Saucey Dalton

27 Jun

Here is a little something I wrote that I hope to develop further in the future. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I wrote it.

***

The phone buzzed angrily on the nightstand. I groaned, removing the arm of my bed mate from around my waist and sat on the side of the bed. Popping my neck, I clicked on the little lamp on the table and grabbed the offending device. Swiping the green button, I answered groggily with, “Marshal Dalton.”

“Marshal, this is Lt. Summers from the Gainesville PD. We have a standoff and the suspects are refusing to talk to anyone except you.”

I glanced at the digital alarm clock. 3:43 am. “Who are the suspects?”

“Adam Thompson and Jeremiah Brown.”

I sighed.

“I take it you know them,” Lt. Summers said.

“Yeah, I know ‘em. Text me your location. I am on my way,” and I hung up.

The heat of August clung like a second skin as I stood and slipped on my jeans and tank top from the night before. I shook the shoulder of the sleeping form on the bed. “Get up,” I said as I threw my long brown hair in a ponytail.

The response was a soft, long moan and stretching limbs. “Ready for round two?”

“No,” I said, grabbing my service Glock from the nightstand. “You gotta go.”

“Seriously?” Jessica gave a pouty whine as she sat up in bed, the thin sheet slipping to her waist, exposing her generous breasts. “But it is four o’clock in the morning.”

“Not quite,” I responded as I ejected the magazine, checked my ammo, “but yeah, seriously.” I slammed the magazine back into the gun and pulled the slide. One in the chamber. I put it in the holster on my hip.

“Can’t I wait for you here?” she pleaded as I sat on the bed to slip on my high heel boots. She wrapped her thin white arms around me from behind. “I could keep the bed warm for you.” Her bottle blonde hair brushed over my shoulders as she kissed my neck.

I shrugged her off and stood, grabbing her pile of clothes and throwing them at her. “Out.”

Her soft young face turned hard and angry. “You know, I thought women would be different, but no I am not so sure.” She pulled her thin t-shirt on over her head. “At least when I am with a guy, he is the one who leaves at the ass-crack of dawn.” She stood, sliding her jean shorts over her slim hips.

I opened the drawer of the nightstand and put on the chain with my badge. I also pulled out a slim silver ring and slipped it on my left ring finger.

“And on top of that, you’re married?” She was livid. She took a step toward me, but stopped when she eyed the gun on my hip. “You didn’t tell me you were married!”

“You didn’t ask,” I said as I grabbed her purse, took her by the elbow, and led her to the door.

“Thanks for the great time,” I said at the door as I pushed the purse into her arms.

“Fuck you,” she said as the door closed in her face.

“If I had a nickel,” I sighed.

 

I pulled up to a small shotgun house, the blue lights of the squad cars blinking and reflected off of the white siding more a sick green with mildew. I got out and headed to the grouping of police officers near the black SWAT van. A boy, no more than twenty, greeted me with a stern glare. “Ma’am, you can’t…” He stopped when he saw the badge. “Marshal, I apologize.”

I gave him a hard look and said, “Never apologize,” then brushed past him.

An older man with a silver buzz cut approached me. I could see by the bars on his uniform that he was the Lt. His hand was out when he said, “Marshal Dalton. Thank you for coming.”

I shook his hand firmly, “Fill me in. What’s going on.”

“We had received tips that this house may contain a meth lab.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me. They had been picked up for trafficking before.”

“So we showed up with a warrant to search the house under suspicion of a probation violation. That is when they started shooting. They have calmed down a bit, as long as we keep our distance.”

“Why call me? Why not have SWAT move in?” I asked.

“As I said on the phone, they asked for your specifically. Any reason why that is?”

“I brought them in when they busted out of prison a few years back.” I shrugged.

“Well, there is another reason why we haven’t made our move. We believe they have a hostage.” Lt. Summers face changed, as though it turned a slight shade greyer. Then he said, “We think they may have your husband.”

The initial shock must have shown in my face because Lt. Summers’s eyes widened slightly. Forcing on my neutral, federal agent expression, I cleared my throat and said, “Alright. Let me talk to them.”

