A young man stood upon the rocks in ocean beach, peering into the vast darkness. A land, or space, or existence that held breadth and terrible power within. The waves are ever constant, in five’s or maybe seven’s did a large one come forth. A distant light catches his eye, as a voice from within begins.
“You’d never make that swim,” the ocean swirls upon the rocks to his right. Cresting high upon the barnacles, white froth displaying the water’s torment. “You’d tire just far enough off shore you couldn’t return, and not far enough to make it.”
The water recedes out as sanderlings run in. The young man takes two steps further to the edge.
“It’d be like everything else,” a wave sends a small flurry of splash across his face, and spurs small ripples in tiny tide pools.
“Like Jonathan,” a young nude couple runs down to a small private beach between the rocks. They laugh, as she tries throwing him into the now on-coming wave. He tugs her teasingly but sends her falling into the water.
“Or Aaron,” a piercing scream comes from the young nude girl as the frigid water rushes over her. The wave recedes as they both giggle, now allowing sand to cling to their bare skin.
The light still shines, off in the distance, across this barren space, full of unknown dangers.
‘The big one is due’ he thinks to himself watching the water swirl around the rocks, then the white crest of the in-coming waves tumbling upon themselves. The blue moon shines imperiously upon the surface, demanding attention, and breeding insight.
“Everything you’ve tried, you’ve failed at lately.” Another wave washes in, traveling up a small fissure within the stone embankment. The young man sits now at the edge of the slippery rock. Another wave crashes in, but still of no “big” proportion. The water churns below his feet, swishing and unpredictably taking paths not taken the same before.
The light from a boat off in the distance has traveled slightly to the right, both blue and red lights still bequeath their light, and strength upon the barren land.
“Failure is something that must be learned to be taken,” small waves continue to wash upon the shore. The young nude couple has quieted, except for a random female pleasure song. A long hoot is heard from a-top the steps as three college kids arrive to indulge in drinking, and eventually driving.
The moon shines promisingly on a white-cap well off to sea. ‘This could be the big one,’ it had been seven, eight, nine, since the last swell.
“Sharks infest these waters. They feed at night. You’ll be chum,”
‘the swell!’ he hoped. There were rocks beneath him, capable of bending his skeleton in ways not meant. It could snag him and hold him there, if that were her intent.
“He’s gone too far,” a whooshing noise came.
“You’d never make the swim,” the white caps frothed and exploded as they should.
The college students arrived upon the rocks.
Hollering ensued. The nude girl screamed in artificial orgasmic praise. Our young man planted the heels of his hands steadfast upon the rock.
The wave came in.
‘Nothing’ a small wave ran into the big wave, and reduced its power. The lone young man stood. Bottles smashed behind him as the reckless college kids wreaked havoc on this sacred place.
He walked past the three college kids, falling upon their 24 bottle load.
“Fuck you!” They yelled.
“Fuck you!” He yelled back.
“What did he just say?” The one asked to the other. Another waved crashed upon the barnacles, and rocks, and sand, and love making one-night-stand. He jumped from the rock to the private beach where the lovers once rolled in sand.
“Go get that fuckin faggot!” One collegiate roared at the other.
The pants of our lone young man loosened and fell to his ankles. He stepped from them.
“Dude really is a fag! Fuckin’ get him!” He marched past the nude girl whimpering in fake pleasure as her knight shook above her. The small wave caught his toes, then his feet, then his calves, it’s fuckin’ cold!’ he yelled at himself. Sand was flying high with the run-prints of his potential attacker closing in. The next wave, a medium one, rose to his thighs as he purged through the water. The shirt came off next to reveal the fat of the old relationships bearing heavily upon him. A sight no one in the modern world would want to see, fat, man-boobs, and a gut jiggling upon the slightest vibration from the universe.
“You’re going to die,” the voice rang within him.
‘if it gets me away from you’ he thought.
“Get back here! Are you nuts!” The drunken scholar hollered.
Sanderlings rushed in with the receding wave, as our young swimming loner took off to sea. The crest of the next wave intruded upon his sight of the light that lay off in the distance. No foot could be placed upon the ocean floor as it dipped quickly: nearly relentlessly. She, the ocean, demanded the strength and endurance of only a man.
The sound of water lapping around him stirred nothing within him. ‘I have to get to that boat’ he demanded.
“Get back here! Homo!” Roared the intelligently educated master of the arts upon his mast.
“You’ll die!” Roared the voice within.
