Josha’s Last Night of Freedom

Based on a FB group I started to get people writing. There are weekly exercises, and this was the first one. The goal was to write about a support character without ever bringing a protagonist into the story. This helps flesh out a support character. Some people have actually caused their support character to change based on this. Josha will never change, though. Here is Josha, the mentor of Kessem in Drowning the Sands of G’desh.

Josha bit into the cork in his vial and yanked it out, the pleasant thrum of the glass reverberating. Red liquid sloshed about in the alchemist’s bottle and he took a swig. The red dripped down his chin and he wiped it with the back of his white tunic. It slowly made its way down the bottle as well, leaving sediment.

Hamed laughed and grabbed for one of the other vials with the same color liquid. He took out the cork and also took a gulp, sighing in delight at the drink. Abram was apprehensive and said, “Alchemist, how can we trust this? What will it do to us?” Abram was the youngest at twelve, but the three usually got along. Either way, their destinies were intertwined and they would need to learn to work together. It galled Josha to no end that the snot nosed child followed them around so often.

However, Hamed was always in good spirits, and he responded, “What it’ll do to you is get you good and drunk so you can actually have some fun.” Hamed was to be the Sultan when his father passed, which was likely soon enough. He was still a teen, a couple years younger than Josha, but he was the last son and his father emphasized a desire to have youth on the throne. His brothers, each a great general, seemed to relent to the pressure of father. The one who did not was sent to the front lines to never return.

The bottle looked strange in Abram’s young hand. He analyzed it, swishing it about in the glass bottle, shaking up the ingredients. Josha groaned, “Don’t do that, boy. You’ll destroy the composition.” He swirled his own wine, “You gently swirl. Then check the streaking. That tells you how thick it is. When you open it, let it breathe.”

“You didn’t let it breathe,” he shot back, snarling.

“That’s because I don’t care what it tastes like. I just want to get drunk and do something stupid.” He took another long pull and laughed, lifting the bottle up. He could feel it in him, the thoughts in his head swimming. Internally he gloated at how his judgment was impaired and the rest of the day was out of his control. “Now open your damned bottle before your mom asks you to suck on her for your milk.”

The boy grumbled, but did as he was told, opening the wine bottle and drinking from it. Hamed pushed him to take as deep a drink as possible, then went to finishing half his own bottle. Josha scoffed, “How much you think I made?” His tongue felt numb and his lips moved in ways he didn’t mean. “Take time, Hamed.” Josha had to sit down, and leaned. The concoction was stronger than he planned, but that would do fine enough. “We going to Kazab?”

“Of course. We have some festivities planned, too. Not often we get above ground,” Hamed said, then pulled up his friend.$

Doing the right thing

I was at a party today with a good friend. I might have known five of the people there, and I think there were at least a hundred. To those of you unaware, this is an exceedingly uncomfortable social situation. But swimming and food was promised.

My friend and I walked off towards a fire pit and started talking. He was holding a beer, and I was holding a cream soda. “I’ve found something out about myself,” I said as we looked at the barely burned wood from a failed bonfire. “I’m more open and free, man.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s been like 600 days since I’ve had a real girlfriend. I burp and fart in public. If there are women, I turn to them, ‘Miss, excuse me.’ I flirt with just about everyone. Married and engaged is the line, but barring that. I had a friend who told me I’m insincere but oddly charming. I replied I didn’t understand, but it was so covered in hitting on her, I sheepishly agreed. I don’t even know what I’d do if a woman actually took me up on it.”

“I don’t see an issue with that.” He took a sip, then said, “Paul, you’re an honest man.”

“I’m too old for games. I don’t need to date someone for a year and she loves the lies. I make dirty jokes and fart in public. I can hold them back for her parents, but not likely her friends.”

He laughed, then said, “I went to a restaurant the other day with my fiance.” He what? We obviously switched topics. We’re no longer on honesty, and I’m okay with that, but I had to change gears.

“I got the bill and I saw that they didn’t charge me for my food.” It happens.

