Chapter 13 The Bus

“So what was the motivation for that move? It sounds like a serious foray into the bush. Weren’t things hard enough in the valley?” Agnes refilled my glass. The bottle was approaching the bottom and my ears were feeling warm but Agnes stood and walked to the Panel Ray heater on the wall and turned it on. Her sweatshirt was not longer a match for an evening chill that had given way to a night breeze. “This story you are telling me, where is the levity? Was there no joy? Since you left New York, no even before it grows darker and darker. You are writing a film noir script? The last happy thing that happened was the party that introduced you to the valley.”

“Actually, I spared you some of the darker parts like a relationship that blew up over a dead cat.”

“Oh stop! Does it go on like this till now, till tonight?”

“Well, Susan was a happy spot. But as you noticed, there weren’t many.”

“From the way you talk its as though nobody wanted you. You were an outcast. But listening to you I hear a pattern that you don’t seem to see. At least it doesn’t sound like it.”

“What’s that, I don’t see.”

“You don’t see who has been good to you. Over and over it’s been working people, people who’ve had to scrape by and overcome disadvantages and see you struggling too. Like Paul with his one arm or the loggers, or your old aunts. Yet you walk away from them. Did you ever thank them?”

“I, I don’t remember. Sometimes I’m sure I did.”

“But you sill walked away. You didn’t separate out the ones who supported you from those who rejected you. You lumped them all together and left, over and over.”

“Wow. That’s hard. I did move on from time to time. If I’t had stronger emotional attachments maybe I’d have stayed. But as I’ve said people have kept their distance of us veterans. I don’t think I’m uniquely cursed.”

“So you moved on from the valley, or tried to anyway.”

“Like I said, the counter culture was fading and the scene-chasers had begun to arrive. I was seeing the cohesiveness of the valley culture begin to fray. One important group of musicians moved to the city and various hangers on followed. I had fallen in with a group of back-to-the-landers who were mostly interested in becoming self sufficient. They weren’t artists or musicians but seemed like good people. They also didn’t seem to be chasing hip but were learning to fend for themselves. So it looked to me like there was a future there. Hah! little did I know. That completely blew up in my face with the wreck as I’ve just told you.”

2 thoughts on “Chapter 13 The Bus

  1. Nice!

    Copy edit comments –

    Second paragraph – those short sentences should start with capitals. After the farm? You lived in the woods … trees?

    Missing closing quotes on several paragraphs.

    Possessive of Agnes is probably Agnes’ ; at least that is what I always use for proper nouns ending in s. It gets the job done without fancy flourish. One Web site notes Apostrophes for Names Ending in “S” This situation can get a little tricky, because there is actually no hard-and-fast rule about apostrophe use for nouns ending with “s.” Some people hold that only the apostrophe should be added, without the extra “s,” like in “Charles’ book.” Others say to add the “s,” so that it reads “Charles’s book.” Still others differentiate by the sound of the final letter, adding only the apostrophe if the letter makes a “z” sound — James’ or Lourdes’ — and using both the apostrophe and the “s” if the letter makes the “s” sound — Lucas’s or Agnes’s. A good rule of thumb is to pick one system or the other and to use it consistently throughout, and check with your teacher or supervisor to see which form is the preferred one.

    Hyphen in long-haul probably shouldn’t be there, I’d use long haul. There are no good rules on this, so I go by most common usage, and that reduces to using google on long-haul then long haul and see where I get most hits. Then, sometimes specific hits or contexts contravene my rule. E.g., real-time has been used with hyphen since I’ve been into computers, but Real Time with Bill Maher I would take to be correct also.

    There are style guides to help with all this. Might have to pay for one but an author should have one. Better yet would be a program that scans your document for style, e.g. https://www.apstylebook.com/ AP Style Checking Tools. I have not found the MS Word grammar checker to help much, but then I haven’t used it in a long time, but then that’s because it was just getting in the way.

    Which Style Guide Is Best for You? The Associated Press Stylebook (AP style) The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago style) The MLA Handbook from the Modern Language Association of America (MLA style) The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA style)

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    1. Tommy, thanks for the copy edit comments. WordPress doesn’t always pick up punctuation, particularly quotes when one pastes in large amounts of copy. I try to catch them when I’m posting but I miss stuff. I have several style guides and use whichever is required for the job at hand. Sometimes it’s the GPO, sometimes it’s Chicago. Generally if there’s no requirement I go with NYT. It seems to get the least push back. When I worked at Microsoft they required the use of their style guide which I and many other writers took great issue with. As in “Who the hell are you to rewrite the English language.” But it’s a losing battle as Word is what everybody uses nowadays.

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