Hey there dudes and dudettes, back again to let me shovel more interesting tripe into your noodle. well good. Got some doozies for you today.
Ok well not much to report on, got my first royalty report for GS and I’m too afraid to open it and admit I suck at marketing haha. Yeah, a fair few copies sold but probably not enough to warrant a release of a sequel which is depressing but you know if someone actually went right for me I’d have to eat my fucking hat, now wouldn’t I?
I sound saltier than I actually am, I know people like the book, what’s not to like, not tooting my own horn, its just a fun book. But I never really looked at it as my magnum opus or anything like that. It was never the book to save me from the poor house but nevertheless I want it to do well and hopefully with some time and elbow grease it can and then I can release the sequels.
I can’t really get down about it, because a) I have a lot better more traditional things to depress me a la life in general haha and b) I have two more serious book franchises in the works that have a lot more potential to do well and hopefully get me a fucking agent which is what I really need. I can’t be doing with this indie shit anymore.
I’m obviously talking about this and maybe the one who came back, after extensive work, actually now I think about it it might not even be long enough after the editing and DDD is a Dexter clone so I’m pretty fucked either way, but I have to dream because otherwise what do I have? What reason do I have to go on if I don’t keep the hope alive that this is all worth something? And what is that something? Money? Fame? Love? Immortality?
The steady metronome of waves gently beating the shore, the smell of the spray. I open my eyes but it’s just blackness and then a light comes on but it’s not a light, it’s a moon rising out of the sea. The sea, am I on a boat? I ask myself stupidly.
Then I can feel it, the cold cloying embrace of the ocean in answer.
I kick my legs but I don’t feel I need to, I’m bobbing, cold and wet, just with my head floating above the surface of the water.
I can’t see the shore, the ocean seems endless and the only noise I hear are the waves parting and my heart beating. A rising anxiety sets my teeth on edge and I can feel it all around me. Is this what it’s like inside? Is this it’s world? A cold endless black ocean. I can’t feel the bottom, why would it have a bottom?
I can feel something, something moving, circling, rising. Waves and bubbles rising to a crescendo peaked by an anticlimactic blub blub and something bobbing on the surface of the water.
It floats towards me and I know what it is before it the moon can cast it’s bright bitter smile down on it.
It’s a head.
A perfectly lopped head of a woman. It floats towards me and in the glare of the moon it rolls open and it’s wet hair parts like a flower and it’s my dear old aunt Mary Beth. I should feel things, I should feel earth shaking, bone clattering terror and cold sweat but I feel nothing, nothing but a joyful wonder. A question answered, a life revealed, a lie told and taken away just as swiftly and my heart races and in an instant. I’m surrounded by more perfectly lopped heads, floating and bobbing like rubber ducks floating in crude.
I wake up in the same cold sweat, no maybe even colder, as colder as that black ocean, or maybe I just left the fan on, yeah it’s the fan. I slop the sheets off my damp body and walk on over and turn it off.
I need a shower and maybe a ritualistic burning of my sheets.
The water washes over me and I’m expecting revelations, a brief aside into Jungian psychology. Did I even care what the dream meant, if it meant a thing?
The sea, the darkness, fear of the unknown, the oldest fear, pretty standard. If you’re not afraid of the unknown you don’t have a very good imagination. The moon, well that was easy. I felt my teeth clicking thinking about it, getting responses up my legs and back as I just let the water flow over me.
The heads were a gift from my new and anonymous friend, but why did I recognise them, why her? I often thought about my aunt, about how I would feel if she would die. To tell the truth, if I could love anyone it would be her. Her absence in my life would be the most notable. A sapping noticeable emptiness that could be called loneliness or sadness. Something close to that but sadness was a foreign concept to someone completely bereft of any feeling whatsoever. A blessing and a curse, a crisp clear almost chipper emptiness. Like a smile with no teeth.
Where did that come from? I turned off the water and towelled off, it was a Saturday so much less care was taken in regards to time and form. As I towelled my head I heard something like the door opening and whispering.
