cat says 'riiiiight'

Things Have Been Rough

I haven't been keeping a journal lately because I don't want to record or remember how I felt these days.

But maybe the miseries would be less profound if I did or found something.

So there was a small lightning storm this morning. Thunder and lightning before the sun came up. I smiled in spite of myself.
cat says 'riiiiight'


Well, I didn't finish it in time. Not for lack of story, just lack of getting it typed out in time. I still have quite a but left to finish up. But now the time limit is off and I can relax a little. So here's the next part anyway.

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cat says 'riiiiight'

Seeing the Light (or at least where the light should be)

One of headlights burned out Thursday night, so Friday after work I went down to Napa to get a bulb, using the box I had gotten the time before to get the right one. I've had to change them out a few times in the seven years I've had it. I didn't expect any problem in changing it.

But the new bulb doesn't fit in the light socket. It's got a weird little prong that won't let it click into the housing. Somehow I got the wrong bulb. I didn't worry about it. I would just go in the next morning (this morning) and exchange it. So I do, no fuss, no muss. But then I get home and then I realize that the reason the first one didn't fit was because I was trying to fit it into the wrong socket. There are two of them and I'd been wrestling with the wrong one.

Then, I dropped the cap of the bulb area into the depths of the car. I had to snake my arm into the inner works to reach it and got stuck. Such a stupid way to die, I told myself. I suppose I could gnaw my arm off before I starved to death, but it turned out I only had to lose a little skin to get my arm out again.

So, I had to go back to Napa and admit to being an idiot and ask for the first bulb back. I got them to put it in because I had had enough for one day. They did it in like two minutes without getting stuck at all, but I took some comfort in that it took two of them.
cat says 'riiiiight'

Nanowrimo Day 11

I've got my cousin and his SO staying with me until they can get their situation back in order. They are both sick so I expect to catch it too. So much happening and so little time to process.

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cat says 'riiiiight'

Nanowrimo Day 10

I don't even remember what day of nanowrimo it is. I'm gonna say 10th because it is the 10th. I haven't been able to do much because of a family development that is going to cause a pretty big upheaval. So I'm trying to deal with that and get 2K words in and I have not been able to the last few days. So grahhh!

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cat says 'riiiiight'

and Day 7

The cut code doesn't seem to be working even though it is cut and pasted from all the others. Hmm. Anyway.

