Tuesday, November 02, 2004

slow start

(To make the actual writing entries obvious, I'm gonna see if I can't put a different color behind 'em.)

Up there, on the porch. He comes out about once an hour. Hitches his thumbs in his belt while he drags on a Marlboro and looks out over the lights of Poulsbo. Wears a leather motorcycle jacket, but doesn’t ride a bike. He might soon. Now that the marriage is over. It was always his wife who insisted that he not ride a motorcycle. For the kids’ sake. She’ll likely continue to insist, but he may not listen much longer.

“Where are the kids?” she asks.

“Bed,” he replies “You’re home early.”

“Migraine,” she says.

Poor sucker, he thinks. She’s been seeing this guy for only a few weeks now and already she’s bailing on him with migraines.

He’d been looking forward to having the night to himself. So much for that idea.

“You staying up?” he asks.

“Yeah, for a little while.” She’s already settled in at the computer. She’ll be up until at least 2:00. He drops the cigarette in a Tupperware container filled with water.

“Good night,” he says, and heads into bed.


Lying in bed, he listens to the twins’ deep breaths. There’s a rattle in Ian’s lungs. It’s been raining a lot lately.

He counts under his breath. “One cent, two cents, three cents…” This is his nightly routine. When he’s restless, he reaches the full balance of his checking account. This is one of those nights. He’s still about fifteen hundred dollars short of where he wants to be—first, last, deposit.


At 2:30, she enters the bedroom. She hits her foot on her hope chest. Curses. Jacob says, “Knock, knock” in his sleep and rolls over to his other side. In spite of himself, John smiles. At his son? At Barb? He’s not sure, and frowns thinking about it.

As she settles in on the far side of the bed, he rises.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“Can’t sleep,” he says.


Back on the porch. It’s still raining. He hears something below. The baby raccoons have gotten big. Two of them.

He spits. The raccoons here the impact on the grass and investigate. No food. They both look up at him expectantly, standing on their hind legs. He spits again.

Over and over, they’ve amazed him. He’s thrown bread crusts, cat food, whatever was at hand. Short of hitting them squarely in the face, they almost never have had any sense of where the food was. How can they be so blind?

Once, their mother had scared the crap out of him, and vise versa. He’d come out for a cigarette and there she was on the porch. She’d climbed the post up to his second story deck, and was at work on his cat’s kibble. She moved back down the wooden post with incredible speed, but he’d not been able to light his cigarette for a few minutes.

She’d bared her teeth at him before scampering away, but once she’d reached the ground, she looked back up at him, sniffing the air, waving from side to side as she stood up. “Sorry,” she’d seemed to be saying.

He knows it only encourages them to be bold, but he tosses some cat food down to the two young raccoons.



At 12:50 PM, Blogger kathryn said...

Great start, Dave. Keep it up! :-D

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Dave Clapper said...

Thanks, Kathryn! I have a feeling I'm gonna wind up going back to the novel I abandoned last year. Gonna give it a couple more days to see if I can find something new I like, and if nothing sticks, I'll go back to the characters I already know I like. :)

At 11:01 PM, Blogger kathryn said...

Yeah, I'm continuing on from last year. Only got 20,000 done then. :)

I'm going to read all your election stuff now. My heart is pounding...just read a news piece here in Greece which sees Bush as near certain...it can't be...


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