Señorita Saguaro and the VOICES!

Early on in my apprenticeship with Señorita Saguaro, within the first twenty days, in fact, she told me a story of a woman she knew who was having troubles with a form of schizophrenia. The troubles were specifically in relation to the ‘voices’ that would continually hound her, prodding her to self-destructive behaviours… life threatening actions. We were sitting around a small fire in Saguaro’s *quetzaltzin hut which resembled a large bee hive, it had a hole at the top – a chimney where the smoke from the fire coiled up and into the night sky.

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She laughed when she told me the story but insisted that it was an ironic laughter. The woman who had the voices, she said, was slowly over time degrading in physical health due to the voices – they wouldn’t let her sleep, she couldn’t eat and was terrified of going out of her house. “You know what I said to her?” Saguaro asked me with a squinty eye. I shook my head, wondering why she was even telling me about the woman – since we had come to the quetzaltzin hut for the sole purpose of discussing the importance of energy retrieval  in regards to ‘DREAMING’.

“I looked her straight in the eye, like I am with you now, and asked: ‘Why do you keep listening to them? For 3 years now you have been telling me all that they say, every word. Why do you listen!?”

The woman said nothing and left in an angry huff. Three years later the woman returned to visit the Señorita, looking healthier… and she was smiling, Saguaro told me that they hugged and then the woman told her that she had spent some time trying to figure out why she was listening to them.. to the point of obsession, when finally she noticed that the voices were quiet.

In all her obsessing over the WHY, she realised that there was no room for the voice so it stopped talking. she also realised that she never actually came to a conclusion as to WHY, but occasionally the voice would pipe up, in those moments she simply did not listen.

‘Guidance by subterfuge’.  A standard teaching method employed in some Pagan and shamanistic healing traditions that still function in pure form, today. As I mentioned, I had no idea why she was telling me the story, it was a non sequitur moment based on what we had been working on… and it was never mentioned again.

I could see though how she prodded the Woman into asking herself ‘WHY was she listening’ to such a degree of obsession that there was no ‘space’ for the voices to operate. Kind of like ignoring someone who is on a whining binge, eventually the whiner loses interest because they are not getting the attention they are vying for. The woman did this for so long that the energy that the voices needed was taken away and they became inert, depleted to such a degree that in the end she had gained enough personal power to realise that the WHY was not the solution. (The energy of her attention she was giving them prior to being obsessed with the WHY – was actually self-care, as she was giving energy and attention to her problem and not to the problem).

She simply didn’t have the strength after being depleted for so long as a result of her battle with the voices, to simply not listen. Saguaro saw that her mind required a distraction; a shift to the self rather than the problem, so you see it was a subtle sleight of hand, so to speak that saved the woman. By the time the Woman realised that WHY was not the solution, she had essentially energised herself to the point where she COULD simply not listen and it would be effective.

The reason this is important is that well on 20 years after the initial story was told to me, is that I’m having to employ the same subterfuge to this Anxiety/PTSD that my body is experiencing.

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When a ‘panic event’ occurs I really have no control over the happening of it… but I am noticing that the level of intensity that is creating a distorted ‘reality’ is super high, so I have to really be on top of the ‘awareness’ game in order to not flip out. It’s uncomfortable in the sense that I have to extricate myself from whatever situation I’m in and be totally alone to let the distorted reality that my brain is producing, to cycle out. Not give any of the thoughts or projections any credence or attention and then just relax out of the warped reality.

It is something that all humans experience; the barrage of thoughts.  With the Anxiety the ‘normal’ experience of the barrage is amplified, in my individual estimation by a hundredfold.  It is like being incredibly psychic since the sensitivity to external factors seems to get ramped up as well, so the result is that the pummeling barrage of fear based thoughts are acting in accordance with the ability to be super sensitive to external factors that can be as subtle as a change in the wind or the curling of a lip.

At the rapidity that this is occurring it is extremely difficult to maintain a clarity of what is REALLY happening in contrast to the thought, fear, reality paradigm that is being created in the mind. Every action, word or event is latched onto by the hyper sensitised mind that is functioning from a basis of terror, and those actions, words or events are used by the mind to support the terror reaction… the fight or flight response.

When I experience my first out-and-out panic attack a few months ago, I felt as though the walls were closing in, and that every person in the space was wanting me dead, or gone, or at best, strung up as an object to be ridiculed.  I left the space quickly and spent the rest of the night in the car.  It was here in the car, after a few hours of deep breathing and forced meditation, and nearly twenty years after the fact that I remembered Señorita Saguaro’s story of the ‘Woman with the Voices’ and I began to wonder if I couldn’t employ the same tactic on my own in order to keep this thing from getting worse. And of course this doesn’t exclude employing my medical doctor and the resources they supply.

At this point in time I am still working to retrieve a medical understanding of what is happening, whether it is physiological, chemical or psychological responses due to childhood traumas.  In the process of working that out I have had the opportunity to employ a few of the methods that I was taught by Señorita Saguaro – shamanistic, healing methods such as DREAMING, the Quetzaltzin (recapitulation), meditation and the method I focus on in the story she told me.  So far the method in her story seems to have given the best results.

