The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘pope joan’

NaNoWriMo: The Plan

Posted by BigWords on November 22, 2009

Pope Joan took the ID cards and spread them across the table in a fan shape. “Do you have any idea how long it has been since I saw so many of these. Mmm… Brings back old memories.” She lifted a card and sniffed it. “There are still traces of cocaine on this one. God, I miss the old days.”
“You told me that they contained information.”
“That they do. Now, young Charlie… You brought me cards with Charlie…” She paused, “I find that ironic. Anyways, the information on the cards is directly related to the importance of the individuals who were issued with them.” She picked a card from the table and inspected it. “The serial number that rests along the bottom of the plastic indicates the location of issue…
APC 05
“The person who issued the card…
“The status of the card holder…
“And-” Joan broke off from her train of thought, noticing another card on the table. “Where did you get this one?” She held the card which belonged to the enforcer Talos had killed so many years earlier.
“It was from a friend. He killed a guy with a funky eye. I took the card.”
“You might be in luck. This would have been issued before the cards were keyed to specific locks. You can get into buildings which the Kings haven’t upgraded yet. Saying that, those delightful fools rarely spend money on physically protecting their belongings because they have enough rep to do what they want.”
“That’s good to know.” Charlie pondered.
“Do you know where the strongholds are located?”
“No, but I can find out.”
“Ah, the power of self-belief. Give me your hand.”
“I’ve told you often enough – We’re not going there.”
“Please, give me your hand.”
Charlie cautiously offered his hand. Joan produced a small tool from her purse and pressed it against Charlie’s hand.
“What is this supposed to do?”
Joan pressed a button on the device, eliciting a howl of pain from Charlie.
“Now you have an embedded chip in your hand you won’t show up on the Kings security systems.”
“Y’know, I’m getting really fed up of people setting me up for shit without advance warnings.”


Charlie banged on the door of the pawnbroker, eyeing the street for movement while he waited. The street was too dark to be completely sure, but it felt as if as if there were people moving around in the shadows.
“Yeah, whaddayawant.”
Charlie held the card up to the cam. “I need a word.”
The pawnbroker beeped the door open. “Come on in.”
Charlie swung the door open, the strong smell of old wood, freshly cleaned metal and blood hitting him as soon as he entered. “I’m here to talk about the last shipment.”
“It was sent out, just like all the rest.”
“Well it didn’t turn up, and you were named as the last person to see it. Care to comment before I am forced to do something I don’t want to do.”
The pawnbroker paled at the thought of his name being sent to the Kings’ enforcers. “I’ll take a look at my records. No need to act rashly here, ‘kay.”
As the old man disappeared to the back room Charlie took a look at the display of items stolen from across the city. Some of the objects still retained the blood of their previous owners, and it was surprising how much of the worthless junk had been priced at high prices.
“I have the paperwork here. It was sent to the lock-up on the fourth roadway at the side-entrance to DigiMax. Frankie the Nail took it up a couple of days ago.”
“Let me have all the paperwork you have. The bosses are taking inventory, and anything out-of-place will be accounted for.”
The pawnbroker handed over the file in his hand. “You want everything?”
“Every last piece of paper. Every digital file. Everything.”

Outside, Charlie held the box of information close. He stifled the urge to grin like a fool, moving hastily to his hov. Things were improving at a rate of knots, and soon he would be ready to show the Kings how business could be done.

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NaNoWriMo: Escalation

Posted by BigWords on November 18, 2009

“So… You talked with Pope Joan?” Cyia asked.
“Yeah. Thanks for the advance warning.”
“Did she make you kiss her ring?”
Charlie scowled at the joke. “Fuck you. It ain’t funny, I should have been prepared.”
“Consider it a free lesson. You can’t always know everything.”
“I would have appreciated a little more background before I went in.”
“Ah… But did you learn what you needed to learn?”
“I learned enough. For now, anyways.”
“Then we are good. Are you going to act on the knowledge she imparted?”
“Right away. There’s no time like the present to introduce myself to Wilson.”


Wilson’s face was ashen, his hands shaking. “Is the money retrievable?”
“No. The hov was trashed, the money taken… Hell, whoever did it even had the stone-cold balls to take Darzian’s head. His fucking head. Can you believe that shit?” The enforcer on the other end of the comm shook his head.
“Has anyone else been attacked?”
“No. we’re stepping up on the business district, but there isn’t anyone working that stretch organized enough to even think about tangling with us.”
“We need to make a show of force. Something extravagant.”
The door slid open to allow Wilson’s robot entrance. “Sir, you have a guest.”
“Who is it?”
“The gentleman did not identify himself, but he requests an audience with you immediately.”
Wilson thought for a moment. “Show him in.” He turned to the comm signal being displayed on the wall. “It’s probably about the attack. I will talk with you tomorrow.” He flicked at a button on the side of the screen, killing the feed, then moved to the doorway to greet his visitor.

