The Bench

July 4, 2013


New novel. Thought I’d workshop it on the blog. Gives me a better feeling for it. I think its about a serial killer. Or a killer who eats cereal. (stupid joke or no joke at all.)



Chapter One: The Bench

I don’t know if this is the start of my story. Only know this is how I have to tell it. I have a bench on the sidewalk in front of Millers Restaurant. I liked to stand behind it. Sometimes I would sit but mostly I liked to stand there. There is an empty lot across the street with a makeshift snow fence around it. There is nothing on the lot except weeds, some stones, and a scattering of bricks from the building that stood there. It had been a grocery store for fifty years but had recently been torn down.

Occasionally a car, truck or bus would pass along Dundas Street but the scene was basically stark, the bare essentials. Which is the way I write. Which is the way I live. Which is the way I think. The bare essentials. Hopefully I will be able to pare everything down to two elements. Me and God. And then the real conversation would begin. If I could get out of the quick sand of my first page.

It’s a good place to think. To mull over ideas. That’s my madness. Everywhere I look I see patterns. Patterns are someone’s idea, someone’s creation. Order is recklessly rearranging the furniture around us. Giving birth in the ashes of death. Music and discord are the same notes. There is a certain chaotic frenzy in order. Order is my God. Patterns are His skin. I need a universe in which everything makes sense. What else is consciousness for? Why does God need us as witnesses? Why does God need us at all?

Things like that.

I took a seat on the bench.

“You look like a man whose been left behind.”

I looked up. A thin young man, well dressed with a swath of wispy blonde hair that fell over his eyes, took a seat on the bench beside me. I looked at him suspiciously. Creeped me out, to tell you the truth.

He smiled. “Supposed to be another hot one.”

He had an odd accent that I couldn’t place. American, I thought. Somewhere down south.

“Summer is going out with a bang,” I said.

The strange young man looked across the street at the empty lot.

“It was a grocery store,” I said anticipating his question.

“I was going to say that it looked peaceful in a odd way.”

“You’re from out of town,” I said, stating the obvious.

He nodded.

“A strange place for a tourist,” I said. “Not many people are attracted to the sights of the Six Points.”

“In town on business. Thought I’d go for a walk. Get a lay of the land.”

“What do you do for a living?”

He turned to me. “I’m a hired assassin.”

My mouth dropped.

He laughed. “You’ll have to forgive my sense of humour. I’m a professional photographer. Magazines. Fashion mostly. Looking for shooting locations. And new talent. How do you turn a dollar?”

I hesitated for a minute. “Work at Shopper’s. Wanna be a writer.”

The young man nodded. “Write anything I would know?”

I shook my head.

“What do you write?”

“Murder mysteries,” I replied.

He laughed. “That’s certainly a popular genre these days. Murder mysteries all over the newsstands. Cheap novels written to scare the pants off middle-aged women. What do you figure is the attraction?”

I shook my head.

The stranger smiled. “I think everyone wants to be murdered. And survive to talk about it.”

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