Sunday, September 11, 2011

First Draft 9118


“What the hell have I told you, if I don’t show up here by 10 you are to call me and remind me to call my fucking wife, you stupid bitch.” he bellowed at the receptionist immediately upon entering the front door.

From the sales office, the words are garbled and lost in the insulation, I was standing in the room, there was no mistaking what he said.

Time has a way of slowing down sometimes, it might just be me, but it seems like time slows in certain situations, even though I do not particularly notice it while it is happening.  It is the memory that is slow in replay I am certain, the immediate replay, the subsequent ones all seem to follow time space rules.

The office manager always carried an umbrella, in case of rain, I suppose.  When it raised I did not hesitate, I did not think, I reacted.

I now have to slow things down to remember them, as I said the subsequent memories are in real time, and it is a blur of furry in real time.

The appointment cards seem to find their way back to the desk, as I headed in the direction of the umbrella.

I could see their eyes, hers were of pain not yet realized, but recognized, his of shock not yet adjusted to.  It was a matter of seconds, mere parts of seconds that distance between where I stood and where they were.

He almost seemed to hold the umbrella at the apex for that time, as if contemplating his actions, but I knew it was coming down, I had seen it already, something else that occasionally happens to me, I see it as it might be.

His mouth began to open, he was about to say something, to me, to her, I could not tell, it never happened, the words were caught with breathless retraction.

The umbrella in my hand was freezing, it was the middle of July, and there was no rain.  Then I felt the blood return to my body, and fire tore through me, as I heard the bones crack.

I turned around to face him, but he was gone, he no longer was there, and the umbrella felt heavy as if being pulled to the ground by some unseen force.

A moment later she was there though, and everything caught up to the moment.  I let go of the umbrella, I felt the blood now run down the side of my face.  I had deflected most of the blow, all of it from her, but got caught by the tip as it came past my cheek.

I heard his moaning then and looked down.  He laid on the floor, his hand that had held the umbrella was twisted, and with the other he held his knee, which now bent in the opposite direction.  When he looked at me two looks, in succession, horror turned to furious fear.

She looked at him, at me, at him, and all that was there was fear.

The door from the sales office opened, the sales manager stepped through the door way at a half run.

He stopped short of the scene, I could see he was in between reactions, should he be angry or should he be justified, anger won out, to a degree.  

The receptionist still stood there, as I started to walk towards the sales manager, I knew that fear, she would lose her job, her source of income, her fear was turning to anger.  I will never figure these crazy woman out.

“Get over here” he shouted.

I was already walking towards him, so compliance was mostly implied.

I did not pick up the stack of appointment cards, I wouldn't need them anymore.

The sales manager spun awkwardly on his heels and started back through the door that he came in, with me close behind, the door shut with a loud click behind us.

“You need to leave, now” he said in almost a whisper, “I will take care of this.”  He reached into his pocket, removed his bill fold and gave me 200 dollars.  “Now get out” he bellowed in his best managerial tone.

I did just that, picked up my leather jacket at the rack, and headed out the door.  All six eyes that followed me got not one glance, not one word.  I never did see any of them again, but that is just as well.

She had a nice smile, she probably could get a job at the sandwich shop down the road, I saw they were hiring as I drove away, couldn't be any worse.

Vagabond

Movement, constant movement, since about the age of eight.

In the spring of 75' my dad moved to Corning for a new job,  I was told.  He had retired the year before from the NYS Thruway Authority as toll booth operator, 22 years of service, and mostly what he got for it was a lung full of carbon monoxide.  They eventually put the gray lung act through about two years after he died, it was not retroactive.  He gave them 22 years of eight to ten hours a day, working holidays because no one else would, no promotions, no real bonuses to speak of, and a nice watch.  He was a worker, that's why he got nothing in return, it is only those that do not work that rise to management.  The move was the first, it would not be the last.  Marriage had ended a couple of years before, they did not want to admit it yet.

My mom, my sister and I moved to Ovid, closer to Corning but not there, right after the school year.  This was the first time I left the farm, and really Hastings.  Except for long weekends and vacation, my dad stayed in an apartment in Corning, cheaper than commuting.  Gasoline was almost 85 cents a gallon, too much to drive back and forth every day.  Besides he worked odd hours, night shifts, there were only night shifts to work.

I did not notice really, he had never been home much anyway.  I wasn't home either, always going somewhere, so we never saw each other but on long weekends and holidays, and even then it was mostly from a distance.

Eds Note:

There are more stories here than I had initially anticipated.  There could be one, but that would be cheating the reader out of learning more about the character.  At this point I will try to know more about him.  This is long overdo.

Who is I?
The I in this story, these stories, is ultimately based on the self, to a degree.  Nothing that happened to me was ever quite this dramatic, and there were a lot of days left out, where nothing happened.  There are more days where nothing happens than those where something happens, I the self would think, but this is not necessarily true.  To the I that lived these stories there is nothing here to report, but to the I that writes the stories, and the they that will one day read them, there are hundreds of days of stories all of equal value and excitement.  It is the detail that enhances them and brings life to them.

An afternoon is as a lifetime to the reader.  The adventures of one life lead in many eyes, is as a hundred lifetimes for those that had not lived that one.  That life can be compressed into bites, vignettes of that life, or it can be expanded, into the vivid detail of that single afternoon.

