Even More Story Ideas
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BEAU L'AMOUR'S COMMENTS (in blue): To have story ideas you have to put yourself in a certain frame of mind. It takes a good deal of practice, though when you get into the flow it can be like a dam bursting. Louis always tried to keep in the practice of having ideas, whether he ultimately used them or not. Back in the days when he was trying to sell a story a week to the pulps he had to be an idea machine to survive ... below are a few examples from a later period. As you can see he was still going strong.
A La Quinta Story
Bell drives to La Quinta, en route to making a large
land purchase in Arizona. He carries with him $60,000 in cash in a locked black bag. He turns off at La Quinta on the chance that he may see an old friend from Korean war days.
He arrives at the ranch, is recognized and greeted by
his friend’s wife but when he asks about Fred, she looks at him, “but Fred was killed.”
She volunteers nothing more, and finally he brings up
the subject again, and she tells him Fred was lost at sea returning from Korea, that his plane went down.
Bell is astonished. “But that can’t be! We came back
They had been on the list to return on a certain plane,
he recalls, but an earlier plane was leaving and they were invited to go...together they hopped the first plane, which arrived all right. The plane on which they were scheduled to return was lost at sea.
Something about the attitude of the wife and her brother
disturbs him. Also, because the flyer who flew them back is now dead, Bell realizes he may be the only one who could prove that Fred arrived at home.
He retires to his room after they quietly refuse to
allow him to drive on that night. Without being rude he cannot leave.
Yet once in his room he is frightened.
He must get away, and obviously they do not want him to
The last he had seen of Fred, Fred was anxious to get back home to his wife whom he had married only a short time before leaving for Korea. Fred is an extremely wealthy young man, but an unspoiled one. Fred might have been killed en route home, but that was improbable. Obviously, hearing that he had been killed on the plane, notified by telephone, they had gone into the bedroom and killed Fred, burying his body somewhere outside.
And now they must, to keep their secret, kill him.
And what could be better? They could keep the $60,000
and let his company believe he had absconded with it.
Better still, Fred had been abroad on a business trip,
and the plane crashed on which he had been booked.
He tries to escape. His car is out of order. He slips
out of the house after his gun is taken and they pursue him through the hills. He rolls rocks down, uses every means to win. Slips off a sock, puts a rock in it.
Strong characters; unusual knowledge; interesting clues.
Put guts and vitality into this. Make it real, filled
with suspense, and different! Make it stronger than the average Post story.
BEAU L’AMOUR’S COMMENTS (in blue): The above idea was generated late in Louis short story writing career. He mentions the Saturday Evening Post, which may have been his intended market and he includes the note, “Use ranch” which indicates his intention of including the date and citrus farm owned by my mother’s family. Located just behind the La Quinta Hotel in the desert east of Palm Springs, California, Louis first visited there with a group of friends around 1954. This, however, was before he and mom were an “item”. The way he says, “Use ranch,” rather than, “Use Kathy’s ranch,” or “Use Keiner family ranch,” suggests that they were married at the time of this writing. That puts it post 1956.
Crime Doesn't Pay . . . It Really Doesn't!
A careful plan is initiated to rob a shipment of jewels, or a jewel
salesmen. Each detail is planned with infinite care, and the robbery
is a complete success. It goes off with faultless precision and
they escape. Four men and the finger man are involved.
Once escaped to their hide-out they contact a fence, and he explains
to them the great mark-up on gems. Hence their $200,000 is cut to
$140,000. The fence will offer them no more than 40% of that price
because some of the gems must be removed from their mountings, and
all must be disposed of with care. Hence their $200,000 take has
now been cut to $56,000.
They have promised their finger man $10,000 and
he insists on it and they fear him. They must pay him $10,000 which
leaves them but $46,000. They have hired a hide-out, and other expenses
have cost them $2,000. The result is they come out of it with $11,000
They have arranged for a hide-out in the hills
and they drive there, but when they arrive the renter wants more
money. Before they are through they are scattered, two of them are
dead, the others are on the dodge or hiding out, and they can’t
appear anywhere to spend the money.
