Thursday, March 31, 2011

F3 – Cycle 24 – Pulp Fiction; Rise of a Gumshoe

I jumped into this week's prompt later than I wanted, so, I have to add this tale to a growing list of others that needs finishing and polishing. That being said hope you enjoy my brief tale of detective meets steampunk, wish I had more time for the steampunk portion (my 1st attempt at this genre). Enjoy!

     Colgan leans back into the cushion of the chair, as he places the plain silver cigarette case back inside the inner left pocket of his charcoal-gray wool blazer.  The rectangular, natural colored oak desk, behind which he sits; clear except for:  a small, dingy, tin ash tray; a Princeton style desk lamp; and a plain gray Fedora.  Colgan puffs alight a hand-rolled cigarette, the orange glow lending its faint light to cut the gloom of the half-dark, interior office.

     "This is a tough business you've chosen for yourself, mack.  It chews up lightweights and flattens has beens, alike, see.  Why 20 years ago, I sat right where you're sittin.  Only work in those days was the dangersous type, see.  Being a dick meant ruffling feathers and maybe getting roughed up yourself.  Where quick reflexes were as important as quick wit."  He pauses to blow a smoke ring into the air.  "I decided I needed an edge, if-n I was gonna claw my way to the top.  I had just gotten a hold of a piece of scuttlebutt; a rumor of a rumor if you will, of a black market tinkerer conducting suspicious experiments, artificial mechanical limbs, non-traditional weapons, etc.  Only, none of it had hit the street, if the rumors could be believed, see.  Now around this same time, I had got word of a big job, kinda money that could you set up for a while, put your name on the lips of the who's who crowd.  But, the kinda job you'd hesitate to take on, even if you had the national guard backin ya, see.  So, I decided to track down this tinkerman."

     The perfume of the harbor permeated the dank, night air as he neared the district of the city juxtapositioned just west of the docks.  The clicking sound of the soles of his shoes on the damp pavement reverberated from the gray stone and weathered wood buildings of shops and warehouses.  He turned abruptly at a sound like that from a scuffed shoe, fearing a stealthy footpad or similar nefarious character.  He released a breath he had not been aware of holding, as a plump brown rat scurried into an adjacent gutter.  He flipped up the collar of his dark trench coat in an attempt to conceal as much of his face as possible , as he darted furtive glances into the shadows from one building to the next, while turning and continuing toward his destination.  He took a deep breath , and then quickly ducked into the next alleyway.  Pitch black darkness caused him to slip and subsequently slide down a short flight of grime slicked stairs, two paces into the narrow alley.  Momentarily, the beat of his heart deafened him, as its steady rhythm pounded in his ears.  He slowly rose to his feet, remaining crouched in a futile attempt to better pierce the gloom.  He moved furtively down the gritty stone pathway, which came to an end after approximately ten paces.

     'What a waste', he thought, as he placed a hand against the rough stone and placed the brim of his Fedora against the back of his hand.  Down to the right of his shoe , he caught the glimmer of a coin directly situated at the join between path and wall.  As he bent to retrieve the coin; 'No, not a coin, but a strange silver light escaping through a tiny hole directly in the seam.  He laid flat on his stomach, knees bent, in order to closer inspect  the source of the light.  As he peered into the hole, he thought a hallucination had taken control over his senses.  Below, a workshop buzzed with activity of what could only be described as machines of varying designs, shapes, and sizes moved about seemingly of their own accord, without wires, strings or cords of any kind.  All appeared made of an unfamiliar metal. 

     Twelve-inch tall metal men with what could only be described as bat wings attached to their backs zipped to and fro.  While, shiny dogs and cats pounced, darted and swiped at one another, as human sized man replicas placed finishing touches on two-foot tall soldiers, that subsequently rose and jumped down onto the shop floor and marched or stalked about, while, wielding miniature sized military grade rifles.


Prompt courtesy of Flash Fiction Fridays


  1. This is a good start! I liked voice at the beginning and I kind of wish it had carried through. I think you should definately finish it!

  2. At least you got that far, mine not only fell apart but I didn't have time to work on it this week.

    Please post if you finish this one up, I liked it a lot.

  3. Thanks Flannery, I'll remember that when I finish this one. I'm glad you said that about the voice, it gives me a great idea about how to continue and then finish this story

  4. The language was great and you've got the voice, but the pace seems just a little slow. It's a good start and a little more time to flesh it out and edit could make this a gem. Good job.


  5. @Doc, thanks for the feedback, could definitely improve the pace!

  6. I totally agree about the voice at the beginning. I would really love more of that. Let us know when this is done. I'd really like to see where this is leading. Great start.

  7. Doing my 'catch-up' reading, courtesy of Flannery's 'anthology'.

    This starts well, beautifully descriptive, creating a very sharp image in my mind's eye. Now curiosity gets the better of me and I want to know more about those little metal characters.....?!

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  9. (sorry... deleted first comment for typos)

    Great voice in this... I like the feel it gives the story.

    I understand this is just the start of the story... might suggest to pick up the pacing a bit as you go along... keeps the reader engaged.

    Very well done!~