Thursday, January 31, 2008
I haven't had a chance to read back through, and I have to be quick today. My grandmother is waiting for me. The problem is, I lost your phone number, Bob, and I have to beg off tonight. I hope you check the blog in time, and I do apologize. Today is the anniversary of Matt's death, and I hadn't put 2 and 2 together last week, and I didn't have a chance to get to a computer earlier this week. Sorry for the short notice.
What I did read of Bonaire sounds wonderful, Barbara. And Bob, that description of the BN sale was just what I needed to remind me that, in actuality, I like my job. Thanks for that.
See you next week, Bob, and you in two, Barbara.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Effusive is an excellent ten-dollar word, Barbara. Not just effusive either, but positively effusive. Whoo-hoo!
Jenny has been telling me about how far behind B&N is in their revenue, and how she only had a few more days in January yet to worry about it. What she didn't talk about was the sale that goes with the end of the fiscal year. I went there Saturday and it had this oddly festive atmosphere, somewhere between a garage sale on a bright Saturday morning and a great big company picnic without the food or the beer. Call me a cynic, but sometimes you just miss the kids in the Harry Potter costumes.
Opinions vary with the time of day, the angle of the light, and the mood of the viewer. All I know for sure is it has four legs and a tail. Better than a football no matter what it is.
**Edited to add** The lady who owns the bungalows here, Louise, thinks it looks like an elephant with too short legs.
At first Sharon felt out of place. Not that anyone had made her feel like an outsider. Far from it. Diego’s family and friends couldn’t have been more welcoming. Even his mother and sisters, who she expected to greet her with false smiles that didn’t reach their eyes, had seemed genuinely pleased to meet her. Once they saw how happy and well cared for Diego was they were positively effusive (and how’s that for a ten-dollar word?). They were all crammed in the tiny house in the country that Diego grew up in. It was a swirling mass of brothers and their wives, sisters and their husbands, aunts, uncles, cousins, and too many children to count. Sharon was just beginning to relax, then the crowd parted and she saw Maria standing in the doorway holding the hand of a pretty little girl who could only be Diego’s child. She looked just like him.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
Another Monday. Time seems like it's on a greased slide and my writing is nowhere. This afternoon I swear I'm going to the beach to sit in the shade with my Alphasmart and write whatever words come out the ends of my fingers. Gibberish, here I come!
The waves roll in changing colors as they come. Navy blue, then teal, then pale turquoise before crashing in an explosion of white foam on the rusty black shore. This is no postcard shoreline of soft white sand and fluttering palm trees. The rocks are jagged and pocked, jutting into the air like broken teeth, offering no respite for the eye. The waves that pound these rocks begin their march as tiny wind ripples off the west coast of Africa growing more powerful, gathering strength as they roll across the Atlantic. The wind is their escort encouraging them to guard their energy so their arrival on this scrap of ancient reef barely poked above the surface of the ocean will not go unnoticed.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
The rain came down hard, slashing at the leaves of the oleander, swirling in the palm fronds. Mona stood, drink in hand, watching it pound the surface of the ocean. Absentmindedly she raised the glass and sipped, surprised when the ice cubes clattered into her teeth. Her inner voice kept repeating two words “Jack’s dead” over and over, sounding unreal. The hours she had spent in the police station being bombarded by Detective Inspector Rooibos’ gentle questions also seemed unreal. Her hand shook as she lowered the empty glass, the pale dawn light glimmering on the near solid curtain of raindrops that kept her on the patio.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Lainie asked if I minded if she smoked, and I said go right ahead. She tried blowing smoke out the window, though some of it kept coming back in. "You think I'm cheap," she said.
"No," I answered, trying to sound like I meant it. "I don't think that."
"Because you don't know me. You don't know my life."
"No," I said, waving off the smoke. "You're a complete mystery."
"Don't be smart," she said. "Your mother raised you better."
"What do you know about my mother?"
"I know she raised you better than that," she said, and glanced at the coal of the cigarette. There was a note of certainty in her voice which I liked a lot, and I took comfort from it. I wondered what Janice would say if she knew I was driving a total stranger to work in the middle of the night.
"Where does your accent come from?" I asked.
"Macedonia," she said. "Ever hear of it?"
