All this mess with Jansa and her mother and Jansa’s drama disabuses me of the joy of theme weeks. Especially if you get a dud—or what you work into a dud. I like the serenity of the Juena character too much to ruin any potential by exploring the hotheaded Jansa further at this time. Theme week ends early this week.
In the housekeeping category I should note that I’ll be out of my usual environs for the weekend and into a more challenging writing situation next week. I’ll do what I can to roll with the change-up, but I think any long time reader of 1000 Days knows whats up ahead for 1KD.
I’d planned to leave off of the shanty thread initially and I will after this brief exception to prove the rule.
You post your black-out welding goggles to your forehead to review your work in real light. The welds tighten better near the end, of course they’re not as crisp as Daddy might have done them, but they’ll work for tonight’s gig. And they’ll hold till you get the gravity guitar back to that shop in Tsarko II.
You untie the leather drape across you face to blow out the bits of slag [find out what thats really called] from the pick-ups. However, eager for a warm-up, you begin tuning her out before taking off your coveralls or gogs.
Much better. That soft G wave tightened up and seems gapped better between the D and the B waves—the E’s not hairy. Your tuner-monitor redundantly agrees with your fingers. A few more strums to be sure everything’s heavy and you grind into “House on Fire” by The Oh Johnny! Girls.
Word count: 286
What follows skips ahead of the part where Juena’s unnamed replacement starts taking the tribe in a direction Jansa doesn’t believe (now dead maybe) Juena would have.
“She’s poisoned your thinking. All your thinking!” Sweeping her arm in a half circle for emphasis, Jansa enjoined the polite onlookers in her angry conversation with Shelt. Her rage disallowed eye contact with any one individual in the group till she caught the attention of Tinna at the edge of her gesture. Tinna’s unexpected appearance and gentle face cooled Jansa’s mood some.
Shelt gripped her arm and forcefully turned her back around to face him. He held her hands at her waist for a moment. Jansa mistook his contorted visage for matching anger—this is where he would smack her of course. Instead he sighed.
Jansa realized she’d just seen him make a decision. Then he dropped his head and sighed again—his actions held a strange clarity she’d never experienced before. This time he formed words in preparation for speaking to her. Even before he leaned in and whispered long and definitively she knew it would be devastating.
In later years, Jansa could never recall what happened before or after this moment. This moment however lived sharply and more believably in her memory than many more recent ones. Jansa could describe the thin high clouds in the blue-grey winter sky like a poem, name the tribespeople and place them in order as they surrounded her, angle the sun along the horizon by it’s timorous warm on her neck, and mark the instant the [some bird] stopped whistling in the bush. But now her arms drooped and she stumbled but didn’t fall to the ground when the news was finished.
Her life became a shattered clay pot. She could find all the pieces. She could line them up neatly. She could identify where each belonged and how each joined with another. She could not rebuild it. She could not make it carry water. Jansa wished he’d hit her instead.
Word count: 310
I didn’t get too far yesterday, but held out hope I might all the way up to watching America’s Got Talent to see if I’d be inspired.
An ember pops in the fire. Everyone gathered jumps but the music never stumbles. Jansa only realizes how hard she’s gripped her mother’s hands when Juena breaks one free and pats her daughter’s hand. Juena coos unintelligibly, but reassuringly like Jansa is still a girl.
Without her hair, Juena appears small, even fragile. Jansa tries to imagine her mother’s graying dreadlocks glowing coppery in the wavering light of the last campfire the tribe gathered.
Word count: 100