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Okay, so you may or may not know that I'm actually a writer. I'd say for my day job, but that'd be a lie. And I'm working on a follow-on to the weird-fantasy/crime book of mine that came out in 2018, QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS. This one's called MY DROWNING CHORUS. And it's been kind of a doozy. I've managed to box myself in several times in the outline phase, but I think I've finally broken that, even if I don't know 100% of the answers to what's going on in the book. I'm hoping that those will be revealed to me as I actually, y'know, write it.

Broke ground on Friday, started for real today. Here's a bit of what came out. Don't worry, no spoilers.

I'm feeling like it went pretty well. Take it when you can get it.



Eliano Gonzales-Lynne usually went by "Gonzo," the name having been given him when he took on three of the front four of Pacoima Polytech's football team, nearly seven hundred pounds of them versus one-fifty, soaking wet and holding two cinder blocks. It was in the parking lot of the Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake and they'd hassled him endlessly, before finally making a grab at his then-girlfriend, now-wife Ronnie Diaz. The biggest one had pulled her half-way through the window of his primer-gray nova and Gonzo went for it. The neon of that sky-high Bob's sign lit the scene as people made a circle around the fray, all whooping and cheering. Those assholes had it coming to them for a long, long time.

He remembered it for a moment as he leaned against the railing of the big whale tank. The new owners hadn't emptied the water yet, though the whale was off to San Diego or Miami or some other damn place. Popping a Marlboro from the pack in his uniform coat pocket, he flicked the match with a thumb and smelled the bitter hell-smell of sulfur over the faintly septic scent of the couple million gallons of salt water going rancid. No techs for maintenance now. The only crew left at Marine World was security to make sure nobody stole anything or vandalized what couldn't be unbolted and carted off. How the hell were they gonna get that big, sad orca 'cross-country, he wondered?

Stupid white bankers, all interested in counting more money and not how they were gonna move that damn whale. It didn't make sense. Marine World was on hard times, sure, everyone was. No reason to close a place with history.

He remembered taking Ronnie down here. She loved the tropical fishes like living jewels in those bright-lit tanks, so many you'd go crazy trying to count them. Gonzo didn't complain about how much it cost to come out to Palos Verdes or the traffic or paying two dollars for a beer, even a Budweiser at that. He just loved to watch her face all bathed in that light, watching her little gemstone fish. They came so often, he ended up getting a job here. Why not? It was steady.

At least until everything wasn't.

He sucked down the cigarette and figured he'd at least pretend to do his rounds. There hadn't been anything after the first week of curiosity seekers and jazzed-up kids on a dare hopping the fence. Gonzo figured there was maybe another month of this before the whole thing got condemned, or at least written-off to the point where they wouldn't want to pay his salary any longer.

His fingers rolled the butt between them and he thought about tossing it in the pool. Why not? The rising moon cast a big reflection in it, all dancing in crescent ripples brought on by the winds. At least the diablo winds were over now, so hot in November that he sweat through his undershirt just standing in the night. He thought about tossing that butt, but then he imagined the horror on Ronnie's face if she'd seen him. Trash can is right over there, just go do it.

Gonzo stubbed the butt on his boot sole. He'd stopped wearing the regulation shoes some time ago, and his boss was long gone. He ground it down good when he heard the splash.

It sounded like a Southern Pacific engine had been dropped in the water, from a big height, taller even than that Bob's sign. Not even that black and white whale made a sound like that when he was side-flopping like he'd do when he got really bored or agitated. It was too big a sound.

Gonzo's hand went to his billy club and rested there, without a thought of it. The sickly salt smell got huge, splattering from the broken surface. On it, the moonlight went violent and erratic, floating around like the stars Gonzo saw when that Miles kid went dirty and rabbit-punched.

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