Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Bit of the Book

note: Previously, I posted an excerpt from the story I'm writing now. Originally, I was writing in first person point of view. I changed it to third person. There were bits of the story that couldn't be told in first person.
At this point in the story, Jess is twenty-seven years old and lives in a tiny apartment in Ft. Worth, TX. She has spent all afternoon on an airplane.

She had forgotten to turn her cellphone on after leaving the airplane. Four voicemails, she noted. Several emails. Oh well, she thought as she tossed the phone back into her purse and emerged again with Mrs. Wheat's money. She wasn't in the mood to take on the world tonight. She was adopting the Titus Harper philosophy and simply shutting out all the unimportant people.

As she rounded the wall into the hallway that led to her front door, keys in her hand, her inner perception flickered. Her stomach turned and her mind sharpened to her surroundings. The darkened apartment suddenly became a very heavy weight around her, like a fog with substance. She'd had this uneasy feeling a few times before, and she had learned to recognize it for what it was. Intuition.

She stopped, turned and peered into the darkness. Something wasn't quite right with the world. Something was happening, or about to happen that wasn't on Jess's approved activity list. Maybe there was somebody in the apartment. An intruder.

She wished she had one of those apartments like you see on TV. You know the ones. They have a doorman and a security guard. Some of them have a buzzer system or a receptionist at the front desk who will call you and announce your visitor. The bottom line was, nobody got in unless somebody on the inside let them in.

Jess Harper did not live in one of those fancy, high security apartment buildings. Her security system consisted of one deadbolt and one Louisville Slugger.

That slugger was under the sofa. She used to keep it in the umbrella stand by the door, but Mrs. Wheat had convinced her to move it. She had pointed out to Jess that any intruder who came through her front door would be closer to the bat than she was. Now what good would that do her? God Bless Mrs. Wheat, but if she had left it in the umbrella stand, she would have felt a whole lot safer just now.

She forced herself to cross her living room, weaving in between her sofa, coffee table and two small conversation chairs to peer carefully down the hall. No intruder jumped out at her from the shadows. No unexpected visitor called her name from the depths of her hallway. No visible ghosts.

Across the living room, she stared hard at the curtains that covered the sliding glass doors that exited onto the deck outside. Were they moving slightly? Did she notice a bit of sway? Had somebody slipped past her and sneaked right out the sliding glass doors, virtually undetected? Or were they waiting there for her behind the curtains, ready to pounce as soon as she came near?

She sucked her fear down her throat and strode purposefully toward the doors. She was no 'fraidy cat. She swept the curtains aside with one hand and peered beyond the glass to her empty deck. The only thing out there was the long dead house plant she had killed with neglect over the summer and her bicycle chained to the railing. She jiggled the doors. Firmly latched. The tension bar that she had wedged there was still in place. Frustrated with herself, she turned away from the sliding doors and headed for her front door.

She guessed she was just being silly. Her nerves were wound up too tight from her quick trip to the nation's capitol. Even the cab ride home had frazzled her. The driver kept talking about his daughter, and how Jess looked like her, green eyes and all. He wanted to take a picture of her, to show his wife, he said, but Jess did not want her picture taken. She just wanted to go home.

She shook her creepy feeling away and took two deep breaths before reaching for the door knob. It was then that she jumped and almost peed her pants!

A heavy, demanding knock resonated through her tiny hallway. Mrs. Wheat sure as heck never knocked that loud, and she wasn't expecting anyone else.

If she stood there quietly, maybe he (and she was sure it was a he) would realize he was at the wrong apartment and go away.

"Jess!" She jumped again when his voice boomed through her nervous silence. Damn! If he knew her name, he probably had the right apartment.. She didn't know of any other Jess-es in the small building. There were only four apartments in this building- two facing each other on the second floor, two more on the first floor. Hers, 2B, was on the top, facing Mrs. Wheat's. The building was actually an old house that had been remodeled and divided into apartments. Most of the old houses on the block had been converted in much the same way. Mrs. Wheat owned this building.

"Who is it?" She called through the door impatiently, so that he would know she was no pushover wuss afraid to answer her own door.

"It's me, Jess. Let me in!" Who? She mentally ran through the very short list of men who would be so bold to knock on her door after sunset without an invitation. She was sure she didn't recognize the voice…wait…oh my god.

She fumbled with the deadbolt, unsure if she should open the door at all.

"Go away," she whispered even as the lock drew back. "Go away, go away."

The door creaked open to reveal a face she had not seen in more than ten years. He was a little bit older, a little bit scruffier, but it was a face she would recognize until the end of time.

"Cash Sawyer, just what the hell do you think you're doing here?"

Friday, October 22, 2010


I'm having a difficult time translating the visions in my head into the written word today. I have been staring at the computer screen for just over two hours now, and I have written exactly one sentence. And I don't really like that sentence. I know it's not staying there.
I think the problem is that I'm using the laptop, which is connected to the internet. The internet can be handy for many, many things. It is not a cure for writer's block. Just a distraction.
Case and point- I'm blogging right now. I am NOT writing a book.
I should switch over to the desktop, which is not connected to anything but the wall. It's old. The CD ROM drive doesn't even open anymore, so I won't be distracted by Diablo II.
I have only twenty-two hours before I have to go back to work. I need to make the most of my time. Somebody is lurking around in Titus Harper's back yard in the middle of the day on the very day he leaves his body in pursuit of a more eternal existence in the after-life. What the hell are they looking for? (Even I don't know yet...)
The rain has stopped. Bummer. I tend to write more productively when it rains.

