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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, part of one. I write a decent bit and just started with this one. It is just a first draft and I need to change places but I'd like to see if anyone is interested in it.

Benji Esco was a pool player from the south side of Seattle. He always used to tell me about how on the days he didn’t grow he’d learn every inch of that town hoping to get out one day. That’s where I met him. Out in the mystery book of Omaha. It was 1954 and I couldn’t get any closer to the solemn throws of death like so many others of those scared and skittish children called gangsters.

Chapter 1

Esco told me he stormed the beaches of Normandy. I never believed him. My father had been at that beach on that day. He was only there for a few sweeping hours that would bend the rest of my life. The rest of the day he spent on a medical ship called the Jefferson. He died there. I was 10 years old at the time and nothing had ever felt so painful, so spiteful, or so sincere in my life. I was 10 years old and felt like the weight of 100 stones was lifted and a bold new reality put in its place. Humanity shoved itself briskly in my life and didn’t know what to do. In 2 years I was twelve and then met Esco. He was a long haired 22 year old who worked in the pie plate factory next to my Aunt Sel’s house. I met him working down at Policki’s Bar and Billiard Place. Esco hustled the bummers and travelers who made their way to Omaha and specifically Policki’s. He was good. A few extra dollars helped Esco get that one more game in or come just a bit closer to that broad from Daytona. None of it really mattered to me though cause Esco still never tipped me even though I always gave him a good pour.
“No head this time, kid.” He’d say. “But make sure ya have a bit on there so it looks good.”
That’s what I gave him. A perfect pour. I wasn’t good at it because I liked it. I was good at it because it was easy. I poured beer. I was 12 years old. The war was over and things were looking good. Omaha had piles and piles of sailors and soldiers just itching for jobs and houses. Those houses brought jobs and those jobs brought, well, the jobs brought everything. He always wanted me to call him “Uncle” Esco. I couldn’t do it. Not to a man whom I had no respect for except maybe as a pool player. He wanted to get on the Billiard Tour and didn’t think getting friends would help. This was the reality for years. I poured beer and he played pool. All at Policki’s. Regulars came and went and broads came but usually went. I grew up. Esco didn’t. Esco and I became friends. That’ll happen to anyone if they are put in the situation we were. Working at Policki’s all through high school kept me in close touch with Esco. He was the Regular there and now that he was “doin’ aright” for himself he afforded to buy me beers and shots when I’d fetch him his. It impressed his friends for him and, me, I didn’t give a damn but I drank ‘em anyway. We did alright for ourselves. My friend Esco may have been a bit older than me but over the years I began to think of him as a brother or father. I had a father until I was 10, then he left, disappeared into politics, war, honor, whatever. America, and Omaha they tell us, is under threat from the Reds. That never bothered us too much. If they came here we’d kill them. Not as American soldiers in uniform but as Esco the pool player or Policki the bar owner. We would not be caught using helmets or tanks but Chevy trucks and hunting rifles we bought with the money the government probably paid contractors to build atomic bombs, planes and tanks. It didn’t matter much to us. When you think you’re low down on life you just don’t care. We knew nothing of the rest of the world and failed to believe whatever we were told about it.
We lived life in Policki’s. Some would rather die a thousand deaths on a battlefield or in a gold mine each one looking for a bit of future in this chaotic cauldron and picturesque painting we call life. We liked Policki’s. The rest of the world lived in their own bar, too. It could be Wall Street or a mine or a pickle factory. The true rebels shatter routine and faint at the idea of nothing. Not that we did, and not that didn’t dream dreams but we just separated each from the other. I thought about this often when I was washing mugs, filling them and then kicking out the 72 year old drunk who wishes he still had wife Laura to go home to and get yelled at after closing time. I thought about those rebels, and how each one probably never thought about the word “rebel”.
Esco usually wore a blue suit. He wore a blue suit more than he wore a brown one and nobody understood why. We wouldn’t have figured that unless he told us, everyday around 6 o’clock.
“I wear it kid cause people ask me why. People know me by my blue suits. Well they ain’t all blue. One is a little off blue with the cuffs and a few of the others are darker. They call it navy blue and sky blue I think. Either way, it gets me noticed. You know I like that kid, now go get me a fill up on this mug here.”
We all did know him by his blue suits. I wore whatever I had. Still living with Aunt Sel and making nothing but spending money at this bar didn’t let me wear suits of any color.
Esco joked around with everybody. He’d make a jerk out of me plenty of the time but since it was just Policki’s, I let him slide. It was a shame when he would get serious. When he didn’t curse or yell or poke fun at someone he was flat, like an out of work clown. The past few months he was getting better off and better off.
He took me by the side one Saturday afternoon when the air was cool and offered me something brilliant and scary. He told me what I’d be doing for the next few months, maybe years, and then he winked.

