still here

the date: 12/21/2012
the time: 8:00AM PST
the place: California, USA

No fire and brimstone raining down on us yet.  The coast hasn’t fallen into the ocean (and the ocean hasn’t swelled to swallow us either).  No signs of impending doom.

It’s actually a really pleasant day.  There is a bit of a refreshing chill in the crisp air this morning.  It’s the first day of winter after all, it’s about time it started to cool off here.  And, there isn’t a single cloud blemishing the expansive sky: blue from horizon to horizon.

How is everyone else fairing?

Just when I was beginning to think things had changed

It’s been awhile.  I had begun to hope that maybe it had fallen off on its own.  I had begun to believe that I didn’t need to worry about it as much anymore.  But, in a return to a subject I first covered here and then touched upon again here, I have to say I really do need to spend some time looking over my truck in the next few days, find the sign and take it down.

You know the sign I’m talking about, right?

The one that says, “Sure, come on over to my lane, there’s plenty of room for us to share it.”

Yep.  A car tried to merge into me again this morning on my way to work.  On a hill.  In the rain.  The driver wasn’t talking on his cell phone.  He didn’t seem to be fiddling with his radio or otherwise distracted by something within his car.  His hands were at 10 and 2.

He didn’t have his blinker on though. 

Luckily, based on prior experiences with my sign and vehicles on the southern California highways and freeways, streets and roads, avenues and boulevards, I pretty much suspect everyone of wanting to cut me off or share my lane with me.  So, when his car crossed the line and edged ever so slightly into my lane I was well prepared to engage in evasive maneuvers.  On a hill.  In the rain.  (Oh, yeah, we already covered that.)

I knew there was nobody to my left, so I veered that direction and gave my truck a bit of extra gas.  The car that had just tried to hit me noticed what he was doing after I had already moved out of the way and jerked back into his lane.  I pressed down on the accelerator a little bit more and put enough distance between us so I could see him in my review mirror.  Then he signaled and changed lanes to get behind me.

Even though there was no one in front of him in his lane.  Even though he was going slower than the flow of traffic in the lane he merged into.

I don’t get it…

But, yeah, I really need to find that sign.

my couch is a wonderously evil thing

All this week I’ve had the best of intentions: go to work, come home and do my normal chores around the house, and then sit down and work on editing my NaNaWriMo project. That hasn’t happened.

I’ve done the “go to work” part. That hasn’t been a problem. Wake up, eat, get in the car, drive for an hour, do that work stuff. Done.

Chores? Yeah, did all those too: errands on the way home, cleaned the house, did all the dishes, took care of my kitties, etc… I’m good at those chores things. I get them done.

But then I need to make myself some dinner, and I invariably wind up on the couch to take a little rest while I eat. And that is the plan, to just take a 30 minute break, eat some food, laugh at some silly people on the televsion and then get cracking.

Do I do that? No. Not so much. Not at all.

I get sucked in. 30 minutes of The Big Bang Theory turns into an hour of the show, and that’s followed by How I Met Your Mother, and then I will want more and I can just change the channel and find more of those shows. I’ll look over at the time at some point and will be shocked by how much time has passed. I could still shut it off and spend at least a few minutes, go through at least one chapter, before my wife calls on her own long trek home from work but I’ve lost all motivation and don’t have the energy to force myself to do it anyway.

The couch is just too comfortable, wonderously so actually.

And pure evil.

Chapter 6

Another addition to my comedy western.  I’m making fairly good progress on it (close to 70,000 words) and I think I’ve finished writing the main climax.  Just need to wrap it all up nicely with a bow.  Then again, there may be one last twist that unfolds as I pour the words out onto the page (screen).  But, I’m getting way ahead of myself, because this is only chapter 6!

The first five chapters are available here.

Would love to hear what my faithful readers think about this story so far.  Is the tongue in cheek approach working?  Is anyone finding any of this funny at all?  Are the characters likeable?  Do I need to spend more time developing them, or the dialogue, or the scenes, or…?


I know you are wondering, so even though it isn’t important for this story, I’ll go ahead and answer your questions.  No, Sheriff Brown didn’t drink the whole bottle of whiskey.  Yes, he did have a drink, and then he put the rest of the bottle in the bottom right drawer of his desk.  No, he didn’t offer any to Jack.  And, no, Jack didn’t go looking for it.  You can put it out of your mind, and you might as well, because the bottle will not be mentioned again.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, can we get on with the story?  Okay, good. 

The shakes weren’t bugging him as much anymore.  Two weeks had passed since Jack had first woken up in Sheriff Brown’s Jail in Gunnison, and for those two weeks, other than the initial day, Jack had been sober.  The occasional beer to settle his nerves and ward off the tremors couldn’t be held against him.  Besides, he’d started cutting down on his intake of beer as well and was down to only one or two a day.  It was quite the progress from the 1 or 2 shots of whiskey he would have normally had before breakfast.

The odd jobs he’d been doing for the sheriff helped keep his mind off the sauce.  The physical exertion helped sweat the alcohol out of him and get his body to recover faster.  He was grateful for the opportunity to sober up that Sheriff Brown had given him.  He still wasn’t certain that he’d be able to stay sober, he was after all a drunk, but he was going to do his best to repay the faith the sheriff had shown in him. 

Back to the point at hand, the shakes weren’t bugging him as much anymore because he wasn’t getting them as much anymore.  His right hand still held the slightest bit of a tremor that he couldn’t control once or twice a day but that was the end of it.  He wasn’t entirely certain those shakes were alcohol related anyway.  His right hand was his… well; we’ll get to that later in the story.

