The Last Ten Minutes

I’ve written but not yet(?) posted Friday and Saturday

And I most definitely wrote today. Just not here. I handcrafted brainy structured sentences for some evaluation effort I’m a part of at work. I’m going to let that cover me for the bulk of today, but I wanted to cleanse my palatte with something lighter.

…but then I accidentally surfed away the last ten minutes.

A quick review of yesterday’s work shows me that structurally I’m heading in an undesirable direction because I’ve not provided any reason for the reader to continue reading. I seem to be doing some character development in a flashback with an unpresent character instead of teasing the reader forward.

I have to get the snow off the glass and Jamie looking out across that snowy French field to Wendell’s grandmother’s workshop and dimensional portal towering over the countryside.

Shit. Just writing that outloud made me want to read more. Something to stew over night here I think.

No Name Yet and Still Homophobic

Jack smoked a cigarette on the front porch. A red beer sweat Oklahoma’s June humidity into a ring on the concrete step next to him. He watched two boys walking up the drive from 33. One wore boots and a straw hat; the other a Cowboys’ ball cap and sandals. Sandals carried a guitar case. They were lost or in some car trouble he supposed, but Jack didn’t feel like getting out from under the shade and shortening the distance just now. They’d get here soon enough on their own.

The one in boots placed his hand on the gate latch and stopped. He looked Jack in the eye as a request to enter the yard. Jack bucked his head in assent. Then he began to wonder if he should take a sip or a drag before the conversation started. He stood and did both. When that was over he ended up holding the beer and the cigarette in his right hand when the one with the hat put out his and introduced himself.

“I’m [no name yet]. This is Mark Olsen,” [no name yet] said. He kept his hand out as Jack swapped his beer and dashed the cigarette to the corner of his mouth.

“Jack.” They shook hands. Jack took another long drag on the cigarette and pitched it to the ground since it was near enough smoked out. He noticed Sandals—Mark—watch him crush it with his boot like maybe he’d have smoked it a bit longer. He spoke to [no name yet]. “Ya ain’t lost I don’t think. Truck break down?”

“Pothole took out a tire. I’ve got a spare but no jack,” [no name yet] said.

“Ha!” Jack just looked at him.

“I know. Never needed one till today. So…”

“Roof don’t leak when it ain’t raining,” Jack said.

“No, Sir. It don’t.”

“That a guitar?”

Mark lifted the case in front of him a little. “Yeah.”

“You play?”

“Yeah.”

“Going to Stillwater then?”

“Got a gig at George’s Stables.” Mark looked at his watch. Then added, “Across from Joe’s”

“I know where the Stables are.”

Mark shrugged and Jack took it as an apology.

“Well. Old Jack’s gotta jack.” He looked at his beer then sighed and pitched the bottom half into the grass. He left the boys standing in the yard while he went in to get his keys and hat.

396 words on day 764

His Intended Purpose

http://ffffound.com/image/48e044690c6806c9e8c5f5705c6ac67eff9c9a13

Even after 45 years, Boot Camp reminded him to hold the pistol in a safe down and away position while he moved north along the alleyway on a Wednesday afternoon. Reggie wondered if it was ironic that training had not reminded him to not gun down his ex-wife’s new boyfriend. He could not recall any ethics lessons during that 13 week period of his life.

Reggie also wondered at the pristine awareness he held for everything he encountered but the lack of distraction. He could simultaneously recognize that Ronnie Edward’s kid’s near abandoned Pinto had a flat driver’s rear tire from the angle it rested in the tall weeds while surmising the fence between him and Tally Randermiester—who was hanging her wash (a mixture of pastel baby clothes and jeans)—was just high enough she would not see his weapon. Two more steps and he would be at the proper angle to both politely say hello and to catch the sun brightening through her thin cotton skirt.

A scene played quickly through Reggie’s thoughts where an unseen reporter interviewed Tally about today’s events. Tally wipes her eyes and says, “‘Hello?’ He just said, ‘Hello’ like nothing was about to happen. Like…” There they seem to edit the next thing she says, but she just stops. She is unable to finish her sentence. Unable to say, “Like he wasn’t a cold blooded killer.”

To save her that grief he decides not to greet her. Not to see her slim 20 some year old legs silhouetted through a flower-printed broomstick skirt. Not to be interrupted. Not to lose sight of his intended purpose.

