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View Full Version : Cafe Azul - Adult themed



sailorguitar
July 27th, 2014, 09:33 AM
** I appreciate any and all constructive criticism, ideas, thoughts, smears... whatever. Thanks for reading **
** There are no "4-letter words" in this story, but it is adult themed.


Zona Rosa, 3:30 a.m. The barrio was quiet now. One hour earlier and the streets had been alive, lethal, but the action had fallen off leaving a restless vacuumin its wake.

Though it made money for those whodid business here it would be hard to find a rougher part of the city, even if the money flowing through these streets wasn’t exactly legally obtained. Money being money though, Raul didn’t mind how he got it. That attitude had taken him away and brought him home wealthy by local standards. A bandito, he thought, do they ever get out alive? He considered this as he unplugged the Christmas lights strung across the rafters and he chuckled despite the answer to the question.He blew out the few remaining candles on the bar and tables.The whirling ceiling fan he left on, the hum of the motor comforting, and walked across the empty barroom to his office at the back.

On a side street one block off the main drag sat Raul’s establishment, CaféAzul. The two-story building and property he had paid for in cash one hot and rainy afternoon, slapping down 100 dollar bills on the rain streaked hood of his old Ford Falcon and counting out loud as the wide eyed real estate agent watched. His wife, Unice ran it as a café during the day serving coffee and pastries and sandwiches. The vertically blue and white striped building serving as a beacon for those re-animating for the onslaught of another day and the liquid night that followed. At night it became a bar; a neighborhood bar, a neutral zone respected amongst the competing interests ofthe barrio because of Raul, because of the fading light in the evening, because neutral ground was needed and because the bar squatted amongst the monotonous houses these same people came from. Raul was one of them, in a way. Here at Azul, a mixed crowd usually; men and women, young and old despite the dancers on the pole three nights a week and the rooms upstairs with mirrors on the ceiling: Casa Pantera, for those so inclined.

He had come back to Mexico to leave behind the life he had lived up north but he had brought much of it home with him. Indeed, more than he had imagined,and he was foolish to think he could escape what he had left behind in Seattle. A part of him, a part he wasn’tready to talk to yet, knew this. After all, he hadn’t left, he had run like a bandito.

Raul could hear the approaching click-clack of heels across the wood floor of the barroom and he was certain by the rhythm of the steps which dancer it was. They were all beautiful, the girls that worked here were, and he adored them all, maybe a little too much andUnice wasn’t the jealous type. But hewould feel the fiery wrath of her blood in a shuddering coldness and a wall ofsilence if he ever violated her trust, and besides he valued her friendship,the years they had together and her trust and affection too much to hurt her. To stab her in that way, he would never forgive himself. They also had a daughter together, Talia, and she made the trust they shared more valuable than anything.

Kat peered in and leaned on the door frame of his office with one hand cocked on a hip, her collection of gold bracelets falling down her arm and gathering in a reflective cluster at her wrist.

“Buenos noches jefe. You run a good place here Raul.” She said.He looked up from counting the money and receipts. He could tell she was tired but she gave him a meaningful look.

“De nada bonita. I think all of us make this a good place.” He replied. His reading glasses sat low on his nose and stretched from ear to eararound his large round head, he leaned back in his chair and looked over thetop of the frames at her, crossing his arms over his chest as he did so. Some of the girls here called him papa, usually with a warm smile.

“Yes, I think so too.” She smiled and put a fist to her mouth and yawned, “Have a good night. I’m going home. Sayhi to mama Unice and Talia for me, will you?”

“Okay, I will. Are you coming in tomorrow?”

“Si, I’ll be here tomorrow. Adios.” She waved and turned to leave, her hips swaying as she disappeared into the darkened interior of the barroom. A creaking sound and then a pale elongated rectangle of powdery streetlight stretched through the empty café as Kat opened the front door to leave. A distant police car’s siren wailed. The door swung shut behind her. Raul got up and locked the door and went backto his office.

He was organizing the day’s money and receipts into bundles and wrapping them in rubber bands when he thought he heard a small knock on the door. He paused in his counting and cocked his head, was that a knock? He wasn’t sure. But there it was again, three short raps. He looked at his cell, it was fiveto four. What was someone doing knocking on the door at this hour? Was it Kat? From outside the café looked closed and empty. He got up, grabbed his snub nosed .38 revolver from the desk drawer, swept a hand through his oiled black hair and began making his way towards thefront door. He was about halfway there when he heard his phone. He stopped. His mind jumped, he suddenly felt a stony weight in his stomach and he knew: this is strange, something is wrong. The Russian is here. An itch produced itself at the nape of hisneck. He looked back at his phone and it was twisting around on the desk, vibrating. Three more knocks, this time a little louder, followed by shuffling noises from beyond the door. He walked back to hisphone and picked it up.

