Synopsis for Working Tacoma by Rod Tipton


Working Tacoma is a 93-page feature length screenplay set against the backdrop of The City Tacoma, 1994. The City is focused on the task of cleaning-up it’s image. For the strip club owner, BILLY MIALARET, business has been good. He is planning his second club but there are licensing difficulties. 

Leaving a party, Billy finds his ex-girlfriend Carmen, a former stripper turned prostitute, dead of a heroin overdose in the backseat of his car. Billy feels he is sinking and offers two small-time hustlers, the HARLAN BROTHERS, a thousand dollars to deal with Carmen’s body.

FRANK and RED Harlans’ only resources are an inherited junkyard and jobs picking up corpses from State and County “homes”. The stress of methamphetamines, poverty, and their constant exposure to each other is raising a boil on both of them.

The two remaining women in Billy’s life are at crossroads. It does not take much imagination for GEN, his current girlfriend, to see her fate tied to Carmen’s. ANGEL, a waif from a dead-end mountain town dances at Billy’s club. She is beautiful, fragile, and an easy target for the predators of the sex business. Angel needs protection and everyone who sees her knows this. 

Billy survives by acting in his own self-interest. He will never completely abandon those he’s loved, but he will always stray toward beauty and whoever and whatever makes him feel good.

Driven by a mixture of the need for vengeance and a need to know what happened, Billy searches for the person responsible for Carmen’s death. When the Harlans’ relationship explodes the deadly shockwaves reach out for Billy. 

poetry-excerpts from the book "turn on the lights"

Bar Music

something charmingon the pianoa rolling tuneto make you thinkof a small circusa slender womanon the ropeagile, balancedwraps her leglike a snakeand hangsin arched gloryat a dangerous heightthen snaps and twistsand lowers herselfuncurling her bodyonto the stoolnext to yours“bravo” you shoutand quickly checkyour wallethoping you have enoughto buy her a drink

Hard Times

when it rains gasolinethe fires burnyou becomeused to the sightof cardboard signsheld on the cornerasking for workand invoking god or the guy sitting on the grassblanket pulled over his headsucking on the urgeto destroy himselfa hundred small cutsalready on his fingersand handshis friends are stillby his side and watchhim like he’s on a trapdoorthat’s about to openthey smell the smokeand feel the flamesbut stand fastand there’s nothingelse they can do

How Fast They Go

  the ambulance drivingup the streethas got a neighborloaded in backrolling slowno swirling lightsno panicked siren all the time in the worlda block downthe old folks homeis a constant source of late-night visitsa tall building fullof people coming to termsfor them the ‘moment’is almost over

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Seattle, WA 98107, US