Since Hilary is a bastion of writing excellence, I thought I would offer a counterpoint for comparison, and display the darker side of writing. For your viewing pleasure, two failed short story attempts. They are temporarily in the “Dead End” folder.
It is absolutely the case that I have been somewhat negligent of late. Several people have cast doubts as to my intent to write on this blog. This and other accusations I hereby rebut, hoping to assuage doubts and set right my account.
Many will likely find my tale too incredible for belief. I, too, would discount the events I’m about to recount as fantasy or lies (is there any difference?) had I not experienced them with my own senses! My purpose here is not to conjure unreasoned conviction, but to accurately detail the last two weeks of my existence: the very same two weeks which have been so invariably scrutinized, questioned and otherwise contested.
I dare to hope my sincerity and candor will prevail if, perchance, my credibility be stretched on other counts beyond conventional bounds.
It was the Monday of January the 16th to be exact, and a poor one at that. Counting inventory at 4 a.m. is never pleasurable, but 4:30 a.m. found itself providing the very best company possible, given the circumstances. Honestly things were off to a good start till I received the phone call.
“Eric. Rodger Moore. Are you busy?”
“No, Rodger. Just inventory.”
“Ok.” A taciturn pause.
I knew he would wait me out. “How can I help you?”
“I need you in Morocco. By 1700 tomorrow.” Mr. Moore paused again.
As the statement sank in, I began to calculate cost and time against my store's budget and my own schedule.
“Ok. I won't be able to leave till 3 p.m. Inventory and Monday books will take till 9:30. I also have to get all the other Monday paperwork done and place an order.”
I paused as my feet carried me just outside my office where an eight-by-eleven sheet displayed the week’s schedule and random splashes of dried taco sauce.
“I’m cooking for lunch. Can we book a flight between... 1500 and 1600?”
“That will be fine. Fax me the schedule changes.”
“Ok. I think I’ll need help with a couple shifts.”
“Ok. Very good.”
Silence. No click. Just silence.
To be continued ...
So now for fail number two:
(Good grief, someone throw me a freaking bone here!)
“So I live with my brother's ex girlfriend in our old house. And my ex lives with my brother.” She paused to take a long pull on a Sam Adams. “We’re neighbors.” She looked up, eyes focused. “Do you think that's weird?”
I chewed my chicken artichoke pizza with the stoic focus of an Ascetic monk while desperately hoping my phone might ring and offer an escape from what had started as a blind date and quickly morphed into a scene from Dante’s Inferno or Voltaire’s Candide, I’m not sure which.
I opted to lie this time, hoping to avoid another pointless argument. I just wanted to eat in peace. “No. It's not weird at all. Sometimes you do what you have to do.” I took another bite and gauged my success.
“So, what about you? What did you do in high school?” Score one for me.
She had already told me about being a gear head. I knew about the fast cars, and the drag racing, and the multiple tickets -- “One more ticket and I lose my license”, and the ex totaling her awesome mustang which ran high 11’s in the quarter, the domestic violence, and the breakup, and the periodic one-night hookups after the breakup, and the periodic domestic violence after the one-night hookups, and the restraining orders…
I had always known blind dates were risky, but hadn’t expected a train wreck.
“Hm... in high school?” I paused to think.
Her eyes were crouched like a house cat waiting to pounce with ferocity on loan from a long forgotten maternal ancestor, the pet tigress of an ancient Persian king who met his demise at the swipe of her paw, oblivious to the fact that millennia of poor breeding and the lack of claws would fate this particular scheme a harmless foray of tawny fluff and whiskers.
“I was really big into music and writing. I think my senior year I had like, three band classes, a creative writing class, and philosophy.”
“Seriously?!” She looked at me as if I had suddenly morphed into a space alien with green skin, antennae and a long insect-like proboscis. To her, my response constituted a romantic mega-fail and I couldn’t have been happier about it. Death was the only honor to be found in this battle.
“Yeah. I have always liked music and literature. I used to cut class and go to the library to read or study philosophy.” I smiled smugly. Low blow to the spleen. Score two.
“So, you were pretty much a nerd in high school?”
“Yeah. I was a big band nerd. I really enjoyed learning.”
Awkward silence. I smiled.
More awkward silence as my smile began to hint at sardonic humor.
“You have a Wii?”
I definitely had her on the ropes now. “Yeah. I have one. I love DDR. Play it all the time.” I took a bite of pizza. It was still delicious. No need to let a nerd-hating-gear-head-tramp ruin the flavor.
Silence. Was that fresh oregano?
“I play Mario Kart on mine. I like to play online against people since I can't street race anymore.”
I snorted a little to myself, high up in my nasal cavity. She may or may not have heard. “Wait a second...”
“...did you just call me a nerd?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Ya...”
“And... playing Mario Kart competitively online isn't nerdy!?” I replied, then continued, “I mean... it's awesome but...” But being a gear head and racing till your license is nearly revoked and living with your ex's sister, and racing Mario Kart competitively online doesn't make you feel slightly less critical of others!??”
Righteous indignation crept in as she replied, “No. I don't think so. I'm really good at it. And I use the Wii Fit for exercise too. There's nothing wrong with that!”
“I didn't say anything was wrong. I think it's awesome. But it seems a little...” I shrugged and paused as my phone rang.
Her eyes narrowed further as I took a bite of pizza before answering. “Hello?” I paused to listen. “Yeah... I am kinda busy. Is it really an emergency?” She glared for all she was worth as the conversation continued. “Well, if you really need me, I guess I’d better get over there. Can I finish dinner or...” I trailed off to silence and looked up in time to catch the rage building just behind her eyes. I smiled warmly at her and concluded, “alright. I'll get a box and be there in fifteen.”
“Did you just lifeline me?” She was pissed. Her pizza dropped to her plate, and her elbows thumped the tabletop hard enough to leave ice clattering in my empty glass.
“No. I actually have to go. It's an emergency.” I nabbed the waitress. “Could I get a box and my bill?” Then back to my date, “I’ll get the tip.”
“What kind of emergency?”
I grinned. “I would tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.”
She gave me a vacuous look. It suited her.
So, obviously I am suffering writer's block. This may clear up soon. Who knows. In the meantime I guess I will continue to play with ideas.