Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bar Scene Blogfest

Tara is hosting a Bar Scene Blogfest, and I had the perfect scene in mind. This is from one of my WIP. It's going to be the book I write after the mermaid book I am currently working on.

Here is Tara's blog:
Bar Scene Blogfest

This is the first page in my WIP, titled "A Dangerous Mind". I also plan to use another scene from this book for my Bad Girl Blogfest, because my MC just makes it so easy for me. ;)

A Dangerous Mind

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Confucius

There is an urban legend that says your body completely replaces itself every seven years. If this is true, that means the skin I have now has never known my mother’s touch or my father’s piggyback rides. There’s no way I can restore the touch of my parents, so I hug Alex as much as I can. He was the only blood relation I have left.

My foster parents aren’t really the hugging sort, but I hug them as often as I can, just in case. It frightens me to think that my patchwork family might die someday, and I’ll grow out of them, like I grew out of my favorite pair of combat boots in high school. I had to peddle ten pounds of weed to be able to afford those boots, and when I grew out of them a year later, I was pissed.

I had returned to my hometown of Seattle a few days ago, like clockwork, for the fall and spring semester of college. Every summer I visited my foster parents, and every fall I returned to the city, to Jim and Caroline, to Alex. Despite my circadian rhythms, I still felt like I was perpetually one pace ahead or behind the rest of the world. Dancing to my own drummer didn’t typically bother me, but there were times I wondered what my life would be like today if my parents weren’t murdered by a serial killer while my brother and I hid in my bedroom upstairs.

I wondered how different my life would be now if I had stopped Alex from going downstairs to investigate the noise; I already knew what was making that awful sound. If I had just tied Alex to the bed or something, things might not have turned out the way they did. But he was six and I was eight; Alex never listened to me.

I stared at the moon, and crushed the unlit cigarette I almost broke down and smoked under my boot.

It started to drizzle. I would have taken it as a direct sign of God pissing on me, but this was Seattle. It was always drizzling.

I shook my head at my own futility. Wondering ‘what if’ never made me feel better. Only fantasies of capturing the man who ruined my life and making him pay eased the pain. If I could find him, and make him suffer like I suffered, maybe my life would cycle back to even again.

I turned around and walked back into Joe’s Old Bar, my current place of employment. I was one of the best bartenders in the entire joint, but you’d never know it by the way the owner, a creep named Sam, treated me. Like I was one of his slave girls. If I didn’t have to work while I was in college, I would have walked out of the joint on a Friday night with a full house.

I grinned to myself. That would show him.

Sadly, my landlord didn’t accept I.O.U.s or cookies in lieu of money for rent, and I wasn’t about to take him up on his offer for “something else”. Gross.

I returned to my noble post at the bar, and started to stack the glasses underneath the bar. Frank, the daytime bartender, never put them back correctly, so the glasses were one hard shove away from getting knocked over, a catastrophe I would surely be blamed for.

“Heeeeey, Jade, you’re back,” A regular named Bill slurred. “Good to see you again, hot stuff.”

I nodded in Bill’s general direction and continued to work. Drunks were so needy.
“How’s about you and me go out on a date?”

I leaned my elbow onto the top of the bar. “How’s about you pay your tab and get lost?” I asked.

Bill muttered disparaging things about me under his breath.

I ignored him, and turned to another regular of mine, Mr. Chen. He was an older Asian man who always ordered a Tom Collins, and spoke broken English. He was in the process of opening his own night club, and I had no qualms with telling him what exactly sort of set up he needed for the bar. It was a match made in bartender heaven.

I’ve tended my fair share of bars, and none of them were designed by a bartender. Some bars were way too long, or the drain in the floor wasn’t angled properly so when you washed the floor some of the dirty water ran back over the clean tile or any other hundred of little details that over time add up into a bar that was a pain in the neck to tend. I knew some bartenders who wouldn’t tend a poorly designed bar, but I couldn’t afford to be picky.

Mr. Chen took a sip of his Tom Collins. “You make the best drinks,” he said in Mandarin. “That’s why I always come here.”

I grinned at him. “I know.” I am sure the fact that I was fluent in Mandarin Chinese didn’t hurt either. I can also speak passable Cantonese. My foster parents are both first generation American citizens, children of Chinese immigrants who still preferred to speak Chinese over English. “How’s the nightclub coming? Did your financing come through?”

“Hey, hot stuff, I need another one,” Bill said, burping. Bill was the sort of guy who worked out every day to make up for his ugly face. He thought he was God’s gift to woman. I thought he was a plague in holey blue jeans.

I looked up and checked the clock. Midnight. I was officially done for the night. “Don’t call me hot stuff,” I said, glaring at Bill. “We’re closed.”
Bill leered at me, and I clenched my jaw. “Come on baby, why you gotta do me like that? Come home with me, I could—“

I walked around the bar, and grabbed Bill’s forearm and twisted it hard. Bill squealed like a pig and tried to break my grip, but I used his body weight against him, and sharpened the angle I held his arm.

