Home > Contributors > James Gouldthorpe > Pamela Balluck, "Cop Show"
 

Pamela Balluck

 

Cop Show 

 

The vics, Jane and John Doe, cash business with low security, motion sensors, points of entry, signs of struggle, times of death, T.O.D. around midnight, slaughter house, blood spatter, yellow tape, rural nightmare, two murders, Murder 1, Murder 2, Second-degree Murder, second-unit photography, second assistant director, consulting producer, head writer, mobile forensics capabilities, crime-scene unit, crime-scene investigators, C.S.I., single stab wound to the chest, three stab wounds, blood trail, blood drops, gravitational drops, directional drops leading away from the body, latent shoe prints, sexual assault, hard crime, juicy porterhouse steak medium rare, pork chop, lamb chop, salt shaker, dismembered arm, firearm, extensive notes at the scene and photos of each item, medical examiner, M.E., body temp., paramedics, casualties, survivor, showrunner, on call, by the book, beet-red, beat bloody, stay behind the crime tape, zoom in, victim’s in the wine cellar, swab particulate, process the house, based on his novel, adapted  by himself for television.

 

Not a slow day at the morgue, Caucasian males, Caucasian females, C.O.D., causes of death, fatal gunshot to the heart, blunt-force trauma, single bullet wound to the head, smooth entrance wound, no exit, trace off her earring, extensive bruising, white flaky substance, rape kit, degraded and intact sperm, multiple deposits, cadaver, necropsy, autopsy, pocket content, alcohol content, stomach content, food groups, whole grains, strangulation, asphyxiation, dead on arrival, D.O.A., rigor, it impacted here, sent the swab to D.N.A., check his dental work, tested negative on the sexual-assault-evidence kit, bled to death, slug is still inside her.

 

Ritualistic killers, deviant behaviors, negative influences, series of murders, random victims, these killers, criminal records, parole violations, rifle scopes, automatic weapons, unknown subjects, unsubs, attackers, assailants, suspects, felonies, ideology, white-on-white, on the run, switched plates, on the loose, breaking and entering, white-bread, lactose-intolerant, blamed his mother, Do exactly as I say or you die.

 

Crime board, murder board, bulletin board, story board, crime lab, case file, transfer on his pants, plastic frag., grip from a handgun, epithelials from the broken grip, results of the workup, the last person to see her alive, ongoing criminal investigation, photo array, photo series, photo I.D.,  possible I.D., positive I.D., mistaken identity, bullet trajectory, sex-assault kit, laser ablation on the duct-tape samples, glassy particles, nationwide search, hit off a partial plate, fatal mistake, anonymous caller, disgruntled worker, surveillance unit, G.P.S. unit, canine unit, analysis unit, forensic scientists, crime-scene cleanup, missing evidence, security cameras, rifles, shotguns, revolver, casings, cleaver, still in shock, without a trace, the first two shots were non-lethal, third-shot-kill-shot, waiting for ballistics, casing got an IBIS hit, striata, bullet was grooved independent of striation, tested positive for gunshot residue, put him at the murder scene, can’t squeeze money from a dead man, lifted two identifiable prints, run a name, she might have known her assailant, try to give this crime a face, scan the tape, get this under the scope, widen our scope, narrow our focus, narrow the evidence, get a printout to brass, June Cleaver has a dark side, searching for clues as to her whereabouts, they call you brass because you’ve got a set, contact your local F.B.I., alert the entire country, release to all the major networks—What’s the last thing you remember?

 

 

1-Great_American_Novel.jpg

All Responses:

Respond to a Prompt:

Submit your response to our current prompt(s). See our Submissions Guidelines page for details.

