YOU HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE
It was 2:30 am in September 2005 and I had just finished writing a few paragraphs to a story that had been haunting my brain for quite some time. I say that and you might think it sounds crazy. But being a writer these images become stories. It's a scene playing in your head like a television show or even a movie. It makes no sense at first but as soon as you grow on the scene it becomes a bigger story. I have these visions often and I can't seem to shake them sometimes. I admit that they are not usually nice visions, but never the less they are what they are. I know that I will obsess about the images until I write out what I see. It's a tragic affliction...something that has plagued me since childhood, which I am sure made me come off as a strange person. But these scenes sometimes don't even become anything more than what it is--a scene. Sometime later on it may develop into a novel, but it may come out as a short story.
I look back at my short stories and see some scenes in my novels I have out now. They meshed together and formed a larger story. I may have even wrote a line or a thought and it made its way into something bigger. Crazy how that works.
But back to September 2005. I remember how my room at the time was laid out. My room wasn't but so big. The bed was against the wall when you entered the room. Ah, the memories of that room. I use to let friends use my room as their play area. They would bring their girlfriends or boyfriends over and I would let them fuck in my bed. I didn't care. It was just a thing and hell it offered them a place to go instead of getting caught by a cop or parent. The secrets I could tell you about some of the people who have passed through my room. My computer monitor was on a crate next to the bed. I would sit on the floor with the keyboard in my lap as I pounded out scenes that came to me. I just had to get them out of my head or they would consume me. I would become extremely anxious and fidget until I wrote it out.
When I say I am writing...I'm not fucking around. I'm writing--constantly.
As I typed these few paragraphs in the cool early morning hours, I realized that the scene I was writing was disturbing. It was of a woman with two children. She was washing dishes in the kitchen. The family had just finished dinner and her thoughts would wonder to her husband, who seemed to have been acting strange that night when he came home. He barely ate his meal. He even got up from the table early only to watch television and drink beer. She knew he was doing other things as well. He was snorting coke. A habit they picked up in their early years as a couple. They use to party real hard then, but she had stopped when she became pregnant with their first child. She also had begged him to stop. And he did--for a short time.
As the scene unfolded the wife had just put the last dish away with the help of their little girl, who was the second child. She was now four while their son was five. At that moment when the last dish was being placed away a loud popping noise came from the living room. She rushes from the kitchen and screams as she sees that her husband had shot himself in the face.But he wasn't dead. No he was very much alive and making a bloody mess in the living room.
That scene ran over and over in my head for about a few weeks before I finally wrote it down. It haunted me. It made me angry and sad and worried. Why was it so strong? Hold on...it gets creepier.
After that final scene had been written my cell rang. It was a friend of mine who worked EMS.
"I need you to bring me a change of clothes." There was panic in his voice. But more like a pissed off panic--like I can't believe this is happening to me.
"Ok, is eveything okay?"
"I can't get into it, but it's just a huge mess. Also bring me a trash bag. You are going to need it for my old clothes." There was a pause as he sighed. "They have blood all over them."
With that I rushed to him with a fresh pair of clothes to the hospital. The drive at that time was surreal. Like a dream. Everything seemed to be quiet and yet animated as I drove the distance to get to the hospital. My thoughts reeling with possibilities of what happened. I also didn't want to find out that someone I knew had been hurt. For me it was hard to keep friends. They seemed to disappear or worse. Once I arrived at the hospital I didn't see my friend for quite sometime, but I saw everyone else. Most of them gathered at the gazebo and smoked. When they saw me they shook their heads and some of them couldn't help but laugh. You know it's their way to cope with the situation. When bad shit happens to you...you deal with it. Some people laugh and others let it destroy them.
"Are those for--?"
"Yea, what happened?"
"It was fucked up, that's what happened," --took the clothes and trash bag from me and carried them to --. I looked at the others who sat quietly in the gazebo smoking and shaking.
"Is someone going to tell me something? Did -- get hurt?"