That first attack lasted for about four hours and was hellish, think of four hours feeling as though everything was going to make you suffer, to make you feel ridicule and pain… making it worse and ever so much worse as it continued, and there was no escape or relief possible.  Four hours.

Two days ago I had a similar attack.  I told myself this when I felt it coming on:  “Don’t believe anything, just stay calm and observe.” Which I did in order to avoid argument or negative events with my partner, and then quickly went to my office and let the thoughts run their course.  It was DAMNED uncomfortable.  A two-hour barrage of thoughts that told me of all the worst thing that were going to happen to me if I didn’t DO something NOW!   This is how I used Señorita’s story/method:  I asked my self WHAT.  What do I have to DO?   I knew that I wasn’t interested in an answer, not really.  What I hoped was that the question would lock my mind into attempting to answer a question to an irrational fear and terror – even though I couldn’t identify the fear and terror as being irrational in the moment.

After 2 hours the panic subsided as my mind attempted to figure out WHAT to DO, and clarity returned.  I knew that I couldn’t let my mind continue searching for an answer that existed in an illusory loop, so I went outside and looked at the stars. Planted my feet into the grass and stared into the cold night sky.  Within minutes those stars were all I could think of.

Stars.

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*Quetzaltzin is a more pure form of the practice called ‘recapitulation’ by don Juan Matus, it is used to reclaim ‘lost’ personal energy from places, the past, and people.

Daniel’s Theme (parts 1 and 2).

Extensive character study includes creating thematic film scoring as well as pages of written work, photo collage and… also, ‘acting’;  becoming the character and going out into the world AS the character I’m creating to gauge their responses and actions in real time.

The main Character theme for Daniel Starr, The main character of Dominion, the first book of the ‘Redemption in Reverse cycle’.   The music is composed with Piano, and transcribed into Propellerheads REASON with Synthesizer enhanced, self recorded samples.

Blog Post 2: “Scrivener in my head.” The shameless plug.

On a fairly recent outing, I bought a beautiful hand made pen at a specialty shop in Dunfanaghy, County Donegal.  Blonde wood with silver fittings, simple with no frills and a comfortable size for a nice grip when the writing gets intense.  I love my pen and I take vicious good care of it.  There is no feeling in the world like writing with a quality pen on a nice blank sheet of paper.  Unfortunately I don’t get to use it much. ‘Much’ being about three times a week.

Scrivener is the culprit.

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On September 15, 2011., I was frantic, FRANTIC I say… searching for a way out of the desperate wastelands of Microsoft Word. While browsing the wild and woolly avenues of the interwebs and getting lost in the weaving alleys of software cities, the technical structures and half empty digital buildings most of which were gorgeous on the outside but proved desolate within… dark promises of structures not yet complete, Searching.

On that day, I stumbled across SCRIVENER.

Since 2011, Scrivener is my go to Application software for ALL my writing needs, save one.  At some point I will discuss the ‘ONE’ in detail but for now I will say simply that the one is specific to screenwriting.

Scrivener is GOLD, It does everything a writer requires from one page cover letters to ‘War and Peace’ length technical journals.  It provides templates for novels, novels with parts, stage plays, nonfiction, and poetry.  You can insert photography, graphs, footnotes and links.. you can do all these things or just write. All these templates are formatted and prepared according to publishing standards and presented in the best way possible:  Open the application, choose a template, and write! Just write to hearts desire.

When you have completed your next bestseller, you can configure and compile your work as an E-book, a PDF, print, novel, web page… or even Microsoft Word.  Scrivener will then export your work Publisher ready.

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Its a brilliant application, the learning curve gentle and can be purchased for Macintosh and Windows.  I amn’t much of a ‘tablet’ person, but they also have an iOS version (I understand an android version is well on the way) for those of you who are.  They also have a mind mapper called SCAPPLE, which a fantastic tool for organising thoughts in a visual manner.

Its easy, it does everything, except wash your dishes, but even the best feature yet.. it’s REALLY really, SUPER inexpensive. Under $50 U.S. dollars (under €50 Euro as well – of course!) , and only $20 for the iOS.  They even offer educational licenses.

Go check it out, Really it’s AMAZING!

Their website is: Literature and Latte. Feeling adventurous?

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Happy Writing!

BLOG POST 1: “Writer, into the dark night go I.” or “Screaming and kicking.”

I have been putting off a serious and focused commitment to an interweb presence for the last ten years, I’ve been playing at it, futzing around with it, yes.  Never really wanting to undertake the process of designing a website as a presentation of life work simply due the paralyzing anxiety of failing at it. The Big Dream, The final push.  This is it, and it’s terrifying.

Anxiety.  Now there’s a trigger word if ever there was one!  Not just the layman’s anxiety, but the full blown, clinical… Let me take a deep breath as the screen warbles and the walls close in!  Ahem, clinical Anxiety.  The kind you have to get a diagnosis for.

