Bottomless Black Pen Strokes
Albey clicks the point of his pen back into the safety of its shell and lets his eyes trace over the symbols he just scrawled upon the page. Some are straight lines, some are bent curves. Some are both. None of them have any meaning outside of the human mind, yet all of them are pretty to look at. Sort of like vines growing on an old chain-link fence; if you look hard enough, you might even find some fruit.
The left side of Albey’s face is numb from the air conditioning. The back of his head is growing ornery from being pressed against the window; his lower back has been ornery for a few minutes now, started throwing a fit before he stopped writing. He can actually feel his neck stiffening up one vertebra after another, all in real time…
But that’s all in the background, back in the outside world. It all comes through fuzzy whenever Albey has a notebook open in front of him. Those bright white pages, those bottomless black pen strokes; a portal to not an alternate dimension of reality but to another world, a place where the meaningless can mean anything, where language is not derived from the reality around the users but just the opposite, a place where neither the chicken nor the egg came first because first, there was only blank space. A world where anything can be possible, so long as someone wants it to be. A secret place hidden right under the nose of humanity, just waiting to be sniffed out.
Hot air chuffs from Albey’s nose. He closes his journal with a flap, then shuts his eyes and lets his chin rest on his chest for a moment. The dull silhouette of pain in the back of his head melts off like an ice cube dropped into a hot tub; Albey sits like this for a few, allowing himself to levitate in a complicated mix of endorphins and pinched nerves until he starts to lose his left ear to the blizzard howling out of the little vent beside his steering wheel.
“All right, fine. I’m going.”
Holding his pen between his teeth like a dog would a bone, Albey scoots up his reclined front seat and swings his legs over the center console. He pivots and reaches down by the pedals to grab his shoes, fat black skaters which never once felt the callous embrace of grip tape, then scrunches himself up into the fetal position to force them onto his feet. They go on willingly enough. Albey then lays back and stretches out as much as his car will allow him, which is more than you might think but still not quite enough to be called generous, then drops his left hand into the crevice between the seat and the door and gropes around for one of two pull handles. One of them, the fatter one, is used to tilt the base of the seat backwards and forwards, but that’s not the one he’s after; Albey’s getting after the longer, slender handle, and when he finds it he flexes his empty six-pack and sits up in pace with the back of his seat. He pretends he doesn’t hear the ambiguous crunch sound off from behind him when he’s halfway up, and by the time he’s taken the pen back out of his mouth, Albey’s pushed the noise out of his mind entirely.
Packed between the front seats and back windshield of Albey’s car are three white garbage bags full of worn clothing, one suitcase full of clean clothing, a new laptop case which contains much more than just a laptop, a beat up camera case which contains much more than just a camera, an open cardboard box full of notebooks, and a black carpenter’s bag full of dirty clothing. This last is both knotted and bound with aposematic red duct tape, like the colorful markings on a poison dart frog. Albey flops his journal into the cardboard box, tries his best to fold the flaps down, shrugs his shoulders when he can’t do it on the first try, then gives the box a shove. He then takes a deep breath as if he was about to dive underwater and reaches in the direction of the back-passenger door. The nylon handle of the camera case makes itself present when the time is right.
At last, with the camera case sat in his lap, Albey reaches up and presses the button to turn off the interior light. This turns on the back seat’s overhead light, however, so Albey begins to press the other two buttons spasmodically as the panic sets in and his heart starts to beat faster and he feels cold sweat on the middle of his back and what if they can see the lights flashing in his car this must look so ridicul–’
The panic doesn’t go away when the lights finally go off, but it’s not quite as severe, either. He shuts off the sedan, takes a deep, level breath, and closes his eyes again.
“I really need to chill the fuck out.”
The weight of sleep’s dead hand is heavy on Albey’s shoulder, but he shrugs it off when he snaps his eyes open. “All right,” he says as his left hand slaps against his door in search of the handle. “All right, I mean it this time. We’re going.” Warm felt becomes plastic becomes cold metal as his hand tightens around the door handle. “I’m going.”
With a bend of his wrist, Albey embraces the night.
Hello Commons, this has been the first subchapter of the first chapter of Untitled Bigfoot Project, a novel about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot.
Untitled Bigfoot Project is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Untitled Bigfoot Project is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Untitled Bigfoot Project and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Be well Commons~