Man, this has been a rough week. I threw my back out last Saturday sitting at the computer for too long (yes, I’m apparently THAT age, when I can injure my damn self by sitting) and it is only just starting to loosen up to the point that I can walk down the hall. It’s not a serious injury, just a pulled muscle, but I have some other medical issues that have a pretty significant impact upon the healing process, to the effect that I went a little too hardcore playing the Sims 4, and it’s just like I bumped into Bane’s shopping cart at the grocery store and he gave me a free chiropractic alignment.
Anyhoo, so there I was a few nights ago, flat on my back in bed and trying to figure out how the hell to write in that position, having Cottonwood flashbacks, which I also mostly wrote from a prone position, although I could at least roll over then. And as I was laying there, thinking sourly that with my serial deadline hanging over me like Poe’s pendulum, dropping another inch each week, the last thing I needed was another complication, in walked my sister Cris with an armload of kittens.
In the unlikely event that you are reading this, Person Who Abandoned Those Kittens By the Side of the Road on a Rural Unlit Highway in Northern Kansas Because Spaying Your Cat Was Too Expensive And Finding Them Homes Was Too Inconvenient And Taking Them To the Pound Was Socially Awkward, you’ll be pleased to know that most of them were immediately run over. Two of them are in such poor condition that they may die in spite of our round-the-clock care. The vet we took them to said that certain developmental characteristics indicate they are around six weeks old, but the biggest of the four survivors is only four ounces in weight and the smallest is just under two. Two ounces. At six weeks. Obviously, plenty big enough to make their own way in the world.
I have the night shift, since I’m naturally nocturnal and awake all night anyway. In deference to my bad back, I spent the last few night propped up on the couch with a heating pad under me, trying to figure out how to juggle kittens, kitten food and my laptop. This is all right for my back, but bad for my cracked tailbone (I broke that a few years ago when I was in the hospital, laying on those hospital beds. So yeah, I’m SUPER-that-age, when I can break bones literally in my sleep. And yes, it’s still cracked, because I don’t heal worth a damn), which means that as soon as Cris is up and on kitten-duty, I am flat on my back in bed. So that’s what I’ve been doing instead of writing.
But while I did not get a new chapter written this week, I do have the new chapter of my FNAFiction uploaded for my readers. So for all of you reading along with Everything Is All Right, Part Two: Mike Schmidt and the Long Night, head on over to fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org and get caught up! Here is an exerpt to whet your literary whistles.
The truck was down to a quarter-tank, so she stopped by the station, where, because it was that sort of day, she ended up sharing a pump with Mason Kellar’s little brother, Jack, and three of Jack’s cronies. It wasn’t so bad at first. Jack probably would have been content to ignore her, but once his butt-buddies had recognized her, he was more or less duty-bound to be an ass. Ana understood that. She found her happy place and stayed there, unruffled, while Jack entertained his court by suggestively shaking his nozzle at her a few times before ramming it into his tank. She just pumped her gas and went in to pay.
She picked up some junk food while she was there, since she’d apparently blasted through the last batch already. She could only remember eating three candy bars, but that didn’t disturb her. She’d cut way back on the pot lately, which only seemed to make it hit much harder when she did smoke, and indica made her crazy hungry. She ought to pick up more rolling papers too, but she didn’t want to do it in town. She’d wait, pick some up the next time she was in Hurricane or St. George, where no one knew her or cared to.
Jack and his friends came in while she was waiting for the cashier to figure out how many nickels and pennies made up nine cents. She could hear them there behind her, muttering, fake-moaning and laughing, but when she turned around, Jack said, “Hey,” in a perfectly civil tone.
“Hey,” said Ana and kept walking.
“Wait up a sec.”
What to do, what do to…antagonize him, and by extension, his brother or play along and set herself up for escalating episodes of harassment?
Ana stopped at the door and turned around.
“Mace and I are having a party down at the lake on the Fourth,” said Jack while his friends grinned and sniggered. “Want to come?”
“Are you serious?” she asked after a moment.
He feigned innocence, just like he wasn’t inviting her to her own gangbang and body dump. “Hey, we can be friends, can’t we?”
“I have plans,” said Ana and turned to go again.
He caught her arm. “I said, we can be friends—”
“You want to step off me right now, Jaquelina,” Ana interrupted, not loudly. “Or I will beat the ever-loving shit out of you in front of all your boytoys and you will never, ever live that down in this town.”
His friends looked at him. The cashier moved away to stock some shelves. The single other customer decided she really ought to look at the sunglasses right this instant. It was a sunny day, after all.
Jack let go of her with a face-saving shove. “Try to be nice and see what you get. Bitch.”
Ana almost walked away. She knew she should. It was the smart thing to do and certainly, nothing good could come of any alternative. She was exhausted and later, she would use that as her excuse, but it wasn’t true. If it had been Mason, she might not have done it (but Jack was Mason and she knew that, too), but she did and at the moment, she just didn’t give a damn what the consequences were.
She put her bag of junk food down on the nearest shelf and turned around. “Say that again, I dare you. Call me a bitch to my face and say it loud and proud, because it is the very fucking last word you are ever going to say with all your teeth still in your mouth.”
Jack’s friends watched, owl-eyed, solemn. The cashier went into the back and returned with more cookies for the shelf. The customer selected some sunglasses and tried them on.
Jack said nothing.
“No? You must not have meant it then. So apologize.”
He started to laugh.
She slapped him in the mouth.