Posts Tagged ‘creative writing’


November 4th, 2009 2 comments

August 26, 2009

Green seats. Green plastic seats, with holes cut in them by the children of bygone years. An altogether different shade of green used for patches. Sometimes the patches were of another material akin to duct-tape and held on with glue. Other times the cut was deemed small enough that it could just be covered by the off-color goo. It never looked right. And it always looked old.

Some of the seats had odd lumps, and there was always the crappy seat that floated in the limbo between the wheel well and the seat in front. You always had to sit with your knees up in that seat. You always tried to ignore it and get another one. But sometimes you got there late and had to settle for the inferior set.

Me, I was a window sitter. I looked out the window and thought of what might be out there. I watched the land roll by as the bumps of the road and the cacophony of the other children blended into an overwhelming morass of sound and feeling. It was dark in the mornings during the winter, and I would watch the light rise from black to a dull grey of a wintery cloudy morning.

I watched the familiar scenes wash by and looked for the unique and surprising in the familiar. A bird on a fence post. A new driveway being cut. And sometimes I would notice a little something new where I had always seen before. The sattelite dishes of the radio tranlator. A new house tucked behind where I had never seen it before.

Sometimes there were new stops, new faces. I watched them get on the bus, watched where they sat. The kid with the dirty pants and tussled hair. The little girl that must be his sister — no two families moved into town at the same time.

The ride was calming, soothing. Just me and my thoughts. And sixty other children, all tired for the early hour but teeming with the sugar-blasted breakfast products shoveled down their throats. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you know.

And there were bullies and socialites and dreamers like me. There were talkers and pokers and paper airplane flingers. There were annoying kids and fun kids and smelly kids that you didn’t want to sit with. There were window sitters and aisle sitters. I was a window sitter.

“What are you looking at?”

Over the years I heard that question many times. One kid in particular always asked me that question.

“Whatcha looking at, Lavering?”


“That’s stupid.”

It was a lame response, and I always knew it. I hated not having an answer. What was I looking at? The landscape, certainly. But that wasn’t it. I wasn’t looking at anything. But I was looking at everything. I didn’t have words to describe it.

I heard the question so many times over the years, and I thought that it was mean. They just wanted to tease me about something. They wouldn’t understand. They didn’t want to understand. So I kept to my safe “nothing”.

Then one day — I think it must have been in high school — I heard the question for the first time in a long time.

“Whatcha looking at, Lavering?”


For some reason I paused. Damn it, I’m tired of that answer. A few seconds passed, and I thought it over. I think it was the first time I actually, truly thought about the question.

“I don’t know. I’m just thinking.”

I waited for a snide remark.

“What are you thinking about?”

And the funny thing was, the question was genuine.

“Lots of things. Nothing in particular. I don’t know.” I think I had something better to say than that, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was that I was actually thinking about. I do remember that this was on the way home from school. It was the day after a wet day, when the sun was out amongst the clouds and the fields shone golden with a wet, musty undertone of brown. Dappled cloud shadows rolled across the fields and mountains and added a painterly look to everything.

“That’s cool.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

That day surprised me. Sometimes people aren’t what you expect. Sometimes they really do get you. This was one of those times. The conversation wasn’t deep, it wasn’t long. In fact, it is one of the shorter and quieter conversations I have ever had. But it was right. Just two people understanding one another. And more than anything for me, one person understanding myself better. I turned back to my well-studied window — with its engraved manufacturer’s mark and the two finger-breaking latches that served to open it in hot weather — and I looked out at something. My thoughts were slow to come after that. Perhaps they were aprehensive for being known. But they came, and soon I was awash again in a world of my own imagining.

And the bus rolled on down the road towards home.


September 30th, 2009 No comments

September 27, 2009

The sky burned the light baby blue of the tropics, the sand a blinding white. The shimmering sea was an artist’s pallet of turquoise and aquamarine. Waves lapped playfully on the shore as birds ran along its edge, combing the sand for tidbits. A gentle breeze whispered and rustled its way through the dense palms along the edge of the sand, complementing the cacophony of the birds and the rhythmic crash of the waves.