With that, he saw it. The wave he was going to jump into upon the rocks. The one he hoped would carry him out to sea, to the boat where he needed to be. It raised high above the waves that crested behind him.
‘I’ll take you’ he said sure of himself. Ready to take a deep breath and ride her recession out to the boat. The boat that was now three-quarters a mile away.
“You’ll be chum.”
“Dude!” The collegiate sang, swimming in fifteen feet of water. Our lone-swimming young man was fifty yards from the rocks now. The houses and lights shown oddly about the shore. Perhaps it was the cold gripping him, perhaps it was this new perspective.
‘no time to linger’ he determined himself. He continued to swim, as the big wave went beneath him as nothing.
The splash of his arm, upon arm, upon stroke, upon stroke wore upon him. The unexpected wavelength cast salt water to his lungs. The swim was still to be made.
‘am I mad’ he asked of himself.
“Chum,” was all he heard back. Rarely could he here the call for what now sounded as a concerned college kid yelling from the rocks.
Peace was here now, while his breathing increased. He remembered his swim classes, “look away from the fishies; talk to the fishies.”
The lights of the boat went further than he could have hoped. Land was so far in the distance only a speckle of light shown where he once was. The poor girl, devoid of sexual pleasure assuredly made her male mate feel competent, the college boys probably talked about the crazy guy that went for a swim.
“You should have stayed, he would have come back for you,” the nagging voice ensued.
‘and then WHAT!’ the lone swimmer screamed before talking to the fishies.
“He would have taken you back,” the voice continued.
‘no.’ the swimmer continued. He continued to swim, he was making better time than ever before. ‘no he wouldn’t have’
“So why!” The voice asked. The swimmer continued to paddle. Wave upon wave, he felt the oceans force. “Why do this?”
‘Because I have to!’ he yelled within himself. His limbs were growing numb, the lights from the boat nearly getting further away. He took a second to wade water.
‘it’s only in my mind’ he said looking upon the darkness that surrounded him on all sides.
“This is no longer just your mind,” the voice of reality came in. It was true. All things ventured lately were failures, but he wasn’t going to give up on this. He continued to swim.
“You’ll never make it,” the waves lapped his face. He didn’t dare think of what may be trailing him, lurking, stalking, getting close. Though peaceful, it was loud; between the heavy breathing and the splash of each stroke he took. The cold water and his efforts bore down upon him.
‘I’ll never make it’
The ocean is a strange and powerful creature, so full of life it carries a soul of its own. A soul that reserves itself for no man, beast or fowl. A soul content with being beautiful, gently caressing places she holds dear, but bolstering a power never meant to be taken lightly. Rarely does she help to make one persevere, it had to be there before ever tempting her.
The ease of swimming to shore was not one our lone swimming broken-hearted boy ever intended. He could still hear what still sounded as a concerned college kid. Yet he was too far out.
“What are you doing!?” He heard. “I’m turning around!”
His jaw nearly dropped. The feeling of stalking wasn’t from a shark! Someone was following him, the college kid from the shore!
‘what is he thinking?’ he thought angrily swimming back where the voice came from.
“Where are you?” The voice called.
“Here!” He yelled.
“Here!” He splashed about to ensure he was heard. He swam faster than he had before.
‘someone really cares!’ he thought excitedly. The waves propelled him now. As he rose with the waves he could see a head not far off in the distance.
“Don’t do this man!” The head called.
“I’m coming back!” Our loner responded.
“C’mon, last one to shore is a chicken leg,” the college student yelled.
They swam, faster and faster. Head to head. And soon arrived to shore tired of their efforts, and breathing with sharp inhales.
“Why did you follow me?” Our loner asked.
“I couldn’t stand to watch someone try and off themselves.”
He looked at him. The kid was handsome, built, and had eyes that sparkled in the spotlights from above.”I wasn’t going to off myself,” he responded. The waves crashed around them.
“Then why would you swim off into the night ocean?” The student asked. Our boy looked out to the ocean, only a small flicker of light shown from the boat he was going to swim to, even if death had met him.
“I do it all the time,” he said, then scooching closer to the young man, “will you hold me?”
“What? No!” The student responded, still too out of breath to move.
“Right,” the loner responded seeing a kayak lantern off in the distance. He stood as the strong seventh wave came in. “You stay here,” he commanded. Then looked back at the handsome young man who thought he was saving a life. “I never would have made it, if it weren’t for you.” He said, then turning back to the lone lantern. He estimated a twenty minute swim to it. “Keep your faith alive in humanity. But this one has to make it alone.” He said walking then trudging into the ocean. He would embark upon the path he told himself he couldn’t make. The belief in humans renewed he had a plan, and one that wouldn’t require too much swimming.