"Yes, I have. From school." There was perfume in the way she said that word. Perfume and rivers and the smoke of a thousand raging fires. And I felt like I was going to cry or maybe start shouting from the pressure in my throat. And suddenly I wanted uncounted impossible things. And I didn't care. And I wanted the night to go on forever.
Where did this come from? I have no idea. By the way, Barbara, that is a perfectly amazing picture.
My research caused me to rethink the setting and the backstory, so I'm kind of in a holding pattern. Plus I'm just not in a writing mood. I'll get there again--eventually. In the meantime here's a picture.
Got the second sock done last night and the tails woven in. I was very careful so I didn't make a lump to rub a blister on my toe. I'm loving the colors and the way they don't make solid stripes. Nice yarn to work with too. I cast on and did the first day's dishcloth KAL while Don napped.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
By the time I got out to the house, I wanted the whole thing to be over with. I'd gotten up early that morning, and now I just wanted to drive the manager's wife to her job and then go to sleep. Her name was Lainie. That's what she went by. Lainie answered the door wearing a man's shirt and blue jeans. This was a surprise to me, having seen her only in fancy clothes up until now. Her hair was done up behind her head and she was ready for work.
"What are you doing here?" she said, looking out over my shoulder. "Where's Max?"
"He sent me," I said. "He said to take you to work."
She looked at me, then back into the house, then at me again. She started cursing in another language, the one she grew up with, probably, dark and Eastern European sounding. It was a kind of shrieking. The sound of it went right through me, and I wondered what to do next. It was also hypnotizing in a way so that I couldn't move, and I wondered when the neighbors would start shouting back that she should tone it down. Then she went quiet, and said that we should get going or she'd be late for work.
Neither of us said anything. I could see that she was working on some kind of decision. I only wanted the night to be over. About a mile from her job, she started opening up, talking about how this thing had happened before.
"I'm sorry," I said.
"What are you sorry for? You had no part in this."
"I'm driving, right?"
"That?" she said "That's nothing. You're just an accessory."
For a moment, being called an accessory felt like an insult, but then I didn't care. "Does he do this to you often?" I was surprised that I asked this question. It seemed too personal.
"Every few months," she said, resigned. "It was Burt talked him into this. I know."
"A lump on his nose and a bald head?"
"Bald, yes. Burt is a bad influence."
I thought about Janice and made a promise to her on the spot never to do this sort of thing to her. I had no idea what sort of men Max and Burt were or what made them do what they did. I couldn't answer for them.
"You think I'm cheap," she said.
Barbara, how is the research coming along?
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
It seems like the manager is always calling me into his office. Mostly, it's for some little favor or other, something that he wants me to take care of. At first, I felt like he was putting his trust in me to do these things, and that felt good. But lately, it seems like he's just pawning these things off on me because he doesn't want to be bothered. The last time he did this was the other night when a friend of his showed up. He came in early, and stayed through the second showing. I had finished with all the things I take care of, and had changed into my street clothes. The manager called me aside and asked me to drive out to his house. There was a conflict, he said. His wife had to go to work, and he had some other important things to see to. He held out a twenty. I took the money and he gave me directions. When I got out to the manager's house, his wife asked where her husband was. I explained the story the best I could. Then she got really mad, cursing in some Eastern European sounding language. She accused him of all sorts of ugly things. I guess he had done this very same thing before.
Snow came again last night (4 to 6 inches) and though it's still cold, it isn't nearly as frigid as this past weekend. I have heard we are in for a warming trend. That would be nice...
No writing today--only research.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Bob, I'm glad my line inspired you. Every once in a while words actually do my bidding. Mostly I just feel like I'm making mud pies with 'em. Had a nice dive today with friends. Tomorrow I need to go do some research for my romance. I realized this afternoon that not knowing the particulars about the plantation houses and colonial times on the island is hampering my writing. So I go do some research and set up a tour of a restored plantation with the great-granddaughter of the last one. I presume the Venezuelan Fruit Temple is made of concrete block with a thin skin of cement over top to make it look smooth, like everything else around here. You back from Florida yet, Jenny?
