If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Lion and I #3

It's Tuesday night and I had enough energy to write a little tonight.  That is after I shoveled the snow out of the driveway, thawed out the chickens water jug and filled it back up, filled up the firewood racks in the den, got dinner started and scrubbed out the crockpot that had been in the sink all day soaking.  Sometimes those things don't like to come clean.

I have a decent start to my writing den.  I purchased a 4'x8' sheet of melamine and attached it to the wall in front of my desk.  I can use dry erase markers to write anything I want about my story or stories.  It helps if I have a visual of sorts.  I'm old school.  So far I have started a little planning on the current story, which you will read a little more below.  The board has given me a place to store my thoughts and ideas and I won't forget them.    The den is a mess, but I cleared enough junk off the desk to hold my laptop, brewed a cup of coffee (ended up being two) and started writing.

I really got into the flow tonight and hammered away for a half hour.  The timer on dinner jarred me out of my zone.  Hope you like what I came up with today.
I am going to start using numbers to represent the different parts.  They aren't really full chapters anyways.  So without further adieu I give you part 3.


The Lion and I

The heat from the sidewalk rose up in shimmering waves, cooking everything it touched like a twisted, sadistic microwave. The sun was high in the sky, well past noon. The overwhelming heat was intense and it sucked the air from the lungs just as fast as you could breathe it in.

Yellow taxis littered the street, it seemed as if they were jammed in curb to curb and anywhere there wasn't one, a tour bus or limousine filled the spot. Exhaust poured from their collective tailpipes and promptly murdered any purity that was left in the air.

A few scattered palm trees, planted in whitewashed concrete containers, seemed to lean over and glare at passerby’s. If there was any moisture in the air they sure didn't show it as the husks around their palm fronds reached out from the trunk begging for anything that resembled water. The ends of their fronds were frayed and brittle.

He blinked several times, adjusting his eyes to the harshness of the sunlight. Brilliant beams of solar radiation reflected off every window, store front, automobile and all the millions of light bulbs and once flashing billboards. Even in the light of day they still appeared to be lit up.

“Vegas is an eyesore in the daytime,” he thought to himself.

He stepped closer to the curb and checked the bus stop posting. According to the sign, the bus would stop every hour on the hour and if he had still owned a watch he would have known that he had a full 54 minute wait ahead of him. He checked his pockets one more time to make sure he had counted the little bit of change he had left. Two dollars and thirty-seven cents. That was it. That was all he had left. Everything else was back inside those doors. His watch, down the street at the pawn shop.

He sat down on the bench with a heavy sigh. Squinting he searched for a marquis or anything that might tell the time. Just down the street under the marquis for the Diamond Rio Casino was a scrolling digital billboard, it currently was rattling off baseball scores and a few minutes later it gave the current temperature. 102 degrees. A few seconds later the top news stories. He watched for a few minutes more but knew he wouldn't see the time. There just wasn't any clocks in Vegas. No one really needs to know what time it was or for that matter wanted to.

As he sat there and waited for the bus he tried to recollect the last 32 hours. At first it wasn't too hard to recall how it all started.

Coming home from work and pulling in the drive, he killed the engine to his Hummer II. As always he patted the steering wheel and said goodbye to his beloved SUV on steroids. Any day they would come to collect it. He hadn't made a payment in three months.
A slow walk down the driveway to the mailbox. He distinctly remembered checking out Mrs. Marsiniak. She was bent over, weeding the flower beds in the front of her house, her tight shorts revealing every perfect curve. Even for a polock she was one fine broad.

Reaching the mailbox he opened the little door expecting an avalanche of overdue notices to come pouring out but instead it was just one envelope. He stood there in the road, directly in front of 321 Cherry St., in the little suburb just outside the big city of Chicago and opened the letter.
It was addressed to him, the return address did not declare a name, only an address. He didn't recognize it.
He slid his finger carefully up the inside lip of the white #10, careful not to get a paper cut, and peeled open the flap.
The immense surprise, he felt, was still lodged in his memory and as he recalled the moment, even sitting on this bench in the one hundred plus degree heat of the desert, his pulse began to race once more.

It was a check. Inside of that nondescript envelope was a check. Not just an ordinary little check, like the one you get from tour insurance company for safe driving, but a big check. A check in the amount of $25,000.

He looked around as if he thought someone was watching him. Someone that might take it from him.
He removed a short letter from inside the envelope.
Dear Mr. Nelson,

Please find the enclosed check for $25,000.
We here at Wilson and Downey appreciate your involvement in improving the world of veterinary medicine. As per your contract this check covers your participating interests.
Once again we thank you,

John Downey

His heart leaped into his throat. He had forgotten all about this. Quite frankly he didn't think anything would ever come of it.

What would he tell Mary? They had been struggling for so long now. He blamed it on his business and she never thought different.
“It will get better” he would tell her, “Just wait and see.”

He stuffed the envelope inside his jacket and raced into the house.

A few minutes later he was back in the Hummer and headed down the street. 321 Cherry Lane was nothing but a random house in his rear view mirror.

He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Mary's number. She should be on her lunch break by now.


“Hey Mary, it's me. Listen, something's come up and I have to leave town for a day.”

“What do you mean you have to leave town for a day? What could be that important? When are you leaving?”

“I completely forgot I have to attend a conference about that new procedure I was helping develop. You remember the one for Wilson and Downey? The new laparoscopic procedure for spaying female dogs?" he spat out the words as if it was a normal day to day conversation and not an elaborate lie he was concocting on the spot.

"Well, when is it and why don't you wait until I get off work and I'll go with you", she stammered and he could hear the hurt in her voice. It was like she already knew she wouldn't be going, but she was going to try anyways.

“I can't Babe, the last flight leaves in 45 minutes and I am already on the way to the airport.”

He felt a twinge of guilt, but it passed just as quickly as it came.

“Listen, I gotta go, I'm gonna get in an accident if I don't pay attention, traffic is awful. I will call you when I get there, love Ya, gotta go, bye.”

And just like that he hung up. He didn't want to wait for the rebuttal or the tears, which he knew would be coming. Short and sweet. He would bring back a large portion of that check and tell her it was from the conference. They could get caught up on some of their bills and just maybe they wouldn't come and take his Hummer away.

He arrived at the airport with plenty of time as the flight didn't leave for an hour yet. He would cash the check later. He had a guy in Vegas for that.

Walking up to the counter, he sat his small duffel on the weigh scale machine next to the self-check kiosk.

“How can I help you?” a tall thin woman in khaki slacks and a navy blue blazer asked him. A southwest emblem was pinned to her lapel.

"I need a ticket on the 2:40 flight to Vegas, please. Coach seating will be fine.


  1. Excellent, excellent, excellent! Still loving it.

  2. I'll second Barb's - and raise you an Awesome, awesome, awesome!

    The intrigue is building...


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