Take 1: An Excerpt from the Intro to the Untitled Second Novel by Jackson Williams (Draft 1, Scene 3)

reposted because why the hell not?

and just what do what have here?? So, this is very rough — it’s something old made new (salvaged) for the purpose of my next untitled manuscript. Is it not very good? Pretty much? Is it a start? …I guess. But since it’s so new and fresh and full of wonder, I decided to be nice and share it with you, my dear readers. I do around seven or eight drafts for everything large that I write, and this one will be no exception. By the time it reaches the stage where I consider it a “finished product,” you would hardly recognize it, especially when compared to this humble, rough piece ‘o crap before you.

But, still: Dig.

J.W.

Typewriter

What is there to say for the summer of hushed voices?? or of how Time would creep slowly through the grass, unaffected by feeling and noise and all the electric daydream excitement of lost, young love, quiet as a snake, not once letting itself be known as something other than a kinetic whisper to all its lost, young children?? can we really, now years in the future, put to words something that we could not then?? I’m trying to do just that right now, myself a (now) humbled, young jackass with not a whole lot to do, and the fiercest problem I’m running in to is simply a trick in the art of remembering, that science for the damned and diabolical, and part of the problem is this: I can barely remember anything. With a capital A. Nothing, nada, zilch, a curious absence. I’ve searched high and low up there in the darkest parts of my brain, sniffed around for the once-fresh fumes of a heart once consumed with heavenly noise, and I can barely remember a fucking thing. Flashes. Whispers. Allegations and jealousies now long forgotten. Her eyes: glittering blue, framed under a gazebo new and white. Words wasted on things as trivial as celebration and hatred. You can tell why my mind is scattered – long ago, eyes blessed and breath missing, foolish work as destiny for a good fool, I caught a glimpse of something other, something wild, something wonderful, something I’m obviously failing to explain; and what I witnessed, whatever it was, has left me as someone different than who I was prior to those first moments of color.

Abigail, a name fitting for a classic like she. Abigail, laughing and whispering, I regress in to corny stereotypes when I try to think back. Gallons of bullshit pour from my mouth, like rivers let loose from their restraints, and yet at the heart of all this bullshit and wasted words is nothing more than pure, unabashed truth. So I like to think. I’m sure you’ll laugh, Abby, when you read this that is, and that was precisely the point of why I even began to compose this document: this is for you because though I act different I do love you, I love you being simply the truest words I could possibly hope to say (even if this little document of mine never sees the light of day). I taped the word ‘smile’ to the front of it because that was the intent of the whole testament. It, being far too meager, is only intended to show that even though I acted like a jerk, harm was never meant even when I said it was really what I meant.

I’m sure you understood what I meant.

It’s sometime in winter, who fucking knows how long ago. I never want to leave this room. I know it’s winter because everyone keeps say that it’s winter and it’s the coldest one they can remember, thank god to them for reminding me. They’ve lived here in Emerald for forty years, their parents have been here even longer than that, and they’ve never seen one like this, not once ever in those long and tiring winters that took place well before I was even born. With wonder in their eyes from thinking back to winters past they would recall how they never saw the ice hang quite like this and this – oh my, this is is the important and world-shattering part – early, too; never once, apparently, has the snow began to fall this early in the season, but who really knows anymore when it comes to the weather, they say, because every year it seems to get weirder and weirder, more violent, more unpredictable, more exciting, extreme, and, most of all, more schedule-altering. It can never be forgiven.

But I’m elsewhere, I always am. It is simply the way I am.

On this evening I am tucked away from what appears to be snow falling down outside the window. I sit next to Abigail. Both of us stare outside at the snowfall, both having now seen snow more than a thousand times each and yet still entranced by its quiet procession from sky to earth, if it had music it would something akin to a violin plucked softly. Call it youth. I’m sitting next to the prettiest girl in the world. Call that statement youth, too, but I wouldn’t change the statement one bit even if I could. There’s no arguing with myself tonight, not when I’m sitting here, young and dumb and in love, only hearing the sounds of our breathing one-two, one-two, one-two, and I suppose she heard it as well, probably couldn’t help it either.

