Monday, November 05, 2012

Editorial Note

 As always, the next installment of The Blue Dog Journal is imminent. While we wait and see in which direction the narrative will next take me, I offer this selection of poetry from part II, chapter seven. As true readers will recollect, the following piece, O Chocolate! My Chocolate, was written by Ginny and appeared in The Broken Heart Review.

O Chocolate! My Chocolate

When I was young
you were the only one
to kiss my lips
and tickle my tongue.
Now I’m older,
my body has changed,
and things can never
be the same.
I used to love
your bars and chips
but you broke my heart
and went straight to my hips.

– Virginia Jason –

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Part II - eleven

Though retrieving her journals from the house on Euclid St. had been foremost in her mind for most of a week, ever since she’d discovered them missing, it had taken Ginny most of that week to work up the nerve to return to the house. She really did not want to see Gordon. Now, here she was the night before she and Rebecca were leaving for San Pia, heading over to 61 Euclid afraid of how he might react. She’d wanted to give him as much space as possible in a small town. She knew in a way that stroked her ego, she was ashamed to say, that Gordon would need time to get over her. As it turned out, she needn’t have worried. Ginny would not see Gordon again for quite some time.

Partially to save gas and partially to clear her head of wedding logistics, she had decided to walk to the house at 61 Euclid Street. It was only a few blocks, at most, but by the time the house rose gray in her view the evening had begun to darken around her. She hadn’t expected night to fall so soon. As she approached the porch at the front of the house a dim light above the door flicked on. The motion detector which activated the dim bulb after dark was sensitive, she knew, and she was glad for it as she ascended the creaky steps to the door.

As part of her effort to sever the relationship as cleanly as possible, Ginny had returned her key the day she moved out. So it was that she found herself knocking at the front door of 61 Euclid, and waiting in the deepening dusk for a reply. When no answer seemed forthcoming she knocked again; and again before deciding that nobody was at home. She wasn’t sure of the time. Maybe Gordon and Darby were still at work. Or perhaps, and she found this unlikely, they were out partying somewhere. It was just as well, in any case. She would leave a note for Gordon. She and Rebecca could pick the journals up on their way out of town tomorrow morning.

Just as Ginny moved to swing her small black backpack from her shoulders, to retrieve a pad of Post-Its and a pen, the bulb above her head snapped off. Or perhaps it should be observed that just as the 25 watt bulb above her head snapped off, Ginny moved to access her backpack, thereby activating the motion detector, which flicked the light on once again. Hoping it would remain on long enough for her to jot down a quick note, she knelt on the porch and rummaged briefly through her bag, removing a pad of blue Post-Its, a roll of scotch tape (because, though she loved the sticky notes, they often just weren’t sticky enough) and a black pen. 

As she put pen to paper, the sound of Stony Creek splashing along its course behind the house came dimly to her ears.

Gordon (she wrote)

Just as well you're not home, I'm sure. I came for some
stuff, personal, upstairs in the closet. Do us both a favor - throw it in a bag and leave it by Turtle Rock 'round back. I'll send Rebecca by to pick up.

Be well,


The light timed out just as she finished. Rising, she activated the dim glow once more and taped the note to the pale white door. In the feeble illumination of the dim porch bulb, the little square of blue paper seemed to glow, faintly. Ginny remembered picking this particular pad of paper because it was nearly the same shade of blue as the dog she had been trying to conjure. The dog she had conjured. She smiled. It was the blue dog journals she had come for tonight. She could still see them up in that closet, so clearly in fact she didn’t understand how they had missed being moved.

Again she heard the creek splashing along behind the house, the liquid chatter almost a silver stream running through the night itself. Throwing her supplies back into her bag, she heard movement in the yard behind. Or thought that she did. When she turned, there was nothing but the empty yard and the night ripening beyond the dim border of the porch light. A couple of street lamps had flickered on out there and even now their yellow sodium lights were growing brighter.

With a final look at her note glowing blue on the door, Ginny swung her backpack over her shoulders and darted down the steps, so fast they didn’t make a sound. She decided to take an alternate route home and so headed out across the small field at the end of Euclid Street. It was dark but she didn’t have far to go to the pedestrian bridge that would take her back across Stony Creek and, ultimately, home. Behind her, 61 Euclid sat in the new night, porch light dimly burning. The thin hedge which hugged the front of the house shook and rustled a moment, too violently for the whisper of a breeze that blew through the night, and then was still.   


