It should be noted that this is excerpted from a larger submission, even that what is mentioned here, which was not at the time of the submission complete, either- it may also be noted that the audience to whom the following small note was directed was my fellow classmates in a writing workshop, who received a LARGER portion of text than what is posted here; hence I reference a “dialogue” that is not featured here, but rather, is featured in the beginning of the first chapter (to be eventually posted in draft form, I should think…) Read on, thanks…
A Prefacing Note to all you fine people (shouldn’t that be “for”?)
Ah. I suppose I have done rather the unthinkable, here, in handing you this, all things considered. I mean, frankly, this doesn’t look all that impressive, and maybe we were expecting some Genesis from Keillor, or maybe we were expecting some nicely worded FBI Warning from Keillor; I’m afraid those are not in the appendix. Rest assured, this is a much larger work- one that has more than an ounce of depth to it; one that many actually find intriguing and enjoyable; one that I should have put together for you, but did not. I will endeavor now, in a sentence or two, to tell you what happens: It’s like Oliver Twist, twisted. (or, shorthand: Oliver Twis’t). Meh, well, sort of- Tim find his way to town doing those errands and stumbles inevitably into a child gang that’s like the Little Rascals, which meets first in a steam shovel and again in…any guesses…? If only there were a large vacant structure no one would ever visit! Alright, I’ll retreat to being boring and plebian again. Oh, and as a word of final caution- the contents of these few pages are absurdly, stereotypically, British; it’s actually unreasonable, even for taking place in England, at the turn of the century…
But seriously, though, I’m all taking your criticisms, if it is possible to make any, in full knowing of the previous parenthetic clause (hit the left key 108 times). Please, ask my cone-of-shamed person what the point of this shallow dialogue is; beg to differ as for the necessity of any or all of it- I’m just counting my hens here. (That’s not a pun at all so don’t bother thinking about it) Alright, I just want to tell you both: Good luck; we’re all counting on you. Oh, and try to seem really excited about reading the rest or something- it’s the little things, guys.
Smoke lingered in the air above Mr. Lowell’s cottage. It rose into the canopies of oaks and elms, hickory and pine- trees which all clung to the property as if by wont; the smoke rose up and tarnished the clouds; it rose beyond our plans and became consequence. Something was burning.
Each windowpane had a different and well-rehearsed reason for being crooked, being painted the wrong color, being rotten, disheveled, or missing entirely. A stiff breeze could dislocate roof shingles and gutters, of which the entire cottage had decidedly few. These and other matters of the house, Mr. Lowell appeared to have ignored.
He sat underneath the veranda in a rickety old chair, counting seconds, maybe minutes, or hours, as they rolled by. His life could be rewritten using the unopened parcels of mail stockpiled beside him, redesigned around the flask in his hand, and refurnished to admit the poor state of his clothes- but his time was spent, his wife was spent, and he had only one son, for whom work was everything but an excuse to visit. Even at present, Mr. Lowell’s life was crumbling before him.
The smoke he dispelled from his grandfather’s pipe hung about him in a mind-numbing miasma; albeit it was not the same smoke which now seeped through the holes in his porch- not the smoke escaping through the now backlit front door, and not what had accompanied a brilliant and unrelenting fire, which tore upward from the basement and swallowed all the contemptible furniture and blurry photos and dusty books and broken bottles in its path.
Mr. Lowell, now acutely aware of the situation, continued to gaze out upon his driveway, a windy road leading nowhere he knew better, and nowhere he wanted to understand. It was thus, then, with the emission of one final, fatal ring from between his lips, that the blaze breached into the open air, took the whole of the English atmosphere deeply into its lungs, and plunged back into the charred earth, turning its beginning into its end, and counting the final second of the final minute and hour, of the foolhardy Mr. Lowell.