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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Writer's Life 2/17 - Back in Biz

After being sidelined six days by wintry weather, the floating book shop made a not so triumphant return. I had only two sales, but each was satisfying, works the least likely to sell amongst my wares. One was a children's book on the 13 original colonies, bought by a Russian gentleman. The study of that topic seems passe in modern education. The other was a novella about a child skilled at origami, which I suggested to a Russian woman who requested something for a nine-year-old. Other Russians were disappointed that I currently do not have anything in their native tongue. Not being out consistently at my regular nook curtails donations. Natalya and Benedict said they had some books for me, and I told them to wait for a day when the weather was so good it would be a certainty I'd be out there. I disappointed an old-timer who once again asked for books on gambling. The woman upstairs who is preparing to move this summer has at least 1000 books in her apartment, and not one of them is on gambling. I asked specifically with that gentleman in mind. My thanks to the kind folks who made purchases, to Herbie, who donated two Lawrence Sanders thrillers, and to the acquaintances who wished me well. I had a nice laugh when Professor Barry Spunt, author of Heroin and Music in New York City, related a recent experience he had in trying to find a larger apartment. He was thinking he would offer the super $50 or $100 bucks. The guy wanted $800. "And I'm the Jew," said Barry -- "he's Latino." The Lady Eve, also Jewish, came hustling by in sandals, fresh from a manicure and pedicure, complaining that her sockless feet were freezing. "The things we do for beauty," she said. The highlight of the day came from a first grader whose dad has bought several books in Russian from me. When I asked if she liked school, she excitedly said: "I'm student of the month. I get a trophy." I applauded.

I didn't find anything worth commenting about in today's news, so here's an excerpt from the manuscript, Five Cents, I've been reworking. The main character is recovering from combat injuries, waiting for his discharge. One day he ventures into Saigon. I'm not a veteran. This is all from my imagination and whatever stored in my subconscious during the Vietnam War:
     He walked the streets, observing, perspiring. The natives seemed unaffected by the heat. His legs grew weary. He fought off a dizzy spell and turned in the direction of the base. Suddenly the ground rumbled beneath his feet. The roar of an explosion resounded through the area. Cries and shrieks pierced the air as people reeled along the sidewalks and streets. A few fell to the ground. Soon people were running in the direction of the blast. The peal of police whistles rose above the hubbub. Tom was dragged along by the momentum. Three blocks later he came to a halt, breathless. A crumpled marquee lay on the sidewalk in front of a theater. Black smoke was billowing from it. Flames were visible through the debris. A hush descended on the crowd. The crackling of the fire was prominent. Suddenly an old man staggered out of the wreckage, white garments torn and charred, skin blackened by soot. He walked with arms outstretched, like a blind man feeling his way. A policeman led him to an aid station that had been set up. Moments later two children crawled out of the burning building, coughing, clothing tattered, cuts and bruises all over their tiny bodies, faces contorted by fear and pain. One child rose and dashed through the crowd, wailing, the sea of robes parting for him, his screams haunting. The other boy sat weeping amid shattered glass until a nurse carried him away. Soon a fire engine arrived. Policemen angrily tooted their whistles, urging the crowd to allow it entry.
   Tom stared at the faces around him, Anglo as well as native. The mood seemed one of helpless resignation. They’d seen this before – many times, and those not personally affected seemed to retreat into a shell that helped them survive.
   He fled. He did not want to witness the bodies dug from the ruins. Tears trickled from his eyes as he pushed through the onlookers. He would not leave the base again. He took solace in the thought he would soon be home.   
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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