I can leave the topic of Anxiety for another time, suffice it to say, that it came to a vital point of self reckoning here, recently, that I really need to make a quantitative move, take an action that would 1. be symbolic of getting on top of my fear of failure, and 2. Time is running out!  Yolo my friends, YOLO!

For those that have no clue as to what YOLO means (I just recently, was clued in myself) I will happily let you in on the secret:  You Only Live Once.

So here it is, a fully functioning, semi-Kevin designed website, really just an amped up WordPress bloggy froggy with a bit of pre-programmed bell and whistle to keep things on the up and up.   The text is a work in progress as I work out the best ways to ‘express my self marketing voice’ in between hours of dialogue bashes and novel squishing.

So  I am officially calling this online ‘ME’ offically active.  Online and into the dark night go I, bell bottoms blazing.  It looks like I am in this for the long haul. Someone once told me: ‘a writers life is, at best… solitary, and at worst, um-solitary.’   I think thats a load of shit.  This action, this movement to get on top of that fear of failure once and for all is meant to prove that statement absolutely incorrect.

Yep It looks like I’m on my own here.

Time to throw it off a cliff and see if it flies.

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The Dangerous Nature of Dandelions. (1st rough draft, Chapter 4)

Kitchen so white and so clean, the morning sunlight bright and promising as it spread across the room through the old glass of the wood framed windows, warming the day. Golden beams reflecting, bounding from ivory surfaces to the polished chrome of appliances adored, to be swatted into the brown eyes of the mother. Warming her and warming her son. Juliana watched as little Tomás waddled across the kitchen floor, making way toward the hallway.

He stopped and looked up at the cork-board, wobbling on his heels as he pointed at the yellow rubber gloves that hung from a pushpin. Agitated, he ran up the hallway.  Juliana followed her little boy, wondering what it was about the rubber gloves that fascinated him so.  He was born with a full head of gleaming black hair that was soft, like cornsilk and it waved and wafted about his head like a feathery halo as he ran.

In the living room, she knew, would be Danny.  He would be sitting on the chair near the brick fireplace organising the contents of his book-bag.
Danny looked up as Juliana followed Tomás into the room.  He smiled at her.
“I’m going to get ready for work, Dan.  There is some fruit in a bowl in the refrigerator and some Chicken Molé and tortillas from last night if you want them.
He nodded and pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his freckled, button nose.  “I want them! I do!” He said unable to contain himself as his bright blue eyes widened. “You make the best!  Nobody makes better molé.”

Tomás wrapped his chunky, three year old arms around Danny’s leg.
Julianna smiled.  “Thanks Dan.  Well, nobody appreciates my cooking more than you.  Makes a girl feel proud.”
Danny laughed as Tomás attempted to climb into his lap.  He let go of the book-bag and hoisted the child to a sitting position and began bouncing the boy on his knee.
“Is there anything I need to know before you go?” He asked.
Juliana thought for a moment.  “No, all is as it always has been.”
Dan smiled.

Tomás leaned forward and put his tiny hand on Dan’s cheek, caressed it gently before weaving his fingers into Dan’s blond hair.  He turned his head, a big grin puffing his cheeks.  “Gowld!  Golwd pitty mama!
Juliana chuckled and leaned toward Dan.  “Yeah, baby Gold is pretty.  You be good for Mr. Gold, while I’m at work okay, baby?”
Dan caught Juliana’s eye, and she winked.  “You take care of my little prince, keep him safe okay?”
Dan nodded. “You know I will, Jules. As if my life depends on it!”
Juliana turned and went to the bathroom, she looked into the mirror and thought about her baby boy… he did love blonde hair. Reflecting on two of her daughters friends; Angela and Taylor.  Both as Blond and blue eyed as they could get, Nordic, Germanic.  Tomás was entranced by them, just as he was by Dan.  She remembered the first baby sitter that she had gotten for Tommy, a pretty enough young girl, sixteen; she had brown hair.  Poor girl. Tomás was was her worst nightmare, wouldn’t have anything to do with her.  She quit after a week.

Juliana pulled her long black hair to the side and began rapidly braiding, then clipped the end, wound it into a coil and pinned it to the back of her head.
Finding Dan had been a godsend, for a few reasons. He was seventeen years old, responsible and had excellent grades in school and no girlfriend – he had told her he didn’t have time for that sort of thing, that his studies kept him too busy and a girlfriend would be too distracting. He had his sights set on Stanford University.  He wanted to be a doctor.  Sure, he was a tad bit bookish but he reminded her of a beach boy, cute enough.  He’d make some girl a great catch one day.  Steven had always thought it would be better to have a male baby-sitter from the start, his reasoning being, that little Tomás would have a good male role model rather than someone who might coddle him.  Steven liked Dan, trusted him. The Stanford bit appealed to Steven as well, as he wanted the best for Tomás, and he thought that Dan would be a great example for his son in his formative years.  She couldn’t argue Steven’s reasoning but there were undercurrents that she thought were questionable, things that weren’t spoken outright, but alluded to.  He had mentioned once that he didn’t want his son growing up watching girls wandering around putting on makeup and worrying over their dresses.  “‘Too much feminine influence on a boy would be a bad.'” He had said.

