NaNoWriMo Entry Number 1: The Simple Things
Posted on Monday, November 1 2010 @ 20:52:12 PST
For those that do not know, Novmeber is National Novel Writing Month. It is a challenge for aspiring writers to pen a 50,000 word story in thirty days, a hefty task indeed. One that at best I got about 36,000 words or so at my peak.
Last year I didn't participate, and the year before I got maybe 10,000 words at most. So this year I am going to try something different. I am going to sit down and write a short story, hopefully one a day for the next 30 days. It won't be flashy, it won't be epic, but it will be a fun challenge, and hell, I like to challenge myself in different ways.
So let me know what you think. Follow my blog and let me know what you think of my stories. Today's story for you is, "The Simple Things."
The Simple Things
Dusk was always the best time of the day for Derek Lucas. The sky drew streaks of pastel pink and tangerine orange, painting across the sky’s canvas like a visible line segregating light and darkness from their respected realms of dominance. Lucas sighed happily, taking a swig of his Bud while looking upwards at the colored collage above him, slouching in a faded blue lawn chair, spotted with rust and losing it’s fabric.
Derek Lucas always enjoyed the simple things. His wife was likely in the living room watching the news or reading a novella. His children have all began to build lives for their own since moving out. For fifty years he owned his homestead, working the earth and in town the odd jobs to send his children through school. A whole generation dedicated to his family. The spry old man’s weathered face, red and leathered from the brow down had a lovely grin stretched across his face. He felt relaxed. Contempt. Happy.
“Enjoying yourself, Derek?”
Derek averted his gaze from the sky briefly, following the breaking of his sudden silence to the man next to him. He saw him, his slicked back hair, his trimmed goatee, his wrinkle free charcoal suit with matching black tie on a pearly white dress shirt. It was almost like a shadow of a man standing out in the glow. Behind jet black sunglasses and a unflinching face he spoke again.
“No need to get up, I’ll just join you for a moment.” He said stoically, his clean hands grasping a rusted lawn chair and pulling it next to Derek’s side.
Cautiously sitting down into the antique piece of furniture, he fixed his gaze onto the sky, almost mimicking the plain-clothes old man next to him in gestures. Derek, for his part, didn’t even look square at the man’s protected eyes. Instead he grasped his beer and focused on the sky. The man in the suit took a breath, enjoying the moment as it was, even if it was a fleeting one.
“Lovely night, isn’t it?” he said, breaking the silence.
“Always is out here.” Derek replied, almost nonchalantly.
“I am glad you are comfortable, Derek.” said the man. “I think you know why I am here.”
Derek’s heart felt heavy in his chest as he sighed heavily. Never a man to be emotional about much of anything save for his family, for the first time in a while he felt a short twinge of nervous excitement. “I can only guess, but I have a feeling I do.”
The man turned his head to look at Derek’s face, with beads of sweat beginning to roll down his brow as the old man continued his ritualistic gaze as the slowly fading daylight.
“You know how it is, Derek, I have no qualms against you, but it has to be done.”
“That’s good.” said the man, grasping his hands together and rubbing his palms for a bit. “Most people aren’t as welcoming about this.”
Derek smiled a bit, giving out a slight chuckle at the man’s comment.
“It’s not that, friend.”
The man looked at him quizzically. “I don’t think I understand.”
Derek, for the first time, looked right into the suited mans eyes. Even through the sunglasses, the man felt Derek’s gaze upon him.
“I don’t expect you too. Some folk may just be content.“ said Derek. “Some may even be fearful. But for me, I am looking forward to it. It’s always a simple thing, you know. I look at it that way, and I see what i’ve done here. All of my years toiling, with all the success passed on to my family. It’s time for a change anyway for me.” With that he swigged his brew and looked back into the sky, the light of the day receding as darkness begins to settle.
The suited man felt bewildered by his words. In all his years he has never heard a client say this to him. His own hard work was not pleasant some days; sometimes a terrible chore since his boss always gives him the dirty work in the field. For once, he was speechless by the wisdom of this elderly man before him.
He took a deep breath again before scratching his goatee, deep in thought. After a few more moments of silence, he spoke again.
“What about you’re wife? Do you think she is ready for the change too?”
“My wife is ready for it, no need to worry.” said Derek. “She has been for a while now. Were getting old, a change is needed.”
“So you are happy then?” asked the man.
“Yes.” said Derek.
“Are you ready, then?”
“One second.” Derek said, grabbing his beer and gulping down the rest of it slowly, savoring the malted taste. After finishing his drink, he wiped the sweat from his brow and took one more look in the now starry sky.
“Ok, let’s go.”
The man in the suit just nodded. “All right, then.” he said, before giving Derek a pat on his shoulder and standing up from the rusted chair.
Derek Lucas died that evening. His wife found him, slouched over in his favorite lawn chair, an empty beer bottle on the ground where his now limp limbs hang. His head was hunched back, staring into the darkened sky, the stars brighter than usual on this night. His old age finally caught up with him, his powerful body, now softer with age, finally shut down.
But even in death, Derek Lucas enjoyed the simple things. A rusted old lawn chair, a bottle of Bud by his side. Enjoying the crisp air and the changing of the sky’s guard. It is no wonder he died with a wide smile on his face. He was content. He was happy.