870 words. Not my regular 1,000, but more than my commitment for 500.
The narrative continues. That makes me happy. The story is taking shape in my head. I’m not ashamed to say that some of the situations are lifted right out of my own adolescence, but as the story develops, the characters are breaking away. They are actually helping me weave threads through the story that I didn’t know were there.
I’m avoiding writing notes about the story through the day. That’s a big one for me. Usually, I would write about the story, talking myself through it. And then when it came to actually write, I couldn’t do it. I felt like the story was too prepped, too structured. Like I couldn’t walk around naked in my own house, if that makes any measure of sense. Not that I do when the kids are home, but you get the idea.
Oh! One thing I will say. I’ve finished “Star Wars:Thrawn” (amazing work by Timothy Zahn) and Trump’s biography (frightening, depressed shit). And now I’m on Justin Trudeau’s “Common Ground” and Kate Mulgrew’s autobiography “Born with Teeth.”
I’ve always admired Justin’s father – I’ll never forget the way his father stepped down. And, well, I’ve always liked Kate Mulgrew. But now, I’m kinda crushing on her. I am thinking she will be the model for my story’s love interest. And the girl in my story had red hair before I even started Kate Mulgrew’s autobiography. The planets are aligning, I tell you.
So, here’s my 870 words and it’s 10:47PM – about 17 minutes off my planned time. Had to skip taking out the garbage to do it. Means I have to do it in the morning.
“Your name’s Ted, right?” The twin in the car said.
He didn’t correct her. Ted sounded about right.
“My name’s Peggy. I’m friends with Wally, too.”
Teddy nodded and forced a smile. “He told me about you.”
“Oh? He talks about me? What does he say?” She leaned a little it over the front bench seat.
The driver spoke up. “My name’s Hiroshi. My friend’s call me Roach.”
Of course they do.
Ted reached out and executed an upside down handshake like they’d been doing it since first grade. He felt satisfied.
This is good.
“He’s my boyfriend.”
“I hope you two are very happy together.”
Teddy and Roach locked eyes in the rearview mirror and they shared a smile. Peggy looked back and forth between them.
“Have you two met before? In the same class or something.”
“Or something,” Roach said.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” She said, swatting Roach.
“Never met the man before.”
“I don’t even go to your school.”
“How did you get into the theatre?”
“How’d you know I was at the rehearsal?”
“Wally told me.”
“What else did he tell you?”
“Why did you want to go to the rehearsal in the first place?”
“I didn’t. He made me.”
“Peggy,” Roach said, trying to get her attention. She perched her head on the backs of her hands as they rested on the back of the front bench seat. She looked at him as if he were the most curious creature ever to visit her planet. She had honey blonde hair and green eyes and didn’t seem real.
Her planet, indeed. What colour were the skies on her world, anyway, he wanted to ask her.
“Why did he make you? How could he make you?”
“How does anyone make anyone do anything? He’s my best friend. I felt …. Compelled.”
“He said I was his best friend,” she said, pouting a little.
“You’ll have to take that up with him.”
Roach caught his eye again. He felt very comfortable with Roach already. Teddy thought he could get used to his girlfriend, but he could never get used to how she got distracted.
“Uh, Peggy,” Ted said. “I think Roach’s got something to say.”
“Oh? Sorry, honey.”
Honey. Seemed to be a word that made her feel mature, like it would be a handful of mortar that would seal their relationship into something that would last forever.
“Your sister is doing that thing again.”
She squinted to see her sister making stylized gestures through the back window of the Dodge. Ted just looked at Roach, waiting for him to explain what they were doing.
“Sign language,” he said.
“Her sister is deaf?”
Ted pursed his lips and nodded like it made sense – Peggy probably gabbed her sister’s ear off in utero. Roach sensed Ted’s conclusion and laughed.
“It’s nothing like that. It’s just something they do. It’s one of four or five languages they know.”
That stopped him. Now he was the one who heard wrong.
“For real. They learned sign language for their parents on road trips, signing messages back and forth.”
The plan was to go to the theatre and check the times, then go out for a bite to eat before the movie. Ted couldn’t be sure if what they used was actual ASL or some variant unique to them. He remembered reading an article about identical twins developing a language only they understood.
He sat in the muddle of the back bench seat, one foot on the middle hump and wished he had time to get change. He didn’t want her to see him like this – in clothes that weren’t even his. Like he had to wear someone else’s handmedowns to school.
He didn’t know her name. How the hell could he be in love with a girl and not know her name? He wanted a smoke. He wanted to go home.
“He wants to talk to you,” Peggy said.
“I don’t even know him.”
“Wally, wants to talk to you,” she explained.
They met away from the cars, away from the curb, close to the school. Wally bummed Ted a smoke without protest.
“I told them I want one before we went anywhere. Said you had smokes and I didn’t.”
After a few puffs, Wally said, “He’s not her boyfriend. Just a guy. He’s in the play, actually. I asked.”
“Doesn’t matter to me,” Teddy said. “Why’d you go asking that?”
“Thought you might want to know. If you want to back out, now’s the time.”
“I know,” then Ted said. “Peggy has a boyfriend.”
Wally said he knew.
“Roach is a good guy. We have math together. Tracy has a boyfriend.”
Tracy was the other twin. Okay.
“His name is Rory. Kirkwood, I think. He’s the pitcher on the softball team.”
“You should know,” Ted said. “After all, you are her best friend.”
Wally ground his smoke out under his heel. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Teddy shook his head and flicked his butt towards the school, the tip still glowing when it hit the ground. “Nothing. Let’s go and see what your James Bond can do in a real movie”