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Editorial Note

Again she heard the creek splashing along behind the house, the liquid chatter almost a silver stream running through the night itself. Throwing her supplies back into her bag, she heard movement in the yard behind. Or thought that she did. When she turned, there was nothing but the empty yard and the night ripening beyond the dim border of the porch light.

- Part II, eleven coming soon! -

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Part II - ten

Rebecca, walking home from The Rolling Bear, where she had tendered her leave of absence to a more than understanding Melinda, was fairly buzzing with excitement about her cousin’s wedding. She and Ginny would have to leave for San Pia in about a week, she figured. That would get them there in time to get settled and attend the single rehearsal before the rather hasty nuptials. That would also give them time to pack and get organized on this end.

By the time she got home, she had begun several mental “to do” lists, and was realizing the need for another as she walked through the door to find Ginny turning their new apartment upside down. Standing agape as Ginny ransacked the sofa, she asked, “What’s going on?”

Seeing Rebecca standing there all quizzical, Ginny paused with a couch cushion in her hand. “I don’t believe it, Becca…” she exhaled and returned the cushion to the couch, “but I think I left something at Gordon’s…”

Rebecca slipped her purse from her shoulder, placed it on the back of the couch, as she noted for future reference, and approached Ginny. “A journal?” she asked, knowing already that it was a journal.

Ginny nodded. “A couple of them, I think.” Now she shook her head. “I just don’t understand how I could’ve forgotten them. But I swear I can see them in that big old closet.”  

“Me too…” Said Rebecca, “and I’d swear we left that closet empty!”

The lovers looked at each other.

“Well,” said Ginny, “I’ll go see if I can find them… They’re in an envelope, I think.”

“Manila,” offered Rebecca.

Ginny chuckled, knowing that Rebecca saw the same manila envelope, stuffed with composition books that she did. “You’re spooky sometimes, baby…”

Grinning, Rebecca replied, “That’s why you love me, Virginia.”

Ginny wrapped Rebecca in an affectionate hug, gripping the younger woman’s blue-jean clad backside in her hands and smiling. “That,” she replied, “and your beautiful eyes, your bright smile, your sweet, sweet…”

Rebecca silenced her lover (and what Ginny had intended to be a lengthy litany of Rebecca’s assets) with the first of many kisses; and so it was that Ginny was delayed, for several days as it turned out, in the search for her missing journals.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Editorial Note

I am happy to report that a beginning has been made on Part II, chapter ten, once again proving the old adage, "The next chapter of The Blue Dog Journal is always imminent."

While I explore what the characters have in store, please allow me to ask you to consider, just what is a goblin universe?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Part II - nine

Later that night, curled up in bed with Ginny after love, half asleep and her mind wandering, Rebecca said, “My cousin is getting married soon, I think…” 

“You think?” Ginny asked, not far from sleep herself. 

“I just dreamed it,” the sleepy blonde explained. “I’ll call her tomorrow… Gotta’ give her our new number anyway…” 

The following day would prove Rebecca’s premonition correct when she telephoned her cousin, Eleanor (more like a sister really), down south in San Pia. 

“That’s right, Becca!” Elly was happy but not overly surprised to hear that her younger cousin had intuited the news of her wedding from hundreds of miles away. This was not the first such incident, after all. “Ryan and I are finally making it official!” 

Eleanor would ask Rebecca to be a bridesmaid, of course. Rebecca would take a leave from The Rolling Bear, head down to San Pia with Ginny for the wedding. It was a perfect opportunity to introduce Ginny to her family - the aunt, uncle and cousins she had grown up with since the age of 5. 

Now, back in the night of our current moment, Virginia and Rebecca burrowed deeper into each other and deeper into sleep. Two pairs of eyelids fluttered as the sleeping women began to dream each of the other. 

In their simultaneously joint and respective dream, Rebecca spoke to Ginny. “Nightbook is my favorite show,” she said, “but I hate Stinky Pete.” 