Juliana shook her head and brushed her teeth, when she finished she went into the bedroom, just off the hallway and got dressed.  Simple; a green skirt, blue short sleeved blouse, white cardigan and her black low heeled strap on shoes.  She polished the buckle of the left shoe before she put it on.  She checked her purse to makes sure it was fully stocked with all she would need for the day; Wallet, hairbrush, a small bottle of perfume, tissues, hand lotion… house-keys.
She started into the hallway but stepped back and Tomás barrelled toward the kitchen with Dan in tow.  As they passed Tomás glanced up at Juliana, his face twisted up in a joyful chuckle, Dan shook his head. “He wants…”
“I know, I know… the oranges, right?
“You got it.  What else?”
Juliana made her way into the hall and shouted back to Dan as she opened the front door just off the living room.  “That reminds me, Are you taking him to the park today?
Dan leaned into the hall.  “It was on the list of plans, yep.”
“Could you stop by Al’s Market and pick up some butter and a head of lettuce.. oh and more oranges, please?  She stepped out into the bright daylight.  “You know where the money is.”
“you bet, Jules.  Have a good one, okay?”  Dan replied.
“Thanks Dan.”  She shut the door and trotted up the street.

*

“Kiss?” Tomás asked.
Dan leaned forward and little Tomás kissed his nose.
“Alright little buddy, you wanna go play?  Outside?”
Tomás clapped his hands and went to his bedroom which was situated next to the kitchen. Dan grabbed his book bag and and went to the bathroom, he lifted the lid from the septic tank of the toilet and pulled out a wet ziplock bag.  He opened the bag, opened the plastic baggie inside and took twenty dollars from the hidden stash.  He closed it up and replaced the baggie, carefully laid the porcelain lid back onto the septic tank and went to find Tomás.
The stopped at Al’s Market and got the few things that Juliana had asked for, Dan decided to buy a Hershey’s chocolate bar as well, twenty-five cents that Juliana probably wouldn’t be concerned about, and made their way to the park.  I was a good walk, five blocks up the hill to College avenue and then four blocks south to the park. Not really a park but a large patch of green that the neighbour-hood folks had cleaned up, re-planted, and added two benches, a slide and some swings.
It was a warm day, warmer than usual, Dan thought as they walked past the Art college.  A cluster of students emerged through the gates and one of the girls stopped him, and looked at Tomás.
“Is he yours?” She asked excitedly.  “He’s adorable!” Dan shook his head as she bent down to say hello to Tomás.
“He sure is!”  One of her friends muttered. Staring at Dan with a smile.
“shut up Ricky.”  The girl said.
Dan blushed.
Tomás who was as agreeable and playful as ever, and sort of impish in his very special way wanted to give the girl a kiss, he leaned forward, closed his eyes and pursed his lips.  The ‘Tomás special’ as Dan liked to say; a kiss to the forehead.  He looked up at Dan for permission.
The girl was jubilant with the adorable factor of the little boy.
“Go ahead, its ok.  But asked her first, never kiss a girl without asking first.”
Her friend Ricky, still staring at Dan, spoke again.  “Or a boy.”
Dan ignored the flirt.
The girl leaned toward Tomás and he kissed he forehead and laughed.  She stood up and elbowed Ricky. “back off.”
She looked at Dan and smiled then. “Don’t mind him.” She gave her friend a dirty look “He’s obnoxious.” She said to Dan.  She waved at Tomás and grabbed ricky’s arm. “Bye now…Bye cutie pie!” as she directed her friend away and up the street in the opposite direction.
Dan shook his head and grabbed Tomás’ hand.  “Let’s go captain.”
“Da Pok!” Tomás shouted.
“That’s right, best friend. The park!”
“She pitty!” Tomás said.
“Yep, she was pretty alright.”  Dan replied
“Not pitty ike oo.”  Tomás intoned. “I wuv Dan Dan.”
“Ah little buddy, I love you too!  Dan said as the made their way into the park.
Dan set his book bag down and dropped to a sitting position, Tomás sat next to him.  He opened the bag and pulled out his books and set them aside.  Tomás watched, his long lashes glittered with every blink as Dan reached into his bag and pulled out a baggie with two peeled oranges that had been broken up into slices.  Tomás reached for them.  Dan told him to wait.
“Not so fast, kiddo.” he said with a smile, as he pulled the chocolate bar from his shirt pocket and unwrapped it.  He broke the chocolate into pieces and gave one to Tomás. “You can play on the swings while I look at my books okay? And if you’re a good little captain, I’ll give you some more chocolate okay?
“Ah-ha!” Tomás said, nodding.  Dan smiled, gave him another square of chocolate and he took off toward the swings.  “Stay where I can see you!” Dan shouted after him.
Dan buckled down and began to study, first the Civics. He turned the pages, every so often glancing toward the swings.
An hour had passed, and Tomás had made frequent visits to Dan for a piece of orange, or a hug. And now, Dan was deep into his English studies.  He looked up to see Tomás chasing a butterfly, a long shadow near the hedges at the far edge of the park enclosure, leaves rustling. He smiled and lied back, looking up at the clouds.  Slowly moving puffs of silvery white against a bright blue sky.  The warm sun on his arms, a slight tangy fragrance of orange and chocolate brought to his senses with the light breeze and Dan closed his eyes, thinking of school and a bright future that would be college.  And he drifted with those thoughts, drifted with the clouds into a light summer nap. A Summer dream of lighthearted laughs and music… The Carpenters singing a song, singing it proud and not worrying if it wasn’t good enough for anyone else to hear.  Coloured lights and beautiful girls wearing bell bottom pants with happy face patches sewn on the back pockets.  A rainbow painted tapestry of boys with beer cans and rooms full of promise, he dreamed.  The dream of driving a car, a brand new car with the top down, zooming around the bends of a forested highway, the wind  in his hair and the screeching of tires.  And the sudden flash of red.
Red and the screeching.
