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Welcome to Grimoire, my serial novel (updated daily)


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Post 68 <30Aug10 > Just checking in

A Story in Pieces

By Jon Rieley-Goddard
copyright 2008 - 2010




I trust that our Hudson is giving satisfaction.

Right? Good. Glad to hear it.

Sit back, Friends, and enjoy the ride.

Hudson will be your driver for a time yet.

I know there are loose ends that I had meant to pick up, but later, much later, for that.

I’ll do what I can as I am able. I am still stuck at the airport, in the mud beside the runway or upside down in a ditch. All my baggage, which I cannot yet discuss or describe, continues to elude me. Until then, I cannot speak of the contents but only seek to find the container.

I ape the art of the storyteller, but my words lack that certain something that would take us deeper, much, much deeper, into the darkness that surrounds us. I cannot yet make friendly that which now cases me to quail.

Drive, he said.

And I immediately pulled over and could not stop shaking.

I’m a passenger for now, and my eyes are open to nothing.

My mind is a blank. White-line fever.

The blue-lined page is monochrome.

Would that like Macduff I could say to that swaggering Macbeth of thought --

I have no words.
My tongue is in my sword.

And cut his bleeping head off.

I have no words.

My tongue lies like butcher’s trim ends.

My sword is silent.

I skate on the surface.

The depths rise up to trip me.

My pen skips and skates away from the story I would tell.

If I could.

But cant.

Next: Upon arriving

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Post 67 <29Aug10 > When a honker can't

A Story in Pieces

By Jon Rieley-Goddard
copyright 2008 - 2010






The Hudson has developed a nasty hiss that seems to be coming from the tail pipe. We need either a good mechanic or a dedicated proctologist.

Right.

The irony of it. Goose, the honker who always has a thing to say, unable to tell the greatest story that he has ever seen or been part of.

Mr. Black, dour and precise, deliberate and possessed of a faint smile that telegraphs dark amusement at the things going on around him -- Mr. Black as hero, Mr. Black as goel, Mr. Black redeeming his pale friend’s broken promise.

I brood over the uselessness of letters.

And I hear you, Hudson, and since I am hearing mostly rhetorical questions, I have no response. As for your anecdote, message received loud and clear, and just let me say, Friend, that you are a real bitch for telling that story. I bring you into the  light and give you voice and vote, and this is how you say thanks?

Bitch.

I’m done now.

I’m Ok. Hudson is OK.

No more semicolons.

Next: Just checking in

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Post 66 <28Aug10 > A parable of preaching

A Story in Pieces

By Jon Rieley-Goddard
copyright 2008 - 2010






The story is told of two ministers who travelled together to an event where both of them would be preaching in the course of a daylong gathering around the topic of “The Preacher’s Path: Ways to Go”.

Tyro preachers still in seminary sat in rows of folding chairs, awaiting the first interlude of actual proclamation. The designers of the event had set a rhythm of lecture, proclamation, lecture, proclamation, lecture.

The first of our two preachers strode to the pulpit that sat in alien splendor amid the metal chairs and harsh tube lighting of the cold white room. Let us call him the Rev. Mr. Black (no relation to our own Mr. Bee). In the interest of time, we will not dwell on his words of proclamation but rather on his method. Black had no notes, no manuscript. Anyone standing next to him might notice a sticky note that he had slapped down on his text from Scripture. That was all in the way of notes for Black. His Bible was open to the proper place and his reading glasses were standing by. He made eye contact with his listeners in a random-seeming way and started talking about the text. When he was done, he stopped, closing the bible on the sticky note in a punctuating move.

A few hours later, when the chairs confronting the pulpit in the cold white room were once more filled with the faithful, one of the event spokesmen stood up and walked to the pulpit. “The Rev. Mr. White [no relation to our own] , whom we were to hear now, has sent word that he is unable to be with us around the Word. He is still at the airport and is still trying to locate his baggage and, thereby, his manuscript for this occasion as well. He begged me to say that he so very much wanted to preach to you today but that he cannot make the attempt without his manuscript. He assures us that he will be with us if and when he finds what he is looking for. The Rev. Mr. Black has graciously agreed to preach for us once again, and those of us who preach from a manuscript, in awe, fear, and a bit of trembling thank him for this heroic standing-in for his colleague and friend the Rev. Mr. White.”