Ginny pulled a lizard, small to medium in size and blue in color, from her purse, offered it to Rebecca. Rebecca shrugged a casual “no thank you” and continued, “I prefer the episodes with Valentine and the other vampires.” 

Ginny nodded, flowers falling from her hair. “I know what you mean,” she agreed. “I love Valentine myself. And, of course, Svetlana and the Ghost Yeti…” 

Carl Jung passed through the room and both women waved him a cheery greeting. “Hello ladies…” Herr Jung smiled, moved on, and was gone. 

“But,” continued Ginny, “Stinky Pete is a character we will definitely be seeing more of in the future.” 

Here a herd of miniature horses thundered across the floor of their dream.

Now Rebecca nodded, her hair changing from blonde to green to black with each movement of her head. “I know what you mean” she said. “I know what you dream…”

Both women smiled in their sleep and snuggled closer. Around them the shadows of the night darkened room shifted and, a sound not unlike the skitter of windblown leaves, tittered…

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Part II - eight


episode 213 - Stinky Pete and The Nightmare Man

Stinky Pete sits glowering in a far, dark corner of the room. He sits hunched in upon himself in his tattered, black raincoat so that, from a certain distance, he appears as a mass of lumpy stones placed in some vaguely humanoid form. If anybody stood close enough - not much of a likelihood considering that he was, after all, Stinky Pete, the nowhere man of Zenith Falls – they might see the glint of pale light reflected from the black lenses of his fixed and staring eyes.

Across the room, reflecting the pale light of the place back from her golden skin better and brighter than it had been, Alyssa Grove was uneasy. She felt like she was being watched. Her skin was crawling. Crossing her arms across her chest, she appeared suddenly defensive to the young man before her, who had been plying his woo upon her with increasing desperation.

"Listen,” he said, “Can I buy you a drink?”

Alyssa nodded vacantly, her eyes dragging the room slowly from side to side. “Just a cooler,” she whispered. “Bartles and James or something.”

He nodded. “I’ll be right back!”

But Alyssa was already gone. She’d found a dark shape in a far corner. It was from there that the flesh crawling gaze emitted. “Stinky Pete?” she muttered only half aloud. The air between she and him rippled briefly and brought to her nose the dark and pungent waft of soiled laundry and unwashed humanity, the slow decay of illness consuming corrupt flesh. She wrinkled her nose and gagged a little.

“Alyssa?” The voice that spoke her name was a relief.

“Nighty?” she queried, choking back the bile in her throat.

From the darkness at the back of her mind, and simultaneously, from all of the shadows shifting around her in the small nightclub, stepped a tall, gaunt figure faceless and all in black. This was The Nightmare Man, Alyssa’s new best friend.

“Is there anything wrong, my Dear?” He spoke and his voice slithered clammily over your skin and through your mind. Or was it the other way ‘round?

Alyssa laughed; a short, brisk laugh. The thought of Stinky Pete giving her the evil eye might have concerned her not that long ago. Now she had The Nightmare Man wrapped around her finger, there was little that could worry her. “Nothing much, my shadowy friend,” she smiled. “Just a black hole by the name of Stinky Pete, who’s making me a little nervous with his unrelenting glare.

“Pete and I are old friends,” Intoned The Nightmare Man. “I will remind him.”

Folded in the shadows of his now fetid corner, Pete closed his eyes and saw The Nightmare Man coming. He moved not through the darkness so much as within it, emerging from the shifting eddies of light and shadow behind Pete’s eyes to stand a living shadow before him.

“Your attentions are not wanted, Stinky One.” The Nightmare Man sent rattle snakes down Pete’s cerebral cortex, and laughed.

Pete gurgled a bit, twitched briefly and became stinkier still…

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Editorial Note

As I have said before, the next chapter of The Blue Dog Journal is always imminent. As I type this editorial note, the current next chapter is less imminent than most. We are in the process of moving house again and that means the stories in my head won't be getting out (onto paper and into Word docs) quite so regular. For a while anyway.

In the meantime, why not support independent publishing? Buy one of my books at Lulu or Amazon and help keep me fed. That way I can get big and strong and keep writing you fine and not so fine poetry and fiction!

Richard Cody at Lulu

Richard Cody at Amazon

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Part II - seven

Rebecca Raine
broke my heart again,
            this time right in two.