He shot awake to the sounds of Tomás, screaming his heart out. The foggy veil of sleep was ripped away as he shot to his feet, already shouting, shouting before he could see.  Shouting before he saw.  “Tommy!  TOMÁS…”
He turned toward the swings and and scanned the area with viper speed, but saw no one. He turned to the left as another screech bellowed from the young boy.
There at the edge of the park near a hedgerow, Was a middle aged man, Dan didn’t notice the details and specifics.. it was just a man.  He had Tomás by the throat!
The full image of what was happening slowly registered but Dan Howled then, as he realised that the mans pants were down, and he was forcing Tomás’ head toward his crotch.
Dan bolted forward, howling through burning lungs.
Two women who were walking the avenue stopped as the heard Dan’s angry high pitched bellows, curses, and threats of murder.  They skittered into the park and stood terrified as they took in the scene.
By the time Dan had slammed, full speed into the bastard child molester, little Tomás had been violated twice. The child was thrown sideways, choking, as Dan began a violent attack on the man’s face with his bone white, solidly clenched fists.
Dan finally felt the man’s cheek crack on the third punch. As he pummelled, he felt that man’s lip split open, the blood squirting up the length of his arm.  He felt the rage of demons as he felt the flesh of his knuckles burst open with a blow to the man’s chin.  The man helplessly raised his left arm in a defensive move, to protect his ravaged face, and Dan snatched his wrist and twisted his hand backward with such force that the bones in his hand popped free of the wrist.  Dan inhaled as he reached the point of exhaustion and punched the man again, squarely in the ear.  Dan could see him howling, his mouth opened in a sickening wide red O, but heard nothing, nothing but his own weary grunts and angry wails.
Meanwhile, the two horrified women had come closer. One of them rushed away and disappeared into a shoe shop across the street from the park.  The woman who remained was screaming at Dan, as a crowd began to gather, screaming for him to stop.
The beaten man had had no time to react, to defend himself, and Dan continued punching until he was breathless.  He stopped and looked over his shoulder at the woman screaming at him.  Some sense returned to him then and he turned his head, confused, frightened.  He looked for little Tomás.  He began to weep as he found the boy with his eyes.  Tomás curled up in ivy coughing.  He could hear the woman screaming and he scuttled away from the man and scooped up Tomâs who had stuffed his thumb in his mouth as his eyes dripped tears.  Tomás looked up at Dan, never taking his glassy wet eyes off the young man’s face as he was carried away. As he was carried into sounds of shouting and sounds of Dan Dan crying out loud. Sounds of sirens.
Dan was crying in fitful, breath stabbing sobs and cradling Tomás’ face as he staggered toward the astonished crowd, Tomás looked up at him trying to understand the words he was speaking through snotty sobs.
“I’m sorry baby boy, I’m so sorry…” Dan fell to his knees as he whispered to Tomás his apologies.  A man came forward and kneeled beside them as two police cars skidded to a halt at the curbs, their sirens blaring in the early afternoon sun.
*
“He nearly killed that monster.” Tom said.  “Mama told me so years later, not too long before she died. Nearly killed him.”  Tom leaned into the sofa and wiggled his toes, he tried to remember Dan, but couldn’t.  Hazy snapshots of the mind.  Most of his memories of Dan were reinforced by old Kodak photographs.
Lisa rested her cheek on the back of her hand and searched Tom’s face, he was looking at his toes. No, not at them, past them.  “Do you remember him?” She asked.
Tom chuckled.  “I was just trying to. Not much there. Just feelings really, you know; feelings attached to a face in some old pictures.”
Lisa sat up and grabbed the bottle of wine from the table and filled her glass. “more?” she said and tipped the bottle toward Tom. He nodded.
She scooted across the sofa and filled his glass, and he picked it up, and returned to the chair sitting crosslegged.  “You know, Dan, He is my first experience of love.  I mean that wasn’t family.
Lisa sipped. “And you were, what…two years old?”
Dan nodded.  “Three at the most.” Dan gulped.
“What happened to him, I mean do you know?”
“No idea, Mama said he was guilt ridden, and couldn’t stand to be around me. Said he would break down, or just sort of daze out if I was anywhere near him for too long, She told me he went to college, somewhere on the East coast.”  Tommy sipped again.  “I have a picture of him.  Wanna see?
Lisa, a little bitt saddened by the story smiled gently and replied.  “I’d like that, yeah.”
Tommy arched his body sideways and got the wallet from his back pocket, that was easy with one hand, getting the picture out was not; he set the wine glass back on the table and slipped the heavy card like photograph from a sleeve in the wallet and handed it across to her between two fingers.
She took it let her eyes fall gently on the image.  The first thing she noticed was Tom. Oversized eyes ringed with jet black lashes, and far too intelligent for a toddler, button nose, wide toothless grin.  Tom wearing coveralls with a kangaroo patch on the chest pocket. Toms arms were raised and his fingers wrapped tight around Dan’s thumbs.  Dan with an open mouthed smile, his chin resting on Tom’s jet black mop of hair.
“Beautiful, wasn’t he?” Tom asked, hushed tones but more than a whisper.
Lisa raised her eyes, caught Toms glance and then looked back at the picture.  He had wild wavy blond hair, not too short but not long and ice blue eyes, his arms and hands were like alabaster but the tones in his face were golden… tawny as if he’d just gotten a tan.
She handed the picture back to Tom, he shook his head and she set in on the table.
“did you ever try to find him?” Lisa asked.
Tommy paused, took a sip of his wine and looked at her through hooded eyelids, the smile was gone. “I used to, when I was little.  I always thought maybe he was hiding behind old man Johnsons hedges, like when we played hide and seek. I still think about him a lot.”
“Still trying?” Lisa said.
