Thursday, June 21, 2018

Don Travis: What's in a Name?

Don Travis: What's in a Name?: dontravis.com blog post #290 Courtesy of Wikimedia common Enough of the school teaching thing. This week, let’s get back to som...

What's in a Name?

dontravis.com blog post #290

Courtesy of Wikimedia common


Enough of the school teaching thing. This week, let’s get back to some hot flash fiction. Don’t know where the following story came from, but it sort of wrote itself, so I suspect it's from some suppressed recollections from my past. Does it remind you of anything in yours?

*****
WHAT’S IN A NAME?

          Mirrian-Webster defines corker as something exceptional. If so, Aaiden Corker was aptly named. That described him right down to his toenails, and believe me, I’d seen him right down to those bare toenails. Not like I would have preferred to see him, you understand, but in the locker room at the pool or in the showers after a game of golf. To me, he was walking perfection. Handsome. Built. Bold. Smart. Considerate. And—unfortunately—totally heterosexual. I was so consumed by living on his fringes that I’d even looked up the meaning of his first name. Aaiden. English meaning a fiery young man. Nailed it!
          I had an unusual Christian name, too, although my family name of Smith was about as common as you can get. My first name was kinda symbolic, as well. Eban was likewise English and meant stone. And that’s the way I got around Aaiden… rock hard. My mind went sort of flinty, too. My tongue might as well have been stone because it didn’t function very well in his presence. If you get the idea I was awed by Aaiden, you’d be right.
          The summer after we graduated Rainsville High—me as valedictorian and Aaiden as salutatorian—I attended a scout camp in the mountains in the northern part of the state. To my delight—and terror—Aaiden was there, as well. I almost packed up and went home when I found he shared a bungalow with me and four other guys. But he made it easy, taking the time to talk to me like I was a regular guy, not a tongue-tied idiot. Before long, I could say “good morning” and “good afternoon” without stuttering.
          Halfway through the camp, the scoutmasters sent us on field trips, one of which was overnight. I enjoyed the walk among the fragrant pines and spruce and along ridges that opened to vast vistas across broad canyons. Jays and other birds flitted among the branches and chirped at us as we passed. I fed a chipmunk scraps from my mess kit before scouring the stainless-steel vessel with sand.
          Twilight found us on a flat piece of ground near the peak of a mountain at about 11,000 feet. It had been a glorious day, and I’d not given thought to sleeping arrangements. So I was surprised to find myself helping set up a two-man tent and horrifically thrilled that Aaiden was pounding pegs into the stony earth right beside me. We would share the tent. Wow!
          He was so casual about it that I soon put aside my apprehension and enjoyed his company. He really was a great guy… in addition to being handsome and sexy and totally desirable. Later, when we turned in, I watched out of the corners of my eyes as my tentmate stripped to his skivvies—black Haines briefs—and slipped into his sleeping bag. He did it in a hurry, not because he was shy, but because at this altitude, the nights were cold even in the summer. I wondered if he eyed my plain white jockeys as I crawled into my own bag.
          “Brrr,” Aaiden said. “Shoulda brought PJs.”
          “Yeah, they should have warned us.” I bit down on my tongue after that pedestrian reply.
          To my delight, we spent a few minutes talking about the day’s hike and a couple of the counselors before he doused the flashlight and settled down for the night. It took me a long time to go to sleep. I kept fighting the urge to reach across the couple of feet that separated us to make sure he was really there. If nothing else, I could always say I spent the night with Aiden Corker. Let them make of that what they will.


          I wasn’t really asleep. It was too cold for that, but I was in a stupor when a hand shook my shoulder.
          “D-damn, Eban, I’m freezing. How about you?”
          “Cold. Uncomfortable. But not freezing.”
          “Your fart bag must be better than mine. Can I crawl in with you? I’ll put my bag over the top of us.”
          My mouth went dry as I nodded my head before realizing he couldn’t see me. “Y-yeah. Sure.”
          Then Aaiden Corker, my idol, my wet dream, unzipped my bag, told me to turn on my side, and crawled into bed with me. I barely noticed how cold his flesh was, all I knew was that Aaiden’s chest pressed flush against my back and Aaiden’s basket was shoved against my butt.
          “Better,” he pronounced after a moment. “You all right?”
          I wasn’t. A vital part of me was mimicking the English meaning of my first name, and my sphincter was twitching like crazy. But I swallowed hard and mumbled, “Yeah.”
         “Kinda close quarters, isn’t it?” he remarked as he settled himself more comfortably, which involved pressing his package against me. Was it my imagination, or was something taking place down there? Whoops. Not my imagination.
          “You know,” he said, putting his arm around me and pulling me closer. “I’ve wondered what this would be like since we were both sophomores.”
          I didn’t have to do a thing while Aaiden lived up to his name. A fiery young man!

