"Small" writing challenges for my small writing talent. Hotel note pads are the only space allowed. Let's see if I can strip it down and tighten it up to learn something. Improving my skill of weird fiction.
November was a bust. Too much conflicted with my ambitions. An entire half of a family, my half, visited for all of Thanksgiving week and during that time I had two monster work trips with very little sleep and a new exercise progam for the cycling thing I’m involved with. Somethng had to go from that month. I ditched the writing and honestly, I needed to. It is, after all, on top of work training and family gathering arrangements. It’s not yet part of my bread winning talents. (It’s FAR from being a bread-winning talent) By giving myself so many deadlines or goals within a short period of time I began to stress much more than my usual daily dose. I also have recurrent simulator training coming up in December so I likely won’t return to this blog’s intent until around the next holiday. So, within what was to be my “novel” I will give you one of the character introduction pieces for the first chapter where a High-School teen’s difficulties with grief manifest as something in the garage. We meet the protagonist. It’s another longer story but until I get back to the way things shold be, it might hold you over. Who knows. It doesn’t look like many are viewing this site anyway. So here you go-lightly edited. Enjoy it. Please leave feedback
Tim sat in front of a wide desk opposite a school counselor clad in pink. She was the mother of a friend he only knew at school but had never socialized with. Her brown hair, pinned up with strands of random grey – she wasn’t very good at it. Her face, Tim couldn’t tell about. The carpet at his feet was more interesting. Her voice was soft but direct. She kept asking the same thing over and over, “How does that make you feel?”
He knew everything she was saying, he was there. Once in a while he would look up as an obligation, to feign interest. Her gold rings were obviously not real-they couldn’t be that big and shiny on a High School paycheck, but he supposed they worked with her murder length nails. Murder length. That’s what Claire called them yesterday at lunch. Murder length . . . his mind wandered in and out again as she spoke. The dorm room. Tyler’s dorm room had the same carpet.
Tyler was a month into his University Junior year. In the dorm room, Tim sat at Tyler’s desk watching mom pack. She stacked folded clothes in a cardboard box, being sure they were folded neatly-he would never wear them again. Dad took down the go-karting trophy’s from the shelf, also placing them in boxes.
“Tim? Could you take down his textbooks and box them up please? We’re taking them to the student bookstore, they’ll give us refunds.”
Tim got up with an exhale and moved to the bookshelf without looking at anyone. The shelf displayed everything Tyler studied like he was proud he managed to get through the heavy material. Calculus, Physics, Metallurgy, engineering principals, analysis and more plus his notebooks to go with them. Tyler did very well and was on scholarship but not good enough to receive free textbooks. They were all fascinating to Tim, who was on the same path. Automotive engineering was their future. It could be said it’s in their family blood, even if the family grew as farmers. They agreed with each other they would both do what they could to get out of the farming and into the future. The farm wouldn’t be staying in the family another generation, the commercial business was making sure of that.
“Dad? Can I keep a few of these? I, I want to read on some of this. Besides these were Tyler’s and all . . . “
“Son, no. Don’t take anything just because it was Tyler’s. They’re just . . . books.” He turned back to the trophy packing, holding some of them for a bit before putting them in the box, trying not to let anyone see bloodshot eyes.
“Okay. Buy I’m keeping these two because I want to read them, and his notes to help.”
“Son, I really don’t think . . .”
“Dear?” Tim’s mom, holding a tissue, looked squarely at his dad, “It’s fine. Let him have something.” She moved to his side and put her hand on his wrist. He had been holding a first place trophy from a divisional championship race for about five minutes. Tim saw it and remembered too. He was seven and after that race, nine-year-old Tyler was his hero.
Tim boxed up the rest of the texts, put what he wanted to keep aside and sat back down at the desk. The top was shiny. Empty, except for the computer tablet. Tim scrolled through emails on his own account. Reading the ones from Tyler. The last one sent two days ago-he read again and again.
You’re gonna love a real school when you get here! I can’t wait till you visit soon so I can show you the amazing equipment I finally get to use in the auto-lab. This CNC-printer will blow your mind! I got approval for my final Senior final project and I get to make parts for it this year and use the research on them for next years final papers. Remember how we always wanted to get grandpa’s truck back on the road? You and I are gonna build it this summer with everything I get to make here. I can’t wait to show them highly efficient things don’t have to be new tech. Well, yeah after the work is done on the farm. We’ gonna do everything but better too. Engine, unndertray, suspension, the works. I want it to be a surprise for grandpa, I’m sure grandpa and dad will love it.
Well, I hafta go, I’m meeting Aunice for dinner.
Dinner, Tim was hungry and looked at his watch. It was noon and the counselor was still talking slowly, directly. The carpet hasn’t changed. He looked up at her rings again and this time briefly at her face. Lipstick matched the fingernails and pink jacket. She was armor clad in this color.
“Look. Tim, everyone has to go through challenging times once in a while. You may have vented to someone already and greatly upset them because they could easily have just gone through what you’re going through now. You have to keep thinking of others too, okay? Can you promise me you’ll work on that? You’ll try to give people a chance if they want to help? They might know a thing or two about loss.”
Loss. Tim felt lost alright. Everything felt lost to him, even the counselor’s words. Of those he paid attention to, they made little sense to him. How the heck would he know if anyone else was hurting inside? He didn’t know. He thought anyone trying to help had probably better not, and shut up about it until they know what they’re talking about. Fredrick wouldn’t shut up. He kept badgering Tim about it. “Tim, c’mon you’ll never feel better unless you talk man. I’m here for you okay? Tim? Hey, look, my class psych book said something about this, here, let me pull it up on the tablet, yes look. . .”
That’s why Tim sat across from Mrs. Lindal. Fredrick was sitting in the nurses office getting a jammed finger splinted. Pushed into the lockers but his tablet was okay. That’s all they seemed to care about anyway.
“Tim, you’re lucky you didn’t hurt him worse, or break the tablet either, those aren’t cheap with this school’s budget.”
They were right about one thing, He needed to get over this. He also wanted everyone to quit being so pushy about his brother and how sorry they were for his loss. They’re all the same sorry for the same loss. He knew coldly they didn’t know what his loss was like. Leave us alone, he thought, leave both of us alone. At least his friends weren’t acting up and Frederick was not his friend-he just wanted to be a psych major after graduation.