Tom sighed and rubbed his forehead, he was beginning to feel slightly tense, a little embarrassed and he’d never really spoken about the truth of the matter before, the truth behind his attempts, the solid ones.  “Yeah, I guess I am… in a way. Can we talk about something else?”
“Oh come on, it’s me.  Its safe with me, you know that.” Lisa said, in her most serious and loyal tone of voice, and she meant it.
Tom leaned back, again and let his head fall back, mystified with the tenacity of Lisa’s curiosity, and a little irritated by it. Usually she backed off if told ‘no.’
“Please?”
“Okay okay. I did find him, about four years ago. No, let me clarify; I found his father.  Still living in the same house in the old neighbourhood.”  Tom’s voice was a bit shaky now, and he fidgeted with the cuffs of his trousers.
Lisa’s eyes were rimmed with a curious excitement, she secretly loved happy endings, how movies always ended on a joyful note.  A secret pleasure.  “Yeah, and…?”
Tom lowered his head.  “Well, he did go to college, you know, one of those fancy Ivy League deals…Boston or New York or something. He wanted to be a doctor, a surgeon. There was trouble though, and he…” Tom slowly got out of the chair and took the glass of wine and chugged the remains of the glass. He bent over and touched his toes and stood up fast.  The head rush hit him hard, and dizzy, he dropped to the carpet in a rolling sit.  “Well don’t you know, he was all depressed or something, manic.  His room-mate found him hanging from the neck in their dorm room late in the Spring semester, didn’t even finish a full year.”
Lisa’s mouth hung open, it wasn’t the happy ending that she got, and she slumped back in bitter surprise and looked briefly at the photograph on the table.
“I found him, but I’m still looking, see?”  Tom muttered.  No tears, no visible sadness, only an even temperament and a slight quiver of the lip. “Still looking. He took care of me you see, he loved me. I know that, can feel it, right here.” He tapped his temples and then thumped his chest with an open hand. “Yeah, my first experience of love that wasn’t family. Just about everyone I’ve know since then has only been the opposite; mean, contrary, self obsessed. HE…he nearly killed for me.”
Lisa stared at Tom, flustered, she didn’t know what to do or say. But she tried.  “I don’t.. I mean my God, I’m so…”
Tom shook his head. “Don’t be sorry, it’s okay.” Rested his arms on the table, clasped his hands and lowered his chin, to them.  He blinked, attempting to gauge Lisa’s reaction, or next question.
She looked away, overwhelmed.  “How could anyone compete with that kind of love?” A statement, not a question.
“you can’t, Lisa. Anyway, It’s not a competition.”
she looked at him, looked at him hard, but his eyes were soft, soft and clear. the same clear, hazel green they had been when they first met. There was something in the way he spoke those last words that effected her in a visceral way, as if she had been gently thumped at the tip of her sternum, from the inside.
Tom studied Lisa’s expression, his own face relaxed and with a slight smile.  “What’s wrong?” he asked.
She settled, the hard look dissipated and she looked again at the picture on the table.  “Do you remember…” She inhaled and let the question be what it was, no mincing of words. “I mean do you remember the attack, the man?
“I remember that like it happened yesterday.” He replied, still calm the half grin still apparent on his face.
“You don’t seem bothered by it.” Lisa said.
“Well I’m not, not really. Not anymore.” Tom winked at her then.
“What was that for?” She asked, somewhat astounded by his response.
Tom shrugged, strands of hair feel into his eyes and he brushed them away. “I dunno, just that its not a ‘thing’ for me, you know?” He thought for a moment that she seemed horrified by the notion that he wasn’t bothered by some stranger violation his mouth in such a way.  “Look, I remember it, but the only thing I have no recollection of, is that he actually put it in my mouth. I don’t even remember seeing it.  What I do remember is seeing something in the hedges, I went over and he grabbed me by the neck… gently though.  He was rubbing himself but he was fully clothed. He had his hand on my neck and simply guided my head really close to his crotch… I remember seeing the brass zipper, could’ve touched it with the tip of my nose.”  Tom laughed, a sliver of ice had lodged itself in the laugh though.  “Next thing I remember was hitting the ground, I couldn’t breathe… funny taste in my mouth; i think it was blood though, my lip was split right down the center.”  Tom shrugged again, slid his hand across the table and grabbed the wine glass.  “Cheers.” he said, fixing his gaze on Lisa’s.
The both sipped the wine and remained silent for a matter of minutes.  Just being, saying nothing and sipping wine.
Lisa broke the silence eventually as she lifted herself from the sofa, and stretched her arms with a yawn.  “It’s early, lets go for a walk.”
“Will your dad miss the wine?”
“No, not really, he knows I have some once in a while, it’s not a problem.”
Tom stood up. “Juliana would kill me if she knew I was drinking.”
Lisa guffawed “Oh stop. Mama’s in heaven.”
Tom tapped his temple with his forefinger. He grinned.
“Come on, let’s walk.”
Lisa grabbed the drained bottle and took it away, as Toms slipped his feet into his black sandals and followed Lisa into the kitchen.
She was stuffing the bottle into the recycling bin when he came in.  “Hey, why don’t we go to Zazzo’s, I’m starving!”
“Sure, you want pizza, you get pizza!” Tom answered.
“You’re doing that thing again. Tommo.” She said as she came around the butchers block. Patted him on the shoulder as she passed him.  He turned and followed.
“What thing is that?
“You know, do we have to go over this again? Seriously.”
“I like my ‘faraway place.’
“Im sure. It’s like you’re stoned or something though. Makes for strained interaction, Tommo.”
“I guess. It’s how I get through Algebra class.”
“Algebra, English, French, Civics…”
“Okay okay, I heard you!”
Lisa laughed, flicked his ear as they made their way out of the house and into the early evening suburb. “It’s starting to get cold.”
“Jack O’lanterns and Winter. They creep on you, get under your skin when you aren’t looking.”

