For years I have wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that happens beginning the first of November and ends at the end of the month. so I finally took the dive and signed up on Oct 31. The goal is to finish with a 50000 word novel completed. Well I am already behind and will need to write at least 4000 words today to catch up. I knew it would be a challenge but I can’t believe I am already behind.
I had this great idea that has went in the direction I wanted it to. How does that happen? How in the world do fictional characters have so much power over what happens in the pages of fiction?
I don’t have an answer, I doubt there is one.
My idea was to write a series of connected story vignettes that will have a common denominator, eventually. The idea was to create interesting short stories of encouragement. Well I will be the first to acknowledge that so far they are lacking in the encouragement department. Keep in mind while reading the one I have posted below, that this is a rough draft and is not exactly where I want the story to go, yet. What I have learned while editing is that stories tend to grow and develop with each author edit, that has been my personal experience.
So in honor of NaNoWriMo here is the first of the story vignettes. Let me know what you think~
Nothing Last Forever
Most people want to believe in “forever”, as in “they lived happily ever-after (forever)”, but when you live long enough in the world of reality you realize that is the fantasy and if held to tightly can result in insanity. Not to sound like a buzz kill but a heavy dose of reality could help a lot of people from watching their dreams decay.
There are many philosophical and scriptural warnings and words of wisdom that encourage us mere mortals to number our days, be mindful of the end, we are all born to die, and we ignore them in your desire to live life reveling in the fantasy of immortality.
I am going to try over these next few very short weeks to write about this subject in the context of story vignettes. I hope to expel all my inner thoughts and quandaries on the subject until I have exhausted all I have to think and say on the subject and hopefully I will be able to complete this writing challenge with 50,000 plus words while keeping in mind that the agony will not last forever and will come to an end.
How’s That Workin’ For Ya?
Even though I was surrounded by institutional gray and the cold bench I was sitting on was causing numbness to my posterior, all I could see was the glistening sparkle blinking at me from my left ring finger.
“Earth to June.”
“Wow, so he finally popped the question, and since I know the answer by the look on your face, when is the big day?”
Stacey said, as she slid onto the seat beside me. I wiggled my fingers a little causing the light to dance on the diamond.
“Sure didn’t squeeze much out of his piggy bank, did he?” Stacy said as she popped the top of her can of soda and slipped a wad of gum onto the inside top of the can. I hated it when she did that, I wanted to tell her about all the germs that reside on the top of a soda can. But instead I smiled at her and picked up my sandwich and took a bite. Feeling the plasticity of the cheese slice made me want to throw it out but my hunger was stronger than my indignation. I looked sheepishly at the smallness of the diamond that just a few seconds ago I thought was so beautiful seemed to be shrinking right before my eyes.
“I thought a guy like Jerry Whitcomb would have a little more dough to spend on his favorite gal.”
“I love my engagement ring. It is exactly what I would have picked out for myself, if I would have been with him.”
“Really, you would have picked out the smallest diamond setting on display? I don’t get it, you are dating a guy with money and you are like completely cool with a hundred dollar ring.”
“It isn’t about the ring Stacy, it is about the thought and the fact that he loves me. He gets that I am not about the money, that it is him I love, not how big his bank account is.”
“How long you two been together? What a couple of months, or is more like weeks?”
I didn’t want to answer her, I knew she would turn it around to make Jerry look like a loser who was just trying to use me, and I thought taking another bite of my sandwich would put an end to the conversation but I was wrong.
“Ya know what I think. I think he sees you as the only girl he hasn’t had his claws into and he wants to take a big old bite out of miss sweet and innocent. You don’t know these people like I do, you just moved here and believe me this ain’t Mayberry baby. I am afraid you are going to learn the hard way about certain people.”
“Stacy I know Jerry has had a lot of girlfriends in the past; he told me all about them. But he wants to change and he wants to change for me.”
“Really, he told you that.” Stacey said between laughing and shaking her head.
“Yes he told me that, and I believe him.”
“Well you can believe him all you want, but I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Our wedding was a small affair with just family and a few friends of Jerry’s showed up. Afterwards Jerry informed me that he and his buddies were going to go golfing. On our wedding day, I asked him, but he just kissed the top of my head and slapped my butt and said “don’t worry baby, I’ll be back by 9.”
And that was it, I was left standing in the middle of his large bedroom with my dignity somewhere under rumpled sheets. I was on my own in his large brick house which would now be my home too, but I had this deep uncomfortable feeling that it would never feel like home, not really.
Several weeks later as I set in the lunchroom at work looking at my sandwich and feeling like death, I hear,
“How’s that happily ever after, workin’ out for ya?” Bob’s sardonic said laughingly as he set down across from me.
