Saturday, November 19, 2016

Write What You Know, Part 12

This is my first draft for NaNoWriMo 2016 novel Write What You Know. It's only a rough draft with very minimal editing and will, more than likely, contain, typos, grammatical errors, plot holes, or conflicting descriptions. It also includes notes to myself and excerpts from the novel the MC is writing that I try to indicate through various formatting that doesn't always translate well with my limited html skills. Furthermore, this particular novel is... there's no delicate way to put this... this novel is fucked up. So, especially in this rough draft crazed sort of NaNoWriMo way of writing, it may be difficult to read or follow.  I'm still posting it here because I want to shed more light on the process of writing to encourage and inspire other writers or readers who are interested. To learn more about this project, or my daily NaNoWriMo postings, please read Day 1-7.

Write What You Know, Part 12
By Stephanie Thompson, 1,533 words

Read: Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11

The second reason was that she almost forgot he was there. So very strange isn’t it? She was very very aware of him. Thinking only of him. Intently watching him but with glazed eyes. Watching him but not with her real eyes but with her mind’s eyes. Imagining a million reasons why he was in her hotel room. Imagining a million ways that his could end. A hundred fictions. A hundred beginnings, a hundred ends, (what about the middles? That’s the hardest parts) so many possibilities. She wasn’t a mathematician didn’t know the numbers of combinations she could make (millions? Billions? Trillions?) A hundred stories she could write. Write them all without Nikki. And for the instant before he spoke, she felt a dizzying sense of liberation. But then he spoke and it all came tumbling down around her (Atumbledownmanandhistumbledownbrainwenttumblingtumblingtumblingtumblingdownthelane).  So she was jolted, bolted back to earth trapped in her tumbledown hotel room with this policeman who was very much real with one purpose and only handful of real outcomes and he wanted to sit.

“Yes,” she said. What do I care, she thought.

And so he sat in a chair and she kept standing and watching and trying to stay real this time. It was hard, she kept flickering in between the lines. A fiction.

“Would you like to. . .?” He gestured at the office chair where she normally sat to write.

“Is there something you wanted to ask me?” She sounded like someone who was waiting for a marriage proposals and trying to nudge a nervous would-be fiancé to already asking the damn question already. And not someone so scared to death to be in front of policeman that she could barely talk or resist the urge to chew her nails or  pace the floor like a trapped alley cat. She could barely stay real.

“Yes. Ok. I was hoping you can help me out in an investigation.”

“What kind of investigation?”

“You’ve heard of these so-called New York Ripper murders?”

She shrugged and shook her head. She hadn’t heard of anything. She hadn’t been watching the news or tv in general or reading newspapers or even accidentally overhearing it at an airport. Ever since she bought the noise canceling headphones she’d been blissfully  unaware of the world.

“That’s right you’re not from around here, are you? How long have you been in town?”

She should’ve known the answer to that. She should have known, she knew that. She’d taken a plane to get there. Plane tickets had specific dates. She had appointments, appointments to keep, all with dates and times. She even had sleepless nights she could count. So  why didn’t she know what today was or how long she’d been there? And what could she say to this cop that wouldn’t sound completely batshit?

“I’m sorry, I’ve been traveling a lot lately, I’m not sure. Maybe a week? Um, if I could find my cell phone I might be able to give you my flight dates but I seem to have lost it somewhere.”

“So, you can’t tell me how long you’ve been in town?”

“Umm, not off the top of my head, sorry.”

“Okay, well…”

Was she coming off as crazy or professionally busy? Guilty? Arrogant?
He obvs suspects you of something, let me talk to him. I’ll clear it right up.

“I’m following some leads regarding a series of murders and . . .”

“They’ve led you to me?”

“Just the one lead really. Putting you in the vicinity of one of the crime scenes around the times of one of the murders.”