I listen to the breathing until she interrupts its rhythmic certainty:

“I suppose I’m just crazy then.”

“Word.”

“Thanks.”

During the course of the conversation I had misplaced just exactly what the hell she was talking about. I do this alot, since, you know, I spend a lot of time in my own head.

“Uh, you’re welcome. Babe.”

“I’ll tell them. Honestly.”

“What?”

“You know. I’ll tell them, really.”

A pause, no more than three seconds.

Time runs slowly through the grass and the Heart pumps wildly, this being before there were only fumes left.

“You don’t have to. It’s fine, Abby. Don’t worry.”

“Ugh.” I hate the fake disdain in her girl-ified grunt, as if everything including success depended on me just keeping my mouth shut and following along. “I am I am, because I better just do it because I already know it’s just going to end up being a fight. I’ll just tell them and get it fucking over with.”

And, like some goofy little bastard (I am), I’m smiling. Like an idiot, a grin beginning sharply at one ear and likewise stopping sharply at the other.

“You never cuss. I love it when you cuss.”

She smiles just a little bit and contorts her face ever so slightly to get that look – The Look, the one she has perfected from what is no doubt years of practice – the one that says, quite simply: I’m dating a complete fucking idiot and I have absolutely no idea why.

“I wished you cuss more,” I continue. “It’s kind of hot, actually.”

“Are you really serious?”

“I like your boobs, too. How’s that for serious?”

“I sound weird when I cuss.”

“You do not.”

“Really?” and as she says this, incredulous as can be, I start to get the feeling that maybe I’m walking in to a fight. While this witty banter of ours seems innocuous enough to an outside observer, I’ve played in this game long enough and been around her just long enough to know and understand that when we mix, even things as simple and harmless as all these words can lead to a dramatic fight and then a breakup. Because as soon as those words are said they have a way of becoming sensitive, every last one of those words, down to each syllable, and pretty soon we’ll be picking each words apart for meaning, going round and round in a circle, each minute building up with more frustration than the last. It’s like a dance that starts out slow, lovingly staring in to each others eyes to what could be described as a waltz, and then the music begins to pick up and before you know it we’re absolutely epileptic, music matching suit, every one of our actions meant to piss the other person of. Honestly: most of these of these fights end up being my fault, but that doesn’t matter….well, maybe it does, but let’s continue:

“Well, I think so Abby. But that’s just me. I like your boobs though. And your hair, too. And when you cuss, oddly enough. Seriously. Not that I’ve run out of things I like.”

Pause.

“Or: maybe I’m the weird one.”

The snow outside the window has begun to pick up a little more, less like falling leaves now and more like waves, each wave yielding more and more snowfall. We’re on the second floor so all I can really see is the tree across the street, skinny and all-jagged limbs, the limbs clutching the falling snow inbetween sharp fingers. A few of those limbs will be broken by morning, frost and weight doing them in as always. And while I’m staring out at the buckling limbs she rolls over on to her side, her head propped up on one hand. I’m laying next to her on my back. She’s wearing a dress – sweet, wonderful summerdress it is – the one that earlier prompted me to give her my coat because it probably wouldn’t look good if my girl died in my company from sudden pneumonia. It’s the one she wore all summer, or maybe that’s only in my memory, maybe I’ve tied it to her character in my mind and since I’ve done this I’m fucked because from now on she’s only going to be wearing that dress, even when I remember us going swimming or going to dinner or anything else that mind flawed mind conjures up. Maybe: memory’s a cold, cruel bitch.

“I’ll tell them. Really.”

“I don’t want you to if you don’t want to.” You know, this response must be in some go-to handbook somewhere. Or, it’s just that obvious to say.

“STOP!” she nearly yells before her voice retreats back in to its calm, quiet home. No cursing this time. “Listen: I know you want me to, so stop saying that you don’t. It’s useless. I hate it when you do that.”