THE OPERATION WAS SUCCESSFUL:
1. The planning-
The finger man--location--recruits--guns; The timing--trial runs--casing the job--
2. Events before crime-
Each man's reactions--the talker--the cocky one--the nice boy--the solid, tough one--the cool, efficient one. The dreams, plans for spending, ect..
3. The crime-
Timing is perfect, clock-work precision, no hitches.
To hide-out--clerk at motel wants money--they give it to him, but now they are worried for fear he may go to the insurance company--in the night they move out--they arrive in town where the fence is--he tells them the price is not correct, that the best they could get to any legitimate jewels would be $100,000. He offers them $25,000; they insist on more? The jewelry is hot (check with Herb on this) and out of the settings it is not worth as much, anyway. They finally sell out for $35,000. Gas, food, ect. has cost them plenty as the clerk rarely returns all the change. The motel clerk sticks them for $100 per day.
One tries to go home, hears his mother talking to the police, and slips out again;
Goes to his girl friend, the police are there. Now every time he sees a policeman he is frightened.
Follow each man to his doom. Have it all happen in a few hours and due to good, serious police work. No slugging, no gun shots, nothing of the kind. Or if there is shooting, only with one man.
Two men are killed resisting arrest or committing supplementary crimes; one man is killed by the crooks themselves; one is arrested, and the last man is running scared at the end.
Make finger man a very tough man of whom they are afraid.
BEAU L'AMOUR'S COMMENTS (in blue): The theme that thieves discover crime literally doesn't pay was an idea that Louis loved to fool around with. He had talked to a couple of ex-cons that told him similar stories to this one. They got away with the goods but it turned out that the discounted value of those goods was very low, or the people who are going to help the crooks hide out all charge them an arm and a leg for it ... the moral of the story is: crime is an expensive business.
Author Gives Evidence For His Own Murder
An author, in a book he is writing, gives evidence
for his own murder. He knows he is being killed, and although unable
to move due to a paralysis of the limbs, he continues to write and
in the story weaves the evidence for his murder, telling the story
and also where the evidence has been hidden.
In the book he also tells where the bonds, gems
and other valuables are hidden. A copy of the book is mailed to
the protagonist who is famed as a cryptographer. He cannot understand
why the author should send him a book, and is puzzled by it...his
hobby is not widely known, but is known to a few people. The inscription
also intrigues his interest, and the quotes at the beginning of
The protagonist goes to visit the widow of the
author and kills time waiting for her by browsing in the library.
He finds there several much-used books on cryptography.
Slowly he becomes convinced the author meant
to convey to him a message, and sent the book to him because he
was one of the greatest cryptographers.
After that he reads the book with infinite care,
and led on by the quotes at the chapters’ beginnings, he finds
the key, and then he goes to the police.
Girl in the case can be a daughter who is herself
about to be murdered. The widow, a lawyer, and the family chauffeur
are all involved.
BEAU L’AMOUR’S COMMENTS (in blue): Dad also sketched out a similar movie or TV special concept about the Show “This is Your Life.” The show would bring in unknowing celebrities and ordinary people under one pretext or another and then surprise them a la Candid Camera with a group of friends and co-workers who would create a mini biography or celebration of the guests life. In Dad’s version, the innocent presentation of the TV show hosts a murderer … and a number of people who, when they are forced to remember on camera, begin to realize that the honored guest is actually a criminal.
Corner of the Garden
A father see his son go into the corner behind the oleanders
It is an opening into the future and the son returns with a strange
His son is pres. or something and facing a great moment of trial.
