Chapter 1

(OK - folks. Here’s the beginning of Chapter 1. I’ll post the rest of the chapter later this week. Let me know what you think. If you’ve just started reading here then please go back in the category The Novel and read the preface. Remember, if you like this or even if you don’t then please leave a comment.)

Early June can be fickle in Pennsylvania with one day shivering out a last gasp of winter and the next a sweltering hint of dog days yet months away. Today was the first Monday in this particular June of 2008 and it would be the latter - humid and 80F was the forecast. The sidewalk where the man sat would soon be baking as the sun rose above the rooftops of the buildings lining the main street of Quarryton, Pennsylvania. - Q-town, Pee-Yay locals called it - and the man would for the time being be glad for it. He was a bit disheveled from his night against the walls of the Taylor Investments Building with his sleep gear gathered about him and the rest of his belongings - things most would consider refuse - safely away and tarped in the shopping cart under a an ornamental dogwood tree planted in the side courtyard of the building. Today was not unique. There had been many like it before for him. He was always thankful for the morning sun and its accompanying warmth and likewise grateful for every day he awoke and was allowed to breath the air and have food in his stomach. It had been another hard winter outside and the lack of snow and stinging spring winds were a welcome change because Ralph, a name everyone knew him as, was a homeless person - .indigent, vagrant, bum. Those were the names most called him, but when pressed as to how he thought of himself he’d reply that the world was his home.

Most, however, never bothered to talk that much to Ralph. That suited him fine because he never liked lying to people when they asked him his name or if he had family or wouldn’t he rather have a job and home. Ralph preferred to let people make up their own minds about him and create their own answers. And colorful answers abounded. The local legends went that Ralph was a Viet Nam Vet who saved a village from being bombed by friendly fire. This had led to his dishonorable discharge and eventual divorce from his wife Maggie May. He came home with no job waiting and had lost his mind. Some people said he’d once killed a man for a quarter while others were sure he’d been released from the local VA hospital psychiatric ward without resources to get the medication needed to suppress his schizophrenic tendencies. Some say he’d been bumming around Q-town since the early eighties, and some said he’d come here a little over six years ago from New York after 9/11. It was all a pile rubbish, but Ralph never dispelled the myths. Most of them led to people leaving him be or at least handing him a couple bucks, though money wasn’t something he really needed. There was always a meal available at any one of five local soup kitchens, and everything else he desired he already owned. The thing he needed most was the thing he couldn’t really ask someone for. It would come to him on its own, though he really didn’t know what it would be. The universe would provide until then. So he waited with the patience of a prophet.

Traffic was just beginning to stir so he went to the rear of the building and relieved himself against the alley side of it. If he had to take a dump there was always the Sunoco gas station up the street where the owner let him wash up in the restroom. This morning though urinating was all that was needed, and it was a pleasure to not see steam rising from the flowing splattering on the bricks. Doing this always made him laugh, but he’d never told anyone just why that was. This morning was no exception and he did laugh. It wasn’t because he was crazy even though some days he doubted his own sanity. It was irony plane and simple.

“C’mon Ralph we’ve been through this one before,” said Officer Pallozzi as Ralph was finishing zipping up.

“Sorry, occifer,” Ralph said in his best drunk voice.

It was early and Jim Pallozzi hadn’t started his shift yet at the Quarryton P.D.. He had his street clothes on and his uniform was still encased in a plastic bag on a hanger fresh from the dry cleaner. He had parked in the municipal lot behind Taylor Investments and was rushing to make his 6AM start time. He was hurried and Ralph knew this. There would be none of Officer Pallozzi’s usual harassment this morning, but Ralph suspected he’d pay the price of public urination at some future time. He stopped and watched Pallozzi go toward the police station and waved after him. Ralph wished no harm on the Police Officer, and in fact sent a silent blessing after him for his safety. He then turned back toward the building, squatted, and surveyed the urine puddle at its base.

