Archive for the ‘great american novels’ Category

Chapter 2

Requiem for an Urkel

Carl Winslow was never one to take long showers. Then again, Carl Winslow had never been covered in this much dirt and filth. The water hit his black skin, each droplet ricocheting its way down until it swirled into the drainpipe and out of sight. Unfortunately, the guilt of his cold blooded killing could not be gotten rid of quite so easily. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Carl twisted the knobs and stepped out of the tub. He couldn’t squander anymore time trying to clean his body and his conscience. Today, he had two funerals to attend.

Steve Urkel’s body lay motionless on the velvety inside of the coffin, his comically large glasses gently resting on his face. They covered the wound from the slug that Carl had fired into his brain just 4 days before. When it was Carl’s turn to address the deceased nerd, he could only briefly glance at Steve’s body before he had to look away, as he was overtaken by a vomitous urge. The young man he had killed was not the same one that would soon be eulogized by his daughter. The young man he had killed was a prowler, a reprobate and a fraud. The young man he had killed was Steffon Urkelle, yet it was Steve Urkel whose heart would no longer beat, and whose murder Carl had to live with.

Laura’s eulogy was beautiful, truthful and poetic, and she spoke of Steve’s numerous misadventures with the Winslow family. She spoke of the time that he drove his car through the Winslow family house; she spoke of the time that Steve befriended an orangutan and got it to kiss Carl on the lips; she spoke of the time when at a wild house party, Steve let loose and taught everybody how to “do the Urkel.” She even spoke of the time when she enlisted Steve to help her with her science project, only to have him accidentally make an atomic bomb and completely blow Chicago off the map, and how she later woke up to realize that it was all just a weird dream. With each memory of Steve that Laura recounted, Carl winced in agony. Steve was such a lovable character, how could he have shot him dead in the street?

That night, Carl made violent love to his wife. Ever since the incident, Carl had ceased to feel human, to feel like a man, and he thought that intercourse with his wife would cure him of this. But it was a completely empty gesture, each thrust meaningless, each moan less a cry of exstacy and more a cry for help, and Harriette knew this. Carl knew that his wife could tell that he wasn’t right, but she could never know that he was responsible for Steve’s death, even though she deplored his alterego, Steffon, just as much as Carl. She could never know that he was a murderer.

The next day at work, things got complicated. Steffon’s murder, which had earlier been chalked up to a senseless, unsolvable drug killing, had been reopened. On the big board where the names of all of Chicago’s murder victims were written, so to were the names of the detectives assigned to each case. Next to Urkel’s, the name written in black sharpie was Carl Winslow. It would be Carl’s first case as a detective.

It would probably be his last.


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Well, I’m not sure if all of you were aware of this, but books are AMAZING things! They can expand your mind, take you to far off lands, make you look a lot smarter than you actually are, help to more evenly distribute the weight in your backpack when you are trying to carry one with a computer in it, give you something to set your beer one when you’re too cheap to buy real coasters, and even teach you things for a few minutes until you get completely destracted by the television and forget everything that you just read because odds are you probably weren’t really paying attention anyway. But now, books can do another thing: unite people! It’s become quite the rage now for city and state governments as well as libraries of all sizes to try and get all of their literate constituency to vote on a book and then, (get ready for it,) READ it together! What a brave and noble experiment. Imagine, a whole city immersed in the taut, air-craft carrier themed dramas of Clive Cussler. Or a whole office not talking about assinine things they watched on the television while standing around the water cooler, but instead discussing the bestselling memoir of a young college student struggling with an eating disorder who will six months later appear on “Tyra” and admit to making it all up. Or even imagine how grand it will be when an entire state buys a copy of Janet Evanovich’s newest masterpiece and in turn buys Janet Evanovich a fifth home. Even my great state has dipped it’s proverbial paws into the proverbial kettle and introduced the One Book AZ. I voted for The Oatman Massacre!

Well, folks, I think that this is just the just the thing for this here blog, so I’ve decided to jump on board (or jump on the “tracks” as it is.) What better way to bring my legion of readers together by letting them all vote on a book and then promptly forget about because they want to look up some new porno?

