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Sloan Wood
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-387-3
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Romance
eBook Length: 124 Pages
Published: October 2017

From inside the flap

She is Sloan Wood, He is Tennessee Green. They appear to be perfect strangers. So, how is it possible that they share a lifetime of memories? As the pair struggles to understand their secret history, they confront obstacles no human beings are designed to overcome. Some Truths the universe will go to extremes to protect.

Sloan Wood (Excerpt)


I stormed into the Abbey that afternoon, dragging in what felt like a litre of rainwater behind me. It was July in L.A., a place renowned for its dry summers, and dry winters…what was happening outside was something else. A force to be reckoned with. At about noon the sky had clouded over. Large dark ominous storm clouds had drawn a tight knit spread across the cheery blue sky, a seemingly impenetrable illusion - and then the rain had come. Gallons of it. Bucketing down on a town that rarely saw rain…nor rain of this voracity.

I had stared out the window of my West Hollywood condo and wondered whether it was worth it? Should I walk over to the Abbey that afternoon? Was I game enough in this weather? All I could imagine was water in my heels, down my neck, pasting down my short hair to my forehead. I'd grown up in Australia. Rain was foreign to me. I didn't understand it, and I didn't like it.

But then, I had to get a few pages down. I had to. My publisher had been irking me about the next chapter to my newest manuscript for weeks now - ok, maybe months. Who was counting? It wasn't coming down easily - the book that is. It was laborious, painful - there was no flow to it. But I had to persevere - one thing I knew about writing was that good writing only came after a few gin and tonics and a good splash of grim determination.

So, fuck you, rain, I had mouthed silently at the window. I was heading to the Abbey.

I had donned my usual uniform, ripped jean shorts, a crisp white long sleeved shirt (popped collar of course), a string of pearls accentuating my revealed, tanned décolletage and knee high, lace-up gladiator heels. This was my writing look - it made me feel empowered, sexy, and smart, with just a hint of sassy. Writers were a superstitious bunch - like athletes, or anyone who uses their skills for a desired outcome. You started to wonder if there was magic to it, a rhyme or reason, if you should have worn those shoes, or sat in that seat. Did those little choices make a difference to the outcome?

I liked to write at the Abbey, a West Hollywood bar and gay nightclub. A hip, cool, place in WeHo, where they served gin and tonic just how I liked it (Hendricks - not too much gin, and not too much tonic), where my seat in a dim area in the bowels of the joint was virtually reserved, and where the writing came easily. Usually.

I steeled myself for this climatic impossibility, tucking my laptop deep within my bag, and wedging an enormous umbrella overhead and raced out onto the street. The Abbey was only a few blocks away, surely I could weather this? After all, I was Australian, built tough.

Famous last words.

As I plunged into the interior of the Abbey - doors uncharacteristically pulled closed - I felt semi-drowned. Water gathered around me in impossibly large pools, and the punters indoors looked up at me, some with withering looks, others with barely masked amusement. I didn't know which look I hated more.

I gritted my teeth, and dropped my umbrella into the umbrella stand near the door (previously never put to use and now overcrowded with a series of eclectic brollies - which I suspected had similarly not been put to use for some time). I gathered my internal ardour (which I assure you, there was much of), smoothed down my white, blonde hair, and tried to re-gather my usual stalk.

And then I noticed someone sitting at my table. You know, the little nook, in a dark place at the end of the locale, where one could sit unobserved for hours and peacefully write? Yes, that's the one. It was taken.

I looked over to the bartender, and raised my eyebrows in mock horror. Mario and I knew each other well. I had been writing here for the better part of two years, and Mario had been the bartender for the very same amount of time. We talked about writing, bars, clubs, my flings, his flings (mostly his flings). We had a thing going. A talking thing. A friendly thing. A, 'I'm the main bartender and will reserve your spot from 1 PM on a weekday' sort of a thing.

He pulled a face at me, and then called over the raucousness, "Sorry, doll. It's 1:30. I thought you weren't coming because of the weather!"

I sidled up to the bar, squishing between two chums with martinis. "Half an hour and you give up my table? Talk about a fair-weather bartender."

"Pardon the pun?" He laughed whimsically, his usual black t-shirt tight against his pert pecs and abs. He shook a drink absently, and for once his muscular arms didn't distracted me. I was furious.

"No pun intended. I'm the writer remember?" I said, gesturing wildly towards myself.

"Oh, shush, doll face. I thought you weren't coming. Besides the place is crowded. Everyone is coming in to get away from that weather." He jerked a thumb toward the door. "Do you begrudge me being a good businessman and taking advantage of the business?"