I opened the door and looked down the hall but all I could see was my aunt holding tight to the door and looking at whomever was there. I tried looking past her but all I could see were their feet, well one foot, the other seemed to be, well not there. The stump was pressed against the stirrup of a wheelchair. The other foot not looking much more useful next to it.
She whispered harshly and shut the door latching it with the chain and the deadbolt and scurrying into the kitchen.
It took me a few minutes to get ready. I ran a comb through my hair, when I found it and put on a loose t-shirt. Then a pair of jeans more hole than denim and walked down the hall of the minimalist bungalow we shared.
She was waiting for me in the kitchen nursing a mug of gourmet instant coffee and mumbling to herself as she was one to do when something was taxing her.
I’d ask her what was wrong but she’d usually outright tell me as I was the only one she could tell her in insular little world. She really needed to get out more, like me, at least in my dreams. She owned some kind of crystal hoodoo voodoo shop in town that was run by a couple of kids. She came in to visit occasionally but most of the time she didn’t have to. Especially not on weekends. The shop did well, that kind of crap always does in California.
I came in and leaned on the the sparkly faux marble breakfast bar, none of it was new. It had all come with the house and I didn’t need her to tell me that. It has a sort of flat pack feel, like everything could be folded up and carried away at a moments notice.
I put some bread in the toaster and pressed the plunger down imagining it was some sort of small flat animal.
“What did I say about carbs?”
“That they’re delicious?” I said.
She scoffed and went back to her coffee and nothing.
“Who was that at the door?”
“Oh just the mail man, you know how chatty I can get” She took a sip waiting for my reaction “Poor guy couldn’t wait to get away.”
Now I was no expert on the hiring process of the postal service. But I was reasonably sure someone wheelchair bound and missing vital appendages couldn’t make up the required walking speed. So that was either the result of liberal diversity policies running amok or a sweet little lie rolling off my aunts lips to my ears.
“What were you talking about?” I prodded catlike, fighting a smile at the corner of my mouth.
“Oh you know, the usual stuff” She said tossing her long hair around in my face. She had it tied back with one of those seventies bands things that gave it a little lift on the top and a floral loose fitting dress. “So what are you doing today?” She asked, skilfully changing the subject as she sipped her coffee, the smell of which was driving me nuts.
“I was planning to go to the library and catch up on some studying” Of what was a need to know basis of course.
We lived in a nice but relatively secluded part of orange county. Turtle rock was a picturesque little hamlet made up of cute little match stick houses. Street names that sounded like they came straight out of fairytales. Sweetwater and rainbow falls, morning dew, sandpebble, gumdrop lane, I made that last one up. It was a good area but in comparison to the homes around us we lived in a shack. It had privacy but was incredibly secluded. You couldn’t get anywhere without a car and that was something I was sorely lacking.
“So I was wondering if you could drive me there and I could maybe get a ride back?”
She seemed to not be listening to what I was saying and took another sip, her head bobbing and then caught like she skipped a beat. “Sure” She said giving me a laboured smile. “Wait the library? As in at your school?”
“It’s fifteen minute walk versus a two minute car journey” She said pausing trying to register how much I cared about carbon emissions.
“Didn’t you hear? There’s a serial killer on the loose” I said trying my best not to glow as I said it.
“I heard” she said with a ringing tone in her voice like it jumped and fell down a well. “You sure you don’t want to go the mall or something, all that work on the prom and you haven’t bugged me for a dress or shoes.”
“I still have time” I shrugged.
“Ok” She said. She picked up her unwieldly keybang off the kitchen counter with a clattering noise. Various useless keyrings like peace symbols and weed leafs. Cool aunt persona mastered. “Shouldn’t you be out with your friends? It’s a weekend.” She said clapping the keys in her hands. She almost sounded hurt, like I wasn’t fitting into the fantasy she had for a kid my age. Frolicking through piles of maple leaves and having water fights with the local kids. Taking breaks in between licking giant circular lollipops and braiding my hair. Maybe her childhood was on rainbow falls but mine fell somewhere a lot darker on the map and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Who says my friends won’t all be in the library?” They weren’t, Paul was at basketball practice and Wendy was probably at a salon somewhere getting her nails ‘did’.
