SO I’VE ACTUALLY BEEN CONCENTRATING ON OTHER STUFF THE LAST FEW DAYS, BUT WHAT STARTED OUT AS A LARK HAS CONSUMED A GOODLY NUMBER OF HOURS SO FAR. I’VE HAD TO PLOT THIS FUCKER! IF I DON’T THEN I RUN INTO THE DANGER OF DISAPPEARING UP MY OWN WAZOO. LUCKILY THE CELTX PROGRAMME HAS A HANDY NOTECARD FEATURE SO I’VE BEEN ABLE TO KEEP THINGS IN SOME KIND OF ORDER. AS I THINK I’VE SAID BEFORE, “I KNOW THE DESTINATION, IT’S THE ROUTE I HAVE TO TAKE WHICH IS UNCERTAIN”. I HAVE A NEW RESPECT FOR MYSTERY AND THRILLER WRITERS NOW I CAN TELL YOU. WELL HERE ARE THE THREE PAGES THAT I’VE MANAGED TO GET DOWN ON PAPER(?):
This is a 6 panel page with the panels running the full width of the page horizontally(duh!). This is FRANK driving in his car from BOBBIE’s place to ‘EL GATO PRETO’ a bar out at the end of the STRIP. So there should be lots of movement when we see outside the car. The car itself is a 1956 black Eldorado Seville (the two-door hardtop coupe model, not the convertible), if references are needed I already have the photos of the outside and various interiors. When the panels are of interior moments their borders could be drawn as the car window frames.
P1:Exterior of car: The night lights are reflected off the brilliant exterior of the car like a mobile piece of the night sky dotted with stars. We can see neon blurs as the car drives along, reflected in the puddles on the road as well as the white walled tyres splash through the piddles causing little candy coloured fountains(OK if this is in B&W then that won’t matter, but I liked the phrase…sue me!)
I HAD TO GO OUT TO THE END OF THE STRIP. THE PLACE I WAS LOOKING FOR WAS PRETTY ISOLATED AWAY FROM ALL THE OTHER BARS, CLIP JOINTS AND CAT HOUSES THAT MADE UP THE CITY’S ENTERTAINMENTS COMPLEX.
P2:Interior of car: Here is a back shot of FRANK, we are looking from the back of the car, his face and upper body is slightly illuminated by the lights from the dash-radio, he is smoking a cigarette(obviously) it is hanging out the side of his mouth, and his hat is pushed back slightly on his head. The driver’s side window is slightly open, the steering wheel is white and chrome, and the dash is also highly polished chrome so you would get some reflection off that as well. FRANK is steering the car with his left hand and he has a match-book in his right hand, which he is looking at. We can see that there is a black cat sitting and the words “EL GATO NOIR” written on the match-book. We can see out the windshield at the front, but still ill-defined smears of neon.
BOBBIE DIDN’T SMOKE.WANETA WAS USING A LITTLE GOLD LIGHTER WHEN SHE WAS IN HIS OFFICE, SO THIS MATCHBOOK HAD TO BE TO DO WITH SOMETHING THAT BOBBIE’D BEEN WORKING ON RECENTLY.
‘EL GATO PRETO’ WAS A DRUM THAT YOU ONLY WENT TO IF YOU HAD BUSINESS TO ATTEND TO. THE JASPERS KEPT AWAY AS DID THE JOHNS.
P3:Ex. from behind a slightly above: We can see the back end of the car and the road ahead. We can see the bars, nightclubs and all night liquor stores on the left hand side of the panel, people on the sidewalk, going in and coming out of the various establishments. Neon is the preferred decoration for these places (go a bit wild here, you, the artist, should know what is needed).
IT WAS A GREASER JOINT, THE MEXICANS HAD BEEN MAKING INROADS INTO THE SCENE THE LAST FEW YEARS. ‘EL GATO’ WAS THEIR PLACE OF BUSINESS.
A LITTLE OASIS OF NEUTRALITY WHERE THEY COULD GET BUSINESS DONE AND NO ONE FELT THREATENED.
