Ahh yes. And alas, I have at least one story under my belt for this month. I’ve got two manuscripts to work on now and I’m actually working on them! Diligently even! Of course there’s no immediate reason for excitement. I revamped my design document for NaNo’s 2013 story, and it looks like I’ll need to rewrite about 70-85% of it. Then I’ll need to add about 100% more. Sound good? Well, at least one of us is looking forward to it (-.-)
And for my newest manuscript, I’m definitely going to hold off on starting anything too crazy. I’ll get a very nice outline going. Maybe write some clips of it (and post them here if I don’t write any shorts…). Probably come up with one or five terrible endings! I can’t wait.
Anyway, I’m sure you’ve been waiting for the short.
by Yours Truly
Emily tugged at her earbuds and thumbed the volume on her phone higher. She could tell that the music was loud, that the sound waves were jostling for purchase in her ears, but the subway’s rails roared and overwhelmed her music. She sighed and yanked the earbuds out. Emily glanced at the rest of the riders.
They looked despondent and weary. It was the end of the workday after all. The last thing any of them wanted to admit was that they couldn’t relax to their personal music.
A businesswoman leaned with one hand gripping the overhead straps, the other holding a folded newspaper. Whenever the train screeched to a halt, she quickly shuffled to a new page. If she succeeded, a devilish grin multiplied the creases on her forehead. If she failed, she scowled all the way until the next stop, glaring at the pages as if they resisted change. Her frustration visibly agitated some riders around her.
A bicyclist glanced nervously at his road bike. Commuters crowded into the subway car and pushed up against his bike. He grimaced but said nothing. Slowly, he resigned to staring at the floor or his hands. Emily wanted him to look up, to look around, and find her staring at him. From deep in her gut, she just wanted eye contact. But it never happened. When the train came to a stop, he politely navigated his way to the exit.
A pack of teenagers giggled through the doors and stood, huddled, beside two fat men slouched in the handicap seats. The boys hooked their arms through the arm straps and flexed as well as they could without falling. The girls rolled their eyes and laughed at things on their phones. Eventually the boys did too. The fat men—hands perched atop their bellies like hopping sparrows—chuckled from time to time.
A woman sat next to Emily. She looked middle-aged but dressed younger. Her ring finger was bare. Emily turned and smiled as the woman faced her.
“Hello,” the woman said. She smiled as if it hurt her face and pride: a flash-cooked upturn of the lips and squeeze of the eyes. Hastily, she drew a pair of earbuds from her pocket and clicked through her phone.
“My father just died,” Emily blurted.
The woman’s hands froze but her face jerked up in surprise. Emotion filled her face. “I’m so, so sorry to hear that. That’s terrible. Uhm…”
Emily had no idea why she had lied. It had come to her like a fit of déjà vu. Suddenly, she had just known that she had to say those words. She knew her father was quite well, breathing as of their phone call not ten minutes before she boarded the subway. The lie—for there was no other way to feel about it—settled into her mind. It became a reality.
“Oh god it was so sudden.” Emily felt her shoulders shake. What was that? It was a nice touch. The woman touched Emily’s elbow, but carefully, as if there was an amount of contact she could not exceed. This is cinema
, Emily thought. She hoped that people were watching, eavesdropping, and taking videos.
“It was just ten minutes ago. I was just listening to music when my phone started ringing. I just answered my phone through my headphones. I didn’t even know who was calling me. It was my mom on the other line.” Emily’s eyes started watering, and she was amazed. She might audition for her school’s theater group.
“My mom’s voice was all cracked up like a joke, and she says to me, ‘Sweetie? Sweetie is that you? It’s mom. I… ah… I have terrible news, honey. It’s about your dad.’” Emily stopped to wipe at her eyes. She quickly rubbed them against her jeans. She had no time to deal with tears. They were distracting from the real show.
The woman was crying. Big gushing waves of tears surged down her high cheeks, and her makeup was smeared around her eyes. There were smudges on the back of her hands. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m a wreck, but I have no business feeling sorry for myself while you’re dealing with your father’s passing.”
Tranquility had seduced the subway car as every ear had tuned to the misfortune of two riders. Someone coughed loudly and Emily and the woman looked up. It was the businesswoman from earlier.
She raised an eyebrow at Emily.
“Oh, did I interrupt your little drama? Ma’am, I’ve been on this train for fifteen minutes with this young liar. She was never on the phone with anyone about any dead one. She’s a twisted little—” The train screeched. The businesswoman rolled up her paper, pinned it under an arm, and gave one last devilish grin.