Sunday, July 29

Writing Fan Fiction: Richard Becker


Yesterday, we launched an unofficial Expanded Universe Short Story Competition fan fiction contest to promote Jericho for the fans, expand its universe (outside of the town where it largely takes place on television), and demonstrate the possibilities of its rich story line. While I don't write fiction all too often (though commercial advertising sometimes crosses over), I thought it might be fun to share a non-submission. It's a good thing I can't submit, because I broke the 1,000 word cap. Ha! Hope you enjoy.

Bacon by Richard Becker

The hearty wooden scent would fill the lake cottage every summer Sunday before the break of dawn. You had to get up early to get some before pitching off the pier with the hope of a catching a muskie in between the ever-abundant supply of perch and northern. The scrambled eggs and bacon already cooking on the stove made the early morning wake-up call bearable.

Grandma was always good about that, sneaking out of bed almost half an hour before anyone else just to start us off. She didn’t need an alarm clock to do it. It was Sunday and she’d say that’s how every summer Sunday ought to be.

She made it easy. With a smile and quick kiss on the cheek, she’d wave us off just as the white caps sparkled silver in the sunlight as it peeked above the tightly packed tree line; white cedar, jack pine, green alders, and birch.

And every Sunday, it was the same. Four lines dropped into the water, two near the boat with fresh minnows to pick up passers by and two cast out with our respective lures. My grandfather charged nothing more than the price of a little company.

“You’ll never catch any today,” he said, pulling a white handkerchief from his pocket and clearing away his rusted lungs.

“You always say that.”

“And even if you do, you can’t eat it,” he said, looking out in the distance. “You wouldn’t know … “

“Hey, you were there … I caught that …”

"Shush now,” he said, looking at me like a stranger. “We’re not alone.”

“What?”

My head hurt as the quiet swell of a rocking boat replaced itself with the hard, compacted ground from the night before. My eyes stung in the light as the campfire smoke circled around in my direction.

“I said … shush now,” the stranger said. “You’re not alone.”

I reached for the G36, a rare find, lifted from the trunk of an abandoned police car outside Charlotte a few days ago; maybe weeks.

“Don’t bother,” he said. “I’m not taking any chances with you blowing my head off or even your own. What’d you do to get this gem anyway, kill a cop?”

“Where’s my stuff?”

“Don’t worry yourself none about it,” he said, cracked lips breaking a smile above a wiry beard, graying red. “You’ll get it back. I only want one thing from you anyway.”

“What?”

“Fair trade,” he said. “You have a fire. I have the bacon. A little company.”

Bacon. I had almost missed the scent of it under the smell of ash. How long had it been since I smelled bacon? Weeks? Months? Probably a couple dozen years, before I took to squandering Sunday mornings with a Power Bars, coffee, and whatever remedy was required to cure the hangover from the night before. But even that seemed like a lifetime ago since the country broke apart.

“Yeah, sure, whatever,” I said.

“Yeah, sure, whatever,” he winked, grinning like a wood elf as he looked over the G36. “So what? You killed a cop? This ain’t issue everywhere, you know.”

“Be careful with that.”

“Be careful with that,” he mimicked. “Bah, somebody else might have already killed you. Pretty foolish, if you ask me, drinking yourself away like that.”

“You were watching me?”

“Yeah, I was watching you. We’ve been headed the same way for days, not that you’d notice,” he set the gun down beside him. “Would’ve said hello sooner, but I figured you might shoot me. Ah heck, suppose it doesn’t matter how you got it. Even if you said you didn’t kill a cop, I probably wouldn’t believe you.”

“I found it, so what?” I muttered, leaning forward out of the smoke to get a better look. Bacon. The smell was strong enough to cover up the taste of stale VO from the night before.

“See. You told me and I don’t believe you,” he squinted his eyes and drifted. “So what. So what. So what if I just came around last night and … fsshtp, fsshtp … skinned ya stem to stern. Oh, don’t think I didn’t think about it, either. I’ve killed people. Korea, Vietnam. You wouldn’t be the first. Probably not the last the way things are. But then … I saw what you did, helping those folks down the road a few days ago. They won’t do it, so I thought I’d pay it forward for them.”

“Pay what forward?” I said, seeing that bacon wasn’t the only thing on the fire. It was weak, but the tawny colored water in the pot was close to coffee.

“Tell you a secret,” he leaned in. “Shhh… you’re going the wrong way.”

“How would you know?’

“It’s Rome, I imagine. You’ve been headed mostly north but staying clear of hot zones,” his animated eyes remembering. “Whoosh. You should’ve seen it down near Miami. Poof. Gone. All gone.”

“Yeah, I am going that way, maybe to help,” I said. “So that’s where you’re from, Miami?”

“Me, no. But I went south from the panhandle before I went north,” His smile faded. “Hell of a mess down there. Hell of a mess. People herded up like cattle into camps. All of them, those who live there and now all those greenhorns running from winter. For most, I suppose it don’t matter where they go. But me, no. I’m what you’d call retired.”

“But you said you’re going to the same way?”

“Not to Rome. They’re making government in Rome.” He laughed. “Government made this mess; so you can bet it won’t be fixing it. Everybody all taking up arms, drawing boundaries, calling themselves these United States. Over in Rome, they’ll either kill ya or draft ya to kill other folks. Here… it’s done.”

It was burnt, dry, and hard to keep from crumbling. But even so, it was almost as good as every summer Sunday. No, not as good as Grandma’s by a long shot, but with most days serving up only canned goods and beef jerky looted from houses long abandoned, it might as well have been steak and eggs.

“Thanks,” I blinked. “So where then, if not north I mean?”

“You? Go west,” he said, pouring off the contents of the pot into two well-used tins. “They weren’t hit too hard out west. Some folks are even trying to live free.”

