*Jump to the assassins: 1, 2, 3.*
At the beginning of August, I created a hidden part of this blog to use as a journal with a way to show only one entry at a time. A place where I can share a bit of myself and my journey with friends without it being readily accessible to the public.
The first post set the categories that wouldn’t be visible on the front page or the blog. My next post, on the third, was to be a welcome to the story market gauntlet that I tend to use to submit fiction — in near precise order… And this list has pretty much been untouched since its creation.
Life got hectic.
Well, work got hectic and I devoted just about every waking moment to getting the flood of work projects squared away. For the first time, my job workload overflowed into my vacation time; into my workshop time.
Without a doubt, it was my worst showing to date. Didn’t get a majority of the pre-reading done. Didn’t get the first story in. While there, received several calls about several urgent projects that needed my attention…and they got it. I missed most of the techniques. Didn’t even get to think about the novel sketches…
Each time the fires at work seemed to be out, another project hit my email. Whack-A-Mole with high stakes and for keeps.
In the end, I completed three stories (two of which are flash) and two (and a half) techniques. Though it felt like Hell at the time, it feels like victory now.
Through the work-madness, I buckled down and wrote.
Oh, there were more projects to work on (and there still are more now), but I re-prioritized. I lifted my head from the water and cleared my vision.
I took a breath. I did a technique.
Recalling that feeling. I took the time to submit one of the workshop stories to a market. I took the time to write this post, and–since I’m sort of on a roll–I’m going to share my Character Voice and Setting technique. Any story that I might write with these character orientated openings is a ways off and will most likely be redrafted.
This particular technique marks a growing comfort with my craft.
You see, with all the learning I’ve been doing, my creative words per hour plummeted to 200. A speed much lower than at any point in my writing-life. But a speed at which I’ve been able to write fiction that (frankly) pleases me.
Though I wasn’t happy with my speed, I’ve been rather satisfied with the quality of fiction. I acknowledged the drop, but never fretted. I know myself. I knew that speed would return once I got the improved craft into my skull. Though I’ve tried to unleash my fingers, they kept plodding along and I remained content.
This workshop–this crucible–found my fingers moving at twice their formerly normal speed.
Furthermore, at this speed, the technique received better marks than the one I had sluggishly finished before work started pouring in. The assignment, simplified, was to write about three assassins each, separately, experiencing the same setting.
Violette Simms tried to blinked the past away. She had heard the Numi Hotel air freshener spritz—it would every hour—and had expected the light orange scent from her stay in this exact room last month. The subtle peach permeating the hotel room knocked her straight back to her early adolescences.
To Gainesville Texas.
To the Red River Peach Orchard.
To a time when life was only about occasionally plucking peaches with friends, getting home before Miss Lindsey texted a second time, and killing for a living was something only James Bond did.
She shook her head and exhaled sharply.
The different smell had thrown her, but that was good. Get the only difference to the room out of the way. If she didn’t get her job done in an hour, she’d be able to steel herself against subsequent spritzes.
While just short of luxurious, Numi’s rooms were quite spacious. The staff would leave the beige curtains open so, that upon entering, the picturesque view of Bear Lake—resplendent in the late spring sun—would steal your attention from the blueness of the room. It’d be a bit before the teal carpet and aqua wallpaper would register.
Violette had closed those curtains. She wanted Terrence Goodwin, better known as rocker Johnny Win of The Winners, to have nothing else to look at besides the saffron loveseat and, more importantly, the smorgasbord of pills she had laid out on the round glass table top set upon a lacquered tree stump.
Johnny had released a song railing against the President and, rather today or tonight, Violette would make sure that he would be yet another rock n’ roller who, tragically overdosed.
© Ezekiel James Boston
Oskar Lee slipped on his nitrile gloves and slipped into room 313 of the Numi Hotel. Shit. There was absolutely nowhere to hide until night.
The twenty feet wide by thirty feet deep hotel room with blue walls and dark blue carpet had sparse furnishings – sort of like his own apartment. In his case, too much stuff made it difficult to up and relocate on a moment’s notice, but this was supposed to be one of Bear Lake’s more luxurious resort-hotels.
Smelling peaches, his gaze shifted to the glass tabletop set on one of those pricey tree stumps in front of a yellow, dual lazy boy loveseat. Where was the smell coming from?
No welcoming bowl of fruit. Clearly the Numi—with its $250 per night rates had a bunch of shills stacking their ranking on TrueHotelAdvisor.com.
He shrugged off the scent and switched his cinnamon toothpick to the lucky left side of his mouth as he hustled past the loveseat to the king-sized bed positioned two feet from the floor to ceiling windows against the right wall. Early morning sunshine lit the hills on the other side of the lake.
He lifted the dark mustard comforter.
Crap. An oaken base. It’d be possible to hide inside… He knocked on it. Nope. Solid. He smoothed the comforter out.
Oskar had a few scarce minutes to get hidden, comfortably hidden, before the maids made their rounds and the door code was changed. The clients had ordered a Carradine—his specialty—on Jonny Win and it was always a good deal easier to chloroform someone when they were asleep. And a chloroformed target always made for an easy hanging.
© Ezekiel James Boston
This was one of those times when people, obviously, didn’t understand the difference between hiring a lowly assassin and giving patronage to a truly prolific homicidal artist. I mean, when it comes down to it, any monkey can splatter paint on a canvas just like any thug can pull a trigger, but there would only ever be one Jackson Pollock.
Most understand that they are not buying my art. No. My art is mine, and mine alone. They are paying for my discretion and simply providing me with a canvas… And, after this piece of death-art, I’m going to track down the designer who laid out this abortion of a room and make it so they never can do this kind of work again.
Anyone who would pair aquamarine wallpaper with dark teal carpet should have their hands chopped off. Then, their eyes scooped out because they obviously didn’t use them when they picked out sun porch yellow comforters for a king-size bed, and, and chose saffron for the loveseat—is that pleather?
I don’t want to enter this blue rectangle.
I don’t. God, I don’t. But I have to know…
Yup. It’s pleather.
What was that squirting sound—oh my God! Stock-gray Glade air fresheners? In Numi?
Are. You. Kidding me!
That’s going to cost them their nose.
I have to.
So, that’s: their hands for the blues, their eyes for the yellows, their nose for—
Wait. That’s not a typical Glade scent. No, it’s… Peaches… White peaches.
Well, they can keep their nose.
© Ezekiel James Boston
PS. Don’t be surprised if these eventually show up for flavor text on my Inspiration posts.