On Fridays, I Don’t Have to Wear a Tie

This was just something I decided to type up last night. I’m not sure why. But yeah, I wrote it. It’s a different style than I’m used to writing in, though I think it morphs more into me at the end. Or maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know. Hey, tell me what you think of it. Let’s interact.

***

It was just me and my friends at the beach that night. Even at night, there were too many people. So we climbed up a cliff on the south side. Just trying to get away from it all, you know? I’m kinda out of shape and I was scared I wouldn’t make it to the top, but I got up there. We found a tiny cave, barely lit by the moonlight. There was about three inches of sand on the cave floor and we all sat Indian-style in a circle, except for Dale who just stood outside the cave with his back turned to us, all dramatic with the wind slightly tousling his hair. Vanessa had one of those cooler backpacks and told us she’d be bringing beers. Turns out she grabbed the wrong bottles, so we all sat around guzzling Diet Cokes, giggling like idiots.

Someone mentioned it was so cool to get away from civilization. As if on cue, my foot caught on something as I was burying it in the sand. A grey plastic bag, left over from some previous excursion, perhaps by a group like our own. It was odd—we all stopped talking as I lifted it up, as if it offended us. I remember thinking, there never can be a place to get away from civilization. And it’s true. Trails were blazed before we were even thought of. Where can we go that’s never been reached before? Except the ocean.

We all started our conversations again, but I just kept being sad. I just… I want to mean more than just a passing thought. And somehow, in my still-developing, naïve, adolescent mind, reaching the previously unreached was the way to do that. I took that bag home and hung it on my wall. That sounds stupid. It looked stupid, too. It was all wrinkled and there were still sand particles in it. Kinda smelled. But I hung it on my wall, just to remind myself that some dreams were really too big. Depressing, no?

And now, years later, I was proven wrong. We’ve all remained friends since then, which is a miracle. And I got a text from Vanessa who told me Phil went and found an island that’s never been found before. And I couldn’t believe it for several reasons. Phil was the quietest of the group. You’d never peg him for an explorer. Also, hadn’t satellites canvassed the whole of the earth? You could just look up any place you want online, right? But apparently, no one’s found this place before.

I’m happy for him, sure. But I wish it was me. And now I’m stuck in this job where I get to wear a suit every freaking day. Oh, but Friday, I don’t have to wear a tie.

***

Hey, while you’re at it, why don’t you check out this post? My brother and I co-wrote it over on his blog, Humor the Madman. It is also odd, but enjoyable. Give his other posts a look-see too.

Red Brick Explosion

My brother and I both want to be writers. The difference between he and I is that I write maybe once a month, and he writes everyday. Now he has started a blog for building up discipline, which is wonderful. I may be biased, but I think he’s pretty good. Check it out: Humor the Madman.

To post something new everyday… That’s crazy dedicated. My last post on this blog was back in November. There was a year long gap between my two recent blog posts and the previous one on No Longer Oxford. I could use a dose of discipline. Will I commit to posting daily? No way. But I want to commit to a monthly minimum. One a month. That’s all.

In the spirit of that new discipline, here’s an excerpt from the book I’m trying to write. The introduction of the book, as it were. You may remember I was participating in NaNoWriMo last November. I did not complete it, but I plan to in the future. So here is a taste of it, because once I put it on the internet… there’s no getting rid of it. Or so I hear.

***

We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain silent.

– 2 Samuel 14:14 (ESV)