             Rebecca Raine
come back again.
I’ll give the pieces to you.

 - James Hollowbrook –

 Ginny, reading the couplets and their byline aloud couldn’t help but smile. Not at the poignant and all too true, she knew, sentiment, but rather the clear and simple wordplay. She offered Rebecca the thick saddle stitched publication, apparently James Hollowbrook’s contributor copy. “My piece is on page 58,” she said. She had received her own copy the day before. “It’s not about you, ‘Becca doll, I’m glad to say,” she glanced at the title, The Broken Heart Review, black and white and red across the top of the cover. “I didn’t know you at the time. In fact, I think the notebook where I first wrote it is older than you!”

Rebecca, taking the magazine from Ginny’s outstretched hand, smiled – the clear, golden smile which had been the first of her many charms to waylay Ginny’s heart. “Oh come on, Gin, you’re only six years older than me!” Opening the magazine and flipping to page 58, she said, “And who could have broken your heart, I wonder?”

Rebecca’s brown eyes found Ginny’s name on the page first, at the bottom just above the page number. At the top of the page, the title of Ginny’s poem caused Rebecca to laugh.  “O Chocolate! My Chocolate!” she spoke it aloud, evoking the chuckling ghost of Whitman, and then proceeded to read the rest:

When I was young
you were the only one
to kiss my lips
and tickle my tongue.

 Now I’m older,
my body has changed,
and things can never
be the same.

 I used to love
your bars and chips
but you broke my heart
and went straight to my hips.

– Virginia Jason –

Rebecca laughed again. “That’s hilarious, Ginny!” Now she curled her brow. “But you eat whatever you want and you’re gorgeous!”

“Or at least that’s the impression I give.” Ginny smiled.

“Speaking of which…” Rebecca placed The Broken Heart Review on the table and rose from her chair. “Don’t we have some of that Rocky Road ice cream left?”

“And an episode of Nightbook on the player,” Ginny observed.

“Ghosts and postres,” Rebecca smiled. “You are my kinda’ girl, Virginia Jason.”

Ginny laughed and then stopped, recalling suddenly a similar statement that Gordon had made early in their relationship: “Videos and cookies! You’re my kinda’ girl, Ginny.”

Well it made sense that people she was attracted to would share her likes; sweets and b movies, for example. Of course she was well beyond “attracted to” Rebecca. But hadn’t she once thought the same of Gordon? Looking up at Rebecca’s beaming face, she felt all doubt wither and fade. There was room for nothing but love in her life now. She had certainly never felt that way about Gordon. “I hope I’m your only girl, Becca.”

Rebecca, returning from the ‘fridge now with the frosted barrel of ice cream and a spoon, said, “You’re my only person, Ginny.”

Ginny grinned in her seat. “You are so beautiful with that ice cream in your hands. I could just eat you up.”

Rebecca offered her the spoon.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Part II - six

". . The hills, of course, were a paler shade in those days. . ." Aunt Maggie smiled a distant smile and rested her hands on the smooth veranda.

I gazed at her long nails and lost myself in the lines of her curved fingers. Those hands, I knew, had once been capable of marvelous things. I recalled from my youth the first time I heard about Maggie's hands. She had revived a litter of spaniel pups smothered blue by a jealous breeder simply by touching them, one after the other, with a single outstretched finger. According to mother, the air sizzled where puppy and finger met. There were other stories, of course, and more dramatic, but this one lodges in my mind. I had never seen the magic myself and I wondered. . .

"Also," Maggie continued, "there were more trees. . ."

I followed her gaze to the hills that rolled away from us beyond the veranda. The sun was lowering and long shadows were stirring there.

"When the sun goes down" Maggie closed her eyes, "you can't see anything."

She brought her hands to her face, slowly, and in the gathering gloom I thought I saw a faint glimmer pulsing near her fingertips…

Rebecca sighed and lowered the notebook. “Wow, Gin, I feel like I know your aunt after reading this.” She placed the Journal on the bedside table, noted again the title, penned in straight black lines on the cover:

Memories of Maggie
1995- 1998
Virginia Jason

Beside her on the bed, Ginny smiled. “You’d know her as well as anyone after reading that stuff… She was a difficult woman to know.”

