Turkey Enchilada

DWC:552

 

I was kind of sad for a minute when I gave up after 552 words. I really want to hit at least 1,000 every day. It’s just a number that makes me feel good. Also, I know that after three months of doing that, I’ll have 90,000 words to mess around with. I feel that I can slice out a readable book from 90,000 words because, from what I heard, a novel is at least 60,000 words. According to somebody, somewhere, who told me that once.

I don’t know. But I know that the editing phase is going to be heart wrenching and if I have enough to sacrifice to the God’s of delete, and spare the good, I’ll be more satisfied.

Is any of this making sense?!!

So I only got out 552 words then was just done. My eyeballs hurt and brain is burning after the week. Going to wake up at 4am to go into the mountains all weekend. But must sleep. There is so much time that I’ve used it all. Still, I will find my nuggets here and there.

552 words. That depresses me now. Six months ago, having written 552 words would have elated me. How much the growth is lost on the learner.

I’m pretty happy when I think of it that way. But happiness doesn’t get shit done. There is a duality in discipline between celebrating the results and ignoring the results completely and focusing on perfecting the habit.

 

Hard, not impossible. Now, I’ve written an extra 261 words here that should have been in my novel. Thanks, jerks. Love ya.

A Little Hungover Colorado Morning.

DWC: 1025

This one is really raw sausage. Did you know that most sausage has sage in it, hence the name Sau-Sage. K, bye.

He woke up on a rough cold couch. Unsure of his surroundings. The wooden mantle had pictures of strangers. Smiling, laughing in silent glee.

Where was he?

He was fully dressed, head swirling in dehydration and uncertainty. Instinctively he found his way to the kitchen, found a clean looking cup, and downed some water. It was the lifeblood of the moment. Nothing as pure and crisp had ever reached his senses. He quickly downed another and returned to the couch of his origins.

There was a window that ran the length of the living room. Yes, that;s where he was. A living room. Who’s? That was coming back to him.

A guy with a log black ponytail. Philip! That’s right. There were others too, their faces still hazy and irretrievable. There may have been a Gretchen. Ah, yes! She was there. He laughed at the incoming flashes of memories. Impromptu table dancing. A wild chorus of The Beatles GET HIGH #IWTH  ALITTLE HELP…….

A long cold walk to a house on the outskirts of town. The warm glow of lamps in the windows with magenta scarves overlaid. More beers. Cigarettes. Idle conversation waning into mooning affection and stark loneliness.

The sun was rising outside. Pale and full of hope. The new rays over the ridge breaking and reflecting wildly on the dew filled lawn. Henry sat still, slumped on the couch. Legs spread, idle and useless. He felt like nothing. He was nothing. Where in the world was his place?

Behind him he heard a door creak. Philip walked out into the living room. His presence accentuating the silence of the house.

“Hey brother.” Phillip half whispered, half croaked. “Up already huh? I thought you might be.”

“Yeah, the light always gets me.”

They both remained still for several moments, then Philip turned to the kitchen and Henry could hear the gurgle of water from the faucet into a glass. Phillip returned with an almost finished glass of water.

“Not too shabby is it?” He said, finishing off the glass and sitting on an armchair next to Henry.

“Not a bit. It’s just a lot to take in.”

“I bet. I bet. So you still taking off today?”

Henry suddenly remembered all of the things he had been saying the night before. He had found out from some guy named Dan, or maybe Dave, that there was a trail up the road from town that went a few hundred miles south over the mountains and into New Mexico. The feeling of drunken adventure was recaptured in his now aching, sober brain.

“Hah, yes. I intend on it.” He began by laughing, but realized that isolation was his only salvation. These people had their own worries and parades to contend with. He felt like a cement buoy in a sea of traffic.

Phillip nodded with no sign of disbelief.

“Well, if that’s the case, I can’t send you off without a breakfast in your hungover belly.” And with that he stood up and went into the kitchen before Henry could proffer a humble southern declination.

Before long the smell of sausage came wafting into the living room. Henry stood up, half from a sense of duty to help, the other half in primal instinct.

“Hey, you need help in here?”

“Naw, man thanks though! Sausage is almost done!” As Philip spoke, he whisked a large bowl of eggs into a froth. Pulling the sausage from the skillet onto a waiting plate, he then poured the soup of whisked eggs into the scalding oiled skillet and turned off the heat. The mass of yolks sizzled and seared immediately as he turned and folded them over themselves. As the noise of the eggs died down, he reached overhead and grabbed a small pepper grinder and began to rain down pungent flakes of black pepper onto the eggs. Within two minutes there was a steaming mass of food before the two of them.

