I don’t really have an understanding of my own creative impulse, though I do try to. Why do some people talk slowly, and others quickly? I do know that I didn’t dance today, and now can’t sleep. I haven’t written any new stories in quite some time, and was just now revisiting some old ones… Here is a new edit of “He Was Happy Here”, which I first wrote in ’06. I’ve heard before that there are a lot of characters for such a short piece – that it’s hard to follow.
He Was Happy Here
“Yeah well, I still dont believe he moved! I mean didnt he say he was happy here?”
Julie was scared by the inconstancy of geographic allegiances.
The loneliness that followed her parents move to Tuscon when she was 16 had been motivational: running for school underclass president had given her a means to connect to those around her. Then teaching. School board. Night MBA. Business Council. City Council. Mayor of Tuscon. Some friends – mostly the new ones – talked about the senate.
“I mean, really, can you count on him for anything?”
James had been Julies finance committee chair in her first election, and had remained involved. He had always said he would never leave Tuscon.
Susan was a new friend:
“Well, ya know, right? Mark shot himself in James home while he was away at Sundance.”
The brilliance of Susans insight was matched by the sheen of her nails. No flamingos. No designs of any kind. Just CLASS. One and a half inches of sheeny class, buffed like a well-loved gun.
Julie had cooked for Mark. Many times. Distraction, she frequently thought, that is the answer. People dwell too much. Just dont think about it: oh look there is a new restaurant on Felton St., and a sale on potting soil at Smith and Hawken.
“hmm, what was that – why is he moving? Oh, right, yeah, I heard. Well I still say you shouldnt say you stand for one thing if you stand for another. If you cant trust someone to keep their word on one issue, how can we know hell keep it on another?”
She was already practicing.
“Im thinking of having my next brunch at the Edison house.”
The Edison House on Hollow Dr. received its name from the fact that Thomas Edison had slept there in 1879. His rest in the building had been before it was a hotel, and before anyone knew who Thomas Edison was, but it was good sales.
Julie thought of how Mark had been happy in her home. How he had slept there. Did people ever put up those signs in their own homes, or was it just hotels? Maybe James should have his home designated, registered. She could make it happen. “Mark was happy here.” Before he shot himself on the night of April 21st while finishing off the last of Jamess Glenlivet and Codeine. No, wrong kind of thing to remember. Distraction. Just: he was happy here, and then nothing.
copyright 2006 – R. Bettmann
It’s surprisingly tricky to find character names. This edit makes the fourth or fifth name for the leading lady. I know so many people, and this one isn’t based on any particular humans. And even if it was, there’s little chance I’d actually make an allusion of that sort with a character name. Just not my style. How do you pick a name when you have relationships with each common name?
Please offer your feedback: smoke em if you got em.