Stolen Loneliness Bonus Content
The second installment of TDC Streetlight Stories is in the books. Unlike our first attempt The Dark Days of Carolyn Taskman, this second story was broader, had more characters, and took much longer to complete. The end result, I think, is a story that has more impact and that I hope has an ending that resonates stronger.
The decision to release the story once a day for a week worked well because of the five page plot. Also, I wanted to get away from a weekly release, considering TDC’s main webcomic already has a weekly release schedule. By the activity on our Twitter over the past week or so, it looks like this was the right way to go.
The script to this story started benignly enough. I’ve always wanted to write a heist story, but the real story I wanted to write would be much broader and not fit for the more compact storytelling we’re going for in our Streetlight Stories format. But the themes I wanted were there, so instead I decided to fast forward to the end of the story, and what happens to our thugs after all the sirens have faded.
In the attached script you’ll find a few slight differences between the original and the final pages posted on the site. The two biggest differences are pacing, and the ending.
As far as pacing goes, being a prose writer first and a script writer only more recently, I sometimes struggle with the correct flow of a visual story. I like to think I have a good understanding of a novel or short story’s pacing, and I use it as often as I can, to my advantage. However, when writing scripts, sometimes a read through of the script seems spot on, but once the pages are put together and the panels are drawn, the pacing is too fast, and dramatic moments or even character conversations can seem rushed. The silent inference that a reader makes in regular prose, that beat you take in your head when you read a conversation between two characters in a novel, mimics everyday conversations. When the visual element is introduced, that cadence can be thrown off. You see both parties talking, so that beat is not placed in the same spot. So many times after completing my initial page layouts, I add in (and I find myself adding, more than taking away) extra dialogue to help with this pacing.
Also, my first and second drafts tend to be heavy with verbal clichés. It takes a bunch of re-readings and edits to excise them all, but I usually get most of them. You’ll see evidence of that all over the initial script as well.
When it comes to the ending, my initial thought was to have Connelly stay behind as the others left and take care of the hostages before he drives off. I considered that the other guys wouldn’t let him do it, especially after his confrontation with Chandler. But I could remedy this, I thought, by having them turn a blind eye to his actions. They all get in their cars, pretend that he did the same, even though he stayed back and will complete the grizzly deed they all want done but don’t have the heart to. Evidence of this still lingers in this initial script when Connelly says: “We can’t risk it. You know that boss. I’ll do ‘em quick.” This line was expanded further in the final comic to include how he would do it and that no one else had the stomach for it.
But the more I considered it, them more I felt a more powerful ending would leave the hostages stranded. The crew could do their same naïve departure, but this time, they assume, unjustly, that someone, anyone would stop by to let them out. It would take too long though, and they would be scot-free by this point. But buried deep in all of their heads would be the truth. No one was coming. They were too far from the city, too far from civilization. A more horrible ending for our poor hostages, more terrible that being carved up by a psychopath in my opinion, was wasting away in a sealed room for weeks.
Lively stuff! But truthfully, I hope the ending was a bit of a punch in the stomach for anyone reading. The hardest part about writing in this genre is avoiding the many excellent ideas and tales that have come before. It was hard enough for me to avoid Reservoir Dogs while writing this and I didn’t even have an undercover cop in my story. So for this sad, somewhat diabolical, story I tried to cap it off with an ending that flipped the standard crooks arguing over ethics on its head. They are benignly evil it turns out, and sometimes that’s so much worse.
I hope everyone enjoyed this installment. I had a lot of fun creating it (total time worked on it was a couple months while still trying to find the time for regular TDC updates). We’re gonna put Streetlight Stories three on the shelf for a month or two while I get caught up on This Desperate City proper pages, but it’ll definitely be back soon.
Quick administration stuff. I will be leaving this story up for another week while I keep pimping it on twitter and other sites when I can. Look for a new TDC page the week of the 21st of January.
Also, IMPORTANT. We had to reassign our RSS feed service! So if you are subscribed to our RSS feed you will have to RE-subscribe to the new service! The old one went out of business apparently.
