So, today is December the first and NaNoWriMo is over and done. I failed…in a sense that is. I only achieved forty thousand words in my project. Combinations of early mornings, work, and dealing with life are part of the reason. As well, I started struggling with the manuscript and story near the end. So, I will hang my head in shame that I didn’t write the fifty thousand words.
Is it a total failure? No, not at all. I have now a story that needs to be finished and I will try to work on it going forward. I may have to put it in the drawer until I can figure out where it’s going. It’s going to be a long book when it’s done though, so there’s that. The whole goal with the past month was to kick start my writing again that has languished after I had moved and was dealing with all manner of things.
Where to now? Well, I may look back at a couple of stories that have been poking at me that need finishing as well. I have been failing at Rule #2 of Heinleins rules (You must finish what you write). So, time to go back and finish some things and work my way forward.
Remember everytime you fall down it’s only a disaster if you don’t pick yourself up. So I am standing back up and moving forward. In the meantime a small excerpt from “The Sleeping Kings”. Enjoy.
Norman took the bedraggled looking cigar out of his mouth and tossed it into a nearby garbage can. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small tube and deftly removed another cigar. He bit of the end and popped it into his mouth. From his other pocket he pulled out a zippo and lit it with deep short draws.
“Ah, that’s better. Damn laws saying I can’t smoke in my own store.” He wandered over to a switch panel and pushed a button, activating an overhead exhaust fan. “Now, Mr. Black, you said you wanted my special armor, right?”
“Of course, nothing but the best for my employees. Especially if they are going to be put in potential harms way.”
“Mighty considerate of you,” Norman said between puffs of smoke. “How much does your ’employee’ know?”
“At the moment, not much. I am figuring that will change soon enough. He’s pretty sharp considering your initial view of him.”
“Alright, I won’t go into details then,” Norman wandered over to a bench and pulled a roughed out vest that looked a little thicker then a fleece vest. Although it had a bit more heft and looked smoother. “Right, one of my specials here. Guaranteed to stop anything up to a .45, maybe even a 5.56mm. Won’t do nothing over anything larger in rifle cartridges though.”
Chuck looked at it with a critical eye, “Little thin for that much protection isn’t it?”
Norman grinned around the cigar in the corner of his mouth, “Like I said, one of my specials. These suckers take time and special materials to make. Would be worth a king’s ransom back in the day. Still might be if you could ransom a king. Don’t sell them to just anybody. Takes a good year or so to make enough material for just one vest.”
“A year,” Chuck exclaimed. “What’s it made of? Diamond fiber?”
“What do you know about diamond fiber,” Norman said glaring at Chuck.
“Ummm, nothing really. Just something that popped into my head is all. Might have read about it somewhere maybe?”
“Well, anyway a good guess, but no. Not diamond fiber. I won’t go into details because it’s a personal process that I am not going to try getting a patent on. Here, try it on for size.” Norman threw the incomplete vest at Chuck who managed to catch it.
The vest was heavier than it looked. Yet not too heavy. He pulled it on and looked for a way to fasten it. No fasteners yet it seemed. It just hung on his shoulders loosely at the moment. Chuck moved around a bit trying to get a sense of it and was impressed.
“Not bad, and it’s as good as you say?”
“Not just as good, probably better. I try to under sell the bloody things so the people wearing it don’t think their invincible. Now come over here so I can get an idea of what I need to do to get it to fit properly.”
Chuck braved the cloud of cigar smoke swirling around Norman who went to work pulling and tightening and making marks on the vest with a piece of chalk.
“Right, I need you to take the vest off and the shirt you’re wearing. I am not remiss to thinking that this will be going under a shirt or suit,” Norman said to Mr. Black.
“You wouldn’t be. As well I need it to be metal free if possible. Just in case we need to go through metal detectors.”
“Shit, that’s a given. Got just the fasteners for that too. Right. You said you expect this tub of lard to lose weight?”
“I do, and he should if he follows through with my directions I have already given him.”
“Okay tub, what was your battle weight when you left the army.”
Chuck kept his thoughts to himself over the insults and answered coldly, “two hundred pounds. Had a thirty six inch waist if that helps.”
“Expect to get that low and small again? Don’t be shy, this is fucking important for the fight and sizing adjustments.”
“Yeah, I can do it. If not in a month maybe two months depending on what I do.”
Norman grunted, “Good I can work with that. Okay you can take it off and put it on the bench. Do you need it right away? Cause if you do it ain’t happening.”
Mr. Black sighed deeply, “No we don’t need it immediately, and I am aware of what you do. How soon do you think?”
Norman took the cigar out of his mouth and used it as pen and did some sketching in the air and muttering under his breath. To Chuck, it seemed as if there was numbers and letters forming in the air in front of Norman. He shook his head and all he saw was eddies of smoke. He narrowed his eyes as if trying to see better on a bright day and briefly caught another glimpse. His head started to hurt so he stopped trying.
“Right,” Norman said, taking another draw on his cigar, “going to be two weeks to get it fully formed and together. That good?”
“Perfectly acceptable,” Mr. Black answered. “Now do you need anything else?”
“Nah, I will send you the bill. Usual payment method and delivery. Now get your asses out of here. I got work to do. You know the way out.” Norman turned back to the bench and stared at the vest. Effectively dismissing Chuck and Mr. Black. Black grabbed Chucks attention silently with a tilt of his head and proceeded back to the door to the shop. Chuck followed behind him closing the door between the store front and the shop after he went through it.