Champagne For Buzzards is the fourth in a series that gives the reader a casual style and storytelling with staying power. The pacing is that of a southern drawl, with a core of beer, bars and bad behaviour. There’s a dark side to this tale, one of sexual stalking and slave labour but it’s Smallman’s “down-home” story telling that paints the scene and welcomes you into the action. This novel is just the ticket for a summer escape of lounging with a beer, a barbecue and a mystery.
Targeted Age Group:: 12 and older
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Characters walk around in my head and I either have to give them a home or take massive amounts of drugs. And then there is the news. Did you ever read an article in the paper and wonder what happened next? Or wonder why it came about in the first place? Imagination takes over and I start constructing a story to explain these events. Champagne for Buzzards came about when I saw a television news article about buzzards returning to their natural breeding grounds to find new houses had been built there. Buzzards were sitting on children’s play sets, boats and garden furniture. What if you woke up one morning and saw buzzards sitting on the cab of your red pick-up? What if… words that inspire me.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Hearing voices is what writing is all about. Call it madness or call in inspiration, without those voices there is no book. The best fictional characters are the ones who speak to our hearts as well as our heads, both as readers and writers, the people who walk off the pages and into our lives to stay with us forever. I now know more about my characters than I know about most of the members of my family. Don’t we know more about Scarlet O’Hara, or some other fictional character, than we do about our best friend?
The back door to the bar opened, filling the hot Florida night with foot-stomping loud zydeco music. A man stumbled through the open door and down the single step. Cursing, he grabbed hold of the tailgate of a red pickup to stop his fall. Slumped against the truck, the drunken man gave a loud belch and cursed again.
While he clung to the truck and waited for the world to right, the door to the bar opened behind him. He threw his right arm back along the tailgate, swiveling his body to face the new arrival. With arms splayed along the tailgate for support, the drunk looked up. “What the fuck do you want?” His voice was slurred and thick but showed no fear.
At the door, the second man looked down the empty hallway behind him and then reached back inside. The gooseneck light over the exit went out, leaving the alley lit only by a faint glow from the window of the men’s room. The door sighed shut.
“What the hell?” the drunk mumbled.
The shadow leapt off the step to where the drunken man was still splayed against the truck. “Get the fuck away from me,” the drunk said. Those were his last words.
A hammer came down on his head.
With a soft exhale of surprise, the victim slowly released the truck and began to slide down to the ground. His attacker stopped his descent, lifting and heaving the unconscious man into the bed of the pickup, grunting with the effort. Then the killer began smashing his victim’s head in with the hammer, giving a harsh groan of exertion with each blow, like a tennis player returning a serve. When he was done, the murderer leaned over the side and pulled up a tarp from the bed of the truck, tucking it around the dead man and hiding the body.
The killer looked around to make sure he was unobserved before he ran down the alley to the street, taking the weapon with him.
It was more than an hour before the back door to the bar opened again and a man came out. He stumbled off the step and fell forward into the tailgate of the red pickup. “What happened to the f-ing light? It’s darker than a whore’s heart out here.”
His companion, still on the step, muttered, “Should’ve parked on the street.”
They looked up at the light over the door while a third man, still standing in the doorway, blocked the door open with the toe of his cowboy boot and leaned inside to switch on the light above the door. “Someone forgot to turn it on.”
No longer interested, the two men went to their vehicle. But the man on the step made no move to follow them. He stood by the door and watched, his hands smoothing the shirt over his paunch while he waited for the vehicle to exit the alley. Then he went to the red pickup and got in.
It began to rain. A soft rain, it did little to wash away the heat of the day or the smell of garbage and vomit from the alley.
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