Saturday, November 6, 2010

Like a Phoenix, Perhaps?

Well, at the nudging of a friend, I've decided to continue this project. Things have changed since the previous post, many being dropped or neglected, but many new ones have arisen in their place. Maybe my new objective will be to post snippets of pieces I've written, as drawing is not a fashionable niche for me. I'd love to have a collaborating artist sketch up some concepts, but my primary consideration is unreliable. Any volunteers?

So I guess I'll post a scene from one of my pieces here. If anything, most of my posts would be predominantly flash fiction, as they are more prevalent.

Here's the opening for a piece I'm writing for an assignment in my creative writing course. The assignment calls for students to write a "risky" story, meaning something out of your comfort zone. Mine would be something with pure drama and serious tone. So I've had an idea for sometime and decided to use this project as a medium for which to express it. The initial idea was for a murdered boy's father to take the murderer to the son's funeral. It will develop into him defending the murderer, who is just a boy, himself. This portion was written for another assignment which called for us to begin our risky pieces. I wrote the final line as a clencher and am not certain if I want to retain it.

Justify

We had advised Justin against working at a convenience mart. They are the most prominent candidates for hold-ups. But Justin insisted. Said the hourly wage was higher than at other places, that it was convenient to drive there because of his fuel discount, and that its suburban location was peaceful. That last one was bitter irony and only proved our advisory. He wasn’t there a full month.

What I know of the incident, I’ve heard from police reports, witness testimony, and security footage. None of that matters. The “how” is not so important as the “why.” But, since this is my memoir, I might as well relay what happened.

It was a Friday night. Justin was scheduled for the graveyard shift. No pun intended. At 1:13am, according to the camera footage, Wallace Darper entered the store dressed in a baggy orange nylon coat and immediately strolled to the back, near the coolers. He lingered for a while before finally opening one of the units and procuring a 12-pack of beer. The brand is unimportant. He slowly and hesitantly approached the counter where Justin was stationed. Justin had been eyeing Wallace since the latter entered the store. After greeting Wallace, he promptly asked for identification. Wallace set the beer onto the counter, removed the glove from his right hand, and reached into his inner coat pocket. What he removed was certainly identification, but only forensics would be able to read it.

Wallace shakily aimed his handgun at Justin, who complied with raised arms. Fortunately, he’d had the foresight to activate the silent alarm. It might have been his naivety or his nerves, but that premature profiling would save a life. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be his. Wallace demanded the money from the register. Justin declared that he could not open it unless he made a sale. Out of frustration, Wallace thrust the gun into Justin’s face while screaming profanities. Justin pleaded with him. Wallace’s hand trembled more violently. He was just as afraid as Justin. Perhaps it was the shaking that caused it or maybe he did it on purpose. I don’t know, the point is moot. At 1:37am, Wallace shot Justin in the face, effectively killing him. He was nineteen. My wife couldn’t watch the video. She had left the room before this part happened.

Wallace, in his own surprise, dropped the gun immediately after it fired. He stepped back, staring in shock at where Justin once stood. He backed into one of the snack displays and spun around, startled. He moved his head around frantically, I guess looking for witnesses, before dashing out the door. You could hear and see police sirens in the video as he exited. From the outdoor cameras, it is made clear that Wallace gave up without a fight, throwing his arms into the air. Authorities promptly detained him.

I was slightly taken aback by the officers’ quick presumption. They had known nothing about the scene beforehand, only that an alarm was tripped. Probably another example of profiling: you see a black kid running out of a gas station where an alarm had been set off and you assume they’re the culprit.

This is as much as we were permitted to see by our lawyers. That much wasn’t even shown in court. What I later learned was that paramedics arrived some thirty minutes after because the police pussyfooted before calling them. Thankfully, Justin died instantly or else he’d have been forced to suffer. The police lingered around the scene for several hours, shooting the breeze and taping off the area. Even though they had caught the perpetrator, they still felt the need to call in CSI. I could only think about one thing: how bad I felt for Wallace Darper.

12 comments:

djpr said...

Well that's definitely an excellent piece of writing. My opinions are of course probably not worth a lot because as I've told Aubrie, I can and do real most anything, so I'm not a hardcore critic, but I like that a lot. Gritty? Is that a good word? lol

Funny how these odd little notions work themselves into our psyche and demand things from us. I've got about six of them and they're relentless.....

djpr said...

Ugh, read even. Apparently my fingers get ahead of me a lot.

Matt Dimitroff said...

Wow, thanks a lot! I suppose "gritty" is a sufficient term. I'm glad to hear that someone besides my instructor likes this piece. I'm hoping it will turn into a novella.

And your criticism is just fine, haha. I actually run a workshop on campus here.

And I do feel you on the notions. On rare occasions, I will get an idea that just will not get out of my head and I'll have to write it down. On the downside, some great ideas are not so persistent and I may forget them :(.

AubrieAnne said...

Love, love, LOVE the flash fiction! It's the only way I can even begin to think about short stories.

Yes, "gritty" works. Really interesting and a piece I have not read of yours yet. Did you write it for 491 with the new professor? (Sorry, since I only had Roberson for 491, I can't remember the other professor's name. And I'm usually so good!)

Matt Dimitroff said...

Yeah, I'm writing it for Doyle in 491 this semester. I've had him twice. Roberson went on sabbatical last semester so I couldn't get him then and he wasn't teaching it this semester.

I'm glad that you like it. Elizabeth Christensen mentioned that flash fiction is "[my] niche." I suppose that's right. Flash is easy to write, but I'm certainly hoping to fulfill my goal of turning "Justify" into a novella.

AubrieAnne said...

That Elizabeth Christensen knows what she's talking about! I miss that class so flippin much. I really wish I could have finished my creative writing classes with that whole group!

I think novellas are pretty awesome. It's a good goal to shoot for.

Matt Dimitroff said...

Incidentally, my first class with Doyle was a reunion for most everyone from Roberson's 391 class. Gano, Nemcik, Elizabeth, Mark, Brzozowski, and Nathan.

Matt Dimitroff said...

Also, Kole was there. Can't believe I forgot about him...

AubrieAnne said...

You are going to have to tell everyone that I say hi! It kills me that I'm not there. The jealousy is setting in and my skin is turning green!

Matt Dimitroff said...

AUBRIE SMASH!

Kole and Mark are the only ones who are still around. Kole graduated, but he was promoted from his position at the help desk to a managerial position. I talk to him on occasion as he is a technical adviser for the FC. Mark is planning to graduate this semester.

As for the others, Nemcik is running a successful dog-grooming business, Elizabeth got accepted to a grad school in Washington state, and Katherine is currently in Lansing living with a friend (she and Josh split up). As for the others, I cannot say.

AubrieAnne said...

Wow! A lot has changed. I still miss it though.

Is the class still as fun though. There has got to be some interesting people in all that fresh meat. lol.

Matt Dimitroff said...

That class was last semester. This semester, Doyle has changed a few things, including writing activities. The only thing I dislike about his class is that he doesn't like to email stories, so we have to print out all of the copies ourselves. I don't know anyone in this class, except for Mark, but he dropped it. Maybe you'd know some people? Dawn Sandahl, Ben Lambright...