270 words on day 751

The Sex is Still Always Just Fine

The Sex is Always Just Fine

“Oh honey, the sex was just fine. The sex is always just fine–”

“Arched back? Gasping for–”

“What is it you’re reading these days?” Connie centered her sweating Arnold Palmer on the cardboard coaster then dabbed her lips with a linen napkin. She examined the contour of tendons under the slack skin on the back of her hand. “But really you’re on the right track there. He was funny.”

“Mmm. Doing it with a guy who makes you laugh is the best.” Lisa popped a cherry tomato leftover from her salad in her mouth and Groucho Marxed her blonde eyebrows. Seeds spurted out of her lips.

“Ew, no,” Connie said, but Lisa continued waggling her eyebrows. Connie grimaced and looked away. “Stop. Just stop. No, what meant was he was comical.”

“What? Then his thing did stand-u–”

“Finish that sentence and I’ll walk the check on you.” Downtown Denver was never a cheap place to eat, but the Palomino in particular prized its cuisine. Lisa sat up straight and put her hands primly in her lap atop her creme skirt. Connie doubted that pose would last after what she said next. “No. He’d clearly seen too much porn.”

“Ahhh, the bush freaked him out?”

“Jesus, Lisa!” Connie sputtered. The pair of women froze like nuns in a bathhouse as their unnoticed waiter topped off Connie’s glass with more tea. He departed with a professionally blank face, but Connie would never eat there again.

Connie warmed to the thought of the next thing she would tell Lisa, but she reached for her ice-filled glass because of the thing she would not. “He was fascinated by the panty-lines on my hips. He kept tracing the indentions in my skin.”

“Cool?”

“Was that a question or were you agreeing?”

“Whichever.”

“Cool. It was cool.”

302 words on day 745

Pah Facilè

I liked yesterday’s effort enough to return to it to fill in some blanks. The one obvious hole I placemarked and the lack of concrete character description, Please note: the French phrase title of this entry and it’s use in the body is purposefully misspelled.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/glennoi/1798325422/sizes/l/

The boatman assured the men, Victor, Lars, and Daniel, there was a bike trail on the other side, but Daniel continued to press him for details.

“First part hard…pah facilè?” Daniel asked. He pointed to the bank where the bow of the longtail was headed then sketched a diagonal grade up the cliff wall where he imagined the trail might be.

The boatman swapped grips on the motor, waggled his head, and said something in Vietnamese accented French. He pointed to the same spot on the bank then drew a vertical line up the wall instead. Four hours later the three made camp at the top of that wall by collapsing in the leaves and mud next to the last motorcycle hauled up.

“We should of paid him,” Daniel said. He brushed sweat from his forehead and red face with an equally wet arm. A patch of mud transferred as a stripe from his eyebrow to the part in his blonde hair.

Lars grunted and asked, “To take us back across?”

Daniel nodded.

Lars grunted again.

“We should have,” Victor echoed without lifting his head out of the dirt or taking his eyes out of the canopy and clouds. His stale blue t-shirt read “The Best Ride in Vietnam”; a new hole at the shoulder showed a little blood beneath.

“Jesus. You too? You two kill me sometimes.” Lars pulled himself into a sitting position, back leaning on Daniel’s bike. They were ten days into their journey and his once crisp Fu Manchu had begun to blend back in to the rest of his dark beard. “I mean, fine, we all know Danny’s a pussy, but you Victor?”

“What, me? I’m no pussy. That—” Victor’s muddy and bloody forearm went up at the elbow and dropped pointing in the direction of their climb. “—was four hours we could have ridden, Lars. Gotten somewhere.”

Lars fingernailed mud out of the shocks on Daniel’s front fork and sighed. “But the long way. I say this four hours saved us twenty or more down your road.” Daniel and Victor had heard this plea of Lars’ several times before breakfast, before they came across, before they climbed half a day.

“So you say, so says the pussy.” Daniel pointed to himself.

Lars snorted a laugh through his nose faster than he could get it out of his mouth, but Victor didn’t give him a chance to recover before he again echoed his twin brother, “So says the pussy.” Lars choked and sputtered after that.

[a paragraph of description for pace. Gah! Ran out of time again. Well this awesome mystery paragraph would have been packed with jungle sounds and ambience. It would have ended with an air horn sound coming from a boat in the river below; I probably would have made a deft, elegant, and ironic parallel to the sound of a factory whistle.]

“Well, we’re here now.” Everyone knew that. “Burning daylight.” Everyone knew that too.

519 words on day 732

First Part Hard

Update: a slightly more edited version of this post to read instead.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/glennoi/1798325422/

The boatman assured the men, Victor, Lars, and Daniel, there was a bike trail on the other side. Daniel pressed him for details.