It was golden as usual, but the sun’s light didn’t reach this side of the building so he couldn’t gaze into it. Ralph was looking for something in the swirls of liquid as he did most things of the natural world. He was scrying for enlightenment, and hoped some pattern in the liquid would reveal itself before the ground drank it all away. A flock of starlings alighted on the edge of the building above him chirping out a sonata for the impeding summer. They were busy making their living for the day, and Ralph marveled at the patterns in their flight as they flew from building to ground and then back again like leaves caught in the wind. Their ability to move as if one was wondrous but yielded no omen to the man who had been vigilant for one since he’d began sitting outside. He was never afraid that he’d miss it when it came because experience had taught him the universe just didn’t work that way. His sign would come and he’d know it when it did.

The number three bus from the Q-town transport center stopped at the light where Ralph was setting up his vigil for the day. It issued a hiss as the bus lowered its step to closer match the level of the pavement. The downtown workers were arriving and Ralph had already seated himself on his ratty army blanket and had his “Homeless - Need Help” sign in place. Even though he’d never really kept any of the money he collected he knew it was “expected” of him to beg. Most folks walked by checking their consciences and assuring themselves he deserved no help - which he didn’t really. Others felt good for tossing in a buck or two and Ralph knew this and was glad he could help them. The money he collected would be left anonymously at whatever food kitchen he ate at or in collection plates of a church that gave him shelter in the winter. Occasionally he buy a pack of Marlboro and a Pepsi for Leroy up at the Sunoco as a thank you for letting him use the bathroom. That was the extent of Ralph’s spending and his work as he called it. Make people think, make them feel good, and in between look for signs from God.

“Good morning, Ralph,” said the woman throwing a handful of change into the rusty coffee can in at the edge of Ralph’s blanket. “It was a bit chilly last night wasn’t it?”

“Not too much,” Ralph said as he noticed a large crow land on the top of Joe and Bill’s Hotdog Shop just across the street. “Thanks, and good morning to you too, Carol.”

Carol Dawson had stopped at Ralph’s blanket every morning on her way to work at Taylor Investments. She had worked for them for eight years and Ralph had been a steady fixture here for all of those. He was harmless and even a little bit sad in her estimation, but it was no burden for her to be nice to the man even though he really needed a bath and a shave and a job. Most morning she just smiled and said hello, but this morning as she dropped her usual left over change from the day before into his can she felt like talking more.

“Have you had the eye looked after yet?”

She was referring to his left eye which had clouded over a bit after he’d been beaten by someone last January. He’d shown up bruised and more dirty than usual with a hint of blood at the edge of his mouth. He’d said it had been some punks, and by that Carol took him to mean some of the new crop of meth addicts that were appearing throughout Q-town over the last couple of years. Carol had no idea why addicts had beaten Ralph other than the fact that he’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time because in her mind Ralph couldn’t possibly have anything they’d want. Meth addicts and their needs were far from Carol Dawson’s realm of existence. She had no idea that Ralph the bum usually had a hundred dollars on him or more any given day from his “work”. This just never occurred to her.

The crow, which had been watching Ralph and Carol, flicked its head from side to side and began cawing loudly.

“It’s doing just fine,” Ralph said. He had never seen a doctor and had been having trouble seeing out the milky white eye since his cornea had been damaged from a blow he’d taken while he was sleeping. The boys - three of them - hadn’t gotten any more hits in than that. Normally Ralph hadn’t slept that deep and wouldn’t have been snuck upon, but the sleeping bag he had was warm and insulated sounds hard to hear. They hadn’t gotten his money either, but there had been one young man who had to visit Memorial Hospital the next day with a broken wrist and badly in need of a meth fix. Ralph never liked to use violence, but sometimes his reflexes got the best of his intentions. The thing that was funny about it to Ralph was that if they had asked for the money he would have given it to them along with a blessing and a small dose of pity.

“Sometimes I think you just placate me Ralph.”

“Old Ralph is just good as gold,” Ralph said. “How’s that daughter of yours doing? She off to college yet?”

“No, not yet. She’s just finishing her sophomore year this year so I have a bit before I have to figure out the college thing and paying for it.”