Process Statement:

I was raised on the tit of television. My dad, Don, wrote for, in addition to other primetime dramatic genres, cop shows such as The Rookies, Starsky and Hutch, Baretta, Police Woman, Streets of San Francisco, Hawaii Five-O, and I became hooked on watching. I often fell asleep to my very-own, portable, black-and-white TV, a post-divorce gift from Dad that I learned to somnambulistically shut off in the night, my pacifier. Earlier in this twenty-first century, for a period during which I wasn’t writing much, I became intrigued enough with the language spoken by my collective cop-shows addiction that I began taking notes on a dedicated pad, lists that eventually made it into my computer, and I’ve since been attempting to make something(s) out of those cop-show notes. Cut to: 2014. Upon seeing the Gouldthorpe prompt at Prompt, I thought of both crime boards and story boards, and the imagery provided me with guidelines by which to select from my collected shards of cop-show-dialogue what in my mind fit the boards, which I separated (with the help of colored highlighters) into the four sections (prose blocks) of “Cop Show”: coming upon the crime scene(s); autopsy / necropsy; suspects / perpetrators; and, evidence / investigation. Within each section, I initially organized text in the order of: [NOUN PHRASES]; [SINGLE NOUNS]; [ADVERBIAL & ADJECTIVAL PHRASES]; and, [VERB PHRASES & CLAUSES]. Once I had placed each unit of language into its corresponding section, I took away the scaffolding, deleting the bracketed labels from each section, then I had at them from there, in places breaking my old rules and making up new, for the effect of, albeit warped, episodic, interwoven, overlapping story lines. Perhaps the overall effect is even, somehow novelistic; yet, with the understanding that, as I read my visual prompt, much of Gouldthorpe’s “. . . Novel” has yet to be written.

Pamela Balluck, born in New York City, raised in Los Angeles and in western Montana, teaches writing in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah where she earned an M.F.A. in fiction and a Ph.D. in creative writing and literature. Her essay “Parts of a Chair” won The Southeast Review’s Narrative Nonfiction Contest and appears in its Spring ‘14 issue. Her fiction has been published in the Western Humanities Review as winner of the Competition for Utah Writers, has been a finalist in SER’s World’s Best Short Short Story Competition, can be found in, among other journals and anthologies, PANK, Night Train, Freight Stories, The Way We Sleep, Ocean State Review and forthcoming in Green Mountains Review

All Responses:

Respond to a Prompt:

Submit your response to our current prompt(s). See our Submissions Guidelines page for details.

Process Statement:

I was raised on the tit of television. My dad, Don, wrote for, in addition to other primetime dramatic genres, cop shows such as The Rookies, Starsky and Hutch, Baretta, Police Woman, Streets of San Francisco, Hawaii Five-O, and I became hooked on watching. I often fell asleep to my very-own, portable, black-and-white TV, a post-divorce gift from Dad that I learned to somnambulistically shut off in the night, my pacifier. Earlier in this twenty-first century, for a period during which I wasn’t writing much, I became intrigued enough with the language spoken by my collective cop-shows addiction that I began taking notes on a dedicated pad, lists that eventually made it into my computer, and I’ve since been attempting to make something(s) out of those cop-show notes. Cut to: 2014. Upon seeing the Gouldthorpe prompt at Prompt, I thought of both crime boards and story boards, and the imagery provided me with guidelines by which to select from my collected shards of cop-show-dialogue what in my mind fit the boards, which I separated (with the help of colored highlighters) into the four sections (prose blocks) of “Cop Show”: coming upon the crime scene(s); autopsy / necropsy; suspects / perpetrators; and, evidence / investigation. Within each section, I initially organized text in the order of: [NOUN PHRASES]; [SINGLE NOUNS]; [ADVERBIAL & ADJECTIVAL PHRASES]; and, [VERB PHRASES & CLAUSES]. Once I had placed each unit of language into its corresponding section, I took away the scaffolding, deleting the bracketed labels from each section, then I had at them from there, in places breaking my old rules and making up new, for the effect of, albeit warped, episodic, interwoven, overlapping story lines. Perhaps the overall effect is even, somehow novelistic; yet, with the understanding that, as I read my visual prompt, much of Gouldthorpe’s “. . . Novel” has yet to be written.

Pamela Balluck, born in New York City, raised in Los Angeles and in western Montana, teaches writing in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah where she earned an M.F.A. in fiction and a Ph.D. in creative writing and literature. Her essay “Parts of a Chair” won The Southeast Review’s Narrative Nonfiction Contest and appears in its Spring ‘14 issue. Her fiction has been published in the Western Humanities Review as winner of the Competition for Utah Writers, has been a finalist in SER’s World’s Best Short Short Story Competition, can be found in, among other journals and anthologies, PANK, Night Train, Freight Stories, The Way We Sleep, Ocean State Review and forthcoming in Green Mountains Review