"Nah...nah...nothing like that. Just this guy shot himself today and made a mess in the ambulance." I glanced over to the truck and saw one of -- fellow workers spraying it out with a water hose. Come to find out that no sooner than I wrote that grisly scene...it happened. Not exactly how I saw it but it happened. After seeing -- and checking with him if I was needed for anything else. I left. But the truth echoed in my head about that man. He shot himself. He destroyed his face. He didn't die, but he wanted to. The nurses talked about how they couldn't figure out home to intubate him. He had no cheeks anymore. Just a hole where his face use to be. The Doctor had came in and wrapped his face--hole--with lots of gauze to hold the tube in place, so they could figure out what to do next. None of them have ever dealt with this before. Of course, I want to add that I was listening in on most of the conversations about this case. They forgot I was in the room.
But anyways, I rushed home and sat down at the computer. It was now 4:00am and I knew what I wanted to say. I knew I had a beginning to something.
I gave the characters names--the wife became Shelley and the husband became Tim Jones. They met when they were young. Tim had a best friend named Frank. Frank and Shelley had started an affair. And Bang came into the light. But Bang wasn't the first title I had for Tim's story. Bang was originally called "Ugly Fucker". Nice huh?
I'm going to share with you the beginning of the new story. I don't have the original beginning of Bang with the children, but I do have the new one before the final version. I will share both.
FIRST DRAFT: BEGINNING
"At three thirty in the morning, Tim Jones took a single barrel shot gun, placed it under his chin and pulled the trigger, blowing his face off. He sat there drinking a forty and smoking his cigarettes waiting for his wife to come home so they could talk. He did a few lines of cocaine, which he snorted off a white bible that lay on the side table next to his red worn hair. It had only been a few days since he caught Shelly and Frank, his best friend, fucking in their bed. Now poor pathetic Tim sat in his old red worn chair with his face all over the ceiling. His eyes burning from the gun shot. Teeth scattered up mutilated flesh and his tongue hanging where his chin should be. He could only gasp for air, but not utter a single word. His lips and identity were gone forever. There was a scream from somewhere in the room. Tim screamed back, but his was more of a gargle and a moan. He heard frantic rustling from in the kitchen. The next thing he knew, the paramedics were rushing in through the door."
SECOND DRAFT: BEGINNING
"She took her time pulling up to the house. Shelley drove around the block about five times before actually pulling into the driveway. She sat in the car as if her legs would not let her move. She did not want to face him, not now not ever. There was no way they could actually save their marriage. To her it ended a year ago and Tim just wanted to hang on. His anger drove her mad and into his best friend’s bed. The sex with Frank was new and refreshing. He gave her something she needed to get through the last year of what she called hell, hell being no exaggeration of the word.
Every day Shelley would come home to something new. The house tore up with a new hole in the wall and Tim drunk in his boxers waiting for her to come home. He would accuse her of false things and then force himself on her. For a while, she would give in and let Tim have his way, but a time came when she would not let him do what he wanted with her. That was when he started to hit her. Shelley received a fractured wrist, a black eye and bloody nose from Tim’s rages. She learned not to do certain things around him. She would come home late hoping that he was passed out from drinking, so she would not have to deal with him. There were days it worked and then days it did not.
Frank was such a sleaze, but so attractive. Frank only needed to smile at her and that was enough to make her blood warm. The day she and Frank had sex was on a Tuesday. It was sunny outside and warm. Frank came over to pick up something he left. She was not even expecting him when she answered the door. He smiled at her with his white teeth. Shelley smiled back looking down as if she was shy.
“Well are you going to invite me in,” he asked. His blue eyes looking her over like he always did. Shelley moved out of the way so Frank could walk into the house. He was wearing a black wife beater and worker jeans and tan boots for the construction site he worked at. She looked at his strong arms and ass as he walked by. She felt something stir inside her chest.
“Why are you here,” she asked.
Frank turned to her smiling.
“I came to see you,” he said and she felt as though she could pass out from this. What was it that he did to her? Frank laughed at her expression because she looked scared. Shelley blushed and moved toward the kitchen.
“Did you want something to drink it’s hot outside,” she said, stopping at the table to pour him a glass of water.