Rebecca rolled onto her side, snuggling up to Ginny, her new and always best friend, her cosmic lover and, she was learning, one hell of a writer. “You make her live and breathe on those pages,” she whispered through dark hair into Ginny’s ear.

“I try,” Ginny said, rolling onto her side now, facing Rebecca, the golden child who had stolen her heart. “I think of these… fragments I’ve written as a kind of gift for her.”

Stroking Ginny’s dark head, Rebecca asked, “Where is she now?”

Ginny savored the sweet scent of Rebecca’s breath, warm on her face. “I don’t know,” she said. “The last I heard she was in Eastern Europe somewhere…”

Rebecca touched her lips to Ginny’s; a blue spark flashed, illuminating their open mouths and tingling across their lips and tongues a moment. “Have I ever told you,” Rebecca whispered, “that I…”

A sudden knocking at the door filled the room, pounding into their consciousness and destroying the moment.

Ginny rolled onto her back, wincing at the continuous pounding on the front door. “Maybe I shouldn’t have covered the door bell,” she mused.

“I have a feeling I know that knock,” Said Rebecca, rising from the bed. She looked at Ginny, still on her back atop the rumpled bedspread, and Ginny gazed up at her.

“James,” they pronounced simultaneously.

Rebecca sighed and made for the door. She hoped James had given up on her. But that knocking was insistent.

Opening the door, she found him standing there. He was tall and blonde and well built in his blue jeans and boots. Beneath the long sleeved flannel shirt he wore, a rather tight t-shirt strained against his flexing pectorals. His right hand was raised, poised to continue knocking. In his left hand was gripped what appeared to be a large envelope, or maybe a booklet.

“Hello, James,” she said.

He lowered his right hand, smiling sheepishly, and raised his left.

Rebecca saw that it was, indeed, a booklet of some kind that he held.

“I brought this for you.” he said, extending his hand and, she now saw, the thickish saddle stitched magazine that he held.

Taking the offered item, she held it in her hands and studied the cover. Above a realistic line drawing of a typewriter, the keys of which were hearts in various states of injury and malformation, a bold font proclaimed:

The Broken Heart Review

All but the third word of the title were black - Heart leaped from the otherwise black and white cover in a loud and almost garish red.

“There’s a poem for you on page 42,” he said.

Resisting the urge to flip through the magazine to the named page, Rebecca looked up and smiled. “Thank you, James. I’ll read it later.”

“I guess that’s all I can ask,” he said with a wan smile. “So, you guys all moved in?”

Rebecca shifted the magazine from one hand to the other, and back again. “Pretty much,” she answered. “Thanks again for letting us use your truck.”

“Any time,” he said. “But you know that all you have to do is ask. I’ll do whatever I can for you.”

Since meeting Ginny, Rebecca had begun to feel guilty about the way she’d treated James the last year and a half or so. She realized with a new and growing sense of shame that the way she had led him on, and used his feelings for her to satisfy her own needs, were among the worst things she’d done in her short life.  She hoped she would never do anything worse. “I appreciate that,” she replied.

Their eyes met and Rebecca could read all that went unsaid behind his blue gaze. That he loved her. That she was the only one for him. That he would always be there for her. That he would die before he loved another woman. She could read it all, and clearly, because she’d heard it all before. She was glad that he kept it all inside his head this time.

Holding The Broken Heart Review up before her, Rebecca smiled. “I’ll read this tonight,” she promised.

James leaned slightly forward a moment, as if contemplating or yearning for a kiss, and then retreated a step or two. “Enjoy,” he said.

As she closed the door, Rebecca clutched the magazine to her breast and sighed. She’d created some kind of monster in James, she was sure. In her mind she saw him lumbering in black and white through starkly lit fields and damp dungeon corridors, seven feet tall with arms outstretched and bolts in his neck. As a child, she had loved the old Universal Frankenstein films. Unlike the creature in most of those old movies, she hoped her monster might have a happy ending.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Editorial Note

Part II, number six is now underway...