They’ve been hard on my mind for the last few days, like an imp dancing in front of me jeering and taunting. So alluring, so tempting even though I know they taste bad and burn my throat. Even though I close my eyes, I see one held between my index and middle fingers, smoke curling sensuously upward to dissipate in the breeze. They smell bad and taste worse and yet I can’t resist. I make an excuse, plead for a few minutes of solitude and race into town with one postcard to be mailed. My real aim is the ice cream shop in Harbourside Mall where they sell harsh Nevada menthols and lighters. I buy them furtively even though no one cares and hurry back to the truck to light one with an eager and shaky hand. Awful, but I can’t put it out. I drive home taking little prissy drags, not inhaling, keeping the acrid and thick smoke in my mouth like vomit, hoping the smell isn’t clinging to my clothing or skin. I fling the still-burning butt out the window when it burns to the filter and reflexively sniff my fingers. I gulp water trying to wash out the taste and grab mints as soon as I come in the door. He confesses he was tempted but broke up his remaining ten and left the crumpled pack to show me, so I would be proud. I am too ashamed to take the pack from my pocket. It sits there like a ball of thorns digging into my flesh.
The picture of the Venezuelan fruit temple is a real eye-opener, Barbara. The way you described it, I saw it altogether differently. Is it made of bricks? It looks like that's what it's made of, with a row of cast concrete near the top.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I hope you're staying warm up there in the deep freeze. Don keeps checking the weather online to see just how cold we aren't. Our diving friends from GB arrived last night--only a day late (stupid airlines)--so we'll be doing more diving for the next week--and probably more eating out.
A rainbow--and it hasn’t even rained. Gray clouds are gathered all around but above where I stand the sky is clear bright blue. Arcing over my head is a narrow rainbow like a multicolor ribbon in the sky. I amazes me that light can shine through millions of tiny droplets and form such a coordinated whole as an arch of transparent color all across the sky. A perfect arc, a segment of a circle that would be complete if only we were far enough away. Soon the sun’s angle changes, the angle of refraction is lost and the ribbon in the sky disappears. The wind blows the clouds out to sea and the sun shines hot in the clear blue bowl of the sky.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I couldn't resist asking an American lady in the grocery yesterday if there was anyplace on the island to buy yarn. Not that I need yarn, I just wanted to look at it. She said, "Oh sure, Tung Fong Store has it." And they do; two cartons of Red Heart Super Saver for about $4/skein and one carton of crochet cotton I didn't see the price of. I don't suppose people knit or crochet afghans or sweaters around here; it's just too warm. Didn't see any needles or hooks.
Sharon had planed to spend the afternoon in town shopping but Maria stopped her on her way out. “You going downtown?” she said. Sharon slowed her steps, trying to decide if she were willing to do a favor for the maid, not sure she felt like being that nice. “I thought I’d browse in Littman’s and maybe Island Fashions.” Please don’t ask me to run and errand, she thought, please don’t. “Why?” Maria saw the friendly light go out of Sharon’s eyes. “No reason, really.” Maria shrugged. “I noticed a couple cruiseboats in. Might be crowded down there.” You might see your beloved Diego, such a big man, she thought. You might see him making eyes at another girl he can get into bed. “Have a nice afternoon, missus” she said with a smile.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Well, Bob, here it is, as promised, the Venezuelan Fruit Temple--with the Sea Princess cruise ship behind it to the left.
The ship is so huge (over 2000 passengers) it dwarfs the town. I always expect the whole island to tip to the west when one is in port. See how it towers over the town?
Oh, no you don't, Bob. I'm not naming your guy. You know what he looks like and how he sounds. You'll find his name when you need it. I like his voice though and his story. I hear it's going to be bitter cold in GB this weekend. If I could, I'd transport you down here where it's nice and warm, hot even. We could have writer's here and feed the skeeters instead of get frostbite. It's been rainy; we have lots of skeeters and man, are they hungry. OFF! is standard Caribbean perfume.
As I said before, the tech school is a much better fit than the college was. I actually feel like I'm getting somewhere. Not like before when everything we talked about in the classes seemed hidden and far away. And, too, I get to see Janice whenever I want. Before, it was just letters and phone calls and every now and then a weekend that went by way too fast. I think Janice likes it better this way too. She's going to this beauty school in town here. We tell each other what we've been studying, and she'll even practice some of the cuts she's been learning on me. That's always fun. More fun than me trying to tell her what I'm learning in engineering classes. It's hard trying to make sense of that since it's pretty technical and there's a ton of math, though I might pick up some popsickle sticks and play around with them so she can see what I'm trying to say.
