It both surprises and pleases me that after three years of posting at least weekly to this site, I really haven’t run out of ideas. It’s helpful, I think, that I have so many varied and relatable interests that other people genuinely want to read about. I’ve written about politics, alcohol, movies, books, games, myself, writing, religion, music, parenthood, myself, TV, books, poetry, several of my friends, local Atlanta shit, philosophy, history, travel, myself, and… myself. People seem to want to read about it all, and I always have a new idea fomenting. To mix metaphors as thoroughly as any writer ever could: there’s plenty of water under the bridge, yet always something over the horizon.
Plus, there’s dick jokes.
One of my recent hairbrained notions was to let other people write posts for my site. I just stuck it out there a couple of weeks ago (dick joke), and already I have three or four people chomping at the bit (painful), wanting to share stuff that they think you, dear reader who comes to my site, would like to read about. I’ve already got a few submissions, and I’m looking forward to some really interesting tirades/observations/stories/histories/verbal porn from other quarters in the coming weeks.
Two things to say about these upcoming posts:
1) I don’t intend for them to supplant my own rants and raves. I’m gonna keep up my usual pace - in fact, I’ve got an interesting book review, an installment of A War Between States, a political tirade, some convivial nudity, and some interesting game session reports all in the pipeline. Plus some dick jokes.
2) I can already tell that some of the “guest” posts are gonna be of better quality and more interest to you, dear reader, than others. I promise you that I won’t subject you to utter crap - I’ll turn that away at the door and get unfriended on Facebook rather than subject you to shit. That is my solemn vow to you.
Still, there are going to be posts you’re gonna like more than others. If you don’t like a guest post, let me (us!) know. Then suck it up and move on. The next post veyr well might be more to your liking.
Also, you’ll always have me and the dick jokes.
Look for the first guest post tomorrow or Wednesday - the personal history of an erstwhile gamer, an old man reminiscing about the days of chits and hex paper, back before those damned kids started camping on his lawn.
Okey-dokey. Another year gone by and nothing much has changed here at my web site. Hits and visitors have leveled off a bit, but are still rising ever-so-slightly. I still try to post at least once a week or more, on topics ranging from beer to politics to religion to philosophy to games to literature. A War Between States is still trickling in. Etc.
The things that have changed for me this year have been things APART from this site, so although they affect what kind of thing I do here somewhat, they haven’t impacted The Little Corner of the Universe’s purpose - which is to give you periodic pieces of my mind, where I try to impress you with my wit and wisdom. Where I try to be funny and cerebral at the same time (doesn’t always compute, since the scat humor I sometimes digress into can hardly be called cerebral). Where I try to convince you that I’m pretty much correct pretty much all the time.
If you’re new here, thanks for coming to the site’s third birthday "party." If you’re an old friend, thanks AGAIN for helping me stay afloat and encouraged. Thank you thank you thank you.
And keep coming back.
Now, I’d sell myself short if I didn’t point out the ONE thing that’s changed here - and that’s my side navigation over there ->
You’ll see there a link to the two collections of short stories I had published last year. One set I self-published, after a bunch of soul-searching whether it was the right thing to do (I maintain that it was). The other set got published by Hallowed Waste, a small, newly established "press" run by a friend of mine who took an interest in me and a couple of other folks, and was willing to back us. Those stories represent an endeavor that I’d like to see be as successful as this site has been. Or more so.
So, while you’re here, I now encourage you to do TWO things. Take a little while to look around The Little Corner - check out some of my past rants and raves. AND, take a minute to go to whichever point of sale floats your boat, and then fork over the .99 cents it takes (I know, right? Only .99 cents!) to get your hands on my stories.
I think that, after you do, you’ll become a regular. I aim to please.
They say that writing is a lonely profession, and “they” have a point. Although I wouldn’t say that I’m lonely per se when I’m writing - just that I’m alone. Even when I’m at my desk and I have children milling under my feet with their Matchbox cars and Legos. Even when I’m at a bar, esconced in a bar stool with pen and paper in hand. Wherever I am and whoever’s around, I’m typically alone in my head (and if I’m not then I can’t write, because of the distractions). But lonely? No.