Saguaro. (Scene 5-a)

I enjoy the process of writing scenes in screenplay format, moving back and forth between traditional prose and screenplay formats is useful for me in a many ways.  I can get a wonderful sense of the visual aspects of the scene which deeply inform how I can later execute the same scene in a novel or short story.  This scene is pulled from the Chronicles of Señorita Saguaro, who appears in brief moments in the story; DOMINION, but eventually becomes a major player in its sequels.

 

EXT. – DESERT – MEXICO – DUSK

Fists clench around the chrome handles of the gray iron gantry hatch.  This is Earth.  Cold.  The sun slides across the lines of the horizon and the wind howls through the jet wisps of his hair.
The APPRENTICE watches through squinted eyes; the fires of the sorceress.
The WOMAN’s voice is raspy, her lips slick with whiskey and tequila.  Liquor for spewing.

APPRENTICE
She is the sorceress, the dreamer of dragons, where dragons have long since faded away.

WOMAN
There are no dragons. Not here, never. Nunca fueron, muchacho!

APPRENTICE
Aye.

She throws back the bottle and fills her cheeks, reaches down and grasps a red hot coal from the blasted wreckage.
She spews the liquor into the on coming night.  FIRE!  She throws the coal back into the wreckage, it bounces off the skull of her mother and lands at the feet of the apprentice.

APPRENTICE
Mexihca spreads.  The dark ones are onto us!

WOMAN
We dream them dead! OR there will be dragons.  Sure enough.

APPRENTICE
Dead.

The woman nods slowly and retrieves her mother’s skull from the fire.  The eye sockets glow orange-red as the sun dips below the crests of the Sierra Madre.

“Erran.” Scene 35-c

This scene was written for two young men, initially based on The Daniel and Trevor characters from DOMINION.  The scene itself became part of another story, a screenplay called Erran.  I have yet to be informed by my character, Trevor what his new (proper and specific to this story) name will eventually become.

INT. CAR – AFTERNOON
Trevor reclined the drivers seat and leaned back, his hands behind his head. He watches Erran drop the brown paper lunch bag on the floor of the passenger seat. Trevor allows his head fall back and took a deep breath.

ERRAN
It’s been a long time hasn’t it?

TREVOR
What has?

ERRAN
This.  Never been in your car before.