P4: Int. from the right side window looking in. FRANK now has both hands on the wheel and he’s looking straight ahead. We can see some of the bars and shit through the other window, but this is more of a close up, we see him from mid-torso up.
IF BOBBIE WAS MIXED UP WITH THEM HE WAS IN SOME DEEP DOO-DOO. THERE WERE ALL KINDS OF HIGH PILLOWS THE HUNG OUT AT ‘EL GATO’, AND NOT ANYONE I’D WANT TO TANGLE WITH.
I LISTENED TO THE COLTRANE THAT WAS COMING OUT OF THE RADIO, TRYING TO LET IT SOOTHE ME SO I WOULDN’T BE SO JITTERY ONCE I STEPPED INTO THE LION’S DEN.
P5: Ex. once again from the back but no longer elevated, we are at eye-level and looking at an angle from the right to the left, we can see the end of THE STRIP, then there’s a void and then standing on its own, in its own pool of neon light ‘EL GATO PRETO’.
NO DANIEL ME! BUT I COULDN’T SHOW FEAR, EVEN THOUGH I SWORE I COULD SMELL IT COMING OFF ME.
P6: Ex. We are looking at the windshield of the car as its parked at the front of the club, we can vaguely see FRANK behind the wheel, but the windshield is reflecting the façade of the club, the ‘EL GATO PRETO’ sign in reverse on the windshield.
OK! COMING– READY OR NOT!
PAGES 8& 9
A DOUBLE PAGE SPREAD of the interior of the bar. The two pages show the whole of the bar a long chrome and red vinyl thing with a massive mirror running the whole length of the back bar. The back bar is a plethora of liquor bottles and stacks of glasses. On the bar itself we can see little bowls of un-shelled peanuts set at regular interval along the bar, interspersed with ashtrays. there are a couple of people sitting at the bar, there are several bar-stools that match the scheme of the bar itself. We are looking from the right hand side of the page up and a little in front of the bar, we can see the entrance (which is a single door, there’re no windows in this club and the door is a plush jobbie) and FRANK coming in. The barman is at this end of the bar, serving a customer ( there are no beer taps, this is a place that sells only liquor, cocktails and probably imported beers in bottles), there’s a plush carpet on the floor of the bar proper, we can see tables scattered around the part of the club we can see.This is a classy joint, not some criminal dive, but classy. It should have a whole 50s vibe like something out of the Dick van Dyke Show or a Sinatra film of the time. Reflected in the bar mirror is the shadowy outline of a quartet on the stage in front of a small dance area of which we can see a little strip as we are looking into the bar. At the far side, after the entrance along that side wall are a mess of booths, we can see that at least two of them are occupied. There are 5 PANELS dropped in at the bottom of the two-page spread.
THE WETBACKS HAD BEEN MAKING IN-ROADS INTO WHAT HAD ONCE BEEN EYETIE AND MICK TERRITORY OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS.
THEY WERE RUNNING MOST OF THE NUMBERS GAMES AND HEAVILY INVESTED IN THE GEE-GEES.THEY PROVIDED NEARLY ALL THE PRO-SKIRT IN TOWN AND WERE THOUGHT TO BE IMPORTING ALL KINDS OF YUMMY NOSE CANDY TO KEEP THE HIGH ROLLERS KICKING OVER AT WEEKENDS.
THE HEAD MUCK-A-MUCK WAS ADOLFO COSTANZA. THEY SAY HE HAD COME HERE WITH NOTHING 30 YEARS AGO AND HAD PUNCHED AND GARROTED HIS WAY TO THE TOP OF THE SHIT-HEAP. AND THERE HE WAS SITTING OVER IN ONE’A THE BOOTHS.
P1: Here we see a stocky man in his mid to late 40s, he has slicked back black hair and a little pencil moustache settling on his upper lip like a shadow. his eyes are small, but intelligent, there is a scar runnIng through his lips on the left hand side, turning his mouth into a permanent scowl. He is dressed in a double-breasted suit, probably a gray color. We can see the arm, side and hand of another man in a dark suit who is standing beside COSTANZA.