Right now, alone, I have a number of projects working. I’ve started not one, not two, but three novels in the past months - and yes, two of them are coming along quite nicely. I also have a short story that I’ve been struggling with since October that’s almost done, and three longish poems that have seen a lot of false starts. I’m also editing a bunch of old stuff, I have my client work (although it’s becoming more and more scarce), and there’s this web site. A lot to keep me busy all by my lonesome.
I don’t think writing should exist in a vacuum, however. At least not my writing. To that end, I’m in the process of sending a bunch of my existing material off to various contests and publishers, all in the hopes that something I wrote will drift ashore someplace nice and be able to set up camp. It’s tough out there - there’s a lot of noise that you have to rise above, and there’s a certain level of resistance to outsiders, i.e. people who exist outside of academia and the “traditional” publishing industry. Sometimes I regret my decision to leave academia and New York. But I can’t go back, not really, not now.
To further get out of the vacuum of my own thoughts, I have you - my audience - and I have social media, which has transformed the world, for better or worse.
In recent months, I’ve also become a big fan of collaboration. Although I love writing - I need to write, kind of like I need to breathe - it’s something I have to do alone, and I don’t always want to be, or act, alone. So I’ve been working with others. As we speak, I have several collaborative irons in the fire.
1) I’ve handed over a bunch of my poetry to a musician friend of mine who’s going to use some of my work as lyrics for her songs.
2) I’ve begun working with a friend, Michael Collins, on a graphic novel - the idea for which I’ve had since 1992. Off and on, I’ve floundered around for an artist who could realize my story, and I think I’ve finally found my guy.
3) Michael’s also working on the graphics for a game I’ve designed. The game design itself is almost there, and to that end, it’s been a real pleasure playtesting it with a whole bunch of my friends: Jay, Jim, Mike, Kristoff, Pierre, Erekh, Brad, Rob, Jeff, Caleb, Eddie, Scott, Tony, Garand, Richard, Lyman, and especially Roberto Arguedas, who gave me a new direction to take the game when the old one was hitting a snag.
The trouble with this game is that it’s based on a popular property, so to make it the way I’d like to make it would require the acquisition of a specific license. I’m hoping to make the best game I can, and then to shop it to various gaming companies who might have the wherewithal to get that license. If that doesn’t happen, or if the game mechanic appeals to a smaller company who can’t afford the license, I suppose I’ll have to repurpose the game to an original story framework. I can do that. I have stories in my head.
4) I’m hitting the Con circuit - baby steps - doing panels with other writers on a variety of subjects. My first outing will be JordanCon here in Atlanta next month. Hopefully, I’ll score more such panels as the months go by.
5) I’m working with a friend who’s quietly trying to break into becoming a publisher. With the advent of ebooks and online marketing and distribution, his overhead is minimal, so he’s willing to take a chance on me. Already, he’s backing my collection of horror short stories, and he’s looking to add other “acts” to his repetoire.
6) With his help, and the help of my incredible editor, Beth, I’ll soon have a novel published in ebook format. I’m launching a web site in the next week or so to market the book, and I’m working with my wife, Aida, on the design and execution of that site.
7) I’ve engaged four artists to work with me on a portion of the novel’s site. What they’re going to do for me is a surprise. First, I’ll announce that the site is live, then I’ll tell you what they’re doing.
8) I’m still working with a whole cast of voice “talent” on my podcast novel, A War Between States, which you can experience/read by clicking on the navigation to it over there on the right.
9) Finally, and if I haven’t said it enough, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jason Snape, the artist and graphic designer who illustrated both of my short story collections. Jason, man, I have a brand, and it’s all thanks to you.
So you see, writing is an occupation that you have to do by yourself. Sometimes. But it’s never lonely.
Yeah, I know I said I had an epiphany regarding this novel - that I’d finally figured out how it was all going to go down. Well, apparently that hasn’t made it any easier to write. I’ve had some time issues the last couple of months, and as I’ve said before, this novel - though important to me - isn’t THE priority. Still, here’s yet another installment for your enjoyment.
On another note, I’ve noticed that the sound quality using my laptop isn’t as good as when I use my desktop. So I think I’m gonna switch back to be less mobile. That may inconvenience me, but it’ll be worth it to eliminate that background buzz. You? You ignore the background buzz, okay?