“Just wait a few minutes, they’ll all be up.” Philip said grinning, diving into his plate of sausage and eggs with his fork.

“Thanks man. I really can’t thank you enough for your hospitality.” Henry meant it genuinely but felt like he came across as a sad old southern beggar.

“Hey, don’t sweat it at all man. I’m lucky. I see that everyday. I found my groove early and dig it. Cooking is what I was meant to do. Sure there’s assholes in the restaurant business, both behind the scenes and in the forefront. But that’s how I figure most people’s lives are anyways. I’ve found a way that provides for my existence which I can live with. Some never find that even with more money than God. At least I think…”

Henry said nothing, attacking his plate of steaming nourishment with alacrity. Such simple ingredients with immense implications. He felt warmth returning to his limbs that he was not aware was previously lacking.

They both finished their plates around the same time and sat back, drinking more water. The sun rose quickly. Stirrings from the back rooms began to emanate. Soon Gretchen came out in a sheer robe, her thighs occasionally slipping into view.

“Hey babe, smells good in here.” Her voice, much like Phillips earlier was hoarse and soft in the morning stillness.

“Hey babe, thanks. Get a plate why dontchya?”

Henry  got up and went to find the bathroom. He walked past three cracked doors, hearing the soft sounds of somnolence inside. At the end of the wood-paneled hall was the bathroom. After a refreshing, and toxic smelling piss, he washed his face and stared at himself in the mirror. What was he doing? How had he got here? Were they looking for him?

He imagined the SOMETHINGVILLE fire department arriving to a pile of smoldering ashes in the shape of a shack. A shack that was once a home now a pile of ashen memories blowing in the delta breeze.

His mind filled momentarily with the vision of a disant row of pine trees across the raw red clay fields, stripped of cotton. Leaving empty stalks rattling in the breeze.

 

Wherein Henry First Sees Mountains

He awoke to the sky shining on pearls of clouds. Strung together tightly and glistening at their icy edges refracted in the pure dawn. His back ached. He realized he was curled up on the expansive and rumbling bench seat of Charlie’s 18-wheeler. He sat up quickly upon realizing the unfamiliarity of his surroundings.

Charlie was still driving, arms out to the wheel with only a slight hint of a bend at the elbows. Steady and smiling. A slight smile.

“Good to have you back son. Thought I might make it all the way to Idaho with you in a fetal position. Not good for business having unconscious strangers in the cab.” He laughed a bit, and kept his eyes on the road.

“Whu, Where are we now?”

“Bout to make it up to Colorado Springs. The ascent begins!” This last part he said in a mock kingly tone. “You ever been to Colorado?”

Henry looked forward out the broad, flat, windshield and saw them. Mountains.

Jagged spires, higher than anything could be imagined or shown on a movie screen. They were impossibly high and formed a solid wall in their path. Yet they still seemed so distant.

“Well? I take that as a no.”

“No sir” Henry said, unaware of the awe in his voice. “Never even seen mountains before.”

Charlie finally took his eye off the road and looked over at him, started to say something, then stopped, readjusted something in his throat and started again.

“Well, the Rockies are a fine chain of mountains to start with. Perhaps the best on this continent. Except for maybe the Brooks range in Alaska, but that’s a moon shot from here.”

Henry nodded, but did not respond. He couldn’t take his eyes off the craggy cliffs and snow topped peaks. So deceptively small.

After half an hour they began their ascent, Charlie shifting down once, then twice until he was at the bottom. The truck roared in defiance to the angle of the road. Soon by almost vertical rock faces, cleaved with dynamite. The drill scars still visible as parallel grooves in the granite walls.  

The truck’s engine was deafening but seemed appropriately paired with the steepness. Henry, was also pitched backward, staring wide-eyed up the ramp of highway before them. Cars zoomed past on the left as the truck putzed upwards.

Charlie showed no sign of disturbance, instead he just turned the radio up higher and caught the middle of a Johnny Cash song.

IT seemed like it took forever to chug up the continuous switchbacks, but eventually, they reached the summit of the pass. Aguilar Pass Summit read a sign on the right. 7,233 feet. Henry tried to process the meaning of this number, but got lost in meaninglessness.