Ralph had succeeded in changing the subject from his eye and was glad for it. He had met Carol’s daughter last year when she’d come to work with her one “Bring Your Daughters to Work” day. Cindy Dawson was growing up with her mother’s good looks and slightly curly blonde hair and deep brown eyes - sometimes green when the sun was right - that always had a longing in them for some unseen thing. Cindy had looked a bit uncomfortable around Ralph, like most folks do that have never been around a street person, when Carol had stopped to drop her usual change in his can so he hadn’t said too much to her. He had always managed to ask about her though because he suspected she was all Carol really had in her life. Carol wore no ring, but she had the worn look of a woman who had let one too many bad men into her life. Ralph never noticed her have a lunch date even though she was still pretty enough to evoke the interest of many of the men who worked at Taylor Investments.

The crow had dropped down to the sidewalk twenty or so feet up the walk and was pecking at a remnant of hot dog bun dropped by one of Joe and Bill’s patrons the previous day.

**posted April 21st, 2007

“Carol, I need you in here and not on the sidewalk talking to bums,”said a man who had stepped out of the revolving door, the only revolving door in Quarryton. “And I’ve told you before to stop bothering people Ralph or I’ll have to call the police again.”
Ralph eyed the clock on the town square a half block away. The hands stood fifteen minutes before 8:00 AM so he knew Carol wasn’t late yet.
“Yessir, Mr Jeffries,” said Ralph. “I was just saying goodbye.”
Ralph winked at Carol who answered with an exasperated half grin she knew her boss wouldn’t see. As she walked off toward the door of Taylor Investments Ralph found himself trying not to watch the way the curves of her hips looked against the navy blue fabric of her dress. Dwayne Jeffries, Carol’s boss, made no such pretense as she preceded him into the revolving door. After all there was only Ralph to notice and it was easy to be rude in front of the usually invisible persona of Ralph the Bum - a fact Ralph had come to accept and even relish when the opportunity to watch people presented itself.
It was after Carol had left that Ralph noticed the crow. It had hopped a bit closer to his blanket now the hot dog bun it was eating was only a memory. The crow was now inching its way toward the coffee can and seemed to be either totally unaware that Ralph was there or it just didn’t care. With a few hops it was peering into the can - twisting its head from side to side - trying to get a better view of something at the bottom. Ralph was so close to it he thought he could almost see his own reflection in the oily sheen on the bird’s nearly purple feathers. In fact there was a slightly sweet smell coming from the obviously well-fed bird that reminded him of strawberries. Perhaps the bird had been feasting on something from the nearby market’s dumpster or maybe even from someone’s city garden.
Ralph tried not to move as he watched the crow. They were alone on the street now - no people going to work, no buses or cars on the street, no Officer Pallozzi hassling him. If Ralph hadn’t been watching the bird so intently he’d have noticed the emptiness of the street. It seemed more like Christmas morning than a busy workday.
The crow had now hung it neck over the edge of the can and was completely still. Ralph chanced to move and he leaned forward pushing himself up as slow as he could to try and see what was interesting the crow so much. As he did his knees both popped and for a second he thought it sounded like gunfire in the quiet street. He was sure it would startle the bird. It didn’t. Ralph, feeling a bit more emboldened by this, leaned until he was actually over both can and crow. He was sure the bird would perceive him as a threat now. It still didn’t move. It’s focus was on the bottom of the can. Ralph could now see the crow was actually being careful to lean as far as it could into the can while trying not to touch the rim. It was as if it was trying to not cause something in the can to move. When it shifted a little to one side Ralph could see what it was looking at finally.
At the bottom of the can lay the coins that Carol had thrown in. She had been the only donor to the can that morning, and since Ralph had forgotten to put some money in himself - he always found this got people giving more easily if they thought they weren’t the first ones doing so - they all had to have come from her. There were six quarters - always good coinage from Carol, never pennies or even nickels - five of which had arranged themselves evenly around the base of the can like the corners of a pentagon. It was as perfect when Ralph connected the space in between each coin in his mind like someone had laid them there on purpose. In the center of the pentagon was the sixth coin. It, unlike its brothers, was standing on edge. The crow lifted its head and cocked it to one side so it could see Ralph. He good eye met the right eye of the crow and Ralph knew they connected. The crow wasn’t asking, “Are you planning on eating me, bub?” It was more like it was saying, “You see what I see?”
The crow held Ralph’s gaze for only a few seconds before it turn its head back into the can, gave a half a hop like a frog leaping for a fly, snatched the coin that was on its edge, and then it was back on the ground and jumping away from the can. Ralph was too stunned to even wonder what the crow was up to. The coins landing how they had and the fat that this animal and he had connected in a deep way had left him speechless. His time on the street had left him with many experiences, but none had effected him like this one. Synchronicity was working, and for a moment he felt a shiver run up his back. The crow stopped for a moment, turned to face Ralph again, looked him square in his good eye again, and before he knew what was happening the crow leaped into the air. Ralph could feel the rush of air from the bird’s wings brush his face as it flew over his head with coin in its beak.
Ralph did the only thing he could. He jumped up, his knees popping from the sudden strain, saw the crow circle him once before it headed off across the alley behind the Taylor Investments building, and then raced off following the bird - what he now recognized as the sign he had been looking for.


