The Thing Is Also

I toyed with returning to “The Thing Is“. Tonight I’m giving it a shot.

Olsen got started quick tonight. I planned on a conversation that started with “I can’t believe the fucking Cowboys lost again.” or “What the fuck is up with T. Boone Pickins anyways?” or “I still can’t believe they tore down the Dairy Bar.” Instead I got this.

“We’re not driving all the way to Tulsa tonight, just Stillwater. Do you want to start with ‘the fucking thing’ and never get to ‘the thing’ or dive right in?” I asked.

Olsen scanned the roadway for cops. Seeing it all clear he lifted the beer from between his legs straight up to his lips like it was on a wire, took a swig, then ran it back down the wire to it’s hiding place. Somewhere outside a loud cricket Dopplered by the open pickup window like a siren. Olsen oh-shitted.

“You have got to be frickin’ kidding me.” I dropped off the gas pedal and drifted to the shoulder a little to really set the hook. Olsen whipped around full sideways to face me with one elbow on the dash and one on the back of the seat. His head flipping up and down the road he’d just cleared like a windshield wiper.

“Ah fuck. I’m sorry, dude. I don’t even see any lights. Where the hell is he?” I smile, hit the gas, and pull back into the slow lane. “You fucker! For that I just might talk about farts the whole way.”

I turn KXY the rest of the way down–it’s not like you could hear who they were playing anyway with this 2-70 air conditioning going. “Tell me why Karen left you.”

“Not why, dude. Where.”

Word count: 281
Day 222

The Thing Is

“The dumbest fuckin’ thing is I should’ve known this was coming months ago.” The open window and the natural cadence of the truck’s engine didn’t drown the futility of Olsen’s hindsight. Mark Olsen’s parents gifted him with a common first name and a compelling to the point of use last name. When we were in the larger group, the one including Other Mark, I often forgot that Olsen could answer as well. Olsen adjusted the passenger’s mirror. Maybe he was looking for the older months before these newer ones.

Outside the truck, Oklahoma rolled by unabated. Red water creeks gouged deeply into the sandstone leaving green farmland so much growing room that farmers could afford to leave the Blackjack Oaks and thirsty Cottonwoods lining the creekways. South of us, hovering over north Oklahoma City bright purple clouds drowning in their own water-weight splashed onto Britton road. Maybe coming as far north as Hefner, but drying up abruptly well before getting to 122nd. Bone dry Stillwater lay a windy hour ahead.

I realized the 70 mile an hour barbwire fence had hypnotized Olsen into reticence. Or he purposefully required me to drag this inevitable conversation out of him.

“The dumbest fucking thing?” I asked.

“The thing is that it never occurred to me she’d leave me. I always thought I was the one putting up with her shit—staying with her. Not the other way ’round.” He punched open the glove box and slammed it shut. “But the dumbest fuckin’ thing—please don’t tell anyone else this—the dumbest fuckin’ thing is that I knew the minute I farted in bed and she didn’t react that it was over.”

Word count: 276
Day 212

Challenging Inspiration

For some this may be NSFW.

The trip to Stillwater last evening was bookended with Kid Rock’s “Cocky” set on repeat play. One of the characters from my unwritten fantasy novel is based on Kid Rock as evidenced by this album–specifically the title track. He needs work.

I stumbled on my desire to do a literal translation of Kid Rock into a traditional fantasy character. In much the same way that minerals replace organic material to fossilize a bone or petrify wood I proceeded to replace Kid Rock’s traits with appropriate ones from my nascent [pause to confirm I know what nascent meant] world.

Rapping became a style of knife fighting never officially called ‘trapping’. I probably could pull that graceless term off in the context of the story but still, not pretty.

Then I got stuck on replacing the lyrics. I didn’t plan of Stet singing or speaking while he was ‘trapping’ but I did want his normal demeanor to include the poetic vulgarity that I assume permeates Kid Rock’s persona. I’ve never seen a single author translate curse words into their world in a believably offensive way. “Pussy and blow. You know how I live. Can’t say that Kid. Fuck off, I just did,” just doesn’t stand up to speculative word replacement for the shock and awe it imposes on a reader. So now I’m left to use language in a book that I’ve never read in a novel and I doubt is super-great for getting published. Place derailed and abandoned train here.

Maybe I need to embrace my inner sailor and just write it with all the offensive language and womanizing. Maybe my fantasy doesn’t get to have sensitive princes and doting wizards. Maybe I get middle fingers and potty mouths.

Word count: 284
Day 194