This is the final part of a short story that I wrote last week. I will resume class on Thursday with a new curriculum. I am eager to start that up again, so I hope you all can join us for a new look on story telling!
"Detective fiction," Roy elaborated with an air of self importance, "that's what's hot with the kids these days."
I nod, scooting forwards in rapt in attention.
"Superheroes are played out." he paused while the waitress came by, passing a steaming plate in front of him. Suddenly, his dull face brightened at the sight of the burger, nodding with appraoval.
"Let me know if ya' need anythin'." She winked at Roy. It was scandalous, she must have been only 22..
"With pleasure darlin'."
Slowly he reached across the table and grabbed a large jar of ketchup and began spooning it out onto his plate across the oily stain of french fries. I think sometimes people like to eat while they are talking, or they like doing something anything. It makes them feel important, I'd say. Hell, smoking makes me look like a cassinova! It's all about atmosphere when it comes to being persuasive. Can't say I was really impressed with Roy's display of hunger though. I thought he looked like a real square.
"So what's your angle?" I interrupted. Midst his hungry ecstasy, Roy frowned and reached for a napkin to wipe off his face.
"Why not start it out with an investigation? Capers always get the kids trapped in..."
"Yeah..." I mutter lazily. This was a waste of time, and Roy gathered as much, who shifted uncomfortably in his seat for a moment, setting down the burger onto the oil stain smeared across his plate.
"I'm no writer," he admitted dryly, "So why don't you enlighten me then? If you think you have what it takes to work for that joker Goodman then you don't have what it takes to work for me! Goddamn swamp monsters is all he has up his sleeves..."
"Okay." I feel the chill wrap around me. I can't blow this! I just can't. I'm not going to be another bum. My brain burns up trying to think when suddenly, like a light at the end of a tunnel it comes to me.
"Superhero detective, a masked vigillante could work. Imagine. He fights crime as a detective, you know? A real Sherlock Holmes that can fight crime against the mob and the baddies over here."
Roy's eyes widen, then look around stealthily. He set down the burger and leaned back in the seat with his arms out akimbo.
"Ricky-boy... they were right to tell me you were good. I want a name down on my desk by next Monday, If you can handle that. I springing for a new line this fall so I'll need a pitch and an artist soon. Don't make me regret this decision." He looks at me soberly, and I sit there feeling the weight of his offer come down on me.
"You got it boss." It's all I can say without choking. I'm not one for business talks. Never had a good poker face. I always get nervous and shrivel up inside. But I was smart though. Never sell the rights. Get in and stake your claim. That's they way I did it, and It's always worked since.
Roy wasn't there much longer. Within a few minutes the Burger was gone, and just another dirty dish. Before he left he slid a card with his address to the waitress who blushed and hid it away in her blouse and got up, wiping his face and tossed the napkin onto the plate. He paid, of course.
After bidding good-bye I walked home, thinking about the idea I pitched. It was a good start but I had nothing to go on. It was one of the worst feelings to cold pitch a title. I hated it, loathed it. Remembering I still had the paper under my arm I check the headlines to see if there was anything good when out of the corner of my eye I see a shady figure start pursuing a young couple and their boy down a side street.
He moved with precision, like he had done it before. I already knew what was going to happen, especially when he pulls out a Colt .45, 101st Airborne standard issue. Probably down on his luck. Thankfully the mugging went smoothly. No one hurt, just a man bereft of his watch and wallet. I look at the kid who points helplessly in the direction of the man as he runs away. I felt helpless, like I would of at least got to a phone, but I didn't. I just kept walking. I was a coward, just like always. If things went ugly, what would have I been then? Probably an accomplice. The world didn't need more people like me. They needed heroes.
When I looked back I wondered what could of happened again, seeing that young boy in the street with his parents lying in the dirty snow, bleeding out like animals. A scandalous thought passes by, and I wonder for a moment what the boy could have become in the wake of such tragedy. It seemed like the stuff of legend, the passing from boyhood to manhood in a moment. But it was too rich, the idea. I stuffed my hands into my pockets and wandered away, into the snow. I thought about it the rest of the way home.