“Do what?”

“You know what: acting all, I dunno, wishy-washy.”

And her comes the quick, modestly-powerful sigh. Her eyes shut when she does this. I’ve seen this before and now know exactly which way we’re heading for the evening. I brought this all on myself. She continues:

“I know you want me to, so stop saying that you don’t. It’s useless and I don’t like it.”

“I’m sorry, babe.”

“You don’t have to say you’re sorry because I get it. Let me talk. I get why it makes you mad that they don’t know and it’s totally normal because anyone would get mad about something as stupid as that. I know. I’m just frustrated at myself over it. That’s all. It’s freaking stupid and I should be the one that’s sorry. You know I’m sorry, right?” I nod, ready to talk and say my piece but I know she’s got more in her, fighting against her natural instinct to be reserved and, my god, so fucking beautiful because of how reserved and understated she could be.

“It’s my fault, Miles. You’ve done nothing wrong and I can understand why you’re mad.”

“I’m not mad. Really. Stop saying that I am because I’m not.”

“You know that I’ve known you long enough to know when you’re lying, right? Just admit it, Miles.” When I don’t speak up she repeats my name, trying to get my attention when she already holds it fully.

“Just admit it. It’s okay to be mad.”

“Fine.” And now it’s my turn to close my eyes and fire back a sigh. “I admit it. But it’s not that big of a deal, babe. Honest.”

“You don’t think it’s a big deal that my parents don’t even know we’re dating…after two years?”

“….No.” Warning: gigantic lie. I do.

At my answer she laughs and this laugh was one of my favorite things about her, not just its sound but her face when she does it. Her eyes get big and her mouth opens wide and that smile, angelic to the point of life-altering, begins to boldly shine through and when this magical act begins you feel like you’ve just said the funniest thing in the world, like your words have scrambled her senses and in her laughter-induced helplessness she becomes somehow truly yours, you’ve won her over forever, she can’t stop laughing if she tried to. Part of me thinks that my humor developed just so I could be able to make her laugh and smile. Humor became the very thing that made my day complete only because of what I could do for her, and so do for myself in the process when the mission was complete. I’ve become a master at it and now she won’t stop laughing, half of it sincere and half of it out of pure, mind-numbing frustration.

“Why the fuck are you laughing?” I ask. Now I’ve slipped my serious-face mask on over my own odd joy at my accomplishment.

“Like, freaking six hours ago you were absolutely furious about it like it was the biggest deal in the world and now you’re magically not. You’re really, really frustrating, you know that right? It’s pretty unbelievable.”

“Because you’ve convinced me you’ll fix it.”

“Good, because I will. Honestly. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

We kiss, and then we kiss again. I remember feeling in that moment that neither of us meant what we said, and this could be felt in the lips, as if they were the guardians of all our mutual frustrations and our tight-lipped distrust in each other. We had been dating for two years at that point and yes, you heard right, we had kept it a secret from everyone except a few close, close friends. There are plenty of reasons for this, as you’ll see in due time in the further pages of this flesh & blood living document, but it was frustrating none the less. Part of me suspected that it’s because she never really loved me and I only knew this because she didn’t trust in Us ever really becoming anything and that’s why she kept us a secret. Why bother telling anyone when you were always looking for an exit? Time has made me notice that she didn’t really care about it as much as I did, all the clues were always there but I was too busy living in her fog, and she only said “I love you” to keep the charade going because she was too much of a coward to admit that she really didn’t and, after all, it was never going to become anything anyways. She never wanted it to so there was no use in trying. Part of me still believes that to this very day and one day she’ll maybe be able to tell me that I was right.

Or: I’m just a good, simple fool who as destiny is doing nothing but foolish work.

Regardless, I did love her – still do, as silly as it may sound. My heart and soul turns to nothing more than mush whenever I think of her. It did the first day I met her too (as you’ll soon witness in the next episode) and I’m sure it will the next time I see her. Who knows what that angel did to make me so, but I’m glad she did.

