Sal and Ness. (A Chicago Down Excerpt)

Greetings everyone,

Here is another excerpt from Chicago Down. This a very rough first draft and is mostly dialogue – for a purpose, of course. I gave this a once over, so I’m sure that you’ll find something goofy in there. LOL. Thanks for reading…And please keep all Tommy Guns under your coats. 😉

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SAL & NESS October 1931

A car skidded to a halt in front of Eliot Ness’s home. Salbatora Guerrera shoved the door open before the driver could make it around to her side.

“I can do it, David! I’m not helpless you know.”

“I know, Sal, I just…”

Sal stormed across the front lawn, fuming like a challenged rhino, leaves rustling and crackling as she treaded.

“Ness! You come out here!” She screamed. Ness!

“Sal,” David started toward her. “Someone’s going to call the cops.”

“Eliot! Eliot Ness!”

“Sal, please,” David pleaded.

“David,” her arm jutted outward, pointer finger aimed toward the car. “Get…your…ass…in the car!” Her teeth clenched together, and her cheeks were cherry red.

“Yes, ma’am,” David complied. He hurried to the driver’s side of the vehicle, but he kept vigil by the door.

“Eliot!” She screamed.

“Salbatora,” Ness was on the stairs.

“Eliot, what did you do?” Sal’s face was red and wet, her chest heaved from anger and Eliot thought she might hyperventilate. “I knew it would come to this. You!” She pointed an accusing finger. “You betrayed us.”

He came cautiously toward her, arms outstretched in surrender, palms facing her. “Take it easy, Salbatora.”

“What happened? Why did you go to the court?” Sal’s eyes welled with water. “Why did you let them destroy Al like that? Why?”

“You knew I was going, Salbatora. You knew I went. Why are you here, four months later?”

“I’m so disappointed.”

“Now, Salbatora. You know why I went. I need you to understand. Al does,” Eliot put his hands down and approached her. “Besides…he isn’t going down for bootlegging or prohibition violations is he? No. Some tax wise ass got the jump on me… Oh, never mind.”

“They gave him eleven years, Eliot. This is not a time for jokes.” she cried. “Please. If you have one shred of decency you will do something. Help Al.”

“I can’t, Salbatora. I wish I could. My hands are tied. I wish I was that guy…the one who could help you. But I don’t have that kind of power.”

“That’s okay,” Sal straightened herself up, smoothed out her coat. “Uh-huh.”

“Salbatora,” Eliot breathed a sigh. Something so simple, but Sal believed he couldn’t help. He looked so defeated.

“These asses running Chicago,” Sal said. “Running Illinois. They can try to cover it all up. Run it into the ground…what we did. You, me, Al, Bugs, and the Commissioner – God rest him. But, they can’t. And if they think for one minute that putting Al Capone in jail is going to change it, it won’t. He’s Al Capone. He’ll live forever…”

“Salbatora,” Eliot said, “there’s a big chance Al won’t even serve the full eleven years. Maybe half. But things are about to change. Chicago’s going to change. And, you know…”

“Eliot. Chicago will never change. It’ll always be home to barbarians who need tending to. This is Al Capone’s city. He can’t trust too many. But I’ll be here…in Chicago…to make sure it stays Al’s territory,” she trembled again, maybe from grief, or anger, but it was making Eliot Ness question the last couple of years of his own life. Question his own sanity. “They have no right to put Al in prison after all he’s done for them…this no good town! He doesn’t deserve to be in prison, Eliot. He doesn’t. He was good to everyone. Vultures!”

“Yes, Salbatora. He does. He belongs in prison. And he knows it, and you know it too,” Eliot took her gently by the arms, his voice low and soothing. “There’s nothing I can do, or you can do, to change events that were set in motion long before you came to Chicago. We can’t undo…”

“Oh, I’ll make them pay… I’ll kill them, every single one,” Sal said, hell bent on vengeance.

“Who?”

“Those bastard jurors…one by one, I’ll kill them. That’s right. And they’ll be scared, each of them, waiting and wondering which of them will be next. Holding their breaths…scared to death. Hiding…”

Eliot shook Sal a little. “Salbatora, listen to yourself. Those are innocent people…”

“Oh, Chicago needs a leader. They need a boss…and I’ll give them one. Me. I’ll be the father of this town until Al can return and take back what’s his. I’ll do that. I’ll kill them. And that judge. I’ll kill his whole family. I’ll blow that whole courtroom to hell…I’ll kill…”

“Salbatora!” Eliot yelled. “Nonsense. Stop it.

“He’s not bad. He did everything for me and Leandro, and he never asked to be paid back. Never. Nothing.”

“You are not a killer, Salbatora.”

