Another little chunk of first-drafty goodness from the NaNo piece, which today completed its first reading (something like a child saying its first word, maybe). The reading was performed by a fellow writer and Worker who liked it perhaps more than I do. He made me start thinking about developing this book more fully and getting it into shape for submitting around to start getting rejection slips of my very own. I've gathered some ideas over the last few months for what needs to happen in order to make this into a book, and he seemed to like the ideas I shared with him. So, who knows? Maybe I'll be spending some time on this in the next couple of weeks to see if there's a book in there after all. Big, big thankya to my friend for taking the time to read my manuscript.
The kid in the lime-green tanktop was flying a different kite now: the original, airplane-shaped contraption lying in a heap near the tent his family had used to establish their base camp, using the tent to slowly annex more of the park with a grill and an array of chairs. The airplane kite had been impressive, swooping and sailing through the air, although clearly designed for even more elaborate tricks in the hands of a more skillful operator.
The new kite, more properly diamond-shaped, trembled in one spot in the sky, nervously twitching in the air directly above Will’s head. It seemed excited to be in use, as eager to please as a puppy surrounded by children. He had a thought that it might inadvertently urinate on him, losing control of its bladder in all the excitement.
Will lay on the grass, his head resting on his backpack, one arm folded up to cradle his head, revealing flesh as pale as a catfish on the underside of his arm. Although his more frequent rides to the lake had burnished some of the skin on his arms an olive-tan, the undersides stayed white, as did his fingers, the sunburn patterned like a fingerless glove on the backs of his hands, due to his gripping of the handlebars as he rode.
He was smoking a cigarette and watching the kite, Greg sitting a few feet away, intently reading a book of short fiction written by software designers, periodically calling out some detail that seemed to confirm that the workings of the software encoders’ brains were different from those of most fiction writers, some insight or description he found interesting.
Will wasn’t listening to him, folding his mind instead into itself, watching the kite and drifting from thought to thought. Now that he had assigned an emotional state to the kite, he found he could not look away from it. It broke his heart to watch it, shaking as it did in a manner that now could mean nothing other than excitement. It seemed so innocent up there, unaware of the inevitable disappointment that life would bring it, the months or years at a time it might find itself unused, stuck in a closet. Will was surprised to find himself on the verge of tears.
He closed his eyes, watching the navy blue streaks the sun had burned into his retinas fade against the red to orange gradient of the inside of his eyelids. Even within the psychedelic display his eyes were providing, there was the kite still: a pale green hole in the sky of his closed eyes. He was watching still as the streaks and the kite faded away completely, replaced by little shapes which formed a pattern and moved in a way which suggested he was moving backward through a tunnel, like the opening credits of Doctor Who.
Probably my eyes’ screen saver, he thought, but he started to think that maybe the backward movement was indicative of something as well, his brain trying to tell him something. The thought struck him that perhaps a few months or a year from now he might see a different sense of motion, once he had straightened out some more of his life, moved forward from the place he found himself mired at the moment. Maybe then he might lie on the grass and see an entirely different show when he closed his eyes against the sun.
“You asleep?” Greg asked him. Will grunted to indicate he was not. Greg had no follow-up questions.