Rising Tension: Roy and James Play Cards

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The purpose of today’s excerpt from “A New Kingdom” is to reinforce some of the concepts discussed in my last two posts, building stakes and increasing tension. If you don’t have any idea what either of these terms mean, I suggests you click those links^ and check them out.

I’ve highlighted any lines that are specifically designed to increase tension, establish the stakes, or foreshadow problems to come. This scene is about Fitz and the threat he poses. He is the antagonist of the underground scenes. Enjoy.

* * *

        “What about Fitz? He’s not going to want us back there.

Let me worry about Fitz,” said Roy.

The pair got up and made their way down the corridor. The yellow lights helped make daytime feel almost authentic. Many families sat in the hallway, exchanging their horror stories from the night of the invasion. The cute blonde girl with the yellow rubber boots sat alone, and for a moment James thought about introducing himself, maybe even inviting her to play cards. He wondered if she were dealing with the loss of her parents as well.

Placed at the end of the hallway was a cardboard box, labeled “ELECTION.” When they finally reached it, James peered inside and saw it was filled with napkins – write-in votes for the new underground ruler.

“I don’t get why we are having this damn election today, you know? We’re done if Fitz wins – might as well as be underground slaves from here on out. And why are we voting for a ruler? Shouldn’t we vote for a leader? Somebody oughtta speak up about this stuff,” said Roy.

They entered the backroom that Fitz had strictly reserved for underground council meetings.

Roy dealt James a couple of cards, who turned them around to see a queen and a seven.

“Why don’t you speak up?”

Roy checked on his own hand, “Wouldn’t do no good. None a’them are gonna listen to me, kid. Most adults don’t like me.”

With a quick hand, Roy flipped over three cards on the table. There was an eight, a nine, and a six, giving James an open-ended straight draw. Roy bet and James called.

“Maybe you should try to make them like you? You never know unless you try.”

Roy laughed, “There’s some people I prefer to dislike me. If a guy like Fitz liked me, I don’t think I’d like myself.”

A fourth card was flipped on the table, and a ten was turned over. James had a straight. Roy bet and James re-raised all in. Roy put his hands behind his head, sat back in his chair, and looked as though he were thinking his move over.

“I’m sure you got a seven, which gives you a straight. The damned thing is, I flopped one too, ‘cause I got a five-seven. So I gotta call, but I’m gonna be pretty damn upset if that last card gives you a better hand.”

Roy pushed all of his chips into the center, and both of them were all-in. He flipped over the final card, a jack of clubs. James revealed his hand, and Roy tossed the entire deck into the air.

“C’mon kid, how could you do that to me?”

James didn’t see it at first, but when he studied his hand further, he realized why Roy was upset – The last card gave James a higher straight, Queen-Jack-10-9-8. He got lucky. Roy’s frustration died down, as he chuckled at his bad-beat and picked up the scattered cards.

“You see, in this game, all the brains in the world won’t guarantee success. The skilled professional can lose to the young novice, any day of the week-

The office door flew open, and Colonel Fitz’s entered in.

“Pick up your things and leave. This isn’t a game room – it’s for official government meetings only.”

Roy shuffled the cards and dealt out a new hand. “With all due respect, sergeant anus, there are only four rooms in this place. If there were more, I’d understand. But we may be down here for a very long time, so I’d ‘ppreciate it if you eased up a little bit.”

James pretended not to notice the escalating tension between the two grown men as he picked up the cards.

Fitz marched over to Roy until he stood over him. “It’s Colonel Fitz, low-life. And I will not stand for any under-age gambling. This meeting room is for grown-ups only. That means both of you need to leave.”

Fitz used his arms to pile up all the poker chips into the center of the table, erasing the winnings for both opponents. Roy stood up and put his face to Fitz’s. “Look, Colonel Dick head, when you and your friends finally come here to play ‘pretend government,’ when you make huge decisions like ‘who showers when?’ Then we’ll get out of here. But until then, I’m gonna enjoy life the little bit that I can, and me and my buddy James are gonna play cards right here, whenever we want,” He said, then pounded his fist against the glossy marble.

The colonel took a step back. “Today, go ahead, play your silly game. But I got news for you.” Fitz pressed his finger into Roy’s chest. “I am a military man, Roy, and you don’t wanna start a war with a military man. When I win that election, you’re going to change your attitude.

Fitz left the room. Roy grabbed the deck of cards and returned to dealing them like nothing had even happened. After a couple minutes, James finally broke the silence.

“I think you might be right about some people not liking you.”

Roy shook his head. “If Fitz wins that election, ain’t nobody down here is ever gonna see the surface again. That man is power hungry, James, and hungry people don’t like sharing their food.”