Set your calendars! This wednesday (sept. 26th @ 9:30 est) I will be a guest on hotspotradio.net. We will be talking about THE UNEXPECTED, with release date set for November 1st. An autographed copy is available for pre-order on www.calebmertz.com/books. So be sure to tune in!
The book is written. Many sleepless nights have gone into the masterpiece, many readers have given their feedback, and a release date has been set. Now the entirely agonizing part of the entire process, publication.
The fun (fun used almost sarcastically here) is doing hours of research to ensure I don’t miss a single integral process in the entire bout of publishing. Had I managed to have an agent most, if not all, of the process would be covered. I could sit back and wait for requests for verification on page proofs, story flow, accept editor’s feedback and only tweak the novel minutely upon the agents request. Currently I have submitted myself to a flow of multiple projects at one time in the light of one major project, my publication. There are many major points that I have to ensure to hit, all of which could make or break my books chances at success. I took the liberty at compiling a brief list of these chores which I will undoubtedly have to accomplish.
Get the Book Edited
One item that had gone through without major attention to detail with my past projects. Though I had a publisher to take care of these things, it was at best; sad. Realizing that not only is my grammar terrible, but punctuation fails almost to a fault. There would be no possible way for me to go through the entire contents of two-hundred fifty pages and catch all the most glaring mistakes let alone the little technicalities. With that I have researched many editors, some charging upwards of $1,000 for a 90,000 word novel! I was lucky to find one who would only charge a minimal fee! Now I just have to scrape the barrel to get even that for her.
A most vital and important step in the process of rolling out a book. This involves knowing this book is in it’s final stages and in near pristine condition before sending it off for Magazines, Newspapers, and Reviewers to determine my fate. If two or more magazines who published a review were not favorable, chances are the book would sink before it even had a chance. Believing in my work this is something I am more than willing to take on. But with that are more interesting things.
Any novice to publishing would easily look this over. They believe all they have to do is convert a word document into a pdf and voila! That assumption is terribly wrong and will undoubtedly turn a tale of amazing talent and artistry into a slushpile inhabitant. Simply opening a book to the first page or two will tell any publishing industry insider whether it had a professional do the work. No worries, most typesetting jobs will only set you back roughly $800 (or maybe $5 a page).
Advanced Reader Copies
These little buggers are a ton of fun! Almost all magazines and reviewers have different terms and submission requirements for these copies. Some say it must be a mock up with ARC written on the back cover with a fact page including word count, page count, ISBN, distribution centers, publisher information. While others ask it be an in-tact book autographed by the author (They usually assure you that the book won’t be sold as it’s against their policy), and that this is a courtesy to someone willing to take time out of their lives to review your work (Fair, I say). So for the ARC’s not only is it best to have the book in the best condition it can be in (I would hope a few edits have already been done, typesetting somewhat apparent, and cover design set), but it should be sent out to the reviewer 4-6 months prior to the month of publication.
So now the Pre-publication work is done (somewhat) as the publisher, now on to Publicist!
Find Shelf Space
This is the main hurdle, and many of the items listed following this all help to gain that much needed shelf space. The point being most books have a month AT BEST to sell. If not, they are returned. And don’t think a book store will stock your book without a book return policy in place. This is only the mom and pop stores! Trying to get into B&N and Borders is something similar to a battle between David and Goliath.
Research and set up Radio Interviews
Having a target market helps to get this part in play, but still nothing can quell the magnitude of listing the hundreds of talk radio shows out there for the contact. Best part, I’m pushing my own book! Nothing worse than saying “Hi! Have you heard of the amazing new book written by none other than me!!!!” Something is just off about it. I like to stick with emails, but I have a feeling if I had a good pitch letter drawn up I might be able to call some stations and cement time blocks rather than sending electronic mail into the abyss of the internet. Even when I do find a station, I have to find an angle relative to the listeners and style of show they have set up to ensure I not only sound informed, but also don’t kill the pitch of my book by sounding like a babbling idiot.
Another extremely important aspect of the process. Drawing up the words that will help to sell the book while informing of any upcoming events. As in, have my events planned out well in advance, and make sure I keep the facts straight for the press-release. Nothing worse than attempting to fix a spelling error in a press release once it’s already been sent to the printer! It’s also gotta pop, no sense in writing an awesome book if the Press-Release is gonna drool.