A War Between States Part 34:
Chapter 18: Campaign: Tamara, Part One
One day a week or so before, while her contract workers did the actual framing of her half-completed building, Tamara had borrowed a hammer, borrowed a box of six penny nails, and searched for some 2×4 castoffs in the wood scrap pile which had formed in one corner of her lot. She’d used them to build a makeshift ladder that she could climb to get to the lowest branches of The King. She’d built the ladder, climbed it once, then come back down and forgotten about it.
Until today. Now, just a few minutes after Sheriff Boyd had left, his idle yet powerful threat still hanging in the warm, humid early September air of Marionville, Tamara had walked dazedly over to the tree and climbed up into it. For a while, she contented herself with simply leaning back into the crook of the tree, her back against its massive trunk and her feet stretched leisurely out onto a thick lower branch. She closed her eyes. She was amazingly comfortable, and if her mind hadn’t been in such turmoil, she might have been able to doze off. Dangerous at such a height, but she could have.
Had her mind not been in such turmoil.
The sun beamed down on her and warmed her - she found she was enormously happy that the brutal Marionville summer had passed, making way for fall weather, weather which felt like a sweet, fresh blanket of the softest fabric, something you could wrap yourself in and sleep in. If your mind was at ease. Which… well….
“Oh, fuck you, Sheriff Boyd, for stealing this moment of bliss from me,” she said. Then she paused to listen to the tak-tak-tak of hammers, the murmur of Mexican voices, the buzz of a skill saw below her.
A slight breeze ruffled through The King’s remaining leaves, drowning out the chorus of sounds. Tamara opened her eyes.
She noticed with some interest that with so many of The King’s leaves gone, a clear path of branches would take her higher into the tree. She smiled. How long had it been since she’d climbed a tree? Had Phil Dobson been there? It seemed like he had.
She closed her eyes again, trying to settle into the calm she thought she might be able to find here, cradled in the arms of The King, suspended several feet above the ground. Behind her eyelids, though, all she could see was the top of the tree. It called to her.
She opened her eyes again and smiled again. She’d have to climb up a few branches higher, wouldn’t she? Then, sighing with a sort of delighted resignation, she clambered into a crouch and searched for the most readily available higher branch.
And she climbed.
She went slowly at first, fully aware of the fact that she probably weighed twice as much as she did when she last did this, fully aware of her mortality - after all, hadn’t she almost died once by being so reckless? And hadn’t she killed somebody else in a roundabout sort of way? No sense in getting over all that - almost - then coming this far and screwing it up by falling out of an oak tree she probably should have cut down and that she definitely shouldn’t be climbing.
Still, she climbed. But carefully.
When she was little, she would have climbed up to the top, to where the thin branches bent under her tiny, sneakered feet, to where the wind pushed everything back and forth so that she felt like she was truly part of some enormous cosmic machine, powerless to stop the inexorable motion, but powerful enough to keep going up, up, and up.
Now she stopped after a few feet.
She felt out of breath, although the climbing really hadn’t tired her. She could feel her heart beating, thought she could feel the eyes of her workers below, turning up to look at her as she clung to The King’s limbs and steadied herself. The tak-tak of hammers had stopped.
From this height she could see a long way. She scanned the woods and fields around her, looked up and down Cauley Highway, looked down at the top of her little trailer and the rough form of her future brewpub.
She gazed for a moment at the first row of shingles that Danny Jenkins had been tacking onto her roof before he’d turned to look at her with a wary smile, then she looked back at the highway. What she saw there now startled her - she almost lost her footing and her grip. She gave a little cry.
A man in a police uniform was stumbling down the middle of the road, clutching at his neck.
- Tamara Granger - Stephe Thornton
- Narrator - Will Kenyon
Over the Thanksgiving Break, I was in what Gawker calls the “Wikipedia Hole”, and I got to reading about the mental condition called hypergraphia. This is the unrelenting urge to write, and though it doesn’t necessarily impare a person, it MIGHT, and the condition is often related to certain manias and epilepsy - which CAN impare a person. Supposedly, Lewis Carroll, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and the prophet Ezekiel had hypergraphia.
Which explains why they, at least, had to write.
Considering how unprolific I’ve been since the beginning of November, I’m pretty sure I don’t have/suffer from hypergraphia.