Trevor shrugs, crosses his arms and looks out the drivers window.

TREVOR
Life’s funny that way.

ERRAN
I suppose so.  I wish we…

TREVOR
What?  Wish what?

ERRAN
Never-mind, it’s dumb.

TREVOR
Probably not as dumb as you think.

ERRAN
It is dumb, Fuckin’ stupid really.

Erran looks over his shoulder at Trevor. Trevor snaps his head in Erran’s direction. The eye contact between them is laser sharp.

TREVOR
You know, I remember the last conversation we had.  Do you?

ERRAN
I remember everything we…

TREVOR
Had?

Erran turns his head again, to look at Trevor but stops halfway and tries to regard him through a nervous sidelong glance. Erran nods.

ERRAN
(softly)
Three years.  Three years and not a word. You; over there. Me; everywhere else and never a word.

Erran leans forward again hugging his torso with tightly crossed arms, he shivers. Trevor watches Erran, eyebrows furrowed.  No expression.

ERRAN
(chuckles)
I’m sorry.  You don’t want to hear any of this.

TREVOR
No, not anymore.  But maybe I should?

ERRAN
Is it okay if I smoke?

Trevor flicks his seat forward and stretches his body across Erran and begins winding the window knob.

The window opens and Erran sinks back into the seat as Trevor watches him, their faces only inches apart. Erran inhales and cracks a smile.

ERRAN
Thanks.  I wish you wouldn’t get so close to me.

TREVOR
Ah!  There’s the wish!

ERRAN
No. I mean… Everything’s all wrong this wasn’t supposed to be like this.

TREVOR
What was it supposed to be like? Like best friends? Brothers?

Trevor, knuckles white, grasps the steering wheel and glares at Erran. Erran looks away and lights his cigarette.

ERRAN
Yeah! Yeah it was.  You did this!

TREVOR
Keep going. Don’t stop now, that was the most honest thing you’ve ever said to me.

ERRAN
All I can see is the sun, Trevor!  When I look at you I’m blinded… all I can see is the sun. I’m freezing Trevor! You’re not a foot away from me and all I see is the sun but I’m so cold.  For three years! Freezing.

Trevor reclines the drivers seat and leans back.

TREVOR
I’m scared too Erran. Everyone is, I think.  I’m scared, yeah. Scared of what might happen if you actually had the guts to tell me what it is you really want from me.  Terrified.

ERRAN
You know.

TREVOR
I do. It would be nice to hear the details though, clarify things.

ERRAN
I’m scared too Trevor.  You’ll leave me alone to it all over again if I say. I can’t do it again.

TREVOR
Tell me. Please?

Erran turns round, and re-positions himself on his knees in the car seat facing the rear view window, and hugs the headrest.  He smiles.  Trevor smiles back and clasps his fingers behind his head.

ERRAN
You’ve gotten so big.

TREVOR
What’s that supposed to mean?

ERRAN
We’ve grown up, I mean. Little kid bodies, gone for good.

TREVOR
I guess so, yeah.

Trevor crosses his arms.

TREVOR
Don’t do that Erran.

ERRAN
I won’t. I promise.

A single tear slithers down Erran’s cheek.

ERRAN
I can’t tell you anything Trevor, If I do you’ll never speak to me again, never even look at me.  See?  It would be my fault then.  It would kill me.

TREVOR
Just say it, okay! Say what you want!

ERRAN
I will not.

Trevor clenches his teeth and smashes the backside of his fist into the car door.  He lurches forward, face to face with Erran.

TREVOR
What?  You love me?  Is that it, is that so goddamned difficult?  And you were wrong.  Damn you, you were wrong.

Erran’s eyes are wide, his body tense.

TREVOR
I didn’t do this!  WE did this. You and me.  So SAY it!

CUT TO:

INT. CAR – DAY.
Trevor drives the car along the tree lined roads as the flickering sun flashes across his face, his expression is calm and his eyes sparkle. Trevor glances at Erran in the passenger seat, his arm out the window, fingers grasping at the warm wind.  They smile.

CUT TO:

EXT. ERRAN’S HOME – DRIVEWAY- LATE AFTERNOON.
Erran gets out of the car and slams the door, he leans into the open window.

TREVOR
Over here.

Erran walks round the front of the car and glances at the house, wary. Scanning. He hunkers down at the drivers side window.

TREVOR
We’re gonna be okay, you know.

ERRAN
I do.

Trevor notices Erran’s eyes flicker toward the house, he turns his head to look at the facade and then returns his gaze to Erran.

ERRAN
I’m sorry Trevor.

TREVOR
Don’t be. Give me your hand.

ERRAN
What?

TREVOR
You’re hand.

Trevor gently holds Erran’s hand in his own, turns it over and then traces his index finger along the lines in the palm.  He brings Erran’s hand to his face and inhales.  Lingers in the sensations.

Erran is transfixed, fascinated.  Trevor releases his hand.

TREVOR
I have to go.

ERRAN
Tomorrow?

Trevor nods.

TREVOR
I promise.