I glanced around the place. It was, indeed, crowded. I'd give him that much. But what about his regulars, like me? Those that had been boozing it up at inordinate hours because they had scripts to write for years? Where was the loyalty?

"I'll put your first drink on the house. How does that sound?"

I sighed, defeated. I pointed an index finger at him, and said, "Only because I'm getting a free drink and you call me doll face."

I scanned the room for an empty seat. The place was pumping at 1 PM on a weekday. This is what delirious weather did to people. It made them crazy. Never underestimate the impact of a wily wind on the mental well-being of the plebiscites.

I spotted a lonely booth a few meters ahead - close to the bar, close to the toilets, and wedged between two incredibly noisy booths. I cursed. I cursed my deadline, my publisher, Mario, the booth - but mostly the weather, which has clearly made the populace of WeHo mad.

Nonetheless, I squeezed into the booth. Avoiding the syrupy eyes of the men in suits and ties, seated to my right. I could feel them lodging themselves on my face, then my breasts, then my shorts and finally my legs. I resisted the urge to kick one of them in the jawline. Instead I took a big breath, found my laptop, pushed it open and chanted my internal mantra: Writing is about pain, Sloan. Writing is about pain. No good writing ever occurs without some pain.

I found the document on my laptop labeled 'Rudolf' and clicked it open. Rudolf was the main character, the protagonist. I never came up with a title for any novel until the very end, and even then it was a difficult process. How to sum up three hundred pages worth of words in one to five? Was that even possible? As a result while my manuscript was in a draft format, it only ever appeared titled as the protagonist's name.

Rudolf…Rudolf…Rudolf, my friend, what would you say now? It's France, WWII, the occupation, you've fallen for a French woman in the Vichy state, your values are compromised, you're not the person you thought you were. Rudolf! I mentally yell, trying to summons the character into life.

Just then Mario, knocked down a tall gin and tonic on my table. I stared at it perplexed, and then looked into Mario's eyes, big, large dark vortexes of Latino love and confusion, obviously.

"Mario," I began. "You know I don't drink from a tall glass? What were you thinking?" I was unable to stop the small sound of horror from leaking into my voice.

"Doll face, it's bedlam in here. I'm out of small glasses. They're in the process of being washed. You'll have to deal with a tall glass today."

"You know I can't, Mario,' I said, shaking my head. Here's the thing about superstition - once one thing is out of its usual pattern, you start to think it's inevitable, this is a bad day, you won't get a word down on the page. It's downhill from here. Give up. First, there was the rain, then the table. Now the tall glass? The signs were amassing.

"Doll, just deal already." He turned on his heel and walked away from me, his equally pert bottom straining against his tight pants.

I wouldn't let any ordinary man talk to me like this - but Mario - well, I had a soft spot for Mario. And he was such a nice piece of arse. What I wouldn't do for an hour in the sack with him? Obviously, he didn't swing in the long-legged, blonde direction, or in any woman's direction.

I made an annoyed clicking sound, and drained half the glass, and almost gagged. Christ! He'd loaded that glass up with enough gin to drown a sailor. I cast my eyes over at him at the bar and caught his eye. He'd been watching my drinking process. He smiled at me and winked. I grimaced, and then turned back to the laptop.

Rudolf! Rudolf! Where are you, old boy? It could have been the half litre of gin I'd just ingested, but the old boy finally came to me - into my mind and onto the page.

Tap, tap, tap: words started forming, sentences, paragraphs. That's how writing is sometimes. It's like being imbued by the spirit of the Holy Ghost, or the ghost of something. It's almost as though these people, these stories they want out, they want to be written down on the page, so someone can read them - so they can be real. It's like they exist in a liminal space, wanting to reconnect with what is human, what is real and tangible…and I'm the medium here. This person, Rudolf in this case, passes through my personal space, so I can translate him on this very page. Sometimes, it's like being spellbound. You can block out everything around you, noise, visuals, it's just you and the page, and your muse. Hours can pass, whole afternoons and evenings, early mornings, and mid mornings - and then there they are, there on the page, whole again.

That's how it was that day, despite the noise, the superstitions, the rain and the tall gin and tonic. I was in the zone. But I knew I had to peel myself away from my good friend Rudolf to check the time. I had to collect my daughter from the day-care a few blocks away at 5 PM. I couldn't let her wait. I wouldn't let her wait. She was my treasure. My joy. Waiting was not a possibility. I glanced at the clock at the right hand corner of the screen: 3:33 PM. And just like that the spell was broken. It could have been that small movement of my eyes, or even the idiosyncrasy of those numbers - but Rudolf disappeared.

Darn it.