“Halo?”He answered quietly.

“Raul.”Kat said; it was a statement, a confirmation. She sighed. Her voice was low, almost a whisper and she sounded afraid.

“Yes, what’s going on Kat?”

“Raul, there are two men at thefront of the bar. They don’t look good. Dressed in black…”She trailed off and muttered under her breath, then, “… gringos.”

“Wha…”He was cut off by a loud banging noise at thedoor and he realized whoever was at the other side was now trying to break downthe door. He thought again with rising alarm: It’s the Russian, he is here. Raul had no enemies here and if hedid he would know; this was something else, from somewhere else.

“Get out jefe.”He could hear herbreathing.Her voice was quieter butviolent in its command. “Leave. Get out! Hurry!” She hissed in a horse whisper.
Quickly he walked to his office andgrabbed the cash and receipts. And as the sound of splintering wood exploded through the empty barroom, he was running for the back door.

Ride the Pen
July 27th, 2014, 05:06 PM
I'm assuming this isn't the whole story - how long is the entire piece?

I like the mood you are painting there, that nitty-gritty underground feeling, well done! Nice description of light and moody details (bracelet, etc...).

There is a lot of telling as opposed to showing, you quickly run through a lot of backstory - but the shorter your entire piece is, the less this matters. If it's a novel though, you should definitely wrap up your info more carefully into the "showing" pieces of your tale and also spread the info out more.

The language got some obvious mistakes which confuse the reader: Eg, "...and besides he valued her friendship,the years they had together and her trust and affection too much to hurt her." ---> you mean "...the years they had had together..." The first sentence of the second paragraph is confusing, because it takes a bit to figure out what you mean by "it" - that's because you started a new paragraph in between "the barrio" and "it". Those are just examples.

Dialogue: Needs some work. The character of the personas doesn't really show through in the dialogue and the talking a bit constrained. Her calling him "jefe", for example, feels forced to me. You could make the spoken lines even shorter to add to that Western-feeling.

Hope this helps.

dither
July 27th, 2014, 05:36 PM
Interesting.
Strong writing.
Can feel the tension.

sailorguitar
July 28th, 2014, 09:25 AM
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, this is the intro to a longer story. I will work on the showing, it's hard for me to get away from. Thanks!

ranjit23das
August 8th, 2014, 10:37 PM
Hi

you describe inanimate objects as though they are alive. May be better to re-phrase eg
"streets had been alive, lethal, ..."
- I guess you mean there was a lot of activity in the streets, some of it dangerous. But a road itself cannot be alive or lethal.
" feel the fiery wrath of her blood"
- blood is inanimate, it does not have feelings like wrath.

Find it hard to believe a coffee shop by day could become a hangout for hoods by night. Where do the poles go when its a daytime coffee shop?

"He had come back to Mexico to leave behind the life he had lived up north"
If he left Seattle to get away from the seedy side of life, why move to a seedy neighborhood in Mexico? Why not move to Vermont or Cape Cod?

Hard to believe a man running a pole dancing club would stay faithful to his partner; must be a saint.

sailorguitar
August 9th, 2014, 09:59 AM
To ranjit23das. I appreciate your comments. This story is the beginning of a longer story. He was in Seattle, was involved in illegal stuff and he took the money and ran back to his home in Mexico. He had to leave the U.S. As far as a coffee shop turning into a bar, or even a strip club at night.... I don't know what to say. I've actually been to places like that, at night and during the day. The pole doesn't go anywhere... for some reason I can hear you gasping at the horror - offense. Also, if you can't believe that a woman would stick by her man while he runs a bar/brothel all I can say is: travel and see some different cultures, not all women are cut from the same mold, nor are all cultures or the realities of what people do to make a living in different socio-economic situations. What is good or offensive to you, may not be so to someone else What about a married woman/mother running a strip club/bar/brothel?

Fiery wrath of her blood. Yes, her blood is unfeeling. The blood is not really expressing wrath with it's feelings, like a caged lion would. I think this is an allusion, where one thing, blood, is used to describe something else, her feelings.

The streets being alive. You are right, streets are not alive in the same sense that a giraffe is alive, I don't think so anyway. But I tried to use it in such a way as to animate the streets, to allude to the people on the streets, the businesses, the interactions. The streets as an organism.

I hope this helps. I am here to learn and grow my writing muscles.

Apex
August 9th, 2014, 08:23 PM
Well, I can see you speak Spanish. When writing for English speaking readers, use only English words. Using words other than English won’t help your story at all. Every sentences should have an action word. It’s true some things must be told, by not by the author…by your characters only.
You are falling into the trap of having a good story, and screwing it up by telling it, rather than showing it. When you tell a story, the readers imagining will not click on. When you show a story it does. Once the readers imagination is full one you have them hooked. The reader must never hear you talking.
I see in your picture you are fishing. I used to fish. When fishing there is a golden rule, If you are talking, the sound of your voice travels through the pole, down the line into the water…the fish can hear this…he will not take the hook.