He reaches back in his thoughts to the garden and to his father
BEAU L'AMOUR'S COMMENTS (in blue): Corner of the Garden was an idea that occurred to my Dad one night in the 1960s while he was watering the lawn of a house we had in the Hollywood Hills. I was outside with him and I loved to play under a huge drooping oleander that grew alongside the house. In those days the hillside neighborhoods behind Hollywood and West Hollywood were overgrown with a jungle of exotic plants, bougainvillea, birds of paradise, ice plant, bamboo, all kinds of cactus, and acres and acres of ivy.
This growth had run amuck for probably 20 years, the home owners in the area cutting it back just far enough to keep it from destroying their houses or blocking their driveways. It's an aspect of life in Southern California that disappeared almost completely in the time period between the laid back days of the '50s and '60 and the buttoned up, squared off, control freak dominated, '80s and '90s. Landscaping today is so regimented that it seems to want to scream for relief.
The neighborhood kids and I had tunnels that ran under the overgrown ivy and unpruned trees. We could duck into a leafy gap between the house and a hedge, run under an overhanging tent of ivy that we had hollowed out in the angle between a fence and the ground, climb a tree and drop over a wall and emerge fifty yards from where we started all without being seen. Our parents were used to seeing us do this although what they thought was going on I have no idea. Our tunnels must have been over-run with rats, snakes, and spiders. They were definitely off limits to anyone of adult size and did lead through a world of fantasy and make-believe ... my dad obviously understood that much. This was an interesting little concept that might have evolved into something like Steven King’s, “11/22/63.”
She heard the door close and waited for Ralph's step. When she heard nothing, she went to the head of the stairs and called down "Ralph?"
"I'm making a drink honey."
She listened frowning a little. Ralph's voice sounded odd, huskier than usual. Like it did that time Tommy -- She choked off the thought as it was born, and went downstairs.
Ralph was sitting on the sofa with a drink in his hand, staring straight before him. The drink appeared to be straight whiskey, which he never drank, and had no ice, something unheard of.
"Ralph? What is it?"
He looked up. "We did it. We made contact."
For a moment her mind was a blank. Then she realized.
"Ralph!" she was incredulous. "You didn't!"
He stared at her, his face drawn. "That's just it. We did."
She felt her knees go weak and sat down on the sofa. She stared at him suddenly aware. "Ralph, this could mean the Nobel Prize!"
He looked up at her, his eyes showing no comprehension.
She took his glass from his hand, adding ice & soda. He took it, then seemed to really see her for the first time.
"Grace, you'll have to call the Dahlstroms. We can't go over tonight."
"Tom's coming over. So is Steinberg."
Steinberg? She was startled. Steinberg never went anywhere. He lived between the laboratory and his rose garden.
"Grace, I want you to fix something - cheese, crackers - you know how you do it. Then go upstairs and stay there. And please - don't ask any questions. Not now anyway. I've got to think."
Pres. has approp [appropriations] bill coming up.
Dr. sees all he has become going out the window.
Steinberg is stunned after Ralph explains, "Today you are the greatest physicist in the world - what will you be tomorrow?"
Reporters, financier, gangsters
Read some O'Hara shorts
No disease - Diagnosis at birth indicates liability to trouble which is corrected at that time or by appropriate feeding - No war. Materials used to make metals. No mining as such. Conditioning pills, exercise, sunlight, fresh air.
Radio telescope - advance techniques - [illegible] instruments, etc.
"What will I tell Marge Dahlstrom? You know how she is. She'll want to know everything."
"Tell her I'm running up a prospective budget for time to be used on a new Quasar time & money. Tell her I have to have the figures to turn in tomorrow."
"Ralph? The hors d' you wanted? Shall I make enough for three?"
He hesitated. "Better make them like for a small party. A dozen people, say."
She was in her room reading, the window opened slightly when Steinberg arrived. He walked - he refused to drive - and Tom Baker was with him. Baker was an old friend. He was also the liaison now between the project and the money.
When a car drove up and stopped she found herself listening for the car door to slam but there was no sound. Almost at once another car, and still another. Curious, she looked out.