“Hey, we can pull over here. I gotta piss.” Charlie said gruffly. They pulled into a vista area and Charlie hurried out of the cab and over to the fence. Henry stepped out of the cab slowly and was hit with completely unknown air. Faint and pure. It didn’t seem to go down to his lungs the same way. Henry faintly heard a moan of relief from Charlie’s direction.

His heart grew giddy for a second at the novelty of it all. This was a far cry from dank swamps and the thick night air illuminated by a bright blaze. He shivered, realizing the wind whipping at his shirt’s hem and his bare arms. He climbed partially into the cab, reaching into his pack for a sweatshirt.

Charlie walked back over and stood next to him.

“Ain’t this the shit?” He waved his arm majestically in front of a ridiculous panorama of green valleys and peaks dusted with snow.

Henry’s eyes had to adjust to the depth of perspective. The skies of his childhood seemed starkly empty. Had he only known that there could have been so much more to see. Then he remembered large thunderheads of August, throwing lightning and hail across the land. He felt goosebumps prickle up on him, a sudden warmth, suddenly gone with the cold biting winds of the exposed pass.

“Well, let’s get on. You may not have a care in the world, but I got a schedule to pretend to care about.”

Charlie’s light-hearted demeanor staved off any kind of objection or sad story. It seemed impossible to bring him down, and Henry was better off not talking about it. About anything.

The began the descent. Every now and then, Charlie cranked on the air brakes, creating a eardrum-ripping flatulatory ribbon of sound. They were going down fast, but in control. Every few miles they passed emergency brake ramps for runaway trucks. Something Henry had never even considered. Then faintly worried about the brakes on their rig. There was hardly any time to ruminate long over it though as they were soon bottoming out on the floor of an expansive valley. Up to the west was an immutable wall of mountains. One popped up above the rest, covered in a thick veil of snow.

Da Boys Go Camping

DWC: 1062

No this isn’t all of them. Just a little down-home excerpt. Enjoy if you’re that kind of person.

 

The boys made quick time to the halfway point, the town of McAllister. A few farming shacks and gas station at the intersection of state highway 42. The sun began to set rapidly as the rode out of McAllister, stopping to get cokes that they packed away for later. They had to arrive before dark or else the woods would be too forbidding to enter. A gator would surely take off their feet. Or a bush rattler might make a desperate strike. Or there could be something altogether unknown and sinister lurking in the shadows. Henry shivered at the thought and pedaled harder, passing Jacob, taking the lead.

The arrived a few minutes after the sun had set. Only venturing a few hundred feet in, they found a flat sandbar, dropped their gear and began to collect wood for a fire.

All of them had learned proper camping etiquette from the Boyscouts and disregarded most of it. Except fire building. They all got to task without a word. Trevor and Henry gathering wood while Jacob built the fire. There was no arguing or confusion about their tasks. Within five minutes they already had a promising, thin blaze, that reached a few feet high and irradiated the striated bark of the looming cypresses. The air had an empty quality to it. What should have been murky humid air was replaced with the emptiness of fall. The oak and cypress smoke from the fire underscored the void of humidity.

As their pile of firewood seemed enough, they then doubled it and finally sat down on their rolled-up bedding.

“Say Henry, what was it that Mrs. Walters said we had to write about over the weekend?”

“Goddammit Trevor! I don’t want to hear about any kind of school out here!” Jacob said in an exaggerated southern accent as he threw a twig at Trevor.

“Yeah man, we’ll figure that shit out later.”

They sat quite for a few moments before Jacob opened up his bag grabbed out his coke and three cigarettes. He tossed one to each of them with smug insouciance.

Trevor and Henry accepted with grins and cracked open their Cokes, throwing the caps in the fire. Jacob had already pulled a burning twig from the blaze, lit his smoke, and passed the stick to Trevor, who then passed it to Henry.

The all leaned back in relaxation smiling at their maturity. Trevor let out a few stifled coughs.

“Awww shit, we got ourselves a winner!” Jacob said slyly to Trevor.

“Ha, shut up man. S’just the fire blowing smoke in my face.”

“Yeah, sure. Not sure how a puss as big as you made the football team.”

Trevor looked at him dragging on the cigarette awkwardly as he smiled. The firelight danced across his broad face. The night had set in. Crickets infiltrated the soundscape wholly. A perfect vibrato of white noise. Despite the sugary, caffeinated concoctions, Henry yawned unabashedly, Trevor unconsciously followed suit.