* * *

–  Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

Versatile Blogger Award: Feast Your Eyes Bitches

I've been nominated for this!  So exciting....

That’s right, I won it.

Versatile blogger award?? What’s that, you ask?

Oh. Ha. A ha, ha…ha. you don’t even know what it is.

Well let me fill you in on a few little details:

The versatile blogger award doesn’t just go to anybody. There is a lengthy process involved, and the qualifications needed just to be nominated are enough to make your head spin. Let me give you a little perspective by telling you what I went through to win this award. I warn you – the daily grind to keep this blog so fresh and clean might come as a shock to you.

– I wake up every day no later than 4:30 a.m.

– I look at my alarm clock and wait until I fall back asleep.

– I wake up again at 9:30 a.m., when my alarm bell rings. I press the snooze button.

– I wake up at 11:23ish and pop out of bed, do three or less pushups, then blast my walk-out song as I make my way to breakfast. (a walk-out song is the rap song that plays for professional baseball players when they approach the plate to hit.)

– As “Ice Ice Baby” blares through my studio apartment, I punch the air with a series of aggressive jabs, secretly hoping I’m beating the shit out of the ghost who can’t be touched but can still feel pain. You might think that’s stupid, but when a ghost haunts your place, you can either stand up for yourself or just pretend he’s not there. I’m not a ghost pussy, I’ll stop fighting when he stops stealing my socks.

– I sit down and pour myself a bowl of cereal. It comes in this enormous cardboard box filled with dozens of bowls of cereal. I have to shake it really carefully, because a lot of the time more than one bowl will pop out, and even when I do only get one, the cereal always spills everywhere.

– I grab the milk from the fridge, then cautiously pour it all over my kitchen table, over the pieces of cereal. I then lick up the cereal as fast as I can, or else my Reeses Pieces are going to waterfall over the edge and wind up on the floor. And I hate eating food off the floor. It’s a lot harder and you can’t even sit down.

– I get on my computer and post a blog entry.

That’s EVERYDAY folks! Except for the weekend when I need time to recover, obviously. But next time you think about spending one full year of your life training for the versatile blogger award, I want you to ask yourself: Am I really willing to wake up at 4:30 am, just to post a blog entry? Because if you’re not, I just don’t think you’re gonna cut it in the free-online-blog-one-vote-wins-it-copy-and-paste-your-own-trophy award category.

Thanks again for nominating me, Aunt Joanna!! :)))) Check out her blog, she’s an amazing writer and an even greater story teller come thanksgiving.

Anyway, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Because now I get to write 7 interesting things about myself, and then I’m supposed to nominate 15 other bloggers 5 other bloggers for this award. Here’s 7 things you didn’t know about me:

1. I’m exceptionally boring.

2. I like turtles.

3. English is my first language.

4. That’s all I got.

5. I like Emenim? Specially the song “When the music stops.” That song is bad-ass.

6. A New Kingdom, the book I wrote, has just been nominated for a Hugo Award in the science fiction category.

7. Number 6 was a lie.

And now, to nominate 5 exceptionally versatile bloggers:

1. His actual name is writeswithtools. That’s how confident his parents were that he’d be a literary genius, which he is. His blog features post-after-post of useful storytelling information. In fact, merely browsing through his blog for a few minutes will help you improve your own writing dramatically, and at the very least open your eyes to the techniques and devices all great story-tellers use.

2. Linda G. Hill. She is so versatile, she actual maintains two blogs – one where she writes about life stuff, the other where she writes fiction.

3. Amy Barlow. Aka sharp little pencil. She has been my friend since the beginning of my wordpress (good old mcwatty9 days), taught me that it’s “all right” and never “alright”, and is a genuinely smart and funny person. She writes a lot of poetry and is never afraid to speak her mind. I like that about her.

4. Mike Steeden. He rhymes about drunk tom-foolery with pure elegance. I want to get drunk with this man. I think there’s a lot I could learn from him… But more importantly, I think he’d be fun as fuck to go out with.

5. Misha Burnett. He’s a really good writer and has incredible insight into whatever topics he chooses to discuss. This is someone who puts a lot of thought into what he writes, which probably explains why his novel, “Catskinners Book,” is beginning to sell like hotcakes.

Ok, that’s it. Congratulations to my versatile blogger nominees, now you get to nominate 15 other bloggers and write 7 interesting things about yourselves!

– Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

Before Comfort’s Bliss

Image

Thighs sliding, fingers cramped, sweaty pores, moving hands.

Rocking swiftly, moving gently, moaning sounds, hefty taking.