The textual clues laid here are cues for the I that is the writer to expound the moments that are most significant, and wrap them in the envelope of the ordinary so that they take on their own lives, separate and free of the constraints of convention and boredom.

A breakfast may appeal to the I that is I only as some cue to some other more fascinating event, while to the reader this it self could be integral to the character I of the story itself.  A moment in time is quantitative of the value that it holds, like a snap shot, the scene is comprised not only of the subject but also of the setting, and that synergy between the two.

The scene, like seasoning, too much and it clouds the entire dish, to little and the flavor is flattened.  The scene with the heroine addict, while crafted to present a window into the character, is more, has more to say by the scene in which it is presented.  The reality is some what less dramatic, as it happened in a moment of time, an encapsulated moment within one individuals life.  Coming from the I that lived it, it was but a brief moment, two hours that seemed an eternity in the presence of the events that unfolded, but only a brief flash shortly there after.  What did happen, or could have happened, happened so rapidly that there was not time to remember it or think about it in the moment.  It would cease to exist if it were not for an uncanny capability that I appear to have when needed to remember fine details when they are called for.  Then you have to ask your self, is the memory faster, slower, more vivid, darker, or is it as it stands, bleak but revolutionary at the same time.

The dialog that follows, both inner and outer is reflective, not precise.  I the writer do not perfectly remember all the words in their absolute perfection, or even order, but I can still recall the scene, and the mood that pervaded that particular scene.  Even as I re-read it now I realize there are issues with continuity and other such time line contradictions, but those are mechanics that can be fixed through successive edits.  

When ones life is the fuel for the story that one writes, it only stands that the stories themselves will be partial to the vision of the writer.  Here the craft of one writer to any other is most finely compared.  As I attempt to remember the details, it appears to me mostly as highlights, scenes that picked themselves out of the others, the daily grind is nearly absent due to my own perception of what is valuable and what is mundane.  These snippets themselves are then re-looked at by the I that is the editor, and with more critical eyes than once I had, they are known for what they are, peaks, and valleys, which is indicative of forks in pathways, changes, and those are stories, in of themselves if only provided sufficient space and scenery to flourish.

Once they distill to the fictional liquor they will then develop from that their own character, being of the same brotherhood, but only by association of the author that is I.

“So choose one, and work through that phantom until its spirit is laid to rest” I can hear her say.

It is a distant voice anymore, not the whisper in my near consciousness, but a distant voice crying in the din of other responsibilities.  She who once drove me to the brink of reality, to the edge of insanity, for her own curious rationale.

She that fueled my dreams and throttled my hours with sensual whispers and tantalizing lies, provided I chose to believe them.  The unseen she, that held me closer than I had wished for.  The shadow that hovered over some unknown child and breathed me into it.  Her delights were tainted, but I hungered for them, as they were unknown to any other.

She who gave to me that which I asked, for the price of obedience to her whim.  She that drove me to places and depths I would have not gone, had there not been she.

And on the last day of silence, on that eve of silence, I wept for the loss, not of she, not of that which I might have lost, or that she was no longer there, but from the release of years and years of torment from her unseen influence.

The echoes remain, deeply seated in the neither reaches of the  addled gray matter that within me still remains.

Ah, but gentle reader I am off track, steering away from the contract we have together.  I have gone to far inside the self, and not let you view the private places of torment that so eloquently presented themselves within this singular point of luminance.  


The Collector

My father was a hoarder, my mother a product of the former great depression, so it is not surprising that I tend towards collecting.  People collect things, nic-nacks of all sorts, treasure to one, brick-a-bract to the other.  

Eds Note:
I just realized I titled this “The Collector” which is was the original title of Stephan King's “Needful Things”, which coincidently is a collection of short stories knitted together through a central character, known in the book it self as the collector.  Just a funny thing, was not intentional at all on my part, and this story is not related, mostly.

Everyone collects something to some extent.  When I walked into the house, I could see that it had collected about three years of dust.

Whatever else was in the house was only to be known from under that dust, and whatever else was waiting in the shadows.  After three years it was bound to be the haven of all manor of rodent and insect, all co-habitating in this dusty old house.  That it had stood these last three years vacant is evidence of it structural integrity.  Judging from the vines that covered its exterior, its integrity was being tested.  This also told a little tale of those that had once lived here, that most likely they stopped caring more than three years ago.  That was evident from the first look inside.

The Realtor had said she did not go much past the front door, that there were no human tracks in the dust confirmed that.  Under the strong light of the sun streaming through the door into the shadowy interior, there was the evidence of much of the inhabitants of present.  There were pathways of several species of rodent, as well as webs undisturbed for at least as long.  The only unexpected thing about the picture is none of the tracks or webs looked recent.  They themselves all had layers of dust.  It is as if they raided the place and moved on.

It is said that most modern rodents can not live very long without humans, as they feed off our waste, and without us, they will move on to places where there are more human populations and easier foraging.  It is possible that out here, away from other homes, and distant from any form of civilization that the rodents did move on, but what of the spiders, certainly they are susceptible to the same laws.  Certainly they would have coveted this emptiness where they would be unhampered in their munitions.  Yet they appeared for all intents and purposes to have moved on as well.

Eds Note:
I should have had someone with me, as it would have allowed for external dialog, instead of just internal chatter, but then it would have been a completely different story.

It would all wait, it had waited this long, it would all wait a few more days, there were details yet to hammer out before the hammers could come out in this house.

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