A car had stopped across the street, vaguely seen were the faces of at least three men. Another car was in front of the house and two men got out and stood beside the car. The third car was a limousine, it turned into the drive and pulled back between the hedge and other house where it was out of sight.
Dahlstrom could make a killing on the market. Dahlstrom always had been amused by Ralph's project. Suddenly Ralph has become one of the most important men on earth.
How does radio telescope work?
Not like us. How could they be?
Anthropologist does talking for X.
Consider all aspects of such an announcement.
It leaks. Market rises. Beat the Russians & Red Chinese. Enthusiasm. Realization, doubt, anger, propaganda. People rushing to get secrets for use in industry. Try to for see what world might be.
Creature with whom contact is made is equivalent to a fourteen year old boy playing with a set he build himself.
We are in a very primitive stage of development.
Satine - Anger of people whose pet peeves are no longer important - boy has access to all knowledge by pressing buttons. Such knowledge as we ask for is so ancient nobody remembers. Gets "tape" for years of change. No longer a teeming population. At first they believe he is a great scientist, then an explorer. He finally becomes bored with them and their questions. His first answers to their problems are beyond their comprehension.
Results: directions in which to look for answers. Refusal of many to accept because it ruins their research projects. If even a small portion of what he has learned were translated into current methods businesses would crash all over the world. The radio telescope is dynamited. Ralph learns he is to be killed. Dahlstrom is man who wishes to kill him. Ralph escapes to mountain hideout he knew as a boy. Paid taxes on it.
Discovery - meeting at home - "vacation", will stay on project grounds - off limits - Dahlstrom is curious, pries, asks for a tip - reporters, first a top correspondent - effect on the market, friends. Develop situation to show how self-important some of the people are. How unimportant they really are. Build about one fourth of this before crux is reached.
BEAU L’AMOUR’S COMMENTS (in blue): Dad used to comment that the most destructive thing the Europeans, from the Vikings to the Spanish to the Dutch and English, did to the Native American cultures was to interrupt their being able to develop more advanced civilizations all on their own. Not just the importation of European technology but European ideas was a huge disruption. He would occasionally talk about being fascinated with what might have been if the inhabitants of North, Central, and South America, had continued the trajectory of their political, scientific and social progress all on their own. Ideas like this potential foray into Science Fiction attempted to turn the tables on European culture … in its own strange way, this was a Western.
Indianola: Open with arrival at port, met by cowhand, Texan's girl in town shopping, to ride back with their "neighbors" forty miles apart. Seeing the feudists, perhaps an altercation, girl warns. He disarms a feudist. Or perhaps he does a favor for one of feudists not knowing or coming. Perhaps he saves life of one of the meanest of them.
Drives out, sees county, finally falls asleep riding. Coyotes howl. Stars. Smell of grass. Passing party of Indians and preparations made, Gabe gets rifle out. This serves to prove country still dangerous.
Falls into work, a good rider, asks no favors, takes suggestions, one rider from nearby ranch pushes too hard, gets a lesson. Gabe might ignore him, start a conversation with another cowhand, then show him his shooting abilitiy. Or something different.
Takes on night guard for [illegible] who had been to see his girl. Sees high-water mark for inland, some ancient storm.
Old Indian's grandfather had seen Cabeza de Vaca & Estoban as they started across Texas.
Indian had been a guide for Bowie at San Saba, and had been with Houston at San Jacinto.
Gabe meets Wes Hardin in a cow camp, if dates fit. King Fisher. Ben Thompson, A brush with bandits near border, some Mexican with him. Tex employs Mex vaqueros. Desc. house. Dirt floor, bunk, old clothing, skin bits of harness. Tex must build for his girl. Really quite a sentimental man under the rough outer side. Selects a knoll among trees, beautiful site. Tex shows it to Gabe, tells plans. "Always thought of a house here, the view, etc." Perhaps Tex left his share to partner who is Gabe. Gabe may have supplied original money. They had long talks while hiding together during war. Tex was Gabe's prisoner. Build real friendship between two strong, hard men. Perhaps Tex hurt and Gabe takes over drive? Va. girl is strong-minded can't see leaving that easy life for Texas, but it grows on her. She is not angry at Gabe, just won't live in Texas, until her decision is made. Maybe Texas girl refuses to leave boat in storm, eager to be away.
