Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reading and Writing Ahead (Spoiler Alert)

As of this moment, I have 15, 039 words and am way behind.  And tomorrow I have to take Graham to get his passport and go to the doctor etc etc, so who knows how much writing I can get done.

I have stuff between chapter 4 and this chapter, but it isn't organized yet, so if you don't want a "spoiler," because it skips ahead don't read this.  It's also full of first draft errors.

Chapter 7?:  Angel’s Berretta and the Melodrama of the Year

            Fred Wheeler, the greenhouse guru, had invited the mycology TAs up to the Mycology Greenhouse on top of Illick to view his current edible and poisonous mushroom collection, which he kept, both in conjunction with the mycology professors, and for himself. Because the TAs had different personal and academic schedules, he did not request or expect them to all show up at once. 
            Rune decided to go up after class, and with a whisper, asked Cassie if she wanted to go, too.  She nodded, and as they left class, they found themselves in a group with most of the TA’s: Bart, Peter, Angel, Carter and Scott.  Jody appeared from somewhere and tagged along.
            Fred smiled and stood up from his desk in his workroom to welcome them.  He always seemed eager for company, yet somehow shy.  Rune had made friends with him as an undergraduate, first because she’d loved hanging out in the greenhouses and would go there to look around, read, study, write, and take pictures.  In her senior year, she took a one-credit course in plant propagation that Fred Wheeler taught.  They had become closer then, but although Fred was friendly and eager, he was also shy to the point of reticence.  He spoke quietly, with a lisp similar to Larry’s.  He kept his head down and rarely looked any of them in the eye. But he showed them his cellar, which seemed odd on the rood of Illick, and his mushrooms that grew in shade and sunshine.  He told them which ones could be used for labs for McHaggerty's class and which belonged to Dr. Wang or (other professors [return to this]) and which were his and could be used for student research.  He showed them "cellar" rooms and empty greenhouses rooms that the grad students could use for their research.  And at the end, he gave them each a small sample of parasol mushroom, one of the wild mushrooms that could be eaten raw, and a bag of shiitakes from his half-rotted shiitake log.
            Rune offered to cook the mushrooms and make a stir-fry at the girl's apartment, if everyone was up for it, and they all headed down through Oakwood cemetery to Colvin and down Colvin to the girls apartment. 
            They went in talking and laughing and were assaulted by the strong smell of fried mushrooms.  Rune set down her backpack and got out the wok.  Cassie went in the living room to put on some music and the boys busied themselves punching each other in the shoulder and calling each other inappropriate and non-PC names.
            The cutting board was already out, Rune noticed, and a paring knife and a Teflon frying pan pushed to the back burner.  The butter dish was open on the counter.  Someone had obviously already been frying mushroom. Had to be Eliza, Ellen or Bella.  Rune looked in the compost bin.  There were shaggy mane stems, bits of black shaggy mane edges, grass and dirt and other mushroom bits that looked too white.  She didn't think much about it, but something was niggling at her.
            "They never grow up," Angel said, referring to Bart, Peter, Scott and Carter who were roughhousing in the part of the kitchen closest to the hallway to bedrooms.  She shifted around from foot to foot, looking embarrassed.  Rune supposed it because of the fight they’d had and the way Angel had stormed out.  There was a lull in the noise and Rune heard the sound of squeaking springs coming from Eliza's room.
            For a moment, Rune thought nothing of the sex sounds; they were common enough for Eliza and Peter.  But Peter was here in the kitchen.  Startled, she glanced at him, and wished she hadn't.  He looked stricken.  He stood in an awkward posture from the rough-housing like a victim of freeze tag waiting to be freed by a touch, his head twisted toward the hall and tilted in a clichéd listening posture.
            Suddenly, he turned and flew down the hall.  Rune, without thinking, took off after him, rounding the corner in time to see Peter lift his foot and with a mighty kick and a loud sound of rending wood, bash down the door to Eliza's room.  Eliza shrieked.
            Rune was at the door in time to see Peter kick at naked man who humping Eliza.  The man rolled to the side and off the bed and Eliza lay for a moment in the center of the bed, as if stunned, with her legs splayed open. 
Peter screamed, “You whore.  I thought you loved me!  He grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her, then flew at the man cringing behind the bed attempting to cover himself with a sheet that was still tucked into the bed at the bottom. 
            In horror, Rune realized the man was McHaggerty.  She thought, somewhat incongruously, that he was not nearly as handsome naked as he was clothed.  His skin did not have the taut smoothness of the boys--young men--Rune’s age, but sagged slightly, and wrinkled oddly. He had a belly, a bit of a bear gut, and lines on his hips from his pants.  Unlike the golden tan on his face, the skin on his chest was pale and sickly looking.
            Out of the corner of her eye, Rune saw Jody standing in the doorway looking shocked and drawn.
            Peter grabbed McHaggerty by the hair, hauled him up a few feet off the floor, and punched him.
            Simultaneously, someone else was shrieking. 
            Angel whipped a Berretta 25 (?) out of her pocket, and holding it in both hands--Rune thought oddly of a TV detective program--and aimed it at McHaggerty. 
            "You lying philandering asshole!” she shouted.  “Get out of the way, Peter!"
            Rune, without thinking, brought her arm up under Angel’s arms, and the gun fired into the window behind McHaggerty, shattering the glass.  Bart tackled Angel, knocking her to the floor, but Angel had a death-grip on the gun and aimed again. Peter yanked McHaggerty to the side and the bullet entered the wall right where McHaggerty's head had been.  Rune kicked with all her strength at the gun, knocking it out of Angel's hands.  Bart and Angel rolled for the gun, but Bart got there a millisecond before her.
            Angel leaped away, jumping up onto the bed where Eliza had managed to wrap a blanket around herself.  She kicked Eliza hard, and continued over the bed onto the floor where she attacked McHaggerty with her nails and teeth, drawing long bleeding welts on his cheeks and chest. 
            "You liar! You asshole! you son of bitch! I hope you burn in Hell!” she screamed, her voice ragged and raw and at such a high volume that is was hard to make out the words.  Bart handed the gun to Carter, and told him to get it out of the room to safety.  Then he and Scott grabbed Angel’s flailing arms and pulled her away from the still naked McHaggerty. 
            Peter stood shaking, looking with fury at McHaggerty.  In a low voice, he said, "I'd kill you myself, but you are not worth the effort.  You are the filthiest scum of the scum."
            He turned and strode from the room. 
            Rune noticed a bottle of wine on the bedside table with two glasses.  Eliza was under age and always made a point not to drink.  How had he talked her into it?  Were there any date-rape drugs involved?  Rune knew nothing about date-rape drugs.  But this whole scenario was too strange.  Eliza, who was always faithful to Peter, Eliza who never drank, had been drinking and screwing McHaggerty.
            Rune looked at McHaggerty.  He held his pants up in front of his genitals and looked mortified, appalled and frightened.  It occurred to her they should all leave, and she grabbed at the boys who were still holding a shrieking Angel and tilted her head toward the door.  Bart and Scott dragged Angel from the room and Rune tried to pull shut the door. 

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