June 24th, 1995

The Tilt -A-Whirl spun and dipped with ever greater ferocity as the accompanying calliope played on. To Cindy Dawson, safe in her stroller, sticky residue of a candy apple on her face, the groans of the gears and motor driving the ride played harmony with the laughter and screams of the riders. She sensed the exhilaration of the people taking their turn on the machine and she bounced her legs to the beat only she truly heard. Her mother stood above and smiled at her daughter as she took another step forward in the funnel cake line. The ride was winding down it’s cycle and the music that Cindy heard ebbed with it until a deafening silence filled the air just under the great ruckus being made at the carnival. It was silence that only Cindy noticed as she licked her red candy stained fingers. Other songs were playing in the carnival from other rides and when she listened she could hear even fainter melodies coming from the people themselves - even from the ragged grass of what was once a field, now a setting for the fund raising carnival, by the First Baptist Church of Quarryton, Pennsylvania. Though none of the other songs she heard seemed as sweet as the Tilt-A-Whirl.

Cindy’s mother, Carol, finally had made her way to the front of the line and had ordered her funnel cake. Grease filled the air around the food cart, and sweat was pouring down the brow of the pimple-faced boy making the funnel cakes. Pop - sizzle - the sounds of the batter cooking added to the music that Cindy heard. The sweet swell of the funnel cakes drew her attention in now that the Tilt-A-Whirl song was taking a break. She ignored the rest of the sounds of the carnival while she looked up at her mother wondering what sugary goodness would be presented to her next now that only remnant of her candy apple lay sticking to her face and the ragged stick she had tossed to the ground. A moment longer and her mother would hand the money over to the wrinkly woman with a face like a potato on the other side of the cart’s counter and Cindy and Carol Dawson would share in the sweet. It was while she waited that the Tilt-A-Whirl song began winding up, and it was also when she noticed what she would remember only as the “dance boy”.

He stood in line just behind her with his own father. While Cindy was only three she noticed the difference between the Wal-Mart clothes she and her mother wore, and the clothes the boy and his father wore. She didn’t know it, but the boy’s father was a lawyer and while the man had grown up on this side of Quarryton, he hadn’t been back in years. The boy looked out of place. A little lost too, and his eyes occasionally darted from side to side as if to ask if what he was seeing was something safe and appropriate for a boy to look at. This was indeed his first time at a carnival, and his father had brought him here for a reason. He had sheltered his son from his past, but had decided it was a good time - an urgent time in fact - for them to both come to Quarryton. The man had realized his time in the town - growing up and eventually leaving the blue collar railroad town - hadn’t been all bad. The boys mother would have “thrown a gasket” as the man would have called it if she knew where her son - her soon-to-be-invalid son - was at. The boy would occasionally let out a rasping sound as he breathed. No one noticed it. Not even his father with all the carnival noise that filled the air. No one that is except Cindy.