*****
Does this leave you casting around in your memory for something similar? I certainly hope so.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.

By the way, I understand fellow author Mark Wildyr has decided to purloin the mantra for his website, as well. That’s okay. I encourage anyone and everyone to adopt it. It’s so true!

If you would like to drop me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.


The next book in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series, The Lovely Pines is scheduled for release on August 28 of this year. Abaddon’s Locusts follows on January 22, 2019. AND I have recently signed a contract for the sixth book in the series called THE VOXLIGHTNER SCANDAL. Publication date as yet undetermined.

See you next week.

Don

New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Manuscript Formatting (Part 3 of 3 Parts)

dontravis.com blog post #289

Courtesy of Public Domain Pictures
Before we start on this final post covering FORMATTING, let me repeat the warning I gave in the previous two posts. The format I am describing has worked for me, but I do not claim this is the ONLY format or the CORRECT format, but all publishers or agents or editors I’ve worked with found it acceptable.

The instructions for accomplishing some of the tasks named herein are performed specifically on Windows 10, Microsoft Word 2013. Mac users may find it useful but may not be able to exactly follow the instructions.

When you are ready to submit a manuscript, you will go to some source such as WRITER’S MARKET 2018 to select an agent or publisher. They ofttimes give specific requirements for formatting. For example, my present publisher requires manuscripts be spaced at 1.5 lines; many publishers require double-spaced documents.

Now let’s continue:

*****
FORMATTING MANUSCRIPTS

Justify

As noted elsewhere, justify your manuscript should be left justified only, leaving the right margin ragged. It may be appropriate to fully justify some portion of your interior verbiage (a note written to one of your characters, for example). In that case, go to Home/Paragraph/and justify it with the 4th icon showing uniform lines both left and right.

FORMATTING CHAPTERS

This actually covers Chapters, Prologues, and Epilogues. Setting up a chapter heading is a matter of personal choice. Ending a chapter is not. When you are finished with a chapter, use a page break to make certain the new chapter starts on a brand-new page. You can create a page break a couple of ways. The simplest is Shift+Enter. Another way is to go to Layout/Page Setup/Breaks. Hit the arrow to the right of breaks. This brings up options of Page breaks and Section breaks. Select Page under Page Breaks.

Many authors center their Chapter heading using CHAPTER 1 (for example), adding a title on a second line beneath it, if there is one. I use the format preferred by my publisher, which is to use mixed case (Chapter 1) simply indented (1/2 inch) and then begin the chapter right below it, e.g.:

Chapter 1

It was a dark and stormy night.

MINUTIAE

The spacing between words. Back in the typewriter days, we learned to put two spaces between sentences. Today, we use a single space following the period and the first letter of the next word. To do otherwise marks the writer as an amateur.

We also learned underlining as a way to emphasize words, phrases, thoughts, etc. DO NOT use underlining, use italics instead. Again, underlines broadcast the writer as an amateur. As noted earlier, use italics sparingly, as they use their impact if they are overused.

Most Word applications change two hyphens (--) into an emdash (—) automatically. If your operating system does not, then the two hyphens are acceptable.

Either way, the use of dashes sometimes causes the quotation mark (“…”) to misprint, especially in dialogue. For example, in case of interruption of dialogue results in the following: “Smith,” Jones said, “I’m not going to—" Note the difference between the opening quotation mark and the closing mark. To correct, simply type as shown above (…. “going to—“”), type two quotation marks and delete the incorrect mark to get: … “going to—”

Many thanks to Sue Babcock for her assistance in putting this together, and for providing the following links to a very good treatment of Formatting by her friend Rick Taubold. I suggest you check them out.


