Monday, November 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 21

Word count for this day was only 1500 which makes my total 28,940 words. If I have learned anything at all from my first 21 days, it is that my optimum number of words per day when writing a novel is less than one thousand. Any more than than is forced and good only for amassing unnecessary words, not words that enhance or advance the story. Perhaps that will change one day, but I doubt it.

Below is my output for Day 21

The President of the United States rose from his chair behind his desk in the Oval Office and paced in front of the seated director of The Agency and Professor Gottlieb.

When he spoke his voice was barely recognizable in its high pitched stridency. Not at all like the deep, cultured tones so often heard by millions of registered voters emoting from their TV sets or Video Players.

"What the hell happened?" he demanded. "How could they have escaped? Escaped? What am I saying? They are not prisoners; they're not being held against their will. But how could you let them go out into the city without some kind of security escort?"

Tobias Zenger spoke: "Mister President, we don't know what happened. They were being interviewed in preparation for psychological analysis by Professor Gottlieb here, when all of a sudden they did something, somehow, that induced immediate sleep in the professor. That's all we know. Then the two of them calmly walked out the exit and into the heart of the city."

Gottlieb added, "It was a most unusual sleep. Extremely restful. When I awoke I was so refreshed that I..."

"Truman... that's enough!" thundered The Chief.

The president said, "I saw the recorded video. Those two creeps did nothing. Your professor just fell asleep all by himself. Narcolepsy or something. Incompetence. We can't afford careless behavior, Zenger."

"Yes, Mister President."

"So, what's being done about the situation?"

"They are being searched for diligently, Sir, by an operative deemed best suited for the task. We expect results momentarily."

"Mister President," said Gottlieb, "if I may, Sir..."

"Make it quick. I have other emergencies pending."

"Yes sir. In the limited time allowed me to examine the two individuals, I have come to the conclusion that they are not extraterrestrials at all. They are human. Natives of the planet Earth. This is some sort of fraudulent..."

Zenger interrupted, "Truman, for God's sake, shut up."

The president addressed his Director of The Agency, "Toby, get this pompous jackass out of my office. Now."

"Yes, Mister President."

The Chief exited the room, the sputtering professor in tow.


Paco Flores sat on his lawn chair halfway between the ranch house and the barn just before midnight looking up at the panorama of twinkling stars. Miss London had flown off that morning in the same helicopter in which she's arrived the day before. Back to the nation's capitol, back to her danger filled life of deception and intrigue.

But of course, those were things an old ranch hand would know absolutely nothing about. That was the province of the highly educated, well born, superior men of power and intellectual sophistication: the elite: the government officials, the billionaires, and the cunning operatives, both the overt and the covert, manipulators of The Agency.

These are things neither accessible to nor desired by the simple country folk.

Paco and his wife Rosa took seriously the responsibility for the upkeep and daily maintenance of the house, the barn, and the few domesticated animals that wandered the small pasture out behind the buildings. The five horses, the two milk cows, the ever growing herd of goats, and the uncounted number of chickens, fine egg layers and providers of tasty protein.

Miss London had shown, over the last six years, that she had complete trust in the two aging Mexican Americans as caretaker and housekeeper fully as much as had her father, Doctor E. Rance London, the former astronaut, before the cancer took him and left her as the ranchlet's sole owner.

Rosa was growing older, Paco thought, as was he himself. But that was part of the deal, one of the drawbacks in the beginning, back on their doomed home world when the two of them, young and eager for adventure, had signed on for the one way trip to Earth.

It had been Rosa's idea. Paco was fairly certain of that. But sometimes memory can play tricks on an old, old man like him. And there was no use to deny it, he was old, as much as ten times the age of the average Earth native. And so was Rosa, although it would take a full battalion of battle scarred veterans to force her to admit it.

Rosa had gone to bed at least two hours earlier. Just another sign of this planet's atmospheric propensity for hastening diminishment of life force in biological creatures.