Her tongue was still searching as far as it could reach on her cheeks for any lingering vestige of candy apple, but she had done as well as a girl of three could do with licking her face and hands clean thus leaving little behind. She had heard the rasping of the boy’s breathing, and now she could see he was only a little older than her. As yet the boy hadn’t noticed her, but as he stood there holding his father’s hand Cindy had noticed a silence coming from him. She would have told her mother that he was quiet even if he had been banging a drum to which her mother would have corrected.. Cindy could hear the silence, and while she had no words for things like cells or peptides or genes or long chain fatty acids the lack of a particular sound that was issuing from all the living things around her was at first irritating - then louder, almost like the sound of nails on a blackboard.

Carol, carful not to lean against the powdered sugar coated counter, fished through her purse for the five dollar bill she knew she had gotten as change from the kiddie ride ticket booth. She felt the tug at her skirt, but her attention was still toward the bottom of her purse - a lipstick, tissues, a scratched losing lottery ticket, a wrapped tampon - ah, there it was - the fiver.

“Mommy,” Cindy said as she tugged at the skirt.

“Mommy,” she said louder this time, but her mother was still rummaging in her purse.

Carol paid the woman who seemed perturbed to have to be at the carnival sweating and making the funnel cakes. She then turned to her daughter who was still tugging at her skirt.

“C’mon sweetie. Don’t get that candy apple all over me.”

Cindy stopped, checked her fingers once more, and smiled a grin with reddish stained lips and teeth while wiggling her fingers.

“All clean, Mommy.”

“Yeah, that’s why half my clothes have little greasy finger prints all over them.”

Billy Lancerman, the boy who had caught Cindy’s attention, had noticed the stroller and the mother ahead of him. He hadn’t been feeling well all morning, but hadn’t had the heart to tell his father so. He didn’t like the smells issuing from the cart ahead of him, but his father had sworn he’d love the confection - perhaps too strong of a word for charred batter coming from the overused oil. He waited as patiently as he could holding his father’s hand because he knew it was important to him. Billy hadn’t really understood the words the doctors had said to his parents a week ago when they’d seen them in New York. Strange words like adrenoleukodystrophy and myelin had been thrown around by the Neurologist he’d seen. Though Billy was eight, and smart for his age, he hadn’t really understood why his mother had broken down in tears when the doctor began speaking in thick accented whispers. All Billy knew was that he’d been feeling awful, and falling down for no reason from time to time to the point that his parents had noticed it wasn’t simple clumsiness causing it. A whiff of burning meat coming from the hot sausage stand wafted into Billy’s nose, and being raised vegan - no animal derived foods at all - he immediately became sick to his stomach. This was why he hadn’t noticed Cindy point at him while pulling on her mother’s skirt.

“Why don’t they dance Mommy? Why don’t they dance?”

Carol had just gotten her change and the funnel cake was soon behind.

“Just a minute honey. Mommy has to get our goodie then we’ll get more sugared up.”

“But Mommy,” Cindy said though she knew by the look on her mother’s face she wasn’t really being paid attention to. She’d have to find the answer to her question herself.

Cindy had been listening to the boy, and even below his wheezing breath she had heard the silence. She had heard something like it before when Nemo their goldfish had died. Everything about the usually placid goldfish had been noisy to Cindy - more music - and it had all stopped the day she found him floating upside down. But this boy, he was noisy, but there was silence too. She strained to hear the silence, and it was different. It wasn’t until she though about her cartoons, especially the musical ones from Disney, that she realized that it wasn’t silence she heard coming from. It was something more. There was music in him, but a part of him, a very tiny part, just didn’t respond to it. That part wasn’t dancing. She knew nothing of the white lipid sheaths of myelin coating his neuron that were slowing being eroded thus causing them to stop conducting impulses. She just knew that a very tiny part of his cells wasn’t dancing to the music that was in his body. It was a music that lay in the borders and bonds of the molecules themselves. It was emanating even from parts smaller than the smallest and in the energies that made up the quarks in his atoms. It effected how Billy’s body dealt with long chain saturated fats - the kind which filled the greasy funnel cakes Billy’s Dad was about to give his son because it would be the last treat like this his boy would ever have. Billy wasn’t like Cindy’s fish Nemo, and she knew that. Nemo had been silent - not completely because decomposition was still taking place in its scaly little frame. This boy wasn’t like that. His cells just didn’t always dance.

