About the old guy coming in the door

About Michael– if that, indeed, turns out to be his name. Michael always was a drinker, in high school and after. Starkville has always been a drinking town, still is. But when he started working in the hospital–all that access to pills–things took a turn for the worse. He was a tech guy or a nurse, something that seemed promising. An attempt to be a husband and a father…

By nature, Michael is a crazy maker. He likes drama or at least he did. Now Kelly doesn’t know for sure anymore. He looks so different, could he be any different? He is, of course, Beth’s father. How could he not be? I have to decide whether they ever got married…yes, because that makes him more dangerous, gives him a legitimate claim on Beth.

What does Kelly think about when she’s handing that burger to the trucker and trying to stay focused on his conversation. She thinks about Beth first. What she’s doing right at that moment over at Kelly’s mom. They would be practicing Italian because Beth wants to speak Italian and Kelly has gotten her Rosetta Stone tapes to help her. Beth wants to go to Italy and Kelly wonders if there’s snow there. She wants to live in the snow. Cleaner air she thinks.

This is the next day. I wrote the above yesterday. I’m so annoyed. I’d written another 800 words or so but Blogger didn’t save them and when I tried to post, I lost it. I didn’t have time to rewrite. So I’m going to try and remember what I wrote. Dang.

Might have been worth abandoning the story because the Lakers won and the dinner at friends was delicious. So let me see if I can get back to where I was…

First off, I hate Micahel’s name. I can’t spell it so it’s got to go. Who is this guy? What name works? Carl hit me. Okay for now he’s Carl.

So there they are in the diner, unable to speak to each other yet because the trucker’s come in and wants to eat a burger…

Oh last night in bed this part bugged me. How many diners just have one person there, especially at night? Doesn’t seem right so I’ve got to give her a cook or at least a helper. I do need to make sure it’s one of those diners that doesn’t have a kitchen in the back, but one with the grill right behind the counter. It’s a small place. We have one like that in Pas so I know that idea is authentic.

But still would she be alone and if I have someone else there, what other part would he or she have in the story. Or maybe it’s close to closing, and she’s forgotten to lock the door??? Doesn’t matter yet. Not even to the end of the story so I can worry about that later.

What else did I think about last night? I read the blessing of Animals by Brenda Miller in Pushcart antho–wow what a strong story! I don’t know if it’s fiction or memoir since most of the fiction stories say the are fiction. What I liked about it is that it worked equally on two threads, the thread of the present=taking her dog to church (DOGS IN CHURCH!) and on a memory level= which began with the loss of pets to the illness of her father. The weaving was so smooth and the revelation or epiphany or whatever at the end made me cry. And made me realize I don’t work hard enough at this.

Anyway. My point. The weaving of the past. Some semblance of that might work in this story because she has a past with Carl that I’m not one hundred percent certain about yet. And she has to see this visit from him as a threat so I’ve got to figure that out. So things she can think about in this time when the trucker is distracting her from Carl is 1) her daughter 2) her past with Carl and 3) what does Carl want.

I think last night the part I lost was a discussion of what Carl might want. He’s here because he’s lost everything and he has no place to go except to the one place that holds something for him: Starkville where his wife and daughter are. Man I just realized I lost a lot…

Carl could want to stake a claim on Beth but I think I dismissed that idea last night. I decided he now states that all he wants is to be around the edges, to be a part of Beth’s life in any little way that kelly will allow, but Kelly might see this as a burden.

She’s been planning to leave town to take Beth and try someplace new. Does she have an obligation to stay now that Carl has shown up after all these years. what is he to her now. I remember I decided that there needs to be a good memory of Carl and Kelly for her. A memory that cannot be prom, or graduation, or anything that seems to be an event. It needs to be a quiet memory, one of those fleeting moments we all have that we know won’t last but we soak it in as the climax of our lives so far…

Oh and Starkville. I need to figure out what I want to do with that. So far all I’ve done is put it in the desert.

That’s all I can remember. There was more. But I need to cogitate.

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