Research and Pitch Newspapers and Magazines
For post publication reviews or opportunities at an interview. The research alone is killer, add to it the drone work of writing a pitch letter to them why I would be so totally awesome for their interview is tricky. Anyone can toot their own horn, or you could pay someone to do it for you. Looks like this starving artist is gonna have to toot his own horn without making it seem that way.
So these are just some of the fun things I get to do wearing all the hats. Hopefully if it’s done right, this will be the last time I have to worry about all of this, and can just focus on my new novels, which I have about four new ones started already. I have to get busy with them, not all of this! But here’s to learning.
Thanks for reading!
Caleb A. Mertz
Derrick Handleman, black hair formed perfectly into a wavy fohawk, stood in-front of the mirror adjusting his white bow tie situated comfortably upon his neck, settled on a white tailored dress shirt. The purposeful stubble shaped his angular jaw more so, than the cuts originally made by the god’s. Lite hazel eyes met his stare, as a reflection of his own when he
finally became comfortable with the look he so diligently prepared. He stepped back. The shine of the black belt had to be slightly less than the shine on his shoes, which it was. The shirt had to snugly hold his body, embracing it’s v-shape, it did. His dress pants, silky and flowing, had to bulge slightly in the front, and caress his butt, flaunting its tightness, they certainly did. The right corner of his mouth raised slightly as he smiled confidently into the mirror, adjusting his cuffs.
The sound of a glass hitting the marble bar top caught his attention. Joelynn must have been done with her last-minute prepping. Derrick leaned back slightly to look out the door, sure enough through the colorful display of orchid’s he could see her sneakily reaching for the vodka on the top shelf which was center of an accent light. The bottle was deserving of it’s display light as the bottle cost around $150.
Joelynn brought the glass with her onto the step-ladder. Setting it upon a shelf slightly below her breasts, she then reached for the bottle, and slowly took off the crystal decanter style top. She whispered something to herself. Convinced he could easily scare her if he yelled, or snuck up to her, his smile only broadened. He’d wait till the bottle was safely back in its display, and then he’d make the call. She poured the silver liquid into the glass, replaced the cap and set the bottle back, then moved it slightly to the right. She then turned the bottle slightly, twisted the cap, moved it left again, “shit!” She said.
“Yep, you’ll never get it,” Derrick called from his room.
“Shit!” She said now bending over in laughter on the step stool. Her laugh was loud, bubbly, and contagious, “o, no!” She laughed again.
“I saw ya,” Derrick smiled leaving the room and walking over the threads of the pristine carpeting.
“You caught me!” She smiled, then, “you wanna shot? Since I’m up here.”
“No, you know I’m a scotch guy,” he said walking into the bar area of his high-rise suite. The marble bar top rounded the lounge area, which then extended outside to a large patio with fire pit. Three orchids, accentuated by recessed lights adorned the left flank of the bar offering splashes of color against the black and stainless steel kitchen. Glenfiddich would do as it should before the party. The subtle smokiness would zing his lips and pucker his desire for more golden nectar of the ancient bards.
“What are you doing?” He laughed at Joelynn. The first shot must not have been enough as she now tipped the bottle into her shot glass once more.
“Sorry,” she said laughing as she put the bottle back, this time with less effort to situate it perfectly. “Cheers!”
“I hate that you treat it like a shot, rather than enjoying its subtleties.”
“It’s vodka,” she said clinking her glass against his and throwing it back. Her hair, which was currently nicely up and in a bun, was curly and voluminous, and it loved bouncing around at its every opportunity.
Derrick looked out his floor to ceiling windows across to san diego bay. A few lights blipped upon the water of small boats surely full of college kids embarking upon a night of boozing and sex. Drinking and sex, not exactly the worst idea of a night out, rather quite exciting.
“Don’t worry,” Joelynn said now coming up next to him, looking out over the bay as well, “we’ll find you a man.”
“Not quite what I was thinking,” he began. Then he saw the drink she had prepared. “Joelynn! When did you make that drink?”
“Just now,” she laughed, placing the straw into her lips and gulping it down.
“Lord, fish outta water.” Derrick laughed with her. Tonight would be a good night, not just anyone got a personal invite to a Details magazine party. Other celebrities would be there, and fashion icons, and article writers that reveled in the celebrities life. Yet, chances were better that the man Derrick searched for wouldn’t be there this night or any other night, he didn’t know what he was looking for, but it wouldn’t be there.