Sometimes I wonder if this is anything like what being married is, if this is laying the foundation for anything further on. My folks are good people, don't get me wrong, though I could never say what being married was like if I were to use them as an example. They just don't show what they're feeling all that much. They're quiet people, and I respect that, though it's not for me. Not at all. Who needs being buttoned up all the time like that? I don't mean being crazy and rowdy, either. Or wierd. Like the guy who runs the theater. Or his wife for that matter. She's one for the books, let me tell you. She comes by a couple times a month, just stops in, wisking through the lobby in her styled hair and boots and her long coat looking like leopard skin or whatever. She's a small woman. That was the first surprise. The second surprise was the in-your-face attitude she has. Everything with her is right up front and tough, even though she tries to hide it behind this cute little voice. It's like she has to grab hold of the conversation from the start, or she sees herself at a disadvantage. It's so wierd.
So much for our hero. (He still has no name. Maybe you can come up with one.) Enjoy the dive.
The little black bird with the bright yellow breast stood on the glass-topped patio table, its delicate feet spread, its bright eye seeming to judge how far Mona could be trusted. It turned its head from side to side, long tongue flicking in and out of its curved narrow beak, working up the courage to scoop up the grains of sugar Mona had spilled when sweetening her tea. “Come on, little bird,” she said, “I won’t hurt you.” She picked up her cup, which caused the bird to fly to the safety of a nearby palm, sitting on a frond chattering its displeasure. But fear didn’t keep the small Bananaquit from getting what it wanted for long. She made up her mind to be more like it from then on.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Manning showered and shaved while the water perked in the ancient Mr. Coffee. The water dripped through so slowly that the resulting brew was black as mud and tasted like tar. An ex-girlfriend suggested he use it to strip the rust off his beloved Jeep. He liked his coffee just like his women, he told her, hot, dark and strong. Then he laughed. Very few women who heard him ever laughed or stuck around long enough to try and change him. After dressing in his usual khaki cargo shorts and washed out aloha shirt he headed into town on the shore road. He slowed down when he got to the Town Pier and scanned the row of bleary-eyed men huddled under the roof around a brazier with a battered coffee pot on its grate. Manning beeped the horn and Bunny detached himself from the group, his jaw wagging as usual, his enthusiastic wave barely acknowledged by the Venezuelans. “I didn’t know you spoke Spanish,” Manning said when Bunny settled in the passenger seat. “I don’t, mon.” Bunny turned his ganga-red eyes to face Manning. “It’s the spiritual connection of the downtrodden we understand. The brotherhood of the spliff, mon.” He dug in the pocket of his shorts and pulled out a joint just as they drove past the Customs office. “Put that away, for God’s sake,” Manning said. “You want to give those tight asses an excuse to arrest us before we’ve made our score?” He pushed Bunny’s hand down and held it until the younger man stopped trying to put the joint in his mouth. “I hear you, mon. I put it away now. Don’ get all in a ruckus.” Manning glared out the scratched and spotted windshield. “How unlucky could I be to get myself a helper like you?”
Like I said before, the guy who manages this place is a real piece of work. I keep asking myself how he managed to get where he is on the feeding chain. Clearly, I have no idea what sort of things people trained for the human resource office look at when they hire someone. Maybe he was a different person when they first him brought in. Who knows? Who can say? Could be that he thrives on knowing there's a good chance he'll be checking into a cheap hotel because the whole thing has blown up in his face. Even now, he sometimes sleeps in his office. It's got this funky, locker room smell that he tries to cover up by opening the windows and putting out these cheap air fresheners, but he can never quite cover up. The concession stand workers and the ticket takers smirk at each other on those days when the air at the office smells of body odor. In quiet ironic tones, they ask each other what the fight could have been about this time.
This morning I finished First Sock! The first photo is her official portrait; the second one is her kicking back on vacation. Ain't she purty? I solemnly swear I'll cast on her sister before I go to bed tonight. Cross my heart. Right now I have to go get some tanks and weights so we can go diving today.
Monday, January 14, 2008
You might ask yourself, Who is this guy, and what's he doing working in an old movie house? Some kind of slacker, probably. Well, the thing is that I flunked out of college. See, I'm just not college material. Not by a long shot. My dad told me, go to college for a couple semesters and see how it goes. Neither one had gone to school past high school, and they had their hopes pinned on me. It was an expensive couple of months it took for them to learn what I knew from the start. As a compromise I'm going to a tech school for an intro-degree in engineering, and working here at this movie house, trying to earn enough to pay rent and feed myself. So far, so good.