COSTANZA WAS THE ‘GO-TO GUY’ FOR MOST OF THE CHICANOS IN THE BARRIO, IF HE’D BEEN ITALIAN, THEN HE WOULD’A BEEN THE GODFATHER. BUT THE SPICS WERE MOVING OUT OF THE TOWN AND HEADING FURTHER EAST.
P2: Here we have moved up to the guy standing next to COSTANZA. He is obviously his bodyguard or enforcer, he is also hispanic but with long dark hair he’s in his 30s and has no facial hair, he is very skinny with sallow skin and a pock-marked face(the ravages of acne), he has a somber look with a feral gleam in his eye. His suit is funeral director dark and he has a white shirt and a thin dark tie.
THAT THERE’S RAÚL MARROQUÍN. HE’S COSTANZA’S ENFORCER, A MEAN PIECE OF SHIT WHO HAS NEVER BEEN KNOWN TO SMILE–OR IF HE HAS NO ONE’S EVER LIVED TO TELL!
P3: We are looking at the band now. This panel can be on the page separation. I don’t know how that would work. There are three musicians, guitar, double-bass and piano (the three musicians are mulatto-Hispanic) and the singer is a girl in her early 20s, definitely Hispanic but with platinum blonde hair. |She has the thin waist and big bum that is ubiquitous on Latin women, and a pair of breasts to die for, she’s wearing a light colored cocktail dress and high heels, she’s holding the microphone stand as delicately as if it’s made of crystal (yes the phallic connotations are very much implied…now get your mind out of the gutter).
THE BAND PLAYED SOMETHING SLICK AND COOL, SOUNDING A LITTLE LIKE COLTRANE OR BAKER. THE CANARY WAS ENRIQUETA MARTÍ, SHE WAS FAVORITE OF COSTANZA’S, SOME SAY HIS MISTRESS, OTHERS…NOTHING! NOT IF THEY WANTED TO LIVE PEACEFULLY THEY DIDN’T.
SHE HAD A DECENT PAIR OF PIPES, BUT I DON’T THINK IT WAS HER VOCAL CHORDS THAT COSTANZA WAS INTERESTED IN.
So this is the second page of the two page spread. Once again the smaller panels are dropped into the bottom of the page.
P1: This is a closer view of the barman that we can see in the main picture. He looks up we are looking from the front looking left, he is placing a martini glass in front of the customer seated at the far end of the bar. The barman is looking towards FRANK as he enters. the barman is about 6″ tall, he is heavy-set and mostly bald except for a ring of dark hair around his pate. He’s about 50-years old and has one of those Mexican droopy moustaches. He is wearing his barkeep uniform of a white shirt, dark waistcoat (vest?) and a little black bow tie. He is looking round at FRANK a little surprised, as well he should be– this is not a place that strangers visit much. The customer is looking round at FRANK too, more from a reaction to the barman than to FRANK himself. He’s thinnish, olive-skinned, he’s wearing a dark double-breasted suit and tie he’s in his late 20s, early 30s with slick-backed dark hair.
I COULD FEEL THE TENSION AS I WALKED IN. THE BAND MISSED A BEAT BUT DIDN’T STOP PLAYING. MY INSIDES LOOSENED A LITTLE, BUT THERE WAS NO BACKING OUT NOW.
P2: This is of the customer sitting at the bar, we are closer in and focused on him, we can see the barman’s hand and arm, moving away from the martini glass that he has just set down, we can see an ashtray at the man’s elbow, there’s a cigar burning away in the ashtray and the man has his face turned toward us, his right cheek resting on his fist that is propping his head up. He looks half-cut, the only person so far that looks like he’s actually been drinking.
I WISHED I’D TAKEN MY GUN OUT THE CAR. BUT–THERE’S NO USE CRYING OVER WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE–AS THEY SAY.