“You know what I thought of? You.” He thinks of me while out to dinner with his future wife? I’m touched. Most people don’t think of me seconds after we spoke.

“Remember when we went to the bar and didn’t get charged for a round of shots? You went out of your way to point it out and pay for them. You’re an honest man, Paul.” We took another sip. I was putting the pieces together. If it’s not the complicated plot line of a novel, I can sometimes have issues connecting dots. “I didn’t get coupons, but that’s okay.”

There was clarity in the next moment. Because I was honest about our shots, he was honest with his bill. I did end up getting coupons, but I threw them out. I tried not to let it show, and since I usually have a pretty dead pan look, I think I covered it perfectly, but I really was touched. I did something at a bar, of all places, and it influenced the actions of another. There was a good deed placed in front of me, for the glory of God, and I did not shy from it. It influenced someone else, when put in the same situation, to glorify God in such a small and beautiful act, and he paid for his dinner.

I talk about what I do often. Sometimes it’s a little narcissistic. Sometimes it’s to deaden the pain I often feel. Ultimately, I just want others to feel they can do it. When I boast, I do not mean to put the spotlight on me (kind of). I mean to show you that some chunker who isn’t really that unbelievably intelligent can do good works. And if I can do good works, if I can show love to those around me, so can you. Anyone can. I’m not that special. I’m not incredible. I do abhorrent acts. I break hearts. I hurt people. That doesn’t mean tomorrow I can’t make someone smile through some small act of love, even if it’s just an upbeat greeting.

Love the world and hold nothing back for yourself. It won’t always create good things, it can still bring on a great deal of pain. But without it, this world will never blossom and it will never improve.

Eevee’s Defiance

“Know what you want to become, Trick?” I scratched my eevee behind the ear and he purred and moved into my chest. He was small, just big enough to cover my upper torso. He ignored my question, as he often did. We were nearing the Celadon Gym, and it was a conversation we’ve been holding off on. As we traveled Kanto, however, Trick seemed less and less capable of keeping up, while an evolution would help him immensely.

“It’s easy to find the stones, you know. I’m okay about paying for them.” He still ignored me, my hand moving down to scratch his chest and belly. His back right leg always went spastic when I did. “Erika uses grass-type. Maybe if you became a flareon we could walk right through. It’s so hard finding a fire type, anyway.”

Trick finally decided to participate in the conversation. He sprung up onto my chest and started to dig his paws into my shirt, pulling on it and ripping into the fabric enough to leave dimples. “Is that necessary?” I sighed and put a hand on my face. “I like this shirt, Trick. Come on, man.” When I looked at him, his face was a couple inches away from me and he let out a growl.

“So you don’t want to be a flareon?” He shrugged. “You don’t even know what you want to be, do you?” He shrugged again, closing his eyes so they looked pleased. “You win. I guess there are some other types across the ocean. A psychic and dark type. Maybe a leaf or ice type?”

He curled up into a ball on me, and I went to idly stroking his back. “You’re a pain in my ass, Trick. You know that? What do I even have to defeat Erika?”

I pulled out my pokedex and focused it on Trick, who was steadily falling asleep. I looked through the list of moves eevee could learn. “Last resort?” He looked at the move, a powerful and late learned move. “How about when you learn last resort we seriously consider what to evolve you into?”

There was no response. Trick’s small chest moved in rhythm with my own and all I could do was smile. I put my hands behind my head and put my hat over my eyes. “I guess it’s nap time. The almighty Trick has spoken. Or snoozed.”

Not Quite Right

“You’re spleen’s out again,” Darlene scolded.

Bob sighed and pushed it back in, past the loosely knit flesh, where he was bitten long ago. “Darlene, you’re always busting my balls about this crap. Ed’s got a testicle dangling halfway down his thigh and Marlene doesn’t even tell him to get a new pair of pants without.”

She snarled as best she could without lips, her bloody teeth showing. “What are you telling me Bob? You’d rather be with Marlene? Is that what you’re saying? Because the neighborhood knows she’s a tramp and I know she’s already been shambling into bed with half the men on the cul de sac. Have you infested her, too? Huh, Bob? Why aren’t you answering me?”

