My husband and I have been living in the same house for over fifteen years. Now that’s not very long by a lot of folks’ standards, but for me that is the longest time I have spent in any one place. Growing up, my parents moved at least six times in the course of my time at “home”. Once I moved away for college at the age of seventeen, I moved every year until I landed in Tahoe. But even in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee region, I ended up living in three places until I met my hubby, married and bought a house. Ah, my wandering days were over.
We like our home. It started out as a simple two bedroom, two bath ranch-style home – less than nine hundred square feet. We christened it a permanent double-wide trailer. It really was just a box with a bitty, detached garage. My honey-bunny, a contractor, didn’t live in the house long before he decided he was gonna make it better. After fifteen years, it is better. Much better. And now we’re moving.
At last the house is exactly like we want it, and it’s time to move. I suppose the saying that ‘nothing in life is fair’ is pretty darn accurate, huh?
Ah, well. So, we’re moving. To Santa Rosa. It’s a slow move. Something that we are doing over two, maybe three, months. We are not selling our lovely Truckee home (too much of our blood and sweat in it to give it up just yet), though we do have to move out to rent the place so we can afford a place where we are moving to. 🙄
Moving requires going through all our stuff. Most of it is going to the trash bin – just what was I thinking when I said, “Let’s save this! It’ll be useful for something.” Let me impart a small piece of advice: If you can’t find an immediate need for something – get rid of it. However, there has been some please discoveries. I’ve come across some books that brought joy to my heart. I thought I had lent them out, never to be seen again – but, lo!, there they are! Scurried away in one of the many boxes labeled STUFF TO SORT THROUGH.
Anyway, so I came across this box. A clear, plastic box with what looked like a bunch of computer equipment booklets in it. Stuff I figured would just go straight into the trash bag. So I did just that. Dumped it into a trash bag. Looking inside the bag, I noticed something shiny and pulled at the cable attached to it – my old Dell Axim! Remember those? Do they still sell them? Sort of like a PalmPilot. It has PocketPC on the cover and it really is that – a PC that can fit in your pocket.
I bought it at least six years ago – ancient in the world of electronics – and I never did like the thing. I think it had more to do with the fact that I wasn’t quite ready to go all digital. I still am not ready. I write most of my stories long hand in a real journal with a pencil. Later, I type it up. But that very first draft, all tactile. I heard somewhere that how we write and with what implement affects the creative process. As my WIP is an historical fantasy, it seems fitting to use such antiquated equipment: pencil and paper. Actually, given the time period I’m writing about, it should be a quill and parchment. 😉
Sitting down on an old milk crate, I marvel at the palm-sized PocketPC I had abandoned years ago. I plugged it into the wall to charge and turned it on. Still works! It has PocketWord on it, so I opened it up. That worked too! I started typing. The Axim comes with a sleek (for the time) stylus that you use to either tap out on a tiny keyboard, or write on the screen. The handwriting recognition program changes your scrawl into typed words. Just like magic. Why did I hate this thing? I don’t know, because I fell in love with the fact that it recognized my handwriting. So cool! My iphone doesn’t do that. I can barely type on the thing my fingers are so fat. Enamored with my Axim, I started writing. Here’s what I wrote:
This is a story…about a man…in a bar…why would i write about a man in a bar? I don’t like bars. i never go in bars, ah just write…about a man…in abar…
A man enters a bar. He sees the woman he’s been chasing sitting in a booth – alone. He chews his bottom lip, rainwater dripping from his fedora, and wonders whether it is wise to approach her in such close quarters. A few patrons dot the dark interior, ensconced beneath islands of light. None he couldn’t handle. Still, she could use them all if she had enough reserves. The academy instructors stressed that over and over. Corner her in as unpopulated a location as possible. The Gobi desert couldn’t be far enough. Deciding on caution, he ignores her and approaches the bartender.
“I’ll take a shot of bourbon.” The man tells the large woman behind the bar.
She nods her assent and moves to fill his order. Pouring his drink, she juts her jowls out towards his head and says, “Obliged if you hung your hat by the door.”
His gaze falls on the bartender’s hands as she spoke – callused and rough. As he stands, he hopes that isn’t important. Turning, he glances at the booth. His heart pounds. Sweat beads beneath his hat. Muscles tense and his hand reaches for his weapon. The target is gone. She must have known who he was the second he entered the bar.
A curse escapes him as he looks back to the bartender. A grin splits her face as she points behind him and sidles out of firing range. The mirror behind the bar shows him all that he needs to know. He has failed.
A man dressed in a black suit and a bright tie stands behind him. His wet hat drips onto his shoulders, staining them dark. The suit fits him well, draping his hard frame like he was born in it. He has to admit the fellow looks formidable.
Shaking his head at the mirrored image of himself, he barks a laugh. The twin behind him cocks his head, a frown deepening the lines on his forehead. The gesture so foreign on such a familiar face, he nearly loses the grip on his gun.
The other one just like him says, “What’s so funny? I’m about to kill you.”
Damn, he thinks, she even sounds just like me.
Nodding his agreement, he answers, “Yeah, I know. It’s just cool to see up close. I hadn’t expected such a good copy of myself.” With his free hand, he rubs his chin and continues, “Looks like I need a shave. Funny. I hadn’t noticed it on myself, but on you.”
His twin straightens his shoulders. “That’s how shapeshifting works. Everything comes. Now, let’s go outside. No reason to ruin the establishment with your mess.”
The man raises his…
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