Posts : 12
Accolades : 2
Join date : 2011-02-07
|Subject: Rough, rough, rough draft! Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:27 am|| |
Did I mention that this is rough???????
THE FISHERMEN AND THE TEAMSTER
It was her silent affirmation that kept her from going completely insane. Rachel knew this weekend would be fine. After all, hadn’t Tom headed to their Upper Peninsula cabin to ice fish with his buddies for the past twelve years without any hint of trouble? Yet something was bothering her. Maybe it was just the snowy forecast, the call for “unusual weather”, that the local station had predicted that had her on edge. Then again, maybe it was the fact that Tom had left far earlier for this excursion then in years past, and she hadn’t had the chance to kiss him goodbye.
“Ah, I’m just being silly. If something important happens he can get to a phone”, and she shrugged her shoulders and headed out the door and into steady, wet January snowfall. “God, winters suck”…
This, the final weekend of a Michigan January brought with it howling Canadian based winds and enough snow to keep the plow guys in overtime heaven. Outside the small Upper Peninsula cabin swirls of wind whipped snow began to pile up against the sliding doors on the northern exposure of the cabin, and crystal formations began to take shape on most of the single pane windows.
There was a soft glow from the interior of the sixty-five-year old structure and every so often a whoop and a groan emanated from the occupants inside. The weathered, cedar door, the main entrance to the cabin, was pushed open and the accumulating snows caused some resistant at first. Eventually the door opens and a figure emerges clad in long underwear, a black down vest with boots and a brown wool hat pulled tightly over the ears.
“It’s a fricking blizzard out here! This is what they call a slight chance of snow? Fricking weatherman!” Tom hollered to no one in particular. The man struggled against the wind and gusts until he reached an area clear of the stoop and the door, and relieved himself quickly. After cursing the weatherman, nature and his inability to maneuver through the building snowdrifts, he struggled to the front porch. After making a few swipes with the sole of his boots, he opened the slightly warped door and entered.
“Holy crap, Tom! What did you do-fall in a snow bank?” Kevin, one of the other inhabitants of the cabin asked as the man shoved his way in from the elements.
“You won’t believe the amount of snow that has fallen in the past hour. It’s a raging blizzard. We’re not getting out of here tomorrow.” Tom brushed the wet globs of snow from his hat and then from his damp underwear as he made his way into the lower level of the cabin. “I should have just taken a leak inside. Now I’m freezing.”
With the gloomy assessment of the weather situation made to everyone inside, Tom headed for the wooden table, which served as the dining area on most nights. “Okay, the good news is we brought enough wood in, we have a fridge full of cold ones and enough food to feed an army for weeks. The bad news? We aren’t getting out on the ice tonight and probably not tomorrow. You guys won’t believe the intensity of that wind.”
Kevin opened the doors to the fireplace insert and threw in an aged log from the pile by the hearth. “So! We have food, drink and stories to tell. What’s the matter with that? If we don’t get out tomorrow who cares? Hey Kenny, get some more wood in will you?”
Buzz, had been busy respooling an ice reel in the living room, but was now listening to the conversation in the other room. “Hey Tom, did you bring the cards? Let’s get a game going. C’mon, clear off the table, get the chips and let’s pop a couple of cold ones. I’ll be done with this in just a second. If we can’t get out on the ice, let’s at least play some poker.”
The hurricane winds continued to pound the log cabin and the drifts took on the appearance of mini-mountains as they swirled up and around the cabin and onto the roof. The only signs that permeated life from this domain was the smoke exiting the chimney which was quickly rushed away by the mounting winds and the yellow soft rays illuminating over the table which now housed four ice fishermen turned poker players.
Kenny got up and rubbed the now frosted windowpane free to look out at the wintry scene. “Blackjack, blackjack, does anyone know any other games?
“Quit your bitching Kenny and ante up. I’ve got one more hand to go and then we ‘ll switch. Besides, I haven’t won that many times. Just because I’m the dealer doesn’t guarantee victory for God’s sake. Sit down and have some cheese and crackers.”
