A while back sometime in the last couple of months I was inclined to start writing an original piece of fiction for the specific purpose of posting in on my blog. It was in the hopes that others that want to write would feel inspired or see that it was okay to write even if their skills were not that great. I am a perfect example of that. I don’t feel like I am a good writer by any stretch of the imagination but I want to create stories and thus I write. Simple as that. So without further ado I present my first original piece of fiction…wait wait wait. I need to let you know that this is only 1767 words long and does not have a middle or ending. It is meant only as a beginning for me to add to as different scenes come to me. So please hold the negative comments about that however if you feel inclined to offer some constructive criticism I would very much appreciate it. Finally as I reread this piece of fiction I will be altering it as I see fit to be more descriptive as I know I am somewhat lacking in that department for this rough draft.
Drum roll please…
Ever have one of those days where everything seems to go wrong, that the whole world was both conspiring and laughing at you? Yeah, well I wish I was having one of those days! For starters I feel like about 10 miles of bad road, if ever there was cause to use that expression, now was THAT time. Not that I ever had the occasion to use before because I never really understood its full meaning…until now. My head is dulled from either too much alcohol or some other substance and my equilibrium seems to be listing about 30 degrees to the port. What am I, a sailor? Man this reminds me of one of the many “next days” after an all-night bender. Coupled with this lovely aching in my head that seems to be getting more pronounced is the terrible condition the rest of my body is in. It feels like I was worked over by Mike Tyson. Not the now 40 something Mike but the Mike of old that ate raw steel and shat out railroad ties. Also I have stinging all over my hands and knees from a myriad of scratches. That can’t be good. My vision seems to be ok as I squint to let in the light. Ouch! Bad idea. I close them and over the next several minutes open and shut them enough to become accustomed to the light enough to leave them opened.
What I do see when I finally get my eyes to stay open frightens and confuses me. I was in a grassy field. What the hell was going on here? What am I in a fucking meadow? I look around and see myself and the detestable shape I am in. My Eddie Bauer blue denim boot-cut jeans are muddy and the right knee has been ripped open. And I am wet, likely caused by sleeping in a fucking meadow all night. Looking over the rest of myself reveals my hands and right knee are scraped and raw. Nothing too serious though and nothing a good scrubbing with soapy water and further by hydrogen peroxide wont fix. Ouchy, I am not looking forward to that. My black t-shirt with white block print of What Keeps Portland the Weirdest is covered here and there with dirt and bits of plant-like debris. More bits of sticks and leaves are stuck to my shirt, even more has found its way inside my shirt and it feels like I have a rock or two in my nondescript grey on grey two-tone nike tennis shoes which are also unpleasantly moist. It looks like my brown leather bomber jacket I normally wear is wrapped around my waist. Huh?
I am startled from my personal inspection by the horn of a car. As I look towards the noise I can see that the meadow I am in appears to off the side of a fairly high-speed thoroughfare. But where I do not know. Now it appears there rest of my senses are catching up with my sight and hearing and it dawns on my how incredibly dry my mouth is. The meadow itself smells rather pleasantly for the most part as I can make out the earthy scent of upturned soil, grass wet with dew and lingering at the tail end of all that is some sort of oil maybe. Sadly that last small kind of ruined the whole outdoorsy nostalgia I was having.
Looking around I can see that behind me and to the left about forty yards is an opening to a train tunnel as evidenced by the pair of railroad tracks coming forth to run parallel to the field I am standing in. As I slowly get to my feet I have to stop as my head in feeling like it isn’t willing to put forth the colossal effort it will take to do it. Also I think I am going to throw up. After what feels like an eternity of waiting I give in and am violently sick. Fortunately no one is around to see or hear it. Question – If man pukes in a field and no one hears it, does he really puke? This is what’s going through my head? Really!? After a short laugh which turns into a coughing fit that ultimately lands me on my ass in a sort of slow motion controlled fall. The jarring impact as I land only reminds me of how beat to hell I feel. What the hell had happened to me last night?
As I sit in this open meadow of longish, grass damp with the morning dew gathering my thoughts trying to not pass out from the massive headache or body aches and try to piece together what had happened. To begin I must step backwards a few days so that I might piece together all the myriad bits of information that are far from flooding in. In fact I seem to be able to recall only a name and some distorted images and flashes of people. None of which makes any sense to me. I will think on those things later. For now the only thing that comes to my mind clearly is the name Rebecca Tallow.
Why is this name important? Did she do this to me? Did a jealous boyfriend do this to me? Who knows? All I do know is that I am in desperate need of some TLC. Whenever I am feeling under the weather the thing that pulls me back from the edge is a little Tony’s Lemon Chicken. I even have him on speed dial. Tony is a friend of mine in as far as I have helped send two of his kids to college with the amount of food I have ordered over the years that owns a restaurant that doesn’t really specialize in anything but comfort food.