I hope this was helpful rather than stressful.

*****
At last, we’re finished! I hope I have some readers left. With any luck, these posts have helped a new writer or two to build the confidence to start his or her next writing project.

We’ll return to some short fiction for the next post.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.

If you would like to drop me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.


The next book in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series, The Lovely Pines is scheduled for release on August 28 of this year. Abaddon’s Locusts follows on January 22, 2019.

See you next week.

Don

New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Manuscript Formatting (Part 2 of 3 Parts)

dontravis.com blog post #288

Courtesy of Public Domain Pictures
Today, I’ll continue to run the risk of chasing away readers by continuing my rant on manuscript formatting with the second part of the paper I prepared for my Wordwrights Writing class held each Monday (other than holidays) at the North Domingo Baca Multicultural Center here in Albuquerque.

Before we start on this week’s post, let me repeat the warning I gave in part one last week. The format I am describing has worked for me, but I do not claim this is the ONLY format or the CORRECT format, but all publishers, agents, and editors I’ve worked with found it acceptable.

The instructions for accomplishing some of the tasks named herein are performed specifically on Windows 10, Microsoft Word 2013. Mac users may find it useful but may not be able to exactly follow the instructions.

When you are ready to submit a manuscript, you will go to some source such as WRITER’S MARKET 2018 to select an agent or publisher. They ofttimes give specific requirements for formatting. For example, my present publisher requires manuscripts be spaced at 1.5 lines; many publishers require double-spaced documents.

Now let’s continue:


*****
FORMATTING MANUSCRIPTS

PAGE SETUP

Show/Hide Function

I always work with the Show/Hide function (¶) on so I can spot excessive spaces between words, before paragraphs, and at the end of paragraphs. This is especially useful in editing your own work. This does not affect what prints on a page, but for reading ease on the screen, you might want to turn off the function (Home/Paragraph/¶) before sending the ms for submission.

Header and Numbering

There are several header styles, but I find the one at the top of this page to be very common. Some people put the title in CAPS, followed by name of the author in mixed case, but I adopted the one at the top of this page as preferred by my current publisher. The page number is where editors and agents normally look for them (not as a footer, for example). Be sure your header is in SAME FONT AND SIZE (POINTS) AS THE REST OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT.

To set a header, go to Insert/Header & Footer/Header down arrow/click on a blank (I use first one). That returns you to your manuscript with your cursor in the proper place. Type in your title and author credit. Then tab so that your cursor is at the right margin. Click on Page Number at the top left of your ribbon/click Current Position/plain, and the proper number will appear. (You can do this on page 50, for example, and it will correctly number the preceding 49 pages as well as all subsequent pages.)

NOTE: You do not want a header or a number on your first (or title) page. One appears unless you prevent it by going to Layout/Page Setup/Layout and click on Different First Page. Then the header disappears and your second page is correctly numbered as 2.

Fonts and Sizes

Use a font with a serif. Times New Roman is commonly accepted, but it is not the only type with a serif. Don’t pick one that looks too different from what you see in other manuscripts. Home/Font/upper left, click the arrow to select right font/click the arrow on size and pick the size you want (12-point is commonly accepted).

Keep the manuscript clean. Never submit one with fancy fonts, colored fonts, page borders, etc. Minimize italics. They can be hard to read.


Indenting

DO NOT USE THE TAB KEY to indent ½ inch. Likewise, do not hit the space bar repeatedly to indent.

Work with a ruler at the top of your screen (View/Show/and click on ruler) to set a hanging indent. When the ruler is up, if you have correctly set your margins, there should be a shaded area to the left and right sides of the ruler. This indicates the area where your margins do not permit you to type. Just to the right of the left shaded area, there will be an up arrow with a down arrow directly above it. To set the indent, place your cursor on the top arrow, hold it down and move the arrow ½ inch to the right (the ruler is marked in inches and half inches). Now every time you hit the ENTER key, the computer will automatically indent the number of spaces you have set it for.

NOTE: Whenever your center something in the manuscript (titles, scene breaks, etc.), you must go back and remove the 5 points it will be off-center by moving the top arrow back in line with the lower one. This will affect only that line.