He was so vague. Vaguely leading. She gave into the urge to chew her nails. She needed that real feeling something real to keep her from the fiction. Keep her nailed down in the moment. To stop flickering because she wanted to flicker very badly to the back her mind to all the stories and all the possible stories like galaxy of twinkling stars shining brightly, brightly, brightly waiting to be reached at waiting to be told and so far away from here but if she stayed there too long Nikki would pick up the slack she would be the more real one and Nikki did not mix well with cops, with anyone but especially not with cops. So she bit her nails to remind her she was real and waited for this cop to get to the point.

“So, can you perhaps remember where you were on Wednesday (or whatever)  afternoon or evening?”

She paused in her chewing for a moment because this one wouldn’t easily be avoided. When was Wednesday? When is Wednesday? Was it Wednesday today? How did she lose whole chunks of time like this? Days, weeks, months disappear into black holes, like pockets in a pool table. Where sis Wednesday go? Sun in the corner pocket. After Friday before December and two weeks ago.

“Nothing stands out to me. No, I can’t remember it especially. I was probably here, writing. I’m a writer, you see.”

By far, she was the strangest woman he’s ever interviewed. She looked nervous as hell - refusing to sit, wide eyes barely blinking, her sticking out  a little like she had been twisting it or pulling it out just before she answered the door, one arm was clutching her side, the other raised her hand to her mouth so she could compulsively gnaw her thumb. Yet when she spoke, it was with a calm, cool, confidence even though what she said was such a bunch of vagaries it might as well have been nothing. Either she was lying because she was guilty and making her answers purposely indefinite so she couldn’t be said to have told a straight and direct lie or she was so hopelessly scatterbrained that she’d lose head if it wasn’t attached, I mean, she was a writer after all and famous enough to get away with being a little weird.

He knew there were more questions he should have asked, should be asking but he couldn’t think of a single one.

“Was that everything?”

“What?” It was a question but not the right one.

“Was that everything? Because I need to get back to my . . .” She gestured at the room in general but he didn’t know what it was she could possibly need to do with the room, besides maybe take out some trash. “To my writing,” she finished.

Coming here was a bad idea. He realized that now. He should have just called - made an appointment for back at the precinct. Where he had more power, any power, the power. Where she would be the one sitting and he’d be the one ending the interview whenever he was done. Or alternative interviewers when he needed to shake up the dynamics. Instead he was trapped between being polite and leaving being more intrusive and playing the whole cop card, which really shouldn’t have been a problem, after all he was investigating a murder, several murders, serial murders, on top of the murder of a fellow detective and he wasn’t a rookie or anything. So why did feel unmanned by her honey brown, if a little wild, eyes? Why did he feel stuck in her (Come visit my parlor said the spider to the fly) lair?

That was second time in as many times when he’d thought to use the word lair, such specific and threatening idea, especially for a slightly messy hotel room. But he couldn’t escape the feeling that that was exactly where he was caught. He’d willingly walked in to her lair, without invitation even, and now he was stuck under her enchantment.


He’d been looking at her intently again, not speaking at all and she was unnerved, even more than she was to begin with.

“Detective Ryan?” She wasn’t sure that was his name.


She hadn’t been to that many police interrogation but she was sure this wasn’t the way they were suppose to end. There should have been more questions, more antagonism, or some kind of angry yet sexy flirting. Either she would get told not to leave town, or get hauled to a police station for more aggressive interrogation and the reading of her rights, or a passionate kiss and a dinner date.

You watch too much tv.

You’ve been arrested too often.

So how was she suppose to end this?

“Thanks for stopping by I guess.” She waved her hands at the door like she was in a ZZ Top music video, not expecting him to actually get up and leave. When he stood up and started actually going that way, she went through with the exit she’d all ready setup. “Um, I’m sorry I couldn’t be any more helpful. If you’re ever this way again, be sure to stop by maybe for coffee or something.” She didn’t really know what she was saying, the gracious host words weren’t fitting in her mouth right but at least they seemed to be doing the trick. Detective Ryan or whatever was still heading towards the door and even nodding his head like anything in this scene was making sense. (It’s not a scene it’s real life).

Keep going with Part 13. Thanks for Reading!