Writing a fiction book is not entirely the scenarios and landscapes that play out in my minds eye. There is a lengthy amount of research that one has to do to effectively convey the true feeling and effect of the writing. My research has mainly focused on some of the terrifying factors directly related to conspiracy theorists and end times enthusiasts; opening my eyes to a few scary youtube clips and essays on the internet. While in my search for more information I can’t help but to be drawn in to hours of watching videos and clicking on every link that takes me to some sort of new revelation.
One of the final chapters of my book involves the rapture that the government tries to state is actually an alien attack. I turn to youtube and begin watching clips of UFO’s, which shows how much these things have changed recently. Clearer images appear, and beautiful cloud trails flow out from them producing an amazing display in the sky. Spiraling blue smoke lights the night sky only to disappear into what looks like a self induced black hole. Then possibly the oddest of them all, which spurred two hours of looking into this one alone, is a light that drops over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It hovers over the Temple for a few seconds before lighting up the entire mount and shooting off to the actual UFO above, which is at first a triangle that then turns on end and eventually flies away. What’s odd about this is some people are speculating the significance of such a holy place having a light come down from the heavens at the same place many other visits from “God” had happened. Yet lo and behold, someone who claims this to be an elaborate hoax on the governments part in the form of Project Blue Beam.
Searching a bit further I come to find out about this government hoax of massive proportions. Project Blue Beam is the ability of the government or well, the New World Order, to project holograms across the entire world through the use of satellites, chem trails, and extremely low frequency radio waves to induce the belief that “god” is talking with you. In a nut shell they produce a fake alien abduction and rapture, then an alien invasion, then produce the “one-true” god. Through cinema style effects this “god” would rain down fire and conjure things and perform other mysteries.
Getting wierded out yet? Not that I necessarily believe all of this, but it’s enough to make my hair stand on end, especially seeing how far holograms have come (think Tupac at Coachella this year). Just to keep moving forward with this I turn to a religious site called abbaswatchmen.com it was with this site I learn of these trumpet like noises coming from the sky. I can’t stop clicking on link after link to hear the array of noises from anything like a trumpet to godzilla to the alien ships in the recent “War of the Worlds” movie. Now that freaks me out, especially because they have only been noted starting in January 2012. Some call it mother Earth groaning, others say its the cosmos aligning, while others call it Project Blue Beam and part of it’s elaborate hoax in testing.
While there are so many things out there that can always freak us out, I chose to stop for the week I had been researching these things. I believe I have plenty of material to spin off of, but I did want to share the odd things I had found on my research for THE UNEXPECTED, especially since it is an End Times thriller, brrr.
Thanks for reading!
Caleb A. Mertz
This is an excerpt from my book THE UNEXPECTED that I read today and was moved by it. I hope you feel the same way.
A man dressed in a nicely fitted suite walked through the door seconds after Carl. This gentleman, looking rather frank and serious, walked up the main corridor as the speaker stopped, and the rest of the room turned to look at this man. He carried nothing (as nothing was permitted in this room) but he strolled casually, yet with an important stride toward the president. He was proud to be the one to be able to approach the president, so he did not show the fear knowing there were laser sights attacking his back; ready to fire if he were to make a false move.
“Mr. President,” he began cordially. Andrew waved this aside.
“What!?” he asked, worried of the news.
“There has been an attack on Fort Lauderdale, and the Golden Gate Bridge,” the man stated, looking at the president sternly. “Mr. Beggins has requested your presence.”
Andrew stood. The president of the United States for only three hours leaned into the microphone that protruded from the wooden desk in front of him.
“If you will excuse me I must attend to a matter.” He remained calm, keeping his composure and charisma more than any one. “There has been an attack on Fort Lauderdale and the Golden Gate Bridge.”
The attending advisers looked down in disbelief. It was their new version of the September eleven happenings of 2001. Some had been there for this; others had only been in high school at the time. They had never thought an event like this would ever take place in their life again. Andrew himself thought of this time being only fifteen years old and sitting in his middle school class. He had immediately begun praying. He remembered crying as he watched the footage; he remembered his mother’s stories of her friends that were there. He remembered hearing of his father’s death as he ran up the stories to try and save a few hundred people only seconds before the towers collapsed.
Andrew, in his surge of emotion, repressed this and walked sternly from his desk with Mr. Riggel closely by his side. Now as they walked, Andrew remembered sitting in front of the television and quickly writing each of the names they named on a pad of paper until his hand had tired. He still continued to write as the names came, wanting to make it a point to pray for the families that lost loved ones. He had remembered thinking the pain in his hand was nothing to what the families were experiencing.
