Last week Escape from Terlingua was published. Before that event, though, I had already began writing a new story. This one is about a reporter who tracks down a retired, cranky veteran for a story she believes her readers will be interested in.
I think the story is more about Jackson than it is about Mary, but the two stories are intertwined in such a fashion that what Jackson tells Mary changes both of their lives. Below is a short excerpt from somewhere near the beginning of the book. Since it is a first draft I am sure that it may change a little, but I doubt it will be altered in such a manner that the story will change.
…in the doorway, stood Barry Jackson, dressed in boots and jeans, the only thing different from the day before was the t-shirt, blue this day, not gray.
“You are one persistent woman. You know that?”
“I came for a story and I’m not leaving without it.”
“Have a seat out there. I got fresh coffee. You want some?’
“I’d offer you cream and sugar, but I think the milk has soured and I’ll be damned if I can find the sugar. I’ll look for it if you want me to.”
“Black is fine.”
Barry Jackson poured two cups of coffee and walked down the two steps to ground level. He handed Mary a cup and sat down in the chair facing her.
“Ask your questions and be on your way.”
“Mr. Jackson, you said you were going to make a couple of phone calls before you’d speak to me. Who did you call?”
“None of your damned business. But, I found out what I needed to know and I figure I wouldn’t be hurtin’ no one by talkin’ to you. So, ask your questions and be gone.”
“Well, sir, I don’t have any questions per se. I figured, if you don’t mind, you could start from the beginning and tell me a little something about yourself. You know. A little background information so that my readers can get to know the man who saved a cop’s life.”
Barry Jackson chewed on the inside of his cheek and stared at the young reporter facing him. “Well, everybody seems to be dead, or missing, except me, so I guess it wouldn’t hurt to tell the story. Not many men do what I did in their lifetime and live to be a ripe old age. Not that I’m that old or nothing, but, … well I guess old is a relative term. Kind of depends on what you do in your lifetime. Hell, some folks are old at 30. Others, like me, are ancient at 60. Course, there are those that are still young at 70, but that’s not me. So, how far back you want me to start?”
“Oh, I don’t know. A little about your childhood and then on up through your teen years and then into adulthood. Sir, not too many people could do what you did, regardless the age. I’m just looking for a little public interest story. By the way, what did you mean when you said that everyone is dead but you?”
“What I’m about to tell you you may not want to hear, but keep in mind you asked. I spent the majority to my life with some mighty scary men. They’re not around anymore, so I guess I’ll just tell their, my, tale and be done with it. You’ll have your public interest story, but your public may not be interested. Freedom is not cheap and sometimes that expense comes with consequences best left alone. But, remember. You asked.”