I think that covers it. Have a great new year, and we’ll be back soon with more updates!
Taking a breather,
Stolen Time – Streetlight Stories Episode 2
R1P1 [Stack of cash on a table]
LE’CARRE: Two hundred Gs less than we counted on.
HOUSTON: So how much each?
LE’CARRE: Still looks like . . . seven hundred and change.
R1P2 [Hand on a stack of money]
HOUSTON: Seven hundred thousand dollars … That’s amazing.
LE’CARRE: And change.
R1P3 [another hand on top of the first. Same shot with extra hand]
CHANDLER: No. No one dips until he’s done.
R2P1 [HOUSTON Putting his hands up and smiling. He is a thin man, balding on the sides]
HOUSTON: Relax Chandler, I meant no harm.
R2P2 [Le’Carre looking a little scared to his left. He is wearing a fedora and an unkempt tie]
LE’CARRE: It’s okay. I’m just about finished.
R2P3 [Hands counting stacks of money]
R3 Full [All four of them sitting around a table. Stack of money is on the table, Guns scattered around. Le’Carre’s back is facing camera but he’s wearing the fedora so you know who he is. To his left is Houston, his right Chandler. The fourth man, Connelly, is opposite. He has no shirt on and the left half of his body is covered in tattoos. These may not be visible the first time we meet him]
SFX (Lower right of panel): THUMP THUMP
HOUSTON: How much longer?
LE’CARRE: I’m almost finished.
HOUSTON: No, I mean before we can get the hell out of here
CHANDLER: Hour tops. Split the money, burn the clothes, leave one at a time.
HOUSTON: What about …
CHANDLER: What about what, Houston? What about what?
R1P1 [A rusty door with a small vent at the top]
SFX: THUMP THUMP
HOUSTON: Nothing Chandler, nothing.
R1P2 [Over the shoulder shot of LE’CARRE finishing counting, money stacked neatly in front of him, calculator at his side]
LE’CARRE: Done. Seven hundred forty seven thousand dollars apiece. That’s including taking out Old Man Aldo’s cut for letting us run it on his turf.
R1P3 [The door again, but in the foreground is a triangle light above the table. The only light in the room.]
LE’CARRE: Don’t spend in all in one place boys.
R2P1 [A series of face on shots of each man here, to establish again what they look like. LE’CARRE’s hand pushing the money to each]
LE’CARRE: Boss’s privilege, yours first Chandler.
CHANDLER: You’re a gentleman Le’Carre.
R2P2 [HOUSTON, smiling]
LE’CARRE: And for ye of little patience, Houston.
HOUSTON: Bite me.
R2P3 [Connelly. Feet up on the table, a long blade in his hand. Now we can see the tats.
LE’CARRE: Connelly, most deserved.
CONELLY: . . .
R3P1 [LE’CARRE holding the cash to his face and smiling at it like a pillow]
LE’CARRE: And finally the rest for the bean counter.
R3P2 [A hand cocking a pistol]
CHANDLER: Okay, pack it up and let’s call it quits. Sick of seeing all of your ugly mugs.
R3P3 [Same door shot as the first panel]
VOICE FROM THE DOOR: Hello? Hello? Please . . .
R1P1 [Dark half face shots of Le’Carre and Houston]
R1P2 [Chandler, head down, swiping the cash into a duffle bag]
CHANDLER: What the hell do you want Houston? You got your money now let’s get the hell out of here and catch our flights.
R1P3 [Same Shot as first on this page]
HOUSTON: What about?
R2P1 [Same shot of Chandler only this time his head is up and looking at camera]
CHANDLER: What Houston? What about what?
R2P2 [Connelly, still sitting in the same position, holding his knife point down]
CONNELLY: Houston wants to know what we intend to do with the old man and the young girl we currently have tied up in the next room. I’m actually kinda interested myself too.
R2P3 [Same shot again of Le’Carre and Houston]
LE’CARRE: Me too.
HOUSTON: Yea, yea, exactly.
