(Continuing this! A bit of magic realism for you guys, today.)

“Man, Ginnie, yer glasses look ‘specially dumb today! Hwah!”
“My name isn’t Ginnie, Johnking! It’s just Gin!”
“Oh, look, Ginnie’s complainin’. Ain’t that just the latest news from the lil’ bird’s beak?”

Johnking knows that callin’ me that got under my skin, but he always does that anyways. Thinks he can be a jerk just ’cause his voice is deeper, or somethin’. Of course, then Sinda had to chime in:

“Yeah! Yeah, looks like he’s complainin’… a-GIN! Haw! Haw hah!”

For a girl with such pretty freckles, Sinda can really be a leak in the boat sometimes. Thankfully, then Ralphie hopped on down from the treehouse, waving her knapsack around for a moment before settling on the northern direction. She hollered out real high, jumped clean over everyone else, and started walkin’ fast on down in the direction of the Train Trestle. More of a prance, really, now that I think about it–But, uh, anyway, we all kept on after her. Keep on Adventurin’ on?

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“Windboat Children”

September 1, 2009

I have a lot of ideas for this. It’s based on me mishearing the title of the song “Rainbow Children”, which has incredibly little to do with this story (although it was a pretty great song, anyway! Very touching.). But yeah! I have a good feeling about this one. Think I’m gonna continue it even after posting some of it here, hopefully. But anyway! Here’s the first part, rough draft.

“So! Where are we adventuring today, guys?”

I always get real scared whenever Ralphie says that. I can’t show it, though, or else everyone else’ll get mad at me or tell me I’m fussin’ and a big wuss and that I don’t deserve my membership in the Best Adventurers in the World Club. I’ve lost the membership a couple’a times, actually, but Ralphie lets me back in when it happens. But yeah! Uh, Ralphie asked us where we were gonna adventure today, and immediately everyone chimed in all at once.

“The Woods up north!”
“Let’s go cross the Long River!”
“No, we should go up Owl Mountain!”
“The Train Trestle! The Train Trestle!”

“Oh!” Ralphie perked her ears up. “The Train Trestle! Keep on Adventurin’ on?

(This is a continuation of this quick fictionstory. I’ve really enjoyed microfiction this summer, for some reason. Might also be partially due to the fact that, this being a blog, it work a little better as far as short installments go. But yeah, here’s part two:)

“God.”

A little cliche, yeah, but it felt like the right thing to say after a performance like that. The whole thing had almost felt holy–not just in the sense that it was beautiful, utterly so, but because everyone was completely silenced by it. It felt like worship. I watched him go sit down at the bar–Damn, he’s at the end of the bar and there’s no empty seats, I thought. It wasn’t even a romantic attraction–more of a simple matter of following beauty, like I was being drawn in. My mind tried to sort out how to talk to him. I didn’t even know how his voice sounded; he hadn’t said a word during his performance. Somehow I knew it had to be mellifluous, though. It felt true. You’ve gotta understand, though: After you haven’t heard live music in a decade of working in the steel mill every day, you become a little obsessed.

I waited for a minute a ways down the bar. He was sitting there silently, like me. The bartender asked me if I wanted a drink a few times. Each offer I denied. The barkeep was about to kick me to the curb when a seat opened up next to the saxophonist. I nearly ran over there, slowing down halfway through to avoid garnering attention. I sat down, and the awkward silence began. I was too afraid to say anything. What could I say? My raspy, cigarette-smoked lungs couldn’t produce anything worthy of communicating with the tones of his tongue. After another pause, I worked up the courage to say something. What would I say? Hello? Yeah, yeah, start simple. Okay, here we go–

“I’m not much of a talker, friend.”

Raspy. Pained. Almost a growl, and at least three octaves lower than my own voice. It was like scratching a piece of gold only to find that it’s painted. Like scratching the bell of his saxophone.

(Prolly continued again soon.)

It was quite sudden. Mr. Totington, frankly, wasn’t at all sure what to do about the situation. For a moment he simply stood there on the sidewalk, watching people pass by. A man in a suit. A woman in a red dress. A little girl carrying a balloon. Another suited man. Instinctively he tapped his chest–there was something hooked on the left side of his suit. He looked down: It said, “MR. TOTINGTON: A RATHER STAND UP GUY.” The name, which he presumed to be his, was in blocky, straightedged letters, while the subtitle below was made to look handwritten and fancier. Keep on Readin’ on?

Stranger Days: Part 1

August 5, 2009

Sorry, guys, this one’s unedited. Granted, all the writing I put up here are usually first or second drafts, but I’m not editing this one for typos and grammar because I’m tired and it’s already almost two hours late. It’s pretty long but probably worth it, I’d say. I decided to try something intentionally funny this time–tell me what you think. Think I’ll continue this one on here sometime soon.