Lt. Summers led me into the SWAT van where comm was set up. The power to the house had been cut off and they had intercepted the phone lines, so the only way Thompson and Brown could communicate with the outside was through us. One of the officers manning the station made the connection, the ringing on the other end coming through the speakers.

A harsh voice with a smokers wheeze and a southern drawl answered, “I told you pigs that I ain’t talking to nobody until I talk to…”

“Hey Jeremiah,” I said.

There was a pause. “Marshal Dalton. It has been a coon’s age, hasn’t it?”

“What do you want Jeremiah?”

“It isn’t so much what I want. You see, I got your hubby here. Adam has a gun to his head, and you know Adam, he is a little antsy.”

I let out a breath, crossing my arms. Jeremiah continued, “We will let him go if you do something for us.”

“Yeah? What is that?” I asked.

“We want $300,000…” He stopped as a muffled voice behind him whispered something, then he said, “$500,000 and free passage to Mexico. Get us these two little things and we will let Jason go.”

Hearing Jeremiah say his name made my breath hitch in my throat. “Well? You still there?” Jeremiah asked.

“Yeah, I’m here. And what if I don’t, or can’t, meet these demands?”

“We will shoot your lover boy’s head clean off his shoulders.”

I heard rustling of fabric behind me as the officers shifted uneasily on their feet.

“So that is how it is?” I asked.

“Yup. Thems the breaks.”

“Alright.” I paused, then said, “Go ahead and shoot him.”

There was only silence on the other end, then the sound of Jeremiah and Adam speaking in hushed tones. I grabbed a vest, slipping it on as I jumped out of the SWAT van. Recovering from his shock, Lt. Summers followed me. “What the hell just happened?”

“Get your guys ready to go in.”

“But what about…”

“They don’t have Jason. Let’s move.” I left Lt. Summers with his mouth wide open, a dangerous expression with the bugs and flying insects buzzing about, attracted by the lights of the police vehicles.

 

It didn’t take five minutes for SWAT to move in and secure Thompson and Brown. With his face red from pepper spray, Brown glared up at me. “You are one cold bitch, you know that? What if we had him?”

I knelt down in front of him, balancing my weight on the balls of my feet. “Well, firstly, it is the middle of the night. Didn’t you think that maybe I might have been asleep right beside him?”

“Well, we didn’t think…” he started.

“No, you didn’t think. Now look at what you got yourself into.” Jeremiah’s head hung down.

Adam squared his shoulders, blood trickling from a cut over his right eyebrow. He said defiantly, “When we get out, we are going to find you both. We are going to kill him and make you watch. Then we are going to kill you.”

I pursed my lips and nodded, “Mhm. Well, good luck with that, though that may be a little difficult.”

“Why?” Adam couldn’t help himself.

“’Cause Jason is in the federal pen.” With that, I rose and stepped over to Lt. Summers. “You heard that right? Terroristic threats against a federal agent. Just a little something you can add to your report.”

I started walking to my car. Lt. Summers ran after me and stopped me as I reached for the door.

“Hey, why didn’t you tell us your husband was incarcerated?”

“You didn’t ask.”

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Responsibilities

23 Nov

We all have them. Some choose to ignore them. Kudos to you. I, however, cannot. My mother had a mantra (well, she had many mantras), “We all have to do some things we don’t want to do.” Now I repeat the same mantra to my daughter every week morning when she is rolling around on the floor because she is tired and rather sleep than go to school.

This saying is one with which us writers are very familiar. Most writers have a day job that pays the bills. During our 9-5, we daydream about being able to write full-time. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Absolutely! What stops us? Responsibilities. But just because we are responsible for putting food on the table, paying the mortgage, and keeping the lights on, doesn’t mean our responsibility to our craft is any less important. Many of us would probably go insane if it we didn’t have our writing as an outlet and a means to keep the nice young men with their clean white coats at bay. It is truly a balancing act.

What you need to remember is this:

You do what you have to so you can…

1. Take care of your loved ones.

2. Continue your craft.

If that means flipping burgers so your baby can eat, be the best damn burger flipper there ever was. After all, how could you expect to get any writing done if your baby is constantly interrupting you saying, “Mama, I’m hungry.” If you have to work on computers to pay your car note so you can attend writers’ conferences, by all means, W-E-R-K!

