After writing the below, I am ready to now chop up all the things I say will happen into little scenes. I think the story should be dramatic and if I can keep the website in as a character, even funny and satirical....
Yes, these are more of those half ass novel notes that cause people to skip on to the next title that mentions of hamsters and related dark mayhem.
Today, I am going to be putting the finishing touches on my synopsis, trying to decipher the scenes that are most telling about the themes of the novel, and just in general jotting down all the zillions of notes I have taken for the last year into a cohesive package.
The story goes like this, now.... Smegs, Crypt, and Johnathon are three painters who live in wicker park Chicago, almost under the el train, and a block away from the most filmed scene in Chicago -- a gritty looking, paint peeling off metal el track with a weedy alley running underneath. They have been couch surfing bachelors of sorts after they met and became roommates in college. They spend their twenties driving cab, working in a game store and tending bar as they continue to write and paint. They barely believe in each other, actually.... As they reach forty, they all begin to think of themselves as perhaps too weird for marriage, as if the very traits they swore to in blood to themselves when they were young artists--that they were going to spend their lives giving into the compulsion to do art as much as humanly possible.
They all sell weed, from uncle sal's supply, and work odd jobs... Sometimes one or the other is homeless. During this time, Johnathon, who works at the bookstore with matt, notices that he is crashing on the couch al the time. Matt, who likes to mostly talk in jokes, and can't help playing rough to delight certain dogs and cats,has a difficult time admitting it, but then finally tells them that his mom is into heroin and was busted; caught three times and sent away for six months. She is a graduate of the best art school in the world, but no longer paints... (this is half based on truth, or I would not have the art school part in there... Sounds too fake, eh?). Johnathon then let's Matt crash on the couch in the back room, and they also let him smoke weed a couple years later, when he decides to try it. They have something of an old time, pre massah jackoffyourson charge, who started working at the game store when Sal was still alive, at the age of ten, because he knew the games better than anyone else Sal interviewed, and by fifteen he was probably one of the best gamers in the world at everything drom board games to the latest slash and kill playstation.
During one of their worst periods, when they are all shuffling from apartment to apartment, and keeping their electricity on by keeping a mean pitfall down in the basement so the workers can't get in to shut them off. The landlord kind of vouches for them (he thinks that all the young men coming and going from the apartment are Smegs gay lovers, which the others play up to a few laughs in the scene I have in my notes).
Everything changes when Uncle Sal dies and they find out that he has left them, collectively, ownership of the game store, which has a bar and a little smoke shop attatched. The property they have is in a zone recently yuppified and the rent Sal pays for these places is crazy. The three artists only find this out after he has died, in a private letter that he leaves them about how to continue his weed business, and to launder the money through the other businesses. They of course go along with this. Only thing they change is the smoke shop, which they turn into a gallery for their work, as well as working studio where people can come in and hang out and play games (there is always weed for the cool in the back room, so the crew there is a little older--they card because of the bar to make sure no kids are smoking or drinking on the premises (though no one bitches when they go outside and come back in all beady eyed, of course).
They also try to sell their art and writing on a website. They have the money to self publish their own books, so they do these elaborate things with hand made covers, etc.... As well as selling cheap prints of their paintings signed (like I am soon going to be doing on this site, so if you want to buy a print of any of my stuff without giving me a dime for the effort (mom, bro's, folk broke as broker than me, especially, though I will always cut a deal if something really speaks to someone of course, because there is no finer payment to me as a painter of OUTSIDER ART which some people think of as 'untrained art' that has not been quite so infected with the mainstream and effected so much that I look like everyone else (I'm telling yah, you don't know how close M. Is to forcing me to paint yellow mountain majesties for holiday inns... Or even worse, turn me into one of those bad jackson Pollock imitators who oddly enough have no idea why we laugh behind their backs (Pollock I love, mind you... But I loved Raymond Carver too and he unfortunately set off waves if imitators who just someone did not have his wizardry with words). Hey, if you pay me to review your book? I will say you are a wizard with words, okay? Just reminding everyone I am a broken whore with a habit.
Okay, Now the lives of these individuals take a sharp turn into the realities of life when a new character enters their life. He is an old friend of Smegs, an art buddy from where he grew up, in the small town of Joliet, Illinois (where he was there the night john wayne gacy died, and the celebration effected them both a lot -- johnathon does a painting). Ranger X is the name I am using for this character, for now... He has just got out of prison, where he has been reading the artistic manifestos and general philosophical essays that are a large part of their website.
