When I try to imagine traveling to Indiana Territory , the first thing I see is one of those big signs we have today at state lines: Welcome to Indiana Territory.
Of course, there were no signs. No advertisements “Come live in Indiana Territory.” No real estate agents (at least not in today’s sense of the word) offering to make all your dreams come true.
There was word of mouth. And the promise of land.
Oh! And Danger… Lots and lots of danger.
Week 5 of the 100-words-per-week Serial Novel (which is technically Flash Fiction) exercise at the Writing Forum has come and gone. Over a month ago, I’m afraid .
Still, I owe you the conclusion to my wee story . So, without further ado, the end of What Price, Charlie? (Working Title)
Amber hooch was the hardest to fake.
That’s what Edna the waitress had told Charlie the night the raid evacuated them to the alley.
He called her Daisy. She was beautiful and a little helpless, like the flower.
And, tonight, he needed one-hundred proof courage to ask her out. One perk of working in a gin joint was the gin, amber colored or otherwise. He didn’t care that it was made in someone’s bathtub.
He downed his drink. But before he could utter a word, the muscled brute they called The Doctor walked in, marched right up to Daisy and grabbed the back of her hair, holding her captive.
“Are you a common tramp, now Edna? Are you? I’ve seen you with that piano boy.”
The man wrenched her across the counter toward him. “We made a deal, doll. Remember? As long as you’re my gal, your family don’t go down in flames. That’s what we call in the business an In—” slap “—fie—” slap “—night—” slap “—Agreement. You got that, Edna? Constant. Forever.” He shoved her backward, the movement causing her to stumble.
“Now, bring me some brown. I’ll be in my office.”
In a weird show of forced diplomacy, Charlie had waited behind the club as Daisy asked instead of bashing in the Doctor’s face with his elbow. Now, he watched in amazement as his gritty blonde walked toward him, head high.
“Run away with me Daisy. We can have a happy life somewhere that maniac will never find us.”
“And leave my family here to suffer? I can’t do that, Charlie. I’m sorry. The Doctor has documents falsely implicating my father in a bank heist and I’m the only thing between him and jail.”
“Then we have to get those documents!”
They chose the evening of Frank Capone’s funeral–a lavish, invitation-only affair for the city’s most twisted and greedy, the Doctor among them—for the caper.
Charlie slid the key Daisy handed him into the lock, grateful they’d brought the lantern despite its grainy radiance.
“It’s just over here, in the office,” she whispered.
A match sizzled from within the dark room. “That you, Doll? I’ve been waiting for you.”
Daisy shoved Charlie toward to door. “Go! I’ll be alright. He loves me, remember.”
She raised the lamp. “I wanted to surpri—”
Gunfire erupted and Charlie watched her fall.
Charlie was alone in the cemetery. Her funeral was yesterday.
Hours after her death, he had formulated a plan, knowing the police would not deliver justice. Even now, the project to sabotage the Doctor’s organization was underway, cryptic pieces of the puzzle falling into place.
He plucked a petal from the daisy he clutched in his hand, let it flutter to her grave, then plucked another. “Kill the bastard. Kill him not,” he intoned, mocking the rhyme. “Kill the bastard. Kill him not.”
A gust blew the blooms off the mounded dirt as the last petal fell. “Kill the bastard.”
Sources & Notes
- Somehow, April is over and May has come and gone. Funny how time flies when life happens.
- Week 5 addresses the story element Denouement and requires use of at least five of the six given words: sabotage, even, cryptic, blow, imprint, project. According to LiteraryDevices.net, denouement is: “derived from the French word denoue, which means “to untie.” Denouement is a literary device that can be defined as the resolution of the issue of a complicated plot in fiction. The majority of examples of denouement show the resolution in the final part or chapter, often in an epilogue.”
- Featured image by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
It’s Week 4 of the 100-words-per-week Serial Novel (which is technically Flash Fiction) story I’ve been working on in the Writing Forum Exercises I participate in. This week, we addressed the Climax and Resolution of the story typically found in Act III of a 3-Act format and the six prompts to work into the narrative were: Invitation, Lantern, Twisted, Grainy, Falls, and Greedy.
If you recall from earlier in our story…Continue reading
Part 3 of the 5 Part Series on Serial Novels
Building a story is a bit like building a house.Continue reading
You might remember from last week that I’m participating in a month-long writing exercise building a short story , one-hundred words at a time.
Last week, we tackled the introduction: a hundred words to acquaint the reader with the characters, setting, and develop a story question or inciting incident. This week, we move on to what is often considered Act One in the Three Act Writing Structure  where we address the Rising Action . Prompt words to weave in, to add to the challenge , are: common, infinite, captive, flaming, constant, movement
So, without further delay… the next 100 words! (Ahh… maybe I should include the first 100 words? They’ll be in italics.)Continue reading
Before television… before radio… many people got their fiction fix via serial novels. 
This is especially true for Rose in the late 1920s and early 1930s. While radios were getting their start, it wasn’t until the mid-30s that nearly every household could afford one. And since books were expensive and libraries few and far between, newspapers filled the void by publishing serial stories that readers looked forward to each week. Continue reading
I was reading an article about jazz in the Time-Life special edition on the Roaring Twenties  that I recently purchased when I read about a band in Chicago that was tantamount to the rise of that particular music genre.
Of course, that got me thinking about my W-I-P, as all things related to that era do, and my character Charlie Brockway.
You’ve seen Charlie in some previous posts , but he is still a relatively unknown character for me. I know he’s originally from Chicago; that’s there’s some big secret in his life; and that he’s a musician. But this Time-Life article got Charlie talking about his past a bit.Continue reading
I have a thing about rhubarb pie.
It’s deep-seeded, to be sure, since I haven’t had a bite of that particular pastry since I was a child. My paternal grandmother made them. She died when I was ten. 
So when the LitForum‘s Writer’s Exercise  for March was to “write a scene in which the emphasis is on the consumption of food. Make use of the senses of taste and smell. Complement those senses by also drawing on sight, feel and mood. The MC  in this scene has stopped whatever he/she has been doing before and is pausing for a moment,” I knew immediately mine would be about rhubarb pie.Continue reading
Sometimes, when words are hard to find, my writing group plays a little game. We spin for prompts, which are just words or phrases that have been plucked from various sources and added to a numbered list, and then see what we can write that includes one or all of the prompts.
Occasionally, the resulting scene is actually relevant to the work-in-progress; other times it just serves to open the floodgates and remind you that you can still write.
Regardless of outcome, the games are always fun. And writing is supposed to be that, isn’t it!Continue reading
I’ve been considering bank closings, and the panics that ensued,1 and how that would have manifested itself in the small town where Rose and Harold lived?
We’ve seen pictures of the mobs that rushed banks in New York after the big stock crash in ’29. But stories about smaller crowds, smaller towns, smaller banks, are harder to find.2Continue reading