Sunday 17 July 2011

New Scribbles

    "But your thoughts will soon be wandering, the way they always do...|"
                                                                                       -Bob Seger

   I started writing this novel back in '96.  Every once in a while I dig into the back of the closet and drag the pile of paper into the light and try to figure out whether it's a story with legs, or whether it is a 250 word/page zombie.   Here's a bite.   Let me know what you think.


Detroit has been a Catholic mission, a battleground, a trading post, a battleground, a manufacturing behemoth and a battleground, in roughly that order.

     It has never been forgiving.

     Ask the strikers at Henry Ford’s River Rouge  factory- those that lived, never worked for old Henry again.
     Ask the working stiffs whose homes burned during the riots of ‘68-  those who still care are still waiting for promised rebuilding assistance that will never come.

     Ask any Big Three autoworker chronically “laid off” during the last decade and a half- it’s hard to feed a family on vague assurances of call-backs.

     Ask me.

     Just after seven in the morning I nudged Hecate toward home.  I’d searched the river for sleep and found none, so as the rising sun warmed the sharp angles of the skyline, I’d picked up my fishing rod and cast upon the waters.

     I should have searched harder for sleep.

     Fishing is a time-tested river distraction, but if the fish aren’t biting, you aren’t distracted much.

     They weren’t; I wasn’t.

     Conveniently, I gave up on both fish and sleep as the dredged ditch optimistically labeled “Riverview Marina” blighted the view off Hecate’s starboard bow.  The engines had barely warmed up before I hung fenders over  the gunwales and ran fore and aft lines to the sagging dock the marina rents me without conscience.

     This is home.

     Riverview wasn’t much of a marina when the pilings first punctured the riverbank thirty years ago, and eleven different regimes of ownership have brought no noticeable change, except for the worse.  Every year the docks inch closer to becoming rafts, and every year the slip rental climbs, an ascent invariably blamed on “improvements.”

     Probably to the owner-of - the moment’s home.

     Still, shaky architecture aside, it’s the only marina on the river that’s open year-round, the dock-end gas pump dispense almost affordable, reasonably combustible fuel, and the other tenants don’t bother, steal from, or even acknowledge Hecate and I.

     It’s as perfect as you get in Detroit.

     With the old witch as secure as she was going to get, and sleep continuing  it’s refusal to tap on my shoulder, I triaged the galley, hoping for breakfast.  Cleaning out the icebox and food locker, I gorged myself on a box of stale animal crackers and a can of Vernor’s, and wished I’d caught a fish.

     Groceries moved up to second position on my priority list.

     Paying for them continued its record streak at number one.

     As I chewed the last baked elephant, I reviewed my economic options.

     Chewing the cracker took longer.

     I didn’t bother opening my wallet; I knew the contents by heart.  Driver’s license, two dog-eared snapshots, social security card.  No cash, no checks, no credit cards, no bank-machine card.  Examining my saving and checking account balances was not an option.

     I had neither.

     In the v-berth locker in Hecate’s forward cabin was a can of spare change, collected during the months of my waterborne residence, that constituted my emergency fund.  My current situation didn’t qualify.

     Being flat broke wasn’t an emergency;  it was normal.

     Time to go to work.

     I crushed the empty Vernor’s can and tossed it toward the bag where it’s five discarded siblings resided.  I’d return them later.  Cans were gas money.  I offered a silent salute to deposit laws and stepped onto the swaybacked dock.


     Time to dance.....  

     (Continued on the "New Scribble" Page)


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  1. As always, the writing is excellent and the voice feels very very authentic ... where's this story going?

  2. Very good. Makes me want to read the rest.

  3. You definately have a taste for the noir. Very good. I would read more, happily!

  4. I like it. It has grit. It has a soul.

    I've also been enjoying the rest of your blog. Great writing!

    Resolute_ZS from Sailnet