Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chapter One

Pain owns me. It overwhelms me and makes me a coward. I try to stuff it back with Vicodin and Scotch. Still, it persists.

Moria, however, doesn’t understand. Thank God. Her slightly slanted eyes get right up against mine as she smiles, “achey better?” That’s her way of asking if I feel better. It warms me to the bottom of my soul.

My ex wife did not want her because Moira has Down Syndrome. She sent Moira to the trailer park where I live with a note pinned to her dress “I never wanted a mongoloid child – you keep her.” The twisted side of my brain noted that she had used the monographed linen note cards.

I did get the dog in the divorce. His name is Tonka. Stupid dog eats too damn much, farts a lot and slimes the wall of the Airstream trailer we live in. I love this dog.

Right now the dog is crowding me out of the bed. His docked ears twitched in his sleep as he muffles a low growl. He must be dreaming. I’d been thinking lately of weighing him so I could put him on a diet. He probably weighed as much or more than I do at 200 pounds. I don’t think, however, that I could hoist him up, step on the scale and get a reading. Maybe I could get him drunk so he’d hold still but the scale does not measure over three hundred. So I’ve spent the past days daydreaming of ways to weigh the dog as I wait for my pain meds to kick in. I need a hobby.

It must be getting close to noon - the sounds from the Seven-Eleven behind the trailer park are getting louder. I still feel like crap but I need to eat so I wrestle past the dog and get out of bed. So many weird symptoms come with Fibromyalgia. I eat or I get the shakes. Last week I got the shakes at Walmart, got sweaty and felt like I was going to die. A nice, older lady who works there got a cup of water for me and a damp paper towel for my neck. I felt foolish sitting on the display of diapers as I waited for it to pass.

I pull my jeans on, slip my feet into flip-flops and shove my keys and wallet into my front pocket. Tonka does not stir so I close the door quietly and walked around the trailer – there is a gap in the fence that leads to the back of the convenience store. It was still warm in early October but we’d lost the usual humidity Northern Virginia was known for. I walked past a bread truck and rounded the front to the door and went in.

“What’s up Jake?”

“Not much Tak how’s the family?” Tak is skinny and dark, and I liked him for his warm smile and friendliness.

“My wife is fat, I have too many kids and my in-laws live with me, I am screwed my friend!”

We laughed as I walked over to the glass doors and chose a nasty looking Burrito, unwrapped it and put it into the microwave. Three years ago I bantered with the gin and tonic crowd at the Country Club. Now I am tight with the managers of convenience stores and trailer park folk. I like the later better. I grabbed a large cup and filled it with Diet Coke. The beeps from the microwave came just as I finished placing the lid on my drink. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a man in a suit looking in my direction through mirrored sunglasses. I ignored him and went to the register where Tak was waiting.

“That will be $4.53 Jake.”

I handed over a five, dumped the change into Jerry’s jar and headed out the door past the guy in the suit. Just as I got to the bread truck I heard someone behind me.

I turned and said “Listen, I’m not gay, I don’t want to join a cult, I have been saved and no, I do not want to buy any drugs, I have enough.”

The suit stared back behind his mirrors and asked “You Jake MacGregor?”


“On what?”

“Depends if you are a process server, lawyer or a reporter.”

The man stared at me like I had a third eye. I stared back, shrugged and turn around and headed to the gap in the fence.

“Some old friends of yours from Afghanistan told us where to find you.”

I hesitated for a second, but then kept walking through the gap in the fence and towards my trailer. I sat my drink down on the picnic table outside our front door and opened the trailer door. Tonka hopped down the stairs, then turned his eyes and let out a growl.

“Mister, if you don’t want a mastiff ripping you a new one I suggest you tell me who you are and what you want right now. And do not make any sudden moves.”

I sat down at the table, drank some of my drink, and then peeled the wrapper off the burrito. The man in the suit stood very still as Tonka slowly walked in his direction on very stiff legs. I took a bite off the burrito and watched the man to see what he would do.

“MacGregor, your Sergeant Major told us where to find you. He told us you are a prickly SOB but he didn’t say anything about your dog.”

I took another bite of the burrito, swigged some of the Coke and watched Tonka ease up to within three feet of the man. The man looked pretty pale behind those sunglasses.

I swallowed, then said “You still have not answered my questions – who are you and what do you want?”

Tonka continued his low growl.

“My name is Rogers, I’m with FINCEN and I’m here because your ex wife was murdered last night.”


  1. Great opening chapter ...

    Hi Jake, I found my way here via Claire Wolfe's blog post today. If it's OK with you I'd like to stick around and see what happens next.

    Take care

  2. Oh wow. I did not know there were 9 chapters ready to read till I added you to my Google reader!

    Color me an airhead.

  3. Hello all

    decent weather so pain index is low. wrote chapter 11 this morning and sent it off to the 'editor'

    i will see if i can find a workaround so all chapters can be read 1-Z instead of appearing backwards as they do via this 'blovel'

    Happy 4th (and to its true meaning)


  4. Hi Jake, found my way here through Claire. Just what I need, something else to read so I can ignore chores, lol. I think I'll hang around for a while if that's okay :^)

  5. welcome aboard Miss Violet :)

  6. Found you also through Claire. Hooked also.

  7. Thanks Golly -- don't throw the hook :)