?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
11 August 2014 @ 03:29 pm
LJ Idol Season Nine: "Gianni The Enforcer"  
Gianni The Enforcer
lj idol season 9 | week 17 | 741 words
"scare quotes"

x-x-x-x-x-x

I know what you're gonna ask. Yeah, I had bigger hopes than this when I was growing up, but things don't always work out, you know? My grades weren't so good, and Ma was always busy at the newspaper. My cousin Larry was the smart one, and now he's working for People magazine. It ain't prestige, but it pays. Me? I guess you could say my job is in accounts and enforcement.

Yeah. I'm the muscle.

My partner is a guy named Floyd. Most of the time, everyone plays by the rules and we don't have to get involved. That's the way we like it. But every now and then, some Weisenheimer decides to write a newspaper or magazine article and make up some of the quotes, which is illegal or something. Or maybe they start putting quotation marks around words that don't need them, like "food" or "official" or "new."

When that happens, somebody's getting paid to violate the code, and that makes all Quotation Marks look bad. Punctuation is an old profession, and the Family doesn't hold with that kind of business. That's where Floyd and I come in.

We'll drop in on the doers, maybe show up at their house in the middle of the night. Floyd'll talk to them about paying damages to the guild for taking bad jobs (he trots out big words like spur-i-ous and im-pli-ca-tions, and a couple of others I forget). I just smack my club against my hand and talk about kneecaps. The doers start running for their piggy banks about then, and a lot of times, that's the end of it. But once in a while, there's someone who just needs the money worse than most, or can't see the line clear enough to keep from crossing it.

Vinnie Paladucci was one of those guys. Poor Vinnie. Maybe he had gambling debts or some kind of drug habit to feed, but whatever the reason, he was one of our regulars. "I swear, this is the last time," he always said, but he'd be back working the dirty side-jobs in no time. Vinnie made me do things I swore I'd never be part of—breaking legs, cutting off fingers, and worse. Aw, Vinnie. Why couldn't he have kept it together?

Vinnie's at the bottom of the ocean now. I sure as hell hope he stays there.

Other punctuation groups, like Periods, they don’t see this kind of trouble. They almost always show up where they belong, and they don't get extras coming to the same job. They're pretty self-regulating. Exclamation points go a little crazy sometimes, but what can you expect? Then there are the Commas. A lot of 'em have drinking problems, sure, and they're unreliable. You might have too many or not enough, but the worst they can do is make things garbled.

People don't file lawsuits because of commas bracketing things in print that nobody actually said. Fuckin' commas. They got it easy, compared to us. There were two of 'em on the sidewalk drinking out of brown paper bags just now, when Floyd and I got in the car to go see Jimmy the Knife. Jimmy put up a sign outside his bar last night, advertising floor shows with "live" girls. Instead of what, shows with dead ones? Jimmy oughtta know better, and I'm wondering if I'll have to use the club on him. I really hope it doesn't come to that.

I still feel pretty bad about Vinnie. Tell the truth, I don't really like this line of work, not when it gets ugly. Ma's never been very happy about it either, but what can I do? I don't have the smarts for much else.

"Take a job in legal, Gianni," Ma always says. "They'll show you exactly where to stand, every time. They're very particular."

Maybe she's right. I'm getting too old to be busting up neighborhood pals and the guys like Vinnie who just can't play it straight. There's no future in this line of work, and they don't even offer retirement. Sure, I'd miss hanging out with the guys in the back room at Paolo's, but I hear those law places have pretty good coffee.

I'll have to think about it, though if today goes south, it'll make the decision a whole lot easier. Hey, at least I wouldn't have to buy new work clothes.

I've already got a closet full of suits.


--/--


If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

 
 
 
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatrebleodswean on August 11th, 2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!! Punctuation enforcers! I love it! This line was perfection - Vinnie's at the bottom of the ocean now. I sure as hell hope he stays there.

