Happy weekend fellow word enthusiasts,
I come to you this fine Saturday morning from my writing studio, den, office, portal of adventure, whatever it may come to be called.
I am slowly turning it into a place of comfort and retreat. This morning I moved my old coffee pot in there. I drink a lot of coffee, especially when I write and I got tired of running up and down the stairs for a fresh cup. Not to mention it breaks up the flow of the writing. So now I just swivel in my chair and voila! Fresh cup of coffee. It smells good in here too. Isn't that what a writing room should smell like? Freshly brewed coffee, books, and the leather is what I think of. I have two out of the three.
Here are the latest two pages of the story. Hope you enjoy. Mind you this is raw writing, I fix the typos and try to keep the punctuation bearable. There are many things to re-write but for now let's just enjoy the story shall we?
The Lion and I
I don't remember much about the first day on the island. Little bits and pieces float through my memory like stars drifting through the galaxy. Every so often one of them gets close enough to be drawn into my mental gravity and it pops to the surface of my consciousness.
When I awoke on the beach, the first thing I noticed, was how hot my face was. It was like someone had laid a hot iron on it. My cheek was covered in sand and when I brushed my hand across it the feeling was that of wiping it with heavy grit sandpaper while drizzling melted candle wax on it. I was laying belly down in the sand still clinging to the side of the shipping crate that I had been floating on for a few days.
I could feel the wooden splinters still embedded under my fingernails. The storm had been intense and it was all I could do to hang on to the makeshift wooden life raft. I wasn't sure of how many days I had been adrift, but I knew it was long enough that I was severely dehydrated and my head was pounding.
I sat up a little too quick and vomited seawater all over my lap. I could feel my pulse in my head, throbbing and beating. It was like a marching band inside and it made me want to vomit again.
After another vomiting episode, this time nothing came up but frothy spittle, I took a look around the immediate area. At first glance, it appeared to be straight out of the vacation brochure my wife Mary had left on the counter. The slightest thought of Mary and the reality of my situation came rushing into the limelight.
"Oh my God Mary!" I croaked. My throat was swollen almost shut. I began to panic slightly. Standing up I half jogged half stumbled down the beach. I began to cry for help. Sobbing and shouting with my hoarse voice, I must have been a miserable sight. I made my way towards the only thing visible on the beach and when I closed in enough I noticed it was nothing more than a pile of driftwood. I fell down in a heap next to it and began to sob. Through the tears, I saw a little red crab dart underneath the driftwood.
I must have blacked out when I fell down next to that driftwood pile because I don't remember much of the rest of that day. I must have gotten up and made my way up the beach to the edge of the woods because that is where the next memory starts. In the blink of an eye, which now I deduce as to being somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 hours, I had made it from the driftwood pile up to the edge of the woods and now I sat, cross-legged, Indian style, staring out at the ocean.
I vaguely remember snapping out of my delirium as I sat there staring at the ocean. It was big, no it was huge. The immensity was overwhelming, staring at the endless expanse of blue almost drove me back into a state of panic. I felt my stomach turning over again and I quickly looked away.
The sourness in my belly began to recede as I looked at the sand beneath where I sat. I tried not to look at the ocean anymore.
There were leaves and palm fronds scattered everywhere from the storm. Coconuts dotted the sand here and there and I distinctly remember a light bulb going off in my head.
“There is water in those things,” I whispered. My throat, having gone so long without water and then being subjected to numerous purging episodes, was on fire perhaps worse than my cheek.
I crawled on my knees to the nearest coconut. It was still in its green husk but thankfully I had watched many episodes of survivor based reality shows on TV that I knew if I could get the husk off and crack the hard inner shell I would be rewarded with some coconut water.
Grabbing up the coconut I searched around fro something to smash it on. A few paces inside the edge of the forest, just before the thick brush started I found a rock about the size of a bowling ball and it had a decent edge on it. Turning the rock, I wiggled it into the sand, sharp edge up, and began to rub the coconut back and forth on it. Trying to saw through the tough green husk. I would saw it in sections about two inches wide and then peel that section away from the nut. Working my way around the shell I soon had half the husk off. Good enough for now, I just needed the water inside. I wasn't even thinking about eating it at the moment.
Next step was to turn the rock straight up so the point of it faced me. I wiggled the rock back and forth down into the sand to hold it steady.
A lot of people say that reality TV is nothing but a bunch of crap, but I beg to differ. Most of it is crap, but there are a few things from those shows that saved my life I think. One of those being how to extract the milk from a coconut. Breaking it in half would just spill all the juice out onto the ground. You have to be careful and try and chisel a hole into one end. The sharp point of the rock did just that.
I raised the giant nut to my lips and sucked greedily at the jagged hole. Bits of broken coconut shell and sand made their way into my mouth but so did some of the sweetest tasting coconut milk. It was like heaven in a shell. A few things remain embedded in my memory and that first coconut and the way that liquid felt coursing down my miserable throat was one of them.
I must have opened 15 coconuts that evening. I drank so much and ate so much of the delicious white inside that I was in fear of vomiting again.
I found a shady spot under a big palm and leaned my back up against it. The sun was setting and I knew it was going to be a long night. I rested my head against the smooth trunk and drifted off to sleep.
I was awakened sometime in the night. It was dark but the moon was almost full and I could make out my nearest surroundings. Something was stirring in the brush behind me.