Tex tells crew at a crisis who has been paying the bills. One comments it is nice to be rich, Gabe replies that if the drive doesn't come off, he'll be broke, K had seen how much guts and nerve Tex had during the war, and gambled on him, his character, [illegible]
Man who comes to meet Gabe at ship known him by scar on cheekbone. "He ought to remember. He put it there."
Gathering cattle for drive, realistic, romantic, desc. [description] of Gulf Coast. Some build up for storm. Wind coming off Gulf as they round up cattle. Problem with girl right at start, perhaps she wants another kind of life. Leaves him, then overhears plot to kill him because of old feud, tries to warn, gets caught in hurricane. Possibly his is only friend of feudist like Gabe S. She has gone aboard ship thinking his is there, he hears, goes after her, and ends up in a shoot out. Perhaps feudist is prisoner he befriended during war, and whom he visits and becomes partners with.
Build 2 strong girls, strong men, definite characters. Straight simple story if affection between 2 men, one ed. on rough, ignorant etc. And their 2 girls. Maybe one who runs away is other man's girl?
This to be very realistic, characters, cattle, weather, food, feelings, rolling out for hasty breakfast, eaten standing up, chuck wagon while it rains. Heat of cattle, brush, riding into sea after stock on island, Texas friend is tough one, gets killed on boat.
Recreate Gulf coast cattle conditions and range land to perfection. Study there. To library. Most of all characters of the people. Perhaps Texans girl begins to long for East, the easy life, the clothes, etc. Tex doesn't blame Gabe. And he understands how she feels. He had seen some of it during the war, but if he is too make it, it will be here, in Texas.
The Va. girl decide to stay, the Texas girl goes east. A Texan isn't necessarily born here. He's a man who has the mind and the guts for Texas. Crockett, Houston, Bowie, etc. Explain about cattle on Gulf coast thru Gabes eyes to place facts before reader. West Texas still wild and remote when business big on Gulf. Pierce, King, etc. Dirt floors, rain, drought, bandits. The Feud. Va. schoolhouse incident of boys all drawing guns to protect teacher, who had his own gun.
Write with great care. Sight, sound, & smell. Make this a classic of cattle business, and of pioneer life. The going to town, sitting in parlor aspects as well as others. The surrey with fringe, gowns, barbecues, etc. Discuss philosophy of gun duel, Texan "never hit a man with my fist in my life."
BEAU L’AMOUR’S COMMENTS (in blue): Since setting played such a big role in Louis’ creative process I have often wondered if this wasn’t an early attempt at what became the novel Matagorda. However, I have no idea when these notes were written nor are there specific ideas here that could prove that one way or the other.
Citizen arrests gangster after killing.
Suspected of working with other gang.
Police try to talk him out of it. His friends try. His girl tries.
He persists. He will testify. He is shot at, beat up, threatened.
He refuses to give in. He is fired from his job. His is offered a job. He is offered a vacation.
He begins to gather evidence on his own.
He is aided by a reporter. He traces the killing to a prominent man. He begins tracing the gun. He traces the arrival on the plane of killer from NY. He traces his contact. His girl helps him. He gathers more evidence. The case comes to trial as a conclusion. He has the evidence on not only the killer but the machine
Cattle arrive no market - no money - no credit - no chance to borrow - they drive west where there is grass.
Mysterious woman standing alone on the prairie.