“Ok sure, I can get some stuff done in town and pick you up around six?”
“I was planning on staying late, I’ll just get a ride or catch a cab or something”
“As long as it takes, I don’t know, are you gonna take me or not?”
“Thanks” I said in my most chipper getting my way voice.
We left the house, it was still early afternoon, I slept til about twelve which was odd. I never usually needed much sleep but these dreams seemed to leave me feeling drained. The sun was hanging lazily in the sky and the birds saw fit to fill the silence of turtle rock with their incessant happy chirping.
Most people here didn’t stay on the weekends so the place was deserted apart from the sound of sprinklers hissing. They were probably all out on the beach with their jetskies making lots of noise.
We lived on the tip of a little culdesac called whitewater, probably the least fairytale sounding name in the area. It had a mini garden in the centre of what was supposed to be a roundabout but was a tad too small. But it left more than enough to allow whatever bike or hybrid car the neighbours were packing. The place was a little too metropolitan to have front lawns opting more for the shallay feel. Little neatly formed shrubberies and trees sticking out of perfectly shaped garden strips hemmed in by the bricked driveways. Their mail boxes all nicely shaded by god knows what trees, do I look like a tree surgeon?
The houses all looked the same or similar. The same matchstick wood with sandy coloured tiles matching the tone almost perfectly. They looked almost like unpainted monopoly houses in their uniformity.
Little balconies on top for relaxing two car garages that seemed to take up most of the space in the house.
She opened the garage and drove her little rollerskate car out of the needlessly huge garage. She saw fit to fill it with useless nicknacks, a fooseball table we never used and some piece of ethnic art she picked up in a flea market. Anything to fill the void left by the tiny car in the huge garage.
The car was so small it was basically a motorized rickshaw but complaining would be pointless and eat up too much air in the car. I was getting a free ride after all. A chance I sorely needed to get a leg up on whomever was in the shadows of the internet so interested in little old me.
I opened the car door careful not to break it. I eat all my green vegetables after all. And settled in the front passenger seat, sans legroom. No complaints uttered. She started the engine and the dull hum of the electric motor made my fillings ache.
It puttered along like a milk float down the end of the drive turning right on Sweetwater. A left onto Sycamore creek and then it was another left and a straight shot onto Turtle rock drive. Only coming out of the neighbourhood noticing how much it looked like a cult compound from the outside. Trees planted there like it was a model of some Swedish fishing village and the grass cut so fine it looked like it was just paper mache painted green.
We drove for what felt like miles of an endless stream of near identical houses. Neatly topiared bushes pointing up at the bright clear pale blue sky. Were there any clouds in Orange County?
I couldn’t bare to look at their near perfection anymore. Choosing to just follow the bumps of the dry dusty hills on the otherside, reminding us all that in fact we live in a giant desert.
I opened my window because of course AC was broken in the boxy car, I was lucky the window still worked. I poked my head out for some fresh air, taking in the smell of chlorine as we passed a walled off little compound. The tops of a slide poking over the high walls. Probably owned by some cartel money man that liked quiet swedish fishing villages and indoor pools.
After about a minute of watching shadows slide over the almost non-existant crumple zone of the car. We were pulling into the flat patch of concrete that was the campas parking lot. Which was nice and empty with it not actually being a school day.
Despite all the space my aunt parked at a jaunty angle trying to take up three spaces. I got out and rounded the car to peck her on her cheek narrowly missing her pair of fake DG sunglasess. Planting a bird like poke of hard dry lips on her freckled sunkissed cheek.
“Don’t work too hard” She called at my back as I walked into the shade of the foyer.
“I wont, thanks for the ride” I called back waving at the glare of the sun, covering my eyes with my forearm.
Now onto business.