Though this place has seriously gone to seed, it's still a single theater. It still has that small integrity going for it. Now, a couple blocks over there's this beautiful old movie palace, the kind they put up back in the thirties, with the pillars and balconies and a ceiling painted like the night sky. Somebody bought it and chopped it up into four different spaces. Now, that's really sad if you ask me. It's totally sentimental, I know, getting worked up over a building, but those old places deserve better, you know? So I feel kind of lucky, even though the manager here is a nut job, and on his way to some kind of catastrope. In a way, I'm glad for having the chance to walk around this spooky old place and get paid for it.
One of the things I actually like doing is checking up in the balcony. Nobody's supposed to go up there anymore. There's these signs saying that it's off limits, but human nature being what it is, you get people up there all the time, especially when it's cold. The manager doesn't like to keep this place warm, so in the winter months I'll find teenagers up there, caught in a heavy liplock or people sitting by themselves. Sometimes, I'll leave them be, let them do what they're doing, and sometimes I'll roust them just because I feel like it. It all depends. I know it's totally unfair and arbitrary, but it's my job.
Gray skies hung over the island. No wind stirred the palm fronds or blew away the sticky humidity. Everything was a struggle in the still air; tempers were frayed. Emilia fretted so much at the center of a swarm of mosquitoes that Maria doused her with insect repellent and wordlessly carried her across the road, shoved the now crying toddler into the babysitter’s arms, and left her there. Sharon sat on one of the patio chairs before realizing it was wet from the rain and burst into tears when Diego laughed at her. Jack closed himself in his office and moodily checked his emails and tracked his investments online while waiting for someone, anyone, to bring him coffee. Mona made herself a cup of tea with an herbal teabag she found in the kitchen and stood sipping it as she watched the little tendrils of humidity rise in the first shafts of sunlight that peeped through the clouds. Manning woke with a smile on his face and whistled while he shaved.--Barbara
Sunday, January 13, 2008
It's rare to see a big flock of goats like that, Bob. In fact that was just about half of them; they split up and half walked down the parking lots in front of the businesses across the road. It's getting even rarer to see wild donkeys as some Dutch woman has convinced the government that they're a hazard and rounds them up. The cute ones she puts in her "Donkey Safari Park," the rest go to Aruba to become dog food. Disgusting.
For once in this crazy month everyone was in their proper place and sleeping peacefully when the sun-up rain showers hit. Manning was sprawled across his rumpled bed, the dingy sheet tangled around his feet and his white bum shining out to tempt the mosquitoes. Diego and Sharon lay spooned together under a smooth cotton sheet in air-conditioned comfort. His brown arm curled around her and gently cupped her milky white breast. Maria was awake, sipping a cup of tea and listening to the rustles of Emilia as she slept. Bunny lay curled in his bed, limbs relaxed and a faint smile playing on his lips. Edward and Louise lay entwined; the covers untucked and rumpled, evidence of the enthusiasm of their lovemaking. Jack and Mona lay as far apart as possible in their king-sized bed. Jack lay flat on his back, arms outstretched, laying claim to as much space as possible. Mona lay with her back to him, curled in a ball to make herself small, trying to escape notice.
I realized this morning how short the time setting is for this story. Only a few days. You've got an interesting story you're building in that old movie theater, Bob. I was thinking how all the ghosts of the past must have loved them making the student indie film in it.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Of all the things they have us do around here, the one I hate most is changing the marquee. It hangs off the front of the building above this crazy little overhang over the street door. You wouldn't believe the ladder they have us use. It's this rickety aluminum thing that we drag out through the front and prop against the overhang. Then we climb up, jiggling like crazy, holding onto a stack of plexiglas letters. Jack and I usually did this job together, so it always went pretty fast that way. Having worked this place for a year or more, he knew all the nooks and crannies. He even had me and the other empoyees help out with this movie of his one Saturday morning before the place opened. He had this plan to go to movie school out in California, and needed a short movie to submit to the people who make the decisions out there. A friend of his he had walk around all stiff-legged, chasing a girl through the theater. The friend had this big kitchen knife, and, well, you can guess the rest of it. I held onto one of the lights, standing on chairs and ledges for better vantage. Just when we'd finished, the manager came in, took an attitude, and asked us what we were doing. Of course, he could see that, since Jack had this 16mm camera in his hands. He told us we were never to do anything like that again, that he was going to keep an eye on us. Jack left a few days later. I'll bet he made it out to Calfornia, and I'll bet he was laughing all the way there.