Beyond the first few palms a line of denser grass and thick underbrush, seemingly unbroken for as far as the eye could see, clearly demarcated the end of the beach and the beginning of the jungle. It was dark under the thick cover of leaves, and the swaying grass played tricks with the light. Easy to miss two dark eyes peering out from under the broad leaves of a banana tree.

Harrod, to whom the eyes belonged, watched the shore unblinkingly, as he had for some time. He remained motionless, staring at the small knot of men struggling to bring something — a wooden craft of some kind, it seemed — farther up the beach, above where the tide would come. Harrod did not know these men. He did not know any such men. But Harrod did know trouble when he saw it, and these men with their glinting mantles and strange trappings looked like trouble.

Harrod silently and suddenly faded back into the darkness along hidden paths known only to him. He sighed quietly as he jogged through the jungle. It was going to be one of those days.


September 27th, 2009 No comments

August 15, 2009

There’s nowhere to run, Cheryl’s mind screamed as she frantically glanced around the hotel room. Her heart raced. Her breathing came in short, clipped gasps. The bedroom.

She ran toward the bedroom of the penthouse suite, her stiletto heels left silent divots across the thick, new carpet. The heels cut into her ankles.

Through the door and into the room. Look right, look left. Nowhere to hide. The room was sparse, as all hotel rooms are. There was a pile of Italian luggage in the corner, open and strewn about the bed. The door to the balcony was open. The curtains billowed.

Cheryl felt a sudden jolt of fear as she hear a noise behind her, and her head whipped around of its own accord. He was almost there. She rushed toward the open glass door and slipped outside. Her heels sounded painfully loud on the concrete. The air was hot after the air conditioned interior. There was nowhere to go now. Nothing but a couple of chairs and a glass table shared the balcony with Cheryl. The door from the main room was latched from inside. Cheryl gasped for breath.

She could hear him in the main room now. He was drunk, and noisy. There was a crashing sound as something – a vase, she thought – was overturned.

“Where you at?” He bellowed. The speech was slurred. Cheryl shrank back against the side of the hotel, wrapping the dark around her like a protective shield. “I know you’re in here. I know you’re in here and I know what you did with Len. I know every goddamn thing.” There was another crashing sound as the door of the room was shoved open and slammed into the wall.

“You’re gonna pay, Cheryl. I’m going to take every cent of it out of you.” He was in the room now.

Cheryl knew he meant it. Kane wasn’t a man of restraint, or forgiveness. She cowered outside, biting her lip in fear. Tears streamed down her face now, and her body tensed against the thought of impending pain. Everything was quiet in the room for a moment. He was walking across the room toward the balcony. Terror welled up in Cheryl’s chest.

She screamed as he crashed into the frame of the sliding glass door, almost knocking it off its track.

Time slowed to a crawl. Cheryl’s heartbeat slowed to a dull thud. Her ragged breathing spread billowing fire in her lungs. Every nerve in her body screamed with a sudden rush of adrenaline. Instinctively, her body prepared to lash out in a last-ditch effort of self preservation.


Painful seconds dragged on, an eternity in Cheryl’s distorted world.

Slowly, achingly, the chemicals flooding Cheryl’s veins receded and time accelerated. She suddenly felt weak and vulnerable. Her skin was clammy, and she involuntarily shivered despite the heat. Her eyes darted around warily.

Slowly, a dark, crumpled shape against the inside of the door resolved itself into a man. It was Kane. His arm hung limply out of the door.

Cheryl heaved a ragged and shaky breath. After a second she mustered her courage and edged closer timidly. Suddenly she lashed out and kicked the prostrate hand. Hard. It bounced off the door frame and fell back to the floor. She watched for a second for any sign of motion. There was none. Another second, and Cheryl slid the door open a bit more and peeked inside. Kane lay on his front across the doorway, his face toward Cheryl. There was a fine white froth around his lips. He was dead.

About damn time, Cheryl thought to herself. Len had assured her that the drugs would take effect faster.

She suddenly turned away from the body and grabbed her purse from where it had fallen to the ground. She dug around inside and found a pack of cigarettes and a worn Zippo. She lit up a cigarette and took a long drag as she leaned over the banister and looked out on the night. The smoke burned her lungs. It felt good. The smoke trailing up from the cigarette curled straight into the still air.

Twelve stories below the lights and the noise of the Las Vegas strip hurtled on uncaring. Just another hot night in the desert.