We finish this presentation next week... I promise.

*****
I continue to hope this was helpful to some and didn’t drive the rest of you away. As I’ve often said, I’m passionate about writing and believe there’s a writer in each one of us. Bear with me.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.

If you would like to drop me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.


The next book in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series, The Lovely Pines is scheduled for release on August 28 of this year. Abaddon’s Locusts follows on January 22, 2019.

See you next week.

Don

New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Manuscript Formatting (Part 1 of 3 Parts)

dontravis.com blog post #287

Courtesy of Public Domain Pictures
There were a lot of views of Don Morgan’s guest post, MOUNDS, but few comments. Let him know what you think of his writing.

Because I firmly believe that a writer dwells deep inside every reader, I want to try something different for this Blog. Writing consists of both presentation and content. A part of the presentation element is how to set up your novel, memoir, short story, a piece of flash fiction… almost any form of writing you can mention. In other words, manuscript formatting.

Regular readers know that I co-host the Wordwrights Writing class each Monday (other than holidays) at the North Domingo Baca Multicultural Center here in Albuquerque. In response to queries, I recently submitted a paper on formatting. I occurred to me that my blog readers might benefit from this presentation. (In view of the mantra I cite at the end of every post, perhaps that’s a hope rather than a thought.) I hope this does not chase too many of you away.

*****
FORMATTING MANUSCRIPTS

In response to requests for instructions on how to format manuscripts for submission to editors and/or publishers, I prepared this for my Wordwrights Writing Class.

CAUTIONS

This is a format that has worked for me. I do not claim this is the ONLY format or the CORRECT format, but the publishers, agents, and editors I’ve worked with found it acceptable.

The instructions for accomplishing some of the tasks named herein are performed specifically on Windows 10, Microsoft Word 2013. Mac users may find it useful but may not be able to exactly follow the instructions.

When you are ready to submit a manuscript, you will go to some source such as WRITER’S MARKET 2018 to select an agent or publisher. They ofttimes give specific requirements for formatting. For example, my present publisher requires manuscripts be spaced at 1.5 lines; many publishers require double-spaced documents.

STYLE

Under Home, Styles, select a style. Agents and editors do not want extra spaces between paragraphs, so I click on the No Space style and use it throughout the manuscript. Others more adept than I switch back and forth between styles for headings and the like. I do not.

MARGINS

Margins for manuscripts (mss) should be set at one inch all around. (Layout/Page Setup/Margins- down arrow/click on Normal)

For long manuscripts, editors prefer that they have uniform bottom margins, something that is affected by the Widow/Orphan control, a default setting. This control varies your bottom margin by preventing a single line of a paragraph from appearing on a different page. To correct, go to Layout/Paragraph/Line & Page Breaks/and remove the arrow from Widow/Orphan control/hit Okay.

NEVER, never, never (did I emphasize that enough?) fully justify the body of your manuscript. It screws up the agent’s and editor’s estimate of word count. Yes, I know your computer provides an exact count, but that’s not good enough for some people. Under Home, Paragraph, go to the justify icons and click left justify (the one to the left showing a ragged right edge.)

TITLE PAGE

The title page contains personal contact information, word count, genre, the name of the book or story and name of the author (which will not be the same as your personal contact name if you write under a pseudonym).

I prefer to insert a table at the top of the title page to contain personal and book information. After it is complete, I get rid of the lines of the table. Click on the spot on the title page where you want the table, then insert the table at that spot by going to Insert/Table/down arrow. A table appears (this is tricky)/place curser in the upper left square, hold down and move it one square to the right (you now have two squares highlighted) and move the cursor down a minimum of 5 squares (more if you include a website, Facebook or Twitter contacts). When you have the proper number of squares highlighted, release the cursor. IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE IN GETTING PROPER NUMBER OF BOXES FOR THE TABLE, HIT CTL+Z IMMEDIATELY. A table now appears on your Title Page, as follows:












NOTE: Right justify the second column by highlighting the second column (only)/ Home/ Paragraph /and clicking the third justify icon (with a ragged left margin and a uniform right one). Type in your required information, Once you get rid of the lines of the table (Home/Paragraph/ arrow to the right of small square like a window frame/click on No Borders), it looks as follows:

John Q. Graham
Word Count: 90,500
1111 11th Street NW
Genre: Historical fiction
Albuquerque, New Mexico 8700

Tel: (505) 000-0000

Emai1: JQG@aol.com


Space down so that your title and author credit are about halfway down the page, center using Home/Paragraph/2nd Justify icon showing lines centered (or use Ctl+E)


THE FOIBLES OF BEING A WRITER

By Hope Less

NOTE: The name of the author in our example is different from the personal data at the top of the title page cluing the agent/editor/publisher they are to communicate with the name at the top, but the book is to be published under the pseudonym of Hope Less.