“Yeah, hey Kenny”, Tom teased,” How much do you have left in that change sock you brought? I’m down more than you buddy, and it’s my place. Shouldn’t the host have the house perks at the table?”
“Okay, okay. I’m just saying this is getting boring. We need another game-soon. Anyway you guys are just jealous of my sock. I counted the change before I left home. Did you know that one athletic tube sock can comfortably fit $115?” With the continual blast of winter wind buffeting the cabin walls, none of the card players inside could have heard the tearing noise that that pierced the darkness….
“Well I’m not saying that Vietnam was less of a war then the Gulf, but it had to be a lot more frustrating. They rarely saw their enemy.”
“You’re so right on the seeing part Kenny. I’m not seeing you meet the raise. Are you playing or folding?” Buzz demanded.
“I’m gone! I’m going out to water the snow. Deal me out!” Kenny closed his change sock, tied off the ends, chugged the remainder of his Labatts and got up from the table. Dressed in his carhart bibs, blaze-orange cap, and mukluk boots, he forced his way out of the door and onto the ever-drifting front porch. The snow in the hour since Kevin had ventured out had accumulated over sixteen inches. As he left the porch step he began stumbling and plodding through the drifts that surrounded the area around the approach to the porch. A clump of cedars was within six feet of the cabin, but with the limited visibility they were just bleak shadows.
“Dang! Kevin was right, this is a damn blizzard. Where the hell are those cedars? Aw crap! The hell with this, I’ll take a leak inside.” He barely recognized the outline of the cabin as he turned toward the porch entrance. When he took a second step, he tripped pitched forward into drift that now spanned from the porch to beyond the cedar tree line.
“Damn it! Now I’m going to have to dry everything out.” He struggled to a sitting position but paused when he heard what sounded like a thousand jets flying overhead at a 100 feet.
“What the…” Kenny’s words could not be heard over his screams…
“Did anybody else hear that?” Buzz asked.
“What now Buzz? Is that suppose to be a ploy to get us to move?” Kevin asked.
“C’mon, I’m telling you I heard something right outside. It almost seemed to be coming from under us. Is your sump pump okay Tom?”
“The last time I checked it was. It’s probably just Kenny trying to find a place to whiz.”
“Maybe, but just the same I’m going out to see if something happened. He’s been out there a long time,” Buzz shot back. “I’ll be right back in.”
“What the hell! Are you his mom or something?” Tom yelled from the other room.
“No, but, how long does it take to pee? He didn’t have that many ‘pops’ did he?”
“Uh uh, he had one Heine, and a Labatts,” Kevin replied.
“Just the same, I’m going out there”, Buzz exclaimed. With a quick twist of the knob and push of the door he was outside and the door suddenly and violently slammed shut by the gusts still intruding the peninsulas terrain. As Buzz stepped off the stoop, he was taken aback. The air temperature had risen so significantly that he peeled off his scarf and unzipped his down vest.
“What the…it’s got to be sixty degrees out here. I thought it was suppose to be SO COLD? Kenny! Where the hell are you?” Buzz stepped off the porch, and began to walk toward the garage on the other side of the cedar tree groupings. The walking was easier then he thought despite the howling winds that persisted, out of the south.
“Kenny, where the fungus are you? I thought you were just coming out to take a piss?” Buzz cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered again, “Kenny, get your ass back inside!” When nothing but the fierce groan of the wind answered, Buzz headed for the service door of the garage. He suddenly stopped as his eyes were drawn to the northwest corner of the log cabin. ”What the heck-is that, a hole? Aw man, Kenny you didn’t fall down there did you?” Buzz busted through the waist high drift and peered down into what he would later explain as an abyss of white and gray.
“Kenny! You down there Kenny?”…and then Buzz’s hat was the only remnant left on the rim of the white sinkhole…..
“Buzz is that you?”
“What the heck just happened? Kenny?! Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, just a little dazed. I can’t see a bloody thing down here. Where are you, are you ok?”