“First part hard?” Daniel asked. He pointed to the bank where the bow of the longtail was headed then sketched a diagonal grade up the cliff wall where he imagined the trail might be.

The boatman waggled his head and said something in Vietnamese accented French. He pointed to the same spot on the bank then sketched a vertical line up the wall instead. Four hours later the three made camp at the top of that wall by collapsing in the leaves and mud next to the last motorcycle hauled up.

“We should of paid him,” Daniel said.

Lars grunted and asked, “To take us back across?”

Daniel nodded.

Lars grunted again.

“We should have,” Victor echoed without lifting he head out of the dirt or taking his eyes out of the canopy and clouds.

“Jesus. You too? You two kill me sometimes.” Lars pulled himself into a sitting position, back leaning on Daniel’s bike. “I mean, fine, we all know Danny’s a pussy, but you Victor?”

“What, me? I’m no pussy. That was four hours we could have ridden. Gotten somewhere.” Victor’s muddy bloody arm went up at the elbow and dropped pointing in the direction of their climb.

Lars fingernailed mud out of the shocks on Daniel’s front fork and sighed. “But the long way. I say this four hours saved us twenty or more down that road.” Daniel and Victor had heard this plea of Lars’ several times before breakfast, before they came across, before they climbed half a day.

“So you say, so says the pussy.” Daniel pointed to himself.

Lars snorted a laugh through his nose faster than he could get out of his mouth, but Victor didn’t give him a chance to recover before he again echoed his twin brother, “So says the pussy.” Lars choked and sputtered after that.

[a paragraph of description for pace]

“Well, we’re here now.” Everyone knew that. “Burning daylight.” Everyone knew that too.

349 words on day 731

Women in a Windowed Box

Last evening I did two things worth noting here. Earlier, before the sun had set, I took my daughter to gymnastics. Much later when it was dark and cold but not nearly as windy I sat on the front porch tapping out yesterday’s 1000 Day entry on my phone.

Knowing I’d already missed my normal morning writing window, I carried along my writing notebook thinking I might find some inspiration in the parent-stuffed sitting room. I did, but I denied it. My notebook sat open in my lap for several minutes; the pen dangled above the page like the feet of the recently hanged hover over snow. I wasn’t shamed into tucking the pad away under my metal folding chair and reading my book instead. I was daunted and scared.

My plan had been to do some character sketches of the folks in the room. I rarely find myself in public spaces crowded with people and able to write at the same time. I should have drooling for this chance, but it caught me off guard how real and diverse the women there were.

Mary Ann sat to my right. The white running shoes she wore were trimmed with pink. They had been bought specifically to go on walks in the evening, but Mary Ann’s rubenesque build told the truer story: she wasn’t unhappy with how she looked. Sure she needed to be healthier, but being a wife and a mother held primary sway over her schedule and at the end of the day there just wasn’t time for her own things. No matter how much she swiped at her phone she wasn’t truly torn away from trying to locate her kids int he crowded gym.

Nancy Cutter buried herself in the corner past Mary Ann. Her black hair reflected the blue-tinged flourescence of our viewing box which contrasted her black knit sweater which absorbed that same light. Her skinny jeans ended in a pair of cowboy boots—not her for-the-farm pair, but the house-and-church ones. But she was in town with her daughter Casey, so she pushed her sunglasses back over her head like a headband. Her husband, Ben, joined her later. He wore an improbable pair of boots that had laces, a zipper, and a buckle around the back yet managed to seem genuinely Western. His hair was cut like he golfed and hit Nancy in his spare time—only twice and he promised never to again.

Ben crowded the blonde hole behind him. Whoever she was had turned up late, immediately spun the walled chair around, and put on her best 1000-yard stare to drill past the tweens on the uneven parallel bars and to her son on the vault for 45 minutes.

Which brings us to the lesbians. I don’t know how lesbians are in your town, maybe they’re always French-kissing and holding hands walking down the lane like it’s all OK, but here in Oklahoma ours are polite. They marry men who don’t know, but would be irreligeously turned on if they did. In public they act like real close friends, but when two women sit face-to-face and side-by-side in two folding chairs for an hour, when their hands brush each other’s thighs over and over, when their hair is pixie-cut and bed-headed like that woman from Top Gun, a fella just knows. And whats up with sandle boots with cuffs?

I’m running out of time so I’ll summarize the last two women: unapologetically loud and psychologically youthful grandma and her I-played-softball-in-college daughter. Both with long hair in a generally short-haired room.

Oh, and I plotted Charming a little later that night.

605 words on day 730