Charlie entered the room, carrying a bag at his side, “Hello Mr. Wilson.”
“I don’t believe I have had the pleasure of an introduction. Mr…”
“You can call me Dennis, just like the comic strip. You read Dennis?”
“I don’t believe I ever have.”
“Well, y’see… In the strip he is always messing up Mr. Wilson’s plans.”
“I assume there is a point to all this. I’m rather preoccupied at the moment.”
“There is a point,” Charlie placed the bag on the table in the middle of the room. “Mr. Wilson has all of these grand ideas, kind of like yourself, and yet no matter what he does he can’t get away from the shadow of Dennis. It really is a wonderful metaphor for the situation you are in right now.”
“You’re threatening me? Do you know who I am? Have you any idea what I can have done to you.”
Charlie unzipped the bag, “I’m sure you want your belongings back.”
“You… You attacked us?” Wilson approached Charlie.
“It wasn’t an attack on you. This is an attack on you.” Charlie lifted Darzian’s head from the bag. “Alas poor scumbag, you probably knew him well.” Charlie threw the head at Wilson, who was busy rapidly retreating across the room from the head.
“You can’t do this. You can’t do this. NOT TO ME. I’M IMPORTANT.”


This, you might have guessed, is what I chopped off the end of the previous post. Too many gags in such a compressed portion of the story made me think that it was too goofy compared to the rest of the material, but having re-read it a few times (and passing it around to a couple of people) I have decided to put it up anyway. The tone of the story shifts quite a way as it goes on anyway, so adding new elements where there is room shouldn’t be too drastic… And this is a first draft anyways.

The ring joke made me laugh out loud as I typed it, but I’m wondering if it is a bit too far. Whatever. It’s undercut by a streak of SF, so that should let me off the hook.

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NaNoWriMo: Ascension

Posted by BigWords on November 17, 2009

Charlie kneeled on the second level roadway watching the road below, aware of the time. Joan had said that the Kings were punctual, but the level of care they took was beyond anything he had expected. The long hov appeared at exactly midnight, just as it had the night before, and the night before that… Charlie recognized it immediately as the one from the drive-by shooting, deciding that he needed to do something to honor Lara.

“They have schedules to keep. You have no idea how much pressure they are under, darling. Back in the old days it was about surviving, but these days it’s closer to being a car salesman. The hired help have to take in a certain amount of money before they start earning anything. You would be very surprised at how little the street-level members actually make. Barely enough for nice clothes and good company.” Joan took another sip of her drink as she reached for her comm.
“The money flow isn’t what I’m interested in. I need to know about hierarchy.”
“The money flow is the hierarchy dear boy, and the sooner you understand how the Kings operate, the sooner you can find your way in.”
“I don’t want to join them, I want to rule them.”
“Ambitious, handsome and-” Joan eyes fell to Charlie’s crotch, “quite possibly very well hung.”
“Not that you’ll find out.”

Charlie hefted the block of concrete onto the guard rail with all his strength, timing his moment as well as he could. There was an elastic second when the block refused to move, but it slid from his hands quickly enough, and as it tumbled through the air Charlie exhaled. His aim and timing were perfect, hitting the front of the hov directly above its’ power cell, smashing the vehicle into the road. It tilted forwards, scraping the road beneath and showering the air with sparks as it hurtled onwards. A split second later the hov was tumbling roof over air-buffers, shedding pieces of metal, carbon fibre and plastic in a trail of debris. Charlie rushed to the stairway leading down to the roadway below, hoping that he would be able to get what he needed.

“So tell me about the enforcers. The ones I have met never lived long enough to learn anything from. They answer to the person in control of the city, right?”
“The enforcers answer to their commanders. One level up, and none of them worth the air they breathe. They take their cut of the money and pass the rest up the food chain. Now, here is where I should politely ask you to leave, but I feel like living dangerously today. A very attractive, metropolitan and distinguished gentleman named Wilson runs the east end of town with a rod of steel.” She sighed at her poetic description of his management style. “He is, sadly, too squeamish for anything more interesting than paperwork, but he has… Had some uses. He’s been entirely humorless recently, but he’s the go-to man if you want to do anything in that part of town.”