They take her along. Evil - Lilith
BEAU L’AMOUR’S COMMENTS (in blue): Intriguing. The woman gets me thinking of Mojave Crossing or “Booty For a Badman.” Louis was often inclined to consider ideas like true evil or other symbolic concepts but in the end he rarely, if ever, wrote them. He was more likely to quote playwright Moss Hart, “If you want to send a message, use Western Union.”
When the man named Hornbeck was murdered it came as a fitting climax to the day on Elm street. Truly it has been a day of memorable events, and Reiley who observed the passing parade from his post of the boulevard corner.
Jimmy Fallon steps into the breach when his friend Sub Moore is badly beaten and cannot fight. He knows he can help Moore keep his ranch, badly wanted by those who have beaten Moore
A man (detective or U.S. Marshal) follows a man whose character steadily changes for good or evil. As he moves he finds the man has affected others in different ways. Is he following one man or two? Or is the pursued deliberately trying to present a confused picture? He alters appearance, connection, places he habituates. Perhaps are thin clue follows him, betrays him.
BEAU L’AMOUR’S COMMENTS (in blue): This is a lot like what Louis did in the short story “Dutchman’s Flat” and the novel The Key-lock Man.
A new western novel
In first person. A man who lands alone in the west, who see it all as it once was.
A forbidding shore, a man who comes to die. He has lost everything - home, wife, children. He crosses the sea and walks away into the wilderness. He finds himself there.
BEAU L’AMOUR’S COMMENTS (in blue): There is both a short story and a novel called The Lonesome Gods. Except for the setting they are quite different. These notes may provide some connective tissue between the two.
Plan a story on some strange arrival from outer space. Not a being, an emanation, an atmosphere, a something that finally yields to primitive magic.
Or yields to the sound vibration of tom-toms, and is destroyed by them. The force is seizing the world and the only weapon is sound of tom-toms. Perhaps all the evil spirits from the past were from other planets.
Bit of Dialogue
More than an hour.
They decide to go up and are warned -
"Please! Not again!" By the other man in the room.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Why go to a room you already have seen? If it is romance - why not the inn up the road?"
"You are insulting, sir. The lady and I have just met."
"Is that important? It never was before."
"I don't know what you mean."
"Why did you say we had seen the room upstairs?"
They exchange a glance.
"Please, get in your cars and drive away. Do not even look back. Go anywhere you like but do not come back here. Whatever you do - Don't come back!"
"This is ridiculous!"
"Far from it, my friend, it is a nightmare."
BEAU L’AMOUR’S COMMENTS: I have no idea. I can’t help you on this one, let your imagination run wild!
A man answer an ad in an old newspaper (100 years or so) and gets a reply - or orders a weird machine that produces odd effects.
Kip Morgan sees a man he knows to be a crook in a small town. Later, he see him driving along a country road not far from a prison.
A jail delivery is planned.
The crooks have taken over a farm for a base and are holding the people prisoners with a crippled father as hostage.
In the break the crook is killed purposely by his own men.
Kip explains this to crooks pal.
Kip Morgan goes to see an old friend and finds the man dead. He had been killed only a short time before.
He knows but does not at the time remember of a secret place where his friend kept money and documents.
Clutched in his friend's hand was a handkerchief with an initial on it - and perfume.
His friend had just returned on a ship where he had been a steward. Checking passenger list, Kip finds a girl who might have owned the hankie, he checks the friend's cabin list and finds she was on it.
A story of a man who became dictator of a Latin American country, and his casual friend whom he tolerated, and to whom he said, "You read too many books."
Center interest upon dictator
Underplay role of teller of tale.
The at the end he says "One of the books I had read was Machiavelli. I had also studied explosives and etc. --
Writer comes to second man for story, unaware of who he is for he uses another name for safety's sake.
As a climax he tells his name: the dictator who followed the protagonist.
Brief exchange of comments -
Asks about wife - insurance - wife suggested it. Begins reading report of investigation of a case where a wife has murdered three husbands for the insurance. In each case after collection she has remained but a short time then left - and disappeared.