“Stranger Days”: Part 1

Rick desperately needed to find a bar somewhere in town. He didn’t exactly fit in a hole-in-the-wall dive as well as he once did, what with his insurance agent here-let-me-help-you-with-that-form blue flannel suit, tie, and recently clean-shaven face, but damn if he didn’t need a bourbon at the end of a day like this. He staggered down the 82nd street strip looking for a place to lose this day in, muttering to himself about those damn kids from earlier–who the hell thought insuring a bunch of teenage skateboarders was a good idea, anyway? He passed by a couple of places before coming up to… “The Brass Skillet.” Eh, fine, he’s been in holes with worse names than that. (Lest we forget “The Grumpy Skunk.”) Keep on Readin’ on!

(Workin’ on my prose, still. The fact that I had to say “In a Cafe” to let people know the last one was in a cafe kinda annoyed me, so I’m trying to set the scene a bit more this time, though if I continued or redid this I’d love to expound on the protagonist more. Also, this one’s not quite so pessimistic! Sorta. That’s always good. )

Even for a bar, The Long Leaf wasn’t exactly alluring. Sure, it had a certain… charm, I suppose. The dusty collection of fedoras lining the west wall next to the stage, the black metal chairs that deserved to be on a lawn (and probably were at some point, knowing Dustin, the owner), the fact that the bartender would always keep all of the TVs around the bar locked on an old western movie channel–Yeah, the place had charm, at least on paper. But even so, it was the sort of uniqueness that only lasted the first few times you spent a weary night at the place. To travelers, maybe some random family on a roadtrip to nowhere, it’d be “quaint.” But if you spent any more nights there–like me–you’d soon realize that this was all anyone living in this town had to escape the dust and weeds outside. Anyone who worked in Deskern came here at night, every night. And after five, ten, hundreds of weeks, no one gave any sort of a damn how many of the ash trays looked like cowboy hats.

Granted, at the point in my life when I walked into The Long Leaf that night, I didn’t really think about the bar itself much anymore. The bar had practically become an involuntary habit, like walking home from the gas station after work or hanging my keys on the hook as I walked into my house. Something that I just took as an inevitability.

But, that night, as I walked in, I heard–we all heard–a saxophone. A… tenor, I think. The saxist–“That’s what you call them, right?”, I asked myself in my head–was a gruff-looking guy in his fifties. His head was balding a bit, though you could see tufts of hair here and there. He seemed to have more hair under his chin, though, and more well-colored than the rest, too.

This was about all the detail I could manage to get into my head, though. After the initial shock of hearing someone playing music here, my first thought was, “No one has ever even used that stage before.” I asked Dustin later to make sure, and he said that sometimes his son Luke would come and play guitar, but only after hours in the early morning, well after everyone else had left. After this thought, though, I immediately sat down. Hearing such soft, sweet bellows growling from that instrument was a contract: Within ten seconds you were clearly informed that it would be necessary for you to sit down, required that you release your emotions into the air for the musician’s use, absolutely mandatory that you stay until the music ended, and even longer still after that. And the entirety of this contract felt like it was being spoken freshly off the silver tongue of the slickest con artist in town. Like anyone needed to convince me.

June 30, 2009

I’ve been thinking by my ability to write fiction recently–I really think that my short stories tend to be pretty crappy, though that’s at least partially just me being self-defeating. A major thing I have problems with, I think, is character creation and development. Probably has something to do with how I have trouble writing about myself and people I know personally, and by extension, creating and writing characters that are similar to me or people that I know. I’ve recently realized that this isn’t really how it works with a lot of writing–I think before I just thought characters were magically made up from scratch by really good, gifted writers, but now I’m pretty sure that I’m mostly wrong on that front. So! A mini-project for the next couple of weeks with me is going to be writing fiction scenes that are character-driven, and that borrow elements from my own self or from people that I know, in the hopes that I’ll get over my characters-I-know phobia and get some practice with prose in the process. Hopefully some of these scenes’ll turn into full stories, and maybe I will be able to write halfway-decent ones by summer’s end! That said, here’s the first entry. For this one I just focused on one main character–I have an idea of the guy’s son, too, so I might write a “sequel” with both him and his son after this.

“…You never really expect to be where you end up, do you? I mean, you run away from or towards whatever your dad was, right?” The old man pointed left and right. “And you always end up on the other end, swearin’ you’re your own man. But you aren’t! You just keep on livin’ out a life that’s been done before…”

“Um, yes, thanks, I just want to pay, here…”
Keep on Readin’ on?