“Oh, no?” Sal stepped back out of Eliot’s reach and opened her arms wide. “I am not?” She opened her coat to reveal her holstered weapon.”

“You have to wear that because you are in the Capone Family mess,” Eliot said. “You have to protect yourself from people that hate Al Capone.”

“Yes. Not just that. They look at me all nasty like I am some damned no good moll,” she raved.

Eliot shook his head. “No, Salbatora, you’re no…m”

“Not a moll?…unless you consider a trouser-wearing-tommy-gun-toting woman a moll. I killed many people, Eliot. You know it.”

“Most of them were already dead. I mean, who else is there? Who? Roger McClennan? He was an idiot with half a brain. So what…and he left your best pal to die,” he ran his fingers through his hair. “Killer told us that the bastard didn’t want to wait.” He laughed, nervously. “So, you killed some people. But you are not THAT kind of killer.” He laughed.

“That kind of killer? What’s that? Funny, huh, Eliot? You’re…a killer too.”

“Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I’m a killer too,” he threw his hands up. He gave up. “Okay, Salbatora. You’re a killer. Is that what you want to hear? That you’re a murderer? Fine, then, be a fucking killer!”

“I will, then!”

“Good. Go ahead. See if I give one damn!”

Sal turned and slowly started toward the waiting car.

“Salbatora,” Eliot followed her to the car. “Please. We can argue all day. The only sense there is, is in you letting this go.”

“I cannot. I have everything because of Al. He gave me work. He taught me business. Made his ruffians treat me like a lady…like they’d treat Mae,” her memories were fine ones. “Mae. She taught me that I can still be strong willed when wearing a skirt,” she laughed, tickled by memories of her and Mae that Eliot didn’t share. “She hates trousers, you know,” she smiled at times past. “She taught me how to bake a turkey.”

Eliot felt her distress and uncertainty. He saw that despite her young age, just 20 years old, her youth had long gone. In fact, it was history before she ever met Al and him. And as for Al Capone, as she saw it, he may as well be dead.

“But you can still have that, Sal,” Eliot said. He was looking for any way to make her see what was right. To make her see that killing innocent people was not the answer. “Mae. She’s not going to jail. She’ll still be here for you. My God, Sal, can you imagine Mae running between prisons trying to keep up with you and Al?…The two idiots that drive her the most nuts? And what about Rudy? Huh? What’s going to happen to good ol’ sweet Rudy if you end up in the clink? Or dead?” He looked around, lost for words to describe the outcome. “That guy…brave as he is…is not too good at caring for himself, Sal. He can’t even boil an egg. Even Al said that himself…Rudy can’t boil water. He was always afraid to let Rudy have weapons,” he laughed. “But, that boy’s handy dandy with explosives and grenades. I’ll tell ya.”

There was silence for a few seconds. Nothing to be heard but the wind rustling the trees.

“I can’t let it go,” Sal said. “This is Al’s town. And I’ll keep it warm for him until he comes home, Eliot. And you can help me, or try hinder me, but it’s going to happen. Chicago needs a babysitter. Just so happens I’m free. And besides that…they already know me. And if those police and the rest of them law-wielding hypocrites don’t like it… I’ll burn this mother fucking town to the ground. Besides, there’s bigger fish to fry in this world.”

Gently, Eliot took Sal’s face in his hands. Just a last-ditch effort to talk sense into her. He couldn’t save Al, or himself, or Roger McClennan, but maybe, just maybe… “Sal, Al Capone is not your father. He’s not your father.”

Shattered. That was the outcome. Sal was crushed. Troubled, she stared at Eliot. He couldn’t move, couldn’t take his hands from her face. No thoughts came to him. His own words stunned him as much as they did Sal.

She stared at Eliot for a few seconds, tears streaming. “You’re right, Eliot,” she choked. “Al is not my father. I killed my father. He’s just another victim of mine.”

“You didn’t kill your father, Salbatora. You know that. He was…already… He was one them,” Eliot stepped back, nodding his head, shoved his hands into his trouser pockets. “And you met Al Capone, and through him you gained another family. Your mother and father. Your sister, Nancy. Big brother, Pedro. You and Leandro…you lost them for good. And Al Capone and his people. His wife and his mother. They gave that back to you. Trust me, Salbatora – Savior, you were worthy of every minute of their time. Every dime you earned. Everything. Not to mention, you earned your short-lived place in history. But. Like me. Like Al. You’ll never be notorious again. Our time is ending, Sal.”

They stared at each other quietly. The sight of Eliot’s wife, Edna, caught her eye. She was standing on the porch. How much had she witnessed? Sal then looked the other way to find the driver, David, staring at her slack jawed, speechless.