This parade didn't go past the bungalow but I couldn't resist taking a picture or writing about it. Edward and Louise seemed perfect witnesses.
Louise reached out and shook Edward’s arm. “Stop, stop. I want to take a picture.” He looked at the warehouses ranged down the left side of the road and the mixed cactus and brush on the other. “Of what?” he asked, thinking that not even the most dedicated shutterbug would find anything photogenic in the scene. “Of the goats, of course.” She pointed off to the right where far away a ragged line of them moved their way. Black and white, orange, brown, and yellow, in all sizes they came. From the shaggy patriarch in the lead to the littlest kid prancing beside its mother, the goats moved as if on a mission. Edward stopped the pickup in the middle of the road, forgetting to depress the clutch and causing the engine to stall with a jerk, and Louise stood out of the truck but behind the door as if afraid the goats would charge her. She earned a sideways glance from the billy goat as he led his flock by. Edward heard the click-buzz of the digital camera as his wife took picture after picture. “Like she’s on the Serengeti,” he muttered. He glanced in the rear view mirror surprised to see a line of cars behind him. Only when Louise lowered the camera and began to sit back in her seat did the lead vehicle swing out to pass them, the native driver giving them a smile and wave. Probably laughing at the crazy tourists, Edward thought with a sneer.
Friday, January 11, 2008
I'm excited, I got an idea for a gothic romance novel set on Bonaire today and spent the afternoon working out the bones of the story. Went to the Tourism Office for historical brochures, then to the Museo Boneiru to look at the exhibits and talk to the curator who was very tall and very nice. Tomorrow we go to the Visitors Center at the national park up on the north end of the island because there used to be plantations up there and I need them for the setting and a few flashbacks. I'm eager to get writing on it, but don't worry, I'm not abandoning Mona, Jack, Manning, Diego, Sharon, and the rest.
It's old, but it has this faded-glory thing going for it. You can see that maybe forty years ago, when it was in its prime, it was really something; a place to go. There's some of that yet. Like for instance, everybody has to wear a maroon uniform, and a white shirt or blouse. At first it was sort of odd and interesting playing that game, taking tickets from the folks on their way into the theater, walking around with a flashlight, getting to go behind the huge screen up there on the stage. Probably the most interesting thing was the old backstage office. Though it's used as store room now, there's a desk piled with playbills and posters from the thirties and forties, back when vaudville was still going strong. It was like some kind of fairy tale treasure-vault. When I lay in bed, I think about those posters and such, wondering what's going to happen to them, who's going to take an interest in all that history.
Mona stood looking through the pickets of the back gate. The pickets themselves were in good repair, excellent shape for wood in the tropics actually, but the flimsy gate represented much more. On her side was cool clay tile, laid with precision and well scrubbed every day. Outside the gate was another story. Weeds and flowering vines grew rampant in the vacant lot, trash blew and heaped against the rusting wire fence, fronds and tiny brown cones, detritus from the palms and pines that grew there, piled up to be sorted through and rearranged by the wild donkeys that roamed the island. Mona looked at her manicured nails, her perfect makeup, her styled and sprayed hair, and her rigidly chosen outfit and thought she looked like she was on the correct side of the gate. But her eyes were drawn to the flamboyant mess outside the gate and she couldn’t help wishing she belonged there.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I decided this morning to look up and whatever I see, that's what I write about. When I looked out the back door I realized that the building next door was growing. Here's today's effort. Welcome back, Jenny! We missed you on the blog. Can't wait to see more Scab. Hey, Bob, we get to share our brilliance with Jenny again. Very cool!
