Monday, November 7, 2011


If you're a writer, you probably know that NANOWRIMO is upon us. I struggled on Sunday, but I managed, in between cutting 672 caramels, meeting with neighbors about neighborhood security, fighting off the shrill sounds of four hours of seven recorder players finalizing thirteen holiday tunes, making (and cleaning up afterwards) enough gung pao chicken four a family of eight, to raise my total number of words to 12,081. For NANO, that's about a quarter way to the finish line. For the length of novels I write, that's about 1/7th of the way. I need to write shorter novels. Herein, without fanfare is the first scene of the first chapter of my mystery novel that has not title yet. It is the fourth novel in the Detective Stark mystery series (or maybe the fifth), and I had no idea what the story was about when I started, but I do now. Writing, even for an anal-retentive, Capricorn, German/Polish, former project manager like me is sometimes organic in nature.
Chapter 1

I leaned my head out the window of the idling Ford Explorer to see a man in shorts and a parka running toward my car yelling, "Rabbits. They're everywhere. Huge rabbits." He dashed past my rented vehicle and kept on going for fifty yards before he fell down attempting to turn down a dirt road. He rolled over twice before he bounced up and sprinted from sight into the Newfoundland maritime forest.

Facing forward again, I shook my head. My stomach growled in response. I was hungry and ready for some good seafood, but fifteen or so cars clogged the road ahead of us. About ten of them had been in front of us since we had gotten off the last ferry run of the year at Argentia. The lead car held us captive on the squiggly highway 10A across the Avalon Peninsula for forty miles. I could not see the problem around the slight bend in the road, but, I hoped that whatever had blocked the slow parade of traffic would be gone soon.

I looked at my wife in the passenger seat. "Mary, are the rabbits really that big up here?"

"Yep," my wife answered, holding her forehead with her fingertips. Eyes closed. Lips curled up in a sardonic smile.

"Bunnies," Robert yelled from the back seat.

Mary turned to face our two-year-old son. "That's right. Bunnies." She laughed and poked Robert playfully in the belly before adjusting the car seat.

I stared straight ahead again. "Bunnies." I put the car into park and unbuckled my seat belt.

Mary reached for my arm, but I opened the door and slipped out of the driver's seat before she could grab me. "And just where are you going?" She positioned one arm akimbo, wrinkled her brow, and pouted.

I flashed a winning smile. She didn't formalize the question by including my name into her query. Good. Her fake anger at my inquisitive nature, when we were so close to our destination, was a good sign. The long flight from central Pennsylvania to Bangor, Maine and the fifteen hour ferry ride form Nova Scotia to Argentia hadn't taxed her stoic good nature to its limit. "There might be an accident. Besides," I said in a serious tone while shrugging into a warm jacket, "there might be bunnies."

"Bunnies," Robert yelled again then laughed.
Y'all have a great day, and hope you made it to work on time.

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