“Not yet, Eliot. The book’s not done.”

“Stop,” he started toward her. “Come on now.”

She turned her back to Eliot and as she slid into the backseat, “David. Drive,” She slammed the door shut.

David looked at Eliot Ness and drove off as ordered.

Edna came down the stairs and met Eliot on his way to the house.

“Eliot, you’ve got to do something. I’m afraid Sal’s going to get killed.” She hugged Eliot tight. “What happened to our sweet-n-sour Sal?”

“I know,” he said. “I know what to do.”

Copyright 2018 Wanda S. Paryla

Chicago Down- Cover Blurb

Greetings all,

I’m working on a draft of Chicago Down’s back cover description.  Here’s a peek at what I’ve compiled from the short synopsis so far. I’m still working on trying to dwindle it a bit more.

*****

Salbatora vows to honor her father’s last request: find Eliot Ness to help free her brother who was wrongly arrested for Prohibition violations. She abandons her Texas home, leaving behind memories, and the living dead.

Ness isn’t the only thing Sal finds. Chicago struggles under Prohibition. While its citizens covertly indulge in spirits, a sinister darkness grows. Born of greed, it’s more disturbing than a lust for alcohol. While gangsters battle over territories, the undead have no preference as they run amok, and the Illinois governor has lost his mind to a madcap plot to corral Chicago’s mounting zombie populace.

An unlikely team, Sal Guerrera, Eliot Ness, and Al Capone form an unusual camaraderie as they fight the Screamin’ Mimis, as Al calls them. They develop a strategy to deter the governor’s plan which will collapse the weakened city. But can they end the evil’s terrorizing hold? When they learn how the dead sprang to life, they must strike at the source to set Chicago free. And they may not survive alive.

Chicago, are you ready for your unsung heroes? (Note: this line is slated for the cover, as opposed to the back blurb.)

Copyright 2017 Wanda Paryla

I’M BACK!

Greetings, All,

It seemed as if I disappeared, didn’t it? I did, but I found myself in a closet sucking on a pacifier and drooling. Eh. It wasn’t the first time that I’ve found myself hiding from my responsibilities. I once found myself hiding in an ocean wave off of the coast of Texas complaining to Poseidon of the ills of being mortal.

When I was about eleven years-old, I looked for myself for hours on a hot August day in Central Texas. I was in the woods talking to a mound of fire ants about the dangers of talking to strangers. Odd, isn’t it, what and who a child can befriend without judgment?

Then there was that time down in Marion, Illinois… Never mind. Well, okay, and that time in West Virginia when I lost myself in a staring contest with a yellow spider. That really was about the only time that I was glad that I found myself.

Hahahahaha…

In truth, this is not the first time that I’ve played the disappearing act, shucking my obligations as writer of blogs. Or poetry. Or fiction. Or Memoirs. Pfft. I’m a pro.

I especially tend to start my shucking around the time a set of characters starts dishing the heat. I have a problem with fire, you see. And I really don’t like being told what to do. I’m in such a predicament as we speak. Er, or type and read. Whatever.

So I’ve been hiding from my characters again. Just as I finished an outline for Chicago Down, complete with a little tear-jerker moment that I can’t wait to add to the manuscript, I fled the scene like dirty cop on a wild horse. Oh…what? You liked that descriptive sentence? Me too!

Anyway, this blog was not only to let you know that I am back, but also to amuse you a bit. Be happy. Ride wild horses. Or drink Wild Turkey. Whatever floats your holey canoe.

Thanks for reading!

Oh P.S.: If you’re a lady local to the Chicago area, especially the Southwest area suburbs, check out my Events page, I’ll be doing an book signing on June 3, 2017, in Joliet, IL, at a ladies-only event.

https://wandasparyla.com/upcoming-events?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

Chicago Down (a Meme & More)

Chicago Down

Talk about foreshadowing.  Can you see it?

16bk8z

“Never call me Toots again, Al,” Sal said.

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Know what?”

“What? You about to cast a kitten?” Al said.

“Cast a what?” Sal demanded, eyebrows drawn together hard. “What, you ass?”

“Don’t fuck with me, girl, or you’ll end up in worse shape than that Screaming Meemie I just bashed.”

“Oh, stop. You’re not gonna do shit.”

“You’re something. What happened to hard boil a sweet, young thing like you?”

I’ve never been sweet.”

Copyright 2016 Wanda Paryla

Chicago Down (an excerpt)

CHICAGO DOWN (Updated 5/28/17)

“There’s something I know about Al Capone’s life and death that the rest of the world does not. Because history is inaccurate. But, I knew him. I was there the day he died. So, I know. You can believe me or not. Doesn’t matter.

