It took two weeks – an hour here, a few minutes there, a heroic amount of self-control and restraint, but I finally completed an entire story. My first full story in 40 years.
Wow, does it suck.
In housing terms, it’s a fixer-upper. I smartly limited myself to a 1,000-word piece of flash fiction (learning to crawl before I walk), but I expected something… better. There’s a good story in there somewhere. It just needs some TLC, elbow grease and a few other clichés.
I had hoped to post it for public comment this weekend, but obviously, that ain’t gonna happen. But here’s the first bit – how it’s going to look a week from now I have no clue:
Ten past midnight. Just past the Mojave, heading east. I don’t dare close my eyes – my stop comes up in less than an hour, and if I miss it, doubling back is not an option. With no money, no cards, no phone, there’s no second chance.
I lay my cheek against the frosty Greyhound window to keep myself awake, while I imagine the awkward family reunion which lay ahead.
The prodigal son on his way home.
My cheek becoming numb against the glass, I scan the bus, looking for anything interesting. Most of the other passengers, who look as desperate as I am, are asleep. The rest keep to themselves, staring out into the desert, or looking down towards their lap – anything from making eye contact.
The bus driver, a thin, middle-aged man, is intensely focused on the road. Just behind him is a young mother, a dirty blond barely out of her teens. A toddler sleeps beside her, his head on her lap.
Across from me a wiry, disheveled guy sits straight up, agitated. He stares out his window, his eyes darting back and forth as he searches the landscape. Catching my reflection, he turns around and looks back at me.
“How far to Kingston,” he asks, not bothering to keep his voice down.
“Not sure. Ninety minutes, maybe a couple of hours.”
“Shit.” He turns back towards the window.