Monday, September 20, 2010

fiction: from "boy and girl and man and woman," a novel-in-progress;

A real book is where something happens. A great book when nothing does. Boy read through his years, and floated through grades, entering double-digits. He faltered at math, and stared weeks out bay windows. He registered seasons.
Leaves pluck and they bloom and they fallow and fall, slick and sleek, a sweet-smelling musky mash. The snows come, and he counts out the flakes, easing into the thousands, the tens of thousands. Wonders just what might happen if they remained apart, suspended in space.

It started to rain and that mattered, too. He could see that. Anyone could.
Do doctors feel any different than sculptors, than accountants, than writers, than farmers? We all just put our pants on, one leg at a time. When might that be happening, the television asks.
Everything else smelled like water. The lake. It obscured the two coffees he'd picked, like twin flowers. She'd gone home to salvage her cowboy hat. Something about a woman in a cowboy hat, he said. I know, she smiled. She was always smiling. She went home for the hat; he stared at the lake, sometimes reading his book.
She returned with, and pigtails, her blue summer sundress. We really have to get you out of those clothes. He was already breathless; pigtails, her dress of deep blue, her endlessly expressive eyes. How did he get here?
Afraid to question, afraid to even try; just leave it, enjoy, take the whole of it in. Thank whomever or whatever might need to be thanked. They went home.

I am not a bad man. I am not a bad man but I have made some poor choices. I have some good choices too, but that's to be expected, I'm told. I've made some poor choices. The hair on her head. I can see the police boat, I can see the waves on the lake float across, its wake. I am not a bad man. Where does the day end?
The sun makes its chariot-way down to horizon, and steams the lake dry, flaming ball into black, charcoal lump of yet-sun. Burning dry and horizon. At the bottom of lake, where the charcoal retrieved and, by morning, re-lit by a service of men who then send back across its bare path, repeated.

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