Jul 03 2008

Mulling Over a New Introduction

I submitted a potential rewrite of our introduction to the Critters Writing Workshop. It’s very short (2 pages) and I expect that we’ll eventually expand it to about 5. Currently, it’s rated PG-13 for adult language, but we’re considering modifying it to PG.

Officially, IRS Agent Smith died to a car-bomb. The obituary mentioned his bereaved parents (“we’re heart-broken”), stunned neighbors (“it’s so shocking”) and his beloved dog (no comment). “Agent Smith’s death is a tragic capstone to a noble life of service that led to the prosecution of hundreds of individuals, drug gangs and fraudulent charities,” said a co-worker that Agent Smith doubted he had ever met before.

Smith paced across the office of the US Marshal handling the case. “Until we’ve actually arrested the perpetrators, we don’t want anyone to know you’re alive, or the attackers might try again,” said the Marshal.

“How long will that take?” asked Smith.

“Six months, maybe. Probably no more than a year or two. In the meantime, take some paid administrative leave.”

“Do you think I could tell maybe my co-workers that I’m not dead? I think that would making my eventual return less awkward.”

“We’re still examining the possibility that it was an inside job,” the Marshal added cheerfully.  “In the meantime, it’ll be like an unusually long vacation.”

That lasted about a week. Gary Smith golfed; he bowled; he drove forty-five minutes through the city to try out a new bakery. These ordinarily enjoyable experiences now only addled his mind. Were the caddies fully disclosing their tip income? Was the bowling alley improperly claiming land depreciation as a deduction? But it was the Au Bon Chic bakery that set him off.

“Our registers aren’t working yet,” said the teenager behind the counter. He fumbled with a calculator and gave up. “Your order comes out to, uhh… about $10. And let’s round it up to $11 for taxes?”

“Pre-tax, the meal comes out to $10.45. After Washington’s sales tax, $11.66,” he said quietly.

The French bread left a bad taste in Smith’s mouth.

Like most bad life-decisions, his next involved a bar. “I think I’m suffering from law-enforcement withdrawal,” he said to his drinking buddies.

“Fuck,” said the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms detective.

“Fuck,” agreed the DEA investigator. “I got two weeks of vacation last year, and it was so bad that halfway through that just driving past a skating park made me break into a sweat.”

“Can’t you just tell them you don’t want the vacation?” asked the ATF detective.

“I can’t. I’m ‘dead.’ I’d appreciate if you didn’t mention that to anyone,” said the IRS agent. His friends nodded sympathetically. They all took a drink of their beers.

“What about transferring? I doubt anyone would try looking for you at FBI or something,” said the ATF detective.

“No one would take me for just six months. The training alone would take that long,” said the IRS agent.

“You could, uhh, try…” trailed off the DEA investigator. He stared at his beer.

“Tell me!”

“Back when I was working in New York, we pulled a sixteen-man drug raid on a gang fortress. There was a helluva lotta blood when we got there. The OSI beat us to the punch, with one guy. Unarmed,” said the DEA investigator.

“Unarmed? Damn!” said the ATF detective.

“OSI?” asked the IRS agent.

“The Office of Special Investigations. It handles supercriminals, so they’re much busier in New York than here. OSI is always hiring, probably because their agents get killed so quickly,” said the DEA investigator.

“Obviously Suicidal Investigators,” said the ATF detective.

“Do you think they’d take agents for a six-month rotation?” asked the IRS agent.

“Do you even carry a sidearm?” asked the ATF agent.

“A Beretta, I think.” It was a point of pride for the IRS agent that he had finally mastered the safety just a year ago.

“Have you ever used it?” asked the DEA investigator.

“As much as any other IRS agent.” That was true, but not much to be proud of. He blushed and reached for his beer.

“Maybe OSI wouldn’t work out for you. It’s some serious shit,” said the DEA investigator. “He used his hands.”

The IRS agent decided to find out if they had any administrative vacancies. A waiter asked them if they wanted their drinks refilled. The IRS agent smiled and made a note to increase his tip from ten to twelve percent.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Mulling Over a New Introduction”

  1. Samon 20 Apr 2010 at 10:18 am

    Hey, I liked it, but I think you should pick up some characteristics about the men. You’ll find reading that ‘the ATF agent’ and ‘the IRS agent’ repeatedly would get rather stale. Instead, pick up on some characteristics within their voices perhaps and describe the way they speak, for instance. “Maybe OSI wouldn’t work out for you” said the rasper; this way, you can describe the way they speak and give them some representative character whilst retaining their anonymity .

  2. B. Macon 20 Apr 2010 at 10:34 am

    Thanks, Sam. In the two years since, I adapted this story into a comic book rather than a novel. If you’d like, you can see the first twelve pages here.

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