Hands caress, muscles push, breaths grow heavy, lamps are shook.

Moving swiftly side to side until a turn brings her to rise.

Rising up from up to down, pushing forth, pulling out.

Turning over, once again, breaths do mate, fingers blend.

Kissing, touching, quaking lots, moving down from neck to next spot.

Lips do squish, tongues they kiss, elbows bend , her pelvis kicks.

Eyes they meet from eye to eye at first they see but soon they fly.

Enter back into her body, watch her glisten, feel her naughty.

Twisting over to one side, slides to hip, leg twined is fine.

Hair grows wild in his hand, pulling hard, faster again.

Moving closer, dripping sweat, to her forehead, feel her breast.

Sheets all rustle, bed does break, blankets fall and moans do rage.

Raising volume hear the sounds from one man’s push till one girl’s found.

Voices quiet, thoughts they bleed, grips of holding pressing deep.

Heads come closer, heat it rises, slanted mattress provides for driving.

Springs they rattle, muscles ache, one limb stiffens, one girl shakes.

Hurrying on, fast again, lips they meet, breaths quicken.

All at once the sounds explode as does the load as does the show.

The two embrace for one small kiss before a rest and comfort’s bliss.

– Thomas M. Watt

A Handshake Precedes an Indecent Request – Part 2

chicken dinner

“Alright, I’ll tell you everything,” said Joe. “I’ll explain why I met you tonight and expect to leave with your wife, for good. I just need to know one thing.”

“What?” said Mr. Huerto.

“You won’t lay a hand on Marie. You won’t hurt her.”

Mr. Huerto laughed. “Joe, I’m not the type to hit a woman.”

“I know,” Joe gulped. “But after you hear my story, I’m afraid that all could change.”

Something loud fell and crashed in the other room. Marie sobbed louder.

“I don’t hit women,” said Mr. Huerto. “Now on with the story.”

Joe nodded. He had a breath, then began.

“When Marie and I were sixteen, we were already on our third year of dating, and felt normal teenage rebellion was getting boring. We needed thrill, excitement. We needed to do something new, something kids our age wouldn’t even dare. We needed more adrenaline-”

“Why?'” said Mr. Huerto.

Joe smirked as he returned his glance to Mr. Huerto. “We liked to fuck on it.”

Mr. Huerto shook his head and stuffed a cracker into his mouth. “Just… just go on!”

“Alright.” Joe nodded. “So me and Marie, we used to devise ways to get ourselves as close to danger as possible, without ever getting caught. It started out with stupid things, like breaking into random cars for a quickie. As time wore on, we got all the more adventurous. Started getting stupid with it. Broke into houses, backyards. Soon breaking in alone wasn’t enough.”

Mr. Huerto swung his glass of water to his lips then choked slightly on his drink. He tried to muffle his cough, and when he spoke again it was with a broken voice.

“You alright, sir?” said Joe.

“I didn’t exactly plan on hearing all about my wife’s sexcapades with some stranger tonight.”

Joe laughed. “That’s alright, it gets better.”

Mr. Huerto darted his glance back to Joe. Joe went on.

“So the whole breaking in thing, we got tired of it. It seemed juvenile, you know? So we decided to do something different. We decided to start getting strangers involved.”‘

Mr. Huerto raised an eyebrow.

Joe laughed. “Not like you think. It was a game. A sick, weird little game-”

“What was the game?”

Joe buttoned his lips initially. “Marie would go on dates with other guys. I would wait for her-”

“WHERE?” Screamed Mr. Huerto, standing up.

Joe shook his hands and backed away. “In the bathroom!”

“And then?”

“And then we would fuck, while her date was waiting for her!”  Joe scurried away.

Mr. Huerto charged on. “You mean to tell me the first date I shared with my wife, the night you were caught raping her in the ladies bathroom, the reason you were locked up for the last ten years… WAS BECAUSE MY WIFE IS A SEX-FREAK!”

Joe backed into wall. “Not a freak, Mr. Huerto. Exhibitionist is-”

“YOU WENT TO PRISON FOR TEN YEARS! HOW COULD THIS NOT COME OUT IN COURT?”

Joe fell into a corner. He looked down at the carpeting. “You can thank Marie for that one.”

“Why?” said Mr. Huerto.

Joe gulped. “She said if I could wait ten years, she knew a guy that would give us sixteen million dollars.”

“What? Who! I’ve got thirty-two million but I swear on my life I’m not about to give any… wait.”

Just then, Marie sprinted through the room and towards the front door.

“MARIE!” Shouted Mr. Huerto.

PART 3, COMING SOON!

Thomas M. Watt