Chapter 3 you say? Wait, what? Thought I’d be weighing in on the Christine Blasey Ford allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, what she revealed to the Senate Judiciary Committee and his indignant rage over even being asked or Trump’s claim that the whole story is invented by the con-artist Democrats? That circus? Nope. Couldn’t do it tonight.
Thought I’d return to a world I love, where complex characters are round and full, and I really care about their trials and joys. Don’t worry. I will not shy away from my civic responsibilities for long, I just need to dip into my own internal drama, and take a break from the one playing out in Washington. It’s not that I’m not sympathetic to Ms. Ford either. My heart breaks for all survivors. I just am also thinking about Dale’s mom tonight. Who’s Dale you ask? What’s happened to his mom? Chapter 3 starts to really heat up this story line. Wait, you haven’t read any of my novel yet?
Missed Chapter One which was posted on June 28th? Or Chapter Two posted on July 5th? Well, catch the wave of excitement for this yet-to-be-published novel of mine, Crazy String, and straight away read those chapters. The funny part is that if Crazy String had gotten published by that first editor who contracted the novel to her agency for a year, but then dropped me when the contract ended, I would never have crawled into a non-writing hole, and long desperate months later emerged as Nine Cent Girl. My blogger self would never have been born! And oh, I love her.
Chapter 3 is a tease, I mean really, this chapter sets up plenty of questions, but answers are miles ahead. Please let me know what you are dying to find out about. I promise to let you know when the entirety of Crazy String hits the shelves as I’m shopping the manuscript around once again.
During the blackest hour of the night on July 28th Dale’s mother screamed then started out the door in her plaid bathrobe right before her husband on one side and the state trooper on the other brought her back indoors to get suitably dressed. Where she was headed and in such a rush neither man needed to question.
The State Trooper watched her son’s last convulsion, his dark blood swirling into the brown dirt and gravel off the narrow road’s shoulder, but standing in their darkened kitchen he pushed away those details. He was headed to Marion and Stephen Ueland’s house next and that call he didn’t mind putting off. Kids involved there.
Dale’s mother flashed indignation when he first mentioned Marion’s name. Her white ashen face flushed for a second as she muttered “tramp” and “trouble” and shot one incensed eye at her husband. The Trooper, used to reading folks, knew there was a story here, but there was no getting at it tonight.
Dale Merrill had been an only son of an only son. Dale’s father, Frank, sat slumped in the kitchen chair waiting for his wife to change from her nightclothes. The news only partially sunk in at this initial stage.
Frank started to speak to no one in particular, but the Trooper noted it all, “I never liked the notion of a motor bike. Never wanted him to get it. Was the wife’s brother’s idea. Thought he should’ve a bit of fun. A bit of fun, he says handing my boy the key. I guess he won’t think so now. When Dale gets home I’m sure he’ll scrap it. Yup, scrap.” He pushed his foot down hard into his steel-toed boot and the whole kitchen reverberated with a dull thud.
“Mr. Merrill,” the Trooper questioned softly, “You heard what I said about Dale?”
Frank’s eyes puddled; directed out the black window he saw nothing but his son’s lean body swinging hay bales up onto the back of a trailer. Frank’s face twitched as he recalled his son’s winning high school basketball championship game shot. Frank and his wife sitting on the bleachers surrounded by loads of people all yelling his son’s name as he scored the three pointer that won the Division III State trophy. He saw his son clear as morning, refusing to go back to school, dropping out third semester his senior year, and moping around over “her.”
Frank pulled at his laces. Did the trooper say Marion was on the bike or had Frank just known?
Frank lowered his head even lower, nodded, mumbled yes, he heard, but the Trooper knew how this worked. You could tell them, you could tell them, you could tell them, but until they enter the hospital and walk the white corridor, until they see the body, until they touch their son’s cold gray corpse, telling is futile.