When it comes to irons in the proverbial fire, I have a few. Of course, we are now eleven days from the kick off of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo as the Pros from Dover call it.
I, like half the fiction writers in the World, have spent countless recent hours preparing, making sure I’m ready to get my game face on, trying to remember where I packed my game face, wondering if it still fits, rifling through numerous boxes in the crawlspace upstairs that is our attic looking for the game face, executing repairs on said game face–made necessary after the time during last year’s NaNo when I chucked the game face across the room in a fit of reprehensible, unadulterated frustration.
I haven’t found it yet, but I will. 😀
And I’m working on a post with all the details for how I’m playing NaNo this year–but if you’re impatient, you can click on my sidebar and check out my profile. If you’re looking for a NaNo writing buddy, let me know. The more the merrier is my motto. Also, Sommer Leigh has put together a linky tool so we can champion our fellow writers doing Nano. Check it out–and sign up if you’re in. BTW, are you in?
(Plus, don’t forget, Monster Fest 2011 runs through the end of the month. There’s still plenty to see and do over there, so don’t miss it!).
Last, but certainly not least: go check out this totally groovy interview my friend Lola Sharp did with Hilary Wagner, featuring her new book THE WHITE ASSASSIN. The title sounds downright fascinating. Plus, Lola’s running a contest with free stuff! Go check it out at once! 😀
But now to the real business of the day: Part three of the #REN3 Blogfest. This has been a ton of fun to write, and to also get around and read everyone else’s stories. Don’t forget to check back for the finale next week!
The Leopard’s Spots
by Jon Paul
MAGNUS STOOD AT THE WINDOW watching employees dash to their cars in the rain. “Calvin, you moved into Carl’s office yet?”
Calvin appeared. “Not yet.”
“By Monday, Ok?”
“Ok.” Calvin turned to leave.
“One more thing.” Magnus pawed a stack of employee dossiers on the desk. “These are the first folks we let go. Monday morning.”
Calvin reached for the files.
“Nope. Leave them. Decision’s been made. Gladdis will set everything up.”
“And I just need to show up?”
Magnus smiled. “Yeah.”
They hiked up the path, making the final turn into the clearing. Calvin led, Theodora followed.
“Wow!” Theodora lifted her sunglasses. “You weren’t kidding. This is some view.” All of Renaissance was visible: Old Town; the Schiavona Desert; the River Espadon. But scads of strip malls had materialized over the last few years, disfiguring the landscape.
Near the trailhead, they unearthed an archaic sign with rusted letters: “Renaissance–Pop. 333”. Calvin pitched it aside and sat down.
Theodora took out her camera. “How’d you find this place?”
Calvin didn’t speak, his eyes on the horizon.
A narrow smile illuminated his face, then vanished. “My grandfather used to bring me here.”
“I’m surprised more people don’t know about it.”
Theodora explored the clearing, snapping pictures until Calvin’s silence became uncomfortable. She scrutinized him for a long moment. “Listen,” she said finally, stuffing her camera back in her pack. “I think I invited myself along today. And you clearly have plenty on your mind, so–“
“–I think I’ll be going.” Theodora zipped her pack and started down the trail.
Theodora kept walking.
Calvin jumped to his feet. “Just…wait. Ok?”
She turned, eyed him skeptically. “So?”
He chose his words carefully. “I…I’ve been distracted…the office has been crazy lately…”
They stood face to face, staring at each other for what seemed like forever. Calvin blinked twice. Theodora gazed at him through her sunglasses, waiting. Finally, Calvin ran one hand through his auburn hair and chuckled. The situation suddenly felt silly, absurd.
He squinted at her. “Please? Accept my sincerest apologies?”
“Whatever.” She strolled past him with a wry grin, placing her backpack next to his. “So what’s the story, Calvin? I hear you’ve been promoted.”
” If we’re gonna talk about work,” Calvin said. “You have to keep it under your hat.”
“I’m just filling in until we hire someone new.”
He cocked his head, baffled. “What?”
“Word around the watercooler is you’re being set up.”
It was Calvin’s turn to laugh. “Yeah, well people’ve been watching too much Law and Order: Renaissance. Don’t believe everything you hear.”
“I guess it’s none of my business, anyway…”
Theodora sighed, then smiled. “Office politics makes for good rumors, sure. But that McGrool guy, there’s just something not right about him.”
“When it comes to bosses, Magnus doesn’t get high marks. I get that. But it’s part of the game. I can’t just quit every time I don’t like my boss.”
“So you feel invested. Is that it?”
“Sure. I worked hard to get where I’m at. I put in my time. I can’t just walk away now.”
She studied his face, a flicker of uncertainty coloring her eyes. “You’re too nice, Calvin. For your own good, I mean.”
Calvin stood up, shouldering his pack. “Come on,” he said, a strange new distance surfacing in the space between his words. “I have to get back.”
She walked after him. The guttural crunch of gravel beneath their boots rang in her ears. She gazed out to the horizon, troubled. Had she said too much?
Thanks for stopping by! 😀