After what seems like an eternity I think it is time to see about getting vertical again. This time I am more successful in my endeavor. I get to my knees reminding me of freshman wrestling class. Then I pull one leg in front of me. Then with a herculean effort I launch up and bring my other leg under me. I stagger around for a few moments until my body accepts I really am in control and not the demon liquor or narcotic which seems to be finally losing its hold over me. This has happened a few times before to me and I have not always been successful quite as readily as today. But that’s a story for another day. This time as I stand fully upright, without the violent revolt that happened last time, I am able to survey my surroundings a little closer. Among the aforementioned train tunnel behind me and the roadway in front of me there are large steep hills to either side in kind of semi-circle behind me. There are smallish trees looking like birch covering the hills and both look too steep to climb.
I make my way to the tracks emanating from the tunnel to see how far back it goes before coming out the other side and am a bit startled to see it goes back probably a couple hundred yards. The crunching of the gravel as I step in between the tracks brings a smile to my face when as a young boy used to play on and around them all the time. Better than playing in a freeway right? As I peared into the tunnel what’s more startling is that the tunnel is narrow. Like the train would barely fit narrow. Creepy. Not that it is creepy because I am claustrophobic but because I can just imagine having to go down that tunnel and halfway through it feel the vibration of the train coming, not knowing from which direction and a panic sets in. Which way to go? Kind of like the train scene in Stand by Me where the train comes and Will Wheaton and Jerry O’Connell’s characters find themselves in a similar predicament but instead of it being a tunnel where the threat is of being squished there is being run over or jumping off a bridge a hundred off the water. It still sends shivers down my spine thinking about that scene, especially now as I look down this long tunnel.
Enough site-seeing, I turn around and start to head towards the only other way to leave this field and something catches my eyes off to the my right side across the field about fifty yards farther back towards the other steep hill. It appears to be that the grass has been cleared or trampled around a small ring of mushrooms. Weird. What is so important about mushrooms anyway? I know many people are connoisseurs of these fungi and will often have mushroom picking parties but not for this sort of common mushroom I would think. In any case this strikes me as odd just for the fact that all the grass had been tramped down all around the ‘shrooms but not a one had been abused or taken. I have seen similar things but usually only one or two mushrooms and they were smashed flat. I think in general mushrooms are fine to eat but if you see one in nature people tend to destroy them just as to look at them. That has been my experience anyway. As I stepped closer to inspect this circle of mysteriously flattened grass a start to feel a tingle all over my body. The kind of nervous excitement that raises the hair all over your body stand up. Whoa, this was too much. I need to get something in my stomach and pronto. Everything is just to strange for me to be dealing with it on an empty stomach.
So now to get a little TLC going. I rummage my pockets to thankfully find not only my wallet but my phone as well. I push the green button to activate it and nothing happens. I push it again and nothing happens. I stare at it dumbly for about thirty seconds. Finally it dawns on me to unlock my phone. I enter the passcode and gratefully see the screen light up when I go through my contacts for Tony’s.
Tony answers on the third ring and in the background I can hear a litany of sounds of a much busy restaurant. What kind of event would be going on that Tony’s would be busy?
“Hey Tony”, I was surprised at how hoarse my voice sounded.
“Yeah” says Tony as if he doesn’t recognize me.
“It’s me, John”…silence…”You know, Johnny, the guy that has been doing more to support your two kids a hell of lot more than you.”
“John, you sound like shit man. What have you been doing, drinking all night at the karaoke bar again?” He says this with a bit of derision and just a touch of jealousy in his voice.
“Naw man been working something, I think. Not really in too good a shape to be remembering things just now. Feel like I have been worked over and I am not exactly certain where I am.”
“Holy shit man that sounds like you got up to your elbows in something serious this time. Knowing you it’s probably a girl. Can I do anything to help out? Send one of the boys to pick you up maybe?”
Tony is one of those guys who grew up old school. If you are a friend then you are family types, kind of endearing really. I smiled a little at his earnest no questions asked reply.
“Sure. I would love one but I am not exactly sure where I am. No street signs around me plus I am not really in any condition to do too much walking.”
“No problem, you got one of those smart phones right”
“Then let it be smart for the both of you, turn on your GPS and have it tell you where you are.”
“John, you there?”
“Yea, just a little embarrassed at not having figured that one out myself.”
“No worries. I was always the smart one.”
“Smart-ass maybe. Hold on a sec and let me find out where the hell I am.”
I fumbled around and accidentally disconnected while I was bringing up my GPS app. After it orients on me it tells me I am on Columbia Blvd in North Portland west of MLK Jr. Blvd. What the hell? Why was I doing over here? I call Tony back and relay the location and that I will be waiting alongside the road like a wayward piece of trash that I feel like.
Slowly I walk to the curb to wait for my ride, all the while getting more and more wet from the grass that smells so good but is adding to my discomfort simultaniously. As I get farther and farther away from the mushrooms and mini crop-circle the fuzzy feeling I had starts to leave me and is replaced by my normal senses which at this moment are reminding me that I feel like this side of hell warmed over.
Time I started to mull over last night to see if anything made sense.