Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I'm desperately trying to keep up!

This week I'm conferencing with students, developing a research proposal, fielding crazy amounts of email, developing a group video project, trying to plan a months worth of lesson plans and I've finally gotten serious about finishing a short story for workshop.

It has finally clicked that I need to email out a final draft in twenty days! Twenty days -- less than three weeks -- and I won't be able to edit any more before it gets shredded by the wolves!

Okay, so I signed up for the wolves and I need them to shred so that I can learn and get better but -- still -- wolves!

First dilemma? I don't know which of my three started stories I should focus on!

So I give you Teaser Trailers.

In order from most complete to need uber-work the candidates are:

Ten Days Later

She had been three days in the desert, and still hadn’t adjusted. All the water she’d been drinking to offset Albuquerque’s altitude and dryness had been further offset by an almost continuous flow of cocktails.
The change in climate had been abrupt. She’d left New York, just gearing up for Summer, to the pressurized plane cabin, down to the climate controlled airport, then outside to a world that finally resembled her insides.

She was amazed at how still she found this new world. The amount of insects and animals slithering around by the daylight was minimal compared to what she was used to. She knew there were things out there, there had to be, just waiting for the night to fall before they made their move.

She hadn’t made a move of her own. All hers had been made for her.
She had been in New York six days earlier when her manager called her from Charles de Gaulle to let her know he had sublet the apartment they shared in New York City.

“But I’m living here.”

Before he had left, he had insisted that she stay in the city and paint for the summer. That she stay put even after her gallery showing was over and she could have joined him. He was going to be in Provence by the time the show ended and said it was wiser that she spend the time working instead of traveling. He had always been her manager, sometimes her boyfriend and occasionally her fiancĂ©. She hadn’t objected to the arrangement at the time.

She heard the rushing and squawking and loud speaker announcements sounding off behind him. Defense dĂ©fumer a la concourse, si vous plait. He hadn’t hinted he was thinking of subletting sublet their apartment before he had left the country. Nor had he mentioned the tenant would be there on the first.

“Ten days. You’ve given me only ten days.”

He confirmed this. And though she could not see him she knew he shrugged; he disliked silences and filled them with empty gestures. “More like nine days.”

She looked at the calendar. He was right.
She put down the phone and her assistant called.

“I have to find a new apartment.”

“You’ve got bigger problems than that.”

The small bells tied to the bakery’s door clink into the glass and draw the clerk’s attention to Sarah. Sarah swallows but her mouth still feels dry. She’s done this every March for the past eight years and still the deception makes her nervous. She’s certain she doesn’t look the part, that she’ll say something and give herself away. That’s why she’s chosen this bakery in Wrigleyville a half mile off the redline Belmont stop. She takes the L to and from work every day but the Belmont is more than twenty minutes south of her apartment. No one here will have seen her before, and she’ll never have to come back.

The clerk eyes Sarah from behind the counter but does not smile. She could easily be Sarah’s mother but there’s nothing motherly about her. Instead her dark hair and dark eyes make Sarah uneasy and, as she would in any storybook, Sarah instantly recognizes the wicked witch for what she is.

Body Museum
It wasn’t until after Tracy had taken the extra job that she learned it was a felony to possess a human skull.

She had been working in the museum since April. The exhibit had gone up shortly after and showed no signs of closing. The other exhibit had been easier to work around – miniatures of ancient civilizations – the corpses were a different story.
Her cigarette was getting short. The cherry glowed right above the green brand lettering on the filter but she hoped she had one more drag left. It didn’t but she took it anyway. The taste was stale but she’d take it if meant a few seconds more outside. Bones had come in today.

She’d thought that it would get easier to work in this place the longer she was there, and it had seemed reasonable at the time. The displays of humans with their skin peeled off, some completely some in cross sections. She thought it might have been easier if they’d been placed in typical dead guy positions. Lying down on cold metal tables. She could take that, that’s how it looked on TV. Or even standing up like the fake skeleton that was in her high school science room, the one some boys had stolen for an end of year prank. Things weren’t that simple here. The bodies with their pink insides showing were posed. Caught in motion like snap shots. Throwing a ball. Conducting an orchestra. Hand on hip giving a thumbs up. Even one guy acting like everything was totally normal, hands on hips, feat spread, weight balanced on the balls of his feet like he was some kind of jock, or Jet Li, and not even noticing that they’d taken a buzz saw from the crown of his skull right through his torso. Cut him clean in half.

It didn’t matter how she felt about the exhibit. She had two girls to feed and an aging farm house to keep from collapsing. So she came to work at 11:00 every night. Did what she had to do. Left at 7:00am to drive bus for the school system. But there were bones in the back room tonight. Not bodies like the exhibits with muscle and organs infused with plastic so that she could almost pretend they weren’t real, but a complete skeleton. And this museum didn't show naked skeletons.

Suggestions and comments welcome.

Highly Recommended