Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A bit of "Sissy Murphy"

I'm working hard on revisting some old short stories to submit as well as getting serious about the second novel. Here is a passage from the WIP, that I'm calling "Sissy Murphy". It is CH 2 now. If you're so inclined to take a read, I would like to know what you think, if anything.

May 2009
It’s eight-thirty in the morning, I’m freshly barbequed, and sitting in my veal pen, dreading the meet-and-greet with the guy they just hired to work with me for the next six months. Before I even meet him, I hate my new right-hand man.

The generic eye drops I bought this morning don’t feel like they’re working. I’m paranoid of looking blatantly fried. It's early May in Massachusetts, so hay fever seems like a worthy cover. The internet recon I did on Mr. Daniel Moore yielded nothing and based on his resume, he’s got a brighter future as a fiction writer, not a Call Center Technology Specialist.

The Black Crowes are telling me through my iPod ear buds that if I smile at the cosmos, the cosmos will smile back at me. In the end, the cosmos didn’t smile on me. They stuffed a sock in my mouth, restrained me, and sodomized me. Hard.

There’s nothing more worth reading on, so I kill the page and look at the clock on my flat screen monitor. It’s eight-fifty, ten minutes until D-Day. I decide to try and get a sneak preview, knowing that Dan the Man is with my boss, V.P. Richard Fitzgerald.

I make the trek around the perimeter of my pod and position myself at an angle that let's me see who is sitting across the desk from the Boss Man. I see his profile. My first thought is that he looks like an extra from 300. With a few tweaks, he could pass for Leonidas, or better, Hercules. I estimate six-three, at least two-fifty.

On the retreat back to my cube, I’m thinking Dan is more adept at smashing the kneecaps of degenerates who are behind on payments, rather than making sure customer calls are answered in under ten seconds.

Nine o’clock, game on. I get in character, chew a stick of gum, put the cell on vibrate. All calls are directed to voicemail. It’s Friday, my regulars will start calling soon to re-up for the weekend.

Dan is already fucking up my program.

My boss is a decent shit. He pretty much let’s me do my own thing, as long as the job gets done. I knock on the outside wall of Rich’s cube, which is four times the size of mine. Dan gets up from his chair to greet me. My size estimates prove true. I feel like a running back in the huddle, standing next to the tackle. His Roman nose looks like it has been broken, a few times, but never repaired. I extend a hand, bracing for the inevitable crunching my fingers are about to receive. I resist the temptation to either completely slacken my hand, or tickle his palm with my index finger.

“Dan Moore,” he says.

I detect a mild Irish accent.

Every preconceived opinion I’ve made, is purged from my brain when I hear this. I’m third generation Irish American, but Dan is the real deal. This might not be so bad.

“Seamus Murphy,” I tell him, smiling. “Call me Shane though.”

My Dad, God rest his soul, is responsible for naming my sister and I. Her name is Siobhan and lives in California with another woman. We are thirty-eight years old. Shame and Shiv is what we were called growing up. It could be worse, my roommate at prep school was a steroid freak named Cash. His sister’s name was Carrie.

We take seats and review Dan’s role, expectations, work hours, and all the other corporate bullshit. My employer, United Investments, is opening a new call center in Rhode Island. It needs to be online by December. I will manage the project, Dan will report to me. My immediate concerns are lunch, and how I can ditch Dan. I want to take a quick cruise and smoke a bowl. I decide I'll make my break at eleven-thirty, be back by twelve, when Dan gets out of orientation.

We end up eating in the cafeteria. I hardly ever eat there. I prefer to use the time working on my writing and dishing out generous helpings of written fellatio on literary agent blogs, hoping they might notice me. It hasn’t worked, but kissing ass has never been my strong point.

During our one hour bread breaking session, I learn the following about Dan.

He’s thirty-eight, moved to Massachusetts from Belfast fifteen years ago and holds dual citizenship. He was married for ten years and had a son, who died at age three from a horrible disease. They divorced and shortly after, he met a stripper while bouncing in the same titty bar. He knocked up the stripper and now has a two year old daughter. He's estranged from the stripper, has custody of the kid, owns a Harley, and is a world class bow hunter.
I also notice he has two holes in each ear lobe. I did the earring thing when I was eighteen, single gold hoop, in the non-fag ear.

The bow hunter item is interesting to me. I decide to call his bluff.

“I’m a huge fan of Errol Flynn. The guy who taught him can-”

“Howard Hill, can split an arrow with an arrow. So can I,” he says.

Thou shalt not fuck with Dan.

Dan has been out of work for the last six months. Prior to that, he had a two year contracting gig with Met-Life, converting telephone systems to use the internet. He spent the downtime, operating a backhoe for the Seabrook Cemetery Department. His former brother-in-law set him up with the job.

As we walk back to our section of the building, Dan tells me that Marissa, the stripper, is a bipolar head-case, addicted to cocaine. I'm hoping he eventually tells me where she works.


  1. A promising beginning. I like the title quite a lot, but it can be read in a couple of different ways, and I'm still not sure who Sissy Murphy will turn out to be...

    I did a blog post about Mindjackers last night. The link is here.

    Thanks again for my copy.

  2. I liked that, Sean. Keep at it, mate. I'd love to read some more.

    BTW - The Charlie R.I.P. photo is the real deal. I'm not that good with photo shop to have been able to conjure up a sunset like that. Thanks for looking!

  3. Seana- Thanks for stopping by. The title comes from what my Dad used to call my brothers and I if we were whining, complaining, or being general pains in the arse. This novel is about an Irish American, pacifist, pothead, who ends up meeting a guy from Northern Ireland, who gets him involved with his crew and transforms him into a killer. Just read your review. Excellent job on it and I thank you for doing it!

    Dave- Thanks for the read as always. I am still astounded by that photo. If anyone wants to see what I am talking about, here is the link

  4. I like that title concept. Of course, I am now rooting for Sissy Murphy to be the hero, but maybe he won't be!

    Glad you liked the blog post. I'm also glad you're getting some good word out on the book.

  5. I'm trying to get around to reading this exert, but the kids don't seem to be fond of letting me sit on the computer undisturbed. Soon though, maybe they will give me some time.

  6. Those dang rascals! Mine just hit the sack, finally, so I can catch up on the latest news.

  7. Oh, it's very much my kind of thing. Zips along very well.

  8. Paul-Thanks for the visit and the read.