Reading about the condition made me think, though, about why I DID write. I’m a pretty smart and capable guy, and I probably could have fallen into just about any career you can name. (With some exceptions, sure. I DID said “just about”. Smartass.) But somewhere along the line, I decided I wanted to be a journalist and a novelist and a poet. So that’s what I did.
When I was young, I had visions of best-selling novels like Stephen King’s and Dean Koontz’s. That’s what I aspired to, and that is - sad to say - why I wrote. That and to impress girls. As I got older, money and fame mattered less, and instead I aspired to writing something profound and world-changing, something canonical, like The Lord of the Rings or The Lord of the Flies.
To a certain extent, I still have those dreams - I’d be a liar to say I didn’t - but I’ve learned to be satisfied for a while with simply managing to make a living.
Also, and in much smaller doses than what one would call “world-changing”, I’ve found myself having small effects on people. And THAT is - at the moment - why I write. As long as I can make a decent living, and occasionally hear things like this…
“It’s 5:45 a.m. and I just finished reading your stories. I had to sit here in deep thought for a moment or two. I hate to use overused adjectives to describe my feelings about them but that’s all my meager vocabulary can come up with. I truly enjoyed them. I’m very impressed with your talent.”
“I believe that in our mutual past, when it comes to writing criticism, I have always attempted to be brutally honest. Good or bad, I believe I strive to deliver an accurate assessment. I don’t offer empty praise out of some misguided sense of kindness. That being said, I want you to read carefully and accept what I am about to write. This was easily the greatest work of yours that I have read. This was a new level of Kenyon. I am seriously impressed. The tone, the language, the style…you nailed it.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever said this, but in spite of the lack of success in my writing career, I owe a lot to you. When I turned up at the writing group, you made me feel like I was a real writer.”
“While my examinations, at the time, were limited to passively reading and listening, Mr. Kenyon was, and had been for some time, busily engaged in creating his own output to add to the debate. From time to time he would share, an idea or even a finished product. There’s a little poem, based on Daniel’s dream of the statue, that still forces me to introspection whenever I read it.”
… I’ll be able to put pen to paper and churn out more stories and poems. And not because things like those above quotes serve to stroke my ego. (Although once again I’d be a liar to say that, as a writer, I didn’t have a BIG ego that needs periodic stroking. And yes, I noticed the sexual overtones of that statement. They’re unintentional and you need to stick to the point.)
No. I don’t keep those quotes around to boost my ego. Instead, I revel in situations like the ones those quotes imply because it means that my life has a purpose. When I die, I might not go down in literature books as someone who had a huge impact on the 21st century world, but I know that - to a handful of individuals at least - I left an indelible impression. Of the positive sort.
Now all I need to do is get to writing again, so that I have more stuff to put out there, so that maybe I can touch a couple more lives.
You may recall last time I posted a novel podcast that I said I’d figured a few things out about where this story was going to go. Well, as of now I have an outline for 14 more chapters, which ought to bring the whole thing to a conclusion. If you’ve been following this story, that’s good news. You’ll still have to be patient, because I have to actually WRITE the chapters. Then I have to edit them (although this story’s probably one of the roughest ones I’ve let see the public eye, I do still edit it a little). Then I have to prepare and post each podcast.
Hopefully, the whole thing will get finished, for good or for ill, by late next summer. At the latest.
In the meantime, here’s some more. And yeah, there’s a big car crash.
A War Between States Part 32:
Chapter 17: Skirmish: Tommy, Part Two
“Make a call,” Fran said, her eyes on the road, her knuckles whitening as she gripped the steering wheel, her hands at ten and two. “Anybody. Get a local officer on the scene of that accident back there, and get somebody to come at the Mustang from the other side.”
“You think the cops in the next county?” Tommy asked. “The county line’s only a few miles away. Hell, Alabama’s right over there.” He waved off to the right.
“Call whoever’s left in this county first,” Fran said. “Even if it’s Boyd. They all gotta know this is happening - they just need someone to tell them where it is exactly.”
The chase had started northeast of town, and now they were headed due south on a smooth but twisting two-lane that ran roughly parallel to the Alabama state line. Tommy was calling in when the Mustang ran up on a slower southbound vehicle - a metallic blue Toyota Sienna going about sixty-five. The Mustang swerved around it despite a blind hill, and shot off ahead. The county police car had to hesitate to let a northbound pick-up truck pass by. Fran and Tommy had to wait as well, and Fran let Tommy know how she felt about the Sienna and the truck with a stream of profanity.
