I’m not prolific, but I am trying to force myself to write more, to write everyday. Which I do, but more in a journal style or some exercise, but never writing with the intention of sending it somewhere. I looked on-line for some places that may take submissions and decided I will pick one, read the guidelines, write the story, than send it out. At least once a week, I told myself. The first day I struggled with an idea since there were no guidelines just a word count of 5,000. I’m not backing down from myself this time, I don’t even care if I think a story is crap I’m sending it out. I have finished the first draft of this story which I may call, The Rules of the Game, but I’ve ended at a little over 3,000 words so I need to add more, but the story needs work anyway. Still its a pretty good start- I’m not sure why this came into my head, what triggered it, but here is the beginning of the first draft.
“They beat that boy like a horse.”
My mother was standing in the kitchen of our double wide chocolate brown trailer with the built on porch. It wasn’t really our trailer, we didn’t own it, we were just renters. The owners tried to make the place seem like a real house by building the porch and parking it at the top of a cul de sac with a decent lawn, and of course, surrounded by pine trees. The place was probably owned by old people, every place in the Pines were own by old people; old people just waiting to retire, and move up from the Bay or from LA, to settle in the foot hills of the Serra Nevada’s. Not that I really knew who owned the house. I never thought of things like owning or renting or retirement or any of that stuff, I was only eight, and I didn’t think of any of that; I didn’t think about how many times we had moved, and how many times more we were probably going to move. I just woke up went to school, came home, tried to avoid my mom’s boyfriend, did some chores than went out to play till I had no choice but to return home to go back to a bed. Living in the moment that’s what kids do.
My mom was talking about Gary, my friend, Wendy’s older brother. They lived at the bottom of the cul de sac in a trailer, that their mother owned, on a large piece of land that they also owned. The trailer was built up on stilts and had stairs leading up to a small porch where they kept an old freezer that didn’t work, and had once had rotting meat in it that smelled so bad that once they got the meat out they never open the freezer again. Wendy said they made Gary clean it out, and that he puked all over the porch, and the yard. They had broken down appliances all over their property: washing machines, car parts, broken toys. Wendy’s step- father’s Black 1957 Chevy sat parked at the bottom of the cul de sac, rusting around the hub caps and gathering dirt. My mom said it hadn’t been touched for probably 10 years.