While I work it out with Rebecca, Ginny and my sometimes fickle Muse , why don't you enjoy this critcal analysis of George Herriman's Klassic Komic, Krazy Kat:

Some Say it With A Brick

Monday, February 06, 2012

Editorial Note

The next chapter of The Blue Dog Journal is always imminent. Until the next chapter - in this case Part II, chapter 6 - is written and posted, why not start at the beginning with Part I, chapter one (recently revised)?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Part II -five

It was after five when Ginny and Rebecca reached the top of Mt. Tanner (also known as Spirit or Holy Mountain, depending upon whom one asked). They’d left Ginny’s Malibu parked under a great old oak tree at the end of Coulson Road about two miles and an hour or so down the mountain. The trail that began at the end of the road had taken them through a forest of mixed oak and conifers. Now, at the end of that trail, they stepped into a clearing golden with summer grasses and ringed by pine and oak trees. In the center of this clearing a single black oak stood, as if holding court.

“Here we are,” said Ginny, readjusting the black backpack which rode her shoulders.

Rebecca stood beside her, her own backpack sagging from her bare shoulders. “You didn’t tell me it would be so beautiful.” She took in the pastoral scene, smiling.

“I think I did,” replied Ginny. “Or, at least, I think I tried.”

“Yeah, maybe…” Rebecca agreed dreamily. Taking Ginny’s hand, she stepped into the long grass.

Ginny followed more than willingly. Watching Rebecca, she saw that the mountain (which she called by all its names) was working its magic on the girl. She remembered the first time she had come here as a child. On her tenth birthday her mother brought her to Tanner Mountain for a picnic, not unlike the one she and Rebecca were planning now; she’d only found out later that her mother had planned that trip quite deliberately. At once curious and afraid of the effect the mountain might have on her little girl, she’d prevented Ginny from ascending Tanner Mountain until the child was at least ten years old. Then she’d brought her young daughter to this very clearing with no more intention than to see what might happen.

 “The energies of that mountain might be too traumatic for any child,” Ginny remembered her mother explaining, “but I sensed you were ready at 10.”

Feeling angry and more than a little used on behalf of her younger self, Ginny did not speak to her mother for a month after learning these things. But that was her mother, Emma Jason; cautious and careless, loving and emotionally unavailable, usually placing her pursuit of esoteric knowledge above all else, including family.

Ginny smiled despite herself. She loved her mother, after all; and things had turned out well enough, on that occasion at least. It had been a lovely picnic and, her smile brightened, she did see the angel.

In appearance a mixture of her father, as depicted in the few, scattered photos which constituted her only memories of him, and that b-movie character actor she liked but whose name she could never remember, the angel hovered in her memory somewhere over Mt. Tanner and Lake Haven; his enormous and whitely luminous wings, gently fanning the air, not incongruous with the pinstripe suit and shiny black shoes he wore. The halo shining brightly above his head cast him in a golden glow.

As her mother, seemingly oblivious to the presence of the angel, related some obscure fact about Lake Haven, visible from this clearing atop Mt. Tanner to the west, the angel, his arms folded across his chest, met Ginny’s ten year old gaze, smiled mischievously, and winked his eye.

When Ginny winked back, her mother, perceiving only the child, started and believed herself mocked. It took Ginny several minutes, during which time the angel faded from the sky, to convince her mother that she was not making fun of her but communicating with an angel. And it took her several more minutes after she described what the angel had been wearing.

“What time is sunset?”

Rebecca’s question brought Ginny back to the present, where she and Rebecca stood beneath the gray-green canopy of the old black oak in the center of the clearing. She took in the expanse of blue sky and Lake Haven shining to the west. The math, figuring the time of month (mid-July) and day (5ish), was done more or less automatically in her head. “Around 8:30,” she said, gazing now at Rebecca, golden in the sun beside her. “But I doubt it ever gets dark around you.”

Nearly two hours later, they sat at the edge of the gingham blanket they’d spread beneath the old tree, a bottle of wine (mostly empty) and the rest of their picnic supper scattered behind them. The sun, still bright here atop the mountain, descended slowly westward. Lake Haven shone like a blue jewel in the woods below.

“I was lost when I found you,” Rebecca, stroking Ginny’s dark head, mused. “Or did you find me?”

Ginny sighed. “I was lost myself, Rebecca. We found each other.”

“It seems so unlikely, doesn’t it?” Rebecca’s face shone a moment in the rays of the westering sun.

Ginny leaned slightly and kissed Rebecca’s lips.

