//Listening to “My Immortal” by Evanescence//
//My stomach growls//
//Decides to fangirl//
So, I started this series of sketchy drafts of a story I really, really want to make write. It would a pet project, oh yes, but it would just be fun to work on when I’m trying to escape writer’s block. Here is the basic intro/explanation for it:
This small novel was derived from the originality of a train of thoughts. I suppose they are not so original, as they are inspired by one man in history, whose personality and presence in history books has made such a lasting impression on me. I began to speculate on what Meriwether Lewis would be like as a modern man in modern American society. If he were suddenly displaced from his own era, saved by the Grace of God, and allowed to “start over” in 21st century America. In my mind he developed as the intellectual, smart, arrogant, materialistic graduate of the Ivy League, strong supporter of the Left-wing movements, and as a Jeffersonian-Republican-bordering-on-Libertarianism, he would probably be an East-Coast Democrat. I can quite see him as a rationalist, a scientist, who is often coldly evaluating, passionate and stubbornly defensive of his opinions and views. It would be funny, interesting . . . and endearing to use a generated world-melding (in this case, Time melding) plot, wherein a horde of Lewis’s contemporaries and himself are stuck in the 21st century, and for a while do not even realize it. Gradually, as his life tangles and twists, and curves back around in the direction it was going just before he “disappeared” in October, 1809, something begins to happen. A strange young woman walks into his life, the only one who knows who he really is. Strangely enough, Lewis and Clark of the history books have melted into the background, overshadowed by Zebulon Pike. Why? Because the peculiarity of this time warp has caused it, that’s why. But Lewis and Clark really did exist. It’s just that Lewis and Clark themselves don’t remember it. Their lives have suddenly been moved to the 21st century. And it will take a lot for them to start remembering their real lives back in 1809.
I’ve already written quite a bit for it. *Blushes*
And maybe, I’ve even gone on Pinterest, and found a dreamcast for it. Gosh. What is wrong with me . . . I can’t even . . .
But namely, I discovered Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow), and I did experience a frantic moment when I lost my breath for several minutes . . . .
“There is definitely a resemblance,” Lewis said blankly, staring at himself, painted in oil.
“Yeah,” said Mr. Payton, with a small grimace. “It’s pretty spooky.”
Lewis looked at him quickly. For the first time in a while he thought over what he was going to say next. And then—he said it. “I’ll give you two hundred dollars to take inventory of that painting.”
“Thought you’d maybe like to buy a print of it in the gift-shop, show it around to your friends,” Mr. Payton mumbled.
“No.” Lewis struggled to steady his voice. He glanced around to make sure no one was nearby. His mind reeled, and almost went off balance. “Three hundred?”
Mr. Payton stuck out his lower lip. “I might get yelled at.”
“Make up an excuse,” Lewis snapped. “It was a mix-up, or something.” He felt himself begin to shake and sweat, though. His rough voice might not hold out. “And the other one—with William Clark.”
“Not that one!” Mr. Payton’s right eyebrow went up high on his forehead. “The Clark family comes in here regular—they’d throw a royal fit if his portrait disappeared.”
“Oh, and my—um, the Lewis family wouldn’t react?”
“I don’t here of many Lewis’s coming into this museum. The curator, he says most of them living out West now.”
“Oh.” Lewis felt himself deflate.
“Look, you seem like some pretty important man, sir, but I’ve got to get back to work. The boss, he gets around this place, I’ll tell you—”
“I’m not that important. And you’re an a-hole if you tell me that three hundred dollars doesn’t mean anything to you.” A hot flame of desperation began to work its way up Lewis’s spine. It spread sort of like a rash over his face—an odd, chemical rash he could not control. He thought, ‘I get frustrated rather too easily, I guess.’
“Offering me three hundred dollars to lug an old painting to the basement? If you don’t call that—”
“Never mind.” Lewis scanned the portrait again—and again. A part of him wanted to turn and hurry from the building. Another part of him wanted to stay and stand there, gaping at the uncannily similar man who was supposedly dead. Dead for two hundred years. 1809. And now, it was 2009.
He tried to act normal, as he smoothed himself over on the threshold of the little house. He promised himself that he would thank the gods every day on New Year’s Eve for a friend like William Clark. And then he laughed at himself.
“Open the damned door, somebody,” he said through gritted teeth, as water droplets spattered on his forehead. His seventy-dollar coat from his designer on Pennsylvania Avenue was becoming damp, quickly.
At last the door opened, and there stood the Clark’s trim housekeeper. Her lips parted into a polite smile, and she stepped aside for him to enter. He handed her his coat, and turned his head to survey the quiet foyer.
“Mr. Clark is in the living room, with his baby boy, and Mrs. Clark is in the kitchen.”
“Thanks,” Lewis said briefly, and headed towards the dim living room. All of the windows were opened, their maroon curtains setting a wine-red glow upon the leather couches.
