So while that one is momentarily on hold, I've decided to try out another idea of mine. I'm sure you know that I am obsessed with the name Jack. Why else would I have a Jack of the Month? And I've always found it fascinating how Jack is such a common name in nursery rhymes and folklore. So my idea is to weave together these various rhymes as if they all happened to the same Jack.
Not knowing much about the places and time periods associated with these nursery rhymes, I thought it would be interesting to set my story in the modern day but in a rural and somewhat behind-the-times setting. I've decided on a fictional place called Rhyme, Colorado which is heavily influenced by the many small towns I grew up in. Somewhat dusty and destitute, but beautiful in its own way.
Here's what I have so far. And just as a warning, my blog is copyrighted so don't even think about stealing my writing! Ha ha. Oh, I should also warn you that there is some sexuality and a swear word so if you are greatly opposed to such a thing, don't read on!
And for the record, the characters will live through this horrific accident. I just wanted to open with something shocking that will hopefully keep the reader interested. Let me know what you think.
It wasn’t long ago that her red cowboy boots were pointed towards heaven as she screamed out “Hallelujah” so loudly that Jesus Christ himself would have blushed crimson. He remembered the truck bed creaking its whispered moaning along with her; as if the old pickup truck itself were longing to orgasm. The mosquitoes and other pests were swarming in and landing lightly to feast on the fevered blood coursing passionately through the veins of the two thrusting humans with only the moon and a million fireflies as their enraptured audience.
This morning, he didn’t know what to say to her.
He was walking with his eyes downcast—staring intently at his dirty sneakers as if amazed that feet could do such a thing as walk—and lifted them now to catch a furtive glimpse of the female figure walking just steps ahead of him through the prairie brush in those same red boots and white cotton dress. She was only 16 years old and downright pretty. Some of the other girls in school thought she was plain and made it a point of sharing their opinions with everyone on a regular basis, but he found her to be pretty in her own way. It was different than theirs. Their way was the pretty of magazines and television shows, but hers was the pretty of the earth itself. Her pretty was alive and vibrant and giving.
They had reached the hill separating his family’s farm from hers, and as she began to ascend, she turned her head back and said, “Hurry up, slowpoke,” with a tentative smile.
It was the first time either of them had said a word to each other since the night he took her virginity. She had come over this morning to bring some eggs and to check her email. She didn’t have internet at her house; her father was too cheap. It was good that she came though, not because of their need for eggs but because of their lack of water. The Sprat family had awoken to find their water had been shut off. There had been some sort of water problem in the main part of town, and they weren’t sure when it would be up again. The Horners had their own well so the girl volunteered to fetch a pail or two of water for them. The boy’s mother insisted that he go with her.
So here they were, heading up the same hill where they had parked and made love just a week or so previously.
“Jack, I’m only kidding with the ‘slowpoke’ part, but why must you walk so far behind me? You didn’t seem to have any troubles being close the other night,” she added bashfully.
She was pretty, yes, but he didn’t know how to say what he needed to say. His plan had been to avoid her for the rest of his life, but seeing as there was only two families living out on County Road J he knew it wasn’t a good plan. He hoped to at least distance himself from her until school started at the end of August, but his stupid bitch of a mother had to send the two of them off together on an early morning quest for water. If only his father were still around.
On second thought, what would his father say if he heard what Jack was about to confess now? He would shoot him point blank with his shotgun. Wrestle him to the ground. Throw him out of the house and never allow him back in again.
“Jill, about that night…”
But she didn’t seem to hear him. “I always had a feeling you fancied me, Jacky Boy. I always did.”
The two of them were nearing the top of the hill, where the barbed wire fence separated the two properties. There was a spot where the wire was all broken and where they would always cross it. Jack was still a few steps behind Jill, talking at her back while she seemed to be talking to the air.
“Even when we were little and you and my brother used to run around tormenting me and saying girls had cooties, even then I knew you liked me. And I liked you. When no one was around I would draw your face on the bathroom mirror with my mama’s red lipstick and kiss it ‘til my lips were as red as these cowboy boots.”
She laughed at this. Jack took advantage of the break in her monologue to try to say what was on his mind.
“I never liked you like that, Jill.”
Her laughing drowned him out. Or maybe it was the wind. The higher they climbed the more the wind whipped around her sundress, blowing raspberries along her thighs. The tingling feeling reminded her of their night together, furthering her romantic notions; launching her into a memory so preciously guarded that the present seemed to have little bearing on her.
“Really, Jill, I wish you would listen to me.”
“But now you’re not a little boy anymore, Jacky. Oh, you sure are not. Almost 18 years old. A real man.”
“I need to explain to you what happened, Jill. What happened the other night…”
“You’ll be graduated from high school real soon, and you already have a job down at the movie theater. I reckon you’ll be made a manager even. We could get married, Jack. Would you like that? Would you like to marry me?”
“I’m so confused, Jill. So confused about everything. When your brother left… I don’t know. It was like a part of me died, Jill. We were real good friends, you know. Real good friends. And I was missing him. And you know I like you, Jill. I do. I’m just not sure that I like you like you. Do you know what I mean, Jill? Like like?”
“Sure I’m only 16, but I’m sure my mama and daddy would be real tickled at the idea of me marrying you, Jack. You’re like a son to them already, especially since Joseph’s gone and left us. And I don’t need no more schooling. I really don’t. What’s it matter anyway? I just want to marry you and be your wife. I don’t need a degree to be a mother.”
“And I just needed to know, Jill. I needed to find out if my feelings were real or not. And you remind me of him so much. You really do. You have his eyes and his smile. Your nose is different and your face is… is softer… but your eyes. His eyes.”
“We could be happy, Jack. You and me and…” she turned to face him, patting her stomach, “…our baby.”
“What did you say?”
They had reached the top of the dusty hill, and they could see miles around them. A dirty patchwork quilt of brown and green farmland laid spread out beneath them as if they were having a picnic. Further out lay the small town of Rhyme, Colorado and further yet laid the Rocky Mountains towards the west. The sun was beating down on them from the eastern side, and everything seemed bright up there. Everything seemed illuminated and clear.
“I’m pregnant, Jack,” Jill whispered as a tear dripped slowly down her rosy cheek. Her long brown hair billowed behind her in the wind, reminding Jack that here stood Jill, not her brother Joseph.
“I’m a queer,” said Jack.
Jill stood in disbelief. She stood in anger. Her heart shattered, her dreams disintegrated, her entire future seemed doomed in an instant. She did the only thing a woman could do in her position: she struck out. She punched Jack as hard as she could.
And in that early morning light, Jack stumbled backward from the force of her blow and fell down the hill. The sound of his body made loud crunching noises in the quiet countryside. His limbs twisted, his bones broke, the rocks and dirt and cacti left their marks on his unprotected face and arms. They tore at his blue denim and ripped his yellowed t-shirt. His head hit a hard protrusion of stone and when his body finally came to a stop some twenty yards below, Jill could see the blood pooling amongst his dirty-blonde hair.
Jill screamed. She bolted after him, but in her haste caught her foot on a fallen strand of barbed wire and fell crashing to her knees, tumbling after, leaving behind only one red boot.