Second quarter + one month report

book shelf

I saw a quote recently that said nothing ever goes as planned – you wind up where you are by accident no matter what your big plans are. It’s a variation of the proverbial John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

And so, as I review my announced plans for 2017 for this month-late update, I don’t feel terribly bad about saying, well, Life happened. Continue reading Second quarter + one month report

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5 more first lines

Rolf Pepperkorn blinked three times and stared so long that everything seemed awkward before he finally blurted, “You’re a leprechaun!” and immediately felt embarrassed.

The old man pulled a book he’d never read off the shelf, settled into his reading chair, opened the old tome and cried, “All right, you, where are we going together tonight?”

It was a race to the lighthouse, but neither the plane nor the sailboat had a way to land.

Was it days or weeks or months or years since he’d been on land and raised his face to a warm sun?

I really can’t remember the first time the rabbits in the yard began to talk.

scene 9

scene 9(scene 1, part 1)  (scene 1, part 2) (scene 2)(scene 3)(scene 4)(scene 5)(scene 6)(scene 7)(scene 8)

Pete Bratcher walked out of his barn as I clattered up in my pickup truck. Stella, or Kathleen or Whoever Her Name Was, stepped out behind him. It didn’t feel reassuring that both were cradling rifles. They seemed to relax when it became clear no one was in the truck with me and no one was following me. What, did they think I’d bring the law with me, or that the law would insist on coming along?

Maybe it was me putting airs on Pete now that I had some idea he was more than he seemed, but I felt like there was a sharpness and an edge to the way he carried himself this morning, as opposed to good old rumpled and relaxed Peter who was everybody’s pal.

The girl – why after the last 30-40 years is it still OK to call a young woman a girl? – wore her ever-present baseball cap with the ponytail through the back and the thin line of a mouth. The T-shirt and jeans showed how trim she was, as always, which I admit would be distracting if not for her firm “can’t touch this” attitude and the fact that I was too upset to notice that sort of thing just then. Continue reading scene 9

scene 8

scene 8

(scene 1, part 1)  (scene 1, part 2) (scene 2)(scene 3)(scene 4)(scene 5)(scene 6)(scene 7)

It’s bad enough that Buzz always made comments about the aliens wanting to fatten us up for meals. It was worse that the morgue reminded me of a commercial kitchen with the stainless steel door on the cooler and all the stainless shelving and equipment.

“Won’t take long,” the sheriff said as he walked me down the corridor and through the swinging door to the place where they housed the recently departed for processing. “This is the tough part.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Poor Buzz. He didn’t deserve to die early.”

I didn’t mean for that to come out as an accusation, and I hoped it didn’t sound that way because it might signal that I knew more about what happened a few hours earlier than I was letting on. No such luck, as usual. Continue reading scene 8

Fragment from a dream

He turned the corner and the snake-like things were there, slowly slithering toward him. His heart was beating hard.

“Now,” he said, charging the makeshift device, “let’s see if this works.”

He was awakened by his wife stirring from sleep beside him. It took a few moments for his quick breaths to become even.

“Ow, wow,” she purred. “I just had the weirdest dream. There were these things, sort of like snakes or caterpillars but with each segment made of everyday things. When we were able to dissect them, one link in the chain would be, I don’t know, a Lego brick, and the next would be like a food item, and it was only every few links that there was something – alien – and it was those alien segments that gave the snakes life. But it seemed like I was the only person who cared that these things were taking over, and – why do you look so upset? It was just a freaky dream.”

“I was having the same dream,” he said. “We had just figured out what it would take to defeat them, and I was just powering up the machine to go after them when I woke up, and you woke up at the same time.”

She looked at him with alarm, and then smiled, touching his face.

“Wow, now we’re having the same dreams together,” she said. “Aren’t we the cutest couple?”

The morning calm was broken by a snakey sound outside the door.

The futility of violence

irevolution 2016Happenings around the world, including the attempted assassination of U.S. congressmen at a baseball practice this week, always remind me of the opening lines of my little anti-war anarchist novel The Imaginary Revolution, which I was merrily writing along five summers ago now.

This was the first fragment I wrote on the ImagRev blog, and it never got dislodged as the book’s introduction:

I always thought war was stupid.

I mean, think about it. You and your adversary disagree about something, and the solution is to send your citizens to fight each other to the death?

You’re never going to succeed in killing each and every one of your adversary’s citizens, so even if you win, there are thousands of people who still believe in whatever it was you were trying to obliterate.

You can’t kill an idea.

The book is told in the first person by the main character, Ray Kaliber, but on this point (among a few others) the author and his character are in complete agreement.

scene 7

scene 7

(scene 1, part 1)  (scene 1, part 2) (scene 2)(scene 3)(scene 4)(scene 5)(scene 6)

The first thing I heard that damaged my calm was the sound of two doors slamming. The sheriff had help with him.

Up until when I opened the door to the cabin, I half expected the big, four-armed, whatever-it-was to be standing behind him, electric ray gun at the ready.

But it was just Maynard, the chief deputy, looking stern, a step behind Sheriff Belloc like he always was.

“Hey, Francis,” I said to the sheriff. He hates being called Francis. “Hey, Maynard. What are you guys doing out here this early?” I figured it wasn’t 5 yet, by the light or general lack thereof.

“Mind if we come in, Hank?” Continue reading scene 7