Somewhere above them an Angel whispered, “I love you”, in a voice, as Ginny later recalled, “Like a million golden bells chiming in a mansion big as the sky.” 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Editorial Note

Part II, Chapter 5 will be posted soonish. It is already several hundred words underway.

Technical difficulties on the home front may (or may not) delay posting.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Part II - four

“Well, that went better than expected…” Ginny clambered into the cab of the big white truck and plopped into the driver’s seat with a sigh.

Beside her, Rebecca said, “Oh my god, Ginny, I flirted with him at the cafĂ©! A couple of days before you came in. I’m not even sure he noticed.”

Ginny fished the keys from the pocket of her green army surplus coat; the sleeves had been removed so it was now, more properly speaking, an army surplus vest. She looked over her shoulder, through the small rear window and over the packed bed of the truck to the patio, where Darby stood with his hands in his pockets, regarding them. He had, quite unexpectedly, spent the better part of an hour helping them load the truck. More surprising than the physical labor Darby had volunteered was the uncharacteristic, at least in Ginny’s experience, good cheer with which he worked. She nodded and waved at him through the window, “Who?” she asked Rebecca. “Darby?”

From the porch, Darby returned Ginny’s wave. She inserted the key in the ignition and twisted. The engine turned and started.
“No!” Rebecca protested. “Gordon!”

Ginny had been dismayed to find Gordon not only home when she arrived at 11:00, as promised, to pick up her stuff, but opening the door to her gentle knock. Seeing her and Rebecca standing there, he had put it together at once. She watched him figure out, despite never being told the name or gender of the person he had been dumped for, that this golden cutie beside her was the one.   She’d dreaded bringing Rebecca, and had only done so because she had nobody else to help her with the move. After brief and awkward introductions, Gordon slunk away and they didn’t see him again.

Turning the truck around in the street now, she felt certain he was watching, probably from the upstairs bathroom window. She stole a glance in that direction and, sure enough, there was the shape of a dark head bobbing just below the window. This meant, of course, that he was spying on them from the shower. Thinking of Gordon naked, she recalled why she’d first been attracted to him. “Yeah, well…” she said, smiling at Rebecca. “He’s a cutie in his way, isn’t he?”

“I suppose so,” said Rebecca, “though he’s not exactly my type.”

Ginny laughed. “Then why were you flirting with him?”

“Well,” Rebecca grinned, “it wasn’t exactly serious flirting.”

Hitting the gas, Ginny laughed again. “God, I love you,” she said.

Rebecca giggled as they left the house at 61 Euclid behind. “Speaking of old boyfriends, maybe I can get James to help us unload this stuff.” She nodded in the general direction of the truck bed.

Ginny frowned. “I don’t know,” she said. “It seems like it was hard enough on him lending us the truck.”

Now Rebecca frowned. “You think it would be too exploitive to ask him?”

“He’s awful sprung on you,” Ginny observed.

“Which is why he’ll do pretty much anything I ask,” mused Rebecca, twirling a lock of golden hair between her fingers.

Ginny frowned again and cast a glance at the girl beside her. “Which is why,” she began…

And Rebecca jumped in to complete the thought, “It’s wrong of me,” she said, “to take advantage of him the way I do.”

Ginny shrugged, turning the truck down Barbados Street. “Yeah,” she agreed. “Something like that.”

Rebecca leaned over and kissed Ginny on the cheek. “You’re making me a better person already,” she said. “And I love you for it.”

Ginny looked at Rebecca, a golden radiance beside her, removing her eyes from the road longer than safety dictated, perhaps. When she returned her attention to driving, she found that she had passed Donner Street, where she had intended to turn. Rebecca’s kiss tingling on her cheek, she braked and executed a masterful u-turn, unhindered by traffic as the streets were unusually quiet.

“Who needs men, anyway?” Rebecca continued. “As long as we’ve got each other.”

Ginny considered for a moment the way such a “you and me against the world” kind of sentiment might have seemed sappy and trite to her before Rebecca. Now, she didn’t even have to consider it for more than a moment. She knew it was true. Whether that made her a better person, or just a sappier one, she didn’t know. And, as she drove the two of them home, she didn’t care.

Monday, January 09, 2012