So I welcome all of you to keep reading and help me decide which book we will all be devouring in “The Crain Train’s Reading Lounge”. I’ve picked out four absolutely delicous pieces of literature which cover the entire gamut, from non-fiction all the way to fiction (ok, not really that big of a gamut.) Anyways, here are the nominees:

1. Why Cat’s Paint

Talk about expanding your mind, prepared to get completely freaked the F out after reading just a few pages of this excellent analysis of the feline asthetic. Busch and Silver, the authors of this groundbreaking tome, provide plenty of pictures and plenty of fantastic insight into not only why cats paint, but how damn cute and funny it is to see a bunch of cats with paing all over their paws. How did they open up those cans of paint!? B. and S. even go as far as to introduce the reader to the 10 most influencial cat artists, and you would be hard pressed to find a more complete collection of paint hastilly scrawled across a refridgerator. Some may consider this book a little to “artsy” or “fartsy” or “complete bullshit” for their taste, but I truely believe that the question of “Why cats paint?” is one of the most important issues facing this world today. And did I mention the litterbox art?

2. The Ski Mask Way

The only novel on this list is sure to be an absoltute delightful read for any lover of American prose. A few years ago, 50 Cent decided to get in the big money game of “urban fiction,” and this novel is one of the absolute best entries in the great poet’s “G-Unit” book series. It tells the chilling and incredibly relatable tale of Seven, an ex-con just out of the clink and facing the harsh reality of having to choose between getting back in the game or living the life of a square. Follow along as Seven shoots, steals, impregnates, uses realistically foul language and talks about Scarface. And don’t think that the excellent narrative of the book is the only reason to read this; nope, the commonplace mis-spellings, the bizarre story structure and seemingly complete disregard for tense and word usage may cause you to question the very notion of editing. As you read The Ski Mask Way, you may just find yourself asking, “Who’s really wearing the mask?” And obviously the answer to that question would be the book’s main character.

3. Black Belt Patriotism

The second non-fiction entry of this list, and I can’t think of a more fitting book to be reading during these harsh economic and politically unstable times. No one can deny that this great nation is way up in the crapper right now, and it seems to me that it is our duty as Americans to listen to Mr. Norris’ suggestions of how we can fix our country’s problems (I’m guessing by punching and kicking things really hard) and how we may just be able to get this land back into the hands of the people by doing things the “Chuck Norris way.” The Texas Ranger campaigned for Mike Huckabee this spring, so I think we can all be quite confident that his stances, veiwpoints and suggestions are that of a sane and rational human being. And even if they aren’t, it’s fucking Chuck Norris in a karate stance on the top of some mountain or something. It’s gonna be complete gold!

4. Complete Idiot’s Guide to Slam Poetry

If any of you readers want to learn a fun and exciting new skill, one that will almost certainly get you “snapped” at in unison, then you may want to consider voting for this book. The fast and crazy world of Slam Poetry (bam! slam!) isn’t for all walks of life, but I’m pretty sure that this bald guy on the cover will be able to guide you through all of the twist and turns and have you performing in front of 12 people in a coffee shop in no time. As I mentioned earlier (I think, I can’t really recall because this post is redonkulously long) books have the power to teach you stuff, and what a fantastic skill Slam Poetry would be to learn. Imagine showing off your new skills at all your family gatherings. “I am AFRICA! SLAM!” Fantastic.

Well, that’s it folks, thems are your choices. What will we all be reading this month? It’s in your hands. And by that I mean make a few comments in the designated “comment” section below and then don’t ever mention it again. Lord knows that I wont.

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Chapter 1

Wild in the Streets

Carl Winslow was damn good police. Not a single man in the Chicago P.D. would ever dare to say otherwise. Carl Winslow was damn good on his best days and damn good even on his worst days. And having to put three rounds into a twenty year-old gangbanger, two of them in the chest and one in the head, shooting him dead right there on the street, would certainly put today in the category of one of his “worst days.” Carl had killed two men before today; one, a child molester who lunged at him with a knife while in custody; another, a man who hopped on a bus and stabbed three old ladies and then threatened to keep doing it until someone put him down. But this one was different. This one was the exact same age as his son, Eddie. This one might as well of also shot Carl in the chest twice and in the head once. This one could just about make a man quit the force.

This one was Steffon Urkelle, the alter-ego of his annoying neighbor, Steve.

Carl took a long drag off of his cigarette and tried to unwind in his living room easy chair. The dinner that his wife Harriette had prepared for him, a feast of collared greens and pigs feet, a feast that normally filled him with about as much pleasure as anything in the world could, was left on the dining room table completely uneaten and getting cold and rotten. Carl never thought a day would go by in which he wouldn’t want to eat one of his wife’s dinners, but the guilt that festered deep inside of him brought on by his deplorable act made it impossible for him to eat. Impossible for him to eat or to think straight or to love or to even want to live.

