What Have I Been Doing?

girlfriend coverIf you’ve been keeping up with my Twitter feed, you know I’ve been working on a new novel, Girl, Friend for NaNoWriMo.   The story is Thriller/Suspense about a down and out musician hiding out in the Keys, befriends a local woman, who turns out to be more than he bargained for.

Here is a little taste of what I’ve been working on.  As you might know that in 2011 I started Mariline  for NaNoWriMo.

This is the first draft and I’ve not done any editing.  ENJOY!


It was a fine autumn day, the day my family lost their fortune. I wondered around the island that day, wondering what I was going to do, being already three weeks behind in the rent. I watched the sun setting on the Gulf of Mexico; the reds, yellows and blues all mixing together into a deep purple. The street bands would play on the pier and there would be celebrations until late in the evening as the sun disappeared on the horizon. The ocean smelled like urine as the wind blew in from west. When it had died down, the sand became more palatable to my worn pitted feet.

I had come to Key West to run away from everything, and did. I was not an angel; there were years of alcohol and drugs, and fathering kids around the world. Back in the day I was on top of the world, but after years of touring with my band, we had hit a stumbling block, the tour went bankrupt in Stockholm. We left our equipment there, and flew back to the states with the little money we had left. We scattered, being sick of being around each other for thirty years, and only having one, top hot 100 one-hit wonder song. I’m sure you’ve heard our song, it’s called “Mix Tape”, and we even had MTV do a “Where are they now?” on us. Now I’m stuck singing it in karaoke to a poor backup tape, and people looking at me like I have five arms coming out of my head. “Isn’t that?” No. I tell them. I don’t want them to remember me as a shrinking, fifty year old, gray haired old man, with fifty-cents in his pocket, and his sole possessions can be held in a duffel bag.

On the beach, the lapping water lulled me into a drowsy state, and I lied back and looked up at the stars, some stagnate, others seemed to float across the sky in a criss cross pattern. The moon was only half in the violet, and partially lit up the water, and sand. Occasionally, a runner would pass by, and wave to me in the darkness. They had gotten to know me, and I them. We looked out for each other, and it was comforting to see them out there. “Off the beach, Mr. Akins.” Jack was on night patrol, in his black shorts and polo; his badge flickered against the moon’s reflection in the ocean. He was twenty-six, about five-foot, six, and wore white sneakers. He looked down at me.

“Do you see the stars?” I looked past his big head. He glanced up quickly and then back down at me.

“Don’t have the time.”

“That is what is wrong with this world, Jack.”

“Maybe so, but you can’t stay here, Mr Akins.” His face frowned into his skull. I reached up to him.

“Give an old man a hand.” Jack pulled me to my feet.

“Thanks. You are not my son, are you?” He smiled.

“You ask that every night. Don’t you remember?”

“Yes, I remember, but things change so fast. Anything is possible.”

“I don’t have a musical bone in my body.”

“Oh, you don’t have to be musical. It’s has to be your mother that had a musical bone in hers.” Jack smirked and grabbed my arm.

“We should leave.”

“That’s what I thought.” He walked me to the Duval Street, said goodbye, and let me go. There was a lull in the tourists visiting, and just before winter traffic set in. Duval Street was getting back to the normal; I could almost see my friends without having to bust through a chorus line of drunken out-of-towners singing the Margaretville song. There was honesty in the air; the smell of food, sex, alcohol, pot, and tobacco. As the people passed me they was no judgment. I fit in with everyone, and they were all excepting of me. I didn’t always feel that way out on the road. Early on the paparazzi would follow us around the world and report on everything from bowel movements to zit outbreaks. As the band got older, it was pictures of arrests, and the drug and alcohol abuse. Here I felt insulated. They were all my friends, and they smiled, drunk or not, and the all knew. Some call it paradise, I began to call it home, up until the point all the money was gone. Now, I didn’t know what to call it.