Once the truck passed, all the police cars blasted past the Sienna, including Stan and John in the vehicle behind Fran and Tommy. They began to close the distance on the the Mustang. Tommy tried to radio the county dispatch, to find out who was in the county sedan. After a series of connects and disconnects, he was talking to Deputy Barry Soames.
“What happened at that mobile home, Deputy Soames?” Tommy asked after they all verified who was who.
“There was an exchange of gunfire. One of those guys in the Mustang shot Sheriff Boyd.”
“Holy fuck,” Fran said when she heard that. Tommy himself was speechless.
“I called in an ambulance when I was there,” Soames said. “They just radioed back.”
“Is Boyd all right?” Fran asked.
The Mustang caught up with another slow-moving car, this one a Kia Rio, and its driver once again passed it. Soames pulled his car into the oncoming lane to follow.
“I dunno,” he said over the radio, “They said they couldn’t find him. They said he was gone.”
Tommy heard what Soames said, but never got time to process it, because in that instant a northbound log truck crested the rise that Soames was on.
“Shitfuckcock,” they heard him say. Then they watched as Soames tried to turn away from the log truck to avoid a head-on collision. He couldn’t veer back into the proper lane, because the Kia was still there, still in his way. Instead, he pointed the nose of his cruiser toward the tree-lined side of the road, trying to go around the truck on the shoulder. Unfortunately, the log truck driver had a similar idea, and he shifted onto the shoulder as well. Soames turned his car sideways, and the log truck jackknifed, and both them skidded toward each other at a terrible, dangerous speed.
Fran braked hard to avoid joining the collision, turning their car into a tailspin. She screamed something that sounded to Tommy like a battle cry as she threw her whole body into the steering wheel, holding onto it desperately, trying to maintain control of the car. Tommy tasted vomit swelling in the back of his throat.
The restraints on the jackknifed log truck snapped, and now a pile of heavy pine logs tumbled off of it, scattering with a thunderous crash onto the dusty shoulder of the road. A couple of logs hit the road itself. Both of them bounced - one flipping end over end right into the rear of the Kia, the other careening toward Fran and Tommy. Just as Fran managed to get her car under control and bring them to a dead stop, the log smashed into the front, crushing it. The sound it made was the loudest thing Tommy had ever heard.
Then came another, smaller crash, and Tommy felt his passenger side car door cave in toward him, the blow knocking loose his grip on the door’s safety handle. It was like someone had shoved him from the side, really hard. He looked over, and there was John and Stan in the other GBI car, staring wide-eyed back at him. John had been driving, and he’d turned their car sideways, skidding to halt beside Tommy and Fran rather than hitting them headlong. At they speed they’d all been going, that probably would have killed Tommy, or at least sent him to the hospital.
Tommy swallowed his vomit, shook his head, and looked down at the huge dent poking at him through the car door. The plastic lining was cracked, and his door handle had popped free and was sitting in his lap.
Fran was scrambling out of the car. When she was on her feet, she turned back and checked on Tommy.
“You all right?” she asked, her voice shaking hard enough to register on the Richter scale.
Tommy closed his eyes and did a body check. He was okay, but he knew he couldn’t speak himself, not without whimpering. So he just nodded.
“Good. Get out.” And then Fran was gone, stomping unsteadily across the black top.
Tommy did as he was told, unfastening his seatbelt and clambering over the center console to exit out the driver’s side. He pulled himself out, made sure his legs would hold him, then took in the scene.
Fran was already beside the Kia Rio, which was pulled over on the opposite shoulder. John and the log trucker were standing, facing each other, John’s hand on the big, burly man’s shoulder, the man nodding in answer to John’s questions. Stan was coming around the two GBI cars toward Tommy.
“You okay?” he asked.
“As good as I can be. God, what a mess.”
Fran had left the Kia and was heading back toward them.
“Stan, you and John are in charge of this scene. Check on Soames, report in, call another goddamned ambulance. Do you think your car will move?”
“Yeah,” Stan said, already moving toward the deputy’s car. “The side’s dented is all. If you can get it pulled off of your car, you should be good to go.”
“Okay. Tommy, with me.”