She strained a bit to turn in her stroller to better see the boy behind them. So far she had only been watching him with her mind, but now she wanted to see him with her eyes. Her mother would soon push her away from the line and take her to eat the funnel cake so she knew this might be her only chance. Something was gnawing at her - compelling her to see the boy and really listen to him. Once she did she knew she’d understand the dance his cells were missing out on. Then she saw him. His eyes were dark and shy and bit more sunken than she’d expected as she craned around in her stroller straining against the seat belt.

March 5th, 2007
OK - here’s the rest of the preface. I originally posted the story of Cindy and Billy at the carnival as Chapter 1, but I now realize it is really the preface to the story and occurs 13 years prior to the beginning of Chapter 1. Also, I changed Billy’s last name to Lancerman - why, well Linderman is a character on Heroes and I just relaized why the name was in my mind. So Billy and his father get a new name which should work out better anyway. the next post is the rest of that preface.


His pale left hand hung at his side while Billy held his father’s hand with his right. His arms were still plump like any other child’s. This would soon change as the disease took hold. Cindy could see the faint imprint of his veins just below the skin of the back of his free and in though her eyes couldn’t see the regular thump of his heart pushing the blood through them or hear it with her ears, a part of Cindy, the part that knew about dancing cells, could hear the music of the blood. She didn’t know what cells were, but she decided they were like little bugs. And she could tell that some of the bugs just didn’t dance. She was sure they wanted to. They just didn’t know how, just like how some of the kids at her preschool hung back at the edge of the room when the teacher played games like musical chairs. Cindy, however, always played and she especially always danced.

The more she listened the more she felt the urgency of it and for some reason she really wanted them to dance. It was the same sort of urgency she started to pay attention to now that she was potty trained, and in fact if Cindy had been out of her stroller she might even had started bouncing with her legs crossed. Instead she strained a bit more against the seatbelt of the stroller trying all the while to reach backwards to touch the boy. She wasn’t really sure why she had the urge to touch him. Maybe she’d poke him in the ribs and tickle him until it tickled the little bugs that were in him and made them dance. That would be funny indeed.

Billy finally noticed the little girl in front of him turning around and reaching for him. Some kids need to mind their own business, he thought. He was feeling all the strangeness of the carnival around him now more acutely, and the greasy smell from the funnel cakes was adding to the hot sausage smell making him even more sick to his stomach. The little, grunting as she twisted in her stroller, wasn’t helping him feel better at all.

“Mommy,” Cindy said as she saw the boy draw away from her closer to his father. “Make the bugs dance. I want them to dance.”

“Honey, c’mon just be patient. We’re almost through this now.”

Carol was turning back to the counter when she noticed the boy huddling next to his father. He had a sweet but sad expression in his eyes, and even Carol noticed they were a little too sunken for a healthy child.

“Sorry, hon,” She said to Billy as she moved Cindy’s stroller a few inches further in the line. “She gets a bit too enthusiastic sometimes.”

Billy’s father, Norman Lancerman, had finally noticed the little girl making a ruckus in front of him and he smiled back at her mother. The carnival atmosphere had absorbed him and taken him back to his own childhood in Quarryton. In fact, though his wife knew he’d grown up in Western Pennsylvania, she’d always assumed he’d meant Pittsburgh and not the little depressed and soot stained town of Quarryton just a few . Norman had never brought her or Billy here, and in fact hadn’t been back since he’d graduated from Penn State fifteen years prior. It had taken him that long to really come to some sense of peace about growing up the youngest of ten in a welfare family from poor side of the tracks, literally in this railroad town, in Quarryton’s bleakest neighborhood known to the residents as Coaltown. Norman Lancerman had gotten free of it and had made himself a success in his own mind. But now he was back again, and trying to remember all the good times that had existed in the neighborhood of his upbringing. And he wanted to give a bit of it to his son too, though he really hadn’t know exactly why. The impulse to stop in Quarryton on the way back from a Pittsburgh Neurologist appointment had come on him like a song that gets stuck in your head. Slow at first and then nagging until you either sing the song or blast the radio to drown it out. Norman had decided to sing the song and stopped. He’d had no idea the carnival had been going on, but now he was glad he’d done so.

