Here’s a bit from what will eventually be novel three. I’m just about 40k into it, and probably about half done, so it’s going extremely well. It’s so different writing this book. My first attempt, though enjoyable, was a lackluster, confusing process when I look back at it. I’m happy with that book, but I have learned so much since I wrote it. The second one, which is still a WIP that needs to be edited, was even more crazy because I wrote that for my first nanowrimo. That is an intense month, if I’ve ever had one.
This work, it’s at my own pace. I still have soft deadlines, but I’m moving along nicely. This is also the book that I wanted to write first. It’s the reason I’m writing novels right now. I’ve rewritten the entire first quarter of it and kept going.
Anyway, here’s the first five pages. Let me know what you think. It’s got a long way to go, but we’re getting there. Enjoy!
They last day of high school, Colt and Donovan left class a few minutes into second period. Colt’s parents were out of town. There was a bottle of tequila at his house. They’d already been drinking Southern Comfort in their energy drinks. When the breakfast burritos accompanying the drinks were gone, there was no reason to stay in class.
They pulled out of the parking lot in Colt’s father’s gold pickup. No guard was in the shack to stop them. None of the adults showed the least care the boys were leaving. Two classmates were across the street from the campus smoking. They waved at Colt and Donovan as the truck passed them.
A dusty wind blew at the school from the fields surrounding it on all sides. It was a spring gust that seemed to circle the buildings non-stop. Swept up leaves and grit followed the gold truck back to town. Five buildings stood where the dirt road to the school intersected with the main street. The group of motels and restaurants stood tall enough to block the wind in the area. Donovan thought about the time he almost choked to death at one of the restaurants.
Colt turned the truck left, towards his trailer park. A mile down the road, they stopped to pick up Johnson. The boys had been spending more time with him lately. Arthur was away at the time. Every so often, his father would send him off to another school. It was a punishment for Arthur not being the son Richard wanted.
Johnson climbed into the back of the truck. As they got closer to Colt’s house, he slowed pulled off to the side of the road.
“Don, we should hit one of those junk stores. We should grab a few golf clubs.”
“Golf clubs?” Donovan asked.
“Yeah, dude. My dad’s got a ton of balls. We could hit them all morning.”
“Fuck, sounds alright. Let’s do it.”
“Hey, Johnson,” Colt said, sliding open the window above the truck’s bed. “We’re gonna hit one of those junk stores to grab some golf clubs.”
“Whatever, man. I’m down.”
Colt pulled the truck back onto the road, heading in the opposite direction. He and Donovan lit cigarettes. Donovan turned the radio to the country station.
The worn golf clubs cost them a few dollars each. Colt picked out a replica revolver for himself. Donovan bought a flask. The two exited the store to find Johnson doing jumping-jacks in the truck bed, smoking a cigarette.
“Store’s a fuckin’ junk yard, huh?” Johnson asked.
“Dude, it’s packed to the fuckin’ ceiling with trash. I don’t know who even comes here,” Donovan said.
“Stuck up fuckers. We do,” Colt replied, getting into the truck. “Sit down, fucker!” he shouted back at Johnson, who was still doing jumping jacks.
“That kid is on something,” Colt said quietly to Donovan.
“I can tell.”
The three boys pulled up to Colt’s trailer in a few minutes. They each took a shot of tequila in the kitchen. A few buckets of golf balls sat in the dirt out back. Colt dropped a few on the ground. He began hitting them into a sheet strung up against a chicken wire fence. Donovan and Johnson followed suit. The neighbor’s dog began barking at them for making so much noise.
“Shut up, you dick,” Donovan said.
He started walking towards the bucket to pick up another handful of balls. Colt hit a ball near him, trying to scare him. It his Donovan in his thumb.
“Fuck!” Donovan shouted, dropping his club. He grabbed his hand to make sure his thumb wasn’t broken.
“Shit, dude. I was trying to scare you. Sorry man,” Colt said.
“That hurt,” said Johnson.
“Come inside, Don. We’ll make sure you’re not hurt bad.” said Colt.
“Oh, thanks man,” Donovan said, sarcastically.
The three boys went into the trailer. They each took another shot of tequila. After taking his, Colt poured another for Donovan.
“I think I’m going to throw up,” Donovan said.
“Nah, it’s just the pain. You’ll be ok, fucker,” Colt said, trying to comfort him. “Here, take one of these.”
Colt went into the bathroom. He came out with a small orange bottle of percocet.
“You know what, have two. My bad, man.” Colt said.
Donovan took the two pills. He leaned against the edge of the counter to relax. Colt put a handful of ice cubes into a small rag. Donovan put the ice against his hand. Johnson and Colt went back outside to continue hitting golf balls. A few minutes later, Donovan came outside.
