Monday, November 23, 2015

Work in Progress

I'm posting this per Chuck Wendig's request. This is a scene from my novel where Marvin, who comes from the aristocracy, quits his job to become a fisherman. The scene begins with his former boss confronting him as he gets off the fishing boat.

“Mr. Rogers,” the man was red-faced from the get go, “What do you think you are doing. You don’t bother to come back from lunch or come to work the next day. I went to your flat thinking that you might be sick, but I find you on this fishing boat dressed like this. I have given you a lot of slack because of your father. I let you hang around with these people and wear those silly clothes, because what you do off-duty is your business. Why you were even showing some promise that morning, and I was going to put you in for a promotion. You are a nobleman, and you should act like it.”

A small lump formed in Marvin’s throat. He had made an impression with his boss, but it was too late for that.

Marvin swallowed and said, “Perhaps I don’t want to. You, good sir, can take your crappy job and shove it.” With that, Marvin went below decks to help bring the fish up. When he came back, his now former boss was gone. That night, hard work lulled him into a  deep sleep. The next morning, however, Marvin could barely move, his muscles being sore from being worked so hard. He thrown himself into the work. It took him a little longer to get to the dock and when Don saw him, he said, “I wondered if your muscles were going to complain. It will go away in time."

That day was harder then the previous one, but over the course of the week, his muscles adapted. Despite the physical hardship, or maybe because of it, he immensely enjoyed working with his hands and doing something productive with his time. At the end of each day he could clearly see what he had done by the stack of fish they unloaded.

When it came to hair, the fisherman took the easy route, letting it grow out several months and then visiting the barber and getting it shaved so that only stubble remained. Marvin’s hair was such as to require much time to keep it in line and during that first week, he joined the rest of them as then went. Afterward he looked in the mirror, and felt strange. His hair was never this short, but he thought he looked good like this. Outside, feeling the sea breeze tickle his scalp he felt a peace so deep, it was amazing, like this was what he should be doing.

However, that peace would be shattered the next day. As the boat made its way to shore, Marvin saw his father standing on the dock, dressed as he himself once dressed. His father’s handlebar mustache was unmistakable. Marvin immediately went below decks and did every task he could think of to avoid the confrontation. It had worked with his boss and he hoped that it would also work with his father. It didn’t. As soon has he came above board, he heard his father speak.

“Mister Mervin Rogers.” His father’s tone was harsh. He recognized the tone as the one his father used when he had messed up in the past. “When I received word of your shenanigans with your boss, I though it was just one of youthful rebellions. I had them when I was your age. I hoped that, a few days, you would come crawling back. I see now that it was something far worse. I take time out of my busy schedule, to find my son working on a fishing boat like a commoner.”

Reaching back into the stories his father was fond of telling, he replied, “Our family has had all types of people, now it includes a fisherman.”

His father’s eyes narrowed, sharpening his features. “You have had every advantage, every opportunity, but you throw it all in my face to become a commoner. You were never good at anything and sometimes I wonder if you are my son at all.”

“As a child, I never had a free moment to discover myself. It was always this class, that lesson, and most of that was boring.”

“That is the way of things. It was the way I was raised and my father before him. It is our duty to take our role in society, to produce great things.”

“I produce plenty,” Marvin said, gesturing the fish on the dock.

“And it will be gone in a week. I even had to give you a job because you weren’t good enough to get one on your own.”

Before, Marvin was just merely upset but that last remark was an out and out lie and his father knew it. Rage bubbled up inside, Marvin and he opened his mouth and let it out.

“How dare you! I worked my butt off trying to find a job, any job. I used every resource at my disposal and was denied at every turn. I finally asked a friend and he told me the truth. He said that you bribed and threatened anyone who offered me a job, other than with your ministry. At the time I was mad, but I went along with it because I had no choice. At least I can fish everyday, I told myself. And now you have the temerity to imply that I’m lazy and not good enough. Did you tell my boss that. Give my son a job, but don’t give any responsibility? He hardly gave me anything to do and the things that I did seemed like they didn’t matter. They treated me like shit. It took the disappearance of my best friend for me to realize that you are a evil and hateful man to treat your son in this matter.

“Mervin…” his father said, trying to control him, “…you are making too much of this. Come with me now and we can return to capital and find something more to your liking.”

“Mervin is dead. My name is Marvin.”

His father’s nose wrinkled, “A commoner name to go with those commoner clothes and that commoner haircut, if you can even call it a haircut. It just looks someone attacked you or you got some disease.”

Marvin lunged at his father, tackling him. When he was on the ground, he started punching his father and tearing at his clothes. His father fought back and they started rolling. There was a splash and suddenly, he felt cold all over. He realized when he tried to breathe that he was underwater. He let go of his father and surfaced for air. Spluttering, he blinked and saw his father swimming to the shore. He got out and yelled back at Marvin, “Fine, if you say Mervin is dead, then he is dead. You are not my son. I hope you have some place sleep tonight.” Fear flashed through him as he remember. His father had bought him a flat when he started the job. Now he was technically homeless. Deep down, he knew this was coming, but it still hurt. With water squishing with each step, he made his way to the bar.