“I said no,” I said, resisting the urge to punch him in the face. Even though it was afterhours, I was still not allowed to beat up the customers. Unless it was in self defense. Maybe I could make it self defense…

“Fine, fine,” Bill said, trying to stand up, “I’ll leave you alone.”

I loosened my grip on him, and stepped back. “I wouldn’t date you if you were the last man alive. Your face makes me want to vomit.” I pointed at the shirt I wore. It was blue and had a picture of a cartoon bunny on it. The caption below the bunny read: Hey, you make me throw up a little. “I wear this shirt because of losers like you. Now get lost.”

Bill scowled at me, and took a swing, like I knew he would. I couldn’t insult him and his pride let me get away with it.

Mr. Chen cried out, but I ducked Bill’s swing, and tripped him.

Bill caught his balance on a table, and whirled around, swinging for me again.
I sidestepped him quickly, grabbed Bill’s wrist, and used it to bring him around. Bill jerked away, trying to break my hold. He was physically stronger than me, but I was trained. I knew how to use his momentum against him. If you had a good hold on someone’s wrist you could move them around as you wished. I stepped forward, and flipped Bill onto his back with a loud thud.

Bill groaned and rolled over.

“Are you done?” I asked, nudging him with my foot.

Bill tried to stand but it took him a few tries. He glared at me, but stalked out of the bar.

I sighed. I was itching for a fight, but that could hardly be called a fight. I wasn’t even sweating.

“You are trained in Martial Arts,” Mr. Chen said.

“Yes,” I replied, picking up the chair Bill overturned and set it down. “Wushu. My father is a master, and ran a dojo.”

Mr. Chen regarded me for a minute. I wondered what he was seeing when he looked at me. The whitest girl on the face of the planet? My brown hair? My jade green eyes, which were the source of my nickname? I looked like every normal white girl in America. Hardly anyone knew I had Chinese foster parents. Mr. Chen had commented on how well I spoke Mandarin when I first talked to him, but he didn’t pry. “Would you like to work at my nightclub?”

I blinked. I wasn’t expecting a job offer. I was expecting to be told a nice girl like me shouldn’t know how to beat people up.

“I would pay you well. You’ve been most helpful with the plans. I wanted to ask you, but it’s in a rough area of the International District, in the middle of gang territory. But I see you can handle yourself. You could help protect my club, without people realizing that you can also be a bouncer if needed.”

I looked around Joe’s. Continue to work at a crappy dive or work for Mr. Chen, who wanted me to work at a nightclub, be a silent bouncer, in the International District, and pay me more money? Sold!

“When can I start?”


  1. Great Post!

    The beginning immediately had me hooked "There is an urban legend that says your body completely replaces itself every seven years. If this is true, that means the skin I have now has never known my mother’s touch or my father’s piggyback rides." So striking, I loved it. It sent shivers down my spine.

    I also really liked the strength of the MC "Even though it was afterhours, I was still not allowed to beat up the customers." She's strong enough but not too in your face that she's irritating. Very good job, thanks for that! :~D

  2. Great scene. I love the tone and voice here, and the dialogue is sharp. My favorite part?

    It started to drizzle. I would have taken it as a direct sign of God pissing on me, but this was Seattle. It was always drizzling.

    Great imagery.

  3. The opening of this scene is heart-breaking, with the line about how her skin had never known her parents touch. That was beautiful. This has a great voice to it, too. She's very capable! Nice work!

  4. Yaaaay! Thanks guys! I am glad Jade came across as "strong" and not "jerky"'s a careful ine I am going to have to tread throughout the novel.

    I usually struggle with the opening of a book, unless the lines just sort of come to me. This was one of those moments, where I just heard Jade say those lines.

  5. I really love you line about the skin never knowing your mother's sad. Also the patchwork family line is nice. You have a great voice. I really felt for this girl.

  6. Yes! Totally hooked now.
    And Seattle? Win!
    So this is going to be your Bad Girl huh? Sweet.
    Looking forward to it!

  7. Terrific opening. You hooked me. I'm so wondering if Mr. Chen is not so reputuble...

  8. @Iapetus: That's right, you live near Sammish, right? How close to Seattle is that? I need more Seattlites to tell me about the city. Glad you enjoyed the scene!

    @Tara: Thanks! Mr. Chen, so far, isn't so much as disreputable, as he gets Jade into troubls without meaning to. And he's kinda useless. He's the sort to hide in a corner during a gun fight.

  9. Sammish is somewhere up near Bellingham. I'm in Sammammish. Just across the lake from Seattle, 30 mins. Anything you need to know?