Appearing in another place under another name, she has married again and repeated the process.
As the report is read the client asks questions. After a short time the detective begins to hesitate and from time to time, he scowls. He finally realizes the woman of who he is reading is his own wife!
He has had an earlier love- a girl known to them both.
Method unknown; proves to be with ice cubes.
1. Open with conversation with client who is also a friend. Open with comment on gun he carries and this leads to insurance. And statement that his wife must agree as she wants him to insure to. Some talk of this and other kindred times.
2. Begin read of report with questions and then
3. Begin to realize who the guilty woman is.
4. They still do not know method so he returns home and offers himself as the goat. She brings on a salad and then suggests he hold an ice cube in his mouth. He knows then.
A man whose identity is destroyed.
Wakes up to see a face in the mirror he has never seen before.
He has lost weight.
He is wearing clothes of a type he never had before.
A scar on his side is gone.
He has only $3.00 in his pocket.
He has identification under another name. (suspicious of it)
Perhaps his face is that of a known terrorist?
It is part of a plot to steal his business, which is world wide.
He knows nobody he can trust. Yet his was virturally a one man operation and he has a photographic memory and virtually instant recall.
He had been doped on a plane flight and when seeming ill had been taken to a nearby hotel.
A stewardess to whom he had talked is worried and goes to see how he is - no record of him at all
She sees a man also on the plane under suspicious circumstances.
The doctor assigned to kill him has been known as a weirdo and instead of killing him has done plastic surgery on him. He is himself killed as the only surviving witness.
The plan was to steal his entire fortune, and business.
His plan: To steal it back.
His assets: His brain and his knowledge of the inner workings of the business.
Also: Their belief that he is dead.
His face looks familiar to him.
Beginning: Awareness; confusion; clothes strange; some money; unfamiliar view from window; bareness of room; old newspapers; sees waiting car with some men in it; crawls through a hatch in ceiling. Overhears conversation. Knows he is to be killed. Has no idea why.
Stewardess, worried about him, goes to hotel with queries, her doubts grow, but she has aroused susp.[suspicion]
A story about the mysterious effects of a desert plant when eaten. This might be told from the view of three men.
A seed dropped by a space ship? Or in a meteor?
The story of a waterhole. Take it from prehistoric times down to now. Use the dinosaur drawing.[This “Waterhole Story” was an idea that haunted Dad for years. He wanted to tell the story of an unremarkable place (except for the presence of water) and all the various things that go on there over the millennia.]
The stockyards for which the town had once been famous had been torn down. The Bull's Head Saloon had it's sign painted over, and Bon Ton painted over it.
The mayor of the town was plump. His votes came from the right side of the tracks and he knew it.
When Paul Wanteleck got off the train the marshal scarcely gave him a glance. Wanteleck was neatly dressed and groomed, and the marshal only looked for trouble from the rude, unshaven, and untrimmed. He had no way of knowing that the slender, immaculate young man had come to kill.
The ghost of a mustache haunted his upper lip. He was a dainty man, yet not effeminate, and he came to the frontier with no intention of liking it. He wore a completely tailored black suit, a gray tie, and a gray hat of a modified [illegible] style. [Louis used the “ghost of a mustache” line in the short story “With Death in his Corner.” If you are going to steal from someone, steal from the best!]
[illegible] was not a new town. They already had a church and had elected aldermen. The marshal was not one who was known for his skill with weapons, but rather one who knew whom to appease and with whom to be strict. His skill, if any, lay in overting or diverting violence, not in face it down or meeting it head on.
Scene I: In boat, finding of cavern to end scene.
Present situation and three characters
Scene II: Within cave, finding of beach at end, finding of second beach, finding of chest.
Further conflict between Glick and Lenhart. Greed.