“Don’t y’all start that shit now. We gotta plan for tomorrow.”

“Ya, ya, we will. Just getting it out now.” Henry said, smiling lazily and exhaling a puff of smoke.

“What’s the plan this time fellas?” asked Trevor, flicking the remainder of his cigarette into the fire.

“Hey man, there was still plenty on that butt! I won’t give ‘em to you if you’re just gonna waste ‘em!”

“Sorry man, it was just gettin’ to me.”

“Yeah, well…Anyways. You get the gunpowder?”

Trevor smiled and grabbed a mason jar from his pack full of dark gray granules.

“Yep, took some from my dad’s horn. He won’t even notice.”

“Nice. We’ll I got a few blasting caps from Tony.” He reached into his pack and held out a few delicate-looking metal cylinders with long braided fuses extending from them.
“Daaang.” Said Henry as he leaned closer, his eyes wide in the orange flicker of the flames.

A Liddle Tidbit #79

DWC: 921

Yes, I am losing my mind a bit. But it’s damn satisfying. ‘Ere’s some more.

 

He grabbed the thick hickory door handle and, to his relief, it moved outwards with his tug. Inside it was dark, low ceiling, and smoke filled. Refuge.

There was a short bar that had about six seats to it, three of them filled.  In the back were a few tables with benches instead of individual seats. One couple sat on the same bench in repose, smoking slowly in digestive contemplation.

Henry almost stumbled to the bar, his exhaustion finding him at the perfect moment, and sat quickly on one of the slick naugahyde stools, torn and frayed here and there with wispy polyester fibers.

It was then he remembered he only had 75 cents distributed in his various pockets. Before he could collect them into a shabby disreputable stack, a waitress came up to the bar.

“Hi there! Can I getchya anything?” Her accent was non-descript. Kansas or Oregon. Anywhere the rain fell and the animals grew fat.

“Hi, I’d like a beer, uhh a Rainier if you got one.”

She nodded and reached below the bar grabbed a 16 oz. Rainer and said “That’ll be 25 cents.” Her face was smooth and unemotive, perhaps with a fleck of hard-edged concern. Then he realized how he must look. He paid her and took a long gulp. A stylized mirror ran behind the bar and he managed to figure ou the state of affairs.

His face was bright red from solar burns. He had been wearing the same Led Zeppelin shirt for two days, which had adopted several unbecoming odors and stains. His hair hung greasy  past his shoulders and straggles of hair had sprouted across his jaw and neck.

He just dropped his head and drank deep. He finished the first can, crunched it to get the attention of the waitress in the back, and ordered another.

He could still sense her hesitancy of his presence and tried to be a bit more emotionally accommodating, smiling at her with his eyes and corners of the mouth. A genuine gesture that seemed to assuage any present concern.

He sipped on this one a bit more thoughtfully, the drought broken. He began to unconsciously began to eavesdrop on conversation the two at the end of the bar were having. The restaurant, which only seemed to be a bar at this hour, was copacetic. Between the two talkers and him were two empty barstools and a mustached man sipping on a whisky.

He looked up and Henry for one calm second, and then back down into his drink, sipping slowly on the neat whisky. Henry could almost taste the warm, oaky burn, and his mouth even watered slightly with empathetic instinct.

He saw a jukebox in the corner and wondered why it was silent, but not willing to trade his last quarter for a few songs.

Good God. What the hell was he doing?

Juliet was probably at home crying and worrying sick about him. How could he have created such pain in this world with no intentions to? His gut wrenched at the thought of her tears. A few of his own even came to the brim of his eye. He tightened his eyes closed and squeezed every emotion inwards.

“Say, who’s your favorite?”

He opened his moist eyes and saw the mustached man leaning over slightly in question.

I know, I know, Sheesh.

DWC (daily word count): 1,023.

I didn’t post here yesterday because I didn’t. But I wrote about 1,3o0 words. And today I wrote 1,023 words. I’ve been averaging a little over 1,000 words per day that aren’t total shit, which is nice.

From here on I’ma post a daily word count at the top. In fact I’ll start now.

Enjoy the latest brain droppings.

 

 

They rose out of town on the highway and turned onto a Forest Service road. Soon the valley was far below and obscured by a verdant wall of spruces and pines.

