Clifford Boner was a rookie on the streets, new to the force, and naïve he walks down the dark alley without back up. The chain length fence marks the property line, reflects the street light into his eyes, and the Doberman barks and alerts the gang members inside the Victorian home someone’s near on the property.

Smoke Dog walks out on the porch, his tobacco shines an orange ember, the whites of his eyes peek out into the night under the brim of his Yankee’s baseball cap.

Clifford grabs his weapon from the pocket of his leather jacket.

Strobes of light shoot up in the sky, Smoke Dog shoots off a second round. The emergency flare alerts the rest of the gang in the neighborhood there is an intruder.

Smoke Dog lurks in the corner of the porch waiting for Clifford Boner to make the wrong move. His long legs push the porch swing back and forth while he holds his 40 caliber in-between his legs. Any move is the wrong move.

Pony Dog stands on top of the roof next door, signals to Smoke Dog on the porch across the alley with a mirror, that Clifford is right there, three feet away.

Smoke Dog fires five shots, reloads, and fires two more. He didn’t think twice. He laughs without hesitation.

Clifford stares Smoke Dog in the eye in fear, rests his head on the roots of a tree that breaks through the sidewalk. Breathless he gasps for air, and glances into the stars. Memories of his wife and kids bombard his thoughts, the beauty of their smiles, the tenderness of their embrace comforts him.  Fingers grip his gun, but he’s too weak, exhaustion sets in, he can’t fire back one shot. Cold one minute, sweaty the next, his body feels the shock. Dying by the second, his words escape him. He’s made a grave mistake.

Smoke Dog kicks his side, watches Clifford die in silence, and waits for the right opportunity. Fifteen minutes later both of them search down his body. Both of them steal his wallet, his watch, and a diamond ring from his pocket. Death smells of white sewer.

“What do you say? We have a PIG here, brother.” Pony boy says. He flips through the family photographs, yanks out the twenty dollar bill, and throws his wallet in the sewer on the curb of the street. “We could be spending some hard time for this one.”

“Shut your mouth brother.” Pony Boy says. “We aren’t talking to no one about this.”

“You got that right Homie.” Smoke dog says. “This is all about money and street credentials. This poor loser don’t have no brains popping up on these streets. What’s wrong with him man.”

“What’s wrong with you, killing a cop?” Pony Boy pops him one in the eye. “You stupid brother.” He says.

Smoke Dog punches him in the gut. “I am doing this for the money.” He says. “You’re the one that signaled to me. I should pop you one brother. Keep your mouth closed.”

Instructor Response

Clifford Boner was a rookie on the streets, new to the force, and naïve he walks down the dark alley without back up. The chain length fence marks the property line, reflects the street light into his eyes, and the Doberman barks and alerts the gang members inside the Victorian home someone’s near on the property. Yes! Great!

Smoke Dog walks out on the porch, his tobacco shines an orange ember, (tip of his cigarette? maybe for clarity) the whites of his eyes peek out into the night under the brim of his Yankee’s baseball cap.

Clifford grabs his weapon from the pocket of his leather jacket.

Strobes of light shoot up in the sky, Smoke Dog shoots off a second round. The emergency flare alerts the rest of the gang in the neighborhood there is an intruder. Change to: “there is an intruder in the neighborhood.” Be vigilant for awkward syntax and rhythm (both in the prose and the ideation) on revision.

Smoke Dog lurks in the corner of the porch waiting for Clifford Boner to make the wrong move. His long legs push the porch swing back and forth while he holds his 40 caliber in-between his legs. Any move is the wrong move.Pony Dog stands on top of the roof next door, signals to Smoke Dog on the porch across the alley with a mirror, that Clifford is right there, three feet away. Good.

Smoke Dog fires five shots, reloads, and fires two more. He didn’t think twice. He laughs without hesitation.

Clifford stares Smoke Dog in the eye in fear, rests his head on the roots of a tree that breaks through the sidewalk. Breathless he gasps for air, and glances into the stars. Memories of his wife and kids bombard his thoughts, the beauty of their smiles, the tenderness of their embrace comforts him.  Fingers grip his gun, but he’s too weak, exhaustion sets in, he can’t fire back one shot. Cold one minute, sweaty the next, his body feels the shock. Dying by the second, his words escape him. He’s made a grave mistake.  Yes. A great improvement.

Smoke Dog kicks his side, watches Clifford die in silence, and waits for the right opportunity. Fifteen minutes later both of them search down his body. Both of them steal his wallet, his watch, and a diamond ring from his pocket. Death smells of white sewer.

“What do you say? We have a PIG here, brother.” Pony boy says. He flips through the family photographs, yanks out the twenty dollar bill, and throws his wallet in the sewer on the curb of the street. “We could be spending some hard time for this one.”

“Shut your mouth brother.” Pony Boy says. “We aren’t (maybe “ain’t”?) talking to no one about this.”

“You got that right Homie.” Smoke dog says. “This is all about money and street credentials. This poor loser don’t have no brains popping up on these streets. What’s wrong with him man.”

“What’s wrong with you, killing a cop?” Pony Boy pops him one in the eye. “You stupid brother.”  (maybe “bro” for :brother”?  In dialogue, you want to be sure each character is speaking from his or her own world view.  Pony boy seems like an opportunity to increase quality in the writing by using a consistent vernacular.) He says.

Smoke Dog punches him in the gut. “I am doing this for the money.” He says. “You’re the one that signaled to me. I should pop you one brother. Keep your mouth closed.”

Wow. You’ve done it well. One point about storytelling: look to insert suspense and mystery in the writing. This is often done when conflict situations occur. Think about Clifford dying in silence. Dead people make lousy characters. Why not keep Clifford alive until the end of the scene even if he says nothing, doesn’t move, and we don’t know his thoughts? Suspense to the end! He’s there and he’s alive, and he’s a better character alive than as a corpse. And when he dies, dramatize it. It’s an important moment, and you miss an opportunity when you have him die silently.

Good going. And all the best. WHC

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