Saturday, October 15, 2005

Introducing Benjiman Angwin, and "Gladyss's Clock"

Hey, it's a very pleasant autumn morning here in Glennville, Tattnall County, Georgia. Sun shining, birds singing, neighbour's cat skulking in the shade across the street. Wilma's running another porch book sale, and it seems to be going well. The lass just finished watching a Poke'mon animation.

I'm pleased to announce that we have another contributor, a writer who comes to us via 43things.com/. I don't know much about him, but my first impression is that he's a hard charger, is driven in his work to finish a novel. I noticed on his postings that he was steadily working, and seemed inspired. Without further ado, I present Benjiman and an excerpt from his novel, Gladyss's Clock.


My name is Benjiman Angwin, and the name of the book is "Gladyss's Clock". This bit is from Chapter 10. And hey, good luck on your web journal.... here you go!


Gladyss had gone to bed late, about midnight. Niel had waited even more impatiently than Dylan had. Tonight was special for him in a way that he could not let Gladyss know about. He saw this girl named Britney about twice a week. Tonight was the night they had agreed upon. Once Gladyss was asleep he waited until about one, that is when the television snapped off. The change of constant sound to silence woke Dylan from his light and daydream like sleep. He had nodded off, laying on the floor looking at postcards sent from friends and family in Texas, talking to the people in them as if they were in the room with him, vivid and touchable. In the haze of his semi-sleep state, Dylan did not notice what had woken him, and rose up and fell into his bed recovering his lost sleep. Then the front door opened and shut. This caught his attention immediatly. Steps followed, and they were faster than Gladyss', more jubilant.
"That has to be him." Dylan whispered in the lit room. He turned off the ceiling light then to see better, having had his eyes closed for a while. The stairs echoed Niel's progress down them.
Niel was already upset he had to call Britney from the back porch to tell her he would be late, because Gladyss had stayed up later than usual. He waited another hour to make sure the woman was asleep before leaving. Now the door, with three panes of glass in it shut behind him and his breath came to life, forming its shape in the cold. Joe sat at the bottom of the steps, smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup full of Jack Daniels. He had on a hat and a t-shirt.
"Damn, arn't chya' cold Joe?" Niel said coming down to the sidewalk. Joe didn't say anything, and in fact he wasn't cold. He had grown up at the northern tip of Minnisota near Canada. Niel noticed his cigarette, and remembered he had only three left.
"Hey, chya' got a cigarette I'm all out."
Joe gulped from the plastic cup and and reached in his pocket feeling his full pack of cigarettes. "No, I'm all out, but if I give you the money for a pack and you run to the corner store for me I'll give you one."
"How 'bout I get you a pack of cigarettes on my way back home. I'll give ya the pack when I get back." Niel wiped his nose, running from the chill of the dropping temperature.
Joe would not fall for such things. He had let a friend borrow his truck once, on the promise that the truck would be returned with a full tank of gas. His friend had lied and they were no longer friends. The truck had returned with a thousand extra miles on it, next to no gas, and french fries scattered over the passenger seat. When Joe took his friend up on the state of the car, she had gone up to northern Michigan to see family.
"Did you know Niel, that Minnisota means sky colored water." Joe's random string of words out of sync with conversation was intended that way.
"What?" Niel said.
Joe drank from his cup, and took a puff from his cigarette. The he looked up at the starless, moon dominated sky and said nothing.
"Well I see ya later, gotta go about now." Niel said walking away. Joe was relieved.
Down the block, his shoes crushed browning leaves and he thought of Britney. He had met her over a month ago from a chat room online. Since then he sneaked out as often as he could. He would do anything not to have to share the bed with his wife. Reaching the corner he came to the suburban and once inside rubbed his hands together and started the engine. The start up seemed a little rougher than usual, but not worrisomely so. Niel turned on the heater and waited as the cold air blowing on him turned cool and then faintly warm. Peeling out, Niel sped past the church. Then, a block away the car stalled and the gas pedal felt stiffer then usual. After that the car completely died, shutting down.
"Out of all times it could of done so!" Niel yelled and hit the steering wheel. He turned the ignition and the colossal truck broke down as soon as it roared to life. The third time it could not even chug a few feet, and Niel realized it was futile to fight with the truck, though he tried again and again to revive the automobile. Now he banged on the dashboard and yelled in spurts of broken English and dirty language. He put the car in park.
"Dang." He said slamming the door, as a car honked and went around him. Niel looked under the hood and found nothing out of the ordinary, all the fluids in proper place and amounts. Jumping back in the truck, he shut out the cold. He tried once more, the rough start shook the engine and shut it down in the same moment. Niel knew his only choice, was to put the truck in to neutral and push it a block to his parking space right behind the fire hydrant, where no one else liked to park for fear of tickets or the yellow boot.
So he did that, hopping out of the truck, and guiding him self arduously with the steering wheel. Sweat formed in beads under his blonde hair and fell across his face, darkening the white cigarette in his mouth. A driver yelled out his window, "Hey dumbass, what the fuck are you doing? It's a one way not a push way the otherway!"
"Yeah, Yeah." Niel yelled back. The driver was twenty feet away already. Smoke spit out in balls from his thin lips, and the firey tip of the cigarette kept his nose warm as it could be in the night's low. It was five below freezing out now, the coldest night yet of the season. Niel had to work for each turn of the wheels, and they did not come easy. They grinded against the uneven pavement and crushed pebbles in their path. Finally relief came. After the first few rotations, the tires moved faster until the inertia of the previous push fueled half of the next. Crossing Seminary Street, Niel hopped in and applied pressure to the break. The truck stopped only with much effort, softly bumping the tiny, dent covered Ford focus behind it
Niel was extremely agitated, but he could do nothing to help the situation now. He called Britney, and she said he could take the "L" up to the Argyle stop. She lived in Little China Town. She'd be waiting for him there, in a bright green jacket. Niel despised public transportation, and felt it was disgusting and below his level of living. Stubborn as Niel is, the promise of a woman other than Gladyss persuaded him over. He shoved his phone in his pocket, and lacking enthusiasm for riding the train, walked to the Belmont station to wait under the ethereal lights.



Benjiman Angwin. Copyright 2005. Please do not reprint nor sell any portion of this without permission of the author. You may place a link to this website, and we would thank you for the courtesy.

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