It was just then, as his hand was too tired to write any more names, when he heard his father’s name. He remembered sitting there watching his mother in tears in their trailer at 511 Spruce street. She couldn’t even keep up with the names that came rapidly from the reporter’s mouth. She prayed. Oh, she prayed. She prayed until her lips were blue for those poor people. She sat praying with the tears flooding down her face at the sight of this happening. She prayed as usual, and she prayed in tongues, all while having a heart for those people. He just got done writing a name that sounded like one of his friends when they said, “Ray Rakford”.
He wrote the first letter before he finished hearing the name. He snapped his head around to look at his mother. She had a Disney glass in her hand filled with some orange juice, but she didn’t care about that. She never looked so strange there on the couch, struck as if by some evil force. It reminded him of the look of a fearful child, as they would be soon possessed by some awful demon. Sick in the face, sunken eyes though wide, rattled hair and, of course, a jaw that hung low. Hung to the extent that it could naturally go and then some. She didn’t care about the praying any more, she just stared at the television. There on the side of the screen only for a few seconds did it say, “Ray Rakford: Firefighter NYFD.” The image was replaced by a name that Andrew still wrote down. He had to pray. He couldn’t stop just because his father’s name appeared. Now. NOW! The pain rippled through his body and tore at his brain.
Andrew’s pace slowed somewhat as he walked with Mr. Riggel.
“Are you all right?” Mr. Riggel asked.
“Fine,” Andrew responded, still intelligent and serious as ever.
NOW! He KNEW! He wrote faster, as his mother stared at the television and a surge of emotion made its way from the pit of his stomach and lingered now in his throat. He could literally see her color changing. He could see her start to faint. Now was the time to pray, he had to be strong. How could he feel like this after not seeing his father for years? Now he could say goodbye and his dad would hear him. This thought pulsed harder against his brain and pushed on the backs of his eyes. His lungs constricted as he fought this urge, he struggled to hear the other names. Now he knew what those other people felt. NOW! He couldn’t let those feelings overtake him. He had to write the names faster. He had to get all of them.
She cried, she wailed, he could hear her struggle for breath as she screamed! He STRAINED to hear the names. He HAD to hear the names. Fred Azar, he wrote. James Smith, he wrote. She cried. Henry Longafeller, he wrote, as his own tears now came. He couldn’t be selfish. There were more people in the world. He continued to get the names as she crawled to him and pulled him into a hug. He couldn’t get any more names. He could still feel the pencil in his hand, and felt the beating of his heart. It thumped hard and long. It seemed slow, yet full of strength and adrenaline.
“R” was all he wrote for his father. He never said a prayer for “R.” He looked at the letter and said, “I love you.” That’s all. Never anything more, this was one thing that he could not deal with. One pain that was too much for Andrew to feel. He remembered that “R” and always kept it with him.
This is my first post using the app on my blackberry. Probably not the best idea ever, but I’ll never know if I never try. As it turns out the starbucks I sit outside of is currently outletless as some business men talk quietly in the corner, cords stretched across the door. A hindu family sits near the front door scolding their children softly that are trying to eat the fake display artisan food. The overly handsome barista just had an awkward conversation with me in my attempts not to appear socially awkward. I’m sure I sounded like a stalker.
“How is your day going?” He kindly asks over the frothing noise the espresso machine makes to pump out my quad caramel machiatto .
“Great…” I begin, as would be the usual response, but leave it to me to take it further. I mean he is handsome right? “Golly,” I might well have started with a glint in my eye, southern accent drawling, eyes shifting to the back door then the employee schedule. “What time do you usually have to come in?” I slightly lean forward, hunching my back, closing one eye and scrunching my face; furthering my cause.
He looks up at me, when I realize how much I adore his eyes. Really? Maybe I titled this post wrong. Maybe it should be: Caleb’s likliness to that of a creeper, or fantastical fascination with the frappuccino guy, either way there’s a story here. So his eyes are the kind that have an aura of their own, almost golden circles envelop the hazel eyes, and the darkness of the pupil that peers into my homosexuality (aka gaydar!) His hair, short, tidy, and black knows about me too. The stubble on his face gives him just enough scruff to holler ‘I’m a man!’ Though scant enough to show the young features that shape the face and lil dimple chin.
He fills me in on his in-time rather un-altered by the completely off the wall question. Well it wasn’t really. I am not usually up this early, today I am because the apartment complex where I currently, well, usually reside is being fumigated for bedbugs! Ick!