Scene III: The fight. The octopus
Scene IV: The boat, the octopi, the captin, escape. [BEAU'S L'AMOUR'S NOTES (in blue): Louis claimed that he and some other servicemen took a boat into a cave on Portland Island in the UK. Supposedly they found some old artifacts there and wanted to go back but instead they had to go with everyone else and invade France. Darn it! In the early 2000s I went looking for the cave but Portland Island stone is highly valued and a great deal of the island has been changed from all the quarrying to rebuild British cities after WWII. There are stories, however, of divers exploring caves along the coast. Anyway, I suspect Louis wartime adventure at Portland might have been the inspiration for this piece.]
Opening of Asia nov. [nav.? navigation?] book: [Dad had a nonfiction book in mind that he mulled over for years. It would have been about “trade, travel and cultural diffusion” in the Near, Middle and Far East. At the time he began considering the idea there was little written on the subject, most histories focused on Europe and Europeans.]
Begin with my own arrival in Myos or Berenice, the scene, what had happened here, what companion had heard. [These are ancient ports on the Red Sea. Dad told stories, though rarely to his family, about sailing a Dhow from Aden (in modern Yemen) up the Red Sea with another guy. I have never found any evidence that these stories were actually true but Louis did transit the Red Sea on a freighter in the mid 1920s, that I have documentation on.]
Proceed into story of Egypt, Rome, Greek trade, speculate on Phoenicians before they left Persian Gulf. Ancient seafaring.
Check export of Indian iron or steel to Damascus. Earliest date?
Asia: It is necessary that we reappraise all our ideas if we are to see the ancient world as it actually was. In the light of contemporary discovery and the examination of hitherto disregarded
Sheep - Calif. to Wyoming or - ?
Beale outline [BEAU L'AMOUR'S NOTES: (in blue): Edward F. Beale was a towering figure in the early history of California. He was a military hero, rancher, Indian Affairs superintendent, ambassador and engineer (he created the road that became both Route 66 and a section of the Transcontinental Railroad) … he’s tends to be also remembered as the man who tried to introduce the use of camels into the U.S. Cavalry.]
Encounters party en route?
Perhaps wrong orders deliberately given?
To buy cheap? To get revenge?
Lopez - Beecher -
Perhaps opening on end of Civil War? As in 1860 to present?
Present situation on as it was. Loneliness, confusion, uncertainty, and a few strong men trying to start their lives over again.
The futility of civil war of violence.
Compare with today; draw analogy.
Staking all on delivery of sheep - A failure - but a new attempt rising from failure. A new hope.
Futility of Civil War.
The Union held together. Slavery ended.
Meeting of minds on drive perhaps.
End of Antagonism.
Understanding through shared problems.
Perhaps both girl and antagonism are won over by sharing mutual problems.
Rivalry stemming from Civil War antagonisms.
Perhaps switch in that confederate is leader, and former Union soldier is antagonist.
Girl is daughter of Union vet. Killed in war?
Use analogy to present.
Make this strong, gutty tale with strong characters. [It is very common to see Louis break in to give himself this sort of pep talk. He put great value in always thinking positively.]
Hatred, contempt for loser, feeling he does not deserve to win -
Use every means to put him behind eight . . . [ball?]
Not a gunfighter - Just a very tough man. He has gunfighter along whom he keeps in line. Union man has loyalty to job - His loyalty grows thru work.
They serve each other.
Girl hates him but must accept rescue.
He ignores - respect grows on both sides.
He is rough, brutal but gentle with animals, understanding of Indians.
Use quotes on slavery in Africa - How many would have died without - no excuse, but -
Use desert as never before. The terrain a character.
Strong roles - each one a strong, dramatic part.
Build role of Lopez.
Eastern boy begins badly but grows -
Check Men of old Tevon [BEAU L'AMOUR'S NOTES (in blue): Fort Tejon? Beale established the fort and purchased Mexican land grants nearby, eventually creating the largest private land holding in California. The Tejon Ranch is still traded on the New York Stock Exchange.]
How far can sheep travel in a day? How long without water?
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