Few things are more important than your writing. One of those is your family and friends. Period. Regardless of anything else, people should ALWAYS be valued over all else. If we start to value our passions and dreams more than the people who care about us, we’ve got a problem. After all, what fun is finally achieving your goals as a writer when you have no one to share your success with?

C. L. Parson

Taking Control

22 Nov

Every day, I tell my daughter, “You are going to have a great day.” Not, “I hope you have a great day,” or “Try to have a great day.” I say, “You are going to have a great day,” because I feel if she believes she has no choice in the matter, she is doomed to have a day that is great. I can do this because my daughter is still young enough to believe that Mommy is right most if not all of the time. Thanks to my mommy super powers, I have an infinite knowledge too vast for my grade-schooler to comprehend. Of course, that is all a load of crap. But she doesn’t know that.

The truth is we forget we have control over our own attitudes. We forget we have the choice to not allow others to affect our general mood and outlook on life. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard or said, “I was having a great day. That is until So-and-so had to ruin it by…” It is easy to blame others for our sour moods. Just because we have control over how we let others affect us doesn’t mean it is always easy to practice that control. This is why we tend to give up that control, and then blame someone else for our bad day. Don’t give up the control, no matter how heavy that yoke may be. It is not the speaker who gives weight and value to his words, it is his audience. Remember that the next time someone gives you a harsh criticism. They are as common as dirt, and should be valued as such. As for kind words, they are worth their weight in gold because they are just as rare and just as valuable.

C. L. Parson

Why Deadlines Are My Best Friend

11 Nov

As happens to so many writers who have day jobs, families, school, you name it, I often push my writing to the back burner. Family is top priority. Then comes the day job because it pays the bills. You can find writing at the very bottom of my uber long to-do list. Actually, it might be in the margin at the very bottom, almost as an after thought. Why does this happen? How can I allow it to happen? Oh, the humanity!

I found that there is one thing that my writing is missing that everything else on the infinite To-Do List has: a deadline. When I prioritize my tasks, I do so according to how long each task takes and when the task is due. Those tasks without deadlines are pushed to the bottom to make room for more tasks with deadlines. My writing isn’t a priority because I haven’t put a deadline on it.  There is a simple fix for this dilemma.

Create deadlines!

They can be impossible deadlines. In fact, those are my very favorite kind! Seemingly impossible deadlines tend to light a fire under my hind quarters. More often than not, I find that these so-called “impossible” deadlines are very possible once I put in some effort and ingenuity. Why do you think National Novel Writing Month is such a huge hit?

Do you create deadlines for yourself? How have deadlines helped or hindered your writing process?

Want more? Below are links to a couple of Writers Digest articles about time management and deadlines.
http://www.writersdigest.com/tip-of-the-day/meet-your-writing-goals-with-four-time-management-tools
http://www.writersdigest.com/tip-of-the-day/accomplish-your-writing-goals-make-a-schedule-and-meet-your-deadlines

C. L. Parson

How To Write When You Don’t Have Time

13 Sep

These ideas may not be substitutes for old-fashioned, tried-and-true butt-in-chair time, but it does give your writing mind a chance to play when you are pressed for time or enjoying your daily commute.

  • Write a few first liners.

    It is amazing how a story can unfold from just a few simple words. In celebration of Friday the 13th, Writers Digest encouraged their Twitter followers to tweet scary first lines using the hashtag #FridayThe13thStory. I tweeted up a storm and came away with some awesome ideas for some new stories. The best part is each first line only cost me about five minutes of my time at the most.

  • Make a character profile in your mind for the person in front of you in line at Starbucks.

    There are some interesting people we encounter every day in this crazy day of ours. Give your writer mind something to do while you wait for your triple shot expresso. That woman in line in front of you, she is actually in the witness protection program. The high powered business man sitting in the corner is actually a highly skilled assassin. That soccer wife putting too much sugar in her coffee actually has a secret second family in another state. The possibilities are endless. Bonus: Take note of any strange traits or ticks you notice in other people as you are going about your day. They are great ways to add three-dimensional flare to your characters.