Needless to say, I go on to further humiliate myself with admitting to my usual laziness, “I don’t know how you can do it. I’m not usually up anything before ten!” I should have added a bunch of likes for a valley girl tone, then blinked my eyes a few hundred times in a matter of a few seconds.
“Ah, you get into a routine of it,” he says. No duh! Ugh! I’m so stupid. Though he smiles, I think it was a smile that revealed a scar on his right cheek; hmm…mystery and intrigue. Ugh! Love him already! Oh, yeah. What am I doing now? Sitting out front, where I know he can see me laughing to myself picturing what I must have sounded like.
So on with the real reason for this post: killing pests and spawning new creative efforts. My apartment is being fumigated for the next three days. Oh yeah! Bed bugs! How delicious! The exterminator asks,”have you noticed any rashes, bumps, or even blood on the sheets?” Ew! Blood on the sheets? What kind of bugs are these? Ravenous creatures waiting for the warmth of my body to hit the mattress to crawl out by the thousands out of every crevice in attempts to devour my flesh in one evening? A type of evolved scarab beetle? I imagine waking up in a pool of blood, covered by pumpkin seed looking little pricks with heads like ticks, and pincers like a spider’s…ew!
So with the news that I actually don’t have them but five of the other units do, I can sleep at night without the aid of alcohol or nyquil. They’re still tenting the place to kill the little suckers, after two failed heat treatment attempts. For three days I will be staying at a place in old town with nothing to do except work and read, and what’s that? Write? Wahoo! Oh wait, it’s a cheap hotel…without wireless! What! What hotel doesn’t have wireless! Oh wait, they do, however, I’m too far from the “G” router they have in the office! What a jip, McDonalds here I come; especially since I can’t seem to find a good outlet at the starbucks where the handsome, halo-eyed, cappuccino foam-maker works. Then again, I could drive twenty minutes out of my way, again…wait, Jesus! Here goes that creeper thing again. (it’s all in good fun, by the way)
Anyway, I have finished John Irving’s depressing novel The Hotel New Hampshire and feel like working on refining my voice and sentence structure. I also just signed with examiner.com to be an affiliate and sourced writer for cbs.com. It’d involve real topics, real deadlines, and most of all real, tangible money!
Alright. Well this has been fun. I’m out of my macchiatto, and have to pee, and would love to strike up another embarrassing conversation with mr. Halo-eyes, without caffeinating myself to anxiety, so maybe a chai tea? Ugh! It’s so gay, but soo good!
Thanks for reading! Muah!
Caleb A. Mertz
Shandre Wintrell was a genius. He’d been informed of this by his therapist shortly after his I.Q. test. He always knew though, especially with his thought patterns. There was never a true straight line of thought, but often scattered and web forming; catching ideas and hypotheses only he could understand because he already drew the lines.
With the best intentions he wanted to use his genius to the betterment of the world. A savage war had begun in the middle east which had struck a chord with Mr. Wintrell. I will join the military, He thought in a particular genius moment of thinking. He came to this conclusion of thought after initiating it with a theory on war and the weapons we use in such. From this the lines went to our technology, then the training one receives in the service; the tactics the enemy employs for their training, and how we go about strategically implementing our resources from our men to the technology used in smart bombs. It was a rather simple solution; him joining the cause would only benefit the best nation in the world.
I’d get in much better shape too, He thought. Often the only dialogue Mr. Wintrell participated in was within his mind. It was a shame he didn’t clearly outline his plans to his therapist; he was a genius though, and knew that she would attempt to foil his plan with statements of insanity or manic depression.
I would be able to investigate the training, show my intelligence, specialize in weapons, and eventually develop the best course of offense and the ultimate peace keeping weapon. He smiled thinking his thoughts. A parade followed where instead of him being seated high and celebrated; his device was, as he marched along side his fellow men. It will be a great day.
Shandre Wintrell was a genius. He went to the recruiting office and spent particular time paying attention to which service he would join to better maximize his benefit to the world. The Navy had ships, My device isn’t a ship, he thought. The Marines were more specialized, My device is broad, he thought sending this to the side. He rested on the Air Force believing airplanes may be necessary to deploy his device. There were shadow projects of high intelligence the Air Force often initiated as well, which would be his ticket to getting the idea recognized.
The psychological exam was easy enough to pass. He signed the papers and went to his Therapist appointment. She was worriedly waiting for him. In the past five years she had gotten to know him he had never been late for a session.