Staring at the trashed hov, Charlie saw the driver’s body through the smoke. Carefully avoiding the flames, Charlie dragged the corpse from its’ seated position onto the road. He tried to ignore the smell of burning flesh from the goons in the back seat as he cut away at the clothing of the driver, looking for the ID card and comm which would supply him the vital access to Wilson that he sought. Noticing the small bag of paper money in the footwell of the hov, he paused and made a grab for the bonus prize as well.

“Who does Wilson answer to?”
Joan thought for a moment. “There are many, many threads in the fabric of a crime empire, and not all of them are entirely vertical pathways. You have to remember that those who reside outside the borders of the city will very rarely make themselves known. They have, from what I gather, nothing to fear in the way of legal problems, though their underlings are less reliable.”
“The police always look the other way?”
“They look-” Joan flashed a leg, “Where their eyes lead them.”

As sirens flared in the distance Charlie had what he needed. The police would arrive shortly and believe that the scene of the crime was no more than a horrific act of vandalism. Then he spotted the severed head of a goon lying on the road. Smiling, he lifted up the head.

“When you speak to Wilson, as I’m sure you will, he should lead to you to the men you really want to talk to.” Joan paused. “I never spoke with you. You were never here.”
“I never spoke with you. I was never here. I never saw your freaky-ass parading around in suspenders.”


Two time-frames. Not sure if this works or not, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I actually have a bit more, but I think ending the scene there has more of an impact than side-tracking off into a different topic.

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NaNoWriMo: Pope Joan

Posted by BigWords on November 17, 2009

Cyia paused at the door. “I can’t go in. I have some… history with Joan, so my presence would only distract from the questions you need to ask.”
“You vouch for her?” Charlie pulled a packets cigarettes from his jacket.
“Yes, and don’t smoke. Joan has a thing about flames.” Cyia snatched the cigarettes from Charlie’s hand, “Don’t mention the fact I’m here either. Not a good subject matter if you are trying to get on her good side.”
“Do I need to know anything else? I don’t like surprises.”
Cyia smiled at the question. “Joan is all kinds of surprises.” She slipped a cigarette from the pack and started making her way back to the hov, leaving Charlie in front of the apartment building.

Charlie pressed the panel and stood back from the door.
“Who do I have the pleasure of?” Joan’s voice came through the speaker.
“My name is Charlie. I was told that you were the person to talk to.”
“Ah, the bright young thing making all kinds of waves.” The door unlocked. “Please, come inside.”
Charlie opened the door and stepped into the apartment. Joan stood before him. Six foot two in black stockings, she reapplied her lipstick to meet the guest. “Hello there handsome. I’m Pope Joan.”
“Pope Joan? You’re a guy.”
“Mmmm. And you are simply delicious.”
“Look, I don’t know what’s going on, but I didn’t come up here to suck your cock if that’s what you’re thinking, okay?”
“You would talk to the holiest of holies like that? You are a wild card, aren’t you?”
“I came here to learn about the Kings. I want to know everything there is to know.”
“First off, darling, I wasn’t expecting a blowjob. Secondly, I’m in a loving relationship with God. As for the Kings… There’s not really a lot to tell, leastways not much of interest.”
Pope Joan looked Charlie up and down. “You look taller in photographs.”
Joan turned and began making her way to the large couch deeper in her lair. Charlie could see that a large patch of scarring crossed the width of her back, understanding immediately why Cyia had told him to refrain from smoking.
“Please, do come in and… Make yourself very comfortable.”
Charlie followed her onto the couch, keeping as much distance as he could between them.
“You have pictures of me?”
“I like to know who the players are, and how the game is going, even if I have given up on the life of decadent crime and sinful delights which once I revelled in.” She sipped from a Martini, “They’re also something to fap over when the big man is looking elsewhere.”


I have abso-fucking-lutely no idea where this suddenly came from, but suddenly my SF / Thriller / Mystery / Horror has now been added to with comedy and… I’m not sure what else. The character of Pope Joan may possibly be my favorite character in the WIP so far, crossing off two of my unresolved elements. I didn’t have a LGBT character in there, and I couldn’t explain how Charlie rises to crimelord status. Problem solved. The scene is actually playing off of the one in The Matrix wherein Neo (the stupid white guy stereotype) meets The Oracle (the magic negro stereotype) for the first time. Seeing as how the film’s story is kinda lame I thought it would be interesting to take the piss, and the above segment is the result.

I fully expect complaints. 😀

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