  • Drive around town as a character.

    My favorite game to play in the car is something I call “car chase”. I pick out a car behind me in traffic and pretend like they are out to get me. Then I make up a story line of who they are, what they did, what I did, what they want, etc. If you don’t like chase scenes, imagine you are driving anywhere but where you are actually going. Why are you going there?

  • Play the “What if…” game.

    What if today is the day zombies rise from their graves? What if I walk into the gas station only to find it empty with the clerk tied up behind the counter? What if all the men on Earth began to regress back through the evolutionary chain? The “What if…” game is another tool you can use anywhere. Think of a scenario and what you or the people around you would do.

  • Take pictures and use them as inspiration for later.

    I have recently been trying to take more pictures while I am running around town. I try to take photos of random human objects in nature, like a chair left in the woods or a plastic food tray abandoned on a nature tail. Then I look back on these photos and write down story ideas.

Tools of the Trade:

  • Digital Recorder

    Because you will probably be driving or too busy to jot down notes, carry around a digital recorder or download a digital recorder app on your phone.

  • Note Pad

    The guy preparing your food at Panda Express is a mouth breather, and you think that is a perfect trait for one of your characters in your sci-fi thriller. However, you don’t want to make a voice memo and say “mouth breather” right in front of him (your mother taught you better than that). That is why it is important to have other options, such as a note pad. You can download one for your phone or carry around the analog version, Post Its and a pencil.

C. L. Parson

Professional Writer Quiz

7 Aug

In response to recent events, namely the publishing of an article by Lisa Morton of the HWA LA chapter, I decided to post my own quiz to help other writers determine whether or not they are allowed to call themselves professional writers. To be a professional writer, you must answer “yes” to ALL the questions, because professionals do not do anything half-assed. Those who fail this quiz will be put on the black list labeled “Hobbyists” and shall be monitored from here on out. 

Here is the quiz:

1. Do you blow off parties so you can go home and write?

2. Do you sometimes forget to eat because you are too busy writing?

3. Do you forget to visit your grandmother in the nursing home because you are too busy writing, even though the hospice nurse leaves a message every day saying she could pass away any day now?

4. Do you forget to feed your pets because you are too busy writing?

5. Does your home look like a hoarder’s paradise because you are too busy writing to take out the trash or put anything away?

6. Have you broken promises because to keep them would take time away from your writing? Example: You didn’t pick up your significant other at the airport like you said you would.

7. Are you still wearing the same clothes going on a week, underwear included, because to change clothes would cut into your prime writing time?

8. Have you forgotten to pick up your children at school because you are too engrossed in your writing?

9. Have your children missed a meal because your writing is much more important than cooking?

10. Has your spouse filed for divorce and/or has DFCS taken your children away because you have neglected your duties as spouse and/or parent due to the fact that those duties would take time away from your writing?

If you answered “yes” to ALL of these questions, congratulations! You are a professional writer!

C. L. Parson

How to Become a Famous Writer in 5 Easy Steps

5 May

1. Have something strange/unusual/horrible happen to you during childhood (preferably hard child labor).

If you had a pretty laid back childhood, harken the emotions you felt when you really really wanted to go to mall and your mom said no.

2. Write a book which hardly veils the fact that your main character looks a lot like you and has a lot of the same problems and personality ticks.

How else can we live forever? However, naming this main character after yourself is frowned upon. Try to avoid that if possible.

3. Make lots of money.

Pretty self-explanatory, I think.

4. Spend your money in frivolous ways. This can be in a way of your choosing. Gamble it away. Spend it on your mistress. Lose it all prospecting. The more scandalous, the better.

What do Fyodor Dostoevsky, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain have in common? They made a lot of money, then wasted it in foolish endeavors. Oh, and they also wrote some of the best books known to humankind. Coincidence? I think not.

5. Either die rich or die poor. But don’t EVER die middle-class.

Did you hear of the writer who died with a modest sum of money in the bank, just enough to settle his last earthly affairs with some change leftover for the grieving family? Neither did I.

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