“Your not going to really sit here, are you?” I said not looking up.
“Free country, I can sit where I want miss priss.”
“Don’t call me that.”
“What you think you are too good to eat lunch with me?”
“No Bob, I just don’t want to hear all the farting and burping that goes along with having lunch anywhere within fifty feet of you.” I said as I stood up and dumped my uneaten lunch and went to the ladies room. I am sure he meant for me to hear him growl “bitch” underneath his breath. I didn’t care what Bob thought of me. I was more concerned about why I was feeling like I was coming down with food poisoining.
On our three month anniversary I planned to tell Jerry about our new addition to the family over a dinner. But I set alone waiting for him long after the dinner of his favorite fried chicken grew cold. The next morning I woke up on the couch to the sound of the kitchen door being closed. Meeting him in the hallway on his way to the guest bedroom where I was sure he would tell me he had been all night but didn’t want to wake me up. The look in his eyes were not one of quilt but of childish pleasure of being caught and I could see the mental wheels working hard to explain the heavy smell of alcohol, cheap perfume and sneaking in at 5am. I decided to save him the trouble and turned away toward our bedroom.
Grabbing the suitcase I brought with me out of the large walk in closet I wasn’t sure where I would go but I knew that I had seen, smelled and knew too much to stay. If I stayed than I would be letting him know that I would accept his behavior and he would continue. But I was not going to accept it, no matter how much I loved him. I was not going to raise a child with him. Everyone at work, maybe I should have listened I thought as I laid a hand over the flatness of my belly.
The gnawing ache of love dyeing bloomed within my chest, I could feel the increasingly intensity of the reality of one death as a new protective determined small seed of what I couldn’t quite understand or put to words, but I felt it there within me and it was a powerful yearning to shield the unborn child within me.
I wanted to believe that Jerry could change, would change if he knew about our child.
Stacy stood chewing gum and taking long drags off her cigarette and looking down at me through thick mascared eyelashes as I dabbed at the tears with a rough paper towel in the ladies room.
“Well ya can’t say I didn’t warn ya, that one is a real SOB.” Stacy said as she flick her long gray ash and took another long draw off her cigarette.
“Yeah you did warn me, but I really did think he would stop all of the whoring around once we were married.”
“Nope, he just wanted someone to come home to and have dinner waiting on him. Don’t feel too bad at least now you can probably get your fingers on a chunk of change since there is no doubt of infidelity.”
“Good grief, do you think I want to bail and walk away with some cash for my trouble. I don’t think he realizes who he has messed with. Because if there is one thing I know for sure is when we said I do, I meant it, and he will never get a divorce.”
“Suit yourself it’s your funeral.”
“Are you kidding me? What do you mean by that?”
“Probably nothing but there was this one time when he was real serious about this girl from high school. Well she was still in high school, he had been out a couple of years, anyway, he wanted to break up, and of course it was because he met someone else. I think he just met Shereen from the pool hall; she had just started waitressing there. Well, anyhow, I can’t remember the high school girls name exactly I think it was like Karen, or Sharon, she came up missing and there were rumors that ole’ Jerry had her takin’ care of because she was telling everyone she was pregnant.”
June looked down at the pavement and wondered what she had gotten herself into, and just how well did she really know her husband of three months?
“You be careful with him June, is all I’m sayin’, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.”
“Did you used to date Jerry too, Stacey?”
“Naw, not me but my younger sister did and all she got for her pain and suffering was a few fancy dinners and a busted lip. That’s what I mean June, you need to be careful. I gotta get back, breaks over, you coming?”
“Yeah, I better.”
June followed Stacy through the heavy gray metal door to the conveyer belt and tied her apron on. Working in a pie factory was no piece of pie and if the supervisor caught her slipping in even a few minutes late he would write her up. June remembered he used to be so nice to her, until he found she married Jerry and after that he just seemed different. In fact when she thought about it a lot of people had treated her different after her and Jerry got married.
Jerry told her that he was not the one with money it was his old man that had control of their Grandfather’s estate and he still had to work like everyone else for what he had. But after being at his dad’s and seeing the check’s being handed out she knew that was not the whole story and before she found out she was pregnant she didn’t care. But she had a baby to think about and she was not sure if she wanted Jerry to know about it yet, she needed to think about the best way to handle the situation without arousing too much suspicion.
Several weeks later Jerry went to Clifford’s Bar and Grill to watch football with his buddies and June began to look through his study to see if there was anything else she needed to know that he might be hiding from her and came across letters, pictures and assorted women’s makeup in a box at the back of a closet in his study.