“Sorry for being late,” he said walking confidently as the newest member to the Air Force.
“Do you mind me asking why?” She asked, comfortable now that he sat in front of her.
“I took a path not even I had thought I’d ever go down.” He said sitting, but with a more rigid stance than usual.
“Why would you never go down this path?” She asked with file in hand ready to make any additional notes. Today they were to be re-evaluating his treatment plan for his release from the program.
“Because it leads off the way. It takes me to a place I don’t recognize. While going from A to B, it isn’t normal to go to point F first. A point that is off the plain of where we need to be. Today I did that, I went from A to F and was fascinated with the perception change. It was a moment of clarity everyone deserves from time to time.” Mr. Wintrell divulged.
“Very good.” She smiled.
“The best part is, it got me here. I made it to my goal, though slightly behind schedule but with a gained sense of reality.” Shandre was certainly proud to have cleverly told her exactly what he was doing. It was better that she agreed. The rest of the session went as usual, while he still thought on the bus ride to base. He’d get off of the bus and run into the barracks go through intake, place a pornographic magazine in his bags just to seem normal; a minor infraction. Then he would be in his sleeping quarters purposefully clumsily getting his things together while the Drill Sergeant screamed at the other recruits. They would be called to formation when he would show as the best dressed with each seam aligning perfectly, shirt blousing as picturesque, while being berated for being too perfect.
His therapist finished with him. “See you next week.” She couldn’t actually say good luck, though he knew he told her exactly what was the next step. He played along with her actions.
“See you then,” he laughed at her cleverness.
Shandre boarded the bus as Recruit. Fascinating already, he began making notes. His pornographic magazine smartly settled into the bottom of his bag to make it appear as if he were trying to sneak it in. He left his hair go knowing the hair dresser, there, would gain a sense of worthiness from cutting his hair upon intake. The bus departed as he happily began way to fulfill his destiny. It was aggravating though, that the others on the bus were talking. He didn’t care why anyone else had joined, or where they were from. Everyone was supposed to be wearing meek expressions of fear on their face as they journeyed to a place unknown. Shandre perfected this face and wore it proudly, though the irritating leather seat plucked at his simple nerves.
A man boarded the bus and began shouting orders, adding substance to his ideas and fulfilling what was meant to happen. Rushing out of the bus with hidden porn in hand along with a few other personal belongings; this was going perfectly. He received the haircut he knew he would and smiled knowing he had fulfilled the dreams of his hair dresser. Getting to barracks he purposefully stumbled around his bag of items to make his bed and dress in uniform. Playing his game, he hadn’t noticed everyone was already lined up and at attention. The Drill Sergeant approached.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing recruit? I say fall in, you fall in.” He pushed Shandre backward.
“I apologize sir,” Recruit Shandre responded.
“You apologize! You apologize!” Two other Drill Sergeants that had been busy screaming at the recruits in formation ran toward Recruit, screaming as if they were in pain. This was not quite the way it was meant to go, so he gave into defeat and attempted to fall in.
“Where do you think you’re going! We’re talking to you!” The others screamed in his ear making it hard to hear exactly what was happening. They’ll apologize, Shandre thought, once they know why I’m really here.
The yelling continued. Their bodies were pushed up against Recruits knocking him back and forth while the first Sergeant demanded answers.
“You think you don’t have to follow orders?” He asked bug eyed, spit lapsing his lips.
“No sir, not my intentions.” One of the other Sergeants now stood on the bunks rattling the metal. He grabbed Recruits bag and threw it on the floor scattering the contents, kicking the notebook and shredding the clothes.
This happened to everyone. It was part of the game. Why was he there? He was a genius, but why did he join the ranks as a recruit? How was his plan not working? There was a silence within him. A hollow voice filled him, the one from years past. The one that got him to Therapy in the first place. She was the genius. She was the one that got him to this place. She was the one that wanted to take control now she was in position to. He didn’t want to fight her but thought better with the recommendations of his Therapist. A jolt of pain to his body released him from the reigns and allowed her to take over.
When he woke his face was unrecognizable; blue and swollen. His hands bloody with broken fingers and ripped fingernails. He was alive, behind bars, and back in control. The hollow voice of the women laughed, happy to have played a trick on him. He sat in pain. I’m a genius.
You’re about as smart as a man named Shandre Wintrell; the stupid fool.
Exercise: Write a story about a character whose imagination is taken over with an obsession– and obsession with an idea, a tale, a vision — that determines the way in which your character lives his or her life, and acts out the forward movement of your story.