Tommy bit his lip. “Really?” he said. “We’re gonna stay in pursuit?”
Fran sneered at him as she circled Stan and John’s car. “Yes, Krinshaw. I’m gonna get those little fuckwads and put an end to this.”
- Tommy Krinshaw - Bret Wood
- Fran - Aida Kenyon
- Stan - Chris Bulloch
- Narrator/Deputy Soames - Will Kenyon
I told you this would happen.
OK. I told some of you. Others of you might have guessed based on discussions you’ve had with me regarding how the sales on my original two stories were doing: they haven’t made me a millionaire (and indeed, that is not my goal), but they’ve been encouraging enough for me to do it again. That is, to have MORE stories published on eBook and eReader formats, so that I can share even more of my work with even more people.
To that end, consider this the first formal announcement regarding THREE MORE forthcoming stories.
Now, here’s a bit of irony: I don’t consider myself a genre writer. I don’t set out when I write to write a horror story or a science fiction story or a fantasy story. I don’t say to myself, “Will - you should right a story about a school of wizards or a story about sparkly vampires.” I usually set out with some point I want to make, some germ of an idea - a bit of morality, a bit of commentary about life, death, and the human condition. Sometimes, I find those ideas easier to express in a particular genre. More often, that’s actually not the case, and one day maybe you’ll see more of my non-genre work.
Still, as I look over my stories lately - the one’s I want to see published, to share with people right now, I’m drawn to the genre pieces. And so it is that, once again, I’ll be sharing genre pieces with you.
Last time, I gave you a fantasy piece and a science fiction piece. This time, I’ll be giving you three horror stories.
Now, although they’re all from one genre, these stories are all very different. One’s funny, one’s deeply literary, and one’s well… strange. As the publication date draws nearer, I’ll give you more details. For now, I’ll just tease you with the picture of Edgar Allan Poe up above, and let you know that he’s a main character in one of the stories. I wrote that story a couple of years ago to sort of celebrate Poe’s 200th birthday. It’s taken a couple of years to get it published.
I’m told by initial readers that the story is kick ass. Here’s hoping that you’ll like it, too.
Part of the problem with finishing this novel is that I’ve pretty much tossed my plan for it out the window. I had an idea of where it was going, but about the time I shot Sheriff Boyd in the neck, I decided I didn’t like the ending. It was derivative and a little naïve, especially given many of the themes and characters I’ve introduced. Catch me over a beer and I’ll tell you the silliness that WAS going to be the end of A War Between States.
As it is, I have a solid idea of where Tommy Krinshaw, Sheriff Boyd, and Tamara Granger are heading. And I have BIG ideas for Terminius Green. The rest of the cast? Not so much. A lot of the silliness revolved around Sarah Dobson’s city council campaign.
Still, given what I know, I’ve been able to develop a few chapters, and hopefully they’ll move along pretty solidly in the coming months. Here’s one such chapter now.
A War Between States Part 32:
Chapter 17: Skirmish: Tommy
Mick and Gerry were obviously discomfited by Fran’s order for both of them to go to Albany, while she took Tommy and two more officers with her to Marionville.
“Why’d you do that?” Tommy asked as Fran drove them south on I-85 at a speed that made even Tommy uncomfortable, even though they had their sirens and lights blasting and most people on the highway were getting out of their way. If he were going this fast and he was behind the wheel, he might have been okay. But he’d never ridden with Fran, she seemed jittery and scattered and anxious, and he couldn’t help but have a certain prejudice against women drivers. He knew it was ill-founded, and that both Fran and his wife would punch him in the nuts if he ever voiced it aloud. Still, it was there. And as the landscape and other cars all slid past them in a blur, as John and Stan - the other two officers with them in the other car - tried to keep up, Tommy gripped the armrest and fought to keep his stomach in check.
“Why’d I do what?”
“Send Mick and Ger on a fool’s errand? Together?”
Fran turned to look at him.
“It’s not a fool’s errand. If they ask the police chief and the DA there the right questions, they might get a clue as to where Williams is headed. And I put them together so they can make up.”
Tommy wished she’d put her eyes back on the road, but he was afraid to say anything. They were coming up on a rambling RV really fast.
“Make up?” he asked.