 

~~~

The brick by my face exploded in rust-red fury. Though the assailant’s bullet missed his mark, the damage was done. And as bits of concrete and mortar screamed by and scraped through my cheek, I allowed myself to entertain the thought I had been pushing out of my mind for the past several minutes: This is it. I am going to die.

My feet pounded down the concrete walkway, feeling the weight of every step, hoping against all hope that adrenaline was strong enough to outrun bullets. I looked behind me, frightened, but curious enough to want to see my attacker. He was too far away. He wore a hood which shielded his face, even from the unusually bright moonlight. I turned back around, unsure of where I was headed, but desperate enough to get there. I heard another gunshot, but did not see or hear it hit anything. Strike two. Next time won’t be so lucky.

It did not hit me until I saw a group of teenagers ahead how strangely vacant the town was. Until now, I had not seen another person besides my pursuing harbinger of death.

“Get out of the way!” I yelled. The three of them turned around, a look of offense on their faces. I bounded closer toward them, afraid to get them caught up in something they had no business being caught up in. Even I did not know what I was caught in. Maybe it was a misunderstanding.

As I got closer to the teens, I saw their faces contort into a look of terror. I followed their line of sight to the man running a few yards behind me, his pistol gleaming after each passing streetlight. They all scattered in different directions as I flew through them. I wondered if maybe I should trick him by hiding in an alleyway, like they always do in the movies.

BANG. Before I could lose him, I heard another gunshot and knew my fate was sealed. A split second later, I felt the searing hot metal enter my left calf. I was mid-step and could not avoid landing on the now-injured leg. As my foot made contact with the ground, I cried out in agony. I never thought one bullet could hurt so much. My body crumpled onto the sidewalk, completely numb except for my leg. It felt white-hot and pulsed with every heartbeat. I looked at it, an alarming amount of blood pooling on the concrete beneath me.

I was defeated. Looking up, screaming and sweating, I waited for another bullet. I grabbed my leg and squeezed it, hoping this would somehow lessen the pain, as the footsteps of my attacker grew steadily louder.

God… I hope you really do see my heart. I was trying to do the right thing. For whatever I did wrong… Please… Forgive me.

***

Aaaaaand, scene. This is, by no means, a final draft. Knowing me, the amount of revisions will make the final draft resemble nothing close to this. However, this is to prove that I am writing something.

Don’t forget to check out my brother’s blog, Humor the Madman (check out this post in particular). I’m excited for the stuff he’s producing. And keep looking for stuff here, at least once a month.

In other words…

An Attempt at Discipline (and a Taste of the Future)

I have had many ideas for novels. Before being called to ministry, I was going to be a writer. Now that I am called to the ministry, I still want to be a writer (“Author” sounds more sophisticated a term, but I will stick with “Writer” until I achieve a higher title.). Yet, I still haven’t finished a novel. So I am going to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year and get this bad boy on paper. I’m hoping that through this, I will become more disciplined, and I can already feel a taste of good things in the future. Pray for me?

Here is an excerpt from my planning, which may or may not be in the actual finished work. Let me know what you think!

Renne sat down on the bench and looked at the building it was facing; no doubt the pride of its architect with limestone columns, gold detail, modern glass panes, and ancient marble trim. Odd, he thought, that society evolved to have every facet of life judged by an art critic. No longer was white paint on wooden planks acceptable for a fence. There needs to be iron and patterns and complementary geometry. Nature, even, was twisted into man’s art form rather than God’s. Flowers placed ever so delicately in positions A, C, and Q give off a more pleasant atmosphere than any pattern wild growth could offer. Men live to be judged in an age where vogue vernacular shouts, “Judge not lest ye be judged!” from the tops of these limestone pillars.

Why had his father judged his paint stroke so harshly?

***

Alaric sat down on the bench and looked at the building it was facing; no doubt the pride of its architect with limestone columns, gold detail, modern glass panes, and ancient marble trim. Everything was structured exactly as it needed to be for the building to stay standing. There was a need for order. Why, he wondered, did people feel the need to disturb order? There was no sense in that. Were one of the columns removed, the building had greater opportunity to collapse.

Why had his son collapsed the building?

Tornado (No Context)

Tornado

 

Steven mused to himself, staring out the window of the classroom at the darkening skies. Thunderstorm warning. Tornado watch. The National Weather Service blared their sirens over TV and radio for days. Steven loved to emulate the robotic voice.

“THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES… IN INDIANA… BOONE… CLINTON… HAMILTON… HANCOCK… HENDRICKS…” and on and on. A spellbinding voice, for sure.

The skies were darker than Steven had seen for a while, and only God knew why classes were still in session. There was supposed to be a very good chance of a tornado that day.

As Steven continued to stare out the glass pane at the churning clouds, he noticed something for a fleeting second that frightened him. There. In the distance.

Funnel cloud.

The clouds kept spiraling, purple and black, thunder booming, an absence of lightning. They came closer to earth. They came closer to the school.

The teacher yelled at him. “Get away from the window! Get in your safety positions! Come on!”

Steven was mesmerized by the tornado forming in front of him. It grew louder and started spinning faster. Nearby clouds with nothing better to do decided to join the fracas. Purple. Black. Boom. BOOM. BOOM!

The tornado showed no signs of stopping. Frantic children ran every which way but the way they were supposed to as directed by tornado drills. The swirling mass of angry cloud kept moving closer and spinning faster, tearing up debris without bothering to replace its divots. Dust billowed. The noise became unbearable. The brick wall began shaking, steady at first, growing to a rising crescendo of noise and jitters.

Every pane of glass shattered at once.

Steven remained fixed in his seat, unable to move. The classroom was almost completely empty; the teacher long gone, leaving the remaining children to fend for themselves.

The tornado was headed straight for him.

Steven sat there and braced himself as the tornado plowed through the brick wall like rice paper, twisting the steel of window frames and air conditioning units in a screaming, awful outcry. He shut his eyes as boiling purple rage slammed into him.

Blackout.

 

***

 

Steven awoke, laying facedown in a forest. The grass tickled his nose and he sniffed and scratched at it as he sat up. Allergies.

“Where am I?”

He couldn’t tell if he was flung by the tornado, or it was all a dream or wild imagining… Where was he? What had happened? Wasn’t he a kid? He wasn’t a kid. He reached up and felt his face. Beard. Definitely not a child. But it felt so real…

He was on his feet now, trying to balance. His legs gave him the impression he hadn’t walked in a while. He turned and walked deeper into the forest, searching for answers…