I actually had a little under 1000, but I thought I could write just a few more sentences to get me over the 1000 mark. I hand wrote them and then keyed them into Word and now I am pasting them here. I think that will be my pattern for this month. Write by hand every chance I get through the day, save the pages to type the first chance I get.
I was up for 5:00AM – late start for me, actually. I prefer getting up for 4:00AM if I can. 4:30AM at the latest. I showered, shaved, wondered about the rash developing on my cheeks and the bridge of my nose, went and got my glasses from the bedroom. As I went, Mulligan, our formerly fat little bastard (we cut down on his food and he’s thinned out and we’ve likely extended his life another 5 years – he’s already 14 or 15 years old as it is) meowed fit to beat the band. At least, fit for me to beat him. He’s loud when he’s hungry.
I went into the bedroom for my glasses.
“I thought you were going to feed the cat before you showered?” My wife lay still on the bed, her voice coming ominously from a hair enshrouded pillow.
Oh, shit. I had said that, hadn’t I? I keep a rigid schedule in MS Outlook and MS To-Do and I neglected to change ‘feed cat‘ to after ‘shower‘ and before ‘writing 500 words‘.
“Sorry. I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“Love you. Have a good day at work.”
I kissed the top of her head. “Love you, too.”
“Honey, you’re crushing my arm.”
Oh, shit. Need to be more careful.
“Love you,” I said and went to feed the cat.
Then I scribbled out a few hundred words before work. Then a few hundred more before a meeting. Then a few hundred more waiting for a meeting. Then a few hundred more after the meeting, along with a few thumb-typed emails ( I have ‘Blackberry thumbs’). And as I ate my lunch, I typed and did light editing. And now, sadly, after my copypasta (do you see what I did there? Clever, eh?) I must go to work.
“Remember doing this for me and your mom when you were a kid?”
Teddy nodded. “Yeah, and when money got better I would hop the wall and get you smokes from the convenience store.”
“Black Cat number 7s,” he said. “Now that was a smoke. What are you smoking these days?”
“Players King Size.”
Ace nodded. “Not bad. I’m smoking home rolled, basically Players without a filter. I bet your girlfriend there is smoking DuMaurier.”
“Fuck you,” Wally said.
Ace laughed. Teddy nodded. Ace laughed harder.
“Why’d you get down the machine? Fall back on hard times?”
Ace stopped laughing.
“Not exactly,” Ace said.
He pinched tobacco from the tin and took some ‘rubbed oregano’ from the Ziploc baggie on the table, combining it all together so that there was a reasonably visual confirmation of a decent ‘spice’ to tobacco ratio. He chambered a filterless white tube in the machine, pinching off the end and then, using the winding handle on the machine, packed the tobacco mixture into the tube. Instant cigarette.
He talked while he made them, assembling the smokes in a smooth, one piece flow. No failures. No interruptions. The finished product went into a metal cigar case with a decorative stone cover, the stone the colour of blueberry swirl icecream.
“So, you didn’t know I was here, eh? Your Mom would tell you. You don’t think she knows I’m here? Oh, she knows. Just not exactly where, is all. I sent her letters. Not the kind you send in the mail. You know how it works, boy.”
Ace cut his eyes over to Wally. “When you want a letter to be read, you hand deliver it and make sure that the guy hand delivering it doesn’t leave until its read.”
“Who’s to say they won’t lie?” Wally looked over at his friend. He wanted him to speak up and defend his mom. He didn’t know what to defend her from, but it sounded like this guy Ace was saying she had been lying to Teddy. Wally just didn’t know about what.
“You’re a brave little injun, aren’t you?” Ace said, looking from Teddy to Wally. “Sticking up for your friend like that. But anyway, in my line of work. You trust people. When you don’t, there’s consequences.”
He finished six cigarettes, which was one level of the case filled. There was another row to go. As he started those, he told a story.
“I was so strung out on coke and weed and booze what I decided I’d had enough. I mailed one of those letters – one of those special delivery ones I already told you about – and sent it to one of my bosses. All it said was ‘I’m out’. Along with my name. They called me Bundy. My nickname. Get it?”
Wally didn’t confirm where the nickname could have come from. Ace continued.
“I don’t go by that no more. I much prefer Ace. Right, boy?”
Teddy didn’t move.
“Anyway, when they found me, I was standing by my window. I was living in a hotel bar. Over the bar. My window looked out over the back alley. I was standing by my window with my bedsheet tied in a noose around my neck, the other end attached to my bed. I was that close to hanging myself, but they stopped me.
“I was so high. I didn’t give a fuck. See, there was a leak in my organization.”
“A leak?” Wally asked. He continued to look over to Teddy for some kind of confirmation of all of the things he was hearing. Teddy kept his head down the whole time Ace talked.
“A fucking smitch, kid. And they thought it was me. Nothing I could do. I felt like I let them down by making them think that of me. So, I went and got as much blow as I could and got ready to roll.”
“To kill yourself?” Still nothing.
“I had a bad habit, kid. And they thought I was talking to the pigs so that I could keep that habit. When you do what I did for a living, you were supposed to sell it. Not use it. And there were other people that were using that wanted to make it look like I was the one who the rat. I ain’t no fucking rat.
“Anyway, whether it was good luck or back luck, they stopped me and untied me and brought me back to the clubhouse. And I ain’t talking about no Cub Scout clubhouse, boy.”
Teddy didn’t move.
“They were cooking dinner in the garage, drinking beer and smoking. Cigarettes, that is.
“And they all stop when they sees me and they ask what was I thinking. Why didn’t I just come to them if I was having trouble. They would help. That’s when I grabbed the butcher knife.”
Wally recoiled. Teddy didn’t budge.
“I told them to take the butcher knife from my hands and cut off my hand, then and there. I put my hand on the table. If I flinched, I told them, that means I was a snitch and deserved a fuck a lot more than just having my hand cut off and they could do what they would with me. If I didn’t flinch, they would have my hand to God that I would never betray them.”
“So, you ask me how I know this boy’s mother knows I’m in town? It’s because someone I trust told me so.”
All in all, Ace had rolled up twelve perfect little filterless cigarettes. He clacked the case shut and handed it to Teddy.
“This is for you,” Ace said. “You should be able t osell them for decent cash. The money from the cut you gave me should more than pay for itself. Two, maybe three times over. You’re a good salesman. You were the one that made it so I got big bucks when we pulled the same scam you and your girlfriend were running just now.”
“Stop calling me his girlfriend.”
Ace ignored Wally. “Once you sell these, if you want, you can come back for more. I’ll give you a good price.”
He winked at Wally and leaned in to Teddy and clapped him hard on the shoulder. “You know you can trust me on that, right, boy?”