“Hey, dude. Can you take me to the parts store?” he asked.
“What kind of parts?” Colt replied.
“Car parts. I need some stuff for my jeep,” Donovan clarified.
“Sure, buddy. Johnson, let’s head out.”
“Man, I think I’m gonna go back to school,” Johnson said.
“Why?” Colt asked.
“Fuck it, Colt,” Donovan said. “He’s no Arthur, anyway.”
“Oh, fuck off, Donny,” Johnson said, tossing his golf club to the ground.
“Whatevs, dude. Later,” Colt said, shaking Johnson’s hand.
Donovan waved and Johnson walked around the corner of the trailer, then off down the street. Colt and Donovan hopped back into the truck. A few minutes later, Donovan had everything he wanted to get from the auto parts store. He walked up to the cash register with sunglasses and a pack of air fresheners. Colt walked up behind him, slapping Donovan on the back.
“That’s what you needed? Coconut trees?” Colt asked.
“Yeah, dude. There’s nothing wrong with your car smelling good,” Donovan laughed.
Donovan paid and turned around to leave. With his second step towards the exit, he knocked over a display of supplies needed for an oil change. Colt scolded him, laughing, then helped him pick up what had fallen. They got back in the truck and started back towards the high school. Donovan put on his sun glasses. He opened the pack of air fresheners and hung one on the rear view mirror.
“Should be about lunch now. At least the day’s almost over,” Colt said.
“Shit, I don’t fuckin’ care, man,” Donovan said. “These are neat shades. All the glass is color changing.”
“Retard. They’re polarized,” Colt chuckled.
Colt pulled the truck into an empty parking space next to Beatrice’s car. She was sitting in her open trunk with a few friends, smoking pot.
“Hey, guys,” she greeted.
“Howdy, Bea,” Colt said.
Donovan got out of the truck slowly. He stumbled over to Beatrice and her friends. Colt let Donovan lean against him, so he wouldn’t fall over.
“Drunk?” Beatrice asked.
“Percocet. I hit him with a golf ball,” Colt explained.
Donovan held up his hand, then stumbled over to the back seat of Beatrice’s car. He climbed in and laid across the seats. It took him a few seconds to realize he’d laid his head onto the lap of a girl who was sitting on the opposite side of the car.
“Oh, hey,” he said.
“Hey, Don,” she replied. “You excited about graduation?”
“Yeah. Not right now, I mean. I will be later today.”
“Why not right now?”
“Oh, nice,” the girl said. “You got a job lined up for summer?”
“Nah, I’m got the lottery scholarship. I’m gonna free-ball it for the summer, since I don’t have to pay for classes.”
“Must be nice,” she said.
“I like it.”
“You like what?”
“Oh, I guess life,” Donovan said.
A bell rang and the group went back into the school building. Donovan’s pain pills and alcohol hadn’t worn off, yet, so he stayed outside in the back seat of Beatrice’s car. Before falling asleep, he opened up another one of the air fresheners. He tossed the yellow palm tree beneath the passenger seat.
“You’re welcome,” he said to himself, closing his eyes.
When school let out, I left with my classmate James to meet our mutual friend, Juan. James was smarter than I was. Juan wasn’t smarter than anyone, but he was good at breaking the law. Our plan was to find liquor. There was going to be a party after the ceremony. The three of us were going to meet at our friend Raina’s house. Her parents were also out of town. Most of our friends, along with their friends, were going to be there.
James and I had been in a car accident a month earlier. We’d left school early and a woman in an over-sized brown pickup truck totaled his little gray sedan. His brakes quit working right before a left turn, so she hit my side of the car. I thought my arm was broke in the accident, but I never found out for sure.
I was driving this time. My car was old, but I was confident it’s brakes were not going to fail. We met Juan outside of James’ house. He was with his friend Charles, whom everyone called Woody.
A week earlier, Juan, Woody, and I stole the flags on the golf course behind my house. Juan and I threw them into the back yard of a Doctor’s house across the street. Woody disappeared for two hours, not answering his phone. He walked up on us as we smoked cheap cigars in my back fence, bordering the course. I could see his teeth in the dark. They shined through a massive grin. The next Monday, Juan and I saw a report of our deed in the local paper. Someone stole the flags from the golf course, and took a crap in four of the holes. We laughed about it, but I knew after that Woody wouldn’t be a good friend to keep around.
The four of us, James, Juan, Woody, and I, hung out at Jame’s house until dark. We stopped by the graduation ceremony to watch. Graduating students parked for free, so we figured it would be a good waste of time. For a small town at the center of nothing but southwestern dirt, our class mate, Bud Lee, did a good job on the commencement speech.