“Now, they claim they built all these roads for fighting wildfires, and maybe that’s the case, but they also happen to steer our company right into some of the best timber stands. What was it you said you did before this?” He looked over at Henry with his question and managed to swerve the truck around a corkscrew bend in the road.

What a perfectly normal question that was so strange to answer. Did he want to know about days spent under the hot southern sun picking cotton? Or the countless hours of guitar picking? Professional hitchhiker? Maybe he could just tell him he walked across Colorado.

He crafted the most pertinent answer to assuage Jerry’s perception of his inexperience.

“I done a lot of crap, but most recently I was workin’ on a ranch down in Colorado.”

“Ah, got ourselves a natural born mountain boy then!”

“Hah, naw. Actually I’m from Arkansas.”

“Good god! What in the hell you doing all the way up in these lost fuckin’ mountains?”

“If I knew the answer to that then I suppose I wouldn’t be up here.” Henry replied cryptically, watching the massive conifer trunks go by. The soft, energized fiddle music on the radio began to crackle as the dropped into a thickly wooded valley.

“Whatever the hell that means. You operated a chainsaw before right?”

“Err, not really.”

“Sweet Jesus. We really are starting from square one. You know what though? That ain’t necessarily a bad thing. I see some of these guys come in who were taught by their dads Budweiser in hand. Terrible sawyers. Cocky as hell with bad habits. That’s the only way to get killed out here. That or a griz taking you for lunch. But they mostly avoid us when we got the motors going full throttle.”

“You’re lucky I’m such a nice asshole. We’ll get you trained up today. You don’t seem like a complete ‘tard so just pay fuckin’ attention and we’ll get you out on the line soon enough.” Jerry reached over and turned off the static fuzz of the radio.

After another fifteen minutes of silence they pulled up to a turnaround bulldozed into the mountain side. They both got out of the work truck and stretched out, bathing in the fresh silence of the forest. The blue sky filtered down, warming up the redolent duff and humus. A few birds gave signal to the woods of the intruder’s presence.

“Alright, let’s get this shit rollin’!” Jerry said, snapping straight up, suddenly energized. They walked around to the pickup’s bed and grabbed the two chainsaws, hardhats, and an oil-stained small duffle bag.

“Throw your canteen in here and let’s go!”

Jerry balanced the saw over his shoulder and went straight into the forest, following a hint of a trail. Henry kept up, but struggled to maintain the speed and ease of Jerry. The saw was awkward to balance on his shoulder, the motor clanking his hard hat with every step. He resorted to just holding it by the handle down by his side. Jerry kept a quick pace through the shadowed temple trees, not speaking.

After an hour of relatively flat, sweat-laden trudging, the trail began to rise. Jerry was about fifty feet ahead, careening casually over roots and rocks in stride. Henry could feel his lungs attempting to adapt to the altitude. His heart beat wildly as the pitch of the trail increased. After a few switchbacks upwards, the darkness began to lift.

They came up to the top of the ridge and were met with the wide open vista of a clear-cut logging operation. The field of stumps extended about a mile across, and stretched out about half that. He could see two dozers and one backhoe parked down at the end of the operation next to a road.

“Well, what you think?” Jerry smiled at Henry, fully composed, pulling a cigarette from his shirt pocket and lighting it.

“Is that the same road down there?” Henry said, his breath finally catching up, his hand already sore from his grip on the saw’s handle.

Jerry exhaled a large white cloud of aromatic Turkish tobacco and rubbed his bristled chin with his other hand, grinning.

“Sure is.”

“Couldn’t we have just parked down there?”

“Could have, sure.”

Henry could sense the test in front of him. He was about to complain, but shut his mouth.

This whole day was a test, as much as training.

“Better eat now, then we get to work.”

Jerry opened the greasy duffle, pulled out a wax paper wrapped bundle, and threw it towards Henry. As he ate what turned out to be a tuna salad sandwich, he looked down into the void of air below him. A glistening raven cut across the sky in front of them, cawing hoarsley at their presence. A few others stirred from the woods to do the same, but soon grew tired of their game.

The clear-cut wasn’t as ugly as he was expecting. He had only seen them from the window of a car on the highway at sixty miles per hour. Awkward bald interruptions in the continuous the green blur. Up close, he could see all the new growth shooting up between the stumps. Shurbs and forbs beginning to tangle together. Delicate white blackberry flowers interspersed the vegetation. Robins and sparrows darted in and out of the tangling vines, pecking around the base of the stumps for greasy, protein-rich insects.