Lewis peered around the high coffee table and pack-and-play to where a large, red-haired man and plump, red-haired baby sat together on the floor. The baby leaned against his daddy’s chest, a complacent smile on his face. It didn’t go without mentioning to say that the face of that baby matched his hair. Lewis could not help but grin at the scene, although he lowered himself down several feet away on the couch. He squeezed his hands, twisting them back and forth, and didn’t even catch himself like he tried to do, in public. Somehow, he felt that he could be sincerely nervous or tight-strung or critical with Will. Will would understand.
But the strange thing was—Lewis could never bring himself to discuss his love life—he couldn’t start talking about it now. Especially now. He resented the fact that he usually spent his Sunday nights at the Clarks, for lack of anything better to do. It truly hurt to admit that, and he rubbed his knees, while simultaneously rubbing at his brain. His brain could ache from all this reflection. It was aching. And Lewis wished vaguely that he had not gone out the night before.
“Ribs for dinner tonight,” Will said, looking up from baby Merne.
Lewis permitted the corners of his mouth to turn up. “A delight,” he replied.
“One of your favorite things.” And then Will laughed.
“I just can’t imagine you telling the Senator and his friends about you eating such a finger-food. They’re the kind of people who take mimosa and shrimp, or tofu.”
“I have certain . . . digressing . . . tastes.”
“Digressing!” Will gave a loud laugh, and baby Merne looked up with startled eyes. “I’d call ‘em revolutionary.”
Lewis might have been sarcastic towards anyone else who laughed at him. But he just smiled and chuckled with his friend now. They always shared a moment of hilarity. It was nearly a tradition between them.
Lewis groped for some form of control of the situation. The only thing that he saw, possibly attainable, lay in her extreme sensitivity. But he had never been too adept at reading women. Somehow, he always mistook a glance to be a stare, a smile to be a telling expression of come-hither interest. Well. This young lady took herself seriously. He thought so at first, in spite of her timidity, her quietness, and the way her eyes frequently brightened with whimsical sparks. He opened the door for her, a gesture that he hoped would impress her.
“Memorium Press?” The very name was blatantly old-school. Lewis could barely suppress a smirk, even though he couldn’t take his eyes off this quiet young woman. Everything about him struck him as Conservative—her jacket, her black skirt, her blouse with its flowing front. Nothing showy, but it all came together, the colors complementing her dark eyes and hair, her creamy olive skin emphasized by the blackness of her skirt.
“Yes—Memorium Press,” her tone was low, but firm. She gave a quick smile, thus showing the twin dimples in her cheeks.
“So,” she exhaled, and it struck him that she was nervous. Very nervous. “I asked for an interview.”
“I can,” Lewis said, in his warmest voice. She glanced at her hands, then right and left, and at last back up at him. Her thick black lashes fluttered. Lewis wondered if that was purposeful, but doubted it when her expression became sober.
“Really? Oh, thank you!” She said coolly, and shook his hand. For some reason, he bowed slightly, and crimson rose into her cheeks and temples.
“Tonight? I could take you to the new club that just opened on Congress Avenue. It would be no problem.” He decided to disregard her obvious Conservatism. No doubt, she was strongly Republican, some little girl from the Mid-West. He could tell as much by her accent.
She gave a quick nod, and her flush deepened. Lewis decided to take command of the situation. “I know what Memorium Press puts out,” he said, rubbing at the leather of his jacket’s sleeve. “I daresay,” he grinned, in his most charming way, “that you will be fair, and not present me in a slanted light.” He tried to sound almost jocular, but she most seriously replied,
“Oh, of course Mr. Lewis. Memorium Press is determined to present things—as they are. No personal bias.”
Lewis could think of a sardonic response, but he refrained. He did not want to turn her off. If she was as honest as she said she was (and working for such a factual newspaper) she might very well describe him as a derisive egotist, one of those cocky Government bigheads. Sometimes he might have to slip into that role, but he wanted (women especially) to see him as a dedicated scientist and man of exploration. And of course—a man who was getting ready to settle down, still in the public life of course, but with an attractive bride to show off, some kids to boast of, for their intellectual competence–this lacking brought him up short
“That is good to hear,” he said warmly. “I haven’t heard of Memorium Press yet, so excuse my—ignorance.”
Her lips curved, for she caught his sarcasm.
“I’m only interning for them right now,” she said frankly.
So they sent a little intern across my path—far too impertinent and full of themselves to send one of their better journalists. An intern! She’s just a kid—a college student. His warmness began to fade, maybe a little too rapidly.
She lifted her head. “I’m a college senior—this is one of our credits, to graduate. Intern at a newspaper, local—well, Memorium Press is sort of local.”
He vaguely remembered hearing that name. But he was wont to shrug it off. He studied the young woman a bit more closely.