“I love you, you know I do.”

I’m not sure which one of us says this, but someone does. It hangs in the air like some melody heard from far away, the three simple little notes floating perfectly still before disappearing entirely. The words I know should be played for our ears next but their sweet sound, spiked with wonderful finality, never appears.

“Did you like the movie?” she asks while rolling back over on to her back.

“Absolutely not.”

What?!” (Note: fake shock). “Are you serious? It was ahh-mazing, dah-ling.”

“It was a terrible movie and you know it.”

I sit up and reach over to my nightstand, pulling open the drawer so I can blindly feel around with my hand for my lost pack of cigarettes. She knows what I’m looking for and I can tell without looking at her that she’s disappointed in me for even looking for them. Disgusting habit. I agree — but I still fucking want one and I’m not sure why I don’t actually look inside of the drawer instead of making it harder and fumbling around blindly with my hand, maybe in some fashion trying to appear non-chalant and smoove-as-heeeeelll to a girl I had no doubt – somehow – impressed long ago, back when I was even more of a dork than I am right now, just another sad and eccentric young writer sitting in front of a computer monitor.

No luck.

“What is it with girls and romantic comedies? You guys have to know its total shit, but you eat it up anyways. Like it’s fucking comedy. Are you guys in on the joke or am I just missing something under all that crap?”

She gives a playful little tap to the lower back (I’m still feeling blindly for those cigarettes, mind you).

“What?” she asks, in earnest. “I thought it was cute.”

“Really? I thought it sucked.”

“Well duh, but I thought it was cute.”

I stop looking for the cigarettes.

“So: there’s this site that allows me to switch homes, anonymously, and no one really asks questions? You sort of just do it at face-value? And, of course, the lives of these people are filled with wonder because – and wouldn’t you know it – love is waiting for them in there new home. And Kate Winslet is way too fucking far out of Jack Black’s league.”

“It was cute” but then she adds “you’re just being a jerk” and when she says this I go back to looking for my cigarettes, and come to think of it where the hell is my lighter too? They’re both missing now. Goddamnit.

“It was not. It was stupid and you know it.”

“Oh, stop it,” she says. “You’re just being a cynical jerk.”

“I am a cynical jerk. But it still sucked. You know it did.” I stop my one-handed feeble search before adding “come on” and so she just crosses her arms, some foreign smile now appearing while she made a mental note of the etches in the plaster of my ceiling, tracing the crests and valleys for god knows what – maybe she searches the ceiling for some answer to this impasse, this diverging of subjective views.

“You’re such a guy.”

“You’re just now figuring that out, girl? I thought me having a dick already gave that away.”

She rolls back over and gives me a fast, stealthy kiss on the cheek. Honestly, that was not the reaction I was expecting from her at that moment, but I suppose I’ll just take what I can get and not ask any more questions.

And now she is asleep, and in the living room I stare at the snow until the wee small hours of the morning, sitting in some stray chair that I could never quite figure out where to put, a joint between two fingers on my right hand and my body hunched forward, chin-on-hand, pondering the beautiful girl that laid in the room loom, asleep in the summerdress that she wears even in winter. I laid there for awhile after she fell asleep, her arm draped across my chest, before slipping out and finding the joint I had hidden behind an old, battered, dog-eared copy of Don Quixote. You hid that joint very well indeed, chivalrous knight, and a-many thanks to you. The night slowly passed in front me and I would take a rip of that joint every so often, exhaling ever-so-slowly to let the cloud sort of billow in front of my eyes and the more stoned I got the more the gray-white of the joint smoke mixed in with the snow outside my apartment. By this time sleep was beginning to invade the bones of this lifelong insomniac and he in turn fights back against that bastard Sleep, not wanting to succumb just yet to the warmth of that spot in the room that she is in, as inviting as it could be when compared with the thick, acrid smoke of marijuana. The entire time I’m smoking I’m paranoid that she’s going to wake up and discover what I’m up to, even when this train of thought is patently since she knows I smoke marijuana and she’s know about it forever.