“It’s alright,” Norman said. “Billy’s just a little shy.”

Carol smiled back and turned to receive the funnel cake that was now steaming in the counter coated in powdered sugar.

Cindy, of course had been listening to it all. So Billy was his name. Her mother had moved her a bit further away and now that the funnel cake was done they would move away from the line and the boy would be gone. She really wanted him to dance now. The idea hit her that she could make him if she wanted to. Not by poking him in the ribs and tickling him, though that would be fun too, but she could just show his bugs how if . . .

touch his hand.

Carol turned the stroller roughly on the bumpy ground with her free hand while she juggled her purse and the funnel cake in the other. Cindy was now facing the boy and they looked into each other’s eyes. Billy had this impulse to reach out and touch the girl’s hand as she reached for him. He almost did it, but being in this strange place with all the strange sounds and smells around him he did something that sealed his fate. It was a little thing really that wouldn’t even be noticeable. All he did was flinch. Just a little.

Cindy reached for him as her mother pushed her stroller back through the line toward the tent where the picnic tables were. The ends of her fingers ached with a static electricity that was building there - tingly like how her hair got sometimes when her mother brushed it. She could make Billy’s cells dance. She was sure of it. If she could on touch him they’d dance alright, and her fingers almost touched his arm when he flinched. She was only a millimeter away, but it was enough. It was only a millimeter that would have saved Billy Lancerman’s life. Sometimes fate is like that. Sometimes our little bugs just don’t get to dance.

As Cindy and Carol ate their funnel cake, Norman Lancerman was in the bathroom watching his son vomit and deeply regretting bringing him here. He deeply regretted any of the warm feelings he had let surface, and an overwhelming felling of stupidity came over him. The greasy smell and the whining little girl had finally gotten the best of Billy’s stomach, and Norman was in fact regretting all of Quarryton, especially Coaltown and its people again. Cindy, newly sugared up, was still being nagged by that silence she had heard from the boy and his little bugs that wouldn’t dance. It was ruining her funnel cake experience, her first funnel cake, so much that she closed off that part of her mind that could hear it. It was easy enough now that she wasn’t really trying very hard to do it with most of her attention on the gooey pastry in her mouth. She made up her mind right then and there that she never wanted to hear the little bugs not dancing in the boy or anybody else for that matter. She would really do her best not to hear it ever again.

Read Me First

OK, here's the deal. I originally started blogging this novel on my other site - Castle Nottingham. I have since decided that I need a single place to put this novel separate from my other online identities. It was simply too hard to find the posts amongst all the other categories and it was getting lost by not only readers, but myself. I was blogging and not writing the novel. So I migrated all posts here. I will start off with what I started with on the other site. As I complete chapters I am going to add them to a single post for that chapter instead of multiple posts. In other words, every time I write I will add to a chapter post with a date breaking apart each piece I wrote. that way you can see how often (and more importantly I can see too) I wrote and how much, but still be able to find each chapter in a single post. Clear as mud? Let's begin.

OK folks - here it comes. I’ve been toying around with writing some fiction for yinz for a while. There’s a few people in my head - yeah I know how that sounds - that have been bugging me to get out. Here’s the way this is going to play out. I’m going to let some of these people tell their stories in what I believe is going to be a novel length saga. I’ll serialize my first drafts right here for all the world to see, and if you fine readers see fit - leave me a comment or twenty. Now I don’t want to see stuff like - “That sucks man.” or “Wow great stuff.” What I’d like is real feedback. Now please remember this is a first draft. You get it exactly as I spew it forth the first time. Your input will help write this here beastie. Now if by some quirk of fate it actually turns into a real work, then anyone who commented regularly might just get a free copy or something. If no one ever comments, then it will likely die on the vine. So, right now a little girl named Cindy is couting on you fair reader to help her out. She came out of nowhere when I actually had been planning to start this story about a fellow named Ralph. Cindy screamed at me the loudest, however, when it cam time to put fingers to keys. The first chapter begins with her and the first post is not the whole thing - sooo let me know what yinz think about it.