R3 All [Two hostages on their knees. Full body shot of them, hands over their heads. Men are standing behind them, pointing guns at their heads. We can’t see the tops of their bodies though. This is a flashback to the heist]
CHANDLER DLB: Job was going fine. We shouldn’t have even taken them in the first place.
HOUSTON DLB: We had to boss, you know that. It was all part of the plan. It was the only way the cops were gonna let us out of there alive.
CHANDLER: I know. And I didn’t like it from the beginning. This entire job went without a hitch, didn’t even have to pull a trigger. No murder. You know how much easier it is to get away with cash when there’s no murder?
R1P1 [Connelly, leaning over the table, his face downlit from the light above. Knife stabbing into the table with his hand on the hilt]
CONNELY: I couldn’t give less of a sh!t how it happened. Question is what we do now?
R1P2 [Chandler with the duffel back around his shoulder, putting a hand out to calm down Connelly]
CHANDLER: Chill, Connelly, Chill. We don’t have to do anything.
R1P3 [Le’Carre, hands out, confused]
LE’CARRE: You want to just leave them here? They’ve heard us, our names, they can ID us.
R2P1 [Houston, a hand in the camera waving it back and forth]
HOUSTON: No, no, that ain’t true. They don’t know shit.
VOICE FROM INSIDE: He’s right! Please, just let us out. We don’t know anything!
R2p2 and p3 [Double wide, Connelly casually pointing his knife at Chandler’s chest. Chandler, with his hands on his duffel bag but his gun at his side.]
CONNELLY: We can’t risk it. You know that boss. I’ll do ‘em quick.
CHANDLER: First off Connelly, you do what I say. Secondly, you point that sticker somewhere else right quick.
R3P1 [close up of Connelly smile, broken teeth]
CONNELLY: Make me boy.
R3P2 and 3 [LE’Carre stands between them, his hands out separating them. More of an upper body shot than just a full body]
LE’CARRE: ENOUGH! We’ve got our money. We’ve got separate plane tickets to different destinations. The four of us aren’t going to ever see each other again in a matter of an hour. Be real stupid if we started comparing dIcks here and someone got hurt.
CONNELLY: Sure thing Le’Carre. Sure thing. So we don’t kill ‘em if you’re all too sensitive.
R1P1 [Connelly, close up, the blade covering half his face]
CONNELLY: I could always just cut out their tongues. Take the cops days to figure out what happened and we’ll be long gone by then.
R1P2 [Houston picking up his bag and getting ready to leave]
HOUSTON: This is ridiculous. There’s no reason to do anything. Let’s just go. Leave ‘em in there.
VOICE: What? No! No you can’t! Please we don’t know anything!
R2P1 [Chandler, bag slung over his shoulder, gun at the ready. Yelling]
CHANDLER: Shut up! You kidding me? Shut up!
R2P2 [Chandler walking towards the front door. He’s leaving, hand waving good bye]
CHANDLER: I’m leaving. My flight takes off in forty-five. No extradition sounds even better without a murder wrap on my hands. See you boys in another life
R2P3 [Le’Carre and Houston looking at each other again]
LE’CARRE: We’re seventy miles from the city. This place is abandoned. No telling how long they’ll be locked up for.
HOUSTON: We can’t just unlock ‘em, Le’Carre. Let’s just go.
LE’CARRE: This really sucks.
R3p1 [Semi overhead shot of abandoned building. Four cars with tracks to a dirt road. Small figures walking out. Chandler’s care is already driving away. Can’t tell who’s who, but word bubbles point anyway]
HOUSTON: You’re gonna forget all about this in a few hours when you’re on the beach.
LE’CARRE: Yea, you’re right. Someone’s bound to show up. You take care of yourself Houston.
R3P2 [Same overhead shot but the cars are all driving away. Except one. One has remained behind]
R3P3 [Door, and Connelly’s arm in the foreground with the knife]
VOICE BEHIND DOOR: Did they leave?
VOICE 2: Yea. Thank God. Now let’s figure out how to get out of here.