I admit it; I’m terrible. My last post was an announcement I was gonna be on TV and then subsequent silence, all while I was on TV. Opportunities squandered, I know, I know.
Well, as luck would have it, I’ve made it all the way to the finals on Project Publish. It’s been an interesting ride. I’ve met a lot of lovely people, and a few not-so-lovely people, but there’s always salt to go with the sugar. What I find outrageous is despite the years I spent working in the entertainment industry in New York, it took a little local access television show to come across the pseudo-experience of working with Lindsay Lohan. I wasn’t expecting Kiko of the You-Used-The-Wrong-Stapler-Start-Over fame to be trumped by personalities from little towns like mine.
I’m more pleased with the amazing writers and actors I have met, though. It’s been tough to say our adieus as the weeks have gone by, but I’m very grateful for the experiences I’ve had. Which isn’t what I was expecting. I’m the first to admit I’m a snob whose tastes have been ruined by working directly with the Weinstein brothers. I wasn’t expecting to be so comfortable going from multi-million-dollar budgeted projects, to projects run entirely on pocket change. We grow, or in some cases, shrink.
On to the details. The final show is airing live on BATV starting at 2pm CST tomorrow, Sunday the 24th. Voting will be occurring on Facebook for about 10 minutes somewhere between 2:15 and 2:45. I’m aware that’s a little weird, but I’m not in charge. In order to vote, you must be a member of the Project Publish Facebook Group. I hope you’ll vote for me in the writer’s match. Watch the show and pick your favorite actor and vote for them. If you care at all about my opinion, I fully endorse Steve Poulos. He’s done a phenomenal job with the pieces I’ve worked with him on, and he’s an all-around good guy.
Before I go, I’ll leave you with something. One of the things we were asked to submit were our ‘500 best words’ written. That’s an incredibly subjective thing to ask for, so I took at as ‘500ish words you particularly like today’ and went with it. On that note, I give you the first two pages of the most current draft of my political sci-fi novel. Enjoy.
He saw two birds. At least, he thought it was two birds. They were flying in the sky, where birds often find themselves flying, and they were above two sharp lines cutting across that brilliant blue.
He thought it was two birds, but he couldn’t be sure. And this worried him. He couldn’t quite remember how many two was. So maybe it wasn’t two birds. It may have been, in fact, three birds, or four. He didn’t know. But his heart was set on two, a quantity he could not recall, and he was worried.
Something was wrong. Very, very, wrong.
Two is not a number one easily forgets.
The birds are gone now, and he can’t think of what happened before the birds. Even the memory of the birds is slipping away. There is a hole in his mind, and it is pulling the birds closer and closer, waiting to swallow them.
He searches the sky. Frantically. Birds, he tells himself. Two birds. He’s clinging to them for dear life. Forgetting the birds scares him. He knows not what will happen if he forgets them. Will he cease to be? Will he simply vanish with the memory?
There they are. This pairing of birds–of crows, he thinks–has moved on, out and over the field. Yes, it’s a field he is standing in. And he is barefoot, and his clothes are various shades of dirt and grime and they are horribly, terrifically uncomfortable. They itch. It’s awful. He is tempted to remove them, but something about his own nakedness prevents him.
This would not be proper. Somehow, he knows this would be indecent. He cannot remember how much two is, but he knows being naked in a field is no good.
Perhaps this is because he is not alone. No, aloneness means to be without company, and company is something of which he has plenty. Throughout this field, standing in the rows between green planted crops, are so many people. People wearing the same scratchy and ill-fitting outfits as he. But these companions, these strange companions, are not looking at the birds. They are intent on stroking the leaves of the crops and they stand there, hunched over, every few yards. There is someone on either side of him. Stroking leaves.
There is something alien in their motions. Alien, but he is quite sure they are people. Human beings. Just as he is one of those peculiar creatures: humans. This stroking motion is slow but steady and they look at their work with an odd sort of fixed gaze.
Except for one. Well, two if you count him. There it is again: That strange quantity of two. He is looking at the field and the people and the birds, and the creature beside him is looking at him. This one seems different. Not like him.
He has breasts. Same shaven hair, same expressionless eyes, same burlap shirt. But he has breasts. Not a he. A she. A woman. A woman who looks exactly as he. And she is staring at him.
“Birds. I saw some birds.” He points to the sky to show her, and she looks. They are really gone now. No birds. Only endless sky. She doesn’t seem to mind. Only looks at him with eyes that are expressionless but scared all at the same time.
“They were there, I saw them.” She doesn’t believe him. Or maybe she doesn’t hear him. She merely turns back to her own special plant and begins stroking the leaves again. It is not a loving caress. Her hands are dry and cracked and there is nothing she could love about any of this.
What was it he had seen? There was something up there. Something in that blue. And it’s gone. Or was there ever anything even there?