Walking Away (Fierce Ink Press) is based loosely – very loosely – on the experiences and feelings of a group of friends, one of them me, at the cusp of the transition from high school into the world of work. Although I used real names of real friends, as a kind of tribute to my old mates, the characters – their actions and feelings – are amalgams of all of us at that time.
In the story, just-out-of-high-school Keith Mallard can’t settle into the world of work. With Arthur Miller’s “I am trying to protect my sense of self” running like a tape loop through his brain, he twice walks out – walks away – from it. This excerpt relates the end of his second walking away:
He was going to keep walking all night, he said — keep on walking away, I suppose — but late in the evening he found himself heading for home. He walked in the back door around 10 o’clock and about one second later the shit hit the fan. Mr. Nason had called his folks saying Keith had disappeared and Mr. and Mrs. Mallard had been calling the police and the three city hospitals all day, worried sick.
“Jesus Christ you’ve been missing in action since 9:30 this morning,” Mr. Mallard yelled. “Had your ma and me half off our bejesus heads and your ma crying since Mr. Nason called asking if we’d seen you because no one at the office had one foggy fucking clue where you were and what you were doing so us thinking you’d been in an accident or got yourself drowned or kidnapped or mugged and between us we called the police and all the hospitals ten times over …”
Keith said, “Sorry.”
His dad hadn’t finished his rant but something about the tone of Keith’s voice, something sad and resigned and defeated, stopped him. Mr. Mallard sort of shrunk and put his hand on Keith’s shoulder and said, “Are you okay? Where have you been?”
His mom hugged him and said, “D’you want a cup of tea?”
Keith shook his head and went to bed and stayed there for a week not talking to anyone, not even his folks. Not a word, like he’d totally lost his voice.
Then he went back to work as if nothing had happened.
You’re probably wondering why he went back. Why didn’t he just quit?
Obvious, isn’t it?
Why does the petty criminal persist in his life of crime, although he gets caught again and again?
Why do unhappy couples stay together?
Why do the lovelorn cherish their passion, knowing it will never be requited?
Simply because it’s easier to than not to.
Walking Away is on sale on Kobo for 50% next weekend, December 2nd and 3rd, along with all Fierce Ink titles. Here’s a link:
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/walking-away-4. It’s rated Teen 13 and up, which means, “May contain violence, crude humour, suggestive themes and/or strong language.”
Now you can’t resist – right?