More next week.

*****
I hope this was helpful to a number of you and didn’t drive the rest of you nuts. As you can tell, I’m passionate about writing and believe there’s a writer in each one of us. Bear with me.

Now the mantra I mentioned above: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.

If you would like to drop me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.


The next book in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series, The Lovely Pines is scheduled for release on August 28 of this year. Abaddon’s Locusts follows on January 22, 2019.

See you next week.

Don

New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

MOUNDS, a Guest Blog

dontravis.com blog post #286

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday got a host of hits, but few comments. Stop sending me mixed messages, guys. Let me know what you’re thinking.

Not too long ago, I posted a guest blog by Donald T. Morgan, an excerpt from his unpublished novel, Old Sassy Pants. Today, he’s giving me another one, the opening to another novel called Mounds. Let him know how you like his work.

*****
MOUNDS

By Donald T. Morgan

Courtesy of Pixabay
PROLOGUE

Malcolm County, Southeastern Oklahoma

She lay sprawled beneath him on a frayed horse blanket in the gloomy hayloft. There had been no greeting, no posturing, nothing except a harsh entry followed by a sweaty, steamy explosion. He aimed to hurt. But she was a match for him, meeting his thrusts, absorbing his anger, and frustrating attempts to reduce the assignation to the level of just another roll in the hay.
“Bitch!” He dragged the word across the breadth of his orgasm.
“Bastard.” A self-satisfied smirk hid in her breathy drawl; his had carried nothing but longing and suppressed fury. She sighed, already drawing breath more easily than he, and ran scarlet-tipped fingers through the pale flame of a candle lit to watch him labor over her. “I do like the way yawl screw.”
“Not… make love?”
“Wouldn’t wanna mess up a good thing by calling it wrong.” She laughed low in her throat at the way he vainly fought to keep his eyes off her shadowed curves.
A snarl tore out of him, ending in a sobbing shudder. “I oughta kill you. Someday, I will.” Without another word, he threw on his clothes and left, moving stealthily through the moonless Oklahoma night.
She lingered on the rough, scratchy blanket, allowing his aura of carnal fury to dissipate. Caressing her violated flesh, she inhaled the heady redolence of the barn: manure, urine, and the earthy aroma of the big animals in the stalls below, masked by the woody hay, her own fragrance, and his stimulating musk.
The thick, humid air crackled with the charged atoms of an approaching thunderstorm, although she preferred to believe it was the lingering essence of the most exciting man she had ever known. Drowsily, she mused over her conquest.
Dangerous? Of course, it was. That’s what made it so wonderful.




