Friday, January 25, 2013

All Work And No Play

Damian blinked and the world dimmed. He swore he could hear the clack of his eyelids closing. As they fought back up, fluorescent light lanced his eyeballs. It felt as if someone had spooned sand into his irises. Fridays were usually like this, especially when one visited a bar the night before.

The world returned to full speed once Damian's orbs were fully exposed. He ground a palm into each socket, hoping in vain to massage himself into wakefulness.  The clock on his computer read 3:01 PM. Two hours to go.

A pungent smell frolicked above the cubicles. Coffee. Of course there was coffee. The steaming black liquid was the lifeblood of engineers. It didn't matter the time of day; there was always a pot on. A terrible, horrible, exceedingly cheap pot. That is, unless you were friends with the guy on the third floor that ground his own beans and kept a spare brewer under his desk. Unfortunately, Damian was subjected to the free stuff.

It free for a reason.

Even so, the smell drew Damian to his feet. He periscoped above the cube walls like a rabbit sniffing the breeze, wary of hawks. Other heads popped up, swiveling. Should two rabbits happen to meet eyes, they would quickly look away as if ashamed at being caught contemplating something other than work.

Ben laughed loudly, oblivious, probably watching another video online. The noise startled Damian into action. He grabbed his brown-stained, handle-free mug, a streak of white plaster down its side, and went off in search of the watering hole.

The oasis was populated by animals of all sizes, jockeying for superiority. Rhino and giraffe stared each other down–or up as the case may be–and then back at the black wellspring. Elephant hefted a handful of creamers that could be flung at Zebra's face, should it become possible to advance his turn. Hyena cackled off to one side with Wildebeest. When Lion rounded the corner, mane resplendent in its dignified perfection, Gophers at his heels, each animal stepped aside. One does not bite the hand that feeds, especially on the wild office savanna.

Damian waited his turn. A second pot was put on. More beans sacrificed to the engineering gods. More perfectly good water dirtied.

The paper in his pocket twitched. Paper couldn't do that, of course, but Damian would have testified to it, hand on the Bible. His fingers found the napkin, folded in a small, neat square. He watched the drip, drip, drip of the coffee. Most of the animals around him were ones that had been too tired, too lame to chase down the first pot. In their sullen company, Damian wanted to scream.

Do it, Inigo urged. Unleash the beast.

Damian turned and fled back to his desk. He would return to the pot a bit later. It was... that had only taken seven minutes? It had felt longer. Time skewed on the savanna.

The paper twitched again. Damian freed it from his pocket and spread it out lovingly in the open space before his keyboard. The number was hastily scrawled in pen. He consulted the memory for the thousandth time. Chills danced along his spine. His stomach did a flip.

The digits burned into his mind, couching themselves deep within the delicate folds of his brain. For a while, he just stared. Should he call? He took out his cell phone and dragged his thumb across the screen, opening it. No bars.

He held the phone up. No bars.

He spun in a circle. No bars.

That device of yours usually seems to perform better near the break room, Inigo suggested.

Damian had been known to make calls from the break room. Usually to his mother. He stood up, gazing once more over the cubes. The animals seemed to have returned to their pens. The Lion was nowhere to be seen.

Perhaps it was coffee time, now. Surely, there would be some left. If not, he could always put on another pot, maybe make a call while it was brewing. He had time to kill; it wasn't even four yet.
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Chapter 2 - Intro

Today's scene would be the start of the second section. Call it a chapter if you wish. Very obviously, this is the next day after Damian gets Genny's number at the bar. It is also Friday. Like today.

I don't think this scene bears any relation to any of my real-life experiences. Not at all.

(Yes, that is sarcasm).

Is it 5pm yet? C'mon weekend!
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Damian Tutone

You should have asked if you could write her, Inigo admonished.

Write her? How about get her number? Damian glanced over his shoulder at the bar retreating in the gloom.

Yes, so you may telephone her. Sometimes I am forgetting of modern conveniences.

Damian shook his head. No, that's not my style.

I can feel the untruth of those words, Damian. You are simply scared, Inigo said.

