Thursday, September 06, 2012

AH ONE, AH TWO... (The Runaway--XIII)

Josh walked the streets for hours. He started in Chinatown, the last place he saw Nik. At dusk, the morning reversed: the whores took over the street-corners, gaudy like peacocks, while the workers rushed towards the subway, to home. Josh rode the Red line across the river to Cambridge and walked Harvard Square and the side streets where they used to play. Students and tourists crowded the store fronts, licking ice cream and gathering around other street performers, but Nikko was not among them.

Night fell. He and Nik should be setting up on a corner, figuring out their first set. Nik would smoke a final cigarette, sipping a small coffee from Au bon Pain in between draws. Nik would drain the cup, place it carefully on the sidewalk, and say ‘Ah one, ah two, ah three’, and the corner would explode with the Beatles, Clapton, Radiohead, sometimes one of their own songs. Quarters would clink in the guitar case opened up like a casket, and sometimes a dollar or two would flutter in. Last week, a Thursday night, a slow night, a man in a grey suit threw in a five. That made their day.

But without the guitar, without Nikko, Josh couldn’t perform. He tried, standing on the corner of Prospect and Cambridge, but no words came out; his mouth opened and closed like a beached fish.

Josh boarded the last train to Boston. A cool drizzle fell. His flannel shirt clung damp to his skin. He ducked under the eaves of a building and shivered. At midnight, few people walked the streets, but he looked at every pedestrian’s face, hoping to find Nikko. When the rain stopped he turned towards Boylston, back to the hotel, and it was then he realized he had sheltered under the eaves of a Unitarian Universalist church. He thought about his mom and dad and Absalom, he thought about Gemma and Vee and band practice. He thought about doing homework at the warm kitchen table, his mom humming while she fixed dinner, and as Josh ran the four blocks to the Holiday Inn, he felt his heart would drop out of him with the noise and clatter of a broken muffler.


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Installment 13 in THE RUNAWAY, one chapter in THE MINISTER'S WIFE, my novel under construction. To read more, go HERE and wade your ways backward. As always, thank you for reading my work. Peace...



13 comments:

  1. Poor Josh. Poor, poor Josh. And poor Niko. My heart hurts for them both.
    Which means you have created just the sort of magic every writer strives for. Congratulations - and thank you.

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  2. Oh that's so sad. Excellent writing!

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  3. Your sense of voice persists through all these selections. How much of the novel are you intending to share, though, Linda?

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    1. Thanks John for the comment on the voice--much appreciated. This is but one chapter/story in the novel, and what you are reading is essentially a lightly edited first draft. Other than other snippets I have posted (or will post) of other characters, this is about it. And always 1st, at best 2nd, drafts. Peace...

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  4. Dear all, thank you for reading! I love posting a section every week for many reasons, but one is it makes me revisit this story and make some changes--most everything you've read so far has changed! Peace...

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  5. Love the descriptions here Linda! And now I'm wondering - will Josh go back home? He seems to be running out of options, and I can feel the pain of his indecision, as if, though he wants to supress the thought he can't help but wonder "what next?". I am loving this story and can't wait to read the full book. Thank you so much for sharing these snippets with us!

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    1. Oh... will Josh go home? We'll see... maybe home will be redefined. And what about Nik? Will he go home? Hmmm... thank you for reading, Deanna! I can't wait for you to read the book, either; in fact, I can't wait to finish writing the darn thing! Keep in mind--Josh's story is but a small piece of the puzzle. Peace...

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  6. It just keeps getting better and better, Linda. I actually cried a little bit when Josh thinks of his home. I could totally relate to that moment. I really feel for Josh.

    I really wish you could post longer snippets. I'm just so hungry for more.

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    1. Emilia, I am always happy to send you the entire story :) Then again, anticipation is half the fun! Thank you, my dearest critiquer, for reading my words. Peace...

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  7. Reading this on a sunny afternoon and it feels like a rainy night. Nicely done.

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    1. Tim, so sorry to ruin your weather :) Peace...

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  8. Such a sense of loneliness and isolation. So well written, Linda.

    Jai

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