Saturday, May 30, 2009

ZAP Chapter 1 by Mark Adair

“For the assurance of her safety, I’d say something in the neighborhood of twenty-five thousand pounds.”

“You can’t be serious! 25 Grand! Have you lost your friggin’ mind?”

“Excuse me, Mr. MacDonald, but what did you expect? Considering her present predicament, safeguarding her requires a special…ahem…finesse.”

“You’re serious? You want me to give you twenty-five thousand dollars just to get your word that you won’t ZAP this girl. A girl I’ve known for only a couple of weeks and don’t really give a shit about?”

“Well, I certainly wouldn’t have resorted to such blunt language, and, no, not dollars, pounds, but other than that, yes, I believe you have the gist of it, old boy. Now if you would be so kind as to enter your account and routing numbers here and here, followed by your PIN, we can get on with it and avoid any further…ahem…unpleasantries.”

“And what the hell does ZAP stand for, again?”

“Zero Actuality Potential, ZAP.”

I should have known this night had it in for me when I stumbled out of bed, banged my shin on the damn bed frame, and bled all over my white carpet that ran down the hallway to the bathroom. I should have just gone back to bed and written the evening off. But no, I had to push through it. Be the man. Prove to everyone that nothing holds Scotty MacDonald back…from anything.

So I cleaned up the mess, threw on some jeans and a t-shirt, and headed out the back door of my apartment. A short walk later, my spirits revived by the cool October air, I’d reached my home away from home - my favorite booth, shouting distance from the bar, in my favorite pub…my pub…Mac’s Public House.

I nursed my stout as I thought about how you really can’t keep Scotty MacDonald down. He may lose his keys; he may lose some blood; he may lose his girlfriend; he may lose his car; and he may even think about himself in the third person. But like my old man always said, “Nothing keeps a MacDonald down. Nothing!”

Matter of fact, those were the last words I ever heard him say...

Anyway, I sat down with my second beer. The pain in my leg had subsided, business had picked up, Nina Simone sang about Feeling Good, and my girl friend - not girlfriend, just girl friend - sat across from me looking almost as a attractive as the dark brown liquid in my mug. Kelly had the distinction of being my oldest friend - we'd known each other for a full two weeks. I liked her and she put up with me. All in all, not a bad situation.

I notice stuff. Studying the characters that pass through the doors of my establishment entertains me to no of the many things I really love about owning a pub. In between sips, I saw this guy standing at the bar - grey suit, grey tie, grey hair, and grey fedora. Unusual, but harmless. And then he turned to face my direction, raised his glass to me, and smiled. I return the gestures. Life is short, right?

Making room for another beer, Kelly stood up and headed to the restroom in the back. The next thing I know the tall lanky grey dude parked himself in her place. No problem. I have a rep. People like to hang with me. Get a free drink, whatever. I get it. No reason not to be nice just ‘cause I’m THE man, right? Then the distinguished gent raised his glass and with an I’m-lord-of-something British accent proclaimed, “To the potential.”

Not knowing at that point in time that he happened to be lord of the we've-completely-lost-our-fuckin'-mind club, I nodded my head, clinked his glass, and responded, "To the potential."


Anonymous said...

Great story! Can't wait for more.

Anonymous said...

LOVE this!

jls said...

Haha. Great.

Julie Lunde said...

Oh, come on! You can't just write one chapter, then leave us hanging...

Really, though, good stuff!When's the next installment coming?

Mark Adair said...

Julie, anything for you dear. How about this weekend?

Jad said...

Two things I like:
1. There's already good character development in a relatively short segment of writing.
2. Starting right away with the action, and then going back and explaining the background, rather than just going chronologically.

Thanks for sharing it. Look forward to reading more.

Jake said...

good stuff... real interested to see where it goes.

Anonymous said...

Really looking forward to more. Like the wit, like the intrigue, like where this is going.

I would however, like to hear something about spam in the future or perhaps the not liking of it.

Mark Adair said...

Thank you all for the encouraging responses.

I'm especially surprised to hear from Jad & Jake - thanks guys for taking the time to read, and for chiming in. I hope all is well with you and yours.

To Jason: I believe writing success to be dependent, in no small part, on plots or subplots containing universal realities with which we all struggle. The not liking of spam could very well top that list. However, a horror novel might be a better context for that particular subject. And then again, if I read one more Zombie Spam story, I think I'll just puke.


P.S. A few more well-placed nouns and verbs and Chapter 2 will be ready to, I hope.

Mark Archer said...

Haha nice ending to the first chapter. You definitely put a hook on it.