Chapter 2

By the highlight of the tin walls I saw the empty caissons of whiskey barrels and beer buckets. The fire burned bright and gave us the trepidation the scene really deserved. One brewer, armed, gave us the list of places to take the liquor to. A nice man in his 50s with just a bit of a limp that Esco figured came from getting caught underneath his corn tractor. After getting instructions from the Man With the Limp we took off in the 1952 XXXXXcar.
“I’ll say we end up with a little over $600 from this. Gabo won’t pay any more and Ki-Rikes is supposed to give just under $200.” Benji spoke of the payout. What we do is deliver booze that nobody is supposed to be brewing. It paid well because one wrong step and you’re in jail. We did it because we thought it was easy. In the end, it was.
This booze wasn’t junk from the bummers and trolls brewed in the sewers of Omaha or somethin’ worse. This was Jlocki’s Best. He could go legal but what would be the point? He pays us less compared to what the law costs. Besides, drinkers pay a bit more knowing they are drinking illegal moonshine “Jlocki’s Best”. It was just that air about it. Legalize it and Jlocki goes from “best” to mid level whiskey trash that Old Crow beats the **** out of. Jlocki knew what he was doing and we didn’t argue. We pulled in around $1000 a month for the each of us. Jlocki brewed for everyone and no Omaha fuzz were going to bust him. Jlocki sent this stuff everyone and we did the running. Tips and pay flowed in. Soon we had enough to quit our jobs but I kept at Policki’s for the fun of it.
The guys who bought the stuff weren’t anyone pretty. As desolate of people I have ever seen. Parcels and packages and buckets and bottles of the stuff went to the little distributors around Omaha. A few bars and basement sellers, brewers their own and sometimes a few houses in between. No though, most of it went to this haunted old abandoned cement factory around the north side of Elm Street that used to be H&R’s Shovel Works. The mob owned it. Nice guys mostly, nothing terrible or rotten about them on the outside. No words of displeasure were ever thrown at me or Esco. It was just what we knew. They were mobsters and to us that made Esco and me just about the same. Maybe on the edge a bit, straying on the fence. It should have scared us, and it kind of did, but things were going good.
Maybe we got ourselves into something our fathers would have hated, if we had fathers. None of that really mattered in the end. We threw our stock in with these bums and this highlight of civilized history called bootlegging. It brought us money, that is what a job is supposed to do. In exchange for your services you do a certain amount of work and pay is received. Cops can kill, and doctors can screw up and take your lung out when they were supposed to remove a tumor. We didn’t think the booze running was any worse. Of course, we were grouped up with some shifty people. That only made our friendship stronger. I saw Esco as just a little bit off the handle but nothing compared to the fear driven and pseudo-psychotic mobsters of the Elm Street selling point.
Around this same Autumn time of my muckraking philosophies on moral employment another hard up for luck resident entered my common life. Her name was Sam, a tall, bright woman who didn’t seem too quick or clever to me but floored the Policki’s crowd with just a drop of the stuff she learned in 2 months of community college. She was lovely. Rimbaud would say the same. Girls came into Policki’s and nobody knew why. No great fare for the female hunt could be found there. I always figured any girl I’d find in Policki’s is probably a girl I’d want to meet. Full of ribbons and bows but not the ribbons and bows of Main Street or Omaha High School. Soldiers of a harder reality who still kept its guards in the uniform of futuristic fantasy. Besides that, Sam was a golden hair woman about 4 or 8 inches shorter than me who seemed to always do what you wouldn’t expect.

Chapter 3(needs to be long)

The sun crawled out the window and I was beneath the shades. It was Sunday morning and Esco and I usually had a few bootleg runs to make. By this time I was living in a small apartment that I sometimes shared with skeletons. Each wall happened to be a different color green, it only added to the other mistakes flittering around each room. The bathroom only had hot water, which wasn’t a bad thing. It happened to be a problem though when I needed a drink at 3:13 AM. Those little problems always got to me. I was too lazy to fix them and they really didn’t mean much. Like when someone asks me what I do for a living. I never know to say either I work at Policki’s or I run bootleg whiskey. One of ‘em might be worse but I can’t tell and I’m not about to find out by some Catholic priest or sidewalk motivated insurance man. No that was too much, so I just ask them the same thing.
The apartment kept me sane, whatever that meant. I retreated there and listened to the radio, the late baseball games and how the local minor league catcher may be getting traded. There was a good career path. Something to be proud of, for sure. I could only listen and wait. Esco and I make good scratch. It was enough for now and I couldn’t find much wrong with my current situation except it may be current, forever. I couldn’t have that. No girl like Sam could have that either. She was stellar. One of the best Policki’s and Omaha had to offer, I imagined. I don’t know if she could love what I am but if love is in my deck of cards I’ll try to play it. Women don’t have the same idea of what love is compared to men but that’s a problem I can’t solve. I’ll try Sam, she could be strangely sweet and it was just the time in my life I needed that.
“Gotta kind of edge, no stab at the ball then, and put it in the pocket quick, huh?” Esco was showing one of Sam’s friends how to drop a 4 ball in a corner pocket without using too hard an attack. She probably didn’t know what edge or stab or pocket meant cause she missed so hard the paint on the side of wall got a test. Each one of them bantered back and forth about pool the bar and me, flirted for something to do and gave me a hint that Esco wouldn’t be complaining to me tonight about the beer not being warm enough.

Wild Edibles Expert
10,167 Posts
I taught writing for many years. You are making two of the biggest mistakes a writer can make. First you need to finish the story before you can complete it. Stopping three installments in, and then looking around to see what you can change is absolutely counterproductive. It is like building the beginning of a bridge and then stopping and asking, how can I start this again. Build the bridge first, no matter how bad, then once you have a skeleton of a bridge, then go back and rebuild. Stopping now is to stop the story.

Next, don't listen to anyone's suggestions now or it will no longer be your story. NEVER ask people what changes they would make. When you have a finished story then you let them read it and you ask a very specific question for them to answer, not an opened ended one that can derail you.

Anyone who gives you suggestions now as to the story will be ruining your story and making it theirs, especially if they have a better idea, and you will just give it up. Finish your story, then complete the story, then under controlled conditions ask them a certain question about it. If you want to develop this story as your own you should delete the thread and NOT listen to suggestions on how to improve it.

38 Posts
3 things.

1. Your personification is somewhat dull. Id suggest removing it since very few people can pull it off these days. I rarely even bother.

2. Id listen to the above poster. They are right.

3. Which means you should probably ignore my first piece of advice.


Slutter McGee
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