Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Seven-Inch Vinyl excerpt: Chapter Six: Laughing Sal
(From the soon-to-be-published novel, copyright 2010 Donald Riggio)
...It had been raining all day. A severe band of thunderstorms swept in eastward off the lake. The air grew heavy; a warm breeze preceded each new downfall. Inside, they listened to the radio, a favorite new pastime. Raindrops clattered against the windowpanes when the downpours were at their heaviest. Flashes of lightning accompanied rumblings of thunder, distant at first, then closer and, in time, distant again as each cell moved off.
“Do you still want to read more of my poems?” Janet asked.
Joseph nodded and smiled.
“C’mon, I keep them up in my room.”
She skipped up the stairs ahead of him. Joseph arrived on the upper landing pausing at the doorway to her room. He inched forward, taking note of the scent of her favorite perfume, the stuffed animals and dolls positioned neatly atop her dresser and the two posters on the wall across from her bed.
He found Janet on her hands and knees, partway under the bed like some burrowing gopher. When she came out she held several tattered composition notebooks she’d squirreled away. She stood clutching the books close to her body.
She motioned for Joseph to sit with her on the edge of her bed. She seemed unsure as to whether she wanted to carry through with her offer. Joseph sat down, finding her mattress girlishly soft. Janet held the books out and he took them.
“If you laugh at me, I’ll never speak to you again, I swear.” An idle threat, she knew she’d never be able to carry out.
“Can’t I laugh if I think they’re funny?”
“See!” Her reaction was girlish. She hopped to her feet, placed her hands on her hips and stamped one foot on the floor. Punching him hard in his arm, she tried to yank the notebooks away but his grip wouldn’t allow it. When Joseph realized she was serious he offered the books back to her.
“Indian giver,” he teased.
“No, go ahead. You can read them.”
As he opened the first book, Janet shimmied away to the head of the bed. She picked up one of her pillows and held it in front of her body like a shield. She bit on the edge of pillowcase, eager yet anxious for Joseph’s reaction.
She passed time focusing on the pitter-patter of the rain on the roof as Joseph read the book cover to cover. He found a wonderful mixture of lighthearted, teenage observances told in short, melodic verse about things like dragonflies, sleeping cats and sad eyed puppies. Other, longer pieces were more mature, encompassing deep, emotional feelings like the dream of falling in love or the heartache of losing someone very near and dear. The poems seemed to sing to him from the thin blue lines on which they were written.
“Just a lot of silly girl stuff, huh?” she asked.
He looked back at her over his shoulder. “Some of it is, yes. But all of them are really wonderful, even the silly ones. I’ll bet you could have these published in a book someday.”
He put the notebook on the bed, inched closer to Janet and took her into his arms. He kissed her deeply. Joseph gently moved her down flat on the bed, and then positioned himself almost on top of her.
They took a big risk. If Vince came home early to discover them, there was no telling what he might do. They were both beyond caring.
Rock and Roll Quote of the day: "If I were a queen, and he asked me to leave my throne. I'd do anything that he asked, anything to make him my own." From: "He's So Fine" BY: The Chiffons.