On a completely different note- following in the footsteps of many successful bloggers before me, I'd like to list my three beautiful things now...these are from yesterday. Today just started, so not much to tell.

  1. Big fat rain drops smashing against the metal exhaust cone on my roof, echoing down into the heater on my wall, making crazy music in my bedroom all night.
  2. My happy dog, delighted to be indoors for the day, bouncing off my legs in her excitement.
  3. Video message from my daughter of a humongous rainbow. Hers was bigger than mine, but mine had eighteen seconds of thunder. I think I totally win.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Deep-Fried Nonsense

Today was my short day at work. I call it that, not because I don't work eight hours, but because I go in an hour earlier on Wednesdays and I don't have to take my lunch. I escape two hours earlier than a normal day. I leave at two instead of four. "Short Day"

So I only get a thirty minute break. Not much time to feed my face and do the crossword, so I decide I'm going to order from the quickie menu. "Gimme a chicken thigh and lump of mac and cheese."

"A lump?" She gives me the hairy eye.

"I mean a scoop."

"Because it doesn't lump. We don't sell lumpy macaroni and cheese."

WhatEVER. Just feed me.

And even as I'm ordering it, I'm thinking that I shouldn't be eating this crap. I'm supposed to be on a diet. I had decided yesterday that I would eat healthier at lunch. Mac n cheese and a deep fried thigh does not a healthy meal make. Even as she's handing it to me across the counter, I want to tell her to put it back and give me the steamed fish. Even as I'm helping myself to a Coke Zero at the self-serve drink fountain , I'm wondering why would I actually spend money on comfort food, yet again...

So I squeeze myself into the already crowded table of meatheads I always eat lunch with, and they make a stink about it, but I know they really love me, and anyway it's their own fault they sat at MY table. I don't care if they got there first. That's MY table. You can tell by all the meatheads sitting there. And I commence to ignore them, eat my lumpy macaroni and fixate on the daily crossword.

The crypto-quote is really my favorite, but the grocery guys and I have a contest every day to see who can finish the crossword first. I only have thirty minutes today, remember? So I skipped the crypto-quote and went straight to the crossword. I can see the grocery guys through the window. They are sitting on the patio, crowded around their newspaper, filling the blanks. It takes three of them and they use the internet. I never use the internet, and the meatheads certainly don't know a seven letter word for 'concession.' I am on my own. Just me and my brain. I'm very competitive. I almost ALWAYS finish the crossword. Even on Short Days.

But not today.

Because I dropped my chicken...on the floor.

And the meatheads made fun of me. I sit there for a second just staring at it, wondering if anybody else knows about the five-second rule. How many seconds had gone by? More than five, for sure, but maybe the meathead can't count....

So I finally accept reality, scoop it up and throw it in the trash. I'm totally disappointed with myself, because I really, really wanted it...

I was so upset, I couldn't even finish the crossword.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Laundry Day

Somebody was knocking.

I ignored it.

The dog wasn't barking, so the culprit was likey one of my children, or friends of my children, or a niece.

They would just open the door and walk in sooner or my fridge and escape again without so much as a "Hi, Mom!" or "Aunt Nessa, can I run this load through the washer? Thanks!"

But the knocking persisted.

So I dragged myself away from the book I'm supposed to be writing. Was writing. Except for all that knocking. Very rude. Very distracting.

Opened the door. The BACK door. Because that's the one we use. If they had knocked on the front door, I wouldn't have bothered. Nobody important comes to the front door.

And of course, nobody was there.

So I went back to the book.

And then The Daughter (who moved out of this house two years ago) and the A Niece (who is simply CONTRARY) walk in, with three loads of laundry and a grandchild. MY grandchild.

So I guess I won't be writing much today.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nessa's Rules for Safe Dreaming

  1. Never look in the mirror. It looks back.
  2. Doorways are escape passages. Should you find yourself once again in the path of the unseen monster with a viscious vibrating growl, turn to the door on your right. Do not choose left. Remember. Right is Right.
  3. If somebody touches you, embrace it.
  4. If somebody hurts you, the door to the left holds baseball bats, chainsaws, flamethrowers, etc.
  5. Your feet are not touching the earth. This does not mean you are flying.
  6. If you are flying, try not to think about it. Thinking leads to falling. Falling leads to wakefulness.
  7. Can't find your locker? Missed the bus again? Can't seem to get to work on time? Don't worry. Whatever it is you can't seem to accomplish, that back-stabbing bitch you hate already did it for you.
  8. If you hear music, go ahead and dance, but try not to drown.
  9. If you hear crying, do your best.
  10. From time to time, you will see the 'others'. Do not stare at them. Do not distract them. They have their own paths.
  11. Give no authority to the voice in your head.
  12. You are the best driver in the world. It is not your fault the brakes don't work. This is why we installed the parachute button. Carry on.
  13. Pushed to the edge? Jump, my friend. Don't forget to enjoy the view on the way down. It's the last thing you'll see before you...WAKE UP!