Francis Crowley - Your Next Great Crimography

Another crazy day in life of our fictional Tinseltown developer packaged into a short online story. Part of the 5M Projects. Written by Rogue Saint.

    There are dozens of trails sprawling around this bustling city. To many people, they present a favorite destination in which to enjoy free time and a noise-free environment. However, I don't use them that often. I never have, although I like what they offer. The grind of a modern-day metropolis often swallows us mortals... But one day last month, I finally decided to revisit my favorite track through the hillside. Like most of them, this trail winds through barren rocks with just a few spots graced by thick flora. After one of the floral oases, I heard a commotion, then a sudden hit crashed into my shoulder, triggering a slew of bizarre moments that started with a voice claiming—

    "You idiot! The head! Not his shoulder!"
    A dark cloth flew over my head. Conversation continued in rapid streaks while I fought my attackers.
    "I've never done this before. Shoulder is good enough."
    "We need to knock him unconscious."
    "No, we do not."
    "Yes, we do."
    "You're not in charge. We're a team."
    "Somebody needs to pull the strings, even within a team. There can't be two captains on the ship."

    I failed in my attempts to escape, and within several minutes my captors had loaded me into the back of a van. Soon after that, the vehicle singed the tarmac and sped onto the road to the unknown. What caught my ears from the beginning was the bizarre conversation of the attackers. It flickered on and off, like a struggling flame fighting for oxygen. I'd have assigned their gentle voices, without a bit of rasp, to Boy Scouts rather than to felons. There was no doubt in my mind that they were either rookie criminals or just charlatans.

    "Do you think he recognized us?"
    "Of course he didn't. Nobody would recognize you."
    "What’s that supposed to mean?"
    "You worked security on Eli Stone. For a week."
    "Oh, and you fared better, did you? Filling in as an extra on The Cape."
    "I told you. I worked background only to collect produced scripts, the pink ones, from the garbage cans after the shoots. And will you stop talking? He can probably hear us."
    "I didn't start."

    Once the vehicle had stopped, my rogue Boy Scouts ushered me into an enclosed space. They sat me down and removed the cloth from my head. My eyes took some time to adjust to the light, and when they did, I saw exactly what I had expected. The duo was a mess straight out of the coffee shop robbery scene from Pulp Fiction. The larger young man had on worn-out dad jeans and your favorite superhero hoodie. The thinner guy had a graphic t-shirt and baggy cargo pants that swallowed his tiny frame. Of course, I never got their names, so for the purpose of this text, I'll call them Laurel and Hardy.

    "I suggest you cooperate," said Hardy.
    "We are... We are armed. And dangerous," Laurel added. "Aren't we?"
    "We sure are."

    By this time, I had formed my own opinion about my purported capture. I just needed a little luck. So I took the risk.

    "Are you referring to that toy gun in your hand?" I asked.
    "Dude!!" Hardy uttered in resignation.
    "I told you it wouldn't work," Laurel chiseled in.
    "They look real." Hardy displayed a gun for me as if trying to convince me. "Don't they look real?"
    "You bought them at Walmart, didn't you?" I probed.
    "Two-for-one sale. They're close to the props used on movie sets."
    "No they're not," disagreed Laurel, starting another one of their arguments.
    "What do you know?"
    "I told you to go to the prop store."
    "The prop stores catering to movie productions don't sell to citizens," I chimed in for the sake of clarity, not to defend the Walmart purchase. "Their guns look real, and they can get you into trouble."
    "You see, I couldn't have done it even if I wanted to," Hardy fueled the feud with his buddy.
    "Forget about it, guys. Why don't you release me? I promise not to destroy your street cred. This will be our secret."
    "I'm not sure if we can just do it."
    "Nobody would pay ransom money to you."
    "Why not?"
    "Because you look like runaway cast from an ailing Comic Con." I tried to nail the coffin to this charade.
    "I did volunteer at one in Saginaw, Michigan."
    "Saginaw doesn't have a Comic Con."
    "Me and my high school buddy at least tried. And we didn't get you because of money."
    "Then, what is all this for?"

    My captors pouted, made faces and insinuated enough for me to realize...
    "You did all this for an idea. AN IDEA!!!"
    "We're writing partners and we hit that block. I'm sure you're aware of it. We wanted a crimography—you know, a crime-slash-biography story—but all the famous gangsters have already been made by Hollywood."
    "Some even more than once," added Laurel.

    Definitely a moment to cry or laugh, but despite all logic, I did want to give something to my wannabe criminals. So, I moved into my comfort zone. There is more than one for me, but forces from deep inside forced out the following lyrics.

    "Hey bro, take it slow 
    You ain't livin' in a video 
    You're flying low with a high velocity 
    No doubt, you're stressin' out 
    That ain't what writing's about 
    Get off that one-way trip down lonely street..."

    "Dude," said Hardy, "he's singing Alice Cooper's ‘Hey Stoopid.’"

    "Now I know you've been kicked around 
    You ain't alone in this ugly town 
    You grab a pen in your arm
    And write this down...

    They totally got into the chorus, missing my initial point, shaking their messy bodies.

    "Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey stoopid, 
    What ya tryin' to do
    Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey stoopid..."

    Until Hardy suddenly noticed me sitting quiet. He finally got the message and carried it over to the confused Laurel.

    "He changed the lyrics!"
    "He changed the lyrics!"
    "He did?"
    "He said: grab a pen and write this down. Go get a pen and paper."

    They scrambled for a pen and paper as if I would say something earth shattering. Once they were in place, I calmly said, "A criminal and a biography? Someone not yet worn out by the film tape in Hollywood? How about Francis Crowley?"
    "Never heard of him," said Hardy.
    "He was a career criminal executed at the tender age of nineteen."
    "How are we supposed to write a screenplay about somebody who died so young? What kind of a career ends at nineteen?"
    "You're good—let me correct myself, you're great writers, aren't you?"
    "Of course," they said in unison.
    "Figure it out yourselves, then. Somebody executed at age nineteen didn't start with crime a month earlier. The trouble started way before that, and it had built up over years, all the way to that shootout with the police in front of fifteen thousand people. You don't command that kind of a live audience almost a hundred years ago if you're a scrub. Also, Crowley's whereabouts were tipped to the police by his former lover when she saw him with another woman. There's your love story gone wrong. Do your research. Put on ‘inspired by’ or ‘based on’ to give yourself more creative freedom. You'll be in a good spot at the end."

    I nodded toward my hands, and Laurel cut them loose. I was about to leave when Hardy posed a final question.
    "Is this really gonna work?"
    "Probably not, but there's always a maybe in Hollywood."


Find more adventures of our favorite developer at VillanLabs' Five Minute Projects - 5M Projects

Your neighborhood villain.

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VillianLabs by Rogue Saint: Francis Crowley - Your Next Great Crimography
Francis Crowley - Your Next Great Crimography
Another crazy day in life of our fictional Tinseltown developer packaged into a short online story. Part of the 5M Projects. Written by Rogue Saint.
VillianLabs by Rogue Saint
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