CHAPTER 1

Figuring his daddy was about ready to emerge from a two-day hangover, Derek Monsum came in from the fields early and found Carlton working on Red Rover beneath the huge oak in the front yard. A good sign. His father wouldn’t take a wrench to the old Chevy pickup unless his hand was reasonably steady. That pile of bolts and faded red sheet metal was their only means of transportation.
“Can I talk to you a minute?” Private code for “Are you up to listening?”
Carlton adjusted the crutch under his arm to compensate for the right leg he’d lost in the Panama invasion. “Sure. Trying to tune this balky carburetor, but it’s a touchy piece of work. Fields look pretty good, Derek.”
“Thanks.” He took heart at his father’s grammar. Carlton’s drawl got heavy and his English went careless when he was under the influence. “Did you hear the news on the radio last night?”
His father pulled his head out of the truck’s innards. A trace of alcohol rode the heavier oil and grease fumes rising from the motor. “What news?” 
“Oklahoma University’s gonna excavate the mounds. Some fellow by the name of Dr. Henry Ericksen’s gonna lead a team from the Anthropology Department down here this summer.”
A flash of pain twisted his father’s features. “Oh, God, I’m sorry. I know that was your dream.”
“That’s okay. It was bound to happen one of these days. I’ll never be an archaeologist, anyway.”
He regretted the words the moment they came out of his mouth. Carlton looked as if he’d been slapped. But it was true—that ambition died when he quit school to take care of the farm after Bowie ran off. His brother had put up with Daddy’s new wife for two years, but Cassie was always on him. Derek was too young back then to understand things he could see plain as day now he was a grown man.
Ashamed of his thoughts, he cleared his throat. “What I was thinking was, maybe I can take a job at the dig. It’d just be labor work, but I could make a little money and get some practical experience, too. You know, see how they do things. At least be a little part of it.”
Carlton hid back inside the motor cavity. “Could be.”
“I’ve got the disking and fertilizing done. I’ll start seeding tomorrow. That won’t take long.” He scraped the ragged edge of a peeling rust spot on the raised hood with his thumbnail. “After that, it’ll be an easy time for a spell.”
“One your old man can handle.” The voice from the motor well held a wretchedness that drove Derek a step backwards.
“Shoot, you’re ten times the farmer I am. You could—”
“Don’t patronize me. I know what I am. What you’re asking is if I’ll stay off the booze for the summer. Well, you gotta ask straight out.”
Derek almost lost heart at the misery in his father’s tone, but he scratched the brown mole on his upper lip—his stress barometer, his mama used to call it—and held his ground. “Yes, sir, that’s what I’m asking. Will you keep it under control for a few weeks so I can try for a job with the dig crew?”
Carlton’s shoulders sagged as he pulled out from under the hood again to face his younger son. “I’ll keep a lid on things. You go see if you can get a job. The extra dollars will come in handy.”
“They probably won’t pay much.”
“Whatever it is, it’ll be welcome.” Carlton put his head down again, signaling the conversation was over.

*****

If I had to guess, I’d say this is a story about a young man trying to recapture faded ambitions. Knowing Donald, I’d also say the novel holds some mystery. By the way, he’s writing about the country we both came from. In real life, it was McCurtain County, Oklahoma, centered around a little town nine miles from Arkansas and thirty miles from Texas. I know it well.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.

If you would like to drop me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.


The next book in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series, The Lovely Pines is scheduled for release on August 28 of this year. Abaddon’s Locusts follows on January 22, 2019.

See you next week.

Don

New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

dontravis.com blog post #285

Apparently quite a few of you like Pedro the Dragon as much as BJ Vinson does. Got quite a few hits. For those of you who are writers, it is a good exercise to take a scene (one of yours or someone else's) and rewrite it from another point of view. Try it.

Today, let’s have an offering that comes in well below 1,000 words. Let me know how you like it.