Next: When a honker cannot

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A Story in Pieces

By Jon Rieley-Goddard
copyright 2008 - 2010





Our flighty friend still is dealing with his clipped wings, which leaves you to me, who does not trust flight but sticks to the ground of things.

This is my gift. I offer for your appreciation a set of web-feet that will lead you through the swamp of as-yet unexpressed details and anecdotes and unvarnished truths that have piled up in the way of our bird-like colleague -- son of the Mother (Goose, that is).

Please note, Dear Reader, that I would never write such things except in ironic, splenetic excess borne of irritation at my intended target.

“Semicolon”, indeed. He would not know one if it punctuated his speech balloon and smoothed the edges of his cartoonish life. As for “HudBud” .... No comment. I will not be mocked, Sir, nor will I stand by while you butt in and beg off just shy of doing any of the heavy lifting.

Are we clear? I can’t hear you!


Next: Two ways of preaching

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Post 64 <26Aug10 > Two paths diverged

A Story in Pieces

By Jon Rieley-Goddard
copyright 2008 - 2010





Right.

Hudson takes a different route to get to the same destination. He likes the fast roads; I the surface roads, stop lights and all.

That semicolon is for you, HudBud.

And that is just about all the metaphorical dalliance that I can manage now.

Right.

I once knew a writer who had a block so strong that she could not produce a laundry list. As for crafting a single sentence, she simply said I can’t.

Can’t or won’t? her shrink said.

Bleep you, she said. Leave the word play to the experts.

Next: Of semicolons and other orifices.

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Post 63 <25Aug10 >Goose offers profile

A Story in Pieces

By Jon Rieley-Goddard
copyright 2008 - 2010




Goose looked sidelong at David, presenting his face in profile to both of his road companions. “I know that OhJim, brother supreme, returned from his trip to Pittsburgh with tales of gypsy women and Tommy, but that is what I make of that -- tales about some tail of the twitching female sort that caught Oh’s fancy, which frankly is not hard to do if you but pass the physical. I am keeping an open mind on what we will find when we start interviewing these folk who might, just might, be kin.”

Goose’s half-smile did not match his rigid accommodation to the stories that his ‘brothers Jim’ had brought back from Pittsburgh. The rest of the Tribe had been in a ‘dither’ of speculation. “I will believe it if and when I see it. Until then, I will wait in peace and hold it, too,” Grim said.

David’s eyes grew bigger and even more bug-like. “Are you playing with yourself again!” Mr. Black glanced in the mirror. “Don’t be pert, Puck.”

Next: Safe at home

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Post 62 <24Aug10 >Who is this Goose?

A Story in Pieces

By Jon Rieley-Goddard
copyright 2008 - 2010






Who is this man? To tell you would take too long at this point in the story, so you must settle for a description of the man whom others know as ‘Goose Grim’. Grim is fond of saying that only he and God know the name God knows him by though Grim has forgotten.

Goose stands, loosely, at just under six feet in height. He slouches when he stands, so one must guess at his size. In his early 50s, Grim looks older than he is, with his monkish bald head and white facial hair of the sort commonly referred to as a ‘goatee’. A half-smile or a stern frown are the lines that his face takes in repose. This day he wears casual clothing of tweed sports coat and blue jeans, with hard shoes of the ‘crossover’ variety. In his chosen uniform, he is angular, but those who have see him in the locker room say that he runs toward chubbiness.

And what of Grim’s old friend Mr. Black? He is angular, and fit, and not just seeming so. This day he wears the same uniform as Grim but with much, much more attention to detail such as cleaning and pressing. Although he is nearer 60 than 50, Mr. Black looks younger than his friend Grim.