“Yeah. You and Gerry don’t realize it, but Mick’s been having a tough time. He had a run-in with a judge a month ago that left a bad taste in his mouth. He’s halfway convinced that every white man in the Georgia legal system is a closet racist. You and Gerry are the only two white guys he’s actually been friends with in the past, but apparently Gerry said something recently that ticked him off. It’s up to your partner now to calm Mick down and convince him ya’ll are all right.”
The RV edged out of their lane. Fran bolted past it at last, turning back to face forward.
“Does Gerry know this?” Tommy asked.
“What do you think? He’s your partner. Is he capable of discerning why Mick might be angry, and why I might have sent them off together?”
Tommy didn’t answer. He only stared out at the tree-lined highway that was blasting past them at a sickening speed. And Fran didn’t demand an answer - she left him alone in a silence which she seemed comfortable in, but made him ill as hell.
Soon they veered off of I-85 onto I-185, toward the Alabama line, and they got to the outskirts of Marionville an hour later, driving on a rugged, pot-holed two-lane well off of I-185’s smooth, straight path. Tommy had almost gotten used to Fran’s driving by that time; he was actually starting to relax in the way that only he, Tommy Krinshaw, could relax, when the radio scanner screeched at them: “Ten seventy one! Man down and suspects fleeing the scene! Our ten twenty is County Road 51, near the Pallanto farm! Eleven-ninety-nine, please! Officer needs assistance!”
“Shit,” Fran uttered. Tommy didn’t think the car could go any faster than it had been, but apparently it could - Fran stomped the accelerator to the floor, and Tommy’s relaxed state shot out of the window like a bullet. Fran knew the local roads a lot better than he did, and within minutes they’re veered off the tiny back road they’d been on, onto an even tinier back road. With twice the potholes.
Now Tommy couldn’t decide what was worse: the way the car lurched and rolled as Fran navigated the winding road, or the bounces and jerks from the holes in the road which tossed him toward the ceiling, then knocked him back down into his seat.
Suddenly ahead of them, two cars came into view. Closest was a brown police sedan with its lights and sirens blaring. It was chasing another car - a familiar white Mustang convertible. The top was down on the Mustang, and Tommy could see two men in its front seat. As they fell into pursuit, Tommy noticed another police car parked in front of a white mobile home they were passing by. He looked back and saw that John and Stan were still behind them.
In minutes, the four cars careened off of the rough road and onto a smoother, straighter one. Tommy recognized it as the road which led into town.
“Populated area,” he said.
“I know,” Fran replied.
It could have been worse: all four cars barreling through the main thoroughfares of Marionville, and they managed to avoid any pedestrians. Mostly because there were no pedestrians. Their flight and pursuit did cause two cars to swerve out of the way - one slammed into the side of another car, and another popped the curb in front of a corner convenience store. The Mustang, the brown police sedan, and the two unmarked GBI vehicles avoided them and sped past. It didn’t look to Tommy like anyone was seriously hurt - unless someone had been in the passenger side of the car that got hit.
- Tommy Krinshaw - Bret Wood
- Fran - Aida Kenyon
- Narrator/Person on Police Scanner - Will Kenyon
I’ve read in a couple of places that blog readership has declined somewhat over the last year or so, as social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter allow us to “microblog”, and we’re more likely to follow tiny posts than invest the energy and attention in longer ones.
If that’s the case, I’ve seen no indication of it with the numbers for my site. Now granted, I’m no Charlie Sheen, with the whole world following my steady burn, but I’m doing okay. Hits and visitors have steadily increased over the past months (and my tracking software SUPPOSEDLY identifies bots and spiders, so my numbers are more or less clean). This past January was an absolute blowout.
I don’t know how many of you have been watching this space the whole time it’s been here, but I’d really love to thank you. You’ve made me want to continue slogging away with this site, trying to entertain, inspire, and inform you on all the little things I like to talk about. At this point, I’ve been doing it for TWO WHOLE YEARS! And for those of you who are relatively new to willkenyon.com, thank YOU for stopping by, and please come back. Again and again.
Recently, I did a little housekeeping, and started a couple of new side navs, which are over there to the right. The purpose of them is twofold: First, to provide newcomers access to some popular older posts, and to some of my more creative endeavors. Second, to provide “old-timers” quick delivery of some of the items that they liked from the past. With two years of posts, it can be a little daunting to wade through all the stuff I’ve written in order to find the gems. Also, if you happen to visit here and you think the stuff currently on the front page is crap, you can click through and be reminded of why you came here before.