Frank walked up to her, stopping close to her. Shelley could feel the heat off his body, which made her sweat a little. His smell was intoxicating. His eyes focused on her as he reached around her for his work gloves that he left on the table. His hand moved around her caressing her thigh and then her belly. Her back was to him. She could feel him press up against her. She took his hands into hers pulling them up to her mouth to kiss them. He pressed himself hard against her, one hand moving to her breast the other between her legs.
“Do you feel something you like,” he said. She bent backwards to kiss his mouth. She felt his scruffy face against hers and his tongue in her mouth. She heard the jingle of his belt being undone as he opened his pants. He did everything and everything was heated. Frank pulled up her dress, placing himself inside her. They were like animals as he had sex with her against the table. They kissed, bit and pawed at each other. Shelley reached out to grab his ass to push him deeper into her. For the first time Shelley actually had an orgasm, which made her shake and cry after they finished. He held her for a while and then pulled out. Frank got himself together grabbing his gloves. He started for the door. Shelley turned around to look at him as he smiled at her, nodded, and closed the door.
That was the first time they ever did anything. She could not get enough. Four months later, Tim decided to come home early from work only to find Frank and her together in the bedroom climaxing. Tim just stood there looking at Frank on top of his wife. Tim’s body was frozen from disbelief, as Frank finished and then pulled out to get up. Frank stood naked in front of Tim as he lit a cigarette. He put on his boxers and pants. Shelley was curled up in the sheets afraid of what was going to happen. It was almost humiliating to be found out, yet liberating at the same time. However, this was not how she wanted to end things with Tim. Shelley watched as Frank just got up grabbed his shirt and walk past Tim, without Tim doing a thing. She could even see the smirk Frank gave Tim as he walked past him. Tim looked angry now, yet did nothing. Shelley took advantage of the situation. She got dressed, grabbing a few things. Tim walked over to the bed sitting on the edge placing his face in his hands.
“Where are you going,” he said in an eerie calm voice. Shelley walked to the door of the room looking back at him from the corner of her eye.
“I’m going to stay at a motel. I will call you,” she said, walking out grabbing her keys. Before Shelley’s hand touched the front door to leave, a loud crashing sound came from the bedroom. She opened the door fast, running out to her car. Shelley drove off as Tim walked out of the house with his shotgun. The last thing she heard as she sped away was the loud bang the gun made as he shot it up in the sky or at her for all she knew.
Now a month later Tim is trying to get her back. She could not stand living in the motel any longer. She was ready to return home, but not with Tim living there. She actually enjoyed her freedom. Though she wished, Frank was with her. He never came back after that. She would leave him messages on his cell but he would never return her call. Therefore, Shelley decided that she would come to the house and listen to what Tim had to say.
Still sitting in the car Shelley looked down at her feet. She tried to make them move so she could get this done with. Now even her hand would not move to the door handle. She lowered the window lighting a cigarette. She stared out the driver’s side window away from the house. She just looked at the neighbor’s yard. Her hand shook a little from being nervous. Her face looked worried, and then as if the past came, back to haunt her there was a loud bang that came from inside the house.
Startled, Shelley froze for a moment and then quickly got out of the car. She went to the front door unlocking it. She started to cry, but she held back as hard as she could, because of the thought of what was going to be on the other side of the door was overbearing. She pushed on the door but it stopped because it was on the chain. She paused for a moment trying to look into the room. All she saw were Tim’s legs on the floor."
And so BANG was born out of blood and tragedy. But it was only the beginning. Sometimes when writing a story it may not always have a positive beginning, but you have to start somewhere...even if it means to try and kill off your main character.
***Thank you for reading the Beginning of BANG. More BANG DIARIES to come. While I sit and write the sequel to BANG I will be sharing a few stories about the background of this novel and how it has evolved into the book it is today. How it will change how you see things and experience reading. BANG is a #noir #suspense novel. The plot is twisted and disturbing. It is ultimately about relationships--husband/wife, sibling, mother/child, lovers. It is also about morals. Can you find the moral values of the characters in BANG? Look deep--their morals seep through briefly. But then again in today's society morals are played out by our own views--not by the maker of the moral. Anyways thank you and please leave any comment or question. I would love to answer them.