*****
                                        
  MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, AND FRIDAY

          I left the chapel following Charles Farrelson’s memorial service somewhat spiritually fractured. Chuck, thirty years my senior, had been both father figure and lover for the past five years. For at least 250 of the last 260 Wednesdays, he’d filled my afternoons with good food, sharp wit, and loving caresses. Yet the sorrow tugging at my heartstrings felt selfish. It seemed more centered on what was taken from me, rather than his life being snatched from him.
          Feeling the need for nourishment, sustenance… something. I walked past the cars in the parking lot and struck out for the Famous Four Flavors ice cream shop across the street. A tall hunky guy I’d noticed at the service entered before me. I’d picked up on him not only because he was so handsome but also because he was Chuck’s son Drake.
          Restraining the impulse to introduce myself, I fell in line behind him wondering how he’d feel about meeting his father’s gay lover. Once he collected his chocolate shake, I ordered a strawberry. Keeping my eyes straight ahead, I walked toward a nearby table until a deep baritone brought me to a halt.
          “I noticed you at the service.” Drake indicated a chair. “Join me?”
          When I was settled, he offered a handshake. “Hi, I’m Drake Barstow.”
          I grasped his hand and frowned. “N-not Drake Farrelson?”
         His eyebrows reached for his dark hairline. “No. Why would you think that?”
          “I’ve seen you before. Last December, I saw you and Chuck leaving Dillards. I asked him later, and he said you were his son.”
          His astonished look morphed into glee. “That old dog! Now let me guess. You’re not Carl, Chuck’s nephew. You see, I saw you with him once, too, at the University bookstore.
          “I’m Carl, all right. But I’m not his nephew. I was… uh, a friend.”
          “Yeah, a friend. What was your day?”
          “My day?”
          “When did you meet him? Was it on a special day of the week?”
          “Well… yes. We got together for lunch or something every Wednesday.”
          “Yeah, or something. I was Friday. That’s the day we got together for… something.”
          “You… you mean you and Chuck…?”
          “That’s exactly what I mean.”
          “For how long?”
          “Ten years. I was eighteen when I met him. Got together with him every Friday after that except when one of us was out of town. And that wasn’t often, I can tell you.” He arched an eyebrow at me. “How long for you?”
          “Five years. I was eighteen, too.”
          “Apparently, that’s the age when we first grab his attention. But he was loyal, in his own way, I guess you could say. Outside of Chuck, what do you do?”
          I felt my cheeks burn. “No one. It was just—”
          “Sorry, that’s not what I meant. What do you do to keep a roof over your head?”
          “I’m a commercial artist. You?”
          “Photographer. And I’ll bet you’ve got as many intimate drawings as I have photographs.”
          My cheeks really flamed then. “Uh, a few.”
          “Yeah, I’ve got some scorchers, too.” His attention strayed from me to the front door of the shop. “Hang on, I think we’re about to meet Monday.”
          I looked where his gaze was centered and saw the other individual who’d caught my attention at the memorial service. Impossibly young and blond, the kid was really cute.
          “What makes you think—”
          “Well, he’s not Chuck’s son or nephew, and probably not even a cousin. But he was at the service. What are the odds?”
          We both watched the kid’s coltish, self-conscious carriage as he ordered a coke and then turned to glance uncertainly over the room. His eyes stopped on us before moving on.
          “Have a chair,” Drake said.
          With only a moment’s hesitation, the kid sat.
          We identified ourselves and watched the newcomer’s reaction. His blue eyes skittered back and forth between us as he sank into a chair at the table.
          “Confused?” Drake asked.
          “Uh….”
          “Well, I’m not Chuck’s son, and Carl’s not his nephew. Now let me make a couple of guesses about you. You’re what? About twenty or twenty-one?”
          “Twenty.”
          “Your name’s Jake and you met Carl about two years ago.
          The kid seemed flustered. “That’s right. How did you know?”
          “I saw you with Carl once at the Kimo. He told me your name later.”
          "You saw us?"
          "Bound to happen sooner or later," I said. "Albuquerque's not that big of a town."
          Jake looked as if he was about to bolt.
          “It’s okay,” Drake said. You’re among brethren.”
          “What do you mean?”
          “What I mean is I’m Friday, Carl’s Wednesday, and I’ll bet you’re Monday.”
          “I don’t know what you—”
          “Come on, don’t play coy. You met Chuck for lunch and playtime every Monday, right?”
          “I met him, yes, but—”
          “Butt being the operative word. You got it on with him. We all did.
          Now it was Jake’s turn to send his eyebrows northward. “You mean…?”
          “Yep. That’s exactly what I mean. Old Chuck got his jollies every Monday, Wednesday, and  Friday with us. Who knows, we might be why his heart failed. Hell, he wasn’t even fifty-five yet.”
          That comment sat on the table for a moment while we all digested it. Then Drake took charge again.
          "Now what we have to do is figure out the situation. You know” he turned pedantic. “Let not what Chuck sowed be put asunder!”
          Jake and I blinked back at him for a moment before smiling.
          “How do you know we’re compatible?” I asked.
          Drake winked. “I’d bet on it.”
          After raising a silent toast to our dear departed Chuck, we put our heads together and started working out our Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

*****

Looks like Carl started something. Nice to see enterprising participants deciding to keep a good thing going, right? By the way, has anything like this happened to you before?

Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.

If you would like to drop me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.


The next book in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series, The Lovely Pines is scheduled for release on August 28 of this year. Abaddon’s Locusts follows on January 22, 2019.

See you next week.

Don

New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.