Johnny from the Block | Experimental Fiction + Digital Art

in #fiction6 years ago (edited)

Johnny from the block3.png

As the title says, this piece is a bit "experimental" (at least for me), in the sense that I was trying to channel a very fast-paced, kinetic, and adrenaline-filled song and capture it in a vignette of words. I wanted to score an action sequence in a movie, and capture it in a frenetic First Person Shooter style, and whether I pulled it off is another question entirely.

Listen to King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's track Robot Stop to get a sense of the pacing for this, as I tried to follow the song as closely as I could, moving with its changing riffs, bridges and crescendos.

Gun won’t stop shaking, must be the nerves. Shake out another Upper and swallow, too many, hope the boys can’t see. Fuck! Come on, no time to lose, we’re too exposed out here. We’re sharks that gotta keep moving or we’ll die. Open fucking the door, Trace.

Fuck yeah, about time. Rush in, everything a blur. Blood on the floor. Forget it, follow the plan and focus. The safe’s in the back, but don’t forget the beams. You practised this over and over, it must be reflex now, just breathe and count the steps...


Shit, fucked it up. The alarm will wake the whole block. Fuck it, we do this dirty then: vault the counter and stick on the cutter, shield the eyes. The rush is real. Fight the overload...

Shit, Flashes already, blue and red. It’s too early, things have gone south quickly. Gotta find some cover and keep the cutter going. Buy some time, we can afford it now. “Get ready for one hella ride, boys.” Let’s fucking do this…

“Limber up, boys. Get ready to drop some cops. Fuck ‘em up. Aim for centre mass and always double-tap. You make sure you hit ‘em, boys, you hear me? Every last one. Make damn sure they never get up.”

Rain of bullets. Shards of glass everywhere. Bucky goes down. Red Mist. Trace won’t. Motherfuckers gonna pay, I swear. Yell out in anger. Overload...

“Fuck ‘em all up, boys! Squeeze the trigger and never let go. Let them beg for pity and piss themselves. Make sure the last thing they see is your smiling face, then make sure they don’t see anything ever again.”

Everything’s exploding all around now, bullets being traded like fluids at a whorehouse. The boys are returning fire, sending the pigs squealing and diving, crawling on all fours into cover. Pain in the shoulder sends electric eels buzzing into my brain, duck behind the counter and push through. Only another few seconds before we’re in, one last job and we’ll be swimming in all the Uppers, Downers, Mids and Howlers we could ever want.

Break through, finally. Throw the cutter aside like a used condom after a one-night-stand. Get the boys’ attention. “Grab it all. Grab Bucky and head for the back door. I’ll keep them busy.

“Keep low and move fast. Don’t worry, the pigs are slow. Hail them with bullets, get out and don’t stop, head for the van. Keep going and don’t look back. It’s not gonna be over anytime soon, boys. Wait for my signal…

“One, two, three...”

Count the bullets. Magazine’s in. Safety's off. Fuck praying, don’t need it. No pig gonna take me down. Tried before, this time ain't gonna be different. They’ll never get me.

Stand up, dammit... You’ve got this in the bag, Johnny... Fuck em’ up. Don’t need any fucking luck. Best shot of all time, that ever was. Ain’t no one better than Johnny with a Glock.

“Go!” Everything goes quick-slow, like a flick played and overlaid at two speeds that aren’t normal. Push up and start raining slugs of lead, watch them dive for cover again and laugh as one goes straight through a head. Push off and start running forever and never look back. Keep going until muscles are leaking batteries, old and spent. Barrel through an alley and turn left, then everything will be gold and green.

They ain’t ever going to get me. Gonna make it out and gonna live forever an ever. Rich as fuck, like a motherfucking King.

Fuck! Cops are already waiting, watching for me like some jackals hunting for prey. Turn around, and make for the fire escape, jump the dumpster and reach for your life.

Climb and climb and climb until the sounds below are just whistles in the wind. Until muscles scream for more. Until you’re far away from everything.

Reach the top and don’t stop. Tear through some washing and keep going, a blind ghost flapping on a roof. Shit! Nowhere left to go, the path just ends like a cliff that crumbled into the sea. Dive behind a wall and keep quiet, catch your breath, a shivering rat squeezed in a crack.