“Ugly shit ain’t it?” Jerry said, interrupting the cool mountainous silence.

“Actually, I was just thinkin’ it wasn’t as bad as I was expectin’.”

Jerry looked over at Henry who was still gazing out into the expanse. He scanned his face for a split second, creating a mental note, then shot up.

“Well! Let’s get to it! Ain’t getting paid to look at birds and stumps. Actually, you ain’t gettin paid at all yet. That’s for me to determine.”

Enjoy At Your Own Risk

Yes, this is some raw grease. The day’s creation. It’s not shapely or refined, but it is there. This cannot be denied. Enjoy at your own risk.

 

The sun rose dull yellow, spreading over the path by the beach. He shuffled along, ragged and unsure of his aim. The path was empty and Santa Monica was uncharacteristically still. Even the seagulls understood the truce, pitching out a seldom squawk from a few shuffling clusters of action.

He couldn’t recall the night. IT blurred behind his eyes as his mind grasped for buoys of memory. Nothing. God, this city was no place to think. Had to get out. To the hills, where the rancid canola oil vents weren’t blasting their sour redolence and the trash cans weren’t overflowing.

But how? By what means? It seemed impossible to go back into the fray of the city. It could be fatal to his ruminations. Then it would have to be by foot. An honest day of beach walking could get him at least 20 maybe 30 miles. Enough to reach some the foothills of some clarifying topography.

The sun had jumped into full view and began imparting its first waves of heat. It looked like a smoggy clear beige-blue skied kind of day ahead. Yet again. The dry cool monotony of the desert valley weather was another unconscious anchor weighing on his spirit. Could there be too much of a perfect thing? Who’s perfection, he wondered.

He had since left the winding cement path to walk on the beach, stretching out beyond his sight. A final sweaty chill left his body and he felt his clothes beginning to crisp from the solar energy. His shoes dragged and made him flop awkwardly across the sand so he removed them. Shoes in hand he strolled to the lapping waves and traced the continental line northwards.

This was it. The end of the country, where the land gave in and acquiesced to the cold blue might of the Pacific. Every little rush of water that topped his feet a tingling reminder of the fathomless power of the sea. A primordial urge came over him to set out in a craft and point the bow towards a constant star. Find the new and different promises or punishments across the horizon, and with their uniqueness, discover hidden purposes to it all. Such small problems we have in comparison to all of the ones we know nothing about, he pondered. And how thankless we were for all the incomparable good in our lives. But there were always comparisons, whether known or unknown. Discomfort from not knowing all seemed the only constant.

As he walked the shore the sun blotted out overhead form a formation of pelicans. Swooping low in a wide V, like jet fighters in target range. He thought of the bombs being dropped across this ocean in his name, lowered his head and tried to forget.

The long shadows of palm trees crossed his path occasionally offering his eyes temporary respite from the beaming sunlight. His stomach grumbled and he shuffled on through the drier sand.

By noon he was at least ten miles up the coast. He had stopped at a little hot dog stand on a pier that interrupted his line of progress. He ate four hot dogs and put down a small cup of bad, hot coffee. He paid with most of the money he had on him when he had left the night before. A few coins jangled in his pocket as he continued, annoying his eardrums. He separated all three of them into different pockets.

People had since populated the beach, but not too many. Was it a weekend? He did not know immediately what day it was. After a few minutes of lazy seeking in his head he remembered that today should be Thursday. Not that it mattered. But, was still somewhat reassuring to know.

He passed a family with a sprawled set up in the hot sand. Their large patterned blanket spread out and weighted with picnic baskets and wrinkled towels. A man wearing a Cuban hat with a large taut belly sat on one of the towels with his arms behind him, propping up his bulk. He payed no attention to Henry. Next to him horned-rimmed glasses wearing wife matched his posture. They were watching their two daughters play in the surf. As he passed them the wife emitted a squeal that made him instinctively turn. A seagull had flown down and was trying to abscond with a piece of bread from one of the baskets. It had grabbed it awkwardly in its beak but couldn’t manage to escape without dropping it. The husband made an unintelligible but purposeful shout at the bird as it flew off and shrieked back down at them.