There was no point in lying to an entity already in your head. Of course I'm scared. You saw her, Inigo. She is way out of my league.

A league? Inigo asked. Of gentlemen?

Extraordinary. Damian chuckled to himself.

I’m afraid I do not understand.

Damian sighed. Yes, Inigo. Out of my league. As in, she is far too attractive for me.

Damian checked to make sure that he had replaced his wallet in the back pocket of his jeans. After spending more than enough on drinks – delivered swiftly and with a radiant smile – he'd tossed a pair twenties on the bar and left. The night had raised his spirits somewhat, and so, in that regard, he supposed it had been a success.

Ah, but you are intelligent and possessing of a well-paying job, no? Even in my time did money entice pretty women, Inigo said. It cannot be much different in these days.

No, I guess you're right, but… she's not like that, Inigo.

And you know this how?

I don't know, she just... I can tell. Damian shoved his hands into his pockets.

It sounds to me like you are making excuses. I could not help but notice the amount that she smiled upon you.

She was working. It’s her job to be friendly in addition to serving the beer. Damian frowned. Had she really smiled at him more than the other patrons? Just let it go, Inigo.

As you wish, Damian.


The voice said his name at the same moment as Inigo. It took Damian a moment to ascertain that it hadn't been in his head as well. He froze a few steps later with one foot in the air.

“Damian,” Genny said again, the patter of her boots closing.

Damian's heart hammered against his chest as he turned. He swallowed once as he drank her in. Even in the unflattering orange of the parking lot lights, she was radiant. He struggled to remember that he could speak.


Genny smiled, closing the last few steps between them. Her chest heaved and Damian tried not to stare.

“I'm sorry to chase you but… I just…” She bit her lip.

Damian envied the tooth. They stood there. Crickets chirped nearby. A truck passed on the distant highway.

Genny shook her head, and the beautiful curls bounced. “Here.” She had a napkin in her hand.

“Did I spill something?” Damian looked about in a panic. Why am I such a klutz?

Genny giggled. “It's my number.” She pressed the paper into his hand.

Damian was stunned.

“Call me sometime,” she suggested.

Damian plumbed the depths of his willpower for a nod.

Genny turned and walked back to the bar. Damian stared openly. She was so... smooth.

It took the door swinging shut to release Damian from his trance. He held the napkin in his hand up to the light. Sure enough, there was a number scrawled on it.

He resisted the urge to pump a fist high in the air.
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Scene Intro - Damian Gets a Number

This scene is pretty simple. Genny follows Damian out into the parking lot to give him her number. What guy doesn't like being chased by a beautiful

I added the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen joke during the edit. What can I say? I'm fond of both cheesy puns and that movie. Here's a secret about me that you might not know: I do an excellent Darrell Hammond doing Sean Connery voice. (Anyone else love those old celebrity Jeopardy SNL skits?)

I mess around with Inigo's word order here. The point is to give you a sense that English is not his native language. I'm being lazy, as what I should do is make use of Google translate or something to get some actual messed up word order examples. I did not do that. Instead, I'm just peppering his speech with odd things here and there to give it a unique voice, hopefully without being annoying.

What scene is not complete without some heaving breasts? Just sayin'. Breathing is sexy. I mean... well... when compared to the alternative... um... I guess that's pretty obvious?

I really, really, really badly wanted to have Genny say "Call me maybe?" But... c'mon! Too cheesy even for me. Plus, Genny is not the sort of girl to ask. She's got a fair bit of self-confidence. Maybe is not a word she'd use. More like:

"You're going to call." (Jedi hand wave.)

(Monotone) "I am going to call."

Yes, Damian is weak minded where Genny is concerned. Men have this problem with beautiful women all the time, but you didn't hear that from me.

Once upon a time, I asked a girl out when she was working at Dairy Queen. Got her number on a little DQ napkin. I was totally a nervous wreck going in (for probably no reason). Afterward, success in hand, I was on cloud nine. I always have loved the movie scene where dude gets kissed, then celebrates when he thinks he's safe, and woman sees and chuckles. Real life goes more like Damian's encounter, I think. That film plays upon the silver screen in your mind, but you hold it in. For all that is holy, you hold it in!