Al was by no means perfect. He could be cruel. Monstrous at times even. But Chicago owes him. It’s a bill that they’ll never pay. It’s a debt they don’t even know they own.” – Salbatora Guerrera

Wanda Paryla Copyright 2016

The Crime of a Life Sentence (another excerpt)

*Currently untitled poem*

 

I was swinging

Hair flying

Laughing to myself

Memory running wild

 

Devil’s on the playground

Here to erase my woes

God turned his back on me

Now I live where the fires glow

 

Back and forth

My memory goes

I struggle to keep my eyes shut

I need to live where the fires glow

 

Let me stay in peaceful dream

Bottomless and salty

The pitt of the damned

Where the fires glow

 

Some voices, they urge me

Face your slave master

But the fires beg me

Cover your eyes for sanity

 

Devil, he holds me

Gently in his arms

God’s gone, sweet child

So stay here, where the fires glow

 

The fires

Avengers of my goodness and dignity

I’m safe nowhere

Where the fires don’t glow

 

Wanda S. Paryla Copyright 2016

 

 

 

A New Look

Good day to you all.

I’m all too happy to admit how much my author/writer friends have, unknowingly, inspired me to not give up my craft.

Several times over the past couple of years, I’ve mentioned on Facebook how hard it’s become for me to write. Once upon a time, the words flowed like water to wine. Like rapids even. Then one day, they were seemingly gone. Dried up. It went beyond writer’s block. The words were just gone. It was so bad that I asked the doctor if I could be getting Alzheimer’s. I was lost.

But my hopes that the words would return to me were kept alive vicariously through others. I’d watch their progress, secretly cheering them on. Their words and the thrill of performing their craft were not lost. Quite the contrary.

Recently, I got very ill. And as I lay in my hospital bed the first week in January waiting for the cardiologist to tell me I had some terrible heart ailment (luckily and thankfully, my heart & arteries are as exquisite and tough as Ethan Hunt), I was also very lucky. Due to these terrifying circumstances, I had some time to go over the good old mistakes-made list. I got a chance to see what many others never get to. My heart appears healthy.  But no one knew that for sure at the time.

Alone in the middle of the night – hooked up to all sorts of scary, beeping shit – in an all too quiet room in the cardiac unit, perhaps dying at 46, I was scared shitless as this Scorpio held back her emotions.

Hell, if I died, I was not going out all dramatic like a pussy. Heck, no. I’m Scorpio. I rule death. And if She’s coming for me, she better have 40 silver fucking pitchforks.

Regardless of how worried this warrior pretended not to be, death nor sleep ever came.

At the top of my mistakes-made list was not the things that I thought would be there such as vacations I didn’t take, the kids I didn’t birth, or sorrow at fights with family members. Nothing about a Master’s degree, or the lottery, or all the sugar I’ve consumed in my lifetime. Not even apologies never spoken.

There were two things there. Two sorrows. They are: never loving in return the men that loved me; never giving them a chance. They DID love me. I know that now.

The next is: giving up on my writing for reasons truly unknown to me at the time. I was beaten into submission by me, but had no clue.

Some who know me chalked up the lost interest in writing to depression, sadness, anger, etc. All sorts of barriers. A couple of thrifty pals delegated it to my recent obsession with fixing my past. Or my desire to live there, which actually may have caused my sadness. Maybe they are correct. It was destroying me on many levels. Keeping me blind to all the good; allowing me to only see the bad. I was drowning.

I had no idea what was going on. Maybe I was blind on purpose. That happens, you know? I think I’ve been fighting my age. Maybe those who are older than I know what I mean.

So I enjoyed watching my writer friends. I think if there was no Internet,  I might not have had access to them and who knows where I’d be now. In what state of mind.

They are all winners. And despite that I wasn’t writing, they didn’t treat me any differently than they had years ago. They let me stay in the winner’s circle while, unknowingly, hanging on to me by threads.

I’ve been ill before and hospitalized. But never with something potentially life-threatening.  Life ending. For awhile I was like, “FTW? Figures.” But, while we’re still searching for answers, I’m very much alive. My mistakes-made list is changeable because I’m not dead yet. It’s changeable because I’ve seen others change directions many times.

Scorpio may rule death, but also rebirth. I’m reborn. It’s not time to return to the Underworld just yet. The gods have forced my eyes toward what I should see: the good. This goes beyond writing. It encompasses my spirituality and beliefs. It extends to who I know, where I live, as well as to my abilities of storytelling. My ancestors have given me a gift, and I’m still alive to use it. I should not abuse that.

My advice: do not fight the inevitable.  Change only what can certainly be moved. Let the rest go.

Thank you for reading.

-Wanda