Franklin got home at 8:30. There was snow on the driveway, and footsteps leading to the front door. Someone had crammed a complimentary newspaper and a bunch of flyers in his mailbox. He left them there.
Inside, he went to his office and sat in front of the computer screen.
‘Ink-Made Lover Affairs’, he wrote, the title to his novel. The first scene was of a calm December day and the conversation in an office that would define the destiny of the protagonist (Fred) as he headed inevitably to words lost in love, lost in time, just lost. This was the moment of Fred’s firing.
Franklin found himself upstairs, in Clara’s study, leafing through her photo albums. An entire shelf was filled with them, another stacked with hard drives from the time when Clara had decided to go digital. “Fred will need a love interest. A mature woman, a widower. A skier. A philanthropist. A mother.” On a piece of scrap, he wrote, ‘pink and purple hair’, and tucked the note into his pocket.
Franklin was in front of the computer screen. A paragraph stared back at him. He had a glass of scotch in his hand.
Franklin was in the snow in his socks.
Franklin was under the sink with a wrench.
Franklin was in the garage, surrounded by tires.
At midnight, Franklin was in front of the computer screen, reading:
‘I waited patiently for time. Meanwhile, time didn’t care about me. Didn’t care how I felt or what I had to do in the meanwhile. Well, it’s finally time. Seventy one years old and without a thing to do, and it’s finally time. I waited. I waited so faithfully for the right moment to write these words, to get out the ideas that walked with me on all those snowy, rainy, sunny days, along all those rocky, fencepost routes. But now they tell me I’m sick. That the ideas are parting. That I’m lost and going to get worse. Is this what I waited for? To be too late? Is that what I have to think on, that I should have started when I had the chance?’
Franklin thought on his day, the improbability of it. And he started to write. He wrote until he was in impossible places talking to impossible people, for this was what he had left, and this was who he was. “Might be going crazy,” he said, “but not wasting any more time. Bring it on. Bring me the madness and I’ll write it out. I’ll take a bucket of dementia, if you please, and spill it on this keyboard if that’s all I have left. Because it’s time, you see. It’s time.” The story spun around trolls and children and a great destructive lizard that came out of no where to plow through a city covered in winter. But it was also about heroes with purple and pink hair, who skated the canals carrying messages to freedom fighters made of snow and ice.
And when morning came, he was still there, typing away – typing up the very madness that he had been told would stop his story. Meanwhile, time moved on, slowly – quietly – in every pore of his body, and ours too, never asking us what dreams we struggle to make our own or allow to be held off until the right moment – as though there is such a thing as the right moment. Time is a troll under a bridge, a story tells; it is a collection of children reaching for stars. Time is an answer and a master, and in the end, whether we know it or not, it is all that we have.
71 thoughts on “The Mail Carrier’s Guide to Slaying Monsters (Pt 3 of 3)”
Beautifully done, Trent. Knocked it out of the park.
Thank you my friend. I felt sad ending this one. But then I forgot about it.
I think you saw a troll out of the corner of your eye and got distracted.
You ended it perfectly. Poignant …
Thanks Audra. I wish I could do more with this guy. Maybe later.
Thanks Trent! I agree, the time to write is always now. All fear and doubt ceases to exist while the hands move.
I think so. Ever feel that way? I do at times, but my restriction is not the will but the time itself. Such a cruel master.
Yeah I’m slowly realizing that every writer seems to struggle and strain for time, will or some combination. Still, when you produce, in that moment, it’s suddenly all worth while and great again.
that is really well said. exactly how i feel.
Okay. I’m sad. I think there’s a whole book between Part II and Part III.
Franklin put off writing until it was too late. But the tales his dementia spins are probably way better than he would have done without it, and since he thinks he’s writing it down, is he really that bad off, I wonder? Maybe it is just the journey– even if it’s a demented one. What a great story!
Well put Linda. I think he took what he had when he finally had it and did what he could. Who knows what he might create?
Bring it on home, Big Daddy!!! That last line was a killer!
Why thank you so much, my man.
I like me writings. Make Trent feel tingle.
That is hardly creepy at all…
Depends on how hard you tingle.
Loved it. Agree with Linda, there’s a whole story between the sheets on this one, but holds its own as is too. You are kinda talented my friend…yup…a real writer type guy.
I think I have a thing for misfits, SB. I love to tell their stories.
Be well… Trent
..and I love to read them. Misfits…I like it, lewin’s land of misfit muses. carry on NB…it helps the healing. 🙂
Heal up SB! We need you in the blogosphere, you know!