Paco stood up, folded up the aluminum chair and carried it to the barn, where he hung it from one of the tool and implement carrying spikes driven into the barn's back wall. He could smell the good aroma of newly mown and tightly baled hay from where it lay in neatly fashioned stacks up in the loft above his head. When he left the barn, Paco allowed himself on last long look up to the tiny point of light that sparkled well above Ursa Major. Then, checking with his right hand to assure himself that the tiny remote switch was in the pocket of his faded jeans, and that his flash light rested in the pocket on the opposite side, he began the short trek to the laboratory inside the small rise just beyond the small pasture.


The orderly undid the ties of the strait jacket and removed it from Ric's upper torso. He then unfastened the leg restraints and unlocked the neck tether fastened to a ring in the padded wall. He watched as Ric stretched his back and body muscles and rotated his arms in half circles, forward and back.

"Now, you don't aim to go and try to escape again, do you Mr. Newman?" he said.

"You can bet that I'm not, Jimmy," Ric told him. "I've learned my lesson, and that's for sure."

"That's good. I'm glad to hear you say that. Know why?"


"Because you got yourself some visitors, that's why."


"Yep. Soon as you get your shower and get dressed up in your new clothes, we'll go up to the solarium and join your friends."

"Friends? Who are they? What's their names? Do you know, Jimmy?"

"Naw... but you'll find out soon enough. Now get in that stall and wash that stink off you. Whew-ee! You sure do smell strong."


In the hospital's third floor solarium, Pindar Balzac and Genna Greene both sat on the edge of their chairs while they waited for Ric to be brought to the room. "How much can we tell him," Genna asked.

"No limit that I know of," Pindar answered.

Genna flicked a crumb from her breakfast cruller off of the left leg of her slacks. Watched it drop to the tile floor. "They've surely dosed him with every drug known to man by now. No way to trust what he tells us."

"No," Pindar agreed.

"I feel so sorry for him. Poor Ric. And he really doesn't know anything of any importance. That's the sad part."

"But don't forget, that very fact is what makes him so necessary for the next phase. He can't reveal what he doesn't know."

Genna lifted a tissue to her face and dabbed at her eyes. "Those ugly people are so unreasonable, and they are unbelievably brutal. There's no telling what they will use to try and force information from him."

"I know that, Genna. It can't be helped."

Genna jumped up from her chair as she saw Ric in an old fashioned wheel chair being pushed into the room by a smiling orderly.

"Ric," she said, "Oh, just look at you."

Aiming her flashing eyes at the orderly, she cried out, "What have you beasts been doing to this poor sweet innocent man? Oh, just look at him."

The orderly's smile vanished, as he said, "We ain't done nothing to him, Ma'am, just did our best to make him well again, that's all."

Pindar stood and walked over to the wheel chair, "Ric, we're going to get you out of here real soon. The paperwork's in progress. People who know the law are working night and day. Be patient for a while longer. We've got big plans for you."

"What ever you say, Pindar. You know how loyal I am to you."

"I certainly do, Ric. And I appreciate it. But we have to go now, can't stay, important meeting in less than an hour. You'll be fine from here on in. Won't he, orderly?"

Jimmy looked into the cold piercing eyes of the tall man who had just addressed him, and said, "Huh?"

Pindar said nothing more but continued to stare steadily into the orderly's unblinking eyes.

Jimmy said, "Oh, yes sir, Mr. Newman will be just fine. Yes sir."

With a wave and a smile, Pindar and Genna left the room.

Jimmy turned the wheel chair around, pushed it toward the solarium's exit, and said to Ric, "Oh yes sir, Mr. Newman sir; you going to be just fine."

1 comment:

  1. Gene,

    I am amazed by what feels like your firm grasp of this story. It reads as if you'd written and polished it some time ago, clean and focused. I believe, for what my opinion may be worth, that this story is publishable. I think you should be sending it out. No joke. No apple polishing. It's good.