Cute! If breaking legs can be cute and I think you proved it can!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Laugh SPNhalfshellvenus on August 11th, 2014 10:36 pm (UTC)
Boy, you are like lightning! I barely got this thing posted. :D

Sometimes, a prompt just begs for a really literal interpretation, and much of the time, that leads to crack. It was overdue!
(no subject) - bleodswean on August 11th, 2014 10:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on August 11th, 2014 10:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bleodswean on August 11th, 2014 10:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bleodswean on August 11th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on August 11th, 2014 10:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rayaso on August 12th, 2014 02:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on August 12th, 2014 04:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on August 11th, 2014 10:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - roina_arwen on August 13th, 2014 07:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on August 13th, 2014 08:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
theun4givablestheun4givables on August 11th, 2014 11:36 pm (UTC)
Omg, dude. This was great. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Yay!halfshellvenus on August 11th, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC)
Hee hee! I'm so glad you liked it. :D
rayasorayaso on August 12th, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
This was wonderful! It had me smiling all through it, and laughing out loud several times. This was a great idea, and you wrote it so well!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 12th, 2014 04:54 am (UTC)
I couldn't resist interpreting the prompt as quotation marks who literally scare others. And what better opportunity for that than punctuation Mafia? :D
cindytsuki_no_bara on August 12th, 2014 04:59 am (UTC)
i love this! punctuation enforcers! kneecapping people for using unnecessary or just plain wrong quotation marks! alcoholic commas! reliable periods! it's a weirdly literal and really fun take on the prompt.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 12th, 2014 06:52 am (UTC)
I often think that getting really literal makes for the best crack. It just takes you to the strangest places!

And you know that commas are totally like that. You can't trust 'em to behave. :D
i_17bingoi_17bingo on August 12th, 2014 02:16 pm (UTC)
Somebody has to go after the freaking apostrophe abusers. Like freaking now. Because violence needs to happen to these people.

You don't pluralize with apostrophes DAMMIT!

Can I borrow Gianni and Floyd? I clearly have some things to work out.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 12th, 2014 04:42 pm (UTC)
You don't pluralize with apostrophes DAMMIT!
That was something kathrynrose mentioned in an earlier "Message to my Facebook friends" rant-list. An apostrophe does not make anything plural. Ever.

You can borrow the enforcers! I'm sure they'd be happy to work off-book on side-enforcement of other issues.

Oh, wait...
mistearyusdiva2mistearyusdiva2 on August 12th, 2014 02:18 pm (UTC)
OMG this was fantastabulously brilliant !!!! Such a beautiful literal approach ... so original and so funny.... The thing about Commas - " You might have too many or not enough, but the worst they can do is make things garbled."

I salute you the creative brain of yours ....
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 12th, 2014 04:43 pm (UTC)
Haha-- thank you!

I rarely see people use too many commas (though every now and then), but both the absence and abundance of the wrong commas will leave you thinking, "They WHAT now?!?"
shimmerdreamshimmerdream on August 12th, 2014 11:44 pm (UTC)
This is hilarious! Also, is it wrong for me to wish that Punctuation Enforcers existed in real life?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2014 05:09 am (UTC)
I sometimes wish they did, especially for repeat offenders! :D
tonithegreattonithegreat on August 13th, 2014 01:42 am (UTC)
This is indeed fabulous! Love it! And I feel like I need to borrow the goons for every second or third cheap restraunt menu I see.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2014 05:26 am (UTC)
Menus for places like Tinys Burger's, home of "quality" meals?

I've been to some of those places. And the nearby stores that seem to be run by the same people!
tatdatcmtatdatcm on August 13th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
I love what you did with this. It's brilliant. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2014 05:27 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :D
Teo Sayseternal_ot on August 13th, 2014 06:37 am (UTC)
Bwahaha..Brilliant work...I really enjoyed reading this..I loved the concept and you executed it really well..Kudos!! Hats Off!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2014 05:41 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad it brought you some fun. :D
n3m3sis43n3m3sis43 on August 13th, 2014 12:30 pm (UTC)
Hahahah, this was awesome. I especially loved how the commas had it easy compared to the quotation marks. And were drunks. I mean, it makes sense why they're all over the place sometimes if that's the case.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2014 05:42 pm (UTC)
I mean, it makes sense why they're all over the place sometimes if that's the case.
And there are too many, or (more often) too few, or they're in the wrong places. Staggering around sentences, falling off the page...