But really, who are you fooling? Everyone can see your idiot smile.

Just sayin.'
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Monday, January 7, 2013

I'm Learning New Words For Dust

I'm going to sit out another round of ROW80. Sad, I know. Unfortunately, I'm still pretty focused on other areas of life, and writing has taken a back seat. It's still happening, just not as regularly, and certainly not to the point where I can set goals and be supportive of others. I'm lucky if I get one post a week in on here, but things are looking up. Writers write, so by no means have I stopped. Just... not very organized. I go weeks where I'm super busy, and I throw a crappy poem down in my notebook. Then, the next week, I have some time, edit almost an entire scene... and then hell breaks loose at work.

Also, here's one thing I'll say upon making the transition from coupled to single living. When you're living with someone, you can divide a lot of the chores. If you have a rough week, you have someone to lean on. Even when things aren't exactly peachy.

When you're living alone, it's all on you, baby. Dust on everything? Milk going bad? Carpet need swept? Laundry? Dishes? Yep, all on you. Or, they just pile up and point accusingly from the doorway/sink/closet/fridge.

Chores bad. Writing good. Arch-enemies. That's what I'm saying here.

(In all reality, it could be that I work full time, volunteer as a coach, and am trying to resurrect a social life. That's probably more to blame, but I choose to blame chores. Still, writers write. Excusers make excuses? I'll finish my stories, just... slowly, and in fits and starts.)

Anyhoo, I did want to give a shout-out to the ROW folks. They're gearing up for another round, and I wish them all the best. I will be lurking in my usual haunts, and I wish you all the best. If you've stumbled over here and don't know what ROW80 is, check it out here.

In other literary news, I'm super-excited about this. Any Wheel of Time fans around here? Huge finale to my favorite fantasy series... releasing tomorrow! (Gosh, I'm almost tearing up looking at the pictures.)
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

I've been on a much needed hiatus during this holiday break from, well, pretty much everything. I saw a whole bunch of family and friends. Warmed my heart. Caught a cold. Dug into some good books and video games. Murder Mystery-ed in the New Year. It's been refreshing.

It's crazy to think that I'm entering my third year on this blog. It doesn't seem all that long ago that I was starting my publishing/writing journey out in the light. I'd written for years, but never shared like this. A long conversation with a new friend last night reminded my how cool this plunge really is. That is to say, there are a whole lot of writers out there that never share, never publish, never take that first step. I try to encourage where I can, because even though I've not sold a million books, gotten rich, or become famous, I've still gotten a whole lot out of the experience. Even if I stopped doing this today (which I'm not), I would be able to look back on this as time well spent and something to be proud of.

I've met a solid handful of very supportive, very talented, and very nice writers through my writing here and involvement in the larger writing community. I'm incredibly thankful for those that have stopped by, commented, and otherwise warmed this space. When you're going through a crappy year, even the smallest support means a whole lot.

I'm still going to be working on Damian's story in 2013. I'm hoping that as things get back to something more closely resembling a normal schedule, and that I'll be writing more earnestly. I'd definitely been sporadic at the close of 2012 (for good reason, but sporadic nonetheless). If there's one thing that seeing friends and family reassured me, it's that writing is a fundamental part of who I am, and I've gotten a lot of people if not interested in writing/reading, then at least curious about the creative process. I think there's something fundamental about creating, about giving life to stories and emotions through words or other media, that speaks to something very primal in all of us. I would definitely advocate anyone interested in taking the plunge with a blog, story, or other creative project, to do so in 2013. It may not take you where you expect to go, but it will be fulfilling in new and unexpected ways. Less destruction, more creation in 2013, says I! I mean, we did make it through the Mayan Apocalypse after all.

So yeah, just wanted to take some time out for reflection this morning and say thank you. Your continued support means the world to me. And I've loved reading/hearing about your creative pursuits as well. We're all in this crazy boat called life together, and it's an honor to be rowing beside you all.

Happy 2013!
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