Friday, September 21, 2012

The Road to Astroworld (an excerpt)

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The following is an excerpt from my novel in progress THE ROAD TO ASTROWORLD. In this letter, the main character Promise is recalling the time when she and her childhood girlfriend played husband and wife in the kitchen on a rainy day. The rain has always played a role, good or bad, in Promise's life.

The Road To Astroworld....

Dear LaKeisha Ann:

Do you remember that rainy day, when the rain trapped you in my house, (when the rain was to me like Christmas tinsel and not razor blades), and we played husband and wife?  Do you remember that day?  My Big Mama dozed in front of the TV as Another World flickered in front of her closed eyes. Eric snoozed on his sickbed. The sheets formed a tent from his erection. We watched that tent rise and fall in time with his breathing. You wanted to touch it, but I wouldn’t let you. I didn't know then, but now I know why we all of a sudden wanted to play husband and wife. The rain fills people with romantic notions.  That's why I can forgive a certain bus driver.
We argued over who was going to be the husband coming home from working hard on the job. You won when you said the husband had to be a boy. Why I thought a girl could be a husband, I don't know. I knew I didn’t want to be no boy.

The Butterfly Killer (Short Story Version)

This short story serves as the introduction to the novel Butterfly Killer

Elliot Cross is the Butterfly Killer. He targets anyone with dreams and aspirations. In this short story we are introduced to his cunning ways. He stops at nothing to gain his victim's confidence. If you have a dream,he's ready to make sure you don't live to achieve it. It doesn't matter how simple or elaborate. As you see in this introductory short subtitled The Driving Lesson, the dream can be as simple as a teen boy anticipating passing his driver's test. It can be as large and complex as a Mother about to give birth to a baby after many failed attempts. Whatever your hope or ambition, Elliot waits until you're at the threshold and snuffs the dream. 
He invokes God as the justification for his crime. In his mind, he says he is doing the work of the Lord. God is jealous because the victims care more about their aspirations than they care about him. God is using him enforce his first commandment: "Thou shall have no other Gods before me" to show his power and how little he cares about people's "foolish follies."
Included is an excerpt from a scene further into the novel. For now relax and enjoy this free short if you can indeed relax. 

The Driving Lesson (The Butterfly Killer)
Timmy thought it was odd that Carrie’s Father didn’t want anyone to know about the Sunday driving lesson. He churned it over and over in his head, Mister. Cross’s reasoning for the secrecy.
“Your friends will be as mad as wet hens if they fail to pass and they find out you passed because you had an extra lesson. I can just hear my Carrie, ‘But Dad, you gave Timmy private lessons, but not your own Daughter?’ Whoo! That gal can be jealous. But you know her. You and her are tight like a drum aren’t you?”
That explanation sounded reasonable to Timmy. Kids at South High tended to act like crabs in a barrel. If half of Mister Smith’s Trig Class was failing, they all had to fail. Shining stars weren’t tolerated. And Mister Cross was right about his daughter Carrie. Most kids shied away from Carrie, partly because of him and his crazy love for chasing butterflies all over the neighborhood. But she also had a jealous streak that was about as green as her hair. Girls didn’t stay friends with her very long. Even other lesbian girls fell victim to her rants and arm twisting because she had caught them talking to boys or other girls. But Mr. Cross had put his hand on his shoulder in a most fatherly way. Or was that creepy, Timmy wondered?  The hand lingered a moment longer than it should and squeezed harder than it should have, as if it was a massage.
If only he could see better, Timmy thought to himself as he looked deep into his blue eyes while he brushed his teeth. He knew he needed glasses. That’s why he squinted and held books far from his face as he read. He heard his Mother cough. He listened as she hacked and gasped for air. Then there was silence. Timmy’s toothbrush rested against his left molar. He was about to yank the brush out of his mouth and run to his Mother’s room, but she cleared her throat. He continued brushing. “Another false alarm,” he said to himself. He didn’t want to bother her about his eyes. Lord knows she had had enough problems of her own with a breathing disorder so bad it had placed her in a scooter. Money was tight. He had to pass his driving test. She had scrimped and saved the one hundred and seventy-five dollars in a pickle jar for him to take Driver’s Education. He had to do all he could to keep from failing. But as much as he wanted to be a man at that moment, he also knew his Mother insisted on knowing his goings and comings. Even at sixteen, she warned him as if he was six, about getting into stranger’s cars. But Mister Elliot Cross was no stranger and he wasn’t like Mister Slaughter who lived in the pinkish house two doors down from him. Carrie’s dad chased butterflies, not boys.
“Maybe I should tell Mom,” Timmy thought, as he stood in front of her closed door. He had his hand on the knob when he heard her begging his Aunt Peggy for a ride to the grocery store. Timmy turned, grabbed his jacket and cellphone, and headed out the door to meet Mister Cross.