Diego glared at the top of the wall surrounding the rented villa. In the ten days since he and Sharon had arrived wooden forms had grown above the wall, cement was poured and now workmen stood on scaffolding able to look down on them and the pool deck. Somehow the knowledge of those eyes watching took away his feeling of relaxation, made him feel self-conscious, like he should be working with them, like a pretender. From the time he was a little boy growing up on this island, he had promised himself that he would live in one of these villas. He spent nights awake in the cramped little house in the kunuku he shared with his parents and eight brothers and sisters planning how he would grow up and get a job off island that would enable him to come back one day to show everyone what he really was. Not that he suffered, there was no shame in being poor or from a big family where things were tight, but Diego felt it. His parents worked hard and did their best but he wanted more, he wanted ease, and he wanted to be admired not just tolerated. Getting Maria pregnant had not been in his plans at all. They had worked at one of the big resorts, he was a bartender, known among the other young men for charming the lonely middle-aged ladies who stayed there out of bigger tips, and she was on the housekeeping staff. Someone threw a party one weekend for someone’s marriage, one thing led to another and Maria was pregnant. Being a daddy just when his future was beginning was not in his plans. He quit his job the day after she told him about the baby, left the island, and hadn’t been back since.
We made it, our luggage made it a day later, I've been writing a little. Time for lunch, more later.
Like a green arrow the tall Caribbean pine pierced the bright blue sky. No clouds marred the blue as Jack drove toward the tree. Toward the tree, he thought, feeling like a foolish child on a scavenger hunt. The clues that Manning left for him were just like that, clues fit for a child’s game of pirates. Each time he followed one his pulse pounding, his palms sweaty, only to find another taunt at the end he resolved to stop. He had not told Mona where he was going when he went on one of Manning’s wild goose chases and she had stopped asking. Jack hated the way he felt not being in charge of things. In all his other dealings whether business or personal it was him, Jack, who called the tune. He was the one who sent people running from pillar to post, beads of sweat dusting their upper lips, to do things and get things for him. He was not sent ignominiously all over the place only to be laughed at. No one laughed at Jack. Mona had once right after he had acquired her. She was made to understand how wrong that was immediately. Mona was a fast learner.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
The movie theater is okay for now, but I can't see working there much longer. It's an old place to begin with; kind of cool and semi-dumpy upstairs. The basement, though, is a maze of rooms and passageways lit by bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The guy who runs the place is either dumb or crazy, I don't know which. He writes this dumb-ass poetry to Laura, one of the ticket girls. She can't be more than eighteen, nineteen. If you ask me, it's a trainwreck waiting to happen, and I don't want to be around when it does.
Last Thursday, Barabara mentioned that she and Don would be spending a night at Detroit International because of a schedule delay. She wasn't too happy about it, either.
Bob, what are you submitting? Barbara, safe landing yet?
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
While I am weighing asparagus at the grocery store, I am hugged by a woman who introduces herself as the aunt of my mother's second grade boyfriend. “She was at my house when Kennedy was shot, you know,” she says, and she gives me a look that says our shared grief runs deeper than I know. She smells of yogurt, sweetly pungent. When she gives me a hug, the tang fills my nose; the insides of my cheeks water. “I always liked your mother better than Cindy,” she whispers into my ear, then pulls away and winks. I wonder if Cindy is my mother's second grade boyfriend's third grade girlfriend or if she is his wife. These are two entirely different situations, I know, two separate types of crazy.
“It was so good to meet you, Gertrude,” I say, and I head for the dry cereal, even though I am not yet out of oat clusters.
Barbara, have the most fabulous of fabulous times in Bonaire! I'm sorry I didn't see you before you went. Bob, I'll be in Florida this Thursday, but cross my heart I'll be at The Attic the Thursday after and I'll stop skipping. And new year, new me: I do believe I'm actually going to write. On that line, my first order of business when I got the computer back was to tighten up some pieces I have sitting around and send them off. Let the rejections start piling up (again), but please also let an acceptance or two slip through!
I have to share an email exchange from today, too. You know how in love I am with McSweeney's, right? Well I finally emailed them about the book I ordered that came without a book jacket (See figure 1).
And they wrote me back:
How cool is that?
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Saturday, January 5, 2008
"Looks like a giant albino penis sticking up all lonely at this end of the island." Edward turned to stare at Louise. "What?" She pointed. "There's a lighthouse over there. See?" "Of course, I see it. It's the only building for a mile in any direction." He pulled the camera out of the bag between them on the seat and stepped out of the rental truck to take a picture. He stood in the middle of the road to take it. Theirs was the only vehicle to be seen. It was just after noon and everyone with any sense was either lying in the shade having a siesta or underwater. Not Edward. He was going to wring every moment out of his vacation even if he courted sunstroke. Even if he drove Louise mad with his constant movement.