By the way, it seems like Daniels has entirely disappeared.
haha…I’m circling the sphere as we speak…trying to make something outta nuttin’! and…she’s around, see her on FB all the time (political stuff ya know) 😉
Politics are too serious for me.
Keep circling, SB – how come you can’t post on your woes, at the very least?
I can, and am. I needed to find a place of ‘haha’ before I could…you may be surprised to know that yesterday was the straw that tickled me to the point of completely breaking and running (hobbling) for the hills…or making something out of it. Stay tuned, I’m rusty, but getting there. Thanks NB…the encouragement helps. 🙂
This place isn’t the same without you. Glad you found your way to the top of the hill.
(shhhh) not so loud…someone or something might find out I’m on top of that hill and knock me the hell off! I’m gonna try to get this out before anyone knows I’m there…then it’s on!
Excellent. I’m a-waiting.
Just wrap up, snuggle in, stay warm…may be a long night. 🙂
Yikes. Okay. Good advice.
Thanks a lot, pal. Now I can’t get the Stones’ song, “Time Is On My side” out of my head. It keeps rolling around up there and I can’t stop it. Oh well, maybe I just need to give it some time.
Time is fickle, my friend. The Stones were deeply fried when they wrote that tune.
Amazing read. Amazing story!
Why thank you my friend. I love mailmen. They are yummy.
Not my mailman -_-
However the fed ex guy can have my number
Sigh. You just can’t compete with a fed ex guy.
Nope. They are the best
I waited until you posted all three parts. I’m clever like that. I loved this story, and hope there’s more to come.
I love clever people. They are delicious.
Glad you liked the story. I think this one is over, so I will move on to the next odd tidbit. But honestly, thanks for reading it, I really appreciate that.
With ‘more’, I of course meant more short stories… Nonetheless, looking forward to your next odd tidbit.
I see. Will do.
What a miraculous ending, Trent! So true, when is there ever a right time for anything? When you finally get there, it’s not usually what you’d expect, as expressed by your story. Well done! Enjoyable read.
Ah thank you, I’m glad you liked. I’m trying hard to avoid my own regrets, but I figure I have time to do just that… or so I think.
very droll, you big hairy troll! lol not really, just came to mind after I read it. I feel like you just discribed me to a tee, minus the troll part…although, I chose not to look in the mirrror any more, and it may just be! I must say tho, oh but you inspire me to write so much more creatively than I ever have…thankyou! 🙂
Shards, that is such a nice thing to say. Hope to see tons of stuff out of you.
I wasn’t kidding one bit, you inspired me to rewrite a bunch of boring crap, details, in such a new creative way, I can’t thank you enough! even my editor was impressed! 🙂 soon, my first one will be out, closely followed by the second I hope!
That is awesome. Can’t wait to read – very cool that you’re working with an editor.
This is beautiful and sad. I love your protagonist; he has the inner turmoil of a Shakespearean tragic hero.
Really Trent, this is fantastic.
Thanks so much for that. I really like this fella. I’m going to miss him.
That’s how I felt when I finished reading ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. This character was great though, it takes such skill to develop something with so much depth in such a small space.
You are totally inflating my ego.
Yeah, Jane, he did well with this character within few words and little time. Did not know someone else noticed this.
I wouldn’t expect any less from him, he’s very talented. I really enjoyed this!
Glad you did, Janey. And that you met my friend the Doc, one of my oldest and best friends in the blogosphere. He is a special person. But don’t tell him I said so.
Well I just read his poetry, which I absolutely loved. How are you guys so talented and I can’t even work my coffee machine?!
Oh come on, you’re hilarious and you always write something that is fun to read. Plus you’re a teacher of young minds, so that means you are already talented from the get-go.
Well that’s just so nice! But I’m still blown away by the talent I’m seeing on WordPress. Then again, my only point of reference is what I see on Facebook, and that’s mostly cat pictures haha
i sometimes wonder where you get your wisdom from. age? experience? or maybe the little fairies who dance around your bed and whisper secrets from an unknown magical world where words are dust.