If you do not know how to show a story, I, and I'm sure there are many others who will help you learn this needed trick.

qwertyman
August 10th, 2014, 10:20 AM
This is my kind of genre and I think you evoke the atmosphere very well. However, you ‘spill’ too much information. Save some for later in the plot. I’m not sure about a ‘restless vacuum’, they don’t seem to relate to each other.

Consider mentioning the Cafer Azul before Raul unplugs the Christmas lights.
I’ve been around a bit and I can’t imagine a pole dancing club and a tea and cakes establishment sharing the same space.

*

That attitude had taken him away and brought him home wealthy by local standards. A bandito, he thought, do they ever get out alive? He considered this as
Consider cutting and re-introduce later

*


Money being money though, Raul didn’t mind how he got it he unplugged the Christmas lights strung across the rafters and he chuckled despite the answer to the question.

What was the question?
*


The two-story building and property he had paid for in cash one hot and rainy afternoon, slapping down 100 dollar bills on the rain streaked hood of his old Ford Falcon and counting out loud as the wide eyed real estate agent watched.

Consider saving this for later
*


At night it became a bar; a neighborhood bar, a neutral zone respected amongst the competing interests of the barrio because of Raul, because of the fading light in the evening, because neutral ground was needed and because the bar squatted amongst the monotonous houses these same people came from.

A very long sentence and I struggle to understand, ‘monotonous houses'.
*


Raul was one of them, in a way. Here at Azul, a mixed crowd usually; men and women, young and old.

Repetitive.
*


He had come back to Mexico to leave behind the life he had lived up north but he had brought much of it home with him. Indeed, more than he had imagined,and he was foolish to think he could escape what he had left behind in Seattle. A part of him, a part he wasn’tready to talk to yet, knew this. After all, he hadn’t left, he had run like a bandito.

…and Unice wasn’t the jealous type. But he would feel the fiery wrath of her blood in a shuddering coldness and a wall of silence if he ever violated her trust, and besides he valued her friendship, the years they had together and her trust and affection too much to hurt her. To stab her in that way, he would never forgive himself. They also had a daughter.


The two-story building and property he had paid for in cash one hot and rainy afternoon, slapping down 100 dollar bills on the rain streaked hood of his old Ford Falcon and counting out loud as the wide eyed real estate agent watched.
He had come back to Mexico to leave behind the life he had lived up north but he had brought much of it home with him. Indeed, more than he had imagined,and he was foolish to think he could escape what he had left behind in Seattle. A part of him, a part he wasn’tready to talk to yet, knew this. After all, he hadn’t left, he had run like a bandito.

…and Unice wasn’t the jealous type. But he would feel the fiery wrath of her blood in a shuddering coldness and a wall of silence if he ever violated her trust, and besides he valued her friendship, the years they had together and her trust and affection too much to hurt her. To stab her in that way, he would never forgive himself. They also had a daughter.

Save all this for later. 'Show' this in a back-story chapter.
*


. He could tell she was tired but she gave him a meaningful look.

Why does one rely upon the other?
*

His reading glasses sat low on his nose and stretched from ear to ear around his large round head

How else could they stretch?
*

...her collection of gold bracelets falling down her arm and gathering in a reflective cluster at her wrist.

Consider an audible result of the bracelets falling. He’s unplugged the lights and blown out the candles. The reader is in a gloomy place
*

She waved and turned to leave, her hips swaying as she disappeared into the darkened interior of the barroom. A creaking sound and then a pale elongated rectangle of powdery streetlight stretched through the empty café as Kat opened the front door to leave. A distant police car’s siren wailed. The door swung shut behind her. Raul got up and locked the door and went back to his office.

Consider Raul following her to the door, letting her out and re-locking it, it’s that kind of neighbourhood. A line of dialogue would explain everything, ’can you let me out, jefe.’
*

From outside the café looked closed and empty.

This is superfluous and, the way it’s written, implies a different POV.
*

His mind jumped, he suddenly felt a stony weight in his stomach and he knew: this is strange, something is wrong. The Russian is here. An itch produced itself at the nape of his neck.

Save ‘the Russian is here’ for later down the page, and be careful Raul has a weight in his stomach, a jumping mind and an itchy neck.
*

“Halo?”He answered quietly.

Hola?
*

Raul had no enemies here and if he did he would know;

Consider, ‘Raul knew who his enemies were, and they weren’t local.’
*

“Get out jefe.”He could hear her breathing. Her voice was quieter but violent in its command.