I’m just high, that’s all.

sunspot1

Where the hell am I?

Valid question, actually, at least in retrospect: where the HELL am I? Feel free to just try that at home in your own bedroom or at the library or on your computer at school or wherever the hell it is you happen to be reading me at at this very moment, just ask yourself those five words plainly and honestly. Though I knew that, yes, I was sitting in my living room watching snow fall and, yes, I was smoking pot, I didn’t exactly understand where I truly was at that moment in the grand scheme of things, machinations of fate and circumstance not yet listed, and it didn’t help that all I could think about was the girl that I love was laying in my bed and that all I was doing was, once again, smoking pot. where the HELL am I? Repeat these words a little bit to yourself until they become meaningless and then repeat once more and then, and only then, will they begin to take on meaning – and, once they’ve taken on something that bears a small resemblance to something called that possibly could be considered meaning, also remember how high I was. But the result is the same: after about the eleventh or twelth puff, I began to stop looking backwards and for the first time in a while I started thinking about THE FUTURE, scary bold-face included. Where the hell am I, and just what exactly will happen to me? I can only answer that question now, since I’m in the future and all, and as usual nothing to this turned out the way I wanted or even intended (but what ever does turn out the way you intended? Do you ever really get what you actually want?). But what of THE FUTURE – dun, dun, dun, those words setting off music that would only make sense in a historical epic, like something left on the cutting-room floor of Lawrence Of Arabia. Those five words become like a sweeping, panoramic shot, and with each slow turn of the camera I see her there – summerdress again once more – each vision as equally corny as the next.

She: standing in a yard, putting wet clothes on a line for them to dry, somehow not getting the memo that dryers have been invented and she can stop living in the past; her face above mine, hovering, she’s all I can see and she looks absolutely beautiful, like some new moon making its debut in the night-time sky; a family photo under a tree, her and me and a couple of little kids running around, tormenting each other, they’re clearly supposed to be our little brood of psychotic kids, each one of them wilder and weirder-looking than the next, and I’m too stupid and oddly content at that time to do a damn thing about their bad behavior, let the little fuckers run around and cause havoc (someone somewhere has probably written that being wild & crazy is good for the soul, so you might as well instill it young); now come nebulous images of a street with white fences, each fence and yard and one-story house and even each barking dog identical, like they were all assembled in some cold factory in the east, whole vast stretches of an imagined suburbia uniformly laid out in neat little rows just to make the imagination stop itself from going overboard, providing flimsy walls to contain that most modest of fantasies; and I see her, there’s that dress, and we spin round and round in a tempest of leaves and pieces from the white fences of that fantastical suburban sprawl, connected only because my hands are on her hips and her arms are over my shoulder, her fingers slightly laced behind my head…it was at that point, us floating and spinning amidst the flotsom and jetsom of artificial suburban life, that she sticks her tongue out like she’s just gotten through telling me that I’m an asshole and I noticed a little gold ring resting in the very center of her tongue, the diamond sticking up towards the roof of her mouth because it’s being balanced by the tongue (tongue slightly folded). My eyes pause on this absurb image, focusing heavily on (of course) the diamong ring, and just as I get what I suppose you could call a ‘good’ look at it the tongue recedes back in to her mouth, the gate now locked by two rows of perfect, white teeth. This angel pierces right through me with eyes like summer sky bottled down to the size of pennies.

She: smiles. She can’t help it.

It was at that moment that I knew I could marry her tomorrow and not think another fucking thing about it. To tell you the truth this is what my heart wanted right then – and, by some estimations/opinions from a few close to me, still do – and, with great laughter, I marvelled at what a romantic I had become in the short time I had been alive on this earth. I had become something I never expected nor wanted, and as the joint began to (finally) die out I thought of all the adventures that could be just right around the corner the corner. All of it was very true and I, of course, was very, very high.

I: smile. I’ve never been able to help it.

Jackson Williams.

Yes? You have something to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s