The screeching was giving a headache. Or there were vultures plucking at his decaying skull. Either way, he was shocked at first, then wiped the surprise clean. “Because, Darlene, you are always hammering me about stupid crap. Didn’t you hear there are kids out there with baseball bats?”

“Urban myths, Bob. There haven’t been kids out there for years. And don’t you dare take that tone with me.”

Bob stood up as best he could, straightening out his femur which normally poked out of his leg. She never had a problem with his femur, he thought. Just the spleen. “I’ll take whatever tone I damned well please, Darlene, because this isn’t happening. You’ve been festering in my home far too long. And those kids, those aren’t urban myths. Frank’s dead. Did you know that? Frank’s got splinters in his skull. It wasn’t an accident.”

“Was he at the construction site? You all get so worked up bout nothing.” She became dismissive, waving off Bob’s comments. First she would batter him emotionally, and now she’ll just pretend he’s inconsequential. No. Not today.

“I want you out of my house.”

“Excuse me?”

“Since you’ve crawled in here and I had to help get your legs moving again, you’ve been driving me into the grave. Before, if I wanted my damned spleen hanging out, my spleen hung out. If there was a bird gnawing at my eye, I ate the bastard. I didn’t just wave it away because it’s not clean. We’re dead, Darlene. Who cares what I put in my mouth? And from what I’ve heard, Marlene’s not the only one who puts anything in her mouth.”

“Excuse me?” Now she stood up, shrieking loudly through the groans of the neighborhood.

“That’s right. I know you were getting your grave dug up by Jim. Jim and I are drinking buddies, Darlene. Think you’re the only one with friends?”

“Why didn’t you say nothing bout it?” She furrowed her brow.

“Because I love you. Because I’m your stiff. But you pushed too far. Now get out before I find a crowbar to do you myself.”

He waved her away, and sniffling, Darlene said, “Good bye, Bob. I’m sorry.”

She shuffled through the grass, and onto the pavement, and Bob went to watch as she was soon on the street. Then he heard it. Hooting and hollering, and all the neighbors started to groan more loudly, looking at what was coming. Could it be food? It had been years since there was meat. Or would it be those teens? Human teens were the worst, their blood lust knowing no bounds.

Then it happened. There were kids, riding through on bikes, wielding baseball bats and two by fours. “Darlene,” Bob shouted, and she turned, reaching out to him.

“Yes, my love?” And then it happened. A kid hit her head so hard she dropped to the asphalt, dead. Again.

Destruction or Motivation

It’s that one thing you cannot forget. The thing that keeps you up late at night, staring at a screen. You forget it for weeks, maybe months, but then it’s there in front of you, reminding you of good times, bad times, of failures you pray you could fix.

These are the things that drive a person. It drives them into the ground, under the dirt, burying them there in despair, taking them into an abyss. Or it drives them into the sky, to soar above all others. Drives them to workout. To find their beliefs. To write and to dream.

Twice was I thrown into the pit. Once I stood up and walked out, victorious, only to go back and pull others up. To be pulled back in by lies and promises unkept. In the void again, I will not simply soar up. I will not only find my wings. I will burn and my blaze will set the world on fire.

Everything that kills me, makes me feel alive.

G’desh: Part Three Begins!

The other week I breached part three of my story. Each part is the turning point of a major event that changes the course of history. Half of the story happens in part three. There will be twenty chapters, plus an epilogue. I am also still thinking about putting in a glossary, or sort of history book at the end. Still not entirely sure.

But the story is coming along well, and I’m excited to see where it ends up. Despite a few small alterations to the planned path, it’s been pretty smooth sailing forward. You’ll always have that one character who decides death is the right path, or the one slated for death who ekes out to survive a few more chapters.

Hopefully by the end of July this draft will be done. Editing should take about a week (vacation days might be used). Then off to editing and letting people read it so they can tell me why it sucks and how to fix it.

Hope your own projects are going great!