A deplorable act. That’s what was but it would never be officially described as so. To the Chicago Police department, to the men on the force, to the city courts and to everyone that would ever read about it in the newspaper page it will be considered a heroic act by a heroic poblic servant; a good deed carried out by a trusted law officer in danger, attempting to make the city streets just that much safer for the 5 million residents that walked them everyday.

But it was a crime of passion. Steffon had violated his daughter Laura’s body repeatedly and Carl knew this and for this reason Carl could not allow Steffon to live. Steve was an annoying kid with a piercing voice, and with a knack for almost weekly destruction, hijinks and japery, usually at Carl’s expense. His acts could drive a man to the absolute brink of sanity; but they could not drive a man to kill. Yet when Steve built that machine and transformed himself into the suave, debonair, lecherous, malicious and philandering Steffon, things changed. When Steffon tricked and decieved his way into his daughter’s life, things changed. When Steffon placed his manhood inside Laura Winslow’s body on the night of Saturday, November 19th, things fucking changed. And when Carl Winslow shot Steffon dead in cold blood the next morning and then altered the scene of the crime to make it disappear into one of Chicago’s thousands of drug-related killings, things changed forever.

But to Carl Winslow, there is only one thing that matters.

Family matters.

[to be continued…]

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Chapter 1

It Was The Best of Tims, It Was The Worst of Tims

Tim Taylor, 35 years old, possessing the wit of a man twice his age yet the wisdom of a man with only half his years, stood proudly in the living room of his quaint, suburban home. The icy Detroit winter night could hardly be felt inside, where Tim and his 3 sons each stood in anticipation of their nightly, masculine ritual.

“Alright, I’m gonna show you how to do a reversal from the down position,” Tim instructed. Then, boldly pointing at his eldest son, Brad, who just this year had shorn his boyish frame and was beginning to blossom into a sprightly young man, Tim made his elegant prediction. “I’m gonna pin you in about 3 seconds.”

“Huh, that’s real fair, Dad. You weigh, like, a ton more than me,” Brad responded. His statement, while playfully hyperbolic, stung the elder Taylor’s heart. He was sensing a rift forming between he and his first born son, with each of Brad’s barbs like repeated stings to the same wound.

“A Ton? O.K., if that’s not fair, why don’t I just take on all three of you?” Tim replied, who’s cocksurredness suprised not one of his 3 sons, as they had all seen him repeatedly take on challenges far beyond his cappabilities seemingly on a weekly basis, and fail nearly every time. “C’mon, you bunch of little girls!” Tim commanded.

Before a single eyelid could be batted, Brad and his two younger siblings, the cuddly Randy and the impish Mark, were upon their suddenly overmatched father. Each boy grabbed a limb and began to push, prod, poke and pull while Tim grunted and groaned, flailing his arms and legs with little result. The rythmic wrestling of the four Taylor’s in the center of thier living quarters was like a violent ballet. Finally, Tim could take no more and ceased to move under the combined weight of his three offspring.

“One, two, three. You’re pinned!” shouted his middle son, Randy, who then punctuated the sweet yet inevitable victory with a strong and sturdy punch to his father’s shoulder.

“You lose!” proclaimed Mark, the youngest Taylor boy, with an amount of unrestrained joy that shocked his recently defeated father. Tim then sauntered to his knees and hung his head in what appeared to be in tiredness and in shame.

But it was a ruse. If only Brad was able to sense the mischeviousness and trickery in his wiley dad’s eyes a moment sooner, he could have avoided the fate bestowed upon him and his brother Randy. Tim rose like a Phoenix off of his hands and knees and grabbed Brad and Randy, forcing them into a headlock and holding them betwix the underside of his shoulder.

“Yeah, but not the second round!” Tim shouted as he held their heads tightly inside the pits of his arms, pits that held the grease and the sweat of a hard-working laborer and craftsman living in America’s rustbelt; pits that had lived the American Dream.

“Dad! It smells under here! Seriously!” Brad cried out to his father, who looked him in the eye and made sure that he knew who’s house he was in. Tim then proudly pronounced his acheivement.

“It’s the Tim Taylor Half-smelly Nelson!”

[to be continued…]

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