<cut text="Day 7”> Vince Twoknives was tall and wide and solid from shoulders to knees. Like his grandfather, his auntie told him. Vince had been named for his grandfather but had never seen a picture of him to compare himself to. “Just like him,” his auntie insisted. “Like he was born again.” She had said the same thing as long as Vince could remember. “How did he die?” Vince had asked once when he was a chubby little kid. His aunt had looked startled. “Who said he was dead?” she asked. “I’m not sure the old man CAN die.” “Where did he go then?” Vince had asked. He knew his mother was auntie’s little sister, the youngest daughter of the senior Vincent. He knew that she had married Matthew Twoknives against the his wishes. He knew he had been named Vincent to appease the old man. He had heard of how it hadn’t been enough to keep Old Vincent from killing Matthew when he found him drunk one night. “I’m not sure of that either,” she said, fumbling for a cigarette so she wouldn’t have to look at him. He had been smart enough to realize that she either really didn’t know and that worried her, or she did know and was afraid of what would happen if she said. Grandpa Vincent had made himself scarce after the death of his son-in-law. All pictures of him had disappeared as well. Growing up a fan of the old Star Wars movies, Vince had amused himself as a kid imagining his Grandpa like Obi-Wan Kenobi wandering the wastes. If was nice to think that if he ever had to go out there and was in trouble, his Grandpa Vincent would appear to help him. No one ever talked about his mother. He didn’t know where she had gone or why. He wondered if she was dead too, and no one wanted to say it. He was thirty-two now. He had see much better and much worse movies and come to realize that there wasn’t any mystery or romance to it. There wasn’t a statute of limitations on murder and if his grandpa didn’t want to go to jail, he had to stay very much elsewhere. He had given up hope of ever meeting him. Wherever his mother was, he no longer expected an explanation of that either. One of his classmates had a runaway dad, and they hadn’t know where he was until he had died in a car wreck in Spokane and his next of kin had been notified. Vince thought maybe that would be what happened with his mom someday. Something would happen and they would have to let him know. It hadn’t happened yet. Auntie was in her seventies. They were both still living on the reservation. He had a job carrying things in a delivery warehouse an hour from home and was largely neutral towards it. Carrying things was easy and he didn’t have to talk to anybody. He headed home afterwards and ate whatever was hot at the Calico Kitchen on the way. It was one night, two thirds of the way through a bowl of stew and some fry bread that it occurred to him that he didn’t want to do this anymore. He didn’t really have anyone to talk about it with. It was a Friday and that meant Bingo Night and that meant he wouldn’t hear from Auntie until noon the next day. By then, he had processed it on his own. There was a big shipment in at work on Monday, and the employees worked in teams to unload it and get it in the right parts of inventory. Vince couldn’t think of the name of the guy he was working with, but he was friendly. He filled up the silence with all kinds of conversations. They started out one-sided, but he was able to coax some response out of Vince after awhile. Maybe he was just that good at drawing people out, or maybe Vince was just ready to talk about it with someone. Either way, he ended up telling the guy all about the growing compulsion to be somewhere else. “Like a goose call, I guess,” he said, suddenly remembering to be self-conscious but still too stubborn to back down now. “Whatever tells them it’s time to fly home?” “Back east?” the guy said. He hefted a box easily and walked over to the palette. “Everybody is from the east originally.” “I’m not,” Vince said. The guy set down his load and looked him over with a thoughtful squint. “South, then?” he guessed. “You think I’m Hispanic,” Vince said. It wasn’t the first time. He had also been mistaken for Korean, Filipino, Hawaiian, Vietnamese, Samoan, and Chinese. “I’m a Southerner myself,” the guy said, grinning like it was an inside joke. Maybe it was a euphemism that Vince didn’t know about. “Don’t sound like it,” was all he said. “Nobody really says fiddle-dee-dee, you asshole,” the guy said good-naturedly. “And if you go deep enough, you bypass Southern entirely. Look at Florida.” “I’d rather not,” Vince said. He had never been, but the couple that wintered there and worked here in the summer while they did motorcycle trips across the country complained about it the whole time they were here. Even though, they always went back. “Hah!” the guy said the word instead of just laughing. A minute later, he was called to another truck and Vince was ridiculously glad to be rid of him once he was gone. He hadn’t noticed it when he was there, but once the guy was out of reach, some kind of dread lingered. It made him think of the Skinwalker stories the big kids would tell him before a grown up heard and came to hush them. It was probably irreverent to compare the two, but the same unclean unease was there. He wondered if there was some ritual he could do, some way to cleanse himself of the stranger’s passing. Maybe he could just leave. He already wanted to go. This was as good an excuse as any. But how? And where did he think he was going? Home? This was home, the only one he had ever known. Maybe there was somewhere else, though, some part of his mind thought. Somewhere I actually would want to be. Maybe even want to belong to. I could set up Auntie in my place, sell hers, and use the money to get his truck up for the trip. Trip to where? he asked himself again, but something inside him already knew the answer. Wherever it was that the geese went. He could tell that to Auntie. She would probably want him to get the tribal elder’s blessing. They didn’t mean anything to him, but it would make her happy. She’d like living in his place. It was all one level and the bathroom was right next to the bedroom. No stairs. It would also keep him from coming back. He couldn’t let Auntie get comfortable and then show back up and expect her to leave. Whatever happened, he would have no choice but to start over somewhere else. New job, new place to live, whatever it was, it wouldn’t be this. </cut>
cat says &#39;riiiiight&#39;

Nanowrimo Day 6

I was up on the mountain last night and didn’t get any writing finished, so I had to try and make up for it tonight.