Uneasy with this find one verb or one adjective … or reconstruct maybe ‘He could hear her desperate breathing.’?
*


“Leave. Get out! Hurry!” She hissed in a horse whisper.

Hoarse?

******
The reader doesn't have to know about Raul's past this early in the structure. As soon as you mention 'The Russian' the reader will know Raul has a major problem, unrelated to the Barrio.


You have some punctuation issues but I'm not the one to help on that score.


IMO a lot of work to be done but has the bones of a good beginning. Good luck with it.

brarca
August 13th, 2014, 02:35 AM
I like it, your descriptions are really good. However, I do think the dialogue seems forced and needs work. Very good start, as far as description goes.

captflash76
August 21st, 2014, 10:42 PM
I agree for the most part with all the former reviewers of your piece. Most have hit on important points, but one point, the most important of all in my opinion, was the poor level of editing. The words that runtogether, as is the case of the former, are numerous. When I or anyone reading your story begin to get involved theyrun across something like the former. Bingo, the magic is gone. There is a tremendous amount of "telling" in this piece. I visualize this same story told through a conversation with Raul and one of his trusted employees such as Kat. After a short intro, as you have done in this piece, Kat walks into the office and sits, exhausted from her night on the pole. Perhaps Raul trusts Kat with the responsibility of the girls working the club. They begin their usual nightly banter and then through a give and take conversation we hear the story of Cafe' Azul. Just a thought, but nobody tells a story better than the characters you create. rainyman76

Laughing Duck 137z
August 24th, 2014, 08:40 PM
To ranjit23das. I appreciate your comments. This story is the beginning of a longer story. He was in Seattle, was involved in illegal stuff and he took the money and ran back to his home in Mexico. He had to leave the U.S. As far as a coffee shop turning into a bar, or even a strip club at night.... I don't know what to say. I've actually been to places like that, at night and during the day. The pole doesn't go anywhere... for some reason I can hear you gasping at the horror - offense. Also, if you can't believe that a woman would stick by her man while he runs a bar/brothel all I can say is: travel and see some different cultures, not all women are cut from the same mold, nor are all cultures or the realities of what people do to make a living in different socio-economic situations. What is good or offensive to you, may not be so to someone else What about a married woman/mother running a strip club/bar/brothel?
.

You must travel a lot to visit a place like that. You have a ton of back story about your characters you haven't shared. I'm interested in reading more.

sailorguitar
August 25th, 2014, 09:28 AM
Thanks for all of the comments. I appreciate the feedback.

Seedy M.
August 25th, 2014, 01:26 PM
Having traveled extensively, I liked this. I'm living two blocks from a cafe in the afternoon, bar in the early evening, brothel at, say 11:00-3:30AM, closed until 6:30AM and typical restaurant from 6:30-3:00PM. It is run by a man and his wife and their two sons and daughter who have been together more than twenty five years. I use it in the Clint Faraday mysteries, name changed, of course.
I agree with most of the suggestions here, particularly about the mechanics.
I do not agree with a few of the ones who want you to "correct" the wording, such as giving animation-reference to streets and such. That is a device to reach into the feeling of the story. It can be effective. It is personal perspective that defines a place, like other points criticized define the character.
Metaphor is a perfectly legitimate device. Don't lose it.
I don't know where this is going, except in a general way. You say it is a longer work, so develop your characters as you go. Define them by the end, but don't make them into automatons. Leave a little surprise here and there in characters. I've seen that in actuality. "I've known her ten years! I would never expect that from her! Hurrah!"
A point also: "had" to "had had" and so forth. The first "had" established tense. The second would be redundant. It reads more smoothly as it was.

Seedy M.
August 25th, 2014, 01:36 PM
One other thing that struck me: Using foreign words and phrases.
In this type of work, you are dealing with people who regularly do that. It would appear false to have a character who was raised with a different language or speaking two or more languages not to do so. There are also subtle (and, quite often, not so subtle) differences in the meanings of words. I know words in English that simply cannot be accurately relayed in Spanish, even more that don't translate from spanish to English (such as the fact spanish is not capitalized in Spanish.) People who speak both languages will, occasionally, use word or phrase in the language he/she understands to have the more complete meaning meant to be conveyed. Even here, where spanish is the language, people will sometimes use an English word that conveys a meaning they can't translate directly and vice versa. There are also words or phrases that are generally understood cross-culture. C'est la vie. Hasta luego.

Snookie
July 8th, 2015, 02:16 AM
Great read... this is my type of reading and writing.

I thought that your writing is very refreshing and done very well.
It needs some work but I think with a little work, you will be a natural.
Consider what the others have said because they are very interested in your writing and are only trying to help you but remember do not over think it enough to loose your style. It is very entertaining.
I would love to Beta Read your finished copy for you when it is done.