Irvin made it home before eight and found his mother in her recliner watching TV. Most nights she slept there, which made Irvin feel like he was taking bad care of her.
She heard him open the door and pick up the scattered mail. “There you are. You didn’t come home last night.” When left with an empty space, Irvin’s mother tended to fill it in with the worst possible scenario.
“If there was a better way to go, then it would find me.” -Fiona Apple
I started writing a novel on Twitter because I have a young baby at home and it’s hard to find time to officially “write.” But I noticed that I have time to sit in the nursery and play with him and send text messages to my friends. So if I have time to text, I have time to tweet, and if I have time to tweet, I could be writing a novel on Twitter. Voila, The Place Below was born.
And like so many artistic works, The Place Below was born with problems. None of them are insurmountable, exactly, but each new story is a learning experience. (If viewed through the proper cardboard tube, everything is a potential learning experience.)
Huddled under the building’s overhang, Irvin took a furtive drag from his cigarette. The wind was cold and, as usual, he’d forgotten his coat. “You look like a little urchin out here,” Clarice had said the last time she had bumped into him smoking, on her way back from Starbucks.
Irvin leaned back in his chair. “Take it from the top. I’ve got all night.”
Thom rubbed his aching forehead. “I don’t; I have to return that truck by midnight.”
The food had made him feel tired and heavy. And old. He still had his relationship to un-ruin, as well. All this pressing down on him made the truth slide out, unpolished. “Only girl I’ve ever loved?” That part felt like a question. The next part did not. “Only girl I’m capable of loving.”
Darcy seemed to be contemplating the gash that he and Irvin had made in the wall. It was deeper than Thom had realized, exposing pink cottony insulation and the dark flank of a pipe.
Darcy straightened up. She was smaller than Thom remembered, her dark red hair smoother and fashionably cut. Signs of the old Darcy: a faded black military coat and Chucks so worn that her striped socks peeped through the toes.