Fuck, they’re right behind me, bursting through doors like slithering snakes through grass, flashing flashlight beams in the night and burning holes in the shadows. Footsteps getting closer. Gotta hold my breath and hope that no one comes this way. Better watch out, or they ain't gonna stop the overload.

Pig spots me with coal eyes: a big burly bruiser with shiny buttons to match his badge. He squares off, holding the gun steady and still, murder in his eyes like flickering fire out of control, ready to burn.

Reflexes hot-wired, driving me like a joy ride. No time to think at all. Run straight through and send him over the edge. Keeping your footing and don’t follow. Left and right, but nowhere to go. Shouting and guns pointing straight at me. Fuck it, make your own path. Jump!

Airtime. Hanging there in the air like the thick sheet of the undertaker’s muslin, stiff and heavy, draped over a pile of mangled flesh. Sailing forward, but falling too fast. Not going to make it, gonna fall like an angel and break every bone. Do something. Anything. So much to live for...

Fingers grab onto rough stone, sandpaper burning. Hold on, don’t let go, pull your swinging self up, dammit! Use all the strength you got, forget the pain, forget the searing metal parasite infestation. Just pull, for fuck sakes! Pull yourself up, bootstraps and all.

Crash through a window, crumple and tumble, stumble straight into a dinner mid-fork—a choked scream, faces stuffed and wide-eyed. Grab a knife and keep going, throw open the door into a halogen hallway, buzzing in the ears keeping time with the crash of my drum kit heart.

Lurch down and down, taking the stairs in a tight spiral—keep going and don’t let your head spin. Go down into the darkness, into a never-ending abyss, into Hell brimstone and all, two steps at a time. Slink down and down like a panther, a cat burgling time, all the while heart racing loud in my head. A reverberating jungle drumbeat for the ages, unrelenting. Won’t let it stop. Gotta make it, good old Johnny from the block.

Burst out into the street again, quiet, no one around. Distant shouting and flashing lights like a faint faraway aurora. Turn away and keep fleeing, chasing the dream. Lungs are burning now, breath escaping like a fugitive and losing steam.

A van pulls up in front of me, skidding, brakes screeching and screaming in the night, two steps away from death. The door slides open and there’s Trace’s face sweating and flushed, high on extra Uppers and an undercurrent of fear.

“Move over, I’ll drive. How’s Bucky doing, he alive? It was my plan that got us into this mess, and I’ll get us out. Damn, things went bad, real bad, I know, but we got the credits. Now let’s get the fuck out of here.” Time to crank this shit into high gear.

Pull out into a street, a symphony of sirens blaring like stampeding buffalo behind us, a motorcade of red and blue lights. Head for the hills, don’t take the highway, lose them in the alleys of the busy city and celebrate our takings without another fight.

Duck and cover as shots are fired from behind. Squint and focus, stare ahead at nothing but streaking road. White-knuckled hands tight on the steering wheel, don’t you dare lose control. Blur around a corner and slam into a wall, a shower of roman candle sparks cascade all around. More shots whizz through the air like malicious metal mosquitos, burying in Trace like they’re drilling for gore.

Gotta get away, gotta make it. Gonna stash the loot and head for home. Need to see the ocean again, one last time.

Lights ahead: a roadblock. Two patrol cars. Four cops. Two shotguns and two rifles. My head dead in their sights with nowhere else to go. Aint nothing else to do. Gotta get through or die trying. “Better brace for impact boys…”

One two three.

Impact and the world spins in slow motion, glass shards hanging like floating stars. Weightless, flying high through the air like dreaming birds free and soaring. Slam back down with bone-shattering force, then everything goes black. Come to skidding across the asphalt in a wailing tangle of metal and rubber. Slowly come to a smouldering stop like a crumpled sheet of paper. Smoke rises like a pyre to a dead King...

Crawl out of the twisted heap, barely alive. Breathing ragged and broken, but not out just yet. Ain’t nobody gonna stop Johnny. Not this time. Not ever. Not even a fucking roadblock.