I don’t know if I have wisdom. But there are definitely voices at play, and they may at that come from that other world, the one we have talked about. Would you live there? Would you even visit? Or are the glimpses enough? I always wonder. I never know. I don’t have the wisdom to unentangle this; at times I’m desperate for that world, maybe the one where we were made or maybe the one where we are headed. I think humanity is a journey to understand itself. We contribute in our ways, or we don’t, and in love we pass and surpass. There are too many things I don’t understand, too many griefs that I wish I could fix, and sometimes in the futility of that, there is the other world. The one where you go.
we are not fixers, we are believers. if we were suppose to control and fix would we know where to start and when to let go? would one fix break something else? we are not suppose to have all the answers…yet. even tho we cannot understand why. we only see what we choose to. sometimes we only see the dust storm, we do not see the dust dancing and swirling, we do not see beneath or beyond. we see only the raging. but to believe in the dream, now, that you should know, brings clarity. the dream is the hope is the knowing we are here for another purpose than to understand fully, to comprehend what we cannot and should not…yet. i go where the wings are, where the silence goes when the night swirls around me and dances a wild dance that inspires and breathes and swells and whirls. when poetry becomes prayer. we live by faith not by sight. we live by knowing this is only temporary, whatever this is, whatever i feel now, whatever helplessness overwhelms me sometimes when this world makes no sense and threatens to take my faith and bury it. then, even more, do i believe, that what i do not understand now, will soon be revealed, and then only will i see the particles of love and strength and hope and a Hand that reaches into the storm to pull us out. but we often do not look for the Hand because we only see the chaos and we convince ourselves there can be nothing in this black hole that pulls life deeper into the void. a candle should be lit and not hidden away. we are the small sparks. we find the worlds to get lost in. we find the words that become prayer even tho we do not recognize it as such, for we are only human. but our spirits rise to connect to something beyond. and Love pulls us out. to see the world beyond, we not only have to believe it exists, we have to walk the path that leads there, keeping our eyes on the horizon…
I find myself grasping for time.. To slow down. I’m do afraid I won’t figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. Trent you really are truly talented. And you’ve made me ponder with your entertaining and wonderful tale. We are all Franklin
I think so, Audra. I am him. I know so many people that are him. And I can imagine this outcome. I can imagine getting to a place that is close to the end of something, and only then forcing myself to start. I am often stunned by the magic of existence, of why we are here; and I don’t really subscribe to any known interpretation to the answer to that question. I just know that I’m grateful for my life, and my family, my kids (oh my kids!), my wife, my friends, even the corporate drudgery I go through every day. But I think there must be a way to understand how I got this lucky, and I search for it in some vague abstraction as I walk about, doing one thing and dreaming of others. I never grew up, Audra. I am insensibly immature. I am still a kid, and people say that to me all the time (not in a flattering way). But this is fine with me. I think I know what I want to do. But the time just keeps moving, and it is taking my dreams with it. I think that is a terrible crime, one I’m committing myself and with no help at all in the matter, no matter how much I might like to blame the expectations of society and the conventional measures of success.
That is such a hard question… to figure out what we’re meant to do. It might be the only question. Hope you find a glimmering.
Well said Trent.
It’s pure torture to have a tickling itch that needs so desperately to be scratched but you can’t reach it, yet. Being mature is over-rated. I’m not the mature either… Not a good characteristic for a librarian. I do Not fit the stereotype.
The golden eggs of life: the people we love and the people that intersect ( you) at certain points for a variety of reasons that lift us up, give us wings, allowing us to fly and soar —
Time, damn you time. I’m gathering steam in finding who I am but I fear it’ll slip away… We are all the same.
See what your story did ?
Who painted the picture on your blog?
So well said. I think we all have that fear of it slipping away from us, whether we admit it or not. I hate to think that it will come to me too late… keeps me up at night. Keeps me writing.
I don’t remember, I found it on some free page on the internet somewhere. It’s a picture of Roy Batty from Blade Runner. It’s one of my favorite movies, but only really because of the scene that’s shown there, where a fake human is ruminating on how little time it’s had to feel life. He gives a speech in that scene that haunts me. If you haven’t seen it, it’s here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTzA_xesrL8. I watch this movie once a year. I still haven’t figured it out.
Simply brilliant. A fantastic tale from start to finish.
A fiction writer? Yes, I guess that does fit you after all. 😀 I guess I’ll stick around and see what comes next.
I really would be honoured, sir. And so great to meet a fellow fiction person, I’ll be about.
I think you did well here. Quite well. Of late, it had been taking a lot more words and time to extract the hot juice from your pieces, (minus Doc Lewin which was a blaster, of course), but this quickly hit it, right from part 2. And I liked the theme -a fitting tribute to Trent, the freestyling madness writer.
Thanks Doc. Yes, the juice… I need to locate it more often, I know. I am trying, and will continue.
My madness is different from his, as it is from yours. But we have to embrace it, right?
Mmm! Deiciously done. Left me emotionally stirred but not shaken. Powerful conclusion n great last line. Haunting and beautifully melancholy. I love how it comes all back around. The imagery of the falling snow, the city,..this was a great read thanks!
My pleasure… and thanks so much, those are beautiful sentiments.