You just know it's all true. :D

Glad you liked it!
AlexPGPalexpgp on August 13th, 2014 06:30 pm (UTC)
Marvelous!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2014 06:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen": Spell Czechroina_arwen on August 13th, 2014 07:58 pm (UTC)
This was wonderfully adorable! Great idea! :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! Poor Gianni. A new job might just suit him.
mamas_minion: Sneaky Bastard Minionmamas_minion on August 13th, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
Hilarious, I hope they never come after me. Great concept!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
I think, so long as you're not an actual punctuation mark, you're probably safe.

Though if you repeatedly create situations where quotation marks might be tempted to take those illicit jobs, well... that might just attract some notice. :O ;)
lriG rorriMlrig_rorrim on August 13th, 2014 10:02 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Ohhhhhh you and your crack. ;) I love this!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Flailhalfshellvenus on August 13th, 2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
I love crack. I feel as if I've held off on quite a bit of it for S9 (partly because my husband is writing crack-ish things), but when I went back to look, I only had 3 crack entries in S8, and that thing went on forever. :D
John Louis: Applause Colbertgrail76 on August 14th, 2014 12:37 am (UTC)
Punctuation police. Love it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 14th, 2014 12:49 am (UTC)
:D These were more the punctuation mafia, but either way... break the rules, suffer the consequences!

Ah, Colbert. I will miss his show so very much. :(
(no subject) - grail76 on August 14th, 2014 01:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
Kellykajel on August 14th, 2014 01:05 am (UTC)
Yes! I love when you do crack.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Yay!halfshellvenus on August 14th, 2014 01:23 am (UTC)
Hee-- I'm glad someone else besides me enjoys it! \o/
ArmagedDanhosticle_fifer on August 14th, 2014 02:21 am (UTC)
LOL, Grammar Nazi Brute Squad. Or, more accurately, Punctuation Mafia Enforcement Goons. Funny stuff!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 14th, 2014 06:30 am (UTC)
I guess even quotation marks can be fitted for cement overshoes. ;)
A Crimson Plumcrimsonplum on August 14th, 2014 02:42 am (UTC)
I edit for a living. Can I hire this guy? :) Loved it!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 14th, 2014 06:31 am (UTC)
Yes-- and their kin, the Grammar Good Squad. Because heaven knows, we could use more help from them!
D.binaryorchid on August 14th, 2014 05:01 am (UTC)
Hehe, that was amazing!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 14th, 2014 06:31 am (UTC)
So glad you enjoyed it. :D
Jemima Paulerjem0000000 on August 14th, 2014 06:13 am (UTC)
Lol, this was great. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 14th, 2014 06:31 am (UTC)
Thank you!
(no subject) - jem0000000 on August 15th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
favoritebeanfavoritebean on August 14th, 2014 08:14 am (UTC)
This was terribly funny crack, and oh so necessary today.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 15th, 2014 05:53 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and that it gave you some fun. :)
Direst Ryl: Y-O-U-Rryl on August 14th, 2014 02:19 pm (UTC)
Jimmy put up a sign outside his bar last night, advertising floor shows with "live" girls. Instead of what, shows with dead ones
"Live" girls tonight! As opposed to the dead ones that usually work here!

Have you seen Weird Al's grammar police videos? That's what this post reminded me of.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 15th, 2014 05:54 am (UTC)
I haven't heard of those!

Though really, someone like Weird Al is perfectly suited to taking someone's stupid mistake and blowing it up through the roof. :D
whipchickwhipchick on August 14th, 2014 05:40 pm (UTC)
Just terrific! I love what you did with the prompt, and this was so clever and funny!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 15th, 2014 06:00 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I so enjoy writing crack, when a prompt wants to go there. The more absurd but internally-consistent, the better. :)
Es'kaeska818 on August 14th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC)
The voice of this piece is striking and feels very unique when I think about the other pieces you've written - and by that, I mean it's very awesome to see you branch out and do so well with it. Applauding the humor and skill, and also kind of laughing, because I recently read your husband's piece, and while it is different, it is vaguely similar in concept. You two are adorkable! I mean that in the best way possible, I'm super envious of your relationship meshness. (I totally just made that word up)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on August 15th, 2014 06:22 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed this!

I've veered off into crack before, and honestly didn't know my husband leaned so much toward it until he started writing for Idol. I've really gotten a kick out of his stories!

For approaches and voices, though, I'll go with whatever seems to work for a prompt. Nothing-- even punctuation mafiosi-- is off limits!