So check them out. Check out the Greatest Hits link, and check out the Short Stories and Poems link. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you get back.
Finally, come back to THIS page sometime in the next few days, and I’ll tell you about something exciting (at least to me, and hopefully to you) that’s in the pipeline.
Thanks again, everybody. Here’s to another great year.
See? I TOLD YOU I wasn’t abandoning this project altogether. Now, it’s gonna be slow going from here on out, no doubt - there’s just a lot of irons in the fire that take priority over this. But I can’t just leave Sheriff Boyd sitting there in his car, bleeding out. Unfortunately, we can’t look in on Boyd just yet. When we last left off, you see, Bill Wells was divulging a secret to his bestest friends….
Oh, and if you’re new to A War Between States, you’d probably be best served going here and playing catch-up.
A War Between States Part 31:
Chapter 16: Campaign: Sarah and Nate, Part Two
“Ya’ll know that I know lots of people,” Bill began. He stood in front of them like a preacher in front of a congregation, and Sarah thought for a moment that Bill even sounded like a preacher. “Thing is,” he continued, “even though I know lots of people, I don’t love lots of people. I mostly despise ‘em, in fact. Ya’ll, however, are the exception. You folks gathered here today are the people on this Earth that I love above all others, and it’s ya’ll that I’m gonna miss.”
A titter of confused excitement passed through them at this statement. At the same time, Sarah could see that Bill’s eyes had begun to water. He was beginning to cry - and Bill Wells never cried.
“I don’t want this to get out, now,” Bill said, the quiver in his voice a vanguard for the tears he was fighting to hold back. “So after I tell ya’ll this, I don’t want none of you running out and telling your husbands or boyfriends. ‘Cept you, Sarah - you can tell Phil. If he didn’t have to work, I think I’d want him here, too.” This tangent allowed Bill to get his crying under control; the shake in his voice disappeared and he blinked his tears away.
“Anyway,” he said, “Lemme relieve you of your suspense. The reason I got all ya’ll together is to tell you that I got cancer. And I got it bad.”
They all gasped, just like any small crowd gasps when the magician finishes his trick, when the murderer in the whodunnit gets revealed.
“I’ve know about my cancer for a little over a year,” Bill said. “It started as a weird lesion on my back. I had it removed and biopsied, but it was already too late. I waited too long. I scheduled another surgery and some chemo for last summer, but I put it off until a couple of weeks ago. Kept rescheduling it, you know? Then, when I finally went in, turns out it had already metastasized, and it’s in my lungs.”
Bill paused, sucking in a breath. He might as well have been sucking all of the air out of the room.
“I dunno,” he said, and now he really started to cry. Sarah could feel her own tears suddenly coming - a surging swell behind an oh so fragile dam. “I dunno,” he repeated through his tears. “I kept putting it off. I didn’t think it could get so bad so fast. I thought I had time.”
Mary moved toward Bill, and the others stood as if to do the same. He just stood there, a spindly, deflated, slumping, and sloping version of himself, waiting for their embraces.
Then a siren went off outside the convenience store, followed by a crash.
“Holy shit,” Nate muttered beside Sarah - they had been the last to make a move toward Bill - and Sarah looked out the one window in the room, out to the place where Nate was staring. “I’m having a déjà vu, I think,” he finished.
In the convenience store parking lot, two cars had collided, one T-boning the other on the passenger side. A third car had jumped the curb on Washington Street and had smashed into the rear of Pammy’s parked car. In the distance, Sarah could see a white Mustang speeding away, followed closely by a very familiar police car, its lights blazing and its siren fading away.
They all moved away from Bill and gathered at the window. Bill stood behind them, wiping away his tears and straining to see past them, to see the wreckage in his parking lot.
Suddenly, two more cars - unmarked white sedans with dashboard-mounted lights flashing - came careening down Washington and headed after the Mustang.
“Somebody call and ambulance,” Bill said, his voice weak. Sarah looked back at him again.
She’d never noticed how small he was before.
- Sarah Dobson - Jennie M.
- Nate Wells - Jay Elgin
- Narrator/Bill Wells - Will Kenyon