Henry had already turned and resumed his gait. A small smile hit his lips from being witness to the scene. How absurd and chaotically timed. They would have a wildly exaggerated story to tell their subdued suburban acolytes tonight. A juicy trip to the beach now peppered with an element of action and danger. For Henry it was just a dot on the trail. How much of life was comprised of such memorable and meaningless moments?

The heat had now pervaded all. He had tied his flannel shirt around his waist and walked on with his shoes in hand. Small groups of people speckled the beach all day. Living their lives, playing their sunny games and laughing. He walked past and sometimes through their groups like a ghost in the broad daylight. Head tilted downwards, focused on a blurred point always ten feet ahead.

The sun had begun its lawn downwards yawn into the arms of the Pacific. The city had become obscured by a low rise of dunes and foothills. Soft rocky outcroppings and cliffs began to replace the dunes as he continued. The sun engorged and radiated its final orange warmth across the water. The cliffs and sand matched the hue of sunburst and all seemed to be glowing. With a final beaming glare bouncing off the water’s surface, the sun was eclipsed by the ocean’s bulk.

The lingering warmth and glow lulled him into an careless stupefaction. He temporarily forgot his walking, enamored with the feeling of ease pervading the incandescent air. The ebbing crash of waves breaking on the rocky surf and constant rush of wind allowed him a respite from tired worn out thoughts. He became aware of the ache in his feet. The tension in his back. The tingle of the impending sunburn on his neck and face. And the obstinate rumble in his stomach.

He pressed on up the coastline looking for his escape up into the now bulging hills on his right. Have to wait for a valley to cut upwards. He could just bushwhack straight up the slope, but he knew the prickly chaparral on the slopes was devilishly thick. Best to wait for a better approach.

As he walked on the mass of foothills on his right began a linear descent into a notched valley. Before he reached the geologic opening, the presence of humans met him. A few beach houses, propped on stilts began to appear. Relaxed looking structures that were sparsely distributed. Enough room between to make good neighbors.
Then he came upon a narrow boardwalk that hugged the bottom of the descending hill. He sat on the aged and splintering wood and dusted the sand from his feet. They were a light shade of red and exceptionally smooth from their abrasive trek. He put his shoes back on and continued down the wharf until he came upon the oceanside hamlet of Torriega.

WordPress Copout

WordPress is being a tool tonight and I’m using that excuse to copout.

It’s not letting me log in to the PC so I have to relay my mind via phone, which I hate.

I didn’t manage to write any of my novel tonight. Instead, I elected to have a life and tour the city’s history tonight. Highly elucidating. I learned there used to be built in piss troughs at certain bars. And that Francis Ford Coppola lives a few blocks from my work. And that the place I go to get coffee was 100 yards from where Mark Twain met Tom Sawyer.

All good things, but a total waste in the eyes of my goal. I’m not too downtrodden since I have already written quite a bit this week, but not ideal.

I endeavor to not be so easy on myself, but still, there is always a balance to find. That search is part of the journey. And the journey is why stories are written.

 

 

 

 

 

Random Scene at The Great Divide

Here’s an excerpt that is highly unedited. No, I don’t know where this scene is going though I have most of the rest of it written out. Still dancing around from part to part of the book. Maybe need to flush out most of one act.

pro-tip: when writing something requiring dedication, turn your phone off and put it underneath something. It really helps. 

 

It was late. The day had worn off. Responsibilities and constant caution were lingering attachments. There were no snags or widow makers to worry about. No signs of predators to look out for. The elementary danger had subsided. Now began the new worries. Money, women, and villains.

Henry walked into The Divide a little after ten. The reliable jukebox in the corner belted out an Otis Redding tune with a wavering register. He grabbed a stool at the bar and ordered the usual. A double whiskey on the rocks.

He peered from side to side, half stretching his aching and taut neck muscles, half prospecting. Was she here?

No, she was not. not that it was anyone in particular he was searching for. Just her. As far as he knew, she didn’t exist.

The music had changed from the sultry Otis to an elegiac Hank Williams number. The lights hung low and murky against the grain of the wooden ceiling beams.

Loggers and truck drivers clustered in units of three to four around the bar. Maybe it was a tavern. Henry hadn’t thought about it. What was the difference anyways?

Every now and then an uproar would burst from one of the clusters of roughnecks. Another group would yell at them and laugh out rough gravel outbursts.

 

Henry sat off to the end of the actual bar within the bar. Tavern. What the hell. What the fuck was he doing here? His whiskey, now only half melted ice, demanded another.