Anyway, for terrible or worse, I wanted to share my attempt at something different. It's not a good sign when someone has to explain their art to people—it's usually a sign of incredible pretentiousness, I don't know—but, as my goal on Steemit is to chronicle my journey into a creative and writer, posting my steps and missteps is just as important to the process.

Many thanks to @thewritersblock and lovely people of the The Writer's Block Discord, specifically @bex-dk, @tinypaleokitchen and @josephlwiess, for their advice and thoughts.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

See you in the comments!

Orignal artwork by me.

Images used are CC0 Creative Commons, sourced from Pixabay or Pexels.

You're more than welcome to download the full-res image here, if you want a wallpaper.

This is MajorMajorMajorThom, over and out.

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I would not have read this if it wasn’t you. Generally this is a topic I’m not that interested in, but I really enjoyed reading us with a critical eye. Some of my favorite lines are when you describe the action almost as if in slow motion.

My favorite line was “glass shards hanging like floating stars.” That whole stanza, paragraph rather, was beautiful. I really felt like I could see a body sliding on the road and crumbling “likePaper” it was excellent and masterful.

Thank you for sharing this, and for your explanation of why you were doing it. I agree that if you have to act explain what you’re trying to do in our reduces the impact of the art itself. Like you said, pretentious, and not worthy of letting the art speak for itself.

You did not do that here. No you told us the story about how this Fiction came about. Which is completely different than explaining what the art is because it does not stand on its own. The story stands on its own.

My favorite part of your explanation was where you describe how you are attempting to do something new. When you’re practicing getting better at something, one of the best things you can do is challenge yourself with something new and different. You are literally making yourself a better writer and artist by moving out of your comfort zone. This is awesome. Keep it up. I will continue reading.

Thanks @jocelynlily, it's always such a pleasure to read your thoughts. Your comments always gives a much needed jolt of inspiration and confidence to continue on, when usually I'm feeling down and self conscious about my efforts. Thank you, your comments really mean a lot to me.

I'm definitely going to continue trying out new things. I've realized recently that I think I might be a bit of a workaholic (as opposed to my general state of laziness). As long as I keep moving and creating I'm much happier in general. If I stop, I sink back into depression and have to claw my way back out. Since for a long time I've been devoid of motivation, I think that was me falling so deep that I lost sight of the surface and forgot that it even existed.

Now I just have to keep the momentum. Your own work-ethic is certainly an inspiration to my own efforts. I'm going to try harder, set some goals, keep creating and move forward.

I'm so happy I can help in my small ways typing and talking into a computer screen! Thanks for sharing and letting me know :)

I'm reminded of "an object in motion stays in motion." I feel like I'm just riding on the hood of Elan Musk's tesla headed to Mars, but we missed and I'm just moving in the cosmos writing every day because well, something has to fill the void, and I have all the previous days looming like an avalanche behind me; I'd had to be the one to interrupt that chain.

You can do it! Even if it sucks put something to paper/screen. Get it done even in those moments you don't feel like doing it. Just do anything even if it is one sentence. You can do it! I'm looking forward, as ever, to what you do next :)

Haha I love that description. Being strapped to a rocket and heading into deep space, desperately trying to fill the emptiness with scribbling. I like that a lot and definitely can relate intimately.

I failed to follow instructions, never listened to the music, and just read the piece. I'm sure the music added something. I could hear my own music as I read. This frantic story jumps off the page. I didn't need an explanation. This was good fiction. Bravo!

Thank you very much @wordymouth, I'm pleased that you enjoyed it. The fact that you were able to "compose" your own score to this makes me glad, as it means that in a small part the rhythms I attempted to impart were carried over to some degree. My attempt to score music with writing, may have actually inherited some of its musicality.

As I tried to picture all of this happening in the pace I believe it was intended for , following the music.. snippets of Monty Oum- Icarus came into my minds eye.

Wow, thanks Fates that's certainly quite a compliment! I'd never watched Icarus, so as soon as read your comment I quickly ran to YouTube and it was awesome! If my writing induced snippets of Icarus's kinetic momentum, then I'm happy :)

RIP Monty Oum :'(

Rip Monty Oum.

I really enjoyed you're piece.
And will have a look at your other work as soon as time allows.

I have so much to ask you concerning you're influences. Will try to chat to you some time next week.

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