Wednesday, December 16, 2015

FLASH FICTION VIDEO: Minor Poet Drives Home in his Detroit Mind. Shoots Elmore Leonard

From the novel, Crying Bullets.

"Writing so edgy it hurts"--Linda Collison, author of Water Ghosts

"Johnson is a master of pace, setting and plot"--Rebecca Forster, USA Today Bestseller

Arnie decided to wait until he got home before returning the other calls. He briefly thought about heading straight for the river and taking Jefferson Ave to Interstate 94 which was the fastest way home, especially that time of day but, instead, he cut through the core of the city, navigating the short one way side streets and tight, semi circular traffic roundabouts through Grand Circus Park until he got onto Michigan Avenue and started heading west. It made him feel safer to drive his old beat home instead of racing down the concrete walled freeway which could be just as, if not more dangerous than hitting all the stop lights. Speeding side swipes followed by gun bursts were a common occurrence on I 94 where only the occasional State Trooper could be found. It was an asphalt no man's land, wilder than any roller coaster ride in the world, and Detroiters took a perverted sense of pride in the stretch of mostly unmonitored highway that curved and cut through the heart of the city like a razor sharp scimitar blade, challenging anyone who dared to drive it--day or night. Good luck against the meth crazed, Chicago bound, semi trailer truck drivers. Hope a loose hubcap or a chunk of concrete dropped from a pedestrian overpass doesn't crash through your windshield and ruin your day. Motor City madness 24/7. Arnie was not in the mood.

I shot Elmore Leonard (confessional poetry read)

Downtown Detroit on a black hot Saturday night,
rolling down Woodward
driving fast along Cass
Safe, but not,
in a two ton metal cocoon with wheels
Henry Ford owns my car
his name is on it
that's how i know
that the man with sunglasses
in a rust colored trench coat
standing next to a green graffiti covered dumpster
at the mouth of an alley leading to the First Gate
is really Elmore Leonard.

So I pull up to curb in front of him,
slide down the driver's window and shout,
"Hey Dutch! Need a ride?"
He turns his head side to side,
steps out of a shadow that dissolves instantly and
eyes my late model Taurus with fiction suspicion
and rolls a charred butt cigar end
with his silent tongue--
around his mouth
between gray stubble lips
and projectile spits
a perfect bullet shaped loogie
dead center onto white chalk sidewalk
crime scene cop remains.

Now this pissed me off
more than his success
yet out of respect to scene
I invited him to my reading
and tossed El Leebler's name
like a shiny silver dollar
into the night between us
which he caught with his right hand,
fist first in the air,
like an anarchist's salute in enemy land
and I made a Glock hand
and squeezed the trigger
dying to kill the bigger,
better gun.

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