<cut text="Day 6”> Maggie tried reading the Bible to repel Russell, but it didn’t work. He knew it word for word, in different languages. It wouldn’t have been too unnerving if all he knew was Italian or maybe Latin since the Mazzas were first generation out of Italy. It might not’ve been terrifying if all he knew was Yiddish or Hebrew. Plenty of people were Jewish. Russell knew them all, though. He spoke perfect German to Al, Welsh to the Lloyds, and would hop back and forth with any other language you asked for. He could be just a very good faker, Kahl thought. It wasn’t like he or Maggie knew any of those languages except the bits and pieces that got picked up in a coal town. Russell could just be able to pretend well enough to fool anyone. Except Al and Lloyd were convinced. Maggie had been raised to believe that every word in the Bible was true or none of it was. To have this unwashed kid tell her things the Bible didn’t say with the confidence of someone who had been there was upsetting to her. Russell told her about the Book of Enoch and showed her the passages in Jude and Ezekiel that tied into it. Kahl didn’t understand it, and neither did the blackbirds or their wives. It infuriated and frightened Maggie enough that she took her Bible and went to talk to the pastor in the little church at the beginning of town. If Kahl would’ve had his way, he would’ve avoided Russell as carefully as he avoided going back down into the mines. The kid popped up all over the place though. He had to remind himself that it wasn’t really a dark-eyed, handsome young man but something more sinister, if Maggie was right. And she probably was. She had been raised with religion and knew more about it than her husband. Hopefully the pastor would tell her something that would comfort her and she would come and tell him, and they could both feel better about this mess. “This was bad enough before you showed up,” Kahl said. He didn’t even have to look to know Russ was there. He wondered what the Mazzas thought of their son surviving a deadly accident and then running off to hang out with strangers at all hours of the day and night. Did they know something was wrong or did they explain it away as a brush with death changing their son? As it was, he didn’t like to talk to the thing in a kid’s skin. He didn’t believe it when it said its name was Russell and he didn’t really want to encourage it by talking to it. But the truth of it was, that it was so much scarier to treat it like a demon than it was to treat it like a weird and unwelcome human. Maybe that was one of its deceptions; talk to it like a person, treat it like a person and maybe you’d start to think of it as one and forget what it really was. “It isn’t my fault that the local girls were so pretty,” Russell said. Kahl didn’t want to hear the explanation for that, so he didn’t ask. Russ grinned, probably reading his mind. He was still dirty and rumpled. Kahl wasn’t sure if he had changed clothes since he had appeared in their house that night. He didn’t stink the way a filthy teenager should. Kahl didn’t think he had ever seen him eat or drink. How long would the Mazza boy’s body last if Russ didn’t take care of it? That was a much safer question, so he did ask that one. Russell looked down at his arms and hands as if he wasn’t sure of the answer either. “The boy was dead,” he said. He said it like he was explaining it to a simpleton. “Dead boys don’t need food or water.” “You don’t smell dead,” Kahl said. It had been days. The body should’ve begun to decay by now. “I’m not,” Russ said. He only explained when was interested in the subject. He would make you ask a series of questions to get answers if he wasn’t. If he had been in one of Kahl’s teams, he would’ve been swatted a long time ago. Junie was keeping an eye on the two of them from a nearby porch. She was shelling peas for soup to take up to the sinkhole camp tomorrow, but her ears were wide open and she didn’t miss much. “What’s wrong with the Hudd brothers?” he asked instead. It might be better to keep the kid talking. “They like it,” Russ said. Sure enough, he didn’t mind changing the subject. “They like being filled up with it. They don’t have to think or worry or wonder. They just have to serve. Maybe that’s what it’s like to be an angel. Filled to the brim with otherworldly fire and not even the capacity to doubt or fear that whatever you happen to do is the will of the Almighty.” “Demons were angels once, weren’t they?” It wasn’t really a question. Kahl had only skimmed the Bible during church and read the passages that were expected of him at Christmas and Easter, but he knew the color plates in Maggie’s old family Bible well. The one of the fall of Lucifer was especially vivid. There were a lot of details in the wings burning. Russell, damn him, had the nerve to shrug. “What were any of us that long ago?” he said. “You pick now to play dumb?” “I only play when it’s a game,” Russell said. “Russell,” Junie said suddenly. Russell’s head whipped around like a startled deer’s. If anything, he looked surprised and delighted to be spoken to by someone new. Hopefully it was Kahl’s imagination that his neck made a soft creak like tough meat being stretched. “Make yourself useful,” Junie went on. “Run tell Myra Keller to give you some fatback for the soup and bring it back here for me.” “For you?” Russell said. “Of course.” He grinned at Kahl as if they were in competition for her and he had just scored a point. He went on his jaunty way and once he had passed what would be earshot for a normal human, Junie fixed one of her steely looks on Kahl. “Don’t encourage him,” she said. “You aren’t seeing how he eats up your attention. He’s like a cat watching a bird, waiting for you to talk to him or look at him. Whatever he wants, he wants it bad, and he thinks he can get it from you.” “I don’t know what to do,” Kahl admitted. “And I’m so tired of not knowing what to do that I’m willing to take help wherever it comes, I guess.” “Is he helping though? Or making it worse?” “You heard what he said about the Hudds. What if it’s true?” “What if it’s not and he just telling you enough to get you to the wrong answer?” “What if he’s deaf?” Russell asked cheerfully. He was standing in the doorway behind Junie on the porch, strips of fatback wrapped in paper held out to her. Kahl thanked all the angels in Heaven that Myra hadn’t let him carry it his grimy hands. There was nearly a whole coal mine under his fingernails alone. “Put it there,” Junie said, sharp as a knife. She refused to be startled or embarrassed, which Kahl was ashamedly grateful for, because it drew Russell’s attention away from him. “That’s two favors I’ve done for you,” Russell said to her. “That’s two favors you owe me.” “You don’t scare me,” Junie said, and if she was lying, Kahl couldn’t tell. “Good,” Russell said. He seemed as sincere as she did. “Frightened people are useless.” </cut>