Gladstone’s has not failed on the productivity front. Not only have I had an amazing day with some glorious sunshine that enabled me to walk off my lunch time reward-pint and do some inspirational pondering, I came back and finished the draft. Yes. That’s right. The first draft of my project-with-a-deadline is officially done.
It’s amazing. It’s brilliant. It’s weird. It’s scary. The feelings, that is. Not the draft. Well, maybe the draft too. I certainly hope so, anyway.
But it’s definitely weird. 143,000 words in three months. And then one day you just stop typing. Weird.
But I cannot dally. For now the real work begins.
It’s time for the re-reads, the re-writes and, yes, the editing. I’m so pleased that I’ve got another day of retreat to get my teeth into the first round of edits. By this time tomorrow I might even had a better idea of how far there is left to go.
I wonder what the word count will be once I’m done? This is all new territory for me. I’ve never finished a draft of a novel before. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
To get me out of my head and to make some distance for myself (always important) and as a way to heave a mental sigh of relief, I have bashed out a new piece of flash. Flash For Friday lives again!
**Warning – Fight Club spoilers ahead**
“Stop laughing. Will you just stop?”
“Oh come on, Jerry. It’s funny.”
“It is not funny.”
“It’s a little funny.”
“God, you annoy me.”
“Love you too, honey.” Theo’s grin widened as retrieved his jeans.
“You’re insufferable,” Jerry mumbled, kneading his temples.
“Hey, don’t take this out on me,” Theo said, pulling on his jeans and collapsing back on the couch. “You’re the one that hates your wife.”
“That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I don’t hate my wife.”
“Jesus,” Theo mumbled, a judgemental look on his angel face. “Pretty shitty way to treat someone you don’t hate.”
“This isn’t happening,” Jerry muttered, staring into the depths of blackened fireplace. Catherine had had it installed when they moved in. She thought it was romantic. “It can’t be happening.”
“It can and is, my friend,” Theo sang, swallowing a mouthful of the beer in his bottle and leaning in close. Jerry could smell the beer and his hair. “It can happen again right now if you like.”
Jerry shook his head and covered his face. “No. I love my wife. I love women. This isn’t real.”
A noisy sigh from Theo. “Pity.”
Jerry let his hands drop and stared at Theo. He was beautiful. Jerry had had to admit that to himself. Glinting eyes, laughing mouth. He lounged on the sofa, one arm behind his head, draped like he was posing for a painting. He used some sort of herbal shampoo so he always smelt like outside. He was only around in the evenings and it always seemed to be going somewhere, or coming back from somewhere. Somewhere else. Somewhere more interesting.
“What?” Theo said.
Jerry shook his head. “Nothing.”
“You’re staring again.”
“No I’m not.”
Theo grinned, all teeth. “Why are you torturing yourself like this? It doesn’t have to be this way.”
“I’m not like you.”
“Yes you are,” Theo leaned forward again. “Or, you could be.”
“What are you getting at?”
“We’re from the same town, Jerry. Same school. We were kids on the same bloody street. There’s nothing to stop you being like me if you want to. Being free.”
Jerry’s heart thumped in his chest as he looked into the face he’d known for so long but was only just starting to recognise. He shook his head and covered his face. “This is too Fight Club.”
“Fight Club. You’re Tyler and I’m…I’m that other guy.”
“The nameless one? Or the real Tyler?”
“The real Tyler is the nameless guy. Didn’t you watch the movie?”
Jerry opened and closed his mouth a few times.
Theo sighed, slumped back on the sofa and drained his beer. “Ok, so I’m the you you could be. If you don’t want me around, why don’t you get rid of me?”
“I didn’t…” Jerry fumbled. “I mean…I didn’t want…you…”
“Cheers,” Theo drawled, sitting up.
“No,” Jerry held his hands up. He saw they were shaking. “Don’t go. I need you. I just…”
“Shit,” Jerry cursed, looking over his shoulder towards the front door. “It’s Catherine.”
Theo smiled. “Tell her,” he goaded. “Go on. I dare you.”
“Go,” Jerry pleaded. “Please go. I can’t deal with it all right now.”
“If you really didn’t want me here, I wouldn’t be here.”
“Jerry?” Catherine called again. “Who are you talking to?” Her footsteps sounded in the hall.
“No one,” he stalled.
“You’re not talking to yourself again are you?” Catherine called as the sounds of her keys hitting the hall table reached him. “Remember what Dr. Frank said about that?”
“No, no,” Jerry stumbled to the living room door just as she came in. “I didn’t mean, I just…”
“Tell her,” Theo’s voice whispered in his ear.
Catherine stood in the hall, frowning slightly at him. Then her eyes slid past him. “You?”
Jerry looked back. Theo was sat with his legs crossed under him and his chin propped on his hand, smiling at her. “What can I say,” he said. “Jerry just can’t seem to get enough of me.”
Catherine looked back at Jerry who stood gawping between his wife and the suddenly very real person on the couch. He rubbed his eyes and they were both still there.
“You…you can see him?”
“Of course I can see him,” Catherine said, cheeks flushing. She looked like she was about to say something else but threw Theo a filthy look and stormed out the house.
Theo stood, stretching like a cat. “Sorry, Jerry. Either I’m real or you’re crazier than you thought.”