And what of young David? He is twenty-some and of a deceptively slight build, according to his friends and employers. His sandy hair has a mind of its own, going where it will and when it will. His eyes bug out at one through round wire-rimmed glasses. Men would say that David is handsome. Women say he is ‘cute’.


Next: Goose offers his own profile.

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Post 61 <23Aug10 > A gladsome Pop song

A Story in Pieces

By Jon Rieley-Goddard
copyright 2008 - 2010






With his invisible grin, Grim continued in this wise: “My papa was a rolling stone, young David, and wherever he laid his head and his hat was his home. Some said that he lived out his days in Pittsburgh, that he had a second family there that no one knew about but the sprites of the air and certain nosey spooks who didn’t get it that family is always off-limits and private. I for one and more than that for all of that ... I, I say, never believed that story. Hell, I don’t ‘believe’ anything. I do ‘believe in’ things -- or people, I should say. That’s it. I believe in people. But not Pop. He was a person, and a person I never did trust. Where was I?” Goose had stopped talking and was looking intently past Mr. Black’s nose, at the passing pastoral scenes of northwestern Pennsylvania. The man looked like he had fallen into the roadside ditch.

“You were ‘dissing’ your Pop or were about to some more,” David said.

Grim gave his protégé a teacher’s frown. “More the teller of tales about Pop, young David, than simply one who would dump on his memory while pissing on his grave. There is a difference and I would have you know it.” Goose’s stern tone was in voice only. His eyes twinkled like Peter Pan’s.


Next: Who is this Goose guy?


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Post 60 <22Aug10 > Good! (breaking glass)

A Story in Pieces

By Jon Rieley-Goddard
copyright 2008 - 2010





Goose Grim, former spy and current bookshop hanger-on with enduring ties to certain Three Letter Agencies, sat in the font seat of the early-model Crown Victoria sedan being driven by his long-time friend and covert associate Mr. Black. In the back seat was a young man in the employ of his common-law wife, Eve Green, owner of the notorious used bookshop Caspar’s Books and That. This young man’s name is David. No one knows his last name, which strikes one as passing strange. David is speaking.

“What’s the plan, my Elders, when we get to Pittsburgh?”

“Why, the same as it was when we left the others behind in the backroom at Caspar’s,” Mr. Black said, glancing with a frown into the rear-view mirror.

“What do you think has changed since then, Grasshopper?” Grim asked, turning around to fix the younger man with a stern look. Then Grim chuckled, stroking his white chin whiskers and looking fondly at David.

“I don’t know,” David said. “Maybe you have some stuff that you held back from the Tribe. Stuff they didn’t strictly need to know?” David’s voice went up at the end of his sentence in that pseudo-question tone that is the affectation of youth. David added this overworked inflection to a unique array of smiles, bug eyes, and general good will toward his fellow man.

“Confine yourself, Davey Jones, to patrolling that expanse of fabric known as the ‘back seat’,” Mr. Black said through straight and pinched lips. He stared head as the capacious sedan passed the exit for Slippery Rock University.

The three men had been on the road for just under three hours. David’s questions had marked the end of a hundred miles of solitude. The taciturn look of Mr. Black and his rigid head, facing relentlessly forward, were clear signals that he was returning to silence -- the silence of rock and tree, of fields of corn and stretches of hardwood forest as lush as rainforest on this midsummer’s eve. Impish Grim, however, remained in profile to David, while he had his old and dear friend in profile as he drove.

“Here,” Grim said to his young friend, “are things you need now to know.”


Next: Grim sings a Pop song

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A Story in Pieces

By Jon Rieley-Goddard
copyright 2008 - 2010





Who am I? Or, who is it that you hold as you hold this book?


_________
Editor’s note: Carl X. Otto is the owner of the Bookplate Cafe, a used bookstore in North Buffalonya on Hertic Avenue, the best cross-town ride in the city. Otto is the author of a popular series of mystery novels featuring the feisty amateur sleuth Hannah Anna Gaeleag. Otto’s friends call him “Hudson”.

Next: Hudson takes to the open road.up

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