Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Western in 30 Days--non-Day

This is not a photo of the author
Today was a client day, with little time left for working on the novel. The first chapter is nearly finished, however, with close to 2500 words on the clock. Tomorrow, if I'm lucky and I don't succumb to heat prostration, I'll give you the beginning of Chapter Two, but not the conclusion. Can't give away any secrets, can we?

For your entertainment, here's a little story.

A Wish

Exercise, Dr. Motoyama says, lose weight or your family will lose you. Walk, she says (Dr. Motoyama's a woman), walk every day. So I don my Nikes and walk down twenty-three steps to the roadway. It's eleven at night. The neighborhood is silent, but not dark. Streetlights illuminate the tarmac, the tiny yards, the front doors. There are no sidewalks. Concrete utility poles stick up from asphalt streets like dead trees. Geraniums and pansies hang from fences in planter boxes. Wisteria arc over gateway frames. A dog voices his irritation at my late-night passage.

summer night
      with no moon
fresh-cut grass

I dodge the barriers and walk beside by the creek. I say creek, but I cannot see it. Brick-paved pathways run down either side, and the water trickles toward the bay, bordered by iron sheet piles. What once was a swampy creek bed is now a suburban residential neighborhood, and, deep within an iron-bound canyon, the gummy water of the creek, full of detergents and waste and filth, rarely sees the sun.

A man, with all his possessions strapped to an aged bicycle, spreads cardboard on a creekside bench, his bed tonight. He pulls the brim of his hat low to shade his eyes from the glare of the streetlights that keep the pathways safe at night. I walk past as if he is not there.

Farther on, a housewife huddles over her cell phone. I wonder why she's come outside to talk. Illicit conversation? She speaks so low that I can hear none of what she says as I pass. I turn the corner, circle back, and the same dog barks again.

deep-fried ginger pork
            open kitchen windows --
    midnight stroll

I wish I could see the stars, but streetlights get in the way.

# # #

(c) Charles T. Whipple

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