The website is a central character, as well. In it, the character that the writer among them, Johnathon, creates has a bit of the Jeffersonian about him, though he is dark as the writing that Mark Twain refused to let them publish until he was dead a hundred years (good stuff). He also boxed, works out, and grew up fighting in the small hillbilly town of Garrett Indiana. He studied writing and painting and philosophy and military intelligence, once thinking about maybe becoming an FBI agent just to write about the experience, and then he found out that they were often on the opposite sides of how certain issues should be handled. Of course, this is the character most like me, but it is not me.... he will be better than me, because I am just that much of a liar... No, he shouldn't be. I have just done some heroic things and they are embarrassing to write about unless someone else does them. Not to mention, my heroics is occasionally another man's madness.
All of this back story leads to scenes because X is violent in a way that the others have only written about and seen in movies. They catch their first glimpse of theses when he beats up two shop lifters, then takes off before the cops can come. He lies to them about prison, and the scar on his neck, too. He has a super hatred for gang bangers... But, they take him in when he puts a chair out front and starts drawing people for fifteen bucks a crack and gives them ten... Not to mention, his first night there he gave them a pound of incredible green bud to pay them for all the times he read their web site. He's clean, handsome, and they have an extra room... So they let him stay there on a temporary basis.
That night, x comes back and they all get drunk and he tells them the truth about himself, why he has come to the city. Matt is a vegetarian by the way, and their stores are full of animals, and they're writing is all about loving animals, though with the exception of mattt, they all guiltily eat meat. Their love for animals and constant jokes about killing people like massah jackoffyourson have convinced X that they will help him do something. He starts by telling about being thrown in prison. His first night there, a gang grabbed him... he says he fought the guy off and the next day, another guy, out of no where, slashed his throat. After that he spent his next 16 months either working in the library or in isolation. Which was a blessing in disguise for him, because he was able to get on the internet and remain feeling like he was in touch with the world. When he found the site of the artists, he was sure that he had found kindred souls.
Then he tells them why he has come to Chicago -- to shoot up a dog fight. He tells them that he is going to do it, knows where and when one is going to be. This is a lie, and he actually goes out later and cuts the eye out of a gang banger and then kills him to get this information).
They go back and forth on this, and one night, two gang bangers come into the bar and recognize ranger x and say something about, "Hey bitch, you still got that pussy tattooed on your ass?" X waits until they leave and then attacks them with a baseball bat.
This leads to the gang deciding to get revenge, of course. Ranger x is glad to have the war out in the open, almost. Someone then steals a car, and smashes it into their car, sideswiping it. The next night, they do it again, getting the other side.
X see's one of the bangers stopped at a cross walk and throws hot coffee on him. There is a cop across the street who can't see what he is done. The guy tells him, You are fucking underground.
The gang bangers won't talk to the cops, of course.
Two nights later, someone drives by the game store and shoots out the windows. Smegs is hit, but okay.
The next day is the dog fight, so they loud up on ammunition and go out to a farm where it is being held. They stop a car coming down the road with three older, fat looking half drunk Mexican guys. X thows them out of the car, asks who speaks English, and when only one does he the other two of them with his homemade silencer. He then tells the third one to act like we are friends of his from work, like we have a lot of money to spend. They end up on this stinky pig farm, actually.... There are a zillion cars and no one even questions them at all.... They wait around until the first dogs are brought out.
They are standing toward the back of the crowd with a crossfire set up between them for maximum killing. They try to figure out who is a gang banger and who is just someone with a habit from the old country and kill them first. Especially matt and smegs, who are aiming at two guys, guards they assume, standing at the entrance way with shotguns. When they see two dogs being led into the ring, they open fire...
X and Johnathon both die, the writer who tried to use the pen to stop the madness, and the warrior with his gun, both kind of fail and kind win.... When the two remaining boys make sure everyone there is dead, they gather up the bodies of their friends, load up a truck with dogs and drive it to a no kill shelter. Then they hop in Matt's car and drive off up into Wisconsin to bury their friends.
ALL WRITING IN HERE IS THE PROPERTY OF JOHN SCOTT RIDGWAY, AND YOU CAN GET MY PERMISSION TO PERFORM AND REPRINT WITH AN EMAIL. Steal from me and you will be cursed in such a way that your hands turn into worthless, jelly fish like appendages that sting your intimates.