“West? I thought Lawrence was gone.”

“Lawrence is gone,” he said, pursing his lips around a strip of bacon. “So don’t go through Lawrence. Go, I dunno, go around to New Bern or someplace. Hell, go to Jericho. I dunno. Go anywhere the masses aren’t headed. Besides, you might like it. I lived in Kansas before my wife convinced me to retire to a trailer park.”

“So is that were you’re headed now. Kansas?”

“Me? No, I’m too old,” he said. “So I’m going to my real home. I'm going to Providence.”

“Kind of close to Boston, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, but home is home,” he smiled, tossing the rest of this coffee on the fire and pulling a white handkerchief from his front pocket. “For young folks like you, go live free or whatever. For old folks like me, well, home is good enough.”

“Yeah, right,” I said. “Jericho, huh? Why not.”

“Why not,” he smiled, humming to himself as he passed over my pack and the G36. “When the world is all on fire and overrun with man’s desire, why not Jericho.”

“Appreciate it,” I said. “I mean the company.”

“Now don’t shoot anything with that,” he waved me off. “Even if you do, you can’t eat it. There won’t be nothing left to take for granted.”

“You always say that,” I said.

“You wouldn’t know,” he said, reminding me we just met.

But he was right. There was nothing to take for granted. Not bacon. Not coffee. Not a little bit of company.

Disclaimer: "Jericho” and its related characters are the property of CBS Paramount Television Network and Junction Entertainment. This contest is solely for entertainment purposes. Neither Richard Becker nor Copywrite, Ink. is affiliated with CBS or Junction Entertainment.

Digg!

15 comments:

Jericho Saved on 7/29/07, 9:00 AM said...

Rich,
Thank goodness you can't enter this contest! That was just spectacular. Thank you.
I suppose you do deserve a prize so buy yourself something nice from me.

openminded1 on 7/29/07, 9:10 AM said...

Very nice perspective, and a captivating story. Thanks for sharing it.

Rich on 7/29/07, 10:35 AM said...

Thank you both. I appreciate it.

There are an infinite number ways to approach Jericho. So I just chose something that's always stood out for me. If we pause just long enough, we might wonder about what we take for granted. Yesterday's same ol' is often what we miss tomorrow.

It might be tame for some tastes, but I thought I'd save the fun for others. Personally, I look forward to reading the diverse story lines as presented by those who submit. In fact, we've already received the first. Woo hoo!

Best, Rich

SaveJake on 7/29/07, 10:51 AM said...

That was great! I was there...right with you! Completely different than where I was heading.
You are too good, but that's what keeps us coming back for more!!!

Rich on 7/29/07, 3:44 PM said...

Thanks SaveJake. I'm honored that you liked it.

Now you have me curious. Expecting a Harlan Ellison twist in there somewhere? I thought about it, but there are already too many twists in there. Alas, short stories. We really never know where they might have gone.

Best,
Rich

Tracy on 7/29/07, 6:25 PM said...

I'm nervous now. Very nervous. Thank you for a lovely story, Rich. You are a gifted writer.

Rich on 7/29/07, 6:51 PM said...

Tracy,

That is very nice of you to say. Please don't be nervous in the least. Stories cannot really be compared, much like art cannot be compared. Whose to say what is better, Dali or Warhol or Rembrandt or Gauguin? (Not to mention, not everyone liked mine, I can promise you that. LOL!)

Besides, this is supposed to be fun. Personally, I have a feeling all the stories will rock!

Rich

Tracy on 7/30/07, 12:41 PM said...

Thank you, Rich. You are very kind and encouraging. May the best writer win =)

Jayhawkgirl on 7/30/07, 9:12 PM said...

Rich, that was great. Maybe that will inspire me to write something. You are truly gifted and a friend to Jericho. : )

Roisin on 7/31/07, 5:23 AM said...

Rich, are you going to repost your fan fic elsewhere? If you arent, may I repost it on your behalf? I do this to keep encouraging others to write, but more importantly for the enjoyment of other fans.

It was very good. There were parts I didnt understand, but I am not American so I just gloss over those bits. (Im always learning something new from Jericho!!!)

Rich on 7/31/07, 8:14 AM said...

Thanks very much; it's nice to see I did the show some justice.

Almost anything in the story is identifiable. For example, you can see the character's gun looks like if you google G36.

In terms of locations, I looked at the Wikipedia entry. But there are a lot of elements I knew but didn't include in the story. I know roughly where they are, what they did, what their names are, what happened to the older man's wife, etc.

And thanks Roisin. I am honored you think it's worth sharing elsewhere. If you do, all I ask is you include attribution, a link, and in this case, the disclaimer.

All my best,
Rich

Roisin on 8/2/07, 2:34 PM said...

Rich, I will repost your story in the next couple of days. it is a simliar perspective to mine, so I will have to think of something else!!!

13 years ago I had my PhD research "stolen" for another students thesis. I always cite, reference, acknowledge everything and anything whereever and whenever possible!!!

Rich on 8/2/07, 3:08 PM said...

Roisin,

I would expect nothing less. (I was kind of talking to those other people ... whomever "they" are. ha!) Anyway, I already know you are an upstanding person. You have that way about you. :)

All my best,
Rich

Roisin on 8/3/07, 3:03 AM said...

Ah Rich!

You do have a way with words!!

kestral on 8/9/07, 7:01 AM said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. I have recently begun to read a lot of the fan fiction on the various Jericho boards. I am finding that I really like it. It allows to go beyond the show into the what if's scenarios we all think about. Thank you for a most entertaining mini adventure into your version of life in a Jericho world.

Post a Comment

 

Blog Archive

Google+ Followers

by Rich Becker Copyright © 2010 Designed by Bie Blogger Template