“I think so. Let me try and stand up. Wait a minute I’ve got one of those shake-n-light tubes in my bibs. Man, this is too bizarre. There!” With the chemicals shaken the illumination it gave off showed the two stunned, but unhurt men a glimpse of their situation.
Buzz evaluated their setting, “What is this place? Look above, there are planks and bracing. It’s a freaking mine of some sort right under the cabin. We gotta get the heck out of here and show the rest of them.”
“That’s not going to be easy Bub. Look at that!” Kenny pointed to what looked like their point of entry into their surroundings. The ice chute that had led them here had formed into impassable slab, which was steep, slippery and shimmering from the light of the glow stick…….
“Where the heck are those guys?” Kevin shouted, “Let’s play cards. How long does it take to serve nature?” From the kitchen where he had just finished slicing the Colby cheese brick, Tom just shook his head.
“They’ll be here. Maybe they went to take a look at the lake. What? You gotta a great hand, finally, is that why you’re so antsy?”
“No, I’m just saying before I get too bored and go to bed I’d like to enjoy playing cards, not outside playing with myself like those two are probably doing right now.”……
“How long does that stick last before it dies? Kenny asked.
“They say anywhere from 4-6 hours. We got to find a way out of here or at least a way to get their attention. Did you go anywhere else after you landed down here?”
“No! I didn’t know what happened first, and second, I couldn’t see anything. What the hell are we going to do?”
“Let’s see if we can get out of here.”….
“Okay, it’s been almost 10 minutes since Buzz left and more then 15 since Kenny went out. What the heck are they doing out there?” Kevin asked.
“Yeah, I guess it is kind of strange that at least one of them is not back yet. Maybe we should go out there and round them up. Don’t look at me like that. Let’s go get ‘em. The quicker we get them back in here the quicker we get back to playing cards.”
“Alright, alright! Let me get my gear on.”
“Okay but don’t be all…what the heck! Look at the temperature gauge Kev, I t’s reading 65 degrees out there. How can that be?”
“No way in hell it’s 65 degrees out there, let me see. God, you‘re right! Hold on, did you hear that?”
Tom I’m telling you I heard something. Listen.” After a few seconds, Tom looked at Kevin expectantly. “I still don’t hear anything.”
“Wait, I just heard it again.” There’s something weird going on out there.”
“Hey Buzz, let’s just make enough noise to get their attention up there. It looks like we are right under the cabin. They’ll hear us.”
“Look how far under we are. This glow stick just shows a faint outline of the sub-floor. We must be twenty-five, thirty feet deep. What the hell is this place?” Buzz offered.
“I don’t know, but how the heck are we going to get out of here without some help?”
“Sooner or later Kevin and Tom are going to wonder about us. When they come outside they’ll see our tracks, the hole, or at least the trail down. They’ll get us out. In the meantime let’s see more of this place.” Buzz walked forward into the darkness that was only faintly replaced by the green aura from the glow stick. “Hey Kenny, it looks like some sort of tunnel is ahead. C’mon let’s explore a bit.”
“I don’t know Buzz. If this is some sort of mining shaft, it could kick our asses real quick. Why don’t we wait until the other guys get here?
“Oh crap Kenny, where’s your spirit of adventure. Let’s go until we run into a wall, find an entrance, exit, or the two sots upstairs find us. C’mon…”
“Make sure that door is shut tightly Kevin before you get off the stoop OK? Tell you what I’ll go around to the front you take the back. Holler if you see them or some tracks.
“Alright, but it’s kind of spooky out here don’t you think? The wind is still cooking but the temperature is unbelievably high.”
“Kevin, cut the crap! Those guy are messing with us, let’s get going”…
“Buzz, I’m telling you this place is giving me the creeps. Look at those broken boards, bottles and trash over there. It looks like a cave-in already happened. Plus… Hey what’s that?” Kenny kicked aside the remains of a paint thickened table and prodded his booted toe through the array of newspapers, plastic and what strangely seemed to be an old menu. “What the hell is this?” Buzz asked after awkwardly making his way through the rubble to Kenny’s side.