I'm coming to like Louise and Edward and their antics on the island. This little scribble makes me think that Edward was the guy who came to lying by the lighthouse. That if I'd written for five more minutes last night that Louise would have bopped him with a rock and driven off!
Two more days, okay two and a half, then we fly away. Whoopie! I spent yesterday zooming around doing errands and on the phone making sure everything is all arranged and getting the dive gear packed and trying on clothes. *pant, pant* There's a pile of clothes lying on the floor and tumbling into a suitcase in the basement. Tonight's the dive shop Christmas party (ooh, broasted pork chops and kneecaps. Yum.) and I intend to finalize the packing today so I can spend tomorrow in regal sloth conserving energy for our 2-day airport marathon. Grrr for changing schedules.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
The sunset on Gotomeer painted the water a luminous shade of orange touched with purple gray shadows. Edward steered the rental car along the road that skirted the lake. "Why every time we go out we end up trapped on this damned one-way road I do not know." His knuckles were white with frustration and his generous lips thinned as he spoke. "It amazes me that on an island this small you manage to get us lost." He cut a glance at his wife, Louise, beside him holding a guidebook and staring out the windshield at the wheeling gulls out over the wake of a passing fishing boat. She didn't look at her husband or offer an argument to his outrageous statement. "Of course," Edward said into the strained silence, "if you would quit giving me the wrong directions this wouldn't happen." Still not speaking, Louise rolled down her window letting in the hot, humid breeze generated by the car's movement, tossed the guidebook out, and rolled the window back up. Edward took his foot off the gas and stomped on the brake, forgetting to depress the clutch, causing the engine to stall. He turned to look at her. "Why the hell did you do that?" Louise turned her expressionless face to meet his reddening one and said, "Well, if I keep getting us lost the map must be faulty. It couldn't be your driving." She calmly faced forward again.
See you tonight unless we all freeze solid before then.
Evidently I have a "hands & feet" fetish because everything I have on the needles is on DPNs and either mitts or socks. I knew as soon as I finished grafting the toe of my training sock that it wouldn't be long before I had a life-size one cast on. I'm knitting it in Lion Wool-Ease worsted as a salve to my patience, or lack of it, plus the floor at the dive shop is freezing and my feet usually are too. I can use all the wooly socks I can get.
Don't know who the yellow mittens are for but I couldn't resist the combo of screaming yellow Paton's Melody and the Moda Dea Cheri in green (which is really a mix of yellow, turquoise, lt. blue, and green, and discontinued evidently). They'll keep somebody's hands warm--and awake.
And, of course, I have to feed my Forbidden Love (scroll down) addiction. I love 'em!
Hope everyone's staying warm. It's -3 here right now. Brrrr.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
"Necklace, Mister? Only fifteen guilders." Jack pushed away the dark brown hand that thrust the shell necklace at him. One look at his face and the middle-aged woman vendor withdrew her hand and took a step back. His eyes, icy blue and darting from side to side, kept everyone at bay. It was obvious he was searching for someone and everyone who saw him as he threaded a path through the dawdling cruise ship passengers in Queen Wilhelmina park across from the Town Pier was glad he wasn't looking for them. He smoked the harsh island cigarettes one after another. Just another reason to wreak revenge on Manning, Jack thought. Eight years of not smoking and within a month on this God-forsaken outpost of an island, he was back smoking over a pack a day. Damned Manning. And damned Mona for nagging him about it.
The plot thickens, or the characters emerge, or some such cliche. Are you writing? See you tomorrow night.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Sharon stood in the shallows glaring at the horizon, the blood warm salt water caressing her skin. It was nearly sunset. She felt the last golden rays painting their heat on her skin and tugging reluctant tears from her eyes. The color of the water changed with each passing moment from the bright turquoise of full day to the color it was right then, a rich navy blue. The ever-present tradewinds had stopped and the water's surface was barely rippled like the best silk taffeta of her favorite cocktail dress. Cocktails. What a good idea. She was sure she had enough time to make another pitcher of planter's punch before Diego came back from his mysterious errand.
See you Thursday.