“LeAnn! I’ll take another please.”

She seamlessly acquiesced his polite command and had a glass in front of him in less than ten seconds. A professional, he admired. She smiled at him and turned to strut down the length of the bar to the next demand on her prowess. As she walked away, he couldn’t help but notice the curve of exposed hip above her jeans and below her worn-in tank top.

He was shaken by a sudden slap on his back and the voice of Jerry.

“Hey shit head! I know what you’re up to man.”

“Hey brother, what? I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

“Nevermind. Hey LeAnn!” She turned and saw him nodded and needed no words. “Thanks!” Jerry shouted over the drunken din.

“When did you get here buddy? I thought for sure you’d be holed up somewhere with that curvy little thing of yours makin’ music. Or maybe a woman for a change.”

“Ha, naw. Got enough practice in this morning. This week was a bitch. Need somethin’ to make me forget that I have to do this shit to make money.”

“Yessir, what a hot dusty shitstorm out there. Least it’s Friday” After saying this, Jerry sipped on the extra tall rum and coke in his leathery grip, staring vacantly into a faded beer poster across the bar.

A comfortable quiet settled between the two as Henry felt his neck sagging down slightly.

“Well, you fancy a game of pool?” Jerry said, snapping the silence like a rubber band.

“Shore ‘nuff, let’s do this!” Henry said, smiling a wide idiotic careless grin. Acting the part of the southern idiot only he could mimic so well. A slight tingle came up his arms as he couldn’t help but see that muddy river and the engorged sun resting on top of glowing cotton fields. Then a bright blaze across a flat cold night. He got goosebumps and a grim essence drifted through him. Seeing Jerry already halfway across the room he stepped after him.

They walked the perimeter of the open-floored, cavernous bar which was rapidly filling with all manner of tramps, truck drivers, biker mamas, and various types of old-timers sipping watered down well whiskey.

The came to the doorway to the pool room and found the doorway overly congested. They could hardly get in.

“The fuck is going on here!?” Jerry said feigning madness for curiosity, pushing his was through the lingerers.

There were only four pool tables so it was normal to have to wait for a game on a Friday night, but it was never this packed. All four tables were, of course, in play, but one drew the crowd’s attention, and then Henry’s. She was here. The imagined temptress of his desirous creation.

She was bent over facing him, cue poised like an arrow. Before he could examine her more she connected with the cue ball with a loud clack and sent the solid yellow number one ball into the corner closest to Henry. As she stood, her hair cascaded into motion, captivating every dirt abg in that place. She reached into her tight pocket and retrieved something, a hair band, that she quickly used to tie her mane into a loose ponytail. When she reached up, her shirt rose a few inches revealing the honey secret of her navel. Henry couldn’t stop staring.

Where did she come from? Why here? It was not possible. She could not be explained through his understanding of the world in this context, therefore he was immediately wary. But still entranced. Her face was that of Helen of Troy, though he could never prove it. Entire nation-states used to slaughter thousands of men just to possess such a treasure. He hated that everyone else was staring at her like dumb cattle. Yet, he couldn’t remove himself from the herd either.

Woooo! Writing is Neat!

Welcome to the zone. Population you and me.

Things are going well. I think.

My writing has been jumping around from part to part. Scene to scene.

I’ve arranged the plot in three acts because that seems to be a pretty acceptable story format. And it makes life easier. And it is just a damn pleasing notion. Beginning, middle, end.

I have most of the broad strokes painted in my mind, but every day when I’m sitting down, I don’t know for sure what scene I will be painting.

I suppose a lot of it has to do with my mood. Some days I feel like writing about Henry’s (the protagonist) idyllic rural homeland. Other days I feel like being in the bar with him, high up in a remote pocket of the Rockies, playing pool.

This definitely can’t keep up. I have to remind myself every minute that each word and sentence I write must develop the story. Drive the plot or die. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in what I can type versus what I should.

It’s definitely not a binary decision though. Sometimes while rapping out stream of consciousness, I’ll stumble on some new fancy phrasing that satisfies my belly. But this practice can easily melt into rambling, word salad, which, you all know, I have never been guilty of before.

So the theme of today is: Keep the plot moving. Make beautiful action, not only beautiful pointless description. But walk the edge at times. Because writing should match life, and life is full of little strange inexplicable observations and occurrences.