“It looks like a damn café was down here. Look what’s written on this menu.” He blew the gritty substance from the top of the menu and read: “Machus Red Fox Inn, Bloomfield, Michigan. And here is a pack of matches from the same place”…
“Hey, Tom! See anything out there yet?”
“Naw, but I’ve only gone three steps you friggin idiot. Head for the garage Kevin, maybe they are in there. If I don’t see anything, I’ll meet you there.”
“Okay okay, I’m going.” Kevin made his way past the cedars trying to keep his balance in the deepening drifts. As the garage came into view the green camo wool hat that Buzz wore proudly when on the ice distracted his gaze.
“What the… Hey Kevin, get over here…
“What do you mean it looks like 45 casings? Are you telling me those stains on the chair are from blood? This is crazy Buzz. Someone could have been shot here. What the hell are we going to do?”
“Relax Kenny. Let’s try to sort things out before we read into this too much.”
“Yeah like it could be anything else but a murder scene-hey, did you hear that? Maybe the idiots upstairs finally heard us.”
“Could be. Head back over to where we dropped in Kenny. If it is them, we’re going to need some rope to get out of here.”…
“Buzz, Kenny, are you guys alright? How the hell did this happen? A sinkhole opens up after a freaking warm spell and you guys fall in. Who’d believe this?” Tom shouted.
“Forget that, what’s down there?” Kevin wanted to know. “Is it a tunnel or just a hole?”
Buzz replied, “It’s a tunnel, or a mine or something like that. It’s full of crap like old furniture, empty kegs, some tools, shell casings, old papers, dried blood, spiders…”
“Wait a second! Shell casings, dried blood? “ Tom asked…
“Look at all this crap. What are we going to do with it?”
“We’ve got to get this evidence to the cops Tom, “ Buzz said.
“You know what we’ve found don’t you? This is where Hoffa was offed.”
“If that’s true where’s the body doofus? Did you see it while you were down there?”
“No, but I’m willing to bet if we break through that riprap near the side wall where we found the old clothes and Teamster flyers on the floor, we’ll find something. Wasn’t this cabin a part of a resort until the late 80’s? If that’s so there’s know telling about the history of this place.”
“Let’s go for it…”
“Rachel? It’s me honey! Naw I’m okay, but listen, get to a store or get online for today’s newspaper. You’re not going to believe ….”
From the: MARQUETTE MINING JOURNAL, January 25th.
HOFFA DISAPPEARANCE SOLVED IN SMALL U.P. TOWN
Michigan State Police Officers from the State Crime Lab in Lansing confirmed the skeletal remains found beneath a log cabin in Curtis, Michigan were those of James Hoffa former Teamsters Labor Leader. Hoffa went missing on July 30th 1975. Buzz Henry and Kenny Langford had been to the cabin for an ice fishing weekend when they slipped into a sinkhole that had formed after wild fluctuation of temperatures hit the area…
WORD COUNT: 2,999
Posts : 82
Accolades : 10
Join date : 2011-02-03
|Subject: Re: Rough, rough, rough draft! Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:33 pm|| |
LOL! I love that they found Hoffa at the end. Great twist - I didn't see that coming at all. I also really liked the dialogue - it'd make a great script - it really sounds like a bunch of working guys.
There was one little thingy that kept jumping out. The punctuation needs to be inside the quotation marks. Ex: "Put the punctuation inside the quotation marks," Inkslinger said. That's not a big deal to fix though.
The only other thing I can pick at is that I think it needs to be tightened up a little, particularly in the beginning, which seemed a little slow. If it were my story (which I realize it's not) I'd cut Rachel out completely and keep it in Tom's POV. From a practical stance, if you're looking to get this published, most magazines have a 2500 word count maximum. There's nothing wrong with a longer story, of course, it's just easier to get them into print if you keep them trimmed down.