Friday really has a way of sneaking up on me. I was working on Part III of my FNAFiction all day, just relaxing and binge-watching Boardwalk Empire (nothing relaxes me like a little sex and violence, as Rider would say), and tending to my younger sister, who has spent the past two days artistically splayed across her sickbed (seriously, she’s so cute when she’s sick. All wearing her pink pajammies and hugging on her plushie Toothless), and when I reached the end of Season Three, I was just thinking about putting the book away for the night, taking the dog out, turning on some YouTube and winding down (yes, for bed, and at night, no less. So unnatural. But it’s summer and hotter than a hard fuck here in the Midwest, and because I cannot sleep with the noise of an air conditioner and the central cooling does not reach my end of the house, it’s either sleep at night when it’s cooler or swelter to death trying to sleep during the day), when suddenly, I realized it’s Friday. Which means that it will be Saturday when I wake up in the morning, which in turn means I need to update Everything Is All Right, Part One: Girl on the Edge of Nowhere. After all, there’s only one more chapter after this one and I’d really like the personal satisfaction of knowing I met every deadline. And for those of you wondering how I’m going to tie up all those loose ends in just this chapter and one other, why, the answer is simple. I’m not. That’s why I’ve been calling this the first ‘part’ of a book, and not the first book in a series. I resolve nothing. (Insert maniacal laughter here)
In fact, a large portion of Part Two: Mike Schmidt and the Long Night, is wholly focused on introducing new plot points without fully resolving any of the questions raised in Part One! The best thing about fanfiction is that since you can’t sell the book, you’re under no pressure to make the book saleable and you can flaunt all the rules you want. (More maniacal laughter.)
So yeah, the gist of this post is to let you all know that Part One has nearly run its course, Part Two is ready to go, and I’m hard at work on Part Three. My hunch is that I’m almost halfway done, but my hunches aren’t exactly foolproof, so we’ll see. In the meantime, head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org to check out the penultimate chapter of Girl on the Edge of Nowhere, a portion of which has been reproduced for you here. Enjoy!
The week that followed was a bad one, but hardly the worst of her life and she got through it with only one lapse—one joint, just one, to help her sleep on Monday night. The rest of the time, she was able to work herself to a state of sufficient exhaustion by cleaning the house and taming the yard. Whenever boredom or nerves intruded, she occupied herself with small cosmetic repairs, but the cloud of futility darkened daily and by the time Tuesday morning saw her driving down the road to Gallifrey’s, she had convinced herself not even the ghost of Johnnie Cochran himself could save her aunt’s home.
There were two men waiting for her in the corner booth at the diner. The lawyer looked more or less as Ana had pictured him, enough that she doubted she needed the red tie he was indeed wearing to help her identify him; mid-fifties, well-groomed, soft around the midsection and hard around the eyes, despite his personable smile. The other was a young man, enthusiastic as a puppy, with somewhat unfortunate looks and no conception of an ‘indoor voice’. Before he could be properly introduced, he popped out of the booth to shake her hand, tripped over his shoes, and ended up on one knee gripping her hand in both of his clammy ones, so that the entire breakfasting crowd turned around to watch a marriage proposal.
“Whoa,” he said, too loudly. “That is one serious sunburn. You’re shedding like a snake. Also, nice ink! I always wanted to get a tattoo, but my mom would kill me. Your eyes are the bluest I’ve ever seen. It’s kind of creepy. Are the pancakes good here? I’m not a pancake guy, but I’m kind of feeling the pancakes.”
Ana looked at the lawyer. “Mr. Schumacher?”
“Heel, son,” the other man said and the puppy bounded up and folded himself back into the booth. “Lem Schumacher,” he said, extending his own hand for a lawyerly shake. “This is my associate, Mr. Madison. I am your attorney. He’s an expert witness on loan for the occasion. And you must be Ana Stark. Please, sit.”
They talked for the better part of two hours, although very little of what they discussed had anything to do with the house. The lawyer kept saying that could wait until they saw it. Instead, he kept directing the conversation to the town itself, making notes when Ana could see nothing at all noteworthy about what she was saying, and asking questions that painted a picture of Mammon as a seething beehive of intolerance, sexism, and general assholery, all of it crowned with a halo.
“Look, I see where you’re going with this,” Ana said finally, “but I am not comfortable playing the religion card.”
“You don’t have to,” he replied, typing away on his notebook. “That’s my job. And I’m very good at it, Miss Stark.”
“Yeah, but I really, honestly, genuinely do not believe this has anything to do with where I spend my Sundays.”
“Why they’re harassing you is irrelevant,” he said, still typing. “It only matters what they can prove. And if I do my job correctly, which I will, what they’ll have to prove is that not being Mormon is not the reason they are harassing you.”
“Kind of hard to prove a negative, isn’t it?”
“It’s impossible. And that is why we’ll win. However, before we get too far ahead of ourselves on that end of things, I’d like Mr. Madison’s opinion of the house.”
“I looked for it on Google-Map,” the puppy interjected, looking up from the Eschler-esque sculpture he was constructing from the uneaten portion of his breakfast. “I thought everything was on Google-Map, but I can’t find a single street in this whole town on street-view. It’s weird. It’s like it doesn’t even exist.”
“We’re a small town.”
“No, I mean it’s weird,” the puppy stressed, leaning across the table (and his pancakes). “Did you know there’s a super-secret military installation just twelve miles from here?”
“Uh, did you know they pulled stakes and moved out, like, fifty years ago?” Ana countered. “Super-secret, nothing. Everyone knows about that.”
“Yeah, but nobody knows what they were doing, that’s my point. It was all top-secret shit. No one knows.”
“They were trying to build rockets and jet planes and stuff,” said Ana. “There’s a whole museum here in town full of their failures. They sell postcards of the stupider ones right in the lobby.”
“Seriously, you should go. They’ve got a little theater with a film on permanent loop where they show crash after hilarious crash. I was in there for an hour and I wasn’t even stoned. Some of the things they were trying…I mean, yeah, I’m sure it didn’t help that the weather out here is fucking nuts, but mostly, they just didn’t know what the hell they were doing and the results are a triumph of human fuckery.”
“Are you sure?” the puppy asked, looking disappointed.
“You don’t believe me, you can go out to the old site anytime you want and poke around. Just about everyone around here does. No one’s going to jump out of a black, unmarked helicopter and shoot you. No one’s going to tranq you and take you to their underground laboratory and interrogate you in a cinderblock room filled with vats of genetically-engineered hybrid-alien supersoldiers. Nothing’s there but a lot of snakes and they’re just the usual kind, not the cyborg mutant ones that spit acid.”
“You can always tell the ones whose parents let them watch television unsupervised,” the lawyer remarked, folding his computer away with one hand while checking his phone with the other. “Are we ready to go?”