The Ballad of Rudy Whittman

So I unearthed this project last night. As soon as I have draft one of The Sucker Punch Republic complete I’m going to complete this.

It’s a very different world – like comparing Palahnuik with Patterson. But I love the transition. the world of Paul Mendelssohn and Kirk Conway is mainstream thriller-ville. Rudy Whittman, Joel Katz and their confederates live in a far more transgressive, noir neighbourhood.

Here’s the provisional opener:

Chapter 1: A Natural Disaster

Rudy Whittman once introduced himself as only he could. The occurrence was in a bar in Hollywood just off Sunset. He was there to pick up some cash in return for the negatives of photographs he’d shot for Joel Katz, an entertainment attorney. It was four years ago. That should tell you a lot about Rudy Whittman. Four years ago he was still using film to shoot with. Rudy is old school and will never change. The words he used in the bar back then still resonate today so the only way to really introduce the force of nature that is Rudolph Tobias Whittman is to quote the man himself.

He went into the bar, stood beside Joel but conveniently ignored him until the barkeep had all but put his drink on the bar. Then he turned around, mid-sip, and with a flash of his impressive eyebrows he acknowledged Joel and his client, Mr. Chad Bennenstein, a soon-to-be-disgraced television executive. Joel had been putting the squeeze on Bennenstein with Rudy as his gutterman and introduced the two with no semblance of emotional attachment in his voice.

Mr Bennenstien. This is Mr. Whittman”

Chad offered a handshake. He wasn’t in his office at the eye in the sky; he was in a dirty bar one block off sunset. Hardly an executive hang-out territory. Hardly the 94rd Aero Squadron. Rudy spat the maraschino cherry from his Old Fashioned into his hand and palmed it onto the bar before shaking Chad’s hand. It was one fluid movement that didn’t give Chad time to pull back. It was how Rudy worked. All shit and bullets was the phrase he generally used to describe himself but he opted for a different phrase with Chad. He looked Chad right in the eye as he pulled his hand close and shook it, his fingers wet from spit and bourbon.

Hey, I got hair on my ass that’s as thick as the hair on my head and you know what? I don’t give a shit.” He let go Chad’s hand, took another sip and as he looked at their reflection in the mirror behind the bar he continued, “I shaved it once but you might say I’m confident in my sexuality now. I’m a goddamn mother fucking sexual tyrannosaurus. Yeah baby.”

Joel didn’t react.

Chad stood frozen, taking in the spectacle. Rudy was a force of nature. A natural fucking disaster. A mudslide that had just demolished Chad Bennenstein.

There’s not much more to know about good ol’ Rudy. Except, perhaps that he is not good and he probably won’t ever get old. People like Rudy don’t get old. They disappear.

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