After their interrupted prank, Ed and his little posse hadn’t been seen around town much.  The sheriff had warned Jack to keep his eye out for them because Ed wasn’t the type to just let that sort of embarrassment go.   Luckily Richard Blunt had called in all his hands the day after the incident in front of the jail.  It was time to round up the livestock again, count the heads, brand the new additions, rebrand any where Blunts bar double horseshoe standard had faded (it looks like a B), and a whole slew of other ranching tasks that needed to be addressed.  Both Jack and the sheriff figured it was only a matter of time until Ed was unleashed and found his way back into town. 

Still, Jack had kept his eye out for Ed, his cronies and anybody else that might be getting ready to cause him some sort of trouble.  After several days of being vigilant it became obvious that Gunnison was an incredibly dull town.  He liked it even more for that.  Maybe he’d actually be able to stay out of trouble for once in his life.  Maybe he could get a job, a real job, find a quiet place to build a little house and spend the rest of his days in peace. 

With that in mind, Jack broached the subject with the Sheriff one morning while they ate a small breakfast of dry toast spread with cherry preserves, hard boiled eggs, and coffee.  “Do you know of any openings around town a man like me might be suited for?”

“I reckon so.”  The sheriff leaned back in his chair, coffee mug in one hand, second hand scratching the spot on the back of his head for his hat normally rested.  “You getting tired of helping me out?”

“Not really,” Jack responded with a sheepish grin.  “I’m just thinking ahead.  I’m thinking I might like to stay on in this little town and I’ll need something more permanent in the way of work, income and housing if I’m not going to be a drain on you anymore.”

Sheriff Brown blew across the top of his mug to cool the dark brew before he took a sip.  He gave jack a once-over: the tremors were almost gone, his eye had cleared up, he’d put on some muscle tone and color in the last two weeks so he actually looked healthy, and he hadn’t asked for a drink in the past two days.  It might be rushing it a bit but he might be ready for the next step.  He didn’t want to rush it and risk Jack relapsing but you could never tell if a man was truly ready to stand on his own until you made him try. 

“I’ll ask around and see what I can find.”

“I’d certainly appreciate it.  Just like I appreciate everything you’ve already done for me.”  Jack gulped down the last of his coffee and got up to set about his tasks for the day.  First he was going to sweep and mop out the empty jail cells.  Then he was going to do a stock check, and tally, to get a count on all supplies within the jail.  Those two tasks would probably take most of the day but if he had time he would also walk around the building and look for weakening boards that needed reinforcement and then nail patches into place as needed.

While finishing up his own coffee, the sheriff pondered what type of man Jack was.  He’d asked for a job suitable for a man like him. 

Well, he’s a drunk, so we probably shouldn’t get him a job in a bar, or near a bar.  He’s only got one eye so we should steer clear of anything where depth perception is key.  He’s a bit smelly and raggedy but a bath, a shave and a haircut, and some new clothes should get that settled up.  Still, I can’t really see him working as a store clerk.  He’s strong, does well following directions, and is a hard worker.  I could see if any of the ranches on the outskirts of town are looking for some extra hands.  If he doesn’t know the ins and outs of working with animals it may not be something that could be taught at his age though.  Plus, the one eye thing comes back into play, is he going to be able to work with rope?  Can he ride down strays in fading light in rocky terrain? 

 I could train him and hire him on as my deputy but somehow I get the feeling that wouldn’t be right for him either.  He seems a good man but I couldn’t trust him without knowing what drove him to drink in the first place and I don’t think he’s ready to spill that nugget of information.  He may never share that with me.

 Quite the dilemma. 

 Well, perhaps I was wrong.  Maybe the bar is the best place for him.  He’s got a lot of experience in bars.  Sure it’s been on the other side of the bar but he still would have picked up on a few things.  It might test his self control to be tempted every day, to have the sauce under his nose, but he’ll need to be able to resist the temptation anyway once he gets some pay coming in.  Could be a bar would be the best fit for a man like him. 

His mind made up, Sheriff Brown polished off his coffee, grabbed his hat off the back of his chair and pulled it on, and made his way out the door and down the street to see his good friend Dan Reilly.  Dan owned and operated the Gunnison Inn, a small, misnamed bar, it had no actual rooms for rent, that was popular enough with the locals that it always did steady business year round.  Occasionally Dan needed to hire some extra help when the busy season for moving cattle picked up.  The sheriff hoped that Dan hadn’t already filled all of the extra spots he was looking to hire for the season and that Dan wouldn’t laugh too hard when the sheriff asked him how he felt about hiring a drunk to work at his bar.

fun with weather

I’ve noticed whenever where I live gets a bit of:  rain

Mammoth gets a bit of: snow

And that makes me smile. 

I like rain and I like when Mammoth gets snow. 

This year we need Mammoth to get a bunch of the white fluffy awesomeness so that they can stay open until the Fourth of July again.  With the little one on the way, we are going to miss snowboarding season unless they get absolutely dumped on and stay open late enough that we can go spring boarding after the kiddo shows up.  That’s our hope.  That’s our plan.

So, come on weather, go ahead and rain, rain, rain.  I’ll happily (sort of) put up with bad driving, delays, getting wet, making a mess of the backyard and whatever else you want to throw at me as long as it means that Mammoth is going to keep getting dumped on.  (Though I do reserve the right to blog occasionally about the disasters of my commuter lifestyle.)

But, wait, now the sun is shining here…

That’s not part of the plan. 

Who do I need to talk with to get this straightened out?