Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Excerpt Blogapalooza 2!

Alright gang, no intro. Check it!

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from Novel, October 2008.

He arrived on a Friday night without warning, as I stood at my drafty picture window my wife has been dogging me to replace for months. He arrived in a red rusted Buick Regal, wearing a red rusted jacket and had a red rusted patch of hair on his chin. No bifurcated tail, no horns, no cleft hooves. His called himself Jamie and he promised everything with his smile before he even said a word. “I’m here to help you write your novel,” he said. I let him in after one knock and a brief introduction, even though I had work to do.

“Your wife is gone for the weekend, yes?” he asked. I cleared a space for him on the couch by moving my humming laptop.

“Yes.” I offered to take his jacket, but he declined. He pushed his brown-tinted sunglasses up his forehead and revealed burst blood vessels in the whites of his eyes.

He smiled at me staring at him, and I stared at him smiling at me for a minute. “Well,” he finally broke the tension. “Why am I here?”

I sat on the rug. “You came here.”

He nodded. “How about a drink?” And without a word he had moved around the corner to the kitchen. I could hear the clink of bottles and he came back through the dining room bearing two pint glasses of my beer. I stood and he handed me a drink. “To Labor Day Weekend,” he said. His sunglasses slid back down over his eyes as he knocked his glass into mine. He took a long drink. It was almost midnight. I told him this. “So you should get started soon. That’s why I’m here.”

“No,” I said. “No, that’s not…I’m supposed to write it on my own. You should go.” I sat down on the couch with the beer in my hand.

“It’s impolite not to drink when somebody makes a toast,” he said. I took a sip. It was cold and I could taste the hops and I knew he had searched through my refrigerator for my good expensive beer, which he was now chugging like Pabst. “You’re supposed to write it on your own. A whole novel. Three days.”

I nodded. He stood there watching me, so I set my beer on the floor and pulled the computer onto my lap. “See?” I said, pulling up the relevant information. “See?” I pointed to the contest rules. I had signed up to write it alone.

He smiled. “You need me.”

“I don’t,” I said, simply. “Anyway, please leave. It’s midnight now. I can start.”

He walked back to the kitchen and returned with another beer. “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” he said, pouring the beer down his throat.

Marathon writing is not good for mind, body, or soul. It bends each in ways it was not meant to be. But what I discovered with Jamie watching every word I typed was that one thing more torturous than writing non stop for three days straight, and that is not being able to write at all for those three days.

By Saturday morning I had typed a gross of thirty pages. But Jamie made me self-conscious of every letter that appeared on my computer screen. I had only netted six pages. I would type a word and he would snicker, a sentence and he would laugh. With each page he let forth a volcano of guffawing. “What’s so mother fucking funny?” I kept asking. He only answered with his bloodshot eyes.

I slept through most of Saturday afternoon and when I woke up, Jamie was where I had left him; beer in hand at the dining room table reading a stack of books he had pulled from my shelf. The stack on his left had shrunk considerably while the stack on his right had toppled under haphazard construction practices. “This is maybe what you should have been doing all summer,” he said into his pint glass. “Instead of whatever it is you did do all summer.” He was still wearing his jacket, and unless he looked at me when he spoke, his eyes remained hidden behind the shades.

“It was wet,” I said. “The air conditioner was sliding down the hill. The retaining wall couldn’t wait.” I could taste sleep and stale beer in my mouth. When I sat down with my computer after two slices of toast, we resumed our dynamic. I wrote, he laughed.

I wasn’t sure if Jamie slept or not, because I never once saw him take a rest. As the weekend progressed into Sunday, his alcohol consumption dissipated as mine increased. He removed his sunglasses more often and his eyes became whiter each time. Sunday afternoon, I looked into the bathroom mirror and saw my eyes were now bright red, bloodshot, worse than Jamie’s had been when I first saw them. My reflection framed in the mirror, the stubble on my chin uneven and rough. I had twenty four pages. Unless I was writing, Jamie tore through more of my books, his sunglasses now sitting across the table from where he sat. On my way from the bathroom to the kitchen, I slipped my fingers around the glasses and put them over my eyes.

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There ya go. Checked.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

this story is kind of creepy...

Lisa said...

I love the way you write. You just have an amazing clarity of sorts and a subtle humor that pulls me in. So good!

notawritersfather said...

So, wait a minute... You had beer in the fridge and didn't invite me over? And after I saved you air conditioner.