have it done to me little Lou-Lou, a nobody, a lover sure, a dancer maybe, good guy, everybody’s pal, a dynamite backgammon playing receding hair line ol’ Louis? Who would wanna point a pistol at me? Yet there I was looking right at it on the rooftop of a high-up building, how the diggity did I get here anyways? As it turns out I wasn’t frightened at all, I was more about how I was gonna shake off this numbnuts. I played scared.

“Hey buddy,” I says, “are you gonna get moving or what, it’s colds up here, sides I ain’t done nothing wrong see.” That threw him. I had the upper hand sees, so I adds in a nervous inhaling type noise to let him think that I’m scared. He liked that.

“I need to concentrate… I need to get my thoughts clear.” He was mumbling to himself, I couldn’t hear all of it, he clearly had a lot going on upstairs. Well he can think all he wanted to, I got things to do, I decided to challenge his confused mind.

“Buddy you ain’t gonna shoot me and I ain’t no tough guy neither, put the gun down ok and I will stay right here and we can gets to sorting this out right now.” He puts the gun down. His name was Joe, Joe Shmoe, really, no fooling. Ok Joe Shlub, ok I’m messing with ya, his name was Kai, a real complicated kind of fella.

“How do I know you won’t hurt me Lou?” says Kai. That was funny, in a different circumstance I woulda laughed.

“I’m buck naked here right, annn if you think that this is a weapon buddy I don’t know what to tell ya,” this guy jeeeez. He lowered the gun and that’s when it happened all in like a slow motion way. I don’t know if it really happened in slow motion, whether he did it in slow motion for show, but that’s when he slowly raised his hand with the gun back up high, pointed it up underneath his chin and shot himself right there. Man. I had never wanted a gin so bad.

It’s quite liberating being naked on a rooftop you should try it. It’s right up there with a new pair of jeans that fit perfectly, that one in a million pair of jeans that you only find every decade or so. I was flapping in the wind like I didn’t have a care in the world, I did have a care though, a lot of cares. At that moment I felt that the world was literally on my shoulders and if I didn’t act swiftly, everything would crumble down into nothingness. You know that thought where you start to think; how did it all begin? Is there really a god? Who was the first human? How was the first person even there? Why were they? What was here before? dinosaurs sure, but before that? and before that andddddd when would it all end? Apparently the Earth will end in a few million years, no bones for us no, but it IS a guarantee, and then what?

Well, the world is going to end, but way wayyy sooner than you think (and I do mean you, yes YOU, you you you, don’t look behind your shoulder, I’m talking directly to you, don’t worry we’ve got plenty of time to gets to know each-other. I know what you’re thinking; why was I nakeds on top of that building, and why did Joe the shmoe otherwise known as Kai shoot himself, I’m gonna tell you, as soon as we get outta these stoopid brackets).

Whew, that’s better. This book should have a paper bag come free with it so’s when you gets really claustrophobic, when you gets to not being able to breathe that’s when you can grab the bag and exhale innnn and outttt, phew. I would carry a bag of my owns but where would I put it? I spend a lot more of my time naked now, it’s very liberating. I think it’s possible I’m jealous of kangaroos.

Shall we get started or what?

December 29th 1978 the windy city, freezing with a capital icicle hanging offa your nose and anywhere else they can hang. Chicago is cold in many ways but on this particular day, wowsers Saint Wowsers of Wowserness in a frozen bun, it was cold with a capital cough because when you spoke your voice was so surprised that it couldn’t speak you’d cough and then if you could breathe in enough to recover without getting icicles on your lips, then you, well, you gets the gist. Cold. Brrr. I’m Lou, I ran a bar in a non-descript kind of in between place off the western avenue; it was dirty in every sense of the word, the shutters, the stalls, coasters, barflies, actual barflies, even the spiders looked dirty which made them look more menacing than normal. I think the only saving grace was the nearby municipal park, I often used to walk by and thank it for making the air that little bit more breathable. Maybe that’s why Chicago has so many parks, whatever the reason is I guess I’ve always been thankful for parks, they’re great to walk in, talk in, just be in when you got to gets some air into your head, as a kid I used to go to parks a lot. I’m rambling I know, it’s just I gets nervous meeting new people, you look nice though, got a nice smile, my Ma used to say if they gots a dynamite smile, marry ‘em. I did Ma I dids, though it was the third one that had the most explosive smile of all.

My bar was called the Beyond (I didn’t name it and I think it was based on a joke long forgotten) and on this particular Thursday Wendy was destined to just breeze in and tell me what I’d be doing with the rest of my life. Crazy days. It was the end of the night and I’d just kicked out the last bum, I noticed she was sitting alone in the corner booth. Funny, I was sure she wasn’t there a minute before.

“Gin,” she shouts.

“Heyyy lady look, it’s 1.36am alright, where’s the emergency? Dontcha got a home to go to?” I was as tired as a mouse who’d just eaten half a mountain of cheese and who then wanted to sleep next to it.

“Gin,” she says again and looks me clear in the eye. I mixed up a G and T.  “Lou you ain’t ever gonna forget this moment.”

“Oh yeah?” I says. I mean she weren’t the first lady to fall in to the Beyond at loser o’clock.

“Yes,” Brit, I thought, but with good teeth. Pretty too, well, it was hard to tell at first in the dark, truth is she got more pretty the mores I knew her. Piercing but friendly eyes, pouty lips, small hands, loud belch.

“Another.” This was gonna get hairy if I didn’t start getting rid of her. She was sitting funny too, like hunched down over the table, I was guessing she had a little dress on as I didn’t see nothing on her shoulders.

“Look lady you’re gonna catch a cold out like that wait, how’d you know my name?” Truth was that everyone knew my name but I wasn’t in the mood for this kind of thing, it was clear she was staying around and I needed to sleep, ifs I didn’t get a good stretch I’d always be like an angry bear all of the next day.

“Lou you’re gonna needs to wake up,” mocking me, okays. “Have a gin, have whatever floats your yacht, you’re going to need it,” says Wendy, even though she was seemingly a nut she certainly gave the impression of someone who needed listening to.

“Lady the only place we’re both goings is home, this is your second and last gin, you need to lay down some ones on the bar and then sayonara night night, cheerio Missus Poppins.” She laughed. It wasn’t your vindictive kind of laugh or with any malice in it, it was the laugh you have with your pals, the laughs I had with my poker crew. She stood up and walked over to the bar and ummm there’s no other way to say this; she was completely naked. Oh boy. Look. I’d been a bar guy for a long time, you pretty much see it all and what you ain’t seen you don’t even bother to wanna see. At the time I didn’t know what was going on but it was clear this was no ordinary night. I had a gin, you know what? It helped, it really actually helped things. Wendy came closer  to me, calmly, nonchalantly, nakedly.

“Okays lady now you’ve got my attention,” I said whilst serving up another gin. I also gave her my coat, a long mac, hell she could keep it. She looked me straight in the eye, stared right at me silently.

“Don’t you want the coat Lou?” mockingly, what did she have to be mocking about? She was the one with the happy boobies saying hi to the elements and that’s when I looked at what she was looking at in the mirror, ah jeez on toast, why couldn’t I just have closed up the bar a few seconds earlier? I was naked too. Ok. Ooooohh kkkayyyy. I’ve seen a lot sure but this was new, I was previously wearing my best jeans, if I wasn’t getting them back there’d be trouble. I couldn’t think of a single thing to say, she weren’t saying nothing either, and then she kisses me. I felt something new too, hey come on, not that, I felt something in that kiss that I ain’t felts before, I think it’s what you smug people call, love.