June didn’t know what to think of the box or its contents and pushed it back to where she found it and closed the door. Pulling open the desk drawers she came across a bank statement from a savings account that she didn’t know existed and it held a half a million dollars. That is a lot of money accumulated for someone who works at the John Deere showroom, granted it was family owned.
June was wondered if she should have just stayed on the Greyhound bus she was on six months ago as it passed through town, instead of trying to start a new life in small town America, where no one who she was or where she came from. June had needed a fresh start and at the time falling in love with the town’s pretty boy was not part of the plan. She had just got a job at Princess Pies and was at the diner having a ham and cheese sandwich, when Jerry had stopped by the booth where she was sitting and softly said that was his favorite too, smiled a million dollar smile and walked away. June had watched him walk away and wondered who he was, but didn’t give him another thought after she left the diner that day.
Now six months later she knew him all too well and was going to have his child. June figured it was time for another bus ride because it was true what they say nothing lasts forever. She trying to reason with Jerry to change and become a faithful husband was not going to work history was usually a good indicator of future behavior. She was sure if he found out about the baby he would never let her leave him with the child. His ego was too big for that to happen. She thought about killing him, but she knew in her heart she was not mentally wired to take another person’s life. So it came down to squirrely away money until she had enough to disappear and this time she would not be alone.
The Pink Slip
Samuel Felps looked down at the pink slip laying on top of his neatly ordered desk and froze. He didn’t want to touch it, but he knew it was not going to disappear either, he had no choice. Kendra came in with his message’s and was standing behind him waiting for him to acknowledge her presence, he wanted her to disappear as well. Clearing her throat she was becoming impatient and had begun to tap her cheap heels. Samuel turned toward her, and held out his hand.
“So it’s true, they really are pink; I always thought that was a Hollywood thing.” Kendra said as she hand him two new messages. One was from his wife asking him not to forget the dry cleaning and to stop by the store and pick up the wine for dinner. The other was from a client; a client that would no longer be his after he picked up the pink piece of paper that set waiting for him to pick up.
“You ready to call it a night Sam?” Frank asked from as he wiped down the bar.
“One more Frank,”
Sam read the slip of paper one more time and then crumbled it up and stuck it into the inside his coat pocket, and then picked up the cold long neck that set in front of him. How was he going to tell Cynthia that he no longer had a job? Their marriage was feeling the strain of finances and now there was no income except for the unemployment checks they both would be receiving but there was no way that they would cover the bills.
“See ya later Sam.” Frank said as he picked up the empty beer bottle and tossed into the recycle bin.
Sam shuffled out the door into the cold November night and walked past his waiting car and aimlessly made his way across the empty street.
He walked past the dimly lit shops and never noticed the man leaning against the light post.
“Hey man can ya got some extra change? I’m real hungry.”
Sam kept walking.
“Hey I’m talkin’ to ya, don’t disrespect me old man.” The man said as he grabbed Sam’s shoulder and pulled on him.
Sam had never hit anyone in his life but before he realized what he was doing; his fist was connecting to the homeless man’s rough face. He looked down at the guy lying on the ground, and kept walking.
What was happening to him, Sam’s eyes were clouded with disbelief, had he really just hit a stranger? Sam walked faster and when he came to the corner he didn’t know which way to turn.
How could he go home, how could he face his family, but there was no answer, only the empty cold nothingness of the night surrounded him and for the first time in his life he felt the crushing blow of feeling completely alone.
“Sam is that you?” Cynthia’s sleep heavy voice echoed down the stairs as he stood just inside the foyer of their overpriced home, no correct that thought Sam, this was a house with uncomfortable furniture, this was not a home.
“Yeah it’s me, go on back to bed.” But it was too late she was coming down the stairs and was now standing in front of him.
“Where have you been, did you start seeing her again?”
“Are you kidding me, hell no, I needed to take care of some business, sorry I’m late.”
“Late? Sam we had a dinner planned, we had guests arrive at 8pm and you were supposed to bring home the wine. No Sam, no wine, where have you been?”
Sam raised his arm up and held out a bag with a warm bottle of wine inside it.
“Here ya go, here is you’re wine, sorry I’m late. Can you leave me alone now? Oh wait a minute here is something else for you; this will give you another reason to be disappointed with me in case you needed more reasons than you already have.” Sam held out the pink slip and waited until she lifted it from his fingers.
Cynthia turned and went back up the stairs, without saying another word. Sam leaned his head back against the wall and with his eyes squeezed shut he could not stop a tear from each eye slide down both of his cheeks.