Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vietnam Fiction -- Day One Dead

Frank Oz woke up, shot his alarm clock with a finger gun and hit the floor.

Around him was chaos. A private war around him told of organized promises that were never finished. A jungle war of unopened bills, letters of rejection and unread newspapers he would use, someday, for a fireplace that hadn't been used for 30 years.

The smell of old trash, cigars and his best of buddies, the coffee machine filling the one bedroom with the aroma of Starbucks Sumatra.

The day had been already up past the rush hour traffic. He stretched his 6 foot frame, revealing the scar that won him a purple heart. Heard his dead wife's voice tell him as he scanned the room for the dark green pack of kools, "finish it for me."

The room felt colder with that memory. "I will. Today.", he thought as he headed for the shower with a slight hint of a tear welling in his eyes. It wasn't fair, he thought, she left the world first. And me alone.

He had three hours to cook up a hook for his book and all he could think about was his stomach which ached from three day old pizza and the six pack of beer. Resolution came in the form of two slices of bacon, one sunny side up egg and two pieces of toast.

He smiled to himself over that thought, dried off the body and the three year old beard, didn't confront the man in the mirror and walked naked into the kitchen.

His cell phone rang. He already knew who it was.

"You know, they should give you a medal for relentless, Carmon."

"Frank," started Carmon, "Just tell me the revisions will be in my e-mail by one."

"Alright, the revisions will be there by Two." And with that, he hung up on her.

The bacon was about to burn and the popping grease firing molecular level buck shots at his skin let him know two things.  One the pan was too hot and, two, cooking naked can be hazardous to one's health.

He shouted a lot of obscenities and made a mental note to never do that again. And then wondered how hairless apes as a species survived cooking meat over a wood fire. Guess, he mused, a few would have to die to teach the experience to the living so they wouldn't do the same and die.

A smile grew on Franks face. As he realized he had the hook he was looking for.  He wrote it down on a piece of paper and then ate breakfast. After that, he cleaned up his apartment.  Something that hadn't been done in almost three years.

At 1:45 pm, he put the hook right where it was needed and then sent the finished chapter over to Carmen.

Who promptly called Frank.

"Oh, my god, Frank.  That's brillent!", remarked Carmon.

"It had to be," replied Frank.

The line was quite simple and to the point.  "You had to doe to get better."

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